Assemblée Législative de la Nouvelle-Écosse

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21 septembre 2017

















HALIFAX, MONDAY, OCTOBER 30, 1995



Fifty-sixth General Assembly



Third Session



7:00 P.M.



SPEAKER



Hon. Paul MacEwan



DEPUTY SPEAKER



Mrs. Francene Cosman





MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. I would like to call the House to order to commence this evening's proceedings.



The honourable Premier.



HON. JOHN SAVAGE (The Premier): Mr. Speaker, today I rise to address the seriousness of a disease that directly affects more than half of our population and indirectly all of us. Our wives, mothers, sisters, daughters and friends - all of us are affected one way or another. And, although the risk is not high, 1 per cent of all those who are diagnosed are men. That disease is breast cancer.



The statistics, Mr. Speaker, are alarming. This year, almost 18,000 Canadian women will be diagnosed with breast cancer and 5,500 of them will not survive. Last year, in excess of 600 cases were diagnosed in this province alone and 190 Nova Scotian women lost their lives to breast cancer. In all of Canada, approximately 84,000 women and their families are currently living with breast cancer.



As a former family doctor, Mr. Speaker, I am only too aware of the significance of this disease and that is why I am pleased that our own Department of Health has taken steps to increase access for Nova Scotian women for breast screening facilities. In September 1994, the province's first Mobile Breast Screening Clinic started seeing women as part of an outreach effort of the Metro Breast Screening Clinic, and I encourage all Nova Scotians to take advantage of the service it offers. Early detection is the best way to beat breast cancer. The mobile clinic travels throughout the province, and in addition to mammograms, provides education on breast self-examination and promotes regular check-ups and pap smears.





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Mr. Speaker, I would like to take a moment, if I could, to commend a group of Nova Scotians who are giving their time and their energy by taking an active role in the fight against breast cancer. I refer to Breast Cancer Action Nova Scotia whose mandate is to heighten public awareness, promote education and early detection and offer support to the thousands of women who are living with breast cancer. This is the first time that such a group has formed in Nova Scotia and its members are all breast cancer survivors. Their work is making an important difference.



As you are also aware, probably, Mr. Speaker, the month of October has been designated by the Canadian Cancer Society as Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Viewers and visitors may notice the pink and black ribbons that the members of this House, as some of us are, are wearing on our lapels. These ribbons are a world-wide symbol of breast cancer and were presented to members of the House here prior to the opening of the business today by members of Breast Cancer Action Nova Scotia. The pink colour represents the courage of those thousands of women who are fighting this disease and the black represents, unfortunately, those who have lost the battle. When the challenge of finding a cure is met, the black ribbon will be removed, leaving the pink colour in celebration.



It is incumbent upon us, as elected representatives of the people, to encourage and support the research which is going on in medical facilities all over this country, so that one day we will have the security of knowing that breast cancer is a curable disease, not just for the majority of women but for all women. We must continue that battle until we win the battle against breast cancer.



Mr. Speaker, seated in our gallery are members of Breast Cancer Action Nova Scotia. These women are all breast cancer survivors who are actively working to promote public awareness of the disease and towards a goal of achieving a better quality of life for breast cancer patients. These are, and I would like to name them: Maureen Coulter, Chairperson; Emmie Luther-Hiltz; Brenda Adams; Tory Byrne; Margaret Cann; Carol Bond; Shirley Kyle; Elizabeth Mazier; Sandy Smith; Aileen Millett; and Pat Wallace. I would like them all to rise together, if they could, so that we can extend to them the warm welcome that this House affords. (Extended Applause)



In closing, Mr. Speaker, I intend to ask, with the permission of the House, that members rise for a minute of silence but I am sure that before we do that, people would like to hear from the Leaders of the two Parties in Opposition.



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Opposition. (Applause)



DR. JOHN HAMM: Mr. Speaker, I welcome the opportunity to say a few words on the Premier's statement and as well to give my commendation and the commendation of our caucus to Breast Cancer Action Nova Scotia.



The efforts of this group, in terms of education and early detection leading to prompt treatment, in many cases can lead to a happy result in what is otherwise a very terrible disease. The efforts of groups such as this will be a boon and a blessing to many Nova Scotian women who will become more alert to the danger and to the warning signs of breast cancer.



I welcome the Premier's remarks and I, too, congratulate the ladies here this evening who are representing their group and following the remarks of the Leader of the New Democratic Party, I will be pleased to engage in a moment of silence in memory of those women who have lost their lives to breast cancer. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Atlantic.



MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Let me say at the outset that our Leader has asked me to speak, just so no one is confused, as the Health Critic for the New Democratic Party.



We welcome the statement by the Premier. This is an incredibly important issue as he and the new Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party have indicated, an extremely important issue. I think congratulations should go to the Breast Cancer Action Nova Scotia participants who are doing their bit, as are many Nova Scotians, in raising the profile and the awareness of all Nova Scotians of this important issue.



In 1994, as has been stated, the first mobile breast screening clinic was established by this government. Let us not forget that it was back in 1991 that the first permanent clinic was established here in Halifax. There still remains, nonetheless, concerns throughout a good part of Nova Scotia and in particular rural Nova Scotia where they are not confident, they are concerned with the fact that they are not having as equal access to these kinds of services as are people in the eastern region of Cape Breton where the mobile unit is located and of course, here in Halifax where the permanent clinic is.



On behalf of people from Yarmouth and other parts of the province we have asked on numerous occasions over the past couple of years for the government, in particular, the Minister of Health, to let us know what the schedule is to be of the mobile clinic or whether he is going to establish another mobile clinic in order to service areas like Yarmouth. As it stands right now, there are parts of this province where women do not have access to this important service and that is something I think that this government has to recognize and has to move to do something about.



That having been said let me again congratulate, on behalf of our caucus, the Breast Cancer Action Nova Scotia volunteers for their incredibly positive and constructive efforts raising the profile of this important issue. We will continue to work with them to press for all Nova Scotian women to have equal access to the services of the breast screening clinic. Thank you.



MR. SPEAKER: I believe the Premier requested that we have a one minute of silence in honour of the memory of those who have succumbed to this disease.



[A minute of silence was observed.]



MR. SPEAKER: Before we commence the daily routine are there any introductions?



The honourable Minister of Municipal Affairs.



HON. SANDRA JOLLY: Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to have in your gallery this evening the President of the Union of Nova Scotia Municipalities, the Mayor of New Glasgow, Ann MacLean, as well as her husband Sandy and her son Michael. I would ask the House to please give them a warm welcome. (Applause)





[7:15 p.m.]



PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS



MR. SPEAKER: Does the honourable member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley have a petition?



MR. BROOKE TAYLOR: Yes, Mr. Speaker, I have a petition here. I have to be quite honest, at this time I have misplaced it but I did find it.



This petition is from the residents of the Stewiacke River Park Road. They would like to petition the Department of Transportation to pave the Stewiacke River Park Road from Route 277 to the Stewiacke River Park gate. I have signed that, Mr. Speaker, and certainly endorse the formal request.



MR. SPEAKER: Very well, the petition is tabled.



The honourable member for Hants East.



MR. ROBERT CARRUTHERS: Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to table a petition signed by approximately 2,000 residents of East Hants. I wish to lend my support to it. These citizens are petitioning to have the area within the boundaries of the municipality of East Hants included in the central health region and have representation on the central health board.



Mr. Speaker, I have endorsed this petition and I indeed support it.



MR. SPEAKER: The petition is tabled.



PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES



TABLING OF REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS



STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS



GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Premier.



RESOLUTION NO. 439



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



Whereas the honourable member for Halifax Citadel has served in this Legislature for a period of 17 years, in many notable portfolios, including, to name but a few: Chair of Policy Board, Chair of Management Board, Attorney General, Minister of Education and, since June 1993, as Leader of the Official Opposition; and



Whereas Terry Donahoe's devotion to public service has long been a tradition in the Donahoe family, most notably his father Richard served the province as Attorney General and Minister of Health from 1956 to 1970, and his brother Arthur retired as Speaker of this House in 1991, after having served in that post for a period of 10 years; and



Whereas today marks another significant milestone in the life of a remarkable Nova Scotian, for today Terry Donahoe, after faithfully serving as the Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party of Nova Scotia since June 1993, formally steps down as Leader of Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition;



Therefore be it resolved that this House acknowledge the contribution made by Terry Donahoe to the people of Nova Scotia and extend to him our best wishes as he embarks upon the next stage of, presumably, a very distinguished career.



Mr. Speaker, I obviously would request waiver of notice and anticipate that the Tories may even permit it. I would also ask that all members rise and express our appreciation to Terry. By the way, it is also his birthday.



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. [Standing ovation.]



The honourable Minister of Transportation.



RESOLUTION NO. 440



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



Whereas House Speaker Paul MacEwan has served 25 years as a member of the Nova Scotia House of Assembly while representing people in the constituency of Cape Breton Nova; and



Whereas Paul has been elected to this Assembly as a member of three different political Parties and also as an independent member; and



Whereas he has dedicated his career to quality service to his constituents, becoming a master at Workers' Compensation problems and amassing some of the largest majorities in the history of Nova Scotia politics;



Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate Speaker MacEwan for his 25 years of service to the Nova Scotia public.



I would ask for waiver of notice. [Standing ovation.]



MR. SPEAKER: Thank you, my distinguished colleagues. I feel I was temporarily persuaded to rule the motion out of order, but on balance, I will declare it carried.



