Assemblée Législative de la Nouvelle-Écosse

Les travaux de la Chambre ont repris le
21 septembre 2017

Hansard -- Fri., Apr. 26, 1996

Fourth Session

FRIDAY, APRIL 26, 1996

TABLE OF CONTENTS PAGE
GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 355, Lbr. - National Day of Mourning for Canadian Workers
(Apr. 28th): Moment of Silence - Observe, The Premier 1107
Vote - Affirmative 1108
NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 356, Lbr. - Workplace Accidents: Victims - Respect Pay,
Mr. R. Chisholm 1108
Vote - Affirmative 1109
Res. 357, Commun. Serv. - Debra Stevens: Compensation Commitment -
Premier Fulfil, Dr. J. Hamm 1109
Res. 358, Health - C.B. Reg. Hosp.: Suicides - Families Meet,
Mr. G. Moody 1109
Res. 359, Transport. & Pub. Wks. - Hwy. Maintenance Increase:
Style - Old, Mr. J. Holm 1110
Res. 360, Fin. - PST & GST Harmonization: Gasoline Taxes Higher -
Recognize, Dr. J. Hamm 1110
Res. 361, Fin. - PST & GST Harmonization: Jobs (C.B.) Increase -
Detail, Mr. A. MacLeod 1111
Res. 362, Gov't. (N.S.) - C.B. Supporters: Abandonment - Explain,
Mr. B. Taylor 1111
Res. 363, Transport. & Pub. Wks. - Hwy. Maintenance Increase:
Priorities - Condemn, Mr. J. Holm 1112
Res. 364, Fin. - Budget (1996-97): Tax Breaks (01/07/97) - Explain,
Mr. R. Russell 1112
Res. 365, Gov't. (N.S.) - Promises Broken: Leader - Admit,
Mr. G. Archibald 1113
Res. 366, Educ. - School Bd. (SW): Politicization - Censure,
Mr. J. Leefe 1113
Res. 367, Fin.: Budget (1996-97) - Wallets Hold (1997),
Mr. B. Taylor 1114
Res. 368, Fin. - Budget (1996-97): Manufacturing Impact -
Analysis Provide, Mr. D. McInnes 1114
Res. 369, Fin. - Budget (1996-97): Power Bills - Increase Explain,
Mr. G. Moody 1115
Res. 370, ERA - IMP Plant (C.B.): Workers - Premier Meet,
Mr. A. MacLeod 1115
Res. 371, Fin. - Budget (1996-97): Fiscal Year (1996-97) - Deliver,
Mr. R. Russell 1115
Res. 372, Fin. - PST & GST Harmonization: BST - Title Fitting,
Mr. G. Archibald 1116
GOVERNMENT BUSINESS:
GOVERNMENT MOTIONS:
Res. 218, Estimates - Comm. of the Whole House on Supply,
Hon. B. Boudreau 1117
Mr. R. Russell 1117
Mr. R. Chisholm 1126
Referred to CWH on Supply 1137
ADJOURNMENT, House rose to meet again on Mon., Apr. 29th at 4:00 p.m. 1137
NOTICES OF MOTION UNDER RULE 32(3):
H.O. 7, ERA - Private Sector: Trips (Ex-Prov.) [01/07/93-15/04/96] -
Funded, Mr. G. Archibald 1138
H.O. 8, ERA: Trips (Ex-Prov.) [01/07/93-15/04/96] - Funded,
Mr. G. Archibald 1138
H.O. 9, ERA: Mgt. Audit - Costs, Dr. J. Hamm 1138
H.O. 10, Justice - Vehicles (01/04/94-31/03/96), Mr. T. Donahoe 1139
H.O. 11, Transport. & Pub. Wks.: Mgt. Audit - Recommendations,
Mr. B. Taylor 1139
H.O. 12, Transport. & Pub. Wks. - Travel (Ex-Prov.)
[10/04/95-to date], Mr. B. Taylor 1139
H.O. 13, Nat. Res. - Vehicles (01/04/94-31/03/96), Mr. B. Taylor 1140
[Page 1107]

HALIFAX, FRIDAY, APRIL 26, 1996

Fifty-sixth General Assembly

Fourth Session

11:00 A.M.

SPEAKER

Hon. Paul MacEwan

DEPUTY SPEAKER

Mrs. Francene Cosman

MADAM SPEAKER: Good morning, honourable members. We will proceed now 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

MADAM SPEAKER: The honourable Premier.

RESOLUTION NO. 355

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

Whereas on Sunday, April 28th, the flags of Province House will be lowered to recognize the National Day of Mourning for Persons Killed or Injured in the Workplace; and

Whereas workplace health and safety is an issue that concerns every Nova Scotian - employers, employees, families, industries and government; and

1107

[Page 1108]

Whereas this government is committed to improving Nova Scotia's workplace health and safety rules, forming partnerships for a culture of prevention and officially recognizing this day of remembrance;

Therefore be it resolved that on Sunday the members of the House take time to remember those workers who have been killed or injured in our workplaces and on Monday return to work with a renewed commitment to creating a safer, healthier Nova Scotia.

Madam Speaker, I request waiver of notice and with your permission and the permission of the House I would ask that we pause for a moment of silence to remember the workers who have been killed or injured in our province.

MADAM SPEAKER: Is there agreement on waiver?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

We will observe one minute of silence.

[One minute of silence was observed.]

INTRODUCTION OF BILLS

NOTICES OF MOTION

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

RESOLUTION NO. 356

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

Whereas April 28th is the national day of mourning for workers killed or injured on the job, when Nova Scotians remember the victims of work-site fatalities, uncounted deaths from industrial diseases, and the thousands who have been injured or disabled on the job; and

Whereas it should be a goal of all governments and society to ensure that no one should be expected to go to work to lose their health or their life; and

Whereas the day of mourning is a timely reminder of the terrible price that is paid when workplaces are unhealthy or dangerous;

Therefore be it resolved that this House pay its respects to those who have lost their lives and their health in the course of trying to support themselves and their families, and commit to action that will prevent workplace injury.

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

MADAM SPEAKER: Is it agreed?

[Page 1109]

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Guysborough-Port Hawkesbury, on an introduction.

