Assemblée Législative de la Nouvelle-Écosse

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HALIFAX, THURSDAY, JANUARY 26, 1995



Fifty-sixth General Assembly



Second Session



12:00 P.M.



SPEAKER



Hon. Paul MacEwan



DEPUTY SPEAKER



Mr. Gerald O’Malley






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



PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS



PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES



TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS



STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS



GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION



INTRODUCTION OF BILLS



NOTICES OF MOTION



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Opposition.



RESOLUTION NO. 1593



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



Whereas acts of heroism can be performed in a number of ways; and






6497

 

Whereas this past April, Springhill police officer Murray Scott braved thick smoke and fire to rescue
a family of three from a burning house in the Cumberland County town; and



Whereas Constable Scott has been recognized by the Governor General of Canada and will be
presented with the Medal of Bravery at an awards ceremony in Ottawa later this spring;



Therefore be it resolved that today each and every member of this Legislature commend Constable
Murray Scott of the Springhill Police Department for putting his life on the line to save the lives of three other
individuals.



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



MR. SPEAKER: Is it agreed?



It is agreed that notice be waived.



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. 1594



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



Whereas this week marks the 5th Anniversary of the release of the Marshall Commission report whose
recommendations tackled political intervention, racism, low standards and poor practices in the Nova Scotia
justice system; and



Whereas even some of the most straightforward recommendations that the government fully accepted
five years ago, such as Mi’kmaq interpreters in the courts, are still not fully recognized; and



Whereas this government has delayed its response to new evidence that prosecutors’ independence
requires additional safeguards while letting ongoing training of police officers fall victim to cutbacks;



Therefore be it resolved that on this 5th Anniversary this House affirms the importance to justice for
all Nova Scotians of the thorough, principled implementation of the Marshall Commission recommendations
in the spirit of the commission report and the long, terrible struggle by Donald Marshall, Junior that preceded
it.



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



MR. SPEAKER: Is it agreed?



I hear a No.



The notice is tabled.



The honourable member for Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage.



RESOLUTION NO. 1595



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



Whereas the Victorian Order of Nurses have a history of helping people get better by making
approximately 178,000 visits a year to homes throughout Nova Scotia; and



Whereas VON nurses have been providing their specialized brand of home care in Nova Scotia since
1897; and



Whereas National VON Week, which runs until Saturday, marks the 98th Anniversary of this non-profit organization;



Therefore be it resolved that members of this House of Assembly extend congratulations in
appreciation of the outstanding work performed in homes by the nursing staff with the Victorian Order of
Nurses.



Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.



MR. SPEAKER: Is it agreed?



It is agreed, apparently.



Very well, then, we will hold the vote now on the question. Would all those in favour of the motion
please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.



The motion is carried.



The honourable member for Kings West.



RESOLUTION NO. 1596



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



Whereas the Finance Minister and Premier have ignored public sentiment on casino gambling and
pushed forward at full speed to allow casinos in the province; and



Whereas the Finance Minister is convinced the two establishments will be a means to an end of the
province’s revenue woes; and



Whereas this government is now working under a warning by ITT Sheraton that if the government
does not soon produce the authority to allow casinos in the province, it will not be able to have the machines
up and running for the G-7 traffic;



Therefore be it resolved that this government resist this warning and its temptation to shut off the
freedom of debate enjoyed in this Legislature for greater than a century and start listening to the people and
to the Opposition representatives through which they are trying to be heard.



MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.



The honourable member for Halifax Fairview.



RESOLUTION NO. 1597



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



Whereas this is VON Week honouring 98 years of commitment to community-based health care by
the Victorian Order of Nurses; and



Whereas the VON are one of many health care providers and advocates who have waited in vain for
the comprehensive Home Care Program which this government promised to implement no later than January
1, 1994; and



Whereas despite the growing difficulties created by several consecutive years of bed closures and
abbreviated hospital stays, the VON has valiantly carried on meeting its mandate;



Therefore be it resolved that on the occasion of VON Week, this House salutes the Victorian Order of
Nurses and the dedication it has demonstrated by striving to fulfil its mandate under exceedingly difficult
circumstances.



Mr. Speaker, I wonder if I might ask for waiver of notice.



MR. SPEAKER: I hear several Noes.



The notice is tabled.



The honourable Leader of the Opposition.



RESOLUTION NO. 1598



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



Whereas the Education Minister, spokesman for the government on the Atlantic response to the
Axworthy report, refuses to allow Nova Scotians to see this Atlantic response until after the four governments
meet with Axworthy; and



Whereas only when “negotiations are finished with Mr. Axworthy” will the chair of the Nova Scotia
Government - on this very important representation - offer the public a glimpse of what is being said on their
behalf; and



Whereas offering details once the Education Minister has the “final result” is not good enough;



Therefore be it resolved that the Education Minister release details of the Atlantic response to Nova
Scotians, the taxpayers whom the minister and this government are supposed to represent, before they find
themselves in the middle of a bargaining position that does not represent the best interests of our province.



MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.



The honourable member for Halifax Atlantic.



RESOLUTION NO. 1599



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



Whereas the Finance Minister is now blaming the high costs of his own government’s massive and
poorly planned disruption of major public services for the Liberals’ continued deficit problems; and



Whereas this week, rather than using its professional Civil Service, the Liberals are again sending
money downtown by hiring another human resources consultant; and



Whereas the government is also running up the bill for the next budget by looking downtown once
more for yet another consultant, this time to help fire more people;



Therefore be it resolved that someone in this government should wake up, smell the coffee and
recognize that their so-called solutions are driving up costs, driving down quality and destroying morale
throughout the health, education, community and other vital services.



MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.



The honourable member for Halifax Fairview.



RESOLUTION NO. 1600



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



Whereas in June 1994, this government proudly announced a reorganization of the Health Department;
and



Whereas in October 1994, the same government secretly issued a $50,000 untendered contract to
Berkeley Consulting for advice on how to reorganize the Health Department; and



Whereas this month, the government quietly launched another reorganization of the same department,
with the Health Minister admitting that he has not even seen the Berkeley Report “in full” and officials stating
the study is not even yet complete;



Therefore be it resolved that one year of non-stop study and repeated reorganizations of one mid-sized
department demonstrates why poor planning by fits and starts have made it so expensive and frustrating for
Nova Scotians to endure so-called Liberal reforms.



MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.



The honourable Leader of the New Democratic Party.






RESOLUTION NO. 1601



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



Whereas on Sunday, January 22nd, the NDP House Leader used a televised broadcast to publicly
challenge Nova Scotians to speak up if they agreed with the government that debate on controversial
legislation should quickly end; and



Whereas among the many resulting calls to the NDP caucus office, all opposed the casino plan and
WCB cutbacks, not one agreed with the government’s position, not even callers who said that they had been
personally urged by Cabinet Ministers to phone the NDP; and



Whereas public sentiment to approve without improvements all remaining government bills begins
and ends at the Liberal caucus room door;



Therefore be it resolved that Liberal attempts to portray themselves as defenders of democracy are as
artificial as the Liberal platform in the last provincial election.



MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.



The honourable member for Halifax Atlantic.



RESOLUTION NO. 1602



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



[12:15 p.m.]



Whereas Cape Bretoners were led to believe by Liberal candidates in the 1993 provincial election that
Cape Breton’s concerns would be heard and heeded if the Liberals gained power; and



Whereas today, those Cape Bretoners see 10 Liberal MLAs who shun their own constituents’ concerns
on WCB and virtually all other issues, never speaking up in this House on behalf of that hard-pressed Island;
and



Whereas those Liberal MLAs apparently believe that they should forbid anyone from debating,
advancing and defending Cape Bretoners’ views and interests in this House;



Therefore be it resolved that Liberal MLAs determined to impose anti-labour, Tory policies upon Cape
Breton Island should consider crossing the floor before the next election, so they run under the banner of the
Party that originated the policies of this government.



MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.



Are there further notices of motion? If not, I wish to advise the House that the Clerk has conducted a
draw for the Adjournment debate at 6:00 p.m. and that the winner this afternoon is the honourable member
for Halifax Atlantic. Those wishing to hear him further will be here at 6:00 p.m. His subject for debate is:



Therefore be it resolved that on this 5th Anniversary this House affirms the importance to justice for
all Nova Scotians of the thorough, principled implementation of the Marshall Commission recommendations
in the spirit of the commission report and the long, terrible struggle by Donald Marshall, Junior, that preceded
it.



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



If there is no further business to come before the House under the heading of the daily routine we will
advance to Orders of the Day. Oral Question Period today will run for one hour, from 12:17 p.m. to 1:17 p.m.



ORDERS OF THE DAY



ORAL QUESTIONS PUT BY MEMBERS



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Opposition.



RULES OF THE HOUSE (AMENDMENT) - SPRING SESSION (G-7 SUMMIT)



MR. TERENCE DONAHOE: My question is to the Acting Premier. This morning in an offer to
engage in discussions with the Government House Leader to find a reasoned way to work through the current
impasse which faces the House relative to the passage of certain legislation, the Government House Leader
said that one of the reasons for the rule changes proposed was that the spring session was upcoming and with
the budget and more legislation ahead, the government was determined to have the spring session proceed
in such a way and in such a timeframe so as to accommodate the G-7 meetings, scheduled for Halifax in mid-June. I wonder if the acting Premier will confirm that that is, in fact, the intent of the government, underlying
the resolution that faces the House in regard to the work of this House?



HON. JAY ABBASS: No, I wouldn’t confirm that. In fact, I would probably ask the Government House
Leader to take, at least the first supplementary on this one. I know that there are several concerns which relate
more to the unusually long period of time that the Opposition has taken in debating things like the title of two
bills that figure in any decision that the Government House Leader may have had in making whatever
recommendations he has made.



MR. DONAHOE: My first supplementary then is again to the Acting Premier. The fact is the
Government House Leader made the statement to which I refer. He indicated that one of the underlying
principles of the procedural approach which the government now proposes to take relative to the way in which
the business of this House will be done is, in fact, in order to ensure that the upcoming spring session, with
the spring budget and additional legislation in the spring would be handled in the government’s opinion, in
such a way as to accommodate the G-7 meeting scheduled for Halifax in mid-June. My question to the Acting
Premier is, am I now to understand from his response that the statements made by the Government House
Leader were made by him, by the Government House Leader, without reference to the Acting Premier?



MR. ABBASS: As a co-chair for the G-7 subcommittee of Cabinet I can assure you that I was not
approached in that vein asking for my views as to whether any kind of resolution should be brought in which
would define the hours of debate. Again, I would tell you that most of what we are doing here by way of this
resolution has more to do with the unusually long or great amount of time that the Opposition has taken in
unnecessarily debating certain aspects of two particular bills that are before the Chamber right now.



MR. DONAHOE: My final supplementary then is to the Government House Leader, who said the
things that he said this morning and indicated that the process which the government intends to follow, by
way of moving legislation through this House, would have the impact of imposing rules which would have
effect in the spring and subsequent sessions of this Legislature. Is the Government House Leader seriously
saying that the timing of this government’s budget and spring legislative package is being dictated by a two
day meeting of federal and international government leaders and not by the legitimate needs and interests of
the taxpayers of the Province of Nova Scotia?



HON. RICHARD MANN: Mr. Speaker, no. I think what we are hearing here is perhaps changing
words or taking them out of context. What I said to the Opposition House Leader this morning was quite
simple, that we were calling a resolution for debate today. It was our intention to go forward with that because
of the tactics we have seen in the House and, obviously, not related to any specific legislation because they
have demonstrated, and I think in comments outside the House have made it quite clear that they were going
to debate endlessly, and filibuster, without even an opportunity to make changes in the legislation. In fact,
what I said (Interruptions)



MR. SPEAKER: Order. Order.



AN HON. MEMBER: Get to the clauses . . .



MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.



AN HON. MEMBER: You were away for a week . . .



MR. SPEAKER: Order.



AN HON. MEMBER: And nothing changed.



MR. MANN: What I said, in fact, is I suppose a comment after some of the discussions we had with
some of the rumours that are reaching members of the government about the tactics of the Opposition and
what, in fact, they were planning on doing and trying to run sessions close together. So that is not the reason.
I make it clear, categorically on the floor to the Leader of the Opposition; that the reason for the resolution,
the reason for the rule changes, quite clearly, is because of the tactics and the fact that there is a filibuster. It
is wasting time and money. It is the attempt by a few members of the House to have veto over government.
(Applause)



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Atlantic.



RULES OF THE HOUSE (AMENDMENT) - MEETING



MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, I would like to direct my question to the Government House
Leader. Six weeks ago the Government House Leader, on behalf of the government and the Liberal Party, said
in this House that we are willing to consider changes but he said that, clearly, the matter would have to go
to the Committee on Assembly Matters for a full debate, for some research to be done; it had to be well
thought-out and to try and reach a consensus.



Mr. Speaker, we know we have heard that the Government House Leader has been making some loud
proclamations outside this House for the past two weeks that he is concerned about the fact that debate has
continued on for too long and he would like to consider rule changes.



I would like to ask the Government House Leader if he would advise all members of this House
whether, within that past two weeks, he has approached you, Mr. Speaker, the person responsible for the
Committee on Assembly Matters, whether the Government House Leader could indicate that he has done that
and asked you to convene a meeting, or perhaps he could indicate whether or not he has tried to convene any
other kind of meeting, involving Opposition Parties, for the purposes of considering changes to the rules?



MR. SPEAKER: This is a most difficult question to know how to rule on because while I would
suppose that it would be in order to ask a minister if he had approached a committee Chair with reference to
the convening of a committee, the rules specifically state that a question cannot be asked of the Speaker. This
appears to ask a question that appears to border on that. However, I will allow the question, in the interests
of freedom of discussion.



HON. RICHARD MANN: Mr. Speaker, I think I have done better than that, I stated in debate here
one day quite categorically that this government was willing and anxious to have the committee meet and
consider rule changes and concerns put forth by all Parties. (Applause)



MR. CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, I don’t quite understand what that response meant, but that is okay.
I know for certain that I have not been contacted by either the Government House Leader or the Speaker, or
the member from our caucus who was on that committee, that a meeting will be convened in order to discuss
rule changes.



I would like to ask the Government House Leader here this afternoon, Mr. Speaker, if he would agree
to convene a meeting today, this afternoon, in order to deal with the question of rule changes, or is the
Government House Leader committed to pushing forward, against the pledge he made six weeks ago that one
Party should not be able to make all the rules that are going to have to withstand the test of time in this
Chamber?



MR. MANN: Mr. Speaker, not only do I not have the power to convene a meeting, I am no longer on
that committee. I can tell the member categorically, yes, we are committed to proceeding this afternoon with
the resolution on rule changes. (Interruption)



MR. SPEAKER: Please, one member at a time.



MR. CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, I guess it is apparent to all of us that the Government House Leader
has not and nor will he convene a meeting in order to follow the precedents of this House. He is outside the
House talking to reporters about negotiating and dealing and about being open to compromise but this is a
government proposal, the resolution that is before us this afternoon, that they have not once brought to the
attention of the Opposition.



My final supplementary question to the Government House Leader, is it not now the policy and practice
of this government that they will not discuss rule changes with Opposition Parties before trying to ram rule
changes through this House?






MR. MANN: Mr. Speaker, it is interesting that earlier in this session the Opposition Parties brought
forth, not a request to the Speaker to convene a meeting of the Committee on on Assembly Matters to discuss
rule changes, they brought forth resolutions for debate on the conduct of the Speaker, on rule changes to elect
a Speaker. Did they ask the Speaker to meet? (Interruption)



No, they brought forth, with attachments, on how the Speaker was to be elected, cut and dried. Now
today, not unexpectedly, when they see that the resolution is going to be debated, they stand up pretending
that they were willing to talk about these things. Clearly, they were not. (Interruption) I would say that we will
proceed today, debate on the resolution proposing rule changes and we will be willing, we are willing to meet
to discuss other rule changes with other Parties.



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings West.



HEALTH - C.B. REGIONAL HOSPITAL: CANCER TREATMENT - REPORT STATUS



MR. GEORGE MOODY: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Health. I think I asked him,
last Thursday, about the progress of a committee that is studying cancer treatment needs for Cape Breton in
the new regional hospital. At that time, he indicated to me that the report had not been received in full. This
meant, as I understood it, that the committee had made some progress but the final report wasn’t in. Could
the minister give us a brief summary of where that committee is as of today? It has partly done its work, could
he give us a brief report or brief results?



HON. RONALD STEWART: Mr. Speaker, some of the recommendations and the trends of the
committee we have discussed with the committee themselves and we have also been very interested in the
connection that has been made with this Sydney project, with Dr. Guernsey’s group. We are looking toward
some more input from that group in order to make a community-wide process. In short, an ongoing progress
report certainly would be forthcoming within the next couple of weeks. We have already made some progress
in terms of planning for what might be in place. I would want to reassure the honourable gentleman opposite
about that.



MR. MOODY: Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the minister indicating that some planning has taken place
indicating, obviously, that he knows some direction this committee may be going in. Could I ask the minister
if he could give us some indication of the types of planning that is being done so that, in effect, they will be
ready when this committee gives its full report?



DR. STEWART: Mr. Speaker, if I could just very briefly answer the question concerning the
ramifications of some of the decisions that had been discussed by this committee, with the changes in the
Cancer Treatment and Research Foundation, for example, the CTRF, we have to ensure that the
recommendations by that group made in the past would be folded into the committee with its
recommendations. So, we have a staff group in place making sure that that happens.



The move to the new regional hospital both in terms of equipment needs, if radiation therapy, linear
accelerator equipment would be part of that it would have to be folded into architectural changes because the
design was not sufficient for the new technology. There are other changes in regards to the personnel and
recruiting of people who might staff any new thrusts in that area and then this, also, is going to be tied in with
the mobile mammography unit that is there and the detection and management treatment of breast cancer.
So, there are those groups that have come together within the department to discuss it further and to make
plans.



[12:30 p.m.]



MR. MOODY: Mr. Speaker, I thank the minister for his answer. I wonder if he could then, sort of,
indicate to the people of Cape Breton, we all know that cancer is too prevalent in this region, we know the
problems and the minister is aware, could he tell us, when the Cape Breton Regional Hospital opens, will, at
that time, there be this treatment program in place that is going to be decided by this committee? Will that
be in place when the hospital itself is opened? In other words, when the hospital is officially opened, will
people be able to go there for some type of treatment that this committee decides should be given to patients
in the Cape Breton region at the regional hospital?



DR. STEWART: Yes, I certainly would anticipate, by the official opening date, and I am not sure that
has been decided on yet, patients are going to be moved until the end of February, as I understand it, at least
some, but by the official opening date following that, we would have a complete announcement regarding a
full program.



I might say, too, and I appreciate the questioning of the honourable gentleman opposite regarding this.
We must, as he knows and as he has shown, take a broad view of prevention, detection and treatment of
cancer services in that particular region, which is so high and struck with such a high rate of cancer.



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Hants West.



GOV’T. (N.S.) - LEGISLATION: G-7 SUMMIT - IMPACT



MR. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Transportation. In response
to a question from the Leader of the Opposition a few moments ago, I understood from the minister that he
was advising the House that the G-7 did not impose any constraints upon their legislation package
forthcoming in the spring and that, therefore, this legislation was not directed towards proceeding rapidly
through that particular session.



I wonder if the minister would confirm that this morning he stated, categorically, that the G-7 imposed
constraints on the passage of their spring legislation?



HON. RICHARD MANN: No, Mr. Speaker, I don’t believe I said that at all this morning. The member
called me out of Cabinet and I was on a telephone outside the Cabinet Room. I say, again, that the G-7 is not
the reason why the resolution on rule changes has been brought forward. I guess I cannot make it much
clearer than that.



MR. RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, if it has nothing to do with it all, why did he even mention the subject?



MR. MANN: I guess, Mr. Speaker, we were having a conversation and I merely told the member some
of the rumours we are hearing on this side of the House.



MR. RUSSELL: I cannot call the honourable member a liar . . .



MR. SPEAKER: No, indeed you can’t.



MR. RUSSELL: . . . but, however, there was a categorical statement made that the G-7 was imposing
constraints upon this government in getting their legislative package through this spring and that was why,
in addition to getting through Bill No. 120 and Bill No. 122, they wanted to have this package in place.



I will ask the minister again, is it not a fact that he stated that they required passage of this particular
resolution in order to progress their spring legislative package?



MR. MANN: Mr. Speaker, my recollection is no, I did not say that. The member, I guess, as he said,
we had a conversation. The subject of the G-7 did come up. It is not the reason why this resolution has been
brought forth and I certainly cannot recall saying that it was.



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Pictou Centre.



SYSCO: FUNDING - COST



DR. JOHN HAMM: Mr. Speaker, to the Minister of Finance responsible for Sysco. Yesterday, in the
House, during Question Period, we established that the province, on January 3rd, by Order in Council,
guaranteed a $30 million line of credit to Sysco and arranged it through two banks in a mixture of Canadian
and American funds. Bearing in mind that the province has been guaranteeing a line of credit to Sysco right
along, my specific question to the minister is, what is, today, the total commitment by government to an
operating line of credit to Sysco?



HON. BERNARD BOUDREAU: The limit of the line of credit is covered under the operating, the
guarantee that we provided in the agreement and that limit will be $15 million.



DR. HAMM: There may be some confusion, Mr. Speaker, between the minister and myself as to what
it was I was specifically asking. I believe the minister was giving me the total commitment in terms of an
operating loss as $15 million during the three year agreement. My question was, what is the total commitment
of government to providing an operating line of credit to Sysco, the total amount at this time? Is there a
corresponding agreement by Minmetals to guarantee an operating line of credit to Sysco during the three year
joint operation?



MR. BOUDREAU: Mr. Speaker, the operating line will be dealt with out of the amount that we have
indicated we would guarantee for operating losses. Starting at day one, it is $15 million. If they lose $5
million, it is now down to $10 million. If they lose another $5 million, it is down to $5 million. That is how
it will operate.



DR. HAMM: By way of final supplementary, then, to the minister, is there any obligation by
Minmetals to go to an established bank in Canada and to guarantee, as did the province on January 3rd, a
significant line of credit in the favour of Sysco?



MR. BOUDREAU: Mr. Speaker, under the agreement, Sysco still is today, and will remain for the next
three years, a provincial Crown Corporation. Its line of credit will be set in place and guaranteed by the
province, in fact, it has been. The honourable member referred to the Orders in Council that have already been
passed and which came into effect January 1st. The guarantees for Minmetals will be to the province under
the terms of our agreement and those guarantees will be secured by a line of credit from, I think, the Royal
Bank of Canada.



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Pictou Centre on a new question. If you are continuing
in this field, I will recognize you again.



The honourable member for Pictou Centre.



SYSCO: MINMETALS - GUARANTEE



DR. JOHN HAMM: Mr. Speaker, just to continue with the Minister of Finance, yesterday the minister
made reference to a certificate of guarantee by Minmetals to the amount of $10 million which was, I believe,
and I will paraphrase the wording of the agreement, which I do not have right in front of me, is to ensure
Minmetals participating in their part of the agreement. Would the minister outline for the House specifically
what, in fact, that $10 million guarantee will cover?



HON. BERNARD BOUDREAU: Mr. Speaker, Minmetals have agreed to a number of things. I do not
propose, and I do not think the honourable member wants me to run through the entire agreement, but they
have agreed to share operating losses up to a certain amount. That guarantee is in place to secure their
commitment to share operating losses.



DR. HAMM: By way of supplementary, Mr. Speaker, in terms of the joint agreement that now exists,
that came into force on January 1st, is the only tangible asset that Minmetals has brought to the agreement
to this point the certificate of a guarantee of a $10 million line of credit on which the province would have
a call in the event of any default on behalf of Minmetals?



MR. BOUDREAU: I do not know, Mr. Speaker, what the honourable member would classify as
tangible. In fact, they have made commitments which have made it possible for the Sydney steel plant to
continue in operation and indeed to have the opportunity to establish that it will be successful. Without the
guarantee of operating protection for operating losses or, indeed, profits and without the commitment to share
in capital, we would not have been able to keep Sydney Steel going. In fact, this agreement has made it
possible to do exactly that.



In addition, we think they bring something very tangible, in terms of their market connections in the
largest rail market in the world. If one were to compare, for example, the sales performance of Sydney Steel
in the last six months in China to any other six months, the comparison would be remarkable. We sold
literally nothing in the past, we are substantially in that market at present.



DR. HAMM: Mr. Speaker, I welcome those encouraging remarks from the Finance Minister. Would
the Finance Minister give us some estimate as to the amount of sales to which he has referred?



MR. BOUDREAU: I wish I had had some notice of the question, I could have specifically given you
the figures. I don’t wish to guess at them so if the honourable member will bear with me, I will take that last
question on notice and I will provide him with the specific numbers within a matter of a day or so.



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






FIN. - PUBLIC SECTOR: CUT BACKS - NUMBERS



MR. JOHN HOLM: Mr. Speaker, my question, too, is for the Minister of Finance. Prior to the last
election, of course, the government said that if there were to be staff reductions, those staff reductions would
result from attrition, early retirement, hiring freezes, et cetera. A commitment that the Minister of Finance
himself has repeated on different occasions.



Of course we have seen many people who were, in fact, fired by the government to reduce the staff size.
Now we see that the government has called for proposals to hire terminating consultants, you might say,
people whose job it is to supposedly sensitively terminate government employees’ positions.



My question to the minister as he is preparing for his third budget which, of course, this is all a prelude
to, what are the ministers targets? How many more government employees is this government planning to
eliminate over the next 24 months?



HON. BERNARD BOUDREAU: Mr. Speaker, the honourable member always leads off with a
preamble that you have to debate whether or not you are going to go and respond to it directly or go to the
question. I am not going to bother with the preamble, except to say that if he has information that I said what
he said I said in this House, I would be interested to have him produce it, for me anyway, if not for the rest
of us.



With respect to the question, we have always acknowledged that a downsizing of the Civil Service
provincially was necessary. I don’t think there was any other way for us to deal with the question of our
massive deficits because 65 per cent of the costs of programs in government involve this wage burden. So you
can’t attack the deficit without addressing that question.



We have done significant downsizing. The vast majority of that downsizing was done through the early
retirement program or other relocations. However, there are some people who won’t be covered by that. That
will be an ongoing process through the entire four year plan. But we hope that in future, as it has been to date,
that we can accommodate the employees who are downsized in an humane and responsible way, primarily
through using the early retirement program.



MR. HOLM: Mr. Speaker, we have seen some of that humane and sensitive treatment of employees,
for example, when the Minister of Government Services sacked a whole bunch of employees without any
notice just a few weeks ago.



My second question to the Minister of Finance is quite simply this, why is it that this government has
time and money for consultants and not for their employees? Why isn’t the government willing to sit down
with the union representatives, the representatives of the public employees, to discuss and look for ways to
improve efficiency, reduce costs in a humane way, without providing for the massive layoffs that this
government intends? Why haven’t you sat down?



MR. BOUDREAU: Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the question from the honourable member. I would say
that the honourable member should not trivialize the effort that has been made through the early retirement
plan, in terms of the downsizing, because already there are over 800 former civil servants in Nova Scotia who
are receiving a pension. That is not a small number.



If you look to the Teachers Union, there is probably another 800 or so on an early retirement program.
What is better than that, there are hundreds of teachers who were unemployed who are now working. Let’s
not trivialize those efforts.



[12:45 p.m.]



I think we can demonstrate, and I think we have demonstrated in the House, that we have gotten value
for every one of those management audits, for example. We can tell you how much they cost. We can tell you
what the cost savings were. We will give you a list of that by department.



The final question in that group of questions, Mr. Speaker, was, why haven’t we consulted the
employees? I think in every single case when a management audit was done, those employees were consulted
extensively. That was an important part of the management audit report when it was completed.



MR. HOLM: Mr. Speaker, I assure the Minister of Finance that I am not trivializing anything. I am
sure that those hundreds of workers who used to draw a pay cheque and who are now out hoping that they can
continue to collect unemployment insurance after they were unceremoniously dumped by this government
don’t trivialize it either. That’s not to say that there weren’t some things . . .



MR. SPEAKER: Is this the question? Question. A final supplementary question.



MR. HOLM: My question to the minister is quite simply this, will the minister, before he accepts any
recommendations from the new terminator that is being sought, will the minister instruct that senior staff sit
down with the representatives of the workers of the Province of Nova Scotia and look for other ways to
improve efficiency and reduce costs -  which, Mr. Speaker, they have a great deal of expertise in - before you
set about on another round of wholesale firings?



MR. BOUDREAU: Mr. Speaker, we don’t mean to suggest that somebody who was employed and who
now is no longer employed doesn’t face a serious situation. We recognized that. But when we came into office,
there were probably 15,000 public servants in Nova Scotia whose jobs were at risk, because if this government
doesn’t survive fiscally, they are one of the first group people who will be hit. So, we have tried to address that
problem in a global way.



Specifically, to the final supplementary I would say this, I would not favour and we would not support
any study done or any report for consideration of any department or any agency or any function of government
by any consultant, or anyone else, that did not seek out the views of the employees involved.



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings West.



HEALTH - REFORM: OPERATING ROOMS - AVAILABILITY



MR. GEORGE MOODY: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Health. I had a call from a
lady yesterday who went into hospital, I think, on October 27th with a blood clot. The doctor, the next day,
tried to clear the clot. She had to wait until November 17th for an operation because the doctor couldn’t send
her home, the doctor said that if the clot moved it would kill her, so she had to wait and the cardiovascular
surgeon kept her informed of when the operating room would be available. Nothing wrong. She spent,
obviously, about 20 days in hospital at over $800 a day at the VG, so close to $20,000 was spent. She is asking
and I am asking, is that the best way to spend our money on health reform, for people to take up those beds
and the OR is not available?



HON. RONALD STEWART: Mr. Speaker, I think the first priority, if I might suggest -and I am not
familiar with the case as the honourable gentleman opposite knows full well -the important thing is that that
patient be served well and that her life and limb be not placed in jeopardy. In this particular instance, it may
well have been that other emergencies preceded her and those are clinical decisions resting with the clinicians,
ever vigilant clinicians I might add, in this program in Nova Scotia which is nationally known.



Now, I would say, too, that it could have been something that occurred clinically, in which there were
extenuating circumstances, but it may well have been that other priorities had been on the mind of the
clinician. So, I would have to defer to his or her judgment.



MR. MOODY: Mr. Speaker, I want to assure him that the doctor told her that the only reason she had
to wait was because of no operating room and it may have been because of other emergencies. I guess the point
was obviously if there was more money for the operating room, we wouldn’t spend $20,000 waiting. I know
the minister is concerned about individuals and I think that is what he was saying.



I had a call today from Heather Legere, who has liver cancer and the latest CAT Scan indicate the
growth is growing. She went in hospital, they have now sent her home again because there is no operating
room available. I would ask the minister, this woman is going through a lot of anxiety, she asked me and I
agreed to ask the Minister of Health. When is the government going to make a priority that there is enough
money available in operating rooms in this province so that people like Heather Legere with liver cancer can
have her operation? (Interruption)



MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. The question has been asked, let the minister answer.



