Assemblée Législative de la Nouvelle-Écosse

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HALIFAX, WEDNESDAY, APRIL 12, 1995



Fifty-sixth General Assembly



Third Session



2:00 P.M.



SPEAKER



Hon. Paul MacEwan



DEPUTY SPEAKER



Mrs. Francene Cosman






MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. I would like to call the House to order at this time and commence
the daily sitting. Are there any introductions of guests? If not, we will commence the daily routine.



PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS



PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES



TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS



STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS



GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION



INTRODUCTION OF BILLS



Bill No. 5 - Entitled an Act to Amend Chapter 6 of the Acts of 1991. The School Boards Act.
(Hon. John MacEachern)



Bill No. 6 - Entitled an Act to Amend Chapter 116 of the Acts of 1894. An Act to incorporate
the Centre Falmouth Cemetery Company, Hants County. (Mr. Ronald Russell)



MR. SPEAKER: Ordered that these bills be read a second time on a future day.



NOTICES OF MOTION



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



467

 

RESOLUTION NO. 109



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



Whereas this government is betting its financial future on casino revenues instead of concentrating
on developing well paying, long lasting, meaningful jobs for Nova Scotians; and



Whereas the government predicts a $40 million increase in gambling revenues at the same time it
anticipates over $52 million less in personal income taxes than it estimated in 1994; and



Whereas in this government’s single-mindedness to make casinos work, it gave metro businesses an
11 per cent advantage over non-metro hotel operators which will harm tourism and jobs outside the metro
area;



Therefore be it resolved that this Liberal Government should place more emphasis on developing
long-term, well paying jobs that provide benefits to citizens instead of hitching its star to the casino’s one-armed bandits.



MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.



The honourable member for Bedford-Fall River.



RESOLUTION NO. 110



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



Whereas on March 13th of this year, Mr. Archie MacKay, a long time resident of the Town of
Bedford, was chosen Bedford Volunteer of the Year; and



Whereas Mr. MacKay has volunteered in Bedford with numerous civic, social, religious and health
related organizations, including his present position as President of the Bedford Leisure Club; and



Whereas the Bedford Volunteer of the Year Award recognizes the outstanding humanitarian and
philanthropic contributions made by the citizens of Bedford to their community;



Therefore be it resolved that this House offer congratulations to Mr. Archie MacKay upon being
acclaimed Bedford Volunteer of the Year.



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



MR. SPEAKER: Is it agreed?



It is agreed.



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



The motion is carried.



The honourable member for Sackville-Beaverbank.



RESOLUTION NO. 111



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



Whereas the Sackville Rivers Association has been selected to receive one of Canada’s Recreational
Fisheries awards for 1994, being one of only five recipients of the award; and



Whereas this award recognizes the outstanding contribution of this association to the enhancement
of fisheries habitat on the Sackville Rivers; and



Whereas the determined efforts of the members of the association to rehabilitate an urban river have
made an important contribution to the sustained development of Nova Scotia’s natural resource heritage;



Therefore be it resolved that this House applaud the efforts of the Sackville Rivers Association in
attaining this significant achievement in preserving our natural heritage.



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



MR. SPEAKER: Is it agreed?



It is agreed.



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



The motion is carried.



The honourable member for Halifax Atlantic.



RESOLUTION NO. 112



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 Economic Renewal Minister yesterday defended his government’s commitment to
community economic development by referring to his announcement this week of assistance to expand the
cardboard recycling plant in Hantsport; and



Whereas the Economic Renewal Minister has convinced himself that a repayable loan to the Jodrey
family, a bona fide member of Canada’s corporate elite, is what constitutes a community economic
development; and



Whereas the kind of assistance provided to the Jodreys is an example of economic development that
will bring much needed jobs to Nova Scotia but it can in no way be construed as community economic
development;






Therefore be it resolved that the Economic Renewal Minister ask some of the hundreds of community
economic development practitioners around Nova Scotia to give him a crash course on the conceptual, as well
as operational, definition of community economic development.



MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.



The honourable member for Eastern Shore.



RESOLUTION NO. 113



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



Whereas John and Judy Brennan of West Chezzetcook are well known as designers and
manufacturers of silk screen leather products for the past 20 years; and



Whereas the Brennans have recently opened Laughleton Gallery and Crafts in West Chezzetcook,
a high quality retail arts and crafts gallery featuring the work of many talented Nova Scotian artists; and



Whereas the opening of Laughleton Gallery reflects a new level of optimism and confidence in the
tourism industry along the Eastern Shore;



Therefore be it resolved that this House extend congratulations to John and Judy Brennan on opening
Laughleton Gallery and Crafts and applaud their efforts to enhance tourism along the Eastern Shore, through
their new gallery.



Mr. Speaker, I ask for waiver of notice.



MR. SPEAKER: Is it agreed?



It is agreed.



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



The motion is carried.



The honourable member for Cape Breton Centre.



RESOLUTION NO. 114



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



Whereas on April 7 and 8, 1995, the Cape Breton County Economic Development Authority held
an economic summit attended by business, labour, education, government and community leaders; and






Whereas the summit was designed as a kick start for tackling Cape Breton County’s unemployment
problem, through the recommendations of the Strategic Action Plan; and



Whereas unprecedented cooperation was witnessed as all three levels of government and the
University College of Cape Breton signed an agreement pledged towards the implementation of
recommendations of the Strategic Action Plan;



Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House support the continued efforts of these parties
to address the chronic high unemployment situation and congratulate all those involved in the organization
of Cape Breton County’s Economic Development Summit.



Mr. Speaker, I ask for waiver of notice.



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



Is it agreed?



It is agreed.



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



The motion is carried.



The honourable member for Halifax Fairview.



RESOLUTION NO. 115



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



Whereas the annual statement of political contributions released this week shows that the Liberals
and Conservatives continue to receive their largest donations in roughly equal amounts, from brewers, brokers
and bankers; and



Whereas these facts provide an instructive and timely backdrop for yesterday’s budget, enabling Nova
Scotians to understand why, under Liberal and Tory Governments, the corporate agenda always wins over the
needs, priorities and aspirations of ordinary citizens and communities;



Therefore be it resolved that this government be reminded that they were elected to govern by and
for the 900,000 men, women and children who make up the citizenry of this province, and not by the major
corporations who bankroll their partisan political activities.



MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.



The honourable Leader of the New Democratic Party.



RESOLUTION NO. 116



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



Whereas the Minister of Education has promised repeatedly that his cuts and reforms of the education
system in Nova Scotia would not have a negative effect on the students and classrooms; and



Whereas the budget for 1995-96 will take another $26 million from school board funding; and



Whereas in January 1995 the school boards association, the Teachers Union, education
administrators and the home and school association, released the results of a survey that shows unequivocally
that funding cuts to education did negatively affect classrooms in Nova Scotia this school year;



Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Education who has resolved to reduce administrative
costs explain to education partners how he can justify a 7.5 per cent increase in the minister’s own office while
continuing to ruthlessly slash the education system.



[2:15 p.m.]



MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.



The honourable member for Halifax Fairview.



RESOLUTION NO. 117



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



Whereas the Health Minister has been travelling around Nova Scotia seeking good news headlines
with the promise that between $35 million and $40 million would be diverted into expanding home care in
this year’s budget; and



Whereas the Finance Minister in his Budget Address sought additional good news headlines with
the clever but misleading contention that the $44 million budgetary allocation for home care in 1995-96 is
“more than double the level estimated for 1994-95”; and



Whereas finance officials confirm that the new dollars for home care actually total $7.5 million, with
the municipal service exchange resulting in the withdrawal of home care funding from municipalities;



Therefore be it resolved that the Liberal Government come clean that additional public dollars going
into the home care system total $7.5 million, not the $22 million which their creative, incomplete financial
reporting would deceptively lead Nova Scotians to anticipate.



MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.



The honourable Government House Leader.



HON. RICHARD MANN: I have been asked by some of the staff at Province House to advise
members that it is Theresa Mingo, one of our staff’s 24th birthday and ask all members to wish her a happy
birthday.



MR. SPEAKER: Are there are any other items to be brought before the House under the heading of
the daily routine?



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



Therefore be it resolved that this House recognize the important role that trawl baiters play in the
long line fishing industry in Nova Scotia and support the efforts of trawl baiters for inclusion in the TAGS
program.



We will hear debate on that matter at 6:00 p.m. this evening.



The time is now 2:18 p.m. The Oral Question Period today runs for 90 minutes and will therefore
run until 3:48 p.m. The duration of the Oral Question Period today will be until 3:48 p.m.



ORDERS OF THE DAY



ORAL QUESTIONS PUT BY MEMBERS



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Opposition.



TRANSPORT. - SHIP AGREEMENT: AMENDMENT - APPROVAL



MR. TERENCE DONAHOE: My question is for the Premier. During the 1993 election campaign
the Liberal Leader, now the Premier, made it clear that he disagreed with the western alignment route chosen
for the death valley portion of the Highway No. 104 between Masstown and Thomson Station. He made all
kinds of promises at that time and yet six days after being sworn into office the Premier said that he had
completed the review of the controversy and his consultation and the original plan would proceed. Then less
than six months after that the Minister of Transportation, the highway baron from Richmond County,
announced that he would make improvements to the Fleur-de-lis Trail. My question to the Premier is whether
or not he, the Premier, will confirm that there was an Order in Council passed by his Cabinet to approve the
amendment to the Strategic Highway Improvement Program?



HON. JOHN SAVAGE (The Premier): Mr. Speaker, that falls within the purview of the highly
competent Minister of Transportation and I am referring it to him.



HON. RICHARD MANN: The amendment to the agreement was done the way amendments to
highway agreements, federal-provincial agreements, that this province has always done, it was done with the
approval of the two ministers, federal and provincial Ministers of Transport and signed off by officials of those
two departments.



MR. DONAHOE: Well, I take it then from the fact that the Premier refers the question and we now
hear that it is minister to minister that the Premier probably had no idea what was going on. Could I ask the
Premier, by way of supplementary, whether or not the Premier could tell us, why it is that he permitted the
announcement of the diversion of the $26 million to the Fleur-de-lis Trail, without making it known to the
people of Nova Scotia, particularly, I might say, to the people in closest proximity to Highway No. 104, that
the Fleur-de-lis Trail announcement was being made on the basis of the ripping out of the $26 million from
the highway agreement and it would, therefore, not be available to the highway through Cumberland?



THE PREMIER: I am sorry, you have got so many bits to the question that I forgot what bit you were
talking about in the beginning.



MR. DONAHOE: I want to know why it is that the Premier did not make a public statement, or make
it known at the time that the Fleur-de-lis Trail commitment was made, that the money for the Fleur-de-lis
Trail, the $26 million, was being taken from the Strategic Highway Improvement Program?



THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, this government works by department and this government will,
therefore, refer the question to the established leader of the Department of Transportation and
Communications. That is the way it always was done, except, perhaps, in some former days. I, therefore, defer
to the minister, to answer the appropriate question.



MR. MANN: Mr. Speaker, I would be unsure, I guess, to say whether or not it was actually included
in the announcement which was released, but I know that on the day it was made, in response to a question,
I certainly indicated where the money was coming from. That has been done in interviews with media around
the province. I think in a Truro newspaper, as recently as six or seven weeks ago, it was made clear. There
was never any attempt not to indicate where the money had come from. I would have to check again to be
sure, and I stand to be corrected, but I believe when the story of the announcement of the Fleur-de-lis Trail
was made, it did set out, in at least one of the stories, that the money would come from the federal-provincial
agreement, the SHIP agreement.



MR. DONAHOE: Mr. Speaker, my final supplementary is to the Premier. The Premier and his
colleagues, I am sure, are scrambling now all over the place, to try to see if they can cut a deal, in the shortest
time possible, to make some kind of an announcement relative to Highway No. 104, so they can stop the
damage inflicted.



AN HON. MEMBER: Is this the last question?



MR. DONAHOE: Yes, it is the last question. It is the second supplementary (Interruptions)



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



MR. DONAHOE: Mr. Speaker, the Premier has said publicly that his new deal, which we have yet
to hear about, relative to Highway No. 104, will produce improvements to Highway No. 104 faster than would
have been the case had the $26 million, which had been committed to it, been used in the first place. I ask the
Premier, if that is the case, why did this Premier allow the removal of the $26 million from the commitment
to Highway No. 104, before having made arrangements to clearly have commitments of private sector or other
substitute funds, to enable Highway No. 104 to go forward?



THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, the decision to approach the private sector was made, roughly, at the
same time. It takes an awful lot of time, the minister will explain that. We have had to do an awful lot of work
in that length of time. I am pleased to have the opportunity to confirm what I said yesterday, that the minister
will be making the announcement, he will be tying it up as soon as it is ready. We will not rush into it purely
and simply for the sake of keeping a few Opposition members at bay, we will do it in the best interests of the
people of this province.



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



TRANSPORT. - SHIP AGREEMENT: MONIES - DIVERSION



MR. JOHN HOLM: Mr. Speaker, I want to return to the Premier on this topic as well, which I raised
yesterday with the Premier. I would like to know, quite simply, this. Last year’s briefing book for the Premier,
that he had when he was giving his estimates, and which we have received copies of through the freedom of
information request, clearly showed that last February this government was taking credit for having created
jobs on that Fleur-de-lis Trail by diverting funds from that federal-provincial highway agreement. My question
to the Premier is, quite simply, why did you try to hide the fact, you and your government, that you were
clearly and you knowingly, well over a year ago, had diverted those funds away from the Highway No. 104
death valley by-pass in favour of the minister and his federal colleague, Dave Dingwall’s riding?



THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, as I have said before, these are matters that are best answered by the
minister, and I am going to defer this to the departmental minister, the Honourable Richard Mann.



HON. RICHARD MANN: Mr. Speaker, as I have indicated in a previous answer today, to a question
from the Leader of the Opposition, there was no attempt to hide anything here. This was announced the day
the project was announced. It was an announcement that was made in February 1994. The agreement was
amended on May 11, 1994, and work began subsequent to that.



I think it is very interesting, though, Mr. Speaker, that we have heard in this House reference made
on this issue of the fatalities that have taken place from 1986 to 1992, yet the agreement, the SHIP agreement,
was signed on April 1, 1993, by the previous administration. I thought at that time that the intent was to have
a twinned highway from Amherst to New Glasgow, over Folly Mountain, around the Wentworth Valley, over
Mount Thom and those areas. In fact, when the amendment was drawn up by Mr. MacKay, Mr. Cameron and
Mr. Archibald in April 1993, they did not include all the funding for Highway No. 104, but chose, instead -
and I am not going to suggest any reasons for choosing that and they had the authority to do that at that time -
to include the twinning of Highway No. 101 from Beaverbank to the Mount Uniacke Interchange and also
included the twinning of Highway No. 125 from North Sydney to Sydney. I am not going to suggest why, but
that is what they included and that was signed subsequent to the dates they referred to when all of these
fatalities took place.



MR. HOLM: Mr. Speaker, I am not going to get involved with the dispute of the Minister of
Transportation and I am certainly not going to try to defend what the former government did. My questions,
however, are for the Premier who is, supposedly, the man in charge, who is the head of the government and
who has to answer for what his government does, not what the former government did.



My question to the Premier who promised, as the anti-patronage champion, to do away with pork-barrel politics, to do away with pot-hole politics, I would like to know if the Premier saw and will he table the
priority analysis that was done that showed that it was more important for safety reasons to be spending that
$26 million on the Fleur-de-lis Trail instead of putting an end, or starting to put an end to the carnage that
is occurring on Highway No. 104?



THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I would not expect the member opposite to understand the process of
government, but the process of government is that these are departmental decisions and the departmental
minister is the Minister of Transportation. I do not answer everything, even though in the current parlance
I may get blamed for everything, it is the minister who answers for his department and that decision is
ministerial.



MR. MANN: Mr. Speaker, when the SHIP agreement was signed in April 1993, again, the project
between Thomson Station and Masstown, Highway No. 104, was estimated and listed at a cost of $113
million, I believe it was. There was only $55 million included in that fund. I think it is important to note that
that fund was for a period of five or six years and all the projects identified were not going to be done at once.
So, had work began on Highway No. 104, it would have been at the expense of stopping the work on Highway
No. 101; it would have been at the expense of stopping the work between Truro and New Glasgow, the work
that is going to go on over Mount Thom, those projects, from Truro to Kemptown; it would have, I suspect,
probably stopped, if it had been done in that order, the twinning of outside of New Glasgow which was done
earlier.



Mr. Speaker, by spending the $55 million that had been in there over a five or six year period,
beginning in 1993, I think people would understand that by 1998 we would have spent the $55 million, we
would have one-half of a road completed with no additional federal or provincial agreements to complete it.



So removing, Mr. Speaker, and I make this point, the $26 million has not jeopardized the completion
of Highway No. 104 because there was no money there to complete it ever included; the money was put on
Highway No. 101 and the money was delegated for Highway No. 125. To put this in context, they throw
around the figure $26 million has been ripped out and put on the Fleur-de-lis Trail, only about $3.3 million,
of that money, has been spent. Now if anyone over there can stand up and suggest that that $3.3 million would
have made a difference in completing the $113 million highway - that they never included the funds for in
the first place because they went to Highway No. 101 and Highway No. 125 - I have obviously missed
something.



[2:30 p.m.]



MR. HOLM: Mr. Speaker, I listened with interest and amusement to the Minister of Transportation
trying to answer for the Premier, where the minister is trying to suggest that by directing that $26 million
away from the project from which it is intended somehow is going to speed it up. I want to go back again to
the Premier. While he may be trying to become the new Teflon man and have all of the blame shifted off to
the other ministers . . .



MR. SPEAKER: Final supplementary, please. Put your question, now. Question.



MR. HOLM: That’s right, Mr. Speaker. I want to ask the Premier quite simply this, since only $3
million of that $26 million has now been spent, will the Premier, who is responsible for ensuring that his
ministers follow the instructions as laid out in the federal- provincial agreements, instruct his minister to
ensure that the $23 million remaining, go back to what it was intended to do and that is Highway No. 104,
the death valley by-pass, to get that project started?



THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I think it is a lot better if we stop cheapening the arguments by talking
about things like death valley, particularly for people who have had relatives killed there. I think it cheapens
it and I don’t think it adds anything to the argument at all. The issue, quite simply is, no. The government
makes the decisions, we made them in conjunction with the federal government and we stand behind the
decisions that we have made.



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



MR. BROOKE TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the honourable Minister of Housing and
Consumer Affairs. In reference to this Liberal Government’s decision to gut $26 million out of the Strategic
Highway Improvement Program and that agreement was dedicated to the Nova Scotia-Trans Canada Highway
system, yesterday the Premier said, 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. My question is simply this, to the Minister
of Housing and Consumer Affairs and the member for Truro-Bible Hill, was the minister present at the
Priorities & Planning meeting when this dastardly deed was undertaken?



MR. SPEAKER: I believe that question to be out of order and would call for another question.



MR. TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order.



MR. SPEAKER: I believe the question to be out of order. It was framed in intemperate language and
I rule it out of order. Is there another question?



The honourable Leader of the Opposition.



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



MR. SPEAKER: There are no points of order in Question Period but I will take a new question.



The honourable Leader of the Opposition.



TRANSPORT. - HIGHWAY NO. 104: TWINNING - DELAY



MR. TERENCE DONAHOE: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Premier. In February 1994, the
Premier with the apparent blessing, as has just been said, these are Cabinet decisions and all of the Cabinet
Ministers approved, so the Minister of Labour approved and the Minister of Housing and Consumer Affairs,
I presume, approved and the member for Cumberland North and the member for Colchester North and
everybody approved, they permitted the Minister of Transportation to take this $26 million out of the highway
improvement fund and, as a result, for well over a year, nothing has been done on that section of Highway
No. 104. Now that the Liberal kitchen is on fire the Premier tells us there will be a private partnership
arrangement and stay tuned and we will hear all of these announcements. I want to ask the Premier, why did
he allow 14 months and one Auditor General’s Report to go by before attempting to secure resources to
complete the Highway No. 104 stretch through death valley?






THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, there are two parts to the answer to that. First of all, if he didn’t hear
it before, for whatever reason, I said that we began looking and talking with the private sector almost
immediately, that we have done. It is complex and it takes a lot of time and, as such, it has taken time. It has
taken the direction that we have to go with our federal colleagues, as the minister here will know. There are
a whole raft of issues that have had to be addressed and they will be addressed in good time.



MR. DONAHOE: The Premier promises this announcement in the fullness of time. After almost 15
months, after he and his colleagues have permitted the Minister of Transportation to rip out this $26 million
from the agreement. That announcement, as I understand it, will bring about the result that Nova Scotians
will be the only Canadians to pay a toll on the national highway system.



I want to know if the Premier will confirm that the Strategic Highway Improvement Program with
the federal government has been amended or approvals have been secured, to ensure that the tolls which
apparently will be on this new stretch of highway, are acceptable, as far as the federal rules are concerned
about the Trans Canada Highway, the national highway?



THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I guess he will have to wait for that as well. That will be part of the
announcement.



MR. DONAHOE: Am I right, then, in assuming also that we will have to await word that the
arrangements made are with Irving Oil Company and that Irving Oil Company will own not only the roadway
but that the highway will be designed in such a way that the ancillary services there, their Big Stops and their
coffee shops and their restaurants and their gas bars and so on will, in fact, also be Irving Oil and that the
biggest beneficiary and winner in this whole piece of business will be the Irving Oil Company?



THE PREMIER: I do hope this gets reported in New Brunswick, to find the antipathy towards a well-established and highly credible organization like Irving. All I can say to you, Mr. Speaker, is you will have
to wait and see, as I said yesterday and as I said today.



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



MR. BROOKE TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, I have rephrased my question to exclude “dastardly deed”.
My question is for the honourable Minister of Housing and Consumer Affairs, the member for Truro-Bible
Hill. It is in reference to this government’s decision to gut some $26 million out of the Strategic Highway
Improvement Program.



My question is simply this, Mr. Speaker, was the minister present at the Priorities and Planning
meeting when this diversion of funds was undertaken?



MR. SPEAKER: I rule that question out of order. The Planning and Priorities Committee is a
committee of Cabinet. The minister is answerable only. There are no points of order in Question Period. The
minister will answer only to questions that relate to her departmental responsibilities, and I rule the question
out of order. I order the honourable member to take his seat.



The honourable member for Halifax Fairview. (Interruptions)



MR. TAYLOR: . . . to expect impartiality from you. I have more chance of winning the lottery.



MR. SPEAKER: Mr. Brooke Taylor, the honourable member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley,
is named for the offence of unparliamentary conduct and is to be removed. Sergeant-at-Arms please escort
him out. (Interruptions)



The honourable member for Halifax Fairview has the floor.



HEALTH - HOME CARE: SERVICE EXCHANGE - FUNDING



MS. ALEXA MCDONOUGH: Mr. Speaker, I would like to direct my question, if I may, to the
honourable Premier. The government has created considerable confusion and heightened expectations with
their claim that funds going into home care this year would be doubled. Perhaps this was not an act of wilful
deception but the Premier knows that municipal funds currently going into home care will terminate, because
of the service exchange agreement, leaving an actual increase in home care dollars in the amount of $7.5
million not the $22 million claimed. I would simply ask the Premier, if he would clear up this confusion by
confirming that this is, in fact, the case?



THE PREMIER: Thank you for that question, Mr. Speaker. It gives us the opportunity to give it to
the appropriate person. I am going to ask the Minister of Finance if he would address this for you?



HON. BERNARD BOUDREAU: The honourable member is obviously referring to the material
which was contained both in the Budget Speech and in the Estimates Books supplied to the House yesterday.
I would ask her to think for a moment, she talks about new money. There is no new money anywhere, we don’t
mint any and the overall expenditures of government are reduced by 3 per cent this year, so there is no new
money anywhere. The expenditures on home care will go from $21 million to $44 million. Okay, from $21
million to $44 million, of that amount, $5.3 million will come from the municipal level in the service
exchange that she refers to. The balance of it has to be reallocated from within government because as she
knows, we have a cap on expenditures. There is no new money anywhere.



MS. MCDONOUGH: I don’t think people are so interested in new money, old money. They are
interested in what allocation of resources there is going to be to home care. Perhaps, if the Minister of Finance
turns out to be the authority on home care, the Premier will want to refer this question to him as well. If the
government’s contention holds that there is a doubling of resources for Home Care Programs in the province,
how is it that the government’s own expenditure books show that the existing staffing for home care of 111.2
positions is going to be increased over the following year to a mere 121.2 persons, considering that there are
going to be many hundreds of hospital workers displaced in the process?



MR. BOUDREAU: The details of reallocation of staffing, whether they be increased staffing or
reductions flowing out of the Estimate Books, I think is the type of question that is very well reserved for the
40 hours of estimate debate that we are about to commence in this House on Tuesday.



MS. MCDONOUGH: The problem is, of course, the government has created a lot of concern around
this issue with the release of their information. Perhaps, I could direct the final supplementary to the Minister
of Finance, more of a policy nature. Is it the case that there is a miserly increase of 10 home care workers for
the entire province based on these estimates because, in fact, it is the government’s intention to develop the
home care system along the lines of a private for profit model?



MR. BOUDREAU: Well, I am aware that there are funds set aside for work place adjustment. I
would suggest, as I have with all the greatest of respect, that we have set aside in this House 40 hours, so that
the honourable member and others can question the Minister of Health on the estimates and the impact of
those estimates at great length. I am sure that the honourable Minister of Health will be able to reassure the
members of this House on those points.



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Hants West.



TRANSPORT.: HIGHWAY NO. 104 - TRAFFIC VOLUME



MR. RONALD RUSSELL: My question is for the Minister of Transportation and Communications
and it is a very short question. I wonder if the minister can advise the members of this House and all Nova
Scotians how many vehicles travel daily between Amherst and Truro on the Highway No. 104?



HON. RICHARD MANN: I believe the average traffic volume count, the latest one was between
9,000 and 10,000 per day.



MR. RUSSELL: My first supplementary is, I wonder if the Minister of Transportation and
Communications would advise the House as to what that section of highway, that is yet to be built, will cost
in round numbers?



MR. MANN: I assume the member is referring to the section between Thomson Station and
Masstown. The estimate done when the SHIP agreement was signed in April 1993, I believe it was $113
million, I think present day Department of Transportation methods and Department of Transportation funds
probably in the order of $122 million.



[2:45 p.m.]



MR. RUSSELL: I wonder if the minister could inform the House as to when he is carrying out these
negotiations with private companies on a private sector government type of agreement, what he could indicate
would be the probable toll on that section of the highway?



MR. MANN: Mr. Speaker, I couldn’t indicate that because if these individuals here were paying
attention we talked about this the last session of the House and they would know that the Department of
Transportation had retained the services of an international consulting company with expertise in this type
of project. In fact, we had 47 expressions of interest in independent legal services to help guide us through
the whole process and those firms have been working on this project; we haven’t allowed 14 months to slip
by and try to do damage control in the last few days. These people have been working on this diligently for
months now.



It was indicated up-front on this that we would reach a critical point which we are at now where we
determine whether we go forward or we stop. That is, I guess, what the next announcement will be as to what
stage we are at and where we intend to go from here. Members opposite would know that the next stage in
the process, if we go forward, will be to go for a call for proposals. Included with the call for proposals will
be information we will ask the private sector to give to us and therefore, some of that information and some
of those questions will in fact be answered perhaps by the developer if this project goes forward beyond this
point.



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Opposition.



EXCO - AGREEMENTS (CAN.-N.S.): AMENDMENTS - APPROVAL



MR. TERENCE DONAHOE: Mr. Speaker, my question if for the Premier. I want to go back, if I can,
to understand a little better than I do from his earlier answers, the practice of his government relative to
federal-provincial agreements. Am I right in understanding his earlier answers to be to the effect that when
there is a federal-provincial agreement, we have one that we have discussed here today and in the last few
days, the Strategic Highway Improvement Program, we have federal-provincial agreements in Natural
Resources and all kinds of them, am I right in understanding that the Premier is saying that the practice of
his government is that those agreements are executed and amended - if amended - on the basis of the decision
taken by the minister in the ministry affected by the federal-provincial agreement and they are not taken by
Cabinet decision? Is that what he said?



THE PREMIER: No.



MR. DONAHOE: So his answer is no. I take it then that I should have understood the Premier to be
saying that decisions by his government to make amendments to federal-provincial agreements are, in fact,
Cabinet decisions? Is that what I should understand is the modus operandi of his government?



THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I suspect they are the same as they were in previous governments, that
is, ministers on both sides agree, it then comes to both Cabinets and I would assume it is therefore passed by
both Cabinets.



MR. DONAHOE: Well, I asked the Premier to tell me what the practice is of his government and
he talks about assumptions. I conjure up this wonderful vision of this man sitting at the end of the Cabinet
Table as the President of the Executive Council, “assuming”, all day what is going on around him. He clearly
doesn’t seem to have any idea what is going on around him. I ask the Premier directly by way of final
supplementary, is it the practice of his Cabinet that in regard to the commitment to execute federal-provincial
agreements and/or the commitment to amend any existing federal-provincial agreements, that those decisions
to commit or to amend are decisions taken by the full Cabinet of the Province of Nova Scotia, yes or no?



THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I choose to be a bit larger than yes or no. The agreements are settled
between departments of the federal government and the provincial government and then ratified by us.
Changes, as has happened in the past in many instances, in governments in which he was a partner, may take
place. Both ministers, therefore, agree and it is then agreed in Cabinet. That is the way it has been done and
that is the way it remains being done.



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Pictou Centre.






COMMUN. SERV.: MUNICIPAL ASSISTANCE - TIMETABLE



DR. JOHN HAMM: Mr. Speaker, to the Minister of Community Services. On a number of occasions,
government ministers have made vague reference to a timetable, whereby the government will be providing
municipal assistance costs to other municipalities across the province, other than the Cape Breton Regional
Municipality. Would the minister outline here today the timetable that he is following, which will allow Nova
Scotians to know when the government will assume their local welfare cost?



HON. JAMES SMITH: Mr. Speaker, the Cape Breton program, that is being worked on now and,
I think, proceeding very well, is due to be started in August 1995. Following that, we are looking at and we
have submitted to Cabinet and we have had discussions on the matter, because it is a concern as to the
timetable when we can move, not only to a one-tiered system, but a more comprehensive program of
employment and social assistance programs. I think it is fair to say, at this juncture, that we would be looking
at somewhere between a two, three, or, at the maximum, a five year program that we would see all parts of
Nova Scotia under that particular system. Not only a one-tiered system, but an enriched and enhanced
program.



DR. HAMM: Mr. Speaker, I missed the first part of the minister’s answer, I could not hear. But there
was discussion the other day at the news conference introducing the metro merger bill, that there was no
mention of the provision of local welfare costs to the new municipality come April 1, 1996. Would the
minister give the House an estimate of the cost to the provincial government, to provide the welfare cost to
the new municipality, bearing in mind that, I believe, the total cost now is some $37 million, shared by both
governments?



DR. SMITH: Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for his question, because I think these are very
important issues. As the member knows, moving to a one-tiered system will not be a part of the municipal and
provincial service exchange. That is outside of that, at this particular juncture. We are already cooperating
with directors of social assistance and social service programs in the metropolitan area. The cost, though, I
would share it with the honourable member if I had it at this time. I do not. I think you can look at the areas
that we have looked at in Cape Breton, where we are putting in $6.2 million for somewhere just less than 20
per cent of the population, and I think he can extrapolate that for the rest of the province. Although, I think,
in all fairness, some areas, particularly the metropolitan area of Halifax-Dartmouth, may be an easier
takeover, with their types of programs that they already have running.



DR. HAMM: Mr. Speaker, by way of final supplementary to the minister, would the minister commit
that, when other areas of the province undergo municipal simplification, or amalgamation, will the minister
make a commitment to entertain providing general welfare costs to those new municipal units as they are
formed?



DR. SMITH: Mr. Speaker, we certainly will be pleased to enter into dialogue. I think the overall
commitment, it is not within my jurisdiction to make that commitment on behalf of government, that those
necessarily would be automatically assumed on amalgamation. I think this is a very exciting program; I think
we see, what we have learned from our Compass Program and all the other initiatives, how well these
programs can be, early intervention programs, in getting people not only off social assistance but, perhaps,
keeping them off for long periods of time and, hopefully, in a career path that is very productive. I think the
commitment that I could make as minister, at this juncture, is that we certainly would want to be working with
communities well before any amalgamation takes place and look at programs such as Compass and career
planning and other programs that are really showing good results at this time and, I think, moving far away
from the make work projects that we have seen before. So I think the dialogue has already taken place. I
certainly would make a commitment that we would pursue it as actively as the budgetary considerations would
allow us to do.



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



FIN.: MUN. SERV. EXCHANGE - COSTS



MR. JOHN HOLM: Mr. Speaker, I would like to direct my question through you to the Minister of
Finance. I would also like to thank the minister for coming back in to take the question.



The service exchange legislation that was passed and which took effect April 1st was supposed to
be cost neutral, in other words, the province was going to be assuming costs from municipalities equal to the
cost of the services and programs being off-loaded to the municipalities.



Now my question to the minister is quite simply this. Has his department calculated by particular
category, by department and by service, the costs of the services that the department is picking up and the
costs of the services that have been off-loaded? Has the minister’s department calculated all those costs?



HON. BERNARD BOUDREAU: Yes, Mr. Speaker, the answer is yes.



MR. HOLM: If they have all been calculated, will the minister agree then to table in this House -
presumably, if it is all done it could even be done today, but certainly before the budget estimates are called
for an actual debate - the calculations with a line by line comparison to show where the dollars that the
province is picking in the way of costs matches the dollar values that they are off-loading to the
municipalities? Will the minister agree to provide that information?



MR. BOUDREAU: I can see no objection to providing the honourable member and members of the
House with that information. I just hesitate on a commitment on time. I believe estimates will start on
Tuesday. We are off Friday and Monday, as are our employees, so I will produce that information as quickly
as I can.



MR. HOLM: Mr. Speaker, I think it is very important, as we are doing our deliberations and are
trying to examine the government’s estimates and given the fact that the government has already, by the way
the Budget Book is portrayed, provided some deception, you might say, in terms of what additional money
is being provided.



I just say to the minister, if the calculations have already been completed, the work has been done,
then surely, Mr. Speaker, it is only reasonable to expect that that information can be provided within a day
to all members of this House.



MR. BOUDREAU: Well, Mr. Speaker, I am sure the honourable member understands that this
particular time of year is a very busy one for members of the staff of the Department of Finance. We certainly
will give all sorts of priority to the request of the honourable member.



I might point out that the service exchange numbers will be, as of 1993-94. That is the point in time
in which the revenue neutrality was involved. I might also point out (Interruption) No, this is all publicly
known. I might also point out to the honourable member that all the information he seeks is already in the
hands of the municipalities, but I will provide it to him and to this House as soon as possible.



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Queens.



EDUC. - QUEENS CO.: NEW SCHOOL - COMMUN. INPUT



MR. JOHN LEEFE: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Education. The minister has
introduced what I think is a highly innovative and highly desirable process for the construction, planning and
ownership of new schools. There are projects underway or soon to be underway in Porters Lake, Sydney and,
I think, in Horton as well, all of them seizing on this new approach that the minister has defined and is in the
process of implementing. It is a process that provides opportunity for the client community - the school board,
the school, parents and indeed students themselves - to have an opportunity in planning what they deem would
be in their best interests and then, of course, providing the ownership opportunity to the private sector,
relieving the public purse of having to come forward with the tax dollars to pay for the school.



We have a new school scheduled for Queens County, an elementary school, probably a $6 million
or $7 million project. I wonder if the minister could advise me whether the same opportunity with respect to
process has been provided to the Queens District School Board as has been provided to the other three boards
which I just named?



HON. JOHN MACEACHERN: Mr. Speaker, I thank the honourable member for the question. The
process he has described, we have developed in the Department of Education. Nobody we can find has done
anything close to it anywhere in the country. So, if you will notice that the first one has taken about 19 months
to develop. It is because both the private sector people and examining it, ourselves, we were learning as we
went along. That process took us about 19 months to get to a proponent. The second one at Porters Lake is
happening much quicker because we have all learned.



[3:00 p.m.]



I would suggest that, at the present time, if we were to go that particular way - we don’t have one on
the ground yet - we would have the community very closely involved, as he said. Also, for example, in the
other schools that we have built or in the process of building, we have consulted with the community very
closely.



If he would, Mr. Speaker, I would offer to the honourable member that he and I could sit down and
talk about this privately to see what the interests of the community are and I would be willing to do whatever
I could in order to address those.



MR. LEEFE: I thank the minister for his kind offer and he and I have taken opportunities on many
occasions to have those kinds of discussions. I must say that, with respect to my own constituency, I have
always found him to provide me every opportunity to put forward concerns of the constituency and he has,
indeed, been responsive.






I would ask the minister if he would be prepared, understanding that it might result in a time lag,
to present the Queens District School Board the opportunity to give consideration to opting for the new
process rather than for the old process, understanding that once the die is cast and the school is built, it is
there for a very long time, that it is absolutely essential to get it right the first time?



MR. MACEACHERN: Mr. Speaker, I offer to the honourable member that we would talk about that.
We have, as I have said, picked three: a junior high, an elementary and a high school to examine the process.
We are very satisfied up to this point that it will work. I will commit to the honourable member that I will
speak to my deputy and Doug Nauss, who is the person who is spearheading this project, to talk about the
possibility of doing that because we have to put it in balance with the others. So, I will give that commitment
to the honourable member that I will take that back to the department and we will discuss this particular
project in light of examining it as another one of the private/public partners.



MR. LEEFE: Mr. Speaker, my last question to the minister. Time, I believe, is of the essence because
South Queens Elementary project is coming close to a tender call and decisions being taken. I ask the minister
if he will make this, as far as he can, a priority and make that contact as quickly as possible?



MR. MACEACHERN: Mr. Speaker, I give the honourable member the commitment that I will make
the initial inquiry by 4:30 p.m. this afternoon.



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Opposition.



TRANSPORT. - SHIP AGREEMENT: AMENDMENT - TABLE



MR. TERENCE DONAHOE: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Premier. I wonder, relative to the
Strategic Highway Improvement Program matter that we have been discussing here today, if the Premier
would commit to me to table the minutes of Cabinet or the OIC approving or concurring in the amendment
of that agreement?



THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I will take it under advisement, surely.



MR. DONAHOE: I wonder if the Premier, by way of supplementary, would be prepared to commit
to table, here in this place, a copy of the amending agreement itself?



THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I will take that under advisement, too.



MR. DONAHOE: Mr. Speaker, if I might, just before placing my final supplementary make a brief
introduction.



I would just like to introduce to you and to all members of the House the presence in the west gallery
of four distinguished Canadians, all of them very much involved and committed to the affairs and the future
growth of the Nova Scotia Progressive Conservative Party. I am pleased to introduce Mr. Alfie MacLeod, the
President; Mr. Scott James, Executive Vice-President; Mr. Bill Pyle, member of the Executive and Mr. Jim
David, Provincial Director of the Nova Scotia P.C. Party. I would ask all members to show their usual warm
welcome to our guests. (Applause)






My final supplementary is to the Minister for the Economic Renewal Agency. I wonder if he might
indicate to me whether or not he or his ministry has any involvement in the day to day administration or the
handling in any way, shape or form of the federal-provincial agreements, Strategic Highway Improvement
Program agreements, federal-provincial agreements relative to natural resources and so on, if he does, if he
has had any involvement in the agreement we have been discussing here the last few days, the Strategic
Highway Improvement Program agreement?