The honourable Premier.





RESOLUTION NO. 441



THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, since this is the evening of good feelings, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:



Whereas at their leadership convention held Saturday, October 28th, the Progressive Conservative Party of Nova Scotia elected Dr. John Hamm, MLA for Pictou Centre, as their Leader; and



Whereas Dr. Hamm has since his election to his first term of office, in May 1993, served his constituents in a professional and thoughtful manner and in so doing has gained the respect of his colleagues in all Parties of this House; and



Whereas the honourable member for Pictou Centre, by virtue of his election as Party Leader, has also assumed the onerous responsibilities of Leader of Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition;



Therefore be it resolved that this House welcome our colleague John Hamm in his new capacity as Leader of the Opposition and assure him that we appreciate the responsibilities that await him and that we look forward to meaningful debate and discourse with him and his caucus during the months and years ahead.



Mr. Speaker, I 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. [Standing ovation.]



I believe the Minister of Transportation has another resolution.



HON. RICHARD MANN: Mr. Speaker, I am going to continue to fight for equal time.



RESOLUTION NO. 442



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



Whereas Antigonish MLA J. William Gillis has given 25 years of dedicated and uninterrupted service to the people of Antigonish and the Province of Nova Scotia and to the Liberal Party of Nova Scotia; and



Whereas during those 25 years Dr. Gillis has provided leadership as Minister of Education, Municipal Affairs, Community Services, Mines and Energy, Agriculture and currently as Minister of Justice and in positions such as Chair of Management Board, Leader of the Opposition, Chair of Public Accounts and Deputy Premier; and



Whereas Bill's 25 years of service, often at personal sacrifice, have been exemplary ones providing an example of honesty, integrity and good work ethic while maintaining honour in a profession often under attack;



Therefore be it resolved that members of the Nova Scotia House of Assembly recognize and congratulate our colleague the Honourable William Gillis for his 25 years of dedicated and admirable service to this House and to the people of Nova Scotia.



Mr. Speaker, I would ask for waiver of notice. [Standing ovation.]



MR. SPEAKER: The motion is carried.



The honourable Minister of Housing and Consumer Affairs.



RESOLUTION NO. 443



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



Whereas October has marked the observance of the 4th Annual Women's History Month in Canada in recognition of the persons case of October 1929 when Canadian women achieved formal legal status as persons; and



Whereas pioneers for women's equality are found, not only in our history, but in our country, our province, here and now; and



Whereas female role models have shown through their strength, wisdom and vision that women can progress into all areas of society and Canadian women today have greater freedom than ever before to be anything they choose to be;



Therefore be it resolved that this House recognize, salute and support the contributions of the pioneers of women's equality, past and present.



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



MR. SPEAKER: Is it agreed?



It is agreed.



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



The motion is carried. (Applause)



The honourable Minister of Housing and Consumer Affairs.



RESOLUTION NO. 444



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



Whereas October has marked the observance of Persons Day in recognition of the landmark persons case of October 18, 1929 when Canadian women achieved legal status as persons; and



Whereas female role models have shown through their strength, wisdom and vision that women can progress into all areas of society and Canadian women today have greater freedom than ever before to be anything they choose to be; and



Whereas the Government of Canada recognizes women, women's contribution through the Governor General's Awards in Commemoration of the Persons Case; and



Whereas this year, Carolyn Thomas, one of our own community's active advocate for black women, women's rights and human rights has been recognized by the Government of Canada and is a recipient of the Persons Award;



Therefore be it resolved that this House extend its warmest congratulations to Carolyn Thomas on a well-deserved honour on her work over the years in so many important areas of women's rights and human rights in our community.



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



MR. SPEAKER: Is it agreed?



It is agreed.



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



The motion is carried. (Applause)



Are there any other ministers that have Government Notices of Motion to present? If not, we will move on to Introduction of Bills.



INTRODUCTION OF BILLS



Bill No. 31 - Entitled an Act Respecting Security Interests in Personal Property. (Hon. Sandra Jolly)



Bill No. 32 - Entitled an Act to Amend Chapter 231 of the Revised Statutes, 1989, the Insurance Act, and Chapter 293 of the Revised Statutes, 1989, the Motor Vehicle Act.

(Hon. Eleanor Norrie)



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



NOTICES OF MOTION



[7:30 p.m.]



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Opposition.





RESOLUTION NO. 445



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



Whereas never before in the history of our nation have Canadians witnessed such a massive and spontaneous outpouring of love and affection for our country as we have in recent days; and



Whereas this unprecedented demonstration of national unity, pride and genuine love for Quebec and for our country came from Canadians from all walks of life and from every corner of this great nation; and



Whereas the future direction of Canada will be decided today;



Therefore be it resolved that members of this House pray that our message of genuine affection for the people of Quebec has reached the hearts and minds of those who are voting today.



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



MR. SPEAKER: Is it agreed?



It is agreed.



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



The motion is carried.



The honourable Leader of the New Democratic Party.



RESOLUTION NO. 446



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



Whereas Quebecers and all other Canadians consistently chose Medicare as among the greatest achievements of Confederation; and



Whereas this week has been declared National Medicare Week by the Canadian Health Coalition who have outlined 10 goals for improving health care for Canadians; and



Whereas whatever the Quebec referendum results, Nova Scotians and Canadians will be deeply interested in the future of Medicare;



Therefore be it resolved that this House supports the Canadian Health Coalition's Ten Goals for Health Care as an example of the fundamental principles needed to keep a national, public health care system and urge federal action to ensure there will always be federal cash transfers to back up such principles.



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



MR. SPEAKER: Is it agreed that we waive notice?



It appears to be agreed, I don't hear any descending voices.



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



The motion is carried unanimously.



The honourable member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley.



RESOLUTION NO. 447



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



Whereas Hapag-Lloyd will transfer its New York-based New England feeder service to the Port of Halifax early in the new year; and



Whereas the vice-president for Hapag-Lloyd said recently that because of the switch to the Port of Halifax, an increase in containers handled is expected because the feeder service will be able to connect with additional freight arriving in Halifax; and



Whereas the switch to the Port of Halifax is a true reflection of the dedication shown by the Halifax Port CEO, David Bellefontaine, and his staff to enhancing service to the world's largest deep water port;



Therefore be it resolved that all members of this Legislature commend the diligent hard work put forth by staff at the Port of Halifax which results in a $300 million investment to the Nova Scotia economy on an annual basis.



Mr. Speaker, I, too, would ask for waiver of notice.



MR. SPEAKER: Is it agreed?



It is agreed.



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



The motion is carried.



The honourable member for Queens.



RESOLUTION NO. 448



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 Department of Fisheries and Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard fleets are currently being merged with staff being consolidated and reduced and facilities being combined; and



Whereas there are several options that can be exercised respecting what exactly will be amalgamated and what programs will be dropped; and



Whereas one of the options under consideration is reported to be that Coast Guard operations in Dartmouth be closed and moved to St. John's, Newfoundland;



Therefore be it resolved that this House supports continuing the high level presence of the Canadian Coast Guard in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia.



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



MR. SPEAKER: Is it agreed?



It is agreed.



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



The motion is carried unanimously.



The honourable member for Yarmouth.



RESOLUTION NO. 449



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



Whereas the All Saints project is a Yarmouth High School student-operated program that provides security street patrols, protection for senior citizens, while also assisting children of single parents and working parents while they make their rounds the night of Hallowe'en; and



Whereas each year Yarmouth's All Saints project grows and expands the services it provides for the citizens of Yarmouth; and



Whereas Mr. Ken Langille, teacher-advisor of the program, saw the program grow from its infancy to such a point that he believes the program should be adopted province-wide;



Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House applaud the students involved in this year's All Saints project and teacher advisor, Ken Langille, for his contribution to the quality of life in the Town of Yarmouth.



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



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



Is it agreed?



It is agreed.



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



The motion is carried.



The honourable member for Kings West.



RESOLUTION NO. 450



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



Whereas in April, the government announced a new seniors' Pharmacare Program that resulted in a flood of questions and complaints from angry seniors who were understandably confused by a complicated and ill-conceived program; and



Whereas six months later, seniors are still angry and frustrated as they try in vain to get some straight answers to some very legitimate and basic questions; and



Whereas many are just recently discovering some unpleasant and hidden surprises such as their first year's premium covers only a five month period;



Therefore be it resolved that instead of implementing an ill-conceived program designed to transfer costs from the government to seniors, the Savage Government actually get on with the job of reforming Pharmacare by implementing the recommendations of the Nova Scotia Pharmacare Reform Working Group.



MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.



The honourable member for Halifax Atlantic.



RESOLUTION NO. 451



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



Whereas from day one, this government has presented Nova Scotians with a frightening financial picture, proclaiming that there is no money; and



Whereas this month the Natural Resources Minister told the Digby Board of Trade, ". . . that business need no longer to be tied to government . . .", ". . . but needs to be cut loose to grow on its own."; and



Whereas in recent weeks, that minister and his colleagues have endorsed and joined multimillion dollar government financing of golf courses offering only seasonal employment;



Therefore be it resolved that Liberal Ministers who want anyone to believe they are cutting ties to business should start with the golf course deals that demonstrate priorities which are offensive and insulting to many economic victims of Liberal cutbacks.



AN HON. MEMBER: Waive notice.



MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.



