Assemblée Législative de la Nouvelle-Écosse

Les travaux de la Chambre ont repris le
21 septembre 2017

 

 

 

 

 

HALIFAX, WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 25, 1995

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. Are there any
introductions? If not, we will commence 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, pursuant to some questions that were asked in the House
yesterday, I would like to table the two answers. The first was relative to a question asked by the Leader of
the New Democratic Party about the Cultural Affairs Division and the International Gathering of the Clans.
Basically, there has been no request to our department for that but they have requested some general funding.

The second one is relative to a question asked by the member for Kings North where he suggested that
our department was not doing anything relative to L.E. Shaw School. I would like to table the letter to Dr. Jim
Gunn, the Superintendent of Schools, dated January 19th, indicating the status of the report which is in the
hands of the board, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: The reports are tabled.

STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS

GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION

6427

 

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Health.

RESOLUTION NO. 1577

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

Whereas the Nova Scotia Hospital in Dartmouth has received a three year certificate of accreditation;
and

Whereas the certificate, issued by the Canadian Council on Health Facilities Accreditation, noted
excellence in strategic planning and community development; and

Whereas this is a credit to the staff and to the people involved in mental health care in Nova Scotia;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House commend the Nova Scotia Hospital on this
outstanding achievement.

Mr. Speaker, I would request 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 unanimously. (Applause)

INTRODUCTION OF BILLS

Bill No. 147 - Entitled an Act to Amend Chapter 82 of the Acts of 1982. The New Glasgow
Parking Commission Act. (Dr. John Hamm)

MR. SPEAKER: Ordered that this bill be read a second time on a future day.

NOTICES OF MOTION

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Opposition.

RESOLUTION NO. 1578

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

Whereas once again while the cat’s away the mice do play; and

Whereas while the Premier vacations in Switzerland the Government House Leader threatens to invoke
his form of closure on debate to curtail a session whose theme he characterizes as “strategy by opposition”;
and

Whereas the reasoning behind the Government House Leader’s decision yesterday is that the “business
of the Province of Nova Scotia has to go forward”, in the “interest”, of the people of Nova Scotia.

Therefore be it resolved that this Government House Leader recognize that it was not in the interest
of the majority of Nova Scotians that casinos be legislated into this province and, for that very reason, the
Opposition has debated it at every turn; therefore, it is the Government and not the Opposition, “obstructing
the democratic process.”.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Halifax Atlantic.

RESOLUTION NO. 1579

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 1758, Nova Scotia made history by becoming the birthplace of representative government
and parliamentary democracy in the Commonwealth; and

Whereas during the next 227 years, every Nova Scotian administration has responded to public views
and informed criticism, through legislative review, gaining approval of its legislation; and

Whereas today, January 25th, no province in Canada places an absolute limit on clause by clause
consideration of government legislation;

Therefore be it resolved that this government should meet the high and historic standards established
in our province by achieving its legislative goals through the methods of legislative review that ensure
legislation takes into account Nova Scotians’ strongly held views and constructive suggestions.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley.

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

Whereas city council in Nova Scotia’s second largest city is dead set against the establishment of
casinos in Nova Scotia; and

Whereas Dartmouth City Council reinforced that point last night by voting unanimously against the
establishment of casinos in Nova Scotia; and

Whereas city council voted against the establishment of casinos because of the concern they have for
residents of Dartmouth;

Therefore be it resolved that since the members for Dartmouth North, Dartmouth East, Dartmouth-Cole Harbour and Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage are evidently not interested in representing the views of the
people who elected them, they should feel free to step aside and allow the residents of greater Dartmouth to
be represented by legislators in tune with the views of their community.

MR. SPEAKER: I hesitate to allow that kind of a motion, I think it is - I won’t say what I am thinking
but I don’t like that motion at all. It is out of order. (Interruption)

The honourable member for Halifax Fairview.

RESOLUTION NO. 1580

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

Whereas Dartmouth City Council has voted unanimously that this government should not impose
casinos upon Nova Scotians, adding its name to the many opponents of this ill-considered scheme; and

Whereas wiping out Dartmouth, squashing debate in this Legislature, and withholding public
information about casinos will not change the fundamental fact that this government was elected on a
platform opposed to any expansion of gambling, with promises of extensive consultation on all gaming issues;

Therefore be it resolved that Dartmouth MLAs and other Liberal MLAs should leave the shelter of
their government bunker long enough to hear the voices of their constituents on the issue of government
sponsoring and promoting increased gambling and on all other issues that concern them.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Lunenburg.

RESOLUTION NO. 1581

MRS. LILA O’CONNOR: Mr. Speaker, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the
adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas the Nova Scotia Home Awards were created in 1982 to encourage technical and design
innovation; and

Whereas last Wednesday awards were presented by the Minister of Housing and Consumer Affairs to
a number of Nova Scotians who have made an outstanding contribution to the field of housing; and

Whereas Charles and June Maginley won in Category No. 5 - Energy Efficient or Alternative Energy,
for the Maginley Residence on Long Hill Road in Mahone Bay;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House of Assembly extend congratulations to all the
winners of the 13th Annual Home Awards Competition for their unique sense of style and commitment to
quality homes.

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

MR. SPEAKER: There is a request for waiver of notice.

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Dartmouth-Cole Harbour.

RESOLUTION NO. 1582

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

Whereas the Nova Scotia Hospital, under the leadership of Executive Director, Anne McGuire, has
been engaged in a strategic planning process to better serve the needs of the community; and

Whereas the Nova Scotia Hospital has served the community since 1858 and is the major psychiatric
referral centre for the province; and

Whereas the Nova Scotia Hospital has received a three year certificate of accreditation by the Canadian
Council on Health Facilities Accreditation, which recognizes that the hospital has excelled in its strategic
planning and community involvement;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly congratulate the hospital’s Executive Director,
Anne McGuire, the members of the staff, volunteers and foundation members on receiving the three year
certificate of accreditation.

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

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 Leader of the New Democratic Party.

RESOLUTION NO. 1583

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

Whereas students across Nova Scotia have questioned the polite public silence of the Education
Minister in the face of federal plans to withdraw at least $85 million in transfers for post-secondary education;
and

Whereas the minister seems content with plans to, at a minimum, double the cost of higher education,
regardless of students’ income, offering only still more debt to rub salt into the wound; and

Whereas these federal and provincial Liberal policies imply that Canadians and Nova Scotians are too
well educated and that knowledge should not be increased, except among those who can afford it;

Therefore be it resolved that this House join students across Nova Scotia in endorsing the goal of
today’s National Day of Solidarity for Accessibility to Higher Education in Canada.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Halifax Bedford Basin.

RESOLUTION NO. 1584

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

Whereas February 3rd to 11th will see the World Schools Debating Championships in Cardiff, Wales;
and

Whereas team members from Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba and Ontario will soon meet in Port
Hope, Ontario to prepare for this international event; and

Whereas Alice MacLachlan, a Grade 11 student at Halifax Grammar School, has won a spot on the
Canadian Debating Team;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate Alice MacLachlan for this outstanding
accomplishment and wish her and her teammates every success at the World Schools Debating
Championships.

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 member for Cape Breton South.

RESOLUTION NO. 1585

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

Whereas during the early morning hours of May 5, 1994, Sydney Police Constable, Graham
Thompson, went above and beyond the call of duty in the course of his shift; and

Whereas a man detained in the Sydney lock-up was found on the floor with no signs of life; and

[2:15 p.m.]

Whereas Constable Thompson, without regard for his personal health and safety, revived the man
through the skillful use of mouth-to-mouth resuscitation and CPR;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House of Assembly commend Constable Graham
Thompson of Sydney for his bold and decisive actions of May 5, 1994, which resulted in the saving of another
man’s life.

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 unanimously.

The honourable member for Halifax Atlantic.

RESOLUTION NO. 1586

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

Whereas on May 20, 1993, in Cape Breton, the now-Premier and Liberal MLAs issued a special pledge
that no injured worker would suffer a loss of benefits due to WCB changes; and

Whereas this morning in Sydney representatives of thousands of Cape Breton workers spoke out
against the massive loss of benefits that they would suffer if the Labour Minister had his way; and

Whereas neither the Premier nor any Liberal MLA has ever met with Cape Bretoners to discuss an
election pledge issued exactly when voters were making up their minds, days before the vote;

Therefore be it resolved that Liberal MLAs should call general meetings with their constituents to
discuss their WCB platform and how they intend to represent those constituents in this House.

MR. SPEAKER: Well, I will accept the motion as an expression of opinion. However, I do caution all
members against resolutions that would appear to be an attack on members of the House. It is specifically
forbidden by Beauchesne to attack a member of the House or to use language that is intemperate or unworthy
of the place in which we sit. Those are all among the rules and usages of the House. Resolutions that fly in
the teeth of that offend the Chair.

The honourable Minister of Labour.

HON. JAY ABBASS: In that regard, Mr. Speaker, I would just like to point out that there are some
material falsehoods in the resolution.

MR. SPEAKER: The point is noted.

The honourable member for Cape Breton Centre.

RESOLUTION NO. 1587

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

Whereas New Waterford native Ruth M. Goldbloom has been appointed Chancellor of the Technical
University of Nova Scotia; and

Whereas Dr. Goldbloom brings a wealth of talent and experience to the position, including service on
a large number of national and regional boards; and

Whereas Dr. Goldbloom’s leadership carries on the tradition of community activism that her mother,
Rose Schwartz, brought to the Town of New Waterford;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of the House welcome the appointment of Dr. Ruth
Goldbloom as Chancellor of the Technical University of Nova Scotia in recognition of her background and
her achievements.

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 Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage.

 

 

RESOLUTION NO. 1588

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

Whereas smoking is the number one public health problem in this province; and

Whereas each year an estimated 1,500 Nova Scotians die as a direct result of smoking and 180 non-smokers die as a direct result of their exposure to environmental tobacco smoke; and

Whereas the recent 1994 study on students and tobacco reports that more of our youth are smoking;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House of Assembly commend the Health Minister for
establishing the Tobacco Control Unit, among the first of its kind in this country I might add, to focus on
more proactive prevention programs for schools, parents and the business community and health care
providers.

Mr. Speaker, I ask for waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Eastern Shore.

RESOLUTION NO. 1589

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

Whereas Mr. Steve Blasco, a resident of Dartmouth, is an internationally renowned marine geologist
with the Geological Survey of Canada at the Bedford Institute of Oceanography; and

Whereas Mr. Blasco headed up the Canadian scientific team that went to the bottom of the ocean to
explore the wreck of the Titanic on the joint Canadian-Soviet expedition to the Titanic; and

Whereas this famous international scientist regularly takes time to visit our schools to share with young
people his enthusiasm for science, through his fascinating journey to the Titanic;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly recognize the pioneer work of Steve Blasco in
marine geology and applaud his endeavours to inspire young people in the pursuit of scientific knowledge.

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 member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley.

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

Whereas city council in Nova Scotia’s second largest city is dead set against the establishment of
casinos in Nova Scotia; and

Whereas Dartmouth City Council reinforced that point last night by voting unanimously against the
establishment of casinos in Nova Scotia; and

Whereas city council voted against the establishment of casinos because of the concern they have for
residents of Dartmouth;

Therefore be it resolved that since the members for Dartmouth North, Dartmouth East, Dartmouth-Cole Harbour and Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage are supposedly interested in representing the views of the
people who elected them, they should feel free to allow the residents of greater Dartmouth to be represented
by legislators in tune with the views of their community.

MR. SPEAKER: Well, it seems very similar to an earlier resolution that I ruled out of order. But with
certain words deleted, perhaps with one more word deleted, it might be acceptable, and that is the word,
supposedly. With that deletion, I will table the motion.

The notice is tabled with that change.

[Deletion not made; not tabled.]

The honourable Leader of the New Democratic Party.

RESOLUTION NO. 1590

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

Whereas the Premier of Prince Edward Island stated yesterday that casinos have no proven economic
development benefit and that Islanders are opposed to the establishment of casinos; and

Whereas the New Brunswick Government had already established an anti-casino policy, finding no
benefit that would justify such an enterprise even though commercial gambling operates on reserves in nearby
Maine; and

Whereas these Liberals once constantly bemoaned the fact that Nova Scotia’s economy trailed its
Maritime neighbours, due to the foolhardy policies of the then Conservative Government;

Therefore be it resolved that this government should practice the Maritime cooperation it preaches by
entering into a common anti-casino policy for the region.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Halifax Fairview.

RESOLUTION NO. 1591

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 Kentville Board of Trade has this week joined the long list of business, municipal,
community and labour organizations who opposed Liberal plans to impose casinos despite Nova Scotians’
clear wish that gambling not expand; and

Whereas even the Liberal Party is finally accepting the inevitability of permitting its own members to
express their views on the leadership provided by the Premier and his government; and

Whereas this government should in turn agree that regardless of any legislative powers it may gain,
no casino will be imposed upon unwilling and hostile Nova Scotians;

Therefore be it resolved that Liberal MLAs angered by the ongoing discussion of their unwelcome
controversial plans should try listening, consulting and responding instead of trying to censor and squash all
such discussion.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Bedford-Fall River.

RESOLUTION NO. 1592

MRS. FRANCENE COSMAN: Mr. Speaker, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the
adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas on Tuesday, January 17th, an historic event occurred in the Town of Bedford when students
from Bedford Central, Glen Moir and Eaglewood Drive elementary schools moved into Basinview Drive
Community School; and

Whereas the new Basinview Drive Community School, under the capable leadership of Principal, Mr.
Tim Allen, has 607 energetic and enthusiastic students; and

Whereas Basinview Drive Community School reflects the needs and resources of the local community
in its approach to lifelong learning among its students;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate the Town of Bedford and the students and staff
of Basinview Drive Community School and wish them every success in their pursuit of excellence in the field
of education.

Mr. Speaker, I would request waiver of notice.

MR. SPEAKER: There is a request that notice be waived on that resolution.

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

Are there any further notices of motion or any other business to come up under the heading of the daily
routine before we advance to the Orders of the Day?

I wish to advise the House that the Clerk has conducted a draw for the Adjournment debate at 6:00
p.m. The winner this afternoon is the honourable member for Lunenburg. She has submitted a resolution
reading:

Therefore be it resolved that the members of the House of Assembly congratulate the Minister for the
Economic Renewal Agency and all stakeholders who work towards the sustainability of eco-tourism as a
healthy and prosperous component of the tourism industry in Nova Scotia.

So, we will hear on that matter at 6:00 p.m.

The Oral Question Period today will run for 90 minutes, the time now being 2:26 p.m., it will therefore
run until 3:56 p.m.

ORDERS OF THE DAY

ORAL QUESTIONS PUT BY MEMBERS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Opposition.

EDUC. - POST-SECONDARY: AXWORTHY REPORT - RESPONSE

MR. TERENCE DONAHOE: My question is for the Minister of Education. As you will be aware, Mr.
Speaker and through you to the minister, the minister released to The Daily News yesterday an outline of his
and his government’s progress to date on the Atlantic Provinces’ response to the so-called Axworthy Report.
It was indicated that the response was faxed yesterday to the federal office. I ask if the minister would be
prepared to table that response here in the House today, so that Nova Scotia legislators and taxpayers could
be aware of the position taken by the Nova Scotia Government in that connection?

HON. JOHN MACEACHERN: I would mention to the honourable member that this is not a response
just of this government, it is a response of the four Atlantic governments. It is our beginning negotiating
position as we meet with Mr. Axworthy next Monday and it will be part of that negotiations. And as soon as
the negotiations are finished with Mr. Axworthy, I will be pleased to present it to the House and to all
members.

MR. DONAHOE: In the statements made by the minister, he made several comments about Nova
Scotia’s post-secondary education. He said, among other things, the minister said and I think I quote him
accurately, if the tuition has to go up, there have to be bursaries and summer work to make school affordable
for the poorer students. Although, P.E.I., if I read the report directly, is taking the lead on the education
component, I wonder if the Minister of Education can indicate to us here today, the position on behalf of the
Province of Nova Scotia, which is set out in this document relative to the threat to increasing tuitions for post-secondary education?

MR. MACEACHERN: Mr. Speaker, through you to the honourable Leader of the Opposition, I would
like to remind him and all members of the House, that in the two to three years at the end of the term of the
previous government, tuitions doubled. In fact, that was a great concern to us and we are studying the impact
that that has had on accessibility to students. I present that to all members of the House. As I said last year,
as we were discussing this issue, it is not just tuitions that are the problem. We also have to look at such things
as bursaries for students in need, student aid with loan remission, income contingency, summer jobs, the
whole mix of things are under discussion with Mr. Axworthy.

What has to be recognized and I suggest this to all members of the House, as bad a mess as this
government found itself in, the federal government found itself in a worse mess and must address that. We
have all seen over the last little while that the debt charges to the federal government are causing great risk
to all transfer payments. So, at the present time, the Atlantic Canada sitting with the federal minister is trying
to find ways so that we can set priorities and make decisions and stop the financial people somewhere outside
of our region from making those decisions for us. So, when we get that final result of the whole mix, not just
one thing, we will report it to all members of the House.

MR. DONAHOE: We have all these circuitous answers, or more to the point, circuitous rhetoric, none
of which constitutes an answer to any statement by this minister or seemingly any of the ministers, as to what
the policy of this government is in regard to anything. May I ask through you, Mr. Speaker, of the same
minister, this same minister says that, or is quoted at least as saying, that seasonal work is not necessarily a
bad thing, a sentiment with which I agree. But what people, the minister goes on to be quoted as saying, are
collecting, is not unemployment insurance, it is an income supplement. So, let’s stop calling it what it isn’t.
I wonder if the minister is suggesting that all UI recipients are, in fact, collecting in his opinion, some form
of welfare payment? Is that, in fact, the message that he is attempting to convey by that characterization of
the seasonal worker and the unemployment insurance payments?

MR. MACEACHERN: No, Mr. Speaker, and through you to the honourable Leader of the Opposition,
I would suggest to him very clearly that what has to be recognized, and what our research over the last two
months has identified, is Atlantic Canada has special characteristics. One of those is its dependence on
seasonal work and, again, I don’t apologize for that nor does Atlantic Canada. What we want the federal
government to recognize is that that is one of the characteristics of Atlantic Canada and has to be dealt with
accordingly and with respect. To suggest, as the honourable member seems to be implying by his statement,
that we are talking to that as welfare, not true; we are looking at the reality of Atlantic Canada and we want
to deal with it with respect, aiming very clearly for a sustainable economy and not a dependent economy.

[2:30 p.m.]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Atlantic.

RULES OF THE HOUSE (AMENDMENT) - POLICY

MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, I would like to direct my question to the Acting Premier.
On Wednesday, December 14, 1994, the Government House Leader in this House said the following and I
quote from Assembly Debates of that 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 rules in this House of Assembly. 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.”. And further, “. . . 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.”.

Mr. Speaker, my question to the Acting Premier, does this remain the policy of this government for
handling changes to the Rules of the House of Assembly?

MR. SPEAKER: I know that notice has been given of a resolution on this matter but, of course, many
resolutions are on the order paper.

The honourable Acting Leader, go ahead.

HON. JAY ABBASS: Mr. Speaker, actually, were the Government House Leader here I would refer
that to him and I wonder if this question could be raised again later in the hour when the member will be
back?

