Assemblée Législative de la Nouvelle-Écosse

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HALIFAX, THURSDAY, APRIL 6, 1995



Fifty-sixth General Assembly



Third Session



2:00 P.M.



SPEAKER



Hon. Paul MacEwan



DEPUTY SPEAKER



Mrs. Francene Cosman






MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. I would like to welcome everyone to this afternoon’s sitting of the
House of Assembly. I will call the House to order at this time.



I would like to note that our Sergeant-at-Arms, Mr. Delmore (Buddy) Daye, has had to enter hospital
for medical treatment and at his request our Director of Security, Sergeant Douglas Giles, is Acting Sergeant-at-Arms.



The honourable Premier.



HON. JOHN SAVAGE (The Premier): Mr. Speaker, I am sure I speak for all of us, everybody on both
sides of the House, if you convey our best wishes to Buddy.



MR. SPEAKER: I certainly will.



The daily routine.



PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS



PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES



TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS



MR. SPEAKER: I hereby beg leave to table the Annual Report of the Auditor General, in accordance
with Section 9(2) of the Auditor General Act, for the year ended March 31, 1994.



The report is tabled.



245

 

Copies will be distributed to all honourable members.



The honourable Minister of Health.



HON. RONALD STEWART: Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to table the Annual Report of the Nova Scotia
Hospital for the fiscal year ended March 31, 1994.



MR. SPEAKER: The report is tabled.



STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS

 

 

GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Health.



RESOLUTION NO. 54



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



Whereas the Canadian Society of Laboratory Technologists has designated April 3rd to April 8th as
National Medical Laboratory Week; and



Whereas the goal of National Medical Laboratory Week has been to heighten general awareness among
the public and other members of the health care team of the role laboratory technologists play in both the
diagnosis and treatment of disease; and



Whereas laboratory technologists are attempting to prepare for their role in a reformed health care
system, believing that they have the responsibility to ensure that the public receives timely laboratory services
that are appropriate, accurate and affordable;



Therefore be it resolved that this House recognize and applaud the essential work and contribution of
medical laboratory technologists to the Nova Scotia health care system.



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



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



It is agreed.



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



The motion is carried.



INTRODUCTION OF BILLS



NOTICES OF MOTION



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Opposition.






RESOLUTION NO. 55



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



Whereas Transportation Minister Richie Mann made remarks recently that his department is looking
at degraduating seniors’ drivers’ licenses; and



Whereas Dr. Fred MacKinnon, the architect of the province’s Senior Citizens Secretariat, said putting
license restrictions on seniors “could evoke great hardship and that for seniors to lose driving privileges is a
serious business especially devastating for someone in the country who might not have another way to get
around”; and



Whereas this government has recently taken another shot at seniors by imposing on them a new fee
structure requiring the payment of fees for fishing licenses;



Therefore be it resolved that this House agree that there be no mandatory age-related delicensing or
degraduating of drivers’ licenses held by the province’s seniors.



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



MR. SPEAKER: There are several Noes.



The notice is tabled.



The honourable member for Halifax Fairview.



RESOLUTION NO. 56



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



Whereas the Minister of Transportation, speaking to the Nova Scotia Safety Council, announced he
is looking at a scheme to restrict older drivers; and



Whereas to date the Minister of Transportation has not consulted with seniors in the province about
safe driving issues even though there are 118,000 Nova Scotians over the age of 65 in this province today;
and



Whereas even the Insurance Bureau of Canada admits it has not been pushing to restrict seniors
driving;



Therefore be it resolved that the Liberal Government cease its public pondering and posturing about
restricting seniors driving until it has ensured that seniors are fully consulted and that all facts concerning
seniors’ safety records and implications are publicly disclosed and debated.



Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.



MR. SPEAKER: I hear several Noes.



The notice is tabled.



The honourable Leader of the New Democratic Party.



RESOLUTION NO. 57



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



Whereas between June 1993 and December 1994, the Department of Transportation awarded contracts
valuing over $475,000 on a roster rotation basis and not through open tendering; and



Whereas during the same period, the Department of Supply and Services awarded over $2.6 million
for architectural and engineering consulting services without any public advertising; and



Whereas the Department of Health awarded contracts totalling over $78,000 without tendering, with
the sole explanation the skills were not available in-house;



Therefore be it resolved that this government get its own House in order and look to establishing a fair
and open tendering policy to ensure Nova Scotians receive the best value for their tax dollars, as an alternative
to simply slashing more government jobs and benefits to those in need.



MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.



The honourable member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley.



RESOLUTION NO. 58



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



Whereas rural Nova Scotia is being bled dry by the Liberal Government; and



Whereas concern exists in each and every community across this great province over the fact that they
are unclear of what they will lose under the present government; and



Whereas the best picture painted by the government during debate on this very serious issue yesterday
was a mid-1970’s history lesson that was brought forth by the member for Eastern Shore;



Therefore be it resolved that this government begin looking at today and tomorrow, instead of 20 years
ago, in their attempt to govern this province.



MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.



The honourable member for Queens.



RESOLUTION NO. 59



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



Whereas the Department of Fisheries and Oceans gives every indication of charging Nova Scotia’s
inshore fishers for services, such as wharfage, science, inspection and licensing, among other things; and



Whereas the Department of Fisheries and Oceans is also divesting itself of responsibility for small craft
harbours, thereby placing the financial burden on inshore fishers for provision of harbour facilities; and



Whereas inshore fishers are already devastated by the collapse of groundfish stocks and dramatically
reduced incomes;



Therefore be it resolved that the Nova Scotia Legislature is opposed to the imposition of additional
financial burden on inshore fishers by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, especially in this time of
crisis.



Mr. Speaker, I seek waiver of notice.



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



It is agreed.



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



The motion is carried.



The honourable member for Timberlea-Prospect.



RESOLUTION NO. 60



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



Whereas to build healthier communities it is essential that individuals and community groups
participate in the promotion of healthier communities through cooperation; and



Whereas in recognition of the need to build healthy communities, over 300 residents of Timberlea-Prospect attended Community Awareness Day at the Beechville-Lakeside-Timberlea Junior High School, as
a result of the hard work of organizers Katherine Pelerine, Cathy Wilcox and Yvonne Verner; and



Whereas community cooperation has resulted in the Beechville-Lakeside-Timberlea primary health
care project’s Community Guide, including listings of 44 church and community groups in support of healthy
communities;



Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate organizers Katherine Pelerine,
Cathy Wilcox and Yvonne Verner, participants, community organizations and church groups, for a successful
Community Awareness Day and for their promotion of healthy communities.



Mr. Speaker, I ask for waiver of notice.



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



It is agreed.



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



The motion is carried.



The honourable member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley.



RESOLUTION NO. 61



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



Whereas the federal-provincial forestry agreement expired March 31st; and



Whereas the accuracy of Nova Scotia’s forest production survey signed by the Minister of Natural
Resources has been called into question; and



Whereas the Minister of Natural Resources suggested on Tuesday, during Question Period, that I bring
forth legislation concerning the harvesting of wood in Nova Scotia;



Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Natural Resources clearly understand that it is he who is
being paid to do the job of the minister and not the Opposition, and that he bring forth legislation that will
ensure a prosperous Nova Scotia forestry sector now and into the 21st Century.



MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.



The honourable member for Halifax Atlantic.



RESOLUTION NO. 62



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



Whereas yesterday the Minister of Human Resources deferred questions about the untendered Berkeley
Consulting Report to the Minister of Health; and



Whereas for the past six months Department of Health Officials have deferred all inquires about the
Berkeley Consulting Report to the Department of Human Resources; and



Whereas on January 25, 1995, the Minister of Health said that, “he had not seen the report in full and
. . . would suspect that it would be available shortly”;



Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Human Resources and the Minister of Health get together
and decide who, in fact, is responsible for this urgent, untendered contract and then immediately release the
study, so taxpayers can see what value they have gotten for their $50,000.



MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.



The honourable member for Pictou Centre.



[2:15 p.m.]



RESOLUTION NO. 63



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



Whereas the Pictou County District School Board and the Pictou County Chamber of Commerce, along
with other groups, recently sponsored the Career Entrepreneurship Exposition in Stellarton; and



Whereas the exposition was held to offer students in the Counties of Pictou and Guysborough a chance
to study possible job opportunities for their future; and



Whereas students today are more often burdened with the many less-than-stellar forecasts on the lack
of job market prospects than with enthusiasm for the possibilities that their futures could hold;



Therefore be it resolved that members of this House congratulate those involved in the development
of the exposition and hope that it offers those youths who did attend, a dose of optimism and a sense of
direction in the charting of a course for their future.



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



MR. SPEAKER: There has been a request for waiver of notice.



Is it agreed?



It is agreed.



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



The motion is carried.



The honourable member for Hants West.



RESOLUTION NO. 64



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



Whereas the federal government’s decision to cancel the EH-101 helicopter deal - a project that would
have been positive for Nova Scotia both economically and for safety reasons - has cost the taxpayers dearly;
and



Whereas after paying for work completed and for penalties related to the cancellation of the contract,
Canadians are on the hook for close to half a billion dollars; and



Whereas on top of the half-billion dollars, taxpayers will continue to add to the bill with the financing
of the maintenance of the aging Sea King helicopters, along with the risks that remain for those who must
continue to fly those helicopters while waiting for off-the-shelf replacements;



Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House condemn the faulty decision of the federal
Liberal Government, which was made without any resistance by the Savage Government on behalf of Nova
Scotians who fly the helicopters and those who rely on the services provided by the helicopters.



MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.



The honourable member for Bedford-Fall River.



RESOLUTION NO. 65



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



Whereas on Monday, April 3rd, a new Bedford Police Chief was sworn into office in the person of
Gregory D. Murray; and



Whereas Chief Murray has long been associated with the administration of law and order in the Town
of Bedford; Chief Murray having been Deputy Chief of Police since 1993; and



Whereas the Town of Bedford has a very dedicated and highly skilled police force consisting of 21
sworn members, plus the chief of police;



Therefore be it resolved that this House extend congratulations to the new Bedford Chief of Police,
Gregory Murray, and assure him of our best wishes in the administration of the Bedford Police Force.



Mr. Speaker, I would request waiver.

 

 

MR. SPEAKER: The request is for waiver of notice.



Is it agreed?



It is agreed.



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



The motion is carried.



The honourable Leader of the New Democratic Party.



RESOLUTION NO. 66



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



Whereas the Department of the Environment has no system of monitoring whether holder of quarry
excavation permits abide by their permits or exceed the tonnage limits of those permits; and



Whereas there are known instances of quarry operators exceeding their permits, such as the Tidewater
Construction operation located in Waverley, Halifax County; and



Whereas Tidewater’s exceeding of its operating permit would not have come to light if it were not for
the diligence of local residents;



Therefore be it resolved that the Department of the Environment establish a monitoring system
applicable to quarries that require written reporting of tonnage actually extracted and also spot checks of the
records of operations of the quarries.



MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.



The honourable member for Queens.



RESOLUTION NO. 67



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



Whereas the Liberal Government last month promised no new taxes but, in the very same breath,
increased taxes to Nova Scotia sport fishers; and



Whereas for at least two decades, seniors have not been required to purchase a general sport fishing
license and now are going to have to pay $15 for the privilege of fishing in Nova Scotia’s great outdoors; and



Whereas the Minister of Fisheries claims that the increase is necessary to support enhancement and
conservation programs, however, reliable sources confirm that no new initiatives are planned;



Therefore be it resolved that the Liberal Government, which has promised no new taxes make good
on that promise and hold the cost of sport fishing licenses at the 1994 level thereby relieving seniors of having
to pay the license fee.



MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.



The honourable member of Halifax Atlantic.



RESOLUTION NO. 68



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 Minister of Education has proclaimed Information Rights Week in Nova Scotia and
reiterated the government’s commitment to ensuring that “Nova Scotians are not left behind”; and



Whereas the March 1994 “Action Plan to seize opportunities in the Electronic Marketplace”, prepared
by the Nordicity Group, warned that “Nova Scotia will have to move quickly and decisively to advance its
position both in terms of its provincial interest and in the interests of becoming a leading edge player in
Canada”; and



Whereas the Premier’s Council on the Electronic Market Place, promised in last year’s Throne Speech,
has still not been named and the surf is still not up in Nova Scotia if you dial up the Internet today;



Therefore be it resolved that this House urge the government to stop making profound, jargon-filled
announcements and get in the game before it is all over.



MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.



The honourable member for Kings North.



RESOLUTION NO. 69



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



Whereas the Premier defended his 100 per cent increase in his office budget by comparing his costs
with those of the Provinces of British Columbia, Alberta and Ontario; and



Whereas British Columbia has approximately 3.3 million citizens, Ontario has approximately 10
million citizens and Alberta has approximately 2.5 million citizens and in Nova Scotia, we have about
937,000; and



Whereas when a comparison of costs to each citizen in each province for their respective Premier’s
Office is conducted, British Columbians are paying 56 cents per citizen, Albertans pay 60 cents per citizen,
Ontarians pay 17 cents per citizen and in Nova Scotia, under the John Savage Administration, we are paying
83 cents per citizen. This compares to the Cameron Administration of 41 cents;



Therefore be it resolved that the Premier, in asking Nova Scotians to sacrifice services, hospital beds,
schools, court-houses and jobs, recognize that his taste for Taj Mahal surroundings and a large, high-priced
entourage is another example of the Savage Government’s motto, Do as we say, not as we do.



MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.



I do not want to address myself in any way to the notice’s content, but I do to its form. It is too long.
I would ask honourable members, please, to be brief and precise in forming these notices of motion.



Are there further notices of motion? No further notices of motion.



Very well then, the Clerk has conducted a draw for the Adjournment debate at 6:00 o’clock. The
winner this afternoon is the honourable Leader of the Opposition. He has presented a resolution for debate
at 6:00 p.m. reading:



Therefore be it resolved that this government redress its unfair attack on the seniors of this province,
which is running rampant under the guise of reform.



So, we will hear discussion on that topic at 6:00 o’clock this evening.



Is there any additional business to come before the House under the heading of the daily routine, before
we move on to the Orders of the Day? If not, the time now being 2:23 p.m., the Oral Question Period today
will run for one hour, that will be until 3:23 p.m.



The honourable Minister of Supply and Services.



HON. GERALD O’MALLEY: Mr. Speaker, I beg the indulgence of the House to table a reply to a
question I received yesterday from the honourable member for Kings North. I was unable to supply him with
the answer at that time but now do so by tabling it.



MR. SPEAKER: Very well, the answer is tabled.



We will begin the timing again. The Question Period will now run from 2:24 p.m. to 3:24 p.m.



ORDERS OF THE DAY



ORAL QUESTIONS PUT BY MEMBERS



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Opposition.



PREMIER - DEP. MIN. SEVERANCE PACKAGES:

 

MR. PETER MCLELLAN - INVOLVEMENT



MR. TERENCE DONAHOE: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Premier. The Premier knows that
Nova Scotians paid out a great deal of money to get rid of eight or nine deputies fired at the time this Premier
assumed office, something in excess of a couple of million dollars. I wonder if the Premier would confirm that
a gentleman named Mr. Peter McLellan was hired by his government to work out the severance packages for
the fired deputy ministers?



THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I am not sure I can be that specific, but I do remember that he was
involved.



MR. DONAHOE: By way of first supplementary, I wonder if the Premier might be able to confirm,
then, for me that this same Mr. McLellan, who he says he thinks was involved, and who is or was a member
of the Liberal Party’s provincial executive, was paid something in the order of $225,000 for the services which
he rendered in regard to working out severance for the fired deputies?



THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I cannot corroborate or deny that. I will just have to find out.



MR. DONAHOE: Do I take it that the finding out carries with it an intention to find out and table the
information here in the House? I don’t want to waste the supplementary. (Interruption) I am getting a sure
from the Premier.



Perhaps when the Premier tables and tenders that information, he might be kind enough to indicate,
unless he knows now, whether or not the commitment made and arrangements made with Mr. McLellan were,
in fact, tendered?



THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I will have to find that out too.



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Atlantic.



TRANSPORT. - SHIP AGREEMENT: MONIES - DIVERSION



MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, I would like to direct my question through you to the
Minister of Transportation and Communications. Today, not too long ago, the Auditor General’s Report for
1994 was tabled in this House. In that report there was an audit done of the Department of Transportation and
Communications and a couple of rather troubling matters were brought to our attention. I would like to ask
the minister with respect to the concern raised by the Auditor General that $26 million that had been part of
the Strategic Highway Improvement Program, a program designed to deal with the national highways
network, was diverted away from that network to the highway known as the Fleur- de-lis Trail which I believe
travels through the minister’s riding. That $26 million, of course, would have been part of the package to
continue building or to complete the highway from New Glasgow to Amherst.



I would like the minister to please explain to members of this House why, in fact, he felt it was in his
mandate to take $26 million out of that fund beyond the parameters, clearly, of that agreement?



HON. RICHARD MANN: Mr. Speaker, the member has given part of what the Auditor General has
said here. He made reference to $150 million Strategic Highway Improvement Program. I read from the
Auditor General’s Report, “We have been unable to determine if funding was allocated to the highest priority
projects.”. So this was an agreement negotiated, the $140 million, by the previous administration and the
Auditor General points out he does not know if the priorities were given in that. The Auditor General had an
opportunity to discuss this with us prior to this report and I can indicate to you that it was explained to him
that the two ministers, within the authorities they have, agreed to amend the agreement.



I think it is also important to note also here that there was never enough money negotiated to build a
section of highway between Thomson Station and Masstown. The only alternative open to the Department
of Transportation was, in fact, to begin construction without the funding to complete it, in fact, to take two
sections of highway, two new twinned roads, and take them out to the middle of nowhere and stop them at
that point. That is something that I certainly chose not to do.



MR. CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, clearly that was an interesting response but my second question was
going to deal with the lack of strategic planning and priority setting. My question was to get an explanation
for why it was that $26 million was diverted from a fund that was specifically intended for the national
highways network . . .



AN HON. MEMBER: To the minister’s riding.



MR. CHISHOLM: . . . that was diverted to a highway that had absolutely nothing to do with that in
a highway that is clearly in the minister’s riding. That is my question and that remains my question. I would
like to have an explanation from the minister why it is that he has taken that money out of that fund and put
it for what appears to be, and not to draw too many unfair conclusions, to meet needs in his own riding?



MR. MANN: Mr. Speaker, the Fleur-de-lis Trail to which he speaks is partially in my riding, let’s get
that straight to begin with. I am sure with a check of the map even he would be able to confirm that. As I
indicated, every part of the national highway system which had been identified to receive funding from the
SHIP Agreement that was in place - the Strategic Highway Improvement Program - covered a section of the
highway that when completed it would become a part of the highway system in Nova Scotia, a usable part of
the highway system in Nova Scotia, with one exception, the section between Thomson Station and Masstown.
That is why the funding was diverted from that section and, as the member knows, this government has very
aggressively embarked on a course to see that section of highway completed. The important thing here, Mr.
Speaker, is the completion date, not the start date, to see the completion date come at a much earlier time than
would have under any other administration.



[2:30 p.m.]



MR. CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, let it be clear that the agreement we are talking about has never been
amended to allow the minister and his federal colleague to be able to do what they did. That is why the
Auditor General is so upset with what happened to the $26 million.



My final supplementary to the minister, and I think it relates quite perfectly to this situation. He
promised this House some year and one-half ago at the earliest, I think, that his department was preparing
very clear priorities, it was developing a strategic plan in order to allocate its money based on a certain criteria
for projects. This is an example of the fact that they have not done that. I want to ask the minister, when can
we expect finally to see some priorities coming out of the Department of Transportation and Communications?



MR. MANN: Mr. Speaker, there is nothing new going on here today. For many years, one of the most
underdeveloped parts of this province is under attack by members in this House. We have seen it so often. We
made reference to it yesterday; move the Nautical School, get attacked by Tories in Halifax; tear down the toll
booths, supported by the NDP in Halifax; and here we go again. (Interruptions)



Mr. Speaker, let me tell you that the Auditor General was provided with a letter from the Honourable
Doug Young indicating support for this project and agreeing to amend the formula. That is what the
Honourable Doug Young (Interruption) The Auditor General chose to ignore that, so maybe it is just another
bureaucratic attack on Cape Breton Island, on a project that will see the south side of Cape Breton Island
developed. That is another case, Mr. Speaker. (Applause)



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Hants West.



MR. TERENCE DONAHOE: Auditor General attacks Cape Breton. (Laughter)



MR. SPEAKER: Order. The honourable member for Hants West has the floor.



LBR.: WCB - VACANCIES



MR. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Labour. I wonder if the
Minister of Labour would confirm that the Workers’ Compensation Board, which is appointed by Order in
Council from Cabinet, presently has two vacancies on that board? Would the minister confirm that?



HON. GUY BROWN: Yes, Mr. Speaker, there are two vacancies on the board at the present time; non-voting, which can be appointed by the minister.



MR. RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, I am not too sure whether the minister is talking about the existing Act
or the Act that is yet to be proclaimed. My understanding is that, under the new Act, that would be so; at the
present time, though, there is one management vacancy and one employee vacancy on that board.



The present make up of the board has, I think, nine people on that board including the secretary, but
the positions that are representing both labour and management are all males. I wonder if the minister has
given any consideration to filling those positions with females, since they represent approximately 35 per cent
or 40 per cent of the work force?



MR. BROWN: Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the honourable member’s question. It is a fact. In fact a letter
has gone to Rick Clarke, the President of the Nova Scotia Federation of Labour, asking for a lady to be
appointed, representing labour on that board. As well, at the present time, we are searching with the business
community. I want to tell all members of this House, Mr. Speaker, through you, that I will not fill those
positions until I have at least a woman to go on that board.