The honourable member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley.



RESOLUTION NO. 452



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



Whereas CFS Debert, once the largest training base for military pilots in Canada, is scheduled to close in July; and



Whereas the community of Debert, Colchester County, will see a 55 year military presence in the community reduced to a rifle range upon the closure of the Canadian Forces Station; and



Whereas the pending closure of CFS Debert is the latest blow to rural Nova Scotia where the Premier has refused to utter a word and has remained silent, like he was on the hundreds of other cuts imposed on Nova Scotians without any consultation;



Therefore be it resolved that the Premier immediately stop applying band-aids to the serious cuts his government is inflicting upon rural Nova Scotia and stop the bleeding before the cuts reach a life threatening stage.



MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.



The honourable member for Queens.



RESOLUTION NO. 453



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 former Progressive Conservative Government announced in December 1992, a $35 million plan that would accelerate aquaculture tenfold over the following five years; and



Whereas upon forming the government in June 1993, the Liberals cancelled the enhanced aquaculture program which had been approved by the PC Government and in the process laid off five aquaculture related employees; and



Whereas the Premier and his Ministers of Fisheries and Economic Renewal recently announced a greatly scaled-down initiative offering less than one-third the amount offered by the PC Government for aquaculture;



Therefore be it resolved that the Premier and his government explain to Nova Scotians in general and aquaculturalists in particular why the government is not prepared to support aquaculture to the same level as that offered by the former Progressive Conservative Government.



AN HON. MEMBER: Hear! Hear!



MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.



The honourable Leader of the New Democratic Party.



RESOLUTION NO. 454



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



Whereas this government contacted dozens of firms to see if they would bid on the contract to be a consultant to help hire another consultant to help prepare the third consecutive corrections plan; and



Whereas the government is simultaneously investing in jail junkets based on the notion that Americans in Texas, Florida and other crime-ridden areas know best how to run our jails; and



Whereas only two consultants even bid for the corrections contract awarded Friday;



Therefore be it resolved that in the opinion of this House, when the government can't even get consultants to bid for part of the business, it is time to stop wasting time and money trying to justify the unacceptable goal of bringing in Americans to run Nova Scotian jails.



MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.



The honourable member for Halifax Atlantic.



RESOLUTION NO. 455



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 Liberal Government is using every means at its disposal to drive down wages and jack up economic insecurity among Nova Scotians; and



Whereas Statistics Canada reported today that Nova Scotians' earnings continue to fall on a year over year basis, entrenching us as the second worst among all provinces and territories; and



Whereas small and large businesses, social stability and the future of our communities are being seriously affected by this decline into a low-wage, low-skill province;



Therefore be it resolved that the Liberals should dust off their campaign promises of close collaboration with labour, business and communities, to ensure a stable economy where jobs are the first priority, instead of trying to lead the race to the bottom.



MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.



Are there any additional notices of motion? If not, that would appear to conclude the daily routine. We can now advance to Orders of the Day.



ORDERS OF THE DAY



GOVERNMENT BUSINESS



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.



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



PUBLIC BILLS FOR SECOND READING



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.



HON. RICHARD MANN: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 28.



Bill No. 28 - Regional Municipalities Act.



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Municipal Affairs.



HON. SANDRA JOLLY: Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to move this bill for second reading. I want to make just a few comments to outline a little bit of the bill before I move it on.



What we are providing here in Bill No. 28 is the legislative framework to accommodate future requests from the municipalities with regard to amalgamation. This new legislation will be used only when requested by municipalities; it is voluntary, it is there for when they choose to use it. Over the past year we have, as a government, been listening and learning. The benefits of amalgamation are many and I believe now are very clear to a lot of individuals, particularly the municipal units across the province.



Mr. Speaker, it will now be up to the individual municipalities to decide when it is right for them to look at amalgamation. We are giving them an opportunity, an option, an empowerment for them to deal with amalgamation among themselves.



I think the benefits of amalgamation are quite extensive and we have seen that many of the municipalities have come to understand what the benefits are. A few of them include less government, streamlined service delivery and a more focused decision-making ability. Amalgamations provide for a financially stronger local government and one that speaks with a common voice. For example, Mr. Speaker, what taxpayers don't need is three industrial parks competing for the same business. What taxpayers do need is a common economic plan that seeks jobs for the larger area. This bill gives municipalities that power and that choice.



The regional municipal bill is made up of two divisions. The first contains definitions, a description on how the regional legislation is activated and an outline of the rules to change municipal units to regional municipalities; the second division contains provisions dealing with the organization, powers and responsibility of a regional municipality. The majority of what is contained in this bill is from the Halifax Regional Municipalities Act, which was debated in the last session. This bill is general legislation that will apply to all future regional municipalities. It sets a way for municipal units to voluntarily establish a regional government.



First, Mr. Speaker, let me explain how the future amalgamations would work. First, there must be a study requested by one or more councils in a county; second, there must be a request from regional governments for a regional government by a majority of the municipal units. The power to establish a regional municipality cannot be exercised unless the majority of the councils in a particular county request it.





This legislation being brought forward for second reading today is the result of representations on regional government legislation from municipal units, the Union of Nova Scotia Municipalities, the business community and members of the public over the past two years. It recognizes regional government as a form of local government in Nova Scotia.



Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to inform the House that I also informed the municipalities of my intent to introduce a general, regional government bill at the UNSM conference held on October 13th. Since then I have had an opportunity to discuss the bill with the Union of Nova Scotia Municipalities executive.



Mr. Speaker, the province believes that municipalities have the interest of their communities at heart. They will move to regional government where it is shown to be advantageous. We have responded to the wishes of the municipal councils in this regard and when municipal units want it, the regional government can be established based on this legislation.



[7:45 p.m.]



Studies have been requested to be undertaken in Cumberland and Pictou Counties by the municipalities and, in actual fact, in Colchester, the municipal units there have done an in-house study and I will be meeting with them on November 1st to further discuss that study.



To put it simply, this bill provides a framework for future regionalization. Our goal as a government is to create strong local governments that meet the needs of todays' taxpayers in terms of their structure, their ability to pay, their ability to plan and to deliver services in the best way possible.



Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to move second reading of Bill No. 28, an Act Representing Regional Municipalities. Thank you.



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



MR. BROOKE TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise this evening and discuss second reading of the Regional Municipalities Act, but I can't help but wonder why we are debating this bill this evening when there are other bills on the order paper. Bill No. 25, the Government Records Act is on the order paper, and Bill No. 26, Amendments to the Motor Vehicle Act.



MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. We are on Bill No. 28.



MR. TAYLOR: Bill No. 28, yes.



HON. RICHARD MANN: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. Perhaps if the honourable member has an interest in determining the government's agenda, he would forward us a letter and tell us what his priorities are.



MR. TAYLOR: The Minister of Municipal Affairs has told us that she has had very broad consultation relative to this bill. I faxed an inquiry out to municipal units right across this province. I have heard back from the Mayor of Oxford; he advises that he has had no input into this legislation. I sent an inquiry to Dwight Bennet and he called on behalf of West Hants and he advises that they have not been approached for input. I sent an inquiry to Stellarton and Mayor Porter advises that they had, again, no input. Mayor Comeau from Shelburne advised that he was not consulted; the municipality of Shelburne was not consulted. Mayor Ross Wickwire from the beautiful Town of Stewiacke advised that he had - you guessed it - no input. There is something wrong with this picture. Why weren't the municipalities consulted? The County of Pictou, Hank Dunnewold, had not been consulted.



I sent a letter to municipal units right across the province. I sent an inquiry to the Mayor of Amherst, the Mayor of the Town of Annapolis Royal, the Mayor of the Town of Antigonish, the Mayor of the Town of Berwick, the Mayor of the Town of Bridgetown, the Mayor of the Town of Bridgewater, the Mayor of Clark's Harbour, the Town of Hantsport. We sent an inquiry out to Warden Gerry Read up in Cumberland County and he was on a flight to Quebec but a representative of the county called and indicated that they, again you guessed it, had no input into the legislation. The District of Yarmouth advised us that they were not consulted. (Interruption) The member for Yarmouth says that they are being set up. Now I must advise that member that Yarmouth tells us they think the government is moving along too quickly.



MR. SPEAKER: Lest we move along too quickly here, I wonder if the honourable member might yield the floor for a moment to permit an introduction from the honourable Minister of Consumer Affairs and Housing?



The honourable Minister of Consumer Affairs and Housing.



HON. ELEANOR NORRIE: Mr. Speaker, it is not one of the mayors or wardens that he is referring to.



It is with great pleasure that in the east gallery of the House we have with us this evening, Don Forgeron, who is the Vice-President of the Atlantic Insurance Bureau of Canada. He is here tonight as we introduce the bill to revise the Insurance Act. So, I would ask all members to extend a warm welcome to Mr. Forgeron. (Applause)



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Pictou West with a further introduction.



MR. DONALD MCINNES: Mr. Speaker, I, too, am very pleased to have the opportunity to introduce to you and to all members of the Legislature the presence in the west gallery of the Warden of the Municipality of the County of Pictou, Hank Dunnewold, and his daughter. I am sure he is here enjoying this discussion. (Applause)



MR. BRUCE HOLLAND: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order. The honourable member knows full well that these issues are vetted through the UNSM. I was just wondering, rather than him ramble on and on, could he just send a letter to the UNSM and ask them if they consulted with the municipalities on this issue, because I am sure they have.



