Assemblée Législative de la Nouvelle-Écosse

Les travaux de la Chambre ont repris le
21 septembre 2017



















HALIFAX, WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 15, 1995



Fifty-sixth General Assembly



Third Session



2:00 P.M.



SPEAKER



Hon. Paul MacEwan



DEPUTY SPEAKER



Mrs. Francene Cosman







MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. I would like to call the House to order at this time so that we can commence the daily proceedings. Before we do, are there any introductions of guests in the gallery?



The honourable member for Inverness.



MR. CHARLES MACARTHUR: Mr. Speaker, it is indeed a pleasure for me to introduce to you and to other members of the House, two members of the Cheticamp Development Association, Mr. Leonard Buckles and Mr. Alfred LeBlanc. I would ask them to stand and receive the warm welcome of the House. (Applause)



MR. SPEAKER: Now, unless there are any further introductions, we will commence the daily routine.



PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS



MR. SPEAKER: I was going to say the honourable Leader of the Opposition.



The honourable member for Halifax Citadel.



MR. TERENCE DONAHOE: That was a previous incarnation, Mr. Speaker.









2951

Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to table a petition containing 40 signatures, signed by teachers from two different schools which indicates that the signatories to it, ". . . wish to convey to the Government of Nova Scotia and to the Minister of Education and Culture, the Honourable John MacEachern, my anger and outrage with the proposed Education Act (Bill 39).". The heading of the petition goes on to say, "This Act deprofessionalizes me, it strips me of my contract rights, it unilaterally determines that one-tier bargaining will exist in Nova Scotia and it confers absolute power on the Minister. I ask the Minister to make substantive changes to this Act as requested by the NSTU or to withdraw this act.". I have signed the petition.



MR. SPEAKER: The petition is tabled.



PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES



TABLING REPORTS REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS



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



HON. GERALD O'MALLEY: Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to table the Annual Report of the Department of Supply and Services for the fiscal year ended March 31, 1994.



MR. SPEAKER: The report is tabled.



The honourable Minister of Supply and Services.



HON. GERALD O'MALLEY: Mr. Speaker, I also beg leave to table the Annual Surplus Crown Property Disposal Report as of October 31, 1995.



With the indulgence of the House, if I may, Mr. Speaker, I would like to point out that this government has earned more than $144,000 on the sale of surplus goods. (Interruptions) I asked the Speaker for the indulgence of the House.



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Hants West.



MR. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, the honourable minister is not into Statements by Ministers.



MR. O'MALLEY: I asked for the indulgence of the House.



MR. RUSSELL: Well, you didn't get it.



MR. SPEAKER: He did request the indulgence of the House. Is the indulgence of the House not granted?



It is not.



The reports will, nonetheless, be circulated. (Interruptions)



When the pandemonium has subsided, we will advance to the next order of business.



STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS



GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Premier.



RESOLUTION NO. 584



HON. JOHN SAVAGE (The Premier): Mr. Speaker, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:



Whereas the mandate of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation is to reflect this area's unique regional qualities through both its television and radio programming; and



Whereas the CBC is a major contributor to the economy of this province by employing almost 400 Nova Scotians and by spending almost one-half of its $30 million regional budget here; and



Whereas countless members of Nova Scotian musicians, writers, dancers and artists rely on the CBC to further their careers by exposing their talents to national and international audiences;



Therefore be it resolved that while recognizing the need for all levels of government to get their fiscal houses in order, that the Nova Scotia House of Assembly urge the federal government in their determination of budget cuts to Crown Corporations to appreciate the important regional role played by the CBC and to ensure that wherever possible, local television and radio programming be maintained.



Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.



MR. SPEAKER: Is that agreed?



It is agreed.



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



The motion is carried.



The honourable Minister of Housing and Consumer Affairs.



RESOLUTION NO. 585



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



Whereas seven Nova Scotia women were honoured at the 6th Annual Halifax-Cornwallis Progress Women of Excellence Awards on Tuesday evening in Halifax; and



Whereas the Progress Women of Excellence Awards honours women who have excelled in their professions; and



Whereas the award recipients serve as worthy role models for young women in our society;



Therefore be it resolved that the members of this Assembly extend congratulations to all of those nominated and the recent recipients of the Halifax-Cornwallis Progress Women of Excellence Awards, for excelling in their professions and in creating a positive influence in their community.



Mr. Speaker, I would request waiver of notice.



MR. SPEAKER: Is it agreed?



It is agreed.



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



The motion is carried.



INTRODUCTION OF BILLS



NOTICES OF MOTION



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Queens.



RESOLUTION NO. 586



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 Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, the Honourable Brian Tobin, has announced the imposition of some $50 million in fees on limited entry fishery licence holders; and



Whereas this House unanimously passed a resolution opposing the imposition of these fees; and



Whereas the imposition of these fees, especially at this time, will create real hardship for limited entry licensed fishers;



Therefore be it resolved that the Premier, in the most forceful of terms, demand that Mr. Tobin not proceed to implement the fee increase scheduled for fisheries licence holders.



Mr. Speaker, I would seek waiver of notice.



MR. SPEAKER: Is that agreeable?



It is agreed.



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



The motion is carried.



The honourable member for Halifax Atlantic.





RESOLUTION NO. 587



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



Whereas Nova Scotians have already lost a television station - CBIT - and a considerable portion of our regionally produced broadcasts of drama, entertainment and current affairs due to prior CBC cuts; and



Whereas the federal government now plans an additional $350 million in cuts to the CBC directed primarily at programming rather than administration; and



Whereas this threatens to further weaken the broadcast voices of our region at the same time local production by private broadcasters is sharply declining;



Therefore be it resolved that this House endorses the value to Canada of a strong public broadcaster, the CBC, and urges that the CBC stations and programs in our region be kept and augmented by limiting CBC cuts to the average of all federal spending cuts.



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



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



I hear some Noes.



The notice is tabled.



The honourable member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley.



RESOLUTION NO. 588



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



Whereas 140 jobs are presently at risk at the Port of Halifax; and



Whereas the jobs are at risk because shipping lines must pay exorbitant fees to the federal government if illegal stowaways make their way to a Canadian port; and



Whereas jobs are at a premium in Nova Scotia despite what the government might want Nova Scotians to believe;



Therefore be it resolved that the Premier and his Minister for the Economic Renewal Agency and the Minister of Transportation and Communications make every effort available to ensure the continuation of Maersk Shipping Line in Halifax and the continuation of 140 jobs.



MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.



The honourable member for Lunenburg.





RESOLUTION NO. 589



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



Whereas the American Bus Association is the trade organization of the inter-city bus industry with motorcoach owner and tour company members throughout continental North America; and



Whereas annually, the ABA selects the top 100 designation as a mark of excellence for events that appeal to a variety of audiences and tourists travelling aboard motorcoaches, highlighting these events in a brochure for distribution to tour operators, the media, and the general public, world-wide; and



Whereas the ABA has selected the Mahone Bay Wooden Boat Festival for its 1996 Top 100 Events in North America, with competition from hundreds of nominations submitted by state and provincial tourism offices throughout Canada, the U.S.A. and Mexico;



Therefore be it resolved that the members of this Assembly extend congratulations to the many volunteers and organizers of the Mahone Bay Wooden Boat Festival for their significant achievement as a Top 100 designation and for their outstanding contributions to Nova Scotia's tourism industry. As a sidelight, this is the second time it has been awarded this.



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 member for Halifax Citadel.



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



Whereas the Minister of Education continues to dismiss objections to his disastrous Education Act and says he doesn't understand where the horrible hypotheticals, as he calls them, have actually come from; and



Whereas the Minister of Education, while feigning ignorance as to why there is so much concern regarding his new Education Act, nonetheless has said publicly that he will propose dozens of changes to the bill when the Law Amendments Committee meets Monday next; and



Whereas it is clear that thousands of Nova Scotians are gravely concerned about the chaos which will be visited upon the province's education system without dramatic amendments to the minister's misguided visions;



Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Education acknowledge that the problem with his new Education Act is not horrible hypotheticals but rather, numerous rotten realities and that full, honest, open, meaningful dialogue prior to the introduction of the bill would have avoided the chaos the province's young people now face.



[2:15 p.m.]



MR. SPEAKER: Well, in my view that notice of motion exceeds the proprieties of fair comment in these Chambers. It is an attempt to debate a bill that is under discussion by the House, has passed second reading and passed approval in principle. I feel it is out of order. Now you can raise a point of order, but you can't debate the ruling. I feel it is out of order. (Interruptions)



MR. DONAHOE: If I may, on a point of privilege, Mr. Speaker, ask if I could have you help me understand your ruling which, quite candidly, I don't. I make, in this notice of motion, no mention whatsoever about the terms and provisions or the substantive issues of the bill. The minister has talked about people running around complaining that there are what he calls horrible hypotheticals and that it is all hypothetical that there are problems, in his opinion, with this bill.



I am making the contention that rather than the problem being horrible hypotheticals, it is, in fact, an understanding by thousands of Nova Scotians that there are rotten realities as a result of this bill and, quite frankly (Interruption) Well if the Premier wants to get up and engage on a point of privilege, he can do so when I am finished.



MR. SPEAKER: I want to be as fair as I can to honourable members.



MR. DONAHOE: That is what I seek, Mr. Speaker.



MR. SPEAKER: The Rules of the House empower someone to call the shots here and that someone is the Chair, the Speaker. The Speaker is in charge, under the rules. Now this Speaker has ruled that we are not going to hold a debate on second reading of bills or bills that are before the House in the guise of notices of motion.



The term "rotten realities" in this motion, as I interpret it, refers to the bill and therefore I rule the motion out of order.



The honourable member for Eastern Shore.



RESOLUTION NO. 590



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



Whereas the 7th Annual Duncan MacMillan Nursing Home Staff and Volunteer Appreciation Dinner was recently held at the Sheet Harbour Lions Centre; and



Whereas the nursing home residents enjoy many social and recreation activities, church services, outings and personal visits, and countless other benefits as a result of the numerous individual volunteers, church and community groups; and



Whereas the community involvement of individuals and groups on the Eastern Shore is something that we all should be proud of, while pausing to thank the volunteers, and renew our commitment to work together to make the Eastern Shore a great place to live for everyone;



Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate the staff and many volunteers of Duncan MacMillan Nursing Home in Sheet Harbour for their dedication and commitment to making the nursing home a special place of care for the residents.



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



MR. SPEAKER: Is that agreed?



It is agreed.



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



The motion is carried.



The honourable member for Bedford-Fall River.



RESOLUTION NO. 591



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



Whereas this summer in Hantsport, Nova Scotia, the Bedford Beavers Swim Team captured the 1995 Summer Swimming Provincial Championships for the first time in the team's history, in a field of over 550 swimmers from 17 provincial teams; and



Whereas at the provincial championships the Bedford Beavers Swim Team won over 90 medals and set 6 provincial records, with team coaches Richard Baker and Grant Stolewinder being voted co-winners of the Coach of the Year Award; and



Whereas over 90 swimmers were involved with the Bedford Beavers Swim Team this year, which provides professional swim instruction for swimmers ages 5 to 17;



Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate the coaches and members of the Bedford Beavers Swim Team on winning the 1995 Swimming Provincial Championships and wish them continued success in future swimming events.



Mr. Speaker, I ask for waiver of notice.



MR. SPEAKER: Is that agreeable that notice be waived?



It is agreed.



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



The motion is carried.



The honourable Minister of Community Services.



RESOLUTION NO. 592



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



Whereas between Friday, November 17th and Sunday, November 19th, the Dartmouth Sportsplex will be hosting the Dartmouth Invitational Swim Meet; and



Whereas approximately 300 swimmers, some of them youth and senior national qualifiers from Atlantic Canada will be competing in this, the first major swim meet of the winter season; and



Whereas the competition will be exciting as 1995 is an Olympic qualifying year and many swimmers will be trying to qualify for the Nationals;



Therefore be it resolved that this House wish the participants, volunteers and staff of the Dartmouth Sportsplex all the best for a successful weekend.



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



MR. SPEAKER: Is that agreeable?



It is agreed.



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



The motion is carried.



The honourable member for Cape Breton South.



RESOLUTION NO. 593



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



Whereas the present Liberal Government was elected in 1993 to provide good government for all Nova Scotians; and



Whereas in demonstration of this commitment, work recently began to solve the problem of well water contamination experienced by the residents of the Floral Heights subdivision in the riding of Cape Breton West; and



Whereas the $525,000 central well and water distribution project was funded by all three levels of government to respond to the very serious needs of a community containing some 500 homes and a school; (Interruptions)



MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. Order!



MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House applaud all three levels of government for their cooperative effort in finding a solution to the Floral Heights well water contamination problem.



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



MR. SPEAKER: Is that agreed?



It is agreed.



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



The motion is carried.



The honourable member for Cape Breton Centre.



RESOLUTION NO. 594



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



Whereas heroic acts occur when ordinary citizens perform extraordinary acts; and



Whereas Sheri Burke, Jeannette Muise and Catherine Penny, employees of the Playtime Daycare in New Waterford, have been honoured for their heroism by the Red Cross and our Premier, for their role in saving the life of young Louise Lever; and



Whereas 15 year old Thomas Pheiffer of New Waterford was also honoured for saving the life of Jimmy Hurley when he fell through the ice last December;



Therefore be it resolved that the members of the House of Assembly of the Province of Nova Scotia commend the heroic actions of Thomas Pheiffer, Catherine Penny, Jeannette Muise and Sheri Burke, that led to the saving of two very precious lives.



I ask for waiver of notice, Mr. Speaker.



MR. SPEAKER: Is that agreeable?



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. 595



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



Whereas Joe Casey yesterday went adrift; and (Laughter)



Whereas Joe Casey in a broken down state yesterday made off with an unknown number of school children and who knows what other defenceless persons; and



Whereas the Joe Casey adrift at sea cannot possibly be the Joe Casey ashore;

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Transportation confirm that the Joe Casey absconding with children, widows, seniors and others is Joe Casey the ferry and not Joe Casey, MLA, sea captain and general raconteur.



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



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



It is agreed.



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



The motion is carried.



The honourable member for Pictou East.



RESOLUTION NO. 596



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



Whereas the former government wharf in New Glasgow will receive reinforcement and revitalization as a result of the Canada-Nova Scotia Infrastructure Works Program; and



Whereas the entire project is equally funded by the Governments of Canada, Nova Scotia and the Town of New Glasgow; and



Whereas this riverfront project has resulted in the creation of jobs, will positively impact on tourism and create a water transit point for visitors and residents alike;



Therefore be it resolved that the members of this Assembly recognize the significant partnership that has been forged between the three levels of government to make this wharf functional, while bringing aesthetic and economic benefits throughout Pictou County.



I ask for waiver, Mr. Speaker.



MR. SPEAKER: Is that agreeable?



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 Bedford-Fall River.



RESOLUTION NO. 597



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



Whereas this summer the CHEEMA Aquatic Club in Waverley sent 70 athletes to Welland, Ontario, to complete in the National Sprint Racing Championships; and



Whereas for the second year in a row, CHEEMA athletes won the Canadian National Sprint Racing Championship, in addition to distinguishing themselves at various provincial events; and



Whereas the CHEEMA Aquatic Club provides wholesome recreational activities to many people of all ages, as well as top quality aquatic training for our young athletes;



Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate the CHEEMA Aquatic Club, its coaches, members and volunteers for their continued excellence at the Canadian National Sprint Racing Championships and wish them every success in future competitions.



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



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



It is agreed.



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



The motion is carried.



The honourable member for Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage.



RESOLUTION NO. 598



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



Whereas the School to Work Transition Program combines in-school curriculum with on-the-job-training while providing high school students with real life experiences and a high school credit; and



Whereas Halifax County Bedford District School Board will be one of six Nova Scotia school boards testing this innovative research project enabling a smoother transition from the classroom to the world of work for Nova Scotia students; and



Whereas Auburn Drive and Cole Harbour District High Schools were both chosen to test the project to focus on communications, personal skills, research, computer literacy and record keeping skills;



Therefore be it resolved that the members of this Assembly extend congratulations to this government for the funding of this worthwhile project, to the staff of Auburn Drive and Cole Harbour District High Schools for meeting the demands of the criteria necessary for being chosen as a test site, and extend best wishes for every success to the students participating in this project as they build on this experience today for the benefit of their future.



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



MR. SPEAKER: Is that agreeable?



It is agreed.



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



The motion is carried.



The honourable Minister of Agriculture.



RESOLUTION NO. 599



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



Whereas the Nova Scotia Agricultural College was established in 1905 by farmers of this province; and



Whereas the college is the only agricultural degree-granting institution in the Atlantic region recognized as a leader in agricultural research; and



Whereas the college has the highest enrolment ever, with 946 students;



Therefore be it resolved that all members congratulate the Nova Scotia Agricultural College, Principal Dr. Les Haley, staff, faculty and students on this important anniversary to celebrate 90 years of agricultural education in this province.



Mr. Speaker, I would request a waiver of notice.



MR. SPEAKER: Is that agreeable to the House?



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 Hants East.



RESOLUTION NO. 600



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



Whereas the Nova Scotia School Boards Association has announced that the association and the Minister of Education have reached agreement over areas of concern to the School Boards Association; and



Whereas the Minister of Education continues to work closely with various education partners, including the Nova Scotia School Boards Association, the Nova Scotia Teachers Union, the Canadian Union of Public Employees and the Nova Scotia Home Education Association, in developing a consensus of understanding to improve the education of Nova Scotia students; and



Whereas the Minister of Education desires that all partners in education work together to develop a common language and understanding that adequately addresses each other's concerns;



Therefore be it resolved that this House express its support for the Minister of Education and the Nova Scotia School Boards Association in their ongoing efforts to foster mutual understanding in seeking consensus among all partners in education.



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



MR. SPEAKER: I hear several Noes.



The notice is tabled.



Are there any further notices of motion? If not, the time now being, we will say, 2:30 p.m., the Oral Question Period will run for an hour and one-half, 90 minutes, until 4:00 p.m. So we advance now to Orders of the Day.



By the way, I forgot to mention, there has been a draw conducted by the Clerk for the Adjournment Debate and the honourable member for Eastern Shore is the winner today, I believe. His resolution reads:



Therefore be it resolved that the growth in tourism along the Eastern Shore is a result of the combined efforts and determination of government, tourism operators and the communities along the Eastern Shore.



So we will hear debate on that matter at 6:00 p.m. this afternoon.



[2:30 p.m.]



ORDERS OF THE DAY



ORAL QUESTIONS PUT BY MEMBERS



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Opposition.



MUN. AFFS.: C.B. REG. MUN. - DEFICIT



DR. JOHN HAMM: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Premier. There has been a lot of discussion in the press particularly about the huge deficit that has been run up in the Cape Breton Regional Municipality over the past three and one-half months. My specific question to the Premier is, does he believe that the taxpayers in the new regional government in Cape Breton deserve a full accounting for the reason they are in such a financial mess?



THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, as usual I defer to a very competent minister who has answered this already three or four times, but I will ask the Minister of Municipal Affairs if she would like to comment?



HON. SANDRA JOLLY: Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to receive that question. At any time the information, the numbers and the expenditures by municipal councils are always open to the public. At any time the public can go forward and see both the budgets that have been put forward by all eight municipalities and that information is definitely available.



DR. HAMM: Mr. Speaker, again to the Premier. The taxpayers in industrial Cape Breton are feeling upset, betrayed, frustrated over the revelation that they may be facing some $15 million deficit which obviously they will have to make up through tax revenue. We have been attempting to get to the bottom of this matter with questions to the Minister of Municipal Affairs, only as she just told us again moments ago, to check with the mayor and the council and the municipality whom she feels are responsible for the deficit. My question to the Premier is, has he instructed the Minister of Municipal Affairs to gain a thorough grasp of the extent of the financial mess that the taxpayers of Cape Breton County are facing and to determine how all this came to pass?



THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I have obviously a very competent minister but I would tell you this, I have seldom to tell her to get to the bottom of everything because she is usually on top of everything.



DR. HAMM: Mr. Speaker, by way of supplementary I will plod on with the Premier. Is the Premier prepared to have his Minister of Municipal Affairs table in this House at the earliest opportunity, all of the evidence accumulated to date on the reasons for the massive deficit including a breakdown of infrastructure costs, cost overruns, inherited debts, labour and adjustment costs and any other costs that have contributed to that, perhaps, $15 million deficit facing the taxpayers of Cape Breton Regional Municipality?



THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I have no intention of telling the minister to do anything. She is a competent minister and when the matter is solved to her satisfaction I have no doubt she will tell us the truth.



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Atlantic.



NAT. RES. - MINERAL RESOURCES ACT: LICENSES - APPROVALS



MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister of Natural Resources. The minister knows that the granting of coal mining leases and licenses under the Mineral Resources Act is a matter of ministerial and Cabinet discretion. Evidence coming forward at the Westray Inquiry indicates that when political considerations came into play, there were serious deficiencies in granting approvals. I would like to ask the minister what steps has he taken to ensure that improper political influence will not affect the decisions to grant coal licenses, leases or mining permits in Nova Scotia?



