Assemblée Législative de la Nouvelle-Écosse

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21 septembre 2017

















HALIFAX, WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 13, 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 will call the House to order at this time and begin, as we usually do, with introductions of guests.



The honourable Minister of Community Services.



HON. JAMES SMITH: Mr. Speaker, I would like to call to your attention and all members of the House, in your gallery, some of the recipients of the 1995 Community Service Awards and I would like to introduce them to the House. The province is fortunate to have so many of its citizens who freely give their time and energy to help others in their community. (Applause)



It is my honour, as Minister of Community Services, to say a public thank you on their behalf. I would like to ask them to stand and I would like to call their names and introduce them to the House, with your permission, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Craig Williams from East Preston; Robert MacLeod from Baddeck; Gerald Gillis from Antigonish; Muriel Flinn from Halifax; Tony LaPierre from Dartmouth; Ms. Lillian Naas from Minasville, Hants Co.; Stuart Falconer from Westmount; Christina Beattie, Halifax; Anne Peverill, Liverpool; Harris Backman, Bayswater; Sherman Mason, Tangier; and Reverend Jim Chang, Dartmouth. I would like you to give them a warm welcome. (Applause)



MR. SPEAKER: Are there any other introductions of guests before we begin? All right, then we will commence the daily routine of business.



PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Queens.



4385

MR. JOHN LEEFE: Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to table a petition signed by a number of electors from my constituency. They petition to have the speed limit on West Street, Milton, between the Potanac Bridge and Cowie Falls reduced from 50 kilometres an hour to 40 kilometres an hour, this being a dead end street with 15 small children living on it. I have endorsed the petition.



MR. SPEAKER: The petition is tabled.



PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Justice.



HON. WILLIAM GILLIS: Mr. Speaker, as Chairman of the Committee on Law Amendments, I am directed to report that the committee has met and considered the following bill:



Bill No. 40 - Expropriation Act.



and the committee recommends this bill to the favourable consideration of the House, with certain amendments.



MR. SPEAKER: Ordered that this bill be referred to the Committee of the Whole House on Bills.



The honourable Minister of Justice.



HON. WILLIAM GILLIS: Mr. Speaker, as Chairman of the Committee on Law Amendments, I am directed to report that the committee has met and considered the following bill:



Bill No. 54 - Cosmetology Act.



and the committee recommends this bill to the favourable consideration of the House, without amendment.



MR. SPEAKER: Ordered that this bill be referred to the Committee of the Whole House on Bills.



TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Natural Resources.



HON. DONALD DOWNE: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to table a publication entitled Protecting Canada's Endangered Spaces. This manual, prepared by the World Wildlife Fund of Canada, is a report on how well Canadian provinces are doing in their efforts to protect special places in this country. I am pleased to report that thanks to the efforts, such as, the proposed Parks and Protected Area Systems Plan, the Special Places Act, and the Conservation Easement Act, Nova Scotia has received a very favourable review in this publication.



Copies of this publication have been provided to members through the courtesy of the World Wildlife Fund and its Nova Scotia Coordinator for the Endangered Spaces Campaign, Mr. Colin Stewart. I extend thanks to Mr. Stewart for this kind gesture and I encourage all members of the House to read this publication, especially the section on Nova Scotia and the good work being done here to preserve and protect our natural heritage for future generations. (Applause)



MR. SPEAKER: The report is tabled.



The honourable Minister of Agriculture.



HON. WAYNE GAUDET: Mr. Speaker, I wish to table the response to House Order No. 48.



MR. SPEAKER: The return is tabled.



The honourable Minister of Health.



HON. RONALD STEWART: Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to table the response to a question asked by an honourable member of the Official Opposition on Page 4051 of Hansard.



MR. SPEAKER: The response is tabled.



STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Justice.



HON. WILLIAM GILLIS: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to advise the House with regard to two initiatives undertaken by the Department of Justice to improve the efficiency of the court system. The two initiatives are a Summary Offences Court and Adult Diversion.



The first initiative I wish to discuss is adult diversion. You may recall, Mr. Speaker, that pilot projects began earlier this year in Dartmouth and North Sydney. They have proven to be very successful. With this mind, I am pleased to advise of the continuation of the two adult diversion projects.



As most of you know, adult diversion is an alternative to the traditional court process for individuals 18 years and older, who commit minor offences, such as shoplifting and minor property infractions. We are going to continue with the projects in these two jurisdictions. The diversion program is designed to divert minor cases from the criminal justice process after charges are laid, but prior to a court appearance. Police officers refer cases to probation officers. The probation service then consults with victims and offenders to determine what steps can be taken to resolve the matter.



This process is important because it examines the needs of victims and offenders. Moreover, by using various community resources, diversion seeks peacefully and satisfactorily to resolve the damage caused by the offence. This can include restitution, letters of apology, community service work, or counselling. Adult diversion gives both the offender and the victim an opportunity to resolve the problem in a fair and equitable manner. In the interests of improving the efficiency of the courts, it is our hope that, in the near future, we can extend the program to other locations.



The second initiatives I wish to share with the House today is the creation of a Summary Offences Court for the metro area. This court will hear virtually all provincial summary offence matters in Halifax County, except matters prosecuted by the Public Prosecution Service. The court will sit on week nights in Halifax, Bedford and Dartmouth. The court is expected to begin operation in April 1996.



There are approximately 3,000 summary conviction cases heard in a six month period in the metro area. Approximately 90 per cent of these occur under the Motor Vehicle Act. This includes cases such as speeding and stop sign violations.



By removing virtually all summary offence cases from the Provincial Court docket, the Provincial Court will be able to handle criminal cases in a more timely manner. This should contribute to our goal of improving the efficiency of courts so the more serious cases can be handled in a speedier manner. It is estimated that the capacity of the Provincial Court in the metro area will be increased by six court days per week. As the Summary Offences Court will sit in the evenings, existing facilities can be utilized. The night sittings also provide a more convenient time for many individuals who normally would have to take time from work in order to attend court.



The creation of the Summary Offences Court allows us to improve efficiency without the expense of hiring additional judges and support staff. Lawyers will be hired to adjudicate. They will be recruited from members of the Nova Scotia Barristers' Society through advertising and interviews. We expect to hire two adjudicators. Each adjudicator will be paid approximately $30,000 annually.



We have been working with the judiciary, policing agencies, and the four municipal units in setting up this new service. In this regard, I want to thank our partners for their cooperation and support. It is our view that this initiative will help to reduce the backlog in the Provincial Court, and truly is a more effective use of resources.



In closing, I want to add that these approaches will help to improve our efficiency without adding a great deal to the tax burden of the province. In so doing, we believe these initiatives will mean that the more serious and violent cases can be dealt with in a timely fashion. Thank you, Mr. Speaker. (Applause)



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Citadel.



MR. TERENCE DONAHOE: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to have the opportunity to rise to respond to the statement just now made by the Minister of Justice, and to say, at the outset, that I compliment him, his officials and the government for undertaking these two important initiatives.



The matter of adult diversion is one which, as the minister has alluded, has been underway and attempted in pilot project status in both Dartmouth and North Sydney. I note that the minister says that those pilot projects have proven to be very successful. He then goes on to say that because of his pleasure with that success he is going to continue two adult diversion projects. But it is my understanding - if I can find the right reference here - that they will only be in the same places, I assume, in the Dartmouth and North (Interruption) Well, he is helping me along by confirming that the diversion programs will be taking place in Dartmouth and North Sydney.





[2:15 p.m.]



I guess my question is that if the minister is as pleased as he appears to be, and I don't say that cynically or critically, that the pilot projects have proven to be successful, why it would not be the case that there would be some, even modest, expansion of those diversion projects? I know he knows and I certainly know from communications reaching me from other jurisdictions that diversion projects of this kind would be very helpful and useful in places other than Dartmouth and North Sydney. So, while I am pleased that the programs will continue, I am modestly disappointed that it will only be the communities of Dartmouth and North Sydney which will continue to be served by them.



One other issue, if I may, relative to the diversion programs that I think I would like to comment upon, Mr. Speaker, is that I don't see any mention other than the minister talked about the results when these matters are sometimes resolved might include ". . . restitution, letters of apology, community service work, or counselling.". I assume, and I don't see a specific reference, that victim impact statements are a part of the process. The minister might double-check with his officials and perhaps let me know on a future date whether or not, in fact, the preparation of victim impact statements is a part of the resolution process. I have come to believe over the last couple of years that victim impact statements are an increasingly important part of the appropriate and proper resolution of matters of this kind.



Further, I might say, and I will not be very much longer, Mr. Speaker, I am aware from contact with a number of people that there is a concern in the minister's department that the probation officer staff of his department is already very heavily laboured with very large case loads. I would hope that the Minister of Justice makes immediate inquiry as he announces this initiative to ensure that the probation service is not unreasonably and unduly overworked by the initiative announced.



Unfortunately, the minister makes no mention of how long the pilot projects will continue in Dartmouth and North Sydney. I hoped that we might have had some kind of an indication that there would be a fixed time at which point an assessment would be made.



A final comment, in relation to the development of a Summary Offences Court. I very sincerely applaud the minister on that initiative. I think that is a most worthwhile one. As the statement has indicated, it will relieve the judiciary from some 3,000 such cases, I think is the number. That is a very important diversion of matters which to this point have been of very real, I hate to suggest they are of nuisance value, but they consume inordinate amounts of time of the summary conviction courts of the province. I think that initiative is a very good one.



My final comment . . .



MR. SPEAKER: Honourable member, your time is up.



MR. DONAHOE: . . . I would ask that the minister would be kind enough perhaps to make a note that he might report back to this House for the sake of discussion within six months, at the maximum, of the success or failure of both of these initiatives so that all members here have an indication of how well or poorly they are actually doing.



MR. SPEAKER: All right. Thank you.



MR. DONAHOE: I expect success with them both and applaud . . .



MR. SPEAKER: The time allotted for the response has concluded.



MR. DONAHOE: I thank the minister for the announcement and I am pleased with both initiatives. Thank you.



MR. SPEAKER: The time allotted for the response has concluded.



The honourable Leader of the New Democratic Party. The ministerial announcement lasted four minutes.



MR. JOHN HOLM: Mr. Speaker, I wouldn't expect you to be any more lenient with me than with others. I want to rise and offer my thanks and congratulations to the minister for bringing forward his announcement today. I, like the previous speaker, believe that the two initiatives announced are extremely worthwhile and the government should be applauded.



Certainly the Adult Diversion Program, as the minister has said, and I know from the information that we have received as well, has proven to be very successful and I am pleased that that is going to continue. I have to add, however, that one of the benefits that was not necessarily mentioned by the minister in his announcement is that the Adult Diversion Program also does have a net effect as well as saving some dollars, I would suggest, for the provincial government in that some of the costs that would be involved with the other procedures, normal procedures, don't have to be incurred. Given the importance and the success that the Adult Diversion Program has had, I would hope that the minister can be a little bit more specific in the not too distant future about his hopes to expand the programs to other locations because I happen to believe, as did the previous speaker, that other parts of the province, as well as North Sydney and the Dartmouth area, could stand to benefit tremendously from that program.



The second part of the minister's announcement, dealing with his Summary Offences Court in metro, I again applaud that and the fact that that is going to be freeing up time in the Provincial Courts and will be cutting down on the backlog and the time delays in bringing heavier, more serious matters before the court. Having said that, I also recognize that there are going to be increased pressures, because of the efficiencies of the Summary Offences Court, put on those within the prosecution service. For example, if there are going to be six extra sitting days, in effect, provided per week as a result of this change in the Provincial Courts, that means there are going to have to be prosecutors and staff available to be able to fill the requirements if speedy justice is to be provided; as well, if the members of the prosecution services and so on are going to have to be present, as I expect they will, during the Summary Offences Court in the evenings and weekend, that again, is going to put increased pressures on that.



So unless those resources are going to be made available, then it is not going to have the desired effect of speeding up the process, as we all hope that it will because, obviously, matters will not be able to proceed through the Provincial Courts if the work load is simply being increased upon Crown Prosecutors without some kinds of reallocation or readjustment and/or additional resources. So maybe in the not too distant future the minister can address that issue as well and tell us how those needs are going to be met so that the maximum benefits of both of these announcements can, in fact, be achieved. Thank you.





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



HON. GERALD O'MALLEY: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased today to inform you and all members of the House of the formation of the first energy services partnership between our province and the private sector. The Department of Supply and Services has signed a seven year agreement with Landis & Gyr Powers Ltd. of Bedford, Nova Scotia, to provide energy services at the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic and the Public Archives of Nova Scotia. Landis & Gyr will invest $185,000 in mechanical and electrical systems; another $188,000 will be spent by the company on energy monitoring and project management.



No government employees will be displaced by this project; in fact, the company will invest in training existing government employees to operate and maintain these sophisticated systems at the end of the contract. The taxpayers of Nova Scotia are guaranteed savings of $50,000 each year over the life of the contract. If savings are less than that amount, the difference will be paid by Landis & Gyr.



Landis and Gyr Powers Ltd. will design, finance, install and retrofit other energy saving measures at the two locations. Energy costs over a recent 12 month period will be used as a basis for comparison. The company will take their costs in profits from savings that are realized. Landis and Gyr will maintain and upgrade the systems throughout the contract. At the end of the contract, government will have two state-of-the-art management systems, employees trained to operate and maintain them, and significantly reduced energy costs.



Mr. Speaker, this government is committed to working in partnership with the private sector at every opportunity to deliver service more efficiently and at a lower cost. In this case, the savings are guaranteed. Government workers will be equipped with better training and a local operation has an opportunity to grow and create jobs. The significance of this announcement is not so much in the economic quantities involved but in the announcement that will inform all Nova Scotians that it is the intent of this government to make this a first of such projects which will better and more cost-efficiently deliver their services.



We will maximize the returns on taxpayers' dollars and at the same time, Mr. Speaker, we will give an opportunity to our leading edge technology companies towards expanded growth and application, both in Nova Scotia and into the world-wide economy. I want to congratulate the honourable Minister for the Economic Renewal Agency for his cooperation, his encouragement, and his relentless drive towards this very objective. (Applause)



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Hants West.



MR. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, maybe the Minister of Supply and Services wants to congratulate the Minister for the ERA, but I can assure him that the Opposition is not going to congratulate him, because we have received no copy of the ministerial statement. I would ask leave to respond to the ministerial statement at this time tomorrow.



MR. SPEAKER: Well, I don't know. I will have to take that matter under advisement.



The honourable Leader of the New Democratic Party.



MR. JOHN HOLM: Mr. Speaker, my request would be, first before I make my response, if the Speaker would make his ruling because I also did not receive a copy of that. Before I embark on some remarks, I would like to have an opportunity to review the minister's statement. So if, in fact, you are going to rule that they can be delivered tomorrow, I would like to hear that before I begin my remarks.



MR. SPEAKER: I wouldn't want to prejudge this matter. I notice that someone has removed my copy of Beauchesne from my desk. So possibly I will take the whole matter under advisement and issue a ruling when I am able to.



MR. HOLM: Mr. Speaker, I don't want to lose my opportunity to make a response to this and I think that it is very important. Either we have the chance to make our statements now (Interruption) The minister has no difficulty with our responses being made tomorrow so maybe by unanimous consent of the House, it can be agreed that responses can be made at that time.



MR. SPEAKER: Is it agreed?



It is agreed.



All right then, that deals with that matter now. Whoever took my copy of Beauchesne, please return it to me. Above and beyond that, honourable ministers delivering ministerial statements are asked to please provide advance copies of their text to the respective Opposition critics.



GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION



INTRODUCTION OF BILLS



NOTICES OF MOTION



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



RESOLUTION NO. 837



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



Whereas a Maritime harness racing legend passed away on Monday; and



Whereas Frank Daniels maintained a stable at the Truro Raceway and was actively involved in the harness racing industry in the Maritimes from 1946 until the time of his death; and



Whereas just this year Frank Daniels was inducted into the Truro Sports Hall of Fame;



Therefore be it resolved that all members of this Legislature extend our sympathy to the family of the late Frank Daniels.



Mr. Speaker, I would ask for a moment of silence in memory of Mr. Daniels.



[2:30 p.m.]



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.



It calls for the observance of a minute of silence.



[One minute of silence was observed.]



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Atlantic.



RESOLUTION NO. 838



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



Whereas the 1995 Community Service Awards were presented today, with 18 Nova Scotians given special recognition for outstanding volunteer service to their community; and



Whereas volunteers make their contribution under growing and discouraging growing pressure as health, education, cultural and community services are cut back; and



Whereas Nova Scotians' outstanding generosity and community service ethic have helped maintain the quality of life and opportunities in most of our communities;



Therefore be it resolved that this House adds its congratulations to the Nova Scotian volunteers recognized today and to all the volunteers who carry on their important service in circumstances that are often difficult.



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



MR. SPEAKER: Is that agreeable to the House?



It is agreed.



There is no dissent? Very well.



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. 839



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



Whereas Radio Canada International is our country's voice to the world, broadcasting in eight languages to a projected audience of 7.5 million listeners a week, including a short wave, 24 hour satellite service to Canadian Armed Forces contingents in Bosnia, Croatia, the Golan Heights, Rwanda, Haiti, and the Canadian staff at NATO Headquarters in Casteau, Belgium, and Brussnum, Netherlands; and



Whereas the mandate of Radio Canada International is to reflect the life and spectrum of Canadian opinion to an international audience; and



Whereas the total budget of Radio Canada International is well below that of the top eight international broadcasting organizations;



Therefore be it resolved that all members of this Legislature, through our Office of the Speaker, appeal to the federal government to reconsider their decision to cancel the services provided by Radio Canada International effective March 31, 1996.



Mr. Speaker, I seek waiver of notice.



MR. SPEAKER: Is that agreeable to the House? Do I hear a No? No Noes?



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 Lunenburg.



RESOLUTION NO. 840



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 former Premier Cameron decided to flout the democratic tradition of this Chamber by failing to provide the people of Nova Scotia with a clear plan of action as put forth by a Speech from the Throne; and



Whereas in a feeble attempt to justify this action, the member for Queens said, "This is not the beginning of a new session but, rather, this is the continuation of an agenda"; and



Whereas that agenda nearly bankrupted the province, while the Opposition's present agenda includes delay tactics, bell ringing, weak debate and a penchant for obstructing the wishes of Nova Scotians;



Therefore be it resolved that tradition in the Progressive Conservative Party dictates that old Leaders claim to be new, while engaging in the kind of tactics which scarcely resemble those values they claim to uphold. (Applause)



Mr. Speaker, I ask for waiver. (Interruptions)



MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.



The honourable member for Cape Breton South.





RESOLUTION NO. 841



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



Are we on this one, Mr. Speaker, or are we still on the one before?



MR. SPEAKER: You have the floor sir; read your motion.



MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Whereas renowned Cape Breton photographer, Owen Fitzgerald, has combined modern technology with our historic past by producing the multimedia CD-ROM, entitled Fortress of Louisbourg; and



Whereas four provincial education departments have purchased this outstanding work, containing 600 photographs, full motion video, 400 pages of printable text, animated battles, narration, music; and



Whereas Mr. Fitzgerald recently signed a six-figure deal with Ontario's Department of Education which will provide 5,000 English copies and 1,000 French copies of the CD-ROM for use by Ontario students;



Therefore be it resolved that this Assembly applaud the successful production and marketing of the Louisbourg CD-ROM by Cape Breton photographer, Owen Fitzgerald, which will provide recognition for Cape Breton multimedia production while enhancing the education of students throughout Canada.