MR. SPEAKER: Is there any supplementary question?

MR. CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, I am asking a question on government policy and I am asking it of
the Acting Premier. Is somebody in charge over there who can answer this question?

MR. SPEAKER: The Acting Premier indicates that the House Leader would answer, but he is not here.

MR. CHISHOLM: Well, okay. Let me then - if the Acting Premier, let’s not forget, is not prepared to
answer a question on government policy - let me ask a further question. No legislation before this House has
ever undergone even half of the scrutiny to which this government, themselves, when they were in Opposition,
subjected extraordinary government legislation for which there was no electoral mandate, and my question
for the Acting Premier, is why, when government members know from their own experience the rigorous test
of legislative review, would they make such an unequivocal pledge, as that I just quoted, to research and seek
a well thought out consensus on rule changes, only to panic a few weeks later and flip-flop when they feel the
heat of public opinion?

 

 

MR. ABBASS: Mr. Speaker, again I can only say that, were the Government House Leader here, he
would be the member who would answer this question and again I would extend to the member opposite that
offer, that if he were to hold his question, he would have an answer in due course.

MR. CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, I guess I must have prepared my exchange in recognition of the lack
of response I would get. In my final supplementary, let me say that it is apparent to every Nova Scotian that
what has changed in the last six weeks is that this government is feeling the full heat of public opinion from
every corner of this province and they don’t want to meet Nova Scotians even part of the way in terms of
dealing with legislation in this House the way every single government has for the last number of years.
(Interruption)

MR. SPEAKER: Other members of the House are calling for order. I have to call for order. I have to
call for order.

MR. CHISHOLM: Will the Acting Premier do the research that his government promised to discover
that no other Legislature in this country places an arbitrary limit on clause by clause consideration of
government legislation?

MR. ABBASS: Mr. Speaker, I want to applaud the member opposite, those are great theatrics and it
was much appreciated. Again, I would extend to him that offer that if he were to re-put his question to the
Government House Leader then he would receive an answer. In the meantime (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. Order.

MR. ABBASS: The member opposite has said that this is unprecedented in the annals of the
Legislature and everyone present, if he levels with himself or herself, would understand that the Opposition
is behaving in an unprecedented manner (Interruptions) in debating the titles (Applause) (Interruptions) of
two extremely important bills for an unusually and uncalled for amount of time, that you are holding up . .
.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, order. Please let the minister reply to the question you asked. (Interruptions)

MR. ABBASS: Again, I would say that the member would want to, or should want to, re-put that
question to the Government House Leader when he is back in the Chamber. Again, we are dealing with an
unprecedented situation, it has called for unprecedented measures and the Government House Leader can
more than adequately spell out the various reasons why that has been called for, such as, for instance, the way
in which the members opposite have chosen to, in a very small-minded manner, drag out the debate over the
title of two bills. (Interruptions)

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

MR. TERENCE DONAHOE: No, it is not a question, it is a point of . . .

MR. SPEAKER: There are no points of order in Question Period.

MR. DONAHOE: I rise on a point of privilege. (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: There are no points of order or privilege in Question Period. I will recognize a
question.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Hants West.

FIN. - MI’KMAQ NATION: TAX EXEMPTION - AGREEMENT

MR. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Finance. Last November,
the Minister of Finance met with the Mi’Kmaq leaders with a view of discussing reinstatement of the native
tax exemption. I was wondering if the minister could inform the House as to whether or not an agreement has
been reached?

HON. BERNARD BOUDREAU: No, it has not, Mr. Speaker.

MR. RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, if I understand what the minister said during his press conference on
the casinos, he said that approximately 40 per cent, I believe, of the profit from the Cape Breton casino, the
casino in Sydney, that is the percentage that is going for charitable organizations and other organizations, that
40 per cent of that profit would perhaps be going to the native community as a share of those profits. I was
wondering if the minister would advise the House as to whether or not that 40 per cent is offered as a quid
pro quo for the reinstatement of tax benefits?

MR. BOUDREAU: Mr. Speaker, I can inform the honourable member I made no such statement.

MR. RUSSELL: I wonder if the minister, Mr. Speaker, would advise the House, then, of what the
present policy is with regard to the imposition of taxes on native sales to non-natives?

MR. BOUDREAU: Mr. Speaker, I thank the honourable member for bringing up the subject. We have
been engaged in a very challenging and difficult discussion with the Mi’kmaq community in Nova Scotia in
attempting to reach agreement on gaming and taxation issues as a package and to reach agreement with the
Mi’Kmaq Nation as a group. We have had a continuing series of meetings on those two subjects. We have had
meetings with various groups. As a matter of fact, I met with a group yesterday and I am going to be leaving
Question Period a little early today to meet with another group on that general subject. We have not resolved
the issue and until we do, I guess I have nothing to report.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Pictou Centre.

HOUSING: SUBSIDENCE - NUMBERS

DR. JOHN HAMM: Mr. Speaker, to the Minister of Housing and Consumer Affairs, homeowners in
coal mining communities have ongoing concerns about the possibility of subsidence due to the collapse of coal
mines under their homes. This is a situation over which they have no control. My question for the minister
is, how many Nova Scotian homes have been affected by subsidence in the past 18 months?

HON. GUY BROWN: Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the honourable member for Pictou Centre for the
question. Here is the problem you get into in dealing with subsidence. Some people claim they have a crack
in the wall that is caused by subsidence and that debate continues to go on. But I want to tell you, Mr.
Speaker, all members of this House, sir, through you, that we have a problem in this province in our mining
communities with regard to the subsidence. This government, and the same thing I want to do before I ever
leave this Assembly, is develop a program that will help all communities in this province.

We now have the Department of Housing and Consumer Affairs, my department, we have the
Department of Justice, the Department of Natural Resources and the Department of Municipal Affairs, along
with two members, the honourable member for Cape Breton Centre who has worked with us, and the member
for Pictou East that had been working on this continuously, trying to develop a program which looks simple
in day one, but is not so simple.

I would hope that this government, who has a concern and has made a commitment to resolve this
situation, will have some sort of policy or program, be it insurance related, be it funded by government or be
it some other type of program. I don’t know that at this stage, but I can make a commitment here to all Nova
Scotians that if any government ever develops a program, it will be this government because we are committed
to this situation.

DR. HAMM: Mr. Speaker, I thank the minister for his answer. It has been almost a year since three
homes in Westville were partially destroyed by subsidence. One of these homes is still settling to this day and
cannot be reoccupied. The other two homes have had temporary repairs carried out, allowing the families to
return.

My question to the minister in regards to this specific situation, would the minister provide an update
on efforts of the government to provide support for the three home owners on Diamond Street in Westville?

MR. BROWN: Mr. Speaker, at the time we had the problem, we went to those three families and
offered them alternative housing and were prepared to work with them. Some of them took advantage of it,
some of them moved back into their own homes. We offered them the Provincial Repair Program. We
contacted Ottawa with regards to the RRAP Program, which was not in existence then, it is now.

There is not only those three homes, Mr. Speaker, and I can understand that member for Pictou, but
we have homes in Glace Bay that have been going on for three to five years that we have to resolve. I have
a concern for those people. This government has a concern for those people and that is why we have these four
or five government departments put together now, trying to come up with a resolution to a very serious
situation in Nova Scotia, which we have not seen the worst of it yet. As these mines get older, there are going
to be more homes, in my community of Springhill, Glace Bay, Inverness, Cape Breton, Pictou County. I would
say, in maybe ten communities across this province.

So we are dealing with it. I have no further update than that, any more on those three homes on Pictou
than I have on the ones in Glace Bay that has been going on for four or five years.

DR. HAMM: Mr. Speaker, by way of final supplementary, would the minister commit to the House
then, to aggressively seek a solution, particularly on behalf of those three home owners in Westville whose
houses have been very seriously damaged by subsidence, would he look to their case and try and provide some
solution for them?

MR. BROWN: Mr. Speaker, we are aggressively dealing with this issue now. We have had a delegation
to look at some legislation in the United States. There is no legislation anywhere in Canada to deal with this
situation. We had a meeting last week of the four departments over at the Natural Resources offices, plus some
other members. We will continue to work and, hopefully, come up with a program because I don’t want to
mislead people. I don’t want to stand here and say, we are going to resolve this situation. But I want to tell
you, if any government ever resolves it, we are committed and we will do everything in our power, not only
for those three homes, but for the ones in Glace Bay, the ones in Inverness and the ones in Cumberland
County.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings West.

HEALTH - HEPATITIS C: DIANNA PARSONS - MEET

MR. GEORGE MOODY: Mr. Speaker, my question, through you, is for the Minister of Health. I think,
after about 18 months of pleading, Dianna Parsons finally had a meeting with the minister, I think on January
11th. I commend the minister for having that meeting.

[2:45 p.m.]

At that meeting the minister assured Dianna Parsons that her health needs related to Hepatitis C
contracted from tainted blood would be met. The minister also promised another meeting with himself and
the Minister of Community Services within a week or two. Two weeks have passed. I was wondering if the
Minister of Health could indicate when somebody from his office or himself would be contacting Dianna
Parsons to set up such a meeting?

HON. RONALD STEWART: Yes, if that has not been done it will be done very shortly, Mr. Speaker,
to arrange for that meeting within the next week or so.

MR. MOODY: I thank the minister for that commitment and I am sure he is committed to doing that.
I know she will be waiting for that call.

Shortly after the meeting of January 11th, Mrs. Parsons’ physician made an appointment with a dental
surgeon. It has to do with thrush, which is a symptom of Hepatitis C, as the minister knows. The surgery that
is needed is not covered by MSI. The minister made a commitment on January 11th that her health needs
would be looked after. Would the minister indicate to the House today and to all Nova Scotians that he intends
to keep that commitment and that her surgery related to thrush will be covered by the provincial government?

DR. STEWART: Mr. Speaker, as the honourable gentleman opposite knows very well, I am
constrained by being minister that I do not know the specifics of any given individual’s medical condition nor
will I seek to find that out. But I will give him assurances, as I have done, that we deal with people in a very
just way. We will try our best to certainly fulfil the pledge that I made to, in this case, Mrs. Parsons, in which
we were very concerned that her health needs be met. I will pursue that with her, with the Minister of
Community Services and with our chief medical officer of health.

MR. MOODY: Thank you very much. Mr. Speaker, I am a little disappointed. Dianna Parsons is at
home with mouth bleeding, having all kinds of discomfort and was given assurance by the minister that her
health needs would be met. When she called Jeff Scott at the department, he indicated it is not covered and
would not be covered.

She is also unable to get an expensive prescription, she can’t even get her medication. She was told by
this minister that her health needs would be looked after until this whole issue was resolved.

I would ask the minister, will he ensure, through his department, that Dianna Parsons’ health needs -
that is all we are asking - will be met by this government until such time as this whole issue is resolved
regarding the compensation package? Will he assure us that her health needs will be met and she is not
unduly suffering at home?

DR. STEWART: We would certainly do our best, Mr. Speaker, to ensure no one is unduly suffering
at home, without help. I will give that assurance to the honourable gentleman opposite.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Fairview.

HEALTH - HEPATITIS C: DIANNA PARSONS - COMPENSATION COMMITMENT

MS. ALEXA MCDONOUGH: Mr. Speaker, I, too, would like to direct my question to the Minister
of Health. Following the January 11th meeting with Dianna Parsons, the Minister of Health confirmed that
the issue of compensation for people who had contracted Hepatitis C from tainted blood, and I quote his words
directly, “is still on the table, it will remain on the table . . .”. In fact the minister applauded Dianna Parsons
for bringing the issue of compensation to the national spotlight.

 

 

Yet in this House, Mr. Speaker, the minister reversed himself, stating categorically, and again I quote
from Hansard, “. . . that compensation in terms of Hepatitis C is not being considered by this government.”.
Period. Not being considered.

Mr. Speaker, can the minister explain why he has retreated from his earlier commitment to Dianna
Parsons and to Nova Scotians to work towards compensation for her and other victims of Hepatitis C from
tainted blood?

HON. RONALD STEWART: This is typical of the honourable member opposite who declares and
takes out of context a second-hand quote which she is attributing to me, in terms of a specific.

I have stated here in this place, as the honourable member opposite has quoted, that this government
has taken a stand on compensation. In my discussions with Mrs. Parsons and again, she has said this publicly,
I said that compensation would always be in her mind and in the mind of the national discussion on the table
for discussion and resolution. I did not shrink from that. That was a key issue and a point that she wished to
discuss.

But we have taken, as a Ministry of Health and as a government, the stand that we will not compensate
victims of this particular disease. I have made the statement here. I have not reversed anything. But it is on
the national agenda through the Krever Inquiry, that has been raised. It has been raised by advocacy groups
of Hepatitis C victims and it will remain in the debate. I welcome and pay tribute to her bringing this to
national attention. I will continue to do so but we have made a decision. (Interruptions)

MS. MCDONOUGH: It seems to me, Mr. Speaker, to applaud someone for bringing a very serious
issue, compensation to Hepatitis C victims, to the national stage and then say, but we don’t intend to do
anything about compensation for victims is, to say the least, an act of hypocrisy.

 

 

Mr. Speaker, the minister knows that Dianna Parsons’ legal counsel has written to him twice since the
January 11th meeting asking the minister to give assurances to Dianna Parsons and to all others concerned
about this issue that he is not speaking out of both sides of his mouth, saying one thing to her and another in
the House of Assembly. Will the minister address the contradiction that arises in his statements, again today,
while he talks about applauding Dianna Parsons and then saying that he doesn’t intend, on behalf of her or
others similarly situated, to fight for compensation for victims of Hepatitis C?

DR. STEWART: Mr. Speaker, there is absolutely no contradiction of what I said. I have stood in this
place and I have said that the government has taken a decision on this. I have discussed this very, very openly
in the presence of those who were at the meeting with Mrs. Parsons, that the government had made a decision
based on the full knowledge that we had at the time. I said that certainly the discussion was continuing and
would continue on a national basis. I credited her with, in part, bringing this to the national consciousness.
I will continue to do so. There is no hypocrisy there. We looked at the facts. We looked at what we were
responsible for in the health care system and we came to a decision.

This is not to say that the debate is absolutely closed because we have decided not to compensate. The
discussion will persist in terms of the Krever Inquiry report, it will persist on a national level and I am not
shrinking from that debate. I have made my case here in this place. The government has made its case in
terms of compensation for untoward and difficult situations that have occurred in the health care system and
we will continue to do that. But to suggest that I have said one thing here and there, that is simply not true.
I very openly discussed it with Mrs. Parsons. I reiterate that I said the government had made the decision but
that her bringing it to the national consciousness was a credible act.

MS. MCDONOUGH: Mr. Speaker, my final supplementary is simply this, with this issue now on the
national stage, thanks to the courageous efforts of Dianna Parsons, what does this minister intend to do with
that national issue in the national forum of Ministers of Health to try to address this very serious problem of
compensation desperately needed by victims of Hepatitis C?

DR. STEWART: I have made the case on the national stage and at the national meetings of Ministers
of Health. We have discussed it. We have taken the decision as Ministers of Health across the country that
we would not provide compensation for victims of Hepatitis C. There I rest.

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

TRANSPORT.: SALT TRUCKS - MODIFICATIONS

MR. BROOKE TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the honourable Minister of Transportation
and Communications. On the one hand, the government talks about encouraging private enterprise and on
the other hand, they do the exact opposite. Because the Minister of Transportation cut the salt hauling rates
so drastically, many private owner/operators cannot afford to haul. To that effect, the Department of
Transportation at Millers Lake, at the Mechanical Branch, recently retrofitted five tractor trucks with
hydraulic wet line kit. A wet line kit enables the trucks to operate essentially and effectively a dump trailer.
The cost and installation of these kits is several thousand dollars. The department also leased five or six dump
trailers. I wonder if the minister will confirm this was done to haul salt from Pugwash?

HON. RICHARD MANN: Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for letting Nova Scotians know that the
Department of Transportation and Communications had in place equipment ready to transport salt to sheds
in the event that it was necessary.

MR. TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, I would submit the reason it was necessary was because that minister
cut the rates so low that the independent private operator cannot afford to haul anymore. I wonder if the
minister can tell me if he is also planning on cutting the summer gravel and asphalt hauling rates?

MR. MANN: Mr. Speaker, the member obviously has connections in the trucking industry, I would
suspect, that is no secret to anyone in the House and individuals who are probably giving him information to
use in this House. I would suggest he call those individuals and confirm that I have, in fact, signed a letter
with Mr. Colin Sears, the President of the Nova Scotia Truckers Association, confirming that the 1995
summer haul rates will remain as they are.

MR. TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, again I would like to go to the Minister of Transportation. This is the
first winter on record that the Department of Transportation and Communications has ever sent a tractor and
trailer combination up to Pugwash to haul salt and I am wondering if that same combination will be cutting
in during the summer months on the private owner/operator?

MR. MANN: Mr. Speaker, I think that all members of the House who are critical of measures that are
perhaps taken by the Department of Transportation or any department of government for that matter should
consider the consequences if those measures are not taken. These individuals know, they sat here through the
budget debate last year, they sat here through debate on legislation that was introduced regarding a four year
expenditure control plan and they know that budgets within departments and perhaps more so in the
Department of Transportation than a lot of others, those operating budgets have been cut substantially. If
monies are not saved and cost-savings realized in areas such as hauling rates and other initiatives then, in
fact, what may be necessary is to go and deal in saving money with the amount of salt applied to the roads
or the hours salt is applied. Those are not alternatives that we will consider.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley on a new question.

TRANSPORT. - DUMP TRAILERS: LEASING - TENDER DETAILS

MR. BROOKE TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Transportation and
Communications. I wonder if the minister can tell me if his department put out for public tender the leasing
of those five or six dump trailers?

HON. RICHARD MANN: Mr. Speaker, I don’t know that we have signed into a lease on them. I think
what we did was check with companies to see if there were trailers available to be used with their own
equipment if, in fact, it was necessary. I can check on that for the member but I don’t think we have leased
any trailers because we haven’t had the need to use any trailers.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Pictou Centre.

 

 

SYSCO - MINMETALS: SALE AGREEMENT - STATUS

DR. JOHN HAMM: Mr. Speaker, to the Minister of Finance. I have here a document, Joint Operation
Sale and Long Term Agreement between Sysco, the province and Minmetals. Perusal of the document reveals
that the agreement provides that it become effective on January 1, 1995. My question to the minister is, is this
agreement in force today and if so, what is the current status of the previous board of directors?

HON. BERNARD BOUDREAU: Mr. Speaker, the document is in effect as of January 1st. The previous
board of directors is still acting and will act until the first board meeting which will occur early in February.

DR. HAMM: Mr. Speaker, a review of Orders in Council dated January 3rd reveal that the province
has arranged an operating line of credit of some $30 million for Sysco, arranged at two banks, some in
American funds and some in Canadian funds. The document to which I previously made reference, the so-called agreement, indicates that Minmetals shall provide a line of credit in Canada of $10 million to be
available to assist Minmetals implement the terms of the agreement. That arrangement was to be in place as
of January 1st. My question to the minister is, has Minmetals to this date complied and arranged with the
agreed line of credit to which they are honour-bound by this agreement?