HON. DONALD DOWNE: Mr. Speaker, in regard to the question about the inquiry, I am obviously not going to comment on the inquiry itself, it is underway. In regard to licenses there is a process under the Mineral Resources Act that we would comply with as we have in the past and all dealings with regard to licenses and mining in the Province of Nova Scotia have been complied to the Act and have been under the auspices of the Act and I rest my case on that basis.



MR. CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, the question here has to do with ministerial discretion. The minister's Cabinet colleague, the member for Cumberland South, has reportedly said that he was very pleased that the strip mine was going to be opened in Springhill. In fact, he was quoted as saying, "I look forward to a speedy process because we've been working with them and know their credibility.".



I would like to ask the minister, how can he ensure the residents of Springhill, who are overwhelmingly opposed to the establishment of a strip mine in their midst, that there is no undue political influence in the decision to grant a license for that strip mine?



MR. DOWNE: Mr. Speaker, I don't know if the member opposite is referring to the fact that there is an allegation that I have done something wrong in the past. If so, I would ask him to bring it to the floor of the House, I would be happy to discuss any of those issues.



I think in regard to his preamble about the member for Cumberland County, I think that is an inaccurate statement, from what I understand. Thirdly, all that we have done in the Province of Nova Scotia, in regard to licensing of operations in this province, has been handled properly and fairly and has gone through the due process.



MR. CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, I would be happy to table the newspaper clipping where the Minister of Labour was quoted as commenting on this.



My final question to the Minister of Natural Resources, Mr. Speaker, I want to remind him and indicate to all members that the minister has discretion under the Act to simply say no with respect to the granting of special licenses, which coal licenses, leases and mining permits come under. I would like to ask the minister why he has not done that, why he has not simply said no? I would like to ask him, is it because John Chisholm has been such a major contributor to his political campaign? (Interruptions)



MR. SPEAKER: I think that question is scurrilous, and therefore out of order.



The honourable member for Cape Breton West.



MUN. AFFS. - C.B. REG. MUN.: AUDITS - TABLE



MR. ALFRED MACLEOD: Mr. Speaker, my question, today, is for the Minister of Municipal Affairs. Yesterday, the minister advised us that when the new Cape Breton Regional Municipality was brought together on August 1st, that there had been an audit done of the eight units. My question for the minister is, has her department received and examined the audits and, if so, would she be willing to table those here in the House so we can see what the breakdown of the individual deficits for each of the units is?



HON. SANDRA JOLLY: Mr. Speaker, as this honourable member is from that area, I would assume that all he would have to do is speak to his council, to his representative, because all of that information has been provided to them and he would be able to get it from his own representative.



MR. MACLEOD: Mr. Speaker, again my question is to the Minister of Municipal Affairs. Yesterday, the minister also said that the deficit now carried by the new regional government in Cape Breton was as a result of reckless spending by the former councils in the final four months before amalgamation. That is a pretty serious charge - she did say that - and one that I am sure that the former city manager of the City of Sydney would argue with, as well as many other people in Cape Breton would argue with.



My question to the minister is, will she provide specific examples of the kind of reckless spending she believes is responsible for the massive deficit the new government is now facing?



MS. JOLLY: Mr. Speaker, I have answered questions for almost three weeks on this issue in the House of Assembly and never once have I used the term reckless spending. I take great exception to this member impugning my reputation by putting words like that on the floor that I have never used. (Applause)



MR. MACLEOD: Mr. Speaker, I would like to congratulate the minister on speaking for three weeks and not saying anything pertinent to the issues that are facing the people of Cape Breton West.



MR. SPEAKER: That type of comment is out of order. Make your question.



MR. MACLEOD: Again, for the Minister of Municipal Affairs, Mr. Speaker, the minister has said she is satisfied that the audit carried out by the eight municipal units is sufficient and that there is no need for the provincial Auditor General to examine the situation in Cape Breton.



My question for the minister is, if this is the case, why are the people of Cape Breton waking up every morning, almost on a daily basis every morning, to a deficit that is growing by leaps and bounds? Why is everybody, including the minister, taken off guard by a figure that has gone from approximately $4 million two weeks ago, to $15 million today, if the minister maintains the books were thoroughly audited? Why is everybody so surprised?



MR. SPEAKER: All right, we have heard the question.



MS. JOLLY: Mr. Speaker, I think the honourable member has stated and it has been stated in the press that Cape Breton Regional Municipality Mayor Coady has come forward and said that there is a deficit of approximately $15 million. That has been a deficit that has been considered and discussed in a number of press clippings and that is what has been brought forward. There have been various numbers that have been quoted, such as the four month operating deficit of $4.6 million, the savings of $4.2 million that are available from the amalgamation. There have been any number of numbers that have come forward. I think the honourable member, as I have said on many occasions, if he would like to have the direct information from that council, he should very clearly sit down and speak with Mayor Coady who is the current mayor of that regional municipality.



MR. SPEAKER: A new question. The honourable member for Cape Breton West.



MUN. AFFS.: C.B. REG. MUN. - DEFICIT



MR. ALFRED MACLEOD: Mr. Speaker, again my question is for the Minister of Municipal Affairs. My question for the minister is, why, as the architects of the new municipal government in Cape Breton, didn't her department take the steps to ensure that the municipalities facing dissolution, many of them on emergency funding, could not go, as the minister has suggested, on a last minute shopping spree?



HON. SANDRA JOLLY: Mr. Speaker, we have here three levels of government in this province: the federal level of government, the provincial level of government and the municipal level of government. They are elected individuals, they have a budget to keep, they are responsible for their expenditures, they are responsible for the taxpayers' money. On this side of the House we have dealt with our budgets very well. (Interruptions) We have had to pick up $470 million that these people left us in operating deficit each year, each and every year. And they are trying to tell us about how to run budgets? The budget of Municipal Affairs is well managed. The budget of the municipalities has to be looked after by the municipal representatives. (Interruptions)



MR. SPEAKER: There has to be only one speaker at a time, either the person who is asking the question or the member who is giving the answer. Sir Erskine May in his treatise on parliamentary procedure makes reference to two categories of members, those having the floor and those being present in the House when the debate is taking place. Members who are present in the House while a debate is taking place are not to interject into the course of the debate or to disrupt those who have the floor, that being in this case either the questioner or the answerer. Those are the only two that are to be speaking.



MR. MACLEOD: Mr. Speaker, I would like to point out that there is no future in the past to the minister. (Interruptions) Sorry, I thought I had the floor, my mistake. Would the minister confirm that any debt brought to the new regional municipal government by each of the municipalities would be charged back to the taxpayers in their respective municipalities by way of an area rate and, if so, could the minister tell the House why, all of a sudden, these costs are coming as a surprise to her and to the members of the regional municipality?



MS. JOLLY: Mr. Speaker, I would suggest to the honourable member, we should learn from our past and not make the same mistakes over again which is what this government has been doing for the last two and one-half years.



As we have said on many occasions, and as the regional municipalities are aware of and each of the eight municipal units are aware of, any deficits that have been accumulated by those municipalities will be brought forward into the new regional municipality and will be area rated back to those specific municipalities. I think, Mr. Speaker, as we have seen, and as has been quoted here in a number of instances, in a four month time period, there was $4.6 million of an operating deficit accumulated by those eight municipalities. That is a very large deficit to be accumulated in that four month time period based on what the municipalities had done before that. I had no idea and I was surprised, as the honourable member says, and I have said myself, that they would accumulate that deficit in four months.



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Hants West.



COMMUN. SERV. - C.B. REG. MUN.: SOCIAL SERV. - COSTS



MR. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister of Community Services. Back in July of this year, the Minister of Community Services had a press release in which he pointed out that the Municipality of Cape Breton had about 3,400 cases on municipal assistance, at a cost of about $16.5 million and about 7,000 on provincial family benefits, at a cost of about $62 million. My question to the minister, are the projected costs for the provision of social services to the amalgamated municipal units in Cape Breton running on track with the estimates that the minister made at the time the minister brought in the bill to amalgamate those municipalities?





[2:45 p.m.]



HON. JAMES SMITH: Mr. Speaker, my information is that municipal social assistance generally is running about 5 per cent this year over last year. That is not consistent across the province; that is a rough average and I can't really speak to the accuracy of those figures specifically. But as far as in the Cape Breton area, I know we are receiving some complaints that some of the costs are actually down. But as far as generally, social assistance is not, in my opinion, a problem with any of the discussions relative to the increased costs within the new municipal amalgamated unit.



MR. RUSSELL: From the minister's statement, Mr. Speaker, I take it that indeed these projected costs of $16.5 million for municipal assistance and about $62.2 million under family benefits are the actual costs being accrued this year, and remember that the province is now picking up 100 per cent of the costs of both municipal assistance and family benefits for Cape Breton. In view of the results then from the amalgamation in Cape Breton, can the minister give some indication as to whether or not he is prepared, as municipal units amalgamate under the new Act that we have just put through second reading in this House, that they, too, will be accorded the same entry to social services expenditures being picked up by the province?



DR. SMITH: The project in Cape Breton, as the member would know, was a two year pilot project. That will be evaluated at that time. In fact it was not only a takeover into a one-tiered system, it was enhancement of programs and we are experimenting with different types of programs, back to work programs, job training, job development, transition periods and that sort of thing.



Now, we will apply that to other areas of the province, and the intent is, within our social welfare reform, to move to a one-tiered system. Mr. Speaker, in answer to the member's question, no, it is not tied specifically to amalgamation. We may do it in areas that are not amalgamated. Amalgamation will not be a criterion to move to a one-tiered system.



MR. RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, I think any reasonable person would say it is grossly unfair to have one portion of the province or two areas of the province which have their social services costs covered by the province and then other areas, the majority of the province, where they are not covered by the provincial government.



Will the minister confirm from what he said that other areas in the province will not be considered to have their welfare expenditures, municipal assistance payments, picked up by the province until that two year pilot program is completed in Cape Breton?



DR. SMITH: I think as I understand the question, no, we would like to move as rapidly as we can to a one-tiered system. As the member knows, it was not part of the municipal and provincial service exchange. I think that answers the question. The answer is simply no, we will not wait necessarily until the two year pilot project is completed in Cape Breton.



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



MUN. AFFS.: LUNENBURG GOLF COURSE - AGREEMENT



MR. JOHN LEEFE: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister of Municipal Affairs. I wonder if the minister could advise the House if she is aware that an agreement respecting design and construction of the new, publicly funded Bridgewater Golf Club has been drafted and has been forwarded by the Municipality of the County of Lunenburg to the Lunenburg Industrial Commission respecting the undertaking of that commission of construction of the golf course?



HON. SANDRA JOLLY: No, Mr. Speaker.



MR. LEEFE: I would suggest that the minister have her staff contact the municipality to have that confirmed to her as it was confirmed to me this morning.



Mr. Speaker, my second question to the minister, is the minister aware that Graham Cooke and Associates has been chosen to design and to construct this $4 million facility?



MS. JOLLY: Mr. Speaker, I think the honourable member tabled a letter in the House to that effect, dealing with Mr. Cooke, last week or the week before.



MR. LEEFE: I can take it then that the minister is agreeing that she is aware that that is the company.



My final question to the minister, Mr. Speaker, is this, can the minister explain why this $4 million investment of public monies, almost $0.5 million of which was personally approved by her, is allowed to go forward with absolutely no public tendering process whatsoever?



MS. JOLLY: Mr. Speaker, the infrastructure projects that we have approved and put forward are number one, nominated to us by the municipal councils and they come in, the municipal councils are responsible and have a process that they follow.



I can certainly take the question under advisement but my understanding is that the municipality, through the industrial commission, have been working on this project. We have given them approval in principle based on certain information continuing to come in to us. I would certainly be prepared to question the municipality on the way that they have appointed or approved somebody but, Mr. Speaker, I would have to tell you, again, that this is the responsibility of the municipality, because in all the infrastructure projects, the municipalities have been handling them, dealing with the engineers, dealing with the development, dealing with the construction of the projects.



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



FIN.: LOTTERIES - TICKET SALES (EX.-PROV.)



MR. JOHN HOLM: Mr. Speaker, through you I would like to direct a question to the Minister of Finance in his capacity as Minister responsible for the Gaming Corporation. The minister, of course, will know that I have raised questions in the House before about resale operations of lottery tickets and that I provided, in fact, tabled a copy of an ad from the British Broadcast, Worldwide Magazine in this House which outlined how such tickets can be purchased through the Netherlands. Quite clearly the resale of tickets for a value higher than the face value is against the regulations if not downright illegal.



My question is to the minister, however, who is responsible for the Gaming Corporation in Nova Scotia, if he could tell us who exactly is monitoring and auditing Atlantic Loto to ensure that such resale schemes cannot be taking place in this province and under Atlantic Loto?



HON. BERNARD BOUDREAU: Mr. Speaker, any gaming activity that takes place in the Province of Nova Scotia falls under the jurisdiction of the Nova Scotia Gaming Control Commission.



MR. HOLM: I would like to table another document, this is a copy of a brochure that was sent entitled The Secret of Winning sent to a Mr. Thorne who lives in Wills Point, Texas, Mr. Speaker, and contains attached to it what it purports to be an Official Canadian Lotto 6/49 Entry Form for the purchase of Lotto 6/49 tickets.



My question to the minister, again, who is in charge - I will table that document if somebody would like to give it to the Clerk - I would like to ask the minister, what has he done to ensure that tickets such as those being advertised, Lotto 6/40 tickets, cannot be purchased through Atlantic Loto?



MR. BOUDREAU: Well, Mr. Speaker, in my first answer I indicated that the Nova Scotia Gaming Control Commission had responsibility for the conduct of gaming in Nova Scotia. That was an answer I gave, by the way, to this honourable member on this same subject a number of days ago and asked him at that time if he had reported any of this activity, turned over any of this information to the Nova Scotia Gaming Control Commission. In spite of the fact that I asked him on two occasions, he has yet to respond to that. I can tell him, that is where it should go.



MR. HOLM: Mr. Speaker, I will direct my final question then to the Minister responsible for the Gaming Control Commission as, obviously, the Minister of Finance says he has no responsibility in this matter at all. The minister is also aware of what has been going on about the resale operations. My question to the minister responsible for the commission and enforcing the regulations in the Province of Nova Scotia is, what has or will she do to ensure that such operations will not be permitted to operate using Nova Scotia and Atlantic Lottery tickets for the resale schemes?



HON. ELEANOR NORRIE: Mr. Speaker, I thank the member opposite for bringing that question to me as the Minister responsible for the Gaming Control Commission. I have to say that there is nothing formal that has come from the member opposite to the Gaming Control Commission that I have been made aware of. I do know that the issue was raised by the province and presented to the Atlantic Lottery Corporation last spring. They are investigating that and if indeed there is some wrongdoing found then it would be in the hands of the authorities. I have been made aware by the member opposite in his comments in the past that he himself has laid that complaint. It is now in the hands of the police where it should be. We are now awaiting a report. When he gets a response from the police, perhaps he would inform me but if he has got any concerns he wants raised with the commission, I suggest he do so through the proper channels.



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Queens.



MUN. AFFS. - INFRASTRUCTURE PROJECTS: TENDERING - REQUIREMENT



MR. JOHN LEEFE: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister of Municipal Affairs. I wonder if the minister could advise me if the government policy is still in place which requires that infrastructure projects in excess of $25,000 must be tendered?





HON. SANDRA JOLLY: Mr. Speaker, I would have to take that question under advisement. I would have to take a look back, I haven't read the regulations for some time. I would have to take the question under advisement and get back to him.



MR. LEEFE: Mr. Speaker, I hope the minister could seek that information at her earliest opportunity. I wonder if the minister would not agree that ultimately, the constitutional responsibility for municipal government resides with the provincial government and that the municipal units therefore are, so to speak, creatures of the province?



MS. JOLLY: Mr. Speaker, I suppose we are creatures of lots of things, all of us. The Department of Municipal Affairs has some reporting requirements from the municipalities. If they are going to borrow money they have to submit those borrowings through to the Department of Municipal Affairs. We have the Municipal Finance Corporation which deals with massive borrowings by various municipalities. Some of their by-laws, some of the sales of property, there are any number of things that they do request the input from the Department of Municipal Affairs. Those things are all clearly listed under the municipal legislation that the municipalities fall under.



MR. LEEFE: Mr. Speaker, if the province has that tendering policy in place, and I believe it is, and secondly, if the Minister of Municipal Affairs is ultimately responsible for the municipal units, would she explain to me why the province's adopted policy respecting tendering does not automatically apply to the municipal units when similar sized projects are being undertaken, and most particularly in the case of this Bridgewater Golf Course, where the province has approved almost $0.5 million of taxpayers' money?



MS. JOLLY: Mr. Speaker, as I said in the response to the member's first question, I will take it under advisement and get the information for him.



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Citadel.



EDUC. - REFORM: LEGISLATION - AMENDMENTS COMMITMENT



MR. TERENCE DONAHOE: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister of Education. It is my understanding that the Minister of Education has made a commitment to the Nova Scotia Teachers Union that this coming Saturday he, the minister, will provide to the Nova Scotia Teachers Union a document or some documentation outlining the substance and perhaps even the actual language of amendments which he, the minister, proposes then to take to the Law Amendments Committee next Monday. I ask the minister, has he made such a commitment to the Nova Scotia Teachers Union and if so, will he make a commitment here this afternoon that he will share that documentation with all members of the Nova Scotia Legislature, simultaneous with its delivery to the Nova Scotia Teachers Union?



[3:00 p.m.]



HON. JOHN MACEACHERN: Mr. Speaker, to the first part, (a) no; and, (b) if the previous part was yes, yes, I would share. (Interruptions)



MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. The honourable member for Halifax Citadel has the floor.





MR. DONAHOE: I wonder then, since the minister wants to play games with the language with which he crafts his responses, perhaps I can ask it this way, will this minister, through you, Mr. Speaker, indicate to this House whether or not he has given a commitment to either the Nova Scotia Teachers Union or the Nova Scotia School Boards Association, an undertaking that he will provide to either of those organizations, in advance of his own presentation before the Law Amendments Committee next Monday, with a document which will outline the substance, the detail and, perhaps, the actual drafting of the presentation which he proposes to make to the Law Amendments Committee on Monday?



MR. MACEACHERN: Mr. Speaker, I can tell the honourable member that I have made no such commitment to anybody. What we have been doing is talking, to not just those two groups, but other groups, and we have been discussing language about their concerns. I would feel compelled to say to the honourable member that if he wants a report on the progress that is being made, I would be pleased to provide him with that, especially in the areas of the dealings with the School Boards Association and the Teachers Union. I would be pleased to provide that to the honourable member, I don't have any difficulties with that. But we have made no commitment that the presentation that we will provide at the Law Amendments Committee would be provided to anybody; we haven't made that commitment.



MR. DONAHOE: So, I take it, through you, Mr. Speaker, to the minister, that we are now back to the situation where the minister seems to be - and has over the last many months found himself most comfortable - back in the minister's trust me mode.



I take it then that what the minister has said to the Teachers Union and the School Boards Association and the home and school people and others, in conversation with them and in dialogue with them, he is responding positively and indicating to them that he is going to make changes which they want, but that he is now, today, saying that he has not given any commitment to show any of them any of that prior to going to the Law Amendments Committee, and the first that the Teachers Union or the School Boards Association or fellow legislators will see any of the minister's proposals will be at the Law Amendments Committee. Am I right in understanding that that is what he is saying to the House?



MR. MACEACHERN: Mr. Speaker, that is not what I said at all because that is not the question that the honourable member gave me.



MR. DONAHOE: That is exactly what you said . . .



MR. SPEAKER: Order. Let the minister answer. You have another question coming.



MR. MACEACHERN: Mr. Speaker, if I could, in answer to the question, in my dealings with the Nova Scotia Teachers Union, for example, they are presenting very specific concerns and we are working very carefully through those concerns with them. Likewise, when we are dealing with the School Boards Association, they have different concerns and we are dealing with those. When we make our presentation to the Law Amendments Committee, it will be a document that includes all of the concerns and the addressing of all of those concerns. It isn't going to be a document that we are going to pass out to anybody. We are going to be dealing with the teachers' concerns; they will know how we are going to approach it. They are going to express satisfaction if that addresses their concerns and they are going to express that to us and we will document that as we work our way through it.





Likewise, with the School Boards Association. We are having meetings; we are documenting the meetings so that we are clear on what each is saying and that is a separate thing altogether. Likewise, in our discussions, for example, with the home schoolers, there isn't going to be a particular document built on all of those things until we present it at the Law Amendments Committee as proposals because I understand that that is the commission that this House gave me and I am following that commission very carefully.



MR. SPEAKER: On a new question, the honourable member for Halifax Citadel.