MR. SPEAKER: With great deference, I can't see how that is a point of order.



I will recognize the honourable member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley on the bill, now.



MR. TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, I, too, would like to welcome the guests in our gallery. I want to point out, and I know you have to stay on topic and be relevant and germane, but I should point out that the Warden for the County of Pictou - Hank Dunnewold is sitting up in the gallery - states that he has not been consulted and he has many concerns regarding the provisions of this bill. Here he is down in Halifax tonight, and look at what we are hearing here tonight. He is saying he wasn't consulted and different members of the government are saying that he was. So, I would ask and request that any of you MLAs who think that Hank Dunnewold has been consulted enough, go up and talk to the Warden of the County of Pictou. You go up and tell him that he has been consulted enough.



Back to the District of Yarmouth, Mr. Speaker, we sent inquiries to a lot of municipal units, and the District of Yarmouth does say that they haven't even had a chance to look at the bill. The district of Yarmouth says it. (Interruptions) Now, we heard back . . .



MR. SPEAKER: Would the honourable member entertain a question?



MR. TAYLOR: Not at this time, Mr. Speaker.



I sent an inquiry off to the beautiful Town of Windsor, and the Town of Windsor advises that they are only aware of this legislation through comments - the member for Timberlea-Prospect would be interested in hearing this, where he raised it on an invalid point of order, his comments about the UNSM, and the Town of Windsor advises that they are only aware of this legislation through comments - at UNSM a couple of weeks ago. (Interruptions) The Town of Windsor further advises there was no input solicited from Windsor with respect to this legislation. (Interruptions) So, I try to answer a question on a point of order that certainly wasn't very well taken, and I think you made the right ruling. All members in the House appreciate your ruling.



Mr. Speaker, something that isn't addressed in this legislation is police services. We have a unique situation out in the beautiful community of Enfield, and the member for Hants East would probably know that that community is an exceptionally beautiful community. East Hants provides police service to parts of Halifax County, it also provides a good deal of police service to Colchester South and, of course, to the Town of Stewiacke, and to a good portion of East Hants. There is a police to population ratio of approximately 1:1,200 people in the Halifax County portion of that area that is served by the Enfield detachment of the RCMP.



This situation isn't unique, and in no way am I saying that East Hants is not paying their share. What I am saying is that police services are not addressed in this bill. The fact of the matter is, what East Hants is doing is paying on a rate that has been laid down as a result of the municipal service exchange. I don't think the member for East Hants would have any difficulty in agreeing with that.



In fact, I have a letter from the Municipality of East Hants which is signed by the CAO, and I certainly wouldn't have any problem tabling the letter. The CAO, Mr. Glasgow, is telling us that budgetary arrangements to date are simply the result of municipal reform, wherein we were provided with a number which was to be the municipality's share of policing costs. If the census isn't right, Mr. Speaker, and we all know that the corridor area of East Hants is growing very rapidly. I don't think anybody would argue that, but the fact of the matter is that the census isn't relevant to the 1995 population, the problem that it creates is that we have an inequity. We have two municipal units paying on a rate of . . .



MR. ROBERT CARRUTHERS: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order. As the honourable member has said, he must be relevant when he speaks about the bill that is before us. He has also said there is nothing about the subject matter of which he is discussing now in the bill. He has already said that. There is nothing about it in the bill. If he can be allowed to continue to discuss matters that are not in the bill he may also discuss that there are no relevant sections with regard to the sale of hot dogs in the bill nor pizza parlours. So perhaps he could discuss that.



The point that I am trying to discuss to make, if it is not in the bill, it has no relevance to the bill and he is out of order, I would suggest.



MR. SPEAKER: Well, with deference to that point of order, the practice in the House, both in my time and previously, has been to allow wide latitude on second reading of bills. I propose to continue that practice, within reason. Obviously, if there is a litany of extraneous matters, I have to cut in at some point but I would invite the honourable member to continue his discourse on the bill.



MR. TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, your ruling in the Chair certainly does reflect your 25 years of experience in the House. (Interruptions) The members know that general government services are certainly referenced and police service is referenced but the fact of the matter is because of municipal service exchange, there have been many inequities and the inequities are not addressed in this piece of legislation. I mean whether it is protective services such as police service, fire service or emergency measures, I think it is very important that they be addressed and in a fashion that is certainly laid out in front of us. The same can be said for transportation services, recreation and culture services.



AN HON. MEMBER: Hot dogs.



MR. TAYLOR: No, I don't believe hot dogs should be mentioned, I have to honestly say that.



The municipal units, Mr. Speaker, from one end of this province to the other, do have some very serious concerns with this piece of legislation. Now, the minister in her October 26, 1995 news release said that this new legislation will be used only when requested by municipalities, it is voluntary. I would like to know whether or not the House thinks that statement is contradictory?



The minister outlined the process for future amalgamations, she said first there must be a study requested by one or more councils in a county. Second, there must be a request for regional government by a majority of the municipal units. So, Mr. Speaker, if it is truly voluntary, you could have a situation, for example, where two smaller units may request to be amalgamated with a larger unit with a population that is much greater and as I understand it, through a directive from the minister, a new municipal unit could be established. Now, I ask you if that seems right and if that seems proper. To me it certainly doesn't.



Now, the minister goes on further to say, the province believes that municipalities have the interest of their communities at heart. Mr. Speaker, I don't think anybody would dispute that statement, but if the bill, if the intent of the Regional Municipalities Bill which was just introduced and called for second reading, is truly voluntary, I ask all members of this House if they feel that it is fair for smaller municipal units to be able to decide what should be done with a larger unit or what could be done with a larger unit. Now, I believe in the minister's goal and I strongly support local governments that cut duplication. I mean, we cannot completely condemn this piece of legislation and we look through it and we look through it very closely, but the fact of the matter is, municipalities need some time. Everything relative to reform in this province is moving along at an extremely fast pace.





[8:00 p.m.]



The Town of Truro, the Municipality of the County of Colchester, the Town of Stewiacke and the Village Commission of Bible Hill conducted a study and the CAOs and the clerks of those municipal units came back with a report and the report, I believe, is probably in the minister's hands. I believe that she is aware because she referenced Colchester County in her press release. The CAOs and the clerks of those units wanted to make it clear to the minister that it was not an evaluation of the merits of regional government, but it was an attempt to highlight each service area and provide comments on the perceived impact that a move towards regional government would have on current services.



When these units all get together and certainly sit down and talk in a very rational reasoned form, it can lead to regional government. The minister tells us it will again, and I mention this and I recognize that I mention it again but it does bear repetition, that for this piece of legislation to be truly voluntary we have to have complete support from this government. Many units are afraid that the minister through this legislation by an order, by a directive, could establish a new regional municipality without the proper consultation. The principle of the bill is to provide legislation for municipalities if they wish to visit amalgamation.



I know there are areas, particularly pertaining to community planning and economic development, where a lot of units realize that economic development activities could possibly be administered by one central unit. I think we would support that concept. Economic development activities are administered by the Colchester Regional Development Agency, CORDA, with the Town of Truro also having an industrial commission.



The industrial commission oversees development of the industrial park in the Town of Truro and where you have CORDA and you also have a commission, there are obvious inefficiencies of having separate planning staff. I think by combining community planning and economic development it would be a move in the right direction.



Mr. Speaker, transportation services in different areas of the municipality, whether it be Colchester, Cumberland or some of the municipal units that I send inquiries out to are extremely concerned because, as you know, they have become responsible in certain municipal units for all aspects of road maintenance within their boundaries as a result of the service exchange. I did send inquiries off to the Town of Mulgrave, I sent them off to the Mayor of New Glasgow and, as I said before, the Town of Oxford and the Town of Parrsboro.



We did hear back from a number of the units. One of the mayors from one of the municipal units said that with the bill respecting this amalgamation, Mr. Speaker, we should see, as a result, no more shotgun weddings. Now I don't think any of us would have any problem with no more shotgun weddings relative to the blueprint and there certainly was a shotgun wedding down in Cape Breton. There was a wedding of another sort down there too, but we won't mention that wedding.



But I think the government perhaps did see the error of their ways and perhaps the member for Cape Breton South went and talked to the Minister of Municipal Affairs and suggested that she come forward with some legislation because I don't think he wants to see any more situations like what he had down there. That member realizes now as a result of that amalgamation, as I am sure the former member for Cape Breton West realized, that the taxes are in effect going to increase. Nobody doubts that. In fact, there was just a Private Member's Bill brought forward respecting giving the ability to that new municipal unit whereby they can set area rates and, in some cases, raise the area rate, of course, to recover some of their debt. So we have to question the whole meaning of uniformity, sharing the assets, sharing the wealth, and, of course, sharing the liabilities.



Now this bill, Mr. Speaker, doesn't make particular reference to that. This bill also makes absolutely no reference to the full disclosure of financial contributions as a result of mayors and councillors running for election. I think, as far as I am concerned, and I think it was the Minister of Transportation who mentioned that we in this profession are sometimes, often under attack. I think a lot of the reasons we are under attack is because we know that the people out in the different constituencies are looking for full disclosure relative to municipal elections. I don't think we would argue too strenuously against that.