DR. STEWART: I will allow others to judge whether this is appropriate to raise a specific case. The
principle is very valid, of course, and that is the way we apportion our resources, our very valuable resources
in the health care system and it is with every sympathy that the honourable gentleman, I am sure, offers the
example of this unfortunate patient. But, I would say again, it will be the clinician who will decide when the
operating theatres and other surgical and other resources are used in the system.



The question is, as the honourable gentleman suggests, do we need more resources. He suggested, in
fact, in a question last week that we need more beds. Throw more beds, that is all we need. We have one of
the highest bed/population ratios in the country. The honourable gentleman in his tenure very reasonably
began a reduction in that ratio which we are continuing.



We are well above the national average and it is the management of the beds and the fact that we need,
as has been suggested opposite and, in fact, by our own government and we have acted on, we need
alternatives. I am ready in any way to debate why and how we should use resources in the health care system
but I would ask that the clinician be the judge of where and when and how these resources are being used.



MR. MOODY: The minister and I would agree on one thing and that is the management of the beds
as he illustrated earlier. I think the problem is the money for the OR. I want to ask the minister, the doctors
are telling the people that are calling me, and I am getting a lot of calls, that the doctors are saying, yes, you
need the OR time. The problem is, they are not saying there are not enough beds, they are saying there is not
enough money for the ORs and enough staff to keep the ORs going the amount of time as they used to, so
therefore these people have to wait.



Would the minister take the time to look into the situation at the OR time at the Victoria General
Hospital to make sure that those people needing to use that OR are adequately and that all the physicians that
are advocating that people need it, that they be considered? Would the minister take the time to review what
is happening with OR time at the VG to make sure people are looked after?



DR. STEWART: It is very easy for me to assure the honourable gentleman opposite that I take the
time, on a daily basis I might add, to look at the statistics and to look at the functioning of the health care
system, particularly operating theatre. (Interruption) Well, we are going to fix it, and this is a good question,
let me answer this.



Clinicians will make the decisions on clinical care in the health care system. It will not be, it will never
be with this government and with this ministry the fact that the ministry is going to intervene on clinical care
decisions, never. That will not happen because it is wrong, absolutely wrong. What will happen and what is
happening is that the systemic problems that are inherent to the structure of our health care system will be
corrected.



For example, we have to insist that we do better in our system with same day surgery, we are well
below the national average on that. It has in some hospitals increased in particular specialties where
technology has allowed it. It is in fact, remarkable, 70 per cent of opthamological surgery are done in single
day surgical suites in this province. This is at least triple what it was several years ago. It is the management
and it is the ability of our system to utilize the resources in a way that is efficient. That will allow us to do
better in respect to these particular cases that this honourable gentleman raises.



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Pictou Centre.



ENVIRON.: OPEN PIT MINE (SPRINGHILL) - IMPACT



DR. JOHN HAMM: Mr. Speaker, this is a question for the Minister of the Environment. Springhill
area residents have brought forward to the minister concerns about the environmental impact by the proposed
open pit mine in the Springhill area and have expressed to the minister, particular concern about blasting
compensation and the possible effect on the underground geothermal energy source.



My question to the minister is, when will the final environmental guidelines be available to the
residents, relative to the Springhill open pit mining project?



HON. ROBERT HARRISON: Mr. Speaker, I will be pleased to obtain the exact date for the honourable
member on behalf of the citizens of Springhill. But I can assure him the department and this minister take
seriously the concerns raised. It is a public process, the establishment of those guidelines. We look for public
input at a number of points in the assessment process and, clearly, the issues raised that I have seen reported
in a newspaper and in a letter, will be taken into account by the Department of the Environment. As to the
exact date of the release of the terms reference, I don’t have that information, but I would be glad to get it for
you.



DR. HAMM: Mr. Speaker, I thank the minister for the commitment to provide the date and I, also,
thank him for the expression of the concern that he has for these very important environmental concerns. By
way of supplementary, a similar project is going on in Thorburn, relative to an open pit mining proposal on
the old McBean mine site.



My question to the minister is, when will the draft environmental review guidelines be available to the
people of Thorburn relative to that project?



MR. HARRISON: Well, the exact same answer, Mr. Speaker, I don’t have the exact date of the
guidelines. There are procedures well defined in the regulations under the Assessment Act for notification
of the public, so that they may have input. But precisely the assessment that is called for will make that
determination. I would be happy to provide him with the exact dates as soon as they are known.



DR. HAMM: Mr. Speaker, I thank the minister for the answer and the commitment. By way of final
supplementary to the minister, when will the draft of the environmental review guidelines be available to the
residents of Stellarton, relative to the open pit proposal for the Wimpey pit area?



MR. HARRISON: I might, again, repeat the same answer, that I would be happy to provide the
honourable member with the information and would suggest that if he would like this information a little
speedier and more quickly than through this mechanism, he might simply put in a call to the office.



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Atlantic.



FIN. - CASINOS: CONSTRUCTION - N.S. WORKERS



MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, I would like to direct my question to the Minister of
Finance. The Minister of Finance, in explaining the positives of the whole casino gambling issue, has talked
about the thousands of direct and indirect jobs that are going to come - well paid, secure jobs to Nova Scotians
- and that has been, I think, a fairly persuasive point.



I would like to ask the minister if he would consider that during the construction stage, for example,
one of the ways to do that is to enter into discussions with both the Cape Breton Island Building and
Construction Trades Council and the Mainland Building and Construction Trades Council in order to ensure,
Mr. Speaker, that those jobs, the construction jobs, go to Nova Scotia construction workers?



HON. BERNARD BOUDREAU: Mr. Speaker, the responsibility for the construction project itself will
remain with our private sector partner, ITT Sheraton. They will be involved in the construction. The
government’s role, through the gaming corporation, when we have that gaming corporation in place and, on
an interim basis, through the Nova Scotia Lottery Commission, will be to monitor the commitments and the
agreements that have been made. One of those commitments that have been made is that Nova Scotians will
be used as permanent employees and that commitment extends, as well, wherever possible, through the
construction phase. I would be very surprised if ITT Sheraton did not make contact, as the honourable member
suggests.



MR. CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, I would hope that ITT Sheraton would, also, because I think it is
probably the most responsible strategy to involve themselves in. In my first supplementary to the minister,
I would just like to say that hopefully the Government of Nova Scotia still has some influence and some effect
in terms of the decisions that are going to be made with respect to the development of this project. I would
like to ask the minister if he could make a commitment here in this House today to urge ITT Sheraton to
participate in negotiations, at least discussions, with the two building and construction trades councils, the
one in Cape Breton and the one here on the mainland, considering the whole interest of ensuring that those
construction jobs remain here in Nova Scotia and don’t go to outside workers as has happened on other
government projects?



[1:00 p.m.]



MR. BOUDREAU: Mr. Speaker, I am as anxious as the honourable member is to have construction
workers at work as quickly as possible both on the project here in Halifax and on the one in Sydney. I will
certainly pass along the honourable member’s concerns to our partner, ITT Sheraton. I can indicate that they
will follow the laws of the Province of Nova Scotia and they will also follow the commitments that they have
made with respect to Nova Scotians as employees.



MR. CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, the whole question of whether they follow the laws or not is part of
the debate around the casino bill that we have been at but we can’t discuss that at this particular stage. Let me
say, in conclusion, that it has happened on too many occasions where on provincial government construction
projects construction workers from outside the province have been brought it. I would like to ask this minister
if he would commit to use the authority of his office to try to ensure, to reach some sort of agreement to do
what he can to ensure, in fact, that the building and construction trades councils in both Cape Breton and the
mainland are involved with the final construction decisions and the management of the construction phase?



MR. BOUDREAU: I am not sure specifically what the honourable member would have me do but we
may have an opportunity to discuss that after the bill passes and we move onto the construction phase. I will
certainly undertake to you, Mr. Speaker, and to the honourable member that the commitment that we have
from ITT Sheraton both with respect to the construction phase and the operation of the casinos which will
employ approximately 1,100 people directly, that Nova Scotians will be given the first opportunity.



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings North.



GOV’T. (N.S.) - DEPARTMENTS: RELOCATION - INFO.



MR. GEORGE ARCHIBALD: Mr. Speaker, through you I would like to ask a question to the Acting
Premier. In a press release the other day and in an interview and in subsequent articles, the Minister of
Finance indicated that, “Relocating government departments is just one card in the deck the province is
shuffling to relieve high unemployment in areas of the province . . .”. The Minister of Finance and the
Minister for the Economic Renewal Agency have promised jobs to Amherst and to Cape Breton. I am
wondering if the Acting Premier could indicate why the jobs have gone to Amherst and why the government
jobs have not gone to Cape Breton as yet?



HON. JAY ABBASS: Mr. Speaker, most of what the member opposite is referring to is quite
speculative if anything and I would ask the Minister of Finance to take this question in any case.



HON. BERNARD BOUDREAU: Mr. Speaker, he lost me when he got to the shuffling the deck phrase.
(Laughter) It absolutely broke my concentration. I think what I was trying to say, and I don’t remember that
turn of phrase, was that the question of locating government services to various areas of the province is not
the simple process that many people have regarded it in the past, where you simply walked in, ripped up a
department or section of a department, moved it and dropped it somewhere else. I think the possibilities for
locating government services across the province are there for us but I think we will have to approach it in
a much more sophisticated way, in terms of new services, in terms of government services that are going to
be provided by private sector opportunities that did not exist before and the influence we can have on those
new opportunities.



MR. ARCHIBALD: Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask the Acting Premier a question, through you, of
course. Further to the conversation and the articles that I have been reading, the Minister of Finance indicated
that he supported the use of government services and departments, to create employment in unemployment
areas, “That may be done by relocating government departments or `assuring that new growth in government
services are located in particular areas.’”.



I would like to ask the Acting Premier for this week, if he could indicate, on behalf of the government,
which departments and which services are being planned to move? So, that the people who are working in
the departments and in the service of government will know they are being considered to be either shifted to
Cape Breton or to Amherst.



HON. JAY ABBASS: Again, the honourable member opposite is speaking in a very hypothetical
manner. All I can assure the honourable member opposite and both Opposition Parties of, is that the
government, through all its departments, is always mindful of the need to create employment and every
department and every minister will do his/her very best to do just that. (Applause)



MR. ARCHIBALD: Well thank you, that certainly was an answer worthy of the applause that it
received, I guess. Mr. Speaker, through you again to the Acting Premier, I would like a little clarification on
something that is very difficult for people to understand, “. . . decentralization may also be accomplished . .
.”, according to this government, “. . . if traditional government services are privatized, by adding a
requirement the private sector delivering those services located . . .”, in traditional governmental areas.



So my question to the Acting Premier of the week is, yesterday in Question Period we learned that the
Minister of Transportation and Communications has equipped government trucks with extra trailers so they
can haul salt in competition with private contractors and haul gravel in competition. I would like to know how
the government, and the Premier must be able to answer on behalf of the government, how does the
government say, on one hand, they want to privatize and, on the other hand, the Minister of Transportation
is equipping tractor trailers to do work that was previously done by the private sector?



MR. ABBASS: The whole premise which forms the basis for the member’s question is false. If the
honourable member opposite wishes to refer to yesterday’s version of Hansard, he might find the true version
of what he is trying to describe.



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Opposition.



EDUC.: AXWORTHY REPORT - RESPONSE



MR. TERENCE DONAHOE: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister of Education. As we have
come to understand, the Minister of Education is apparently the spokesperson for this government of this
province and the Atlantic response to the Axworthy Report. To this point, the Minister of Education is saying
he is refusing to allow Nova Scotians to see his Atlantic response, until after the four governments have met
with Mr. Axworthy.



I ask the minister if he could please provide a rationale as to why that is his approach? It occurs to me
that it is vitally important that the taxpayers of Nova Scotia have an understanding of what this minister and,
through him, the government, their government, is saying to Mr. Axworthy, relative to some of the very
threatening provisions in the Axworthy Report.



Can the Minister of Education offer a rationale as to why he will not make public to the taxpayers of
Nova Scotia now, the Nova Scotia Government’s response in that connection?



HON. JOHN MACEACHERN: Mr. Speaker, as I listened to the honourable Leader of the Opposition
discuss this question, I am left a bit puzzled. This is over 90 days in this House of Assembly, with
approximately 65 Question Periods and it took the honourable member this long to recognize how important
this is. Except for his little intervention with his theatre, relative to the Leaders of the Opposition from the
other two Maritime Provinces. I think that should be stated for the record.



There are about 90 per cent of transfer payments on the table and it is very important to Nova Scotia
and Atlantic Canada, that we get the best deal possible, so that Atlantic Canada can be treated equitably.



The position being brought to Mr. Axworthy is not just Nova Scotia’s position but it is Atlantic
Canada’s position, Mr. Speaker, and we have worked very hard to arrive at that position. It is a position that
I am not free to put forth, nor are the other provinces. We are going to present it together to Mr. Axworthy
and negotiate the best deal possible for Atlantic Canadians and for Nova Scotians. We are going to continue
to do that and we have come a long way to cooperate and not theatrically, as the honourable Leader of the
Opposition would suggest is the thing to do, but in fact of getting things done.



MR. DONAHOE: Well, I might say that this particular minister certainly knows something about the
theatre, the theatre of the absurd. It was this same minister when I made contact with the Council of Maritime
Premiers, and others, who patted themselves on the back that they were going to engage in public
consultation. The very kind of public consultation that I and the other Conservative Leaders in Atlantic
Canada were calling for. To my knowledge, there has been no such public consultation.



I ask the minister again to explain, how it is in his opinion, in the best interests of the taxpayers of
Nova Scotia, that a position and discussions with Mr. Axworthy on matters of this kind, which are of such
tremendous importance to the taxpayers of Nova Scotia, are discussed behind closed doors without the
taxpayers of Nova Scotia having the slightest idea of the value, the veracity, the accuracy, the importance and
the effectiveness of the position being put by this minister and all Atlantic Governments to Mr. Axworthy?
I ask, again, if he can please explain to me why it is not possible for him and this government to
(Interruptions) Does the other honourable member . . .



MR. SPEAKER: Order! Speak to the Speaker please.



MR. DONAHOE: Mr. Speaker, does the other honourable member sitting at the back wall want to get
up and participate in Question Period?



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member against the back wall is not a minister and so cannot be
asked a question in Question Period.



Order, please. Order. Come on.



MR. DONAHOE: I ask the Minister of Education to attempt to explain if he will, one more time, why
it is that it is not in the best interest of the taxpayers of Nova Scotia that they know the position which this
minister and the Government of Nova Scotia is putting to Mr. Axworthy in relations to these matters which
can have dramatic adverse consequences for health care issues, for UI issues, for post-secondary education
funding issues and the like. Why is it that he is refusing and stonewalling the presentation of that report to
the Nova Scotia taxpayers?



MR. MACEACHERN: Mr. Speaker, it is truly appropriate that the honourable Leader of the
Opposition would refer to the theatre of the absurd. As we have sat here and the honourable Leader of the
Opposition and some other members of the Opposition have gone on and on about many things that they see
as important when this issue, which the honourable member finally has arrived at, is the most crucial thing
that is occurring not only here in Atlantic Canada but in Canada itself. I would suggest that as the
Government of Nova Scotia, of which I think he will acknowledge that we, as the representatives of the people
of Nova Scotia, have conferred with universities, the Students’ Union of Nova Scotia. We have had each
university make a presentation to us from across Atlantic Canada. The students from across Atlantic Canada
have spoken to us about their concerns.



What we are bringing forward, Mr. Speaker, is something that we have garnered from those
discussions especially in, and the one I know best, is in terms of post-secondary education but also in terms
of unemployment insurance, in terms of what is happening to our people. We have been working on this, that
is the staffs of all the departments despite some of the things that have been brought up in this House. I
remember one day in which I responded a bit angrily to one of the Leader of the Opposition’s questions, which
took staff time because they were working very hard at this, to define exactly what was happening in Nova
Scotia and how these things would affect us.



We are taking these things to Ottawa, Mr. Speaker, and I would suggest to you very clearly that we
are going to strongly represent Nova Scotia and Atlantic Canada and the results will speak for themselves and
not the tirade of the honourable Leader of the Opposition, that has taken him a very long time to get to.



MR. DONAHOE: Well, I am here now and I am on the issue. (Interruptions) I take it then that it is
the appropriate and accurate conclusion for me to reach, on the basis of the things which the Minister of
Education has said, that Nova Scotians will find out their fate relative to the Axworthy plan after the
discussions have taken place and that Mr. Axworthy and the Government of Canada have said, yea or nay,
to whatever it is that this minister and the Government of Nova Scotia has put to the Government of Canada.
We will then be, at that point, at the stage where the Government of Canada will have said here is our
response, take it or leave it. The people of Nova Scotia, the taxpayers of Nova Scotia are then stuck with
whatever the Government of Canada says is their position in relation to the matter. Is that the state we are in?



[1:15 p.m.]



MR. MACEACHERN: The state we are coming from is where that honourable member left this
government and his compatriots up in Ottawa left the federal government. Mr. Speaker, they have left us in
a very deep hole and that group never recognized that when you find yourself in a deep hole you stop digging
and that is not something that has ever occurred to them until somehow when they arrived over at the other
side of the bench they were struck by lightning and wisdom came upon them. We are dealing with the
government negotiating on behalf of the people of Nova Scotia because that is what we are entrusted to do.
We will do that and we will do it strongly. I would suggest to the honourable member, we will stand on what
we will do and they stand on the record that they left Nova Scotia.



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Fairview.



HEALTH: LIBERAL PARTY (N.S.) - COMMITMENTS



MS. ALEXA MCDONOUGH: I would like to direct my question to the Minister of Health. During the
1993 election the Liberal Party promised a major new focus on healthy communities and in particular, Mr.
Speaker, quoting from the Liberal Party platform on health, “Public education programs will enable this. Sex
education will be enhanced. More time and effort will be spent educating all ages about sexuality and the
prevention of sexually transmitted diseases.”. Nineteen months later one is hard-pressed to find any concrete
measures that have been taken to fulfil this important commitment but what we have instead is the Chief
Medical Officer of this province, Dr. Scott . . .



MR. SPEAKER: Time, please.



MS. MCDONOUGH: . . . publicly confirming a serious increase in the incidence of sexually
transmitted diseases and I would like to ask the minister if he could indicate what measures he has taken to
make good on this important commitment made by the Liberal Party?



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Health, 20 seconds.



HON. RONALD STEWART: Just very briefly, I appreciate the honourable member for Halifax
Fairview raising this issue because it is a major issue. We have been working in our department in terms of
youth programs particularly; I would certainly remind the honourable member opposite that we have other
programs in terms of youth outreach and the healthy communities concept which is for the few times in the
province’s history being put in place in several communities, certainly in Sydney with the approach taken by
the cancer project, a very broad community base and there are other examples which I could enlarge on.



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






MS. ALEXA MCDONOUGH: On a point of privilege, arising out of a false statement, misinformation
given by the Government House Leader during Question Period. Mr. Speaker, you will recall that the
Government House Leader used as a justification for this government’s decision to unilaterally impose rule
changes on this House the allegation that the Opposition Parties in proposing rule changes last fall,
specifically the election of the Speaker to this House, didn’t give any consideration to the Committee on
Assembly Matters, that the Opposition Parties, in fact, proposed the unilateral imposition of rules and that
it be done without reference to the Rules and Forms of Procedure Committee, specifically the Standing
Committee on Assembly Matters.



That is simply a false statement and the permanent record of Hansard will show that on November 30,
1994, two such resolutions were introduced, one by myself followed by one by the Official Opposition Leader.
I won’t take up the time of the House, I will table the resolutions but I will very briefly quote from them in part
to prove my statement that the Government House Leader has misinformed the House that in the resolution
urging support for this provision, I specifically stated and asked, “. . . the Committee on Assembly Matters
to propose election procedures that can be used at the earliest possible date.”. The Official Opposition Leader
also specifically called, and I quote directly from his resolution that this matter, “. . . be referred for
examination to the Committee on Assembly Matters;”.



I would say, Mr. Speaker, that it is not only an infringement of my privileges in this House for the
Government House Leader to have made this false accusation, but on all members of the House because he
has misinformed them in this regard. He has given a false basis for deposition of the unilateral rules.



MR. SPEAKER: Well, please, please. (Interruptions)



MS. MCDONOUGH: I would ask the Government House Leader to withdraw the false statement that
he made in this House in that regard.



MR. SPEAKER: I must intervene.



The honourable Government House Leader.



HON. RICHARD MANN: Mr. Speaker, I guess if I said Parties, perhaps I was wrong today and I
would withdraw that. But let me read from Resolution No. 1176, Wednesday, November 30, 1994:



“Therefore be it resolved that the Rules and Forms of Procedures of the House of Assembly of Nova
Scotia be amended by adding thereto new provisions establishing the rules whereby the House shall elect its
Speaker, such rules to be in the form and style as set out in the schedule attached to this resolution.”.



A full page and one half, two pages of schedules, that is the resolve, moved by Mr. Terence Donahoe.



MR. SPEAKER: I wish to make some observations now, if I might. (Interruptions) The Speaker is
speaking, there will be silence in the House. All parliamentary authorities state that a dispute between
honourable members as to facts does not constitute a point of privilege. Beauchesne states, on Page 151, under
the heading of Acceptance of the Word of a Member, that, “It has been formally ruled by Speakers that
statements by Members respecting themselves and particularly within their own knowledge must be
accepted.”.



It is not parliamentary, unparliamentary, rather, temperately, to criticize statements made by members
as being contrary to the facts, which I think is what we have heard in the point raised by the honourable
member for Halifax Fairview, but no imputation of intentional faults, so it is permissable. “On rare occasions
. . .”, Beauchesne states, “. . . this may result in the House having to accept two contradictory accounts of the
same incident.”.



I think we have a situation here that falls under that category. I, consequently, rule that there is no
point of privilege.



MS. ALEXA MCDONOUGH: On a further point of order, this is not a dispute over facts. This is a
situation in which the permanent record of Hansard clearly shows that both Opposition Parties that put
forward the reasonable proposition that the Speaker henceforth be elected, in both cases there are specific
resolutions referred to this matter being referred to the House of Assembly Matters Committee, the standing
committee. Those are the facts. It is not a dispute over the facts.



MR. SPEAKER: It is the decision of the Chair that there is no point of privilege.



The honourable Minister of Community Services on an introduction.



HON. JAMES SMITH: Mr. Speaker, I would like to bring to your attention and to all members of the
House, in your gallery, Mr. Allan Billard, who was previously an alderman in the City of Dartmouth and, I
believe, Deputy Mayor at one time, as well, perhaps. I want to introduce Mr. Billard to the House and ask
honourable members to give him a warm welcome. (Applause)



MR. SPEAKER: Are there any other introduction of guests?



GOVERNMENT BUSINESS



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.



HON. RICHARD MANN: Mr. Speaker, would you please call the order of business, Government
Motions.



GOVERNMENT MOTIONS



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.



HON. RICHARD MANN: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Resolution No. 1563.



Res. No. 1563, re Rules of the House (Amendment) - Rules 57 and 58 - notice given Jan. 23/95 - (Hon.
R. Mann)



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader, the honourable member for Hants West
has given notice of his intent to move a point of privilege. Possibly, you might begin to speak so he can move
his point of privilege.



The honourable Government House Leader.



HON. RICHARD MANN: I am relinquishing for a point of privilege?



MR. SPEAKER: Well, he has given me notice of intent to raise a point of privilege at this point, but
the motion has to be first on the floor. Is that not correct? It is, all right, very well. The motion is on the floor.
It has been called.



The honourable member for Hants West.



MR. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of privilege that affects all honourable
members of this House of Assembly.



On June 28, 1993 you, sir, on your appointment as Speaker of the Legislature, replied to the Lieutenant
Governor’s approval of the House of Assembly’s choice of Speaker as follows:



“Your Honour’s ready approval of the choice, with which I have been honoured by the House, having
constituted me in due form the Speaker of the House of Assembly, it has now become my duty in the name
of the representatives of Her Majesty’s loyal subjects, the people of this Province, respectfully to demand all
the accustomed rights and privileges, and that they shall have freedom of speech in their debates, that they
may be free from arrest during the attendance in Parliament, and that I, as their Speaker, may have free access
to Your Honour’s person.”. And the Lieutenant Governor cheerfully gave his assent to that request by you, Mr.
Speaker.



I believe that passage of Resolution No. 1563 will infringe on the long-standing tradition of this
Assembly which permits in Committee of the Whole House unlimited debate on the clause by clause
examination of government legislation.



The constituents of every member of this House expect that their elected member, whether he or she
is on the Treasury benches, the back benches or the Opposition benches voice their concern or their support
of legislation brought before the House. Their rights will be abrogated with passage of this resolution.



Mr. Speaker, I respectfully request that you rule that debate not take place on Resolution No. 1563 at
this time and that the matter that this resolution addresses be referred to the Committee of the House on
Assembly Matters for all-Party review and recommendation prior to action by this Legislature. I would ask
that you recess the Legislature at this time and consider that point of privilege.



MR. SPEAKER: Well, I have no intent of recessing the Legislature; we have a motion before the House
but if there are any submissions to the claimed point of privilege, I will now entertain them and deliver my
ruling.



The honourable Leader of the New Democratic Party.



MR. JOHN HOLM: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise in support of the point of privilege that has been
brought forward. We have, and I don’t have certainly the long-standing that you, yourself, do, Mr. Speaker,
but it has been a long-standing tradition in the House of Assembly in Nova Scotia that members of this House
have a responsibility as well as a right to be able to stand and to bring forward the concerns and to debate
legislation.



Freedom of speech is something that Nova Scotia is indeed privileged to have and it is the kind of
thing, if you take a look at our history, that we have fought for. We have, throughout our years in this House,
been able to work through any difficulties that we have with regard to rules and procedures as to how the
House works and we have done that by the unanimous consent of all members of this House.



I believe that a very serious, very, very serious precedent will be set if this resolution is allowed to be
debated and to be simply passed by the majority of the members of the House, which happens to constitute
the government side. Surely, the rights of the citizens of this province would demand that members of this
House have an opportunity to be able to stand to bring forward their concerns in as thoughtful and as forceful
a way as they possibly can. I would support your ruling in favour of the point of privilege that has been
brought forward. Thank you.



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Opposition.



MR. TERENCE DONAHOE: Mr. Speaker, I rise to support the point of privilege raised by the
honourable member for Hants West. I think I simply want to, with respect, refer you, if I may, to your words
on the date in question, June 28, 1993, in which you said on behalf of us all, “. . . and that they . . .”, referring
to the members, “. . . shall have freedom of speech in their debates.”.



The history and tradition and practice from time immemorial in this place, ensuring that each of the
men and women who come here as members of this place, to have freedom of speech in their debates has been
that they do so within the confines, the context and the parameters of the rules and forms of procedures which
pertain and apply at any given time. Mr. Speaker, you know, perhaps, might I say, better than any member
of this Assembly at the present time by reason of your long tenure here, that there is a precedent and a long-standing practice in this House that the very freedoms of speech in their debates, which you pledged to His
Honour on behalf of all us, have been exercised within the framework of Rules and Forms of Procedure which,
in and of themselves, have only been altered or changed or amended following all-Party consultation, and I
am not sure that I know of any situation where there has been an exception to unanimity being found in
relation to changes to those rules.



[1:30 p.m.]



I truly believe that the resolution before us flies in the face of the undertaking which you did make on
behalf of us all to His Honour on that occasion. I would very sincerely urge you to sympathetically consider
the force and effect of the point of privilege made by the member for Hants West and rule in the manner
which he seeks in his point of privilege, namely by having, by way of your directive, the resolution which is
before us, to be referred to the Committee on Internal Affairs.



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Atlantic.



MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, I rise on the question of privilege raised by the member for
Hants West. I would refer you and all members to Section 1 of Beauchesne, under the heading Principles of
Parliamentary Law, where it says the following: “To protect a minority and restrain the improvidence or
tyranny of a majority; to secure the transaction of public business in an orderly manner; to enable every
Member to express opinions within limits necessary to preserve decorum and prevent an unnecessary waste
of time; to give abundant opportunity for the consideration of every measure, and to prevent any legislative
action being taken upon sudden impulse.”.



Mr. Speaker, that is a principle of Canadian parliamentary law. I would say that clearly the motion
before this House is an action taken by the majority to impose its will on the majority. It is clearly an action
that is taken on sudden impulse, as evidenced by the fact that this matter has not been referred to the
appropriate committee of this House to deal with such matters, as it should be.



Therefore, I would urge you, on the basis of this important principle, in this House and in all
parliamentary law in this country, that we consider very seriously the question of privilege brought by the
member for Hants West and that we consider another way to proceed, other than the majority clearly imposing
its will on the majority and, for that matter, on all Nova Scotians.



MR. SPEAKER: Very well, I have heard two members from each of two Opposition Parties. I feel that
is sufficient to enter their viewpoint into the record. Is there any additional representation? If not, I would like
to note first, in ruling, that the honourable member for Hants West did give me notice earlier today of his
intent to bring this matter up when the particular resolution had been called for debate and kindly provided
me in advance with a copy of the text of his motion, which is clearly raised as a point of privilege, under the
heading of Point of Privilege.



Therefore, I feel it is considered to be raised as a point of privilege and not a point of order. Because
I had been given notice of this matter, I spent considerable time this morning reflecting on the contents of
Chapter 2 of Beauchesne, which is entitled Privilege, and reflecting at length on what constitutes a matter of
privilege and further, on the procedures under which a point of privilege ought properly to be raised in the
House, particularly on consideration of the contents of Page 29 of Beauchesne’s Sixth Edition which
interestingly, among other things, notes that the Speaker cannot determine a matter of privilege, only the
House can. The Speaker’s role is mainly to determine whether or not a prima facie case of privilege has been
made, for purposes of putting the matter to the House for a vote. Because that is the nature of a point of
privilege properly raised, it is therefore incumbent on the individual who raises a point of privilege to
conclude his or her submission with a motion for the consideration of this House.



This particular submission, headed Point of Privilege, does not conclude with a motion. Rather, it
concludes with a request to the Chair that the Chair rule that debate not take place. The Chair is not prepared
to make any such ruling, there being no motion at the conclusion of the point, there is no matter for me to
consider.



I might state further that reference has been made to my request of His Honour, the Lieutenant
Governor, for freedom of speech in debates in this Chamber on the part of honourable members, yet here we
have a submission that asks me to make a ruling that debate not take place, that the members not have
freedom of speech in their debates but, rather, that debate not take place. I am not prepared to issue such a
ruling.



The honourable Government House Leader.