MR. RAYMOND WHITE: Madam Speaker, through you and to the members of the House, I wish to introduce a special guest, Warden Hudson MacLeod for the Municipality of the District of Guysborough. I would ask the warden to rise and receive the usual warm welcome of the House. (Applause)

MADAM SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Opposition.

RESOLUTION NO. 357

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

Whereas from day one, legal bureaucratic and political manoeuvring have delayed settlement with Debra Stevens and her family; and

Whereas on Wednesday of this week, the Premier promised to, ". . . table a report on the way in which negotiations have or have not gone, . . .", but has failed to do so; and

Whereas this continued dragging out of the process continues to harm Debra Stevens and her sons who suffered abuse while in foster care sanctioned by the system;

Therefore be it resolved that the Premier fulfil his March 8th commitment to provide a speedy resolve of the solution.

MADAM SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Kings West.

RESOLUTION NO. 358

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

Whereas the families of suicide victims, who had been psychiatric patients at the Cape Breton Regional Hospital, want to see a report done on the psychiatric unit of the Cape Breton Regional Hospital; and

Whereas the hospital administration has steadfastly refused their request; and

Whereas another study is being done on the psychiatric unit of the Cape Breton Regional Hospital;

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Health meet with the protesting families and commit to them that complete results of all studies will be released to them.

[Page 1110]

MADAM SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Sackville-Cobequid.

RESOLUTION NO. 359

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

Whereas it was well-known by Nova Scotians that the Buchanan Tories, as they prepared to pave their way back to power, increased their taxpayer funded Special Maintenance and Contingency slush funds within the Department of Transportation; and

Whereas the Savage Liberals proclaimed to one and all that they were above all that; and

Whereas these same Grits have entrusted to the minister responsible for pork an increase of over 600 per cent in the miscellaneous account which went from $1.5 million to over $11 million, which is on top of the 61 per cent increase provided for highway resurfacing and over 200 per cent increase awarded for bridge maintenance;

Therefore be it resolved that Nova Scotians could be justifiably excused for wondering if John Buchanan has again resumed the Premier's chair as the Liberals, true to the Buchanan style of old which made Nova Scotia the laughing stock of the nation, are again siphoning off millions of taxpayers' dollars to use in their pork-barrel riddled political repave to power agenda.

MADAM SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable Leader of the Opposition.

RESOLUTION NO. 360

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

Whereas when a Nova Scotian buys $20 worth of gas today, they pay $1.40 of GST and when Nova Scotians will buy $20 worth of gas on April 1, 1997, they will pay $3.00 of blended sales tax; and

Whereas yesterday the Minister of Finance suggested the gas price fluctuations of the last couple of months will mean lower gas prices when the BST applies; and

Whereas many Nova Scotians are paying 10 cents a litre more for gas today than they paid a month ago;

Therefore be it resolved that the Liberal Government recognize that no matter what the basic price of gas may be at any given time, under the Liberal BST Regime, Nova Scotians will pay higher taxes on gasoline and it will cost more to fill the tank.

[Page 1111]

MADAM SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Cape Breton West.

RESOLUTION NO. 361

MR. ALFRED MACLEOD: Madam Speaker, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas despite the job creation promises of both the provincial and federal Liberal Governments, the unemployment rate in Cape Breton remains around 20 per cent; and

Whereas neither the federal nor the provincial government has done anything to ease the anxiety of those Cape Bretoners concerned about keeping, or finding, jobs; and

Whereas the new Bernie sales tax will increase the cost of necessary goods and services to all Nova Scotians, including those who can least afford it;

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Finance take the opportunity of his visit to Cape Breton to tell Cape Bretoners how many of the 3,000 jobs he says will be created by this new tax will be in Cape Breton to help Cape Bretoners pay for this new, higher tax on essential goods and services.

MADAM SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley.

RESOLUTION NO. 362

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

Whereas the Savage Government travels in caravan-style today to Cape Breton for their annual meeting, led by the nine silent lambs from the Island; and

Whereas there is no doubt the 200 Liberals in attendance will tell the Savage Government how pleased they are with the Liberal's job creation record, massive cuts in health care and education and the state of the roads throughout the province; and

Whereas the 200 Liberals will, no doubt, be applauded by Cape Bretoners who no longer work at Devco, IMP, Sysco, in health care and education;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House look forward to hearing the explanations the Savage Government will provide to the people of Cape Breton who supported them in the 1993 election, only to have been completely and utterly abandoned by a government which promised the moon.

MADAM SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Sackville-Cobequid.

[Page 1112]

RESOLUTION NO. 363

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

Whereas the Savage Liberals have decided their taxpayer funded election pave to power slush fund was in a need of assistance, so they increased it by almost 600 per cent at the very same time they have decided that Nova Scotians' health is less deserving, so they cut hospital funding by over $32 million; and

Whereas the Savage Grits in their quest for re-election have shown the priority they place on home care - which they increased by only one-third of the amount, $3.7 million - that they deem necessary to place in their pave to power slush fund, $11 million; and

Whereas it appears that Liberals believe our children's education must also take a back seat to their pave to power agenda, because they have cut funding to school boards by $10.4 million, an amount almost equal to the sum siphoned off into their pave for power transportation slush fund;

Therefore be it resolved that this House and all Nova Scotians should condemn the hypocrisy and callous behaviour of this appropriately named Savage Government that would place its pork-barrel riddled political agenda ahead of the essential health and education needs of its citizens.

MADAM SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Hants West.

[11:15 p.m.]

RESOLUTION NO. 364

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

Whereas 1996 is a leap year; and

Whereas leap year falls every four years and is characterized by 29 days in February as opposed to 28; and

Whereas the Minister of Finance took the reference to leap year literally and decided to skip fiscal 1996-97 and introduced a budget for fiscal 1997-98;

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Finance check his calendar, recognize his error and explain to Nova Scotians why they should believe his promises of tax breaks two years down the road when it only took him four months to break his no new taxes promises of 1993.

MADAM SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Kings North.