MR. RUSSELL: But, Mr. Speaker, I am not too sure why, indeed, the Federation of Labour should be
the only union body that is asked for nominations. I only have one supplementary left but I wonder if the
Minister of Labour is aware of the fact that the Nurses’ Union, that comprises a very large proportion of the
female work force within this province, are very anxious and I am sure would be willing this afternoon to
come forward with a nomination. Would the minister give very serious consideration to a nomination from
the Nurses’ Union to include on the Workers’ Compensation Board?



MR. BROWN: You know, Mr. Speaker, it is interesting the question would come up this afternoon
here in the House. We work through the Nova Scotia Federation of Labour and the Nurses’ Union is a member
of the Federation of Labour. (Interruption) Well, they are. Are you asking us not to, you know, and we have
worked through, previous governments and the present government have tried to work through the federation.



I have not heard from any other groups with regard to that. I would be pleased to accept as many names
as they want to send, and then we will review. But I tell you, we have contacted Mr. Rick Clarke with the
Federation of Labour and we have asked him with regard (Interruptions) Mr. Speaker, we have asked the
federation for some recommendations. What I am saying is, it is no secret, we had ads in the paper a year ago,
asking for nominations. If individuals, they don’t have to work through any organized group, if individuals
are interested, I would love to have a letter from them, I would love to hear from them. Also included in that
is the Federation of Labour that we have been corresponding with in regard to the issues. I look forward to
receiving the names.



MR. SPEAKER: A new question, the honourable member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley.



TRANSPORT.: SHIP AGREEMENT - CRITERIA



MR. BROOKE TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the honourable Minister of Transportation
and Communications. The Strategic Highway Improvement Program, as somewhat outlined by the member
from the Third Party in his question just previous to the Minister of Transportation, the SHIP Agreement
specifies criteria for including projects under the agreement. The major criteria is that projects must be part
of the Nova Scotia national highway system.



The Auditor General goes on, Mr. Speaker, and suggests that other criteria for projects are that they
will reduce accidents, fatalities and property damage from motor vehicles accidents and provide other socio-economic benefits. His review suggests that those other safety criteria may not be realized and, as previously
noted, the Fleur-de-lis Trail is not part of the national highway system.



My question is simply this - and the Auditor General suggests that it should not have been funded
under that program - how did the Minister of Transportation manage to circumvent the regulatory process?



HON. RICHARD MANN: Mr. Speaker, any work carried out under the SHIP Agreement to each
highway improvement program has to be submitted to Ottawa for approval before the funds are released. I
would suggest to the minister that if there was circumvention here, that, in fact, the federal government would
not have provided the funds.



MR. TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, my question again to the Minister of Transportation. While this minister
has been diverting funds, and I am pleased to hear him admit that he has diverted funds because I suggested
some time ago, in a weekly publication in Truro called the Weekly Record, that he had done that, and he
accused me of misleading the readers.



MR. SPEAKER: What appears in that newspaper is irrelevant, we want a question.



MR. TAYLOR: But, Mr. Speaker, it is very clear that he did divert funds. So my question is, when is
this minister going to announce, in the name of public safety, a tender calling for the construction of the
highway between Masstown and Thomson Station? When?



MR. MANN: Mr. Speaker, what the member did in the weekly publication was tell people that I had
delayed the start of construction. You will not find anywhere, where the construction was ever scheduled to
be started. So how then, could it be delayed?



I am going to tell this honourable member something and he should be very careful what he says
because everybody in Colchester and Cumberland is going to read the response to this and in Cape Breton as
well, on the opposition to the Fleur-de-lis Trail. Mr. Speaker, there may come a chance in the very near future
for that honourable member to put his money where his mouth is and he will have an opportunity to support
in very short order, the start of construction. Let’s see if he is going to be holding it up even one day at that
time.



MR. TAYLOR: Any way you cut it, Mr. Speaker, that honourable member took $26 million out of a
$55 million fund and put it into his own pet project. Any way you want to cut it, that is what that honourable
member did. Again, I ask the minister to be specific and name a day, a time and a date, when he will call for
the construction of that much needed highway?



MR. MANN: The federal Minister of Transport and the provincial Minister of Transportation decided
on a project and I guess within the authorities that those ministers have, they came to an agreement and they
are working on the project. I am glad he brought out the numbers because for a long time they have been
saying, they have been telling the press, for example and others, that had they been there, this would be
completed. He has just said that this was a $55 million fund. Read the next line, it was $110 million project,
isn’t that a rocket scientist. That $55 million was going to build a $110 million highway. I have not
jeopardized this, what is important here is the completion of this highway. Under the agreement that had been
there and the unimaginative administration that was here before we came, this would have taken 10 to 12
years to complete. I guarantee you that is not acceptable and this government is working to accelerate that and
we will have that highway completed long before the period when they would have had it done.



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Fairview.



HEALTH - MEDICARE: FUNDING (GOV’T. [CAN.]) - CUTS



MS. ALEXA MCDONOUGH: I want to direct my question to the Minister of Health. As the Minister
of Health will know even before the Martin Budget last month, billions of dollars had been siphoned off from
federal transfers to the provinces over the last several years and instead of the Liberals stopping that
haemorrhage as promised in the 1993 election, the federal government has poured salt in the wound by
announcing the withdrawal of another $7 billion in transfer payments, $385 million alone in Nova Scotia over
the last three years. My question to the honourable minister is, what position will he be taking on this assault
on the funding to our social programs, particularly Medicare, at the upcoming ministers’ meeting - the
ministers of provincial governments with the federal Health Minister - taking place in the very near future?



HON. RONALD STEWART: I want to advise the honourable member opposite and also the House
that we have not waited for the national meeting. I went to Ottawa, in fact, two weeks ago, to express some
difficulties in terms of the changes that one would anticipate would result from the changes in the funding
of the social services including health. I had a very fruitful discussion with the Minister of Health, the national
Minister of Health, Madam Marleau, and I was encouraged that the government is looking very carefully,
particularly at Nova Scotia, and the reforms that we are doing in order to blunt any effect that might have on
our provision of services. So, I will continue the dialogue on the week-end when I meet in Vancouver.



MS. MCDONOUGH: It sounds as though the minister has clearly surrendered and doesn’t think
anything can be done to fight off these massive assaults on the funding. My next question, which concerns
the inevitable result of the continual withdrawal of federal dollars, is on the matter of the privatization of
health care services that is already taking place in the province. The minister will know I am sure, that as a
result of more and more patients being discharged from hospital or in some cases not even admitted to
hospital and being sent home to be cared for but without adequate home care services in place, people are
facing the costs personally; they are having to pay for equipment and services in many cases, they are having
to pay in-home supports in many cases, because what we have in place is a very narrow, restrictive home care
system.



[2:45 p.m.]



My question to the honourable minister is whether he is prepared to stand in this House today and say
that the provincial government will begin to uphold the five principles of the Canada Health Act that are
being eroded by what is happening at the federal level with the introduction of Bill C-73? (Applause)



MR. SPEAKER: Order. Spectators are not permitted to applaud.



DR. STEWART: Mr. Speaker, I might say if the spectators do not applaud, I will applaud the five
principles of the Canada Health Act because I am responsible for upholding those five principles. I think that
we have stood here on this side of the House as well as, I might say, the honourable member opposite, to
defend the principles in the sense of the reforms that we are carrying out to guarantee that they will continue.
It is one thing to stand up and speak, it is another thing to carry it out in terms of what we practically have
to do to ensure that there is not a two-tiered system, that there will not be user fees imposed in this province
and that we have the Canada Health Act preserved in this province, as the honourable member opposite wants.
(Applause)



MS. MCDONOUGH: Mr. Speaker, the minister expresses concerns about user fees. We have now a
proliferation of more than 20 home care, private for profit services in the Halifax phone book alone.



If the minister is serious about not allowing the introduction of user fees, will he give the assurance
here today that no public dollars will go to private for profit home care services that are proliferating in this
province because there is such a vacuum in the public funded home care service system?



DR. STEWART: Mr. Speaker, the honourable member opposite expresses the same concern that I have
expressed on many occasions in this House and that is the problems with home care services, the problems
that we have in this province at this very time. The fact is that we are, in fact, putting our money where our
mouth is in terms of improving home care services and putting budgetary items on the table so that everyone
can see that we have indeed committed to this home care project. We have public dollars that will go and the
honourable member opposite readily realizes that some of these decisions are going to be made by community
health boards and regional health boards, as well they might, and we are indeed putting public dollars in
terms of improving not only the overall Home Care Program as it now exists but the improvements that she
will see over the next six months.



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings North.



EXCO - KEN MOUNCE: DISMISSAL - SETTLEMENT



MR. GEORGE ARCHIBALD: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Premier. The question is with
regard to wrongful dismissal and things like that. Shortly after the government changed and your government
came to power, you unceremoniously got rid of several civil servants and eight long-serving deputy ministers.
The dismissal of the deputy ministers, your government paid about $2.5 million. Another one of the
individuals that your government unceremoniously dumped in the process, without notice, was Mr. Ken
Mounce from the World Trade and Convention Centre. For the unfair hiring practice, in the case of Mr.
Mounce, this government has had to pay a very high price. Would you, Mr. Premier, tell Nova Scotians how
much your government has paid to Mr. Mounce to avoid a lawsuit?



THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I cannot tell you the amount here. I am prepared to look into it. I can
tell you the amount that we paid for Michael Kontak and Wayne Fiander of the Premier’s Office. They
received well over $100,000 when they left. They were not badly treated, sir.



MR. ARCHIBALD: Thank you very much, Mr. Premier.



MR. SPEAKER: I am the Speaker, I am not the Premier.






MR. ARCHIBALD: Mr. Speaker, we know how much was paid to the fired deputy ministers. We know
that Mr. Mounce had to leave so that you could make way for Fred MacGillivray to have a job. Will the
minister confirm that Mr. Mounce was paid $350,000 to leave quietly?



THE PREMIER: I certainly will not, Mr. Speaker. I have no knowledge of any sum like that at all.



MR. ARCHIBALD: Will the Premier confirm that the negotiator for the government in this matter of
settlement with Mr. Mounce was Jim Cowan?



THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I will neither confirm nor deny it. This is 18 months ago, and I do not
remember, but I will, of course, find out for the member opposite.



MR. SPEAKER: On a new question, the honourable member for Kings North.



EXCO - KEN MOUNCE: DISMISSAL - SETTLEMENT



MR. GEORGE ARCHIBALD: Would the Premier undertake to table that information in the House
at his earliest convenience?



THE PREMIER: Certainly.



MR. SPEAKER: Supplementary, the honourable member for Kings North.



MR. ARCHIBALD: A question to the Minister for the Economic Renewal Agency.



MR. SPEAKER: Is this a new question?



MR. ARCHIBALD: Yes.



MR. SPEAKER: All right, on a new question, the honourable member for Kings North.



ERA: SEVERANCE PAYMENTS - POLICY



MR. GEORGE ARCHIBALD: Can the Minister for the Economic Renewal Agency indicate whether
it is the policy of this government to make severance payments to people who resign from the government?



HON. ROBERT HARRISON: Mr. Speaker, I will take that question under advisement and respond
appropriately as soon as I can get him an answer that is satisfactory in terms of government policy. I am sure
it varies from contract to contract but I would be happy to respond.



MR. ARCHIBALD: My first supplementary. Would the Minister for the Economic Renewal Agency
indicate to us the circumstances regarding the payment to the Deputy Minister for the Economic Renewal
Agency, Mr. Art Battiste, who resigned last month after about a year of service with the government. Will
the minister confirm that this deputy minister who resigned was also given a severance package worth more
than $40,000?



MR. HARRISON: I can neither confirm nor deny that, but I will endeavour to find out.



MR. ARCHIBALD: Again, to the Minister for the Economic Renewal Agency, if the government is
prepared to pay severance to deputy ministers who resign, is the government also prepared to pay severance
packages to other civil servants who resign?



MR. HARRISON: Mr. Speaker, this line of questioning is quite incredible actually. If, is clearly a
hypothetical question. The interest on the part of the member opposite is obvious a sequence of questions. We
have already answered his question to the extent that we will provide the information provided we can and
we will do that. So, if, if, if, the answer is it is a hypothetical question and perhaps he should rephrase it.



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Pictou Centre.



TRANSPORT.: DEPARTMENTAL LAYOFFS - INFORMATION



DR. JOHN HAMM: Mr. Speaker, to the Minister of Transportation. Last week, some 51 members of
the Department of Transportation received separation notices. I have been approached by some of these
workers regarding the concerns they have about these notices that they received. My question to the minister
is, are these permanent or temporary separations and if they are not permanent, when can these workers
expect recall?



HON. RICHARD MANN: Mr. Speaker, generally there were two reasons for the layoff at this time;
they have been given layoff notices, they haven’t actually been laid off yet, I don’t believe. Two reasons, really,
one was the type of winter we had with not a lot of wear and tear on our equipment; while in some areas we
did use an extensive amount of salt, we did not have a lot of snow and therefore there was not a lot of wear
and tear on the equipment, not a lot of breakdown in the equipment and not a lot of maintenance was
required.



In addition to that, Mr. Speaker, we took our 22 oldest pieces of equipment out of service this winter
and the new pieces of equipment, again, required much less maintenance. As a result, there was a shortage
of work. The 51 people who were laid off were mechanics, stock clerks and caretakers. In fact, our only option
was to keep them working with no work for them to do.



DR. HAMM: Mr. Speaker, I thank the minister for the answer. It looks like new equipment has
displaced old workers, because one of the calls I had was from a 17 year employee who stated that on his
layoff that he could expect one week separation pay. Now, in the eventuality that that employee who has
worked 17 years for the province, if he is not called back to work, what kind of a separation package can that
worker expect to receive from the province?



MR. MANN: Well, Mr. Speaker, the separation package - I guess what he is referring to is severance
pay - would be what he is entitled to; that is not something that we have any control over. He is entitled to
severance pay based on his years of service.



I would point out, Mr. Speaker that most of these layoffs are not anticipated to be very long term. It
is anticipated that when we get through what we refer to as a shoulder season and summer maintenance
begins and the spring work, most of these employees will be called back. That is not saying that every
employee will be called back because, as I have indicated, there is newer equipment and there is less
maintenance work for mechanics to do, quite frankly.



We gave the layoffs in such a way that these individuals would be entitled to unemployment insurance
if they are off for any length of time. There are varying lengths of service across the province, depending on
when people were hired and how many were laid off in different districts. These layoffs were spread across
the province. The severance they would be entitled to is what they would receive, Mr. Speaker, if it comes to
that.



DR. HAMM: Mr. Speaker, the minister was beginning to address my final supplementary. Is the
minister prepared to confirm here, today, that when works picks up in the garages, that the work will not be
contracted out but, in fact, there will be an orderly recall of these 51 workers when the situation warrants it?



MR. MANN: Mr. Speaker, we have a contract with CUPE, these are CUPE employees. We sat down
with the union before these layoffs occurred. We explained to the union why the layoffs were occurring, how
many there were likely to be, and where they would take place. As I say, we have a collective agreement in
place and we will be honouring that with regard to recall and recall rights.



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



TRANSPORT.: PIT AND QUARRY REGULATIONS - CONCERNS



MR. JOHN HOLM: My question, Mr. Speaker, through you, is also to the Minister of Transportation
and Communications. I have been receiving a lot of letters and phone calls from citizens who are concerned
about efforts by certain groups, including the minister’s own department, lobbying the Department of the
Environment to reduce the setback requirements for pits and quarries from 800 metres, as is proposed in the
new regulations.



The minister’s own deputy minister wrote to the Deputy Minister of the Department of the
Environment on March 21 and said that those who are concerned about the pit and quarries have no scientific
data and that they are operating under collective hysteria - I will table a copy of that letter and my question
to the minister is quite simply, is it the view of his department that those who have concerns about the pit and
quarries are, in fact, operating under collective hysteria?



HON. RICHARD MANN: Mr. Speaker, first of all I would like to point out to the member that the
opening comment is not my deputy’s, it is my former deputy’s. He is not in the Department of Transportation
any longer; he is now the Deputy Minister of Supply and Services.



I can say with respect to pit and quarry regulations, that matter, I guess the regulations are at some
point in the process of being developed and it is anticipated that any number of people will have input into
that, and no, my department does not hold that position, but there will be input from my department and, I
suspect, from other departments in the development of this, in presenting issues involved here.



MR. HOLM: The minister indicates that those are not the views of his department. I wonder if the
minister could explain - and he is correct, that it is his former Deputy Minister, Mr. Keith Thompson but still
certainly it is from the department and the minister was minister at the time - that letter was blind carbon
copied to the Nova Scotia Road Builders Association. It is certainly a very large commercial operation and
my question, quite simply, to the minister, why was it, and is it, the policy of his department to be lobbying
on behalf of large commercial operations behind closed doors?



MR. MANN: First of all, Mr. Speaker, I would say it is not. There is an issue at stake here which is
going to be decided upon where regulations will be developed. I do not think anyone would have difficulty
with various sides of an issue being presented. I believe what the former deputy minister in the department
did was write a letter to the Deputy Minister of the Environment. I would expect that if deputy ministers
choose to communicate with one another using that vehicle, then they will choose to do that.



The road builders certainly are a very large group and a group that has much at stake in environmental
regulations that will be developed and I do not think anyone would suggest that they not have an opportunity
to put their views forward. But, as I say, all those points of view, I expect, will be taken into consideration by
the Department of the Environment and others as regulations are developed.



[3:00 p.m.]



MR. HOLM: Mr. Speaker, yes, indeed, the road builders do have a great deal at stake and they have
already made their views and their representations known to the Department of the Environment. The
homeowners, the people who live in Waverley, the people who live along the Hammonds Plains Road and
many other areas of Nova Scotia also have a great deal at stake with regard to the pit and quarry regulations
that are being proposed. They are very much concerned about the lobbying being done by the minister’s
department to weaken those regulations.



So my final question to the minister is quite simply this. Will the minister categorically state, here and
now, publicly, that he and his department do not support the arguments that are being put forward by his
former deputy minister?



MR. MANN: Mr. Speaker, as I said, and as I will say again, the deputy minister communicated to the
deputy minister. My department, through the minister, will communicate with the Minister of the
Environment and have discussion on this issue. I have every confidence that the Department of the
Environment, through the new minister, the deputy minister and everyone else, will take all sides into
consideration on this issue and will make the proper decision.



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings West.



HEALTH - TENDER: LAPTOP COMPUTERS - JUSTIFY



MR. GEORGE MOODY: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Health. In yesterday’s
newspaper, an ad was put in for a tender of 116 select notebook computers with software for his department.
The minister will recall that this is exactly the same type that he gave away to the Ontario communications
expert, Cynthia Martin. She was here seven weeks. He gave her one to take home. That particular computer
cost $3,000. I would ask the minister, at this particular time when all areas of health care are having difficulty
with funding, could he indicate why the spending of $348,000 on laptop computers for his department?



HON. RONALD STEWART: Mr. Speaker, just to correct a few misimpressions that the honourable
member opposite continues to flail around with, one did not give a computer away. It was part and parcel
payment for a consultant who left her job, by the way, and did a very fine job for us in designing
communication and other things in the department. In relationship to this, I have no doubt the honourable
gentleman opposite is upset that we would actually enter into the ability to collect data on home care and
home care patients in this province in a modern system. That is what the computerization is for and I will
stand on that and we need it. (Applause)



MR. MOODY: Mr. Speaker, I know that Cynthia Martin was paid on a yearly basis of well over
$100,000. I do not know why he had to give her a computer for a few weeks course.



Anyway, Mr. Speaker, I would ask the minister, since the Minister of Human Resources is laying off
133 people, there are extra computers around in different departments with the layoffs and I assume they are
up-to-date computers, I would ask the minister if he has ever considered taking and using some of the surplus
computers that might be around?



DR. STEWART: Mr. Speaker, I must admit to absolute chagrin on part of myself and many of the
members here who would look with absolute disbelief on the suggestion of the gentleman opposite who is, in
some way, working back 10 years ago when we would lug computers around to homes in this province to do
home care and to allow us to collect data, to gather information and to treat patients - by the way - in their
homes, where they ought to be.



This would be foreign to the gentleman opposite, on the opposite benches, because it was never done
here. There were never any components of data collection and computerization of the Home Care Program
in this province under the watch of these very gentlemen on the opposite benches. I might remind the
honourable gentleman who just asked the question that we have stepped into the 21st Century in terms of
health care in this province and we will continue to go forward into the 21st Century, despite his questions.



MR. MOODY: Well, I am glad the minister is so modern. I would ask the minister, if the computers
are for home care, will he be providing some of these laptop computers for the many private companies that
are providing part of the Home Care Program around the metro area? Just who are these computers for, if the
private sector is using the computers? Who is actually going to use these computers he is now buying?



DR. STEWART: Mr. Speaker, in response to this question, I might ask, why is there a proliferation
of private companies in this province? There is because there has never been - never been - an organized,
comprehensive, Home Care Program in this province and it was not done until 1994 and continues into this
year. That is the reason (Interruptions) It certainly is. Go to your own home, go to Annapolis Royal, go to
Pugwash and those areas in which communities are developing (Interruptions) Yes, let us talk about seniors
(Interruptions)



MR. SPEAKER: Order. Honourable member for Kings West, you do not have the floor.



DR. STEWART: . . . seniors who could not get home care after 5:00 o’clock, under a system developed
by this gentleman over here, who could not get it on weekends because this gentleman cobbled together a
program just because there were headlines and needed a tour. That is the reason for this. No, of course not.
Of course he would not understand this. Private companies have proliferated because the government of the
day did not bite the bullet and understand the trends in home care, so that the final province that has health
reform in terms of home care is Nova Scotia and that is not going to persist. We have changed it, we are
changing it and we need computerization to do it. (Applause)






MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Hants West.



HEALTH - HANTS COMMUNITY HOSPITAL: REPORT - TABLE



MR. RONALD RUSSELL: I am getting used to getting applause when I rise these days, Mr. Speaker.