HON. RICHARD MANN: Mr. Speaker, I rise to address the motion before the House in Resolution
No. 1563. At some point the debate must end. In every democracy the right to vote stands above all others.
That simple and, I trust, indisputable fact has somehow managed to escape the Opposition who claim it is
their right to debate without end. Never mind that every Parliamentary Assembly in Canada, save P.E.I.,
exercises limits on debate. In Nova Scotia, howls of protest met the suggestion that some reasonable restraint
be placed on discourse in this Legislature. Never mind that a single piece of legislation has been the subject
of more than 100 hours of mind-numbing rhetoric, mostly without purpose. The Opposition claims the
government must let the debate go on or do damage to democracy. Nothing could be further from the truth.



Reasonable limits on debate are no threat to democracy or to the rights of any member of the House
of Assembly, but unending debate, the perpetual filibuster inflicted by a tiny minority is an attack on the rights
of all members. A limitless debate denies the House and the government the fundamental right to bring
legislation to a vote. In a modern, efficient democracy a government must have the ability to manage its
legislative agenda; at some point all debate comes to an end. Mr. Speaker, this government is not only within
its rights to limit debate to some reasonable period, it has a responsibility to do so. Nova Scotians elected a
government to govern, not to sit in the Legislature and listen to endless talk. Without limits on debate an
obstructionist Opposition can permanently paralyze the government.



No responsible government can allow that to happen. That is why almost every modern Parliament
from Ottawa to Westminster, has reformed itself to ensure that after reasonable period of debate the question
is called and the vote is taken. A responsible Opposition must hold the government accountable for its actions.
But, that responsibility does not extend to the minority dictating to the majority. Mr. Speaker, it has been said
by members of this Legislature that we are elected and paid to come to this House in debate. Surely, that is
a simplistic and wholly incomplete portrayal of the role of members of this Assembly. That representation
offered by the Leader of the Opposition, among others, says to Nova Scotians that this is not a Legislature but
a debating club. It says that we are not legislators but merely debaters.



Mr. Speaker, the Leader of the Opposition and those who share this view are wrong. Our role here is
not to merely debate without an end and for no other purpose than to gain political advantage. Our job is to
enact laws that we believe are in the best interest of Nova Scotians. The resolution before us today is about
the process and form we employ to reach that objective. The resolution before us today proclaims that at some
point, after all opinions have been heard, we have a responsibility to fulfil our primary purposes as legislators
and that is to decide to vote, to legislate.



It is a given that every member of this House has the right to influence to the best of his or her ability
and through rational discourse the laws we enact. But, it is equally true that at some point the discourse must
end and members must express their final judgment on the matter at hand. That is the responsibility and the
right of every member of this Assembly. Events in recent weeks have subverted that responsibility and denied
members that right. The spectacle of the past several weeks in this House amounts to an abuse of the
privileges and rights of members.



We have seen a Parliamentary rump exploit a flaw in the rules to deny members their right to pass
judgment on proposed legislation. Their action, this so-called filibuster, is contrary to the history and
traditions of this Assembly. This Legislature has for most of its history been a place of purposeful, spirited
and heated debate.



As in most political Assemblies, the discourse of this place is more often marked by divergence of
views than shared opinions. But never in recent history or recent memory and rarely in recorded history has
this House permitted itself to become stagnant and incapable of action until now.



A tiny minority of members through misuse and abuse of the rules has brought the business of the
House to a standstill. Make no mistake, debating the title clause of a bill for two weeks is a misuse and an
abuse of the rules and conventions of this Assembly. (Applause)



Members of the Third Party in this House like to tell Nova Scotians the government is arrogant and
dictatorial. They like to talk about accountability but the members of that Party have displayed the heighth
of arrogance during their filibuster of the legislation now before the House. Those members believe that three
MLAs in a House of 52 have the right to set the agenda for this Legislature.



Members of the Third Party believe they possess a monopoly on virtue. Guided by that belief, they have
elevated themselves to a position the voters did not bestow upon them. They claim for themselves the right
to veto legislation sponsored by a government elected by an overwhelming majority of Nova Scotians. That,
is the very definition of arrogance. That, is an attempt by the minority to dictate to the majority and that
displays a refusal to accept the will Nova Scotians expressed through their votes in May 1993.



Members opposite like to talk about accountability and how the government must be held accountable
for its actions. This government is accountable, we have been held accountable in this House. This Legislature
has been in session for 166 days since we assumed office just 19 months ago. Contrast that with the record
during the final 19 months of the previous administration when this House sat for a total of 90 days.



This is the government that enacted two sessions of the Legislature each year. In so doing, we ensured
that members of the Opposition no longer have to wait 8, 10, or 12 months to question the government. We
have and we will continue to submit to the scrutiny of this House. We will continue to account for our actions
in this place. But, this government will also move its legislative agenda forward. We will govern because that
is what we were elected to do.



Whether the Opposition likes it or not we will not allow them to dictate the agenda. We will not be
held ultimately accountable by members of the Opposition because they do not hold that authority. That right
and that authority rests with the people of Nova Scotia.



Nova Scotians elected members of the Liberal Party in sufficient numbers to form a government. Nova
Scotians elected members of the Conservative and New Democratic Parties in significantly fewer numbers,
placing them in Opposition. In May 1993 the people bestowed on this government certain rights and
responsibilities. We will not betray Nova Scotians by surrendering those rights or failing those responsibilities.
We have a right to legislate and a responsibility to govern. We will exercise that right, fulfil that responsibility
and we will be accountable to the people of Nova Scotia for the actions we take.



Mr. Speaker, I spoke about the traditions of this place. The rules and procedures of this House are not
fixed forever, they have evolved over the years. Changes were made to improve the quality of debate and to
add to the efficient operation of the House. The same has been true in every Parliamentary Assembly in the
Commonwealth. The resolution before the House today is consistent with the process of change and the
tradition of self-reform of this Legislature and every Parliament in Canada.



There was a time not long ago when governments could extend the hours of this House to 24 per day,
if that is what was required to move legislation ahead. Previous governments regularly forced members to sit
gruelling hours. Legislation by exhaustion it was called and that is exactly what it was. Recent rule changes
limit the House to eight hours a day but also limit debate on the budget to 40 hours in each of two committees
so there is ample precedent in this House for the limits on debate. There are also precedents in most every
other jurisdiction in Canada.



[1:45 p.m.]



Members opposite claim the rule change we are proposing renders debate in this Assembly more
restrictive than elsewhere in the country. That claim is simply not true.



First, Mr. Speaker, members of this House are the only legislators in Canada who can speak for one
full hour without interruption. In every Assembly in the country, except Nova Scotia and Newfoundland, a
member’s uninterrupted contribution to debate is limited to 20 minutes. In Newfoundland, speakers are limited
to 45 minutes.



In addition, every jurisdiction in the country, except Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, regularly
exercises closure or time allocation to limit debate.



In fact, the Ontario NDP Government of Bob Rae imposed time limitations on legislation very similar
to the bills presently stuck in committee here. In 1993, during debate on the Ontario Casino Corporation Act,
Mr. Rae’s Government imposed time allocation, and again, in 1994, when workers’ compensation reforms
were debated at Queen’s Park, time limitations were imposed.



In both of these Ontario cases, Mr. Speaker, time allocations were put in place after seven hours of
debate. Have we initiated such drastic measurses? No, of course we have not. In Nova Scotia, we are proposing
time limitations only after 100 hours of debate on one bill and more than 50 hours on another.



Even if this rule is adopted, we still have the opportunity to sit and listen to the debate of members
opposite for as long as three weeks on each of the remaining bills. Mr. Speaker, the time allocation we are
proposing would allow Opposition members to debate future legislation for about 100 hours during the three
legislative stages. The 11 members opposite can debate for a total of about 40 hours at second reading and
again at third reading. We are proposing a limit of 20 hours in committee.



This will still provide the Opposition in Nova Scotia with more time to debate than is afforded in any
other Legislature in this country.



Surely, Mr. Speaker, that is reasonable. That is not an undue limitation and it should not only make
this House a more efficient Legislature but result in higher quality debate. Judging by what we have heard
over the past several weeks, the quality of debate can stand some improvement.



Mr. Speaker, we are all here to do the business of the people of Nova Scotia. Every member of this
Assembly represents Nova Scotians and is accountable to Nova Scotians.



The government, however, has added responsibility - the responsibility to govern. We are more than
aware, as is every Nova Scotian who reads a newspaper or watches television, that the Opposition has
vehemently opposed some of our legislation. That is their right and that is their duty, Mr. Speaker. However,
it is our right and our duty to manage the business of this House in a manner that permits the government to
advance its legislative agenda.



That agenda may not always be popular, but we believe it is in the best interest of Nova Scotians. Mr.
Speaker, we were elected to make those judgments. This resolution will proceed because we recognize and
accept our responsibility to govern.



So, Mr. Speaker, I hereby move that the question now be put. (Applause)



MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. I would like to ask your ruling on the
further motion put forward by the Government House Leader when he moved that the question now be put
if, in fact, you would clarify the effect of that motion and whether it is intended to further limit debate on this
matter. Is it a question of putting the previous question, Mr. Speaker? If so, I would like that clarification in
order to consider that point.



MR. SPEAKER: I am prepared to explain the matter now but I am not inviting further representations.
When I speak it is in the form of a ruling. The motion is in order. Beauchesne’s Parliamentary Rules and
Forms, Sixth Edition, Chapter 12, Paragraph 518 states, “. . . The `previous question’ may be moved by any
Member, . . . to attempt to preclude the moving of amendments to the question then before the House.”.



And further, at Paragraph 521 on Page 160, under the heading of The Previous Question, it states, “(1)
The previous question is moved when the original question is under debate in order to force a direct vote on
it, thereby preventing any amendments to the original question to be proposed. The form of the motion is
`That the question be now put.’ Once it is proposed, the debate may continue on the original question. Sir John
Bourinot . . .”.



MR. CHISHOLM: On a further point of order, Mr. Speaker.



MR. SPEAKER: The debate continues but amendments are out of order.



MR. CHISHOLM: On a further point of order, on that particular motion, Mr. Speaker, I refer you and
other members of this House to Rule No. 27(2), which says, dealing with rules under debate in this House,
it says, “. . . no motion shall be made, except as provided elsewhere in these Rules, other than an amendment
to that question or a motion for the adjournment of the debate; . . .”.



I also understand, Mr. Speaker, that in terms of the general usage and precedents of this House that
it is the Speaker’s general guidance that a member may not move more than one motion at a time. Further,
we have consulted with both Clerks of this House and a precedent for previous questions being moved in our
House at all has not been determined.



I would again refer you . . .



MR. SPEAKER: It has been by my ruling earlier this afternoon.



MR. CHISHOLM: I would again refer you, Mr. Speaker, to the overriding principles of parliamentary
law in Beauchesne, Chapter 1, Paragraph 1, with respect to the principle, “To protect the minority and restrain
the improvidence or tyranny of a majority; . . .”, Mr. Speaker.



Finally, I would suggest there is no precedent in this House, Mr. Speaker, to confine debate on a
motion and for a mover of a motion to be allowed to simultaneously be able to move a second motion. So I
question, (1) the fact that we are allowed to use, based on the precedents of this House and our own rules, a
previous question and, (2), I question the fact that the Government House Leader has been allowed to move
two motions simultaneously.



MR. SPEAKER: The resolution has been put in a form that is very common in this House. My
goodness, how many times have I heard, therefore be it resolved that such and such and so and so and further,
that such and such and so and so. It has been ruled in order and it stands. This is based on the best procedural
advice that I can obtain and the debate will proceed.



The honourable Leader of the Opposition.



MR. TERENCE DONAHOE: Mr. Speaker, if I may speak to the point of order. The whole point of
us being here in this debate this afternoon is to debate the forms and regulations of this House. Rule 1 of this
House says that, “The proceedings in the House of Assembly of Nova Scotia and in all committees of the
House shall be conducted according to the following Rules.”.



Reference to Rule 27(2), as has already been referenced, says that, “When a question is under debate,
. . .”, and the question is under debate when the resolution was moved, “. . .  no motion shall be made, except
as provided elsewhere in these Rules, other than an amendment to that question or a motion for the
adjournment of the debate; and the question on a motion for adjournment of the debate shall be put without
debate.”.



With the greatest respect, Mr. Speaker, I simply refer you to Rule 1, the impact and the effect of Rule
1, read in conjunction with Rule 27, and indicate to you that what is possible for the Government House
Leader is to put the resolution before us in the form in which he had tabled it the other day and we now have
the opportunity to engage in debate on that motion and that we cannot, unless the rights and privileges of all
members of this House are to be absolutely totally trampled, we cannot be allowed, I respectfully submit, to
engage in what would become a farce and not be able to debate the substance of the resolution and the
schedule attached thereto and have an opportunity, if any member considers it appropriate, to offer
amendment to that resolution.



MR. SPEAKER: Well, I have already made my ruling. It is based on the best procedural advice I can
obtain. I am not prepared to entertain disorderly conduct in the House. The submission that is made hinges
on the question of what is a question. The rule cited states: “When a question is under debate, no motion shall
be made, except as provided elsewhere in these Rules other than . . .”, and then it goes on to list certain types
of things that can be moved. But the question, is what is the essence of this rule and I rule that the question
is the matters that have been moved by the honourable Government House Leader, in the form that he tabled
them.



MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: On a further point of order, Mr. Speaker. The effect of this further motion
being put before this House is to do exactly what the precedents of this House have intended; that any rules
. . .



MR. SPEAKER: I rule that there has been no further motion. There has been one motion and it is now
on the floor.



MR. CHISHOLM: . . . be referred to the Committee of the House of Assembly in order to deal, where
it can be well-researched and amendments can be put and determined in order to deal with a matter that will
have a life of its own in this House.



MR. SPEAKER: The matter has been determined. The honourable member will take his seat.



MR. CHISHOLM: So, we are obviously having our . . .



MR. SPEAKER: I am going to call for order.



MR. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, in fairness, a member could then rise on second reading and
put that same motion and rule out any amendments in second reading?



MR. SPEAKER: That is indeed the case. (Interruptions) Are there speakers to the motion of the
honourable Government House Leader?



MR. TERENCE DONAHOE: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. The resolution introduced for debate
in this House by the honourable House Leader on Tuesday, January 24, 1995, concludes with the words:
“Therefore be it resolved that the Rules and Forms of Procedures of the House of Assembly be amended,
effective immediately, as provided in the attached Schedule.”



That is the issue which the members of this House were asked to consider, to research, to prepare for
and to come here today and to be in a position to respond to. I say to you, Mr. Speaker, that it is a trampling,
in the extreme, on the rights and privileges of members to now allow an addition to be made to the resolution
which was tabled here. What was tabled is what is to be debated, not what was said by the member as he rose
here today.



What is to be debated, with respect, Mr. Speaker, is what was tabled. And what was tabled concludes
with the words: “Therefore be it resolved that the Rules and Forms of Procedures of the House of Assembly
be amended, effective immediately, as provided in the attached Schedule.”. I, with respect, ask you, on that
basis, that that is what all 52 members of this House were asked to come here today to be prepared to debate.
I ask you to reverse the decision that you have just now made. (Interruption) No, it is not what we are
debating.



MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: On that point of order, Mr. Speaker. If, in fact, we are going to allow in
this House, as you have already given an indication, a previous question in, I would suggest, contravention
of the rules that we have in this House, then that, in fact, means that at each and every stage of a bill passing
through this House, any debate in terms of offering substantive amendments in order to address possible flaws
or concerns in those amendments, will absolutely be stopped and can be prevented, and I would ask you to
please consider the ramifications of such a ruling in terms of the business of this House that has carried on
for oh so many years.



MR. SPEAKER: I would submit that what is happening here is an attempt to debate the resolution in
the guise of raising various points of order. The resolution ought to be debated on its own merits, not on the
guise of points of order. The honourable Government House Leader has moved the motion, the form of which,
for greater clarity, I will read from his text, Mr. Speaker, I move that (1) the Rules and Forms of Procedure
of the House of Assembly be amended, effective immediately, as provided in the Schedule attached to the
notice of motion and (2) that the question be now put. Now, that is the item that is before the House. I am
speaking, I have the floor and I am speaking. I ask that you be seated, please.






[2:00 p.m.]



Now, I have researched this matter, I have obtained the best procedural advice possible. Both of our
learned Clerks at the Table have advised me, and advised me that they have advised those members that made
inquiries, as to the legitimacy and legality of this procedure. It is in order and it will continue. I have so ruled.
There is no appeal of a Speaker’s Ruling except by way of substantive motion.



MR. TERENCE DONAHOE: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker,



MR. SPEAKER: It will have to be a new point of order or else it will be out of order.



MR. DONAHOE: Yes, and I am going to start my point of order by asking, Mr. Speaker, if you would
be prepared to hand to me the paper that you just read?



MR. SPEAKER: I think that copies of it can easily be obtained. This is the motion before the House,
well certainly it would be in order for that matter to be in the hands of all members that wish to have it, it will
be in Hansard in any event. That is the motion.



MR. DONAHOE: May I have a copy?



MR. SPEAKER: That is the original.



MR. DONAHOE: This is the original. Well, Mr. Speaker, with the greatest respect, this is not anything
close to what is on the order paper. What is on the order paper and is required to be on the order paper under
our Rules for 48 hours is what appears on Page 6392 of Hansard of Tuesday, January 24, 1995 and that reads
and concludes with the words, Mr. Speaker, “Therefore be it resolved that the Rules and Forms of Procedures
of the House of Assembly be amended, effective immediately, as provided in the attached Schedule.” and there
is no reference…



MR. SPEAKER: The Chair is not prepared to be intimidated by loud noise.



MR. DONAHOE: I am not attempting to intimidate this Chair.



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Opposition will address the Chair with the deference
that he would show to a judge in court.



MR. DONAHOE: Yes, indeed and with the deference that I just got a moment ago from the Chair
which is exactly what I am doing. We are now dealing with a piece of paper that bears no connection,
relationship whatsoever, to the resolution which is on the order paper. If you read this piece of paper, God
knows where it came from, if you read Page 6392, Hansard, Tuesday, January 24, 1995, there is no paragraph
numbered (1), there is no paragraph numbered (2). The words, the question now being put are not a part of
the resolution which was tabled by the distinguished Government House Leader the other day. This is
something new, this is not on our order paper. This in its form is not debatable, this is not in compliance with
our rules, this is a sham, this is an attempt at a sleight of hand by the Government House Leader. With the
greatest respect, I ask you to rule it out of order, it is not on our order paper within the terms and confines and
parameters of the Rules and Forms of Procedure of this House. This is not before our House in proper form.



MR. SPEAKER: Notwithstanding the submission just made, I find that Beauchesne very clearly states
in Chapter 12, Paragraph 518 that the previous question may be moved by any member and it has been so
moved and it is now before the House.



MR. DONAHOE: The previous question hasn’t been moved. A new question has been moved.



MR. SPEAKER: It is before the House (Interruption) The disorderly conduct of the honourable member
is noted and I would admonish him to please take his seat.



MR. DONAHOE: Mr. Speaker, a new question has been moved.



MR. SPEAKER: I am not prepared to tolerate this disorderly conduct any longer.



MR. DONAHOE: Mr. Speaker, a new question has been moved, not the question that is on the order
paper for us to debate today. This is not what we were asked, all 52 of us, to debate today. This is something
dreamed up since Tuesday, January 24, 1995.



MR. SPEAKER: I am not prepared to tolerate further disorderly conduct.



MR. DONAHOE: Mr. Speaker, I don’t . . .



MR. SPEAKER: Sergeant-at-Arms, would you please escort Mr. Donahoe out of the House.



AN HON. MEMBER: It is not the same piece of paper, Mr. Speaker. You can sit here and be smug
but it is not democracy when you change the rules in midstream.



MR. SPEAKER: We will now have discussion to the resolution. I think there have been sufficient
points of order.



MR. JOHN HOLM: Just one very brief point of order. Mr. Speaker, just for a clarification. My question
is just quite simply this. Is it your ruling, is it your finding that Beauchesne and other reference books take
precedence over our own Rules and Forms of Procedure in the House of Assembly? Is that the very clear
message that you are trying to say that Beauchesne and others take precedence over our own rules? I believe
that all members of the House have a right to an answer to that question if we are to be able to proceed in any
kind of a reasonable fashion.



MR. SPEAKER: This is not a matter of making any statement that Beauchesne has precedence over
our rules, but the reference that was quoted in our rules referred only to a question and the question before
the House is the matter that has been moved by the honourable Government House Leader.



MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, on a different point of order. I rose earlier on this question
to ask for your consideration of the fact that the Rules of this House and the usages and precedents of this
House do not allow for a previous question. You then, Mr. Speaker, commented in your position that, in fact,
what we were trying to do, including myself, was to debate this resolution.



Mr. Speaker, I stood on what I believe to be a very important point of order that deals with the Rules
of this House, contained in this book and it deals with the matters of the usages and precedents of this House
over the past century and one-half.



I ask you and ask you again, I am not here debating the resolution that has been put, I am trying to seek
clarification as to what it is that is going to organize and manage the conduct of this House from now on into
the future, Mr. Speaker. I believe that is an important point of order that needs to be dealt with by yourself.



MR. SPEAKER: I submit that I have dealt with it.



The honourable Minister of Finance.



HON. BERNARD BOUDREAU: Mr. Speaker, on the point of order that has been raised. Just a very
brief comment. The honourable Government House Leader called the resolution that was on the order paper.
I think I heard him say that. In addressing that, he asked that the question be now put. That is a procedure
that is available to this Assembly and other Assemblies.



Mr. Speaker, what we have here is under the guise of points of order, repeated and repeated points of
order, we have the same kind of obstructionism that fails to address the issue. They don’t want to debate this
resolution. They want to continue to obstruct.



Mr. Speaker, I would suggest, with all respect, that you have decided the very points of order that are
now being repeatedly raised for the purpose of obstructionism only.



MR. SPEAKER: I feel that there has been sufficient discussion of points of order. A ruling has very
clearly been made based on the contents of Beauchesne, I am not going to repeat it.



MR. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, can I ask a question? If, indeed, any member rises in this
House, whether it be on second reading or third reading, and simply moves following that the question be now
put that that rules out any amendments, is that the new rule under which this House will operate? Is that the
rule for the day? Is it the rule for tomorrow?



MR. SPEAKER: Beauchesne very clearly states that a question to the Speaker is out of order.



MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order raised by the Minister of Finance.
(Interruptions) Well, I stand on the point of order raised by the Minister of Finance . . .



MR. SPEAKER: I submit that this matter has been canvassed sufficiently and the question is before
the House for discussion.



MR. CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Finance stood in his place and he tried to suggest, and
I would suggest mislead members of this House and all Nova Scotians, to suggest that the points of order that
deal with how, in fact, the orders of this House are to be conducted were not legitimate.



Mr. Speaker, I would suggest at the very best that that is imputing motive and that does not deal with
the respectful consideration of the fact that what the effect of this motion is is that there will be no attempt,
there will be no permission granted, as is normally the case in this House, that we can provide, through
amendment, any possible changes, any possible revisions to a proposition that has been put before this House.
And that is against the Rules of this House that have been in place for nearly 200 years. I say that is wrong
and we cannot allow it to continue.



MR. SPEAKER: I have heard the speech of the honourable member. It is not a point of order. Are
there submissions or speeches to the resolution? The question is called.



MR. RONALD RUSSELL: I move that the debate on Resolution No. 1563 be now adjourned.



MR. SPEAKER: A recorded vote is being called for.



Ring the bells. Call in the members.



I must advise the House that by tradition of precedence we will not take the vote until the Whips are
satisfied in all three Parties and I would anticipate under the circumstances that the bells may well ring for
one hour. I think we had anticipated that.



I would further advise the House that once this matter has been determined that the debate on the
resolution be adjourned or not adjourned that there will be no further similar motions entertained by the Chair
by virtue of Beauchesne which states at Paragraph 558, “`That a question being once made and carried in the
affirmative or negative, cannot be questioned again but must stand as the judgment of the House.’”.



There will therefore be one Adjournment motion on the resoultion.



[2:11 p.m.]



[The Division bells were rung.]



MR. SPEAKER: The bells shall now cease ringing. Order, please. The House has reconvened.



The motion before the House is a motion moved by the honourable member for Hants West, that the
debate on Resolution No. 1563 be now adjourned. Those in favour of the motion will signify by saying Aye.
Contrary minded will signify by saying, Nay.



The Clerks will now conduct a recorded vote.



[The Clerk calls the roll.]



[3:11 p.m.]



YEAS NAYS



Mr. Moody Mr. Barkhouse

 

Mr. Donahoe Mrs. Norrie

 

Mr. Russell Dr. Smith

 

Mr. Holm Mr. Boudreau

 

Mr. Chisholm Mr. Bragg

 

Ms. McDonough Ms. Jolly

 

Mr. Archibald Mr. MacEachern

 

Dr. Hamm Mr. Mann

 

Mr. Casey

 

Mr. Gaudet

 

Dr. Stewart

 

Mr. Harrison

 

Mr. Abbass

 

Mr. Adams

 

Mr. Brown

 

Mr. Lorraine

 

Mrs. Cosman

 

Mr. MacAskill

 

Mr. MacNeil

 

Mr. Rayfuse

 

Mr. Richards

 

Mr. White

 

Mrs. O’Connor

 

Mr. Mitchell

 

Mr. M. MacDonald

 

Mr. Fogarty

 

Mr. Hubbard

 

Mr. W. MacDonald

 

Mr. Fraser

 

Mr. Colwell



THE CLERK: For, 8. Against, 30.



MR. SPEAKER: The motion to adjourn is carried in the negative. We will now return to the original
motion.



The honourable member for Halifax Atlantic.



MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. We have before us Resolution No.
1563, which proposes to change the Rules and Forms of Procedure of the House of Assembly and there is no
Schedule attached to this motion, as is generally the case, as the usual practices and precedents of this House.
I would ask for your ruling that, in fact, this resolution, therefore, is not in order.



MR. SPEAKER: Well, an interesting point, but, nonetheless, in Hansard, on Page 6392, the Schedule
appears. I also understand that because of two-sided copying that the government has utilized in the interests
of paper conservation, that there is actually the Schedule on the back of some versions and not on others
because of the photocopying process. Therefore, I rule that there is no point of order.



[3:15 p.m.]



Now a new point of order, perhaps we could have a quota of one point of order per member, at least
at this time. There must certainly not be an abuse of the right to raise points of order, by virtue of raising
repeated points of order.



The honourable Leader of the Opposition.



MR. TERENCE DONAHOE: Mr. Speaker, I rise not on a point of order but on a point of privilege.
During my somewhat enforced recess from the Chamber, I did have occasion to assess the authorities and I
have done so with some care. I want to raise with you, Mr. Speaker, authorities from both Beauchesne’s Sixth
Edition and Erskine May, 21st Edition. To begin first with Beauchesne, Sixth Edition, I would refer you to
Page 166, Paragraph 542, under the heading Amended Notices. The text reads in Beauchesne at that place,
as follows:



“(1) A modification of a notice of motion standing upon the Notice Paper is permitted, if the amended
notice does not exceed the scope of the original notice. Sir Erskine May, Treatise on the Law, Privileges,
Proceedings and Usage of Parliament (20th ed., 1983). p. 377.



(2) A new notice must be given in the Votes and Proceedings, under Standing Order 54, when a
material change is to be made to a notice of motion before it is taken into consideration by the House.”.



From Erskine May, 21st Edition, I read to you from Page 324, the following words under the title,
Change of terms of notice of motion. “Modification of the terms of a notice of motion standing upon the notice
paper is permitted, if the amended notice does not exceed the scope of the original notice,14 and the Speaker
decides that it is proper for the motion to be moved in the altered form.15 If a motion is proposed which differs
materially from the terms of the one of which notice has been given, it can be made only with the consent of
the House, or after a new notice has been given.1”.



I would, with the permission of being able to say a few further words, therefore move that pursuant to
the authorities to which I have just referred to you in Erskine May, 21st Edition, and Beauchesne, Sixth
Edition, that a new notice of motion in this matter needs to be tabled.



The argument I make to you, Mr. Speaker, is as clear and as precise as I can make it. The notice of
motion, the resolution which was tabled here in this House by the Government House Leader on Tuesday,
January 24, 1995, is in the form in which you and I and all members see it. The concluding words of that
notice of motion, Mr. Speaker, read as follows:



“Therefore be it resolved that the Rules and Forms of Procedures of the House of Assembly be
amended, effective immediately, as provided in the attached Schedule.”.



We come to the House today after that notice of motion being on the order paper for the required period
of time. And to go back to the authorities, we come to the House today to find that there has been a
considerable, may I say a dramatic, modification of the terms of that notice of motion which was standing on
our order paper. The dramatic change is on a piece of paper, the authorship of which is unknown to me, on
a piece of plain white paper with the words “Resolution No. 1563” across the top. I note with interest that
there are numbers written on it, 52, 22, 33, 11 and 2. I have no idea what those numbers mean, but the only
relevance I can attribute to the fact that the number 52 appears on that piece of paper, is that that might
possibly be a reference to the fact that there are 52 members in this place. (Interruption)



This document, if I may, with respect, Mr. Speaker, is in very different, to use the terms of the experts,
includes words which are, I submit to you, a significant modification of the terms of the notice which has been
standing on our order paper. Because at no time until this plain, white piece of paper with four or five lines
of typing on it appeared here today were the (1) before the words the Rules and Forms of Procedure be
amended effective immediately as provided in the schedule attached to the notice of motion.



Nowhere in the resolution before us did that characterization appear and nowhere, more importantly,
did a clause which appears on this piece of paper being a line that says, “(2) The question now be put .”
appear. At no point did particularly that last line, “(2) The question now be put.” appear on the order paper
with which all of the 52 members of this House were dealing and came to this place today expecting to deal.



I submit to you, Mr. Speaker, by way of point of privilege, that we have here today seen the dramatic
modification of the terms of notice of a notice of motion which had been standing in a particular form on our
order paper. As the authorities have provided, if a motion is proposed which differs materially from the terms
of the one of which notice has been given, it can be made only with the consent of the House.



You, Mr. Speaker, would have the authority to put that question to the House and it would be for the
unanimous consent of the House to accept or reject or, it goes on in Erskine May, or after a new notice has
been given. My resolution to you therefore or my motion to you therefore, to conclude my point of privilege,
is as I have just said a moment ago. I therefore move that pursuant to the authorities in Erskine May, 21st
Edition and Beauchesne’s Sixth Edition that a new notice of motion be tabled.



MR. SPEAKER: I respect the submission of the honourable Leader of the Opposition and I appreciate
the temperate way in which it was presented. It does comply with the requirements of Beauchesne as to the
presentation of a claimed point of privilege to the House. The matter in contention involves an interpretation.
It is a judgment call. As with so many things, my learned friend and I are both appealing to the same body
of evidence but drawing differing conclusions.



