Assemblée Législative de la Nouvelle-Écosse

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21 septembre 2017

















HALIFAX, THURSDAY, DECEMBER 28, 1995



Fifty-sixth General Assembly



Third Session



12:00 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. Are there any introductions of guests before we begin the daily routine of business? If not, we will move directly to the daily routine.



PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Sackville-Beaverbank.



MR. WILLIAM MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to present a petition on behalf of the communities of Lucasville and Upper Hammonds Plains. It reads, ". . . Minister of Transportation, We the residents of Upper Hammonds Plains demand that the road of Pockwock be repaved and upgraded. This road has not been repaved since 1962. In addition, the road also provides services to the Halifax Water Commission Plant. Our concerns are with the increased use of trucks that transport dangerous chemicals through our community. The conditions of the roads are not up to standard to safely transport these materials. If this matter is not resolved in the 1996 Road Repavement Program, the community will be forced to take matters into their own hands in regards to the safety of the community.". I have affixed my signature to this and beg leave to present it.



MR. SPEAKER: The petition is tabled.



PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES



TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS



STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS





4589

GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION



INTRODUCTION OF BILLS



NOTICES OF MOTION



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Citadel.



RESOLUTION NO. 903



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



Whereas the Premier recently spoke at the annual meeting of the Richmond Liberal Association and said his government is making a concerted effort to create jobs in coastal communities and rural areas; and



Whereas Liberals in Richmond may be content to listen to the Premier but the majority of Nova Scotians know better than to put any stock in comments from the Premier because of his government's concentrated activity at tearing the social fabric away in rural Nova Scotia; and



Whereas the Premier told Richmond Liberals that rural Nova Scotia has made steady gains in employment;



Therefore be it resolved that before the Premier gets too caught up in his own fantasy world, he be encouraged to visit areas such as Inverness, Antigonish, Windsor, Yarmouth, Amherst and other Nova Scotian communities to witness the severe impact his government's economic philosophy is having upon rural Nova Scotia.



MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.



The honourable member for Halifax Atlantic.



RESOLUTION NO. 904



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



Whereas a recent poll shows that Nova Scotians are among those Canadians who have little hope their lives and financial situation will improve in the next decade; and



Whereas the same poll suggests that Canadians do not want their governments to cut deficits using measures that undercut Canada's tradition for compassion and require a disproportionate sacrifice from the poor; and



Whereas Nova Scotia's Finance Minister is congratulating himself for his slash and burn deficit reduction program showing no concern for the consequences of his actions;





Therefore be it resolved that the Finance Minister and his Cabinet colleagues be encouraged to listen to Nova Scotians who are repeating what they said to the Tories in May 1993, that they want leadership and economic development, not dismantling and layoffs in health, education and social services.



MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.



The honourable member for Sackville-Beaverbank.



MR. WILLIAM MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I would like to introduce, in your gallery, members of the Lucasville/Upper Hammonds Plains Development Association. Mr. Daniel Norton and Mr. Douglas Sparks; would they please stand and receive the warm reception of the House. (Applause)



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



RESOLUTION NO. 905



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



Whereas the Forties Community Centre organization of Lunenburg County was recently honoured by the Nova Scotia Recreation Association for their volunteer efforts; and



Whereas the organization's volunteer efforts centered on the construction of a new 7,500 square foot community centre for the Forties and neighbouring communities; and



Whereas the new facility has a new kitchen, a 350-seat hall, a stage and a backstage, as well as a large meeting room and an undeveloped second storey area to be used for future club rooms;



Therefore be it resolved that all members of this Legislature extend our congratulations to Community Centre Chairman Phillip Broome, and all volunteers who worked long and hard to ensure the construction of the new community centre for the Forties, Lunenburg County.



Mr. Speaker, I would request waiver of notice.



MR. SPEAKER: There is a request for waiver of notice.



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 Leader of the New Democratic Party.





RESOLUTION NO. 906



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 regulations governing casino gambling in Nova Scotia introduced in April 1995 prohibited consumption of alcoholic beverages at gaming tables, and restricted 24 hours a day operations during weekdays; and



Whereas the Finance Minister stated that these restrictions were included in the regulations because they respected the public's wishes; and



Whereas merely eight months later, this government has backtracked on both the provisions of alcohol and now, by special Order in Council signed in time for New Year's Eve, has lifted the ban on 24 hour, non-stop weekday operations;



Therefore be it resolved that this House condemns the actions of the Liberal Government who appear intent on changing any rule to accommodate the business plans and profits of ITT Sheraton.



MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.



The honourable member for Kings North.



RESOLUTION NO. 907



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



Whereas Kings County farmers Rufus Ells, Earl Kidston, Richard Melvin, Laurie Hennigar and Steven and Frank Van Meekeran recently donated 27 tons of vegetables to the Metro Food Bank Society; and



Whereas the generosity of these individuals will mean immense savings for metro's food bank; and



Whereas the donation included thousands of kilograms of potatoes, apples, onions and carrots;



Therefore be it resolved that with the group already talking about an additional donation in February, members of this Legislature commend the effort undertaken by these six farmers to help those most in need, not only during Christmas but throughout the year.



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 Queens.



RESOLUTION NO. 908



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



Whereas the President of the Lunenburg County Christmas Tree Producers Association said 1995 was the best growing season for balsam fir in recent history; and



Whereas Nova Scotia's Christmas tree industry is a multimillion dollar a year business with 2,000 growers harvesting balsam fir for markets in the southern United States, as well as the Caribbean, Mexico, Puerto Rico and the Province of Ontario; and



Whereas Nova Scotia's Christmas tree industry employs 3,000 seasonal workers in everything from shipping to cultivating to shearing, and is a value added industry generating revenues for a wide variety of Nova Scotia businesses;



Therefore be it resolved that members of this Legislature commend the dedication and hard work shown by Christmas tree growers across Nova Scotia and wish them every success in the future.



I move waiver of notice, Mr. Speaker.



MR. SPEAKER: Is it agreeable to the House that notice be waived?



It is agreed.



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



The motion is carried.



The honourable member for Kings West.



RESOLUTION NO. 909



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



Whereas the Savage Government has been bending over backwards to accommodate the wishes of ITT Sheraton, changing regulations to allow ITT Sheraton to sell alcohol on the floor of its casino and expanding 24 hour gambling; and



Whereas the Savage Government, which steadfastly maintained it would not allow predatory pricing, has failed to fix what it describes as a technicality that has allowed ITT Sheraton to lure seniors to the casino with free breakfast give-aways; and



Whereas the Chair of the Nova Scotia Gaming Corporation is now publicly advocating for even more concessions to ITT Sheraton, including providing casino-goers with free booze;





Therefore be it resolved that the Savage Liberals remember the recommendations of the Casino Project Committee, which opposed the free booze policy, and that the Minister of Finance remember his words in this House when he gave a commitment to discharge his responsibilities, always keeping in mind the best public interest.



MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.



The honourable Leader of the New Democratic Party.



RESOLUTION NO. 910



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 Finance Minister promised with great fanfare that revenues from the Sydney casino would be distributed to charities and community groups in Nova Scotia; and



Whereas the Gaming Corporation has distributed a draft report on the distribution of revenues from the Sydney casino; and



Whereas the recently released financial report of the Nova Scotia Gaming Corporation continues to show that not one cent of revenue is available for distribution to charities in Nova Scotia;



Therefore be it resolved that this House urges the Minister of Finance to explain to Mi'kmaq bands and community groups exactly how they have benefitted from his government's partner, ITT Sheraton's operation of a Sydney casino.



MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.



The honourable member for Kings North.



RESOLUTION NO. 911



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



Whereas Nova Scotia's Minister for the Economic Renewal Agency was recently quoted as saying, clearly we are gaining ground, only British Columbia is reporting stronger job growth than Nova Scotia; and



Whereas a recent editorial in the Kentville Advertiser noted, we all know numbers can be crunched effectively to produce desirable statistics; the problem is that the average Nova Scotian doesn't feel like the job situation is any better; and



Whereas the Conference Board of Canada, in its report released last week, indicated, Nova Scotia is forecast to exhibit the lowest employment growth in the country for this year;



Therefore be it resolved that the Minister for the Economic Renewal Agency, like the Premier before him, before getting caught up in their own fantasy world, visit rural Nova Scotia and see the devastating impact this government's slash and burn methods are having.



MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.



[12:15 p.m.]



The honourable member for Pictou West.



RESOLUTION NO. 912



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



Whereas the Nova Scotia Restaurant and Food Services Association recently named Louis Boudreau as Nova Scotian Restaurateur of the Year; and



Whereas recommendations for the award winner came from as far away as Baton Rouge, Louisiana; and



Whereas there were over 300 possible candidates for this award;



Therefore be it resolved that members of the Legislature commend Louis Boudreau, owner of the Skye Dining Room in Port Hastings for being so highly recognized by his industry peers.



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



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 Guysborough-Port Hawkesbury.