Now the 98 page Regional Municipality Bill says that regional governments will not be set up unless they are requested and only one municipality in a county need ask for a merger, but a majority must agree before it goes ahead. Once a request is made, the Department of Municipal Affairs will study whether amalgamation will benefit the area and make recommendations. Now, Mr. Speaker, while the bill does certainly address voluntary mergers, it is still certainly a long way from a voluntary measure.



Now there was a report on the CBC this morning regarding the fact that they have only been operating for a few months and they are already $4 million in the hole. Of course, I am referring to the Cape Breton Regional Municipality. One cannot help wonder if the minister thought to consult the areas who have already gone a shotgun marriage. I wonder if the minister has consulted with the two regional areas that were forced into amalgamation and whether this legislation reflect their experiences in that regard. So we feel there must be some controls put in place over municipal units with regard to expensive infrastructures in the early days when they really have not had a chance to assess what is available to them. We have had the opportunity, as I have said, Mr. Speaker, to consult with a lot of municipal units and there are several areas where improvement can be made.



The first problem encountered by other forced mergers was the timing. Union contracts are often complicated and complex negotiations often occur to ensure that workers are protected. Now negotiations between various police unions, fire departments and unionized workers need to take place first. You certainly have to sit down and talk to your unionized workers and, of course, in the case of Halifax County in the new municipal unit where we are going to have elections relative to on December 2nd, there are certainly a lot of non-unionized workers in the County of Halifax. You have to take the time to sit down with the unionized worker and the non-unionized worker and address some of the concerns that they have.



Volunteer fire departments and regular fire departments experience another problem. When the legislation was passed it provided that no personnel including fire persons could be hired on permanently from the time the merger bill was passed until the merger took effect on April 1, 1995. That had a detrimental effect in some cases, more specifically in the case of the fire departments. In some fire departments personnel were hired on a contract and were let go when the amalgamated municipality took effect.



I again have to wonder why this bill is being brought forward here tonight, what the rush is if it is really going to be a voluntary piece of legislation. While we certainly do agree that there are some merits in the formation of a regional government, I think Colchester County has given this a very serious look. As the result of this bill I believe there can be an increase in efficiency in the delivery of services. We hope that there will be greater uniformity in the services provided and equity and tax rates based on community needs. There should also be an increased ability to compete effectively in the area of economic development. I think we all would like to see an increase in economic development.



Mr. Speaker, I think perhaps you would caution me if I talked about how tolls and toll roads will be detrimental to economic development in Cumberland County. I have a letter to that effect from the Warden of Cumberland County, a piece of correspondence that I will reproduce at a later date.



MR. DENNIS RICHARDS: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order. I have heard the member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley speak many times from correspondence that he has had back and forth with all kinds of people. I trust that the honourable member will be tabling those pieces of correspondence for the benefit of all members of the House. Is that a point that I can count on, Mr. Speaker?



MR. SPEAKER: It is a valid point of order that any honourable member who quotes from a document must be prepared to table it at the request of another member and I take it that the request has been made. We look forward to the tabling of this document.



MR. RICHARDS: That includes tabling all of the documents that he was making reference to, Mr. Speaker.



MR. SPEAKER: The various documents involved, yes.



MR. TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, I do want to indicate that a lot of the documents that I make reference to I am going from recall but I do have some here that I certainly would be pleased to table. But do you know one document I forgot to mention and I think I can produce here tonight? The mayor of the second largest city says that there was absolutely no consultation with UNSM regarding this bill, Mayor Gloria McCluskey. Perhaps that member, if he doesn't trust my word, that member knows the Mayor of Dartmouth, he could give her a call.



AN HON. MEMBER: Who was the Mayor of Dartmouth before her?



MR. TAYLOR: Well, let me see. The mayor that put that town in debt, who was he? The bill will enable for a greater ability to address needs and concerns of residential, commercial and certainly institutional constituents. It is important that we look at economic development and there is no reference in this legislation . . .



MR. SPEAKER: Possibly while we are looking at economic development the honourable member who requested the tabling of papers could be looking at those papers if you would be so kind as to table them.



MR. TAYLOR: I wonder if I may ask that honourable member a question?



MR. SPEAKER: I don't believe that is possible.



MR. TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker through you, could we ask the honourable member to express to the House the names of the correspondents he would wish to see?





MR. SPEAKER: Perhaps the fault is my own. I have to be very careful but if an honourable member reads from a document and then it is requested that the document be tabled, the document must be tabled. Those are the Rules of the House. You were quoting from a letter, could you table that letter?



MR. TAYLOR: I have a letter here from the home of the world's highest tides, the Municipality of East Hants. It talks about policing at the Halifax International Airport. It says: "Dear Mr. Taylor, This will acknowledge receipt of your correspondence dated August 22nd, 1995, with reference to concerns you have about RCMP Services at the Halifax International Airport. Your correspondence was acknowledged at Council's September meeting.".



[8:15 p.m.]



This is the municipality of East Hants and this talks about policing. (Interruption) I certainly will table that letter for the honourable member.



MR. SPEAKER: All right, the letter may be tabled. That letter, from what you read of it, doesn't appear to relate in any way to Bill No. 28.



MR. JOHN HOLM: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order. Just to be helpful, later on when I speak I probably will be making reference to the same two letters. I have them here. I have sent them out to be copied and I will be happy to table them, to assist at that time.



MR. SPEAKER: Very well then, we will have multiple tablings.



MR. TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, I do have correspondence here that I didn't think you wanted me to mention so I didn't read from that correspondence.



MR. SPEAKER: One is only required to table documents that have actually been quoted or read from. Otherwise, they are not required to be tabled.



MR. TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, I did send off inquiries to the Mayor of Dartmouth. I will table a letter, but I think it is only fair that I should let the honourable members know that I did not bother, because of the shotgun marriage, sending off an inquiry to the City of Halifax, the Mayor, Mr. Walter R. Fitzgerald, but I do intend doing that. We sent correspondence off to the Mayor of the Town of Amherst, to the Town of Annapolis Royal, to the Town of Antigonish. I am going to table it. I think it is only fair that I should let the member know (Interruptions) Was the one inquiry addressed to all? It is the master letter. I think, for clarification, I understood you said that I would have to read from that letter before I have to table it. Is that fair to say?



MR. SPEAKER: The procedure is that one is not required to table anything unless it is a document that has actually been read to the House, in whole or in part. If you read a document and another member wants to see it, he has a right to request, to view it. That is the whole purpose of the rule. If you simply refer to a document, if you say I have eight letters in my pocket and you pat your pocket, that doesn't require you to table them, only if you read them into the record.



MR. TAYLOR: Thank you, Mr Speaker. I do have a file copy here. The only letter I have read I have sent to all the municipal units. I am certainly prepared to table it, but first I think it is fair that I read from that letter. Then I will table it.



"As you are no doubt aware, Municipal Affairs Minister Sandra Jolly introduced a Bill in the Legislature yesterday entitled An Act Respecting Regional Municipalities. The principle of this Bill is to provide legislation for municipalities that wish to amalgamate.



The purpose of this letter is to inquire if your municipal unit was aware of this legislation and if input was solicited from your unit respecting the provisions of the legislation.". It seems like a fair question. "While we welcome comments on all provisions of the Bill, we are particularly interested in your views respecting sections 3(2) and 42.



Section 3(2) provides that where a majority of the councils of the municipal units in the county request that a regional municipality be established, the Governor in Council may, on the recommendation of the Minister, order that a regional municipality be established. Thus, amalgamation will not be based on population, but rather on the majority of units.



Section 89 of the new Bill provides that section 42 of the Education Act does not apply. This section of the Education Act deals with the setting of area rates.



Another concern is that there is no reference to a provincial takeover of social service costs. As you know, this has been undertaken in the Regional Municipality of Cape Breton and is targeted to be effected in the new Queens Regional Municipality by April 1996.



The government has indicated that this legislation will be called for Second Reading on Monday, October 30th." Today. "Once again, legislation that has far reaching impact has been introduced and is being rushed through the Legislature in a two-day turnaround.". Again, I question the minister and, of course, the Government House Leader as to why?



Mr. Speaker, I concluded by saying: "Please call me or Jennifer Furry at 1-800-363-1998 . . ." -I should repeat our 800 number: 1-800-363-1998. Please call us and express your views on this legislation. I want to thank the people and the municipal units. I also want to thank the Warden of the County of Pictou for being so prompt in expressing his views relative to this legislation. "Yours truly, Brooke Taylor, MLA Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley and Municipal Affairs Critic" Mr. Speaker, I should point out, acting Municipal Affairs Critic, because we are sharing the responsibilities of our new Leader as he gets accustomed to his new job and we are extremely pleased to help him out.



I would ask, with your approbation, Mr. Speaker, would you want me to table that?



MR. SPEAKER: You may certainly table the documents.



MR. TAYLOR: That is the only document, Mr. Speaker, and I sent that document to all municipal units and I am very pleased to have the opportunity. Make sure the member for Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage gets a copy.



Welcome to the Chair, Madam Speaker. I sent a copy of that letter to the beautiful Town of Bedford, I thought you would probably be interested. I sent that letter . . .



MADAM SPEAKER: Honourable member, I am only interested that you attempt to adhere to the rules of parliamentary procedure tonight. That is my interest in sitting in this Chair, but thank you for the information.





