Assemblée Législative de la Nouvelle-Écosse

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HALIFAX, TUESDAY, DECEMBER 13, 1994



Fifty-sixth General Assembly



Second Session



12:00 P.M.



SPEAKER



Hon. Paul MacEwan



DEPUTY SPEAKER



Mr. Gerald O’Malley






MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. We will begin this afternoon’s proceedings at this time. Are there
any introductions of visitors? If not, we will commence the daily routine.



PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS



PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES



TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS



STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister for the Economic Renewal Agency.



HON. ROSS BRAGG: Mr. Speaker, as we approach the end of 1994, I am happy to report that there
are many positive signs throughout our province that Nova Scotia is participating in Canada’s economic
recovery. Our economy is steadily improving and jobs are being created in record numbers. There are 13,000
Nova Scotians who have jobs today who were not working this time last year. For this, we are all thankful.



Mr. Speaker, we are not satisfied with this. There are Nova Scotians who are not satisfied because
they, or a family member, are without work. As a responsible government, we could not ignore the fact that
the economic recovery has not reached as many areas of Nova Scotia as we would like. That is why today I
am announcing an employment initiative called Nova Scotia Works.









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Mr. Speaker, in speaking with members of the business community over the past few months and
in talking with unemployed Nova Scotians and in consultation with my caucus colleagues, it became patently
obvious that the jobless situation is still severe in several areas of the province. In many instances, these
people cannot wait for the economic recovery to arrive in their community.



Mr. Speaker, it is therefore our duty as legislative leaders to intervene. The type of intervention I am
talking about is best described by our Cabinet Secretariat on the Economic Future of Guysborough County.
We established a working group with regional staff, met with residents and discussed options to stimulate
economic activity in the region. While our goal is to determine long-term solutions for Guysborough, they are
facing an immediate employment crisis. Short-term strategies are needed now and I am pleased to say that
by tackling the employment problem head-on, in cooperation with area residents, we are already seeing
positive results.



Nova Scotia Works is one of those short-term strategies for regions like Guysborough County struck
by declining population and rising unemployment. Through the Economic Renewal Agency, Nova Scotia
Works will put 400 people back to work this winter. It is a partnership program with business, local
governments and non-profit organizations to create jobs in the highest unemployment areas of the province.



As an incentive program, Nova Scotia Works encourages employers to hire presently unemployed
Nova Scotians for a specified period but with a longer term view to work towards full-time work. The person
hired benefits from on-the-job training while the employer gets an enthusiastic worker that they might not
have been able to afford without government support.



The Nova Scotia Economic Renewal Agency will provide a 50 per cent wage subsidy to private sector
and municipal employers creating employment opportunities between now and April 29, 1995. For each
person hired, non-profit organizations will receive $5.00 per hour toward their salary.



The program will have a cost of $1.2 million and this money is coming from within existing budgets
of the Economic Renewal Agency.



Mr. Speaker, maintaining local economies is a priority of this government. Our government
recognizes that certain areas of the province need and deserve special attention. We’re giving the private
sector in rural Nova Scotia the ability to create badly needed jobs, wherever the long-term prospects for
success appear the best.



The jobs will be distributed across the province, depending on the unemployment rate and population
rates of each county. Priority will be given to those counties demonstrating the most severe need.



Nova Scotia Works is aimed at unemployed workers not eligible for or not presently receiving
unemployment insurance benefits. The program will concentrate on those not currently served by any other
employment initiatives. We will coordinate with other federal and provincial programs to avoid duplication
or overlap.



Mr. Speaker, in the days to come, you and other members of this House can expect to learn more
from the Ministers of Housing and Consumer Affairs and Community Services, about their programs for
putting even more Nova Scotians to work.



With my announcement today and with announcements soon to be coming from my colleagues, we
expect Nova Scotia Works will create 1,000 jobs this winter for Nova Scotians. (Applause)



None of us believe or want this to be a long-term solution to unemployment. Nevertheless, there are
communities - and even more importantly - there are people who are suffering because there is no work in
their area. It is not only unfair, it is harmful to potential growth of the area.



Nova Scotia’s best and brightest, our youth, will leave their families, their communities, if they
cannot find work in their home towns.



As parents, we do not want our children to leave their birthplace. As representatives of the people,
we cannot condemn these communities to a future that holds no hope for renewal.



Mr. Speaker, Nova Scotia Works can inject activity into these special areas, giving local businesses
a nudge toward economic prosperity, while giving willing men and women an opportunity to become part of
Nova Scotia’s proud work force.



Mr. Speaker, I have faith that this action will help kick-start local economies and bring these most
critically affected areas on par with some of our more fortunate areas within the province.



May I take this time, Mr. Speaker, to express my personal wish that this initiative makes the new
year look a little brighter for many Nova Scotians. Thank you. (Applause.)



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings North.



MR. GEORGE ARCHIBALD: Mr. Speaker, I thank the minister for sending over the statement prior
to him finishing, however, we did get it when he was about half-way through, so I know it wasn’t his fault and
it wasn’t intentional, but I wish that I had had it a little bit longer so I could have, (Interruption) I don’t know
what he is talking about, but anyway.



As a government elected on job creation as their main plank in their platform, I think among many
others, this government promised the 63,000 Nova Scotians who are unemployed gainful, meaningful
employment. This opportunity for people to gain short-term employment with the assistance of a subsidy from
the provincial government would be most welcome by the people who are searching for jobs, whose
unemployment insurance has run out or, in fact, there are many people who are no longer on social assistance
of any kind, so they are not eligible for any kind of a program. Those people have been looking for work and
have been unable to find it.



So many federal programs insist that you be employed or receiving unemployment insurance prior
to upgrading and retraining. Perhaps, this program, although, and I believe from reading it very quickly, does
it expire April 29th? The jobs will last from January 1st until April 29th. So, this short-term period may
enable some of these people to get into a retraining program that is unavailable to them at the present time
because they aren’t working.






One of the key things that we notice from the release is that none of us believe nor want to believe
this to be a long-term solution to unemployment. Well, I think we all agree with that. For the people who are
unemployed and not able to get unemployment insurance benefits, they will welcome this opportunity because
it is a job. However, there is the other side of it that the government was elected with a promise to find
permanent full-time meaningful jobs. This, perhaps, is a band-aid when we need the permanent jobs that we
are speaking of.



After several months of looking into the job situation in Nova Scotia, I would hope that the Minister
for the Economic Renewal Agency will have a method, some ideas to convey to the people of Nova Scotia that
will create full-time meaningful jobs for Nova Scotians. This is kind of a stopgap and something that will be
most welcome by those who are unemployed. However, I do not feel that it is the solution to the Nova Scotia
unemployment problem, nor do I feel that it is anything new or anything different that hasn’t been tried before
by other governments. Most of these make work projects, they only last for four or five months and then
everything is back to normal.



So, I hope that while this four or five month period is in place that the Minister for the Economic
Renewal Agency will put his shoulder and the shoulder of new redesigned department to the wheel and create
a province where employment will be created in the private sector for long-term and meaningful jobs. This
is not a solution to our problem and it has been something that governments have tried before and usually we
are no better off after than we were before it started.



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Atlantic.



MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, I welcome the announcement by the minister. It is difficult
without any notice effectively to make an adequate response but let me just say a couple of things.



Mr. Speaker, it looks to me with a brief review of the statement, it looks like another sort of Winter
Works Program. While that is not necessarily bad, because what it will do is that it will give employment to
some people over the next few months, during difficult times. I think it is worthy of note that this government,
for the past 18 months after they were elected on the promise of creating 63,000 jobs, have said that the only
people that are going to create jobs are going to be the private sector.



I think they have finally come to the realization that in some cases the government needs to be
involved in specific areas of the province or elsewhere in order to facilitate the employment of people, in
particular people that have fallen off the edge in terms of whether it be seasonal work or what have you.



[12:15 p.m.]



The statement says that there is going to be a $5.00 per hour subsidy for persons hired by non-profit
organizations. It does not - at least that I can spell oh, it does say, a 50 per cent wage subsidy to the private
sector. I guess my question is, what kind of criteria are there for employers, basically, to ensure that there be
proper training, to ensure that there be proper standards relative to the conditions on which these people are
hired and maintained in their job? We know, I think, from experience, Mr. Speaker, that in the past, many
employers have just used these kinds of programs as a stopgap measure to fill in their employment needs
instead of going out and paying the price of hiring somebody full time for a longer period of time.



I guess the other thing, relative to my earlier comment about the need for the government to get
involved in some of the communities that he has indicated as needing the involvement of this program and
others, I would again urge the minister to restart, perhaps, reinvigorate the commitment that his department
has often stated on the whole initiative of community economic development. I think that the only way, Mr.
Speaker, that these communities are truly going to be served over the long term, is by giving them, the
communities, the control over the resources in order to provide some long-term job opportunities.



So, I guess in summary then, Mr. Speaker, we are not displeased in the least to see any kind of
program that comes forward to provide employment for Nova Scotians but let me just say that from what I
can see initially, this does not appear to be any different than the kind of winter works, short-term, stopgap
programs that we have had in this province forever, it seems, and would have expected and would hope, in
the future, that the government, this minister, would be able to come forward with something with a little
more imagination that would have some commitments toward providing long-term job opportunities for Nova
Scotians.



MR. SPEAKER: I have been asked to announce that today is the birthday of the honourable Minister
of Natural Resources. I would like to extend to him, on behalf of all members of the House, best wishes for
a happy birthday at this time. (Applause) (Interruption) The chief Whip is actually the culprit.



GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION



INTRODUCTION OF BILLS



NOTICES OF MOTION



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Opposition.



