Assemblée Législative de la Nouvelle-Écosse

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21 septembre 2017
























HALIFAX, THURSDAY, APRIL 20, 1995



Fifty-sixth General Assembly



Third Session



12:00 P.M.



SPEAKER



Hon. Paul MacEwan



DEPUTY SPEAKER



Mrs. Francene Cosman






MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. I just waited while the gallery guests were seated. We have some
introductions of guests. The honourable Premier would like to make the introductions.



The honourable Premier.



HON. JOHN SAVAGE (The Premier): Mr. Speaker, it gives me great pleasure to welcome three very
distinguished visitors sitting in your gallery at the moment. It is an indication of the way in which the G-7
is beginning to gather momentum that we are seeing people of this calibre in our city and in our community.



Allow me to introduce, if I may, Mr. Larry Lederman, the Chief of Protocol for Canada. You can
reserve your applause, as they say, at the end, if you would. Mr. Guy Yelda, who is the Assistant Chief of
Protocol with the French delegation, and keeping the good wine for the end, I suppose, without offending the
first two, His Excellency, Alfred Seifer-Gaillardin who is the Ambassador of France to Canada. We would
like to welcome them. (Applause)



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Premier.



THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I was expecting them to be sitting opposite there but I guess they got
in. I would like to welcome, or ask the House to extend a welcome, to some students from a very distinguished
school in the City of Dartmouth. Dartmouth High School is represented here by some 30 members and their
leader, Mr. Francis Lefort. Perhaps you could extend them a good, customary welcome. (Applause)



MR. SPEAKER: The daily routine.



707

 

PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS



PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES



TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS



STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS



GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Premier.



RESOLUTION NO. 152



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



Whereas the world has watched with horror the tragedy that has taken place in the past 24 hours in
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; and



Whereas given the devastation experienced as a result of the Halifax Explosion, Nova Scotians can
sincerely empathize with their grief and suffering; and



Whereas, as we speak, many innocent citizens - including the most innocent of all, several small
children - of Oklahoma City have lost their lives, many are still missing and countless others are injured;



Therefore be it resolved that this House write to the Consul General of the United States, Mr. Roger
Meese, and express through him to the American people our sincere condolences for their loss and suffering
and to offer to them our prayers, our hopes for a swift and just resolution to this outrageous act of violence.



Mr. Speaker, I would request 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 Premier.



THE PREMIER: May I also, Mr. Speaker, in keeping with that, suggest that the House might have
a minute of silence in memory of those who were lost and perhaps to pray for the recovery of those who are
still in that mess.



[One minute of silence was observed.]






INTRODUCTION OF BILLS



Bill No. 9 - Entitled an Act to Permit the Carrying out of Work Necessary to Provide Tourist
Facilities in Tatamagouche. (Mr. Edward Lorraine)



Bill No. 10 - Entitled an Act to Provide for the Financing, Construction and Operation of the
Western Alignment of Highway 104. (Hon. Richard Mann)
(Applause)



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



NOTICES OF MOTION



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Opposition.



MR. TERENCE DONAHOE: Mr. Speaker, my notice of motion addresses the same issue addressed
by the Premier but the substantive clause is a little bit different and if you will bear with me.



MR. SPEAKER: Fine.



The honourable Leader of the Opposition.



RESOLUTION NO. 153



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



Whereas the death toll from yesterday’s heinous bombing in America’s heartland of Oklahoma City,
Oklahoma is expected to dramatically rise in the next day or two; and



Whereas this vicious and cowardly bombing is an act of inhumanity; and



Whereas families continue to pray for their loved ones as emergency officials search for survivors
in the rubble of America’s deadliest ever terrorist bombing;



Therefore be it resolved that members of this Legislature on behalf of all Nova Scotians, extend our
prayers and deepest sympathies to the families so horribly affected by yesterday’s horrific event and that Mr.
Speaker immediately transmit this resolution to Governor Keating and the Speaker of the Oklahoma State
Legislature.



I would ask for waiver of notice.



MR. SPEAKER: Is it agreed?



It is agreed.



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



The motion is carried.



The honourable Leader of the New Democratic Party.



RESOLUTION NO. 154



MR. JOHN HOLM: Mr. Speaker, my resolution is also similar to that of the Premier and the Leader
of the Opposition.



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



Whereas the bombing of the federal government building in Oklahoma City was a horrendous act
of cowardly violence that has resulted in the loss of many lives and injury to many innocent victims; and



Whereas such acts of violence can never be justified in a civilized society; and



Whereas the depth of the senseless tragedy is shared by all people and nations with compassion;



Therefore be it resolved that this House extends its deepest sympathy and solidarity to the families
and friends of those killed and injured in this horrendous and cowardly criminal terrorist attack on innocent
victims.



I would ask for waiver of notice.



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



It is agreed.



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



The motion is carried.



The honourable member for Kings North.



RESOLUTION NO. 155



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



Whereas this government dropped its first by-election writ within 14 days of taking power in June
1993; and



Whereas in August 1993, the Premier was quite eager to call a by-election for the constituency of
Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley because, as he said, the people of that riding deserve representation; and



Whereas when the former member did resign and the writ was issued within three days;



Therefore be it resolved that since the people of Cape Breton West are in a similar situation now with
the resignation of the Liberal MLA, the constituents, as the Premier said of the people of Pictou, should not
be deprived for long of a representative.



[12:15 p.m.]



MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.



The honourable Leader of the New Democratic Party.



RESOLUTION NO. 156



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 1995 Queen Elizabeth High School Model Parliament opens today under the leadership
of NDP Prime Minister Ethan Clarke; and



Whereas the NDP were elected at QEH on the platform of genuine New Democratic policies; and



Whereas at least some members of this House believe the student body chose their Model Parliament
government wisely and on sound policies;



Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulates Ethan Clarke on being elected Prime Minister
and all other students elected to the 1995 Queen Elizabeth High School Model Parliament and wish them well
during their debates and deliberations.



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



MR. SPEAKER: Is it agreed?



I hear several Noes.



The notice is tabled.



The honourable Leader of the Opposition.



If I heard no Noes. (Interruptions) Oh, I see.



Well, in that event, there has been a request for waiver of notice. Is there unanimous consent that
that resolution be dealt with?



Is it agreed?



It is agreed.



Would all those in favour of the motion of the honourable Leader of the New Democratic Party please
say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.



The motion is carried unanimously.



The honourable Leader of the Opposition.






RESOLUTION NO. 157



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



Whereas the Minister of Education has once again dismissed suggestions that the cuts by his
government to our education system will, as he has touted, “not affect the classroom”; and



Whereas his dismissal is solely based on the fact that while the school board decisions being made
across the province may severely affect the classroom, they have nothing to do with his authority as minister;
and



Whereas the Dartmouth District School Board warned in this year’s budget that “residents of
Dartmouth and indeed Nova Scotia should be very concerned that further provincial funding reductions could
make it impossible to deliver quality programs to our young people”;



Therefore be it resolved that this Minister of Education, who has confused and disarmed our school
boards and educators in his drive for reform, heed the warnings of the Dartmouth board whose members can
only wish that they could hold to the minister’s promise that his cutbacks will not affect our classrooms.



MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.



The honourable member for Halifax Fairview.



RESOLUTION NO. 158



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 Premier yesterday advised this House that “anybody who believes the Human Rights
Commission is not independent cannot be living on this planet”; and



Whereas the official 1993 Liberal Party platform, in its sections dealing with race relations policy,
noted five ways in which the independence of the Human Rights Commission was compromised in crucial
respects and declared that a Liberal Government would “restructure the Human Rights Commission to provide
a more autonomous body”; and



Whereas this represents a growing memory deficit of the Premier, who exhibits more and more
symptoms of a chronic inability to recall essential facts every time his government announces and then
backtracks on a policy initiative;



Therefore be it resolved that this House recognizes the need of the Premier for a nice, long rest, and
wishes his well.



MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.



Are there any further notices of motion? If there are none, I wish to advise the House that the Clerk
conducted a draw for the Adjournment debate at six o’clock. The winner this afternoon is the Leader of the
New Democratic Party. His motion states:



Therefore be it resolved that the Government of Nova Scotia state its commitment to the clean-up
of Halifax Harbour by re-establishing its financial commitment made in the recently lapsed agreement with
the federal and municipal governments.



So we will hear debate on that topic at six o’clock this evening.



The time now being, I will say, 12:20 p.m., the Oral Question Period today will run for one hour,
that will be until 1:20 p.m.



ORDERS OF THE DAY



ORAL QUESTIONS PUT BY MEMBERS



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Opposition.



EXCO: EXPENSE CLAIMS - POLICY



MR. TERENCE DONAHOE: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Premier. I am sure the Premier is
familiar with his guidelines for monthly reporting of ministerial expenses, which he tabled here in this House
on June 14, 1994. The understanding of all members was that they were to take effect immediately.



Those guidelines were put in place, to quote them, Mr. Speaker, to “ensure uniform reporting of
current monthly expenses in a place where the public can see the information.”.



I ask the Premier today whether he will confirm that those guidelines are still in place and if, indeed,
they apply to himself and all Cabinet Ministers?



THE PREMIER: Yes, Mr. Speaker.



MR. DONAHOE: The Premier will know, through you, Mr. Speaker, that the guidelines which he
did table in June 1994 states, among other things, and I quote from the guidelines, “Ministers will report all
of their travel expenses and other expenses relating to the performance of their duties as Premier and
Minister.”, and that that includes all expenses paid for by corporate credit cards.



Can the Premier square for us now or explain for us now how it is that the Minister of Health has
set up his own reporting system, whereas his expenses are charged apparently to a corporate credit card and
are not filed in a place where the public has access to that information?



THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, as the Leader of the Opposition has so rightly said, we do have a set
of guidelines. In the vast majority of ministers and their statements, this is borne out by the figures. In the case
of the Minister of Health, who will answer for himself, I understand that there are some bookkeeping errors
but let me point out that as a result of the checks and balances process that we have introduced, these are now
visible and are transparent and available. So, even if there are some minor omissions or things that do not get
on the right page, they do get picked up in the Speaker’s Office and are easily checked.



I don’t stand up for the minister in this, I am just explaining the fact that, by and large, the expense
accounts and the way that the ministers are acting is in accordance, in the vast majority of cases, with the
recommendations that I made in June 1994.



MR. DONAHOE: Mr. Speaker, by way of final supplementary, I am sure that the Premier’s last
comments will mystify most Nova Scotians, as they do me. I asked him a moment ago if he would confirm
the guidelines are still in place and if they apply to himself and all Cabinet Ministers and he gives me on the
supplementary some gobbledegook about in the vast majority of cases. Well, it is either everybody or it is the
vast majority or the Minister of Health has special exemption or just what.



In light of that response and I note that the Premier wasn’t standing up for the minister or trying to
explain for him so we will have to await his arrival, I guess, given that the Premier is suggesting that while
there were errors and it doesn’t comply with the guidelines, he is suggesting, I take it from what he just said,
that the Minister of Health’s new expense system is okay with him despite the fact that it contradicts the
Premier’s 10 month old expense guidelines.



I ask by way of final supplementary to the Premier, through you, Mr. Speaker, if the Premier can
indicate whether that means that all Cabinet Ministers will now be charging expenses to credit cards and
filing those charges with the Executive Council Office because if Minister Stewart, the Minister of Health,
is able to do his thing and do what he wants, then why can’t any other minister?



THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, the intent of the regulation was to get people to do a common system
which, I might add, was extremely uncommon when the Opposition were in government. What we are saying
(Interruption), Mr. Speaker, what is not true is the control of Executive Assistant’s expenses and that is
something that we know very well was a very interesting item in the previous government.



What we are saying is the vast majority of ministers do this. I have discussed with the Minister of
Health this issue and I can assure you that every attempt is made to meet with guidelines. There are human
beings in government and any attempt, as the Leader of the Opposition told me before, this is not an attempt
to imply that Dr. Stewart has been cheating or anything like that, it is an attempt to try and get continuity and
the same way of reporting. That is our goal and the vast majority of people and the people of Nova Scotia
should appreciate that. The vast majority are doing that.



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



TRANSPORT. - HIGHWAYS: PUBLIC/PRIVATE - POLICY



MR. JOHN HOLM: Mr. Speaker, I would like to direct my question to the Minister of Transportation
who I listened to a little while ago in the Red Chamber trying to hoodwink and pull, if people don’t call it
boondoggling I don’t know what it is. The minister pretends that what the government is trying to do with
the privatization of the public/private partnership of Highway No. 104 is aimed at providing increased
savings, public safety and to speed the project up, yet it is the government’s . . .



MR. SPEAKER: Just a minute now. I hesitate to interrupt the member, but I want to point out that
a bill has just been introduced in the House and given first reading on this matter. We do not debate bills that
are before the House in Question Period. So I would caution the honourable member, in framing his question,
to be careful on that aspect, please.






MR. HOLM: Yes. I was trying to point out some boondoggles, Mr. Speaker, that surround the bill.
It has to do with policy. My question, since this government will be the one who will be appointing and
controlling the corporation through the Cabinet, if this government is truly committed to openness and
honesty, why is it this government is embarking on a process which will deny the Auditor General the ability
to audit, which will deny access through freedom of information and which will deny access to the Utility and
Review Board? I would like to ask the minister, why is he supporting such a boondoggle?



HON. RICHARD MANN: How many questions were there, Mr. Speaker? Did you count? The
legislation introduced today will accelerate the completion and construction of the western alignment of
Highway No. 104. That is why it is being done. There is no reference in the bill, if the member wants to take
the time and trouble to read it, there is no exemption from the Auditor General Act. He is making that up. He
is going to rewrite the bill while he is sitting there in the chair in Opposition, having not even read it. If we
are going to ask questions, let us get the facts straight before we start.



MR. SPEAKER: The bill has just been introduced. It has been given first reading by the House and
it cannot be debated here in Question Period. I hesitate to rule questions out of order, especially on the . . .



MR. HOLM: Mr. Speaker, I did not touch on the bill. I did not mention the bill, but the minister did.



MR. SPEAKER: Well, it appears that we are getting dangerously into the bill.



While the honourable member formulates his first supplementary, I would like to have a brief
introduction.



MR. HOLM: Mr. Speaker, I hope that the minister will stop trying to hide behind the bill.



MR. SPEAKER: We will come right back to you.



The honourable Premier, on a brief introduction.



THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, pouring oil on troubled waters, I would like to introduce the very
distinguished Member of Parliament for Dartmouth, the Honourable Ronald MacDonald. (Applause)



MR. SPEAKER: Now I will come back to the honourable Leader of the New Democratic Party for
a first supplementary.



MR. HOLM: Mr. Speaker, of course, the minister said the project is going to go ahead faster. It is
to be noted, however, that according to the Premier’s own comments of June 1993, given the minister’s
timetable, it is delayed now by two years. My first supplementary question to the minister. The minister has
been hiring consultants to prepare the proposal calls, hiring consultants to evaluate those proposal calls, and
in January, hired Arthur Anderson as a consultant to identify and negotiate with private sector and partners,
his role is to develop and analyze financial alternatives for the project and my question to the minister is, quite
simply, will the minister make that Anderson report public here on the floor of the House today?



MR. MANN: Mr. Speaker, no, I will not. There is some information contained in that report, it is
a scenario, a model presented to government, if you will, and we have to go out for a call for proposals to the
private sector and we will get the proposals from the private sector and the Arthur Anderson model or
scenario that we have may, in fact, be a negotiating tool if we do not get a better deal from the private sector.
But I do not think anyone would expect that we are going to go and give the private sector all the answers that
Arthur Anderson has gotten for us, to see if this can be done and if it is viable, before they, in fact, put
together their proposals. Some information will be shared with them on tolling, financing, revenue
projections, so that they will all be playing on a level playing field, but some of that information at this point
is owned by that company and, in the interests of fair competition, no, we will not table it today.



MR. HOLM: So, we do not know what the Anderson report says, we do not know what financial
analysis or alternatives they have prepared or suggested or recommended. In other words, the secrecy has
already begun.



My next question to the minister is, quite simply, this. He talked about $30 million worth of
provincial government money that is going to be going into this project. I would like to know how much of
the so-called remaining SHIP money is going into that, how much of that $30 million is Nova Scotia money,
how much of that money is going to be actually federal money as being proposed by the Anderson Report and
by the minister?



[12:30 p.m.]



MR. MANN: The member opposite wants the answer to the proposals before we have even gone out
for the call, that is what he is asking for over here. He wants all the details and it was would clearly explained
today that our next stage when this bill passes the House will be to go for a call for proposals or the private
sector will come back to us with proposals on how to build this highway and maybe answer some of those
questions. We anticipate putting 30 per cent public equity into this project. All monies expended through the
SHIP agreement are 50/50 between the province and the federal government.



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



TRANSPORT.: HIGHWAY NO. 104 - FUNDING (GOV’T. [CAN.])



MR. BROOKE TAYLOR: I would like to direct my question to the honourable Minister of
Transportation and Communications. The federal Minister of Finance in his February 27th budget announced
$326 million in transitional funding would be made available for highway improvements over the next five
years in Atlantic Canada as well as eastern Quebec. It is my understanding that Nova Scotia will see about
$95 million in the form of an annuity over some five years. I would ask the minister why he couldn’t have used
this money towards the twinning of Highway No. 104 instead of constantly saying there is not enough money
from Ottawa to construct the four lane highway between Masstown, Colchester County and Thomson Station,
Cumberland County? I don’t think you have to be a mathematician or a chartered accountant to figure out that
$55 million plus $95 million more than makes up the anticipated $113 million in cost to construct the
highway.



HON. RICHARD MANN: Indeed, in his February 27th budget Paul Martin did indicate an end to
the freight subsidy programs in Quebec and Atlantic Canada, not $95 million to the Province of Nova Scotia,
completely erroneous, $326 million in Quebec and the Atlantic Provinces over 5.5 years. Again, the member
opposite wants to wait until the year 2000 to construct Highway No. 104, the western alignment, that is
unacceptable to this government.



MR. TAYLOR: Again, I go to the Minister of Transportation, he knows full well that $55 million
would go a long way to constructing that highway. He also knows that the money that is coming in from the
federal government as a result of the cancellation of the Atlantic Region Freight Assistance will come in in
the form of an annuity over some five years. He could put that money together and build the highway and
Nova Scotians would not be forced to pay twice through a fuel tax and through tolls for a highway.



MR. SPEAKER: This appears to be more of a representation than a question. I would ask for a
question.



MR. TAYLOR: My question is simply this, can the minister tell the House and all Nova Scotians
when this province can expect its first payment from Ottawa in respect to the cancellation of the Atlantic
Region Freight Assistance Program?



MR. MANN: Mr. Speaker, they have the gall to mention the fuel tax, the fuel tax put in place in a
provincial budget in 1989 dedicated to the construction and maintenance of the 100-Series Highways in Nova
Scotia, the fuel tax that could, in fact, have built this highway but what happened in 1991? The Honourable
Charles MacNeil, the Minister of Finance, and whoever the Transportation Minister of the day and don’t take
my word for it, check the financial estimates of the Province of Nova Scotia, the money was taken in the 1992-93 budget year and put in general revenues and with it went the ability to construct the road.



The MRFA-ARFA funds that the member opposite is referring to. We are presently meeting with
the federal government. We have no indication yet when we are going to have access to those funds. We have
no proof yet, no conclusions have been drawn, what we can use those funds for. The general statements have
been made that they can be used for transition of hardship cases and freight subsidies. The money, Mr.
Speaker, that might be available, will be available per year up until the year 2000. It is not over five years,
it is over six years (Interruption) because it is not available. The cancellation of the program is not yet in
effect. There is no money available yet, it is not in effect.



So, Mr. Speaker, (Interruptions) the member should get the facts straight about the federal-provincial
freight programs and also on that dedicated fuel tax.



MR. TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, I do not argue that the Minister of Transportation has better
connections with the federal ministers, particularly the federal Minister of Public Works. My question is
simply this. How much less would the tolls be on the new Highway No. 104, as proposed by this government,
if that minister had have put the $26 million in addition to the $29 million that is there? I realize the member
for Cumberland South supported the wrongful confiscation. I realize that.



MR. SPEAKER: I hesitate to intervene here but that question is out of order, being hypothetical.



MR. TAYLOR: The question is not out of order.



MR. SPEAKER: The question is out of order as it is hypothetical.



MR. TAYLOR: How is it hypothetical?



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Opposition.



HEALTH - MINISTER: EXPENSES - CREDIT CARD



MR. TERENCE DONAHOE: Mr. Speaker, my question is back to the Premier and it has to do with
the expense account reporting system. I ask the Premier today if he will ensure that the very considerable
expenses incurred by the Minister of Health charged to corporate credit cards will, in fact, be disclosed, that
the Premier will, in fact, issue a directive or secure an undertaking from the minister - I don’t care which -
that there will be an immediate public disclosure of any and all such expenses charged by the Minister of
Health to a corporate credit card?



THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I have already said that I have spoken to the minister on this and the
answer is that this will be done. The imputation that this is something else is just worthy of the Leader of the
Opposition and no more.



MR. DONAHOE: Well, I do not know what is worthy of me but I do not have any trouble in
suggesting that what appears not to be worthy of this Premier, Mr. Speaker, is that he meant it when he said
in his statement, ministerial expenses will be reported regardless of the method by which they are paid. For
example, ministerial expenses may be paid by corporate credit cards, et cetera, but they are to be reported. He
can impute any, make any saucy remarks he likes back to me. The fact of the matter is that there are
thousands of taxpayers’ dollars being paid, expended, and not being publicly accounted for, as they were
required to be under this guideline.



Mr. Speaker, by way of supplementary to the Premier, through you, earlier the Premier indicated here
today that it is his understanding, that “the vast majority” of the ministers required to file and meet the
guidelines are doing so. When he uses a term like, the vast majority, it clearly, by definition, means that some
are not. I ask the Premier to tell this House today which other ministers has he discovered, perhaps including
himself, who are not following the expense disclosure guidelines?



THE PREMIER: None, Mr. Speaker.



MR. DONAHOE: So the Minister of Health is the only person not able or prepared to this point to
follow those guidelines. By way of final supplementary, will the Premier give an undertaking, having had the
conversations that he has with the Minister of Health, and that it being a relatively simple financial
computational exercise, that the amounts of charges to the credit cards could perhaps be tabled here today?



THE PREMIER: No, Mr. Speaker. I do not think it is reasonable that they be tabled at short notice
just because the Leader of the Opposition wants them. What we will do is what I have said we will do and that
is, we will discuss them and they will eventually be put before this House, but to expect, at a time when we
have a large amount of work to do, to account for this at short notice is unreasonable.






MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings West.



HEALTH - QE II HEALTH SCIENCES CENTRE:

 

BOARD CHAIRMAN - ACCOUNTABILITY



MR. GEORGE MOODY: Mr. Speaker, my question, through you, is for the Minister of Health. The
Minister of Health was kind enough to send over a ministerial statement that he is going to read later
regarding the report in the Halifax Chronicle-Herald this morning that alleges that the QE II board would
soon be revoked.



My concern is and I would ask the minister, the QE II board which looks after the four hospitals
which are part tertiary care and part community for the Halifax area and all of Nova Scotia, who does the QE
II board chairman report to?



HON. RONALD STEWART: Mr. Speaker, in response to the honourable member opposite, the
current board of the QE II is a transition board we have put in place to bring together the four facilities in a
new and, we believe, a most wonderful arrangement which will do very well by the citizens of the province.
The current chair would be responsive to the Minister of Health for that particular task.



MR. MOODY: So, then the board chairman of this hospital reports to the Minister of Health. It is
my understanding that the hospitals, the IWK and the Grace which are also tertiary care and regional
hospitals, will report to the Central Regional Health Board through Barbara Hart, who indicated today that
there would be some enabling regulations at Cabinet. Would the minister confirm that those hospitals report
to the central board and that there were enabling regulation changes today in Cabinet for the Central Regional
Health Board?



DR. STEWART: Mr. Speaker, I would beg the indulgence of the member opposite to state, perhaps
prematurely, that the information contained in whatever source, and I assume it was from the media report
because she was quoted in the media report, these data are untrue and unfounded and we will come to that
in my statement. Suffice it to say, the arrangements for all hospitals, eventually all medical centres in the
provinces, as has been outlined in the blueprint, would be that all facilities would respond through a
mechanism that is being developed to the regional boards.



MR. MOODY: Mr. Speaker, I am not quoting from the memorandum, I am quoting from Barbara
Hart who actually said that she was expecting today enabling legislation, which has nothing to do with the
memo. So, let’s get the two issues separated.



My concern is, why is it that the QE II board would report to the minister and yet the people
responsible for the Grace Maternity and the IWK would not also have its board report to the minister, which
is the same kind of tertiary care hospital but yet is run by the Central Regional Health Board? Can the minister
explain the difference?



DR. STEWART: The honourable member should well know that no hospitals have been designated
to date and will not be, we have suggested, at least before November of this year. Therefore, hospitals in the
province have the usual reporting relationship. The difference with the QE II responding directly to the
ministry is that it is a transitional board which is in place to do a particular function and that’s the difference.
All other hospitals, all other medical centres in the province have no change in their reporting or governance.
So, in essence, there is no difference.



I might say that in answer specifically to the question, was anything discussed in Cabinet or Priorities
and Planning, the answer is absolutely no, not in that regard. I believe Ms. Hart was responding to a question
based on erroneous information.



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



TRANSPORT. - SHIP AGREEMENT: AMENDMENT - INABILITY



MR. JOHN HOLM: Mr. Speaker, I would like to go back to the Minister of Transportation on his
statement of this morning. This morning in response to a question the minister said that they couldn’t use all
the money in the SHIP agreement anyway because it was intended to be drawn up until the year 1998 and the
project is to be completed by 1997.



My question to the minister is quite simply this, is the minister indicating that he and the Premier
and the capable staff that they have were unable to have the agreement amended to ensure that those monies
that would be owing to the province could be used and contributed to the cost of building Highway No. 104,
that they were unable to do that negotiation but they were able, by coincidence, to be able to negotiate the
arrangement to have that money intended for that project diverted to the minister’s riding and to the riding
of the federal ACOA Minister. How is it possible you could negotiate one and not the other?



[12:45 p.m.]



HON. RICHARD MANN: Mr. Speaker, first of all I would point out that I didn’t say we would not
use the money. I can assure the member opposite and all members that we will use every single penny that
we have access to from the federal government. We will do that within the life of the agreement, by the end
of 1998.



Mr. Speaker, each year in this province, through the SHIP agreement, we spend the maximum
amount of money we can spend to access those federal dollars. While there are budgets, if you will, for
divisions within our capital expenditure, repaving and others, that have been cut in accordance with the
expenditure control plan, we have not cut the money that we put to access the money from the SHIP
agreement. We take advantage of every penny we can of those 50 cent dollars, to put on those sections of
highway that have been identified as the priorities.