MR. BOUDREAU: Mr. Speaker, I believe the agreement speaks, as of January 1st, of a certificate
certifying that Minmetals will have that line of credit and the actual date for the line of credit itself in place
is January 30th. We have indications from them that they have arranged such a line and it will be in place
by January 30th.

DR. HAMM: Mr. Speaker, I take from the minister’s answer then that things are going along
reasonably smoothly.

[3:00 p.m.]

My final supplementary then, again referring to the agreement, Page 10 of the agreement indicates that
Minmetals will appoint five directors and the province four. My question to the minister is, have these
directors been named by the province and by Minmetals? If so, who are they? Or, if he is not prepared to
disclose that, when will the announcement be made?

MR. BOUDREAU: Yes, Mr. Speaker, we have the nominations for the directors, the new board. We
will be making those appointments formally at the first board meeting, effective the first board meeting, and
the announcement will be made at that time.

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

HUMAN RES. - CONTRACTS: AFFIRMATIVE ACTION - COMPLIANCE

MR. JOHN HOLM: Mr. Speaker, on the issue of contract compliance, I want to direct my first
question, if I may, to the Minister of Human Resources. It is not a new topic for the minister. Certainly back
in the Throne Speech of 1993 the government said that the Human Resources Department will develop “. .
. a contract compliance program which ensures that private sector companies wishing to do business with the
government follow generally acceptable policies on pay equity and minority employment opportunities.”. Also
in April of this year she said that was going to be put into process, once the audit of her department was
complete.

My question to the minster is quite simply this, why haven’t you developed such a policy?

HON. ELEANOR NORRIE: Mr. Speaker, that is still in the process as we also develop our updated
tendering policies as has been suggested in the House here earlier this year. It is all part and parcel of the
same package.

MR. HOLM: In the fullness of time we hear, Mr. Speaker. We don’t even know when that is. Last
April I also asked the Minister of Supply and Services about it since his department is responsible for the
tender calls and I wanted to know what his department was doing to ensure that those companies that were
doing business with the government and responding to tender calls were involved in or following acceptable
practices of pay equity and minority employment opportunities - in other words, contract compliance.

The minister said he would bring some results forward in the ensuing weeks. Well, Mr. Speaker, as
of this month, still absolutely zero mention in the contracts tenders called by this minister. I would like to ask
the minister quite simply why it is, since his colleague isn’t prepared to do something, why it is the minister
hasn’t assured - to the Minister of Supply and Services - that those issues are not addressed in the tender calls
that his department puts out?

HON. WAYNE ADAMS: Mr. Speaker, I do believe that the question was answered by the previous
minister, my colleague, who did make reference that we were going to try to make a package of policies and
that one would support the other, in terms of the new tendering policies, the new procurement policies and
enshrined, if you will, with equal opportunity.

I will say, too, in answer to the question, Mr. Speaker, that we do have some ads that are soon going
public for services to buildings that we have severed in the past few months. They will include the first
consideration of displaced employees, which is an act of Affirmative Action.

MR. HOLM: I now think that I have an understanding of how limited this government’s interpretation
is of contract compliance. Mr. Speaker, casinos were a priority of this government . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Question, please. This is a final supplementary. You can put one question, without
any . . .

MR. HOLM: Yes indeed, Mr. Speaker. My final supplementary is going to be to the Minister of
Human Resources. My question quite simply is this, if the government can move very quickly in establishing
casinos, why is it that this government has placed such a low priority on dealing with contract compliance?
Why the low priority when it was so important a couple of years ago?

HON. ELEANOR NORRIE: Mr. Speaker, it is his opinion that this is a low priority. It is certainly not
a low priority within the government. As we develop our policies and work through this issue, definitely it
is a very major concern of this government on how we do, who we hire and who we tender policy work out
to, within the Province of Nova Scotia. We try to deal with it in a way that is fair and competitive and as we
move forward, that will come forward in the fullest of time.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings North.

ERA: INTERNAT. GATHERING OF THE CLANS - FUNDING

MR. GEORGE ARCHIBALD: Mr. Speaker, my question through you is to the Minister responsible
for the Economic Renewal Agency. Yesterday and again this morning, the topic of the International Gathering
of the Clans came up, because this morning at the Public Accounts Committee, staff from your department
were making presentations. SSANS, the Scottish Societies Association of Nova Scotia, represents 40
community groups, which are helping to keep Scottish heritage alive in Nova Scotia. They haven’t been
funded by the province since 1993, however, this year is kind of a special year because it is the year for the
International Gathering of the Clans. They have requested from the government to have enough funding so
that the Gathering of the Clans can take place again this year. I am wondering, will your department fund
SSANS, so that the international gathering can be financially secure this year?

HON. ROSS BRAGG: Mr. Speaker, if the organization that he speaks about made application to our
department, we would consider it.

MR. ARCHIBALD: They indicated to me that they have indeed made requests to the department for
funding. Well, I don’t have copies of the letters, I assume they are in your department. Your department
certainly are familiar with it. Look, we can’t go back, Mr. Speaker, we have got to go through you. Nobody
has informed me, they were turned down. Mr. Dan Brennan, who is an employee of the honourable minister’s,
was at the meeting this morning and he was very familiar with the International Gathering of the Clans and
their request for funds this year. Also, the SSANS’ people have indicated they have been raising money
privately through their own organizations. Forty Scottish societies around the province represent pretty near
every district that the members of the Legislature represent and they are a very important organization. They
have also made a request with the Department of Economic Renewal to match dollar for dollar what they have
been able to raise privately from their associations.

MR. BRAGG: Mr. Speaker, when the honourable member rises for his final supplementary, maybe
he would tell us who he has been talking to, who says we won’t fund them? Let’s get the record straight. We
have not turned them down for funding, nor have they asked for funding. We have said on many occasions
that we are supportive of that event. My understanding of the event is that they are going to do it community
by community and that various communities will be approaching us for assistance, which we are open to
receiving and will try to accommodate. But, I don’t believe, unless the honourable member has more
information than he would like to share, that we have, in fact, been asked or have we turned them down.

MR. ARCHIBALD: Well, SSANS asked for money in 1993 and were turned down, they asked for
money in 1994 and they were turned down. They have also been asking, now I was speaking to the Chairman
of SSANS, Bill MacLennan, do you know him perhaps? I was speaking to him and he has been talking to
people in your department. Now, if there is some confusion between your department and the SSANS
organization, I hope that our discussion in the House does not do anything to disrupt it because it is an
important organization. But, I do want an indication from the minister if he does get confirmation in writing,
directly to his office, will he then agree to fund the International Gathering of the Clans?

MR. BRAGG: Well, Mr. Speaker, this is a difficult issue. He has talked to somebody who says we have
turned them down. Yesterday, the NDP said they had somebody, and we have checked and today I had my
Executive Assistant speak to the President, the gentleman by the name of Jack MacNeil, who is the President
of the organization. He tells me that they are happy with our department, they are working closely with our
staff, we have been nothing but supportive and they have not asked us for financing.

Yesterday, the NDP told us that they have been talking to somebody that was upset and they wrote the
Premier a letter back in June, whoever this Clan Watson Society is. They were very upset and in their closing
comment - and I want to share this with the House - we are starting to believe that unless we are native Indian,
Black or immigrants from any non-English-speaking country, we have no credibility. Mr. Speaker, I want to
tell you that those letters are not acceptable and that we will continue to support the Gathering of the Clans
and the society and help them in any way, as we would any other organization, and that they better talk to the
people in charge.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings West.

HEALTH: NEUROSURGERY - WAITING LIST

MR. GEORGE MOODY: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Health. I had a call today
from Ian Morrison in Bridgewater, who has a broken neck and is unable to work. He told me they may
foreclose on his mortgage. He has called the Minister of Health and he has not received a call back and,
obviously, he has a concern about the number of neurosurgeons in our province. As I understand it, there is
a long waiting list for neurosurgery. Is the minister aware of that long waiting list?

HON. RONALD STEWART: Let me respond, Mr. Speaker, if I could, to two things. First of all, if the
gentleman has called me, I will check our records and see, that is fair game; and second, in terms of the
number of neurosurgeons, we have had a complement of neurosurgeons which, I might say, have been
hardworking and very diligent in their work here; they are known throughout North America and they have
done great work. The complement, as we have seen in the last couple of months, has been decreased. There
has been one taken ill and that is one of the situations we are facing very carefully. The waiting lists, again
I will be receiving a report shortly on this. In view of that fact, I would certainly share it with the honourable
gentleman opposite, if he so wishes.

MR. MOODY: Yes, and I thank the minister for the commitment to call Ian Morrison back, and I am
aware that one surgeon has taken ill and I understand that. I understand, too, that the one that is going to
operate eventually on this young man may be going to Pittsburg in the very near future. I would ask the
minister if he is aware that there is more than one of the present neurosurgeons who is overworked and, as
he said, do an extremely good job, and is the minister aware that there are others possibly leaving within the
next few months?

DR. STEWART: Mr. Speaker, I am aware of the situation to a degree at the Victoria General Hospital,
particularly. I have always felt they were overworked. Frankly, back in 1991 and 1992, I reviewed that
department specifically and made recommendations vis-a-vis this issue and I would certainly think that with
the loss of one of them, that is a serious situation and we have already been inquiring about it.

MR. MOODY: Well, I thank the honourable minister and I thank him for recognizing that the loss
of even one that is presently on staff would be a very serious situation. Since this physician told Mr. Morrison
that he may be going to Pittsburg and may not be around to do that operation, even though he has had a very
long wait, would the minister assure all Nova Scotians that if one or two of these surgeons leave, that the
minister will assure Nova Scotians that if they need an operation, we will either have the surgeons here or pay
for that operation to be done out of province?

DR. STEWART: Yes, Mr. Speaker, there certainly are alternatives in terms of the pressing situations
that might occur in the health care system. We, as a ministry, would be very cautious to look at all of these
issues. I would assure the honourable gentleman opposite that all of those issues are very important to us and,
in fact, the recent discussions we are having in terms of surgical coverage and the discussions with,
particularly, the Victoria General Department of Surgery will be very important in the overall recruitment and
retention of neurosurgery.

There has been a major change there, as the honourable gentleman opposite may know, in that the
division or the Department of Neurosurgery has now become a division of surgery itself. That is important
to the overall approach we take and we are in fairly constant contact with the chief over there.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Opposition.

SPORTS: DIRECTOR OF COMMUNICATIONS - APPOINTMENT

MR. TERENCE DONAHOE: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Human Resources.
Yesterday, I asked the minister if she would confirm that Ms. Angela Manders came in second to a Mr. Colin
Craig in a competition for the job of Director of Communications, Sport and Recreation. The minister thought
that that was the case and indicated, I thought, she would make some inquiries.

I wonder if the minister would indicate today whether or not she has been able to confirm that that was
in fact the case, that Ms. Manders was a close second in the competition in question?

HON. ELEANOR NORRIE: Mr. Speaker, I don’t believe I did confirm that the person he has named
was an applicant. Those names and their scores in the job are confidential and I will not release them, as I
have stated previously in the House.

MR. DONAHOE: Well, that did not seem to be a problem, Mr. Speaker, in relation to handling the
job in the Protocol Office. Not only was the name released, the name of the person who was not the top
candidate was given the job. I find it a little difficult to understand why we now have the double standard
being applied here.

Short of providing a name then, here on the floor of this Legislature, will the minister indicate to this
House whether or not, from her analysis of the file, it is in fact a female person who was a candidate and
finished a close second to the male who was appointed? Will she confirm that?

 

 

[3:15 p.m.]

MRS. NORRIE: Mr. Speaker, the competition was opened up, I am not sure of the number of
applicants. I do know that there were seven persons interviewed for the job, three of those were women, four
were men. In the process of selecting the candidate that was chosen, I am satisfied that the competition was
handled by my staff in a very fair and open way with all the concerns of this government addressed. We now
have a good qualified person in place as the Communications Officer for the Nova Scotia Sports and
Recreation Commission.

MR. DONAHOE: Mr. Speaker, I wonder, then, by way of final supplementary, if the minister would
be prepared to explain here this afternoon and follow that by tabling the government’s affirmative action
policy and point out where in that policy it suggests that the minister should apply affirmative action in some
cases but not in others?

MRS. NORRIE: Mr. Speaker, the Leader of the Official Opposition is obviously on a bit of a fishing
expedition and perhaps maybe he should be. But I would suggest that his questioning of this competition and
the information that he is releasing here is not entirely true. The competition was opened up, as I have stated,
and as a matter of fact, the person who did win the competition was a female. The female was offered the job
and that female turned down the job. The second place candidate was indeed the gentleman who was awarded
the job.

Further to that, Mr. Speaker, in my responsibilities within the Department of Human Resources and
my other areas of responsibility, I have placed 11 persons within government since January 1994. Of those
11, 9 were female and we are applying our affirmative action policies to every competition that takes place.
I will not take second place or be undermined in any way in the way that has been applied through the hiring
policies of this government. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Atlantic.

RULES OF THE HOUSE (AMENDMENT) - POLICY

MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: I would like to have the opportunity to, after getting the direction from
the Acting Premier, to direct my question to the Government House Leader. Mr. Speaker, as I indicated
earlier, on Wednesday, December 14, 1994, I will read from Hansard . . .

MR. SPEAKER: I cannot permit a repetitive lengthy reading of that. Put the question.

MR. CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, let me say that in participating in the debate of that particular day,
December 14th, the Government House Leader said with respect to the changing of rules in this House that
it is not a matter that will be taken lightly, it is not a matter that you can pick and choose, cherry pick I think
the word was, that it is something that should be well researched and there should be a consensus reached by
the committee responsible for doing that. He said further, “. . . 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.”.

Mr. Speaker, my question to the Government House Leader, does this remain a policy of the
government as it was a mere six weeks ago?

HON. RICHARD MANN: Mr. Speaker, with your permission I will answer the question. I think the
Rules of the House indicate that ministers answer questions with regard to their ministerial responsibility so,
with your permission, I would answer the question.

Mr. Speaker, by tradition in this House, I guess the House has looked after its own affairs; situations
have arisen which the House has made decisions, or governments have made decisions, to deal with those
situations that have arisen. I can recall, as a member of this House, and sitting, in fact, on a rules committee
and with unanimous consent, with consensus of everyone, agreeing to rule changes that the Official
Opposition today, who were the government then, I believe took three years, three years after unanimous
consent, to bring those rule changes to the floor of the House.

Mr. Speaker, this decision has not been taken lightly and I would clearly say that the government and
myself, as House Leader, have not violated any of the Rules of the House in dealing with this matter.
(Applause)

MR. CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, as I again indicated earlier, this government, when they were in
Opposition, dealt with extraordinary legislation brought forward by the former administration with the kind
of scrutiny that is double the kind of scrutiny that we have given some of the legislation here. They spent twice
as long reviewing some of that legislation. I would like to ask the Government House Leader, given that
knowledge, given their own knowledge of the kind of scrutiny that legislation will receive here in this
Chamber, why is it that he made that pledge on December 14th and has now gone back on that pledge and
unilaterally are going to impose rule changes without any regard to the Committee on House of Assembly
Matters?

MR. MANN: Mr. Speaker, the member opposite makes reference to the government members when
in Opposition responding very thoroughly to legislation. I would like to think that was the case. I would say
there was a remarkable difference in the 100 hours of debate that we applied to the sale or the privatization
of the Nova Scotia Power Corporation. There is a great deal of difference in 25 members of the Legislature
in Opposition moving through a bill, though the title and clause by clause rather, than sitting here for three
weeks over and over again debating the title with no opportunity to make any changes. (Applause)

MR. CHISHOLM: Well, I guess it depends on what colour your glasses are. (Interruptions) Mr.
Speaker, let me ask the Government House Leader, then, in conclusion.

MR. SPEAKER: Question.

MR. CHISHOLM: Will he do the research that he promised that he would, six short weeks ago, into
the whole question of rule changes, Mr. Speaker, where he will find out that no Legislature places this kind
of arbitrary limit that is being proposed here on (Interruptions) clause by clause consideration of government
legislation? Will he pledge to do here today what he pledged to do on December 14th and that is research the
issue instead of intervening with an arbitrary action by one Party and perhaps by one member?

MR. MANN: Mr. Speaker, I can assure the member opposite that I have done a lot of research on this
matter in recent weeks. Eight of the 10 Legislatures in Canada have very abrupt endings to legislation. They
call them time allocation motions. When that time allocation motion is put, then the House sits longer that
day and each member is given 10 minutes or 15 minutes to debate that motion and then the debate is over and
the debate on the bill is over. In fact, my researchers tell me that in Ontario, for example, this time allocation
provision was brought in in 1992 and has been used 40 or 50 times since 1992 to shut down debate on bills.
In fact, two bills in particular that we had some interest in - I guess because of the timeliness - were the
workers’ compensation bill in Ontario and the casino bill in Ontario. Those two pieces of legislation,
according to our researchers, were given seven hours debate and then a motion of time allocation and the
debate was over. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Opposition. (Interruptions)

Order, please. The honourable Leader of the Opposition has the floor.

EDUC. - SHELBURNE COMMUN. COLLEGE:

 

AQUACULTURE COURSE - VIABILITY

MR. TERENCE DONAHOE: Mr. Speaker, I guess all that last diatribe means is that the people of
Ontario had casinos jammed down their throats in seven hours and the Government House Leader is proud
of that. I guess that is the only translation of that.

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Education. I want to ask the minister if he can tell this
House whether or not he has received correspondence from a student or students from the aquaculture course
in Shelburne Community College which I am advised is in some real difficulty and there are some very real
concerns about the viability of the course and the future prospects for the students in that course. Has he had
a communication? If so, has he acted upon that communication?

HON. JOHN MACEACHERN: Mr. Speaker, we anticipated the question. The letter was sent on - it
was faxed, actually, on January 6th. Our staff did significant research and the letter was responded to on the
21st of January completely. The course, which is a very significant course that we have added to the program
of the community college, was very significant in terms of the preparation required. We made two contracts
to make preparation and both of those were delayed.

I will provide this to all members of the House who are interested in the aquaculture course. There
were some difficulties up until this time. Most of them are resolved. There are a few other difficulties but the
staff in the office of the community college is on top of them and they have reassured the students in the
program that they will have the skills when they leave the course. They have acknowledged the difficulties
and they are working to remedy them.

MR. DONAHOE: Mr. Speaker, my information, relatively current information, is that while there are
investigations and so on, the students are not at all satisfied that the difficulties are being remedied. These
are students who are being asked to pay something like $6,000 a student, much of it funded by CEIC, and that
even now, as we speak, there are course materials unavailable, that the field trips which are supposed to be
or were indicated to be a part of the curriculum, have not been organized and that quite frankly, the student
population has a very real concern that they have not been exposed to the real world and their prospects for
employment at the end of this course are very much in jeopardy. They are very seriously concerned about what
is going to happen.

Could I ask the minister for a commitment today that prompted by these questions here today, he would
make further inquiry of his staff to determine that the course is functioning as it should and that the students
in it are not in any serious jeopardy?

MR. MACEACHERN: Mr. Speaker, through you I will reassure the honourable Leader of the
Opposition and, in fact, all members of the House, that we didn’t need the question in order to do that. I was
speaking to my staff twice this week concerning the matter. In fact it was given to the acting minister last
week. Our staff was on top of it. They are visiting the campus and to further reassure the honourable member,
we had a similar problem in a course that preceded us arriving here, we made sure that the skills that the
students required were there, by bringing in somebody else.