RESOLUTION NO. 1287



MR. TERENCE DONAHOE: Mr. Speaker, on what I assume is the Minister of Natural Resources’
60th birthday, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:



Whereas the Liberal Government has been very busy this session tending to the small fires which
have besieged its administration; and



Whereas its expenditure of government money and time on damage control for, among other things,
the Morash, Berkeley and Berger contracts, the Dan Reid hiring and the Dobbin affair, has consumed more
attention than the important business of the day because of the mishandling by the government of these
various incidents; and



Whereas while this Premier attempts to figure out who to finger for blame in the latest fumble, the
fires have begun to burn out of control;



Therefore be it resolved that this government get its act together so that the government’s attention
and limited public funds can be spent on the bigger picture - addressing the real needs of the people of Nova
Scotia.



MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.



The honourable member for Halifax Fairview.



RESOLUTION NO. 1288



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



Whereas Dianna Parsons contracted Hepatitis C, a debilitating and potentially fatal disease, from
blood transfusions after the Red Cross and provincial governments decided not to screen blood for Hepatitis
C; and



Whereas the Premier and Health Minister, who claim to be compassionate and conscientious, refuse
to even meet or correspond with Dianna Parsons about the matter of appropriate compensation; and



Whereas Dianna Parsons and her family have been forced to endure poverty for the sake of complete
medical care and basic income by the same Liberal Cabinet that has already spent more than $2 million to
arrogantly fire deputy ministers without cause;



Therefore be it resolved that this House urges the Premier and Health Minister to meet Dianna
Parsons and seriously consider the issue of compensation for the outcome of decisions made in the course of
managing and funding the blood supply system.



MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.



The honourable member for Kings West.



RESOLUTION NO. 1289



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



Whereas a private ambulance company operator in Sydney has said publicly that he has assurances
from the Health Minister’s Office of subsidies to keep his business afloat; and



Whereas Ken Caldwell, who says he is still awaiting some half million dollars he was told was left
over from the previous budget year; and



Whereas the minister responded to these comments by saying he had no knowledge of the facts;



Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Health confirm today whether such a commitment was
ever made to the minister’s friend and campaign manager, in light of past similar instances where promises
for assistance from the department were made by the minister and his staff to former classmates.



MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.



The honourable member for Pictou West.



RESOLUTION NO. 1290



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



Whereas Highway No. 104 from Kemptown, Colchester County, to Masstown has recently been
twinned and opened to the public; and



Whereas this stretch of highway has been a tremendous improvement to Highway No. 104 for the
travelling public; and



Whereas from South Mountain, in Pictou County, to Kemptown, Highway No. 104 is now twinned
and awaiting pavement, before it can be opened to the motoring public;



Therefore be it resolved that the Department of Transportation and Communications call tenders for
paving this stretch of twinned highway in Pictou County that can only enhance and improve driving
conditions on Highway No. 104.



MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.



The honourable member for Halifax Atlantic.



RESOLUTION NO. 1291



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



Whereas an independent, expert panel has reported that Nova Scotia broke ranks and made its own
deal to subsidize the Red Cross’ plan to build and take responsibility for a Miles Laboratories’ blood
fractionation plant; and



Whereas those suffering and dying from AIDS and Hepatitis C are living testimony to the potential
tragic outcome if there are errors and misunderstandings in the blood supply system; and



Whereas the long struggle for recognition and compensation by Dianna Parsons and others, who
contracted Hepatitis C from unscreened blood transfusions, is an example of what can happen with a fragile
blood supply system that lacks accountability;



Therefore be it resolved that the government should recognize that its response to the plight of
Dianna Parsons sends a signal to all others who must, now and in the future, depend upon a blood supply
system characterized by in-fighting, lack of accountability and refusal to face the consequences of mistakes.



MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.



The honourable member for Pictou Centre.



RESOLUTION NO. 1292



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



Whereas Lee Ann Dalling of New Glasgow won the Canadian bench-press title in May 1994; and



Whereas Lee Ann Dalling was a member of the Canadian team competing at the world championship
on December 3rd and 4th in Finland; and



Whereas Lee Ann Dalling finished sixth in the world in her weight class at the world championship
in Finland;



Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate Lee Ann Dalling of New Glasgow for placing
sixth at the World Open Bench-press Championship.



Mr. Speaker. I ask for 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 Queens.



RESOLUTION NO. 1293



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



Whereas British parliamentary tradition requires the principle of ministerial responsibility be
practised; and



Whereas ministerial responsibility requires that the minister of a department accepts that he, and he
only, is publicly accountable for all matters arising in his department, be they good or ill; and



Whereas ministerial responsibility is clear and unequivocal in the demand it makes of a minister,
that he not publicly assign failure to his staff but, rather, accepts the burden of accountability himself;



Therefore be it resolved that the Minister for the Economic Renewal Agency come to grips with the
principle of ministerial responsibility and cease assessing failures in his department to public servants.



MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.



It seems to overlook the fact the ministers can also be women. I would suggest that he/she might be
a more appropriate form.



In any event, the honourable Leader of the New Democratic Party.



RESOLUTION NO. 1294



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 gave firm, public assurances in recent days that he had no knowledge of his
government’s settlement with the former Deputy Minister of Health, Lucy Dobbin; and



Whereas when the truth came out, the Premier was forced to admit that he had, in fact, been
personally responsible for the $100,000 settlement, made on the basis there was no just cause for firing her;
and



Whereas this same Premier swept into office by promising freedom of information, then suggested
his own government resist and avoid legitimate requests for information;



Therefore be it resolved that this House urge the Premier to change his ways, recognize that the truth
will out, and assume that Nova Scotians will know when he has been bad or good, so be good for goodness
sake.



MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.



The honourable member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley.



RESOLUTION NO. 1295



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 for Nova Scotia’s Economic Renewal Agency said on August 4, 1993, “The
big money handouts to business are over”; and



Whereas for a number of months now, Nova Scotians have been wondering about the Minister for
the Economic Renewal Agency’s true sense of smell relating to economic development, due to the many
contradictory positions he has taken on this matter; and



Whereas the federal Minister of Public Works echoed the thoughts of many Nova Scotians yesterday
when he demanded Nova Scotia’s Minister for the Economic Renewal Agency to wake up and smell the
coffee;



Therefore be it resolved that whether it is decaffeinated or regular, the Minister for the Economic
Renewal Agency wake up and smell the coffee and stop allowing New Brunswick to become the
telecommunications centre for Canada.






MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.



The honourable member for Halifax Atlantic.



RESOLUTION NO. 1296



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 member for Colchester North won a standing ovation when, at a fund raising event for
Dianne Brushett, he expressed the wish that the provincial Liberals were as popular as Jean Chretien; and



Whereas the member predicted that he would, “probably get my knuckles rapped for saying that”,
when he returned to his caucus colleagues in Halifax; and



Whereas this government has sunk very low if Liberal MLAs expect to be disciplined if they publicly
hope for popularity;



Therefore be it resolved that this House gently reminds the more stressed-out Liberal ministers and
MLAs that public support and endorsement are not necessarily a bad thing, although it is true that Nova
Scotians no longer want to support anything associated with this government.



MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.



The honourable Leader of the New Democratic Party.



RESOLUTION NO. 1297



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



Whereas weekend news reports quote the Leader of the Opposition as condemning this government
in the strongest possible terms by declaring that the Liberal Government is just as bad as the Conservatives
were; and



Whereas most Nova Scotians would agree; and



Whereas the Liberals’ self-inflicted disasters have resulted almost entirely from their slavish imitation
of the dictatorial, job-destroying Tory policies that were totally rejected in the 1993 general election;



Therefore be it resolved that this government should heed the Leader of the Opposition’s voice of
repentance instead of rushing to join the former mighty Conservatives who were consigned to electoral
oblivion by voters who understood exactly what their policies meant.



MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.



The honourable member for Halifax Fairview.



RESOLUTION NO. 1298



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 chairperson of the Casino Project Team is being paid at the rate of $100,000 a year, on
behalf of the people of this province, supposedly to operate at arm’s length from government; and



Whereas with his customary honesty and straightforwardness, the chairperson stated yesterday that
he works for the government, not for the public; and



Whereas the public are being told, further, that they will be denied any and all information with
which to judge for themselves the work of the Casino Project Team;



Therefore be it resolved that freedom of information and accountability require that Nova Scotians
be fully informed as to the merits of each bid submitted to this government’s Casino Project Team, so
taxpayers can make their own assessment of this government’s casino decisions.



MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.



The honourable Minister of Education.



RESOLUTION NO. 1299



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



Whereas the Technical University of Nova Scotia is a leading edge institution and part of being
leading edge means redressing the under-representation of women in engineering and sciences; and



Whereas yesterday, December 12, 1994, the TUNS Board of Governors named Dr. Ruth Goldbloom
Chancellor of that institution; and



Whereas Dr. Goldbloom’s very first words as Chancellor was on redressing the historical under-representation of women in science and engineering and her commitment to having 50 per cent or more
women graduate from TUNS each year.



Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate the Technical University of Nova Scotia for the
foresight and vision in selecting such a wonderful woman and extraordinary Nova Scotian as Chancellor, and
the House further congratulate Dr. Ruth Goldbloom on this achievement and further congratulate her in
advance on achieving her objective of a graduating class of TUNS consisting of 50 per cent women. I might
add that TUNS will probably never be the same.



Mr. Speaker, I would ask for waiver.



[12:30 p.m.]



MR. SPEAKER: A request for waiver of notice has been made.



Is it agreed?



It is agreed.



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



The motion is carried.



If there are no further notices of motion, I wish to advise the House that the Clerk has conducted a
draw for the Adjournment debate at 6:00 p.m. this evening. The winner of the draw this afternoon is the
honourable Leader of the New Democratic Party who has submitted a resolution as follows:



Therefore be it resolved that this House urges the Premier and Health Minister to meet Dianna
Parsons and seriously consider the issue of compensation for the outcome of decisions made in the course of
managing and funding the blood supply system.



So we will hear on that matter at 6:00 p.m. this afternoon. That concludes the daily routine. We will
now advance to the orders of the day, the time is 12:31 p.m., the Oral Question Period will run for one hour,
that is until 1:31 p.m.



ORDERS OF THE DAY



ORAL QUESTIONS PUT BY MEMBERS



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings West.



