Assemblée Législative de la Nouvelle-Écosse

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21 septembre 2017

















HALIFAX, FRIDAY, JANUARY 5, 1996



Fifty-sixth General Assembly



Third Session



8:00 A.M.



SPEAKER



Hon. Paul MacEwan



DEPUTY SPEAKER



Mrs. Francene Cosman





MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. I will call the House to order at this time to commence this morning's proceedings. Are there any introductions of guests? If not, we will advance directly to the daily routine.



PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS



PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES



TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS



STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS



GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION



INTRODUCTION OF BILLS



NOTICES OF MOTION



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Hants West.



RESOLUTION NO. 959



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



Whereas the Nova Scotia Crime Stoppers Program just completed their ninth year of operation; and



4773

Whereas the Nova Scotia Crime Stoppers Program played an instrumental role in over 150 police investigations in 1995, including a bank robbery of nearly $200,000 plus a major drug operation, as well as arsons and violent crimes; and



Whereas 1995 has been described as a very successful year by police officers working with the Nova Scotia Crime Stoppers Program;



Therefore be it resolved that members of this Legislature commend those involved with the Nova Scotia Crime Stoppers Program for their dedication and hard work and wish them continued success for 1996.



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



MR. SPEAKER: Is that agreeable to the House?



It is agreed.



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



The motion is carried.



The honourable Leader of the New Democratic Party.



RESOLUTION NO. 960



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 Premier is applying an unwritten, unspoken rule to ensure that Cabinet Ministers do not use frequent flyer points gained at public expense for their personal use; and



Whereas the government has meanwhile found a simple means of reducing airfare costs while eliminating personal frequent flyer points for travel by non-elected public servants; and



Whereas Nova Scotians might well ask why all Cabinet and MLA travel is not booked in a similar low-cost manner;



Therefore be it resolved that this House urges the Premier to take time enough from his own travels to ensure that all travel at provincial expense is booked through the system that minimizes cost while eliminating any potential personal gain from publicly funded flights.



MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.



The honourable member for Halifax Atlantic.



RESOLUTION NO. 961



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



Whereas low income households, major industries, cable television subscribers and others have all come forward to express their concerns about the proposal for a major increase in NSP rates and a rate structure that would advance future costs; and



Whereas the province has been a party or an intervenor at previous Utility Board hearings and the Liberal caucus never failed to make a presentation on NSP rate issues; and



Whereas the roster of public intervenors at one of the most important NSP rate hearings does not include this government;



Therefore be it resolved that this House urges the government to dig deep and find the wherewithal to speak out at the NSP rate hearing in support of the energy and economic policies that the Liberals claim to uphold.



MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.



The honourable Leader of the New Democratic Party.



RESOLUTION NO. 962



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 present Justice Minister led the charge when lawyers in Antigonish proposed to boycott court sittings to protest the inadequate and unsafe courtroom facilities in their community; and



Whereas plans for courtroom renovation/construction were unveiled in February 1993 and again in March 1995 when the minister listed the number of courtrooms needed in each region; and



Whereas 10 months later, on January 10th, the government is seeking yet another hand-picked outside consultant to start from scratch by developing a plan that identifies the number of courtrooms needed;



Therefore be it resolved that the Justice Minister should get on with courtroom improvements that are necessary in Antigonish and elsewhere, rather than spending all five Liberal years writing up expensive master plans that threaten the use of fully acceptable courtrooms in other rural communities.



MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.



The honourable member for Hants West.



RESOLUTION NO. 963



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



Whereas the Premier garnered international media attention in 1994 on his Team Canada visit to China; and



Whereas the Team Canada is on the road again next week to seek out fame and fortune in India; and



Whereas the fame the Premier received in 1994 came following his remarks on the very sensitive issue of human rights;



Therefore be it resolved that the Premier utilize his time on the journey to India wisely and discuss the serious issues with the Prime Minister before the plane lands, rather than explaining to the international media afterwards that he made a simple, honest mistake.



MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.



Any further notices of motion? Now, that would appear to conclude the daily routine.



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 itself into a Committee of the Whole House on Bills.



MR. SPEAKER: The motion is carried.



[8:07 a.m. The House resolved itself into a CWH on Bills with Acting Deputy Speaker Mr. Alan Mitchell in the Chair.]



[10:29 a.m. CWH on Bills rose and the House reconvened with Acting Deputy Speaker Mr. Robert Carruthers in the Chair.]



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



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



Bill No. 64 - Cape Breton Regional Municipality Act.



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



Bill No. 51 - Truro Street Widths Act.



and the chairman has been instructed to recommend these bills to the favourable consideration of the House, without amendments.



Also, Mr. Speaker, the committee has met and considered the following bill:



Bill No. 55 - Community Colleges Act.



and the chairman has been instructed to recommend this bill to the favourable consideration of the House, with certain amendments and begs leave to sit again.



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



The honourable Government House Leader.



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



PUBLIC BILLS FOR SECOND READING



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.



HON. RICHARD MANN: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 58.



Bill No. 58 - Medical Professional Corporations Act.



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Health.



HON. RONALD STEWART: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise in my place, this morning, to introduce for second reading the bill to permit physicians to incorporate for the purpose of carrying on the practice of medicine. I would say in introduction to my very brief comments that this bill represents a process that began two year ago, in preparation for a reworking of the structure of a clinical practice within the province, and in regard to the arrangements that we have made with the Medical Society as spokes-organization, if you would, for the physicians of the province. The process, in fact, has led to the tabling of this piece of legislation in the last sitting of this House and we have continued to regard this as a corner stone in the further process of what I might call providing some stability for physicians as a professional group within the health care system.



[10:30 a.m.]



The title of the bill is self-explanatory. What this bill intends to do is to provide the ability for physicians as small business people to incorporate and achieve benefits therefrom. It is similar, as I have said in the past and as I have said publicly, Mr. Speaker, in the initial tabling of the bill, to legislation which exists for dentists, accountants and other professionals. We have taken the advice of the physicians of the province in large measure to construct a bill that would be permissive in nature to allow them as small business people to achieve incorporation and the benefits, as I have mentioned, therefrom.



I might make several comments, Mr. Speaker, in respect to why we feel this is one of the corner stones, one of the foundation stones, if you would, of our change in health care structure in the province. First of all, this is one of the issues that has been incorporated into our agreement with the Medical Society. We have agreed to go forward with this legislation, to present it to the House for its consideration and we have incorporated that into our agreement of 1995.



Well, why have we done this, Mr. Speaker? We have had some comments made, both in and out of this place, regarding the giving of tax breaks and giving benefits to a segment of society which has been called by various names and painted stereotypically in certain ways. We would recognize that this is an advantage to a particular group. We have also recognized that other groups, professional groups and business people do have the benefits of some different measures in different legislations such as incorporation.



I want to answer this as forthrightly as possible and say very clearly that part of our reason for going forward with this, above and beyond the reason that I have given, which is that we have agreed to go forward with it as per our contract with the Medical Society, is very simply that we want to provide a competitive edge, if you would, in attracting, both recruiting and retaining physicians, particularly specialists in this province. This piece of legislation will affect the minority of physicians, we recognize that. Yet, there are certain physicians who when looking across Canada at opportunities may well find that this is one of the pluses that might lead them to make a decision to come and remain in Nova Scotia. We would like to provide some stability in terms of business practices and stability in terms of competitive advantage. Other provinces have this legislation, as I have mentioned, we copied the legislation for dentists and accountants and barristers and we feel that we have something to offer again, a plank, if you would, in the platform of our recruitment and retention of professionals, particularly physicians.



We would recognize, however, that a very small minority of physicians would benefit from this. The benefits, of course, and the total amount of benefits that would accrue to this group would be dependent on the number who would incorporate, obviously. However, the benefits of incorporation will differ according to the type of practice, will differ according to the kind of practice that is carried on and, perhaps, even the specialty and so on. We would say that the arrangements for the practice of medicine, particularly, in rural areas may well benefit from this. Very often families are involved in the practice, relatives, husbands, perhaps participate in their wives' practices or vice-versa wives participate in the husbands' practices in a salaried way, in a way that would be a family business and so, in rural and smaller towns, this may well help. Although, again, we do not believe this to be an end all, that this is a panacea for much of the perceived instability that has been suggested from some quarters in the practice of medicine in the province. But we do feel that this will help.



Incorporation does not mean any change in physician/patient relationships or physician relationships with other business interests and it does not, of course, in any way infringe or change the protection or lack of protection, if you would, that a physician would have from professional liability. This is not designed to do that, in fact, that cannot be done and the law would supersede, of course, in terms of malpractice.



It also does not restrict, nor would we ever intend to restrict the public's ability to carry on malpractice claims against any physician, either professional corporation or not, and we need to make that clear as we go forward with this legislation.



I might, in making these very brief remarks, Mr. Speaker, comment upon the fact that we have made, in this legislation, an effort to provide for what we feel is a competitive issue. It is an issue that I think some physicians will feel more comfortable with and to address, as I am sure some members of the House will call our attention to, the fact that this may indeed be seen as giving tax breaks to rich people and so on. We have heard that rhetoric before. Suffice it to say, it will indeed provide for professional incorporation as in other professions. We have agreed that this is part and parcel of our ongoing program to recruit and to retain physicians in the province.



I might say that it will apply to a minority of physicians. We recognize that. It is not going to be very widely taken up. We understand that. However, it does affect some specialists that we might be willing to attract and wanting to attract and when we hear the voices that have been raised from this place and from other sources in other quarters that would decry the apparent and perceived instability in what we have done in terms of physicians and physician changes and their distress that they have apparently been suffering in some quarters. We would hope that this would go some way to, again, provide for some reassurance on the part of those who would criticize some of the changes in reforms and how we have carried them out, frankly.



I might, in addition, say that even though this bill does provide for an ability to carry on a certain type of business practice, which we have called the practice of medicine, the reform of primary care provisions and the provisions of health care and, indeed, the provision of medical care within the health care structure, will not be affected by this. In fact, as we go forward with our changes, one of the things that we will want to do is we will want to provide an option and menu of the various ways the physicians can participate in the health care system and provide medical care for the public of Nova Scotia. I believe that in the future fewer and fewer physicians will opt for independent business practices. They will certainly find the advantages for the provision of primary care in other ways, such as blended formula and so on, to be far more attractive, in my estimation and in the estimation of most of the health care economists. So this really becomes less and less attractive.



Despite that fact, I would suggest that this is, in fact, a measure that will provide for some interest on the part of some physicians and we would present this bill at this time to this place for consideration and favourable comment. I thank you for your indulgence at this time, Mr. Speaker.



MR. SPEAKER: So then the minister has moved second reading of the bill.



The honourable member for Halifax Atlantic.



MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise, in part, I guess, to talk about this bill. I must say that I am disappointed, as a member of this Legislature, in times like this that I have to do so, that a piece of legislation would be introduced in this House in January 1996, after two and one-half years of this government cutting tens of millions of dollars out of the health care sector; cutting millions and millions of dollars out of education; reducing payments to people living in poverty, Mr. Speaker, by upwards of 20 per cent; taking away people's access to dental care; seniors being forced to carry more of the burden, in fact, 50 per cent of the burden or more of Pharmacare as a result of the financial difficulties that this province is facing. At the same time, we have experienced over the past year the introduction of casinos into the Province of Nova Scotia, as the corner stone of our economic development policy in the Province of Nova Scotia, which has basically had the effect of sucking tens of millions of dollars out of the pockets of Nova Scotians.



We are also going to witness, in the next month, the coming into effect of a new Workers' Compensation Act which is going to see benefits to injured workers reduced by tens of millions of dollars, in order to pay for an unfunded liability that was not their responsibility. It was not created by them but, nonetheless, they have been asked to carry that burden.



Mr. Speaker, in light of all the constant requests by this government to the people of Nova Scotia to be patient; to tighten their belts; to do more with less, we are addressing a piece of legislation which will provide tax advantages for some of the most advantaged professionals in the Province of Nova Scotia. Now, just think about that and think about the contradiction there.



When the minister introduced this legislation, in his comments here in second reading, he did not tell us how much it was going to cost. We had a similar bill introduced for second reading a few weeks ago that would do the same thing for barristers and solicitors. With that bill, we still were not able to get any hard and fast numbers in terms of what the financial impact was going to be in terms of forgone tax revenue by the province. But the Finance Minister did say outside this House, to reporters, that it might be somewhere in the area of $250,000.



What is it going to be in this case, Mr. Speaker? What is the financial impact going to be in the province, in terms of forgone tax revenues? In the Province of Ontario, when a similar piece of legislation was being proposed a review by the advisory council estimated, after extensive consultation with Ontarians, professionals, tax accountants and others, found that a conservative estimate would be $75 million. What is it going to be here in Nova Scotia?



[10:45 p.m.]



I want to begin my remarks by responding, in part, to the comments made by the minister in introducing this bill. First of all, in drawing the spectre of this government, this minister, at the same time that they are creating such chaos within the health care field, at the same time that thousands of health care workers are being laid off, at the same time hospitals are being closed, hospital beds are being reduced and services are not being put in the communities, Nova Scotians are being asked to be patient; we have to reform the system, it will be better for you in the long run. At the same time they are being asked to do more with less, this government, this minister, is bringing in a piece of legislation that provides tax advantages to some of the most, or clearly to the most, advantaged professionals in the health care sector.



The minister said that this is part of a deal that was struck with the Medical Society a few years ago. What he is talking about is the agreement that was reached through the Joint Management Committee, the terms of reference for which, and that was an agreement that was to span from 1992 to 1997. I just want to refer to that for a moment. In that agreement, and I will be happy to table this, Appendix A of the Joint Management Committee Terms of Reference, it says under Section 2, which reads, "Under the terms of the tariff agreement, the Joint Management Committee is mandated to:"



Section 2(M) says, "Investigate the impact and possibility of legislative changes to permit physicians in Nova Scotia to incorporate practices based on models currently in place in other provinces.".



As the minister indicated, this is the agreement that has led to the introduction of this legislation. What the minister has failed to indicate to us is, where is the impact, what is the impact? What is the financial impact on the Province of Nova Scotia? What is the real impact going to be? How many physicians in the Province of Nova Scotia does this affect, Mr. Speaker? Is this going to keep five doctors in the Province of Nova Scotia? Is it going to encourage 10 doctors to stay in the Province of Nova Scotia? What impact is it going to have? We don't seem to have that information.



I would like to ask the minister if, in fact, that investigation has been done, as was directed by the Joint Management Committee terms of reference? Did they investigate the impact and possibility of legislative changes? We have the legislative changes before us now in second reading in the form of Bill No. 58, but have they investigated the impact? Well, they are awfully quiet when it comes to dealing with that question.



I would suggest to you, Mr. Speaker, that it is an extremely important question. I will tell you why, because the same arguments were floated in Ontario back in 1993 when the then Government of Ontario reached an agreement with the Medical Society as part of their whole social contract process to bring in legislation to allow physicians to incorporate. The Medical Society and the government said similar things in that day. They said that it will only affect a minority of physicians and in fact, it won't cost the province a whole lot of money and it will provide some stability for those physicians, some of them who have to pay incredible costs for equipment and other costs in order to run their practice.



Well, give credit to the government of the day, they didn't do it easily, freely, they did it after they got an awful lot of pressure from the media and from Ontarians. They referred the issue to an advisory council, the advisory council that was set up by the Department of Health to review matters with respect to the regulation of health professions.



Mr. Speaker, this council conducted extensive hearings with Ontarians, with professionals, with groups and associations, and they came back and made the following conclusions: "Incorporation of any regulated health profession is not demonstrably in the public interest. Incorporation of any health profession is potentially contrary to the public interest on a number of grounds.". I will talk about those in a few moments; they said that, "The government should not proceed with permitting the privilege of incorporation by any regulated health profession.".



Why did they say that? Why did they make that final statement? They made it, Mr. Speaker, because they were responding in part to the argument that we have heard in this House on many occasions and that is that it would be unfair not to give these professionals the same tax advantage that is enjoyed by, I think with the barristers, it was plumbers, and other small business people.



The difference here, I think, is critical. Doctors, Mr. Speaker, are providing a service to the public, a health service, and they are regulated by a self-regulating body and they are paid by the public. They are not in business to maximize profit, which is the whole idea of business, small business and large business, in this country. Surely that is not what health professionals are in the business for. They are in the business to provide a service to the public who pay them and pay them very well.



So the advisory council to the Minister of Health recommended to the Province of Ontario that they should not proceed with permitting the privilege of incorporation by any regulated health profession as this would potentially be contrary to the public interest. They estimated that the Treasury of Ontario would be foregoing up to $75 million per year and that in the context of the economic environment in which the public was faced, in which the public was involved, this was not the time to be handing out privileges to people who do okay, thank you very much.



Mr. Speaker, the final comment I want to make with respect to the comments of the Minister of Health is this business about, we said that we would do it on the basis of an agreement. He said like a collective agreement and therefore we felt obliged to follow through with our commitment. Well, I mean, what a laugh that is. How many times has this government broken collective agreements in the short period that it has been in power? Every time they turn around, this government has violated collective agreements in Nova Scotia. It has broken promises that it has made to the people of Nova Scotia on questions of its commitment to services, on its commitment to put people back to work. Yet here we are supposed to appreciate the commitment that this Minister of Health has to honour this agreement with the doctors. Well, I say to him, why are the doctors any more special than the nurses or the cleaners or the other people who work so hard and dedicate so much to the health care system of this province? That argument does not hold any water whatsoever.



It will only affect the minority of physicians that the benefits will differ and it will benefit rural practices the most, I ask that minister to show me, to show Nova Scotians the evidence that that in fact is the case because as with any other tax break, with any other question of deferral of income, Mr. Speaker, it is a question of the people who make the most, getting the greatest advantage. That is still the crunch of this question here before us. If he wants to throw around and flaunt these ideas, that I would suggest are red herrings, that it will benefit the rural family doctor who is struggling so hard under difficult circumstances, I ask him to prove it because there is no evidence that suggests that that, in fact, is the case.



Mr. Speaker, one of the biggest concerns about this whole incorporation, other than the fact that it is just completely immoral in light of the constraining, of the cutting and slashing that has been going on in the health care sector itself, that we would be proposing to provide advantages to one group of professionals within that sector, professionals that are already on the top of the heap.



The other problem is that we are supposedly engaged in a process of health reform in the Province of Nova Scotia, that we are supposedly trying to shift from secondary care to primary care, from care based in the communities, facilitated by multi-disciplinary teams of health care professionals operating in community-based clinics. That is the theory, that is the idea. There are a plethora of studies that have conclusively recommended that the biggest hinderance for that multi-disciplinary approach is the fee for service. The system of compensating doctors based on the number of visits, based on the number of procedures that are billed.



In any study of the health care services and health care reform in this country we have to come up with alternatives to fee for service. We have to try to integrate things like salary. We have to try to integrate things like a capitation formulae. We have to integrate other ways of compensating physicians, Madam Speaker, which will allow for more flexibility, which will allow for more treatment that is based on care and that is not based on procedures, not based on time, not based on volume. The concern that has been raised by this type of incorporation was part of the Ontario review, and it has been cited in other documents, is that this process of incorporation could, in fact, further entrench the fee for service model and prevent this minister and this government and any government in the future from coming forward with reforms on how, in fact, physicians will be compensated.



Madam Speaker, there was a survey done recently, reported in the November 13th issue of Maclean's Magazine. (Interruption) I am talking about fee for service. It talked about the problem of fees to doctors being reduced as governments try to respond to increasing health care budgets and reducing revenues. It talked about the reality of doctors pumping up their volume of business, their volume of patients, their volume of billable procedures. The survey of doctors, this article suggests that 70 per cent of all doctors think that some of their colleagues are, in fact, encouraging more patient visits. It says further that 40 per cent think that this is the only reasonable response to revenue shortfall. Also, the majority of doctors surveyed confirmed that budget austerity and government policies are having a clear and negative effect on the delivery of health care in this country.



[11:00 a.m.]



Again, there have been examples in this country of where in communities you have seen a phenomenal increase in the number of doctors go into a community. What studies have shown is that no matter how much the number of doctors increases, in some areas quite significantly, that instead of some being driven out - I mean if you have a corner store, a general store, a variety store, selling basic household goods and milk and chocolate bars and that sort of thing, and you have four or five of them congregating on one street corner, in one little area like that, what do you think is going to happen? What is going to happen is that some of those are not going to be able to survive. We found that, in fact, where you have corner stores operating and a service station nearby all of sudden opens a convenience store and it is killing those small, privately owned corner stores. Well, you think, okay, if you have more and more doctors come into a community, then it is going to end up eventually, you are going to hit a point where doctors aren't going to be able to make a living, but that is not what happens.



What happens is that the costs of providing health services goes up, because under the fee for service system, Madam Speaker, there is no reason why that would change, because it is based on volume. It is based on visits, it is based on procedures performed. In a case of where fee for service is the method for payment, what we have seen and what studies have shown is that overall costs increase by 20 per cent to 40 per cent with no evident benefit whatsoever to the people receiving that health care.



The problem with the fee for service system, and you hear this in particular from family doctors, is that in order to maintain a certain income, a certain level of compensation, Madam Speaker, that they are encouraged to do that very thing to pump up the volume. There are all kinds of issues there with respect to the type of service, things like obstetrics where, my understanding is, the birth of a child might be at a certain amount, say $500, no matter how much time you spend either pre- or post-partum with the woman. So if you are a doctor who spends more time and gives more direct care and counselling and whatever else, if you are on call more often in terms of giving people access to your home phone and so on, then you are not compensated for that but yet if you do the least amount and in order to make sure that the volume is increased, then in fact you end up in the long run increasing your income.



Now, the problem is that there are doctors in the system, many of whom say that this is not the way to run the health care system, Madam Speaker, that this is not benefitting the majority of doctors. There are more and increasing numbers of doctors, according to studies, who are coming out of training saying, in fact, that there have to be other ways.



There are other jurisdictions that have been working with other methods of providing health care. In Quebec, and increasingly in Ontario and other provinces, Saskatchewan, there are centres which combine primary health care, social services home care and other programs, depending on the local priorities of that particular community; again, that multi-disciplinary concept that has been discussed so much in the rhetoric around health care reform, Mr. Speaker. There are alternatives.



In a recent book by Michael Decter, the former Deputy Minister of Health in Ontario, he suggests that more and more people are recognizing, governments are recognizing the need to find alternatives, alternative methods for delivering, for compensating doctors. He says that recent graduates from medical school are becoming more receptive to alternatives, that they are less likely to see the fee for service as the divine right for physicians, which is what it has become.



