Assemblée Législative de la Nouvelle-Écosse

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HALIFAX, WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 14, 1994



Fifty-sixth General Assembly



Second Session



2:00 P.M.



SPEAKER



Hon. Paul MacEwan



DEPUTY SPEAKER



Mr. Gerald O’Malley



MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. We will commence this afternoon’s sitting at this time. The daily
routine.



PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS



PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES



TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Education.



HON. JOHN MACEACHERN: Mr. Speaker, I would like to table the House response to Written
Question No. 28. If I might, also Written Question No. 31, Written Question No. 136, and Written Question
No. 30. I would ask all honourable members to peruse the questions that they are sending out because they
are taking a lot of time of staff and some of them, if I might suggest, are much below the quality of some of
the questions we have seen in here and that is quite a way to go.



MR. SPEAKER: The answers are tabled.



MR. TERENCE DONAHOE: Mr. Speaker, on a point or order. The honourable minister’s comments
just cry out for response because the questions being put to which he is responding, the House Orders, are in
fact questions sent to us by the taxpayers of Nova Scotia who have asked us to put those questions. I simply
want, for what it is worth, in the best Christmas spirit to let this minister know that we will indeed send a copy
of Hansard to everybody who has sent us those questions with his line indicating that he does not consider that
they are of a high quality. These are the questions that the taxpayers want to know and through us, we are
trying to get answers from the ministers. I am delighted he has responded and I will be pleased to send the
comments along to those who have sent the questions.



5713

 

HON. JOHN MACEACHERN: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order. My point to the honourable
member is that some of the questions were very valuable but they are not screening them all. They are sending
them en masse and I would suggest they exercise their good judgments as they do that because some of the
questions, I remember when we were on the opposite side, the honourable members opposite stood in this
House and said time and time again, in fact, I will remind them of yesterday when they spoke of the very
serious problems in terms of jobs, the Axworthy proposals that we have to get down to. Some of these
questions that are coming out are accusations, ill-founded, that require just speculation even to answer. We
are trying our best but I ask the honourable member to use his discretion.



MR. SPEAKER: Well, in response to the point of order, I might state, as the honourable Arthur
Donahoe did on many occasions, that the Chair is neither responsible for the quality of the questions nor of
the answers that are provided. So I trust that we can move on.



STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS



GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION



INTRODUCTION OF BILLS



NOTICES OF MOTION



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Opposition.



RESOLUTION NO. 1300



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



Whereas the federal government has decided not to sell the eastern assets of Canadian National
Railway to its private sector competitor Canadian Pacific; and



Whereas CN, together with various levels of government have recently invested in double-stacked
rail cars and an intermodal terminal, which enhances the competitiveness of the Port of Halifax; and



Whereas the success of the Port of Halifax is directly linked to a viable national railway;



Therefore be it resolved that the Nova Scotia Legislature go on record as supporting CN as a national
railway which joins Canada from coast to coast in building upon the competitive advantages of each region
in the country.



I would request waiver of notice, Mr. Speaker.



MR. SPEAKER: Is it agreed that notice be waived on this measure?



Apparently so.



The question is called for. Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded,
Nay.



The motion is carried.



The honourable Leader of the New Democratic Party.



RESOLUTION NO. 1301



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



Whereas Statistics Canada reports that unemployment in Cumberland, Colchester, Pictou and
Antigonish Counties is as bad or worse than unemployment in Annapolis, Digby, Yarmouth, Shelburne and
Queens Counties; and



Whereas in both areas plus Guysborough County and Cape Breton Island, there is little or no
significant improvement in the job situation during last year; and



Whereas Nova Scotians, betrayed by this government’s failure to make a jobs strategy its number one
priority, are today questioning why only some hard-hit rural areas are eligible for a few short-term winter
grants;



Therefore be it resolved that money spent on short-term winter jobs to slightly ease the desperate lack
of rural employment should be directly linked to the unemployment situation in each part of the province, as
it was in 1993, rather than arbitrarily limited by political considerations.



MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.



The honourable member for Queens.



RESOLUTION NO. 1302



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



Whereas the Minister of Health consistently refuses to meet with induced Hepatitis C sufferer Dianna
Parsons; and



Whereas a meeting would not obligate the minister to anything other than a genuine demonstration
of compassion for a person suffering physical illness and mental anguish; and



Whereas this Advent season, in particular, should cause us to focus on the greatest gift given to
humankind and to endeavour to demonstrate our worthiness of that great gift to us;



Therefore be it resolved that our colleague, the Minister of Health, set aside ill advice, that he
exercise his considerable capacity for compassion and meet Dianna Parsons, to lend her succour during her
time of pain and anguish and help her achieve that peace of mind which passes all understanding.



MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.



The honourable member for Halifax Bedford Basin.



RESOLUTION NO. 1303



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



Whereas the federal government has recently made a decision to reject a bid by Canadian Pacific
Railway to take over the eastern rail operations of Canadian National Railway; and



Whereas the proposed takeover bid would have had a serious negative impact upon the Port of
Halifax, adversely affecting all rail and container shipments from Halifax to the rest of North America; and



Whereas there exists a need for a comprehensive and workable federal rail policy which would ensure
that the Port of Halifax continues to be a strong and competitive rail and container terminal;



Therefore be it resolved that this House applaud the decision of the federal government to support
the efforts of the Port of Halifax to provide first class rail and container shipment throughout North America,
by rejecting the proposed takeover bid of Canadian National Railways eastern operations by Canadian Pacific
Railway.



Mr. Speaker, I would request waiver of notice.



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



Is it agreed?



It is agreed.



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



The motion is carried.



The honourable member for Halifax Fairview.



RESOLUTION NO. 1304



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



Whereas the Health Minister would have Nova Scotians believe that the truest indication of his
compassion for victims of mistaken government policies and cutbacks is that he will not meet them face to
face or be influenced by their individual circumstances; and



Whereas Nova Scotians are more accustomed to hearing about foreign governments treating people
like statistical entities or faceless masses; and



Whereas others would suggest that ignoring the human dimension and individual circumstances may
well have led to such fatal errors as refusal to screen the blood supply for Hepatitis C in the first place;



Therefore be it resolved that this House urges the Health Minister to undertake his duties with
compassion and humanity, rather than constraining himself to regard Dianna Parsons and every other person
as merely another unit in government calculations.



MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.



The honourable member for Guysborough-Port Hawkesbury.



RESOLUTION NO. 1305



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



Whereas job creation remains the number one goal of our government; and



Whereas large numbers of jobs have been created, however, not all regions of the province have
shared in this prosperity; and



Whereas in recognition of this fact, the province has implemented Nova Scotia Works to create 1,000
jobs, so areas of high unemployment may endure until more lasting economic growth takes hold;



Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House encourage the government to continue its
job creation efforts throughout Nova Scotia and to congratulate our government on the Nova Scotia Works
Program.



Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.



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



Is it agreed?



It is agreed.



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



The motion is carried.



The honourable member for Cape Breton South.



RESOLUTION NO. 1306



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



Whereas Sydney Harbour is vital to the economic well-being of industrial Cape Breton; and



Whereas a $14 million repair and expansion of the government wharf in Sydney is a priority for the
Ports and Harbours Branch of the Canadian Coast Guard; and



Whereas the project has been approved by the federal Treasury Board, subject to inclusion in the
1995 federal budget;



Therefore be it resolved that the members of the House of Assembly of Nova Scotia applaud the
approval of the repair to the government wharf in Sydney and urge the federal Finance Department to follow
through with this commitment.



Mr. Speaker, I would 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 Halifax Atlantic.



RESOLUTION NO. 1307



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



Whereas in November 1992, when the Nova Scotia labour force participation rate was 60.4 per cent,
the Cameron Tories launched a $22 million short-term winter jobs program; and



Whereas the MLA for Cape Breton The Lakes said then, “This is a political strategy not economic
leadership”, while the now MLA for Cape Breton South added that, “`It’s no big windfall,’ . . . $22 million
doesn’t seem like very much for all of Nova Scotia”; and



Whereas in November 1994, with the labour force participation rate still dropping and now down
to 59 per cent, Liberal trumpets have hailed a magnificent $1.2 million for winter jobs;



Therefore be it resolved that any Liberal who still pretends they are governing with a mandate from
Nova Scotians should attend the nearest soup kitchen to explain how $1.2 million is a more generous and
effective response to the ongoing jobs crisis than $22 million could ever be.



[2:15 p.m.]



MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.



The honourable member for Eastern Shore.






RESOLUTION NO. 1308



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



Whereas the instruction of firefighters is essential if we are to have highly trained firefighting
capabilities in Nova Scotia; and



Whereas the firefighting school in Waverley has a superb staff of instructors demonstrating
excellence in their field; and



Whereas Elizabeth Stone of Lawrencetown, Halifax County, has been awarded for her excellence by
being named the best firefighting instructor at the Waverley School for 1994, making her the first woman ever
to receive this award.



Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House recognize the achievement of Elizabeth Stone
and her contribution to providing safe communities by pursuing firefighting excellence and for her
contribution to the advancement of women in the fire service.



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



MR. SPEAKER: Is it agreed?



It is agreed.



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



The motion is carried.



The honourable member for Cape Breton Centre.



RESOLUTION NO. 1309



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



Whereas our government’s commitment to jobs is unwavering; and



Whereas the University College of Cape Breton is a major source of employment, being referred to
by the honourable Minister of Finance as the third pillar of the Cape Breton economy; and



Whereas the construction of the $15 million Student Cultural Centre at UCCB will create 246 jobs
for tradespeople in the construction phase, 10 direct jobs and 8 spinoff jobs;



Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House applaud the successful efforts of the
provincial government, the federal government, the University College of Cape Breton and the UCCB student
union in the creation of jobs through cooperation.



Mr. Speaker, I would ask for waiver.



MR. SPEAKER: Is it agreed that notice be waived on that motion?



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 Digby-Annapolis.



RESOLUTION NO. 1310



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



Whereas Economic Renewal Minister, Ross Bragg, announced yesterday the Nova Scotia Works
project; and



Whereas one of the six counties targeted by this project is Digby County; and



Whereas non-profit, private sector and municipal wages for new jobs will be created before the end
of April 1995;



Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly congratulate the Economic Renewal Minister
for this fine initiative to support employment in the Digby area.



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



MR. SPEAKER: I hear several Noes.



The notice is tabled.



The honourable member for Inverness.



RESOLUTION NO. 1311



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



Whereas on Tuesday, December 13, 1994, the Economic Renewal Agency announced a $1.2 million
make work project for the areas of the province with the highest unemployment statistics; and



Whereas Inverness County is one of the areas effected by high unemployment; and



Whereas this program will create a number of short-term jobs for Inverness County; and



Whereas with the co-operation of the private sector, these short-term jobs could possibly turn into
long-term jobs;



Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate the government for recognizing
the need for assistance for these areas and in particular, for Inverness County.



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



MR. SPEAKER: I hear several Noes.



The notice is tabled.



The honourable member for Halifax Atlantic.



RESOLUTION NO. 1312



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 province claims that an extrapolation of 1991 census data, collected before the
groundfish industry was shut down, justifies the arbitrary limits on its small contribution towards winter
income; and



Whereas taking these Liberals at their word, the government recognizes no obligation to address the
jobs crisis in areas where the official unemployment rate is less than 17 per cent; and



Whereas when every Liberal candidate sought votes by promising jobs, they failed to include the fine
print defining full employment for Nova Scotians as a 16.99 per cent unemployment rate;



Therefore be it resolved that this government should explain why, in its view, Annapolis County is
so much better off than Digby, the Eastern Shore is so much better than Guysborough and Cumberland County
in no need of jobs, period.



MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.



The honourable member for Cape Breton Centre.



RESOLUTION NO. 1313



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



Whereas the residents of the Town of New Waterford take great pride in their community; and



Whereas downtown New Waterford’s Plummer Avenue has a long history as the town’s centre of
commerce and social life; and



Whereas the Canada-Nova Scotia Infrastructure Works program has refurbished Plummer Avenue
to a state that puts it on par with other towns of similar size throughout Nova Scotia;



Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House commend the provincial, municipal and
federal governments for breathing new life into downtown New Waterford.



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



MR. SPEAKER: Is it agreed that notice be waived?



It is agreed.



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



The motion is carried.



The honourable member for Halifax Fairview.



RESOLUTION NO. 1314



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



Whereas members of the disabled community have fought long and hard for the physical access that
enables them to participate on a fair and equal basis in every aspect of Nova Scotia life; and



Whereas Liberal rhetoric and Liberal politicians have been ready at the drop of a hat to support the
cause of the disabled; and



Whereas when push came to shove, the Executive Director of the Canadian Paraplegic Association
was told that the Human Rights Commission is too busy to even consider the discrimination he encountered
when he went to vote in municipal elections;



Therefore be it resolved that this House condemns the insensitivity, injustice, indifference and
hypocrisy that leaves Nova Scotians who face a physical disability without so much as the same right to vote
that is enjoyed by all other citizens in this province.



MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.



The honourable member for Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage.



RESOLUTION NO. 1315



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



Whereas Chris Brothers Meats & Delicatessen Limited is one of the finest examples of a family-owned business; and



Whereas the family patriarch, Christopher Kielbratowski, began the business almost 40 years ago
and has now successfully opened several retail stores throughout the metro area; and



Whereas Chris Brothers recently won nine gold and two silver medals at the 1994 World
International Meat Competition in Wels, Austria;



Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly extend congratulations for having been
recognized by the World International Meat Competition and wish them every success in the future.



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



MR. SPEAKER: Is it agreed that notice be waived?



It is agreed.



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



The motion is carried.



The honourable Government House Leader.



HON. RICHARD MANN: Mr. Speaker, would you please revert to the order of business, Tabling
Reports, Regulations and Other Papers.



TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Justice.



HON. WILLIAM GILLIS: Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to table the Annual Report of the Criminal
Injuries Compensation Board for the fiscal year ended March 31, 1992.



MR. SPEAKER: The report is tabled.



The honourable Minister of Justice.



HON. WILLIAM GILLIS: Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to table the Annual Report of the Securities
Commission for the fiscal year ended March 31, 1994.



MR. SPEAKER: The report is tabled.



Is there any further business to come before the House under the heading of the daily routine? If not,
we will now advance to Orders of the Day. The Oral Question Period today runs for 90 minutes, it will
therefore run from 2:25 p.m. to 3:55 p.m.



ORDERS OF THE DAY



ORAL QUESTIONS PUT BY MEMBERS



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Opposition.






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

 

FIRING - JUSTIFICATION



MR. TERENCE DONAHOE: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Premier and it relates to his
handling of the firing of Mrs. Dobbin as deputy in the Department of Health. I wonder if the Premier could
tell me, please, whether or not he came to the conclusion that he was firing Lucy Dobbin for just cause?



HON. JOHN SAVAGE (The Premier): Yes, Mr. Speaker.

 

 

MR. DONAHOE: Since it is the case, as I understand it, that the contract with Lucy Dobbin stated
that she would only be paid or be required to be paid, if she were fired without just cause, I ask the Premier
if he could tell us please, why the payment or any payment was made at all?



THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I have gone over this several times. The issue that I based my decision
on was the legal advice that I was offered and I stand by that decision.



MR. DONAHOE: So, I take it then that the Premier’s answer to my first question was in error and
that he didn’t then, as he fired Mrs. Dobbin, fire her for just cause because he had certain advice and he
concluded that a payment was to be made. The contract said payments only had to be made if the firing was
without just cause. So, I take it then, that the Premier’s answer to my first question was in error and before
approving the payment of $100,000 to Lucy Dobbin, he had come to the conclusion that he did not have just
cause for firing Lucy Dobbin and hence his approval of the payment of $100,000?



THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, it is true that I am unused to these lawyerish tactics, the issue of what,
who said, when. What I am saying is that I made the right decision in my view and I stick by my decision as
I said at the time.



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Atlantic.



ERA - N.S. WORKS PROGRAM



MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, I would like to direct a couple of brief questions to the
Minister for the Economic Renewal Agency with respect to the Nova Scotia Works Program. It was just about
two years ago when the then administration, under the guidance of Donald Cameron, announced a $22
million winter works type project much along the lines of what the minister announced yesterday. The now
Minister of Finance and the now Liberal MLA for Cape Breton South were very critical of that particular
program as being too small and too political. Yet, today, we have a situation where the participation rate in
the job market is lower. People are still having, if not a more difficult time finding work and the best this
government can do is announce a program that involves $1.2 million.



My question is, why is it that this minister is coming forward with basically what could be called a
drop in the bucket?



HON. ROSS BRAGG: Mr. Speaker, I don’t know whether there was a question there or not. I think
what the honourable member was telling us is that he is against helping people that need work and we are not.
We are a Liberal Government, we are here to help people in Nova Scotia. We identified a need. We did it
within our resources instead of blowing budgets. We are proud of what we did and we will do it again.



MR. CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, if it weren’t so predictable it would be funny. (Interruptions) In that
this is the same government who has spent upwards of $3 million, and the price tag continues to go up, to deal
with their deputy ministers. When it comes to dealing with people with Hepatitis C . . .



MR. SPEAKER: Is this the question?



MR. CHISHOLM: . . . that have been made ill (Interruptions)



MR. SPEAKER: Please, a question. Question. Come to order.



MR. CHISHOLM: . . . as a result of tainted blood, they don’t have enough money.



MR. SPEAKER: Is that the question?



MR. CHISHOLM: I want to ask this minister if he would explain to people in the areas where they
are suffering from a 16 per cent unemployment rate, why it is that he can find money, he and his government,
for deputy ministers to let them go when the political heat is getting too much but when it comes to putting
unemployed Nova Scotians back to work they come up with a paltry sum of $1.2 million?



MR. BRAGG: Mr. Speaker, would the honourable member rather that we either didn’t do anything
and didn’t try to help? Is that what he is saying? Yesterday, he was congratulating us, saying that the
government has realized that it needs to become involved in some areas of the economy. Well, you can’t have
it both ways, we either help or we don’t. We chose to do the right thing, contrary to making politics out of it,
that you want to do. (Applause)



[2:30 p.m.]



MR. CHISHOLM: I don’t think it is a bad idea to put one Nova Scotian back to work. But the point
has a lot more to do with what this government’s priorities are, Mr. Speaker. They spent more money in terms
of . .  .



MR. SPEAKER: This is not a question.



MR. CHISHOLM: . . . dealing with untendered contracts than they have in terms of putting Nova
Scotians back to work.



MR. SPEAKER: Is there a question?



MR. CHISHOLM: So I want to ask this minister, once again, what is he going to tell people in
Digby, Annapolis and Cumberland Counties that his government is going to do to put them back to work?



MR. BRAGG: Mr. Speaker, obviously, the NDP has taken the position that they do not want to help
the rural areas of this province, the rural areas that are suffering because of acute unemployment. We are
creating more jobs in this province than in the history of the province. We know there are areas that need help
and we are trying to do that. If they are against it, I understand that they are a little mixed up on their
positions these days as they jockey for leadership, but we know what we are doing and we will continue to
help in all areas of this province. (Applause)



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Hants West.