HEALTH - HEPATITIS C: DIANNA PARSONS - MEET



MR. GEORGE MOODY: My question today is for the Premier. The Premier will recall that on
October 27th, the day this House opened this fall he received a hand-delivered letter from Mrs. Dianna
Parsons. The Premier knows, I am sure, that Mrs. Parsons has contacted Hepatitis C from tainted blood from
a transfusion she received at the Victoria General Hospital while in for an operation. I will table this letter
and in this letter she has indicated that she had given up hope of communicating with the Minister of Health
who refused to meet with her. She appealed to the Premier for a meeting to discuss her very tragic
circumstances.



To date, Mrs. Parsons has not received acknowledgement from the Premier. I would ask the Premier,
knowing that he is a very compassionate individual, if he would today agree to arrange a meeting with Mrs.
Parsons, so that her remaining days can be lived with some dignity. Would the Premier agree today to such
a meeting?



HON. JOHN SAVAGE (The Premier): Mr. Speaker, this is a departmental matter, there has been
considerable concern about this expressed by my Minister of Health and I support the Minister of Health.



MR. MOODY: Mr. Speaker, through you to the Premier, the Premier is the Leader of this
government and it may be a departmental issue, so is the issue of Mrs. Dobbin but I understand the Premier
fired Mrs. Dobbin, gave her $100,000 after five working days. Here we have a woman who is infected with
Hepatitis C, living on welfare and cannot get a meeting. I would ask the Premier if he does not feel that he
can take time to sit down and talk to a woman victimized by tainted blood, just take the time to sit down and
talk to that individual? Would the Premier make that commitment?



THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I am reluctant to do anything that conveys that I am not in full support
of my minister. I have expressed my concern about Mrs. Parsons and I will continue to work with the minister
to see if there are solutions to this problem.



MR. MOODY: Mr. Speaker, through you to the Premier, I don’t feel that having a meeting with
Dianna Parsons in any way conflicts with the minister. The minister refused to meet. This lady is forced to
live the rest of her life on welfare, separated from her husband; there must be a better way to deal with the
issue. On compassionate grounds would this Premier at least take the time, not to make a commitment until
at least after he has met with her or maybe he can’t make a commitment, if he wants to take the minister along
to the meeting, I would ask the Premier would he and the Minister of Health just please take some time before
Christmas, which is a very valuable family time, to sit down and spend just a few moments with Mrs. Parsons
to understand what her real problems are? Would he make that commitment on behalf of himself and the
Minister of Health who he wants to include?



THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, as a doctor I fully understand the consequences of what she has. I have
expressed my views on this before and I will continue to support the Minister of Health.



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Fairview.



HEALTH - HEPATITIS C: DIANNA PARSONS - MEET



MS. ALEXA MCDONOUGH: Mr. Speaker, I too would like to direct my question to the Premier
on the same subject. This government has congratulated itself on taking the self-proclaimed, low-cost route
avoiding costly court battles in compensating Judge Bremner, the Findlay family and fired deputy ministers.
The government has applauded its low-cost disputes resolution process for compensating possible victims of
sexual abuse in provincial institutions. Yet, in the case of Dianna Parsons, the government is forcing this
woman who contracted Hepatitis C through contaminated blood to pursue a court challenge with all of its
costs, financial and personal, as the only means of seeking compensation that is owing to her.



I would like to ask the Premier why they are refusing to consider any alternate process of determining
compensation to Dianna Parsons, inflicting upon her further damage to her health and personal indignity?



THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, this is a question that is better answered by the Minister of Health and
I propose to ask him to deal with it.



HON. RONALD STEWART: Mr. Speaker, I might say in reply to this that personal tragedy of
everyone in the health care system is of concern and as well expressed by both sides of this aisle. I might add
that the issue specific to this question, Hepatitis C, has been raised consistently and I think in a very assertive
way by myself on behalf of this province in the Health Ministers Conference. We have put into place a group
of deputy ministers and other experts, particularly in this field and in the field of ethics, to study this and to
get quick resolution to this, one of many problems that afflict us in this arena.






MS. MCDONOUGH: Mr. Speaker, the Premier wants us to know that he is concerned. The Minister
of Health wants us to recognize his assertiveness but these questions have to do with compensation,
compensation to a woman who is fighting and struggling a debilitating disease and if forced to go the court
challenge route, this minister, himself a medical doctor, knows perfectly well that any possibility of gaining
compensation through the courts may in fact result in no compensation being paid until long after this woman
has lost her struggle with Hepatitis C.



Will the Minister of Health not respond to these pleas by sitting down together with the Premier to
talk with Dianna Parsons about compensation and to work out an alternate mechanism for determining fair
and appropriate consultation to avoid a costly court battle?



DR. STEWART: Mr. Speaker, I might say I fully agree with the issue that this is a question of
fairness across the spectrum to all people who are suffering from whatever, Hepatitis C included, and that the
process here that is put in place will oblige us as government, as ministries, as the people of Nova Scotia to
provide for the needs of health care in the province. It is the process that must be put in place, it must not be
individualized but it must be put in place to benefit the greatest number of people. That is what we are
attempting to do in a very real and compassionate way.



MS. MCDONOUGH: Mr. Speaker, it is quite obvious that the compassion shown to others where
there was a threat of a political backlash is not matched in the instance of dealing with Dianna Parsons’
situation. My question to the honourable minister, since he refuses to respond to her circumstances, is when
will he report to Nova Scotians on the result of the deputy ministers supposed attempt to come up with an
appropriate compensation mechanism to deal with the victims of Hepatitis C that have contracted that disease
through contaminated blood?



DR. STEWART: Mr. Speaker, the results of those deliberations and the results and recommendations
in terms of Hepatitis C and other forms of contamination, whether it be Hepatitis D or other things that may
arise, certainly will be reported promptly to this House and to the public of Nova Scotia when we receive
those.



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings West.



FIN. - CASINOS: PROPONENTS - INFO.



MR. GEORGE MOODY: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Finance in charge of
casinos. I think yesterday the Minister of Finance indicated that possibly on Thursday the proponent might
be announced for the casino projects here in Nova Scotia, in Halifax and Sydney. When the minister
announced that the casinos would be brought to Nova Scotia, he promised an open process. Now, it is
understood that even after the final proponent is chosen, that we, as Nova Scotians, will not know whether
the best proponent or the best deal for Nova Scotia will have been chosen.



I would ask the minister if he would reconsider allowing the information to be released about all
three finalists so Nova Scotians can then judge and not just take the minister’s words on whether we, as Nova
Scotians, are getting the best proposition?



HON. BERNARD BOUDREAU: Mr. Speaker, I thank the honourable member for the question. First
of all, to correct a misconception in his preamble. I don’t think I indicated that there may be an announcement
this Thursday. I think in response to a media question, what I said was that the issue may be presented to
Cabinet this Thursday. But I couldn’t even commit to that at this point.



With respect to revealing the details, essentially of the two proponents who have not been
recommended and presumably, if the recommendation is adopted, who have been unsuccessful, we, as a
government, have no objection to have all of that information public. But the difficulty for us, and this is a
difficulty found in other jurisdictions who have gone similar type processes, is that much of the information
contained in the submissions of the unsuccessful proponents is confidential commercial information, which
they may not wish released.



In fact, I think probably at least two or three, perhaps, even, of those proponents are actively engaged
in other competitions elsewhere. Also, I think we have to be mindful of the Freedom of Information Act and
the requirements to keep such information confidential. But from a government point of view, we have no
objection. I am having the matter researched at the moment. Certainly, if the unsuccessful proponents, when
we get to that point, if the unsuccessful proponents have no objection, we certainly don’t.



MR. MOODY: Mr. Speaker, I can’t imagine why the minister wouldn’t have made that known when
proponents bid. There are all kinds of people who want to come here and build casinos, obviously, it is a
money-making proposition. I can’t for the life of me understand why this government, wanting to be open in
this whole process, couldn’t have said to the proponents, any information you give us will be made public after
the conclusion, because we have promised an open process.



I would ask the minister if he would give the undertaking that he will say to all of these proponents
that in some way, in order to do this, we have to make this information public? I am asking the minister if
he will undertake to make sure that happens? Otherwise, Nova Scotians will think, and maybe rightly so, that
friends of the government were the reason that a proponent won, not based on actual fact. So I think it is
incumbent upon the minister to lay out that information.



MR. BOUDREAU: Well, Mr. Speaker, first of all, I think that we are not the only jurisdiction who
has run into this difficulty with proponents to casino proposals. I think, for example, my staff indicate that
in Ontario the unsuccessful proponents did not have that information released because, as I say, they are using
the same type of information in other competitions. They don’t want, for example, the Province of
Saskatchewan to say, look, you offered x, y and z to Nova Scotia, we are going to take this out of this proposal,
this out of this proposal. So they may have some objection. We certainly don’t, as a government, have any
objection. We will follow up on the suggestion that the honourable member makes. If there is any way we can
release it, we would be happy to.



However, I might point out, to be fair, that what we have said is that this Casino Project Committee
would make a recommendation, arm’s length from government, which they have done. I think they have done
a tremendous job as a matter of fact. We will be prepared to reveal, if we accept that recommendation at the
Cabinet level, all of the details of that proposal and I think that proposal will very well stand on its own.



[12:45 p.m.]



MR. MOODY: I thank the minister for the answer. It is hard to know if it stands alone when you are
not comparing it with anything.



Anyway, I would ask the minister, on my final supplementary, what commitment or liability do we
get into as a province once this agreement is signed? If we decide to cancel at any particular time for whatever
reason, what kind of liability is this province, or the taxpayers, tied into if an agreement is signed with one
of these proponents? Is there any kind of liability on behalf of the province?



MR. BOUDREAU: Well, Mr. Speaker, I would be more than happy to answer all of the questions
at the appropriate time, when a decision has been made and we will reveal the details of it. That question, and
many others, will be addressed. I think it is inappropriate at this time to get into any of the details. All of the
information will be public very shortly.