[Page 1113]

RESOLUTION NO. 365

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

Whereas the Savage Liberals have taught their federal cousins many lessons about breaking promises; and

Whereas the federal Liberals have taken a page from the Savage Government when it comes to bouncing out dissenting members of the Liberal caucus who stick up for their constituents; and

Whereas now the federal Liberals have adopted the Savage pattern on taxes in promising to abolish the GST and then breaking that promise;

Therefore be it resolved that the Savage Government admit it leads the way in providing a model of government in which broken promises and the silencing of dissenting voices is the order of the day.

MADAM SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Queens.

RESOLUTION NO. 366

MR. JOHN LEEFE: Madam Speaker, in addition to tabling copies of the resolution, I am also tabling letters that correspond to the substance of the resolution.

Madam Speaker, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas the Queens District School Board has pulled out of the Southwestern Nova Scotia Amalgamation Committee due to what has been called by Queens committee members the "blatant political interference" by the Minister of Education in selecting the location of a satellite board office; and

Whereas the Minister of Education pre-empted the amalgamation committee and selected the satellite school board location 13 days before the committee was scheduled to make its recommendations to the coordinator, who then was supposed to make recommendations to the minister; and

Whereas Queens School Board Chairwoman Edie Whitty told the minister in a recent letter, "Shame on you, Mr. Minister, for allowing politics to influence educational decisions", a statement supported by Digby and Yarmouth District School Boards;

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Education be censured for politicizing the Southwestern Nova Scotia school board amalgamation process as the result of his personal interference respecting the decision on siting the school board's satellite office.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Waive notice.

MADAM SPEAKER: I hear a request for waiver.

[Page 1114]

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley.

RESOLUTION NO. 367

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

Whereas this Savage Government, for the past three years, promised new, safe schools for students in several East Hants communities, namely Lantz and Milford, yet delivered only the same overcrowded and unsafe schools; and

Whereas the Minister of Education promised $11 million in savings from school board amalgamation, yet the budget delivered $9 million in cuts; and

Whereas the Minister of Finance's budget now promises a $52 million tax reduction in 14 months despite a projected revenue loss of $350 million;

Therefore be it resolved that Nova Scotians hang on to their wallets before the Liberal Government's flip-side of promised tax cuts 14 months from now becomes the flop-side of another tax increase.

MADAM SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Pictou West.

RESOLUTION NO. 368

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

Whereas the Minister of Finance said yesterday during his Budget Address that he will provide tax relief for Nova Scotia manufacturers; and

Whereas this tax relief is allegedly supposed to begin taking effect in April 1998; and

Whereas while promising tax relief for manufacturers by April 1, 1998, the minister was conveniently quiet about the 5 per cent increase in electricity costs his government will stick to manufacturers effective April 1, 1997;

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Finance provide a true financial analysis to Nova Scotia's manufacturing sector of the impact his government's 5 per cent increase in electricity costs will have upon their industry before blowing off too much steam about a tax reduction.

MADAM SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Kings West.

[Page 1115]

RESOLUTION NO. 369

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

Whereas in delivering the 1996-97 Nova Scotia budget yesterday the Minister of Finance attempted to have low income Nova Scotians believe he was the Messiah and would provide them with a tax break in 1997; and

Whereas the Minister of Finance, while boasting of a 3.4 per cent reduction in Nova Scotia's personal income tax rate effective July 1, 1997, conveniently ignored the fact that effective April 1, 1997, as a result of the harmonized tax, power bills in Nova Scotia will increase 5 per cent; and

Whereas low income Nova Scotians presently paying an electric bill of $75 will begin paying an extra $65 a year for electricity on April 1, 1997;

Therefore be it resolved that before the Minister of Finance crunches too many more numbers, he stop crunching the living daylights out of Nova Scotians and explain how a 3.4 per cent decrease in personal income tax is of any benefit, while at the same time his government is sticking it to Nova Scotians by increasing their power bills by 5 per cent.

MADAM SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Cape Breton West.

RESOLUTION NO. 370

MR. ALFRED MACLEOD: Madam Speaker, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas the Premier is recorded in Hansard for April 2nd, Page 146, as agreeing to take under advisement a request to travel to Cape Breton to meet with the workers of the IMP plant in North Sydney; and

Whereas the Premier has not been able to travel to Cape Breton since that time; and

Whereas the Premier is travelling to Cape Breton this weekend;

Therefore be it resolved that the Premier take some time from his convention schedule to keep his commitment of more than three weeks ago and meet with the North Sydney IMP workers this weekend.

MADAM SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Hants West.

RESOLUTION NO. 371

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

[Page 1116]

Whereas the Minister of Finance yesterday entered into a time machine to go back to the future at warp speed to deliver a budget for the 1997-98 fiscal year; and

Whereas for this fiscal year of 1996-97 the Minister of Finance offered $31 million of cuts to hospitals, which is larger than the hit health care took last year; and

Whereas this year's budget contains further cuts of $9 million to school boards despite the fact Premier Savage has said that his so-called reforms were 90 per cent finished;

Therefore be it resolved that the Liberal Government refrain from time travelling and deliver a good news budget for the current fiscal year and not for some fiscal year in the fuzzy future.

MADAM SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Yarmouth on an introduction.

MR. RICHARD HUBBARD: Madam Speaker, seated in your gallery, I would like to introduce to all members of this House, through you, four ladies from Yarmouth: Theresa Dalton is on my far right; Diane Doucet is there; Marie Atkinson; and my wife, Barbara Hubbard, is there. I would like to ask the members to afford them the usual warm welcome. (Applause)

MADAM SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings North.

RESOLUTION NO. 372

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

Whereas the Minister of Finance describes the blended sales tax as, "the biggest tax cut in Nova Scotia history"; and

Whereas the blended sales tax will decrease the tax on everyday Liberal purchases such as jewellery, recreational vehicles and mink coats; and

Whereas Nova Scotians should not be worried about an increase in the cost of electricity, fuel, gasoline and water, because the Minister of Finance assures them that the blended sales tax will only increase the price by 8 per cent;

Therefore be it resolved that this House adopt the BST as the name for the harmonized GST/PST as a fitting name for another Liberal tax grab.

MADAM SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

Are there further resolutions? We will proceed, then, to the Orders of the Day.

GOVERNMENT BUSINESS

MADAM SPEAKER: The honourable Deputy Government House Leader.

