Assemblée Législative de la Nouvelle-Écosse

Les travaux de la Chambre ont repris le
21 septembre 2017


Fifty-sixth General Assembly

Third Session

2:00 P.M.


Hon. Paul MacEwan


Mrs. Francene Cosman


MR. SPEAKER: Ladies and gentlemen, I believe we can call the House to order at this time. Before
we commence this afternoon’s proceedings, there may be a few distinguished guests in our midst that
honourable members may wish to introduce. I would like to kick off, myself, by introducing the former
Sergeant-at-Arms of our House, Major Harold Long, who is here in the Speaker’s Gallery in the front row and
I am sure we all want to give him a welcome here this afternoon. (Applause)

The honourable member for Annapolis.

MR. EARLE RAYFUSE: Mr. Speaker, I would like to introduce to you and through you to all
members of the House, a former constinuent of mine, Nita Irvine, seated in your gallery, a great inspiration
for myself and at one time a candidate for the Party in Annapolis East. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Community Services.

HON. JAMES SMITH: Mr. Speaker, to follow that introduction, I would like to introduce to you,
to her left, two distinguished Nova Scotians, Mrs. Joan Cummings, Chairman of the Disabled Persons
Commission and next to her is the Executive Director, Charles MacDonald, of the Disabled Persons
Commission, of which Ms. Irvine is also a member. (Applause)



MR. SPEAKER: By all-Party consent, we are going to proceed directly into the presentation of the
Budget Address. I will recognize the honourable Government House Leader to make the formal request.

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RICHARD MANN: Mr. Speaker, would you please recognize the Minister of Finance.




[Res. No. 21, re Estimates - Comm. of Whole House on Supply - notice given Apr. 3/95 - (Hon. B.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Finance. (Applause)

HON. BERNARD BOUDREAU: Mr. Speaker, pursuant to a notice of motion given by me on March
31, 1995, and the Rules and Forms of Procedure of the House of Assembly, I have the honour, by command,
to present a message from His Honour the Lieutenant Governor of the Province of Nova Scotia, relating to
the Estimates of Sums required for the service of the province for the fiscal year ending March 31, 1996 which

“The Lieutenant Governor of the Province of Nova Scotia transmits Estimates of Sums required for
the Public Service of the province, for the year ending March 31, 1996, and in accordance with the provisions
of the Constitution Acts, 1867 to 1982, he recommends them to the House of Assembly.


J. James Kinley


Lieutenant Governor


Halifax, Nova Scotia


April 1995”.

Mr. Speaker, at this time I wish to table the message from His Honour the Lieutenant Governor
transmitting the Estimates, to table the Estimate Books, table the Estimate Resolutions, and deliver my Budget
Speech. I will, as well, move that the Estimate of Sums required for the Public Service of the province for the
fiscal year ending March 31, 1996, being Supply, to be granted to Her Majesty be referred to the Committee
of the Whole House on Supply.


Mr. Speaker, today marks the third time I have stood in this House to present a Budget on behalf of
the Government of Nova Scotia. Each time the fiscal and economic news has been more positive than the last.

That, Mr. Speaker, is evidence that this government’s program is working. The province is in
financial and economic recovery.

Our economy grew by 3.1 per cent in 1994—faster than the experts had predicted. The recovery was
widespread and resulted in more than 12,000 new jobs for Nova Scotians by year-end.

I cite those figures, Mr. Speaker, not to mark the achievements of government, but to acknowledge
the accomplishments of Nova Scotians. This government is doing its part, by creating a sound fiscal and a
stable tax climate. However it is individual entrepreneurs, enterprising businesses and innovative industries
in Nova Scotia that will build a durable economy.

In 1993, the government set out to reverse the destructive trend of growing deficits. I am pleased to
report that in just two years we have closed the gap between expenditures and revenues. We are on the verge
of a balanced operating budget.

The road back to financial stability is long and difficult and there is still much of that road to travel.
Fundamental changes to the operation of government were, and are, needed. Transition is rarely easy, and
resistance to change is natural. But surely, as a province, we cannot allow ourselves to be mired in doubt and
indecision. Rather, we need to focus on our future and move forward with the confidence that comes from
knowing we are heading in the right direction.

The government is entering the second year of its expenditure control plan. We are fulfilling our
commitment to live within our means. The solid fiscal performance of the government, combined with
increasing revenue from a growing economy, will finally put a stop to deficit financing.

We are confident of achieving an operating surplus in fiscal 1996-97 that can be sustained—an
accomplishment that will yield significant and lasting benefits for Nova Scotians.

Mr. Speaker, we are seeing positive results from the difficult but necessary decisions we have made.
That success will strengthen our resolve not to veer from the course we have set.


The recovery that took hold in Nova Scotia’s economy in 1994 was broad based. Gains were spread
across most sectors. Manufacturing was a particularly strong performer, with shipments increasing 8.4 per
cent over 1993. The value of Nova Scotia’s exports climbed 7 per cent, and healthy manufacturing and export
trade contributed to strong growth in the transportation and communications sectors.

The economic momentum will carry into 1995, with manufacturing continuing to set the pace. Both
established manufacturers and the new-economy industries will contribute to the sector’s growth. The tourism
sector is expecting another strong year and, along with other service sectors, will gain additional benefits from
the Halifax Summit, the G-7.

While our economy continues to grow in 1995, the rate is expected to moderate somewhat, to just
over 2 per cent. This is as a result of reduced public sector activity, including military base closures, and a
generally diminished federal presence in the province’s economy. The federal decision not to renew resource
development agreements will also cause additional economic adjustments.


Mr. Speaker, since I last presented a Budget in this House there has been a dramatic improvement
in the fiscal position of the province.

Revenues from provincial sources and transfer payments from the federal government were
significantly higher in 1994-95 than anticipated. Across government, every department and agency
committed itself to expenditure control. The result is an operating deficit for that year that is a fraction of the
$297.5 million shortfall we estimated a year ago.

We are now forecasting the 1994-95 operating deficit to be $98.9 million; this represents an
improvement of nearly $200 million relative to the original estimate of a year ago. Mr. Speaker, in less than
two years this government has reduced the current account deficit of the province by $372 million.

The government is hitting its spending control targets. Net spending on programs in 1994-95 was
$75.3 million less than the estimated spending levels for the previous year.

Capital spending was also reduced dramatically. The expenditure control plan calls for a reduction
of 5 per cent annually in capital expenditures. In 1994-95 the total capital commitment of government was
$299.9 million, or $26.2 million less than the year before. Of this amount, $28 million in capital spending
remained unspent by year-end and will be carried forward into the 1995-96 fiscal year.

Mr. Speaker, the cost of servicing Nova Scotia’s debt remains a massive obstacle. Driven by higher
interest rates and currency pressures, Debt Servicing Costs are expected to be $18.7 million more in 1994-95
than estimated a year ago.

The costs associated with government restructuring were also higher than anticipated—by some $2.7
million—because more public servants than expected chose early retirement.

Mr. Speaker, the legislation establishing the government’s Expenditure Control Plan calls for a 10
per cent reduction in program spending over the four years of the plan. Members will recall that this target
will be achieved by reductions of roughly 3 per cent in each of the first two years, followed by 2 per cent
reductions in years three and four.

While it calls for global spending reductions, our plan does not enforce across-the-board spending
cuts. Indeed, the level of spending reductions varies widely from department to department. This approach
reflects this government’s understanding that some programs and services are more able to absorb cuts than

In setting departmental spending targets last year, and again this year, the government remained
sensitive to these realities. Across government, in 1994-95, most departments met or surpassed their targets.
Under pressure from increased Family Benefit case loads, the Department of Community Services was unable
to achieve its target. However, on a global basis, additional savings in other areas offset this additional
expenditure. This illustrates that the expenditure control plan has the flexibility to meet the real needs of Nova
Scotians, while achieving necessary spending reductions. Mr. Speaker, the plan is working.

We realize that we have asked for compromise and sacrifice from public servants and from Nova
Scotians generally. The government is, by necessity, becoming smaller and more efficient. Fundamental
changes are occurring in the delivery of many programs and services. The result will be services that can be
sustained and are secure for present and future generations of Nova Scotians.


Prospects for the coming year are encouraging, on both the economic and fiscal fronts. Real growth
in the economy will continue, as will improvement in the province’s fiscal position.  This year will see the last
operating deficit in our government’s mandate. 1996-97 will bring an operating surplus—Nova Scotia’s first
since 1979.

In 1995-96, this upcoming year for which we budget, we estimate the operating deficit of the
province will decline to $28.1 million, the lowest in 15 years. This represents a decrease of $70.8 million from
the forecasted 1994-95 level, and a $443.3 million improvement since 1992-93.

This year’s deficit estimate is a significant improvement over the $113-million target originally set
for year two of our four-year Government By Design plan. Mr. Speaker, we are consistently meeting and
beating the crucial and ambitious fiscal goals we have established for this government.

Revenue Growth

Revenue from provincial sources is expected to grow 1.3 per cent this year. Corporate income tax
revenue is showing promising growth as corporate profits gain strength.  Although slowly, consumer
confidence is returning, and Health Services Tax revenues continue to grow.

A new source of revenue this year will come from the casinos that will soon be in operation in the
province. Gaming revenues are projected to increase 43.3 per cent, due, in large part, to the $25 million
guaranteed income to the province in each of the first four years of the casinos’ operation. Both the province
and ITT Sheraton are optimistic that revenue from the casinos will exceed that guarantee. However, until the
casinos are in operation and their performance is measurable, the province will include in the Budget only
those revenues that are certain.

Federal Transfers

Federal transfers for equalization are expected to increase 6.3 per cent in 1995-96. Transfers to the
province for social assistance, post-secondary education and health care will continue to be restrained. Canada
Assistance Plan transfers to provinces will be held at 1994-95 levels. This will place an added burden on
provinces trying to cope with the increasing costs of social assistance.

The future of federal support for social programs is not encouraging. In its recent Budget, the federal
government announced substantial reductions in funding for social programs—reductions in the order of $3.5
billion nationally in 1996-97, with more planned for subsequent years.

While it is important for the national government to put its fiscal house in order, the necessary cost
savings must be achieved in an equitable manner. Some provinces are more able than others to absorb cuts
in federal payments for health care, post-secondary education and social assistance.

Beginning in 1996, the federal government plans to implement a block funding arrangement with
the provinces. This Canada Health and Social Transfer will be less than current funding. Nova Scotia will
ensure that our fiscal circumstances are clearly understood, and that this province is treated fairly when the
block funding is divided among provinces. We will assert the right of Nova Scotians to services that meet
national standards, at a level of taxation comparable with other Canadians.

Expenditure Restraint

Entering this second year of the Expenditure Control Plan, all departments have continued with their
ongoing review of their business plans, missions, goals and objectives. They have updated their strategies for
achieving these goals that are consistent with the priorities of government, within the parameters of the
Expenditure Control Plan. Details of the government’s priorities over the medium term and Departmental
Business Plans are provided in the document Government By Design—Progress and Challenge, which I am
pleased to table today.

In keeping with our expenditure control legislation, net program spending will decline to an
estimated $2.9 billion this fiscal year. This represents a further reduction of $106.2 million from the already-constrained expenditures of last year.

Major Program Reform

Every department and agency of government continue to assess their business processes, streamline
operations and rationalize service delivery. Major reform has been launched in several key areas and I would
comment on these briefly. Nova Scotians will receive the maximum return for their tax dollars in the form
of efficient and cost-effective programs and services. Limited resources will be directed where they will do
the most good.

Renewal of Nova Scotia’s health care system is well advanced. Our primary objective in health reform
is to provide affordable and accessible, high quality health services. Our health system must ensure that Nova
Scotians lead healthy and independent lives.

This year significant resources will be reallocated to provide Home Health Care and enhance
Emergency Health Services. The budgetary allocation for home care in 1995-96 is $44 million, more than
double the level estimated for 1994-95.

Quality education for every young Nova Scotian is the primary driver of another key initiative.
Excellence in learning is vital for Nova Scotia to remain competitive in the world economy. Restructuring the
public school system and amalgamation of school boards will redirect some $11 million from the boardrooms
and put it into the classrooms of Nova Scotia—where it belongs!

Municipal service exchange will proceed, resulting in a more rational distribution of responsibilities
between the provincial and local governments. Amalgamation of municipalities in industrial Cape Breton and
Halifax County offers taxpayers real advantages through lower overhead costs. In some municipalities,
property taxpayers have already heard the good news—stable or lower tax rates as a result of streamlined
government. Even more important, amalgamation will bring a co-ordinated approach to economic, social and
infrastructure development, with long-term savings and service delivery benefits.

Providing assistance to Nova Scotians most in need remains a key priority of government. The
reduced level of future federal support towards social programs emphasizes the need to maximize benefits
from social assistance programs. Consequently, this year the province will launch major social assistance

Innovation within the public sector is a fundamental part of reform. All departments and government
employees should be commended for their continuing efforts in:

  identifying new, more effective program delivery mechanisms;


  identifying opportunities to foster private/public partnership; and


  working to achieve more efficient and effective government.

This year government has created a $3 million Innovation Fund to finance new projects within and
across government departments. These innovations will improve systems, enhance service delivery and offer
cost savings. The fund will replenish itself from those savings.

Sustainable Programs

Mr. Speaker, in too many cases the old ways of delivering programs and services to Nova Scotians
no longer work. Many programs are not sustainable at current levels, and their future is at risk. Government
must take a hard look at the programs it currently offers and set priorities within the limited resources

Nova Scotia’s Pharmacare Program for seniors is an example of a program that was jeopardized by
its growing demand on taxpayers. Despite restraint initiatives like co-pay and reduced dispensing fees,
Pharmacare costs continued to increase dramatically as drug costs climbed and more Nova Scotians qualified.
The program had to be put on a more sustainable footing.

This government set out to secure the program’s future and ensure it continued to be available to all
seniors. We have succeeded on both counts. Guided by the principles that it must be universal, fair,
sustainable and responsible, the government has redesigned Pharmacare.

The new Pharmacare Plan has a single maximum co-pay level for all seniors. An annual Pharmacare
premium, required from every senior, will be placed in a Pharmacare Fund, administered by seniors and
applied directly to Pharmacare costs.

To assist low-income seniors in meeting their Pharmacare costs, the province will provide a
refundable tax credit of $300 per year to seniors with income of $15,000 or less. The credit will be phased out
gradually for seniors earning more than $15,000.

The changes we have introduced in Nova Scotia’s Pharmacare Program are new and innovative.
More important, they are critical to ensuring that universal drug coverage for seniors continues in this

Comprehensive Program Review

Mr. Speaker, not only must this government deliver vital services more effectively, we must put in
place a process for ensuring programs remain relevant to the needs of Nova Scotians today and tomorrow.

This process begins immediately. We will ask the basic question: “Should government be doing this
at all?” We will assess the contribution each program makes to the broader goals of the government, namely
fiscal stability, economic renewal and social responsibility. We will determine if programs are sustainable and
offer taxpayers good value for their dollars.

Departments should be commended for their efforts. Their success is reflected in our fiscal recovery.
However this review must be based on global government priorities and cross traditional departmental

Government cannot continue to provide outdated programs and services that no longer meet the
needs of Nova Scotians. Organizational expert Peter Drucker may have said it best: “It’s always amazing how
many of the things we do will never be missed ... and nothing is less productive than to make more efficient
what should not be done at all.”.

We are taking stock, and when we’re done, the inventory will be reduced. Everything that we do must
offer real benefits to Nova Scotians and true value to taxpayers.

Rationalization of Capital Spending

Program and service delivery are one aspect of government spending. As part of its Expenditure
Control Plan, government also provided for gradual reductions in capital expenditures of 5 per cent annually
for the four years of the plan. As with program spending, it is important that government take a close look
at its capital spending commitments to ensure maximum return for the taxpayers’ dollars.

1995-96 marks the first year of a new process designed to rationalize and set clear priorities for
capital spending—spending which is estimated to total $285 million this year.

For too long government had made spontaneous commitments to fund capital projects for which it
had no resources. Often these commitments were made on the spur of the moment. There has never been a
process to evaluate capital expenditure projects, one against the other, in a manner consistent with the
strategic goals of government.

In addition, capital expenditures are being viewed as investment opportunities. All capital initiatives
are being evaluated against opportunities for private/public partnering and the potential benefits to the future
of Nova Scotia.


The new Capital Priorization Process is a major step toward improving government’s accountability.
It is important, particularly in this environment of limited resources, that the public understands how the
government is spending tax dollars and to what extent we are realizing our objectives.

As a further step toward increased accountability in government, the Department of Finance, in co-operation with the Public Accounts Committee and the Auditor General, is currently in the process of
developing an accountability framework for use within government. This framework will ensure greater
integration of departmental spending and performance measures and outcomes.

Outcome Measurements and Targets

Mr. Speaker, the government has taken a bold initiative to develop and adopt measures that will
gauge our progress as a province as well. We are setting ambitious targets to signal the positive attitude and
renewed confidence of Nova Scotians.

Setting performance targets is a new experience for the government. Some people tell us it’s risky
business. They say determining realistic targets is an imperfect science. There is a reluctance to measure
results that are outside the control of government. There is a temptation to set targets low and guarantee

We have overcome that reluctance, and we will resist that temptation. Our measures will reflect the
broadest spectrum of Nova Scotia life. Our targets will be ambitious.

We will set targets and measure progress in employment; the province’s exports; the tax burden on
businesses and individual Nova Scotians; investment in research and development; production in the resource
sectors; growth in our film industry; the level of education Nova Scotians attain; the quality of our
environment; the safety of our communities; the health of our people.

Obviously, many of these things are outside the full control of government. These are measures and
targets for the province, not merely the government. All Nova Scotians have an interest in, and a
responsibility for, our province’s accomplishments.

We won’t always achieve our targets, but they are not a scorecard of success and failure. Rather they
will give all of us, inside government and out, a clear direction and something to strive for.