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Opposition.



FIN. - CASINOS: SELECTION - CABINET AGREEMENT



MR. TERENCE DONAHOE: Mr. Speaker, I read from the Casino Project Committee, call for
proposals or request for proposals document. In the section that deals with selection process, there is a
reference made to the selection committee itself. It says, “The Committee’s mandate includes the obligation
`to choose the best private sector operator, under the best terms and conditions possible for operation of a
casino in metro Halifax-Dartmouth and in industrial Cape Breton.’ Thus the Committee shall also act as a
selection committee.”. It then goes on later saying that following the proponents’ elaborations and responses,
if there were follow-up questions from the committee, “. . . a Proponent will be selected to enter into exclusive
negotiations with the Committee to finalize an agreement with respect to the Casinos.”. (Interruption)



The question, I am sorry, perhaps I did not preface my remarks by saying that the question is to the
Minister of Finance. (Interruption) That is different, yeah, well, that whole gang over there is pretty different,
I will tell you.



AN HON. MEMBER: You got that right.



MR. SPEAKER: Question, please. (Interruptions)



MR. DONAHOE: My question to the Minister of Finance is, in light of the fact that the request for
proposals document indicates that it is the selection committee which will make the selection, just what is it
that is to be referred to Cabinet this Thursday, or whenever, and what role and under what authority will the
Cabinet be looking at anything, because we were told it was arm’s length. The Cabinet has nothing to do with
it, the selection committee would make the choice, and right or wrong, that was the process. What is going
to Cabinet?



HON. BERNARD BOUDREAU: Mr. Speaker, I think the honourable Leader of the Opposition will
remember, certainly others will, that what we indicated was that this selection would be done and a
recommendation made, arm’s length from government. That has happened and that recommendation involves
some very detailed contractual proposals and recommendations. But I have always said that the government
would make the decision. It was always a government decision and should always be a government decision.






Now, if we do not accept the recommendation coming forward from the Casino Project Committee,
then we will also accept the obligation of explaining publicly why we did not do that. I think all of that will
become clear as we make the public announcement in the very near future.



MR. DONAHOE: Mr. Speaker, I think the minister’s answer carries with it the explanation or the
justification for the taxpayers of Nova Scotia to have access to the information relative to the short list of all
three so that it is possible for a reasonable judgment to be made as to whether or not one set of criteria is better
than the other, as set out in the others.



Quite frankly, I think, Mr. Speaker, the question I want to put to the minister is, why is it that it is
a problem when what we are dealing with, or what he is supposed to be dealing with, is the best interests of
the people of Nova Scotia, whether the public analysis or knowledge of the detail of all three proponents might
cause the unsuccessful proponents a difficulty somewhere else. My question to the minister is, who cares? The
interest that he is responsible for is . . .



MR. SPEAKER: All right, that is the question.



MR. DONAHOE: The interest he is responsible for is the taxpayers of Nova Scotia, so why will we
not see all three?



MR. BOUDREAU: Well, I do not think the honourable member really meant his question was, who
cares, because part of what we are referring to is the legislative requirements of the Freedom of Information
Act. I am sure he cares about that as well as all of us care about that.



But in point of fact, we have charged this particular committee, arm’s length from government -
talented, intelligent people with integrity - to make a recommendation. I have confidence in their
recommendation. If in fact we do not accept it, then the honourable member is quite right, we will have to
explain in some detail why we did not. We have every confidence in that committee, I think they have done
a tremendous job and the honourable member, I am sure, will be convinced with me as well when we make
public the final decision.



MR. DONAHOE: Mr. Speaker, I wonder if the Minister of Finance would table for me and for the
consumption of all Nova Scotians, the document approved by Cabinet which indicates that the selection made
by the selection committee will in fact be vetted and ultimately subjected to a further approval by the Cabinet?
The RFP documents talk about, “The primary purpose of the RFP is to select the highest quality proposal for
the Casinos. The Committee is committed to providing a fair selection process . . . The Committee’s mandate
includes the obligation `to choose the best private sector operator,’”. I wonder if (Interruptions) It doesn’t say
choose or recommend to Cabinet. I wonder if the minister will show us the document supported by Order in
Council approval that indicates that the selection process will in fact be made at the Cabinet table?



MR. BOUDREAU: Mr. Speaker, I will do better than that. I am the minister responsible, I have
indicated that not only here today but I have indicated it consistently all along from the very earliest days that
I tabled in this House the mandate of that committee. They would make a selection, the final decision is the
Cabinet’s. But this honourable member is getting terribly impatient with events since he has assumed his
position on that side of the floor. The decision and the recommendation of the Casino Project Committee will
be made public. If we accept it, I think the honourable member will be pleased with the decision. If we do not
accept it, then we will have the obligation to explain to him and to all Nova Scotians why we did not. But just
be patient; that decision will be made public very shortly.



MR. SPEAKER: On a new question, the honourable Leader of the Opposition.



FIN. - CASINOS: SELECTION - CABINET CRITERIA



MR. TERENCE DONAHOE: Mr. Speaker, I wonder if the Minister of Finance would tell us just
what set of criteria will the Cabinet bring to bear on the recommendation made to it by the selection
committee? I repeat (Interruptions) I can imagine that this Cabinet Minister and others will get into the coin
flip, that is probably the way they will make the selection. That is the approach they have taken with the
attitudes of the taxpayers of Nova Scotia on this issue. I ask the Minister of Finance if he will tell this House
with as much clarity and precision as he can, what is the set of criteria . . .



Mr. Speaker, I wonder if I could have a little order and if you might ask . . .



MR. SPEAKER: I am all in favour of you having a little order. Let’s have a little order.



MR. DONAHOE: . . . the Government House Leader to please keep his mouth shut while I try to put
the question.



MR. SPEAKER: Now come on! Withdraw those remarks, they are very disrespectful.



MR. DONAHOE: I asked for order.



MR. SPEAKER: You don’t ask the Chair to ask an honourable member to keep his mouth shut, that
is completely out of order. Withdraw those remarks.



MR. DONAHOE: I withdraw the remark. I would ask the Speaker that he ask the honourable House
Leader, please to refrain from the remarks he is making and butt out of the conversation. (Interruptions)



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Opposition will please put his question.



MR. DONAHOE: I ask the Minister of Finance if he will tell the people of Nova Scotia the criteria
which will be employed at the Cabinet table, whereby and through which the Cabinet will make its decision
as to whether or not it will accept the recommendation from the selection committee, established under the
casino selection process?



HON. BERNARD BOUDREAU: Mr. Speaker, I don’t want to anticipate what will occur at a Cabinet
meeting but let me tell you, the mandate of the Casino Project Committee itself was very clear and it was very
simple, it wasn’t a lengthy mandate. It was to make a decision in the best interests of the people of Nova
Scotia. They have done that, I think very well and at great length, they made a recommendation.






The position of the Cabinet will be whether to accept or to reject that recommendation. If they accept
it, presumably they will be accepting it for all of the reasons that the Casino Project Committee recommended
it and fundamentally that they believe it is in the best interests of Nova Scotians.



MR. DONAHOE: Mr. Speaker, I wonder if the Minister of Finance can tell us, now having seen the
proposal, I understand, and I gather he and the Premier have been briefed, I wonder if he will tell us whether
or not the proposal which he has received does carry with it a quality socio-economic impact study?



MR. BOUDREAU: Well, Mr. Speaker, I know how interested the honourable member is about
quality socio-economic studies because he referred to one that I tabled in the House that was done in three
days by a public relations firm, before they removed the VLTs in his administration.



But, Mr. Speaker, without being too controversial and recognizing the honourable member’s sincere
interest in this matter, I think I will not comment any further on proposals that may have been recommended.
All of this will be made very public very shortly.



MR. DONAHOE: I assume, perhaps the Minister of Finance could help me understand this, the
Cabinet is faced with two choices; we accept the recommendation on this particular casino project or we reject
it. Am I hearing the minister indicate that it is his intention to ensure that Nova Scotians are provided with
an explanation, in either case, an explanation from the Cabinet as to why a particular proposal has been
accepted; the flip side equally true, that if it is rejected, there will be a statement from the government
indicating as to why the project was not approved or not accepted?



MR. BOUDREAU: Yes.



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the New Democratic Party.



FIN. - CASINOS: PROPONENTS - DISCLOSURE



MR. JOHN HOLM: Mr. Speaker, I, too, would like to direct my questions to the Minister of Finance
on the same topic. Earlier this afternoon the minister said that he is fully in support of full disclosure and
certainly he would not want to deny full disclosure because, of course, that might mean there was less
government accountability for the decisions that they are making.



Well, Mr. Speaker, I have gone through the requests for proposals for the Nova Scotia casino project.
There are requirements that the proponents keep information secret but there is absolutely nothing in here,
nothing whatsoever prohibiting the government from making all information public and available.



I want to ask the minister simply this, why is it that the government is changing the rules that the
proponents knew when they filed their proposal, Mr. Speaker, if it isn’t to make this government less
accountable for the decisions being made?



HON. BERNARD BOUDREAU: Well, Mr. Speaker, I have indicated in response to an earlier
question, that the Government of Nova Scotia has no objection to all this being made public. I have asked staff
to investigate, to see exactly what the legal position would be with respect to that. I would ask the honourable
member, perhaps he would ask some of his colleagues in Ontario why they didn’t release the information?



MR. HOLM: Mr. Speaker, when I talk to the minister in Ontario, which I am afraid I don’t do very
frequently because I represent Nova Scotia, I may do that. I want to ask the Minister of Finance who is
responsible for the casinos in Nova Scotia, in case he might have forgotten.



Now the minister tried to deflect and duck away from things, on the basis of the Freedom of
Information Act. Certainly the Freedom of Information Act does allow the government to withhold certain
information, for example, if it will harm or interfere significantly and so on, in certain areas. But it also
provides that the Government of Nova Scotia can provide background information on any factual material,
statistical surveys, economic forecasts, feasibility or technical studies and so on.