Women who are graduating, and women as they take up a more prominent role in the delivery of health services in the physician profession are having an impact on the willingness to consider alternatives, Madam Speaker. Younger physicians are more receptive and beginning to recognize the fact that you need to come up with a way to address the problems that exist in rural parts of Nova Scotia and rural parts of Canada. It is not simply paying somebody more, it is coming up with a strategy that talks to people about quality of life; it talks to people about support services; it talks to people about that multi-disciplinary approach, so that there are supports there in the community and that family doctors, general practitioners and others are not required to work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It is coming up with those alternatives that is the answer to keeping people in this province, to keeping doctors, physicians and surgeons in the Province of Nova Scotia.



The most remarkable thing about the complaints that I hear, that are reported back to me from doctors and surgeons, Madam Speaker, is the work load, the lack of services, the frustration in dealing with the restraint in hospital budgets, with the fact that there are not enough of their colleagues around in the specialities, for example. As a result, the way, even, that the fee for service is organized, some suggest, is penalizing those who are trying to cope with the realities of the increasing pressure, the increasing burden being placed on the health care system, and incorporation will not touch that one iota.



Where is the evidence, where is the information that I think Nova Scotians agree was recommended that we have in order to facilitate real health care reform. In the Blueprint Committee they talked about Labour Adjustment Subcommittee under the guise of the Human Resources Advisory Committee. They talked about expanding and defining the scope of practice so health care providers can work as teams. "This includes traditional as well as `complementary' health care practitioners. Standards should be maintained. The least expensive, yet qualified provider, who is acceptable to the consumer is the most desirable.".



Has the necessary legislation been introducted since this report was tabled in April 1994 to enable that kind of multi-disciplinary team to begin to form? No. What we have been waiting for from this government and from this Minister of Health, he has promised it to people, was a bill regulating health professions. Midwives went through with the Medical Act, alternative medicine practitioners and others who would form part of this team concept and enable the province to actually begin to set up these teams. But that is not necessary, I guess, that instead what we are going to do is ensure that we cement the fee for service, that one individual doctor is operating on their own as a private corporation. That is contrary to any recommendations with respect to health care reform that I have seen and I think most Nova Scotians would agree.



Terms of payment mechanisms and incentives for health care providers. A recommendation of the Blueprint Committee said that no one payment mechanism is suggested for every practice situation. It said, "Philosophically, fee-for-service is considered inappropriate as the main payment mechanism" the Minister of Health asked me to underline that and I will and I will expand on it, ". . . for primary health care providers. Issues of wage disparity, pay equity and standards of employment should be addressed.".



What have we seen in this House come forward from the Minister of Health that addresses that at all, that addresses other payment mechanisms? Alternatives to the fee for services, mechanisms which will enable the team approach to be developed and expanded in the Province of Nova Scotia in order to facilitate the reorientation of our health care system to primary health care, have we seen that? How long has this minister been in charge of the Department of Health, Madam Speaker? Almost three years. And what do we see in this session? We see a Medical Act - necessary, no question - providing better regulation and control over the medical profession itself, doctors and surgeons.





That doesn't do anything about other health care professions. It doesn't do anything to facilitate those other people that should be providing health care in our communities that could do it, as has been recommended, at a more appropriate cost and by a more appropriately qualified provider. Nothing. Absolutely zip. In fact, the first draft, the first piece of that bill that we say that thankfully has now been amended, even took a step back in terms of the role of midwifery in the Province of Nova Scotia.



Have we seen anything that would allow that to happen? In the face of hospitals with shrinking budgets having to shut down maternity wards, this minister, himself, recognizing over a year ago that in order to deal with that problem, you need to expand the services of midwifery in our communities, to provide alternatives to the institutionally-based obstetrics care. Luckily, as a result of fairly stiff opposition from that segment of the profession, the midwives association coalition and many doctors, the minister made that change but we still do not see anything to institute that profession, to make it a profession and to regulate that profession in order that it can become a part of a team consisting of doctors, nurses, other professionals that deliver a complementary form of health care in our communities. Absolutely nothing.



[11:15 a.m.]



Madam Speaker, I am deeply troubled about two things and I have tried to deal with those and will continue to try to deal with those in my debate. On the one hand, this Minister of Health has done nothing in terms of bringing in changes to provide for the creation of other regulated professions within health care and to expand those professions. It is a recommendation that was made by that same Royal Commission that this government stood up and talked about in debate on Bill No. 47 when they chastised the former government for not having carried forward with recommendations of that Royal Commission in 1987, with respect to combining services in terms of the delivery of tertiary care in the Province of Nova Scotia.



One after the other took great delight in chastising the former administration for their failure to act on recommendations of that Royal Commission but that very Royal Commission, as have a number of other task forces - including the Blueprint Committee being the most recent - have recommended that we need to not only come up with alternative methods for paying physicians and surgeons and other health care providers but we also need to come up with legislation to regulate other delivery of services in the health care professions, that only by doing that can we truly establish the multi-disciplinary teams in the communities that we have heard so much about.



Nothing, not a thing, has happened. This minister has not done a thing, Madam Speaker, not a thing. He and the Premier, two physicians, take great delight in chastising me when I raise concerns about the fact that 25 per cent of the hospital beds in the Province of Nova Scotia have been cut, have been closed since this government came into place and there are many more coming about in the near future.



They tell me that hospital beds don't equate with medical services. The minister will stand up and he will talk into the camera and he will say that what we are trying to do here is we are trying to have a seamless transition, the provision of health care from hospitals where the emphasis is on bricks and mortars; we are going to shift that into the communities. They bring out their lists and their letters of their Home Care Program, their home care services, a process that is extraordinarily transparent, Madam Speaker, because it doesn't deal with the reality of the fact that people are still not receiving the kind of care that they require in terms of follow-up procedures in the hospitals: illnesses, disease and injuries.



But, Madam Speaker, how are we going to be able to shift services into the community if we can't establish the multi-disciplinary teams? What in the name of Heaven, the minister has called this legislation a corner stone in the health care reform process. What possible way does it form a corner stone? He hasn't talked about the impact, positive or negative. It is like the decision to merge four hospitals into one, four health care institutions into one. Is there any basis upon which that decision - we know that outcome will in fact occur - no, it is a feeling, it makes sense.



Well, Madam Speaker, we surely know by now that anecdotal evidence is often not correct. Anecdotal evidence is often inaccurate. It often misleads people, including the person who is relying on it. But here we are - not only do we not have legislation dealing with the regulation of health care provision professions, not only do we not have anything that deals with the encouragement and the expansion of health care professions that can be more appropriately addressed to the needs of communities - we have a piece of legislation that provides tax breaks for some of the most advantaged professionals in our society here in Nova Scotia.



Now you tell me if that makes any sense, Madam Speaker? The Minister of Finance has been talking about the fact that we are going to have a budget surplus in the Province of Nova Scotia this year. We don't know how much. There have been a few figures bandied around, a few million dollars to $100 million to maybe more. What are they going to do with that money? Well, we have heard them say, we have to do this, we have to participate in this process of deficit reduction. We have to get our books in order. We have to get hold of our finances and then, once we do that, we can take that money and we can use it in health, education and social services. We can use it, put it towards job creation and so on.



Well, how much of that surplus is going to be used to pay these doctors, Madam Speaker? The Minister of Economic Renewal laughs, but how much of that surplus is going to go in foregone tax revenue for doctors that are allowed to incorporate as a result of this legislation? How much of that? (Interruption) World market place. The Minister of Economic Renewal thinks that this has something to do with Nova Scotia being a world market place for physicians. Well, as usual, that minister is not talking to people in the community who this actually affects because he doesn't recognize the fact that this doesn't have anything to do with the problems that we have in the health care sector in this province. That it won't solve the problems that are being created in our communities as a result of the changes that are being made as this government and this minister move from pillar to post.



Let's talk about that advantage. Do you know, Madam Speaker, that in Nova Scotia . . .



AN HON. MEMBER: Why are they leaving?



MR. CHISHOLM: That's right. They are leaving for reasons other than this, but let me just tell you one thing, that in Nova Scotia, Madam Speaker, I am looking at a publication here from the Nova Scotia Department of Finance, I am trying to find a date on it - but it is pretty recent I think, isn't it Bernie? - It is the most current one . . .



MADAM SPEAKER: I think, honourable member, if you would remember to address the other members as honourable members rather than first name across the floor, it would be very much appreciated.



MR. CHISHOLM: Certainly I will, thank you. Madam Speaker, Nova Scotia boasts the lowest corporate income tax rate for small business in the country, 5 per cent. That is what these business people, these doctors will be able to take advantage of. They will be able to recognize a reduction from what? What is the personal rate, provincially? Is it 27 per cent? The 5 per cent. Not a bad deal. I bet you that there are a lot of public servants (Interruption) That's right. After 63 I think. There are a lot of employees in this province, let me tell you, who would love to have that kind of advantage.



My point in raising this question was not just strictly the advantage that is going to be realized, but also we have the lowest small business corporate income tax rate in the country and are people flocking here from other parts of the country to set up small businesses? I have not seen evidence of that. There is an increasing flow of business around the country, but what we are seeing more of is we are seeing businesses leaving the Province of Nova Scotia because of the fact that this government is so inept in handling its affairs that people don't have any confidence, and the fact that combined policies of both the provincial and federal governments are making it extraordinarily difficult for people to earn a living. Primarily because the unemployment rate is so high, the number of people that are earning an income is so low and the fact that in Nova Scotia the average weekly earnings continues to drop, so that consumers aren't spending money. So regardless of the income tax breaks, Madam Speaker, it is just simply not having that effect. There have been many studies that have shown that, in fact, it does not have that effect.



Madam Speaker, if you could indicate how much time I have left?



MADAM SPEAKER: Yes, you commenced at 10:40 a.m., so if you use all your time, you would go to 11:40 a.m.



MR. CHISHOLM: Thank you. Madam Speaker, the fee for service system has been shown to be an obstacle to health care reform. It has been seen as an obstacle to reducing the volume-driven costs of health care in this province and in this country. It has been recognized by governments across this country that we need to get a hold of that, we need to get a hold of that volume-driven cost factor in our health care system if we are going to control at all what is happening here.



What is this minister doing about that? He is slashing hospital beds. He is reducing budgets to hospitals to the point where in some cases waiting lists for essential surgery like hip and knee replacements are going up to a year or a year and one-half. Those are the things that are happening as the result of changes that this minister is doing, Madam Speaker. (Interruption) The Minister of Health asked me to table that. I will table the same amount of information that that minister has been tabling over the past number of months and years as we continually ask him, time and time and time again for the same information, waiting lists, information with respect to the Blueprint Committee and on and on it goes. That minister is incredibly sincere when the questions are asked but when it comes to providing the answers he is awfully slow at the switch.





[11:30 a.m.]



MADAM SPEAKER: Honourable member, did you say you were tabling a document?



MR. CHISHOLM: No, I said the minister shot across the floor here without getting to his feet, he said, you have the information, table it. I said, I will table it just like the minister does when he is asked every time in this House with respect to waiting lists or any other questions to provide information. He says he will and then he never does.



I raised the point the other day in Question Period with respect to waiting lists and the impact on one person who had to wait a year and one-half; one person who lost their means of earning an income as a result of those waiting lists, Madam Speaker, and the fact that hospital administrators as well as surgeons had indicated that the reason for the waiting list was the fact that the hospital budgets were being constrained to the point where expensive services, expensive tools and products were not available.



The point is that that is what the Minister of Health is doing with respect to health care reform. He is sucking money out of the system but he is not putting anything in place that will actually change the orientation of the system.



MADAM SPEAKER: Honourable member, I just wonder if you would moderate some of the words that you are using in this debate.



MR. CHISHOLM: Madam Speaker, I am sorry, but I am extremely upset . . .



MADAM SPEAKER: I am not asking you to apologize but I think if you would just moderate some of your language I would appreciate it.



MR. CHISHOLM: I will certainly do my best. Madam Speaker, I am extremely upset with the lack of sensitivity of this government, of this minister, in the economic climate that we are facing, at a time when public servants are not only facing the sixth year of a wage freeze and wage roll-backs, where their contracts and collective agreements have been frozen, unilaterally frozen by this government for three years, with thousands and thousands of public servants being laid off, this government has the audacity to bring forward Bill No. 58, I am ashamed to say it, to bring forward a piece of legislation that will allow for the most advantaged within the health care professions to realize a tax break, to realize a privilege, a benefit, I think it is absolutely repulsive.



We are doing it without having any idea what the impact is. In Ontario, I say again, that upon investigation it was determined that the amount of money in forgone revenue was in the area of $75 million. When we talked about barristers and solicitors, the small percentage of those who would be affected by this, the Minister of Finance threw out a figure of $250,000. I say to you, if it is $250,000, that could have gone towards the Nurses' Union chronic care pilot project.



That could go in a lot of different areas to provide services for battered women and to prevent violence in families. That money could be used in many areas. If it is $250,000, if it is $1 million, if it is $2 million, but Madam Speaker, surely this government does not have the gall to put through such an outrageous piece of legislation without even being able to tell us what it is going to cost in terms of forgone revenue. I think it is absolutely unbelievable that that is possible.



I believe it would be irresponsible of me to not recommend that this legislation be referred to a committee to address the impasse, to consider the financial impasse on the Province of Nova Scotia of this legislation and I do so recognizing the fact that there was an agreement between the Medical Society and the Province of Nova Scotia, through the Joint Management Committee, which said that they would investigate that. As far as I can tell, because of the lack of information coming from the Minister of Health, that has not been done.



I think it is incumbent on this Legislature to ensure that there is an investigation done at least of the tax implications, the financial implications on the Treasury of this province, Madam Speaker. So I will be introducing an amendment at this stage, at second reading, to do that very thing, to ensure that we don't have to listen to this government, this minister, making suggestions that oh, this won't have much effect, a minority of physicians. We don't know. If we don't find out down the road, if Nova Scotians don't find out down the road that it is $2 million, it is $20 million, it is $50 million, at a time when we can ill afford it.



On the other hand, maybe it won't have any impact, maybe nobody will take it up. Maybe no doctors will because . . .



AN HON. MEMBER: Well, why do it?



MR. CHISHOLM: Well that is the question, but that can be dealt with, perhaps by a committee, if it is investigated as the JMC agreement said should be done because you know there are a lot of other different business arrangements that doctors get themselves involved in, as do other professionals, that give them advantages other than strictly the question of them incorporating, in this instance.



But, nonetheless, we have the responsibility to be able to tell Nova Scotians whether this is going to have an impact on the Treasury or it is not going to have an impact on the Treasury. Nova Scotians are not stupid; they deserve and they will demand information from us, show us the evidence to support our conclusion.



Madam Speaker, I am going to be moving an amendment - and I forward it to your attention - "That the words after `that' be deleted and the following be substituted therefor: `the subject matter of Bill No. 58 be referred to the Standing Committee on Public Accounts.'".



MADAM SPEAKER: Yes, I would declare that the amendment is in order.



The honourable member for Kings West.



MR. GEORGE MOODY: Madam Speaker, I was waiting to see whether or not you allowed this amendment. I am going to speak in favour of the amendment because I think the amendment does the kind of things that I think would answer many of the questions that have been raised.



One of the things that I thought the government would have done, they would have had an impact study done to tell us how many millions of dollars the government will actually lose. If you are a corporation in this province, you could pay a maximum of 18 per cent, up to $200,000 profit. If you were an individual making $200,000, you would probably pay $86,000 or more in income tax. If 1,000 doctors took this, that is $5 million.



Here we are in the Province of Nova Scotia, where the government is telling everybody that we have no money to provide the basic things that people need, and now, all of a sudden, the government is going to give some people a tax break, but they have no money. Well, where in the world is the money coming from and how much money is it? Is it $5 million, $10 million, or $2 million? If you take each group, that is a lot of money.



I had someone call this week, the person said - it was in the morning - I am not sure what time of day it is. I said, well I am sorry I called, it is nine o'clock, and she said, well I haven't been well. I said, you left a message for me to call and I am returning that call. She said, well you know I OD'd and I have been in hospital and I am now home. As I heard her story of why she overdosed, I had a very basic understanding of why. The government allows her $648 a month to live on. She is terminally ill. She cannot meet her bills. Her rent is $450. You do not have to be a mathematician to figure this all out: pay her light bill, pay her telephone bill, buy groceries. You do not have to be a mathematician. She is taking a lot of drugs. She said, I am so depressed, I just cannot live on that amount of money, but that is what the government says I have to live on. The girl is 33 years old, terminally ill.



She said, you know, there have been cutbacks. The government has said all along that there are cutbacks, there is no money. I bought into that story. We have all bought into that story. They have closed the hospital in my area: we've got to cut back. We have laid off a lot of hospital workers. There are longer lists of people waiting to get in. We are taking millions now out of the system and giving it to somebody else, yet we are at a time when we are in financial difficulty.



I question the timing of this government. I have to tell you, Madam Speaker, the people I talk to have told me this bill and the bill for the solicitors is not right at this particular time. We have had cuts in education, we have had cuts in health, we have had cuts in social services, we have had cuts all across the board. Who are we now going to give the benefit of those cuts to? Those who are making an affordable living.



I do not deny that physicians work hard. I do not deny that they are one of the most important parts of our whole system, along with many other health care workers. Those men and women are dedicated, they are sincere. Madam Speaker, I talked to some physicians after this bill was introduced. I said, how important is this to you? They said, it is not important to us because we understand the financial situation of the province - we have all taken cuts, them included - we would not be upset if you did not pass this at this time, we would not be upset at all because we understand the timing, we understand the problem and the financial difficulty that this province is facing. We understand that.



I assumed, Madam Speaker, that this bill would rest on the order paper until all of these cuts and all of these layoffs were over, before we would start giving tax breaks to those that earn more than the people that are suffering in this province today. People are calling me who cannot afford to pay the oil bill or the light bill. Those people do not understand that now we are going to give tax money back. And it is tax money back because I know how a corporation works and the charges that you can charge that corporation. I know the rate that the corporation pays, up to $200,000. I know all of that.



I would have no difficulty if the government was not making cuts and imposing hardship on many people. I probably would agree with this bill. I would. But to do it in a time when we are telling workers from the Victoria General Hospital who came before the Law Amendments Committee that there is not enough money, under the conditions they are working and the cuts are hurting the quality of care. We thought there was no money. That is what we thought.



[11:45 a.m.]



The minister talked about the Royal Commission and about all that wasn't done. He said, and his government said, we are going to have nurse practitioners. He said that. We are going to do that. We know what is wrong with the system. There are other health care professionals that we need to deal with. But that isn't a priority; this becomes a priority. A tax break becomes a priority and I am scratching my head and wondering if we have so little time to introduce legislation for some of the Certified Nursing Assistants and others; we have so little time for them but we can find time, Madam Speaker, in this Legislature, to give tax breaks. I am finding that difficult in this very difficult time to really understand where in the world the government is coming from because they tell these Certified Nursing Assistants there is no time in the Legislature, we are pushed. But when there is a tax break to be given to some of those people who can afford to meet the requirements of the day because of difficult times, we have all kinds of time in the Legislature. Time is not a problem at all. We have all kinds of time.



Madam Speaker, as this government has said to seniors of this province, seniors, you have to pay more if we are going to have this program. You have to pay more and every senior in this province has dug into their pocket to help keep the Pharmacare Program going because we have no money. But why is it, if we have no money, we can give tax breaks to groups? Why is that? I haven't been able to figure that one out yet. The two and two do not add up to four.



One of the things that I thought this government would obviously do, because this isn't the first time this legislation has been on the order paper, I would have thought the government would have done a kind of analysis over a period of time so that when we came to the Legislature we would know that if each physician in this province formed a corporation, what would that equate to in dollars. Now the minister has said, that not all physicians will incorporate and I understand that. But then we could start deducting, know what the maximum would be and we would know what the minimum would be, zero if nobody took it. But, Madam Speaker, I find it very difficult to understand that if nobody is interested in this legislation, why in the world are we again here in this Assembly debating a bill that nobody will take advantage of. I haven't been able to figure that out, either. (Interruption) Obviously.



I think the minister used an argument that this will attract physicians to our province. We have seen a number of physicians leave this province in the last two years. It wasn't this reason that they left, Madam Speaker. It wasn't the reason that they couldn't be incorporated, that all of a sudden they decided to exodus from the province, not at all, absolutely not at all. I don't think there is any documentation that the minister can provide that would tell me that the reason they left was because they couldn't incorporate and that is why they went somewhere else. I don't believe that for a minute.



I don't believe for a minute that many of the physicians in this province, who are so dedicated and work so hard, would say in a time of economic crisis, this is good, not the ones I talked to. The policies of this government that have caused many of these people to consider leaving and some have left; it is the policies and the direction. Many of them told me that part of the reason they were leaving was because they felt they were not part of having input into the changes that were occurring that affected them to allow them to practice the kind of good medicine they wanted to practice.



You know, as you go through this legislation and if we had a chance to refer this to the Public Accounts Committee, we would not only have an opportunity to hear from physicians but we would also have an opportunity to hear from Finance and others about what kind of a breakdown this would be. We would also have a chance to hear from the general public on his very issue. I think the general public, like the rest of us, would like to know the financial impact on tax dollars this would actually have. I know that we will all throw numbers around, but the numbers around that you can't forget is what the corporate rate is for taxes and what the individual rate is for income taxes. You can't throw that around and you can't juggle that and you can't change it because it is constant. I think anyone who pays taxes has a good idea of what those numbers are.



Each time we know that one or more people take advantage of incorporating and it doesn't cost much to incorporate. Not only can they take advantage on the amount of taxes one pays, you can take advantage of what can be charged up to the corporation that a corporation can do but I (Interruption) Well, if you collect dividends (Interruption) A lower tax rate. But you also can pay yourself a salary out of there. I think what we are trying to understand on this side of the House and I hope the government will enlighten us is that I assume now that the province is in a better financial position and we are going to have a surplus, we are going to start redistributing that money somewhere to somebody. The only two groups that I know that we are redistributing it to today are physicians and lawyers. When are the rest of the people out there that are having a difficult time going to catch up or get part of this surplus money that the government now says it has?



I would hope when other groups, when ministers stand up and say we can't do that because it costs money, when other individuals or groups come to this government that the government doesn't say to them, I am sorry, we have no money, do you understand the financial picture of this province? I have heard them stand up time and time again and talk about the debt, talk about the deficit of the province, talk about the tough financial times that we are in. I have heard them say that time and time again so we can't do those things that is why we have to make the cuts we are making. I assume those cuts are over because you can't on the one hand say, we are going to give tax breaks to groups of people and then on the other hand say, the cuts are not over. You have got to be consistent, either you are on one side, you are now in a surplus position and you are ready to give breaks to all people, including seniors and others who you have hit very hard. Is there going to be a tax break for the lower income? Who is going to get the tax breaks? These are things that we have got to find out and have to know.



The minister said that this was part of a package, part of a deal and I am not sure why this legislation was pulled back the last time or it wasn't called. I suspect it wasn't called because of the financial situation of this province, because the government knew it would be doing cuts after cuts and telling people, when people call their MLA, we have no money. All of a sudden in January 1996, we have money, we are in a better financial situation and now we can start giving tax breaks and we can start spending for those that are in need.