We would not for a moment, Mr. Speaker, send students out into the work force pretending they had
skills. We will assure those students that those skills are provided to them. That is a guarantee we gave to the
students, not only in this course but in the other courses. I reassure the honourable Leader of the Opposition
and all members of the House that we will continue to do that.

[3:30 p.m.]

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

EDUC.: HOME AND SCHOOL ASSOCIATIONS - FUNDING

MR. TERENCE DONAHOE: Mr. Speaker, to the Minister of Education. The minister stood in the
House yesterday and said that he had given the Nova Scotia Federation of Home and School Associations the
grant it had been waiting for since last summer and then he stood up later at the end of the day and said he
hadn’t but perhaps the association could write and ask for it. I have a letter from the association dated October
1994 requesting the funding and making a plea for why they could use more and I have the minister’s
response to the association dated November 9, 1994. He acknowledges the letter and talks about funding but
makes no commitment. I wonder if the minister can offer the real reason that the association has been cut off
by the Department of Education?

HON. JOHN MACEACHERN: Mr. Speaker, that is almost comical but I will speak to the issue. I read
the particular letter that he refers to and the letter is complaining about not having the 3 per cent, it does not
request the money for 1995. In fact, the money was budgeted for, the money is available and as I said to the
honourable member yesterday, with an official request from them for the money, we will provide it. I would
suggest to the honourable Leader of the Opposition that we budget the money but we would be irresponsible
to start shipping out money if it wasn’t required. So, we require that they ask us for the money and we will
provide it.

If the honourable Leader of the Opposition would table the letter for all members of the House, he
would see that there is no particular request for that money, it is simply complaining that we are not giving
them enough and complaining about the reduction and my letter addresses that complaint.

MR. DONAHOE: Mr. Speaker, in a related matter the organization indicates to me that the minister’s
comments yesterday to the effect that secretarial assistance was being provided to the association hasn’t been
forthcoming and the association asks if this is an indication of a new commitment by the minister to the
association?

 

 

MR. MACEACHERN: Mr. Speaker, if I might, I would suggest that the honourable Leader of the
Opposition in his next conversation to the leader of the home and school, if she wishes to negotiate with us
she can do that; if she wishes to negotiate with the Leader of the Opposition, he can provide the assistance.
(Interruption)

MR. DONAHOE: Mr. Speaker, that sounds to me like pretty small-minded arrogance, if I may say so.
I ask the minister by way of final supplementary so that there can be absolutely no question, since the
members of the association are prepared to talk to me and have been unable to get satisfaction in their
attempts to communicate with the minister, I would like to communicate an accurate answer and commitment
back from the Minister of Education, would the Minister of Education say to me in this House now that if this
association brings him tomorrow a letter requesting $10,000 assistance which had earlier been promised and
secretarial assistance, that the minister will provide both?

MR. MACEACHERN: Mr. Speaker, what I said yesterday and what we budgeted very clearly for was
$10,000 minus the 3 per cent. I told the honourable Leader of the Opposition yesterday and I repeat today that
when the letter comes requesting that, it will be provided. I might mention to all members of the House that
last year there was discussion, one request by the Home and School Association to meet with me. I met with
them without hesitancy and I offer that as well. Any time that any association that is involved with education
in Nova Scotia wishes to speak with us on any issue, we would be pleased to do that and I re-offer that in the
House of Assembly today.

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

NAT. RES.: FORESTRY AGREEMENT (CAN.-N.S.) - ACTION

MR. BROOKE TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the honourable Minister of Natural
Resources. The Province of Quebec recently negotiated and secured an extension to their current Canada-Quebec Forestry Agreement. I surely hope that Nova Scotia is afforded the same treatment and the same
opportunity that Quebec receives. I had the opportunity and the pleasure of attending a meeting of the Forest
Group Ventures of Nova Scotia in Truro on Saturday and the Minister of Natural Resources was there. Also
in attendance was the Chairperson of the federal Parliamentary Standing Committee on Natural Resources,
the Central Nova Liberal MP, Roseanne Skoke. The chairperson of that standing committee suggested that
there will be no federal funds coming in relation to a new Nova Scotia-Canada Forestry Agreement and I am
wondering if the minister, in light of her comments, is going to take a different approach to securing a
possible Nova Scotia Forestry agreement? I might add that the minister said, I didn’t say, but the member from
Central Nova said, that she felt that we didn’t have a strong enough voice coming out of Nova Scotia, she
commented that. I am just wondering if the minister feels that he should take a different approach to securing
an agreement, based on those comments?

HON. DONALD DOWNE: As we go through this again, for it must be the tenth time debating this
issue. Clearly, to begin with the information the member opposite refers to in regard to the Quebec situation
is, in fact, information I gave him and information that I have written to every MP from Nova Scotia pointing
out this fact that there was an extension to a program within the Quebec Forestry Agreement for an extension,
a period of time and use that, in fact, as an argument on behalf of Nova Scotia for an extension or for the
ability to be able to sit at the table and negotiate an agreement. So, that information he is referring to is, in
fact, information that I have presented to him as critic to be aware of what types of activities we are doing as
a ministry as well as to reassure to the Members of Parliament in Ottawa that they are to be as tenacious on
this matter on our behalf.

Now, in regard to the meeting on Saturday that the member attended for which I was very honoured
to represent the province there. In fact, I might point out that Group Venture was established back in the
1970’s by the Liberal Government and I might point out I believe I am the only minister that has attended any
of their annual meetings since 1974 or 1975 or whenever the organization was established. Now, showing the
support of the Group Venture Program to this province, the 18 organizations are very important to us all.

Now, if I recall correctly, sitting in the audience listening to Ms. Skoke, the MP for Central Nova, she
made it very clear to the industry and to the province, as is my understanding, my interpretation of her
comments, that all Nova Scotians should be aware of the importance of these agreements and I concur. Ms.
Skoke made it very clear to organizations such as Group Venture that they need to be more vocal and more
visible about the importance of these agreements and I concur with her as we have worked together so well
over the last eight months to a year on this issue, she would attest to the effort that this province and this
minister has made on this issue and will continue to do so.

MR. TAYLOR: I too, was very pleased that the Minister of Natural Resources did attend that meeting.
I am also pleased that the Minister of Natural Resources concurred that the federal member suggested that
the voice from Nova Scotia is not very effective. I am pleased that he, at least, concurs with my assessment.
Now, there are two stories that don’t add up here, Mr. Speaker. I have asked that minister for a copy of letters
that he has sent and he has said on different occasions, many occasions, that he had sent numerous letters to
different people regarding the procurement of Nova Scotia-Canada federal forestry agreement. Now, he told
me that he would forward a copy, I have yet to receive a copy. Again, this begs a question. So, far I haven’t
received a copy of any of those letters. I have to ask the minister, will he table a copy of the letter, his most
recent correspondence that he sent to the federal Minister of Natural Resources, I believe her name is Anne
McLellan.

MR. DOWNE: I want to just clarify a point the member made and he has a tendency to kind of want
to spin words as per spin doctors appoint in assessing the meeting. I don’t think this member has the right to
say that the industry of this province has been sitting on their laurels. I want you to know that, yes, we all
continue to fight this issue strongly. (Interruption) Well, that is fine, that is what Ms. Skoke said, that is fine
that Ms. Skoke said what she said. I am telling this member opposite that every organization, whether it is
the members of the Maritime Lumber Bureau, the Nova Scotia Forest Products Association or the Group
Venture organization or all the organizations in this province have been fighting hard on this issue. For that
member opposite to turn around and say that representatives of those organizations, reputable organizations
in this province, are not doing enough, then I want to say that is not what this minister is saying, that is what
the member opposite is saying.

I want you to be assured, Mr. Speaker, and members of this House, that we are putting a concerted
effort forward on behalf of this ministry, as all the industry is concerned, to make this issue a very visible,
vocal issue in Ottawa. I want to inform the members of this House that in the early part of February, I, as
Minister of Natural Resources; the Minister for the Economic Renewal Agency, the Honourable Ross Bragg;
the Minister of Agriculture, the Honourable Wayne Gaudet; and the Minister of Fisheries, the Honourable Jim
Barkhouse will be in Ottawa bringing this issue forward at the federal level with the appropriate ministers
and we will resoundingly bring forward the concerns of these agreements to the ministers appropriate.

MR. TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, after that somewhat petulant discourse, I must ask the minister, through
you, of course, the minister has made another statement recently. I think it was back on December 15th and
I promise not to read Hansard and I know you will not allow me. But he said something along the line that
you cannot negotiate an extension to a present agreement - something Quebec was able to do.

I am going to ask the minister if he is trying to negotiate an extension to the current agreement? Surely
to Heavens there should be an answer to this question, just a plain simple yes or a simple no.

MR. DOWNE: Mr. Speaker, I remember the member opposite at the meeting that took place in Truro
indicating that, as far as he was concerned, the governments of the day should go and borrow and go deeper
into debt to look after these programs. This is the kind of mentality.

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

EDUC. - FUNDING FORMULA REVIEW: REPORT - RECOMMENDATIONS

MR. JOHN HOLM: Mr. Speaker, I would like to direct my question through you, sir, to the Minister
of Education. My first question is just, quite simply, has the minister received the reports and
recommendations of the Funding Formula Review Committee and has the government made any decisions
on those recommendations?

HON. JOHN MACEACHERN: No, Mr. Speaker.

MR. HOLM: Mr. Speaker, he has not received it yet. (Interruption) No, I have not either, I would say
to the Minister of Transportation answering his question. But yesterday, the Minister of Education told this
House, in response to a question that I asked, that school boards have been given their budgets back in
December and so that they are able to plan. I have contacted a number of school boards, or my office has, and
found out that what in fact they were given were very preliminary figures back in November. They were told
that they are, indeed, preliminary and that they may change quite dramatically.

So my question to the minister is quite simply this, was the minister inadvertently misleading this
House yesterday, or have those figures been made official?

MR. MACEACHERN: Mr. Speaker, if I might, to the honourable member, there was no suggestion
at all to the boards and he is misleading the House I would suggest, in assuming that or someone is misleading
him. I would suggest that we gave them the numbers and we told them that there might be some small
changes, but they can plan on those numbers. We told them that and I repeat it in this House.

For the honourable member to suggest that just because the Funding Formula Review Committee has
not reported back to us, that is in terms of long-range changes that might occur, Mr. Speaker, not in terms
of every budgetary year. It is indicating, for example, they may suggest that a board with a particular
population size might require additional monies of a particular kind. Special education money should be
adjusted in the following way. Those things come back to us from that committee and they advise us.

I repeat to the honourable member, through you, and to all members of the House, the numbers given
last November-December to those boards are numbers that they can work on confidently for the next year, Mr.
Speaker.

MR. HOLM: Mr. Speaker, I certainly also know that the Funding Formula Review Committee makes
a lot of recommendations and those recommendations are either accepted, rejected or modified and then put
into effect for that coming school year.

[3:45 p.m.]

Mr. Speaker, my last question to the minister is quite simply this, and the minister has argued, quite
correctly, that they want to eliminate any waste that exists and they want to make sure there isn’t a waste of
either energy, time or money. My question to the minister is this, then, if that is the position of the
government and if the government is planning amalgamations, will the government tell the boards not to
bother preparing their budgets, which would be a waste of time and energy and money which will have to be
duplicated again, until the government has made up its mind what its plans are for the next school year?

MR. MACEACHERN: Mr. Speaker, with all due respect to the honourable member’s understanding
of school financing, I would suggest to him that the assignment of staff, based on the enrolment, the
assignment of programs and all those things that cost money can be done. They can do this and I can assure
the honourable member, through you and to all members of the House, that, in fact, it is being done in most
boards.

If somebody has informed him that there are one or more boards not doing that, I would suggest that
he call them and suggest that they get on with the job because again, the numbers that we gave in November
and December, they can go ahead and do this and the changes in board structures, if any, will not affect that,
Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings North.

ERA - AIRPORT (HFX. INTERNAT.): HOTEL - DEMOLITION

MR. GEORGE ARCHIBALD: Mr. Speaker, through you to the Minister for the Economic Renewal
Agency. Over the weekend I talked to Mr. Don Wallace, who wishes to rebuild or build that airport hotel that
is out there. He has about one-third of the financing in place. The federal government has indicated it is going
to cost $1 million to tear the building down; about $500,000 would put windows and bricks in it, so it would
look finished while they do the work on the inside.

He indicates also that he has financing to complete the job but it is just going to take a little bit more
time. I am wondering if the minister would ask the federal government to give a little more time to Mr.
Wallace, so he can arrange the financing, something he has had great difficulty doing, as you well know, so
that he could have time to make an asset out of what would be just a hole in the ground?

HON. ROSS BRAGG: Mr. Speaker, let’s get the facts out before we go any further. Mr. Wallace had
over six months to arrange his financing. Mr Wallace is an outstanding business person and runs a variety
of successful business ventures. If he has been unable to arrange financing, even after he found one-third of
the financing, through the Immigrant Investor Program, he could not find the rest after six months, a man
of his calibre and ability, and I have seen the list of the financial institutions he approached, I don’t believe
there is anything else we can do.

As we discussed here in the past in the Legislature, the provincial government is following a policy
started by the previous administration, not to get involved in financing hotels in the metropolitan area. We
have had various discussions, we have asked if we could help Mr. Wallace get involved in some other
immigrant investments. We have given him some names of people and introductions to people. We have done
everything we can possibly do to help him.

If he needs assistance to get the federal government to give him an extension on the demolition, I
would be delighted to write a letter to Mr. Young to do that. It is certainly an issue that is between the federal
Government of Canada and the minister and Mr. Wallace.

MR. ARCHIBALD: Mr. Speaker, I know that the letter the minister indicates he will write will be of
great assistance to Mr. Wallace in his dealings with the federal government.

Mr. Speaker, through you again to the minister, the federal government also indicates that they are
going to spend $1 million to tear the building down. In that letter would the minister also ask the federal
government, rather than spend $1 million to tear it down, why don’t they donate that $1 million to the hotel
project so that an asset can be created and it would be better than wasting the money tearing down a perfectly
good structure?

MR. BRAGG: Mr. Speaker, I have already said that I will write a letter to the federal minister, urging
him to reconsider giving the proponent an extension. What I will not do is get involved in the decision-making process or the financial impact that the federal government will deal with in this project.

I think if the members opposite are so concerned, they should talk to their federal Members of
Parliament. I believe they have one in the Valley also. Perhaps they should even consider resigning their seat
here and running for the federal Parliament, if that is where their interests lie.

MR. ARCHIBALD: Mr. Speaker, I was not suggesting, through you to the Minister for the Economic
Renewal Agency, for a minute that the province do any financing. I was merely asking the minister to write
a letter, and he has agreed to do that. Mr. Wallace has also, I want him to know, they have done an economic
study showing that this airport hotel would have no adverse effect on the other hotels in the metro area. So,
I will certainly forward to Mr. Wallace the information we have received today and I know that he will await
with great anticipation the letter to go to the federal minister.

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

EDUC. - SCHOOL BUS DRIVERS: TRAINING - STANDARDIZE

MR. BROOKE TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the honourable Minister of Education. Our
office received a call the other day asking why our children’s school bus drivers are not given a standard
training course. I wonder if the minister is considering setting up a standard or mandatory school bus driver
training course for all drivers in Nova Scotia? I understand Judge Curran has forwarded such a
recommendation.

HON. JOHN MACEACHERN: Mr. Speaker, first of all I would like to inform the honourable member
that they are not employees of the Department of Education and the training of bus drivers rests with the
board. If the honourable member is basically putting a request that we see if such a thing could be done, I
would be pleased to do that. We could only suggest that it be done because, in fact, it is not under our
auspices. But I would be pleased to do that if that is the request of the honourable member.

MR. TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, if I heard the minister right, he is telling me that the bus drivers’ training
is the responsibility of the individual boards but I wonder if the minister does not believe that when
transporting our very young to and from schools, sometimes in some very trying weather conditions and
things of that nature, does he believe himself that all drivers within our province should meet a standard for
provincial training criteria?

MR. MACEACHERN: Mr. Speaker, I am a bit puzzled. Is the honourable member suggesting that the
school boards are putting people to drive buses in the Province of Nova Scotia who are not trained and put
the students at risk because that is what the honourable member is saying. I have had no letters of any kind
or no instruction that that is so. It is my understanding that the bus drivers across Nova Scotia are well trained
and the safety of the students is the major concern of all the boards and that is my understanding. If the
honourable member knows of a particular case where there is not a qualified bus driver who is trained to
protect the students, I would be more than pleased to take that information and deal with it personally.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley on a new question.

COMMUN. SERV. - COL. CO.: SOCIAL WORKERS - CASE LOADS

MR. BROOKE TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Community Services. The
review into the Lunenburg Family and Children’s Services Agency recommended the case load of social
workers across Nova Scotia be reduced so there will be a far less chance of anything such as the situation in
Lunenburg ever happening again. I had the opportunity to recently go over child protective service statistics
from the minister’s department and it showed that the average case load, per social worker, averaged some
29.2 cases in Colchester County.

I am hearing that some social workers are very stressed out and we just talked about stress and things
in a bill I know you would forbid me from talking about in Question Period. I am hearing that workers are
stressed out, in fact, with case loads, some 20 or so. My question is, does the minister expect this case load
to be reduced in the near future?

HON. JAMES SMITH: Mr. Speaker, certainly there are issues that recommendations came from the
Lunenburg agency review but it also has been highlighted in other areas. We have actually recently put in
extra workers within the Lunenburg community, certainly in the Dartmouth area as well. I think the area of
29 would certainly be a good area to be looking as a goal. It is a difficult job and it is one that we want to take
as much of the stress off as we are able.

We are looking forward to making good reductions and shoot for case loads that are manageable and
I certainly will make an undertaking to the House, as I have to our department, that the initiatives will be
coming forward and we are looking forward to this next year to be considerably reducing those case loads.

MR. SPEAKER: Is there a question from the NDP? We have time for one short snapper.

The honourable member for Halifax Fairview.

HEALTH - BERKELEY CONSULTING: REPORT - AVAILABILITY

MS. ALEXA MCDONOUGH: Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask the Minister of Health a question,
specifically, about the Berkeley Consulting contract, an untendered contract that came to public light in the
fall. My question to the minister is whether the consulting contract report from the Berkeley Group is now
available and will he be releasing it publicly in the very near future?

HON. RONALD STEWART: Mr. Speaker, I have not seen the report in full and I would suspect that
it would be available shortly. I will check, though, and I can let you know then.

MR. SPEAKER: A short supplementary?

MS. MCDONOUGH: Will the minister agree today to table the terms of reference that pertain to that
Berkeley study in participation of the release of the Berkeley Report?

DR. STEWART: Mr. Speaker, I believe those are contained in the report itself in the preamble, but
I will double check and certainly see to that.

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

MR. BROOKE TAYLOR: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. During my last question to the Minister
of Natural Resources, he suggested that up in Truro at the Nova Scotia Group Venture Association meeting
that I said we should borrow and borrow and further add to our deficit. I never made any such comment. What
I did say was that money invested in the forestry, for every $1.00 in the first taxation year, government sees
a return of $1.38 in the first year. That member who suggested up there, that he will soon be shuffled out of
this Cabinet, for him to stand up and say that is entirely erroneous.