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



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 Leader of the New Democratic Party.



RESOLUTION NO. 842



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



Whereas the Minister of Human Resources stood stern in the corridors of this House to proclaim that due process is so important that he would not discuss legislation that was before a committee of the House; and



Whereas that same minister's department, at the most senior levels, has for months been defying the laws of this province on Freedom of Information;



Therefore be it resolved that in the opinion of this House, ministers should adhere to the duly legislated laws of Nova Scotia.



MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.



The honourable member for Hants West.



RESOLUTION NO. 843



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



Whereas Highway No. 101 between Windsor and Sackville is the major commuter link for motorists working in the metropolitan area on a daily basis; and



Whereas the previous Conservative Government secured the necessary funding to begin the twinning of Highway No. 101 between Windsor and Sackville; and



Whereas twinning has now been completed between Sackville and Mount Uniacke;



Therefore be it resolved the Minister of Transportation commit the necessary funds from his capital budget in the next two construction seasons to begin the second phase of twinning Highway No. 101 between Mount Uniacke and Windsor.



MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.



The honourable member for Halifax Bedford Basin.



RESOLUTION NO. 844



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



Whereas on this day in the year 1804, Joseph Howe was born in Halifax; and



Whereas Joseph Howe gained prominence for his stirring defence of freedom of the press during a libel case in 1835; and



Whereas Joseph Howe, as a member of this House of Assembly, significantly contributed to the establishment of responsible government in Nova Scotia in 1848;



Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House and members of the media not lose sight of the responsibilities and obligations associated with freedom of the press and the rules, procedures and traditions of this House of Assembly.



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



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 Guysborough-Port Hawkesbury.



RESOLUTION NO. 845



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



Whereas the previous Tory Government wasted millions of Nova Scotia taxpayers' dollars on such projects as the Cohasset oil mega-project; and



Whereas our government supports businesses through repayable loans which promote business development and promote job creation; and



Whereas under the leadership of our Premier, this government took resolute action in a $15.4 million loan to Stora Forest Industries, a loan which has been re-paid by Stora, which sustained Stora in tough times, effecting a major expansion and creation of hundreds of jobs;



Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House recognize the positive support this government is giving to businesses in Nova Scotia, support which is producing positive results in the creation of more jobs and increased economic growth.



Mr. Speaker, I request waiver.



MR. SPEAKER: Is it 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 Sackville-Beaverbank.



RESOLUTION NO. 846



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



Whereas the landfill serving the metropolitan area of Halifax was originally designed to last seven years; and



Whereas this landfill has now been in operation for 18 years; and



Whereas amendments to the Community of Sackville Landfill Compensation Act require that the landfill be closed on December 30, 1996;



Therefore be it resolved that this House request that the Minister of Municipal Affairs continue to monitor the activities of the Metropolitan Authority, in order to make certain that the Sackville landfill does actually close on December 30, 1996.



MR. SPEAKER: He has requested waiver of notice, 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 Cape Breton Centre.



RESOLUTION NO. 847



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



Whereas Don Sheehy, a teacher in New Waterford, goes above and beyond the call of duty where the students of Breton Education Centre are concerned; and



Whereas Mr. Sheehy gives of his time and expertise with a willingness that reflects his dedication and sincerity in all his efforts; and



Whereas Mr. Don Sheehy will be recognized by our province today with the presentation of a Community Service Award;



Therefore be it resolved that the members of this Assembly extend congratulations to Mr. Don Sheehy for his outstanding volunteer service to the students of Breton Education Centre and throughout the New Waterford area.



Mr. Speaker, I would ask for 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 Digby-Annapolis.



RESOLUTION NO. 848



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



Whereas Premier Savage, during his recent visit to Washington, had the opportunity to discuss the fishery with three congressmen from New England; and



Whereas these congressmen expressed a keen interest in Nova Scotia's management of its fish stock; and



Whereas as a result of these talks, for the first time high-level United States fishery officials will be coming to Nova Scotia for fish management discussions;



Therefore be it resolved that this House commends the Premier for his initiative in bringing about closer cooperation between the fishers of Nova Scotia and the fishers of the New England States.



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



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 Eastern Shore.



RESOLUTION NO. 849



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 Tides of Tiamat, located in Seaforth on the Eastern Shore is a new and unique island retreat centre offering a comprehensive range of programs; and



Whereas the retreat centre is open year-round and is dedicated to creative exploration, where both visual and verbal art forms are celebrated, with programs for writers, artists, teens, families and other groups; and



Whereas Jenni Blackmore, proprietor of The Tides of Tiamat, describes her retreat centre as an enhanced space for creative journey in which the unique beauty of its surroundings complements the centre's commitment to the beauty and uniqueness of personal expression;



Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate the original vision and entrepreneurial spirit of Jenni Blackmore, owner of The Tides of Tiamat, for providing Nova Scotia with a unique retreat for creative expression and renewal, which is an addition to the growing eco-tourism industry along the Eastern Shore.



Mr. Speaker, I ask for 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 Dartmouth-Cole Harbour.





RESOLUTION NO. 850



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



Whereas recent figures indicate that Nova Scotia is on a job creation roll by providing over 9,000 jobs in the past year alone, including 6,000 full-time jobs; and



Whereas the member for Halifax Atlantic is using scare tactics to portray the economy in a downward slide while the facts simply do not back up his statements; and



Whereas in 1993 Liberals campaigned on the promise to stimulate the economy and to put our fiscal house in order, while both Opposition Parties would have the people believe otherwise;



Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House set the record straight that the Liberal Government is delivering on its promises to balance the books and to stimulate the economy. (Applause)



[2:45 p.m.]



MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.



The honourable Leader of the New Democratic Party.



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



Whereas the Education Minister and his Liberal colleagues spent months telling Nova Scotians that the highlight of this fall sitting would be a new Education Act; and



Whereas the minister's failure to table a draft or otherwise consult the partners in education has forced him and his government to keep changing the bill during the session; and



Whereas dozens of additional proposed changes are waiting for consideration in Committee of the Whole House on Bills, but the minister chose to leave the province instead of being here to participate; (Interruption)



Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Education, who would impose a legislative requirement, punishable by fine or imprisonment, that students attend school should be diligent in ensuring that he attends the debate of his own Education Act.



AN HON. MEMBER: Hear! Hear!



MR. SPEAKER: I hesitate to accept that type of motion. According to the rules of debate, we are not to impute bad motives or motives different from those acknowledged by a member to any member of this House or to make a personal charge against the member. That is all out of order.





I think that the motion is out of order.



MR. HOLM: Mr. Speaker, I would ask you before you make your ruling to actually read the resolution to see if, in fact, it does those things that you are stating that it does.



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Labour.



HON. GUY BROWN: Mr. Speaker, as a member of this House, that honourable member knows that the Minister of Education is at a ministers council. The Minister of Education from Nova Scotia is appointed to that council, in Calgary, with regards to transfers and other important issues in this province that affect all Nova Scotians. For that honourable member or any other honourable member to get up here in the House and introduce a resolution along the lines, should be ruled out of order and shouldn't be allowed. That is not what this House is all about.



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



HON. GERALD O'MALLEY: Mr. Speaker, on a point of privilege. It is a well-known fact that there are many members in this House that either through failure to familiarize themselves and understand true parliamentary procedure and parliamentary ethics of this House as displayed on occasion, I think it behooves all members of this House to understand the Rules of this House according to Beauchesne, which forbid any member from infringing upon the rights of another member by indicating his presence or lack of presence within the House. That is a violation of privilege.



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member is absolutely correct. Please be seated.



MR. JOHN HOLM: Well, I am up on a point of privilege.



MR. SPEAKER: Please be seated! I am making a ruling on the honourable Minister of Supply and Services, who is entirely correct. Beauchesne states at Paragraph 481, ". . . that a Member, while speaking, must not: (c) refer to the presence or absence of specific Members.".



Therefore the resolution is out of order. After I read it, it read even worse than it sounded.



The resolution is completely out of order and is ruled inadmissible.



The honourable member for Guysborough-Port Hawkesbury.



RESOLUTION NO. 851



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



Whereas 'twas the 12th night before Christmas, and all through the land, we are about to learn of the Tory labour plan; and



Whereas Don Cameron said, dash away, dash away all, and down came the causeway tolls, 10 jobs and all; and



Whereas the NDP, with sugarplums in their head, said, we're delighted with this Christmas bonus, which the PCs have brought upon us;



Therefore be it resolved that as we remember the 4th Anniversary of the raid on the causeway tolls, that the PC Party, like Scrooge, has many ghosts of Christmas past.



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Hants West.



MR. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, I don't know how you are going to rule on that resolution because it is not a resolution. (Laughter)



MR. SPEAKER: I will take the matter under advisement, I can't find anything in Beauchesne about doggerel verse.



The honourable member for Hants East.



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



Whereas Opposition members continue to use delay tactics in the House of Assembly to hold up passage of much-needed, long-awaited, and publicly-demanded legislation; and



Whereas if Opposition members had prudently used their time when they occupied the Treasury benches they would have wisely introduced financial control measures, the efficient delivery of program services and created a province worth investing in by businesses around the world; and



Whereas it is offensive in the extreme that Opposition members continue to delay the proceedings of this House by ringing bells, adjourning debate and using the media coverage of the House for various political posturing such as leadership campaigns;



Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House of Assembly encourage our Opposition members to honour their pledge to serve the public good with rational, wise and sound judgment, especially in these publicly-funded House proceedings while reminding them that democratic governing was hard-won by great citizens like Joseph Howe.



MR. SPEAKER: Now, great citizens like Joseph Howe, the honourable member for Halifax Citadel.



AN HON. MEMBER: Let's see if this one is in order.



MR. TERENCE DONAHOE: Mr. Speaker, I would respectfully request that you rule that, what purports to be a notice of motion out of order. It clearly imputes motives. It makes references to things being done by certain members relative to leadership aspirations or campaigns and so on. That is imputing motives and on that account alone, I respectfully urge you to come to the right conclusion . . .



AN HON. MEMBER: True, though.



MR. DONAHOE: I respectfully urge you to rule the notice of motion out of order.





AN HON. MEMBER: Hear! Hear!



MR. SPEAKER: I think that it could be amended by the deletion of several words.



MR. JOHN HOLM: Mr. Speaker, on the point of order just raised, I expect, Mr. Speaker, . . .



AN HON. MEMBER: Get a grip, get a grip.



MR. HOLM: . . . and I know, sir, that you take your job very seriously and that you are going to treat all members equally in this House.



Mr. Speaker, I would ask that you rule that resolution out of order for imputing motives in several areas which it did, and is in violation of the rules every bit as much as a resolution of mine they have ruled out of order.



MR. SPEAKER: Rather than allowing the House to degenerate into a free-for-all, let me propose that the honourable member for Hants East reconsider and perhaps reword his motion and introduce it on a future day.



MR. ROBERT CARRUTHERS: Might I respond, Mr. Speaker, to the notice?



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Hants East on a point of order.



MR. ROBERT CARRUTHERS: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker, there is nowhere in this resolution where I mention anybody, any member particularly or any person.



MR. SPEAKER: I had noted that.



MR. CARRUTHERS: That is the distinction between your . . .



MR. SPEAKER: I had noted that . . .



AN HON. MEMBER: It impugns the motives (Interruptions)



MR. SPEAKER: Order, order, order. Order! Order!



AN HON. MEMBER: It attributes motives to any and all members and on that account . . .



MR. SPEAKER: I want to explain this matter, if I could, for the consideration of the House. The prohibitions of Beauchesne relate to the presence or absence of specific members, individually. They relate to imputing bad motives or motives different from those acknowledged by a member, singular, making a personal charge against a member, singular. (Interruptions) The Speaker has the floor. The prohibitions of Beauchesne do not relate to the making of a charge against the collectivity, for example, against the government or against the Opposition. They do not relate to the making of a charge against a Party or against a faction or a school of thought. They refer to specific individuals and that is very clear from a reading of the text.

MR. JOHN HOLM: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order, I would ask, how many members of this House, currently, are involved in a leadership race which the member makes specific reference to . . .



AN HON. MEMBER: Where does it say current race?



MR. HOLM: . . . in the thing.



MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. Order, order, order, please! Order. It was specifically for that reason that I referred the resolution back to the honourable member for his reconsideration.



The resolution has no status, it is not tabled.



The honourable member for Cape Breton South. (Interruptions)



RESOLUTION NO. 852



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 NDP leadership race in Nova Scotia is turning into the second great non-event of the year, next to the federal NDP leadership contest; and



Whereas potential candidates are being scared away by reports of the imminent coronation of the member for Halifax Atlantic, once again demonstrating the NDP's inability to provide a credible voice for all Nova Scotians; and



Whereas, of course, lack of interest in the NDP in Nova Scotia is nothing new, even though people can turn this lack of interest into a rather long, yet unproductive career on the Opposition benches;



Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House recognize that the NDP Leadership Convention is nothing more than the last in a long line of repeated failures.



MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.



The honourable member for Halifax Atlantic.



RESOLUTION NO. 853



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



Whereas the Community Services Minister unequivocally promised that municipal social assistance would not be reduced because his government imposed a new cost-sharing cap after municipal budgets and tax rates had been set; and



Whereas in town, village and municipality, that minister is now endorsing and encouraging cuts in municipal social assistance made necessary by provincial mismanagement and cutbacks;



Therefore be it resolved that this House urges the minister to stop his program of municipal social assistance cuts which includes higher health care costs, denial of needed eyeglasses and a deliberate failure to meet the identified needs of those most recently forced to seek assistance.



MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.



The honourable Minister of Community Services.



HON. JAMES SMITH: Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and thank you honourable members for yielding the floor on a matter of an introduction. In the east gallery is teacher, Colleen O'Connell with - I think I counted 14 members - the Grade 11 Co-op Class from Dartmouth High School. I am making this introduction on behalf of their MLAs, the Honourable Sandra Jolly and the honourable Premier. I would ask them to rise and receive the warm welcome of the House. (Applause)



MR. SPEAKER: Are there any further notices of motion? If not, I wish to advise the House that the Clerk has conducted a draw for the Adjournment debate at 6:00 o'clock this afternoon, the winner of which is our good friend the honourable member for Hants East. He has submitted a motion reading as follows:



Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly recognize the positive impact which this government's community business loan program is having upon economic growth and job creation in this province.



So we will hear discussion of that matter at 6:00 p.m. this afternoon.



The time now being 2:58 p.m., I will say the Oral Question Period today will run until 4:28 p.m., that is for 90 minutes.



ORDERS OF THE DAY



ORAL QUESTIONS PUT BY MEMBERS



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Citadel, to begin.



EXCO: ACTING MIN. OF EDUCATION - OIC (12/12/95)



MR. TERENCE DONAHOE: Mr. Speaker, my question, in the absence of the Premier, is for the Deputy Premier. I have in hand the Orders in Council dated December 12, 1995 and I would, with the help of a Page or Pages, ask that one be delivered to the Deputy Premier and I have one that I would table with the Deputy Clerk. My question for the Deputy Premier is to ask him whether or not he would indicate to this House today that the Order in Council which I have just now passed to him, which purports to appoint the Honourable Richard Mann to be the honourable Acting Minister of Education and Culture is indeed a true representation of the decisions of the Executive Council meeting of December 12, 1995?



HON. WILLIAM GILLIS: Mr. Speaker, the document has just been handed to me and I have not really had a chance to peruse it. I certainly will undertake to do that and give whatever information I can.



MR. DONAHOE: Mr. Speaker, I wonder if I might, by way of supplementary, refer the Deputy Premier to Page 402 which is the final page of the document which I have just now tabled, a copy of which I have given to him, and ask the Deputy Premier if he could offer an explanation to this House, how it is that each and every page, I repeat, each and every page of every Order in Council passed by this Liberal Government in the calendar year 1995 - and I can tell you that a review of the records will show that it has been the law of precedence, custom, practice and tradition of every Executive Council as far back as the records show, to have the Lieutenant Governor sign every page of every Order in Council - how the Deputy Premier might explain to this House how it is that the final page of this particular Order in Council, which I have tabled and which purports to appoint the Honourable Richard Mann, Acting Minister of Education and Culture from 11:05 a.m. Tuesday, December 12, 1995, to 9:50 a.m., December 14, 1995, Page 402, is in fact not signed by His Honour, the Lieutenant Governor?



[3:00 p.m.]



MR. GILLIS: Mr. Speaker, I am not exactly familiar with all the protocols. I note that His Honour's signature is on all of the pages. I can't explain why it is not on the last page. I would undertake to check into it and maybe when the Premier returns tomorrow, he might have that information.



MR. DONAHOE: Mr. Speaker, there was quite a firefight here last night and very considerable uncertainty and hesitant confirmation as to who was the Acting Minister of Education at the time that the government was trying to force debate of the Education Bill in Committee of the Whole House on Bills. For the sake of completeness, as part of my second supplementary, I would table copies of Orders in Council dated May 2, 1995, and August 22, 1995, and I do so for the purpose of making it clear that in those cases where the Order in Council documents have an order which runs over onto the final signature page where Brenda Shannon, Clerk of the Executive Council signs as well, in those cases - and I can assure you from my review of every single one in 1995 - the Lieutenant Governor has also signed.



I wonder if the Minister of Justice would make this commitment to me? Since Brenda Shannon's office, the Clerk of the Executive Council, is about 60 seconds away from the Chambers, would the minister be prepared himself, or direct somebody, to go to Brenda Shannon's office this minute and come back with a copy of the Orders of the Cabinet meeting of December 12, 1995, to determine whether or not the document which I have tabled today is, in fact, an exact representation of the document on record in her office? Would he give that undertaking right now?



MR. GILLIS: Mr. Speaker, I would be glad to obtain whatever information that is proper to make available. As a long-serving minister, that honourable member would know that certain Cabinet documents are confidential. This is the order that is published, but I am not exactly sure what the honourable member wants beyond this. I can double-check it, maybe it was an omission, maybe it was an oversight, maybe His Honour overlooked signing the last page. It seems that the member has something else, I don't know but . . .



AN HON. MEMBER: . . . first oversight in 1995.



MR. GILLIS; Well, in any event, I would be glad to check, but I understand the Acting Minister of Education may be able to add some information to this, so I would be glad to redirect the question to him.



HON. RICHARD MANN: Mr. Speaker, as a final supplementary, the honourable member for Halifax Citadel made reference to the fact that there was great confusion and uncertainty last night as to who the Acting Minister of Education was. In fact, yesterday at the beginning of Question Period, the member for Halifax Citadel asked me if the honourable Minister of Education was going to be here for Question Period and I responded, no. He asked me who the Acting Minister of Education was and I told him I was; so I don't think there was any great uncertainty about who the honourable Minister of Education was.



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Atlantic.



HUMAN RES.: QE II HOSPITALS MERGER - NSGEU MEET



MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, I would like to direct my question through you to the Minister of Human Resources. All members of this House will recall the dispute that was brewing in Halifax last week, the dispute between the interim QE II, or for that matter the government of this province and the union representing the employees of the Victoria General Hospital, over changes that were being made and concerns that that union had and employees who are represented by that union, that in fact their rights were going to be affected by decisions being made with respect to a merger.



Mr. Speaker, in this House when some of us tried to encourage the minister to intervene and sit down with the NSGEU, the minister was quite clear and unequivocal in saying that his door was open and that he was prepared to meet with anyone, any group involved, but not under the threat of a strike.