The issue is whether there has indeed been a substantial alteration or change to the original motion.
The original motion appears identically in Hansard as it does on the text of what was read from this afternoon
by the honourable Government House Leader. In the Hansard version it states, “Therefore be it resolved that
the Rules and Forms of Procedure of the House of Assembly be amended, effective immediately, as provided
in the attached Schedule.”. In the form that was read out to the House this afternoon it states, “that the Rules
and Forms of Procedure of the House of Assembly be amended, effective immediately, as provided in the
Schedule attached to the notice of motion.”. I do not feel that slight difference in wording constitutes any
distinct modification or material difference to the original motion as presented.



The matter then that is at issue is the right of the honourable Government House Leader to add on the
words, that the question be now put. As I indicated earlier, we have researched this matter and we find, first
of all, that our own rules do not make any allowance at all or make any, and perhaps a better way for me to
put that would be, do not lay down any guidelines or considerations for the moving of the previous question
because it is agreed, I think by all of us, that this is the first time that we know this to have been done in the
procedures of our Assembly.



There is however, and one of our learned Clerks was able to find an obscure reference in one of our
rules where the reference was made to the moving of the previous question. I forget in which section but I
know that it was drawn, pardon me? In Section 26 reference is made in passing to the existence of a moving
of the previous question. In Section 26(2), Right of mover to reply, “A reply shall be allowed to a Member who
has moved a substantive motion but not to the mover of an amendment, the previous question or an instruction
to a Committee.”.



Now, I take it from that reference the only time it is found anywhere in this Rule Book that the
formulators of these rules did anticipate the utilization of a motion of this type at some point in the
proceedings of the House and they certainly do not prohibit it or indeed, lay out any considerations at all for
the execution of such a motion. We must, therefore, apply to the higher authority, Beauchesne’s Parliamentary
Rules and Forms of the House of Commons of Canada.



Beauchesne has stated very thoroughly, as I have read, the right of any member to move that the
question be now put. It is a right that has never been exercised before, I grant, but it is the right of every
member of this House. If the honourable member for Kings West or my learned friend for Halifax Atlantic
wanted to stand up at some time and move that the question be now put, they have the right to do that.



The effect of such a formula being uttered and being entered into the record, as we read Beauchesne,
is the prohibition of any amendment. But Beauchesne also notes that this could actually have the effect of
prolonging debate on the main motion, as perhaps we will see in the ensuing debate here, I do not know, I
merely anticipate.



From the best advice that I can obtain, it is in order for a member to make that motion that the question
be now put. It is an add-on to the main motion, it does not change, in my view, the contents of the motion in
any way. It simply adds as a cap to that motion a formula that prevents the moving of any amendment while
it is on the floor.



Now, of course, if honourable members want that question to be put and it is defeated in the negative,
I would suggest then that amendments would be in order, that would be my finding. That would mean that
if perhaps an Opposition member were to move this rather than a government member, the government
members if they wanted to move amendments could call that question, and I will entertain a motion to do so
if that is the wish of the House, that the question be now put rather than hanging over this debate, be put to
the test of a vote and if it is found that the majority of the members of the House do not wish this consideration
to apply to this discussion then it will not apply.



It is the right of any member, however, to make such a request of the House and I find that the
Government House Leader has only been within his rights as a member to have added on this formula in
addition to his motion as an add-on. Therefore, I do not feel that the privileges of the House have been
violated, I do not feel that the considerations of Sir Erskine May or Beauchesne have been met because I do
not believe that the motion itself has been materially altered but rather a procedural device has been invoked
to attempt to keep the motion under discussion and not have amendments be presented for discussion.



MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: On that point of privilege . . .



MR. SPEAKER: I have already ruled on it.



MR. CHISHOLM: In order to seek some clarification on what it is we are debating, we have a
substantive motion, at least that was the intention, I guess, a substantive motion on the floor when at the same
time a procedural motion was put. It is my understanding in terms of dealing with the previous question in
Beauchesne that, in fact, the debate must have commenced before a procedural motion must be moved.



I would raise a second point under that section, the previous question section, Paragraphs 521, 522,
and so on down to Paragraph 528, that there is a specific form required as to how the previous question is to
be put and that it is quite contrary to the motion, call it a motion, call it two motions that is before us at this
particular time. Therefore, I would suggest to you and to all members that the motion, whatever motion it is,
is out of order as it is before us.



MR. SPEAKER: That may be the view of the honourable member but it is not the view of the Chair.



The honourable Minister of Education.



HON. JOHN MACEACHERN: Mr. Speaker, with all due respect to all members of the House, you
have ruled on this and you have ruled very clearly. There are procedures by which your ruling can be
questioned and there are ways of doing it by substantive motion.



[3:30 p.m.]



Mr. Speaker, if I might, we can do that, but there are ways to do it. What we have here, under the guise
of several things, there are, in fact, questions to your ruling. The ruling has been made. The resolution is in
order, as put, and let’s get on with the debate.



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Hants West.



MR. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, I would like to join the debate very briefly on the . . .



MR. SPEAKER: Well, you have already had your turn on the debate.



MR. RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, on the point of order raised by the honourable member for Halifax
Atlantic. The thing is, is that there are two motions that the honourable minister introduced. There is a motion
which we have in our hand, Resolution No. 1563, and there is also a motion for a procedural motion.
However, it is a motion to consider the previous question.



Mr. Speaker, I would submit to you that there are two separate motions. There is the motion for the
previous question and there is a motion for the debate on the resolution itself and I don’t believe that anywhere
you will read that you can have two motions on the floor at the same time.



MR. SPEAKER: I would like to try to dispense with this matter now, if I can. Beauchesne clearly
grants the right to all members of the House to move the previous question. It states, “(3) The previous
question may be moved by a Member . . .”. Now, that is what Beauchesne says. Besides that, it states that the
formula to be used is, “That the question be now put.”.



The formula that has been employed by the honourable Government House Leader reads, “The question
now be put.”. So, the only difference is, instead of saying “The question be now put.”, it says that, “The
question now be put.”. I feel that that is not any substantial difference in the formula. Now the question could
be asked - please restrain yourself - it has become an omnibus motion, if I may. It has become an omnibus
motion by the addition of an additional part, for which Beauchesne does not state that notice is required.
(Interruption)



Please, I don’t want to have to ask anybody to leave again - please, restrain yourself. There is no place
in Beauchesne that it states that notice has to be given of this. It simply states that “(3) The previous question
may be moved by a Member . . .”. Now there is nothing there that states that notice is required. Therefore,
the honourable Government House Leader gave notice of his intent to move that the Rules and Forms be
amended and so forth, but he was not required by the rules to give notice of intent to move that the question
be now put. He exercised that right here this afternoon in the form of an omnibus motion, which we frequently
have in this House. We have omnibus bills that amend various pieces of legislation in one package and this
is a procedural strategy that has been followed here by the honourable Government House Leader, which I
find to be entirely in order, as sustained by the best procedural advice that I can get of a disinterested type.



Therefore, I would propose that the debate carry on on the grounds that our rules, especially Rule No.
9(2), states, “Mr. Speaker’s ruling shall not be subject to appeal or question except by substantive motion upon
proper notice having been given.”. The honourable Leader of the NDP has already given notice of intent by
filing with the Clerk, this afternoon, a motion that, presumably, will be called in due course, requesting the
House to negate Mr. Speaker’s Ruling. It, thereby, admits that Mr. Speaker has already made his ruling.



I find that there is no scope for continued questions or challenges on this matter by virtue of Rule No.
9(2), that states once the Speaker has made his ruling, it shall, “. . . not be subject to appeal or question except
by substantive motion upon proper notice having been given.”. Now, those are the rules. I rest my case.



MS. ALEXA MCDONOUGH: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker, I raise this point of order to simply
try to facilitate our moving forward and get out of the incredible procedural wrangle that we have gotten
ourselves into here this afternoon.



As you well now, this House can do anything by unanimous consent to try to enable it to get on with
conducting its business. And with the unanimous consent of this House, in that spirit and in the attempt to
move forward in a parliamentary manner, the Government House Leader could withdraw Part 2 of his motion,
which we have here on a piece of paper from unknown sources, not a separate motion to put the question at
all, but Part 2 of this motion, he could agree to withdraw it, in good faith, to demonstrate that it was not an
underhanded attempt - of which he gave notice to the Speaker in advance - to try to shut down on any
possibility that this debate could have any benefit whatsoever and that Opposition members could have the
opportunity, as is surely within the parliamentary traditions of this House, to put amendments to try to
improve the Rules and Forms of Procedure that are being put forward for consideration here.



I would ask all members to consider the common sense, the fairness and the decency of the
Government House Leader being asked to withdraw Part 2 of this supposed motion, of which we had no
advance notice, but the Speaker, from unknown sources, through some unknown procedure, received this
piece of paper on his desk and held it up as the authority.



MR. SPEAKER: I hesitate to enter into a debate with the honourable member. The paper that I held
up was the motion that had been moved by the honourable Government House Leader, of which I had asked
him to provide me with a copy and he did. It was then passed over to the Leader of the Opposition and
subsequently retrieved and is now in the custody, I believe, of the Clerk, who is the proper custodian of such
motions as moved by members of the House. Copies have been provided to honourable members.



The remainder of the representation consists of a representation and is not a point of order. It would,
however, be a matter of negotiation, I suggest, between the various Parties. The Chair is certainly quite
prepared to accept any withdrawal, with the unanimous consent of the House, or any addition, with the
unanimous consent of the House. That would have to be done by negotiation.



We are now back to the main motion. Are there speakers to the motion? The question is called.



The honourable Leader of the Opposition.



MR. TERENCE DONAHOE: Mr. Speaker, I will try to make remarks which I hope will be germane
to the main motion. I don’t do it with anything but a very heavy heart because I think this is - I really do
honestly believe - this is a very unhappy day for not only those of us who are here today, but for the thousands
of men and women who will follow us here in this House if the rules are changed in accordance with the
resolution which has been tabled by the Government House Leader.



Mr. Speaker, I rise to engage in the debate upon what I honestly believe to be the most offensive and
undemocratic and, frankly, cowardly resolution introduced by a government which drips of incompetence and
arrogance.



That is why we are debating this resolution today. This is a resolution introduced by a government
which has proven at every turn that it is incapable of handling the public affairs of the people of the Province
of Nova Scotia. This is a government which promised openness and accessibility and has spent almost 21
months running and hiding from the electorate which sent them here. This is a government which, when they
went to the people of Nova Scotia back in April and May of 1993, had a great many things to say and a great
many promises were made by this government to the people of Nova Scotia at that time. Among them were
a few promises and a few commitments.



In a document entitled, Accountability and Accessibility in Government, Liberal Policy, this
government said, among other things, some of the following things: “Government in a democracy derives its
powers through the consent of the governed. To honour the responsibility government has to the people, it
must open its activities to scrutiny by the public and the opposition.”. This resolution and this proposal to
change the rules of procedure in this place are just the antithesis of scrutiny by the public and the Opposition.
This same Liberal Party, now government, went to the people of Nova Scotia and they said, “Accountability
should not be left to the discretion of the government of the day, but should entrench the public interest in
legislation.”.



They went on to say that “Nova Scotians cannot afford to have important public issues lost in a welter
of concentrated government activity, punctuated by long periods without real, public accountability . . . The
Premier of Nova Scotia . . .”, and in this case, they were referring to the former Premier, “. . . has attempted
to put a price on democracy and public debate. His conclusion is that we cannot afford democracy.”. All we
have been hearing the last number of weeks from the members opposite and the Government House Leader
is that the cost per day of having you, Mr. Speaker, and myself and all of our colleagues here in this place,
is not a price worth being paid by the electorate, the people of Nova Scotia, to see that their affairs are well
and properly and sensitively handled.



This is a government, Mr. Speaker, which as I say, promised openness and accessibility and I say again
has spent 21 months running and hiding from the electorate which sent them here. This is a government that
has made a sad mockery of its promise of accountability and it is today here by this action proving it is
prepared to be accountable only when it is easy or comfortable or quick. This is a government which promised
the widest possible consultation with the electorate, especially in regard to casino legislation which is now
in Committee of the Whole. A government which has conducted none and I repeat none of the consultation.
Has done nothing but fire taunts, barbs, mean spirited and derisive, abusive and, may I say, sometimes
childish comments at those of us in the Opposition who have attempted, within the Rules and Forms of
Procedure of the House, to represent the interests, the concerns, the fears and the rights of the very people at
whom this government has snubbed its nose, the electorate, the taxpayer.



Those are the taxpayers who have no means to speak to this government except to those of us and
through those of us in this House who have been prepared to speak for them within the Rules of this House.
Rule 1 of the Rules and Forms of Procedure of the Nova Scotia House of Assembly as I know you well know
reads as follows: “The proceedings in the House of Assembly of Nova Scotia and in all committees of the
House shall be conducted according to the following Rules.”. Then all of the remaining 84 Rules following
in our House are set out and I say to you that all 85 of the Rules that appear in the Rule Book which governs
our conduct in this House have been followed in this session.



In particular, the provision of Rules 40(1) and 40(2) have been observed. You will know, Mr. Speaker,
and those members opposite who have bothered to read Rule 40(1) will know that that rule provides that, “The
Rules of the House shall be observed in the Committee of the Whole as far as may be applicable, except the
Rules limiting the number of times of speaking.”. I might note that Rule 40(1) has been in its present form
for a very long time at least back into the 1950’s and that is a rule which has governed the performance and
procedure of all of us who are members of this distinguished place for at least 40 years and yes longer. That
rule affords all members and, particularly, members of the Opposition, some of whom now occupy the
government benches because many of them occupied some time here on Opposition benches. It offered them,
as it now should offer those of us who are the members of the Opposition, unlimited opportunity to speak in
the Committee of the Whole House on Bills.



[3:45 p.m.]



It is now those same members, who enjoyed the latitude and the flexibility of that rule, provided by the
previous Conservative Government, who wish to take away the taxpayers’ right to have a voice, their voice,
the taxpayers’ voice, through those of us in the Opposition who have the intestinal fortitude. No, may I say,
Mr. Speaker, perhaps not the intestinal fortitude, but rather the sense of our obligation and our responsibility
to speak for those taxpayers who are concerned and unsure and frightened and disillusioned and, I say,
absolutely abandoned by their Liberal representatives in this 41 seat government.



Mr. Speaker, the first recital in the resolution before us suggests that the number of days in this session
provides ample opportunity for members to hold this government accountable for its actions. I take note of
the use of the word in the resolution “actions”. This government considers itself above account or
accountability.



Mr. Speaker, I recently read a definition of account, as an explanatory statement of conduct, a
statement of reasons, causes, et cetera, explaining some event. I find the word, accountable, defined as, that
can be explained. This Opposition, in my view, and may I say in the view of increasing numbers of Nova
Scotians, has done rather well in holding this government accountable for its actions.



It is the government legislation for which we want to hold, on behalf of the taxpayers of Nova Scotia,
this government accountable. It is this arrogant government that does not believe it should have to live by the
rules of legislative accountability, which have been in place in this House for decades and decades.



The resolution, as I said, Mr. Speaker, says, in the last line of the first recital, “. . . thus providing
ample opportunity for members to hold this government accountable for its actions;”. I distinguish actions in
this context from legislative initiative. We have done our best and I am bold enough to say that we have done
a pretty credible job as an Opposition in holding this government accountable for its actions. Actions such
as the Premier’s abuse of public money in establishing himself across the street with a shower and his fancy
office complex; the actions of this government in firing, at a cost of $2.5 million, of deputies who were fine
public servants; the actions of this government of handing out $250,000 in untendered contracts; the actions
of this government in making promises that there would be no tax increases, then immediately imposing them
in their first budget; the actions of this government in making promises of health care reform and delivering
none; the actions of this government in establishing or surrounding with political hacks, three deputy
ministers in the Premier’s office.



MR. SPEAKER: Excuse me, I have to intervene at this point. The resolution before us reads:
“Therefore be it resolved that the Rules and Forms of Procedure of the House of Assembly be amended,
effective immediately, as provided in the attached Schedule.”, and that the question be now put. That does not
relate, in any way, to this litany that I am hearing. It is a very interesting litany, but it is not germane to that
resolution, no matter how far I try to stretch.



MR. DONAHOE: With the greatest respect, Mr. Speaker, it is germane to the recitals which lead to
the resolution. The resolution is, according to its sponsor, predicated on the basis of the authorities and the
statements made in the recitals, which purport to justify it.



MR. SPEAKER: With deference the honourable Leader of the Opposition, who is making a good
speech, I am thoroughly enjoying it, but he made reference to Rule No. 40 and Rule No. 40(2) and I will read
it for his consideration. It is speeches in the Committee of the Whole House on Bills, but it would also be in
the House, too, I should think, “. . . must be strictly relevant to the item or clause under consideration.”. So
let us, please, try to focus discussion on the item under consideration.



MR. DONAHOE: The item under consideration, Mr. Speaker, is predicated on the basis that the
Government House Leader says, in the first recital, that, “Whereas the Nova Scotia House of Assembly now
sits at least twice a year, and in 1994 this House sat for 94 days, more than any other Legislative Assembly
in this country, and in this session 112 days so far, thus providing ample opportunity for members to hold this
government accountable for its actions;”. That is what this debate is all about, the ability of the Opposition
members to hold this government accountable for its actions.



This Government House Leader suggests that all of those things which he recites said that that thus
provides ample opportunity for members to hold this government accountable, I disagree. He says that all of
these sitting days give us ample opportunity to hold the government accountable for its actions, well, I think
it is within the domain of debate on that recital to this resolution which is the underpinning and the
foundation of the operative clause, to be able to say as I am now attempting to say, that an analysis of the
Opposition’s ability to hold the government to account on its actions is relevant because I am describing our
ability and our effective doing of that. I am going to attempt, if you will bear with me, Mr. Speaker, to contrast
that with the lack of ability to hold this government accountable for its legislative program, is this resolution
passes. I believe, with respect, that the line of reasoning hangs together.



This government, when they suggest that all of the time we have been in this place enables the
Opposition members on behalf of the poor beleaguered taxpayers of this province to hold this government
accountable for its actions, we have, and we have relative to their actions. We have seen them and we have
raised questions which show that this government, relative to its actions, has thrown education into a tailspin.



We have, relative to its actions, watched this government, as have the taxpayers, twiddle their thumbs
while economic development stagnates in Nova Scotia and seems, by leaps and bounds, to grow in our
neighbouring Province of New Brunswick and on and on it goes. We have seen by their actions the special
deal for Judge Bremner and the special deal for Lucy Dobbin and the back of the hand slap to Dianna Parsons
who seeks help and compassion from this government. We have seen by action the cutting of the shelter
allowances to disabled Nova Scotians. So, I don’t have any difficulty at all relative to this resolution in
suggesting that this Opposition has had an opportunity to hold this government to account for its actions.



That is not what this resolution purports to do. This resolution purports now to stifle me and all of
those of us who are Opposition members to have an opportunity to hold this government to account, relative
to its legislative package. And it is in that connection which I would now like to make remarks. It is the
government legislation package in relation to which we attempt to hold this government to account and
particularly, in relation to casinos and to workers’ compensation legislation.



The honourable Government House Leader made some very interesting remarks in this House here
today as he moved this resolution. I would like to show, if I may - I know I am not allowed to use the word
hypocrisy so I won’t - the contrast in what we are hearing now from the Government House Leader today,
relative to his rationale for this particular resolution as against certain things that were said by that same
Government House Leader not so very long ago.



I refer to Hansard of this place of December 14, 1994 and the speaker was the Honourable Richard
Mann. The honourable Government House Leader on that occasion had a few things to say. On that occasion
he said, “This is a Party, this is a government that is not opposed to reform.”, said Mr. Mann the Government
House Leader, “I can say, and I will state categorically on behalf of the government of this province, on behalf
of the Liberal Party in the Province of Nova Scotia, we are willing to cooperate; we are willing to consider
changes to the rules in this House of Assembly.”, Hansard notes applause, “But, what we are not willing to
do is 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 full debate, for some research to be done, well thought out and to reach
consensus.”.



That is the same man who is stuffing this resolution down the throats of the Nova Scotian taxpayers
today. That same House Leader in December 1994, a mere 60 days ago or so, said, “Mr. Speaker, the rules
of debate in this House where we are only permitted three amendments at second reading, is that proper?
Perhaps there should be six amendments permitted. Is it fair and does everyone agree that there should be
unlimited debate in the Committee of the Whole House? I do not know, but is that something that we should
consider as we consider rule changes?”.



The very issue which is addressed by this resolution is the very issue which, on December 14, 1994,
the sponsor of the resolution said, “I do not know, but is that something that we should consider as we
consider rule changes?”. That same distinguished Government House Leader went on to say, Mr. Speaker,
on that same occasion, “I have opinions but, I respectfully suggest, . . .”, said Mr. Mann, Government House
Leader, “. . . I respectfully suggest, Mr. Speaker, that those are issues that should be dealt with by the
Committee on Assembly Matters, not by some resolution introduced by one of the Parties in the House as a
fait accompli. Absolutely not.”. This resolution, by anybody’s definition, in anybody’s language, is nothing
but a fait accompli stuffed down the throats of the Nova Scotian taxpayers by a 41 seat, incompetent, arrogant
government. That is what we are dealing with here today.



This Government House Leader went on to say, on that same occasion, “But if you want to review the
rules, . . .”, said Mr. Mann, Government House Leader, “. . . then let’s review the rules. Let’s convene a
meeting of the Rules Committee, the Committee on Assembly Matters and let’s consider the rules on dress,
the rules on resolution, on limits on debate, on the hoist clause. Let’s look at all of those. What has happened
in our Assembly? Let’s look, also, at the election of the Speaker.” - A comment which I am sure you remember
well and fondly, Mr. Speaker, - “I am sure that we would be very willing to refer the matter to the Committee
on Assembly Matters and to look at it and to make a decision, along with the members of the Official
Opposition and the Third Party and consider whether or not those things should happen. We would be willing
to do that.”.



Isn’t it interesting; isn’t it frustrating; isn’t it ironic; and isn’t it an absolute 360 degree turn of opinion
and attitude that now he is not interested in looking at that at all. He is not interested in having consultation.
He is not interested in having this matter referred to the committee which is designed and provided for in our
rules to handle this very kind of matter.



Finally, may I quote from that same distinguished Government House Leader who now attempts to ram
this rule change down the throats of the Nova Scotian taxpayers. He said on that same occasion, “Mr. Speaker,
I believe that if the members opposite are serious about this . . .”, referring to those of us in Opposition, “. .
. that we will see rules in this House changed, because this Party . . .”, referring to his own, “. . . is willing
to change them. We are willing to go to the Committee on Assembly Matters. We are willing to do some
research. We are willing to look at what other jurisdictions do and we are willing to make rule changes which
will elevate the quality of debate in the Chamber, which will see the business conducted on behalf of the
people of Nova Scotia become more professional and more meaningful and, I think, which will better serve
all the people of this province.”.



There is more, Mr. Speaker, but I will not quote further because I know as you listen to what the
Government House Leader says today, and as you read the text of the resolution which he has before us today,
and you listen to the drivel that he uttered on Wednesday, December 14, 1994, you know, it was nothing but
idle, hollow rhetoric. It was rant to fill in the time and to enable him and his colleagues to move on to other
matters. (Interruption)



[4:00 p.m.]



Yes, the honourable Minister of Education across the way, I hear him saying to his seatmate that he
finds this hard to take. I hope you find it hard to take, I hope everybody on the government benches finds this
very hard to take because what is going on here, Mr. Speaker, is that every single man and woman in Nova
Scotia, when they understand what is being done here this afternoon, is going to find it hard to take for
generations and generations. Because their right to have the men and women whom they send to this place
to speak for them is being stifled, it is being strangled. In fact, as the writers on this subject say, they are being
guillotined. That is what the writers who have written on this particular kind of performance by a government
call this action, they call it the guillotine.



I am going to read a couple of lines, if I may, Mr. Speaker, from Erskine May, Page 408, which are
as follows: “In many sessions in order to secure the passage of particularly important and controversial
legislation, Governments have been confronted with the choice, unless special powers are taken, of cutting
down their normal programme to an undesirable extent, or of prolonging the sittings of Parliament, or else
of acknowledging the impotence of the majority of the House in the face of the resistance of the minority. In
such circumstances resort is had sooner or later to the most drastic method of curtailing debate known to
procedure, namely, the setting of a date by which a committee must report, or the allocation of a specified
number of days to the various stages of a bill and of limited amounts of time to particular portions of a bill.
Orders made under this procedure are known as `allocation of time’ orders, and colloquially as `guillotine’
motions.”. And the guillotine is dropping today.



“They may be regarded as the extreme limit to which procedure goes in affirming the rights of the
majority at the expense of the minorities of the House, and it cannot be denied that they are capable of being
used in such a way as to upset the balance, generally so carefully preserved, between the claims of business
and the rights of debate. But the harshness of this procedure is to some extent mitigated either by consultations
between the party leaders or in the Business Committee, in order to establish the greatest possible measure
of agreement as to the most satisfactory disposal of the time available.”.



The Opposition House Leader, my colleague from Hants West, picked up his phone and called the
Government House Leader and asked if there would be an opportunity, in light of the fact that every thinking
legislator in here realized that we had an impasse. He asked the Government House Leader if the Government
House Leader was prepared to meet with him, prepared to talk about the potential, even, of a negotiated
compromise that might open this log-jam, that might move us through the difficulties, procedurally, which
we were encountering and experiencing.



I know you know, Mr. Speaker, that the response from the Government House Leader was an
immediate and direct, no; I don’t want to talk to you; I don’t have any interest in sitting down with you, Mr.
Opposition House Leader, and attempting to negotiate anything, in attempting to negotiate any compromise,
attempting to see whether or not there is any way in which we can move this log-jam.



In the course of that same conversation, Mr. Speaker - so that it is not lost on Nova Scotians, so that
it is understood what is really going on here is more than just the impact that this change will have, relative
to legislation which is before this particular sitting of this session of this House - because in that same
conversation with the Government House Leader indicated to the Opposition House Leader that we have to
get this going. We’ve got to get this resolution through because we have another session upcoming soon. We
have a budget coming and we have other legislation coming. God bless her. It will be the legislation of the
distinguished Minister of Municipal Affairs if she hasn’t been shuffled out of town in the meantime and that
will be contentious legislation as well. So, what does the Government House Leader say to the Opposition
House Leader? He says that we have a budget and a legislative package coming forward in the spring session
and we have got to be sure that we can have rules that will enable us to get our business done so that we can
accommodate G-7.



Mr. Speaker, since when did any one of the 52 of us in this place believe that we were being elected
by any man or woman in this province so that we could come here and perform our responsibilities and pursue
our duties so that we could do them and that we would do them, or that we felt that we were under any
compulsion to do them, so as to accommodate the Prime Minister of Canada and his colleague world leaders
who might by happenstance, as it is, meet somewhere in this province in a G-7 meeting? What in the name
of all that is good and holy does that have to do with the way in which the Rules of Forms and Procedures in
our House should read? It has absolutely nothing to do with it.



So, this surely is the guillotine dropping today and the guillotine is dropping and I repeat and mean
it and I say it with as much emotion as I can, it is dropping because it is being presented by a government
which has lost control of its agenda. It has lost control of its ability to run the business of the Legislature of
the Province of Nova Scotia and it is in the course of losing control. In the course of not being able to move
its legislative program it has looked everywhere but at itself, everywhere but in the mirror to try to find some
scapegoat and somebody else in some other place upon which or in which to lay the blame.



This is a government that with this motion has just hung up on Nova Scotians, Mr. Speaker. They have
just disconnected their constituents and the constituents of the Opposition. When people are disconnected they
are forced to allow others to exercise all control. Or they divide along tribal lines and they forget all about
political and historical ties on which they found common ground in the past. This government today has laid
out a distinct fork in the road for us, as legislators, which will affect us and legislators in this province for
generations to come. One path leads us down a road which takes us further apart which further polarizes Nova
Scotians away from government and the political process. I am very fearful that that is the fork down which
we are leading.



The other path is the path of constancy. Mature, political stewardship comes from constancy. That is
not to say that our political processes and rules should never be changed but true fundamental change does
not come in my view from impulsive, ill thought out and strategically motivated rule changes such as we face
here in this House here today. Real change must evolve from our daily work in this place where we as
legislators have a real opportunity to make the concerns of our local and our provincial constituents, our
constant, our only abiding concern. Positive changes to legislation have been made in this place through
cooperation, through listening, through debate.



It happened on the environment bill which we debated here in this very sitting. There were
amendments to improve that legislation put forward by the Opposition. The Minister of the Environment to
his credit participated in the debate. He didn’t sit on his hands as other ministers who are now sponsors of bills
before the Committee of the Whole House are doing, that minister participated in the debate and,
subsequently, that minister, in a spirit of collegiality and looking, as he saw it, in concert with Opposition
members for the best bill we could produce, he embraced some of the amendments put forward, quite a
number of them, in fact. As a result, Nova Scotians have today a better Environment Act than they had before
those amendments were made to it.



This is just one of the positive aspects, Mr. Speaker, of open debate in the House of Assembly. I would
suggest that this government, while in Opposition, made similar amendments through debate in this House
which improved on legislation introduced by the government of which I had the honour to be a part, along
with a number of my current colleagues in this Opposition caucus.



This motion, Mr. Speaker, if passed, will forever remove meaningful or adequate opportunity for that
to take place in the future. This is the fork in the road laid down by this government, by a government which,
despite its 41 seat majority, appears unable, totally incompetent to handle its own legislative agenda.



Government members must be reminded, Mr. Speaker, perhaps daily, that their agenda is unlike any
such agenda promised by this government to the people of this province in 1993. In many respects, the agenda
of this government is a complete contradiction of their election platform and, hence, that is why those few of
us who are the Opposition members are hearing as we are from so many thousands of Nova Scotians who
want us to raise the issues we have raised, to ask the questions we have asked, to seek the answers we seek.
They, as we, are dumbfounded that it is the rarest of occasions where any of those answers are forthcoming.
That, I say to you, in part, explains why this government is having its difficulties.



They do not have the support of Nova Scotians to move to establish casinos. That is just one example.
If they had such support, that legislation would long ago have been passed. But they do not have the support
and that is why we are here attempting to put forward reasonable opposition to an initiative that this
government is determined to force Nova Scotians to accept. And recognizing the reality of a 41 seat majority
in this House, our Opposition caucus has set about to try to do what we can do, within our limited resources,
to improve on what we consider, in some elements, to be an odious bill.



We long ago supplied the Minister of Finance with a number of proposed amendments. The Minister
of Finance, to his credit and we have said so to him personally and I say it here publicly, has responded to us
that he is, I think, in a position to respond in a positive way to many of those amendments. We have supplied
the Minister of Labour with a number of amendments and he has yet to respond, either inside or outside this
House, to us to those proposals. I ask if that is the hallmark of responsible government or, at least, of
government which is conducted by way of the greatest extent of dialogue and collegiality back and forth
between the members of this House. I think not. I think it is the sign of a government that wishes to erode any
opportunity to provide Nova Scotians with the best possible legislation available to them.