RESOLUTION NO. 913



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



Whereas in these ember days of 1995, we give pause to call to mind some of the technological advances of this government for the benefit of Nova Scotians; and



Whereas we can call to mind the Department of Health's innovative telemedicine projects and the introduction of world-class emergency response vehicles; and



Whereas we can call to mind the Department of Education's multi-use of computers and telecommunications technology for distance education and other student benefits;





Therefore be it resolved that this House applaud the innovations in technology being employed by this government to better the lives of Nova Scotians, while remembering the most famous technological advances brought forward by the former Tory Government were Honest John's famous techno-magic toilets and their cost to the people of Nova Scotia.



MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.



Are there further notices of motion? If there are no further notices of motion, 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 is the honourable member for Kings North. He has proposed a resolution for discussion:



Therefore be it resolved that the provincial government should honour its commitment to assume the social services costs of the new metro regional municipality.



So, we will hear discussion of that matter at 6:00 o'clock this afternoon.



Now, the Oral Question Period today runs for one hour. The time now being 12:18 p.m., it will run until 1:18 p.m. So we will advance now to Orders of the Day.



ORDERS OF THE DAY



ORAL QUESTIONS PUT BY MEMBERS



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Opposition.



ERA - YARMOUTH-BAR HARBOR FERRY: SERVICE - FUTURE



DR. JOHN HAMM: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Premier. A week ago Monday night, we had occasion to have an emergency debate about the terrific loss to our Nova Scotia economy that we will experience when we lose the winter service of the Marine Vessel Bluenose. The last trip has begun today and will be completed with the return trip tomorrow.



My question to the Premier, what service will be available from Yarmouth to Bar Harbor on December 30th and the days following?



HON. JOHN SAVAGE (The Premier): Mr. Speaker, I think we certainly discussed this well at the debate mentioned. What I can tell the Leader of the Opposition is that as soon as the official notification from the Department of Transportation at the federal level, i.e., a letter from Mr. Young was received on the 14th, this government, mainly through the Economic Renewal Agency, has been working right over the holidays in an effort to try and get a substitute, I suppose one should say, for the boat that will be removed as of January 1st.



I think it is important, Mr. Speaker, not to trivialize this, to look at it as an issue that is of major importance to the people in that part of Nova Scotia. I think this government, in its actions right over the holidays, including Christmas Eve and subsequent days, has been working through the Economic Renewal Agency to attempt to get a substitute vessel. At this particular point, I should like to acknowledge, too, the vessels that the Leader of the Opposition indicated very kindly in his letter to me have been contacted, we have followed all leads, but I think it is very important that we don't rush into saying that as of January 1st, when the federal government cuts out the service, that there will be a functioning service at that particular time.



All I can say at this time is that this government is working very hard in an effort to create the substitute service but it may be some time before we are able to say with accuracy what that may be.



DR. HAMM: Mr. Speaker, to continue with the Premier, the loss of the service will result in a net loss in government revenues. There is a very distinct and definite advantage, which has been documented now, that loss of this service will, in fact, result in an even greater loss in government revenues. I think all Nova Scotians were disappointed by the quick response of the federal Minister of Transport when he decided to ignore the ATi Consulting study, which pointed this out very clearly.



My question to the Premier, has he called the Prime Minister to discuss the economic effect on Nova Scotia that a loss of the winter service of the MV Bluenose will create here this winter?



THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I should point out to the honourable Leader of the Opposition that what we have done with a succession of meetings in the last 14 days is being done with the knowledge and, I dare say, the support of the federal Minister of Transport. In other words, the federal government has indicated its interest in working with us to obtain a solution.



Therefore, the process we are employing, which may or may not be absolutely successful, it is too early to say that, and I caution that as I will regularly, but that is the way to go, Mr. Speaker. This is an issue which involves the federal Department of Transport and their exit, if you like, from a service and the process of getting a substitute, which is of major importance to this government, will continue, but it will continue through the right channels at this time.



DR. HAMM: Mr. Speaker, the Premier and many in the House may have heard the Prime Minister the other day in his end of the year interview saying that he is now interested in directing his attention to jobs and the economy. I can remind the Premier that he is the boss here and the Prime Minister is the boss in Ottawa.



My question to the Premier, is the Premier ever going to call the Prime Minister to discuss the 793 jobs that will be lost in Nova Scotia and the effect on our economy that the loss of the winter service is going to cause here in Nova Scotia? Will he ever call?



THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, before starting I would remind that this federal government has created something like one-quarter of a million jobs in the two and a half years it has been in. (Interruption) I would also remind those who are suffering from some hearing defect that in this province there have been created some 18,000 jobs since the Liberals took over in June 1993. (Applause)



The issue of jobs, which was not a major issue to the members opposite when they were around, is an issue that we continually address. The issue of when the Prime Minister would be consulted is an issue that I will settle on when we see the process that we are now following through, hopefully successfully, and I will let him know when I do.





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



GAMING CONTROL COMM'N. - CASINOS:

ITT SHERATON - MARKETING STRATEGY



MR. JOHN HOLM: Mr. Speaker, I direct my question through you, the first one anyway, to the Minister of Housing and Consumer Affairs, in her capacity as Minister responsible for the Gaming Control Commission.



When the government first tabled the gambling regulations back last spring, it prohibited the sale of alcohol at the tables and at the slot machines and it limited the hours of casino operations, out of what the Minister of Finance at the time said was respect for the public's wishes. Since then the Liberal Government has been trashing its commitments in favour of its gambling partner, the ITT Sheraton.



Now we have the Chairman of the Gaming Corporation calling for further changes saying that unless the casinos' regulations are changed, the casinos will be unable to turn a profit. So my question to the minister is quite simply, what further regulatory changes does the minister plan to introduce in order to accommodate this government's thirst for gambling revenues?



HON. ELEANOR NORRIE: Mr. Speaker, I feel that any comments made by anyone involved with the Gaming Corporation should be addressed to a different minister than myself and that person, I am assuming, is doing his job as he sees fit. The regulations that are in place were put together by this government and my job, as Minister responsible for the Nova Scotia Gaming Control Commission, is to see that those regulations are followed with honesty and with integrity. No regulations will be changed without recommendations coming forward to me from the commission to change those regulations.



MR. HOLM: Mr. Speaker, they seem to come from the Sheraton quite possibly to the minister. I remind the minister, however, that it was the minister herself who introduced and sponsored the regulation change that was brought into effect about a week ago on December 20th extending the hours that the ITT Sheraton could stay open. Back in April 1995, . . .



MR. SPEAKER: Is this a question?



MR. HOLM: . . . Mel Thomas who was the General Manager of the Sheraton Casinos for Nova Scotia, while complaining about the government's decision at the time not to allow the sale of liquor at the tables and at the slot machines, was complaining, saying that in the United States they are allowed to give away free drinks to gamblers. Now we have Mr. Fiske, of course, calling for . . .



MR. SPEAKER: You need a question here, not Mr. Fiske. We need a question.



MR. HOLM: That's right, Mr. Speaker, and it is about to roll off my lips. My question is addressed to the Premier. My question to the Premier is quite simply this, will the Premier guarantee that his government will not permit the ITT Sheraton, the government's partner, to provide free drinks to gamblers at any of the Sheraton operations, either in Sydney or in Halifax? Will the honourable Premier give that guarantee?





THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, the source of information that the member opposite has, which is virtually always the case with his questions, is totally inaccurate and, as usual, nothing to do with it. There is no intention, as far as we are concerned, of anything like free drinks.



MR. HOLM: Well, there were no intentions to have free lunches, to serve liquor at the table, to allow the operations to be 24 hours a day except on the weekends. However, things change. The Premier didn't answer my question, Mr. Speaker. (Interruptions) Businesses that are in operation in Sydney and in the metro area are very concerned. My question to the Premier is quite simply this, will the Premier guarantee - not what his intentions are now - that the ITT Sheraton, his partner, will not be permitted to provide freebies, free drinks, free food, to lure people into the casinos at the expense of other local businesses?



THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I forget which minister referred to this sound barrier between this side and the other side, but it is obviously still there, perhaps enhanced by the wonderful Christmas that you had. The issue is quite simply that we have no intention of introducing free drinks. It has never been the intention of this government and the kind of misinformation on which you base your questions, really reveals the paucity of your appreciation of the issue. (Laughter)



AN HON. MEMBER: He must have gotten a Thesaurus for Christmas.



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Opposition.



ERA - YARMOUTH-BAR HARBOR FERRY: WINTER SERVICE - NEGOTIATIONS



DR. JOHN HAMM: Mr. Speaker, a question for the Minister for the Economic Renewal Agency. I wonder if the minister would describe the negotiations that he has been having with private sector partners to provide a replacement winter service from Yarmouth to Bar Harbor after the MV Bluenose makes its last trip tomorrow?



HON. ROBERT HARRISON: Mr. Speaker, as we indicated prior to the holidays, prior to the Christmas break, it is absolutely critical to this government that we try to maintain trade links, facing a decision that nobody likes in this province. I wouldn't characterize the discussions that are taking place as negotiations. We have talked about a federal minister who has indicated his willingness to receive business plans. We are looking at a private sector replacement, both short term and long term. We are discussing with a number of companies, in particular Canadian and local companies. Again, I wouldn't characterize these as negotiations. We are attempting to assist Gerry Boudreau, the Regional Development Authority with any and all contacts that might lead to short-term and long-term replacements for the vessel.



