Assemblée Législative de la Nouvelle-Écosse

Les travaux de la Chambre ont repris le
21 septembre 2017

















HALIFAX, FRIDAY, MAY 19, 1995



Fifty-sixth General Assembly



Third Session



8:00 A.M.



SPEAKER



Hon. Paul MacEwan



DEPUTY SPEAKER



Mrs. Francene Cosman





MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. I will call the House to order at this time and commence the daily session. The daily routine.



PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS



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



MR. JOHN HOLM: Mr. Speaker, on the eve of the opening of our soon to be opened casino in Halifax, I have been asked to table actually two batches of petitions. I did not count the numbers. The first larger pile contains certainly hundreds of signatures from people across Nova Scotia. The second one, about 13 pages, contain the signatures of tourists to Nova Scotia and these are all petitions that are signed by people who are saying that they are opposed to the establishment of casinos in Nova Scotia and hereby oppose any changes in legislation that would permit casinos. Of course the legislation has already gone through but their sentiments in opposition to casinos deserve to be registered nonetheless.



MR. SPEAKER: The petitions are tabled.



PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES



TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Agriculture.



HON. WAYNE GAUDET: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to table the annual report of the Department of Agriculture and Marketing for the year ended March 31, 1994.





1973

MR. SPEAKER: The report is tabled.



The books are available and will be distributed now to all members by the Pages.



STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS



GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTIONS



INTRODUCTION OF BILLS



Bill No. 24 - Entitled an Act to Amend Chapter 504 of the Revised Statutes of 1989. The Wildlife Act. (Hon. Donald Downe)



Bill No. 25 - Entitled an Act Respecting Government Records in Nova Scotia. (Hon. Gerald O'Malley)



Bill No. 26 - Entitled an Act to Amend Chapter 293 of the Revised Statutes of 1989. The Motor Vehicle Act. (Hon. Richard Mann)



Bill No. 27 - Entitled an Act to Amend Chapter 11 of the Acts of 1993. The Railways Act. (Hon. Richard Mann)



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



NOTICES OF MOTION



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Opposition.



RESOLUTION NO. 393



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



Whereas the Premier has once again shown a lack of leadership on the province's behalf by claiming that he cannot comment on Bill C-68 because "it's a federal issue"; and



Whereas we have seen this same excuse used previously regarding the EH-101, among others, whereby the Premier has abdicated the concerns of the people of Nova Scotia simply to stay in the good books of the Liberal Prime Minister; and



Whereas this Premier has shown during the days leading up to his review that he is concerned more with Liberals and the Party than he is with the people's business;



Therefore be it resolved that instead of worrying once again about embarrassing the Liberal Prime Minister perhaps just this once the Premier and his caucus could make representations to the federal government on behalf of the people who they were elected to represent on an issue which will affect Nova Scotians.



MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.



The honourable Leader of the New Democratic Party.



RESOLUTION NO. 394



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 42nd Biannual Nova Scotia Provincial Convention of the Royal Canadian Legion takes place May 19th to May 24th 1995; and



Whereas this convention is being hosted by Calais Branch No. 162 of Sackville, who last hosted a provincial convention 12 years ago; and



Whereas this convention has special significance as all Canadians recall the sacrifice made to achieve victory and win freedom in Europe 50 years ago;



Therefore be it resolved that this House expresses its warm wishes for a successful provincial convention to Calais Branch No. 162 of the Royal Canadian Legion and to all delegates and members of the Legion in Nova Scotia as together we remember and honour the men and women who contributed to victory in Europe.



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



MR. SPEAKER: Is it agreed?



It is agreed.



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



The motion is carried.



The honourable member for Argyle.



RESOLUTION NO. 395



M. ALLISTER SURETTE: Monsieur le président, j'avise par les présentes que je proposerai, à une date ultérieure, l'adoption de la proposition suivante:



Attendu que les Jeux d'Acadie, organisés par un comité organisateur de 300 bénévoles, seront disputés à Wedgeport le 19 mai au 21 mai prochain; et



Attendu que les régions d'Argyle, Cheticamp, Clare, Dartmouth, Greenwood, Pomquet, Richmond et Sydney seront représentées par 540 athletes et que ces athlètes seront accompagnés par 240 entraineurs et bénévoles d'équipes; et



Attendu que les équipes gagnantes de ces jeux régionaux participeront à la grande finale des Jeux d'Acadie du 29 juin au 2 juillet à Richibucto - St. Louis de Kent, Nouveau Brunswick;



Par conséquent, qu'il soit décidé que cette assemblée législative accorde à tous les athlètes, entraineurs, bénévoles, et organisateurs, nos félicitations et bon succès pour des jeux amicales rempli d'un esprit de bon sportif.



Monsieur le president, je demande renonciation d'avis et passage sans débat.



Mr. Speaker, I did circulate the English equivalent of this resolution and I would seek waiver of notice.



M. SPEAKER: Est-ce que c'est agréable?



C'est agréable.



Ceux qui voudrez pour la proposition, dit oui. Contre, non.



La proposition est adoptée.



The honourable member for Kings West.



RESOLUTION NO. 396



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



Whereas Nova Scotia's children are the true victims as our dollars for education dwindle; and



Whereas one area which has been hit hard in the last few years are the few resources our school boards have had for speech therapy; and



Whereas the Education Minister continues to say that there is nothing he can do, these are school board decisions;



Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Health look at ensuring that something as essential to the health of our children and their learning capabilities be provided by the department where such services can be properly controlled and efficiently operated and not continually falling by the wayside at the mercy of the Education Minister's cuts to school board funding.



MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.



The honourable member for Timberlea-Prospect.



RESOLUTION NO. 397



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



Whereas the students of the Grade 5 classes at Prospect Road Elementary School have been striving to become more knowledgable of, and sensitive towards our environment by involving themselves in a great many projects including "Earthkeepers"; and



Whereas during the month of April, many of these students entered a writing competition, sponsored by Forestry Canada, writing on the theme, "Urban Forests - Everyone's Backyard'; and



Whereas Andrew MacLean of the Prospect Road Grade 5 class was selected as the winning entry resulting in the class winning a field trip sponsored by Forestry Canada;



Therefore be it resolved that members of this Assembly applaud the efforts of Andrew MacLean and the Grade 5 classes of Prospect Road Elementary School for their commitment to ensuring a cleaner environment in the future.



Mr. Speaker, I would request waiver and passage without debate.



MR. SPEAKER: Is it agreed?



It is agreed.



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



The motion is carried.



The honourable Leader of the Opposition.



RESOLUTION NO. 398



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



Whereas a Nova Scotia Supreme Court Judge has slammed the lack of proper court facilities in Sydney; and



Whereas this same Supreme Court Judge has issued an urgent plea for reform of court facilities in Sydney; and



Whereas problems have substantially increased due to the lack of space for potential jurors and the difficulty to hear court proceedings because of very poor sound quality;



Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Justice make it a priority to meet with his department's director of courts and attempt to reach a solution to the difficulties being experienced at court facilities in Sydney.



MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.



[8:15 a.m.]



The honourable member for Halifax Atlantic.



RESOLUTION NO. 399



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



Whereas in the last week of March, the Premier promised this session would see first-class announcements putting health and education reforms in motion, and a good news budget; and



Whereas at the same time the Labour Minister proclaimed himself particularly pleased by pending developments regarding Highway No. 104; and



Whereas as the session ends, the only question is whether the Liberals' utter failure to put health and education reforms into motion is worse than such budget news as higher Pharmacare fees, Highway No. 104 tolls and a major new round of teacher layoffs;



Therefore be it resolved that if any more Liberal good news is forecast, Nova Scotians may wish to consider the political equivalent of building bomb shelters and training in how to duck and cover.



MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.



The honourable member for Eastern Shore.



RESOLUTION NO. 400



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



Whereas Paul and Patricia Conrad, owners of East Coast Antiques, are celebrating the 10th Anniversary of their present location; and



Whereas East Coast Antiques, with 15 years of operation, is located along the Eastern Shore in Conrod Settlement, Head of Chezzetcook; and



Whereas East Coast Antiques is a well-known enterprise, featuring not only antiques but also crafts and gifts from Nova Scotia and the world over;



Therefore be it resolved that this House extend congratulations to Paul and Patricia Conrad on the occasion of the 10th Anniversary of East Coast Antiques being located in Conrod Settlement on the Eastern Shore.



Mr. Speaker, I ask for waiver of notice.



MR. SPEAKER: Is it agreed?



It is agreed.



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



The motion is carried.



The honourable member for Queens.



RESOLUTION NO. 401



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 Medal of Bravery recognizes heroic acts of courage; and



Whereas seven Nova Scotians will be honoured for their heroism with the Medal of Bravery by the Governor General of Canada; and



Whereas these seven Nova Scotians from Digby County made a valiant and successful effort, responding to a Mayday during a period of treacherous seas in late 1993 and, consequently, rescued three fishermen whose lives were in peril;



Therefore be it resolved that members of this Legislature congratulate Clinton and Clifford Tinker, Carl Barnaby, James Swift, Vance Dixon and Roy and Rosalind Graham for their heroic efforts and congratulate them on being awarded the Medal of Bravery by the Governor General of Canada.



Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.



MR. SPEAKER: Is it agreed?



It is agreed.



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



The motion is carried.



The honourable member for Halifax Fairview.



RESOLUTION NO. 402



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



Whereas on April 18th, the Health Minister told the Committee on Supply that "we will be preparing and issuing a renovation report on the health care system within the next week or two"; and



Whereas he also stated, "this will report on the progress toward the goals of the health reform, or the Blueprint Committee, and it will show that we have taken some dramatic steps in the direction of change and positive change in this province"; and



Whereas one month and one day later, neither that report nor any government response to the blueprint has seen the light of day;



Therefore be it resolved that the Premier and any other Liberal who think they're in deep political trouble due to change, rather than heartless cutbacks, broken promises and false starts, should wake up and recognize the confusion and demoralization that have been inflicted upon Nova Scotians hoping for a change towards health and wellness.



MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.



The honourable member for Kings North.



RESOLUTION NO. 403



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



Whereas L'Arche is part of a world-wide network of communities; and



Whereas at the heart of these communities are people with a developmental disability and those who share life with them, creating homes where faithful relationships based on forgiveness and celebration are nurtured and where the unique value and vocation of each person can be revealed; and



Whereas the Nova Scotia communities of Antigonish, Whycocomagh and Wolfville are three of approximately 100 l'Arche communities in 20 countries around the world;



Therefore be it resolved Nova Scotians be encouraged to spend an evening with the founder of L'Arche, Jean Vanier, on Monday, May 22nd, at the Dartmouth Sportsplex.



Mr. Speaker, I would seek waiver of notice.



MR. SPEAKER: Is it agreed?



It is agreed.



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



The motion is carried.



The honourable member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley.



RESOLUTION NO. 404



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



Whereas New Brunswick Premier, Frank McKenna, voiced his objections yesterday to Bill C-68 and the firearms registration component of the bill; and



Whereas municipal councils across Nova Scotia continue to send letters to the Progressive Conservative caucus office wanting the Nova Scotia Government to take a stand on this issue and oppose the registration of firearms; and



Whereas the latest opposition to Bill C-69 in its present form has come from the Canadian Bar Association, the Canadian Medical Association, the New Brunswick Police Association and instructors at the Atlantic Police Academy in Charlottetown;



Therefore be it resolved that the Premier and the Minister of Justice immediately make the position of the Nova Scotia Government on Bill C-68 known, prior to public hearings on the legislation, concluding before the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Justice and Legal Affairs next week.



Mr. Speaker, I seek waiver of notice.



MR. SPEAKER: Is it agreed?



I hear a No.



The notice is tabled.



The honourable Leader of the New Democratic Party.



RESOLUTION NO. 405



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



Whereas on June 4, 1995, the Sackville Pentecostal Assembly will officially open and dedicate their new church facility in Lower Sackville; and



Whereas these new facilities are a testament to the dedication of the pastor and of all members of the Pentecostal Assembly; and



Whereas these facilities mark another milestone in the development and maturity of the Sackville community, providing another centre of community service, stability and worship;



Therefore be it resolved that this House express its congratulations and best wishes to the Sackville Pentecostal Assembly upon the occasion of the dedication of the new house of worship for residents of Sackville and surrounding communities.



Mr. Speaker, I would request waiver of notice.



MR. SPEAKER: Is it agreed?



It is agreed.



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



The motion is carried.



The honourable member for Halifax Fairview.



RESOLUTION NO. 406



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



Whereas Liberals have protested loudly the suggestion that contracting out and so-called private partnerships are often little more than a plan to further slash both wages and jobs; and



Whereas Mount Saint Vincent University decided to contract out its entire food service department because the bidder promised to cut wages so dramatically that $250,000 on signing plus $50,000 a year will be provided for necessary capital improvements; and



Whereas the Mount's hardworking kitchen employees are now being asked to pay for capital improvements so the physical plant of a public institution is adequate;



Therefore be it resolved that this House urges Mount Saint Vincent to drop any plans that it pay for capital improvements by contracting out to drive down the wages of kitchen staff who have already suffered four years of Cameron/Savage rollbacks.



MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.



The honourable member for Halifax Atlantic.



RESOLUTION NO. 407



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



Whereas the recent survey released at the annual meeting of the Registered Nurses Association of Nova Scotia found that 80 per cent of participants experienced some form of abuse in their nursing career; and



Whereas the steady elimination of certified nursing assistant and registered nurse positions from the delivery of patient care increases the strain on patients and the remaining nurses; and



Whereas the government's decision to reinvest only 10 per cent of its health cutbacks in reforming community-based services further increased the pressures that result in abuse of nursing staff;



Therefore be it resolved that the government should recognize and address the violence and abuse within the health care system and, in particular, the effect of its cutbacks upon the level of abuse that must be endured by all health care providers.



MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.



The honourable member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley.



RESOLUTION NO. 408



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 present Liberal Government has no problem increasing the administration office budgets of the Ministers of the Crown and their deputies; and



Whereas despite the large increases in administration by this government, they continue to cut and slash away at programs offered to seniors and the disabled; and



Whereas the latest cold-hearted initiative undertaken by this Liberal Government is the elimination of the $40,000 to the Truro-based Life Improvement for Disabled Association;



Therefore be it resolved that this Liberal Government stop making feeble excuses about difficult times for everyone and the necessity for such cuts, while providing funding to enhance the working environment for Ministers of the Crown and their senior-level bureaucrats.



MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.



That would appear to conclude the daily routine so we will now advance to Orders of the Day.



ORDERS OF THE DAY



GOVERNMENT BUSINESS



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Deputy Government House Leader.



MR. ALLISTER SURETTE: Mr. Speaker, would you please call the order of business, Government Motions.



GOVERNMENT MOTIONS



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Deputy Government House Leader.



MR. ALLISTER SURETTE: Mr. Speaker, I move that you do now leave the Chair and the House resolve itself into a Committee of the Whole House on Bills.



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



The motion is carried.



[8:25 a.m. The House resolved itself into a CWH on Bills with Deputy Speaker Mrs. Francene Cosman in the Chair.]



[9:06 a.m. CWH on Bills rose and the House reconvened. Mr. Speaker, Hon. Paul MacEwan, resumed the Chair.]



MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. The Chairman of the Committee of the Whole House on Bills reports:



THE CLERK: That the committee has met and considered the following bill:



Bill No. 5 - School Boards Act.



and the chairman has been instructed to recommend this bill to the favourable consideration of the House, without amendment.



MR. SPEAKER: When shall this bill be read a third time?



SOME HON. MEMBERS: Now.



MR. SPEAKER: Is it agreed?



It is agreed.



The bill will be added to the order paper for third reading, now.



The honourable Deputy Government House Leader, to indicate the next order of business.



MR. ALLISTER SURETTE: Mr. Speaker, would you please call the order of business, Public Bills for Third Reading.



PUBLIC BILLS FOR THIRD READING



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Deputy Government House Leader.



MR. ALLISTER SURETTE: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 7.



Bill No. 7 - Financial Measures (1995) Act.



MR. SPEAKER: On the adjourned debate, the honourable member for Halifax Fairview.



MS. ALEXA MCDONOUGH: Mr. Speaker, I just want to briefly wrap up the comments that I commenced on an earlier day with respect to this bill that is now before us, for third and final reading, the bill that effectively implements those aspects of the budget that require specific legislation.



I think all members of this House are well aware that there is a very widespread concern, not just in this corner of the Legislature, but really across the province about what this means with respect to this government's priorities. We have a bill here which, in a manner that simply cannot be refuted, is discriminatory against seniors in this province and not all seniors, Mr. Speaker, but a particular category of seniors, seniors who have the misfortune to have reached their 65th birthday after this government took power.



There has been for many years in this province a very important recognition that seniors, having contributed to the economy of this province, to the development of this province, when faced with limited incomes and increasing financial pressures, should in fact be assisted when there is any degree of hardship that they are facing. So we have had two important programs, one being a modest program of subsidy for seniors with their rental costs in the event of their being in a limited income circumstances; and the other for seniors in the modest income category who have received very modest assistance with their property tax payments.



This government, quite correctly, recognized that if they were to wipe those two programs out in one fell swoop, then without a doubt there would be a very major backlash from seniors in this province, and not just seniors but others who support these measures and who recognize that our seniors should be respected and honoured for their contributions throughout their lifetime and not face harsh financial pressures in their senior years. The government correctly understood that if they just simply wiped out these two programs overnight that there would be a great controversy stirred and a great backlash. So, instead, they have done what I think is a thinly disguised thing in introducing an arbitrary measure to no longer provide that program for persons turning 65 after the date of this legislation going through.



Now, Mr. Speaker, I suppose there are some members who feel quite satisfied with that and they can convince themselves that, well, you know, it is tough times these days. Everybody knows that we are in a mess financially and we have to get out of the mess and so you have to start somewhere and why not target this particular group of senior citizens for particular discriminatory treatment.



I think what they are missing, Mr. Speaker, frankly, is the fact that for starters this may very well be a violation of our human rights legislation in this province because it is clearly a measure that provides discriminatory treatment on the basis of age, of one turning the age of 65 after a very particular date. I am not sure at all that this particular part of this financial measures legislation can meet the test of non-discrimination or fair treatment. I guess we shall see in time whether that is the case.



Secondly, Mr. Speaker, I think what is quite clear is this government has recognized in a very cynical way that after a year or two of maintaining this uneven treatment, this discriminatory treatment as between those seniors who had reached the age of 65 prior to the implementation of this mean-spirited budget measure and those who will have turned 65 only after the budget measure has been passed, that there will start to be an argument that will find favour with people that, you know, it is not really proper to discriminate.



So we have a government that has decided to discriminate against one group of seniors and then I think it is quite predictable that not very far down the road, this government will start to appeal to public opinion on the basis, you know we have this discriminatory measure. We have the situation where some seniors are eligible for this program based on the accident of their birth date and others who are not and that discriminatory, unfair situation cannot really be maintained because, gee, it just does not really seem fair to those seniors who have turned 65 after the arbitrary date set in this piece of legislation.



So then what they will predictably suggest is that since there are dwindling numbers of seniors who are still receiving this benefit which, by the government's own prescribed legislative provision, will apply to certain seniors, then just take one step further and let's see the logic of wiping it out altogether. That very often is exactly how governments go about rolling back benefits, rolling back progress. They begin to whittle away at program which, on the front end, was eligible for all people in a certain category and then, as a result of beginning to chip away at that, the integrity of that program is eroded, the broad public acceptance of the program begins to wane and the government considers that it is in a position to strike the final death blow to that particular program. The reality is, of course, that over time less seniors will be available for these modest income supplements, assisting them with either their rental payments or their property taxes because over time, with seniors who die and the fact that you do not have new people becoming eligible for the program, the numbers will begin to dwindle.



It seems to me, Mr. Speaker, that it is time to remind ourselves that the real measure of the humanity and the sensitivity of any government is how it treats its most vulnerable citizens and in particular, how it treats its senior citizens, whether we do so with respect, with the recognition that they have contributed throughout their lifetime to creating the society in which we live and many of the privileges and benefits that we enjoy and in their senior years it is a measure of our humanity that we ensure that they live a life that is not plagued with financial pressures and undue hardship.



I think that is why, Mr. Speaker, although the government has hoped very much, the fact that not large numbers of seniors are going to be impacted on the day this bill goes into effect that there won't be any widespread reaction to it. Well I think, as I have said before, they miscalculate the sense of fairness among seniors, even those who will be continuing to receive the benefit and have clearly recognized the unfairness in this towards other senior citizens and are prepared to take a stand in support of those who will be unduly punished by the fact of when they happen to reach their 65th birthday.





[9:15 a.m.]



The measure with respect to seniors is, in and of itself, a discriminatory measure and sufficient grounds for my caucus to be voting against this legislation. When you add to that that this discriminatory measure towards seniors is being introduced as part of a package which introduces extremely generous tax breaks, which introduces some very substantial tax-assisted measures for some very financially comfortable citizens and corporations in this province, it becomes all the more unsupportable.