[Page 1117]

MR. ALLISTER SURETTE: Madam Speaker, would you please call the order of business, Government Motions.

GOVERNMENT MOTIONS

MADAM SPEAKER: The honourable Deputy Government House Leader.

MR. ALLISTER SURETTE: Madam Speaker, would you please call Resolution No. 218.

Res. No. 218, re Estimates - Comm. of the Whole House on Supply - notice given Apr. 17/96 - (Hon. B. Boudreau)

MADAM SPEAKER: The honourable member for Hants West adjourned the debate. You have 46 minutes remaining.

The honourable member for Hants West.

MR. RONALD RUSSELL: Madam Speaker, I would just like to recap, I think, what I said yesterday with regard to the budget before I get into any new material because I think it is important that all Nova Scotians understand very clearly what this government's performance has been in the past year, what kind of performance they are looking forward to in this present fiscal year.

The main thrust of the minister's comments yesterday in his Budget Speech was that this government has done a great job with regard to the deficit, the persistent deficit that has been with this province and, I would suggest, every province of Canada and the federal government for many years during a time of a lingering recession going right back, in truth, to the early 1980's. Since that time, Madam Speaker, I think if you examine every provincial budget, there has been no provincial government that has delivered a balanced budget during that time until sometime about two years ago when provinces finally started coming forward with balanced budgets. Today, in 1996, we join those other provinces that have achieved that status.

I don't object to that. I think that is good news, I really do. I think every Nova Scotian would applaud the fact that we actually have a balanced budget, by all means. (Applause) Yesterday, actually, they gave me a standing ovation when I said that. I didn't get that today. (Standing Ovation) Oh, thank you.

MADAM SPEAKER: It is a rare moment.

MR. RUSSELL: But the difficulty, Madam Speaker, is how this balanced budget was achieved. What I tried to point out yesterday - and I don't know if everybody was paying attention to what I was saying - is that this government has had windfall after windfall from the federal government simply because our economy is . . .

HON. SANDRA JOLLY: There is no problem balancing the budget.

MR. RUSSELL: . . . performing so poorly. The Minister of Municipal Affairs says there is no problem balancing the budget. Well, I agree with her, if, indeed, I could balance my budget at home tomorrow if I win the lottery tomorrow night; it is not difficult.

[Page 1118]

Now let me demonstrate what I am saying, Madam Speaker, with numbers. The Minister of Finance 12 months ago came into this House and he had a budget. He said, we are hacking and slashing and we are bringing the deficit down. He said in fiscal 1995-96, we will have a deficit of $28 million. Yesterday the minister walks into the House and tells us that we are not going to have a deficit of $28 million in 1995-96; no, indeed. I am producing the numbers for fiscal 1995-96 and they reveal that the province has a surplus of $17-something million.

Where did the money come from, Madam Speaker? Let me tell you, and I would like somebody to write these numbers down, particularly the Minister of Municipal Affairs, because she doesn't seem to think it is all done with smoke and mirrors, which it is. There are $46 million additional that the Minister of Finance didn't budget for in 1995-96 coming under the term equalization. Why do we get equalization? We get equalization because we are not doing well. If this province was performing, we wouldn't get that equalization so I think that is an indictment on that government.

[11:30 a.m.]

What other money did we get? We have $46 million out there right now. Well, Madam Speaker, we have $51 million under the subject heading five years adjustments, which the Minister of Finance did not budget for. And why did we get $51 million in prior years adjustments? That would be for the year previous. Again the reason is because we did even worse than what the federal government had originally anticipated when they paid the equalization payment in that year. We have had economic disaster after disaster in this province and that is why we are picking up these additional dollars.

Madam Speaker, we now have approximately $97 million that that minister didn't budget for - $46 million plus $51 million. Every year the Minister of Finance takes a guesstimate at what he is going to pay for debt servicing. That number juggles up and down according to interest rates. Canada is doing very well, thank you very much, outside of this province. As a result of that, our dollar is strengthening. When the dollar strengthens the result is that we get lower interest rates. The Minister of Finance budgeted $46 million more for debt servicing than what he actually spent. So now we have a grand total of $142 million of revenue which is a windfall that that minister did not budget for. Now does everybody understand that? He got $142 million extra last year.

Now bear with me for some more numbers. The Minister of Education is cackling away over there, he thinks it is great fun. They just chopped $9 million off his budget, by the way. So in fiscal 1995-96 he got $142 million extra revenue.

Heretofore, as I said, back when he first introduced his 1995-96 budget, he was forecasting a $28 million deficit. He ended up with a $70 million surplus. So, Madam Speaker, what do you have? You have about $45 million improvement in the end numbers for 1995-96. So you have to subtract that $45 million from the $142 million, and what are you left with? You are left with $97 million.

Now you might say, well, he got $142 million and he put part of that into making the deficit picture look a little better by making it a surplus, which is quite legitimate. But what happened to the rest of the dollars? Where did the remainder of the money go? That is a pretty good question, I would suggest.

[Page 1119]

Well, if you examine the budget, Madam Speaker, you can certainly find some of it. Again it goes back to the economic performance of this province. The numbers that the minister was guesstimating/estimating that he would receive in provincial income tax in 1995-96 are down. He didn't make it, he didn't make his numbers.

You look at corporate tax and the same thing occurred. You look at the amount he thought he was going to gamble on getting from the gambling industry and again he fell short of the mark. I think in gambling it was about $11 million.

So, Madam Speaker, you add all those numbers up and you take it away from the windfalls he received during the year and you still have bucks left over. So what does this minister do? Well, the minister thinks gosh, I have all this cash sitting over there in the Department of Finance, I can't come in with a surplus this year of about $50 million or $60 million because then it would look as if I didn't do my homework properly. So he comes up with a very bright idea. You have to give the minister credit for bright ideas, even if they are not quite legitimate, not quite legal perhaps. We will see about that when the Auditor General comes down with his report next year. Unfortunately, we have to wait that long and we will probably have an election in the interim.