MR. TAYLOR: Madam Speaker, regional governments certainly do have a place but it has to be done through consultation. For example, as a result of this legislation, when this legislation is proclaimed, you could have a case where - and now I guess this would sort of be hypothetical, but certainly not redundant because we have the shotgun marriage going on -many of our services are duplicated and I don't think anybody argues that, but I think what the municipal units are looking for is consultation. I understand that many of the municipal units in the County of Pictou have a study underway. I believe that this legislation will accommodate that study. We are not questioning that, but we do have some concerns that there may be too great a rush involved in shoving this legislation through.



I know the House Leader, Madam Speaker, brought this legislation forward this evening and there are a lot of things going on this evening, in fact, we are all waiting to see what is going to happen in Quebec. The Warden of Cumberland County, Gerry Read, was on his way to Quebec when this bill was introduced and we tried to contact the warden but he was either on his way to Quebec or on his way back but we did hear back from the Municipality of Cumberland, and the representative that phoned the 1-800 line and he talked to one of our researchers at our caucus office, he said . . .



AN HON. MEMBER: What was that number again?



MR. TAYLOR: Madam Speaker, for the benefit, I don't know if the member wants to cross the floor, but I should tell him our 1-800 number again. No, okay.



Anyway, the representative, the municipal councillor that called us, advised us that they didn't feel that they had enough input into the legislation.



Now, Madam Speaker, there are several municipal units, you could have the Towns of Stellarton, New Glasgow, Westville, Thorburn and so on, over in beautiful Pictou County and I understand that they are going to receive some funds from the government, and I certainly appreciate and support that initiative, to conduct a study relative to forming a new regional government down there.



Madam Speaker, one of the major concerns that I have with this legislation is the fact that you could have two small units, and it is not hypothetical, because of this piece of legislation you could have two small units dictating to a larger unit. For example, and I do not think this will play out but it could play out, you could have the Town of Stewiacke and the County of Colchester in favour of amalgamation and the Town of Truro perhaps not of the same disposition. Then what would happen? The minister says it will be truly voluntary and she would not establish a new regional unit there, but there are no provisions, actually there is nothing in this bill that actually states that.



The CAOs have conducted a study in those municipal units. Madam Speaker, they contacted police departments, they talked to fire departments, they talked to purchasing agents, they talked to the Village of Bible Hill, the Village of Tatamagouche. There certainly can be a functional alignment, if you will, laid out and I think everybody supports that.



If you have not seen the document, and I dare not read from it because it certainly would be quite a chore to reproduce that particular document. I just reference it from recall. Madam Speaker, I know that I cannot be repetitious and I did stop down here with the Town of New Glasgow.



I also sent correspondence to the Mayor of the Town of Pictou, not to be confused with the warden of the county. The warden, of course, is with us here tonight. We also sent correspondence off to the Town of Springhill and the Mayor there, Rosemary Mullins. We sent an inquiry off to the Mayor of Stellarton, the Mayor of Trenton and the Mayor of Truro and so on down the line. The responses that we have had back so far certainly indicate that the municipal units again have had some serious reservations with this legislation.



The Regional Municipalities Bill is made up of two divisions. The first contains definitions, Madam Speaker, and a description on how the regional legislation is activated. It also outlines the rules to change municipal units to regional municipalities. The second division contains provisions dealing with the organization, powers and responsibilities of a regional municipality. The majority of what is contained in this bill is taken from the Halifax Regional Municipality Act.



The minister outlined the process for future amalgamations. First, she says there must be a study requested by one or more councils in a county. Madam Speaker, this is a news release and I could certainly table this for the benefit of, particularly the backbenchers. I do not know whether the backbenchers would have received a copy of the minister's news release. I had an opportunity to attend the bill briefing and, oh, surely to goodness they would not require a copy of that news release. All the backbenchers must have received a copy of the press release by the Minister of Municipal Affairs.



MADAM SPEAKER: Honourable member, there is a member standing to seek permission to ask you a question. Are you agreeable to taking a question?



MR. TAYLOR: I will entertain a question from that member.



MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Madam Speaker, Bill No. 28 is a bill that is essentially enabling legislation, permitting the municipal units who so desire to be masters of their own destiny in the future. I am just wondering what the member has against municipalities being masters of their own destiny in the future. Would the member answer that?



MR. TAYLOR: Madam Speaker, that is the whole point. I am glad that member, you know, he asks a lot of questions and the odd time he asks questions without asking you for permission. It is really nice to see the member make a formal request. (Interruption)



MADAM SPEAKER: Honourable member, I would like to just point out to you that he has asked the question appropriately. I do not think that your comments really are appropriate in response to it.



[8:30 p.m.]



You have the floor and if you would like to try to answer the question, that is fine.



MR. TAYLOR: Madam Speaker, it was some time ago that he asked that question. I think what the member asked was what I had against municipal units controlling their own destiny and that is a very good question.



I have absolutely nothing against the municipal unit controlling their destiny. I do have some concern when a municipal unit may not be able to control their future or decide their destiny and that could happen, for example, the little village commission. You know, that member for Cape Breton West is quite correct. Cape Breton was not allowed to decide on the future of their destiny.



The new member for Cape Breton West brings up a very valid point, but . . .



HON. SANDRA JOLLY: On a point of order, I think, Madam Speaker, that the honourable members across the way should remember that there were five, if not six of the municipalities in Cape Breton that felt amalgamation was the right way to go. There were two out of the eight who opposed it. So, in actual fact you could say they did do it under the same as would have been under this piece of legislation. (Applause)



MADAM SPEAKER: I thank you. I think that is more a point of clarification.



MR. JOHN HOLM: On the minister's point of order, what the minister is, in effect, saying then is that those municipalities or some municipalities have the right to control their own destinies, but other municipalities, of course, if they do not happen to fit with the majority, they do not have that same right.



MADAM SPEAKER: Again, I do not believe that is a point of order. It is a point of information in response to the minister.



MR. TAYLOR: Unless I am missing something here, I was trying to answer the honourable member for Cape Breton South's question and I understand the Minister of Municipal Affairs rose on a point of order, but I think it would be fair that I should be permitted to finish answering that member's question. The point is and the fact is that North Sydney and Louisbourg, two units, were not permitted, were not allowed to, did not receive approval to control their destiny.



MR. MANNING MACDONALD: On a point of order, Madam Speaker. North Sydney and other municipal units in Cape Breton have nothing to do with the bill that is before this House this evening. I would implore you to keep the member, at least halfway on the bill. I do not mind giving him a bit of latitude, but my question had to do with Bill No. 28 and what did that member or his caucus, do they have a problem with municipal units being masters of their destiny. That is the question I asked.



I have never seen so much stick-handling in my life around a simple question. Is he in favour of municipal units being masters in their own house or is he not? Can he answer that question?



MADAM SPEAKER: Thank you. I would just like to respond that I do not consider that a point of order, rather a point of opinion.



MR. JOHN LEEFE: On a further point of order, Madam Speaker. As I sit here and observe, it occurs to me that if the members sitting on the government benches were to be prepared not to bait, catcall, rise at every opportunity and raise questions and points of order with respect to the member who is trying to make a speech in second reading, that he probably would have been finished half an hour ago. (Interruptions) They themselves, are the ones who are obstructing debate in this House, not the member who is on his feet endeavouring to address this matter in second reading.



MADAM SPEAKER: Thank you. Again, I would like to rule that that is not a point of order. It is a point of comment on behaviour, though, and it is probably a good observation.



MR. TAYLOR: Thank you, Madam Speaker. This is a very serious piece of legislation and, of course, we believe that a municipal unit should be able to control their destiny. What we are saying, because we know full well that there were insolvent units down in Cape Breton, we know full well that there are insolvent units on the mainland, but what we are saying is just because you are an insolvent unit, does that give this government the right to dictatorially come in and say, you will be merged. You will be formed into a new regional municipal unit. That's what happened with the shotgun marriages. (Interruption) That's what happened down in Cape Breton and North Sydney did not have an opportunity to control their destiny and that member for Cape Breton South knows full well they didn't have an opportunity. What we are saying is why, Madam Speaker? Why the haste? Why are they moving so fast?



Now, Madam Speaker, when you look at the legislation, and we have carefully examined this bill, it is 98 pages long. Now the new Cape Breton Regional Municipality, as you are probably aware, cancelled a budget meeting for today. That new regional municipal unit and Mayor John Coady, wanted to meet with the Minister of Finance and the Minister of Municipal Affairs because he was looking for a deal with the municipality. He wants to deal with that new super city's debt, $4.5 million. He wants to deal with that debt. (Interruption) Now where was the Minister of Finance today?



AN HON. MEMBER: . . . to deal with their pay raises.



MR. TAYLOR: To deal with their pay raises. Oh, Madam Speaker, one of the Liberal members talks about dealing with a pay raise. (Interruption) So, they won't even go down and sit down with Mayor John Coady.



MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Madam Speaker, on a point of order. The honourable member has mentioned two or three times Cape Breton South and the municipal problems in Cape Breton. I would remind the member again, and you, that I know there is latitude in debate but he is not anywhere near talking about Bill No. 28. He is talking about the financial condition of the Cape Breton Regional Municipality. Now I don't know what that has to do in any way, shape or form with this bill that is on the floor. I would ask him, through you, to stick to the bill.



MR. TERENCE DONAHOE: Madam Speaker, on that point of order. It occurs to me that the honourable member for Cape Breton South, and obviously many other members on the government side fail to understand that the principle of the bill which we debate tonight is exactly the principle of the bill which resulted in the merger of the Cape Breton municipal units. It is exactly the same principle (Interruptions) and it is completely legitimate. (Interruptions)



MADAM SPEAKER: Order, please.