MR. SPEAKER: Order, please, the level of noise is too high.



MS. MCDONOUGH: I know, Mr. Speaker, that what the government believes to be true is that when it introduces a variety of tax breaks, tax holidays, tax credits for business interests, that it can do so on the basis, on the general argument, well this is our commitment to the creation of jobs. I have no doubt that in a small number of instances there may in fact be some very minor stimulus to the economy provided by those tax breaks, but I think it has to also be recognized that there is precious little research that would really substantiate the claim that this is the way to generate jobs, that in a time of financial hardship to say that we cannot afford very modest rental subsidies or tax rebate programs for our senior citizens but we can introduce tax measures, which is what this bill does, to provide very specific benefits to people who, at the end of their tax year, have an extra $15,000, $20,000, $25,000 that they want to invest for two reasons.



Let's be honest about it, this is what this tax measure is. What it says is that if you have an extra $15,000, $20,000, $25,000, then we have a program here to invite you to do so, so that you can avoid paying the taxes that would otherwise be owing on those dollars and, secondly, so that you can invest them and get the future financial benefits that will flow from having made those investments. I know that there are members who will ask, well what's the problem with that? Isn't that how the capitalist system works after all? If you have extra capital and you invest it, you can expect to get your return.



Well, that's true, Mr. Speaker, but for the government to decide, when the financial pressure is on, that that is their priority, to basically introduce a program to ensure that those who have discretionary amounts of income, in the $10,000 range and $20,000 range, are the ones that should be the beneficiary of this government's tax measures says it all. I think it makes it clear what the priorities of this government are; it makes it clear whose financial interest this government intends to serve and I suppose, in a way, it is a very instructive illustration for all people to see as to who it is that this government considers that it really is committed to and beholden to.



In the final analysis, Mr. Speaker, if you really wanted to put the budgetary measures that are being implemented in this bill to the test of fairness, you would have to say that it is a decision to put the interests of those who are extremely comfortably off, in many cases, and who have extra money to invest, ahead of the interests of seniors who are living on $12,000, $14,000 or $16,000 a year and from whom, after the date of this legislation going into effect, this government has chosen to take away financial benefits - not major ones, probably on average in the range of about $12,000 a year - and redirect them to very financially, well-heeled citizens who invest those dollars for their own financial gain - nothing wrong with that, that is how the system works - and for the purpose of avoiding tax payments in that particular year and gaining further financial benefits on their investments down the road.



People need to understand that that is what the priorities of this government really are. When it comes to those seniors who come up to their 65th birthday and will not be receiving the modest financial assistance that would otherwise have been available to them, it will be clear to them that this is the priority that this government has chosen.



I don't want to belabour the point further, Mr. Speaker. I have, on second reading debate, acknowledged, to be fair, that there are, I think, a couple of the measures in this program that are supportable, that it is well established in fact, as opposed to fanciful thinking, that there will be direct benefits, for example, in the film development industry. It is quite clear that this is a labour intensive industry, it is very clear that it is an industry that is one of immense growth potential in this province and, as I have said before, I think the previous government and this one as well is to be commended for having recognized that this is exactly the kind of industry that is very attractive to Nova Scotia because what it does is use our single most valuable resource in this province, which is our human resource, our immense talent in the broad field of the arts, and that is not just those who end up on the screens, on stage, on the front line, but also the tremendously labour intensive cultural industry workers who are involved in everything from the technical end of sound production and so on, to the artistic end of the industry, which involves the production of sets and so on, all of it very positive and very welcome and, to state the obvious, not the kind of industry that is resource depleting. It is infinitely renewable and I think it is very welcome.



So it is targeted and I think one can see what the benefits are. But some of the other tax measures here are clearly a sop to the business interests and the monied interests in this province. It is not the average Nova Scotian who has $10,000 and $20,000 at the end of the year when they go to do their tax return that they can say well, I am going to find some business to invest this in, shelter my income from full taxation and gain the financial benefit of that down the road.



You know when the government looks around for where it can cut and slash, it rarely looks at the real cost of what have to be recognized as tax expenditures. I mean that is what it is, it is really an expenditure on the public purse to decide to forfeit the revenues from income that are being sheltered by these kinds of programs. There is considerable, reliable, I think, and now, thank goodness, increasingly available research that will show how much these kinds of programs have been the real contributors, the real culprits to our very considerable financial and fiscal crisis in this country, and this province is no exception to that.



If the government were prepared to be as consistent in its approach to trying to deal with the deficit, it would not try to pretend that these kinds of tax breaks for business - and the Minister of Finance bragged about the fact when he introduced this budget that this was really the budget that proved to Nova Scotians that this government keeps its promises, that it keeps its commitments - that it promised tax breaks to business and, by goodness, it was really going to deliver them in this budget and in the piece of legislation that is before us. Well, that is what they have done.



It is hard to imagine why that particular commitment is the one on which they want to prove their good faith, that they want to prove that they keep their promises, when it is not only transparently a sop to the financial and business interests that basically bankroll this Party, but also, I think, indicates that this government is really talking out of both sides of its mouth when it says we have to examine closely every dollar we spend, every financial commitment we make, and we have to subject it to rigorous analysis and we have to determine clearly what benefits are resulting from them - are these sensible priorities? - and we have to be prepared to streamline. But not when it comes to tax breaks for business; not when it comes to creating certain tax havens for higher income Nova Scotians who, understandably, will avail themselves of this kind of measure. It is not exactly consistent with the commitment that the government has made to subject every single dollar expenditure and every single government program to intense scrutiny, and to determine how directly beneficial are these programs to Nova Scotians, how is it in line with the priorities that Nova Scotians would expect of us.



That, Mr. Speaker, is why I say that it is an important thing for people to understand that it is a reflection of this government's actual priorities as to which campaign promises, which election promises they regard as sacrosanct and deserving of their respect and consistency, and which promises they find is very easy to turf. I think those commitments that they find easy to set aside and to violate are the ones to various groups that they know are not nearly as much in a position to really organize and make their objection known, those who cannot easily come together. If you think about it, those seniors who are about to turn 65 over the next few years cannot that easily figure out how to come together to really register their objection to the government.



Furthermore, Mr. Speaker, I think it is fair to say that, by and large, seniors are very proud of the fact that they are paying their own way. They are very committed to paying their own way and they are very vulnerable to arguments that say, look, everybody is having a hard time and we should expect everybody to tighten their belts. I think senior citizens are the first who are willing to do that. We know how many senior citizens are already making very considerable financial sacrifices to try to help their grown children and, very often, their grandchildren through the difficult financial times that they have been facing in recent years as a result of the cutting and slashing, the layoffs and the roll-backs, and the downsizing and the job eliminations. So, we have a lot of seniors who are carrying more than their fair share now on the basis of fixed incomes.



So, this government has chosen to take advantage of the fact that seniors are not likely to register their protest on their own behalf but, personally, Mr. Speaker, I not only think that it is possible to predict but I hope that it is true that those seniors who know what is wrong with this government's priorities when it comes to cutting out that modest but important rental subsidy and property tax program will make it known, on behalf of those seniors who will be disadvantaged, that they are not happy with this.



I think it is fair to say that if seniors had a vote on this legislation that is before us, it would not just be those who are going to be reaching the age of 65 over the next few years that will be penalized by this measure, but I think that the vast majority of Nova Scotia seniors would vote to register their objection to the unfairness of this measure, to the misplaced priorities and to the clear indication that this government has chosen to put the interests of those who are financially independent ahead of the financial interests of seniors who are just getting by on fixed income.



[9:30 a.m.]



So, Mr. Speaker, for all of those reasons, as indicated already by my caucus colleagues, the member for Halifax Atlantic and the member for Sackville-Cobequid, we will be voting against this measure in third and final reading. Thank you.





MR. SPEAKER: Before I recognize the next speaker, I would like to introduce in the gallery some friends of ours. Mrs. Stella Fogarty, wife of the honourable member for Halifax Bedford Basin and her daughter and her grandson. So we have three generations of the Fogarty family in the Speaker's Gallery here today. (Applause)



The honourable Leader of the Opposition.



MR. TERENCE DONAHOE: Mr. Speaker, I propose to be brief in my remarks relative to Bill No. 7 but I do want to make a couple of points which I hope will have some impact. I note in this bill that, "Clause 2 removes, effective April 12, 1995, the four per cent Health Services Tax on tangible personal property consumed or used in the production or processing of non-renewable resources.".



The difficulty and the concern that we have about that is while tax relief in relation to production and processing is probably, in the long term, helpful in overall economic terms, when questioned in debate on this bill, the Minister of Finance, and indeed no other minister, the Minister of Natural Resources or any other minister, has offered any indication as to how this tax relief relates in any way, shape or form to a legitimate and thoughtful sustainable development policy of this government. I think it is evidence and indicative of a lack of planning. It is simply, well, can we find some way to throw around a bit of tax relief but without it being done in the context of an overall sustainable economic development policy.



Again, I say lack of planning, just as we see little or no planning in the Department of Health. The closures of hospitals and so on are supposed to be done on the basis that comprehensive home care is available. Well, we know that the latter is not available at all. We see in Education, amalgamation of school boards without the minister having to go through any reasonable review process. We see situations in Municipal Affairs in terms of amalgamations and so on where there are very real problems and lack of planning.



The questions were raised, of course, Mr. Speaker, in relation to this provision where tax relief is provided to the production and processing of non-renewable resources and the question was raised, what about renewable resources. That, of course, is a very important sector of our economy and we should, I think, be making sure that our renewable resources sector of our economy is not treated differently or more oppressively in terms of the tax regime than is the non-renewable resource element of the economy.



You will recall, Mr. Speaker, that we had some discussion and debate here earlier about the provisions relative to, subject to regulations. Clause 3(1)(ma), ". . .transient accommodation purchased by a person attending a convention of twenty-five or more registered participants.", would enjoy some tax relief. That would exempt the Health Services Tax on transient accommodation purchased by the person attending a convention.



Well, again, with respect, unlike some others, I happen to believe that there is some value to that particular proposal. What it indicates to me, however, is that it is one which is designed without any planning or relationship to the whole tourism industry. If it is appropriate in the realm of a convention of 25 or more registered participants, I believe that some tax relief could be made available to elements of the bed and breakfast industry, the unique country inns industry.



We have had the debate here about the difficulties. Rather than provide them tax relief, what we are doing now, hopefully about to change as a result of meetings which the Minister for the Economic Renewal Agency has finally agreed to have and has begun, that they will not be swept up in this inappropriate and completely inapplicable grading and registration process. But the provision here to avoid or enable people to avoid or not be required to pay health services tax on transient accommodation purchased for attendance at conventions, again I repeat, while perhaps it is helpful, I really don't believe, speaking certainly for myself, I don't think that it goes nearly far enough.



I asked the Minister of Finance in second reading about this issue. One of the events which results in more travel, particularly wintertime travel which is so vitally important because it is a down season relative to tourism, one of the most important events and groups and series of events which takes place across this province in the wintertime is sporting events. I asked the Minister of Finance why it would not be possible to include this kind of tax relief for the thousands and thousands and thousands of young people and their coaches and their parents and their school administrators who travel the length and the breadth of this province through the course of the winter for sporting events. Frankly, I didn't really get much of an answer that led me to believe that the Minister of Finance was prepared to factor that into this legislation or, indeed, that he had really given it any thought.



Well, again, it is, I think, another example of a lack of planning. I think there are a whole range of activities which could very legitimately and rightly attract this tax exemption for health services tax on accommodation which would make it that much easier, again I repeat, particularly for our young people and our school and university population to travel throughout the Province of Nova Scotia, particularly in times which are normally not the high tourist season.



The difficulty with debate on a bill of the kind that we have before us, of course, is that there are, and we said so, there are a couple of provisions here which we think are of some value, among them the film industry tax credit. I think that is a good provision and a helpful one. I sincerely hope that not only with this tax credit but with other incentives which I know already exist and with the tremendous effort being made by the Nova Scotia Film Development Corporation, that we will continue to attract to the Province of Nova Scotia considerable film activity because it means so much to our provincial economy.



I have a real problem, Mr. Speaker, and we said so to the Minister of Finance but, unfortunately, didn't get much of a response or a reaction or even an acknowledgement that he thought it was much of a problem because there is a provision in this bill, as you know, where the minister can write off the tax and penalties on tax, up to $10,000, Clause 10, Section 19A(1A), ". . . where the Minister considers that the collection of the tax or the enforcement of the penalty is unreasonable or unjust or that it is otherwise in the public interest to remit the tax or penalty.".



Well, that is a pretty significant piece of business for Finance Ministers to be forgiving tax and forgiving penalty on tax. We asked for some definition of what is unjust, why would it be unjust, what is in the public interest. I didn't think the minister gave much of an answer and I would hope that in the practice manuals which will be issued by his department, there will be very clear and precise details set out in those bulletins.



Perhaps the most offensive element of this legislation, which is a mini-omnibus bill, is, of course, the absolute assault on the senior citizens that this bill represents. Clause 11, Section 18 of the bill says that "Notwithstanding anything contained in this Act, (a) on and after April 1, 1995, only those persons who are in receipt of a rental subsidy pursuant to this Act on March 31, 1995, are eligible to receive a rental subsidy pursuant to this Act; and (b) on and after April 1, 1996, only those persons who received a property tax rebate pursuant to this Act in 1995 are eligible to receive a property tax rebate in 1996 and subsequent years.".



That all relates to the Senior Citizens Financial Aid Act. If you look at that Act, Mr. Speaker, as I am sure you have, you will find that in Section 2 of that Act there is a purpose clause set out. The purpose of that legislation is, Section 2, "The purpose of financial aid under this Act is to provide assistance to senior citizens so that they may remain in their own homes for as long a time as is possible.".



The government of which I was a member, along with colleagues seated here with me this morning and this present government, have both made considerable commitment - or had, until this point - to the seniors of this province and to the theory and to the principle that the longer we are able, through modest, reasonable financial assistance to seniors of this province, to maintain themselves in their own homes, then that is in the long-term best interests of those seniors and their families.



Clearly this particular provision of this legislation cannot, in my opinion, Mr. Speaker, be characterized in any other way and as anything else but a major assault on the seniors of this province.



You know the frustration about the fact that this is an assault on the seniors of the Province of Nova Scotia is heightened when one realizes that this government is seemingly following a course which is designed to eat away and gnaw away at the circumstances of the seniors in more ways than one, not the least of which is the government's stated intention to pursue degraduated licensing of seniors, and that has the seniors experiencing very real concern.



There are new fees that the seniors are going to be forced to pay, even to go out and enjoy a little bit of fishing. That, again, is another element and another indication that this government is prepared to go after the seniors. Seniors, perhaps more than any other sector or segment of our community, are both frightened and affected by the wide range of hospital closures which have been effected already by this government.



[9:45 a.m.]



Again, I repeat, Mr. Speaker, it seems all to be done without any planning because we listened to the Minister of Health in that regard say, don't panic, trust me, because we are going to have a comprehensive Home Care Program in place in those places where hospitals and clinics are closed. Well, you know as well as I do that there is little or no evidence of anything close to a reasonable, let alone comprehensive, Home Care Program. So we are very disappointed with the provisions in this legislation which we believe represent a direct assault on the seniors of the Province of Nova Scotia. They simply don't deserve it. The Minister of Finance seems unashamed and unembarrassed that there is a provision in this legislation which is going to make it difficult if not impossible for a great many, probably many hundreds if not thousands of seniors, to continue to enjoy the use of their own homes for as long as possible.



I know from personal experience and many contacts which have been made with me that the capacity and the possibility of a senior remaining in his or her home for as long as possible, particularly if there is some reasonable degree of family support, is very important to those seniors and vital to their well-being, physically and emotionally and adds greatly to their quality of life.



So, as I said, there are a couple of elements of this bill which we think are of value and are important and which we sincerely hope will stimulate some economic development. We think, however, it is evident as you read the various sections, they are mostly designed seemingly without any degree of coordination or planning and it seems to be very much a hit or miss kind of proposition. That, I say, is really unfortunate because we haven't seen any evidence in this legislative session that there is an overall plan in place and being pursued by this government relative to sustainable economic development because each and every one of the ministries seems to be out doing its own thing and one not in sync and in concert with the other.



We support certain of the proposals here. We object very strenuously to some that are in this bill, particularly the unfortunate and we think unfair and inappropriate assault on seniors. As a consequence, we will vote against Bill No. 7.



MR. SPEAKER: The motion is for third reading of Bill No. 7.



A request has been made for a recorded vote.



Ring the bells. Call in the members for a recorded vote on Bill No. 7.



[9:47 a.m.]



[The Division bells were rung.]



[9:58 a.m.]



MR. SPEAKER: Are the Whips satisfied?



[The Clerk calls the roll.]



[10:00 a.m.]



YEAS NAYS



Mr. Barkhouse Mr. Moody

Mrs. Norrie Mr. Donahoe

Dr. Smith Mr. Russell

Dr. Savage Mr. Leefe

Mr. Gillis Mr. Holm

Dr. Stewart Mr. Chisholm

Ms. Jolly Ms. McDonough

Mr. MacEachern Mr. Archibald

Mr. Mann Mr. Taylor

Mr. Gaudet Mr. McInnes

Mr. O'Malley Dr. Hamm

Mr. Harrison

Mr. Abbass

Mr. Adams

Mr. Lorraine

Mr. M. MacDonald

Mrs. Cosman

Mr. MacAskill

Mr. MacArthur

Mr. MacNeil

Mr. Richards

Mr. Surette

Mr. White

Mr. Holland

Mrs. O'Connor

Mr. Mitchell

Mr. Fogarty

Mr. Hubbard

Mr. W. MacDonald

Mr. Fraser

Mr. Colwell

Mr. Huskilson



THE CLERK: For, 32. Against, 11.



MR. SPEAKER: The motion is carried.



Ordered that this bill do pass. Ordered that the title be as read by the Clerk. Ordered that the bill be engrossed.



The honourable Government House Leader.



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



Bill No. 3 - Halifax Regional Municipality Act.



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Municipal Affairs.



HON. SANDRA JOLLY: Mr. Speaker, where we have had quite a bit of debate on this bill and I think we have made a number of changes to this bill in respect of the bill itself, based on discussion we have had with the members in the House here on the floor, as well as in the Law Amendments Committee, I am very pleased to move third reading of Bill No. 3.



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Pictou Centre.



DR. JOHN HAMM: I will yield to the member for Bedford-Fall River.



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Bedford-Fall River.



MRS. FRANCENE COSMAN: I thank the honourable member. Mr. Speaker, I want to respond to third reading on Bill No. 3, the amalgamation bill. All of us in here recognize that I represent the constituency of Bedford-Fall River and it is a territory comprising much of the Town of Bedford - also, the Town of Bedford has another MLA representing part of it - and the adjacent communities of Waverley, Fall River, Windsor Junction, Lakeview, Wellington and Grand Lake, almost up to the airport on one side of the Bicentennial Highway. In short, I represent most of the Town of Bedford and two full districts that are rural districts of the county, District No. 14 and District No. 17.





Prior to the amalgamation proposal - indeed, prior to the election - the Liberal Party went on record regarding service exchange as a prerequisite to any consideration at a future time on the question of amalgamation. Service exchange took place through legislation in the last session of the House, following very wide consultation by the Minister of Municipal Affairs, across all the municipal units in Nova Scotia. The result of service exchange was that rural municipalities took on new responsibilities for policing and roads in exchange for the province taking over people services, such as higher costs with social services and justice.



Having implemented service exchange, amalgamation was the next step. It first took place in Cape Breton with the formation of a single unit and we have just seen the election in Cape Breton this past week. The announcement of a unified unit for Halifax, Dartmouth, Bedford and Halifax County has surprised many people, because many people see amalgamation as an inevitable process but the way we did it resulted in a lot of criticism for us.



People have pointed to other successful amalgamations which were done slowly over a period of time and I am sure they would have liked to have had the opportunity to be able to accept change by being part of the process before the decision was made. Charlottetown, for example, just recently effectively merged after taking several years to put in place the cooperative actions needed to do so.



We have to ask ourselves, was this area that we live in, in the metropolitan part of Nova Scotia, ready for cooperation and sharing of services? I think the record would suggest that it was not. The history of inter-municipal fights of failure of the Metropolitan Authority to deal with substantive regional issues, the inability to resolve garbage crises, the competition between units for commercial and industrial projects, all created a climate of confusion where businesses were finding it easier to go to other places.



The boards of trade have recently learned that by forming one board of trade in this region, they now have a stronger voice and they are able to work together on common interests. The blood fractionation plant chose Nova Scotia as the place to locate in Canada when inter-municipal cooperation came about through the greater economic development commission working together to locate the Red Cross plant in this province.



The concerns I have heard most about over the past several months deal with community identity, fear of tax increases, keeping the municipal plan intact and representation. The legislation addresses how community identity can be maintained through advisory committees and community councils. It clearly recognizes volunteer fire departments, which are an essential part of the service in my constituency and the legislation protects the very unique 911 emergency response system.