My question to the minister is quite simply this, why are you, in advance of the government finally
making a decision, saying you are going to defy the Freedom of Information Act by denying the information
to which Nova Scotians are entitled, so that they can assess the decision you made?



MR. BOUDREAU: I don’t think I said that, Mr. Speaker. I am sure I didn’t say anything nearly that
long.



Mr. Speaker, the point I made initially to the honourable member was that this same situation arose
in Ontario, as far as I know now, they didn’t release it. That was an NDP Government that was in that
responsibility. The issues are the same in Ontario as they are here, that has to do with unsuccessful
proponents.



Now if the honourable member wants to give me his legal opinion on this matter, I would be happy
to accept it and add it to the legal opinions I am now seeking.



MR. HOLM: Mr. Speaker, I note that the minister continues to try to skirt around it by deflecting
it off to, let’s say, Ontario.



I say to the minister, in all seriousness, if the minister is truly concerned about full disclosure and
accountability, why will the minister not guarantee, here and now, that he will make sure that placed on the
table, being consistent with the proposal call that went out, the full information on all the proposals that Nova
Scotians have a right to see, so that they can assess this government’s decision and hold it accountable for the
decisions that it is about to make?



[1:00 p.m.]



MR. BOUDREAU: Mr. Speaker, what I will do, quite clearly - I have given this indication already -
is to refer the matter to my staff to have an opinion given me on what area we are allowed to act without
violating the law which, I am sure the honourable member would not have us do, and we will act on that basis.



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Opposition on a new question.






HEALTH - PHYSICIAN AFFAIRS ADVISOR:

 

DR. DAN REID - CONFIRMATION



MR. TERENCE DONAHOE: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Health. The minister
confirmed last week that Dr. Dan Reid has apparently started working as this minister’s Physician Advisor.
We know, from trying to piece the whole sad saga together, that if any interviews were held at all, either in
person or by phone, that they were held somewhere in the middle of August, as best we can piece it together.



Can the minister indicate when Dr. Reid was advised that he was, in fact, to be retained in the
$115,000 job of Physician Advisor and that he could then, on that account, start making plans to close his
practice?



HON. RONALD STEWART: Yes, Mr. Speaker, I had notified Dr. Reid and I will have to check the
dates. There was no official letter sent out before the beginning of, I believe it was, November or around that
time. I would have to check my notes to find out the exact time that I was speaking with him directly.



MR. DONAHOE: Mr. Speaker, according to a letter from the then deputy minister, interviews for
the process were to be held sometime around mid-August. That was disclosed in letters which have been
tabled here, that the selection process would take a couple of weeks and that puts it in the mid-August
timeframe.



I have personal knowledge that Dr. Reid was advising his patients in Pictou during the first week
of October that he would be closing his practice and taking a job with this minister and the Department of
Health, starting December 1st. So sometime between mid-August and October 1st, I would conclude, Dr. Reid
was advised that the job was his. Could the minister, perhaps, go back and refresh his memory and advise
whether or not it was, perhaps, in August or September that Dr. Reid was informed that the job was, in fact,
available to him?



DR. STEWART: No, discussions had continued. In fact, I had several meetings with other physicians
regarding our plans for physician-advising and several groups that we planned to get together, and this was,
certainly, in late August and September and some of those individuals indicated they were no longer
interested. I believe my discussions with Dr. Reid, certainly, were encouraging as of October, yes. That is true.



MR. DONAHOE: Well, this is interesting and new. This minister has been telling this House for
weeks that he was not privy to this process; he had to go back and try to reconstruct things and his deputy was
looking after things, and so on, and he tells us today that he was now engaged in interviews - I take it
interviews? No interviews. So, consultations? Consultations with other physicians? So I wonder if this
minister will tell us, please, whether or not he considers that the consultations which he now has described
here today, that he had with other doctors about this position were, in fact, interviews with applicants for the
position?



DR. STEWART: No, Mr. Speaker, I consult frequently and widely with professionals in the health
care field, as well as others, to engage them in discussion as to what direction we might take on specific
subjects and I continue to do that. I have done so with physicians, we have been in relatively constant contact
with many people to try and gain the best people that we can to do the job in light of the reform process.



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Opposition.



HEALTH - PHYSICIAN AFFAIRS ADVISOR:

 

APPLICANTS - CONSULTATIONS



MR. TERENCE DONAHOE: I really can’t understand what this minister is saying. Let me try it this
way, if I may, with the Minister of Health. We are now learning that this minister was having consultations
with others - not people who were applicants for the job -and in the consultations with these other physicians,
it was from those consultations that he, this minister, was coming to the conclusion that certain applicants
didn’t want the job because the applicants were finding it was full time. Is that what he is saying to us today?



HON. RONALD STEWART: Mr. Speaker, part of the process of engaging interest in a particular
position is to speak about it openly to people who may be involved and, as I had reported here in this place,
we had serious problems in terms of getting interest because we were requiring full time and complete
dedication to that particular job and the quitting of a clinical practice. So those were some of the issues. I
certainly have indicated that I have solicited interest from many sources, particularly in regard to this position.



MR. DONAHOE: To the Minister of Health, I asked the Minister of Health to tell us straight, yes
or no, did the Minister of Health have - I don’t want to hear about consultations, I want to hear about
interviews - any interviews with any men or women who were applicants for this job, yes or no?



DR. STEWART: As the honourable member opposite knows, I have said that I had not interviewed
specific people in terms of the directions from my deputy and the committee and I, as the honourable
gentleman opposite knows as well, had a change in administration during that period of time and I am trying
to reconstruct the events as best I could.



MR. DONAHOE: So, on that basis would the minister be prepared to acknowledge then that when
he says publicly to the taxpayers of Nova Scotia that Dan Reid, his friend and classmate, gets the $115,000
job that he, this minister, did not personally engage in interview of any applicant for the job and that,
therefore, when this minister says that virtually all the applicants when they found out that it was full time
didn’t want the job, that is third party hearsay information evidence that he gets from other sources because
he did not get it from the applicants because he has just now told us that he didn’t talk to the applicants. Is
that correct?



DR. STEWART: I am trying to follow, Mr. Speaker, exactly what the question was. I understand,
first of all the information that I receive comes from various sources, it comes from the, right now from the
files that I have and from my recollection of events and I am trying to do that. The question is whether or not
we have a qualified candidate who comes to the table and presents credentials and I accept them. That has
happened and I am very relieved to know that Dr. Reid has come to the table, has come into our department
and is going to be doing us a bang-up job.



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings West.



HEALTH - INFORMATION: TABLING - FAILURE



MR. GEORGE MOODY: My question is for the Minister of Health. I won’t try to ask him to recall
back further than seven weeks and maybe he can remember for seven weeks. The minister knows that we have
been open for seven weeks in this Legislature. Almost every Question Period, myself or one of my colleagues
have requested that the minister table certain information. I must say the minister was very kind. He says
every day, yes I will table that information. Thus far, we have not seen any of the information tabled. I would
ask the minister to explain to me and to Nova Scotians why he has failed to table anything this session that
he has agreed to table?



HON. RONALD STEWART: Mr. Speaker, I have tabled with the Clerk some of the documents
requested, I have been quite free to do so. I have some today to table, I give them to the Clerk, there are
several questions in Hansard. My staff is working as best they can in view of all the activity of late and of the
onerous responsibilities they had to indeed comply with as much information sharing as we can.



MR. MOODY: Mr. Speaker, my second supplementary to the minister. I will table the list of
questions so the minister will have the list and the pages of Hansard where he has agreed to table the
information, four pages long. I will table them, so that there will be no confusion on what exactly in Hansard
you agreed to table. I would ask the minister then, he said he is starting to table and he has some information
today, when does he think that he will be able to table most of the information that has been requested, will
it be within the next week?



DR. STEWART: Mr. Speaker, I can only assume the honourable gentleman opposite has just checked
with the Clerk to see that I have or have not tabled this information. I will certainly, and I welcome the list
and I will peruse it to see what items are delinquent and as quickly as possible do this. I will also table the
question today that has been asked in Hansard on Page 3817.



MR. MOODY: I will check with the Clerk, usually the Clerk is very good in sending along
information that has been tabled. In checking with the minister’s staff, I think there are over 1,800 freedom
of information requests in his department; that is almost unheard of. The reason there are over 1,800 requests
is, the only way that our caucus has been able to get information is go the freedom of information route. I
would ask the minister if he would agree today to table this information, so that we don’t have to go the
freedom of information route that requires a lot of work, additional work for our staff, his staff and everybody
else? I would ask the minister, if he would agree today to try to make that system work a little smoother than
it is presently working?



DR. STEWART: Mr. Speaker, I would certainly pledge to do that. I would request in real humility
of the gentleman opposite to, indeed, coordinate activities so that freedom of information requests do not
precede questions in the House and vice versa. I am trying to figure that out and I have a staff over there that
is equally rather confused as to whether or not a freedom of information request exists and then the question
is also tabled in the House and so on. But I would give an undertaking to the honourable gentleman to be as
diligent as possible on that.



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Atlantic.



MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, I would like to direct my question through you to the
Premier. It is with respect to the whole matter surrounding the firing of the former Deputy Minister of Health.
A number of people have raised the matter with me over the weekend, that a decision was taken by the
Premier, it appears, to relieve the former deputy minister of her position. The decision was then made to
basically buy her contract out or something. The Premier indicated that both decisions were predicated on
legal advice. I would like to ask the Premier if he would give us some indication today, who it was that
provided that legal advice in both cases?



MR. SPEAKER: Well, as I have cautioned the House before the Premier answers, Beauchesne very
clearly states that questions relating to a legal opinion are out of order. This question should not require an
answer involving a legal opinion. Now, this question does involve a legal opinion. I therefore rule the question
out of order.



The member is free, however, to (Interruptions)



MR. CHISHOLM: I am asking who it was that he spoke to? He made a decision and he said he based
it on his discussion with people with respect to a legal opinion. I am not asking what the legal opinion was.
I am asking who it was?