HON. ROBERT HARRISON: Mr. Speaker, I do know that our department - as does the honourable
member opposite - handles cooperative federal-provincial agreements. I don’t know whether the Strategic
Highway Improvement Program agreement is one that I handle, but I would be happy to get that information
and provide that for the honourable member.



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Pictou West.



ERA - TOURISM: ACCOMMODATIONS - RATING SYSTEM



MR. DONALD MCINNES: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister for the Economic Renewal
Agency. There has been a tremendous amount of concern over plans by your department to propose
harmonization of the licensing by the Nova Scotia Department of Tourism and Canada’s select grading
inspections. The headline I show here is, Canadian select could force small inns and B and Bs to close.



Can the minister clarify for us today, and to all those who are interested, what this means and what
definition and when will he clarify the position for the bed and breakfasts and the small inns in this province?



HON. ROBERT HARRISON: Mr. Speaker, I welcome this question. Perhaps, as the honourable
member realizes, Nova Scotia was the first in the nation to realize the importance of a standardized rating
system, so that tourism accommodation in a corporate entity like Nova Scotia, with our entrance points in
Portland, Maine, in Prince Edward Island and other places, is receiving guests in a way that they can be
assured of the quality they are receiving.



For many years there have been attempts by TIANS to reach a consensus on the issue of rating. It
is producing some concern among some very important members of the tourism community in Nova Scotia,
the bed and breakfasts and country inns, many of which are in my home area, so I know how important this
segment of the industry is.



There are discussions going on as late as a half hour ago with the key players in the bed and breakfast
and country inn areas of tourism, to reassure them that whatever is done in this province to bring about a
standardized rating system, that whatever is done recognizes the important contribution of many of the cells
of excellence within the corporate entity Tourism Nova Scotia. So, there is a great deal of detail to the answer
to this question.



The bottom line is that we will not proceed without the confidence of the membership of TIANS,
without the confidence of the various elements of the very important tourism industry to the Province of Nova
Scotia. We are discussing with those people, to reassure them, Mr. Speaker, of our intent to make sure that
no segment of the industry is in any way harmed but, rather, that every segment is enhanced by what is done
in terms of a common rating system.



MR. MCINNES: Well, Mr. Speaker, you know we are in a billion dollar industry in tourism very
shortly - $850 million last year - and all I say to the minister is that I think it is important that those bed and
breakfasts, those small inns, are a very important part of our tourism program across this province. I think
we should be doing everything we can to help them and to work with them. I ask the minister to see that this
gets done as quickly as possible, to make those innkeepers and small bed and breakfast people realize that we
want to help them.



MR. HARRISON: Mr. Speaker, I am not skilled at heckling, but I hear comments from the other side
that the question took too long to answer or the comment about cells. I think it is absolutely critical, this is
a very important issue. The fact is that the honourable member is raising what I think is one of the most
important and fundamental questions; the country inn, unique inn segment, cell of the tourism industry is
absolutely critical to the future of Nova Scotia tourism. It is an experience that people come here from all over
the world to have here in Nova Scotia. It is done as well here as it is anywhere in the country. The bed and
breakfasts that are now blossoming as small family enterprises throughout this province are another jewel in
the crown of the tourism industry.



I take this question seriously; there will be nothing done by this province, by this government, that
does not enhance those two jewels of the crown, as well as all the other jewels in the tourism crown, one of
the most important industries in our province. I am pleased with the question, he has my commitment and
guarantee and I don’t mind taking a few extra minutes to talk about cells or to talk about a complicated answer
because those tourism people need to know that they have the commitment of this minister and this
government to their enterprise.



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Atlantic.



FIN. - PROG. REVIEW: LAYOFFS - NUMBERS



MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: I want to direct a question through you to the Minister of Finance. In
the minister’s address yesterday, and he has talked about this before, comprehensive program review, talking
about things that the government does and asking the question whether they should do them or whether
somebody else should do them. I am concerned about one statement and that is that it says we are taking stock
and when we are done the inventory will be reduced. It seems to me the question has been answered and just
very clearly, I would like to ask the Minister of Finance if he could give us some indication of whether or not
he has already set the lines of how many programs the government is going to keep, how many programs the
government is going to let go and the fact that they are going to go ahead and lay off most public sector
workers?



HON. BERNARD BOUDREAU: Mr. Speaker, if I knew at this stage what the result of the program
review was going to be before we started I could save us a lot of time and money. I think we are going into
this with an open mind. What I was trying to say to the honourable member and to the public of Nova Scotia
is that I think we have to ask fundamental questions here because if any, service of government is not
sustainable then we are not providing the kind of benefit to the taxpayers and to the beneficiaries of that
service that we should be providing. The fundamental questions will be asked of every program and service
of government.






MR. CHISHOLM: I appreciate that answer but my concern was the fact that that is not what the
minister is saying here, very clearly. I guess my first supplementary to the minister would be, has he not
learned anything about what the government does and the value of that through the millions of dollars that
have been spent on management audits over the past two years into most departments in this government?



MR. BOUDREAU: I think we have learned a great deal and we have saved a great deal of money
as a result of those matters. The focus of the management audit was quite clearly directed to administration
and structure for the most part. We weren’t asking a chartered accountant company to judge on a program
delivered by the Community Services Department, they are really not competent to do that. What we were
asking them to do was to rationalize and make more efficient and more client friendly the administrative and
structural delivery of those services. I think we’ve got that from most, if not all, of the management audits and
as a result we have made government efficient in those areas.



MR. CHISHOLM: I wonder if the minister would give us some indication today how many hundreds
of thousands, millions of dollars he expects to expend on consultants in order to complete the comprehensive
program review?



MR. BOUDREAU: I think that a program review can be done in large measure by resources that we
already have within government. Let me say quite clearly that I don’t think it would be wise to have it done
only by resources within a particular department. I think we’ve got to get some fresh perspective. Whether or
not there will be any expense attached to that and to what extent, I think if there are expenses attached it will
be money well spent.



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Hants West.



FIN. - CIGARETTE SALES: RESERVATIONS - UNFAIR



MR. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister of Finance. I believe that the
Membertou Reserve in Sydney retails on the reservation approximately one pack of cigarettes for every many
woman and child on the reservation every 12 minutes. The band council purchases the cigarettes from the
jobber for $18 and retails them to the 9 or 10 stores that are in the reserve for something like $22 and they
in turn, those stores retail the cigarettes to the retail trade for about $25. Since the majority of those sales are
made to non-residents of the reserves and when you consider that the retailers out in the Sydney area have
to pay $25 plus taxes at the wholesale level, does the minister not concede that the corner store operators in
the City of Sydney are getting a very poor break by that government?



[3:15 p.m.]



HON. BERNARD BOUDREAU: Mr. Speaker, there are really two parts to that question. The first
thing the honourable member refers to is what is popularly known as the quota for the number of cigarettes
and he talks about the number of packages per day that would have to be consumed. I have to say at this point,
this government did not set that quota. That quota was set while the government of which the honourable
member was a part sat in office. So if the quota is not appropriate, I think he has to absorb some of the
responsibility of that himself.



However, there is a problem, we all know that, there is no secret about that. There is a problem with
sales and there has been, I might say, for some considerable period of time. I would like to say that I believe,
and the public will judge this, but I believe that we have made more progress in dealing with that problem
over the last 18 months than the previous government had done in 15 years.



MR. RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, when the minister says that that government has made some progress,
what they have done is chop $26 million off their revenues to bring the price of cigarettes down to equate with
what they are on the black market. Well, that is no solution and the minister knows darned well it is no
solution. The solution is to crack down on those who are buying cigarettes on reserves and taking them off
the reserves without paying any federal or provincial taxes. I am asking the minister, what is he prepared to
do to stop that kind of traffic?



MR. BOUDREAU: Mr. Speaker, the measure of reducing taxes that the honourable member refers
to, I think, was urged on us by members of his caucus in debate here in the House and urged on us by others.
We took that advice and acted in that manner and it has been very effective. Let’s not underestimate the
effectiveness of that. We are told by the federal Minister of National Revenue that the smuggled cigarettes,
not the quota cigarettes, coming across the border from the United States has virtually dried up. Now, that
is a major incursion on a problem which that government faced for many years without coming up with any
effective solution. I am not saying we have solved it all and I am not saying there isn’t a problem that remains
but I am saying we have made progress.



MR. RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, the problem is further exacerbated by the fact that for every $100
worth of sales that are made in cigarettes, there are about $25 of spin-off sales made on chips and pop and
candy bars, et cetera, which are also sold tax free on the reservations. What I am asking the minister is, does
he have some comprehensive plan to stop that kind of traffic or is he just going to sit back there and let it go
on forever?



MR. BOUDREAU: Mr. Speaker, as I have indicated to the House before and to that honourable
member, this government is now involved and has been in discussions on the issues of taxation with the
Micmac communities across Nova Scotia. We hope we can bring those discussions to a successful conclusion.
We have made some progress in other areas as I have said and the problem is a long-standing one, it won’t
be solved in 24 hours.



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings West.



FIN. - ESKASONI RESERVE: GAMING - AGREEMENT



MR. GEORGE MOODY: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Finance. It was reported
and I had asked the minister to confirm that there was an agreement negotiated with the Eskasoni native
community on the share of profit from the casino in Sydney and that in return there would be no casino on
the reserve, but they would be allowed to operate 200 VLTs provided by the government. Is that true?



HON. BERNARD BOUDREAU: There was a comprehensive agreement signed although, as the
honourable member knows, I am not the minister responsible for that area any longer. I do not mean to in any
way obstruct the honourable member from his answer so, I will respond to this extent. Yes, there was a
comprehensive negotiation involving gaming with all of the Micmac communities. In fact, there was an
agreement signed, while I was minister responsible, with the community of Eskasoni and that agreement
provided, within certain parameters, for the Eskasoni Band to set up their own gaming commission and
regulate gaming on the reserve, within certain parameters. Those parameters are well-known, Mr. Speaker.
We made a public announcement and released the details of the agreement.



MR. MOODY: Well, then, I will ask the Minister responsible for the Atlantic Lottery Corporation
to answer my further questions and I apologize to the Minister of Finance and finally get this straightened out.
As I understand it, there will be 200 VLTs permitted on the Eskasoni Reserve, for which the split will be 95
per cent kept by the natives, 5 per cent by the government. The licensed premises where we have VLTs, the
owners get 30 per cent, the government gets 70 per cent. Can the minister explain the difference between the
criteria of VLTs operating on the native reserves and those operating in licensed premises?



HON. ELEANOR NORRIE: Mr. Speaker, that agreement, a proposal was made, separate and apart
from other agreements with other VLT owners, for the native reserves. It encompasses a lot of gaming other
than VLTs and that was all part of it. It is a separate agreement made with the native bands across the
province. We have offered them some funding from the Sydney casino, as well as the VLTs.



MR. MOODY: Given the fact that they are going to be given the government VLTs and they are
going to keep 95 per cent of the profit and the government is going to get 5 per cent and the government is
investing all the capital, in the machines, I would ask the minister, the cost of the capital of those machines
and the cost of the computer and inspections, will that be covered by the 5 per cent that the natives are going
to turn over to the government? Or will the government actually lose money and subsidize the Eskasoni
community on 200 VLT machines in this province?



MRS. NORRIE: I do not have the exact number, but it is my understanding that the 5 per cent charge
is to cover the cost to the government to provide those machines.



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Pictou West.



LBR.: POWA - STATUS



MR. DONALD MCINNES: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Labour. As the minister
knows, Pictou Industries was closed in June 1994 and a lot of the workers there are older workers and their
unemployment has been running out. I had asked the former minister, on various occasions back in the last
session of the House, as to where we were with POWA, the Program for Older Worker Adjustment, for those
workers. Could the minister bring me and those workers up-to-date, as to where this program is?



HON. GUY BROWN: Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the honourable member for his question, because
both with the former minister and with myself, he has shown a great deal of interest and has contacted the
department on a number of occasions, with regard to this issue. As he knows, we in the Department of Labour,
and the Government of Nova Scotia, had quite a problem to get the lists from the union, with regard to the
pension. That has only come to us within the last - and I am only guessing - likely in the last two weeks. That
is being reviewed now and, hopefully, as negotiations continue with the federal government, when we have
the list completed with the union, who we are working with, we will be able to make some sort of positive
announcement for those people in the House here.



MR. MCINNES: Mr. Speaker, I appreciate what the minister is saying, but the former minister told
me that last fall and here it is (Interruption) Yes, he did. He said it was going to be coming on and they would
probably be able to get their payments by March and April. And what day is today? It is April and those
people are without any income. Their unemployment is over. I ask that the minister get on with it and get it
done.



MR. BROWN: Mr. Speaker, I can understand, especially the employees that are involved there. I
know they go to the honourable member and he has indicated their concern and his compassion, through the
information I have received. I received his first inquiry about two weeks ago. Since then we have been in
contact with the union, trying to finalize the lists. As I said, we have just received that and I appreciate his
concern. I can assure you we will be moving on with it, as we will with other programs, as soon as the
information is finalized. It has not been held up by our department at this stage.



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



EXCO - AGREEMENTS (CAN.-N.S.): OIC - REQUIREMENT



MR. JOHN HOLM: Mr. Speaker, I would like to go back to the Premier on the SHIP agreement. I
would simply like to ask the Premier, am I correct that in order to alter a federal-provincial agreement like
that, the SHIP agreement, is an Order in Council necessary?



THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I have answered this by saying that the signatures of two ministers,
one federal and one provincial, are required. As far as I know, that sufficeth.



MR. HOLM: Mr. Speaker, I am wondering if the minister or the Premier could explain or, I guess,
give a precedent for that kind of practice? It has been my understanding that when federal-provincial
agreements, which are entered into on behalf of governments, are signed and entered into, they are, in fact,
binding on the government and an Order in Council is required and that such order would then have to be
published in the Royal Gazette?



THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I am glad we were asked that question. I am going to hand it over to
the Minister of Transportation.



HON. RICHARD MANN: Mr. Speaker, I have with me today the Federal-Provincial Highway
Agreement signed on January 28, 1982, by then Transportation Minister Ron Giffin (Applause) and federal
minister Jean-Luc Pepin. It was amended in August of that same year. Subsequently it was amended on
several occasions by provincial minister Jack MacIsaac and federal minister Don Mazankowski. It was
amended in 1984 or 1986 by minister Guy LeBlanc and federal minister John Crosbie. Money has been
changed and taken from projects that were agreed to by the federal-provincial people. It was amended by the
signature of those two ministers.



I cast no aspersions on the projects that were changed because that was the authority that the two
ministers of the day had. Just for the sake of interest and for no other reason, in 1982, included in the federal-provincial agreement, was approximately $5 million for the Fleur-de-lis Trail, the St. Peters-River Tillard
area. I think in 1984, 1983 or late in 1982, under an amendment by Jack MacIsaac and Don Mazankowski,
that was actually increased to $5.66 million but in 1984 it disappeared and was put on three other projects
across the province.



Mr. Speaker, that is contained in these agreements and the amendments which I will table with the
signatures of those ministers. Again, I want to make sure that I cast no aspersions because they had the
authority to do that. That is the way it has been done and I checked with 32 year veterans in the Department
of Transportation. That is the way that projects have always been amended in these agreements.



Mr. Speaker, in the current agreement the Strategic Highway Improvement Program, Section 12.2,
I believe, indicates that amendments can be made with the consent of the two ministers. The only time the
consent of the Governor in Council is required is if, in fact, the funding arrangement is being changed, the
appropriations, the 50-50 becomes something else. I will table those agreements. (Applause)



MR. HOLM: I thank the minister for that and I also find that information very interesting and, quite
honestly, informative but not necessarily very surprising because I have never been a particular fan of the
practices of the former government either, Mr. Speaker. I guess it just goes to show that what the minister is
using for his defence is that we are doing exactly the same thing as the former government, the Tories did.
In other words, a Liberal is a Tory too, because it is one in the same thing, and that is the defence.



Now my question then, Mr. Speaker, is, is the minister saying that in effect the agreements signed
and released are virtually meaningless, in that the ministers can make their public statements and then, behind
closed doors, on the basis of two signatures, alter and change, amend those agreements to redirect, re-spend
that money - not re-spend it - redirect it to other projects for their own political reasons, without having to go
through a public process of an Order in Council and at least making those informations public?



[3:30 p.m.]



MR. MANN: Mr. Speaker, I would point out, first of all, that we have not had the luxury, as a
government, of negotiating a federal-provincial agreement on highways. The Strategic Highway Improvement
Program agreement, that we are operating under, was negotiated by the member for Kings North, by then
Premier, Donald Cameron, and the federal minister, Elmer McKay, on behalf of Mr. Jean Corbeil, the federal
minister. That is the agreement we are operating under.



We didn’t do this behind closed doors; I have the press release issued, a joint release between the
Honourable David C. Dingwall and myself, in February, which said the project is being funded through the
federal-provincial highways agreement, the Strategic Highway Improvement Program. We were not hiding
this; it was not behind closed doors. This, Mr. Speaker, is the provision that is in the agreement on how
amendments take place. This is what is in the agreement negotiated by the former administration; we followed
the agreement; we did not do anything outside of the provisions that are in that agreement.



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



AGRIC.: SUBSIDIES ELIMINATION - FUNDING TRANSITIONAL



MR. GEORGE ARCHIBALD: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Agriculture.
(Interruptions)



MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.



MR. ARCHIBALD: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. The farmers across the province have been extremely
hard hit as a result of the federal budget. The elimination of the feed freight assistance subsidy will hit pork
and poultry producers across this province especially hard. Feed prices are expected to increase between
$8,000 and $10,000 annually for hog producers and starting at $25,000 per farm for poultry producers. The
elimination of the dairy subsidy, combined with feed freight assistance subsidy cuts, will mean an added cost
to the average Nova Scotia dairy producer of about $35,000. In Cape Breton, the elimination of feed freight
assistance subsidy means an added cost of $22 per ton.



The federal minister has stated that transitional funding will be made available over the next 10
years. As the Minister of Agriculture, have you discussed this issue of transitional funding with your federal
counterpart?



HON. WAYNE GAUDET: Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the honourable member for his question.
I certainly agree that the feed freight assistance program is extremely critical to all livestock farmers in our
province, not just strictly to the hog and poultry industry, but to the dairy, beef and fur industry, as well.



As the federal minister had indicated several weeks ago, there is approximately $60 million available
for the transitional funding to help this industry. Presently, with the Nova Scotia Federation of Agriculture,
we have a committee in place, people involved in the livestock industry, to come forward. Members of my staff
are working with that group to supply them with information, with statistics, data and so forth, to more or less
make one presentation on behalf of what is the best way in terms of how to use these dollars in Nova Scotia
and as soon as the decision is clear, I certainly will provide that information to the honourable member, Mr.
Speaker.



MR. ARCHIBALD: Mr. Speaker, my first supplementary for the Minister of Agriculture. The Nova
Scotia fruit growers are extremely upset with the fact that research for their industry will be moved from
Kentville to British Columbia. I am amazed that such a decision could be undertaken and I want to know what
discussions the officials within your department, and what discussions you have had with the federal
government prior to this announcement?



MR. GAUDET: Research is vital and critical to the agricultural industry of Nova Scotia. I was
talking with the honourable member earlier this week, and one area that we certainly have to make the federal
government aware of is that the dollars that are available in terms of research have to include not just one part
of the country but have to be available for all parts and that certainly includes the fruit growers of the
Annapolis Valley. These concerns have been brought forward to the attention of the federal minister and we
will continue to work with the federal government in bringing forth these concerns.



MR. ARCHIBALD: My final question for the Minister of Agriculture is, you were part of a
contingent of ministers who travelled to Ottawa in mid-February to talk about federal-provincial agreements.
I would like to know and the farmers of Nova Scotia want to know, what is the status of a new federal-provincial agreement on agriculture?