EDUC.: N.S. SCHOOL BOARDS ASSOC. - DOCUMENTATION



MR. TERENCE DONAHOE: I am coming more and more to understand why we are in the mess we are. My question, Mr. Speaker, through you to the Minister of Education is this; in his last answer, the Minister of Education said that during the course of these discussions, and let's talk about the School Boards Association, he and his officials are going to address the concerns being raised by the association and they are going to discuss principles and language. He said that he, in the course of those conversations, before going to the Law Amendments Committee, is going to have an indication of satisfaction and acceptance by the School Boards Association of what it is that he is going to say at the Law Amendments Committee. That is what he said to this House. If that is the case, I ask this minister again, will he provide all other honourable members of this House with the documentation in relation to which he will already have received a satisfactory response from the School Boards Association prior to presentation to Law Amendments? Will he give it to us, as well, prior to its presentation to the Law Amendments Committee?



HON. JOHN MACEACHERN: If, in fact, he wants to be kept abreast of how the discussions are going, I would be pleased to provide that to all honourable members, Mr. Speaker. I will even go further than that. One of the things I have on my desk right now to circulate to members is in fact a record of how far we have moved along with the Nova Scotia Teachers Union. This is very specific. It is addressed from my deputy to Mr. Jim MacKay and I was getting ready to share that.



Now what he asked the question about is the submission to the Law Amendments Committee. He is saying am I going to share my submission on all of these issues to the School Boards Association? No. With the Teachers Union? No. I am going to deal with their concerns separately and the first time that compilation will exist is when it is presented to the Law Amendments Committee. That is what I said.



AN HON. MEMBER: And he said it well.



MR. DONAHOE: I am delighted that the Minister of Transportation thinks he said it well. Well, what he did say, Mr. Speaker, if I may again through you, this is a question to the Minister of Education and what he said is, he is going to make a deal with the School Boards Association, exclusive and apart from any deal he makes with the Teachers Union. The School Boards Association is going to know the language and the detail of the deal. They are going to have it in advance of the minister's presentation of that part of his total presentation to the Law Amendments Committee.



MR. SPEAKER: Come to the question, please.



MR. DONAHOE: Meanwhile, Mr. Speaker, he is going to make a deal with the Teachers Union. The Teachers Union will know the detail of that deal.



MR. SPEAKER: This is not a question. It is a speech.



MR. DONAHOE: The question I ask, Mr. Speaker, is, I don't particularly care if I or other members get a copy of the full presentation which the minister proposes to make to the Law Amendments Committee on Monday. What I do ask is, is the minister prepared to provide to all members simultaneous with giving it to the union on Saturday or prior to Monday, will he give to all members of this House the substance and the detail in one document that relates to the deal with the NSSBA and in another document, the deal that relates to the NSTU? Will he or will he not?



MR. MACEACHERN: Mr. Speaker, I refer to the Assembly Debates Friday, November 10, 1995. The honourable member for Queens spoke eloquently relative to what the agreement of this House was. I could quote other members too. He said, "I hope that as a result of the amendments that the minister apparently is prepared to make and I hope as a result of amendments that he may find acceptable among those that we in the Opposition will put forward as well as other organizations . . .". I quoted the honourable member for Kings last day, I quote the honourable for Queens today because that is the direction I was given by this House. Now I wish you would talk to the Leader of your Party to recognize that that is what I was given.



I just said - if the honourable member would pay attention - that I was preparing to circulate to all members of this House how far we had moved along because that documentation is available relative to discussions with the Teachers Union. I told him that but he is not listening because he has some other question in his mind. When we get the documentation in place for the School Boards Association, I would be pleased to share it with the members of the House. But, as I said before, the question he asked me was, did I make a commitment to get my submission to the Law Amendments Committee to the Nova Scotia Teachers Union, the School Boards Association or anyone else on Saturday. I said no but I said to him if such a thing could be made available to them, I would make it available to all members of the House. I don't know what the honourable member wants.



MR. DONAHOE: So . . .



AN HON. MEMBER: No, now don't be telling us what he just said, we all heard it. Don't try to (Laughter)



MR. SPEAKER: All right now, order, please.



MR. DONAHOE: So I ask the Minister of Education, through you, Mr. Speaker, one more time, and I am sure he will get a lot of help from the Minister of Transportation and Communications. Through you, Mr. Speaker, to the Minister of Education, and I don't particularly care about what form or format the document is, what I want to ask this minister and the undertaking I seek from this minister is this, will this minister, prior to his presentation to the Law Amendments Committee on next Monday, make available to all members of the Nova Scotia Legislature, the substance of the commitments he has made to the Teachers Union and the School Boards Association and any other individual or organization, prior to him making the presentation to the Law Amendments Committee?



So that he and I are not at cross purposes, I am not asking for a copy of the bound document which will be his full presentation; I am looking for the commitments made that impact on changes the minister will propose to Bill No. 39. Will he give those to us prior to his presentation to the Law Amendments Committee prior to next Monday?



MR. MACEACHERN: Mr. Speaker, I will give the commitment to the honourable member that I will provide all members of the House by Friday what I know by Friday, any language that can be made available. (Interruptions)



AN HON. MEMBER: Oh, it sounds like John MacDonald.



MR. MACEACHERN: Mr. Speaker, are we listening to this honourable member? We do work the weekends. I don't know if the honourable member has a problem with that. I am going to suggest to the honourable member that we will be working to do this . . .



AN HON. MEMBER: Don't make him that offer.



MR. MACEACHERN: . . . up to the submissions to the Law Amendments Committee and, Mr. Speaker, without apologies to the honourable member, once we are in the Law Amendments Committee, we will be listening and working as well; when we return to the House, likewise we will be doing that. Our job is to listen and, if it improves the bill, we will make adjustments. (Applause)



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Hants West.



HEALTH - CARD: REPLACEMENT - COST



MR. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Health. I think it is a pretty straightforward question. A lady aged 80 years of age, the unfortunate event occurred to her in that a young fellow came in, broke into her house and stole her purse. They caught the young offender but, in the meantime, he had disposed of the contents of her purse, and within the purse were all her personal documents, including a driver's license. So she went down to get her driver's license renewed and they said that she should produce her health card in order to provide proof of who she was. So she phoned the Department of Health because she had lost her health card. The Department of Health said that the replacement of that card would be $25. I was wondering if the minister would confirm that the cost of the replacement of a health card, that is one of these blue cards, is $25?



HON. RONALD STEWART: Yes, Mr. Speaker, in the event of loss, the replacement cost is, I believe, $25.



MR. RUSSELL: Well, Mr. Speaker, I am wondering why, for instance, a bank card or a MasterCard or a Visa card or Canadian Tire card, what have you, you lose it and phone and state that you have lost the card and the replacement cost is zero. (Interruptions)



MR. SPEAKER: Order. The honourable member for Hants West has the floor.



MR. RUSSELL: What I am going to say is this, Mr. Speaker, it isn't reasonable that the cost of replicating a card is $25. In fact there are a number of institutions that give these cards away; they just reef them through a machine within their offices. Why is the cost of the health card $25?



DR. STEWART: Mr. Speaker, I would say that the cost is a reflection of the cost of reproduction and of the clerical work and so on that is undertaken. It also applies a cost and a value to that very valuable card. There may well be extenuating circumstances and in this case cited by the honourable member opposite, I would certainly take that under advisement and check that. That appears to be a theft and certainly I would appreciate him notifying me or I can take notes and reply to him at a later time and then check this out considerably.



I do want to clarify if he is suggesting, however, that someone is duplicating our health card and giving them away. Is that what he is saying? No.



[3:15 p.m.]



MR. RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, I will send across to the minister this particular information. I am not standing up just because this particular lady lost her card. It seems to me to be highway robbery to charge $25 to replicate a card, no matter whether it is a health care, a bank card or any other card. I would ask the minister to seriously consider, particularly in the case of a loss by a senior citizen, perhaps a $5 fee might be more reasonable? Certainly, to my mind, $25 is out of line.



DR. STEWART: Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the suggestion in terms of extenuating circumstances that the honourable gentleman opposite made. I have made a note and I would be happy to return a briefing for him with respect to this. I appreciate him drawing my attention to a different situation that has occurred.



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Opposition.



HEALTH - SURGEONS: RETINAL - RECRUITMENT



DR. JOHN HAMM: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister of Health. The minister is aware as most members of this House are that many services in this province which are provided by subspecialists are, in fact, delivered by a relatively small number of people and yet they form a very important part of our health delivery system. Such a service is retinal surgery in this province, which is surgery to the back of the eye. Could the minister inform the House how many retinal surgeons are presently working in the Province of Nova Scotia?



HON. RONALD STEWART: Mr. Speaker, I would have to check to be accurate in that regard. We have recruiting going on at the moment for at least one and possibly two retinal surgeons at the university program. I would reconfirm that with the honourable Leader of the Opposition.



DR. HAMM: Mr. Speaker, the answer to the question is three. There are presently three retinal surgeons practising in the province. There is no retinal surgery going on in Newfoundland, New Brunswick, or Prince Edward Island so people are tending to come to this province for their surgery. They perform roughly 600 operations a year. There had been six such surgeons in Nova Scotia as recently as two and one-half years ago. My information is that the absolute minimum requirement in this province for retinal surgeons is four, bearing in mind that minimum number is not to be confused as to being an ideal situation. The minister made brief mention of a recruitment program in retinal surgery but could he inform Nova Scotians, particularly those who are now faced with an unrealistic waiting time to see a retinal surgeon, can the minister inform Nova Scotians what specifically his department is doing to recruit new retinal surgeons to this province?



DR. STEWART: Mr. Speaker, as I mentioned, the number could vary from four to five. I would prefer to have five if you were investigating the numbers compared with the waiting list. The recruitment of subspecialists such as this is the responsibility and done by the university Department of Ophthalmology and is currently done rather vigorously, as I understand it. We are supportive in that. We also have our recruiter on notice in dealing with this and being supportive and helpful in any way he can be.



But definitely the honourable gentleman opposite is correct in saying that we have at least two, perhaps one or two, retinal surgeons. I understand that there are several interested in coming to the province but I would have to confirm that in my contacts with the university in that regard.



DR. HAMM: Mr. Speaker, I thank the minister for his answer. By way of final supplementary to the minister, there is great concern that the service that is being provided now by a minimum of three is not a satisfactory service. The minister has confirmed that he is aware of recruitment procedures by the university and by the provincial recruiter assisting. Is the minister here prepared to declare to the House that he is not satisfied with an ongoing situation that will leave only three retinal surgeons providing service in the province, that he is absolutely determined to be aggressive in recruiting so that an additional one or two retinal surgeons will come to Nova Scotia?



DR. STEWART: Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the concern exhibited by the honourable Leader of the Opposition in this regard because it has been a concern for the last several months. I might add that I depend, of course, as one would expect, on the advice of the university departments, particularly in respect to sub-specialities as to whether or not they are satisfied and they have been, in fact, recruiting actively and wish at least one, and possibly two, further surgeons to come to the province to fulfil the requirements of retinal surgery.



I might say that I welcome, of course, the opportunity to be involved in the recruitment process on behalf of my ministry with the recruiter and the cooperation of the Medical Society which has allowed us, in fact, to be so supportive of the efforts of the university department.



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Atlantic.



SUPPLY AND SERV.: PROCUREMENT POLICIES - STATUS



MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask a question through you to the Minister of Supply and Services. Back on April 21st, with some considerable fanfare, and for good reason, the minister released a White Paper on procurement policy for the province on behalf of his government. The White Paper was released and he was asking that submissions come in before May 12th and indicated then that his government would be moving forward in order to bring these policies into play to ensure that government tendering was handled in a fair and open manner.



I would like to ask the minister, as of today's date, we have not seen said policies and I wonder if the minister could indicate whether or not we are going to see those policies in the near future?



HON. GERALD O'MALLEY: Mr. Speaker, I thank the honourable member for asking the question. It gives me the opportunity to give the House a pre-cursor outline of what is occurring. Indeed, we did indicate in May, when we introduced the policy, that it would be circulated for consultation on the widest possible spectrum. That has been done. Anybody who wished to submit any kind, either individually, collectively, through professional organizations, or through public hearings which were held and advertised on the matter. We received - well, I do not know the definitive number - extensive responses to our request. All of those have been correlated, all of those have now been worked into the second document. The second document is now in the final stages of preparation and should be presented to this House in the very near future.



MR. CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, I appreciate what the minister has said. I am somewhat curious what took so long because he did have a deadline of May 12th for submissions and it has been some considerable time since then. Nonetheless, I assume that what he is saying is that the second document is, in fact, the policy that will affect all tendering on behalf of his government.



I would like to ask the minister, in my first supplementary, Mr. Speaker, the Union of Nova Scotia Municipalities wrote to the minister back on June 16, 1995, to indicate their opposition to a number of the issues contained in the White Paper. I would like to ask the minister if, in fact, he has met with the Union of Nova Scotia Municipalities and dealt with their concerns?



MR. O'MALLEY: Mr. Speaker, once again, to the honourable member opposite, the answer is, yes, categorically. Both the Minister of Municipal Affairs and I were more than pleased to meet with the full executive of the Union of Nova Scotia Municipalities. We discussed their status in the whole evolving process of procurement which is taking place, as the honourable member is, I am sure, aware, both at the Atlantic region agreement, and, as introduced by Bill No. 33, possibly on the inter-provincial scale.



In our discussions with the union executive, we indicated to them that there was an ongoing discussion regarding municipal unit inclusion into the whole program, but nothing had been decided about that matter either at the Atlantic or federal level. However, subsequent to that, at the last meeting of the Maritime Premiers, the remaining components of the MASH sector - that is the academic, the schools and the hospitals - were included, by agreement, in the Atlantic portion of the agreement, but the municipal units were not included. Discussion regarding the municipal is ongoing. The minister and I will continue to meet with the Nova Scotia municipal units and we have indicated that to them most pleasurably. (Applause)



MR. CHISHOLM: I am pleased that the minister has participated in discussions with the union, because certainly they were concerned that the Agreement on Internal Trade had been signed, as it affects municipalities, prior to them even being notified.



Mr. Speaker, as my final supplementary, I would like to ask the minister if he would be willing to table here in this House the results of the discussions that had been held Atlantic-wide in terms of the procurement arrangements as they affect the sector that includes the municipalities?



MR. O'MALLEY: I am not quite certain I understood clearly the honourable member's question, but if he is asking me if I would table the outcome of the discussions between ourselves and the municipal units, it was outlined to the municipal units in a responding letter where I outlined to them specifically what had transpired in our discussions for verification. It was subsequently published in the UNSM bulletin and I would refer him to that bulletin. (Interruption)





Oh, with regard to the Atlantic agreement, again, I would say the same thing to the honourable member. The minutes of the Atlantic Premier's Conference are made public - they are public minutes - and in those minutes the honourable member will find the kind of information he is asking of me regarding the municipal component versus the other three units.



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings West.



HEALTH - HOME CARE PROG.: SERVICES - PUBLICIZE



MR. GEORGE MOODY: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Health. I have had a number of calls from elderly people, and seniors, who have said that the nursing services provided under home care are inadequate or they have not been advised that the services are available. I will give the minister an example of what I am talking about. I had a call from an elderly lady, she was 74 years old and she was looking after an older gentleman with ALS. The gentleman's condition deteriorated, he couldn't swallow, and several times she took the gentleman to the hospital. Each time there wasn't a bed available, so each time she was sent home with him. When she called, I asked her if she knew about the Home Care Program. She said, no, I don't know anything about the Home Care Program; nobody has told me. This had gone on for a couple of weeks. Unfortunately, the gentleman died.



My question is, what efforts are being made by his department to ensure that patients in need of medical care, and their caregivers - many of whom are older - do not fall through the cracks; in other words, they know about the services available?



[3:30 p.m.]



HON. RONALD STEWART: Certainly, Mr. Speaker, we have attempted to make sure people have been informed in the regions of the service. In the case cited by the honourable gentleman opposite, it seems to me there may have been a problem in terms of the knowledge of the professionals involved in the care of the gentleman as well. I would certainly undertake to look into that specifically, if the honourable gentleman would like me to do that and would offer me some more information.



MR. MOODY: Mr. Speaker, I thank the minister for that offer. I guess the reason I am concerned is nobody professionally advised her and that was my concern.



I have been advised that there is a shortage of home care assessment personnel, resulting in delays of processing applications. Could the minister tell us if his department plans to hire any additional home care workers to help speed up the assessment process so that there is not a long waiting period for home care services?



DR. STEWART: Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the honourable gentleman bringing to my attention and to the attention of the House any difficulties in terms of the expansion of the program. There is provision if there is a specific region or area that has a list that is increasing, or if there are specific problems, there are plans in the home care section division to step into that breach and attempt to alleviate the problem. So I would certainly give undertaking to inquire further in regard to the region.





MR. MOODY: I thank the minister for that. My final supplementary to the minister, I have had several calls in the Valley region that covers Digby, Kings and Annapolis. It is my understanding that on weekends there is only one home care worker on call to provide home care services for the three counties. That is a problem for such a wide area on weekends.



I would ask the minister if this is, in fact, the case, which I have been told, and can the minister tell us whether or not he thinks this may not be too large a territory for one person on weekends to provide the home care services that may be needed in those three counties?



DR. STEWART: Mr. Speaker, I am not quite certain and I am not sure if the honourable member is referring to the care coordinators or the actual care deliverers.



MR. MOODY: The care deliverers.



DR. STEWART: The care deliverers. I would think that would be a problem I would be happy to undertake to look into.



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



HEALTH - REGISTRARS: DIVISIONAL - CRITERIA



MR. BROOKE TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, my question is also for the Minister of Health. Will the Minister of Health, whose department is responsible, tell the House and Nova Scotians if his department, when studying an application or a request for the appointment to the position of division registrar and deputy issuer of marriage licenses, if the distance from a present or existent register is a consideration, is a factor, part of the criteria when his department makes a decision relative to an application?



HON. RONALD STEWART: I would certainly consider that that would be a consideration although I must admit that many of the appointments are traditionally established in terms of different regions and different communities. That may well be a factor, assuming of course, that the original appointments had that under consideration, that is the distance between them. So I would certainly have to undertake to investigate as to whether there is a specific problem if the honourable gentleman wishes to tell me.



MR. TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, I, too, would think that distance would be part of the criteria but, unfortunately, we don't know how far the distance is. A Mrs. Wanda Smith made application to become a division registrar and she was turned down in her application. The reason she was turned down was because the Deputy Registrar General indicated that the review of their files indicated that there was sufficient coverage for the issuance of such licenses, marriage, birth and so on. The fact of the matter is Mrs. Smith who made the application and is a Funeral Director at a funeral co-op lives some 170 kilometres away from the nearest deputy registrar. I am wondering if the minister could tell me whether or not he feels that 170 kilometres would merit reconsideration relative to Mrs. Smith's application and request?



DR. STEWART: Mr. Speaker, I would certainly take the issue under advisement in terms of determining whether or not that is convenient. I am not sure how many people are of marriageable age in that area or perhaps wish to engage in matrimony or whatever; I think there are other considerations in that regard other than just geography. Certainly, I would appeal to the honourable member opposite to perhaps pen a letter to this effect to the deputy registrar and they would certainly look into this in the department.



MR. TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, I will provide the minister with the information I have here because Mrs. Smith would also like to do burial permits and live births as well as marriage licenses. Being a funeral director, it certainly is a service in the Musquodoboit Valley that, we feel, is most needed. I wonder if the minister would give me an undertaking that he would revisit this application and I will certainly forward him the correspondence that I have?



DR. STEWART: Yes, I would welcome that, Mr. Speaker.



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings North.



AGRIC.: N.S. FARM/FISHERIES LOAN BDS. - AMALGAMATION



MR. GEORGE ARCHIBALD: Mr. Speaker, through you, my question is to the Minister of Agriculture and Marketing. The question I have is regarding the Nova Scotia Farm Loan Board which is the backbone of agriculture for Nova Scotia. I would like to ask the minister whether he has plans afoot to amalgamate the Nova Scotia Farm Loan Board and the Nova Scotia Fisheries Loan Board?



HON. WAYNE GAUDET: Mr. Speaker, I wish to thank the honourable member for his question. There certainly are a number of rumours out there on the streets, but I wish to inform the honourable member and all members of the House that the Department of Agriculture and Marketing is not considering amalgamation of the Nova Scotia Farm Loan Board with the Nova Scotia Fisheries Loan Board at this present time.



MR. ARCHIBALD: Again, to the Minister of Agriculture and Marketing. Could the Minister of Agriculture and Marketing confirm whether or not the Department of Agriculture and Marketing is planning to privatize the Nova Scotia Farm Loan Board?



MR. GAUDET: Mr. Speaker, as I pointed out, there are a number of rumours out on the street. I know for a fact that there has been no discussion within our department to privatize the Nova Scotia Farm Loan Board.



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



EXCO - FREEDOM OF INFORMATION: REQUESTS - POLICY



MR. GEORGE ARCHIBALD: I would like to go with a new question, Mr. Speaker, to the Premier. I would like to ask the Premier whether it was his policy decision, or whether it was a policy decision of ministers of his government, to charge an exorbitant fee for the freedom of information requests that have been filed with the government?



THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, most of the policies that we do are government policies, so I presume it was a government policy.



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Opposition.





ENVIRON. - STELLARTON: STRIP MINE - MONITORING PROG.



DR. JOHN HAMM: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister of the Environment. One of the conditions of approval required by the minister for the Stellarton pit mine project is the submission of a dust suppression and monitoring program before any work will be undertaken on the site. The rumour in Stellarton is that there will be machinery on the site by the December 1st, and my question to the minister, has he received and reviewed any dust suppression or monitoring program submitted by Pioneer Coal relative to the Stellarton pit mine proposal?



HON. WAYNE ADAMS: Mr. Speaker, the question is a good one. I personally have not, but that does not say that my department has not. I will take the question under advisement and determine whether or not they have received the submissions as required.



DR. HAMM: I thank the minister for looking at that because I think it is one of the key issues in this project. The minister is quite aware that there was much information brought to the inquiry that the dust suppression and monitoring in the Westville project was far from satisfactory.



The minister is aware that many of the property owners who will be most directly affected by this project will be only protected by a 30 metre buffer zone from the actual working of the mine site. I visited the area around the mine site on the weekend. The minister will remember that one of the recommendations is that the properties to the west of Foster Avenue are required to be purchased by the proponent, Pioneer Coal. Now many of these property owners as recently as this weekend have had no contact with the company whatsoever and as well are not sure if in fact their properties are the ones that are covered under the recommendation. Will the minister indicate publicly which homes Pioneer Coal will be obliged to buy in order to fulfil his recommendation to Pioneer Coal allowing the project to proceed?



MR. ADAMS: Mr. Speaker, the question is rather relevant. The report is public on the environmental assessment and it does contain those homes that the proponent has taken an option on to buy, so that would be public information. If the member is asking me to extract that from the report, I don't see a difficulty in doing that. But the information is public.



DR. HAMM: Mr. Speaker, by way of supplementary, I must comment that the report does not indicate all of the homes to the west of Foster Avenue. Very few know now if in fact they are the homes to which the recommendation refers. I would be quite prepared to walk the neighbourhood with the minister at any time. It would only take 35 minutes. By way of final supplementary, is the minister prepared to visit the site area so he will have firsthand information about the concerns of those who are in close approximation to this massive mine site so that he will fully appreciate their concerns and the concerns that all of us would have if that mine site were 30 metres from our home?



MR. ADAMS: Mr. Speaker, I understand the set-back allowance is something like 100 metres from the nearest home from the operation and 30 metres is the size of the buffer zone from the border of the community to the site. So there is a difference between where the homes would stand and where the operation takes place.





As to whether or not I would be interested in looking at the site, this would be the appropriate time if we can find the time while the House is sitting to do that, but certainly not before the environmental assessment was completed. That has been completed, so I am free to take a look. I will honour the member's request, Mr. Speaker.



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



SYDNEY TAR PONDS CLEAN-UP INC. - ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT



MR. JOHN HOLM: Mr. Speaker, I would like to direct my question through you to the Minister of Supply and Services who is being very helpful this afternoon. I would like to direct it to him in his capacity as Minister responsible for the Sydney Tar Ponds Clean-up. The minister, of course, will know that before the current option for the tar ponds clean-up was chosen, there never really was a proper, thorough environmental assessment or analysis of the kinds of process. Tens of millions of dollars have been spent only to find out that it doesn't work.



My question to the minister is quite simply, is the minister prepared to ensure that there will be a proper environmental assessment and analysis carried out before millions more dollars are selected on a new option or process to clean up the tar ponds?



HON. GERALD O'MALLEY: Mr. Speaker, I thank the honourable member for his question. I would like to respond by saying he has made a number of observations. I wouldn't like to stand and stay silent on them and give consent by staying silent because I am not sure that I would agree necessarily with what he has said. But I will say this to the honourable member, that since the proposal call for operation of the Tar Ponds Clean-up Project which was received on August 22nd and we had some outstanding organizations who made responses to that call, world-wide, world-renowned consortia who have absolutely impeccable experiences in doing environmental remediation of that magnitude on a world-wide basis.



[3:45 p.m.]



We are dealing with two of those; there is a short list of two. We have been dealing with them. It is a very complex subject with many possible permutations and combinations to arrive at the absolute best result possible. We are working toward that end, we are coming closer toward that day when the final decision will be made. I will be most pleased to announce that decision in its minutest detail to all members of the House when we arrive at that point.



MR. HOLM: Mr. Speaker, I thank the minister for his answer and of course, we were told that the ITT Sheraton was the best operator for casinos as well, and there weren't any assessments done.



MR. SPEAKER: Well, that doesn't relate to the Sydney Tar Ponds Clean-up now.



MR. HOLM: Mr. Speaker, because he really didn't answer my question about the environmental assessment, my question to the minister is simply this, the minister has had the recommendations from the Sydney Tar Ponds Incorporated in his possession for review for quite some considerable period of time. Time is of the essence if, in fact, there is work to begin before the winter freeze up and so on takes place. Could the minister please advise us when, reasonably, other than in the fullness of time, we can expect to have a decision as to which consortium has been selected and which process the government plans to proceed with in the clean up of those tar ponds?



MR. O'MALLEY: Mr. Speaker, in response to the honourable member's question, I would like to point out that we have taken every possible step, including the appointment of what I would call a very blue ribbon voluntary committee from across this province of well known, highly competent, qualified persons to assess those responses we got to that proposal call. They are being studied by the wide range of engineering, environmentalist, and the broad spectrum of experts in the field. In response to his question, the information he requests, just when this response will be finalized, I would say, in the future.



MR. HOLM: Mr. Speaker, I am glad it isn't going to be made in the past. In the fullness of time has now been redefined as the future, so sometime. I will lob another question to the minister, if I may. One of the rumours and reports that is circulating around is that what the government is planning to do to try to supposedly resolve what is identified as really the most hazardous site in the country, one of the suggestions being floated around that the government is supposedly considering - I am not saying they are but I want to raise it to get the minister's response - is that what the government is considering doing is filling in the tar ponds and then paving the tar ponds over with asphalt.



MR. SPEAKER: Encapsulation.



MR. HOLM: Encapsulation, Mr. Speaker. Yes, you have placed it in the technical terms, I am just a layperson so I am using what we lay people would use, fill it in and pave it over. My question to the minister is this, is the minister considering and his government department considering, to save money burying and paving the problem as a way to resolve it, rather than a proper assessment and treatment of the hazardous materials that are contained within those tar ponds?



MR. O'MALLEY: Mr. Speaker, again I thank the honourable member for that question. I would assure him that we are not contemplating filling in the tar ponds, they are already filled in. (Laughter) Our problem is to deal with the problem that they are filled in, that is where our difficulty arises. I can assure the honourable member that whatever solution is arrived at by the highly competent experts who have studied this from the very first day and who continue to study it as of this very moment, through Tar Ponds Incorporated, and through our specialists both from the Department of the Environment, the Department of Supply and Services and all other experts we can bring into the question, the final solution, when it is arrived at, will be presented to all honourable members of this House in its minutest detail.



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Pictou West.



TRANSPORT. - HWY. NO. 104 (MOUNT THOM): TWINNING - COMPLETION



MR. DONALD MCINNES: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister of Transportation and Communications. Most of the members from Cape Breton and from the eastern part of Nova Scotia travel the Mount Thom road, Highway No. 104. We have all watched with interest all summer the work being done there. I know the Speaker does as well. We all drive it every week or maybe more than that and we are all very pleased with the work being done. (Applause) I think it is good that we are getting that road twinned, it is a bad road.



My question to the minister is basically, will that road be open this fall?



HON. RICHARD MANN: Mr. Speaker, I thank the honourable member for the question. He and I have talked about this particular stretch of highway for quite some time. You will recall that last year we opened a section from Truro to Crowes Mills Road or the Kemptown area. What we are attempting to do now is that each component of our 100-Series Highway that we grade and twin, that we try to have it become usable by the motoring public as soon as possible and not build sections that are left to have the grass grow through them for some years.



The section he speaks of from Kemptown to Salt Springs, is on schedule and it should be opened, if everything remains on schedule, in the first week of December.



MR. MCINNES: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to hear that answer. As I say, not only the members from this area but the people from Nova Scotia, from Pictou County, who travel that area will be very pleased because that Mount Thom road is certainly a dangerous road in the wintertime. I would just say to the minister that hopefully, it will be open by the first of December. I know with the traffic, it will be much safer driving conditions for all motorists in that area.



MR. MANN: Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for his comments. That particular section of highway has provided some unique challenges to the Department of Transportation and Communications and to the Nova Scotia road building industry. It would be remiss of me not to mention today, when I have the opportunity, that a couple of years ago when the Department of Transportation was being restructured that one of the divisions created was an environmental services division. Just last week officials from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans who monitor road building work, especially near rivers and streams, acknowledged the work of the Environmental Services Division of the Nova Scotia Department of Transportation. They cited the efforts and the accomplishments they have made and the road building techniques used and monitored by the department and used by the Nova Scotia road builders. In fact, they cited it is as good or better than they see anywhere. In fact, they are encouraging road builders to come to Nova Scotia to see the way the roads are built, particularly along the salmon rivers and the Mount Thom area and the good environmental practices that are done there.



It would be remiss of me, Mr. Speaker, not to cite the work of Dennis Rushton and Elizabeth Pugh and Steve Newson of my department who have done an excellent job in bringing this Environmental Services Division along to the point where they are now very well respected and acknowledged by the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans.



MR. SPEAKER: On a new question, the honourable member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley.



ERA - HALIFAX: SHIPPING LINES - STOWAWAYS



MR. BROOKE TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, perhaps the Minister of Transportation and Communications on his way home this weekend could take a drive up through the Old Guysborough Road and go up through Lansdowne and take a trip that way home if he wants to see some roads that certainly need work and could use some upgrading.





Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister for the Economic Renewal Agency. A very troubling issue has developed at the Port of Halifax and presently 140-some jobs are at risk because of the stowaways that are boarding huge cargo ships in France. They stay aboard the ships, of course, until they reach Halifax. The Danish shipping line Maersk has paid an additional $300,000 in the past two months. It is no laughing matter and the Premier should be ashamed of himself for . . .



MR. SPEAKER: Wait a minute. Let's hear the question, never mind the Premier. Ask the question.



MR. TAYLOR: I realize that a final decision must come down from the federal government and, more specifically, the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration. I would like to know if the Minister for the Economic Renewal Agency has in any way expressed his concern to the federal minister about this potentially very serious situation at the Port of Halifax?



HON. ROBERT HARRISON: Mr. Speaker, I think it is important to point out to my honourable colleague that the Port of Halifax is of strategic economic value to this province and, because of that, there is a working partnership between the Department of Transportation, the Economic Renewal Agency, the Department of Natural Resources and any other department of government that has anything to do with that strategically important port and all of the economic benefits that derive therefrom.



The simple question is, have we made representation? The Minister of Transportation immediately communicated to the federal Minister of Citizenship and Immigration to discuss and point out the very difficulty that Maersk was having, in an effort to try to resolve what is a problem, what is a threat, and we will eliminate all threats. But beyond elimination of threats, it is extremely important that that honourable member know that we will do everything in our power to develop the Port of Halifax into the most competitive eastern seaboard port for all goods and services coming in from Europe.



MR. TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, perhaps the Minister of Transportation and the Minister for the Economic Renewal Agency should have had some discussions with the federal government relative to CFS Debert and CFB Cornwallis, and Bill C-68 and the EH-101 helicopters.



Mr. Speaker, I wonder if by way of supplementary I could go to the Premier and ask the Premier if his office has been in receipt of any information out of Ottawa that assures the province that 140 jobs at the Port of Halifax will be protected?



THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, we have already indicated that the Department of Transportation has been involved in this and as he is a very capable minister, I think it would be appropriate if he answered it.



HON. RICHARD MANN: Mr. Speaker, Mr. Anderson from Maersk Shipping contacted me. I immediately dispatched a letter to the federal Minister of Citizenship and Immigration with copies and requesting representation from the three metro area MPs. I see that the Member of Parliament for Halifax, Mary Clancy, has indicated that she has arranged a meeting already with the federal Minister of Citizenship and Immigration so that this matter will receive a full airing and the concerns of Halifax and of the Port of Halifax will be made to the federal minister. We will do everything we can to eliminate any roadblocks to developing the Port of Halifax.



MR. TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the response from the Minister of Transportation. Again, I would like to go to the Premier. I would like to know if the Premier of the Province of Nova Scotia has in any way - and I think it is important that the Premier answer something in here today, because he has a habit of avoiding questions - expressed his concern to the federal minister about the potential for this very serious situation at the Port of Halifax?



THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, this is an issue of government in which there is an adequate and important representation being made by the appropriate minister. Whatever the previous government did - and God knows, in 15 years it wasn't a lot - the representation that we make is appropriate and will be considered. In this particular case, I share the concern of all members.



It may be remembered that it was my intervention that brought up a question of the port and its importance to this area at the Ports Day dinner. So, I am very aware of the importance of the port, and those that impact on it. But I would also remind him that in this government, unlike perhaps previous governments where delegation was rare, the Minister of Transportation has intervened quite adequately and we will see what unfolds.



MR. SPEAKER: Well, there is only 20 seconds left.



MR. GEORGE ARCHIBALD: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Premier. He was talking about his great intervention at Port Days; he indicated he was going to set up . . .



MR. SPEAKER: I haven't recognized you. The time allotted for the Oral Question Period has expired. (Interruptions) We will move to Opposition Members' Business.



OPPOSITION MEMBERS' BUSINESS



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Opposition House Leader.



MR. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, would you please call the order of business, Private Members' Public Bills for Second Reading.



[4:00 p.m.]



PRIVATE MEMBERS' PUBLIC BILLS FOR SECOND READING



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Hants West.



MR. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 38.



Bill No. 38 - Highway 104 Western Alignment Act.



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



MR. BROOKE TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise this afternoon in support of Bill No. 38, An Act to Amend the Highway 104 Western Alignment Act.



Mr. Speaker, generally this bill removes all references to toll booths. It also provides for the composition of a board of directors of the corporation and it also requires the board of the corporation to make by-laws regulating its proceedings determining the powers and duties of its officers, servants, agents and respecting the management of the corporation and it requires the corporation to make its by-laws available to the public. It also removes the authority for the corporation to charge tolls or other fees for services relating to the operation of the western alignment.



More specifically, Madam Speaker, our caucus wants to emphasize that we indeed wish to ensure the safety of all citizens and indeed all those who use roads in Nova Scotia. With this in mind, we do wish to make certain that we have safe roads here in the Province of Nova Scotia.



Madam Speaker, we do not have to go over the whole story of where the funds were allotted for the building of the very dangerous portion of highway between Masstown, Colchester County and Thomson Station, Cumberland County. We know the funds were removed and we know the funds were returned. I think most people in this province are very pleased that has taken place. What I wish to talk about today is basically this bill to amend Chapter 4 of the Acts of 1995, the Highway 104 Western Alignment Act.



Basically, Madam Speaker, what this bill does is it amends the infamous Bill No. 10 that was introduced in the spring session, and I believe it was proclaimed in July of this year. The most important provision of this amending bill is deleting all reference to the establishment of toll booths.



Madam Speaker, I can table this document if so requested, but the Town of Amherst states that the reason they have held back initially and wanted to gather information about the toll highway was because they felt that it was important that they obtain as much information as possible. After the Town of Amherst received a great deal of information, they listened to citizens, business leaders, and municipal leaders. They are very concerned about the Town of Amherst.



They state in a letter to the Premier that the reason we have held back, Mr. Premier, is that we were almost certain you would not go through with a toll highway. They go on further to say that after all the problems we have had in our area, the loss of APSEA, our information bureau, cuts in just about everything you can think of - it takes a great person to stand up and say, gee, maybe I did make a mistake. That is essentially what the Town of Amherst is asking this government, and they are asking the Minister of Transportation to say relative to tolls, gee I made a mistake, we can build the highway.



This afternoon, Madam Speaker, we are going to point out again the financial options that are available to this province. We hope that the member for Cumberland North, the member for Cumberland South, the member for Truro-Bible Hill and the member for Colchester North will listen to some of the other options that are available to this government relative to building, constructing, financing the Highway 104 Western Alignment.



The minister has said that his Act will allow the establishment of a public/private partnership for the project and it also will allow for the collection of tolls to support it. The only public partnership appears to be in the providing of 50 per cent of the project's estimated cost. This is why we feel, Madam Speaker, it is so important that the proposals put forth by Atlantic Canada Transportation Group, the Atlantic Highway Corporation and Lavalin Incorporation be made available for public scrutiny.



What we are saying is if the proposal that the successful bidder put forward is so attractive, if it is so compelling, so inviting, let us have a look at the proposals so we can do a comparison and, more importantly, so Nova Scotians can analyze the proposals.



Our bill provides that the corporation would be a public body within the meaning of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, and the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act works both ways. It protects the party from whence the information is being requested and it also provides maximum information available to the public. I think it is a reasonable request that anytime you are putting public money into a project that the Freedom of Information Act should apply. I mean $52 million, $55 million is certainly a fair sum of change, by anybody's imagination.



Why this Liberal Government would not want to make it applicable is simply incomprehensible. Our amendment would rectify this and make the public/private partnership, the corporation, it would make the Freedom of Information Act apply. Now another concern is regarding the make-up of the board of the corporation. We submit that the board should consist of the Deputy Minister of Transportation and Communications, and we feel that by having the Deputy Minister of Transportation and Communications on the board of the corporation, this would certainly provide for continuity. As we all know, governments do change from time and when undertaking a new concept such as this, it is extremely desirable to maintain continuity and the Deputy Minister of Transportation could certainly provide this.



The bill that we introduced also recommends that the board have municipal representation from the county through which the highway will be constructed. These county councillors, I am sure as you are very much aware, are elected representatives. We recommend that the board have a member from the council of the Municipality of the County of Colchester and a member of the council of the County of Cumberland in order to ensure, in order to guarantee that the residents of those counties have representation and have a vehicle, a means, a mechanism through which their elected representatives can have a voice. We feel that it is important and we cannot understand why the minister turned that amendment down when we originally tried to put it through when the minister came in with this bill back in the spring.



The government mind you, would still be able to appoint four other persons through Governor in Council, and another amendment in this bill is to provide that the corporation is a Crown Corporation within the meaning of the Provincial Finance Act. The remainder of the amendments basically provide for the deletion of all references to tolls. Again, I have numerous letters here from municipal leaders, from individuals respecting tolls and respecting this whole concern, and the people in Cumberland County. I can speak for the people in Cumberland County and I can speak for the people in Colchester County. They are extremely opposed and in some cases, and perhaps many cases, they are infuriated that the MLAs from their constituencies will not stand up to the Minister of Transportation, will not stand up to the Savage Government and speak out against tolls on the Highway No. 104 western alignment.



We also know that the Coalition for Fairness presently has a lawsuit against this government and one of the concerns that the coalition has and one of the concerns that the Opposition and, of course, the public have is that the Savage Government is probably contravening the terms of the Strategic Highway Improvement Act, because when one takes a close look and examines the SHIP agreement we cannot find any provision where the government can engage in some arrangement with a private corporation, with a private company. So, this bill gives the MLAs for Cumberland North, Cumberland South, Colchester North, Truro-Bible Hill and, in fact, all MLAs, it gives them an opportunity in this government especially, to go back and revisit Bill No. 10 which was rammed through during the spring session of the Legislature.



Now I don't know, Madam Speaker, if the Minister of Transportation has a mind-set relative to this Highway No. 104 western alignment and tolls. Perhaps he has a brain cramp. I really don't know what is going on.



MADAM SPEAKER: Honourable member, did I hear you correctly? Did you suggest that the minister has a brain cramp? (Laughter) I would suggest to you that perhaps you would be a little more reserved in those judgments.



MR. TAYLOR: Well, Madam Speaker, I will just say that perhaps the Minister of Transportation has a mind-set; perhaps the Minister of Transportation doesn't understand what the people in Nova Scotia are saying relative to tolls. I have a letter here from the Warden of Colchester County speaking out against tolls on our highways. I have a letter from the Municipality of the County of Cumberland from the Warden and the warden says, the new highway could be financed through a short-term bond issue with redemption funds being committed from fuel taxes. This would enable the highway to be constructed toll free.



Madam Speaker, we have explained other options to the Minister of Transportation and to this government as to how they could finance this road. We are extremely concerned that a toll highway will act as a detriment, if you will, to economic development. If the minister thinks he is going to create some jobs relative to the Highway No. 104 western alignment, perhaps there will be some jobs initially when the highway is being constructed. If it is going to be done in 20 months or two years there will be a few jobs but they will be short-term jobs. But if you want to find where the long-term jobs are relative to the Highway No. 104 western alignment, go up to New Brunswick, go up to Scoudouc Industrial Park and go into Shediac and you will find out where the long-term jobs are relative to the Highway No. 104 western alignment. You can go ask Premier Frank McKenna how many jobs the Savage Government created for the Province of New Brunswick. That is how the people in Cumberland County and Colchester County are talking about this toll highway, the mind-set that the Minister of Transportation has.