Mr. Speaker, my question is also for the Minister of Health. The other day the Minister of Health
kindly informed me that the powers of the Board of the Hants Community Hospital had been restored. For
the benefit of the members who would not be aware of what was going on, back last year, round about
November some time, the powers of the Board of the Hants Community Hospital were suspended and a Mr.
Breen came in, at the direction of the Department of Health, to do an assessment of the management and
governance of that hospital. Evidently, that went well and a report was given to the Minister of Health.  The
Board of the Hants Community Hospital now have their powers restored. I was wondering if the minister
would be prepared to table Mr. Breen’s report or is there some reason why that should not be done?



HON. RONALD STEWART: Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the sensitivity of the question from the
honourable member opposite. There are, as the honourable member might understand, some ramifications
of the findings in terms of Mr. Breen’s report and we have some consultations going on with the RCMP and
others. I would certainly table that report whenever it is considered appropriate to do so.



MR. RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, there is some dismay among the staff at the Hants Community Hospital.
I do not like to say that the morale is low, but there is some dismay there and perhaps morale is not as high
as it should be. I was wondering if the minister could do something to assure the present staff that they have
no reason for concern with regard to the governance that they are now receiving and with the standards of
the hospital, because I understand that at one time, perhaps, the accreditation of the hospital was indeed in
doubt?



DR. STEWART: Yes, I certainly would and I do appreciate the opportunity to give reassurances to the
staff through this House and through the honourable member opposite. In addition, we have conveyed the
essence of the report to the board and the board and the new chair have been very cooperative and helpful.
We have also fostered some alliances with other hospitals, including Dartmouth General, which I believe will
go a long way to reassure the staff of not only their participation in the ongoing affairs of the hospital, but also
to thank them for their patience and endurance.



MR. RUSSELL: I appreciate that response by the Minister of Health but my final question would be
indeed with relation to the present system that is in place where the CEO, I believe it is, of the Dartmouth
General Hospital is acting also as CEO of the Hants Community Hospital, I would just as the minister whether
or not that is going to be an ongoing relationship or whether or not at some time in the future that will be
changed?



DR. STEWART: It was a mutual arrangement agreed to by the board and the department and the
Dartmouth General Hospital. We certainly have fostered the inter-hospital alliances that this would represent
and it certainly would continue into the near future. I can imagine changes could be made when the Regional
Health Boards begin to work in the fall and early next year.






MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Queens.



FISH. - FISHERS ORGANIZING: PUBLIC MEETINGS - CONCLUSION



MR. JOHN LEEFE: My question is to the Minister of Fisheries. The minister has undertaken to hold
public meetings across the province for the purpose of assisting fishers to organize and become self-funded.
The meetings I understand have been completed and I wonder what general conclusion has been reached?



HON. JAMES BARKHOUSE: It is a good question. Just recently those meetings were concluded and
there had been submissions entertained by the Chair Clarrie MacKinnon who had chaired seven meetings
throughout Nova Scotia. Extensive advertisement was done and 500-odd people attended these public
meetings to give their views of support and non-support. There was an overwhelming support shown at the
meetings and several letters have been received that are not in support. The process now is being assessed and
further discussions are ongoing. With the steering committee of about 51 fisheries organizations throughout
Nova Scotia, when it started off we had 39 fisheries organizations there are now 51 groups. A steering
committee will be working with Mr. MacKinnon to provide the criteria to set up a proposed enabling
legislative process for mandatory dues.



MR. LEEFE: I thank the minister for his reply. I wonder if the minister could advise the House that
if he will be considering, through that legislative process, establishing a check-off system by legislation which
would mean by law?



MR. BARKHOUSE: That member was part of the government before that provided enabling process
for the Christmas tree growers throughout the province to come up with a criteria that the organizations - we
provided the enabling legislation - then went out and solicited the support and I think they had a threshold
of something like 66 per cent in the Christmas tree organization and I think they obtained about 85 per cent
support. I believe the criteria and we’ll leave this to the organizations in consultation, this consultative process
will continue to take place to enable the organization to have their input but from 50 or 60 or whatever, 66
per cent, that would be a process that would be arranged through the discussions that are going to be taking
place in the very near future.



MR. LEEFE: Again, I thank the minister and I also must say that I am pleased to hear the minister
speak positively of the Christmas tree industry initiative, one which I know he questioned initially and I am
glad to see that he now has come to understand that that initiative was in the best interest of the industry and
is working well and may well serve as a model for the portfolio for which is currently responsible.



A final question to the minister is this, will the harvesting organizations which have been in business
for a longer time, for example the Maritime Fishermen’s Union, be given preference with respect to receiving
monies through any check-off system or will every fisher who contributes be able to designate the organization
of choice?



MR. BARKHOUSE: Well, again through the consultative process and the proposals have been
discussed in these public meetings, there have been a variety of proposals put forth. I believe it should be
incumbent upon that steering committee to set the priority and assist. We will be listening to what the decision
of that steering committee will be and to help us establish the draft legislation that I hope will come forth in
the fall of this year.






[3:15 p.m.]



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Atlantic.



TRANSPORT. - ELECTRONIC MARKET PLACE:

 

PREMIER’S COUNCIL - STATUS



MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, I would like to direct my question through you to the
Minister of Transportation and Communications. Last year in the Throne Speech the government announced
its intention to set up a Premier’s Council on the Electronic Market Place, following from a very specific
recommendation from a consultant who was mandated to consider questions with respect to seizing
opportunities in the electronic market place. The mandate of this council is to develop a supportive economic
policy and regulatory environment which ensures that every Nova Scotian enjoys equitable and affordable
access to electronic highway services.



My question to the minister is, we are now in the spring of 1995 and I wonder if he could maybe give
us an indication of whether, in fact, this council is going to be set up at any time in the near future?



HON. RICHARD MANN: Yes, Mr. Speaker, it will. Through my communications branch, the Director
of Communications has been bringing in names. There was a public call for names, people have submitted
names, quite a few names, in fact. Those names will be brought forward in the near future. As the member
might realize, with a staff of only three in that department on the communications side, we have undertaken
some very big projects, in particular the wide-area network. The call for proposals on that has taken most of
the staff time. But I think the council will be coming forward fairly soon. There has been a lot of interest and
a lot of names put forward.



MR. CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, to the minister, in the Nordicity Report which was released in the
spring of 1994 and which the minister and his department and his government embraced wholeheartedly,
when they made that recommendation, they did so because they said, “Nova Scotia will have to move quickly
and decisively to advance its position both in terms of its provincial interests and in the interests of becoming
a leading edge player in Canada.”.



My question to the minister is, in this year’s Throne Speech your government said that the Province
of Nova Scotia is committed to preparing Nova Scotia to take advantage of emerging technologies. Will you
and your department not commit to moving as quickly as you possibly can, in fact almost immediately, in
order to catch up, to not only the time that was lost before you became government but also the time that
appears to have been lost over the past two years, in order to get up to speed with other provinces in this area?



MR. MANN: Mr. Speaker, I would suggest that one of the reasons that the committee has not been
established is because we raced ahead of that. We have not been wasting time. In fact, we have a call out for
proposals that will probably put Nova Scotia on the leading edge in the world. It has attracted the interest of
many countries around the world who are coming here to look at what we are doing and are telling us that
nowhere else in the world is there a jurisdiction where an entire province will be blanketed with the
communications technology opportunities that will exist in Nova Scotia.



One of the reasons that that council has not been established is because the department and the director
have been working with experts from NovaKnowledge, from many private sector companies and the public
sector, Mr. Speaker, to actually go out and do these, to put this technology in place and, in fact, to race ahead
and not wait. That council will come up to advise and to be a sounding board and to be a lot of things and that
will happen. But we have not stopped just because there is not a council in place.



MR. CHISHOLM: There are some things being done. I think, though, if one were to do some surfing
on the Internet, you would see that in comparison to other jurisdictions in this country, we still seem to be
lagging desperately behind. One of the important things (Interruptions)



MR. SPEAKER: Question, please, time is running out.



MR. CHISHOLM: One of the important things, Mr. Speaker, about setting up this council is in order
that it develop a supportive economic policy and regulatory environment; in other words, that there be some
direction and guidance or, perhaps, some priorities set in order for this technology to be put in place.



I would ask the minister, if this council is going to be set up, will he ensure that it will be set up very
quickly and will move to put itself into action within the next weeks and months?



MR. MANN: Mr. Speaker, the honourable member made reference to the Internet. Nova Scotia has
the highest per capita number of users of Internet in Canada (Applause) and the fastest growing. We are doing
it. We have put in place (Interruption) He obviously is not listening, maybe he does not like to hear the good
news stories. This province sometimes has trouble celebrating good news. The call for proposals that is out,
that is attracting attention from around the world, Nova Scotia is leading the way. Not only will we put the
council in place but we will not slow down, we will continue to lead the world in communications technology.
(Applause)



MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. Order. We have three minutes left.



The honourable member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley.



NAT. RES.: TWO RIVERS PARK (MARION BRIDGE) - CLOSURE



MR. BROOKE TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the honourable Minister of Natural
Resources. Nova Scotians don’t have any great difficulty with cost-cutting measures if they can be shown to
be effective and if they can be shown to be motivated by politics. One must truly question the need to close
the Two Rivers Wildlife Park at Marion Bridge in Cape Breton County. I must say that it was awfully ironic
that the announced closure comes only a few days after the member for Cape Breton West, a Liberal member -
well, for the time being, kind of quasi - but the announcement came down that the park would close and it
came down just after the member for Cape Breton West chose to chastise the Premier and just after he
chastised the Premier, out comes the announcement, Two Rivers Wildlife Park is going to close.



That minister fired the Nova Scotia Resources Limited chairman James Livingstone and that, Mr.
Speaker, could easily end up costing us, as taxpayers, $1 million because of a lawsuit. So my question is
simply, based on the recent patronage appointments to the Lottery Commission, the Lottery Corporation, the
firing of James Livingstone and I understand to run the budget at the wildlife park costs some $156,000, will
the minister revisit his Cabinet colleagues and come up with the money to run that wildlife park, the only one
in Cape Breton? We heard about Cape Breton, we heard the Minister of Transportation.

 

 

MR. SPEAKER: All right, thank you for the question. We only have one minute left.



HON. DONALD DOWNE: Mr. Speaker, I know the member opposite used to drive a truck for a living
and at one point in time in my life I was a truck driver as well and very proud of it. There was a situation
when the trucks would go down a hill and to catch up speed they used to kick the transmission out of gear,
we called it Mexican overdrive. I believe the member opposite is now in Mexican overdrive. When you go into
Mexican overdrive, as this member is obviously is, it means you are out of control. I can honestly tell you he
is out of control.



Mr. Speaker, the serious issue that he is making allegations that this minister has made a decision
predicated on politics is absolutely irresponsible of the member opposite to allude to that. I would appreciate
an apology to this House and to me as minister for my integrity for the decision that was made. The decision
that was made was not predicated on the misguided impressions the member opposite is trying to bring to this
House. As we all understand it was a very serious decision, one that we as a department have not taken lightly,
one that we realize the impact on the area in regards to the effect it would be and one that is not a very easy
one to make. But under our expenditure control plan, it was part of the overall long-term strategy and, in fact,
we have kept up to the commitment of balancing the budget.



I want to finish by saying one thing, if that member there representing the Progressive Conservative
Party and the members opposite had managed the Province of Nova Scotia the way it should have for the last
15 years, we wouldn’t have to close the park in Cape Breton, we would be able to keep it open. If only they
had managed this province effectively, Mr. Speaker. (Applause)



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



SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!



MR. SPEAKER: Now I don’t know if honourable members are rising to applaud the fact that the time
allotted has expired but if they rise on other matters I will recognize them.



The honourable member for Timberlea-Prospect.



MR. BRUCE HOLLAND: Mr. Speaker, I wonder if you would entertain an introduction this
afternoon?



MR. SPEAKER: By all means.



MR. HOLLAND: It was my pleasure this morning to participate in a tri-Party MLAs panel with the
Nova Scotia Nurses’ Union. They are having a two day conference in Halifax and as part of that conference,
they are here today to meet with their MLAs and talk to them. I was challenged this morning by the members
of the Nurses’ Union to challenge all MLAs in the House to contact and seek out nurses to get their input so
that we can better understand their concerns with regard to health care reform. It gives me great pleasure to
introduce Jean Candy, President of the Nova Scotia Nurses’ Union and many of the other members who are
here to meet with their MLAs. Would you please rise to accept a warm round of applause. (Applause)



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 the Address in Reply to the Speech from
the Throne.



MR. SPEAKER: The motion is that the adjourned debate on the Address in Reply to the Speech from
the Throne be now resumed.



Motion carried.



The honourable member for Halifax Fairview.



MS. ALEXA MCDONOUGH: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to have the opportunity to wrap up my
comments this afternoon in reply to the Speech from the Throne. As some members may recall, those who
may have been paying any attention at all, I used a considerable portion of my allotted time on Tuesday in my
formal Address in Reply to the Speech from the Throne to express my concern about what I believe to be a
fundamental transformation that is taking place in this province and in this country today of a great many of
our basic institutions and, also, an assault on a great many of our very cherished values in this country and
province.



I do so because I believe that that is the biggest challenge that we face in political life today, to
recognize that there is a political agenda, an economic agenda, a social agenda, that is being driven in this
country today and certainly aped by this government that is not in the best interests of working people, that
is not in the best interests of senior citizens, that is certainly not promising for the future prospects of our
youth, but rather is driven by one thing and one thing only. That is driven by greed and by the belief that
private profit should be the main motivational force in human behaviour and should be the main means
whereby we distribute not just the goods and services in our society, but literally the means whereby we
distribute opportunities and rights and protections in our society. I fundamentally reject that notion of a
modern Canada and a modern Nova Scotia.



We have seen such a dramatic reversal by the Liberal Government in Ottawa and by the Liberal
Government in Nova Scotia of so many of its pre-election, pre-1993 election commitments that it is not
surprising a lot of people in this province and in this country today are asking themselves whether we in fact
still live in a democracy. People made a political choice when they were unhappy with that corporate-driven
agenda. When they were unhappy with the Mulroney prescription for Canadians, they made a different choice,
as did the people of Nova Scotia when they rejected the Buchanan-Cameron prescription.



Instead of then seeing the alternative commitments to an alternative set of policies pursued, what
people in this province and this country have seen, to their utter dismay, is an escalation of that corporate
agenda, an escalation of the commercialization of basic human services, an escalation of the downsizing of
the public sector and, frankly, an uncritical embracing of the notion that most of our transactions, most of the
things that people need and value in life, should come to them via the market place.



[3:30 p.m.]



Well, Mr. Speaker, I think that is why you see senior citizens in this province and across this country
today, you see health care workers in this province and across this country today, beginning to wage a major
battle against that agenda and in favour of something more positive, in favour of the belief that we have
something of value in our social programs in this country that is worth defending, that is worth fighting for,
that is worth not just protecting, but expanding upon.



So it didn’t surprise me, Mr. Speaker, when I spent yesterday with the Canadian Pensioners Concerned
at their annual meeting, that those senior citizens made it very clear that they reject that agenda. You know
I think that this government would do well to stop and recognize that those senior citizens are the ones who
remember what it was like when there was no universal health care system. Those senior citizens know that
our universal health care system isn’t free, and that it didn’t just come about because people sat around and
said that we hope somebody will smile on us and favour us with a universal health care system. It came about
because the people of this country said that we believe in a society where we care for one another and we share
our resources and we protect people, not only against the catastrophic effects of illnesses and accidents, but
we believe that finances should not come into the health care transaction, that health care should be provided
in this country as a right and that that is something that distinguishes us from our neighbours to the south.



It was worth fighting to put in place. It only got put in place because people fought long and hard for
it and people are saying we are going to fight to ensure that that remains.



The same concerns were very much echoed today at the Nova Scotia Nurses’ Union Conference on the
Health Care Crisis. Again, Mr. Speaker, it should not be surprising that given the fact that nurses are on the
front line of service delivery, that nurses are the primary health care workers in our system that, perhaps more
than any other occupation, any other profession in our society, nurses are exposed to the entire range of the
population and fully understand what a toll is being taken on people’s lives already because of the erosion of
some of our very basic health services, because of the breakdown of our economic support systems and so on.
So nurses are increasingly politicized and increasingly militant in saying that we will not let this happen to
these services we value, and we will not be victimized in the name of health reform by having an increasing
burden placed upon us to deliver services while we are shown less and less respect, while we are given less
and less resources to work with, and while we are less and less adequately remunerated.



Mr. Speaker, Tommy Douglas, who was the grandfather - if I can put it that way - of modern Medicare
has watched these services be under attack. He watched the fight that took place against them, led, I might
say, by the Liberal Party in Saskatchewan, in the first instance. He understood that it was going to always be
a fight to try to save our health care system from the profits of greed and from those who would choose to
profit from it and from people’s need for basic health care. Those battles have been fought over the years and
those battles are continuing today.



Tommy Douglas once commented that in the circumstance of your health care services being under
attack, in the circumstance of seeing some of the things that you most value in your community being under
attack, you have two choices. One choice you have is to resort to cynicism and despair and say you cannot
really do anything about it. That is what we have seen the Savage Government do in the face of the assaults
on federal transfer funds to enable us to maintain our basic health care system, to enable us to maintain our
post-secondary education system and keep it accessible and to maintain, not only the basic income security
programs, but also the broad range of community service programs on which so many people depend. This
government has virtually given up. It has said, there is really nothing you can do about it.



Several days in a row in this House, we have heard nothing in the way of real substance about what
this government is prepared to do to say there is another way to come at this problem. I think in the process
of giving up that fight, this government has simply indicated to Nova Scotians that it does not deserve the
confidence any more that was expressed in them in 1993 when they themselves went to the electorate and
said, there is an alternate way, we do not believe in that mean-spirited approach that was being promoted and
pursued by the Cameron Government and the Mulroney Government.



Mr. Speaker, the other alternative is that people can fight for what they believe in. I think what you
are going to see as people become more and more aware of the disastrous implications of the Martin Budget
as it works its way through and as this government in fact bows down and pledges allegiance to that budget
and to the values that lie behind it is that people are going to say, we do consider that it is worth fighting
because everything we believe in is under assault.



I want to say, as I conclude my remarks today and as my Leader has already done - it will be no
surprise to my colleagues in the House - indicate that I will not be supporting the Speech from the Throne
which is barren and bankrupt and lacking in any really proactive stance on any of these major problems, I
want to say that I think Nova Scotians should think of the time that lies between now and the next election
as an important opportunity.



I want to put a challenge to Nova Scotians because I think the reason that we find ourselves in this
mess today, to a large extent, is because politics in this province has been practiced in a very cynical way by
politicians and political Parties who would tell people on the election trail that they supported one set of
programs and one set of policies and, when the election was over, revert to supporting precisely the mean-spirited policies that had been rejected.



I also think the electorate have practiced a form of politics that has not necessarily worked for their
best interests because they have tended to always focus on getting a government defeated, in defeating a
government that they were not happy with. I would challenge Nova Scotians to recognize that they can do
better than that in a democracy. They can work to build something they do believe in. They can use the
democratic process to become involved, to participate in deciding what kind of a society they want to live in
and participate in the democratic process to make sure that they translate those choices into something solid
and something concrete and something long-lasting.



Madam Speaker, I will not be supporting the Speech from the Throne and will be supporting the
amendment introduced by my Leader, the member for Sackville-Cobequid. Thank you.



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Premier.



THE PREMIER: (Applause) Let me begin my Address in Reply to the Speech from the Throne by
extending greetings to the residents of my home constituency of Dartmouth South. I would like to thank them
again for the support that they have shown me both in electing me and in the last two years. As most people
here know and it probably emerges regularly, I do have a great fondness for Dartmouth as a resident, a family
physician and former Mayor of Dartmouth, I have the happy experience of living in a vibrant city since I
moved here with my family in the late 1960’s. Let me say that Dartmouth will remain within the municipality
that will emerge from amalgamation.



I would also like to congratulate the member for Halifax Bedford Basin and the member for Shelburne,
who responded in a very fine way when they moved and seconded the Address in Reply to the Speech from
the Throne.  Those who sit on the back benches often don’t get the public attention they deserve. However,
we all know that the individual MLA is the heart and soul of this democratic system and this Liberal
Government owes them all a great debt of gratitude.



Madam Speaker, this is without doubt a very important juncture in Nova Scotia’s history because we
are seeing the rebirth of a province which up until two years ago was tittering on the edge of bankruptcy.
Fifteen years of mismanagement by the former administration had left the people of this province with a
feeling of hopelessness, an attitude that was pessimistic and a faith in government that was virtually totally
destroyed. But that was in the past. While a number of those who are responsible still sit opposite, one should
not blame them alone for our misfortunes. Governments in the 1980’s generally failed to recognize the
consequences of policies of uncontrolled spending of whatever stripe they happen to be and what would
happen down the road when we were eventually called upon to pay back the money.



One asks, in an odd sense, did nobody ever think that you would have to pay back that money? Was
it never an issue that some of the people who we see on the opposite side now ever thought of? Yes, the people
of this province did make a change, they made a different choice and they went for reform and change in
response to the remarks made by the member for Halifax Fairview. When this Liberal Government took power
two years ago we accepted the challenge of putting this province back on its feet. If you listen to the
astonishing hysteria that comes across as if this province was totally destroyed in two years, you wonder upon
what planet the honourable member has been spending the last two years. We made changes, some of the
changes if you add up the changes that we have made were, in fact, advocated for years by the Party in which
she was the member. People are now beginning to say it is working and thank God!



Madam Speaker, even when faced with the enormity of the challenge we didn’t just turn our heads,
we didn’t put out heads in the sand, we didn’t just hope that the problem might go away. In the short term,
as we saw from the previous government, that probably was the most political and the most popular way to
go. Liberals do not operate that way. Instead of looking backwards we look forward. Instead of ignoring the
problem, we have done something about it.