MR. SPEAKER: Order. There is no point of order. (Interruption) A good point, perhaps, but not a
point of order.

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. 1420.

Res. No. 1420, re Nat. Res. - Uranium Exploration: Decision - Make - notice given Jan. 9/95 - (Mr.
R. Russell)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Hants West.

MR. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, this Resolution No. 1420 was introduced in the House on
January 9th by myself and it was with regard to uranium mining and it reads:

“Whereas the Minister of Natural Resources was extremely vague when questioned about his
government’s plans for uranium mining when asked in this Legislature on Tuesday, November 29th; and

Whereas it is a proven fact that uranium waste products are just as deadly as the prime product,
whether it be from mining or power generation; and

Whereas the present moratorium on uranium mining in Nova Scotia expires at the end of this month;

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Natural Resources come forth sooner, rather than later,
and make it clear to Nova Scotians that uranium exploration or mining will not be permitted in Nova Scotia.”.

Mr. Speaker, since introducing that resolution and others, I have questioned the minister on several
occasions with regard to uranium mining. The reason that I have done that is because I have very definite
views on uranium mining, as do thousands of other Nova Scotians.

Mr. Speaker, for the benefit of all in this House and others, I think we, first of all, should be aware that
uranium is a heavy metal that appears in quantities in many countries in this world and Canada itself is,
indeed, very rich in uranium deposits. But it is, as we well know, a radioactive metal and it has all those
disadvantages associated with those metals or elements that are radioactive.

It takes, Mr. Speaker, 4.5 billion years for uranium to reach its half-life stage, at which time it has
progressed down the chain and become a metal known as thorium. It further breaks down over the next 5
billion or 6 billion years through the stage of radium, radon gas, polonium and then bismuth and then, finally,
it becomes inert when it becomes a lead.

Mr. Speaker, to get to uranium and to commence mining, the surface burden must, obviously, be
removed, because in Nova Scotia, the uranium is generally very close to the surface and it is lying, normally,
in granite rock. So to get down to the rock level and to take out the ore, the overburden must be removed.
Some of that overburden is also radioactive, but to a lesser extent. However, once you have disturbed that level
of top soil, that permits a much greater amount of radiation to escape from the bedrock because the
overburden, in actual fact, acts as a cover to the permeation of radiation.

So once you get the rock out from the ground, Mr. Speaker, and you start moving it around and start
the initial crushing, then you are starting to create dust. This dust is radioactive. It can be picked up by
airborne currents, by the wind and it can be distributed over many miles. In fact, it is not unknown for the
airborne radioactive particles to arrive at a destination perhaps 40 to 50 miles from where the actual mining
is taking place.

[4:00 p.m.]

Also, Mr. Speaker, this dust that is being collected is also capable of being leached by rain and by snow
and permeating the soil and finally ending up in the water table.

Now, Mr. Speaker, we know that radiation has been proven, without any doubt or argument, to cause
various forms of cancer and to be a large contributor to cancer in other cases. Many of those who were
engaged in early research on radioactive materials, and you can think back to the time of Marie and Pierre
Curie, Conrad Röntgen, et cetera, working on x-rays, et cetera, and, for that matter, miners in Saskatchewan
who have worked mining uranium, that indeed, the proximity to radioactive material is fraught with danger.

Mr. Speaker, a tremendous amount of ore must be removed from the ground to obtain a uranium
product which is suitable for further processing. In fact, to gain four to five pounds of uranium in a fairly raw
state, approximately 2,000 pounds, or a ton of ore, must be processed through the milling process.

Now in the milling process, Mr. Speaker, what we are really doing is putting the rock through a
crushing process, mixing it with various chemicals, et cetera, to remove the uranium and, at the same time,
we are again creating a great deal of dust that can carry in wind currents, et cetera, for a long period, a long
distance.

Now, Mr. Speaker, this dust in the atmosphere can be deposited by rain or snow or can just fall out
simply by virtue of gravity, onto plants, et cetera. The plants, in turn, may well be eaten by - well directly, I
guess, by people, if there was a vegetable crop, but most of the time it will fall on grasslands or in woodlands,
where those plants will be eaten by animals and, in turn, in many cases the animals will be eaten by humans
and the radioactive poisoning just spreads up through the food chain, very similar to what occurred, as we all
know, with regard to mercury in the food chain, ending up in tuna off our coast. A few years back we had to
stop the consumption of tuna from our local coasts, because of the high mercury content. The same thing
happens with radioactive material.

So anyway, Mr. Speaker, the ore goes through the process of milling and we finish up with a product
known as yellow cake. First of all, yellow cake is yellow, a dry powder which is compressed and that is the
end product from this initial mining process. Ninety-eight percent of what is removed from the mining
product ends up as tailings, 98 per cent of the total tonnage.

Mr. Speaker, the 98 per cent that is removed, after crushing and mixing with chemicals and other
liquids, forms a waste which is a slurry or a sludge in liquid form and has to go to a tailings pond to settle out.
Now, that sounds fairly simply I suppose in that a tailings pond is not very difficult to set up. You have to
make sure that you have something that is incapable of leaking or damage from, I suppose, fire except that
it may indeed cause a breach in the tailings pond. But, the thing is, the problem with these tailings ponds is
not setting them up initially. Where you are dealing with radioactive material, you are setting up a tailings
pond that is not going to be in existence for 20 or 30 years, you are setting up a pond that is going to be in
position there for hundreds of years and must be continuously maintained for hundreds of years to ensure that
the radioactive material produced does not escape.

At the present time, as the minister I am sure, when he gets to his feet if he does indeed intend to get
to his feet will tell us, not to worry because there is no market for uranium at the present time anyway and I
agree that the price of uranium is depressed at the present time. In fact, the receipts in Canada for yellow cake,
I believe, were over $1 billion back about seven or eight years ago and now the total value, I think, of yellow
cake that is being produced in Canada is down to something in the order of $500-$600 million, so in other
words, the price of yellow cake has decreased. The output is around the same but the actual dollar value of
the product has fallen in half.

 

 

Mr. Speaker, that is why I think that the people in the constituencies of Hants and Lunenburg are
saying, no, to the formation of a uranium mine. Canada has no use, for industrial purposes, any increase in
supply of uranium. The only uranium that we use in this country besides research is essentially for the
production of electricity. However, the product that is presently being produced by the Province of
Saskatchewan is capable of supporting this country without any problem whatsoever, until the year 2025. In
fact, there will always be a surplus that will have to be exported. So, what is the advantage of a mine? Well,
it is going to provide a few jobs, probably something in the order to 20 or 25 jobs and I am sure that the
residents of Hants West would welcome jobs and I am sure they would in Lunenburg County. But I am not
sure and the people in those areas are not sure that it is worth the risk of taking the few jobs that would
materialize when you weigh them against the cost of the environment and the potential health risk that would
be occasioned by commencing a mine. Particularly when you consider that that particular area, of course, does
not have serviced water and sewage to their residences and they have to rely on wells, primarily dug wells.
Anything that would affect the water table would destroy any property values whatsoever in that area and
there are a large number of persons living in that area.

Mr. Speaker, the purpose of bringing this to the Legislature today is to convince the government to
extend the present moratorium. The reasons are simply those that I have described to this point, plus the fact
that I think the situation has not radically changed since1990, when the last moratorium was put in place; that
is the moratorium that will expire in a few days from now, on January 31, 1995. The only thing that has
possibly changed has been the position of Premier John Savage when, back in 1985, he was one of a panel
of three doctors who came out very strongly against the mining of uranium in this province.

Nothing has changed since that time; there has been nothing that says that uranium mining today is
safer than it was back in 1985, nothing that I know of, anyway. Now I see the minister smiling, maybe he has
thought of something. But anyway, as far as I know and I think as far as we have been able to determine in
our particular area, nothing has changed.

Now, Mr. Speaker, we are not asking the Minister of Natural Resources to say no to uranium mining
forever. We are simply saying, put the matter on hold for a further period of five years and during that five
years perhaps things will change, perhaps they will overcome those problems that are generated by uranium
mining, that are still being generated in other uranium mines across this province.

I don’t know why there is a reluctance by this government to do that, unless there is some hidden
agenda there, Mr. Speaker. I don’t know, is there a hidden agenda? Does the minister know some mining
company that is going to move in there, come February 1st, and start exploring a mine? Thank you, Mr.
Speaker, I have a minute left.

I hope that is not so, Mr. Speaker. But, nevertheless, it takes very little effort for this minister, this
government and this Premier to come out and say no to uranium mining in Nova Scotia for a further period
of five years. They signed the Order in Council and bingo, for five more years we have peace of mind, for five
more years the industry has the opportunity to make their case that, indeed, they can mine uranium safety.
Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Natural Resources.

HON. DONALD DOWNE: Mr. Speaker, I want to say that I do appreciate the opportunity to discuss
this matter today. In fact I compliment the member opposite for bringing the issue forward, as I believe he
has brought the issue forward as a matter of concern and as a representative of the area that people have
brought these concerns forward. In that light, I do respect the fact that this issue is brought to the legislative
floor for discussion, as it has been brought here previously in Question Period. I believe the member is
obviously representing his constituency in a very positive way. Certainly I respect the way it has been
presented.

I want to point out a little background if I may, Mr. Speaker, just for the members’ interest. Exploration
of uranium did take place in the Province of Nova Scotia from 1977 to 1981, about a four year period. Of
course that was during the time that uranium prices were extremely high and there was a lot of interest in
uranium mining in Canada.

Between 1977 and 1981 the exploration industry spent about $16 million in exploration activities and
contributed to the economy approximately $4 million. Uranium deposits at Millet Brook, Hants County, were
discovered in 1978 and Millet Brook was considered a significant discovery at that time. As the member
opposite pointed out very well, times change and history and as time goes on, things do have a tendency to
change. What was important and significant at that time obviously is not very important or significant today,
based on the fact, as the member opposite pointed out, the price for uranium in Canada right now is less than
$9.00 a pound and we would need, for example, in that particular site, prices between $50 and $70 plus, a
pound, to make that operation even viable.

I think the member opposite made it very clear, and I compliment him for his research, that Canada
is very rich in uranium and there are many jurisdictions in this country that have much more significant
deposits and, in fact, a higher grade than what we have in the Province of Nova Scotia.

[4:15 p.m.]

At a time when the industry prices, commodity prices are as low as they are, obviously, the industry,
if they are going to mine it, are going to go and gravitate to where they can get a return on investment. And
that certainly is in every other province other than the Province of Nova Scotia with regard to the present
pricing structure and the quality of the uranium that we have.

I think the honourable member opposite brought this forward to point out also that other jurisdictions
in Canada that have uranium also have the ability to mine that uranium. In fact, I believe the Province of
Nova Scotia is the only province in all of Canada that has said no to uranium mining. Now, whether or not
they have brought that decision, based on a sensitivity issue, an emotional issue, I would assume that many
of the provinces in Canada, in fact, have made their decision, predicated their decision based on good science
and knowledge.

Now, either every province in Canada is stupid, or bad, or not concerned about the environment; are
not concerned about the health and safety of their people and we are, or in fact, we have really maybe reacted
to the issue without doing the study or the science to determine whether or not uranium mining is bad or good.

I would assume that the Province of Saskatchewan or the other provinces of this country like British
Columbia, do have a government and have had governments that have been very concerned about the
economic well-being and health of their people very similar to the Province of Nova Scotia, which also is
concerned about the economic well-being and health of their people in all forms.

In 1982, the moratorium on uranium exploration and mining was imposed and the McCleave Inquiry
was established. Three years later, in 1985, the government of the day extended the moratorium for a five year
period. Along with the 1985 extension, an inter-departmental uranium committee was established. Now, I
want to point out to the honourable members of the House here and to the public of Nova Scotia, that was
about 10 years ago. And 10 years ago the previous administration said in their wisdom and I concur, an inter-departmental committee should be established and that committee consist of representatives of the Department
of Health, who have no interest in mining but have an interest in the health and safety of the people of Nova
Scotia. They also involved in that committee the members and staff of the Department of the Environment,
obviously they are out there to look after the environmental security of the Province of Nova Scotia for its
people. And, of course, the Department of Natural Resources, that is always well-balanced in trying to have
an understanding and with regard to the science of mining as well as the economic and social well-being of
its people.

Now, that study has been going on for 10 years and it was brought forward and I honestly believe that
if it were such a pressing issue back in 1985, that they would have asked that report to be fast-tracked or
moved forward as quickly as possible. The reality is that the report has only come to my attention in
November 1994.

In 1990, going back in history a bit, first the extension and the moratorium has been put in again in
1985 and again in 1990 the moratorium was extended for a five year period until at least 1995 and the inter-departmental committee’s work was going on. I want to make it very clear to the honourable member opposite
and to the number of Nova Scotians, that obviously, it is a very emotional issue and I respect that. I respect
the people who have brought these issues forward and I respect the honourable member opposite for bringing
this matter forward as well, because I believe that he is truly trying to represent his people in a fair way.

There is no magic to the date of January 31, 1995. If the Cabinet of the day does not make a decision
on the inter-departmental recommendations, the moratorium will remain in effect. I want to say this again,
if I haven’t said it already four or five times in previous discussions, the moratorium will remain in effect until
such time as we, as a government, make a decision.

Now, as Minister of Natural Resources, I want to make it very clear that I will not comment at this
point on the inter-departmental committee recommendations. The recommendations in the reports are to be
dealt with by Cabinet and will be dealt with at the time of Cabinet. But I want to point out again, in December
1989, just prior to the 1990 decision to add an extension of a five year period to the moratorium, ministers
at the time were Jack MacIsaac, John Leefe and David Nantes, clearly stated in the recommendation that was
presented to Cabinet that the uranium moratorium shall continue until at least 1995.

In our interpretation of the Cabinet memorandum, in the term at least until 1995, clearly states to the
member opposite, who at the time was a member of Cabinet if I recall, and members opposite, who clearly
realize that that terminology, until at least 1995, means that, in fact, it can go on as long as the government
of the day wishes it to go on.

I want to inform the members that we have accepted that. This would indicate that there is no need
for us, as a government, Mr. Speaker, as the previous government has stated earlier, to make hasty decisions
on this extremely sensitive issue.

MR. RONALD RUSSELL: On a point of order, the minister is saying that the moratorium was
extended until at least 1995. That may have been the recommendation, but the actual action was to extend
the moratorium until January 31, 1995, a date definite.

MR. DOWNE: Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the sensitivity to the question. I am telling the member
opposite and informing this House, as well as the people throughout the Province of Nova Scotia, through this
discussion and as through our letters, that clearly states that the moratorium in effect will stay in place until
we as a government decide to make a change. That takes either an Order in Council or a Cabinet decision.
The memorandum to Cabinet, signed by the three ministers at the time stated: “The moratorium shall continue
until at least January 31, 1995.”.

The point I am trying to make here is that we indicated, and I am sure the member opposite
understands all too well, that we do not want to make a very hasty decision. This administration, Mr. Speaker,
has had this issue to deal with for quite some time. I believe the member opposite would agree that they have
really looked at this issue since the late 1980’s. They have dealt with it again and again through a process of
a moratorium and asked for 10 years that an inter-departmental committee do a study, coming back with some
factual, scientific, academic points of view, proving the test, as it were.

Well, I want to inform the House and members here today that this is a sensitive issue and our
government will not, and I, as minister, will not be pushed into making a decision, a rash decision, for which
we have been in power 18 months, Mr. Speaker. They were dealing with this for in excess of 10, 12 or 14
years and they did not make a decision. We, obviously, are not going to make a decision in regard to this
(Interruption) on the basis of a hasty decision. In fact, I listened to this member opposite with a great deal of
respect and I did not interrupt at any time. So we will not be making a hasty decision, but I want to inform
the members opposite and the general public that until the Cabinet makes a decision, this moratorium in effect
is still in place.

You know, I believe that we must consider the facts and the advancements that have been made. The
member opposite made the comment, that hidden agenda. I know he does not mean that we would ever
consider a hidden agenda, but the reality is that the advancements that have been made in the industry to date
and the environmental type of review process, certainly, that we have in the Province of Nova Scotia, that,
clearly, if the issue is uranium mining in Saskatchewan, Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, Ontario,
Quebec or any other jurisdiction in this great country, was so degrading to the environment or to the people,
obviously they would have imposed the same process.

So, Mr. Speaker, in concluding here today, I will refer again (Interruption) No, no, you guys have had
your chance. You have had 15 years on this issue. Let me finish my speech.

MR. TERENCE DONAHOE: I am just curious as to whether or not the minister might happen to have
in his materials here with him today, a copy of the Order in Council under which the moratorium was
established and, if so, might he table it?

MR. DOWNE: Mr. Speaker, I do not have a copy of that with me today. So I am sorry, I will not be
able to table it to your satisfaction today. But I want to say that the Cabinet will be weighing the pros and cons
of this. How long do I have?

MR. SPEAKER: Three minutes.

MR. DOWNE: Oh, gee, great. (Interruption) Well, I am not as fast as I used to be, maybe I could only
walk over. I am a little out of shape from sitting in the House. I am so out of shape from sitting in the House
for 107 or 108 or 109 days that we have been in the Legislative Assembly debating for hours and hours the
titles of the bills that no wonder, Mr. Speaker, we are a little out of shape. In fact you know I can understand
that if they were wanting to deal with the substance of issues in the House, in the Legislative Assembly in the
Province of Nova Scotia, that we would be moving forward on the important issues that we are supposed to,
instead of just hearing rhetoric on the title of the bill. (Interruptions)

In fact, I think . . .

AN HON. MEMBER: Don’t get side-tracked.

ANOTHER HON. MEMBER: Don, move both arms.

MR. DOWNE: Yes, well I can move both arms. Mr. Speaker, although some want to make light of the
fact that we have been in the House and it is a good, worthwhile cause to them, I want to say that we take
being in the House very seriously. I know that the taxpayers of this province do as well because they are
paying the bill for it.

The reality, Mr. Speaker, in concluding my comments, I really want to inform that we are sensitive
to the concerns. It is an emotional issue to many people in this province. For the people that it is emotional
to, the government is sensitive to that. But we are also very sensitive to dealing with the issue, dealing with
the facts, dealing with the science and the reality that we are dealing with.

Mr. Speaker, I want to inform members again, and I believe I have done this so many times, that until
Cabinet makes a decision, the moratorium will remain in force. Secondly, I have had absolutely not one
company come knocking on my door about wanting to mine uranium in the Province of Nova Scotia. Thirdly,
there is no economics mining uranium in the Province of Nova Scotia under the present pricing structure of
the commodity today. Fourthly, Mr. Speaker, this is an issue that we will deal with in due course, with due
consideration and sensitivity to the total issue. Thank you very much. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Atlantic.

MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the member for Hants West for bringing
forward his resolution today on the question of the moratorium on uranium mining and exploration in the
Province of Nova Scotia. It is a matter that we both have raised on a number of occasions over the past few
months, in response to concerns from our constituents and other people across the province, as the date of the
expiry of the moratorium draws near, that being January 31, 1995.