You know, Madam Speaker, I do support this amendment and will have more to say on the bill but by sending this to Public Accounts, it will put it in the public forum where everybody will have an opportunity to come before that committee and make their points. Yes, if the government can assure me that we now are in a position to help those in need and that we are not making further cuts, I will vote for this bill, no question. If we now have a surplus of money that we can just start giving around and helping those that are in desperate need in this province - because we all get the calls from the needy day after day and we are told there is no money - that now we are in the position to help those people, then I will support this piece of legislation, no question.



I have not yet heard anyone tell me that tough economic times and those that are in desperate need are now going to be looked after because we have the financing in place to look after them. If the finance is in place to look after them, I will support this legislation, no question. I think, as we move on and we hear about the financial position of the province, because if they can indicate to me that we are in a good enough position to do that and we will not stand up and say we cannot do this and we are making further cuts, then I will vote for this legislation. Until the government does that and I can answer those people on the other end of the phone who tell me that they are stymied because government says they have no money to help these people in need, then when I can say, yes, there is money to help you, I will certainly vote for this legislation.



This is a real turn in 1996 that we are not going to hear about the hard financial difficulty of this province any more. We are not going to hear that there is no money for these people any more. We are now going to hear that there is money and that we are not in a difficult financial position. As you can tell, Madam Speaker, I will be supporting the amendment to Bill No. 58.



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



MR. BROOKE TAYLOR: Madam Speaker, I wanted to comment on this amendment that has been put forward. The amendment is straightforward. It suggests and, in fact, implies that the subject matter of Bill No. 58 be referred to the Standing Committee on Public Accounts.



Now, Madam Speaker, I had an opportunity to talk to a chartered accountant a couple of minutes ago about the ramification and the impact that this legislation has, what potential impact this legislation will have to the province. If the minister and this government would let this bill be referred to Public Accounts, they too would find out what I presume and what I hope I can safely assume the Minister of Finance already knows.



Madam Speaker, if you had an individual whose income tax after basic deduction, if his taxable income, his or her income was $220,000 and they paid the individual income tax rate which is 29 per cent, the federal tax that that individual would pay, based on 29 per cent of $220,000, would be $63,800. That is if you pay the individual tax rate. The corporate tax rate on that same $220,000 of taxable income would be $39,600, for a difference of $23,000.



The Minister of Finance would know, and I would hope most members of the Treasury benches of the government would know, that the provincial income tax rate is 59.5 per cent of the federal tax that you pay. If one is to take 59.5 per cent of $63,800, you will come up with a figure of $37,961. If one is to take 59.5 per cent of $39,600, you end up with only $23,562. The point I am trying to make is that the province has the potential here to lose nearly $15,000 on every doctor that should decide to incorporate and leave those funds in the corporation. We all know that if you take the money out of the corporation, then you pay the individual tax rate.





[12:00 p.m.]



Where has the province found this new wealth? Where is the new wealth coming from? That is if just one doctor decides to take advantage of this legislation. We know full well that the Minister of Health is not coming forward with this legislation because nobody wants to entertain incorporating. We know that the minister is doing this because people want to. Doctors, professionals want to take advantage of this.



What I say is, what about the public sector, who have seen their wages rolled back? What about the clerks in the various stores? Wouldn't our sales clerks like an opportunity to come into the Public Accounts Committee? How about some truck drivers, who have seen their wages cut and cut very severely by the Minister of Transportation relative to hauling salt? How about the construction workers? Do you think the construction workers would like to come in and make a presentation before the Public Accounts Committee? How about the housewives across this province? Maybe a housewife or two would like to come in and make a presentation to the Public Accounts Committee and tell the Public Accounts Committee just what they think and why they would like to support this amendment. They would say, yes, we support the Opposition.



MADAM SPEAKER: Honourable member, I am just going to caution you about repetition, because you could go through 30 or 40 more examples of various people . . .



MR. TAYLOR: Absolutely, I could.



MADAM SPEAKER: . . . and various things that they do and it is getting repetitious. I will just caution you against that. We do not need a listing of 17 more types of workers and professions. It gets repetitious.



MR. TAYLOR: Madam Speaker, I agree and I appreciate your ruling. I honestly do have some difficulty with repetition myself.



MADAM SPEAKER: I noticed.



MR. TAYLOR: Madam Speaker, you notice that each time I am mentioning a different profession, so to speak. I could talk about farmers, foresters, coal miners and so on and so forth.



MADAM SPEAKER: You see, you are doing it again, so don't push your luck, okay? I have asked you not to get into repetition. I am cautioning you now and I will not caution you again.



MR. TAYLOR: Perhaps, Madam Speaker, I will wait until we get to Committee of the Whole on Bills. I just want to point out that I do not think there are many people out there, many of our constituents, using general terms, I do not think there . . .



HON. DONALD DOWNE: Madam Speaker, may I ask two questions? One is that he was referring to doctors netting $200,000 a year and that would, I assume, be the norm. I would like to see those numbers of doctors, in fact, that would net after tax and expenses $200,000 a year. Secondly, when he talks about incorporation for doctors, he referred to farming. Farming is eligible to be incorporated. Farmers can incorporate. Members opposite on the front benches can incorporate. I am incorporated.



AN HON. MEMBER: You are not incorporated as an individual.



MR. DOWNE: The company is incorporated. Anybody can incorporate. So I guess the question is, what does he see as being the difference from an individual incorporation?



MR. TAYLOR: Madam Speaker, I appreciate the question from the Minister of Natural Resources. I guess the gist of his question, so to speak, is, what do I have against doctors incorporating? I guess what I have personally against doctors incorporating is, nothing. I wish, in fact, that all people in all professions could incorporate but the fact of the matter is, this government has preached and preached fiscal restraint and financial responsibility. At the very least, I say to the Minister of Natural Resources, doesn't he find this gainsay to the nth degree that we have a government that preaches - and doesn't practice by the way - financial responsibility. So if you are really going to be financially responsible, why are you coming forward with legislation in these hard times?



The member for Halifax Atlantic mentioned that benefits for injured workers will be reduced as a result of action taken by this government. We have seen time and time where this government has imposed harsh financial measures and many times, Mr. Speaker, we support the different initiatives. Just for your benefit, I am trying to answer the question that was put forward by the Minister of Natural Resources, and I just should point out to the minister that companies incorporate. What the government is doing here is bringing forward legislation that will enable individuals to incorporate. Individuals who can incorporate, I suggest, will see a profound advantage in the tax rate, because 29 per cent is the rate.



The minister will know this because the minister's business, I understand, is incorporated. He enjoys that benefit of paying the lower corporate rate provided, Mr. Speaker, as you have pointed out, in fact, to me, that if you leave the funds in the corporation, . . .



HON. DONALD DOWNE: A question and an observation, Mr. Speaker. If I, as an individual that is incorporated, I draw a salary out of the incorporated company, I pay the full taxation, the same as anybody else pays, as an individual. Whether you are a doctor who is incorporated, a lawyer, a hairdresser, a truck driver, a farmer, or you are in the retail business and you are incorporated, you as an individual who draws a salary out, whatever salary you decided to take - if you are fortunate enough to be able to make $200,000 and you want to take out $200,000 or if you want to take our $10,000 as a salary - you pay the same taxation rate as anybody else in society. (Interruption) So I just want you to understand that anybody who draws a salary out of the company, will pay the full taxation base as anybody else and it wouldn't make any difference in that end of it.



MR. TAYLOR: Obviously, Mr. Speaker, there was no question there. He was just confirming what I had already said. In fact, you and I informally discussed that matter, if you don't mind, and I am quite sure you don't mind. We certainly realize that and we are appreciative of that fact. But, the figures indicate that if a doctor has the good fortune of after basic deduction, having a taxable income - and I use this figure - and you can prorate this down or you can prorate this up. Perhaps I should have picked $120,000 and we can cut this in half, or $110,000, but I am saying, if they have a taxable income - of $220,000, and that is not unheard of, by the way, and this could be derived at the Public Accounts Committee, it could be confirmed and certainly I am quite confident that it would be, that it is going to cost this province nearly $15,000 to allow one doctor - and I would encourage any government member to contradict those figures - and if it comes into the Public Accounts Committee, I suggested earlier, people of all different walks of life, maybe some constituents from the Bridgewater area would like to come in and tell that minister what they think of this government going ahead and allowing doctors, and not to mention lawyers, to incorporate.



Perhaps I could ask the Minister of Natural Resources, Mr. Speaker, a question, sees as how in the goodwill that apparently is being exhibited here and has been shown, would the minister entertain a question?



MR. SPEAKER: Well, I suppose, with the unanimous consent of the House, we could do everything. But, short of that, I am afraid you would be surrendering your seat. First of all, does the minister want to entertain a question? (Interruption) He says he does. Do we have unanimous consent to do this? We all agree? No. The member would run a risk that he would surrender his seat. Perhaps he could leave his question to the end of his speech and then he wouldn't be in the same position.



MR. TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, I do have, unfortunately, another appointment. I am going to have to cut this (Interruption). It is just a brief appointment, it is very brief, for 15 minutes or so. But I suggest that many people, if given the opportunity would come to the Public Accounts Committee and they would say that at the very least it is contradictory for this government to be giving tax breaks to professionals when many others, many of our constituents are finding times very, very tough.



In fact, I saw an Angus Reid poll just yesterday, Mr. Speaker, that suggested that over 59 per cent of Canadians are finding it much tougher to make ends meet now than they did back in 1993. The point is, the fact of the matter is, this government knows full well that this legislation contravenes their own speeches, documents, it is absolutely despicable that this government who preaches and preaches financial responsibility would come forward with legislation like this.



Many times in Opposition we come forward with amendments and we are told by the Speaker or the Chairman of the Committee of the Whole House that because there is a charge involved the amendment is out of order. Because of a monetary sacrifice, because there is going to be a price involved, Mr. Speaker, and you are very cognizant of this, amendments are not permitted to be debated before the House because there is a charge.



What we are saying here is, we have before us a very well-reasoned amendment, an amendment that is based on what I consider to be sound logic. It has a good rationale. I wonder how many people in Hants East or Yarmouth or down on the Eastern Shore, Lunenburg Centre, how many people in Cole Harbour, Argyle, Kings, I wonder how many taxpayers in this province want this government to come forward with legislation that will give doctors a tax break, on an individual basis, of $15,000? (Interruption) Well, I bet perhaps it is a smaller number than wanted casinos, but . . .



MR. SPEAKER: I am going to just intervene for a moment because I want the member to understand that what we are debating is the amendment and the amendment is to put the bill to a committee. The only arguments or discussions that are relevant at this stage are the pros and cons of putting the matter to the committee. All the arguments that are made against the bill should be reserved for debate on the bill, which we, of course, will get back to as soon as we deal with the amendment one way or the other.



So, I would just ask the member to consider that he should save his arguments against the logic of the bill or its pros and cons until we are once again debating the bill in total at second reading, at which time there is wide-ranging latitude in debate.



MR. TAYLOR: Thank you, Mr. Speaker, I appreciate what you are saying. The amendment does say, "That the words after `that' be deleted and the following substituted therefor: `the subject matter of Bill No. 58 be referred to the Standing Committee on Public Accounts.'".



Mr. Speaker, I don't suppose you would permit me to list the members of the Public Accounts Committee but I think today, where we haven't had an amendment - I am just trying to convince you, Mr. Speaker - of this sort introduced for some time now and there are a couple of changes on the Public Accounts Committee and I think to the members of the House and to Nova Scotians, we owe it to them because we are discussing an amendment that, if passed, the subject matter of Bill No. 58 will go before the Public Accounts Committee. I think, and of course, I could be accused of being in a conflict of interest here, but I think the Public Accounts Committee is a very open-minded committee and has good representation from MLAs across this province. Yes, it has the good member for the Eastern Shore, and I am sure that member may have constituents who perhaps would like to come in.



[12:15 p.m.]



The subject matter of the bill must be forwarded to the Public Accounts Committee, and you will know, Mr. Speaker, that if the bill comes before the Public Accounts Committee, that doesn't mean that this bill has to fall off the order paper. It doesn't mean that. We are not saying, at this point at least, hoist the bill for six months. No, we are not suggesting that yet. That may come later depending on what the government does with this amendment.



Mr. Speaker, you, I am sure have talked to people in your constituency from time to time, and I am sure you have talked to people in the public sector, sales clerks, truck drivers, construction workers, housewives, forestry workers and a few farmers, and I am sure you have had an opportunity to talk to these constituents of yours on a wide range of matters. But I would bet money here today that you have not had, nor has any other MLA in this House had too many constituents come up and say, look Mr. or Mrs. MLA, we would like you to go down to Province House and come in with legislation that will allow doctors to incorporate. I will bet there haven't been too many taxpayers in this province come to you and say that or any other MLA. So they will be very pleased that this House has the wherewithal and the courage to support an amendment that does clearly refer the subject matter of bill. You know what the principle of that bill is, the principle of the bill is to allow our physicians the ability to incorporate and, of course, once you can incorporate, as will be pointed out in the Public Accounts Committee, the corporate tax rate is substantially lower than the individual tax rate. That is what it is all about.



I want to know where this province gets off on preaching time and time and time and time again fiscal restraint, asking everybody to tighten their belts, they have asked the taxpayers to bear with us and then we are coming in with legislation like this. At the very least, this is very greedy. It is voracious. (Interruption) It is, Mr. Speaker. It is mean, it is actually mean to come in with legislation like this on the backs of the working class.



AN HON. MEMBER: Hear! Hear!



MR. TAYLOR: Because that working group, I should remind the government, in conclusion, Mr. Speaker, that the working group of people is getting smaller and smaller and smaller. The load on their back is getting heavier. (Interruption) Perhaps you can get animated but the load on their back is getting heavier and heavier.



MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. Order. I am once again going to ask the member to remember the debate is limited to the reasons to refer the matter to the committee. It is not good enough to speak on the pros and cons of the bill and then say, and by the way, they can discuss that at the committee. That won't do. The member must make argument or give debate as to why it is important to refer the matter to this committee and not just speak on the pros and cons of the bill and say, now there, they can speak on it at the committee and that is a good enough argument. That will not suffice.



For the second time, I would ask the member to direct himself to the reasons to refer the matter to committee.



MR. TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, in completing my contribution to the debate, I just want to say that, if nothing else, it is very brave of the Minister of Health to come forward with the legislation that necessitates this amendment, because if he hadn't come in with the legislation obviously we wouldn't have the amendment. That goes without saying.



We must and have to, in conclusion, Mr. Speaker, I have to accuse this government of out and out double talk. Thank you.



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings North.



MR. GEORGE ARCHIBALD: Mr. Speaker, this amendment to refer the subject matter of the bill to the Public Accounts Committee is a pretty good idea, because even the Minister of Health, himself, is unsure. He took about two years to finally bring the bill in. He announced he was going to do it and then finally he brought it in and we are debating it now. We were not even certain that it was going to be debated because the minister is a little unsure whether he wants to do this or not. Certainly, his caucus colleagues, I thought were a little unsure but I heard the Minister of Natural Resources quite determinedly defend this bill a moment ago.



Mr. Speaker, that doesn't mean that the Public Accounts Committee couldn't benefit and it doesn't mean this bill wouldn't benefit from a quick visit to the Public Accounts Committee. One of the things that I think the Public Accounts Committee should be looking at is the Americanization of the Nova Scotia health care system since the arrival of our Minister of Health. Now we have seen and heard many statements and many examples of the trend that this minister has and the love this minister has for things that originated south of the border. Now we have developed in Canada a pretty good health care system. However, the Minister of Health spent many years in the United States and he picked up some of their ideas and he is wanting to change our system so it becomes American.



Now I think the Public Accounts Committee would be able to get the expertise to look into this pretty serious matter because, Mr. Speaker, the Americans are trying to bring in a health care system that mirrors ours and he, in turn, is trying to change ours to look like theirs. So I think the Public Accounts Committee could have a field day trying to discern exactly what this Minister of Health really stands for.



Now we know that he watched 911 Emergency on television so he brought in these fancy ambulances.



MR. SPEAKER: Now the member must understand, what we are debating here is whether this bill, with regard to corporations, has to be referred to the committee. We are not discussing television shows and 911. I would ask the member, this isn't a freebie to have a go at the whole health care system. We are debating a bill and, more specifically, a particular amendment. We just can't have a rehash of everything in the health care system in Nova Scotia with regard to this amendment. We have been doing so well lately that I just want the members to please get back on the amendment.



MR. ARCHIBALD: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I didn't want to stray, nor did I want to do anything different, other than talk about the Public Accounts Committee and its ability to look into and study and find out what in the name of time is happening to our health care system. It is difficult to discuss one simple aspect of the system, such as the incorporation of doctors, without bearing reference to the goal, the desire and the aims that we have of this government and this minister.



The minister is certainly a person that I think the Public Accounts Committee should be able to grill and get some ideas from because certainly there is no other way that we can get a full understanding, except through the free flow of questions that the Public Accounts Committee would have. You certainly do not have it in the Legislature during Question Period, because it is one question, a supplementary and a supplementary and that is it; you have to wait and try it again. In Public Accounts, without the structure of one hour and without the structure of parliamentary debate, I think the committee could really find out some very interesting statistical analysis; that is, why we are doing this.



The minister has told seniors in Nova Scotia that they are buying too many pills so we cannot have the drug cards the way they used to have them. He is going to charge each . . . (Interruption) Why don't you stand up and tell us? Mr. Speaker, is anybody reading these bills besides members of the Opposition? What this bill says is that people can save taxes, they are not going to give the money to the government. (Interruption) Because the seniors were told that the province has not got any money so you have to pay more.



MR. SPEAKER: Please. The member must understand that if that argument were to be considered germane, the member could argue about every department, every area, simply by saying that the reason it has something to do with the amendment is it has something to do with money. That would mean we could debate anything we please under this amendment.



Well, that may be the member's opinion, that is not the Chair's opinion. Right now the Chair decides whether it is relevant or not and I suggest to the member that those arguments are not relevant. Only the subject matter of Bill 58, as it is relevant to the referral to the committee, that's it. It is a very limited debate. You can make many more arguments when we get back on second reading. I guess I am starting to sound like I am repeating myself and I don't like to do that.



AN HON. MEMBER: That will have to be ruled out of order.



MR. SPEAKER: That's right, I could rule myself out of order for being repetitive so I shan't be repetitive again. I ask the member to speak to this amendment, please.



AN HON. MEMBER: One of you should be ruled out of order and it won't be the Speaker.



MR. ARCHIBALD: No, that's true. The minister says that somebody is going to be ruled out of order. I cannot be repetitive and the Speaker should not be. (Interruptions)



Mr. Speaker, the Public Accounts Committee really and truly has a role to play. I think the role of the Public Accounts Committee has been expanding in the last couple of years under the chairmanship of the honourable member for Queens. The member for Queens has made the Public Accounts Committee into a more congenial, collegial type of committee that I think would be able in this stage of its development to take on a very rigorous task and find out what on earth we are up to in this business of tax breaks and incorporations to carry on the practice of medicine. I think that would be just an excellent focus for that committee to meet in the off-season.



We are very close to winding up this session of the Legislature and I think between now and next spring . . . (Interruptions)



MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. The member for Kings North has the floor.



MR. ARCHIBALD: That was a popular thing.



MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.



MR. ARCHIBALD: Yes, help me out, Mr. Speaker. Thank you.



SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, Oh!



MR. ARCHIBALD: The Public Accounts Committee would have February, March to have a look and report back. This bill is quite similar, I think, to one the minister courageously brought in before and he held, you know, away from himself and his nose and he did not do anything else with it, but this time he is determined that he is going to help out somebody. I don't know who. I think the Public Accounts Committee would like to know just exactly who is going to be helped.



In Ontario, apparently, they indicated that the savings per physician would be about $10,000. Now, all physicians are not beating down the doors. I have not personally had any physicians call me and say, look, if I don't get incorporated, I am leaving town. I have not had any call me and say, I want to incorporate. I do know that in the United States physicians incorporate themselves. You know, I am a corporation, which is a little different than what we are used to but, apparently, it works somewhere, so let's find out.



[12:30 p.m.]



Mr. Speaker, you and I perhaps don't know a whole lot about that sort of thing, but the Public Accounts Committee could call expert witnesses perhaps and explain to the members of the committee and they could file a report which we could read and then we would have an understanding too. It is sort of like sharing the knowledge between all members of this Chamber. I can see from the eager faces here that I have a lot of agreement and a lot of support for that; there are a lot of people that do not fully understand exactly what this bill says.



We heard the Minister of Natural Resources, a moment ago, explaining about farmers incorporating, et cetera. I think there is a little confusion in the gentleman's mind about incorporating farms and exactly what this bill will propose to do. Even the Minister of Health needs some help and clarification before we proceed one step further with this bill, because the Minister of Health, in a press release - which I happen to have before me and would be most pleased to share it with you - in speaking of tax breaks for doctors and physicians, the Minister of Health said, "I doubt if this particular piece of legislation would encourage many doctors to decide to stay.".



You see, the Public Accounts Committee has to take that little statement that the minister made and find out what in the dickens is he thinking about. You know the minister hasn't told you, me, or anybody else, why we have this bill. He is not sure; in fact he doubts that it is going to make the physicians stay in this province. They have been leaving at a galloping clip despite the fact the minister says he has a net gain of five from year to year. He is not sure how many left or he is not sure how many came in, but he says he is certain that we have five more doctors than we did before.



The Public Accounts Committee has a duty, a role - and it certainly would have its work cut out for it - to look into this bill and find out where it came from and what the long-term effect is going to be on health care in Nova Scotia. It is great to be concerned about the physician as an individual, but I think, as legislators and as a committee, we had better be more concerned about health care in Nova Scotia than any one individual. Health care should be thought of in a global picture and it is bigger than one person.



At the present time, I am afraid that there just isn't anything in this that tells me I should support this. Maybe after the committee got through studying it, it would show if we give tax breaks to physicians it is going to help them; I mean it would help me if I didn't have to pay taxes. Just think, if you buy a car, there are some people that put a used car dealer plate on them and they don't pay the taxes and drive them for years, that is a tax break and I can't do that. Why don't we find out why certain people are designated to have a tax break?



The Public Accounts Committee could find out why, because it doesn't say in the bill. Sometimes in bills they have little things they used to call explanatory notes, on the back page. They used to tell you what they were doing it for but they don't do that anymore. I guess we did it when we were government because we felt the Opposition needed all the help they could get, so we would tell them what we were doing; this government figured this Opposition is so smart that they can figure it out for themselves.



MADAM SPEAKER: That is very irrelevant to the amendment on the floor, honourable member.



MR. ARCHIBALD: Well, this very well may be. I am not going to talk much longer, believe me. I do want to tell you that I think this should go to the Public Accounts Committee for scrutiny and study. Perhaps they could get an audience with this great Minister of Health and he could explain this, because he hasn't explained anything else he has tried to do to Nova Scotia's health care. I think this should go to the committee as a way to get some kind of common sense from a Minister of Health who seems to be without.



