Assemblée Législative de la Nouvelle-Écosse

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HALIFAX, FRIDAY, APRIL 21, 1995



Fifty-sixth General Assembly



Third Session



9:00 A.M.



SPEAKER



Hon. Paul MacEwan



DEPUTY SPEAKER



Mrs. Francene Cosman






MR. SPEAKER: Ladies and gentlemen, I would like to call the House to order at this time to
commence the daily sitting. I take it there are no introductions of guests this morning so we will advance
immediately to the daily routine.



PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS



PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES



TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Supply and Services.



HON. GERALD O’MALLEY: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to table before this House today the most
recent action toward integrity, efficiency and openness in government. This is our White Paper on Public
Sector Procurement. This document is entitled Fairness in Government Procurement and is a paper that lives
up to that title.



Our goals in developing this White Paper are to continue to seek public sector consultation and
participation in good government for our province. This paper is intended, Mr. Speaker, (1) to ensure
taxpayers receive the best value in efficiency and product quality for their dollars; (2) to create a fair, open
and transparent procurement system; and (3) to ensure every business has an equal opportunity to do business
with our government and with publicly funded entities.












795

 

A legitimate and fair tendering process presents a real opportunity to government to lower its costs.
It is also a sign of the commitment of this government to open up a process that for far too long has been
clouded in secrecy, preferential treatment and by patronage. Honourable members will no doubt read with
interest this White Paper, Mr. Speaker, but allow me to briefly mention the highlights.



We have clearly outlined the dollar thresholds at which requirements must be (1) publicly advertised
in media; (2) inserted on the province’s electronic bulletin board; or (3) acquired by Nova Scotia businesses,
publicly registered with government by their choice.



Effective July 1, 1996, provincially funded entities, such as municipalities, universities, school boards
and hospitals must also follow this provincial policy.



We have outlined the criteria through which legal, insurance, advertising, architectural and
engineering services are to be acquired. There will be a greater use of advertising to obtain these professional
services, to ensure that as many qualified professionals as possible have an opportunity to do business
efficiently and cost-effectively with the government of this province.



As all honourable members know, community economic development is a very important tool in our
government’s plan to improve the economy of Nova Scotia and create jobs for Nova Scotians. The purchasing
power of government represents a significant economic instrument, that must be better harnessed to improve
local economies in Nova Scotia and thus attain their objectives. To that end, we are enshrining in policy the
preference of purchasing from Nova Scotia manufacturers and suppliers, where it is consistent with good
business practices and in the best interests of the public.



Mr. Speaker, it is important for everyone to understand that this does not dictate blanket provincial
preference for all purchasing and contracts. Our government is not abrogating its obligations under the
Atlantic Procurement Agreement and the national Agreement on Internal Trade, for they, too, through
reciprocal business, will allow us to grow into a global economy. Procurement preference to Nova Scotians
can only be shown where the dollar values of the requirement is below the thresholds outlined in the Atlantic
Procurement Agreement; i.e., $25,000 for goods, $50,000 for services and $100,000 for construction. Any
requirement over these limits is fair game for all businesses in Atlantic Canada and no Nova Scotian
preference will be shown.



Where preference to a Nova Scotia business may be shown, the purchase or contract price must be
within the agreed 5 per cent of the lowest priced alternative.



Let there be no mistaking our position, we will not buy Nova Scotian if it violates any agreement to
which Nova Scotia is a part. Nor will we show provincial preference if the cost of provincial preference
outweighs its economic value and general social good to our province.



Mr. Speaker, I am also proud that this proposed policy enshrines our government’s commitment to
employment equity. The policy enshrines that from time to time, when appropriate, equal employment
opportunities for gender and minorities will form part of the bid evaluation criteria.



Mr. Speaker, for the first time, all the rules of provincial government procurement are written in black
and white. These rules are clear. They are real and they will be followed. Ministers of each department will
be accountable for any deviation from the rules within their departments. Similarly, heads of boards, agencies,
commissions, Crown Corporations and other publicly funded organizations will have equal obligations.



Mr. Speaker, we are presenting this as a White Paper because we are challenging all honourable
members of this House, the public and the business community, to help us improve it. Many businesses and
service sectors already have. Now we will consult with the elected and the public at large. Yes, we have, as
I have said, consulted very widely in preparing this document. We have incorporated and improved upon
existing policies and procedures and we have embodied the integrity of principles our Liberal Government
brought into office 22 months ago.



Mr. Speaker, the procurement policies and procedures of every province and the federal government
were reviewed as part of this process. As a result of this review, I am confident that our proposed policy will
stand as a model of openness, fairness and transparency for all jurisdictions to emulate. (Applause)



However, Mr. Speaker, improvement may always be possible. I, therefore, invite Nova Scotians to
obtain a copy of the White Paper at the many outlets where they will be available, including our Government
Bookstore, and I invite all to forward any written comments and suggestions to my office by May 12, 1995.



Mr. Speaker, and my colleagues of the House, I look forward to any and all positive contributions to
this process. In closing, I want to extend my profound thanks to the Premier, to my colleagues in Cabinet, to
my colleagues in caucus, to my predecessor the Honourable Wayne Adams, and particularly to the staff of our
Department of Supply and Services. (Applause)



MR. JOHN HOLM: What about the people who pushed you to do it?



MR. O’MALLEY: Thank you, and the people who pushed us to do it. (Laughter)



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings North.



MR. GEORGE ARCHIBALD: Mr. Speaker, as they say in the street and everywhere else, the proof
of the pudding is in the eating, so it is going to be a little while before we can pass judgment on the statements
of the honourable minister today to see whether all of these policies that he has suggested will, in fact, be lived
up to. The other question that arises quickly is why do we need a White Paper? Why not just adopt the fair
purchasing policies and stick to them?



[9:15 p.m.]



One of the things that the honourable minister indicated this morning was that the provincial policy
is going to be followed. I hope that the minister will follow the provincial policy more clearly than they have
for the last 22 months because, as we have seen in this House, the policy is followed when convenient and
when not convenient it is out the window.



One of the things that we see in here is the advertising and architecture. We all remember last spring,
the fracas we had over architecture in the school construction where they have a policy that has been in the
making for many months. Some great considerable time and effort was put forth by the industry, only to have
the government indicate yes, they liked it but were slow to adopt it.



Also, our consulting and Human Resources services have not been indicated that they are part of this
agreement. I am sure that that is perhaps just an oversight and the minister will indicate that consulting and
Human Resources services will be contained within this agreement.



One of the things that a government can do is to aid and assist local companies become skilled in
undertaking large projects so that they can export those skills that they have developed to other countries. For
instance, there are experienced people from Nova Scotia Power working now in Jamaica, developing thermal
electricity plants because of the expertise that they gained by working in Nova Scotia. This is the kind of thing
that can be fostered and developed by the work of the government, the experience and pushing it over.



One difficulty with tendering policies that we have seen recently has been with the tender for school
buses. The school bus tender was let out for Nova Scotia and Nova Scotian firms were unable to be successful
because the parent company, the manufacturers located in Ontario who usually supply these people, put in
bids as well and of course, they underbid the local suppliers. So, that has made a bit of a hardship and it has
meant that expertise in school bus repair and delivery will become less and less available to Nova Scotia.



An interesting point on Page 7 says, “. . . policy enshrines that from time to time, when appropriate,
. . .”. Those are kind of weaselly words, from time to time and when appropriate. In whose judgment is this,
from time and time and when appropriate? We need a fair and easily followed document, not a document that
has words in it such as from time and time and when appropriate because that leads everybody to wonder
when will this take place and when will this policy be in effect.



The minister was almost breaking his arm patting himself and this government on the back for the
great things they have done for the past 22 months. There already was a policy, there already was a tendering
office on Young Street that was brought in by the previous government. All this government had to do was
start following the rules and regulations that were set forth for the tendering policy and they chose time and
again to either avoid or totally ignore the policy. (Interruption)



Oh sure, put your head in your hands, wiggle and squirm but the people that are making the most noise
are the two ministers whose departments have been singled out time and again for avoiding any semblance
of fair hiring or fair tendering. I look forward to a new page in the book of this government and I hope that
what the minister says when he speaks of fairness and opportunity for Nova Scotians, that he really means
it and it is not just more window-dressing because we have seen all the window-dressing from this
government, now it is time for some honest actions. (Interruptions)



MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. Now before we hear from the New Democratic Party, I would like to
ask for order.



The honourable Leader of the New Democratic Party.



MR. JOHN HOLM: Mr. Speaker, I appreciate your calling the other members of the House to order,
so that government members can hear my comments.



First of all, I have to say that at first blush, and I am not just looking at the minister’s statement but
I am looking at the White Paper that the minister has tabled, I want to, in all sincerity, because I think it is
only fair and proper, when government deserves some bouquets, Mr. Speaker, at least without having had the
opportunity to examine in full detail examine that policy, at least at the present time give the minister half
a bouquet for moving forward.



Nova Scotians have suffered for far too long. That is in recognition, Mr. Speaker, to his
acknowledgement at the end of his comments, with a little bit of prodding, thanking those who have pushed
the government to act.



But seriously, Mr. Speaker, for far too long Nova Scotians, under this regime and under the former
regime, have suffered from pork-barrel politics, where tenders and contracts were not awarded on solid, good,
economic grounds, where favouritism had quite obviously been at play and taxpayers’ monies, millions of
dollars, I would suggest, over a period of time have been wasted because we have not been getting the greatest
amount of bang for our bucks.



So, Mr. Speaker, in all sincerity I say to the minister and to this government, I very much appreciate
the fact that the government does appear to be moving and putting down, in some concrete and clear terms,
some rules.



However, Mr. Speaker, I said that the minister is only going to receive half a bouquet at the present
time, and for several reasons. First of all, this is but a consultation paper. I can appreciate the fact that the
minister wants to do some consultation but I don’t see anything in there about timelines. I didn’t see in the
minister’s statement any clear commitment as to when this policy, either as it is or slightly amended, is to take
effect.



Mr. Speaker, I would suggest that the minister and the government have an obligation to state clearly
that this policy will take effect, for example, in a week’s time, in two week’s time, in a month’s time. The
Minister of Education, for something as broad and complex as the White Paper on Education, only gave the
general public seven weeks. Well, for something as straightforward as this, he should be able to have his
consultation and this policy declared within a matter of a couple of weeks.



Secondly, Mr. Speaker, the minister said that Ministers of the Crown and others will be responsible
to ensure that the policies are followed. But I didn’t see anything in the minister’s statement and I have not
found in the White Paper any mechanisms for monitoring, to ensure that is done, and nothing that would
indicate how they are going to be monitoring that an old practice isn’t done. That old practice is splitting a
contract, so that if something was going to be a $110,000 contract, dividing that into two equal ones of
$55,000 and thereby circumventing to so-called intent of the policy.



Certainly my final comment, and one that again I do say that I very much appreciate in this, that is
the fact that the government is clearly stating that the policy will apply to all boards and agencies that are
funded or receive funding from the provincial government. Certainly there have been a lot of concerns and
complaints expressed about how hospitals procure some of their equipment and services, as there have been
for school boards and others. So I think it is only appropriate that we ensure that there be fair policies for
procuring both goods and services wherever the taxpayers’ monies are being spent.



So, Mr. Speaker, without having had the opportunity, obviously, to give a detailed analysis of the
report, this is something that is very dear to my heart and to the hearts of the NDP caucus because it is, quite
honestly, and I know I have only been a member of this House for 11 years but this is not a new issue. It is
one that we were hounding the former government about and we can take a look around and take a look at
how the rents increased, for example, for spaces that government offices under the former regime skyrocketed
and we can see who benefitted from that. We can see, Mr. Speaker, that the policies had not changed and what
we need, and Nova Scotians need, is a clear, unequivocal policy which has a proper monitoring process to
ensure the taxpayers are, in fact, going to receive the best bang for their buck and if that is what this policy
does, then I assure the minister and members of the government opposite, you will get the full bouquet. Thank
you.



MR. SPEAKER: Now we are still on the item of business, Tabling Reports, Regulations and Other
Papers. Are there any additional papers to be tabled?



STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS



GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION



INTRODUCTION OF BILLS



NOTICES OF MOTION



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Hants West.



RESOLUTION NO. 159



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



Whereas the 1995-96 estimates show that one-half of the departments in government have significant
increases in the offices of the ministers and deputy ministers, increases totalling $432,000 over the 1994-95
estimates; and



Whereas this government is closing hospital beds, court-houses, registry offices, prothonotary and
assessment offices and telling Nova Scotians these are tough times and they will just have to put up with less;
and



Whereas this contradiction is yet another example of ministers of government expecting Nova Scotians
to swallow a bitter pill while at the same time adding a little sweetener for themselves;



Therefore be it resolved that the Liberal ministers begin practising what they preach, that they accept
no less than the same spending limitations on their budgets as they have imposed on others and that they set
an example to Nova Scotians that they are willing to suffer a share of the pain as the province strives to reduce
its operating deficit.



MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.



The honourable Leader of the New Democratic Party.



RESOLUTION NO. 160



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 Public Consultation Report tabled by the Environment Minister on April 19, 1995,
acknowledges that, “incineration as a disposal technology is particularly controversial”: and



Whereas the Executive Director of the Clean Nova Scotia Foundation has stated that incineration
undermines efforts to reduce waste and recycle; and



Whereas the former Environment Minister showed good sense when he rejected the Burnside
incinerator proposal;



Therefore be it resolved that the new Environment Minister show good judgment by implementing a
ban on the development of new solid waste incinerators in Nova Scotia.



MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.



The honourable member for Queens.



RESOLUTION NO. 161



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



Whereas tomorrow marks the 25th Anniversary of Earth Day which was held first on April 22, 1970;
and



Whereas this day is recognized by not only Canada but over 140 other countries around the world as
citizens world-wide pause to pay tribute to its common heritage, Mother Earth, and remind people everywhere
that the environmental clock is ticking; and



Whereas Nova Scotians are eager to participate in the reduction of environmental degradation, waste
of natural resources and exploitation of Earth’s life-sustaining elements;



Therefore be it resolved that this House affirms its commitment to the preservation of the Earth and
be proactive in its efforts to preserve this planet through environmental protection, resource conservation and
recognizing individual, corporate and community responsibility for the consequences of our actions.



Mr. Speaker, I would request waiver of notice.



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



It is agreed.



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



The motion is carried.



The honourable member for Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage.






MR. DENNIS RICHARDS: Mr. Speaker, my resolution is similar to the one that was just presented
by the member for Queens. I will read it for the record at this time, if I may. I believe that the waiver of notice
that was asked for previously should be extended as well to this.



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



RESOLUTION NO. 162



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



Whereas the people of Nova Scotia live in a global village where the impact we make on the
environment is often felt world-wide; and



Whereas the environment legacy we leave to our children will be the hallmark of our existence; and



Whereas tomorrow, Saturday, April 22nd, citizens of the world celebrate Earth Day;



Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House encourage every effort to ensure a healthy
environment for our children, not just on Earth Day but every day of the year.



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



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 unanimously.



The honourable member for Sackville-Beaverbank.



RESOLUTION NO. 163



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



Whereas the Sackville Lions Club was incorporated 25 years ago on April 22nd; and



Whereas during the past 25 years this service club has supported a variety of community activities
including the Leisure Centre, the Sackville Sports Stadium, the Cobequid Multi-Service Centre and many
other community projects too numerous to mention;



[9:30 a.m.]



Whereas the present President of the club, Benny Benoit, is, through his active leadership, continuing
the club’s involvement in community activities;



Therefore be it resolved that this House extend congratulations and best wishes to Benny Benoit and
all members of the Sackville Lions Club on the occasion of their 25th Anniversary.



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



MR. SPEAKER: Is that agreed?



It is agreed.



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



The motion is carried.



The honourable member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley.



RESOLUTION NO. 164



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



Whereas the Mayor of Amherst is not confident the Minister of Transportation has even familiarized
himself with the geography of Highway No. 104; and



Whereas the Mayor of Amherst has accused the minister of being less than forthright with Cumberland
County municipal officials on the establishment of a toll highway; and



Whereas the Mayor of Amherst believes the Highway No. 104 toll could have a serious detrimental
impact on local industry in Amherst because of the excessive tolls that will be forced upon truckers hauling
freight;



Therefore be it resolved that the Premier and the Minister of Transportation, along with the Minister
of Education and the Minister for the Economic Renewal Agency, stop treating the citizens of Amherst as
second-rate citizens and treat them with the respect they rightly deserve.



MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.



The honourable member for Halifax Fairview.



MS. ALEXA MCDONOUGH: Mr. Speaker, I wonder if I might, before I introduce a resolution, also
introduce some guests that we have with us here this morning, in the west gallery. If I may, I would like to
introduce to all members of the House, approximately 30 students from Halifax West High School, in my
riding of Halifax Fairview. This group of students are among the 150 or so who are enrolled in the Law course
offered at Halifax West. I understand that there is no longer a Political Science course at Halifax West, but
that the Law course is taking up the challenge of making sure that these students are very familiar with the
Legislature and the political process in general. So, I would like to welcome the students and invite all
members to extend a warm welcome to them and wish them well during their stay. (Interruption) One of my
colleagues here is questioning my mathematical ability. He says that, typical of me, I have exaggerated the
number of students. I think there are slightly less than 30 who are here from a class of 30. (Applause)



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Fairview.



RESOLUTION NO. 165



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



Whereas yesterday, the Minister of Transportation revealed this government’s true vision of
public/private partnering in his assertion that the toll diversion around death valley’s real purpose is to
expedite “the movement of the economy”; and



Whereas fracturing Nova Scotia’s official public transportation link with the rest of Canada, to “give
business a safer, faster, more efficient transportation route”, is surely the ultimate expression of giving the
corporate agenda priority over the needs, interests and aspirations of the people of this province and over our
future as Nova Scotians, within a strong and united Canada;



Therefore be it resolved that this House condemns this government for failing to give equitable
consideration to the safety and well-being of the citizens of this province and its disregard of the community,
regional and national objectives of the Trans Canada Highway.



MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.



The honourable member for Queens.



RESOLUTION NO. 166



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



Whereas the fire protection district for Liverpool firefighters covers a large area, from East Berlin on
the southeastern end of Queens County to Port L’Hebert at the western end of the county;



Whereas today’s firefighters are called out on numerous emergency calls above and beyond regular
fires;



Whereas the Liverpool Fire Department, with the assistance of their Ladies Auxiliary, has moved into
the Computer Information Age and will now have a computer programmed with information on the structures
of homes as well as the families residing in them;



Therefore be it resolved that all members of this Legislature commend Fire Chief John MacIsaac and
the Liverpool Fire Department, in their continued efforts to provide residents of Liverpool and the surrounding
areas with complete and comprehensive fire protection.



Mr. Speaker, I seek 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 Leader of the New Democratic Party.



RESOLUTION NO. 167



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 Liberal Party campaigned on a promise of open and honest government; and



Whereas the Liberal Government has introduced legislation to create the Highway No. 104 Western
Alignment Corporation that will be exempt from the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act;
and



Whereas the Minister of Transportation yesterday refused to release the report of the Arthur Anderson
Company that was contracted to develop and analyze financial alternatives for the project and was paid for
by the taxpayers of Nova Scotia;



Therefore be it resolved that this House calls upon the Liberal Government to come clean with Nova
Scotians and lift the veil of secrecy they are drawing ever tighter around the Highway No. 104 project.



MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.



The honourable member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley.



RESOLUTION NO. 168



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



Whereas the Premier told literacy boosters in Dartmouth on February 9th that in the past, news releases
and other public documents were not only unclear but dishonest; and



Whereas the Premier also said that a new bureaucratic effort to use plain language will help “get the
mystery out of government”; and



Whereas despite the pledge, the present Liberal Government has surrounded Nova Scotians with an
intriguing four to five year mystery that began in May 1993 and continues today with numerous contradictions
and mystery statements from their Leader;



Therefore be it resolved that if the Premier and members of his government insist on promoting “plain
language workshops”, they learn what plain language is all about and start using it in their communications
with Nova Scotians.



MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.



Are there any further notices of motion? If not, that concludes the daily routine and we will now
advance to the Orders of the Day.



ORDERS OF THE DAY



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 Queens. The amendment to read the bill six months
hence adjourned the debate.  You have used up 24 minutes. You have 36 minutes remaining.



MR. JOHN LEEFE: Mr. Speaker, I will not be using all of those 36 minutes this morning. I am sure
that my colleagues in the House will be much relieved to hear that good news.



Yesterday I had the opportunity with respect to this resolution which is before the House, and which
seeks a six months’ hoist to lay out a number of arguments for delaying the passage of this legislation which
will result in the amalgamation of the four municipal units comprising metro into one super municipality.



Just very briefly, to recap several of the issues that I brought to the attention of members of the House
were people issues, related to the citizens within the community who are unclear as to just what the likelihood
of the result of metropolitan merger will be to them with respect to provision of services and also to the cost
of those services in contrast to the costs that they currently are picking up through their residential and
commercial tax basis.



Also, of course, the very important question which is not resolved in the legislation, as to how persons
who are employees of the now four municipalities will be treated when the new single municipality is created,
understanding that something in the order of 175 people will lose their jobs. There is no reference in the
legislation with respect to successor rights which guarantees that. Some workers within metro are unionized,
others are not. It is absolutely essential that everybody be treated fairly and equally and this legislation fails
in that respect. Also there is the question about those who do lose their jobs and how there is no guarantee
here that they will be fairly dealt with, with respect to such matters as severance and so on.



One of the great contrasts between this bill and the Act which created the super municipality in Cape
Breton is the fact that this bill, unlike the Cape Breton Act, causes the provision of municipal social assistance
to continue to be the responsibility of the new super municipality. I do not know, nor do I think the citizens
of metro know, why it is that the government has chosen to confer a very significant benefit on the new Cape
Breton Municipality and not, at the same time, confer that very same benefit on the new municipality which
will be created as a result of amalgamation of the four metro units.



That is a very large question, it is a question which involves a great deal of money, it is a question
which causes one to ask why is the government not treating all parts of Nova Scotia in an equitable fashion.
It is a question which I believe must be answered fully and completely. One of the ways in which that can best
be answered is to support the amendment and give further opportunity for people of this community, both
those who are for and those who are opposed, to deliberate on this matter further.



We also want to know, of course, as do most particularly the people who live in this community and
who pay property taxes here, whether they pay the commercial rate or the private property owner rate, what
is going to happen to taxation as a result of amalgamation? Is it going to be higher? Is it going to be the same?
Is it going to be lower? After all, one of the arguments for amalgamation is that it will lead to less costly
government for the people in the amalgamated areas but we do not have any guarantee of that, nor do we
know as a result of the figures put forward, with any great degree of definition, which of those three scenarios
is most likely to occur.



In recent polls 80 per cent of the people in metro said they believe that taxes would be the same or
higher, as a result of amalgamation.



It is also interesting to note that 88 per cent of the people were satisfied with their present services. The
question looms large in their minds, will those service levels suffer as a result of amalgamation. That is
particularly so with respect to policing and fire fighting services.



It is very clear that 70 per cent to 75 per cent of the people in the metropolitan area believe there
should be more consultation and they want more consultation. This amendment will meet that need which
is clearly laid out before this House, particularly for the government in that polling information.



It is very clear there are people in the metropolitan area who believe they are going to be losers. There
may be some who believe they are going to be winners, but among those losers very clearly would have to be
the Town of Bedford. I need go no further than the Halifax Chronicle-Herald article on April 14th, just one
week ago. It states that an Advisory Committee of Bedford residents is solidly opposed to the representation
formula proposed for the new super-city. The committee was formed by Bedford-Fall River MLA Francene
Cosman to delve into the issue of town representation, should Halifax, Dartmouth, Halifax County and
Bedford amalgamate on April 1, 1996.