In the weeks and months ahead, Nova Scotians will hear more about this initiative. It must involve
a broad cross-section of Nova Scotians, representing all communities of interest. We must build a consensus
that the measures are meaningful and the targets provide sufficient challenge to lead Nova Scotia into the next
century with a renewed sense of purpose and greater confidence.


One of our key goals is to create an environment in Nova Scotia where industry can thrive and
compete in the global market.

The government has listened to the concerns of the business community. We are genuinely
committed to developing the kind of environment that assists rather than frustrates their efforts. We have
fulfilled the commitment, made in our first Budget over a year ago, to devote a significant portion of annual
revenue growth—the growth dividend—to initiatives that improve the investment climate in this province.

To help government with this objective, we asked the Taxation Committee of Voluntary Planning
to recommend how we might best use the growth dividend. I have received their report and considered their

The government has taken steps to address the concerns of businesses looking to expand or invest
in this province. A secure and stable investment climate is essential to any business. In last year’s Budget,
government introduced several initiatives to reduce the tax burden on business. Last fall, we passed legislation
that addressed the problem of the escalating unfunded liability of the Workers Compensation Fund and
sustained the program for Nova Scotia workers in the future.

In this Budget, the government is expanding its commitment to lower the tax burden on business and
make Nova Scotia a more attractive place to invest and create new jobs.

  Effective in the 1995 taxation year, the Equity Tax Credit available to any individual who invests in a Nova
Scotia small business, will be increased from 25 per cent to 30 per cent of the eligible investment. The
maximum eligible investment threshold will also be raised from $10,000 to $30,000 per year. Enhancement
of the existing parameters of the Equity Tax Credit are in keeping with the recommendations of the Taxation
Committee of Voluntary Planning.

  Many Nova Scotia companies find onerous the cost of raising capital through a public offering. Costs such
as legal fees in filing a prospectus with the Securities Commission, audit fees in preparing financial
statements and printing costs can be prohibitive. To help business meet these costs, a 35 per cent
non-refundable corporate income tax credit will be available, beginning in the 1995 taxation year, on eligible
costs of preparing and filing a prospectus (up to a maximum of $100,000).

  As a step toward increasing the attractiveness of mineral exploration in Nova Scotia, the 4 per cent Health
Services Tax on exploration and mining equipment will be removed, effective midnight April 11, 1995.

  In its first Budget over a year ago, the government introduced a temporary $3,000 Health Services Tax
Rebate on building materials used in the construction of new homes by first-time home buyers. This initiative
has been very successful in providing a stimulus to the construction sector and in helping many Nova Scotians
acquire new homes. The $3,000 rebate was set to expire on April 1, 1995 but instead will be extended for
another year.

  Convention activity is a thriving industry in Nova Scotia. Not only does it provide tremendous business
for our hotels and motels, but it has important spinoff benefits throughout the restaurant and tourism industry.
To increase the attractiveness and competitiveness of Nova Scotia as a convention destination, convention
sponsors may apply for a certificate that will exempt hotel and motel accommodations that are part of an
accredited convention from the Health Services Tax.

  Culture is important to the lives of many Nova Scotians. Growth and development within the performing
arts sector have been rapid and exciting in recent years. To help build on the potential of this industry, non-profit, performing arts production companies will be able to apply for a certificate exempting their
performances from the 10 per cent Amusements Tax. This will benefit both non-profit presenters and

  In last year’s Budget we introduced the Film Industry Incentive Program. This program provided assistance
to small local film makers with the costs of production in Nova Scotia.

In its 1995 Budget, the federal government announced similar assistance to this industry in the form
of a refundable tax credit. In an effort to streamline government assistance to the film industry and to provide
continuing provincial support for film making, the province will be revamping its current program to more
closely match the federal initiative. Effective in the 1995 taxation year, the province will implement a
refundable tax credit for local film production companies equal to 30 per cent of their eligible Nova Scotia
salaries, to a maximum of 15 per cent of their total production costs. The province will be consulting with the
film industry with respect to the transition to the new program, but this credit will be stackable on the federal

In addition to these specific measures, the province is committed to developing an effective vehicle
for improved equity investment in Community Economic Development (CED) initiatives. It is our intention
to introduce legislation in the fall that puts this vehicle in place.  In the intervening months we will work with
Regional Development Authorities to develop the most effective strategy for increasing equity investment. The
guiding principles of our work will be three-fold:

  develop sources of capital to fund CED initiatives


  reduce the burden of Securities Commission regulations


  provide a partial provincial guarantee on investments.

The message is loud and clear—Nova Scotia is a good place to do business.

Mr. Speaker, the tax reductions the government has introduced today total more than $30 million.
When coupled with last years reductions, this government has provided tax relief to Nova Scotians of almost
$70 million in two years. This contributes significantly to the competitive environment and level of confidence
already growing in the province.


In just two years the province has made substantial progress in its journey toward economic renewal
and financial stability. The decisions have not been easy and have required sacrifice and commitment from
all Nova Scotians. But today our future looks much brighter than it did only 24 months ago.

The road ahead holds many challenges. We have set a course for change and renewal. Government
programs and services will be secured for the future. Limited resources will be directed where they are most
needed and will do the most good.

For the first time in more than a decade and a half, a balanced operating budget is within our reach.
Our realistic revenue projections and commitment to continued spending restraint will ensure that a balanced
operating budget is a reality in 1996-97. The following year, despite declining federal revenues, we will
balance all government spending—capital and operating. We can then turn our full attention to the task of
paying down the debt load of the province.

Mr. Speaker, we have the plan and the determination to make it happen.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Hants West.

MR. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, in rising to speak in response to the budget put forward by
the Minister of Finance today, I suppose it becomes difficult to say whether this is a good news budget or a
bad news budget. (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. Please allow the honourable member to make his speech.

MR. RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, this has been a very good year for Canada. We have had recovery
across this country. We have had a massive increase in our exports from this country. We have had a
reasonable increase in the level of employment in this country. Because of the good fortune of the Provinces
of Alberta, Ontario and British Columbia, this year has been very good to the Minister of Finance because the
Minister of Finance received a massive windfall from the federal government, amounting to some $205
million that he had not budgeted for at the beginning of the year.

I would suggest, Mr. Speaker, to you and to members of this House that when you receive an
unexpected windfall of something in the order of $205 million it is not very difficult to reduce your deficit
which you had projected by $200 million. So, I think that is good news for Nova Scotians that, indeed, our
budgetary deficit for 1994-95 came in at something less than $100 million. I think it is good news for Nova
Scotians that our deficit in 1995-96 is projected to be $20-plus millions. I think that is the good news.

Mr. Speaker, unfortunately, there is perhaps some bad news ahead for the Minister of Finance and
for this government. The government calls the document that accompanied today’s budget, Government By
Design. Well, let’s examine closely what this Liberal budget is designed to do. Let’s examine closely the
Liberal Government’s plans and compare them to what the Liberal Government promised Nova Scotians when
they were running in the last election and we will see a vast difference in what was promised and what they
are delivering.

Mr. Speaker, this budget shows the Liberal Government has designed a plan that will continue to
shred the social and economic fabric of rural Nova Scotia. This budget shows that the Liberal Government
has designed a plan to make Nova Scotians, through lost services and jobs, and yes, also through increased
taxes, pay more to keep ministers and deputy ministers in Education, Finance, Health, Housing and Consumer
Affairs, et cetera, in a style to which they have become accustomed.

It is obscene, Mr. Speaker, at a time when this government is preaching restraint to Nova Scotians
and telling them there is no money for school renovations, no money for wildlife parks, no money for court-houses, et cetera, it is obscene that while there is no money for these things and much more, there is additional
money being pumped into the offices of ministers and deputy ministers of the government.

Mr. Speaker, this Liberal budget is designed to make the province look lily white, as it forces the
municipal units to pick the pockets of the taxpayer to pay the cost of every motor vehicle and liquor violation
they prosecute.

Mr. Speaker, this budget shows that the Liberal Government which promised no new taxes has opted
for hidden taxes by jacking up registration and licensing fees, setting up tollbooths and establishing new user
fees. Compare the design they have laid out before us today with the plans they unveiled 22 to 24 months ago
and you will see that this government is not only not delivering on what it promised, in many cases, it is doing
so in the majority of cases.

Did they tell Nova Scotians that hospitals would close? Did they tell Nova Scotians that grants to
universities and school boards would be slashed? Did they tell Nova Scotians they would move full speed
ahead with municipal amalgamation, with or without the willing participation of their municipal partners?
Did they tell Nova Scotians they had a plan to create huge administrative structures by merging hospital and
school boards? Did they tell Nova Scotians there would be tollbooths on their highways and that they would
be paying more for everything from fishing licenses to prescription drugs? Did they tell Nova Scotians they
were going to silently roll over and play dead, as their federal counterparts slashed transfer payments, closed
military bases, eliminated feed freight assistance and put an end to the forestry agreement? Did they tell Nova
Scotians they intended to rape rural Nova Scotia by closing court-houses, registry and deed offices,
prothonotary offices, forestry depots and wildlife parks? Did they tell Nova Scotians their vision of economic
recovery was rolling the dice and spinning the roulette wheel at one of our brand new casinos? Did they tell
Nova Scotians they would be paying far more for far less?

Mr. Speaker, this Liberal Government is doing the opposite of just about everything it promised. That
is why this Premier and this government have the worst performance rating of any government in this country.

Mr. Speaker, this government can speak with some pride over its efforts to re-engineer government
departments and agencies. Expenditure reduction targets do, indeed, appear to be on the mark. The early
retirement incentive plan and government restructuring have largely contributed to this success. But re-engineering, redesigning, restructuring, or whatever you want to call it, can only achieve so much and it will
achieve nowhere near the additional $930 million in foreign exchange losses this government has piled onto
our debt load in just one year, because of its reckless debt management policies.

As a matter of fact, the savings this government has already achieved through hospital closures,
layoffs, wage roll-backs, et cetera, the savings amount to less than one-third of the total debt burden Nova
Scotians now carry as a result of this government’s negligence with respect to debt management. This
government has the unenviable distinction of increasing the province’s indebtedness by a total of $1.7 billion
in just one year, the largest yearly increase in the history of this province. So much for sound fiscal policies,
Mr. Speaker.

Eventually, Mr. Speaker, government restructuring, re-engineering and redesigning reaches a point
of diminishing returns, a threshold below which further savings cannot be achieved through these efforts.
There are only so many public servants you can retire early; there are only so many divisions and departments
you can merge.

What we read in Government By Design, Mr. Speaker, is far from the total picture of what is in store
for Nova Scotians over the next three years. Over the next three years this government will have to absorb
federal transfer reductions of anywhere between $335 million to $350 million. In addition, this government,
by law, is obligated to reduce expenditures by a further $211 million, for a total reduction of approximately
$546 million.

I challenge the Premier and the Minister of Finance, or anyone else in this government, to tell me
and all Nova Scotians where in this document called Government By Design we see those kinds of savings.
The fact of the matter is, they are simply not there.  It is not there because this government is putting off the
really bad news. It is putting off the really bad news because the Premier cannot afford to let Nova Scotians
know what is in store for them, not yet anyway. No, Mr. Speaker, the bad news is being conveniently delayed
until after the Premier’s blind date with destiny, in July (Interruption) Well, we will do that.

[3:00 p.m.]

Look at Government By Design, look at the savings government says it will achieve and then look
at the actions they say will be undertaken to achieve those savings. Add on another $335 million that will be
lost in federal transfers and add to that the cost of the promises outlined in this budget and you will see that
the numbers simply do not add up. The other shoe will, most assuredly, drop, but mark my words, it will not
drop until some time after the Premier’s leadership review. That is what is so troubling about this budget.
Consider the Minister of Finance, the very same person who, along with the Premier, has been telling Nova
Scotians the province was practically bankrupt, that money lenders were banging on our doors. Consider the
same person, the Minister of Finance, who stood before a business audience, about two weeks ago, in
Dartmouth, and proclaimed, we have stopped the bleeding. Consider, too, that when he made this
pronouncement, he took great pains to single out the Premier, for his courageous efforts and valiant
leadership. (Applause) Well, I guess you have some support out there, Premier.

All of a sudden, the patient shows signs of a miraculous recovery. All of a sudden, there is money
for home care. All of a sudden, there is money for tax breaks for small business. And all of a sudden, the
Premier’s chances of surviving a leadership review look more promising. It is cynical, it is crass and it is
transparent. There is absolutely no doubt about it, Mr. Speaker, the other shoe is going to drop and when it
does, Nova Scotians will pay dearly, either in lost services or increased taxes or a combination of those two.

Mr. Speaker, this government and the Minister of Finance and, in particular, the Premier should
come clean today and not some time after July. They should come clean today and tell Nova Scotians how they
plan to cut over $0.5 billion in government spending over the next three years, not just $211 million, as
outlined in the Expenditure Control Plan, but at least $546 million in further cuts. They should further say
where the money will come from to support the new initiatives unveiled here today. Will Nova Scotians see
the promised Home Care Program? Will they see the promised tax breaks? Will they see every cent saved by
the amalgamation of school boards put back into the classrooms of this province? Or will they just see more
broken promises? Will they see the Liberal Government’s 1993 campaign strategy all over again, a strategy
that, among other things, promised to generate wealth and prosperity, not through government cuts or tax
increases, but through job creation? Well, we did not see the jobs then and we do not see them now. If this
budget is any indication, we will not see any tomorrow.

As a matter of fact, Mr. Speaker, the most recent employment statistics from Statistics Canada show
Nova Scotia was the only province in this country not to post employment gains over last March. Moreover,
Statistics Canada tells us that employment growth in Nova Scotia has faltered over the past 12 months. So
much for this government’s promise that 30-60-90 and community economic development would generate jobs
and create the wealth to pay for our programs and services.

Mr. Speaker, in his last budget, the Minister of Finance promised a growth dividend, to be directed
towards lowering taxes. He said that as revenues of the province increase over the next four years, the
government would put 20 per cent of future growth revenue into a fund to be used to reduce the tax burden
on Nova Scotians and to improve the climate for business and economic growth. That is all very well and
good, but without real job creation and without real economic growth, consumer confidence will remain weak
and revenues will continue to remain stagnant. Revenues remain stagnant unless, of course, this government
digs deeper into the taxpayers’ pockets. And this amounts to nothing more than robbing Peter to pay Paul.

This government has been reaching into the taxpayers’ pockets with one hand and taking out the bills
and then, with the other hand, it is throwing back some loose change and saying to the recipients, see how
good we are to you. This government, since coming to power, has already dug deep into the pockets of Nova
Scotians, pulling in at least an additional $75 million per year, Mr. Speaker, an extra $75 million in revenues
through an increase in the health services tax, an increase in the fuel tax and an increase of 3 per cent on our
hydro bills.

So the plan now, the plan outlined in today’s budget, is not to be so obvious. The plan now is to
increase hidden taxes and these come through license fees for fishing, tollbooths on highways, we are told,
premiums for prescription drugs. The plan now is to download on the municipalities so the municipal units
- not the province - will be seen picking the pockets of Nova Scotians. The plan now is to return a portion -
a portion of the money already taken in increased taxes - and give it back by making a big splash about the
growth dividend.

Mr. Speaker, it is a classic case of robbing Peter to pay Paul. No matter how this minister or this
Premier or any one of their colleagues want to cut it, Nova Scotians are now paying more for less. Some Nova
Scotians, like those in rural Nova Scotia, are paying far more for far less. Some Nova Scotians, Mr. Speaker,
are suffering a disproportionate amount of pain.

There is nothing in this budget to help generate economic growth, nothing to establish the climate
necessary to spur investment or job creation. Where is the support to help businesses export their products
abroad, to help this government improve upon its dismal showing in terms of marketing our products
overseas? It has the worst record in this country.

Where is the support for community economic development they said is crucial to getting the
economy moving again, especially for small town Nova Scotia who see what few jobs are available in their
communities quickly disappearing under this government?

By the minister’s own admission, the rate of growth in 1994 will level off in 1995 due to continued
restructuring in the fishery, persistent weakness in non-residential construction, the impact of military base
closures and tighter fiscal policy. By the minister’s own admission, all of this is happening within an
environment of higher interest rates. By the minister’s own admission, the Canadian dollar is expected to
remain volatile.

Yet, Mr. Speaker, even in the face of slow growth, a weak Canadian dollar, higher interest rates and
$0.5 billion loss in government program funding - even in the face of dire predictions by this minister and
by this premier just weeks ago - Nova Scotians are being asked to believe that the bleeding has stopped. All
of a sudden, the Minister of Finance and the Premier want Nova Scotians to believe them when they say that
we’ve come through the worst of it, that the pain is beginning to subside.

We are being told and we can see today that to some extent the operating deficit will be eliminated,
new programs and services will replace those taken away, tax breaks will be available to help make up for this
government’s previous tax grabs and new jobs will be created. It is more than a bit much to swallow. In fact,
it is a matter of déjà vu, the Liberal Party’s election strategy revisited.

Tell the people what they want to hear, get past the July leadership, then we will drop the bombshell.
Mr. Speaker, this government has a lot to account for. There is a vast discrepancy between what they’re telling
Nova Scotians will be done to achieve savings and the reality of the budget picture over the next three years.

Mr. Speaker, this budget will be examined in much greater detail when I continue on Thursday and
when we get into Committee of the Whole House on Estimates. There are a large number of things in that
budget that require examination and, in particular, I refer to the cost of administration within the departments
going up and the actual program spending at the sharp end going down. We will certainly be examining those
things in detail.

I would move, Mr. Speaker, that debate on Resolution No. 21 be adjourned.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is carried.

We will now commence the daily routine.





MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Premier.


HON. JOHN SAVAGE (The Premier): Mr. Speaker, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall
move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas on Monday, April 10th, Ann Marie Peters, wife of Nova Scotia Government Employees
Union President Dave Peters, passed away at her home in Westville; and

Whereas she had committed many hours and contributed a wide range of talents to her local business,
her church and to numerous community groups and cultural events; and

Whereas the loss of this valuable and important community member will be felt by all who knew her;

Therefore be it resolved that we offer our support and sympathy to her friends and family by now
observing a moment of silence for Ann Marie Peters.