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



MR. JOHN HOLM: Madam Speaker, I welcome the opportunity to stand this afternoon to make a few remarks on the bill that is before us and, more particularly, on the amendment, I would suggest the very responsible amendment, that was introduced by my colleague and Health Critic for our Party, the member for Halifax Atlantic.



Madam Speaker, my colleague has chosen initially to take what I think is a very reasoned and responsible approach. He hasn't asked that the bill immediately be killed.



AN HON. MEMBER: He should have.



MR. HOLM: Maybe he should have, maybe that will be done later on if reasonableness and responsibility on behalf of the government doesn't come forward. What he has done is ask that this bill actually have a chance to be analyzed, a chance for it to be appraised and a chance for the kind of detailed analysis of the impact, that obviously has yet to be done, to be carried out.



Madam Speaker, when the Minister of Health introduced this bill he talked about this as somehow it is going to be providing Nova Scotia with a competitive edge. The Minister of Health said he doesn't expect that many Nova Scotia doctors will choose to exercise the option to incorporate themselves personally. Of course any doctor, in fact any individual, has the ability to form a corporation. That is not in question. Anybody right now, you, I or anybody in this House, including any doctor, whether that doctor be a member of this House or not, they can form corporations, they can do that. What they can't do now is incorporate as an individual.



Now the Minister of Health has said that he doesn't expect that many will do it, so he says, but it is going to be some kind of competitive edge. I guess it is going to mean that doctors are going to be racing in from all across Canada and the United States; the flood is going to open and all of our health care needs are going to be met because we are going to be so competitive. A study was done in Ontario, and no, we are not the same province but we have to do the same kind of thing here. That study that was done in Ontario, on this same topic in 1994, suggested in the Province of Ontario, on a conservative basis, that that would cost that province in lost revenues approximately $75 million a year. Quite a figure.



Well, you can argue that this is in Ontario and that is correct. Our revenues are not nearly as great as Ontario's. We have a population of about 900,000, I think Ontario has around 8 million or 9 million. So let's say that they have 10 times our population, for ease of calculations. So let's say that this bill was only going to cost us 10 per cent of what it would cost Ontario. If that kind of analysis, and it is the best one we have so far because none has been provided by the government, that would be $7.5 million. You take $7.5 million out of the pockets of Nova Scotia, Madam Speaker, . . .



MADAM SPEAKER: Honourable member, I am trying to see where you are linking this to the relevance of the amendment to refer to the committee. I have been quite patient. I think what I am hearing is more second reading debate, so . . .



MR. HOLM: Thank you, Madam Speaker. I have no hesitation at all because I think that the connection is very straight.



MADAM SPEAKER: Well you haven't made it yet, that is what I am waiting . . .



MR. HOLM: Well, I am building to that, Madam Speaker.



MADAM SPEAKER: I know you are getting there, okay.



MR. HOLM: The argument, and just to try to satisfy your legitimate question and as you are calling me on that, we are talking about referring this to the Public Accounts Committee. The Public Accounts Committee is an all-Party Committee of this House, chaired by a member of the Opposition. That committee has the responsibilities, it is charged with examining matters relative to, as the name says, the Public Accounts, the financial aspects of the Province of Nova Scotia.



Before this committee come on many occasions - I have not sat on it for the last couple of years but I have had the privilege of serving on the Public Accounts Committee in the past - you have the Auditor General who appears before us and answers questions. Those questions, the information that is being asked it, is the same as being under oath when you are in this committee. We have had representatives from pension funds, representatives of the Liquor Commission, representatives, Madam Speaker, from Nova Scotia Power, and I am not going to be repetitive by going through and listing all. I think the point that I am trying to get at is that they have the ability to bring before this committee, to ask questions, the answers are recorded and then the committee can complete reports and make recommendations.



It is an opportunity in a public way to hold inquiries. At the Public Accounts Committee they look at, analyze and assess the accuracy of government expenditures. They talk about the wisdom of those expenditures, they examine them, Madam Speaker. If you are making a tax concession, a tax break, that is tantamount to an expenditure. It is really the same thing because if you decided to spend $10, you are $10 poorer.



Also, Madam Speaker, if you decide that somebody owes you $10, and you say, I am not going to collect that, you are still $10 poorer. It is the same as spending it, because you have spent it another way. What I am suggesting, briefly, to go back to the analogy that I was trying to make before, if in the Province of Ontario, that would have cost them $75 million conservatively, because that is what the report said, conservatively, and they recommended against it. If that was in lost tax revenues coming into the province, then, if their population is 10 times the population of Nova Scotia - and I admit this is a very simplistic comparison, a very simplistic and maybe inaccurate analysis but we have nothing else. Nothing, not a shred of information has been provided by the Minister of Health or by the Minister of Finance who is constantly telling us that we have no money and that cuts have to be made.



So if we lose $7.5 million, where is that $7.5 million going to come from? It is not going to come from the federal government because we know, under the CHST transfers that are to take place, we are going to lose $328 million . . .



AN HON. MEMBER: $334 million, over three years.



MR. HOLM: . . . over three years. Now we are giving away more, possibly another $21 million over those three years, and growing.



[12:45 p.m.]



We are also going to lose money in other areas as well and the province has a responsibility to make sure the basic programs and services can be maintained. Where is that $7.5 million, if that is the figure that is accurate, if not, let's have the financial information, let's have the report, let's have the study, from the Minister of Finance that shows the different figure, let's see the actual analysis that has been done, what the costs are to Nova Scotia.



I haven't heard that doctors are leaving rural areas of Nova Scotia because of the tax rates. I have heard, and I have read reports and I am sure others have as well, that doctors become - and understandably so - very tired and very frustrated in areas where there are few in practice because they are often on call 24 hours a day almost 7 days a week. They give yeoman service to those communities and the communities are very grateful and indebted to them and we do need to find ways to increase the services in those communities.



But you know, Madam Speaker, by letting those doctors incorporate so they have a few more dollars in their pocket, isn't going to do anything to reduce the work load that is on those doctors. Maybe if that $7.5 million that the government is prepared to invest in terms of tax breaks was put into enhancing community health care in those communities, providing and building a team approach, providing the coordinated home care which the government says exists, that they support but they have a hard time finding.



Doctors need and want support, yes. They want support so they can deliver the kind of quality health care that as caring professionals they want to be able to provide to their clients. I don't believe for one moment that most doctors out there are money grubbers. I don't believe that. Yes they want to and they deserve to make a decent living. No question. Their services are extremely valuable. We depend on them. I know I certainly have and have been extremely grateful for the fantastic kind of care that I have received from them.



Surely to Heavens, Madam Speaker, we don't want our province and this country to be operating on the basis that when somebody comes in the first thing you look at is the size of the chequebook before they receive the health care.



I think, quite honestly, Madam Speaker, I believe that there would be a much better chance of improving the quality of health care in those areas where it is so desperately needed by putting the resources into developing the kinds of team work, community-based health care system that the Blueprint Committee recommended, that the Royal Commission had recommended and that my colleague, the Health Critic for the New Democratic Party, spoke so eloquently about earlier this morning.



The minister talked about supposedly a commitment to the medical profession to bring this forward. I would like to see that commitment. I would like to have that document where that commitment was made. What I do have, of course, is the paper from 1992 in which they agreed to investigate the impact and possibility of legislative changes to permit physicians in Nova Scotia to incorporate practices based on models currently in place in other provinces. They promised to investigate. The Public Accounts Committee could do that investigation. They certainly could help to sponsor that investigation and channel it because the Public Accounts Committee can have resources allocated to it so that they can not only have witnesses appear before it but the Public Accounts Committee can have expert advice provided to it. They can call representatives or staff from the Department of Finance.



They could even invite the Minister of Finance to appear as a witness and ask the minister (Interruptions) - the minister, I am told, is too busy working - to lay on the table the financial cost benefit analysis, if any, that has been done. Are nurses going to incorporate? Is the minister going to permit the nurses to incorporate? (Interruptions)



I am being good, Madam Speaker, if you notice. I am ignoring all of the rabbit tracks, although I know they are not being directed towards me, you can't help but hear them zing by as they are going on to the other member. (Interruptions) That is correct. The Minister of Transportation is very astute and observant. He has noticed that I also am not ignoring him if I mention the fact that they are going on, I haven't totally ignored them. If the government were only that astute and had such good ears if they were listening to what the people in the province are saying. You know, maybe $7.5 million, maybe more, maybe a little less, I don't know.



The universities developed a plan that they presented to government that they said would save about $17 million. The government has now told those universities to go back and reconsider it, it is not enough, we think you can come up with more. They want more cuts, I found out just a little while ago, above and beyond the $17 million that the universities have identified that they figured through their many months of work that they would be able to hive off.



Isn't it ironic that as we are standing in our places, talking about giving away maybe millions of dollars of monies that are entitled to the Province of Nova Scotia at the current time, lost revenues, the same government, Minister of Finance, as controller of the purse strings and the Minister of Health in charge of health care, is saying, ha, ha, we want to give away money here so you go over there and you cut some more because we want to give more away over here.



How much would the seniors' Pharmacare premiums have been cut if these tax breaks are not being proposed? How, at a time when we are saying that we cannot guarantee an education, that special needs children in our schools will have the resources that they need and withdrawing funding for programs like Landmark East, when we are not providing programs in the schools for children who are in need of special help because of their very unique special situation? How, Madam Speaker, at a time like this, can we contemplate giving tax breaks to, yes, to people who work very hard, I don't question that, and who are extremely valuable, I don't question that, but so too, hardworking and valuable are the nurses who provide health care in the community and who took a 3 per cent roll-back and, and as with many hundreds of other health care workers, are facing lay off.



So too, are those providers of education. Where are the priorities of government? Cutting back on dental care and programs for those who are greatest in need. What about the little children who are trying to go to schools and they haven't got enough food in their stomachs because the family can't afford the food. Look at the line-ups in the food banks. Yes, Nova Scotians are very generous, they have been making donations and will continue to support out of the generosity within them, something that Nova Scotians can be proud of, to help those.



I would suggest that the Public Accounts Committee can take a long, hard, cold look at how much this program this government is planning to introduce - they might even want to take a look at how much the lawyers incorporated bill that has already been talked about in here - how much that is going to cost too and see if there are not better ways to reallocate those funds. Yes, to improve health care in the Province of Nova Scotia and improving health care means improving the total health of the individuals.



I would love to see the Minister of Health, maybe at the Public Accounts Committee, which could call, even order people to appear. Where is that study that supposedly they agreed to do? I haven't seen anything yet in writing, any kind of written agreement that said that the province would, in fact, bring forward this incorporation. I can't think of a worse time to do it, when we have got all these cuts and slashes.



I don't know what the Premier meant when he said 1996 is going to be a good news year. I don't believe that the vast majority of doctors would want this at the expense of those who are most disadvantaged. I don't believe that. I don't believe that this is going to be the feature or the factor that is going to determine whether doctors do or don't stay. Maybe them having additional resources to work with within the community, maybe if they weren't so frustrated, a lot of them, and concerned about their inability to have in-community support. Maybe if there was a way, in a lot of these areas, where they weren't forced to work 24 hours a day or be on call, so that they could actually have a little time with their family and have the vacation that everybody who works so hard deserves. I don't think that this is the item that is going to have the effect.



I would love to see that impact study; presumably, one exists. I can't imagine, couldn't believe, that the Minister of Health and his colleagues because this bill isn't only dealing with the Minister of Health, I am sure this bill has been caucused. I am sure that the opinion of the member for Halifax Bedford Basin would have been asked on this bill. I am sure he would have been asked, do you want this bill introduced, because it would have been caucused. As would the member for Yarmouth, he would have been asked. He would have been asked because it would have been caucused, and of course it would have been caucused first through the Cabinet and, because of the financial implications, obviously the Minister of Finance would have had a major input. And, of course, the good doctor, our Premier, I am sure would have had a say as well.



[1:00 p.m.]



Madam Speaker, I want to underscore this, the request in the amendment is not to kill the bill, the request is not at this stage to say that we don't think that this should ever happen. But you can't ask people, you surely can't ask legislators to approve on the basis of some psychic's vision that this is going to work out wonderfully. You have to have some hard evidence, some hard support for what you are doing. That is not unreasonable, I would suggest that is responsible.



Unless the minister and his colleague, the Minister of Finance, can produce, can put on the table some documents that will stand up to scrutiny, in terms of identifying the predictions in what this is actually going to cost and showing, relative to those costs, what the benefits are going to be, I would suggest that this bill should actually be withdrawn. Mr. Speaker, that can be determined, in part, with the help of the Public Accounts Committee.



By this bill the government is basically saying that one sector, one segment of the health care team, a very important segment nonetheless, counts more than others. All members of the team bring very valuable, important skills to the picture, Mr. Speaker, not just one side.



This is not going to put one plug nickel back into the health care system, it is not going to help in that regard at all. It is going to be but one more charge against the public Treasury.



MR. SPEAKER: Well, would the member realize that this isn't a debate on the pluses or the minuses of the bill, it is a debate on the value of referring the subject matter to the committee. Those arguments that the member makes are very valid arguments, they should be made in the general debate on second reading, which we will get to as soon as this amendment is dealt with, either by way of referring it to the committee or defeating it and having it back for second reading. So perhaps the member would just keep his comments to what value it would be to refer the subject matter to the committee. That is the only thing that is up for grabs right now.



MR. HOLM: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I am sure that you didn't mean to be predicting what would happen when you said . . .



MR. SPEAKER: Not only didn't I mean to, I didn't, so back to the subject matter.



MR. HOLM: Mr. Speaker, of course I may not get the chance to make these comments on second reading because I am sure that government members of course - and this is part of the argument that I am trying to bring forward - will see the reasonableness of having this dealt with at the Public Accounts Committee. I am trying to put forward the kinds of things that the Public Accounts Committee can examine. I believe you may even be a member of that Public Accounts Committee, Mr. [Acting Deputy] Speaker, I am not sure. If you are not, you would be a very excellent member of it, I am sure, with your keen legal mind. (Interruptions) Yes, I was just about wrapping up. Actually, I was, for the members opposite who are trying to encourage me to continue on.



Mr. Speaker, the Public Accounts Committee, as I was starting to say before - I want to make sure I put in started because otherwise it would look like I was repetitious - I believe is a vital, a crucial part of the Legislature and the legislative responsibilities. It has the unique ability to be in this forum. Not in secret but in this forum, they actually meet in this Chamber, with the benefits of Hansard, where the media come and sit in and watch so that they can also see and hear and report to the general public what goes on. They can examine the details, the information relative to this and they can look at the ramifications that it would have on the broader picture in terms of the economics of the province. When they are doing that, they can take into consideration, because those on the Public Accounts Committee are familiar with the overall financial matters of the province from dealing with the estimates and so on and knowing what the impacts will be of the unemployment insurance cuts on the economy of Nova Scotia, about the cuts in health care and social transfers and post-secondary education that are coming down from the federal government. They can put it all into the mix.



Mr. Speaker, I cannot believe that we would be prepared to allow this bill to proceed beyond this stage without that kind of detailed analysis done. If the government has not done one, if the Minister of Health and his department and the Department of Finance have not done a cost-benefit analysis looking at the implications of health care, how it is supposedly going to improve, based on some kind of sound, rational basis, then that responsibility can be taken under the charge of the Public Accounts Committee. It is not good enough to say, it feels good and I think it is going to work. That is not good enough reason to do it. It is also not good enough reason to say that we are doing it because we said we would investigate it.



Mr. Speaker, I sincerely hope that the government will support the amendment that is before us. If not, if we are all wet and all wrong - it would not be the first time I have been off, I don't deny that - let the Minister of Health, let the Minister of Finance stand in their place and lay on the table the studies, the reports that back it up. If they cannot, if they do not stand up, then obviously they cannot do that. I do not think that they can. Therefore, it is crucially important that somebody else do it for them. This is far too important an issue to just railroad through this House without that kind of detailed cost-benefit analysis. I am sure if the medical profession has that information, they would want that also brought out and put on the public table so that we can all see how we are all going to be benefitting from that. Thank you.



MR. SPEAKER: Are we ready for the question on the amendment? Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.



The amendment is carried in the negative.



Any further interveners on second reading of Bill No. 58?



The honourable member for Kings West.



MR. GEORGE MOODY: Mr. Speaker, one of the issues that I keep hearing from the government side is that everybody can incorporate, why not doctors? Well, doctors can incorporate any other private company, they can incorporate any other business that they have and doctors do that.



One of the things that we have to understand about the health care system, and I think that the health care system has been good in this country and good in this province because it is not run privately, it has been government-funded and everybody who needs health care has had an opportunity to get health care. It is one of the things that I am proud of and I think we all should be proud of, that it is the system for everybody, no matter how much money you have in your pocket, and it has been one that I think has served our province and our people and our country well.



But when you think about incorporating physicians, you are taking a group of the health care sector, one of a number of groups, that provides a service paid for totally by taxpayers' dollars. It is not tendered; it is not done in a competitive way. When the government says we incorporated accountants and we incorporated dentists, the public, I guess, through their own funds or private plans support those groups. Here we have a group of health care workers who are totally funded by the taxpayers. No competition. So it is not quite like the privatization or private public sector out there, because doctors do have the right in other areas of business to incorporate.



What they are asking for here is to incorporate for the purpose of carrying on the practice of medicine, which in this province has gone on under the Canada Health Act and under MSI for years. It wasn't always that way but, all of a sudden, through progress, and I guess the question we have to ask ourselves, because we are going to have other health professionals that we are going to have to allow to be incorporated, if the government lives up to its commitment to midwifery for instance, and it is indicated through the Minister of Health that midwifery will be a thing to come, are those people going to be allowed to incorporate?



Are we going to allow nurse practitioners to incorporate because, again, the Minister of Health has indicated that nurse practitioners will become part of his system as his system evolves and changes with reform. Under the present structure, no other health care worker is allowed to incorporate. One might say why? You know, Mr. Speaker, there has been a great argument and some physicians in this province are on salary, we all know that, and there has been a lot of talk about whether or not we should salary physicians or put them on part-salary/part-fee for service.



What we are doing as we hire doctors to fill in at out-patients and those sort of things, some of them are salaried by the hospital and their fee is then charged to MSI and the doctor is guaranteed a salary for coming in and doing that work. Well, if we start allowing physicians to incorporate, what happens to the theory of trying to put people on salary from the government? We have other health care workers on salary from the government and we have had physicians on salary from the government in this province right today, and it works.



One thing that we have said in some of the areas where it has been difficult because of the volume of patients, it has been best to put that person on a salary and this government says that is the way they want to go. Well, this legislation will discourage any physician from going on salary because if you can incorporate, why would you go on salary from the Province of Nova Scotia?



[1:15 p.m.]



I think the government is not thinking of this because I hear members say, well, everybody else can incorporate. Well, I have to tell you, you tell me another profession that you can get into, and you don't have to apply for a job. You go out, you start your practice and, obviously, there has to be a need for your practice - I acknowledge that - but you build up your practice, paid for by the Government of Nova Scotia, guaranteed. There is nobody who walks through that door who comes to see you that you have to worry whether they can afford to pay or not.



I know that in any other profession, if you start an incorporated business, you tell me that the person who walks through that door, you are guaranteed to get your money. Just name one profession because I don't know of any. I don't know of any in this province that you can incorporate and someone walks through your door and you are guaranteed the money for the service provided. You tell me one.



You say to me that it is no different incorporating doctors than anybody else in this province? Well, I will tell you, the service they provide is quite different than any other business in this province. They are not in a business, they are in health care, serving the needs of people. That is what they are doing. Serving the needs of people. So when I hear government members say to me, oh no, this is just like any other business. But I ask you to stand up and show me one other business that is guaranteed by government funds, if you start your business, that you are going to get your money. Not one.



So we have to understand that this is different and we have to acknowledge from the beginning that this is different. This incorporation isn't like incorporating a store or a company down the road where you have to compete. There is not the competition. I admit that even lawyers compete for business. Physicians don't compete for business. They don't compete for business and, as we know, when people need to see a physician, and people do, many of them are there to help us. There is no question. I will tell you, a lot of these physicians, all of them, I don't know of many physicians that aren't dedicated health professionals. I don't know of physicians that aren't there in the best interests of health care. They are not there because they have a company, a corporation, that has to make a lot of money to pay a dividend. There is quite a difference.



If we think that we are going to all of a sudden say that health care is now a business, it is not about people, it is not about serving people's needs, then I have a real concern. I don't really think this government has thought through this legislation. I really don't think they have. I have to say that we may hear government members get up because I know when we go into committee and if we talk 20 hours, that the policy of the government is that they are going to take the time. I welcome anyone to get up and point out to me, Mr. Speaker, how the incorporation of a doctor is the same as any other business because it is not.



The other issue that really concerns me is the message that this government is putting out to the public. Day after day, I hear of groups coming before this government with very legitimate concerns about people in communities who have community projects that would be of great benefit to that community. The government says, we don't have any funds because we are broke. We are absolutely broke. That group over there bankrupted us. We don't have any money to give you to provide this worthwhile program. It is a worthwhile program, we acknowledge that, but the government says we don't have any funds.



I did some quick calculations and I would be surprised if we have 1,000 physicians take advantage of this or 100 physicians, but if we get 1,000, we will have $5 million plus this government will lose. Maybe it could have kept the ferry service going. Maybe it could have provided that group that wanted to start up to help some needy in a community. The nurses chronic care program was turned down by the province . . .



AN HON. MEMBER: $100,000.



MR. MOODY: . . . $100,000. And the answer of the minister was that we don't have the funds.



I talked about the young girl who overdosed because she can't exist because the system only gives her only $648 to live on, and I can describe her budget to you. She has nothing to live for because the government says that is the maximum, we can't afford any more. Day after day I get calls from people who say to me, look, we have called the government but the government has no money. It doesn't matter what the issue is, it can be a human interest, it can be a personal problem, it can be a problem in a community, it can be a safety problem, it can be a multitude of problems, and the government says there are no funds.



I have heard ministers stand up day after day in this House in this session and say that we have to have casinos because we need the money; we have to do these things in order to keep our education system, our health care system and our community service system going. We have to have that revenue.



We are making cuts on a continuous basis. In education, I said before, people tell me that in the last two years we have regressed 20 years because for those with special needs there are no funds to give them the individual attention that they had in the past. I would like to take the millions of dollars that the government is going to lose from this and give it to those who are in real need in my community, in your community, in all the communities across this province.



As I said before, I could support this legislation if the government wasn't making cuts on the backs of many people not making $100,000 in this province, not coming close to making $100,000. I hear stories about people living on less than $10,000. You know the government said to the seniors this year that we can't afford the Pharmacare Program, it is breaking us. (Interruption) The Transportation Minister, the Government House Leader, says yes, we got a big debt.