MR. DONAHOE: It is completely legitimate therefore I suggest to you, Madam Speaker, that in debate on the principle of the bill which is before us tonight, it is appropriate and reasonable to indicate and outline and express concerns about the result which has befallen other municipal units which were forced into amalgamation following exactly the same principles set out in the minister's bill we debate tonight. Therefore references to the Cape Breton experience are completely legitimate and completely relevant and on all fours to the principle of the bill which we now debate.



MADAM SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the New Democratic Party. Are you speaking to this point of order or raising another?



MR. JOHN HOLM: Yes, I am, Madam Speaker, and very briefly. When we are debating second reading of a bill, one of the things that traditionally we have latitude to make reference to are the comments made by the minister when the minister introduces a particular piece of legislation and opens the debate on the floor. Very clearly this evening, the minister said that the economic benefits of the amalgamation are obvious to everyone.



Madam Speaker, I would suggest when you are left with a $4.5 million debt after just 60 days, then one has a right to question and to debate the economic advantages of the amalgamation that the minister is professing. Therefore the topic that is currently on the floor is indeed extremely legitimate, important and relevant in the context.



MADAM SPEAKER: Honourable members, I would like to rule on the point of order and the two interventions on it. I don't believe any one of you has raised an actual point of order. You have certainly given your opinion. Yes, the debate this evening has been quite wide-ranging. I would like to rein it in somewhat so that we could get to the actual debate on this bill in second reading. I know the Speaker earlier ruled that there is wide latitude but I think it is important that the time here be used well. I would like to rein this debate in somewhat if you would.



Carry on, the honourable member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley.



MR. TAYLOR: Thank you, Madam Speaker. The government wants to get the message out that they proposed voluntary mergers. That is the message that the government is purporting. When you examine the piece of legislation, you find very quickly, and I know we can talk only on the principle, but the concept of a regional municipal unit has to be truly voluntary.



Now we can remember, Madam Speaker, and I think it is important that we do remember and I believe that this government remembers the fuss and the commotion and the outrage and the opposition and the infuriation that the Mayors of Dartmouth and Halifax and the Mayor of the beautiful Town of Bedford and the Mayor of Halifax County, that shotgun marriage, they were drugged to the altar with a rope, they were drug up to (Interruptions) drug, yes, not drugged, they were dragged. They were pulled and dragged and drugged and kicked. They were not treated very well at all.



The beautiful Town of Bedford, we could have a town, a village like Bible Hill, a little town like Tatamagouche, a little town like Stewiacke, that could be as opposed as the Town of Bedford, as a result of this legislation if the majority decides to come in and say, we are going to merge. That is what this bill does. So really, let's not fool the municipal units, let's not try to fool the municipal units in this province into thinking it will truly be a voluntary (Interruption)



Madam Speaker, I can't respond to that, can I? I would love to.



MADAM SPEAKER: I think the honourable member would be wise to keep on track.



MR. TAYLOR: Thank you, Madam Speaker, anything to (Interruptions)



The minister calls the new merger regime voluntary but we know that there are still flaws in the bill but we do support a municipal unit or a number of municipal units forming a regional municipality.



Now, let's take the County of Pictou, let's play this scenario out. Perhaps when the Minister of Finance meets with the Mayor of the new Cape Breton Regional Municipality, Mr. Coady, will hear some concerns about area rates and the debts. How do you handle liabilities and how do you handle assets? I have absolutely no idea. Madam Speaker, assets and liabilities are a consideration that Mayor Coady has down in the new Cape Breton regional municipal unit. You have eight units, you have insolvency, you have solvent entities, too. It is a serious concern and I am sure the mayor of the new unit down there would like to address those concerns.



If you are going to have true uniformity, it has to be clearly established how the debts and, of course, how the assets will be handled, that it is a serious concern to a unit. Madam Speaker, a lot of units are a little hasty and, of course, a lot of them go in the other direction. But the fact of the matter is that these units could sit down, the CAOs could sit down and discuss forming a new regional municipal unit. They could look at all the different services they provide, they could identify duplication. There is certainly no problem with that. I believe we all would support more efficient and more effective municipal units.



But, Madam Speaker, as I see it the problem is that this bill was just introduced and now we are calling it back and we do have to wonder why. We know that the Government House Leader operates in very mysterious ways. We saw that when he returned the $26 million; he took it one day and brought it back the next. So we know he operates in very mysterious ways.



Madam Speaker, a lot of the municipal units, particularly in Cumberland and Colchester Counties, are going to be coming down.



AN HON. MEMBER: Two separate counties.



[8:45 p.m.]



MR. TAYLOR: Two separate counties, yes, Cumberland and Colchester are two separate counties, are very much opposed to toll roads, because they see them as an economic development impediment. They will impede economic development, Madam Speaker, and that is a shame. Nowhere in this legislation is there any reference to toll roads. So, while we were very pleased, just in conclusion, very quickly, there are several flaws in the legislation; it is important that units be able to determine their destiny. We support that, but we don't support any more shotgun marriages. Thank you.



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



MR. JOHN HOLM: Madam Speaker, as the previous speaker takes his seat, I am not sure, quite honestly, after listening to him for a period of an hour, if you are for or against the bill. I don't know if you are going to vote for or against the bill. I do know, and I am not sure what the policy of the Conservative Opposition is at the present time, but I know that the new Leader of the Conservative Party, Dr. Hamm, said, what we are seeing from Premier Savage are many of the policies that Donald Cameron started and campaigned on, so I generally support them. So, I am assuming that since this piece of legislation and the other shotgun bills, the undemocratic legislation that was introduced by this Savage Government, which when in Opposition the Liberals said they opposed and which they said were crazy, I am understanding or assuming that the Leader is, in fact, speaking for the Party.



MR. BROOKE TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order. I think it is important that we advise the Leader of the Third Party that our caucus is getting larger and his is getting smaller. (Laughter)



MR. SPEAKER: I want to say this about that. I had anticipated that a genuine point of order might be forthcoming. I don't think that that kind of gratuitous intervention guised as a point of order is appropriate at all.



MR. HOLM: Thank you, Mr. Speaker, but I have to assure you, after having been in this for 11 years, having fought against the Conservative amalgamation shotgun plan, that I have developed a little bit of a thick skin. So, those kinds of comments really don't affect me very much at all.



Mr. Speaker, as I say, I couldn't help but point that out, that obvious inconsistency, because in reality what we have before us is a piece of legislation that is fulfilling the Donald Cameron-John Buchanan vision of Nova Scotia, a vision that was, as I said earlier, described as being crazy by the former Mayor of the City of Dartmouth. For the former speaker, who was talking about having sent letters to the City of Dartmouth, this legislation, of course, does not affect them because that shotgun has already taken place; it has already gone off. The municipal elections are underway and we already have a coordinator who has all power, who has been appointed by this minister and is going to set up the structure of all of the municipal area. So, some of those comments are a little bit off base and not relevant, necessarily, to this.



Mr. Speaker, I listened to the minister's comments, and the minister said, as she did in the release she put out when the bill was introduced, she said she has listened and that the government has learned. Whoa, have they ever. One of the things they have learned is that democracy can be messy, and you know, under our parliamentary system, citizens in this province have the right to appear before the Law Amendments Committee to have their views and concerns heard. So, when the shotgun took place here in metro, when the shotgun wedding took place in industrial Cape Breton, the residents of those affected municipalities, the workers, the citizens, had a right to appear before us at the Law Amendments Committee to have their views heard. That resulted in some positive changes to those legislations.



Now what we have is this all-inclusive omnibus bill where the minister and the government won't have to go through that messy process called democracy. There won't be a requirement for a piece of legislation to be tabled on the floor of this House as was done voluntarily by the Town of Liverpool and the Municipality of Queens and where the citizens' democratic rights to have a say, to be heard about the kind of government, representation and system that they would have in their municipalities where they would have their right to be heard. You can just see the government over there dancing saying, yes we got them and we don't have to listen at all.



The Minister of Municipal Affairs said that she consulted with the Union of Nova Scotia Municipalities. She told them at the convention that this legislation was going to be introduced. Some consultation. That convention for those of you over in never-never land called the government benches should know that that convention was held approximately two weeks ago and here is the bill, 98 pages long. Was that bill presented to the municipal units? Was it presented to the UNSM? Was it presented to all of the municipal units?



I think the Minister of Transportation and comedy has a question; if he wants to get up and pose it to me I would be happy to address it. I am waiting for the member for Cape Breton South to pose to me the very same question that he posed to the previous speaker because I would love, and I may address it anyway even if he doesn't want to ask it, the question he posed about municipalities having a right to control their own destiny. In reality, this legislation and the system as it is set up does not give them that right or that control.



The minister has listened and this government has listened over the past year, presumably this legislation is the best thing since sliced bread, yes indeed. The economic benefits are obvious to everyone and that is why it is reported in today's Cape Breton Post, this isn't old news, today, October 30, 1995, that Coady, referring to Mayor John Coady of the new super-city said Sunday, the municipality's budget has gone through committee which has directed him to seek meetings with the two ministers as soon as possible to determine what financial assistance is available for the province and discuss how and over what period of time the municipality can absorb the debt load it faces.