FIN. - PUBLIC SECTOR: ROLL-BACK - CONTRACTS



MR. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Finance. Earlier this year,
we passed An Act Respecting Compensation in the Public Sector and this definition of compensation plan
covered all collective agreements, contracts or other terms of employment. In specific cases, if there was a
disagreement, then the matter was referred to a board which, I think, is just one person.



My question to the minister is, do contracts which are made between departments and individuals
for employment, are those contracts rolled back, or were they rolled back effective November 4th?



HON. BERNARD BOUDREAU: Yes, that is my understanding.



MR. RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, I don’t think that that is his understanding is a good enough answer.
Everybody else has taken a 3 per cent hit . . .



MR. BOUDREAU: Give me a name.



MR. RUSSELL: All right, well I am asking you, a name, Dr. Reid, I will ask you about Mary Jane
Hampton?



MR. BOUDREAU: Yes and yes.



MR. RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, the boards and agencies across this province, including the Electricity
Regulation Review Panel, were their per diems rolled back?



MR. BOUDREAU: Yes.



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings West.



HEALTH - HEPATITIS C: DIANNA PARSONS - MEETING



MR. GEORGE MOODY: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Health. Yesterday, during
Question Period and the debate, the Minister of Health, talking about Dianna Parsons, indicated that he could
not deal with her directly or on a case by case, that he would not deal with that. He is also aware that there
is no legal action taken by Dianna Parsons against this province, and he has indicated that, as a minister, it
is not a minister’s role to meet with people on a case by case. I would ask him if he felt it was wrong when
I, as Minister of Health in 1993, met with Janet and Randy Conners, even though theirs is an individual case,
such as is Dianna Parsons. Was it wrong for a Minister of the Crown to meet with those people?



MR. SPEAKER: It is a most unusual question. If the minister wishes to answer it, he may. I don’t
think this minister has to answer for the actions of his predecessors.



HON. RONALD STEWART: I am happy to say that I would never pass judgment on any predecessor
and the difficult decisions he or she had to make.



MR. MOODY: Well, I expect he agrees then that it was the right thing for a minister to do. I would
ask the minister, Dianna Parsons is asking for some attention because of her difficulties, through no fault of
her own but, obviously, through tainted blood, does the minister not feel that it is his role as a minister, an
elected official of this province, not to meet with groups or individuals who are experiencing difficulty with
our system? Is that not the role of any Cabinet Minister or ministers in any government?



DR. STEWART: Mr. Speaker, the role of any minister or any government or ministry is to ensure
that processes in fairness is the byword of a properly run health care system. I would give, indeed, the
honourable gentleman opposite the pledge to ensure that that happens.



MR. MOODY: Well, Mr. Speaker, the final supplementary for the minister is that he wants fairness
and he wants the right thing to be done. In the spirit of the season, would the minister agree to meet with
Dianna Parsons, face to face, without lawyers, not to discuss the package but just to hear her story before this
House recesses before Christmas? Would he give a commitment to do just that?



DR. STEWART: Mr. Speaker, I have put in place a process and I have, indeed, discussed cases such
as the one to which the honourable gentleman opposite refers, in order that the issues and, indeed, the
specifics of any case would be brought before not only our ministry and not only the Minister of Health of this
province, but I have given an indication as late as yesterday that this issue and these issues have been placed
on the national agenda again by this province.



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



EDUC. - APSEA: AMHERST RESIDENTIAL CENTRE - CLOSURE



MR. BROOKE TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Education and I think it
quite appropriate that it is, in light of his comments at the commencement of today’s session. I want to know,
as does Anne Bickerton of Canning, M. Stoltz, D. Tower and M. Folion of Amherst, what was the reasoning
behind moving the School for the Deaf in Amherst to Halifax, in spite of the desire of the parents from Nova
Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland that it remain in Amherst?



HON. JOHN MACEACHERN: I am delighted that the honourable member would bring that question
together from the committee of people who are concerned about this. In fact, I can report to you, Mr. Speaker,
and to the honourable member and all members of the House that I spent the morning in Amherst, answering
those kinds of questions for the community in Amherst.



The real problem, and I can suggest to the honourable member that the problem is that the students
were, in fact, not coming to school. We have an inclusiveness in Nova Scotia and in New Brunswick in which
more and more students who are visually impaired and hearing impaired are going into the local community
schools, Mr. Speaker. As a result, over the last period of time, the numbers of students, and the honourable
member may not know this, but there is a residence in Truro for 350 students. Last year there were 55
residential students there in Amherst and something had to be done.






I can suggest to the honourable member and the people for whom he speaks, because that is a
legitimate question and some people are very concerned about it, that the services to the students will be
protected. All of the Ministers of Education are going to work very hard to deal with the staff we have in
Amherst, to make sure they are treated fairly.



I can suggest to the honourable member, and through you, Mr. Speaker, to all members of the House,
that the concerns of those students and parents in Amherst will be addressed at least as well as last year and
now, with the reallocation of resources, I would suggest possibly even better.



MR. TAYLOR: I thank the minister for that straightforward response. I am very appreciative that
the minister was recently up there meeting with that group.



When the minister announced the closure of the Amherst school, he suggested that the people of
Amherst would be assisted, because of the huge economic loss to the community. The mayor expected the
Economic Renewal Minister and the Housing and Consumer Affairs Minister and the Education Minister to
be travelling to Amherst with a suitcase of goodies. I wonder, can he offer any of the details of what the
province has in mind to assist the community, as promised on the day it was announced the school would
close? Do his plans include moving a government office to Amherst?



MR. MACEACHERN: Mr. Speaker, if I could suggest to the honourable member, I suggested today,
when I was talking to the town council and His Worship the Mayor, that we would form a partnership with
the federal government. In fact there were so many on the town council who had a direct contact with the
federal Human Resources Agency and the local people, that we would form a partnership to deal with both
aspects of that.



I suggested to them that as the winter goes on, the honourable Minister for the Economic Renewal
Agency and myself and the Minister of Housing would return and continue our discussions to help them, Mr.
Speaker. I think there will be some positive things come of that because the community wants to work very
hard to develop their community. We are there to help, as with other areas that are experiencing difficulty,
for example like Truro, with the closure of the Nova Scotia Teachers College. We have not left them for a
moment since then, as we work to develop that facility.



MR. TAYLOR: The people of Amherst are also wondering if the school does close, and it certainly
looks like it will, if they can do nothing to stop this closure, what does the Department of Education plan to
do with that facility?



MR. MACEACHERN: Mr. Speaker, I can tell the honourable member, through you, that in fact that
was part of our discussions this morning. I have spoken to the other Education Ministers in Atlantic Canada
and they will cooperate if the Amherst people have a particular use for that facility, either through the public
sector or private sector or some partnership and the other three ministers have agreed to cooperate in the
development of that facility for the sake of Amherst. I was very pleased with that and I informed the people
today.



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Fairview.



HEALTH - C.B.: YOUTH (MENTAL HEALTH) - RESOURCES ALLOCATE



MS. ALEXA MCDONOUGH: Mr. Speaker, I would like to direct my question to the Minister of
Health. The tragic suicides of two Cape Breton youth and the subsequent emotional distress and suicide
threats of at least five of their close friends requiring urgent hospitalization has focused attention on the
criminally inadequate state of psychiatric services for children and youth on Cape Breton Island today. Year
after year the desperate need has been documented for appropriate mental health assessment and treatment
services for children and youth, documented by the Cape Breton Hospital, the Children’s Aid Society, the
Paediatric Health Planning Committee, the Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Services Working Group, the
Mental Health Facilities Report and most recently by the Blueprint Committee and by the Health and
Community Services Management Audit.



My question to the honourable minister is whether he will, today, give a clear and unequivocal
commitment that the necessary resources will be allocated for a comprehensive mental health services
program in Cape Breton that will include both the in-patient facilities and the out-patient facilities that are
desperately needed and long overdue?



HON. RONALD STEWART: Mr. Speaker, I might say in preface to my answer that it is shocking
to hear the characterization of the hard work being done by the psychiatrists, the social workers and so on as
being criminally inadequate.



I would give tributes to each of those people who have worked so very hard in these very tragic events
that we have seen unfold in Cape Breton. In specific answer to the question, yes, indeed, there are more needs
perhaps, in the area of adolescent psychiatry and adolescent problems, not only in Cape Breton but in this
province. I would give an undertaking to the honourable member opposite that we are continuing to address
them as best we can with full knowledge that we need to do more and we will be doing more in addition.



MS. MCDONOUGH: Mr. Speaker, let me say very clearly that I characterized the mental health
services in Cape Breton for children and adolescents as criminally inadequate on the basis of talking with
social workers, psychologists, psychiatrists and general practitioners in Cape Breton who used those words
to describe the impossible situation that they face in trying to help children and adolescents and families in
Cape Breton today.



Mr. Speaker, there is a six month waiting list for out-patient mental health services for children.
There is not one single dedicated bed let alone a unit for adolescent assessment or treatment on the entire
island of Cape Breton and as a result of cutbacks at the N.S. Hospital, which in any case are inadequate for
the needs of Cape Breton, it is even more difficult today to get a child in, in an emergency situation, than it
was a year or two years ago.



Mr. Speaker, I listened carefully to the minister’s response . . .



MR. SPEAKER: We need a supplementary question, please.



MS. MCDONOUGH: . . . which lacks any sense of urgency and my question is, will he give an
undertaking to act urgently on this emergency situation or is he just going to stand there and wring his hands
once again and say, woe is me, that is the best we can do?



DR. STEWART: Mr. Speaker, I assure the honourable member opposite that I was not sitting here
wringing my hands over the weekend when I met with each of the parents and I was not wringing my hands
sitting here in this place giving (Applause) accusations that cannot be substantiated. That is not a fair
comment. What I have said is there are gaps in our system and we are trying, through reform, to change that.



The honourable member for Halifax Fairview refers to the changes in the Nova Scotia Hospital. Yes,
changes are made, there are many more programs in terms of outreach and many more programs in terms of
community development and that institution across the harbour is, indeed, a beacon in that regard.



I would not stand here and defend the several years, if not decades, of neglect in terms of the
provision of adolescent and mental health services in Cape Breton or around this province. This is not unusual
to any particular jurisdiction and I have said that we are working in our department not only to do this but
working inter-departmentally. We have established committees to do this in terms of making sure that the
Departments of Community Services, Justice, Health and Education work together to answer some of these
problems. I will gladly commit to the member opposite continued efforts in this regard. (Applause)



[2:45 p.m.]



MS. MCDONOUGH: Mr. Speaker, not surprisingly, a number of people in Cape Breton have said
in the last couple of days they wished the Minister of Health would save his compassion and concern and do
his duty and act on the long-standing proposal that has been before his commitment, the most recent proposal
since July 1992, for an adolescent assessment unit, a program proposal to his department and the Community
Services Department to which there has been no formal response whatsoever. Will the minister respond and
implement this proposal sitting there for two and one-half years, or is he going to sit by and let other tragedies
occur that could have been prevented?



DR. STEWART: Mr. Speaker, again, the work being done both on the local level in Cape Breton,
in other areas around the province and by my ministry in terms of producing actual results will be continued
in my department. We will work with those communities in context of the Blueprint Report and we have had
the Blueprint Report to guide us in this regard particularly and I will again pledge to the member opposite
action and not just words as she suggests. (Applause)



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Hants West.



HEALTH - ORGAN DONATION: PROGRAM - STATUS



MR. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, my question too is for the Minister of Health, I think he will
probably enjoy answering this question. A lady in Dartmouth by the name of Jean Nicholson contacted me
with regard to organ donors and the use of the present driver’s license as the vehicle for people making known
the fact that they wanted to be an organ donor. The query, I suppose, is this.



At one time there was some discussion about organ donors being placed onto some type of computer
program which would then feed out, particularly to the tertiary hospitals in the Halifax areas but probably all
across the province, so that if a death did occur, there would be an instantaneous retrieval of whether or not
that person was willing to be an organ donor and perhaps what particular organs they would wish to donate.
Could the minister tell the House and the people of Nova Scotia whether or not such a program is somewhere
in the works at the present time?



HON. RONALD STEWART: Mr. Speaker, yes, myself and several members of staff have been
discussing issues such as this to which the honourable gentleman opposite refers with the transplant group
at the Victoria General Hospital. I might suggest that this is not a province-wide effort, it must be country-wide, if not international. There are computer programs which now exist in terms of tissue typing and so on.
I would certainly redouble efforts in this regard, we need a national and an international connection. There
are two issues here, identification of donors and then identification of tissue typing and other issues
surrounding whether a particular donor and that organ can be used in a particular patient. There is a group
studying this at the moment, yes.



MR. RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, I am certainly glad that the minister says that they are studying it but
perhaps I could say to him that there is a great deal of reform going on for better or for worse in the health
care system in Nova Scotia at the present time. This would seem to be a very positive move, one which I don’t
truly understand why it should be national or international, I cannot understand why we just can’t have that
program in the Province of Nova Scotia initially anyway. Eventually perhaps expanding right across the
country would be to the advantage of those who require donated organs. Surely, this program could be done
on a provincial basis. Would the minister comment if, indeed, that is possible?



DR. STEWART: Again, Mr. Speaker, I would step out of my element in terms of, particularly, my
expertise at this and I do not wish to suggest that I have any particular expertise except to reflect some of the
comments on the discussions.



First of all, the organ pool, if you will, which is a term used by clinicians, would be very small in
Nova Scotia and the tissue typing would be unlikely to be matched very clearly if it were restricted to a
province of 900,000 people and, therefore, it must be wider than that and that, indeed, is one of the issues.



However, I want to come back to the fact that there are two issues here. The issue of identification
of donors, which again could, indeed, be province wide, versus the availability of organs of a specific tissue
type. That is a separate issue which has to be international in scope.



The identification of donors is another thing. We have a group that is looking at this particular issue
and, in fact, looking at legislation which might be somewhat innovative. We have contacted the people in
Pennsylvania, in which the largest transplant centre in the world exists, looking at how we can better gain
the information to which the honourable gentleman very properly refers.



MR. RUSSELL: My final supplementary is, Mr. Speaker, is there any connection between the
Registry of Motor Vehicles and the Ministry of Health and the main regional hospitals across the province
and, indeed, the Victoria General Hospital in the City of Halifax? Are these all tied together at the present
time, so that in the event of an accident and somebody arrives at the Victoria General Hospital, they are either
going to pass away or they are dead on arrival, how does the Victoria General Hospital know, unless they have
got a driver’s license on them or next of kin that are there, that this person has registered through the
Department of Motor Vehicles?



DR. STEWART: Again, Mr. Speaker, if I could just say that there is no computer connection. There
is no computerization of this information at the moment. Our population and our catchment area, if you
would, is so relatively small that almost all of our accidental deaths or other deaths, certainly, the hospital is
the focal point and the hospital is a clearing house, if you would, and that usually is very efficient in gaining
the permission of the family, the knowledge that this person wished to donate organs and so on. That is a
routine that is built into the hospital and the emergency department and pathology department’s function.



The wider issue and that would be the key issue here, the key segment of the question. In terms of
whether or not we would connect with the Department of Transportation, it is the hospital that is the main
focus here and must be the main focus, rather than having a system which is much larger, of course, and
rather uncontrolled, if you would, from a health perspective.



I certainly could get some more information on the current state which has been forwarded to my
office. I would be happy to provide that to the honourable gentleman opposite and constituent.



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Pictou West.



ERA: BLUENOSE II - OWNERSHIP



MR. DONALD MCINNES: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of the Economic Renewal
Agency. Does the Bluenose II still belong to the Province of Nova Scotia?



HON. ROSS BRAGG: Yes, Mr. Speaker.



MR. MCINNES: Mr. Speaker, and to the minister, the Bluenose II Preservation Trust is chaired by
Mr. Moore. Mr. Moore announced, very recently, a contract to Snyder’s Shipyard in Lunenburg to do some
repairs on the Bluenose II. Mr. Moore said that the extent of the repairs would be conventional repairs. Would
the minister explain what repairs are being done to the Bluenose II?



MR. BRAGG: My understanding of what conventional repairs is, and in discussions with Mr. Moore
and other people involved with the Bluenose, is that it will be repaired with traditional materials, wood, and
in a conventional way.



There was one group and I will just add this so that they can understand. There was a thought at one
time that perhaps we could reinforce the rear section of the Bluenose by using steel and tie-rods through the
centre of the vessel. (Interruption) Thank you, I have trouble with my nautical jargon. That was frowned upon
by people in the wooden boat community. They said, no, you should fix it with traditional materials. So we
agreed to that.



The member opposite is quite right, it was tendered and Snyder’s were awarded a tender to do the
work with conventional repairs. I don’t think there is any misunderstanding with the people involved in
repairing the vessel as to what is meant by conventional repairs.



MR. MCINNES: I thank the minister for that answer. Will the minister advise the House and all
Nova Scotians today the value of that contract with Snyder’s?



MR. BRAGG: Mr. Speaker, I don’t have the exact amount. That has been asked for in a House Order,
which we have promised to get. The contract was with Preservation Trust which is representing the province
in the repair of the Bluenose II and Snyder’s Shipyard. I do understand that it was substantially less than the
$500,000 mark that we talked about earlier in this session.






MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Pictou Centre.



HEALTH - QE II HEALTH SCIENCES CENTRE:

 

BOARD CHAIRMAN - REPORT



DR. JOHN HAMM: Mr. Speaker, to the Minister of Health, in recent days the minister announced
a replacement chairman for the board of the Queen Elizabeth II Health Services Centre. This board was
announced in the middle of the summer and the board was officially appointed in September, just about three
months ago. The board’s mandate is to govern the Victoria General Hospital, the Camp Hill Medical Centre,
the Nova Scotia Rehabilitation, and the Cancer Treatment and Research Centre. It is understood that the
board is further mandated to develop a plan to rationalize programs and services, beginning with
administration.



My question to the minister, did the outgoing chairman of the board provide the minister with a
progress report on the board’s mandate?



HON. RONALD STEWART: I certainly had discussions with the chairman prior to his stepping
aside as chairman and remaining on the board, yes.



DR. HAMM: Well, I was hoping that my question would have elicited a little more specific
information than that, in terms of the progress. By way of supplementary, would the minister provide the
House with some indication as to the progress that has been made?



DR. STEWART: I can certainly assure the honourable member opposite that progress is being made,
discussions are being held. The current chairman is meeting with each of the members. There are issues of
planning and so on that are going on as we speak.



I would again reassure him that the progress towards the eventual creation of the institution, one of
which we all can and will be proud, progress, yes.



DR. HAMM: To the minister, bearing in mind that there was some considerable discussion that the
board had failed to meet, because of the lack of anything more specific than an Order in Council, on which
to base its terms of reference, my question is, has the new chairman of the board, Mr. Eddy, been given
specific terms of reference to allow the mandate that he has been given to be fulfilled? If so, would the
minister table the terms of reference that were given to Mr. Eddy?