Anyway, what he did, Madam Speaker, was he said, well, we have victims of abuse and we are probably going to have to make some payments to those victims of abuse in fiscal 1996-97. Well, I will tell you what we will do, Mr. Premier, we will set up an account and we will funnel, I think it was $35 million into that account. That soaked up some more dollars. Then he thought, well, we are going to have a number of retirements from the Civil Service because we are going to fire a lot of people and we are going to ask a lot of people to quit early, so why don't we set up another fund and shovel about $22 million or $23 million into that. And that is what they did.

So what they have done, Madam Speaker, is they have effectively moved from fiscal 1995-96 into fiscal 1996-97 about $50-odd million to pay for debts that they would be incurring in fiscal 1996-97.

Now when you examine the budget for 1996-97, the Minister of Finance said, well, you know we are doing fine and we are going to come up with a surplus of $2 million in fiscal 1996-97. Now that is very nice, $2 million is a lot of money. I am sure all of us would like to have $2 million. But when you consider the fact the minister is going to spend $4-plus billion, $2 million is not a very wide range in which to operate over the fiscal year. I don't think the minister worries too much about that because I think he figures, well, if I can have a good budget, if I can prove that I can balance the books in this forthcoming year, then I will have a good record to go into an election with.

However, the minister is not content with that, Madam Speaker. He said, I can't promise anything in this budget for this year because I would have to keep that promise, but what is to stop me from promising something in the future. Now we know that we are going to have a goods and services tax and we know that that is going to cause a change in the regime of taxation on goods and services in this province. Why don't I do something sensational in 1997-98, so that when we go out to the polls and people start talking about taxes, we immediately talk about personal income taxes. So I will tell you what we will do in this budget, this 1996-97 budget, we will include a little bit about 1997-98. What do we include about 1997-98? Well, you can bet your life it is not going to be bad news. It is going to be great news; great news if they can keep their promises.

[Page 1120]

Now, Madam Speaker, I would suggest that most Nova Scotians are not going to hold their breath waiting for this Minister of Finance or that government to deliver on promises. They remember all too well back in 1993 when these people, persons, came into power and said, first of all we are going to produce jobs. Not just jobs, but jobs, jobs, jobs; that was the term used by the Premier and, I am sure, by all the rest of the people who were out on the hustings with their little red books in hand. Jobs, jobs, jobs and we are going to do it and, once again, we have all the flimflam, not just simply we are going to create the jobs, they had to embellish it, we are going to have a 30-60-90 program. Wonderful.

The 30-60-90 program was going to solve the problems of 58,000 Nova Scotians who were unemployed in 1993. Did they keep their promise? Did they? Well, there were 58,000 unemployed in 1993 and today there are 62,000. You know that is worse than the promise that Sheila Copps made, but I don't see the Minister of Finance submitting his resignation, or the Premier for that matter.

AN HON. MEMBER: I don't see Sheila doing it either.

MR. RUSSELL: Madam Speaker, this same government, this same Finance Minister was the gentleman who was advising the Premier, the future Premier, on matters of tax. He comes into government on a promise of no increase in taxes. He didn't just say it softly - by the way, there will be no taxes if we give him the power. They are on television, the Premier, speaking about we are not going to increase taxes. Well, now sometimes a government comes to power and they spend a couple of years and maybe they renege on one of their promises. This bunch took 90 days. They had a 30-60-90 program but nobody knew that that 90 referred to an increase in taxes. Within 90 days this Minister of Finance is announcing taxes. So how much credence can you place on this bunch to come forward with these tax concessions that they are promising for 1997?

By the way, Madam Speaker, just so everybody understands because I heard something on the radio today that made me scuttle back to my book and have a look, they said that these reductions in personal income tax were going to take place next July. Well next July, to my knowledge, is just a couple of months away. However, I presume they made a mistake but Nova Scotians don't make any mistakes. These tax reductions don't come into effect until July 1997, so the first time you start seeing the effects of those tax reductions is in 1998, which is two returns away from today, insofar as income tax is concerned. Even then you only get six months of it, if this government lives up to its promises.

Well the question is, Madam Speaker, will the government live up to their promises? I say no. I would love to know from the government a little bit about their 1997-98 budget. You see we don't have that budget here; we have all the good news from the 1997-98 budget but none of the bad news. We don't know, maybe the Department of Health is completely abolished and they have a Department of Clinics, I don't know. Maybe they will close all the schools across the province, I don't know. Maybe they will toll all the highways across the province, we don't know. All we know from the minister is that nirvana has arrived, good times are here but wait until 1997, half way through 1997. That is to give the government a little edge because governments can go, as you know, for five years. Most governments go at four, some go at three, maybe this crowd will, some at three and one-half, some at four. However, when you go to July 1998, you have covered the whole waterfront, you have the whole five years in there before they have to start to deliver.

[Page 1121]

Now, as I understand it, as I understand this 1997-98 budget, the one that is alluded to on every page of this 1996-97 Budget Document, the minister is going to, first of all, forego, and we know because he told us and we believe him, $120 million because of harmonization. So mark that number down, Madam Speaker, $120 million of revenue that the Minister of Finance doesn't get. He is going to make some personal income tax cuts. We can pretty well guess what those tax cuts are if, indeed, he makes them. They amount to about $52 million.

We have been told by the Minister of Finance that he is going to throw another $8 million to the Minister of Community Services to take care of those poor beleaguered taxpayers, or maybe non-taxpayers in the low income brackets, who will be hardest hit by harmonization. There is no argument at all about that.

So we have now got to $172 million and $8 million is $180 million that he is not going to get. There is also another number, Madam Speaker, and that is $100 million that will not be coming to the minister under what used to be called EPF, Establish Program Funding. It is now called something else, Canada Compensation or something or other. Anyway, under that program which covers health, education, and community services, he is losing another $100 million. So we know in fiscal 1997-98, to keep his promises, the minister is going to have to find another $280 million.

[11:45 p.m.]

Now we know, because we have some numbers here in the good book called Government By Design, that his expenditures in 1997-98 will be $14 million less. I hope I am not boring everybody but if you keep note of these figures, they are going to affect your future and every other Nova Scotian. We know that he is going to expend $14 million less in 1997-98 than he will in 1996-97. We know, Madam Speaker, that he is going to pick up, we believe, a larger proportion of the $282 million or $262 million that the federal government is going to toss in as a bribe for him picking up the blended tax. So it is somewhere between $60 million and possibly $90 million that the Minister of Finance is going to get for Year 1 of the agreement on the harmonization. In fact, I believe, but I have no proof of this, that in Year 1, actually, the Minister of Finance will pick up a cheque for $90 million from the federal government of that fund and the second year, another $90 million, and then it decreases off to zero in Year 5.