MR. SPEAKER: Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

We will now observe a moment of silence.

[One minute of silence was observed.]

MR. SPEAKER: As that was given as a Statement by Ministers, is there a response?




MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Opposition.


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

Whereas the Education Minister stated yesterday in Truro that, “the needs of Teachers College
students and faculty will continue to be respected” in light of its closure; and

Whereas the minister also said that, “until the Teachers College students graduate, they will have
all the space and quality of programs they need to get the education they deserve”; and

Whereas this minister, by his acceptance of the Shapiro Report with the inclusion of his Alma Mater,
St. Francis Xavier University, showed just how much respect this minister has for the students and faculty of
the Teachers College;

Therefore be it resolved that this minister realize just how much his decision has impacted remaining
students of the Teachers College already and start answering some of the questions his vision of the new super
college have raised as well.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Halifax Atlantic.


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 Halifax-Dartmouth Bridge Commission has said it needs $20 million to be added to the
present debt of $80 million to rebuild the Angus L. Macdonald Bridge; and

Whereas the bridge commission has a sorry history of financing its requirements on the international
market and should seek independent expertise before committing to any new financing scheme; and

Whereas the Minister of Finance, during the fiscal year ending March 31, 1995, exposed Nova
Scotians to significant risk by borrowing hundreds of millions of dollars at floating rates;

Therefore be it resolved that this House recommends to the Halifax-Dartmouth Bridge Commission
that in arranging financing for the rebuilding of the Angus L. Macdonald Bridge it avoid seeking advice from
the Minister of Finance.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley.


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

Whereas federal Ministers of Human Resources Development and Fisheries and Oceans have
announced the creation of an independent review panel to make final decisions on appeals under The Atlantic
Groundfish Strategy Assistance Program; and

[3:15 p.m.]

Whereas former fisheries trawlerman Pat Fougere was deemed eligible by senior level bureaucrats
and then ineligible under the TAGS Program; and

Whereas Pat Fougere is still in dire need of some form of assistance in his battle against bureaucracy;

Therefore be it resolved that Nova Scotia’s Minister of Fisheries and the legislative member for
Guysborough-Port Hawkesbury offer whatever support they can to Mr. Fougere, as he prepares to appeal his
case before the federal independent review panel assessing his application under The Atlantic Groundfish
Strategy Assistance Program.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

If there are no further notices of motion, that concludes the daily routine. We will now advance to
the Orders of the Day. The Oral Question Period today will last for 60 minutes, from 3:16 p.m. until 4:16 p.m.



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Opposition.


MR. TERENCE DONAHOE: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Premier. I would like to know from
the Premier, and I think thousands of Nova Scotians will want to know, perhaps tens of thousands who drive
trucks and vans and cars through what some riders have referred to as death valley in the Wentworth Valley,
they want to know the role or the involvement the Premier played in the decision to rip out some $26 million
from the highway strengthening agreement, what role he played, along with the Minister of Transportation
and Mr. Dingwall of the federal government, in coming to that conclusion and making that decision?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, the question has to be phrased within the amount of money that was
to be put in and how it would not have been productive in any way of the early kind of solution to this that
you will be hearing soon from the Minister of Finance. The $26 million would not have done what we were
looking for. By federal and provincial agreement, it was shifted to a tourist development process which has
been outlined and which we will continue to support.

MR. DONAHOE: So I take it from that answer that the Premier is saying to Nova Scotians that he
was in direct complicity with Minister Mann and Minister Dingwall in supporting the ripping out of the $26
million from the highway strengthening agreement to address that and dedicate that or commit it to the Fleur-de-lis Trail? Is that what he is saying, that he was a full participant in making that decision?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, unlike the last government, we don’t use the word complicity. What
we call them are decisions made by both levels of government. Both levels of government supported this, as
has been evidenced by the information.

MR. DONAHOE: So the Premier is, therefore, saying to us that he was a participant, he does concur,
he supports, he is the leader of the government and probably directed, I take it then, that the change be made.
So since he does concur and support the decision to make the move to take these funds away from the death
valley project, I ask the Premier if he is now, therefore, prepared to say to the people of Nova Scotia that he
is prepared to accept responsibility for any accident or fatality or injury which may occur on the death trap
of Highway No. 104?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I am urged to speak calmly, so that I don’t respond to the cheap and
rather vicious allegations made by the Leader of the Opposition and I will do that. What I am saying is that
we sat and watched them for a number of years and they didn’t do very much with that road. What we will
have in the next few weeks is a plan to complete that highway and save lives. Then, Mr. Speaker, maybe the
now Leader of the Opposition will gaze back at the role he played, along with the Minister of Transportation,
in that last useless government. (Applause)

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


MR. JOHN HOLM: Mr. Speaker, in 1993 the now Premier Savage promised no more pot hole
politics. That promise, plus a loonie, will get you a cup of coffee today.

My question to the Premier is quite simply this, why hasn’t the Premier asked for the resignation of
the Minister of Transportation and Communications for diverting, in what is obviously the most blatant
example of pork-barrel politics, the $26 million, away from the Highway No. 104 death valley by-pass to the
minister’s own riding and that of his federal colleague, the Honourable David Dingwall?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I would assume that the feigned anger that we see so often from both
Opposition Leaders is indicative of something that is not visible to us. What I am saying is that we have the
best Minister of Transportation and Communications that this province has had in 15 years and he is going
to stay there. (Applause)

MR. HOLM: Mr. Speaker, the Premier can feign concern, as he did in 1993 when he talked about
it not being possible for there to be any delays allowed in the construction because any delay would also exact
a needless toll in lives lost, and injuries, on the existing highway and that it had to proceed immediately
because of the federal-provincial agreement. Yet, the Premier’s own briefing book from last year clearly
indicates that the Premier was fully aware of the plans to divert that money to the Fleur-de-Lis Trail.

My question to the Premier is quite simply, why should Nova Scotians believe this government has
any intention of putting public safety ahead of partisan, pork-barrel politics given the fact that the Premier
himself, the anti-patronage champion, was directly involved in the decision that was made?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, it is known in government that decisions are arrived at by partnership,
by decision in Cabinet and that is the way this decision was made. This decision was one that was made
because at the same time as we made the transfer, we decided that we would start the process of private/public
partnering. It has taken considerable time and, I might add, ingenuity and work by that Minister of
Transportation to bring this to the position where we will have an announcement to make. But I assure you
that the people of this province will look at the completion of that highway a lot earlier than they would if the
money had not been in the first bit provided in a private (Interruption) Mr. Speaker, the province will
ultimately look back at this effort, where private and public partnered, and will see that the money that we
are putting in is the money that is virtually the same but it is up to the private sector to provide the money and,
therefore, you will have a road built in a much shorter space of time than if we had left it to the people
opposite when they were there.

MR. HOLM: The Premier said that all with a straight face. The Premier and the Liberal Government
promised that within six months of forming government they would be publicly tabling a three-year,
secondary maintenance plan. That, of course, was never done. So my final question to the Premier is quite
simply, why has the Premier abandoned the high principles that he stated at that time and simply gone back
to the old pork-barrel ways of the past?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, the Leader opposite is quoting from a Daily News piece in April 1993,
which (Interruptions) Mr. Speaker, could you restrain him please.

What they are looking at is, just before the election a description of those policies were put out and
were actually critiqued in The Daily News, and what they said was that these policies were policies that were
the best ever put forward in this province. If you want to read them, I am prepared to table it. The only bit that
we were unable to do was the bit to do with the highways because, quite simply, when that lot left, the
cupboard was bare.

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


MR. BROOKE TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, my question is also for the honourable Premier. The Premier
was recently up in Colchester County and in the Town of Truro. During his visit he expressed and espoused
his commitment to the twinning of Highway No. 104 between Masstown, Colchester County and Thomson
Station, Cumberland County. I wonder if the Premier can tell Nova Scotians and this House, while the
Premier was up in Colchester County and in the Town of Truro, did he have the courtesy to stop and visit the
Cumberland-Colchester Member of Parliament’s constituency office?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I went to many places. I do not recall that day visiting that Member
of Parliament, no.

MR. TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, I wonder if the Premier would not agree, common courtesy would
suggest that his government, at the very least, his Minister of Transportation and Communications, would
have notified the federal member where his federal funds, some $26 million, have been diverted, from a fund
that was dedicated solely for the twinning of Highway No. 104, to alleviate the death and carnage that is
presently taking place up through death valley? Is the Premier aware that the member has never been notified?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, this member remains continually confused. First of all, I can tell you
this, however, that it is a heck of a sight easier to visit the Conservative Members of Parliament than it is to
visit all the Liberal Members of Parliament, since there are only two of those in Ottawa. It is quite possible,
therefore, for us to visit them. Under the circumstances, I think it is perfectly obvious that the responsibility
of keeping federal people involved is, obviously, the responsibility of the federal minister and I would assume
that he probably has done that.

MR. TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, because of the Premier’s obvious preoccupation and obsession with
saving his political backside, this government has become a provincial disgrace and is fast becoming a
national embarrassment. My question to the Premier is this, major criteria for approving and accessing funds
from the Strategic Highway Improvement Program were violated. Is the Premier aware that the amendments
were found to be insufficient, in the view of the Auditor General of this province?

THE PREMIER: Obviously, you are reading from a different book. In the reports that we saw, the
Auditor General said, reluctantly, that there was a subsection and that it did allow this. It did allow it, it was
legal, both federal and provincial governments did it and we did it together.

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


MR. TERENCE DONAHOE: Mr. Speaker, through you to the Premier. In June 1993, a week after
becoming Premier, this Premier and the Minister of Transportation and Communications, held a news
conference to announce that they, the government, were going to proceed with the construction and twinning
of the western alignment of Highway No. 104. At that time, the Premier said, also impacting on the decision
to proceed with the western alignment of Highway No. 104 was the status of the federal-provincial agreements
under which the highway project is being funded. The Premier went on to say, funding is provided on a
project basis and to change projects at this stage would have meant reopening the negotiation process and
possibly causing further delays. My question to the Premier is, when did he change his mind that it was
suddenly all right to reopen that agreement, rip $26 million out of it and then, presumably in order to have
Highway No. 104 twinned, have to go back to the Nova Scotia taxpayers for even more money, in addition
to the $26 million ripped out of the agreement that already existed?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, if we had relied on the method that they had in for 15 years, if they
had relied on the processes of so much per year, this highway would never have been built in 12 or 15 years.
This highway will now be built, well in advance, and I would say it, of the next election.

MR. DONAHOE: Well, the Premier knows that that is absolute poppycock. (Interruptions) Well, it
is just absolute foolishness. So, my supplementary, Mr. Speaker, to the Premier, is, having, for his own
political purposes, decided to rip $26 million out of the agreement intended for Highway No. 104, I ask the
Premier to tell Nova Scotians now whether or not it is his intention to call upon the taxpayers of Nova Scotia
to invest money in the twinning project for Highway No. 104, the announcement of which we are apparently
going to hear something about in the next couple of weeks. Is he saying that there will be Nova Scotia
taxpayer money in that highway construction project?

[3:30 p.m.]

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I am afraid he will just have to wait and see.

MR. DONAHOE: Well, maybe it is manna from heaven or maybe it is another windfall transfer from
the feds. By way of final supplementary to the Premier relative to this matter, I wonder if the Premier will tell
me if he had made available to him analyses and surveys relative to the Fleur-de-lis Trail and the highway
safety considerations and the socio-economic tourism potential considerations relative to the Fleur-de-lis Trail
prior to making the decision to direct $26 million to that project? If so, if they exist, will he commit today to
table those studies?

THE PREMIER: I have a very effective and very important Minister of Transportation who, in effect,
does all the assessments and brings the recommendations to Cabinet. I certainly don’t pretend to know the ins
and outs of all those but I do know that it was brought to Cabinet and Cabinet decided.

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


MR. BROOKE TAYLOR: My question is for the Premier. Nova Scotia’s 100-Series Highways
provide for the movement of people and commodities between our major centres and the major entrance points
of the province. Highways are a key resource of the province and a crucial element in attaining two of the
government’s, and I would submit any government’s, strategic priorities and that is economic renewal and
public safety.

The Auditor General’s Report which was released last Thursday, April 6th, suggests and it reveals
quite plainly that all projects undertaken under the Strategic Highway Improvement Program are to be part
of a national highway system and, of course, 100-Series Highways certainly fall under a national highways
system. I wonder, was the Premier aware that when the federal-provincial announcement was made last
February 1994, when the announcement was made respecting the secondary highway in Cape Breton that no
funding at that time was secured?

THE PREMIER: I am sorry, Mr. Speaker, I don’t quite understand the question. I am willing to allow
his first one again, if he put it more intelligibly. I am sorry, I didn’t understand it.

MR. SPEAKER: I hesitate to ask him to repeat it because he was reading from very extensive notes
on a large sheet of paper in a very small hand. Could you possibly summarize the question?

MR. TAYLOR: I will try, Mr. Speaker. The Minister of Transportation, in concert with the federal
Minister of Public Works, announced a secondary highway project in Cape Breton back in February 1994.
At that time, from perusing the Auditor General’s Report, after looking at the Auditor General’s Report, we
find that funding was not secured and procured until May 1994. I wonder, is the Premier aware of that, that
the announcement was made and then the funds were secured based on the Auditor General’s Report?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, for 15 years we had projects announced that never had any funding;
never was there any capital assessment; never was there any attempt to provide money for hospitals or roads.
It was just announced. What we did was to listen to our very intelligent Minister of Transportation and indeed
we got the right answer.

MR. TAYLOR: The fatality rate of a four lane divided highway is four times less than on a two lane
undivided highway like the existing Highway No. 104 through Wentworth. Injury accidents, according to the
experts, are two times less likely to happen. One can’t help but wonder if the heckler for Cumberland North
was also party to this, I believe at that time he was the Minister of Economic Renewal. My question for the
Premier is simply this, how in good conscience, if you have one at all, could you allow money to be diverted
from Highway No. 104 to the Fleur-de-lis Trail?

MR. SPEAKER: I would ask the honourable member to withdraw those intemperate references to
a conscience and just put your question.


MR. TAYLOR: My question is this. How could the Premier in good conscience allow money to be
diverted from a Highway No. 104 project to a secondary road? How in good conscience could the Premier
allow that to happen?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, that road will be finished in much less time than if you and that bunch
over there had had the opportunity to do it over 10 years.

MR. TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, for the Premier’s information and for the information of the House, that
road would have been completed by the fall of 1995. There is no question about it. It was announced.

MR. SPEAKER: Is there a final supplementary question?

MR. TAYLOR: Yes, my question is simply this, the major . . .

AN HON. MEMBER: . . . good intentions.

MR. TAYLOR: I cannot hear either, Mr. Speaker. (Interruptions) The major criteria for approving
funds from the Strategic Highway Improvement Program, as I stated before, is that the project must be part
of a national highway system in this country. Lesser criteria stipulates that the project must reduce accidents,
fatalities and property damage for motor vehicle accidents. The Auditor General’s Report suggests that the
Department of Transportation did not have an analysis to support any of the aforementioned. Is the Premier
aware of the fact that the Department of Transportation did not perform any comparative analysis at the time
of the diversion of the funding?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, this government prefers paving with asphalt to good intentions. What
we saw over there was the paving, the promise of this, the promise of that. This whole issue of safety and the
angst that it causes people, it is a very (Interruption)

The pet parrot cannot stop, I guess. What we are talking about, Mr. Speaker, is the angst
(Interruption) the . . .

MR. SPEAKER: I don’t want to hear about tabling Richie’s study again.

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I would think, is it not time to throw him out again? He has not done
it this session.

What we are talking about and what they are referring to in a light kind of way is a very serious issue.
We are talking about safety on a road and they are throwing epithets and insults across this floor. We are very
concerned. It is the safety of people driving on the Nova Scotia highways that is our main concern for moving
in the way that we will be moving.

Mr. Speaker, if we had left it to a group who had no money, who would have put us even more in
debt in order to do it, other than the $8 billion to which their Finance Critic referred this afternoon, as if we
had incurred the money, we are looking at a plan that will be announced, and you will just have to wait for
it, but it will be announced, which will indeed provide the issue of good, safe highways for the people of this
province. That will be delivered.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Fairview.


MS. ALEXA MCDONOUGH: Mr. Speaker, I, too, would like to direct my question to the Premier.
Prior to the 1993 election, this Liberal Party now in government described the home care system in this
province as neither comprehensive nor coordinated nor accessible nor affordable by most Nova Scotians. Since
that time, this government has hacked over $100 million out of hospital budgets and today confirmed that they
have allocated, in new monies, a mere $7.5 million for home care this year.

Mr. Speaker, I want to ask the Premier, that being the case, how this government can pretend that
seniors and disabled persons and the sick are being fairly treated and well-served by this government’s so-called health care reform?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, in the absence of the Minister of Health, who is away at a meeting
of the Ministers of Health, I have to answer the issue.

Mr. Speaker, we are going to have a Home Care Program. It was one of the most important issues
that we advocated. There is a reallocation of more than $7 million and the member opposite knows that. The
reallocation that we are talking about will provide both pre and hospital home care, will move us into the
other kinds of home care, like palliative home care, which may not be this year, and other kinds of home care
that have been allocated in the book on home care in Nova Scotia. We are determined to provide that kind
of home care and you will see an effective home care system introduced as a result of the extra money that
this government, under very difficult circumstances, is putting into home care.