MR. GAUDET: The federal co-op agreement for, not just the agricultural but for all resource sectors
of the province, is very critical. Presently, we are in our last year of our federal clean-up year. There are
ongoing talks with the federal government with other departments as well. We certainly anticipate to have
some news especially for the agricultural industry of this province, hopefully, in the weeks ahead.



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Opposition.






TRANSPORT. SHIP AGREEMENT: AMENDMENT - REVEAL



MR. TERENCE DONAHOE: My question is to the Minister of Transportation and Communications.
A moment ago he talked about the federal-provincial agreements and amendments and being amended by
signatures of ministers and so on and we heard earlier from the Premier that they were discussed at Cabinet.
I wonder if the Minister of Transportation will tell us whether or not at the time that he and Mr. Dingwall
and Mr. Young made the amendment to the SHIP agreement, moving the $26 million to the Fleur-de-lis Trail,
if the Minister of Transportation will tell us whether or not that was a matter which he raised with his Cabinet
colleagues and reported to the provincial Cabinet?



HON. RICHARD MANN: I don’t believe, in a formal way, I would have done that because there
would not be a requirement to a have an OIC to that effect. Going back 14 months or 15 months to a Cabinet
meeting, I don’t know whether I did or didn’t, I cannot honestly answer that.



MR. DONAHOE: I am really astounded; I find it amazing that an issue of that magnitude affecting
as it does both the Fleur-de-lis Trial and the Highway No. 104 By-pass and so on, that this minister wouldn’t
be immediately responding to that question that he made a point of making sure that the Premier and every
Cabinet Minister knew of. May I ask him specifically . . .



AN HON. MEMBER: They all read his press release.



MR. DONAHOE: They all read his press release. Well that is a wonderful way for the Cabinet
colleagues to learn about what is going on in the government in the matter of such consequence and it sounds
typical of the way this government runs. Can the Minister of Transportation tell me whether or not he has any
particular or specific recollection of having advised the current honourable Minister of Housing and Consumer
Affairs of the fact that the agreement in question is being amended?



MR. MANN: I cannot refer or recall specifically who I might have told, who I didn’t tell. I would
assume that most of my colleagues knew I was going to Sydney with the honourable Mr. Dingwall to make
an announcement. I really cannot recall 14 months or 15 months ago as to whom I spoke in the days
proceeding this but I certainly wasn’t keeping it a secret if that is what he is referring to.



MR. DONAHOE: My final supplementary is to the Minister of Housing and Consumer Affairs. I
wonder if the she could tell us when it was that the Minister of Transportation informed her of the change
because she has said publicly that when the money was changed from the new Highway No. 104 to the Fleur-de-lis Trail, I quote her, I don’t know that I had a complete understanding of that, Mrs. Norrie said, referring
to the transfer of money out of the Highway No. 104 agreement to the Fleur-de-lis Trail account. Could the
minister tell me when she was informed by the Minister of Transportation of this change?



HON. ELEANOR NORRIE: Mr. Speaker, I believe this is a transportation question and I don’t think
it is in order that I answer it and I refer it to the Minister of Transportation.



SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, Oh!






MR. MANN: Mr. Speaker, I have no trouble answering this. If a discussion took place at Cabinet
between my honourable colleague, the Minister of Housing and Consumer Affairs, and myself, I would
suggest that that would be very confidential under the way the Cabinet operates. (Interruption) I am talking
about Cabinet meetings. I am sure if we asked you who approved the purchase of the toilet seats in Cabinet
that you would not give us the names, my friend. Those types of discussion within the four walls of Cabinet
and Cabinet meetings will remain confidential.



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Fairview.



FIN. - SENIORS: TAXES - HIDDEN



MS. ALEXA MCDONOUGH: Mr. Speaker, I would like to direct my question to the Minister of
Finance. When the previous Tory Finance Minister introduced a Pharmacare co-pay and wiped out the seniors’
Special Assistance Program in 1992, the then Liberal Finance Critic, Mr. Bernard Boudreau, called this a
hidden tax on seniors. In fact I will quote directly, he called it a sneaky tax, a “. . . back door attack on our
social services structure . . .” so that they “. . . can get up in this House and brag, there are no new taxes in
my budget. Shame, Mr. Speaker, that is a deception and that will not fly. The people of Nova Scotia are too
smart for that.”.



Would this same Liberal member, now himself Finance critter (Laughter) Minister, describe the
imposition - that too, Mr. Speaker - of Pharmacare premiums, increased co-pay penalties, the elimination of
the Senior Citizens Housing Program, elimination of the property tax rebate and elimination of the Rental
Assistance Program introduced in yesterday’s budget, would he describe them as sneaky, hidden taxes on
seniors?



HON. BERNARD BOUDREAU: Mr. Speaker, I thank the honourable member for her question and
her reference. We are going to be debating this a little later in the afternoon, I think there are a number of
ways to deal with the increasing cost pressures on Pharmacare. A number of governments across the country
have chosen different ways. The former government chose to increase the co-pay and that was one of the
choices we looked at too, quite frankly. Could we increase the co-pay and leave all of the other elements of
the program the same, just maybe double the co-pay? But we rejected that for some of the reasons that the
honourable member mentions. In fact, the co-pay in this province under our new program is reduced.



MS. MCDONOUGH: Mr. Speaker, I think the minister has shown that what was then seen by him
as a tax is no longer described as a tax because he is hoping that people will not recognize that it is in fact the
very same thing. My question to the honourable minister goes to the Senior Citizens Housing Program that
has been wiped out and perhaps he wants to refer it to the Minister of Housing and Consumer Affairs.



That is a program, relatively modest, cost-effective. One would have thought a government that says
they are supportive of creating jobs in the construction industry as well as maximizing the independence of
seniors would understand the importance of maintaining such a program. How did the government arrive at
the decision that jobs for construction workers and the independence of seniors was of such low priority that
it would totally eliminate the Senior Citizens Housing Program?






MR. BOUDREAU: Mr. Speaker, just discussing it as a budget measure, although it does lie in
another minister’s responsibility, I would like to point out to the honourable member and she no doubt knows
already, that this program is not eliminated, it is continuing on and not one single senior in Nova Scotia
presently receiving that assistance will have that assistance taken from them. They will continue to receive
that assistance for as long as they qualify. (Applause)



[3:45 p.m.]



MS. MCDONOUGH: Well, Mr. Speaker, this Minister of Finance must have a different set of Budget
Books than do we, and I doubt that is the case. I believe when the minister talks proudly about maintaining
the housing component for seniors, he is talking about the fact that it is only seniors who will yet reach the
age of 65 who are not going to get the property tax or the rental subsidy.



My question pertains to the seniors special housing program; $3.8 million was budgeted in last year’s
budget. There is not one red cent budgeted in this year’s budget for that program, the purpose of which is
stated as helping seniors maintain their independence in their own homes, helping to renovate and adapt
housing to ensure their independence. Is the minister now telling us there is a mistake in the budget
documentation and, in fact, the seniors special housing program is to be maintained?



MR. BOUDREAU: Well, Mr. Speaker, again the honourable member is referring to specific line
items in the budget which refer to another department. I would suggest, as I have earlier in this debate, that
on Tuesday we are commencing 40 hours of very detailed budget estimate consideration and that she direct
those inquiries to the appropriate minister.



MR. SPEAKER: We have one minute remaining, the honourable Leader of the Opposition.



TRANSPORT. - HIGHWAY NO. 104:

 

FUNDS DIVERSION - CABINET CONSIDERATION



MR. TERENCE DONAHOE: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Premier. Just a moment ago you
will recall received an indication - more than an indication, an answer from the Minister of Transportation
and Communications - that he does not think that the transfer of funds from the SHIP agreement to the Fleur-de-lis Trail was something that he would have taken to Cabinet or did take to Cabinet - he might have had
casual conversations. I want to ask the Premier how that can be so, in light of the Premier’s answer to the
Leader of the NDP yesterday, on Page 426 of Hansard, where the Premier said; “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.”. That is what you said yesterday.



I wonder if the Premier could reconcile that with the Minister of Transportation and Communications
indicating that he didn’t take the matter to Cabinet? Which version is correct?



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Premier.



The time allotted for the Oral Question Period has expired.



SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh.



THE PREMIER: Tough, Mr. Speaker, I guess.



MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. On a point of order, the honourable Government House Leader.



HON. RICHARD MANN: Toward the end of Question Period, Mr. Speaker, I responded to the
Leader of the Opposition by saying that I did not take this to Cabinet in the way of a formal document. I did
not say I did not discuss it at Cabinet, I said I did not take a formal document because none was required. A
check of Hansard tomorrow will clearly indicate that that is what I said. I will check it and send it to you, my
friend.



OPPOSITION MEMBERS’ BUSINESS



MOTIONS OTHER THAN GOVERNMENT MOTIONS



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable House Leader for the New Democratic Party.



MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, I would ask you to call Resolution No. 89 for debate.



Res. No. 89, re Transport. - Min.: Highway No. 104 Funds Diversion - Resign - notice given Apr.
10/95 - (Mr. J. Holm)



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



MR. JOHN HOLM: This is a resolution that I introduced on Monday evening. It is not one that I did
lightly, Mr. Speaker. First off, last week I tried to get the Minister of Transportation and Communications
to apologize for some of the actions he had taken. That certainly was not forthcoming, so I introduced the
resolution that I did on Monday evening. I will read that briefly because I think it is a very serious proposition
that I am putting forward, one that I hope the Premier would stay and take part in the debate of.



“Whereas the Minister of Transportation and Communications has shown absolutely no shame for
his role in misappropriating $26 million that was to be spent to build the Highway No. 104 by-pass of death
valley, where at least 40 people have died in the past number of years; and



Whereas the Premier has supported the minister’s action and boasted in his Address in Reply to the
Speech from the Throne about his government’s `. . . new and innovative way of building and financing
highways . . .’; and



Whereas the Premier of Nova Scotia has repeatedly promised to end this type of blatant, pork-barrel
politics, to ensure money was best spent to correct safety concerns, not partisan political priorities;



Therefore be it resolved that this House calls for the Minister of Transportation and Communications
to tender his resignation or, failing this, for the Premier to demand his resignation because of the minister’s
shameless diversion of public funds away from the death valley by-pass for his own and his federal colleague’s
political advantage.”



Now, Mr. Speaker, I do not normally come out so strongly in a resolution. I do not think that you
should be automatically, every time you turn around, be calling for a minister’s resignation. Even though,
many times, one believes that they are warranted, you have got to also recognize that you do not turn around
and demand a resignation, each and every time that you turn around, because certainly then it would just
become a knee-jerk reaction. You reserve doing that until the matter is so severe, so serious, that really there
is no other choice.



I must admit, however, Mr. Speaker, and when I have been listening to the debates and the questions,
and particularly the answers coming from the Premier on this matter, one might suggest that the Premier
might want to also consider, possibly, his resignation, as a result of his part in what was done with those
monies.



Now, we have had promises - promise after promise after promise - from this government, when they
were seeking office, when they were trying to move from this side to that side and the Premier, from afar,
promising that the old-style ways, the old patronage practices of the former government, were going to come
to an end. That priorities, based on sound, reasonable grounds, were going to be developed, so that priorities
for the projects that would be going ahead would be clear and transparent. Paving Patronage Dispute Erupts,
Mr. Speaker, that was a heading where the current government was being very critical of the former
government and saying how 75 per cent of the spending used to be done in Tory ridings, the Premier said -
now Premier, then Leader of the Opposition - and saying that that kind of practice has got to come to an end.
He said, no more pot-hole politics, the Premier did, and of course, they said that they were going to be basing
their spending on the basis of need.



Mr. Speaker, I, for one, totally support the principles of what the Premier was saying. Quite honestly,
I wanted to believe that our current Premier, when he was in Opposition, would carry out and follow through
on the high principles that he espoused when he was trying to gain the chair that he now occupies. Thousands
of Nova Scotians were dissatisfied and upset with the practices of the former government and they, too, saw
some hope that we were going to be seeing changes in the way in which things were administered in the
Province of Nova Scotia.



What has been the defence? What has this government’s defence been, today, yesterday and every
day since this matter was made public, as a result of the work of the Auditor General? You heard it this
afternoon, Mr. Speaker, as we all did, and that is, that the Tories did it, so we can do it, too. In essence, that
is what it said. It says, the Tories did things this way, they diverted funds, so we are able to do it, in exactly
the same way. The Auditor General correctly points out, and I must suggest, very courageously, when we take
a look at what kind of attack he gets from this government and from the Minister of Transportation and
Communications for doing his work. But he points out that, “The Department . . .” - that is, the Department
of Transportation and Communications - “. . . did not attach priorities to either the Strategic Objectives
specified in the 1994 Government By Design, or to Core Functions and Strategic Objectives . . .”. They
haven’t done their work; they haven’t developed the priorities and criteria they said they were going to be
developing within six months of assuming office.



Mr. Speaker, this isn’t something that I just raised today or in the last couple of days for the first time.
In fact, in the first session of this House and every time this House has sat since that time, I have asked, where
are those priorities? Where are, as the government said, the secondary road maintenance plans? Where are
the criteria against which projects are to be measured? What we get back in the way of an answer is, well, we
leave that up to our regional managers. They are better informed; they know better than us what the priorities
will be. Well, it is quite clear from the answers that we have seen today and yesterday that those decisions are
not being made by the regional managers. Those decisions, in this case, are being made by two, supposedly,
according to the Premier who takes no responsibility for this. Those decisions are being made, as they always
have been, at the very top, at the Cabinet Table or, possibly even worse, at the minister’s table.



Mr. Speaker, I have had the pleasure, or the misfortune, of being a member of the Opposition during
both the Liberals now and the Conservative Regime of the past. I remember what it was like trying to fight
to get any work done in an Opposition member’s riding from the former Conservative Government. But that
was all to change.



When one takes a look at the Premier’s press statement on Highway No. 104. Remember, Mr.
Speaker, what we are talking about is the clear, behind closed doors, secret decision, because nowhere at any
time did this government announce that it was taking money away from a particular project to put it into
another one, in the minister’s riding and that of his federal colleague. The federal-provincial agreement isn’t
just that the two governments will decide where they want to spend money on roads in Nova Scotia. It is one
dealing with the Trans Canada Highway, the major highway in the Province of Nova Scotia. We are talking
about that section of highway which is known and noted, and which I am sure even members of this House -
I know I do when I drive through that area - take extreme caution because of the numbers of fatalities and
accidents and serious injuries and so on that occur. But the redirecting of money from that section to the
minister’s area.



Back in 1993, not too long after this government took power, the Premier put out a press release
dealing with that section of road because there is a group on the North Shore with very good concerns, Mr.
Speaker, very much concerned about the route it is taking and how it is going to harm their area by by-passing
them. The Premier at that time and the Minister of Transportation said that you cannot delay the project. I
think it is important that we remember some of the things they said at that time. He said, to change the
alignment at this stage would mean a construction delay of at least three years to allow a new environmental
assessment to take place and for surveys and design work to be completed. Well, we are well on our way to
that three year delay already.



Said the Premier, that the delay would also extract a needless toll in lives lost and injuries on the
existing highway through the so-called death valley. That was the Premier’s argument, Mr. Speaker, as to why
that project had to proceed immediately. Also, and I think this is very interesting in light of what we heard
this afternoon, we hear as well in that press release that the federal-provincial agreement under which the
highway project is being funded to change the project at this stage would have meant reopening the
negotiations process with the federal government and possibly further delays.



[4:00 p.m.]



Back in 1993, Mr. Speaker, we heard that you cannot delay it, you cannot divert any money because
that would mean we would have to reopen and re-negotiate the federal-provincial government agreement.
Today we learn that what, in fact, all that was needed was for two ministers to sit down and with the stroke
of a pen, direct that money away from that project and put it into the minister’s own riding. The minister’s
only defence, the government’s only defence, has been that this was done, same kind of practice by the Tories
before.



The Premier himself knew well over a year ago that this money was being directed because the notes
in his own briefing book showed it - the briefing book that he has to debate his estimates when they are called
on the floor of this House for the debate during the budgetary process. So the Premier knew and the Minister
of Transportation knew and they made the decision to divert that funding away before they took any kind of
concrete step to put any other alternative in place. As a result of their delays, as a result of their antics, the
construction of that highway has and is going to be delayed.



The government says, well we cannot start it if we don’t have enough money to finish it. You cannot
build a highway in one stage, you cannot start it and complete it in one year, it takes a long time to build a
bridge and an overpass which are needed. You have to, not only design them, but you also have to construct
them, you have to wait for time for the concrete and so on to cure and every delay means that that time is
going to be added on at the end. The Premier said 1993, no delay because that would extract an unacceptable
toll in lost lives and injuries. Yet, and based on what we hear today, it wasn’t even supposedly a Cabinet
decision but one person of this government made that decision. They might have had some discussions
informally, but not even a Cabinet discussion.



The Minister of Housing and Consumer Affairs obviously, didn’t even know about it. The Premier
sometimes, at least the way he answers his questions, would like us to believe that he knows nothing or knew
nothing about it as well. If that is the case, surely the blame and the responsibility the Premier is saying for
diverting that money away from the Highway No. 104 death valley by-pass rest clearly at the Minister of
Transportation and therefore the Minister of Transportation should resign.



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



HON. RICHARD MANN: It is incredible to sit and listen to the incredible lack of knowledge of the
process. I understand the political shots and I accept the political shots. If people want to disagree with which
projects are funded in this province, that has gone on ever since highways have been built and it will go on
as long as highways will be built in this province and as long as there is not enough money to do every project
at once.



I just want to start by referring to the delays he, opposite, is referring to. The delays aren’t in
constructing one of the 35 structures that are necessary in this. The delay is trying to put all that money on
in one year. I don’t know how, when you sign an agreement that is shared 50/50 over five years with a wrap-up, six years, how you get it all done at once. That member has never stood in this place in this House and
told us to stop Highway No. 101 through his area, to put the funds on Highway No. 104, Masstown and
Thomson Station.



This whole issue became somewhat of a rhubarb, I guess, when the Auditor General spoke out. I
guess I am pleased that I have an opportunity to speak on the matter which I think entwines and intertwines
several important issues. Mr. Speaker, what I am hoping and what I am going to address here this afternoon
is that this amending agreement, this amendment to this agreement is not new. This is the practice that has
been used to amend federal-provincial agreements in this province as long as there has been federal-provincial
agreements in this province.



Whether that is right or wrong, I do not know. The member is taking great exception that is the way
it is. Well, I would say to him, I did not negotiate it and if whoever negotiated it thought that was wrong, that
was the time to do it when the agreement was drawn up and in future agreements, if that is the way to go so
that they can never be amended then that is what should happen then. I did not negotiate the SHIP agreement
that we are currently operating under and I did not put the provisions in there that allowed it to be amended
in this way. That is not something that this government did, that was the previous government that did that.



I also want to indicate, as I have earlier today in Question Period, that the day the press release went
out it was indicated where the money for this section of the highway was coming from, from the Fleur-de-lis
Trail and that was not hidden in any way, shape or form. Five or six or seven weeks ago I did an interview
with a Truro newspaper and we talked about the fund and where it came from and why it was not jeopardizing
the completion of Highway No. 104 and that is what is important here. The importance is the day that
Highway No. 104 can be open to traffic because up until the day it is completed in its entirety, it is of no use
to any motorist. We would have 44 kilometres of unusable highway until the day it is completed and opened
up.



I will try to demonstrate why it has not jeopardized Highway No. 104 and I finally want to point out
who made the decision not to include Highway No. 104 Masstown and Thomson Station in the SHIP
agreement for completion because that, again, is not the doing of this government. We have people stand in
this House and use fatalities, the number of fatal accidents that happened from 1986 to 1992 as a method of
attracting attention to this issue. Well, that is fine if that is what they want to do. They use those number of
fatalities from 1986 to 1992. Then those same people on April 1, 1993 have an opportunity to put the funding
in place to complete the section of road they are talking of and they do not do it.