DR. STEWART: Again, Mr. Speaker, the terms of reference are there, I have tabled them. The Order
in Council is there as well and I encourage the honourable gentleman opposite to peruse those papers.



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



SUPPLY AND SERV. - NAT. RES.: OFFICE SPACE - TENDER



MR. JOHN HOLM: Mr. Speaker, I would like to direct a question through you to the Minister of
Government Services. (Interruptions) Supply and Services, I am getting these helpful comments from the
Government House Leader who is distracting me somewhat.






Mr. Speaker, through you to the Minister of Supply and Services, certainly we live in a market that
is a renters’ market. Here in the metropolitan area alone we have a vacancy rate of approximately 21 per cent,
that is in office space, with the result that the rents have been plummeting yet the Minister of Natural
Resources moved his office space and consolidated in certainly one of the most high-priced expensive office
space that you can find in the metropolitan area and that being Founders Square.



My question to the Minister of Supply and Services is quite simply, why did you allow the Minister
of Natural Resources to consolidate all of his offices in Founders Square without having tendered to at least
find out the comparable costs and therefore the comparable savings to the Province of Nova Scotia by moving
into less expensive premises?



[3:00 p.m.]



HON. WAYNE ADAMS: Mr. Speaker, the question is well put but in terms of how I did or did not
allow the Minister of Natural Resources to make a decision, let me say that the provision of extending and
blending with existing leases is well in place and well established in this province and that is indeed the
exercise the Minister of Natural Resources embarked upon in expanding the space he now holds in the space
in question.



MR. HOLM: Mr. Speaker, many things are indeed well established in this province including the
tremendous loopholes that exist in the current tendering legislation, things that this Liberal Government when
they were in Opposition were very critical of. It is also well established that this government says that they
don’t have any money for things like providing programs for victims of violence and women who live in
violent situations or compensation for those who are suffering from effects of Hepatitis C . . .



MR. SPEAKER: Now, the Minister of Supply and Services has nothing to do with that.



MR. HOLM: My question to the minister is quite simply this, if you and your government are truly
committed and concerned about saving money so that you will have money available for badly needed
programs . . .



MR. SPEAKER: This is a tirade, this is not a question.



MR. HOLM: Why are you not demanding that these kinds of leases be tendered?



MR. ADAMS: Mr. Speaker, I think the member had missed the point that the lease space in the first
place was tendered and properly awarded. We did the blend and extend with the existing lease but the member
is raving on about this government not in the process of saving money. I believe I heard the Minister of
Natural Resources explain here in the House about a week ago that there was some $354,000 in savings being
realized in this move and I can’t say that is a burden on the taxpayer. (Applause)



MR. HOLM: Mr. Speaker, through you with a great deal of respect to the Minister of Supply and
Services, I would suggest that he hasn’t been listening very well because had he listened very closely to the
Minister of Natural Resources he would have heard the minister say that very little of that saving actually as
a percentage came as a result of the move from one location to the other, that only about $60,000 of that
saving of the $350,000 was related to the move.



Given the fact that the government never checked and for example, had they stayed even at the place
that they were at before and consolidated there they would have saved over $100,000 not $60,000. My
question to the minister is quite simply this, will the minister do that which Nova Scotians expect he and his
government to do and that is to plug the loopholes which even your Party recognize existed in the tendering
policy when they were over on this side of the House instead of trying to hide behind the extremely flawed
document? Will you commit to amend that policy so that the tendering properly will be done?



MR. ADAMS: The member is asking us to do what the Premier announced in this House is being
done right now. We are indeed reviewing all of our tendering and procurement procedures and policies and
will be coming forward with some renewed presentations in the very near future but I want to reiterate that
the move did, in fact, save taxpayers money for this province. It is a positive move and it was not done
overnight, it was done over a long period of time with consultation between the two departments and we did
check the blend and extend and we did find that we were saving substantial bits of money.



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Queens.



FISH. - TAGS: DEPTS. - INVOLVEMENT



MR. JOHN LEEFE: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Fisheries. When Mr. Tobin
announced the TAGS program some seven or eight months ago he made it abundantly clear at his press
conference which I attended by telecommunication that the provinces were deemed to be partners in the plan
and specifically with respect to program delivery. As I understand it, CEIC is the program delivery agency
for the Government of Canada and I wonder if the Minister of Fisheries could advise Nova Scotians which
departments of government are involved from the province with respect to TAGS delivery?



HON. JAMES BARKHOUSE: Mr. Speaker, I believe the Department of Education is a coordinating
factor in the delivery of training programs. The Department of Fisheries is working on the PWAP program,
and I believe the Department of Community Services may be delivering some other training programs as well,
I believe that would be part of our program.



MR. LEEFE: Mr. Speaker, I thank the minister and my supplementary question is to the Minister
of Education. Could the Minister of Education advise the House what activities are taking place in his
department with respect to delivery under the TAGS program?



HON. JOHN MACEACHERN: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to inform the honourable member that
the federal Department of Human Resources and the Department of Education are working constantly with
the Department of Fisheries to develop new programs to address that. We are working, for example, to
develop counselling programs while, at the same time, delivering very specific training programs both on-site
for people involved in the fishery and also at our campuses. I will invite the honourable member, if there are
particular cases and particular programs he would like to bring forth to the community college program, I
would be pleased to deliver them myself because we are open to alternatives that have yet to be brought to us
and if he has suggestions, I would be pleased to bring them to the particular people in the community college
section.






MR. LEEFE: Mr. Speaker, it is good that Nova Scotians understand that community colleges can
and are being used for TAGS delivery. I wonder if the minister could advise, within a general figure, what
financial resources are being made available through his department from the TAGS program for training
and re-training at the community colleges?



MR. MACEACHERN: Mr. Speaker, I can assure the honourable member that it is being funded
using the TAGS program, the Department of Human Resources and our own resources but the exact details,
I don’t have. I will get that for the honourable member and provide it for him within the next day or so.



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Queens with a new question.



FISH. - TAGS: IMPLEMENTATION - CONCERN



MR. JOHN LEEFE: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Fisheries. It has been widely
stated that the $1.9 billion initiative that we know as the TAGS program, The Atlantic Groundfish Strategy
program, is over-subscribed, reportedly subject to widespread abuse and is doing little to get people off the
fishery. That view seems to be shared, according to the media, by Derek Wells, my member of Parliament,
and by Mr. Lloyd Axworthy, who is the federal Minister of Human Resources for the Government of Canada.
I wonder if the Minister of Fisheries shares the concern expressed by his federal colleagues with respect to
the apparently faltering implementation of the TAGS program?



HON. JAMES BARKHOUSE: Mr. Speaker, I believe the concerns expressed by many people is that
there are many people in the fishing industry that are deeply affected by the decline in the fish landings in
Nova Scotia, and that also applies to the processing plants. So if you have fewer people working, they are
looking for either unemployment insurance benefits or TAGS benefits. Some people are eligible for both
programs and, at the present time, there were estimates given by various departments to estimate the possible
number of people, particularly in the Yarmouth region where there was, I think, 686 people originally
forecast, but because of the decline in the herring industry - and some of those plants work on herring and
groundfish - these people feel they may be eligible. So they have applied for the TAGS program because it
is also a five year program rather than an annual UI program.



So, there are many variable factors that have caused people to see if they are eligible. They have made
application and the applications, in many cases, have not been accepted because they are ineligible because
they didn’t have activity in the groundfish fishery from 1989 through to 1993. Many people have applied
hoping that they may be eligible to take part in training programs for other opportunities that may come along
to them in starting a small business, or maybe a fisherman would like to retire and retire his license. There
are many options available, so people are applying with the hope that they may be able to participate in one
of the programs that are made available by Mr. Axworthy.



Certainly, there is concern by myself and everybody else in the fishing industry, that there are so
many people applying. But I think that is the option that was given to them, it is a voluntary program and the
people have this opportunity made available to them. It is a universal program in Atlantic Canada. In
Newfoundland, there are many more participants but in Nova Scotia it was estimated because of the activity
of the fisheries in southwestern Nova Scotia, that maybe not so many people would take part in it. But with
the decline in the herring fishery this year, it has made another variable that was not anticipated.



MR. LEEFE: The House of Commons Standing Committee on Fisheries, which is chaired by a Nova
Scotia Member of Parliament, Ron MacDonald, I understand, is meeting today and is giving consideration
to launching an investigation by that committee of the TAGS program and its shortcomings. My question to
the minister is this, irrespective of whether the committee initiates such hearings - understanding that the
minister is concerned and he has expressed that in the answer to my previous question - is he prepared to
make a presentation to the standing committee with respect to the view of the Nova Scotia Government and
the Nova Scotia industry concerning the TAGS program? Not only to express concerns with respect to
shortcomings, but to make sure that the longcomings and benefits of the TAGS program are not lost in the
criticisms of its shortcomings?



MR. BARKHOUSE: Mr. Speaker, I have to catch up with the shortcomings and longcomings of this
question. Certainly, if the House of Commons committee does have hearings, I am sure that the department
will be making representations on behalf of Nova Scotia fish processors and the fishing industry, so that Nova
Scotians will be treated fairly with respect to the TAGS program.



MR. LEEFE: Mr. Speaker, again to the Minister of Fisheries. I know that it is common practice for
provincial and federal ministers to communicate with each other on a fairly routine basis. My question to the
minister is, has he communicated with the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans to express his concerns respecting
the TAGS program? If he has done so, would he be kind enough to provide a brief report to the House, in
writing, so that we can understand precisely what those concerns are and the strength of his expression of
those concerns to the federal minister?



MR. BARKHOUSE: Mr. Speaker, recently we did meet as Ministers of Fisheries from all across
Canada. We met in Victoria and we expressed some of our concerns at that time. In the past, we have had
written correspondence to the minister. So, when the time is available for my staff to assemble the
information, I would certainly be prepared to bring forth some information on the TAGS program.



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Queens.



FISH. - TAGS: MONIES - USAGE



MR. JOHN LEEFE: Mr. Speaker, again, staying with my colleague, the Minister of Fisheries, who
is being very helpful today. Patricia Rapp who is a processor from Shelburne County has described the TAGS
initiative as one big mess, and she has gone on to say that, “This is being abused way worse than
unemployment ever thought of being abused,”. She further states that, “Some people got cheques for $3,000
or $4,000 . . . and went out and bought a car, went out and had a vacation or bought a trailer.”. While that
kind of abuse may be taking place, I can confirm to the House that I have had constituents who have been
greatly, adversely affected by the downturn in the fishery. Who did get retroactive cheques, but who used that
money to catch up on bank payments; to pay off loans with loan companies, who lend at usurious rates, and
we all know that; and to do the kinds of things that should be done with that money so that they can start life
anew. So, while some people may be hearing bad stories, there are also some good stories associated with it.
I have had some of the same kinds of concerns expressed to me also, as has Mrs. Rapp.



My question to the minister, has he been contacted by people in the industry who have expressed
concern over the inadequacy of the TAGS program, especially with respect to the industry’s capacity to retain
workers?



HON. JAMES BARKHOUSE: Mr. Speaker, that, indeed, is a question that has been raised since last
spring when the TAGS program was first announced. People in various communities applied for TAGS and
didn’t make themselves available to the work plants and that has been a difficult part of this whole program
because, in some communities, those are the only programs available. In some communities, fish plant
operators are having difficulty finding people for employment. The thing is, the TAGS program is to have
career counselling and this provides opportunities for people to be given guidances and to make their own
choice whether they are going to remain in the fisheries or get further training to improve their skills within
the fishing industry.



[3:15 p.m.]



So there is a little bit of confusion, but this program is being delivered by the HRD Offices
throughout Nova Scotia and, again, with the numbers of applicants, I believe they have been overloaded. They
have had to increase their number of people in the Yarmouth region by 11 people to assist these people in
filling out the forms and processing. So I believe there is a bit of confusion in the delivery of the program, but
I think that will be cleared up in the near future.



MR. LEEFE: Mr. Speaker, the minister has a very fine and active field staff. I wonder if the minister
could advise the House if he has had reports from his field staff concerning this phenomenon of industry not
being able to attract sufficient workers and what has been the general tenor of those reports?



MR. BARKHOUSE: A number of my fisheries representatives throughout Nova Scotia have
witnessed this. I have actually had this information given to me firsthand by fish processors throughout Nova
Scotia. It is an issue that has been brought to the federal minister. In many cases, the fish plant operators
themselves do not wish to bring this issue directly to the minister because of reactions by the plant workers
within their communities. But we have expressed this matter and it is a very serious matter, to both the
Minister of Fisheries and Oceans and the Honourable Lloyd Axworthy.



MR. LEEFE: Mr. Speaker, I have one last question. Considering that fish plants are property and
the property constitutionally falls within the jurisdiction of the province, and as the minister has stated he does
share the concern that there may be substance to these criticisms of the TAGS program, with respect to fish
plants being able to attract employees, and knowing that the minister has expressed concern to the federal
minister, what action plan is the minister devising with respect to taking a major leadership role with respect
to helping to resolve this problem within the Nova Scotia context, understanding plants fall, constitutionally,
within the province’s jurisdiction and not within the federal jurisdiction?



MR. BARKHOUSE: Mr. Speaker, I believe, if I understand the question, the plant operators or
individual proprietors that operate these businesses, they engage the work force. We help to deliver the
programs, particularly PWAP, early retirement programs, jointly with the federal government. The training
programs, we work with the fishing industry and the federal government in trying to deliver, along with the
Department of Education, to ensure that these workers in the industry will be highly skilled and able to deliver
better quality products, which we have seen this year. In the first nine months of this year, we have exported
$583 million worth of fish, $12 million more than last year, because of the standards which the industry have
seen, that producing quality fish produces better remuneration to the plant workers.



So we are working closely with industry and, certainly, working with the federal government. As the
member opposite knows, Janice Raymond in my department is working very closely with the federal
government and HRD in delivering programs in every way that we possibly can to help both the workers and
the plant workers. (Applause)



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Atlantic.



FIN. - EARLY RETIREMENT PROGRAM: RETURNEES - DETAILS



MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, I would like to direct my question through you to the
Minister of Finance. It is regarding the early retirement program. I believe that the province’s share of the cost
for the early retirement program is in the area of $66 million. Add to that the $48 million that I believe the
Department of Health is kicking in for those people employed at Nova Scotia Association of Hospital
Organizations and you are up to around $114 million in direct government expenditures.



Mr. Speaker, the justification for the early retirement program was that there would be big savings
realized from clearing senior people out, or people out of senior level positions throughout the Civil Service.
Yet, we are discovering that there are people, especially in senior levels, that are taking early retirement and,
yet, returning to those positions.



I raised this issue last week with the minister and I wonder if perhaps he could report back to us now
how it is that someone can retire, take the subsidies, the early retirement, and yet carry on in basically the
same position?



HON. BERNARD BOUDREAU: Well, Mr. Speaker, the early retirement program was designed to
reduce the size of the Civil Service and has done so quite dramatically, in a very humane way. Now if the
honourable member has a list of individuals who, as he says, are civil servants retired under the early
retirement program as civil servants, and then reinstated in their positions, perhaps he might give me that
information and I will attempt to supply him with details.



MR. CHISHOLM: Well, Mr. Speaker, I beleive I raised a case and I gave the minister the
information, the fact that somebody has taken advantage of the early retirement program of the Province of
Nova Scotia, is receiving pension funds under that fund and yet is now back in, at a senior level, with the
Nova Scotia Association of Hospital Workers.



I guess my question is, since when are the pension funds of the Province of Nova Scotia being used,
effectively, as operating funds?



MR. BOUDREAU: Well, Mr. Speaker, the honourable member did mention a name in the previous
Question Period, I think it was a Mr. Mosher. I did a very preliminary check and the gentleman wasn’t a civil
servant.



MR. CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, the person I referred to is somebody who has taken advantage of the
early retirement program from the Province of Nova Scotia, not from some other plan. That was confirmed
from the minister’s department and from the Nova Scotia Association of Hospital Organizations.






So again I want to ask the minister if he would explain for us here in Nova Scotia, for the people in
this Legislature and outside, why it is that the early retirement program, the pension fund of the Province of
Nova Scotia, is being used to subsidize other organizations in this province?



MR. BOUDREAU: Mr. Speaker, we obviously have a difference of information. The Mr. Mosher
that the honourable gentleman brought up and whom he insists is retired from the Civil Service under the
early retirement program, I checked and the information I was given was that Mr. Mosher was not a civil
servant and wasn’t retired from the Civil Service.



Now I think one of us may be wrong about whether or not Mr. Mosher was a civil servant. So I think
both of us should check and whoever is wrong should perhaps stand in his place and indicate that to the
House. (Applause)



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Hants West.



SYSCO: WCB PREMIUMS - ASSUMPTION



MR. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, my question is also for the Minister of Finance. It is my
understanding that with regard to Sydney Steel, that on completion of the sale, and we hope that takes place
very shortly to Minmetals, that there are certain obligations which the province is going to have to assume.
I believe one of those obligations is the premiums that are due to the Workers’ Compensation Board.



It is also my understanding that those numbers are very high at the present time, something in excess
of $20 million. Would the Minister of Finance confirm that?



HON. BERNARD BOUDREAU: Mr. Speaker, I would, of course, reserve the right to confirm the
information that I convey to the honourable member at this point. I think the sum he is referring to is not
unpaid premiums, it is an unfunded liability and, as such, forms part of the very large problem of unfunded
liability which the government is addressing, the details of which I am sure the honourable member is aware.



MR. RUSSELL: That is fine, Mr. Speaker. Whichever way you cut it, it is money owed by Sydney
Steel to the Workers’ Compensation Board. My question to the minister is when that repayment is made, will
the payment be made to the Workers’ Compensation Board and will it include interest on that amount that
has been owed now for some considerable time?



MR. BOUDREAU: I think the honourable member may be somewhat mistaken about the nature of
that amount. It is not money owed. It is not default of premiums. I just checked, as he asked his
supplementary, with the Minister of Labour and he indicated to me that Sydney Steel is completely up-to-date
on all of its payments and all of its premiums. It is a share of the unfunded liability that exists. If you wanted
to divide up all of the unfunded liability through all of the claimants across the province, I suppose there is
an amount that Bowater owes, there is an amount that Stora and the amount that Halifax Shipyard and all the
rest. It is a piece of the unfunded liability problem which we are addressing.



MR. RUSSELL: There was a sum and I believe it is something like $21 million, some odd hundred
thousands of dollars which is due from Sydney Steel to be paid to the Workers’ Compensation Board on
completion of the sale of Sysco. My question to the minister is, when that money is paid to the Workers’
Compensation Board will it be going directly to lessen the present unfunded liability of the Workers’
Compensation Board fund?