Mr. Speaker, the member is asking, could we have amended the agreement to accelerate construction
on the other projects? We are putting the maximum in each year. We didn’t have to amend the agreement
because the agreement already provides for those sections of highway; Highway No. 104, from Amherst to
Thomson Station, from Masstown to Truro, to Kemptown, to Salt Springs; Highway No. 101, from the
Beaverbank Road to the Mount Uniacke interchange; Highway No. 125, those are accommodated within the
life of the agreement.



What we cannot do and what members seem to be suggesting we should do is take all the money now
and spend it on all those projects. We can’t do that because we don’t have the money and the feds won’t let
us access the money that quickly, so that becomes an impossibility. So it becomes a question of scheduling
the roads and attempting to do them in a reasonable manner, Mr. Speaker. That is what we are doing and we
will expend those funds by the end of 1998.



MR. HOLM: Mr. Speaker, through you to the Minister of Transportation, the minister says the
project is going to go ahead more quickly, as a result of the project. Yet in 1993, in June, the Premier said the
project was to begin immediately but that it was now going to take three years instead of the two years that
it was originally going to take to complete the road. That means that in June 1993 the Premier was saying the
road was going to be completed by 1996, instead of the original plan for 1995. Now we hear it is to be
completed by 1997.



My question to the minister is quite simply this, does the minister and this government acknowledge
that a two year date later than that which the government said the project was going to be completed, is, in
fact, a delay and that the Premier then misled the people when he made the statement that the project would
be completed in 1996?



MR. SPEAKER: Now let’s be careful, we have asked one question already, we don’t need a second.



MR. MANN: Not at all, Mr. Speaker. What is fundamentally important is that you understand the
SHIP agreement and how it works and the ability to spend the money that is in the SHIP agreement. The
ability is not there to spend the money today. Every penny available in the SHIP agreement was spent in 1993;
every penny available to us in the SHIP agreement was spent in 1994.



Money could have been put on some of the other projects; the western alignment could have been
started but there was no money to complete it. I did not hear you stand up in this place and say, let’s stop
Highway No. 101, the money we are spending there, and spend that money on Highway No. 104. I did not
hear anyone say, let’s put on hold the twinning of the highway from Truro to Masstown, or from Amherst to
Thomson Station.



The point, Mr. Speaker, is that we spent every penny available to us. So if we were going to spend
it anywhere else, it would have had to come from the spending that was done and the twinning that has been
done since 1993 and 1994. There are no additional funds out there that could have been spent. That is what
the member opposite seems to be completely missing with each question.



MR. HOLM: Mr. Speaker, what we are not missing is that there is, in fact, $26 million less in the
fund because what we didn’t know was that the Minister of Transportation and his colleagues were siphoning
$26 million off for other pet projects. We know that the money has been spent, we don’t question that at all.
My final question is, supposedly there is $29 million left after you have taken the $26 million out, so my
question is how much of that $29 million that is left in the SHIP agreement, of federal funds, is the province
going to spend for that project and how much of it is this government planning now to divert away to yet other
projects that the government may see as high priorities?



MR. MANN: Mr. Speaker, first of all I haven’t siphoned off any funds. There is no $26 million fund,
there is no $26 million pot to take money from and spend. There is an agreement that allows if we spend
money on certain things, the federal government will match it. They did that, by the way, on a section of the
Fleur-de-lis Trail, total expenditure, $3 million. That $3 million has not jeopardized in any way, shape, or
form, the completion of any section of highway in the Province of Nova Scotia, it has not done that.



As I answered in a previous question to one of the members, we will accept proposals, solicit
proposals from the private sector. They will ultimately decide, through negotiation after we identify the
successful consortium, they will decide what the eventual cost of this project will be and how much it can be
billed for. We have a model, we have a scenario, we have a ballpark figure. We think, given the expertise that
is contained in the three consortia that have been short-listed, we expect they will even better the proposal,
the scenario that we have before us now. (Applause)



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings West.



HEALTH - QE II HEALTH SCIENCES CENTRE: BOARD - REPLACEMENT



MR. GEORGE MOODY: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Health. The Minister of
Health indicated to me that the board of the QE II Health Sciences Centre is a transitional board. I would ask
the minister how long that transitional board will be in place, when will it be replaced or will it be dismantled
after the transitional period?



HON. RONALD STEWART: Mr. Speaker, this is currently under discussion with the boards, both
the regional and transitional boards. I might say that our anticipation was originally that we would complete
the transitional period of two years or so. The problem, of course, that we must face, even at this early stage
is to make sure that we don’t suddenly have inexperienced people coming on to replace any boards in the
province, whether they be regional health boards or boards of particular facilities, so it might be a way in
which we would phase in a completely new structure and so on. That is under discussion at the moment.



MR. MOODY: Mr. Speaker, as I understand the minister, the transitional board may be in place two
years and after two years will disappear and the QE II will come under the regional health board?



DR. STEWART: Mr. Speaker, the Blueprint Report recommended a facilities management structure
which is currently under some initial discussion by the regional health boards in consultation with some of
the boards across the province now in place. I would suspect that that structure would be forthcoming within
the next year or so, we would have it well in advance of the changes that we would anticipate.



MR. MOODY: Mr. Speaker, I thank the minister for the answer. What we have established is that
the QE II transitional board or the board for the QE II will eventually disappear under his plan, it will be
gone? The regional board will eventually be in charge of that hospital as well as the IWK Hospital, the Grace
Maternity Hospital, is that what the minister is saying?



DR. STEWART: Mr. Speaker, yes, that is one scenario that is being discussed, on structure that
would be on a list of structures as we proceed throughout the next two years we will be discussing with that
board, with the several boards that are in place and with, of course, the regional health boards as well.



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings West on a new question.



HEALTH - QE II HEALTH SCIENCES CENTRE:

 

BOARD TRANSITIONAL - EMPLOYEES



MR. GEORGE MOODY: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister of Health. The employees at
the QE II, their employer presently, as I understand it, is the transitional board. But that could change with
the scenario the minister gave me when they are taken over by the Central Regional Health Board, is that
true?



HON. RONALD STEWART: Mr. Speaker, as one might suggest and as the honourable members
opposite from both Parties have suggested, the issue of labour and the employer and so on are very sensitive
issues which we appreciate along with members opposite. We are, with our labour adjustment committee and
our joint groups that we have established, going to have to be very careful, very attentive to the issues
surrounding that including employer/employee and the issues of parody and so on that come up as well.



MR. MOODY: I appreciate the sensitivity and I can understand the minister’s comment regarding
employees but what I am trying to get straight and what the employees say to me is that we are not sure who
we work for. If we now work for the new QE II Transitional Board will we, in two years’ time with the
minister’s scenario, be employed by the Central Regional Health Board? Will our employer change when that
transitional time has passed for that board?



DR. STEWART: I again will come back to the principle that we must operate on including sensitivity
and that would be to make sure that the labour adjustment committees and particularly the participation of
the employees themselves have a real role to play in determining the structure and that very question that the
honourable member poses and so I would not presume to impose as the Minister of Health on the committees
or on the labour people and the board any preconceived ideas that I might have or that anyone else might have
in terms of how best to meet the needs of the employees of the facilities and the needs of the population whom
they serve.



MR. MOODY: I am not trying to get into the sensitivity in negotiation, I am trying to figure out who
are they actually working for? The minister indicated earlier that the Central Regional Health Board would
be up and really going in September and I can appreciate that, sometime in the early fall I think as he
indicated. Would the minister indicate that in September that the employees from the IWK Hospital and the
Grace Maternity Hospital and Dartmouth General Hospital and the other hospitals in this region will then be
employees of the Central Regional Health Board? Is that what the minister has indicated?



DR. STEWART: No, I have tried to be as clear as I can be on this and that is to say that that
structure, the structure of facilities management that has been recommended in the Blueprint Report has to
have some time to get into place and to work. I would be presumptuous at best to suggest that this is the exact
timetable or this is the way it is going to work because it excludes the employees from having a part in that
decision-making and I would hope that the employees through the labour adjustment group and the
discussions with the current boards that are in place would help make that decision. I would anticipate that
that would be a transitional period of time which may occur within the next year and so on.



Let me say one thing in closing - and these are very reasonable questions that the honourable
gentleman opposite raises - in our investigation of how the structures have functioned particularly in
Saskatchewan and other areas which began health reform, one of the pleas that they made to us was do not
suddenly saddle the regional health boards with the management of hospitals and medical centres because that
was almost impeding of their progress and so we have been careful not to do that. I would again reassure the
honourable member opposite and the employees of those institutions that we will proceed along with them
in making those decisions, both the transitional board and the regional health boards.






MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Queens.



ENVIRON. - HEALTH ENGINEERING: INSPECTION - PERSONNEL



MR. JOHN LEEFE: My question is to the Minister of the Environment. In April 1994, the Nova
Scotia Department of the Environment assumed responsibility for environmental health engineering and
inspection from the Department of Health and in April 1, 1995, municipal health boards were done away with
as part of the municipal governments reform package and the Department of the Environment has assumed
the responsibilities formerly exercised by that board. There is tremendous concern across the province. I look
at news clippings from Oxford, from Digby, from the Amherst Daily News, my own constituency of Queens;
the correspondence I have had with the warden and in my own municipal unit, that there simply are too few
inspectors available to the minister’s department, in order to carry out the job that needs to be done. I wonder
what assurance the minister can give that, in fact, there will be sufficient personnel available to provide
adequate service to people of the province?



[1:00 p.m.]



HON. WAYNE ADAMS: Mr. Speaker, the question is rather timely, in that this week we have been
discussing with my officials the very question of concerns raised by a number of municipalities across the
province. I will tell the House today, that we are reviewing very carefully the situation as to the delivery of
those services of health inspectors across the province.



MR. LEEFE: Mr. Speaker, the Department of the Environment has established a number of regional
offices and suboffices working within each of the regions. I wonder if the minister would be prepared to
commit to the House and to the people of Nova Scotia, who are dependent upon this service from this
department, that rather than centralizing positions in Halifax or in the regional offices, every effort will be
made to beef up the area offices; for example, in western Nova Scotia, in Yarmouth and in Liverpool, in the
case of Cumberland County, for example, in Amherst?



MR. ADAMS: Mr. Speaker, I had some difficulty hearing the question, but I take it you are looking
for a more regional representation across the province? (Interruption) Within the regions. I will take that
under advisement at the present time. We want to make sure that what we do is done efficiently as well
effectively, for the good of Nova Scotia.



MR. LEEFE: Mr. Speaker, the department, as I have noted, has taken over those two responsibilities.
It has also taken over responsibility for gas and fuel oil licensing and, in addition, has a new Act, which places
additional responsibilities on the department. I notice that the government is anticipating, however, that there
will be three fewer positions available to serve Nova Scotians through the Department of the Environment
in 1995-96, contrasted to the past two years. I wonder if the minister would explain how he anticipates his
department will be able to exercise all these new functions with, in fact, three fewer staff?



MR. ADAMS: Mr. Speaker, again, the benchmark is efficiency and we are going to do the best we
can with less. We certainly will look at that question that the member puts forward.






MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Atlantic.



NAT. RES. - NSP: POWER GENERATION - COAL DOMESTIC



MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, I would like to direct my question, through you, to the
Minister of Natural Resources. It has to do with the current dispute between Nova Scotia Power Corporation
and Devco. You may recall that I raised this matter a couple of weeks ago with the minister, because I was
trying to determine the extent of the government’s commitment to its oft-stated position, to ensure that Nova
Scotia Power Corporation utilizes indigenous coal. The minister at that point, in response to one of my
questions, referred to the fact that the people at the table right now, they are big boys and the government is
going to stand back and let them carry out their negotiations. Well, fair to say that the big boys now are not
handling things very well, that the matter is involved in very significant litigation. There was, I believe, a 42-page statement of claim filed by Devco on the matter and there are thousands of Cape Bretoners that are
directly tied to this industry that are very concerned about the future.



I would like to ask the minister if, on behalf of the government, he would indicate to this House and
to all Nova Scotians, the true commitment of the government on this matter, regardless of the details that can
be worked out between the two parties. Will the minister indicate that this government is, in fact, truly
committed, that if coal is going to be burned in Nova Scotia, that it will be Nova Scotia coal?



HON. DONALD DOWNE: Mr. Speaker, to the honourable member, I appreciate the question and
as the question was posed, I believe, a year ago or thereabouts, I made the statement in the House then and
I confirm again today, that the Government of the Province of Nova Scotia strongly supports the development
and the sale of indigenous Nova Scotia coal for the use of power. I also made it very clear then and I did in
the previous conversation that, yes, this is a corporate battle between a Crown Corporation and a private sector
initiative, a private sector company and, yes, they are taking their battle to the street. But I believe very
clearly, that it is to both their interests to find a resolve and I am confident that they will find a resolve to the
battle now taking place.



MR. CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, I think many thousands of Nova Scotians and myself, we were
looking for perhaps a more clear confirmation of the government’s commitment, similar to the kind of
commitment made when this government was running for election back in the spring of 1993.



My first supplementary. The agreement, the contract, the 33-year master agreement that was signed
by the parties with respect to the provision of coal to Nova Scotia Power also had the Province of Nova Scotia
signed on there; it was also there as a signatory. The matters, in terms of the details of that agreement, are
at some question, and I want to ask the minister if he would agree to table that agreement, so we can take a
look at it so that all Nova Scotians can take a look at it, in order to try to resolve some of the uncertainty that
currently exists in terms of whether there is, in fact, a future for coal and the coal industry in Nova Scotia?



MR. DOWNE: Mr. Speaker, in regard to the contractual arrangement between Devco and the Power
Corporation, as indicated that the province signed into that agreement. I will endeavour to go back and review
what our commitment is in regard to the contractual arrangement between the two, if, in fact, the previous
agreement was signed where the province was a signatory could be tied into the fact that at that time the
Power Corporation was a Crown Corporation and now it is a private company. I will endeavour to go back
and review that with our staff to determine if there is a responsibility of the province. If we have such a
responsibility and we have a document, I will be very happy to table it.



MR. CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, I look forward to hearing that response, as do many Nova Scotians,
in the near future.



My final supplementary to the minister is the whole question of an energy policy for Nova Scotia.
It was a fairly significant part of the Liberal Party’s plank, especially in Cape Breton, that they were going to
bring an energy policy to the province forthwith, after being elected. We still have yet to see that. I would like
to ask the minister if he would give us an indication here, this afternoon, whether we can expect to see a real
energy policy which indicates clearly to Nova Scotians this government’s commitment to using indigenous
Nova Scotia coal; can we expect to see that in the very near future?



MR. DOWNE: Mr. Speaker, in regard to the review panel that has gone around, chaired by Mr.
Baker, the report is before me. I will bring the report back to the Cabinet and upon completion of that report
and the process, and we will be happy to inform the members of the House exactly what the position is.



I think it is very clear that this government has always supported and will continue to support the
use and the development of indigenous resources in the Province of Nova Scotia. It is very clear that this
House and this government is certainly encouraging both parties, in regard to the negotiations, to continue
negotiations, to sit around the table, stop the corporate sabre-rattling that is going on. They realize they have
to get to the table and negotiate, and we are very confident that they will, to reassure the member. We
certainly have encouraged that process, that they sit around the table and find a resolve to the problem, that
will benefit all Nova Scotians when it is resolved.



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



TRANSPORT. - HIGHWAY NO. 104: ALTERNATE ROUTE - TRUCKS EXCLUSION



MR. BROOKE TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the honourable Minister of Transportation
and Communications. To my knowledge, in North America, certainly in the United States, anywhere you go
that there is a toll road, there is also an alternate route. I am wondering if the minister can tell the House
today, and Nova Scotians, that when the new toll highway is open, whether or not he intends to close the
existing road to commercial vehicles except for local delivery?



HON. RICHARD MANN: Yes.



MR. TAYLOR: Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and yes, I do understand that. It tells me that this minister,
irrespective of what he says, the trucking industry . . .



MR. SPEAKER: This is not a question. I ask for a question.



MR. TAYLOR: The trucking industry has some very profound concerns, Mr. Speaker, about this new
toll road and if you happen to be driving a Super-B train to Amherst after this highway comes into existence,
you will have no option but to travel that highway and if you were delivering lumber from Brookfield to
Amherst and made four trips a day - which is theoretical, not hypothetical . . .



MR. SPEAKER: Question, please.



MR. TAYLOR: It would cost you, Mr. Speaker, some $128 and the line between profit and loss . .
.



MR. SPEAKER: This is not a question.



MR. TAYLOR: The question is simply this, the line between profit and loss is very minimal and
sometimes you need a microscope to find it. I am going to ask the minister if he feels that this will create a
very real financial hardship for the carriers, for the receivers and the shippers?



MR. MANN: Mr. Speaker, the information given to me by professional revenue generating
forecasters, one of whom is one of three recognized companies in the world, whose figures are accepted by
the financial community, is that the cost per kilometre per tractor trailer, for example - because of the shorter
distance and the time saving on this section of highway - will result in an overall cost increase to the trucking
industry of approximately $1.00 per trip, not $128.



The member has chosen to completely, and I cannot for the life of me, on four trips, using any
scenario that I have seen or any suggestions made to me, understand how you could ever come up with $128
with a limit on the number of axles charged. I guess, you know, we choose to listen to what we want and we
ignore the other comments. So, there would be a limit, certainly my intention would be to a limit on the
number of axles charged. The overall cost, about $1.00 to tractor trailers.



I have certainly, and personally, canvassed trucking associations and trucking companies to confirm
those numbers and, in fact, they have confirmed those for me. I would not suggest for a moment that there
are not truckers who would say, in fact, that is not true. But, Mr. Speaker, on the information given to me,
the cost per trip, per truck, will be in the area of $1.00.



MR. TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, I understand the speed limit on the new toll road will be some 110
kilometres per hour. I am wondering if the minister can tell us if he has done any analyses to indicate as to
whether personal injury or property damage will increase as a result of a speed increase from 90 kilometres
an hour to 110 kilometres an hour, as has been done in other jurisdictions?



MR. MANN: Mr. Speaker, the research, the scientific data and the suggestions to me by, again,
professional companies who were brought in - because of their expertise in these matters and to advise, as
recommended by, among others, the Auditor General - indicate that with virtually all traffic on this highway
being through-traffic travelling at the same speed without all of the entrances and exits, the hundreds of exits
and entrances that presently exist on the existing Highway No. 104, that that, in fact, will probably be the
safest highway and the safest section of highway in the Province of Nova Scotia. (Applause)



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Pictou Centre.



MUN. AFFS. - INFRASTRUCTURE PROG. (CAN.-N.S.): FUNDING - OUTSTANDING



DR. JOHN HAMM: Mr. Speaker, to the Minister of Municipal Affairs. Nova Scotia’s share of the
federal-provincial infrastructure program is $207 million. That is $69 million for each of the three levels of
government. My question to the minister is, how much of the $207 million has not been awarded for Nova
Scotia?



HON. SANDRA JOLLY: Mr. Speaker, I would believe the amount would be about $15 million.



DR. HAMM: Mr. Speaker, I thank the minister for her quick answer. By way of a supplementary,
when will the minister be recommending the projects to round out the program?



MS. JOLLY: Mr. Speaker, of the $15 million that has not been expended, only about $9 million of
it has not been committed. We have projects that have been committed, are in the process of being approved
by the management committee and by Minister Eggleton, himself. So there is approximately $9 million that
is left that hasn’t actually been committed of the $207 million.



[1:15 p.m.]



On an ongoing basis, we are receiving requests from the municipalities and as we receive them, we
are trying to deal with them and put forward further nominations for that amount of money. We have had in
a number of instances, Mr. Speaker, monies that have been allocated for certain projects that municipalities
have changed their mind on the project or they have decided that they would like to spend it on another
project. We are dealing with those as they come in as well.



DR. HAMM: Mr. Speaker, I again thank the minister for the answer. Those projects that have been
announced and the minister has made reference to them in her answer, which are not going forward,
obviously, will free up money for other projects. On what basis will that money be awarded? Will it be
awarded to the same areas where the original projects haven’t gone ahead or will it just go into the pot and
be awarded across the province according to some other priority?



MS. JOLLY: Mr. Speaker, as the member is well aware, the amount of money was allocated between
the 18 counties that we have in the Province of Nova Scotia. The amount of money was based on 50 per cent
on population and 50 per cent on unemployment levels. That allocation of money to each of the counties that
we have in Nova Scotia, in actual fact, we are not looking at making any adjustments out of those counties,
per se. So, if one municipality came forward and said that they couldn’t use the money, then certainly, we are
looking at the money generally staying in the county. That is not to say, though, that if a municipality decides
not to do a project that they automatically have a right to that money, in actual fact, we are basing the
allocation of money based on the project that is submitted by the municipality.



MR. SPEAKER: A new question, the honourable member for Pictou West.



HEALTH - PICTOU: DETOX CENTRE - RELOCATION



MR. DONALD MCINNES: My question is to the Minister of Health. The detox centre which is
operated under the Drug Dependency of your department, sir, has been in Pictou for many years. The facility
there is getting may be a little older, but rumour on the street in Pictou is that it is going to be moved to New
Glasgow. Is there any truth in that?



HON. RONALD STEWART: Mr. Speaker, I thank the honourable member for that question, it
allows if there is rumour on the street maybe I can help with the rumour or maybe make a more accurate
rumour. I will try to do the best I can.



As I understand it, the facility is in need of significant repair and the group there is looking to other
quarters. There are several, I think there are three or four options they are considering. That decision has not
as yet been made. I should say that as soon as it is made by the group, I would be happy to convey that to the
honourable member when I find out.



MR. MCINNES: Mr. Speaker, as I said in my opening question, that I realize the facility is not in
as good a shape as we would like. The fact is that there are facilities in the Town of Pictou, the Children’s
Training Centre is a good facility, which has been closed down since June 1993. It was facility that was used
by the Department of Community Services and was well used but it is an excellent facility. I would hope that
the government, in their wisdom, would look at that facility because, the truth is, the agricultural office has
been moved from Pictou to New Glasgow; the Provincial Court is suggested to be moved to New Glasgow;
so we would like a few things to stay in the Town of Pictou. The mayor has spoken to me about it. I would
ask the minister again to please review this matter and give consideration to using the facility which is owned
and paid for in the Town of Pictou and not being used.



DR. STEWART: Mr. Speaker, I certainly will take that under advisement and convey it to the local
group that is doing the investigation of this particular issue. That is one of the options, as I understand it, that
they are considering. As soon as I find out more, I would be happy to speak to the member or speak to the
House.



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



The honourable Minister of Natural Resources on an introduction.



HON. DONALD DOWNE: Mr. Speaker, through you to the members of the House it is my pleasure
to introduce, His Worship Ron Lane, Mayor of Liverpool, sitting in your gallery. I would ask the members
of the Legislature to give him a warm greeting, and we welcome you here. (Applause)



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.



HON. RICHARD MANN: Mr. Speaker, prior to Government Business I wonder could we revert to
the order of business, Statements by Ministers.



STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Health.



HON. RONALD STEWART: Mr. Speaker, I rise today in response to a report contained in the later
edition of the Halifax Chronicle-Herald this morning which described a memorandum supposed to have come
from my ministry.



The memorandum alleges that the powers of the QE II Hospital Board would soon be revoked. This
memorandum, apparently in its original form, was delivered as we have learned, late yesterday to the office
of a reporter with that newspaper. The reporter attempted to contact me for comments several times last
evening. I was attending meetings and did not return to my lodgings until 12:35 a.m. and did not contact him
as a result. He did also attempt to contact my deputy after hours last evening.



I wish to say at the outset that this memorandum is a complete and utter fabrication and hoax. If this
was designed in some perverse way to sow dissension or doubt or fear and confusion among the many
volunteers and among the professional staff who work so hard in our health care system, this will not work.



Officials in my ministry have been in personal contact with the Chairman of the QE II Hospital
Board and with some of the members, as many as he could contact before I left the office to come here and
I apologize for being late, and to reassure them that the tenor, the contents and the purported advice of this
memo certainly runs contrary and are unfounded to all of the recent conversations that I have had with the
board chairman, with executive of the board and the officials of the QE II Hospital.



This memorandum is currently being investigated by both the newspaper and by my officials. I beg
the indulgence of the members to understand that this just occurred within the last several hours and that I
attempted to gain as much information as I could before coming to the House today. I might say I did share
some additional information with the honourable members opposite, both Health Critics and the Leader of
the Official Opposition. Apparently, a call had been received by the paper just on my way over, stating that
indeed, this was a hoax, that it had been written by an individual as yet unidentified, for what reason we are
not certain, perhaps to embarrass the newspaper, perhaps to embarrass the minister, the department or the
board itself.



The investigation is continuing and I will certainly report the findings to this place and to the
individual members.



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings West.



MR. GEORGE MOODY: Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the minister for first of all delivering a copy
of his statement prior to making it, that is much appreciated. I do appreciate the minister saying that there
will be full report after investigation, to this House. I agree with the minister and it is very unfortunate and
I will table this, that this memorandum has the Nova Scotia Department of Health paper logo on it and that
is very unfortunate.



As the minister has indicated, this does nothing to help anybody. Whether it is a hoax or whether
it is a plot, I am pleased to see there will be a full investigation. I would hope that if it is proven that there
might be somebody in government that thought this was a hoax or a plot or whatever they thought it was, that
if it is determined that someone is doing that sort of thing that this minister and the Premier would ensure
that that person would be dismissed.



This is nothing to take lightly, because this does also upset a lot of people who are working hard on
the boards and all of those things, as the minister has indicated. This is not a game that should go on. I would
hope after that full investigation that if the person is identified who put this together as a hoax or a plot or
whatever, that that person, if it is an employee of this province and of the Minister of Health, would be
severely dealt with.



I thank the minister and I look forward to when this investigation is fully completed, that we will
receive a full report, so that maybe we will know the reasons why such a hoax or plot went forward and that
this will be stopped immediately. As the minister has indicated, there are a lot of people hurt by this. It is very
unfortunate that somebody thought they could do this as a hoax, for whatever reason. It is really not
benefitting anybody but hurting a lot of people.



I thank the minister for his assurance that there will be an investigation and we will get a full report
of the investigation and how this is dealt with, at a later date in this Legislature. Thank you very much.



MR. SPEAKER: Excuse me, before I recognize the honourable member for Fairview, I don’t believe
that this document should be tabled because it has been identified as a fabrication and a hoax and fictitious
documents ought not to be tabled in the Legislature, in my view, as the Speaker.



MR. MOODY: The point wasn’t the contents, my point was that whoever did this as a hoax had
access to the Minister of Health’s letterhead paper and that concerned me. But if you want me to withdraw
it, I have no difficulty.



MR. SPEAKER: I think it might create a dangerous precedent if we could begin tabling documents
here that had already been identified as fictitious.



The honourable member for Halifax Fairview.



MS. ALEXA MCDONOUGH: Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the minister for his statement and
particularly for his commitment to report back more fully to the House because to date he doesn’t have any
substantive information to share with all members who are concerned about the issues at stake here and I
think they are quite serious.