The operative clause of the resolution before us says that, “After a Bill is reported by a Committee of
the House, a maximum of twenty hours is allowed for consideration of the Bill by the Committee of the Whole
House on Bills.”. I just ask, through you and through those who will hear me ask the question, all Nova
Scotians who understand the complexity of such issues as the introduction of unstudied casino legislation in
this province, whether 20 hours of debate in Committee of the Whole is a reasonable opportunity for the
900,000 Nova Scotians to ask their questions and have them answered?






Is 20 hours of debate on workers’ compensation, which is one of the most vitally important pieces of
legislation in this province, affecting 250,000 or 300,000 working men, all of whom have spouses and
dependents and who are concerned that they have the very best piece of workers’ compensation legislation
possible, is 20 hours of debate in the Committee of the Whole House a sufficient time to enable all of the
questions and complex issues that bear on that issue, to be adequately and reasonably and effectively
canvassed? I think not on both cases and I think that the overwhelming majority of thinking Nova Scotians
share that same view.



[4:15 p.m.]



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Acting Premier on a point of order.



HON. JAY ABBASS: Mr. Speaker, most Nova Scotians would consider that the Opposition has taken
27 hours and 23 minutes to debate the title of the Workers’ Compensation bill and it is extraordinarily
unnecessary.



MR. SPEAKER: Well, that may well be but it is not a point of order.



MR. DONAHOE: Mr. Speaker, it sure isn’t a point of order and it sure is as close to misrepresentation
as is possible to get, because as that honourable distinguished Acting Premier knows, he loves to use the
expression - as do all members of the government benches - the debate on the title. And he knows and those
people who are starting to pay more attention to this government and the way that they are forcing this agenda
through this Legislature are coming to know, that this expression, debate on the title, is the opportunity for
those of us on the Opposition benches, to ask questions, to raise substantive issues, to try to understand what
the legislation is really all about. It is an attempt to have ministers such as the distinguished Acting Premier
engage in a debate, not sit on his fingers and listen to whatever number of hours he says it was and rarely
(Interruption) It’s 27, I got it. We will enshrine that in Hansard, it is 27.5. And through that 27.5 hours, the
distinguished Minister of Labour, now Acting Premier, for virtually every second of the 27.5 hours, sat on his
fingers and failed and refused to respond to a whole series of legitimate questions and concerns, comments,
and observations made by members of the Opposition.



If this Minister of Labour and if this distinguished Acting Premier had an interest in moving along
the debate on the title, which is an opportunity, as he knows, for all of us in this place, who I presume want
to leave this place with the very best piece of workers’ compensation legislation possible, could have, if he had
participated in the debate and not sat on his thumbs. He could have responded to many of the questions and
concerns that were being raised by members of the Opposition, not because we were here dreaming these
things up out of our own mind, but because we were here speaking for hundreds of thousands of Nova
Scotians who want to know some of the answers to some of those questions.



So, he can go if he wants and he can tour this province, one end to the other and he can say, Mr.
Donahoe, the Leader of the Opposition and this Opposition member and that Opposition member, can you
imagine it - to the big crowd out there - can you imagine it, they spoke 27.5 hours on the title? I will bet you
he will never once rise to his feet and explain that the 27.5 hours, Mr. Speaker as you well know, was our
attempt to understand the legislation, to understand its implications, to understand what it will do to
employers. To understand what it will do to injured workers, to understand what impact it will have on the
unfunded liability of the Workers’ Compensation Fund, to understand what is very, very important and
complex legislation. He will never tell the people to whom he talks about the 27.5 hours, any of that at all.



Mr. Speaker, I have a tendency on occasion, unfortunately, and you have noticed it and indeed you
acted upon it today, to allow myself to become a little bit exercised and that is not always my finest hour and
not my best trait by any means. (Interruptions) Yes and I hear from a friend and a colleague across the way,
Arthur would not have liked it; the reference being of course to my dear brother, Arthur who was Speaker of
this place for some 10 years. I might say that my dear father who spent 16 years in this place would not like
me losing my cool either, but I am very distressed. I am very dismayed. I have spent 16-plus years in this place
and I am sure that I have exhibited myself on many occasions in such a way as to have people consider that
on that issue or this issue perhaps I was not up to the mark. That goes with all of us and goes with the
territory, and I understand that.



I am bold enough and egotistical enough to say that to the extent that my human frailties would permit,
I have attempted as I have seen it over my time in this place to ensure that there is the most fulsome and
broadest and extensive opportunity available to every single member of this place to express his or her view;
more to the point to represent the interests and the concerns of the thousands of people which each of us
represent.



I, Mr. Speaker, am very disheartened and dismayed today because I believe that the rules change which
will be effective if this resolution passes here today or tomorrow or who knows when, if it passes, I really
believe that we do a disservice to the work of the 52 of us who are here now at the choice of the Nova Scotia
electorate, but as important and perhaps more important, I believe that we leave a legacy which is a disservice
to those who will follow us as legislators in this place.



The rule that is being changed, Mr. Speaker, has been in place, as you know, and you acknowledged,
I think, by your nod when I said this earlier, some moments ago, the rule which this government purports to
change or proposes to change by this resolution today has been in place and been in the Rules and Forms of
Procedure of this House for decade upon decade. (Interruption)



AN HON. MEMBER: That’s why it needs changing.



MR. DONAHOE: I hear an honourable member from the government back benches say, that’s why
it needs changing. Mr. Speaker, why it needs changing is that this incompetent government cannot manage
the business of this House within the context and within the confines and within the parameters of a rule
which has served the taxpayers and the legislators of this province for decades and decades (Interruption)
Long before, I might say, some of us who are members in this place were even born.



Governments led by people like Robert Stanfield and Angus L. Macdonald were able to conduct the
business of this province within the context and the parameters of the rules which this government wants to
rip up today. It is a sad day for this Legislature. It is a sad day for this government. It is a sad day for all of
us as legislators. I say again, and I will close with the comment, it is a very sad day because we leave a legacy
to those who will follow us as legislators which will afford them far less opportunity, in my opinion, to
adequately represent the rightful interests of the constituents whom those who will succeed us here as
members will come to this place to represent.



It is wrong-headed. It is mean-spirited. It is motivated out of a sense that we have to get things done
so that we will not be interfering with things like G-7 and all those good things. It has nothing to recommend
it as far as I am concerned, Mr. Speaker, in terms of the way in which it improves or advances the course of
the doing the legislative business of this province. I am disappointed and I am very sad that I am here to
engage in the debate and will be a part of the Legislature which makes this change. I will vote against the
resolution, Mr. Speaker. Thank you.



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Atlantic.



MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, I would bring to your attention, and to all members of the
House, people in your gallery from the United Mines Workers of America in Cape Breton. They are led by
their President, Stephen Drake. They are members of the CPAC Committee, Ron Coté, Mansell Warren, Hugh
MacArthur, Brendan McIntyre, Russell Bernon, John McArthy, Bill McLean, Jose Pinatel, Mike Saccary,
Matt O’Hanley and Laurie Lloyd. These brothers are here because they are concerned about Bill No. 122. They
are hoping to have an opportunity to speak to their MLAs and they are also interested in the debate on the
motion that is before us. I would ask that all members, as these people rise, offer them the usual warm
welcome. (Applause)



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



MR. JOHN HOLM: Mr. Speaker, as I rise I want to commend the previous speaker on the excellent
remarks that he brought forward to the House this afternoon. As I am starting off, I must admit that I have
somewhat of a very heavy feeling as I am doing this. I never thought that I would be taking part in a debate,
something that is being proposed in this House, that is, in my mind, so totally unnecessary and completely
undemocratic and flying completely in the face of all the principles and those things that we believe in.



It has been quoted in this House before, under the Principles of Parliamentary Law from Beauchesne,
Mr. Speaker, and I want to refer to it again, very briefly. I also have some definitions of what democracy is
that I may get to and, also, how the whole principles of democracy began. But I was thinking of this as I was
thinking back about my former days before I was elected to this House and when I used to talk so proudly to
the students that I had in my classes about the proud institutions and democratic principles and beliefs that
we stood for in the Province of Nova Scotia and in the country of Canada. I used to be so proud to say, without
any question in my mind, that Canada and Nova Scotia was the most democratic and best place in the country
to live.



Under the Principles of Parliamentary Law, and it is interesting, Mr. Speaker, and people are talking
of rationale, the government put forward as a rationale for having to move on with this so-called reform, as
they put it. They used the rationale that the only way we could move on with bills and get off the so-called
title debate and get into something meaningful, was to bring this forward.



Well, it is very interesting to note that the amount of attention that is being paid to the debate on this
resolution today is about exactly the same as the amount of attention that was being paid by government
members to the debates and the arguments that were being brought forward on the bill. Is it any wonder, Mr.
Speaker, that when we are talking about workers’ compensation and when we are talking about casinos or any
other pieces of legislation, when you get this kind of response from the 41 government members who are
totally ignoring anything that is dealing with the issues, that the Opposition uses every tactic that it possibly
can to try to force the government to at least be accountable, to at least hear the concerns that they are
bringing forward, as have been brought forward to them from their constituents and people across the
province. That, I think, is something that is not lost on those in the gallery, those who visit and see what
actually goes on in the floor of this House.



Mr. Speaker, the Principles of Parliamentary Law, “To protect a minority and restrain the
improvidence or tyranny of a majority; to secure the transaction of public business in an orderly manner; to
enable every Member to express opinions within limits necessary to preserve decorum and prevent an
unnecessary waste of time; to give abundant opportunity for the consideration of every measure, and to prevent
any legislative action being taken up on sudden impulse.”.



[4:30 p.m.]



We have all heard that, we all know what the system is supposed to provide and what the democratic
system is intended to be, Mr. Speaker. Yet what we have before us is not something intended to reform, not
something in the way of a resolution or a rule change that came about as a result of the consensus, as a result
of the kinds of traditions and practices that have been followed in this House, even, I might add, by this
government.



You will remember, Mr. Speaker, as well as I do, that this isn’t the first time that this government has
tried to hoist rule changes on this procedure to stifle debate, to stifle opportunities to make this government
accountable, but on previous occasions even this government, the Red Team, even the Red Team previously
recognized the need and the importance of trying to have an all-Party consensus around rule changes. And,
surprise, surprise, it was achieved. As recently as this morning the Government House Leader was saying he
wanted to talk or was willing to talk to Opposition Parties to see if there wasn’t a way to get the impasse
resolved in this House.



Mr. Speaker, we consistently, from day one as we have been speaking in this House, have been trying
to end that impasse by inviting, in fact by challenging, government members to get on their feet to say
something to answer the questions being put forward but they have been noted for their stone silence.



What is being proposed here today, and of course we do have a substantive motion to challenge on the
order paper and, at the first opportunity, we will be doing that. But you know, Mr. Speaker, as you know,
according to our rules, the only opportunity we have to challenge in a substantive way a decision of the
Speaker is to call a resolution on Opposition Day.



We have already tabled that resolution already and we will call it, if we have the opportunity. But
whether we have that opportunity is very doubtful because this government has already imposed what they
call their closure, the gag order. They are trying to shut down any examination on their legislation, with the
anticipation that the House will soon rise, which would, of course, prevent us from having a chance to even
call that resolution. Mr. Speaker, when we have brought matters before this House in the way of a substantive
motion previously, the government’s response is to talk it out, so you can’t even have a vote.



If this House, if this Chamber, is to work effectively and efficiently, government members have got to
recognize and realize that it doesn’t belong to them; this House belongs to the members of this House, all 52,
and we hold those seats in trust for the people of the Province of Nova Scotia. That is who it belongs to and
we are simply, truly just occupying the seats. It is their House and, Mr. Speaker, we are to be doing their
business, not that of a hand-picked group who happen to be sitting on the front benches of the Cabinet of the
day.



Now, Mr. Speaker, we do have the Committee on Assembly Matters. I want to take a look at this and
then I want to go back and counter some of the arguments that the government has been making, before I get
into some of the other issues about what this is really all about. As I said, we have a Committee on Assembly
Matters. It is to be comprised of the Speaker and nine other members and you, Mr. Speaker, in your capacity
as Deputy Speaker, also, of course, sit on that committee and you know that we have made some compromises
- all sides have made compromises - and we have reached consensus when we have attempted to put our heads
together in finding ways to improve things. But they are Rule 12A(1), “. . . appointed by the Special
Committee established pursuant to paragraph (1) of Rule 60 to prepare and report listings of members . . .”,
and so on who will set it up and then the important things, Rule 12A(3), the duties of the committee are, “The
Committee is established to and may examine the rules, procedures, practices, organization and facilities of
the House of Assembly and may recommend the provision of support services and facilities for the Members
and such examination shall include, but not be limited to, the following matters: (a) the Rules and Forms of
Procedure of the House of Assembly;”. That is where the rules are to be discussed and to be debated.



You could make an argument, the government could make an argument quite fairly that they had no
choice but to bring in a resolution to do what they are doing today, had they had the intestinal fortitude or the
integrity, more importantly, even to convene that committee. But you know, we have been hearing from way
back in December and before, because remember, this government intended to have all of its major pieces of
legislation passed and railroaded through this House by December 10th. I guess, yes, shame on us in the
Opposition, we didn’t play ball, we weren’t prepared to be railroaded, to be steam-rollered over by this
government in 10 short weeks; important, vital legislation that deserves scrutiny.



You know, if this government had had the intestinal fortitude to call the Rules and Procedures
committee together, we were very prepared then and we remain prepared now to meet with that committee
to see if we can’t come up with ways and suggestions as to make the Committee of the Whole stage on bills
more effective and efficient. Mr. Speaker, you will know that when we were debating and discussing rule
changes to the Committee of the Whole House on Supply, that on behalf of our caucus I brought forward
recommendations, proposals that would, in fact, enhance the two way dialogue and discussion by limiting the
length of time that a person could stand to speak and then to give the opportunity for the minister whose
budgets were being debated an opportunity to respond.



What we need in this system is not what the government is trying to do. All they are trying to do is
limit themselves so they only have to sit in the Committee of the Whole House on Bills for 20 hours. They
can sit there without any obligation on any of them to participate in the debate or to provide any answers. And
they don’t like the fact that under the present rules they are forced to stay here until they do provide some
answers. Now, they are trying to limit it to 20 hours and the Committee of the Whole stage is the only place
where there is any opportunity to effect some kind of change.



If the rules were changed, if the Minister of Transportation and Communications, the Government
House Leader wants to have a genuine, cooperative look at the rules, Mr. [Deputy] Speaker, I challenge him
now to invite you or Mr. Speaker to convene that committee. We will meet tonight, we will meet this
afternoon. In fact, my colleague, after hearing the minister on the radio this morning saying how he wanted
to meet, wrote a letter to the minister, faxed it directly to his office this morning. We have been waiting since
the middle of January for the government to respond to the last time the two had had some discussions about
legislation.



But you know, Mr. Speaker, if we want to truly reform the rules to make it more effective and efficient
in here, yes, indeed, there would be some restrictions on the amount of time a member like myself and
members of the government, when they were in Opposition, could just stand on their feet and speak. What
you would do then, is you would make a point, you would make your argument and then the minister, whose
piece of legislation was before this House for debate and analysis, would then be required to get up and give
a response. Now that is effective, that is efficient, that is accountability, that is exactly what this government
does not want.



Mr. Speaker, make absolutely no mistake about it, this resolution is not on the floor today because this
government is concerned about getting on with its business. How irresponsible would it have been for us if
we were prepared to allow the casino bill to be railroaded through this House without trying to force the
Minister of Finance to provide some background information, some studies, some reports, to take part in the
debate, to provide proper checks and balances? How irresponsible would it have been for us just to roll over
and play dead to the Acting Premier, the Minister of Labour, who likes to say that all anybody is talking about
is the title.



Mr. Speaker, I sometimes have been accused of being relatively creative in the way I can, at least,
manage to ramble on. But I assure you, just talking about those few individual words in a title would even
baffle my abilities many times over. The minister knows, as does anybody who has been paying any attention,
that on the title of the bill, you are talking about the broad principle of the bill, as well as the details. They
will also know that legislation such as the workers’ compensation bill, which is removing, denying benefits,
victimizing workers even more in the Province of Nova Scotia, they know that when you are talking about
an individual clause in the clause by clause, you are restricted to the very fine point in that clause.



But they also know that that clause is connected to another clause and the impact in one area has an
effect somewhere else. So when we are talking in the definition section, that you have to look at the definitions
as to how they are going to be interpreted or used in the bill, which I am just simply using as a way of
example, when you are in the detailed clause by clause stage, you cannot do that. You can only talk about
those broad principles and what is being done at the title stage.



Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Labour has, during his debate, gotten up on a couple of occasions, like
the very helpful time when he told my colleague, the member for Halifax Fairview, that the Year of the Family
is over, I guess it meant that you do not have to be concerned about the family any more. A very helpful
intervention that was, I must admit. But the way that we will make this House as effective and efficient, the
way that it is supposed to be, is to amend the rules in such a way as to require some direct give and take back
and forth across the floor. If that were done, yes, indeed, the time requirements in this House would be much
less.



But you know, as well as I do, that there is not a chance that this government intends to allow its
members to vote against the resolution that is before us on the floor. I have never felt that speaking in this
House was a such a total and complete and absolute waste of time as I do right now. The member for, I think
it was, Sackville-Beaverbank just said, you are right and it is an exercise in frustration and futility, my taking
part and all of the other members who may speak, taking part in this debate because (Interruption) Well, I am
told I could sit down, Mr. Speaker.



[4:45 p.m.]



The only gratification at all that I get is that at least 15 government members have to sit in their seat
to hear my voice. (Laughter) Of course, if you want to go, if you want to leave go right ahead, I would be
happy to call quorum, I would be only too happy. I say that it is a totally frustrating, absolute waste of time
because, as in legislation and other things that this government decided, their mind is shut. Government
members who may disagree with what is being proposed, their mouths are shut, Mr. Speaker. Certainly, they
have absolutely zero intention of allowing any kind of change to their Draconian, heavy-handed, tyrannical
type of resolution that they have brought in.



They are not interested one iota in reform because reform makes something better. If you talk about
reform it is not to make the system more oppressive. It should not be to make the system less democratic, but
you have to look at reform in its true meaning as improving the system whether we are talking in education -
I know the government does sometimes, they talk about education reform and that means shutting down
classrooms, it may mean getting rid of special resources and other things that are needed for the children -
whether we talk about health reform and then they turn around and they cut out hospital beds and so on
without putting any new programs and services in place to take up the slack and the needs of those who are
being affected. They have a very creative view of reform. It is in their mind whatever they happen to decide
they want.



Mr. Speaker, I have sat in this House before when we have had governments use the muscle and the
might of their numbers to their advantage. I remember sitting and actually cooperating with, believe it or not,
the Liberal Party. I remember cooperating with Liberals against the then bad Tories when they were over
there. (Interruption) Some of them are still there. Like the member for Dartmouth East who I see in the House
today. He will remember when the Tory Government had the majority, the massive majority in 1984 and they
were able to override the Rules of the House with a two-thirds majority. Then they were able to extend the
hours, not to eight hours a day, but I am sure, Mr. Speaker, because you were also there, you can remember
sitting in this House from 8:00 a.m. to well after midnight.



Mr. Speaker, that was their way of trying to wear down the Opposition. You know, the Liberals called
foul and that stopped when the massive majority numbers changed in 1988 and the former Conservative
Government no longer had the majority to get their two-thirds requirement to be able to overturn the regular
rules of the House. Now, Mr. Speaker, we have those Liberals who were so incensed with what the former
government had done. Now they are trying to devise their new way, their way, of preventing themselves to
be held accountable. Because every day they shut down the House early that is Question Period, three times
a week, gone.



They also know that not only the workers’ compensation bill which they have absolutely no intentions
of making any kind of significant changes to that, Mr. Speaker, which they had indicated by this legislation
or this resolution that they are bringing forward, or the casino bill, they are bringing this forward to stifle
debate.






Mr. Speaker, despite the fact that the Premier said that they were in trouble, that they were not getting
good press because they were moving too quickly, I don’t know if any of the Liberals remember that, but he,
of course, is in Switzerland right now, so he cannot remind them. But, of course, this, what we are seeing
today, what kind of actions and practices that we have seen today, is very good evidence to the people of Nova
Scotia that they don’t blame it all, don’t try to hang all of the government’s problems on just John Savage,
because he is not even here. Remember to look around at the other 40 on that red team, the Liberal squad,
because without him, this is what the other 40 do. So, I just want to leave the message out there that just John
Savage, removing him or he may retire, who knows, come July, that, obviously, is not going to remove the
arrogance and the tyranny of this government.



Well, I hear from the Minister for the Economic Renewal Agency that we have been telling the
Liberals that. Well, I am glad that he has at least been honest with his Liberal supporters in telling them that
the arrogance and tyranny of the government will not change just if you get rid of the Premier, but that it will
continue under whoever it is that is going to be following with this bunch.



Mr. Speaker, we have other pieces of legislation, and I started off by saying that the Premier had talked
about going slow, supposedly. What this amendment has as much to do with, is not just vitally important and
arrogant as what they are doing in terms of the two bills that are before the House right now in the committee
stage that are being debated, but it also has to do with the fact that this government is unprepared to allow
any kind of thorough debate or evaluation, examination, call it what you will, of the metro amalgamation bill
that they are going to be dropping in this House this spring.



Mr. Speaker, when the bill is introduced, it takes some time for people to get a grasp on what it
contains and what the implications are and they want to get it in and out of here before the people in Nova
Scotia get a chance to hear about it, just as they are learning their lesson now, because workers in this
province are finding out what this government is doing to them with this workers’ compensation bill, so-called
reform.



They see what they are doing to the workers, the workers are catching on and the government is
starting to hear it and they do not want to give anybody the chance to organize and to be able to come forward
to express their views, as the workers, our friends in the gallery today, the mine workers from Cape Breton
are here, Mr. Speaker, to let this government know what they think of the workers’ compensation bill that is
being hoisted through this House.



Mr. Speaker, it is also about the education bill that is going to be coming in, to be amalgamating
together all kinds of school boards, probably into four, plus one francophone. They don’t want the parents and
the others who are involved, the education stakeholders, to have an opportunity to have their issues or
concerns debated on the floor of this House. They know, that is the 41 red puppets over here, they know
(Interruption)



Well, don’t worry, you have only got about another half an hour or so to listen to me talk right now
because (Interruption) Well, I am glad to see that there is some life over there. I am glad to see that, since it
is a frustrating talk, Mr. Speaker, and I know that there is absolutely no opportunity to get them to change
their mind, I am getting a little bit of satisfaction anyway by getting them going. But they know that there is
absolutely no chance to get this government to make any amendments in the bill, if they know, on major
legislation, that their only requirement is to have that in this section in the Committee of the Whole House,
for approximately one week. That is all.



Mr. Speaker, if members opposite and, of course, they were talking about rule changes, they were
talking about doing this kind of thing way back even in the early part of December so what they are doing
today is not a great surprise although I am a little bit shocked, quite honestly, but not totally surprised that
they would try to bring in and get the permission and go ahead and introduce a resolution that wasn’t exactly
the same as that which is contained in the order paper as it was introduced. Of course we may have to wait
until another time, a number of weeks away maybe in the spring session because this government is planning
to shut her down as fast as they can, they have other important things to do, far more important than talk
about or be concerned about workers in this province; they have to get out there and try to protect the job for
the Premier.



I am glad to see that the member for Cape Breton South is as helpful (Interruption) and actually that
was one of the more gentle comments that I get. I understand that he was thinking about running for the
mayor of super-city Cape Breton but we also heard that maybe the member for Cape Breton West was going
to run and so that it would be no contest.



I just would love to know what it is that has changed. I think that it is worthy to go back again to what
the Minister of Transportation and Communications said on the floor of this House just a little over a month
ago, a month and a half ago. Maybe the Government House Leader thought that well, you know, after
Christmas holidays or maybe he thought that everybody across the Province of Nova Scotia was all of a sudden
going to jump up and say hey, we support casinos, we want more one-armed bandits, one-armed slot machines
in the Province of Nova Scotia, to have hundreds of those put down on the waterfront here and hundreds more
put up in Cape Breton so they can take about $40 million out of that economy. Maybe they thought that the
people in those areas were going to jump up and down and say, hey, yes give us more.



Maybe they thought that the House was going to rise in a week or two when we came back. But you
know, when the government wants something and when they do want to actually negotiate or have some
discussions, not only did the Minister of the Environment during his bill - and to her credit as well and we
often overlook the Minister of Municipal Affairs in this committee stage - also agreed to amendments.
(Interruption) Indeed, it did. Well, I hear somebody across the way saying it could have been done sooner had
we worked on it beforehand.



You know, this is sort of amusing, maybe the Minister of the Environment can propose a rule change
and maybe one of the rule changes would be that after a bill comes back to the Law Amendments Committee
that they will then ask the Opposition Parties to provide them with the amendments that are going to be
suggested and together we could sit down and have them considered and discussed.



Mr. Speaker, you know as well as I do from everything that we have seen so far in this House, that the
only time this government has shown any willingness to even show any interest in the legislation and the
reforms that are going to be put forward, is after it has been debated for some considerable time. It was only
in the last couple of days, the last day or two on the debate in the casino, before the Government House Leader
pulled that back; it was only in the last couple of days that the Minister of Finance actually started to even pay
attention and started to hear. Had there not been a debate before that, every single motion, any amendment
proposed, would have automatically been railroaded through.






[5:00 p.m.]



But anyway, back to where I was before. In December in this House, the Minister of Transportation
and Communications, the Government House Leader, the minister who answers for the Acting Deputy
Premier - whenever you ask the Acting Deputy Premier a question in the House, he refers it to the
Government House Leader. So he must be pretty important - when the question was raised about changing
the rules in this House, of course, it wasn’t being suggested by him, it was being suggested by somebody else,
he said, “I can say, and I will state categorically on behalf of the government of this province . . .”, he must
be maybe the Premier because he is speaking on behalf of the Government of the Province of Nova Scotia,
“. . . on behalf of the Liberal Party . . .” too.



Maybe that is a sign that there is some ambition but I will leave that aside. He is speaking, “. . .
categorically on behalf of the government of this province, on behalf of the Liberal Party in the Province of
Nova Scotia, we are willing to cooperate; we are willing to consider changes to the rules in this House of
Assembly.”. He got applause from all sides of the House. “But, what we are not willing to do is to cherry pick,
to pick one issue and have a vote on the floor of 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.”. That
was December 14th.



I am on that committee. There are a number of things that I would like to see amended and changed
about the rules of this House. I am fairly busy as are all members of our caucus, as are other government
members. But I can assure you, I would have been there had this Government House Leader who was on it
and now I hear he is not . . .



AN HON. MEMBER: What difference does it make?



MR. HOLM: It doesn’t make any difference anyway because the Government House Leader could have
asked the Speaker to convene that meeting. He certainly could have asked that that be convened and certainly,
Mr. [Deputy] Speaker, I say to you to differentiate yourself from Mr. Speaker, the Speaker would have called
and convened a meeting of that committee had the Government House Leader requested it. There is not a
doubt in my mind.  Take a look at what happened today, if the Government House Leader asks for something,
certainly the Speaker complies. So, the meeting would have been called six weeks ago. If this was a pressing
issue, it could have been addressed along with other items.



Our caucus would have taken the same kind of position at that committee as we did on the Committee
of the Whole House on Supply. But no, the Government House Leader and the Liberal Party had absolutely
no intentions of that because, quite frankly, they don’t want give and take in this debate. What they want is
to force Opposition members to stand and speak, preferably for a long period of time, now it is down to 20
hours they want to hear it because they are not willing to get in to take part in the debate. (Interruptions)



Oh, do I ever hear the harps over there. I hear the wisdom coming forward, however, I haven’t seen
one bit of commitment from this government to actually move on and to try to, in a meaningful, consultative,
cooperative way, not once. The members over there are saying, why haven’t we got off the title. I say that if
they are suggesting that the Opposition members who were speaking on the title of the bill were only just
droning on talking without bringing up new angles, new topics, . . .



SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!



MR. HOLM: . . . if that is what they are saying they are expressing a vote of non-confidence in the
Chair of the committee because the Chair of the committees does, in fact, draw members back into order if
they stray. In all honesty to yourself, Mr. Speaker, when you are in that position in the Chair, you did do that.
So, we were required, properly so, to be talking about different issues. But you know, Mr. Speaker, we kept
raising all kinds of issues, bringing them up, inviting the government to sit down and discuss in a reasonable
way, some kinds of amendments, some kinds of changes. We asked them to answer some questions, we asked
them to provide some studies, we asked them to provide some regulations so that we could move on in a
proper way. What did they do? They sat in stone silence, except for the so-called helpful comments, like those
we have just heard a couple of minutes ago from the backbenchers who want to be in the Cabinet.
(Interruptions)



What message this government is trying to portray to the people of Nova Scotia by this amendment,
by this proposed rule change, is very simple and straightforward. I think it is one that the people have already
heard and understand but this time the government is making it even more clear. What they are saying,
regardless of the commitments we made when we sought office, we have won the mantle of power, we have
the divine right to rule for five years, we have 41 members. It is a game they play, they don’t worry about how
you play the game, it is winning that counts.



So, we had all kinds of commitments, all kinds of promises that were made by the Liberals, not just
by the Premier but by the Liberals generally, when they were seeking office. Those, of course, have been
broken, forgotten, flaunted. Their view is, that we were elected and nobody has a right to divert us from our
path, as we decree, regardless of what our commitments were. For example, on casinos, that no, there would
not be casinos introduced without proper study and proper public consultation; and yes, indeed, they supported
a dual system for the workers’ compensation and they weren’t going to slash the benefits.



Despite the promises they made, they are now clearly saying, we have power, we will limit debate, we
will do what we want to do and the first opportunity that anybody should have a chance to question us is in
four or three more years from now. That is the message. They are telling Nova Scotians, don’t fight, it is a
waste of time. Well, I can tell you, Mr. Speaker, I received a message earlier, before I got up to speak, from
our office, from the receptionist, who said that the phone had not stopped ringing since this government
brought in that resolution on the floor this afternoon and the ruling was made.



Now, I don’t know how many more calls have come in but I can assure you, to that time, Mr. Speaker,
not a single call was in support of the government’s heavy-handed tactics. If the minister and if this
government, had been truly committed to wanting to reform to make things better, they would have and they
still would call that committee together. It is not all one way, as the Minister of Transportation said. There
should be consensus, well thought out, although I do suggest this resolution that is before us is well thought
out, from the government’s unaccountable point of view. It is also cherry picking, Mr. Speaker, which the
government said they wanted to do.