So he is reducing expenditures $14 million. He has about $90 million - we will give him the benefit of the doubt - that is $104 million that he has in increased revenue. We know that he is going to pick up another $45 million because he told us and we all believe the Minister of Finance, of course, particularly if he is going to do something immediately, put up taxes, what have you, and he said that he is going to sock it to the corporations for another $45 million. If you add all that up, Madam Speaker, what do you have? You have $149 million. If you go back to the previous figure I had, he is going to expend $280 million more, but he is only picking up $149 million. Now that means that there is $130 million floating out there in never-never land.

I would love the Minister of Finance to stand up today or maybe he would like to do that when we get into his estimates and tell us where the $130 million is coming from. Maybe he is going to throw in a few extra taxes, Madam Speaker. Maybe he is going to hack the heck out of hospitals. They are carving $31 million out of the hospital budget this year. They are whacking, I think, approximately $14 million all told from the Department of Education. These are not the kinds of departments that can take any more cuts. They have been hacked and slashed to the point where they are barely surviving today.

Does the Minister of Finance care? No, siree. The Minister of Finance's aim in government is the bottom line. The bottom line may be important; however, Madam Speaker, I would say that there are other things that should be affecting the expenditures of this province.

How much time do I have left?

[Page 1122]

MADAM SPEAKER: You have another 12 minutes, if I do my math for you. I will give you a count in a minute when I subtract.

MR. RUSSELL: Well I had a speech here, Madam Speaker, that I was going to make so I will have to chop off some of it, I guess.

MADAM SPEAKER: You have until 12:11 p.m.

MR. RUSSELL: I have lots of time. What I would like to do, Madam Speaker, is to read into the record just a few statistics. The reason I want to do that is so that people around here that are not too interested in what I have to say, will just look perhaps at Hansard and read some of these numbers and see what they think about them because in the document that the minister tabled yesterday, there are a lot of very shaky statistics and that is to put it mildly.

The statistics that I am going to produce for you, Madam Speaker, and for all people in this House and for the people of Nova Scotia are good statistics. They are good statistics because approximately 95 per cent of them came from the Minister of Finance's department. If the Minister of Finance doesn't have access to his own statistics, I think there is something radically wrong with the Department of Finance. Perhaps they don't want the minister to know the bad news; perhaps they don't want the minister to know that our economy is not operating very well. It is firing on about two cylinders. Maybe they don't want the minister to know that we are doing so badly compared to the rest of Canada that we are going to continue to be a basket case and he is going to continue to reap the benefits through equalization payments for many, many years, until the government changes, and maybe that is going to happen in the very near future.

Getting back to some statistics. I have already spoken about jobs. We know that when this government came to power there were 58,000 unemployed and there are now 62,000. Those are not my statistics; those are statistics that came from the Minister of Finance's files, from his office. In the month of March - that was the last one I was able to get - in the Province of Nova Scotia we lost 8,000 jobs. Can you imagine, 8,000 jobs, that is almost three Windsors out of work in one month. Just skip across the border to New Brunswick, and New Brunswick gained 3,000 jobs. Why are we the poor cousins? People must sit back and ask, why are we doing so badly when New Brunswick is doing reasonably well? I think it is because of the government we have got; I think it is because of the Premier we have got; and I think it is because of the Minister of Finance that we have got.

Last year, in 1995, this province lost 3,000 jobs. The population grew but we still lost 3,000 jobs. In fact, in 1995, there were only two provinces that did not gain on full-time employment. One was Newfoundland; guess where the second one was, Madam Speaker? It

[Page 1123]

was the Province of Nova Scotia. They should be ashamed, particularly for a government that came in with jobs, jobs, jobs.

The number of Nova Scotians collecting Unemployment Insurance in 1996 was higher than it was in 1995. Total wages and salaries are down. Average weekly earnings in Nova Scotia fell by 0.2 per cent compared to an increase of 1.7 per cent for the rest of Canada. In other words, our salaries went down and across this country they went up. It doesn't say much for the management skills of this bunch opposite.

Housing starts are down and sales are down. Incidentally, speaking of housing, I didn't notice anything in this budget about the impact of the blended sales tax on housing. I am in the process of buying a house and, thank goodness, I am buying it before we get to a blended sales tax. Do you know what happens now when you buy a house? You have to get a lawyer and lawyers don't charge you PST at the present time but, after they get through with it, you will be paying PST; in other words, a blended tax of 15 per cent.

If you buy a piece of land, you have to have it surveyed. You don't pay tax on surveying fees right now, but when these characters get through with it, you will be paying 15 per cent. If you go to a real estate agent and you want to buy a house, right now you pay GST on the real estate fees; that is going to go in the blended sales tax and is going to increase by 8 per cent.

All those things, Madam Speaker, I suggest to you are going to keep our housing market down. (Interruption) It is not right, you're correct. We are going to experience - and the minister's department told me this - a decline of 5.4 per cent in capital expenditures in 1996. But he loves to talk about what is going to happen in 1997-98. I was surprised, because he was talking about the effects of the work that was going to take place up in the Strait at the Stora plant and he was talking about the work that is going to take place on Highway No. 104. We are going to reap all these benefits, he says, in 1997-98. Well, I don't know, 1997-98 is a long way away. People who are unemployed right now, people who are on welfare right now, people who are even trying to get welfare right now but can't get it, they can't afford to wait until 1997-98. They want jobs now. They want an economy out there where people have confidence, where businesses have confidence, where the economy is up and running and surging and people feel confidence and they start employing people. It is a climate you have to create.

It is no use saying, things are going to be better 15 years from now. In fact, it is no use telling them that it is going to be better two years from now. People want things to start now. I suggest to you that this document does absolutely nothing to instill confidence in the people of Nova Scotia that all is right with them. The only thing in this budget that, perhaps, they think is right is the fact that the minister has balanced the budget but when they examine how that has happened, Madam Speaker, taking the numbers that I gave you, they will see that it is very, very lucky; very fortunate.