That is somewhat confusing, but they had choices and they made those choices. They made those
choices within the authorities they had as ministers of the day and while we may disagree with those choices,
we will not question the right to make those decisions. In fact, on April 1, 1993 had the funding for Highway
No. 101 Beaverbank to Mount Uniacke not been included in the agreement, if Highway No. 125 North Sydney
to Sydney had not been included in the agreement and the money had, in fact, for those two projects been put
on the Highway No. 104 Masstown to Thomson Station, the money would have been there to complete a twin
highway by 1998 from Amherst to New Glasgow. That decision was made by the government of the day not
to do that. They chose instead to put some funding on Highway No. 101 and to put some funding on Highway
No. 125.



Again, I cast no aspersions. While we may disagree with the routes they took, they had the authority
to do that and they signed the agreement and that is the agreement that is in place today. I think there is in
excess of $50 million in that fund ear-marked for the section of highway between Salt Springs and New
Glasgow to complete the twinning there. Obviously, if we wanted to move forward and do that this year all
the other work that is going on would stop because we do not have the money in this province to dedicate that
much funding in one year to all of these projects at the same time. Anything that goes on in that regard, that
is why it was a five year or six year agreement because the governments did not have the money to do it all
in one year. That is why it extended until 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997 with a mop up in 1998 so that the
opportunity would be there to spend the money.



This could not all be done at once and that is what members, whether knowingly or unknowingly,
are trying to convince people of, that this money could have been spent, that this highway could have been
built without jeopardizing all the other projects that have gone forward. That couldn’t be done, it was not
possible to be done.



In 1982, Ron Giffin, provincial Minister of Transportation, and Jean-Luc Pepin included $4.5 million
in a highway improvement agreement for the Fleur-de-lis Trail. That agreement also included $7.8 million
for Highway No. 102 and Highway No. 104. They included on Highway No. 101, $26.5 million and $5.9
million for Highway No. 103. That agreement was amended several times. For example, in 1984, Jack
MacIsaac, then the Minister of Transportation, along with federal Minister, Don Mazankowski at that time,
changed the formula and the funding for the Fleur-de-lis Trail at that time actually increased to $5.66 million.
Highway No. 102 increased from $7.8 million to $8.1 million. Annapolis and Clare decreased to $23.5 million
and Highway No. 103 received an additional commitment for $1 million under the agreement.



The following year the entire $5.66 million on the Fleur-de-lis Trail disappeared, it was gone. Where
did it go? Well, it went to Annapolis, it went to Clare, it went to Highway No. 102 in Truro, it went to
Highway No. 103 and an additional project in Pubnico and in Argyle. They were added to the list. So, to say
that this is unprecedented or hasn’t happened is really not a fair or an accurate statement. These agreements
have been amended many times in the past.



In 1986, now the original agreement said no projects - and this is important, the members would
want to hear this - the agreement said no projects could be added after March 31, 1985. So what did they do
in 1985? They started to build the Liverpool By-pass. In 1986, they went back and moved an amendment to
the 1985 agreement that said you couldn’t do that and passed a notwithstanding clause to allow them to do
that. That is the type of amendment that has taken place in these agreements. I have tabled all of those
agreements and amendments today that will demonstrate and support what I have been saying here.



We looked at this project very seriously and I think it is fair to say that every member of the House
of Assembly and everybody in this province has a great deal of concern about Highway No. 104, about all
sections of Highway No. 104, about the Mount Thom area, about the Folly Mountain and Wentworth Valley
area. We said, it is not acceptable to us to allow this project to go, $55 million was in there originally, it might
cover half the cost, but it would cover it over a five year period up until 1998. So the best we could have done
under the SHIP agreement negotiated by MacKay, Cameron and Archibald, the best we could have done was
to complete half the highway by 1998.



Now, if one could assume that there might have been another federal-provincial agreement come
along under the same terms with the same limits on spending, we may have seen the completion of that road
in 2002, 2003 and we said, that is not acceptable to us. So, we have looked at initiatives and we have been
very, very serious about this, that might possibly see the completion of Highway No. 104 from Amherst
through the Wentworth Valley, including the Masstown-Thomson Station area, much sooner and much
quicker than that time period originally set out.



Otherwise, in order to see it completed, we would have had to stop all other projects, we would have
had to stop the Highway No. 101 project and not complete the twinning, we would have had to stop the
twinning over Mount Thom and abandon the section from Salt Springs to Alma; we probably would have had
to stop the Burnside Expressway that we are trying to develop for Sackville, Bedford and the Burnside
Industrial Park for economic development. Probably all those items would have had to have been stopped and
put on hold for any number of years. Rather than move in that direction, we are trying to be innovative and
creative and work with the private sector to see this section of highway completed. We will continue to do
that, Mr. Speaker.



[4:15 p.m.]



We went out to the private sector for expressions of interest and the private sector is clearly interested
in working with government to construct a section of highway, if all the details can be worked out and the
project can go. I assure you that anyone with an open mind, anyone who wants to be honest about this and
look at the availability of funding in the highway agreements and the ability of the province and the federal
government to dedicate and to apply that money to the projects, will clearly see that the timetable we would
bring forth would certainly be an accelerated one.



Mr. Speaker, as I have said so often and as I will continue to say, I will accept all the criticism in the
world for deciding on projects, just as ministers before me have had to accept criticism when one route was
taken over another route. But the suggestion that the authority is not there for the federal minister and the
provincial Minister of Transportation to amend an agreement on roads is bunk. That authority is clearly set
out in the agreement and it is by that authority that this was done, just as it has been done in the past.



I want to repeat, Mr. Speaker, because remember what they say about trying to teach, you keep it
simple and you say it often - the choice was there on April 1, 1993, when it was time to take pen to paper and
sign the Strategic Highway Improvement Program agreement. That was the time to dedicate the funding to
roads and to identify what projects were going to be completed.



Mr. Speaker, I point out to you that Highway No. 101 was included, Highway No. 125 was included,
but the money was not put there for Highway No. 104, between Masstown and Thomson Station, only one-half
of the $113 million was put in place for that.



I heard a former Minister of Transportation today trying to convince someone that they were going
to do it by using the dedicated fuel tax that they had introduced in the budget of 1989 and which they turned
around, a year or two years later, and removed as a dedicated tax for highways. They did that, they put it in
general revenues. I can remember being on my feet, in Opposition, saying that this money is not going to be
used for highway construction, this money is going to be put in the consolidated fund and it is going to be used
in other departments, for other purposes.



That is what happened, Mr. Speaker. You only have to look - you don’t have to be fooled or listen
to me or anyone else - look at the capital spending of the Department of Transportation since 1989, and you
will see when the dedicated funds for fuel were put in the Department of Transportation and you will see when
it came out. You will see the decline in capital spending, when the $34 million or $36 million disappeared.
If you don’t believe me, go and talk to the people in Transportation, go and talk to the Nova Scotian road
builders. They were not fooled, they noticed it every step of the way. Thank you for the time, Mr. Speaker.
(Applause)



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings North.



MR. GEORGE ARCHIBALD: Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the opportunity to talk on this very
worthwhile resolution this afternoon that calls for the resignation of the Minister of Transportation. I don’t
need to read all the things that are in the resolution; it has been read before and it has been suggested before
by many people, not just by members of this Assembly, but by people who write editorials for newspapers. And
why? The Minister of Transportation would have us believe that he didn’t do anything wrong, everybody did
it. Well, everybody did not get singled out by the Auditor General. Everybody has not been singled out by the
press. People have not been calling me on the phone, worried; don’t let them off the hook, they are telling me,
because the road is too important.



I was part of the negotiations in Ottawa. I was part of the negotiations that went to Ottawa
representing this province. We had a Premier who said, infrastructure is going to make a difference in this
province and we are going to build four-lane highways for safety. He sent me to Ottawa and I went to Ottawa.
The agreement that was offered by the federal government was some $50 million to Nova Scotia.



MR. JOHN LEEFE: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. We, on this side of the House, sat quietly and
listened to the Minister of Transportation and Communications during the entire period of his discourse, for
15 minutes, and did not make catcalls, did not try to bait the minister. I would ask his caucus and him, to
accord the same kind of courtesy to this side of the House that we accorded to them.



MR. ARCHIBALD: We were offered $50 million by the federal government. At the same time, $200
million was offered to the Province of New Brunswick. We said no and I negotiated and I negotiated
vigorously and we got $100 million. Now, if that does not suit the Minister of Transportation and
Communications then show us how smart he is and let’s see him go to Ottawa and get five cents. Perhaps, the
Minister of Natural Resources and the Minister of Agriculture could help him. That money was negotiated,
$100 million. The federal minister who I negotiated the money with, indicated to me that there is a pot of
money for Nova Scotia for development. There is $100 million going to Micronav. If you need some of that,
we can short that out and put that into highways. There is over $200 million for the Halifax Harbour clean-up.
If you want some of that, we will put . . .



I said, look. The highways are important. We need good roads, but we also need Micronav and we
need the clean-up. But now, Micronav has disappeared, the harbour has disappeared, what an opportune time.
There is $300 million federal dollars that belong in Nova Scotia. Why doesn’t the minister go to Ottawa and
continue to negotiate the Fleur-de-lis Trail agreement the way we did? Nova Scotia could have had more if
we would have agreed to take from Micronav and we did not.



The Fleur-de-lis Trail should be negotiated under a federal-provincial agreement. The federal
government said, we have $100 million for transportation for the 100-Series Highways; $75 million we will
contribute to the Highway No. 104, $25 million will be going between the Highway No. 101 and the highway
going towards Cape Breton. They said you can spend $45 million in 1993. You can spend $35 million in
1994, $15 million in 1995 and $5 million in 1996. This was for 100-Series Highways.



There was no suggestion that it would be moved to anything other than 100-Series Highways and
that is where the problem comes in, I believe, with the Auditor General and rightly so. He singled this
minister out, the only minister of this government that was singled out by the Auditor General and he did not
single this minister out because he was a bureaucrat wanting to attack Cape Breton. He singled him out
because he should have. That is his job. He is the independent servant of this House. He is not some
bureaucrat to dismiss. He is independent.



If you add the $35 million a year that is collected in gasoline tax to the amount of money that was
sent down from Ottawa, the minister would have us believe in this House that the only money we can spend
building roads in the province, is cost-shared federal dollars. All money spent on roads is not federal cost-shared dollars and in 1993, the current Minister of Finance added another $22 million. There is $57 million
of taxation coming out of the gasoline. The biggest payers in that are the long-haul truckers that are using our
highways. We made a commitment to those truckers that we would be spending money on 100-Series
Highways.



Staff within the planning department of the Department of Transportation and Communications said
they could have that road from Amherst to New Glasgow with four lanes in two building seasons, in 1993 and
1994. I said, I do not think it can be done. The staff said, yes, it can be done and it can be done with the
financing that we have within the budgeted allotment for the Department of Transportation and
Communications.



The minister would indicate, he just put in a little amendment. If this is a little amendment, I would
like to know what a big amendment is. When you haul money from a 100-Series Highway project and put it
on any other project, that is not an amendment, that is a total change to the agreement that was negotiated
in good faith between Nova Scotia Government officials and Ottawa.



The minister seems to think that toll roads are the way to go. Well, it will be a first for Canada. This
minister will go down in history as the first. Now, all the fuss he has been making about the tolls that used
to be on the causeway, that were costing $600,000 a year to bring in $200,000 a year, he wants to put them
on the new highway. Well, I am telling you, Mr. Speaker, and I am telling the Premier and members of his
caucus, if this government substitutes tolls for the gas tax and uses the gasoline tax for 100-Series Highway
construction, then they better reduce the tax. That is the only fair thing you can do.



We asked the minister today, how many cars use that road? His figure was, maybe 9,000 or 10,000
a day. Well, in 1993, with an accurate traffic count, there were 6,600 vehicles a day using the road. With a
cost of $110 million and with the toll roads put in place, the tolls would work out anywhere from $5.00 to
$7.00, just to cover the cost, depending how many vehicles are on it, whether there are 9,000 or 6,000 a day.
I am not sure of his numbers, because so often the numbers that we hear from that minister are just vague
guesses anyway.



The way you figure it out, if the road costs $110 million to build, the annual cost for interest will be
about $11 million, $5 million to repay the loan over 20 years, about $1 million to pay the people who are
working the toll booths. So, you have $17 million in costs per year. You divide $17 million by 365, it comes
out to $47,000 a day, seven days a week, that road is going to cost in tolls. The toll per car, per trip, $47,000
divided by 6,000 is $7.00. If there are 9,000 or 10,000 cars, as he indicated, it may be $5.00.



But you know, when you think that Nova Scotians are now paying $35 million for 100-Series
Highway construction and then on top of that, you tell them that you are going to start taking another $17
million tax a year out of their hip pockets, is that fair? Is that what this government thinks is fair? Is that what
they were elected for? They were elected to be an open Party, not a Party shrouded by innuendo and
misleading information. It is not fair. You were not elected to put tolls in Nova Scotia. If you want to have
tolls, go to the polls. See what the people in Cumberland County, see what the truckers think. They agreed
to pay the tax on fuel for $35 million a year, to build 100-Series Highways. If you change that, then you had
better give the money back.






The United States shows that the annual cost per toll booth is about $300,000. That is the cost of
having it. That is not the profit. We cannot afford tolls. There are newer systems, of course, available, that
do not use people in the toll booths. They are electronic. You drive along in your car and your fee can be
automatically deducted from your automatic banking machine. You know, there are technologies you can use,
but they are still tolls. And it is not fair. This is not what you told us when you ran for election.



Mr. Speaker, I had a phone call the other day, from a very respectable farmer in the Annapolis
Valley. He told me, do not let them get away with it. He said, my son goes to Mount Allison University. Every
weekend when he comes home, I worry about him travelling that highway the whole weekend. All Nova
Scotians do. We had a commitment to the people of Nova Scotia, we said we would build the road in two years
time. It would have been opened in the fall of 1994.



[4:30 p.m.]



What this government has done with the highway agreement between Nova Scotia and the federal
government is anybody’s guess. They certainly have not been spending the money on the highways. They have
tried to change the route. They studied it for a few days after the election and then they found, by golly, that
is the best route because it was chosen not by a politician like me but it was chosen by an independent
consulting group, to find the best route.



We cut the path through the woods eight feet wide, so that the survey work and the planning could
be done. We were doing road work in the middle of the winter because we had to hurry up on the four lane
highway construction because we are concerned about the safety of Nova Scotia drivers, we are concerned
about the future of this province. The only thing this government has done with construction on Highway No.
104 is do everything in their power to hold it up and slow it down so that when the next election comes
around, the minister can go somewhere and have his picture taken opening a four lane highway.



Safety of the public in Nova Scotia is more important than that. For any minister to say, it was just
a little amendment, if $26 million is just a little amendment, what in the name of all that is good and holy,
Mr. Speaker, would a big amendment be? Would it be taking the whole darn works? I suppose a big
amendment was last year when the debt of this province went up $1.7 billion, because of buying the Japanese
yen, that might have been a big amendment. So, $1.7 billion is big bucks to this government but $26 million
isn’t big bucks.



For the minister to not discuss with the members of his own caucus, I mean if there were
Conservatives from Colchester County and Cumberland County, well, maybe I could see keeping a secret from
them, but from his own caucus colleagues he didn’t have the decency to explain to them that this SHIP
agreement that was in the press release was not new money, it was money negotiated by the former
government to build a four lane highway.



He stood reading this thing. How could anybody not know, he said, it was in the press release. Hey,
there was nobody who knew. The Auditor General had to go digging to find. I know for a fact that his caucus
colleagues did not know.



We saw the Minister of Housing and Consumer Affairs evade answering the question, and Mr.
Speaker helped her a little bit today in avoiding answering the question because she did not want to say that
she did not know in a Cabinet meeting. The minister moved the money without permission of Cabinet,
without permission of his caucus. No, he doesn’t need permission, he is the minister, he can do whatever he
wants with $26 million. Certainly nobody that I know in any government would honourably remove $26
million.



I absolutely support this resolution in demanding the resignation or the firing of the Minister of
Transportation. It should happen immediately. (Applause)



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Atlantic.



MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to have the opportunity to rise and speak for
a few moments on the resolution brought forward by my colleague, the Leader of the NDP.



When this matter first came to my attention as a member of the Public Accounts Committee, when
we received a pre-release briefing of the Auditor General’s Report, I must say that I was astounded and
disappointed at this revelation and perhaps for this reason, that this minister in particular, along with other
government ministers and the government itself, but this minister in particular, has, I think, staked his
reputation on doing things differently in the Department of Transportation and Communications. The people
of Nova Scotia had an opportunity to decide on whether the way things were done before, whether that was
good enough or whether they would vote for a Party who suggested that they would do things differently.



The Liberal Party clearly did that in the spring of 1993, Transportation getting away from what was
seen to be and clearly in many instances was decisions on projects made on the basis of patronage and politics.
We have heard in this House over the past few days the fact that the Premier has said quite clearly that he is
not going to participate in pot-hole politics, that that is not what his government represents and I would
suggest to you that the Minister of Transportation and Communications has been the strongest advocate of
that kind of position. He has often said in this House over the past two years that in the Department of
Transportation and Communications we are doing things for the right reason. We are doing things for logical
reasons. We are doing things based on objective criteria and that is the only reason we are doing them, not
on the basis of politics.



Then, we find out as a result of an investigation by the Auditor General, an independent official of
the House of Assembly, not of the Department of Finance, not of the Department of Transportation and
Communications, not of any department out there, but a representative of the House of Assembly, mandated
to look into these matters, a person who has had his reputation, I would suggest, severely smirched by this
minister and a person who deserves an apology from this minister at the very least for what he suggested was
the motive behind the Auditor General coming forward with this kind of revelation.



I think that the Minister of Transportation, if he can do nothing else he can do that. But the problem
is that not just was $26 million diverted from a federal program where there was no apparent provision within
that agreement to allow that to happen, there was no notification and an important project, a project that not
only Robert Chisholm thinks is important but that all members of this House, that the Premier of the province
back in June 1993, thought was important enough to commit himself to and his government to back in those
days, $26 million was diverted from that project. I don’t care who you are you can’t convince me that that
wouldn’t have an effect on whether that project was going to continue or not. I think it would have had and
I think the fact that it has been delayed to this point was a contributing factor, without any question.



Not only was it that, as the Leader of the Official Opposition would say, the ripping out of the $26
million was important, yes it was important but also the underlying problem in the Department of
Transportation and Communications is the fact that projects are continuing to be the basis on which funding
is allocated and not the objective criteria for the whole department and for all the funding that was what the
minister and his government said was going to happen. In other words, what the Auditor General was saying
is that from one year to the next, from one season to the next, the lists of priorities change and they change
for no other reason and I can say this because there has been no criteria established in the department for
allocating those funds.



The only conclusion that one can come to, especially when you see what has happened and where
this $26 million has gone is that the decisions are based on politics. Regardless of the fact that back in 1993,
the new Premier said that a delay in going forward with the Highway No. 104 project would exact a needless
toll. Now, that is not me saying that; that is not the Official Opposition saying that; that is not hysterical
media persons saying that. This is the Premier of the Province. This is the Premier who, supposedly, is the
Minister of Transportation’s boss, who said that any delay would also exact a needless toll in lives lost and
injuries on the existing highway through the so-called death valley.



This minister and his government have participated in, clearly, a politically motivated diversion of
$26 million, Mr. Speaker, and, for that reason, I believe that there needs to be an accounting of what in fact
happened. The other thing is that it is time things were cleaned up in the Department of Transportation and
Communications. The Auditor General has laid out, very clearly, what needs to be done. The Auditor General
is no bureaucrat; the Auditor General is no mindless pencil pusher, as the Minister of Transportation would
suggest. He has a job. He is a servant of this House and he has a job to do and he has done it, and he has laid
it out and I suggest to you that the Minister of Transportation better read these recommendations and better
make some changes for the benefit of his government and all the people of Nova Scotia.