Government does not want to be kept in this House because they don’t want people to hear about
untendered contracts. They don’t want people to hear how they are going out and hiring consultants to lay off
even more staff, yet they are also hiring consultants, believe it or not, Mr. Speaker, I don’t know what we have
got a Department of Human Resources for, because they have to go out all the time and there is another one
in the paper today to hire a consultant so that they can go out and hire people for the government. They are
not even able to do that. So they do not want any of these things to be able to be brought forward.
(Interruption)



Well, I am hearing the old issue of relevance. A lot of people are asking what is the relevance of the
back benches of the government Party, too. It is a very valid question and they are wondering when some of
those members are going to actually get up to speak.



AN HON. MEMBER: They think yelling is speaking.



MR. HOLM: Yes, they do. When we recite their riding, they actually get recorded in Hansard, too.



AN HON. MEMBER: You never have to make a decision about anything. (Interruption)



MR. HOLM: I will not respond, Mr. Speaker, because if I respond then I would have to identify the
member and that way that member would get their name in Hansard and look like they were doing something,
so I will not do that.



But, Mr. Speaker, it is interesting to think of what democracy is. I am going to be closing very shortly,
but that is the most vocal I have heard that member on the floor, too, in a long time, other than when I was
accused of using sexist language for using the word skirting, however.



If one takes a look at democracy and what is democratic, it pertains to encompassing or promoting the
interests of the people. Indeed, that is what democracy is. It is looking out for the well being and the best
interests of the people as a whole. I take a look at what this government is doing, Mr. Speaker, and no
question about it, they will do it. They have the numbers. It does not matter how creative your new math is,
unless some government members get some backbone and stand up to the actions of their leaders, then there
is not a chance it will be defeated, until maybe sometime down the road, after a future election, the numbers
will change and another government will come into power that will be interested in bringing about proper rule
changes that will reflect the true democratic needs of the people of this province.



Democracy means, persuaded of or practising social equality, not snobbish, Mr. Speaker. How true.
If one takes a look at the history of democracy and its growth, and I quite enjoyed teaching the old British
parliamentary system in Grade 9, as I used to, because it traced the development of the British democratic
system and the parliamentary system. What we have here is a government trying to turn the clock back well
over 100 years. Nova Scotia was the first part of this country to have representative, democratic government.



We have statues in this beautiful city commemorating the struggles of people like Joseph Howe. Mr.
Speaker, I am not going to even get into, because I don’t think there is any need, what they stood for, what
they said or what they did. But I can today, as I look at what this government is doing without even making
the slightest attempt to involve the members of this House in a rule change. I can see how massive majorities,
or those when they get in a position of absolute power as this government think they are, how they can take
it into their mind that they can ride roughshod over the rights and privileges of not only members of this
House but of the people of the Province of Nova Scotia. I can understand how democracy can be put at risk
in other parts of this world. Because what is being done here, make no mistake about it and I am not just
saying this, I believe this from the bottom of my heart, what is being done here today, is being railroaded
through, is an attempt to make this House and this government less accountable and this House less
democratic. Less opportunity for the Opposition to bring forward constructive, meaningful debate, to bring
about constructive amendments and changes to legislation, to improve it for the well-being of the people in
this province. Mark my words, that is exactly what is being done.



[5:15 p.m.]



We can talk any other way we want, but if the government had any true intent of living up to the
traditions, customs and practices of this House, it would have. It still would because it is not too late to call
that committee together to try to come up with a more reasonable way to resolve the problem. And, Mr.
Speaker, it could be done even in two stages; it could be done for the short term, for these few bills that are
before the House, on an interim basis. Then there could be the time necessary for a thorough evaluation and
research for longer-term rule changes. If the government really wants reform, not absolute power, that is
exactly what they will do. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings North.



MR. GEORGE ARCHIBALD: Mr. Speaker, this debate today is on the change that is being made in
the rules of the Legislature. Today this Legislature that was built by the people 175 years ago at tremendous
expense, it was, in those days when it was opened in February 1819, an example of the commitment to
responsible government of Nova Scotians. We have had some famous Nova Scotians in this very Chamber
that we are in today, Fielding, Howe, Tupper, there are pictures of Uniacke. Would they be proud of the
government today? I think not.



This government, through its action today, has brought shame to responsible government. The majority
government with 41 members, 11 in the Opposition, and they have to resort to this to get the legislation
through. It begs the question, Mr. Speaker, why? Why is the government unable to get its legislation through
in an orderly fashion? One of the biggest majorities that this province has ever seen, yet they are having
difficulty with 11 representatives of Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition.



People tell me they find there is an arrogant attitude from this government in some of the advisors who
have recently been hired. Rather than act as serious parliamentarians, they are acting like the schoolyard bully
who says do as you are told, don’t ask questions.



So many times we have heard this government brag about the number of days they have been sitting.
Don’t expect the ministers to respond during Committee of the Whole House on Bills, rarely does a minister
rise in his place and answer the questions that have been asked.



I have been asked time and time again by constituents of mine to do what you can to stop the casino
bill. Forty thousand people sent in petitions. What do you expect a member of Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition
to do when not one person, not one group, not one organization has contacted me and said, for the love of all
that is good and holy, support the casinos. They have been saying, keep up the good fight because it is worth
it.



We were making progress in the Committee of the Whole House on Bills. This last week we have been
dealing with the workers’ compensation legislation introducing serious amendments, well thought out and
serious and we have been progressing through the clauses on the bill. What do the Premier and the
government of this province think that the members of this Assembly were elected to do? Were we simply
supposed to sit on our hands and say nothing?



So often the Government House Leader refers to the NDP Government in Ontario as something to hold
up and wave a flag about because they also introduced closure. One of the differences with the Ontario casino
legislation and this is that the Ontario bill requires by law that public hearings be held in any community
where a casino is going to go and that the regional/municipal by-laws be adhered to and all the planning laws
be adhered to. That is something that we would like to see in our legislation.



There are members who have been elected for a short time in the Legislature and this is the only
legislative session that they have seen. They haven’t seen previous governments operating with majorities in
government and minorities in the Opposition. When the Government House Leader was in Opposition the
rules were fine but now that he is in government, they must be changed.



The last government had a very small majority, sometimes the majority rested only in the Chair of the
Speaker. And even with a majority of one, that government by sitting down with the Opposition and
negotiating and talking back and forth, that government was able to pass some very substantive legislation.
Some people have even said it was unpopular. Certainly, when the wage freeze came in and we had hundreds
and even thousands of people daily parading around the Legislative Chamber, that must have been unpopular.
Necessary at the time but unpopular. But even as unpopular as that was, that government was able to pass it
through this Legislature with a majority of only one.



When the previous government privatized the Nova Scotia Power Corporation that was the scene of
considerable debate in this Chamber and it was simply no majority except by counting the man in the
Speaker’s Chair. However, after many weeks of serious debate it was passed. I think one of the things that was
so important about that bill and the method of passage through this Chamber was the minister in charge,
Charles MacNeil, answered each and every question that was posed to him by members in the Opposition.
The Speaker was a member of the Opposition and each question was answered time and time again, that
minister was on his feet during Committee of the Whole House on Bills.



It must be remembered that it is much easier and better and you do get better legislation in a
cooperative vein. The government has an obligation to govern, not as a dictatorial government but in the spirit
of cooperation, following the footsteps of that great man who is standing in statue in our yard, Joseph Howe.



In March 1835, Joseph Howe defended himself in this very building in what is now the Legislative
Library. He spoke for 6 and one-half hours to the jury and at the end of the day, free speech was a guarantee
in Nova Scotia. That was something to be proud of from this building and the people that were in it. Shortly
after that, Joe Howe got into politics.



But with actions like the resolution that we are debating today that brings in closure on Committee of
the Whole House on Bills, is it any wonder that I was reading in a poll just a few moments ago that indicated
this government is the most unpopular government in all of this dominion, even more unpopular than the
NDP Government in Ontario. We are faced with a crisis in Canada. The Official Opposition in Ottawa is a
separatist Party. The government in Quebec is a separatist Party and here, the great debate in Nova Scotia is
how do we shut down the Opposition and get ready for the G-7.



Why didn’t the Government House Leader sit down with the Opposition Parties and discuss the
legislation, the minister sponsoring the legislation. There is room for politicians, there is room to talk. We
were told this morning by our Government House Leader after he called (Interruption) I am sorry, the
Opposition House Leader when he was discussing it with the Government House Leader that there was an
urgency to get the legislation through and have this resolution in hand so that closure could take place on bills
that are coming in the spring because the spring session must be rounded up before the G-7 starts.



Now the minister indicated that that is not what he meant. He did not really mean to say what our
member heard him say. If that is the case, are the people of Nova Scotia being governed because the G-7 have
chosen Halifax to spend two days or is it because the Sheraton Hotel wants to get on with their casino and they
are sick and tired of waiting. Apparently the Sheraton was told some months ago that this bill would be
through by the middle of January and they would be running in business and they could get on with it.



I am more inclined to think that the urgency of getting legislation through this House is so that we can
get on with this gambling casino that will be the hallmark of this government. Or is it the fact that the Premier
is out of town on business and a vacation? Is that why we are debating this resolution today? He did not want
to be part of anything as hard and heavy-handed. Is that why he has decided to take his vacation while he is
out of town? He did not want to be part of this and he left this for these members to share.



I do not blame him for not wanting to be saddled and to be labelled as the Premier who brought in
closure. No other government has brought in closure nor found the need for it. Even when in 1984 the
Conservative Government had 42 MLAs and there were six Liberals, three NDP and one Independent, even
in those times the government could have but did not find the need.



We have heard many mentions of the former government in those days sitting from 8:00 a.m. until
midnight. Well, I was here and I cannot remember sitting from 8:00 a.m until midnight, but perhaps we did.
If we did, it was not very often. I remember one day by unanimous consent of the House, we met on a Saturday
and then the House closed during that week so it would be finished by the long weekend in May.



I do not recall ever sitting from 8:00 a.m. until midnight, but if you go back a few years you can
remember the former Liberal Government when the honourable Peter Nicholson, that great Nova Scotian, was
Government House Leader and there were no hours. He would announce at the closing of the House,
tomorrow we are going to meet at noon and we will sit until we get enough business done, and if you fellows
are good, we will get out at supper time or the next day, he may keep them in for much longer.



Those rules have changed, and I think it is important for all of us to remember how the rules changed
by unanimous consent of the committee. I believe, Mr. Speaker, that I would not be wrong to indicate that this
is the first rule change that has been brought about this way. Sure, we would agree to have a meeting of our
representatives and the Rules Committee and see if there is a compromise because we didn’t get elected to hold
things up, we were elected and we ran so that we could represent the people in our constituencies; all members
are here for the same reason.






[5:30 p.m.]



The spring session of the Legislature is almost upon us. In most years, this House sat in February.
February is the next month. I think it starts next Wednesday. If we meet in February, as tradition, then we will
be rolling along and I am sure that the Legislature can be through in time for the G-7. Now, I am not sure why
this Legislature has to be closed because the leaders from around the world are coming to Halifax. I am sure
we could have a recess for a week or 10 days or two weeks or whatever it would take, if we were not through
our business. That has been done before as well, Mr. Speaker, as you know.



There is a need for this Legislature’s attitude to change. The Opposition must be part of governance
because we are here and we were elected to represent the people and bring forth their views, their ideas and
when the opportunity arises, to improve the legislation that the government presents. The election is over. We
are not the enemy. We have to work together for the betterment of all Nova Scotians, and we are willing and
anxious to do that. We don’t have a hidden agenda. We want what is best for Nova Scotia, but we don’t know
what this government’s agenda really is.



What does this government stand for? We hear different signals pretty near every day. Who is in
charge? What are we doing, as a province, and what are our priorities? What does the government stand for?
Is it two casinos, one in Halifax and one in Sydney, followed up with as many more as they want to approve
on a temporary or a permanent basis? We don’t know these things, but I can tell you at the present time that
the casino is the lightening rod for all of the actions this government has taken.



In the last year and one-half, this government has done many things that were needed and good and
caring, but other things, people have been boggling their minds trying to fathom the wisdom, or was it just
a whim? This is very serious. The 52 members of this Legislature are charged with setting the course for the
province. The Opposition is here and we are either part of it or we are going along for the ride. If we are part
of it, the ride will be a lot easier for Nova Scotia and a lot easier for this Legislature, but if we are fought all
the way, it is going to be difficult and time-consuming for everyone.



There is an old saying that holds as true today as it has forever in parliamentary democracy; the
government opens the Legislature and the Opposition closes it. That truth is no more evident than it is right
now. There is opportunity for compromise, for working together. We won’t get everything we want as
Opposition; the government will probably get most of what it wants. The opportunity is there but we have to
start anew with a relationship that will work.



At the present time, the attitude of the government of riding roughshod is not an attitude of either
compromise or getting along. President Harry Truman, who, everybody said, can’t win, can’t win. Well, they
didn’t think he would get elected, first when he was an assessor in Missouri; then they didn’t think he could
get elected and there he was a senator. Then they put out the headline but somebody else beat him for the
presidency. You know, every time Harry Truman kept winning. Harry Truman, I think, had an attitude and
he had a saying and it never changed and it never varied and it stood him in good stead. What Harry Truman
always said was, if you want to get ahead, first you have to get along and that is so true. If this government
wants to get ahead with the people of Nova Scotia it first must learn how to get along.



The back bench members of the Legislature complained very often about the boredom of sitting here
while the debate goes on, hour by hour. There is an opportunity for the back bench members to speak from
time to time, to make a contribution both in their caucus and in this Chamber. We can set new standards for
legislation.



When I was at Public Accounts Committee yesterday, sitting in for another member, there is a new
attitude at Public Accounts. The Chairman is the member for Queens and he said, look, we are not fighting,
we are in this together. They are trying to get a non-partisan committee developed so both members of
Opposition and government are sitting together, researching and doing what they can to bring about the best
that they can.



When we were in government we brought forth the novel idea of allowing an Opposition member to
be chairman of the committee. Now, that was kind of a revolutionary idea when in Opposition the now Deputy
Premier lobbied for that vigorously and eventually it arrived and he became Chairman of the Public Accounts
Committee. Things change and by allowing a member of the Opposition to be chairman you can see the new
collegiality and the new spirit of cooperation that is working among backbenchers and Opposition members
sitting on that committee. That is a standard for which this Legislature should be striving. There is an
opportunity to improve legislation from time to time. Just because the amendments and the suggestions come
from the Opposition, that doesn’t mean they are wrong, it doesn’t mean they should be ignored or laughed at,
or voted down just because of whence they came.



We got here by the same way. People in our districts, our constituencies, had faith or enough of them
did to send us here. We all got here, this is a pretty exclusive club of which we are members. There is only
one way to get in and the membership only lasts three or four years. If you want to get back, you have to work
very rigorously and represent your constituents and that, as members of Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition, is
what we are trying to do; that is what we want to do and that is what we were sent here to do. We will do that
in a cooperative way or we will do it in a combative way but I tell you, Harry Truman was right, if you want
to get ahead, first you have to get along.



Mr. Speaker, we must speak up as members of the Opposition and members of the government
backbenchers must speak up in caucus. We have to get the government to listen to the voters. There has been
no attempt at negotiation, no attempt at conciliation, it is just, we have 41 and we can do as we please. That
attitude shows outside in the neighbourhoods as well. People see that attitude and you wonder why there are
so many calling for a leadership review. There will be more calling for it. Just because you can doesn’t mean
you should. Just because with 41 you can outvote the Opposition. It does not mean you should. Sometimes you
should listen. Sometimes the Opposition has ideas that, perhaps, you have not thought of. Just because you
can, does not mean you should.



The three new deputy ministers in the Premier’s Office, they have taken control of the situation. These
political hacks that have come in at $100,000 each, they are not elected. They will never have to put their
name on a ballot, but yet they have more influence over the elected government in Nova Scotia than any MLA
that is sitting in this Chamber. They find the Legislature inconvenient for what is really important. I am
telling the government, listen to your elected members, not the $100,000 political hacks, because they will
tell you anything they want. They never put their name on a ballot and that is important.



There are people in the government caucus that have good ideas. Do they get the full opportunity to
speak? Sometimes listening to what they say in the hall, you have to wonder whether anybody is listening.
The government has lost the confidence of Nova Scotians. This resolution will not help the popularity of the
government and, believe me, the popularity of this government must be in difficulty or why would we have
so many new communications officers? Everywhere you turn there is at least one new communications officer.
Some ministers have two and the Premier has, I think, three of them over there.



The people are asking me to continue the fight. Represent us in the House. Don’t let up and we will
not. The Government House Leader said, this is a very ambitious and complex legislative package and
program put before us and that is true. We have discussed in this Legislature, and passed, an environmental
bill that was about three, four or maybe five years in the making. It did not happen overnight and it did not
pass the Legislature overnight, but it passed the Legislature and the Minister of the Environment answered
questions when they were asked. Twenty hours of debate, not an unreasonable time, because that will be the
most far-reaching piece of legislation that has been in this Legislature in a long time because it will effect us
for many years to come. The Opposition was more than helpful and the minister was helpful and he was
taking amendments and listening. That is, perhaps, an example more ministers should follow.



Look at the other legislation, the Municipal Affairs bill. Now, the Municipal Affairs bill is a long,
involved and convoluted bill. It amended, I believe, 36 other Acts, one of the most difficult bills to read and
to follow. Because when you are reading Clause 1, you have to say that it referred to another Act, so you had
to get that out. By the time you finished, your desk was full of other bills because they all kept referring from
one to the other, and it was not an easy bill to read. An environmental bill and a Municipal Affairs reform
bill, a casino bill, a workers’ compensation bill, from my point of view, the first bill that should have been
brought into the House was the workers’ compensation bill. It is, by far, the most important. We must get that
bill through this Legislature, one way or another.



This Opposition Party, the Conservatives, have voted twice in favour of the bill. We brought forth a
few amendments already in Committee of the Whole House on Bills and we have a few more. We gave the
Minister of Labour a copy, I believe, of some of the amendments that we proposed to introduce. We are not
trying to be obstructionists, but we realize there are a lot of Nova Scotians that are watching that bill and they
know it is going to come out of here and they want us to see if we can make it better. That is all we are trying
to do. We want the bill to get through this House. We are not being obstructionists, but we will discuss the
bill.



We have been told so many times lately that we are obstructing the democratic process. Well, let’s get
it straight. Don’t, as a government, blame the Opposition for your shortcomings. There are only 11 of us. How
in the name of goodness can 11 people in Opposition hold up one of the largest majority governments this
province has ever elected? Now tell me, how could that be, what is the problem here? Are 11 people bringing
the Government of Nova Scotia to its knees? You have got to ask yourself why, if that is the case, why? Let’s
ask the question why. Why do members of the Opposition speak on the title? So that the government members
will realize that there is something we would want to say and perhaps you will listen.

 

[5:45 p.m.]



But how often and how long and how rigorously do you have to make your point before anybody
listens? The fact is that the government is acting like we have got all the answers, be good children and go
to sleep. Well, that is not what kind of people we are. We were elected to represent and darn it we are going
to whether you like it or not. The workers’ compensation bill went clause by clause. The Official Opposition,
we supported this bill to go to the Committee on Law Amendments so that the people in Nova Scotia that are
concerned about workers’ compensation could come in and pass their judgment on this bill. This bill was the
bill that the government said it was going to bring forth in a forum and let it go to the community and people
could have the summer to look at it, study it and make comment but that didn’t happen.



The only opportunity Nova Scotians have had to look at the bill was after it was tabled in the House
and went into the committee. Now, we are discussing it in the Legislature. What on earth does anybody think
we were elected to do if it is not come to the Legislature and speak? That is what it is for. People sent us to
Halifax to the Legislature, not to sit on our hands but to make their views known. I have had calls from
constituents regarding the workers’ compensation bill, just as I have had calls from constituents about all other
bills.



We want to make the bill better and so far, even the humblest, (Interruption) We are on the clause by
clause. This is the second minister that doesn’t realize, they don’t realize we have moved off the title and we
are doing clause by clause. Now I know that it gets confusing in here because parliamentary procedure is
confusing and if you are out and you come in again we may be two or three moves away. But we are doing
clause by clause on workers’ compensation and I feel we are making progress. However, we are willing to
make more progress and now we are in a situation with a bill that will need, this bill cannot leave this
Chamber in the form it is in now and be a good bill. This bill, the minister will tell you, needs a couple of
amendments, seriously and perhaps more. If this bill goes through without amendments, then Nova Scotians
will suffer and that is true.



This resolution says it will help democracy. This bill and the minister is indicating that it will help
democracy. The resolution we are debating now of closure is like the wolf telling Goldilocks she will help feed
the hungry and that is not a very good idea. This government is totally and completely out of control. They
have lost the focus. People in Nova Scotia are wondering where are we headed and how are we going to get
there. They have their priorities confused.



The most important bill, according to this government, is the casino legislation. That is the bill that
has got to get through or the Sheraton Hotel might get mad at us. Well, I don’t know when Nova Scotia started
having to pay tribute and get down on its knees so that we can do what the Sheraton Hotel wants us to do
(Interruption). We need the information from the ministers and from the Premier so that Nova Scotians
understand. We had 30-60-90. Every year since they have been in it is a new plan, 30-60-90 was in disfavour
or did not work or something so we are on to something else now and it is a casino in every community.



So many members in the Legislature are anxious that we get through so they can go home and come
to Halifax on a less regular basis. This is not a foot race, the Legislature is not a foot race and you do not win
a prize if you finish first or you get out of here the quickest. We will win a prize though, Mr. Speaker, if we
put forth legislation that is the best and people can be proud of it. The prize is doing the work and doing it
well, putting the people in Nova Scotia first.



What are the people in Nova Scotia saying, Mr. Speaker? The Halifax Chronicle-Herald indicated
today in their editorial that this is the first time since Confederation that a government has been forced to use
closure to make a rule change. Before, we always sat down at the committee and agreed on changes before
they came to the House.



The editorial said that the Liberals looked weak, disorganized, lacking control of their agenda. They
should have put some effort into negotiating possible changes to workers’ compensation legislation rather than
closing their ears to possible compromise. Now what is wrong with that? That is what the editorial writer at
the Halifax Chronicle-Herald is telling us. What is wrong with listening to him from time to time? The
editorial writers are not always right, but once in a while, like all of us, they get lucky and they hit the nail
right on the head and maybe today was the day that they did.



It is not just about workers’ compensation that we could sit down. We could sit down and discuss the
rules. We could sit down and discuss legislation and get an agreement and work together, but I really do not
think that the workers’ compensation bill is the bill that is forcing this heavy-handed closure. I do not believe
that for one minute. I do believe this government’s hurry to get a casino in Halifax before the G-7 gets here
is what is driving us and this Legislature and the people of Nova Scotia. Since when did the Sheraton Hotel
elect MLAs?



In the paper the other day, the Grits said they have had enough. The business of the Province of Nova
Scotia has to go forward and there is no end in sight. Well, the Government House Leader indicated that at
a press scrum outside the Legislature yesterday, but why did he not come out and be open and truthful with
Nova Scotians and say what he really means is that Sheraton’s casino and their Boston shareholders are sick
of the wait. That is the crux of this bill.



The Canadian Press in the Globe, “For the first time since Confederation, the Nova Scotia Government
is using its majority . . . to make a major rule change over the objection of the Opposition.”. We saw the
display this afternoon, Mr. Speaker, and it was not a pretty sight with the numerous points of order, one
member leaving the Chamber. Is that the measure of a decent, good government? I leave you to answer that.
I know what my answer is.



There was a headline; “Compromise - an art legislators need to practise”. I agree. “Some backbench
Liberals MLAs might again be hard pressed to support the party line - especially when forced through with
closure . . .”. People are saying in the news media that some of the backbench government members are
against casinos. I don’t know if that is true. I suspect it probably is because most people that they are
representing are opposed to them.



Another editorial from a month ago, in the Halifax Chronicle-Herald, “The heat of legislature debate
must be getting to Nova Scotia’s ruling Liberals. They’re uttering senseless musings about loosening their ties
and installing air conditioning in the 175-year-old Province House . . . Mr. Mann has told The Canadian Press
he will request a legislature committee examine the possibility of adopting rules now practised in other
jurisdictions.”. But why didn’t the Government House Leader ask our House Leader and the NDP House
Leader to that meeting that he indicated, to the news media, he was going to call? Perhaps there is a way that
the legislative rules can be changed by an all-Party committee that would be better than the way we are doing
this. I can’t think of a worse afternoon in the Legislature than we had today. This afternoon, I have never seen
such an uproar, and to think it is all because 11 members in the Opposition came here to represent their
constituents.



The editorial said the Government House Leader, “. . . looks petty, provocative and petulant for
whining about opposition filibusters when the Liberals perfected the art in opposition.”. Well, I don’t know
if they perfected the art but they certainly practised it and well. “The government is . . . author of its current
misfortune by having presented the House with an ambitious and controversial agenda.”.



You know there has been a lot of legislation that has gone through this House since October 27th.
Look, I am just sorry if we inconvenienced any government members. If they only wanted to come in for a
couple of days, Mr. Speaker, they should have only brought in a couple of bills. But when you bring in a lot
of legislation, it can’t be passed in an instant. It must be examined quickly, it must be examined.



It is an old trick that no longer works when the changes are fundamental and emotionally as explosive
as the adoption of casino gambling. You see, casino gambling is unpopular in this Legislature and it is
certainly unpopular in the communities, so little wonder there is a hold-up because of the forcing of our
Legislature to bow down just because the Sheraton Hotel wants a casino in place by June 1st. The Opposition
cannot be faulted for capitalizing on the government’s ineptness for public concern about workers’
compensation reform, with drawing municipal boundaries and enacting casino gambling.



The editorial writers understand why the Opposition is taking time. But, Mr. Speaker, we are at the
moment of interruption so I will yield my seat to somebody else.



MR. SPEAKER: We are at the moment of interruption. The honourable member will assume the floor
for 15 minutes, after the late debate.



We will now commence the late debate. The draw was won by the honourable member for Halifax
Atlantic, to be represented by the member for Halifax Fairview on the resolution:



[6:00 p.m.]



“Therefore be it resolved that on this 5th Anniversary this House affirms the importance to justice for
all Nova Scotians of the thorough principled implementation of the Marshall Commission recommendations
in the spirit of the commission report and the long, terrible struggle by Donald Marshall, Junior, that preceded
it.”.



ADJOURNMENT



MOTION UNDER RULE 5(5)



MR. SPEAKER: The member for Halifax Fairview.



JUSTICE - MARSHALL COMMISSION: RECOMMENDATIONS - IMPLEMENT



MS. ALEXA MCDONOUGH: Mr. Speaker, I welcome the opportunity to launch this brief debate this
evening in the House on what I think is an extremely appropriate and important resolution introduced in this
House this afternoon by my Leader, the member for Sackville-Cobequid.



Mr. Speaker, I thank you for reading that resolution into the record because, as the resolution notes,
it is, after all, the 5th Anniversary of the report from the Marshall Commission, the Royal Commission that
all Nova Scotians will be familiar with, on the Donald Marshall, Junior, prosecution.



Mr. Speaker, as all Nova Scotians know and, indeed, all Canadians know, the wrongful conviction of
Donald Marshall that took place in this province many years ago is one of the great blights on the record of
this province and, in particular, a most condemning incident in the history of the justice system of this
province and, to their credit - mind you, only in response to really massive amounts of pressure being brought
to bear by the Mi’kmaq community and all other Nova Scotians sharing their concern about the administration
of justice - the previous government launched a very important Royal Commission to really examine the whole
question of how this incredible miscarriage of justice could have occurred, what appropriate steps could be
taken to properly compensate Donald Marshall for his wrongful conviction and to ensure that no such dreadful
miscarriage of justice could occur in the future.



Mr. Speaker, that is why we asked all members this afternoon in the House to affirm, “. . . the
importance to justice for all Nova Scotians of the thorough principled implementation of the Marshall
Commission recommendations in the spirit of the commission report and the long, terrible struggle by Donald
Marshall, Junior, that preceded it.”.



Now, Mr. Speaker, it is very hard to imagine how anybody, upon reading or hearing that resolution,
could find a reason, could find it within their heart not to give consent to such a straightforward reasonable
amendment. Yet, I think to the shock of a great many people, certainly to the dismay of my Leader and this
caucus, we heard several resounding Noes in response to the request for unanimous consent to express support
for this resolution on the occasion of the 5th Anniversary of the Marshall Inquiry Report and none more
audible than that of the voice of the Minister of Education, the member for Cape Breton East.



Now, he alone will be able to explain whatever his reasons may have been for not being willing to give
consent unanimously to that motion. It is not for me to impute motives and I will not do so, Mr. Speaker. But
I have to say that I was taken aback, to say the least, to hear any member, least of all the former Liberal Justice
Critic in the current government now, withhold consent for such a straightforward and, it seems to me, timely
resolution.

 

 

Mr. Speaker, that led me to recall that, in fact, just a little more than five years ago, this being the
anniversary of the Marshall Inquiry Report, that just over five years ago, within a few days before the release
of the Marshall Commission Report, that then Liberal Justice Critic, now the Minister of Education in the
Province of Nova Scotia, in fact condemned the Marshall Inquiry Report in advance of it ever being released,
said that it was going to be a whitewash, said that he had leaks which led him to the conclusion that the whole
report was going to be a whitewash and that he certainly did not expect that this would be a report that was
one of substance, that was thorough and that was going to be confidence-inspiring in terms of what kind of
changes could be expected in the justice system.



Mr. Speaker, at the time there certainly was a very swift condemnation of those statements made by
the then Justice Critic in the Liberal caucus who was, of course, the member for Cape Breton East. Quite
properly, editorialists from one end of the province -  those concerned about the administration of justice -
roundly condemned his misfire. The Cape Breton Post characterized this as “poorly conceived and ill-judged
from the start”, his condemnation of the Marshall Inquiry process, and said the following, which I think in
retrospect is very interesting indeed, “. . .it leaves an unpleasant impression about what consuming hunger
for political gain must be driving the Liberals that they were not more discerning about the implications of
their leak.”. I will table that document as I am required to do.



Well, perhaps even more surprising, two years later, in May 1992, the Attorney General of the day and
the previous government issued a report card. To the credit of the previous government they introduced a
practice that at regular intervals they would, in fact, bring forward a progress report on implementation of the
recommendations of the Marshall Inquiry and that such a progress report was introduced in August 1990,
again in the spring of 1992. I am still searching for the progress report that has been brought forward by this
government. Perhaps it is there and I haven’t found it.



But in May 1992 when the progress report showed that 47 out of the 82 recommendations in the
Marshall Inquiry Report had either been rejected, shelved or effectively dropped - that was based on the
Attorney General’s own report card on his own assessment of the progress in implementing the 82
recommendations of the Marshall Inquiry -when it was revealed that 47 out of those 82 recommendations had
not been implemented and that a good number of them had been effectively shelved, again that Liberal justice
member, that Justice Critic of the Liberal Opposition from Cape Breton East, said he thought there had been
wonderful progress with respect to the implementation of these recommendations. Again, there were a great
many eyebrows raised and I think none more surprised and disappointed than the Mi’Kmaq people of this
province who continue, to this day, to look for the kind of careful, thorough, comprehensive implementation
of those recommendations from the Marshall Inquiry that met with such widespread public approval.