MS. MCDONOUGH: Well, Mr. Speaker, the Premier knows that the Blueprint Committee very
strongly recommended against the closure of large numbers of hospital beds without putting that
comprehensive home care system in place. Another thing that the Blueprint Committee strongly
recommended that has been ignored yet again in this budget is the importance of setting up a Labour
Adjustment Committee with a comprehensive labour adjustment strategy to deal with the staff in the health
care system who would be displaced by the so-called reforms. I wonder if the Premier could give us some
indication, given over $100 million slashed from hospital budgets, how many health care workers in this
province are going to be rendered unemployed over the next year as a result of the cutting and slashing and
the failure to put into place a labour adjustment strategy that does anything but fire and retire health care

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I cannot answer that question because it is obviously within the
purview of the Minister of Health. I will give it to the Minister of Health and I will provide the answers in a
written submission next week. I should tell you that in Antigonish there is a program for nurses who wish to
go from health care in hospital into community care. There is a strategy and I will make sure that the member
opposite is provided with that in a written submission that I will give next week.

MS. MCDONOUGH: Mr. Speaker, maybe my final supplementary could deal more directly with the
top priority commitment that he and his Party made on the campaign trail which was to put 58,000 Nova
Scotians back to work. Today, as a result of the tabling of this budget, we now know from the back page of
the budget documentation, making it clear that with this government it is people last not people first that of
the 58,000 Nova Scotians unemployed today, 56,000 of them can expect to be unemployed next year at this
time. I wonder if the Premier could indicate whether these are the results that he expected and that he
predicted from the so-called fast-track economic strategy that this government had ready to roll into high gear
when it took office?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, all the scenarios in the budget are worst case scenarios. I think it is
fair and perhaps the honourable member opposite might even allow it, the fact that there were more people
working last year in 1994 than there were in 1993 and certainly a lot more than there were in 1991 and 1992.
The figures vary from month to month, in some cases it was 12,000 and in some cases it was as high as
17,000. What we have seen is a drop in unemployment in this province, quite significantly, by over 2 points
between 1993 when they were in and between 1995 when we are in.

We will continue. I do not pretend to be the slightest bit happy about any people being unemployed,
but we will give you our guarantee that we will work and we will be working particularly in those coastal and
rural communities where obviously no particular program ever introduced has been successful. We are going
to attack it in a different way and we are going to produce through community economic development, my
new minister in ERA, the kind of programs that we hope will benefit those people. This government will not
rest until we tackle that problem more successfully.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Queens.


MR. JOHN LEEFE: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister of the Environment. It is, I think,
very clear to all Nova Scotians that the provision of adequate information with respect to public initiatives is
vital to Nova Scotians understanding why decisions are taken and to allow them the opportunity to determine
whether those decisions taken are the appropriate decisions.

In February, the Premier ordered a review of the Sydney Tar Ponds Project. A report was prepared
and delivered to Cabinet, a report with recommendations as I understand it in order that the people in
industrial Cape Breton, particularly those living close to the tar ponds can have a better understanding of why
government has taken the decision it has regarding the tar ponds. Will the minister agree to table that report
including any recommendations?

HON. WAYNE ADAMS: Yes, Mr. Speaker. I have no difficulty in doing that.

MR. LEEFE: I thank the minister for his cooperation and I know that many Nova Scotians, including
myself, look forward to having the opportunity to review that.

[3:45 p.m.]

My first supplementary is to my colleague, the Minister of Supply and Services. I understand that
the tar ponds board has recommended a private sector contract to be sought to get the dredge working, but
also the board recommended that in the meantime permission be granted, to avoid an extended shutdown, for
the trucking of sludge to the incinerators. That proposal apparently has been refused and I wonder if the
minister could advise the House as to why that proposal for trucking sludge was turned down?

HON. GERALD O’MALLEY: Mr. Speaker, that is an extremely good question. As I pointed out in
the House the other day, the closure of the tar ponds clean-up project was a very advisable step to take, in light
of, I guess one could refer to it as the God-forsaken mess that was left there in the so-called preparation for
that clean-up by the former government.

Mr. Speaker, the situation with regard to trucking the material from the edge of the tar pond to the
incinerator site, I think by the honourable member opposite, gives us in the House some idea of his
understanding of the problem when he was involved in the original purported solution to the problem.

The honourable member opposite realizes that first of all, the rinky-dink dredge that was put out in
the centre of the tar ponds will not dig up the material so that you can put it in the back of a truck. Secondly,
Mr. Speaker, if the rinky-dink dredge is out in the centre of the tar pond, you will have to drive the truck over
water to get it out to the centre of the tar pond, to fill it and get it back to the incinerator. So, the bottom line
is that the whole design, from the rinky-dink dredge back to the incinerator, is a God-forsaken mess that has
to be cleaned up and we are going about the business of cleaning it up. (Applause)

MR. LEEFE: Mr. Speaker, I can assure you that I would no more suppose that a truck can drive on
water than that minister has demonstrated that he is capable of walking on water, with respect to the Sydney
tar ponds.

Mr. Speaker, there are 40 members of the United Steel Workers of America who have been employed
at the Sydney tar ponds. I wonder if the minister could advise the House, what is the status of their

MR. O’MALLEY: Mr. Speaker, it is very unfortunate that there are actually 46 members, the
steelworkers working on that project. It is very unfortunate that we had to lay off 16 of those members because
of the closure. One of those members has returned to his task with Sydney Steel. The remainder are desirous
of seeing the project go ahead for many personal reasons, because they are residents of the area, because they
are highly skilled, highly competent, highly trained individuals to do that particular job. They have set a
personal goal for themselves, as well as a community goal, to see that project through to its final completion.

The 16 members who are now on unemployment insurance will be, as soon as we are able to get the
project back on track, with an absolute, provable solution to ensure that the tar ponds are cleaned up properly,

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Pictou West.


MR. DONALD MCINNES: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister for the Economic Renewal
Agency. The Nova Scotia Film Development Corporation has rejected a bid by a person with the Halifax-based production company, Screen Star, to shoot an $8 million feature film about the Bluenose. He was
seeking financing in the neighbourhood, I understand, of about $700,000 but was rebuffed. He will now get
financial help from the Ontario Film Investment Program.

Recently the Premier announced that we were going to have a sound stage in Nova Scotia and I think
that was very good. I thought we were interested in attracting film development to Nova Scotia. Why was the
gentleman turned down for financing, yet able to go to Ontario and proceed with the filming?

HON. ROBERT HARRISON: Mr. Speaker, the question is an interesting one and on the face of it,
it sounds as though we are not committed to the cultural arts in this province. I can assure the member
opposite that the Film Development Corporation is ably led, in fact, led by people who have national status,
who are recognized nationally for the commitment that they make to this province and, in turn, that Nova
Scotia makes to an industry that is extremely important in Canada.

I am sure the member opposite knows that the return on investment for the cultural arts - when one
considers the amount of money one uses as incentive, and today’s budget has all sorts of promise for that
industry in two main ways but in many other ways as well - that the return on investment in the cultural arts
community and the thriving enterprise that exists in this province is one of the stories that should be told
world-wide about Nova Scotia’s economic resurgence. So here we have, on the face of it, a native film maker,
a Nova Scotian film maker, who is being rejected here in this province by an industry that is growing to
almost $23 million last year, as projected from very little incentive in.

There is another side to this story, Mr. Speaker, and I would be pleased to offer my colleague the
wisdom of the Film Development Corporation and the other side of that story here in this House in terms of
tabling a report to him, based on the discussions of that Film Development Corporation with the gentleman
involved to ensure that both sides of the story are known to him.

MR. MCINNES: Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the minister’s answer, that we don’t want to get into
personalities, particularly, I appreciate that. If the minister would table something or make something
available to me, but on the face of it, as the minister said, it looks kind of funny that a man from Nova Scotia
would go to Ontario to do filming on the Bluenose. But I will be satisfied if the minister will provide me with
that information. Thank you.

MR. HARRISON: Mr. Speaker, I will just, once again, use the opportunity to praise the men and
women of this province who are dedicated to driving cultural arts to international recognition. The East Coast
Music Awards, the theatres that will benefit from the rebate program that was announced today, this province
has made its image known world-wide by the wonderful entertainers and performing artists and they cross
the entire range of the cultural arts community. I want to thank him for the question. I obviously will provide
him with the information and I appreciate the way he responded to my answer.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Pictou Centre.


DR. JOHN HAMM: Mr. Speaker, to the Minister of Municipal Affairs. The question of municipal
reform is an important one and, of course, the whole exercise is an attempt to provide less expensive
government on the municipal level. Several of the candidates who are running for the mayor’s position in the
new Cape Breton Regional Municipality have commented that they feel that the advertised salary for the
mayor’s position, of $92,000, is excessive. Would the minister care to comment, is she prepared to accept the
recommendation of the amalgamation co-ordinator in Cape Breton that the mayor’s salary for the new Cape
Breton Regional Municipality should be $92,000?

HON. SANDRA JOLLY: Mr. Speaker, there has been some discussion on the salaries, both with the
mayors and the councillors in that area. I would just like to clarify for the House that the decision on providing
that salary has been made by the CAO, in conjunction with discussion with the staff that have currently been
hired to date. But what I will say, as well, that if the new council and one of these people are elected as the
new mayor would like to reduce their salary, I am sure that would be quite accepted.

DR. HAMM: Mr. Speaker, it sounds like the minister is prepared to accept a salary of $92,000 for
the new mayor in the Cape Breton Regional Municipality. I fear that the ripple effect of that across the
province, when many mayors in this province work for in the vicinity of $10,000, that the ripple effect will
have serious consequences.

My question to the minister, is she having conversations with the metro amalgamation co-ordinator,
Mr. Hayward, as to what his recommendation will be for a salary for the new super city here in metro?


DR. HAMM: Mr. Speaker, I am a little surprised at the minister’s answer. By way of final
supplementary, is the minister giving any consideration to establishing some guidelines for the remuneration
of municipal officials elected in municipal elections across this province?

MS. JOLLY: Mr. Speaker, the salaries that are paid to the various municipal elected individuals, both
mayors and council people, are decided by the municipalities, the elected officials themselves.

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


MR. JOHN HOLM: Mr. Speaker, I would like to direct my question, through you, to the Premier,
in his capacity as Minister responsible for Aboriginal Affairs. Of course, the Premier will know that the
Supreme Court, in 1985, ruled that the Treaty of 1752, indeed, was valid and the Premier himself, on a
number of occasions, including Treaty Day, indicated that his government supported that as a valid treaty
between two nations. So, my question to the Premier is, quite simply, this, why is it that Crown Prosecutors
are still challenging the validity of the Treaty of 1752 in litigations before the court?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, that is a very good question and I do not know that I have an answer
that is going to please everybody. The Province of Nova Scotia has accepted the 1752 and the 1765 Treaties,
I have made that abundantly clear. There are a number of cases which started, in terms of their opening,
before we got here. Some of these cases are now ongoing and the department still maintains that, in effect,
this is not yet proven legally. That is why they do it. I do not pretend that I am happy with it. We have had
some discussions, the minister and I, but there is no easy solution to this, on the face of it.

MR. HOLM: The Public Prosecution Act specifically allows for instructions to be given to the
prosecution services, on matters of general government policy. Certainly, the Public Prosecution Office does
not have unfettered discretion to raise any argument or take any position that runs contrary to stated
government policy. So, my question to the Premier is, quite simply, if that is stated government policy, why
has that direction not been given to the prosecution services?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I would imagine that there is some independence in this prosecuting
office, which allows for the kind of choice that we have indicated. But I cannot give you an absolute answer
to this. We have discussed it, it is under discussion and when I have more information on it, I will report back
to this House.

MR. HOLM: Mr. Speaker, but I was not speculating. The Public Prosecution Act specifically says
that there can be instructions given to the prosecution services and that they cannot use defences that go, or
that they can be instructed not to use defences that go against stated government policies. Certainly, the Union
of Nova Scotia Indians wants to know what the government’s position is going to be. Is it a fair assessment
of the Premier’s decision or position, as a result of his answers, that, in fact, the government is backing away
from the stated policy and commitment that it said it was going to follow and that was, to recognize the Treaty
of 1752 as a valid treaty between two nations? Are you backing off?

THE PREMIER: No, Mr. Speaker, and he knows that. Neither he nor I are lawyers and there is this
question of interpretation, which is a timely issue, as opposed to the actual government policy. Government
policy remains the same. We accept the treaty, we accept the two treaties. We have given them our guarantees
on that and we will attempt to resolve the apparent difficulties that exist between the Department of Justice
and ourselves, but I suspect it is a matter of lawyers and interpretation, as opposed to going against a set

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Queens.


MR. JOHN LEEFE: Mr. Speaker, my question is to my colleague, the Minister of Fisheries. The
minister and I both are well aware, as are, I am sure, all Nova Scotians, of the continuing difficulties that the
inshore generalist fleet in Nova Scotia faces, with the downturn in the groundfish fishery. Of course, that is
particularly acute east of Halifax, where the groundfish fishery is closed entirely. I wonder if the minister
could share with the House, what policy initiatives the Nova Scotia Fisheries Loan Board has adopted, to
reflect the need to adapt its policies to assist that fleet in this time of great urgency?

[4:00 p.m.]

HON. JAMES BARKHOUSE: That is a good question. Throughout Nova Scotia and not necessarily
just the Eastern Shore, because of the depletion of the groundfish stocks and the closure in that region, there
is great difficulty for all sized vessels in that particular region, more so in that region because they have been
closed down a few years ahead of other regions. There is a deferment process in place at the present time to
defer the interest payments and principal payments to fishermen that make an application and, not in all cases
but in most cases, where fishermen have made a request to have that deferment, that program has been
approved and fishermen desperately in need have been given that freedom of deferment of their loan payment.

MR. LEEFE: I thank the minister for his straightforward answer. I wonder if the minister could
advise the House if it is still the policy of the Fisheries Loan Board to extend loans to clients solely on the
basis of the cost of building the vessel and including the power and propulsion and electronics?

MR. BARKHOUSE: Yes, Mr. Speaker, I believe it would be right to say, yes, but the Fisheries Loan
Board also provides loans to aquaculture and there has to be equity, that I believe is the issue, as a receivable
or a recoverable product to put a loan against. Yes, basically to cover the fishermen it is for the vessels and
repairs of and their instrumentation but for aquaculture it is also for fish.

MR. LEEFE: Again, to the Minister of Fisheries, it has been the long-standing practice of the Farm
Loan Board to allow clients to include within their loans the cost of acquiring quota, milk, for example, as
part of the cost of doing business and getting on in farming. Will the minister give consideration or at least
ask the Fisheries Loan Board, which presumably operates to some degree at arm’s length from the minister,
to give consideration to allowing clients of the loan board to include in their loan application the cost of
licenses so that the fishermen of Nova Scotia will be treated on the same basis as are the farmers of Nova
Scotia by the Farm Loan Board?

MR. BARKHOUSE: It is a very good question but it is a policy, a policy that had been established
for quite a number of years in the Fisheries Loan Board to only give loans where there was equity of a license.
Technically as a lobster license has been traditionally valued at $30, it also has an inherent value similar to
quotas, dairy quotas or chicken quotas, there has been a tangible value and fishermen do an exchange between
each other through legal agreements but the direct value of that license is only worth $30. So, this is a
question of what is the value of that license.

In difficult times, we saw experiences last year where somebody bought a lobster license who had
been to a different area and then they weren’t allowed to fish in that area. Legally, they are allowed to fish but
because of the cultural differences and the parochial nature of the fisheries some people didn’t fish in that
community and I believe that would raise a concern as to whether those license still have that particular value.
Assuming that they paid $30,000 for a license and couldn’t fish in that area, would the person be able to pay
back that loan. It is something that I can certainly take that matter to the Fisheries Loan Board because it does
not have an actual value, it is a matter between buyer and seller, two fishermen, both eligible to hold that
license but as a matter of private agreement and different regions in the province.

For example, a lobster license may be valued at $15,000 and it could be worth $130,000 in another
part of the province, so it raises some very serious matters, to whether that is some that could actually be
practically implemented, that would be a policy consideration and I certainly will bring it before the board
for their consideration.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Hants West.


MR. RONALD RUSSELL: My question is for the Minister of Housing and Consumer Affairs and
it is with regard to matters connected with the Nova Scotia Liquor Commission. The Auditor General reported
that there was approximately $283,000 written off from the Nova Scotia Liquor Commission in the fiscal year
ended 1994, of which approximately $15,000 was cash and the balance, about $268 million, was in stock.

I wonder if the minister would, first of all, talk about the stock and tell us whether or not those losses
were distributed right across the system or were they concentrated mainly in certain stores or within the
warehouse system?

HON. ELEANOR NORRIE: Mr. Speaker, I think the member opposite is well aware that there is
an historic loss that is generally reported by the Liquor Commission, as we do have in any retail outlet. I don’t
have the details on where the losses do happen, I have just the broad numbers for the last 10 years. I have to
say that in the last two years that number has been decreasing. (Applause)

MR. RUSSELL: Well, in that event, I would ask that the minister table a loss/sales ratio statement
for the past, say, three or four years - I would very much appreciate that - and, in particular, from whichever
stores they came from.

Another question related to the Nova Scotia Liquor Commission, would the minister confirm that
the Nova Scotia Liquor Commission carries, within its stock, sake?

MRS. NORRIE: Mr. Speaker, I am afraid I can’t answer that question. I will have to visit one of the
commissions and find out and report back to him.

MR. RUSSELL: The question was not asked in jest; it was asked because about two months ago I
asked the former minister, with regard to the coming G-7 talks, whether or not suitable arrangements were
being made through the Liquor Commission. I don’t know if he did anything or did not. The thing is that we
have about 450 people, I think, in the Japanese delegation who are coming here, who all smoke, too,
incidentally but, nevertheless, many of them, those who don’t drink scotch, drink sake. I understand, Mr.
Speaker, that this particular liquor . . .

HON. ROBERT HARRISON: A $9 billion debt and you are worried about sake?

MR. RUSSELL: You know, Mr. Speaker, it always amuses me, that minister over there jumps up
and he starts talking about millions and billions of dollars. I am talking about the stuff that makes this
province go. That minister is the Minister of Tourism, who should be doing everything he possibly can within
his power to encourage tourists to come here and make sure that when they get here we have stuff on hand
that they want to purchase. (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: I can’t hear a blessed thing. Is the honourable member saying that he is placing his
final supplementary to the Minister of Tourism?