Here is one group of people who deem that the loss of their own council, the loss of their opportunity
to have a mayor and six councillors representing the interests of what is deemed to be the fastest growing
community in Nova Scotia and to have that replaced with one single voice of all the new amalgamated
council, one voice. Bedford is the big-time loser in this amalgamation bill.



These people, very clearly, have given advice to their MLA that they expect her to follow, as their
representative. They very clearly want to have more time to review this entire matter, at the very least to
ensure there is a provision for an absolute minimum of two councillors for the Bedford-Fall River area.



Mr. Speaker, amalgamation and the initiatives which have led to it are about trust. They are about trust
between the governed and those who govern. When that trust is broken, when the governed lose faith in those
whom they have chosen to be their governors, not only does the government of the day suffer, but so too, and
more alarmingly, does the whole fabric of the democratic institution to which we have all been elected, suffer.
The bond of trust, however difficult the road may be, must be maintained. The people of the metropolitan area
who are the subject of this amalgamation bill firmly believe there are many questions yet to be answered
before a new metropolitan area is created. These people do not ask that it not be done, but what they ask is
that sufficient time be given to ensure that all the t’s are crossed, all the i’s are dotted and all the questions
which should be answered in advance of a new council being elected and taking its place should, in fact, be
answered, that all those issues should be addressed.



[9:45 a.m.]



This six months’ hoist, this amendment which is before the House today is an amendment which will
cause that to happen, which will re-establish that the bond of trust between this place, which is responsible
for legislation relating to municipal government, and the people who live in the municipalities. This, Mr.
Speaker, in my view, would be a step towards the realization of a promise which this government made in the
last provincial election and which is a long way from being realized, and that is the creation of a municipal
charter.



This bill and the process that has brought this bill to where we find it today, is a process which flies
in the face of the concept of a municipal charter, for it treats the municipal units very much solely as creatures
of the province, to be moved around like checkers on a checker board, irrespective of the wishes of the men
and women who comprise the citizenry of these four municipal units, sooner or later to become the new
metropolitan City of Halifax.



Mr. Speaker, I would urge all members to vote in favour of the amendment to give an opportunity for
further consultation. Thank you.



MR. SPEAKER: Are there any additional speakers to the amendment? If not, the question is called.
(Interruption) Do I hear a request for a roll call vote. I do, I believe, by two or more members.



We will, therefore, have a roll call vote.



Are the Whips satisfied?



SOME HON. MEMBERS: No.



MR. SPEAKER: The Whips are not satisfied.



Ring the bells, call in the members.



[9:47 a.m.]



[The Division bells were rung.]



MR. SPEAKER: The Clerks will now conduct a recorded vote on the amendment that Bill No. 3 be
not now read a second time but be read this day six months hence.



[The Clerk calls the roll.]



[10:09 a.m.]



YEAS NAYS



Mr. Moody Mr. Barkhouse

 

Mr. Donahoe Mrs. Norrie

 

Mr. Russell Mr. Downe

 

Mr. Leefe Dr. Smith

 

Mr. Holm Mr. Boudreau

 

Mr. Chisholm Dr. Stewart

 

Ms. McDonough Ms. Jolly

 

Mr. Archibald Mr. MacEachern

 

Mr. Taylor Mr. Mann

 

Mr. McInnes Mr. Casey

 

Dr. Hamm Mr. Gaudet

 

Mr. Harrison

 

Mr. Adams

 

Mr. Brown

 

Mr. Lorraine

 

Mr. M. MacDonald

 

Mr. MacAskill

 

Mr. MacArthur

 

Mr. MacNeil

 

Mr. Rayfuse

 

Mr. Richards

 

Mr. Surette

 

Mr. White

 

Mrs. O’Connor

 

Mr. Mitchell

 

Mr. Fogarty

 

Mr. Hubbard

 

Mr. W. MacDonald

 

Mr. Fraser

 

Mr. Huskilson



THE CLERK: For, 11. Against, 30.



MR. SPEAKER: I declare the amendment carried in the negative.



We are now back to the main motion, that the bill receive second reading. Those who have already
spoken in the debate are the honourable Minister of Municipal Affairs and the honourable member for Pictou
Centre.



The honourable member for Halifax Atlantic.



MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, before the Leader of the New Democratic Party gets the
opportunity to stand and make his usual relevant points about the problems with Bill No. 3, I want to take the
opportunity to welcome to the House, 15 members of the Nova Scotia Government Employees Union, who
are here as part of a training program on learning more about the political process here in Nova Scotia, about
lobbying. They will, later on this afternoon, be meeting with the staff of the three caucus offices. I would ask
that all members accord these people the usual warm welcome. Thank you. (Applause)



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



MR. JOHN HOLM: Mr. Speaker, I, too, certainly wish to join with my colleague and other members
of this House in giving a very warm welcome to members of the NSGEU who are here with us this morning.
Certainly, they have a big task ahead of them, as they are trying to understand, as a lot of Nova Scotians are
trying to understand, exactly what is the agenda for this particular government.



I had the opportunity to speak on the amendment that was put forward and I am very disappointed that
that amendment, which would have provided for an opportunity for there to be some real, genuine, open
consultation with the people who are going to be affected by this bill, that that amendment was defeated. It
is also very disappointing that we couldn’t have had full representation in this House so that all people,
particularly those who live in the metropolitan area would have known where their MLAs stand on that
matter. It was disappointing, and I am sure it is a mere coincidence, that many of the members for metro and
the Halifax County area were not available to be present for the vote that just took place.



I want to let it be known that there is absolutely no question as to where this caucus stands. This caucus
stands very strongly and very firmly in (Interruption) I am trying to ignore it. The Government House Leader
is trying to suggest that he wants his Premier to cross the floor and to join our caucus because he was unable
to be present for the vote. Well, I want to say to the Minister of Transportation, the Government House
Leader, that we do have some standards in our caucus and if the Premier wishes to make a request . . .



[10:15 a.m.]



MR. SPEAKER: Please, please, the bill is Bill No. 3.



MR. HOLM: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I am trying to revert back to some of the tactics I used when
I was teaching junior high, that is that sometimes you remain quiet when you are trying to get those who you
are trying to talk to to listen. You stop and then others will be quiet, so that maybe you can continue on. It
works sometimes.



Mr. Speaker, I want to, if I may, take a look at what is being done by this bill and what is wrong with
this bill and with the whole process. Let’s face it, this process has been flawed from the very beginning. I say
that in all honesty, not only from the beginning of this government, but from the process that was started by
the former government.



MR. TERENCE DONAHOE: John, I was with you up to that point. (Laughter)



MR. HOLM: It sounds like what the government accuses us of having, a coalition, is breaking down
because the Leader of the Opposition said that he was with me up to that point.



Mr. Speaker, the reality is that what is being done, what is being proposed by the red team, by the
Liberal Government, is exactly the same as that which was proposed by the former government. In fact, what
this government is doing is really taking the Tory agenda, putting a red label on it and coming forward with
it as if it is a new and innovative idea of their own.



Mr. Speaker, it is very interesting and informative to look back at the comments made so strenuously
by the Liberals when they were in opposition, in critique of what the Tories were doing, and then to bounce
those questions and comments back to this government and to ask the question, what has changed? How is
it that now the Liberals have adopted the Tory policy? Is that the reason? All the members of the Liberal Party
supported the Premier in the position he took. Certainly the members of this House, who are elected from
Halifax, Dartmouth, Bedford and Halifax County, stood firmly, full-square behind the position that was taken
by the Premier back in 1992 and 1993 - firmly behind. Maybe you might say that a lot of them are still firmly
behind the Premier, because many of those members were absent from the vote, just as the Premier was a few
minutes ago, when it was held on deferring this vote.



MR. SPEAKER: I would ask, please, that Bill No. 3 be read now for a second time. It is not about who
was present or absent at some former vote. That is history, that is water under the bridge, let’s get on with the
bill.



MR. HOLM: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Sometimes history is very relevant, particularly in terms of
positions that this Liberal Party took are very important as to why it is not proper to be supporting this bill.
So, important lessons can be learned from history. If there were no lessons to be learned from history, then,
of course, and you would know very well, Mr. Speaker, as a former educator and I am not sure but maybe even
a social studies teacher, that in fact there are values to history.



Now, Mr. Speaker, when we take a look back at what the Liberals said, a Liberal Government will not
change municipal boundaries and structures before providing full information to the public on the impact of
such changes, including the costs and benefits of available options - plural, there is an “s” on that word
options, in what the Liberals said - nor before members of the public have had full opportunity for input and
critique. That was the Liberal municipal reform policy. That is what they stood on. That is what they
endorsed. That is what they said they believed in when they were seeking office and when they were seeking
to come and represent the best interests of their constituents here in the House of Assembly.



Has this government lived up to that commitment, Mr. Speaker? I would suggest that the answer would
be a resounding no. What we have before us is the Tory plan and the whole process was flawed from the
beginning. This government kept its plans, its agenda behind that red veil. They kept it in secret until after
the municipal elections were held, back in October. A scant few days after those elections were held, as a
result of a leak, the Premier decided to consult with the municipal officials who were elected. There were a
few minutes then afforded and they were told what the Liberal Government planned to do.



Now, Mr. Speaker, this government has not provided the people of Nova Scotia or the people of the
metropolitan area with options. They have come forward with but one. They have not come forward with clear
and accurate figures that can be used by the people of this area to evaluate the validity and the importance of
what this government is trying to do. In fact, I would suggest, and I would suggest most strongly, that what
this bill has more to do with than anything else is this government’s bottom line, the provincial government’s
bottom line, not what is best for the people in the metropolitan area in terms of effective, efficient municipal
representation.



The Minister of Municipal Affairs criticizes the UMA Report that was done on the analysis of
municipal amalgamation, where it is talking about projected, and people are saying how the tax rates can
increase, on the basis that there are assumptions being made in that report, when you are talking about tax
increases to the residents of the area, assumptions that are being made which, of course, the government, in
its projections, is not making. Well, I would suggest that you do not have to scratch very far, very hard, to find
that there is a lot of truth to assumptions that are being made.



HON. SANDRA JOLLY: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order. I cannot allow the member opposite to put
words into my mouth, words which I have not said. I did not criticize the UMA Report. As a matter of fact,
I praised many aspects of the report, where it very specifically says, of all the options reviewed, they
recommended very clearly a single regional municipality. That is what the UMA recommended, after they
reviewed five or six different options, which this member says has never been looked at. It also agreed that
the government would save $10 million through the amalgamation. The report very clearly stated, as we have
agreed, that the increase in taxes that they are talking about, due to assumptions of new projects, are ones that
would have had to occur with or without amalgamation.



MR. SPEAKER: I would like to make an observation on the point of order raised by the minister. I
think it is a good point of order, myself, because I do not think that it is right that honourable members in
debate should ascribe to other members, statements that they have not, in fact, made. Beauchesne, in Section
494, under the heading, Acceptance of the Word of a Member, states, “It has been formally ruled by Speakers
that statements by Members respecting themselves and . . . within their own knowledge must be accepted.”.
So, if the honourable minister says she did not make those statements, then we must accept that she did not,
in fact, make them.



MR. HOLM: Mr. Speaker, I certainly would never ever want to challenge or question the minister’s
word, nor would I ever, nor would any Nova Scotian ever consider, nor do we ever have any reason for
questioning the word of the government. My colleague behind me is suggesting that maybe my nose is
growing when I say that. Well, maybe it is a tad because, quite honestly, if one takes a look at the record of
this government and the statements of this government and the commitments of this government, such as that
I already referred to in the policy statement that they made before seeking office.



Mr. Speaker, how one interprets what the minister has said, as whether she is supporting part of the
UMA Report and not other parts, and whether the minister is saying that her words are not a criticism of it,
well, some of that may rest in a difference of opinion and how one interprets the words and the comments and
the releases that are put out by the minister.



MR. SPEAKER: Well, that may be too, but I want to intervene again to say that the purpose of second
reading of a bill is to examine the principle and the content of the bill. It is not to examine what a minister
may have said, or may not have said. It is to look at the bill and say either I agree with the principle of this
bill or I disagree with the principle of this bill and here is why. So, that is what second reading is about. It is
not about what a minister may have said.



MR. HOLM: Mr. Speaker, before I begin again, I just would like to also make another introduction
and to introduce to all members in this House, in our west gallery, Jean Candy, who is the President of the
Nova Scotia Nurses’ Union, and I would like to invite her to rise and receive the warm welcome of all
members of the House. (Applause)



Now, Mr. Speaker, getting back to the bill. I am told I am being good now by the Minister of
Education. One of the comments, and again, it is very telling, one of the main reasons for this bill, a main
principle behind the bill, if I may, unstated clearly but very clearly implied and indicated in the bill, is that
the provincial government is planning to ensure the commitments it had made in the past are going to be off-loaded to municipalities. We heard last night during the late debate, the member for Cole Harbour-Eastern
Passage speaking, and the Minister of Municipal Affairs said that he did a good job.



During his remarks, he very clearly said that the Halifax Harbour clean-up should be a municipal
responsibility primarily and that the municipalities will very definitely be the ones who are going to have to
take the lead. There has been no commitment whatsoever to that project by this government since March 31st
when this government allowed the Halifax Harbour project to die, Mr. Speaker, with the removal of the
funding by the provincial government.



One of the things that this government is clearly intending to do with this bill, is to say to the
municipalities, the costs now of the Halifax Harbour clean-up are 100 per cent the responsibility of the
municipalities. This is an attempt to shift the costs, Mr. Speaker, down to the municipal taxpayer level and
to remove any responsibility or commitment by the provincial government and that will reflect on the taxes
that are paid in the metropolitan area.



We have seen time and time again, we have seen that with the Highway No. 104 privatization
partnership, that it is this government’s policy to try to get and to ensure that the costs for infrastructure do
not apply to the bottom line of this government. Another example is the Halifax Harbour where the
government is attempting to do that.



[10:30 a.m.]



We also have this bill being used as one of the three key reasons why the Minister of Education is
planning to go ahead with the amalgamation of school boards. The Minister of Education, as he has gone
from one part of the province to the other, one of his three reasons given for having to have the amalgamation
was the fact that there were going to be municipal amalgamations, something that this government is doing.
As a result of that they are saying that the school boards also have to be amalgamated so that you have one
common school board.



This bill’s ramifications then have the potential not only for affecting the municipal government but
also affecting the quality and quantity of education that is being offered to the children in the metropolitan
area, as they are proposing setting up one school board for 57,000 students, where one school board will be
handling 140 schools and where the kind of community input into the policies and the decisions that are made
by those boards will be drastically weakened.



This bill that we have before us has not had the opportunity - nor has any of the rationale, nor has any
of the figures that this government has provided - had the opportunity to be presented in a clear way to the
people in the affected areas. Most importantly, the residents have not been given an opportunity to have a vote
in a democratic way as to how or what should be done.



Back in 1993, I had the privilege and honour of releasing our policy on municipal reform. Our caucus
has never taken the position, not once, that municipal reform is not needed. Our policies were not all that
different back in 1993 from the then Liberal Opposition, they were very close. In fact, they were so close that
the Union of Nova Scotia Municipalities said, for example, in one of the articles, I won’t bother to read it
again but I have it here and can pull it out for you and table it for members if the members of the government
benches would like to read it again. But saying that they weren’t going to be endorsing any political party, nor
should they, but pointing out that the policies of the then Liberal Party and the New Democratic Party were
the ones that they most favoured in terms of municipal amalgamation or restructuring.



What we said, which I said was very similar to what the then Liberals said, is that options, plural,
should be developed, options should be costed out. Then what should be done is that we engage in a
democratic process where the facts and the figures are put on the table, provided clearly to the residents who
live in the affected area and then have them have a choice, given a chance, through a proper plebiscite, an
election to decide what they feel is best for them in the way of a government. That is what we proposed and
that was very similar to what the Liberals proposed. Instead, the Liberals have adopted the Tory agenda.



This bill is clearly a betrayal of the commitments that were made not only by the Premier but by all
members of the Liberal Party who were seeking office at that time, the whole team. That, of course, is no
surprise that the government has broken yet another promise. Municipal reform is desperately needed but it
should be done in a respectful and democratic way.



I might add, Mr. Speaker, my community of Sackville did decide in a plebiscite, after facts and figures
were developed, the county had the courage to give the people a choice, do you wish to remain part of Halifax
County or do you wish to separate and become a separate town or city? The residents expressed their choice
in a plebiscite that was held at the same time as a municipal election.



However, what we have here is really Donald Cameron reincarnated, in terms of the process being
brought forward. Only the names have changed but the same autocratic, top-down approach is still in effect
and it totally snubs the residents who are affected, Mr. Speaker. (Interruptions)



MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. I appreciate the other members who want to participate in the debate.
Their turns will come.



The honourable Leader of the New Democratic Party has the floor.



MR. HOLM: Mr. Speaker, I look forward very much to them participating at a later time.



The Minister of Municipal Affairs, in her speech, when she unveiled the bill, said that the main
purpose is to create a common municipal vision and strategy to promote business on a sustained basis. That
sentiment was echoed by the member for Dartmouth-Cole Harbour yesterday in his remarks during the late
debate. Liberals said that this was necessary because of the problems that resulted from the competition among
the municipalities. So, we had to have this common vision. The only way you can create a common vision is
with a sledgehammer, obviously, to force them together without looking at any other kinds of alternatives.



It is interesting, Mr. Speaker, that other areas, like Moncton and the surrounding areas that have
developed common economic strategies and so on, have not been amalgamated together into one municipal
unit. They are not doing too badly, thank you very much, compared to what some of the other areas are doing.



The competition comes in various forms, including different tax rates, different shopping hours and
different development and industrial park strategies, et cetera, is what the minister said, Mr. Speaker. Yes,
indeed, in truth we do have different tax rates and in truth we do have different shopping hours. We even have
different shopping hours from those that are going to be proposed for the casinos. Maybe the government
wants to change and oppose those as well.



Well, let’s look at what the bill actually does. It clearly contemplates the continuation of area rates.
That is clear, Mr. Speaker, very clear in the bill. It does that through the establishment of the community
councils, with powers to do local zoning and entering into development agreements.



Now the minister, of course, implied that the main thrust of the bill is to harmonize, although when
you talk about the effects the harmonization will have on tax rates, like in the UMA Report, well then no,
there are assumptions being made. But, Mr. Speaker, what the government is clearly saying is that they want,
at one point, to have this one so-called vision, with one central control, yet at the same time they are saying
the opposite by saying that they want to have established these community councils and these community
groups that will be setting up their own local area rates and also having the powers to enter into their own
development agreements.



So, on the one hand they want to do away with competition and on the other hand they are saying, but
we want to continue with competition, Mr. Speaker. To me that seems to be slightly inconsistent and a little
bit misleading. Now I could, of course, be wrong, as I have said before, I am not a Liberal so, therefore, I am
not infallible and I can make mistakes.



Now, I would suggest that really this bill that is before us for debate is being motivated by two primary
factors. One is the concern of Halifax County MLAs, that would be a major one. I say that because the reality
is we are now into the second half of April and service exchange took effect beginning April 1, 1995, as a
result of that service exchange, the county is being billed $3,500 per kilometre for the roads the Department
of Transportation is still maintaining that have been passed over to them, plus a whole bunch of other costs.
Halifax County residents are therefore going to be facing, under the current regime, courtesy of this
government, a bill of $4.5 million to $6 million more over the next three to four years as a result of that
service exchange.



Obviously there has to be, in this government’s mind, some way for others to help to equalize and offset
the increased costs for Halifax County taxpayers, those who live in Sackville, in Timberlea-Prospect, in
Hubbards and down the Eastern Shore area, there has to be some way to do it. The government has decided
the amalgamation process is the way to do that. The province has offloaded all kinds of costs onto the county,
so now the Liberal Government wants the residents in Halifax-Dartmouth to be sharing in paying for those
increased costs that are being offloaded to the Halifax County area. There is no question about that.



Another reason is the inability of this government to reconcile differences amongst the municipalities,
whether that be dealing with garbage, policing, sewage treatment or anything else, and also the intention of
this government to continue the offloading of increased costs that the government and former government had
been committed to.






I guess one of the major problems with the two rationales is that they really don’t stand up to scrutiny.
If one takes a look at the UMA study and yes indeed, the UMA study does make some solid assumptions. They
assume, for example, that there will be some harmonization. I don’t think for one minute that that is an
unreasonable expectation.



There is absolutely no way that the residents who live in my community of Lower Sackville, I would
suggest in my colleague’s riding, the member for Sackville-Beaverbank, the member of the Liberal Party, the
residents in his area or in Timberlea or in Hubbards or in any other part of the county would expect for one
minute that they should receive a lower level of service, whether that be in terms of community service
supports, whether that be in terms of police protection, you name it, fire protection, there is absolutely no way
that those residents, if they are living in the one common area, should expect a lower level of service.



Residents in my community of Sackville deserve equal police protection, as do the residents who live
in Halifax-Dartmouth. I don’t say that as a criticism of the RCMP for one minute because the RCMP have
been doing a fantastic job with the manpower that they have available to them. A problem has never been with
the quality of the service, what has been a problem in the past has been the quantity of the service that has
been available. Maybe not on April 1, 1996, when this bill does take effect, but within one, two, or three years,
harmonization is going to occur. It will happen and as that happens, then so, too, will the costs change.



[10:45 a.m.]



The UMA Report suggests that Bedford residents, on the basis of a $100,000 assessment, will see their
tax rate changed. Now, with this reasonable and, I would suggest, almost inevitable harmonization that is
being proposed, they will actually stand to benefit, in that the residential tax rate would go down by about 2.88
per cent. Dartmouth taxpayers would see their property tax rates go up by about 1.4 per cent; Halifax, 17 per
cent residential tax increase. Urban areas of the county, like Sackville, would stand to benefit, according to
the UMA Report, and see a tax rate drop of about 2.25 per cent. So, on my tax bill, that would look good, Mr.
Speaker. The rural areas could jump by close to 14 per cent.



Mr. Speaker, if one takes a look at the business end - of course, another major argument that this
government put forward as to why we have to have this amalgamation is that we want to have one strong
economic union, one strong force to be trying to work to compete to attract business to our area. Well, under
those projections, Bedford’s commercial tax rate would jump 18.5 per cent; Dartmouth, almost 13 per cent,
12.88 per cent. Halifax City on the commercial end would benefit the most. Their tax rate would only go up
by 9.5 per cent. Businesses in the urban areas of the county, businesses in Sackville, a whopping 23 per cent
tax increase - that is not small change, 23 per cent - and rural areas, 22.9 per cent, just a shade less. This is
what this government is saying is good medicine for the people who live in this area. This is something that
the government is unprepared to give the people a voice in, a say on, by means of putting their figures on the
table compared to the UMA Report and then asking the people to make a decision.



It is quite clear, Mr. Speaker, that there will be increased costs being downloaded to the municipal
units, as a result of the service exchange. In the county area, policing costs for the RCMP are bound to go up.
That is going to happen. It is going to happen as a result of the continuing downloading as well from the
federal government, in terms of the cost-sharing ratio. The caps that the federal government has now put on
the transfers to social programs, funds to be transferred to the province, are also going to mean that there are
going to be increased costs transferred onto the municipalities. Therefore, obviously, those costs are going to
be shunted on down to the municipality. What the province is saying is that we are going to be lumping
everybody together and we are offloading our costs and, therefore, the larger commercial and industrial tax
bases in Halifax and Dartmouth are going to help to offset the increased costs that we are going to pass on
through.