To suggest, Mr. Speaker, that for us to raise this, or the Auditor General to raise this is because we
are anti-Cape Breton is the worst kind of bluff and bluster that I have ever seen come from this government,
and we have seen a lot of that over the past two years. Everybody in this House is concerned about jobs and
job creation from one end of this province to the other. The issue here is whether or not that $26 million was
not misappropriated, in a sense, and that the Department of Transportation and Communication is, obviously,
completely and totally disorganized in relation to deciding what projects are going to be funded.



So, Mr. Speaker, now we are faced with a situation where in order to complete the Highway No. 104,
the government has to participate in a private/public partnership. That might have happened anyway. It is a
strategy that more governments across this country, and across the world, for that matter, are beginning to
participate in. You know, it is this idea that the government, there is such a fetish about the public deficit that
we are prepared to go out and get these public projects funded and public services funded by using more
expensive money, for the love of Pete, and that just does not make sense to me.



I know that other governments are participating in it. I know that there is a crises of fairly significant
proportions in terms of dealing with the proper management of government finances, but it does not make
sense to me that the Government of Nova Scotia, for example, cannot afford to engage in a public project like
this, an infrastructure project, but it can afford to go through a private corporation or private companies who
will end up borrowing money at higher rates than the Province of Nova Scotia could.



Now, you and I know that it is not a question of cost to Nova Scotians in reality, Mr. Speaker. It is
a question of what is going to show up on the books of the Province of Nova Scotia and this government when
it comes to election time. What they would rather do is show Nova Scotians their budget books to say that the
deficit is X, Y and Z, instead of something greater, all the while knowing that because they participated in
this private/public partnership, Nova Scotians are going to pay more money because, let’s not forget and let’s
not at all be fooled, this money does not come from thin air.



The private sector is not giving the public of Nova Scotia a gift or the Government of Nova Scotia
a hand-out. What they are doing is they are participating in business and they expect to make a profit.
Undoubtedly, they will expect to make a handsome profit and, as a result, they will in one way or the other
have control over that piece of highway so that any Nova Scotian, anybody that visits this province, anyone
that travels over that highway will have to pay a portion of the cost over probably a period of upwards of 20
to 25 years, in order to ensure that those corporations make that return.



[4:45 p.m.]



Now if that is good finance, it might be good bookkeeping for the province, but if that is sound
finance, to give up what is ours, what is the people of Nova Scotia’s and what we benefit from, our highways
are clearly an asset for us, then I don’t understand that and I think that this government and I would suggest
other governments are, unless they come clean, you know, if you are going to get into private/public
partnerships because you feel you don’t want to borrow the money, you don’t want to show it on the books,
then at least come clean with Nova Scotians and tell them that it is going to cost them more money in the long
run. At least let them know that even though you don’t want to participate in that particular process at this
time, it is going to end up costing you more money.



The Minister of Education can try to refute that all he wants but whether it comes to building new
schools or whether it comes to supplying equipment to schools or whatever, the private sector is not going to
do it for free. He might believe it and I have seen him in action and I believe that he is perhaps dealing in that
level of reality, but I would suggest that Nova Scotians will not be fooled.



In this whole debate, I would suggest and contend that the question is how public money is being
managed in the Province of Nova Scotia. I think it is important that the Minister of Transportation, instead
of attacking a servant of the House of Assembly, unabashedly and politically attacking a servant of this House,
that he should listen to that expert counsel and account to the people of Nova Scotia for what, in fact, he has
participated in so that everybody knows.



Don’t come into this House and talk to us about what happened back in 1982 because I don’t care and
the people of Nova Scotia don’t care. We want to know why he did what he did and for that, I believe he needs
to be held accountable as does the Premier of this province.



MR. SPEAKER: Thank you. That concludes the debate on Resolution No. 89. We move on to the
next item of business.



The honourable House Leader of the New Democratic Party.



MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Resolution No. 99.



Res. No. 99, re Health - Seniors: Pharmacare Benefits - Costs Reveal - notice given Apr. 10/95 - (Ms.
A. McDonough)



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Fairview.



MS. ALEXA MCDONOUGH: Mr. Speaker, I welcome the opportunity to introduce this resolution
for debate this afternoon on NDP Opposition Day and I just want to read it briefly for the record:



“Whereas the Minister of Health in his April 7th announcement of Pharmacare changes totally
misrepresented facts about other provincial Pharmacare Programs; and



Whereas in an attempt to sugar coat the financial pill the Nova Scotia Government is prescribing for
seniors under Pharmacare the minister falsely reported that a senior with cancer in Saskatchewan could end
up `paying . . .’ and I quote directly from the minister’s statement on April 7th, `. . . $17,000 out of their own
pockets for prescription drugs’; and



Whereas no senior nor person of any age in Saskatchewan is required to pay $17,000 a year out of
their own pocket for approval drugs to treat cancer because they are, in fact, provided at no charge;



Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Health come clean with Nova Scotians about the
increased cost being imposed on seniors for Pharmacare benefits instead of making false comparisons with
other province’s longstanding prescription drug programs serving both seniors and all other residents.”



I have chosen to introduce that resolution today for debate in consultation with my caucus colleagues
for a couple of very important reasons. One is that senior citizens from one end of this province to the other
are very concerned and distressed about the manner in which these changes to the Pharmacare Program have
been introduced. They are confused because, frankly, I attended the press conference where the Minister of
Health presented these changes and a polite description for how they were presented was that they were
presented in such a confused manner that nobody in attendance could make sense out of what was really
happening here, not the politicians in attendance, not the public servants in attendance, not the seniors’
representatives or health care providers. I think most members of the media would agree it was extremely
difficult to figure out what was happening here.



What was very clear, however and I think our seniors in this province deserve a great deal more
respect than this, was that there was an aggressive public relations campaign that was being conducted to
make seniors feel that they, in fact, should be greatful that they have any Pharmacare benefits at all. To make
them feel that if they did not swallow this pill, the major changes to the Pharmacare Program that is currently
in existence, then they would face very much worst treatment in the future. In fact, the Minister of Health
himself threatened that this Pharmacare Program could, in fact go out of existence, be terminated, become
extinct and people would face the full responsibility to pay all of the costs associated with prescription drugs
that they are required to be taking to maintain their health or get well from various illnesses.



Mr. Speaker, I have a third reason why I raised this matter for debate today and it is that the minster
absolutely, grotesquely misrepresented information about what the situation is facing seniors in other
provinces and what is happening with their Pharmacare Programs. I will tell you when the Minister of Health
stood up and stated on that occasion that in the Province of Saskatchewan that seniors with cancer can be
forced to pay as much as $17,000 for the approved prescription drugs that they require, I did not believe him.
Had it been true, I would have been extremely distressed, extremely dismayed and extremely angry and I
would not have hesitated for one single moment to express my dissatisfaction both publicly and privately with
what the NDP government in Saskatchewan was doing to its seniors who were faced with cancer and faced
with this alleged $17,000 of prescription drugs costs that they would be required to pay themselves,
personally.



Mr. Speaker, I checked the facts and the fact is that no senior in the Province of Saskatchewan is
faced with paying one red cent of the costs associated with approved prescription drugs required for their
cancer treatment. Not only that, no resident of that province is faced with paying $17,000 or any dollars, not
one red cent, to cover the costs of cancer related drugs that have been approved for payment. We were very
careful to gather the facts and analyze the program to make sure that we were not coming to some faulty
conclusion on that point.



It may seem that our reaction to that misinformation had something to do with our concern not to
see a NDP government inflict such unacceptable burdens on senior citizens, but let me say that what really
distressed me and I think is distressing a lot of seniors in this province today, is the kind of hard sell campaign
and the kind of tactics that are being used to persuade seniors that if they are not willing to swallow this pill,
they are not willing to absorb without complaint, without any kind of dissent, this new imposition of
additional costs on a great many of them, that they somehow are imposing unreasonable expectations on
taxpayers and they are somehow looking for a hand-out or a freebie from a government that is so financially
beleaguered that somehow they have to be expected to be the ones to help bail the government out of the
financial mess in which it finds itself.



Mr. Speaker, our seniors deserve better than that. There is no question about it, and I want to be very
direct about this, that there are, in one form or another, co-pay provisions that have been introduced in
provinces across this country where, in fact, there were previously universal programs and Saskatchewan
happens to be a government that had in place a universal health care program for prescription drugs that
covered all of the population for many years.



I remember, in fact, in this House on an occasion when I, in fact, dared to suggest that perhaps it was
time to even look at a co-pay provision in the existing prescription drug program because to not do that, was
apparently going to be the excuse that the Tory Government previously would use for not introducing a proper
universal prescription drug program that would cover the whole population and that is exactly what happened,
Madam Speaker. We still do not have the kind of prescription drug program for people of all ages that is
needed by a great many people in this province, as exists in many other provinces. At that time, people on all
sides of the House said, oh, that is just completely unacceptable. Under no circumstances can there ever be
any co-pay element introduced.



Now, I have to say, Madam Speaker, that I am having a great deal of difficulty understanding how
a Minister of Health can go to federal-provincial Minister of Health meetings somewhere across the country
and stand up and say that we will not, under any circumstances, allow the undermining of our universal health
care system and then introduce the kind of severe, financial penalties that are involved in the changes in the
prescription drug program that has been introduced.



No senior citizen in this province has ever been guilty of over-prescribing medications. Over-prescribing takes place because doctors write prescriptions that, in many cases, may, in fact, not be needed.
The way in which that problem can and should be addressed, Madam Speaker, is through the kind of
recommendations that have been made again and again, most recently by the Sustainable Health Care for
Canada Report that specifically stated that over-prescribing can be dealt with and should be dealt with through
drug utilization management programs.



So it is not an excuse to say there is a lot of over-prescribing, therefore, we are going to penalize
seniors. Madam Speaker, how is it consistent with the health promotion, supposed health prevention policies
of this government, to say that we are going to single out seniors and we are going to impose a $215 automatic
premium on every single senior and in the instance of many seniors who take either no drugs, and it is true,
there are not great numbers that take no drugs, but what we want to aim for is more seniors who can live
without having to take prescription drugs that may not be necessary, in fact, in many cases, may not be good
for them. How is it consistent with that health promotion policy to say that we are going to introduce a
financial penalty of $215 on seniors who do not require any drugs or who may, in fact, utilize less than $215
worth of drugs?



It is also a known fact, Madam Speaker, that the single biggest contribution to the increased costs
of prescription drugs in this province today is from the fall-out of the drug patent legislation changes that took
place a few years ago. That legislation is no better today than when it was brought in and if this government
were serious about protecting the interest of seniors and fighting the escalating costs of prescription drugs,
then it would be in Ottawa fighting with its federal Liberal counterparts, to say, let us deal with this thing,
once and for all, and let us not continue to participate in the escalation of drug costs, that is of benefit to
nobody but the multinational pharmaceutical companies.



[5:00 p.m.]



Madam Speaker, I think it is most regrettable that this government has taken advantage of what they
know to be the general sense of responsibility of seniors, the generosity of seniors, to shove down their throats
the notion that they should be bearing the burden of the escalating costs of drugs. I think what is the greatest
concern of all, to many seniors, is that they felt duped, they felt hoodwinked, when they were brought in and
treated with scare tactics, bombarded with distorted information, with false information about what does and
does not happen in other provinces, as a way of persuading them, it is this way or no way.



What is happening now, Madam Speaker, is exactly what this government should have anticipated
and that is, that seniors have begun to understand that this is the thin edge of the wedge, that this is the
beginning of the unravelling of a universal Pharmacare Program. When you say that we are going to place
that program at arm’s length from the government, we are going to set up a separate trust fund, we are going
to put seniors on that board and seniors are going to be able to decide what happens in the future, there is no
senior in this province who does not understand that that premium that has been imposed is a tax by another
name. This Minister of Finance himself knew that to be the case in 1992, when the previous government
introduced increases in the co-pay and tried, at the same time, to brag that they were not increasing taxes.
This is another form of taxation. What is most distressing of all, having placed that trust fund at an arm’s
length relationship, is that seniors know that over time, the government’s commitment to maintain that
program is going to erode and they are going to try to get off the hook politically, by saying, gee, these
decisions are made by the trust fund. Gee, there are senior citizens sitting on that trust fund. Do not talk to
us, we are not responsible. You will have to go and talk to the friendly trustees of the trust fund.



So, Madam Speaker, I think there are a number of serious issues at stake here and I think that seniors
deserve fairer treatment and more truthful answers about what is and is not going on in the rest of the country.
Thank you.



MADAM SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Community Services.



HON. JAMES SMITH: Madam Speaker, I am pleased today to enter debate on Resolution No. 99.
I am pleased because the points that Health Minister Ronald Stewart was making in his address at his press
conference are ones that were well worth making and repeating. I am happy to have the opportunity to speak
to some of the key points concerning the seniors’ Pharmacare Program. This government is proud of the work
that we have done to maintain this essential program. At his press conference on Friday, Dr. Stewart was
comparing the Nova Scotia program, the seniors’ Pharmacare Program, with drug plans in other provinces.
Many Nova Scotians, especially seniors, recognize that Nova Scotia has one of the most comprehensive and
most generous programs in Canada. Certainly, it is the most generous and most fair in Atlantic Canada. More
importantly, after the changes announced last Friday, it still remains so. It is still one of the most generous
in Canada and the most generous in Atlantic Canada. That is why Dr. Stewart chose to compare our program
here, even after the changes, with other drug plans in other provinces, because for Nova Scotia, those
comparisons are favourable.



Saskatchewan has a similar population to Nova Scotia. In Saskatchewan, Madam Speaker, there is
no annual limit to the amount of the co-pay that a senior may end up paying in any one year. That applies to
all seniors, even those who are less well off and less able to pay and who are receiving the Guaranteed Income
Supplement. Many seniors in Saskatchewan, those who are not in receipt of GIS, are required to pay a
premium of $1,700 a year and are also required to pay 35 per cent of their drug costs in a co-pay.



Now, I want to pause for a moment and remind people who may be listening to these discussions for
the first time, that those numbers are the Saskatchewan numbers. They are not similar in any way to what we
have adopted here in Nova Scotia. If I may remind viewers who may be watching us from their homes today,
we have established a dramatically different plan for Nova Scotia. In Nova Scotia, seniors not receiving GIS
will pay only $215 in premium charges and only up to a $200 co-pay. Low income seniors will be even better
off, they will receive a credit of $300 that will more than cover the cost of the premium. Many will receive
a cheque from the government; depending on their income level and whether or not they incur co-pay, that
cheque could be up to $85.



There is one important distinction between Nova Scotia and Saskatchewan. In Saskatchewan, there
is no upper limit to the amount that seniors may be required to pay out of their own pockets, as I mentioned
earlier. This is also true in other provinces where there is no annual maximum for co-pay. Examples are,
Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and Saskatchewan. As Dr. Stewart noticed, this can result in extremely
high costs when drugs are expensive and when catastrophic illness strikes. Dr. Stewart was making a general
comparison and talking about the general structure of the Saskatchewan program - as he was quoted and I
am still not clear if he was quoted correctly - but certainly the $17,000, he probably meant to say $1,700 and
also as in Nova Scotia, Madam Speaker, there are certain parts of the drug program that are paid under certain
illnesses. Programs do vary within provinces and Saskatchewan may well have specific programs, as we do
in Nova Scotia. The fact remains that Saskatchewan has, for a non-GIS, they have to pay $1,700 per year per
premium, plus 35 per cent co-pay, with no maximum.



I want to get back to the main point which Dr. Stewart was making because I think it bears repeating;
Nova Scotia compares favourably with most provinces within Canada with regard to its drug plan for seniors.
From the outset, Dr. Stewart and this government had one goal with respect to the seniors’ Pharmacare
Program. That goal was to retain the program as a universal program; all seniors will be covered by the plan,
all seniors will be protected against high drug costs. Those who have private plans now and say that they are
covered, they may well not be in the future, as we all know.



Madam Speaker, it was seniors who set this goal. I know because I was one of the government
members who met with the various senior organizations that were consulted before changes were made to the
Pharmacare Program. Seniors told us that they wanted a drug plan that retains universality. This government
has delivered on that score. We have restructured the seniors’ Pharmacare Program. The new program is fair,
it strikes a balance and it redistributes costs so that the plan will be around in future when seniors need it.



True to the goal that this government set and that seniors set, the plan is a truly universal one that
offers coverage for all seniors, regardless of incomes and regardless of needs. Thank you, Madam Speaker.



MADAM SPEAKER: Thank you. Would the honourable member yield the floor for an introduction
first?



The honourable member for Cape Breton South.



MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Madam Speaker, I would like to introduce to you and to the
members of the House, in the gallery today, a former alderman from the City of Sydney and a distinguished
resident of Sydney, Mr. Frank Starzomski. I would ask the members of the House to afford them a welcome.
(Applause)



MADAM SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Finance.



HON. BERNARD BOUDREAU: Madam Speaker, I appreciate the opportunity which has been
afforded to us by the former Leader of the Third Party to debate this very important topic here in the House
today. With a problem and a program as important as Pharmacare, oft-times we have a position taken by the
Third Party which simply ignores the reality and the challenges that lie ahead, to preserve the sustainability
of a program as important as Pharmacare for seniors.



Now, Madam Speaker, in this case we have to recognize that there are serious problems and serious
challenges to maintaining Pharmacare, not just for this session, not just between now and the next election
so that people can serve their own political purposes, but indefinitely into the future so that all of the people
of the province who are working and paying taxes in the province can look forward to the same kind of
Pharmacare protection that we have valued over the years, and it is a problem. It is a problem that we have
to recognize because as the baby boomers reach retirement age, the number of people who will be accessing
Pharmacare will expand quite dramatically.






This particular challenge requires, not only the Government of Nova Scotia, we are not particular
in that, we are not the only government, virtually every government in the country has had to face a very
serious challenge. With the increased demand that you can predict on this program, how do we keep it
sustainable? How do we maintain all of the principles of this program that we want to maintain? How do we
keep it universal? How can we tell seniors out there, in spite of what is ahead, in spite of the increased
participation, in spite of all of those increased numbers who will access the program, how can we assure every
one of them that there will always be a Pharmacare Program, that nobody in Nova Scotia has to worry about
going bankrupt paying for drugs? What we have done is in this new program.



Rather than face the problem, as oft-times, the Third Party has decided to sit back and criticize and
they have become expert at that in their long years in Opposition. Madam Speaker, one of the things I have
asked for in the House on various issues from the Third Party is a solution, is a suggestion. Okay, if on
occasion you recognize the problem, can you help us with the solution? Do you have a position on it? I mean,
this is an important issue, do you have a position on this problem?



In most cases, Madam Speaker, we have been very unsuccessful in getting a position from that Party.
That is part of their modus operandi, no position on any important issue. But this was an exception. We saw
an exception here today and I have to recognize it. They came forward today and they did let us know, it was
a little peek, we just took the curtain aside for a moment but we got a peek presumably on what they would
do if they were in the position of addressing this challenge of Pharmacare.



In their resolution, as the honourable member read, they referred to Saskatchewan and they were very
upset by any suggestion on our part that the Saskatchewan program was not appropriate.



MS. ALEXA MCDONOUGH: Madam Speaker, on a point of order. Unless it is the will of the
Minister of Finance to totally misrepresent my legislation, he will know that the reason for my mentioning
this is because the Minister of Health lied to people in his press release, in his public statement, that cancer
patients in Saskatchewan pay up to $17,000 for prescription drugs. It is not true, he made the statement and
we felt that people should not be intimidated by that kind of misinformation.