Mr. Speaker, part of the concern that arises and the uncertainty that people are feeling about what is
going to happen with this moratorium comes from the minister himself when he makes statements to suggest
that what was important and significant 10 years ago is not necessarily as important and as significant today.
We have had quite an increase in technology and our ability to deal with the negative effects of uranium
mining are much more advanced. When he says that so many other jurisdictions in the country participate
in that kind of mining and, therefore, it is almost as if he is suggesting that well, maybe today it is okay.

He has before him the report of the inter-departmental committee that was struck back in 1982, in
order to consider the question of the whole issue of the moratorium and uranium mining exploration in the
Province of Nova Scotia. He has had that report on his desk since the summer and the public of Nova Scotia
has not seen that report. The minister is now indicating that the report is on his desk, that there are
recommendations made by the report and that it is the Cabinet that will make a decision on whether the
moratorium will continue, whether it will be extended or whether it will be allowed to lapse or whether it will
be discontinued specifically by this government. People want to have the opportunity in Nova Scotia to
participate in that decision.

[4:30 p.m.]

You have heard a bit today and I want to add a bit to the history of this. It dates back to 1981-82, Mr.
Speaker, when the decision was reached that there would be a moratorium applied to this question. At the
same time, an inquiry was set up in order to review a number of the questions that were still to be dealt with.
Now, during that review, headed up by Judge Robert McCleave, the inquiry that was supposed to have three
phases to it only dealt with one phase. It was set up to elicit the opinions of Nova Scotians. That was it. It
wasn’t a matter of dealing with expert testimony, that was for the next phase. So what happened was, that
there were a number of public meetings. Some had some concerns at that time and comment on that today,
the fact that they were not publicized public meetings but nonetheless the concerns were such that all the
meetings were well attended. There were approximately 242 briefs that were presented by people that had
concerns; I understand 211 were opposed to uranium mining and 26 favouring it and 5 were neutral.

There were a number of groups and organizations represented at that time, including the Nova Scotia
Federation of Agriculture, the Nova Scotia Federation of Labour, the Canadian Nature Federation, the Nova
Scotia Wildlife Federation and the Nova Scotia Medical Society, Mr. Speaker, who raised concerns and
brought a whole host of concerns to the attention of Judge McCleave at that particular time. There were a
number of concerns raised with respect to the serious environmental and health hazards of uranium mining.
The fact that tailings produced can be remain radioactive for up to 400,000 years, that they continually
produce radon gas which can travel up to 1,000 miles and which has been linked in many cases,
unquestionably, to cancer, birth defects and so on.

The issue at that time, and this has been raised by many of the people that made presentations to that
committee, was that they ended the inquiry at Phase 1 and left it to the inter-departmental committee to come
forward with a report. Now, since 1982, the moratorium has been extended on two or three different
occasions, Mr. Speaker, awaiting the release of the inter-departmental report. I think that the important
question that has to be asked and my request of the minister is that this inter-departmental report should be
released to the public of Nova Scotia for their discussion before this minister and his Cabinet colleagues sit
behind closed doors and make a decision simply on the basis of those recommendations. The decision with
respect to the moratorium was made after there was public consultation. The decision to change the
moratorium now should not be made unless there is public consultation.

I don’t know, nor do Nova Scotians concerned about this issue know, on what basis the inter-departmental committee has made its recommendations. But it is important, as it is in so many other areas,
that before this kind of decision is made the public of Nova Scotia are able to consider the recommendations
of that committee and have the opportunity to provide further evidence in Phase 2 and Phase 3 of the original
inquiry that was set up to deal with this whole issue but put on hold because it is Phase 2, for example, when
people opposed would have the opportunity to bring forward expert testimony, in the way that groups bring
forward expert testimony in interventions before environment assessment review panels under the Federal
Environment Act.

The fact that other jurisdictions have decided to go this way is not something for us to simply accept.
I understand that in Saskatchewan the decision has been made or was made by an NDP Government, Mr.
Speaker, to go forward with uranium exploration and mining but it was done after some considerable amount
of public discussion, hearings that were held around the province, taking into consideration all the different
characteristics of the geography and the geological factors of that province. Let me say also, in addition to
that, there was some considerable debate, I understand extremely raucous at times and contentious within the
Party of that government, before the decision was made because of the fact that it was a policy, the NDP in
Saskatchewan, a Party policy where they were opposed to uranium mining. They had that debate out and there
are a lot of people to this day who aren’t very happy about that final decision.

I think the important thing for us, here in Nova Scotia, is to have access to a process whereby we can
participate in the eventual decision that is made by this government. It is no comfort to me and it is no
comfort to many Nova Scotians to have the Minister of Natural Resources stand and say, well, there are no
mining companies knocking at my door to carry out mining exploration, uranium exploration or mining or
that the world price is such that, for the quality of uranium in this province, that there is no worry, it is not
going to happen. Well, that is not good enough because if we let it lapse or if any other decision to take the
moratorium off is made then there is nothing to prevent a mining company stepping forward pretty quickly
if given the indication by this government that it is okay.

It has been stated in study after study that uranium mining and milling is recognized as
environmentally the most disruptive and potentially most harmful phase of the nuclear fuel cycle. It has been
said that in a brief submitted by Environment Canada to the Nova Scotia inquiry that they warn that this
province’s rainfall patterns combined with the generally acidic or acid surface water could combine to lead
to more serious radioactive contamination of ground water.

It is concerns like that that need to be addressed and not by Cabinet in isolation with a recommendation
of an inter-departmental committee but I would suggest we need, the government needs to take that
information and make it available to the public of Nova Scotia and we need to have a full and hearty debate
because the type of mining that has been suggested in the Province of Nova Scotia, with the negative impacts
that it can have on our health and our environment, will be sufficient to cause irreparable harm. Surely, Nova
Scotians are entitled to have and to play an important part, an essential part and perhaps the most important
part, in making the decision on whether or not the moratorium is going to be extended or if we are going to
allow it to drop.

Mr. Speaker, we have asked the Premier of this province who, when he was President of the Medical
Society, appeared before the inquiry back in 1982 and strongly opposed the decision or the prospect of
proceeding with uranium mining and milling in the Province of Nova Scotia, we urge him as we urge all
Cabinet Ministers including the Minister of Natural Resources to take a look at the concerns that were raised
in 1982, not to dismiss them because of the fact that they were raised 12 or 13 years ago, because things have
not changed that much, I would say, certainly not the concerns of Nova Scotians about this important issue.

Take those things into consideration; take a look at the report and the recommendations, but make that
report public, establish a process now, not after the moratorium has lapsed. But do it now, Mr. Speaker, to
give Nova Scotians a sense of confidence that this government is committed to not moving forward and
changing the decision that was made by a previous administration on the moratorium and to engage in public
consultation, giving people the opportunity to provide expert testimony and expert advice on this question
before any decision is made on this important issue that that will, undoubtedly, have a very significant impact
on the environment and the health of Nova Scotia and Nova Scotians.

So, once again, as I take my seat, I want to thank the member for Hants West for having raised the
issue. I, again, want to urge the Minister of Natural Resources to be up-front with Nova Scotians and to
present the interdepartmental committee report and recommendations to the public before any decision is
made by him and his Cabinet colleagues.

MR. SPEAKER: The time for the debate for Resolution No. 1420 has expired.

The honourable Opposition House Leader.

MR. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Resolution No. 1559.

Res. No. 1559, re Health - QE II Board: Hospitals Merger Effects - Employees Inform - notice given
Jan. 23/95 - (Mr. T. Donahoe)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Opposition.

MR. TERENCE DONAHOE: Mr. Speaker, I tabled Resolution No. 1559 some time ago because a
considerable number of people have made inquiry of me as to just where we are going with the merger of the
four metro hospitals, which the Minister of Health and the government announced in the summer of 1994,
and you will know from the language of the resolution itself. I said:

“Whereas while the membership of the new Queen Elizabeth II board for the merged institutions was
filled within months of the announcement, the work of the board was delayed pending further instruction by
the Health Minister; and

Whereas there was further confusion when the new chairperson stepped down and the board awaited
a successor;

Therefore be it resolved that while the community awaits the board to be completely operational, the
Minister of Health offer answers to the questions that the health professionals and employees of the
institutions now governed by the QE II board have been asking since the announcement was made while the
Queen visited the city some six months ago.”.

As recently as two nights ago, Mr. Speaker, I had occasion, along with my colleague from Kings West,
to be at a meeting at the Victoria General Hospital where a number of serious questions are still being asked.
There are, for instance, a great many workers at all of the affected institutions who have, for the last six or
more months, been in a state of very real uncertainty, if not total confusion, as to just what is ahead for them.

I might say that I had a sense as well, at that meeting, that even senior members of the Human
Resources Department of certain of those hospitals were expressing, at that same meeting, some uncertainty
and when certain questions were put to them about what would the status of many of the employees at many
levels - senior and very junior levels of the staffs -of the affected institutions be, the Human Resource
personnel, quite frankly, Mr. Speaker, were required to indicate to those meetings that they, too, were still
awaiting a great many answers to a great many questions.

One of the most significant issues, and in relation to which, to my knowledge, unless the minister who
I hope will participate in our discussion this afternoon can help me or clarify, one of the most significant
issues that is concerning the hundreds, some thousands of employees affected is that there appears, at least
to this point, to have been little or nothing done to address the questions which must be answered relative to
the melding or the merging of the collective agreements which pertain at all of the respective institutions.

[4:45 p.m.]

There are a number of collective agreements, there are quite a number of individual and separate and
independent bargaining units which represent certain parts of the staffs of the institutions in question. My
colleague and I were asked by a number of people the other night, could we, either of us, tell them what union
we felt would ultimately end up representing the workers? Obviously we had to say to them, in truth, that no,
quite frankly, we don’t have the answers to those questions. I must say that the meeting to which I refer was
attended by something close to between 80 and 100 registered nurses. They are professionals and they are
concerned about their work and their professional status and about just what might be happening.

There is a great deal of concern that we heard at that meeting and have been hearing as a result of
various people contacting us at our caucus office over the last number of months, as to whether or not there
will be, as the rumour seems to indicate - and I repeat, rumour, and the rumour may be unfounded and the
minister may be able to allay some fears in that regard, but there are, I can tell him and tell you, Mr. Speaker,
and all members, that there are many rumours afloat across all of the staffs of the institutions intended to be
merged in the QE complex - that there is going to be a very substantial reduction in the number of people
who will ultimately, when the merger comes to its conclusion, a very substantial reduction in the number of
staff in the employ of the merged institution.

None of those staff have, to this point, heard of any studies; none of them, as they say to me at least,
have been invited to meetings with the minister, with the minister’s staff, with the senior people at the
respective institutions, with the unions affected, whereby they are being given even preliminary information
that this is the process we are going to follow, this is what is going to happen, these are the steps that we have
to get through to effect this merger.

The fact of the matter is, and this question was raised with me and it was an issue that I raised and I
think my colleague for Kings West raised with the minister himself some considerable time ago, around the
time of his announcement of this merger, I have no knowledge that there was ever a full and complete and
professional and sophisticated study which addressed the very question of the merger of the institutions. I
believe that there have been a number of studies which talked about the consolidation and the merging and
the integration of the delivery of various and sundry of the programs offered by the individual institutions.
But I know of no study which addresses the issue of the official and formal merger of the four institutions into
the one body.

The ultimate question that I think it is incumbent upon the minister to answer is, having taken the
decision which he and the government have taken now, to mandate that this merger will take place, I think
it is important, I think it is fundamentally essential that the minister give some assurance, with some detail,
not just simply with the words but with some background and some detail, that the merger which will take
place will, in fact, result in the improvement of the quality of health delivery across all of those four, what are
now four institutions and which, upon merger, will be the one.

It is my sense that the minister made this announcement of this merger which would amalgamate the
Victoria General Hospital, Camp Hill Hospital, the Nova Scotia Rehabilitation Centre and the Research
Foundation, frankly somewhat out of the blue. He made the announcement, in my opinion, without providing
any information as to why he was proceeding in that direction. He made that announcement without outlining
in this place or to my knowledge in any public place, criteria, no evidence that such a merger would, in fact,
deliver better care or achieve cost-savings. In fact, some who have communicated with me have indicated that
just to go back for a moment to the amalgamation or merger of the staff complements and the reductions in
staff that will take place, and the minister knows this well, that there are very real differences in the collective
bargaining agreements that exist across all of the workers affected in these four institutions.

The human condition being what it is, you and I, I am sure, Mr. Speaker, can be absolutely guaranteed
that when it gets down to the nitty-gritty and the hard discussion as to how the merger will take place relative
to what the ultimate collective agreements will look like, you know as well as I do and I would be shocked
if the minister would suggest otherwise, the attitude of the workers is going to be, if we are going to be merged
we are going to be merged and move in the direction of coming to the highest common denominator and not
to the lowest common denominator.

We simply will not have the hundreds and hundreds of men and women who enjoy certain rights and
benefits under existing collective agreements going into meetings which are intended to merge the collective
agreements, walk in and open up the meeting by saying, by the way folks as we embark on this discussion,
please be advised that our union is prepared to take very much less than we have now in our current collective
agreement and we would be prepared to sign a new collective agreement which has far lesser benefits and pay
scales and the like. That is simply not going to happen and the minister knows that.

Well, there are those who have done some analysis of this and have communicated with me. I am
advised that potentially the price tag to merge all of the collective agreements is in the range of some $30
million of additional cost to bring parity and equity to all of the work force. We have repeatedly asked this
minister in correspondence and in the Legislature what the impact will be to the staff of those facilities. For
example, will the Camp Hill and Infirmary staff now be paid at the higher rate of staff at the Victoria
General? Will there be pay equity adjustments to those employees as well? Frankly, with respect, we have
received no answers from the minister. When I say no answers I mean, in fairness to him, we have received
no answers which provide any degree of precision or specificity in them.

That being the case, I say and ask through you, Mr. Speaker, whether or not nurses will lose jobs as
a result of this merger if one of the drivers behind this move is to lower costs? If, in fact, it is found that the
cost to meld and merge collective agreements as but one example, has something like a $30 million price tag,
in these difficult financial times, I have every expectation that we may well hear, maybe we won’t, but I expect
that we are going to hear, well if we are going to have to dedicate some $30 million to equate and integrate
these collective agreements then that means that we are going to have to lay off one heck of a large number
of staff in order to make up that $30 million. If that is the case, it is no wonder that many hundreds of men
and women, professionals all, are very frightened at the prospect of what is ahead.

This minister has, Mr. Speaker, since taking on the Health portfolio, demonstrated, I think, one
consistent characteristic. That is, with respect, it appears that on very many occasions he ploughs ahead with
ideas he gets into his head without seemingly evaluating the impact or doing all the research. This merger,
as far as I know, I have no solid evidence to the contrary, might well be ill-conceived. If it isn’t, and if it is
well conceived and if, indeed, it is clearly thought out and there is a work plan which the minister can
articulate and perhaps even table here for our consumption in this House, I would ask why it is that it took
him so many months and months and months to seemingly get the board to the point where they got to a stage
where they felt they were able to function? If it isn’t, why is it that meetings such as the one to which I just
referred a moment ago of affected nurses could raise so many questions about the future?

I say, until I hear otherwise from the minister, Mr. Speaker, that the plan is not there or at least no plan
has been articulated. References have been made to we are following the blueprint and trust us it is all going
to happen in the fullness of time; well, that is not a plan, that is language and words and rhetoric but it is not
a plan. I don’t see any evidence, nor do many who speak with me, to indicate that the infrastructure is there;
the benefits haven’t been clearly articulated.

Our caucus is here to commit ourselves to attempt to raise the questions, I will conclude with simply
this, to raise the questions as I do now with the minister, to lay out for us and for all of those affected by this
merger, just where we are headed and, most importantly, to provide a detailed, precise, costed document
which will give some comfort to all concerned that there is, in fact, a plan which is understandable and which
will, in fact, be followed.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Health.

HON. RONALD STEWART: Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the opportunity introduced by this resolution
to speak to the issue such as contained in the document submitted for debate in this place this evening.

I suppose I am a bit taken aback by the admonitions of the honourable Leader of the Opposition when
he talks about being careful and then, at the same time, rushing ahead; that I get an idea and rush ahead with
it and yet he complains that it has been six months since the announcement of the merger of the four facilities
in the city. I am not sure on what side of the issue he is falling. We are, and I will restate it here, being
extremely careful about what we do in respect to the melding of these resources.

In order to help us here this evening, I wanted to look at precedent and to talk about why one would
bring together in a city of this size resources in terms of tertiary care or speciality care, certainly resources.
I went back to have a look at the merger of the Halifax Infirmary and Camp Hill. I wondered what major
studies had been done to effect that change. Why did the government of the day and the Minister of Health
of the day push to have those two tertiary care and honourable facilities, having worked with the tradition it
is, why do this?

Very simply, it was the right thing to do. Why was it the right thing to do? It was the right thing to
do because the advice of the medical staff, the advice of the staff in place and the duplication of programs and
the competition that existed, that was not at all in a health care sense, healthy competition, brought the
government of the day to the decision that this was by virtue of the examination of experts and medical staff
and people on the ground in those institutions the right thing to do. It was the right thing to do. It produced
what we have today in that complex.

In that complex, and I am referring to the Camp Hill, Abbie Lane and Infirmary site, a consolidation
of programs which allowed for greater resources to be directed towards patients, to people, service to people.
The government of the day, with some difficulty and criticism - I am sure, I have heard it, I have read it in
Hansard - did this and did it well. It was done by the staff, they took the decision, yes, but it was done by the
staff. Lo and behold, cost-savings resulted. But, more than that, financial resources, human resources, could
be redeployed to enable an improvement of services. That happened, it was a good thing. At the time some
of us didn’t think it was a good thing, I will admit to that. We had traditional loyalties, and I was one of those
who questioned that, but gradually, as we saw the reasoning that the new Board had brought to the table and
to the information of those of us who were affiliated and who were alumni of those institutions. We said this
is better, because it focused on the people and the service to the people who might need it, service to Nova
Scotians throughout the province.

[5:00 p.m.]

We now have major programs in place in that complex, which now will join the larger, that have stood
out nationally as programs not only to emulate but, indeed, on the national scale, to be copied and
complimented around the country. I refer to the sleep laboratory, to the programs in cardio-vascular health
and the resources of research laboratories there. They are superlative; the Department of Family Practice,
which today occupies an eminent place in the annals of that specialty around the country, could not have done
as well, if I could put it that way, if these resources had not been brought together in order to allow program
merger. That is some of the base upon which we can look with confidence to the future, in the further merger
of the four facilities to which the honourable gentleman refers in his resolution.

There is another reason for this. The reason is that we now have the opportunity in this merger to build
on the current programs and to allow the savings, in terms of human resources, in terms of fiscal resources,
to be put into newer programs. The likelihood is that the reputation of the Queen Elizabeth II Health Sciences
Centre, will be augmented in a very real way by the merger and pooling of resources that we have pledged
ourselves to and the decision we have taken.

Now, the reference by the honourable gentleman opposite, I must take issue with this, to the meeting
the other night of casual workers. This does not speak to the merger, it speaks to the current state and
difficulties of casual workers in the health care system, particularly at the Victoria General Hospital. They
have questions which exist now and which have existed in the past and are not, in any way, related to the
current merger. The questions and uncertainty of change, do not make their position or other workers’
positions any more comfortable. I agree with this and I have every sympathy with that, but the actual meeting
and issues that were discussed at that meeting, were current to the current situation and have existed for some
years. It is not tied to the merger and I would not want that to go unchallenged.