Mr. Speaker, you can’t just look at your figures in 1992 and 1993, pre-service exchange, as this
government is trying to do. If you are looking at realistic costs to the taxpayers, you have to look at 1995 and
1996. (Interruptions)



Well, Mr. Speaker, the member for Cape Breton South is saying that the audience is gone and,
therefore, I don’t have to speak any more, that representatives in the gallery are gone, and the Premier
applauds for that. Well, if the member for Cape Breton South can get up and speak only if he has an audience
in the gallery, or the Premier, then I suggest that they are speaking for the wrong reasons. In fact, they hardly
ever do, in any event.



If we take a look at what is going to be happening here as well, in terms of the impact on the rest of
the province, what the government is proposing and, of course, they have a broader agenda, this government
isn’t really only talking about - although they are doing it in bits and pieces - they are not only really planning
to have two amalgamations, one in Cape Breton and one here in the metropolitan area. It is very obvious and
it is very clear and I have never had anybody on the government side deny that, that their ambition, of course,
is to reduce the number of municipalities down to 18.



If one takes a look at what we are creating in the Province of Nova Scotia, I have to ask, and I would
think that members who live in other parts of the province should also be wondering how much clout their
municipality is going to have with the provincial government, relative to the clout in the future of the new,
metro super-government. We are going to have a government which represents over one-third of the
population in the Province of Nova Scotia. I have not tallied up the exact numbers but it is around 20, almost
half of all MLAs elected to this House. So, we are creating, this government is creating one municipal
government which is going to contain within it close to one-half of the MLAs sitting in the House of
Assembly. Which group, Mr. Speaker, is going to have the greatest lobbying power with the ministers, with
the government, to have programs and services tailored to them?



I would suggest that those who come from smaller areas - well, certainly the Minister of Transportation
has a lot of clout, so I won’t talk about Richmond for the moment - but if we take a look at a lot of the other
municipalities around the province, whether that be Clare-Argyle, whether that be Colchester-Musquodoboit
Valley, or whether that be Truro-Bible Hill, you are going to have other municipalities, large municipalities,
geographically in many cases, with only one or possibly two MLAs, or maybe not even a full one on their own,
representing their interests in this House.



I suggest that what we are creating is a giant municipality that will have just about as much clout,
certainly, as the government of the day does. (Interruption) Mr. Speaker, I welcome the intervention later in
the debate from the Government Whip who keeps this caucus so tightly in control. He does a great job, oh yes.
(Applause) He has taught them well how to heckle but in terms of anything being constructive, in terms of
debate, I am waiting to see the member take part to provide some of that.






Mr. Speaker, if one also takes a look at the kind of government that will be created, and the structure
that is being proposed, what the provincial government is really talking about doing, is changing the whole
kind and nature of municipal government and service to the people in Halifax County, Bedford, Dartmouth
and the City of Halifax really to one of bureaucracy, to a bureaucratic system of government where the MLA
and the county councillor will actually represent about the same numbers of individuals. This government is
of the view that it shouldn’t be the municipal politicians who are actually helping and trying to deal with
constituents, but that will be done more by bureaucrats in the departments and that, in fact, the county
councillors are going to be dealing instead with general policy issues.



If you are going to be doing that, supposedly in the name of saving money, Mr. Speaker, if you are
going to be doing that, it is going to be absolutely essential that those councillors are going to have to have
support staff. Where are the cost-savings in that? If we take a look at the powers that this bill gives to the
coordinator who is going to be having powers to select the chief executive officer, the powers to borrow
money, which the taxpayers are then going to be liable for down the road, the coordinator will have the ability,
will have the power to decide whether or not there is going to be increased debt charges that are going to be
passed on to the residents as a result of decisions that are going to be made.



I don’t say for a minute, Mr. Speaker, that Mr. Hayward is irresponsible. I think that he is very
hardworking, I think that he is very conscientious and I think that he is trying to do the best job that he
possibly can. I don’t question his integrity or his competence. It is the government whose integrity, whose
common sense and good judgment I question, because Mr. Hayward is but carrying out the jobs that are
assigned to him by this particular Liberal-Tory Government, as they railroad ahead with this one basic same
policy that they have accepted from the former government.



Now, Mr. Speaker, if one takes a look at the employees, because there are some concerns that can affect
employees. We know that the government is suggesting and Mr. Hayward is suggesting that there will be 175
or so less employees working in the new municipality.



How much time do I have left, Mr. Speaker, if I might ask?



MR. SPEAKER: Well, I would say you have 12 minutes left, to be precise.



MR. HOLM: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Union representation, layoffs, compensation, pension plans,
eligibility to work, none of those issues does this bill deal with. None of those does this bill, in any kind of
a concrete, in any kind of a substantive way, in a clear way, deal with. Those are all issues to be worked out
down the road, supposedly.



On layoffs, Mr. Speaker, nothing is specific in the bill, despite the fact that the coordinator has said
several times that he does expect there will be a loss of, as I said before, 175 jobs. Probably many of those jobs,
or most of those jobs will be at the middle and senior management level. Those people, as well as all persons
in the employment chain, people who have worked and given their years of service and hard work to the
residents of the area deserve consideration and protection as well.






[11:00 a.m.]



What does the bill say or do? The municipal government may establish an early retirement or
severance program with the consent of the coordinator. The new municipal government may establish it with
the consent of the coordinator. What that means, of course, is that it has contemplated that layoffs will occur
during the amalgamation process, not afterwards, Mr. Speaker, and not after the new council has been formed.



Nothing in the bill talks about any kind of level of compensation and the commissioner can also control
any replacements during that amalgamation process. There is no protection in the bill for the existing staff.
However, the decisions on who will be hired are not to be made by the new council; rather, it is going to be
the coordinator who has that power, with the help of a consultant who the coordinator will hire and, of course,
the taxpayers will be paying for.



So, Mr. Speaker, what we have is a situation where this government has decided, in their perverted,
warped sense of democracy, without any prior consultation, without any prior warning, they are going to
impose municipal amalgamation in the metropolitan area. In their perverse, undemocratic, autocratic, top-down way, they have decided that they will not provide the residents in the communities affected with a
variety of different options costed out. They have decided they will not be respectful of the best interests of
the citizens or, let me put it another way, they are not going to respect the intelligence of the residents who
live in these areas to the point of saying to those residents that they will give those residents a choice to
determine what they believe is, in fact, the best form of government for them. They are not prepared to do
that.



When one takes a look at what the residents themselves have been saying, through the studies, through
the surveys, it is very clear that the majority of residents do not believe this government. For example, when
one takes a look at the residents of Bedford and you take a look at what they have said in terms of levels of
services, in terms of tax rates and so on, you can see that very definitely the majority of people in Bedford
expect that their property taxes are going to increase and that their level of service is actually going to
decrease.



Mr. Speaker, I am not going to go through and read all the survey results from that one or the other
surveys that have been done on the broader metropolitan area, because I have already done that during the
debate on the reasonable motion that this government’s members, even with the absence of many of the
members from metro, voted down.



I think that we do need to have some proper time and proper public hearings, that we do need to have
the opportunities to work cooperatively with municipalities. I don’t really think that this legislation should
be proceeding on until this government lives up to the commitments. Therefore, I am going to make or
propose what I think is a very reasonable proposal . . .



AN HON. MEMBER: And relevant.



MR. HOLM: And relevant. The government members have enough confidence in me that the Minister
of Transportation and Communications and the Minister of Education have already, even before I have read
it, . . .



AN HON. MEMBER: You wouldn’t say it if it wasn’t, John, right?



MR. HOLM: . . . said that it is going to be relevant. They wouldn’t say that if they didn’t have that
confidence because they wouldn’t be mischievous in trying to distract this House.



I am going to move the following: That the subject matter of the bill be referred to the Standing
Committee on Community Services in order that at least three options for the efficient administration of
greater metropolitan Halifax area be developed and further that the committee be directed: (1) To conduct
public hearings to ensure full consideration of these options; (2) To work cooperatively with the metro
municipalities to hold a plebiscite enabling residents to express their choice of option; and, (3) To report back
to the Legislature before the end of 1995. I so move, Mr. Speaker.



MR. SPEAKER: There are several objections that the amendment is out of order. I haven’t had a
chance to see it yet. I would like to have an opportunity to deliberate on its contents and also to have it
circulated to the honourable members of the House for their consideration. Could you please have copies
distributed?



I have directed that the amendment be circulated. I have heard objections that it is out of order. I am
prepared to receive submissions on the question, is the amendment in order?



The honourable Government House Leader.



HON. RICHARD MANN: Mr. Speaker, had the amendment simply directed that the matter be referred
to the Standing Committee on Community Services is one thing but for this House to direct that that
committee then go out and hold public hearings and in fact, in cooperation with a municipality, hold a
plebescite, how can we direct municipalities to go out and hold plebiscites? How could we direct these
committees? I would suggest that it is out of order to direct that the expenditure of the public funds that this
would entail makes it completely out of order.



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



MR. JOHN HOLM: Mr. Speaker, the minister may not be aware but that the municipalities have
already said that they want to work cooperatively with this government and that they want to and are prepared
to pay for holding plebiscites. This amendment is calling upon this government to work cooperatively, not
autocratically as it is inclined to do and as it is prone to do but to work cooperatively with the duly elected
municipal councils in the four municipalities that are being affected by this legislation, to seek out the views
of the residents in the areas and to give the residents in those affected communities a democratic say in the
form of government that they wish to have in representing them.



MR. SPEAKER: Are there further submissions on the propriety of the proposed amendment?



The honourable member for Hants West.



MR. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, I hadn’t intended to make a representation on this particular
amendment but I would point out to the honourable Minister of Transportation and Communications that, in
fact, this amendment does not tell the metro municipalities to hold a plebescite. It simply says that the
government and through the committee, I presume, after recommendations will work cooperatively with those
metro municipalities and encourage them to have a plebescite. (Interruptions)



MR. SPEAKER: Are there any additional submissions before I deliver my ruling? I wish now to make
my ruling. I have read the content of the proposed amendment and considered the representations of
honourable members. As I read the amendment, I am taking certain words from it in isolation but I would like
to refer to the words that state that the direction of the amendment is that the subject matter of the bill be
referred to the Standing Committee on Community Services in order that the committee be directed to conduct
public hearings. Now, I feel that that supersedes and exceeds the proper functions of an amendment on a bill
at second reading; it amounts to a money measure and I rule it out of order.



The honourable member for Hants West.



MR. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, returning to the bill itself. I have read this bill and, I must
confess, I have read it somewhat superficially. We have not gone into the clause by clause yet on Bill No. 3.



AN HON. MEMBER: You should have the right draft.



MR. RUSSELL: Well, yes, I hope we do have the right draft. The honourable minister, when she
introduced this bill, was comparing in some respects this bill to the bill that we passed earlier this year - I was
going to say the spring; actually, it was during the winter session - for amalgamation in Cape Breton. I would
suggest that this bill does not really bear comparison with that bill for Cape Breton; in other words, we are
looking at an entirely different proposition.



Mr. Speaker, second reading deals with the principle of the bill, as you pointed out to the previous
speaker, and we should be speaking about the principle of the bill and whether or not we favour that principle
and whether or not we seek to, in some way, have amendments to that bill at later stages. So, when I look at
this bill, I frankly find it quite difficult to find out what the principle of this bill is. We know it is going to
bring the four metro municipal governments together, they are going to provide a commonality of services,
they are going to have one municipal government entity and that, obviously, the government expects that there
is going to be some financial saving somewhere down the road and I would suggest, that, in a very convoluted
fashion, that is the principle of this bill.



However, I think that there is a deeper principle to this bill and that is that the senior government
should unload to the junior government the costs that they presently have with regard to support of certain
services within the municipal units, and that is simply downloading part of the government’s operating deficit
onto the municipal units. So, I suppose the question is, am I in favour of that kind of an operation? In fact,
I am not. I believe in metro amalgamation. I believe in the principle that, indeed, the people generally,
whether it be at the federal, provincial or municipal level in the Province of Nova Scotia, are probably
overgoverned and that downsizing of governments, whether it be provincial or municipal, is something that
we should be looking upon in a favourable manner. So, I am not against that, if that was indeed the only
principle, the only thing that this particular bill achieved.



I think that we should make no mistake about this bill, Mr. Speaker. It is not going to save money for
the residential or commercial taxpayer; it is going to cost them money. Every poll, every study that has been
done to date on the effect of municipal amalgamation, has come up with the same solution. I think that those
surveys that have been carried out, over the past eight or nine months, all pretty well come out with something
along the same lines of results. I think, generally speaking, the people within the four municipal units are
pretty well evenly split as to whether or not, overall, they want amalgamation. I think that, pretty well across
the four municipal units, the 50 per cent who are in favour of amalgamation are only in favour of
amalgamation if indeed it is going to affect positively, and when I say positively, I mean by a decrease in their
municipal tax rates.



[11:15 a.m.]



In October 1994, Mr. Speaker, there was a poll carried out. At that time, there were only 37 per cent
who were in favour of amalgamation and there were 46 per cent opposed. Since that time, there were a
number of public meetings and consultations that took place, and, as a result, when we get to March 1995,
March of this year, we find that now we have 50 per cent in favour of amalgamation, 37 per cent are opposed
to amalgamation and, of course, 13 per cent with no opinion. So the pendulum has swung as information has
become available to the municipal ratepayers of this particular area.



It is interesting, Mr. Speaker, that in that March poll of this year, that of those people who were polled,
70 per cent opposed the government’s method of implementing metro amalgamation. Why did they oppose
the method used by the provincial government to bring in metro amalgamation? They opposed it because they
were not fully cognizant of all the facts regarding metro amalgamation.



This is the big difficulty, Mr. Speaker. The other day we introduced a motion to hoist this bill for six
months, to take a further six months to study the bill, study the implications on the residential and commercial
tax rates within the metro area, to give the people firmer figures on which to make a decision as to whether
or not they were in favour or opposed to amalgamation. That amendment, as you know, this morning was
opposed.



The strange thing is, Mr. Speaker, if that had passed, it is my belief that the government would have
had and the minister would have had the opportunity to come out with some firmer numbers for the ratepayers
and thus would have, I believe, substantially increased the numbers in favour of the bill and increased the
number of people who understood the fiscal impact of amalgamation on their tax rates. That would seem to
me to be an advantage for the government because there is no doubt that by instituting metro amalgamation
against the wishes of the people in the metro area, well, the government is certainly not winning any
favourable response from those ratepayers and, certainly, that will impact next time around at the polls,
whenever that should occur in 1997 or 1998.



Mr. Speaker, I said that this bill was different to the bill that brought in amalgamation in the Cape
Breton area. It is very different because, as you are well aware, there were a number of municipal units in the
Cape Breton area who were on municipal support. I forget the name of the program now, but a program
whereby the provincial government was providing the necessary funding to keep those municipal units afloat.
That is not the case within the metro area. (Interruption) Emergency funding is the word I was trying to think
of. Emergency funding was the order of the day in a number of municipal units within the Cape Breton area.



So therefore, there was, I think, a fairly substantial case that could be made for the provincial
government to decide to bring those municipal units within the Cape Breton region together, into a larger
system, whereby one of the richer portions of the community could provide some of the excess tax base
support to those communities that were having difficulty and were on emergency funding. But that is, as I say,
is not the case in the four metro areas. In the four metro areas that we have here, they are in good financial
shape. They are healthy communities, they are growing communities and certainly I think in many respects,
set a pretty good example to the provincial government, insofar as maintaining their fiscal viability by
maintaining a balance between expenditures on the operating budget and their revenues. That is the first
difference between a metro amalgamation and a Cape Breton amalgamation, Mr. Speaker.



The second difference is that there is no real carrot being offered to the metro units when they
amalgamate. Now, we all know that we have been told by the Minister of Municipal Affairs, have been told
by the Minister of Community Services, that long-term, it is the intention of the provincial government to take
over the cost of social services. Indeed, in the case of Cape Breton, with the amalgamation, they did so. But
that carrot is not available to the metro unit, in fact it is not available to any other municipal units within the
Province of Nova Scotia. So, certainly insofar as Cape Breton is concerned, and I am not saying that Cape
Breton should not have that particular expense taken over by the provincial government, I am just simply
saying that it is an advantage to the ratepayers, both commercial and residential, within Cape Breton, that the
social services expenditure is an expenditure made by the provincial government, rather than the residential
or commercial taxpayer. That would be a very welcome service, if it were provided to any municipality or any
municipal unit within Nova Scotia.



The other difference, I think, between mainland metro amalgamation and Cape Breton amalgamation,
Mr. Speaker, is the fact that we have a proposed, within the metro area, very different kind of governance,
to that that we have in Cape Breton.



MR. SPEAKER: Would the honourable member allow an introduction?



The honourable member for Halifax Fairview.



MS. ALEXA MCDONOUGH: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker, and thank you to the member for
Hants West for yielding the floor briefly. It is my pleasure to introduce to members of the House, a second
group of students from Halifax West High School, who are here in the Legislature today in conjunction with
Law Day, to see their Legislature at work first-hand.



I would ask all members of the House to extend a warm welcome to the Halifax West High School
students and their teacher, Frank McCallum. (Applause)



MR. RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, I was talking about the differences between amalgamation in Cape
Breton and in the metro area and pointing out some of the differences. The third difference that I noticed in
a quick reading of the bill, was the fact that beside the Halifax metropolitan regional council, or whatever the
name of the council body is, we have the establishment of three other types of levels of government. We have
community councils, which I believe are unknown outside of Halifax County, which presently have
community councils which report to the municipal council.



However, this bill suggests that besides the municipal council and community councils, we also have
community committees who will advise council on planning matters and the provision of services to the
municipal regional council. We also have citizen advisory committees, who can be called upon to provide
expertise in those areas that the municipality wants some specific information. They simply go out within the
local community and if it is, for instance, an engineering problem, they would ask for certain members of
citizens at large to serve on that committee to provide expertise to the regional municipal council.



Maybe these things are right, maybe this is the way we should be going and I am not going to argue
the right or wrong of this, I am just saying that this is a brand new system, one that, to the best of my
knowledge, has not been tried in any other municipal unit or any other amalgamation that has taken place.
It seems to me though, from experience, within municipal councils, the more you spread out the decision-making process through committees of council, the more difficult it becomes to reach a decision. In other
words, if you form a committee for everything you are going to form a decision-making process that is never
going to arrive at a decision after the process is completed. My fear with this kind of governance, that council
is going to be unwieldy, it is going to have great difficulty in reaching conclusions so that council can work
efficiently and effectively.



I was talking a few moments ago about the lack of knowledge by ratepayers of what the actual impact
is of this legislation, what the impact is going to be when the metro consolidation process is completed. As
you are probably well aware, Madam Speaker, I went out to attend the meeting in your area as a matter of fact.
I think it was in January or February there was a meeting up on Basinview Drive. I went out to that meeting
to listen to Mr. Hayward’s address and to find out what questions the ratepayers within your area had to say
about metro amalgamation.



I couldn’t find the school to be quite honest so I had to go around to a couple of gas stations before I
finally got my directions to get to the school. I went to two stores and a gas station, and while in there I asked
the people there, I said, I am going up to a meeting that is being held tonight with regard to metro
amalgamation. Do you have any thoughts on the subject and are you going to go to the meeting? To be quite
honest, two of them, I believe, didn’t even know the meeting was on and the third one said, I don’t know
enough about the metro amalgamation for it to be of any use for me to go to that meeting.



I finally found my way up to Basinview Drive which is a very nice area, it overlooks the Bedford Basin,
I got to the school and there were a few people milling around outside the school and I went over to walk in
through the door and it was locked. On the door there was a sign saying, meeting cancelled. There were about
10 or 15 people outside the front door trying to figure out why the meeting was cancelled or maybe it was
moved or what have you. The consensus was, among us who were milling around outside the school, that the
meeting was cancelled because of lack of interest. As it turned out, that was the official answer that I got from
the Department of Municipal Affairs or from Bill Hayward’s office the next day.



Anyway, there were about 10 or 12 of us outside the school and being a nosy person I wanted to find
out what they thought about amalgamation. What I found out was they didn’t know anything about metro
amalgamation. They had come to this meeting to try and get some information, but the meeting was cancelled.



[11:30 a.m.]



I think there was, indeed, another meeting later on. However, that showed to me very clearly, Madam
Speaker, that your area, and I am not picking on it because you are in the Chair, was no different to other
areas around this city, where the meetings were, in the main, quite poorly attended. It was not because people
don’t have an interest in metro amalgamation, it is because people didn’t have sufficient information prior to
going to those meetings. In other words, they didn’t want to go to the meetings feeling that this was a foregone
conclusion, that it didn’t matter two hoots in heck what they said, what expressions were made, this bill was
already written. (Interruption)



Well, the minister says it was before the bill but I would suggest to her that she had a pretty good draft
sitting on a desk somewhere, probably across at the Legislative Counsel Office, well in advance of those
meetings.



I think, Madam Speaker, that it is important that before we make changes in people’s lives, and this
is going to make a fundamental change in this city, 331,000 people, I believe, are affected by this bill, it is
going to make a fundamental change in the way they live. They will now live in a city that has probably I
guess almost two times the present population of the City of Halifax - I think that figure is basically correct -
to this large geographic metro area and, in terms of Canadian standards, a fairly large city as an entity. So
the minister is making this change and, as I say, I have no objection to it. I think that metro amalgamation
is probably going to be a good thing, it is probably the way we should be going. However, I don’t think you
can force people to do things against their will and then, after the fact, expect them to accept it.



Basically what I am saying is that there should be more time with this bill. Let’s get this bill through
second reading, in fact we can probably do it today. We get this bill through second reading, and the minister
stands in her place and says that what we will do is put this bill into the Law Amendments Committee and
let it sit there until the fall. We will come back in the fall and by that time the people will have had an
opportunity to say their piece in the Law Amendments Committee, the minister will have the opportunity to
run around this summer to the four metro municipal units, holding many more meetings. Maybe she can go
on Information Morning and a few other radio programs and explain to the people exactly what she is trying
to achieve with this bill. Is she trying to balance the Minister of Finance’s operating budget? Or is she trying
to do something genuinely for the people that is going to be not only favourably received but do something
favourable for the people of the metro area?



As I say, if she took the summer and did that, she would come back here in the fall and she would be
all smiles because probably the people out there would be basically in agreement with what she is doing. By
then the members of this House would probably be satisfied that, indeed, everybody has had their chance to
have their say and that what is being done is not just for the fiscal benefit of the province but is being done
for the pleasure and the benefit, particularly the fiscal benefit, of the ratepayers of this metropolitan area.



Now, Madam Speaker, I am going to introduce an amendment to the bill. The purpose of this
amendment is to do, in large measure, exactly what I have been saying in my address to this bill this morning;
it is going to provide time for people to make their views known, it is going to provide the forum for people
to make their views known and, as I say, it is going to provide an added opportunity for people to come
forward to suggest amendments to the bill, to better reflect the views and the attitudes of the people of this
metro area.



Madam Speaker, my amendment is, I move that the words after that be deleted and the following
substituted: “the subject matter of Bill No. 3, An Act to Incorporate the Halifax Regional Municipality, be
referred to the Public Accounts Committee to conduct hearings to determine the fiscal impact of
amalgamation on the residential and commercial tax rates within the affected area.”. I so move.



MADAM SPEAKER: I will just take a few moments to confer with the Clerks. I would entertain
interventions in the meanwhile.



The honourable Government House Leader.



HON. RICHARD MANN: Once again, Madam Speaker, I have to argue that we are directing a
committee of the Nova Scotia Legislature to dip its nose into municipal taxation matters. I think that is most
inappropriate and I believe it is out of order.



AN HON. MEMBER: It is absolutely out of order.