MR. BOUDREAU: No, Mr. Speaker. There is no amount that is going to be paid because that portion
of the unfunded liability, the unfunded liability, as the honourable member knows, amounts to close to $500
million. That unfunded liability is not going to be paid. Under the plan outlined by the Minister of Labour,
that unfunded liability will be dealt with, in large measure, by commitments in the amended legislation, but
also by payments made by the province, cash payments on an annual basis, by certain other guarantees that
will be given by the province in terms of return on investment and so on. All of the unfunded liability, the
whole amount including that $20-odd million will be dealt with.



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Hants West, a new question.



SYSCO: WCB PAYMENTS - ASSUMPTION



MR. RONALD RUSSELL: Can I ask the Minister of Finance then, if there is no payment to be made
whenever the transfer of Sydney Steel to Minmetals takes place, does Minmetals then assume that portion of
the unfunded liability?



HON. BERNARD BOUDREAU: No, Mr. Speaker. Minmetals does not assume that portion of the
unfunded liability any more than they assume a lot of other liabilities which existed prior to their taking over,
presumably in three years time.



MR. RUSSELL: I do not know if we are talking in circles here. What I am understanding from what
the minister is telling me is that there is no payment which the province will undertake to make to the
Workers’ Compensation Board because of the fact that they are selling Sydney Steel to Minmetals?



MR. BOUDREAU: Let me see if I follow that question. There is no payment that will be made by
the provincial government by reason of the sale, to the Workers’ Compensation Board? Yes, that is correct.
There will be none.



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings West.



HEALTH - EATING DISORDER CLINIC: FUTURE - MEETING



MR. GEORGE MOODY: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Health. I want to know,
as does Mr. and Mrs. B. Churchill of Yarmouth, did the minister have a meeting with the VG or Camp Hill
Hospital administrators regarding the future of the Eating Disorder Clinic?



HON. RONALD STEWART: No, Mr. Speaker. I did not meet with the administrator of that
institution. I am trying to recall quickly whether, I have had several meetings in the past with several officials,
but no, I did not meet with him specifically on that topic.



MR. MOODY: I want to thank the minister for his answer. My first supplementary, the Churchills
are very concerned as they are parents of a young woman who suffers with an eating disorder. They have seen
their daughter go from 80 pounds force-fed with tubes in her nose to a healthy young woman who has reached
her ideal weight, who is starting to function normally in society due to the program and the team that was at
the VG. I, like them, want to give them credit as I am sure the minister does. I would ask the minister when
he will release details to those concerned about the clinic’s future, when will he release details about the future
of the clinic?



DR. STEWART: This is a clinical program which has been very successful in its outreach and in its
treatment, as the honourable gentleman very properly gives credit to. Those clinical programs continue. They
are, in fact, somewhat expanded in terms of their outreach programs and the in-patient work continues, as
well. It is the clinical program of the hospital and if anyone wishes more information, the hospital is readily
able to provide that.



[3:30 p.m.]



MR. MOODY: Mr. Speaker, my final supplementary is for the Minister of Health. What is the
Minister of Health willing to do to see that the work of the clinic is continued on behalf of all of those with
eating disorders in the Province of Nova Scotia? What is the Minister of Health willing to do to ensure that
that clinic remains functional, so that it can meet the needs of those that have eating disorders? What will he
do, specifically?



DR. STEWART: Well, the responsibility, Mr. Speaker, of the Ministry of Health is to provide
adequate funding for health care programs and we will continue to do that, of course. We have been very
encouraged in respect to this particular program in the interest that has been shown and, in fact, in the
dedication of the clinicians operating that program. We would continue to offer our support, our
encouragement and, of course, the funding required, as reflected by those clinicians.



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Fairview.



HEALTH - C.B.: YOUTH (MENTAL HEALTH) - CRISIS AVERT



MS. ALEXA MCDONOUGH: Mr. Speaker, my question is also for the Minister of Health. The 1993
Mental Health Care Facilities Report documents the increasing pressure on Cape Breton children and youth
and on an already inadequate mental health services system in Cape Breton, as a result of the deteriorating
economic and social conditions on the island.



The minister knows that there is a six month waiting list for out-patient services, that there are no
dedicated beds for children’s treatment or assessment. He will also know, I am sure, that the only two child
psychiatrists in Cape Breton will have packed their bags and left the island by the spring.



My question to the minister is what, specifically, he and his department are doing to avert that further
crisis that will be precipitated by the departure of the only child psychiatrists who are now serving Cape
Breton Island?



HON. RONALD STEWART: Mr. Speaker, the interest in this issue by the honourable member
opposite is very much appreciated because it is a major issue in respect to our health care reform. As the
honourable member opposite and other members of the House realize, we are working very hard to redeploy
funds and, also, to change the system in respect to the provision of care. This is an area which has been, in
my opinion, and I have expressed this opinion publicly before, an area which sometimes gets passed by,
sometimes gets deflected to the side when we have more high-tech kinds of bricks and mortar and machinery
that we seem to be concentrated on in this province for many years.



I would, again, give real attention and I would give my undertaking to the honourable member
opposite and to this House that we are pledged to do better than that. We are pledged, for example, to work
inter-departmentally, which is a key issue here. Education, Justice and so on, will all have to work to solve
some of these problems, particularly in respect to recruitment.



I might say that never before has the Ministry of Health or various bodies been engaged in a program
to recruit and retain those specialities that are under-served. Adolescent and child psychiatry is one of those
areas. We have, however, worked with the university recently to attract one of the most eminent psychiatrists
to head up the academic program at Dalhousie University and, indeed, he, himself, has a particular interest
in child psychiatry. So we are working here to produce a better program.



MS. MCDONOUGH: Mr. Speaker, I think I am not the only one who feels frustrated by the
minister’s wandering off into subjects that are not directly pertinent to the crisis that is currently being faced
in Cape Breton because of the inadequacy of services, of facilities and of professionals.



I would like to ask the minister, because I think it is important to get concrete here, what the current
status is of the very comprehensive and creative proposal that has been submitted to the department and
recently re-worked and resubmitted to the department for a series of four teen health centres that would serve
adolescents across all of Cape Breton and that would include mental health services as part of a preventive
as well as a rehabilitative and treatment plan?



DR. STEWART: Mr. Speaker, those programs and the particular programs to which the honourable
member opposite refers are very exciting programs. We have been, for some months now, assisting in the
definition of this program. Again, we have enlisted the aid of other departments and we are committed to very
seriously considering those programs.



MS. MCDONOUGH: Mr. Speaker, my final question concerns this issue of the availability of
physicians in different parts of the province, the problem about various specialties being available in some
areas but not others and so on. One case in point is the flight of the only two remaining child psychiatrists
from Cape Breton that is anticipated in the coming months. My question arises out of the supposed committee,
the Physicians Resources Advisory Committee, that the minister announced as at least one of the ways in
which these matters are going to be dealt with. It is my understanding that that committee was announced
many months ago, at least four or five months ago, perhaps longer, but I am advised by concerned physicians
that that committee has never met and there are no plans at the moment for it to meet. I wonder if the minister
could specifically advise the House as to why that is so and what he specifically is doing to try to get on with
addressing these recurring problems through that joint structure?



DR. STEWART: Mr. Speaker, the honourable member for Halifax Fairview has hit one of the nails
on the head in this regard. The issue of physician deployment, physician resource deployment in the province
is a major issue under discussion at the moment, as the honourable member might recognize, with the Nova
Scotia Medical Society. We are pledged as a ministry to include this issue with every issue we discuss with
them. We are going to bring this issue to the table as they themselves have, of course, and to work very hard
to come to some agreement.



In terms of the specific committee, yes, that committee has been struck but negotiations in terms of
the fee structures and other considerations have delayed its meeting. We are addressing these problems on the
one hand and yet we are, indeed, in need of major changes in terms of redeployment of physician resources.
As I said, the negotiations have delayed the meeting of this committee, that is correct.



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Opposition.



EDUC. - SUBSTITUTE TEACHERS: PAYMENT - CHANGES



MR. TERENCE DONAHOE: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Education. I would
like to learn from him as would A. Matthews of Kings County and many other Nova Scotians, if there is going
to be any change at all in regard to payment to substitute teachers, especially those who have many years of
experience? By way of background, Ms. Matthews is a widow who is supporting two children. She has applied
for full-time teaching jobs on many occasions but has not been able to secure such a position. This year, she
informs me, she has been able to secure only about four and one-half months of work out of the last 12 and
has had, as the minister would know, a 25 per cent cut in pay thanks to the changes made by the Liberal
Government. She asks how she can support her family on about $11,000 a year. Her question, and mine, is
whether or not the minister has any plans to see whether or not that situation will or can be remedied in any
way?



HON. JOHN MACEACHERN: Mr. Speaker, first of all as the honourable member knows, as a
former Minister of Education, that in fact the substitute rates were negotiated between the province and the
Nova Scotia Teachers Union and it was part of that agreement. That agreement sits for three years and it will
sit until the contract is settled. In terms of the employment of this particular substitute, that is a concern
between her and the board and the board hires substitutes school by school.



MR. DONAHOE: Mr. Speaker, I wonder if the minister might be able to recall and tell us today
which side of the negotiation brought that proposition to the table, that the flat rate substitute fee be instituted
and enshrined in the agreement?



MR. MACEACHERN: Well, Mr. Speaker, with all due respect, the negotiation is handled at the table
and I would suggest that it came off the table. The original source of it, and if the honourable member can
remember from last year, several questions came up in the House. There was a meeting with school board
people and staff, in the presence of the Nova Scotia Teachers Union. In fact, that was one of the
recommendations that came out with that report.



Now that whole set of recommendations, of which there were, and I am just guessing, something in
the order of 40 to 50, that was the basis of the beginning of the negotiation.



MR. DONAHOE: Mr. Speaker, I wonder if the minister might be able to give us an indication as to
whether or not he is able or prepared to undertake any kind of work which would be intended to develop a
seniority list of substitutes who are looking for full-time work, to be established, which could be used in those
cases where full-time or long-term substitute positions do, in fact, become available.



MR. MACEACHERN: Mr. Speaker, I am sure the honourable member - well, I hope the honourable
member - is playing a bit of mischief because he knows, as the former minister, that the hiring of teachers is
done by school boards. For the minister to step in and start directing who they should hire and how they would
hire, would be an imposition into the authority of elected school board members, Mr. Speaker.



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



TRANSPORT. - RICHMOND CO.: CONTRACTS (ROAD WORK) - TABLE



MR. BROOKE TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the honourable Minister of Transportation
and Communications. I tabled a House Order on November 3rd, requesting a copy of approved projects by
his department in each constituency for the fiscal years 1993 and 1994 - I am going to mention salt in a
minute - as well as the money spent in each individual constituency.



On November 23rd, when House Orders were being called, the minister rose to say he would not
agree to table such information. He said, in a somewhat ostentatious way, Mr. Speaker, that these tenders are
open and public and that in order to get all that information, he would likely have to bring in a salt truck onto
the floor of the Legislature - speaking of salt - with all that information.



With that in mind, so the minister doesn’t have to repeat those comments today, Mr. Speaker, will
he agree to table the contracts issued for road work, plus the amount of each individual contract tender, that
has been called or awarded in Richmond County since June 11, 1993? Surely to Heavens that isn’t too much
to ask.



HON. RICHARD MANN: Mr. Speaker, is it good or bad to be ostentatious? I will repeat that part
of his question. I believe what he wants is a list, and sometimes the requests he puts refer to road work,
sometimes they refer to capital, sometimes they refer to maintenance and it is very difficult at times to really
figure out what it is he is looking for. For example, I believe some of his colleagues actually corrected one of
his House Orders last week or the week before when we were dealing with this; he was looking for contracts,
not tenders. They said, well let’s change that to contracts not tendered. So we were not exactly sure what he
wants.



I have no difficulty whatsoever giving him a list of the contracts, the tenders that have been awarded
in Richmond County, since what date? (Interruption) June 11th. No problem.



MR. TAYLOR: To the minister I say thank you, I am pleased the minister will return this work. If
I am perhaps not asking too much of the minister, would he also agree to table work carried out in my
constituency of Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley since November 2, 1993?



MR. MANN: Well, here we go again, he wants a list of work carried out in his riding. Mr. Speaker,
this is one of the problems, we have changed the system. I don’t know how many times we have to stand here
and tell them we have changed the system; we have divided the province into four districts. Work is allocated
by district and the district directors have the responsibility to break that work down. We don’t keep track of
the work done in ridings, riding by riding.



[3:45 p.m.]



MR. TAYLOR: I did have an opportunity today to go through some of the House journals. In fact,
the Minister of Justice had a request on some highway work and details. He was looking for contract and
tenders. The Minister of Transportation of the day, did forward that information and I cannot understand why
this minister wouldn’t want to table the information that I am requesting. I don’t know if he has something,
perhaps, he would rather not have the press gallery know about, but I am asking him a very civilized,
straightforward question. He will table Richmond County, why won’t he table Colchester?



MR. MANN: Mr. Speaker, it is becoming clear. The Minister of Justice asked the member for
Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley for a list of work done in Antigonish. Was that it? And he got it?
(Interruption) Good. If it is the tenders he wants in his riding, I have no difficulty doing that. He asked a
moment ago for the road work done. That is ditching, gravelling, grading, brush cutting, all of those things,
guard rails, painting bridges. No longer do we keep track of that riding by riding; it is done district by district.



I will attempt to get the list of contracts that have been called and tenders awarded since November
2, 1993. No problem.



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Pictou West.



TRANSPORT. - HIGHWAYS: SIGNS - MILEAGE SHOW



MR. DONALD MCINNES: Mr. Speaker, my question is also to the Minister of Transportation and
Communications. For many years, just outside of Truro, there was a sign that had kilometres and on it miles
and they were indicating what the mileage was to New Glasgow, Canso and Sydney. There were other signs
around the province, in strategic places, that did have miles on them. They may be still up, I don’t know that.
But that sign in Truro has been replaced within the last month and a sign with just the kilometres has been
put up.



Mr. Speaker, a lot of people like myself and tourists, who come from the United States, appreciate
seeing the miles on the sign. I know I am driving along, if I am outside the province, in Canada, and you look
at the sign, so you are multiplying by six to see how many actual miles it is. Could the minister tell the House
why that sign was not replaced with miles as well?



HON. RICHARD MANN: Mr. Speaker, I assume it was because the signs that had been put up, with
both kilometres and miles on them, I believe were put up for the life of the sign, if you will. When the sign
was replaced or when the life of that sign came to an end and would be replaced, it would be replaced with
the standard of measure that we use in this country now. I would assume that the contractor who was working
on - I believe it is the section that was recently twinned - that section and came to replace the signs, replaced
it with that standard.



That honourable member has raised this question with me and, as I have indicated, I would even be
willing to go so far as to look at the cost of establishing a few signs at entry points into Nova Scotia, to look
at assisting with tourism, for people who come from countries that do not use the metric standard of measure.
I would go so far as to take a look at that for him and if it is not cost-prohibitive, we would certainly be willing
to entertain that.



MR. MCINNES: I appreciate the minister’s answer. I am certainly not looking for all the signs in
the province to have miles and kilometres but, as he said himself, at strategic entry points in Nova Scotia -
Caribou, Amherst, maybe in Yarmouth and even coming out of Halifax - it might be very beneficial to have
a few signs with both. I ask the minister to please look into it and if it is not cost-prohibitive, to try to do it?






MR. MANN: Certainly, Mr. Speaker, as I have indicated, I will do that. It is interesting that if one
looks back, and I don’t remember specifically what year we changed to the metric standard of measure, but
I know certainly with my own children, who are 19 and 13, that if you mention inches or feet or miles, they
look at you as if you just fell off a turnip truck. They have grown up with the new standards, so we wouldn’t
want too many signs that would confuse too many people. But we will take a look at it for the entry points into
the province.



MR. MCINNES: On a new question, Mr. Speaker?



MR. SPEAKER: It is the turn of the New Democratic Party for the next question. But you can have
a final supplementary.



MR. MCINNES: I want to ask another minister, though, on another matter.



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



SUPPLY AND SERV. - SYDNEY TAR PONDS: CLEAN UP - BLAME



MR. JOHN HOLM: Mr. Speaker, my question isn’t about turnip trucks, but I would like to direct my
question to the Minister of Supply and Services. There are some problems, again, with the Sydney tar ponds
clean-up, particularly or specifically dealing, there are problems related to the dredging. The study that was
carried out by R.V. Anderson Associates Limited weren’t able to place any blame, but yet, I, and I know many
others, very clearly heard the minister this morning being interviewed where the minister was blaming the
workers for the problems or much of the problems and suggesting that maybe a lot of the problems had to do
with the fact that they didn’t have the experience and that they are there because of seniority in their contracts.
I would just like to ask the minister, why is it that he has decided to blame the workers for the problem?



HON. WAYNE ADAMS: I am delighted to hear that question because it gives me a chance to
straighten the record in reply to several questions yesterday by the media. I think I answered by asking some
questions as to whether or not it may be appropriate to look at 1920’s technology compared to 1990’s
technology and the training therein, and if not therein may lie some of the problems.



We have had the experience where Acres International had great success in operating the incinerator
and the dredging pump and when they pulled out, we turned over the operation to the Tar Ponds Incorporated,
we endured some difficulties in having that procedure carried on. I guess the real question is that we are not
blaming anybody; we are looking at all the possible causes as to what may be going wrong with that dredging
operation.



MR. HOLM: Well, thank you very much, Mr. Speaker, but all the analysis seems to have indicated
that the problems are with the equipment, not with the workers. Quite clearly that seems to be the analysis.
Do you know that there has been a lot of concern in press reports including some from Mr. Ray Martheleur
(Interruption) who is the acting director and who has expressed concerns that the funding could be cut and,
in fact, back a couple of weeks ago saying that if the performance doesn’t improve before winter, the winter
freeze up, we are dead in the water.



My question to the minister is quite simply this, is the minister trying to develop a scapegoat to blame
this on if in fact the government decides to pull out the money or is the government truly committed to putting
that $4 million into the project for next year?



MR. ADAMS: I don’t think any of us should be engaged in fear mongering at this point, particularly
at this time of the year. But there is no blame at this point in time. We are looking for reasons why we have
a failed procedure at that operation. Pointing out that the R.V. Anderson Report made it quite clear that there
were no, and I repeat, no difficulties with the equipment contrary to the accusation made by my honourable
colleague.



We are looking for the reasons why the pumping is not going well. With regard to money for the
operation, our department is committed to ongoing funding of that operation on an annual basis. There is no
prescribed shutdown or failure, I should say, for the winter and people being caught dead in the water. There
is a planned shutdown during the cold months of the winter where you know you can’t properly pump the
sludge in the process.



The question is really a bit mischievous, I think, in terms of what is really going on. We have a
problem, we want to find the answer and we will find it and rectify it and carry on with the world-class
prototype, the tar ponds incinerator.



MR. SPEAKER: We have one minute remaining, a short snapper.



MR. HOLM: Since this study also clearly would not place any blame, as the minister is implying
even by his answers today, on the workers, my question to the minister is quite simply this. Will the minister
contact the head of the union and of the workers who are involved and apologize for the impression that he
left, that a good part of the problem results from the workers? Will he apologize today to the workers?