The Truro and District Labour Council in a resolution says, therefore be it resolved that the provincial government use tax dollars collected in fuel tax to construct and rebuild highways in Nova Scotia and these tax dollars be used for nothing else. They go on to say, therefore be it resolved there will be no need for tolls. Madam Speaker, I should point out that the Truro and District Labour Council has a membership of between 3,000 members and 4,000 members.



Madam Speaker, I also have a letter here from the Nova Scotia Federation of Labour, CLC, and the federation has a membership of 60,000 people. The Nova Scotia Federation of Labour is saying to toll Highway No. 104 will affect us all and we must work together to turn around this action and injustice. It is very clear the Liberals have their own interests at heart and not the interests of Nova Scotians. They go on to say it is criminal to see the diversion of money from such a crucial area and then, on top of this, make public statements.





Madam Speaker, we don't want to get into the $26 million today, or at least I don't, because I don't have time. What I am saying to the Minister of Transportation and this government is, the will of the people will not be denied. The will of the people in the final analysis will not be denied. History has proven itself time and time again.



MADAM SPEAKER: I am just signalling that you have one minute left.



MR. TAYLOR: Thank you, Madam Speaker. When that road is constructed there is absolutely no guarantee that Nova Scotians will be able to have an opportunity to work on the jobs relative to building, constructing the highway. There are no guarantees, there is no protection for the Nova Scotia worker. We are also concerned that the rate that applies to the moving of Department of Transportation goods and building materials, aggregates and that sort, will not apply. The workers on this highway will work for a rate that is much reduced. From the present Department of Transportation haulage rate, the rate will be significantly less. There is no protection for jobs. We are extremely concerned, the people of Cumberland-Colchester, and I would submit the people of Nova Scotia are opposed to the establishment of tolls on that highway. Thank you.



MADAM SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Transportation.



HON. RICHARD MANN: Madam Speaker, I would like to point out at the outset that we have been allotted 15 minutes in government to debate this and I will be splitting the time with the honourable member for Cumberland South.



Madam Speaker, one would assume that if one were to have a brain cramp, one would therefore have a brain. So, that is not totally an insult, I guess. (Laughter)



[4:15 p.m.]



Madam Speaker, the speech delivered by the honourable member opposite is typical of what he has brought to the debate on Highway No. 104 since his time in this House, absolutely nothing. They had their chance, as a government they had their chance. In 1982 they signed a federal-provincial agreement; in 1987 they signed a federal-provincial agreement; in 1993 they hastily threw together the SHIP agreement days before the election was called. Did they put Highway No. 104 western alignment as a priority? Absolutely not. They played politics is what they did. They played politics with other roads in Nova Scotia for political purposes (Interruptions)



MADAM SPEAKER: On a point (Interruptions) Yes, honourable member, I am recognizing . . .



AN HON. MEMBER: Well, then do it. (Interruptions)



MADAM SPEAKER: If you would just allow me to put your name on the record, I am recognizing you.



The honourable member for Kings North.



MR. GEORGE ARCHIBALD: On a point of order, Madam Speaker. I will tell the minister again, and he knows it and for him to tell anything else is wrong. After his government came to power and he became minister, that is when the priorities for the SHIP agreement were decided, not during the election, not prior to, it was after. For that minister to stand and repeat again something he knows is totally not even close to the facts, is typical of what you would expect from a minister who would do some of the things he has done.



MADAM SPEAKER: I would like to rule on the point of order; I don't think it is a point of order. It is a dispute of opinions between two members, but I thank you for making the point.



MR. MANN: That is typical of how little that member knew about the department he was minister of. He put out a document that said, the people's choice, the right choice. He did, his signature is on the document and he doesn't even know that Schedule B was attached to the agreement that he signed in 1993. He doesn't even know that. Madam Speaker, they chose other roads in this province for political reasons just prior to an election, so be it. No one would argue that the roads they chose weren't important, but they had a choice whether or not they wanted to include Highway No. 104 western alignment. They chose not to include.



Madam Speaker, when this issue came forward last fall, the member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley attacked the $26 million issue; we have addressed that. He attacked the toll collection location; we have addressed that. Now what is he attacking? A 10-corporation consortium has an individual that he says has ties to the Liberal Party, and that is what he has chosen to attack. The Truro Daily News that hasn't said a good word about this member, probably for a year, says, they have gone too far this time. They are grasping at straws. That is what they said about him this time. He has gone too far.



Madam Speaker, for years the people of the Wentworth Valley have desired to turn the valley into a residential and recreational area. Now they will have the opportunity. With the toll collection system on the western alignment portion, on the new highway portion, they will now have the opportunity to do that. I, too, have letters from businesses in the Wentworth Valley that say, thank you, thank you for being the one to stand and is going to provide a safe road on the existing highway.



He referred to a letter from the Federation of Labour, but he wouldn't give us the date. I met with the Federation of Labour after they wrote that letter and they said, well, that is not what we were told at the meetings we attended with the members of the Opposition. That isn't what we were told. This hasn't come through; these things haven't come through. So, we set the record straight with fact not fiction. The Federation of Labour hasn't said anything about the project since, not a word.



That member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley has not brought an original thought to the Highway No. 104 project since he has been here, not one bona fide argument, nothing. And today we see that he brings a bill for debate that contains what? Nothing. He is going to create a no-toll line, that is what he is going to do. He wants the private sector to go out and build a road, he wants the private sector to finance the road, but he is not going to give them a return on their investment. He is in favour of public/private partnering, but he is against tolls. He is against public/private highway construction and a return on investment for the private sector, but he is against tolls. I don't know, Madam Speaker, what nonsense comes forth, but I suggest that there is a lot of it.



Maybe he wants, in typical Conservative Government fashion to borrow the money. Maybe he wants to guarantee all of this again. Maybe he wants to add another $60, $70, $80 million to the debt of the Province of Nova Scotia. Maybe that is the logic he is employing here, the logic employed by the members of his government who came before him. If that Party hadn't entertained such thoughts as that, that we can borrow, borrow, borrow and not have to pay some day, we wouldn't be having this debate. We wouldn't have $1 billion a year leaving the province. We wouldn't be shipping off $1 billion to New York, to Tokyo, to Zurich and Toronto to pay for what the members of your Party did for years and years. You left the mess so that we now have to be creative to deal with it.



Let me say this clearly and see if the member will acknowledge this, if you want to kill the tolls on Highway No. 104 western alignment, you are going to kill the project. They did not get the money in the agreement, they did not designate the western alignment and we are doing this the only way that it can be done. They want to take every penny of money from every secondary road in Nova Scotia from each and every riding and put it on one project, one project only, that is their solution. Shame on them! If you kill the tolls you kill the road. I am going to turn the debate over to someone who knows a lot more about the road and the issue than I do and a lot more than that member opposite will ever know, the member for Cumberland South. (Applause)



MADAM SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Labour.



HON. GUY BROWN: Madam Speaker, I am pleased to take part in this debate today and I want to make one thing very clear, the honourable member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley said they didn't have time. Well, they selected the time, not us on this side of the House. They said how much time we could debate this bill here today, it was their choice not ours.



I want to tell you that I am tired of individuals running down the business community in Cumberland County, running down the people of Cumberland by saying they can't compete, that we are sending them all over to New Brunswick, that is not true. Our business people are very aggressive. I want to tell you, the Truro Chamber of Commerce is satisfied with the toll plan for Nova Scotia. The minister has all kinds of letters, as I have and I personally saw some of the business people.



I am pleased to be able to stand up here today on behalf of the people of Cumberland County and I will tell you when it comes to safety, because that is what this debate is all about on this side of the House. It is about people living and it is about families having injured people the rest of their lives over that highway that they have been driving on. Our debate is one of safety and our choice is one of safety and protection for the people in this province that use our highways.



Let's put the facts on the record of this House of Assembly so they can be reviewed generations from now. Let me make it very clear where I stand and where this government stands with regard to this issue, we stand for safety, jobs and security for the people of Cumberland County and Nova Scotia. They have one philosophy, borrow more money or don't build the highway, that is their choice.



This province has borrowed so much money that this member, and I am proud of it, is not prepared to continue to lead this province down the path where our children and our grandchildren will be forced out due to debt. We will take the responsibility now in this province. I want to tell you, I am amazed. That Tory Government over there for years spent every dollar on the Trans Canada Highway. What did areas like River Hebert, Joggins, Minudie, Parrsborro, Oxford and hundreds of other small communities across this province receive? Absolutely nothing.



Let's make it very clear, let's really tell it the way it is with the Tories; this is their philosophy, they have a philosophy of borrow, don't worry about tomorrow. Their other philosophy is, give rural Nova Scotia absolutely nothing, spend all the tax dollars on the main highway in this province, Madam Speaker.



He talks about the agreement. There it is and God, was it April Fool's Day, on April 1, 1993, because this agreement was signed by the Premier, the Honourable Donald Cameron, and also by the Minister of Transportation, the Honourable George Archibald, on April 1, 1993.



SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh. (Laughter)



MR. BROWN: We all know what April 1st is, it is April Fool's Day. That is the deal, Madam Speaker, that Nova Scotia got from that crowd that is trying to be all the good people today.



Let me tell you, the former Tory Government signed an agreement in 1982, 1987, 1989 and they looked after both ends of that highway, but when it came to Wentworth and to the most dangerous part of Highway No. 104, they exempted it every time. They knew it was going to take $120 million. But you read the agreement in 1982, read the agreement, Madam Speaker, the later one, read the agreement in 1989, not one time did they have money to finish that stretch of highway we are talking about today.



We are elected and we are showing leadership. I want to tell you, their argument is going to lose because if you look at the time that is saved and if you look at the total kilometres that are saved and if you take the government rate of about 29 cents a kilometre, you do not pay one cent. You will save money by using that new section, if you look at the big trucks at 70 cents or 80 cents, what they use on their income tax and some people over there know about that, what they wrote off for kilometres for operating their big truck, tell us, get up and tell us and then tell us what you save in your time factor. I will tell you, you were right yesterday, Madam Speaker, that honourable member was right yesterday when he was flying high here in the House and said that new highway is going to mean we can move goods so much better and faster. That was true and he said it. I didn't say it yesterday, he did, and that is the truth.



This link is important to Nova Scotia. This link is all about economic renewal and economic development. Now I want to tell you, he and his people went up to Cumberland County. We sent out one brochure about bringing people up-to-date. But you know what, Madam Speaker, they didn't have the nerve or the gall to talk about their mailing in 1991.



Oh, that is not the end of it, how about in 1992 that they sent out. You know what? They would have sent one in 1993 but they didn't quite get it all finished and ready, so they sent out three or four memos or had them planned. We sent out one, we are wasting taxpayers' dollars. There they are, they can send out all they want and that is not wasting money. (Applause)



Now let me tell you, the people of Cumberland County are fed up with that kind of garbage and that kind of talk from that side of the House. If they were serious about safety and if they were serious about saving lives and they were serious about the people in Cumberland County, why did they exclude the funds in 1982, 1986 and 1989 with regard to that highway? It is time the Tory Party comes clean with the people of Nova Scotia and the people of Cumberland County. It is time they put their own people out there to get votes, instead of having them leading phoney issues like this, Madam Speaker, all across this province. Then they can do something.



I am proud of the toll and I want to tell you, Guy Brown will see the day that I will say isn't it great, we save lives, we move freight quicker and Nova Scotia is a far better place because of what we did than what the former Tory Government did in 15 years. Thank you. (Applause)



[4:30 p.m.]



MADAM SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Atlantic.



MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Madam Speaker, let me just say that if I thought that applause was for me then I would realize that I am doing something wrong in this House in terms of bringing the concerns of my constituents to the attention of this government.



I am pleased to have the opportunity to rise and speak for a few moments on this bill, but let me say at the outset that I am not particularly happy with this bill and what it represents, because all it does is sort of reinforces the bill that was already introduced and passed through this Legislature, the bill that basically allows for the establishment of the consortium that allows the legal authority for the privatization of the western alignment and for the establishment of tolls and so on. There are a lot of questions that have not yet been answered by this government as they head down the road to privatization of part of Highway No. 104, part of the Trans Canada Highway. Let us not forget, that it is the first part of the Trans Canada Highway that has been privatized, that has been tolled, from one end of this country to the other. This government is taking the lead, but I suggest that it is a lead that is not in the interest of Nova Scotians, let alone the travelling public.



I listened to the member for Cumberland South get up and criticize the former administration for playing politics with this issue. Perhaps he is right in a lot of what he says about how politics has been played with transportation issues in the Province of Nova Scotia over so many years. That is the same kind of speech that I heard from him and other members of the government benches now when they were running for election back in 1993. Back in the election of 1993, the Premier, the then Leader of the Liberal Party, made promises to residents in those communities in Cumberland and Colchester Counties, that if they were elected they would immediately see that this highway is constructed and they would no longer see that politics is played with the lives of people that are travelling along what is, unfortunately, known as death valley.



Here we are, two and one-half years later and there still has not been sod turned. There still has not been anything done other than $1 million has been spent on out-of-town, out-of-province, out-of-country consultants to come in here and tell this government how they can fleece the taxpayers of Nova Scotia. That is what happened in the past two and one-half years. The member for Cumberland South and his colleagues get up here in this House and rail at the fact that people are playing politics with such an important issue. I have to ask you, Madam Speaker, and ask that member, what does he tell his constituents when they ask him, where is the road? When is it going to come? Is it going to be here in 1996, like the Premier promised?



Let us go back to 1993, after this government was elected. People raised some very serious concerns about the option that was selected by the former administration in terms of where they would run the western alignment. There were some very serious concerns; in fact, environmental approval was only granted on a conditional basis because of those concerns. At that time when the citizens' committee, when the citizens of those communities raised concerns with the Premier of this government, he said to them that we cannot waste time on another environmental assessment to review your concerns about this particular option and to consider other options. We cannot waste time, we have to move forward with construction of this highway. What has happened in two and one-half years? Nothing, but let me tell you, the legitimate concerns of that citizens' committee still remain and they are going to have to be addressed by somebody. They are going to have to be addressed whether it is by this government or by the new consortium. They are going to have to be addressed because those problems are not going to go away.



The environmental concerns that I speak of, Madam Speaker, have been raised a number of times by people in those communities. They talk about the fact that the slope, that the grade on a number of the new sections of that particular alignment are going to far exceed any that are there now. The fact that it is so much closer now to the Minas Basin and because of the elevations, that there is going to be serious concern with weather, with fall, with changing temperatures which will affect the conditions of that road during inclement weather.



We think we have a problem now with that route in the wintertime with snowstorms and so on; people in that vicinity who know the weather in that area of the province, Madam Speaker, are extremely worried about what will happen with respect to the safety of the driving public, when this particular route has gone through.



There have been a number of questions about how, in fact, that highway is even going to be built over some of the major expanses that are there, the bog and one of the major ravines, Madam Speaker, and a number of other issues relating to that terrain, questions that have not been addressed. These are questions that we have attempted to get answered by this government, but they have been doing their best to withhold any and all information that they have already collected from their high-priced consultants.



You know, one of the important issues here other than safety of the travelling public, which is the utmost concern, and let's remember that there is still no road there and now, initially, the Premier told us that we would have a road there and they told those people they would have a road there by the spring of 1996. Now they are telling us, maybe they will have it by the end of 1997, Madam Speaker. As my colleague, the Leader of the New Democratic Party would say, that and a loonie will buy you a small coffee.



The whole question here that has not been addressed by this government is what are the cost comparisons between having this project built by the government, having the money borrowed by the province at their preferred rates, as opposed to it being handled in the private sector, Madam Speaker. We have also not heard any true cost projections in terms of what the implications are for Nova Scotia taxpayers, be they the general taxpayer or be they the travelling public.



The initial projection was that we would have tolls at $3.00 a crack on this highway for vehicles. Was it $6.00 for trucks?



AN HON. MEMBER: $3.00 an axle.



MR. CHISHOLM: $3.00 an axle, Madam Speaker. But you know what, what has not been considered is now, after the public of Nova Scotia raised such Cain about the fact that they were being held hostage by the way that they were setting up the tolls, in other words, no matter how you pass through that area, you would have to pay the tolls. Nova Scotians showed their utter contempt for that decision. The government backed off and said, we will just put the toll on the western alignment itself. But the question that has not been answered, if that is the case, then what about that initial Andersen consultants report that said that the only way that this would be feasible for a private consortium is if all traffic coming through that valley goes through the toll and has to pay that toll? If that is not the case, then what is the toll going to be right off the mark? Is it going to be $6.00 for a car, $8.00 or $10? I think that this government owes it to Nova Scotians to come clean with that kind of information.



The other fact is that they have estimated the cost of construction at $100 million. People who have done analyses of the project, who have considered the route it is going and the challenges that will be faced by the engineers and builders, Madam Speaker, suggest that that is a cost that was dreamed up somewhere other than in a real scenario situation. In fact, the costs are going to be much greater than that, given the many challenges that will be faced by the builder on that route.



Who is going to pick up those costs? We know that the private consortium, not one cent of private money is going to be going in there. They are going to be borrowing that money, Madam Speaker. You and I, and anybody else who travels on that highway, we are going to pay for it and we are going to pay, I would suggest not only through the tolls, but also through taxes. How much are we going to pay over the 30 years? How much are Nova Scotians going to be expected to pay as a result of this flight of fancy of this government, this leap of faith, this jump off of a short bridge? What is it going to cost Nova Scotians? I think those are some of the questions that have to be answered.



You know, here we are, once again this government is taking Nova Scotians down this road with unanswered questions, without any evidence of the true impact, the true cost. They don't have the faintest idea, I would suggest or, if they do, they are too afraid of what they have actually committed themselves to to let Nova Scotians find out before it is too late. But they are taking us down the road, I am afraid, Madam Speaker, that we are going to find out we are going to end up paying through the teeth. Nova Scotians are going to end up paying through the teeth.



We are going to be the only province in this country that has a cover charge for people who want to come in here and visit, and at the same time that this government has such a push on to increase tourist traffic and to try to bring people from other parts of the country and other parts of the world to Nova Scotia. We are, first of all, going to ask people to pay a cover charge. Being inclined to be cynical, as I am after having spent four years in this place, one has to suggest that what that road is going to do is bring people to the casinos a little faster. But given the concessions that this government is giving the ITT Sheraton and its casinos in order to get more people in there, maybe they are going to give people a free pass through the toll booths if they can show a receipt that they have been at the ITT Sheraton Casino. That is the kind of cynical, backhanded strategies that this government has been giving us ever since they got in.



Again, let's not forget that $1 million has been spent by this government on consultants to come in here and tell Nova Scotians how much they are going to end up having to pay so that they can make a profit; $1 million, and there hasn't been any work started. So, that's just the beginning, I would suggest to you.





The second thing is that the environmental approval that was conditional was renewed in February 1995, for another two years so that construction can begin. But there are some serious conditions that have to be met by this government in order for that environmental approval to be granted. I say, Madam Speaker, that not only do I think this bill is as bad as the previous bill - because all it does is continue this whole toll road process - but I ask this government, on behalf of all Nova Scotians, to come clean with what is really going on here. What are the costs going to be to Nova Scotians? Let's get this road built most effectively and efficiently for Nova Scotians. Thank you.



[4:45 p.m.]



MADAM SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings North.



MR. GEORGE ARCHIBALD: Mr. Speaker, it is a real pleasure to speak on this bill again. It is the most bazaar debate I have seen in many days. It was good to hear the honourable minister and member for Cumberland South speak on this bill.



AN HON. MEMBER: Defend the indefensible.



MR. ARCHIBALD: Well, he was trying to defend the indefensible, (Interruption) but he was also saying something that was very peculiar. In that, the previous administration did nothing to help anybody that lived in the Opposition riding. Well that member can tell you if he is honest that he came to my office and he said, this is a priority for my constituency.



HON. GUY BROWN: Madam Speaker, on a point of order. I never even mentioned an Opposition riding during my debate. I never said that all. What I said was the former government did not include that $120 million section in three agreements they negotiated. That is what I said.



MADAM SPEAKER: Thank you. I think that is a point of clarification and not a point of order.



MR. ARCHIBALD: That is much better because that member knows very well that he used to go to the minister's office every year with his list of priorities for his constituency and discuss it with the minister as did most of the members in the Opposition. They would go and they all got road work. It was shared. (Interruptions)



MADAM SPEAKER: Order please.



MR. ARCHIBALD: Thank you. They were discussing deficits, finance and all those grandiose things. You know, one of the things you and all members must not forget is the growth of the deficit since 1993 has grown more than any other period in the history of this province.



We have a great deal of restraint and this caucus is supporting the government restraint because it was the previous government that started the restraint program and every member that spoke today, including the Minister of Finance, voted against every single area. Suddenly for them to say, you squandered money, they were the people who every day brought in a resolution to spend more and more. So it does not hold water and the Minister of Finance could perhaps read, Government By Design, and find out what the deficit numbers were.