[12:30 p.m.]



DR. HAMM: Mr. Speaker, to continue with the minister, I would deduce from the minister's answer and from previous answers from the Premier then that there is nothing really in the wind over the next number of weeks to guarantee a winter service from Yarmouth to Bar Harbor. My question for the minister is, has the minister discussed with CN Marine any arrangement between this government and CN Marine to maintain the service this winter?



MR. HARRISON: Mr. Speaker, if he could be more specific in terms of CN Marine. We have had discussions, as I have said, with any and all Canadian and Maritime and Atlantic Canadian companies that are in a position to offer either short-term or long-term replacement on a private sector basis and are prepared to entertain any business proposals. If he could be more specific, perhaps I . . .



DR. HAMM: Mr. Speaker, I thought that question was so self-evident that the minister would not have any difficulty. There is a boat down there running today that is going to stop because the subsidy has been stopped. The minister has indicated that he is out talking to private sector partners. Has he made arrangements to speak with CN Marine to continue the Motor Vessel Bluenose after December 29th? The vessel is there, the crew is there. Has he discussed that arrangement for this winter?



MR. HARRISON: Mr. Speaker, if the honourable Leader of the Opposition means Marine Atlantic when he uses the term CN Marine - have we had discussions with Marine Atlantic - literally since July we have had discussions with Marine Atlantic and have had throughout the holidays.



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



TRANSPORT. - HWY. NO. 104:

WESTERN ALIGNMENT CONSTRUCTION - TRUCKERS INPUT



MR. BROOKE TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the honourable Minister of Transportation and Communications. The minister said in this Legislature on November 30th that the 20/80 clause relative to trucking and truckers working on the Highway No. 104 western alignment would not apply. He also suggested that the Department of Transportation and Communications' highway rate relative to hauling materials on the Highway No. 104 western alignment may not apply. In fact, the minister said that it would be up to the truckers to go out and talk to the people who are going to build, finance and construct the Highway No. 104 western alignment. In other words, in spite of the fact that the taxpayers are putting some $55 million into this project, the government will have absolutely no say in who is hired to do any of the work on that project. My question for the minister is, has he done anything to ensure that Nova Scotians and Nova Scotia companies will be given equal and fair consideration for any work in constructing the Highway No. 104 western alignment?



HON. RICHARD MANN: Mr. Speaker, I am sure if we check we will find that we have gone over this ground before. Early in Question Period today we are doing it again. It is the exact same question that I believe the member indicates he asked on November 30th. It makes one wonder what is next.



The Nova Scotia Department of Transportation and Communications has an agreement with the Nova Scotia Roadbuilders Association. On tenders that are put out by the Department of Transportation and Communications, the 20/80 rule and the Department of Transportation rate apply on those construction jobs. This is not a job that was tendered in the conventional method, I believe the member opposite knows that. As a result, this is not an area where the 20/80 rule with the Nova Scotia Roadbuilders can apply because, in fact, the tender is not with the Nova Scotia Roadbuilders.



Some of the consortia that had been involved in looking at this project and bidding, I am not even sure they had Nova Scotia construction companies involved with them. If you are telling me you can apply an agreement with the Nova Scotia Roadbuilders against someone who is not even a part of that organization, I would suggest to you that you are getting a bit far afield there. Also it is important to keep in mind that any insistence by the Nova Scotia Government to any conditions that would have to apply with respect to the Highway No. 104 western alignment would, in fact, impact on the overall cost, on the bottom line. If the member wants to do what he is suggesting here, then I guess he has to be supportive of perhaps increasing the tolls to cover any increased cost. Is that what he is suggesting?



MR. TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, to answer the minister's question directly, no, that is not what I am suggesting. What I am suggesting is simply this, we are putting $55 million into a project and there is absolutely no provisions at all that a Nova Scotian will get any work on the construction of the Highway No. 104 western alignment.



Now some members might laugh about that, Mr. Speaker, but the fact is that one of the major players in the consortium, Mr. Premier, happens to be Dufferin Construction from Quebec, who is a subsidiary of St. Lawrence Cement. I go to the Minister of Transportation, are there any guarantees that LaFarge Canada, the only cement plant in the Maritimes that is operating, will have an equal opportunity to bid, not be given the work, Mr. Minister, but will a Nova Scotia company be given an opportunity to bid on a project that has $55 million of our money going into it?



MR. MANN: Mr. Speaker, I don't know how far the member had to dig to find the name of a construction company. The two construction companies, the major players, the partners in the consortium that is being negotiated with, are Nova Construction from Antigonish and Tidewater Construction from Waverley. (Applause)



Now if he is suggesting that two construction companies that have been in existence in this province for a long time, (Interruption) that have done high quality work - the member for Queens can mumble all he wants, he can be helpful later - that all of a sudden they are going to do the biggest job they have ever undertaken in the Province of Nova Scotia and not use their own employees, not use their own equipment and not use the people they have been using for years, to develop the expertise and the reputation they have, he is digging so deep that it is not even funny.



MR. TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Transportation may well be trying to pull the wool over the eyes of Nova Scotians. The fact of the matter is that Atlantic Highway Systems has offices in Ontario and in Quebec. That minister knows full well that a subsidiary of St. Lawrence Cement is Dufferin Construction, one of the major companies that is in the successful consortium, so to speak.



My final question to the Premier, seeing that the minister has done an absolute dereliction of his responsibility relative to this Highway No. 104 western alignment, will the Premier become involved in the negotiation process, roll up his sleeves for once and don't slide away and say, I am staying at arm's length. It is time for you to become involved, Mr. Premier, and ensure that . . .



MR. SPEAKER: That is not an appropriate line of questioning. Ask the Premier a question.



MR. TAYLOR: Will the Premier ensure that there is a provision that Nova Scotians will be given fair and equal opportunity to bid on some of this work?



THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I can only assume that the member opposite has not read the proposed Atlantic Procurement Agreement, in which there is, of course, every opportunity for Nova Scotians to bid. The automatic assumption that two Nova Scotia companies are going to bring in people from the Yukon and British Columbia at the expense of Nova Scotia workers is perhaps one of the dimmest ideas that this member has ever produced. That says a lot.



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings West.



GAMING CONTROL COMM'N. - LEGISLATION: STUDIES - RELEASE



MR. GEORGE MOODY: Mr. Speaker, my question through you is for the Minister responsible for the Gaming Control Commission. The minister will know that the Gaming Control Act, Section 56(1)(d), provides that, "The Commission shall carry on a continuous study of the public interest and reaction of residents of the Province to existing and potential features of casinos, . . .". It says "continuous study".



Now we have had the casinos open for six months. We have had changes, initially they weren't allowed to sell liquor, they are now selling liquor. We have had expanded hours. I wonder if the minister will confirm that the studies are actually being conducted, as it says in Section 56(1)(d) of the Act? When will those studies be available for the public to view, based on the decisions that have been made, to change some of the ways that casinos operate in the province?



HON. ELEANOR NORRIE: Mr. Speaker, I think if the member opposite continues to read Section 56, he will see the final subsection, I think it is Section 56(1)(g), it will state that there will be a report given annually to the House of Assembly on the affairs of the Gaming Commission and they will report to the House of Assembly at that time.



MR. MOODY: Well, Mr. Speaker, through you to the Minister responsible for the Gaming Control Commission, given the fact that obviously the study must be going on or they are not going to automatically do it after 12 months, if the study is going on, last week Cabinet decided to change the regulation again, to allow 24 hour operations on Monday.



I would ask the minister through you, Mr. Speaker, was that ITT Sheraton's request, or was that due to the study that she refers to in Section 56 of the Gaming Control Act?



MRS. NORRIE: Mr. Speaker, changes to the regulations are recommended to me, as minister, by the commission and I carry them forward to Cabinet where it is a government decision whether the recommendations are to be carried forward.



MR. MOODY: Well, I am a bit confused; is it the commission that is now deciding how the casino should be run? I would ask the minister, would she indicate to the House, through you, Mr. Speaker, is liquor now being sold 24 hours a day on all the operations, Sundays, all nights, is liquor being sold 24 hours a day when the casino is open, including Sunday, at the casino, in the casinos in this province? Is liquor being sold 24 hours a day, including Sunday, when they are open?



MRS. NORRIE: Mr. Speaker, the liquor would be sold in the casino based on the license that they hold. If the member opposite would check on what licence they are being held, they would fall under the license that they hold to sell their liquor.



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



TRANSPORT. - HIGHWAY NO. 104:

CONSTRUCTION - ATLANTIC PROCUREMENT AGREEMENT



MR. BROOKE TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask the honourable Premier a question. Will the Premier confirm for this House and all Nova Scotians that the Atlantic Provinces Procurement Agreement will apply to the construction, the public/private Highway No. 104 western alignment construction? Will the Premier confirm that for Nova Scotians?



THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, the issue of the principles of that will apply whether or not the other governments have yet passed it, which is the issue that has to apply. Because the Nova Scotia Government did produce the document, the New Brunswick passing of this will occur in the legislation which occurs in the upcoming session in the spring. They obviously had an election and did not have a House meeting in the fall of 1995.



MR. TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, is the Premier aware that Dufferin Construction, which is a subsidiary of St. Lawrence Cement and also one of the major players in this consortium, has enough machinery and equipment to build the Highway No. 104 western alignment without any Nova Scotian equipment going to work? Is the Premier aware of this situation?



THE PREMIER: A rhetorical question demands a rhetorical answer. I guess the answer is yes.



MR. TAYLOR: So the Premier is aware that a Quebec company has the necessary machinery and employees to come into Nova Scotia and build the highway without a Nova Scotian doing any work. In a previous question, Mr. Speaker, the Premier said he wasn't going to become involved. He is not going to ensure that there are any provisos where a Nova Scotian can get some work up there. That is absolutely despicable that the Premier will not become involved.



MR. SPEAKER: That is not a question. Be seated.



MR. TAYLOR: My question is . . .



AN HON. MEMBER: The Reformer.



MR. SPEAKER: All right. Let's all reform our behaviour, please. Put your question if you have one.



MR. TAYLOR: My question to the Premier is simply, will the Premier assure this House that the Atlantic Provinces Procurement Agreement extends to the Province of Quebec?



THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, by the very nature of the definition of an Atlantic Procurement Agreement, it stops at the Quebec border. But I would, indeed, remind you, as we have told you, that the entire process across the country, the inter-provincial agreement, which is due to start probably in July 1996, will be passed by various other governments.



I think it is important to indicate that because this province has taken the lead in this, by virtue of its timing, there are other partners who have to do the same. The inter-provincial agreement, which has been worked on by my colleague here and by the Premiers as well, is an agreement which will, of course, take over the Atlantic Procurement Agreement when, in fact, it comes into law. But there are issues in this which have to be studied and it does (Interruptions) Yes. But it does apply, Mr. Speaker, the Atlantic Procurement Agreement applies to the four Atlantic Provinces.



[12:45 p.m.]



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Atlantic.



HEALTH - MIDWIFERY: WORKING GROUP - ESTABLISH



MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, I would like to direct my question through you to the Minister of Health. The Government of Nova Scotia and the Minister of Health, in particular, have been making noises now for the past two and one-half years, since they were elected certainly . . .



MR. SPEAKER: Have been making noises. Is that an appropriate parliamentary term? Have been speaking might be better.



MR. CHISHOLM: Well, maybe. They have been giving indications, Mr. Speaker, that with the changes from a health system based on acute care to one based on primary care that one of the important aspects of that would be the provision of midwifery in the Province of Nova Scotia, but in order to do that, that they needed to establish the rules and procedures in order to make sure that there are certain standards provided and that there are certain regulations and, in order to do that, there would need to be a working group established. We had some discussion about this matter with the Medical Act that was before this House and is still before this House.



I would like to ask the minister, Mr. Speaker, in a meeting last week between his staff and the Midwifery Association and the Coalition of Nova Scotia, they asked whether or not a working group was going to be established by the minister and his department in order to get this show on the road in terms of establishing those kinds of regulations. I would like to ask the minister, could he give us some indication here today whether in fact such a working group will be established and when will that be established?



HON. RONALD STEWART: Mr. Speaker, I might reply by saying that rather than making noises, we are acting and acting in a reform agenda. It is trivializing the work of my staff and the work of the community groups to suggest otherwise.



We have taken this step by step. Our first step was to establish a group looking at regulations current in the health care system and then looking at all professions who participate and will participate in the provision of primary care services. That group will be reporting to me in this month, in January of this year to come. We will take it stepwise from there. We have been in contact several times with the group to which the honourable gentleman refers and they are indeed included in the plans as we go forward.



MR. CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, let me say that that very group, having met with the minister's staff last week, are extremely discouraged and disenchanted with the response that this minister and his department have given them and that they have taken veritably no action on this issue. I remind the minister that back in 1994, as some hospitals facing funding cuts were shutting down maternity wards that he, himself, indicated that midwifery had to be expanded in this province and that in order to do that, there had to be rules and regulations put into place.



I would like to ask the minister, could he explain why he has not moved forward on the recommendations of his own Blueprint Committee which reported in April 1994 that, in fact, a working group, a task force, something be established with practitioners in order to do this very thing, to come up with the rules and regulations that exist in other provinces in order to form the foundation for legislation to legalize midwifery in the Province of Nova Scotia?



DR. STEWART: Mr. Speaker, I would assure you and this honourable House that we have moved forward on all of these areas including the provision of primary care services by professional groups who have, for a long time, been influential but need regulation and need a planned approach to the reform agenda which will, first of all, be to define the practice of medicine, which we are doing in terms of this current Act; to look at the practice of nursing in general, which we are doing with a working group in the department; and to look at each area of health care and as it will unfold in the next several years.



I have assured both the public and the groups to which the honourable gentleman opposite refers that they are, indeed, on this agenda and we have already begun to work at this, but we must put things in place in a very controlled and a regulated fashion.



MR. CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, I say, again, that in August 1994, the minister himself is reported to have said, ". . . that he plans to have a policy on the future of midwifery ready within the next little while.". He said in response to the . . .



MR. SPEAKER: You said that already and there is a rule against repetition here in Question Period.



MR. CHISHOLM: . . . pressure to do something, ". . . in the face of funding cut backs to hospitals . . .", that is resulting in the closure of maternity wards in order to provide these kinds of services in the province, that he will have a policy. I want to ask the minister to indicate to Nova Scotians, those people interested and those people who will rely on these services in the future, when can Nova Scotians expect to see a policy from the Minister of Health, from the Government of Nova Scotia?



DR. STEWART: Mr. Speaker, the honourable gentleman and the public of Nova Scotia will see a planned approach to the revision of primary care services in the province which do not, as much as I may wish it, happen overnight. They will be done in concert with the other changes, so that we put everything into place that will mesh in a very solid provision of primary care services. I have said this repeatedly; I have said this, I think, in a measured and understanding way for those groups who wish to, in fact, be included. They will be included and I make that statement again today.



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Citadel.



COMMUN. SERV. - HFX. REG. MUN.: SOCIAL SERV. COSTS - STATUS



MR. TERENCE DONAHOE: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Community Services. I wonder if the Minister of Community Services, having said as he did -I think as late as summer and fall of 1995 - that as metro amalgamation occurred here in the metropolitan region, bringing together the four municipal units here which we have now seen with elections on December 2nd and so on, will the minister confirm that he did, in fact, on behalf of the government of which he is a senior Cabinet Minister, give the Cities of Halifax and Dartmouth, the County of Halifax and the Town of Bedford, a commitment to take over the cost of municipal social services effective April 1, 1996? Those commitments were offered to those municipal units, as I said, as late as summer and fall of 1995.



HON. JAMES SMITH: Mr. Speaker, I just simply will say that at no time did I as minister, or any other member of this government that I am aware of, make any commitment to take over the cost of the social services within a new metro community. The other issue of taking over the service is another issue and that is not relating to the question, so I don't want to answer questions that aren't being asked. But for the information of the member, I will say that there have been ongoing negotiations with directors of social services, and various committees at work and subcommittees on policy and other issues, that are ongoing as we speak.



MR. DONAHOE: Mr. Speaker, might I, through you, present my first supplementary question to the Minister of Municipal Affairs. I wonder if the Minister of Municipal Affairs could perhaps help me and thousands of people in the metropolitan region, particularly, understand how it is that on the one hand she could, as she did, say that the provincial commitment to take over social services was off the table before the municipal service exchange agreement was released in the fall of 1994, when later in February 1995, at a meeting with municipal leaders, this same Minister of Municipal Affairs, the Honourable Sandra Jolly, reiterated the province's commitment to those municipal leaders, saying to them clearly in unequivocal terms, terms that could not be and were not misunderstood by the municipal leaders in metro, that those social services costs commitments would, in fact, be taken over by the provincial government effective April 1, 1996. How can she reconcile those two positions?



HON. SANDRA JOLLY: Mr. Speaker, I think the honourable gentleman's question is coming from some discussions that I have had with ATV, and I think the honourable gentleman is also aware, based on discussions that we have had in this House on any number of occasions, that starting back in December 1993, we put together a service exchange which negotiated and dealt with approximately $123 million in exchange of services that would be picked up and paid for by the province and services that would be picked up and paid for by the municipalities.



Back in December 1993, as part of that service exchange, there was, on the table, a single-tier social service paid for by the Province of Nova Scotia in exchange for services such as a road levy of $20 million and an equalization payment provided by the municipalities and approximately another $30 million. The cost for community services in the province at that time was approximately $50 million and we had an exchange on those numbers totalling approximately $123 million.