MR. SPEAKER: The textbook, Beauchesne’s Parliamentary Rules & Forms, states “that Oral
Questions shall not require an answer involving a legal opinion.”.



MR. CHISHOLM: I am not asking for a legal opinion.



MR. SPEAKER: An argument with the Chair is out of order and the question is out of order.



The honourable member for Hants West.



HEALTH - LUCY DOBBIN (EX-DEP. MIN.): FIRING - REASON



MR. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, my question, too, is for the Premier. It regards the firing
of the Deputy Minister of Health, Mrs. Lucy Dobbin. I was wondering if the Premier would just, in very
simple terms, tell us why he fired Mrs. Dobbin?



THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, the reason that Mrs. Dobbin was let go was because of an error in
judgment.



MR. RUSSELL: Well, Mr. Speaker, if Mrs. Dobbin was fired for an error in judgment, then surely
there would be just cause for the Premier to let her go. Therefore, under her contract, there would be no
reimbursement required to be paid or no severance to be paid to Mrs. Dobbin.



[1:15 p.m.]



May I ask the Premier, why was a severance payment or a dismissal payment made to the former
Deputy Minister of Health?



THE PREMIER: After considerable discussion, it was decided that we would take the legal advice
we were offered.



MR. RUSSELL: Well, Mr. Speaker, I can’t fall into the trap that the member for Halifax Atlantic
was asking so I will ask the Premier, has he received a reply yet from the Conflict of Interest Commissioner
with regard to the actions of Mrs. Lucy Dobbin and his Minister of Health?



THE PREMIER: No, Mr. Speaker.



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Atlantic.



HEALTH - LUCY DOBBIN (EX-DEP. MIN.): PREMIER - ADVISOR



MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask the Premier who it was who gave him
the advice to dismiss the former Deputy Minister of Health, Lucy Dobbin?



THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, the events took place on that particular Friday. There was considerable
discussion with staff. It is not customary to release the names of staff members. The ultimate decision was
mine.



MR. CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, I am trying to elicit some confirmation of the information provided
by the Premier outside of this House, to reporters, that in fact he consulted legal opinion on whether or not
to fire the deputy minister. I am trying to get some sense as to whether or not the Premier had any idea what
the potential ramifications were for making that decision.



Again I am going to ask this Premier, perhaps I will ask it a little bit differently, Mr. Speaker, did
the Premier have any understanding of the potential costs involved in dismissing the former Deputy Minister
of Health?



THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I certainly did.



MR. CHISHOLM: Well, Mr. Speaker, I guess I would like to ask why his answer is different today
than it was two days ago, but let’s take that answer then. Could the Premier explain to Nova Scotians why it
is that he took a decision to relieve the Deputy Minister of Health, supposedly for cause, when, in fact, it
ended up costing him, his government and the taxpayers of Nova Scotia, $100,000?



THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I am not going to get into the conflict of interest issue because that
obviously has not been answered by the conflict of interest judge. On the issue of this I made a decision based
on information that was relayed to me. I spent some time talking to staff. I do not claim, as does anybody, to
have the absolute belief that all my decisions end up right or wrong.



In this case we made an honest decision, Mr. Speaker, that was in the best interests of this
government and the Department of Health and I stick by it.



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings North.



HEALTH: REGIONAL BOARDS - CEOs



MR. GEORGE ARCHIBALD: Mr. Speaker, (Interruptions) Oh, will you be quiet. My question is
to the Minister of Health with regard to the regional health boards. Is it true there will be chief executive
officers, CEOs, for each of the regional boards? Is this part of the regional health reform?



HON. RONALD STEWART: Yes, Mr. Speaker, each regional board will select an operating officer,
a CEO, yes.



MR. ARCHIBALD: Can the minister explain how the CEOs will be chosen?



DR. STEWART: Mr. Speaker, the CEOs would be chosen after advertising for such a position; a
national search apparently by the boards themselves and they have committees in place to do that.



MR. ARCHIBALD: It is also my understanding with regard to the CEOs that their wages will be
$150,000 per year. I was wondering if the minister could explain to me and to all the other Nova Scotians who
will be very interested to know why the salary range is so high, at $150,000. Could you explain briefly why
the salary level is so high for these CEO positions?



DR. STEWART: I am not aware of salary level for the CEOs.



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



TRANSPORT. - HIGHWAY NO. 104: CONSULTANT - NAME



MR. BROOKE TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, I would like to direct my question to the honourable Minister
of Transportation and Communication. As I understand it, tenders closed on November 9th for a consultant
who would have the expertise to choose and sort through the seven private sector proposals that would cut
costs and make improvements to Highway No. 104. The minister at that time told us why this province should
not create a transportation finance corporation like Ontario and he also elaborated as to why a private sector
consultant was necessary. Is the minister able to tell us today which consulting forum has been hired for this
work and where they are from?



HON. RICHARD MANN: Mr. Speaker, I am not sure I said what we should or should not do. I said
what the Department of Transportation lacked is expertise in some areas that we may get involved in, outside
of the building of highways in Nova Scotia and that we do not retain staff to do such things as may be required
in entering into a public/private partnership and to have the private sector involved in building a major piece
of highway in Nova Scotia. I can tell the honourable member that the process for selecting a consultant is an
ongoing one. My understanding is that my team, if you will, my management committee who has been dealing
with this, has selected, at least has made a choice in this and they are negotiating now on the price with the
firm that was selected as the number one firm. I believe the firm is Andersen Consulting who has offices here
in Halifax.



MR. TAYLOR: Can the minister tell us how many Nova Scotia consultant companies applied?



MR. MANN:  No, I can’t but I can certainly find out for the member.



MR. TAYLOR: That would be appreciated if you would find out. Will the minister, because of that
project’s importance, advise Nova Scotians today as to whether the twinning of Highway No. 104 between
Masstown and Thomson Station will be completed during the next construction year?



MR. MANN: Mr. Speaker, I would suggest that to construct 45 kilometres, approximately, of two
highways given the rate of road building and the requirements and the design necessary for structures that
it would be impossible to construct that piece of highway in one construction season. The timetable for this
has been put out and has been made but it has been shared with the Opposition Parties. I would say, to the
credit of my staff that we are right on schedule with that timetable that was put out. I suspect it to be nearly
impossible to construct that much highway in one construction season.



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Pictou Centre.



HEALTH - PHYSICIANS: RETENTION - PROGRAM



DR. JOHN HAMM: Mr. Speaker, to the Minister of Health, on occasions in Question Period the
minister has made reference to a program to recruit and retain physicians in the province. My question to the
minister, would the minister describe this program including the members of his department who are involved
and how these members are functioning to recruit and retain positions.



HON. RONALD STEWART: Yes, I have made reference to the need for such a program and to the
fact that we were in discussions with the Medical Society to indeed construct such a program. As of now, there
is no mandate for this ministry to recruit or retain physicians; it is a conjoint agreement that we must have
with the Medical Society. We would hope to have a formal and a structured program which includes not only
recruitment for particular specialties or particular geographic locations, but also recruitment among minorities
for medical school, minority candidates, indeed, and also candidates who are interested in rural practice.



DR. HAMM: Mr. Speaker, obviously there is a difficulty in communications. Certainly, my
recollection is the minister was speaking about this committee as if, in fact, it was in existence and he was
not speaking anytime when he made reference, certainly in the future tense. But putting that aside, there is
a very serious manpower situation in the province, particularly in certain specific specialties and in certain
specific areas.



What assistance is the Department of Health prepared to give to assist these areas and these hospitals
in replacing key physicians who have either left or, perhaps, are indicating that they are going to leave the
area?



DR. STEWART: First of all, Mr. Speaker, I think it is sufficient to say that there has been, in
particular, specialties and, also, in particular, geographical areas, a problem with physician recruitment and
retention. This has existed for several years in this province. In terms of plans to solve this problem, this is
indeed part and parcel of our negotiating and our discussions with the Medical Society. It must be. I cannot
act unilaterally in any aspect of physician recruitment, retention or remuneration.



DR. HAMM: Mr. Speaker, by way of final supplementary to the minister, there are things that the
Department of Health, I think, could assist areas in doing. My question, by way of final supplementary to the
minister is, would he be prepared to entertain submissions from areas or hospitals, at this time? When they
have a concern about replacing a key physician, would the Department of Health be prepared to assist them
in replacing that physician?



DR. STEWART: Mr. Speaker, my department and myself, indeed, would be very agreeable to do
what we can, but it must be done in consultation with the Medical Society and the Joint Management
Committee.



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



HEALTH - REGIONAL BOARD (CENTRAL): CHAIRMAN - NAME



MR. BROOKE TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, my question is directed to the honourable Minister of Health.
Last week it was confirmed in this House that the Chairman of the Central Regional Health Board resigned.
I wonder if the minister can tell us if he has or when he will be appointing a new chairman to the Central
Regional Health Board to take the place of the resignation put forward by Jim Cowan?



HON. RONALD STEWART: That process is ongoing, Mr. Speaker. We hope to have that resolved
within the week.



MR. TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, I wonder if the Minister of Health could tell this House, how many
applicants are presently under consideration for that position?



DR. STEWART: Mr. Speaker, as the honourable gentleman perhaps knows, that is a ministerial
appointment and the applicants are not, of course, called for. That position, certainly, we have enough talented
people on the board to assume that role and we would certainly want to tap that talent pool.



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Queens.



NAT. RES.: THOMAS RADDALL PARK - OPENING DATE



MR. JOHN LEEFE: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister of Natural Resources. The minister
is familiar with Thomas Raddall Park, which is under construction, but is not yet opened in Queens County.
I wonder if the minister could indicate if he yet has a tentative opening date in mind?



HON. DONALD DOWNE: Mr. Speaker, no, I do not have any tentative date in mind at this point.