I acknowledge that, he is right, I don't like that debt but why are we now giving money away? (Interruptions)



AN HON. MEMBER: That will make it worse, is that what you are saying? Let's make that problem worse?



MR. MOODY: So now we are going to give a tax break so we get less revenues. These people had agreements with a lot of health care workers they never kept. This is about keeping your word and keeping agreements; how come all those other agreements were broke with the other health care workers? Did they not count?



I heard health care workers come before the Law Amendments Committee and they said this government broke their agreements because there was no money, but we are not going to break the physicians' agreement because - I don't know. We can't break the agreement with them but we can break the agreement with nurses, orderlies, all the other technicians. They don't seem to count, we can break their agreements. So we have a real problem with this legislation at this particular time.



I have done a calculation and I have to tell you, as I calculated, I am wondering, and the minister uses a bit of the excuse that nobody may take advantage of this. Well, if there is nobody wanting the legislation - I have not had a call encouraging me to pass this legislation. I have to tell you I did speak to people who encouraged me not to support the legislation. I did not have one call who said, this is good legislation, George, make sure it passes on the floor of the House.



You know what? I even took the time to talk to some physicians. They were pretty level-headed in saying, really, we do not need this at the present time. If it goes through, fine, if it does not, it is probably not the right time for physicians to be getting a tax break when they see patients coming through their doors day by day who tell them after they need a prescription they cannot afford to buy it. That is happening.



Those people that I talked to understand about the real world, of the difficulties that people are having in this province making ends meet. They understand about the real cuts that have had to occur in this province. We all acknowledge that we had to get control of the deficit. We all acknowledge that tough things had to be done. But aren't we at the stage now, Mr. Speaker, that all the tough things have been done? Are all the tough things done so that when I get the calls I can say honestly to people, the government now will not tell you that they have no money. If you need $30,000 for a project and they are giving away millions, they surely can find $30,000 or $100,000 for the project the Nurses' Union wanted to start. That would be a drop in the bucket. I would assume that I would encourage people who have really good projects, now to contact the government because we now have money. (Interruptions)



Well, you know, Mr. Speaker, I don't mean to touch a nerve. It is not my intention to touch nerves. My intention is to draw to the government's attention what people are saying to me. Yes, they would have said in those days that was a waste of money and I cannot argue that. Well, how can you argue today that you will turn down good projects because you have no money but you can allow tax breaks?



I have to tell you, the people that are hurting in my area are very low income people. Many of those people are hardworking people but because of cuts, they have found themselves in very difficult times. Families who would have thought that they would have gone through life without hardship are now finding that one or the other or both jobs have been cut. They have been cut because the government has no money and all of a sudden they have had to go to welfare. That is very difficult for these families.



I can understand the difficulties they are facing. I can understand, also, when they tell me they have certain commitments and because the system has gotten tighter, and it has gotten tighter under this government, that they cannot pay their bills. I don't know how, Mr. Speaker, I am going to say to these people, up until now, I believed the government and the fact that they had no money, that the number one issue was to get control of the deficit, that they really were sincere when they told groups that I am sorry, we do not have any money to fund that and now, we are going to allow millions of dollars to slip out from government's collection and taxes because this government decided they were going to allow at this particular time the physicians to incorporate.



[1:30 p.m.]



One has to wonder who is really leading the charge of this legislation? Was it because a lot of people were lobbied in the government? Were a lot of MLAs called on a consistent basis and said that this legislation had to go forward? It could have been but I doubt it. Was it because the Premier and the Minister of Health decided that this would be good legislation? I don't know. When you get some legislation there is a lot of support out there and I think we have all, as MLAs, had legislation before this House. I was lobbied by CNAs, I was lobbied by denturists, I was lobbied by all kinds of people for legislation; the insurance industry and I could name many more who were lobbying hard to have legislation put on the agenda of this House. The government said that it had an agenda and its time in the House did not permit this other legislation, that it would have to wait but yet it finds time to bring in legislation that allows tax breaks for two groups of people, physicians and lawyers. I have been trying to figure out all along why this was so important to the government. The government is going to lose revenue but why is it so important to the government that they allow these tax breaks?



I know the Minister of Finance has talked about a big surplus and that we are moving in the right direction and maybe others are going to see tax breaks. I can tell you one thing, this legislation was not put in prior to the charges to Pharmacare because if the seniors had known that this was going to happen, they would have been much more upset than they were and they were upset and still are.



As we watch this government and watch the cuts that are made, I haven't been able to figure it out. One of the things I thought the government would have done was have done an analysis. If you are a physician today earning $100,000, $200,000, in that range, how much tax would you pay under the present structure of personal income tax? How much would you pay if you are incorporated? We know the corporate tax here is 5 per cent but I think it is 18 per cent up to $200,000 under a corporation. We also know that you get to 50 per cent once you get over $63,000, and it is 27 per cent and it keeps rising. Anybody who was earning $200,000 could save $50,000 in taxes, easy, probably more, probably $75,000. So, if I was an individual and I could save, to build up some equity, $50,000 to $75,000 or more, why wouldn't I incorporate?



AN HON. MEMBER: Invest in race horses.



MR. MOODY: Well, you can invest in race horses but you don't need to incorporate because you will have a loss. I guarantee it.



AN HON. MEMBER: And there aren't many tracks left anyway.



MR. MOODY: As I think through this legislation and try to understand what is different about this legislation than it would be for many other health care workers, I am at a very big loss. You know, Mr. Speaker, one of the things that we have to do as government, as legislators, is to be fair to everybody.



When there are tough times, one of the things we have to do is to make sure that there is fairness. People will accept fairness when times are tough and that is why we have a tax structure that is the lower you earn, the less you pay. As this government has moved with cuts and when we had the 3 per cent roll-back, it didn't apply to anybody under $25,000 because the government said it was trying to be fair. Can you tell me what is fair about this, to all the other health care workers out there? Can you tell me about one health care worker who didn't have their wages rolled back that is going to now get a tax break? Can you name me one health care worker who had their salary cut back who is now going to be able to incorporate so they can get a tax break?



I will tell you, I have talked to a lot of health care workers who are providing for a family, who earn less than $40,000, a lot of them.



AN HON. MEMBER: Less than the tax break.



MR. MOODY: Sometimes around $30,000 or less, and I have talked to some of those too. They all tell me how tough it is and it was real tough for them when this government made them take five days without pay and after that they were told that after those Savage days were gone that everything would be all right, then they are rolled back 3 per cent. All of the things they have to buy are not rolled back 3 per cent.



All the necessities of life have not been rolled back 3 per cent. They are finding it very tough and if any one of you talked to any of these workers, they will tell you just how tough it is. What are they going to think about fairness after this legislation is passed? (Interruption) I could. But the fairness disappears with this government because no longer will people who are in the health care system be treated the same and no longer will this government be able to say that it is tough times and because we don't know, as I said before, if it is $5 million, and I am sure it will be, we could have a hospital opened in Berwick and Wolfville both because our hospital was $3 million to $4 million and that was $1 million to $2 million. All those people are now unemployed, are out of a job because the government said, we have no money.



What I want to know, Mr. Speaker, is how many more health care workers are going to lose their jobs in 1996 because the government has no money? I look at those health care workers and I say, I'm sorry, we have no money. The government has no money because they gave it away as a tax break. That is why you lost your job, that is why you have no job, that is why your job disappeared. Because the money the government did not collect is now going to go to lay you off. You are out of a job. You only earned $30,000 or $35,000, but now you are on the unemployment ranks.



I do not know how, in good conscience, at a very difficult economic time that we are in, where cutbacks are rampant and we are going to see more, you know, if we had a surplus of money - say we did and the minister had a surplus of money - what would you think if we gave a tax break to those under $15,000? What would be wrong with that?



SOME HON. MEMBERS: We did.



MR. MOODY: I know, but we now have more money. I will tell you, if any one of you tried to live on $15,000, I am not sure you should pay any taxes at all because it is very difficult.



AN HON. MEMBER: What was the tax rate when you were there? Higher than it is now.





MR. MOODY: Let me tell you, if you can defend right now soaking it to seniors and giving tax breaks to these people, then please do so. I have no difficulty saying, on the streets of this province, on the streets back home, that I defend those who cannot defend themselves. I will do that every day of the week. (Interruptions) I will tell you, you can blame us for all kinds of things, but it is not us now giving a tax break, it is this crowd giving the tax break, not us.



AN HON. MEMBER: We gave the tax break to the seniors.



MR. MOODY: Oh, I have not talked to a senior who said they got a tax break from this government. I have talked to seniors who are pretty worked up about this government. I told the seniors, listen, this government does not have any money. (Interruptions) Just be patient.



AN HON. MEMBER: Why don't we have any money? Did you tell them that?



MR. MOODY: Well, if you don't have any money, why are you giving millions away now? Why are you giving millions away now if you have no money? Mr. Speaker, if an individual, if I walk down the street and I have no money, how in the world and why should I give you money, $5 million or $2 million or whatever, if I have no money? The member just said that he had no money, but he is going to give it away. I do not understand how any kind of rationale would allow you to give money away that you do not have. (Interruptions) Well, you cannot unless you are incorporated and I am not incorporated.



Let me say, Mr. Speaker, that I hope the government reconsiders this bill because I believe that we are going to hear from a number of people before this bill is passed through the House. I think a lot of people thought that this bill was going to die on the order paper. I was one of those people, I have to admit, because when it was introduced with the other two bills, this bill was left. I thought, great, the government begins to realize that because of financial times it is not a good time to put this legislation forward. I really thought that we were going to see it stay on the order paper and that it would not happen, as it did not happen the last time it was on the order paper.



As you can probably tell, Mr. Speaker - and I have delayed the House long enough - in actual fact, I will be not supporting this legislation, and I won't be supporting it because I feel there are so many needs out there, and so many people with needs in the communities of this province, that the money that could have been collected could help fill just some of those needs.



[1:45 p.m.]



I hope, Mr. Speaker, that I don't hear from the government again that they don't have any money to provide services for those who are in need when they are now going to give a tax break to someone who has an income far above the average Nova Scotian. That is what I am worried about. If times are good and we are now going to give money away, then I don't have any difficulty with it. I will be glad then to support the bill when this government puts the money into education and health care that it needs to put in.



So, Mr. Speaker, I hope members give consideration to those points, and the point that it is different to incorporate as a physician compared to a private individual, because you don't compete for your money, it is pay as you go; guaranteed money. There is no other company in the world that can incorporate and be guaranteed their money. I hope that members also think about what they could do with this revenue for the many needs of the people they represent, as they have calls from their constituents like we all do.



I hope they think about that as well when they vote on this bill and that they will not allow this bill to go forward until such time as this government can meet those needs and purely understand that incorporating as a physician is quite different than from a company where you have to compete for your dollars, and you have to bid for your dollars and not have someone walk through the door guaranteed paid for by the Province of Nova Scotia, no questions asked. Quite different. I hope the people understand that when they are voting for that and they don't stand up and say it is the same as everyone else; it is not the same as everyone else. Thank you very much.



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



MR. BROOKE TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, it saddens me somewhat to have to rise and speak against this bill. (Interruption) I can appreciate the Minister of Transportation doesn't like to hear the truth; not too many times he does. But the fact of the matter is this legislation contravenes that very government's, that Savage Government's policy. This legislation contravenes austerity measures that have been taken by this government; it contradicts financial responsibility that is propagated by this government; and it flies in the face of fiscal restraint. I would ask any member of the government to stand up and excuse the inexcusable, including the member for Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage who seems to have an interest in this piece of legislation, and I am not just sure what it is, but he becomes very quarrelsome when we raise very legitimate and very valid points as to why this bill should not be supported.



Now the bill is not consistent. It is not coherent with government policy. By the government's own admission, I think it is safe to say they would agree with that, Mr. Speaker. The Minister of Transportation has told us that because of the financial situation that this province is in, he finds it necessary, and his Savage Government finds it necessary to toll the Highway No. 104, the western alignment. We don't have any money, so we have to build the highway and finance it in a public/private partnership. The people in Cumberland County and in Colchester County have told that minister, and told him en masse, that they believe there are other financial options available to this province.



We are finding out today that what the people in Cumberland and Colchester Counties have been saying all along is correct. This government apparently has a hidden bankroll. I don't know where it is. I have heard people suggest that maybe it is in a trust company; I don't know where it is. But if my memory serves me well and correctly, I remember the Minister of Natural Resources standing and telling us that there was no money to finance and fund the Two Rivers Wildlife Park in Cape Breton, We have no money; we can't finance the only provincial wildlife park in Cape Breton. There were no funds at all to do that, Mr. Speaker.



The salt hauling rates in this province were cut in some areas nearly 29 per cent because that Minister of Transportation told us, Mr. Speaker, there were no funds, we have to cut. He asked, would you rather that we took the snowplows off the road in winter? But yet this government has found a way of providing benefits; yes, this government is making concessions and providing a bonus, if you want. I look at it in that context, and that is how the taxpayers in this province are going to look at it; believe me, they are going to look at this as a bonus to doctors. A government that can't build highways, a government that cut the salt hauling rate, a government that rolled back the public sector wage, a government that couldn't help keep a bus line, an essential lifeline to communities like Parrsboro and Yarmouth, a government that had no funds to do that, now, all of a sudden, has found money. They have found finances.



This is a favour being done to a profession that I would suggest (Interruption) Yes, they could probably stand a little support and I have no problem with that. But there are so many other people in this province, and I suggested earlier, Mr. Speaker, and you cautioned me when I was speaking about an amendment that perhaps I should wait until we are talking about the bill in second reading but that working circle - and government has to recognize this - the working circle is getting smaller and smaller and the load is getting heavier and heavier. Who is going to pick up the tab?



Mr. Speaker, it is serious business. It is fine to joke, but this is no time for joking. Nobody argued with the figures I put forward, because they couldn't argue with the figures I put forward. The corporate tax rate is somewhere around 18 per cent; the personal or individual tax rate is around 29 per cent on the money that you would pay on an income.



I used the figure of $220,000 and somebody said, oh, name a doctor who would gross $220,000. Mr. Speaker, there are doctors - I don't know how many but probably a few - who will gross $220,000 and will gross more than $220,000. But the cost to this province, if one doctor incorporates and leaves that income in the corporation, will be around $15,000 per doctor. The cost to the federal government, by the way, who, again, like this government, imitates fiscal restraint - now we are finding out, it is just an imitation - the cost to the federal government is around $23,000 for that doctor, for a combined net loss to the taxpayers of Canada of some $37,000, if one doctor incorporates.



Now if somebody with a chartered accountancy background wants to stand up and argue against those figures, I would gladly yield the floor, Mr. Speaker, but they had better know what they are talking about. What this government is talking about here is double talk; they practice austerity measures, sound financial responsible people in this province, they have asked everybody, including us, the MLAs in here, to tighten our belts. I was asked, as a county councillor, to tighten my belt.



There was a great hue and cry when the previous administration froze wages. It didn't roll them back, it froze them. Perhaps some members in my caucus had some difficulties with that, but they took a necessary measure. Now we are finding out we are not only going to incorporate doctors, we are going to incorporate lawyers. Doctors and lawyers, well, well.



I attended some meetings and informal gatherings over the long Christmas break that we all enjoyed. One of the subjects that came up was the different pieces of legislation that come before us. I suggested that this legislation here was one that I had some difficulty with. I said to my constituents because they told me at some of the levees and some of the gatherings in no uncertain terms the told me, they didn't say abstain, they didn't say remove yourself from the Legislative Chamber, they told me to vote categorically against this legislation.



I would suggest that if all MLAs went back to their constituents and just caucused, challenged, canvassed, talk to maybe six of their constituents (Interruption) Or go talk to 100. The Minister of the Environment is going to talk to 100 tomorrow, I hope he puts it to them and comes back and votes with his conscience. If there ever was a time for you to stand up and gain some credibility, this is the time. I would ask that the Premier, in fact, and I know the Premier is a very busy man and can't be with us (Interruption) Doctor Savage, yes, we are getting to that. I would suggest that the Premier give some directive, permission to his caucus to vote with their conscience on this legislation.



The question is, how in good conscience can you vote for something that flies against the policies that you so proudly stood in support of when you were campaigning to get elected. This is gainsay to the nth degree, it is contradictory, it is hypocritical, it contravenes your own government policy.



HON. RICHARD MANN: Mr. Speaker, a question for the honourable member. He asks us to ask our constituents about this whole matter and I think that is a fair question, for him to ask us to ask our constituents. I would like to ask him what his constituents were saying last spring when the doctors in this province were threatening a strike when the story was exodus and there was a negotiation going on between the parties to try to resolve some of the issues? Major concessions were made by the doctors resulting in savings to the Province of Nova Scotia, some of which would be offset by the measure before us today. This was not an isolated event in and by itself, it was part of a much bigger negotiation between the minister, represented by others, and the Medical Society. What were his constituents saying then? Were they saying, let the physicians go, don't bother with them, let there be an exodus, let there be a strike?



MR. TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, the truckers (Interruption) No, you don't want to hear about the agreement the truckers had. I will grant the Minister of Transportation this, that there is an agreement with the Medical Society of this province but (Interruption) I understand that there is an agreement with the Medical Society and this province relative to wages and relative to incorporation. The minister talked - and I listened very carefully when the Minister of Health talked - about attracting and recruiting doctors and retaining doctors. I want to advise the Government House Leader that the minister told us in Question Period this week, that there are as many doctors in this province today as there were in 1993. That is what the Minister of Health told us. So the question is, if you want to talk about hypothesizing and this, that and the other thing, the question isn't even relevant. The fact of the matter is if this minister and this government does have that agreement with the Medical Society, we ask them to produce that agreement.



I am saying yes, you have an agreement. I can take you at face value for your word and also I want to see some cost-benefit analysis as to how this is going to affect the provincial Treasury. Does this government, that believes in being financially responsible and believes in tough austerity measures when they need to be taken, is there a cost-benefit study done? Absolutely not. I don't think that people in the public sector would support this legislation. Sales clerks, housewives, truck drivers, construction workers and so on, they just wouldn't support this. (Interruption) Well, politicians shouldn't support it but, obviously, some of them are going to.



[2:00 p.m.]



Now the coal miners down in Cape Breton North, I wonder if they went to their MLA and said, look, you had better come forward with legislation that will enable the physicians in this province to incorporate. I would bet you they would beat his door down, Mr. Speaker, for him to come forward with legislation like this. Or the people working down at Marine Atlantic who have been under a state of anxiety and are very anxious as to what their future is going to be. We have already seen a ferry stop travelling from our province to a valuable New England market. (Interruption)



Now, I have to correct the member for Yarmouth because the member for Yarmouth will know that the ferry stopped running when his government was in power and when his federal colleagues were in power in Ottawa, Mr. Speaker. Now the fact of the matter is, the ferry has stopped, the buses have stopped in a lot of areas, but we still find that there is monies for golf courses, for example. There is no trouble finding monies for golf courses - there is one stipulation - provided that the golf course is located in a government-held riding.



MR. SPEAKER: The member understand that it is a wide-ranging debate but golf courses and ferry boats and trollies. It is wide-ranging but somehow get back to the bill, at least in general.



MR. TAYLOR: Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and I do appreciate the latitude that you have provided me and I will take your ruling to heart. But many times in Opposition, we come forward with amendments and are told that they just are not going to be permitted. I mentioned this earlier when we were talking about the amendment and you told me I should bring that forward during second reading. So I am taking your advice and I am going to bring that concern forward.



We are told many times that because an amendment has a financial implication or will mean a charge or a price to the province, that it is just not permitted. You have ruled yourself, Mr. Speaker, that amendments of that sort just will not be allowed to be debated and we will carry on with something else. When we talk about a charge, we are told, well, that is changing the principle of the bill and the financial state of this province, we just don't have funds. We don't have funds, we don't have a cost-benefit analysis type study done but we don't have funds that would enable us to provide additional money that would be required because of the Opposition's amendment. We have been told that many times; it changes the principle of the bill.



But what we have here, and the correlation I am trying to make, Mr. Speaker, is that here is a bill that is solely crafted based on a financial benefit to one profession in this province. So isn't that, at the very least, contradictory? It is worse than that, it is very audacious for any member to even informally support this type of garbage because that is what it is. It is nonsense.



Now, how sincere is the government about fiscal restraint? How sincere are they? You just can't have it both ways. If the government really believes in tough conservative measures, then they should support them all the time, not just at random, Mr. Speaker. (Interruption) Well, the impact and the ramification of this legislation, to the honourable member for Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage, it is not known. There hasn't been any cost-benefit analysis done so it is unknown. If you are concerned about the Consolidated Fund, the provincial Treasury, you would probably like to know how it is going to affect the Treasury. You should want to know.



So, Mr. Speaker, I probably have made it a little bit clear that I am having some problems supporting this legislation. We know there have been delays made relative to building schools. We know that some of our hospitals have closed. I have pointed out that bus service in some of our communities that are far removed from major urban centres, so to speak, has been cut and yet we find a need to come forward with legislation that will favour and provide financial benefits.





You know, Mr. Speaker, it was not too long ago we saw some people that were on UIC, on welfare, people that, in fact, had no income, protest a dinner that was put on by a federal member down in Cape Breton. Perhaps that demonstration got a little out of hand, I will not say it did not, but the people that went to Loaves and Fishes to enjoy some of the food that, (Interruption) Filet mignon, yes. I wonder if any of those people went to the Minister of Health and said, look, minister, the people that frequent Loaves and Fishes, I wonder if they are behind this legislation? Do you think they would support this nonsense? No, absolutely not. I would say there is no support across this province for this type of legislation.



If the minister believes and can back up what he said in Question Period that the doctors in this province, the number of doctors that he is able to retain, retrain and encourage to come here, are the same and there is no shortage, and that was part of the rationale why he came forward with this legislation, we were led to believe, if the numbers are sufficient, why is he coming in with the incorporation legislation?



Many people in the public sector have seen their wages rolled back, that goes without saying. The government, I think, at that time took a very drastic measure. The Finance Minister no doubt did look at the financial situation of this province and examined it very carefully. I know a lot of the decisions this government makes are extremely tough and they do not all the time go over well back home. A lot of time, I am sure people come up to MLAs, and I have had people come up to me, not too many, but I have had people come up to me, you know, what this Savage Government is doing has to be done, it must be done in all government departments.



I think it is only Community Services that we have seen the budget increase, only that department and I certainly support that. But here we have before us today a piece of legislation that flies in the face of fiscal restraint. I guess that is what makes it so difficult because these times are very hard. I know in my constituency, most people work in the forestry or in the agricultural industry and I have to tell you, Mr. Speaker, that those people are finding it extremely hard to make ends meet.