I would like to table a copy of a letter dated today that was sent by facsimile to the Minister of Human Resources and the honourable Minister of Health. It is from the President of the Nova Scotia Government Employees Union, requesting a meeting to discuss concerns relevant to the merger of the institutions into the QE II.



I would like to ask the minister, Mr. Speaker, if, in fact, he is preparing to respond in a positive fashion to this letter and indicate to this House that he will be sitting down with the Nova Scotia Government Employees Union to discuss outstanding concerns relating to this matter?



HON. JAY ABBASS: Mr. Speaker, actually I look forward to meeting with Dave Peters at a very early date but, out of courtesy to him, I think it is to him that I should direct any reply to his letter.



MR. CHISHOLM: I guess that was a yes, in that the minister indicated that he would be happy to meet with Mr. Peters and perhaps the details of that will be forthcoming to Mr. Peters.



Mr. Speaker, I remind the minister that this is a matter that concerns all members of this House and anyone who is interested in seeing the question of the merger of the QE II go forward in as positive and as constructive a manner as possible.



In my first supplementary, given the minister's indication that he will be responding positively to Mr. Peters, that he will be meeting with him, I would ask if the minister would agree that it would not also be appropriate, since he is going to be entering into some form of negotiation with Mr. Peters, that he, in fact, will involve the other unions involved with the merger of the QE II?



MR. ABBASS: I think the question we are dealing with here concerns a letter from Dave Peters to myself and if any union wishes to write me, they are equally free to do so, just as Dave Peters did.



MR. CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, in this House last week the Minister of Human Resources was unequivocal in stating that he was prepared to meet with anyone, relating to this matter, to discuss their concern, to discuss issues. He indicated he would sit down with the Nurses' Union, or anyone else, but he would not participate in any discussions when the threat of a strike was hanging over his head by any group.



All I am trying to get clarification of, again confirmation if, on the one hand, the minister says that he will not meet with people when the threat of a strike is hanging over his head, will he sit down and negotiate with these people, now that the strike has been resolved . . .



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



MR. CHISHOLM: . . . and in order that this matter is cleared up and the merger . . .



MR. SPEAKER: The question has been asked.



MR. CHISHOLM: . . . is allowed to go forward in as positive and as constructive a manner as is possible?



MR. ABBASS: Well, the question was answered in the very first instant and I think we are just repeating ourselves here. Maybe the member opposite is disappointed that I, in fact, have met with Dave Peters many more times than he has in the last year, at least in the last seven months, and I look forward to meeting with Dave many times in the future.



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Opposition.



HEALTH - EARLY RETIREMENT PACKAGE: IMPACT - TABLE



DR. JOHN HAMM: Mr. Speaker, a question for the Minister of Health. On November 21st in Question Period the minister said he would be happy to bring information to the House on the impact that the early retirement package would have on the waiting list for surgery.



Can the minister tell the House if he has looked into this matter and is he prepared to table the information either later today or tomorrow in the House?



HON. RONALD STEWART: Yes, Mr. Speaker, I committed to the presentation to the House of the mechanisms and the studies that we are undertaking, in terms of waiting lists and other elements in terms of health reform and I will do so as quickly as possible. My staff is working very diligently, in fact I have a meeting on this issue tomorrow to complete what I think would be satisfying to the honourable member opposite.



DR. HAMM: Mr. Speaker, on November 1st, I asked the Minister of Health what was the estimated cost-savings that would come from the implementation of the recommendations of the working group of the Pharmacare Program reform. The minister is most familiar with this document because it was presented to him. At the time the minister said that he could not speculate on those issues in terms of the savings that would be generated by the implementation of those recommendations. Would the minister indicate now if he is prepared to comment and would he acknowledge the potential savings that could be realized would be certainly in the tens of millions of dollars if they were fully implemented?



DR. STEWART: Mr. Speaker, I appreciate that question. The honourable gentleman opposite certainly has given indications that there are estimates to that degree, tens of millions of dollars, in terms of the reform efforts. The estimates, of course, are based on the degree of reduction of prescribing and, in fact, the various reforms that are outlined in the document that the honourable Leader of the Opposition refers to. We would anticipate that in full form, the reform measures would reach the estimates that have been suggested, which is anywhere from $10 million to $20 million.



DR. HAMM: Mr. Speaker, again to the Minister of Health. Would the minister agree to table a progress report on the department's efforts to analyze and introduce the recommendations of the working group for Pharmacare reform?



DR. STEWART: Mr. Speaker, this could certainly well be accomplished. We have been dealing now with the new Pharmacare Board of Directors who have obliged themselves to present year end reports. We are at the moment working through, with them, the elements of the reform agenda and the elements of the reform report. They certainly will be molding their decisions around the elements of this reform and have indeed expected themselves and us to issue joint progress reports along these lines. I can't give a date, having not completed my discussions with them, but I would expect that this would be a feature of their very skilful management of this program.



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Opposition on a new question.



HEALTH - PHYSICIANS: RECRUITING - REPORT



DR. JOHN HAMM: Mr. Speaker, again to the Minister of Health. On November 9th, I asked the minister if he could tell the House how many physicians have been signed by the new physician recruiter to fill vacancies throughout the province. The minister indicated on that occasion that he would look into it and report back to me. My question to the minister is, I wonder if he has looked into this situation and if he could provide me with that information today?



HON. RONALD STEWART: Mr. Speaker, on the basis of an ongoing dialogue with the recruiter that has been established, I have requested him to report to me periodically. There are other elements here and that is the recruitment efforts of local facilities to which we are obliged and, in fact, are very much dependent, particularly with respect to clinical and specialty care. I certainly will have more to say on this in terms of the overall yearly forecast for this year coming up, along with the recruiter. Suffice it to say that I can give the member opposite, as I have indicated, a report to date and I am waiting to get an up-to-date report on the basis of both the discussions of the recruiter and also the discussions that have led to several achievements of attracting some specialists on the part of individual facilities and I will do that.



DR. HAMM: Mr. Speaker, on November 9th, I asked the Minister of Health to table the criteria that are used to select those areas of the province that qualify for the incentive package. The minister said that he would be happy to table those criteria. To the best of my knowledge, that has not been done.





[3:15 p.m.]



My question to the minister, can the minister indicate why the information has not been available, and is he prepared now to table it?



DR. STEWART: Mr. Speaker, the criteria for the selection have been widely disseminated in press releases and in the press. I certainly could and, in fact, have agreed to do that. I will expect to do that as promptly as I can. I assumed that the honourable gentleman opposite knew the contents of the releases we had given.



DR. HAMM: Mr. Speaker, my final supplementary, again, is to the minister. Would the minister indicate if, during the course of Question Period, he has staff who are monitoring what is going on in the House, and taking note of the requests made of the minister to table certain pieces of information?



DR. STEWART: Mr. Speaker, yes, that has long been the practice, that my staff monitors the activity of the House.



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



HEALTH - C.B. REG. HOSPITAL: LAUNDRY FACILITIES - RELOCATION



MR. ALFRED MACLEOD: Mr. Speaker, my question, too, will be to the Minister of Health. I was wondering, can the minister confirm if the laundry facility located at the former Sydney Community Health Centre, which services the Cape Breton Regional Hospital, is being closed and moved to the Northside?



HON. RONALD STEWART: No, Mr. Speaker, I cannot confirm that specific question. That would be a decision of the regional facility there, and I would certainly seek that out if the honourable member wishes.



MR. MACLEOD: Thank you, Mr. Minister. If this is the case, which I believe it to be, (Interruption) This is the case according to the employees of this facility at the Cape Breton Regional Hospital. I would like to know if the minister can confirm that these people will be losing their jobs when this transfer of equipment and facility go to the Northside, which happens to be located in your constituency?



DR. STEWART: Mr. Speaker, first of all, I have no information to confirm this rumour that is reported on the part of the member opposite. If the member opposite has definitive evidence that a decision in a given clinical facility has been reached by the board of a given facility, I would ask him to table that, or to give me specific information. I certainly have not been informed of a decision that would have been taken on the part of the regional hospital or the regional facilities there, and I would be happy to further investigate.



Suffice it to say, the insinuation that because a particular facility happens to be in a given riding, that it would make a difference in terms of a decision, which happened to be appended onto the member's question, is objectionable to me.



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Citadel.





EXCO: ACTING MIN. OF EDUCATION - OIC (12/12/95)



MR. TERENCE DONAHOE: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Deputy Premier, in the absence of the Premier, and it relates to the matter which I raised a moment ago. As I pose the question, I would like to take the liberty of tabling with the Clerk, if I may, a copy of the Orders in Council passed by this government in calendar 1993 which when they are reviewed will disclose that the Lieutenant Governor signed each and every single page of those documents, unlike the document purporting to be the record of the doings of the Cabinet of December 12th, where on Page 402, one will note that the very first item on the top of the page, unsigned by the Lieutenant Governor, is the sentence, "To be Acting Minister of Education and Culture from 11:05 a.m., Tuesday, December 12, 1995 to 9:50 a.m., Thursday, December 14, 1995: The Honourable Richie Mann;".



Having established, I suggest, by virtue of the fact that the document is defective and, therefore, null and void and does not, in fact, represent a proper and competent decision of the Executive Council, it would appear, therefore, I suggest to the Minister of Justice, Mr. Speaker, through you, only fair that since in this House yesterday during the Committee of the Whole House on Bills, this House was not blessed with the presence of either a Minister of Education or an Acting Minister of Education.



My question to the Deputy Premier is to ask whether or not he will indicate to us now, in light of the fact that the Opposition had no opportunity to deal with the legislation which was before the committee at that time with either a minister or an acting minister, if he will ensure that appropriate steps are taken by way of discussion with the Government House Leader that when we resume again debate on Bill No. 39, the time that was expended yesterday will be restored to the clock and he would have those discussions with the Government House Leader and come forward with a commitment to that effect from the government?



HON. WILLIAM GILLIS: Mr. Speaker, I don't really think that in the role of Acting Premier, that is my responsibility. It may be something that the House Leader for the Official Opposition might want to discuss with the Government House Leader, but I do want to say that I took the advice, as I frequently do, of the distinguished member for Halifax Citadel and I went almost as soon as I could to the phone and spoke to Ms. Shannon, the Clerk of the Executive Council, and she told me that Page 402 is part of the Cabinet Order on December 12, 1995, despite the fact there is not a signature on that page. She went on to say that it reflects the business carried out by Cabinet. But she was going to further double-check on the minutes. That is what she told me so that is all I can tell you, but in terms of the time of the House tomorrow or another day, I suggest it is a matter of discussion between the Government House Leader and the Official Opposition House Leader.



MR. DONAHOE: Mr. Speaker, I wonder if, by way of supplementary, the minister might be kind enough to respond to the request which I did make of him earlier, that he might secure from the Clerk of the Executive Council the copy of the document which she tells him over the phone purports to be a record of the doings of Cabinet of December 12th, and, in fact, table that here this afternoon? Ms. Shannon is only a minute or two across the street. Could the minister give that undertaking?



MR. GILLIS: I know where One Government Place is. You don't have to help me with that. I can handle that one. But I already told the member in an earlier question that there are certain materials from Cabinet about which he is fully aware, after spending 15 years as a member of the Treasury benches, and there is certain material that is not appropriate to table. It is confidential material.



I checked with her. She indicated that she would double-check on it and verify that. It is always in the realm of possibility that His Honour, the Lieutenant Governor, might have erred and not just signed that page. I would never accuse him of not doing it or accuse him of any fault, but we are all human and even governors are human and maybe he just didn't sign the page. I don't think, Mr. Speaker, we should get too uptight about it. I would be glad to bring it to the attention of the Premier and we could have it checked out and just see that everything is in order.



MR. DONAHOE: Mr. Speaker, my contention to the Minister of Justice, the Deputy Premier, through you, is that it is curious in the extreme that this is the one page of Orders in Council not signed by the Lieutenant Governor who seems to have been scrupulously careful, undoubtedly under the watchful eye of Ms. Shannon, the Clerk of the Executive Council, that every single page of every single set of Orders in Council passed by this government in 1995 were signed on every single page by the Lieutenant Governor. I fully recognize that inadvertence is possible on the part of any number of people.



I would like to ask the Deputy Premier, in the course of having the discussion with the Premier that he just described, if he would give this House, and in fairness to the Opposition which is attempting to do its best under difficult circumstances to debate the legislation that has been introduced by this government, whether or not this Minister of Justice will ask the Premier, in concert with the Government House Leader, to address the question of restoring the lost time to the Committee of the Whole House on Bills by reason of the fact that at law this House last evening during Committee of the Whole House on Bills did not have present either a Minister of Education or a properly and legally constituted Acting Minister of Education, will he give the House that undertaking?



MR. GILLIS: I just want to suggest that maybe the information that the honourable member is using is circumstantial. He is alleging that maybe that page was added after the Governor had signed the other pages. I don't know if that is what he is suggesting or not. I mean it certainly was not what was suggested (Interruption) Mr. Speaker, there seems to be (Interruption)



MR. SPEAKER: Order, please! Order.



MR. GILLIS: I don't know what he is suggesting, Mr. Speaker, but I looked at some of the orders and when you are at the end of the order, they seem to end with a period. I noticed on the evidence that is brought forward by that member, on Page 401, we end after the Acting Minister of Community Services, at the end of that, appointing Dr. Ronald Stewart, MD, as Acting Minister of Community, we have a semicolon. It would only seem that this would carry on to another page. (Interruption)



Mr. Speaker, I think that the Official Opposition could find better issues to spend their time on and get on with helping Nova Scotians.



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



AN HON. MEMBER: Nobody trusts you, Richie, not even your Attorney General.



MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.



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



SUPPLY AND SERV. - CONTRACTS: PAY EQUITY - COMPLIANCE



MR. JOHN HOLM: Mr. Speaker, I didn't hear myself being recognized the first time.



Mr. Speaker, I would like to direct a question through you, sir, to the Minister of Supply and Services. Last week the minister during the calling of House Orders was a little bit surprised about one that was called. I would remind the minister that not only during the election campaign promises but also during the first Throne Speech of the government, the government said that, ". . . a contract compliance program which ensures that private sector companies wishing to do business with the government follow generally accepted policies on pay equity and minority employment opportunities.". I have been trying since that was said to find out where matters sit with regard to this government in terms of contract compliance.



The former Minister of Human Resources in 1994 said that these things would be addressed. In 1995, the same minister in January of this year said that it is in the process as we update tendering policies. She went on to say, "It is all part and parcel of the same package.".



Well, we have the procurement policy of the government as introduced by the Minister of Supply and Services. I would ask the minister, why is it that there are no contract compliance policies or procedures in the procurement policies that he and his government promised so that we would ensure that there are pay equity and minority employment opportunities available in those companies wishing to do business with the Government of Nova Scotia?



HON. GERALD O'MALLEY: Mr. Speaker, I am not sure of the intent of the honourable member opposite in asking this question for a third time. When I say a third time, I say that because he has already filed with my office under the Freedom of Information Act the same questions. They will be answered under the Freedom of Information Act as directed by legislation.



MR. SPEAKER: I don't know how a supplementary could arise from that but anyway, the honourable Leader of the New Democratic Party.



AN HON. MEMBER: Luckily, we have those options.



MR. HOLM: Yes, Mr. Speaker. Certainly, I have written to the minister and I have asked certain questions and that doesn't stop the minister from answering questions in here. But I am asking about the procurement policy that the minister introduced in this House. His colleague, the former Minister of Supply and Services, on the same date in January 1995 said, ". . . the new tendering policies, the new procurement policies and enshrined, if you will, with equal opportunity.", referring to the compliance policy and so on that was supposed to be in place. I would like to ask the minister where in his policy is that found, what page, what reference? Can he find it? Does it exist or has the government abandoned that?



[3:30 p.m.]



MR. O'MALLEY: Mr. Speaker, I do not know why this member, other than for political posturing, would ask such a question when he has already filed such a question through the freedom of information process which I have an obligation under the law, to answer and it will be answered through that process. I have no absolute obligation to answer it a multitude of times. I did answer it the other day for the member when he filed it through the House Order process, but that was not satisfactory. We will answer the honourable member through the legal process he has already opted to use. I wonder why he continues to use so many options other than for political posturing purposes.



MR. HOLM: Mr. Speaker, to suggest that the minister gave me an answer last week is drawing a bow of the largest size possible and he said it with a straight face too. So I congratulate the minister. My final question to the minister is, given the fact that this government has refused to provide, for example, in the merger of the QE II Health Sciences Centre, for pay equity within that corporation, isn't it reasonable for people in the province to expect that what the government has in fact done is dropped its contract compliance rule because it knows that it would be acting hypocritical to require companies that are doing business with the provincial government to act in a higher standard than the government itself is prepared to act towards its own employees?



MR. O'MALLEY: Well, once again, Mr. Speaker, I am not sure that this member wants me to answer his question. He just answered it himself. He indicated in his response that this is what, in fact, took place, that this was dropped. I indicate to him that is not necessarily so simply because he indicates it so, but what I indicate to him is that we will have to, not only examine all of our documents - we purchase not only through the Department of Supply and Services, but on a wide spectrum through a number of departments, from a multitude of companies, an innumerable number of companies - to give him absolutely correct answers and definitive answers, I will answer him through the (Interruption) If the honourable member cares to look in the procurement policy, he will see a minority preference component in that procurement policy so he has not read it.



If the honourable member should like to read the policy and wait to receive an appropriate answer, he will get an appropriate answer. In the meantime, I would advise him to stop his political posturing in this House and carry on business in a proper way.



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Hants West.



HEALTH - OXYGEN: FREE - PROGRAM



MR. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Health. In 1991, in the City of Halifax and Halifax County, an oxygen program was initiated and, as a pilot project, at the behest, I believe, of the Nova Scotia Lung Association. That program has been very successful, and I believe about roughly 50 per cent of those who require an oxygen concentrator are actually receiving help under this program. The problem is that we have a two-tiered system. Once you get outside of Halifax County, if you have the same problem you cannot get the oxygen concentrator.



I have heard the minister speak loudly and eloquently about our Home Care Program and the fact that it is a program that is going to be available to all Nova Scotians no matter where they live in this province. Now, surely, Mr. Speaker, home oxygen must be a part of that Home Care Program because without that, people either have to move back into the city, pay for it themselves if they have sufficient money, or else go to hospitals. My question to the minister is, when will he give due consideration to opening the program right across the province to all those who have a need for this very essential machine?



HON. RONALD STEWART: I believe this was a question that was asked last week, in terms of our work regarding home oxygen provisions. I can assure the member opposite that we are working very hard, and the staff to both find funding and to find a mechanism and logistical way to provide for this very much-needed drug to those who need it so badly.



MR. RUSSELL: Well that is fine and dandy but the problem is that, for instance, I have in my county a woman whose mother and father have been living in the county and they were unable to look after themselves. The father is about 85 years old and he has a problem walking and the mother has emphysema and requires oxygen. They were living in Halifax County. They couldn't look after themselves so they had the option of going to a nursing home, which would have cost the province money, but, instead of that, this woman was quite delighted to have them come and live with her in Hants County, outside of the city.



Now they are stuck with a bill, and I believe it is something like $380 per month, which they must pay - I believe that is the figure - for an oxygen concentrator. The mother and the father don't have the money because all they have is the old age assistance, and their daughter and her husband haven't got the money to provide the oxygen concentrator. Now they are phoning me to try and get them into a nursing home to look after the two of them. This is ridiculous when, for the sake of $380, we are going to have to take them into (Interruption) Well the member over there he is . . .