I have to say, Mr. Speaker, when I read the minister’s statement, he has to be engaging in self-delusion of gargantuan proportions if he thinks that doubt and confusion among volunteers and staff and,
frankly, the public as well, doesn’t already exist in relation to many of the issues to do with the QE II hospital.
Regrettably, I think that has been true ever since the premature decision on July 8th of last year, to merge the
hospitals, really to take advantage of a public relations bonanza during the Royal Visit and since, because of
the fact that this action went against recommendations of the Blueprint Committee, certainly went against
the preferred option recommended after all options were waived, about how tertiary level services ought to
be handled in the restructured, reorganized health care system, went against the urgings of the Provincial
Health Council.



I think it underscores, not to justify at all what seemed to be very unacceptable initiatives for who
knows what motive, nevertheless the best protection against this kind of chaos and controversy is for a more
open, consultative approach in regard to these decisions in the first place.



I just want to take the opportunity to reinforce the importance of the minister meeting, for once, the
deadline for the release, as promised, of his detailed response to the blueprint recommendations. Many of
these concerns would have been prevented and now, I think, can be allayed, if the Minister of Health finally
brings forward that overdue response to the blueprint recommendations, so that it is understood where we are
going to go from here.






I must say that further confusion and doubt was generated earlier in Question Period, in my mind,
in some of the answers given by the minister about where the QE II merged facilities may end up in the final
reorganization. I am less clear now than I was at the beginning of Question Period as to whether it is the
intention to further go against the recommendations of the blueprint and end up merging that into the Central
Regional Health Board, or whether the minister is finally going to act on the blueprint recommendations for
the tertiary level services to be incorporated into an external body that has representation from the regional
boards but that serves the province equally and is not problematic, in terms of being seen to be metro-focused
and metro-dominated.



So, Mr. Speaker, I look forward to the minister fulfilling his commitment to table that detailed
response. Maybe that will help to clear up a lot of the doubt, confusion and controversy that keeps being
generated around the QE II.



[1:30 p.m.]



GOVERNMENT BUSINESS



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.



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



PUBLIC BILLS FOR SECOND READING



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.



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



Bill No. 3 - Halifax Regional Municipality Act.



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



MR. BROOKE TAYLOR: I wonder could you perhaps indicate how much time I have exhausted?



MR. SPEAKER: I will let you know, approximately 40 minutes and a bit remaining.



MR. TAYLOR: I promise not to be too long but when we were summing up, essentially our prior
contribution to the debate, I indicated to the Minister of Municipal Affairs, that I did have some concerns
about what would happen to the assets of the Upper Musquodoboit Ratepayers Association and what would
happen to the assets of the Upper Hammonds Plains Village Fire Commission? The minister indicated that
if they were not in the name of the previous municipality, that those organizations would, in fact, retain the
ownership of the assets.



On Page 6 of the bill and perhaps the minister and she has been gracious to provide us with answers,
so to speak, to our concerns on Clause 8(2) on Page 6, suggests that, “Upon the incorporation of the Regional
Municipality, every authority, board, commission, corporation or other entity of a municipal government in
the County of Halifax and every joint authority, board, commission, committee or other joint entity involving
a municipal government in the County of Halifax is dissolved and their assets . . .” and I point out it states
that “. . . their assets and liabilities are vested in the new Regional Municipality including, with the exception
of benefits and entitlements . . .”.



The minister, I believe, suggested to my previous query, that I should look to Page 34. I am just a
little bit confused, which is probably nothing unusual in itself, but nonetheless the Upper Musquodoboit
Ratepayers Association does have a plot of land up there that is in the ratepayers association’s name and I am
hoping that the minister can clarify for me what exactly, if anything, will happen to that asset that the
ratepayers association now presently have? I would like to know and based on a meeting that Mr. Hayward
had in February up there, they would like to know. I wonder if the minister would be so kind to indicate; I can
continue going on but I wonder if she would make note of that?



There is also a lot of concern about the possible rate that we are presently paying, we as a
municipality to the province for taking over the J-Class roads. The Town of Truro suggests that the
maintenance, ice control, upkeep for a road, J-Class roads, is somewhere around $9,000 per kilometre and
while we may be getting a bargain from the province at $3,500 per kilometre, when the municipalities assume
full responsibility it, in fact, is going to cost them somewhere over $9,000. So, these are some of the questions
that many of the municipalities have that are going to be affected by this legislation. They are questions that
could be answered if this amendment, this hoist, were to be supported by the government and of course by this
House.



Again there are many concerns, concerns about assets. There is some concern expressed by
municipalities that while Halifax County has a mandate to site a landfill site, there is no guarantee at this
point as to where that landfill will go. Most likely and obviously, the landfill site will go in Halifax County,
if for no other reason because of population density.



The county, while they may have the mandate and in their terms of reference, they are able to site
the landfill, they are not sure about the other components to a regional waste facility, site, we presently have
a recycling facility out in the industrial park. Where are we going to have a composting facility? So, there are
many concerns relating to the disposal of our waste.



There is still a lot of concern about police service. What level of police service will the new regional
municipality receive? Can we expect there to be the same ratio in the urban areas, in the cities, as in the rural
areas? Surely to goodness, although it would be nice to have a ratio of 1 police officer to 450 citizens,
realistically I don’t think we can expect that but, perhaps in the more populated areas, that may be, in fact,
what they will be looking for.



There are also many concerns about pension plans. I am not sure if the minister realizes or not, but
many of the employees of the County of Halifax are non-union and they do have concerns about what their
rights will be when this new regional municipality comes into existence.



So, there are several reasons why we should support this amendment. It is a good amendment. It was
put forward by our Municipal Affairs Critic, the member for Pictou Centre and I know he gave a lot of
thought, a lot of consideration to the amendment. He is concerned about employees and he has reservations,
as we all do, about community councils and ratepayers associations. So, there are certainly lots of good, solid
reasons as to why members of this House should support the hoist. Again, Mr. Speaker, with those very few
words, I just want to indicate that I will be supporting the hoist, with those questions, and I therefore take my
seat.



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Atlantic.



MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise and have the opportunity to speak,
raise some points on the amendment to hoist or to pull Bill No. 3 for a period of six months, in order to
consider what are, I think, some fairly important questions in terms of the implication of Bill No. 3.



Let us not forget, Mr. Speaker, that this government, that is sponsoring the bill - and this minister,
who is sponsoring Bill No. 3 - is the same government that said, when they were running for election in the
spring of 1993, that they were not going to force amalgamation on the municipalities in this province, which
was, in fact, the very intention, often stated and very clearly articulated, by the former government, under the
leadership of Donald Cameron as Premier. Many of these members, when running for election in 1993, told
their constituents and other people in Nova Scotia that they did not feel that that was the proper approach,
they felt that it was much better, and would be much better in the long run, to not only sit down and examine
the costs and the benefits of amalgamation in an area like metro, but also to consider the different options that
any kind of amalgamation might take.



Would it be better, it was suggested, to consider service exchange, to come up with a regional police
force or a regional water utility or these kinds of things? To pose these questions in a manner that provided
the citizens of metro with an opportunity to consider all of the questions in some sense of time, in some sense
of reflection and, at the same time, to do all the tests and the studies and compile the data, in order that people
could also use that information to sort of throw into the mix, to try to reach a decision.



Instead, what we have had since the spring of 1993, nothing in terms of metro, until that fated day
in November 1994, when the Premier of this province called in the metro mayors and told them that
tomorrow, I think it was, if I reflect accurately what transpired, either the following day or within the
following week that a piece of legislation was going to be tabled which would facilitate for the amalgamation
of metro Halifax, that that was going forward. You will remember of course the controversy around the
selection of the amalgamations from metro which led to the eventual selection of Mr. Hayward and this
government has been going full bore ahead.



They are not providing the citizens of metro with any options but are saying, we are going to
amalgamate your municipal level of government into one. The boundaries are going to be basically the County
of Halifax with some changes, maybe, that all other services and facilities within metro Halifax involving all
of those different municipal levels of government, we are going to be in one way or another forced together.
That was it. That was presented, you may recall, after the citizens of metro had gone through a month-long,
five week election period where people had expended some money and voters expended some time and some
consideration in the issue of which candidate was going to provide them with the best level of government
and the best services in their particular municipality.



After that went through, then this government comes forward with the decision that we are going
to consider that, like that was a joke, that election of your municipal counsellors, your mayors was, in fact,
for the next three years, something that we had no intention of allowing to go ahead. Instead of being up-front
and dealing with it before the election and expending that kind of money, this government has decided that
they are going to impose it upon the citizens now. As you know, Mr. Speaker, that has caused a fair bit of
consternation within the population in metro Halifax.



There have been polls that have come out over the past six months which have indicated that there
is a certain level of support for amalgamation in metro. I think that that is something that we have all known,
that there is a certain level of support for the concept of amalgamation, if it can be shown to people to work,
to make services more efficient and less costly and if it will provide the same or a better level of
representation, then the people of metro have said, I think, that amalgamation is perhaps a good thing.



The problem and the reason why people have been so upset over the strategy that this government
has carried forward with is because they are not clear, the information has not been presented to them in a
way that is clear. The suggestion that it is going to cost them money, in terms of increased taxes, or it is going
to save them money, the information has not been clear and that has been a matter of some concern.



There has been a whole host of questions on why it is the government has decided to come forward
with this forced amalgamation that is proposed for and that is facilitated by Bill No. 3. Primarily, the stated
rational has been that it will be more cost-effective, that it will cost the residents of metro less money if they
have a unitary government, if they have one massive government covering all of the area encompassed by
Halifax County. Then it will realize them savings.



I think, Mr. Speaker, you will agree, and many members of this House will agree, that the evidence
is not conclusive in any way, shape or form, that in fact that is the case, not unlike the whole business about
amalgamating the delivery of police services in metro that was going to save x millions of dollars, the
proposal back in 1992, I think it was. In fact, when they sat down and started to consider the actual details
of amalgamating that, the savings were much less. There is some suggestion, depending on how staffing levels
are maintained, that there may not be any savings at all.



As a result, there was the assurance given to the residents of metro that that was going to be the case
. . .



HON. SANDRA JOLLY: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order, I would just like to clarify for the
honourable member that through the amalgamation study of the three regional police forces, there was shown
a saving of $1.2 million. But with the discussions with the councils, they decided not to access that savings
but, in actual fact, increase the number of police people by 14, which was what they, as the councils, decided.
Therefore, they increased the police staffing by 14 additional officers and still had a saving of $250,000 a year.



MR. SPEAKER: Well, the honourable member has made her point.



MR. CHISHOLM: I sincerely appreciate the intervention by the minister, Mr. Speaker, but the point
is that that is what the taxpayers of metro are faced with, a weighty tome, a report that says we are going to
have these millions of dollars of savings, this is the same with the municipal service exchange from one end
of the province to the other. Every municipality was told, you are going to save x hundreds of thousands of
millions of dollars and yet when the rubber hit the road, when it came down to dealing with the actual facts
and figures, when it came to crunching the numbers, all of a sudden municipal governments said, hold on
here, this is a far sight different from the information that the minister and her government gave us, in terms
of the benefits of service exchange. Not only are we going to be realizing a lot less savings than was expected
but, in some cases, we are going to end up paying more.



That is part of the point here, that in the case of the amalgamation of police services, the contention
was that there would be a saving of x dollars, and that is so easy to say, isn’t it, Madam Speaker, that
somebody sitting back in a room, not involved in the day-to-day operations of a given service, can read some
studies and do some reflection and can do some work on their calculator and come up with a number. But
when it comes to actually sitting down and working it out, what they found in terms of police services, for
example, was that a lot of the assumptions that had been made which led to the savings, in fact were
inaccurate. When it came to actually delivering policing services for the people of metro, decisions had to be
made in order to ensure that the same level is maintained, at the very least. So, all of a sudden the savings are
gone and the $250,000 is a minor portion of the total policing budget. That, in fact, could vanish, as a result
of some additional changes.



You see, Madam Speaker, that is an example of why the taxpayers of metro are as concerned as they
are about what the eventual outcome of this whole deal is going to be. This is no personal reflection on Mr.
Hayward, or any of the other individuals involved, but it is easy to sit back and look at things in the abstract,
to take anecdotal information, to take outdated data and apply all that to circumstances two years hence, and
project that under these circumstances you are going to realize these kinds of savings. Yet when the dust
clears, as it did in the case of policing services, when the rubber hits the road, when the real decisions have
to be made, the taxpayers of metro are concerned that they are going to not only see their tax rates go up, but
they are also going to see a decrease in the level of services they get.



[1:45 p.m.]



The minister and members of government may get up and say, well - as they tend to do so often - you
are fear-mongering or speculating in the negative, or whatever other kind of references they try to use to
denigrate any of these interjections. (Interruption) But my point is - and the member for Timberlea-Prospect
has heard this, he has heard this from the constituents of his riding that he represents, where they have raised
these concerns with him -and I am sure every member of this House that represents a constituency in metro
has heard this kind of concern from people in Halifax, Halifax County, Dartmouth, Bedford or Sackville, is
that they are not convinced at all that there is going to be a savings realized as a result of this amalgamation.
They still have an incredible amount of questions about this whole deal.



I think they would all feel somewhat better about this process if time were taken to present all of the
information, all of the possibilities and not tell people we are going to do this but to say, let’s consider these
options. Put a time limit on it. That happened, as I understand it, in New Brunswick, in Moncton, Riverview
and Dieppe. There was a time limit placed on the deliberations of those municipal governments in considering
options for amalgamation. (Interruption) That makes sense, you are right, you can’t allow the discussion or
the debate to go on forever, that is not going to service anybody’s needs. At the same time you have to provide
people, in a responsible, democratic process, with the opportunity to consider seriously, to reflect seriously
and to present some options, to present their views on different options that would resolve this whole question.






That simply has not been done in this case and I would suggest to you and other members of this
House that the whole proposal to postpone or to delay this process a further six months will serve the purposes
of providing the government with that opportunity. As always though, it is up to them to provide them with
the opportunity, whether or not they want to participate in that kind of a system is clearly up to them. Why
not head down that road unless there is some other kind of underlying reason here as to what is going to
happen?



Some have suggested that, in fact, the underlying rationale for this is that county MLAs were
concerned that Halifax County was going to be hit with very significant increases in their tax rates as a result
of the service exchange and that they did not feel that was something that was going to go over very well. I
think they were probably right; I think that was a legitimate concern. But is that a sufficient rationale for
throwing four municipal governments into total chaos, just because of the fact that another project, another
proposal, another initiative of this government is going to end up costing a certain group of ratepayers more
money? Surely there are other ways to deal with it, Madam Speaker.



It has been suggested that one of the problems with metro is that they are not able to resolve issues
they have through the Metropolitan Authority mechanism, to deal with things like garbage, policing or
sewage, that the Metropolitan Authority structure or process has shown itself to be totally inadequate as a
vehicle for resolving these very difficult problems.



Well, I think you are right. I think the Metropolitan Authority as a structure for resolving anything
is inefficient and ineffective and has shown itself to not work. But that is because of the structure, that is
because of the way, in fact, that this authority is set up to operate, not because Halifax, Dartmouth, Bedford
and the County politicians can’t come to agreement on anything. That is not the case, Madam Speaker. The
fact is that this authority does not provide a vehicle by reaching a conclusion, by reaching closure on some
of these difficult issues and, as a result, we have seen the spectacle of the garbage issue and other issues going
on and on at great cost to the citizens of metropolitan Halifax-Dartmouth.



Again, that is not reason enough, Madam Speaker, to throw the citizens and the municipal
governments in this great community of metropolitan Halifax-Dartmouth into chaos in order to try to fix a
problem. In fact, we would suggest that for questions of solid resource management they are questions that
the province should have dealt with; they are questions that were the responsibility of this province to deal
with. The issue of sewage and how to resolve that, the Halifax Harbour clean-up, the fact was the province
was involved in that because they realized it was more than just a municipal problem. Halifax, being the
capital city and given the economic attraction of Halifax in terms of the harbour, in terms of the container
traffic and so on, and tourism, that it was important for the province, as well as the feds, to be directly
involved in trying to clean up that problem. That is in the record, that is not something I have made up.



What we have seen is the provincial and then the federal government back off, not the municipalities;
the municipalities have had their money ready to go. It has been a complete mishandling of the whole Halifax
Harbour clean-up combined with the government now deciding that they are not going to use their dollars,
they are going to use taxpayers’ dollars another way and they are going to engage in some kind of a creative -
as they call it - private partner process in order to clean up Halifax Harbour. We will see what happens there.






Madam Speaker, by bringing all these municipal governments together it is not going to resolve it,
it is not going to simply be the answer to resolve those problems. It is not that simple, it is clearly not that
simple. For the government to be initiating a piece of legislation on that basis is obviously wrong-headed.



We have often heard the minister and other Ministers of the Crown say that metro municipalities
have to be amalgamated, in order to boost economic prosperity. The spectacle, they suggest, of having
business parks or industrial parks or commissions in Halifax or Dartmouth or the county competing with one
another for business is obscene or something, I guess - there is something wrong with that, is what we hear
from this government - and that the only way to do that is to pull everybody together and that all that
competition will go by the wayside and you will just have one industrial park commission, one business park
commission, which somehow will decide that this business will set up in Burnside, this one will be in Halifax
County. I don’t know how it is going to work. But by bringing it all together, that is going to solve that
problem.



[2:00 p.m.]



Well, I do not think it is a bad idea at all to have that kind of coordination, to have some level of
coordination. We have seen, I think, at least the initial signs are, that that kind of coordination in terms of
economic development can be successful. We now have metro-wide, I do not like to call it chamber of
commerce, but a metro-wide amalgamation of different interests representing the municipalities and
representing other interests within those communities, to sit down and deal with things like a marketing plan
for metro. I think that is good, I think that is extremely positive and I certainly was encouraged to see that
happen. But that did not need the political amalgamation of the different levels of government.



The other thing, of course, is that now you are going to have one, say, industrial commission which
is going to fix the prices for all the different commissions. It is going to set one price, I guess, for all the
different commissions. I do not know about you, but if I was a business looking to come to metro, I would be
somewhat more satisfied with the opportunity of discussing with each individual industrial park that I was
interested in how good a price they could give me or how much they could lower the cost.



MADAM SPEAKER: Honourable member, I am following your reasons very closely here and it
almost sounds like you are speaking to the principle of the bill as opposed to speaking to the amendment to
hoist. So, I just want to bring you back to that, please.



MR. CHISHOLM: Madam Speaker, what I was doing was to talk about some of the unanswered
questions that people in metro have around this whole process, the amalgamation of the metropolitan
governments, in that those questions need to be dealt with, they need to be answered and that that can be done
in the six months that would be provided for, if we were to vote in favour, as I am inclined to do, of the
amendment brought forward somewhat earlier.



So, my point simply is that, again, in Moncton, that was often cited as an example of where
municipal governments have come together, have merged to form one in order to get the business done and
what a great job they have done in attracting business. Well, in fact, they did not form one municipal
government, but they have come together on questions of attracting business, of attracting economic activity
to the region. They certainly have not bound themselves, none of those jurisdictions have bound themselves
to not having some flexibility, through trying to attract business. They have also been given some options, in
terms of how to resolve some of the competing interests and competing challenges. They have been given
some options and some time to resolve those themselves, in consultation with the citizens of their
communities, by the provincial government, Madam Speaker, not like the process that we see here in Nova
Scotia once again.



The whole question of how, in fact, this municipality, the metropolitan municipality now, is going
to be divided up. You will recall, Madam Speaker, that when this was first discussed, when the report of Mr.
Hayward first came out under the former administration, they discussed 20 different polling districts. When
he was hired by this government, he was still talking about 20.



Well, he had some representations from people who had some concerns. I can speak from part of the
constituency of Halifax Atlantic, the proposal under the 20 would mean that under Mr. Hayward’s original
proposal one polling district would be District 5, which is the county part of Halifax Atlantic, which is
basically Herring Cove, right around the loop, Duncans Cove, Ketch Harbour, Sambro, Williamswood,
Harrietsfield.



MR. ROBERT CARRUTHERS: What has that to do with the hoist?



MR. CHISHOLM: Well, if the member for Hants East would listen, instead of shooting his face off,
Madam Speaker, he might get the point, that this issue caused some concern for the constituents in that
constituency because . . .



MADAM SPEAKER: I would just like to caution the honourable member not to get sidetracked on
his debate. I think perhaps your language needs to be toned in or reined in. Shooting one’s face off perhaps
is less than appropriate.



MR. CHISHOLM: I have certainly been told that and I appreciate the direction.



Anyway, the original proposal was that District 5 would tie in with part of Terence Bay which, if you
are at all familiar with the geography, there is no physical tie between District 5 and Terence Bay. You have
to go back into the city, from District 5, into the City of Halifax and then around, by St. Margarets Bay Road
and back out Prospect, in order to get to Terence Bay. The idea of having those two areas as forming one
polling district caused some considerable concern, at least among people in the District 5 part of the county,
which takes in part of Halifax Atlantic.



Representations from those people from the county were made to Mr. Hayward and he now, not just
because of that but because of that proposal and others, has come up with a different plan, and that is 24
polling districts. That has the following effect - this is taking me a bit of time but unless you want me to
continue to say that is why we need six months, I would like to continue to draw that argument to a
conclusion.



Now, with the 24, what that has meant for Halifax Atlantic is that Mr. Hayward’s proposal is that
District 5 will now, that polling district that takes in District 5 will now extend beyond the city boundaries,
not into Spryfield but into part of what is now Ward 8 of the City of Halifax, taking off a bit of Ward 7, a bit
of Spryfield. He is suggesting that that will be one of the 24 polling districts and that another polling district
would take in, again, part of Ward 7, part of Spryfield, part of Ward 8 and part of Ward 5, I think, which is
just adjacent, which includes a further part of Fairview, I think, or beyond Armdale. Anyway, the effect of that
has been that there are some people in Spryfield, including the alderman that represents Ward 7, who feel that
this is going to divide up Spryfield and that people are concerned that they are going to lose their rink, or they
are going to lose this or they are going to lose that because Spryfield now is going to be divided up, part of
it on one side of the boundary, part on the other.



Because we don’t have any time to deal with that question to make further representations to Mr.
Hayward, to further consider the communities of interest that are involved here, some of those representations
will go unheard because the agenda now is that that proposal of 24 will go to the URB and the URB will make
a decision and if anybody wants to have any effect on that then they have to make representation.



One wonders if we had a further six months, let’s say, if people in Spryfield that are concerned about
the way their community is going to be divided on the basis of two of these polling districts in the 24 model
that they can make representations to Mr. Hayward and he would sit down and think about that some more
and maybe reconfigure things, but because this is being rammed through at the pace it is there is no
opportunity for that discussion and that debate. At some point there has to be closure on any issue but at some
point and we think it is too soon, the URB is going to have to make a decision and it will make a decision and
undoubtedly many people will feel that they have not had the opportunity to have a hearing before the czar.
That is a concern and I think that is a concern that perhaps could be addressed if we allow, if we support the
motion that is before us today.



Although I am not certain of that because unless you change the whole premise of this bill or the
process, in other words you provide people with some real concrete options and a deadline then you are going
to continue to have these kinds of problems coming up. The other concern that has been raised and I think
has some merit and that is the whole question of the establishment of these area councils, community councils,
and that these community councils which will be set up throughout the new municipality will have the
authority to establish area rates. Imagine if you will, you are going to have a main council that is going to
make decisions with respect, supposedly, to tax rates and yet you are also going to have community councils
which are going to add on to those or are going to change those in some way, shape or form.



The question is then that you are not only going to have community councils vying with the main
council for power and authority, but you are also going to have area councils fighting against one another over
different issues. I think that is also going to happen over development, over the way business is attracted in
that particular community, over schools, over all kinds of issues. (Interruption)



MADAM SPEAKER: Order, please. The honourable member has the floor.



[2:15 p.m.]



MR. CHISHOLM: The member for Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage’s intervention was so clear that
it was difficult for me to ignore it. I just say to him, through you, Madam Speaker, that I look forward to his
intervention on debate on this bill in order to clear up the concerns that someone with limited intelligence,
as I obviously have, compared to that member, and many of my constituents that raised these concern in
metropolitan Halifax-Dartmouth have, I will look forward, as will they, to receiving the explanations from
the member for Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage. It is unfortunate though that given the last six months, he has
done nothing to deal with these concerns, but maybe he will if he is given the opportunity. (Interruption)



MADAM SPEAKER: Order, please.



MR. CHISHOLM: Madam Speaker, it seems to me that the member for Cole Harbour-Eastern
Passage is saying that I am lying.



MADAM SPEAKER: The honourable member has the floor and you are also on the live wire, on
the television, so yours is the only conversation being recorded and that is the only one that I will try to
respond to. Would you please carry on.



MR. CHISHOLM: It is like I have often said, people don’t get a true representation of what actually
happens in this House by watching things on television. What they need to do is actually sit here in the House
and listen to the constant interventions by members like this gentleman from Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage
who won’t get to his feet and won’t actually participate in debate, but sits on the sidelines and make jabs which
are often personal and derogatory.



It appears in relation to community councils, they are going to be established on the basis of three
polling districts. The question that has been raised is - you and I both know that the community councils that
do exist now, that have existed, and exist because of a community of interest, because they are communities,
they share common things, they share common themes and interests and issues and they deal with them
accordingly - now we are going to have imposed upon us arbitrary communities of interest and I can’t see that
working in that manner.



Maybe, if we had the opportunity that is provided for in this amendment, if we had the opportunity
to actually consider these proposals in the full light of day, then maybe there is an explanation. Perhaps the
constituents of Halifax Atlantic who live in both the county and the city, the constituents of Sackville, of
Dartmouth, of Cole Harbour, will have an opportunity to not only review the questions at hand, see what the
proposals are in their entirety, have their questions and concerns addressed and get the matter resolved, that
maybe can happen if we were to give it some opportunity, but instead we have a situation where one person
is going about the area, and this reminds me of the first meeting that I attended - and this is perhaps at the
heart of my concern about this whole thing - the first meeting that I attended where Mr. Hayward made a
presentation out in Herring Cove, and he presented the information as almost as if there were choices.



The concern that most people in that audience had, was that, hold it now, you’re talking to us about
boundaries and about service delivery and about area rates and community councils and we don’t even want
this proposal. We don’t even want amalgamation. We haven’t even been asked yet whether we want
amalgamation. Here you are telling us that it is a done deal. That regardless of whether or not you think it is
a good deal or a bad deal, this is what is going to happen. So, it was a very uncomfortable meeting. It was a
difficult meeting, because a lot of people were at that point.