Before I take my seat I want to just refer, very briefly, to Recommendation 23 of that report which read
as follows: “We recommend that all courts in Nova Scotia have the services of an on-call Micmac interpreter
for use at the request of Micmac witnesses or accused”. Let me say that on this occasion, the 5th Anniversary
of the release of the Marshall Inquiry Report, at the absolute bare minimum I would plead with this
government to rethink the policy that was stated by the Minister of Community Services yesterday in response
to my questions on this issue, which shows that this has not been met; this recommendation is not fully
implemented because there now is basically a financial barrier being put in the place of Mi’Kmaq interpreters.
In fact, it is not at the request of Mi’Kmaq witnesses or accused that interpreters are being made available but
rather on the basis of someone else making the assessment of whether they should merit that opportunity or
not. Thank you.



MR. SPEAKER: The time of the honourable member has expired.



The honourable member for Kings West.



MR. GEORGE MOODY: I stand to join the debate on the resolution introduced by the NDP. The ill-fated and I guess irreversible incidents leading up to the Royal Commission on the Donald Marshall, Junior,
Prosecution, and release to and I think there were, as the honourable member from the NDP indicated, 82
recommendations that came out of that Royal Commission and there were 82 recommendations as a result,
I believe, of problems with our justice system on a provincial and national level.



If we go back to the night of May 28, 1971, it is sort of an unbelievable story of the justice system gone
wrong. The actions that led to the wrongful incarceration of Mr. Marshall from that day onward left a lot of
Nova Scotians and Canadians wondering just how could that happen in our justice system.



I think it is kind of ironic that here we are, it is five years since that Royal Commission report and
many years since 1971, we have heard recently in the news the acquittal of an individual out West, Guy Paul
Morin, who after years of being wrongly accused, was just this week found not guilty. So, we have heard of
several instances over the years, which call into question the procedures and actions of our justice system.
They are disturbing because we think here in Canada, and I think we have always believed that our rights and
freedoms in this country are probably as good as anywhere in the world. When we hear of things going wrong
in a justice system that we are very proud of, and one where rights and freedoms are recognized, there can
be some problems.



Back in, I think, February 7, 1990, five years ago, the then Attorney General, Tom McInnis,
apologized to the Marshall family on behalf of all Nova Scotians. I think an even more tragic conclusion of
the commission’s findings is that the system failed Mr. Marshall because he was a native and that Nova Scotia
had a two-tiered justice system.



This morning, the Executive Director of the Union of Nova Scotia Indians made a very stark, I think,
but true, telling comment. He said sadly that on the 5th Anniversary of the Marshall Commission Report a
lot has not changed, some things have changed but a lot has not changed and there is still racism in Nova
Scotia, and that is very sad. The Executive Director was Dan Christmas, who grew up on the same reserve
as Donald Marshall, Jr. He, obviously, has monitored the last five years since we have had the Marshall
Inquiry, I am sure, with a great deal of personal interest. He made the point that five years of trying to tinker
with the system is not the answer.



We know that there were 82 recommendations and we probably can argue whether 47 or 52 or 61 have
been completed but obviously, the commission, the Marshall Commission, the Royal Commission, felt that
there was need for all 82. We probably now have people in the previous government and in this government
who felt that all 82 did not have to be met and that brings into question that if there were 82
recommendations, they probably should have all been addressed.



That is why the executive director is saying today that we are still tinkering with the system. He feels
that what must happen is that we see the development of the Mi’Kmaq community from within. Dan
Christmas’ statement that racism is alive and well, very well, could mean that we could see another Donald
Marshall situation. That would be a very sad day. We had the Marshall Inquiry to find out what went wrong.
That is why we had the inquiry. We had the inquiry not only to find out what went wrong, we had the
Marshall Inquiry so we could fix what went wrong, not only to find out, but so that we could fix.



[6:15 p.m.]



On acceptance of the recommendations, the former Attorney General also agreed that, “The first job
is to change attitudes.”. That is where we have to start. This is a significant undertaking and must be a job
of our government, right in our school system and, indeed, by all Nova Scotians that our attitudes change.
This is a mammoth undertaking, Mr. Speaker, and will not happen overnight. It means that all of us must
look at ourselves to overcome any inequities in our behaviour and attitudes towards others.



Behavioural and attitude changes do not occur overnight, obviously. However, I believe the apology
to Donald Marshall and his family from the province was a start, but only, Mr. Speaker, a beginning. It meant
that there was an acknowledgement that the system was at fault. We all know that. Individuals and individual
personalities made mistakes. Obviously, if mistakes had not been made, we would not have had to have the
Marshall Inquiry to begin with.



Our current government, and I know the Minister of Education when he sat on this side of the House,
I think he was Justice Critic at the time, he probably remembers that very well. He said, and he had a fair
amount to say about the failings of the system and pointed to the Marshall Inquiry as hopefully resolving these
issues. He was very supportive of that commission.



I think it was on February 26, 1990 that the present Minister of Education, then Justice Critic said, “All
of the recommendations of the report are very important and should be implemented.”. I believe that he means
that, meant it at the time and still means it today. But what has to happen is now that he is part of a
government and now that he is part of a Cabinet, he can make sure that all 82 of those recommendations will
go forward and be implemented, so that, Mr. Speaker, we will get an update on how many of those 82
recommendations - hopefully, after the 5th Anniversary which is not far away in early February - that we will
get a report from this government that indicates whether in actual fact all 82 recommendations have been put
in place and some analysis of how the ones that were put in place previously, how effectively they are
working. So he has that opportunity now to be part of what he said publicly, and I believe him to be truthful
and supportive that those recommendations be put in place.



Yes, a lot has happened over the last five years, but a lot of things still need to happen, Mr. Speaker,
with regard to the Mi’Kmaq community. The court diversion program, an independent public prosecution
service, a policing program and more opportunities for natives and blacks to enter our legal and police
services are a start. There are many other things that have to be done before we can sit back and say we have
adopted all of those recommendations and that we truly want to see this go through.



I have to say, Mr. Speaker, in closing, that I do support the recommendations of that Royal
Commission and would hope this government in the next few months will give us a report card and will
continue to press to make sure those recommendations are followed through and that we never have another
story like the Donald Marshall, Jr. story again in this province. Thank you.



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Dartmouth-Cole Harbour.



MR. ALAN MITCHELL: Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased that the honourable member for Halifax
Fairview has brought this matter forward as it gives us an opportunity to commemorate the 5th Anniversary
of the Report of the Royal Commission on the Donald Marshall, Jr., Prosecution.



I am pleased to provide this response on behalf of my colleague, the honourable William Gillis, the
Minister of Justice who is, at this hour, returning from a federal/provincial/territorial Ministers of Justice
conference in Victoria, British Columbia.



Mr. Speaker, five years ago, on January 26, 1990, the Marshall Royal Commission provided Nova
Scotians with a report of its findings and comprehensive recommendations for the improvement of Nova
Scotia’s justice system. This was a very significant day for everyone concerned about and involved with the
administration of justice in our province, significant because it was very clear from the commissioner’s report
that the status quo was no longer working or no longer an option for Nova Scotia justice.



The commissioners had undertaken an exhaustive study of our justice system. When the time came for
them to make recommendations, they did not shrink from the task, they delved into every aspect of the system
to point out ways in which it could be improved.



Mr. Speaker, I think it is fair to say that the contribution of the commissioners goes far beyond the
findings in the Donald Marshall, Jr. case and their recommendations. I would submit that their most
significant contribution lies in the challenge with which Nova Scotia was presented, to create a justice system
that effectively reflects the paramount values of openness, accessibility and accountability.



As the work continues, both in light of the Marshall recommendations and other improvements in our
justice system, we must keep that goal in sight. We must remain focused on our destination, an open,
accessible and accountable justice system. Mr. Speaker, the Marshall Report clearly presented to all the
realization that the justice system could not continue to shut itself off from the people it was intended to serve,
that is to say, all Nova Scotians.



As we mark the 5th Anniversary of the Marshall Commission Report, let us not lose sight of the fact
that our administration of justice is constantly evolving, in order to respond to the demands placed on it. This
process was rapidly accelerated by the findings and recommendations of the Marshall Royal Commission. The
commission’s work gave tremendous momentum to forces of change within the system.



February 7, 1990, is also a very significant date in the administration of justice in Nova Scotia. On that
date the Attorney General, on behalf of the government of the day, publicly responded to the report, its
findings and its recommendations. In that response, Mr. Speaker, the Attorney General noted that the
foundation on which our justice system in Nova Scotia must be built is that justice is fair and treats all those
who come before it equally.



Mr. Speaker, I believe the efforts that have been made over the past five years, both in response to the
Marshall recommendations and to the broader issues facing the administration of justice, have faithfully
reflected that principle. This is not to say that the job is done, that all the questions have been answered. To
take that position would be to turn one’s back on the concerns of those who continue to petition for further
improvements.



Since the response of February 7, 1990, Nova Scotia has seen many changes in our justice system,
guided by the recommendations of the Marshall Commission, guided by both the letter and the spirit of the
recommendations. Very significant among those is the establishment of the Tripartite Forum, through which
the justice priorities of the Mi’Kmaq communities have been and continue to be addressed. The forum is
composed of representatives from the federal and provincial governments and the Mi’Kmaq organizations in
this province.



The Memorandum of Understanding officially establishing the forum, was signed by Premier Savage,
federal Ministers Ron Irwin and Anne McLellan and native leaders, on February 11, 1994. Government
officials and native representatives had been meeting for three years prior to the official signing and a number
of very significant programs had been initiated.



The Unama’ki Tribal Police Force, the first aboriginal police force in Atlantic Canada, became fully
operational in December 1994. Much credit is due to the Chiefs of the five Cape Breton reserves and, in
particular, to Noel Doucette, the Chief of the Unama’ki Board of Police Commissioners. The Canada/Nova
Scotia Mi’Kmaq agreement to establish the force was signed in Eskasoni in July 1994 by Premier John Savage
and Solicitor General the Honourable Herb Gray.



A number of other exciting initiatives have begun since the release of the Marshall Report which have
changed the face of native justice in this province. For example, the Shubenacadie Diversion Project was
launched three years ago as an experiment to permit native communities to take greater control of justice
matters. Trained mediators from the native community conducted hearings in an effort to provide for
reconciliation between offenders and victims. Much credit is due to Chief Reg Maloney of the Indian Brook
Reserve and Jackie Nibby, the Executive Director of the program, for their willingness to pioneer the diversion
program.



The Marshall Report revealed that the Mi’Kmaq people often experience severe difficulties in their
contact with the non-native justice system. The Community Legal Issues Facilitator Projects was established
to provide a liaison between the justice system and native community. CLIF currently has three offices - in
Halifax, Sydney and Bridgewater. Funding has recently been approved for the establishment of the Mi’Kmaq
Legal Translator Program to train translators to provide services, not only in courts, but in the health and
social welfare systems, too. Mr. Speaker, just on that matter, as far as providing translation services to the
courts, it is my understanding that in the criminal system that a translator is provided when required by the
defendant or when the judge deems that it is necessary for the administration of justice and that translator is
provided without cost to the defendant.



When you move into the civil court, then the matter is somewhat different. The particular case that
raised the concerns in this matter was a case for custody, which was before the Family Court. It was my
understanding that ordinarily the complainant, in that case, can engage a translator and that can be used in
the court system. Where the judge deems it is necessary, then he can appoint a court translator and that is
borne by the Crown.



In this particular case,  that the judge decided a translator was not required, is a matter of concern, I
know, for all. The Union of Nova Scotia Indians has lodged a complaint. This complaint is presently before
the Chief Judge of the Family Court and it is being considered and the Department of Justice, which is very
concerned about this, is also having a look at this. So it is a matter of some concern which we are presently
looking at, but the matter is now before the Chief Judge and we will wait for that.



A Native Civilian Liaison Officer Project in the Halifax Police Department was started two years ago
to build linkages between the native community and the police force. The province is currently negotiating
with the federal government and the Mi’Kmaq to establish a Mi’Kmaq Justice Institute, which will provide
native court worker services. The success of these ventures is the product of much hard work and commitment
of many people.



Special mention should be made of the major role that has been played by the Grand Chief of the
Mi’Kmaq Nation, Ben Sylliboy, who has been a source of inspiration, not only for the Mi’Kmaq, but to
representatives of the federal and provincial governments as well.



We would also like to acknowledge the leaders of the native organizations who are responsible for the
success of the initiatives sponsored by the Tripartite Forum: Grand Captain and President of the Union of
Nova Scotia Indians, Alex Denny; Executive Director of the Confederacy of Mainland Micmacs, Don Julian;
Chief and President of the Native Council of Nova Scotia, Dwight Dorey; President of the Native Women’s
Association, Clara Gloade.



Canada’s first statutorily independent Director of Public Prosecutions, right here in Nova Scotia and
our independent Public Prosecution Service, also trace their origins to the deliberations of the Marshall
Commission. The creation of the Policing Services Division of the now Department of Justice was undertaken
in the post-Marshall era. The government has followed through, in the fall of 1994, with the appointment of
Nova Scotia’s first full-time Executive Director of Policing Services. A stronger emphasis on racial sensitivity
training programs for judges, lawyers, correctional officers, police and Crown attorneys is also owed to the
Marshall Report recommendations. As is the ongoing support for the Dalhousie Law School Indigenous Black
and Micmac Program.



That is not to say, Mr. Speaker, that the improvements to the Nova Scotia justice system have been
limited to the scope of the Marshall Commission recommendations. Other meaningful steps continue to be
taken. This is significant in that it would not be responsible to simply turn one’s full attention to the
recommendations of the Marshall Commission, while ignoring other innovative approaches that are suggested
in order to improve the system.



In conclusion, Mr. Speaker, may I reiterate my opening comments. Our justice system is constantly
evolving. This evolution was defined and accelerated by the findings and recommendations of the Marshall
Royal Commission. As we mark this anniversary, we must pledge to continue the work that has been started
and to continue to strive for improvements to our justice system in response to the needs of all Nova Scotians
and in the spirit of the Marshall Commission Report. Thank you. (Applause)



MR. SPEAKER: The time for the late debate has now expired.



The honourable member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley.



MR. BROOKE TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, through you to all members of the House I would like to
introduce teacher Brad Gilroy and three students from Musquodoboit Rural High School. Of course, they are
from the beautiful constituency of Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley and I would ask the House to welcome
the students and their teacher. (Applause)



[6:30 p.m.]



[GOVERNMENT MOTIONS]



MR. SPEAKER: We will return to the debate of Resolution No. 1563 with the honourable member for
Kings North assuming the floor with approximately 15 minutes remaining.



[Res. 1563, Rules of the House (Amendment) - Rules 57 and 58, Hon. R. Mann]



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings North.



MR. GEORGE ARCHIBALD: Mr. Speaker, it is back to discussion on this resolution of closure that
the government brought in today. This is the first time in the history of this Legislature that the government
has brought in a resolution of this nature. We were shown one the other day and today we have a different one.
Well, it doesn’t make much difference really which resolution it is, whether it was the one that was tabled two
days ago or the one we are debating today, the end result is the same. The two resolutions are as different as
night and day but they arrive at the same conclusion which is, shut down the Opposition, let the government
push through whatever it is, whatever whim the government happens to want to have on that day.



Let me tell you what people in Nova Scotia are saying. A reporter from Port Hawkesbury, let’s see what
he said. “Embarrassed, embattled and beleagured Nova Scotia’s government is taking aim at democracy.”.
What an epitaph for a government half-way through its term. “Joe Howe would not be impressed.”, according
to Andrew MacDonald, “But, then again, the current government has, at times, made a mockery of Howe’s
valiant fight for a responsible government.”. That is what the newspaper reporter from Port Hawkesbury is
indicating.



I think what he said is what people are telling me. If the government isn’t embarrassed over the
shenanigans that took place in the Legislature today, then they should be. And if that doesn’t embarrass them
then some of the other misconstrued ideas that we have been forced to pay in the last few months, should
certainly embarrass the government. Any government that was a part of some of things that have taken place
in recent months, the severance packages that have been going out, the untendered contracts and all of the
problems of the world are blamed on the Opposition.



The government is taking out their hostilities for their inability to figure out how to govern with one
of the biggest majorities in Nova Scotia’s history, they can’t figure out how the Legislature should work by the
rules that have been here for years. So, they said if we can’t fix it, we are going to break it and there today they
have broken democracy as this Legislative Chamber knows it and has known it for so many years.



The choice was the governments. They could have chosen to compromise and instead of that they got
a great big hammer and smash. Anybody that steps in the way of this crowd of 41, which does include Mr.
Speaker, the silent 10 from Cape Breton, this 41 come in here to use the heavy hand of government on 11
people who are trying to stand up for the people of Nova Scotia.



That great Nova Scotian, Thomas Chandler Haliburton, who used to write in Joe Howe’s newspaper,
he had an idea. For his idea he invented the character, Sam Slick the Yankee clockmaker, and I urge this
government to read what Sam Slick said about human nature because human nature hasn’t changed.



People are still people and the suggestions of Haliburton would stand this government in good stead
because this government has no idea how to work with the Opposition, this government has no idea how to
work with the people of Nova Scotia. The poll that was out the other day showed the government at 29 per
cent, their Leader at 22 per cent, the most unpopular government and the most unpopular Leader in all of
Canada and yet, the light bulb hasn’t turned on yet. They still haven’t figured out what they are doing wrong.



They blame it on the Opposition. They blamed it on they can’t get our message out; they said, oh, we
are good fellows, people just don’t understand us, so they have hired more communications people. Why, if
they keep hiring the way they are going now, there won’t be a television network nor a newspaper able to
function in the province because they will all be working for government at big salaries and bigger severance
pays.



I don’t know how many are in the Premier’s Office, they probably are lining up to share that fancy
shower. But, Mr. Speaker, three deputy ministers in the Premier’s Office, two press secretaries and this is the
way they can solve the problem of Nova Scotia, by limiting and trying to strangle the Opposition. It will not
work. It will not work and they waited until the Premier left the province before they enacted such a terrible,
dogmatic, dictatorial resolution as this.



Why, the Premier wouldn’t let them bring it in so they said, stay away and we will do the dirty
work.(Interruption) That is the only conclusion we could, oh, I know the members of the government were
saying, well, he went to Switzerland because he is the first Nova Scotia Premier ever to be invited there. Well,
whoppee-do. (Applause) They clap, they think it is great, they believe that it is an honour and a privilege and
a thrill to be the first one. Who cares? Nova Scotians elected him to be the Premier of Nova Scotia, not to run
a travelogue around the world.



People are asking, who’s picking up the travel bills? We need to know what the goal is of this
government. What is the government trying to do. They are strangling the Opposition. When a bill is going
through the House, the minister in charge of the bill from time to time is in the Chamber and he doesn’t stand
up and tell the Opposition why he won’t accept the resolution. He stood up the other day and said, well, what
you said is wrong and he sat down. The Leader of the Opposition said, what was wrong. Well, something you
said a few minutes ago was wrong. That is the interest from this government.



We have asked, we want to be part, we want to make the legislation better but instead, our offer of
compromise, our offer of help has been rejected with the stranglehold of closure. Even when it was to bring
in closure, they couldn’t even get that right. It took one piece of resolution from two days ago and a different
one today. You know, let’s get serious. When a government and their House Leader can’t even introduce a
resolution two days in a row that is the same thing, it’s got to tell you there is something wrong at the top of
the ship.



This government Party is arrogant, it is short on humanity and it is short on humility. What is it going
to take to bring this government into line so that it will listen to the people and hear what they are saying?
Mr. Speaker, the Opposition was put here to help, aid and assist Nova Scotia. Yet, when the constructive
comments of these members, they say you are wasting our time, you are talking on the title.



Well when you speak on the title of a bill, you cover the title of the bill and you say what you like and
what you do not like about it and you think the minister would be making notes and then he would stand up
when you are finished and he would say, well we cannot do this, we can do that or, maybe, he would come
over and sit with you and say, look we will do this amendment, we’ll do that, but instead of that you get stony
silence and now you get them all between the eyes.



This Legislature will never be the same again and if you think by bringing in this piece of closure it
will bring the Opposition to its knees, think again, because this Opposition was brought here by the people
of Nova Scotia to represent their views and their wishes, not to kowtow and do the bidding of the Government
House Leader and a few others. We will represent the people because the people are calling us and telling us
they want us to keep up the good work, because they are not impressed with this government. They do not
think the government is fair. They do not think this government is fair and they think this is a government
that is out of touch with reality; it is out of touch with Nova Scotians.



The government cannot blame the Opposition for its poor showing. The government cannot blame the
Opposition because the Liberal Leader is having trouble with a date he has got in July, if he is even still a
leader in July. From what I hear, there are so many members of his Cabinet trying to run for the leadership,
they have trouble getting them all in the same room at the same time (Laughter). There has always been
government, Mr. Speaker, and there has always been opposition in Nova Scotia, but has the government ever,
in the history of this building and in government in Nova Scotia, resorted to bringing in closure? No, the
government has not. There has always been a compromise. (Interruption)



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



HON. ROSS BRAGG: I was wondering if the member opposite would stop in full flight long enough
to allow me to ask him a brief question? Mr. Speaker, I will be brief.



MR. SPEAKER: Well, it is at your discretion if you will permit the question.



MR. BRAGG: Mr. Speaker, he has gone on at length about the resolution we are debating and so on,
but what he has failed to address is the amount of time he spent debating the title of the two bills, the casino
bill and workers’ compensation. Could he please tell this House how many hours he spent on his feet and how
many times he rose to speak on the title of those two bills?



MR. ARCHIBALD: Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the Minister for the Economic Renewal Agency for
that very deep and insightful question. I was not keeping track, but at least three times I spoke against the
casino and, if given the opportunity, I would make three more valiant attempts to persuade the government
and show them the error of their ways because I listened to the 40,000 Nova Scotians that signed petitions.
I listened to the people that called me on the phone and said to keep up the fight. I listened to the apple grower
from Kings County that lives in Kings South and I saw him in Halifax yesterday and he said, keep up the good
fight, don’t let the casino go through.



How many times do you have to speak to get through to the government? We have now moved off the
title of that bill, we are doing clause by clause and even though, Mr. Speaker, I oppose the gambling bill - I
oppose it because I do not want a casino - I will admit that I am going to submit amendments to that bill and
support amendments to the bill to make a bad bill better, and that is what we can do to help this government.



Some of the clauses in the bill, some of the phrases in the bill that we were discussing when we were
doing the title, need review; they need tightening up; they need fixing. We are willing even though, as an
Opposition, we are opposed to casinos in Nova Scotia, we are willing to put forth amendments to that bill that
will strengthen it and make it a little more palatable. Now what is wrong with speaking on the bill? Why did
the people send us to this Legislature? Was it to sit on our hands? It was not. I tell you, Mr. Speaker, we were
sent here to speak and explain the views of the people that we represent. I will continue to speak and represent
the people of Kings North, as long as they wish to send me here. I hope it is for a good long time because
representing them is both an honour and a privilege. Not even one person in Kings North has told me they
want a casino in Nova Scotia, not one called me on the phone, not one person wrote me a letter. But do you
know how many letters and phone calls I have had from people who live in Kings North that said, keep the
casino away? It has been hundreds - the most controversial issue in Nova Scotia’s history.






[6:45 p.m.]



The church groups have been calling me, the Boy Scouts have been calling me, the apple farmers, who
have been meeting, have been calling me. It doesn’t matter what public meeting I go to, the people of Nova
Scotia are saying, don’t help the casino. Where, in the name of time, did this government get an idea that the
ills of Nova Scotia will be solved with the construction of a casino down here and one in Sydney?



Get serious and get in touch with reality. Not only that, Mr. Speaker, but the bill permits many
hundreds - as many casinos as they want. Any friend of the Premier or the ministers who want a casino, they
are all lined up, they want them, too, bring them in, we want more. Everybody who wants a little mini-casino
is going to have one, as far as I can tell from the legislation. It doesn’t say there will be only two; it allows two
to be made but then they can get as many as they want.



Mr. Speaker, what we are discussing here today is closure. Who took the VLTs out of the stores? Who
took them out of the stores? That is the question. The VLTs went in corner stores, they should never have been
there in the first place. They wound up there and now they are out of there. I get questions. I want to address
the various (Interruption) We have two Cabinet Ministers and the member for Cape Breton South hollering,
what about the VLTs in the stores? Well, what about the VLTs in the stores? The illegal VLTs in the stores
in Sydney, they tell me Cape Breton is riddled with VLTs that are there illegally. This government and the
Minister of Finance, who told us he was going to be hiring a police force to inspect and get rid of the illegal
VLTs, has not hired one person. There is not one illegal VLT taken out of Cape Breton Island. And do you
know what? The Minister of Health had the money and he has already hired five cigarette police to arrest store
owners for selling to underage people and the Minister of Finance won’t do a thing about the illegal VLT
machines. Come on, let’s get serious, has this government a goal? Have they any idea in the world where they
are going?



Just between you and me, Mr. Speaker, I don’t think this government and the Government House
Leader have the foggiest notion in this wide world where they are headed with this legislation. I don’t think
they thought through what they are doing with closure. Any government that uses the heavy hand on members
of the Legislature is not a government that I would be proud of or a government that I want to be part of.



I urge the backbenchers who are elected to represent the people to start representing the people who
sent you here and stop bowing down to a few Cabinet Ministers. Be yourselves and represent the people, not
the wishes of a few Cabinet Ministers. Thank you. (Applause)



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Pictou Centre.



DR. JOHN HAMM: Mr. Speaker, I certainly congratulate my colleague, the member for Kings North,
for, first of all, on one of the few occasions, getting the attention of the government. If there is one difficulty
that one could point to as causing the difficulty in which we find ourselves today, it is the fact that this
Opposition has not been able to get the attention of the government. Well, for a few moments at least, the
member for Kings North has achieved what we have been trying to do for weeks.



Mr. Speaker, this is an historical debate. Once again we have made the pages of the Globe and Mail
because for the first time since 1848, when this place and this province began to be represented in a
responsible way by responsible government, the government of the province has had to silence the Opposition
with a guillotine motion or a guillotine resolution. This is a precedence that has not been seen before in this
province.



We must ask ourselves why. Why have we come to this kind of a situation in a province that has for
many years been enlightened in the kind of government and in the kind of Legislature which has represented
the people of this province? This method of closure, this guillotine resolution, will never ever be seen as fair
or satisfactory as it is really a means to a specific end.



Each of us in this place has failed, all 52 members have failed somehow to do what countless
governments before have succeeded in doing in this place and that is taking contentious pieces of legislation
to this very Legislature and, by way of debate, finally coming out with a resolution that at least has satisfied
the rules that were in place when the procedure began. Each of us has failed.



The government members in the Cabinet have failed because they have failed to enter into the debate
in a meaningful way and to provide the information that has stimulated hours and hours of debate which
perhaps, on the surface, looked to be repetitious, inconsequential and having no meaning but it was merely
an attempt for the Opposition benches to get the attention of the government of the day and to convince that
government to enter the debate and provide the information which all Nova Scotians were wishing to hear
on the legislation at hand.



The New Democratic Party have failed because they, despite their willingness to engage in endless
debate, did not convince the government. This Opposition failed because we showed a willingness to end
debate and enter into meaningful discussion on resolutions and amendments and we were not able to affect
that as well. Certainly, the Government backbenchers have failed because they, in caucus, were not able to
convince their Cabinet friends that the way in which this particular session was going, was bound, to end in
endless debate and a lack of the ability of the government to convince first of all, the Opposition and secondly,
Nova Scotians that in fact this was the very best legislation for the job at hand. So, all of us must accept some
responsibility for entering into a debate that is an open admission that this government has failed where
governments before have always found a way.



If a question is contentious enough or important enough, is it not worthy of extensive examination and
is it not worthy of government participation? Look back at the legislation that we have been asked to consider
during this session of the House. Four major pieces of legislation, any one of which could be a focal point of
an entire session of this Legislature.



AN HON. MEMBER: It should have been done years ago.



DR. HAMM: Each one important enough that we could have debated it and made it the cornerstone
of an entire session of the Legislature. The Opposition cannot accept responsibility that the government has
decided to bring forward four major pieces of legislation. Comments are being made that would suggest that
if this legislation was so important, that it should have been brought forward in an earlier time.



Is that member suggesting that the constituents that he represents were anxious to have casinos years
ago? Is that what that comment is meant to mean? All of this legislation is important. All of it needs
exhaustive examination by the Opposition. The examination of the title was a challenge to this government
and to sponsoring minister that brought forward that legislation to bring forward the evidence that that
legislation was, in fact, doing what it was supposed to do.



Now, let’s examine, for example, the casino bill. Without getting into the morality of the government
sponsoring gambling and introducing new ways for Nova Scotians to gamble, but two key questions that we
all asked in debate. First of all, the government suggested that this project would create 1,072 new jobs.
Certainly, if that could stand alone, if it was substantive, then it would be a highly persuasive argument to
bring in casinos. But, however, the government did not provide the information that allows us to subtract all
of the jobs that would be lost by the introduction of casinos. What is the bottom line in terms of job creation?
We asked for that information and we asked for it over and over. That information would have gone a long
way to end the debate on the title.



We look at the profits that the government says will be accrued by a casino, $50 million it was said,
but it did not subtract the revenue that the government will lose by the introduction of casinos. We asked for
that information. What is the true bottom line in terms of revenue? Every speaker that spoke on the title of
that bill asked for that piece of legislation.



Now, that introduces the interesting question, either the government has the information and it is not
prepared to release it, or the alterative is that the government does not have the information and, if that is the
case, should not be going forward with this particular piece of legislation until it has the information. Mr.
Speaker, this government would have us, as it would all Nova Scotians, believe that it came to this Legislature
with intention to allow all Nova Scotians to be represented here, regardless of their persuasion and to allow
the views of all those same Nova Scotians to be expressed here.



Now, this government certainly began with that commitment. I look back to the Liberal Party policy
prior to the last elections. I look at the first page of that policy. It is, to allow members to air constituency
concerns that otherwise might not be aired before the body of Nova Scotia’s elected provincial representatives.
We are committed to ensuring general government and specific constituency accountability.



Well, Mr. Speaker, I represent a constituency that is not on the government side. But my constituents
have a right in this place to be represented equally and fairly as those of the members for Bedford-Fall River,
for Cape Breton South, for Yarmouth. All the constituencies have a right in this place to be represented
equally.



[7:00 p.m.]



I can’t go to the government caucus meetings.



AN HON. MEMBER: Neither can Russell MacKinnon.