MR. SPEAKER: Please, come to the question, please.



MR. RUSSELL: Will the minister, in specific cases, provide assistance to those people who have a case whereby they can save the province money by having this machine provided?



DR. STEWART: Mr. Speaker, the honourable member opposite is expressing in real terms the same frustration that I felt when, in fact, the Home Care Oxygen Program originated in 1984, not in 1990. It was put into place by a hospital as a pilot project. There are other oxygen programs throughout the province, in several hospitals, usually run from hospitals. This was a program that in looking at it over the last year, I wondered why it was not corrected. This is an essential drug. This has existed for 15 to 16 years in the province, this kind of hit-and-miss provision of services.



We are committed to changing that. The honourable member's frustration is no less than my own. I would suggest that we have to have a sustainable program that corrects some of the inefficiencies and problems that exist in the way this program grew across the province in a rather topsy-turvy way. I would reiterate to the honourable member opposite that I share his frustration and I also share his dedication to particular needs of the patients who are so, as he said, this is a basic requirement of life, oxygen. In fact we are looking very closely at how we can do this in a readily accessible way across the province, in a way that is equal and treats everyone according to their need, rather than according to their locale.



MR. RUSSELL: I appreciate what the minister is saying but the problem is that the problem is there today. If it was only one case, that would be fine, but I have three cases right at the moment, people who just cannot afford to have oxygen in their home and they are going to have to do something. As I say, they can either move into the county or they can go into a nursing home or go into a hospital.





So what is the delay? You are going to save money by putting that program in place. Will the minister give these people some assurance that within the next three months there will be that program available outside of the Halifax area and across the province?



DR. STEWART: Mr. Speaker, I will try to work in 3 months what was done in 15 years. I mean, please be fair on this, we are attempting to do this (Interruptions) No, we are correcting the mistakes of the past, that is what we are doing. We are not living in the past; we are correcting the mistakes and the negligence of the past and there is a difference in that.



Suffice it to say, I will pledge to work as hard as I can over the three month period, over the one month period or two day period, to try to realize this very essential program, this essential program to the needs of both the honourable member's constituents as well as all people across the province.



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



HEALTH: SPECIALISTS - RECRUITMENT



MR. GEORGE MOODY: Mr. Speaker, my question through you, too, is for the Minister of Health. I believe it was on November 8th that I asked the minister if he could provide me a list of specialty areas that had been recruited in the last three or four months, as well as the estimate of the number of Nova Scotians without a physician. At that time the minister said that he would respond within a week. If my memory is correct, November 8th, we are probably over a month now.



I wonder if the minister could inform the House today, actually, when I might get that information; this year, or when would he be providing it?



HON. RONALD STEWART: Again, Mr. Speaker, I will provide the information requested, as soon as humanly possible to do. I would also suggest, too, that the repetitive questioning on the part of the honourable members opposite, in terms of specifics, may in fact have a better way of being dealt with, and that is with a regular report that the Ministry of Health produces and should have been producing for many, many years, in which the bench-marks that are set to evaluate the standards would be reported on, both to the honourable members of this place and to the citizens of Nova Scotia.



MR. MOODY: I have no difficulty in delay of time, as he talks about. But, Mr. Speaker, through you to the Minister of Health, why make the commitment if you are not going to do it? It is going to take a period of time, I understand that, but to tell me you are going to give it to me in a week and then don't and then make up excuses later, that is not acceptable.



On November 15th, I brought to the minister's attention concerns that were expressed to me about the one home care worker in Kings-Annapolis on weekends to cover that area. The minister said he would look into the matter and he advised about that situation. Again, a month has gone by, and I wonder if the minister has made inquiries and what were the answers that he found to that inquiry?



DR. STEWART: Mr. Speaker, I believe that was in reference to the coverage of home care services on weekends. I was assured that during the weekends, in low volume areas, people are on call and available. I think that is the answer to the particular question which I thought I had relayed to the honourable member. But, in any event, there is coverage there. Again, there may be in low volume areas times in which people may be on call, but not actually sitting at a desk or visiting around, depending on the need.



MR. MOODY: Mr. Speaker, my final supplementary, I think last Thursday I asked the minister about the Emergency Health Services Nova Scotia and the trips, and the minister was kind enough today to respond, in part, with some of the answers to that question. The minister indicates several jurisdictions have been visited by the Emergency Health Services Nova Scotia members; I wonder if he could indicate how many, who they were and what the costs were for those trips? If he could get that information for me, it would be quite helpful.



DR. STEWART: Mr. Speaker, the question is noted and it will be acted on.



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



HEALTH - AMBULANCE SERVICES: VEHICLE PROVIDED - FORMULA



MR. GEORGE MOODY: Mr. Speaker, through you to the Minister of Health, I wonder if the minister could tell this House if there are new arrangements for paying ambulance operators who will have one of the new government vehicles? In other words, is there a different formula for paying operators who have the new vehicles provided by the government, versus those who have their own vehicles as they have had in the past?



HON. RONALD STEWART: Mr. Speaker, there are different formulae being worked on in terms of various arrangements that might be made. It is not, however, incumbent upon the operator to have or not have a new vehicle; it does not depend, as I understand it. However, there may be, in terms of a payment for the vehicles, new licensing or new requirements in that regard. I cannot be certain of the details, but it may well be.



MR. MOODY: Mr. Speaker, I am well aware of how the ambulance operators were paid in the past and the formula that was used. Given the fact that the minister has indicated that there may be a new formula with those that are using the new ambulances that were provided by the government, I am wondering, Mr. Speaker, through you to the Minister of Health, if he could table or provide me with the details of the formula funding that has been changed with those that are having the new ambulance, would he be prepared to provide that information?



[3:45 p.m.]



DR. STEWART: Yes, assuming there would be any change in the regulations or in the arrangements for funding, certainly, that information could be readily available. I can, in fact, telephone at the moment perhaps to reply as of today and write a short note, if necessary, or formally present it at a later time.



MR. MOODY: I would be pleased to get that information from the minister. If there is no change, then I would be happy with that. If there is a change, I would like to know the details.



My last supplementary. I think the minister is aware that some time ago the member for Pictou West raised the question, the concern about the ambulance operators using these new vehicles in the countryside. Has there been any follow-up with his department with regard to the use of these ambulances and, in actual fact, have they found them to be adequate, safe and all those things, for the areas that they now have been used in by operators in the province? I wonder if the minister has an update on that, whether or not there has been any report by the ambulance operators to his department on their use? If there is, could he provide that, as well?



DR. STEWART: I believe the comment by the member for Pictou West was based on a letter to the editor in the local newspaper which, again, was responded to, I think, adequately by a letter to the editor contradicting the opinion of the person who had written the other letter, an equally qualified, I believe, ambulance operator.



We certainly have taken very seriously the initial letter and had, in fact, discussed this with a large number of people now using the vehicles, and they find the vehicles to be totally acceptable. In fact, we have received compliments which we have relayed to the manufacturer on these. I, myself, will be discussing the whole issue of design and other elements of the ambulance service as early as this evening and we will again discuss the specific. We have had no, even approaching, complaints; in fact, it has been the opposite.



MR. SPEAKER: A new question.



The honourable member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley.



TRANSPORT. - HIGHWAY NO. 104:

WESTERN ALIGNMENT - PROPOSALS REVEAL



MR. BROOKE TAYLOR: My question is for the honourable Minister of Transportation and Communication.



The minister has made it abundantly clear to me in this Legislature and all Nova Scotians that he has no intention whatsoever of providing Nova Scotians with a copy of the proposals received from the private companies relative to the Highway No. 104 western alignment. I believe he stated something along the lines that his government is of the belief that it could jeopardize the development of the project.



Mr. Speaker, I have submitted an application to the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act in hopes of just being able to determine what the minister finds so attractive about the successful proposal. Whereas the minister will not provide us with copies of the proposals, would the minister at least commit to providing me and the Opposition, with the RFP form that had been filled out by the three companies, the outline of the RFP?



HON. RICHARD MANN: The honourable member has a great deal of difficulty understanding process, that is painfully obvious. I have not seen the three proposals that came in. What I received was the report of the selection committee. The selection committee chose the consortium that was selected to negotiate with and those negotiations are ongoing.



The three proposals in accordance with the RFP that was issued remain on the table for 120 days. In the event that negotiations fail with the company, the consortium that was selected, it would seem to me natural that we would move on to the second group. To make those public at this time would seem to be a foolish endeavour when negotiations are in the middle. With respect to the RFP, I believe the member can probably walk across the street and pick it up at the Government Bookstore.





MR. TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, I don't think it is quite as easy as walking across to the bookstore and picking up the RFP because it is my understanding that the RFP was amended some 36 hours before the deadline. I wonder if the minister would confirm as to whether or not that is true?



MR. MANN: I certainly have no knowledge that it was, Mr. Speaker. I don't know that there were any amendments to it. I believe there was an addendum made in August when there was an additional $26 million returned to the SHIP agreement and a directive given that there was to be a specific location for the toll collection system.



MR. TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, the minister will know that RFPs and tenders conventionally require that a 10 per cent bid bond be posted. I wonder if the Minister of Transportation and Communications can tell me, relative to Highway No. 104 western alignment, can the minister advise the House and all Nova Scotians if the bid bond has been or will be required. Bear in mind, the bid bond, in the case of this project, would be somewhere around $10 million. Can the minister tell me whether or not that bid bond will be required?



MR. MANN: No, Mr. Speaker, obviously not. The security will be obtained through the negotiation process because, as the member himself said, this is not a conventional tender.



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



FISH. - DFO (MIN.): BILL C-115 - RESPONSE



MR. JOHN LEEFE: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister of Fisheries. Two days ago, the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans tabled in the House of Commons Bill C-115. This bill will, irrespective of its final form when it passes third reading in the House of Commons and subsequently passes at the Senate, restructure the fishery both in the Atlantic and the Pacific such that it will never be the same again. The changes are bound to be exceedingly substantial. They involve such matters as management, as licensing, the erection of what one might term, a court of Star Chamber whereby the normal law courts are circumvented in favour of quick guilty decisions. There are all kinds of things in this bill which should be of grave concern to Nova Scotians and especially to Nova Scotians who are involved in the fishery.



My question to the minister is this, is the minister prepared to give consideration to asking the Government House Leader to create a select committee with the express purpose of thoroughly reviewing Bill C-115 and coming forward with a consensus which will represent the Nova Scotian point of view which then can be provided to the minister with respect to our interface with Ottawa on this particular matter?



HON. JAMES BARKHOUSE: Mr. Speaker, I thank the member opposite for bringing this matter forward because just two days ago this bill was tabled. I have just received a copy today myself. I have not had an opportunity to peruse it but I understand there will be extensive consultation provided by the federal government in this particular matter. I would certainly take it under advisement to consider the option of having a select committee and considerable opportunities will be given through the House of Commons Fisheries Committee of which the federal member for Dartmouth is chairman. I believe it may confuse the issue, but I would like to take it under advisement, consult with officials to see whether it would be a matter of good practice and principle to have two different committees function at the same time with regard to the same particular bill.



MR. LEEFE: Mr. Speaker, I know that I don't have to convince the minister how absolutely essential it is that this House, on behalf of all persons who are interested in the fishing industry strive to put forward a united Nova Scotian view with respect to the impacts of Bill C-115. I would ask the minister, while he is giving consideration to my suggestion that a select committee be created, if he would immediately seek opportunity to meet with the Chairman of the Standing Committee on Resources and discuss with that chairman the possibility of that committee serving as a vehicle to engender all-Party discussion and consequently, all-Party support for a Nova Scotian point of view?



MR. BARKHOUSE: Mr. Speaker, I think we could discuss this with the Chairman of the Resources Committee.



MR. LEEFE: Mr. Speaker, it is absolutely essential that Nova Scotia's voice be heard and be seen to be heard. I ask the minister if he will commit himself to the industry in Nova Scotia, through this House, to appear before the appropriate committee in Ottawa when hearings are held on this bill to present the Nova Scotian point of view directly to that House of Commons Committee?



MR. BARKHOUSE: Mr. Speaker, yes.



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Hants West.



ENVIRON. - BEVERAGE CONTAINERS: TAX - AMOUNT



MR. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of the Environment. I would like to talk about refillable and non-refillable containers again. I know everybody is getting bored with refillable containers but my question to the minister is simply this, the other day I said to him, is the 10 cents per beverage container going to be applied at the retail level or the wholesale level and the minister answered, the wholesale level. I said, fine, and I sort of forgot about it. I would like to ask the minister again today, has he changed his mind as to whether that deposit, tax or whatever you want to call it, is going to be applied at the wholesale level?



HON. WAYNE ADAMS: Mr. Speaker, I am not sure which question he wants answered. Have I changed my mind? The answer is no.



MR. RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, if indeed as the minister says he hasn't changed his mind, that means that the deposit is going to be applied at the wholesale level. Yet, a document from the Department of the Environment, the regulations that go along with the recycle, refund and what have you, simply says in Paragraph 14(2), "No retailer shall fail to collect from a person who purchases a beverage sold in a redeemable container, the cash deposit prescribed in Section (1) for each container purchased by the person and to show the amount of such a deposit on a cash receipt.". I would take it from that that the Department of the Environment now is going to have the retailer collect that deposit on the beverage container? (Interruptions)



MR. ADAMS: Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the member for the question again. I think he asked that two weeks ago and in his analysis, the question was, would there be any burden on the consumer to pay up-front and of course, when you pay for the beverage, you will pay the 10 cent deposit. The administration of that is taking place at the wholesale level, which we answered two weeks ago and I maintained today that I hadn't changed my mind. The honourable member read the part of the regulation that refers to that. It is all very clear to me and I am sure to many others who are calling in anticipation of the program. I see no need to create fear, it is pretty clear, you buy your product, you pay your deposit. It is a refundable deposit that you get back when you go to the depot. The operators have asked that they not be charged with administrating, that that be done at the wholesale level and that is being done. So that concludes the answer to the question.



MR. RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, look, please. I know that people think this is rather a joke but it is not a joke. You go in now and you buy a case of pop at Shoppers Drug Mart and you pay $4.50. When this minister or that other minister, the Minister of Finance is finished with it, it is not going to cost you $4.50, it is going to cost you $6.15 and that is a big difference.



AN HON. MEMBER: That's very interesting. Where's your question?



MR. RUSSELL: I can't ask a question because the minister doesn't know the answer.



MR. SPEAKER: If the honourable member can't ask the question then that is the end of it.



MR. RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, my final supplementary is to the Minister of the Environment. Will he go back to his deputy minister and ask him to lay out on a piece of paper the cost at the wholesale level, the cost to the retailer, how much GST will be paid on the deposit - because the minister told me they were going to charge GST on the deposit - and what the retail costs will be to the consumer and what the costs will be of that $1.20 that he is adding? You can read that tomorrow in Hansard when you get the answer.



[4:00 p.m.]



MR. SPEAKER: I think that is an all-time record for the number of questions included in one question.



MR. ADAMS: Mr. Speaker, I wasn't sure whether it is Question Period or Jeopardy. Perhaps if he asks me the answer, I will give him the question. (Laughter)



I think what the member is really looking for is what we already supplied and we will do it again. The information is rather clear, straightforward. Perhaps a ministerial order would return all the information but it is all in the regulations. Really, I am at a loss as to how to further explain what has been explained.



MR. SPEAKER: Very well. A new question, then.



The honourable member for Halifax Atlantic.



HEALTH - PROVINCIAL HEALTH COUNCIL:

MANDATE - INTERIM APPOINTMENTS



MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, I would like to direct a question through you to the Minister of Health. Back in 1990, there was a bill passed in this House entitled An Act to Establish the Provincial Health Council. I raised some questions and some concerns a few weeks ago with the Minister of Health about the fact that a number of vacancies have existed in the Provincial Health Council for the past two years without being filled. After the last executive director left, that position was not filled on a permanent basis and, in fact, the term of the executive director is about to lapse at the end of December 1995.



I would like to ask the minister if in light of the fact that the vacancies have not been filled, the fact that we don't have a more permanent executive director position established, has he made the decision, in fact, to dismantle and get rid of the Provincial Health Council?



HON. RONALD STEWART: Mr. Speaker, we are not dismantling anything. We are reconstructing the structure that will be put in place to fulfil the reform in the province, particularly making it responsible to the regional and community health boards and we are also expecting that report to come along from a task force that is working on research and evaluation of the system.



MR. CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, I know it is somewhat tedious to remind this government about the promises and pledges they made in the 1993 election campaign, but one of those was that they endorsed the recommendations of the Royal Commission on Health Care which included the establishment of the Health Council. The minister has also indicated his endorsement of the Blueprint Committee Report which, in fact, recommended the expansion of the role of the Provincial Health Council.



Mr. Speaker, I say again that vacancies have existed in the Provincial Health Council for up to two years. The executive director position is about to lapse and I want to ask the minister if, in fact, it is his intention for the Provincial Health Council to continue, why will he not at least make interim appointments to the Provincial Health Council and . . .



MR. SPEAKER: All right. That is the question.



MR. CHISHOLM: . . . make a further extension to the executive director position so that that Health Council can fulfil its mandate?



MR. SPEAKER: All right. Thank you.



DR. STEWART: The simple answer, Mr. Speaker, is because that mandate which is very narrow in the bill, as the honourable gentleman opposite knows, would not fulfil the mandate we need to carry out the reform in the major restructuring of the health system.



MR. CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, I would like to table for the members of this House a letter that has come from the Public Health Association of Nova Scotia, also raising concerns about the apparent lack of commitment by the minister to the Provincial Health Council, that asked this minister, will he, in fact, not ensure that the Provincial Health Council will be able to continue with this function, at least until the task force is able to report? I indicate that this document is signed by some 12 to 15 different organizations and individuals that are involved in community health and health care issues in the Province of Nova Scotia.



I ask the minister in my final supplementary if, in fact, he will ensure that the Provincial Health Council will be able to carry out its mandate, that he indicates perhaps is limited, but, nonetheless, they need the resources, they need the people on the council, they need an executive director in order to do that. Will the minister ensure that that Provincial Health Council is given the resources to carry out its mandate?





DR. STEWART: Yes, Mr. Speaker, as the honourable gentleman opposite knows, I will give assurance to him and to the Public Health Association of Nova Scotia that the mandate that was given, through a very narrow piece of legislation, to an entity called the Provincial Health Council, will be expanded into much greater, I think, importance and a much greater depth, in terms of providing for the reform in Nova Scotia.



I pledged to this several times and I will carry that out, as I am given leave to do by the Blueprint Committee and by the mandate of this government.



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



AGRIC.: MARITIME HARNESS RACING COMMISSION -

CONFLICT OF INTEREST



MR. BROOKE TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, I would like to direct my question to the honourable Minister of Agriculture and Marketing. The minister will know that the Nova Scotia representative on the Maritime Harness Racing Commission is one Sandy Fraser from Dartmouth. The minister, I believe, would also agree that the Maritime Harness Racing Commission should be and must always be a fully independent and impartial body.



It has been brought to my attention that Mr. Sandy Fraser, the Nova Scotia representative on the Maritime Harness Racing Commission, owns several racing horses that compete in the Maritimes. If this is the case, Mr. Speaker, it would appear to me, and I am sure that most Nova Scotians would agree, there is an apparent conflict of interest.



I am asking the Minister of Agriculture and Marketing today if he would investigate this apparent conflict of interest and determine if it exists?