I would suggest to you that a lot of people are still at that point. They still have it in their heads, hold
it now, who decided that we are going to have one municipal government in metropolitan Halifax-Dartmouth?
Did this government say, did the Liberal Party say, when they were running for election in 1993 that we were
going to do that? No. No, they didn’t. In fact, Madam Speaker, they said just the opposite. It was the Tories
who said that we are going to merge, we are going to amalgamate municipal governments in metro.
(Interruption) Well, they didn’t say anything about consultation. There is talk about consultation now, they’re
trying to rewrite history a little bit. Then, they didn’t talk, but we are going to do it, bang, we are going to do
it this way. The Liberals and the New Democrats said that is not the way to do it, we have to engage in real
consultation, we have to lay the facts out before the people, we have to talk about options and then we have
to give people the opportunity to indicate how they feel about doing it. Has that been done?



No, it has not been done, Madam Speaker. People voted in 1993 against that kind of policy. They
voted for the kind of policies that the Liberals brought forward in their election plank, for consultation, for
democratic decision-making and so on. But then again, as we have heard so many times in the past two years,
that was then and this is now.



So I say, Madam Speaker, as I wrap up, you have indicated that my time is drawing to a close, I want
to say that part of the problem here - it is the same with so many policies that this group have brought in - is
that they are completely contrary to the promises they have made to the people of Nova Scotia. That sticks
in people’s craw like you wouldn’t believe. You have heard it, Madam Speaker, I know you have. You have
heard it in meetings in your constituency. It sticks in people’s craw, that this group, that this gang are
ramming stuff down their throat, when they didn’t even have the courage to talk about it in the election. I am
not one to make predictions, but we will see how it all works out.



My idea has always been that people are going to be a lot less resistant to change if they have an
opportunity to participate in how that change is going to happen. This government hasn’t allowed that to
happen and that is why we need six months, at least, the six months that is proposed in this amendment, in
order to provide people with the opportunity to get to this gang and tell them that this is not the way to go
when dealing with cost, service efficiencies and so on, in metropolitan Halifax-Dartmouth. Thank you.



MADAM SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings North.



MR. GEORGE ARCHIBALD: Madam Speaker, I think it is very appropriate that you are in the
Chair during this hoist discussion, because you are representing one of the areas of the province that is most
directly affected by this proposed amalgamation.



If we had this six months’ hoist, that would give members such as yourself six months to meet with
your constituents and explain to them exactly what this government is trying to do. Right now there is a great
deal of confusion among the people who are living in this metro region. The hoist will give you time to
consult, it will give you time to make suggestions and receive suggestions from your constituents and it will
give time for you to interpret both the Hayward Report and this Doane Raymond Report. Both of those reports
are most interesting and most informative and most misunderstood by members of this Assembly and the
general public.



Some of the confusion that is out there is regarding municipal tax rates and as a taxpayer from my
own constituency, I know how interested we all are with regard to paying our taxes. But some are suggesting
the taxes are going to be reduced in the rural areas and increased within the urban area and others are
suggesting that it is just the opposite and we are really going to stick it to the industrial base and the
commercial taxpayer. So, you see, with confusion like that running rampant, it should be hoisted so that you
would have time to explain to your constituents. I know there are other members from the metro region and
they could have meetings with their constituents to find out what the constituents in this metro region want.
That is part of being a member of the Legislature, meeting with your constituents and delivering the message
back that the constituents have to inform the government. The six months would certainly allow you an ample
opportunity to meet with your constituents and bring back an informed opinion to your caucus colleagues.



MADAM SPEAKER: I would just like to gently caution the honourable member that when the
Speaker is in the Chair, it would be more appropriate for you not to direct comments about the Speaker’s
riding. When I am not in the Chair, then there is a level of appropriateness to that comment. Now would you
like to carry on?



MR. ARCHIBALD: Well, look, I am sorry, Madam Speaker, if I said something out of line, but, by
golly, the people who live in the constituency you represent . . .



MADAM SPEAKER: I think the honourable member is back on the same track, so if you would like
to carry on on the hoist, please do.



MR. ARCHIBALD: I will tell you, I am kind of flabbergasted by your comments, but I will continue
(Interruption) Oh, does he? Well, perhaps he will speak. On March 21st, the honourable member for Kings
South indicated to the Mayor of Wolfville that we would not have amalgamation in Kings County until he
said it was okay. Well, look, I wholeheartedly agree that we are not in that big of a rush, but if it is not good
enough for Kings County, then why does this government feel it is good enough for the metro region? That
is a legitimate question.



Metro amalgamation concerns not just the residents and the members of metro, it concerns all Nova
Scotians, because we have a pattern that was set on Cape Breton and now we are having a pattern that is
being set in this area and the two are not similar at all. The region in Cape Breton has different legislation
and it has different rules and different regulations to go by, you see. So, we are plowing new ground. Why we
need two sets of rules, one for the Cape Breton region and one for metro, I am not sure. Social services are
now a provincial responsibility there and here they are not. I do not know. But if we had time, I am sure that
the Cabinet and the Liberal Government could explain it to the people of the Legislature and then perhaps
even explain it to the people that live in the metro region.



Now, the Town of Bedford is an interesting area, because it was incorporated in 1980, so really that
is the most recent municipal incorporation in the metro region. Prior to the last election, when there was
redistribution, we saw clearly what happened when, for some reason or another, there was one section of
Bedford that moved somewhere else and the people were upset and they are still upset now.



[2:30 p.m.]



I know that the honourable member who represents the people was upset and I know the member
worked vigorously to try to get it redrawn, so that all the people in Bedford are in the same constituency. So,
you can see how important to Bedford town boundaries really are.



Now prior to 1993, Premier Savage said amalgamation was a crazy idea. He promised to provide
information to the public before municipal boundaries or structures were aligned and realigned. Well, what
happened on the way to amalgamation, Madam Speaker? The Premier knew then, clearly and concisely, it
was before him in black and white, it is a crazy idea. But less than two years later, this very same man is
leading a government all over the place, going down in three different directions on the same road at different
times of the day. He has decided that amalgamation is good and let’s get on with it, lickety-split, and no time
for debate or informing the general public as he promised.



He promised to provide information to the public before municipal boundaries and structures were
changed. That is what the Premier of this Province, that is what the people who voted in the last election
overwhelmingly said; they wanted discussions prior to actions, they wanted to be part of the system, not
standing on the outside looking in, as they are at the present time. This government is doing nothing to endear
itself to the people of Nova Scotia, by taking this cavalier attitude, of we know best, be quiet and do as you
are told.



You know, what can the people of Nova Scotia do? Well, I will tell you what they can do and it is
not a whole lot. They can call the Opposition and say look, please do what you can, give us some time so we
can learn all we can about amalgamation, make recommendations and make suggestions. The people’s attitude
at the present time is, what can we do about it?



This government has a majority, they have 40 MLAs, there are only 8 Conservatives to uphold the
rights of the people and we cannot do it. All we can do is bring forth the point and bring forth the message
they are telling us, in hopes that the Minister of Municipal Affairs will relent and will listen and will
understand what the people are really saying.



The feeling is widespread, of, that they have just given up. They just said there is nothing I can do.
You know, when you get an entire region of the province, with over one-third of the population of Nova
Scotia, with an attitude of what can we do, the government is not listening, that is scary, that is truly scary
and it isn’t right. The government needs time to explain itself to the people in this province. The government
needs time to explain amalgamation to people; the government needs the time that six months would do,
because we are not talking about a small community. Take a drive some day from the Head of St. Margarets
all the way up the Eastern Shore. This is going to be one big city.



AN HON. MEMBER: The mother of all municipalities.



MR. ARCHIBALD: It is, indeed, with one-third of the population. With all of that, Madam Speaker,
with all the people and all of the physical size, is there anybody from this government who is willing to listen
to the people and bring back the message that the people are saying? I know that we have had (Interruption)



Now look, just a minute, Madam Speaker, the honourable member from Sydney, in the Cape Breton
area, (Interruption) there he is - you are a Whip - wants to speak. Now if I yield the floor to him, will I lose
my place?



MADAM SPEAKER: Well, I suspect you would, honourable member, and I would just caution you
not to be sidetracked and also caution you that you know the honourable members in this House have a riding
to which you refer and I would ask you to do that please.



MR. ARCHIBALD: Well, I can’t remember them all. I don’t have a list right in front of me.
(Interruption) Yes, when he was referring to the highway robber, he remembered. (Interruption) The
government needs time to explain to one-third of the population of Nova Scotia why we are going down this
road. The people in Nova Scotia took the man and took these members at their word. They elected several
municipal politicians who stood in their places and followed the belief of the Premier that said there would
be no amalgamation without discussion, no boundary changes without discussion with the people.



That is what the people of Nova Scotia believed and that is what they voted for. They had a choice
and they made it but, all of a sudden, we have this Draconian, autocratic, dictatorial government in here
telling people, this is what you are going to have. Not only that, they said, we are going to bring this bill in
and we are having a short session of the Legislature, it shouldn’t last more than two or three weeks.



Well, Madam Speaker, we have got news. This is not going to be a short session of the Legislature
because bills like this cannot pass through this Chamber quickly. Each member must have the time to talk
and each member must be given the time that a hoist would allow to approach their constituents and ask for
their input so they can return to the House and explain the feeling of the people in this region. That has not
been done.



One of the key things that people are interested in is saving money. The minister will tell you, yes
we are going to save money; how much, not sure. Show us where we are going to save the money. That is a
legitimate question and the answer is not there. If we don’t know how much money we are going to save, then
why are we entering into this new project? So, the government needs the time to do its homework. It is only
proper that if we are going to go into a program like this that the government honestly and truly find out
exactly what is going to come out the other end.



They have an old saying in agriculture when you are filling your silo, if you put garbage in you are
going to get garbage out. Well, in this case, what we are putting in here is a lack of information and when you
put a lack of information in, all you can do is get a lack of information on the other side. That is simply the
way it is.



One of the real concerns that I have, and I know that most members of this Assembly don’t seem to
share that same, is the employees. All of the savings that have been identified so far are because there is going
to be less people on the payroll. Well, is that a fact? Who are they? They would like to know and they deserve
to know. Which breadwinners are no longer going to be picking up their paycheques by the time we get
through this? I want to know. (Interruption)



Make fun, laugh at the people. You wouldn’t think it was so funny if tomorrow morning you were
told you no longer have a paycheque. Is the plan in here? Where is the plan? What are you supposed to do to
tell the people, the employees who are working for municipal governments now, who is going to tell them that
they no longer have a job? Is there any concern for those employees, the breadwinners and their families? Is
anybody in this government even interested?



Well, it says a lot . . .



MR. ROBERT CARRUTHERS: A question, Madam Speaker, I wondered, I was just listening, as
I always listen most intently to the honourable member, his last few comments have indicated his concern for
perhaps a reduction in municipal payrolls due to possible amalgamation. Is it the member’s position that he
seeks to see municipal payrolls increase or at least stay the same, that he is opposed to seeing a reduction in
municipal payrolls to save the municipal taxpayers money? Is that his position?



MR. ARCHIBALD: Oh, what a tricky question. (Interruptions) You would never know the guy
earned his pay being a lawyer, asking a question as dumb as that. Now, look, I said that I have a concern for
those employees. Does anybody else share that same concern? If you were the breadwinner in your family,
looking down the road at unemployment, and to have an MLA in this House stand up and make light of it and
poke fun at it, well, look, that is not the regard that I have for employees, whether they work for the province
or for municipal governments. We need to show respect to the people who work for governments.
(Interruptions)



AN HON. MEMBER: Karl Marx speaks out.



MR. ARCHIBALD: Well, I am glad that the member called attention to my concern, because perhaps
the minister he shares his caucus with would sit down and address this very serious issue - it has not been
addressed in this bill - and perhaps he will say, oh, we can’t address everything in the bill. Well, look, let’s
address something in the bill and let’s start with the people first, not last. You can’t treat the employees as just
kind of numbers, because they are not.



In my constituency there are a lot of villages and communities and they are so proud of Port
Williams, Canning and all of the accoutrements. They have a water system in Port Williams and Canning;
they built that up themselves. (Interruptions) They have the fire hall . . .



MADAM SPEAKER: I would just like to remind the honourable member that the water system in
Canning, and so on, I don’t think is quite relevant to the hoist amendment. So, if you would like to draw
yourself back to the hoist amendment.



MR. ARCHIBALD: Thank you very much. Why I mentioned my constituency is because I am more
familiar with it than I am with the metro region. I know the honourable member for Bedford-Fall River would
be able to talk about the pride in her village, and I know someday she will speak on this bill in this House.



What I want to tell you is that the villages and the communities in the rural part of this metro region
have accumulated a lot of infrastructure over the years, be it the volunteer fire services or water services. They
have done a lot of things through the community halls. What happens to all of those (Interruptions) Oh, look,
another smart alec sidebar - oh, they are going to move the well - don’t talk so foolish. They are not going to
move the well. But, look, ownership is important to the people. Now, look, if you think it is a joke, fine, I am
glad that I don’t have to be represented by a person like you. But the ownership of the water system, the
ownership of the volunteer fire equipment, that is important to people. Where in this bill is that addressed?



The people in my communities are proud of the accomplishments that they have made through the
water system and volunteer fire services and all of the trucks and equipment and so on. They are proud. All
the training that the volunteers do on their own, well, the people in this region have been doing the same
volunteer training in the fire service that they have, giving up weekend after weekend, and they are doing it
in metro. What happens to those people after this amalgamation?



People deserve better than what this government is willing to provide. All we are asking through this
hoist is for this government to go out and convince the people that they have some idea of what they are trying
to do through amalgamation. At the present time, metro people do not know. They deserve to know and the
MLAs from this region, and this government, have a responsibility to tell the people. Trying to force and rush
this bill through this House will not in any way own up to the responsibility that elected MLAs have.



We need the time to explain and to understand. The feeling of people . . .



AN HON. MEMBER: Just like Donald Cameron did?



MR. ARCHIBALD: Madam Speaker, you have a difficult chore here.



MADAM SPEAKER: Yes, I am aware of that.



MR. ARCHIBALD: Trying to control the riff-raff and the rabble and their comments.



AN HON. MEMBER: That $3,000 went to his head.



[2:45 p.m.]



MADAM SPEAKER: I will just remind the honourable member once more that we are all
honourable members in this Chamber and not riff-raff, so I am sure you don’t mean to leave that remark on
the record.



MR. ARCHIBALD: I really appreciate your intervention. In summing up, because I am almost
finished, I do want to say that you need six months and perhaps longer to explain to the people of this
province exactly what this government plans to do because we do not know and taxpayers of this metro region
do not know and they are the ones that are going to be picking up the tab for this and they have some rights
and your government has a responsibility to tell the people exactly what is going on. Thank you.



MADAM SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings West.



MR. GEORGE MOODY: I get up to debate the amendment to hoist Bill No. 3. I guess there are a
lot of reasons why this bill should be delayed. You know the government made the announcement some time
ago that this would happen and it was done in a very quick, hasty way when the Premier announced that we
would have this amalgamation take place. The problem with this is that the government, the Premier and the
minister responsible have hidden from the general public ever since. As a matter of fact, there has not been
a lot of consultations with the mayors and the councils on how amalgamation would take place. One of the
things this government said when it came to office, and you know about this, anyone who ran on the platform
knows that they said that any amalgamation would only happen after consultation and after municipalities
indicated they wanted this to happen.



In Cape Breton, the municipal units asked for this to happen, so be it. Here it wasn’t asked for and
is now being imposed onto the municipalities without the kindness of consultation. To me this government
doesn’t have credibility. You can’t have credibility on one hand, you say you are going to listen and consult
and then it only works in one part of the province or in one particular area and then it won’t work somewhere
else. I am confused on really what this government stands for. Does it stand for openness? Does it stand for
accountability? Does it stand for consultation?



You know many MLAs in this Legislature who were former councillors said that this wouldn’t
happen this way. When the former government announced that this might happen they were opposed to it.
They were going to do everything they could to stop it. All of a sudden this government got elected and the
Premier told them it was going to happen and they have gone with their tail between their legs and said
nothing. It is now a wonderful thing to do, although a year or so ago it was the worst thing in the world to do.



To me, I can take a position that I can stand and qualify and say, yes, but I will tell you (Interruption)
I am talking about, I have the fortitude to get up and say what I have to say and if other members want to do
that, Madam Speaker, let them do it, otherwise allow me the floor, one or the other.



MADAM SPEAKER: Order, please. The honourable member has the floor.



MR. MOODY: All I say, yes, I voted in the amalgamation of the Sydney area where the people
wanted amalgamation. We had a lot of discussion on what the actual bill said and on parts of the bill where
we had some discussion on what should happen. Here we have a piece of legislation that is not perfect. It is
a given fact that this government is going through with it. It is now important that all MLAs in this
Legislature read this legislation from one page to the end. It is a long bill, it is 99 pages long and if you read
the legislation, the reason we need the hoist is there are some very fundamental things that are not in this
legislation and there are some very fundamental things that need to be changed.



By allowing a six months’ hoist MLAs who have a responsibility, especially those representing the
areas that are affected by this legislation, have a responsibility to ensure that the concerns of all of the
residents are taken into consideration so that we end up with the best possible piece of legislation. If we are
going to have the legislation then let’s not have the government put its head in the sand and say any
suggestion that comes from anybody or any municipality isn’t going to be heard or the bill won’t be changed.
It is very important that the bill be changed, that there are areas where citizens have some understanding of
what it is this bill is doing. Whether we are talking about councils or committees that are going to be formed,
this legislation says that they shall be. We know that in the municipality of Halifax, we have these councils
and they may be formed if a community decides they need to be formed. This legislation does not allow for
that to happen if the citizens want it to happen, this says it has got to happen. Therefore, again, this
government is not allowing the input of the various communities to make decisions on what best affects them.



We also have, in this legislation, large areas of representation. I understand that if we delayed this
bill - we have not even gotten the polling districts divided up - but I understand people will be going around
to enumerate. Yet, we do not know what the polling districts are. There is a lot of work to do before this
amalgamation should take place. If the proper consultation took place and people could be assured that this
legislation would reduce taxes and give them more services, then I think there is not anyone who would not
support it. There is nobody around, who has convinced too many people that we are going to save a number
of dollars. There have been a number of figures thrown out, of what may be saved. In actual fact, we do not
know how many dollars, if any, will be saved by going this route.



There needs to be a definition of what a rural area is. If we look at what the council determines, what
the services and the rates are going to be, it talks about general administration, planning, development control,
building and protective inspections, contributions to school boards, contributions to libraries, industrial and
business developments and attractions, garbage collection and so forth. It does not say anything about roads
in the rural area, it does not say anything about policing and who is going to pay and what the rate is going
to be. If you read the legislation, it is on Page 40 - I am sure all members have read it - there are some things
in this legislation that have to be clarified. If you read the legislation, and all we can do, as MLAs on the
Opposition side, is read what words are here and interpret what is in the legislation. Therefore, it adds some
confusion. Maybe all members of this House know exactly why that is different for the rural areas and it does
not contribute to the other areas that I talked about, policing and roads and what level there is going to be and
so forth, if they are going to contribute anything. Or are the rest of the taxpayers going to contribute at all?
We do not know. That, if you read the legislation, is not clear. What we do not know, when you read the bill,
on the landfill issue, it shall be done by the county, but it can be anywhere in all four areas. It does not say
it has to be in the municipality.



So, there are a number of areas of this legislation that, obviously, need some work. Probably knowing
that legislation was put together - as I have said before, Bill Hayward has been out putting this together. You
cannot get a meeting of debate between the mayors’ points of view and the ministers’ points of view and the
Premier’s point of view. They do not appear in public, to give the rationale, to explain why this is going
forward in the manner it is going forward. I think, here is a government who is going forward and not doing
it in consultation or working together, which is the way most people would do it, but going straight ahead,
without that kind of consultation and working together.



We do have a lot of talented people in this province. We have a lot of talented people in the four
municipalities that will make up this one; a lot of talented people. A lot of people would be willing to work
to put together something that could be accepted by everybody, but right now we have issues that arise by the
day, and even questions from the legislation that we don’t get straight answers on from the minister. We don’t
know exactly what it means or how it affects the municipalities in the future.



All I can say, Madam Speaker, is if we have the kind of delay that I think should happen, it would
allow the opportunity for people to become better informed. I don’t think there is anything wrong with having
as many answers as possible, whether it is about the employees or some other aspect. There is a concern about
the employees. Nobody will know that this will work with the same number of employees, so there are going
to be less. Obviously there will be less people working. Now that is a pretty difficult thing, for so many people
who have worked for years, to handle.



What we don’t know, in some municipalities the workers are represented by unions, the County of
Halifax is not represented by a union, but we don’t know, and it is not in the legislation, it is silent on
successor rights, the answers are not there. If I was an employee in the County of Halifax, I would have a lot
of concern about that because those employees should be protected and have equal rights, equal opportunities,
so that the playing field is level for all employees no matter whether they are from one of the cities, or the
Town of Bedford, City of Bedford, whatever, or whether it is the Municipality of Halifax. It has to be a level
playing field. This legislation does not address that. The legislation does not address the level of policing that
will take place and whether it is far out in the municipality of what we know now as Halifax, compared to
what they have now. It is going to be set by the Minister of Justice, but yet somebody else is going to pay.



The whole road issue is another issue, Madam Speaker. This year, in the municipality, the province
is going to do it for $3,500 a kilometre; no guarantee that that will go on for 10 years, one year, two years,
three years, or whether it will go on at all after a period of time; absolutely no guarantee. The costs probably
are not going down.



Now there are a lot of issues that I think this government has to address, and I honestly believe if this
government had been sincere from the very beginning of consultation, they could have worked with the four
municipalities, the four mayors, and put together a piece of legislation that they could all support.



You know, Madam Speaker, those people ran for office thinking they would be there for three years;
that was a given. They took money to campaign and, now, all of a sudden, they find they are not going to be
there for three years. What would it have mattered had this legislation been done properly and kicked in at
the time that the new elections were going to take place, so that the proper consultation could have taken
place? What is wrong with that?



What I don’t understand from this government is that everything has to be done hurriedly and, once
they make up their minds, nobody is allowed to get them to listen to any of the concerns that people might
have. We were not in the position, these four municipalities were financially viable. It was not the same
situation as we had in Cape Breton, where it is beneficial for all of them to get together. We have a totally
different situation here, none of them are going to go broke if it waited another year before this all happened.
None of them would have gone broke, things would have gone on, life would have gone on and you could have
done this kind of legislation properly, with the proper input, with the proper consultation.



[3:00 p.m.]



This government chose not to do that. I have heard no rationale or reason that makes sense to me
that you could not have done that in that kind of a timeframe and done it in a way that you would have got
the kind of results that you are hoping to achieve in the long term. What you are trying to achieve is on the
financial side, nothing else. When the government takes only the financial side as a view, they forget about
compassion, they forget about consultation. They can forget that they are dealing with real people.



Here is a case where individual municipalities have no say, whether it is the Town of Bedford that
votes on a plebiscite on April 27th and April 28th. If it says no, they are going to be part of it anyway because
this government says, I am sorry, we are going to determine what is best for you. You people out there don’t
know what is best for you, we know what is best for you because we are the government.



Well, you won’t be the government very long if you continue to say to people, we are not going to
allow opportunity for whatever changes we make, the kind of consultation that will make this legislation
better. There are a lot of fears in the province; a lot of fear with regard to fire service, how they are going to
be affected, how this will affect them, very clearly, do you think that if you have one municipality that is all
one.



Right now, we have many areas in the Municipality of the County of Halifax where we have
volunteer fire service. We all know where the paid fire services are. Do you think the volunteer forever is
going to say, I am risking my life, spending hours training and I am part of the same municipality, only others
get paid and I don’t? There are big questions to answer of what we are doing to the makeup of our rural
communities of this province, of tying in those rural communities and trying to make them into an urban area
because, Madam Speaker, that is what we are doing. We are making rural parts of Nova Scotia part of a city
and saying, you are all one.



Now I, for the life of me, can’t understand how somebody thinks, even though there will be different
tax rates and obviously different services, of how that is going to work. Because of the geography and the
physical size of this municipality being created, it also creates a lot of problems.






We have difficulty understanding why, in this legislation, on the social services side, that it is
different here than what they built in in Cape Breton on amalgamation. One of the reasons that I said, and
I thought that where this government was going and praised the government for putting in that in the
amalgamation in Cape Breton, was to say we will be responsible for the total cost and we will have a one-tiered system, which is, Madam Speaker, I have never heard anyone in this House stand up on any side of the
House and say, I oppose the government taking over the total costs of social services and having a one-tiered
system.



I think we all recognize, as legislators, that the one-tiered system is the way to go. Now, if we could
hoist this bill for six months and we could take some time to go out there and go back and see if we could
incorporate that as part of this legislation so that the same system applies across one end of the province to
the other.



The Charter of Rights says to me as a Nova Scotian that if the government is providing something
in one area, I don’t understand why it is not providing it in another area. I for the life of me don’t understand
how the government can say, you as an individual, George, don’t have the same rights or the same privileges
as somebody else in some other end of the province, I am not sure how that would all come out. So the
government, obviously, could take a look at what it is doing and how it is doing it to try to bring some fairness
back in this legislation so that we have equality, we have the kind of consultation and we will have all of these
things worked out prior to this bill going before the House.



This government is now rushing this bill. This bill was put together very quickly and we are trying
to get through this bill in a number of days so that it will become law and we will have the election in the late
fall. Why? I have been talking and I am sure everybody has, to not only municipal leaders in these four
municipalities but also constituents who say, we want more information, we want concrete evidence that some
of the things that are being done are going to be beneficial. I say to myself, what is wrong with that? What
is wrong with a government producing, not soft information because if you read whatever report you get very
soft information and you get different information.



If we had had a bit more time and if the municipalities had had more time, I am sure they will say,
now that the bill has been put together and the municipalities will have a chance to go through this line by
line and they come back and say, there are fundamental changes that have to happen in this bill. The former
Minister of Housing and Consumer Affairs, when he put the bill out on credit unions, he allowed it out there
for six months. When he came back with the changes it went through this House very quickly. Why? The
proper consultation had taken place. People had the opportunity to go through that very thick piece of
legislation, everybody that was affected by that piece of legislation. It came back into this Legislature and
didn’t take weeks to pass. Why didn’t it take weeks to pass? The six months that that minister took allowed
the people of this province and those connected with that kind of legislation the opportunity to go through it
and recommend to him the new kind of changes that he brought back into this House as an honourable
minister and it went through very quickly.



That is consultation, that is fairness, that is what the people of this province want. This is not what
we got when we got this legislation. This is not the approach this minister is using, he is using the approach,
take it or leave it, ram it down your throat, there is no opportunity for the kind of changes that should take
place like took place in that other piece of legislation. I thought the government would learn when it had that
kind of legislation and saw how quickly that thick piece of legislation went through this House, that that
government would have learned how to handle this kind of legislation in the future. They didn’t learn a thing,
at least this minister didn’t learn a thing.