As the MLA for a constituency which has very divergent views on the question of amalgamation, I have been faced with the necessity of trying to be fair to all the divergent views while, at the same time, working to represent all the concerns and fight for the best deal for Bedford and Districts No. 14 and No. 17. To that purpose, I formed an MLA Advisory Committee. I did this after it became obvious that the municipal government in Bedford was not interested in working toward the best outcome in the proposal but only in representing one aspect of it. Thirty-three volunteers, across all political stripes, worked with me in the past several weeks helping to identify the concerns, writing briefs, submitting those briefs to the coordinator and appearing before the Law Amendments Committee. These volunteers deserve a strong vote thanks, they met weekly (Applause) and it is their spirit of cooperation that makes my constituency a very special place to live in.



Throughout the past months, I have made every attempt to listen, to consult widely, to respond, to share everything I could regarding amalgamation. I have met and worked with my constituents and my colleagues and with the coordinator. I have attended each and every public meeting on amalgamation within Bedford and within Districts No. 14 and No. 17. I have supported the requests of my constituents, for example, with Districts No. 14 and No. 17, their hopes are to form one poll, and I have supported the request for the two polls for Bedford.



I think I have probably made myself very unpopular with my colleagues at times by circulating every item of correspondence, both for and against amalgamation, because I wanted them to know firsthand the kind of feelings that have been riding very high in my constituency. I have offered to table petitions and I have done so for the town council and one gathered by a group of Bedfordites opposed to amalgamation and at every step of the way I have brought forward the concerns and the divergent viewpoints to the decision makers.



It is interesting to note, Mr. Speaker, that the mayor and council spent close to $100,000 in opposition to amalgamation, including $68,000 as part of their share for the UMA/Doane Raymond Report. The UMA/Doane Raymond Report was done as an independent analysis on amalgamation in response to concerns raised about amalgamation. It is interesting to note that it concluded in support of a single unified municipal unit as the preferred governance model.



Now, a common thought has emerged in many of the phone calls and visits on this issue. Bedford contracts with other units for a variety of services, including transit and landfill, water and education in a district school board. What would the future be for a small town surrounded by an aggressive, unified city unit, trying to negotiate contracts, with no voice inside the process? What competitive chance would Bedford, for example, have as residential growth consumed its territory and businesses located to the centre of the new unit in parks like Burnside and Ragged Lake? Countless callers expressed a fear of the future, trying to stand alone, surrounded. Even the local media chastised the attitudes of isolationism, comparing us akin to the Province of Quebec and the rest of Canada.



It became a strong, influencing factor, in my search for a decision, that Bedford currently depends on cooperation and sharing of many services with other units. Trying to stand alone would subject us to fierce competition and significant struggle. As a land-locked community with diminishing resources, what would our future be and where would we be in 25 years?



I want to talk about the recent plebiscite in Bedford and the use of the new technology enabling us to vote by phone. It was as easy as walking across a person's kitchen to the phone at home, to record a vote. The results of the vote leave a lot of unanswered questions: 6 out of 10 residents chose not to vote; 3 out of 10 voted against amalgamation; and 1 out of 10 voted for amalgamation. How does one interpret that? Well, many viewpoints have been offered including: that 6 out of 10 were the silent majority; or 6 out of 10 were against; or 6 out of 10 supported. Inevitably, 6 out of 10 people who chose not to vote, I think, recognized that amalgamation was coming at some point, supported by the predecessor government and supported by this government.



The use of a plebiscite by the town twice in the past year has raised other interesting questions. Residents were not offered a vote by plebiscite when the council tried to locate an incinerator up by the senior high school, nor when they came close to building a multimillion dollar town hall, therefore, how do you interpret the result when 6 out of 10 people choose not to vote despite the past history in the town of high voter participation?



Mr. Speaker, I brought the concerns to this Assembly regarding amalgamation in my Address in Reply to the Speech from the Throne. I have held the constant view that all my constituents' viewpoints are equally ranked and matter. I have fought hard to get a better outcome for my community, which I love, and I have asked for two elected representatives, I have asked for a community council that will keep local planning issues decided by local people and available to the community of Bedford. I want to know that our community identity is protected; I cherish it as much as anybody else does. Two polling districts will provide us the opportunity to form a community council with a neighbouring community of interest. This is absolutely critical to our future. This will allow our future planning strategy to reflect the values and planning that have gone on in the past in our communities.



When this bill is finally signed, Mr. Speaker, I am going to be watching its outcome with as much vigour and scrutiny as I can. If future change is needed, I will be in the forefront pushing for that change. Our government has the responsibility to make this legislation not only work, but to work well.



Mr. Speaker, we are in a period of intense change with debt restructuring, cutbacks, streamlining and renewal. They are all a part of change and people are not necessarily happy in that atmosphere. I have endeavoured to do the best I could, to listen to many divergent viewpoints and I will continue to do so. The challenge ahead is for us to find common ground, to work together, to make the changes work for us, to form a community council so that local control is still in place. Perhaps an even greater challenge than this is to be able to demonstrate mutual respect for divergent viewpoints. (Applause)



Mr. Speaker, our challenge is to look to the years ahead. Too much government at all levels is costing too much money. We have set an example, of merging municipal units, that has created a painful process of change. We have seen a Private Member's Bill this past week in which another amalgamation is proposed. I think the challenge before us is that if there is too much government and duplication at the municipal level, the same argument can be made for provincial governments as well. We have four provincial governments serving the Atlantic Provinces. There is a future challenge ahead to try and make less government across the metropolitan area and the Maritime area. That is a future challenge for all of us, for what is good for one region can be good for all. Thank you, Mr. Speaker. (Applause)



[10:15 a.m.]



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Pictou Centre.



DR. JOHN HAMM: Mr. Speaker, I welcome the opportunity for a few concluding remarks on the Halifax regional municipality bill now that it is in third reading. This bill takes it place with the other pieces of legislation that are starting to form the mosaic of municipal reform across this province. I refer to the Cape Breton Regional Municipality Act, the service exchange bill and the bill to amalgamate the County of Queens. Because of the very size of the area under revision, this bill has attracted a very great amount of attention, both in the media and at the Law Amendments Committee.



Municipal reform, of which this bill forms a part, is an opportunity to define and streamline the delivery of municipal government in this province. It is an opportunity to provide increasing independence and an increased sense of responsibility to all municipal governments across this province. So we must evaluate this bill in terms of whether or not it is achieving all that could be achieved in proper municipal reform. While this caucus and myself are proponents of municipal reform, we feel that the government is losing a great opportunity as it has this once-in-a-lifetime chance to reform the municipal structure, both in metro and right across this province.



The service exchange bill, which dovetails in this area with the regional municipality bill, has basic flaws. It fails to establish both here and in other areas definitely a single-tiered delivery of social services. While I welcome the minister's comments that the government is hastening with plans to introduce that kind of a program here in metro, we will wait with expectation until the legislation finally appears. We look at the continuation of educational funding as a municipal responsibility, the continuation of corrections as a municipal responsibility and the continuation of payments for homes for special care under the Community Services Department as a continuing municipal responsibility. This is not what municipal reform is all about. This does not create independence and it does not increase the sense of responsibility that communities are looking for.



One of the deficiencies in the metro bill is that it, like the Cape Breton bill and the Liverpool-Queens bill, does not provide any suitable mechanism to establish the remuneration of municipal officials. If you look at Cape Breton, the initial levels of remuneration were established by the coordinator. There has been some discussion as to the level of remuneration at $92,000 to be paid to the Mayor of Sydney. This, Mr. Speaker, is inappropriate and it only leaves the coordinator here in metro to establish a salary for the metro mayor as something in excess of that being paid to the Premier. This is unacceptable.



We need to rationalize, in this bill and in all bills, the remuneration that will be paid to municipal officials. The solution here for the ongoing revision of the remuneration of both council members and the mayor, by way of an analysis by council, is completely inappropriate. The minister lost the opportunity to introduce an independent review committee to establish the remuneration in metro for the mayor and councillors. Even better, why not a piece of legislation that establishes an independent review committee to establish the remuneration for all elected municipal officials in this province? Let's get rid of the discrepancies that exist across this province, in terms of remuneration for municipal officials. No elected official or no Nova Scotian has the opportunity to set their level of remuneration, so why should elected municipal officials have that opportunity? It is not one that is open to or available to other Nova Scotians, so why should it be available to the mayor and councillors of municipal governments?



This legislation, this Bill No. 3, creates a position of mayor that is in stark contrast to that which has been established in Cape Breton in the new regional municipality there. This amalgamation process is an opportunity to standardize the delivery of municipal government in this province. Already the opportunity has been lost by creating a different kind of mayor in Cape Breton than will be elected here in metro Halifax. That is a mistake and the time to correct the mistake is now, before the process goes any further. I certainly urge the minister to take note of what is being created here, vis-a-vis what is being created in Cape Breton.



It is not my intention at this time to debate the relative merits of the position created here, versus the one in Cape Breton, other than to say, Mr. Speaker, it should be standard, it should be uniform, it should be the same right across the province. Nova Scotians have the right to know that when they understand a position of mayor, that that understanding is reflected right across the province.



Now there are a number of difficulties with the bill, beyond those which I have already brought to your attention, Mr. Speaker. One of the difficulties that I see in terms of the relationship of the regional council with the community councils could lead to a very strong sense of parochialism across the new municipal unit. The independence that is being granted to the community councils, much of which will not be subject to ratification by the central council, can only lead to a very parochial kind of approach in some of the areas.



There has been considerable discussion about the problems, in terms of regional planning, if, in fact, the community councils are given too much power. It is absolutely imperative that there is a land use plan and a municipal plan that involves the entire municipal unit, which will control the activities of the community council and will allow the regional council to have absolute control, in terms of an overall plan of development for the area.



Some of the areas of concern that have not been addressed by the bill before us and which a few moments ago were referred to by the honourable member for Bedford-Fall River, is the concern of the people of Bedford. The member has correctly made reference that their concerns could be partly addressed if, in fact, they become part of two polling areas, in which they then would be represented by two councillors or aldermen and this would allow them then to form a strong nucleus of a community council. I would certainly urge that this occur in Bedford.



Another area of concern is the development of the so-called Susie Lake area. This is the area in the current City of Halifax which is open to development and has been protected by the vigilance of a number of people living out in that area of the city. It is absolutely imperative that the development of this area continue to be organized and to be carried out in the best overall interests of all and not to allow inappropriate development to occur in this very, very important area in the City of Halifax. It would be possible to ruin that particular area and to undermine the great potential it has for commercial and residential development.



One of the criticisms of the particular piece of legislation has been the indecent haste with which the government has chosen to bring this particular piece of legislation along. It has unfortunately resulted in a lessening of the public support in recent weeks for the legislation. There has been no real opportunity for residents in the periphery of Halifax County to make a reasonable, logical, informed decision as to whether or not they should remain in the new amalgamated city. There was not time given to the coordinator to explore all of the possibilities, one of which, of course, Mr. Speaker, would be the incorporation of these rural areas with their nearby rural neighbours. They were coerced and forced to make a quick decision based on the limited amount of information that the coordinator could provide on short notice.



It is very, very unfortunate that the residents of metro have been forced to swallow this amalgamation bill before they have had an opportunity to really have a chance to chew it and there is no question, Mr. Speaker, that there may be a real bad case of heartburn developed as this thing goes on.



There is much to commend this bill. It certainly is not all bad but it could have been so much better with a little more time. Error is the constant companion of undue haste. There was undue haste and, unfortunately, as time goes on, it will be determined that errors have been made. (Interruptions) Mr. Speaker, I am having a little difficulty hearing my own words.



Mr. Speaker, we will never know what kind of a super-city we could have developed here in metro if only the coordinator had been given a little more time, if only the people had been given a little more time for input, if only the government had been a little more receptive to the amendments that were brought forward as a result of the Law Amendments process.



Some consideration was given by the minister and certainly by our caucus in terms of a proper waste management program to dovetail with the progressing plans that had already been put in place by the four mayors and councils in the county. We were pleased to bring forward ideas and to participate in the amendment brought forward by the minister. I think it was a good amendment and I think it will allow that very ticklish problem to continue towards resolution while the process of elections and the swearing in and eventual taking office of the new council will occur.



[10:30 a.m.]



One of the things that, perhaps, is left unaddressed in the waste management clauses of the legislation is the danger to neighbouring municipal units. This particular piece of legislation and the solution to the waste management problem here in metro must be solved, but it must be solved in such a way that there is a consideration and understanding for not only the environment of Halifax County but the environment of adjacent municipal units, that could suffer if, in fact, the waste management solution is inappropriately placed too close to the border of Halifax County and too close to the border of the neighbouring municipality. So, there are some loopholes in what has been proposed and it is hoped that reason will prevail in the application of those clauses of the bill.



It is regrettable, Mr. Speaker, that the minister and the government did not see fit to provide an office for the solicitor. It would have improved the legislation and it would have provided a situation which exists in most of the major cities across this country, in which the position of solicitor is part of the administrative hierarchy of the various municipalities and is enshrined in the legislation.



Even more regrettable, Mr. Speaker, is the failure of this legislation to establish an auditor general as a part of the structure of this particular new city. The value of an auditor general federally and the value of an auditor general provincially has, time and time again, proven its worth. The recent evaluation of the affairs of government by the Auditor General has provided some embarrassment for the provincial government, but it brings an accountability to government that would not exist if the Auditor General did not have privy to the operations, financial and otherwise, of the government. This is a good office. The budget and the finances of this new municipal government will be second in this province only to the provincial budget itself and the taxpayers would be much better served if, in fact, their rights and privileges would be protected by the office of an auditor general. It is most unfortunate that the government did not see fit to include this in the legislation.



Now, the opportunity to improve the bill, after a number of excellent presentations to the Law Amendments Committee, was partially addressed by the minister. Certainly, the minister brought forward amendments allowing taxi zoning and, as I had earlier referred to, improvements in the waste management clauses. This was a response to some of the presentations that came from Law Amendments. In addition, a strengthening of the protection for the Dartmouth Common was another response . . .



MR. SPEAKER: I must caution the honourable member. This is third reading of bills that we are on. Erskine May states that debate on third reading is more restricted than at any earlier stage and must be strictly limited to the contents of the bill. Many of these reflections would be in order, I suppose, at another stage, but this bill has already received extensive consideration by the House, at great length. It has been examined and it has received the approbation, both in principle and in detail. The speech the honourable member is giving is tedious, it is marked by extensive pauses and I must ask the honourable member to focus his argument and bring it, please, to the point.



DR. HAMM: Mr. Speaker, I would expect no less than the latitude granted to the member for Bedford-Fall River (Applause), who spoke extensively on the minutiae of the bill, and did so without any admonition from the Speaker, I may comment as well.



To continue, this bill in its present form has benefitted from the amendments that were presented. Needless to say, many useful amendments did not make it to third reading, but one of the useful improvements to the bill, however, was the legislation which was brought forward to give the council control over the building of commercial enterprises. I think this is a useful amendment and one which this caucus was pleased to bring forward.



Now, in conclusion, Bill No. 3 is part of a mosaic of municipal reform. It is far from perfect; it needed more time. It has left a lot of residents concerned as to tax rates and further development and community identity. The bill could have been so much better with more time, but time was not given. Error is the companion of haste, however, there is much that is good in the bill. Change is necessary and, I do support the bill, despite its imperfections. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.



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



MR. JOHN HOLM: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.



MR. JOHN LEEFE: Don't be tedious and don't have long interruptions, please.



MR. HOLM: I have a number of comments that I want to make. I am not going to go into tedious detail, in terms of all the contents of the bill; we have had a lot of that already in terms of the discussions of the actual details. My comments are going to be somewhat shorter than may be traditional, unless I get inspired to again drift into some of the areas that I had spoken on extensively before. I would rather, just in a broader view, talk about the bill.



I congratulate and I commend the member for Bedford-Fall River for having had the courage and taken the time to stand and speak on the floor this morning and express her views and the process that she followed in trying to determine what she felt was right for her community relative to this bill. Even though it was not directly related to the bill, I think it was important that people hear that.



Mr. Speaker, one of the points she made at the very beginning, and I think it reflects an awful lot of the concerns that people do have with the bill, that is, as she said, that people would have liked to be part of the process. That is a key, fundamental principle of democracy: to involve people; to be inclusive; to be respectful of their ideas; and to allow them to have input in a meaningful way into those decisions that are going to have a direct and lasting impact upon their lives.



Instead, Mr. Speaker, I have to conclude that it is this government's view on this amalgamation, on this piece of legislation - as it is on so many others that we are going to be talking about probably briefly this morning - that the end justifies the mean. This government has decided what they see the end to be. They have not clearly worked it out; they don't have the problems resolved, but they have decided that they are going to have an amalgamated municipality. Presumably, there will be new signs erected on the borders that say, welcome to the Regional Municipality of Halifax. So when we travel around and people ask us where we are from, we now know what to say.



Well, Mr. Speaker, in all honesty, the whole process with the amalgamation was flawed from the very beginning. It was flawed in how the coordinator was first appointed, then un-appointed. It was flawed in the way that it was announced one week after the municipal elections had been fought. Mr. Speaker, it was flawed in that this government said they respected municipalities and were going to be bringing forward a charter of rights for municipalities and instead they rip up that promise and impose their will.



We had a previous speaker talking about the reasons why this bill was needed; because the metro municipalities were unable to cooperate and to share. We had the message about garbage, that they couldn't decide on how to handle garbage. Well, this government didn't recognize that municipalities did, in fact, now have a process to handle solid waste, as it used to be called, but is now being recognized properly by those who are slightly forward-thinking, as not a waste but rather as a resource.



Mr. Speaker, this government did - and yes, I am pleased that they did - make an amendment to this piece of legislation and have removed words like garbage and dump from the bill which deserve to be dumped from this legislation, and instead are now and have agreed to put in a new Clause 10 which does, in fact, recognize the agreement that was worked out by the four municipalities on how they will develop a strategy, a comprehensive program, for handling all of those solid resources so that very little of it will eventually end up as a waste. That is actually a sign - quite to the contrary to what this government is saying - a clear example of how municipalities can and are willing to work together, just as it is a sign that they are prepared to work together when we heard the speech earlier saying that one municipality contracts many of its services from neighbouring municipalities. That is a sign of cooperation, just as it was a sign that they are prepared to work together when there was established this one industrial board trying to work together to attract business to the area.



Mr. Speaker, the UMA Report which was referred to, talks about the fact that there is bound to be harmonization. With that harmonization, there are going to be increased costs in the way of tax rates to the residents in the metropolitan area. For anybody to suggest that we are going to have in three years or four years from now, different levels of service, whether that be for policing or whatever, I would suggest are those who are not living in reality or who are advocating, if they are, double standards in terms of important services.



The vast majority of those who have been polled, the results being at least as accurate, if not more accurate, than the suggestions on what is going to happen in another poll in about a month's time, suggest that they believe that the tax rates will increase. The majority oppose imposing this in April 1996. They are suggesting that more time is needed. This bill, as it is before us, does not provide for an Auditor General; this bill provides for councils to be able to operate more like this government in an increased level of secrecy in decisions that they can make behind closed doors or the discussions, rather, the debates on important crucial issues that affect everybody being done behind closed doors.



[10:45 p.m.]



Mr. Speaker, this bill that is being raced through this House contains many problems, many of a technical nature which are going to create very real problems for the new municipal government as it tries to operate. If members would like, I would be quite happy to spend another hour, or close to what I have left, going through all those details, but I won't bother, because I don't want to be tedious. However, the only way that those problems now will be able to be corrected is to have another piece of legislation go through the full process of having a government bill introduced into this House and go through the whole process, it can't even go through the Private and Local Bills process as being supported from a member of the community.



So it is going to be extremely tedious and very difficult. It is interesting to juxtapose this bill to amalgamate the capital city, the City of Dartmouth, the Town of Bedford and the most populated municipality in the province, that being Halifax County, to juxtapose this heavy-handed approach in amalgamation to what was done down in Queens, where that was coming forward at the request of the municipal councils.



Mr. Speaker, had the government been prepared to wait even two or three weeks to allow for the people who know the ins and the outs of the working and the structure that is needed and the technical problems that exist with this legislation, if they had been allowed to come together in a working environment with the minister's staff, many of those problems that are going to confront the councils in the years to come, would have been resolved. But, no, timetables won't permit that, we have to be out of here before the G-7 Summit, we have to be out of here, supposedly, in time to give the government the time to do what they consider more important, and that is to be campaigning in support of their Leader for June.



Mr. Speaker, this bill is not worthy of support as it presently stands. I believe that reform is needed, I continue to believe as the Liberal Party once said they believed that municipal reform should come about as a result of the inclusion of the views and the discussions with the people who are going to be affected. I continue to believe that what should have been done was the development of several options, those options should have been costed out, presented to the public and then the public had an opportunity through the democratic process, something which, supposedly, members in this House endorse and it is the way in which we got here, but they would be able to decide through an electoral process of a plebiscite.