MR. SPEAKER: Well, I trust that question doesn't cast aspersions on persons outside the House.



HON. WAYNE GAUDET: Mr. Speaker, I want to first of all inform the honourable member that the Nova Scotian representation on the Maritime Harness Racing Commission has two members on that commission. Sandy Fraser is one of them and the other one is Sandy MacPherson, so we have two representations on that committee.



I recall that once the Maritime Harness Racing Commission was brought in place, to replace the Nova Scotia Provincial Exhibition at the time, there was a list of candidates that had been circulated to people who were involved in the industry. The feedback that was received at my office from these individuals, the industry was very supportive of both of these gentlemen. So I find it sort of interesting today that all of a sudden there are questions asked about these two individuals.



I recall quite well that both of these individuals, because I didn't know either one of them at the time, but I wanted to make sure that the industry did have an input on whether or not we should go ahead and appoint these two gentlemen. I can certainly inform all members of this House, Mr. Speaker, that the information that was brought back to me personally, the industry did support both of these candidates.



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Pictou West.



ERA - AMHERST TOURIST BUREAU: CORRESPONDENCE - REPORT



MR. DONALD MCINNES: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister for the Economic Renewal Agency. I want to go back to the ramp business, at the entrance to Amherst again. The minister announced recently that he wasn't going to do the ramp, that exit into the tourist bureau. That is his decision but I don't think anybody in this House would disagree that the entrance that was there, prior to the twinning, was one of the nicest entrances of any province in Canada, not that I have travelled all the roads but I understand that it was really a beautiful entrance.



I did ask the minister in House Order No. 51, which was submitted on November 17th and was approved by the Legislature on November 22nd, asking for all the correspondence from your department and New Brunswick. I wonder if the minister has had an opportunity to have his staff pull that correspondence so that he could table it here today?



HON. ROBERT HARRISON: Mr. Speaker, I think the question is, are we going to respond to the House Order as indicated that we would and the answer is yes. I am sure my staff is working on that.



MR. MCINNES: Mr. Speaker, the minister says that he is going to respond. I know I am sure he has a very efficient staff over there. I know in my little office, if I ask for a letter they can have it for me in half an hour or even less, but at any rate, we do look forward to that correspondence. I know the minister has said that he is going to upgrade the tourist bureau and I appreciate that. I still would like to know what the minister suggested perhaps was going to cost $1 million or $2 million to have this done.



The people of Amherst, the Mayor of Amherst, are still concerned and they are very thankful that you are going to upgrade the tourist bureau, but there is still concern about why we cannot have this entrance to the bureau to cut across that road, up the bridge and you are right into the tourist bureau. It would seem very simple to me, I am not an engineer, but I say to the minister would he please table or give me the facts as to how much it is going to cost and why New Brunswick would not cooperate with this?



MR. HARRISON: As indicated, previously, as he points out, the staff is diligent and I am sure they are working at the House Order with all due expedience. The question of whether the community is involved. The community has supported the announcement of the upgrade of the tourist bureau and that there is in fact a Community Consultation Committee in place that will ensure that all future decisions take into account community needs.



As to the qualification of engineers, it seems to me that the whole issue of the tourist bureau, its present location, could have been solved much more easily by some engineering that would have taken place when the highway was twinned in the first place, however, we will ensure that tourist bureau maintains the highest calibre welcoming to the people of many states and provinces and international destinations to the Province of Nova Scotia.



MR. MCINNES: Mr. Speaker, I do not want to prolong this question and go on and on about it, but it is the most important entrance, it is the biggest entry of any place in Nova Scotia, the Amherst entrance. I know the road and I have travelled that road and I have come down and missed that entrance myself. I travel that quite often, and I just say to the minister, would he please dig out the correspondence. I do not understand how it is going to cost - and I am serious about this - I do not understand how it would cost $2 million to fix that up. Would the minister please try and get the information for me and the people of Amherst?



MR. HARRISON: Mr. Speaker, he is asking for two things here. The renovations to the tourist bureau is what we are talking about in terms of the cost and there will be a tender for that and that tender will be released. He is also asking for information as to why it was jurisdictionally difficult to create an off ramp through a bridge and on into New Brunswick. I would only say once again that decisions that we have inherited from the previous government that affect debt, that affect all of the legacy of the mess left by these people, one of those, where was the design of the entrance to Nova Scotia when these people twinned the highway in the first place?



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Queens.



FISH. - DFO (MIN.): SALMON HATCHERY - WITHDRAWAL



MR. JOHN LEEFE: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Fisheries. The federal Minister of Fisheries and Oceans and the Department of Fisheries have given every indication that they intend to get out of the salmon business. I wonder if the minister could inform the House if he has had communication from them with respect to withdrawal by the federal government from salmon, particularly from the salmon hatchery business?



HON. JAMES BARKHOUSE: The member opposite brings up the fact that the federal government has declared in its budget restructuring, but there is the concern about the involvement of the salmon hatcheries they have in their inventory that they would be devolved to some other agency, whether it be the provinces or to other agencies such as salmon associations.



A recent letter from the LaHave River Salmon Association, there was correspondence with the federal government outlining a request about the plan. Through that agency, the federal government has stated that by the year 1999, they hope to have devolved the ownership of the salmon hatcheries to some organization or community of organizations or in corporation with the province. At that time, through the next four or five years there will be the process of consultations with the province and the salmon associations.



[4:15 p.m.]



MR. LEEFE: The Nova Scotian Department of Fisheries operates two very fine trout hatcheries, one at Frasers Mills in Antigonish County and the other in my own constituency of Queens. I wonder if the minister could advise whether the provincial government is prepared to give consideration to incorporating the major salmon hatchery on the Mersey River into the provincial system if the federal government walks away from it?



MR. BARKHOUSE: I think there is an opportunity through the consultation process and in cooperation with the salmon sports industry to consider that as an option. Certainly at the present time with the financial restructuring of our government and the problems requiring the expenditure of great sums of money that we have made a strong commitment to maintain both trout hatcheries. Presumably, if there is an opportunity through consultation with industry and support of the sports fishing industry, perhaps further endorsement stamp or some manner in which funds could be directed to a salmon hatchery, it is possible that that could be done. But there are four salmon hatcheries in the province and some consideration would have to be given to all the hatcheries within this province.





MR. LEEFE: Just this past year, the government increased the fee for salmon license for residents from $15 to $25. I wonder if the minister would indicate if the government is prepared to turn over that $25 license fee to any non-governmental organization which may be prepared to operate the present federal salmon hatchery in Nova Scotia?If, in fact, there is no salmon hatchery operating, I would have to assume that the minister will be prepared to waive that fee as those who are fishing would get no value for their $25 license. I wonder, could the minister help us out there?



MR. BARKHOUSE: Well, in fact, the program, as I say, the federal government is speaking of devolving these hatcheries by the year 1999, so there is a considerable amount of time yet to be given to us for discussions with both industry and the government. I think it would behoove me, at this time, to make any sudden decisions or give any misdirection as to what this government is doing.



I think we will consider every option. We have had a number of discussions with the Regional Advisory Committees in the last few weeks and there will be in the spring again further discussions. The Atlantic Salmon Federation is in constant contact with our staff and I believe this an option that will be explored and there is some possibility that some opportunity like this could be made available to the industry. Thank you.



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



ENVIRON. - LANDFILL SITES: BLACK COMMUNITIES - RECOMMENDATION



MR. JOHN HOLM: I would like to direct my question through you to the Minister of the Environment. Early in the 1990's the report of the Nova Scotia Advisory Group on Race Relations recommended that lands near black communities throughout Nova Scotia not be considered for landfill sites, incinerators or composting facilities, given the long history in Nova Scotia of insensitive planning and development decisions. It gave a couple of examples, of course, with the Africville dump here in Halifax, the Crichton Avenue dump in Dartmouth, et cetera. The minister, himself, had said that there was no way that a landfill was going to be developed in the East Lake area.



The government's response of the day in 1991 was that the government endorses the principles of this recommendation. My question to the minister, is that also the policy of this government? Does this government also endorse, in principle, the recommendation of the principle that was made by the Advisory Group on Race Relations?



HON. WAYNE ADAMS: I thank the member for the question. It is one that I want to do some further research in, but I do recall back at that time, it was a resolution that was adopted by municipalities, which I was a member of at that time. I will look and see where it has gone from that point to now.



MR. HOLM: This was not an endorsement by the municipalities I am talking about. I am talking about an endorsement that was given by the Government of Nova Scotia at that time on October 15, 1991, in the Nova Scotia Government's response to the report of the Nova Scotia Advisory Group on Race Relations. The reason why I raise that is that right now I understand that the Town of Antigonish is involved in a bit of a dispute with the County of Antigonish about cost-sharing formulas for the disposal of waste at the Beech Hills landfill site, which is five kilometres outside of Antigonish. Because of that dispute they have asked the Municipality of Guysborough if it would be willing to expand the current landfill that is there to accept the waste from the Town of Antigonish. That would place it very close to the black community of Lincolnville.



My question to the minister is, quite simply, if this government supports the principles, and it is a principle that all Parties in this House had endorsed as well, with regard to East Lake, will the minister now advise both Guysborough and Antigonish that it is not going to be acceptable to expand that landfill near the black community of Lincolnville so that it will not be taking the waste from Antigonish?



MR. ADAMS: Mr. Speaker, of course, it is well known that municipalities are responsible for municipal waste disposal in landfill sites, but certainly I will go beyond today and look at how it does affect our legislation or vice-versa. Today is not an appropriate day for me to respond until we have done the research but I will undertake to get back to the House and to the member with the answer.



MR. HOLM: Mr. Speaker, the minister will know that yes, indeed, although the municipalities have a part to play, sites have to be approved by the Department of the Environment. The minister was prepared to act quite decisively with regard to East Lake. Well, to make suggestions, I would say, with regard to East Lake. It certainly had been the principles and policies of all Parties of this House.



My final question to the minister is because he hasn't responded, I understand, to the residents in that area who have written to ask that he reject that. When will he announce whether he will or will not permit the expansion of this landfill site in Guysborough, which I understand was built in 1974, has no liners, no treatment and there are even questions whether or not there may be some pollution getting into the ground water as a result of that? I would like the minister to advise when he will make that decision so that people don't spend money needlessly on doing environmental assessments and so on?



MR. ADAMS: Mr. Speaker, I want to let the member know he is wrong. We have not yet received any such letter from the residents asking for my intervention and we wouldn't because it is a municipal matter in that regard. This Minister of the Environment did not at any time make any references to East Lake as not a desirable location for a landfill site. We were not in this ministry, we were not in this government at the time when those undertakings were done by myself. I will say that we will respond accordingly to all of the requests that come from Guysborough County or any other county in Nova Scotia with regard to our assistance to their municipal waste disposal.



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Citadel.



ENVIRON.: BEVERAGE CONTAINERS - RETURN SYSTEM



MR. TERENCE DONAHOE: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister of the Environment, referencing the solid waste resource management regulations. The regulations define beverage as meaning a liquid intended for human consumption by drinking but does not include milk, milk products, soya milk or concentrates. Beverage container is defined as meaning a container which contains or has contained a beverage and was sealed by the manufacturer after the beverage was placed in it. When I go over to the Resource Recovery Fund Board provisions in these regulations, I see that the board shall administer and operate a deposit refund system for non-liquor beverage containers. So I presume we go back to the definition of beverage container.



My question to the Minister of the Environment is this, will he confirm that beverage container and the beverages contained therein, as contemplated by these regulations, will include such things as soft drinks, all juices, flavoured drinks, bottled water, ciders and things such as apple juice, orange juice, grape juice, prune juice and so on? Will he confirm that it would include such a range of beverages?



HON. WAYNE ADAMS: Mr. Speaker, a lot of those ingredients that the member raises sound familiar. I would like to have the whole list from him so that I can confirm that they are, indeed, included. They do sound familiar but I would rather have the list specifically, so I can specifically answer with a yes or a no.



MR. DONAHOE: Mr. Speaker, the supplementary is very simple; since the minister stands and says that the litany of beverages which I have just given him sound familiar, it makes it clear to my mind that the minister, in fact, has a list and the minister and the ministry have a list of what is, in fact, a beverage, as contemplated by these regulations.



My question is, does the minister have a list that describes clearly the beverages which are contemplated to be swept up by these regulations?



MR. ADAMS: Mr. Speaker, the minister may not have the list but I am sure my ministry would have lists that are relevant.



MR. DONAHOE: Will the minister give me an undertaking to table that list here in this place tomorrow?



MR. ADAMS: Mr. Speaker, I didn't conclusively say there was a list, I said my ministry may have lists that are relevant to that and, if they are, we will.



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Queens with a minute and a half remaining.



ERA - CHIGNECTO PARK: CONSTRUCTION GRANT - CONFIRM



MR. JOHN LEEFE: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister for the Economic Renewal Agency. I was very pleased to read recently that Chignecto Park is going to move forward and I think all of us take great pleasure in that and we should all want to congratulate Walter Rector and Stan Spicer and Wilf Carter and Ruth Allan and others who have been involved in that project for some time and my good friend across the way, of course.



I understand that $200,000 was granted by the Economic Renewal Agency to assist in capital construction of that park. I wonder if the minister could confirm that for the House?



HON. ROBERT HARRISON: I can't confirm the exact amount here but I could provide that for him. But yes, we played a role in the creation, that day, of that announcement, that very welcome news of economic development in that area.



MR. LEEFE: I wonder if the minister could indicate if it is the intention of the government to provide operating funding for that park once it does open?





MR. HARRISON: The usual matter of eco-tourism locations is that it is startup funding, based on certain federal-provincial cooperative agreements. But again, I will be glad to provide the details. It is not my understanding that there is operating funding but I would be happy to supply the kind of detail that the honourable member is looking for.



MR. LEEFE: Is the minister prepared to extend the same opportunity to my constituents with respect to Thomas Raddall Park?



MR. HARRISON: If we have an involvement in that park, I am not familiar with the details of that.



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



The honourable Minister of Justice.



HON. WILLIAM GILLIS: Mr. Speaker, this is to provide information for matters brought up in Question Period. I want to table for all honourable members a copy of a letter to me from Brenda Shannon, Clerk of the Executive Council. It says as follows: "This is to confirm that Order in Council 95-944", which is contained on Pages 4 and 5 of the order that the member for Halifax Citadel talked about, "dated December 12, 1995, in its entirety, was approved at the Executive Council meeting of December 7, 1995. Attached is the original of Page 402 of the order, signed by His Honour the Lieutenant Governor.".



That was signed today. It was overlooked, the two pages were attached together. Well, whatever, Mr. Speaker. I simply table it and that is the information.



MR. SPEAKER: The documents are tabled.



OPPOSITION MEMBERS' BUSINESS



MOTIONS OTHER THAN GOVERNMENT MOTIONS



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable New Democratic Party House Leader.



MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I ask that you call Resolution No. 804.



Res. No. 804, re Women - Violence Against: Action - Urge - notice given Dec. 7/95 - (Mr. J. Holm)



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Atlantic.



MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, I will be participating in the debate on the resolution, Resolution No. 804, on behalf of our caucus. The resolution reads, if I may, Mr. Speaker:



"Therefore be it resolved that this House urges that action to address violence against women, including spousal assaults, be given urgent government attention and action at all times, not just after another Nova Scotia woman has been killed by a man with whom she has had a close relationship.".



Mr. Speaker, the issue of violence against women is an issue that, unfortunately, has been with us for some considerable time. In fact in an interview in a recent newsletter from the Family Violence Prevention Initiative, the Executive Director of the Law Reform Commission of Nova Scotia, in an interview said that we have been studying this issue and we have reports on this issue over the past 15 years. The question was, why, if we have all this information and knowledge, do men still abuse? The response was, we let them.



[4:30 p.m.]



Mr. Speaker, it is difficult for me, perhaps, as a man to be able to express the devastation that is being wreaked upon women in this country every single day as this scourge continues. "Every day in this country women are maligned, humiliated, shunned, screamed at, pushed, kicked, punched, assaulted, beaten, raped, physically disfigured, tortured, threatened with weapons and murdered. Some women are indeed more vulnerable than others, but all women, simply by virtue of their gender, are potential victims of violence. Moreover, the violence is often directed at them by those whom they have been encouraged to trust, those whom they are taught to respect, those whom they love. Violence against women cuts across all racial, social, cultural, economic, political and religious spectrums."



The question is asked, why is it that this situation continues? Do Canadians, do Nova Scotians not have a real perception of the enduring repercussions of violence and how the experience and fear of violence affect the daily existence of women? Results of a recent survey conducted in Nova Scotia, by the Family Violence Prevention Initiative, show that 95 per cent of adults are, in fact, worried about family violence, and that includes violence against women. But the problem is clear, that our legal and social systems have, for so many years, tended to view family relationships and violence towards women and families as private and, therefore, they are somehow an event the state or society, at large, does not feel involved in. But I think it is important that all of us recognize that violence must be understood as a continuum that ranges from verbal insults, through physical blows, and unfortunately, as we are all too well aware of late, to murder.



The most troubling aspect of violence, and our inability to effect change with respect to violence against women, is the whole question of some of the myths and misinformation that surrounds violence against women. One of the most pervasive is the myth that we term, sometimes, the blame the victim myth, that places responsibility, in this case for violence, on the victim rather than on the perpetrator, that myth that says women provoke, tease, taunt men, invite their sexual advances, and then push them away, that women annoy, disobey and confront, thus leading or contributing to the violence they encounter. They are wearing the wrong clothes, they have had too much alcohol to drink, they have walked alone at night. You, Mr. Speaker, and all members of this House have heard this kind of misinformation, this kind of abysmal explanation of violence against women.



I think it is important that all of us, Mr. Speaker, recognize that these types of analyses must be rejected, by placing responsibility for violence on women, on women themselves is absolutely wrong, no matter what their actions, appearance, demeanour or behaviour are. Such assumptions detract, I would suggest, from useful work and from the formulation of solutions, from the very formulation of solutions. I would hope that when all "Canadians realize the staggering levels of violence against women across this country, that they too will reject the individualized or specious explanations.".





But, the lack of advance that we have made unfortunately, causes me much concern. In 1993, Mr. Speaker, it has been reported that one-half of all Canadian women have experienced at least one incident of violence since the age of 16; that almost one-half of women reported violence by men known to them; and one-quarter reported violence by a stranger. These are terrifying and extremely troubling statistics. But I think it is important for us, it certainly is important for me as a man to listen to the words of women who are facing violence, who have faced violence, in order to actually consider the context in which we discuss actions by government.



Mr. Speaker, I want to report to you and to all members of this House, a few cases from a report by The Canadian Panel on Violence Against Women in 1993 entitled Changing the Landscape. I would like to quote.



"[My husband] isn't making the support payments. On a few rare occasions, he takes [our son] for a visit. He tells [him] - he's only 4 years old - that if I don't go back with him, he'll never come and pick him up again. [Our son] cries, and I can't stand this situation. I am trying to continue on with the father because of my child, but it's humanly impossible.



. . . he strangles me and takes me into the garage and tells me, `Now you are going to die.' He has one hand on my throat and he pulls back the other one to slap me in the face; with his fist in the air, he looks me straight in the eye and he says, `You want to die?'



The nightmare started right after the birth, which was very hard. He left me completely on my own and wouldn't let my mother help me. The fridge was completely empty most of the time, and he would not let me ask my parents for help. My weight dropped to 83 pounds. When I asked my parents to give me some essential things for the baby, he kicked me in the coccyx, which had been injured by the particularly hard delivery. He took malicious pleasure in making a mess, in the bathroom, for example, where he spilt water all over the floor and told me I could wipe it up whenever I wanted. He ripped out the telephone line to cut me off from all assistance and potential help.