What we have now is this government going with a piece of legislation and I was kind of interested
to note in this legislation that the appointment of a CAO is advertised differently than the one in Cape Breton
was advertised. I wonder why? I don’t know. The one in Cape Breton was advertised in a way that I thought
was proper. It read, as it did in Cape Breton, that preference would be given to current employees and at least
a resident of Nova Scotia would have preference and the people in the system. This doesn’t address that. We
should have this in the Committee of the Whole House, as somebody has indicated, we have got so few
answers from this government in Committee of the Whole House that it is shameful.



We want this legislation to be allowed to be vetted in a public way by those that understand this
legislation, that deal with it day by day, that understand the workings of municipal governments so that they
can make the kind of proper recommendations for changes. That is the only way this legislation will be
improved. It won’t be improved any other way because this government won’t listen. I have failed to see them
make substantial changes in legislation once they ram it through.



Madam Speaker, obviously, in sort of summing up, you can fully understand that I support the six
months’ hoist. I hope that members of the government will give consideration to agreeing with this hoist so
that we all get the best kind of legislation that we can get, that will really serve the residents of these four
municipalities better. I am afraid that if we don’t hoist it for six months we are not going to serve those
residents better, we are going to have a piece of legislation that, in no way, answers many of the questions or
reflect the best way that amalgamation can be done for the four units.



I plead with you, Madam Speaker, and to all members of the House to really consider, what is six
months going to do. But it could affect the lives of many people of this great province and of these four
municipalities in a way that you can’t turn the clock back. If it is done right from the beginning, life will be
a lot simpler; municipal workers will be treated more fairly; we will end up with better legislation; we will
end up with achieving the government’s goal; and we will end up say, hey, a job well done. You can’t say that
now, but I know all members want, or wouldn’t come to this House, unless they wanted the best legislation
possible, and you are not going to get it unless you allow input from the municipal units and the residents of
these four areas.



Madam Speaker, I will take my place, but I will be supporting the motion to hoist this bill for six
months.



MADAM SPEAKER: The honourable member for Pictou West.



MR. DONALD MCINNES: Madam Speaker, I am pleased to have the opportunity this afternoon
to speak for a few minutes on the amendment as introduced by my colleague, the member for Pictou Centre,
the amendment to hoist this bill for six months. I want to say, at the outset, as I said when we were doing the
Cape Breton regional bill last fall, that I wasn’t basically in favour of amalgamation of the units in various
places in this province. I think I would be two-faced not to stand up here today and say that I think it is
probably the right way to go. However, I think it is important that we do consult with the units. The minister
rushed into the business and made the announcement one day that it was going to happen, met the mayors
to tell them what was going to happen, very quickly.






I think a lot of people across this province feel that the Halifax metro area should be one unit and
I can say I personally feel that it is the proper way to go. But, once again, there have been so many matters
that haven’t had the opportunity, the opportunity hasn’t been there for the officials and the residents to
understand the whole thing.



If I can, Madam Speaker, the commissioner, Mr. Hayward, has been around and had a lot of
meetings to try to answer some questions as to what should happen. The fact is, there were a number of polls
done and I want to take the opportunity just to tell you a little bit about them, so we can understand why I am
saying that there should be a six months’ hoist.



In October, 37 per cent were in favour of amalgamation, of those polled, and 46 per cent were
opposed. On March 23, 1995, an ATV News Omnifacts poll showed that 50 per cent were in favour of
amalgamation and 37 per cent were opposed to amalgamation. Another question was asked at that time, is
the province’s approach justifiable? Do you know that that poll showed that 70 per cent were opposed to the
government’s method of having the amalgamation take place, 70 per cent, and that 24 per cent supported the
method. On April 8, 1995, Corporate Research did a poll and 70 per cent to 75 per cent of the respondents
want more consultation on the metro union.



[3:15 p.m.]



That is a lot of people, that is the majority of people that do not want it rammed down their throats.
That is what this government is doing. That is what they did on the casino bill. They did not listen to the
people, but they put it through anyway. Now we have an opportunity here with this bill to hoist it for six
months, get out in the various areas and give everyone an opportunity for input so that they can come back
and have a good bill and have a bill that we would all be proud of and that citizens of the Halifax metro area
could understand.



I think I heard my colleague say that the Minister of Labour, when he was Minister of Housing and
Consumer Affairs, did the credit union bill. He introduced it in one session, took it back out. It went through
like that, and that is the one that came back in the session, because everybody had input. I think if this was
put on hold and brought back in the fall, when we have the fall session, which would probably be the latter
part of October, November, what is the difference for another year? What would be the difference? I would
like somebody to tell me what the difference would be, if it was not put through until 1996. What would be
the difference?



AN HON. MEMBER: Will the world stop turning?



MR. MCINNES: I don’t know if the world would stop turning or not. I think the water would still
come in and out of the harbour, (Interruption) Yes. I appreciate, the member for Queens is telling me, day
would be day and night would still be night. And we would give the people a chance. As I say, I think the
minister, the honourable member for Cumberland South, did an excellent job in doing the credit union bill,
putting it out and letting the people have their say.



I want to say, if I can, that I did a financial bill years ago and we did the same thing. We introduced
it in the House and then in the next session it came back. It was 157 pages and, to be honest with you, it
passed in 15 minutes. I couldn’t believe it. It passed in 15 minutes. (Interruption) If the honourable member
for Truro-Bible Hill has a question, I would be pleased to hear it. Now you’ve got me off my train of thought.
(Interruption) No, I am not going to sit down yet, for a few minutes.



We have other members over there that have been elected a long time. I am a good person for saying
this, but I believe in it. Those people that got elected over the years for a long time, like the members for
Digby-Annapolis, for Cumberland South, for Colchester North and whatever (Interruption) Oh, yes, good
members, and the member for Antigonish. Why do they come back to this House? Because they listen. They
listen to their people and here we have to listen to the people again and we should consult with them.



I believe Mr. Hayward. I have known Mr. Hayward for many years and I know that he has done the
best job that he possibly could. Mr. Hayward would be listening to the people. But do you know that in 1993,
Mr. Hayward said that there should be 20 seats in this new metro bill? I would like the minister just to follow
me and if I am wrong, she can correct me, but I think I am right. Now he is saying there should be 24 seats.
Do you know why he is saying that now? My understanding is because he was out there and he talked to the
people and he found out that there should be changes. He is saying that it should go from 20 to 24. Is that
correct?



HON. SANDRA JOLLY: Madam Speaker, on a point of order, a point of clarification. This
government has always committed to and has always followed through with consultation with the public prior
to making announcements, prior to making changes. Certainly, Mr. Hayward’s initial report did deal with the
fact of 20 councillors plus say a mayor elected at large. Through the 50 consultative meetings that the
coordinator had around the area - and I say 50 consultative meetings where he talked with the public - there
was some suggestion that the size of the population by reputation, the size was one of the things that should
be considered and that community interest lines that had been previously looked at as a tentative package
should have some alternations to it.



Mr. Hayward came forward with a tentative package, one that we knew from the very beginning
would have to have discussions with the public before we would move forward. I think it is also important to
note that the legislation very clearly calls for the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board will make the final
determination as to the number of polls that will in actual fact take place. The UMA Doane Raymond Report
that was requested by the four municipalities in actual fact calls for 22 seats. So as you can see, you are
looking between 20 or 24 and another report calls for 22, those are the types of things that need to be decided
by the Utility and Review Board with public input which is something the government has done from the
beginning.



MADAM SPEAKER: I thank you for that clarification.



MR. MCINNES: I do thank the minister for coming in on that. I felt I was correct but I am glad that
she brought those points out and that was my next line that the Doane Raymond Report is saying 22 seats,
so who is right? I guess that is the bottom line. Who is right? I think if we had a little more time maybe we
could find out who is right and then we would know how many seats there should be to represent the people.



The other item, of course, that is disappointing that is not in the bill and that is another reason we
would like to delay it, of course, is the fact that the social services costs are not in this bill. They were, of
course, available up to the Cape Breton area and I have nothing against Cape Breton, I have good friends from
that area but I don’t understand why we would have a bill here in Halifax which does not have a one-tiered
system. I am very disappointed that Bill No. 3 has this left out and it should be hoisted for six months and
maybe it would give the government an opportunity to find out with the costs would be and how much it
would cost and how they could do it and how they could bring it forward and I am sure have a better system
for all those concerned.



As I say, the minister met very quickly with the mayors, told them they were going to do it. They are
very concerned, I think it is common knowledge that they are all very concerned about, they are not saying
it shouldn’t happen, I don’t think any of them are actually saying it shouldn’t happen. (Interruption) I had
better not refer to yours, I guess, your area is very concerned, I understand that they are going to have a
plebiscite in that area in the Bedford area, I will just leave it that way, Madam Speaker, on April 27th and
April 28th and they are going to ask the people to express their opinion and I think that is fair. I think
Dartmouth is actually considering doing the same thing to see what the peoples’ reaction is.



I did read you the polls and I won’t go through that again about what was said and what those people
thought. As I say, the people aren’t all against it but the more time goes on it seems that more people even
talking in favour. A lot of people are concerned about the tax rate, what it is going to be. Even in my own
constituency, in Pictou County, there is talk about whether amalgamation will take place or not and they are
watching this one very closely. So the more time that we have down here to put this in place, I think, is very
important. The rural people feel their taxes will go up and they are concerned that they are not going to get
as many services as the people in the urban area.



If you live out in, I don’t want to start naming places, but Musquodoboit where my good friend and
seatmate sits, Musquodoboit Harbour area, are they going to get as many services as Dartmouth and Halifax?
I don’t think so. I think we have to have the government look at this. The citizens are certainly going to have
a lot less representation by members, as I mentioned the size of the council. I think that is very important that
we would be able to have that defined. The minister says the Utility and Review Board will do that in due
course but I think the people would like to know beforehand who or what is going to represent them.



Maybe we need a definition of what a rural area is. I think the landfill issue is also a problem. It says
that the landfill site shall be developed but it does not say where or that any other area will have input. The
Halifax municipality, I understand, is prepared to do that landfill site but it doesn’t say in the bill as to how
and what input the other municipal units will have. Now we are being told that the municipal units are told
to enumerate. How can you enumerate unless you know where the polls are? It is impossible, that is
backwards. You draw the boundaries and then you go out and enumerate.



The question, too, of the community council is a very interesting question. I have no doubt that
community councils could be quite a tremendous benefit to representatives. We all have organizations and
all our Parties, I am sure, people who have ten elected here have organizations and they are councils to us,
as members for our areas, they bring their concerns to us. I can see that a good community council, working
right, would be of benefit to the councillors who would sit on this new, metro, Halifax regional municipal unit,
I guess.



Now, what about the level of policing? Do we know what the level of policing is? I am told we don’t
know yet, we have no idea. Well . . .



AN HON. MEMBER: They don’t know and they don’t care.



MR. MCINNES: Well, I think that is very unfortunate that we (Interruption)



Now, the County of Halifax is also very concerned about their municipal employees; all the units are
concerned about their employees, whether they are going to have a job or whether they are going to be laid
off or whether they are going to be squeezed out. You can appreciate that they are concerned about that. That
is why I am saying it is important that we have a little more time, and all we are asking for is six months, the
House is going to be sitting anyway in the fall, no doubt. Well, it is, it is the rules, we have to sit two sessions.
So, we would have the opportunity to come back in here and, when everything is all smoothed out, the bill
would pass in two days, flying. I know it would.



Anyway, I don’t know much more. I just think we should listen to the people. As I say, I have had
the opportunity to sit in this House since 1978 and I still say the only reason I am here, is because I have
listened to what the people asked me to do and at least tried to do it. I say to you, there are a lot of you fellows,
members in this Legislature who have been mayors or wardens or councillors or whatever and I have yet to
hear any of you stand up and say, this is a good bill and we should do it. I don’t believe I have heard a soul,
other than the minister who made some comments when she introduced the bill. She answered my question
very nicely and I appreciate that.



Why can’t you wait? What is going to be wrong with waiting for six months? Could somebody please
stand up and tell me why we can’t wait six months? Then those councillors who were elected would be able
to serve out their term. A lot of those mayors and people who ran for office spent a lot of money. (Interruption)
Forty years they are saying. No, no, we are not saying 40 years, we are saying six months. I am saying I am
in favour of the bill, in six months time.



Anyway, Madam Speaker, I am pleased to have the opportunity to speak for a few moments on the
bill today. I guess I will be voting at this time for the amendment. Probably the bill will eventually get to the
Law Amendments Committee. I look forward to hearing what we hear when we do get to Law Amendments
because I think that will also give all members an opportunity to hear what really the people of the Halifax
metro area think. Thank you very much.



[3:30 p.m.]



MADAM SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Fairview.



MS. ALEXA MCDONOUGH: Madam Speaker, I welcome the opportunity to speak briefly on the
motion that is now before this House, which is a hoist bill as legislative jargon would describe it. A motion,
the purpose and the intent of which is to basically have the government withdraw the bill that is now before
the House and not bring it back for further consideration for a period of six months. I want to make it clear
from the outset that I am supporting the hoist bill that is before us. In the few moments available to me I
wanted to explain why.



I certainly do not want to suggest or appear to be suggesting that there isn’t room or an urgent need
for improvements in municipal government in this community and in every other community in the province.
I think there is just something fundamentally wrong with both the process that is going on with respect to
reform of municipal government here in the metropolitan area and in substantive terms, some quite serious
concerns about what this government is foisting upon the residents of the Halifax-Dartmouth and surrounding
area.



To put it kindly, I suppose, in irony, to put it perhaps somewhat more harshly but I would suggest
accurately, it strikes me as somewhat hypocritical for a government that is wanting to be seen as the champion
of municipal reform, wanting to be seen as the reformers of our democratic institutions, to go about this
process of reform in what is essentially a very undemocratic way. I think that creates something of a credibility
problem for the government, when you have, as we have here today in this Legislature and in this province,
a government that is now barrelling ahead with the amalgamation of the municipal units in the Halifax-Dartmouth area, that absolutely clearly, without leaving any shadow of a doubt about where they stood, prior
to the 1993 election, staked out their opposition to the approach that is now being followed.



We are not talking here about a government that came into office, discovered some unexpected,
unanticipated problems and was forced to move quickly to arrive at a position as to how to deal with these
problems. That is not what we are talking about here. If that were what we were talking about, I think the
public generally has a high level of tolerance and would be quite accepting that this government was moving
into a vacuum and taking upon itself the responsibilities of leadership to formulate a position and move
quickly to implement that position. That is not what we are talking about here. We are talking about a
government that took office in 1993, having actively campaigned against the very approach to municipal
reform that it is now hell-bent on pursuing.



So that is one reason why I think that it has to be recognized that what this government is proposing
to do with the passage of Bill No. 3, that is before us, is essentially undemocratic. It is not just a matter of a
government that does not have a mandate to do what they are doing, this is a government that strenuously
opposed the very approach that is now being taken.



I suppose, just to get a clear overview of the irony and the sort of hypocrisy of what is happening,
it is also noteworthy that the Official Opposition that is now making it quite clear that they are opposed to
what the government is doing, in advance of that 1993 election, proposed to do precisely what this
government is now proceeding to do. So it is, to say the least, a confusing picture for the public to try to
understand what brings us to this point where the Official Opposition is condemning the government for
doing what this government said, when in Opposition, it would not do.



I think, Mr. Speaker, for that reason alone it is surely warranted to suggest that we need a six month
period during which some of the confusion created by the complete, not just back-peddling of the government,
not just flip-flop of the government, but reversal of position by the Official Opposition as well - what that all
means, how we got into this mess so that some more careful consideration of reflection can be brought to bear
on where we go from here - I think that kind of argument for a six months’ hoist might be made in any
instance when a government wants a mandate to do one thing and, upon taking office, sets out to do exactly
the opposite.



There is even a more strenuous argument surely in the instance of a piece of legislation which
purports to be about our democratic institutions, purports to be about the reform of our democratic system of
government in this province as it relates to the governance of the municipal units in the Halifax-Dartmouth
metropolitan area. It surely is ludicrous to have a government say that we are committed to improving
municipal government, we are committed to reforming municipal government, but we are going to do it in
such a way that people who are directly affected by it, profoundly affected by it, are going to have virtually
no say in what happens and, in fact, in a way that absolutely minimizes the participation of the public for all
practical purposes in any of the decisions that get made.



I know that government members have tried to say, oh well now wait, that is not fair, that is not
right, Bill Hayward is out there meeting with people. Let me be very clear, Mr. Speaker, I have no criticism
for what Bill Hayward is attempting to do in this rather untenable situation. I think what Mr. Hayward is
doing is, to the best of his ability, getting out and talking with people about the decision that this government
has made and trying to fill in some of the blanks where there has been precious little information that has
really been brought to the public. I do not fault Mr. Hayward. I think he is an exceedingly capable individual
and I have nothing but high praise for his capability and have absolutely no reason to question his integrity
or the manner in which he is attempting to carry out this assignment.



Let me say, Mr. Speaker, that it was not Bill Hayward who chose to conduct a complete reversal of
the position of the Liberal Party of Nova Scotia with respect to how municipal reform ought to be conducted,
a reversal, that is, from the position set out and strenuously campaigned for during the 1993 election. It is this
Liberal Government that made a very different set of commitments during the 1993 election that has reversed
itself. I think it is ridiculous for Bill Hayward to, in some way, be either the scapegoat or the fall guy or the
lightning rod for frustrations that people feel about the unacceptable manner in which this government is
going about municipal reform in the metropolitan area.



The government likes to create the impression that the time for participation is passed, the matter
is urgent and, furthermore, that there is only one option worthy of consideration, that there is only one
alternative that makes any sense, that is supportable. Therefore, instead of giving people any major say, any
meaningful opportunity in shaping the decisions about the form and structure of municipal governance in this
community from here on in, that Big Brother provincial government, headed up by the Municipal Affairs
Minister, is just going to barrel ahead unilaterally and impose the only alternative that this government, I
guess, can even visualize as the way to go.



Well, this government may be lacking, Mr. Speaker, in any understanding of various options; this
government may be lacking in the creativity to enable it to visualize and analyze and bring to the public more
than one option. But that is not the same thing as saying that no other options exist, that there are no other
alternatives. It is a bit like the federal government that is trying to convince people, because we have a
horrendous deficit and a severe debt, that there is only one way to go about dealing with it. That is exactly
what this Minister of Finance has done.



We now have a Municipal Affairs Minister who insists upon the same approach - to say we have
challenges with respect to municipal government; there is only one answer to those challenges, there is only
one possibility for tackling some of those problems and coming up with a new approach - it is the one that
this government has chosen unilaterally and, for Heaven’s sake, don’t interfere with our timetable; it has to
be done and done now.



Well, Mr. Speaker, it shows a profound ignorance, it seems to me, about the very nature of municipal
government. Perhaps that is not altogether surprising to some people. Some people may say, well, this
minister has not had any particular experience in the world of municipal government, but I don’t think that
it is just this Municipal Affairs Minister who should wear the criticism and the condemnation of the people
of the metropolitan area for the manner in which this government is proceeding with municipal reform.



This minister has 40 colleagues and, furthermore, a fairly impressive number of these colleagues
have, themselves, had a good deal of experience in municipal government. I think that alone, Mr. Speaker,
is one of the reasons why people are really quite dismayed about the non-consultative manner in which this
government has chosen to proceed with its solitary, unilateral imposition of its one option formula for
municipal reform.



Now, I don’t know whether this is right or not, Mr. Speaker, but I guess one of the things that we all
try to do in Opposition is try to understand, where are these government members coming from? What is the
haste? Why would these government members say, no, we have to do it right now, we have to do it our way,
there is only one way, the heck with what the municipal officials think, the heck with what the citizens think
and, furthermore, any suggestion of a six months’ hoist is irresponsible, because we have got to get on with
it in a great big hurry?



[3:45 p.m.]



Well, one suggestion that has been made is that there, in fact, is a fairly significant cadre of former
municipal councillors, particularly from Halifax County, who are members of this government caucus. Not
very many of them have made it into the Cabinet yet. I am just looking around to see whether any of them
have. But a number of them are working on it, and working diligently, to try to make it into that inner Cabinet
circle. (Interruptions) That is right. They applaud ministers when it is important to do that and they take the
fall for other ministers when that seems to be the thing to do.



Mr. Speaker, I think in their haste - well, let us give them their fair due - to be doing a good job as
members of this caucus, I think one has to also ask the question of whether there is not a disproportionate
representation of those former municipal members from the metropolitan area, especially from the County
of Halifax, who have a very legitimate concern about the adverse impact that is going to be felt, particularly
in the County of Halifax, as the implications of the service exchange begin to be understood and, more
importantly, begin to be felt by the taxpayers.



I do not think there is any question that if this municipal reform were not rammed through, that if
this truncated, collapsed timetable were not pursued, that, in fact, a good many of the constituents of those
former municipal councillors, now sitting in the Liberal caucus, we would hear a good deal of howling from
those constituents and those taxpayers, as the financial consequences of the provincial-municipal service
exchange plan began to be felt in those parts, particularly of Halifax County.



So, perhaps it is necessary to understand that context, in order to have an appreciation of why those
former municipal councillors, far from being really sensitive to what is in the best interests of municipal
reform and what kind of reasonable, democratic process is the most responsible one to pursue, that those
councillors may still be behaving as if they were municipal councillors that were concerned about their own
immediate backyard and what the negative implications would be of that service exchange as the increased
costs to the County of Halifax were being experienced, unless this government moves ahead very quickly to,
in effect, blur the effects of that, to ensure that there is some blunting of the financial impact of that service
exchange, which is exactly what we will see here, Mr. Speaker, if the government is not prepared to support
this six months’ hoist, which I think all reasonable persons would see as the more responsible course of action.



Well, often Opposition members are taunted by members on the government benches and properly
so. I think it is fair game to say, well, if you are proposing this six months’ hoist, is that just a delaying tactic?
Is that just an obstructionist measure? Is that just a negative stance on the part of the Opposition to try to block
progress without there being any alternative available that might be pursued? I think it is reasonable for
government members to taunt Opposition members to ask what the alternative might be, what would be a
more acceptable process, what would be more democratic than what this government is doing?



Let me tell you what I think would be more democratic. It could be done precisely in the six month
timeframe that this hoist would permit and that is that over the next six months if this government would
come to its senses, including those former municipal councillors from the metropolitan area who now sit on
the government benches, that what could be achieved is precisely what the member for Sackville-Cobequid,
who is now the Leader of the New Democratic Party, proposed should be done about metropolitan municipal
reform during the 1993 election. It seems to me that it was a valid proposal then, it is a valid proposal today
because it is the more democratic way to proceed, it is the more participatory manner in which to proceed and
furthermore, it is more in keeping, it is more consistent with what the Liberal candidates said during the 1993
election would be their approach. That is to do three things.



One, is to recognize that if you are going to reform a democratic institution of government, in this
case municipal government, that it should be as consultative and participatory as possible. The first thing
would be for the government to take out to the residents, the 300,000 plus citizens of the Halifax-Dartmouth
metropolitan area, not just one option, not just one alternative, not a take it or leave it, we know best,
approach, but take out to the citizens of this area, I don’t know what the magic number is, three, four options
that might be considered. Options that would range from what might be described as minor kinds of steps in
the direction of more effective cooperation, closer coordination of certain government functions and so on,
on the one end of the continuum, all the way to the other end of the continuum, perhaps the total merger, total
amalgamation that this government seems to have become fixated on. Take those options out to people and
spell out for people, here are the pros and here are the cons, here is the up-side and here is the down-side, here
are the facts and figures that would apply in each of those separate options and give people an opportunity
to scrutinize that, to consider that.



I think the third important step in that process is to give people a direct say, to give people an
opportunity to actually, through a referendum, cast a vote to say, municipal government is sufficiently
important to us, democracy requires informed participation and the democratic process is important enough
to us to give us an opportunity to actually have some say in what that new form of government is going to look
like.



If this government has so little respect for people’s rights and, frankly, responsibilities to inform
themselves and participate in that kind of process, what hope is there for this government or the new
municipal governance structure to conduct itself in a manner that is democratic and participatory? Surely, that
is the only kind of reform that we are really interested in.



What is wrong with that? What is wrong with saying let’s take six months to allow that to happen?
I haven’t heard anybody on the government bench answer that question. I have heard some kind of vague
suggestion made by the minister, I don’t want to misrepresent what she said, but when she introduced the bill
she suggested that what we need to do here is come up with a new strategy for promoting business on a more
sustained basis. I think that was the main description of why we are into this shotgun marriage at such a fast
clip. First of all, there is almost an oxymoron in that. If what we are talking about is improved business on
a sustained basis, surely it is recognized that this is something that isn’t going to be achieved just overnight
with the instant redefining of boundaries or realigning of municipal functions. It is going to be achieved, as
the minister herself said, over a sustained period of time and it is going to take a lot of different kinds of
initiatives and actions by this government and by the new municipal governments, whatever form they take.



Secondly, I think with respect to the government’s haste, with respect to the government insisting,
no, we can’t allow that six month period to lapse that would happen with this hoist bill, if government
members were prepared to support the motion that is now before the House. The government is refusing to
recognize that there have, in fact, been some important steps taken in the direction of improved opportunities
for coordinating business initiatives, coordinating development activities in the metropolitan area. It would
be different if the boards of trade in the metropolitan area hadn’t seen fit to come together and say, let’s
develop a more cooperative approach and ourselves integrate into a metro-wide organization.



It would be different if the Industrial Development Commissions had not come together and said,
let’s work more effectively in a more coordinated way, to try to maximize the business opportunities and
economic activity that can result from our respective initiatives, but those things are already underway in the
metropolitan area. They clearly don’t require that Bill No. 3 be rammed through this House in the next few
weeks and be well underway over the six months, the next six months. Clearly, they don’t require that because
they are already happening, even without Bill No. 3 being in existence. Those initiatives were being developed
and were already launched before this bill was even introduced.



Those kinds of cooperative undertakings can continue, they are already happening, they will proceed
whether or not this bill is delayed six months, so let that happen. But, let’s for once, have this government
indicate that they are not so narrowly focused on the notion that a business agenda should be the only thing
driving municipal reform. That they are willing to back up and say, we actually think municipal reform should
be about the citizenry participating and the residents knowing what the options are and actually having some
say in what the new forms and structures for municipal government are going to be. Because this isn’t a
municipal restructuring that is just for this year or next year and not one that is just going to be with us for
the next five years.



I think it is safe to say, given how infrequently we see this kind of massive overhauling of municipal
structures, that these are decisions that are going to be with us for a very long time. So, it is important that
they be made in the most consultative manner possible, with people affected by them, feeling part of it. That
they be made in such a way that some really lasting kinds of decisions are put in place that we can live with
for a good long time and are going to serve the needs and interests of the people of the metropolitan area well
into the next century.



You know there is no question that taxpayers at all levels, municipal taxpayers, provincial taxpayers,
federal taxpayers and, of course, they are all one in the same, it is just a question of the taxes coming out of
the pockets over and over again of the people who are one in the same, that is a citizen of Halifax is also a
resident of Nova Scotia and the same person is a taxpayer in all three, municipal, provincial and federal
jurisdictions.