MADAM SPEAKER: The honourable member for Hants West.



MR. RONALD RUSSELL: Yes, Madam Speaker, it is certainly not unknown for this House to direct
a committee to carry out an investigation and to carry out hearings. In fact, the honourable Minister of
Finance did that when he directed the Community Services Committee to go out and look at gambling. Now
that didn’t help the people of Nova Scotia very much, whereas this probably will, and away we went and we
went on that committee. This House has on many occasions directed committees to carry out certain things
on behalf of the House.



MADAM SPEAKER: I will recognize the honourable Minister of Municipal Affairs.



HON. SANDRA JOLLY: Madam Speaker, I would just like to clarify for the honourable member, there
are actually three reports that have been completed. One which was completed by his government, actually
initiated while the honourable member opposite was in government. It was actually reported to the new
government, but it was completed, mandated, terms of reference were directed by the previous government.
We also have an additional report that Mr. Hayward has come forward with and we also now have, which has
been talked about many times in this House, a report that was requested by the four municipalities,
themselves, the UMA/Doane Raymond Report. This was a report to, very clearly I believe, do exactly what
the honourable member has suggested. He has referred to, and many of the members have referred to, the
impact of the tax consequences based on the assumptions that were put in that report.



I would clearly point out again, Madam Speaker, that the report said that many of the assumptions they
made, and cost implications to tax rates were based on assumptions, in actual fact were not based on
amalgamation actually happening. So there are a number of financial reports that are out there, one which
was very specifically recommended, $250,000 paid for by the four municipalities.



MADAM SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Atlantic.



MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Madam Speaker, on the question of whether this amendment is in order,
I mean, surely it doesn’t matter a hoot whether there were 1,400 reports that had something to do with this
topic out there circulating in the public. We also know that this government comes forward with private
consultant reports on every issue. That doesn’t mean that we agree with them. That doesn’t mean the public
of Nova Scotia agrees with them.



We are talking about the implications of a public bill that is being considered here in this House and
we think, and I would support the member for Hants West in this motion that he is putting forward on the
floor, that it is very important that a standing committee of this House consider the important question of the
implications on the tax rates as provided for in this bill.



I think it is extremely appropriate and I couldn’t care less, as many Nova Scotians couldn’t, what kind
of reports that this minister was able to come up with, or anybody else. They expect people in this House to
deal with these important questions and to consult with the public in order that that be done in a non-partisan
way, which is what the House of Assembly is all about, Madam Speaker.



MADAM SPEAKER: I am using as my source of reference, on the advice of the Clerks, that
amendments at second reading can be proposed. There are only three kinds: the hoist which we have already
dealt with, the reasoned amendment which this is not, and the referral of the subject matter to a committee.
Clearly, I think that this resolution is in order and it can be debated. That is my ruling.



The honourable member for Pictou Centre.



DR. JOHN HAMM: Madam Speaker, I am very pleased to rise and discuss the amendment from the
honourable member for Hants West: the subject matter of Bill No. 3, that the so-called metro merger bill be
referred to the Public Accounts Committee. The subject that has received the most attention of the public and
the media and in this House (Interruptions)



MADAM SPEAKER: Order, please. Thank you.



DR. HAMM: The subject matter of this bill that has received the most attention of the House, the
media and the citizens of Halifax County, has been the effect of a merger on the tax rates. If there is one
subject which, perhaps, supersedes all others, it is, in fact, what this will do to an individual’s tax rate.
(Interruptions)



MADAM SPEAKER: Honourable members, I would like some order in the House, please. If you want
to carry on conversations across the floor, would you just like to exit the Chamber for a few brief moments
to do so. It is almost impossible to hear the speaker. Thank you.



DR. HAMM: It is interesting to have watched what has happened to public perception of the metro
merger bill over the last number of weeks. The feeling of general acceptance that initially followed their
proposal has gradually dissipated as the information that all expected to come forward has, in fact, not
materialized. With the uncertainty of the financial situation of the country and the limitation of most people
in any positive way to affect their income, all citizens are now looking at how they can contain their expenses.



One of the major expenses of any household, of course, is the paying of the yearly residential tax rate
and, again, one of the considerations of business within this area is the commercial tax rate. Private citizens
and commercial interests must be concerned about what will happen to their tax rate if, in fact, this bill goes
ahead. Now, we have seen with service exchange, the three urban units of this metro area have in fact
benefitted positively from service exchange. If you look at what Mr. Hayward has said, there will be a saving
of some $9 million to $10 million through the metro amalgamation. This should have a positive effect on the
tax rate. The problem is, as others have pointed out, that that $10 million represents totally in this county only
some 2 per cent of the budgets of these municipalities.



The situation was muddied when the UMA/Doane Raymond Report came forward and the impression
that all had to that point, that tax rates would not be adversely affected, became increasingly clouded. That
report, while it has, as the minister has correctly pointed out, confirmed the type of government that this bill
proposes, the single government for the entire unit, and it has suggested that there is certainly merit in
proceeding with this metro merger, however, it does point out the fact that there will be significant tax
increases, bearing in mind that they have made some assumptions on costs that will occur whether the merger
goes ahead or not. But the point is that the taxpayers of the area still are not convinced that, in fact, they will
not be forced to bear an increasing tax load. If we look at the figures - and these are the figures that are
provided in the UMA/Doane Raymond Report - it suggests that, in Bedford, the residential tax rate will
decline by almost 3 per cent; Dartmouth’s will go up 1.3 per cent; Halifax City, 17 per cent. The urban rate
will go down 2.25 per cent, but the rural rate will go up 13.35 per cent.



Before we take a minute and look at what this report says will happen to the commercial tax rate, bear
in mind that the minister has stated, on more than one occasion, that one of the most important reasons for
this merger is to present the metro region as an economic unified unit, which will allow better development
of the commercial base in this area. But if you look at what the UMA/Doane Raymond Report says, the
commercial tax rate in Bedford will go up 18 per cent, Dartmouth 12 per cent, Halifax 9 per cent, the urban
rate 23 per cent, the rural rate 22.9 per cent. These figures must cause concern for homeowners and business
owners in the metro area.



[11:45 a.m.]



Unfortunately, with the passage of this bill through the House, bearing in mind that this report only
became available after the bill was tabled, there is not enough time in this House for any of us to analyze this
report and the implications it has for the taxpayers in Halifax County. If, in fact, the tax increases that are
suggested in the UMA/Doane Raymond Report are accurate, and if, in fact, they would be determined to be
a direct result of metro merger and not due to any other influences that may occur if merger did not occur,
then these figures alone would be enough to cause a reversal of thinking on the value of the metro merger.



Now I am not suggesting that that scenario would come to pass, but if it did, on close analysis these
figures would prove to be accurate and could be proven to be a cause, by the merger itself, then this alone
would be enough reason to backtrack on the metro merger.



HON. SANDRA JOLLY: On a point of order, Madam Speaker. I believe if the honourable member
would read the UMA/Doane Raymond Report which was commissioned and sanctioned by the four metro
mayors, that in actual fact the report does say that the costs they have calculated out, based on their
assumptions, have absolutely nothing to do with amalgamation but are based on provisions of services that
may or may not be required in the future. Those service requirements will be decided by the new regional
municipality.



So, in actual fact, the report clearly states that the numbers they had put forward do not have anything
to do with amalgamation.



MADAM SPEAKER: Thank you, honourable minister. I think you have made your clarification quite
nicely.



DR. HAMM: Madam Speaker, I thank the minister for her help. I believe if she would review my
remarks, that I very clearly stated that what the minister informed me was part of my remarks. My concern
is that here we have a document that brings a lot of new information to the table and there is not enough time
for residents and business owners in Halifax to analyze and assess this new information.



The criticism from this caucus of this bill is not on the procedure itself but the criticism is directed to
the indecent haste with which this measure is being advanced. There is not the pressing need to go forward
with such haste in metro as there was in the Cape Breton Regional Municipality Act. The minister will
remember very clearly that I was a supporter of the Cape Breton Regional Municipality Act and the obvious
requirement in that instance for haste made a rapid introduction and a rapid passage of that bill a necessity.
The necessity for this kind of haste in the metro area simply is not there. It makes one wonder what, in fact,
is motivating the minister to proceed so rapidly. Whose timetable must be most important? Is it that of the
residents of metro or is the timetable of the government more important?



I would like to conclude these remarks by suggesting a referral to the Public Accounts Committee to
enable that committee to come back to this House with an accurate, independent analysis of what the
implications of metro merger are to the residents and the business interests in metro, particularly in relation
to their tax rates. Therefore, I am in favour of the amendment.



MADAM SPEAKER: The honourable member for Queens.



MR. JOHN LEEFE: Madam Speaker, I welcome the opportunity to respond to the amendment that has
been brought to the House this morning by my colleague, the member for Hants West. I take a particular
interest in this amendment because if carried, would refer the bill to the Standing Committee on Public
Accounts, of which I have the honour to Chair, a committee which in my view has worked harmoniously and
which I think has the capacity to undertake this task, should the House so appoint it to do.



Everything eventually boils down to dollars and cents. What we want to do through this amendment
is to bring some good common sense to the final discussion of the adequacy of the legislation that is before
us and we want to bring that good common sense to bear by understanding the dollars which, in effect, are
going to be either saved or have to be added to the backs of municipal taxpayers in order to fully implement
the legislation which is before the House this afternoon.



There is some considerable confusion among the people of the metropolitan area with respect to the
whole matter of the cost of municipal merger. We have Mr. Hayward’s figures which he has put out to the
public. We also have the UMA/Doane Raymond study which was undertaken by a number of the municipal
units at a cost of $230,000, there is an example of one cost that accrues to municipal amalgamation. I think
it is important that we understand just how different these two studies are with respect to costs and savings
predicted for the new metro area.



Mr. Hayward has predicted the merger would save $9.8 million annually. That certainly is a most
desirable saving and I think that at first blush, taxpayers could find themselves to be supportive of any such
initiative.



However, the more recent information provided by the UMA group from the Doane Raymond study
has rather different figures available, particularly with respect to the potential for increases in the property
and commercial tax rates for the now four metro municipalities, when this bill passes the new, merged
municipality. According to the UMA/Doane Raymond figures, Bedford will look forward to an 8.9 per cent
increase in property taxes and a whopping 27.6 per cent increase in the commercial tax rate. Dartmouth
residents who are homeowners can look forward to a 10.5 per cent increase in their property taxes while
Dartmouth business owners can look forward to a 16.5 per cent increase in the commercial rate. Halifax
property owners can look forward to a 13.07 per cent increase for business and urban Halifax County, 0.93
per cent increase for homes but a whopping 27 per cent increase for businesses. In rural Halifax County an
increase of 17.6 per cent for homes and 27 per cent for businesses.



Somebody has their figures wrong. We have an obligation to the people who are going to be affected
by this bill to make sure that the people understand and that we, as legislators, understand before we pass the
bill, which is the right set of figures. Is it Mr. Hayward’s figures? Is it the UMA/Doane Raymond figures? Or
is it somewhere in the middle? So, we have an obligation, in advance of passing the legislation, to understand
all of its ramifications but the financial ramifications are among the most important. That is why my colleague
has moved that this bill be referred to the Public Accounts Committee.



Normally the Public Accounts Committee deals with government spending after the fact. However,
the rules and procedures which the committee has adopted provide sufficient latitude that the committee, if
required by the House, can indeed undertake such a study. The committee has available to it a modest budget,
so that we could, if need be, acquire outside professional assistance. Of course, we also have available to us
the Office of the Auditor General and his very fine and objective staff who are able to be of assistance to the
committee as well.



It is interesting to note with respect to finances, that Mr. Randy Ball, the Warden of the Municipality
of the County of Halifax has expressed deep concern with respect to tax rates. Of course, Mr. Ball is a person
who is well known in the metropolitan area and who, in fact, ran for the Liberal Party on the amalgamation
plank that was in their platform, up until May 25, 1993, and so unceremoniously been ripped out since then
and been replaced by the greatly more Draconian measures which the metropolitan residents have been
subjected to over the past several months and which are incorporated into the bill before the House today.



Mr. Ball is greatly concerned that the loopholes in the government’s super-city legislation almost
guarantee inequities in debt sharing and in education. He also makes it very clear that provisions allowing
Halifax and Dartmouth to assign area rates to continue supplementary funding for education could perpetuate
a two-tiered school system. We know that this legislation is going to perpetuate the two-tiered social assistance
system for the metropolitan region here, in contrast to the legislation which has properly instituted a one-tiered system in the greater Sydney area, with the province appropriately picking up the tab there. So, there
is a difference.



[12:00 p.m.]



MADAM SPEAKER: May I interrupt the honourable member, if he would mind allowing an
introduction.



The honourable member for Guysborough-Port Hawkesbury.



MR. RAYMOND WHITE: Madam Speaker, through you I wish to introduce some constituents of
mine, Mr. Pat Legere and his two daughters from the Town of Canso and Mr. John Armsworthy who are in
the gallery, I would ask that they stand and receive the welcome from the members of the Legislature.
(Applause)






MR. LEEFE: I’m always delighted to have citizens drop in and join us in the gallery and it is amazing
how many people come to Province House for the first time. One of the things that, of course, they recognize
right away is that this is not a Chamber where formalities are always observed, that this, in fact, is a work
place, just in the same way as the offices that men and women across this province work in. There are many
activities which can occur simultaneously, one, of course, would hope all of them combining to provide better
direction and better opportunity for Nova Scotia and Nova Scotians.



I was making reference to Mayor Ball. Mayor Ball is not the only person who is deeply concerned
about the potential impact on the municipal tax rates with respect to this legislation. Jim Legge, who is a
resident of Duncans Cove, has also expressed reservations too, in this instance to Mr. Hayward, respecting
the legislation that is before us and he is deeply concerned about rapidly rising assessments which he believes,
and I am sure anyone who is subject to them believes, place a financial burden on people living on desirable
properties in scenic but unserviced areas. Anybody who has been out to Duncans Cove would understand
precisely what Mr. Legge speaks and if anybody hasn’t been out there, they should go and have a look at
Duncans Cove because it is a very beautiful part of our metropolitan area.



So, Madam Speaker, I think this is a very reasoned amendment. It is an amendment which does not
have the same impact as the six months’ hoist because the committee can be ordered to report back to the
House. It is a matter which could be referred to the committee, the committee could report back in, let’s say,
a months time and I suspect that we will still be here in a months time and we could then proceed with the
completion of second reading and getting the bill on into committee.



I very strongly endorse this amendment. I think it is a reasoned and reasonable amendment. It is an
amendment which will give the people in the metropolitan area an opportunity to clearly understand what the
financial impact of the bill before the House will have directly on them and I commend it to all members of
the House.



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



MR. BROOKE TAYLOR: Let me say at the outset that I am pleased that you ruled that this
amendment was acceptable. I am very pleased that the amendment that was put forward by my honourable
colleague for Hants West has been deemed as permissible and, “the subject matter, Bill No. 3, An Act to
Incorporate the Halifax Regional Municipality, be referred to the Public Accounts Committee to conduct
hearings to determine the fiscal impact of amalgamation on the residential and commercial tax rates within
the affected area.”.



What more appropriate amendment could you support? I ask the government to look at that
amendment which the Deputy Speaker permitted to be discussed on the floor and debated and give it very deep
consideration because it certainly does merit the support of every member of this House. The residents of
Halifax County, the residents of Halifax, the residents of Dartmouth and, of course, the residents of Bedford
do deserve to know what the financial implications are going to be as a result of the new regional
municipality.



We have two reports. We have the Hayward Report and we have the UMA/Doane Raymond Report.
The Doane Raymond Report cost the four affected municipalities some $230,000 and that is new information.
Only recently, as members of this Legislature, have we received copies of that information and the taxpayers
need time to certainly assess, evaluate and scrutinize that information, so they know where their taxes are
going. Most likely, their taxes are going up, if you believe the UMA Report.



Mr. Hayward, a very fine individual, the Coordinator of the amalgamation, conducted many meetings,
I think over 50. I had the privilege of attending three of those meetings and Mr. Hayward gave a wonderful
presentation, he listened to our views, our expressions of concern, he answered questions as best he could,
some of the answers were somewhat nebulous, but I will say that the coordinator did try.



In rural Halifax County, we expressed that we do have some very significant concerns with what our
tax rate is going to be in rural Halifax County, versus the City of Halifax, the urban area. Now Bedford, I
understand, is a solvent entity. Bedford has some significant concerns and I don’t need to tell you, Madam
Speaker, the concerns that Bedford has. I am sure that you are certainly aware of that situation. People in the
city are concerned, people in Dartmouth are concerned. The Mayor of Dartmouth has expressed that she has
concerns, that perhaps the people in the urban area will be subsidizing the people out in the country, but
nothing is clear.



So, for the sake of referring this Bill No. 3, An Act to Incorporate the Halifax Regional Municipality,
off to the Public Accounts Committee to conduct hearings and determine just what the fiscal ramifications
will be, certainly should merit some consideration. I ask the government members, not merely to just vote no,
for the sake of voting no, give it some careful consideration and when the roll is called, support your
constituents, we are not asking too much.



I consider the Doane Raymond Report, the UMA study, to be an independent and perhaps an accurate
report. But it is time that this government allowed some logic and common sense to be applied to the process.
In Halifax County, for example, a residential rate is the same, right across the municipality but when we
merge, will we receive that same consideration?



The mix of urban and rural councillors in Halifax County have always been able to give consideration
to their neighbours. When the forestry and farming were thriving, things in the urban area were thriving.
Now, things are a little bit quiet on the fishery, for example, along Halifax County, the Eastern Shore and in
the Prospect area. But when things were flourishing there, everybody received the benefits. So, we have to see
what our tax implications are going to be.



The Mayor of Bedford has recently expressed that he is concerned. I understand, in fact, that the Town
is going to conduct a plebiscite of their own on April 27th. What most people are talking about, is the concern
they have with what is going to happen to their backpocket. I mean, we have concerns about the level of
service, yes, everybody has concerns about the service they will receive, but they also have some very
significant concerns of how they are going to be affected in the backpocket. Are their taxes going to rise? I
don’t think we are asking too much to refer this bill to the Public Accounts Committee.



I do believe that there is no justification for speeding through with this amalgamation as fast as this
government has been moving on it. In saying that, I want to compliment and commend Mr. Hayward for
going out and holding those meetings. I am not just sure how meaningful all the consultation was, but I do
note that many of the recommendations that the coordinator included, particularly, the protection of the rural
tax rate. I am pleased that that is included in the bill, but I still think we should support this amendment.
There is good rationale to support it and, Madam Speaker, with those very few words, I shall take my seat and
certainly I will listen very intently to the comments by my next most-learned colleague.



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



MR. JOHN HOLM: Madam Speaker, I was interested in the final words of the previous speaker. I don’t
know if that was a shot or not, or if I was mis-hearing. I think he said listen to the remarks of the next most-learned speaker.



AN HON. MEMBER: Learned colleague.



MR. HOLM: Learned colleague. So, I guess I know where I stand in the order.



I rise actually this morning to speak in support of the amendment that is before us. Madam Speaker,
I do so, and I note and I very much appreciate the fact that in your ruling, you did make the decision to allow
this motion to stand before the House and ruled that it is in order, because I very much agree that it is in fact
a motion that is in order and that it is a very reasonable and thoughtful thing for us to be doing in this House.



I had, of course, tried unsuccessfully to get a different approach, a different strategy, in the amendment
that I had moved earlier; that was ruled out. It was similar to this in the sense of referring it to a committee
but, Madam Speaker, I very much appreciate your ruling on this particular situation because I think that the
Public Accounts Committee is, because of the nature of the Public Accounts Committee, a very appropriate
type of forum to be examining the issues and the contents and, in fact, the financial implications of the bill
upon the ratepayers, upon the taxpayers who live in the metropolitan area.



MADAM SPEAKER: I thank you for your kind words of support but I think that both the rulings made
by myself and the Speaker in the previous amendment were both correct. Thank you for your kind words.



MR. HOLM: Madam Speaker, my kind words were not certainly meant in any frivolous way and
certainly is no shot; they were, in fact, very genuine in appreciation of your ruling.



What this simply is saying, this amendment of course, is that the subject matter of Bill No. 3, An Act
to Incorporate the Halifax Regional Municipality, be referred to the Public Accounts Committee. The Public
Accounts Committee can then conduct hearings to determine the fiscal impact of amalgamation on the
residential and commercial tax rates within the affected area. Now that to me is a responsible thing to do. We
all know that the Public Accounts Committee meets on a very regular basis; in fact, it often meets every week.
There is nothing in the rules that would prohibit that committee from meeting even more often than that.



Now the Public Accounts Committee is a committee that does have the ability to call before it
witnesses, people who can provide testimony, who can answer questions and give the background, detailed
explanation for the financial implications that the bill would have. Another very important thing about the
Public Accounts Committee, of course, is that the Public Accounts Committee is chaired, not by a government
member, Madam Speaker. We all know that, a number of years ago, the rules were changed and now the
Public Accounts Committee is chaired by a member of the Opposition who is appointed to fill that position.
That gives that committee a sense of increased independence even though, of course, the government members
still occupy the majority of members on that committee, but by having an Opposition chair, that means that
there is greater opportunity and increased, I would suggest, credibility to the independence of that committee.



It also meets in public. It meets here in this very Chamber, most occasions. The proceedings are
recorded. The media is able to come into the Chamber itself to hear the presentation and to report, live if they
wish, to the residents about what is going on. It is a process, it is a committee which has as its responsibilities
looking at primarily financial matters and the financial implications and so, therefore, I think that it is an
excellent forum and an excellent way to be doing that.



[12:15 p.m.]



We are told, of course, by government, that the proposed amalgamation is not going to impact
negatively on the taxpayers in the Province of Nova Scotia. That is what their story is. Madam Speaker, they
say that those who are suggesting and looking at other alternatives, other scenarios, are saying that is because
they are factoring into it things like harmonization. Of course, the government’s original projections, as to
how much money was supposedly going to be saved and who was going to be saving how much, were made
before the service exchange, which is now in effect, had been factored in and before that exchange had
actually taken place.



Much has happened in the last four months. Millions and millions of dollars worth of providing of
services have now been shunted by the provincial government onto the backs of the property taxpayers.
Therefore, Madam Speaker, it is only responsible, it is only reasonable to be looking at the current situation.
Let us look at April 1995. Let us look at what it is going to be in April 1996, because, of course, in April
1996, in the second year of that service exchange, there are to be even more costs being transferred from the
provincial government to municipalities in some areas and the province assuming more in some other areas.
In the case of Halifax County, for example, next year their share of the bill will be 25 per cent more than it
would be this year. Of course, next year there will not be a Halifax County. Therefore, the so-called savings
for Halifax and Dartmouth are also not going to be there for Halifax or Dartmouth, because there will not be
a Halifax or a Dartmouth any more.



AN HON. MEMBER: Where are they going?



MR. HOLM: Some member opposite over there said, where did they go? Where are they going?



AN HON. MEMBER: Where are they going? They are going to New Brunswick, are they?



MR. HOLM: The member for Cape Breton South, the ever-learned Whip of the government, suggests
that maybe they are going to New Brunswick.



Well, Madam Speaker, I would suggest that when we look at the map next year, when we look at it,
we will see that there is a spot called Halifax, there will be a spot called Dartmouth, there will be a spot called
Bedford, there will be a spot called Sackville. Right now, as a government, as a community, Sackville exists
as an inhabited community. Sackville does not have its own separate incorporated government. Sackville, as
such, is not an incorporated community; it is a community, but it is not an incorporated community. It does
not have complete control over itself. As a part of Halifax County, decisions are made for it by the entire
county. Halifax, as an entity on a map, will exist. But as a separate entity, and the same for Dartmouth, as
separate cities controlling their areas and what goes on in them are not going to exist as such. They will not.
It is going to be part of the mega-, the super-regional metropolitan government.