Madam Speaker, from March 1995 to March 1996, that is a fiscal year, employment in small and medium-sized businesses increased in Nova Scotia by 1,850. It is not a bad looking number. In the Province of New Brunswick, again, increased by 11,021. Now, you know, I drive across New Brunswick occasionally - I have a son living up in Fredericton - and when you drive across the border you are in the same landscape, everything looks the same, you have the same kind of people, you even have a Liberal Government, Heaven help them, but they have a Liberal Government. What is so different (Interruption)

Madam Speaker, if these people want to live in the past, I invite them to go back and look in the 1980's and the comparison between New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. Nova Scotia was booming and our unemployment rate was consistently two points below that of New Brunswick. That is not the way it is today. (Interruption) Go back to the turkey farm.

Well, I am glad that they are listening. I hope they are learning something, because Heaven help them, Madam Speaker, if they don't learn something in the next little while when they are going to be out there knocking on doors, people are going to teach them the proverbial lesson.

[Page 1124]

In his rosy forecast in his Budget Address, Madam Speaker, the minister spoke about the growth of the Gross Domestic Product in Nova Scotia. The minister is projecting, in this fiscal year, 1996-97, that the Gross Domestic Product of Nova Scotia will increase by 1.3 per cent. Well, that is an interesting figure, except that nobody else agrees with it; nobody else. What they say, and when I say what they say I mean look at the various economic trend indicators from the banks and, in fact, just the other day from the Bank of Montreal, about 10 or 12 days ago, they are all forecasting 1 per cent. Now, 1.3 per cent is pretty dismal, in fact it is terrible; 1 per cent, well, it is beyond description, it is no growth at all. It doesn't say a word, again, for this government; it doesn't say a word for their management skills in getting this province on the road again.

[12:00 p.m.]

Now, Madam Speaker, the Minister of Finance tells us not to worry again because 1997-98 is coming along and we are going to blend the GST and the provincial sales tax and we are going to create 3,000 jobs. We are going to have the greatest surge in industrial activity that has ever taken place in the Province of Nova Scotia. When I first heard about that a week or 10 days ago, I expected that when the minister came forward with his Budget Address, he would have some document like this White Paper, and he would say yes, indeed, this the modelling we have carried out, this is the research we have done. We have taken all kinds of different parameters that may occur, packed them all into our model and that is what we have come up with. But we don't have one scintilla of evidence from this bunch over there that, indeed, even one job is going to be created. Possibly we are going to lose another 3,000 jobs because it can happen.

Can you imagine, Madam Speaker, from 1997, with the advent of a blended tax, the primary things that you need to live, with the exception of food, will be taxed at the rate of 15 per cent. Can you imagine that? Everybody, whether you are rich, poor or somewhere in between, has to heat their house in Canada. The only way you can avoid it is to turn everything off, drain your taps and go down to Florida. But most Nova Scotians don't do that unless they are very rich. Everybody has to heat their home.

Now how many different ways are there to heat your home? Well, you can use oil. I guess you can use gas; you can use electricity; or you can chop your own wood, I guess, if, like the ex-Minister of Natural Resources, you own your own woodlot.

AN HON. MEMBER: Or you can buy it.

MR. RUSSELL: Or you can buy it. But, Madam Speaker, the thing is, most Nova Scotians heat their houses with oil or with electricity. The prices of those two commodities are going to increase. The price of oil is going to go up by approximately 8 per cent - I beg your pardon, that is not true - the tax will be increased from 7 per cent to 15 per cent, which

[Page 1125]

will, I believe, make for an increase of approximately 3 per cent or 4 per cent. The price of electricity is going to increase, because the provincial tax which is presently 3 per cent will increase to 5 per cent to meld in with the 15 per cent combined tax. That is a necessary cost for everybody. If you are poor you pay it, if you are rich you pay it, and if you are somewhere in between you pay it.

Madam Speaker, most people, not everybody, but most people in Nova Scotia operate an automobile. You have to put gas in your automobile and you are going to pay more taxes in 1997; the price of gasoline is going to increase. If you have a small family, two or three children, you are going to have to buy clothing for your children and you are going to have to buy clothing for yourself. Heretofore, up to $100 of adult clothing was tax free and all children's clothing, as I understand it, was tax free; the same thing applied to shoes. All those things in the future, in 1997, become taxable.

Madam Speaker, I don't think those kinds of things are going to spur confidence in the economy by the consumers. I don't think it is going to spur confidence in the economy in the minds of those who truly generate jobs, the people who expand their businesses to meet needs, the people who come into the province to start manufacturing goods to meet a need. They are going to say everybody hasn't got beans to spend any more, they are spending all of their money on taxes.

I doubt very much, unless the minister can show me otherwise from some modelling study that he has carried out, that there is going to be 3,000 jobs created. I don't believe, unless again the minister can show me some evidence, that there is going to be a wonderful situation created where we have a great spur to the economy of this province and the Gross Domestic Product increases. I don't think those things are going to happen. In fact, Mr. Speaker, I am suggesting to you and I do it in sorrow, that this government is raising issues for 1997-98 knowing full well that based on their performance in education, health and municipal reform, based on the performance of the Minister of Community Services and the Minister of the Environment with his tin can tax, they would throw this bunch out tomorrow but they are saying, we have a budget, we have a plan for the future and they are hoping that the people are going to buy it.

Well, I will tell you something, the people are not going to buy any more health cuts, they are not going to buy any more cuts to education, they are not going to buy any more taxes from the Minister of the Environment and I can tell you, they are not going to buy any more reductions in the service provided by government. The service provided by civil servants has reached the breaking point. You can't expect nurses and doctors and CNAs at the hospitals to pick up the slack. You can't expect people who are working in offices across this province providing documentation that is required, birth certificates, marriage certificates, this, that and the other thing from the Department of Justice, et cetera. All of those things, all of those services, have deteriorated considerably. When I say considerably, I mean they have reached rock-bottom, you can't go any further.