The government says that this bill was needed to ensure that there is greater cooperation and less infighting. You know when you take a look at the legislation, I would suggest that those who look at it with realistic glasses on, rather than rose-coloured ones, will see that the potential exists for increased in-fighting because of the structure which has been developed, and we will probably see more battles going on that, in fact, will make what has gone on in the past look like a church picnic. That potential is very definitely real. To suggest that the community councils, where the councillors now are going to be representing areas as large, in many cases, or almost as large as MLAs, to suggest that they are going to, at the very grassroots level, be able to continue to provide the kind of community involvement that has become quite successful in the communities of Sackville and Cole Harbour, through those community councils, I suggest, is just not going to happen.



Mr. Speaker, municipal reform is needed. I believe that the municipal councils recognize that, and I believe that the people in the communities recognize that and are quite willing and quite prepared to work for it. If this legislation were not to be passed now and were not to take effect until 1997, when we are due to have the next round of municipal elections, I believe there would be plenty of time in a respectful way, in a thoughtful way, to iron out many of the problems and to give the communities the opportunity to be heard.



Instead, Mr. Speaker, we will soon see the vote. Nothing that has been said by myself or the previous speaker or any member of this side of the House is going to have any effect on this government because, quite honestly, the arrogance they have shown, almost from day one, their contempt for the openness and the democratic process is being demonstrated here again in this bill, as it is in others. They will have their way, they will have the 40 votes to push this bill through regardless of any views that may be held that there should be a proper process in place as was done - as pointed out by the member for Bedford-Fall River herself -in Charlottetown, where the amalgamation took place after a proper process of several years.



Here instead, from start to finish, this legislation being announced last October to the present, when this bill is going to be passed, only about six or seven months. Mr. Speaker, that certainly is not enough time for the thoughtful, meaningful, respectful input that such a major piece of legislation requires and, more importantly, the people in those areas deserve.



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



MR. BROOKE TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, I intend to make only a few brief comments relative to this bill.



MR. JOHN LEEFE: Don't be tedious.



MR. TAYLOR: Don't be tedious, no. Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley is comprised of two counties, Colchester County and Halifax County, and one-third of Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley is presently Halifax County, or what we know today as the Municipality of the Halifax County.



As a result of this bill, we will become part of the new, regional municipality. I have stated many times that Halifax County Municipality, the boundaries are going to be left the same. I do not question that, the external boundaries, as a result of this legislation, will be left the same. The maker and the genesis and the cause of this legislation, I believe, is to provide for a more efficient and more effective government. I honestly believe that is the objective of the Minister of Municipal Affairs. But, Mr. Speaker, I do want to tell you that the present municipalities do operate much in that type of a manner presently, no question about it. My concern and the concern that my constituents have, is that they don't know how the tax rate is going to be structured. They do not believe that the clause respecting the rural rate is sufficient to address the concerns that they have. They are still concerned that they will be paying for services that they are not receiving and that they are not going to receive.



So you can understand, when you are talking about dollars and your back pocket, so to speak, citizens do have some very major and legitimate concerns. Citizens are concerned because they know that their representation is going to be certainly reduced. There is no question about it. I think the minister would even agree that the representation of the citizens will be greatly reduced. So that is a problem for many.



We do know that there will be one administrative centre, so to speak, and there will be streamlining taking place as a result of this legislation. There will be community councils right across the municipality but one negative side effect that we see is that there will be one district in eastern Halifax County with a geographical area larger than all the other districts combined. That, again, is a known fact. Lack of representation is another concern as I mentioned before. So, Mr. Speaker, while I support efficient and effective government, I cannot support this legislation in its present form. Thank you.



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Queens.



MR. JOHN LEEFE: Mr. Speaker, I shall not be long. In fact, I had not intended to enter the debate this morning, but after listening to the member for Pictou Centre, I was encouraged to participate in the debate of this bill which is before the House today.



This bill in its substance and in its execution speaks of the way in which this government has determined to deliver government to the people of Nova Scotia. Here we have a political Party which in Opposition promised to govern through consultation, but, in government, chooses to government by fiat. We see that in this bill, we see it in the provisions of the bill, we see it in the way in which the government has attended this bill through its various stages from the period before introduction through to this afternoon in third reading.



This also, Mr. Speaker, is a government which, in Opposition, said that all that was required for a municipal government to be able to be delivered more efficiently was the arrangement of service exchange, yet when it came to government, looked not only to service exchange but indeed to boundary change, as well; a boundary change policy which, when in Opposition, the Premier said was crazy but now in government he finds suddenly to become a very sane policy indeed.



Mr. Speaker, again with reference to this bill, we find that it is a bill which denies accountability, appropriate accountability with respect to this new municipal unit. One of the glaring absences in this bill is the absence of an accountability through an auditor general provided by Statute, a provision which was in the Halifax City Charter and which, while put forward by our Party with respect to an amendment, was refused. One should not lose sight of the fact that the combined operating budgets of these four municipal units is something in the order $0.5 billion. That is equal to one-eighth of the entire provincial government's operating budget.



It strikes me that the people of the metropolitan area would be much better served had the government chosen to listen to the Opposition and to include an amendment which would allow a provision for an auditor general to be required to overview, as an honest broker and watchdog of the municipal public purse, the comings and goings of the new municipal council governing this metropolitan area.



This is a government which in Opposition promised openness and yet, which during the full course of this bill, has demonstrated that it is entirely deaf to the entreaties of any other than those who are enfolded to its own bosom and that does not even include all of its own caucus, I am sure. We have seen that by the rejection of this government of all of the 35 amendments that were put forward by this caucus, or virtually all of them, and a large number of amendments moved by my colleagues in the New Democratic Party.



[11:00 a.m.]



This is a government which in Opposition promised to support municipal government through a municipal charter, which would grant statutory rights to municipalities, and yet which when in power, has demonstrated that it is prepared to sweep all of that principle aside in order to achieve an enforced amalgamation that we find in this bill. Mr. Speaker, this is a government which has demonstrated that its greatest consistency is its inconsistency, not only in the way in which it has approached this legislation but, indeed, also within the legislation itself.



When one compares the definition of the role and function of the mayor of the new metropolitan City of Halifax with that of the Mayor of Sydney, one finds that there is a very great distinction between the functions and offices of the two. I believe, and I believe most Nova Scotians would concur, that it is essential that the office and the functions of mayor be defined with a high degree of conformity throughout this province, irrespective of municipal unit.



Finally, Mr. Speaker, this is a bill which, however important its end is - that is, the amalgamation of this metropolitan area, an amalgamation which was recommended by the government in which I had the honour to serve - the means employed by this government are very base and are entirely not in keeping with the justifiable end.



Mr. Speaker, all of that said, there are some good things in this bill and the purpose of the bill is an important purpose and one which will have, in the long term, a beneficial effect. It is so unfortunate that the approach the government has taken with this bill has made an otherwise laudable new arrangement for municipal government in this metropolitan area, a most distasteful arrangement.



All of that said, and understanding that I believe consistency is absolutely vital in public life, because I supported the concept of amalgamation in advance of the 1993 election, I find it necessary to be consistent and support this bill when the vote is called on third reading. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Atlantic.



MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, I wanted to speak for a few moments on this bill because even though I have had the opportunity to speak several times already at different stages, I think it is important that we do not lose sight of what, in fact, is going to happen when this bill goes through, that the very process that this government, when they were fighting for election in 1993, that of forced amalgamation of the metropolitan municipalities -they fought that tooth and nail and ridiculed, condemned the then Premier of the province, Donald Cameron, for that tactic - in fact, they turned around and as a result of this piece of legislation going through, are doing that very thing. I think it is important that we do not lose sight of that.



This is a bill that is forcing amalgamation on all the current municipalities and on all the citizens of metropolitan Halifax-Dartmouth. I say that is wrong. That is not what these people pledged to do when they were running for election. I remember as a candidate in that election challenging my Liberal opponent at that particular time. As well, we in our caucus challenged other Liberal candidates, from one end of this province to the other, to make clear what their commitment was with respect to municipal amalgamation and they did.



The Liberal Party said then that they did not agree with going forward with municipal amalgamation, unless the people were consulted, unless the costs and benefits were laid out on the table and unless all options with respect to the regionalizing of services, to the complete amalgamation into one uni-city, were considered and examined fully and that the public had the opportunity to debate the issue in a way that would leave them confident and comfortable with the issue.



We know now, Mr. Speaker, that two years later this government has decided to completely go against that commitment that they made. We know that the people of metro overwhelmingly are concerned about this issue, are concerned about the way it has been imposed. As time goes by, more and more people in metro are dissatisfied with the type of information that has been provided, with the lack of information and they are concerned, a growing number of people, that as information even does come out, that their tax rate will go up and the service level will go down as a direct result of this bill to amalgamate the metropolitan municipalities.



So I just want to state on the record once more that I am as opposed to this process as I was in the spring of 1993, as I was when I argued against the government of the day, the Tory Government under Don Cameron, that this was not the way to go. It is not a question of whether you are for or against municipal amalgamation, it is whether or not you are for or against democracy, Mr. Speaker, whether or not you are going to shove things down people's throats or whether you are going to let people participate in making the final decision and come to it themselves. This government has shown themselves, not just on this occasion, but on many occasions as it deals with the problems of governing and dealing with the problems of this province, completely disrespectful to the whole question of democracy and this is just simply another example.



So while there may be some merit, here, there, and in different parts of the bill, on the whole question of amalgamation, I am, and my caucus colleagues are, opposed to this bill because of the fact that it is ramming municipal amalgamation down the throats of the constituents of the metropolitan area without them having had the opportunity to discuss the costs and benefits, without them having had the opportunity to examine the actual costs associated and reach some conclusion.



So, I will be voting against this bill, as I have from the beginning, and I would urge other members to do likewise.



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings West.



MR. GEORGE MOODY: Mr. Speaker, I rise just to say a few words. I voted in favour of the Cape Breton amalgamation bill basically because the municipal units there asked for and got a piece of legislation. One could say, well your Party was in favour of the amalgamation of regions around the province, and I would say that is true. But I have to say that I am voting against this bill because it was not one where consultation took place, it was not one where democracy was allowed to play a role, it was not one where it was developed in a way, even when we went to the Law Amendments Committee, and people who were directly involved, the government did not listen at that point.



So there are so many things in this particular bill, Mr. Speaker, that forces me, as a member of this Legislature to vote against this bill. I think anyone who says, well you are voting against amalgamation, that is not true. I have demonstrated I have voted for it. I will vote for it in Queens, I voted for it in Cape Breton, but the scenario and the democracy and the way it was handled in those areas is quite different from how it is being handled in the metro area. So for that reason, I will be voting against this bill and would ask the government that if we are going to have amalgamation of other areas, that this kind of process not happen anywhere else, that it happens like it is happening in Queens or in Cape Breton, where it is being asked for and people are allowed to participate, and not the way that the Premier and this government have rammed it onto the four municipal units in metro and the way it was handled.



So, Mr. Speaker, I will be voting against this bill.



MR. SPEAKER: The question is called. The motion is for third reading of the bill. Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.



The motion is carried.



Ordered that this bill do pass. Ordered that the title be as read by the Clerk. Ordered that the bill be engrossed.



The honourable Deputy Government House Leader.



MR. ALLISTER SURETTE: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 5.



Bill No. 5 - School Boards Act.



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



HON. GERALD O'MALLEY: Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the honourable Minister of Education, I would move third reading of Bill No. 5.



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Atlantic.



MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, I rise at this point, at third reading, to make some final comments with respect to Bill No. 5. We had an opportunity earlier this morning to talk about the provisions of Bill No. 5, and the kind of power and authority that, it puts in the hands of the Minister of Education and the fact that as the Minister of Education says, he will be given the authority, basically, to go forward and amalgamate any school boards that he so wishes, he will make a decision on the basis of anything he wants, to indicate to his Cabinet members that he wants to amalgamate some particular boards. He has that authority.



It was raised during debate in the committee stage, Mr. Speaker, that it is unprecedented in this House that that kind of authority would be given to a minister of this government or any other government. What Opposition Parties tried to do was introduce an amendment which would have inserted a rational and a responsible process to provide for justification of decisions to amalgamate, for a reasonable process to lead to the transition from the current status to the amalgamated status of school boards, but the Minister of Education told us here in this House that he was against that, that he needed the ultimate authority to make those decisions, in particular as it related to two - what he considered emergency situations in the province - school boards that needed to be dealt with and that by injecting or inserting some kind of a reasonable process, that would delay and in too many ways hinder or restrict his ability to, in fact, get on with what he saw as an important or an urgent or an emergency task.



Now in response to that and the fact that the 40 members defeated the 11, or however many on this side voted for that amendment, we suggested to the minister that maybe what we could do in the alternative was to put sort of a sunset clause on this kind of power, that set up a date in the future. I think it was either the school board elections in 1997 or somewhat sooner, where we make sure that this kind of process be imposed so that the government and the minister did not have that kind of unlimited authority. Surprise, surprise, Mr. Speaker, the minister and his colleagues decided that that was not satisfactory for their interests and that he and his colleagues would decide when and if that power was going to be altered in any way.



I just want to say, Mr. Speaker, as I wrap up here, that this is another example of the government and ministers taking unto themselves the kind of power and authority that is unprecedented. In a time of great change, in a time of great anxiety within the education system, within municipal governments, within all governments, at a time when the public is increasingly concerned and skeptical about politics and politicians, this government continues to move forward in ways that take away the ability for the public of Nova Scotia to see the true decisions that are being made by this government, that hold them accountable for any of the decisions they are making or, in any way, to have any input into the decisions being made, Mr. Speaker.



[11:15 a.m.]



This bill, the previous bill on municipal amalgamation, is a sign of the fact that this group has lost faith in or has developed a total contempt with democracy and with the input and the ability of the public of Nova Scotia to have any concrete analysis, to have any worthwhile opinion, to have any rights to contribute in any manner whatsoever into any final decision.



This government has decided that it will decide what is right and what is wrong and it will move forward, regardless of what the people of Nova Scotia might say, Mr. Speaker. I just want to indicate that I am absolutely, entirely and completely and utterly opposed to that philosophy and to the process that this government is moving forward with. For that and probably many other reasons that I will not bore the House with this morning, I am opposed to this bill, I will be voting against this bill and I hope other members will consider doing the same. Thank you.



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Opposition.



MR. TERENCE DONAHOE: Mr. Speaker, I rise briefly to make remarks relative to the amendments to the School Boards Act, Bill No. 5. If it were not challenged by the near obscene pork-barrel politics practised by the Minister of Transportation and Communications, relative to Highway No. 104 and the ripping off of the monies for the Fleur-de-lis Trail, this bill would probably be, by a wide margin, the most problematic and offensive of the pieces of legislation introduced by this government in this session.



I have said many times, and I repeat it as we close on third reading of this bill, that in my opinion, for what it is worth, it is simply wrong and it is dangerous and it is inappropriate and unreasonable to afford and accord an authority to a Minister of Education which is granted to this and subsequent Ministers of Education by this bill.



The Minister of Education, on the strength of this bill, Mr. Speaker, can walk into the Cabinet Room any Thursday and can tender a report and recommendation and say to his or her colleagues, there shall be x number of school board administrations in this province and we are going to amalgamate this, that and the other board with these boards, and we are going to amalgamate this board and that board and we are going to do whatever we want to do and there is no process, there is no obligation on the part of that minister or that Executive Council to engage in a public debate and consultation, leading to the amalgamation of those school boards. I believe that, God knows, nobody in here is infallible and I believe that that kind of unfettered authority is a very dangerous one.



Now the minister has said, well, some people argued that there should be a sunset clause included in this piece of legislation. So the minister, when he brought the bill back after Law Amendments Committee added the words in Clause 1, Section 8A(2)(a) the words "before the election of school board members in 1997." So what does that mean? It means that he can do exactly what he wants to do, up until and prior to the school board elections in 1997.



By my calculation, in round figures, and it is very rough, that gives this minister only about 110 Thursdays on which he can go to the Cabinet and walk in with this report and recommendation and say, there shall be the following amalgamations of the district school boards. The reason I am so exercised, I think, it is just the poorest of public policy to allow any minister to have such an extreme, unfettered, uncontrolled, unappealable authority in relation particularly to something as fundamental as the delivery and the structure of education in our public school system. I think it is wrong, unreasonable and very dangerous.



The Minister of Education has said that there are a couple of matters of urgency, francophone and Acadian governance and he and I agree with that and everybody who has talked to him agrees that that probably is an issue which carries with it some degree of urgency. Well, if that is the case, why doesn't the minister put in a piece of legislation, the terms and provisions that would result in the development of an Acadian and francophone public school governance system? What is the problem if that is in fact a matter of urgency? If Guysborough is a matter of urgency, and I believe it to be, why is it not possible for this minister - he says he has had this extensive review and he knows where he is going in that regard - why is it not possible for the minister or why would the minister not come forward with a piece of legislation which described the redesign and reconfiguration of the school board administration structure that would address the issues which he indicates are so vitally necessary to be addressed relative to the Guysborough District School Board?



I simply can't put into words, Mr. Speaker, how disappointed I am with this bill, how disappointing I find it and how very dangerous, my final comment, I believe it to be, that this Legislature gives to one minister the right to walk into a Cabinet Meeting any Thursday and simply put a report and recommendation on the table and say, here is the redesign of the school board structure of the Province of Nova Scotia. There is no appeal, there is no process requiring the involvement and discussion with the stakeholders. We have provisions where, if we want to close an individual school, there is a process whereby public meetings and the involvement of those who are affected by the closure of that school: the children and their parents, administrators and teachers, and the community at large. There is a process to subject that to some public consultation and some scrutiny.



We don't know, will not know and nobody will know until after the fact, what are the financial implications to the taxpayers of any given region relative to the potential municipal contribution which the local regions and local municipalities may have to make in the event that the Minister of Education comes forward with school board amalgamation proposals. We won't know that until after the fact. The way this government goes about its business, we will probably have difficulty even with freedom of information legislation getting any detail as to what the studies were which led to the proposal or the recommendation that there be amalgamation either on the basis of pedagogical grounds or on the basis of financial grounds.



I just will leave it at that, Madam Speaker. I think this is a very problematic piece of legislation. It is the poorest of public policy to afford any minister in any ministry, to have as carte blanche and as total and as unfettered a discretion as is provided the Minister of Education in this regard. I think it is offensive in the extreme. It is wrong and it is dangerous and I will be voting against Bill No. 5.



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



MR. JOHN HOLM: Madam Speaker, it would be a little bit over simplistic to simply say ditto to the comments that have been made previously, but, quite honestly, Madam Speaker, I think that expression would sum up certainly my support for the comments that have been made by the Leader of the Official Opposition.



This legislation before us is repugnant in the extreme. What we have before us is an admission by this government that they lack courage, that they lack the intestinal fortitude to bring their actual agenda before the public of Nova Scotia. It is a clear example that they believe their vision, if you can call it a vision, would not stand up to public scrutiny and would not be allowed to proceed if it had to go through the proper review process that we have in place under the Utility and Review Board.



Madam Speaker, we all know, we all recognize in this House and, more importantly, all of those who are the partners in the education system know that we have difficulties around this province, in terms of the finances and in terms of being able to ensure that we have an equitable, high quality standard of education.



You know, we have heard from the minister and from the government that they need to have the powers to be able to address those problems. We have also been told that, as a result of this so-called consultation that has gone on which, by the way, those who have been trying to communicate to the minister and to the government through the minister, say has not really been true consultation because the government has not been listening. But you know, the government says that through that process, in any event, there has been some consensus building done.



Well if, in fact, that consensus exists, if the government has the support of those boards, then all they have to do, the School Boards Act, as it currently reads but which this bill is aimed at changing, under Section 6 and Section 7. Under Section 7(1), for example, it says the ". . . Utility and Review Board has jurisdiction over the boundaries of school districts and may upon application (a) order a school board to amalgamate with any other school board; or (b) annex the whole or any part of a school district to another school district.". That process can be kicked in by an application made by a school board or the minister. The process is there.



The minister says he has the support of boards in what he is trying to do. Then there is absolutely zero need for this autocratic, dictatorial piece of legislation which gives all power, without any opportunity for public scrutiny or review. There is no appeal, there is no provision in this bill to reverse the decisions that are made. This the Leader of the Official Opposition called the poorest of public policy. Well, Madam Speaker, I don't consider this public policy at all; this is autocratic, dictatorial policy. It is policy aimed at making the job for the government easier but it is not public policy because the public is not served by legislation like this.



When one takes a look at this, as we are sitting in this House with the statue of Joseph Howe who fought for democracy and freedom of speech, the statue outside, one has to wonder how it has been possible for the government to stray so far away from the principles that this man fought so hard for and which we all supposedly admire. Well, I haven't forgotten the principles of Joseph Howe but this government sure has. The minister takes pride and he pats himself on the back and I gave the minister some pats on the back as well, when he brought in regulations to ensure an orderly process that would involve the communities those who are to be affected, if a school board were to shut down some schools without a proper process and allowing for the adequate amount of time, adequate amount of community input and for evaluation of the social and economic impacts.