Residents in all of these areas, all of them - Hubbards, Timberlea, Musquodoboit, Musquodoboit
Valley, Cole Harbour, Bedford, Sackville, Hammonds Plains, Waverley, Halifax, Dartmouth, Sambro - and
all the others have a clear right to know what the financial implications of this legislation are going to be for
them, personally, and for their communities. That is not unreasonable.



Surely to Heaven, surely asking the Public Accounts Committee to hold a few meetings in this
Chamber, in the public view, where members of that committee will have the opportunity to call before it, Mr.
Hayward, call before it the members who prepared the UMA study, call before it municipal representatives
and any others they so determine appropriate to call, to give financial information. Call the minister maybe,
call the Deputy Minister of the Department of Municipal Affairs, ask them to back up and provide the clear
verification of the financial implications. That is not unreasonable. In fact, I would suggest it would be
infinitely responsible, Madam Speaker.



I hope that on a matter so important to hundreds of thousands of residents that government members
will be prepared to - let’s take off your blinders for a minute. It strikes me that in some races they put blinders
on the animals that are racing so that they can see in only one direction, straight ahead, so the animal that
is racing will charge even faster ahead, Madam Speaker.



MADAM SPEAKER: I would just gently constrain you that racing animals do not have much interest
to me on this amendment. I would like you to restrict your debate to the amendment.



MR. HOLM: Well, I am being accused of laying rabbit tracks, Madam Speaker. I don’t know if rabbits
race.



However, my purpose in raising that was simply to point out that what this government has done to
themselves is put those kinds of blinders on themselves, that they are only seeing in one direction and they
are racing ahead at as rapid a pace as they possibly can. I would suggest, Madam Speaker, that sometimes
making good decisions means being prepared to step back slightly. I am not even calling upon this
government to retreat - to step back a little bit, slow down slightly, allow the Public Accounts Committee and
the members of this House who are on that committee an opportunity to do their job on behalf of the residents
and the businesses that are going to be affected by this amalgamation.



Surely it is not unreasonable to expect that those people who have concerns will have an opportunity
to have those concerns placed directly before the people who can provide some of the answers. If that is done,
Madam Speaker, then the Public Accounts Committee, which operates like a number of these committees of
the House do, very much on a lower level of partisan politics, very definitely the so-called politics that you
see going on in this Chamber, those kinds of political manoeuvers are less likely in those committees. So,
hopefully, there could be a genuine attempt made to get to the bottom of the facts so that the committee could
file with this House a comprehensive, thoughtful report on the implications, with the help of those who come
before it, on the cost implications of amalgamation to the businesses and to the residents who live in the areas
affected.



Madam Speaker, if you haven’t been able to gather this from my remarks to date, as I have been
speaking on this, I am very much speaking in support of the amendment that is before us and I intend to vote
accordingly when that time arrives. Thank you.



MADAM SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings West.



MR. GEORGE MOODY: Madam Speaker, I rise in support of this amendment. I think the whole issue
of what this bill is all about is the level of taxation that the various homeowners and businesses will have to
pay after this amalgamation takes place.



By referring this to the committee, I think one of the things that has to be established for us to know
and for the people to know - and I think this is what is wrong with the government hurrying along down the
road that it is hurrying on - that in order for it to be established, and we have had Mr. Hayward bringing
together some figures of what the rural and urban areas and Halifax and Dartmouth would pay with regard
to taxation, we had another study that indicated also that there would be some areas that would have an
increase in taxation, in some areas of the new super-city there would be areas that may have a slight decrease
but overall it could be quite substantive to some people, so I think, first of all, this committee could look at -
and I think this is what is going to have to be determined - is levels of service.



Obviously, if the levels of service are not established, how can you guarantee anybody that your taxes
are not going to go up? The minister knows that in Dartmouth they plow the sidewalks; they don’t do that in
the City of Halifax. Well, are they or aren’t they, as one city, going to do that in both areas? If they do, in
Halifax obviously, it is going to be an added cost. It is the responsibility of homeowners in Halifax to clear
the sidewalks. I don’t know about Bedford, is that done by the homeowner or by the staff of the town? So, it
is different, and there are other areas of service that are also different.



What could happen if we have this referred to the Public Accounts Committee is that somehow the
general public will be confused, we don’t know what level of policing will take place in the rural areas. It is
going to be set by the Minister of Justice. What level is the Minister of Justice going to set, compared to how
many police are on duty per population? It all has a cost and if that is not determined, and who is going to
pay, then how in the world can somebody run around and say, we are going to have amalgamation and yet
your tax dollar is going to go down. I don’t believe there is anyone in here that can guarantee the homeowners
anything at this point in time, or the businesses of anything at this point in time.



You can prophesize and say, yes, it is going to be less or no, it is going to be more. We already had
two studies and they came to different conclusions. (Interruption) Well, they came to different conclusions
on whether or not and what areas may have an increase or a decrease in taxation. They both said you could
do one city cheaper than if you have it the way it is, but they didn’t know what the levels of service were going
to be. Is it exactly as it is now or are we going to have a super-city that has different levels of services for all
four areas? I am talking urban, never mind the rural because we know that is going to be different but, if I am
part of a super-city, I probably want some of the same services that some of the other people are getting.



[12:30 p.m.]



The general public is confused and if you look at any surveys that had been taken, people say that they
don’t have enough information. Most people, of course, would say that this is good if my taxes go down, no
question. People would support it, but what they are having difficulty with is that they are confused about what
exactly will happen to their tax rate and businesses are concerned about that and we don’t know because of
incomplete work being done. (Interruption) Exactly, and as you look in the bill and some services are left out
of the rural area where the tax rate is to be struck, does this study include those areas of policing, is it based
on the cost of roads of $3,500 per kilometre? How many people think forever or even today, you can service
a road and maintain it and do all the things with $3,500 a kilometre?



You have all those factors, Madam Speaker. This committee could do a better analysis of bringing
together all that information and then it could be determined on a financial basis of what kind of an impact
this is really going to have. But, no, this government probably won’t listen. It has a habit of saying to people,
I am sorry, we have already made up our minds. It doesn’t matter what new information comes forward, it
doesn’t matter what the residents say, it doesn’t matter what anybody says, we as a government are
unapproachable once we have made up our mind, forget about it. We are going to tell you, if this is what is
going to happen and you are going to live with it.



Here is another opportunity for the government to do the kinds of things it said it would do and that
is, consult and allow input by people. I can’t understand why allowing a process where people in this area and
others who have a lot of information, the Department of Municipal Affairs have a lot of information, but so
do the mayors and their staff have a lot of information, so do a lot of other people. Maybe, we could bring all
that together, wouldn’t it be nice to have an atmosphere and the situation where people worked together, to
come to some common goals and to solve common problems?



This government doesn’t allow that opportunity to happen. It won’t allow that opportunity to happen
and members will vote against this amendment again because they are told to do so, not because it may
improve the situation and that is what is wrong. This government has failed to listen; as I talked to many
people out there saying, well we don’t know if it is good or bad, many people are saying that. If we had more
information and we allowed a process that was open and fair and one that could be scrutinized, then we could
accept the kind of recommendation that might come out of that kind of a process. At least we would know that
what we are getting into before we get into it, will work or won’t work. So, saying all of that, it won’t surprise
you or anyone else, that I will be supporting this amendment and I hope that many others will do the same.



MADAM SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Official Opposition.



MR. TERENCE DONAHOE: I appreciate having the opportunity to make remarks for just a couple
of moments, relative to the amendment which has been introduced by my colleague for Hants West. You will
know that the amendment is a very simple and straightforward one. It simply asks that the subject matter of
Bill No. 3 be referred to the Public Accounts Committee, so that hearings could be conducted to determine
the fiscal impact of amalgamation on the residential and commercial tax rates within the affected area.



I had a chance to make remarks in relation to this whole matter yesterday and I pointed out at that time
that there is very real concern about the whole process at all. I indicated that the overwhelming majority view
of all residents in Halifax County, including all four municipal units, is of a view that the consultation factor
here has, frankly, been about zilch. The level of understanding, and I know, Madam Speaker, that you have
had occasion, if I understand press and other reports accurately, to be in meetings with constituents whom
you represent who have said to you, in very voluble terms, they are not at all happy because they are not really
sure they understand the implications of what happens to them and their families and their tax rates, in the
event that this bill should pass.



Now I notice that when the Minister of Municipal Affairs issued a news release on April 4th, the day,
if memory serves me correctly, that this bill was introduced, the minister said, and I quote her from her own
press release; “Amalgamation will mean savings, . . .” These savings can be realized in lower taxes or higher
service levels. All indications are that the level of savings will approximate those outlined in Bill Hayward’s
1993 interim report.”.



Later on that same minister went on to say the tax rate in a rural area will not exceed the area’s share
of providing general services for the whole area. There is a provision for phasing in a common residential rate
for the same services over five years. The commercial rate may be phased in to a common rate over 10 years.



Then the minister went on further in this same release and addressed an issue that I think is of
absolutely vital and crucial importance, “A special power is granted with respect to the current level of
additional funding for education provided by the City of Dartmouth and the City of Halifax. The payment to
a school board may not be reduced by more than 10 per cent per year. This additional funding will be levied
as a special area rate on all assessments in the area formerly the cities of Halifax and Dartmouth.”.



I have a couple of problems with that whole issue and I have had contacts from constituents and
residents across metro who have expressed similar concerns. The concern is about the provisions in this
legislation relative to the capacity of Halifax and Dartmouth to continue to provide supplementary education
funding.



Now it is very interesting to note on this issue, and what could be more important to the 330,000
residents of the metropolitan region than the education of their young people? What this press release from
the minister says and what the legislation says is that we are not going to interfere with the capacity of Halifax
and Dartmouth to provide supplementary funding, but they go on to provide that the payment to a school
board may not be reduced by more than 10 per cent a year. That additional funding would be levied as a
special area rate on all the assessment in the area, formerly what were the Cities of Halifax and Dartmouth.



My question relative to that and the question that is being raised with me by a number of residents is,
first of all, where is the provision which allows an additional supplementary benefit to be paid, if, in fact, that
becomes necessary? I say to you, Madam Speaker, there are many people involved in the education system,
involved in the administration of municipal government in the metropolitan region who are very concerned,
on the basis of what we have seen in the last couple of budgets here in the Province of Nova Scotia, the
likelihood is that the amount of funding for the public education system is going to drop and not going to rise.



The problem we have here is that we may well get into a real fire fight because we are going to have
a metro amalgamation piece of legislation which sets out a process whereby there can be a reduction in the
supplementary funding from Halifax and Dartmouth, but there is no provision - as I think there should be -
and those who contact me think there should be, that deals with the question of, how do we work out the
details of the necessity, if such comes about, of additional supplementary funding to the school board?



In addition to that, I have had residents of what is now the Town of Bedford and residents of what is
now the Municipality of the County of Halifax, who ask, in light of the fact that it is likely - again, that in the
coming couple of fiscal years, the funding for public education in the metropolitan region and, indeed, across
the province will be reduced - why are they not mentioned, relative to the whole question of their capacity to -
God forbid, but their capacity, if necessary - get into supplementary funding? The fact that they do not now
make supplementary funding payments, the county and the Town of Bedford, does not mean that that is going
to be the situation in perpetuity. I repeat, in light of the fact that the funding for public education is likely to
drop, I believe that this legislation is flawed and requires the kind of attention that could be reviewed in
hearings in the Public Accounts Committee, if we were to support the amendment which is now before us.



As I said a moment ago, the minister’s press release, the day she introduced the legislation, said,
“Amalgamation will mean savings . . .”. If that is the case, why is it that we have a report, as we do, from
UMA/Doane Raymond, which is very threatening and very frightening to residents, I am sure, whom you
represent, Madam Speaker, and residents whom I represent? If you look only on the residential assessment
side, you will see that it is anticipated, it is expected that the residential tax rates in the City of Dartmouth will
rise by 1.39 per cent, not an unbelievable increase but an increase. In the city which I represent, it is expected
that the percentage increase over the 1994-95 rate, adjusted for service exchange, increase in tax rates in my
city, in the capital city, could potentially be as high as 17.06 per cent. In the urban area, it might drop a couple
of points. In the rural area, it will potentially, the tax rates on the residential side, rise by 13.35 per cent.
Those are very big numbers. Those are the kinds of tax rate increase numbers which are going to result in
thousands of families who are on marginal incomes and struggle every month to pay mortgages and pay taxes
and so on, to be able to maintain those homes.



This government has talked a great deal about its interest in commercial development. We have to
support the commercial enterprise, and I agree with that. We have to find ways in which we can create an
environment here in the metropolitan region and across this province, which will enable the indigenous
commercial and industrial community of our community to prosper and grow and to create new wealth.
Because if we do not create new wealth, and I have said this before in this place, all we are going to do is just
simply divvy up a shrinking pie of resources. Based on commercial assessment of $200,000, Madam Speaker,
in the community which you represent, the speculation and the analysis - not just speculation, but the detailed
financial analysis - is that in the Town of Bedford, based on commercial assessment of $200,000, the taxes
potentially will rise 18.57 per cent. What is that going to do to the integrity and the viability and the capacity
of the commercial enterprises in the town which you represent? In the City of Dartmouth, it is expected that
they will rise by 12.8 per cent. In the City of Halifax, by 9.59 per cent.



AN HON. MEMBER: That’s only if you do all those things.



MR. DONAHOE: It is only if they do all those things. Well, I take that as an indication from the
always helpful Minister of Education that there is a whole bunch of things they don’t plan to do. (Interruption)
Yes, well that . . .



[12:45 p.m.]



MADAM SPEAKER: Might I just caution you . . .



MR. DONAHOE: I know, Madam Speaker, you are going to caution me against . . .



MADAM SPEAKER: Yes, I am, and I would like you to just permit me to caution you. Please don’t
get sidetracked by these other interventions. You have the floor.



MR. DONAHOE: I have the floor and I will do my best, Madam Speaker, to avoid the inane rabbit
tracks that are so often offered by the Minister of Education.



AN HON. MEMBER: Well, they are right.



MR. DONAHOE: Well, they are not right because it is anticipated that on a commercial assessment
of $200,000 after amalgamation, the taxes will rise by 23 per cent. In rural Municipality of the County of
Halifax, in rural super-city, the taxes will rise by 22.93 per cent.



I have not heard anybody offer me credible information or advice or show me a schedule which
satisfies me at all that those numbers are not trustworthy and, in fact, are not going to happen. I repeat, I go
back to the Minister of Municipal Affairs when she introduced the legislation, she sent out a press release at
the same time. “The tax rate . . .”, she said, “. . . in a rural area will not exceed the area’s share of providing
general services for the whole area. There is a provision for phasing in a common residential rate for the same
services over five years. The commercial rate may be phased in to a common rate over ten years.”.



That is a lot of may’s and maybe’s and well, it might happen, it may not happen. Who knows what is
going to happen.



HON. SANDRA JOLLY: Madam Speaker, on a point of order, just in reference to the honourable
member’s comments, the report very clearly said that, “. . . if policies and services are harmonized as assumed
in our report, then all commercial tax rates will increase significantly, as will residential tax rates in Halifax
. . .”.  If, when, should the new council decide to do this, Madam Speaker, the suggestion that this government
should dictate directly as to what services should be provided, there is another level of government that is
being dealt with here. This piece of legislation is very enabling. It allows the new council to make the
decisions that they feel are necessary. It allows the new council to decide on the services that should be
provided, at whichever stage they should be provided. (Interruption)



I am actually reading from the information that was going out to Bedford on the plebiscite but it is a
direct quote from the UMA Report.



MR. DONAHOE: Madam Speaker, I wonder if the minister could table the document.



MADAM SPEAKER: I thank the honourable Minister of Municipal Affairs on her point of order. Is
there a further intervention? I will entertain further interventions on this point of order.



The honourable member for Timberlea-Prospect.



MR. BRUCE HOLLAND: Thank you, Madam Speaker. Further to that, the honourable member says
that these additional services, because of the amalgamation, are going to put the taxes up. Well, with or
without amalgamation, if the services are implemented, whether these councils there today or if the new
council puts them in, somebody has to pay for them, so his argument doesn’t hold water.



MADAM SPEAKER: Now I will make a ruling on both the points of order. I think you have provided
some clarifying information but neither of your interventions is a point of order.



I would like to intervene at this point in time for an introduction.






The honourable member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley.



MR. BROOKE TAYLOR: Thank you, Madam Speaker. Through you and to all members of the House
I would like to introduce some very distinguished guests that we have present in the west gallery. We have
a class of I believe somewhere around 30 of South Colchester High School students from the beautiful
community of Brookfield. Of course the students are from all over the Upper Stewiacke Valley, from the Town
of Stewiacke, Fort Ellis, Middle Stewiacke area. They are accompanied by their very able and capable
teachers, Ms. Kelly Brown and Mr. Norman Eddy.



I would invite the class and their teachers to stand and please receive a warm round of applause.
(Applause)



MR. DONAHOE: Madam Speaker, well, I don’t know if that document has been tabled. It is on the
way, it is being copied. I would like to see it for just a moment if I can, before I have to finish.



I want to say to the minister and my honourable friend from Timberlea that I appreciate their
interventions. But the problem is that while they say, and rightly so, well, even if we don’t have amalgamation
and services are expanded or increased in certain areas of any one of the four municipal units involved, well
there might be a change in the tax obligation of those residents receiving those services, granted.



The difficulty is that we are now dealing with a piece of legislation which changes the dynamic
entirely. The dynamic that is changed is that we don’t know, and the 330,000 residents of the metropolitan
region to be formed by this legislation, do not know how and to what extent their tax implication is affected
by virtue of an increase or an expansion or a change of service delivery in some part of the super-city
potentially very distant from where they happen to live. They simply don’t know that.



The minister might help me. (Interruption) She read on the right-hand column, second box. This is
the Coles Notes of amalgamation here.



MADAM SPEAKER: Just for a point of clarification, the document you are looking at, as I understand
it, is being circulated from the Town of Bedford’s administration regarding the plebiscite.



MR. DONAHOE: All right.



AN HON. MEMBER: This is not a hoax, is it? (Interruption)



MR. DONAHOE: This is under a heading entitled Information Supplied by UMA/Doane Raymond
and the second little bullet there, “If amalgamation occurs, and if policies and services are harmonized as
assumed in our report, then all commercial tax rates will increase significantly, as will residential tax rates
in Halifax and rural areas of Halifax County.”. (Interruption)



Well, the first if is in your control.



MADAM SPEAKER: Honourable members, I will caution you once again. Would you direct your
comments to the Chair, please?



MR. DONAHOE: My apologies, Madam Speaker, through you to the Minister of Municipal Affairs.
The first if is in the control of this minister and the government of which she is a part. Because the first three
words of the sentence read, “If amalgamation occurs . . .”. Well, it doesn’t have to occur. It is going to occur
because this 40 seat majority government is going to stuff it down the throats of 330,000 residents.
(Interruption)



Listen, if you want to get . . .



MADAM SPEAKER: Order, now, please. Would the member take his seat please.



I just want to comment in this Chamber that we all have a responsibility to behave in a manner that
could be controlled in some fashion. We are electronically amplified. It is not necessary to shout and scream.
The amendment on the floor is to refer to a committee to determine in Public Accounts, the fiscal impact of
amalgamation on the residential and commercial tax rates. I would like the honourable Leader of the
Opposition to constrain his remarks in this debate to the amendment on the floor. Thank you.



MR. DONAHOE: Thank you very much, Madam Speaker. Well, I find it helpful and indeed instructive
that my good friend, the Minister of Municipal Affairs, through you, would point out bullet Number 2 on the
form from which she read and which she has tabled. I note that she, however, didn’t make any reference to
the material which is described under the heading Effect on Residential and Commercial Taxpayers because
that is exactly the issue that this amendment is attempting to address because that schedule shows, and with
apologies for potentially being repetitive, the percentage increase on tax rates over 1994-95 in Bedford at 5.05
per cent; Dartmouth, 1.39 per cent; my city, the City of Halifax, 17.06 per cent; the urban county area, down
2.25 per cent; and the rural county of Halifax, Timberlea and other places up 13.35 per cent. Then when you
go to the commercial tax implications in the Town of Bedford, the town which you represent, Madam
Speaker, the taxes are going to rise 23.1 per cent, that is what this bill is going to do to the residents that you
represent and are in here voting to protect their interests so vigorously. The people in the City of Dartmouth
. . .



MR. BRUCE HOLLAND: On a point of order, Madam Speaker. I hesitate to interrupt the honourable
member but the amendment clearly states that they would like to see the bill go to the Public Accounts
Committee to debate what implications the tax rates would have. My point is that we should be debating
whether it goes to the Public Accounts Committee and not what the tax rates are going to be or not going to
be. He is purely taking it as an opportunity to spout his propaganda about them increasing and I don’t think
that is the point of the amendment.



MADAM SPEAKER: I will rule on the point of order. While it is an interesting point it is not a point
of order. The honourable Leader of the Opposition.



MR. DONAHOE: With the greatest respect to my honourable friend it certainly isn’t a point of order
because, with respect, the amendment which we debate here at the moment asks that the matter be referred
to the Public Accounts Committee and I ask him and all other members to listen to the words, why refer to
the Public Accounts Committee and the purpose is this, “. . . to conduct hearings to determine the fiscal
impact of amalgamation on the residential tax rates within the affected area.”. With respect (Interruption)
because the residents of the metropolitan region, all 330,000 of them, do not have sufficient, clear, precise,
detailed, accurate information made available to them to make it possible for them and their families to make
a judgment as to what the impact is and will be upon them both as residential and as commercial taxpayers
and that is the point.



The matter can be handled very simply. This is not a six months’ hoist, this is a matter of a reference
to a well recognized and efficiently run committee of this House, meetings could be convened immediately
and I would expect that within 24 to 48 hours we could have people in front of that committee to address the
issue.



I refer to The Chronicle-Herald, The Mail Star, Thursday, April 13, 1995. The bill was introduced
April 4th and April 13th, nine days later, there was a review done and reported in The Chronical-Herald, The
Mail Star, April 13, 1995, “The report predicted post-merger residential rates would go up 7.8 per cent in
Halifax, 3.7 per cent in urban county areas, and 22.8 per cent for county dwellers, while Bedford rates would
go down 6.2 per cent and Dartmouth’s by 4.2 per cent . . . Consultants say the service exchange will push
residential tax rates up 17 per cent in Halifax and, 13.3 per cent for rural residents, with other areas varying
slightly from current rates.



Commercial rates are predicted to shoot up 9.6 per cent in Halifax, 12.9 per cent in Dartmouth, 18.6
per cent in Bedford and about 23 per cent everywhere in the county.”. The answer then perhaps and maybe
the Minister of Municipal Affairs - aided and abetted so eloquently as she is by the Minister of Education -
might make a commitment. Each time that I say and have said here today that the consultants tell us and tell
metro residential and commercial taxpayers that service exchange will push residential tax rates to the levels
that I am describing. The constant refrain from the Minister of Municipal Affairs is, well that is if they are
service exchanged. She is a member of a government which, in fact, has been advocating considerable service
exchange. I want now to ask this honourable minister if she would be prepared to entertain a question from
me? Is she pooh-poohing the concern about the potential of these very dramatic tax increases on the basis that
there will never be this service exchange which she and her government are touting? Is that what the minister
is saying?



[1:00 p.m.]



MADAM SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Municipal Affairs.