This new regional municipality, this wonder child of the provincial government - and I say child because municipal governments are the children of the provincial government, they hold their Charters from the province and they are at the mercy of the provincial government - which began on October 1, 1995 must face about $4.5 million in start-up costs alone. You know, when this bill was being debated we were told there were to be massive savings to the taxpayers of industrial Cape Breton, of those eight municipal units that were merged, consolidated.



The member for Kings North would like to know if that $4.5 million included the trip to the United States with the council where I think they were reviewing cities where they do not have any unionized workers and I honestly cannot answer that question.



In addition to that, Mr. Speaker, this new municipality also has to absorb the debts and accumulated deficits of the eight municipalities making up that government, plus, of course, there is a debt, a major cost that is still in a deficit as a result of the centre. This municipal government that was to be saving the taxpayers, somehow, all of those financial savings disappeared, but they do have the benefit of a $4.5-plus million, already new debt.



Mr. Speaker, this new Act was also to ensure that we had fairness in service delivery and tax rates. I cannot talk about the next piece of legislation that is coming on this floor, Bill No. 29, but that is aiming at making corrections to that municipal bill that was introduced to, in fact, put it back to the situation when the municipality can end up dividing different kinds of tax rates so that those municipal units that had debts before will continue to carry them.



In other words, Mr. Speaker, nothing will in effect have changed for those different municipal units and for the people who live in those municipal units in terms of the debt load that the citizens in those areas are going to have to pay. That is going to affect the level of service that they are able to provide to their citizens.



Mr. Speaker, the only ones who are benefiting is the provincial government. This is part of the Savage, Liberal plans to off-load increased costs to download them on down to the municipal taxpayers.



The emergency funding, of course, is gone to those municipal units, to the Minister of Finance who does not understand it. You know, and maybe the Minister of Finance would like to be helpful tonight. Maybe the Minister of Finance, who is a representative from that area, would like to take his place in this House and tell us, and more importantly tell his mayor, the Mayor of the Regional Municipality of Cape Breton County, how much financial help that municipality can expect from the Province of Nova Scotia. I am seeing a sign from somebody else, but it is not the Minister of Finance and it was rather round. People up in Cape Breton want to know, since this marriage was supposed to be so wonderful, how much the province is now prepared to put its money where its mouth is in terms of that.



Mr. Speaker, the minister's statement in this House tonight and her statement when she introduced the bill, said that this is strictly voluntary. Municipalities are masters of their own destiny. It is all voluntary. That statement plus a loonie will get you a small cup of coffee because the reality is the province can manipulate in such a way to determine which municipal units are and which municipal units are no longer financially viable. That is fact, it is not just my say-so.



Mr. Speaker, let us take a look at some of the kinds of things, and I said when the previous speaker was talking, that I would be happy to table a couple of letters and I will even table them in advance before I make reference to them because I brought them with me. I ask that these two documents be tabled. One is from the Municipality of East Hants and is addressed to the Honourable James A. Smith and the other one is a memorandum sent to all the municipalities, the towns in Nova Scotia, and a letter that was sent to the Minister of Municipal Affairs from the Mayor of the Town of Windsor.



[9:00 p.m.]



Now, Mr. Speaker, once this new super-city in metro takes place, the only urban areas left will be towns. Do you know we had service exchange? Service exchange was the prelude to the amalgamations. When I take a look at what is happening here, it is quite obvious, and I have yet to see any evidence or anything that would persuade me otherwise, and that is that it is the intention of this government to ensure that the number of municipalities reduce. We have gone from 66 down to 59 and they want to continue that slide down to 18. That was a Tory plan and that is the Liberal plan. It is one and the same.



Mr. Speaker, in the memorandum sent from the Town of Windsor by Mayor Maxine Whynot, which I have tabled, it points out quite correctly, "Service exchange was to have levelled the playing field between rural and urban units in Nova Scotia. After the Cape Breton and Halifax amalgamations, only Towns remain as urban units as the cities have been regionalized.". Talks about how the province has the ability not in consultation - they don't have to listen to what the municipalities say - but the province has the ability to alter unilaterally the cost-sharing formulae and how much money is going to be spent or shared. As Maxine Whynot pointed out, "Now the Department of Justice intends to transfer $900,000 of costs from rural units to some Towns in order to address `equity in service exchange'". She said that the negative impact upon the towns are alarming.



As a result of that, the Town of Windsor is seeking the support of other municipal units and this is a direct quote, "Windsor Town Council respectfully asks that the Department of Municipal Affairs halt all further adjustment to service exchange cost transfer (including the Dept. of Justice adjustment planned for April 1. 1996) until a complete review can be undertaken determining the true impact on Towns in Nova Scotia. The future viability of all Towns is threatened without careful study of where we are going.".





But, Mr. Speaker, I don't think that is by accident. I think that is by design because the municipal bill that is before us simply states that one municipal unit, only one in a county, has to ask or put in the request for a study of amalgamation. Secondly, the province has the ability, especially for the smaller towns that do not have a large tax base, to place them in a very precarious financial position. So if in a number of municipalities, those smallest, weakest of municipal units are placed in that kind of financial situation, then they would be the majority and they would then apply and ask for amalgamation. Nothing to do with population. No consideration is to be given to population. Even in this bill, the advisory body that is being set up to advise and coordinate which is all powerful, doesn't have anything to do with representation by population. Which is fundamental to the principles which are so important to us at all times. Certainly it is something that we are thinking about today as the referendum vote is taking place. I am sure I share the views of everybody that we are holding our breath as the polls have just closed in the Province of Quebec so we should know the outcome very soon.



But, Mr. Speaker, representation by population is a fundamental principle of democracy. In another letter that I referred to, dealing with concerns about budget information and communication about budget information to municipal units from the Department of Community Services to municipalities.



They said, "We have found, on occasion, that communications of information from the Community Services Department to Municipal Units occurs after decisions have been made.". Of course, that should be no surprise to everybody, that is the way this government operates. That is what they believe in. That is the autocratic, arrogant style of this government.



"Of particular concern at this time is the fact your department has recently taken over in-home support and community based option programs, but at the point at which cost sharing between your department and the Municipality converts from 75% to 50% Provincial Funding on General Assistance is still impacted by Provincial spending in this area . . . Of future concern is that this Municipality was advised of the budgetary decisions in this area that allowed this situation to occur only after Municipal Budgets were set.". In other words, this provincial government has the municipalities at their mercy. For this government, for the member for Cape Breton South and others, to pretend that this bill is strictly voluntary, for them to pretend that this gives municipalities control over their own destiny, that is stretching it, indeed, a country mile.



One of the areas that I want to touch on briefly, and what I consider to be a very important flaw in this legislation, something which strikes me as undemocratic, as autocratic as you can possibly get, is the fact that just as in the shotgun amalgamation bills for the Cities of Halifax, Dartmouth, the Town of Bedford and the Municipality of Halifax County, and also the eight municipalities in Cape Breton County, it is the minister who will appoint a coordinator.



HON. RICHARD MANN: No. It is not the minister.



MR. HOLM: Some people say oh, no. I hear the minister of comedy over there saying oh, no.



MR. SPEAKER: The Minister of Transportation, please.





MR. HOLM: Oh, I am sorry, Mr. Speaker, I did not want to identify who was being comical or trying to be funny. I was not going to identify him. When one takes a look at the powers of a coordinator and one takes a look at the fundamental principles of democracy, democracy, to me - in this House, presumably we all support the principle that those who are in power and making decisions are accountable to those who are working for them. (Interruption)



I hear a request being made to me and based on the request that I am receiving, I would move that the debate on this bill be adjourned at this time and resumed at a future time.



MR. SPEAKER: The motion is that the debate on the bill be adjourned.



The motion is carried.



The honourable Government House Leader.



HON. RICHARD MANN: Mr. Speaker, could we revert to the order of business, Notices of Motion?



NOTICES OF MOTION



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Hants East.



MR. ROBERT CARRUTHERS: Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the Government House Leader going back to resolutions. This is a resolution I would like to get on today.



RESOLUTION NO. 456



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



Whereas 16 year old Lisa Fraser from Hardwoodlands Road in Hants County, an honour Grade 11 student at Hants East Rural High School, is quickly becoming a singing sensation in the world of country music; and



Whereas Canada has recognized Lisa's exceptional vocal talent, by awarding her first prize in the coveted Canadian Country Open Singing Competition at the 21st Annual National Singing Competition; and



Whereas Lisa is currently hard at work cutting a record with award winning Nashville producer, Robert Metzgar, producer of world famous artists such as Kenny Rogers, Willie Nelson and Alan Jackson, while continuing to keep up her high school studies at Hants East Rural High School;



Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate Hants East resident Lisa Fraser for her growing success as a country recording artist, and while recognizing the tremendous musical talent which this province continues to produce, offer Lisa Fraser our encouragement in all her future endeavours.



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



MR. SPEAKER: Is it agreed?



It is agreed.



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



The motion is carried unanimously.



The honourable Government House Leader.



HON. RICHARD MANN: Mr. Speaker, I think it is fair to say that everyone's interests are elsewhere right about now. I understand the returns have started to come in from the Province of Quebec. So, with that in mind, I would advise members that we will be sitting tomorrow from the hours of 2:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. Following the daily routine and Question Period, we will resume the adjourned debate on Bill No. 28.



With that, I move that we adjourn until 2:00 p.m. tomorrow.



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



The motion is carried.



[The House rose at 9:12 p.m.]