[11:30 a.m.]



The minister deserves to be congratulated for having brought that in and boards have been operating by those regulations ever since. I remember the Tower Road School incident that the Minister of Education referred to earlier. I remember what was commonly called the Rollie Bill, to pass through this House to prevent some closures in the City of Dartmouth. I remember those and why that process was needed to be put in place to ensure there was a proper process. That was for an individual school.



However, when it comes to the Liberal view and to the Liberal caucus and the Liberal Party, which I really question whether most rank and file members even or the Liberal Party would support giving this absolute power to a Cabinet Minister and his few colleagues (Interruption) and yes, power does tend to corrupt and the member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley when he gets up to speak I am sure is going to say that absolute power corrupts absolutely, I am sure he is going to say that as he just told me that from the floor.



A reasonable suggestion was made by the school boards association supported by the home and school association and supported by the professional educators in the province, that is three of the four partners in education and certainly their process was supported by both Opposition Parties. It is saying let's just not have a lower standard for the amalgamation of school boards than we have for the simple closure of one individual school. But, no, we are supposed to have the absolute confidence that the government will make the right decisions. In order to satisfy the concerns that there was no sunset provision in this Act, the minister brought in a great amendment that simply says we have to everything before 1997. Well, quite frankly, I have every reason to believe from what I am hearing, the government already knows exactly what they plan to do, they know the number of boards that they plan to have left after they go through the amalgamation. It is not going to take until 1997 to do it.



The only thing that the minister's amendment means is that after 1997 if you want to go from five boards down to one you will have to have another piece of legislation or in the new bill that is going to come forward this fall, in the education Act, maybe, who knows what, this wise and thoughtful and considerate and respectful democratic Liberal Government will do to people then, who knows. Another recommendation that this government turned down was a provision to allow the minister to move ahead, to amalgamate those boards where there was a crisis situation, to take action now but then to subject - if an application is made - that decision to a public process, possibly to the public hearings through the Utility and Review Board. That is a body that is charged with the responsibilities for setting electoral boundaries for school boards, municipalities, to investigate all kinds of things; rate increases -except toll rates on highways, of course. They give them all kinds of powers.



Madam Speaker, one can only conclude there is absolutely no other conclusion that the public can come to, that is that the government does not have confidence in what it is doing, it does not believe what it plans to do will live up to the public or would withstand public scrutiny. Therefore, they have to wrench it away from the public forum, where there can be an independent assessment done, and to wrench that decision from that process and take it down to the Cabinet bunker where, behind closed doors, nobody will ever be able to hear or question the rationale behind what they are doing. They can make decisions on whatever day of the week they want because Cabinet is not restricted to Thursdays. They can have a Cabinet meeting any time they want and, in essence, do whatever the heck they want to do. To me, that is arrogance in the extreme, it is completely contrary to every principle of democracy that this government said they were going to try to uphold and certainly it is as disrespectful as you can possibly be of all the other partners in education.



Madam Speaker, it is contemptuous to all the other partners in education for anybody to suggest that they are any less concerned about the quality of education that our young people will receive. That is paramount, it is fundamental and it is vital. All the partners know that, or at least the other three partners know that and want to work towards it.



This amalgamation is actually going to cost millions of dollars to bring about. The minister pretends there are going to be financial savings. Most, if there are financial savings, are going to be eaten up in the amalgamation process as it unfolds. At the same time, this government is pretending that it is interested in saving money for the classroom, we see millions of dollars being withdrawn from school board budgets with the result that programs and services vitally needed for children across this province are going to be eliminated. We are seeing and hearing - Halifax County was the most recent yesterday - the elimination of many teaching positions which will mean increased class sizes; the elimination of important resources like speech therapists, the elimination of resource people which, with the increased class sizes, will mean it will become less and less possible for the individual instructors, the educators, those who are charged with the responsibility of helping to educate our young people and who love their work and who care deeply for the children in their charge, their job is going to become that much more difficult and impossible.



This bill is about saving money for the provincial government, it is not about improving the quality of education. That is a shame that this government will have to bear, that Nova Scotians will begin to recognize more and more as the government plans unfold and it is a betrayal of the principles that this government espoused, to improve the quality of education during the last election.



I could go on for considerably more time. It is something we will all be following and I am sure we won't have that many weeks to wait before the Minister of Education and his colleagues - maybe they will wait until after June, I don't know - before they start to announce their plans for which boards are going to be amalgamated. I don't imagine they will be announcing them where it will create any controversy, until after the Liberal Leadership review vote has been taken. But after that, Madam Speaker, I suggest that the floor is going to fall out and the announcements as to who is going to be lumped together are going to start to roll.



Quite honestly, it doesn't matter what people are going to say because this legislation has said it already, if you don't like it, tough, live with your lumps because there is no appeal. This government, all 40 members, who are present, who are going to vote for it on the Liberal benches, all of those members will have to tell constituents and others who contact them, if they don't like what the government plans to do, too bad, all you can do is write to the minister because there is nothing we can do, there is no appeal process, there is nobody independent that you can express your concerns to. The Liberal vision is be all and know all. They have all the answers and therefore all the decisions can be made down in the Cabinet Room, behind closed doors, where the public does not have direct access to any of the discussions that go on and only will get what the PR people spin out of there to try to put a positive spin on what is bound to be bad news for Nova Scotians.



If I am wrong, if the Liberal vision and view is going to be so good, then, Madam Speaker, I would urge the Minister of Education to move that the bill go back to the Committee of the Whole House so he can bring forward an amendment that will make any decisions that he and his Cabinet colleagues are going to make, after they have made them subject to the Utility and Review Board's second reasonable, sober consideration. If he is not prepared to do that, well, then again, that speaks for itself. Thank you.



MADAM SPEAKER: The motion is for third reading of Bill No. 5. Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.



The motion is carried.



Ordered that this bill do pass. Ordered that the title be as read by the Clerk. Ordered that the bill be engrossed.



The honourable Government House Leader.



HON. RICHARD MANN: Madam Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 10.



Bill No. 10 - Highway 104 Western Alignment Act.



MADAM SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Transportation.



HON. RICHARD MANN: Madam Speaker, I so move.



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



MR. BROOKE TAYLOR: Madam Speaker, I rise to speak for a few moments on Bill No. 10, the toll tax bill, because that is exactly what it is. It is a toll tax and the maker and the genesis and the cause of this bill is the fact that some $26 million has been reappropriated to a secondary highway down in the Minister of Transportation and Communications' riding. It is most disconcerting and it is quite bothersome that this legislation is going to pass and there is no doubt that it will pass. It causes me considerable discomfort, distress and quite honestly, I am hurt that this bill is going to go through this House. The Act will not only change the landscape of Nova Scotia figuratively, it will change it literally. This Act is going to make history. We are going to be infamous for toll highways on the Trans Canada. Nowhere in this nation are there tolls on the Trans Canada road section, nowhere. Presently you can go from Sydney to Vancouver without paying a toll and where there are toll highways, there are alternatives, there are other options. Trucking companies, businesses, Nova Scotia citizens, particularly the citizens of Cumberland and Colchester Counties, will certainly be negatively affected by this legislation.



[11:45 a.m.]



If that is not bad enough, Madam Speaker - and to make matters worse, in fact - the Western Alignment Corporation will be exempted from the Public Utilities Act, which means, of course, that the corporation will be able to raise tolls at their whim and at their wish, without any accountability, without any openness, without any honesty and, of course, without any integrity. The Western Alignment Corporation will be exempted from the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act. All this, where some $30 million of Nova Scotia taxpayers' money, and taxpayers' money from across the nation, are going to be invested in this project.



The Western Alignment Corporation will be exempted from the Planning Act. They will not have to apply for building permits; they will not have to apply for electrical permits; and there will be no electrical inspections. Again, one has to ask, why is the Western Alignment Corporation receiving so much generosity from the Minister of Transportation and Communications?



Madam Speaker, there is another disturbing fact that is included in this bill. The Western Alignment Corporation will not be subjected to - and will be exempt, in fact, from -the Provincial Finance Act. It is most upsetting that our provincial auditors who are very qualified, very intelligent people will not be able to examine, analyze, inspect, they will not be able to cross-question, they will not be able to quiz, they will not be able to suss-out and weigh how our monies are being expended, some $30 million. That is wrong, wrong, wrong. That is a considerable financial investment on behalf of the Nova Scotia taxpayers and to grant all these concessions to the Western Alignment Corporation begs the question, what has the government, what has the private consortium - to be named at a later date -what has the Western Alignment Corporation got to hide from the Nova Scotia taxpayers?



Municipal councils of Truro, Colchester County, and Cumberland County are very upset that this highway is going to be built and supported by tolls. Nova Scotians and people who use this highway will be charged a toll tax. Councils are also upset, Madam Speaker, that their views and, in fact, some of their resolutions have been un-valued; they have not been given any consideration at all. There was no consultation with the municipalities that are going to be affected and that is wrong. I feel that is unforgivable in a democracy, that a government would not have the decency and the courage to go out and meet and sit down with their municipal counterparts.



I need not say, Madam Speaker, that I will not be supporting the bill. I encourage other honourable members in this House to be of the same mind. Thank you.



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



MR. JOHN HOLM: Madam Speaker, one of the few pieces of legislation the government brought through that was not very controversial, and that we could all support, was the adoption of the Duck Tolling Retriever as the official dog of Nova Scotia. I still think the Liberals should be adopting the "toll retriever" as the official animal for that Party.



The bill that we have before us, I have spoken on on a number of occasions. I find what this government is doing and the policies that they are laying out in this legislation to be obscene. What this government is trying to do in this legislation is, again, a continuation of the autocratic, undemocratic, secretive society that they are trying to create in the Province of Nova Scotia.



Madam Speaker, when this bill was first introduced I talked about the fact that it exempted this new corporation from three things. I raised it in the very first Question Period and it was suggested that I should go and read the bill because I don't know what I am talking about. I pointed out that it was exempted from the Freedom of Information Act; I pointed out that it was exempted from the review of the Utility and Review Board, in terms of setting the tolls, and I also suggested that it was exempt from the review by the Auditor General.



Well, although I was told that I was wrong, and I am pleased to see and I will congratulate the minister although I can't just take credit for it myself, I am sure a lot of the people who have been beating up on the minister have had more influence than I have on him, but at least that section has been clarified, that is that the Auditor General now will have an opportunity to review the corporation.



But you know, what this legislation does is change the definition of what Highway No. 104 is, the Highway No. 104 by-pass, the western alignment, it changes it from what was used when they called for their proposals or requests for expressions of interest. At that time they were talking only about the new section of road that was going to be built, the new asphalt, the new roadbed, not the road that has already been built and paid for by the taxpayers.



Now the government has changed the definition that they used when they asked companies to provide their proposals. They have changed it so that they can capture a part of the road that has already been built, so they will be able to milk the residents from Cumberland County and Colchester County more, in terms of tolls, because they are going to have to pay the tolls, even if they use the existing road, unless they divert down and go through Highway No. 204.



So they have started off by changing it, so they can capture, according to the Andersen report, more people. One of the main reasons they want to capture more people is because they have redirected money away from the SHIP agreement, which was aimed at and which specifically says that those monies are intended to be used for highway construction, that are part of the national highway system. Money was diverted away, $26 million, and they discovered when they did that, that new section of road was not going to be robust enough, in terms of revenue, to pay for the cost of that road, if there is a downturn in traffic and certainly would not be robust enough to return a significant profit to the Province of Nova Scotia, in the way of increased revenues beyond that which it will cost to build the road.



This bill is an act to try to hide from taxpayers the true costs. What the government is trying to do is pretend that the cost of building that road does not exist, because it appears on somebody else's books instead of on their own. Presumably, if somebody else has it on their books, even though Nova Scotians are paying for it through their use and through the $29 million that is going to be put up-front, supposedly if it doesn't appear on the Estimates Book of the Province of Nova Scotia, that debt doesn't appear. That will look good or better in the next election because here we can say we have a road for free.



I just have to say to all members of this House, the people in the Province of Nova Scotia are not quite that thick. People can see through that and they know who is paying for it. They know it is going to cost them more to have it financed privately, by a private company, which is going to be insisting on making, thank you very much, a healthy profit, just as they know that the power rates in Nova Scotia are higher now than they would need to be, if the corporation had been run efficiently by the former government and if the new private owners were not guaranteed a high rate of return and investment on their money. I think it is around 12 per cent that they are getting. Not bad, Madam Speaker. A lot better than I am getting on the couple of dollars that I have got in a GIC. I think now it is around 6 per cent to 7 per cent but, oh no, they are getting a lot more.



You can be darn sure that the consortium that is building that road is going to be looking for a lot more money in the way of return than this government would have to pay if, in fact, it were to be doing the project on its own. The Minister of Supply and Services himself has said in estimates that if government operates - and certainly his department - on a level playing field with the private sector, they can compete favourably with them in terms of not only the quality of service but, certainly, in the cost as well. So, they have changed the definition.



The government says that they are not responsible for the debt of this new corporation, but it is amazing that there is nothing in this bill that would stop the government from putting a loan guarantee on any activity of that corporation, and the government refused an amendment that would have provided greater guarantee, greater clarity, that said that the province could not provide loan guarantees. If this is totally a private venture, private risk, then why should the province have the ability to provide a loan guarantee? Maybe they are considering that that is going to be needed in their negotiations with the private sector to get that road built and that they will not do it unless the government guarantees that debt. One has to wonder, because they would not accept that amendment.



They also would not accept an amendment that said that the tolls could only be used and collected for the sole purpose, the only purpose, of paying for the construction, the financing, the operation and maintenance of that road. By their refusal to allow that inclusion, that means that legally, if they want, they can collect toll monies and use revenues from that road for other purposes which means, of course, that they will not be paying it off quickly if one of their purposes should happen to be that they want to make sure that there are excess revenues, so that those excess revenues can roll into the coffers of the Province of Nova Scotia as another form of hidden tax. This road toll certainly is the highway department's version of a casino and they are hoping to roll in as many profits from their road casino as they possibly can.



Government also refused an amendment that would have said that the only debts that can be repaid are those of the private partner. Therefore, there is nothing in this legislation to prevent the government from continuing to collect the tolls beyond the time at which the road has been paid, and they can continue to collect it to pay off any government costs, monies that the taxpayers have put in again. Of course, in all of these things, all Nova Scotians who use that road or have goods and services that are brought through that road are paying the price of those increased costs, but it is the residents in Colchester and Cumberland Counties who are going to be paying the highest price, especially those who have to use the road to travel to and from work, or for those who are involved in business and have to transport their goods and services to market. The government is so secretive, the secret society they are trying to develop and they have no confidence in what they are going to do so therefore they are unwilling to allow the toll rates to be evaluated by the Utility and Review Board.



[12:00 p.m.]



The power rates that we pay, the Utility and Review Board is considered to have enough expertise and government has enough confidence in them to allow them to review our rates. They have the ability and enough confidence in them to allow them to review the tolls, the rates that are charged on the bridges but for this new secret venture that they are starting, no, they might find out something. Freedom of information can be awkward, it can be downright embarrassing but you know, the government did agree on the casino bill, to allow the Freedom of Information Act to be relevant and to be followed but not on this one, no.



The general public, some people who are nosey, somebody who might have a right to some information, whether that be a member of this Legislature, a member of the press, a community, someone who lives along that area, an individual citizen might have the tenacity, the gall to try to get some information on this highway and on the financing, on the revenues and where those are going. So, you have to plug that loophole, you have to make sure that that secret society continues and exists unabated, so you rescind the powers of the Freedom on Information Act.



Heavens, who only knows too, the corporation or the partners who are going to be involved in this process might conceivably not want to have some information made public, that would be the argument. Well, it is taxpayers' dollars, whether those taxpayers' dollars are put up-front in the $29 million or dropped, in the way of tolls, into the use or paid by cheque or credit card because an electronic camera has snapped your license plate as you are driving through; regardless it is taxpayers who are paying and they don't want the public to see that.



The Gaming Corporation has to file reports, the Liquor Commission has to file reports. There were reports, if I am not mistaken even tabled in this House today. Does this new corporation which is going to handle hundreds of millions of dollars, have to file a report? The answer is, no. Get your head around that one. The government would not even agree to require that the corporation should have to prepare, once a year, a report on its activities over the past year which would contain financial information and would require that that report be made available to the Minister of Transportation and then within 30 days tabled in this House or with the clerk.



You tell me one business that is a public business where you can buy shares or interest in that business where that business doesn't have to file a report with the shareholders. If you have a business like that I would suggest that the board of directors will be heaved pretty quickly. Nova Scotia Power has to file reports, banks file reports, MT&T files reports and most publicly-traded companies, if not all, are required. But not this one. Not this corporation because the government has decided that the secrecy society that they are creating has to prevail.



This bill is not worthy of support for a whole variety of reasons. It certainly isn't worthy of support because of the manner in which it treats the motoring public, the installation of the tolls and the amount of those tolls because the way the monies were diverted. But, Madam Speaker, we are creating some dangerous precedents in this House and I could just imagine how eloquently members of that Liberal caucus would have been speaking if they were on this side of the House had the Tory Government before them tried to do what they are trying to do.



I have heard enough of their speeches on Nova Scotia Power and other things to know the kind of outrage that they would have brought forward. Madam Speaker, what is being done in this legislation is dangerous. It is not only bad policy, it is dangerous policy because the kinds of practices that are being established are completely undemocratic, unaccountable and I would suggest 100 per cent unacceptable to any reasonable, reasoned thinking Nova Scotian.



Madam Speaker, I can't speak forcefully enough in terms of trying to express my complete revulsion with what is being done here. I would ask all members, look inside yourselves and consider, is it worth voting in support of such a Draconian, secretive bill? Is it worth voting in support of that over taking the risk of offending a few of the power brokers in the Liberal caucus and Cabinet by disagreeing, having the tenacity to disagree with them. Principles here are far more important than Party loyalty and I sincerely hope that government members will look at the full picture of what you are doing, because you bear responsibility.



The Minister of Transportation and Communications may have broad shoulders and may be willing to carry a lot of the blame and a lot of the flak to protect the Premier at this crucial time in the Premier's leadership. But, quite frankly, Madam Speaker, what sticks as a result of this bill, sticks not only to the Minister of Transportation, it sticks to the Premier and every other member of this House who vote in support of this bill.



MADAM SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings North.



MR. GEORGE ARCHIBALD: I just want to say a couple of words about this bill that will be passing shortly. It is a great disappointment to me and many others in this House and I know many people are disappointed about the bill who haven't risen in their place to speak against this bill and the ramifications that will be taking place as a result of this toll tax that is being put on.



There are 6,600 vehicles a day that are travelling from Amherst to Truro and points beyond. Those 6,600 vehicles are the targeted group by this bill. This bill will be the first in Canada to place tolls on the Trans Canada Highway, as you know, and as recently as this morning, I had a call from a private citizen, not an organization, and he said, look hold it up, don't let it pass. I said, I am afraid to tell you, my friend, but the Legislature will be closing some time today and this bill will pass and there is not much that you or I can do about it.



I said, I will say one more time and ask this government one more time to please reconsider and reconsider the ramifications to the individuals in Cumberland County and Colchester County in particular, particularly these people who will be contributing 24 per cent to the finances of this toll road just because of the location and the recommendation of Mr. Andersen of shifting the toll not on this new section of road, it is not going on the new section, this toll booth is apparently going to be shifted up the road several kilometres so that it will trap an additional 31 per cent of motorists who normally would be able to turn off and they would not be captured.



So this bill, this toll road is not entirely fair to the people of Cumberland County because they are going to be paying 24 per cent of the costs. One of the trucking associations that was in said it will add an additional $500,000 a year to the expense of doing their business, and another person with a great number of trucks indicated it would be $400,000. The Minister of Transportation has indicated it is a straighter road, there is no stopping and the speed limit has increased, so they will be able to save time and money. Well, most of the tractor trailers that we see today on our highways have a little black box that indicates they cannot exceed 90 kilometres per hour. So, regardless, if the speed limit was 200 kilometres an hour, these trucks are still programmed to drive at 90 kilometres per hour. If the driver of the truck wants to use the Minister of Transportation's speed limit of 110 kilometres an hour, he will probably be dismissed by his employer because he will be using so much fuel and he just is not using proper safety standards for the highway.



So the great boon of increasing the speed limit does not really do it for the trucking industry because they are mostly travelling at 90 kilometres an hour, according to the trucking industry that I have been talking to.



The Andersen report was released, or not released. According to the minister, he said it was released, but I had a difficult time getting a copy of it; unfortunately, I don't know of any person who did receive a copy. The media didn't have any copies and I don't know anyone who did. However, we have the Freedom of Information at the minister's office and hopefully, at some point, the minister will release the Andersen report because Nova Scotians paid for it and they deserve to have a little peek and see the rationale and the reasoning for this Draconian bill and to really see what prompted the minister to think he could get this government, and the people involved in how this government felt they could get away with the toll.