HON. SANDRA JOLLY: Madam Speaker, I think it is important that I clarify some of the concerns
that the Opposition member is clearly putting forward. The service exchange, and it is very important that
his terminology be correct, the service exchange was decided and implemented April 1, 1995. That has
happened, it is done and all 66 municipalities in the province know exactly financially how it affects them.



Fortunately, for the metropolitan area, the service exchange was a savings totally of approximately $11
million. That was very important for this area as a whole and it was part of the original discussion from Mr.
Hayward’s interim report where it showed service exchange savings of approximately $11 million and
amalgamation savings of approximately $9 million for a total of $20 million in savings for the metropolitan
area.



So, when he talks about service exchange, it in actual fact has happened, has been documented and
we passed the bill last session. What he is trying to confuse it with is a levelling of service, not service
exchange but a levelling of service. Whether the services provided in the new municipality are exactly the
same to all citizens will be a decision that the municipal government makes. After all, they are a level of
government, they are elected by the taxpayer and they will make the decision on the services that are provided
to the taxpayer.



MR. DONAHOE: Madam Speaker, I take it then that the minister, on the basis of that explanation,
doesn’t really think that it is terribly important or should be to the 330,000 residents and taxpayers in the
metropolitan region that they have some kind of an idea, they have none now because none has been provided
to them, that they have some kind of an idea and opportunity to do an analysis of what will happen to them
in the event that certain of these changes are made.



I don’t know whether the minister agrees or not but I am going to tell her from my vantage point. There
are tens of thousands of people in the metropolitan region who really don’t understand what is going to happen
to them in terms of, as an example, fire protection and the cost that that will bring to them in terms of a tax
obligation. People who don’t understand the implications to them of police protection and the cost to them,
if, as and when those changes are made. Frankly, it is that kind of issue which is able to be addressed if this
matter is referred to the Public Accounts Committee to determine the fiscal impact of amalgamation on both
the residential and the commercial tax rates.



I have other remarks which I would very much like to make, unfortunately, I am committed to a
meeting with the Premier at the present time and I will conclude my remarks at this stage. I ask all members
to take a serious look at the amendment which is before us. The amendment before us does not disadvantage
anybody in this House and it doesn’t disadvantage any of the 330,000 taxpayers in the metropolitan region,
here in Halifax-Dartmouth-Bedford and Halifax County region. What it does do is afford an opportunity in
a forum where we, as legislators, could be participants to have a great deal of financial information made
available to them and to us. In a matter of a very short time, 30 days maximum, we could have a considerable
amount of financial information not yet available, even to us, let alone to the taxpayers, to be discussed in the
context of the Public Accounts Committee. The bill could then come back to the floor of the House. It would
be further debated, but then it would be debated on the basis of all of us singing off the same song sheet and
having a far more precise understanding of the financial implications of the merger than we do now.



So, I would very respectfully ask all members to sympathetically consider the motion before us now.
I for one, Madam Speaker, will be supporting the motion which would refer this bill to the Public Accounts
Committee for the purpose of conducting hearings to determine the fiscal impact of amalgamation on the
residential and commercial tax rates within the affected area. Thank you very much.



MADAM SPEAKER: The honourable member for Pictou West.



MR. DONALD MCINNES: Madam Speaker, I am pleased to have the opportunity this afternoon to
rise, to partake in this amendment which was introduced by my colleague, the member for Hants West. I know
you all understand the amendment but perhaps I should read it to you so there will be no misunderstanding.



Basically that, “the subject matter of Bill No. 3, An Act to Incorporate the Halifax Regional
Municipality, be referred to the Public Accounts Committee to conduct hearings to determine the fiscal impact
of amalgamation on the residential and commercial tax rates within the affected area.”. Well, that is pretty
clear. That is a pretty clear amendment and I think it is worthwhile and I congratulate the member for Hants
West for thinking and having the foresight to bring in this resolution.



Now we have an excellent Public Accounts Committee which, as I understand it, meets regularly. I
am sure the Chairman, who is the member for Queens, would be (Interruption) and the vice-chairman is the
Deputy Speaker, I believe, so I am sure that they would be more than happy to take the opportunity to pull
their committee together, so that the citizens of Halifax and greater Halifax regional municipality would have
an opportunity to come in and talk about what effect the residential and commercial tax rates would have on
these affected areas.



Madam Speaker, last night I had the pleasure of having my own annual meeting up in my constituency.
Of course, we were reporting on what was happening in the House. We were talking about yesterday, we had
the bill, the amendment to hoist the thing for six months, and they all thought that was wonderful, that that
would give people an opportunity to take part in the discussions and to find out more about it.



You know a lot of people get it set in their mind that it is not the right thing to do. I want to tell you,
I think it is the right thing to do. I have said that before in this Legislature. I think it is important that we get
on and do this and I think we have to give the people the opportunity by having the Public Accounts
Committee, which meets in this Chamber. That would be an excellent idea.



We have different rates across all the municipal units now in the area. We have fire rates, we have area
rates, recreational rates, rates for lighting, water rates. The fact is that people living in the rural districts are
pretty concerned, they do not have the services.



AN HON. MEMBER: Who would want to pay for Bedford sidewalks.



MR. MCINNES: Well, that is right. I actually live in the country as well and we don’t get the services
that are provided in the five towns. We have to have our own water, we have to have our own sewer system.
Quite frankly, I can see that there will be quite a change in the manner in which the rates are set for the
various municipalities. The Mayors of Bedford, of Halifax and Dartmouth, Mayor Ball - I was going to say
warden but it is mayor - of Halifax County are all very concerned. I really think they are not against it, maybe
the Mayor of Bedford is dead against it, but I think the others mayors have a feeling that maybe it is the right
thing to do but they would like to have more input. And what better place? Public Accounts would be an
excellent place to let them come forward and let their groups come forward to have their say.



I really think the six months’ hoist would have been the best but since your people don’t want to do that,
I think we should hear from some of the members on the opposite side, from the government side of the
House, to my right. A lot of them have been municipal councillors or wardens or clerks or whatever in their
various districts and I, quite frankly, have not heard too much from them as to their opinion as to whether this
is the right thing to do or not. Apparently they think it is the right thing to do, their government is pushing
it forward and their minister is doing what she can and I must give her credit, as I said earlier, she did go
around and visit the municipal units.



MR. GEORGE ARCHIBALD: She went around the province for nothing; it didn’t cost a penny.



MR. MCINNES: It didn’t cost a thing and I don’t know how she did that.



MADAM SPEAKER: Would the honourable member try to restrict himself to the points that he wishes
to raise on the amendment.



MR. MCINNES: I think it was an important point that the minister did travel the province to try to
listen. The point I wanted to make was that she said she was going to go back and she didn’t go back, and
there we would have an opportunity for those people to come in and meet and talk and discuss what could be
done.



I understand there is a new landfill site which is going to be run by the Municipality of the County of
Halifax. What effect will the tax rate have on that? What effect will that have on Halifax, on Dartmouth, on
Bedford? I am sure I don’t know, and I think that is the concern. If I can go back to my own meeting last night
for a minute, the people were concerned about what the effect will be on the tax rate. We are not against
amalgamation, but we are concerned as to what we are going to have to pay in taxes.



There is quite a difference in the rates right across the district and I think it is important that we do
this. Mr. Hayward did a report and he said we were going save $20 million and then it’s $9 million, and then
we had this other report, which I have right here, UMA, Analysis of Municipal Amalgamation, and what do
they say? They have a different opinion. “Conclusion . . . there is no overall substantial financial benefit in
maintaining the status quo or in amalgamating the four units . . .”. Wow. Mr. Hayward said upwards to $10
million, so who is right?



HON. SANDRA JOLLY: Madam Speaker, on a point of order. I wouldn’t want the House to assume
that the report from UMA did not also suggest there was a $10 million savings from amalgamation because,
in actual fact, that report did concur with Mr. Hayward’s report that there is a $10 million savings. I do find
it a little surprising that the members opposite find that $10 million savings is not something that they
consider to be important to all taxpayers in the metropolitan area.



MADAM SPEAKER: Well, I thank the Minister of Municipal Affairs on her point of order. It is
actually not a point of order but clarification. I would just caution the honourable members. It is easy to
selectively peruse a document and only offer one of several conclusions to support the argument at the
moment. Perhaps the document should be tabled. I think there may be more than one conclusion in it. Thank
you.



[1:15 p.m.]



MR. MCINNES: Madam Speaker, I appreciate the honourable minister having her input. Perhaps I
didn’t read that line. I certainly apologize if I were wrong. I am looking at the recommendations and
conclusions and it was my understanding from day one, since this came out, that they were saying yes, there
could be some savings but probably not a lot in the first go. (Interruption)



Okay, they identified $10 million. I said, Madam Speaker, at the start, I believe in amalgamation. I
believe we can save money, but why can’t we let them come in here and come to the Public Accounts
Committee, which you are the vice-chairman of, and the member for Queens would call a meeting early . .
.



AN HON. MEMBER: At the earliest.



MR. MCINNES: . . . at the earliest possible time and it wouldn’t take all that long? Maybe a month
or so, give people an opportunity to come in. What day is this? The 21st day of April. We will likely be here
in a month’s time, no doubt, and you could bring it back in and report to the Legislature and then we could
whip her right through. Whip it right through.



MADAM SPEAKER: Has the honourable member concluded?



MR. MCINNES: Madam Speaker, I just want to check my notes. I don’t want to repeat myself too
much. It wouldn’t be fair to the members of the Legislature. I appreciate some of you are very attentive and
want to hear what is coming forth. I know I have to talk about the amendment. This bill does not include the
social services aspect that was done in the Cape Breton bill. If that were there, I think it would be helpful.
Again, I think, by taking it to the Public Accounts Committee, would give an opportunity for perhaps the
minister to make presentations as well to the committee, who would bring us up-to-date and bring us what
changes or what conclusions could be done.



Now, I wanted to go on. The minister chastised me for not reading the whole report which was tabled.
(Interruption) That’s fine. No problem with that at all. But, Madam Speaker, I wanted to go on to say that the
proposed regional municipality has four distinct development areas with different services, development
patterns and needs. That is where we are concerned about the area rates and what rates will be for downtown
Halifax, south-end Halifax, Musquodoboit Valley and whatever. I think by having this committee, which is
a good committee, it could deal with this and the waste water management, transportation and water supply
issues that have to be addressed. I did mention the landfill site which is going to be run by the Municipality
of the County of Halifax. What effect will this have on all the municipalities?



Now, I am reading from the UMA Report, “If amalgamation occurs, and if policies and services are
harmonized as assumed in this report, then all commercial tax rates will increase significantly, as will
residential tax rates in Halifax and rural areas of Halifax County.”. They will increase significantly, but will
save. I am reading it right there.



Madam Speaker, I think it is important that all members support this amendment to have the Public
Accounts Committee called together as soon as possible, to give the four municipal units of Halifax, Halifax
County, Dartmouth, Bedford the opportunity to come in here, in a very free and easy opportunity to make
presentations and to find out exactly, so they would have a better understanding of what the tax rate is on their
business. Everybody knows today that we have a lot of taxes. I am not blaming it on this government or any
other government, but we are all taxed to death. People want to know if they are going to have more municipal
taxes, which services, and I think by having this committee meet and giving the people the opportunity to be
heard. I say again, there were a lot of you people here on the government side of the House who were
municipal councillors and I don’t hear you up talking about what should be done on this, but I would love to
hear you.



Madam Speaker, I will take the opportunity, when the vote comes, to support this amendment so that
the people can come in and speak to the Public Accounts Committee. Thank you.



MADAM SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings North.






MR. GEORGE ARCHIBALD: Madam Speaker, it is a pleasure for me to be in the Chamber speaking
today on this very worthwhile and very good amendment. I think it is a credit to you and your impartiality to
accept this amendment, even after some members of Cabinet were trying to say other things. So, I think it is
to your credit that you looked impartially at this amendment and accepted it, because the amendment truly
is at the very crux of democracy, where it indicates that, “Bill No. 3, An Act to Incorporate the Halifax
Regional Municipalities, be referred to the Public Accounts Committee . . .”. Now, what better way, as
legislators, could we have to recommend and to show the people in this province that we really mean to be
a democracy and that we really mean to allow the people of Nova Scotia an opportunity to have their say.
Because this is not just a little walk in the park. This is fundamentally going to change the face of not just
metro but the entire Province of Nova Scotia, for the foreseeable future.



There are some very great concerns that people have that they would like to be able to come and tell
the Public Accounts Committee, because that committee really is evolving into kind of an impartial legislative
committee, known for its collegiality among the members and their feeling and their attitude of working
together for a common cause and that is, the fulfilment of what is good for Nova Scotia. That committee
would be ideal. It meets right in this Chamber, on Wednesday mornings, and that committee could, under the
impartial guidance of the Chairman from Queens County - they could have people from throughout the metro
region come in. They are going to tell them and ask questions. Some of the things they are going to say are,
look, we are happy with the service we have now; how is it going to be made better by this bill? Show me in
the bill where things are going to be better for me. Where am I going to notice the big change? That is what
the people are going to be asking the committee.



There are going to be people come in here and they are going to sit down and what they are going to
say is, I am a business person. I am an industrialist, perhaps they will say. They will say, my taxes are going
to go up. That is exactly what it is. The commercial taxes are going to go up. Now, we want them to have the
opportunity to come in here and say that. Then the minister could appear at a later date and answer all the
questions that these individuals want to have answered, because there is nothing that creates greater interest
among people in this province than taxes and the fear and the knowledge that the taxes are going to go up,
on a commercial basis, is very real.



There are going to be people that are going to want to come in and tell the Public Accounts Committee
that this new system is going to give us less representation on council than we have now. You see? So, they
are going to come in here and they are going to say, look, right now I have got an alderman or a councillor
representing me in the community that I live in. But under amalgamation, I am not going to have the same
system because right now there are about 25 councillors in Halifax County. One of the proposals is that there
be 24 councillors for the whole, entire metro region. So, that means a great dilution of interests and of ability
to represent. The people in the province, in the metro region, have a fear of less representation. How is that
going to make it better?



If they came into the Public Accounts Committee, the committee could tell them, well, that it is going
to better for these reasons and these are the reasons that the Minister of Municipal Affairs told us, so they
must be right. Now, whether they are right or not is up to the people to decide, but at the present time, the
people don’t have the opportunity to decide at all. So, less representation must be explained to the people, so
that they can understand it and welcome it with open arms.



One of the things that is of interest and of concern is that the councillors to be elected are going to be
full-time with full-time pay. Now, we know that the pay recommended for the Mayor of Cape Breton is
$92,000 and it is about half the size of this new metro region, so I assume his pay is going to be twice the
money, he has got twice the people. (Interruption) Well, I know, if the former member of the Legislature for
Cape Breton West gets elected, he is not here now, but he was here; if he gets elected in Cape Breton, the pay
isn’t going to be $92,000. He said immediately, he is going to take a pay cut down to $75,000. Well, that
shows the care and concern that that member has for municipal reform now, that he had then, when he voted
against this Draconian government’s bill in the first place, when it was going to adversely affect his native
Cape Breton Island.



So, you see how important it is that we understand what the representation idea involves. The mayor
of this new place may be getting paid in excess of $150,000. How much are the municipal councillors going
to be paid? Also, there is a recommendation in one of these papers, there is so much paper put out on this
thing, they are even suggesting that they are going to be paid very highly and then they are going to have
executive assistants. Maybe, the executive assistants will even get their own credit cards and you know what
that leads to.



MADAM SPEAKER: I am sorry, there isn’t a point of order on the floor right now, and I would prefer
that the conversations not be carried back and forth. You do have the floor, honourable member, if you would
continue.



MR. ARCHIBALD: Thank you, I thought the minister had a point of order, or something.



MADAM SPEAKER: No, nobody else stood to their feet to raise a point of order. I think you were
aware of that, and I would like you to restrict your remarks to the amendment.



MR. ARCHIBALD: Well, I agree wholeheartedly, and I will do exactly that, believe me. One of the
reasons why I think that we should have the opportunity to allow people to come to the Public Accounts
Committee, is the very reason that the minister just spoke on and she said executive assistants are not in the
bill. Well, that is why we have to dispel the rumours. We have to have an opportunity for the people to come
in and find out exactly what is in the bill, because in one of the reports I have, it indicates that an analysis of
these full-time councillors is going to be, that they will need executive assistants to handle the problems.
Because they are going to 25 councillors from the 60 or 70 that are now representing the people, they are
going to be busy.



One of the interesting segments that we have to discuss and I know it is of interest to all members of
the House, is the human resource factor. Let’s get it down to the simple terms so we can all understand the
situation. I was talking last year to the Police Association of Nova Scotia people, PANS and they are kind of
interested in this amalgamation bill and let me tell you why. It is because PANS is a representative for some
of the policemen who are going to be in this new amalgamated police force. Also, the Halifax Police
Department have their own policemen’s union. Which union is going to be victorious and which union is
going to be representing the police forces in this new metro thing? Maybe that is not in the bill but maybe if
you were a police officer in the metro region, you would be very concerned.



The RCMP serve Cole Harbour and some other areas throughout the County of Halifax. Are the
Halifax, Dartmouth, Bedford police officers, are they going to be going out to my neighbour’s constituency
in Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley? Or are the RCMP going to continue to do that? That is the kind of
human resource question that could be addressed at the Public Accounts Committee if the minister was here
and the people were coming in and they could talk back and forth. These little items could be straightened
out because they are causing a concern to a lot of people throughout the region.



[1:30 p.m.]



With regard to the bill and when we get into clause by clause, we are going to be very interested in a
lot of the information there now. If we could only have an all-Party Committee, like the Public Accounts
Committee, as the amendment says, have a look at it, we will get through to the bottom if the mayor and the
chief administrative officer, have the same powers, according to this bill.



Now let’s find out who is in charge and who is not in charge and what their responsibilities are. I know
that people are finding it shocking that I would even bring that up because they said, how could anybody
misunderstand that? Well, this is the point, there is a misunderstanding from within this bill because
everybody knows that the mayor and the chief administrative officer cannot have the same power. You see,
this is what has to come up.



Now one of the things that is of interest to the people, too, is . . .



AN HON. MEMBER: The appointment of the CAO.



MR. ARCHIBALD: Well, the appointment of the CAO is different for this one than Cape Breton. It
could be explained; when the Cape Breton CAO was appointed there was an ad in the paper and it said,
preference given to residents and natives of Cape Breton. But it doesn’t have that in this bill. We can have a
cross-Canada search. Perhaps it will be a resident of Cape Breton who will come here, I don’t know, but
certainly it is a different standard for metro than it was for the earlier bill.



Now one of the other things of concern is the suggestion that there is not going to be five cents of
money saved through this amalgamation. Now we should really try to get to the bottom of this, Madam
Speaker. We have reports, I think three or four of them, and some indicate we are going to save money here,
others indicate we are going to save money over there. But when you boil the whole thing down, how much
money are we going to save?



MADAM SPEAKER: I would like to call for order, please, it is getting more difficult to hear the
speaker. Thank you.



MR. ARCHIBALD: Thank you, Madam Speaker, we are working well together here, I can see that,
trying to maintain order.



Now one of the other things of great interest to people in this region is roads. It doesn’t matter where
you live in Nova Scotia, roads are of primary importance, whether it is in the winter and they are full of snow,
in the spring and they are full of mud, or in the summer when they have dust on them, there is a real interest
in roads. In the county region there are some peculiar situations that are going to develop with regard to roads.
This is what the people living in the county are saying.



As new roads are developed in a subdivision, they will become the responsibility not of the Province
of Nova Scotia, under the cost-sharing agreement, they will become the responsibility of the municipality. So
what it looks to me, and I have heard this from the people in Kings County as well and they are working on
a road arrangement at the same time, the Department of Transportation said look, for $3,500 a kilometre we
are going to look after your roads for you that are rural in nature. They were calling them Jolly roads for a
while. So we will look after J-Class roads for $3,500 a kilometre, but we are not taking on any more. Once
we get this list finalized, we are going to draw a circle around them and that is it.



Well the crazy thing is, if you have a subdivision - and you know how subdivisions grow, they just keep
growing - if you are going along the road and that road is in the circle of roads that the Department of
Transportation has agreed to maintain, they have said this is it, we are not adding to that? Okay, but the guy
gets permission and he builds another quarter of a mile on his subdivision and he sells houses all the way up
and down the road. All right, the province, through the Department of Transportation and Communications,
has said we aren’t taking responsibility for any new roads, so that means the municipality, the new metro, is
going to have to look after that road. They may happen to have a snowplow in downtown Bedford or
downtown Dartmouth and the new subdivision may be out in Musquodoboit, so are they going to run the
snowplow all the way from there to Musquodoboit?



MADAM SPEAKER: I actually hesitate to interrupt you in the full course of this monologue, but I
think you have strayed somewhat into the area of service exchange, which already took place in the last
session of the House, versus service levelling, so I just want to bring you back to the discussion on the
amendment please.



MR. ARCHIBALD: Thank you, very much. I appreciate that because it does have something to do with
taxes. I will jump along, but I wanted to make that point because there are people that deserve to be heard and
there are people that would like to come in here and explain to the MLAs on that committee and get it going
back and forth with the Minister of Municipal Affairs so they could better understand. The $3,500, is that
fixed forever? I am just wondering whether $3,500 is for this year; this year and next year, too? What is it
going to be in a year’s time?



Solid waste management. It says in the bill - and the people from the county are kind of interested
because they want to find out what is happening as far as solid waste management goes - the bill certainly,
by my accounting, gives them the responsibility for solid waste management in the region. Does that mean
it is going to be in the county or does that mean the county has the responsibility and they can put it in
downtown Bedford, downtown Halifax, or maybe in the industrial park at Burnside? Do you know what I
mean? It could be pretty near anywhere according to this bill. We have to have an opportunity for people to
come in to the Legislature and discuss this bill in a meaningful way, so they can get meaningful answers from
the minister.



Maybe somebody has been asleep for the last ten years around here, but I don’t think there has been
anything that caused so much excitement in the metro region as the landfill. I drive back and forth between
here and the Valley two or three or four times a week and I smell it every time I go by. I am reminded
constantly and I constantly have sympathy for the people that live in that region.



MADAM SPEAKER: Would the honourable member permit an introduction of a guest please?



The honourable Minister of Health.



HON. RONALD STEWART: Madam Speaker, with the indulgence of the honourable member
opposite, whom I thank, I would like to take this opportunity to introduce to the House some distinguished
guests who have arrived in this place. Dr. Robert Stone, Chief of Surgery at Dalhousie University is
accompanied today by his guests: Dr. Kristine Johnson and Dr. Gregory Hersch, both of whom have
distinguished careers in Boston at Harvard and Massachusetts General. (Applause) If I might add, we are
hoping they might continue their distinguished careers in another place.



MADAM SPEAKER: I thank the honourable member for the introduction and the honourable member
for the indulgence.



MR. ARCHIBALD: Madam Speaker, I, too, would like to welcome our visitors to our Speaker’s
Gallery. It is always a pleasure to have friends and visitors who are particularly friends of the Minister of
Health come and visit with us. It is always a comfort, too, to know they are physicians in case we ever need
some medical treatment while we are on the floor. It is nice to have you with us.



Well, we are into the solid waste management business. Really and truly, and as the member for Hants
West knows full well, when he is driving back and forth to Windsor, he knows the serious problem that we
have in this region with landfill. It is now a real problem in that this landfill absolutely must be a priority of
this government and the new amalgamation, that they close that thing. It is not fit to drive by, it is not fit to
live there.



We have to make it a real priority because the residents who live in the county area are going to do the
deciding on what is going to happen to it. But who is going to do the deciding of how we are going to pay for
it? That is what a lot of people are asking. If we were allowed to come into the committee, they would be able
to have those questions addressed. We are talking about maybe $10 million, maybe $100 million for a new
treatment system. So this is a question that deserves to be answered but we are not getting the answers and
people want to know.