My husband struck me on our honeymoon. He killed our first child by kicking the four-month child out of my uterus. My doctor asked me what did I do to make him so mad, our Anglican minister reminded me that I had married for better or for worse, the lawyer wanted to know where I would get money to pay the fees, and my mother told my husband where I was hiding.



I called the police after my husband hit me. The officer arrived and said to me, `Would you mind shutting up and sitting down.' He spoke to my husband even though I called him to help me.



During the 27 years that I was married, I was continually abused both physically and emotionally. Twenty-two assault charges were laid against my husband, a few were dropped, but in most cases he was convicted. He never went to jail - he was merely sentenced to varying degrees terms of probation. I left him many times and returned many times. I had no job and did not relish a welfare existence. To date, four years after I left him, there is still court action pending. My husband will probably win. He always has. Emotionally I am gaining strength although I am still afraid. Financially, I have nowhere to go but down. The money from the farm will not last long. I am too tired to fight anymore. Maybe some day I can go to sleep and never wake up.".



Mr. Speaker, the United Nations Declaration defines violence against women as, ". . . any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or private life. The Declaration describes the persistence of violence against women as a manifestation of historically unequal power relations between men and women, which have led to domination over and discrimination against women by men and which prevented women's full advancement. Violence against women is one of the crucial social mechanisms by which women are forced into a subordinate position compared to men.".



Mr. Speaker, I know that this Minister of Justice is committed to dealing with the question of violence against women. The Family Violence Prevention Initiative has put together, I think, an important program, a program that I think will go some distance to providing education, providing information to people, in the justice system and outside the justice system. I think that is an extremely important thing to be done.



Mr. Speaker, this minister, as have previous ministers, has made a commitment to fighting this terrible scourge on our society, but we still have the problem. I believe seriously that part of the problem is that our government, while they are recognizing the problem, while they recognize perhaps the urgency of the problem, are unfortunately not putting their resources to the solutions to the problem. That, I think, is why I talk here on this resolution and why the member for Sackville-Cobequid, the Leader of the New Democratic Party, talks about the word, urgency, to deal with this problem.



I call on this government, I call on the Premier and each and every member of the Executive Council. Give this Minister of Justice the resources in order to take this matter on, Mr. Speaker, to make a dent at the very least in this problem of violence against women because only with the resources are we going to be able to resolve this problem. Only with the resources are we going to get the staff people, are we going to be able to provide the training, are we going to be able to ensure that our police, prosecutors and judges are sensitive to the problem and are able to, in fact, enforce the problem.



The problem is real. The problem is growing. We must do something about it. The urgency has never been greater. I call on this minister, on the Premier and all members of the Executive Council to put the resources to resolving this problem and finding solutions. Thank you.



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Justice.



HON. WILLIAM GILLIS: Mr. Speaker, I want to ask the honourable member if he would be kind enough to share the document he read from with all honourable members at some point. I don't need it this instant, but it was a very moving document and I think it would benefit all of us to look at it.



Before I turn to some notes I have made, I just want to say - he was asking about a commitment - we have made a commitment of government personnel, all departments working together and the community, transition houses and many others and I will point that out. In terms of putting our money where our mouth is, a government that is cutting back expenditures 10 per cent in our department, 12.5 per cent with the leadership of Premier Savage, we found $760,000, more than $0.75 million to aid in the fight against domestic violence. So I want to go on from there. (Applause)



The Leader of the New Democratic Party, in the resolution we are debating, has referred to a leisurely schedule that the government has adopted. I want to review what has happened while we have been working on our Framework for Action Against Family Violence. In April of this year, I tabled in the Legislature two reports on family violence, the Tracking project and the Spousal Homicide Study, information that is important for us to have.



I announced at that time that I would submit to the House a detailed Framework for Action Against Family Violence. That has been prepared and it has been tabled in this House and I am going to table another copy today for the information of members. In that month, in April, I established a Family Violence Action Committee with representatives of all components of the justice system and I am just going to read that for all honourable members so they will know who was involved here. It is those people who are directly involved.



[4:45 p.m.]



Myself, as Chair; the Deputy Minister of Justice, Mr. D. William MacDonald; Judy Hughes, Co-ordinator, Family Violence Prevention Initiative; Chief Vincent J. MacDonald, President, Nova Scotia Chiefs of Police Association - he is now the past-president; Honourable Elmer MacDonald, Chief Judge of the Provincial Court; Assistant Commissioner Ralph Falkingham, RCMP "H" Division; Ian Wheeliker, Co-ordinator, Project Second Chance from Sydney, a men's group; Irene Smith, Avalon Centre; Paula Simon, Department of Justice; Robert Barss, Policing Services; Douglas Keefe, Department of Justice; Bill Twaddle, Department of Health; Brigitte Neumann, Women's Directorate; Walter I. Yeadon, Nova Scotia Legal Aid; Shulamith Medjuck, Family Violence Prevention Initiative; Karen O'Hara/Bea LeBlanc, Transition House Association of Nova Scotia; Barbara Jones-Gordon, Family Violence Prevention Initiative; Katherine McDonald, Nova Scotia Advisory Council on the Status of Women; Honourable Robert Ferguson, Chief Judge of the Family Court; Martin Herschorn, who was, at that time, the Acting Director of the Public Prosecution Services; Deborah I. Conrad, Canadian Bar Association; Kit Waters, Department of Justice; Thelma Costello, Department of Justice; Kelly McKnight, Department of Education and Culture; Judy Jackson, Department of Community Services; and there were several others from the Department of Justice.



These are the people and the mandate of that committee which is a powerful committee and I am going to table a copy of the members so all honourable members will know who they are. The mandate was to assist in the development of the implementation of the Framework for Action Against Family Violence. I want all honourable members to know, Mr. Speaker, that committee met on six occasions in April, May, twice in July, September and November. That whole committee was not officials put off in a corner. These were senior people taking time, right through the summer, to work on this matter in which time and through which time the Framework for Action was discussed. I am tabling now a copy of the Framework for Action right there.



The Action Committee acknowledged that the issue of family violence was extremely complex and the strategy designed to address the issue must be comprehensive. The elements of the Framework for Action are as follows and I am just going to run through them quickly, Mr. Speaker:





1) Procedures for responding to family violence. A pro-arrest, pro-prosecution policy was adopted and is not being implemented. Of course, it is not finally being implemented. That will happen when we get our training program for 2,000 justice workers in place. We are going to have our co-ordinator in action on January 2nd.



2) Training. We are going to have a comprehensive training program which will be delivered to all police, crown attorneys and justice workers - and that is very important - so they know what the situation is and how crucial the situation is and how we must try to help potential victims and protect them from being battered and from criminal acts.



3) Victim support. Services to victims of family violence must be enhanced. We must do better to support those victims. We must provide victims with more support if we expect them to help the justice system to prosecute perpetrators successfully. It is fine to have a pro-prosecution policy, if you do not offer support it will not work.



4) Inter-agency co-ordination, Mr. Speaker. We need linkages between various justice and community partners. They must be identified and mechanisms to see that there is adequate communication.



5) Accountability. To ensure there is compliance with the policy, the response to family violence will be monitored on an ongoing basis and the results reported to the public. That must be done.



6) Advocacy. The criminal justice agencies will participate in public education initiatives to enlist support of the public for family violence prevention. We must make domestic/family violence as unacceptable as drinking and driving. It is a mind-set and we are going to drive it home, Mr. Speaker. I tell you that.



Mr. Speaker, on September 6, 1995, the Cabinet approved the Framework for Action Against Family Violence and a budget was provided of $760,000, more than $0.75 million. We went from there to some questions about the appointment of the Co-ordinator of the Family Violence Program, but we moved ahead right after the money was approved. The advertisement for the director appeared in the Civil Service bulletin on September 14th. We received 72 applicants. They were screened immediately. They were winnowed down to six candidates which were approved and recommended by the Department of Human Resources on October 19th.



The interviews of the six candidates were conducted at the end of October, Mr. Speaker. I think this is very important for all honourable members to know. The members of the selection committee included representatives from my department, the Department of Justice, separately from the Public Prosecution Service and the Transition House Association of Nova Scotia. They were involved. The appointment of the new Family Violence Program Coordinator, Raymond Cusson, who is a highly qualified individual with great experience, was announced earlier today and the first day after New Year's Day, January 2nd, he will be on deck and in action.



There has been action on a number of other fronts throughout the fall. As I indicated, one of the significant components of the framework is enhanced victim services. The Family Violence Action Committee was consulted regarding the most appropriate way to determine how victim support should be enhanced. How do we deliver victim support? The action committee gave us the view that inter-agency committees, the community committees should be asked for input as to the best way we might deal with the specific needs of the communities.



In our view, this recommendation of the action committee should be accepted. It would obviously have taken less time if we had moved right ahead and provided victim services through our own victim services organization but we wanted to consult based on the advice we received from members of our committee, so we opted instead to develop community consultations. In the month of October, we carried out consultations on the delivery of victim services. The Departments of Justice and Community Services and the Family Violence Prevention Initiative conducted consultations in five locations throughout the province, spread from western Nova Scotia through to Cape Breton.



These groups were presented with information regarding the framework of action and were asked to submit proposals for improved victim services. I want to emphasize that of the total budget of $760,000, a total of $472,000 will be provided to communities to establish services to support victims.



We have asked the community groups, transition houses and others to submit their proposals by January 5, 1996. Community groups throughout this province have responded enthusiastically to the process and they were very pleased to have been asked for their input. If there has been any delay in the implementation of improved victim services, it is simply as a result of the request of the community groups for sufficient time in order to develop meaningful proposals. In other words, we listened, we heard and we are getting those proposals in.



As I move toward concluding my remarks, I want to emphasize that a meaningful, comprehensive strategy to address family violence cannot be developed over a short period of time. It takes time to do it right. I have tabled copies here. Anybody else that wants a copy of the Framework for Action Against Domestic Violence is certainly welcome to it. It is a comprehensive document developed by a who's who of related groups in Nova Scotia, not only the Department of Justice: transition houses, the Advisory Council on the Status of Women, Avalon Centre, all the various agencies that are interested, the men's treatment centres. This type of consultation, I want you to know, does take time but we think it is important.



We have been committed throughout to receiving community input and that is why we took the time to go out and have the hearings. We heard from a group that was organized by the Advisory Council on the Status of Women and invited them to a meeting of the action committee and heard their views. They are giving us input too, through Katherine McDonald of the Advisory Council on the Status of Women. We are getting input from there as well as the community consultations across the province. We were asked by the community agencies to allow sufficient time for input. That input has been received, the meetings have been held and I think we will get a much stronger program because of the cooperation and because we have worked together.



There is no question that this is a very difficult problem and there are too many tragedies. The abuse of one woman, one criminal act against a woman or a child is an act too many. We all together, as members of this House and as a government, must do everything possible. As I said at the beginning, we have put up our resources, we have inter-governmental cooperation, we worked with the private sector and the community organizations and the community groups to try to do the best job we can. We are going to be training 2,000 justice workers in the courts, corrections, and the prosecution service; we are going to help provide information to the Bar Society. Any information we have is available to the judiciary. We are not going to try to tell them what to do, but any information we can provide, we are certainly going to be a resource, Mr. Speaker.



So in closing, I just want to emphasize that the government has been diligent in its efforts to family violence and will keep working endlessly, with the support of all my colleagues, all of the departments and especially Premier Savage, who is a firm supporter and has worked on this since he was elected Premier. Thank you.



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Citadel.



MR. TERENCE DONAHOE: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to have an opportunity to address a few remarks to Resolution No. 804, which has, as its operative clause: "Therefore be it resolved that this House urges that action to address violence against women, including spousal assaults, be given urgent government attention and action at all times, not just after another Nova Scotia woman has been killed by a man with whom she has had a close relationship.".



Mr. Speaker, I could mention Janice Faye Johnson, mother of two, murdered by her husband; Catherine Lee Doyle, mother of two, murdered by her husband of 15 years; Gail Laura Naugler, school bus driver and mother of three, shot and killed by her ex-boyfriend from whom she had separated one month earlier; Barbara Baillie, mother of five, strangled by her husband of 24 years; Yvonne Margaret Donovan, mother of two, stabbed 27 times with a kitchen knife by an intimate partner; Barbara Anne Parrish, shot by her common-law husband; Bernice Bridget, mother of one, stabbed approximately 43 times by an intimate partner; Emma Anne Paul, mother of three, strangled by her boyfriend; Marilyn Rose Sabean, personal care worker and mother of two, shot by her husband; Margaret Lorraine (Mills) Halnuck, mother of two, murdered by her estranged husband; Deborah June Harvey, mother of two, murdered by her estranged husband; Daisy Jean Jefferson, mother of three, murdered by her estranged husband; Beatrice Marie Wright, mother, stabbed by common-law husband; Anne Marie Mason, mother of three, murdered by former boyfriend; Shirley Irene Bain, murdered by husband; Catherine Darlene Isenor, mother of three, shot by her husband; Terralyn Ann Fitzgerald, mother of two, strangled and stabbed by her intimate partner; Kimberly Singer, mother, shot by her husband: Leah May MacQueen, teacher and mother of two, shot by her intimate partner; Janice Clements, mother of two, shot by her estranged husband.



That list which I have just recited, Mr. Speaker, was part of a compilation of the Advisory Council on the Status of Women document, since 1979, of assaults and homicides of women in Nova Scotia. It is very distressing to say the least, and especially the notes included regarding the past histories of abuse, the possible reasons for the murders, and the fact that the man in question, in many cases, committed suicide after the murders took place.



I feel more than a little sad to rise this evening to debate an issue that has been debated so many times before. Today this resolution forces us to raise to the fore the issue of violence against women in the shadow of two very recent intimate partner murders: one a double murder-suicide in Yarmouth County, and the second a murder with an attempted suicide in Sydney. Another incident in Hants County, Mr. Speaker, while it was not as prominent in the news because the accused did not succeed in his crime, happened as recently as a few days ago, November 22nd. The man is accused of attempting to murder his estranged wife and of uttering death threats.



These all fall in the wake of the 6th Anniversary of the murders at L'École Polytechnique in Montreal, where 14 women engineers were killed, and we marked the memorial of that event just a few days ago. Even after the awareness generated by the anniversary of the killing of those 14 women since 1989, Mr. Speaker, we still, unfortunately, notwithstanding the words of the Attorney General and Minister of Justice just a moment ago, seem, frankly, to be too far from a solution to what is tantamount to a very serious plague in our society.



The snapshot I gave was simply of the Province of Nova Scotia. Most of us are still at the point, unlike those of the bigger cities in United States whereby a community is completely shattered by such a crime. I might say as editorial comment that I had occasion to read a document published by the university which my daughter attends and I was absolutely astounded to read that in the United States of America, now, violence against women has reached the point whereby estimates for the year 2000 is that 85 per cent of the women in the United States at some point through their lives will be the subject of serious physical violence. God forbid that that should become the life and the reality in the Province of Nova Scotia.



[5:00 p.m.]



However, the report, Changing Perspectives, a case study of intimate partner homicides in Nova Scotia, states that according to Statistics Canada in the late 1990's, two women in Canada were being murdered weekly by their husbands, lovers, common-law spouses or ex-partners. The maddening part of all of this is that there are, in many instances, warning signs. Recent cases here in this province indicated clearly that there were very loud warning signs: threats, abuse, stalking, harassment.



The aspect we have not yet figured out is how to take these signs and ensure that the ultimate consequences are prevented. There seem to be so many cracks through which those, such as the women I listed, seem to fall as far as the protective safety net is concerned. Those are, in my view, again notwithstanding the important remarks of the Minister of Justice, those are cracks in our justice system, in the support systems, in the safety net, in government assistance and programs to provide support and protection to these women.



In a Law Reform Commission report for Nova Scotia, it was estimated that women are assaulted roughly 30 times before they call the police. Well, I am a lawyer by profession and I understand something about, or at least I have a lawyer's sense and some might say that is no sense at all, but I have a lawyer's sense of the importance of individual rights. But I really believe it is time for us in this province to put the flesh on the words. If we are going to say zero tolerance, let's mean zero tolerance.



The men in so many cases, I know it is not every case, but the men in so many cases are sleaze and scum and they have no moral fibre at all and are not prepared at all to pay any attention to any degree of authority. I say that it is time for us to protect the women and the children of the Province of Nova Scotia. Their rights and their protection and their lives and their safety come well ahead of the scum-balls and the sleaze who are out there threatening them and, in far too many cases and I listed so many, are prepared to abuse and, indeed, murder them. That just simply cannot be allowed to happen.



So, I just simply want to make one plea of the Minister of Justice. I have many more remarks which I could make. The Minister of Justice indicated just today that Mr. Raymond Cusson, whom I do not know, has been hired as interestingly as part of the implementation of the Framework for Action Against Family Violence. He is going to be responsible for developing and implementing a training program for justice workers and to assist in implementing the new policies related to the framework for action.



I heard the Minister of Justice say a moment ago and I was an Attorney General of this province and I understand the importance of what he said, but I want to comment on it. The Minister of Justice said something to the effect that it is not for him to tell the judiciary what to do and I agree with that. The Minister of Justice should not be telling the judiciary of this province that the sentence in this case should be x number of years and the sentence in that case should be x number of years and this guy should get bail and this guy should not get bail and so on. But it is, as far as I am concerned, particularly in the light of the absolute scourge and plague which faces us in the Province of Nova Scotia and seems to worsen by the day, it is not at all inappropriate for the Minister of Justice to convene meetings immediately with every member of the judiciary of the Province of Nova Scotia, at his urging, and that the Minister of Justice of this province sits at the end of the table and he says, in concert with the Chief Justice of Nova Scotia and the other various other Chief Justices and Chief Judges of the Province of Nova Scotia, ladies and gentlemen we need your help. We need your understanding, we need your sensitivity, but we need your iron fist in the velvet glove because we need the judiciary, in my opinion - and I am sure I may receive some calls from friends of mine who are in the judiciary - to be far tougher than they have been in the past, relative to matters of violence against women and children. That will, in part, as well, be the product of what I also believe is so vitally important.



We need this minister to make sure that before, and it cannot go longer than the middle of January, I know Christmastime and the next couple of weeks, things will slow down in terms of governmental activity, I am scared to death, however, that this next couple of weeks is traditionally a very difficult time for many women and children in this province. I am scared to death that without careful attention and some directive prior to Christmas, by the Minister of Justice to the police authorities of this province, that we may find, God forbid, further violence against women and children through the Christmas season which, psychologically, for many, unfortunately, in this province and around the world, seems to be a very difficult time and violence is often the result.



I plead with this minister that before he leaves, whenever he leaves, to return to his family for his Christmas break and we all go to our families for our breaks, that this Minister of Justice does not leave before he communicates with the Chief Justice and he convenes the kind of meeting that brings all of the judges in Nova Scotia together not later than the end of January, and that the Minister of Justice also convenes and communicates with everybody involved in the prosecutorial staff that the same kind of meeting is held with the prosecutorial staff.



Finally, and perhaps as important as all of that because it is the starting point, the police authorities of this province have to understand that they will be supported at every turn by this Minister of Justice and by everybody else connected with the law enforcement system of this province, every single police officer, and boy oh boy, I travelled with them a few times and I know the difficult role they have. It is a frightening reality for a police officer to walk into a place where he or she knows that there has been or may be ongoing or current or may immediately or potentially break out a violent situation. But the police officers need help and the most important help they can get is that they will be supported at every single turn, that they really do what the minister says the policy of the government actually is.