Safety was the priority for this road. Well, if safety was of any concern to that Minister of Transportation, I guarantee that road would have been completed under the timetable that was there on his desk when he arrived. That Minister of Transportation chose not to build that road under the timetable that was there. I did not choose that, he did. If the minister is concerned with safety, he would certainly have been constructing the road before now.



One of the minister's complaints was that it was not done in 1982 and 1991, but you know there had to be an agreement, design and program of where that road was going to be constructed. For many years, people in Wentworth said, we do not want it here.



There was an independent task force set up by some private consultants and they made a recommendation after an extensive, exhaustive two year study. The minute their study was in, those flyers that the member for Cumberland South was holding up showing the people, went out, perhaps he forgets maybe he spent so much time in Halifax he forgets the controversy in the area from the people that were living over towards Wallace in that region and Pugwash who wanted the road on that sided of the province and the other folks that wanted it on this side. An independent group decided.



AN HON. MEMBER: The Premier held it up.



MR. ARCHIBALD: The Premier, when he was elected, the first announcement Premier Savage made when he became Premier was I am going to look into that road and we are going to pick a new route if possible. He looked through all the documentation for about 6 or 8 weeks and he found, no I cannot change the road. It was done impartially, independently, fairly, the cheapest and the safest route was chosen. We are going to stick with that route, but then the Minister of Transportation got involved in it and he said well maybe we are going to stick with the route, but we sure are not going to do it in any big hurry. We have no money. Well that is the first thing that we should know. We have no money to build the road.



When I negotiated the agreement in Ottawa, and it wasn't easy to negotiate and it took several months, the Minister of Transportation indicated at the time that it was a $50 million agreement. Then we moved it to $100 million agreement with $100 million from Ottawa and $100 million from the province. Then, I said, that is still not enough, we need more money, give us as much as New Brunswick got. Listen to this - maybe some of the ministers should listen - the Minister of Finance said, Nova Scotia has $200 million in the harbour clean-up, you've got $100 million in Micronav. If your transportation is more important than harbour clean-up or Micronav, we can transfer money from either one of those accounts because New Brunswick is getting more money for highways than you are because they don't have Micronav and they don't have the harbour clean-up.



Well, I said, I can't take money from Micronav and I can't take it from the harbour clean-up. He said, well you are stuck with $100 million and this is the deal. So away we went and we signed the agreement. However, the harbour clean-up is no longer with us. There is $200 million that was available then and is available today. Perhaps it is being set aside for an election in a year or so when the purse strings from Ottawa will be let loose. Micronav is no longer in operation, not because there was anything wrong with Micronav, it is because Global Positioning has taken over microwave landing devices on airports. Micronav was the most modern landing device for about two years and suddenly GPS took over. Micronav has already been diminished by $20 million. The first program that the federal government in 1993 did, when they became government, the first thing that the Honourable David Dingwall from Cape Breton did was he said Micronav doesn't need $100 million. Micronav now has $80 million and I have a $20 million make work project.



That is a fact. (Interruption) Yes, there was $20 million taken from Micronav and put into make work programs that took place in Cape Breton. Now did you hear anybody criticizing that? We didn't. That was what a federal minister wanted to do. The federal minister just as easily can say, I am going to put some of the money into the transportation system but if he doesn't want to do that, still without going to the bankers in New York or Japan as our minister prefers, there is money available for 100-Series road construction. Now I think some of the people in this Chamber should realize that the Minister of Transportation has a document. Perhaps you haven't seen it. We had to get it from Ottawa. He wouldn't give it to us. But it is an agreement between the Government of Canada and the Province of Nova Scotia and in the agreement it indicates a list of highway projects that are going to take place in Nova Scotia.



Now 100-Series Highways. It has, "Highway 104 From West River Bridge, . . .



AN HON. MEMBER: What is the date on that?



MR. ARCHIBALD: Oh, this is quite current, I don't know, just the other day. It has from Page 206, 207, 208, 209, 210, 211. Those programs are there and allotted but the number at the bottom of the page, "2.11 Unallocated funds for 100 series Highways". Unallocated for 100-Series, $51.8 million. (Interruption) Well, laugh at it. What is wrong? The wheels have fallen off the government and I know it. They are putting up a toll booth and there is $51 million available in unallocated funds. Couldn't the minister use that? He would rather have toll booths. That isn't even touching the, "Arterial and Collector Highways". Unallocated funds, $55 million in that section, unallocated. Look. This is the government that says we have no discretionary money. "Unallocated Funds for Local Roads", $20,299,500. We are not saying take all the money from the local roads.



The member for Cumberland South was indicating that there was no attention paid. Well, I remember Apple River and that road down the shore, the Glooscap Trail. There was great emphasis placed in that as a tourism development. If his government was half as interested in tourism, why don't they do what the Cumberland County people ask and put some money into paving those roads?



You know when you consider this agreement between the Province of Nova Scotia and the federal government and you see in the Atlantic Freight Transportation Program over $110 million in unallocated funds and that minister is telling us there is no money anywhere to build any roads. Well, Madam Speaker, who is he kidding? Did these members of the back benches even know it? Did he inform them? He certainly didn't tell them that he diverted the $26 million, so I have no doubts he told them anything about this.



You know in 1970 there was a Liberal Government in power and the highway construction through the Annapolis Valley stopped in Coldbrook. Everybody sat there looking at it, waiting and waiting. For eight years there was no highway construction done in the Annapolis Valley. The government couldn't decide how to do it or where to put the road. In 1978 the government changed and highway work again commenced.



It is the same situation now; this government came to power and they stopped as much highway construction as they possibly could. You know it is not fair to the people of Nova Scotia, it is not fair to the people of Cumberland County. They are going to be stuck with paying the tolls because according to that $750,000 untendered, unpublic, private Andersen Report that was done for the Minister of Transportation and Communications, the Andersen Report, the part that we were able to sneak away from people and, by devious means get a peek at, said 57 per cent of the traffic is not local. So that means the difference between 57 per cent and 100 per cent - you are a teacher, what is that? 43 per cent of the money is going to be paid by the local folks.



The member for Cumberland South says that is great, I am proud of it, I can't wait to tell them. (Interruption) Well, the minister probably would not let you read the Andersen Report either but I will show you my copy and 43 per cent is local traffic. Talk to the people in the Debert Industrial Park, they will tell you it is tough competing in business today and this government is making it that much tougher. Every single truck that is going to come to their plant and every one leaving is going to pay the toll. Every employee who doesn't happen to live right in the little neighbourhood of Debert is going to pay the toll to and from work.



Well maybe that is fine if you live in Toronto and Boston and in those kinds of big cities, perhaps you are used to tolls. But nowhere else in this Dominion is there a single toll booth on the Trans Canada Highway.



Now I don't even understand what they are thinking that putting a toll on a road with 6,000 vehicles a day. The company that is in business with Mr. Chisholm that are going to build the highway are building a road in Ontario with 80,000 vehicles a day. Now that is what you call a toll road. But we have 6,000 cars a day and we are going to put a toll road up. What other added benefits is the minster prepared to give.



The minister will not share the Andersen Report. He would not share even with his own colleagues the money from the Atlantic Freight Transportation Program and tell them. I bet there wasn't one single member in this House who knew there was $55 million unallocated from that program for the 100-Series Highway. He didn't tell them, I can promise you that. Is there anybody? Not a soul knew that was there. And, at the same time, he is asking the people in Cumberland County to pay the tolls while he is sitting on enough money to build that road and he won't share it and he won't say what is the real reason for the tolls. Is it because they come off the causeway and he misses toll booths? What is wrong with the Minister of Transportation and Communications to try to sell Nova Scotians the unsellable? Thank you.



MADAM SPEAKER: The honourable Opposition House Leader.



MR. RONALD RUSSELL: Madam Speaker, would you please call the order of business, Motions Other Than Government Motions.



MOTIONS OTHER THAN GOVERNMENT MOTIONS



MADAM SPEAKER: The honourable Opposition House Leader.



MR. RONALD RUSSELL: Would you please call Resolution No. 544, Madam Speaker.



Res. No. 544, re Environ. - Hfx. Metro Amalgamation (Goodwood Site): Election Candidates - Donations Related Reveal - notice given Nov. 8/95 - (Mr. J. Leefe)



MADAM SPEAKER: The honourable member for Queens.



[5:00 p.m.]



MR. JOHN LEEFE: Thank you, Madam Speaker. I am delighted to have the opportunity to speak to this resolution this afternoon. I thank my House Leader for calling it. Disclosure certainly is a matter which is very much in the public interest. It has been deemed to be sufficiently in the public interest that this Legislature has passed a very forceful and wide-sweeping disclosure Act. The Government of Canada has adopted disclosure legislation. I believe that there are some provinces in Canada which have adopted disclosure legislation with respect to its municipal units. Yet, in Nova Scotia we find that although we have adopted disclosure for members of the Nova Scotia Legislature, for those who work for government and those who have left government to go into the private sector, that we have, in fact, no public protection available at all with respect to disclosure in municipal government.



Upon occasion I have remarked on how important it is for each and every one of us in this place to understand that when we stand upon a principle, we must be prepared to carry that principle with us when we move from one side of the House to the other. I took the opportunity to review some of the debates that were held with respect to the disclosure legislation which is in place for all of us who are sitting members in the House today.



I went back to June 22, 1992 and picked out a pretty clear statement of principle, uttered then by the then Leader of the Opposition, Mr. Gillis, now the Minister of Justice. On that date Mr. Gillis said here in the House and it is recorded in Hansard, "We . . .," that is the Liberal Party, " . . . support the principle of disclosure . . .". What could be more clear than that? "We . . .", the Liberal Party ". . . support the principle of disclosure . . .". Indeed, on that occasion I believe that Mr. Gillis did vote in favour of that legislation. Well, if that principle stood then, surely it stands now and if that principle of public disclosure and the necessity for public disclosure legislation could be applied to provincial government members and to people working for the provincial government, so too it would seem absolutely appropriate that that principle should be extended to the municipal units which are constitutionally the responsibility of the provincial government.



What are the main elements of disclosure? The main elements are referenced, personal obligations and public contributions. With respect to personal obligations, disclosure legislated ensures that no individual who is a member of government or who works for government can be held up to ransom, can be open to undue influence as a result of a personal financial obligation. Surely, that is appropriate. Secondly, it also makes reference to political contributions.



Some political contributions are forthcoming from individuals, others come from corporations and, who knows, perhaps some others even come from trust funds. Surely it is in the interest of the public and the interest of good government that irrespective of the source of public contributions given to politicians, that the public knows who those contributors are and how much they have offered. It is also absolutely essential that with respect to municipal contributions, as is the case with provincial disclosure, that the public have immediate and easy access to disclosure documents, to those statements which each and every member of municipal government would sign in exactly the same way as those of us who are Members of the Legislative Assembly do and lay them out there for the public to see. So if there is ever any question of any member of a council across Nova Scotia being influenced by a person who may have given a political contribution to that individual, any member of the public can go and look at the list to determine whether or not any contribution was given. Surely that is one of the most basic ways in which we can ensure the integrity in local government, as we have endeavoured to do with respect to the provincial government.



Never has there been more importance attached to an appropriate disclosure regime of persons who have left the Public Service and find themselves in a post-service position. This is particularly critical today because there are so many people who are taking early retirements or who are not given the opportunity for employment as the result of amalgamation of various municipal governments and who seek their employment elsewhere.



Not only is it essential to the public interest that there be disclosure to ensure that those persons moving to other positions do not use the information which they gathered in their previous employ to benefit a new employer, but also it is essential that those persons be provided a very strong level of protection from any such accusation. The provision of disclosure legislation would provide them with that protection, as it would provide protection for the public.



We are not talking about rocket science here. We are not talking about inventing something brand new. We are talking about off-the-shelf technology, off-the-shelf legislation. It is simply a matter of picking it down, rewriting it and substituting the appropriate municipal terminology for the provincial terminology. It is as simple as simple can be.



Mr. Speaker, we do not often stop to think in this Chamber of one of the significant differences between the Legislature and municipal councils. This Legislature does not have the opportunity, for legitimate reasons, to vote on whether or not contracts would be tendered and once tendered, to whom those contracts would be let. However, that is an activity which takes place on a regular basis at the municipal council level. Therefore, each municipal councillor has it much more potentially in his or her power to influence what decision will be taken than is the case with any MLA. That is why, in the provincial legislation, one of the penalties which can be exercised is that a member may be removed from the Executive Council for breaching the Act; not removed from the Legislature, but removed from the Executive Council. Well that very same level of protection should and must be made available to the citizens in our municipalities, so that not only are they protected with respect to any undue influence which may potentially be exercised by a councillor, but also so that the councillors themselves will be protected from any such charge.



If we stop for a moment to think of the kinds of dollars which are involved in untendered contracts, we do not have to go very far. One need only go to recent newspaper articles and find, for example, that there have been a number of untendered contracts let by the Municipality of the County of Halifax with respect to the new landfill at Goodwood: $1.4 million to the Mirror group; $1 million in untendered contract to Philip Vaughan and Associates for the implementation of the community stakeholders committee strategy; and a large contract - I don't know the precise amount, but a large contract nonetheless - untendered and given to Murray Doehler of Syntel Communications to develop a call for proposals on public/private partnering on waste management strategy.



Now I am not suggesting for a moment that any of those three companies used undue influence with respect to the decision that those councillors took. I am not suggesting for a minute that any of those councillors have, in a plain, brown envelope, been given money for their political campaigns by any of these companies which were successful in receiving untendered contracts, but the question is out there and the question demands an answer. The only way that question can be answered definitively and appropriately, and honestly and openly, is if this government will amend municipal legislation and have put in municipal legislation the very same kind of disclosure safeguards as are available to legislators in the province and to parliamentarians nationally.



Why must this be done? It must be done and it must be done immediately and it must be done with haste, because we have already missed the boat with respect to the municipal elections for the new municipal government in Cape Breton. We are coming close to the wire with respect to the municipal elections for the new regional municipality of Halifax. We still have time to amend the Queens bill, which was passed here last May, and insert that clause in it. We do have ample time with respect to the bill that is ready to go to the Law Amendments Committee respecting municipal amalgamation. Now is the time to undertake the placing of this public safeguard in legislation. Can it be done now? Yes, it can be done now and it must be done now.



We must provide for disclosure to ensure the integrity of government, in this instance to ensure the greater integrity of municipal government; to ensure the integrity of the electoral process; to ensure the integrity of those men and women who are prepared to dig into their pockets and finance political campaigns because they know that it takes dollars to make political campaigns work; to ensure that the public interest is well attended; and to ensure that the politicians themselves are protected against any false or spurious charges which may be brought against them.



We are talking, as I have pointed out, about millions and millions of taxpayers' dollars being expended by municipal officials. Surely the public has a right to this level of protection, through disclosure, to ensure that the integrity of their government and the probity that is necessary for government to maintain that integrity is recognized. So, it is by corollary absolutely essential that that selfsame principle be applied to the men and women who work in municipal government and it also may have the opportunity to influence unduly, if they are so inclined and if they were, of course, it would not be many, the decisions which government takes, the decisions which lead to remunerative success for some at the expense of the taxpayer.



Mr. Speaker, the public must always be served; the public must always be served in a timely basis. The public can best be served by acting and acting now. It is never wrong to act on principle and when those who have espoused the principle have the opportunity to put that principle into action, then I say to them, stand by your word. When you cross the floor of the House and form the government, stand by the principle that you espoused when you were in Opposition. Now that you have the opportunity to put that principle into effect, don't dally. Do it now while you have that opportunity.



There was another member who spoke on that selfsame debate, Mr. Speaker, and I want to quote that member because that member can play a definitive role with respect to intruding disclosure into the present municipal election in Halifax, if she so chooses, and certainly can play a definitive role with respect to creating legislation which will apply to all municipal units across this province.



On May 13, 1991, in Hansard we find remarks made by the Honourable Sandra Jolly with respect to this matter of disclosure. She made a statement which I think gives further credence to the principle rendered by Hon. William Gillis when she says, Hansard, Page 5311, "I want to say at the outset that I feel we must support legislation that does provide an accountability to the taxpayers politicians and, in some instances, their chance for a conflict of interest.".



When they were here they espoused the principle, now that they are there I asked them to act on that principle and act on that principle immediately.



[5:15 p.m.]



HON. SANDRA JOLLY: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker, regarding the statements made by the honourable member, I have answered questions in the House this time, as minister, that we have a legislative review committee that has been requested by the Union of Nova Scotia Municipalities and the Department of Municipal Affairs and the AMA association, and they are dealing with this very question. It is in the process of being dealt with and it will be dealt with as we have said on either side of the House.



MR. SPEAKER: Thank you, honourable minister. I do not think I need any further interjection on the point of order because . . .



MR. LEEFE: I tend to agree with you, Mr. Speaker. It's not a point, it's a great line that she drops.



MR. SPEAKER: Those are not my words. My words were that it may be a point of clarification, but it is not a point of order. The honourable member's time has expired. But before we go to the next speaker, I want to recognize the member for Victoria on an introduction.



MR. KENNETH MACASKILL: Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to introduce two guests in your Gallery this evening. I want to welcome Mary Louise Bernard, Chief of Wagmatcook First Nation and she is accompanied today by her Band Manager, Brian Arbuthnot. We welcome them here today and give them a round of applause. (Applause)



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of the Environment.



HON. WAYNE ADAMS: Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the honourable member for Queens for the opportunity to stand before the House today and tell the people of Nova Scotia in greater detail of the actions of our department and what we have done to ensure environmental integrity in Nova Scotia. I also want to commend the honourable member for Queens for having had the volume of his microphone increased so that we can hear more clearly now.



First of all, I have to make it clear that my title, Mr. Speaker, is Minister of the Environment, not Minister responsible for Municipal Elections. In the case of municipal elections the answer was clearly enunciated by my able colleague, the Minister of Municipal Affairs, about a week ago right here in the House of Assembly. At that time, the Minister of Municipal Affairs made it clear that the disclosure of contributions to municipal campaigns is something that this government would quite possibly favour. She wisely added, and I will repeat for her sake and for the sake of members opposite, that it must be done in consultation with the affected level of government. The operative word here is consultation. The Minister of Municipal Affairs has established - we are all well aware of that - a legislative review committee dealing with issues that would affect municipal operations.



The Minister of Municipal Affairs who has the responsibility in this area has wisely chosen the path of consultation and cooperation. The committees she has established in dealing with the Union of Nova Scotia Municipalities on this and other important matters, it is this approach of consultation and cooperation, with all Nova Scotians, that has brought us an Environment Act that has been praised from all sides of this House and, indeed, most parts of Canada. Consultation, cooperation and rational implementation of changes is the approach we are using in developing a solid waste resource management strategy that will give Nova Scotians economic opportunities, as well as environmental integrity.



Mr. Speaker, there is a hint of mischief in this resolution. The resolution speaks quite specifically of ". . . any candidate for council or mayor in the upcoming Halifax Regional Municipality election and who sits on the current Halifax County Council disclose any and all political campaign contributions from any individual or company which has, or may appear to have, any pecuniary interest whatsoever in the landfill at Goodwood.". I will be kind and use the word mischief in the phrasing of that passage and I believe that if the honourable member is truly interested in the matter of public confidence, then why would he speak just of the candidates for one particular municipal body that happens to be currently running for election? Why not speak on the issue in general rather than just casting shadows of suspicion on the integrity of candidates for just one municipal council.



That is what is being done here, quite clearly. The honourable member for Queens is a better man than this resolution would suggest, I am sure, and I truly believe that he perhaps did not write or author Resolution No. 544. What this resolution is really all about is not the public confidence in the electoral system. It seems to have more about sowing seeds of rumour and character assassination. In fact, just today the consortium selected by Halifax County Council to implement its Solid Waste Management Program has said in the press and in all local papers that it has contributed absolutely nothing, not one cent, to any candidate for mayor or alderman in the upcoming election. In fact, the copy is available for everybody to read if they have not seen the paper. The point is well made, it is clear. The member for Queens is allowing himself to get side-tracked from the real issue of environmental integrity.



The selection of the landfill location is a municipal responsibility. Most members of this House are well aware of that and I am sure, Mr. Speaker, that most of the public is aware of that. My responsibility, as the Minister of the Environment, is to make sure that the environmental laws of this province are followed to the letter. I intend to do my job in that regard.



Two and one-half years ago this government came to power with a promise to protect the environment and another promise to create economic growth. Well, Mr. Speaker, let me say today as loudly and clearly as I can, we have delivered on both counts. We decided the environment could be a source of jobs and we have succeeded. What used to be waste is now wealth. However, recently released provincial solid waste resource management strategy will mean more than 600 Nova Scotians will take home good, sustainable paycheques because what was once garbage is now regarded and recognized as a valuable resource. In fact, today we had figures brought to us to tell us that current independent industrialist studies reveal some 2,000 jobs to be realized from waste management in the Province of Nova Scotia.