Now the full-time councillors are an issue for a lot of people. Are they full time, part time, and what
are their salaries going to be? Now one of the things that is going to happen is elections. What are the polling
districts going to be? We are apparently drawing up a map, trying to do enumeration right now, as we speak.
Enumeration is being done but the polling districts are not done yet. Before enumeration is done, we have to
have the polling districts defined.



You know this is something very serious. Again, police service, what is going to be the standard for
this new municipal government? Is it going to be the same in downtown Halifax as it is in downtown
Musquodoboit? These are questions that people have every single right in the world to ask.



Water; now look, (Interruptions)



MADAM SPEAKER: Order, please.



MR. ARCHIBALD: I think if the honourable minister had his way, there would probably be a toll on
the way into the dump and a toll on the water. That is his solution to everything, toll booth Richie, the
highway robber. (Interruptions)



Well, no, he doesn’t like to be - he likes something you can drive by and throw a few loonies in. That
is his style. When you get into this amalgamation and we look at all the points being raised by elected
councillors for this region, there are concerns even about schools and the school boundaries. One of the things
that is of interest to people is, if I happen to live on the Eastern Shore or perhaps I live in beautiful downtown
Bedford or Sackville but I have a job in Halifax, why don’t I bring the kids with me to school and I will drop
them off at a school on the peninsula. I will go to work and after work I will take them home. Are we going
to be allowed to do that? At the present time there are a lot of parents who would find that very attractive, to
take their children with them and drop them off at school. Now, by the new boundaries and this new
amalgamation, is that going to be possible? Are we going to be de-populating the schools outside peninsular
metro Halifax and Dartmouth cities and having all the kids coming into town to school? Is this what is going
to happen? (Interruptions)



Well, the honourable Minister of Education, the Minister of Agriculture and the minister of all things,
has indicated that if there is space, they can. Well, that is a fair system and that is the extent of the fairness
of this man and this government; the first ones there fill up the space and it is okay. But after the space is full,
no more can come. So you had better get to school early every day. That is the solution that this person has.



The very point I am trying to make has been drawn home and exemplified by the suggestions of the
Minister of Education who also acts as minister of everything else, he hasn’t even thought of this real problem
because he simply says, well if there is room it is okay. Well, that is not the situation. What is it? The minister
says it is okay if there is room, so that creates a system where for the first 10 kids it is all right, but the next
25 can’t come there. Are we de-populating rural Nova Scotia, is this his idea of a super-school?



[1:45 p.m.]



MADAM SPEAKER: The honourable member is getting substantially sidetracked and I would like
to bring you back to the debate on the amendment. You are really wandering wide of the mark at this point
in time.



MR. ARCHIBALD: These are questions, and if you had children going to school and wanted to put
them into a Halifax school you would say, right on the money because this is one of the things that
amalgamation is going to do. The Minister of Education’s solution is to say, yes, if there is room. Obviously,
no thought has gone into this bill from his point of view and I can’t believe it because he helps the Minister
of Agriculture and all of the other ministers, he has always got free advice and a ready answer for everything
else.



When you are rolling along into taxes, are apartment dwellers, half of which make up the metro
Halifax region, are they going to be paying a tax? Remember when we had that old poll tax, they did away
with it a long time ago? Is that coming back? Is there going to be a tax for apartment dwellers because there
is going (Interruption). We are hearing from my friend from Kings South. Thank you, I was wondering if you
were here. Apartment dwellers receiving a tax bill and the way that is going to work is because of the increase
in commercial taxation is going to suddenly look at an apartment and say the tax bill is going to go up
anywhere from 18 to 20 per cent on an apartment building and when the owner gets the bill, what is he
supposed to do with it? He will have the opportunity to cost-share that bill with all of the tenants of the
building. Now won’t that be a happy day.






When you get half the population of Halifax getting a tax bill due to this amalgamation, do you think
they would like to have a chat at the Public Accounts Committee and get to the nitty-gritty about this? I think
they would and I think that we deserve to allow them to come in here and meet the all-Party committee so they
can find out how much apartment dwellers are going to be paying in tax through this amalgamation bill
because it is a real worry.



What is the haste? Why can’t we wait for six weeks? Why can’t we wait a couple of months? We have
been waiting 40 years. The Public Accounts Committee . . .



MADAM SPEAKER: Order, please. I just will remind the honourable member we are not talking on
a hoist amendment. We are talking on an amendment to refer. Would you care to carry on if you can contain
your remarks to the amendment?



MR. ARCHIBALD: Madam Speaker, it would be very difficult to refer this bill to the Public Accounts
Committee and not hoist it or delay it slightly. Unless you call the meeting this afternoon and they meet from
now until Monday, it is going to be very difficult. It should be referred to the committee because the people
of Nova Scotia and the people that live in the metro region and the ones most affected by it and they are the
ones feeling most neglected and left out of it.



Earlier today I read the newspaper and what did I see but, a group aims to kill the merger. There is
a very active group, the Bedfordites oppose amalgamation. Now I don’t know how serious they are but they
are going to have a petition to table in this Legislature within two weeks. Obviously, there are people with
some concerns about amalgamation. Why would they not be concerned? They feel that they have not had the
answers or the opportunity to speak to their elected officials, the elected MLAs that represent the region to
get to the bottom of this and to have their voices heard. They deserve to have the opportunity to speak to the
Public Accounts Committee. You can call any group as witnesses to the Public Accounts Committee. You can
call representatives (Interruption) What would be wrong, Mr. Minister of Education, through you, Madam
Speaker, with speaking to people that want to be heard? Is there something wrong? Have you forgotten now
that you are in government that it is the people that have put you there? Typical arrogance, arrogance.
(Interruptions)



MADAM SPEAKER: Order, please. This is not Question Period.



MR. ARCHIBALD: Madam Speaker, I have to remind that honourable member about one of the
famous people who was a politician that a lot of people admired, Tip O’Neill, who said, that all politics is
local. Has the minister got so far away from the people that elected him that he doesn’t want to listen to them
any more? He views their opinion as a nuisance. (Interruption) I have all the answers. We don’t want to listen
to the people from Bedford. We don’t want to listen to the Bedfordites. Let’s be serious. People in Nova Scotia
deserve the opportunity to be heard.



The consultation factor has been zilch as far as Nova - don’t go home mad - has been zilch, the people
feel that they have been neglected. I agree with them. The polls, look at the polls. Somewhere I have a poll
that is bizarre, let me read this bizarre poll. In October 1994, that was just a little while ago, 37 per cent of
the people that were polled favoured amalgamation. I didn’t do the poll, I am just reporting it.



MADAM SPEAKER: The honourable member really should know that a poll that is a year old really
has no relevance to the debate on the amendment.



Now, I ask you for one more time, please restrict yourself to your debate on the amendment.



MR. ARCHIBALD: All right, thank you. Look, I am so pleased you are in the Chair, because you
certainly keep me from going astray and I appreciate it very much.



Now, when you heard of that unmentionable thing that said 70 per cent opposed, I don’t know, you are
not allowed to refer to it, but when you get a lot of people, 70 people out of 100, saying we don’t like what the
government is doing, why wouldn’t the government settle down and say, let’s listen to the people, let’s find
out why our message isn’t getting out? Let’s find out why. (Interruption) Well, the people spoke quite clearly
to Don Cameron, there is no question about that. (Interruptions) Look, the former government had a proposal
for amalgamation. The people said, we don’t want it. They said, we want the proposal for amalgamation that
this Premier put forward and the proposal this Premier put forward was one of consultation, one of
conciliation, one of explanation. But what do we have?



We have a ramrod like this going right straight through the middle of every single Nova Scotian, every
single person that lives in metro is being forced against their wish into amalgamation.



Now, the polls show that people are satisfied with current services. So amalgamation, how is it going
to make it better? I mean, that is a simple question. Why couldn’t the Public Accounts Committee tell me that?



Citizens will have less representation than they do now. People like to call their councillor. I am sure
there are councillors that were here today that used to represent these regions throughout - how many are
there, 8 or 9 or 10 of them that used to be councillors - they know how often people call them with concerns.
Well, now the councillors are going to have about three times as many people calling. It is going to make
them busier. (Interruption) Well, fair ball, fair ball. Okay, how much are they going to be paid for all this full-time work? Are they going to be paid as much as an MLA, more than an MLA? (Interruptions) They are
going to get paid by the phone call. This is great.



The very point, all of these things are undecided. We are putting through a bill through this legislation,
and I can tell you clearly what it means is details to follow. That is not fair. I think that the Public Accounts
Committee has a responsibility, this Legislature has a responsibility and, indeed, this government who said
they would not bring in amalgamation without consultation has a responsibility and a duty to meet with people
and this could be fulfilled by the Public Account Committee to conduct hearings to determine the fiscal impact
of amalgamation on the residential and commercial tax rates.



That is something of great interest because the studies that have been released are not clear on what
the tax rate is going to be. Some say more taxes, some say less. I am on the side of the guys that are saying
it is going to be more just because of some of the things that we have seen happen. We have seen strange
things happen in this bill and it isn’t fair to the people not to have the bottom line. We are buying a pig in a
poke, so to speak; we have no idea what amalgamation, according to this government, really means.



The Public Accounts Committee if they work diligently could ferret it out what amalgamation means
as to the cost and to the tax implications. The honourable member for Kings South, a very good member of
this House, look, can I tell you what was on the radio March 21st?



MADAM SPEAKER: No, honourable member, I am not really interested in the radio report of March,
whatever date. I would like you to restrict yourself to the amendment.



MR. ARCHIBALD: I am sticking exactly to the amendment in that the honourable member said
amalgamation will never happen in Kings County until he said it’s okay, because the Mayor of Wolfville has
been assured by the Kings South MLA the government has no intention of forcing Kings County
amalgamation. Well, you know that is important because we have a senior Cabinet Minister . . .



HON. ROBERT HARRISON: On a point of order, Madam Speaker. I wonder if the honourable
member in terms of the “decorum”, if the honourable member in terms of the quote that he has just uttered
here or stated on my behalf, could he please table the document for the House. I guess he read it, could he
table the document from which he is reading.



MADAM SPEAKER: Well, I think you have made an interesting point, but it isn’t a point of order.
Obviously, when a member quotes, from recall, the radio broadcast of which we do not have tapes that are
certified from the radio broadcast to table, it does become a tad difficult. I will recognize the member once
more, with a caution to restrict himself to the debate on the amendment.



HON. GERALD O’MALLEY: On the point of order. I think the honourable member in his point of
order stressed that all he wanted tabled was the document from which the member read. He wasn’t asking for
tapes of radio conversations or radio broadcasts but the document from which he quoted. In the rules of order,
he is entitled to have that document tabled.



MADAM SPEAKER: The point of order by the Minister of Supply and Services is a point of order.
If there is a document being cited, yes, of course, any member is entitled to have it tabled.



MR. ARCHIBALD: I will furnish it. Well, I listened to my radio that morning and I said, good
gracious, I don’t believe that the minister would be able to do that; how could one man have the power? I
immediately said that I have to have a copy of that, so I do have a copy of it and I will furnish it to the member
but, if he disputes that he did not disclaim the authenticity of the suggestion, he was merely . . .



HON. ROBERT HARRISON: I am not sure it is a point of order or a point of privilege. I am simply,
on a point of order, which I believe you upheld, am asking for a document that was cited in reference to a
comment that I may or may not have made. Now I am being told by simply asking for the document that I
haven’t disclaimed making the statement. In fact, I totally disclaim making the statement and would ask the
gentleman opposite, on a point of privilege, to withdraw his remarks. Exactly.



MADAM SPEAKER: I am not sure if the honourable member is making a point of order or a point
of privilege. I believe he is making a point of order. Is there further intervention on the point?



MR. RONALD RUSSELL: Madam Speaker, I think that the honourable member for Kings North is
making the point that the minister did indeed make a statement with regard to amalgamation of this specific
area, because he has a perfect right to do so. But so did the Premier the other day; in fact, he had his
photograph in the paper making a statement in Pictou that no amalgamation will ever take place in Pictou
unless the people in Pictou, by plebiscite or by popular demand, request that there be amalgamation. I think
that is very fair and I applaud the minister for saying that. All that we are asking for is the Minister of
Municipal Affairs to be equally democratic and say, I am not going to impose this upon the four metro units
unless the four metro units and the residents and the taxpayers, both commercial and residential, say, yes, this
is a great idea, we applaud the minister, we are perfectly happy with it. Until she does that, well, then, we are
going to start arguing in this House about the relative merits of this particular legislation.



[2:00 p.m.]



HON. RICHARD MANN: On a point of order, Madam Speaker, this House has operated under rules
and forms of procedure for many years. None of us have ever pretended to quote from a radio when we could
not, in fact, support the fact whether or not that quote had been made. That is obviously what the member for
Kings North is trying to do. We cannot operate as a Legislature on that basis. I would suggest, that to suggest
that you are quoting from a radio report is completely out of order.



HON. ROBERT HARRISON: A further intervention, Madam Speaker, to show you what happens
when, in fact, the rules are potentially breached, in terms of a point of order. We have another intervention,
on the same point of order, praising me for a quote alleged to have been made on a radio broadcast, which
I totally disclaim, but nevertheless being picked up by another member, who, because there is nothing to table,
makes an argument in support of a quote that was never made in the first place. So, here we have a wonderful
example of why there are rules in the House, why they have to be upheld, and why that honourable gentleman
who made the remarks in the very first place, should withdraw those remarks, such that we can carry on with
the decorum of the House.



MADAM SPEAKER: Thank you. There are no further interventions. I would like to suggest at this
time that I am going to take this frequency and number of points of order under advisement. I have already
stated very clearly, for the record, that I do not feel that it is appropriate to quote from radio broadcasts unless
you have the tape to actually document that such a statement occurred. So, for the time being, I am taking it
under advisement. I will, once more, caution the honourable member to restrict his comments to the
amendment on the floor.



MR. ARCHIBALD: Now, I want you to know that I appreciate your intervention very much. I have
tabled the script from the AVR newscast of Tuesday, March 21, 1995.



AN HON. MEMBER: Oh, you mean it does exist.



MR. ARCHIBALD: Oh, I think it does. And if there is any dispute between that member and what he
said and what he did not say - would you like me to read it - he can take it up with the Mayor of . . .



AN HON. MEMBER: Table it.



MR. ARCHIBALD: I tabled it already. You can all read it.



MADAM SPEAKER: Has the document been tabled?



MR. ARCHIBALD: Yes, he has got it.



MADAM SPEAKER: Let’s move on in the debate.



HON. GERALD O’MALLEY: On the point of order, Madam Speaker. The honourable member has
referred to a script of a radio broadcast that the honourable minister has made the following statement. I
would ask whether or not the honourable member opposite can certify that that which was alleged by the
broadcaster was, in fact, what the honourable member has said. How can the honourable member opposite
tie the two together? They are not necessarily tied together. Did you hear the honourable member make that
statement yourself and can you verify it? If you cannot verify it, then it is an erroneous document to be tabled.



MADAM SPEAKER: I thank the honourable minister for another point. I do not consider it a point
of order at this time. I have already made my ruling that I will take this under advisement. I thank all
honourable members for their input.



MR. ARCHIBALD: Look, I am really astounded. That is about the third time I have read that same
quote from the Mayor of Wolfville and the first time I got that kind of reaction. So, I guess it takes a long time
for things to sink in around here.



But look, I want to make it perfectly clear to the honourable Minister of Supply and Services that when
the Mayor of Wolfville, the MLA for Kings South’s campaign manager, speaks on behalf of the member for
Kings South, I tend to believe what she says. It is as simple as that.



AN HON. MEMBER: You know what you heard on the radio.



MR. ARCHIBALD: I know what I heard on the radio. I immediately called and said, I want to write
that down verbatim.  I tabled it. So, you can all read what the mayor said the MLA said.



MADAM SPEAKER: I will interject at this point in time. I do not wish this line of thinking pursued.
I have told the honourable members, I have taken it under advisement. There is no need to revisit it. It is only
an attempt to engage more up and down stances and interjections and interventions.



HON. ROBERT HARRISON: Madam Speaker, on a point of order. It is a new point of order, in
response to the tabled document, because the tabled document bears no relation, as we will see in Hansard as
soon as it is printed, to the comments alleged to have been made by me and quoted by the honourable member.



I realize that you are admonishing the honourable member to stop this line of thinking. Madam
Speaker, I do believe you have control over speech and it is unfortunate that you don’t have control over line
of thinking because that would be very helpful in this situation.



I would ask the honourable member to retract his comments before we have to do it formally in
Hansard, in such a way that he at least makes sure that what is in this document and what he alleged I said
bears some fidelity because at the moment they don’t, Madam Speaker.



MADAM SPEAKER: Thank you. Are there any further interventions?



MR. ARCHIBALD: Thank you. Look, I don’t know how the honourable member could say that I said
anything different than exactly what he said. The government has no intention of forcing Kings County
amalgamation; the minister has assured her there are no plans. I don’t want to get into this any more. I mean,
that is as far as I want to say it . . .



MADAM SPEAKER: I am glad to hear that. I will ask you to take your seat.



MR. ARCHIBALD: But I want you to know that the minister . . .



MADAM SPEAKER: Would the honourable member take his seat, please. I am not going to have any
more interventions on the continuing debate. I have already told the honourable members that I will take this
under advisement. Any further documentation of this line of thinking from your speech making, you will be
told to take your seat. If you can’t restrain yourself to the amendment, honourable member, I will have to tell
you to take your seat. Now, do you wish to continue the debate in an effective manner?



MR. ARCHIBALD: Thank you, and I will not mention it. (Interruption) There are a couple of things
we are not going to talk about in here this afternoon. That is one of them and polls is the other.



Madam Speaker, in summing up my (Interruptions) Is there anything you can do with this crowd?
Could you pass a few of these around, please.



I want to sum up very briefly because I know my time is almost completed for this debate today. You
know, this entire situation we have with amalgamation has been fraught from beginning to end with problems.
You all remember the hasty press conference and the bump of the car into the light standard and all of the
things that the mayors said after they were called in to meet with the Premier in his office. There was nothing
that gripped the media more. So from the beginning of this adventure in amalgamation, it has been on the
minds of the people of the province and the people deserve to have the answers. They are not getting the
answers the way we are travelling now.



You know, if you look at the mistakes that have been made, the way to fix them and the way to make
people understand is by referral to the Public Accounts Committee. If you think back, on October 27th, in that
fateful meeting that was held downstairs, I mean, that got things off to a bad start. Then the minister would
meet with the mayors to discuss how it was going to go. There has been time and time again when there has
been the opportunity, but now we are at a critical point and we need the Public Accounts Committee to solve
the problem, by making available to Nova Scotians in the metro region, to give them the answers, that is not
too much to ask.



We all remember the appointment of the commissioner to do the amalgamation and all the kerfuffle
that arose over that $225,000 fiasco. Let’s not live through that again, let’s go forward. Let’s give the
opportunity to the Public Accounts Committee, to tell the people in metro exactly what their residential or
commercial taxes are going to be. I think the Public Accounts Committee, working diligently, could find that
out, but right now, nobody knows. We have three or four studies and reports done and we have three or four
different numbers. This is not good enough. We are talking about the biggest commitment that people in this
area are going to be making.






The changes in this bill, between this one and the one that affected Cape Breton, the Public Accounts
Committee could explain and ferret out through the maze, why there is such great discrepancy between the
mainland and Cape Breton. They are both trying to do the same thing and that is amalgamation, but why two
different methods, why two different ways, why two different standards? The Public Accounts Committee
could answer the questions because I know members sitting in this Chamber are unable to furnish those
answers. Metro is different than Cape Breton, there is no question about that. Cape Breton was on emergency
funding, metro isn’t and that was why we had to rush through Cape Breton. But with metro, there is not a rush
because it is not on emergency funding. The bill is different and let’s tell the folks why.



The minister said the need for the bill is to provide a common vision and strategy for economic
promotion. Well, those are good words but what do they mean? What do they mean to the residential and
commercial tax rate? What does it mean and what are you going to tell the 175 people, who are going to lose
their jobs? Is it necessary we fire 175 people? The Public Accounts Committee, through the residential
taxation, can find out what the tax rate would need to be to keep the 175 in place. I don’t want to advocate
laying off and firing people. You have got to put yourself in the place of the people. Are we going to fire 175
Nova Scotians?



MR. ROBERT CARRUTHERS: A question, Madam Speaker. In his speech, my friend enunciated a
principle that he would hate to see a loss of staff in this amalgamation. Does the member advocate that after
amalgamation, there actually should be an increase in costs, that the tax rates should be increased, so that
labour costs could be continued after the principle of amalgamation has been accepted by his Party, that he
is advocating an increase in costs, higher tax rates, as a result of amalgamation? Is that what the member is
asking?



MR. ARCHIBALD: The joy and the smiles you get from these folks when you hear about laying off
and firing. What is wrong with these members? Their biggest interest, the only time you get a question, is
when you say you are worried about people’s jobs. I have got a concern for people who are working and are
gainfully employed by the municipal units.



MR. ROBERT CARRUTHERS: Madam Speaker, on a point of order. When the member is interested
and accepts the question, I took it to mean that then he would therefore furnish an answer. On a point of
order, when he accepts the question does he mean that he will furnish an answer?



MADAM SPEAKER: That is not a point of order.



MR. ARCHIBALD: You know what the rule is in this place, you don’t have to like the question and
you don’t have to like the answer. I guess that is the rule you go by here. I will tell you, are these 175 people
going to get the same care and concern that the deputy ministers, who were fired by this government,
received? Is that what they are going to get or are they going to get the same care and concern that people who
worked at the Berwick Hospital received from this government. That is what I am concerned about and that
is what you, as a member of the government caucus, should be concerned about too.



What about the people and how are the people going to be treated? That’s the bottom line. It is not
difficult for me to associate myself and think for a moment as a man or a woman, as the breadwinner in the
family, and expecting to be getting their paycheque on Friday afternoon or Thursday, or whatever day they
pay you in the metro region, all of a sudden you have two more weeks or two more months and then what?



[2:15 p.m.]



We have to find out how we are going to care for the people that are going to be unemployed after
amalgamation. How many of the people can be pensioned off? How many people are of pensionable age? How
many people are going to need retraining? Let’s not jump into amalgamation and the minute amalgamation
arrives, 175 people are out of a job. Is this fair? (Interruption) No, I am not saying hurry up and slow down.
What I am saying is, this bill is totally and completely incomplete. There has not been the study for the bill,
there is not the care, the concern for the people. This bill was poorly written. This bill has more questions than
answers. Oh, shake your head all you like. Most of your caucus have never even turned the pages to read the
darn thing, because, if they did, they would be asking the same questions that I am asking. What about the
175 people who are going to be laid off? What about them? Is there any concern for those people?



AN HON. MEMBER: Let’s put it up, 300, 400.



MR. ARCHIBALD: No, I don’t want to say 300 people or 400 people. I am telling you the studies that
have been done said 175 employees will lose their jobs. Where is the provision in the bill that will provide
early retirement, severance benefits? It is not there. (Interruption) That’s right. Where is the beef? I am telling
you, you can snicker, you can laugh, but I have more regard for the people of Nova Scotia. Where are the
successor rights in this bill? We have a lot of people in this Legislature that are . . .



HON. SANDRA JOLLY: Madam Speaker, on a point of order. If the honourable member would take
the time to read the bill, Page 7, Clause 9, . . .



AN HON. MEMBER: Open it, George. You have to open it.