MR. RUSSELL: No, I am not. I would just like him to stay out of the conversation because he doesn’t
know what he is talking about.

My question to the minister is, will she ensure that the Nova Scotia Liquor Commission has sake in
stock by the time that the G-7 people start arriving?

MRS. NORRIE: Mr. Speaker, it is my understanding that the Liquor Commission, as a retail outlet,
will attempt to secure any type of spirit or drink that any customer would like. If they don’t have it, they will
get it. But, at the same time, I would say that when we bring people into this province, we would like to
accommodate their wishes as well as promote our own Nova Scotia products. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Atlantic.


MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, I would like to direct my question to the Premier. We have
heard the government congratulate itself today on the province’s economic performance and yet we have seen
from their own figures that there has been a considerable decline in individual incomes in the Province of
Nova Scotia. We have seen that their most optimistic estimate is that there will be 2,000 less unemployed in
1995 and we had a report yesterday, released by the Toronto Dominion Bank, that said that Nova Scotia will
be out-performed economically by every province in this country, other than Newfoundland.

I would like to ask this Premier if that, in fact, is his definition of a healthy community or a healthy
province, that we would be satisfied with 56,000-plus people unemployed in the Province of Nova Scotia, and
a constant decline in the level of incomes for the people of Nova Scotia? Is that his indication of a healthy

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I would remind the member opposite that he might read the APEC
Report for 1994 which said, and I quoted from it in this House, look at what has happened to the Nova Scotia
economy, to the surprise of everybody, in the second part of 1994. The Nova Scotia economy outstripped
virtually every economy except Alberta and B.C. (Applause) Let us use a little care when we toss things
around this floor, about jobs and about jobs that are not here.

What we are saying and what we will continue to say is, that last year we did outperform other
provinces, and this year we don’t know what the outcome is going to be. We do know one thing, Mr. Speaker,
that the efforts we are putting into job creation will pay off and this province will be a better place as a result
of it. (Applause)

MR. CHISHOLM: I would like to lead off in my first supplementary on the Premier’s last comment,
about how their efforts at job creation are really paying off. I would like to ask the Premier if he could explain
to Nova Scotians why he felt that in 1993, his government was going to create 56,000-plus jobs for Nova
Scotia, yet he stands in this House today and says that 2,000 jobs for 1995 is quite okay with his government?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, there are such words as inexactitudes that one can use for the
Opposition’s flow of rhetoric. Technically, that is what is actually happening. At no time did this government,
either in waiting or when we got in, say that we would put 56,000 people back to work. The exaggerations
we have seen from the other side are inevitable and we must accept those. We have, however, created
conditions that have got many more back to work than would have been if the other government had stayed
here; 17,000 better, they are back. There are more people at work this year than there were last year and the
year before, and that is in part due to the efforts of this government in creating opportunities within the
business sector. (Applause)

MR. CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, it really is laughable; in fact, it is quite incredible that the Premier,
who made a promise to Nova Scotians that he was going to create 56,000-plus jobs, is going to talk about
people throwing around inexactitudes. Come on, the outrageousness of that. (Interruptions) Now, what we
are hearing from this group opposite is, we didn’t say that.

AN HON. MEMBER: Look at your ads. (Interruptions)

MR. CHISHOLM: You try to convince Nova Scotians that you didn’t say that.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. Order.

MR. CHISHOLM: What does the Minister of Education want me to table?

MR. SPEAKER: Order, order.

MR. CHISHOLM: Do you want me to table, again, the ad about the 56,000 jobs that you are going
to create?

MR. SPEAKER: Please put your question, a final supplementary.

MR. CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, I would like to direct my final supplementary to the Minister for the
Economic Renewal Agency. We see in the estimates that have been supplied to us today that the Community
Economic Development Initiative of his department, that initiative that we heard about back in 1993 as being
the engine for growth and job creation in the Province of Nova Scotia, is being increased by approximately
$1.2 million. Yet, the special assistance program is being increased by over $2 million. I guess, just a very
simple question to the Minister for the Economic Renewal Agency, is this an indication that the special
assistance program, or the special slush fund of that minister, is more effective in creating jobs, than is the
division of Community Economic Development?

HON. ROBERT HARRISON: Mr. Speaker, I am delighted to get a question from this gentleman.
I must say, as we sit here, it reminds me of the circus parade. The gentleman that used to clean up after the
elephants, they were always in the way. We have had a parade of political pachyderms on this side of the
House, we are cleaning it up and they are yelling at us for cleaning it up. (Applause) Over in this corner we
have the no-planners, the people who are talking about, where is the commitment to community economic
development? I will tell you where it is, it is in the communities of this province; it takes time to develop. But
when we announced to those workers in Hantsport the other day the commitment of $27 million, that is in
a community.

[4:15 p.m.]

When we announce in Amherst, I am not sure lie is a word we are allowed to use in this House, Mr.
Speaker, but I can tell you one thing, through you to the people of Nova Scotia, that you have not begun to
see the commitment that Nova Scotians have for community economic development. They will see it and they
will accept it that and that plan will produce. It is in the budget, it is in the hearts and minds of Nova Scotians.
Whether you can see it or not, they will see it soon enough.

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

MR. TERENCE DONAHOE: I thought my notes indicated that we went to 4:18 p.m.

MR. SPEAKER: 4:16 p.m., the time has expired.

MR. DONAHOE: My apologies.

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

Therefore be it resolved that the Ministers of Transportation and the Economic Renewal Agency
realize the resource and investment Nova Scotia has in the Port of Halifax and direct their attention to its
various needs, to help the port realize its full potential.

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


MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RICHARD MANN: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Public Bills for Second Reading.


MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RICHARD MANN: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 3.

Bill No. 3 - Halifax Regional Municipality Act.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Municipal Affairs.

HON. SANDRA JOLLY: I am pleased today to rise and move second reading of Bill No. 3. As you
aware, Mr. Speaker, and the House is aware, I introduced this particular piece of legislation just last week and
is entitled An Act to Incorporate the Halifax Regional Municipality. This bill establishes a single regional
government replacing the City of Halifax, the City of Dartmouth, the Town of Bedford and Halifax County
Municipality, effective April 1, 1996.

This government feels that a strong, unified regional municipality will provide the leadership
necessary to address a wide range of issues as we prepare to meet the challenges and the opportunities that
are ahead of us. There is a demonstrated need to focus one level of decision-making on regional issues such
as police, fire, water, waste management and economic development. These issues, as do many others, reflect
the interests of a regional community whose settlement patterns cross existing municipal boundaries, as do
shopping and employment patterns.

In his role as co-ordinator, Bill Hayward attended over 50 public meetings to get input on how a
regional government should be structured. Mr. Hayward heard that provision for a rural tax rate was essential
in a municipality which includes both urban and rural areas. People wanted a mayor elected at large. They
wanted to preserve volunteer fire departments and they wanted to have the continued ability to provide for
supplementary funding agreed to by council and requested by the school board.

He heard employee concerns on the applicability of provincial labour law and he heard
overwhelmingly that existing communities must be able to retain their individual identities.  These concerns
have been noted and they been reflected in Mr. Hayward’s recommendations and they have been accepted and
are incorporated as part of this legislation, Bill No. 3.

Mr. Speaker, for too long, the metropolitan area has spoken with too many voices on economic
matters. Over the years, organizations, the business community and various studies have cited the economic
benefits of a regional government. A 1994 report by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business,
Unfriendly Cities, says the treatment of small businesses at the hands of municipal governments in Atlantic
Canada is a major inhibitor to economic growth in this region.

Metro, certainly being the largest commercial centre and urban concentration in Atlantic Canada,
does have the potential to do much better. The area has a well-educated labour force, world-class academic
institutions and a deep sheltered harbour with year-round shipping and competitive transportation and
communication links.

Mr. Speaker, all of this makes metro a desirable place to work and invest, but the region still lacks
one major component for success, a common municipal vision and strategy to promote business on a sustained
basis. Its biggest competition is not from across the border, but, in actual fact, from across the harbour. The
competition comes in various forms, including different tax rates, different shopping hours and different
development and industrial park strategies. Such factors erode the ability of the region to create a proper
climate for investment.

The port, the railway, the airport and the highway network all serve the metropolitan area as one
community with a common economic base. The business world sees the area as one. The harbour is no barrier
to retailers marketing their products to the metropolitan consumer.

Mr. Speaker, a regional municipality would be in a better position to take over the international
airport, if in the future the federal government decides to hand over that responsibility. There is one labour
market in the area. Unions operate across the harbour. Many workers, in actual fact, travel through the four
municipalities twice daily. To them, there is one transportation network.

Mr. Speaker, without signs, how many of us could tell when we cross municipal boundary lines. In
many ways, metro already operates as a single unit with a common economic basis. The new regional
municipality will cement this economic base and remove duplication and, most importantly, it will remove
needless competition for business. We see the new structure as vital in developing a common economic
strategy. Amalgamation is a major step to boost economic prosperity in the metro region. If metro prospers,
the province, too, as a whole, will benefit greatly.

Mr. Speaker, another critical issue is accountability. Regional government will ensure that one
council is held accountable for all decisions and, at the same time, eliminate the duplication in the numerous
boards and commissions. There are now several recreation commissions, economic development commissions,
industrial commissions, water commissions, business improvement district commissions and so on. We have
to have a more coordinated approach in order for us to move into the next century.

Finally, fiscal considerations require more efficiency and economy in service provisions.
Amalgamation will mean savings, which can be realized in lower taxes or higher service levels. All
indications are that the level of savings will equal those outlined in Mr. Hayward’s 1993 Interim Report.

Mr. Speaker, under this legislation, the current municipal units and all boards and commissions will
be dissolved and merged into the new unit, with the exception of the Halifax-Dartmouth Bridge Commission.
The Halifax Water Commission, the Halifax County Water Utility and the Dartmouth Water Utility will be
merged into one commission, to be called the Halifax Regional Water Commission. The three regional library
boards will be merged into one board, as well as the three boards of police commissioners.

Mr. Speaker, this new bill provides the framework for regional government in this region, as the
municipal charters currently provide the ability for the four municipalities to function. The bill continues in
the spirit and intent of the Municipal Reform Act, giving the new municipalities a lot more decision-making
authority. For example, there is limited restriction on organizational issues and general administration
matters, such as the sale of land procedures.

Mr. Speaker, this bill, Bill No. 3, empowers the new regional government to act with limited
statutory direction, something which has been long sought by municipal councils. The new government will
be called the Halifax Regional Municipality. However, under a provision in the bill, the Governor in Council
may change the name on the request of the new council.

The boundaries for the new municipality will be the same as those of Halifax County.  The election
for the new regional government will be held on December 2, 1995, with the new council taking office,
January 9, 1996. This will give the new council time for input into the new structure and time to prepare for
the fiscal year commencing April 1, 1996.

Madam Speaker, the coordinator will oversee the first election of the mayor and councillors. Size of
council will be determined by the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board. The legislation does, however, say
that the new council will consist of one councillor for each polling district, plus the mayor.

Madam Speaker, the tax rate in a rural area will not exceed the area’s share of providing general
services for the whole area.

There is a provision for phasing in a common residential rate for the same services over five years.
The commercial rate may be phased in to a common rate over 10 years.

Madam Speaker, the use of community councils, community committees and other mechanisms to
involve citizens and communities in their municipal government is vital. These committees will also help
preserve community identity, which we heard many times at the public meetings. We are not destroying
communities here; we are making an administrative change. There will always be a Sackville, as well as a
Westville, as well as any other community. Our goal is to enhance accessibility while, at the same time,
maintaining the advantages of a centralized administration and overall planning and control for an area such
as the metropolitan area. It is our responsibility, as a provincial government, to ensure that the best structure
for municipal government is established for the metropolitan area.

Madam Speaker, this bill provides that structure and will serve the metropolitan area well, as we
move into the future; therefore, I am pleased to move Bill No. 3 for second reading. (Applause)

MADAM SPEAKER: The honourable member for Pictou Centre.

DR. JOHN HAMM: Madam Speaker, I welcome the opportunity to engage in second reading of Bill
No. 3, the bill that is commonly referred to as the metro merger bill.

I find myself in a very difficult position because, as members of this House are aware, I am a
proponent of municipal amalgamation and fully aware that the studies, which I will refer to briefly, shortly,
have indicated that one of the areas in this province that requires municipal simplification is the metro area.

The whole process began back in 1879 with the Municipal Incorporation Bill. This bill eliminated
the courts of session and it effectively allowed each and every area of Nova Scotia to be represented on the
municipal level. This is a type of local government that is not available all across Canada, as many of you are
aware. For example, many rural residents in New Brunswick are not represented in this particular way, but
this is the way that government has evolved on the municipal level in Nova Scotia. Over the years, some 66
municipal governments have been created to represent some 930,000 people. The last addition to the
municipal structure in Nova Scotia occurred in 1980, when the Town of Bedford was incorporated and it is
part of the bill that we are considering here today.

It is interesting that the Town of Bedford, the incorporation of that town and its success has been
noted by others across the country as being one of the preferred places in Canada to live. I know, Madam
Speaker, that you are very aware of the topic on which I am commenting. Bedford has developed into a very
fine place to live. Bedford, along with the other communities, is concerned that an amalgamation process may
not preserve those qualities and that style of life that is particular to their community.

As I prepared for debate on this legislation, I revisited the history of municipal reform in the
province. I outlined the history quite extensively during the debate on Bill No. 114, an Act to Provide for
Municipal Reform, and I won’t go into it again here. Suffice it is to say that municipal reform has been studied
for well over 40 years.

I continue to be reminded of the Premier’s view of municipal amalgamation, prior to the election in
1993, when Mr. Savage indicated that municipal amalgamation was a crazy idea. I often think of that in terms
of the vision of the then government who was promoting, very actively, the amalgamation process across Nova
Scotia. The Liberal municipal reform policy, part of the 1993 Liberal election platform, states categorically
that a Liberal government will not change municipal boundaries and structures before providing full
information to the public. Information on the impact of such a change including the costs and benefits of
available options. In addition, members of the public would have full opportunity for inputting critique.
Therein in those last two sentences is my objection to the way this process is proceeding.

[4:30 p.m.]

The announcement on Thursday, October 27, 1994, that Halifax, Dartmouth, Bedford and the County
of Halifax were to be amalgamated certainly by-passed the commitment for input and critique and, as well,
an opportunity to study the impact of such a change including costs and benefits of the options.

The Chief Administrative Officer’s Committee of Metro reported on August 26, 1994 that it had been
meeting for several months and had provided six options. The Liberal Government with its unilateral decision
eliminated consideration and scrutiny of the options as presented by the Chief Administrative Officers. The
spirit of cooperation established to the process undertaken by the Chief Administrative Officers was broken
with the government’s one unilateral decision. The government did not take time to weigh the costs and
benefits of the other options proposed by the CAOs.

The Premier said in an October 30, 1994 news report, if we had consulted with them for three months
and they had rejected it, would we be any further ahead. Thus, it was confirmed to all Nova Scotians that the
Premier and the Liberal Government are paying lip service to the consultative and democratic process.

During the Second Session of the 56th General Assembly, this Legislature thoroughly examined Bill
No. 63, the Cape Breton Regional Municipality Act. This legislation pulled together under one municipal
government, or one umbrella, if you will, 1,000 square miles of Cape Breton. It brought together one city, six
towns, and one rural municipality. The reasons for having municipal reform in Cape Breton earlier rather
than later was the hard economic times and realities being faced in that area. Six units were on emergency
funding and something had to be done to provide a less expensive form of government and service delivery.

However, the need for urgency in metro is not nearly so obvious. Bearing in mind that the
accumulated benefit of service exchange in metro has been an $8.6 million savings for the citizens of metro.

This process of amalgamation in metro got off to a bad start with the announcement on October 27th
which was attended by the mayors and the warden and who had only heard of the process at a hastily arranged
news conference the night before. The process had another stumbling block when an untendered contract was
offered to Mr. Grant Morash for $225,000 to be the amalgamation coordinator. The letting of this contract
was a violation of the government’s indicated direction on tendering.

Madam Speaker, the background of research that has been done over the years in this province makes
a process of municipal government simplification a realistic objective for a provincial government. Our Party
proposed, in 1992 and 1993, that this process was long overdue and was becoming extremely aggressive in
promoting the benefits to be achieved by municipal reform. It was the intention of that government to be
aggressively putting forth municipal reform in this province, but it would do so allowing input from the
municipal units and by providing the residents of any particular unit being considered for reform, providing
those people with the information to allow them to come to the same conclusions that the government was
reaching, that municipal reform was right and it was right for the province and it was also right for the
individual areas.

When I look at the minister’s statement which she made on October 27, 1994, at that press
conference held in the Red Room, I look to a statement, that said, the next step will be to meet with the
mayors on a formal basis to discuss how to proceed with implementation. Madam Speaker, I submit to you,
in the strongest terms, that the mayors and the councils have not been an effective partner in this particular
process. Because of the way the announcement was made and the lack of options provided to the municipal
units, a consultative process immediately became a confrontational process and it has remained
confrontational until this time. There was no consideration given to any of the options provided by the Chief
Administrative Officers of the four units, who had been meeting and had provided six options that could be
considered by the Minister of Municipal Affairs in her designing a proper municipal government for metro.

Those six options included: municipal consortium, an expanded role for metropolitan authority, a
regional two-tiered government, a lead partner system, a unicity, or the status quo retained. It is not for me
to suggest at this point that any of these options is superior to the so-called unicity. However, if the
government were to fulfil its commitment to consultation, these options should at least have been discussed
with the areas concerned.