When you get a paycheque and start looking at your deductions, your gross certainly is not what you take home. Because of legislation like this, the net paycheque of Nova Scotians will be less. If it is not going to be less, I, again, appeal to the Minister of Health to produce some cost-benefit analysis respecting this legislation. The fact of the matter is, Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Health does not have a cost-benefit analysis. He does not have one. Even looking at this legislation in that context, one cannot pardon the unpardonable. It is absolutely impossible to pardon this type of legislation.



Therefore, Mr. Speaker, without any further comment, I just want to point out that I will be voting against this legislation. I would encourage and implore all MLAs to vote against this regressive, absolutely asinine legislation. Thank you.



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



MR. JOHN HOLM: Mr. Speaker, I welcome the opportunity to rise and to speak against the bill. I have to say that the colourful language that was just used at the closing remarks of the previous speaker, I think, sum up quite well what I think the government is doing in introducing this bill. The word asinine does come to mind quite easily when one thinks of this government and one thinks of this government's actions. One would have a hard time trying to stretch and to take a look at what this government is doing with this bill, the Doctor Inc. bill, that is going to be giving special tax breaks to a very small, select group of people who tend to be at the higher income brackets and to compare that, juxtapose that against what they are doing to other Nova Scotians, particularly those at the lower end of the scales. One of the things that is farthest from your mind when you are comparing the two is fairness, equality, equity or justice.



The Minister of Transportation and Communications asked the previous speaker a question a little while ago, asked what were constituents saying a year ago. Mr. Speaker, one of the things that I would like to say to this minister and to this government: I would challenge you to put this off until the next election, campaign on this issue. I invite you. That is a sure-fired way, I would suggest to members on the government seats, to ensure that you will have alternate employment after the next election. Let me tell you, the voters will tell you quite clearly what they think of this legislation and this government's sense of equality and equity and justice. I invite you, I challenge you, I dare you.



MR. RICHARD HUBBARD: We wouldn't be afraid to for a minute.



MR. HOLM: The member for Yarmouth said that he would not be afraid to do that for a minute. He is in favour of it. So we have one vote from the government benches, to put it off and let's run a campaign on this issue. I wonder how many other members would.



SOME HON. MEMBERS: Call the vote.



MR. HOLM: We are not talking about voting on the bill here; we are talking about you postponing this and as a campaign platform support this and say that this is something you will do, you will enact if you are returned.



AN HON. MEMBER: Let's look after the wealthy and privileged. (Interruption)



MR. HOLM: Yes, let's look after the friends.



Mr. Speaker, I hear the Minister of Community Services, the man in charge of looking after and trying to provide for those who are most disadvantaged within our society, those who are in need of support, I hear this minister making some comments across. I say to that minister, through you in a rhetorical type of way because he does not have the floor so I cannot ask him a question directly - but maybe he can take the floor afterwards and speak; I would welcome that during the debate - how is it that a person who is in charge of a department which is going to be facing major financial crises because of cuts in federal transfers, a department that had to in its mind reduce assistance to families who have members who are living with special needs and had their allowances cut, a department which says that it cannot afford to extend, as promised, the one-tiered system of social assistance, how can that minister support a bill that is going to be ripping millions of dollars out of the pockets, out of the revenues, out of the budget for the Province of Nova Scotia? The Minister of Health has said that this is going to give us competitive edge. My heavens.



[2:15 p.m.]



The minister has said that we have an agreement with the medical profession. Well, let's see that agreement. I haven't. All I have seen is the agreement that they would investigate. No agreement, no commitment, nothing that I have seen, the promise that they were going to introduce this legislation, nothing. Maybe it exists, maybe it is one of those hidden documents the government has. Maybe they call it Cabinet advice. Who knows what they call it? I haven't seen it. I haven't seen any studies, any social or economic impact studies. What are the cost-benefit analyses that have been done? Where is the Minister of Finance? Has the Minister of Finance got anything at all in the way of an analysis as to how much this is going to be costing Nova Scotians?



How can any member on any of the government benches, how can any of you - I don't care where you are, whether you are in Cabinet, if you are on the back benches - how are any of you going to be able to look your constituents in the face when they call you up and they have a special need? Maybe it is somebody in the family needs oxygen, maybe it is somebody in the family needs a personal home care worker, maybe it is somebody who needs eye glasses for a child at school, but they can't afford it and they don't have a program.



How are you going to look them in the face and say, I sympathize with you, but we don't have any money? We don't have any money, we are sorry. Your needs are real, your needs are great and my heart goes out to you, but we don't have any money, then turn around and say we decided that we will give a tax break that could amount - and I have not heard anybody stand to dispute the suggestions and the analysis that was done either by myself earlier or by the member for Kings North - $50,000, $25,000, maybe $75,000, depending on the income bracket, tax reduction, tax saving. If there are financial analyses that say that that is wrong, produce them.



The Minister of Finance, who has been wringing his hands and been talking about the deficit for the last number of years and how we are getting our house in order and how the deficit must be attacked and we have to cut programs, we have to cut services, we have to be merciless . . .



AN HON. MEMBER: That is what they said.



MR. HOLM: We have to lay off hundreds of people, we are sorry, but we don't have any money. Then, Mr. Speaker, that same Minister of Finance supports a bill in this House that will give thousands and thousands of dollars worth of tax breaks to some who certainly are at the higher end of the income scale in the Province of Nova Scotia, and they aren't people who go out and compete for business in a private-business-like way. They are people who, when their shingle is hung and those who go to seek their services, they have those services paid for by the taxpayers of the Province of Nova Scotia, and whose education and training was, in large part provided through the university and education system in the province, largely at the expense of the taxpayers of the Province of Nova Scotia.



How will anybody here, on the government benches - I am awfully glad I am not sitting on one of them - I certainly would have one heck of a hard time saying to an injured worker next week or next month, who has been on workers' compensation and will find out that his benefits are being reduced next month because of including other incomes in the calculations, telling that person, oh well, it is only right because you are getting a small pension that you should have that deducted from your workers' compensation because we don't have any money in that fund; we don't have any money so you, injured worker, can pay, we are sorry. Oh yes, by the way, we do have money for golf courses, yes we do, and we do have money to give a tax break to doctors and lawyers in the Province of Nova Scotia.



I am awfully glad, Mr. Speaker, that I don't have to try to defend this in that way. I surely couldn't, and I don't honestly believe that government members can either. I really wonder, I mean, government members are going to have to vote in support, I guess, under the Party system and where there doesn't appear to be any leeway granted for voting your own way, unless you want to go the way of the former member for Cape Breton West. So I guess members of the government benches will maybe feel that they have no choice but to vote for it or at least make sure they are absent from the House when the vote is taken, especially if it is a recorded vote.



Mr. Speaker, I can't believe that people over there think that this is right and fair. The study that was done in Ontario that was referenced earlier, and in the Province of Ontario when this had been suggested, it was decided that before one moves ahead with this kind of a proposal, that we actually should do the responsible thing, we should look at what the impact is going to be. So they did the assessment and the report came back and said that in 1994, as a conservative estimate, that is a small c, as in the word being very conservative, not being very Tory, being very conservative, that that would cost the Province of Ontario a loss of $75 million. Of course, Ontario is not Nova Scotia; their revenue sources are much greater and their population is much greater and the number of physicians and doctors that they have is much greater. Therefore, obviously in Nova Scotia we would not lose $75 million. But if our population is one-tenth of that of Ontario and if we have one-tenth as many doctors, that would equate to one-tenth of $75 million, or $7.5 million.



Now the Minister of Finance is out there trying to paint this rosy picture of how, under his stewardship, his guidance, his leadership, the province has turned around; we are on our way to recovery, good times are here and it was projected that we will have a surplus of $5.4 million. Quite honestly, if that is all we have in the way of a surplus, I will be very shocked and surprised because what this government has been doing since the day they came in has been painting the worst case scenario so that unless things came in completely catastrophic, that they would always look good. They decided to have the rosy picture being painted at the end of the year, rather than at the start of the year when a budget was brought in, like the former government. This government decided to paint the worse case scenario so that whatever happened would make them look good at the end of the year. So I am delighted that it has actually improved.



If these tax breaks work out to be anything close to that figure, the amount of surplus that the Minister of Finance is saying will exist will just about equal the amount that he is planning, along with his colleague, to give away in the way of tax breaks. Isn't that great stewardship, isn't that wonderful fiscal management, especially since we don't even have any kind of studies or reports, no analysis. I can't believe that. Obviously, we have been accusing the government of that now for hours. If they had something I would think and believe that it is reasonable to expect, they would have stood up to challenge us but they haven't done that.



The amount of the tax break for somebody who is making about $200,000, the amount that they could save, could be equal to or greater than the total yearly earnings of many others who are involved in the health care profession, other health care workers, nurses, technicians and so on. I for one don't see how this bill is going to, in any way, shape or form improve the quality of health care in the Province of Nova Scotia. If it is, please explain how, show us. Where is your evidence? Where is your analysis? Where is something that you are hanging that conclusion on? We are talking about health care reform in the province and reform means making better, improving the quality of the health care delivery system, meeting the needs of citizens. Any time those things are suggested, there is no money.



The Nurses' Union requested - coming out of my pocket or your pocket individually it would be a large amount of money, at least mine it would because it wouldn't be there to take out, but in terms of the finances of the province it is an extremely minor, modest amount - $100,000 to put on a pilot project. They were prepared to put in more money themselves for a pilot project to provide chronic cardiac care in the home, something that would get to the crux of the matter and would be ensuring that you have top quality health care professionals providing the care in the homes of those individuals who are in need of that. There was no money, so they were told. The cupboard was bare, the piggy-bank was empty. Two or three doctors may be able to make enough in the way of tax concessions to have funded all of that, not all. (Interruption)



AN HON. MEMBER: Don't listen to him. Don't listen to the Minister of Fluff.



[2:30 p.m.]



MR. HOLM: Mr. Speaker, this government has been charged with the responsibility of looking after the financial affairs of the province. I personally don't think that this kind of legislation is what is going to be attracting doctors to the Province of Nova Scotia. I believe, as I said earlier in my remarks, that the vast majority of those who are involved in the medical profession as doctors, their primary concern is for the care and the well-being of their patients. That is what their primary concern is. They work hard, they work long and, especially in those small communities where there are not many physicians in large areas, they often are on call - it must seem - 24 hours a day, seven days a week and they need help.



Help is not, however, just putting another few dollars in their pockets. Help is putting on the ground and in the community the support services that are needed so that they can have time off, that they don't have to be on call 24 hours a day, so that they can have a quality of life to which they are entitled and which they deserve. I would like to know how this bill is going to address those needs. How is this bill in any way going to help develop the health care teams in those areas and in those communities? I don't see that it is. I honestly don't see that it is.



Mr. Speaker, I don't believe this bill should proceed. I certainly don't believe that this bill should proceed unless the government can lay on the table - which they have so far refused to do - any kind of cost-benefit analysis that shows that they have even done their homework, something beyond talking to a few people. We have to know the ramifications. There is no question that if this bill passes, there will be a financial cost to pay to the province. I believe that Nova Scotians have a right to know and this government has a responsibility to tell them how big that cost is projected to be. They have a right to know what they can expect to receive as a result of it.



The province, as a whole, is going to be facing increased financial strains. Not only, Mr. Speaker, are we going to have cuts handed on down to us by the federal government in the way of the social safety net, under the new CHST Program, a cut of $328 million which is going to have to be taken out somewhere, we have cuts coming down in terms of unemployment insurance, as well, which is taking money out of the pockets of Nova Scotians, which will mean that there is that much less money as well being put into the economy and into the Treasury of the province.



All of those things are placing strains. We are already seeing cuts in hospitals and hospital beds and we have not seen, with the greatest respect, the services that would need to be put in place in the communities to any kind of degree necessary to pick up the slack, to compensate for those increased needs that are going to be there.





We are seeing programs and services in our schools cut and we are seeing services for children, for seniors and, quite honestly, for almost everybody in the province being reduced. We are told to do more with less. Yes, indeed, Mr. Speaker, I will acknowledge that we do have to learn to do that and we do have to learn to spend our money much more wisely. No question about that. But cutting another, whether it is $3 million, $5 million, $7 million, who knows? No cost-benefit analysis has been provided.



How many more cuts will that mean in other areas of the province's budget to make up for that? How many health care workers? We have already been told that there are going to be up to 2,000 or 2,300 health care positions eliminated. Some of those may be by early retirement, some may be by attrition. It does not mean that many individuals will be put out of work but that many positions.



How many of those training seats in community colleges could have been maintained if these cuts were not being made? How much reduced would the premiums have been for Pharmacare, a cost that is now being imposed on seniors, if this bill were not introduced?



Mr. Speaker, this bill is wrong. It is wrong-headed and should not go forward. Therefore, in order to give this government some time to reflect and to think and to do some studies and, most importantly, to hear from Nova Scotians, I am going to make the following amendment. I am going to propose: "That the words after `that' be deleted and the following be substituted therefore: `Bill No. 58 be not now read a second time but that it be read a second time this day six months hence.'".



Mr. Speaker, I so move.



MR. SPEAKER: The amendment is in order.



The honourable member for Halifax Atlantic.



MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for Sackville-Cobequid, who spoke previously, the Leader of the New Democratic Party, for introducing this amendment.



When I was on my feet earlier today, I moved an amendment, because of my concern about the impact of this legislation on the finances of this province, that would refer the subject matter to the Public Accounts Committee in order that the impact be analyzed. Members of the House decided that was not a favourable resolution of the matter at this time and therefore they voted that amendment down.



I think that the only responsible procedure to be followed then is that we support, in fact, the amendment that has now been brought forward by the Leader of the New Democratic Party, that the bill be hoisted for six months, Mr. Speaker, in order that we have an opportunity to examine the true implications of this, in order that Nova Scotians have an opportunity to say to this government, how, in the name of all that is reasonable and sane in this province, can you expect us to accept a preferential piece of legislation like this, that gives advantage to the most advantaged in the profession of health care, at the same time that our services are being cut, at the same . . .





MR. SPEAKER: I am going to advise the member right away, so that we set the tone for the debate on this amendment. This amendment is not an opportunity to have all the arguments that were made on the main motion and on the motion to move to a committee the subject matter. It is not an opportunity to make all those arguments again.



Once again, I am going to set the tone right from the start. The only thing that is relevant about this amendment, this debate, is going to be the advantages or disadvantages of reading the matter six months hence; it will not be an open debate on whether or not the bill is in order. More importantly, repetitious remarks will not be accepted by the Chair. The member will refer himself solely to the pros and cons of having the matter read in six months. That is the only subject that is open for acceptance by the Chair this afternoon.



MR. CHISHOLM: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I appreciate your ruling and have heard it many times and have been, I think, in the first few sentences that I have spoken on this debate, doing that very thing and will continue to do that.



Mr. Speaker, I think that Nova Scotians need to have the opportunity to appreciate exactly what this government is doing through this bill, and that six months would provide that opportunity. Right now, if we allow this piece of legislation to go through, what will happen is that this reported surplus, the budget surplus that the government has, in large part potentially will be sucked up by physicians who will have an opportunity to take advantage of it through incorporation. (Interruption)



Well, we don't know what the surplus is going to be; we also don't know what the take-up rate of this incorporation process is going to be. What we do know, from looking at the Ontario figures though, is that the advantages increased depending on your level of income; if you are making $100,000, then your advantages are less than if you are making $200,000 and $300,000 and so on, Mr. Speaker. That is the reality. It is clearly a benefit that increases depending on your level of income.



I would like to think that maybe this government should take an opportunity to consider its options, that if, in fact, it believes that doctors in this province require a financial incentive to stay here, then maybe they should look at the option of providing doctors with an across-the-board financial incentive in some form or other, something that is more equitable, something that is not regressive but, in fact, provides those people who are having the most difficulties, rural doctors, rural GPs for example, who are not earning the $200,000 and $250,000. It ensures that those people at the lower end, who are struggling under not only financial burdens but also workload problems, provides them, perhaps, with a greater financial return than it does the people that are making $300,000, instead of the way this bill proposes and that is to increase the benefit depending on how high your income goes. Maybe that is something that the government should take some time considering.



[2:45 p.m.]



I am forced to draw links with another jurisdiction because of the fact that there has been no analysis, there has been no study of the implications, the impact of incorporation here in the Province of Nova Scotia.



On the whole issue of retaining or attracting professionals, the obvious conclusion of asserting that by allowing physicians and surgeons who are earning high incomes to either take advantage of a lower tax rate or, by deferring income or by splitting income, to take advantage of those savings in order to retain them in the province, that that is the only thing that will keep them here, what you are talking about then is that doctors and surgeons in the Province of Nova Scotia are motivated by money, by the profit line, the bottom line and I don't think that is the case.



In fact, I think the evidence is just the opposite, that what you have are people who have entered a profession on the basis of their commitment to deliver an important service to the people of their community, in this case, to the people of Nova Scotia. I think it is disrespectful, it is condescending to suggest that by providing some further tax breaks to those individuals . . .



MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. My understanding is that we are on the amendment to hoist this bill for six months and I would ask that the honourable member would please direct his arguments to why this bill should be put forward for six months.



MR. CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, the point of that particular argument that I was making was that this is being asserted, that we need to provide this tax break in order to retain or attract professionals to this province. What I am suggesting is that I think the government needs to examine the conclusion that they have reached. Evidence that I have been able to obtain would suggest otherwise, number one, and number two, just on the basis of my knowledge of physicians and surgeons in this province, would suggest otherwise, that that is not the problem with doctors leaving this province. It has much more to do with work load, services and support and that is something that I think has to be examined. I think to a large part it has been examined in other reports and studies but it appears that the government isn't listening, isn't paying any attention to those studies and perhaps they need the opportunity to review and consider those things.



Questions of peer review and pooling capital, advantages of incorporation, are not dependent on incorporation, on this professional incorporation legislation. Those things are already achieved through other regulations. For example, with respect to peer review, that is being dealt with in the Medical Act that we have here and will be passing in short time . . .



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member seems to be giving arguments on the bill, rather than on the amendment at this point.



MR. CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, I am giving arguments, as I have been directed to, on why it is that we should agree to defer this legislation for six months. What I am suggesting are a number of issues that I think need to be considered further, that need to be examined because of the fact that they, as far as I am concerned, would suggest that this legislation is not going to serve the purposes that it is intending to do. Otherwise, I do appreciate what you are saying and I am following the advice of your predecessor by ensuring that I don't repeat what I have already said. I am trying to follow the arguments that have been presented by this government in support of this legislation in suggesting reasons why I think that they need to further examine the issue in order to be able to achieve the objectives that they are trying to do.



Again, right now, things like pooling of capital, things like that, advantages like that, can be obtained through other types of business arrangement partnerships and so on that many doctors are already involving themselves in, Mr. Speaker. There is also a question here, if we allow health professionals, doctors, to incorporate, how does that affect the whole question of standards and their fiduciary, confidential and ethical relationships with their patients? The same level and standards that individual practitioners are being held to, does, in fact, this provide that same standard for corporations? I don't think so. I think that is something that needs to be examined and I would appreciate the government doing that.



The other thing that I think needs to be considered, because we have heard the government and various members of government suggest that incorporating like this is something that everyone has the opportunity to do, all individuals. Some people have said, Mr. Speaker, that we are talking about providing health services and that is different, that it is a guaranteed income and it is not the same as private business where you have to get out and do that.



The other issue there, I think, that needs to be examined is the fact that with respect to small businesses, the whole question of tax deferral and tax exemptions, is an attempt to ease the burden of start-up costs for small businesses, to ease the risks of establishing a market, Mr. Speaker. I would suggest to you and suggest to this government and ask them to examine whether in fact that applies to physicians and surgeons because I don't think it does. I think it is also likewise not relevant to other health care professionals.



The other thing about small businesses is that the tax advantages are intended to promote the growth of those small businesses in order to generate economic activity to allow them to operate. That simply does not wash, to compare small businesses with health professions, in this case doctors, Mr. Speaker, because once you are there, you are guaranteed an income. You are effectively guaranteed an income.



I really would suggest that this amendment is extremely important for us to consider because we have been under, not just two and one-half, almost three years of financial constraint in the Province of Nova Scotia, but probably more like almost three and one-half years or four years of fiscal constraint in this province. If, in fact, we are going to start handing out the goodies, maybe there are other priorities that need to be considered.



Maybe we should, with respect to the questions of wife abuse and family violence and that sort of thing, there are programs that deal with counselling for abusers that we don't have the funding for. There are programs that need to be initiated in the communities in order to try to develop a more community-centered health care system.



MR. SPEAKER: How is this relevant to the amendment that is before the House?



MR. CHISHOLM: Well, it is relevant because, what I am suggesting, and what I think Nova Scotians would suggest to this government, is that there are other ways for it to forgo its revenue, or there are other places to give subsidy. My humble opinion is that this government is on the wrong track here because this legislation is, in fact, a hidden subsidy to doctors and that there are other groups, there are other people, there are other priorities in this province that should be attended to, with the scarce resources that we have now.



A lot of people, a lot of groups, a lot of individuals in this province have been asked to be patient with this government as they have cut their services, as they have cut their access to programs. They have been asked to be patient; they have been asked to understand that everybody has to shoulder the burden. I think that if the government now is working on the basis of a surplus and feels that it is time now to give some back, that there are other groups, there are other priorities in this province that should be serviced first.





I also think it is important, because I wouldn't want to be portrayed as doctor-bashing because that is not what I am doing. I have talked to a few doctors, Mr. Speaker, and they have said to me, you know we have it tough here, we are having a tough time and that many of us, general practitioners in particular, once we pay off a whole bunch, we don't take home a whole lot, you know $50,000 or whatever, a well-paid, senior public servant would get more, or a teacher or whatever. That is the example that has been presented to me. What I have said to them is that this legislation won't change your situation. It won't make your working conditions any better; it won't make your ability to access testing facility services and so on at the hospitals any easier. What we need to do is have, in fact, a true examination of how to make remuneration for physicians and their quality of life better, but this won't do it.



I think that many physicians in this province are under the impression that if this legislation goes through, it will answer all their problems, all their concerns. There needs to be time to analyze. For those very people who have been or are granted some preferred attention under this legislation, I think it is important that they have an opportunity to examine the effects of this. For example, in the Ontario situation they recognize that, for example, a physician earning $100,000, after having paid expenses - and GPs are either there or under that, many of them - that they wouldn't realize any advantage under incorporation; in fact, because of the cost, in that province anyway, of incorporating, it was suggested that they might lose a couple thousand bucks in doing that.



MR. SPEAKER: Again, this is an argument that should be made in argument on the bill; the amendment before the House is whether or not this should be put forward for six months and why it should be or should not be.



MR. CHISHOLM: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. The point I am trying to make is that I have talked to some doctors who have not had the opportunity to examine this legislation, haven't seen any evidence of the impact of it. I am saying that the six months' hoist needs to be granted in order that we can do that, in order that physicians can do that.