MS. JOLLY: Clause 9 (1), “The Regional Municipality is a transferee for the purpose of Section 31
of the Trade Union Act and, for greater certainty, (a) the Regional Municipality is bound by successor rights
as determined pursuant to the Trade Union Act;”. It is all there, Madam Speaker, if he would just take the
time to read it.



MADAM SPEAKER: Thank you, Minister of Municipal Affairs.



I would like to call us to order and if the member for Kings North would just briefly wait, that is not
a point of order. It is a point of information and I will remind all members we are not discussing clause by
clause here, we are discussing an amendment, and I will recognize the honourable member for Kings North.
He has but a few moments left.



MR. ARCHIBALD: Thank you very much. I want to thank the minister for getting on her feet. That
does not explain the 175 people who are going to lose their jobs. Those people need a lot more than what she
suggests in that bill covers them because that bill does not cover the employees who are going to be losing
their jobs. The 175 breadwinners are not covered by the clause she just tried to indicate to us that they were.
Now read the bill again and study the bill and you will find what I am saying is correct. Is my time up?



MADAM SPEAKER: Just about.



MR. ARCHIBALD: Well, thank you very much, Madam Speaker. I want you to know that this bill is
a serious bill. We view it seriously and we will have opportunity to discuss it as legislators. But we should
have the ability to tell the people of metro exactly what amalgamation means to them with regard to their
taxes. There are more problems with this bill than they can talk about that are solved.



When we go over this bill clause by clause, Madam Speaker, we will be able to identify more clearly
for you and for this government the problem. I want to thank you, I see my time must be close to expiring.



MADAM SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Atlantic.



MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: I am pleased to rise and speak in support of the amendment introduced
by the member for Hants West: “the subject matter of Bill No. 3, An Act to Incorporate the Halifax Regional
Municipality, be referred to the Public Accounts Committee to conduct hearings to determine the fiscal impact
of amalgamation on the residential and commercial tax rates within the affected area.”.



I think that is a very important and worthwhile suggestion. As a member of that committee I think that
would be a proper thing and an important thing for the Public Accounts Committee to concern itself with.
Certainly, it is an opportune time as you know, as co-chair of that committee, that we have yet to set our
meeting agenda for the next year so this is a good time for us before we have done that to actually sit down
and put this issue at the forefront and we could deal with that; I think you would agree and other members
of the committee would agree that this matter could be dealt with at the earliest opportunity. I think the
concerns that have been raised so far in debate on this particular amendment are important to consider
because we have had the government in discussing this bill and introducing the idea of amalgamation of the
metropolitan municipalities, we have had them say, very clearly, that this is going to save taxpayers money
in metropolitan Halifax- Dartmouth, that it is going to make things more effective, more efficient, it is going
to bring about economic prosperity and the tax rates will go down.



There is reason to believe that that is, in fact, not the case or parts of those claims are not the case, one
of them being whether, in fact, tax rates are going to go down. We just had, as you will recall service
exchange take place; it became effective, I believe it was April 1st of this year, which has meant a net savings,
I believe, in the area of $4 million to $5 million for metro Halifax-Dartmouth, which takes into account the
savings that Halifax and Dartmouth realize in the service exchange. It also took into account the hit that the
county was taking as a result of service exchange.



This doesn’t take into consideration the whole question of social service exchange and how that is all
going to balance out. But, nonetheless, the effect appears to be that the taxpayers in Halifax County as a result
of service exchange would be realizing either an increase in their tax rate or a reduction of services as a result
of service exchange. Now, under this forced amalgamation what is going to happen is that that loss will be
spread out over everyone, over Halifax City and Dartmouth City residents and the benefits enjoyed perhaps
by those urban dwellers will be also spread out over the county so, in some sense that is fair. With the forced
amalgamation, Madam Speaker, if we are to understand that as a result of this harmonization of the cost and
benefits of amalgamation and service exchange that tax rates across the whole of this newly-merged
metropolitan administration are going to be the same then surely to Heaven people in the rural part of Halifax
County, who are going to be paying the same equivalent rates to those in the city can expect that they will also
receive equivalent levels of services. I think that is the point brought out in the UMA study, where they look
at the effect of amalgamation, taking into consideration that services will be harmonized. I don’t think the
government can effectively and responsibly get up and say that there is not going to be harmonization. We
already know there is harmonization, in terms of policing services, already taking place.



MADAM SPEAKER: Order, please. I would like to get a greater level of quiet in the Chamber, so that
the debate can be heard. I know the honourable Minister of Municipal Affairs is very interested in hearing
all these inputs. It is quite difficult to hear at this time.



MR. CHISHOLM: Thank you, Madam Speaker. So, I think the point is that it is expected by the
residents of this new merged municipality that there will be a harmonization of services. That is already
beginning to take place, in terms of, for example, the regionalization of police services and so on.



There will be increased costs, not only there but in other areas, as a result of changes and how, in fact,
the merged municipality is going to carry out its activities, in order to make sure that people in the urban and
rural areas feel they are being adequately and equally served.



The effect of that, according to the study of UMA, is very significant tax increases for residents in some
areas of the new municipality. It was discussed before but in the city where I live and where half of my
constituency is, there are going to be increases in their tax rates of upwards of 17 per cent, Madam Speaker.
(Interruption)



Well, the Minister of Education says that is if they clean up the harbour. The current municipalities,
the majority of them have their contribution, in terms of the 1988 agreement, for that. If it had not been for
the total abdication of responsibility by the province, going back on its commitment, or the commitment made
by the previous administration on this issue and by the abdication of responsibility by the federal government,
then that money would be there and we could come to an agreement on a scaled-down project and that is
something that could happen.



As a result of the fact that the province is, I would suggest, fully intending to download responsibility
for paying for the clean-up of Halifax Harbour to the municipalities, that is, in fact, going to cost more money.
But, at the same time, that is something that has to happen. That is a responsibility that has to take place. The
residents of Halifax-Dartmouth-Bedford-Sackville-Halifax County, everybody expects that that will be carried
forward because the municipal levels of government committed themselves to do that. Therefore, that is going
to happen.



In the rural parts of the county you are looking at increases of over 13 per cent, Madam Speaker. I don’t
understand why members in this House, who represent parts of Halifax County, can be so cavalier about even
the suggestion by fairly competent researchers and by, I would say, fairly competent studies, that would
suggest these kinds of tax increases, that they can be so cavalier about it. That is going to have a very
significant impact on the people in those areas. (Interruptions)



What about the commercial side of things, Madam Speaker? In urban parts of the county you are
looking at 23 per cent increases; in the rural part of the county you are looking at almost the same, 23 per cent
increases. In Dartmouth you are looking at almost a 13 per cent increase. In Halifax you are looking at nearly
a 10 per cent increase. In Bedford you are looking at a 23 per cent increase. No wonder business people in
Bedford are upset about the possible impact of this amalgamation on their tax rates. (Interruption)



[2:30 p.m.]



The Minister of Education, that member who is always trying to be extremely helpful- and we often
appreciate it, sometimes we don’t - he is trying to put asterisks beside everything. In other words, that is not
necessarily the case. (Interruptions) Well, the Minister of Education and the Minister of Municipal Affairs
and everybody else in the front benches, as well as the members of caucus who represent Halifax County
constituencies, should be able to prepare and present to the people of this merged municipality a guarantee
of what, in fact, is going to happen and what isn’t going to happen.



They have absolutely no credibility to this point, on most items, as a result of the experience that Nova
Scotians and that people in Halifax, Dartmouth, Bedford, Sackville and Halifax County have with respect to
decisions they have made. So, they are starting off, Madam Speaker, with no credibility in terms of whether
there are going to be tax increases or not. That is a given.



So, what is being suggested by this amendment provides, I think, a very acceptable and suitable
opportunity for an all-Party committee of this Legislature to sit down and examine the UMA Report and the
underlying assumptions, which the Minister of Education seems to have so much trouble with. We can sit
down and examine the assumptions by the Hayward study, which are based on data two years old. The
Minister of Municipal Affairs acknowledges that.



He is talking about savings here, there and everywhere, but it is based on data that is two years old,
and you and I and everybody else in this House knows that over the past two years there has been a constant
downloading from both the federal and provincial levels on our municipalities.



So, how can you say that things remain constant over the past two years with any level of surety. I don’t
think that is the case. (Interruptions) Well, credibility is a question that isn’t part of their vocabulary.



HON. SANDRA JOLLY: Madam Speaker, on a point of order. I want to make it clear that Mr.
Hayward’s report, that is two years old, as the honourable member suggests, there were savings of
approximately $10 million or $11 million through service exchange and another $9 million through
amalgamation.



We just had a report that came out two weeks ago by a totally different group of people and they have
said exactly the same thing. The report of two weeks ago agrees totally with Mr. Hayward’s report of two years
ago. That is how well the report was done initially and that is how much consideration was taken in the case.
The UMA/Doane Raymond Report very clearly identifies a $10 million savings from amalgamation, the same
as Mr. Hayward did, and $11 million from the service exchange which is exactly what the service exchange
has done. (Interruptions)



Madam Speaker, when the member talks about tax rates, the UMA Report says there are waste water
management, transportation, water supply issues that need to be addressed with or without municipal change.
These things have to be addressed regardless. They are not currently in the tax bill; they have to be addressed
in the future, regardless whether there is or isn’t amalgamation. All those things have been documented in
the Doane Raymond Report. I wish the members would remember that.



MADAM SPEAKER: I would just like to rule on the minister’s point of order. It is a point of interest,
but it is not a point of order.



MR. CHISHOLM: Madam Speaker, any intervention by members of government, especially the
minister responsible, is of interest. Let me say that at the outset. (Interruption) No, the Minister of Education
is suggesting I will ignore it. I won’t ignore it at all, as I have difficulty ignoring the constant level of
intervention that he makes. I take it as helpful and often information that I can then use to help explain part
of my point and to help better organize my argument.



The minister has gotten on her feet several times during this debate and chastised members of the
Opposition for picking bits and pieces out of reports, selective reporting of what was actually in a document.
Madam Speaker, you suggested that was a problem and if someone is citing from a document then it should
be tabled and everybody can see all sides of it. The minister gets up and talks about the UMA/Doane Raymond
Report supporting the Hayward report and the assumptions and so on and so forth. The UMA/Doane
Raymond Report also talks about tax increases in the area of 17 per cent for Halifax. She doesn’t talk about
that as being a reality.



It takes me back to the whole issue around the regionalization of police services which Hayward said,
in his initial report, was going to save $1.5 million or $2.5 million and when the rubber hit the road, when
they finally actually sat down and tried to work it out in terms of what was going to happen, it ended up that
it was a savings of maybe $200,000 which may easily get wiped out in terms of how staffing was rearranged.
You see, that is the point I was making the other day about the fact that it is real easy for the minister or her
staff to sit in isolation in their office, in their ivory tower and come to these conclusions about what is going
to happen on a given issue.



MADAM SPEAKER: Would the honourable members please bring themselves to order. There is no
need at this late hour of the day to require the member who has the floor to be shouting his address. If you
have a multiple number of conversations, take them outside of the Chamber.



MR. CHISHOLM: Madam Speaker, the point here - let’s not forget it - is that it is fine to say in
isolation, oh, we are going to realize a savings of x millions of dollars, but when it actually comes down to
putting it into action, actually doing it, then often the reality is a whole lot different than the projections. That
is the point and that is why the taxpayers in metropolitan Halifax-Dartmouth are so concerned, because this
government has no credibility in making those kinds of projections.



They paint the rosiest picture of what is going to happen but, then, the result has been absolutely
nothing. It is like the promises that were made in the election period to get elected, once that went by, then
they totally turned those things on their head. The taxpayers of metropolitan Halifax-Dartmouth come at this
whole question with that perspective. That having been said, it is important that we consider this amendment
with some seriousness, that this question be put to the Public Accounts Committee to wrestle with these
different assumptions.



We should try to bring some non-partisan examination to the underlying assumptions, to find out
whether or not the people of metropolitan Halifax-Dartmouth can have any confidence in the suggestion that
there is going to be a 17 per cent increase in residential tax rates in Halifax or not. That is the issue and that
is why this motion is forward and before us today and why it should be considered.



The minister got up and talked about the fact that the UMA/Doane Raymond study supported the
Hayward study and talked about the savings and so on. Looking here, for example, at the Executive Summary
- I would be happy to table it for anybody that doesn’t have it - the Executive Summary of that same analysis
says, on Page i, Madam Speaker, that estimated financial savings resulting from amalgamation are not
significant, in relation to the combined expenditures of the four units.



Now the point is, Madam Speaker, who is going to benefit here?



HON. SANDRA JOLLY: On a point of order, Madam Speaker, I made this same point to another
honourable member. He is quite correct that the Doane Raymond Report does say that, but he is also missing
the point that Doane Raymond also says, that even though it may be considered insignificant, the saving is
$10 million. The saving is in the report that it is $10 million that will be saved because of amalgamation and
$10 million due to service exchange. That is a $20 million saving to this area. Based on the current tax rate,
that is almost 6 per cent.



I consider that to be fairly significant and I would think the taxpayers would consider that to be
significant. (Applause)



MADAM SPEAKER: Well, I thank the Minister of Municipal Affairs for her point. It is a repeat point
of clarification, not a point of order. I think I cautioned honourable members earlier that to cite just one
portion of the document is perhaps inappropriate. We have heard this argument earlier, so I will recognize
the member for Halifax Atlantic to continue.



MR. JOHN HOLM: On a point of order, Madam Speaker, I listened to your last intervention and your
comments about reading only one portion of the report. I am assuming, Madam Speaker, that you were also
referring to the minister who, when the minister is talking about supposed savings, that the minister should
be pointing out that those so-called savings are very insignificant, according to the UMA Report, and that she
should also be referring, when she is rising on her point, to the full context of the report.



MADAM SPEAKER: I thank you for your point. It is not a point of order. You said what I had already
said a few moments earlier, so your point of order is just a point of information.



MR. CHISHOLM: Thank you, Madam Speaker, and thank you to my Leader for his helpful
intervention. Anyway, the point of these savings that are discussed is that if you don’t try to provide people
in the urban areas and people in Bedford, Dartmouth, Cole Harbour, Sackville, Sambro and Spryfield, if you
don’t plan to provide these people, these residents, these taxpayers, with the same level of services, I tell you
what, they are going to expect and have a right to expect under this unitary government, that if (Interruptions)



MADAM SPEAKER: Order, please.



MR. CHISHOLM: The member for Timberlea-Prospect just suggested, I would suggest, he implied,
in reference to my constituency, that people in his constituency don’t want the same level of services that are
provided in other parts of metropolitan Halifax-Dartmouth. I tell him that that is not, in fact, the case as far
as my riding is concerned, that is not the case in my constituency. The people are saying to me that if we are
going to be expected to pay the same tax rate as they are in Halifax and Dartmouth, then by Heaven, we
should be entitled to an equivalent level of services.



Do you know what? They are darn right. That is the basis on which this minister and her government,
talk about a savings.



Now, when you get down to the reality of the situation, that is harmonization across this unitary
government in this large municipality, then you start talking about what we are really looking at. What we
are really looking at, is an increase in taxes to the people in those communities. That is a concern to me and
to those residents. That is a concern to the business people in those areas and it will be a concern to business
people who want to move into those areas. Let’s not deal with those kinds of realities, shall we, Madam
Speaker? Let’s paint it all with a rose-coloured brush and make sure that we ram this stuff through without
Nova Scotians having an opportunity to discover the downside at the same time they have the opportunity to
consider the upside.



[2:45 p.m.]



Well, that’s what this amendment provides, Madam Speaker, an opportunity for the Public Accounts
Committee, the committee responsible for considering the expenditures, the strategies for departments of this
government, for agencies, Crown Corporations, commissions, and how they spend their money, how they
organize their activities and how they spend the money and the implications of that on the taxpayers of Nova
Scotia. It seems to me that it would be extremely appropriate for us, and I say us, because I am a member of
that committee, to have the opportunity to review the implications of this particular bill because I tell you
what, every thing that I read about this and everything that I hear from members opposite makes me more and
more concerned that as a speaker earlier said, we are being asked to buy a pig in a poke here. (Interruption)



Once again, Nova Scotians are being presented with something without being given all the facts,
Madam Speaker. When the metro municipalities come together and they do their polls and they do their study
of what the actual impact is going to be, and this government goes to every extreme to try to discredit that
information and to try to obfuscate the information so that the people of metropolitan Halifax-Dartmouth don’t
understand or are meant to be confused about what the actual information is. (Interruption)



They are trying to suggest that these questions or concerns are political partisanship, Madam Speaker,
that these things, that it is hysteria and fear-mongering and so on. But the reality is that reasoned analysis of
this particular project is revealing that there is a real serious potential for significant increases in the tax rates
for people living from one end of this new municipality to the other.



Why should we go into it now? Why would this government want to go into it now with this level of
distrust and uncertainty when it is surely going to take every level of trust and cooperation on the part of all
of the municipalities, all of the communities that exist from one end of this county to the other in order to
make this all work? As some of us have discussed in other debate, and debate on other parts of this issue on
the principle and on earlier amendments, there are a lot of problems with the process, there are a lot of
problems with the bill. As a result there is going to be a lot of conflicting demands, there is going to be a lot
of dissention between communities. That is a problem. That is going to affect the ability of this to actually
work in the first place, Madam Speaker. That is all going to lead to the question of increasing costs.



So I think we should consider that question. Why is this government so adverse to actually presenting
the public of Nova Scotia, in this case, the public of metropolitan Halifax-Dartmouth, with the facts - they are
not all the same because there are differing assumptions, but provide them with - all the information that
exists and have a non-partisan representative committee of this Legislature take a serious look at all the
underlying financial assumptions in order that we can report to the people of Nova Scotia through this
Legislature what it is that we as members of that committee think is going to happen, the probabilities of taxes
increasing at this level because if there is any possibility that tax rates are going to increase to these levels,
to the levels suggested under the UMA study then we better put a halt to this right now because when the
minister sells this whole proposal on the basis of economic prosperity surely she realizes that increasing tax
rates at both the residential and commercial levels to 17 per cent and 20-plus per cent is going to have a
counterbalancing effect.



If there were any factors that were actually going to promote economic prosperity other than, it is like
this government seems to believe that regardless of the issue, if you say it enough, then maybe it will come
true. If you close your eyes and squeeze and chant economic prosperity then maybe when you open your eyes
it will be there. Well, I would suggest to you that that is not happening. Let me say to the Minister of
Education who piped up about Bob Rae, let me say that he should thank his lucky stars that Bob Rae and his
government have been as successful as they have otherwise this government would not have realized that $200
million in transfer payments, that is the reality. That is called economic prosperity.



MADAM SPEAKER: Order, please. Is the member hard of hearing at the moment? I would remind
all of us that any point about Bob Rae’s government is irrelevant to this amendment and I would ask that you
keep your context on the amendment. (Interruption)



Do you wish to conclude your comments? You still have the floor, member for Halifax Atlantic.



MR. CHISHOLM: I appreciate you telling me what is relevant and what isn’t relevant. I wonder if the
Government House Leader or the Minister of Education needs to have also a lesson in what is relevant and
what isn’t relevant. Let me say that the whole issue about the economic prosperity in Ontario has a lot to do
with tax rates in this province, in this municipality and across this province and I say that the Minister of
Finance I would assume that when he got that cheque in the mail he sent a thank you card out and a bouquet
of flowers to Bob Rae and Mike Harcourt, real quick, oh, I forgot Ralph Klein. I did that on purpose, Madam
Speaker, I think the Albertans are trying to forget that Ralph Klein is there too.



That having been said, the extent of the economic prosperity generators in this province has been the
success of those, especially those two NDP governments across this province.



I think I have had about enough to say. (Applause) I didn’t just say that in order to get the applause
although I did appreciate it. Madam Speaker . . .



MADAM SPEAKER: Are there any other speakers? I thought you had concluded, I am sorry.



MR. CHISHOLM: When I sit down, I can still speak when I am standing. I never was a municipal
councillor and I am glad of that, so are the constituents in Halifax Atlantic. Let me say that I think this debate
could be constructively enhanced if we had the experience of those former municipal councillors brought to
the floor. If they gave us the opportunity to explain what it is going to mean in different parts of the county
when tax rates go up. What is it going to mean? Maybe those same people if they are not allowed on the
government benches to actually rise on their feet here, if they go to Public Accounts, maybe there they will
not have the same level of security, they will not have the people hanging on them there in terms of keeping
their mouths shut or their comments to themselves. Maybe that will then give them an opportunity . . .



HON. RICHARD MANN: Madam Speaker, on a point of order. We have a wonderful committee that
all members will be permitted to speak in and we will hear from the members, from former councillors from
Halifax County in the Committee of the Whole House on Bills where there will be no restrictions on their
speaking and the time they can speak, except for 20 hours, and we will hear from them there.



MADAM SPEAKER: Thank you. That is not a point of order, but it is a point of interest.



MR. CHISHOLM: Madam Speaker, I look forward to that opportunity also. Let’s not forget that, right
now, we are having the opportunity to debate the principle of this particular bill and, in fact, this particular
amendment. I know, not having had the vast experience of some members, like the member for Hants East
has had in municipal politics, that my participation here and my eventual decision on this amendment and
on this bill at second reading would be greatly affected by that member’s intervention, as with the other
members here who have had experience at the municipal level.



We hopefully will hear from those people during the Committee of the Whole House on Bills but, if
previous experience is any example, we won’t. I remember - and this does have some relevance because we
are talking about whether or not we should allow this debate to move on or whether we should try to wait now
and get the interventions by those members on whether the tax rates are going to be seriously affected and the
question of whether or not it should be referred to the Public Accounts Committee - we heard from the
Government House Leader just a few months ago that when we come back into this House you will hear from
everybody on the effects of the casino bill. Well, you know what happened is we got here and we didn’t hear
anything; in fact, what we heard was a deafening silence. Anyway that helps us, that instructs us as we
proceed.



Madam Speaker, it appears that the Government House Leader is indicating it is time to adjourn, so
I would move that and look forward to coming back at a later time and debate further on this bill.



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



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



The motion is carried.



The honourable Government House Leader.



HON. RICHARD MANN: Madam Speaker, could you please revert to the order of business, Tabling
Reports, Regulations and Other Papers.



TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS



MADAM SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Labour.



HON. GUY BROWN: Madam Speaker, I beg leave to table the Annual Report for the fiscal year ended
March 31, 1994, Department of Labour, Fire Marshal’s Office.



MADAM SPEAKER: The report is tabled.



The honourable Government House Leader.



HON. RICHARD MANN: Madam Speaker, I would indicate to members that we will be sitting on
Monday from the hours of 4:00 p.m. until 10 p.m. and the order of business will be Public Bills for Second
Reading. I can also advise that it will be the intention for the Subcommittee on Supply to meet in the Red
Chamber and, just advance notice, that Tuesday we will be going to eight hours, from 12:00 noon until 8:00
p.m.



I move that the House do now rise, to meet Monday at the hour of 4:00 p.m.



MADAM SPEAKER: The motion is carried.



We stand adjourned until 4:00 p.m. on Monday.



[The House rose at 2:59 p.m.]






NOTICE OF QUESTION FOR WRITTEN ANSWER

 

Given on April 19, 1995

 

(Pursuant to Rule 30)



QUESTION NO. 3



By: Mr. Terence Donahoe (Leader of the Opposition)

 

To: Hon. John MacEachern (Minister of Education)



(1) I want to know, as does Mr. Tom Ernst of Mahone Bay, Nova Scotia, how the Minister of
Education can justify the creation of four to six amalgamated school boards in the province covering a student
population of approximately 160,000 students while only one francophone school board will be formed to
cover 5,000 students from Acadian areas?