Now the shifting of the $26 million out of this highway construction project was totally unfair, uncalled for and unprecedented. It is the first time that money has been moved from the 100-Series, Trans Canada Highway, to a different category of highway in the history of the province or in the history of an agreement between the federal and the provincial government.



Prior to the introduction of this bill and before this bill finally receives the assent of the House, I think it would be incumbent upon the minister to look at alternatives. The alternative was suggested, by the people in Cumberland County, of twinning the current road there. As unacceptable and as unprecedented as that may be, it is a cheaper method to solve this difficult problem of four-laning the road through the Wentworth Valley.



We made a commitment several years ago, in 1993, that that road would be constructed in two construction seasons. The minister chooses to ignore, make fun and poke holes but, you know, in the absence of any concrete suggestions from this minister, and his total disregard for the SHIP agreement that was signed by the former government, his total inability to tell members of this House where the money is going to be going from the transportation allotment coming from the federal government because they have cancelled all the federal assistance to the trucking industry in Atlantic Canada, you know there are so many questions that are going unanswered it is totally unfair of this government to impose tolls on the people of Nova Scotia. This bill doesn't just impose tolls on Nova Scotians, this bill opens the opportunity for the government and the new corporation that is going to be operating this toll road, it opens the opportunity for them to get into any kind of venture you can think of along that road, opening service stations without building permits or any regard to the local standard Building Code of Cumberland and Colchester County.



[12:15 p.m.]



They can open fast food restaurants, they can do pretty near anything they want along that road without any regard for the Department of Municipal Affairs Building Codes that have been adopted by the counties in the region. This bill is typical of this government, it is unfair to the people of Nova Scotia, the people of Nova Scotia were not given full warning that they were going to be looking at a bill like this and certainly the people of Nova Scotia expect more from their government than a late night back room shift of $26 million and then to be saddled by this government and the ministers - and there are four MLAs from Cumberland and Colchester Counties that are directly affected by this road. Two of them sit at the Cabinet table. Why haven't we heard publicly in the House from them trying to defend this piece of business because we need comment because perhaps they could shed some light upon it so that this bill could be supported by Nova Scotians. I certainly can't support this bill. I was at the meeting in Colchester County of the municipal council and to a person at the meeting they roundly condemned this piece of business.



I do support the people of Colchester and Cumberland Counties in my determined and committed opposition to this toll road and I wish that other members of this House that live in the area or will be travelling in the area would stand up and be counted and say, no, to this very Draconian, unfair piece of legislation.



MADAM SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Atlantic.



MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: I wanted to take the opportunity to register my displeasure with this bill which represents the first legislative commitment that this government is making towards the whole concept of public/private partnerships. It is a commitment that has been in practice in terms of the belief, the ideological belief by this government and the former government that the private sector can do it better. So, if you want it done more efficiently, if you want it done more cost-effectively, then you turn it over to the private sector and let them look at after it because if the private sector does it it's good, if the public sector does it it's bad.



I think what jurisdictions are finding across this country and around the world is that simply is not the case, that there are instances where the private sector can perhaps do things, certain things more effectively. There are times when the public sector should be doing things more effectively and can do things more effectively. There is the whole question of accountability in terms of the taxpayers' dollars and how that has to be built into the whole equation. But, to simply embrace wholeheartedly that ideology that says private sector is better, I believe, is wrong and is leading us down the road I think to a very serious problem.



This piece of legislation has none of the safeguards within it that should be there in terms of ensuring that this private sector entity, this corporation does things in accordance with the laws of the land. In fact, what it does is provide instance after instance where that corporation is going to be exempt from various rules including the Freedom of Information Act, the Privacy Act, the regulation by the URB. We had to fight tooth and nail, we and Nova Scotians, to even get the Auditor General to have the opportunity through this legislation to review the finances and the financial operations of this bill. (Interruption) The member for Kings North trying to grandstand again on this issue.



Let me say that my point first of all, is that the ideological commitment for the private sector is better surely that is a wrongheaded philosophy that has shown itself to be inaccurate, to be incomplete.



All we have to do in this province is look at examples like NC Diesel, Romatt Doors, M&M Manufacturing, examples of private sector companies that have gone the way of the dinosaur, Madam Speaker, as a result of bad management, improper financing and so on. Maritime Capital Investments Inc.; Green Gables, in 1991; Arcade ladies shops, it goes on. Dome Petroleum, Principal Trust, Lloyds of London, Confederation Life, Dow Corning, Air Atlantic. We can list the number of companies in this country, in this province, that have gone belly-up as a result of bad management until the cows come home. To suggest that because it is the private sector, it will done better, is absolutely inaccurate. There is no question there are examples, also, of public sector projects that have been badly handled but surely, if we are going to have responsible government, that means having a government that is prepared to take on the challenges, that is prepared to take on the responsibility to do it better, to do it right, and to ensure that the interest of the public is, in fact, protected.



Mr. Speaker, it has been stated very clearly that one of the main purposes of the Highway No. 104 bill is to hide the costs, to set up a separate corporation to handle the deficit financing, in other words, to hide the costs, to get them off the balance sheet so that the public of Nova Scotia does not understand and does not see what kind of cost this government is incurring. It is simply a sleight-of-hand, it is a shell game. It is not honest, it is not up-front and it is simply I don't believe it is the way for us to go. This company is going to be trying to avoid rules that affect many other and most other companies, not unlike the way that the government brought in legislation to allow the casinos that are going to operate in this province to avoid many rules and regulations that the government and most developers, builders and others who operate in the Province of Nova Scotia, have to be subject to.



There is a high degree of secrecy provided for in this bill, Mr. Speaker, which is, again, consistent with the strategy of this government to do things behind closed doors, to do things away from the view of the public and to ensure that the public will not find out later what they have been doing and what is going on so that they cannot be held accountable. That is wrong. That is not in the public interest and it is not good enough to simply say that this is going to be cheaper.



We are engaging in a project over $100 million which this government has no idea what is the most cost-effective way to handle that particular project. They believe in their hearts, they believe in their minds, that by putting it out to the public sector it is going to be cheaper but there is absolutely no evidence of that, Mr. Speaker, and that is not being very up-front, that is not being very responsible, I believe, to the people of Nova Scotia. Let's remember, in the final analysis, that we are engaging in this public/private partnership on Highway No. 104 and let's say Highway No. 104, and not the western alignment, because that is where the toll is going, but we are involved in this process for one reason and one reason only. That is because somehow, some way, $26 million fell out of a fund that was set aside to build that diversion and found its way to another particular pot.



Mr. Speaker, however you shake it down, that $26 million would have gone some considerable distance, $26 million, by the way, of federal money that was committed to that project. Had that money stayed in the pot and been used to build this diversion, I would suggest we would not be dealing with Bill No. 10, which is more commonly known as the Highway No. 104 bill.



Mr. Speaker, as I have indicated in the past, I am not just simply philosophically opposed to public/private partnerships. I am spending some time trying to research the experience of these types of initiatives across the country and around the world, and what I have seen so far is that the jury is out on whether they are effective; there are occasions when they simply are not, and there are occasions when they may be. But, the jury is still out on whether or not public sector jurisdictions should be embracing that initiative. Clearly, they should not be undertaking the initiative without some consideration of the need to be accountable for the public's money. I think that is an important consideration and one sad weakness in the bill before us today.



Mr. Speaker, this piece of legislation is going to go through; the government has a vast majority - 40 members against the 11 Opposition. Let me not speak for the Official Opposition, but for the 3 NDP members that are opposed to this bill - it will go through, but let me say that we and many tens of thousands of Nova Scotians are going to be watching very closely to see what happens here and to try to hold, as best we can, this government accountable. Even though they are trying to shroud the information in total secrecy, we are going to do our best to try to hold this government accountable at each and every stage and, if we have the opportunity to provide input, whether that be through criticism or whether that be through suggestions, we are going to do so in order to, hopefully, prevent any serious mistakes, any serious failures that will affect the people of Nova Scotia in the long run.



Mr. Speaker, let me say finally that I wish that this minister, that this government, with their first official piece of legislation, their first official venturing down the road of public/private partnerships, would have done their homework at least and provided us with the rationale for why they were doing it, providing some framework for how the public/private partnership was going to take place so that we, and other Nova Scotians, as we watch the government head down this road, would have some confidence that they are not just moving down there with their hearts, that they actually have some idea of what they are doing. Unfortunately, anything we have found to date so far on Bill No. 10, or with this whole Highway No. 104 project, is that this government is moving in a headlong rush down this road, with very little information, with very little research, with very little analysis.



That is a concern for us and a problem, I think, for all Nova Scotians. Let us hope that we learn as we go along and that we do what we can to try and prevent the disasters that could happen in the future. Thank you.



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



HON. RICHARD MANN: Mr. Speaker, I move that the bill now be read for the third time.



MR. SPEAKER: The motion is for third reading of Bill No. 10. (Interruption)



I hear several calls for a recorded vote. Is that the pleasure of the House?



Ring the bells. Call in the members for a recorded vote on Bill No. 10.



[12:29 p.m.]



[The Division bells were rung.]



MR. SPEAKER: Are the Whips satisfied?



[The Clerk calls the roll.]



[12:33 p.m.]



YEAS NAYS



Mr. Barkhouse Mr. Moody

Mrs. Norrie Mr. Donahoe

Dr. Smith Mr. Russell

Dr. Stewart Mr. Leefe

Mr. MacEachern Mr. Holm

Mr. Mann Mr. Chisholm

Mr. O'Malley Ms. McDonough

Mr. Harrison Mr. Archibald

Mr. Adams Mr. Taylor

Mr. Brown Mr. McInnes

Mr. Lorraine Dr. Hamm

Mrs. Cosman

Mr. MacAskill

Mr. MacArthur

Mr. Richards

Mr. Surette

Mr. White

Mr. Holland

Mrs. O'Connor

Mr. Mitchell

Mr. Carruthers

Mr. Fogarty

Mr. Hubbard

Mr. W. MacDonald

Mr. Fraser

Mr. Colwell

Mr. Huskilson



THE CLERK: For, 27. Against, 11.



MR. SPEAKER: The motion is carried.



Ordered that this bill do pass. Ordered that the title be as read by the Clerk. Ordered that the bill be engrossed.



The honourable Government House Leader.



HON. RICHARD MANN: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Private Members' Public Bills for Third Reading.



PRIVATE MEMBERS' PUBLIC BILLS FOR THIRD READING



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.



HON. RICHARD MANN: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 14.



Bill No. 14 - Provincial Dog Act.



MR. ALLISTER SURETTE: Mr. Speaker, I move third reading of Bill No. 14.



MR. SPEAKER: The motion is for third reading of Bill No. 14. Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.



The motion is carried.



Ordered that the bill do pass. Ordered that the title be as read by the Clerk. Ordered that the bill be engrossed.



The honourable Government House Leader.



HON. RICHARD MANN: Mr. Speaker, would you please call the order of business, Private and Local Bills for Third Reading.



PRIVATE AND LOCAL BILLS FOR THIRD READING



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.



HON. RICHARD MANN: Mr. Speaker, I would move third reading of Bills No. 15, No. 16, No. 17 and No. 19 en bloc at this time.



Bill No. 15 - Bridgewater Ribes Regulation Act.



Bill No. 16 - Kentville Memorial Park Commission Act.



Bill No. 17 - Kentville Rink Commission Act.



Bill No. 19 - Queens Regional Municipality Act.



MR. SPEAKER: The motion is that Bills No. 15, No. 16, No. 17 and No. 19 be now read a third time. Is it the pleasure of the House to vote on that now? The question is called. Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.



The motion is carried.



Ordered that these bills do pass. Ordered that the titles be as read by the Clerk. Ordered that these bills be engrossed.



The honourable Minister of Health.



HON. RONALD STEWART: Mr. Speaker, on an introduction, if you would permit. In this spring season and the season of tourism, we want to welcome two visitors from the Keystone State of Pennsylvania, a former stomping ground. Gregory and Myra Taylor are here visiting and we want to welcome them to our House today. (Applause)



MR. SPEAKER: Honourable members, that would appear to conclude the business now before us for our consideration. I would like to thank you all for your kindness and courtesy during the session. I would like to thank our staff - our Pages and messengers, House staff, the Sergeant-at-Arms, Clerks - and all who have helped so greatly to make this session a success. (Applause)



The honourable Government House Leader.



HON. RICHARD MANN: Mr. Speaker, that does conclude the government business. I would move that we have a 10 minute recess while we await the arrival of the Lieutenant Governor.



MR. SPEAKER: Is the motion carried by agreement?



The House is recessed.



[The House recessed at 12:39 p.m.]



[The House reconvened at 12:48 p.m.]



SERGEANT-AT-ARMS: His Honour the Lieutenant Governor is without.



MR. SPEAKER: Let His Honour be admitted.



[The Speaker and the Clerks left the Chamber.]



[The Lieutenant Governor, the Honourable John James Kinley, preceded by his escort, and by Mr. Delmore Daye, Sergeant-at-Arms, bearing the Mace, entered the House of Assembly Chamber. The Lieutenant Governor then took his seat on the Throne.



The Sergeant-at-Arms then departed and re-entered the Chamber followed by the Speaker, the Honourable Paul MacEwan; Chief Clerk of the House, Roderick MacArthur; and Acting Assistant Clerk, Arthur Fordham, Q.C. They took up their positions at the foot of the Speaker's Table.]



SERGEANT-AT-ARMS: It is the wish of His Honour that the ladies and gentlemen be seated.



MR. SPEAKER: May it please Your Honour, the General Assembly of the Province has, in its present session, passed certain bills to which in the name of and on behalf of the General Assembly, I respectfully request Your Honour's Assent.



THE CLERK:



Bill No. 2 - Maritime Telegraph and Telephone Company, Limited Act.



Bill No. 3 - Halifax Regional Municipality Act.



Bill No. 4 - Utility and Review Board Act.



Bill No. 5 - School Boards Act.



Bill No. 6 - Centre Falmouth Cemetery Company Act.



Bill No. 7 - Financial Measures (1995) Act.



Bill No. 8 - Bridgewater Museum Commission Act.



Bill No. 9 - Train Station Inn Cabooses Act.



Bill No. 10 - Highway 104 Western Alignment Act.



Bill No. 11 - Halifax County Charter.



Bill No. 12 - Hopewell Cemetery Act.



Bill No. 14 - Provincial Dog Act.



Bill No. 15 - Bridgewater Ribes Regulation Act.



Bill No. 16 - Kentville Memorial Park Commission Act.



Bill No. 17 - Kentville Rink Commission Act.



Bill No. 19 - Queens Regional Municipality Act.





THE LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR:



In Her Majesty's Name, I Assent to these Bills.



MR. SPEAKER: Your Honour, having been graciously pleased to give your Assent to the Bills passed during the present Session, it becomes my agreeable duty on behalf of Her Majesty's dutiful and loyal subjects, Her faithful Commons of Nova Scotia, to present to Your Honour a bill for the Appropriation of Supply granted in the present Session for the support of the Public Service and to request Your Honour's Assent thereto.



THE CLERK:



Bill No. 21 - An Act to Provide for Defraying Certain Charges and Expenses of the Public Service of the Province.



THE LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR:



In Her Majesty's name, I thank Her loyal subjects, I accept their benevolence and I Assent to this bill.



[The Speaker and the Clerks left the Chamber.]



[The Lieutenant Governor left the Chamber.]



[The Speaker took the Chair.]



MR. SPEAKER: Please be seated.



The honourable Premier.



HON. JOHN SAVAGE (The Premier): Mr. Speaker and members of the House of Assembly, I move that this General Assembly be now adjourned, to meet again at the call of the Speaker.



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



The motion is carried.



The House is adjourned, to meet again at the call of the Speaker.



[12:56 p.m. The House adjourned.]





NOTICES OF MOTION UNDER RULE 32(3)



RESOLUTION NO. 409



By: Mr. John Holm (Leader of the New Democratic Party)



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



Whereas the Transportation Minister has gone far and wide to proclaim that those who question the Premier's leadership are questioning the credibility of the entire Liberal Government; and



Whereas that minister yesterday told this House that a senior Liberal advisor whose Civil Service job was not advertised, despite the Premier's promise it would be, was a "card-carrying New Democrat" when hired by the Liberals in 1989; and



Whereas written records of all political Party contributions must be kept for seven years and those records show that at least since 1987 the person in question did not belong to the NDP;



Therefore be it resolved that in the opinion of this House, Cabinet Ministers who undermine the credibility of the government are undermining the Premier's leadership.



RESOLUTION NO. 410



By: Mrs. Lila O'Connor (Lunenburg)



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



Whereas Grade 9 students from across Nova Scotia and Canada wrote the Canadian Mathematics Competition; and



Whereas this competition attracted 1,299 students from 44 schools across the province; and



Whereas Randy Wile, a Grade 9 student from New Germany High School, earned the highest mark in Nova Scotia;



Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate Randy Wile and his math teacher, Barry Conrad, for this achievement.



NOTICE OF QUESTIONS FOR WRITTEN ANSWERS

Given on May 18, 1995

(Pursuant to Rule 30)



QUESTION NO. 55



By: Mr. Donald McInnes (Pictou West)

To: Hon. Robert Harrison (Minister for the Economic Renewal Agency)



(1) Did the tourism division of the Economic Renewal Agency provide any funding or assist German magazine writer Wolfgang Rohl in any way to travel to Nova Scotia and write his feature, "Nova Scotia - in the land of the Bluenosers"?



(2) Were any funds committed by the tourism division of the Economic Renewal Agency which led to the eventual publication of Mr. Rohl's article?



(3) It is my understanding that Mr. Rohl has since apologized for his article saying the article was translated wrongly. Is the tourism division of the Economic Renewal Agency focusing on any positive story or advertisements that will appear in this German magazine to deflect the negative image resulting from the original story?



QUESTION NO. 56



By: Mr. Donald McInnes (Pictou West)

To: Hon. Robert Harrison (Minister for the Economic Renewal Agency)



(1) Will the government, if not immediately then very soon, notify municipal units across Nova Scotia of precisely when 911 will be implemented?



(2) Will any provincial money be available at all to assist municipal units with the implementation of 911?



(3) With the system being planned by your government, will public safety answering points still be required or will each and every individual emergency call be channelled through one main Halifax dispatch point first, before being sent to a local emergency responder?



QUESTION NO. 57



By: Mr. Brooke Taylor (Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley)

To: Hon. Donald Downe (Minister of Natural Resources)



(1) The cost cutting measures by your department are raising a great deal of questions across this province. Recently announced was the closing of the Fenwick Day Park in Cumberland County. What analysis was used to make a decision on this park because no lawns need to be mowed at Fenwick Park and there is no upkeep? The only thing required is garbage pick-up. In fact, no advertising has ever been done on this park. It wouldn't be that hard to have garbage picked up, so I would like to understand the rationale behind closing the Fenwick Day Park in Cumberland County.





(2) In a recent letter to the Municipality of Cumberland County, the minister explained about low visitation for Fenwick Day Park. Are exact numbers on the amount of visitors to the park kept and if they are, could I obtain a list of visitors over the past five years?



(3) The minister recently indicated that he will consider assisting local individuals if they wish to continue operating the park. Can the minister provide me with details about the team he has established to work with groups interested in seeing the park remain operational?



NOTICE OF QUESTIONS FOR WRITTEN ANSWERS

Given on May 19, 1995

(Pursuant to Rule 30)



QUESTION NO. 58



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

To: Hon. William Gillis (Minister of Justice)



(1) I want to know, as does Ms. M. Haycock of Yarmouth, whether the province will be enacting legislation prohibiting the activity of transporting dogs/animals in the open back of pick-up trucks? This creates a great danger for the animal and for motorists in close proximity of the vehicle. There should be legislation prohibiting this activity and enforcement of penalties for violation of this Act.



QUESTION NO. 59



By: Mr. John Leefe (Queens)

To: Hon. Donald Downe (Minister of Natural Resources)



(1) I want to know, as does Ms. D. Wharton of Queens County, when the minister plans to finally open the Thomas H. Raddall Provincial Park in Port Joli, Queens County? Will the minister please explain to me, and to Ms. Wharton, what the hold up is?



QUESTION NO. 60



By: Mr. John Leefe (Queens)

To: Hon. James Barkhouse (Minister of Fisheries)



(1) Given that this present Liberal Government has legislated An Act to Provide for Defraying Certain Charges and Expenses of the Public Service of the Province, and as of the time the Act was initiated, the Program for Older Fisheries Workers' Assistance would be in place within a very few months, I want to know, as does Monsieur Gerard Martin of Pointe de l'Eglise, Digby, will the minister provide a definite date as to when he will be providing relief funding for those who fall under the category of the PWAP?



This question has been raised before in the House and to date Monsieur Martin has received little in the way of satisfactory response from the department.



QUESTION NO. 61



By: Mr. Brooke Taylor (Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley)

To: Hon. Richard Mann (Minister of Transportation and Communications)



(1) I want to know, as does J. Clark of Wallace, what does the government intend to do about the deteriorating condition of our rural roads? These roads were upgraded in the 1960's to all-weather gravel roads and many have deteriorated to mud roads which are barely passable in the spring and fall which causes a safety hazard as well as a serious inconvenience to citizens who reside in the rural areas.