I look at a document that was produced in 1993, called Super-City, when members of the then
Halifax County Council were speaking out very aggressively against a unilateral imposition of unitary
government for their part of the province. They spoke about such things as the level of representation that
would be achieved with the new unicity government. They talked about the effects of taxation of the new
unicity government and they talked about the proposed method of consultation, as this process was advanced.
Now, many of those municipal councillors sit in this Legislature today. All but one have chosen to remain
silent and to essentially ignore the position they held in 1993, on the unicity question.

The document that is extremely relevant to this particular piece of legislation, of course, is the
interim report of the Municipal Reform Commissioner for Halifax County, a document authored by Mr.
William Hayward. To me, Mr. Hayward is the logical choice to be the amalgamation co-ordinator, particularly
due to the short timeframe that he has been afforded by the provincial government to plan and design our
super city.

A perusal of this document, I think, provides us with some insight as to the direction which
government would of necessity have to follow if, in fact, it was to come up with a successful formula.

It is interesting that the cost projections that Mr. Hayward put forward in 1993, a saving with this
administrative simplification of $9.8 million is, in fact, the figure he is using today. A little later in my
analysis of Bill No. 3, there will be an opportunity to, perhaps, present some dissenting opinions as to whether
or not that figure of $9.8 million is attainable. In 1993, Mr. Hayward was proposing that the council would,
in fact, have 20 seats. His proposals now have changed and he is indicating 24 seats.

The task force on local government, which reported in April 1992, stated conclusively that it was
necessary to have clear lines of authority for service provision. It was on the basis of this that the service
exchange bill came forward. That bill failed to achieve what the task force had set out for it to do. There still
aren’t clear lines of authority for service provision, certainly in provision of general assistance in education,
in the cost of corrections and in the provision of homes for special care under the jurisdiction of Community
Services. Those lines of authority are still clouded and the cost-shared nature of those endeavours is certainly
not what proponents of service exchange and municipal reform were anxious to achieve.

The task force, however, did conclude that the existing framework for municipal government was
inadequate. The task force, as well, stated very clearly that the most significant financial impact is the task
force recommendation that the province become solely responsible for the finance and delivery of social
services. The failure of the government to provide a calendar for the implementation of the provision of
general assistance across this province, with the exception of the new Cape Breton Regional Municipality,
is a weakness that cannot be allowed to go unnoticed in this whole process.

It was interesting that as recently as a month and one-half ago, the Minister of Community Services,
when meeting with other ministers with the executive of UNSM, was asked when he was going to provide the
general assistance across the province and he stated that his calendar would suggest it would happen some
time in the next three to five years. Well, Madam Speaker, that is an integral part of what we are talking
about. It is an integral part of this Bill No. 3, because the whole lead-up to municipal reform in this province
made the assumption that general assistance would be provided by the provincial government and the cost-sharing on that program would cease.

[4:45 p.m.]

One of the situations, of course, that was requiring that there be some haste in the provision of a
simplified government here in metro is the fact that communities outside of Halifax, Bedford and Dartmouth,
communities within the county, were maturing and they were becoming very town-like or, in fact, maybe, very
city-like and they required the same kinds of services that their urban neighbours required.

The community of Sackville, Cole Harbour, Westphal and Eastern Passage, perhaps later Waverley,
Lakeside and Timberlea, were communities that were becoming more mature, more urban-like and would very
soon be requiring the type of government that urban communities enjoy. So that, perhaps, is one of the reasons
why the metro amalgamation is, in fact, timely and will, I think, over a period of time, solve the problems that
will be occurring and are occurring as these communities mature into more urban-like regions.

Now, some of the options, obviously, that could be looked at in terms of providing a different kind
of municipal government could be the two-tiered system that was introduced in Ontario, which is, perhaps,
exampled by Metropolitan Toronto or Ottawa-Carleton. I don’t profess to be an expert on municipal reform
across this country, but it is my understanding that there have been some problems with that approach.
Another possibility would be the elimination of municipal government in rural Nova Scotia, the same
situation and the same structure that New Brunswickers have. I would think that after experiencing the
benefits of having a municipal government, even in our rural areas, it would make that kind of solution
unpalatable for the majority of rural Nova Scotians.

Now, one of the difficulties that this bill has got to address is the fact that the new community will,
in fact, have some 330,000 residents, but spread out over an enormous amount of geography, being some 100
miles in length and, I believe, Madam Speaker, if I have it correct, some 5,000 square kilometres. One of the
concerns that has to be addressed by this legislation is how does a council of 24 relate to that large an area.

One of the interesting things about Halifax County is that over one-half of the county will, in fact,
be represented under this new system by one councillor. The whole eastern end of the county, which contains
over one-half of the square mileage of the area will, in fact, have, under equal representation, one councillor.
That will provide, certainly, a very difficult situation for whoever it is that ultimately comes to represent that
particular area.

Now, the interim report provided by Mr. Hayward in 1993, and which is reflected in the legislation
which the minister introduced here the other day, provides a very complicated system of local representation,
other than that provided by the elected council. In Halifax County, at present, there are community councils
made up of members of the elected overall council and who represent certain areas. That kind of structure is
brought forward in this legislation and community councils will become a feature of this new regional

Community committees can be appointed which are appointees of the regional council and are
advisory in planning matters and also in the area of service provision. In addition, community advisory
committees can be appointed. The community advisory committees will be advisory committees for smaller
areas and there could be several of these in a single polling district. For example, the eastern part of the new
regional municipality obviously would be an ideal area to have the appointment of these advisory committees.

The Citizen Advisory Committees, which is the fourth layer of local representation, beneath that of
the regional council, is a means to allow the council to draw on the expertise of its residents, to assist in the
resolution of various problems or provide advice on specific issues.

Now the only reason for bringing this forward at this time, I think, is to identify in everyone’s mind
the fact that as we go to simplification of government, we have to be very careful that we don’t, in fact, end
up with something that is even more complicated than that with which we began. It is obvious that a proper
application of these particular committees will, in fact, enhance the ability of the regional council to
effectively represent people in the rural areas in particular, but it is a system that requires a certain amount
of fine-tuning or, in fact, we will create a tremendous bureaucracy which will be even more complicated and,
Heaven forbid, more expensive than the system which we would like to replace.

The legislation follows very closely the interim report that Mr. Hayward brought forward in 1993.
I see the minister is nodding in agreement. I think it is very fortunate, and again I come back to the point, this
whole process would certainly be impossible at this time, were it not for this interim report. Certainly this
process would not be possible in the near future, if, in fact, this interim report did not exist.

One of the concerns that the principle of the bill addresses and a concern that Mr. Hayward seems
to have been running into, as he had his 50-odd meetings over the last three months with residents of this
area, was how the different areas were going to look after their debt. The figures in 1953, the per capita debt
for citizens of the Town of Bedford was $581; the City of Dartmouth was $856, the City of Halifax was $346;
Halifax County was $391; and a debt that applies to everyone, the Metropolitan Authority debt, $39.

It is obvious that the legislation has to take into account the fact that it should be the responsibilities
of the residents of the particular area to repay the debt that they have, in fact, incurred as individual
municipalities. The purpose really of going over the interim report is to assure ourselves that the concerns and
the objectives and the direction of the interim report are, in fact, followed in the legislation. As I go through
what Mr. Hayward concluded in 1993, I think one comes to the conclusion that, in fact, in most instances,
he has followed the direction that he thought satisfactory and appropriate in 1993.

When you look at the good things that are in the bill, you have to go back and you have to start
looking and saying, well, what is not there. I made brief reference earlier to the single-tiered welfare system.
I recall very vividly in the spring of last year when the minister made her visitations to all 66 units across this
province, a series of visits that concluded in April of last year. At that time, the minister was proposing to
introduce a single-tiered welfare system and with that in mind, she received a very friendly reception from
all of the municipal units and I am sure while I didn’t attend the visits here in Halifax, Dartmouth, Bedford
or the County of Halifax, I am sure that she was received in a very cordial fashion because municipal units
were being strained, their tax rates were being strained in trying to keep up with an increasing cost of general

The figures here in Halifax, which I don’t have in front of me, but if I can recall, the cost of
municipal assistance or general assistance in metro is, in fact, in the order of $37 million. If memory serves
me right, in Halifax, Dartmouth, and Bedford the cost-sharing of that is 75 per cent by the province and 25
per cent by the local municipality and in the county the province pays 78 per cent and the balance is paid by
the county. Now, that would mean that the cost of introducing a single-tiered welfare system within this
legislation would be somewhere in the order of $6 million to $7 million to replace the amount being now paid
by the municipal units.

I had opportunity to briefly scan earlier today the level of payment here in those four units and they
are roughly comparable. In other words, there isn’t a great discrepancy as to a single adult who receives
municipal assistance in each of the four units. Madam Speaker, we cannot proceed to one by one introduce
unitary government or municipal reform across this province, if, in fact, the government does not come
forward with a calendar which is definite as to when they are going to assume these costs. The whole basis
of municipal reform is to isolate the responsibilities which are local and the responsibilities which are
provincial and to have the appropriate level of government pay the cost. That is how government becomes
efficient, and that is how the service becomes efficient, and that is how Nova Scotians will get the best value
for their tax dollar.

This is not an exact quote but I have heard the minister make a similar statement on several
occasions, the urgency for municipal reform for a uni-city in Halifax County is to provide a common vision
and strategy for economic promotion. There has been much discussion on this point, Madam Speaker, and
I agree that we must present metro in its best light because the minister was quite correct, if metro does not
prosper, this province does not prosper.

[5:00 p.m.]

But let’s look at what happened the other day. The greater Halifax Economic Development
Partnership was formed. There is a realization among the units here in Halifax that they have not been
presenting themselves in the best light and I believe this new partnership is a cooperative attempt to do exactly
what the minister is suggesting, and that is to provide a common vision and strategy for economic promotion
here in metro.

Now, I am not suggesting for one minute that because the units and the local governments are now
starting to cooperate in this fashion that that negates the necessity for a metro amalgamation bill, but I am
suggesting in the strongest terms, Madam Speaker, that it does negate the suggestion that we need to proceed
with indecent haste. Part of the consultative process when one is introducing any particular piece of
legislation, or when one is presenting or promoting any particular issue, is to allow those who will be affected
an understanding of what it all means.

You know, the interesting thing is that when the process began, there was a reasonable acceptance
of a municipal merger here in metro but, because of the haste, because of the very fact that the amalgamation
co-ordinator was not prepared to begin, because of the timing of his appointment, until early January, which
only allowed three months for him to do his work, to go and get the ideas of the people and to explain what
this process was all about, to reassure people, the people who earlier were saying they were in favour of metro
amalgamation, to ensure them that some of the worries that amalgamation brings would not come to reality,
the people just need reassurance that, in fact, this will not create new and greater costs for the municipal
taxpayer, that they can have some reassurance that the structure will allow them access to their new regional

Just recently there was a survey of Bedford residents on the proposed uni-city and, while there have
been some other surveys to which I will refer later, this certainly is the most complete. My sense of things is
that of all the residents who are being affected by this legislation, those who feel they have the most to lose
are the residents of Bedford.

Now, bearing in mind that the Town of Bedford has only existed since 1980, I sense that the residents
of Bedford feel that they have something special in their community and they do not want to lose that
something special; they don’t want to be lost in a faceless, huge city of 330,000. I don’t think for one moment
that that has to happen, but I think that the process would be far better and would serve the people of Bedford
far better if they understood it better and they could convince themselves that, in fact, they will not lose their
identity and they will not lose what they feel is their superior way of life.

Let us look at this recent survey from the Town of Bedford; 67.8 per cent of the residents of Bedford
are opposed to amalgamation, 77.9 per cent of the residents of Bedford say the province has not adequately
analyzed the financial implications of amalgamation, 67.8 per cent suggest that there will be an increase in
property tax and only 18 per cent feel it will remain the same. Madam Speaker, I know you are very familiar
with this report, and it raises some interesting questions. I think they are questions that can be answered, but
they are not questions that have been answered, to this point.

This process requires a selling job. You must sell the process to the residents and you must provide
them with the information that allows them to conclude that there is a definite advantage to them in becoming
participants in this merger.

I remember, very clearly, when we were debating the Cape Breton Regional Municipality Act. It was
a very important piece of legislation and it was one that, I think, served as an instructional document to the
minister and her department, in that this bill is somewhat simpler and easier to follow than the Cape Breton
Regional Municipality Act and, I think, it does not lead to some of the pitfalls that that particular bill led to.
Because when I made reference earlier to what Mr. Hayward suggested in his interim report, in 1993, the
issues that he brings up in his report are, in fact, many of them, adequately addressed in this piece of
legislation. But one of the strong debates and the strong objections to the Cape Breton Regional Municipality
Act that this caucus brought forward in debate, was the fact that we did not feel that the present employees
of the regional units in Cape Breton were being adequately looked after by that particular piece of legislation.
It would suggest to me, that it well may be there is not enough assurance in this particular piece of legislation
that employees of the current regional governments will, in fact, be adequately protected.

There is no absolute section in this bill that will provide an early retirement or severance benefit for
any employee of a municipal government who is not employed by the regional municipality. That was a sore
point in the Cape Breton bill and it will be a sore point in this bill. Those employees, who have served their
municipal units long and well, deserve to be protected by this piece of legislation and to be guaranteed an
appropriate severance package if, in fact, their services are not required by the new government.

The issue of names, of course, comes up and it will be left to the new council as to how they will
eventually refer to themselves and if, in fact, the original participants in this particular merger will, in fact,
continue to be referred to by their proper names. I would suggest that it well may be that this particular piece
of legislation should made some reference to the fact that the name Bedford, the name Sackville, the name
Cole Harbour, the name Halifax, the name Dartmouth - all of these place names - will, in fact, continue to
exist, even though, in fact, their municipal structure will have changed.

Madam Speaker, there will be much in Bill No. 3 that will require considerable discussion, clause
by clause. It is not the intention of second reading to discuss other than the principle of the bill and I will try
to adhere to that as closely as I can.

MADAM SPEAKER: Would the honourable member yield the floor for an introduction?

DR. HAMM: Yes, certainly.

MADAM SPEAKER: The honourable member for Cape Breton South.

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Madam Speaker, to you and to the members of the House, I would
like to introduce in the gallery today a prominent businessman from Cape Breton and a resident of Sydney,
Mr. Irving Schwartz. I would like the members of the House to afford him a welcome to the House today.

DR. HAMM: One of the strong criticisms that has become part of the criticism as this process
proceeds is that all of the information is not on the table. I can remember being at any number of meetings
when the mayors and the warden would say, just give us the information so we can provide that information
to our residents. To this point, it is my understanding that they are not satisfied. But the same concern seems
to be held by many residents. It is interesting that the last poll that has been reported, in fact, suggests that
residents now of Halifax County and the other municipal units feel that the information is not on the table
and, in fact, that more time is needed for evaluation of this process.

Now, for example, on March 23rd the ATV News Omnifacts Poll, 50 per cent of residents were in
favour of amalgamation - this was less than a month ago - 37 per cent were opposed; 70 per cent opposed the
government’s method of the introduction of the bill and the introduction of the process. Only 24 per cent
supported the government’s method. Two weeks later, a Corporate Research poll, 70 per cent to 75 per cent
of respondents want more consultation on metro union and 88 per cent of people polled are satisfied with
existing services. More than 80 per cent expect taxes to remain the same or go up.

Well, if all the information is correct, the immediate effect should be a reduction in taxes. Now, the
service exchange provided a saving within the residence of metro of $8.6 million. The areas have been able
to hold their tax rates and that was predictable. The problem is they are not convinced that the process will,
in fact, continue to ensure that their tax rates will be as satisfactory as they would be if, in fact, the current
status quo was allowed to exist. While I do not necessarily subscribe to that, I am not a taxpayer within metro.
But if I were a taxpayer in metro, I would be extremely concerned with the information that is circulating
around that suggests perhaps there will be an increase in taxes that I would like to have a little time to analyze
what this is all about.

Now, there is a report that I understand is going to be released this week and I am only responding
now to a press report because I have not seen the report. The report is the UMA Doane Raymond Report.
Unfortunately, it is coming to a very different conclusion as to what will be the effects of the merger on tax


Now, this report, in the press, is reported to indicate that the Halifax residential tax rate will jump
by 20.8 per cent; Dartmouth’s by 10.5 per cent and Bedford’s by 8.9 per cent. The urban areas of Halifax
County will see residential tax bills up by less than 1 per cent but rural residents will be hit by a 17.6 per cent
hike, after the super-city is formed on April 1st.

MADAM SPEAKER: Would the honourable member be prepared to table that document, please, that
he is quoting from?

DR. HAMM: Madam Speaker, I am referring to the newspaper reports by reporters who must have
seen the report. I have not seen the report and I had indicated that when I began my remarks. I understand
that report will be released this week.

The whole point, though, in bringing up this report is, in fact, if it is a legitimate report and it
certainly is done by a legitimate firm, if this report is true, then it should be analyzed by the minister, by her
department, to convince herself and, afterwards, to convince taxpayers, that the figures provided in the interim
report by Mr. Hayward, the figures provided by her department on service exchange are, in fact, correct and
that the savings that these indicate are, in fact, true savings.

Now, the whole point is that this is not a bad process, in that it is providing the direction or it is
going in the direction that previous studies have indicated. But people have not had adequate opportunity to
digest the full implications of the legislation and they are not yet prepared to support it. So, let’s not drag the
residents of metro screaming and crying to the wedding. Let’s have a happy marriage, let’s give them a little
more time. That is all we are asking.

If this is a good process, it will go, it will sell and people will buy it. There just has not been enough
time; the courtship has been far too short.

Now, Madam Speaker, to summarize my remarks, I am a proponent of amalgamation but I am also
a proponent of consultation and I am a proponent of understanding by those affected. There has not been
enough time given by this government and the minister, to allow the metro residents to fully digest the amount
of material that has been provided and there has not been an opportunity to evaluate the UMA/Doane
Raymond Study. To allow that to happen, it is obvious that we must slow up the passage of this bill.