MR. LEEFE: Mr. Speaker, the minister may not be able to answer this question in Question Period
and, if not, perhaps he could seek out the information for me. Would he advise me, either today or later,
whether in fact it is true that a member of his staff has advised the Port Joli Conservation Society that if the
park is to open at any time in the near future, that it will have to be opened as a result of their taking over
responsibility for administering the park, rather than the Department of Natural Resources providing that
administration?



[1:30 p.m.]



MR. DOWNE: Mr. Speaker, if the member opposite would give the name of the individual that
allegedly made those comments, I would be happy to check those out.



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Hants West.



MR. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Premier. I wonder if the Premier
would advise the House that in the event that the conflict of interest commissioner comes back with a report
that says that . . .



MR. SPEAKER: I think that is hypothetical, it is out of order.



MR. RUSSELL: Very well, I will ask it a different way. When the Premier receives the report from
the conflict of interest commissioner, will he then re-examine whether or not Lucy Dobbin’s firing would stay
in effect?



MR. SPEAKER: I believe that question to be hypothetical and it is therefore out of order.



The time allotted for the Oral Question Period has expired.



The honourable Government House Leader.



HON. RICHARD MANN: 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. RICHARD MANN: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 138.



Bill No. 138 - St. Martha’s Regional Hospital Foundation Assistance Act.



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Deputy Premier.



HON. WILLIAM GILLIS: Mr. Speaker, I move that this bill be now read a second time.



MR. SPEAKER: The motion is for second reading of Bill No. 138. 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. 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: The motion is carried.



[1:32 p.m. The House resolved itself into a CWH on Bills with Deputy Speaker Mr. Gerald O’Malley
in the Chair.]



[6:00 p.m. CWH on Bills rose and the House reconvened. Mr. Speaker, Hon. Paul MacEwan,
resumed the Chair.]



MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. The honourable member for Sackville, the Leader of the New
Democratic Party has won the draw for the Adjournment debate. The subject he wishes to debate is:



Therefore be it resolved that this House urges the Premier and Health Minister to meet Dianna
Parsons and seriously consider the issue of compensation for the outcome of decisions made in the course of
managing and funding the bloody supply system.



ADJOURNMENT



MOTION UNDER RULE 5(5)



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the New Democratic Party.



HEALTH - HEPATITIS C: DIANNA PARSONS - MEET



MR. JOHN HOLM: Mr. Speaker, as I rise to speak tonight, I would like to introduce members in the
House to Dianna Parsons, who we are going to be talking about this evening, her situation, and who has joined
us in the gallery this evening. I would like her to rise and receive the welcome of all members of this House.
(Applause)



Mr. Speaker, some might suggest that I am oversimplifying or I am going to oversimplify what I am
going to be saying this evening, but there isn’t time in the 10 minutes that I have to go into all of the details,
but really the issue that I bring before this House for consideration tonight is really quite simple. While
members opposite and people would talk and try to, I guess, paint the picture that it is a very complicated
issue, I don’t honestly think that it is.



Yes, indeed, there are monetary matters involved, Mr. Speaker, but what we are talking about is
providing compensation and being compassionate to a woman, and to her family, who has been affected very
severely as others who governments have recognized that they deserve compensation, those who are suffering
from HIV. Well, Ms. Dianna Parsons is suffering from Hepatitis C. Hepatitis C, indeed, also, can be a fatal
disease.



What Ms. Parsons is looking for is not thousands and thousands of dollars, what Ms. Parsons is
looking for is, first of all, a meeting with the minister, something that has been denied repeatedly. Mr.
Speaker, she is looking for the same kind of even-handed, fair treatment and compassion that was provided
to the sufferers who contacted HIV through contaminated blood. That is how Ms. Parsons received Hepatitis
C, when she went in to have surgery to have some teeth removed.



Mr. Speaker, her illness is not of her own making. It is as a result of the failure to have properly
tested the blood for contaminants and as a result of that, she is in a living hell, fighting, trying to receive fair
and honest treatment for the illness that she has received.



Mr. Speaker, I may not be phrasing this all that well, but I truly cannot understand how a
government can say that it is going to be drawing a line. It can recognize that those who have developed a
fatal illness as a result of the failure of the blood system, on one side one group receives compensation and
on another side, they do not. We are not talking about thousands of people, in fact, from what we can tell, the
government doesn’t even actually know the number of people who are affected with Hepatitis C as a result of
the blood transfusions. In fact, the former Deputy Minister, Lucy Dobbin, had appeared before the Krever
Commission and said that the government didn’t know the numbers, and also had gone on to say that it wasn’t
cost-effective to have done the testing.



Well, I wonder, what we mean by cost-effective when we are talking about people’s lives that have
been put at risk and, Mr. Speaker, the tragedies that are unfolding because of the government’s decision not
to have taken the precautions. Now, those tragedies are being compounded by the government’s continued
refusal to treat these people with the respect that they deserve and the compassion that they deserve.



I don’t doubt for a minute that members on the government side can say that they have genuine
compassion, that they have sympathy, that they feel for Mrs. Parsons and the others who are suffering from
Hepatitis C, Mr. Speaker. Words don’t cost anything but they also will not provide the approximately $1,600
worth of medication she needs each month, nor will they pay her rent and food, costs that go on.



Mr. Speaker, Ms. Parsons has been humiliated, passed from pillar to post, with the Premier saying,
well, he supports the Minister of Health and the Minister of Health has said, no, I won’t meet with you, we
have to go through a process of meeting with staff, there has to be a process.



Ms. Parsons is having to get by on family benefits, Mr. Speaker. The Minister of Community
Services refuses to get involved because it is a matter for compensation with the Minister of Health. Just today,
after being down here and after questions were raised on the floor of this House this afternoon, Ms. Parsons
receives a phone call telling her that her family benefits are again to be reduced.



We are not talking about somebody who is wealthy; we are not talking about somebody who brought
their illness upon themselves, we are talking about somebody who is suffering from the failure of government,
Mr. Speaker. That is totally unacceptable.



Here we have a government, and I can’t comprehend, I can’t understand priorities, Mr. Speaker, I
really can’t, when you have a deputy minister who will appear before the Krever Commission and say that it
wasn’t cost-effective to do that. But when that same deputy minister makes a mistake of her own, is given a
golden handshake of $100,000.



Now you ask where the justice is, or I ask where the justice is. Nova Scotians would like to know
where the justice is, where a person who has contracted a fatal disease and has to struggle and fight for
everything they can get, Mr. Speaker, in order to survive, in any kind of a dignified lifestyle, having every
single door closed in their face, and then the government turns around, in a golden handshake of $100,000
to the deputy minister, who said it wasn’t cost-effective.



Mr. Speaker, there is something terribly wrong. I understand that even today Ms. Parsons appeared
down here and sent a note to the minister and asked for copies of the petition and the video that had been
provided to him and had been seeking that back. Of course the minister did not come out to see her, although
I understand somebody from staff has called Ms. Parsons. There is something terribly wrong; we are talking
about 6 or 7, maybe 10 people, and Ms. Parsons is the spokesperson for those who have contacted Hepatitis
C in the Province of Nova Scotia through blood transfusion; she has been contacted by six other people.



Now, Mr. Speaker, I don’t care, quite truthfully, if the number is 6, 10, or 60. If we, because of our
failures, allow this tragedy to exist, we have a moral, if not a legal, responsibility to ensure that those people
can live out the rest of their lives in dignity, having those services - essential programs that they need -
provided to them. They should not have to constantly go cap in hand, fighting for the basic essentials,
something, of course, which is weakening them and making it even harder for them to carry on.



So I say through you, to the Minister of Health and his colleagues, show compassion, don’t just
profess it, show it.



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings West.



MR. GEORGE MOODY: Mr. Speaker, I was hoping I might not have to, if the Minister of Health
had spoken prior to, the debate might have been a bit shorter. I welcome but I don’t welcome to have to get
up and speak about this issue tonight. It is very unfortunate that Dianna Parsons has to come down here to
the Legislature to get somebody’s attention.



I know what being Minister of Health is all about; I know what meeting people is all about. I know
if I had not met with Janet and Randy Conners, there would have been no package. Was that wrong, Mr.
Speaker, going face to face with the people that are facing a real crisis in their lives?



We have an issue here, Mr. Speaker, that I am perplexed about. This minister says he is a
compassionate individual. If he truly is, he would take the opportunity or have the decency to sit down and
talk with Ms. Parsons to fully understand what she is facing.



This Legislature opened in October and Dianna Parsons sent a letter to the Premier, thinking that
maybe through the Premier that at least the Premier or the Minister of Health will meet with her. I don’t have
to tell you how Dianna Parsons contacted Hepatitis C; the previous speaker indicated how that happened, at
the VG.



Dianna Parsons’ position today that she is in, is that she is no different than those that contacted HIV
that will eventually lead, Mr. Speaker, to an early death. The minister shakes his head no, but it is strange
that Dianna Parsons was told that by her doctor; maybe her doctors don’t know. She is down to 90 pounds;
her blood pressure is high; and she is still getting the runaround because, last spring, Community Services
agreed that Moe, her husband, could be a care giver and they gave them $900 a month to live on, of which
$700 went to rent. So they had $200 to buy groceries and pay the telephone bill and other necessities; not
much money and, of course, so that her drugs could be provided.



Moe has been looking for work and has found an opportunity to work. He has to move out from living
with Dianna. She had a call today that reduces her money from $900 to $575 and her rent is $700. She is
going through stress as we speak tonight, as she sits in the gallery. The last time this kind of stress was put
on Dianna, she ended up in the hospital for a number of days. She is only asking this government for some
reasonable amount of assistance so that she does not have to go with cap in hand just to have a place to live
and to be with her family.



We have a reputation here in Nova Scotia, Mr. Speaker, for being compassionate. When I was
Minister of Health and we made the decision to help those that were infected with HIV - and we did not know
about the Dianna Parsons of the world at that time - I had many people, even today, tell me, for compassionate
reasons, that was the right thing to do. I did not start a process where somebody like the Conners had to run
through several bureaucrats and be given the run around some process that somebody dreamed up to make
sure that they never received the benefit. I met with them face on. I heard their story and I could tell they were
people that needed some assistance, as I have met with Dianna Parsons. I can tell you, Dianna Parsons has
become part of my heart in knowing that Dianna Parsons is here fighting for something that she needs so that
she can live with some dignity.