It is a successful marriage and we look at how we have joined the environment with our economy, Mr. Speaker. We have married the environment and the economy and it is a sustainable union. So much for the argument that it is either one or the other; it is not either the economy or the environment, it is both.



For the past two years we have been working with municipalities, the business sector and concerned citizens to develop a solid waste resource management strategy. Last week when we released that strategy in Lunenburg County, Nova Scotia, it received good support from all corners of this province. Mr. Speaker, it is a bit of a humbling experience to have mail that is positive in this regard and we thank our Nova Scotians for their response to our strategy announcement. The strategy will ensure that the landfills of tomorrow will not repeat the mistakes of the past. The banning of all organic materials will see to that and we must put down the fears that have existed for so long about traditional, past tense, landfill sites.



In the Environment Act passed earlier this year we committed ourselves to diverting, that is separating, Mr. Speaker, 50 per cent of our solid waste by the year 2000. Today governments across this country are studying our plan as a possible model they can follow. The time has come, we made it clear last Tuesday and we will repeat it as often as possible, that we stop throwing away our future. We have to stop fouling the earth and stop throwing away materials which can be turned into products and into jobs.



We need to stop thinking of solid waste as a problem that is ongoing but, instead, think of it and recognize it as an opportunity to do something for our environment and our economy, not just for today but for future generations and certainly for those generations yet to be born.



We have established and expanded the positive refund system. All beverage containers, with the exception of milk, are included. You will pay a deposit on applicable containers and when you return them to a recycling depot, which will be clearly outlined for the public, you will get half your deposit back. The other half will go to help your municipal unit pay for recycling, diversion and composting, an extension of the one now used in the Liquor Commission for containers put out by the Nova Scotia Liquor Commission.



I might say, Mr. Speaker, that this whole system of refund and deposit has been worked out in consultation and I have to say from my personal experience, a great deal more consultation than I am used to, we have consulted with the beverage industry, the bottlers, business and with environment groups and including our municipal units across the province and certainly with the Union of Nova Scotia Municipalities. The consultation has been a rewarding one and I think all Nova Scotians will benefit as a result. There is already a solid base of support for recycling here in this province. We are going to give people what they have asked for. The strategy will ensure that recycling is available to each and every Nova Scotian.



Organic waste will no longer be allowed in landfills. It can be composted, turning an environmental problem, once again, Mr. Speaker, into an environmental product. The truth is these materials are the feed stalk for the growing environment industry sector; they are also too valuable to be thrown away. We recognize the need for effective economies of scale that will protect both municipal units and their taxpayers; therefore, we believe regional cooperation is essential and beneficial.



Mr. Speaker, the strategy establishes seven solid waste resource management regions across the province. These boundaries were established to make sure that all municipal units have protection from unnecessary costs and to ensure that they have opportunity to benefit from cooperation. I want to stress that these boundaries are not set in stone. They are the result of, again, extensive consultation and I give every municipal leader my assurance that I will consider every suggestion they have made that could improve the efficiency of their regional system.



The creation of wealth from waste means jobs. We cannot understate that, Mr. Speaker, we cannot overstate it. Studies done by the private sector have estimated the plan we are unveiling today could mean well over those 600 jobs in the recycling collection and processing of materials. We take a more cautious view; we want to keep the number down to a realistic figure of 600. Nova Scotians will get a convenient recycling program in their communities. They will benefit, participate in the comprehensive deposit refund system which we have outlined.



What we once threw away will be turned into products for jobs for Nova Scotians. We will turn the garbage of today into the paycheques of tomorrow. It is a marriage, as I mentioned, Mr. Speaker, between the environment and the economy to the benefit of all. In effect, what we are doing is casting aside the throw-away mentality and replacing it with common sense. You would not throw money out the window, then why should we continue throwing money away in our weekly garbage bags? It is not garbage. We want to say as loudly and clearly as we can, it is a resource.



Now is the time to recognize the environmental and economic benefits of treating our beautiful province with more respect. We do have, Mr. Speaker, perhaps the best province in Canada, if not the best province in North America. I think every Nova Scotian will live up to the obligation of making sure that it stays that way and stays number one to attract tourists in the economy, which we are destined to do as a government. (Applause)



I do not think that any of us should get side-tracked by the smoke-screen of innuendo. The question that I must deal with is environmental integrity. I think those words should remain in everyone's mind, environmental integrity. Raising the resolution before us at this time, I believe the honourable member is casting aspersions on the integrity of people seeking public office who have been subjected to smear tactics and the widespread accusations of being cowards.



I have reason to believe that the honourable member for Queens is surely above that type of behaviour. We had known this gentleman in a previous life and know him currently and I can only hope and trust that he was not the author of Resolution No. 544 and that he will recognize that the issue of landfill siting and all those responsibilities are clearly the responsibility of the municipality in which it is located. We have to recognize the integrity of those persons who are involved in making sure the job is done well for the citizens of this province. We, as the Department of the Environment and the minister, will ensure that it is done according to the law. Having said that, I want to thank again the honourable member for Queens for giving me this opportunity to elaborate on our waste management strategy for Nova Scotia, which will indeed make Nova Scotia a better province than what it is today and surely, when we look at waste and landfills, we will never be in the future as we were in the past. Thank you.



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



MR. JOHN HOLM: Mr. Speaker, I welcome the opportunity to stand to speak on the resolution that is before us. As I begin my remarks, I want to say that I do not think the resolution as it is drafted is necessarily a good drafting of a resolution, to get at the intent of what the former speaker, the member for Queens, the mover of the motion, intended.



[5:30 p.m.]



It certainly did give the minister who replied an excellent opportunity to recycle a speech that I am sure he has given on a number of occasions. As the Minister of Environment, interested in recycling, he always likes to have an opportunity to do that. What the minister failed to do and what this government has failed to do is to address the fundamental principle which I am sure is behind the drafting of this resolution. I am not defending the wording of the resolution and I don't think it should have been directed to the Minister of the Environment. Quite correctly it should have been directed to the Minister of Municipal Affairs who has been doing a fantastic job, Mr. Speaker, in skating around the issue and avoiding any responsibility dealing with public disclosure.



Now having said that, I don't wish to lay it all on the minister because in truth, all members of the Liberal caucus share some of the credit or blame, whichever way you measure it out, for this government's consistent failure to act to ensure that there are proper spending limits and disclosure systems in place to protect the integrity of not only the electoral process but the integrity of those who are seeking office.



The former speaker, the Minister of the Environment, suggested that the resolution that is before us is involved in smear type tactics and that it casts aspersions on those seeking public office. It is not my point or place to try to defend the mover of the resolution. The reality is, Mr. Speaker, that this government, by failing to act, has put in place a system where the integrity can be drawn into question and where those who are seeking political office really do not even have the proper means to defend themselves against it.



I have asked the Minister of Municipal Affairs to put in place for the current election that is underway, proper disclosure rules to ensure the political contributions being made to those who are seeking the office of mayor or councillor would have to be properly accounted for and disclosed in a public fashion. The minister, of course, has refused. When that bill for the amalgamation of the Halifax Regional Municipality was introduced in this House, we in our caucus tried to effect some amendments to that legislation that would have put those disclosure rules in place.



We also did that with the Cape Breton municipal amalgamation bill. At that time and during the election process that took place prior to the election in Cape Breton, there were also questions raised about what are the appropriate levels of expenditure for a candidate seeking office and about public disclosure. But the government, did they learn from that? No, they didn't. Were they prepared to say that they will put in place amendments and changes for the Halifax municipal elections? The answer is no. Mr. Speaker, not only did they not learn then but the new bill that is before this House, which I can't get into discussing, dealing with amalgamation, also omits any provisions for the proper disclosure of political contributions.



Mr. Speaker, we are talking about campaigns here that can cost, running for mayor, we are told, close to $0.25 million. Candidates are saying that their campaigns are going to be costing $200,000, $100,000, and so on. Now isn't it fair to say that those candidates should have to disclose where those contributions are coming from, just as you and I did in our campaigns? We also have spending limits. But none of that exists here. So any time a developer goes to a council and it is not like it used to be where the amounts that were needed to run for public office were small, especially if you were running for super-mayor but if now a developer goes to council and gets approval for a rezoning or a development agreement to permit them to do something to amend plans or whatever, aren't those councillors now all going to be questioned like, aha, I bet you got some money from them for your campaign.



Talk about smear tactics, talk about the opportunities for smear tactics, this legislation that the government passed in this House and their failure to address the fundamental principle of public disclosure to prevent conflict of interest, this government by its failure to act has put in place that system where the integrity can be drawn into question.



If I could refer briefly way back in history to the Graham Royal Commission Report that came out in 1975 under a Liberal Government, indeed. There are several sections of that that I want to refer to. One which appears on Page 6-39 under (f), it talks about, "Election Expenses and Conflict of Interest". They were making some recommendations back some 20 years ago, obviously, it hasn't sunk in with this government yet. (Interruption) The Minister of Transportation and Communications correctly points out it wasn't this crew of Liberals, it was another crop of Liberals who were in the benches at the time.



Anyway, the Graham Royal Commission Report said,

"The purposes of election expense laws are threefold:



(1) To be fair to the electors--to avoid a distorted impact on election campaigns and to enable electors to make intelligent choices.

(2) To be fair to the candidates so that election results are not determined by money power or media power.

(3) To minimize the potential for conflict of interest arising from undisclosed sources of campaign funds.".



This is not new. The whole principle of there being public disclosure of political contributions is not a new idea. It is something that we, in this House, have been bound by for a long time. I know from the first campaign that I was involved in over 14 years ago, those principles were in place in the provincial Legislature.



Now we have campaigns where people seeking the office of mayor will be allowed to spend, because there are no limits, and we are being told that some of those campaigns will cost three times as much as a person would be permitted to spend to run for the House of Commons, we are talking big bucks. If somebody gives a candidate $50, chances are very good the candidate may not know anything about it. But if a developer provides them with $10,000 to that campaign, Mr. Speaker, as one editorialist said in their column, I bet you that they will know about that $10,000 contribution.



Mr. Speaker, we have municipal politicians who are going to be making major decisions dealing with not only the expenditure of public monies, but also the awarding of contracts. Sometimes those contracts are untendered. They deal all the time with rezoning applications and changes in zoning and planning strategies. Is it fair to those politicians to leave them open to the questions that the people will ask: did you make your decision because that firm, that company, that individual contributed to your political campaign? They have no proper way of defending themselves.



Those who are seeking public office say they all support - those for mayor anyway -public disclosure. Well, Mr. Speaker, if they support it, let the Minister of Municipal Affairs announce that she will introduce requirements through legislation, retroactive, to require that that be done. Yes, there are some who may not want their political contributions to be made public. If they have decided that they have given money to one or the other of the campaigns and they are embarrassed to have that political contribution made public, then that money can be given back to those who are not prepared to have that information public.



Surely, the public right to know and the public interest supersedes some of the so-called pleasantries. The minister says, oh, I cannot deal with this now because we have to go to the Union of Nova Scotia Municipalities or we have to go to a committee to review it. They never did, Mr. Speaker. Once you introduce the legislation to amalgamate the municipalities, either here on in Cape Breton, and the consultations with the new Municipal Act will permit broad amalgamations. That consultation took place about the legislation after, in fact, that announcement had been made and they only saw it when the bill was introduced.



Mr. Speaker, we are dealing with an important principle here. The minister and all of her Liberal colleagues can skirt the issue if they wish. Each and every one of the members of the government benches can skirt the issue. But the issue is, public disclosure of contributions for the public good to ensure that the potential for conflict of interest does not exist. Those who are seeking public office deserve that protection and the general public also has a right to know that information so that they know that some politicians, and I would suggest it would be a very small percentage of those who would be seeking municipal office, very few of them, but I would suggest the public has a right to know that the potential for abuse does not exist in the law and in the regulation.



The minister has a great way of trying to turn things around and say, well, you ask me to do something that you think is right and every time I decide to do something, you tell me to slow down. When I am slowing down, you tell me to speed up. That was her answer in Question Period. Mr. Speaker, we have been consistent on this point from day one. We have called on numerous occasions for there to be the proper disclosure of contributions at the provincial level, as well as at the municipal level. We have not changed. The government members once said that they supported that, obviously, for reasons known only to them, but which many of us here in this House and in the public may speculate upon, for some reason they have decided that they no longer support the proper and public disclosure of contributions to municipal campaigns and candidates. Mr. Speaker, I say shame on the Liberal Government.



[5:45 p.m.]



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Opposition House Leader.



MR. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, would you please call House Order No. 44.



H.O. No. 44, re Transport./ERA - Amherst Tourist Bureau: Access - Corres. (N.B.) - notice given Nov. 10/95 - (Mr. D. McInnes)



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Pictou West.



MR. DONALD MCINNES: Mr. Speaker, I so move.



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Transportation.



HON. RICHARD MANN: Mr. Speaker, this request for return of a House Order requests a copy of all correspondence between the Ministers of Transportation, Economic Renewal and the Premier of New Brunswick and New Brunswick's Minister of Transportation related to construction of a ramp.



Mr. Speaker, I have had no correspondence with my counterpart in New Brunswick on this because it is the laws of Nova Scotia that prohibit the Nova Scotia Department of Transportation, the engineers from designing and/or working on roads or structures outside of the province. This ramp would fall in the Province of New Brunswick. There may have been correspondence between a colleague of mine or possibly the Minister for the Economic Renewal Agency. I cannot possibly return what does not exist. The Minister for the Economic Renewal Agency wants to indicate whether or not he can return it, but I do not have anything.



MR. SPEAKER: Honourable Opposition House Leader, is that acceptable?



MR. RUSSELL: That is acceptable. We will resubmit to another minister.



MR. SPEAKER: You will resubmit it. Thank you.



The honourable Opposition House Leader.



MR. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, would you please call House Order No. 43.



H.O. No. 43, re ERA: Icelandair - Marketing Agreement - notice given Nov. 10/95 - (Mr. D. McInnes)



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Pictou West.



MR. DONALD MCINNES: Mr. Speaker, I so move.



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister for the Economic Renewal Agency.



HON. ROBERT HARRISON: Mr. Speaker, a copy of the cooperative marketing agreement, subject to any information that might occur between a corporation under normal freedom of information, we would be happy to supply that information to the members opposite.



MR. SPEAKER: Is the House ready for the question? Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.



The motion is carried.



The honourable Opposition House Leader.



MR. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, would you please call House Order No. 42.



H.O. No. 42, re ERA - Fort Lawrence (Cumb. Co.): ARA Consulting Group - Agreement - notice given Nov. 10/95 - (Mr. D. McInnes)



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Pictou West.



MR. DONALD MCINNES: Mr. Speaker, I so move.



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister for the Economic Renewal Agency.



HON. ROBERT HARRISON: Mr. Speaker, difficulty when it comes to business contracts in terms of some of the detail here. Once again, if the members opposite will accept the fact that we will provide what information we can subject to the kinds of elements that are normally kept confidential between contracts on government documents that would in any way jeopardize business aspects of ARA, I would be happy to do that.



MR. SPEAKER: Is that acceptable?



The honourable member for Pictou West.



MR. DONALD MCINNES: Yes, that is acceptable. We do not want to jeopardize anything either so whatever information the minister could provide would be very helpful.



MR. SPEAKER: Is the House ready for the question? Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.



The motion is carried.



The honourable Opposition House Leader.



MR. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, would you please call House Order No. 40.



H.O. No. 40, re Transport.: Hwy. Fatalities (01/01/95-09/11/95) - Alcohol Related - notice given Nov.10/95 - (Mr. B. Taylor)



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Hants West.



MR. RONALD RUSSELL: On behalf of the member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley, I so move.



[The House Order was read by the Clerk.]



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Transportation.



HON. RICHARD MANN: Mr. Speaker, with respect to No. 1, insofar as I can provide that information, I will. That is information that we get from the RCMP and however recently it is compiled, I would agree to return that information.



No. 2, the number of automatic roadside license suspensions against impaired drivers as a result of police stopping motorists between June 1st and November 9th, again, I would be very happy to provide that one and to boast about those numbers.



No. 3, I am not sure which program the honourable member refers to. The Department of Health, through Drug Dependency, provides a mandatory education program for repeat offenders who are caught. We have initiated a first time offenders program, which is mandatory, but I am not sure if that is what the honourable member is looking for because he makes reference here to between February 1, 1995, when in actual fact that program, I believe, only kicked in in September or October of this year, about a month ago. So I will look at what we have in the program that we recently initiated. If it is the other program, in fact, that he is interested in, he will have to resubmit to the Minister of Health.



MR. SPEAKER: Is that acceptable to the Official Opposition? Are we ready for the question? Would all those in favour of House Order No. 40 please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.



The motion is carried.



The honourable Opposition House Leader.



MR. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, would you please call House Order No. 39 and on behalf of the member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley, I so move.



H.O. No. 39, re Transport.: Trucks - Safety Inspection (June 1995) - notice given Nov. 10/95 - (Mr. B. Taylor)



MR. SPEAKER: The member for Hants West moves House Order No. 39, Transportation. Would the minister like the House Order read?



HON. RICHARD MANN: Yes, I think this would be interesting to hear.



[The House Order was read by the Clerk.]



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



HON. RICHARD MANN: Mr. Speaker, again, I will commit to give what I can on this. There are certain roadside inspections that are carried out. We assist the federal Department of Transport in dealing with them. We will have to check, I guess. The other thing we will have to check on this is whether or not there was only one 72 hour inspection done in the province during June. If there was more then one, then we obviously have to come back and find out which one was referred to. But whatever information we can get, we will try to provide.



MR. SPEAKER: To that extent then, is the House ready for the question on House Order No. 39? Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.



The motion is carried.



The honourable Opposition House Leader.



MR. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, would you please call House Order No. 38, and on behalf of the member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley, I so move.



H.O. No. 38, re Transport. - Yarmouth-Bar Harbour Ferry: Study - Costs - notice given Nov. 10/95 - (Mr. B. Taylor)



MR. SPEAKER: It has been moved by the member for Hants West. Would the Minister of Transportation like the House Order read?



HON. RICHARD MANN: Yes, please, Mr. Speaker.



[The House Order was read by the Clerk.]



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



HON. RICHARD MANN: Mr. Speaker, again, I would recommend to the Official Opposition that this House Order be resubmitted and directed to the Minister for the Economic Renewal Agency. While I was involved in going to Ottawa with the Premier to meet with the Honourable Doug Young and officials from Marine Atlantic, everything with reference to the economic impact study was done by the Economic Renewal Agency and sponsored by that department. No money was spent by the Department of Transportation and Communications, so it should be resubmitted to the Minister for the Economic Renewal Agency.



MR. SPEAKER: Does the Opposition House Leader accept that?



MR. RONALD RUSSELL: That is great.



MR. SPEAKER: It will be resubmitted then.



The honourable Opposition House Leader.



HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, would you please call House Order No. 37, and on behalf of the member for Pictou Centre, I so move.



H.O. No. 37, Re ERA - Trade Mission (U.K.) - notice given Nov. 10/95 - (Dr. J. Hamm)



MR. SPEAKER: It has been moved by the member for Hants West to the Minister for the Economic Renewal Agency. Would you like House Order read?



The honourable Minister for the Economic Renewal Agency.



HON. ROBERT HARRISON: No, Mr. Speaker, we would endeavour to provide this, notwithstanding confidential information that may be contained therein.



MR. SPEAKER: House Order No. 37 has been moved. Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.



The honourable Leader of the New Democratic Party.



MR. JOHN HOLM: On an introduction, Mr. Speaker. We have a very distinguished guest in our gallery today. I know that all members of this House, regardless of our political views and our differences from time to time, we are extremely proud of the accomplishments of Alexa; as we all know, she is the national Leader of the New Democratic Party and, Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask her to rise and to receive the warm welcome she deserves. (Applause)



MR. SPEAKER: Thank you, Leader of the New Democratic Party, and certainly congratulations to the past member for her recent election.



The honourable Opposition House Leader.



MR. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, I wish Ms. McDonough would come in on a Government Day rather than on Opposition Day. (Laughter)



Would you please call House Order No. 36.



MR. SPEAKER: Just before House Order No. 36, we did not have the vote on House Order No. 37.



H.O. No. 37, re ERA - Trade Mission (U.K.) - notice given Nov 10/95 - (Dr. J. Hamm)



MR. SPEAKER: Is the House ready for the question? Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.



The motion is carried.



The honourable Opposition House Leader.



MR. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, would you please call House Order No. 36.



H.O. No. 36, re ERA: Public/Private Partnerships - Responses - notice given Nov. 10/95 - (Dr. J. Hamm)



MR. SPEAKER: It was moved by the member for Pictou Centre.



MR. RUSSELL: For the member for Pictou Centre.



MR. SPEAKER: Does the minister wish to have the House Order read?



The honourable Minister for the Economic Renewal Agency.