Mr. Speaker, as everyone is quite aware in the House, in the fall of 1994, after I had travelled the province and met with all 66 municipalities, there were certain things the municipalities refused to accept and so the exchange that we had on the table, the program changed and as part of that changing was the single-tier social service system being provided for by the Province of Nova Scotia in exchange for services being picked up by the municipalities. That was communicated to the municipalities all across the province. We changed from $123 million down to approximately $73 million to $75 million and that occurred in October 1994.



MR. DONAHOE: Mr. Speaker, so we now have the Minister of Municipal Affairs laying the accusation that she still stands by the provincial government commitment to assume the cost of social services, but that it is the fault of the municipal units and they reneged on the deal and they did not, according to her, keep some part of the bargain which she suggests she was ready to make on behalf of the provincial government.



I wonder if the minister might be prepared to simply indicate to this House that what in fact happened here is, that without proper analysis, the provincial government made a naive commitment - a commitment nonetheless, but a naive commitment - that simply did not take into account all of the facts when they promised to take over the full cost of social services because she has acknowledged they did make that promise, there were conditions, and I acknowledge that, when the new regional government came into effect on April 1, 1996?



Is she prepared to make the acknowledgement today, as has been expressed by hundreds around the new super-city administration, that the fact that that deal has not yet been made and the promise made by the provincial government having been broken, that it leave the taxpayers and the new regional government, here in the metropolitan region at least, in the position of having to absorb something close to that $50 millions of social services costs which they were told the province would take over and in relation to which none of them were counting on and, as a consequence, their tax circumstances in metro are far more problematic for the municipal taxpayer than would have been the case had the provincial government made good on its earlier promise?



MS. JOLLY: Mr. Speaker, the honourable member is trying to create quite a bit of confusion here and that is why I went back to 1993 to give the picture of where we have been and where we had gotten to. No, I will not say that in naivety that we put forward something that we could not deal with or we could not handle. That is why you have negotiations. That is why you have consultation, which is exactly what we did in the spring of 1994; we consulted with the municipalities on an exchange.



Part of that exchange was what the municipality would pick up and what the province would pick up. Through that consultation and negotiation, there were certain things that the municipalities were not prepared to pick up, so we put forward a new service exchange which was introduced in the fall of 1994 that followed through and was put into place April 1, 1995. All the municipalities were aware of that; all the municipalities knew that the exchange had changed and we had sent out revised numbers to them so that they knew exactly how it was going to affect their municipality, so that is no surprise to any of the municipalities. Even though some of them would like to suggest it is a surprise, it is not.



The other point that I want to clarify, Mr. Speaker, is that the metropolitan area has paid last year and the year before, the cost of community services, social services, for the citizens of that area. It looks like they are going to continue to pay those costs. There is not any new cost to the regional municipality on community services based on what the honourable member has to say. There are no new costs to the municipalities on community services based on what they had paid last year, the year before and what they may pay in the future. I think that is important because the honourable member is trying to suggest there is going to be a tax requirement because of this and I just want to clarify that there are no new costs. This is what the municipality had paid for in the past and is what the municipality is currently paying for.



[1:00 p.m.]



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Queens.





MUN. AFFS. - QUEENS: SOCIAL ASSISTANCE - SINGLE-TIERED



MR. JOHN LEEFE: Mr. Speaker, the Municipality of the County of Queens and the Town of Liverpool certainly entered into negotiations and discussions with this minister and I was party to many of those. There is absolutely no doubt in my mind or in the minds of either of those municipal units that on the table, as part of the deal for those two municipal units volunteering to come forward for municipal amalgamation, that the province was going to pick up the cost of municipal social services effective April 1st. I would ask the minister to confirm, in fact, that it is going to happen.



MR. SPEAKER: I take it that was to the Minister of Municipal Affairs?



HON. SANDRA JOLLY: Well, Mr. Speaker, I think this question would be better answered by the Minister of Community Services, as he is talking directly about community services.



HON. JAMES SMITH: Mr. Speaker, as the Minister of Community Services, it is my understanding that those matters would be looked at, there would be some funding formulas arranged with any of the municipal units and that amalgamation was not a criterion for moving to a one-tiered system. Any arrangements or negotiations that have taken place between our department and those particular municipal units the member mentions - there was great cooperation from those units, Mayor Lane particularly, and Warden Stan Smith; they were really interested in working together and we wanted to help them in technology and also in providing services within those two municipal units - at no time was there ever a full commitment to take the total cost of social services in that unit or in any other municipal unit.



MR. LEEFE: Mr. Speaker, those discussions at no time - at no time - involved the Minister of Community Services as the chief spokesman for the government. On every occasion they involved that minister as the spokesman for the provincial government. That minister committed to me on the very afternoon that we went down to Liverpool, when those two councils passed their unanimous resolutions, that was the deal breaker for those two municipal units to be involved in that arrangement and for me to be the introducer of that legislation. My question to that minister is, why is she not living up to the commitment that she made to me and that she made to those two municipal units?



MS. JOLLY: Mr. Speaker, we had various discussions revolving around the amalgamation. But as the honourable member is quite clearly aware, there was no commitment made by the Province of Nova Scotia that they would pick up 100 per cent of the cost of community services. There was very clearly discussion on the fact that we wanted to move to a single-tiered social services system. It was to the betterment of the municipalities if it was possible for us to do that and we did, in fact. He also has a copy of the correspondence that both myself and the Minister of Community Services put out to the various municipalities, that we were going to work to see what we would be able to do. But at no time was there a commitment that we would, in fact, pick up 100 per cent of the cost of community services.



MR. LEEFE: Mr. Speaker, that correspondence very clearly stated that April 1st was the target date for the takeover by the province in those two amalgamated municipal units of the cost of municipal social assistance. My question to this minister is, why has she changed her mind and why is she not meeting that commitment? How can she expect any municipal unit to take this government seriously when we now know that its word is no good?



MS. JOLLY: Mr. Speaker, when we are talking about people's words, whether they are good or not, I would put my record on my word and my responsibility up against that bunch over there any day. (Applause) Any day, I would put it up against that bunch over there.



The honourable member clearly stated, a target date, we had worked on a target date, we had discussions. We have been moving toward a single-tiered social service system. I think we are in the process of being able to have a single-tiered social service system.



MR. LEEFE: Those are weasel words.



MS. JOLLY: They are not weasel words, it is a matter of hearing what is the truth and hearing what you would like to hear and that is exactly where the problem is.



MR. LEEFE: You wouldn't recognize the truth.



MR. SPEAKER: Order. Be seated, both of you. I heard the honourable member for Queens say out loud, you wouldn't recognize the truth. I call on the honourable member to withdraw those words.



MR. LEEFE: Indeed, sir, I did say she wouldn't recognize the truth in this matter and I have no intention of withdrawing those words . . .



MR. SPEAKER: Then, Mr. Leefe, you are named . . .



MR. LEEFE: I am here to fight on behalf of my constituents.



MR. SPEAKER: Mr. Leefe, you are named and you are asked to withdraw from the House for the remainder of the day. You cannot utter words like that in this House. (Interruptions) Sergeant-at-Arms, please escort him out and he is not to return for the remainder of the day. (Interruptions)



The honourable member for Cape Breton West.



COMMUN. SERV. - HOMES FOR SPECIAL CARE: LICENSES - MORATORIUM



MR. ALFRED MACLEOD: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Community Services. Can the minister indicate if there is a moratorium on issuing new licenses for operating homes for special care and if so, how long that moratorium is expected to stay in place?



HON. JAMES SMITH: Mr. Speaker, the definition of homes for special care covers quite a large variety of homes and I would assume the member is referring particularly to the Small Options Program, I would imagine, relative to other discussions we have had on that matter. While there have been some proposals from municipal units and other groups coming forward to the government that we have developed while we are awaiting implementation of our report and the results of our consultation process on the Small Options Program, we have not pursued any active new initiatives in that particular area. These involve matters relative to the fire marshal and other standards that we are bringing forward. I hope to table that in the House immediately in the first month of the New Year. I would hope, as our budgetary restrictions allow, that we would move into Small Options. We have kept our commitments, the ones that we had previously committed to and we will look forward to new initiatives in this.



I might say in the areas of children and deinstitutionalization, we have continued to move forward on this particular initiative.



MR. MACLEOD: Mr. Speaker, I thank the minister for his answer but I guess maybe I wasn't clear enough. I wonder if the minister could tell us if his department did any kind of assessment that found that there were adequate facilities to accommodate the demand for both Level I and Level II care, prior to implementing the moratorium that I spoke about?



DR. SMITH: Mr. Speaker, we circulated reports both on deinstitutionalization and also on the Small Options Program. We had a consultation process throughout the province, some of which I was able to attend and we have feedback. As far as the levels, we are quite aware that there are applications throughout the province, some of these are private and we are working also in the assessment area. That will be all part of the announcement that we will make within the next couple of weeks.



MR. MACLEOD: Mr. Speaker, would the minister confirm that as a result of the moratorium that has been placed on new homes for special care, the government is forced to place seniors who are classified as Level I in the more expensive Level II facilities and that this policy is actually costing taxpayers considerably more money than otherwise would be necessary if more Level I homes were licensed?