The casual workers have issues that must be answered, that they have brought to the table. But we see
another issue at work, another element of the health care changes that we have proposed here at work, in this
decision to merge. That is, that the decisions and the creation of this institution, carefully done, must be
placed in the hands of the board that we have appointed to do the job, who only recently, within the last month
- meeting at least four to five times over that period of time and meeting almost weekly, bi-weekly or whatever
- will take up the challenge, have taken up the challenge. And, as the honourable gentleman very properly
refers to, one of the challenges will be labour adjustment strategy.

In true terms, if you were to select one issue in all of the health care changes that we have proposed,
the single issue that creates the challenge and the uncertainty and the issues that have been raised by Her
Majesty’s Loyal Opposition opposite, it is labour adjustment and issues of labour and employees. That is quite
correct.

One of the issues and one of the ways that those issues can be better met and better set before the public
and, certainly, before the board, is through communications with those people affected, by the employees and
the workers and those who are involved in a very real sense. That is why I was quite taken with the efforts
just beginning to communicate information and facts to the workers who are there and to the public at large,
through mechanisms such as a newsletter to be published frequently. I have just gotten a copy called the
Merger Memo, put out by the public relations department, introducing some of the issues to date, giving
background information and actually setting up a line for information.

This is where the honourable gentleman opposite, referring to rumours, one of the most destructive
things, I think, can be lack of information and rumours and I would pay tribute to the board as it takes up its
challenge and attempts to communicate in a real way, both by telephone and then by print. Along with this
Merger Memo, they have a suggestion page that you can mail in, questions that you can ask and so on. These
are but concrete examples of how the changes can be communicated and, indeed, the board’s work and the
work of those who are charged with the responsibility of bringing programs together can work.

The priority in this case, as the honourable Leader of the Official Opposition refers to, is to ensure that
people receive service and, on the other hand, that workers’ rights, collective agreements and other issues that
are so important, receive proper priority and proper attention in the work that is before the board.

I would not, Mr. Speaker, and I am trying to be measured in my comments, presume to usurp the
decision-making power of the board or to, in any way, give direction so directly as to stand in my place here
and make specific comments, except to say that that board has undertaken a major challenge to do this work.
The board itself was chosen carefully by the boards of the other facilities to represent a cross-section of both
the professional and the citizen participation so characteristic of the honourable work that those four boards
had done in the past.

 

 

Yes, we have announced what we would do early. We did that. We have stated that we were going to
carry out the merger. We stated the reasons why we were going to carry out the merger. We did that early on
and then carefully began to set the groundwork in place. The boards were created. The orientation was given.
The board is now up and running and I am very proud of the work that they are beginning to do.

What can we expect from this? Certainly, as I said, if we were as successful as the merger of the
Infirmary and Camp Hill complexes, we will be doing ourselves proud, and the citizens of Nova Scotia. I want
to pay tribute to that and I don’t want to wax terribly eloquent on that, if I could possibly do it, but to say fully
that the right decisions will, in time, be looked back at with pride on the part of those who have worked so
hard to bring them about, but also by those who have made those decisions.

I would suggest, Mr. Speaker, that if we do that, if we carry this forward carefully and with the proper
attention to the elements and the issues that have been raised by the honourable members of both Parties in
the Opposition but also raised by the board themselves, by the board in place who have made it very clear what
their priorities and what their sensitivities will be then we will have done, I believe, the job that would at least
be worthy of the previous administration’s decision to merge the other tertiary care institutions.

Consolidation of facility resources, consolidation of the programs will mean in a very real sense that
we can look toward the improvement of the service to people. We anticipate and it has been said that the
creation of this institution will allow us to better compete internationally for grants, for academic pursuits,
for academic projects, in fact, competing for human resources in a more effective way. I would from my own
background agree with that estimation and say that yes, indeed an institution with the honourable foundation
stones of those four institutions placed together to work together will be a flagship in the health care system
of the province and we will pledge ourselves to do this as well as we can with the help of that board that is
now in place.

I might say that also, in doing this, in bringing those four institutions together we are very encouraged
by the input of the staff to date, by those who work on-line who continue to work despite the uncertainty
referred to by the honourable gentleman opposite and which we ourselves recognize. But, the board is now
beginning to operate to try and assuage some of those fears in trying to give information as I have illustrated
and will do that for that is one of their priorities. So, the public of Nova Scotia and the workers, the thousands
of workers there can rest assured that those priorities indeed are there with the board, they will be attended
to and will be done indeed very well if I am to judge by the past record of these members who have given so
much of themselves and will give much of themselves and have taken up that challenge.

It is true it is no longer business as usual, it is true that we have indeed taken a major decision but as
I mentioned, and I would hope and I would pledge to try my best and try the best we can do in terms of the
Ministry of Health to do well as has been done in the past in two of the institutions of both Camp Hill and the
Halifax Infirmary and build on that foundation and build on their traditions. Thank you very much, Mr.
Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Fairview.

MS. ALEXA MCDONOUGH: Mr. Speaker, I welcome the opportunity to enter this debate which I
think it is fair to say is a debate of a resolution that was introduced in this House by the Official Opposition
out of sheer frustration, about the chaotic manner in which this government is approaching health reform in
this province. Before I focus more narrowly on the particulars of the resolution as they relate to the QE II
change process, I just have to say that I think earlier this afternoon we saw as clear an example as we are ever
going to see of how this government is going about its planning for health care reform in a backwards
manner, in a cart before the horse way.

Earlier today I asked the minister who now is not in the House if he could inform the House when the
report of the Berkeley Consulting Group was going to be available, a consultant contract that was let
untendered, terms of reference still not made public in the order of $40,000 to $50,000 to deal with the
organization and reorganization of the Department of Health, to ensure that that department is well-situated,
well-placed to carry out its mandate to oversee the health reform process in this province.

[5:15 p.m.]

Mr. Speaker, the minister’s answer was very significant. The minister stated here in this House today,
“I have not seen the report in full . . .” from the Berkeley Consulting Group, the report that is to guide the
reorganization of the Health Department to carry out its health reform mandate. He went on to say, “. . . I
would suspect that it would be available shortly. I will check, though, and I can let you know then.”.

Now, Mr. Speaker, a week ago today this Minister of Health’s deputy circulated a detailed, extensive
memorandum, outlining precisely what the reorganization of the Department of Health was going to look like;
organizational charts, flow charts, all kinds of mission statements, rationale for the changes, on and on. Is
this how the Department of Health is doing its reorganization? A week ago today the Deputy Minister of
Health announces an extensive reorganizational plan, presumably based on the advice and recommendations
and the outcome of the Berkeley Consulting effort and today, one week later, the Minister of Health stands
in this House and says, well, I have not actually seen that report yet but it should be coming soon and I will
let you know.

Now, Mr. Speaker, which is it? Is the Minister of Health actually telling us, and if he is, we better think
clearly what it means, that he has not even seen the Berkeley Consulting Report, on the basis of which we now
have a major reorganization of his department, to enable it to be effective in carrying out the health reform
mandate of this government? No wonder there is chaos in the health care system in this province today. That
is as clear an illustration as we are ever going to see, it seems to me, of the chaos that is going on.

The particular resolution before us talks about the chaos at the hospitals that are affected by the mega-hospital merger, the creation of the Queen Elizabeth II hospital. Specifically, Mr. Speaker, the resolution
urges the Minister of Health to offer answers to the questions that health professionals and employees in the
institutions now governed by the QE II have been asking ever since the announcement was made six months
ago, when the Queen visited this city.

Now, Mr. Speaker, I have to tell you quite frankly that when I spoke out very loudly and clearly,
expressing my disgust at the manner in which the QE II mega-hospital was launched, I braced myself for a
fair amount of flack. I know that we live in a province where there still is considerable respect for some, at
least some, of the traditions of the monarchy. Now I am not always sure about why but there is still such
respect for some of the traditions. One of the traditions is, you don’t drag the Queen into the middle of a very
heated political controversy.

I think, Mr. Speaker, and I said it then and I still believe it to be true, that it was a calculated, cynical
decision to have the blessing of the Queen on that QE II mega-hospital and just sweep all those unanswered
questions under the carpet and hope that it was somehow going to be considered dirty pool after the fact, to
say, for Heaven’s sake, what are the answers to these questions about how the employees in those four
hospitals affected by the merger are going to be affected by what this government has done; what is the
process whereby there is a transference of the responsibility and the authority from the old boards to the new
QE II hospital board, and on and on. The unanswered questions that existed at that time that made it, it
seemed to me, a calculated, cynical manoeuvre, are the same questions that remain unanswered six months
later.

Mr. Speaker, there was not a lot of flack from my having said I thought that is what the government
was doing, because people agreed that that was what the government was doing. I think what has happened
in the subsequent six months has clearly borne that out. We heard the minister this afternoon say, well, now,
we are getting on with a communications strategy; the QE II board is putting out a metro merger newsletter.
Is that what he called it? I think that was it.

The Merger Memo, that is what it was called. Mr. Speaker, that is not exactly what the Blueprint
Committee for Health Reform had in mind when they talked about a labour adjustment strategy, when they
talked about involving health care providers and health care consumers in the process of reforming our
institutions and in reforming our health care system. A Merger Memo is a one-way communications strategy
and an awful lot of people have asked the question, what in the name of Heaven’s it says about this
government’s priorities at the time that they cannot come up with dollars and cents for the most basic health
needs of Nova Scotians, that they run ads for not one, but two new public information officers in the
Department of Health and state as the required qualifications, of those new public information officers,
excellent skills in news writing.

Well, Mr. Speaker, it seems to me that this government would have to be less concerned about its
public relations and trying to generate excellent news if it would get on with the health reform process that
needs to be done with maximum consultation of those people affected. That would generate good news; that
would generate positive results, and the government would not have to be quite so concerned about fabricating
rosy propaganda through metro mergers and other excellent news writing efforts to persuade people that what
is needed in health reform is well underway.

Mr. Speaker, I think yesterday the minister gave us another example of how this government’s
priorities are just dead wrong. When this minister was asked to address the unfairness and the injustice of
nurses working at the Victoria General Hospital, in some cases darn close to full-time, still working on a
casual basis without benefits, you know what the minister’s response was? Well, that is really a question for
the Minister of Finance, as if that is a financial question.

Mr. Speaker, this minister knows perfectly well that the build-up of frustration of the casual nursing
staff of the Victoria General Hospital arises from a number of conditions created by this government, under
this minister, such as the decision that casual nursing staff, even if they are earning as little as $10,000 or
$15,000 a year, will be hit with the 3 per cent roll-back that has been shoved down the throats and imposed
on workers earning over $25,000. Why wouldn’t they be frustrated? The government said that would not
happen.

The minister also knows that the frustrations arise out of a flagrant abuse of what are supposed to be
existing personnel policies at the Victoria General Hospital; that if a nurse is working more than 24 hours in
a two week period, she shall become a member of the bargaining unit, and that exists for a very good reason,
Mr. Speaker. That exists to ensure that people get the benefits that they ought to be entitled to and, frankly,
it exists so that a government cannot create chaos, or a hospital or any other employer cannot create chaos
and engage in the hopeless exploitation of staff by having them at the complete mercy and the complete call,
on any day of the week, without there being proper scheduling, without there being any kind of proper staffing
plans. That is why we have unions in this province and in this country and in the health care system, to
prevent that sort of thing happening.

The most convenient thing of all is what I think this government just delights in doing and that is
creating the impression that the tensions and the strains that exist around those casual nurses at the Victoria
General Hospital, in fact, are the result of some external force, something that is left over from the past and
I agree, that if the transition agreement that had been reached between the VG Hospital and the Nova Scotia
Government employees with the previous government had been fully ratified by the previous government, then
a lot of these abuses would not be taking place. That it why I think that the representatives who rise to be the
champions of the casual nurses should be asked some tough questions about why that transition agreement
has not been fully put in place and many of these abuses would have been avoided.

Let me just say that when the minister rises in his place and he talks in the vague, lofty terms with all
the vision in the world about how things are going to get better, he is only adding to people’s frustration
because people want answers now about how people are going to have the opportunity to participate in the
development of a meaningful labour adjustment strategy so that the health care system will be secured so that
health care consumers will get the services that they need and health care providers will get the justice that
they deserve in the chaos that is being created by this government. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: The time for the debate of Resolution No. 1559 has now expired.

The honourable Opposition House Leader.

MR. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, would you please call House Order No. 184 and on behalf
of the member for Queens I so move.

H.O. No. 184, re Environ.: Companies - Criminal Code Infractions (11/06/93-31/12/94) - notice give
Jan. 17/95 - (Mr. J. Leefe)

MR. SPEAKER: Does the honourable minister wish to comment on the request?

The honourable Minister of the Environment.

HON. ROBERT HARRISON: That is public information and we will be happy to comply with that
House Order.

MR. SPEAKER: The request has been complied with.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Opposition House Leader.

MR. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, would you please call House Order No. 183 and on behalf
of the member for Pictou Centre, I so move.

H.O. No. 183, re Premier: Social Reform (Can.) - Response - notice given Jan. 11/95 - (Dr. J. Hamm)

[The House Order was read by the Clerk.]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Acting Premier, would you want it stood?

HON. JAY ABBASS: No, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RICHARD MANN: Mr. Speaker, perhaps in the absence of the Premier, we would not want to
agree to return the House Order in his absence but I believe that House Order No. 182 is almost identical to
that. Perhaps if we could stand House Order No. 183 and if you want to call House Order No. 182, we could
dispense with this at that point.

[5:30 p.m.]

MR. SPEAKER: Shall the order stand?

House Order No. 183 stands.

The honourable Opposition House Leader.

MR. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, would you please call House Order No. 182.

H.O. No. 182, re Educ.: Social Reform (Can.) - Response - notice given Jan. 11/95 - (Dr. J. Hamm)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Pictou Centre.

DR. JOHN HAMM: Mr. Speaker, I so move.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RICHARD MANN: Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the Minister of Education I can indicate, as he
did today in Question Period, I believe in response to a question, that following his meeting in Ottawa on
Monday with the federal minister involved in the social programs, he would be very pleased to release all this
information to the members opposite.

MR. SPEAKER: Is the House ready for the question? Would all those in favour of the motion please
say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

The honourable Opposition House Leader.

MR. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, would you please call House Order No. 181.

H.O. No. 181, re Commun. Serv.: Social Reform (Can.) - Response - notice given Jan. 10/95 - (Dr.
J. Hamm)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Pictou Centre.

DR. JOHN HAMM: Mr. Speaker, I so move.

MR. SPEAKER: Does the honourable minister wish to have the House Order read?

The honourable Minister of Community Services.

HON. JAMES SMITH: No, Mr. Speaker, I don’t need to have it read. I would address it, it is fairly
wide-searching and it does say, in fact, all background documents as well as the department’s response. I
would certainly be prepared, as the Minister of Education would be, to table documents relative to our visit
in Ottawa with the Honourable Lloyd Axworthy on Monday. But some of the responses have been in the form
of reports to Cabinet and I am not sure that I would make an exception. I think that would follow the regular
rule relative to Cabinet.

I would think that where there are other House Orders other than House Order No. 181, relating to
paragraph (2), if those departments themselves could respond. We worked closely with the Department of
Education preparing our Atlantic position but I would not be prepared to make a commitment for other
departments. I think we have already addressed this in the House this afternoon.

So I would, under paragraph (1), make an undertaking to bring forward information that is relevant
to our response to the federal government but some of this background information would be within Cabinet
documents.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Pictou Centre.

DR. JOHN HAMM: Yes, Mr. Speaker, that certainly is acceptable.

MR. SPEAKER: Is the House ready for the question? Would all those in favour of the motion please
say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

The honourable Opposition House Leader.

MR. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, I am not too sure whether or not the House Leader is asking
for (Interruption) Would you please call House Order No. 178.

H.O. No. 178, re Educ. Hammonds Plains: Junior High School - Armoyan Group - notice given Jan.
5/95 - (Mr. T. Donahoe)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Opposition.

MR. TERENCE DONAHOE: I would so move, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader, on behalf of the Minister of Education.

HON. RICHARD MANN: Yes, Mr. Speaker, I have no difficulty with this one, it simply involves a
letter from Mr. Armoyan seeking information and a response from the department giving him the information
he sought. There were no offers as such but the minister has agreed to return that.

MR. SPEAKER: Is the House ready for the question? Would all those in favour of the motion please
say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

The honourable Opposition House Leader.

MR. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to yield the floor for an introduction.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Fairview.

MS. ALEXA MCDONOUGH: Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for yielding the floor briefly, to allow
me to make an introduction. It is my pleasure to introduce in the west gallery a number of representatives of
the Canadian Union of Postal Workers who have joined us here today to express their concern about proposed
WCB changes that will adversely affect their own members who may require workers’ compensation in the
future and also all other workers, whether organized or unorganized. I would ask members if they would
welcome the representatives who have joined us here this afternoon from the Canadian Union of Postal
Workers. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: It was my understanding that the requirements of House Order No. 177 had been
fulfilled and, therefore, it is no longer standing on the order paper.

The honourable Opposition House Leader.

MR. RONALD RUSSELL: Would you please call House Order No. 175, Mr. Speaker.

H.O. No. 175, re Educ.: Sackville High School - Air Quality - notice given Dec. 13/94 - (Mr. T.
Donahoe)

MR. DONAHOE: I would so move, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader on behalf of the Minister of Education.

HON. RICHARD MANN: Yes, again, Mr. Speaker, I thought that we had dealt with this and
dispensed with it. In fact, the minister had returned the order before it even was issued by the House some
time ago. So, this has been returned, perhaps over a month ago and it keeps showing up on the order paper,
but, in fact, it has been dispensed with.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Opposition House Leader.

MR. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, this is the second time I think I have called this one and it
has been returned. So can we insure that it is removed from the order paper?

MR. SPEAKER: We will strike it from the order paper.

The honourable Opposition House Leader.

MR. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, would you please call House Order No. 103.

H.O. No. 103, re Transport. - Road Work (1993-95) - notice given Nov. 3/94 - (Mr. B. Taylor)

MR. BROOKE TAYLOR: I so move, Mr. Speaker.

[The House Order was read by the Clerk.]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RICHARD MANN: Mr. Speaker, I don’t know how many times we have to go through this, but
we don’t keep track of road work in each constituency that way anymore. It is done by district and there are
only four districts in the province. So to say how much road work is done, for example, in any one
constituency, you are not able to determine that. The funds, the budgets are not allocated based on
constituency. There is a flexibility of the district directors to disburse their funds and juggle their resources -
financial, human resources, and equipment resources - from area to area within a district. So it is impossible
for me to return the House Order as it is written there. Perhaps if the member wants to bring it back with
respect to other matters, I can, but as it is written here, I have to refuse to return that.

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

MR. BROOKE TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, I would be pleased if the minister would forward the public
tenders that have been let by his department relating to the years I have mentioned for gravel, paving,
pulverizing of asphalt and that sort. I certainly can decipher out which district and which constituency the
work was awarded in. I can do that for the minister.