MR. ADAMS: Since I never made such a statement, I don’t think the apology is in order. But I
certainly will take the opportunity to explain fully my position to the Local 1064 and everybody else involved.



MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. The time allotted for the Oral Question Period has expired.



The honourable Premier.



THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, on an introduction, I would like to introduce to you a distinguished
municipal politician from Halifax County, I am sure we would welcome him in the usual way, Buck Giffin.
(Applause)



MR. SPEAKER: We will now move on to Opposition Members’ Business and the honourable Deputy
Speaker will take the Chair for the remainder of the day. (Interruption) Well, I will recognize the Opposition
House Leader and the Deputy Speaker will take over in a moment.



OPPOSITION MEMBERS’ BUSINESS



MOTIONS OTHER THAN GOVERNMENT MOTIONS



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Opposition House Leader.



MR. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Resolution No. 984.



Res. No. 984, re EMO - Fire Depts.: Technology - Implement - notice given Nov. 10/94 - (Mr. B.
Taylor)



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



MR. BROOKE TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, it gives me a great deal of pleasure to speak in the
Legislature this afternoon on Resolution No. 984. I will read the therefore clause: “Therefore be it resolved
that the Minister responsible for Nova Scotia’s Emergency Measures Organization stop taking two day jaunts
to Louisiana to see what additional costs can be imposed upon this province’s rural fire departments and begin
implementing technology that taxpayers have already funded.”.



Now, Mr. Speaker, it is not my intention to criticize the Minister responsible for the Emergency
Measures Act for taking a trip to Louisiana. I don’t want to play partisan games here this afternoon.
Personally, I am not sure the trip was warranted, I don’t know the merits of that trip but perhaps the minister
might be able to explain otherwise.



In this Legislature on December 1st, my colleague and the Critic for EMO, the member for Pictou
West, asked the minister about the implementation of 911. At that time the minister attempted to link plans
for a new integrated radio system with enhanced 911 integrated radio system. I have a copy of Hansard that
I would be pleased to table. Mr. Speaker, I believe that the minister has to understand that in a very large
sense, we are comparing apples to oranges. What I am talking about is integrating the two systems.



I want to refer back for a couple of moments to legislation that was introduced by my honourable
colleague, the Leader of the Opposition, when he was Minister responsible for the Emergency Measures Act
in the spring of 1992. The legislation passed at that time called for development and implementation in a
reasonable and timely manner of a province-wide, 911 emergency telephone system.



Now, Mr. Speaker, considerable funding has already been allocated towards a civic addressing
system, which was the first step towards the implementation of a province-wide 911 system. The Chief Fire
Officers Association of Nova Scotia passed a resolution at a recent meeting, requesting the government to
implement 911. Every fire brigade in Colchester County, with the exception of the Town of Truro, is now
being dispatched from a central system but are being refused permission by the Nova Scotia Government to
use Nova Scotia’s 911 system. They would really like to know why.



As the Chair of the Communications Committee of the Colchester Firefighters Association, Mr.
Terry Canning, who is a member of the Brookfield Fire Department - and I might add it is a department that
works tirelessly within their community to ensure safe and adequate fire protection for the Brookfield area -
said in a recent letter; “The association is unable to understand why public access to 9-1-1 needs to be held
up while discussions are ongoing regarding a new radio system. There is concern in general that since your
government came to power - there are simply too many unanswered questions being asked across this province
by many, many individuals such as where the Public Safety Answering sites will be? As for the new radio
technology - what costs will the province assume in this technology equipment for Nova Scotia’s Volunteer
Fire Departments - if that is indeed what you are planning to do? I think it should be pointed out that the fire
departments do not need this new radio technology - they are very satisfied with what they have now.”.



I have been told it might be a different story for the police departments but the fire departments do
not require that type of technology right now. They would like to have an explanation as to why they can’t
access that 911 technology that is presently in place. As well, some fire officials have been told by EMO
officials that 911 will be in place in various places across Nova Scotia as of July 1st. The reason that it will
not happen until July 1st is, apparently - and I have no way of substantiating this - what I hear is it will not
be implemented until July 1st because of the G-7 Summit and Maritime Tel & Tel does not have the resources
to handle two such projects. Can the minister confirm whether this will take place despite the fact he is saying,
in letters, for the present time that he is reviewing budget allocations for 1995-96?



[4:00 p.m.]



Mr. Speaker, there are a tremendous amount of questions out there on the emergency 911 telephone
number, including the role the recommendation made by Dr. Michael Murphy, to the Minister of Health, that
there be a single, provincial access point for ambulance dispatching utilizing a 1-800 number.



Mr. Speaker, this is precisely what 911 is. I am very hopeful that the minister will be able to provide
a few answers this afternoon in this debate that will clarify some of the questions surrounding the
implementation. In a recent letter to Mr. Canning, the minister made mention of the fact that there is some
relationship between the report of emergency health services and the E-911 program; however, the minister
failed to say what that relationship might be. I believe the minister stated that his department’s 911 project
officer would get in touch with Mr. Canning.



I believe there is not a member of this Legislature who cannot truly identify with the valuable services
that are provided by their local fire departments. It is important that they be provided with answers before any
tender call goes out for advanced radio technology. So, Mr. Speaker, I am calling upon the minister and the
Director of EMO for the province, a Mr. Lester, to meet with each individual county fire department
association to hear of their individual concerns before any tender call is put out. I understand there are some
18 different county associations and I don’t think it is an unreasonable request to expect the minister to go out
and consult with those associations.



Mr. Speaker, I did mention some concerns that the fire departments have with the new emergency
services bill and they are very concerned, extremely concerned, about what type of first aid training they are
supposed to get. What their concern essentially, I believe, is will it be up to an acceptable standard. They don’t
want to go out and take training, for example, that is sponsored or put on by the Red Cross and then find out
that it is not acceptable under that particular new bill. I think it was Bill No. 96, which was introduced this
spring.



So those are a couple of concerns and very significant concerns that fire departments across this
province have. Just for example, there are 36 volunteer fire departments in Halifax County, too, that are
extremely concerned and they are writing the Fire Services Coordinator, Bernie Turpin, down at the county
building and wondering, should we be getting training now, so we can meet the demands of this new
technology and so we understand the implementation of 911? I think their questions are quite valid, Mr.
Speaker.






I don’t have a copy of the bill - I have it somewhere - Bill No. 96. I think it is Clause 12, maybe
Clause 8, that suggests that the government will be responsible for the training. Now, does that mean that they
will assume all the costs of the training, with respect to first aid training?



So, Mr. Speaker, those are some of the concerns that I have, some of the concerns that fire
departments have and I am sure they are some of the concerns that everyday Nova Scotians have. I will take
my place now, thank you.



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of the Environment.



HON. ROBERT HARRISON: Mr. Speaker, my understanding is that there is approximately 15
minutes of time allotted for this debate. Is that correct?



MR. SPEAKER: Yes, you have 15 minutes. The honourable member was short by 6, but you have
15.



MR. HARRISON: Mr. Speaker, I don’t get his six, do I?



MR. SPEAKER: No, you do not get his six.



MR. HARRISON: Let me preface this debate on this resolution by saying that I can hardly believe
that the honourable member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley would actually abandon six minutes of
speech. Can he come back to it or is that it?



MR. SPEAKER: No.



MR. HARRISON: I think he has lost it, Mr. Speaker. Let me preface . . .



MR. BROOKE TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order, a member from my caucus can also
speak on this resolution, it is my understanding, if they so wish to?



MR. SPEAKER: Yes, but you can have the floor only once.



MR. TAYLOR: Oh yes, certainly.



MR. HARRISON: Do I get the few seconds that it took to answer his point of order, Mr. Speaker?



MR. SPEAKER: Yes.



MR. HARRISON: Thank you.



MR. SPEAKER: If we keep up the exchange there won’t be a few seconds left.



MR. HARRISON: Mr. Speaker, first of all I would like to thank the honourable member for most
of this question. I think some of it is predicated on a certain agenda but most of it is a significant and serious
question that has to do with some, I think, highly undervalued people in Nova Scotia’s society.






The firefighters of Nova Scotia respond to human emergencies of all kinds and are often the first
instance emergency service providers in this province. I think there are many times when the services of these
people go not only unrecognized in terms of the human dimension of their role in Nova Scotia’s society but
when you stop and think about the cost of insurance related to say urban areas like Halifax where fire fighting
services are provided at the expense of a municipality and have an impact on the insurability of firms and
homes and businesses. You think that those same services are provided largely at no cost to the public purse
in the rural areas of this province and that the insurance premiums of those businesses are affected.



I can recall a speech recently at the New Minas Fire Hall on the anniversary of their fire hall by Carl
Larsen from Berwick, who actually so informed the audience by constructing the numbers, the equivalency
of the cost of insurability provided by volunteer fire fighting services throughout this province. It is staggering
and it is an often unsung contribution to Nova Scotia’s society, both economically and then if we think about
the voluntarism and the community support that firefighters provide it is a story that needs to be told more
often than it is in this province.



It relates directly to the honourable member’s question and that is that people of this calibre providing
that kind of service throughout the province deserve the finest equipment, they deserve the finest in support
services such as the firefighter training school, the fire marshall’s office, the opportunities for training and
development that occur on volunteer time by people of our communities throughout this province. I had the
privilege of serving actually on the Wolfville Volunteer Fire Department while I was in university some years
ago and it was a great privilege indeed in terms of getting a firsthand view of the kind of service provided.



So, when it comes time and we form a government and we look at the communications tools that are
needed by these citizens of Nova Scotia who provide this tremendous benefit, it goes without saying that the
telecommunications equipment that they need must be first-class. It must match in fact the quality of service
that they are providing Nova Scotians which is, in my opinion, of a world-class level. There are people
coming from all over Canada to learn from firefighters in Nova Scotia how they do things.



It struck me and I am sure it strikes many that the telecommunications equipment they have that is
so vital to their role, was inadequate. The previous government recognized that, they had plans or were
looking at plans to try to develop a response to the need for the most up-to-date wireless overlay on the
information highway that could possibly be provided, not only to firefighters of Nova Scotia, but private
industry, transportation, government agencies like Natural Resources where communications is absolutely
essential. When you overlay that, the needs of our police forces, both the RCMP and municipal police forces
for the kinds of communication in their vehicles and between vehicles and among officers on the beat or in
the city, the modern telecommunications and digitalized information that they should have access to in their
vehicles.



What we were faced with was a patchwork, if you like, on an old system that has seen its day in Nova
Scotia, and well seen it, but that needs to be replaced with a system that is modern, that is up-to-date, that
meets the needs of the consumers and the consumers are the very people that the honourable member for
Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley has referred to and eloquently, in terms of their service to this province. It
has to be first-class, it has to match that service. So we looked at the plans to date.



I can recall sitting in a meeting, in fact, with a gentleman who at that time had almost total
responsibility for the telecommunications of this province, a person that had been placed in his service to this
province by the previous government. We sat through an evaluation, in fact, of the integrated mobile radio
system, an evaluation that happened to be conducted by him. This evaluation was not only conducted by him
but it was about him and his services to the province and was outside the contract that he had, I think, with
Natural Resources at that time. It was a fascinating meeting because here we had the people of this province
who are giving this tremendous service at the community level served well by an engineering firm and an
individual who the other government had hired to provide services and telecommunications advice at a time
when the world was, I think, swirling around us in terms of options.



We made a decision at that time that some of the decision-making that had gone on in the past would
end, that the kind of ad hoc reliance, in this case on one individual who in turn evaluated himself and
provided, basically, the only opportunity for Nova Scotians to know whether they were getting value for their
money in telecommunications. We decided to hire a first-class Canadian national call for a group that could
advise this province on probably the most important strategic initiative of our first mandate as a government
and that is in the area of telecommunications.



The same day that Frank McKenna announced the Minister of Information Highway in New
Brunswick. This is so symbolic as far as I am concerned in terms of what was then and what is now. The
Minister of Transportation and Communications in Nova Scotia was releasing people who had been appointed
to various positions in this province and replacing them, based on a merit system with a restructured delivery
of services for public safety in the area of transportation on highways.



McKenna was announcing, after having somewhat of a head start in terms of the election of 1988
or roughly there, a Minister of Information Highway. Here we were with the legacy of decision-making on
telecommunications that, to be quite blunt about it, was in tatters. This province was going nowhere in
telecommunications. We have since been the recipient, this government and this province, of some fine
articles on telecommunications, nationally and internationally recognizing, not only the Nordicity study, but
the holistic planning for telecommunications in this province, one element of which is the wireless overlay
of the information highway to benefit and to serve those citizens who take time to volunteer as firefighters and
it is beyond fire fighting now. As the honourable member talks about the volunteer hours they spend training
to be first response servers in terms of accidents and, well, you name it, I mean firefighters are being asked
to basically respond to human needs throughout this province that would not have been thought of 10 years
ago. They should have the finest in telecommunications equipment and they will.



The very question he is asking about delay and time, yes, I understand that Colchester County is more
than ready to go and we are more than ready to go with them but we are not going to go with them the way
the previous government would have had us go. We are going to take the time necessary to ensure that they
have the finest equipment. It will not be at any additional cost to the Colchester Fire Department because the
tender call that will go out, and it will not wait for the consultation he is talking about, that consultation has
already taken place. The very tender call is based on meeting with fire fighting associations from one end of
this province to the other. So that when the call goes out, this time, it will be based on the recognition that
the very people supplying those vital services to the citizens of Nova Scotia helped shape the tender call in
the first place. That was a mistake made in the past, it will not be repeated by this government and we do not
have to repeat that performance.



We have already talked to those people and when the call goes out from communications it will
include all of the listening that was done, all of the consultation that took place so that when the firefighters
are worried for instance about whether they will have to upgrade all their equipment, the tender call, as we
will see in a few weeks, will include a call for using the existing equipment and upgrading as affordable as
possible. That is something that we learned from the people in the field, Mr. Speaker.



It is interesting, even the call itself, that the previous government would have called, would have
made the decision on what the firefighters needed. They did make that decision, and, in fact, disappointed
a lot of firefighters because the process was inadequate. We have actually taken a Common Purpose
Procurement tendering procedure, taken it from the federal government, adopted it for Nova Scotia use, called
it a Common Business Solutions tendering procedure which does not try to tell the communications industry
what firefighters in Nova Scotia need.



First of all, it listens to the consumers and it respects what it hears and then it brings it back and
identifies a problem. The problem is that the Colchester firefighters need to be able to talk vehicle to vehicle,
firefighter to vehicle and vehicles and firefighters to the central dispatch. In the case of an incredible
emergency, perhaps even to other dispatch centres in the region because of some terrible tragedy that we hope
never happens. They told us they needed confidential information when we spoke to the RCMP, they said we
cannot have people listening in. So, clearly we need a privacy and a confidentiality that must occur while we
are speaking.



[4:15 p.m.]



We have to be able to speak to a range of people and one of the things we did see and the member,
obviously in a not so respectful fashion refers to a trip that was made to the Southern United States as being,
I forget the terms he used, for a fair jaunt, there we go. In fact, what we saw was in one of the displays that
we went to was Louisiana Power with a storm front moving across the entire State of Louisiana. What it was
doing was knocking out power to citizens of Louisiana from west to east. It was an incredible storm front with
tornados built into it.



What the overall central area was able to do, it was a wall this size with a map of Louisiana and all
the lightning hits were flashing on this screen as it moved across. What they were able to do with their
technology was actually alert the vehicles in the field, because 80 per cent of the power could be restored right
from the office we were in, that is how sophisticated it was. The other 20 per cent had to be restored by field
personnel there on-site. What they were able to do with the equipment was actually trigger all of the field
personnel 20 minutes in advance of the lightning strikes so that they were ready in position to respond to the
people of Louisiana, restore their power quickly to ensure public safety in anticipation.



We immediately extrapolated that, that is a word I heard from my honourable colleague this morning
or perhaps it was another, probably borrowed from my honourable colleague, extrapolated that and my
honourable colleague obviously heard that word, too because I saw his ears perk up underneath his hat and
the issue was, what could you do with that technology in Nova Scotia if you were responding to a fire, flood,
accident or an emergency and you needed, not only firefighters, but ambulance and police, could they all be
connected? Could we connect the groups within that and to whom could they speak? It turns out they could
all speak to one another, they could speak confidentially or in groups, messages could go out.



It was clearly the wireless overlay that this province has been looking for for a long time and the
present system just cannot do that. We had to study the costs, we brought Nordicity in to look at not just this
one small piece of the pie here, the one-eighth, if you like, of the entire wireless pie. How does that match up
with all the other things that our economy needs in terms of telecommunications? So we decided right then
and there that we were going to do this properly.



I do not apologize for taking a little more time. Believe me, when the Colchester Fire Department
is ready to go and we are ready to go, we will be going places that serve them and we will be doing it properly.
They are ready now and the problem with the previous government, I know you were not part of it, but one
of the problems was they responded far too quickly and in isolation to the readiness of people and to the
demands of people. We are going to take our time, we listen to those demands, we are going to build them
into a plan that serves their needs for a long, long time to come, not just a little band-aid here and there,
certainly not whine and sign. A more holistic view to get the job done properly. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.



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



MR. JOHN HOLM: Well, I hear the mover of the resolution telling me that it is a burning question
and a burning resolution. I would have to say that I think that it is, indeed, a very important topic and it is
one that I was very pleased to hear the way the minister addressed it and that is giving it a fair amount of
respect.



As I was listening to the speaker, I was trying to keep one ear tuned to the speaker while I was trying
to keep an eye on the page that I was trying to read, as well, which were some comments made in the Auditor
General’s 1993 Report talking about the concerns and so on with the accounting and the costing and so on
of the 991 systems as it had proceeded up to that point in time. Before the perpetual hecklers on the back
benches of the Liberal Party start to chime in at me, here the Auditor General was referring to the practice
that had gone on before under the previous regime, Mr. Speaker, and pointing out that there had not been
proper reporting of the whole process going along, reporting, saying they were not receiving the timely and
regular reports, certainly not dealing with the accurate costs, as to what was being projected.



So, Mr. Speaker, I am just quickly pulling out a few comments and observations from the Auditor
General. I think it does somewhat back up the comments made by the minister that what we have to do is to
do it, but we also have to do it right.



Now, Mr. Speaker, having said that, and the member who moved the resolution said, well I want to
delay it, too. Well no, I don’t want to delay it. In fact, way back, it seems like in another life, but long before
I got involved in partisan politics, long before I ever even considered running for the Legislature, I was on
a community committee. One of the things we were taking a look at, had to do with fire relocation stations
for the community of Sackville. One thing that came up on a fairly regular basis - both there and also at what
used to be the Sackville Advisory Board - were the needs of the fire department. This would be 13 or 14 years
ago and they were talking about establishing a communications network, the 911 system, that would be able
to link them all together. Quite honestly, I am extremely frustrated, as are all of those who depend on the
communications system, that things have not progressed more quickly.