DR. SMITH: Mr. Speaker, the classification system is in place and there are some initiatives that I know of that people are in a level in a particular home and maybe their care has changed and there is an attempt to have them remain in that particular home. There are some exceptions but the broad issues of reassessment and classification are adhered to. It is not a major issue. I think the whole movement of home care and working with the Department of Health and the Department of Community Services and the committees that we have working together will show an initiative that persons will not only remain in institutions, they will remain longer in their home or actually in a small options home. I think it is a general trend, deinstitutionalization, into the community and there are some individual situations from time to time that have to be given special consideration, but there are no large numbers that I am aware of, Mr. Speaker.



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Cape Breton West.



COMMUN. SERV. - HOMES FOR SPECIAL CARE: LICENSES - MORATORIUM



MR. ALFRED MACLEOD: Mr. Speaker, again my question is to the Minister of Community Services; it is a follow-up to my previous question. I want to reference a situation confronting seniors in Yarmouth. I have been advised that there are presently 117 seniors on a waiting list in the Yarmouth area for admission to three homes for special care. At the same time that seniors are on long waiting lists to get into these facilities, non-licensed care facilities have had to turn numerous seniors away because of the government's moratorium on licensing new homes.



My question to the minister, is he satisfied that the moratorium has not resulted in undue hardships to seniors who are unable or who, for safety or security or other reasons, prefer not to remain in their own homes?



HON. JAMES SMITH: Mr. Speaker, we are living in a province and in a country that has more people institutionalized and more seniors probably than the average across the continent. I think we have to address those particular issues.



The honourable member mentioned the community of Yarmouth. I have had some representations made to me about making certain accommodations within the residential care facilities. I don't particularly want to bring them to the House. If he has any specific situations that he would like to mention, perhaps they can be dealt with.



It is not a particularly simple matter. I think there are waiting lists, there are waiting lists for hospitals. There are waiting lists but, as far as I am concerned, people are being adequately cared for. It is the patient care that we are particularly concerned about and we want to move from whether it is acute care hospitals or home for the aged or nursing home or residential care facility in a small options and the move is to community and I just keep saying that. The waiting list, it really concerns me that we are so taken with institutionalizing people in this province. We intend to change that, as a government.



MR. MACLEOD: Mr. Speaker, again my question is to the Minister of Community Services. I wonder if the minister could confirm that the per diem for maintaining a senior at a Level II facility is considerably more expensive than it would be to maintain a person at a Level I, and that it would probably be in the taxpayers' best interests to ensure that seniors assessed at a Level I are maintained in a Level I facility?



DR. SMITH: Mr. Speaker, the most cost-effective and the best patient care is a proper assessment classification and whatever is appropriate. That is the criteria that the Department of Community Services uses and the Department of Health uses in their assessment. There is a continuum of care and it is as flexible as possible. It is an issue that all jurisdictions are dealing with. It is one that is simply, truthfully as I can answer that question, the appropriate level of care and the most sensitive care is the one that meets the needs of the patient or the client and that is what the criteria of both the Department of Community Services and the Department of Health do.



MR. MACLEOD: Mr. Speaker, again to the Minister of Community Services. I have been advised that there are about 30 seniors in the Yarmouth area who are currently assessed at Level I but have been placed in a Level II facility. My question for the minister, would he acknowledge that it is neither ideal for the senior nor for the taxpayer who, in some cases, are paying as much as $60 per day more than it would cost to have them in a Level I area, would it not be more feasible to have these people properly placed in a Level I facility rather than in a Level II facility?



DR. SMITH: Mr. Speaker, I cannot inform the House the exact numbers of the waiting lists. If the member would like to share those, I would review them and report to the House or have the information. I would just say that the most appropriate level is the level that meets the needs of the client or the patient. If there are some blockages in a continuum of the system, well that must be dealt with. It is not only the Department of Community Services, there are other areas of care that are involved.



It is obvious that you would try to provide the most comprehensive care in the most cost-effective way. That is the goal of this department, Mr. Speaker.



[1:15 p.m.]



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





MUN. AFFS. - HFX. REG. MUN.: SERVICE EXCHANGE - COSTS COMMITMENT



MR. JOHN HOLM: Mr. Speaker, I listened to the Minister of Municipal Affairs' history a few minutes ago and the truth is that at a February 22nd meeting . . .



MR. SPEAKER: I don't want too much dwelling on truth, that is dangerous. We assume that all members here speak the truth as they understand it.



MR. HOLM: Oh, indeed. I just want to restate that, of course, Mr. Speaker. When the question was asked of the minister, come April 1, 1996 will the province take over general assistance in the new metro unit, the deputy minister said that the government will expand the Cape Breton initiative to include metro and the minister, Minister Jolly, said that because of the service exchange, the Department of Community Services is working to keep a one-tiered system format in their minds; we are not talking about taking over the current system, rather there will be a new system in place but it will be at provincial expense. That sounds like a commitment to me.



My question to the minister, when did she and her government decide to break the commitment that she made on behalf of the government on February 22nd, which will mean that millions of dollars will now be picked up by the municipal taxpayers in the new metro area because of this government's decision?



HON. SANDRA JOLLY: Mr. Speaker, I want to just clarify for the honourable member that the dollars that are on the table have always been on the table. This is not a new expense to the regional municipality. This is an expense that the regional municipality or the four municipalities themselves have been paying (Interruption) Mr. Speaker, have been paying all along. I want to make that clear, there are not new dollars on the table, they are current dollars that have been there and it has been a question of who is going to pay for them in the future. But the dollars are there. The question we had back in 1993 was, an exchange of who would pay for what, what the municipalities would pay compared to what the province would pay.



I would just like to clarify, Mr. Speaker, that what the honourable member is quoting from is minutes from a UNSM meeting that I was at, that the Minister of Community Services was at and both of our deputies were at. The deputy that he is quoting, although he would direct that quote to be the Deputy Minister of Municipal Affairs, is the Deputy Minister of Community Services, but the minutes don't say that.



These are minutes that were put together by the Union of Nova Scotia Municipalities. I have not seen those minutes until just recently when they were handed to me by a reporter. Those are minutes that have been constructed by the Union of Nova Scotia Municipalities and the material belongs to and is the Union of Nova Scotia Municipalities.



MR. SPEAKER: Thank you. Order, please. The time allotted for the Oral Question Period has expired.



GOVERNMENT BUSINESS



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.



HON. RICHARD MANN: Mr. Speaker, I move that you do now leave the Chair and the House resolve into a Committee of the Whole House on Bills.



MR. SPEAKER: The motion is carried.



[1:18 p.m. The House resolved itself into a CWH on Bills with Acting Deputy Speaker Mr. Alan Mitchell in the Chair.]



[6:00 p.m. CWH on Bills rose and the House reconvened. Mr. Speaker, Hon. Paul MacEwan, resumed the Chair.]



MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. The winner of the Adjournment debate was the honourable member for Kings North. I have already read the resolution out, it relates to the new metro regional municipality:



Therefore be it resolved that the provincial government honour its commitment to assume the social services costs of the new metro regional municipality.



Is there a speaker to that motion?



ADJOURNMENT



MOTION UNDER RULE 5(5)



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Cape Breton West.



COMMUN. SERV. - HFX. REG. MUN.: SOCIAL SERV. - COSTS COMMITMENT



MR. ALFRED MACLEOD: Mr. Speaker, I welcome the opportunity to participate in the late debate tonight on the resolution submitted by my colleague, the member for Kings North, that the provincial government honour its commitment to assume the social services costs of the new metro regional municipality.



I think, Mr. Speaker, to be fair, we must go back to the fall of 1994 when 10 days after the municipal elections were held the Premier and the Minister of Municipal Affairs hurriedly called a meeting with the Mayors of Dartmouth, Halifax, Bedford and the County of Halifax. During that 15 minute meeting, these mayors were informed that the Savage Government was going to unilaterally impose amalgamation on those units; no consultation, no warning, no discussion, just an knee-jerk reaction to the reality that the government's service exchange clearly wasn't working and they were desperate. So despite the fact that those four metro municipalities were fiscally sound and healthy, this government declared it was amalgamation or nothing.



The minister . . .



MR. SPEAKER: Now, wait a minute, it appears that the minister denies that these things happened.



Is there a point of order?



HON. SANDRA JOLLY: Mr. Speaker, just on a point of order. The meeting that the honourable member was referring to was held by the Premier. I was not at that meeting.



HON. JOHN MACEACHERN: Check your research now.



MR. SPEAKER: I realize the honourable member for Cape Breton West wasn't there either but certainly the minister makes clear that she was not at this meeting.



MR. MACLEOD: Mr. Speaker, if the information I have is incorrect, I certainly would extend my apologies to the minister. I have no problem doing that. The fact of the matter is though, there was a meeting held and amalgamation was shoved down the throats of four very sound municipal units, an amalgamation that they did not want any part of.