[3:45 p.m.]



I don’t really intend to embarrass the members opposite but I think it is important for Nova Scotians
who may be watching and who may have little idea of what state this province was in just to see how bankrupt
the province was left in 1993 by the former government. Just remember this simple fact, that from 1867, when
Confederation started, until 1978, when the last Liberal Finance Minister was in office, this province
accumulated a total debt of about $420 million, about the same size as many other provinces’. That’s $400
million, plus or minus, in 111 years. In the next 15 years, Madam Speaker, while the Tories opposite were
in power, that debt rose to about $8 billion. When we took office in 1993, we discovered, if you want to put
the numbers together and look at them, that the annual deficit that they left us when we took over was more,
in dollar terms, than the entire 111 years from Confederation to when the last Liberal Minister of Finance took
office; more of an accumulation in one year - that was absolutely bewildering.



So what did it mean? Well, for one thing, it meant that this province was at the point where money
was not going to be granted or if it was, it was continually going to be more and more expensive. Sooner or
later, this province had to face the fact that, if we had not taken charge, and we did, in three or four years,
somebody else would. We would be bankrupt and somebody else would. If Nova Scotia, Madam Speaker, was
a private company, we would have been bankrupt and the Tories would have thrown the keys away. However,
this Liberal Government was determined that we would not let that happen. We took control, we made
decisions instead of excuses; interesting comparison, to decide to do things instead of just saying, we can’t.
Just think if the Tory Government had addressed the workers’ compensation bill in 1989 or 1990. The
unfunded liability then was far, far less, probably less than 50 per cent of the $600 million it is now and it
could have been dealt with, but no, excuses, excuses. What we replaced ineptness with was leadership and
we took action.



Madam Speaker, it is probably very true to say that we have not always done the popular things, but
we have done the right things for this province. Shortly after we took office, we developed the plan of fiscal
recovery. I thought it was most interesting that even the Auditor General, who was freely thrown around today
by the Opposition, commented on the fact, on Page 10, I guess, and I quote from the Auditor General, for the
first time, they provide a formal and improved basis upon which to hold Finance accountable for debt
management activities and results. For the first time. Certainly for the first time in 15 years.



It is also very interesting - and I was intrigued to listen to the member for Hants West yesterday and
this may be the revelation of the decade. You really should listen to this. If you missed that yesterday, I
suggest you get Hansard. I quote, if I may, from Hansard, “In fact, we were moving in the right direction, I
would pass on to the member in Opposition, we were moving in that direction in 1993. We had started those
cuts. We had started those things with regard to . . . retirement programs . . .”.



Why did it take them 15 years and then they didn’t do them anyway? I think that is a revelation that
is almost equivalent to Saul on the way to Tarsus. There is deathbed conversion for you, as they fell in the
gutter without any evidence of these things. I thought that was an amazing revelation and I would suggest that
you cut it all out and send it to all your colleagues so they would see this.



So what have we done, Madam Speaker? We have chosen a program, a four year program of fiscal
recovery and it is working. What we do know is that this province in 1996-97 will have a balanced budget for
the first time since 1978. (Applause)



I don’t pretend that those two years have been easy. They have not been easy personally and they have
not been easy for the members of our Party. But what we have had to do is to virtually rewrite the concept of
government as we know it. The changes that we are advocating and dealing with in Health, due to the inspired
leadership of my colleague, the Minister of Health, (Applause) in Education, Municipal Affairs and, of course,
my colleague the Minister of Finance, in terms of the way in which we have handled our financial matters,
(Applause) these are radical changes and we know that the people of Nova Scotia have not liked all the things
we have done. We understand that. But do the people of Nova Scotia understand that if we had not made those
changes, those very significant changes in financing which had to accompany reform, that we would not have
been in the position of being called unpopular, as we are at the moment? These were major decisions that were
brought about because there is a need for reform in Health.



The last government knew, God knows, it even created a task force. That task force, that commission,
told them to do the things that we are doing. The previous Minister of Health sits in this place today knowing
full well that it is fine to build good hospitals, it is fine to build the Valley Regional, it is fine to build, as we
are improving the one in Yarmouth, for instance, which is necessary, and it is fine to do those hospitals, but
did they have the guts to also then say that you have also to deal with, make the changes in the hospitals that
surround those regional hospitals? No way, Madam Speaker, no way at all.



What we have done with these programs, health, education, municipal reform, is to try and use a word
that is of great importance to us, and that is sustainable. Programs are of no value if we can’t sustain them.
We have to sustain them. We have to understand that in the process we have asked a fair bit of many Nova
Scotians. We admit that we made those changes. Rolling back wages for civil servants was not particularly
popular or, if I had my choices, a good one, but it was a lot better than getting rid of 2,000 civil servants, as
we have seen other government have done.



Change is not easy for any of us, but if you look around Nova Scotia today, despite the kind of hysteria
you hear, it is still green in places; there are still roads - although some of them could do with a little more
money, as the Minister of Transportation would tell you - it is still the same place. Politicians who crackle
on about fundamental damage to our province serve us very poorly. There are still fundamental systems in
this place, there are still decent people who are involved and it is not fair to blame them. (Applause) Change
is not easy. It is not easy for any of us, but it was absolutely necessary in order that we can address the debt
and those issues that are of great importance to us.



When we move from the elimination of the deficit to the debt and, obviously, that will take a lot longer
than I will have in this House, we will have more money to spend on programs. Just think of what we can do
if we did not have to spend $0.25 or $0.26 out of every dollar paying the interest on the debt. We are not
paying back the debt, except for our small sinking fund, but we are paying back the interest. If we did not have
that to spend, we could then devote money to programs and we will.



One could argue, I suppose, Madam Speaker, that any Party taking over the reigns of government in
the 1990’s would have to take on the role of cost cutting and I guess that is entirely true. When I sit with my
fellow Premiers and we discuss in a room, you would be hard put, at times, to decide whether one of them was
a Conservative, a Liberal or a New Democrat because everyone is really approaching the target of dealing with
their deficit.



But we, Madam Speaker, like to think that we are a liberal Party and that as such, we have remained
focused under very difficult circumstances on Liberal ideals while dealing with an inherited financial mess.
We believe that we have a responsibility to protect those people who need protection, people who, despite the
financial hardships, need the help from a government that cares. We have faced those financial hardships and
we have been able to maintain to the people of this province, a commitment to helping those who are in need.



Let us compare it with another government out west, the Government of Alberta. There, in the same
year, that government reduced social assistance payments by 5 per cent. We, as a smaller province with much
less fiscal capability, increased social assistance by 2 per cent in the same year that they have reduced it by
5 per cent. (Applause) At a time when we were under considerable pressure to increase taxes, we lowered the
provincial income tax paid by 155,000 lower income Nova Scotians, many of them those seniors who were
referred to earlier on low income. (Applause)



Madam Speaker, this government has also created more than 150 subsidized day care centre spaces
and 50 more are planned for this year. We know, those of us who have worked in day cares and know the
valuable service that they perform, we realize that this is not enough, but it is all we can do at a time when
we do not have the financial resources. What it does mean, that there may be an opportunity for some single
parents to utilize subsidized day care and return to the work force.



In the last session, Madam Speaker, you will also remember that we passed legislation that will make
it more difficult for fathers to ignore court directed maintenance payments, the so-called deadbeat dads bill.



In changes that we have made in the health system, we will continue to ensure, despite the fears that
people have - aggravated, as a rule, by the Opposition - we will ensure that hospital care is available when
hospitalization is required. We give that guarantee. But at the same time, an expanded Home Care Program
that will presumably delight the heart of the member opposite, is one of those very important programs that
we will be moving into to enable those people who want the dignity and comfort of being cared for at home
to have this caring done at home. Remember, the program introduced just before the 1988 election by the last
government was for seniors only. It was not an integrated Home Care Program.



In all of our reforms, this government pledges to uphold the Liberal belief that we have a duty to help
those who are unable to help themselves. (Applause) If there is one good thing that comes out of a recession,
and there may be others but I cannot think of them at the moment, it is that government has to look at how
they do business and they have to try and do it smarter. It has made us look for new ways of doing things.



There used to be the old adage which many of us grew up with; if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Well, this
no longer applies. What we should be saying is, if it isn’t broken we may have to break it. What we mean by
that is, that there are changes that are necessary that perhaps have not been explained well enough to people
but which will produce better systems in this province.



[4:00 p.m.]

 

 

Let me give you an example of one and this was a very topical one that was mentioned by the
gentleman for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley this afternoon in his long and interesting tirade. We build very
good highways in this province. We always have, regardless of what government was in, technical
improvements aside, we have been providing for them, we have been building them and doing them the same
way as we always have done. We finance them by borrowing money each year. There is a problem and the
problem is we can’t afford to build as many highways as we did in the past. So, do we stop just building
highways, Madam Speaker? No, of course not. We look for new and innovative ways of building and
financing highways. In the next few weeks the Minister of Transportation will be unveiling plans for the
completion of Highway No. 104. (Applause)



Due to the tremendous leadership that that minister has shown and the way that he has approached
the department that was something else when he took it over, this partnership that we are talking about would
involve the private sector and private money and it will enable us to replace a very dangerous piece of highway
in a relatively short period of time, which I am sure everybody in Nova Scotia will appreciate.



The same is true of our educational system. If we want more money spent in the classroom where it
belongs then government has to accept the challenge of getting better ways of spending our limited resources.
It is also true with home care as I mentioned earlier. What I mean is that we have had to be inventive, we have
had to think because of the hard, economic times and we have had to be inventive in ways that would never
have occurred to some of the people who preceded us. Finding new ways of dealing with old problems.
Taxpayers are saying to us, yes, we want these but we also want you to spend less, that’s the paradox that we
are asked to deliver regularly.



I am proud to say that this Liberal Government, short of reinventing the wheel, will continue to find
new ways of governing and financing. In closing, I would suggest that all Nova Scotians are beginning to
recognize that what this government has done is the right thing to do. After two years of reform and setting
the processes in place, we are now moving into the consolidation phase of our agenda for renewal and we
believe and the evidence is there, that things are improving. We are managing the limited resources of this
province and we are meeting the challenges that face us.



What’s more, for the first time in many years, we are planning for the future. Above all, this
government is demonstrating a courage and a determination that has been absent from this province for far
too long. I said earlier that we have asked a lot of the people of Nova Scotia, we have, because we believe that
the people of Nova Scotia wish to participate. We have asked our citizens to be patient while we went about
doing what was necessary to restore order and sanity in this province. People are now starting to see the
results. More and more citizens are walking up to me, as they are to other members of the Liberal caucus and
saying, stay the course, you are doing the right thing and don’t change. (Applause)



Over the next two years, we will consolidate as I have said. We have laid the framework of the House.
We put the basement in. We have got the walls and the roof. Now we are going to fill in those bits that give
it the appearance of a good house and one that performs a function that it should.



When we took office, Madam Speaker, the previous administration had left us with what might be
charitably described as a big empty hole in the ground. Little sign of life in the hole except for a little steam
that comes, and of course, a lot of hot air. Into that empty hole this government has put a foundation, erected
walls and put on a roof. Over the next two years, we will put the finishing touches to that structure and the
result will be a better place and a much happier place for people in Nova Scotia. A place in which to live and
bring up their families.



Like many Nova Scotians, I too, have children who have gone down the road. Fifty percent of my
family is in Toronto. I know many of us, and I know they would, certainly like to come back. The choice, for
instance, of CIBC and our working with them to get these 500 odd jobs is the kind of job that will keep our
children in this province as opposed to going down the road. (Applause)



We do not, as a government, claim total credit for what happened in 1994 because obviously the
economy was improving. What we do claim credit for is putting in all those changes that made it better and
easier for the small business, which is the backbone of this province, to thrive and do better. It is small
business and medium sized business that will deliver the goods in this province. It is 1994, 1995 and 1996
that will see the continuing upsurge in our economy, continuing to see the benefits of programs that we have
laid out, programs that do give people an incentive to remain in this province. I can tell you and the people
of this province that we will stay the course. (Applause)



As I said earlier, it has not been an easy two years, but let nobody think that we are finished or let
nobody think that the job is finished. We have started well with the aid of my colleagues and friends who are
working with us. We will provide for Nova Scotia a better place in which we live, a better place for our
children and our children’s children to live and we will do it with the people of Nova Scotia. Thank you very
much, Madam Speaker. (Applause)



MADAM SPEAKER: The honourable Deputy Government House Leader.



MR. ALLISTER SURETTE: Madam Speaker, it gives me great pleasure to rise this afternoon and to
reply to our government’s Speech from the Throne, to follow our Premier and to take some time to discuss
matters of concern to the constituency I represent.



Madam Speaker, I wish you the best in your new position. I would like to extend greetings to all,
especially to the fine staff here at the House of Assembly. It is also an honour and a privilege to reply to
Lieutenant Governor John James Kinley’s first Speech from the Throne addressed by His Honour.



A Speech from the Throne delivered by a new Lieutenant Governor should inspire Nova Scotians with
a new level of pride. The performance of our economy has outstripped that of most provinces here in Canada.
Our government is finally reining in our deficit. It is now time to stand up and be counted. It is now time to
praise the good people of Nova Scotia for their effort and sacrifice. It is now time to look to success not failure.
(Applause)



Madam Speaker, times of transition are not easy ones. We still face many challenges. Despite
government’s fiscal challenges and the many difficulties faced in all coastal communities in eastern Canada,
there are still healthy signs in the fishery in southwestern Nova Scotia. Of course that includes the
constituency of Argyle. However, that is not to say we do not face challenges in the traditional fishery, as a
result of quota cuts, or challenges in the herring industry last year, due to undersized fish, for example.



As you know, Madam Speaker, the fishery is a major and still vibrant component of the local economy
in Argyle. The diversification of interests and species caught in southwestern Nova Scotia is ensuring a
healthy and, indeed, sustainable fishery. Traditional fisheries like lobster, scallops, herring and the
groundfishery, provide employment and hard-earned income for the people of the riding of Argyle. The hard
work builds a character of strength and independence that is a solid foundation upon which to grow.



Madam Speaker, our ability to provide greater opportunity for the younger generation must draw upon
this strength I speak of. The promise of aquaculture can help provide greater opportunity for our young people
in the riding I represent. Aquaculture is just one of the areas that enterprising people are striving to develop.
I trust our government will ensure that it reaches its full potential. I would like to thank the provincial
Minister of Fisheries for diligently serving the entrepreneurs entering this new sector.



Madam Speaker, there are signs of success in other non-traditional species. Monkfish and crabs are
two examples that quickly come to mind. As well, in Wedgeport, for example, Ocean Pride Fisheries is the
site of an innovative dogfish project whereby dogfish are being prepared and preserved for Boreal Laboratories
of Ontario. Not only does this provide a diversified fishery, it provides a chance for economic self-sufficiency.
It also helps ensure that the fishery is not dependent on a single species. These are examples of diversification
in the fishery and the success of the fishery in southwestern Nova Scotia to date.



Madam Speaker, as I have stated, the strength of our people is the foundation upon which we can build
a community-based economy. People do not want to be dependent on government. People in the constituency
of Argyle have a long tradition of strength, based upon community interdependence, not dependence.



Madam Speaker, communities must take control and are taking control of their own destinies.
Government cannot dictate solutions; solutions to economic challenges must come from the people. In this
respect, community-driven economic development is truly democratic.



The shipbuilding industry is another prime example of innovation from the community level.
Marketing has become a critical factor in whether a company thrives or fails. Builders in the riding of Argyle
are exporting their product to Newfoundland, Labrador, New Brunswick, the Arctic and the United States.
In order to compete, innovation has become the key to survival. Different designs and faster boats are the
demands of the industry.



Madam Speaker, I have spoken many times in the past on the subject of tourism. Tourism in Nova
Scotia is one of our strongest industries but the potential for growth in southwestern Nova Scotia is enormous.
Tourism’s untapped potential is beginning to be capitalized upon by the people of Argyle.



Madam Speaker, through you I am happy to report to the members of this House that the Wedgeport
area will soon be home to an Historic Tuna Fishing Museum/Interpretive Centre and Acadian Cultural Centre.
Construction is presently underway.



As you probably do remember, Madam Speaker, a resolution was passed in the House last year on June
8, 1994, declaring Wedgeport the historic sport tuna fishing capital of the world. If you do remember,
Wedgeport has hosted International Tuna Cup Matches, Intercollegiate Game Fish Seminars, witnessed the
exploits of the famous blue fin tuna fishing fleet of Wedgeport and was recognized world-wide as the world’s
best tuna fishing spot, for 40 years, since 1935. (Applause)






[4:15 p.m.]



Madam Speaker, some members of this House toured the Tusket Islands last fall as part of our duties
on the Resources Committee. Tours of the beautiful Tusket Islands will soon be offered as part of this project
in Wedgeport. Projects such as these will undoubtedly enhance the profile of tourism in southwestern Nova
Scotia.



The advantage of the private sector investment in any industry, of course, cannot be overstated.
Construction of a major tourism-related private sector project is well underway in the Village of Argyle, for
example. Ye Olde Argyle Lodge is to cater to tourists, eco-tourists and yachtsmen from around the world.
Madam Speaker, this is a fine example of community economic development and I wish this venture well.
Argyle is finally moving forward to capitalize on this large, untapped market.



I am also pleased to report, Madam Speaker, that the initiative to establish an historic Acadian village
in the West Pubnico area has taken a new step. Recently, a chairperson to lead a local committee has been
named, as well as a co-chair for the fund raising committee. I wish these two individuals well and trust that
these two committees will be able to move the project forward after years of studying the viability of such a
venture.



Mme. La Présidente, un village acadien historique, ainsi qu’un centre culturel à Wedgeport servent,
pas seulement au développement économique de la région, mais à nous rappeler de notre fierté d’être
acadien/acadienne.



Enplus, je suis fier que le Collège de l’Acadie reconnait l’importance du tourisme. Pour les deux
dernières années, le Collège offre un cours en tourisme et hospitalité.



La technologie informatique et l’éducation à distance sont combinées au Collège de l’Acadie. C’est donc
possible, sur le réseau du Collège, de liaser à, ou, si vous voulez, approcher nos communautés acadiennes
dispersées géographiquement à travers de la province. C’est aussi possible de se rejoindre à d’autres
communautés à travers du monde.



Madame La Presidente, pour assurer la survie de notre culture acadienne, c’est impératif que nos
enfants aillent accès à l’éducation de leur choix. Le Livre Blanc du ministère de l’éducation et culture nous
présente un défi à propos du système d’éducation pour nos régions acadiennes/francophones.



A cet égard, comme vous le savez Mme. La Presidente, je suis fier d’accepter la nomination, par le
premier ministre, au poste de conseiller spécial en matière de gestion scolaire acadienne et francophone
(Applause) pour diriger la formation d’une nouvelle structure de gestion.



Madam Speaker, quality health care is a key to stability both in society and the economy at large. The
recent announcement made by the Premier, on behalf of the honourable Minister of Health, concerning the
Western Regional Health Centre, is welcome news to the area. This redevelopment project will ensure a high
quality of regional health care in the southwestern part of this province.



Madam Speaker, I have given an overview of key components to the future prosperity of the riding I
represent. In my estimation, the fishery and tourism are cornerstone industries. These, however, cannot and
must not be the sole pursuits upon which we base our economy.



Information technology initiatives by both government and the private sector are ensuring that
geographic location is no longer a hindrance to growth. Vital transportation links cannot be neglected. The
future of the Yarmouth Airport is vital to any potential development in southwestern Nova Scotia. Air
transportation is as important as are highways to our national transportation infrastructure. This restructuring
of our nation’s airports represents a great deal of concern to the people of southwestern Nova Scotia.



Madam Speaker, the future of the Marine Atlantic connection between Yarmouth and the United States
is also of serious concern to the people of the riding of Argyle. The ferry service not only provides an
important connection to the United States, it is also a marketing tool for all of Nova Scotia, and a viable
means of transporting cargo to and from the United States.



I am of the belief that Nova Scotia is on the brink of an economic renaissance. Attitudes are changing.
If people are not expressing their confidence, at the very least they accept a certain amount of responsibility
for their own destiny. People are willing to confront challenge with an enthusiasm not seen in decades,
perhaps centuries. I consider this to be a sign that Nova Scotia will succeed in the 21st Century.



The greatest challenge we face as elected representatives is to establish confidence in the legislative
achievements of our government. We must exude the confidence I see in the private sector. Our roles as
Members of the Legislative Assembly of the Province of Nova Scotia are under scrutiny. The image of this
House, before I was elected, was not as favourable as it should have been; we have restored a degree of
integrity in government. This by no means is of small measure, it is due to the efforts, of course, of our
Premier and of this great government.



It is with that, Madam Speaker, that I will support and vote for the Speech from the Throne.



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



MR. BROOKE TAYLOR: I am pleased to rise in response to the Throne Speech and please let me say
congratulations to you on your new position as Deputy Speaker. I wish you well in that position and my
pleasure is certainly enhanced because you are in the Chair, and I sincerely hope that I am able to make that
comment as the session progresses.



I represent the constituency of Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley, an extremely large geographical area
and one which more people travel through in the course of the year than any other constituency in all of Nova
Scotia. This, of course, is because the Halifax International Airport is situated in the constituency of
Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley. The constituency stretches into eastern Halifax County and includes
southern Colchester County down and into and including Lower Truro. Lower Truro, with a population of
approximately 950, and Old Barns, with a population of approximately 230 people are situated at the Head
of Cobequid Bay which is where rich, broad and level expanses of dyke salt-marsh adjoin many of the districts
around Truro and produce bumper crops of hay on an annual basis.