On a further point of order, the minister says that we don’t usually have any solutions. We outlined
the solutions, tackle drug utilization management, tackle the drug patent legislation. On the minister’s point
of order, Madam Speaker, I did not advocate that we should be adopting the Saskatchewan plan. I advocated
that the Minister of Health should not lie about what the facts were with respect to Saskatchewan’s
prescription drug coverage.



MADAM SPEAKER: I would like to call for order briefly, while I rule on the first point of order
before I recognize the second point of order. I think the member made quite an attempt at making a point but
I don’t consider it a point of order and I do consider the use of the word, the minister lied, to be
unparliamentary language and I would call your attention to that and I would like it withdrawn.



MS. MCDONOUGH: I am not sure what the Parliamentary language is for giving total
misinformation but if the use of the word lie does not cover the propagandizing of such total misinformation,
then I will withdraw the reference.



MADAM SPEAKER: Thank you, honourable member, and I would remind the honourable members
in here that this should be a place of decorum and not getting into insults and trading barbs.



MR. GERALD FOGARTY: Madam Speaker, on a point of order. You have addressed the point of
order I was about to make. The member for Halifax Fairview, on two occasions within the last few moments,
used a word that is totally unacceptable. The Speaker, and I am sure you are as familiar as the Speaker in your
role as Deputy Speaker and you have demonstrated that just now, you are familiar. Beauchesne lists the word
lie, in other words, a falsehood, totally unacceptable in this House of Assembly. I would ask for a retraction
from the member for Halifax Fairview. It is an insult to every member in this House, in particular, the
Minister of Health.



[5:15 p.m.]



MADAM SPEAKER: I would like to comment on this second point of order. It is my understanding
the honourable member for Halifax Fairview withdrew the remark and, therefore, your point of order is not
in order. Is there a third point of order before we continue on with the debate?



MR. GEORGE ARCHIBALD: On a point of order, Madam Speaker. The point of order I would like
to make is that I think the member for Halifax Bedford Basin should be more concerned with making sure
that the minister in question is putting out information that is accurate and fair and truthful, rather than
accusing another member of telling a falsehood in the House. I think that member should pay attention and
be more interested in seeing that the people of Nova Scotia hear the truth than trying to protect them.



MADAM SPEAKER: I would like to rule on the third point of order. I don’t consider it a point of
order and I would now carry on with the speaker. I will add two minutes to his time.



MR. BOUDREAU: Madam Speaker, I would certainly like to acknowledge the generous manner in
which the honourable former Leader of the New Democratic Party withdrew those comments.



I think, Madam Speaker, it is incredible, the sensitivity, did you notice that? I mean, 15 minutes by
the honourable former Leader of the socialist Party was not long enough to defend Saskatchewan. The very
mention of the fact that she may have a position on something sent them into a tizzy. This is completely out
of character for that Party. Well, they were very quick, for 15 minutes, at great length and with great
vehemence to defend the Saskatchewan program, presumably that was as an alternative.



Now, let me do a little comparison with Saskatchewan because I think that is fair, the NDP colleague
in Saskatchewan, because they face the same problems in Saskatchewan that we are facing. It was the same
situation. There is nothing different in Saskatchewan than Nova Scotia. We face the same problem. Let’s see
how the two provinces dealt with it. Let’s see how the two political Parties dealt with it.



Well, I am going to use an example. I am going to take a single senior who does not receive GIS and
makes $15,000 a year, now, this is an income of $15,000, that is below the poverty line. This is not a senior
who is making a lot of money, $15,000 a year, single, no GIS and uses a lot of drugs. Let’s say they use $5,000
worth of drugs. Okay, $5,000 worth of drugs, what would they have to pay if they were in Nova Scotia? They
would have to pay their $215 premium. They would have to pay, no question, $200 for the deductible. That
takes them up to $415 and they would get $300 back in our tax credit program. It leaves, Madam Speaker,
a net cost to them, very minimal; a $215 premium, $200 co-pay, $415, less $300, $115. That is what that low
income senior would have to pay in Nova Scotia under this new plan, this terrible plan, $115. What about
Saskatchewan? The same individual would pay a $1,700 deductible up-front. Then on their co-pay, which has
no limit in Saskatchewan, it could bankrupt them, but in the case of the example we are using, $5,000 worth
of drugs, they would pay another $1,750. That is Saskatchewan, $3,450; Nova Scotia, $115. Which one do
the seniors of Nova Scotia wish to choose? (Applause)



MADAM SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings West.



MR. GEORGE MOODY: Madam Speaker, I rise to debate this resolution and I think a headline in
The Daily News says it all: Seniors Say New Pharmacare Makes Them Sick. Well, this new Pharmacare
Program is making them sick and probably will worry a lot of seniors into using more drugs than maybe they
are using at present.



You know it wasn’t a year ago that the present Minister of Health said he had the solution to the
rising costs of the Pharmacare Program. He put together a committee called The Report of the Nova Scotia
Pharmacare Reform Working Group. He told all Nova Scotians, and he told us in the House, he said to seniors
that this report will save Pharmacare, it will cut down on the use of drugs in this province and you needn’t
worry about Pharmacare because we have it under control, we are going to follow everything that this report
says and you need not worry, this program will be around forever for seniors. That is what he said.



The problem that this group identified was the prescribing habits and the use of the number of drugs
by seniors. You know the minister came to that press conference the other day and brought out a great big bag
of pills. Well, the bag would fill my desk. Many seniors have called me about this point and admitted the other
day that he indicated that a number of seniors in this province, or whatever you want to call them, that seniors
in this province took that many drugs.



I had seniors call me (Interruptions)



MADAM SPEAKER: Order, please.



MR MOODY: Thank you, Madam Speaker. I had seniors call me who said they were offended by
that. I also had seniors call me who said that they were being penalized because they didn’t use drugs, that
they had to pay. They said if we have to have a co-pay, we understand that; if we use it, we have to pay up to
a certain amount. We understand co-pay, every program has a co-pay. We understand that, but we don’t
understand that we are being charged by this government.



I had a number of people whom I happen to represent in Kings West, as I am sure the member for
Annapolis represents, a lot of retired Armed Forces people, a lot of people getting out of the service, and they
pay for a program that they have many benefits from and they use that program because the Pharmacare
Program that we have in this province doesn’t cover all the drugs. So they say we are paying $300 a year, or
whatever this program is, and now we are going to have to pay this $215 regardless of whether we use any
drugs from it or not, yet we have to keep our other program because as I was looking here, and I think the
minister alluded to the other day, that what this government is going to do is de-list a number of drugs that
help the quality of life for many people in this province.



I know in Community Services, where the Family Benefits Program was cut, I think by $2 million,
that tells me there are not going to be fewer people, that means the government does plan to de-list a number
of drugs that are already on the list that are not going to be available if you are a senior citizen or on family
benefits in this province.



Mr. Speaker, we had a Minister of Health who said to Nova Scotians that times are tough, we have
to cut back, spending has to be reduced and we all have to take our share and you out there, as seniors, have
to take your lumps with the rest of us. That is because we are in financial difficulty.



Well, Mr. Speaker, in January, I put in a freedom of information application the office of the Minister
of Health. I thought, this minister is preaching restraint, he is telling everybody that you have to cut back, he
is telling the seniors that he is going to cut back and I got back from the Minister of Health’s department -
which I will table - for the first nine months in 1993-94, when the minister came to office, his expenses as
Minister of Health were $20,921. Not too bad, over $20,000. Now his American Express was only $1,000,
but I looked at 1994-95, for the first nine months, he has already spent, as Minister of Health, $35,000, over;
he spent over $9,800 on his American Express, which I assume is food and that sort of thing; he has spent
$12,940 on in-province travel; he spent $3,802 on out-of-province travel and then there are other expenses
that total over $35,000. Now there is a minister that will spend over $50,000 plus the expenses that he gets
as an MLA and minister, he will spend over $35,000. I look and what I cannot imagine is that his American
Express is up tenfold in the same comparison time, nine months ago.



I am saying, here is a minister telling seniors that, my gosh, you have to cut back. We have a
Minister of Health running around spending, on his American Express card, on restaurants over $1,000 a
month to eat. I am saying to myself, wait a minute there is something wrong with what this minister is doing.
I also said I would like to know what those American Express charges were spent on and I cannot get the
information. The rules do not allow that you can find out and I checked the minister’s expenses that he claims
every month, did not total anywhere near $35,000, did not total anywhere near $10,000, that he claims that
he spends each month.



AN HON. MEMBER: Is that restraint?



MR. MOODY: That is not restraint. I will table this, Madam Speaker. I cannot imagine any Minister
of Health seriously saying to seniors, you have to take your lumps while I am out around this province and
this country spending your money on that kind of basis on a daily basis. I cannot imagine. Well, that minister
did not eat at McDonald’s, spending that kind of money, using American Express.



You have to learn, Madam Speaker, if we are going to seniors, yes, you have to bear the brunt of what
is happening. Well, then let’s be open and honest with them. Let’s not have another example, one example
for the minister, he does not care about expenditures, but yet the seniors who live on a very fixed income who
would not have $1,000 a month in their total budget, let alone to eat on at restaurants, and this minister is out
there spending it on restaurants. Now, I cannot understand that, $35,000 in nine months is well beyond me.
(Interruptions)



MADAM SPEAKER: Order, please.



MR. MOODY: Also, this minister said that 72 per cent of seniors are going to be better off under
this program, that is what he said. Well, I have to you those figures do not bear out accurately. This
government is not going to put more money in Pharmacare. Year one, seniors are going to pay $215. What
are they going to pay in year two? Is it $300? What are they going to pay in three? Is it $400? What are they
going to pay in year five? Is it $800? What are they going to pay in year six, $1,000? (Interruption) Well, no,
but this government has said we are not putting in any more money. You as seniors are going to have to carry
the program. We are putting in the $36 million and I will tell you, seniors are going to pay through the nose.



This program has upset a lot of seniors. I agree with the honourable member for Halifax Fairview
when she said that many people at that press conference did not understand how this works. Many of the
seniors today still do not understand. I had seniors calling me, (Interruption) Yes, some of your MLAs don’t
because I had calls from people and MLAs on the government side who said that when they explained to the
person that person did not know how the program worked. That senior on the other end of the telephone knew
more about that Pharmacare Program than the Liberal MLA knew about the program. That is a fact.

 

 

I will tell you right now that this has upset many seniors. I have had calls from seniors who have
said, before I will pay this government will have to put me in jail. Now that is what some seniors have said.
I checked with the Senior Citizens Secretariat and they are getting a lot of calls and they have received calls
like that that seniors are very upset about this program.



If there were going to be changes to Pharmacare and if the minister was true to his word of what he
was going to do, he would have followed the report that he received last year. It is known that our seniors take
24 prescriptions each which is higher than the national average. Is this program that the minister has
introduced going to do anything to attack that problem? Not at all, it is not going to address what has been
recommended by this committee of how the Pharmacare Program should be addressed.



[5:30 p.m.]



All this government has done is said to seniors, look, it is your fault. Let me tell you, you tell me a
senior in this province who can write out their own prescription and trot down to the drug store and get their
prescription. I would like to know a senior that is able to do that. Now, this government has said to the
seniors, it is your fault. It is your fault that this program is running rampant, that we can’t control the costs.
You seniors, you are responsible for it, you are making it grow, you are now going to pay and this is how you
are going to pay. You are going to pay this year by a rate of $215, plus the co-pay.



After this year, we are not going to tell you how much you are going to pay, but I will tell you right
now, many seniors are upset when they feel this government is blaming them for the costs and the way that
Pharmacare is going. I don’t believe it is the seniors’ fault. This group that the minister has set up, one of the
seniors said to me, we don’t even have a majority on that group. We have to choose a chairperson and the
professional people on that group that is looking after Pharmacare will outnumber the seniors and then the
government will come back and say, when it goes up from $215 and it goes up to $400, well, the seniors are
on that committee. The senior said to me, he said we are in a minority. How can we control the committee
if we are a minority. Then they will look at the seniors and say, well, it is the seniors’ fault again.



That is what seniors think of this program. They feel this government has let them down because they
were led to believe that the government had the answer here. If the government had implemented this report,
they wouldn’t be implementing what they have done today to the seniors of this province. If they had listened
to the advice that they were given and had told everybody that they had the answers and now what do they
do? They go at budget time and say, look, seniors we are going to sock it to you. I will tell you, I had calls
today and I know that this is going to happen. Seniors are going to organize and they are not going to take
this and say, hey, we are going to accept the fact that this government is unfairly treating us, people who have
worked years to retire on fixed incomes are now going to be zapped by this government so they can have the
kind of medication that gives them the kind of quality of life they need.



Nobody wants to take medication, but there is medication that everyone has to take or a number of
people have to take to ensure that they have the quality of life that one should have in this province. Everyone
should have access to it, and I agree with that. But I will tell you, the program that we have here is going to
in the long run do a lot of damage to the Pharmacare for seniors in this province because you just wait until
the minister start de-listing drugs in the next number of months. Mark my word, that is what is going to
happen. Mark my word, seniors are going to get upset and mark my word, you as MLAs are going to have
to answer to the seniors of this province why you have ripped their program apart in making them pay.



MADAM SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Atlantic.



MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: I am pleased to have the opportunity to rise and speak for a few
moments to the resolution brought forward by the member for Halifax Fairview. Let me say at the outset,
Madam Speaker, that this resolution deals from the beginning to the end with the manner in which the
member felt the Minister of Health was misrepresenting the effects that the changes in the Pharmacare
Program were going to have on seniors.



I remember when the member came out of the press conference how concerned and upset she was
that, in fact, the Minister of Health had made this comparison trying to suggest to seniors that, you know, if
you think this is bad, look what has happened in Saskatchewan, for example, and presented the scenario
whereby a senior who had cancer in Saskatchewan would incur bills of $17,000. Having checked out the
information, the member brought forward a resolution in this House which said that that is absolutely not the
truth. That is a misrepresentation of - well, it is not even misrepresentation - it is just a completely inaccurate
portrayal of what is real and what is not real.



We have heard the Minister of Finance and the Minister of Community Services get up here and try
to suggest well, maybe it was a typo or maybe it should have been $1,700. And then the Minister of Finance
runs into a tirade about how the member for Halifax Fairview is trying to suggest that we should go with the
Saskatchewan program and then he goes on and draws a comparison between the Saskatchewan program and
the Nova Scotia program. I guess the point in all that, Madam Speaker, is that the basis of this resolution hit
home, that the minister did, clearly, present facts that had little to do with reality, to the seniors in the
Province of Nova Scotia, and the Minister of Finance and his colleagues are not able to refute that. So, the
question is, then, what are they going to try to deal with?






HON. BERNARD BOUDREAU: A point of order, Madam Speaker. I said nothing along the line the
honourable member suggests. What I was simply trying to do, was find out whether he preferred the
Saskatchewan model or the Nova Scotia model. Saskatchewan, Nova Scotia, which one?



MADAM SPEAKER: I will rule on the point of order. I think you have made your point, but it is
not a point of order. The honourable member for Halifax Atlantic.



MR. CHISHOLM: Well, that is lovely. And this is a game the Minister of Finance loves to play,
trying to obfuscate the information and trying to present an argument in a way that people will have difficulty
following. But it is very clear. The Minister of Health and the Government of Nova Scotia have dumped
responsibility for the Pharmacare Program on the shoulders of seniors in the Province of Nova Scotia. In
presenting that fact to Nova Scotians, they provided information that was not accurate. Plain and simple. I
do not live in Saskatchewan nor do the seniors in Nova Scotia live in Saskatchewan so they could care less
about what the plan is in Saskatchewan, other than the fact that they may have family, than the fact that they
are concerned about their peers in Saskatchewan, as they are in any other part of this country. But the fact is,
what is this government doing in Nova Scotia, to its people, to its population? What it is doing, very clearly,
is it is dumping off its responsibility onto the shoulders of people who can least afford to pay it. (Interruptions)



MADAM SPEAKER: Order, please. I would like the shouted comments, going back and forth across
the floor, to stop. The honourable member has the floor and I would like order now.



MR. CHISHOLM: You are not referring to me, though? Okay, thank you.



Madam Speaker, the change in the Pharmacare Program, the $215 annual, together with the co-pay,
represents $36 million in premiums and co-pay charges, that the government will partially return to some
seniors in tax rebates of $300. But it only makes up $22 million so we are talking about an extra burden on
seniors of $14 million.



Now, why is it that they brought in this change in the Pharmacare Program in the first place? Well,
the presentation is that seniors, and you will recall this, I am sure, Madam Speaker, it was a great big bag of
drugs slapped down on the table by the Minister of Health and he said because seniors are using too much
medication. The implication, I think, very clearly, was that seniors are running to the drug store and they are
getting this medication. They are abusing the Pharmacare Program. I think that is the implication and that
is why many seniors called my office and why they were so insulted by what the minister had done.



But the problem clearly is the over-prescription of medication in the Province of Nova Scotia to
seniors. You know that, Madam Speaker, I know that and everybody in this House knows that and that is not
the fault of seniors because they do not write out the prescriptions. We have to deal with that and this is not
the way to deal with that. This is a penalty on seniors because doctors are not able to control their prescribing
practices. That is wrong.



It was clearly articulated in the report of the Nova Scotia Pharmacare Reform Working Group,
submitted to the Minister of Health in March 1994, what had to be done in order to deal with Pharmacare.
Was there anything in this report that had to do with shoving an extra burden on seniors for paying for
Pharmacare? Not one word. There were questions in there about drug utilization management, Madam
Speaker. There were concerns about the over-prescribing of medication and strategies about how to deal with
that.



The Minister of Transportation may want to make fun and the Minister of Finance may want to make
fun, but there are a lot of seniors in the Province of Nova Scotia that cannot afford this extra expense, that are
being penalized because of the fact that this government is admitting that they cannot get control of the
prescribing practices of physicians in the Province of Nova Scotia and that, Madam Speaker, is a serious
problem that we have to deal with, this government has to deal with and members of this Legislature have
to deal with, not seniors.



To suggest that we are maintaining the universality of this program just drives me to distraction,
Madam Speaker. Seniors clearly now are picking up the burden of this program. This is absolutely slashing
away at the whole principle of universality and if this government thinks that they are fooling anybody, then
they have another think coming, let me tell you.



You talk about the sustainability, Madam Speaker, of a program like this. What about the tax credits
that this government is so quick to put out in order to ensure that its casino in downtown Halifax makes a go
of it the first year around? What about the tax credits that go out to profitable corporations in this province?
We have the lowest corporate tax rate in the country and what good has that done us in terms of job creation?
Not much, right? Well, what are we going to do about it? Well, let’s make sure we give them more breaks.
Let’s make sure that those profitable corporations get more breaks.



Do we do anything to deal with the fact that we have lost, over the past year, $50 million in terms
of revenue from personal income? Madam Speaker, have we done anything about the fact that there are still
58,000 people in the Province of Nova Scotia who are unemployed, people that desperately need the services
that we all provide through our taxes, that corporations need to provide, that everyone needs to provide? No.



This government has taken a page out of the reform play book, out of the Conservative play book and
they have said, very clearly, that I am sorry. We cannot afford the sick and the infirm. We cannot afford to
pay for the seniors in this country anymore. We cannot afford to pay for those services that help keep people
alive because they have said very clearly that we can’t afford it, that the deficit and the business climate is the
most important thing, even though we don’t get any return from those things, because of the fact that we have
the lowest corporate tax rate in the country, has that done us any good? The fact that we have had the lowest
premiums for workers’ compensation over the decade from the 1970’s through the 1980’s, has that done
anything, in terms of dragging or drawing all these corporations into the Province of Nova Scotia? No. But
what are we doing? We are running down that road and we are saying to people, whether it is Pharmacare,
whether it is education, whether it is home care, whatever the services are, social assistance, we can’t afford
it any more as a government.



[5:45 p.m.]