Madam Speaker, I am moving an amendment that, “Bill No. 3, An Act to Incorporate the Regional
Municipality be not now read a second time, but that it be read a second time this day six months hence”.

MADAM SPEAKER: May I see the amendment, please?

The amendment is in order.

I recognize the honourable Leader of the New Democratic Party.

MR. JOHN HOLM: Madam Speaker, I notice that the member for Cape Breton South is back and
that when he assumed his new responsibilities as Whip for the Party, that has not tamed his tongue any and
he is back to the same heckling and do-nothing and say-nothing type of remarks that we have seen
characterizing his performance in this House too far. So, Madam Speaker, I am going to try to ignore these
remarks . . .

MADAM SPEAKER: I would like to call order, please. I will remind the honourable member that
he is speaking to the amendment and must keep his remarks strictly confined to the amendment.

MR. HOLM: Madam Speaker, sometimes it is difficult for some of us who are not maybe as
disciplined to ignore the undisciplined comments that come across the floor, but I will try to restrict my
comments to the very important matter that is before this House. It may not be important to some members
of this House, but it is crucially important, and it should be crucially important not only to anybody who
represents metropolitan Halifax, Dartmouth, Bedford, the county area, but in fact to all of the people in the
Province of Nova Scotia, because what is going to happen here will have major impact upon what is going
to happen right across the province, and it will have major implications.

What the amendment says that is before us is that, “Bill No. 3, An Act to Incorporate the Halifax
Regional Municipality be not now read a second time, but that it be read a second time this day six months
hence.”. In other words, Madam Speaker, what is commonly referred to as a hoist bill in the language of this

AN HON. MEMBER: This is the same speech you made on the last hoist, exactly.

MADAM SPEAKER: The honourable member has the floor.

MR. HOLM: I notice that, Madam Speaker, but sometimes it is hard to tell. I know that members
want to hear what I am saying so I was just trying to, as I did sometimes when I was teaching, I would stop
talking and then if there was any commotion in the class, the class would quiet down and then maybe they
would listen. It does not seem to be working here though. However, I will try to carry on (Interruption)

MADAM SPEAKER: I am afraid your classroom technique is not working. I will call for order.

MR. HOLM: Thank you, Madam Speaker. Now let us take a look at the fundamental principles that
are involved here. What we are talking about, quite frankly, is democracy. Now, as a previous speaker said,
there is going to be a report released, the UMA/Doane Raymond Report which is going to be putting forward
cost projections that are very different from cost projections, unsubstantiated, I might add, by this government.

Madam Speaker, buying the words of this government is very often like buying a pig in a poke,
because, quite frankly, this government has not been shown to be very accurate when it has been making
predictions in the past. Quite honestly, the residents in the metropolitan area do not believe this government
for one minute in terms of its projections that are being put forward.

Quite frankly, there are goals that this government has, but the government’s goals and objectives
are not necessarily those that they are stating. I will get back at another time, maybe later this afternoon or
on another day, to talk about contradictions that are contained within the minister’s own statement when she
introduced the bill. When I take a look at what this government is doing, when I hear the comments coming
across the floor, I have to scratch my head and wonder, is Don Cameron still occupying the Premier’s seat and
who is the Minister of Municipal Affairs? Because what we see happening in the way of process is the
dictatorial, top-down, undemocratic, non-accountable system that was being proposed by the former

Madam Speaker, there are important issues and nobody in this House that I have heard, certainly not
in this caucus, has suggested that municipal reform is not needed. We made our policy platform on that well-known in 1993 and our position has not changed. However, unlike some members over there who are prepared
to impose their will, simply because they have the right, they have 40 members now, there is going to be a
by-election sometime down the road. It has dropped to 40 members, but they still have the same arrogant
attitude that they have the right, without providing documented evidence or proof to back it up, that they can
do whatever it is they decide they want to do. Nothing to substantiate the ridiculous claims that are being
brought forward.

What do people in the metropolitan area believe? Well, Madam Speaker, a couple of surveys have
been done. One was done in the Halifax-Dartmouth and the county areas and the Town of Bedford decided
to do their own. Now, remember that those are the people who are going to be most directly affected by the
Liberal Government’s actions. They are the ones who are going to be affected. They are the ones who,
supposedly, if, in fact, everything that the government says is correct, they are the ones who would benefit
from this so-called amalgamation, if, in fact, there are to be those benefits.

But what do they say? According to the survey that was done in Halifax-Dartmouth and the county,
88 per cent - and that is not what you call a small minority, Madam Speaker -it is about the same number of
people who oppose the government’s casino legislation, about the same percentage. Of course, the government
did not listen there anyway. So, there is no question or not much doubt that they will pay any heed here, but
88 per cent of the residents indicated that they were satisfied with the existing municipal services. Sounds like
a real ground swell for reform or change of those municipal services.

Two-thirds of the residents believe that they are adequately or well-represented. I wonder, that if a
survey were taken across the province of Nova Scotia, if two-thirds of Nova Scotians would say that they feel
that they are being adequately or well-represented by this Liberal Government, Madam Speaker? They say
that more than one-half of the residents indicated that the existing tax level is about right and more than 70
per cent of the residents believe that more consultation is needed prior to a decision being made on
amalgamation and, quite honestly, there has not been any consultation in a meaningful way.

Madam Speaker, I don’t say that as an attack against Bill Hayward, because, quite honestly, he was
given a job after the government fouled up the tendering process, or I should say that they did not go to tender
as they were supposed to in the first place. But when they did finally go to tender, then he applied, he
submitted a bid to tender on the job as a coordinator. He is involved in a business and he has a particular point
of view, of course, because he was the one who drew up the report for the Cameron Government. So, he has
bought into it to begin with. But he was given a job and he is being well paid to be going forward and to sell
this government’s agenda.

That is not consultation. Consultation would mean going to the resident, putting the facts on the table
and then seeking input. True consultation would mean, provide a variety of options and allow the people with
the facts in hand to examine them and then to make a rational decision based on what is the best form of
government for their community and what is going to be best in terms of the tax rates that would result. That
is true consultation. That is respectful. That would be being democratic.

But no, Madam Speaker, instead what was done by this government was to, on a fast track, days after
the municipal elections were just completed, announce that they were going to amalgamate the metropolitan
municipalities, based on the Don Cameron report and, three months was provided for this consultation and
I don’t fault Mr. Hayward. He certainly has been travelling around the metropolitan area meeting with people
all over the place, to hear what they are asking. Basically, what they were giving were questions and in return
there was very little in the way of answers being provided.

[5:30 p.m.]

That advice was being reserved mainly for the Minister of Municipal Affairs and I would suggest -
and I tend to be a slight cad and I admit, cynical about this government - it may not come as a shock to
everybody but it is based on experience and I believe it is well founded. I believe that this legislation was
largely drafted even before the so-called consultation process began and I believe that all that was left to be
done after that basic drafting had been done before the consultation began was for minor modifications, that
is basically all that was left to be done.

More residents across the region, according to that same survey were not in favour of amalgamation
and are quite obviously, Madam Speaker, and for a number of reasons: (1) they felt that the most important
issues facing the residents is taxes and more than 80 per cent of the residents believe that taxes will remain
the same or increase. Now, of course, the minister says that is not going to happen. Maybe, she is right, let’s
see the information. Is that such a radical idea? Let’s see the presumptions upon which the assertions are being

The truth is, Madam Speaker, the main reason driving this, the main reason behind what the
government is doing is to try to resolve some of the other problems that they have created in part by the
service exchange, which is just going to start to feel its way into the municipal budgets over the next couple
of years. Yes, if all the services stay exactly the same the residents in Halifax and Dartmouth will receive
lower total costs, they should save but, Halifax County on the other hand is going to be facing whopping
increases, $4.5 million is what the government says (Interruption) I wouldn’t believe them either. The
Minister of Education, I think, said I wouldn’t believe them, it was a helpful hint (Interruption) Oh, he was
predicting what I was going to say, well, I would agree with his prediction, because I would suggest because
of the way that bill was written that the costs are going to go up even higher, $6 million would seem like a
very modest, conservative estimate.

What the government is trying to do here is to lump the municipalities together so that the taxpayers
in Halifax and Dartmouth will be helping to pick up the cost for the policing services in communities across
Halifax County, so it is a way of sharing that revenue and that is not what this government says its purpose
is. The purpose of this legislation is, however, quite clearly aimed at the Minister of Finance’s projections and
targets, nothing to do with improving representation or the quality of government for the residents living in
Halifax County.

All we can hope is that they are as lucky as they were when they brought down the budget, in that
the federal government provided them with over $200 million more than they had budgeted. If they had not
got that $212 million extra, the Minister of Finance’s projections, in terms of the amount of this past year’s
deficit, would actually have been low. The deficit would have been higher than they predicted a year ago.

But Madam Speaker, you can’t, therefore, put much faith or stock in what they are saying. Residents
believe that the quality of service will decline under a uni-city and more people expect that the quality of
representation will decline than they expect will improve. These are all reasons why this bill should be
postponed, because then you will have the opportunity for a true, meaningful consultation and for the facts
to be laid on the table. Of course, this is something this government doesn’t believe in dealing with, the facts.
They prefer to play shell games, smoke and mirrors, to try to camouflage their true intent.

The Bedford survey was equally interesting. They had even more questions. They asked, do you
believe that the province has adequately consulted with the public prior to its decision to amalgamate the
municipalities? I was surprised to hear that 6.4 per cent of the people said yes, they had consulted adequately,
because to the best of my knowledge, they had not consulted at all. There had been no consultation. In fact,
what happened was the Premier invited the mayors into his office and gave them five minutes, I believe, was
the amount of time, to say we are doing this.

MADAM SPEAKER: I would like to remind the honourable member that he is speaking to the
amendment to hoist the bill and should make his case for the reasons why it would be better to deal with this
bill six months hence.

MR. HOLM: I am.

MADAM SPEAKER: You are really ranging all over the map on your argument.

MR. HOLM: Well, thank you, Madam Speaker. I am trying to find justification and argument as to
why this should be dealt with in six months time. Maybe what I should be doing, and I am not trying to be
argumentative with what you are trying to suggest to me in the way of helpful advice, seriously I am not. What
I am suggesting is when you have this kind of doubt from residents who live in this area, and the fact that the
residents who are being directly affected by this do not feel as, in that survey result, 89.7 per cent said there
had not been adequate consultation, then surely to Heavens, in a democracy, if we believe at all in that, it is
only right and proper and respectful of the citizens who this government was elected to serve, to allow that
consultation to take place.

Three months to supposedly drop the plan, to travel around, when no information is available, is not
consultation. If, in fact, documents, information, facts and figures have been developed, lay them on the table,
give six months for the citizens to have a look at those and see what is in their best interests and the best
interests of the community.

Do people believe there will be increases, decreases or remain the same in a whole bunch of areas?
Do you know that over 69 per cent of the people in the Town of Bedford believe that the level of services will
drop; 67 per cent believe their taxes will increase. That, interestingly enough, seems to be backed up by the
early reports, the preliminary figures I grant it, but the preliminary reports released by, if I am not mistaken,
the Mayor of Bedford to the media at a press conference to the media, in which they are predicting that the
tax rates will, in fact, go up. I may get to that before I am finished in terms of actual dollars amount. To both,
I might add, to residence and to businesses, to both. I know that the business community through the Chamber
has said that they favour this because somehow they believe that lumping everybody together is going to
somehow save money and it may. One of the ways that is it is done very often is by slashing services. You tell
that to those businesses that it is a good idea if they need services for their business and it can’t get that,
especially if their taxes are then even going to be jumped up.

In terms of effective representation, 83 per cent of the population of Bedford believe that it will drop
and, obviously, the residents in that community want to have an input on how effective the representation is
and will be. Over a period of time, surely to Heavens in a six month period that is an issue that can be
addressed. Is one representative on this huge mega metro council - bigger than Toronto, the minister is quite
astute - I might say, in fact, I think it is only to be exceeded in size by one other city geographically in this

Now, there is discussion in this bill about community councils and my community of Sackville voted
to remain, and I might add, voted, sounds to me slightly democratic. Voted, well, somebody says that is why
we do not get anywhere in our caucus, I guess in terms of size and numbers. Well, maybe Madam Speaker,
but if believing in the principles of democracy is going to mean that I am going to stay in a very small caucus,
then thank you very much, I am going to stay in a very small caucus. If certain government members believe
that what you do is say and do whatever you want to get elected and then you disregard the principles of
democracy so that you can obtain power, well, thank you very much, I do not buy into that philosophy.

The community of Sackville through a democratic vote held during a municipal election decided
through that process after the facts were put on the table. They were actually prepared by the Department of
Municipal Affairs looking at what would be the cost if Sackville as a community were to separate from Halifax
County and become a separate town and/or city.

MADAM SPEAKER: I would like to remind the honourable member that he is quite wide of the
subject at this point in time and subjecting himself to being distracted by rabbit tracks and I would advise him
to try and stick to the debate on the amendment.

MR. HOLM: Thank you, Madam Speaker. My point, if I may, to make sure that it is relevant to the
hoist part of the bill. There was a democratic practice and if the bill is not dealt with for a period of six months
that will give the time - and that is the key element, time - time for the democratic kinds of consultation that
took part in Sackville and time for a democratic vote through plebiscite to determine what the people actually
want. They cannot do that if the information is not made available. Sackville, as I said, decided to stay in
Halifax County. It decided not to separate.

Are we going to be suggesting that we should race ahead and impose a system of government that
residents believe by over 69 per cent will reduce the level of services? They see that as a very concerned issue.
Are we going to be saying to the residents that we are going to race ahead with a system of government and
amalgamation where 77 per cent believe that the taxes are going to increase without this government
providing any evidence to the contrary? If we have six months delay on this bill, if we have that, that will
provide the time.

[5:45 p.m.]

Just imagine how effective this government is. I mean, they have got to be awfully efficient if they
are able to decide that they are going to amalgamate, set up a commissioner and within a period of three
months, that commissioner is supposed to be going out, travelling all over metro consulting and talking with
everybody; addressing all of their concerns, compiling all that information with virtually no assistance in the
way of personal staff, compiling all that, developing some kind of consensus and to be able then to boil that
down to provide to the minister so that the minister can then go and develop the legislation.

If they are that efficient, if they can do all that in three months, then surely to Heavens in six months
they can analyze the financial data that they are supposedly developing, as well as the UMA Doane Raymond
analysis, a study that is to be released this week. Madam Speaker, even if they are as efficient as they are, they
would even have the opportunity in that great period of time to develop one or two other options and then,
treating residents with some respect, give those residents a meaningful say in what form of government they
want through a plebiscite. That may sound, and I know to some members of this government . . .

MR. ROBERT CARRUTHERS: Madam Speaker, on a point of order, we are dealing with an
amendment dealing with the question to hoist the bill six months. The member has gone in to whether there
should be a plebiscite held or not. Those are separate issues and I would also suggest that the member is
discussing the pros and cons of the bill. Clearly, you have admonished him twice on it. I know he is going to
repeat himself again when he speaks on the bill. I know that is going to happen, but right now we are talking
about the hoist, not on whether there should be a plebiscite or whether this legislation should pass. That is
for another time.

MR. JOHN HOLM: On the point of order, Madam Speaker, if I may. If a person is putting forward
arguments, with respect to the member for Hants East, if you are putting forward arguments in support of the
hoist you have to try to point out some of things that can and should be done during that period of time. I am
suggesting, with respect to the member who just rose on his point, I am trying to make the point that during
that six month period, there is time for a plebiscite to be held so that the residents in the communities affected
will have the democratic right to have some input into the decisions that are being made.

Surely, Madam Speaker, in the amount of time between this bill being introduced without any
information being provided, then surely to Heavens there is not time now, unless the government is extremely
efficient and is going to get this information out within the next two weeks, to have a plebiscite before this
bill goes forward. I will resume my seat for a moment while you rule on whether or not I have the right to
make those kinds of arguments.

MADAM SPEAKER: Thank you. I would like to rule on the point of order at this point in time and
I think the member made his point, but it was not a point of order and I would recommend that you carry on
with your debate on the amendment.

MR. HOLM: Madam Speaker, there are all other kinds of matters. I could and I probably will refer,
at a future time, unless we are successful and I hope that we are. I really do hope that we are successful in this
endeavour that is before us this afternoon, that is to have this bill suspended, hoisted for six months.
(Interruption) I hope that we are, but based on the comments from a certain member, I am not too optimistic
yet so maybe we will have to put forward a few more, what is the word I am looking for, comprehensive and
logical arguments in support of it. (Interruption) Yes, like cogent. Yes, that might be a good one.

Now, Madam Speaker, one of the things that the government might have an opportunity to do, as
well, over six months, if they are not as swift and as efficient as I gave them credit for a moment ago, and it
should not even take them all that long, is to do some research on what they themselves said and promised
two years ago, and I know the memories can be short. We saw that earlier this afternoon in Question Period,
when I quoted from another Liberal document, that the Premier said I was obviously misquoting from the
newspaper and it was actually from a Liberal policy statement.

The Liberal Party said - and that is not just the Premier, that includes, because they are speaking for
members of this House, the member for Halifax Bedford Basin, Timberlea-Prospect and all the other parts of
Halifax County, as well as members like the Minister of Labour, from Halifax, and Supply and Services, for
Halifax Needham, and so on, Madam Speaker, even yourself.

AN HON. MEMBER: The Minister of Human Resources, from Halifax.

MR. HOLM: Yes, of course, the Minister of Human Resources. Yes, that is right, the Minister of
Human Resources, not the Minister of Labour, Madam Speaker. I stand corrected on that. I made a mistake
and that just goes to prove that I am not a Liberal because I can make mistakes and, certainly, I will admit
to them.