HON. ROBERT HARRISON: No, Mr. Speaker. The problem with House Order No. 36 is that it asks for information on individuals or companies who submitted responses and the actual copies of those responses. If the Opposition is prepared to receive a list of names of those submitted, numbers and a summary of the detail, both before September 29th and after, because that is what we intend to do, then we will comply. If not, what we are dealing with here are individual submissions made in private correspondence on company letterhead, quite a variety of submissions, all of them profound and important, but not the kind of information that we would provide to the members of the Opposition. If, however, a summary of those statements and the disposition of those statements is sufficient, both before and after September 29th, we are prepared to do that anyway.



MR. SPEAKER: So that is an acceptable qualification to the member? Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.



The House Order is carried with that qualification.



The honourable Opposition House Leader.



MR. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, would you please call House Order No. 35 and on behalf of the member for Pictou Centre, I so move.



H.O. No. 35, re ERA - CIBC: Telephone Banking - Training Agreement - notice given Nov. 10/95 - (Dr. J. Hamm)



MR. SPEAKER: Does the minister wish to have the House Order read?



The honourable Minister for the Economic Renewal Agency.



HON. ROBERT HARRISON: No, Mr. Speaker. Again, the issue here is that we will be happy to supply the level of training required; other elements of the agreement are subject to confidentiality, but the level of training we would be most prepared to share with the Opposition.



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



The motion is carried.



The honourable Opposition House Leader.



MR. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, I take it the ones for the Minister of Education will have to stand, is that correct? I am getting a nod. (Interruption)



Okay, Mr. Speaker, would you please call House Order No. 32.



H.O. No. 32, re ERA - Tourism: KLM Agreement - Benefits Study Table - notice given May 18/95 - (Mr. D. McInnes)



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Pictou West.



MR. DONALD MCINNES: I so move, Mr. Speaker.



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister for the Economic Renewal Agency.



HON. ROBERT HARRISON: Mr. Speaker, this is a four-part resolution. At the end of this brief explanation, I am going to suggest that it be resubmitted by the Opposition because I believe we are in a position to respond with a full study of the KLM agreement as soon as it is complete. To deal with our strategy and dealing with the open-skies program, it would not be appropriate to publicly declare those strategies. The issue of no direct costs for submitting of brochures, let me suggest to the Opposition that the areas that they are looking for will be included in a report which we will be pleased to provide them, which is the full study analysis of the KLM deal. If that time, there are any problems, perhaps they could resubmit a House Order specifically looking for information.



MR. SPEAKER: It has been agreed that it be resubmitted.



We have reached the moment of interruption.



The honourable Government House Leader.



[6:00 p.m.]



HON. RICHARD MANN: We will be sitting tomorrow from the hours of 12:00 noon until 8:00 p.m. The order of business following Question Period will be Public Bills for Second Reading and we will commence with Bill No. 33, the Internal Trade Agreement Implementation Act.



I move that we adjourn until 12:00 noon tomorrow.



MR. SPEAKER: The motion is to adjourn until 12:00 noon tomorrow.



The motion is carried.



Moving onto the matter of the late debate today, the member for Eastern Shore won the draw for the late debate today:



"Therefore be it resolved that the growth in tourism along the Eastern Shore is a result of the combined efforts and determination of government, tourism operators and the communities along the Eastern Shore.".



ADJOURNMENT



MOTION UNDER RULE 5(5)



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for the Eastern Shore.



TOURISM: EASTERN SHORE - GROWTH



MR. KEITH COLWELL: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. It is, indeed, a pleasure to rise in the House today and talk about the progress that has been happening along the Eastern Shore in tourism.



The Eastern Shore over the last several years has been in the unenviable position of being the last in province with less than 1 per cent of the tourism. For the past 20 years there has been a lot of talk about tourism and little or no action. In 1994, I initiated the first tourism day on the Eastern Shore and as a result of that day we had approximately 150 very enthusiastic and somewhat skeptical people who showed up to discuss tourism and the problems that they have had in the past. Indeed, there were a group of people who were quite disappointed and discouraged about where tourism had gone for the past 20 years.



By the end of the day they had drawn some conclusions and some requests and I would almost say demands on the province and the government. Some of the things that they had asked for at that time was improved signage, a 1-800 number that would allow the tourist operators to contact the Department of Tourism and, indeed, be on a level playing field from outside the Halifax-Dartmouth area with people within the Halifax-Dartmouth area. Thanks to a very aggressive Department of Tourism these things have been addressed and as a result of that meeting we have come up with a province-wide 1-800 number strictly for tourist operators to contact the Department of Tourism and let their views be known.



In 1995, we had another tourism day. Again, approximately another 150 highly energetic and enthusiastic people showed up. It was a great departure from the year before. People had seen some very positive movement forward by the department and by the community as a whole. At the end of the day there was a growing respect for the abilities in tourism. As a result of some of the activities that we have worked on and a cooperative spirit with the community and with the government alike, in 1994 at the end of the tourist season we saw a 7 per cent growth in tourism on the Eastern Shore. The second highest in the Province of Nova Scotia. To the end of October this year we are up to approximately another 10 per cent growth, again, this year, I believe, to be the highest in the province.



An area when you are the lowest receipts in the province in tourism this type of growth is very encouraging. We have a long way to go and I think the community is up to the effort. Also, on another increase in area, in July alone we had an 8 per cent increase in air visits to the Eastern Shore. Again, an excellent improvement.



We have seen new beds and breakfasts built and established on the Eastern Shore in the last two years; we have seen new high quality craft shops open; we have seen a new craft mart open, Country Treasures, the Head of Chezzetcook, which is something quite novel. We have seen some new tea rooms open, again, very high quality, very good service establishments. We have seen the development through the cooperation agreement with the federal and provincial government, major establishment built with the wilderness interpretation centre in Porters Lake. This centre will, indeed, help attract tourists in that area.



We have seen something that I have enjoyed very much this year. It is the fourth annual potato contest in Watt Section was originally put together to raise money for a local hall that was badly in need of repairs. It was a fun day that was enjoyed by everybody and they met with a packed hall that I guarantee you everybody will be back next year and I am sure many of their friends to see.



We have seen Lake N' Shore Days, the first time ever in Porters Lake, that grossed approximately $10,000 profit from a weekend event. Again, it was a very fantastic event which was put on by volunteers. We have seen the Great Lobster Weigh-in, a second year for the Great Lobster Weigh-in and again, we dispute it to being the largest lobster in the world because no one has come along and proven us wrong yet but I am sure they will. (Interruption) Over 15 pounds, actually. In the two years that that contest has been held, both winners have come from Little Harbour.



The other thing that goes unnoticed on the Eastern Shore is the many craft festivals and church suppers. A church supper is a pretty special place and I am telling you if you have a big appetite like I do, it is a great place to go for a good meal, some very friendly conversation and it makes a nice afternoon outing.



We have seen a new gallery that has been established on the Eastern Shore with very high quality work and excellent artists. We have seen new books released on the Eastern Shore. It is all attributing to a new feeling, a new self-confidence in the ability of the Eastern Shore to promote tourism and to help ourselves.



The other thing that has gone unnoticed and really hasn't been in place too much is the parks and the importance of the parks that we have. I am very fortunate in my riding to have five excellent parks. We have Lawrencetown Beach Park which is supposed to be offer of the best surfing in eastern North America and I have come to find out in my area that there are people who have moved into my area over the past 20 years from New Zealand, Australia and from the United States as well as other areas just for the surfing. Those people have become very valued members of the community.



We go to the Porter's Lake Park which is a natural park, a beautiful place again to spend a weekend or an afternoon. You can go to Martinique Beach which is a unique beach area, Clam Harbour Beach which is the host of the sand castle contest every year which brings literally thousands of people to the Eastern Shore and we go down to another very unique park, Taylor Head Beach Park which is an absolute wilderness park.



I would like to thank the Department of Natural Resources and particularly the minister, for helping develop these parks along the lines of tourism. There have been many improvements made over the past two years and they have all been very positive things that have added to our community and indeed, to the quality of our area.



There are too many times when parks and tourism don't seem to go together in a natural way but actually they do. One thing I take pride of in the Eastern Shore is that we are developing our tourism and we are not turning into neon signs and smokestacks. It is all natural, it is staying natural and it is improving the lifestyle in our area instead of detracting from.



Other things that I haven't mentioned previously; in the Sheet Harbour area the tourist bureau, the MacPhee House, is quite an accomplishment. They received an award this year for being one of the most improved tourist bureaus in the province. They have incorporated a small museum as part of it and this upcoming year, they are planning a major expansion, again, all along the lines of eco-tourism. These things will definitely improve our community, our way of life and make it quite a showplace for the tourists that come.



We have accomplished something else that I am very proud of and it may sound small to most people but we have finally got a commitment from one of the major banks to put a banking machine in Sheet Harbour. Now that may sound silly to most people but on a Sunday afternoon if you go to a craft shop that is open that wants to sell you a quilt that may be worth $500 or $600 and you can't get the cash and you have a cheque that somebody won't accept from outside the province, the community has lost $500 or $600. So a banking machine is very important and it will be the first one within a 60 mile radius, very important indeed.



The overall importance of this thing in an area of very high unemployment which the Eastern Shore in some areas has, is tourism. Tourism is the only area in which we can immediately create quality employment through a good section of the year. I am hopeful that tourism will grow more in that area and we are going to work to do everything we possibly can to promote it. Thank you. (Applause)



MADAM SPEAKER: The honourable member for Pictou West.



MR. DONALD MCINNES: Madam Speaker, I thank the member for Eastern Shore for bringing forth this resolution tonight to talk about tourism. I appreciate he was talking about his own area. I will maybe not talk about that area but I will talk about tourism and how important it is to Nova Scotia and how important it is to all of our ridings. It is almost going to be a $1 billion industry, that is a lot of money, it is a big industry and it is growing every year. We have a beautiful province for people to come and see and it is growing very year. We have a beautiful province for people to come and see and, as I say, the member for Eastern Shore is certainly proud of his area and I respect that.



I want to talk for just a few minutes tonight in regard to the three resort hotels. I don't know if the members here were at the Public Accounts Committee meeting last week. I believe the member for Guysborough-Port Hawkesbury was. At that meeting we had the opportunity to discuss the operations of those three resorts. Of course, you all know where they are, the Keltic, the Liscombe and the beautiful Digby Pines.



The Auditor General, when asked if the resorts were profitable, said, "I don't know . . . I wouldn't want to hazard a guess.". The reason he did not want to hazard a guess was that for all the minister had said that they made $469,000, or some figure like that, the fact is that the Department of Supply and Services had spent $34,000 in maintenance and also $294,000 was the cost of running the golf course next to The Pines.



You know, governments cannot run anything. I say that. I was a member of the previous government. I don't know why, but they cannot seem to be efficient and do a good job like private operators. We have lots of good hotels and motels in this province. I think it is important that they try to get them down and run on a business-like basis.



You will remember, Madam Speaker, back in 1993, just before our government got defeated, that our Premier of the Day, Donald Cameron, announced his intention of selling those three resorts. We did put them up for bids. At any rate, the government, in its wisdom when they came in, decided that they would not sell them and that is their right. But our Premier felt, and we all felt, that the fact is that those hotels, if they were put private, they could probably make money and still encourage people to come to Nova Scotia. I believe Mr. McDonough who was at the Public Accounts Committee meeting said, in fact, that over 60 per cent of the people that stayed at The Pines were from the United States. That is important. We want them to come. But I still say it would not have to be government owned for them to come.



The fact is that I think that it is important that the government - and I did not say this at the Public Accounts Committee meeting the other day - believes in getting consultants to do lots of studies for various things. I think they should get some consultants in there that can show them how they can be more efficient and do a better job to run those hotels. As I say, they are all beautiful. I have had the opportunity to go to stay at them all. I think The Pines is just a great place and I like the golf course, too, as a matter of fact.



I think that they could get consultants and, as a matter of fact, the chap that owns the Pictou Lodge in Pictou, Peter VanWeston and his wife, Carol, had said to me, just before the government got defeated, that they would like to go around and take a look at those hotels and they could probably make some suggestions. I don't know if that offer still stands from Peter, but they run the business privately. They are not getting rich, but they run a real good show. I would encourage the Minister for the Economic Renewal Agency to do that. He said they made $498,000. They don't show any depreciation for them. There is all those costs that were paid for by the Department of Supply and Services. So let's try and get them on a business-like basis. If the province wants to own them, again, that is the decision of the government. But let's get them on a business-like basis so that they can make a profit and still encourage people to come here to Nova Scotia.



I want to talk just a few minutes about my own constituency and some of the attractions that we have from that area. I know the member for Guysborough-Port Hawkesbury will be very interested in that and the member for Eastern Shore and all those members that are here tonight.



[6:15 p.m.]



Madam Speaker, among the many things we have at Pictou, of course, is the Pictou Waterfront, the Hector Quay and the rebuilding of the Hector. We were very pleased a number of years ago to get that in operation. It is really something to see. They have an interpretation centre there that is a first class attraction, second to none. I would suggest to the Clerk that he should come to Pictou and visit Pictou and look at this attraction. We have a marina there, we have a boat launch or a haul-out where you can launch your small boat, right beside this marina, and it is a very nice place to go. In fact, in evenings through the summer, this summer we had a beautiful summer, of course, people go down there and walk around, they can get an ice cream cone and it is unbelievable. Even the local people, people from New Glasgow, Trenton, Westville and Stellarton and the Upper Towns will come down to Pictou and stroll around and look at our waterfront. I think it has been a real model for waterfront development across this province and I would like to pay tribute to Graham Holman and the Pictou Waterfront Development Commission for the work that they did in having the improvements made to this area in Pictou.



There are many other attractions in Pictou, of course. There is the Hector Centre, the McCulloch House. We have the deCoste Entertainment Centre which is a fine facility and is used for plays, for musicians, actors and many events. It is a busy little spot.



Madam Speaker, we are getting along and I want to talk quickly about the Pictou Lobster Carnival. That is early in July, the first weekend in July, after lobster season. They have been having it for over 50 years, I believe, maybe 52 years. Then we have the Hector Festival which is in the middle of August. They have the landing of the Hector where the Scots came in. They have a reenactment of the Hector. It is a very nice event and they do a good job. They have the Armed Forces there and also, of course, all kinds of pipe bands, and events like John Allan Cameron, whatever, going on stage during that week.



Of course, we have the Scotsburn Barbecue which is a very popular event, the last Wednesday in July of every summer. They serve over 2,500 people at that barbecue. We have the River John Days, the Chowder Challenge. Some of you have heard me talk about that before so I won't go through all the chowder challenge, but it is an interesting event and they have a real good time there. We have the Toney River Chicken Barbecue, the Betsy Days in Lyons Brook, the landing of the Betsy, and that is held early in September. I only have a minute left, I guess.



We have many nice restaurants in Pictou. We have a fairly new restaurant, Pipers Landing at Lyons Brook. We have the Braeside Inn, we have Bens down at Caribou. We have the Pictou Lodge, the Stonehouse Restaurant and really a lot of people from the Upper Towns come down to visit with us and to partake with our restaurants. I mean that very sincerely that they are good. My colleague, the member for Eastern Shore, mentioned church suppers. Of course, we have many church suppers in our communities all through the year and they are very popular and are good fund raisers for the churches or for whatever program they are trying to raise money for.



So anyway, Madam Speaker, thank you very much. It has been a pleasure to have the opportunity to take part in this debate and I would invite you all to come to Pictou next summer.



MADAM SPEAKER: The honourable member for Guysborough-Port Hawkesbury.



MR. RAYMOND WHITE: Madam Speaker, it is obvious that the member for Pictou West and the member for the Eastern Shore are both very proud of the areas they represent and the impact that tourism has on their areas.



I want to commend the member for the Eastern Shore for the television program that he initiated called, "Tales of the Eastern Shore" which was broadcast throughout the metro area and provided an opportunity for people to see what the Eastern Shore has to offer. Also, his tourism meetings, I think he is to be commended for that, for making people realize that tourism is a one piece of a puzzle for economic development in an area. I cannot pass up the opportunity of talking about the other half of the Eastern Shore which includes Guysborough, the District of St. Marys as far as the Canso Causeway. The speaker mentioned a large lobster, about 15 pounds, well, the claws are that big in our area, so I will not add any more.



I want to take you on a little tour of the Eastern Shore to show you that our section also has a great deal to offer. What we have found out the last two years is that Nova Scotians as well as tourists from all over the United States are discovering a part of Nova Scotia that they did not realize was on their doorsteps, that has a great deal to offer and is within easy commuting distance.



The member for Pictou West mentioned the Liscombe Lodge and I can think of no greater place for a couple to go on a honeymoon or for someone who wishes to go on a romantic weekend because of the beauty, the chalets. Also, the work that has been done under the agreement between the provincial and the federal governments for the development for the Liscomb River Trails. We are encouraging people to look at the nature of the Eastern Shore and its beauty and this would be one of the starting points as you leave the area of the Eastern Shore covered by the member who spoke and enter Guysborough-Port Hawkesbury.



Most Nova Scotians have visited Sherbrooke Village. One of the things that has been charged to the Sherbrooke Village Commission is to operate Sherbrooke Village in a more business-like manner. We are pleased to indicate that sales at the Emporium, the special store which highlights Nova Scotia's arts and crafts, have been some of the best in years and that indicates that people are looking at development.



Over the last year or so we facilitated public meetings to look at how can we make attractions along the Eastern Shore for tourists and residents more available and look at opportunities. I have already mentioned the work being done on the Liscomb River. People are looking at options of developing along the riverfront in Sherbrooke as one of the options. This is a very beautiful area. It has a lot of history related to gold mining, shipbuilding and so on.



Recently in the House I tabled a resolution congratulating the residents of Goldboro, Isaacs Harbour. They recently had the Bluenose visiting their area and it was pointed out that the wharf was in need of repair. They formed a committee, they went for funding and now they are going to improve that facility to entice other yachts to visit Isaacs Harbour/Goldboro area and to build on their strengths. This is another community along the Marine Drive that looked at an opportunity. We have an asset here and it needs to be developed and they took advantage of funding that was available through a joint provincial-federal agreement. I am pleased to have worked on that as well as other projects.



Moving a little bit further along, I am sure a lot of people in the metro area that may be listening tonight have never heard of the Tor Bay Park which is located near the historic community of Larrys River. It is one of the finer examples of Atlantic seascapes, unspoiled by human activity. The last time I visited it, not only this summer, but I remember the beauty of a winter storm and for anyone doing photography, it would be an ideal site.



The community of Little Dover located outside of Canso has been developing a major project called the Little Dover Day Park and that includes trails along the waterfront again. Parts of the geology of Nova Scotia which are unique and that will present an opportunity for people to go along those hiking trails and that project was identified by the community as a way of their economic development. I can talk about two waterfront projects. One within the Marine Drive and one neighbouring, both at Port Hawkesbury and the Town of Canso. Again, people are looking to the sea, not only for the residents, but for a way of attracting tourists to their area. The Gully Park which is being developed outside of Canso will enable hikers to go through a part of the Nova Scotia seascape along the coastline that has never been developed. To actually walk through the history of our province.





The Guysborough Railway which was built, never finished, never benefitted Guysborough directly is now being turned into a major hiking trail system and they have a rails-to-trails program which is second to none and an asset which really never benefitted the Guysborough County will become a major attraction.



The Town of Mulgrave, which comes toward the end of the Marine Drive, have developed a major interpretive lookout and park to show the connection of the Town of Mulgrave to the early transportation by ferry across the Strait of Canso.



I can go on to mention to you, Madam Speaker, about the success of the Port Hawkesbury waterfront, although not directly part of the Marine Drive is adjacent to it and the fact that it encouraged many citizens and tourists to go back to the waterfront. This is not the only thing that needs to be done, but as the member for Eastern Shore mentioned, some things have been done to encourage people to come to this area. Increased signage, promoting community attractions, the development of motels. We have seen new owners take over some of the motels throughout the Eastern Shore because they see it as a potential.



Bed and Breakfast accommodations have grown in number and provide an alternate accommodation for those who want to look at that. Craft shops are open from Ecum Secum through to Mulgrave and also in the Town of Port Hawkesbury as the former building now known as the Creamery. Outfitting for people taking advantage of our natural attractions, boat charters, and of course, in Canso they do the Canada Tuna Cup each year highlighting another aspect of what is being offered.



There have been two TV programs recently highlighting a whale in Guysborough Harbour called Wilma in which people can actually go out and it is almost as if the whale comes up to meet them. That is an opportunity that is not being provided in many other areas. A great deal has been done as I have said and the other members who have said tourism is one piece of the puzzle towards economic development.



I believe as more and more Nova Scotians discover, not only Pictou, which used to be my hometown, but also the beauty and charm and the people of the Eastern Shore, they will find that we have a great deal to offer Nova Scotia. They will understand why tourism is up 11 per cent and why we see it as a growth area when they discover a part of Nova Scotia that we are very proud of, the people who are very proud of them and we hope they will take the opportunity to come and visit us in the near future. Thank you very much.



MADAM SPEAKER: I thank the honourable member for concluding the debate. The House now stands adjourned until tomorrow. We sit from the hours of 12:00 noon until 8:00 p.m. Thank you.



[The House rose at 6:28 p.m.]