There is no question that people are concerned about their tax burden, especially the average working
person who has been faced with an effective loss of income, as a result, I would say, of economic
mismanagement and misguided economic policies over a period of many years, in fact a couple of decades.
That is legitimate, and it is legitimate for governments to be responsive to the concerns of taxpayers about
increasing tax burdens.



Frankly, I think it is something of a hoax on the public to say, well, the reason we have to ram this
municipal reform bill through for the metropolitan residents and we have to do it in a hurry and we can’t
possibly support the Opposition amendment for a six months’ hoist is because we have to get on with the huge
financial savings that will be involved in this municipal reform effort or as an outcome of this municipal
reform effort because we want to save you money.



I think what the government is doing is tapping into the genuine concern about the increasing tax
burden felt by the people of this metropolitan area and it is selling to them, quite erroneously, the idea that
there are going to be huge cost-savings resulting from this municipal amalgamation.



Well, Mr. Speaker, that is not just me expressing skepticism, that is not just those critics of the way
this government has proceeded with municipal amalgamation saying we are non-believers and we are
suspicious of the government’s action. That is what the facts and figures that have been fleshed out with
respect to the municipal reform initiative that is underway would actually suggest. If you look at the analysis
of municipal amalgamation carried out by the UMA group, in association with Doane Raymond - I think
everyone will agree a reputable, capable consulting firm and financial experts - it is quite clear that there are
not massive savings that will flow from this amalgamation. It is quite clear that, yes, there are some minimal
savings in certain very particular areas, but it is also clear that the government’s projections for cost-savings
do not tell the whole story, that you cannot project cost-savings as a result of this amalgamation which
completely fail to address the whole issue of harmonization, of developing some kind of uniformity, both in
the aspect of the provision of services and also in the realm of personnel policies, of salaries, wages and
benefits and so on.



Yet, Mr. Speaker, that is what this government has done to date, in their haste to get on with this,
in their attempt to sell people in the metropolitan area on their Johnny-one-note, their single, narrow version
of municipal reform. They have said there are going to be these big savings involved because we are going
to crunch it all together and we are going to eliminate a whole lot of upper management and middle
management people and here is where the savings are going to come. Well, I do not know what people
consider 175 jobs, I would say it is a whole bunch, maybe other people have a different description of it. I will
tell you one thing, anyone in this day and age that would minimize the loss of 175 jobs in a province where
we already have 57,000 or 56,000 people unemployed is not exactly in tune with what the public’s priority
concerns are.



[4:00 p.m.]



As I have said on other occasions, it is pretty easy to come up with municipal cost-savings. You could
save a barrel of money if you just say dismiss half the work force. Cut way down on the payroll, cut way down
on the municipal tax burden, but it would not do a whole lot to ensure the provision of services to people,
which is why they pay taxes. It would not do very much to ensure that we have tax revenues to maintain
services, it would not do very much to tackle that massive number of unemployed which this government said
was going to be its top priority, but no question. Maybe you could convince people, well, instead of getting
rid of 175 jobs in metro as a result of this amalgamation, we could save twice as much money if we could get
rid of 350 people.



No question, you could save people money, but is the government facing up to what the adverse
consequences of doing that would be? Is the government recognizing that in addition to eliminating 175 jobs,
which is what is projected here, that this government is also as a result of eliminating the municipal
boundaries and creating one mega-municipality in metro, creating a whole set of inequities and
inconsistencies and inequalities with respect to both the level of services that will be provided to the citizens
of that mega-municipality and, also, a whole lot of inequities and inconsistencies and inequalities as it relates
to the levels of pay and benefits that the employees of that mega-municipality will be enjoying?



That, Mr. Speaker, is one of the serious omissions in the government’s calculation about what the
cost-savings implications are of this mega-municipality created through this wholesale amalgamation. That
is either dishonest, is an out and out misrepresentation, which seems quite ridiculous because the public isn’t
that easily fooled, or else it shows that the government has been very sloppy in its own number crunching and
its bookkeeping, in which case they clearly need this extra six months in order to do their homework and get
it right and then come back to the public with an accurate set of figures.



I suppose there is one other alternative. The one other alternative would be that the government
actually intends to maintain all of those inequities. That the government would actually think that we could
have a new employer, the new mega-municipal government that becomes the employer and we could take any
group of public sector workers in the municipal government. Policemen, does this government actually think
that you could create a new municipal unit and say, well, what this is about supposedly is to create a standard
across the area to eliminate some of the differentials and so on, but we are going to pay police officers in
Halifax one sum of money and police officers in the former county another wage and those in Dartmouth yet
a third wage. Does the government actually think that is going to fly, that that is sustainable either in terms
of fairness or in terms of administrative manageability? I do not think so, but the projections for the costs
associated with this new mega-municipality does not take account of the kind of harmonization and the costs
that will be associated with it.



The same thing applies, for example, probably one of the most difficult areas, in pensions. Is this
government going to have a sort of hodgepodge, a complete dog’s breakfast of pension provisions depending
on what neighbourhood you happen to be from, depending on what occupation or group you happen to be in,
depending on which municipal unit you used to be employed in, you are going to maintain a whole bunch of
differentials in terms of what kinds of pension benefits the employees of this new mega-municipality will be
eligible for? I do not know whether the government has not done its homework or it is not prepared to tell the
people the truth.



It seems to me there is an argument for this six months’ hoist, to ask the government to get it
together, to deal with those issues, to bring out accurate figures and to give people an opportunity to choose,
not choose from one option, because that is not a choice. What democracy is is a system of choosing from
available options, and that is all we are asking, Mr. Speaker, when we ask that the government support this
six months’ hoist so that a number of the options can be fully researched and brought forward for public
consideration.



Mr. Speaker, some arguments that the government has put forward for why it is ridiculous to even
contemplate a six months’ hoist seem to have to do with the fact that, for whatever reason - and I do not
understand it to this day - this government decided that the appropriate way to proceed with municipal
amalgamation was to say nothing to the public about what your intentions were, to bring forward no
information either to the citizens of the metropolitan area or to the elected municipal officials in the
metropolitan area until just after democracy had taken its course in a municipal election in the month of
October 1994.



What the connection is between municipal elections taking place and the citizens going out and
voting in good faith to choose who their municipal politicians were going to be and municipal candidates
putting themselves on the line and making the commitment to serve a period of three years - that is not a
decision that people make lightly, arranging their lives and their priorities and commitments and there are
a lot of family decisions involved in that in many cases - making the decision to stand for office and be elected
in October 1994 and then the government, within a week or two of that democratic election taking place and
those municipal councillors being duly elected, the government comes along and says, oh, well, we have news
for you. We just thought we would hold back on the news. We would wait until the municipal elections were
over and then we would tell you we have actually decided, in our democratic wisdom and out of our concern
for the democratic process, to nullify the democratic elections that just took place.



To basically render, not just the second half, not just a whole 18 months of the term of office for
which people were just elected, completely meaningless, but just wipe them out because those municipal
councillors will not even get to serve out their term, but actually to create chaos and render relatively
ineffectual the first half of the term, the first 18 months of those municipal councillors, by making it clear that
whatever decisions they may be making at the council level, they are relatively unimportant and certainly will
be overshadowed by the decisions that the big folks downtown in the provincial government are going to be
making about what municipal government should look like in this area, for some time to come.



I do not know what notion of democracy, never mind what notion of fairness, would lead a
government to do that. But I think another argument in support of a six months’ hoist that one could make,
and that surely is a reasonable one, is that at least by delaying for a six month period to allow for a proper
process of consultation and public participation, you will extend the terms of those municipal officers who
offered for office in good faith last year and who were elected by citizens in good faith, who thought they were
picking their municipal representatives for the next three years. It will not extend the term to the full three
years, but at least it will be two years instead of only a year and one-half. I think that in itself is not an
unimportant argument.



Mr. Speaker, we are going to have an opportunity to talk further about details in this bill, unless we
are able to persuade the government members that a proposal to hoist the bill is the only responsible course
of action. So, I am not going to trespass on the time of the House at this stage of debate to try to talk about
some of the substantive concerns in the bill. If I were to do so, you would rule me out of order, which is fair
game. But let me suggest one of the other reasons why I think this government does not seem prepared to step
back a little bit from this accelerated timetable and let me put another argument for why I think the six
months’ hoist is a fair and reasonable one.






We already have the provincial-municipal service exchange plan making its way through the system.
The implications of that realignment of what responsibilities are going to be provincial, what responsibilities
are going to be municipal is a process that is underway. There is a great deal of confusion in it, but it is going
to, over a period of the next year or two, get sorted out and begin to be put into effect. But let us be honest
about it, Mr. Speaker. That is causing a fair amount of confusion and it is taking up time administratively,
politically and so on, both within the municipal structures and, more broadly, within the community as people
try to understand. Who now is going to be responsible for the policing? Who now is going to be responsible
for home care? Who now is going to be responsible for various functions? That is a confusing process and a
time-consuming process and it represents a certain set of stresses and strains on the system that is there now.



Unfortunately, Mr. Speaker, we also are about to see the added confusion and chaos and, frankly, I
think even far greater overloading of our existing systems, both municipally and provincially, that are going
to inevitably result from the elimination of some $385 million. Now, try to get your head around how much
money $385 million is, but that is what the federal government has announced is going to be wiped out in
transfer payments to this province alone, over the next three years. As far as I know, there is not a shred of
evidence that the provincial budget and even the detailed expenditures document begins to take account of
what the adverse consequences and the severe impact is going to be of that wiping out of $365 million in
transfer payments to this province over the next three years.



Mr. Speaker, my point is that we are already reeling from the service exchange and all the upheaval
associated with that. We are braced to deal with a very severe financial hit to this province of some $365
million, unless the federal government is going to suddenly come to its senses and I don’t see a shred of
evidence of that, they are so well pleased with themselves. Why, in the name of Heavens, would we also be
on a fast track to move ahead with the amalgamation of the four municipalities in the metropolitan area, when
we would all be better served, as taxpayers, as public officials, elected and appointed, and as general citizens,
not to be faced with the amount of upheaval and confusion and, frankly, shock waves that are going to result
from overloading the system with that much change all at once.



I know one of the problems, Mr. Speaker, when you make that argument, is that government
members conveniently say, you are opposed to change, you must be resisting reform; there go those apologists
for the status quo, arguing that we should just continue doing everything the way we have always done it.
Believe me, that is not our view. We have argued for municipal reform for a very long time. We have argued
for a one-tiered system of social assistance for a very long time.



If I could, Mr. Speaker, insert that additional argument that this is a government that went to the
people, when it was the Official Opposition in 1993, and said that a top priority we will commit ourselves to,
if elected to government, is the introduction of a one-tiered system of social assistance. Well, it is now almost
two years later, we don’t have even the first step of a one-tiered system being put in place province-wide. I
know government members will quickly say, oh no, we have a pilot project in industrial Cape Breton. Well,
I am not too optimistic about what is going to come out of that so-called pilot project. I don’t think it has a
darn thing to do with the creation of a one-tiered system; I think it has everything to do with trying to dress
it up and disguise what is really a workfare program that is repugnant in its tone and doomed to be very
expensive, with very minimal results. But that is another topic for another day, Mr. Speaker.



Let me say that given the amount of change that the system is already absorbing, I think a reasonable
argument can be made for why this government should do what it said it would do in the first place, a
reasonable argument for why the government should carry out the mandate that it sought and was given, that
is to introduce a one-tiered social assistance system in the province before it barrels ahead with this municipal
amalgamation agenda in a way that goes against the commitment made and violates the mandate that this
government was given.



I don’t think we can absorb that much shock without there being some very dire consequences for
the people of this province, in general, but with respect to Bill No. 3, for the people of the metropolitan area
in particular.



In the final analysis, I think I want to return to what for me has been one of the most convincing
arguments against our proceeding with Bill No. 3 in its current form. That is that when all is said and done,
there has simply been insufficient attention to what the real overall vision is for municipal government in the
metropolitan area. There has been insufficient clarity about what the real objectives of that are and what the
real direction of that is intended to be.



The legislation itself is riddled with inconsistencies. On the one hand the government says this is
about creating greater uniformity, greater consistency and on the other hand it proposing the creation of a
number of different structures and a number of different practices that are going to introduce greater
differentials, greater discrepancies between what happens of a planning nature, a zoning nature, what happens
with respect to taxation, area rates and so on from one end of the municipality to the other.



I guess the other thing, maybe this is something of a lament for the past, maybe this is some kind of
a romantic notion that people think there is just no room for any more, there is no time for it, it can’t be
afforded, but I don’t think it is just a romantic notion to say that we should be very concerned to safeguard
every opportunity for democratic participation of our citizens. It is a sad day if we have a government in place
whose members will say, that is just some old fashioned notion, we haven’t got time for democracy, we can’t
afford to take time for democracy, let’s get on with it.



Well, the member who is here to my right, in more ways than one, who is certainly one of the best
hecklers One of the best, (Interruption) Thank goodness for that, I take that as a compliment.



AN HON. MEMBER: Don’t mind the rabbit tracks, now.



MS. MCDONOUGH: I don’t think it is a rabbit track, I appreciate the warning of the member for
Halifax Bedford Basin not to be drawn in by the rabbit tracks being laid by his colleague but I don’t think it
is a rabbit track when the member for Hants East says, who said we don’t have time for democracy? Well, here
is the test, that if the members of this House and that member who just spoke up is prepared to make time for
democracy, then he and his colleagues will vote for the hoist. This hoist simply says let’s take six months to
allow for democracy.



AN HON. MEMBER: Do you want us to slow down again? Every bill you want us to slow down.



MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.



MS. MCDONOUGH: I am looking forward to the member for Hants East entering the debate and
I am sure he doesn’t need to be coaxed because he is not usually shy.



AN HON. MEMBER: You will be in Ottawa before he is. (Laughter)



MS. MCDONOUGH: Well, that is a debate for another day. Maybe I will and maybe I won’t, who
knows. (Interruption)



Let me say that I haven’t yet heard an argument from a government member as to why a six month
delay is not a reasonable time allocation to allow some democracy to take place. I haven’t heard anybody
argue. I haven’t heard anyone refute the argument that it is fundamentally undemocratic for a government to
do after the election the exact opposite of what it said it was going to do during the election with respect to
the reform of our municipal institutions. I haven’t heard anybody from the government benches yet argue that
it is not a reasonable proposition to take options to people to allow them to participate in some democracy in
expressing their choice in a referendum. The Speaker has signalled that my time is up. I want to make the
final plea that it is a reasonable motion to ask all members to delay this bill being further processed in this
House for a six month period, to make a little time for democracy. Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.



[4:30 p.m.]



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Opposition.



MR. TERENCE DONAHOE: I am pleased to have the opportunity to offer some observations in
relation to Bill No. 3 and in particular, relative to the motion which is before us at the present time. I am
going to obviously have to do my best to make remarks relative to the principle of the bill and to the extent
that I can, avoid being completely repetitious of . . .



MR. SPEAKER: Actually, the matter under debate is that the bill be not now read but be read this
time six months hence, so that is to what the remarks should be addressed.



MR. DONAHOE: Well, I thought I was simply saying, that as I make remarks that I have to avoid
as best I can, being repetitive of much that has already been said. Because a great many arguments and many
of them very valid, as to why it is appropriate that the bill be hoisted for the six month period, have already
been made. The real frustration that I think is being experienced by not only members of the Opposition, but
by tens of thousands of taxpayers in the metropolitan region affected, is that we do not believe and those
taxpayers do not believe, that they have had an opportunity to understand what the impact is of Bill No. 3 and
the way in which it will change their lives, change their obligation to pay taxes and the amount of taxes that
they will pay. What it means to them in terms of police protection, what it means to them in terms of fire
protection, what it means in terms of them having access to their municipal representatives and so on.



This whole process, as I know you will recall and recall well, got off to an abysmally poor start with
the very hastily called press conference back on October 27, 1994. I think it was where the Premier, I thought,
rather summarily and in rather typical fashion, simply advised the metro mayors of the amalgamation plan.
I contrast that with the personal knowledge that something in the order of seven or eight days prior to the
municipal elections which preceded that press conference, by a little bit, this same Premier said point blank
to one of the mayors of one of the metro municipalities, eight days before that municipal election, that not to
worry, there will be no amalgamation. Obviously, the man was not being straight at the time when he said
that to that mayor and then eight days later or some days later, holds this press conference.



The Minister of Municipal Affairs committed at that announcement that she would meet the mayors
and she would outline a process as to how she and her department and the mayors and the councils would
proceed. There were certain meetings, my understanding from consultation with the mayors; I see the minister
is acknowledging and nodding yes there were such meetings. Well, there are meetings and there are meetings.
My sense of things from consultation with the mayors affected, is that they would consider that there were,
in fact, meetings in the sense that, yes, we were all in the same room together. But there were hardly meetings
in the sense that there was any, as the lawyers might say, any consensus ad idem that there was any meeting
of the minds as to just what was going to happen, what this all meant, what the impact of metro amalgamation
actually was going to mean.



The early days of this whole metro amalgamation process was further confounded, could have been
helped, but further confounded when we recall, as I am sure you do, Mr. Speaker, that the chief administrative
officers of the existing municipal units had developed six options which would move the metro area toward
amalgamation. Those were options which were assessed, analyzed, reviewed, prepared, proposed and
presented to the four participating municipal units, were considered by those units.



The substance and the elements of those proposals were approved by the municipal units and I am
going to say, because I believe it to be absolutely true, that at that point, without doubt, the substance and the
detail and the provisions of those six options prepared by the municipal chief administrative officers was light
years ahead, in terms of its setting out for consideration and analysis a range of options, light years ahead of
anything that had up to that point been prepared by this minister and anything that had been presented by this
minister to the mayors or the taxpayers of the four municipal units affected.



I remember back in those days we were still, each time we tried to determine from the Minister of
Municipal Affairs what is going on with a one-tiered or a two-tiered social service system, we were still being
in the fall of the bouncing ball kind of environment at that stage, where one day it might be taken over and
the next day it wouldn’t. Then we had debate upon debate, upon discussion, upon question, upon comment
about what the cost would be for the assumption by the province of a one-tiered system. Why is it that this
government was able, as they were, to introduce in this Legislature legislation to effect the amalgamation of
the municipal units in Cape Breton? They were able to devise a system relative to a one-tiered social service
system and yet have not been able to effect the mechanics and the logistics of how that might work.



Why is it right, why is it fair for this minister and this government to ask the taxpayers of metro
Halifax-Dartmouth-Bedford and Halifax County to say yea to a governmental amalgamation having no idea
when the next shoe is going to drop, having no idea what the impact will be if, indeed we move at all to the
point where we have a one-tiered social assistance system?



My sense of things and my recollection of going back to the six options prepared by the chief
administrative officers in the four metro units, they set out these six options, my sense of things is that the
minister didn’t even take what anybody would consider to be a seemly or reasonable amount of time to review
those options but, rather, she went full steam ahead and advised that there would be complete amalgamation.
You will recall, Mr. Speaker, I am sure, that all of those options prepared by the chief administrative officers
of the local municipal units and the governmental process of municipal government in the metropolitan area
all moved it in the direction of a linkage and the development of partnerships of program delivery and moved
the thing along well in the direction of an amalgamated system. Had this minister taken the time and the care
with her officials to review those particular options, there is no question that we could have been well down
the line at this point in the development of joint policies and programs with far less confusion and difficulty
than pertains at the present time.



Then we had the unbelievable fiasco of the government flying in the face of its own tendering policies
and unilaterally trying to give a job to a consultant for $225,000. When they were found out on that then
things were put on hold and the government finally saw the error of its way in regard to all of that and then
they put the job out to tender and along comes Bill Hayward and he ends up as Commissioner.



I want to say that I will make other remarks along the way, Mr. Speaker, about certain things which
have been recommended and suggested by the commissioner. I want to say that I have known Bill Hayward
for a very long time. Bill Hayward is a very able individual. He happens, by chance, to be a constituent. He
happens, I think, to have more predisposition and sympathy with today’s governing Party than he does with
mine, but he is a good friend of mine and he is an able person. So, Bill Hayward is given the job as
commissioner. He has effected and undertaken a tremendous amount of work meeting with all kinds of people
across the metropolitan units affected.



I may be wrong, Mr. Speaker, but I do not really think I am. It is interesting to note that when you
take a look at the schedule of public meetings to enable the residents and the taxpayers of the municipal units
affected here - and so tremendously and severely affected -by this proposed legislation. To give you the flavour
of the extent, degree or level of understanding and comprehension that those metro residents might have, my
understanding is that in Halifax County, as an example, there were meetings down in the Eastern Shore area
and there were meetings out in the western area, down in the Tantallon area and so on. I could stand
corrected. I do not believe that Mr. Hayward convened meetings in the Timberlea area. I do not believe he
convened meetings in the Sackville area. (Interruption) I am sorry, my apologies there was one in Sackville.
I do not believe there were any in Cole Harbour. I do not believe there were meetings (Interruptions) I see.



MR. SPEAKER: Order please. There seem to be a number of members that want to participate in
the debate, and I have no problem with that, but we have to have one at a time. The honourable Leader of the
Opposition has the floor.



MR. DONAHOE: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. Well, maybe my information is a little bit off
the mark and I am receiving some help from government back bench members. I would hope and expect that
when I finish, if I have misstated any of the detail relative to either the minister’s (Interruption) The minister
says there are not enough hours in the day. Perhaps the minister would like (Interruption) I would relinquish
for a moment if the minister would like to take the floor for the moment and describe the meetings which Mr.
Hayward did conduct across metro. Perhaps she would like to describe the meetings that she conducted
herself, convened and attended, the meetings that the Premier attended. Perhaps she would like to tell us the
meetings that the Deputy Speaker attended and and give us a flavour of the attitude expressed at those
meetings, because I do happen to know that those meetings took place.



[4:45 p.m.]



The fact of the matter is, that there were a number of meetings. There were not meetings, perhaps,
in places where there might have been. I honestly do not believe that the taxpayers of the metropolitan region
of Halifax, Dartmouth, Halifax County and the Town of Bedford have a clear, detailed understanding of the
impact of what this legislation is going to do to them. This legislation, you will know, Mr. Speaker, was tabled
in this place on April 4, 1995. It is now April 20th. This legislation, which will dramatically impact the life
and the future of a community established here in 1749, has been in front of the people of Nova Scotia - more
to the point, in front of the people of the metropolitan region affected - for 16 days.



AN HON. MEMBER: Cornwallis was in favour of amalgamation.



MR. DONAHOE: Yes, indeed, he was. This government is, for some reason or another, and we can
speculate all night long as to what the reasons might be, but this government is on a fast track to effect this
amalgamation. You note, Mr. Speaker, that this is a government on a fast track to amalgamation, led by a
man who, in the election campaign, was so critical of the previous government relative to its proposals in
regard to amalgamation and gave undertakings to the people of the metropolitan region that were he to be
elected, he would certainly make sure that there was full and open and detailed consultation. Well, I do not
believe that the kind of consultation that has taken place has enabled the taxpayers of the metropolitan region
of Halifax-Dartmouth to come to an understanding at all of what the impact of this legislation is.



The one basic, elemental question that we attempt to address by way of this hoist motion - and I
would be delighted if the Minister of Municipal Affairs would give us the answer, give me the answer and
I will make sure that we pass it on to every voter in metro Halifax, Dartmouth and Bedford and Halifax
County - what disadvantage is experienced by any taxpayer in Halifax, in Bedford, in Dartmouth or in the
Municipality of the County of Halifax if this bill were to be hoisted for six months, we had the opportunity
over that six months to review, the taxpayers did, the impact of this legislation upon them and their families
and their futures and, as has already been said, with all kind of precedent in the past, we came back with a
piece of legislation which had seen the light of day, had been reviewed by the regional taxpayers and,
undoubtedly, would come back greatly changed but, I say to you, greatly improved?



I would be prepared to take my place for a moment. Perhaps if the Minister of Municipal Affairs
would help me with that (Interruption) Well, the Minister of Municipal Affairs acknowledges that I am doing
a fine job. I appreciate that.



AN HON. MEMBER: I will second that.



MR. DONAHOE: And I am having that seconded. I am delighted to learn that the Minister of
Municipal Affairs tells me and, through me, tells the people of Nova Scotia that I am doing a fine job when
I ask the question, what is the disadvantage to any taxpayer in Halifax, in Dartmouth, in Bedford or in the
Municipality of the County of Halifax, if this bill does not go forward now and is given the six months’ hoist?
The Minister of Municipal Affairs agrees with me, that that is a very legitimate and helpful question.






The problem is that the minister saying what she just said is just absolute puffery and rhetoric,
because she does not mean at all that she agrees with me. She does not mean at all that the question that I put
is a legitimate one. But I have not yet heard this minister and I have not yet heard the Premier of this province
and I have not yet heard, if I may say so, any MLA in this place who occupies a government bench, stand and
say what they think the answer to that question is.



I wonder if members in this place who represent the citizens of Halifax, who happen to be ministers,
what is their answer as to how their constituents are going to be disadvantaged if this bill is given the hoist
for six months? Why don’t they stand and say so? Why doesn’t the Deputy Speaker stand and say so? Why
don’t the members on the government benches who represent people who live in the piece of geography
affected by this legislation stand and say, here is what is really going to happen, the sky is going to fall, there
will be a catastrophe.



They know they can’t stand and say any of that because they know that none of that is the case. They
know, as I know, as the Minister of Municipal Affairs knows, as you know, Mr. Speaker, there will be no
adverse consequences for the taxpayers and the residents of the four municipal units affected by this piece of
legislation if it is given a six months’ hoist.



Mr. Speaker, this piece of legislation should be given the six months’ hoist, on the basis that as you
know, again, and as the Minister of Municipal Affairs knows, there have been outside of this place surveys
and analyses done, attempting to assess the attitude and the understanding and the opinion of the residents
of the area affected. They were asked a number of questions and there were some very interesting answers to
those questions. Eighty-eight per cent of the residents polled in the metropolitan region, the people who are
going to be adversely affected, I believe, by this particular piece of legislation if it goes forward now in its
present form, 88 per cent of those residents indicated they were satisfied with existing municipal services;
two-thirds of those residents believe they are adequately or well represented. More than half of the residents
indicated that the existing tax level is about right. A very interesting response - they believe that the existing
tax level is about right. The importance of that line, is they don’t have, nor do I, as a member of this
Legislature, the foggiest idea what is going to happen to their tax rates in the event that this amalgamation
of the metropolitan region goes forward.



Well, perhaps I went too far because, indeed, there have been further studies, indicating that there
is a very real potential that the tax rates in some areas, particularly in the metropolitan region, will rise if, in
fact, this amalgamation goes forward in the present form.



Mr. Speaker, you indicated to me as I began that I was to make remarks relative to the hoist. There
is a motion before us, one of the members has said to this Legislature that he thinks and he asks all members
of this House to support a motion that we not vote on this piece of legislation at this point and that we defer
it and consider it six months hence.