My former colleague, a former Attorney General, the honourable Joel Matheson, as this Minister of Justice knows, issued a directive. I issued a directive prior to that to the police force in relation to violence against women, and family violence, and this minister has done good work in that regard and I sincerely mean that and I sincerely applaud him. But I plead with him to act on the momentum of the statement which he makes today. I ask this minister not to allow even a few days more to go by without him making the kinds of communications that I have now described.



The police have to understand that they are in control and that they will be supported at every turn and that they will do what the policy suggests that they do, that they make sure the charges are laid, even if the woman and the children who are the unfortunate victims of the violent situations are hesitant, concerned or, indeed, even on occasion, as so often happens, say, no, I do not want charges laid; lay the charges against the perpetrators of the family violence. Because if we allow it to go much further, if we allow it to go another year, another two years, another who knows how many years, I am scared to death that the statistic that I read in my daughter's university's publication, that 85 per cent of the women in the United States will, during the course of their lives, be subjected to serious physical violence, that that could conceivably become the reality for women in the Province of Nova Scotia. I don't believe anybody in this place wants anything like that to happen at all.



I want to make these requests and pleas of the Minister of Justice. In the course of doing that, I want seriously to say to him here today, that I think he has done considerable good work but I really believe that that good work has to become a top priority. I mean, we just simply can't have the likes, if I may say so, of Judge Lewis Matheson making remarks from the bench that he made. They were chauvinistic, they were gender biased, they were anti-women and when the media reports the thing, they reported by suggesting - I haven't got the exact reference - but that maybe it was a few feminists who were upset.



I think every member of this Legislature was upset, and if they weren't, they should have been. I certainly know I was and I am concerned that if we have men and women on the bench who can utter remarks like that, that perhaps this man who is uttering death threats and walking around perpetrating assault, and the judge can sit there and say well maybe the poor woman rattles easily, that is offensive in the extreme and I for one say in my place that it is time that the man was thrown off the bench and that the Judicial Council got serious about it so that kind of comment could never ever be made.



I realize my time is up. I get carried away. I spent 12 years in the practice of law and almost all of my work was child abuse work and some of this means a great deal to me. I apologize, Mr. Speaker, for taking so much time. I applaud the minister's current efforts. I applaud his announcement of today and I plead with him, please bring those people together, not later than the end of January and let's really make a serious assault that has immediate impact. Thank you.



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable New Democratic Party House Leader.



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



PRIVATE MEMBERS' PUBLIC BILLS FOR SECOND READING



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable New Democratic Party House Leader.



MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 61.



Bill No. 61 - Gaming Control Act.



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



MR. JOHN HOLM: Mr. Speaker, the bill that I am moving this afternoon is actually very similar to a bill that was introduced in the Province of Ontario as a Private Members' Bill by a member who was not of the government side. It was a bill that in the Province of Ontario received the unanimous consent of all members of that House and not only did the debate on the bill proceed very quickly, members of the Ontario Legislature - that means the New Democratic Party that was in power, the Liberal Party and the Conservative Party that were both in Opposition - agreed to have that bill on the same day, which was in 1992, go to third reading so that it could receive Royal Assent, where they were showing real cooperation in trying to address what was seen as a real problem there.



Mr. Speaker, it is a problem that we are also hearing about here in Nova Scotia but it is one that we have not yet addressed. I don't bring this forward today as a partisan issue. In Ontario it was addressed completely in a non-partisan issue. It received all-Party approval and I am bringing the concerns forward here today in the hopes that same kind and spirit of cooperation can be received here.



The bill is very simple. It is a very short bill that I am proposing. What this bill would do is prohibit a person under the age of majority, in other words, 19, from participating in a game of chance or a lottery scheme. Secondly, it would prohibit a person in charge of a gaming premise or lottery scheme from permitting a person under the age of majority to play a game of chance in a gaming premise or participate in a lottery scheme. It is very simple, not complicated, and I don't think it is particularly controversial. It is simply stating that nobody shall themselves partake and nobody who is in control shall permit somebody under the age of 19 from participating in a gaming activity or a lottery scheme.



[5:15 p.m.]



Now, we are talking in this House all the time about wellness. We are talking about addictions. We are talking about putting in place proper programs to help to treat those who are addicted. The government is, quite honestly, to be given a great deal of credit for the efforts they are making to restrict the sale of tobacco products to children under the age of 19. Because most people who do smoke, become addicted to that, under the age of 19. I know that I was a very young person when I first was getting involved. People under the age of 19 do not always have the rationale, to think forward to the consequences of their actions. Gambling can, indeed, become addictive, as can other forms.



Now back when we were having a debate on the Gaming Control Act that was before this House, the government did accept some amendments and some of the amendments did, for example, prohibit, the government agreed, anybody under the age of majority to be in the casino. Under the gaming regulations, Mr. Speaker, there are, under Schedule `A', regulations that have to do with the age. It says, for example, under the regulations, that:



No licensee, its employees, servants or agents shall permit a person under the age of 19 to have access to gaming premises, areas where video lottery is being played or play a video terminal. No licensee, its employees, servants or agents shall fail to take necessary steps to prevent a person under the age of 19 from having access to the gaming premises where a video lottery is being played or play a video lottery. No person under the age of 19 shall seek access to the gaming premises area where video lottery is being played or play a video lottery.



But you know, Mr. Speaker, when one looks at the gaming regulations in the Province of Nova Scotia, or if you actually look, also, at the regulations of the Atlantic Lottery Corporation, there are not regulations that prohibit those under the age of majority from buying lottery tickets or engaging in lottery schemes. One of the programs and we brought this forward not just quite honestly because we are trying to think of what bill or what matter one could introduce, but we brought it forward as a direct result of complaints, of concerns, that were brought to our attention by parents - we heard also from some educators - but parents, particularly, who discovered that their children, teenagers, were playing the Sports Select and were involved, actually, in playing these games of chance.



The Sports Select and, quite honestly, I don't know very much about it. I don't follow sports closely enough that I would want to wager on my knowledge of what outcomes of professional games are going to be. But even in their notice, Mr. Speaker, they say that this is a very popular game with young adults and teenagers are young adults. This gives the participant, the customers, to use their skill and knowledge to predict the outcome of up to 60 sporting events each week, where they are betting anywhere from $2 to $25 on these sporting activities.



Now under contracts with the Atlantic Lottery Corporation, it is my understanding, the corporation's contract states that they are not supposed to be selling to minors. But the point is that there is nothing that gives the Gaming Control Commission the abilities and the powers to be going in to investigate complaints or concerns where a retailer may be actually selling these kinds of tickets or allowing this kind of gambling to those who are under the age of 19.



The Atlantic Lottery Corporation actually works for us. It must enforce or it cannot allow to be sold or to be done that which the Province of Nova Scotia, by our regulations, say are to be the rules and regulations that are governing games of chance and schemes in this province. I think that the commission should be given the added powers. I think that it should be made very clear to those retailers who have these products for sale or have the Sports Select in their premises, to be made very clear to them that they are not permitted to allow minors to participate in any of those activities.



I was listening to a newscast just the other day where they were talking about smoking. Several of the retailers were saying that one of the greatest things that has happened in terms of reducing the sale of cigarettes to minors was the fact that there are very stiff penalties that can be imposed upon them for selling those products and that the signs are now posted and retailers take that very seriously. Surely to Heavens, we want to have no less stringent regulations here. We want to prevent underaged persons from being involved in gambling.



The bill that is before us, I am not so naive as to think that unless we have received prior agreement from all members of this House, particularly with the government side, that the government is going to adopt this legislation. But I would hope that the minister, and I don't know which minister may or may not reply, will, in fact, indicate a willingness on behalf of the government, if not necessarily to adopt our bill but to at least state that the government will consider introducing their own legislation if they don't want to have this particular piece of legislation passed.



I might add that certainly the debate on this bill goes back some time. The concerns with underaged gambling have been brought forward to the attention of this House by other speakers and, in particular, by the former member for Halifax Fairview, when she raised this matter with the Minister of Finance, as the Minister responsible for the Nova Scotia Gaming Corporation. The minister had at that time indicated that the government of course would ensure and would look into these kinds of matters and be ensuring that they would be being addressed in the gaming control regulations. That hasn't happened. I am sure it was an oversight. I am sure it wasn't something that the government is trying to promote, that is underaged gambling and lottery scheme participation by minors.



Hopefully, and I say this in all sincerity because I don't think, maybe I am wrong but I don't honestly believe, that there is a member of this House, regardless of what political affiliation they may be involved with, who would say that they support and want to encourage those who are not of the age of majority participating in these kinds of gambling activities. I don't honestly believe that there is anybody in this House, regardless of their political stripe, who would say that they want that to happen.



So hopefully we will at least have an agreement in terms of the general principle and I would, as I said earlier, hope that the government will indicate through their speakers a willingness if not to adopt this bill which, of course, we could this afternoon by unanimous consent, hopefully they will make the commitment to bring forward legislation to prohibit minors from being involved in lottery schemes and also taking part in games of chance and also for those who provide those not to be able to do so to those who are minors, or else face a very stiff penalty. Thank you.



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Housing and Consumer Affairs.



HON. ELEANOR NORRIE: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise in my place today to enter into the debate for second reading of Bill No. 61, a Private Members' Bill entitled, An Act to Amend Chapter 4 of the Acts of 1994-95, the Gaming Control Act.



First of all, I would like to say that this government takes tremendous pride in the legislative and the regulatory regime that it initiated to control gaming in the Province of Nova Scotia. I have to tell you, Nova Scotia is the most highly regulated, the most tightly controlled gaming jurisdiction in Canada. For decades, public gaming activity was not given the attention it deserved until this administration, when it came to power, took the initiative to draft comprehensive legislation to ensure honesty and integrity in all games of chance and in all lottery schemes here in the Province of Nova Scotia.



The days of operating such activity without strict controls are over, and that is what has gone on here over the past decades, as I have said, and I think there has been some experience in at least the past 15 years where there was a need to have stricter controls put in place. No longer will Nova Scotians tolerate public gaming without weighing all the areas where gaming may impact in the province. The member opposite, who endorses this bill and sponsors it, sounds very sincere in his efforts to address the issue and I do appreciate that.



Surely the member who sponsors this bill, his memory is not so short as to forget the process which led to the proclamation of Bill No. 120, known as the Gaming Control Act. Our province has produced legislation and regulations to deal with all types of gaming in this province and these gaming laws were not introduced without adequate debate and without public disclosure.



To refresh the member's memory and indeed all members of this House, I want to give you an outline of the activity that followed the introduction of this bill. The Act was introduced and received first reading on November 8, 1994; second reading was on November 21, 1994 and it went on to the Law Amendments Committee on November 22, 1994, cleared Law Amendments 16 days later on December 8, 1994; and received Royal Assent on February 6, 1995. Part I, that part that deals with the gaming corporation was proclaimed on February 15, 1995 and Part II, that part that is regulatory and is arm's length from government was proclaimed on April 4, 1995.



As minister, I am confident that we have mechanisms in place to administer and regulate gaming in this province. This government appointed the Nova Scotia Gaming Control Commission to administer the Act and administer the regulations as well. I am confident that that commission is performing and enforcing all aspects of their responsibilities.



With respect to the Leader of the NDP's amendment to the Gaming Control Act dealing with Section 100, which reads, "No person under the age of majority shall play a game of chance . . ." in a casino, I would like to make the following observations. These gaming laws were not drafted and passed without careful deliberation, without forethought and without public scrutiny, and those were coupled with three months of debate that we will all remember long through our lives, the three months of debate that went on this House on the Gaming Control Act. All regulations made pursuant to this legislation were publicly vetted to provide all Nova Scotians with an opportunity for input.



I would like to provide the House of Assembly with information on how this matter is already addressed. If we look at the purpose of the Act, at the very beginning of the Gaming Control Act, it clearly states that the commission is to, "ensure that casinos and other lottery schemes are conducted in a socially responsible manner and that any measures taken with respect to casinos and other lottery schemes are undertaken for the public good and in the best interest of the public.". That is Section 2 of the Gaming Control Act.



As usual, the member's solution is impractical and may be unrealistic. It does not provide any room for discretion by the Gaming Control Commission. The members opposite must realize they cannot have it both ways. In recent days, we have had a discussion on the predatory pricing, as it has been called at the casino. The members opposite were insisting that we step in and bring influence upon the Gaming Control Commission in that instance. If that was in legislation, we would not be able to do that. Because it is under regulations we have an opportunity to look at those regulations, make recommendations for change. If it is in legislation as such, change is difficult. So the member cannot have it both ways.



[5:30 p.m.]



The objective of the Act is to achieve a balance between social responsibility and the public interest. That is what we as a government have to accomplish, unlike the members opposite. They do not have to worry about that balance of social responsibility and we will accomplish that. I will say this, Mr. Speaker, no one can argue with the principle and the intent of this amendment as it has been put forward, but I question the wisdom of entrenching it in legislation. I am not convinced that is the way to go.



I would like now to outline how we currently deal with this matter through our regulations. We do have seven sets of regulations that have been tabled in this House and accepted by the House.



The first regulations are the casino regulations. Under Section 20 of the casino regulations it states that no casino operator shall permit the following individuals to play games of chance in a casino, (a) individuals under the age of 19.



The video lottery regulations, Clause 10, I will say these again, as has been stated earlier, part of them. The first is that no licensee, its employees, servants or agents shall permit a person under the age of 19 to (a) have access to the gaming premises area where a video lottery is being played, or (b) to play a video lottery. Number two, no licensee, its employees, servants or agents shall fail to take necessary steps to prevent a person under 19 years of age from (a) having access to the gaming premises where a video lottery is being played, or (b) playing a video lottery. Number three, no person under the age of 19 years shall (a) seek access to the gaming premises area where a video lottery is being played, or (b) play a video lottery. Number four, a licensee shall require and the person so required shall provide to the licensee evidence of having attained the age of 19 where the licensee requires it. Also, no action shall lie against the licensee for refusing a person access to a video gaming device on account of the licensee's requiring such evidence or for refusing access to a video gaming device where the required evidence is not produced.



Regulations for the carnival and charitable gaming activities in the province under Section 17. Number one, no licensee, its employees, servants or agents shall permit a person under the age of 19 years to (a) have access to the gaming premises area where Monte Carlo, casino or millionaire events are held, or (b) to play money prize games. Number two, no licensee, its employees, servants or agents shall fail to take necessary steps to prevent a person under 19 years of age from (a) having access to the gaming premises area where a Monte Carlo, casino or millionaire events are held, or (b) playing money prize games. Number three, no person under the age 19 shall (a) seek access to the gaming premises area where Monte Carlo, casino or millionaire events are held, or (b) play prize money games.



Under the Atlantic Lottery Corporation that the member opposite referred to, I have here with me a sign that is given and is posted in all areas where these are sold, that you must be 19 years of age to purchase or cash lottery tickets. Under the policies of the Atlantic Lottery Corporation, which covers all of Atlantic Canada, I might add, those policies pertaining to retailers, which is a binding agreement which can result in the loss of the privilege to sell Atlantic Lottery Corporation products, it states that tickets shall not be sold to a minor under 19 years of age. The Atlantic Lottery Corporation also distributes to all retailers this sign and it must be posted within the retailer's premises.



Mr. Speaker, as you can see, the Act, the regulations and the policies deal with the participation of people under the age of 19 for gaming activities which are commercial gaming schemes. This amendment authored by the member for Sackville-Cobequid would dramatically and negatively impact on the fund raising efforts of many community organizations for which the majority are under 19 years of age. It would make it illegal for youth groups and clubs, whether they be sports teams, cheerleaders or school organizations to become involved in lotteries for fund raising purposes.



In my own community, and I suspect in all constituencies here in Nova Scotia, hundreds of charitable, religious and community organizations - and many of them work for the benefit of Nova Scotians who are under the age of 19 - depend on lotteries and bingos to raise money to support their many projects and their many programs. From personal experience, I can tell you that my own children who were involved in sporting activities, in high school band activities, were involved with ticket draws for grocery orders to raise funding for their travels, they were involved with selling tickets for teddy bears, dolls or paintings to raise funds for their own organizations for their own benefit.



The Gaming Control Commission issues in excess of 500 bingo licenses annually. That translates into thousands of bingo events throughout the province. Mr. Speaker, I say again, while no one can argue with the principle or the intent of Bill No. 61, one must deal and work in the real world. Surely the members can see that the intent of this bill is being addressed through the purpose that is in the Act, Section 120, through the regulations that have been adopted that are the strongest and the most severe that you will find in Canada and policies also of those who retail tickets for lottery purposes, as well.



Now I want to tell you, Mr. Speaker, the Premier of Nova Scotia and this government have placed confidence in me to deal with the Gaming Control Commission and its regulations, to do that with integrity, honesty and in a forthright manner in the legislation and the regulations that we have put in place. I believe that we are doing just that. A number of instances have arisen since this Act has been put in place and this is working. I want to say that I am very proud to be a part of a government that has, indeed, brought forward gaming regulations and an Act to control and regulate all gaming activities in this province. It was long overdue.



This government saw fit to bring it forward in order to control it and in order to provide good, honest gaming activities in the province for all Nova Scotians. And on behalf of not only those of us over 19, but also on behalf of raising funds for our youth in this province who take part in any number of activities through their schools where nowadays the governments cannot afford to necessarily put out the dollars to support it so they find these gaming activities an opportunity for them to raise funds to do so.



So with that, Mr. Speaker, I will yield the floor to anyone else who wishes to speak on behalf of this bill that was brought forward by the member opposite. Thank you very much. (Applause)



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings West.



MR. GEORGE MOODY: Mr. Speaker, I rise to participate in this debate, I think, quite disappointed. I would hate to think that anyone in this Legislature would be political about a real problem of gaming with children. I am a little disappointed that the government took the 15 minutes to pat themselves on the back and not really say look, maybe everything isn't perfect in our world, maybe everything isn't perfect that we pass, but maybe it is an issue that we ought to address because our children are our future.



I have read studies and I think others have of where the people who get addicted the easiest and the largest number, are young people. Mr. Speaker, we are not talking about the casinos. We are not talking about the VLTs. The minister spent some time talking about that. We are talking about sports ProLine tickets. I know when the minister talked, knowing that the minister and I attended Teachers College at the same time, that our children weren't faced with sport line betting. I mean it just wasn't available. You have to understand that the world is changing and changing rapidly.



I had a very bad experience in the hospital last weekend. The experience that I had was that a young boy was brought in next to me, in out-patients who was addicted to alcohol, 14 years old. If the police or someone hadn't found that young person, he would have probably frozen to death. But can you imagine? We say we have all kinds of rules and laws but this 14 year old, talking to the police, is addicted to alcohol. He got the alcohol from a Nova Scotia Liquor Commission store, somehow. We have got to understand that our young people are facing many problems.