DR. HAMM: In that regard we have a commonality. But, if I can’t go to the government caucus
meetings and I can’t sit there and argue and present the representations and the opinions of the constituents
that I represent, then the only venue that I have is this place standing behind this desk and speaking to this
group. Mr. Speaker, I will do that because I feel no constraint as a member of the Opposition. I feel no
constraint that would prevent me from doing just that.



The message that I get from my constituents on the four major bills that are before this House at this
time, it is a strong message and it is one that I am determined the most forceful way that I can to have the
government members on the front benches sit up and take notice of what the people of Pictou Centre are
saying. Mr. Speaker, this is a place of debate and what is a debate? It is a formal discussion, an open
argument, it is a forum to discuss, to consider. But it is a two-sided process and the process has failed in this
session of the House. It has failed because this Opposition has not been able to engage in meaningful debate
with the government about the major bills that the government has introduced.



Now, the resolution before us would suggest that somehow it is the Opposition that has failed its
responsibility, that we have been willing to go on endlessly speaking about bills which we all realize the
government in this place has the power to pass. But, it is our responsibility to engage in debate and it is the
responsibility of the government side to engage in debate with us. We, on many occasions on many days, to
which the government side continues to remind us, we have engaged in a one-sided debate and our statements,
our speeches have gone unchallenged. Our requests for information and clarification have gone unchallenged.



The question that we must ask ourselves is, after 147 years of a procedure that works, why are we here
today talking about this kind of a resolution? Who has dropped the ball? Why is the game suddenly being
halted? Well, we probably could debate that in an endless fashion but it is very important. If you look at the
bills that have been before us, the municipal service exchange bill and we debated that extensively and all of
us participated in the debate. It took considerable time, but eventually we did come to some kind of consensus
about the bill and finally the vote was taken. While those of us who did not feel that the amendments that we
brought forward were accepted in whole, there were those of us who did not consider that the bill truly
represented the type of municipal reform that this province needs.



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



DR. HAMM: Certainly, Mr. Speaker.



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



MR. DENNIS RICHARDS: Mr. Speaker, I would like to first thank the honourable member for giving
me a chance to introduce this very special group in your gallery this evening. They are the 1st Shearwater
Troop Boy Scouts. They are in the age group of 11 to 13 and tonight they are accompanied by two of their
leaders, Gordon Williamson and Peter Hammon. I would ask that all members give them a very warm
welcome to the House. (Applause)



DR. HAMM: Mr. Speaker, prior to the introduction, I was discussing the passage of the municipal
service exchange bill through the House. It was a difficult and stormy passage, but eventually it made it. While
there are those of us who felt that the bill did not warrant our support, nevertheless, we followed the
procedures that have been in place in this House for 147 years, in which the government allowed ample
opportunity for a complete examination and debate on the bill.



Then we went to the environment bill and we had many hours of discussion and there was good debate.
When I look at the early days of that debate and the Minister of the Environment was reluctant to participate
and we looked like we were going to get into an endless type of procedure, but, fortunately, the member for
Queens, who is very informed about issues of the environment, drew out the Minister of the Environment and
he became a participant in the debate. What resulted was an improved environment bill in this province. The
process, though long and cumbersome, worked and it worked because the minister decided to become a party
to the debate.



The next major piece of legislation that came before us was the casino bill. I made earlier reference
to that, the key pieces of information that any Nova Scotian who had an interest in the casino bill at all would
wish to have. That information, to this day, has not been forthcoming, information that would have shortened
the debate on the title and information which would have allowed us to go on to the debate on the clauses.



We should all look back and decide for ourselves, did the sponsoring minister of the casino bill
participate in any meaningful way in that very important debate?



The casino bill was an emotional issue. It was an important issue for many Nova Scotians, certainly
the 41,000 Nova Scotians who signed that petition showing that they were not in favour of a casino. That is
not to say they weren’t in favour of new jobs. That is not to say that they weren’t in favour of a project that
would raise a lot of money for the government. But the problem is we don’t know and we are unlikely now
ever to know, in reality, how many jobs the casinos will create and how much money those casinos will raise
for government because we will never ever really know the true cost of casinos in this province.



The workers’ compensation legislation. Now, the strange thing about that from the point of view of this
caucus, we are largely in favour of that legislation. We know that the workers of this province need effective
legislation. We know that the workers of this province need a Workers’ Compensation Act that truly reflects
their needs and protects them from accidents in the work place. We know that the unfunded liability for
workers’ compensation in this province cannot be allowed to increase.



Despite that, we did have what we thought was good criticism of the bill and we still think that we have
good amendments to bring forward, amendments that are not going to disrupt the plan of this government
over the next 40 or 45 years to eliminate the unfunded liability in workers’ compensation but really
amendments that will make it a better Act, to improve the appeal process, to increase the universality or the
availability of the protection of the Workers’ Compensation Act for more workers.



Think back the other day to the debate on whether or not a family member who lived at home and was
employed by the family business, whether or not that family member should be covered by workers’
compensation. This is not going to affect the cost because obviously if they are going to be covered, they are
going to pay a premium and the premium should reflect the cost of having them in the program. I, for one,
think that is unconscionable, that a government that says on one hand that small business is the engine that
drives the economy, a government that says, we want to promote small business in this province. Well, I
submit to you that the family business is a very important part of small business in this province.



I am personally familiar with a number of small businesses which are family businesses. Are we to
force family members into living apart just so they can satisfy a regulation or legislation about workers’
compensation? Are we going to eliminate the protection of workers’ compensation for these relatives just
because they choose to live at home and who are employed in a family business? What sense does that make?
I would be prepared to debate that for two weeks. All I would be asking from the minister, is what is the
reasoning behind the exclusion of these people in the new bill? It there is good information that I don’t have,
that this Opposition doesn’t have and that the NDP doesn’t have, why we should not be asking for that, why
it would upset the unfunded liability of the Workers’ Compensation process in this province, then give me the
information and I will back off because I know we have to solve that problem.



Mr. Speaker, this place is not working and it hasn’t worked in many months and each of us will have
to bear a considerable brunt of that responsibility. This process is important. I certainly am one that is quite
willing and readily willing to concede that we can’t sit here 52 weeks of the year. I would think that the
Government backbenchers would certainly endorse that perspective and that point of view. But we must stay
here as long as it takes to do the job. If the job is big, then the amount of time that we will be here will be
long.



There has been much discussion earlier in the day, discussion to suggest that external matters are, in
fact, influencing the decision of the government to introduce this guillotine type of resolution before the House
today. We must not allow the procedures of this House to be determined by external forces and external
happenings which really are of no consequence to those things which we discuss here in this place. I am
referring to such things as the G-7. I certainly welcome the efforts of the government to bring the G-7 to Nova
Scotia. It is going to bring us important publicity, it is going to bring us important dollars, in terms of
bringing all these people to this great city. It is going to be a great event but it must not be allowed to
influence the goings on in this House.



[7:15 p.m.]



One of the things that I felt was very unfortunate, when it was suggested by government members and
by the press, that in fact by holding up debate, by continuing to debate the casino, that we were somehow
holding up the creation of jobs in Nova Scotia. Well, Mr. Speaker, we talk about fear-mongering and we talk
about putting perhaps the wrong slant on things. The debate in this Legislature has done absolutely nothing
to stop this government from doing whatever it has to do, in terms of setting up casinos.



I have no inkling, the government has given me no indication, other than for me to assume that this
legislation is going to go through. The last time that I looked, they still had 41 members, we still had eight
and the Third Party still had three.



I think the other matter before us, we must not allow things like leadership reviews, problems within
political Parties, to affect the legislative process in this House. When we walk through those doors we must
leave all that extraneous material behind us. That information and those diversions that confront us daily
must, in fact, be left outside those doors.



So why has the procedure fallen down? Why is this place not working? Why have the three House
Leaders not been able to get together and, in a meaningful way, discuss what has been happening? Why is
there not room here for compromise? There is no one advocating endless, unchallenged debate as a solution
for a properly conducted legislative process in this House. There must be rules but there also must be
compromise and there must be room in the government’s agenda for the point of view of the Opposition and
the people that we represent. As long as the government fails to recognize that, that this Opposition has a
responsibility to the people of this province, then this Legislature won’t operate any better than it has for the
last two and one-half months.



We should have continued to seek the solution by agreement and compromise. We have failed and we
are now in the process of introducing, by resolution, a procedure which is not agreeable to all Parties and
which will, in no small way, interrupt the debate on legislation that will be introduced into this House for the
next number of sessions. Regardless of what happens in this particular debate, regardless if in fact this
resolution is passed, we must, when this session ends, sit down in a conciliatory way and devise a set of rules
that will allow this House to work so that we can all fulfil our responsibility to represent the people who sent
us here. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Atlantic.



MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased in one sense to have the opportunity to rise
and speak to the motion that is before us today. On the other hand though, Mr. Speaker, as I am a fairly recent
member to this House, I am extremely discouraged by the events that have brought us to this point.



Mr. Speaker, what do we have before us in this motion? We have a motion that has been introduced
unilaterally by this government, by a majority government of 41, to limit debate to an arbitrary number of 20
hours at the Committee of the Whole stage. That is a very significant change to the rules of this House that
is being made without precedent, by not having been referred to the committee of this House responsible for
rule changes, but simply by the exercise of government authority and government majority.



I would suggest to you that in contrast to the clear pledge that was made by the Government House
Leader only six weeks ago in debate on the question of rules where he said, and I quote, “. . . I will state
categorically on behalf of the government of this province, on behalf of the Liberal Party in the Province of
Nova Scotia, we are willing to cooperate; we are willing to consider changes to the rules in this House of
Assembly. 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.”.



Then he said further in his remarks, Mr. Speaker, that I have an opinion on, he said, “. . . 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, I think those are fairly illustrative of the change of tack that this
government and this Government House Leader have taken in a very short period of time to bring forward
a resolution like this that has not been discussed by the Committee on Assembly Matters, that has not been
considered by members of the Opposition Parties. There has been no discussion whatsoever even though it
has been obvious that the Government House Leader had the intention of making some kinds of changes to
the rules over the past two weeks, but has never once taken the opportunity to try to reach that consensus that
he spoke of six short weeks ago in order to do that.



What else do we have before us today, Mr. Speaker? I remind you that there was a decision taken today
to allow a motion that has never been seen in the House of Assembly in Nova Scotia that the records will
indicate. That is the use of what is called, calling the previous question. It is a motion. It is a tool, a strategy,
a tactic that is used in other jurisdictions, that is used in the House of Commons, but it has never, ever been
used in the House of Assembly in the Province of Nova Scotia that records will confirm. Not only that, but
our rules clearly, from my perspective in Rule 27, prohibit the moving of such a motion during debate in this
House, but the decision was made regardless of those objections. What is the impact of that motion? Well, now
we do have it, under the characterization of usages and precedents of this House and it can be relied on as now
being a rule that is available to members in this House during debate.



I would suggest to you that it can and will be used at any time in the future when a government,
whether it be this government or some other government, feels that it is being put under undue scrutiny and
receiving what it considers to be opposition in this House and outside this House that it is not prepared to
withstand. It is a form of closure, without question, that ensures that when a motion is put or when a bill, at
whatever stage in the House is before debate in this Chamber, that when a member calls previous question
on the main motion that it provides that no further amendments can be introduced at that stage and that is,
in fact, what we are dealing with here today.



You may be interested to know that, I refer to the remarks of the Government House Leader six short
weeks ago, where he told us again, “. . . I will state categorically on behalf of the government of the province,
on behalf of the Liberal Party . . .” that we won’t basically move unilaterally to change the rules in this House.
Well, I caught a clip on the news tonight, Mr. Speaker, where the Government House Leader, in response to
a question about the use of that closure tool, said to the people of Nova Scotia that I can tell you categorically
that we won’t use this form of closure at other stages in debate. Well, I think hopefully the point has been
made that that categorical commitment, the same kind of categorical commitment that was made six weeks
ago does not hold water. It does not hold water in his House and it does not hold water for the people of Nova
Scotia.



What has transpired to bring the government to this step where they would impose this kind of
unilateral action on this House? Well, since this government has been in power, as they tell you, we passed
legislation in this House to ensure that we have two sessions a year. Not a bad idea. They have put through
a significant amount of legislation. In 1993, they put through 87 bills. The Cameron Government brought
through 91 bills in 1992; the Cameron Government in 1991 did 70; in 1990, there were 134 bills introduced;
and in 1994, over the period from April 12th to June 30th, 108 bills were introduced.



So, what is the problem? There has been a lot of business done by this House. A lot of business done
by this House, and by this government. We have subjected legislation, I would suggest, to a very significant
amount of scrutiny. You may recall last spring, for example, we debated a bill in this House, a fairly major
piece of legislation that was designed to authorize the amalgamation of municipalities in industrial Cape
Breton. It was a long piece of legislation and we engaged in some significant debate on that because there
were concerns. We also had two pieces of legislation that had to do with, or are supposedly the cornerstones
of health care reform in this province. We debated those bills and put them under some considerable scrutiny
because we had concerns that certain changes needed to be made, certain issues needed to be addressed before
we were prepared to allow them to pass forward.



[7:30 p.m.]



Well, what happened? We facilitated, hopefully, the members of the Opposition with the cooperation
of ministers responsible. The discussion with others, with some of the unions involved in the health care bills
and with some of the people concerned about various flaws in the Cape Breton amalgamation bill, Mr.
Speaker. That is the kind of effect that we were able to have. It was a matter of some compromise, some debate
and discussion amongst the Opposition Parties and the government and people outside the Chamber. But we
came to an agreement where that legislation was amended. While we were not perfectly satisfied with
everything in that legislation, we were pleased that we would be able to get some changes to address some of
our concerns. That legislation then passed through this House, as it normally does, as it has done with
previous administrations.



You bring a piece of legislation into this Chamber, it undergoes scrutiny here, it undergoes scrutiny
at the Law Amendments Committee. We, hopefully, during the Committee of the Whole House, are able to
bring forward changes, if there are some required and if the ministers responsible are interested in considering
those concerns and then the legislation goes through. That has happened in 1993 when this government was
in charge and it happened in 1994, Mr. Speaker.



But we seem to be at a point right now, or we have reached the point right now, on a couple of bills
that we have put under fairly rigorous scrutiny because of the concerns that we have, here in the Opposition,
because of concerns that have been brought to our attention by our constituents and, I would suggest, as a
result of concerns that have been brought to us by people from one end of this province to the other.



I am speaking, of course, about Bill No. 120 and Bill No. 122. The first being the casino bill, a bill to
establish two major casinos, one in Halifax and one in Sydney. Well, why has there been such extensive debate
on that piece of legislation? Well, I guess the first point is that there are an awful lot of Nova Scotians, I would
suggest a majority of Nova Scotians, who don’t want casinos in this province. The majority of Nova Scotians,
when they have had the opportunity to express the concerns that they have, when they have been asked their
opinion on the establishment of casinos in this province, have said no.



When this government was in Opposition and when they were running for election, Mr. Speaker, they
told Nova Scotians that we will not proceed on something this significant to Nova Scotia without consulting
you first. In the face of advice from two standing committees and one commission on the issue, which
canvassed Nova Scotians and which considered the question and recommended either don’t do it and don’t
do it unless you collect a lot more information and consult with Nova Scotians to a much greater degree then
you have, this government took it upon itself to not only go forward and prepare to license casinos to operate
in the Province of Nova Scotia, but to do so in private and not provide Nova Scotians with a shred of evidence
that would talk about either the positives or the negatives in the whole equation of what kind of impact casinos
will have in the Province of Nova Scotia.



So the effect of that, I would suggest, has been that while Nova Scotians initially were opposed, the
more this government obstructs Nova Scotians’ attempts to get answers to some important questions the
angrier they become, the more vocal they are in stating their opposition to casinos.



I for one, and on behalf of other members of my caucus, we have heard from people from all parts of
this province, Mr. Speaker, who have said to us, do not allow this government to get away with establishing
casinos in the Province of Nova Scotia. At the very least, get some changes to protect us and to protect Nova
Scotia from the potential, the very real, negative impacts that casino gambling will have on this province.
That is what we have attempted to do.



We participated in debate at second reading extensively and we have done so in the Committee of the
Whole House on Bills and we focused a lot of our attention at the title stage, Mr. Speaker. Now what does that
mean? At the title stage, you speak on the principle of the bill and on the details of the title and that is exactly
what we did. We raised concerns that have been brought to our attention through research, through
consultation with Nova Scotians and through review of, not only the bill, but also the proposal that this
government has gone headlong into with ITT Sheraton.



The more information that became available to us, the more Nova Scotians learned about this piece
of legislation, the more our opposition intensified. But let us not forget that at Committee of the Whole House
on Bills we are subject to very strict rules on debate. Rule No. 24(2) deals with irrelevance or repetition in
debate. The chairpersons of the committee, I would suggest to you, were extremely vigilant in ensuring that
we were not dealing with irrelevant and repetitious arguments in our debate. Had we been, they would have
shut us down and on a few occasions they did shut us down.



We continued because of the fact that more and more information came to our attention every day that
we were able to prolong debate and we continued to use that information, that is why. Not because we are
these magical and extremely gifted debaters, that we are able to pull the wool over very well-qualified and
vigilant chairpersons. But because of the fact that we had the evidence, and we presented it here to this
committee again and again, on different issues in order that these concerns were brought to the attention of
this committee.



Now the government has tried to suggest that was silly, we were being obstructionist and so on. What
we were doing was trying to bring the concerns that we had about this legislation to their attention and try
to encourage them, and the minister responsible, to consider making changes. (Interruption)



Mr. Speaker, when we were at that title stage, we were able to begin to engage in some dialogue with
the minister responsible to consider some of our concerns. Unfortunately, it seemed even though they
challenged us to move on to clause by clause, in order that we could deal with some changes, as soon as we
moved on to clause by clause, they yanked the bill and brought on another piece of legislation; an unfortunate
use of strategy.



Let’s look at the next piece of legislation. Bill No. 122, Mr. Speaker, deals with changes to the
Workers’ Compensation Act, changes that have been promised by, first, the previous administration and now
this administration for nearly three years now, in order to deal with a policy vacuum at the board, in order
to deal with questions of the backlog at the Appeal Board and in other matters that had to be resolved.



The minister responsible made the details of that piece of legislation public six weeks before this
Legislature sat, Mr. Speaker, to give us an opportunity to consider what the impact was. Nobody in this
province had any idea that the kind of changes that came in in Bill No. 122 were going to be brought forward
by this government. The fact that they moved to 75 per cent of net, the fact that they have ruled out the
independent Appeal Board and many other reductions in benefits is not at all a representation of the
commitment that this government made when it was in Opposition and when it was running for election and
specifically, the commitments made in the dying days of the election in 1993 when the Premier and the
Liberal candidates were running for election in Cape Breton. The promises, the commitments made to Nova
Scotia workers and to injured workers were far different than the actual Bill No. 122 that was presented in
this House.



So, Mr. Speaker, what do we do? What are we supposed to do in the face of a piece of legislation that
betrays Nova Scotia workers and injured workers in Nova Scotia? What are we to do, as members of this
House, Mr. Speaker? What are we to do when at least 100,000 organized working people in this province tell
us this bill is going to desperately impact working people and it has to be changed? What are we to do when
injured workers in the Province of Nova Scotia say you cannot allow that bill to go through because it will
devastate us and it will devastate injured workers in the future?



Are we to stand back, as this government would suggest, and say, well, you have these concerns and
complaints, they seem legitimate but you know what, the government of the day, that is what they want to do.
They won the election so we are supposed to be quiet, we are supposed to be silent, Mr. Speaker, we are
supposed to ignore the pleas of those Nova Scotians.



Well, that is not my idea of democracy, Mr. Speaker. That is not my idea of the way things are
supposed to work. As far as I am concerned, I am here to represent the interests of my constituents and people
in Nova Scotia who bring concerns to my attention and to raise concerns that I have about legislation, in order
to make it as good as it possibly can be or to ameliorate the effects of that legislation as much as I can and I
will continue to do that.



What would the government have us do? You have heard them stand up and the Government House
Leader in his debate introducing this motion today, he said, the Opposition, when they are engaging in this
vigorous debate on unpopular legislation, they don’t get it. We were elected, he says; we were elected to form
the government in May 1993, not the NDP, not the Tories, we are going to decide what is going to happen
in the Province of Nova Scotia.



I guess what he is suggesting, Mr. Speaker, is what I should have done is, after the election results
came in, after I came flying through with my big majority, that I was supposed to go on vacation for the next
four years or that I was supposed to set up my constituency office and stay there. I wasn’t supposed to come
to the Legislature. That is what the Government House Leader and other members of the government benches
are saying, that we were elected to govern, not you guys. What are you guys doing raising all these concerns?
What are you guys doing participating in debate? What are you doing trying to participate in rigorous and
vigorous review and scrutiny of legislation? What business do you guys have, you weren’t elected to govern?



[7:45 p.m.]



Well, we weren’t but I was elected to represent the constituents of Halifax Atlantic. I have a job to do
here, it is called a parliamentary democracy. Maybe we have to send for some definitions for the Government
House Leader and his colleagues including the back benches here on this side. We have a job to do. We are
not going to come into the House, as many of these members would do, and sit on our hands as our
constituents raise concern after concern about very unpopular legislation that is before this House. We are not
going to do that, we are not prepared to do that and I would suggest to you that we are obligated to do the
opposite, to do in fact what we have been doing in order to bring concerns to . . .



MS. ALEXA MCDONOUGH: Mr. Speaker, could we have some order please in this House?



MR. SPEAKER: Whoa, wait a minute, whoa.



MS. MCDONOUGH: There has been total chaos in here for the last . . .



MR. SPEAKER: If an honourable member wishes to rise on a point of order you have to stand up and
say, Mr. Speaker, a point of order. You don’t just stand up and start . . .



MS. ALEXA MCDONOUGH: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order. We have had chaos in this House for
the last 15 minutes. The member for Cape Breton South has never shut his mouth for 15 minutes and you,
sir, have sat there and presided in total silence over that chaos. Could we please have some order in this House
or perhaps we should adjourn for the day.



MR. SPEAKER: I sometimes am criticized for intervening too frequently but if the honourable member
wants me to intervene I will intervene. I will direct the honourable member who has the floor to please direct
himself very strictly to the resolution and I will ask other honourable members to please maintain their silence
while the honourable member speaks. (Interruptions)



MR. CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker . . .



MR. GEORGE ARCHIBALD: I want to rise on a point of order.



MR. CHISHOLM: You are getting in on my time here.



MR. SPEAKER: Well, if there is a point of order then by all means.



MR. ARCHIBALD: Mr. Speaker, now look, a member of the Legislature rose on a point of order and
I tend to agree it was quite noisy and it crept up gradually but Mr. Speaker, the first person you criticized was
the gentleman speaking and said you would make sure that he stayed on the resolution when the point of it
was from time to time there is too much noise and buzz around here and I think the honourable member that
left was indicating that perhaps you could try to keep it down among the back bench members throughout the
House. Now, that is not an unreasonable request.



MR. SPEAKER: I believe that if the honourable member had listened to what I was saying, I requested
all honourable members who did not have the floor to maintain their silence and allow the honourable
member to continue with his remarks and I make that request now for the second time.



MR. CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, we are here, as I said, to do a job and that is to try to review legislation
as best we can within the rules and I believe that we have done that and we will continue to do this.



Has the Government House Leader, has the government come to us, come to the Official Opposition?
Have they said to us let’s consider changes to the rules? You may recall that back a year ago, maybe not quite
that far, the government was very concerned about the rules affecting debate in the Committee of the Whole
House on Supply dealing with estimates. In fact, there was an attempt to bring in rules to change that that had
not been settled unanimously by that committee and we put that issue to some debate. But the decision was
made during that debate to have the members of that committee come together and come to a consensus about
what kind of changes that we could agree to in this House and we did that. We did that together and we now
have new rules affecting debate on the Committee on Supply dealing with estimates that we all agreed with,
we all participated in and that is very important. For this government to unilaterally decide that it knows
what’s best and that it is going to make that decision is breaking, I would suggest, a practice and a precedent
in this House that we should have all been proud of, we should have all done that.






Let’s not forget that we have two very controversial pieces of legislation before us and there has been
an attempt to bring changes forward on those bills and, in fact, I have participated in discussions with the
Minister of Finance. I have participated in discussions with the Government House Leader on trying to bring
forward some changes to get to that point. We initially had some dialogue on that. But, for some reason, two
weeks ago tomorrow, after suggestions were made by me to the Government House Leader on ways that we
could perhaps resolve this matter, that was the end of it. I had never heard back from the Government House
Leader on what we were going to do. It was just left. That is not negotiation. There was no indication to me
that, well, you know, these demands are too much or there was no debate about what we can do . . .



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable the Government House Leader on a point of order.



HON. RICHARD MANN: I cannot sit here and listen to this. Part of what the member said is true,
about up to two weeks ago Friday night but what he fails to mention is the adding on from the casino bill to
the workers’ compensation bill then to the demands that the Minister of Labour meet with the Federation of
Labour, with the Council of Unions. I went back to him on Monday with that information, suggesting the
Minister of Labour was prepared to do that and it is I, sir, who never heard back following that. (Applause)



MR. SPEAKER: Well, the honourable member has made his point but I don’t feel the point of order,
the honourable member for Halifax Atlantic.



MR. CHISHOLM: Well, that did very little to clarify the point (Laughter) but let me continue. I
presented a proposition, a proposal to the Government House Leader on Friday night two weeks past that was
my suggestion in response to some discussions that I had had with the Minister of Finance and with him on
these matters and it dealt with both the Workers’ Compensation Act and the casino bill. Because I had
indicated to him right up front that, as far as we were concerned, the two bills needed changes.



Now, I suggested to him because of the fact that they seemed unresponsive to making changes on
workers’ compensation, I suggested to him a process that I thought was legitimate to deal with those changes
to workers’ compensation. I said, I think it would be in the best interest of all of us in this process for the
Minister of Labour to sit down with two or three people with whom he meets weekly on other matters in order
to resolve this matter.



Well, the point is that nothing ever came from it, it was like it was hanging out there and in contact
with representatives of labour there appeared to be no attempt or very little interest in pulling such a meeting
together. So, the point is that there was no serious attempt at trying to resolve this question; there was no
serious effort at negotiating some kind of resolve here in order to move us along and move us beyond that
point.



Of course, let’s not forget I talked about how we finally moved on to clause by clause on the casino bill
and they pulled it in favour of the Workers’ Compensation Act. The Workers’ Compensation Act, where we
raised concern after concern all of which have been underlined by groups representing workers outside this
House, even though the Minister of Labour would suggest that we are holding workers and injured workers
hostage here and that we are engaged in a silly debate on the title of the bill. Well, Mr. Speaker, we were
raising those concerns for a reason because they concern a lot of people in this province and we will continue
to raise those concerns.



We were challenged again by the Minister of Labour, well, move on, get off the title. Move on to the
clauses and then we will get down to something. Well, we did. We moved on. On Monday, Mr. Speaker, we
moved on to clause by clause. We introduced amendments. Did the Minister of Labour participate in any of
that debate other than to say that we were fear-mongering or that we were engaged in silliness and we were
misrepresenting things and so on? That is about all that happened. But we were moving on clause by clause
as we introduced amendments in good faith to try and get changes. We had no response from the Minister
of Labour, but we kept it up.



Then what happened? Then, on Thursday, what are we dealing with today? We are dealing with
closure. So, you know, after day after day of challenges to move on to clause by clause on these bills, Mr.
Speaker, we did so and the government is now invoking closure.



Mr. Speaker, as far as I am concerned, all this government is concerned about, it is not concerned
about dealing with the concerns that we, as elected members of this Legislature, are bringing forward and that
we have with the legislation. They are merely concerned with a one-sided approach to governing the Province
of Nova Scotia. They are focused more on trying to manipulate the media and spinning the message out there
than (Interruption) they are in participating in any process to try to resolve any difficulties that we may have
as members of this Legislature in order to see that difficult, unpopular, controversial legislation, like we have
here, gets dealt with in a responsible and a constructive manner.



It is like, Mr. Speaker, they say they are in here to look after the interests of Nova Scotians, but Nova
Scotians feel like they are in here to try and pull one over on Nova Scotians. They are in here not to listen to
what Nova Scotians have to say, but to tell Nova Scotians what is best for them, regardless of what they think.



I have a problem with that and I think other members of the Opposition have a problem with that. I
know there is an awful lot of Nova Scotians out there, Mr. Speaker, that have a problem with that. As far as
I am concerned, the move by this government today to bring in closure in two forms is a cowardly and a very
uncreative way to try to resolve what is a problem of their own creation, and that is two very unpopular pieces
of legislation that they are being dictated on, at least one of them anyway, by the ITT Sheraton . . .



MR. SPEAKER: Would the honourable member please move the adjournment of the debate, in view
of the time?



MR. CHISHOLM: . . . and, perhaps, by other interests and that that is what, in fact,  is feeding this
move to shut down debate in here, not a question of the scrutiny, it is a question of the pressure that is being
put on by Nova Scotians.



Mr. Speaker, you have indicated that the time of the House is at an end, I would, therefore, move that
we adjourn the debate at this particular point and resume again tomorrow.



MR. SPEAKER: The motion is that the debate on Resolution No. 1563 be adjourned. Would all those
in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.



The motion is carried.



The honourable Government House Leader.



HON. RICHARD MANN: Mr. Speaker, I almost wish tonight I could ask someone to rise and report
progress to the House, but we will wait for another day. We will be meeting tomorrow from the hours of 8:00
a.m. to 4:00 p.m. We will resume debate on Resolution No. 1563, following which we will go to Committee
of the Whole House on Bills and deal with Bill No. 122. I move that we adjourn until 8:00 a.m. tomorrow.



MR. SPEAKER: The motion is that the House do now rise to meet again tomorrow morning at the
hour of 8:00 a.m.



The motion is carried.



[The House rose at 8:00 p.m.]



NOTICE OF MOTION UNDER RULE 32(3)



RESOLUTION NO. 1603



By: Mr. John Holm (Sackville-Cobequid)



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



Whereas on this day, January 26, 1995, contrary to the two days notice required by Rule 32(1), Mr.
Speaker permitted the Government House Leader to introduce and move a new and different resolution when
the order of business, Resolution No. 1563, was called; and



Whereas on this day Mr. Speaker also ruled that the new resolution was in order as a motion to put
the previous question, contrary to Rule 27(2) which permits only amendments or adjournment motions once
a question is placed before the House for debate; and



Whereas Mr. Speaker then made a hypothetical ruling about any subsequent debate which may take
place on the motion purporting to be Resolution No. 1563 on the basis that “we had anticipated this”;



Therefore be it resolved that this House hereby reverses the rulings by Mr. Speaker, made January 26,
1995, to permit the Government House Leader to place before the House the motion “that the question now
be put”, either as part of the purported Resolution No. 1563 or as a separate motion, contrary to the Rules and
usages of our House, and hereby revokes any decision made under the item of Government Business,
Resolution No. 1563.