However, the government said that the Liberal Government will not change municipal boundaries
and structures before providing full information to the public on the impact of such changes, including the
costs and benefits of available options, nor before members of the public have had full opportunity for input
and critique. Not bad, Madam Speaker. I would buy that. I was encouraged when I heard that. I felt that even
if, in fact, the Liberals were going to form the government, because I did not honestly expect we were the last
election, but I saw that kind of statement as being very encouraging, because the Premier and his colleagues,
who now sit on the benches, both front and back, were indicating a respect for citizens and a respect for a
process. That hope, of course, was very short-lived and quickly dashed by what they have done.

But surely, Madam Speaker, this legislation - and it is a shell game. It is a game of smoke and
mirrors to say that this amalgamation is not going to be affecting communities, because it is. I live in the
community of Sackville and I am proud to be from Sackville. Through the Sackville Community Council, the
community of Sackville has a great deal of control over activities that go on within that local community, just
as the citizens of Dartmouth have control over their community on planning issues, on health and safety
relative to police, fire and a number of other issues, recreation and so on.

But, Mr. Speaker - and welcome back to the Chair - under this legislation, our communities, while
you can say that there still will be the name Sackville or that there still will be the name Dartmouth or the
names Bedford, Cole Harbour and Halifax, for examples, the reality is, in a political sense as having any kind
of control over what goes on within those communities, it is being lost. People will be making decisions over
this large area, on matters that they may not be as familiar with. A municipal government is not supposed to
be just a large, policy setting body. You might say, it is a street corner form of government, it is a government
where you get down to the concerns in the local neighbourhood, whether that be with a street light, whether
that be problems with zoning in a particular neighbourhood, it is very much a grass roots, closest to the people
form of government.

If you are going to have the decisions being made by councillors elected from all across a huge
metropolitan area, about neighbourhood issues in certain regions, Mr. Speaker, then I would suggest that they
will not, simply because it is not possible to be as familiar with all those issues.

HON. SANDRA JOLLY: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order. I would just like to clarify for the
honourable member, as has been presented to him and I think to a large number of people, the
recommendations from the co-ordinator. It talks about the community councils, the community committee
and the community advisory committees. All those things have been listed in the bill in Part III, Community
Councils, Page 14. So, there is a lot of input that will still be enabled by the communities.

The Sackville Community Council that he described and said was a wonderful institution and did
a great job, in actual fact, has been listed in this bill. That type of opportunity is still there. So, Mr. Speaker,
on a point of order, I would suggest that he has not read the bill as thoroughly as he should.

MR. HOLM: Mr. Speaker, on the point of order. I would like to suggest to the minister that, in fact,
I have read the bill and I have seen the provisions that are in there and I also know that because of the fact
that you are only going to have only either 20 or 24 municipal councillors, that the areas they will be
representing will be very large and that in order to have a community council, you are going to have at least
three members. So, for example, the Town of Bedford; you put Bedford and Waverley together you might
count one councillor. Well, they can’t have a community council with one, to represent those communities’

Sackville might have two, Mr. Speaker, depending on what areas you are going to encompass into
that. So, maybe we will bring together Sackville, Bedford, Waverley, Windsor Junction, Fall River and we
will develop a community council for that area.

Mr. Speaker, what we are doing, is lumping together various communities which have very different
community interests. (Interruptions) Now, I hear the heckles and cackles mainly coming from a lot of the rural
Halifax County Liberal MLAs. What their main concern is, of course, is that they have to find some way to
cover themselves, because of the huge increased costs that they have hoisted onto their own municipal
taxpayers, as a result of the service exchange bill that they introduced last year.

What they are trying to do here, is cover the backsides of themselves and this government, by
hoisting this on, in a totally undemocratic and autocratic way.

Now, Mr. Speaker, I know that the time is getting short. No, you want to keep going? Well, thank
you very much. I was going to adjourn since we are reaching the time but I don’t need to I will call upon you
to call me when the hour of adjournment has been reached.

Mr. Speaker, the community councils, as being proposed in the bill, I have . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Possibly, if I might, in view of the fact that tomorrow is the NDP Opposition Day,
possibly the honourable member might like to adjourn debate now, so that you could indicate tomorrow’s
agenda before we adjourn at six o’clock?

MR. HOLM: Well, I would be happy, Mr. Speaker, to adjourn the debate now. Then my colleague,
the House Leader, will be indicating our business for tomorrow.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is that the debate on the amendment to Bill No. 3 be now adjourned.

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Halifax Atlantic.

MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, I would like to indicate to all members that during
Opposition business tomorrow, we will deal with Resolutions No. 89 and 99. We will figure out the time that
will be allocated, once we have resolved Resolution No. 89 and No. 99 and once we have determined the
timing and the Question Period begins.

MR. HOLM: They were tabled yesterday, they are . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Very well.

The honourable Government House Leader to move adjournment.

HON. RICHARD MANN: Yes, Mr. Speaker, we will be sitting tomorrow from the hour of 2:00 p.m.
until 6:00 p.m. I move that we adjourn until 2:00 p.m. tomorrow.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is that the House do now rise to meet again tomorrow afternoon at the
hour of 2:00 p.m.

The winner of the draw today was the honourable member for Queens. I understand that the
honourable member for Kings North is substituting for him. The resolution is:

Therefore be it resolved that the Ministers of Transportation and Economic Renewal realize the
resource and investment Nova Scotia has in the Port of Halifax and direct their attention to its various needs
to help the Port realize its full potential.



The honourable member for Kings North.


MR. GEORGE ARCHIBALD: Now the reason that this topic came to light today is simply because
this morning there was a press release in the Daily News attributed to the Maritime Employers Association
which is the Montreal-based employment association for employees working in the Port of Halifax. The
President of the Montreal-based Maritime Employers Association was tarnishing the image of the Port of
Halifax and its ability to carry on the work and the duties that are required of a good Port in this modern time.

According to the longshoremen, he “`deliberately misled’ the federal government by playing down
the number of boxes . . .” thereby they mean, the number of containers “. . . Halifax could move on its main
rail line.”. He insulted Halifax. He was indicating that Halifax, during the March strike in the Port of
Montreal, could not handle the required traffic from that port. He indicated that Halifax could only handle
200- 20 foot containers a day when in actual fact, the Port of Halifax during that time period of the Montreal
strike handled as many as nine times that number in a single day. Over 1,800 containers were moving through
Halifax in a single day.

When I read this morning that the President of the Maritime Employers Association was
downgrading the Port of Halifax I was alarmed.

As you know, and all Nova Scotians know, employment for the Port of Halifax and employment
contracts are handled by the Montreal-based Maritime Employers Association. So this was of great concern
to me and I know it was of great concern to other members of the House because we cannot have a person as
important as the President of the Maritime Employers Association indicating to any person, much less a
federal Cabinet Minister that the Port of Halifax is inadequate to handle containers. I wanted to raise this
letter this evening and I also wanted to highlight again and reiterate the importance of Halifax as a port.

The Maritime Employers Association negotiates contracts in seven ports including Halifax and
Montreal and I would be extremely interested to know what the Ministers of Transportation, and Economic
Renewal are doing to encourage the federal government to adopt the recommendations that were made from
the Regan Task Force on the future of the Port of Halifax regarding labour management. We would not see
the story such as the President of the Maritime Employers Association indicated if we were doing more to
promote the Port of Halifax. The task force recommended a higher level of independence for the Port of
Halifax, for the branch of the Maritime Employers Association and recommended that the offices of the MEA
in Montreal be required to provide Halifax representatives with more detailed financial disclosure and a
higher level of accountability. That just seems reasonable when you have an economic engine such as the Port
of Halifax that it does have the independence to do the hiring that it should have.

The Regan Task Force also recommended the Canadian Labour Code be amended to facilitate the
appointment of new employer representatives to negotiate on behalf of employers at Canadian ports and to
provide fair and democratic mechanisms for the decertification of incumbent employer representatives at such
ports. Have the Ministers of Transportation and the Economic Renewal Agency held discussions with the
federal Minister of Labour about the implementation of these recommendations?

If the Port of Halifax is to continue to flourish - and I know that we all hope that it will - rail
transportation must continue to play a strong role. The key to the future is Halifax’s rail. It is time the federal
government, it is time that other provincial governments as well, show the fairness and equity towards
taxation when it comes to dealing with railways. The Province of Nova Scotia is the only government in the
Dominion of Canada where the railways operate and do not have to pay the fuel tax. A recommendation
should be put forth by the ministers - as I suggested at the Parliamentary Committee that met in Halifax - that
the federal government immediately remove the cost of fuel tax from the operation of railways across Canada.
If this were adopted, it would assist railways by offering the cost-effectiveness required to maintain the
viability of a Canadian rail transportation system.

The task force report also called for the establishment of an independent authority for the Port of
Halifax. It has been over two years since the release of the task force report and, to date, it would seem very
little has been done relating to the establishment of such an authority. I strongly recommend to both the
Ministers of the Economic Renewal Agency and Transportation that they make this a key priority to help
develop the strategy for the Port of Halifax.

Over a year ago, the Halifax Metro Board of Trade also called for an independent Port Authority,
which is required in today’s changing environment. The next three years represent the best chance for the Port
of Halifax to expand. I would suggest that, as elected legislators for Nova Scotia, we understand the
importance of the Port of Halifax as our major opportunity for growth in the shipping of containers between
Halifax and central North America. The newly opened Sarnia rail tunnel means a reduction of 12 hours of
travel time between Halifax and Chicago for double-stacked rail cars. Time is money to shippers and 12 hours
is a great deal of money.

In the area of municipal taxation on rail beds, this must be addressed. Rail transportation is too
important to all Canadians to be looked at as a tax base. Rail beds should be exempt from taxation. The Port
of Halifax has tremendous untold potential but, in this ever-changing world, as elected representatives, we
must be prepared to assist both the Port of Halifax and the railway, not with money so much, but with
legislation and, if we can’t, then we must encourage and demand the federal government make the necessary
legislative changes to continue to make the Port of Halifax the success story that it has been. Thank you.

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

HON. ROBERT HARRISON: Mr. Speaker, this is actually my first time taking part in the late debate
and I am particularly interested in this one because I know that the honourable member, in the few months
that I have had the privilege of spending in this Legislature, has spoken often about the Port of Halifax and
I, too, believe that when we start to think of this province in terms of a corporate entity with a mission to drive
economic development from one end of the province to the other, there may not be any more important piece
of that infrastructure than the Port of Halifax. It struck me in my visit to Taipei in Taiwan.

We were privileged to visit the northern Port of Keelung, which is the second of the two container
ship ports in Taipei, Taiwan; the southernmost port being the heavily industrialized area of the south. In the
north, they had 45 gantries and container ships lined up at a $2 billion expansion plant. There were at least
five major lines there, two of which were native to the country in terms of the company being a Taiwanese
container shipping line, one of them called Evergreen, that used to visit the Port of Halifax.

The other day, in travelling up to Truro, I passed a train with double-stacked cars, and it is time to
pay compliments to the wisdom of Donald Cameron, I believe, who made sure that double-stacking and inter-mobile transportation was a cornerstone feature of the way in which we do business in Halifax. On that train
were flatbeds that, obviously, are cut low so that they can accommodate the two stacked containers and they
were heading off to central Canada and the to central USA. It is absolutely critical that we take advantage of
this deep-water port that is ice-free, world-wide. There is not a place in the world that I visit that I do not
mention the importance of the Port of Halifax; in fact, I challenged our Taiwanese hosts to bring Evergreen
back to Halifax.

In fact the container line now on the map they have in this wonderful port, the container line has an
arrow going from the Panama Canal up to St. John’s, Newfoundland. There is absolutely no reason why the
Port of Halifax could not one day be the destination point to many containers, especially now, after the
creation of the $200 million railway tunnel that links Sarnia to the American Midwest. It is absolutely critical.

The gentleman opposite suggests that there is not enough of a profile in this country. My colleague,
the Minister of Transportation and Communication will talk about the efforts he makes to profile the
importance of this deep-water, year-round port with access to the American heartland.

The Winnipeg Free Press of April 6th, and I quote, “CN hopes the more efficient connection will help
it regain cross-border traffic now dominated by truck. It also expects to pick up more business carrying
containers between the Port of Halifax and American destinations.”. This is the Winnipeg Free Press talking
about the impact of the Sarnia tunnel, not only on their economy, but on the economy of the East Coast of
Nova Scotia.

I have no trouble responding to the challenge to be committed to raising the profile of this port, the
importance of this port, in terms of the sea-going vessels, but also the entry point of air and
telecommunications to the heart, if you like, the engine of the economic recovery that Nova Scotia is part of
now and will improve over time.

We should be measuring and setting targets of port traffic. We should be aggressively pursuing
business throughout the world. We should be selling the Port of Halifax and its now new connection and when
that tunnel officially opens in Sarnia, I would like nothing more than to have - the official opening that we
are invited to takes place in the future; my honourable colleague is telling me that we have missed it already,
but the fact is, what he is not aware of, the official opening - when that official opening happens, I want to
make sure that the people covering that event know how important this tunnel is to Nova Scotia.

There is no question, the honourable member who challenges us to make sure that the profile of this
port, and of the container facilities here are known throughout the world, we have an opportunity to do that
this summer during the G-7 Summit. That is one of the great advantages of hosting the world and we will
make sure that this port and its facility is hosted during that time.

I want to reassure the gentlemen opposite that, despite their comments about the previous
administration and its capability of raising the profile of the port, the new Minister of Transportation and
Communications has been honoured in a number of locations for making sure that the message of the Port
of Halifax gets through and that many of the recommendations that are being described here as not being
implemented or taking too much time to implement are in fact being discussed daily with the very
stakeholders who have the responsibility to make this port flourish.

I would, once again, join this debate from two vantage points. One, to make sure that the people of
Nova Scotia know that this government is committed to this port, to raising its profile and to ensuring that
it is successful and to the workers who are affected by that, but also to let the people of Nova Scotia know that
the Minister of Transportation and Communications is taking the lead on that. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

HON. RICHARD MANN: Mr. Speaker, I would like to take a couple of minutes to tag along behind
my honourable colleague, the Minister for the Economic Renewal Agency in Nova Scotia, and to have a few
words to say about the issue of the Port of Halifax and the promotion of the Port of Halifax.

It is certainly an item that I have had several opportunities to be involved in and with since assuming
the responsibilities of the Minister of Transportation in Nova Scotia. It is always a pleasure to have an
opportunity to speak about the Port of Halifax and, of course, its importance to Nova Scotia and to the future
of Nova Scotia, not only to Halifax, but many would argue - and I would not argue with them - that the Port
of Halifax and its prosperity is in fact an engine that will drive the future prosperity of the Province of Nova

[6:15 p.m.]

Mr. Speaker, I have had the pleasure of working with the Halifax Port Corporation, which is, of
course, under the jurisdiction of the federal government and Ports Canada, but made up of individuals very
committed to the development in the Port of Halifax and to the development of infrastructure in this port and
who have done a remarkable job in advancing the cause and the development of the port; also with members
of the Halifax-Dartmouth Port Commission who have, I think, taken as a primary role the marketing of our
port. The two combined have served Halifax and Nova Scotia very well.

I also had the opportunity and, again, the pleasure to be involved as a presenter on the CP proposed
purchase of CN, the whole issue of the sale of CN in general, and put forth recommendations to the standing
committee of the House of Commons as they travelled across the country. We were well received by that
group, Mr. Speaker, and it was a pleasure to do some work in preparation for that, to learn about many of
the issues of importance to our province and to our port and to make the presentation and be able to make a
sales pitch to a standing committee of the House of Commons on the importance of our port and the fact that
it is the gateway to North America from Europe.

We just recently had another standing committee of the House of Commons visit the area. Because
of a conflict, I was not able to personally appear but I did ensure that our presentation on behalf of our
Department of Transportation and on behalf of our province was presented to the Standing Committee on
Marine Issues. That gave us an opportunity to advise people, perhaps from central Canada, who did not fully
understand the concerns we have when we see federal dollars being used to such an extent on the St. Lawrence
Seaway, perhaps to the detriment of the Port of Halifax for, with a comparable expenditure from the federal
government on the Port of Halifax or, in fact, making the St. Lawrence Seaway pay their way on a user
pay/user say concept, this port would be served very well, Mr. Speaker. We brought forth those issues to the
Standing Committee on Marine Issues.

I have had the distinct pleasure now of being a keynote speaker at two Ports Days celebrations and
to once again speak about the advantages our port has over other ports and to speak to the customers of our
port and encourage them to keep using our port and the advantages to our province in doing that.

I had the occasion last December, I believe it was, to travel to New York City and to again be the
guest speaker at a Ports Day celebration in New York, where virtually every major customer and every major
user of the Port of Halifax was in attendance. I may be mistaken but I believe when they were introducing me,
they indicated that I was perhaps the first Minister of Transportation from the Province of Nova Scotia who
had taken the time to go to New York to speak directly to the customers of our port and to encourage their
continued cooperation and continued use of our facilities. I think those are the type of opportunities we have
to take advantage of.

As my colleague, the Minister for the Economic Renewal Agency indicated a few minutes earlier,
the official opening of the Sarnia-Port Huron to St. Clair tunnel will take place on Friday, May 5th. We have
received an invitation to be there and I certainly hope we will be able to take advantage of that because, once
again, the customers who are so vital to this port will be there at that opening. We want to talk to them and
sell our port and encourage the continued use of that.

I think it is important to note, as the member opposite, the member for Kings North has said, it is
time to get on with this. We have had many meetings with customers, with major shippers who use this port,
in anticipation of the opening of this tunnel, in an attempt to have Halifax become a load centre for North
America, shortening the time between Europe and the U.S. Midwest, to take advantage of that and to create
increased traffic through our port and to create a significant number of jobs in doing that, Mr. Speaker. Those
are just a few of the efforts.

We have met with just about anyone we could meet with who is involved in port activities or could
possibly be. We will continue to do that, recognizing the considerable importance, in fact the fact that the Port
of Halifax is probably the engine that drives the Nova Scotia economy. Thank you very much.

MR. SPEAKER: If there are no further speakers, the House will now stand adjourned until 2:00 p.m.
tomorrow afternoon.

[The House rose at 6:21 p.m.]