QUESTION NO. 62



By: Mr. Brooke Taylor (Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley)

To: Hon. Richard Mann (Minister of Transportation and Communications)



(1) I want to know, as does G. Barkhouse of Bridgewater, why the road to the solid waste disposal site in Bridgewater is not paved because so many tax dollars are being spent on keeping the road passable?



QUESTION NO. 63



By: Mr. George Moody (Kings West)

To: Hon. Ronald Stewart (Minister of Health)



(1) I want to know, as does Marie Everett of Digby, why such drastic cuts in hospitalization without an alternate plan in place? If you have a plan, when will you let the citizens know the specifics?



QUESTION NO. 64



By: Mr. George Moody (Kings West)

To: Hon. Ronald Stewart (Minister of Health)



(1) I want to know, as does Mary Ellis of Wolfville, why was the Valley area of Kings County singled out to have the Eastern Kings Memorial Hospital closed, without any alternate coverage planned? A population of between 8,000 to 9,000 is still waiting for a visit from the Health Minister to explain.



QUESTION NO. 65



By: Mr. George Moody (Kings West)

To: Hon. Ronald Stewart (Minister of Health)



(1) I want to know, as does Ellen Smith of New Minas, what would cause a major decision to close Eastern Kings Memorial Hospital, Wolfville, before any plans whatsoever were underway for alternative home care and health reform in the area? Why close a hospital when it is so essential to so many people in the area, including university students? How are the students, elderly and low income families expected to reach the regional hospital for emergency treatment?



(2) Where will we get our help in the meantime until fully organized health care reform is in operation?



QUESTION NO. 66



By: Mr. George Moody (Kings West)

To: Hon. Ronald Stewart (Minister of Health)



(1) I want to know, as does Arlene Chesnutt of Pugwash, why did the Minister of Health cut back on hospital care, close beds, and even hospitals, before his plan on volunteer home care has been established in the province?



QUESTION NO. 67



By: Mr. George Moody (Kings West)

To: Hon. Ronald Stewart (Minister of Health)



(1) I want to know, as does Kathleen Dakin of New Minas, precisely what does your government mean by community health care? Please set out your plan of action in an organized fashion that can be understood by the public at large. Also, how does one access these services when needed? Can the average citizen afford this care?



QUESTION NO. 68



By: Mr. George Moody (Kings West)

To: Hon. Ronald Stewart (Minister of Health)



(1) I want to know, as does Francis Dargent of Wolfville, has every nickel the taxpayers have paid into the Medical Services Insurance been used for MSI purposes, 10 per cent originally, 11 per cent now?



QUESTION NO. 69



By: Mr. Ronald Russell (Hants West)

To: Hon. Guy Brown (Minister of Labour)



(1) I want to know, as does C. Julian of Sydney Mines, how many more years will it be before our workers' compensation appeals will be heard? I hope you can reach a solution on this important problem in the near future.



QUESTION NO. 70



By: Mr. George Moody (Kings West)

To: Hon. Ronald Stewart (Minister of Health)



(1) I want to know, as does R. Meisner of Granville Ferry, about the proposed closing of the Annapolis General Hospital. Please advise me if there is a possibility of this happening and at what date?



QUESTION NO. 71



By: Mr. George Moody (Kings West)

To: Hon. Ronald Stewart (Minister of Health)



(1) I want to know, as does G. MacDonald of North Sydney, why Canada does not allow cancer drugs from the U.S.A. that might help people here in Canada (C.B., N.S.)? For people who are going to die from terminal cancer cases, what harm would it do to try them? There would perhaps be a chance for them. Interferon Alf 2 is one of them. Doctors wanted to try that drug on Mrs. MacDonald's husband but could not get it because of lack of funds to go to the U.S.A. It might have given him more time. He lived five months. He died October 12, 1994 at the age of 52. Why ban these drugs from these people who have nothing to lose?





QUESTION NO. 72



By: Mr. George Moody (Kings West)

To: Hon. Ronald Stewart (Minister of Health)



(1) I want to know, as does C. Leahy of Head Jeddore, what is happening to the Mike Murphy report on health care?



QUESTION NO. 73



By: Mr. George Moody (Kings West)

To: Hon. Robert Harrison (Minister of Natural Resources)



(1) I want to know, as does C. Leahy of Head Jeddore, what is taking so long regarding the 911 emergency system? The government is spending a lot of money but nothing is happening.



QUESTION NO. 74



By: Mr. George Moody (Kings West)

To: Hon. Ronald Stewart (Minister of Health)



(1) I want to know, as does E. Janke of Yarmouth, why there is no treatment facility in western Nova Scotia for teenagers under the age of 18 who have addiction problems?



QUESTION NO. 75



By: Mr. Ronald Russell (Hants West)

To: Hon. Guy Brown (Minister of Labour)



(1) I want to know, as do Boyd and Jean Cress of Annapolis County, if the new Workers' Compensation Board legislation is passed, why widows' pensions for the next five years will not be re-indexed for cost of living as in former years? If things go up they also have to pay.



QUESTION NO. 76



By: Mr. Ronald Russell (Hants West)

To: Hon. Guy Brown (Minister of Labour)



(1) The Minister of Labour is eliminating the External Appeal Board and paid counsellors. I want to know, as does P. MacKay of New Germany, how are workers who are cut off benefits by the Workers' Compensation Board going to appeal an unjust ruling by the Workers' Compensation Board?





QUESTION NO. 77



By: Mr. Ronald Russell (Hants West)

To: Hon. Guy Brown (Minister of Labour)



(1) I want to know, as does R. MacIntyre of Sydney Mines, why the Workers' Compensation Board takes so long to hear claims and so long to pay for these claims?



QUESTION NO. 78



By: Mr. George Moody (Kings West)

To: Hon. John Savage (The Premier)



(1) I want to know, as does Oscar Cormier of Dartmouth - both you and the Minister of Health, Dr. Stewart, are medical doctors - why do you both want to ruin our health plan and our hospital services? You two are pretty rough on our medical doctors. It seems to me that you both should know better.



QUESTION NO. 79



By: Mr. George Moody (Kings West)

To: Hon. Ronald Stewart (Minister of Health)



(1) I want to know, as does Lois Charlton, New Germany, why and how did our present Premier and his Cabinet come to the decision to close our valued hospitals and lay off many staff members and, furthermore, make patients drive or be driven extensive distances for medical treatment or surgery?



(2) Also, what do they expect or intend to do with all the expensive equipment within these hospitals, much of which is reasonably new?



QUESTION NO. 80



By: Mr. Ronald Russell (Hants West)

To: Hon. James Barkhouse (Minister of Fisheries)



(1) I want to know, as does J. Jarvis of Weymouth, if you would consider a proposal to turn the now defunct military base at Cornwallis into a national DFO training depot for giving instruction to all fisheries personnel working in Canada?



QUESTION NO. 81



By: Mr. George Moody (Kings West)

To: Hon. Ronald Stewart (Minister of Health)



(1) I want to know, as do Shirley and Ralph Murphy of Tangier, how they would go about paying their drug bill each month, which is $535 per month, and all this family receives is $844 monthly. This leaves them with only $309 a month. They do not feel this allows them very much to live on. Do you have any answers?





QUESTION NO. 82



By: Mr. Ronald Russell (Hants West)

To: Hon. Guy Brown (Minister of Labour)



(1) I want to know, as does E. Chapman, when will the Workers' Compensation Board start paying medical impairment benefits? Ms. Chapman lost an index finger and was advised she should get five per cent.



QUESTION NO. 83



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

To: Hon. Sandra Jolly (Minister of Municipal Affairs)



(1) I want to know, as do M. Gibbons of Dartmouth and C. Taylor of Lower Sackville, who was on the Halifax Harbour Clean Up Committee, what were their stipends, their expenses, their office costs, et cetera, and what is happening today - is there another study being undertaken?



QUESTION NO. 84



By: Mr. Ronald Russell (Hants West)

To: Hon. John Savage (Premier)



(1) I want to know, as does Lester G. Beeler, if Premier Savage and his ministers are prepared to further reduce their salaries to help eliminate the debt?



QUESTION NO. 85



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

To: Hon. John Savage (Premier)



(1) Ms. L. Maukwe and I would like to know if there are any decisions and consideration being given to combining the governments of all four Atlantic Provinces into one central government, eliminating enormous and unnecessary costs of supporting four separate governments to manage approximately 1.5 million people only in a small area.



QUESTION NO. 86



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

To: Hon. John Savage (Premier)



(1) I want to know, as does E. Ritcey of Middleton, if you are sincere in cutting and freezing salaries, why did you not first start by cutting your own salary and those of all your members and deputy ministers, to set an example for the public?





QUESTION NO. 87



By: Mr. George Archibald (Kings North)

To: Hon. Wayne Gaudet (Minister of Agriculture)



(1) I want to know, as does A. Sponagle of Avonport, why can't U-Pick farms and farm markets advertise seasonally with signs on the 100-Series Highways, and is this government considering "right to farm" legislation to protect farmers?



QUESTION NO. 88



By: Mr. Ronald Russell (Hants West)

To: Hon. John Savage (Premier)



(1) I want to know, as does V. Cook of Yarmouth, why is the provincial government doing nothing about the federal government building a new base in Lunenburg County instead of using the Cornwallis Armed Forces Base, which they are closing at the cost of many jobs?



QUESTION NO. 89



By: Mr. Ronald Russell (Hants West)

To: Hon. Robert Harrison (Minister for the Economic Renewal Agency)



(1) I want to know, as does Adam Sampson of Windsor, if there is any government funding available for his Glasscan fibreglass business as he is the only black businessman in Hants County and one of very few in manufacturing in Nova Scotia.



QUESTION NO. 90



By: Mr. J. Leefe (Queens)

To: Hon. Wayne Adams (Minister of the Environment)



(1) I want to know, as does B. Blades of Meisners Section, what measures are planned to alleviate a repeat of the serious flooding of the spring of 1994 in the community of Meisners Section, Lunenburg County?



QUESTION NO. 91



By: Mr. Donald McInnes (Pictou West)

To: Hon. Eleanor Norrie (Minister of Housing and Consumer Affairs)



(1) I want to know, as does D. Hirtle of Truro, why can't she have her cat in a seniors' residence?



QUESTION NO. 92



By: Mr. George Archibald (Kings North)

To: Hon. Robert Harrison (Minister for the Economic Renewal Agency)



(1) I want to know, as does Tina Turple of Halifax County, what action the provincial government is taking in response to the federal government's plan to cut unemployment insurance benefits for seasonal workers over the next five years? A great number of people living on the Eastern Shore are seasonal workers, many of whom work for the provincial government. I would appreciate receiving, as would Ms. Turple, any communications between the province and the federal government with regard to the impact of the social security reform proposals on seasonal jobs and the overall maintenance of the seasonal work force.



QUESTION NO. 93



By: Mr. George Archibald (Kings North)

To: Hon. Robert Harrison (Minister for the Economic Renewal Agency)



(1) I want to know, as does Bradford Oickle of Blockhouse, Nova Scotia, how the Liberal Government can justify giving $800,000 to Sears for 300 part-time jobs, when the president of Sears said that they would have probably created the jobs without the hand-out? We have health and education that are being eroded while our tax dollars are being wasted on things such as this.



QUESTION NO. 94



By: Mr. Donald McInnes (Pictou West)

To: Hon. Eleanor Norrie (Minister of Housing and Consumer Affairs)



(1) I want to know, as does A. Wyman of Yarmouth, why is the DVA pension included as income for rent purposes?



QUESTION NO. 95



By: Dr. John Hamm (Pictou Centre)

To: Hon. James Smith (Minister of Community Services)



(1) I want to know, as does G. Parker of Amherst, why are nursing homes allowed to make patients turn over all assets, except homes, to their control?



QUESTION NO. 96



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

To: Hon. William Gillis (Minister of Justice)



(1) With reference to support payments for children, I want to know, as does J. Sterling of Truro, why does the male have to prove he is not the father? Should it not be both ways? Should the mother not also have to prove that he is and not just have her word accepted?



QUESTION NO. 97



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

To: Hon. John Savage (Premier)



(1) I want to know, as does D. Moody of Deep Brook, what representations has the provincial government made to the Government of Canada as to what will happen to the married quarters homes at CFB Cornwallis? When will the public be told what is happening and if these homes could be used as low cost housing? If not, will it be possible to make the garages, which could be moved, available to public access for purchase?



QUESTION NO. 98



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

To: Hon. William Gillis (Minister of Justice)



(1) Mr. and Mrs. M.A. Potter's property at Granville Ferry is allegedly being destroyed by their neighbour. I want to know, as does their daughter, H. Orde of Granville Ferry, why are other people allowed to destroy property of seniors? Why is such a matter classed as a civil matter and not a criminal matter?



QUESTION NO. 99



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

To: Hon. William Gillis (Minister of Justice)



(1) In reference to proposed gun control measures, I want to know, as does W. Spates of Yarmouth, will the Liberal Party in the future make a move to restrict or register all sharp knives if there are violent crimes committed with edged weapons? Or, will you start punishing the violent criminals and leave honest, law-abiding Canadians alone?



QUESTION NO. 100



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

To: Hon. William Gillis (Minister of Justice)



(1) I want to know, as does D. MacDonald of Amherst, what the future is for gun control for hunting rifles?



QUESTION NO. 101



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

To: Hon. William Gillis (Minister of Justice)



(1) I want to know, as does B. Hillier of Sydney Mines, how will the proposed legislation as "Deadbeat Dads" deal with other violations of child maintenance agreements, specifically the denial of visitation rights agreed to on separation? The penalties should be equal for both non-payment of support and denial of visitation.



QUESTION NO. 102



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

To: Hon. William Gillis (Minister of Justice)



(1) I want to know, as does R. Burgess of Rose Bay, how, under proposed legislation regarding defaulting of maintenance orders, you intend to withdraw drivers' licenses as an enforcement tactic, if the person does not already have a license? If you withdraw licenses from people, especially in rural areas, are you prepared to pay welfare to these people if they are unable to go to work?



QUESTION NO. 103



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

To: Hon. William Gillis (Minister of Justice)



(1) I believe that the Public Service Compensation Act offends Section 15 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms as it appears to be directed to a certain group of individuals, namely public servants. I want to know, as does D. Acker of Kingston, what changes does government plan to make to correct this discriminatory result?



QUESTION NO. 104



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

To: Hon. William Gillis (Minister of Justice)



(1) I want to know, as do D. Christiansen of Dartmouth and P. Jenkins of North Sydney and E. Lamond of Sydney Mines and P. Rafuse of Kentville, why doesn't the government make serious demands upon the Government of Canada to amend the Young Offenders Act?



QUESTION NO. 105



By: Mr. George Archibald (Kings North)

To: Hon. Robert Harrison (Minister for the Economic Renewal Agency)



(1) I want to know, as do B. MacAulay of Amherst and B. Myles of Truro, what are the Liberal Government plans to help small business obtain loans - not grants - without putting up high equity or endless personal guarantees, which will allow Nova Scotians to create jobs?



QUESTION NO. 106



By: Dr. John Hamm (Pictou Centre)

To: Hon. James Smith (Minister of Community Services)



(1) I want to know, as does P. Hatt of Lawrencetown, what can be done to generate an interest in order to get more men working as day care providers?



QUESTION NO. 107



By: Dr. John Hamm (Pictou Centre)

To: Hon. James Smith (Minister of Community Services)



(1) I want to know, as does K. Markovic of Truro, what will be done to improve the appalling wages and working conditions for qualified early childhood educators working in licensed, non-profit, pre-school facilities?





QUESTION NO. 108



By: Mr. Ronald Russell (Hants West)

To: Hon. Bernard Boudreau (Minister of Finance)



(1) I want to know, as do T. Penney of Yarmouth and E. Stark of Digby, why do you continue to put the burden of Nova Scotia's taxes on the lower-class and middle-class citizens of the province, instead of directing the problem to higher earners and businesses who can afford to carry some of the burden?



QUESTION NO. 109



By: Mr. Ronald Russell (Hants West)

To: Hon. Bernard Boudreau (Minister of Finance)



(1) I want to know, as does W.F. Stokdijk of Truro, why the Province of Nova Scotia doesn't balance the budget immediately and start paying off the massive debt immediately?



QUESTION NO. 110



By: Mr. Ronald Russell (Hants West)

To: Hon. William Gillis (Minister of Justice)



(1) I want to know, as does H. Rane of Springfield, why you do not amend the Protection of Property Act which, Ms. Rane believes, violates the Charter of Rights?



QUESTION NO. 111



By: Mr. George Moody (Kings West)

To: Mr. Bernard Boudreau (Minister of Finance)



(1) I want to know, as do Adrien Blanchette of Head Jeddore, Hilary Fraser of Dartmouth and David Gaetz of Head of Chezzetcook, when the government will listen to the advice of its own committee on gaming (The Fogarty Committee) and the majority of Nova Scotians, and reverse its decision to allow gaming casinos in our beautiful province?



QUESTION NO. 112



By: Mr. George Moody (Kings West)

To: Hon. Bernard Boudreau (Minister of Finance)



(1) I want to know, as do Reg Austin, Truro; Mary-Ruth Crosby, Wolfville; Pearl Dyke, Dartmouth; Parker Eddy, New Minas; Merrill Conrad, Yarmouth; Howard Hillier, North Sydney; Rickey MacDonald, Amherst; Jill Neilly, Bridgetown; Lloyd J. Potter, Annapolis Royal; and Margaret Tait, Amherst; why is the government not listening to the people regarding their concerns on casino gambling? These Nova Scotians believe your statement that the majority of Nova Scotians want this is not true. Why not have a plebiscite to find the truth? Why wasn't this an election issue?





QUESTION NO. 113



By: Mr. George Moody (Kings West)

To: Hon. Bernard Boudreau (Minister of Finance)



(1) I want to know, as does A. Brown of Annapolis Royal, who is going to pay to take care of people who lose everything because of gambling casinos? Who will look after the children of parents who lose their home, cars and jobs as a result of casinos?



QUESTION NO. 114



By: Mr. George Moody (Kings West)

To: Hon. Bernard Boudreau (Minister of Finance)



(1) I want to know, as does George Allen of Clementsville, why in the face of such evident public negative reaction and why in the face of such reliable evidence on the harmful impact of casinos, is your government forcing them upon the people who have entrusted you with their best interests and welfare?



QUESTION NO. 115



By: Mr. George Moody (Kings West)

To: Hon. Bernard Boudreau (Minister of Finance)



(1) I want to know, as does E.F. Carey of Wolfville and V. Colquhoun of Yarmouth, why, although the overwhelming majority of Nova Scotians, churches, the health and educational organizations and the police chiefs, as well as your own government-appointed commission which recommended against casinos, do you persist in going ahead and finalizing a deal with a casino operator?



QUESTION NO. 116



By: Mr. George Moody (Kings West)

To: Hon. Bernard Boudreau (Minister of Finance)



(1) I want to know, as does Robert Bent of Lawrencetown, whether the government plans to legalize prostitution. The same arguments used to support gambling casinos can be used to support legalized prostitution, (increased government revenues, attract more tourists, et cetera).



QUESTION NO. 117



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

To: Hon. John Savage (Premier)



(1) I want to know, as does J. Steeves of Dartmouth, why is it unacceptable for Ultramar Canada to break its contract, when your government broke its contract with teachers and government employees?





QUESTION NO. 118



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

To: Hon. John Savage (Premier)



(1) I want to know, as does Commodore W.P.Hayes and B. Mowbray of Mahone Bay and R. Hunt of Kingston, in light of the uncertainty the Province of Quebec is injecting into the political and economic life of Canada, and in particular the Atlantic Provinces, what action the Government of Nova Scotia is taking, or intends to take?



QUESTION NO. 119



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

To: Hon. John Savage (Premier)



(1) I want to know, as does G. MacLeod of North Sydney, G. McKim of Dartmouth and R. Langille of River John, what are the provisions under which the Premier can suspend a member of his caucus for representing his constituents and voting on legislation according to their wishes?



QUESTION NO. 120



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

To: Hon. John Savage (Premier)



(1) I want to know, as does R.E. Langille of River John, why did the Premier permit the Minister of Municipal Affairs to keep her portfolio, who apparently violated the conflict of interest provisions, yet force Russell MacKinnon, who represented the position of his electorate when voting on legislation, to sit as an independent?



QUESTION NO. 121



By: Mr. George Archibald (Kings North)

To: Hon. John Savage (Premier)



(1) I want to know, as does B. Graves of Dartmouth, as to why you referred to actions taken by your Minister of Municipal Affairs in the first week of November as `overzealous' and also said at that time, there was no wrongdoing involved? Mr. Graves is of the mind that your Minister of Municipal Affairs blatantly disregarded the tendering rules set down by your government. Why do you say that there was no wrongdoing involved?