From Old Barns you can take a scenic road and travel along to Princeport, then follow the
Shubenacadie River to the Town of Stewiacke and then to Green Oaks. Going to the other end of Truro, you
can re-enter the great constituency of Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley - because you will be just coming out
of the constituency of Truro-Bible Hill - via the Glooscap Trail on Route 2 and head towards Hilden and
Brookfield along with the communities of Middle Stewiacke, Otter Brook, the beautiful Upper Stewiacke
Valley, the Stewiacke Cross Roads, Middle Stewiacke, all situated in, as I have stated, the beautiful Stewiacke
Valley.



For centuries, this region was the prime location of the Mi’kmaq Indians who fished its streams and
hunted in its dense forest. If you ever want to do a side excursion, Madam Speaker, visit the natural land-bridge, accessible by foot and across private lands on Dawson Mountain at Upper Stewiake. At the base of
the cliff, just to the west of the natural bridge, a small stream flows into a cave and works its way through
many feet of limestone to emerge at the bridge. You then reach Burnside, the rural upland section of Upper
Stewiacke which becomes Burnside Park, a picnic area with waterfalls. It is beautiful, beautiful country.



Another area in my constituency is the Town of Stewiacke. The Town of Stewiacke has approximately
1,200 people. It is located on the Stewiacke River and is situated essentially halfway between the equator and
the North Pole. Although one might hear some argument on this, I certainly have the evidence, I guess, the
information to back up that claim.



In season, the Stewiacke River offers smelt, gaspereau, shad, bass, trout and even salmon. The river
is also popular for canoeing. One spot I would like to mention is Caddell Rapids situated on a bluff
overlooking the Shubenacadie River. This particular area attracts a large number of bald eagles during the
winter months. The birds fish for tom cod which are trapped on ice pans in the river estuary. If you visit this
area, an interpretive sign or, at least, the last time I was in this area there was a sign and the sign was telling
of the Riverside eagles.



South of Stewiacke via the side roads is Coldstream and it is located between West St. Andrews at Gays
River. Coldstream is the site of a former gold mining camp dating back to 1864. One can also visit Wittenburg
Mountain in southwestern Colchester County. It is a hilly area, southeast of Stewiacke with a hiking trail that
follows an old logging road ideal for family outings and for cross country skiing when, of course, in season.



As for the Halifax County portion of my constituency, I encourage you to visit such places as Gays
River and the beautiful Musquodoboit Valley including Meaghers Grant, Dutch Settlement and Cooks Brook.
Meaghers Grant, incidentally, was settled by loyalists and Truro area families.



Madam Speaker, tourism along the Eastern Shore is a gigantic revenue generator. The Antigonish-Eastern Shore Tourism Association, or sometimes called AESTA, with businesses in my constituency is
responsible for 700 and 400 spinoff jobs every year. You know, different times we talk to the people in the
tourism industry and regardless of different members’ opinions in this House, the information that I hear is
that people are quite opposed to this government establishing casinos. They still feel that much of the potential
that is in this province respecting our tourism potential will not be utilized, will not be realized and, as some
people have suggested, nothing that is morally wrong can ever be politically right.



Many times people suggest to us, well do not lay your moral views, do not bring down your moral
views on us with respect to casinos and things that you believe in. But I think, Madam Speaker, you would
agree with me that many of us derive our views from deeply held religious convictions and we would be untrue
to our faiths and to ourselves to deny this. The estimated tourism industry payroll for this area is $14 million
direct and $9 million in spinoffs.



Now, Madam Speaker, I would like to talk a little bit about the Hilden Anniversary. I want to take a
moment to congratulate the Community of Hilden who are celebrating their 100th Anniversary this year.
There are numerous celebrations planned and there has even been a history book printed outlining numerous
events planned in the community in the year 1995. Events planned for this year include a firemen’s fun day,
pork chop barbecue slated for late May, an art exhibit, an old fashioned garden party in June with the major
celebration of the year slated for July with Hilden Old Home Days running from July 16th through the 23rd.



It is my hope that members of this Legislature will be able to make it down to Hilden in Colchester
County some time during this event and attend part of the community’s 100th birthday celebration. The
honourable Leader of the New Democratic Party would like to know the dates of the Hilden Old Home Days.
They run from July 16th through the 23rd.



Now, Madam Speaker, I would like to speak for a few moments on the mastodon. The mastodon is,
of course, a replica of a prehistoric creature and (Interruption)



MADAM SPEAKER: Order please.



MR. TAYLOR: Thank you, Madam Speaker. I had the pleasure of attending in early January the
unveiling of the large prehistoric mastodon in Stewiacke. Entrepreneur Bill Hay came up with the idea of
having such a replica. Now the member for the Eastern Shore suggests that that replica was built in the
Eastern Shore and I have no way of knowing whether it was or not, but I take his word for it that the replica
was in fact built on the Eastern Shore.



Bill Hay is the owner of several successful businesses in the area. Just off one of the busiest stretches
of highway in the province on the Highway No. 102 stands the majestic mastodon. The Town of Stewiacke
and their council and the South Colchester Development Association is very hopeful, as am I that the
mastodon will bring many more people to the area and generate an interest in the community.



[4:30 p.m.]



Also planned is the construction of two buildings, to be known as Mastodon Ridge, and they will
concentrate on Nova Scotia products and crafts and will also contain a permanent home for the Stewiacke
Tourist Bureau.



Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley is also known for its agriculture. Agriculture in various local
communities allows us to share our history and pride as well as share the agriculture industry with those
people around us. The most recent agriculture statistics available show that there are approximately 160 farms
in Halifax County, generating just over $13 million in agriculture production on an annual basis. Now,
granted, some of these farms are small and some are also very big. For example, did you realize there were
24 farms with total gross farm sales of between $100,000 and $250,000 and another nine farms with total
gross farm receipts of $250,000 or more? The agriculture industry has witnesses tremendous change in the
past few years. I am very much aware of that change, having worked on the family dairy farm for a number
of years. I fully support the Nova Scotia Federation of Agriculture and their comments that, without accepting
and adapting to change, the agriculture industry would not exist and there would be no hope of competing.






We also support that it is better to be a leader with new technology, rather than to be a follower. I also
happen to believe that, despite the vast technical changes that we are facing, practically on a daily basis, Nova
Scotia’s rural way of life must be enhanced and developed for the well-being of all Nova Scotians. Across
Nova Scotia, the dairy industry, which I might add is very big through Colchester County as well, and
especially the Colchester end of my constituency, remains the most important cash receipt, with an average
annual value of nearly $85 million, followed closely by poultry and eggs at some $63 million.



The constituency of Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley is widely known across the province for its
exceptional number of people involved in the agriculture industry. There are a total of 633 dairy farms in
Nova Scotia. You only have to look at the different farms throughout the constituency to see the tremendous
impact agriculture has in the Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley.



Recently the unveiling of the federal budget saw the Feed Freight Assistance Subsidy being terminated,
along with the Maritime Freight Rates Act and the subsidy offered to dairy producers. The elimination of the
Feed Freight Assistance Subsidy will hit pork and poultry producers across Nova Scotia especially hard. Feed
prices are expected to increase between $8,000 to $10,000 annually for hog producers and a startling $25,000
per farm for poultry producers. The elimination of the dairy subsidy, combined with the Feed Freight
Assistance Subsidy cut, will mean an added cost to the average Nova Scotia dairy producer of some $3,500
a year, a substantial amount of money. There are very significant costs to be imposed all at once upon the
farming community.



The elimination of all these subsidies, so very important to the agriculture community, reminds me
of a story, Madam Speaker. A guy who quite a few years ago borrowed rather heavily on his pig farm ended
up going to see his banker one afternoon. The man told the bank manager that he could not meet his note for
$8,000 and that note fell due on the following Wednesday. He couldn’t meet the date because of the problems
with his feed supply and that ended up costing him additional money. The farmer said, sir, you will have to
give me an extension. I can’t give you an extension, said the banker, the feed supply problem has hurt all pork
producers and you simply will have to pay your note off on Wednesday. The farmer said to the banker, I don’t
think you understand the problem. The farmer asked the banker, were you ever in the pork business? The
banker said, no, and the man said well, starting next Wednesday, you will be.



Madam Speaker, I would like to speak about a very serious concern, a very serious topic now and that
is about forestry. The Minister of Natural Resources seems to get quite defensive and quite annoyed when I
attempt to take him to task for the very ineffective job he is doing as the Minister of Natural Resources, but
there is a very large number of concerned individuals in Nova Scotia’s forest industry. They are concerned
about just where the industry will be five years from now.



AN HON. MEMBER: I thought he was getting transferred.



MR. TAYLOR: Well, the minister thought he was getting transferred, but when the Premier fiddled
with his deck there a little bit, he found fit to leave the minister in there. And it might have been irresponsible
if the Premier had shifted him at this time, although my support for the minister is starting to wane.



AN HON. MEMBER: Give him a chance to redeem himself.



MR. TAYLOR: Give him a chance to redeem himself. The federal-provincial forestry agreement has
expired. Woodlot owners want to know just when or if they will have to begin laying off people, as a result
of the expiration of the forestry deal. There is considerable concern over the actual amount of wood being
harvested and we have been told that Nova Scotia exports are up some 4.5 per cent because the industry is
being over-harvested. To ensure this does not continue, the minister . . .



HON. DONALD DOWNE: A question, Madam Speaker, I would like to know if the member opposite
has any detailed information that he would like to table in the House in regard to those numbers that he just
referred to in regard to exports and the types of exports we are talking about and how they were calibrated?



MR. TAYLOR: Madam Speaker, I do appreciate the Minister of Natural Resources looking for some
direction from the Opposition. It is something he should have been asking for long before this. I do have some
statistics and some numbers. I do not know if I will be able to come up with legislation to ensure that our
forestry sustains, but I do have numbers indicating that thousands and thousands of cords of wood-fibre are
leaving the province. I certainly will try to encourage the minister to play a more proactive role, and I note
the minister is on his feet, Madam Speaker, and I certainly will give way to the minister again.



MR. DOWNE: Just again to try to put some credibility to the discussion we are having here, that the
honourable member opposite is alluding to; in regard to the specific information, it is one thing to talk about
rhetoric and hearsay, the other is to have some substantial factual information which we are, as a department,
endeavouring to acquire now, under my direction some months ago, in regard to the export.



Secondly, in regard to the legislation, I think the honourable member opposite is possibly misleading
the House. I believe if he read Hansard, he would refer to the fact that he was talking about the export of
product and why is that not curtailed? I indicated to the honourable member opposite, I believe, that the export
of products from the province, inter-provincially, there is no legislation, there is no ability, to my knowledge,
to be able to curtail that under the existence of unilateral free trade.



I indicated to the member opposite, if he knew of any type of legal way, or legislative way, that would
be legal in the courts of this country, to be able to curtail the amount of product inter-provincially travelling
and trading on a free-market basis, that he would bring that forward and I would entertain to look at it. My
lawyers, who I have discussed it with, and other members who are familiar with the Constitution of Canada
and the unilateral trade that we have in Canada, there are no provisions that I am aware of. I would like this
honourable member opposite, when he is addressing the House, to realize the importance of this fine
institution, that honesty and integrity are important and when he is referring to certain aspects that have
allegedly been stated, that he use the proper context in which they were stated.



MADAM SPEAKER: I will remind the honourable members that we are not in Question Period. We
are on the Address in Reply to the Speech from the Throne and I will add two minutes to the honourable
member’s time.



MR. TAYLOR: Madam Speaker, you are a very fair Speaker. Now, the Minister of Natural Resources
asked a question and I am not sure just how - oh, he is not leaving the Chamber, I see. He is just going to take
a back seat so he can hear me better, I understand.



MR. ROBERT CARRUTHERS: I can hear you well enough.



MR. TAYLOR: Oh, the honourable member for Hants East can hear me. But nonetheless, I do
appreciate the minister’s concern but I am still convinced, as most people are in the industry, that actions
speak much louder than words.



As I suggested before, the information we have, and we have reliable sources and we probably have
the same source that that minister has. The minister knows full well that the annual allowable cut in all the
counties across the province is not being monitored as closely and as completely as it could be. The minister
knows full well. For example, in Hants County, the annual allowable cut was exceeded by some 90 per cent
to 100 per cent. The minister knows that. There is nothing in legislation that controls the annual allowable
cut. Perhaps you could put something like that into a piece of legislation.



The information we have is that Nova Scotia (Interruption) No, at this time I won’t take any more
questions, Madam Speaker.



AN HON. MEMBER: Come on, Brooke, take the question.



MADAM SPEAKER: The honourable member has the floor.



MR. TAYLOR: Is it going to be brief?



MADAM SPEAKER: I would remind the members not to be speaking back and forth on the floor but
to direct their questions through the Speaker’s Chair.



HON. DONALD DOWNE: It is a simple question to the honourable member opposite. Is he suggesting
that we legislate private landowners for their ability to export out of the Province of Nova Scotia, yes or no?



MR. TAYLOR: Madam Speaker, I would have to say at this time, no. But as that honourable member
full knows, there is a lot of Crown (Interruption) Well anyway, I know the minister is busy and he will be back
in shortly. What I am concerned about is sustainable management, to ensure Nova Scotia’s forest industry does
not go the way of the cod fish or the dinosaur.



I am the Critic for Natural Resources for the Progressive Conservative caucus. As frustrating as it has
been getting answers from the minister on the industry, and it has been something like trying to pull horses’
teeth, and I have from time to time tried to pull a horse’s tooth, but only when I was younger. Sometimes you
have an old (Interruption) Well, anyway, we won’t get into the horses’ teeth.



I will continue nonetheless, in spite of the profound and insincere cooperation that I am receiving from
the minister, I will continue to pursue him during Question Period in this session of the Legislature. Nova
Scotians deserve, want and expect answers on the forestry of this province. Approximately 22,000 direct and
indirect jobs here in Nova Scotia are attributable to the forest industry, 22,000 jobs.



Let’s talk a little bit about the harvesting of wood. Madam Speaker, I am curious if the Minister of
Natural Resources can honestly answer, if he were to be asked, how much wood is leaving Nova Scotia daily?
Or, if he were to be asked, how much is being taken from individual counties?



If one were to look at the 1994 Forest Production Survey, and I referenced this survey during Question
Period, it is a publication of the Department of Natural Resources and, incidentally, it has the minister’s name
attached to it. That report suggests, for example, that 88,926 board feet of lumber, both sawn and round, is
leaving Halifax on an annual basis.



Madam Speaker, I say that is completely erroneous, it is nothing more than a bunch of bunk. However,
those facts are not backed up by the real picture. The department is saying 88,000 board feet left recently in
one day.



Now, if you can comprehend these numbers, and perhaps the minister - I know he is out watching the
monitor somewhere - there is a total of 5,600 cords that left Halifax County via three operations in one day,
5,600 cords of wood. Those operations were Conform, Coastal and Goodwood. That is 5,600 cords a day. I
know this for a fact and I can share that information with the minister.



Now, the department will turn around and tell us that only 88,000 board feet left the county last year.
That is impossible because 5,600 cords are leaving per day. Now until we had the rail strike, 100 cords a day
were leaving Hants County at the railway yard in Windsor. Scott Maritimes is taking 600 cords a day while
6,000 cords were being hauled out of Stora Forest Industries in Port Hawkesbury. So, simple mathematics will
tell us that the survey that the Department of Transportation has produced, which has the minister’s name
attached to it, is, at best, erroneous.



Now, I have no problem with people who want to make money in the forest industry and I suggest it.
I suggested, I do believe in free-enterprise and a free-enterprise system and I think it must be allowed to
flourish. But, Madam Speaker, I want the free-enterprise system to flourish many years down the road. Unless
the Minister of Natural Resources takes the bull by the horns, then it is simply going to go the way of the
fishery.



He must implement a reforestation policy that will ensure the survival of Nova Scotia’s forest industry.
He must ensure the future of forest land for Nova Scotia’s private woodlot owners. Fifty-two per cent of all
forest land in Nova Scotia is owned by the small, private woodlot owner. They are proud, hardworking
individuals and deserve to know what the Minister of Natural Resources and this Liberal government have
in store for them.



[4:45 p.m.]



To date, as far as I am concerned, he has turned his back on that industry and, Madam Speaker, they
deserve more. No question, there has been an explosive demand for wood and, to date, in 1995, I do not see
it lessening a little bit, not one iota. We simply have to ensure the red spruce does not go the way of the
northern cod. I cannot stress this enough.



The Speech from the Throne said, my government was active in promoting sustainable development
and sound stewardship of our natural resources. Now, if the government is practising sound stewardship, I
would hate to run into anyone who is not following sound management policy. In case this government does
not realize it, marketing of the forest industry is not the issue, marketing is not the problem. But yet, the
Minister of Natural Resources, both ministers, federally and provincially, tell us that they are going to focus
on marketing. We do not need any more marketing. We need to be sure that the resource sustains, the resource
we have today, Madam Speaker.



MR. ROBERT CARRUTHERS: A question, Madam Speaker. I am a touch confused because I am
listening very attentively to the remarks of my friend and am a bit confused. He points at this 52 per cent of
the forestry lands are owned by private woodlot owners and he supports private industry and he realizes that
marketing is not the issue now. I assume he realized that a number of years ago we could not sell the wood
in the counties that he referred to. I am sure the member for Hants West will back it up. He mentioned Hants
County. So I am speaking for Hants East and I am sure the member for Hants West could ask the same thing.
We could not sell our wood at one point.



Now what exactly is the member suggesting? That we curtail when we have a boom in the forest
products market, curtail the industry so it cannot sell its products, so the same 52 per cent cannot market their
product. Is that what he is saying now? I am not clear. What is he trying to say? That we do something to stop
these 52 per cent woodlot owners from finally being able to sell their product because there is a boom. A lot
of people in my district work in this industry and I am not going to do anything to curtail it, I can tell you.



MR. TAYLOR: Madam Speaker, I thank the member for the question. I should tell the member that
the constituency of Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley has eight large sawmills, the most sawmills of any
constituency in Nova Scotia. Right now, five of those eight mills are having a problem getting resource. They
are having a problem getting logs. They have all kinds of market and yet the federal and this Liberal
Government says, we are going to refocus on market. Marketing is not the problem. Exporting the product
is not the problem. The problem is ensuring that the resource sustains.



I am asking the minister and I am asking this Liberal Government to put a policy in place that will be
fair to all the partners, whether it is the sawmill operators, whether it is the woodlot owner-operators, the
group ventures, or whether it is the private woodlot owner that is not in any program. What I am asking this
government to do is to put a program, whether it is wood check-off, a levy, whatever you want to call it, but
he has got to come up with a plan. It is a serious concern.



The minister had a meeting up in Truro and talked about health reform and he talked about education
reform and he talked about going to the table, down in the small room with the big table, and trying to get
his share of money for the Department of Natural Resources. But we all have to understand that education and
health don’t evolve by themselves. They are not self-sufficient. Our natural resources play a vital role and they
are interdependent on one another. It is important that that minister take a lead role. He has got to come up
with a policy and he has got to come up with it as soon as possible, because anything at this stage will be
eleventh hour.



At that meeting up in Truro, which I had the pleasure of attending, and I believe the honourable
member for Colchester North was there, Madam Speaker, the minister suggested, actually the federal member
for Central Nova, who was the chairperson of the Natural Resources Committee said she went to the Minister,
Anne McLellan, the federal Minister of Resources and asked her for more funding for forestry. The minister
came back with an emphatic: no, there will be no more money going in to these forestry co-operative
agreements. That is what they are, they are agreements, they are not a subsidy, they are not a grant. I have
the ATI consultant’s report and I know the minister has a copy of it - I would be pleased to share it with
anybody. That $98 million agreement that was signed by the previous federal and provincial Tory
Governments was worth $398 million to the provincial economy. It is in black and white, the minister has
it. So it is not a subsidy, it is not a grant, it is money that is invested and it is invested not only for us but for
our children and for our children’s children and so on.



AN HON. MEMBER: We’ll sign it. This government will sign it.



MR. TAYLOR: You will sign it but your federal counterparts won’t sign it with you. (Interruptions)
You asked a question about marketing and I was just trying to provide you with a little bit from my
perspective. The issue is sound management and it is sound management of our forest industry so we will
have one for future generations. Surely, it is not that difficult an issue to comprehend.



I would like to talk a little bit about the Emergency Measures Organizations and 911. Madam Speaker,
many members must have heard recently about a very unfortunate and tragic incident in Upper Stewiacke,
where a couple’s home caught fire and they attempted to reach their volunteer fire department yet ended up
with a busy signal. They want 911. It is an emergency number used so people can phone in the event of such
an emergency as your house catching fire or someone is ill or someone is injured or someone is sick.



The Opposition, including my honourable colleague and the critic for EMO for Pictou West has
discussed this issue with the minister. I debated the issue in this Legislature in December of last year and on
that day the then Minister of Environment was absolutely no help with the information he provided on his
government’s plan to implement such a system as 911. Incidently, I should tell you that the 911 system is
essentially a duplicate system whereby if one wire, for example happens to be cut off - backhoe digging or
something like that there is another line that is in place, it is a duplicate system. It is certainly much more
complex than that but it is something that is vitally important. It is vitally important not only in rural Nova
Scotia it is important in the more urban areas too.



During my debate and discussion last fall the Minister of Transportation emphatically stated that that
day that the rural fire departments would not have to worry about additional costs with the formation of high-tech radio network. The minister, I remember, for Richmond assured us at that time fire departments upon
the installation of an integrated trunk mobile radio network in this province, all they would have to do is
install a black box. I have copies of Hansard to back up what the minister said. He said the black box which
is basically a converter, the various people and departments would be able to utilize the equipment that they
presently have by putting this black box in place.