There was no consultation, no warning, no nothing. It was declared that there was going to be an amalgamation or there was going to be nothing. But they needed to sugar coat the pill. So they said they would assume the costs of social assistance. This was just another typical example of this government - flying by the seat of its pants - because they never really had a plan, they never really knew where they were going. It is funny, because they did say, in a platform that they released during the 1993 election that they did have a plan. But it didn't take long before it became clear the government had no intention of delivering on the election promises. You remember, Mr. Speaker, as do all Nova Scotians, the promises that included no new taxes and jobs, jobs, jobs. No one can forget 30-60-90. No one can forget that, it went in a complete circle and got nowhere as a circle usually does.



But I want, Mr. Speaker, to be very clear and refer to a particular promise that was made by the Liberal Government during that election campaign. I would quote from it and it says, "It has been the stated policy of the Liberal Party for some time that we would dismantle the two-tiered welfare system, and establish a provincial system to replace it.".



This policy document goes on to say that in dismantling the two-tiered system, there would be public consultation, negotiation with federal and municipal governments and new legislation governing delivery of assistance and "sustained and thorough communication with recipients throughout the transition process".



This policy, Mr. Speaker, concluded with the following statement, "This is proposed as a short-term goal, undertaken within the first six to nine months of a mandate.".



Well, Mr. Speaker, we all know, and there was a little discussion about it a little while ago, we are two and one-half or three years into a mandate, but it is certainly more than nine months into a mandate and we are well past what the promise of this government on welfare reform said. The whole reform on welfare is in tatters and it is flapping in the wind. Despite the government's promise to the metro mayors in the fall of 1994, it is now clear that this promise to assume social assistance costs is not going to happen.



The mayors who were at the meeting with the Premier to discuss this amalgamation, were not happy either. When they came out of the meeting, and I quote the Mayor for Halifax at the time, "I'm beginning to wonder what's going on in that cabinet room." Or the Mayor for Dartmouth, "It's doomed to failure.", or the Mayor of Halifax County. "If this is consultation, it is an entirely new form to me.".



There were many other people who got fired up and very disturbed. There was an editorial in the Yarmouth Vanguard. It starts off, "What's a promise? The provincial government has backtracked on yet another election promise.". In ". . . April 1995, the provincial government was supposed to take over the cost of municipal welfare so that the province would finally have an equitable, one-tiered program.".



It goes on, Mr. Speaker, but I won't bore you with all the details because I know that the people of the Province of Nova Scotia realize that once again the promises of this government have not been kept. Despite the government's promises in 1994, today in this House, during Question Period, we learned that it is not going to happen in Queens County either, where again it was promised. I suspect that the Liberal Government now has no intention of honouring its commitment to develop a one-tiered social assistance system to any of the municipal units that are considering amalgamation. I don't believe that any of them are going to have a one-tiered system.



Mr. Speaker, my own constituency of Cape Breton West has become part of the Cape Breton Regional Municipality. I will acknowledge that in that amalgamation the province has assumed the cost of assistance. But I have to wonder, given what the Minister of Municipal Affairs said here today, how long that will be the case, that it will be absorbed by the provincial government. I am not sure that it is legal to pick up the cost for one municipal unit and not for the others. But I am not a lawyer and that is not for me to challenge but I am sure there will be challenges under the Charter of Rights. I will let the lawyers for the municipal units decide that.



The point is, Nova Scotians were sold a bill of goods in 1993. Part of that package, part of those promises that were made in 1993, was that a priority of this government would be to have a one-tiered welfare system within six to nine months, Mr. Speaker. Here we are, two and one-half years later, and we know it hasn't happened. It is clear it is not going to happen in Queens County and it is clear it will never happen in the municipality here in metro. Nova Scotians were sold a bill of goods during the last election on this issue.



Then the Minister of Municipal Affairs continued to make the same promise across the province. She made it to the executive of the Union of Nova Scotia Municipalities as late as February of this year. She made it to the member for Queens and she made it to the Mayor of Liverpool and to the Warden of Queens County.



Now, Mr. Speaker, we learn that these commitments will not be honoured, that these commitments have been withdrawn, without so much as the courtesy of a phone call. It is not unusual for this government to disappoint thousands of Nova Scotians.



In conclusion, Mr. Speaker, I note that the Premier has said that this government has completed 90 per cent of his reform agenda, so he is free to trot the globe to attract Third World investment to our province. Well, as the Premier now puts together his election team for the next election, I would offer him a bit of advice, free advice I might add, when he hires the spinners and the weavers for the next election that will once again write the Liberal program and their platform, I urge him on behalf of all Nova Scotians, to ensure that he can present a platform that he can deliver, that they can make commitments that they can honour and that they will tell Nova Scotians the truth. Thank you.



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Community Services.



HON. JAMES SMITH: Mr. Speaker, thank you for the opportunity to speak on the resolution this evening although I must confide I have some difficulty addressing this resolution particularly because it really is based on a false assumption. It is stating, assume the social services costs for the new metro regional municipality. This was never promised and I don't believe there has been any evidence brought before this House that would indicate that to happen.



I did want to take a more positive approach rather than dwell on a lot of the negatives. I was hoping we would have a better discussion on that particular issue on the advantages of a single-tiered system. The member for Cape Breton West is right that that is a commitment of this government and to this day it remains a commitment.



I was a little concerned about the member's comments relative to the Cape Breton region. I wonder if he repeats them in his own riding that the people of Cape Breton are having disadvantages that probably wouldn't stand the Charter of Rights. I am amazed that he would make that statement.



This is a two year project and we are doing some experimenting with programs. We are moving to a transition phase, moving from a passive system of social assistance to a more proactive system. We are guiding people through early job training and not deserting them; taking them off social assistance and moving them into job training. So there are many positives that the member could have debated here this evening and he chose not to. I suppose just as we in turn are accountable, he also will have to be accountable for his attitude which I find a little bit difficult to understand.



I think when you look at that as an advantage, there is a working out of how to make these programs work. In many areas, these haven't been done well. I think with this project in Cape Breton we will have the evaluation in the spring that will be done on that particular project by an outside agency, that is not an inside government evaluation either.



I did want to say what an excellent opportunity it is now as we look at this metro community where we have the four regions, the four municipal units, forming one municipal unit. It is a great opportunity to integrate the programs that are available to people. It is a great opportunity to rationalize services in this community. By the time we move to a one-tiered system in the metro area, the Cape Breton project will cover about one-fifth of the social assistance programs. They will be up to 60 per cent by the time that metro, probably more over 60 per cent of the province, so we are moving.



Sometimes we are criticized for moving too quickly with too much change but this is an area that we will move toward. This will result in a better service to the clients and it will be more cost-effective, not to detract from the human element but to make these programs more accountable and more effective and move from the more passive system into a more proactive system.



Currently, in this particular area of metro - and that is what the resolution is addressing so I will try to address this particular issue - there are three systems that serve the four municipal units. These are not compatible systems so there must be a movement toward a one-tiered system. How that takes place and how the funding formula will work out, that is now in negotiations, it is the discussion that will be taking place.



[6:15 p.m.]



There have been many committee meetings and municipal service directors of these particular units have been meeting. There are committees on policy and other issues that have been well addressed and we will see more movement on that. The challenges of a system such as this is to bring integration into the system to move to a more proactive system, to break that cycle of dependency that we know so well with our social assistance programs and have been open to a lot of criticism for that. While doing this, we will protect the services for those vulnerable, those in need, particularly those children that live under the poverty level and those single parents and those low income families. We will make this program more fiscally sustainable.



As we move to the one-tiered system, however, it does look within this metropolitan region that it will bring some predictability into the budget process for the municipal unit. The CAP changes that have taken place, there is no more open-ended funding across this country on social assistance, those days are gone. We must bring some stability, particularly to those at the municipal level where their budgets do impact directly on homeowners and taxpayers. The CHST Agreement, the social transfer payments that are impacting so heavily on this particular government now must be addressed and we will try to shelter and protect the municipal units against that. In the 1996-97 budget we are looking at a predicted decrease in this province of $75 million. That is a lot of money.



I did want to say that it does afford a particular opportunity for change, it will protect the metropolitan units from the difficulties of budgetary financing and it will lessen and protect the impact, it will bring some protection to property tax owners.



In closing, I know this was addressed earlier today in the House and I think I have a few moments but I did want to mention about going back to December 1993. I didn't want to get into a lot of figures and the Minister of Municipal Affairs is quite aptly able to speak for herself and her department as she did here today but just to read into the record at this time for this particular debate that initially in the municipal service exchange there was a $123 million figure on one side and what turned out to be a $73 million figure on the municipal. Within that $123 million, if this was going to be neutral, there had to be some changes made.



Also, Mr. Speaker, at that time it included a road levy - as was mentioned earlier today - an equalization payment as well from the municipal units, to balance. So when it finally was decided in October 1994 on the municipal service exchange, that it would be neutral between the province and the municipal units, it did, in fact, include $50 million on the provincial side that would be paid towards health services and the community services side. This $4.9 million alone in apprehension costs, we have homes for special care that are being covered 66.67 per cent, up to 80 per cent, also the community-based small options that will be covered at 100 per cent, so even within the cost neutral, the $73 million that actually did take place in the municipal service exchange has really included a fair amount of social services costs.