Mr. Speaker, on that very question, 70 per cent of the residents of the Halifax-Dartmouth-Bedford-Municipality of the County of Halifax metro region believe that more consultation is needed prior to a decision
being made on amalgamation. Those numbers come from a survey as recent as a couple of weeks ago. More
residents across the region are not in favour of amalgamation than are in favour of amalgamation.



Why is that, Mr. Speaker? The most important issue, from all those respondents, was what is going
to happen to me and my family, as far as my taxes are concerned? The most important issue facing the
residents, as is the case in any municipality, as is the case with all of us as provincial taxpayers, as is the case
with us as federal taxpayers, one of the most significant issues in any household anywhere in this metropolitan
region is the issue of taxes. In these analyses and surveys undertaken, more than 80 per cent of the residents
believe taxes will remain the same or increase and that scares them. We have no indication from this Minister
of Municipal Affairs, we don’t even have a suggestion, let alone a commitment, let alone a guarantee, that the
effect of amalgamation will result in even that the tax regime and the tax bills faced by metropolitan
taxpayers will be the same, we certainly have no guarantee from this minister that they will not increase.



The residents believe that the quality of service will decline under the development of what some
refer to as the super-city or uni-city. More people expect the quality of representation to decline than to
improve. We are going to ask, some depending on the number ultimately resolved, at Utility and Review
Board, some 20 or 22 or 24 men and women to represent, at the municipal government level, some 330,000
residents in this metropolitan region. I don’t believe for a minute and I really don’t believe that if she is being
straight with the taxpayers of the metropolitan region, I don’t believe the Minister of Municipal Affairs
believes herself that the quality of representation at the municipal level is going to be the same at all as is the
case now with the present configuration.



We have in this place, as colleague members, seven or eight men and women who were municipal
councillors not so very long ago and they were municipal councillors in the municipal councils affected by
this bill. I would extend the challenge to each and every one of them to rise in their place in debate of this
motion to hoist and explain whether or not they believe that it is likely that the 330,000 residents of the
metropolitan region will have the quality and the accessibility to their representation at the municipal level
if this bill goes forward.



I really believe that if the minister and Premier who made the promises which he did during the
election campaign of April and May 1993, if they were being straight with the metropolitan taxpayers, they
would acknowledge that the degree and the extent and the nature of the consultation with the 330,000 metro
taxpayers affected by this legislation has not been anywhere close to the standard which that Premier
promised, in fact, it has been close to zilch.

 

As I have said, the polls show that people are satisfied with the current services. I have also said and
it is certainly, clearly the belief across the four municipal units affected, that the citizens will have less
representation and thus receive less effective service from the municipal politicians who will represent them
if this legislation should pass.



There is a real problem in this legislation and it alone probably justifies the six months’ hoist. It has
to do with some very confusing and conflicting provisions in this legislation, principles - I will do my best
because I am not allowed to talk section by section and clause by clause - but as far as principles are concerned
and why it supports, in my view the motion for a hoist. That is the absolute confusion which exists as between
the powers of the Chief Administrative Officer and the mayor of this new regional council. The power of the
coordinator, Mr. Hayward, is extreme to say the least. That coordinator has the power, prior to an election,
prior to any of the men and women who will represent me as a resident and a taxpayer of the City of Halifax
and of the new super-city once this government proceeds with this legislation, that coordinator in this
legislation, as I know you know, Mr. Speaker, has the power to employ the chief administrative officer and
the heads of departments.






[5:00 p.m.]



I think frankly, that is a fundamental flaw and one which in and of itself justifies the six month hoist.
Why should we establish a municipal government, a new super-city government to serve 330,000 people, and
why should we inherit, when I and other members in this place go to the polls to vote for a new mayor and
a new council under a new configuration, why should I do that when I have already had it taken away from
me? More to the point, it has already been taken away from those men and women for whom I will vote to
look after my affairs; somebody else will have already chosen the chief administrative office of this new super-city administration. I want my mayor and my councillors to select the chief administrative officer of the
municipal unit to which I am going to pay my taxes. Just as I think, on the provincial level it is absolutely
clear that the people of Nova Scotia want and have come to expect that it is the Premier’s role and function
once elected to decide who shall occupy the Treasury benches. I think that is a fundamental flaw and one
which has the opportunity to be carefully considered and reviewed.



There are men and women in this place who are colleagues as MLAs who have experience at the
municipal level and, I believe, they could bring their experience to bear on this question and I frankly believe
that we should not be passing a piece of legislation which allows somebody who is not elected - I repeat, a
good friend of mine and a bright person - not elected, no responsibility whatsoever in electoral terms, as all
of us here do, as those men and women who will be elected mayor and councillors will have, and that
unelected, appointed person is going to pick the chief administrative officer.



You go down through this legislation and I know you will know, having done that, that this
commissioner has the power to appoint and employ a whole string of people, directors of departments, heads
of departments and so on. I say in justification of the motion that this bill will be given the hoist, that is
fundamentally wrong, that is an abdication or a delegation of an authority which, frankly, as an MLA and,
if I may be so bold, as a resident and a taxpayer in the City of Halifax, I don’t like at all and there are
thousands and tens of thousands of taxpayers out there who don’t like it at all.



If we were to give this legislation the hoist we could, without question, design a system which would
result in us being able to elect a council. We could elect a council, give them time in a transitional period to
make the decisions which I would want them to make, and I would expect that colleague members in this
place who are taxpayers in this city and in this metropolitan region would want them to have, namely that
those men and women that I vote for, that we vote for, would decide who that chief administrative officer is
going to be, who the heads of those departments are going to be.



It has already been commented, and worthy of comment again, that it is offensive and it is
inconsistent and the inconsistency alone, in my opinion, is justification for support of the hoist motion which
is before us, to note that while the commissioner is going to have these authorities to which I have just now
made reference, it was felt by this government to be good enough in Cape Breton that when the search is on
for a chief administrative officer for the municipality in Cape Breton, it was good enough - and I say right on,
rightly so - it was right enough that the legislation provided that the person who ended up as CAO in the
super-city in Cape Breton was, they went first looking for a Cape Bretoner to do it; failing that, somebody
from somewhere else in Nova Scotia and rightly so.






HON. SANDRA JOLLY: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. I would just like to clarify for the
honourable member that in actual fact the CAO was appointed in Cape Breton exactly the same way as the
CAO will be appointed in the Halifax regional municipality. There was no difference. That CAO, the same
as this CAO, is the one position that is an open competition.



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable minister has made her point. (Interruption)



MR. DONAHOE: Perhaps the honourable minister might help me and tell me what she means by,
it was done by open competition. Perhaps she could help me further.



MS. JOLLY: I think, clearly, Mr. Speaker, an open competition is one where we advertised in a
number of different scenarios and anybody from across the country was able to apply for and would have been
interviewed for that job. In actual fact, we were fortunate enough that the CAO that was hired there was
previously the CAO for the Cape Breton County Regional Municipality but, in actual fact, it was an open
competition and people from across the country were allowed to apply.



MR. DONAHOE: Well, if I am wrong and if the minister is right, I apologize for the statement I
made a moment ago. My comment was made a moment ago on the basis of information provided to me by
certain people who should know, leaders of municipal government here in metro. If I am wrong on that score,
if that is incorrect, then I take that back.



Having said that, it does not alter the fact that we are going to inherit a situation where the
commissioner is going to have made these judgments, have made these appointments, have made these
selections in advance of those of us who will have the right to elect our municipal leaders here in metro and
that selection will have already taken place prior to the elections.



One of the principles established in this legislation and again one which is, I think, sufficiently
offensive as to justify support for the hoist motion, Mr. Speaker, is, as I have said, the coordinator is to have
these powers to employ. Then the CAO, having been appointed by the coordinator, then that CAO shall
employ all employees of the regional municipality effective April 1, 1996, or an earlier date if the CAO deems
that appropriate.



Again, I have a real problem. Where is the mayor and where are the councillors for this new
metropolitan unit if they simply have no opportunity to engage in any way, shape or form in establishing the
senior positions that will administer this new metropolitan region? I note, with interest - I think I am correct.
If I am wrong, the minister will, I hope, again get to her feet and correct me - I do not see anywhere in the
legislation relative to all these powers of appointment that there is any obligation that there be an open and
a tendered and a public competition process along the lines, for instance, of that which is supposed to be in
place at the provincial level, in regard to the employment of various officials of the municipal unit.



There is a very real problem, Mr. Speaker, as far as I am concerned and as far as many others are
concerned, a fundamental flaw in this legislation that in and of itself justifies support of the hoist motion. This
legislation establishes as a policy principle that it shall be the Municipality of the County of Halifax which
shall decide on the siting and the other elements of a landfill site for the new metropolitan region, for the new
super-city.



The flaw is that the legislation makes it possible, as a matter of principle, for the Municipality of the
County of Halifax to establish that that landfill site be in the Municipality of the County of Halifax, be in the
City of Halifax, be in the Town of Bedford or be in the City of Dartmouth. I cannot believe that we would pass
or should pass a piece of legislation which allows that possible result, without having an opportunity for all
of the metropolitan taxpayers to have a serious look and a serious debate about that particular issue.
(Interruption) Pardon me? Want to site the landfill?



AN HON. MEMBER: They have avoided it for two years, why would they do it now?



MR. DONAHOE: What I am suggesting is that there is a fundamental flaw in that one partner in
the four-way partnership has the right, under this legislation, as a matter of policy and principle, to decide
where the landfill will be. (Interruption) Where is it going to be? Perhaps the honourable member can tell me
where the new landfill site is going to be. (Interruptions)



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



MR. DONAHOE: . . . be enlightened by the honourable member opposite.



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Opposition has the floor and if he stays seated, he
will have surrendered it.



MR. DONAHOE: So, it is baloney that we get opposite then, that the honourable member isn’t
prepared to rise and take his place. I am prepared to resume my place long enough to allow the learned
member opposite to provide us all with some interesting information. Clearly he doesn’t have any idea what
he is talking about, clearly he has not read the legislation.



MR. SPEAKER: Would the honourable Leader of the Opposition direct himself to the matter under
debate, which is the question of an amendment to hoist the bill for six months and perhaps it would be wise
not to be sidetracked by other intervenors.



MR. DONAHOE: Absolutely. Clearly through you, Mr. Speaker, it is clear that the learned member
opposite has not read the bill and has not discovered the flaw that I am now addressing. I think it is a
fundamental flaw and of such a nature as to justify support for the hoist motion. The flaw is that this
government has come forward with a piece of legislation that says we are going to join four municipal units
together but we are going to give authority to one of those four, to tell all the rest where the landfill site is
going to be and that one unit can tell the residents of any one of the other three metropolitan units that the
landfill site is going to be in their boundaries.



So, we have a piece of legislation (Interruption) Well, the honourable member across the way says,
that is all wrong. I would relinquish, if the honourable member wants to stand up and enlighten the House.
Is he prepared to do that? No, of course he is not, he is prepared to sit there and tell his friend, the Minister
of Education, that I am all wrong and now he will saunter back and skulk back to his seat and take his place
because he knows perfectly well that I am not wrong. The flaw that I address in this bill is clear and it
supports the motion for the hoist.






This bill has a principle in it that we are going to force, if it passes, we, the Savage Government, are
going to force four units together. I already told you that 88 per cent of the people surveyed indicated that they
are satisfied with the existing municipal services and that more than half of them indicated the existing tax
level is about right and more than 70 per cent of them believe that more consultation is necessary. Well, here
is an area where more consultation is necessary and a six months’ hoist will make it possible because the bill
establishes this principle. The Municipality of the County of Halifax, if this bill passes, will have the legal
authority to decide on the siting of a landfill site.



[5:15 p.m.]



I am going to be a taxpayer and every resident of the City of Halifax, the Town of Bedford, the City
of Dartmouth is going to be a taxpayer in this new super-city. The municipal unit now known as the
Municipality of the County of Halifax is going to have the legal authority to decide on the siting of the landfill
site. That means that I am being asked to vote for a merger which says that the Municipality of the County
of Halifax can, if they wish, say it is going to sit in the City of Halifax, the landfill site, or it is going to sit in
the Town of Bedford, or it is going to sit in the City of Dartmouth. The residents of these units and, may I say,
the residents in the Municipality of the County of Halifax have expressed concerns to us that that issue needs
very much more consideration and consultation.



We have a mess on our hands as far as the solid waste management in Halifax metro is concerned.
We had some rhetoric from one of the ministers the other day about solid waste management policy and that
we are going to have more studies and so on. This is the same government that on an earlier day, when they
were on this side of the floor, I remember well the rhetoric from this bunch, now government, when they were
in Opposition, on the matter of solid waste management in the metropolitan area, pointing the finger across
the way at those of us who were government of the day, and they were asking, why don’t you people, why
doesn’t the provincial government establish a solid waste management policy and why don’t you get off your
backsides and do something about the Metropolitan Authority and why don’t you make some rules which
require the siting of a landfill site? Colleagues of mine will remember exactly the rhetoric and the harangue
that came from these benches.



Well, now we have a situation where, as the saying goes, the shoe is on the other foot. Here we are
being asked, 330,000 residents and taxpayers in the metropolitan region are being asked, without being
consulted, to support legislation which has the effect of having one of the four partners call the shots. In this
legislation, if it passes, I would not have an opportunity to say, yes, I think that is the right place for the
landfill site or, no, I think it is wrong. The resident of Bedford might not and the resident of Dartmouth might
not; that is a fundamental problem and that is a serious flaw. Unfortunately, we have six months more life in
the present solid waste disposal process now in place in the metropolitan region. It is, in the opinion of many,
not a desirable one at all and there has to be changes in the long term and there will be.



I ask the question again on that issue alone, tell me who we disadvantage if we give this legislation
the hoist so that we can come to a consensus across the 330,000 residents and taxpayers of the metropolitan
region as to how we are going to establish a descent solid waste management system and how we are going
to better site the landfill site?



There is a real problem administratively, if we don’t support the hoist motion, in my opinion. This
legislation gives to the coordinator and I again repeat, the coordinator is well-known to me and he is a friend
of mine and he is well-known to many people in this place and he is a bright and able person. But he is not
an elected person, he has never put his name on the ballot and he has been given an authority by this
government, he has unbelievable power delegated to him by this government and that coordinator can apply
to the Utilities and Review Board to determine the number of councillors and the boundaries of the polling
districts.



Do you know what is going on now, administratively? What is going on now administratively, is that
that commissioner, that able person, is now going to the four municipal units and saying, maybe you better
start thinking about undertaking your enumeration for the elections which will be coming in some months.
Oh no, says my good friend across the way. The answer is, oh yes, he is doing that.



Now, I want to ask you, Mr. Speaker, and I would be greatly assisted if esteemed and enlightened
members opposite could help me; I would be greatly assisted if I could be helped to understand how is it
possible that we have this commissioner asking the four metro units to be amalgamated and merged here, to
go out and conduct an enumeration process and we don’t yet know the number of polling divisions or indeed
the boundaries which will result if, as and when, this legislation passes? So, what do we do? That is a
fundamental flaw and it occurs to me again, if I may say so, that one of the very basic benefits of the six
months’ hoist would be to enable all of that crucial election enumeration polling division establishment,
boundary division establishment and election process, to be reconsidered and to be established.



So, I ask how in the name of all that is good and holy, can we now, as we debate - we try to
understand, we have a better opportunity here than do the 330,000 people who don’t have the privilege to
come to this place each day, we have the benefit of having 16 days to try to come to understand some of the
complexities of 99 pages of this legislation and 330,000 people are out there dependent upon us - to ask some
questions because they are asking lots of questions. The justification for the six months’ hoist is to enable them
to have those questions put and hopefully, for the first time, to get some straight answers.



There is another public policy flaw in this legislation which I suggest justifies support for the six
months’ hoist motion which is before this House. This legislation establishes the principle that the coordinator
may recommend to the regional council, the establishment of community councils, including boundaries of
the communities. I want to suggest to you, as a member of a rural community, that that is fundamentally
wrong and won’t work because, particularly in the Municipality of the County of Halifax, there are such things
as community councils. You have knowledge, Mr. Speaker, although living and working and being from an
adjacent municipal unit, you know as I do, that the reason those community councils work in the County of
Halifax - they work not because they were delivered top-down but they percolated from the communities
themselves.



I believe, as a matter of principle and policy, that we need the six months’ hoist to enable us and to
enable the communities, we don’t even know the boundaries, we don’t even know the polling divisions and
we won’t know those until it is too late for 330,000 members and residents of metro to understand what is
really going on and what is happening to them. We don’t know anything about and they don’t about what is
going to happen to their tax rates. They don’t know anything about what is going to happen to their fire
protection and their cost of that fire protection. They don’t know what is going to happen to them about their
police protection and the cost to them of that police protection.






There are so many questions which require, justify, deserve answers and the point of the six months’
hoist is simply to enable the community to ask those questions and to have straight and accurate and honest
answers provided to them. The cry in the metropolitan region from the residents, the rhetoric of this
government is, we need less government. We need fewer people, we need less governmental administrivia.
Well, if you read this legislation and read the policies and principles espoused and established and enshrined
in this legislation I suggest to you, Mr. Speaker, and again, I think it is a fundamental flaw that supports or
justifies support for the hoist motion.



This legislation establishes a hodgepodge, a patchwork quilt of standing committees, citizen advisory
committees, community committees and community councils. Community councils, you will know from your
look at this legislation, can be established on the basis of 500 residents coming to the elected super-council
and requesting that there be such a community council. But then the boundaries of such a council, if you read
this legislation, can be changed by that council and we have the confusing and I think inappropriate public
policy situation where we have an authority on the one hand which says 500 residents of an area have a right
and an entitlement to the establishment of community council, we then have a provision which says that the
super-council can decide notwithstanding that that they can overrule and overturn that community council.



Those community councils, by the way as I am sure you are aware, are intended given an authority
under this legislation to levy an area rate and it is interesting to note that it takes 500 residents to establish
these community councils and 100 people may be able to control the issue relative to the establishment of area
rates and I think that is wrong, I think that is fundamentally wrong. I have two minutes, two hours?



MR. SPEAKER: Just minutes. Although I would be more than pleased to listen for two hours, two
minutes is what is left.



MR. DONAHOE: I am sure of that. The legislation was drawn I am sure, well, I know it had to be,
the minister could help me here but I have it in my notes somewhere, it was drawn on the fly almost. Mr.
Hayward was attempting to complete his public meetings and was going crazy trying to draft a report that
made sense and meanwhile the legislation was being patched together and so on and I am going to say as no
criticism of Bill Hayward, because Bill Hayward’s name doesn’t appear on this thing, the Honourable Sandra
L. Jolly, Minister of Municipal Affairs’ name appears on this thing. This is the most confusing, imprecise and
unclear piece of legislation likely ever introduced into this place.



[5:30 p.m.]



Mr. Speaker, it is not fair to 330,000 residents of the metropolitan region, of this capital region of
this province, to be asked to have us here vote on this legislation or, indeed, even ask them to come to Law
Amendments Committee in not so many days, without an opportunity to really understand what the impact
is of this legislation upon them and upon their families. I really think there is considerable support, or there
should be, for the motion to hoist.



My final comment. This legislation establishes a principle which says that the municipal units, the
City of Halifax, what was the City of Halifax once this passes, and what was the City of Dartmouth, . . .



AN HON. MEMBER: What about Bedford?



MR. DONAHOE: Well, I am going to come to Bedford. My time is up? I can’t come to Bedford?



MR. SPEAKER: I am sure that Bedford would love to have you come but your time is up.



MR. DONAHOE: I will conclude then, Mr. Speaker, since you tell me my time is up, by indicating
that the legislation is seriously flawed. There are so many questions that require answering and I will be
supporting the motion that it be given the six months’ hoist. Thank you.



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Queens.



MR. JOHN LEEFE: Mr. Speaker, I welcome the opportunity to rise late this afternoon to address the
amendment which is currently before the House, the amendment to hoist the municipal amalgamation bill,
that is with respect to the metro area, for a six month period.



I think it is fair to say at the beginning that I am one of those persons who, for some time, has
believed that municipal amalgamation is in the best interests of this province, but I am also one of those who
has believed for a very long time that process is a very important element and that, indeed, the means must
be justified by the end which we are seeking.



My own constituency is currently going through a very important exercise with respect to the
question of amalgamation. In my view, it is going about it the right way, the way in which I have encouraged
those two municipal units to approach amalgamation, that is for it to come from the community up, not from
the province down. It appears that, indeed, that advice may now have taken root and be just about ready to
flower and bear fruit.



That, in my view, is the right way for municipal amalgamation to occur. If ever I needed evidence
that it is absolutely essential that amalgamation occur from the community up, rather than from the province
down, I had that made abundantly clear to me in the results that all Nova Scotians witnessed on the night of
May 25, 1993, when undoubtedly one of the policy approaches of the government of which I was part was
deemed not to be acceptable to the majority of Nova Scotians.



Indeed, it is very clear that in that period leading up to May 25, 1993, the now government, the then
Opposition Liberal Party, was of the view that amalgamation should only take place from the bottom up and
should not require boundary change. It has undergone a significant epiphany in the intervening two years,
an epiphany which would cause one to hardly be able to recognize the policy of the present government, of
the Liberal Party in government from the Liberal Party in Opposition.



Well, the question, why a six months’ hoist. I believe a six months’ hoist is essential with respect to
this bill before the House this afternoon, in order to give the people of the metropolitan area, most
immediately those people, the opportunity to understand absolutely and fully just precisely what amalgamation
will mean for them. I know that there will be some who will say, well, what does a member representing a
rural area of Nova Scotia have to say with respect to a matter which involves solely the metropolitan area at
least with respect to this legislation? While at first blush that argument might seem to be a valid one or the
question might seem to be a valid one. Nonetheless, I think that each of us has a responsibility to address this
legislation because as we move forward from where we find ourselves now, undoubtedly, other areas in the
province will also be faced with a forced amalgamation rather than being given the opportunity to amalgamate
from the community up, as the expression goes.



There has been considerable discussion, considerable argument made by the governments that there
has been sufficient public consultation. I am prepared to argue that point. I think in fact what we have seen
is a kind of a provincial government lecture series. Initially intended to be hosted by Grant Morash, but
eventually and through a series of errors, hosted by Bill Hayward which has provided the public an
opportunity to hear what Mr. Hayward has to say on behalf of the government which is forcing this
amalgamation on the metropolitan community, this community which encompasses within its bosom
something in the order of 35 per cent to 38 per cent of the population of this province. Then, of course, those
of us who are MLAs, even though we may live outside, do work a great part of the year and live part of the
year in this city so we deem ourselves to be citizens of this metropolitan area as well, so I have that kind of
immediate stake in it.



One of the principal reasons for going out to the people of the metropolitan area over the next six
months rather than pushing this bill through the House now, although the government certainly has the
majority to do that and has adjusted unilaterally the rules in committee to make it easier to accomplish passage
of this kind of legislation, is to begin to rebuild a sense of trust between provincial government and the people
living in the municipal units.



We are all aware or we should all be aware that provincial governments, like federal governments,
do not always enjoy great credibility with the people of the province, nationally, of course, the people of the
country. It is essential that we work to try to rebuild a sense of trust between the people and this Chamber.
One of the ways that we can do that is to ensure that legislation which is brought before the Chamber for
debate and for eventual division will be well vetted by the public in advance of the final decisions being taken
here.



If we were to pass the motion, the amendment which is before us today, I think we could go a long
way to doing that and indeed strengthen the whole cause and process of amalgamation because it would be
seen to be done in just absolutely the correct way. It is not just important, it is essential that the people have
the opportunity to synthesize all of the information which they can have made available to them to weigh the
one argument against the other, to weigh one set of information against the other, to weigh one projected set
of results against another projected set of results and determine in their own minds what is in their and their
communities own best interest and to advise us as legislators and more particularly to advise their particular
members who sit in this Chamber, all of whom who certainly will vote on each opportunity with respect to
this measure. Of course, Mr. Speaker, will not be voting on it because of the fact that he would only vote in
the event of a tie but then the whole matter of amalgamation in his community is already decided so that he
can have an even hand. We will look forward to seeing just how the metropolitan members in this Legislature
do respond when the question is put to each of them, on each occasion that there is a division with respect to
this bill.



There are a host of issues which, I think, need to be resolved in advance of the legislation passing
through the House, because once the bill passes through the House, the clock then is ticking towards the birth
of the new municipality, the elections and the taking over of responsibilities of the elected councils. Those new
councils will have plenty to do simply adjusting to the new responsibilities, without having to be faced with
resolving all kinds of issues that should have been resolved before the new councils are elected and have to
take on the responsibilities that will be conveyed to them by this legislation.



For example, I think one of the things that has to be resolved, before we can deal with this bill
appropriately, is to provide a really definitive determination with respect to what constitutes an urban and a
rural community, within the new municipal unit that will be created as a result of amalgamation. It has been
said before and it bears repeating - I have not said it, so I am not repeating myself and, therefore, would not
be out of order - that much of Halifax County is very different from the south end of Halifax or the north end
of Dartmouth. While there are many communities of interest within this whole metropolitan region, there are
also disparate interests. People who live in very rural areas have different outlooks and different needs than
do people who live in the urban core of metro. It is very important that we understand precisely what
constitutes a rural area and an urban area, in advance of the new municipal unit being called upon to create
policies and resolve questions great and small, which will reflect the tremendous disparity within this very
large geographic community which will be created as a result of amalgamation.



There also is the question of rural and municipal services. People who live in the rural municipality,
of course, will experience a different level of service in many cases, if not in most cases, than will those who
live in the urban areas.



AN HON. MEMBER: Even suburban areas, parts of suburban areas.



MR. LEEFE: We even find that there is a tremendous difference, as my colleague reminds me, in
the suburban areas in this area.



AN HON. MEMBER: Sackville has two.



MR. LEEFE: Sackville has two different levels, as he very clearly points out. It is essential that we
understand, before the new government is in place, precisely how those responsibilities are to be met and that
can only be done if we have a good, solid definition of urban and rural areas within the new metropolitan
community.



The whole question of services is absolutely essential and vital to the people of metro and nowhere
is that more evident than in the question of how policing and fire services will be provided. In much of what
will be the new metropolitan municipality, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police have traditionally provided
a very fine policing service to the people in those communities. At the same time, in the urban areas, in the
two cities and the town which currently are extant in metro, but all of which will pass into history if this bill
passes as it is currently written, they have provided their own policing services. Again, I think very fine and
professional policing services.



There is a very large question looming, as to how the new policing services will be defined, how they
would be delivered, how the people, the men and the women who work in those police forces and those who
work in the service and administrative areas in those police departments will fare as a result of municipal
amalgamation. I think it is essential that we understand that and that, in understanding, we convey that
understanding through the legislation, an understanding which will find support from the men and the women
who are most immediately affected, but again from the men and the women throughout the municipal units
who certainly have an interest in policing.






[5:45 p.m.]