A tender has been let through the Department of Transportation and Communications on such a
network and I am pleased that a tender has been let. As of this date I don’t know if it has been awarded but
Nova Scotians are still waiting for 911. When will it be installed and can we be confident that just because
the Minister of Transportation and the then Minister responsible for EMO went to Louisiana to see a certain
system with Louisiana Light and Power, that it is the system that we want and the system that will work here
in Nova Scotia? Can we be confident in what those members are telling us?



The previous government had spent funds on the most advanced 911 emergency telephone system in
continental North America. In fact, we introduced legislation to address this. Nova Scotians want 911. When
will this number be able to be used? Nova Scotians want and deserve to know.






We would like to talk a little bit about transportation and transportation issues. The Speech from the
Throne mentions that twinning of Highway No. 104, between Masstown and Thomson Station, will proceed
via a private/public sector partnership. Does the government have any plans to put Nova Scotia’s share of the
$326 million in federal funding towards the twinning of Highway No. 104 between Masstown and Thomson
Station? Despite a lot of questioning, the Minister of Transportation has yet to provide me with a
straightforward answer as to precisely when construction on the twinning of Highway No. 104 will be actually
completed.



Mr. Speaker, in light of the delay in twinning Highway No. 104 between Masstown and Thomson
Station and the allocation of funds from this project to the Fleur-de-lis Trail in western Cape Breton and it
was, in fact, disturbing to have my worst fears confirmed today, but I feel somewhat vindicated because
(Interruption). Yes, they were confirmed by the Auditor General, because I suggested . . .



AN HON. MEMBER: Your worst fears?



MR. TAYLOR: My worst fears were confirmed, yes.



AN HON. MEMBER: Well, you have got quite a life.



MR. TAYLOR: Well, anytime you go and take $26 million out of a fund of $55 million that has been
allocated for a much-needed project as the twinning of that highway from Thomson Station to Masstown, I
think it is a fear.



The previous government had committed to having that project finished by the fall of this year. By the
fall of this year, that highway would have been opened. I have no doubt at all that the previous government
would have come through with that. I hate to make this comment, Madam Speaker, but we know, God forbid,
that there is going to be deaths and there is going to be injuries on that existing two lane highway. I would
like to know the number of injuries and the number of deaths from this fall until it is completed. I would like
to know what the number is going to be.



This minister, in spite of what he told, I will not say his front benches, his Cabinet colleagues, what
he is telling his back bench, he took $26 million out of that fund that was supposed to go towards a very
important project.



Madam Speaker, I should enlighten the back bench maybe a little further. I went up to the Public
Tendering Office and it was a cumbersome, somewhat difficult, task and went through the Public Tender
binders from January 1, 1994 to June 1, 1994 and I found that nearly $5 million in contracts were let and were
awarded in the County of Richmond. I ask the honourable back bench members, how many contracts were
awarded in your riding? The numbers speak for themselves. If you want to go one step further, look at the
electoral boundary map. Look at your ridings and look how many roads, anybody can go and look and see that
many areas have many more kilometres of road than other areas and go look and see where the money is being
spent; in six months, $5 million. (Interruption)



MADAM CHAIRMAN: Would the honourable member take a question?



MR. TAYLOR: From a very honourable senior member, I certainly will.



HON. WILLIAM GILLIS: I want to ask the honourable member, has he gone back and pored over
those for 15 years in Opposition, the speeches, I made, talking about geography and where the roads were
paved or were not paved, including not paved in Antigonish. Have you been reading those? (Interruption)



MR. TAYLOR: I will attempt to answer that question. Mr. Speaker, welcome back to a reenactment
of Question Period, only it is in reverse fashion this time. You know this government talks and talks about
15 years. They keep talking about it. (Interruption)



Mr. Speaker, I am attempting to answer the question. When this government was campaigning to be
elected in May 1993, and they campaigned vigorously, they campaigned hard, there was a great brouhaha
from the Minister of Transportation. The Minister of Transportation said, when we get in power everything
will be done by the merit system. I will ask the Liberal backbenchers, how many roads are being paved and
upgraded on the merit system in your riding? Come and tell us how many. Not very many. From January 1
to June 1, 1994, over $5 million was awarded in the Minister of Transportation’s own riding.



Again, this government also came to power saying, we will eliminate patronage. There will be no more
patronage. But there certainly has not been any less, that is for sure. Go take a look. I urge all the Liberal back
bench and I urge the Cabinet Ministers to go look at the electoral boundary map.



[5:00 p.m.]



MR. ROBERT CARRUTHERS: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order. The member stood and he mentioned
there were $5 million of contracts awarded in the minister’s district for highways. He asked us in the back
benches, well now, how many of you can say the same? I can advise you that there were over $12 million in
contracts awarded for the District of Hants East and I am way back here on the back benches.



MR. SPEAKER: With all due deference, that would appear to me more in the nature of an intervention
in the debate, rather than a point of order.



I will allow the honourable member for Colchester-Musquodoboit to continue.



MR. TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, the member for Hants East is a very knowledgeable gentleman and I do
consider him a friend, but I certainly know that he does not understand what the Strategic Highway
Improvement Program is. The tenders that were awarded in that member’s riding - I went up to the public
tendering office and I looked at what was awarded in Hants East and I also saw what was awarded on the
Eastern Shore. Most of the work was out on 100-Series Highway (Interruptions) No, no, not it all. I did not
say it all. My question in response to the Throne Speech is, when will the Minister of Transportation and
Communications determine exactly how much of the $326 million will be made available to Nova Scotia, as
well as the individual amount of funding that will be coming forth on an annual basis (Interruption) I suggest
the Member for Hants East, if he has difficulty getting road work completed in his riding, go talk to the
Minister of Transportation and Communications and tell him how unfair, how disproportionately he is
expending the monies of this province. You go tell him. You go tell him. I’ve been trying to tell him all along
(Interruptions)



MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. Honourable members participating in debate are to address their
remarks through the Chair and not to one another.



MR. TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, in the Throne Speech, the government said, I am quoting here, “We have
adopted new ways of hiring . . .” and “We have replaced decades of patronage with open and fair procedures.”.
That certainly bears repetition. “We have adopted new ways of hiring . . .” and “We have replaced decades
of patronage with open and fair procedures.”. It also says this government “. . . is dedicated to the principles
of fair hiring.” and fair procedures.  I have never heard such trivial nonsense as that bunk in all my life. The
litany of patronage appointments - the members know full well that that was a big brouhaha about nothing,
a platform plank about eliminating patronage that went no further than the Premier. The Premier internalized
that for a little while in his own mind, but he has completely abandoned that. He has completely abandoned
that. The litany of patronage appointments by this government is about a mile high by six miles wide and still
growing.



So, who do they think they are fooling? They are not fooling anybody. The Human Resources
Committee of the Legislature, which . . .



AN HON. MEMBER: Ask Fred MacGillivray.



MR. TAYLOR: Yes, we could ask Fred MacGillivray, we could ask Mr. Fiske, we could ask Mr.
MacNeil. We could ask all kinds of people about the patronage.



Now, the Human Resources Committee of the Legislature, which popped out of the Premier one day
during Question Period, has got to be one of the most useless committees ever struck by this Legislature.
Appointments are still made by Cabinet. You know, that Human Resources Committee, Mr. Speaker, is
nothing more than a Liberal branding iron, or a stamp of approval where the robots all go and approve what
Cabinet does. We know how useless it is, senseless, and in the name of good government, surely they should
abolish the Human Resources Committee. It is nothing more than smoke and mirrors (Interruption)



Now, the newest member of Cabinet is asking questions over there. I know I have to direct my response
to you, Mr. Speaker. He has been down in the little room with the big table and I know he is a fine fellow he
will do a great job, but so far I have been certainly disimpressed with him during his response.



SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!



MR. TAYLOR: The Human Resources Committee is nothing but smoke and mirrors (Interruption).
As for patronage on the roads, the Minister of Transportation, likes to holler about patronage being gone. The
Minister of Transportation he says patronage is gone. Nova Scotians are much smarter than the minister is
prepared to give them credit for.



The amount of work going on in Richmond County compared to the rest of Nova Scotia is truly
disgraceful. The Minister of Transportation should hide his head. Well, maybe, I know he is a busy man. He
is probably watching this on the monitor hiding his head somewhere, but I hope he is hearing it. He has
already warned (Interruption) I did not say he was out of the House. I said he is probably watching it on
monitor.



Now, where is the three year secondary road maintenance plan. There was great talk about this three
year secondary road maintenance plan and the minister has told this House that he would table it by December
1993. Well, we have yet to see the three year secondary road maintenance plan, so while I may be
unimpressed and disimpressed with the new minister, I find the actions of the Minister of Transportation
somewhat disgraceful.



Where is the development and implementation of the comprehensive pavement condition measurement
criteria by which road repair priorities would be determined? Where is that, Mr. Speaker? Nova Scotians are
holding their breath and they cannot hold their breath any longer waiting for this government. This
government has been in power now nearly two years and patronage appointments are running rampant. No
question about it.



While I would like to speak on transportation for a little longer, and I may come back to it if time
permits, Mr. Speaker. I am going to move along to sport and recreation. Being the Opposition Critic, given
the responsibility for Nova Scotia’s Sport and Recreation Commission, I would like to congratulate the new
minister responsible. I also would like to mention that the honourable member hails from the riding of Halifax
Chebucto. I hope I got that correct and I wish him well and I congratulate him on his new position.
(Applause)



I know the minister is aware. Now you lather a person before you shave them so I try (Laughter) I
know the minister is aware that an inordinate amount of money was expended by this government to do an
audit on the Sport and Recreation Commission. A total of 42 recommendations were brought forth and four
of them were rejected including one that recommended a structure for the Sport and Recreation Commission
as a division of a department reporting to a deputy minister. It suggested only one senior management position
could be supported in this structure and I understand that recommendation was rejected.



In a House Order returned to me a couple of weeks ago, it said recommendation No. 32 had been
vetoed by the Priorities and Planning Committee and I also understand that the member is also a member of
that committee. My question is simply this. Why was Recommendation No. 21 which called for Sport and
Recreation to be merged with the Department of Municipal Affairs, thus contributing to the rationalization
of inter-provincial discussions, why was it rejected and why was the previous recommendation rejected?



Perhaps the minister would be interested in providing these answers to me. I would certainly give the
floor to the minister if he could tell me why those very reasonable recommendations were rejected. Obviously,
the minister has not seen those recommendations, but perhaps he would find time and see fit to go and find
out why those recommendations were rejected.



There appears to me to be two major recommendations and those two, of all the recommendations, I
feel, are ones that certainly should merit serious consideration. The government has taken every opportunity
it has been given to talk about how they have reduced the size of government. I hope they were not talking
about Sport and Recreation.



There were 32 employees at the Nova Scotia Sport and Recreation Commission in September 1994 and
now I understand there are 30. So it is a very small, minimal reduction. On top of this, a tremendous amount
of money was spent garnering recommendations and providing a severance package for the former executive
director. Mr. Speaker, I ask, where are the cost savings by this government that they like to talk so much
about?



Mr. Speaker, in my response to the Speech from the Throne, I would like to move again to another
topic. I would like to talk a little bit about the recently tabled, but I guess we can’t get into the specifics of the
bill on amalgamation, the regional municipality, but I understand you are given a certain amount of discretion
in your response to the Throne Speech.






Now, initially, I will say I was quite concerned about amalgamating the four metro municipalities. I
am pleased that the coordinator, Mr. Hayward, did go around and he worked very hard, he held consultation
sessions in many parts of the affected, and now to be effected, municipal units. I asked the coordinator back
on February 26th, in Dutch Settlement, if he would make a recommendation to the Municipal Affairs Minister
that would see the province assume full responsibility for the cost of social services. The coordinator at that
time, and who still is, Mr. Hayward, suggested that yes, he would make a recommendation to the Minister
of Municipal Affairs. He also suggested to me that he couldn’t make a recommendation affecting the other
municipal units on mainland Nova Scotia because he didn’t have that in his mandate, but he would make a
recommendation that the province assume full responsibility for the cost of social services in the soon to be
effected municipal unit.



During the press conference, I got the package that was handed out and nowhere in the package,
especially under the recommendations in that package, did the coordinator recommend to the Minister of
Municipal Affairs that the province assume full responsibility for social services. So what we are going to have
in a new municipal unit is social services provided in a still convoluted manner whereby some people may
try to take advantage of it and play one against the other. It is just not working and it is just not right.



I was pleased to see that the minister adopted the coordinator’s recommendation to implement rural
rates into the legislation, whereby folks in rural districts will not be paying for services they don’t receive.



Now, again, I want to say how disappointed I was in that the coordinator did not recommend, and he
did tell us that he would recommend, that the province assume the full responsibility, so - I guess it would not
be fair to suggest that there was collusion of some kind here - I find it a bit incredulous that in the
recommendations there is no recommendation to include that the very important social service responsibility
be, in fact, devolved to the province.



Now, Mr. Speaker, I would like to talk about an emotional and sometimes controversial subject, and
that is gun control. As the federal Minister of Justice, Allan Rock, talks about in his bill, I just want to make
it clear that I support, as does this caucus, crime control. We have no problem with crime control and we
support what the federal minister is trying to do in tightening up some of the smuggling that is going on,
particularly from the United States into Canada. We support what the minister is saying in Bill C-68 and we
also support that the federal Minister of Justice is at least attempting to increase the penalty for committing
an offence with a weapon. We support those components of the federal Bill C-68.



As you move along in the bill, you come to the registration component of the bill. The provision is
completely unacceptable because it will do nothing to lessen crime in this country. Incidentally, Mr. Speaker,
last year, some $99 million was spent in Canada to register hand guns. I believe in registering hand guns. I
own a hand gun and it is registered. I have no problem saying that, no problem admitting that. (Interruptions)



MR. SPEAKER: Order, please now. One at a time. 



The honourable member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Harbour has the floor.






[5:15 p.m.]



MR. TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, $99 million was spent registering handguns across Canada and only in
about one dozen cases were police able to trace a handgun that had committed an offence. So, when we are
trying to be financially responsible, and both levels of government suggest they are trying to be financially
responsible - and I certainly believe in attacking the deficit, I have to run my own household in a prudent
financial manner - I would not expect anything less of the different levels of government. But registering a
long rifle is a completely unnecessary expense and will do nothing to alleviate crime in this country. If
somebody is shot or somebody is maimed by a long rifle, if somebody is injured (Interruption)



Mr. Speaker, I know you afford us a lot of latitude and sometimes I do listen to the rabbit tracks, but
a long rifle would come in handy against a rabbit.



MR. SPEAKER: Well, if I might intervene in this matter, I might say that on the debate on the
Address in Reply to the Speech from the Throne, it is a long-standing convention that members have freedom
of speech to discuss those issues that they consider to be timely and, therefore, I have no difficulty at all with
this line of discussion.



HON. RICHARD MANN: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. The honourable member has been known
to draw a long bow and this time he is simply using a pistol.



MR. SPEAKER: Very well, the point of order is sustained.



MR. TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, I should tell the honourable members in the House and I will tell you
exactly why some people in rural Nova Scotia have handguns. I will tell the honourable member. Just recently,
Monday, there was an horrific crime committed in Montreal, where two people, an Anglican Priest and his
wife, were beaten to death with a baseball bat. How many members in this House would have any objection
if the 71 year old senior or his wife had a handgun for self-defence in a life and death situation? I defy and
ask any member of this House to stand up and say if the poor, helpless Anglican Priest or his wife had a
handgun in a life or death situation . . .



MR. SPEAKER: If I might intervene there. I would ask that that particular matter perhaps not be
examined in too much detail because the honourable member knew the late Priest personally. I would ask that
you be temperate there.



MR. TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, I will talk about the national registration system. I wrote the Justice
Minister, the Honourable Allan Rock. I said, could you provide me with one thread, one iota of factual
information as to why registering a long rifle will be a benefit in the sense that it will work against crime?
The minister told me and referred me to Page 3 of the Background Information on Firearm Control.
Registration, the minister suggests, is essential and it is an effective tool that will help the government trace
where firearms are, who owns them and why.



I suggested at a meeting at Hants East in Elmsdale and the honourable member for Hants East was in
attendance that, I think it was Pierre Trudeau, a former Prime Minister of Canada, who suggested that
government has no business in the nation’s bedrooms. I certainly believe that. I have no problem with it. I also
suggest that the Prime Minister might have gone one step further and said that they, government, have no
business in the nation’s gun closets.



But anyway, getting off-track, Justice Minister, Allan Rock, said he would be able, if my long rifle and
everybody in Canada’s long rifle was registered, to trace where the firearms are and why we have them. That
is what the federal minister told us. But that is not going to make anybody that is dead any less dead. That
is not going to make anybody that is injured any less injured. What we are going to do is end up creating
another bureaucracy, another level of government. Our police forces, who are stretched so thinly now across
Nova Scotia, are going to have to, probably through some directive of the federal government, put a lot of
attention into registering rifles.



So, I would ask any honourable member of the House, because, obviously, the federal Minister of
Justice cannot tell us why we should register our long rifles, I would ask any member of the House to tell us
why. There is just no answer why. It is unnecessary waste of money. No question about it.



Now, Mr. Speaker, moving right along here in my comments.



MR. SPEAKER: You have five minutes remaining.



MR. TAYLOR: Time goes by pretty fast when you’re having fun. I would like to comment a little bit
on transportation and roads and things of that nature. I would ask and request that the Minister of
Transportation some time, I know he is a very busy man, I would ask him some time to go take a look at the
electoral boundaries map and there probably is another map that may be of more significance than that one.
But I would ask him to look at the electoral boundaries map and look at the number of kilometres that are in
the different respective constituencies and it is very obvious to see that some of us have many more kilometres
in our ridings than do other members.



What I would like to see this minister do in the name of fairness, try to go back to the brouhaha, if you
want to call it, where he suggested that his department, if they got elected this government, things would be
done on the merit system. The highway engineers would decide where provincial taxpayers’ money was
expended. I would ask the minister to live up to some of the commitments and live up to some of the promises
he has made because thus far, I feel he has broken some promises. He has broken promises to be fair, to be
equitable to all the constituencies across Nova Scotia. I know there are all kinds of roads, the minister doesn’t
have the resources and he has faced cutbacks.



HON. ROBERT HARRISON: A question, Mr. Speaker, your comments about the Minister of
Transportation breaking promises, are you suggesting for a moment that in my riding or in the area of Kings
County, your colleague to the left, that roads are actually being paved other than by civil engineering
recommendations? Is that what you are suggesting? If so, would you please table such a document in this
House of Assembly?



MR. TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, I thank the Minister for the Economic Renewal Agency for that question
and the answer is an emphatic, yes they are, without question.



MR. HARRISON: The second part of my question, if the gentleman would entertain it, would you table
the facts that you claim are such that civil engineering reports are not the basis for paving in Kings County?



MR. TAYLOR: I would like to take the member, I would like to invite . . .



MR. HARRISON: Table it!



MR. SPEAKER: All right, the question has been placed, now that it is, the honourable member has
the floor. The honourable Minister of Transportation on a point of order.



HON. RICHARD MANN: I have just been listening to the allegations of unfairness and yet yesterday,
I sat here in my place or the day before yesterday and I listened to the member for Queens, his colleague,
compliment me for being fair and for continuing the paving that was needed. I challenge him to ask the
Leader of the New Democratic Party about paving in his constituency which, for the first time in many years,
has taken place, based on need. Others in that member’s caucus, as small as it is, will tell him that projects
have continued that were deemed to be necessary and were done on the basis of engineering recommendations.

 

 

MR. TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, for the benefit of the House, Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley which is
the riding that I represent is one of the largest ridings in the constituency and I want the Minister of
Transportation and the Minister for the Economic Renewal Agency to go look at the map, see where the
kilometres of the road are, come for a drive with me up the worst road in Nova Scotia. (Interruptions) We
have ruined tires, we ruined rims . . .



MR. GEORGE ARCHIBALD: Oh, oh, Mr. Speaker.



MR. JOHN LEEFE: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker, a member does not tell another member to shut
up in this Chamber.



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member is absolutely correct. I fear that the House is getting out of
control. I would invite the honourable member for Colchester-Musquodoboit to conclude his remarks, he has
one minute remaining.



MR. TAYLOR: Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and I certainly take the comment where it came from, very
disrespectful but I do appreciate nonetheless your ruling. I want to tell the Minister of Transportation and I
didn’t accentuate or I don’t think over kill my concern about roads in my constituency, but the Old
Guysborough Road is a complete shambles. It is just nothing but a disgrace, it is a mess. I have travelled a
lot of roads. I would ask the Minister of Transportation to tell me, or the Minister for the Economic Renewal
Agency, to point out to me, identify, somewhere in the province where there is a road that is in worse,
deplorable condition, that is a paved road, than the Old Guysborough Road. I will take the minister for a drive
over that road.



MR. SPEAKER: I believe that the time allotted for the honourable member’s speech has expired.



The honourable Minister of Transportation.



HON. RICHARD MANN: In response to his question, a member of the media, for example, went
around this province trying to find the worst road in Nova Scotia. He did, he reported on the CBC News that
the worst road in Nova Scotia was Route 247, between St. Peters and Lower L’Ardoise, part of the Fleur-de-lis
Trail which that member criticized the repair to this very afternoon. (Applause)



MR. SPEAKER: Well, the honourable member’s time has expired. I will now recognize another
honourable member on the Address in Reply to the Speech from the Throne.



MR. BROOKE TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order, I want to make it clear for the House that
I did not criticize the . . .



SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh. (Interruptions)



MR. TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, may I finish my statement? What I said was there was a misappropriation
of funds. It came out of one fund in Cape Breton, and that is exactly what there was and I stand by it, will not
withdraw it. I will not be supporting this bunch of bunk. (Interruptions)



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



MR. ALAN MITCHELL: Mr. Speaker, it is with great pleasure that I rise today before you and the
Members of this Legislative Assembly to respond to the Speech from the Throne. It is interesting to note that
I was elected less than two years ago and this is my third opportunity to respond to a Speech from the Throne
which details the plans and objectives of the Government of Premier John Savage.