QUESTION NO. 122



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

To: Hon. John Savage (Premier)



(1) I want to know, as does Mr. E.G. Francois of Dartmouth, as to how the amalgamation of Halifax, Dartmouth, Bedford and Halifax County is going to work and how much time was used to properly research the issue of metro amalgamation? As well, Mr. Francois would like to know if you believe the municipal elections held in October were a waste of time and, do you really care about the people of Nova Scotia?



QUESTION NO. 123



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

To: Hon. John Savage (Premier)



(1) I want to know, as does S. Melanson of Weymouth, under what circumstances taxpayers pay the travel expenses for spouses of the Premier, Cabinet Ministers, MLAs and public servants? Is there a limit to the costs or any form of accountability to the people of Nova Scotia, and why should taxpayers pay any travel costs for spouses when most Nova Scotians cannot afford trips themselves?



QUESTION NO. 124



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

To: Hon. John Savage (Premier)



(1) I want to know, as does L. Reid of Westmount, after travelling from Cape Breton, why she needs identification to get into the Legislature?



QUESTION NO. 125



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

To: Hon. John Savage (Premier)



(1) Mr. B. Johnson of Halifax wants to know why, as Premier, if you have decided there are so many savings in the amalgamation of metro's four municipal units, why you do not seek the amalgamation of the four Atlantic Provinces and really save money?



QUESTION NO. 126



By: Mr. George Moody (Kings West)

To: Hon. Richard Mann (Minister of Transportation)



(1) I want to know, as does Mrs. G. Hall of Tremont, Kings County, when your department plans to pave the East Torbrook Road? Mrs. Hall is very unsatisfied with the sand sealing which has now been done three times on the road. She believes the costs of paving the East Torbrook Road could not be any more than what has been spent on it so far.



QUESTION NO. 127



By: Mr. Brooke Taylor (Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley)

To: Hon. Jay Abbass (Minister of Human Resources)



(1) Ms. P. Chute of Bridgetown, Annapolis County, wants to know, with so many cutbacks and restraints taking place, why provincial money helps pay the salary for a recreation director in the Town of Bridgetown (approximate population 1,100) when the town is already served by a very strong volunteer recreation group?





QUESTION NO. 128



By: Mr. Donald McInnes (Pictou West)

To: Hon. Robert Harrison (Minister for the Economic Renewal Agency)



(1) Can the minister provide an update on the actual costs of Bluenose II renovations, as of this date?



QUESTION NO. 129



By: Mr. George Moody (Kings West)

To: Hon. Ronald Stewart (Minister of Health)



(1) The government will be spending much more money on addictions (gambling, smoking, et cetera) compared with chronic diseases. I want to know, as does J. Rhuland of Mahone Bay, is this government planning to provide more assistance to diabetics who require needles, insulin, test strips, et cetera? If not, why not?



QUESTION NO. 130



By: Dr. John Hamm (Pictou Centre)

To: Hon. Sandra Jolly (Minister of Municipal Affairs)



(1) I want to know, as does E. Greeivlond of Hantsport, when will the costs for the provincial/municipal service exchange program be known?



QUESTION NO. 131



By: Mr. Brooke Taylor (Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley)

To: Hon. Richard Mann (Minister of Transportation)



(1) I want to know, as does E. Thornhill of Tangier, when repairs to Highway No. 7 can be expected? Why is it neglected and how can we get help to speed up the work? A 100-Series Highway is not needed, just a safe road.



QUESTION NO. 132



By: Dr. John Hamm (Pictou Centre)

To: Hon. Sandra Jolly (Minister of Municipal Affairs)



(1) I want to know, as does A. Trefry of Yarmouth, where the money is coming from to pay Bill Hayward for overseeing the amalgamation of the City of Halifax, City of Dartmouth, Town of Bedford and Halifax County? Why is there money for this and no money for health care?



QUESTION NO. 133



By: Mr. Donald McInnes (Pictou West)

To: Hon. Robert Harrison (Minister for the Economic Renewal Agency)



(1) I want to know, as does Dr. D.A. Weir of Dartmouth, why the Utility and Review Board of Nova Scotia cancelled the license of Cabana Tours and Bus Agency Service Ltd? This was done at a time when tourism seemed to be reaching new heights. Tours had been booked by the company extending well into 1995. Evidently, because of the board's delay in making a decision, the company lost $100,000 plus four people lost their jobs.



QUESTION NO. 134



By: Mr. Donald McInnes (Pictou West)

To: Hon. Robert Harrison (Minister for the Economic Renewal Agency)



(1) I want to know, as does A. Muise of Dartmouth, what is the policy regarding flying foreign (American) flags in Nova Scotia and, particularly, at Visitor Information Centres?



QUESTION NO. 135



By: Mr. George Archibald (Kings North)

To: Hon. Bernard Boudreau (Minister of Finance)



(1) I want to know, as does H. Petersen of Dartmouth, is the Liberal Government considering privatizing the Nova Scotia Liquor Commission?



QUESTION NO. 136



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

To: Hon. John Savage (Premier)



(1) I want to know, as does P. Organ of North Sydney, as you have refused to hear Nova Scotian voters on matters ranging from the sale of licorice to casinos, municipal amalgamation, health service, avoidance of leadership review by paid-up members of your own Party and limited the time available for the Opposition to debate the actions of government, for the enlightenment of confused voters, could you please give us your definition of democratic process?



QUESTION NO. 137



By: Mr. Ronald Russell (Hants West)

To: Hon. Guy Brown (Minister of Labour)



(1) I want to know, as does P. Luff of Truro, if the Liberal Government is going to raise the minimum wage? As it is now, people on welfare make more than people who are working for minimum wage.



QUESTION NO. 138



By: Mr. Brooke Taylor (Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley)

To: Hon. Donald Downe (Minister of Natural Resources)



(1) Given that the forest industry is a major component of this province's economy and that future wood supply is dependent on continual forest management, if the federal government decides not to enter into another federal-provincial forestry agreement, I want to know, as does J. Auld-Cameron of Truro, what contingency plans does the provincial government have in place?



QUESTION NO. 139



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

To: Hon. John Savage (Premier)



(1) I want to know, as does D. Embree of Springhill, how much it cost the taxpayers for the Premier's trip to China? What businesses have expressed an interest in coming to Nova Scotia because of this trip?



QUESTION NO. 140



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

To: Hon. John Savage (Premier)



(1) During the Liberal Government's 30-60-90 initiative, Ms. A. Organ of Dartmouth felt the message was clear, get the government out of business, stop the grants, dramatically reduce the bureaucratic red tape and provide an environment in which business can compete and flourish. I want to know what were the final results of this initiative and when are the recommendations of this initiative going to be adopted?



QUESTION NO. 141



By: Mr. George Moody (Kings West)

To: Hon. John Savage (Premier)



(1) I want to know, as does S. Skiba of Dartmouth, who gave the Liberal Government the mandate to dismantle the health care and education programs in this province?



QUESTION NO. 142



By: Mr. George Moody (Kings West)

To: Hon. Ronald Stewart (Minister of Health)



(1) I want to know, as does V. Wright of Clementsport, why hospitals in rural areas are being closed? They are needed for all types of emergencies, and they are cheaper than the system proposed by the minister. We know the abuse of our health services must stop, however, those of us not abusing the system want help when we need it. Is your government considering the introduction of user fees to stop unnecessary appointments?



QUESTION NO. 143



By: Mr. George Moody (Kings West)

To: Hon. Ronald Stewart (Minister of Health)



(1) I want to know, as does N. Wilkie of North Sydney, as the hospital situation of Cape Breton North is going "down the tubes", where is the area MLA and Health Minister? He does not answer his phone calls, and does not answer letters. He will not attend meetings; he sends Jeff MacLeod to fill in for him. Even his Liberal supporters have turned on him. The community would like direction from its MLA and the province's Health Minister on the future of health services in Cape Breton North.



QUESTION NO. 144



By: Mr. George Moody (Kings West)

To: Hon. Ronald Stewart (Minister of Health)



(1) I want to know, as does J. Tyler of Annapolis Royal, why the Annapolis Royal Hospital was threatened to be closed without the Minister of Health ever coming to meet with the community? Also, Digby Hospital, Middleton, and Kentville are overcrowded. One must wait weeks for surgery. Why is there no helicopter plan in place for critical cases? Mrs. Tyler feels that the oldest town in Canada has been betrayed.



QUESTION NO. 145



By: Mr. George Moody (Kings West)

To: Hon. Ronald Stewart (Minister of Health)



(1) I want to know, as does D. Strowbridge of Halifax, when the government is going to put into place the primary health care system and utilize, to the fullest, the well-educated and underemployed nurses of this province?



QUESTION NO. 146



By: Mr. George Moody (Kings West)

To: Hon. Ronald Stewart (Minister of Health)



(1) I want to know, as does P. Steele of Mahone Bay, why you are building a new hospital in Halifax while closing beds in other Nova Scotian hospitals? Reform is nothing if you do not establish any kind of enhanced Home Care Program to match cuts. Also, if you understand the complexities of eating disorders, why are you closing beds at the Halifax clinic?



QUESTION NO. 147



By: Mr. George Moody (Kings West)

To: Hon. Ronald Stewart (Minister of Health)



(1) I want to know, as does E. Smith of Wolfville, if the government did a cost assessment before closing the Berwick Hospital? The rooms are half the daily rate of the Valley Regional, where there is no accommodation for mammography, if taken from Berwick. Why is the department taking such services away?



QUESTION NO. 148



By: Mr. George Moody (Kings West)

To: Hon. Ronald Stewart (Minister of Health)



(1) I want to know, as does R. Spencer of Carleton, why specialists (i.e. gynecologists) are allowed to insist on GP referrals, even after having seen a patient three months previously for the same symptoms, thereby collecting a considerably larger fee for nothing? This must cost taxpayers millions of dollars annually for nothing.





QUESTION NO. 149



By: Mr. George Moody (Kings West)

To: Hon. Ronald Stewart (Minister of Health)



(1) I want to know, as does S. Van Waysner of Hantsport and S. Oliver of Annapolis Royal, when will the Liberal Government provide a clear plan of where the government is going with health care reform? Cuts with no plan are unacceptable.



QUESTION NO. 150



By: Mr. George Moody (Kings West)

To: Hon. Ronald Stewart (Minister of Health)



(1) I want to know, as does S. Bowers of Dartmouth, why health will be cut so drastically? Ms. Bowers is 45 and on disability. She is waiting to have her knee explored and must wait 10 months for the procedure, all the time enduring pain and discomfort. This has caused Ms. Bowers great anxiety and her medication has had to be increased. She was told by Family Benefits, in the meantime, that she would lose some benefits. She appealed and won but that appeal was overturned. She wanted to know, if she follows the rules, why she should be penalized and why she must wait so long for a hospital procedure?



QUESTION NO. 151



By: Mr. George Moody (Kings West)

To: Hon. Ronald Stewart (Minister of Health)



(1) I want to know, as does H. Moffatt of Dartmouth, since hospital boards have not received honoraria for some time now, will the new boards set up by the Liberal Government receive pay? If so, why?



QUESTION NO. 152



By: Mr. Ronald Russell (Hants West)

To: Hon. Richard Mann (Minister of Transportation)



(1) I want to know, as does A. Wilkie and I. Hollingsworth of North Sydney, if the Liberal Government is going to put the tolls back on the Canso Causeway, because it gave approximately 15 people steady jobs and it also provided maintenance for the causeway?



QUESTION NO. 153



By: Mr. Brooke Taylor (Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley)

To: Hon. Richard Mann (Minister of Transportation)



(1) I want to know, as does B. Pope of Sydney Mines, if you have been in contact with the federal Minister of Transport or any federal Member of Parliament to find out what effect the proposed sale of Marine Atlantic Inc. will have on its employees and the communities of Digby, North Sydney and Yarmouth, from which the ferries operate?





QUESTION NO. 154



By: Dr. John Hamm (Pictou Centre)

To: Hon. Sandra Jolly (Minister of Municipal Affairs)



(1) I want to know, as does Mr. W. van den Broeck of Lunenburg, why did your government approve infrastructure funding for the construction of a fire hall/bingo hall on prime land with water frontage, thus closing the door on future development of the waterfront in Lunenburg, instead of constructing the fire/bingo hall on suitable industrial land such as that located on Starr Street in Lunenburg? Mr. van den Broeck also wants to know if long-term job creation in the Town of Lunenburg is being sacrificed along the waterfront with the construction of the fire hall/bingo hall?



QUESTION NO. 155



By: Dr. John Hamm (Pictou Centre)

To: Hon. Sandra Jolly (Minister of Municipal Affairs)



(1) I want to know, as does Mrs. A. Thornton of Dartmouth, why didn't your government consult with the residents of metro prior to announcing amalgamation of the four municipal units in metropolitan Halifax?



QUESTION NO. 156



By: Mr. George Moody (Kings West)

To: Hon. Ronald Stewart (Minister of Health)



(1) I want to know, as does Ms. L. Shakeshaft of Truro, in what way will health reform better serve citizens? On Friday, September 23, 1994, Ms. Shakeshaft was at work when she received a call from the Truro Hospital, where her 13-year-old son had been taken after a bicycle accident. She left work and went to the hospital. About 11:30, he was seen by a doctor who bandaged his knee and looked at his shoulder which was bruised and swollen. A nurse on duty said that when she helped the boy take off his jacket, his shoulder snapped and he was in quite a bit of pain with it, but there were no x-ray technicians on duty. The doctor told Ms. Shakeshaft if her son was still in pain on Monday, to see their family doctor to get x-rays. She took her son to the doctor on Monday. He was not x-rayed until Tuesday. His collarbone was broken in three places.



Ms. Shakeshaft is a single parent who had to take time off on two occasions in order to have her son looked at. In addition, her son was in pain from Friday until Tuesday - if the proper facilities were available he would have been x-rayed and taken care of on Friday. How will health care reform address these situations?



QUESTION NO. 157



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

To: Hon. John Savage (Premier)



(1) I want to know, as does Mr. N. Blades of Yarmouth, Mrs. A. Comeau of Meteghan, Mrs. Wm. Johnston of Sydney Mines, Mr. F.A. Mason of Springfield, Mr. R. Wentzell of Lawrencetown and Ms. E. Williams of Lunenburg, where are all the jobs that were promised to Nova Scotians before the election?



QUESTION NO. 158



By: Dr. John Hamm (Pictou Centre)

To: Hon. Sandra Jolly (Minister of Municipal Affairs)



(1) I want to know, as does Mr. C. Prat of Bridgetown, why the Municipal Elections Act stipulates that only residents of a particular town are permitted to vote in municipal elections, yet citizens of the area, while not living within town limits, yet owning thousands of dollars of taxable property are not allowed to vote?



QUESTION NO. 159



By: Dr. John Hamm (Pictou Centre)

To: Hon. Sandra Jolly (Minister of Municipal Affairs)



(1) I want to know, as does Ms. C.J. Oickle of Kingston, why your government did not consult with municipal leaders in the Halifax-Dartmouth metropolitan area before deciding to proceed with municipal amalgamation?



QUESTION NO. 160



By: Mr. Brooke Taylor (Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley)

To: Hon. Richard Mann (Minister of Transportation)



(1) I want to know, as does Mr. D.M. Hughes of Dartmouth, why have the cracks, crevices and deep holes not been repaired on Highway No. 102 from metro to Shubenacadie?



QUESTION NO. 161



By: Dr. John Hamm (Pictou Centre)

To: Hon. Sandra Jolly (Minister of Municipal Affairs)



One of the greatest concerns about amalgamation to metro area residents is the issue of police services and many questions have arisen about the level of policing, equipment to be used, et cetera.



One of the most important questions that must be addressed if metro is amalgamated is how the police will communicate among themselves in the larger, newly combined area.



Dartmouth uses the dedicated Motorolla repeater system for communications, which is not frequency agile. Halifax uses a system which has public works, police and fire on one system. I have been told that the cost of upgrading to the Halifax system is expensive. The equipment in the vehicles will cost around $145,000 and the cost of putting the required base and trunking system in the east and the north will be approximately $250,000.



(1) I want to know, as does Robert Harpelle of Dartmouth, if these systems, which are functioning just fine in each city, are going to be replaced and who will be paying for their replacement?



(2) Will the cost of implementing such changes be spread to all metro residents or, if Dartmouth is required to change to Halifax's system, will Dartmouth residents only have to pay?



QUESTION NO. 162



By: Mr. George Moody (Kings West)

To: Hon. Ronald Stewart (Minister of Health)



(1) I want to know, as does E. Smith of Wolfville, under the new regional hospital board format, what will happen to the hospital equipment that was provided by local fund raising done by auxiliaries, especially in those hospitals that are to be closed? Will this equipment not quickly deteriorate if it is not used?



QUESTION NO. 163



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

To: Hon. William Gillis (Minister of Justice)



(1) I want to know, as would Mrs. P. MacDonald of Moser River, Halifax County, why convicted criminals should not be made to earn their keep for doing jobs that Canadians want to be paid minimum wage to do, such as picking up litter along the road, harvesting vegetable crops, reforestation, to name just a few?



QUESTION NO. 164



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

To: Hon. John Savage (Premier)



(1) I want to know, as would Mrs. P. MacDonald of Moser River, Halifax County, why the electorate is called upon to mark one x when they go to the polls and are not given the option to cast their opinion on issues such as abortion on demand and capital punishment?



QUESTION NO. 165



By: Dr. John Hamm (Pictou Centre)

To: Hon. Sandra Jolly (Minister of Municipal Affairs)



(1) I want to know, as does J. Vanderweit of Granville Ferry, Annapolis County, when will the residents of Granville Ferry have safe drinking water and will residents be compensated for water rates prepaid in good faith?



QUESTION NO. 166



By: Mr. Brooke Taylor (Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley)

To: Hon. Richard Mann (Minister of Transportation)



(1) With the downloading of municipal services, the Department of Transportation will not need as much heavy equipment. I want to know, as does D.J. Russell of Truro, will they be selling the excess heavy equipment?





QUESTION NO. 167



By: Mr. Brooke Taylor (Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley)

To: Hon. Richard Mann (Minister of Transportation)



(1) I want to know, as does D. Nicholson of Halifax, when construction of Highway No. 104 between Glenholm and Thomson Station will begin and is this government planning to place a toll on this road? Mr. Nicholson believes that Nova Scotians have been taxed to the limit with gas taxes and license fees, et cetera. Tolls are another form of taxation on the travelling public and, since good highways benefit everyone indirectly, the gasoline tax is the fairest means of taxation.



QUESTION NO. 168



By: Mr. George Moody (Kings West)

To: Hon. Ronald Stewart (Minister of Health)



(1) I want to know, as does C. LeMoine of North Sydney, what is being done for people who are now not working due to health care cuts?



QUESTION NO. 169



By: Mr. Brooke Taylor (Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley)

To: Hon. Richard Mann (Minister of Transportation)



(1) I want to know, as does W. Atwater of Aylesford, if the provincial government is going to do something about the abandoned rail line in Kings County and, if so, what is planned?



QUESTION NO. 170



By: Mr. Brooke Taylor (Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley)

To: Hon. Richard Mann (Minister of Transportation)



(1) I want to know, as does G. Freeman, what the cost to date is for the relocation and improvement of Fenton Road at West Amherst, Cumberland County, as well as the cost of providing Maritime Sod Ltd. with water facilities, e.g., cost of well, pump, pump house, pond, water line, electricity, et cetera?



QUESTION NO. 171



By: Mr. Brooke Taylor (Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley)

To: Hon. Richard Mann (Minister of Transportation)



(1) I would like to know, as would Mrs. I. Baker of Sheet Harbour, why facilities are not available in Sheet Harbour to purchase a driver's license; why do residents have to go all the way to New Glasgow to renew their license?





QUESTION NO. 172



By: Mr. George Moody (Kings West)

To: Hon. Ronald Stewart (Minister of Health)



(1) I want to know, as does Mr. J. Vanderweit of Granville Ferry, given that the legal age for the purchase of tobacco is 19, will the minister be taking steps to ensure effective enforcement of the legislation which makes it illegal for minors to possess or use tobacco?



QUESTION NO. 173



By: Mr. George Archibald (Kings North)

To: Hon. Robert Harrison (Minister for the Economic Renewal Agency)



(1) I want to know, as does Mr. A.B. MacDonald of Mabou, what specific initiatives are being promoted by this present Liberal Government to assist economic development in the rural areas of the province, that, as in the case of Inverness County, are already experiencing high rates of unemployment and economic stagnation?



QUESTION NO. 174



By: Mr. Ronald Russell (Hants West)

To: Hon. Bernard Boudreau (Minister of Finance)



(1) Je veux savoir, pendant que Ms. L. Muise de Yarmouth, y a t-il eu un cas dans l'histoire où l'imposition du chomage et des impôts a contribué à la prospérité d'une nation? Est-ce qu'un budget équilibré aurait éliminé la crise des 1930?



(1) [I want to know, as does Ms. L. Muise of Yarmouth, is there a case in history where the imposition of unemployment and taxes have contributed to the prosperity of a nation? Would a balanced budget have eliminated the crisis of the 1930's?]