I noted that in his comments today, the minister said he expected there would be a tender call for the
consultants within a few weeks and he indicated a number of the things that will be included in that tender.
For example, he talked about affordability. He talked about there being some requests in the tender of being
able to use the equipment in operation currently and being able to look at that equipment, so that that
equipment could be upgraded to meet the current needs. What the minister didn’t talk about were any
timeframes.



Certainly in this day and age, with the modern technology - and it is my understanding that most of,
and even the Auditor General had pointed it out - that most of the leg-work, in terms of determining what the
addresses are and being able to identify the addresses that would be connected to the 911 phone system, I
understand that groundwork across the province has pretty well been done.



So now, it is a matter of the technical end. I can’t believe that it is going to take a long period of time
and I don’t think that Nova Scotians should expect it is going to take a long time for a system to be devised.
It may take longer, indeed, to put the necessary hardware in place to implement it fully and to do the
conversions of the equipment, but that has to be done as rapidly as possible.



The minister went on at great length, as did the previous speaker. I agree totally with all the things
they have said about the volunteer fire fighting service. The only thing I would add in, in terms of all the well-deserved accolades to the services they provide, one thing that was not mentioned is the tremendous sacrifices
that their families also make. These volunteer firefighters, who are away so much of the time, whether
responding to an emergency or receiving upgrading and training on a regular basis, as they do, that is all the
time they sacrifice by taking that time away from their families. So, they not only make a tremendous time
commitment of their own, but they also give up a great deal. They also, I would suggest, are very much
involved in raising funds for these fire departments so they can provide the kind of services that the
communities want and need.



I would suggest that the taxpayers across this province are really not aware of what kind of rates they
may be facing, if it weren’t for the fact that we have these volunteer fire services. They are providing
tremendous service and they deserve the congratulations of all of us.



Now, Mr. Speaker, we have to be putting in place a system that will meet those needs. Those
firefighters deserve that. But so, too, do we need a system that can address the needs of the police, the
ambulance and all of the other emergency services. I guess my concern is primarily with the emergency
response systems rather than trying to necessarily meet the internal government department’s concerns.
Whether that be for the Department of Natural Resources for certain needs, certainly they have under their
wing emergency areas too. For example, with fire fighting and some others and they need to be integrated and
tied into this system. I would suggest that there is a definite need for confidentiality because as we all know
the reality, anybody who has a cellular phone, not only can people listen in but they can also record. I think
the member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley, although he didn’t use up his full time at the start of the
debate maybe he is going to save that time and enter into the debate at the end and use it then.



However, I am not trying here to bash one side or the other. What I am trying to do, is to point out
and I recognize that there are some serious problems and I would also suggest that technology has changed
and changed rapidly even over the last four or five years. Even we who are certainly not technocrats, who
aren’t expert with technology and clunk around with an old computer, even we see the rapidly changing
technology. We have to ensure that we move as quickly as we possibly can because peoples lives can depend
on it. We also have to make sure that we are going to have a system in place that is properly integrated and
will enable that system to have new technologies that come along plugged into it.



I guess my major point to the minister and I could talk about how much money it cost for the various
Cabinet Ministers to go to Louisiana, I’ve got that information on my desk. I have travel brochures on my desk
about Christmas in New Orleans and all the wonderful things you would be doing down there. I am saying
however, to the minister based on the comments that he has made, I think that the minister is indeed very
sincere in trying to get the best system up and running here in the Province of Nova Scotia.



My plea is to the minister because lives depend on this. This 911 service will service the fire
departments, the police, the ambulances and others and (Interruption) It can the private sector and maybe the
private sector can be used to help to pay for some of the costs. My concern is that I am not interested in having
it delayed by any length of time so it can meet the needs of the private sector, if that means delaying the
implementation of a program that meets the emergency needs of the citizens of this province. Obviously when
there is an accident, when an emergency occurs, that doesn’t mean that you only need maybe the fire
department, you may need the police, you may need an ambulance and certainly one quick number, we want
to be able to know is going to be able to meet all of the needs that are addressed by that situation or by that
crisis. I think that can be done. It has been done in other places, it has been done in other countries and in
other provinces.



My plea to the minister and what I challenge the minister to do and he can even if he wants to rise
on a point of order, to interject because we know how points of order are used sometimes, if he wants to be
helpful. Not that I want to encourage the minister to break the rules. But, if the minister chose to do that on
his own that is up to him. What I would challenge the minister to do is to give us a firm timetable. Let’s not
repeat the complaints that were made by the Auditor General when he was talking about the regime that was
being proposed by the former government, and that being that there was not proper reporting.



I would like to see the minister give us an actual report on where things stand today and to give us
a time line. When does he expect the consultant’s report, consultant to be tendered? When does he expect to
have that close? When does the minister expect to have and be able to tell Nova Scotians the type of system
that will be implemented? So I am looking for the times and that. The minister is indicating that somebody
else, who will not have to break the rules, may provide that information because that is crucial information
for the people in this province to have. Thank you.



[4:30 p.m.]



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.



HON. RICHARD MANN: Mr. Speaker, it is an unexpected pleasure to have the opportunity to rise
and say a few words on this, (Applause) and certainly, to offer support to the Minister of the Environment,
who I think is doing a splendid job in dealing with an issue that is of tremendous importance to the people
of Nova Scotia.



Mr. Speaker, the resolution introduced by the member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley makes
reference that we are flirting with a high-tech radio network that many rural Nova Scotia fire departments
cannot afford. I have been involved in this process almost since my appointment to the Executive Council in
the Province of Nova Scotia and, for the life of me, I don’t know what would prompt the honourable member
to say such a statement.



Any dealings we have had with companies, any dealings we have had with consultants that talk about
such a process and such a system such as the integrated trunk mobile radio network in the Province of Nova
Scotia, say that this can be converted for use of the volunteer fire departments of Nova Scotia at no cost,
through the use of a black box, a converter, that they would be able to utilize the equipment they now have.
They would be able to utilize it afterwards. If they wanted to enhance their systems and upgrade their systems,
which would clearly be a choice that they would have, such as any other fire department, there obviously
would be a cost to that, just as there would be a cost if they did it under the old system and tried to go to an
enhanced system.



Mr. Speaker, I had the pleasure of also going to Louisiana to look at the system that is in operation,
that is utilized by the Louisiana Light and Power Corporation. I was very impressed in that looking at the
applications that they have been able to have as a result of the system. The system being proposed for Nova
Scotia, which we will put a call out on - and I will get to the member’s question in a moment - will be a system
that will, although the member refers also in his resolution that in 1992, we were going to have a system that
was the most enhanced 911 province-wide emergency telephone system in Canada.



In fact, that was a system that would not allow for the transmission of data, the dispatch of data. It
was an analogue system where, in fact, the new system would be a digital system that will allow for, not only
voice transfer, but data transfer, interlocking if you will, or connecting fire departments with police agencies,
with central dispatch, with emergency health care. It will be done and it will be done correctly. It will be done
in such a manner that Nova Scotians will have state of the art.



In fact, the employee who is doing a lot of this work now has been invited to address conferences in
Washington and Boston because what Nova Scotia is doing is state of the art and because it will put Nova
Scotia on the leading edge. I can tell you that the call, Mr. Speaker, for his system will be forthcoming very
quickly. It is imminent, perhaps within a matter of weeks.



MR. SPEAKER: Now, there is a second speaker from the Official Opposition, I understand.



MR. BROOKE TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, in the spirit of Christmas, we will cut this debate short and
move on to the next one.



MR. SPEAKER: As all members know, the agenda for the debate of Resolution No. 984 was done
by agreement of House Leaders.



HON. RICHARD MANN: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. I believe that once I was given the floor
on this matter, I actually had 15 minutes or until the completion of the hour. I was not filling in on a shortfall
that the Minister of the Environment left, but, in fact, no other members had taken their place on the floor
and I chose to take my place to use up the hours set out in the schedule by the Opposition House Leader,
which I believe I am entitled to do.






MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Hants West.



MR. RONALD RUSSELL: The debate on that particular resolution was a little bit short, so we are
finished up a little bit early, but that is fine. I would also draw to your attention, Mr. Speaker, if I may, that
there was an error on the schedule that I sent around in that the times are not correct.



MR. SPEAKER: But that is for the second resolution.



MR. RUSSELL: For the second resolution.



MR. SPEAKER: For the first resolution there were 45 minutes designated, 15 minutes per Party. The
government Party had its 15 minutes, the New Democratic Party had its 15 minutes, the Opposition informed
me that it had taken 10 and that it had five remaining, you now have the five minutes remaining.



MR. RUSSELL: No, Mr. Speaker, I would like to call . . .



MR. SPEAKER: There is no point of order, the time schedule I have in front of me is 3:55 p.m. to
4:40 p.m., there are four minutes left.



HON. RICHARD MANN: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order. If no one takes the floor then it goes to
a vote. Now I got up so that it would not go to a vote and that I would take up the time remaining as we do
in this House every Wednesday.



MR. SPEAKER: But the Opposition indicated to me they had two speakers. (Interruptions) Yes they
are here, they are getting up now.



The honourable member for Hants West.



MR. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, we have completed the debate on Resolution No. 984.
Would you please call Resolution No. 1176.



Res. No. 1176, re Rules of the House (Amendment): Speaker - Election - notice given Nov. 30/94 -
(Mr. T. Donahoe)



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Hants West.



MR. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased today to have the opportunity to speak
on this resolution. As you will be aware, two weeks ago we debated a resolution from the New Democratic
Party with regard to the Speakership of this Chamber.



This resolution which was submitted by the Leader of the Opposition is not a criticism of the present
Speaker, it is not a censure of the present Speaker. It is simply a topic that we wish to bring up because we
thought the time was appropriate to take a look at how we elect the Speaker in this particular Legislature.



As you well know, Mr. Speaker and I don’t have to go into the intricacies of how we elect our
Speaker I suppose to any length, but for 176 years it has been the prerogative of the Premier to come to the
House on opening day of an Assembly and advise the House that they were putting in nomination, one of the
members of the Legislature. Normally, in almost every case, in modern times anyway, it has been a member
from the government benches that has been nominated. The Opposition Party and the Third Party have always
been notified in advance of who that person is and they have between them seconded that nomination and that
person has become the Speaker of the House.



You might well ask why we should even consider changing that process that has appeared to work
very well for 176 years? I think there are a number of reasons why we should change the way in which we
select the Speaker. First of all, we could simply say that in six other provinces plus the House of Commons
they have examined the process and have changed the procedure that we have had up until now to a system
whereby a person, a member of the Legislature is voted by secret ballot to hold that position and any member
of the Legislature having the opportunity to go on the ballot to be elected to that office.



I don’t think that that is a good enough reason just simply because other provinces have changed to
that system, I don’t think is adequate reason. It may indeed be of some interest, it may indeed be of some
encouragement to us to change but I don’t think it should be the primary reason that we should change. I think
we should change because of the fact that by electing the Speaker at large within the House, first of all every
member within that House has the opportunity to choose who they think should occupy that Chair that you
now occupy. By doing that, the Speaker, indeed, becomes the creature of the House as a whole. In other words,
every person who took part in that election, by casing a secret ballot, has a vested interest in that particular
Speaker.



Mr. Speaker, the Speaker then belongs to the Assembly and not to the governing Party. I think that
is why we have to get into a system which elects the Speaker by secret ballot.



Mr. Speaker, recently in the Province of New Brunswick the Premier of that province decided he
wished to replace the Speaker. The then Speaker of the House, as I understand it, and it was reported in this
fashion so presumably it is correct, was phoned at home one weekend and advised that she was no longer
Speaker of the Legislature. That she was now on the back benches and that the Premier was appointing to the
Chair a member of his Cabinet who was being shuffled out of Cabinet, due to a Cabinet shuffle.



Now, Mr. Speaker, I think that was very wrong because the Speaker does not belong to the Premier,
the Speaker belongs to the House. The only way you can get rid of the Speaker is for the Speaker to resign or
for the House, by means of a vote of censure, to remove the Speaker from the Chair.



But, as I say, in the Province of New Brunswick, Premier McKenna embarked on his own voyage
and decided he was going to get rid of Shirley Dysart, the Speaker, and replace Shirley with a gentleman by
the name of Mr. Gerald Clavette, and he did that. But there was such an uproar, both in the Legislature and
within the media in the Province of New Brunswick, that the person who was appointed to the Chair, Mr.
Clavette, decided he didn’t want the job and offered his resignation.



So the members of the Legislature, and I suppose in particular the members of the Legislature on the
government side, said look, we have to revisit this, we will have to take a look at what they are doing in other
province. They looked at other provinces and the way in which the Speaker was selected and, just as we are
doing here today, they found out very rapidly that the provinces were changing to a system whereby the
Speaker was elected by secret ballot. So in the Province of New Brunswick they switched to having an election
to select the Speaker.



Mr. Clavette decided he was not going to run. One of the persons who was running was Shirley
Dysart, the Speaker whom the Premier had advised summarily that she was no longer Speaker. Shirley ran
and was elected and is back in the Chair in New Brunswick. She is back there because of the fact that the
members of the Legislature wanted her in the Chair. Not because the Premier wanted here in the Chair but
because the members wanted her in the Chair because they were of the opinion that Shirley Dysart would do
an excellent job as Speaker of the Legislature.



Now, Mr. Speaker, we have only one way of achieving that kind of a process in this province, that
is by means of our committee, the Committee on Assembly Matters, which used to be known as the Committee
on Rules and Procedures in this House. A committee that does not meet very often but which I suggest should
meet much more often, to consider some matters of reform in this House. One of those matters of reform that
I think they should very quickly look at is the matter of the selection of the Speaker.



Now, Mr. Speaker, attached to Resolution No. 1176 was a schedule. There was a suggestion as to
how a secret ballot could be held to elect a Speaker of this House. It may not be perfect, Mr. Speaker, it may
well not be perfect, but this procedure that we have brought forward to the House, in essence, is the same as
the process in the Provinces of British Columbia, Alberta and New Brunswick. The others have a slightly
different process but, nevertheless, this one is an amalgam of those three provinces that I have mentioned. To
be quite honest, when I read through this methodology that we have presented here, I am not too happy with
it exactly the way it is. It certainly needs some massaging.



[4:45 p.m.]



But what I am suggesting to the House, Mr. Speaker, is that the Committee on Assembly Matters
should meet. As one of their first orders of business, they should look at the process whereby we select the
Speaker. They should determine, first of all, whether or not they want to do that and, if so, they would make
a recommendation to this House and then this House would vote on whether or not to accept the
recommendation from the Committee on Assembly Matters. If that recommendation was accepted, then it
would form part of our Rules and Forms of Procedure.



Mr. Speaker, the Rules and Forms of Procedure of this House, our handbook on rules, has been
amended many times over the past several years. It has always been done by that process. It has always been
done by consensus and we have always had, within this House, unanimous consent on any change to rules in
this House. That process, I would say, has worked very well for this House. It has worked very well for this
House, as I say, for about 176 years. I would hate to see that process changed because the government, as you
well know, under our system of rules within this House, have the opportunity to change the rules simply by
virtue of putting a resolution on the floor, calling it, and then if they can achieve a two-thirds majority vote,
then that change to the rules of this House comes into effect.



In other words, the present government, for instance, could come in with any kind of rule at all, put
it in the form of a resolution, call the resolution, have a vote on that resolution and if all the government
members voted for that resolution, that resolution would carry and our rules could change. The rules could
change that we are going to sit 16 hours a day; that is the ability of the government under our rules. But I
don’t think any sane government would wish to change the rules to that extent. I think that, as I said before,
that changes to rules are always made by consensus.



I believe, Mr. Speaker, that if the Committee on Assembly Matters meets and considers the matter
of electing a Speaker, that we can reach consensus. I believe that that recommendation could then come back
to this House and this House would agree, unanimously, to that change and that in future Assemblies of this
House, we would have the ability to elect, from our own members - every member having one ballot - our own
Speaker. Thank you.



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.



HON. RICHARD MANN: Mr. Speaker, again I am pleased to have the opportunity to enter into the
debate on the election of the Speaker. One might say, here we go again. I guess we debated this during
Opposition Members’ Business a week ago and the week before that, I guess, the Official Opposition brought
forward a resolution that we invited them to debate and they refused to debate, but here we are again today.



Mr. Speaker, this Opposition that has brought this forward - and what I am going to do is point out
why it is being brought forward, or at least suggest why it is being brought forward - this session of the
Legislature which we are going through, I would suggest that the Official Opposition has not brought forward
many concrete suggestions, not many substantive ideas on how one might improve the way of life in the
Province of Nova Scotia. In fact, Mr. Speaker, yesterday, the Leader of the Opposition introduced a resolution
in the House - and I will not go through the whole resolution - I will read the be it resolved:



“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.”.



So, here then is the Party that has one and one-half to two hours a week to set the agenda, to point
out to the people in Nova Scotia what the real needs are of the people in Nova Scotia and today as we did last
week and as we did the week before, we find out what the real needs of the people in Nova Scotia are.



If one was to believe and listen to the Opposition in this province, both Parties, the real need is to
have an election to elect a Speaker. Mr. Speaker, they command and they don’t want to talk about jobs in Nova
Scotia because they were the government in power that brought unemployment to record levels in this
province. They have an hour and one-half today and an hour and one-half last week and they don’t come in
to talk about casinos, obviously not one of the pressing issues in Nova Scotia although at times they would
like to have people believe that.



MR. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order. I am sure the honourable minister
would be the first to be on his feet to complain if we started debating casinos during our Opposition Day when
there is already a bill presently in the House.



MR. SPEAKER: It is a valid point of order. The topic of debate is the one under question not another
matter that is before the House.



MR. MANN: Okay, we won’t talk about casinos then, Mr. Speaker. Let’s talk finances, certainly
finances would cover any debate in this House of Assembly. Do they want to talk about the finances of the
province? Absolutely not. The economy, the social programs, health, education reform? No. There is no
education bill before the House. Let’s talk education, there is no health care bill before the House, let’s talk
about health care. Certainly, those are pressing issues which are going to address the needs, the real needs
as the Leader of the Opposition said of the Province of Nova Scotia but no, for the third week in a row, we
are going to deal with the Speaker, or the election of the Speaker.



They indicated clearly two weeks ago today when challenged to debate a motion to deal with the
Speaker of this House that they were not interested in dealing with the Speaker of this House. Why are they
back today pretending once again that that is the issue at stake. Well, I am going to tell you why they are back
today. This goes back to a tried and true practice that I certainly experienced in my years of playing baseball
in this province. An umpire in a game of baseball is not unlike a Speaker in the Legislature. Their decision
is final. If you are called out on strikes or if the umpire says the ball is foul and not fair, that decision is final
and yet we watched experienced managers like the Sparky Anderson and Tommy LaSorda and the great Billy
Martin when he was alive, we saw them rant and rave and kick dirt and cuss and yell at the umpires. Did they
ever get an umpire to change their mind? No, they didn’t but what they did, they badgered the umpire into
being in a defensive position when the next call was made.