The reading of the Speech from the Throne and the debate that follows is an important part of our
democratic heritage. The Speech from the Throne provides an opportunity for the government to put before
the people of Nova Scotia the government’s vision of the future and outline their plans, programs and policies
that they intend to implement in the current session. It provides all members of this Chamber with an
opportunity to publicly examine this agenda. At the same time, it brings forward the concerns and views of
their constituents. I am very pleased that the Premier continues to respect the tradition and to provide us with
this opportunity to comment on the programs and policies of this government.



I wish to express my thanks and admiration to our Lieutenant Governor, the Honourable John James
Kinley and his wife, Her Honour Grace Kinley, for their dedication to their duties and to the Queen. I was very
pleased to be here on the first occasion of his opening of a new session and the reading of the Speech from
the Throne.



I would also like to extend congratulations to those honourable members who have assumed new and
important responsibilities in the Cabinet of Premier John Savage. I particularly want to extend congratulations
to the honourable member for Halifax Needham, who has recently joined the front benches of the government.
I know him to be a man of experience and ability and good judgment. I know that he will discharge his
responsibilities with distinction.



I also wish to bring best wishes to you, Mr. Speaker. I am glad to see you again back in the Chair. I
wish to extend congratulations to the honourable member for Bedford-Fall River for her elevation to the
position of Deputy Speaker. I have a great deal of respect for that honourable member and I know that her
ability, intelligence and sense of fairness will serve her and other members of this Chamber well.



Mr. Speaker, I would also like to take this opportunity to express my sincere thanks to the constituents
of my riding of Dartmouth-Cole Harbour. I want to tell them how much I appreciate their support for myself,
our Premier and our government. During the last year a number of constituents have written or called me, to
express their concerns and to make suggestions. I want to thank them for this. This is very important; it enable
me to better understand the needs and concerns of the people of our constituency and to bring their concerns
forward to caucus, to government and to this House. It enables me to do my job better and to better represent
them.



Mr. Speaker, I have lived in the constituency of Dartmouth-Cole Harbour now for nearly 23 years and
I take great pride in representing my community in this historic Chamber. It is interesting to note, I look back
over the 23 years and see how the community has changed. When I first moved into this area my family and
I were located on the edge of the developed area of eastern Dartmouth. Behind me was a large wooded area.
In fact, most of the area that I now represent was undeveloped or farm land. The whole of Cole Harbour was
primarily farmland with very little development. Today this area is a large urban community. Where forests
once stood we now have houses and streets. Where farmland was once tilled we now have schools, shopping
malls, churches, soccer fields and all the other facilities one would find in a modern urban community.



[5:30 p.m.]



Mr. Speaker, we have a very vibrant young community that takes pride in itself and looks forward to
the future with optimism. It is important, however, to remember our history and where we came from for it
is part of who we are today. In this regard, I would like to say a few words about the Cole Harbour Heritage
Farm Museum, an actual working farm which is located on a 2.5 acre site in the heart of the Forest Hills
subdivision. This farm is situated on a site provided by the Nova Scotia Department of Housing and it includes
a number of historic old buildings which were moved to this location.



The oldest of these is the Giles House which is believed to have been built towards the end of the 18th
Century. This house is associated with Joseph Giles who arrived in Cole Harbour from the United States in
1783. Seven generations of his family lived in this house until the 1950’s. The farm museum has a number
of other old buildings, tools, artifacts and pictures. A number of animals are kept in the barn and a small
garden is grown there.



The farm is operated by the Cole Harbour Heritage Society which is a non-profit society dedicated to
the preservation of the natural and cultural history of the community. The farm receives approximately 15,000
visits a year from tourists, residents and especially school children for whom a number of special programs
are offered. There are two permanent staff with 10 more during the summer. It is important, however, to note
the contribution of the volunteers who commit more than 5000 hours per year to all aspects of this operation.



The people of Dartmouth-Cole Harbour are hardworking citizens who have a strong sense of
community spirit. Many of these are families who are young and the activities, interests and concerns of
people in the area are centered around youth and family.



One of the things that I have always been impressed with is the tremendous work and dedication of
volunteers in the community. You find these volunteers in all aspects of community life, schools, churches,
service clubs, recreational activities, Boy Scouts and Girl Guides. One of the areas where voluntarism is most
active is in youth sports activities.



In the summer soccer is a very important activity. The Dartmouth United Soccer Club and the Cole
Harbour Soccer Club provide programs for a large number of boys and girls at various levels. Also we have
an active baseball and softball program. In the winter you have hockey, ringette and a number of other
activities. In addition to this, of course, there is water sports, rowing and so on.



One of the pleasant duties of this job, Mr. Speaker, is to participate at the opening ceremonies of some
of these events and sometimes to present the medals at the end of the game. I really enjoy these activities, but
each time I am reminded of the amount of time, sacrifice and hard work which is required by the parents, the
coaches and the volunteers to make these activities a success. These volunteers and their efforts is the reason
that we have such a great community spirit in our area and it is one of the reasons why Dartmouth-Cole
Harbour is such a fine place to live.



Mr. Speaker, I want to congratulate and thank all of those citizens of Dartmouth-Cole Harbour who
have volunteered their time and their money and their services over the past year. We are all better for it. I
think it is very important that we recognize our volunteers and the work they do.



I note that the Provincial Volunteer Association will be commencing their 21st Volunteer Week
celebrations with a dinner on April 21st at the World Trade and Convention Centre. Volunteers from 63
municipalities will be honoured at this dinner. I believe that events such as this are important.



Mr. Speaker, on looking over the list of the volunteers, I note that the volunteer of the year for
Dartmouth is Mr. Clyde William Rose, a constituent of Dartmouth-Cole Harbour. I would like to congratulate
Mr. Rose for receiving this honour and thank him for all the hard work and dedication that he has performed
over the last year. I believe that this is the second time Mr. Rose has been named volunteer of the year for the
City of Dartmouth. It is a great honour. (Applause)



Mr. Speaker, when our government came to power less than two years ago, we inherited a province
whose finances were out of control. We were faced with a deficit for the last year of Tory administration that
was approximately equal to the total accumulated debt in the Province of Nova Scotia from Confederation to
the time the Tories came to power. We were faced with a public debt that had multiplied approximately
twentyfold. It was imperative that we gain control of the finances of the province, or else we would lose the
ability to govern and provide the services that the people of Nova Scotia deserve.



I was very pleased that when, in the first session, the honourable Minister of Finance introduced a four
year spending control and fiscal management plan. I am greatly encouraged to see that the government has
had the courage to follow this plan and to continue to pursue the objective of fiscal responsibility.



I am pleased to see in this Speech from the Throne, that the government intends to initiate a
comprehensive program review to evaluate the efficiency and effectiveness of every program and service
expenditure managed by government. It is working, Mr. Speaker. The deficit has been dramatically reduced,
as planned and we are within grasp of balancing our budget for the first time in 15 years.



In addition to this, the economy is improving. Just look at the figures. When we came to power, the
unemployment rate was 14 per cent and increasing. Where Nova Scotia used to lag in job growth, in 1994 we
had the third largest growth in jobs in Canada; building permits have increased by 12 per cent; urban housing
starts by 19 per cent, new business corporations are up 19 per cent; and bankruptcies have gone down by 7.5
per cent.






Why is this, Mr. Speaker? Business and investment do not like instability, fiscal uncertainty and
mismanagement. They want to see a government that has a plan of how it is going to provide the services and
do the things that government must do and do it in a fiscally responsible manner. They want to see a
government that has the ability and the courage to follow that plan and make the tough decisions, if need be.



Mr. Speaker, over the past 21 months, this government has demonstrated just that. With that, we have
seen a return of hope and optimism. We have seen Nova Scotians who, with renewed optimism, have been
prepared to take a risk and start a new business. We have seen business and investment take a second look
at Nova Scotia as a safe and attractive place to do business.



Another hallmark of this government has been its willingness to be innovative, to take risks and to
embrace the new technology that is rapidly breaking upon us. I believe, Mr. Speaker, that this is demonstrated
again by a number of the bold initiatives outlined in the Speech from the Throne.



I was particularly pleased to see that the government plans to proceed with the Integrated Wide Area
Network Project. This is an exciting project, Mr. Speaker. Historically, the computer and communications
networks used by government have grown as separate and distinct entities designed to meet individual needs,
two separate and uncoordinated technology approaches that have been used to support government wide area
networks requirements.



Two approaches have been used. One is wireless; mobile radio, microwave, and cellular telephone
communications. The second is wired, computer, facsimile, and traditional telephone communications. This
has resulted in a dysfunctional communications environment where different government departments and
applications are not able to properly communicate with each other. This project will include all
telecommunication services used by government, including voice, data, video and graphics, both wired and
wireless, and future emerging technologies.



The integrated network service will enable the government to provide a province-wide Emergency 911
service and centralized ambulance dispatch. Improved police and fire response and superior data
communications between government departments and agencies will also benefit Nova Scotians and, at the
same time, allow government to deliver services more efficiently.



It is important to note, Mr. Speaker, that the province will not be building, nor will it own the new
network. We are seeking a strategic alliance of vendors who will build and operate this new service.
Government will consolidate its networking investment into this one business alliance and purchase services
from a consortium of vendors.



Mr. Speaker, this new network will dramatically improve government’s ability to effectively
communicate between government departments, applications and to all geographic areas of the province. It
will enable government to provide more and better services to the people of Nova Scotia in an efficient and
effective manner. It will have very positive implications for the private sector, who will also be able to buy
space on this new network for their communications needs. It will thrust Nova Scotia into the forefront in the
development of the information highway. It is interesting to note, Mr. Speaker, that Mr. Todd Brown, the
Acting Director of Communication and Technology, Department of Transportation and Communications, has
reported that they have received more than 450 project inquiries over the Internet from companies from all
over the world. This is very exciting and I want to compliment the government and the honourable Minister
of Transportation and Communications for this initiative.



In this and other initiatives mentioned in the Throne Speech, two important concepts are evident. The
first is public-private partnering, where the government seeks a partner in the private sector and this
partnership provides a service or develops an infrastructure. This provides tremendous opportunities for the
private sector and enables government to deliver services in a new and innovative way. In many cases, it
allows government to pursue projects and provide services that it otherwise would not have the means to do.
It is an important new approach to the provision of government services.



The other concept, is the Cooperative Business Solutions procedure for tenders and requests for
proposals. Under the old procedure, government by itself identified the problem and the solution required.
Then, they called for tenders for the provision of the service or the product which they had tendered. The
lowest bid was the primary criterion for choosing the supplier. This did not always work to the best advantage
of the public, particularly in complex projects or those involving new and evolving technology. The
government assumed the risk if the solution was the wrong one. The process was costly and the preparation
of the specifications often took years to prepare. In some cases, they could be out of date before they were
printed. Cooperative Business Solutions is a competitive procedure, a procurement process, by which the
government selects a supplier to form an alliance through which they define a business problem and create
an innovative, quality and timely solution. The emphasis is on defining the business problem and that the
government wants to solve. The primary factors which are considered: are qualifications, experience, skills
and the knowledge of the proposed team to solve the problem. This procedure allows for better, more
innovative and timely solutions. This equals savings for government.



Mr. Speaker, I compliment the government for adopting this innovative procurement policy. I am
pleased to see that this policy will be used in a number of initiatives announced in the Throne Speech. In
addition to the wide-area network initiative that I have just mentioned, there is the proposal for the twinning
of Highway 104 between Masstown and Thomson Station. This is a major project, which could not have gone
forward without this sort of innovative approach.



Another example is the announcement that we have recently selected the first ever private sector
partner to design, build, finance and operate a high-tech public school in Cape Breton. This is the first of its
kind, public-private sector partnership, and will serve as a model for school construction and operation in
Canada and around the world. The new school will have computers in every classroom and serve the
community as well as students. The winning proposal will include a technology refresh strategy that will
require them to upgrade, expand or replace technology as it becomes obsolete. Work on the school is expected
to begin in September 1995 and to be completed by September 1996. Two other high-tech schools for the
province are proposed to be built through the public-private partnership.



Mr. Speaker, I am also pleased to see that our government is going to proceed with the amalgamation
of the Halifax-Dartmouth metropolitan area. This area is the largest commercial centre and urban
concentration in Atlantic Canada, with over 300,000 people. We have many advantages in this region and
have the potential, if we choose to seize it, of being the economic engine of Atlantic Canada. But this is a very
competitive world. To succeed, we need one effective and efficient municipal unit with a common leadership
and vision.



I had the pleasure several weeks ago of attending a meeting in my constituency, at which we met with
the coordinator, Mr. Hayward, and citizens, to discuss this particular project. I am very happy to report, Mr.
Speaker, that a number of people in that area were very positive. Their attitude was, that we should get
together and we should make this work. I believe that when this area is amalgamated, that we will be a strong
economic unit and it is going to be a very positive thing for all of us.



Mr. Speaker, these have been difficult times. I want to compliment all of the ministers of the
government. They have made difficult decisions, there have been major reforms and innovation. Lastly, I
would like to compliment our Premier, Premier John Savage, because it is through his leadership that all of
this has been able to come forward and I wish to extend my compliments to all of them and thank you for the
opportunity to make these few remarks. (Applause)



[5:45 p.m.]



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Eastern Shore.



MR. KEITH COLWELL: Mr. Speaker, it is indeed a pleasure to rise in this House of Assembly as the
elected representative for the fine people of the Eastern Shore. It is with pride that I serve my constituents.



The Eastern Shore is a very diverse and special community consisting of areas that represent the
feelings and concerns of most Nova Scotians. The Lawrencetown area is primarily an urban commuter
population, with most people working in metro Halifax and Dartmouth and commuting back and forth to work
on a regular basis. As you move further along the coast, you encounter Chezzetcook and Musquodoboit
Harbour area. The population in this area is a mixture of urban and rural. Here, many people commute back
and forth to Halifax-Dartmouth for their daily work, as they do in Lawrencetown, and many others remain
in the communities pursuing employment in the traditional industries such as fishing, clam digging and
forestry.



Such a diverse mixture of people within these communities provides for a positive exchange of ideas
and concerns that truly represents the vast majority of Nova Scotians who live in similar situations in rural
or urban areas. As one moves further east, past Musquodoboit Harbour into Jeddore, Ship Harbour, Tangier,
Sheet Harbour and Ecum Secum, you encounter a population that is mostly totally rural. People in these
communities derive their employment through industries such tourism, fishing, forestry and other resources
(Interruption) and building mastodons and other related industries in the area.



Over the past several years, development along the rural parts of the Eastern Shore has been very slow
and, in some cases, very repressed. It is rewarding to finally see the people of the Eastern Shore starting to
take control of their own destiny, rather than waiting for a few political hacks to decide when and what is best
for them; who should work, when they should work and how many government programs can be put in place
to employ a select few via political patronage.



Mr. Speaker, if the Eastern Shore is to grow and prosper, the people must continue to take control of
their own destiny rather than being supported and propped up by government. I’ll use the Sheet Harbour area
for an example. For many years under the past government, the area was totally dominated by a few
individuals. Every available job was given to political friends, thus eliminating the opportunities for intelligent
young people. Ultimately, they had to leave the community to find employment opportunities. This is now
changing. This is indeed really refreshing to see that the Sheet Harbour area and Board of Trade has taken
a totally new direction under a new executive, that has released and is preparing promotional material that
will establish the area and develop a new positive ongoing approach to the problems that are facing the people
of the Eastern Shore.



Also, within the last year, a merchants’ association has been established to help improve exposure to
the many merchants of the area. Last year, this resulted in two yard sales through Sheet Harbour which were
a tremendous success, coupled with a group of activities that has drawn more and more attention to the area.



Mr. Speaker, I have used Sheet Harbour as an example but I can assure you that the communities all
along the Eastern Shore are witnessing these changes. From Lawrencetown, Porters Lake, the Chezzetcooks,
Musquodoboit Harbour, Jeddore, Ship Harbour, Tangier, Spry Harbour, Mushaboom, Quoddy, Ecum Secum
and many others.



Well, Mr. Speaker, I can assure you that the days of suppression through political means have ended
and hopefully have ended forever on the Eastern Shore. It is right that our government take a leading role in
cooperating with and assisting the communities along the Eastern Shore in contrast to dictating matters and
simply running government programs to employ a few chosen friends. It is time that we allow the natural
development of the area, that has been suppressed for so long, to take place through genuine community
leadership and initiatives.



Mr. Speaker, I firmly believe that the Eastern Shore has begun to walk along the long road to economic
development which has never been seen before in my area. Very positive steps we have taken in promoting
tourism industry is very encouraging. Tourism has been an industry that has virtually stagnated and remained
unchanged for 40 years to 50 years. It has now emerged with a new vigour and energy with the development
of several new tourism initiatives along the Eastern Shore. This new life in the tourism industry would not
have taken place without the close cooperation and assistance from the tourism division of the Economic
Renewal Agency.



I want to assure you, the honourable members of this House, that the staff of this department been
outstanding in its concerns for the communities of the Eastern Shore and the very unique and rich landscapes
and fine people we have in our area. The development of tourism projects to increase interest in our area and
encourage visitors has been outstanding. I am looking forward to several announcements in the coming
months outlining the excellent developments that have been so strongly and enthusiastically supported by our
communities.



Mr. Speaker, we have also seen the emergence of a new and very determined group of tourism
operators who are committed to the Eastern Shore and to the development of our area without the destruction
of our pristine environment. Every resident on the Eastern Shore is extremely concerned about maintaining
our clean environment and the need to develop industry which will not disturb the fragile, natural
environment that we now enjoy. The excellence of our natural environment alone makes the Eastern Shore
one of the most beautiful areas in nature and eco-tourism left in Nova Scotia. The sheer fact that commercial
development has not destroyed our scenery or our pleasant nature of our people is indeed a bonus in tourism.






I believe, Mr. Speaker, that at the present time it is tourism that offers the only hope for long-term and
short-term employment on the Eastern Shore. Tourism, however, is not the only industry along the Eastern
Shore. There are several industries that have been developed: including a gold mine in Port Dufferin; the
establishment of a solid business base and expansion of our industrial park in Chezzetcook; and
reorganization of the wharf facility in Sheet Harbour.



However, tourism remains as one of the shining lights that can indeed provide the future employment
on the Eastern Shore. For example, if we could simply double our tourism from 1 per cent of the total
provincial tourism to 2 per cent, the result would be 100 per cent employment in the summertime and
shoulder seasons for every student and person who would like a job in the tourism industry. I can think of no
other place in the province where such a small change would make such a dramatic impact on the local
economy.



I am very pleased and proud to say, Mr. Speaker, that the tourism operators on the Eastern Shore have
seen the tremendous opportunity for tourism growth and are indeed working toward this goal. We have seen
the development and opening of many new bed and breakfasts, several new craft stores and shops, along with
other very unique developments and opportunities that will put the Eastern Shore on the forefront of the
tourism industry and indeed help and assist Nova Scotia develop its tourism trade to a much greater extent.



In order to fully promote and develop the Eastern Shore in tourism and in industry, it is absolutely
essential that the No. 7 Highway be brought up to proper standards. Mr. Speaker, if tourism is critical to the
life of the Eastern Shore, the lifeline of the tourism industry is the No. 7 Highway. Like a fine ribbon of
asphalt, the No. 7 Highway winds its way along the coastline of the Eastern Shore, linking community after
community and providing residents and tourists alike with a solid and efficient means of travel. There is no
doubt in my mind that the No. 7 Highway is as critical to the Eastern Shore as the four lane Highway No. 101,
which links the Halifax-Truro corridor.



Mr. Speaker, it is most critical to the future vitality of the Eastern Shore that the No. 7 Highway is to
be kept in good repair. If it is allowed to deteriorate further, we will be stifling the economic growth and
eliminating potential opportunities for people on the Shore and we will be failing our responsibility to help
take the Eastern Shore out of the economic woes we have seen in the past.



The Department of Transportation has placed this section of road, from Musquodoboit Harbour to
Salmon River Bridge, as a number one priority in its list of roads to be repaved this year. The section of road
from Lake Charlotte to Ship Harbour has been placed as number four. Hopefully, this priority list will assist
us in this ongoing effort.



Mr. Speaker, these sections are in desperate need of major road repair. There are many other sections
that are in need of other forms of resurfacing, re-ditching and re-gravelling. The speedy repair of these
sections by the Department of Transportation will help ensure that the economy of the Eastern Shore
continues to develop and grow.



Mr. Speaker, in addition to tourism, the Eastern Shore has several important industries, among them
the harvesting of clams. In fact, the clam flats along the Eastern Shore have traditionally been the most
productive clam flats along the Eastern Seaboard of North America. We have over 100 people presently
digging clams, along with many others who, in one way or another, draw their livelihood from this valuable
industry.



In conjunction with the clam harvesters, processors and various other government departments, we
are making serious efforts to revitalize and restructure this industry, so that it will continue to be a vital and
sustainable shellfish industry for the future. In a spirit of collaboration, we are seeking innovative ways of
addressing issues such as environmental concerns and the urgency for reseeding the clam flats, to ensure good
health and plentiful supply. The support of these and other initiatives by this government will help guarantee
the vital and sustainable clam industry along the Eastern Shore.



Mr. Speaker, I would like to make reference to significant improvements made to the wharf in Sheet
Harbour. The wharf has new signage installed, a new washroom facility erected and improvements made to
the workers’ lunch room. In the past, improper negotiations resulted in a contract that did not set a standard
for enthusiasm or cooperation. This is now changing. Recently, after much negotiation, we have brought the
workers together into one union. Workers’ morale has improved significantly and the wharf is operating very
smoothly with professional staff. We are working in close cooperation with the local union, to develop
additional training for workers. We hope within the next year to put in place a productivity initiative system
to enhance the quality and efficiency of the work in the area.