Maybe the Minister of Health and the Ministry of Health will be able to prepare that evidence for those doctors, or maybe the Medical Society could do that, Mr. Speaker, because it has not been done to date. All I am suggesting is, for example, that those people don't recognize, or perhaps fail to recognize that if they are at the $100,000 income level or less, incorporation will mean nothing to them. So the legislation is clearly intended for those higher income earners, the cream of the crop, the people who are making $200,000-plus. Those are the people who are truly going to benefit from this. I think they should recognize that and realize the fact that there are other ways. With their help we could hopefully convince the minister to move forward on some of those areas that would actually do something in a positive, constructive manner to resolve the concerns and the problems facing many physicians and surgeons in the Province of Nova Scotia, that find them working 24 hours a day, seven days a week, trying to keep up with what is going on.



[3:00 p.m.]



Mr. Speaker, we are faced in this province, this government is faced with extremely important challenges. It has been faced with and it has dealt with those in ways that some of us would suggest are not particularly appropriate or correct. Nonetheless, we cannot deny the fact that they are faced with those challenges. Within the next six months there is going to be a budget introduced in the Province of Nova Scotia, a budget that the Minister of Finance and the Premier have indicated will show an operating surplus for the first time in several years. What we are hearing from the government is that we have reached our objective, we have come to the point now where we are in a surplus position, our strategies with respect to deficit reduction have worked, that we are beginning, finally, to live within our means.



The suggestion, therefore, is, how will the government deal with the surplus? We are now in January. If we wait six months, we are going to be into early July. The budget will probably have come down in April, let's say. Then we will all have an opportunity to examine the surplus and to have input into where that surplus should be allocated. Maybe that surplus should go back into paying down the debt. Maybe that surplus should go into the unfunded liability of the Workers' Compensation Board. Maybe it should be distributed between providing the Minister of Labour with more health and safety inspectors and the Minister of Community Services with more social workers for child welfare and the Minister of Health with more nurse practitioners or with some community health clinic facilities in rural areas of this province, Mr. Speaker. Maybe, in fact, it should be intended to ease the burden for seniors, who have been asked to pay a greater share of Pharmacare. Or maybe it can be used to alter how our Home Care Program initially has been set up, that provides that people earning in excess of, I forget whether it is $15,000 or $20,000, after the first 14 days have to begin to contribute their own money towards home care services.



Maybe that is where we should be putting our money, increasing the amount that the government puts forward to municipalities to pay for social services. I think it is obvious now that by April 1996 or by June 1996, the six month period, we are not going to be dealing with a one-tiered social service system, so maybe the money should be put into responding to the crisis in some municipalities with increasing burden, increasing costs of social services.



I hope you understand my point, Mr. Speaker, and other members understand my point, is that people in the Province of Nova Scotia over the past number of years have given a great deal, have shouldered a significant portion of the burden. Whether they be people who cannot find work, whether they be people whose benefits under social services are reduced, whether they be seniors, whether they be public servants, whether they be people that are being laid off in health care as a result of downsizing, many hundreds of thousands of people in the Province of Nova Scotia have been shouldering a great deal of the burden as this government goes toward meeting its objective of reducing the deficit.



The question, of necessity, needs to be asked and answered within the next months, hopefully, how is the payback going to occur? How are we going to begin to reintroduce some money into programs and facilities and services in the Province of Nova Scotia? I think, Mr. Speaker, without a word of doubt, that if Nova Scotians are asked, they will say that the place to put the money is not in the pockets of high-income-earning doctors. That is not the place to put the money.



You know what concerns me the most about all of this is that we have a piece of legislation here, the amendment which recommends a hoist for six months, which provides tax advantages to the most advantaged in the health care field, some of the most advantaged in society in Nova Scotia and we do not know what impact it is going to have, Mr. Speaker. We do not know how much it is going to cost in terms of forgone revenue. We do not know whether it is going to have any difference, any effect whatsoever on retaining or attracting physicians and surgeons to the Province of Nova Scotia.



If, in fact, as the minister suggests, that that is part of the purpose, to retain and attract health care professionals, doctors, physicians and surgeons to the Province of Nova Scotia and it does not do that, then maybe we should reconsider this policy. It is going to cost the Treasury, number one, and if it does not have the other effect, it does not meet the other objective of retaining or attracting physicians and surgeons, then why introduce it? Now is not the time. I think there are other ways that would more appropriately retain and attract physicians to the Province of Nova Scotia than waiving a 5 per cent small business tax rate in their faces, Mr. Speaker. That, I think, is a very superficial and insensitive assessment of the problem that we are facing with respect to the distribution of doctors throughout this province.



Maybe over the next six months the minister and his staff can go back through the files, through the Royal Commission Reports, through the task force reports, the Report of the Blueprint Committee and compile a report, engage in some consultation and begin to provide some real solutions to that problem because it is a serious problem. It is a serious problem that is continuing to increase, not because many physicians are not earning enough money but because the method of remuneration is not adequate, it is not appropriate.



MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. I would suggest the honourable member is becoming a bit repetitious. I have been following his arguments, and he spoke at some length about the need to investigate better ways to encourage physicians to practice in Nova Scotia and stay here. He then moved on to different arguments and he is now back to the one he has already covered. Perhaps he might deal with a new argument.

MR. CHISHOLM: Well, Mr. Speaker, there are really only a few basic arguments in this whole debate. (Interruption)



The sponsor of the barristers incorporation bill says that he has heard them many times before. Well, I would suggest that maybe we need to take the time over the next six months to actually consider - do you know what, Mr. Speaker, a member of the government benches said to me outside this House? Well, it is only going to cost $250,000 and I said, what do you mean, where do you get the $250,000? He said, that is what you said and I said no, that is what the Minister of Finance said with respect to the barristers and solicitors. We don't have any idea what it is going to cost with physicians and surgeons.



The Minister of Health who is sitting over there gasping and getting impatient, has not provided us with any evidence to tell us what kind of an impact this is going to have on the Treasury. I think that is the extreme in irresponsible behaviour.



HON. RONALD STEWART: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order. I am neither gasping nor impatient. I am sitting here listening to the debate attempting to check some of the figures that he is giving. I ask the honourable member to please recognize that for those who are listening to him.



MR. SPEAKER: The point is noted.



MR. CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, I wish the minister would rise, and I hope he will rise at some point in this debate and I hope he will tell me and everybody here what it is going to cost, what the assessment is of the Finance Department, what it is going to cost the Treasury in terms of forgone tax revenues. I think we need to know that.



MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. I am following with interest the honourable member's arguments and I have them listed here as he has gone through them, in a fairly organized manner, but again, that is an argument that he has dealt with earlier as well, as to the financial impact and the fact he alleges we do not know what it is and we should study it. So, he has dealt with that argument, I would suggest that he should move on to a new argument.



MR. CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, unfortunately I got caught up in responding to the Minister of Health and that certainly distracted me from my presentation. It is like you present your arguments and the minister does not provide you with answers to those arguments, they just simply make catcalls and cast aspersions across the floor.



We have heard about the agreement with the Medical Society that said that this had to be done, that they were forced, in fact, I think that is what they are saying, that they are forced by an agreement with the Medical Society to bring forward this legislation. Two things; one, we have not seen that agreement, maybe the Minister of Health will lay it on the table; two, I would like to ask, and maybe the minister over the next six months could present me with some reasonable explanation, preferably in writing, because it is often more valuable than the assertions we get, but provide us with the rationale of why this agreement should hold more water than the agreements with the nurses and the agreements for other health care workers in the Province of Nova Scotia and the people who have had commitments from this minister that certain things would be done. I would like to ask that question. It is a matter of priorities, you know that and so do I. It is a question of politics. This government is making a decision and I reject it, Mr. Speaker, and I think all Nova Scotians would.



[3:15 p.m.]



I would like to go back for a second, if I may, to the terms of reference of the Joint Management Committee that were developed I think in 1992 or they cover the 1992 to 1997 period. I think I made reference earlier to Section 2(m), and that was the question of investigating ". . . the impact and possibility of legislative changes to permit physicians in Nova Scotia to incorporate practices based on models currently in place in other provinces.". Now I have not seen that evidence, I would certainly appreciate receiving that evidence because I think it is extremely important that we understand the impact, that before we go ahead and potentially spend millions of dollars in forgone tax revenue, that we understand what the impact is going to be.



I come back to this, Mr. Speaker, to ask the following questions, that over the next six months maybe the Minister of Health and his officials could provide us with answers to the following questions; Sections 2(l) and 2(n) of the terms of reference of the Joint Management Committee, that same agreement which formed the basis of why we are now dealing with this legislation, say the following: "(l) Review existing remuneration mechanisms for management services provided by physicians, review existing workloads for physicians providing management services, and recommend appropriate levels of remuneration for these physicians.". Has that information been compiled? If so, perhaps the minister could table it in this House, if not now, then some time within the next six months.



Section 2(n) says, "Determine the incremental increase in the tax burden associated with the Federal Goods and Services Tax and any harmonization of the Provincial Health Services Sales Tax, and to make recommendations as to how any potential loss of income will be negated.". Questions that come to mind, two things. One is, has that investigation been completed? Has that information been compiled? If so, table it. If not, let's get it. The second part of that, though, is this legislation part of the answer to the second part of that, of Section 2(n), that this is one of the ways to negate possible loss of income as a result of the goods and services tax and the provincial health sales tax? I think those are important questions and I would certainly appreciate this government providing me and others with that kind of evidence.



Mr. Speaker, as I wind up my comments with respect to this amendment, I just want to say that I don't know how this minister and his colleagues can expect us and can expect Nova Scotians to approve a subsidy to the some of the highest paid people in the Province of Nova Scotia, to some of the highest income earners in the Province of Nova Scotia. How can they expect us and Nova Scotians in the public at any time, but especially at times like this when people are under such a burden, to approve a hand-out to physicians and surgeons, Mr. Speaker? And not only that but that we would allow that to happen without them providing us with any explanation, any evidence of the impact, either positive or negative, that this is going to have. I simply cannot believe that this government has that kind of disrespect for the people of Nova Scotia.



That is why I think this amendment is so important. I get the strict impression that this government is trying to slip through this favour for doctors in the hopes that the health care workers out there, the unemployed, those living in poverty, won't notice what, in fact, is happening. That is why I think we need to have the opportunity to review this matter. This bill has absolutely nothing to do with health care reform; nothing whatsoever. It is the most cynical interpretation of what health care reform is all about that I have seen come from this Minister of Health since he came into power.



I would urge all members of all Parties to consider what is happening in their constituencies, to consider what is happening to the people who are suffering in these difficult economic times that we are dealing with right now; and ask themselves whether they think it is appropriate that some of the highest income earners in the Province of Nova Scotia should be given this hand-out. I ask them, in all seriousness . . .



MR. SPEAKER: I think the honourable member is off the amendment and on the bill. I would ask him to please direct his remarks toward the amendment.



MR. CHISHOLM: I ask those members to vote in favour of this amendment, to at least defer the passing of this legislation for six months, at which time we can hopefully collect more information, they will have an opportunity to talk to their constituents and if the objective is to retain and attract health care professionals, we come up with a strategy that is better. That is the only explanation, and I think that can be done in six months and I would urge all members of the House to vote positively for this amendment and we can get it out of the House, because, clearly, it is stinking up this Chamber as far as I am concerned. It should not be here and it is a sign of the disrespect that this government has shown Nova Scotians over the past two and one-half years. Thank you.



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings North.



MR. GEORGE ARCHIBALD: Mr. Speaker, I do have to say that I support the amendment that indicates that this bill be deferred for a period of six months. One of the things that it would allow us to do in six months is to find out who wants this bill. Who has requested the time of this Chamber, this Nova Scotia Legislature, the oldest one in North America, the oldest one outside of Great Britain? Who said they wanted the time of the Chamber, that this is the priority of government, this is the priority of Nova Scotia? When it comes to health care, the biggest issue we have got right now is making sure that we bring in this bill? Who said that? Why is it here? Maybe, in six months, we could find that out. The second thing is the why, the who wants it, and next is why is it here?



The minister hinted that, if we didn't do it, we would have a shortage of doctors, the likes of which you have never seen. If that is so, why did I read a quote this morning - and I won't read it again but I will paraphrase - why is it then that the minister said, I don't think anybody wants it anyway? Then he said, no, I have got to bring this in because I have a secret agreement with the Medical Society, worked out, no doubt, by that well-known Nova Scotian on his payroll, Danny Reid at $107,000 a year. We don't know anything about this secret arrangement that the minister worked out. Who wants it? Is it just a couple of his close friends that he is trying to help out? We wonder.



I was thinking that this was a harmless bill when it was introduced. Why wouldn't you want to incorporate a doctor? Then you have to wonder, because the facts speak for themselves, they are not forthcoming. Remember last week, when the government turned over a new leaf and every single member of this Chamber on the government bench stood up and spoke, explained the legislation. Today, where are they now? They are silent. When we are begging for answers, the government says nothing.



AN HON. MEMBER: They do not want to hold the House up.



MR. ARCHIBALD: They do not want to hold the House up. Well, it is all right to talk in committee when you are limited to 20 hours. That is the leaf they turned over. We are going to chew up the committee time, but House time, forget it. This is a government of double standard.



MR. SPEAKER: Is this an argument why we should hoist the bill for six months?



MR. ARCHIBALD: Oh, yes. I am getting to that right now.



MR. SPEAKER: Please make it.



MR. ARCHIBALD: Well, you see, the other day in the newspaper I read that the Cabinet is made up, and this is right on the six months, of three intelligent people, two doctors and a small business person.



AN HON. MEMBER: Who said that?



MR. ARCHIBALD: The Premier said that. I don't know what the rest of the Cabinet feel like. Then he said he has too many in Cabinet so he is going to have fewer, but he is making an addition. Mr. [Acting Deputy] Speaker, this might be of interest to you or one of the other lawyers because there are only two of you, so you have a 50 per cent chance . . .



MR. SPEAKER: I am still waiting as to why this has any relevance to the amendment before the House.



MR. ARCHIBALD: Because in six months' time, we might have a Minister of Health who will stand in his place and tell us why we are doing this bill and provide the secret document he has with the Medical Society that says that you have to do this or else we are all leaving. I mean, I don't find that quite right. We want to know who wants it, we want to know why this bill is in here. (Interruption) Well, we will come to that in a minute. We want to know how much it is going to cost.





Since the first day of this election in 1993 when the government was elected, all during the campaign they were going to give everybody a job, they were going to give everybody a school and if you wanted anything else, let me know. Suddenly, this government that was free-spending when in Opposition is telling us that we have no money for anything. There are schools without paper. I got a letter from a principal who said, I have no paper for my students in school and the year is only halfway through; what am I going to do? What I told him he should do is go to the school board because the Department of Fisheries sent them a stack of book covers that is five feet high and they are not sure what the dickens to do with them. So on the one hand the government has not got any money and on the other hand is sending them book covers.



The thing is, the government keeps saying that we have no money, we cannot fund this program, we cannot fund that program. Maybe in six months' time they can tell us how much this is going to cost. On the one hand, the Minister of Health said that there is probably nobody really interested, not too many doctors are interested in this anyway, but on the other hand he says that if we do not do it, they are all leaving Nova Scotia. Maybe in six months' time he can decide, what hand does he want to carry and what hand does he want to speak from?



In six months' time we should have some idea what is happening at the QE II Health Sciences Centre. How many of the 2,800 workers are going to be laid off? Six months will tell us. That would give the laid-off workers in health care, the people who are putting in their full shift now and then some, a better feeling. They will say, well, you know, I am working my fingers and legs to the bone and I am doing everything I can. I am suffering burn-out, breakdown and everything else, but you know, the government is so good because the physicians are going to get a tax break. Then to make them feel really good, the 2,500 that the minister is going to lay off, they would probably all come down some day, march around Province House and sing, thank you, Minister of Health, for bringing in the bill.



Where is the care and concern and the obligation that this minister has to tell Nova Scotians why this is the most important bill that is occupying his time at the moment? In debate, with limited time, government members have ample opportunity to speak. But now, you don't hear a thing from them. You don't hear from the Minister of Health. Why won't these members do, as their Government House Leader said last week they were going to do? We are tired of getting kicked around.



[3:30 p.m.]



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member discussed that earlier on in his remarks and I think it was irrelevant then and is irrelevant now.



MR. ARCHIBALD: Oh, did I? Thank you. Well I think that it is time for the new Cabinet of this province to have an opportunity because we are going to have one within six months.



MR. SPEAKER: You discussed that as well.



MR. ARCHIBALD: The Premier said that. Maybe we will get people in the new Cabinet who will be able to explain this piece of legislation, so it is not just understood by Nova Scotians but so it is wanted by Nova Scotians. At the present time, we don't know who, why and we have no idea how much it is going to cost because the minister says there are not many people who are going to take advantage of it. In six months' time, we will know how large the Minister of Finance's budget surplus really is going to be. Now we are hearing $50 million and $51 million and the Premier is all grinning and smiling and he thinks, look, success, we have completed 90 per cent of our mandate, we've only got 10 per cent to go.



Everybody is pretty excited in the government benches, but I think six months would truly, Mr. Speaker, give them an opportunity to share with you and me, because I bet they haven't told you how much it is going to cost. They haven't told me. Any of you fellows? No, none of these guys; nobody sitting near me knows how much it is going to cost or how much we are going to save or how many doctors are going to leave if they don't get it.



Really, the minister last week said the doctors aren't leaving anyway, when I asked him. He said, we have 47 new doctors and 42 retired or left, so he said we have a net gain of five doctors. Then he said, give me the list of the ones that left. He said, you can't give me a list. Nobody left, they are all coming to town. Well if all of the physicians are coming to town and there is no problem, then why did he do this or else they would leave and, then, why did he go out and hire a doctor to go recruit other doctors? Then he hired a doctor to talk to other doctors. What is going on, Mr. Speaker, is really the question that should be answered.



Incorporating an individual is kind of an American tradition. They have been at it for a long time. I guess it is a tradition that the minister, perhaps in his travels around North America, picked up and fell in love with, when he was away, so he is going to bring it home. But are we going to allow nurses and other health care workers to incorporate themselves as individuals? I mean, this is a little different than incorporating a company to buy a fishing boat or to buy a farm; this is incorporating an individual. So this is just another example of what the minister is trying to do with our health care system, and that is the Americanization of the Nova Scotia health care system.



Now, in six months, we could have a study done and we could find out whether the American system is in fact better than what we had in Nova Scotia before this minister arrived to revolutionize the industry. Apparently the minister is the advisor to the President of the United States on sensitive health care matters. Perhaps we could even ask the President if he has a few free minutes in the next six months to come up and appear . . .



MR. SPEAKER: Perhaps the honourable member could speak to the amendment.



MR. ARCHIBALD: Yes, I am. I mean, if we had six months, perhaps we could get some people could come up and explain the American system to us, so that we will know where we are headed, you see. (Interruption) Where is this agreement that the minister speaks of, or spoke of, that he had with the Medical Society that indicated we absolutely had to get on with this?



Well, Mr. Speaker, I want to thank you for your indulgence. I just really and truly am disappointed in the members of this government. I am disappointed in the Cabinet. Last week, the Government House Leader said you were no longer going to sit by and say nothing in debate. Every single debate, members of the government were going to stand up and defend the actions of the Cabinet Ministers, every one of them, every debate. Have we heard from one single minister? It is just more idle, foolish promises from a government, that are based on nothing but the open air. This government will not . . .



MADAM SPEAKER: Honourable member, I would like you to speak to the hoist amendment, if you would, please.



MR. ARCHIBALD: I am all through. I am speaking on the hoist.



MADAM SPEAKER: It doesn't sound like you are, honourable member.



MR. ARCHIBALD: I appreciate you being here and I will take my place.



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



MR. BROOKE TAYLOR: Madam Speaker, I am pleased to stand in support of this amendment. I think it is a very clear amendment. It essentially states "That the words after `that' be deleted and the following be substituted therefor: `Bill No. 58 be not now read a second time but that it be read a second time this day six months hence.'".



I am sure, Madam Speaker, that you are aware of what the amendment is, but just for greater certainty, we want to make sure all members understand that the amendment provides us and it provides the government with advantages and disadvantages. The previous Speaker to the previous Speaker told us that when we are talking about the hoist, we should focus as much as we can on advantages and disadvantages. What I am going to try to point out, Madam Speaker, through you, of course, to all members of this House, are the advantages of letting this amendment pass. I hope to point out why this government should support the amendment.



Now, we know the amendment is before us because of the legislation. That goes without saying, Madam Speaker. By everyone's admission, this amendment is because of the legislation that will permit physicians in this province with a mechanism to incorporate. The government tells us that there are not going to be too many doctors in the province that would take advantage of this legislation so what we are saying is that the six months' hoist will permit the Minister of Health and his department to do a study, to do some type of review and investigate as to just how many doctors will take advantage of this legislation. That is one of the advantages to the government. It is a legitimate reason, I believe, for the government to support the amendment.



Another provision that the amendment will provide, so to speak, Madam Speaker, is that it will enable the government and, more specifically, the Health Minister to go back to his office and dig through those files and look. Maybe he could even ask for some help from one of his many communications officers. Perhaps he could charge some of his communications officers to give him a hand. We know that he has quite a number of communications officers. (Interruption) Well, he says two. I have heard three. Some people say five or six. We know that the minister has a lot of help. It is important that we establish the fact that we do not want the minister to waste a lot of his very valuable time looking for this agreement that he has between the Medical Society and the Province of Nova Scotia.



HON. RONALD STEWART: It's public knowledge.



MR. TAYLOR: Madam Speaker, he says that it is public knowledge. I said earlier, in second reading, that I believed the Minister of Health when he said that he had an agreement. I never once suggested that that Minister of Health did not have an agreement. (Interruptions) No, I did not suggest it twice either. What I am asking the very honourable Minister of Health is this, if the six months' hoist is allowed to live, so to speak, and we know that the bill will fall off the order paper - that is what, I think, all Nova Scotians want but we will get to that in a little time - the Minister of Health can go and produce that agreement; if he really has an accord with the Medical Society, if he does have that agreement, wouldn't it seem reasonable for the minister to provide members of the Opposition with that agreement? In fact I will put that question to the minister, perhaps the minister would answer and perhaps he would entertain a question at this point, Madam Speaker; through you, of course, I have to have your approbation. Well, sometimes it is the other way around but the six months' hoist will provide the Premier with his opportunity, as has been suggested before, to shuffle his Cabinet.



You know what the Premier has said . . .



MADAM SPEAKER: Honourable member, shuffling a Cabinet is totally irrelevant to this hoist amendment. Now I will permit you to continue to speak, of course, as is your right, but stick to the amendment please.



MR. TAYLOR: Well, thank you, Madam Speaker. I don't mean to draw a bow, long, short or otherwise, but the fact is that in six months the Premier of this Province not only could shuffle his Cabinet but he might . . .



MADAM SPEAKER: Now, honourable member, let's not play mind games here, okay? You have been cautioned. Let's just stick to the amendment.