I tell you what, Madam Speaker, as far as I am concerned, it is a question of priorities. It is a question
of whether or not you let one of your senior ministers go around and spend this kind of money, it is obscene,
$35,000 in 1994-95, over a period of nine months. It is obscene when, at the same time, you turn around and
ask seniors to continue to pay more. You continue to tell those people who are unemployed, those 58,000 and
more who voted for this government because they said they were going to create jobs, that there is nothing
this government can do. It is a disgrace, Madam Speaker, that as far as I am concerned will end none too
soon, when the next election comes around. Thank you.



MADAM SPEAKER: Are there any further speakers? Hearing none, I will call on the honourable
House Leader of the New Democratic Party.



MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Thank you, Madam Speaker. I would like to move now to House
Orders. Would you please call House Order No. 1.



H.O. No. 1, re Human Res.: Public Service - Layoffs (26/05/94 to date) - notice given Apr. 3/95 -
(Mr. R. Chisholm)



HON. RICHARD MANN: On a point of order, Madam Speaker, there was a mistake in the schedule
that was circulated by the New Democratic Party House Leader. As a result, the government was not made
aware that we would be calling House Orders today. I have spoken with the House Leader for the New
Democratic Party and indicated that we would be willing to allow them to be called but we will obviously
insist on having them read. The minister, if required, may, in fact, want to stand them until they have more
time to peruse them, because of the lack of notice. But we will agree to call them and do what we can with
them.



MR. CHISHOLM: On that point, let me say that, in fact, that is the case. As is normally the situation
in this House when we do call House Orders, we call them and if government members can provide the
information, then that is great. If they can’t, then we will deal with it another day.



MADAM SPEAKER: House Order No. 1 has been called.



[The House Order was read by the Clerk.]



MADAM SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Human Resources.



HON. JAY ABBASS: Madam Speaker, only because there is some uncertainty as to the wording,
I would ask just on that technical basis that it be re-submitted or stood at this time. I don’t anticipate, based
on what I did understand, that we will have any problem accommodating the member opposite.



MADAM SPEAKER: Is it agreed that House Order No. 1 be stood?



MR. CHISHOLM: I didn’t realize that he said it would be stood, I understood that what he suggested
was that there seemed to be some confusion, in terms of what was being looked for. I guess what I would say,
because of the person who moved it, Madam Speaker, is that if the minister would provide the information,
as he understands what is being requested, that is normally the case, and if he has any questions, maybe we
can clarify it.



MADAM SPEAKER: I would just like to clarify. I think the language was re-submit. It was my error;
it was not stood.



HON. RICHARD MANN: On a point of order, Madam Speaker. I don’t know that there is a
provision to re-submit a House Order other than to, perhaps, vote it down and have it re-submitted in that
fashion and change the wording that the minister indicates that, I will not say comfortable with, he wants
clarified in order to comply with it.



MADAM SPEAKER: Honourable members, is it agreed that we stand House Order No. 1?



It is agreed.



The motion is carried.



House Order No. 1 stands.



The honourable House Leader for the New Democratic Party.



MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Madam Speaker, would you call House Order No. 2, please.



H.O. No. 2, re Educ.: Literacy Progs. - Community Based - notice given Apr. 3/95 - (Mr. T.
Donahoe)



[The House Order was read by the Clerk.]



MR. RONALD RUSSELL: I so move, Madam Speaker.



MADAM SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Education.



HON. JOHN MACEACHERN: Madam Speaker, as most members of the House know, the
honourable member for Guysborough-Port Hawkesbury is in charge of that program and I have no difficulty
and I will speak to the honourable member to assemble the program and we will get it for them. He has been
directing it, working with our office. We know the data is available. We have no difficulty providing it to the
members.



MADAM SPEAKER: The question has been called. Would all those in favour of the motion please
say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.



The motion is carried.



The honourable House Leader for the New Democratic Party.



MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Madam Speaker, would you please call House Order No. 3.



H.O. No. 3, Re ERA - Tourism: Legislative Assistant - Scotland Travel - notice given Apr. 3/95 -
(Mr. D. McInnes)



MR. RONALD RUSSELL: I move House Order No. 3, Madam Speaker.



MADAM SPEAKER:  The Minister for the Economic Renewal Agency.



HON. ROBERT HARRISON: We have no trouble complying with this House Order and will be glad
to provide the information.



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



The motion is carried.



The honourable House Leader for the New Democratic Party.



MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Madam Speaker, would you please call House Order No. 4.



H.O. No. 4, re ERA: Business Advocate - Employees - notice given Apr. 3/95 - (Mr. G. Archibald)



MR. GEORGE ARCHIBALD: I so move, Madam Speaker.



MADAM SPEAKER: It has been moved.



The Minister for the Economic Renewal Agency.



HON. ROBERT HARRISON: Again, Madam Speaker, we will comply with this House Order and
provide the information required.



MADAM SPEAKER: It is agreed that it be complied with.



The motion is carried.



The honourable House Leader for the New Democratic Party.



MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Madam Speaker, would you please call House Order No. 5.



H.O. No. 5, re ERA: Commun. Business Loan Prog. - Employees/Loans - notice given Apr. 3/95 -
(Mr. G. Archibald)



MR. GEORGE ARCHIBALD: I would so move it, Madam Speaker.



MADAM SPEAKER: The Minister for the Economic Renewal Agency.



HON. ROBERT HARRISON: Madam Speaker, we cannot comply with this House Order. In fact,
there is information being requested of the department which is of a confidential nature and, therefore, we
will not be complying with House Order No. 5.



MADAM SPEAKER: The minister has advised that that House Order will not be complied with.



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



The honourable member for Kings North.



MR. GEORGE ARCHIBALD: Madam Speaker, I was just wondering if the minister could provide
as much information as possible that is not confidential. I don’t want any confidential information but if you
could send what you can, that would be appreciated.



MADAM SPEAKER: The motion was voted on. There is a request from the honourable member for
Kings North for provision of parts of the information. You may want to submit that request again.






HON. ROBERT HARRISON: On a point of order, Madam Speaker. I believe there is a motion on
the floor and we should vote on it. It is not a question of if they do not get it right the first time, we will just
simply have door number one or door number two. The fact is that we are not going to comply because the
information requested by the House Order is confidential.



MADAM SPEAKER: I would just like to respond to that point of order which is a point of
information, but we already have voted on the House Order and there is no point.



MR. JOHN LEEFE: Madam Speaker, on a point of order, it has been the long-standing custom of
this House since any of us have been here, long before I came, that questions would be raised with respect to
House Orders and that ministers would not be able to provide all of the information. But as a matter of
courtesy and providing information for the public, they would provide as much as they could. I would hope
that the Minister for the Economic Renewal Agency will follow that tradition in this place rather than follow
the rule that he just set down for himself a moment ago.



HON. RICHARD MANN: Madam Speaker, on the point of order, perhaps one of the problems we
have here is that it seems to me over the last couple of sessions, the last couple of times we have assembled,
is that the member opposite gets up and makes a motion. The minister responds and then the member gets
up with another point and, in fact, in accordance with the rules when that member gets up the second time,
the Speaker should advise that if the member is recognized it is to close the debate and then the vote has taken
place.



I think what is happening here is oftentimes a vote is held before the member tries to get up the
second time or, in fact, the House is not instructed that the member is up for the second time and that the
debate will close. If that direction is given then every member will have an opportunity, if they so desire, to
speak on the motion that the member has made that the House Order be moved.



In this case the vote was taken, I guess, and voted down before the member got to their feet the
second time and I would suggest that if we follow the Rules of the House, this will become much easier and
we will not run into these situations.



MADAM SPEAKER: I would like to rule on the first point of order. It was a point of advice, but not
a point of order and the honourable Minister for the Economic Renewal Agency did comment that he was not
prepared to provide the information. There is some confusion about the question of the vote because there
were not many voices heard. I would like to call for the vote one more time.



Would all those in favour of issuing House Order No. 5 please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.



The motion is carried in the negative.



The honourable House Leader for the New Democratic Party.



MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Madam Speaker, would you please call House Order No. 6.



H.O. No. 6, re Justice: Chief Firearms Officer - Job Description - notice given Apr. 3/95 - (Mr. B.
Taylor)



MADAM SPEAKER: The honourable member for Hants West.



MR. RONALD RUSSELL: Madam Speaker, on behalf of the honourable member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley, I move House Order No. 6.



MADAM SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.



HON. RICHARD MANN: Madam Speaker, in the absence of the minister I would ask that the House
Order be stood.



MADAM SPEAKER: The motion is that House Order No. 6 stands. Would all those in favour of the
motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.



The motion is carried.



House Order No. 6 stands.



The honourable House Leader of the New Democratic Party.



MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: I think I have had enough fun for today. That concludes New
Democratic Party business.



MADAM SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.



HON. RICHARD MANN: Tomorrow, by all-Party agreement, we will be sitting from of 11:00 a.m.
until 3:00 p.m. and, following the daily routine and Question Period, we will complete the debate on
Resolution No. 21, the referral of the Estimates and we will then move on to second reading of Bill No. 3.



I move that we adjourn until 11:00 a.m. tomorrow.



MADAM SPEAKER: The motion is carried.



The time being 5:59 p.m., we have reached the moment of interruption and we will begin the
Adjournment debate.



The resolution is by the honourable member for Eastern Shore:



Therefore, be it resolved that this House recognize the important role that trawl baiters play in the
longline fishing industry in Nova Scotia and support the efforts of trawl baiters for inclusion in the TAGS
program.



ADJOURNMENT



MOTION UNDER RULE 5(5)



MADAM SPEAKER: The honourable member for Eastern Shore. (Applause)



FISH. - TRAWL BAITERS: TAGS - INCLUDE



MR. KEITH COLWELL: Madam Speaker, this is indeed a very important topic in my constituency
and some other constituencies in Nova Scotia. The fact that the trawl baiters that traditionally bait the
longlines and the hooks for the longline and trawl industry, have not been included in the TAGS
compensation program, unless they have been involved directly with a fish plant.



[6:00 p.m.]



First, I would like to describe what a trawl baiter does. A trawl baiter is a person who actually baits
the hooks, thousands of hooks, that are required on each fishing trip, on boats of all sizes. For instance, a
vessel of about 45 feet in length would carry approximately 100 tubs of trawl, with upwards of 450 hooks per
tub, ultimately resulting in a tremendous number of hooks to be baited on a regular basis and, on occasion,
as often as twice a week. Without this valuable service being provided to the fishing vessels, indeed, most of
the fishing vessels could not and would not have been able to go to sea.



Unfortunately, when the TAGS criteria were put in place, this important group of people was
neglected and, somehow or other, passed by, in the endeavour to get other people included in the program
and, indeed, address the serious crisis the fishery is in, and was in at that time. If, for instance, a trawl baiter
did work for a fish plant and was on their payroll, they did qualify under the TAGS program and are presently
receiving compensation. However, a worker performing the identical work, employed with the fishing boat
operator as an employee, the same as a crew hand would have been, or a deckhand or any other person that
actively goes to sea, would have been and is included in the TAGS program, that person who worked for that
fisherman did not get included in the TAGS program, even though they did pay unemployment insurance,
Canada pension and income tax, as the plant worker did.



This, indeed, has put a lot of financial stress on many of my constituents and, as I have said earlier,
many others. For instance, in my area, we had between 100 and 120 people who, if they had been employed
at a fish plant as trawl baiters, would have been on the TAGS program. Another shocking thing with this is
that 70 per cent of these people are women, wage earners who now cannot help support their families, in a
very economically depressed area, and that concerns me gravely. These people have been deprived of an
opportunity for further education and improvement that has been offered to people doing identical work, just
reduced and eliminated by the fact that they did not work for a fish plant. It is a pretty scary thought. Couple
that with the fact that they cannot get employment, as there is no other alternative employment in my area
for these people, it is, indeed, a very tragic situation.



As the fishery has reduced, this situation has been further complicated by the fact that trawl baiters
now cannot even get the limited amount of trawl to bait that they did before, as the trawl was being baited by
the crews themselves. For the very limited quotas they have, it makes it very difficult to get any work at all
as a trawl baiter. So, their job has virtually been eliminated.



I would like to, though, draw your attention and table some documents here and sincerely thank our
Minister of Fisheries, the Honourable James Barkhouse, for the substantial efforts he has made on behalf of
these people. I am going to read just a few excerpts from letters and I will table each letter as I do so. This is
a letter that goes back to July 8, 1994. In the second paragraph, it says that, “These are individuals who bait
trawl for the longline fleet and although a few are employed by a fishing enterprise or plant, most are self-employed.”. It goes on in the paragraph to describe that “. . . Eastern Nova Scotia are especially hard hit”, by
the fact that they have not been included in this program. I think these letters are very important to have on
record here, to show the effort that the province has been putting forward on behalf of the trawl baiters and,
indeed, the efforts we have been trying, to get these people included.



I will read you another letter, a reply from a letter from the Honourable Brian Tobin, Minister of
Fisheries and Oceans. Again, I will just read a few excerpts, and I would encourage members to read these
letters in detail; “Determining an individual’s eligibility for TAGS is linked to their attachment to the fishery
and the unemployment insurance (UI) benefits that they qualified for during the past few years.” Indeed, the
people I am talking about meet this criteria. “As you know, the eligibility criteria for TAGS were developed
through an extensive consultation process with all stakeholders. Industry, governments, and fishermen’s
organizations . . .” and so on. This process, however, missed the trawl baiters and it is unfortunate that,
indeed, we are even having this discussion here today. I would like to table that letter as well.



I will read you another excerpt from a letter of October 13th, this time from the Honourable Lloyd
Axworthy, Minister of Human Resources Development; “Under TAGS, the federal government has set aside
$1.9 billion, over a five year period, to help displaced fishers and plant workers with a substantial historical
dependence on the groundfish fishery.”.



It goes on further in the paragraph; “Our funding is not unlimited and because of the already large
number of affected fishers and plant workers, it was not possible under TAGS to extend assistance to other
categories of workers.”.



I understand the minister’s dilemma with financial resources, as we have seen here in the province.
The thing that really upsets me is the people who are affected by this are not being compensated. They are
not getting the educational opportunities that other people in the TAGS program have. I would like to table
that letter as well.



I would also like to bring forward a letter from October 24, 1994, in which the Honourable Jim
Barkhouse, Minister of Fisheries in the Province of Nova Scotia, replied to Lloyd Axworthy’s letter; “The
correct circumstances are that these workers are employees of fishing enterprises (which qualified under the
TAGS criteria) and that, as such, deductions were made for U.I., C.P.P. and Income Tax as would be the case
if they were employed by a designated plant . . .”.



This indicates that these people were doing identical work, with the deductions coming off the same.
However, they could not be included because they were not plant workers. It is a total injustice for the people
in this fishery and the people in my community. Again, I would like to table this letter.



I would like to read a reply from that letter, again from the Honourable Lloyd Axworthy, addressed
to the Honourable Jim Barkhouse; “Your letter, following my earlier response of October 13, 1994, informs
me that the persons in question are not self-employed and have established a legitimate employer-employee
relationship with employers directly or indirectly involved with the groundfish fishery. Despite this additional
information, the workers in question would still not meet the eligibility criteria of TAGS as they are not
employees of designated fish plants.”. Again, the fish plant criteria, doing exactly the same work; again, an
opportunity missed by the people in my area.






I would also like to draw attention to a resolution that I put forward in this House, Resolution No.
1465, which was unanimously passed in the Legislature in support of the trawl baiters in my area. I did send
copies of letters and these resolutions to the minister and basically came up with the same answer.



Madam Speaker, I think this is a tragedy for the people in my constituency and the people of Nova
Scotia who are trawl baiters and have not been included in this important program to re-educate and to re-employ them.



Madam Speaker, I hope that the speaker after me, the Honourable Jim Barkhouse, will reinforce these
arguments. I would like to table the last letters I have here in this regard. Thank you.



MADAM SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Fisheries.



HON. JAMES BARKHOUSE: Madam Speaker, I am very pleased that the member for Eastern Shore
has brought a very important matter to the Legislature this evening. He, along with the member for
Guysborough-Port Hawkesbury and other coastal MLAs have been working very hard on behalf of their
constituents to have people who have participated in the fishery have fairness and eligibility extended to those
fisherpeople who now, in some cases, have been unable to obtain participation within the TAGS program.



I compliment all the members who have taken part in the debate and in the campaign to enable their
local constituents to get a fair hearing and appeals. We know that, for instance, Pat Fougere in Canso who
had spent a lifetime in the fishery and who had worked as a spokesman on behalf of many people in the past,
has not been able to obtain benefits from this program.



I will just outline the benefits that have been described in the manual, which was to help people.
TAGS is guided by a number of principles designed to help people help themselves and that was emphasis
on individual career planning, provision of assistance linked to active adjustment, access and duration of
assistance, based on the individual, historical groundfish industry attachment and an integrated approach
stressing individual and community involvement, emphasis on sustainable economic development and the
long-term economic future of Atlantic Canada. There is career planning and employment counselling
assistance given to people who have worked in the fishing industry.



The criteria had been established by the federal government under Human Resource Development
and the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans. It is very unfortunate that some people in Nova Scotia
have not been able to receive these benefits. There is a series of appeals and, in numerous cases, we have
lodged the first level of appeal and the second level of appeal without success. I have had some of my staff,
personally, intervene and try to expand the criteria, but, unfortunately, the federal government has established
this set of guidelines and they have adhered to those and, with that, the trawl baiters, such as described earlier,
have not had the good fortune to receive the opportunity to take part in the TAGS program.



The TAGS program is a program that would enable people to get out of the fishery and get some
assistance in setting up their own business or further training. We believe it is essential, particularly in rural
Nova Scotia, where the fishers have been out of work - particularly on the Eastern Shore - for the last couple
of years. This is a travesty to those people who have spent their lifetime and because of certain criteria, as
explained earlier by the member, these people have missed out.



I just want to compliment the members for their diligence and their hard work in trying to help their
people, who represent a very important part of Nova Scotia’s community, the infrastructure that is out there
that has sustained the fisheries for many years. A fishing boat that employs people who are not part of their
crew, have not been given the courtesy and have not been brought into this TAGS program. I am very
sympathetic to these people. We endeavour and we continue to try everything that we can to get the federal
minister to explore and review and re-examine this.



I know that from Newfoundland, a delegation went to Ottawa hoping that they could also bring in
some people who had missed out on the program. We know just how difficult it is for these families. We hope
that some way there will be a program that can be broadened out or maybe some of our own programs,
whether it is the Compass Program under Community Service or some of the other endeavours that we have
that will help the people in these coastal communities. For example, in the aquaculture industry as it expands
throughout the coastal regions, people can, hopefully, get retraining and work in cooperation with small
companies that are springing up throughout Nova Scotia.



Again, I just want to reiterate. I think the members in our coastal communities have taken great
strides, have made a sincere effort to help these people get some access to the TAGS program, because I think
these people are recognized in the fishing industry, as participants, have spent their lifelong working career
in the fishery and I feel should have been given fair treatment. But the criteria had been established, several
years ago at the federal level and they have chosen not to expand and broaden that definition. So for that,
there has been a misfortune and these people who have not had this opportunity to participate in what is a very
good program and for those people throughout Nova Scotia, many thousands of people have had the
opportunity to take part in the TAGS program, much greater than what was expected when it was earlier
announced.



It certainly was designed, at first, to help the greater number of people in Newfoundland who have
had need of this. Throughout Nova Scotia many thousands of people have accessed this program. But there
are cracks in it. People who have had a lifelong attachment to the fishery have missed out and I want to,
again, praise my colleagues who have taken extra measures to help these people and, again, without much
success. But we cannot give up trying and, again, the debate tonight is an example of the efforts through
which my friend from the Eastern Shore has made this matter aware to the public. Thank you.



MADAM SPEAKER: Are there further speakers to the debate? I see none. The debate has concluded
and we will stand adjourned until tomorrow morning at 11:00 a.m.



[The House rose at 6:16 p.m.]