Mr. Speaker, I would like to adjourn the debate on the Speech from the Throne and continue tomorrow.



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member moves adjournment of the debate.



The motion is carried.



The honourable Government House Leader.



HON. RICHARD MANN: Mr. Speaker, we will be sitting tomorrow from the hour of 11:00 a.m. until
2:00 p.m. The order of business following the daily routine, we will resume the adjourned debate on the
Address in Reply to the Speech from the Throne. I move that we adjourn until 11:00 a.m.



MR. SPEAKER: The draw for the Adjournment debate was won by the honourable member for Halifax
Citadel, the Leader of the Official Opposition. He proposes for discussion the resolution:



Therefore be it resolved that the government redress its unfair attack on the seniors of this province
which is running rampant under the guise of reform.



[6:00 p.m.]



ADJOURNMENT



MOTION UNDER RULE 5(5)



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Opposition.



GOV’T. (N.S.) - SENIORS: REFORMS ATTACK - REDRESS



MR. TERENCE DONAHOE: Mr. Speaker, since you have just read it, I won’t bother rereading the
resolution. Last night here in this place, we had an opportunity to debate the very real and the obsessive
cannibalization of rural Nova Scotia that this Liberal Government is now pursuing. Tonight, as we debate this
resolution regarding the unfair attack of this government on the seniors of the province, I think it is important
to point out that we are beginning to see somewhat of a pattern here.



We are beginning to see a government which implements policies which impact most on the most
vulnerable in our province. We have seen, through the actions of this government, that small rural
communities in Nova Scotia are vulnerable to attack by this government and now we are seeing that our
seniors have been identified by the Liberal Government as their next target.



This government has decided that seniors should not be a part of the mainstream and that they should
be forced to give up their hard-won gains to lower the deficit. There are many examples of this government’s
callous disregard for the seniors of the province. Unfortunately, time will permit me not to cover them all, but
refer only to a few.



Seniors represent, as I know you know, Madam Speaker, a significant and important part of our Nova
Scotian population. This is a segment of our population which is growing exponentially and this is a group
that has certain needs which this government has thus far, seemingly, chosen to ignore.



The highest percentage of seniors, Mr. Speaker, reside in Annapolis County. Over 19 per cent of the
population in Annapolis County are seniors, as I am sure the member for that constituency is well aware. But
despite this, this government went to the hospital in Annapolis and gutted it. We have seen this pattern
repeated in rural communities all over the province. Seniors, who represent the largest proportion of the
population requiring adequate health care services, have repeatedly been the target of this government.



The same target emerged in Cumberland County, where 17.6 per cent of the population are seniors
over the age of 65. Again, their hospital in Pugwash was gutted and seniors requiring full hospital services
will have to travel many miles for the care that they need. What about the older woman who contacted me not
too long ago, Madam Speaker, who became ill in Pictou County. The ambulance came and before she knew
what was happening, the ambulance was making its way over Highway No. 104, rounding Mount Thom. She
asked the attendant why she was not being taken to the Aberdeen Hospital in New Glasgow, and the attendant
replied that the services she required were no longer available at the hospital in her community and that they
were taking her to Truro to get her the care she needed.



While the Minister of Health has moved headlong into ripping up the existing system, without ever
once explaining to Nova Scotians exactly what the alternatives are or are going to be, it is from seniors that
this government is exacting a very high price. This Minister of Health made the commitment to follow the
recommendations of the Blueprint Report, but he has reneged on that commitment, Madam Speaker. He
promised, the Minister of Health did, as recommended in that Blueprint Report, to ensure that parallel
services would be up and running before, and I underline the word before, existing facilities and services were
shut down. But that has not happened and seniors are among those who are paying for it.



The Minister of Health’s own Commissioner of Health Reform has already travelled the province and
told Nova Scotians that there will not be parallel services while home care is being developed. Existing
services will be terminated and seniors and other Nova Scotians will have to wait for some undetermined time
for this government’s much promised home care system to be put in place. While they wait, seniors in rural
Nova Scotia will have to travel to find the services they need.



The Minister of Health speaks glowingly of his plan for ambulance service, but he has not told seniors
or any Nova Scotians how much they will pay if they should require an ambulance in some unfortunate
circumstance. Today they pay, as all users do, $60 for each trip in an ambulance. How much more will they
pay under the Minister of Health’s new plan? Where will these state-of-the-art new ambulances carry those
Nova Scotians? Will they carry them to hospitals which no longer exist, to hospitals without adequate services
to treat them, or will the Minister of Health put Nova Scotians in high-tech ambulances, drive them out into
the parking lot and simply treat them there in the ambulance?



Now we learn that the Minister of Transportation will introduce degraduated licenses for those over
the age of 65. This minister, from a rural constituency, a county in which 15.6 per cent of the population are
over the age of 65, seems to have no regard for the hardship he will place on seniors by stripping them of their
driving privileges. Does this minister . . .



HON. RICHARD MANN: On a point of order, I would ask where the member, if he would provide
me with any documentation that suggests the Liberal Party is suggesting implementing a degraduated drivers’
license program. Would he please provide that documentation?



MR. DONAHOE: I will table it tomorrow, quoting the remarks of this very Minister of Transportation.
So, I ask if the Minister of Transportation really does intend to introduce rural bus service to ensure that
seniors will get to their doctors appointments. Does the Minister of Transportation have a plan to make sure
that seniors without drivers’ licenses will get to central court-houses because their local court-house is gone
or their local Registry of Deeds is gone? Does this minister have a plan to ensure that the senior members of
this House, the member for Digby, the member for Inverness and my own colleague, the member for Hants
West, will be able, in their rural communities, to effectively serve their constituents?



I do not think so, Madam Speaker, because this is the same minister who has eliminated funding to
Access-a-Bus Service across the province. His answer is, let the municipalities pay for that. We do not care
about older or disabled Nova Scotians.



This is a government, Madam Speaker, which shows nothing but contempt for a generation of Nova
Scotians who built this province. These are the Nova Scotians who built our hospitals, who built our court-houses, our schools, our roads, our industries and now the government says, thanks for the memories folks
and that is all these institutions are becoming today, memories. Because this government is ripping the heart
out of what each and every senior in this province contributed so much in their younger years to achieve.



The former Minister of Housing and Consumer Affairs, a member who I believe has been a responsive
member to the seniors’ community over the years, but as Minister of Housing and Consumer Affairs, believed
it was fair to impose a further burden on Nova Scotian seniors, when he raised senior rental rates by 4 per
cent. Some might suggest that was not an unfair burden; there is a lot said about the elderly being better off
than the rest of us, Madam Speaker, but as the latest report of the National Council on Welfare reported
yesterday, poverty is at an all-time high across the country and do not for one minute think that seniors in this
province are not a significant part of that population living below the poverty line. So the increased rental
rates have indeed been a significant burden on many Nova Scotians and many seniors.



We will again be reminded next Tuesday, Madam Speaker, how this government regards the seniors
of this province, when this government brings down what the Minister of Finance likes to call, his good news
budget. It will be in this government’s so-called good news budget, that we expect that seniors will learn of
massive cuts to the Pharmacare Program.



AN HON. MEMBER: Shame, shame.



MR. DONAHOE: Yes, it will be a shame. Nova Scotia seniors will soon know how they are regarded
by this government, when millions and millions of dollars necessary for their drugs are completely eliminated
from that program. It will be soon after that that we will see line ups for hospital beds get even longer than
they are today as seniors wait and their doctors look for ways to treat them without crushing them with the
cost of drugs.



Has any of this been done in consultation with the hundreds of seniors’ organizations across this
province, Madam Speaker? Has this government taken the time to include Canadian Pensioners Concerned -
a meeting that they did not bother even to send a representative to yesterday - or the many pensioners
organizations that have developed in every community across this province? Has the Minister of Community
Services consulted with the Senior Citizens Secretariat or the Senior Citizen’s Commission? Are the actions
of this government endorsed by any of these groups? You know and I know, Madam Speaker, that the answer
to all of that is no.



It is ironic, Madam Speaker, that this year Canadians will commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the
end of the World War II. VE-Day preparations are well under way in the City of Halifax, to remember all of
those Nova Scotians who made the ultimate sacrifice 50 years ago and to pay tribute to the thousands of
seniors in Nova Scotia who made a contribution to that effort. This Liberal Government, and their
counterparts in Ottawa, have forgotten what kind of contribution this generation of Nova Scotians have truly
made. Thank you, Madam Speaker.



MADAM SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Transportation.



HON. RICHARD MANN: Madam Speaker, I am pleased that I have the opportunity to rise and
perhaps address an issue which has been, I think, misrepresented in recent days and to put on the floor of this
House exactly maybe what has transpired. I think it is fair to say at the outset, that much of what is going on
here in this Assembly, much of what is being said has little to do with seniors, but a lot to do with politics.



Madam Speaker, I may not take the entire 10 minutes, but I have a list of colleagues who are eager to
enter into this debate as well. This whole issue was raised in recent days because of a very high profile
accidents involving elderly drivers. No one has suggested, including myself, that there was a direct link to the
age of those drivers and those fatalities. But, what it has done, it once again raised the question as it always
does when this happens the discussion about testing elderly drivers or some mechanism to identify drivers who
may be at risk.



I travelled around this province last year to explain the graduated drivers’ license program to young
drivers and new drivers throughout schools and the issue that was raised again and again by the young people,
the new drivers and by others was, were we doing anything to address the high ratio of accidents and fatalities
involving elderly drivers in this province. Once again this issue has been raised and it is not surprising why
so many initiatives in the Province of Nova Scotia perhaps like graduating licensing for new drivers, why they
have been stalled and put on hold so much by previous administrations because of the commotion that comes
out and so much misleading the public in actually has been said, and then drive the issue back underground
as if it is going to go away because there is political criticism of it.



That is what is happening here. I have had a lot of representations made to me and I won’t embarrass
the member or the individual in this House who came to me yesterday and said my father should not be
driving but I am scared to say anything about that because it may cause a difficulty. That individual did not
want to identify their father as someone who should not be driving on the road because of poor eye sight
because they loved them and they were afraid of the difficulty it might cause.



Other people do report to the Registry of Motor Vehicles, parents, or uncles, or aunts or others who
they do not think should be driving because they love them as well. If I was to deal with perhaps my own
family and had my mother or a relative who I did not think was on the road, it would tear at me, whether they
should be reported and lose their license or whether my love for them should actually serve to try and protect
them and perhaps protect others on the highway.



That is what that debate is all about. It is not about creating hardship for anybody, it is about highway
safety. I have a responsibility to that.



We do go out and provide a 55-Alive Program, a driver education, a refresher program, to many
individuals, many seniors, who take advantage of that. Through that, Madam Speaker, we sometimes come
across many elderly drivers who do not have the ability any longer, do not have the physical ability to be on
the highway safely. There are instances and I have many examples of people in rural Nova Scotia who because
the RCMP have come to us and they have been involved in an accident and the RCMP asked that their license
be removed.



The registry has gone and taken an examiner to their community and has been able to reinstate their
driving privileges in a restricted area and under restricted conditions and they have been able to help the
senior by not removing the privileges entirely, keeping the senior happy, allowing them to visit their friends,
get their groceries, go to the mail but to not be out on major highways where they are creating a risk to
themselves and to others. This is not, I repeat, this is not, any discussion is not intended to propose hardship,
it is intended to promote highway safety.



At present in Nova Scotia we rely on family, on friends, on physicians and on police agencies to advise
us of people who should not be driving on the roads. But, far too often it is the police we hear from and it is
following an accident that has taken place. I can tell you, and the statistics will bear this out, that the
percentage of seniors involved and the percentage of elderly involved in accidents is far higher than it should
be, based on ratios and numbers that exist.



I have not suggested a degraduated driver’s licence program. What I have said is this issue has been
raised again. It has become topical, it has been an issue for debate. The political criticism isn’t going to make
the issue disappear. As the members opposite know and have preached so often themselves, the percentage
of seniors in Nova Scotia is continuing to increase and this issue is not going to go away because someone
wants to play political games and grandstand trying to attract the affection of the senior citizens in this
province, that is not addressing the problem.



Every time an elderly individual is involved in a fatal accident, once again the question is raised, could
it have been prevented? Could it have been prevented? That’s the question that is important. This will not take
anybody off the road who has the physical capabilities and the eyesight to be on the road. It does not do that.
Other jurisdictions have brought in measures that have mandatory retesting. Well, that is a hardship on the
elderly and it is very costly to the jurisdiction that is doing it. That has not been proposed in Nova Scotia.
What has been proposed? What has been stated? What has been stated is, let us look at what other
jurisdictions have done to address this issue. Let us take that information, together with statistics that we have
ourselves, through our Highway Safety Division. Let us put that together.



[6:15 p.m.]



What would we do with that information? We would give it to a group of senior citizens to devise a
made in Nova Scotia solution and advise us on what to do. That is what has happened here. And it has been
all twisted and distorted out of shape, as if someone is going to be standing at the road checking the age and
taking people off the road. I never heard such nonsense in my life. They call it an attack on seniors. Trying
to protect lives is an attack on no one and that is a responsibility that we as a government have, to make our
highways safe and to continue to try and do it. We have done it through graduated licensing for new drivers,
we have done it through stricter enforcement of drinking and driving and tougher measures to get reinstated,
measures that are severe, certain, that are quick to get the drinking driver off the road.



What we would like to do here, not at the expense of seniors but with seniors and to assist seniors, is
come up with something that will make them feel safer on the highway, that doesn’t have to see them lose
driving privileges. Most seniors curtail their own driving - most. They stop driving on certain highways, they
stop driving late at night. We all know that. We all have family who have done that. Some do not. Some who
should do not. What we are looking at are mechanisms that, without causing hardship, treating seniors with
the respect they deserve, might address some of those issues.



Madam Speaker, the senior secretariat is organizing a meeting now of seniors to consider the issue that
we have raised and I hope they will extend an invitation to me to meet with them, with people from my
Highway Safety Division, with people from the medical fraternity, so that they can advise us. We have no
intention of imposing on them any measure, any program. We want them to work with us and to assist us in
developing a solution.



I will yield the floor to my colleague at this time, Madam Speaker.



MADAM SPEAKER: The Minister of Health, for a little less than two minutes.



HON. RONALD STEWART: Madam Speaker, it is a pleasure to address some of the comments. It
is hard to sit in one’s place when one hears the nonsense coming from the Leader of the Opposition in terms
of cutbacks and he implied that we would not be protecting seniors and currying the favour and
scaremongering that we hear from opposite benches. Let us look at the facts. Let us look at the programs that
existed under the control of the opposite benches. When we look at what really happened in ambulance
service, who applied ambulance costs to seniors anyway? Who had the original program, for 15 years,
increasing costs $40 to $60 to $80? That’s who did it, right across the floor.



Let’s talk about Pharmacare. What did they do when Pharmacare costs went out of control? They went
to the seniors. They did not talk to them, they did not consult. They said, you’re going to pay more. You’re
going to pay $150 co-pay and by the way, next year we need more money. We are going to pay $400 now. Did
they go to physicians and say, physicians, we have got a problem, you are overprescribing? Not a bit. They
went to the seniors and they put it on the backs of the seniors. This government is not going to do that, never
did. We went to the doctors and we said, you are going to help us do this and the seniors came along and said,
right. We are overprescribed and we have got problems in that way. We could go on and on about seniors’
programs - home care. Let us talk about home care. No senior need apply for home care on their program after
5:00 p.m. or on the weekends. Sorry, Madam Speaker, it does not exist. We have to clean that up and we are
going to.



MADAM SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Fairview.



MS. ALEXA MCDONOUGH: Madam Speaker, I welcome the opportunity of addressing a couple of
the issues that have been raised here this evening, in the few minutes that are available to me. I want to say
that I very much appreciate that the Minister of Transportation and Communications has addressed this issue,
because contrary to his suggestion that this issue is being raised by members of the Opposition for the purpose
of just fearmongering or trying to gain favour with seniors.



I think it has to be recognized that this is an issue that was, in fact, brought forward by seniors
themselves, to his credit, by the long-serving Executive Director of the Senior Citizens Secretariat who, I
think anybody would agree, has been extremely sensitized to seniors’ issues, has served this province for at
least four decades, I believe, in the capacity first as long-serving Deputy Minister of Community Services and
then, for 15 years now, as Executive Director of the Senior Citizens Secretariat.



He was sufficiently concerned about the non-consultation that had taken place in regard to this issue
of safe driving and seniors, that he wrote a discussion paper that was made available to the Canadian
Pensioners Concerned gathering held yesterday, in response to their having had concerns about this issue. So
I think it is only fair to recognize that this is a genuinely felt concern on behalf of seniors, that it is a concern
that is not restricted either to urban areas or rural areas.



There were representatives from all across the province who had many different points of view that
they wanted to bring forward and to be considered. Madam Speaker, that is precisely why I introduced a
resolution earlier today which was to ask for the minister to give the assurance that two things would be done;
one, that there would be appropriate and extensive consultation with seniors before a policy is imposed upon
them, surely a completely reasonable request and the minister himself has given the assurance now in this
debate that that will be done, and secondly, that any policy that is arrived at is based not on stereotyping about
seniors, not based on ageism, which is a form of discrimination, but rather, based on the real facts.



The minister is indicating that he wants to speak. If he can further enlighten this subject, I welcome
his intervention.



HON. RICHARD MANN: This afternoon when the honourable member requested the unanimous
consent of the House to have her resolution adopted, I had no problem with the functional part of that
resolution. But, in fact, her preamble suggested that I had a scheme to impose on seniors. That was the
problem I had with the resolution.



I would like to make that clear to her because I think clearly she understands now there is no scheme
to impose anything. In fact, the intention was to give this to seniors. The issue, before it can be turned to them,
we, I think fairly, have to provide them with the statistics and the other information which we are trying to
gather to give to them.



MS. MCDONOUGH: Well again, Madam Speaker, I am sure that intervention will be welcomed. Let
me just say that it doesn’t quite deal with the issue and cause the concerns to just float away, when the minister
stands in his place here, as he did a few moments ago, to say that the Senior Citizens Secretariat is in the
process of organizing a meeting to consult on this, when that clearly was not the case. When this matter was
raised here on the floor of the Legislature yesterday, when I returned from the Canadian Pensioners
Concerned meeting, it clearly was not underway in advance of the public statements made by both the minister
and by officials in his department.



The reason I raised it yesterday, and I made this clear, is because unnecessary fear and anxiety has been
aroused by the manner in which this musing has taken place, without a clear commitment made to
consultation. I want to say that the minister’s assurance that such consultation will take place is very welcome.
I think it will go a long way, in terms of removing some of the fears, because it was very clear from senior
after senior who spoke on this subject yesterday, that in a great many instances, to remove the license of a
senior citizen who is a safe driver, who is eminently capable of operating a vehicle, who does not have any
objective basis for having their opportunity to drive to be jeopardized simply because of their age, that is a very
unfair kind of threat to place over the heads of people.



Let me say very clearly that when the minister stands in his place and says, well, you know, some
members of this House have said, look my father should not be driving but, gee, I do not really want to upset
him or hurt him or cause a dispute so I do not do anything about it. Let me say for a government that is
talking about trying to appeal to families to take more responsibilities, I think a public education campaign
to appeal to families to deal with situations like that is in order. I do not think there is anything wrong with
that.



Let me tell you that one of the most difficult things I have ever had to do in my life was to take my
father’s keys away and to take his car away when he became clearly a hazard to himself but, more importantly,
a hazard to other people on the road. He was suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and as soon as we had any
sign that it was just not safe for him to be continuing to operate that vehicle, let me tell you, it caused a very
big row, but one cannot simply sit by and say, well let the government introduce some new arbitrary kind of
ruling to just take care of people after a certain age because, although it was very unsafe for him to be driving
a car in his mid-70s, my mother is over 80 and she drives extremely safely.



The problem is that we can stereotype the elderly as we can stereotype others and that was at the heart
of the concerns that were raised yesterday. I think in a very straightforward manner, Dr. MacKinnon made
the point that stereotypes are all the same. They are born in ignorance and nurtured in our inertia in respect
to searching out and getting at the truth, which brings me to the second part of my resolution.



What I was appealing for was for the government to bring forward the facts, and that it be on the basis
of the facts that any such discussion take place, because my analysis of the Department of Transportation’s
own figures that were brought forward when graduated licensing was introduced, in fact was that those figures
showed that fatality rates had actually fallen and that the statistics of victims of auto accidents by age group,
in other words, statistics for those 65 and over, indicated that they had among the best records in the
population.



So, you know, I think that what we need to do is to look at the facts and figures (Interruption) Well,
you know, let us have a full airing of the facts and figures, and that is my point. I do not pretend to be any
authority on this kind of subject, but I think that when you know there are almost 120,000 seniors in this
province and they have watched public transportation be effectively wiped out in many parts of the province
and they see any threat to the possibility that their opportunity to be allowed to drive as a further erosion, it
is not just a question of people feeling they have a right to drive, it is a question of people knowing that their
independence, in many cases, depends upon it. It is a tragedy that that is what people are facing.



I just want to further underscore the need for that consultation, the need for those facts to be brought
forward and, in the final analysis, for these decisions to be made not based on arbitrary considerations about
one’s age, but on the basis of one’s capability and one’s capacity to drive safely. Thank you very much, Madam
Speaker.



MADAM SPEAKER: The time for the debate has expired.



We stand adjourned until 11:00 a.m. tomorrow.



[The House rose at 6:29 p.m.]






NOTICE OF MOTION UNDER RULE 32(3)



HOUSE ORDER NO. 11



By: Mr. Ronald Russell (Hants West)



I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move that an order of this House do issue for a return
showing:



(1) The reason, details and causes for writing off $8,132,507.82 in debts or claims deemed not
collectible by the Governor in Council, March 28, 1995.