The $50 million or so extra - I think anybody that can add can see - to keep it cost neutral, and that was the intent of the original service exchange as I understand, that $50 million general assistance on social services was just not in the package. That has been explained; the Minister of Municipal Affairs and myself met with a whole auditorium of councillors, mayors and wardens around this province and that was explained very well in Yarmouth earlier this year.



So, Mr. Speaker, the government is moving forward in a movement towards a one-tiered system. We will do it gradually, as we are able to and, not only that, as the municipal units are able to enter into these types of arrangements. It is not predicated. Amalgamation does not necessarily have to take place before this happens but we are working with various areas where we can do coordination of services. The goal is to offer a better service and a more integrated and rationalized service throughout this province as we move towards a one-tiered system. Thank you.



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



MR. JOHN HOLM: Mr. Speaker, I welcome the opportunity to stand to say a few words this evening on the topic that is before us. I note the previous speaker, when the Minister of Community Services got up to speak, he chastised slightly the mover of the motion, the member for Cape Breton West, for not having spoken about the positive elements of having across the province a one-tiered social assistance system.



Mr. Speaker, I am not of the same political persuasion as the mover of the resolution obviously, so I have nothing to gain, if you want to talk in a partisan way, trying to defend the mover of the motion. That having been said, I think it is also only fair to say that the mover wouldn't have stood to speak in support of this amendment if he hadn't recognized the obvious advantages and benefits of having a one-tiered system, a system that the province said was to be high priority; that is, the Liberal Government said was to be high priority back in 1993, when they were seeking the support of the electorate in Nova Scotia to elect them to be the government of the province. People, of course, believed, naively as it turns out, that the government was going to be turning over a new leaf and that the government was, in fact, going to be trying to honour the commitments that they made back in 1993 and didn't expect that they would be so profoundly disappointed, as it turns out that they have.



Mr. Speaker, I think one of the things that this government has to do is come clean with the true facts as to what they are doing and what they aren't doing and why. I don't think there is any member in this House, certainly not in our caucus and I doubt in the caucus of the Official Opposition, who would question or doubt the importance and the need and the fairness of having a one-tiered system. We are, if my memory serves me correctly, the only province in the country which has a two-tiered system such as we have in the Province of Nova Scotia.



So we were optimistic about one thing. When the Cape Breton Regional Municipality was being amalgamated, when that shotgun arrangement was being put into place, we were optimistic that what was being done there would, in fact, carry through in other parts of the province where amalgamations, such as in the metropolitan area, were to take place, that the same kind of thing would be carried forward. We heard the history and we know all of the history about some of the so-called meetings that have taken place and the promises that have been made.



This afternoon, for example, during Question Period, I read into the record some of the comments that were taken from minutes of the executive committee meeting of the Union of Nova Scotia Municipalities dated February 22, 1995. Of course, the Minister of Municipal Affairs got up later on to say, well those are not our minutes; those are the minutes of the Union of Nova Scotia Municipalities, I had not seen them. Basically my interpretation of the minister's remarks would be that the minister was saying that those minutes are not accurate. That would be my interpretation of what the minister said.



MR. SPEAKER: Well, I don't know about that conclusion. There could be, certainly, two different versions of the same meeting. It doesn't mean that anybody is inaccurate. It is just like the four Gospels; they don't read exactly the same but none of them are necessarily inaccurate.



MR. HOLM: I am glad you clarified that, Mr. Speaker. Having clarified that, I also want to clarify upon your clarification, and that is that my interpretation, certainly, of what the minister's comments are is that her recollections of that meeting are different from those that were contained in the minutes. That would maybe mean that the minister doesn't think that the minutes are gospel, or that they are accurate.



However, it was quite clear in those minutes - and I have no reason to doubt the Union of Nova Scotia Municipalities' minutes of the executive meeting, Mr. Speaker - where it pointed out that there will be a new system in place, and these remarks, credited to the Minister of Municipal Affairs, saying, ". . . but it will be at provincial expense.". That is the understanding and that has been the understanding all along about the establishment of this system.



Now, let's put something else into context, and that was the service exchange. One of the things I would dearly love to see is an independent audit done of the provincial government to compare the actual costs that the province is picking up, the costs that formerly have been paid by municipalities, put those figures on one side and on the other side of the ledger, see the actual figures that the province is transferring in the way of costs to the municipalities. Mr. Speaker, I would be willing to bet that there would be a heavy weighting on the side of the costs transferred to the municipal property tax payers compared to the costs that have been picked up by the provincial government. Now service exchange was supposed to be neutral, supposed to be equal. A dollar out of one pocket, a dollar out of the other; equal expenses.



We have heard this government patting itself on the back about all of the new money going into home care; their arms must be getting tired. What they don't tell you is that is not new money, that is money that had formerly been paid by municipalities and, as part of the service exchange, the province picked up those costs. But the municipalities are now paying for justice costs that they didn't before; they are paying $3,500 per kilometre for road maintenance that they didn't pay before, and all kinds of other costs have been offloaded to municipalities.



When this marriage of convenience by this government for the four metro areas was being arranged, it was very clearly said that there will be tremendous savings to the metropolitan area because of the service exchange and because of the province picking up social service costs, general assistance costs. What has happened in the interim, which this government doesn't want to say because they don't want to offend their close friends - the other members of the Liberal team who are occupying Ottawa - is that the federal government put a cap on CAP; they capped the amount of money that they will cost-share to the provinces under the Canada Assistance Plan.



Now, in addition to that, they have come out with this new CHST, this social transfer where they are going to - as the Minister of Community Services correctly said - take $75 million out of Nova Scotia next year. What the provincial government is afraid of is that if they proceed with the commitments that they made, to set up a one-tiered system, then the province becomes responsible for those cutbacks, those dollars that are being withdrawn by the federal government.



They don't want to get the blame for that, so what they are going to do is, hands off, we aren't going to take over, we aren't going to set up the one-tiered system, because then we take the flak. If we just leave it the way it is, we leave those costs shooting right on down to the property taxpayers in the municipalities.





People in Cape Breton were told there were going to be tremendous savings to the taxpayers in that area as a result of the amalgamation. We have seen what happened and, Mr. Speaker, you know better than I, being from that area, it is going to be many years, if ever, that the tax rates in those areas go down as a result of amalgamation. Tax rates will go up long before they come down.



Mr. Speaker, the marriage of the four metro municipalities here was sold on the basis of not only the efficiencies but of the tremendous savings. You watch, let's wait and see what happens to the tax rates here. Already the government has decided to back away, to renege on the commitments it made relative to the general assistance, and those increased costs are going to be passed on to the property taxpayers. This has more to do with how good that surplus looks on the books of the red team, the Liberal Government, as they head into the election. It has more to do with that than anything else.



The province is intent on hiding the true costs and the true debt on somebody else's books, whether it is the privatization on the building of the Highway No. 104, to have somebody else have that debt on their books; or the building of the schools privately so those hang on somebody else's books; or the social assistance costs. The province has decided for its own political reasons to have those costs hide and appear on the books of the municipalities rather than on their own, for obvious political reasons. Mr. Speaker, that is not what they promised; they promised a new age, a new time of fairness, of justice.



I would suggest to the Minister of Community Services that he revisit with his colleagues the commitments that they made and the advantages of having a one-tiered system, and stop trying to pass the buck literally as well as figuratively.



MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. The time allotted for the Adjournment debate has expired.



[6:30 p.m. The House resolved itself into a CWH on Bills with Acting Deputy Speaker Alan Mitchell in the Chair.]



[7:57 p.m. CWH on Bills rose and the House reconvened. Mr. Speaker, Hon. Paul MacEwan, resumed the Chair.]



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



THE CLERK: That the committee has met and made progress and begs leave to sit again.



MR. SPEAKER: Is it agreed?



It is agreed.



The honourable Government House Leader.



HON. RICHARD MANN: Mr. Speaker, would you please call the order of business, Presenting Reports of Committees.





PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Hants East.



MR. ROBERT CARRUTHERS: Mr. Speaker, as Chairman of the Committee on Private and Local Bills, I am directed to report that the committee has met and considered the following bills:



Bill No. 63 - Halifax Container Terminals Tax Exemption Act.



Bill No. 64 - Cape Breton Regional Municipality Act.



and the committee recommends these bills to the favourable consideration of the House, each without amendment.



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



The honourable Government House Leader.



HON. RICHARD MANN: Mr. Speaker, tomorrow we will be sitting from the hours of 10:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m. The order of business following the daily routine will be the resumption of the debate in Committee of the Whole House on Bills on Bill No. 47; following which we anticipate debate on Bill No. 55.



Also, for the interest and information of members of the House, on Tuesday, we will sit from the hours of 2:00 p.m. until 10:00 p.m. Tuesday routine, Monday hours.



Mr. Speaker, I move that we adjourn until 10:00 a.m. tomorrow.



MR. SPEAKER: The motion is that the House do now rise to meet again tomorrow at the hour 10:00 a.m.



The motion is carried.



[The House rose at 7:59 p.m.]