HON. RICHARD MANN: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. I believe he indicated and perhaps
answered his own question. They are public tenders. They are available to him at the Public Tenders Office.
So if he wants to do that and decipher them out, he is free to do that.

MR. BROOKE TAYLOR: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. I have been to the Public Tenders Office
and that minister knows full well that all tenders, whether it is Supply and Services, Natural Resources, they
are all lumped in together and it is very time-consuming. But that minister can very easily go to his
department and just forward the tenders that were let by his department. He knows he can do that. In fact, he
requested, because I went through the journals of past years and that minister made similar requests and the
government of the day forwarded those requests and they did not stand the House Order.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

 

 

HON. BERNARD BOUDREAU: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. On the matter before the House,
I believe that the honourable member has access to a very competent and quite large research staff, which is
paid for by the taxpayers of Nova Scotia. I suggest maybe he might have one of them go to the Public Tenders
Office.

MR. GEORGE ARCHIBALD: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. If the minister is telling us that in
the last year and one-half, under his direction, that his department is being run so sloppily that they don’t keep
track of the tenders that have been awarded, then we are in worse trouble than the taxpayers of Nova Scotia
expect.

HON. RICHARD MANN: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker, I am not surprised to hear that member
stand and refer to the operations of the Department of Transportation, the staff and the way they do their
business as being sloppy. Based on past performance by that member when he was the minister, I am not
surprised to hear it at all. But, I will make sure that every staff member in the Department of Transportation
has access to the remarks he has made today.

MR. SPEAKER: The Chair will not permit an interchange across the floor that is off the title of the
motion before the floor.

MR. ARCHIBALD: Well, it is not a big request for that minister to raise such a fuss. The question begs
answering, what is that minister trying to hide?

MR. SPEAKER: I rule that out of order, that is imputing motives and the honourable member knows
that that is out of order and I would ask the honourable member to withdraw the remark. It is an
unparliamentary remark.

MR. ARCHIBALD: What are the consequences if I don’t withdraw the remark?

MR. SPEAKER: Well, I know the honourable member to be just that, a very honourable member and
he is not imputing motives. Maybe in the heat of debate he has made a remark that he would just wish to
withdraw so that the House has a Parliamentary decorum appropriate to his desires.

MR. ARCHIBALD: I wouldn’t want to say anything that you find offensive, so I would certainly try
to rephrase my words but you know, it is a funny situation where the minister . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please, some decorum.

MR. ARCHIBALD: . . . requested similar information, when I was over there and when other people
were over there, it always was tabled, however, at this time he can’t provide the information. Even when the
member wanted very technical information, people in the staff were happy to get it, they felt, well, if a
member of the Legislature is requesting it, it must be a legitimate request. However, there is a new rule
apparently from this minister and he is being . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. I asked the honourable member - simply the remark of imputing
motives of the type that are not acceptable in debate in the quorum of the House and I know the honourable
member will withdraw that.

The honourable Minister of Transportation has indicated that he is unable because of the structure of
the Department of Transportation to supply the requirement. Would all those in favour of the motion please
say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is denied. Carried in the negative.

The honourable Opposition House Leader.

MR. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, we will go back to the Department of Transportation again.
Would you please call House Order No. 111.

 

 

H.O. No. 111, re Transport.: Constituencies - Budgets (1992-95) - notice given Nov. 4/94 - (Mr. J.
Holm)

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

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

[The House Order was read by the Clerk.]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RICHARD MANN: Is that my constituency, Mr. Speaker? I cannot comply with all of that. As
I have just said I can comply with the capital budget part of it, my constituency. In fact, the 1992-93 and I
think 1993-94 has been probably tabled in this House at least twice now, in response to House Orders in the
last session in the spring and so I suspect you could find them in the Clerk’s office.

The operating budget for 1994-95 is not done by constituency and that information is not available.
We can get it by area, we can get it by district, we cannot do it by constituency because the directors and the
managers have the authority within their district or within their area to move human resources, physical
resources equipment or financial resources around as they determine the need. The budgets are not broken
down as Richmond, Inverness, they are broken down as eastern, western, central, and northern. They can
move them through constituencies as a flooding problem occurs, as culverts are required as ditching is
required and they do that, they set the priorities and they do that.

So, if they want I will comply with the capital part of it as I can and if necessary we will try and find
what we have already tabled from previous years. I would be happy to do that. The member knows full well
he has done extremely well in his riding, on the Highway No. 101 project and some sidewalk work out there,
very happy to demonstrate that to him if we can.

[5:45 p.m.]

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

MR. JOHN HOLM: Mr. Speaker, I thank the minister for his cooperation. What I am looking for,
however, under the maintenance is certainly not the manpower or individual requirements. I am just looking
for the budget allocations that are provided and as it is broken out. Now, if the department or the minister do
not have that, if he says that cannot be provided, I certainly will have to do with the best information that he
can provide. It is my understanding that under the different sections, the various foremen or managers have
budget allocations for maintenance within their areas but I will accept the best information that the minister
can provide.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Opposition House Leader.

MR. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, that completes the Opposition business for today.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RICHARD MANN: Mr. Speaker, tomorrow we will be meeting from the hours of 12:00 noon
until 8:00 p.m. and the Government Business following the Orders of the Day and Question Period will be
debate on Resolution No. 1563. That is not on the order paper yet but it is the resolution I introduced yesterday
with respect to our rule changes. I move that we adjourn until 12:00 noon tomorrow.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion for adjournment has been made and carried. The late debate this evening
was won by the honourable member for Lunenburg. The resolution reads:

Therefore be it resolved that the members of the House of Assembly congratulate the Minister for the
Economic Renewal Agency and all stakeholders who work toward sustainability of eco-tourism as a healthy
and prosperous component of the tourism industry of Nova Scotia.

ADJOURNMENT

MOTION UNDER RULE 5(5)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Lunenburg.

ERA: ECO-TOURISM - SUSTAINABILITY

MRS. LILA O’CONNOR: Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to speak to this resolution on eco-tourism.

Nova Scotia’s tourism industry experienced a remarkable season in 1994, a season where Tourism
Nova Scotia recorded a 7 per cent increase in room sales during the peak period from July through September
and a 26 per cent increase in requests to the Nova Scotia Information and Reservations Service. Included in
these statistics is a dramatic growth in eco-tourism.

The Tourism Industry Association of Nova Scotia President Don Wilson, attributes one of the reasons
for this banner year to members of TIANS specializing in eco-tourism. However, it is important to note that
eco-tourism is only one aspect of the vast numbers of venues available to tourists travelling throughout Nova
Scotia.

The term eco-tourism is a relatively new buzz-word and the definition can range from the purist’s
definition of only activities which directly benefit the natural environment to a more general definition of any
outdoor activity. Eco-tourism can include travelling to a specific area in our province to experience and learn
about the natural environment of that particular area. This can range from enjoying a scenic view, taking a
boat tour to watch birds or sea mammals, hiking through a forest, ocean kayaking to a camp on a deserted
offshore island, or participating in a dinosaur dig. More and more tourism operators throughout Nova Scotia
understand the benefit of long-range planning, packaging, cooperative marketing and collaboration.

Last week I had the privilege of attending the Atlantic Canada Eco-tourism Conference and Workshop
at the White Point Beach Resort. Over 100 delegates from the tourism industry and government
representatives from Tourism, Environment, Natural Resources, and Sport and Recreation from across the
Maritimes attended this conference. Delegates spent one week of intensive learning. This study spanned the
principles and philosophies of eco-tourism, sustainable tourism and green management and explored their
applications for Atlantic Canada. At the conference, case studies of successful ventures were presented by
operators and community groups with the hope that sharing their practical experiences would assist others
in their endeavours.

Guest speakers at the conference included the Honourable Ross Bragg, Minister for the Economic
Renewal Agency; Andrew Blaza of the World Travel and Tourism Environmental Research Centre in Oxford,
England; Anna Nibby-Woods, who presented on aboriginal and nature-based tourism experiences; and Tim
Dedan of the Eel River Bar Band in New Brunswick who, through the Smithsonian Institution, will be
creating an organic and medicinal plant farm.

At the Atlantic Canada Eco-Tourism Conference and Workshop, the common themes that emerged
as most important in all future developments and planning were: environmental protection and restoration;
green management; sustainable tourism planning; and a respect for cultural diversity. The conference
concluded that the long-term viability of our eco-tourism industry is dependent upon the health of our natural,
cultural and historic attractions.

Mr. Speaker, Nova Scotians have always maintained a close relationship with the land. Our economy
and way of life have been shaped by how we have valued and used the natural resources of the province. In
particular, Mr. Speaker, our traditional industries of fishing, forestry, agriculture and mining are based
directly upon these natural resources. Our scenic natural areas have also been the cornerstone of establishing
Nova Scotia as a tourism destination and seeing tourism grow to be one of this province’s most significant
industries. It is becoming increasingly clear, however, that continued prosperity and living standards are
directly dependent upon striking a balance between the economy and the environment.

Toward this end, Mr. Speaker, this government is committed to several initiatives which will
profoundly impact our future as an eco-tourism destination. One such proposal will establish a system of
protected areas as a cornerstone to our objectives relating to the long-term and sustainable use of the
province’s natural resource base. We are also working inter-departmentally to develop an eco-tourism strategy
for Nova Scotia, to help guide decision-making. The mission of this strategy is to encourage nature tourism
as a vital component to the Nova Scotia tourism industry, through initiatives which will foster conservation
and management, sustainable development and use and increased public awareness of nature tourism
resources.

It is interesting to review the past few years as the interest in eco-tourism has grown and to note the
number of small businesses which have been established throughout Nova Scotia specifically catering to this
market. These businesses can only be viable with the ongoing commitment of government, the tourism
industry and all Nova Scotians to strike the balance between the economy and the environment. This balance
is one which requires vision and leadership.

In conclusion, Mr. Speaker, it will be vital for this government and all stakeholders to work towards
the sustainability of eco-tourism, to help ensure a healthy and prosperous future for the tourism industry in
Nova Scotia. Thank you.

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

MR. JOHN HOLM: Mr. Speaker, I welcome the opportunity to stand and speak for a few minutes on
the importance of eco-tourism and what I have to see as a slight misguided approach that this government is
taking on another component which I fear will have a very negative impact upon eco-tourism, not only the
potential that exists but that which currently is in place.

I certainly want to congratulate the previous speaker and I think that she did give an excellent speech
this afternoon and outlined many of the advantages that we do have. I know one of the things that I have
noticed as I have been travelling around the Province of Nova Scotia, certainly all the things that we
sometimes take for granted, certainly the beauty of our landscape, the friendliness of the people, the warm and
very rich culture we have which is different for many areas. I know that I have seen many tourists, many
people from out-of-province who have been coming here to enjoy that.

You know, one of the very rewarding things of all that is that the tourists are not just sticking Halifax
or Sydney, but that the tourists who are coming for eco-tourism, to enjoy our rivers, our natural beauty, our
mountains in Cape Breton, the Apple Blossom Festival and all the other things, the fishing villages and
everything that goes with that around our coast, they are providing employment from one end of the province
to the other; they are spending and depositing their dollars in all parts of the province. That is something, if
we truly believe in real economic development and spreading it around, that is the kind of business that we
want to encourage.

You know, Mr. Speaker, add to that, the government is talking about something which is supposedly
going to complement tourism in the Province of Nova Scotia, eco-tourism, supposedly which is going to be
helping the tourist industry, and that is the development of casinos in the Province of Nova Scotia.

Well, we know, Mr. Speaker, that according to the projections that are being put forward - and you
can see them next door over in the casino project office - they are projecting that there is going to be a grand
total of 12,000 new tourists coming to the Province of Nova Scotia. If you divide that out, if you do the math,
that means we are going to have approximately 30 new tourists a day, on average, coming to Nova Scotia as
a result of the casinos.

Now, what I have some difficulty with is if these casinos are supposed to be generating 27 per cent of
the revenue, which results in many millions of dollars . . .

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member is aware that you cannot debate . . .

MR. HOLM: Oh, I am not debating a bill, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: There is a bill before the House on that matter and we cannot inject any matter that
is before the House in the form of a bill in debate into the debate of this resolution.

MR. HOLM: Mr. Speaker, I am just trying to bring forward some concerns on behalf of eco-tourism,
I certainly am not talking about the bill. I am talking about the ITT Sheraton, which I am not permitted, when
we are on clause by clause debate, to even discuss. Certainly, the ITT Sheraton, their wish, their agreement,
that which they want to establish in Nova Scotia, is calling for the introduction or the bringing of 12,000, or
as I say, approximately 30 new tourists a day, they are projecting that 27 per cent of the revenue - that is ITT
Sheraton and which the government appears to have bought the argument - will come from these tourists.

Presumably, Mr. Speaker, if the casinos are not to hurt eco-tourism and the tourist operators who exist,
whether that be in the Valley region or in the South Shore, wherever they happen to be, presumably those 30
tourists a day are going to somehow or other be providing the 27 per cent of - I think it is $160 million or
$170 million worth - revenue that those casinos are going to bring in.

So all I have to say, Mr. Speaker, is that those 30 people a day have very deep pockets. If they don’t,
the reality is that those Nova Scotians who have worked hard to develop eco-tourism, and we see that in the
summertime, certainly, we see biking tourists, where people come in from not only other parts of Canada, but
from the United States and bike around our province, who go out and stay in the bed and breakfasts around
the province, visit the Valley, visit the South Shore, the Eastern Shore, Cape Breton and that is a very valuable
way to distribute the money.

The member who spoke before me, from Lunenburg County, comes from a very beautiful area. It is
an area that I am very familiar with and I like to spend as much time down in that general neck of the woods,
Mr. Speaker, because I have a summer place down there that I like to even visit occasionally in the
wintertime, on weekends when you want to get away and enjoy the scenery and the peace and the quiet and
walk the beaches and all of that. There are many businesses in that area that cater very directly to that; for
example, Mahone Bay - where the member who spoke before me actually represents - as does Lunenburg. I
am very concerned for the businesses in Lunenburg. I have been there in the summertime and even during
the winter when you have many tourists who are spending their dollars in those tourist accommodations and
in the gift shops and the restaurants, as they do in Mahone Bay in the various retail and other establishments.

[6:00 p.m.]

I am therefore very much concerned that if the ITT Sheraton proposal goes forward and those 30
tourists a day who they say are going to come to Nova Scotia as a result of the casinos, if they aren’t able to
spend this 27 per cent of all the revenue that is going to come in, it will draw those who are coming for eco-tourism and the other brands of tourism to Nova Scotia away from those areas, away from Lunenburg, away
from Mahone Bay, away from all of the other parts of the province, drawing them instead to Halifax, to the
downtown waterfront, where they will be then spending their loonies in one-armed slot machines, instead of
buying the products that are made within those communities.

I very much support the whole idea of eco-tourism and the ways that we can develop on that. I would
say to the government and through you, Mr. Speaker, to them and to the previous speaker, I would urge them
to get their priorities straight. Nova Scotia is known world-wide and we have heard and the Minister of
Tourism has released quite correctly and very proudly the kinds of statements that have been said about Nova
Scotia in countless magazines across North America and some even in the states, wonderful things that are
being said. That is the kind of thing that will genuinely attract people to this province and certainly that is
the kind of thing we want to build on, our strengths.

That then will help to strengthen our entire province. People will travel to the Valley, they will travel
up to the area of the Canso Causeway and the Strait area. We have so much to show. Surely to Heavens, we
don’t want to compromise our abilities to develop that province-wide tourism by compromising that, as I say,
by developing casinos or allowing them to be developed, that will draw those tourists away which means that
those operations that have been developing are no longer economically viable.

That is why we hear from, as we did in an article and I think it was even referred to today from
councils like Kentville which are opposed to the establishment of casinos for the way it will hurt small
businesses in their area and in their community. When we are talking about small businesses that can be hurt,
for example, many of those are involved in developing the important and much underdeveloped eco-tourism
business in the Province of Nova Scotia. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: The Adjournment motion has been made and carried.

The House will now rise to meet tomorrow at the hour of 12:00 noon.

[The House rose at 6:04 p.m.]

NOTICE OF QUESTIONS FOR WRITTEN ANSWERS

 

Given on January 24, 1995

 

(Pursuant to Rule 30)

QUESTION NO. 141

By: Mr. Ronald Russell (Hants West)

 

To: Hon. Bernard Boudreau (Minister of Finance)

I want to know, as does Carl Adams of Yarmouth and Paula Berringer of Mahone Bay, what steps the
ministers and senior bureaucrats are taking to reduce their wages and perks as they expect the general public
to do?

QUESTION NO. 142

By: Mr. Ronald Russell (Hants West)

 

To: Hon. John Savage (Premier)

I want to know, as does Lester G. Beeler, if Premier Savage and his ministers are prepared to further
reduce their salaries to help eliminate the debt?

QUESTION NO. 143

By: Mr. Ronald Russell (Hants West)

 

To: Hon. Bernard Boudreau (Minister of Finance)

I want to know, as does Ivan Cassidy, Ph.D., of Wolfville whether the government is prepared to
consider further rolling back the salaries of all members of the Cabinet and the Legislature?

QUESTION NO. 144

By: Mr. Ronald Russell (Hants West)

 

To: Hon. Bernard Boudreau (Minister of Finance)

I want to know, as does Wilfred McNutt of Truro, how the province can fight a provincial deficit when
every fluctuation in the federal system and the price of our dollar rises and lowers affects equalization
payments, interest on debt and funding for programs?

QUESTION NO. 145

By: Mr. Ronald Russell (Hants West)

 

To: Hon. Bernard Boudreau (Minister of Finance)

I want to know, as does Ardan Stevenson of Bridgewater, what has been done by the Liberals to reduce
the number of civil servants working for the provincial government? Mr. Stevenson feels that rather than
cutting programs, reduction of the Civil Service should be the number one priority in reducing government
spending.

 

 

QUESTION NO. 146

By: Mr. Ronald Russell (Hants West)

 

To: Hon. Bernard Boudreau (Minister of Finance)

I want to know, as does Bruce Stevenson of North Sydney, if civil servants who have had their salaries
rolled back by the Liberal Government will be issued a tax credit?

QUESTION NO. 147

By: Mr. Ronald Russell (Hants West)

 

To: Hon. Bernard Boudreau (Minister of Finance)

I want to know, as does Allan Barclay of Kentville, if the government can provide a copy of their
economic and financial plan to pay off the provincial deficit and debt and has the minister provided the Right
Honourable Jean Chretien with a copy of this report?

QUESTION NO. 148

By: Mr. George Moody (Kings West)

 

To: Hon. Bernard Boudreau (Minister of Finance)

I want to know, as does Olive Smith of Dartmouth, how much money will the Nova Scotia and
municipal governments contribute to the building of a casino in Halifax, specifically in the area of additional
road work, water, sewage, police protection and committees to assess the concerns that will arise? Also, is the
government prepared to take over the whole enterprise should it fail?

QUESTION NO. 149

By: Mr. Ronald Russell (Hants West)

 

To: Hon. Bernard Boudreau (Minister of Finance)

I want to know, as does Susan Bethune of Yarmouth County, how the government can constantly
justify raising taxes and cutting programs, such as health and education, and yet continually raise the salaries
and expense accounts of members and ministers at the expense of the public?