I don’t think that is too much in a country like we live in, or a province like we live in, to ask for. The
minister can say there are all kinds of reasons why we cannot help her. I don’t think the minister should be
looking for reasons why we cannot help her, he should be looking for ways that we can help her. That, Mr.
Speaker, would be a proud day for Nova Scotians. I know Dianna has been talking to many members of the
press. I know that they cannot believe, they can see that she is ill. Nova Scotians as they hear this story can’t
believe, we all know about the tainted blood, that is an acknowledged fact and I honestly believe that Judge
Krever will recommend these people be given some assistance. But I knew if we waited for the Krever Inquiry
or any inquiry for people like the Conners it would be too late. Dianna Parsons needs help today; not next
month, not two years from now, she needs it now.



[6:15 p.m.]



My heart goes out to her and her family around this time of year. It is a very emotional time for us
all and family is pretty special. Dianna is a very special person, she has taken up a cause not only for herself
but for a small number of other people in this province. I think what is upsetting Dianna is she can’t get a face
to face meeting, Mr. Speaker. To really personalize the story because this is a personal story, it is not a fairy
book story, it is a real story from a real person. I can’t understand, if this government has money like I have
seen it spend for their friends that it can’t say to Dianna Parsons there is a small amount of money for you to
have an apartment, to have your drugs and a reasonable amount of food. Yet, your husband can still come and
stay there even though he may have a job.



I find this whole thing very bizarre and I will listen with interest as the minister explains why it is
this province of ours, the great province we have where we have all kinds of charities and all kinds of things
that government does to help people, finds it so difficult to try to help Dianna Parsons. I know as Minister of
Health that he has the authority to take the lead, to show leadership to again show Nova Scotians that we are
the most compassionate people in this country, that we care and those that can’t fend for themselves we will
help.



I haven’t been able to in my mind figure out today why this government won’t spend some time with
Dianna Parsons because I believe the taxpayers of this province would far sooner see some money going to
Dianna Parsons than some of the things that have been in the headlines lately. They can make a quick
decision on $100,000 here and $100,000 there but they can’t make a decision on the few thousand that Dianna
Parsons, who may be evicted from her apartment if she doesn’t get more than $575 a month, somebody has
to deal with that and stop harassing her and allow her some dignity in the days that she has left and hopefully
will have left with her family.



I am hoping that tonight the good news will arrive for Dianna Parsons, her family and others like
her in this great province. (Applause)



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Health.



HON. RONALD STEWART: Thank you, Mr. Speaker, I welcome the opportunity to participate in
part to pay tribute to the issues that have been raised by the Opposition and by individuals in this province
particularly the individual to whom they refer this evening because these are important issues; they are not
to be dismissed and they are not to be confused; they are not to be connected with irrelevancies; they are to
be addressed forthrightly and four-squarely. This issue is an issue truly of compassion. It is an issue of
compassion for all of our citizens. It is an issue of accountability of our health care system, very simply and
simply put, in part because of the urging of the honourable members opposite and particularly in light of the
case and cases they cite.



Nova Scotia indeed has taken the lead in the introduction of this issue, that is the issue of
compensation and Hepatitis C on the national stage. Two days ago, or last week, a conference was convened
and discussed, for three days, the ramifications of Hepatitis C and infection in the blood supply and in other
ways of contracting this illness.



Yes, indeed, the honourable gentleman opposite refers to the necessity of individuals to come and
to parade themselves and to be embarrassed and that is my point too. The fact that an individual would have
to resort to this is a testimony to the lack of process in terms of the tragedies that occur in our health care
system, and I have been pledged, as I have mentioned in this place, to do my best to eradicate that and to apply
to all of our citizens a fair accessibility and equity across the system.



I know it is easy to throw darts about lack of compassion and so on. It is easy to do that but, I, as
Minister of Health, have a responsibility for the whole of the health care system that I am trying my best to
fulfil to the best of my ability. Issues such as compensation, such as the tragedies that can occur from medical
intervention particularly, have to be decided on the basis of facts. The honourable previous Minister of Health
has alluded to the fact that he did not know the facts when he was Minister of Health about Heptatis C, and
that is quite true; we did not know that. We do not know that today. We do not know facts that we should
know in order to better treat the disease, to better discover it, but we do know more than we knew six months
ago.



I might say that I recognize fully that science and facts are of little concern to sufferers of this illness,
for those who are so affected. But, as Minister of Health, I have to consider those facts as the honourable
gentleman opposite considered the facts when in fact the department did not know sufficient facts to make
decisions in terms of Hepatitis C infection which was occurring, and has occurred for over 60 years that we
can tell. The public of Nova Scotia needs those facts as accurately as we can get them and we are attempting
to do that.



This is not the simplistic issue that we would want it to be; it is not the simple issue either and it is
not the same as other infections in the blood supply; for example, HIV. We do have some facts now more than
we did before. What do we know about this? We know it is transmitted in a variety of ways; intravenous
transmission is certainly a possibility and has been proven. Other transmissions have also been suggested and,
in fact, proven but, in 50 per cent of cases of this illness, we do not know how it was transmitted and it cannot
be proven.



The honourable gentleman opposite suggests that this is a case of 9 or 10 people. We have 350 cases
registered in the Province of Nova Scotia of Hepatitis C, and we have some 100,000 in Canada, some of those
probably transmitted through the blood supply, but we did not know that because we didn’t have a commercial
test until 1990. We did have surrogate testing, or testing for things that might go along with that, since 1987,
but that was not done.



We also know that people with chronic infection these days could have contracted the illness in
1960’s or the 1970’s. These are things that we have to consider when we consider the overall so that we may
be equitable and fair in our application of this process. We know very little, we know enough to suggest that
we need to know more.



Mr. Speaker, this is a question of how our health system will be accountable for the tragedies that
result. We, in Nova Scotia, with indeed the prompting of the honourable members opposite, have placed this
on the agenda and said, this is a priority. But it has to be done so that it is fair, so that the cases that come to
the attention of the government and the cases that are uncovered by a process that must be in place to uncover
them will be, indeed, answered justly and fairly and that our social service system and our health care
treatment system will care for those.



It distresses me in the extreme to suggest that the contraction of Hepatitis C is a death sentence. This
is wrong to say that. It is not right to say that. Our experience with this disease, having just identified it
relatively recently, would show that in rare cases alone does this reach the chronic stage, maybe in 5 per cent,
maybe in 4 per cent. But, again, percentages do not mean anything to the person who is so affected. But we
do have Interferon and treatments such as that, anti-viral treatments, we have transplantation, which is
coming up and very significantly so. So we must never give up hope, which has been suggested here tonight
in a most distressing way.



I would suggest, Mr. Speaker, that, indeed, this is the time for compassion in that regard. What about
those who are not represented here tonight? What about those who are suffering? What about those who don’t
have the access to members in this place or to the Minister of Health? We need to have process in place so
that they will have that access to what is needed. That is what I am pledged to do. That is what I have said
before in this place.



Our social services, working along with the health care system, must provide in a compassionate way
as best we can for this and for many others. We have to understand this disease as others may arise as time
goes on. We have, indeed, to take a stand along with the honourable members opposite who have indicated
their support for a process in which a person will not have to be publicly paraded and their cases exposed in
a public forum, where privacy is considered somewhat to be less than something to protect and that points are
scored across the aisle in a most distressing and reprehensible way.



The issue here, Mr. Speaker, is to provide for those who are not represented, to provide for those who
may come after us and to provide it in a compassionate way. That is my approach to compassion.



MR. SPEAKER: There is approximately one-half minute left. Are there any further remarks from
any honourable member?



If not, we will wait the 30 seconds and then the House will revert to the Committee of the Whole
House on Bills.



[6:30 p.m. The House resolved itself into a CWH on Bills with Deputy Speaker Mr. Gerald O’Malley
in the Chair.]



[7:57 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 begs leave to sit again.



MR. SPEAKER: Is it agreed?



It is agreed.



The honourable Opposition House Leader.



MR. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, tomorrow we will be debating Resolution No. 984 and the
second resolution will be Resolution No. 1176, followed by House Orders.



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.



HON. RICHARD MANN: Mr. Speaker, we will be sitting from 2:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m. tomorrow.



I move we do now adjourn until 2:00 p.m. tomorrow.



MR. SPEAKER: The motion is carried.



The House will now rise to sit tomorrow at the hour of 2:00 p.m.



[The House rose at 7:59 p.m.]






NOTICES OF MOTION UNDER RULE 32(3)



HOUSE ORDER NO. 174



By: Mr. Terence Donahoe (Halifax Citadel)



I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move that an order of this House do issue for a return
showing, with respect to the Premier’s Office, Priorities and Planning Secretariat, Executive Council Office,
the Economic Renewal Agency, Intergovernmental Affairs Office, and the Departments of Natural Resources,
Health, Community Services, Justice, Transportation and Communications, Environment, Education, Finance,
Fisheries, Housing and Consumer Affairs, Human Resources, Labour, Municipal Affairs, and Supply and
Services:



(1) A copy of all contracts between the government and Proactive Consultants Limited and The
Proactive Group of Companies from June 11, 1993 to date of this return;



(2) The value of each contract;



(3) The terms of reference for the work undertaken; and



(4) If the contract is valued at less than $5,000, the names of other companies which submitted
bids and the amount of their bid.



HOUSE ORDER NO. 175



By: Mr. Terence Donahoe (Halifax Citadel)



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



(1) An updated report from the Sackville High School of the progress being made regarding
requests made to the school board and to the province for improvements to resolve air quality problems. The
requests came specifically regarding the band room. The are: (i) Removal of the carpet, replaced with tile; (ii)
An air exchanger for the room; and (iii) That some form of acoustics be placed on the walls.