MR. TAYLOR: I would never suggest he would even call an election on this issue, no.



There has been no cost-benefit analysis study done by, I say - well, some people say silence is consent, others would argue but the Minister of Health has not told us. (Interruption) You know the proxy MLA from Halifax Fairview is a very intelligent individual and he gave me more fodder to talk about the amendment but I have so much here, Madam Speaker, that I want to thank him at this time but it is important that if a study hasn't been undertaken as to the benefits of this legislation, then the six months' hoist will provide the minister and his staff with that valuable vehicle to do so.



Wouldn't the Minister of Health enjoy an opportunity to sanction some sort of study? Perhaps the Minister of Health would like to call it a survey; the Minister of Health could conduct a survey of his physicians and of his doctors and say, look, we are coming forth with legislation and the Minister of Health, for the benefit of the doctors in this province, within the next six months could outlay the figures and point out that the corporate tax rate is 18 per cent and the individual rate is 29 per cent, within the six months timeframe the minister could do all these sorts of things; he could sanction a study, he could commission a survey and then he could come back to the House and say, Opposition, I have some information for you. He could provide us with information to show us how the provincial Treasury in this province will be affected.



We are going to say that we believe the ramifications could be quite significant. In fact, I personally believe that a lot of doctors in this province will take advantage of the incorporation legislation.



Now if the six months' hoist is put in place, it is not going to mean that this government is going to suffer adversely. In fact I believe if the government shows goodwill and good spirit and supports this amendment, that the general population and the taxpayers and the constituents of many and probably most of our 52 ridings, including Hants East, Yarmouth, Sackville-Beaverbank, Sackville-Cobequid, Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley, Kings West and perhaps Bedford-Fall River, yes, Madam Speaker, all the constituencies across the province would enjoy and appreciate and support the government.



AN HON. MEMBER: You are just trying to help.



MR. TAYLOR: Of course I am just trying to help. I am trying to bring the government to a determination that this is owed to the public, the public as a constituent deserves to have this amendment supported.



Madam Speaker, how much will this legislation cost the Consolidated Fund, if we can call it that, or the provincial Treasury? How much will it cost the province? Now, because the minister has an agreement and an accord, and I suggest he has (Interruption) I am coming around it at a different angle, I am coming in from a different point. There are many roads that lead to the provincial Treasury but the point is that some people have suggested that it is going to cost the provincial Treasury $950,000.



Now I am not going to play the numbers game and go from $950,000 to $2 million and anywhere in between. The fact of the matter is that this legislation permits one particular group, a group that does know where their paycheque is coming from, from payday to payday, nobody denies that. This isn't a matter of life and death and we need these studies to be conducted. There has to be a cost-benefit analysis study done. The Minister of Health has to produce that agreement he has with the Medical Society.



[3:45 p.m.]



A previous Speaker suggested that we talk about advantages and disadvantages of hoisting the bill for six months. I knew very well when that Speaker was in the Chair that he was telling us in no uncertain terms and I know that you are saying the same thing that look, we are putting limitations on the Opposition, you can't digress all over the place with this subject and I agree. But I appeal to you, Madam Speaker, because I know you understand from your previous experience as a municipal politician that all politics are local. Many of our grassroots people out there, many in Bedford, many across this province in all of our constituencies, would see the support of this amendment as a positive move on behalf of the government.



I am nearing conclusion and completion, of course, but I have to, in a roundabout way, cast an aspersion. I wanted to . . .



MADAM SPEAKER: You can take that back, you don't need to cast any aspersions.



MR. TAYLOR: Madam Speaker, I won't do that but different members of the Opposition have suggested that the agreement that was reached with the Medical Society, may be kind of a hush-hush or a cloak-and-dagger type agreement. Now if the Minister of Health can't find that agreement but a member of his staff does and this is irrelevant, whoever finds it and I agree with that but being on topic, if he produces that agreement then that will dismiss those arguments that the agreement is hush-hush and cloak-and-dagger. So if the agreement truly isn't concealed and we are talking about advantages and disadvantages of supporting the hoist, if the agreement is concealed as far away as some people believe it is, six months will allow and permit the Minister of Health, afford him with the time to find that important agreement.



We believe that in the six month period, people will come forward and talk to their MLAs and say, this profession knows from day to day where their pay is coming from, their pay is guaranteed. So there will be disadvantages, there will be hindrances, there will be adverse and some people may say even unfavourable type things that may go toward to the government. But let's not forget, the government will see more advantages and will perhaps even be given an edge if they support this amendment. Who would like to have anybody say that the government has an agreement with the Medical Society and they refuse to provide it.



The six months' hoist will also allow the Savage Government a chance to look into whether or not the medical standards that have been set across this province will be adversely affected. I don't think any of us would like to see the medical standards in this province go backwards. I think it is incumbent upon the Minister of Health to look at what this legislation may or may not do. If the Minister of Health, the Minister of Labour and the Minister of the Environment and all members of government support the legislation, they will have absolute time to do do some studies, absolute time to do a lot of studies. Now Nova Scotians need an opportunity, too, to find out what this legislation is all about, Madam Speaker. A six months' hoist will permit Nova Scotians an opportunity that they very much deserve.



So in summation, Madam Speaker, we want a study showing us how much this legislation is going to cost, we want the Minister of Health to commission or sanction a survey of the physicians, to give us an understanding where the money is going to come from. That is a very legitimate question. We also understand that by providing a six months' hoist and by supporting a six months' hoist, this legislation will, in theory, be defeated, and we know that. Therefore, with all the arguments that the Opposition has put forward and with all the well-founded and bona fide reasons that we have made, we ask the government to support the amendment. Thank you.



MADAM SPEAKER: The honourable member for Cape Breton West.



MR. ALFRED MACLEOD: Madam Speaker, it gives me a privilege to rise today to speak on Bill No. 58 and, more importantly, the amendment, "That the words after `that' be deleted and the following be substituted therefor: `Bill No. 58 be not now read a second time but that it be read a second time this day six months hence.'".



You know, Madam Speaker, I really had not intended on getting up to speak on this bill but I must tell you that this is one of the few bills that have come before this House that I have gotten a large number of phone calls about, not only has this one but the one related to the lawyers. A lot of people are concerned about the effect that they perceive it is having. Whether that is real or not, the perception of the people that I have been talking to is that this bill is giving an undue advantage to some people. I am not sure if that is correct but it is my charge and my duty to bring this forward and make sure it is identified.



MADAM SPEAKER: Order, please. It is difficult to hear the honourable member on his feet, so if you wouldn't mind coming to order.



MR. MACLEOD: Thank you, Madam Speaker. I didn't want to raise my voice because that is not the spirit that we are here for. We are here for some useful and important discussion that I am sure all the members opposite are taking in and listening to and are going to have a chance to think about over the weekend and come back and make a rational decision on this bill.



You know, when we get back to talking about the amendment and about putting this bill off six months' hence, I think it is important that people realize what this is all about. The perception, unfortunately, of a lot of people in the constituency that I represent is that this is giving an unfair advantage to a certain profession. That is what people are saying to me over the phone. As I said earlier, whether that is real or perceived, that is the perception.



What I would like to say is that if we allow this hoist, if we allow this amendment to go forward, it will give everybody six months more time to explain their position, more time for people to understand what this bill is all about. There are many issues that have come before the House and we seem to have had lots of opportunity to speak on them but, at the end of the day, we haven't done all the things that are right for the people that we represent. By allowing this hoist, by allowing this amendment, Madam Speaker, by putting this bill off for another six months, all members of this House, regardless of their political stripe, have a chance to go out and consult with their constituents and the people they are here to represent and ask them for their opinion. That, at the end of the day, is what the job is all about, making sure we are providing the best legislation for the people that we are sent here to represent.



The people I represent and that most of the other people here represent want to know the reasoning behind this bill. What good is this going to do for the ordinary person? What good is this bill going to do for those people who are living in different parts of the province? I don't know the answers yet, I haven't heard the answers coming from the government side of the House. Therefore, if we allow the six months' hoist amendment, we would have a chance for that information to come forward. It would be information that people could have a chance to listen to, digest and certainly would give them a chance to find out if, indeed, this is a plus or a minus.



Six months may see all kinds of changes. We might have a different Cabinet Minister, we may have a different Minister of Health who has a different desire with this bill. We don't know what six months can bring. Six months ago, I certainly never thought that I would be standing here speaking to you, Madam Speaker, so there are all kinds of other things that might happen. We may have a new member for Halifax Fairview who might end up being the Minister of Health, we don't know. It could very well be the proxy member for Halifax Fairview. We don't know. There could be all kinds of things happen. Six months is not a long time, but six months is a chance for people to really hear what is going on, and that is what we want.



What is the true cost of this bill to the taxpayers of Nova Scotia? We don't know. The people of the Province of Nova Scotia don't know. There are many people in this province who are living on far less than the tax break that this bill will give to some people. There are many people who are living on a lot less money than that, Madam Speaker, and those are the people who don't understand why such a bill would be before this House at this time. There are many questions. There are more calls, more people worried about this, than any other bill that I have had to deal with since my short career in this House, and it is for those reasons that I think it would be very incumbent upon all of us, each and every person who is here in this House today, to think about why we are here. What was the reason we came? Why did the taxpayers, the constituents, the people of the Province of Nova Scotia send us here?



We have been told time and time again that there is no money in the government coffers and yet we are turning around and we are allowing a tax break that, I might add, may be very justified. It may be very justified, but I have to question the timing, Madam Speaker. The timing does not seem to go along with everything that we are hearing from the government benches when we are talking about dollars and cents, when we are talking about what the direction of this province is, and the cuts that have been made in many other parts of the health care system, the community college system, the education system. All these things have been done even though there is no money, and yet we are expected to stand here and vote in favour of a tax concession. I don't believe that is why we are here and I don't believe that is what the constituents that I represent would want me to do.



It is incumbent upon us, Madam Speaker, to make the right decisions and we could show and honour the commitment we made here, after the House came back after the New Year, about working together in a more fashionable, easygoing manner and make sure that we take this bill and honour the six months' hoist, so that indeed we can look at it and look at it more carefully, and would be then able to say that we did what was right for the people of the Province of Nova Scotia. With those last few words, I will take my place. Thank you.



MADAM SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings West.



MR. GEORGE MOODY: I want to say a few words, a lot of words, or a number of words, more than the time allowed today, to support this very important amendment of hoisting this bill for six months. I think there isn't one of us in here, including the Minister of Health, who could give us the kind of detail that we would require to know exactly the impact this would have. That is not good, Madam Speaker, when members in here are voting on a piece of legislation and they don't have all the documentation and all the information in front of them.



I am sure when the minister introduced the bill, if he had had that kind of documentation, he would have shared it with us. I know he talked about the agreement that I have a copy of, that came over today, coincidentally from the department to the library . . .



MADAM SPEAKER: Honourable member, would you adjourn the debate, please?



MR. MOODY: Madam Speaker, I would be pleased to adjourn the debate on Bill No. 58.



MADAM SPEAKER: The debate is adjourned.



The honourable Deputy Government House Leader.



MR. ALLISTER SURETTE: Madam Speaker, the hours on Monday will be from 2:00 p.m. until 10:00 p.m. Following the daily routine, we will begin with Bill No. 58 again, in second reading and, if we manage to finish debating Bill No. 58, we will move on to Bill No. 66 in second reading, and Bill No. 39 in third reading.



I move that we adjourn until 2:00 p.m. on Monday.



MADAM SPEAKER: Thank you. The motion is that we adjourn. It is in order.



We stand adjourned until Monday.



[The House rose at 4:00 p.m.]





NOTICES OF MOTION UNDER RULE 32(3)



HOUSE ORDER NO. 72



By: Mr. George Archibald (Kings North)



I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move that an order of this House do issue for a return showing, with respect to the Nova Scotia Department of Agriculture and Marketing:



(1) A list of all employees hired on a contractual basis between June 1, 1993 and January 5, 1995 including the title of their position, terms and conditions of the contracts including their salary and benefits; and



(2) A detailed list including the total design and production costs of all publications, brochures, reports including annual reports, newsletters, manuals, books and directories that either went to production or were released in the calendar year 1995.



HOUSE ORDER NO. 73



By: Mr. George Archibald (Kings North)



I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move that an order of this House do issue for a return showing, with respect to the Nova Scotia Department of Municipal Affairs:



(1) A list of all employees hired on a contractual basis between June 1, 1993 and January 5, 1995 including the title of their position, terms and conditions of the contracts including their salary and benefits; and



(2) A detailed list including the total design and production costs of all publications, brochures, reports including annual reports, newsletters, manuals, books and directories that either went to production or were released in the calendar year 1995.



HOUSE ORDER NO. 74



By: Mr. George Archibald (Kings North)



I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move that an order of this House do issue for a return showing, with respect to the Nova Scotia Department of Supply and Services:



(1) A list of all employees hired on a contractual basis between June 1, 1993 and January 5, 1995 including the title of their position, terms and conditions of the contracts including their salary and benefits; and



(2) A detailed list including the total design and production costs of all publications, brochures, reports including annual reports, newsletters, manuals, books and directories that either went to production or were released in the calendar year 1995.





HOUSE ORDER NO. 75



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



I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move that an order of this House do issue for a return showing, with respect to the Nova Scotia Sport and Recreation Commission:



(1) A list of all employees hired on a contractual basis between June 1, 1993 and January 5, 1995 including the title of their position, terms and conditions of the contracts including their salary and benefits; and



(2) A detailed list including the total design and production costs of all publications, brochures, reports including annual reports, newsletters, manuals, books and directories that either went to production or were released in the calendar year 1995.



HOUSE ORDER NO. 76



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



I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move that an order of this House do issue for a return showing, with respect to the Department of Natural Resources:



(1) A list of all employees hired on a contractual basis between June 1, 1993 and January 5, 1995 including the title of their position, terms and conditions of the contracts including their salary and benefits; and



(2) A detailed list including the total design and production costs of all publications, brochures, reports including annual reports, newsletters, manuals, books and directories that either went to production or were released in the calendar year 1995.



HOUSE ORDER NO. 77



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



I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move that an order of this House do issue for a return showing, with respect to the Department of Transportation and Communications:



(1) A list of all employees hired on a contractual basis between June 1, 1993 and January 5, 1995 including the title of their position, terms and conditions of the contracts including their salary and benefits; and



(2) A detailed list including the total design and production costs of all publications, brochures, reports including annual reports, newsletters, manuals, books and directories that either went to production or were released in the calendar year 1995.



HOUSE ORDER NO. 78



By: Mr. Donald McInnes (Pictou West)



I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move that an order of this House do issue for a return showing, with respect to the Nova Scotia Emergency Measures Organization:



(1) A list of all employees hired on a contractual basis between June 1, 1993 and January 5, 1995 including the title of their position, terms and conditions of the contracts including their salary and benefits; and



(2) A detailed list including the total design and production costs of all publications, brochures, reports including annual reports, newsletters, manuals, books and directories that either went to production or were released in the calendar year 1995.



HOUSE ORDER NO. 79



By: Mr. Donald McInnes (Pictou West)



I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move that an order of this House do issue for a return showing, with respect to the Nova Scotia Economic Renewal Agency:



(1) A list of all employees hired on a contractual basis between June 1, 1993 and January 5, 1995 including the title of their position, terms and conditions of the contracts including their salary and benefits; and



(2) A detailed list including the total design and production costs of all publications, brochures, reports including annual reports, newsletters, manuals, books and directories that either went to production or were released in the calendar year 1995.



HOUSE ORDER NO. 80



By: Mr. Donald McInnes (Pictou West)



I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move that an order of this House do issue for a return showing, with respect to the Department of Housing and Consumer Affairs:



(1) A list of all publications, books, directories, et cetera, either in production or released in calendar year 1995, including the total design and production costs of each.



HOUSE ORDER NO. 81



By: Mr. Terence Donahoe (Halifax Citadel)



I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move that an order of this House do issue for a return showing, with respect to the Department of Justice:



(1) A list of all publications, books, directories, et cetera, either in production or released in calendar year 1995, including the total design and production costs of each.



HOUSE ORDER NO. 82



By: Mr. Terence Donahoe (Halifax Citadel)



I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move that an order of this House do issue for a return showing, with respect to the Department of Education:



(1) A list of all publications, books, directories, et cetera, either in production or released in calendar year 1995, including the total design and production costs of each.



HOUSE ORDER NO. 83



By: Mr. Terence Donahoe (Halifax Citadel)



I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move that an order of this House do issue for a return showing, with respect to the Department of Justice:



(1) A list of all employment contracts entered into by the department between June 1, 1993 and January 1, 1996;



(2) The title of the position; and



(3) The terms and conditions of the employment contract including the salary and benefits.



HOUSE ORDER NO. 84



By: Mr. Donald McInnes (Pictou West)



I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move that an order of this House do issue for a return showing, with respect to the Department of Housing and Consumer Affairs:



(1) A list of all employment contracts entered into by the department between June 1, 1993 and January 1, 1996;



(2) The title of the position; and



(3) The terms and conditions of the employment contract including the salary and benefits.



HOUSE ORDER NO. 85



By: Mr. John Leefe (Queens)



I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move that an order of this House do issue for a return showing, with respect to the Department of the Environment:



(1) A list of all employment contracts entered into by the department between June 15, 1993 and January 1, 1996, including the title of the position, terms and conditions of the contract, salary and benefits.



HOUSE ORDER NO. 86



By: Mr. John Leefe (Queens)



I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move that an order of this House do issue for a return showing, with respect to the Department of the Environment:



(1) A list of all publications, including brochures, reports, manuals, books, directories, et cetera, either in production or released in calendar year 1995, including the design and production cost of each.



HOUSE ORDER NO. 87



By: Mr. John Leefe (Queens)



I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move that an order of this House do issue for a return showing, with respect to the Department of Fisheries:



(1) A list of all employment contracts entered into by the department between June 15, 1993 and January 1, 1996, including the title of the position, terms and conditions of the contract, salary and benefits.



HOUSE ORDER NO. 88



By: Mr. John Leefe (Queens)



I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move that an order of this House do issue for a return showing, with respect to the Department of Fisheries:



(1) A list of all publications, including brochures, reports, manuals, books, directories, et cetera, either in production or released in calendar year 1995, including the design and production cost of each.



HOUSE ORDER NO. 89



By: Mr. Ronald Russell (Hants West)



I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move that an order of this House do issue for a return showing, with respect to the Department of Labour:



(1) A list of all publications, including brochures, reports, manuals, books, directories, et cetera, either in production or released in calendar year 1995, including the design and production cost of each.



HOUSE ORDER NO. 90



By: Mr. Ronald Russell (Hants West)



I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move that an order of this House do issue for a return showing, with respect to the Department of Labour:



(1) A list of all employment contracts entered into by the department between June 15, 1993 and January 1, 1996, including the title of the position, terms and conditions of the contract, salary and benefits.



HOUSE ORDER NO. 91



By: Mr. George Archibald (Kings North)



I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move that an order of this House do issue for a return showing, with respect to the Department of Human Resources:



(1) A list of all publications, including brochures, reports, manuals, books, directories, et cetera, either in production or released in calendar year 1995, including the design and production cost of each.



HOUSE ORDER NO. 92



By: Mr. George Archibald (Kings North)



I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move that an order of this House do issue for a return showing, with respect to the Department of Human Resources:



(1) A list of all employment contracts entered into by the department between June 1, 1993 and January 1, 1996, including the title of the position, terms and conditions of the contract, salary and benefits.



HOUSE ORDER NO. 93



By: Mr. Ronald Russell (Hants West)



I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move that an order of this House do issue for a return showing, with respect to the Department of Finance:



(1) A list of all publications, including brochures, reports, manuals, books, directories, et cetera, either in production or released in calendar year 1995, including the design and production cost of each.



HOUSE ORDER NO. 94



By: Mr. Ronald Russell (Hants West)



I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move that an order of this House do issue for a return showing, with respect to the Department of Finance:



(1) A list of all employment contracts entered into by the department from June 1, 1993 to January 1, 1996 including the title, terms and conditions, salary and benefits for each position.



HOUSE ORDER NO. 95



By: Mr. George Moody (Kings West)



I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move that an order of this House do issue for a return showing, with respect to the Department of Health:



(1) A list of all employment contracts entered into by the department between June 1, 1993 and January 1, 1996, the title of the position and terms and conditions of the employment contract, including the salary and benefits.





HOUSE ORDER NO. 96



By: Mr. George Moody (Kings West)



I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move that an order of this House do issue for a return showing, with respect to the Department of Health:



(1) A list of all publications, including brochures, reports, manuals, books, directories, et cetera, either in production or released in calendar year 1995, including the design and production cost of each.



HOUSE ORDER NO. 97



By: Mr. Ronald Russell (Hants West)



I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move that an order of this House do issue for a return showing, with respect to the Priorities and Planning Secretariat:



(1) A list of all employment contracts entered into from June 1, 1993 to January 1, 1996 including the title, terms and conditions, salary and benefits of each position.



HOUSE ORDER NO. 98



By: Mr. Ronald Russell (Hants West)



I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move that an order of this House do issue for a return showing, with respect to the Priorities and Planning Secretariat:



(1) A list of all publications, including brochures, reports, manuals, books, directories, et cetera, either in production or released in calendar year 1995, including the design and production cost of each.



HOUSE ORDER NO. 99



By: Dr. John Hamm (Pictou Centre)



I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move that an order of this House do issue for a return showing, with respect to the Nova Scotia Economic Renewal Agency:



(1) A list of all employment contracts in the department since June 11, 1993; title of the position; terms and conditions of the contract, including salary and benefits; the names of all individuals hired in those positions.



HOUSE ORDER NO. 100



By: Dr. John Hamm (Pictou Centre)



I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move that an order of this House do issue for a return showing, with respect to the Nova Scotia Economic Renewal Agency:



(1) A list of all publications, including brochures, reports, manuals, books, directories either in production or released in calendar year 1995, including the total production and design cost for each.



HOUSE ORDER NO. 101



By: Mr. Alfred MacLeod (Cape Breton West)



I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move that an order of this House do issue for a return showing, with respect to the Department of Community Services:



(1) A list of all publications, including brochures, reports, manuals, books, directories either in production or released in calendar year 1995, including the total production and design cost for each.



HOUSE ORDER NO. 102



By: Mr. Alfred MacLeod (Cape Breton West)



I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move that an order of this House do issue for a return showing, with respect to the Department of Community Services:



(1) A list of all employment contracts in the department since June 11, 1993; title of the position; terms and conditions of the contract, including salary and benefits; the names of all individuals hired in those positions.



HOUSE ORDER NO. 103



By: Dr. John Hamm (Pictou Centre)



I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move that an order of this House do issue for a return showing, with respect to the Office of the Premier:



(1) A list of all employment contracts in the Premier's Office since June 11, 1993; title of the position; terms and conditions of the contract, including salary and benefits; the names of all individuals hired in those positions.