That is what the game is here, clearly what the game is here. They question every decision that the
Speaker makes in this Legislature almost every decision, despite the fact that the rules say you don’t do that,
yet they question the decision. Why? Do they think they are going to get the Speaker to change his mind? No.
Could it be that like the game of baseball, they are setting it up for the next call? Well, it wouldn’t certainly
be me that would suggest that.



There is a method to appeal a ruling that the Speaker makes, it is called a substantive motion. Have
the Opposition Parties appealed any of the decisions that the Speaker has made in the Chair during this
session? Not one, so then that would suggest to us in this House that it is not the decisions that are the
problem but in fact it is another game and clearly what that game is, is to set it up for the next call. Will it
work? I guess we will wait and see. We will see, the jury will be out. It doesn’t matter if we are talking about
the election of a Speaker, the ejection of a Speaker, that is not what this is about. That is not what this
resolution is about, that is not what these tactics are about that we have seen in this House of Assembly and
that is further borne out by the process, the process being suggested.



Last week, the New Democratic Party wanted this House to support in principle their idea for the
election of a Speaker and send that on to the Committee on Assembly Matters, the committee that we used
to refer to as the Rules Committee - they would send it on and let the committee draft the rules and bring it
back to this Legislature. That was their proposal.



What do we see in this resolution today, Mr. Speaker? The proposed amendments to the Rules and
Forms of Procedure of this House of Assembly would be referred for examination - only for examination - to
the Committee on Assembly Matters, but the be it resolved is very interesting: “. . . be it resolved that the
Rules and Forms of Procedures of the House of Assembly of Nova Scotia be amended by adding thereto new
provisions establishing the rules whereby the House shall elect its Speakers, such rules to be in the form and
style as set out in the schedule attached to this resolution.”. Does that sound as if it leaves any room for
discretion as the members opposite as just suggested? Absolutely not.



If this resolution was to be passed, this is a fait accompli. The Committee on Assembly Matters can
look at it, they can examine it, but they cannot change it because the House would have done that and that is
circumventing the process that these members stand up and defend, that these matters should go to the
Committee on Assembly Matters to be decided, that there should be consensus and then they should come
back. Yet, this resolution says, let us do the deal first and then let us send it along so they can look at it. Well,
it would not have to be sent along and it would not have to come back.



This is a Party, this is a government that is not opposed to reform. I mean if anyone thinks for a
moment that we are, they certainly have not been paying a lot of attention for the last 18 months or so. The
message is quite the contrary, maybe too much reform, maybe too fast. That is an argument for another day.
I can say, and I will state categorically on behalf of the government of this province, on behalf of the Liberal
Party in the Province of Nova Scotia, we are willing to cooperate; we are willing to consider changes to the
rules in this House of Assembly. (Applause) But, what we are not willing to do is to cherry pick, to pick one
issue and have a vote on the floor of the Assembly without it going to the Committee on Assembly Matters
for a full debate, for some research to be done, well thought out and to try and reach consensus.



We have listened to the Speaker in this House of Assembly this session tell us where the hoist of bills
came from; from some ancient calendar. Should that still apply in this House of Assembly? I do not know.
Perhaps there are some strong opinions on that, perhaps that is something that should be looked at as one
considers rule changes in this House.



Mr. Speaker, the rules of debate in this House where we are only permitted three amendments at
second reading, is that proper? Perhaps there should be six amendments permitted. Is it fair and does everyone
agree that there should be unlimited debate in the Committee of the Whole House? I do not know, but is that
something that we should consider as we consider rule changes?



The hours of sitting. They have been amended within recent years. I can remember, I believe it was
the sitting of 1988 perhaps, where members were sitting in this House from 8:00 a.m. to midnight. Well,
someone in their wisdom changed that and today, four days a week we sit eight hours, and one day we sit four
hours. Is that sufficient? Is it too much? I do not know. I have opinions but, I respectfully suggest, Mr.
Speaker, that those are issues that should be dealt with by the Committee on Assembly Matters, not by some
resolution introduced by one of the Parties in the House as a fait accompli. Absolutely not.



The dress code in this House. Certain members are required to wear shirt, tie and a jacket. We are
here in July without air-conditioning. Is it time to take a look at that rule and examine if it is a good rule? I
do not know. But there may be members who think that that should be included for inclusion on a list of
potential rule changes, Mr. Speaker.



[5:00 p.m.]



Should resolutions in this House be read? Should 40 or 50, or if the government decided to do it,
should 80 resolutions be permitted to be read for an hour and one-half in this Assembly? Or, perhaps, should
they be tabled? They will show up in Hansard. They could be circulated. These are ideas, Mr. Speaker, that
I have opinions on, but no one member or no one Party should be able to make all the rules that are going to
have to withstand the test of time in this Chamber. Is Question Period too long? Is it too short? Should it be
five days, should it be three? I don’t know. I would suggest many members of this House would have differing
opinions on such questions.






But if you want to review the rules, then let’s review the rules. Let’s convene a meeting of the Rules
Committee, the Committee on Assembly Matters and let’s consider the rules on dress, the rules on resolution,
on limits of debate, on the hoist clause. Let’s look at all of those. What has happened in our Assembly? Let’s
look, also, at the election of the Speaker. I am sure that we would be very willing to refer the matter to the
Committee on Assembly Matters and to look at it and to make a decision, along with members of the Official
Opposition and the Third Party and consider whether or not these things should happen. We would be willing
to do that.



What has happened in the course of time in this Assembly? I have been here for six years, I believe
this is my sixth session. I have watched three Speakers function out of that Chair, Mr. Speaker. I have
watched three Speakers. I have watched motions of censure or motions of non-confidence or motions such as
we have seen this session, moved against all three. So nothing is new, nothing has changed.



One of the problems we have are the very rules that we operate by in this House. That is my opinion.
We have Erskine May, we have Bourinot, we have Beauchesne, we have usages and precedents. We have the
House of Commons, we have the British system. We have all of those. Speakers, perhaps, past and present,
and for many years have interpreted the rules. I have heard reference yesterday, Mr. Speaker, in one set of
questions, a reference to the rules set out in Beauchesne. I believe in the same communication, we heard
reference to Erskine May and what the usages and precedents of the House are established by Speakers
interpreting rules.



When, and I have heard the members opposite say this several times this session, a Speaker relies
on the usages and precedents of the House, there is a complaint that he should have followed the rules. When
he follows the rules, as he does when he warns members about relevancy in debate, then the Speaker gets
chastised because that is not the precedent of the House and that is not the usage.



Mr. Speaker, clearly we put an individual in the situation where they cannot possibly win. On one
hand we are saying to them, use the rules, not the usages. On the other, use the usages and not the rules.
Clearly, it is a situation where a Speaker cannot win when those type of standards are applied.



Mr. Speaker, I believe that if the members opposite are serious about this, that we will see rules in
this House changed, because this Party is willing to change them. We are willing to go the Committee on
Assembly Matters. We are willing to do some research. We are willing to look at what other jurisdictions do
and we are willing to make rule changes which will elevate the quality of debate in this Chamber, which will
see the business conducted on behalf of the people of Nova Scotia become more professional and more
meaningful and, I think, which will better serve all the people of this province.



I think, as I conclude my remarks, that what we see here in the last three weeks is not an attempt,
truly, to elect a Speaker, it is not an attempt to censure a Speaker. What it is is an attempt to set up some
allowances perhaps, some leniency for another day, for another issue, similar to what we have seen so often
when anyone deals with an arbiter whose decision is final.



Clearly the rules say the decision is final, yet I don’t believe there has once been in the last three
dozen times that a Speaker has made that decision, that there has not been an argument ensue, contrary to
the rules of debate. The Speaker has been extremely lenient in allowing members to question and to explain,
even though the rules state that the decision is final. The arguments go on and on.



I suspect, Mr. Speaker, I suggest that this is no different than what happened when I entered this
House for the first time, for the spring session in 1989, no different than the activities that went on in this
House in 1991, when we, in the Opposition, had a great deal of difficulty, on occasion, completing a sentence
or a paragraph in debate on a wage freeze bill or on a Power Corporation privatization bill. There were many
times, and one only has to check Hansard, where an individual had difficulty completing a thought because
it was ruled redundant, out of order, irrelevant, repetitious, and it went on and on.



So I will be voting against this resolution, if it comes to a debate. However, as I say I will vote against
this resolution, I would be more than happy to have this Party contribute and cooperate toward a serious
review and change of the Rules of the House of Assembly of Nova Scotia. (Applause)



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Atlantic.



MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. As always, it is a pleasure to listen to the
honourable Minister of Transportation, especially when he gets on and talks a little bit about the Rules of the
House.



Mr. Speaker, I and I don’t think my colleagues take the activities that we partake in here as a game
or a sport. I think when we raise concerns - and that is speaking on behalf of this caucus - about various
rulings or the way procedures are handled here, we are doing them because of concern that perhaps we don’t
feel we are being given sufficient opportunity to raise issues, that in one way or another we are being unfairly
treated, according to the rules as we understand them and, therefore, we rise in our place and object in the
ways that we understand are appropriate in the rules of parliamentary procedure that are appropriate for this
House of Assembly.



Now, I don’t know why it is that the Official Opposition brought this resolution forward today. I
thought we had dealt with it fairly thoroughly last week when we brought our resolution forward, dealing with
the election of the Speaker. We had the opportunity then to bring forward a motion not dissimilar to the one
we are looking at today, which does not censure the Speaker, which does not list a litany of complaints and
problems that the mover has with the activities of the Speaker, but is merely responding to concerns raised
by many, not just inside this Chamber but from observers, people who have watched the activities of this
House over some considerable years and have raised some very serious questions also about how, in fact, the
activities of this House are carried out.



The problem, and I think we raised this quite extensively last week, is that when you have a Speaker
who is appointed by the Premier, without consultation - with or without, it doesn’t matter - but if you have
somebody who is appointed basically at the pleasure of the Premier, then when there are decisions made that
appear to go in favour of the government, activities and decisions that are made in favour of the government,
inevitably you are going to get, I think, some discussion about impartiality, that question. As I and my
colleagues tried to raise last week on this question the whole issue of impartiality and the questioning of the
Speaker’s impartiality led the Speaker of the House of Commons in 1986, I believe it was, to resign from that
position, which precipitated a vote or an election of the Speaker to happen following that. Because of the
concern with the acrimonious debate and the constant challenging of the rules of the Speaker because there
was at issue a matter of a question of the Speaker’s impartiality.



Our understanding is that across the country, other Legislatures, including the House of Commons
have tried to deal with this through the process of electing the Speaker. We brought our amendment forward
last week because we thought that might be a strategy that could be followed by this House of Assembly within
the near future in order to try and resolve some of the concerns.



The member for Hants East says, did we not call a vote, did we not deal with that? Well, no we did
not, even though we hoped that a vote would be called. The government members took advantage of the Rules
of the House to speak out the time that was allocated for debate on that particular resolution in order to avoid
the whole question of a vote.



Now let me deal with a few things that have been raised in this House by the Minister of
Transportation. The minister, as I indicated earlier, tries to talk about this as being a sport and that those of
us that are raising concerns are participating in this as though it were a game of baseball. I beg to differ. It
was not the Minister of Transportation that introduced this motion or the motion that the NDP called last
week, so how he can figure that he has all the answers in terms of what the motivation was behind it, I will
never know.



You will notice the motion that we introduced last week and the same motion today does not talk
about censure. It does not talk about censure motions that have been brought to debate over the past number
of years in this Legislature when Parties have had concerns about Speakers.



The Minister of Transportation took great delight at rebuking the Official Opposition and the NDP,
I would suggest, for bringing matters like this before the House. Suggesting that we are wasting our time, that
we are wasting the time of the House when there are matters of such importance before us. Well, let me
suggest and remind the Minister of Transportation and all members that last week on NDP Opposition Day
we brought forward the question of the election of Speaker to deal with what we thought was a problem in
terms of the creditability of the House of Assembly of Nova Scotia. We thought it was very important and,
therefore we brought it toward.



We also brought forward a bill that dealt with disabled persons access to voting facilities. In other
words, it tried to resolve the problems in constituencies across this province that disabled people do not have
fair access to their polling booths to place their vote as a result of the fact that there is a sufficient provision
within the legislation of this province. What did we do with our time? Well, we brought the bill forward to
try to address that problem and what did the Minister of Transportation and his colleagues do? Did they
ensure that this matter came to a vote, that we had an opportunity to deal with what, for many disabled people
in Nova Scotia, is a very serious concern. They did not deal with it.



HON. RICHARD MANN: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker, the member just suggested that the
Minister of Transportation last week ensured that this did not come to a vote. I was in New York trying to
promote the Port of Halifax. Talking about debate on bills and ensuring they go to a vote, well, I would
suggest he should be the last one to talk.



MR. SPEAKER: I think there is a misunderstanding. The honourable member for Halifax Atlantic.
(Interruption)



MR. CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, I am not up here criticizing the government for failing to bring
issues of importance, or bringing trivial matters before the House of Assembly.



[5:15 p.m.]



MR. SPEAKER: Order please.



MR. CHISHOLM: That is what the Minister of Transportation did.



MR. SPEAKER: Order please.



MR. CHISHOLM: And what I am trying to clarify here is that we brought a bill before this House
. . .



MR. SPEAKER: Do I have to remove the member from the House?



MR. CHISHOLM: . . . to deal with the problems that are facing the disabled across this province in
terms of their ability to access polling booths. The members of government decided that that wasn’t important
enough and they didn’t allow it to come to a vote.



MR. SPEAKER: Order, order.



MR. CHISHOLM: Let me also take us back to the NDP Opposition Day on November 9th, Mr.
Speaker. Our first NDP Opposition Day where we brought forward two resolutions; one of them dealing with
consulting contracts and the manner in which this government conducts its business, a fairly important issue
I would suggest, and the question of casinos and the matter of consultation. Now . . .



MR. SPEAKER: The matter of casinos is another issue under debate of the House and therefore it
has no place in this debate. Before the honourable member proceeds, would you take your seat please, I want
to make a point very clear to all members of this House, every member of this House regardless of where he
or she may sit. The Speaker has an absolute obligation and it was pointed out by the honourable Government
House Leader, an absolute right given to him by the House, conveyed to him by the House, to call the House
to order. When he does so that is expected to happen and if it doesn’t happen then he has alternate
arrangements to ensure that it does.



When I call this House to order, I expect it to come to order.



MR. CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, I was pointing out, and you are quite correct and I understand that
rule that you can’t deal with an issue that is before the House in the form of a bill, back on November 9th, that
casino bill was not before this House and therefore it was appropriate for us to deal with it in the form of a
resolution. An important issue, that is my point, as opposed to the assertion by the Minister of Transportation
that the Opposition, in particular the NDP caucus, are bringing trivial matters before this House of Assembly,
I reject that outright and I provide this as evidence of that fact.



Let me deal with another matter in terms of the question of voting for the Speaker. We do have
substantive motions before the Speaker of this House. I think we have at least two if not more that have not
been dealt with. They have been here in front of the Speaker, have not been decided on for at least two
months. So we have brought substantive motions, we know all about substantive motions and if we feel it is
appropriate again to bring one, we will.



The Minister of Transportation talks about the fact that we are a government of reform, well what
a laugh. They are looking at changing the rules on tendering because of the fact that the tendering rules are
a little too tight and they keep getting caught up in them.



MR. SPEAKER: Order please. Again, I have to admonish the member that we have relevance and
irrelevance and when I call the House to order on a point of relevance to the matter under discussion, and that,
as the honourable member knows, is Resolution No. 1176. Please retain that as the focus of your remarks.



MR. CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, I would suggest that the motion as brought forward by the Official
Opposition, as Resolution No. 1175 that we brought forward last week, are issues that we think are important,
that a number of people we represent think are important and I believe we are entitled to do that.



I would also suggest that this is a matter that in terms of rule changes, the Minister of Transportation
suggested that no one member or Party can change the rules. Well, nobody is suggesting that. This resolution,
as the resolution last week, was put to the floor of this Chamber to be dealt with by everybody here regardless
of Party and that is what the process is. We made the recommendation, we had hoped to bring it to a vote last
week but unfortunately, members on the government side decided that they in fact were the only Party that
was going to initiate any rule changes that are going to be made on their terms and their terms alone.



So, I have had quite a bit of opportunity over the past two weeks now to rise and speak on the issue
of election of a Speaker. I think it is important. I think that by failing to take the opportunity as have other
Legislatures in this country, especially when we have the kind of controversy that we have had over the past
month and one-half on the question of the impartiality of the Speaker, that we step forward out of the Dark
Ages and we deal with it.



I understand, as I think does the Official Opposition, that the government has a significant majority
and that if there were to be an election held for the Speaker, that they would get their choice. That is fine, it
is a question of process, it is a question of establishing some credibility for the institution that we have all been
elected to represent, Mr. Speaker, and to bring forward the concerns of our constituents and other Nova
Scotians here in this House.



Let me say, in conclusion, that regardless of whether or not the Minister of Transportation thinks
these issues and any others that we bring forward are not to his liking, or perhaps are trivial or perhaps are
irrelevant, we have a right and a responsibility to bring issues forward that we think and that our constituents
think are important. We will continue to do that, regardless of the whims or wishes of the Minister of
Transportation. Thank you.



MR. SPEAKER: The time for the debate on Resolution No. 1176 has expired.



The honourable Opposition House Leader.



MR. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, would you please call House Order No. 164, and I so move.



H.O. NO. 164, re Nat. Res.: Office Move (Dart.-Hfx.) - Costs - notice given Nov. 29/94 - (Mr. B.
Taylor)



H.O. No. 172, re Supply and Serv.- Schools: Construction - List - notice given Dec. 7/94 - (Mr. G.
Archibald)



[The House Orders were read by the Clerk.]



MR. SPEAKER: The motions are carried.



The honourable Opposition House Leader.



MR. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, would you please call House Order. No. 124. It was stood
on a previous day and I assume it was not defeated, so we will call House Order No. 124.



H.O. No. 124, re Transport.: Atlantic Canada Freight Rate Subsidy - Correspondence Gov’ts. (N.S.-Can.) - notice given Nov. 10/94 - (Mr. G. Archibald)



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



HON. RICHARD MANN: Mr. Speaker, this House Order shall move that an order of this House do
issue for a return, showing with respect to the Department of Agriculture, so there is a typo here or something.
I have a copy of the House Order and the cover sheets as the Minister of Agriculture and Marketing, so this
is not intended for the Department of Transportation. I suggest that it, perhaps, be resubmitted to the
appropriate minister.



MR. SPEAKER: We will have the Clerk deal with the matter. Either it is an error in typewriting or
an error in submission and we will have the Clerk . . .



THE CLERK:  . . . copy of all correspondence between the minister, meaning the Minister of
Agriculture, Nova Scotia’s Minister of Transportation and the federal Ministers of Agriculture and
Transportation concerning negotiations in keeping the Atlantic Canada freight rate subsidy in place.