The same may be said of fire services only perhaps, with respect to fire services, the question is one
which requires even further thought and that reason being that, while there are professional firefighters in
certain of the municipal units that currently make up the metro region, there are also tremendous numbers
of dedicated, highly trained volunteer firefighters, particularly in the county area. The question is, what will
the interface be between them? Will there still be a role for volunteer firefighters in those communities? Will
people be prepared to continue to volunteer if they are put into a situation where they are volunteering and,
at the same time, they are working with people who are full-time paid employees of the fire department. This
could have a very negative impact on the capacity of rural communities to continue to attract volunteers to
their fire departments.



Next weekend in my own constituency, we are celebrating volunteer week and the tremendous work
done by volunteers in our communities and I think that is probably true right across the province. We have
got to make sure that in rushing forward with amalgamation, we do not jeopardize the very essential services
that have been made available to our communities particularly through volunteer fire services.



The whole question of service areas and area rates and the question of whether people living in a
rural area will be paying a different rate than people living in an urban area, the question of whether there
will be a base rate throughout the entire new municipal unit and then, depending on the level of services
available, will there be additional rates piled on top of that? The whole question of area rates, the role of the
various community councils, when and if they are elected with respect to that whole matter, these are all
important questions that need to be brought out into the sunlight and need to be thoroughly reviewed and
decisions taken in advance of moving forward and creating the new municipal unit.



The whole matter of electoral boundaries, I find it more than passingly strange that Mr. Hayward
would recommend to the municipal units that will comprise the one new super municipality that they should
now be underway enumerating in anticipation of an election next fall to elect the new councils. How in
Heaven’s name can enumeration take place when we do not yet know the configuration of the electoral
boundaries for each polling district within the new municipality, let alone the number of units or the number
of polling areas that there will be? Mr. Hayward, initially having spoken of there being 20 councillors, is now
as I understand it talking about the possibility of there being 24. That in itself would lend to a different
configuration.



Enumeration in my view, practically speaking, cannot take place until those other decisions are
taken. So, why would we not, in hoisting the bill, give the opportunity for the Utility and Review Board to
answer all those questions in a fair and even handed way, without having to rush post-haste into making
decisions which maybe regretted very shortly after they are taken and which, once taken, will be costly and
time-consuming to overturn?



We have to ask ourselves why should we not - and indeed, I believe we should, to answer my own
question - define with greater precision just what the roles of the community councils will be? Is there a
possibility that in creating community councils with this legislation that we may, instead of having four equal
governments within the metropolitan region as we currently have, in fact create a situation where we have
a myriad of governments, some with greater powers than others, admittedly, but governments vying with each
other with respect to playing a role in determining how municipal life and responsibilities will be played out
in this area? I don’t know of anybody who really understands with precision what the roles of these councils
will be. I think that we have to understand that before we can reasonably anticipate that the people of the
metropolitan area will be able to fully utilize them when the bill passes and when the new municipality is
created.



What happens in life after the Municipal Authority? We know that the Municipal Authority has
relinquished responsibility from municipal solid waste management but it nonetheless plays a very large role
outside the management of municipal solid waste. What will happen to all of the activities, the responsibilities
which are currently exercised by the Metropolitan Authority? Will there be a new authority established to
work under the aegis of the new council? Will the new council itself, because it will, in effect, take over the
responsibility for the whole of the metropolitan region, assume those responsibilities directly to it as would
seem to be a reasonable option? Just exactly what is going to happen?



The question of municipal solid waste is a vitally important one for all people living in metro.
Yesterday we had the Minister of the Environment make a statement and table in this House a municipal solid
waste strategy for the province. Yet, the question which is not answered in that strategy is, where will the
ultimate authority lie? We know that there is an interesting and peculiar authority extended to the Halifax
County area with respect to the question of where the new landfill, which is associated with municipal solid
waste management, will be sited. I think that is a question that really needs to be vetted further.



We have been so used to burying our municipal solid waste that we have been able to pretend that
is hasn’t been there. We are not going to be able to bury it in that way any longer and this is going to be one
of the most important issues that the new council will have to deal with and in effect, giving veto to one of
the areas with respect to where a new landfill in association with the management of municipal solid waste
will be located, in my view, is fundamentally wrong and is something that should be changed as we go
through this legislation.



This bill is very clearly going to affect not only every man, woman and child who lives in metro, it
is also going to have a very dramatic impact on a significant number of people who are currently employed
by the now four municipal units which will become one. I think there will be something like, it is estimated,
175 fewer employees in the new municipal unit and the question is are these people simply going to be handed
a pink slip or are they going to be handed something more humane than that with respect to the termination
of their employment with the municipality? There are all kinds of maybes built into this bill but there are no
guarantees built into it. The only way we, as legislators, can guarantee that these employees will be treated
fairly is to ensure that we do it here, now, as we pass this legislation through the House.



Yes, we all know that reducing the number of persons working with government is going to result
in tax savings but I wager that there is not a man or woman paying municipal property taxes in any of these
four municipal units who would not say that in creating those savings they do not want the employees who
have worked assiduously on their behalf in each of the municipal units to be treated in a fair and equitable
fashion.



Will there be early retirement programs made available? Well, the legislation is permissive. It says
yes, if the new municipal unit wants to do that, but there is no guarantee that there will be that kind of
opportunity provided to men and women who are currently working for municipal units. Will there be
severance available? There is no guarantee with respect to that either. What about those who do lose their
jobs? Will they simply be told, thank you very much, you have not been around long enough to collect the
company watch. Good luck when you go out on your job hunt, but don’t bother calling us because we have
fewer jobs available.



So it is essential, among other things that we address the question of job loss counselling for those
who will lose their positions as a result of amalgamation. It is also essential that we do our very best through
this legislation to define how new training opportunities can be made available to the men and women who
do lose their jobs so that they are in a position to compete in a highly competitive market place for new
employment opportunities.



Well, Madam Speaker, we are near the end of the afternoon and I do have a few more remarks I
would like to make and I would like to complete those remarks tomorrow on the assumption the Government
House Leader calls this bill. That being the case I move adjournment of this bill at this time.



MADAM SPEAKER: The motion is in order.



The honourable Deputy Government House Leader.



MR. ALLISTER SURETTE: Madam Speaker, will you please revert to the order of business,
Introduction of Bills.



INTRODUCTION OF BILLS



Bill No. 11 - Entitled an Act to Amend Chapter 63 of the Acts of 1992. The Halifax County
Charter. (Mr. Dennis Richards)



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



The honourable Deputy Government House Leader.



MR. ALLISTER SURETTE: Madam Speaker, I would like to inform the members of the House that
we will meet tomorrow between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. Following the daily routine will be
Public Bills for Second Reading and Bill No. 3. As well, in the Red Room the Subcommittee on Supply will
meet between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. to discuss the estimates of Community Services.



I move that we adjourn until 9:00 a.m. tomorrow.



MADAM SPEAKER: We have reached the moment of interruption. The time being 5:58 p.m., the
resolution to be debated is:



Therefore be it resolved that the Government of Nova Scotia state its commitment to the clean-up
of Halifax Harbour by re-establishing its financial commitment made in the recently lapsed agreement with
the federal and municipal governments.



ADJOURNMENT



MOTION UNDER RULE 5(5)



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



HFX. HBR. CLEAN UP: FINANCIAL COMMITMENT - RE-ESTABLISH



MR. JOHN HOLM: Madam Speaker, it is really 5:59 p.m. I may need that extra minute. I welcome
the opportunity to rise this evening to speak on the topic that I have submitted for the debate.



The Halifax Harbour is probably the most pressing environmental problem in metro Halifax. Two
hundred and fifty years of non-stop pollution of the harbour with human sewage, with industrial pollutants
has taken its toll. The only big cities, communities that is, in Canada that do not have sewage management
systems are Halifax, St. John’s and Victoria -all cities that are by the ocean. It is not, I suggest, acceptable to
use the ocean as a waste dump. Ocean flushing is not and does not work and it is certainly not an acceptable
solution.



You can’t swim in the harbour in the Northwest Arm or at least you should not. You risk getting
rashes on your skin, eye infections and if you swallow any of the water, stomach upsets from the pathogens,
can often occur. No point in exaggerating, no one, of course, will die but this isn’t what we want in any event,
Mr. Speaker.



[6:00 p.m.]



You can’t eat any of the shellfish in the harbour. In fact, no clean-up will change that since it is still
an industrial harbour, but there is a lobster fishery in the outer reaches of the harbour. Of course, we all know
it is a very smelly place to be, especially on hot days and it has the unsightly floatables which are known to
be washing up on the beaches.



Furthermore, there is a universal agreement that the problem has to be dealt with. For 25 years, there
have been studies detailing the problems. Public opinion polls indicate a high degree of willingness by the
people to pay to have a clean-up. In fact, people in the area have been paying a pollution control surcharge
on their water bills, to put money aside towards the harbour project in Halifax. Money is also being collected
in the Dartmouth area as well. The municipalities have collected about $50 million that they have all ready
to spend on the project.



Of course, Mr. Speaker, you would know that of the sewage that is eventually making its way into
the harbour at the present time, it is only the communities of Sackville, Bedford and parts of Eastern Passage
and the county, that have sewage treatment.



Finally, in 1988, before the second last provincial election, the three levels of government agreed to
cost-share a harbour project. They agreed to cost-share $200 million. The feds and the province each promised
$73.5 million, with the municipalities to put in $50 million more.



The basic justifications of the province being involved at all, since municipalities would normally
handle their own sewage problems, are twofold; the size of the cost of the project and secondly, the tourism
attraction of Halifax. These two aspects, I suggest, Mr. Speaker, have not disappeared. Look at how very
concerned this government and the other organizers at the federal level and at the municipal level have been
about the G-7 coming to town. They know the harbour is an embarrassment, so they came up with the
suggestion to hide the problem or pretend that they were doing something about it.






To hide it, since four of the sewer lines come out at the foot of Sackville Street, just beside the
Cornwallis Building, which will be the site of the G-7 meeting, they decided, or they had proposed, I should
more properly put it, in the beginning to spend $1 million to build a longer pipeline, so that the noses of the
visitors would not be offended. That was the original suggestion, $1 million to protect the noses for a few days
of our distinguished visitors.



Of course, that does not solve the problem. That silly idea was, of course, hooked off the floor.
However, what the organizers are going to propose in its place, is spending $350,000 to showcase some
technologies that could be used for the harbour clean-up. Could it be, Mr. Speaker, that those technologies
that are going to be showcased for a few days, for a period of time anyway, will be up for about two or three
weeks and then, of course, just be dismantled once the G-7 and the summer festivities are passed? Are they
demonstration models, not working additions, in other words, to the system?



The key point is that there is a legitimate provincial interest, or should be, in the harbour project.
Although the designers were given a $200 million budget, they designed a system that would have cost over
$400 million. There have never been any explanations as to how that happened. The board minutes of the
Halifax Harbour Clean Up Incorporated are not public documents. The minister, I suggest, should make them
public and explain how the whole thing happened, that it went from a $200 million budget to a design of $400
million.



I say to the minister and this government, in all honesty, they have nothing to hide because it was
a former government that was in power at the time, so that information can’t even hurt them and they should
make that information available.



The environmental groups were the main opponents of the HHCI proposals, pointing out that it
would bankrupt local taxpayers if it went ahead. They wanted a harbour project, but not at ridiculous expense.



In September 1993, the HHCI project passed environmental assessments but with a long list of
significant conditions attached. The main one was that all of the funding had to be in place before the project
could go ahead. That would then be $400 million and it was immediately announced that the HHCI project
would not be built because it was too expensive.



Since then there has been an elaborate charade on the part of both the provincial and federal
governments to pass the time until the clock ran out on the 1988 funding agreement. Mr. Speaker, that
agreement expired on March 31st past. They both decided that they wanted, obviously, out from under the
agreement that had been reached by the former governments and collaborated to pretend that they were still
committed to the harbour project. Their hope was that the issue would just simply go away, quietly. That has
not happened and it will not; HHCI has been folded up. It managed to spend $19 million while it lasted, but
all of that money appears, or most of it, to have been wasted.



The Minister responsible for ACOA, Dave Dingwall, Mr. Speaker, promptly declared that the 1988
agreement was null and void. At least he said something. Provincial ministers who are responsible have not
said anything; they did not say anything for months before the expiry date, nor have they said a single word
since that time.



The environmental groups that have been monitoring the issue, the Metro Coalition for Harbour
Clean Up took steps in 1994 to design a harbour project that would fit the original $200 million budget, so
the $400 million solution is not the only alternative. The lower cost design was publicly released and won
wide praise from the engineering community as a doable solution. It started with source control, that is,
keeping the most toxic materials out of the system in the first place and phasing in the digging work; the
replacement of sewer lines, especially in central Halifax and Dartmouth where the old lines should be
separated so that the sewage and storm waters are handled separately; consolidation of sewer outfalls; the use
of inexpensive, small-scale devices to create a sludge that can be composted; and it does not involve building
an artificial island in the middle of the harbour.



The only other possibility that has been mooted is privatization. Naturally, lots of companies are
interested in that because they would be guaranteed riches forever and, of course, we know this government
is interested in that as well. It is fine for them, but not so fine for the taxpayers. The basic guide is that
anything that is an essential public service, and is also logically a monopoly, should be owned and run by the
public sector. An essential service monopoly in the hands of the private sector will take all the public sector
costs and add a large dosage of profit, all at the expense of those paying the water bills and using the service.



The end of the 1988 agreement does not mean an end to the need for the obligation. The province
has to stand up and say if it is still committed to the project, Mr. Speaker. It has to say - as I wrap up, as you
tell me my time is expired - this provincial government has a responsibility to say if it is still prepared and
committed to the project, if it is prepared to contribute money to it and, if so, how much. People in the
communities around the harbour deserve some straight talk and straight answers for once from this
government. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.



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



MR. ALAN MITCHELL: Mr. Speaker, I thank the honourable member for Sackville-Cobequid for
bringing forward this resolution. It deals with a very important issue and I am pleased to have the opportunity
to address this matter.



I have lived in this area for more than 25 years now, and I take great pride in living in the
metropolitan area. This whole urban area is one which surrounds Halifax Harbour. This body of water defines
this area; it really gives it identity. I have walked along the shores of Halifax Harbour and I have visited the
various waterfront development projects in both cities, Halifax and Dartmouth. I have attended a number of
festivals that have taken place in the cities: Tall Ships, Parade of Sails, and the Multicultural Festival that was
held in Dartmouth. It is a very important part of our community.



There is no question that we have a major problem here. I believe there are over 39 sewer outfalls
that go into Halifax Harbour. I understand that there is 135 million litres of raw sewage that goes into the
harbour each day. There is no source controls in most cases to control what goes into the sewers, it is filled
in many cases with chemicals, dry cleaning fluids, toxins and things which should not be going into sewage
in the first place.



This problem as my honourable friend has mentioned has a number of ramifications. It creates a very
unsightly situation of the harbour. There is a tremendous odour and not just odour to people around and
people who visit the harbour edge. There is also the health hazard, the inability to swim. The problem with
fishing, one day one could catch and eat the fish and lobsters in the harbour in the basin, that is no longer
safe.



It must be remembered that this is primarily a municipal problem and has always been one, it is
municipal sewage that is polluting the harbour. In the past there have been problems with the municipalities
addressing this problem and one of the main problems with that, of course, is that there has been a number
of different municipalities, it is a regional problem, much the same as landfill, transportation and a number
of others. This has always resulted in disputes sometimes as to whose share is what share of the problem, who
is to pay for the clean up of it, who is to take control and who is to lead in solving this problem.



As my honourable friend again mentioned in 1988, just prior to the provincial election the previous
administration and the federal government announced to great fanfare, a plan to clean up Halifax Harbour,
with approximate costs about $195 million. Halifax Harbour Clean Up Incorporated was incorporated and
their purpose was to lead and develop this plan. Results now are that they have spent approximately $20
million in the development of this plan, a very elaborate plan to deal with the problem involving
approximately 20 kilometres of tunnels under the cities, some underneath the harbour, involve the
construction of an artificial island in the middle of the harbour. The cost went from the estimated $200
million to about $400 million. It was a very elaborate plan, it looked very fancy and it looked like it could be
very attractive but the cost was not. The cost was more than any level of government, the federal, the
municipal or the provincial, could deal with.



We have to remember that the times when we had the ability to recklessly throw money at a problem
are gone. We have finally learned that we must be prudent with our money, we must live within our means.
This is particularly true with the provincial government where we have inherited a debt of more than $8
billion, that is restricting our ability to manage this province.



I think the first thing that we had to deal with is the situation we had where we had a process that
was not working. If I think I can say one thing that the cost and the bleeding on that end has stopped. It is true
as the honourable member mentions that the agreement has now lapsed, it lapsed in March of 1995 and we
have to look forward. The problem remains, it still has to be dealt with. We have to look at how we can clean
up this harbour which is so very important to this metropolitan area.



I mentioned before that this is a municipal problem and I mentioned the difficulties that the
municipalities in the past have had in dealing with this problem. I am very pleased that the honourable
Minister of Municipal Affairs has brought forward the municipal amalgamation bill and I think that this is
going to be very effective for a number of reasons and very beneficial to the people in this area. One thing it
is going to do is it is going to create one municipal government which is going to be able to deal in a realistic
and constructive way with regional problems like the Halifax Harbour clean-up.



I was very interested in hearing that Mayor Fitzgerald, the mayor of the City of Halifax, said that
Halifax Harbour clean-up was a municipal problem. I look forward to this new municipal unit as soon as they
are incorporated and as soon as they start to take charge of the problems and the issues before them, looking
at what solutions can be brought forward to solve this problem. The point I want to make is that the question
I guess, is where should the leadership come from? Who should be leading the solution of this problem? It
is a harbour which is going to be within the municipal unit, it is involved with problems which are caused by
municipal problems, sewage. I suggest that the municipal unit should be leading the solution of this, I think
that the municipal leaders do agree with that and they will be doing that in the future when they are in a
position to do so.



[6:15 p.m.]



I want to say that we look forward with great anticipation to that and we, as a province, continue our
commitment to be involved in any Halifax Harbour clean-up and it is something which we want very much
to see and are committed to and we will participate in any proposals brought forward to us by the new
municipal unit. I think there is nothing that could be a greater gift than to leave to our children a clean,
pristine and unpolluted Halifax Harbour, one where maybe again we might swim, maybe again it might be
possible to catch the fish and the lobsters and eat them and I am optimistic that this will come about and I am
very pleased.



My honourable friend mentioned some of the demonstration projects in a disparaging way and I think
that is unfair because the Cities of Halifax and Dartmouth are looking at some projects to look at different
technologies that can be used to clean up the harbour and my understanding is that these demonstration
projects are planned to be ongoing, they are not just a little puff to attract some attention during the G-7. Mr.
Speaker, I know this is a serious problem, we are committed to playing our part in solving this and I look
forward to the day when that will come about. Thank you.



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Official Opposition.



MR. TERENCE DONAHOE: Mr. Speaker, I too am pleased to have the opportunity to make a few
remarks relative to the Halifax Harbour clean-up and its stagnant state in every sense, not only the harbour
but the public policy deliberations that are required to be pursued to ensure that something does take place.



I noted with great interest and in a gentle but direct way, I can’t help but begin by remarking that my
learned friend, the member for Dartmouth-Cole Harbour who spoke on behalf of the government benches went
out of his way to make sure that as far as he is concerned and as far as everybody is concerned, the provincial
government, it is prepared to help or do something but this is a municipal problem, this is not a provincial
government problem. Well, that is debatable but I was a member of a provincial government which went to
the table and committed $73 million provincial dollars matched by the federal government and matched by
significant but lesser municipal money.



Frankly, I am just as disappointed as any member in this place that as a result of an unbelievable
circus of environmental hearings and ineffective administrative practice, the thing didn’t get off the blocks
at a much earlier time. What intrigues me about the reality is that the present provincial government seems
not to live in the real world. We are now 30 days short of this distinguished John Savage Government having
been elected the Government of Nova Scotia. On this issue as with so many others, their attitude and their
approach is, well it is somebody else’s problem or if it hadn’t been for those who were there before we would
have done this, that or the other thing. Well, with the greatest respect, I think it is time that this government
came to understand that it has some responsibilities and if it is prepared to exercise some leadership, it has
the opportunity to effect some results.



Since March 31st, there have been a lot of unanswered questions on the future of the Halifax Harbour
clean-up. Although the current minister responsible for the clean-up was questioned on the issue, she had just
been sworn in and felt unable to comment at the time. However, there has been little since as to just where
the province does stand on the issue.



When I asked the former Minister of the Environment last year about pollutants in the harbour, he
hinted to the action the former Minister of Labour would be taking to the harbour clean-up. He said and he
stood in his place across the way, the former Minister of the Environment and he leaned his hand over to his
friend, Minister Abbass who, at that time, was the minister responsible and said, “We are coming to the point
now with the honourable member to my left [Jay Abbass], of getting closer and closer to a solution to a
problem that the citizens of this area find most disturbing, most difficult and are anxious to get on with the
job of cleaning up this harbour.”. That was June 16, 1994.



Following those rhetorical comments from the former Minister of the Environment, the former
minister in charge of the clean-up found himself not in the middle of a solution but as the Leader of the New
Democratic Party pointed out, in the middle of a spat with federal Minister Dingwall. Mr. Dingwall was
indicating that the federal funds for the project had dried up and it was completely embarrassing for this
province’s minister, who then had to turn around and try to defend his position and the Liberal federal
minister’s comments, which were in contradiction to what the former minister responsible had said. Of course,
the comments indicating that the federal funds were dried up were later retracted by Minister Dingwall,
further embarrassing the provincial counterpart. So, we had all kinds of political rhetoric and backing and
forthing.



This government began early on, Mr. Speaker, and you will recall it, to float the idea of privatizing
the project. Privatization was to some in this Liberal Government, somewhat of a Fascist idea when it was
being touted by those of us who were on the government benches a few years ago. But it seems, as evidenced
again today with the new toll road announced by the Minister of Transportation and Communications, that
a public/private arrangement now seems to make some sense.



In June, the minister did find that there was federal money, $0.5 million, and that was available to
study this public/private route for cleaning up the harbour. Now, we are going back to June. The cities of
Halifax and Dartmouth were “supportive of pursuing the exploration of the privatization option.”. The
minister responsible at that time, June 29, 1994, said, and can’t you just recall him saying it, we are going to
make sure the clean-up goes forward. The trumpets blared and the violins went on. It was really going to
happen. We are going to make sure the clean-up goes forward.



Well, over six months later, January 17, 1995, the minister responsible for the clean-up at that time
indicated, “Halifax and Dartmouth have made it very clear that they have serious concerns about going down
that road”, the public/private study partnership arrangement. “I don’t think we should waste that money.”.
That decision took six months. It took six months to announce, we are going to clean it up. That was June 29,
1994, and six months later, well, the municipal units are concerned about the private/public arrangement.



Just in the last few months, we have had suggestions from the federal Liberal Government that maybe
we could extend, as has already been said, one of the raw sewage outfalls. It just happens to be near the office
building where the G-7 Leaders will be meeting and it is about 150 metres from the site. This government
indicated that they were supportive of the idea and, certainly, the federal government. They could find some
money. They were going to spend $1 million to extend the pipe out so Mr. Clinton’s nose and others would
not be tweaked by unpleasant odours when they were here for G-7.






Fortunately for the taxpayers, that project was rejected. This, however, I say to you, Mr. Speaker. it
is not a real show of support for the clean-up of our harbour. In fact, it is a complete insult and a waste of
whatever money there is available that could possibly be directed toward the real solution.



So, we now have an agreement between the provincial and federal governments and it has expired.
We have heard nothing from the federal government on this, but I think we can assume, based on the response
that this government has gotten on the forestry agreement, that we are not likely to be getting the funds that
were there, $73 million, unless the minister responsible can find out for sure otherwise. We have had no
indication that that minister has so much as placed a phone call, let alone made any legitimate effort.



The Mayor of Halifax said, and again reference has been made to this, that he is anxious to go
forward with a clean-up. Obviously, a clean-up in excess of $200 million is beyond the capacity of all the
levels of government to be undertaking. The City of Dartmouth, however - and I think this is a real concern
and it requires leadership from this provincial Liberal Government in order to ensure things do not happen
that we do not want to have happen - the City of Dartmouth, which is now looking at what to do with its water
rates, one of the things that is being discussed in the City of Dartmouth, as I know you know, Mr. Speaker,
relative to water rates in the City of Dartmouth, is that perhaps they will eliminate their pollution control tax
for now. If they do, that is the money that was earlier intended to be made available by Dartmouth to the
Halifax Harbour Clean Up Incorporated.



It has already been said, and I know my time is pretty much expiring, that there were solutions made.
There were solutions recommended by environmental groups which made proposals that would result in a
legitimate clean-up process, starting, as has already been said as well, with clear policy decisions being taken
municipally and provincially, to end much of the at-source pollution of the harbour. The members of the
Harbour Coalition and It’s Not Garbage Coalition said the dumping of waste in the harbour is illegal under
the federal Fisheries Act. We have not heard the Minister of Fisheries, provincially, take that matter up with
his federal officials.



Frankly, Mr. Speaker, to conclude, I think the people of metro really do deserve some answers from
the Minister responsible for the Halifax Harbour Clean Up Incorporated, as to just where this project really
does stand. Where is the province’s $73 million share it originally promised. The agreement has come to an
end but there were $73 million there.



What proposals are feasible? Will the province assist the municipalities? Well, I hear from my
learned friend, the member for Dartmouth-Cole Harbour that, gee, this is a municipal problem, don’t call us,
it is not our problem. Well, I think frankly if this government would indicate the current whereabouts of the
earlier committed $73 million, who knows what possibilities exist? Will the province assist the municipalities?
One which is now committed, Mayor Fitzgerald indicated, and one which I think might be wavering, and
what will be done with all the money invested in studying this issue?



Mr. Speaker, the harbour is something of which we should all be proud. It has a long and a storied
history and it is a shame and a sin, frankly, that it has been allowed to become polluted as it has. But we do,
if we have some leadership exercised, I believe, we have the capacity, without the expenditure of unreasonable
amounts of money, to return the harbour to a state of which all Nova Scotians and all metro residents could
be very proud.



It requires leadership from the Savage Government. To date, we have had none. I would hope there
will be some forthcoming in the next short while. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.



MR. SPEAKER: That ends the late debate. The House will adjourn, to sit again tomorrow at 9:00
a.m.



The motion to adjourn is carried.



[The House rose at 6:27 p.m.]






NOTICE OF MOTION UNDER RULE 32(3)



HOUSE ORDER NO. 13



By: Mr. Ronald Russell (Hants West)



I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move that an order of this House do issue for a return
showing, with respect to the Nova Scotia Department of Transportation and Communications:



(1) A copy of all correspondence concerning requests for the Fleur-de-lis Trail from the former
Departments of Tourism and Economic Development and the present Economic Renewal Agency.