As I listen to the minister, there are no regulations. I know there is a sign in stores that says about lottery tickets but I also know there are no regulations. I did a little bit of research, not a lot and probably you could say it is not accurate, I checked to see if young people are buying lottery tickets and I know they are. They say, well, we might win, we can spend a dollar here and a dollar there. Well, that is a start of maybe becoming addicted. I know they can't go to the casinos but wouldn't it be nice if we, as legislators, would recognize that maybe our laws aren't perfect regarding the purchase of lottery tickets or sports ProLine tickets. Wouldn't it be nice if we don't get political, that we say look, are there things that we can do to address the issue? If there are things we can do to the issue, it doesn't matter what side of politics you are on, the issue of our young people is so important we have got to get above that. We can't say that I have all the answers or someone else has all the answers. It is an issue that I believe has to be addressed. If it is such an important issue and government recognizes it, maybe some work could be done on it.



I can cite you areas where people have said that young people are at four times the risk of becoming compulsive gamblers than older people, experts have said that. Maybe it is an area we ought to have a look at. We had a committee that was so gung-ho about looking at VLTs and casinos in this province and I wondered sometimes if we kind of forget the youth of this province. The youth are having a terrible time in this province to get jobs, they are. They are having a terrible time to get education because of the cost. Here is an issue, gaming, that with youth is a very important issue. It is one that I think we ought to address and not just jump up and down and say, look, when you as government or we as government and this is what we are doing and we passed this. Couldn't we for once say, by gosh, the youth of this province are important.



If we don't really know if there is a problem with youths, maybe we ought to investigate. I know there are young people who buy the lottery tickets on a regular basis. Nobody asks for identification but if there person selling the lottery ticket - well they won't get much of a fine, I guess they will be told by the Atlantic Lottery Corporation that we could yank your machine and that sort of thing but really, legally, I am not sure what grounds Atlantic Lottery has to stand on. Even though we have regulations and legislation, think about it, for the casino down there, we know the laws, the rules, we know the underage can't get in. We know also that they can't go up and go at the VLTs in the licensed lounges because there are regulations and laws, as the minister has said, that clearly stop that. There are no laws or regulations on sports ProLine betting or the lottery tickets, absolutely none.



We talk about smoking and it being a problem with young people, which it is, can't we recognize in 1995, soon to be 1996, that in this day and age there are other things that are becoming a problem for young people that they become addicted to. Can't we recognize that the world is changing and that if we don't address these issues with young people because as you know, the older we get whether we are a smoker or gambler, later on in life, you can't immediately help somebody, it is more difficult. It is much easier to help our young people before they become a real problem. We put so much emphasis on making laws and think we are dealing with our older people that sometimes we forget about those people under 19. We are talking about people under 19 because that is what the law is for going into the casino, or going into the bars to use the VLTs.



The government has indicated in the new bill that it has the legal responsibility to monitor and report publicly to government on all problems associated with gaming in Nova Scotia. I don't think there is any one of us who doesn't recognize the fact that buying lottery or sports Pro Line tickets is gaming. There is no other way to describe it.



[5:45 p.m.]



You know, we had a piece of legislation brought in by the NDP and because it was not brought in by the government, the government is going to say, well, you know, there are other reasons. We cannot address it. We are going to defend ourselves. I don't think you have to defend yourselves. Of course, you have made some rules and regulations regarding casinos and VLTs and I commend you for it. But surely to Heavens, you can be proud enough, instead of patting yourself on the back and the Premier, to say, hey, maybe we could just go a little farther to protect our young people. Maybe there is more of a problem than we recognize. I am saying, if there is, then let's address it. It is part of our responsibility as legislators to address the very issues that come before us.



If you sell cigarettes to a minor in this province, and this government brought the legislation in and I support it, you can be fined up to $500. If you sell sports Pro Line tickets to a minor, you do not get a fine. You cannot be fined. There is no law to take you to court. There is no regulation to take you to court. I am saying to myself, excuse me, if there is something that is so important that we think should not happen, how come we don't regulate it. Do we ignore it? Do we say, well, if these young people want to spend their money this way, then that is fine. But I think that it is more of a problem than what we have recognized.



I don't think for one minute that the problem has been addressed. Whether or not the minister says we are going to cut out minors selling tickets for fund raisers, well, Mr. Speaker, I am not sure and I have to say she talked about bingo, I cannot remember back in my area a lot of minors selling tickets. Now a lot of groups do raise funds by various ways. Many times adults do sell tickets to support minor groups. I have no difficulty with adults buying tickets. I have absolutely none. I have bought them myself and sold them myself. So I do not have any trouble with that and many groups do that to raise funds.



But to ask minors to do that, I think we have to understand where this is all going and we have got to take this very seriously. If you do any reading on problem gamblers and how people get started, it's the same thing. You ask people how they got started smoking, how did they become addicted. They will tell you, and I was talking with an individual the other day and he said, what age did you start smoking. I said about age 19. Well, he said, you did not become addicted. More people who start at the age below 14, 15, 13, 16, all those ages, they become addicted. Many of those people cannot give it up.



The same thing applies to gaming. One has to understand that being addicted to alcohol, being addicted to smoking, that being addicted to gaming is absolutely no different. So we have to understand that if we are going to address this, let's not get political about it. Let's not argue amongst the Parties, let's really have a committee or the minister have a review and address the issue that is out there. Let's not close our eyes to it.



We are not helping one youth in this province because we are closing our eyes to the very issue this bill addresses. Maybe this bill could be done in a different way, but I would be happy if the government wanted to write a bill, as long as it addresses the issue of our young people. Because remember, they are our future. If we want to be sincere about this very issue, let's address it. Let's not say we have everything in place because, really, with regard to the two issues I talked about, we haven't. So, let's find out if there is a real problem and let's not just slough it off as if it is not important.



Mr. Speaker, I want to commend the Leader of the New Democratic Party for bringing this legislation forward, knowing that it will not go anywhere. But if it just raises the awareness. For those people out there who have children who are becoming addicted or spending all their money on these lottery bets on weekends and every cent they get their hands on, that if some way, some pressure can be put on so that we can address this issue like we have addressed the other issues for minors, because I do not see any difference between these people gambling with sports ProLine betting on a weekly basis or going down to the casino and putting their money in. I do not see any difference.



If we are sincere, I will await the government, because it really is up to them to make the next move. We know that no legislation can pass in here without the government bringing it forward. It would not matter what bill we recognize that the other two Parties might bring in, we are not going to get it passed if it is any kind of public bill. We are only going to get it passed if the government either says ahead of time we will pass it or they bring it in themselves.



I just want to say to the government, please remember this is an important issue, this is not one to forget, this is not one to say that has been addressed, this is an important issue that the government should look it. I would be pleased and I would be proud to support this kind of legislation and maybe in this form or a different form that addresses the issue of minors buying lottery tickets and sports ProLine tickets. I believe this government underestimates the amount of money that these young people are taking to spend on these kinds of dreams, because if you watch the ads for Atlantic Lottery, your dreams are going to come true, all you have to do is go buy the ticket. Young people see that ad, go buy the ticket, your dreams are going to come true. We all know the chances of your dream coming true are pretty small, but young people see those ads. They see them on a daily basis and they believe that by investing their money in these lottery tickets their dreams are going to come true. What happens is down the road they get into serious gaming and that is when, if they are not already addicted, they will become addicted.



I look forward to this government addressing the issue. Please do not just slough this off - remember, our young people are important and they are important to our future and I hope and pray that sometime in the new year this government will address an issue that is becoming more and more prominent in this province. Thank you.



MR. SPEAKER: There are approximately 3 minutes left.



The honourable member for Cape Breton South.



MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to get up and join in the remaining time on this particular debate. Right off the top I have to say that the member for Sackville-Cobequid when he opened his remarks debating this issue said that this was not a partisan issue.



Well, I can tell you that everything the NDP brings here is a partisan issue. That goes without saying and I will tell you why. The member for Sackville-Cobequid made reference to the fact that prohibiting those under 19 years of age was a problem with him in liquor establishments. That has already been covered by this government. There are regulations in place to do that and the member takes great delight in throwing around these kinds of statements in the House as if to tell the world that there are no regulations for this or we are not doing that kind of thing.



He talks about games of chance in his remarks, about the problems with the games of chance in this province, that we have people who are addicted to gambling. Naturally, sure we have people who are addicted to gambling. We have people who are addicted to the abuse of alcohol, tobacco addiction, we have all kinds of addictions in our society, but I can tell you we have brought regulations forth in the area of smoking regulations to prohibit people under 19 years of age in that particular area. We have brought regulations forward to address the problem of bingos which was seriously flawed in the past, the regulations regarding the operation of bingo games. The member from the Progressive Conservative Party, when he talks about being able to support our legislation, I welcome that kind of support.



However, they had 15 years in office to bring in some regulations on gambling in this province and chose to ignore it. Grey machines were running rampant, VLT's - they were talking about bringing regulations in about the sports lottery tickets or the scratch tickets and 6/49 tickets and there were no hard fast regulations brought in to prohibit store owners from allowing those kinds of things to be sold. I get a kick out of the NDP talking against seniors getting a free breakfast in the Halifax casino, as if the seniors couldn't make up their own minds, because they are getting a free breakfast, whether or not they are being conned. I would suggest that the seniors who might want to take that free breakfast and take advantage of it, they can make up their own minds what they want to do after that, whether they want to stay there or walk out. They don't need the help of the NDP to tell them where they can eat and where they can't.



The New Democratic Party should give people of this province some credit for making up their own minds on whether or not they are going to be able to gamble or not. I am talking about people over 19 years of age. We know that tight controls are necessary and we are putting those controls in operation. We have brought more controls in here in two years than were brought before this House respecting gambling in the past 20 years. This government has done that and this Gaming Commission that the minister talked about earlier, has one of the tightest controls of any gaming commission attached to it in this country and I would say anywhere in the western world. I think that the minister has to be congratulated and the Gaming Commission itself, are monitoring themselves on a regular basis and will continue to tighten controls on gaming in Nova Scotia.



The public are going to be protected, we don't have to worry about that. The parents of children who we say are going to be affected are vigilant, they are watching what their children are doing. With help of regulations that we can bring in here on a regular basis and tighten up, we can ensure that children will not have this availability readily in front of them in order to gamble when they shouldn't be. I think that enforcement helps but we have to ensure that people in the constituencies across this province regulate themselves in terms of what they can and cannot do. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.



MR. SPEAKER: The time for the debate on Bill No. 61 has expired. We have less than three minutes before adjournment.



MOTIONS OTHER THAN GOVERNMENT MOTIONS



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable New Democratic Party House Leader.



MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, would you please call House Order No. 62 and I so move.



H.O. No. 62, re ERA: Initiative Nova Scotia - Establishment (1993-95) - notice given Nov. 27/95 - (Mr. R. Chisholm)



[The House Order was read by the Clerk.]



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



HON. ROBERT HARRISON: Mr. Speaker, we would be happy to comply with that House Order.



MR. SPEAKER: Is it agreed that House Order No. 62 be carried?



It is agreed.



The motion is carried.



The honourable New Democratic Party House Leader.



MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, you will notice that House Order No. 60 was stood. Oh, I am sorry, I was going to raise it because I thought the minister would have the opportunity to address it.



Would you please call House Order No. 55 which was stood. I am not sure why it was stood but I wonder if perhaps we could revisit House Order No. 55 if it is appropriate and I so move.



H.O. No. 55, re ERA: Commun. Business Loan Prog. - Jobs - notice given Nov. 23/95 - (Dr. J. Hamm)



[The House Order was read by the Clerk.]



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



HON. ROBERT HARRISON: Mr. Speaker, I am not sure of the House procedure where a member of the Third Party is actually calling a House Order that was introduced by the Leader of the Opposition but in response, Dr. Hamm and I had a conversation when he tabled this House Order. We have an understanding that sectoral and geographic, the House Order reads specific names of businesses and we have clarified between he and I, exactly what information will be supplied, to his agreement. Assuming that all of that is understood by the Third Party, we will be happy to comply with this House Order based on the understanding of the Leader of the Opposition.



MR. CHISHOLM: We will agree to that understanding.



MR. SPEAKER: Subject to the restriction that the honourable Minister for the Economic Renewal Agency put forward.



Is it agreeable?



It is agreed.



The motion is carried.



The honourable New Democratic Party House Leader.



MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, that wraps up the Opposition Members' Business for the New Democratic Party and due to the lateness of the hour I would suggest that we adjourn.



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Deputy Government House Leader.



MR. ALLISTER SURETTE: Mr. Speaker, the hours of the House tomorrow will be 12:00 noon until 8:00 p.m. Following the daily routine and Question Period, we will continue with Bill No. 39 in the Committee of the Whole House on Bills.



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



[6:00 p.m.]



MR. SPEAKER: The motion is carried.



We stand adjourned.



The time has now arrived for our Adjournment debate which has been won by the honourable member for Hants East and the motion is:



"Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly recognize the positive impact which this Government's Community Business Loan Program is having upon economic growth and job creation in this province.".



ADJOURNMENT



MOTION UNDER RULE 5(5)



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Hants East.



ERA - COMMUN. BUSINESS LOAN PROG.: IMPACT - RECOGNIZE



MR. ROBERT CARRUTHERS: Mr. Speaker, it is a good time of the year to rise to speak to this resolution in the closing days of 1995, and I must say that I am looking forward to 1996, because I anticipate the growth that we have started, through this government's actions, in 1995, is rolling along and I anticipate a great deal of improvement again in 1996. The potential for economic growth, in this province, has never been as good as it is right now.



This government, for instance, has begun its Community Business Loan Program. That program had a great deal of positive effect on small businesses in Nova Scotia. Mr. Speaker, I have had a chance to bring this issue before the House before, this question of small business because I have seen, at many levels of government, various definitions of what a small business really is. Certainly, when one hears about programs for medium and small businesses, certainly in the past in the previous government, I find that medium business could mean 200 employees, 300 employees, maybe even 500 employees, and that small business could be 100, 150 and 200 employees.



Well, I am from Hants East, Mr. Speaker, and if I have a business in Hants East that has 200 employees, that is sure not a small business for Hants East: it is a big business for Hants East. Small businesses, as I understand them, are businesses that have 2, 3, 4 and 5 employees and when you go around this province, the vast majority of the businesses, that is the size they are. Now early on in its mandate, this government promised the business community that it would stimulate growth and it would put money into the small business factors in this province, and not as a freebie, because that is not what people want.



People that are from the community and have their businesses in the community, young people who grew up in the community and want to start business in the community, Mr. Speaker, they are not here for the short term. They are here for the long term and they have a reputation in the community; they have families in the community. They are not fly-by-night people that fly in and grab themselves a thousand dollars here and a thousand dollars there, and a couple of hundred thousand dollars from the government and then fly out a couple of years later, after they have had a good time and they could not care less about their reputation or the people they have hurt when they employed them and had to lay them off about a year after they got set-up. That is not the kind of people we are dealing with and who we are trying to target. We are targeting people who have an interest in the community, have an initiative in the community and plan on being there in the long term.



The jobs that are created, by this type of process, are good jobs. They are long-term jobs; they are jobs that you pass on to another fellow when you retire, or another lady when you retire. This government has made that possible because it lends money. It lends money and it expects to get it paid back and it does get it paid back. Our returns have been excellent, but when you are starting up a small business, or even when you are trying to perhaps step-up - I remember one program's name was step-up program when you just want to expand a little bit - Mr. Speaker, it is tough when you are dealing with the lending institutions in this province. I can tell you that. I have many clients and I am a small-business man myself. I can tell you that the banking institutions, they are all the same. I am not trying to pick one over the other, but they play hardball. Sometimes you wonder whether they lend money to people who do not need it because when it comes down to looking for security and ability to pay back, you have to be in such a good position, you wonder why would you need to borrow any money if you were in that good a position in the first place.



It reminds me of the old Hughie and Alan joke. The banker was asking him all sorts of personal questions for the loan. He decided he was going to ask the banker, I wonder now, did you have a shower before you came in here; the banker said, what do you want to know that for; well, he said, I want to know you are clean before I have to bends over to kiss your, well, I will leave the rest to your imagination.



But that is the way it is. When you go in and you apply, you have to answer every question that might come to the banker's mind. That is not the type of thing we are interested in. We are interested in people who have a good idea and have shown some initiative and some staying power. That is who we are interested in and those jobs are working out well for us.



Mr. Speaker, I recall comments made in this House some time ago by the member for Halifax Atlantic. He is the sole contender for the leadership now. But I want him to remember some of the things he said some time ago in this House. In September of 1993, he said, what is this government doing differently in terms of helping small business in Nova Scotia. What in this plan is going to lead to another unemployed Nova Scotian finding a job tomorrow? I think we have answered those questions. The success of this program is indeed an answer to those questions.



Most job growth these days are found in rural and small communities and they stick there and we have proven it. Let me give you some numbers, Mr. Speaker, of how successful these projects have been. As a result of the Community Business Loan Program, we have had 390 projects approved, valued at more than $4.8 million in this province just under this program. We have created 837 new jobs. We have maintained 509 new jobs and we have established 293 new businesses across Nova Scotia. These are the results that we are talking about. These are real results.



When you are out in the communities, you can almost sort of feel it. It is like starting a car. You know, once in while it is just going to catch and it revs up, but then it goes down a little bit. That is the way the economy has been over the last couple of years. Well, the car has started, Mr. Speaker. When we are going into 1996, I really feel good about this. You can get that feeling out in the community. People are feeling more confident and it's catchy. It is a bit of a psychological thing. When people feel that they are jeopardy, they could lose their jobs, the feeling in the business community is bad, they do not invest. It just sort of travels like a disease.



That is changing, 1995 proved it. There are 17,000 more Nova Scotians working than when we took office. You remember all those cracks. You people promised that you were going to get jobs into Nova Scotia. Well, where did you do it? Why didn't you do it, 30-60-90? We delivered 17,000 jobs to Nova Scotia, Mr. Speaker. In a short mandate like we have had, we have come through on this promise, as we have come through on every one of our promises so far. I just think the members opposite should just look at the numbers.



We now have the lowest unemployment rate in years in this province, 11.2 per cent. Now, no one is pleased with 11 per cent, but when you used to have 18 per cent, 19 per cent, 17 per cent and 16 per cent, that is a pretty good move for a government that was in office for two years and that, of course, is over the last year. So we were only in office for one year when we started turning this thing around.



Mr. Speaker, we don't give out jobs. We don't create them. We don't have people out there digging holes and then another crew coming in at night and filling them in. That is not what we are trying to do. We are trying to put the business community in such a climate that they feel good and they feel healthy and they go out and hire the people. Because let me tell you, I have got a lot of respect for government, but I know that the business community can do things better in the business world than the government can. What you have to do is open the door. That is what you have to do. We don't expect to give it away.



These multi-megaprojects, you remember these huge projects, the members will remember that the previous government had massive big megaprojects. They would pull in and give them hundreds of thousands of dollars. Here today, gone tomorrow. We don't do that at all. Those people did not even pay it back. Imagine the communities that were devastated when they got up for these people that moved there to get a job and then they were poof, gone.



Mr. Speaker, we have not done that. Just look at Stora Forest Products; $15.4 million we loaned to Stora. They paid it back. A $650 million expansion they put in place and 800 jobs created in this small province. I realize I am getting close to my end of the time. But due to the programs that we have put in place, such as the Community Business Loan Program, along with a few other initiatives through this minister, the Minister for the Economic Renewal Agency. He has taken the bull by the horns. He knows exactly what he is dealing with. He is good out there with the people. He is out around the people. The people like him, the people like this government. Mr. Speaker, I am looking forward to 1996 because we are going to be on a roll and we are going to continue all the way through that year too. (Applause)



MR. SPEAKER: Are there further intervenors? If there are none, that ends the Adjournment debate and we now stand adjourned.



[The House rose at 6:11 p.m.]