MR. SPEAKER: So the House Order is directed toward two different departments of government.



MR. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, we will take it on with the Minister of Agriculture next time
around.



[House Order No. 124 was stood.]



MR. RUSSELL: I was wondering if I could ask the Minister of Transportation, apart from his own
House Orders, is he prepared to return any of the other ones there under the Minister of Health?



AN HON. MEMBER: The Minister of Health is here.



HON. RICHARD MANN: We would agree to have them called, but we would have to read them
. . .



MR. RUSSELL: Oh, the Minister of Health is back, good. Okay, so let’s just try that on.



Mr. Speaker, would you please call House Order No. 173.



H.O. No. 173, re Health: Physician Affairs Advisor - Applicants - notice given Dec. 8/94 - (Mr. T.
Donahoe)



[The House Order was read by the Clerk.]



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Health.



HON. RONALD STEWART: Mr. Speaker, this is somewhat mixed in terms of some personal
information and so on. I cannot comply with this totally.



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



The motion is carried.



AN HON. MEMBER: You voted with us, Richie, thank you.



MR. RUSSELL: That is very kind of you.



HON. RICHARD MANN: The motion was to return House Orders.



SOME HON. MEMBERS: No, no, it wasn’t.



MR. SPEAKER: The motion was to return the House Order. The motion was not made by the
minister, the motion was made by the honourable Opposition House Leader.



MR. RUSSELL: I made the motion and what I was getting to my feet to say . . .



MR. SPEAKER: And it was voted down.



MR. RUSSELL: He did not vote it down, Mr. Speaker.



MR. SPEAKER: Well, if there is some difficulty in the mind of the honourable member, I will ask
for a standing vote.



MR. RUSSELL: My understanding was that the minister, in response, said that he did not understand
the House Order.



MR. SPEAKER: No, no. The minister said that he was (Interruption) Please deal with the Chair. The
minister indicated that he could not supply the information and that is a negative response to the motion, and
then I put the motion to the floor and the motion was your motion that I put to the floor.



MR. GEORGE MOODY: Mr. Speaker, I don’t know if it is on a point of order. But I was going to
rise prior to you quickly putting the motion. I think I heard the minister say that some of the information he
could not supply that was personal. I thought that is what he said and I was going to ask if he could provide
the information that was not personal and we would accept that, but I did not get a chance to get on my feet.
All of sudden, everybody was voting. I think that is what the minister said.



MR. SPEAKER: Then it is the apology of the Chair. If the Chair misunderstood the response of the
minister, the Chair is in error, but I will ask the minister to respond again.



The honourable Minister of Health.



HON. RONALD STEWART: I was asked to respond to the House Order. I said I could not comply
because of personnel information.



MR. SPEAKER: That is exactly what I thought the minister said. The vote is in order.



The House Order is denied.



[House Order No. 173 was defeated.]



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Opposition House Leader.



MR. RONALD RUSSELL: Let’s try House Order No. 166; that looks like a fairly simple one.



H.O. No. 166, re Transport.: Road Deaths (25/04/94) - Investigate - notice given Dec. 5/94 - (Mr.
J. Holm)



MR. JOHN HOLM: I so move, Mr. Speaker.



[5:30 p.m.]



MR. SPEAKER: Would the honourable minister wish to have it read?



HON. RICHARD MANN: No, Mr. Speaker. It simply is a motion by the member for Sackville-Cobequid, the Acting Leader of the New Democratic Party, to issue reports resulting from investigations into
the events preceding the tragic deaths involving icy road conditions which took place on the morning of April
25th.



Mr. Speaker, I have great difficulty with this. I do not mind saying any reports that the Department
of Transportation gets, as former ministers would know, come from the RCMP. They are private. They are
confidential. They involve a great deal of personal information. To the best of my knowledge, one of these
has never been released by the Department of Transportation and I can tell you that I am not going to be the
first minister to start releasing details about individuals involved in fatalities. If the RCMP want to do that,
they can and sometimes they do, but no, I will be voting against this, Mr. Speaker.



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



MR. JOHN HOLM: Mr. Speaker, the minister is reading into the report more than is intended. I am
certainly not looking for personal information and it would be my understanding that under the Freedom of
Information Act, the minister has a right. Certainly,  if this was requested under the Freedom of Information
Act to delete anything referring to a person’s individual information. What I am trying to get information on,
quite clearly, are the conditions of the roads and anything that may have contributed, for which the
department is responsible and that is what the House Order is seeking.






MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Transportation.



HON. RICHARD MANN: To close the debate, I assume, Mr. Speaker?



MR. SPEAKER: Yes.



MR. MANN: There is nothing in here involving the Department of Transportation or anything else.
It says reports resulting from investigations. That is what it says, and I say that I am going to vote against it,
Mr. Speaker.



MR. GEORGE MOODY: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. It is my understanding that the motion
was made by the honourable Leader of the New Democratic Party and it is my understanding he would close
debate, not somebody from the government side.



MR. SPEAKER: Yes. You are absolutely right. It is a valid point of order. (Interruption)



HON. RICHARD MANN: The Rules of the House clearly state that when the member gets to his feet
he is to be advised that it is to close the debate. That did not happen which then opened up the floor and I
sought the clarification.



MR. SPEAKER: An error on the part of the Chair. The mover has the right of reply and the mover
has the right to (Interruption)



MR. JOHN HOLM: I assume this is to close the debate?



MR. SPEAKER: Yes.



MR. HOLM: Mr. Speaker, as I do move to close the debate I just want to draw to the minister’s
attention because I am sure the minister normally would be aware of practices in this House when there have
been some questions about a House Order and the government talks about or comes back with what they are
able to provide. There is normally the opportunity to have some kind of an understanding and dialogue across
the floor and the ministers will agree to provide information based, best that they can, on the discussion and
the records that are in Hansard.



Mr. Speaker, I think that I made it very clear to the minister what I was looking for and if the
minister is still planning to vote against it, well indeed that is his right and we will have to live with the
decision that the minister and his colleagues will make.



MR. SPEAKER: Order please. The Chair wants to make it very clear that notwithstanding baseball
games, sometimes the Chair is in error in interpreting a rule, and if I am, then I will gladly admit it and put
that before the floor. The motion has been made for the House Order. The supply of the information has been
denied. The vote will now be put to the floor. All those in favour of the supply of the House Order signify by
saying Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.



The House Order is denied.



[House Order No. 166 was defeated.]






MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Opposition House Leader.



MR. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, would you please call House Order No. 167.



H.O. 167, re Transport.: Paving Tendered Incomplete (1994) - List - notice given Dec. 5/94 - (Mr.
J. Holm)



MR. JOHN HOLM: Mr. Speaker, I so move.



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



HON. RICHARD MANN: Mr. Speaker, I cannot possibly return this because there is no date that
we cut off the work. The work is actually cut off by the contractors; as for the dates so I cannot possibly
comply with this. What the release was about, that you are referring to on October 26th, was the fact that the
contractor had advised us that he would not be completing the work. We put that release out for the benefit
of the people in the area, many of whom had been asking questions. There is no cut-off date in the Department
of Transportation, but common sense and weather conditions usually prevail.



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



MR. JOHN HOLM: Mr. Speaker, with the minister’s explanation, one could conclude that the answer
has already been given and I will accept the minister’s answer.



MR. SPEAKER: Fine, the House Order, in order to complete the motion, the motion has been for
the supply of the information which is unable to be supplied. Would all those in favour of the motion please
say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.



The House Order is defeated because it is unable to be supplied and that is on the record.



The honourable Opposition House Leader.



MR. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, that completes Opposition Members’ Business for today.



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.



HON. RICHARD MANN: Mr. Speaker, by mutual agreement we had indicated we would not attempt
to call any Government Business in the remaining time. I can advise members of the House that we will be
sitting tomorrow from the hours of 12:00 noon until 8:00 p.m. After the daily routine and Question Period
we will be resuming debate in Committee of the Whole House, on Bill No. 114.



I move that we adjourn until 12:00 noon tomorrow.



MR. SPEAKER: The motion for adjournment has been made and carried. The House will now rise
to sit again tomorrow at the hour of 12:00 noon.



We stand adjourned until 12:00 noon on Thursday.



[The House rose at 5:36 p.m.]



NOTICE OF MOTION UNDER RULE 32(3)



HOUSE ORDER NO. 176



By: Mr. Brooke Taylor (Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley)



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 Transportation and Communications:



(1) Number of newspaper ads recently purchased by the Department of Transportation and
Communications to advise the motoring public of how to cope with winter driving conditions;

 

 

(2) Number of individuals and the size of ads purchased for daily and community newspapers
across Nova Scotia; and



(3) The total cost of the ads.



NOTICE OF QUESTIONS FOR WRITTEN ANSWERS

 

Given on December 13, 1994

 

(Pursuant to Rule 30)



QUESTION NO. 90



By: Mr. George Moody (Kings West)

 

To: Hon. Bernard Boudreau (Minister of Finance)



(1) I want to know, as does Adrien Blanchette, Head of Jeddore; Hilary Fraser, Dartmouth; and
David Gaetz, Head of Chezzetcook, when the government will listen to the advice of its own committee on
gaming (the Fogarty Committee) and the majority of Nova Scotians and reverse its decision to allow gaming
casinos in our beautiful province?



QUESTION NO. 91



By: Mr. George Moody (Kings West)

 

To: Hon. Bernard Boudreau (Minister of Finance)



(1) I want to know, as does Reg Austin, Truro; Mary-Ruth Crosby, Wolfville; Pearl Dyke,
Dartmouth; Parker Eddy, New Minas; Merrill Conrad, Yarmouth; Howard Hillier, North Sydney; Rickey
MacDonald, Amherst; Jill Neilly, Bridgetown; Lloyd J. Potter, Annapolis Royal; and Margaret Tait, Amherst,
why the government is not listening to the people regarding their concerns on casino gambling? These Nova
Scotians believe your statement that the majority of Nova Scotians want this is not true. Why not have a
plebiscite to find the truth? Why wasn’t this an election issue?



QUESTION NO. 92



By: Mr. George Moody (Kings West)

 

To: Hon. Bernard Boudreau (Minister of Finance)



(1) I want to know, as does A. Brown of Annapolis Royal, who is going to pay to take care of
people who lose everything because of gambling casinos? Who will look after the children of parents who lose
their homes, cars and jobs as a result of casinos?



QUESTION NO. 93



By: Mr. George Moody (Kings West)

 

To: Hon. Bernard Boudreau (Minister of Finance)



(1) I want to know, as does George Allen of Clementsville, why, in the face of such evident
public negative reaction, and why, in the face of such reliable evidence on the harmful impact of casinos, is
your government forcing them upon the people who have entrusted you with their best interest and welfare?






QUESTION NO. 94



By: Mr. George Moody (Kings West)

 

To: Hon. Bernard Boudreau (Minister of Finance)



(1) I want to know, as does E.F. Carey of Wolfville and V. Colquhouh of Yarmouth, why,
although the overwhelming majority of Nova Scotians, churches, the health and educational organizations
and the police chiefs, as well as your own government appointed commission, which recommended against
casinos, do you persist in going ahead and finalizing a deal with a casino operator?



QUESTION NO. 95



By: Mr. George Moody (Kings West)

 

To: Hon. Bernard Boudreau (Minister of Finance)



(1) I want to know, as does Robert Bent of Lawrencetown, whether the government plans to
legalize prostitution? The same arguments used to support gambling casinos can be used to support legalized
prostitution (increased government revenues, attract more tourists, et cetera).



QUESTION NO. 96



By: Mr. George Moody (Kings West)

 

To: Hon. Ronald Stewart (Minister of Health)



(1) I want to know, as does Debbie Gilroy of Amherst, what is going to become of our health
care system as our children get older? Will they end up suffering needlessly because our government is trying
to cut the deficit?



QUESTION NO. 97



By: Mr. George Moody (Kings West)

 

To: Hon. Ronald Stewart (Minister of Health)



(1) I want to know, as does Marie Everett of Digby, why such drastic cuts in hospitalization
without an alternate plan in place? If you have a plan, when will you let the citizens know the specifics?



QUESTION NO. 98



By: Mr. George Moody (Kings West)

 

To: Hon. Ronald Stewart (Minister of Health)



(1) I want to know, as does Mary Ellis of Wolfville, why was the Valley area of Kings County
singled out to have the Eastern Kings Memorial Hospital closed, without any alternate coverage planned? A
population of between 8,000 to 9,000 is still waiting for a visit from the Health Minister to explain.






QUESTION NO. 99



By: Mr. George Moody (Kings West)

 

To: Hon. Ronald Stewart (Minister of Health)



(1) I want to know, as does Ellen Smith of New Minas, what would cause a major decision to
close Eastern Kings Memorial Hospital, Wolfville, before any plans whatsoever were underway for alternative
home care and health reform in the area? Why close a hospital when it is so essential to so many people in
the area, including university students? How are the students, elderly and low income families expected to
reach the regional hospital for emergency treatment?



(2) Where will we get our help in the meantime until fully organized health care reform is in
operation?



QUESTION NO. 100



By: Mr. George Moody (Kings West)

 

To: Hon. Ronald Stewart (Minister of Health)



(1) I want to know, as does Arlene Chesnutt of Pugwash, why did the Minister of Health cut
back on hospital care, close beds, and even hospitals, before his plan on volunteer home care has been
established in the province?



QUESTION NO. 101



By: Mr. George Moody (Kings West)

 

To: Hon. Ronald Stewart (Minister of Health)



(1) I want to know, as does Kathleen Dakin of New Minas, precisely, what does your
government mean by community health care? Please set out your plan of action in an organized fashion that
can be understood by the public at large. Also, how does one access these services when needed? Can the
average citizen afford this care?



QUESTION NO. 102



By: Mr. George Moody (Kings West)

 

To: Hon. Ronald Stewart (Minister of Health)



(1) I want to know, as does Francis Dargent of Wolfville, has every nickel the taxpayers have
paid into the medical services insurance been used for MSI purposes, 10 per cent originally, 11 per cent now?



QUESTION NO. 103



By: Mr. Ronald Russell (Hants West)

 

To: Hon. Jay Abbass (Minister of Labour)



(1) I want to know, as does C. Julian of Sydney Mines, how many more years will it be before
our workers’ compensation appeals will be heard? I hope you can reach a solution on this important problem
in the near future.



QUESTION NO. 104



By: Mr. George Moody (Kings West)

 

To: Hon. Ronald Stewart (Minister of Health)



(1) I want to know, as does R. Meisner of Granville Ferry, about the proposed closing of the
Annapolis General Hospital. Please advise me if there is a possibility of this happening and at what date?



QUESTION NO. 105



By: Mr. George Moody (Kings West)

 

To: Hon. Ronald Stewart (Minister of Health)



(1) I want to know, as does G. MacDonald of North Sydney, why Canada does not allow cancer
drugs from the U.S.A. that might help people here in Canada (Cape Breton, Nova Scotia)? For people who
are going to die from terminal cancer cases, what harm would it do to try them? There would perhaps be a
chance for them. Interferon Alf 2 is one of them. Doctors wanted to try that drug on Mrs. MacDonald’s
husband but couldn’t get it because of lack of funds to go to the U.S.A. It might have given him more time.
He lived five months. He died October 12, 1994, at the age of 52. Why ban these drugs from these people who
have nothing to lose?



QUESTION NO. 106



By: Mr. George Moody (Kings West)

 

To: Hon. Ronald Stewart (Minister of Health)



(1) I want to know, as does C. Leahy of Head of Jeddore, what is happening to the Mike Murphy
report on health care?



QUESTION NO. 107



By: Mr. George Moody (Kings West)

 

To: Hon. Robert Harrison (Minister of Natural Resources)



(1) I want to know, as does C. Leahy of Head of Jeddore, what is taking so long regarding the
911 emergency system? The government is spending a lot of money but nothing is happening.



QUESTION NO. 108



By: Mr. George Moody (Kings West)

 

To: Hon. Ronald Stewart (Minister of Health)



(1) I want to know, as does E. Janke of Yarmouth, why there is no treatment facility in western
Nova Scotia for teenagers under the age of 18 who have addiction problems?






QUESTION NO. 109



By: Mr. George Moody (Kings West)

 

To: Hon. Ronald Stewart (Minister of Health)



(1) I want to know, as does F. Israel of Kingston, when those who are being deprived as a direct
result of health care reform are going to receive the much-needed and now postponed medical care they have
been deferred by their doctors, in good faith on their part, and how soon and in what form will such services
be reinstated?



QUESTION NO. 110



By: Mr. Ronald Russell (Hants West)

 

To: Hon. Jay Abbass (Minister of Labour)



(1) I want to know, as do Boyd and Jean Cress of Annapolis County, if the new Workers’
Compensation Board legislation is passed, how come widow’s pensions for the next five years will not be re-indexed for cost of living as in former years? If things go up, they also have to pay.



QUESTION NO. 111



By: Mr. Ronald Russell (Hants West)

 

To: Hon. Jay Abbass (Minister of Labour)



(1) The Minister of Labour is eliminating the External Appeal Board and paid counsellors. I
want to know, as does P. MacKay of New Germany, how are workers who are cut off benefits by the Workers’
Compensation Board going to appeal an unjust ruling by the WCB?



QUESTION NO. 112



By: Mr. Ronald Russell (Hants West)

 

To: Hon. Jay Abbass (Minister of Labour)



(1) I want to know, as does R. MacIntyre of Sydney Mines, why the Workers’ Compensation
Board takes so long to hear claims and so long to pay for these claims?



QUESTION NO. 113



By: Mr. George Moody (Kings West)

 

To: Hon. John Savage (The Premier)



(1) I want to know, as does Oscar Cormier of Dartmouth, both you and the Minister of Health,
Dr. Ronald Stewart, are medical doctors. Why do you both want to ruin our health plan and our hospital
services? You two are pretty rough on our medical doctors. It seems to me that you both should know better.






QUESTION NO. 114



By: Mr. George Moody (Kings West)

 

To: Hon. Ronald Stewart (Minister of Health)



(1) I want to know, as does Jennifer Campbell of Lower Sackville, you are cutting back on
health care to avoid duplication of services and to be more cost-efficient. You are being very cost-efficient
because you have definitely eliminated duplication - to the point of putting people on waiting lists for months,
even years, for necessary surgical procedures. For example, a friend of mine, Jennifer Campbell, has waited
nine months for a tonsillectomy. Due to infection, before she could have her surgery, she missed two months
of work and after her surgery, she missed three more weeks of work. Why is your government putting people’s
health at risk?



QUESTION NO. 115



By: Mr. George Moody (Kings West)

 

To: Hon. Ronald Stewart (Minister of Health)



(1) I want to know, as does Lois Charlton, New Germany, why and how did our present Premier
and his Cabinet come to the decision to close our valued hospitals and lay off many staff members and,
furthermore, make patients drive or be driven extensive distances for medical treatment or surgery?



(2) Also, what do they expect or intend to do with all the expensive equipment within these
hospitals of which much of it is reasonably new?