Yet, we are told by the Minister of Finance, he is not hiding it, he is going to dispose of, because I can't think of a better word, he is going to dispose of 2,000 more civil servants this year. We don't know if they are all nurses, we don't know if they are all in the education system, we don't know where they are coming from but there are 2,000 people out there at the present time doing their jobs across this province who today are working but don't know if they are going to get a pink slip tonight, tomorrow, next month or sometime later on in the year. But he has told us that there are 2,000 of them who are going to be gotten rid of. What kind of a climate is that to put in place?

[Page 1126]

We know how bad it is because the Minister of Human Resources has come up with a stress program, he has given everybody a refrigerator magnet. You put that on your refrigerator and when you are stressed out I guess you put your thumb on it and you feel better. The present stress that is in the Civil Service is not, as the minister would tell us, occasioned by things outside the workplace, it is occasioned by this government and the way it is treating those who work for it. It is intolerable, it is not fair and it should be stopped right now.

Paul Martin, I am not exactly a fan of Paul Martin's but he said a couple of weeks ago, he was talking about downsizing, cutting government expenditures, et cetera, he said, that measured pace ensures that short-term savings will become long-term savings, I hope the minister heard that, a down payment toward restored fiscal health. Indiscriminant cutting, on the other hand, raises the real risk that short-term savings will become long-term costs.

That is what the Honourable Paul Martin, the Liberal federal Minister of Finance, said. I would suggest in all fairness to this minister opposite that he just sit back and cogitate for a minute or two as to what he is doing to this province, doing to the things that make this province so great to live in. If you destroy our education system, if you destroy our health system, if you take away the safety net, if you tax people to death, I can tell you that he is going to destroy this province and that is a shame. It is a shame for every Nova Scotian. Thank you. (Applause)

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

MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: I welcome the opportunity to respond to the 1996 provincial Budget Address. Mr. Speaker, it is the fourth budget that we have been subjected to under this government and it has clearly a sense of déjà vu to it. It is filled with many of the same themes and variations that we have been hearing from this Liberal Government for almost three years. The main theme has been, if we can just get our books to appear balanced and lighten the tax load on business, everything will turn out fine. That theme clearly represents a betrayal of Nova Scotians.

Three years ago, Mr. Speaker, Nova Scotians elected this Liberal Government because they believed what the Liberals said during the election campaign. They believed what they said about jobs. The Tories talked about restraint and privatization, you may recall. The Liberals talked about jobs. People were concerned about jobs so they elected the Liberals. But as soon as they took office, the Liberals forgot about their job creation promises. They threw their policy book out and embraced the one the Tories had. They forgot about their job promises. Over the past three years, they have cut, slashed and downsized. In the name of deficit fighting, they have broken contracts with their own employees. They have imposed amalgamation on municipalities and school boards. They have offloaded and downloaded on to these same bodies, as well as on to hospitals and universities.

This budget not only continues that trend, it tells us that there is more to come. To achieve their much vaunted balanced budget, the government is continuing to pare away at health, education and social services. Mr. Speaker, hospitals will be cut back by $32 million under this budget. That brings a total cutback to hospitals over the last three years to $142 million. Now the government likes to pretend that these cuts to hospitals are being offset by big increases to home care. But over the last three years, home care spending has increased by only $11 million. Compare them, $142 million versus $11 million. Is it any wonder that Nova Scotians are concerned about the state of their health care system? You can't take those kinds of cuts out of hospital budgets and not affect services.

[Page 1127]

So hospitals are cut back another $32 million in this budget. Public school education in this province, already the second lowest per student in the country, thanks to this government, will have to get by with $10 million less in 1996-97. Over the last three years, this government has cut $52.5 million in grants to school boards and the Minister of Education, Mr. Speaker, has the gall to try and tell Nova Scotians that he is not hurting the classroom. Well, he can keep saying that if he wants, but everybody in the real world knows that that is not the case.

Universities will be forced to live with budgets that are $10.7 million less. Income assistance recipients will have to survive on $11 million less. Pharmacare for seniors and the poor will be chopped by over $8 million. Mr. Speaker, even the Children's Dental Program gets the axe taken to it. It is down $1 million, bringing the total cuts in that program, the Children's Dental Program, to over $4 million since this government took office three years ago. Within the Department of Health, the only ones thriving are the top administrators and the spin doctors. The administration budget in the minister's and deputy minister's offices is up over 50 per cent. The number of communications officers has increased fivefold over the last two years. All told now, cuts to health, education and social services in this budget alone add up to $73 million, $73 million removed from services for seniors, the poor and the sick, from the education of our children and from young adults.

[12:15 p.m.]

The Minister of Finance tries to obscure this continued assault on these services that people want and need. He tells us that in 1993, 76 per cent of the province's program spending was devoted to health, education and social services and today, according to the minister, 79.3 per cent of program spending is in those areas.

Quoting those numbers might make the minister and his spin doctors happy but those numbers are no consolation for Nova Scotians who have seen their hospitals shut down and are still waiting for an effective Home Care Program to click in. There is no consolation, Mr. Speaker, for students, parents and teachers still struggling with crowded classrooms, depleted social support services and non-existent textbooks. These figures are cold comfort for VON nurses who have been forced to accept a wage roll-back in order to retain a fighting chance of keeping their jobs. They are cold comfort for the dozens of community college instructors who found themselves out of work when the minister responsible for dismantling the education system closed five community colleges.

The $73 million in cuts in this budget imposed on health, education and social services are particularly galling when you look at the rest of the budget. Despite all of the self-congratulation about balancing the books, this government cannot get its own house in order. This government can play the tough guy and tell others, the universities, the school boards and the hospitals to shape up. This government is good at telling others to get along with less. But when it comes to getting its own administration under control, it is another story. This budget shows that the government will reduce its current account expenditures by $57 million in the current year.

Since the areas that I have been talking about are to be cut by $73 million, simple arithmetic suggests that other current account spending is actually going up by $16 million. I have already mentioned some of those areas, some of those increased expenditures within the Department of Health. That department is only the most blatant example of the proliferation of spin doctors and communications specialists throughout the government.

[Page 1128]

Mr. Speaker, maybe you and the government could use a few of these specialists to explain to sick people who are still awaiting a referral from home care, why the government's image is more important than their health. Maybe you could have your spin doctors explain to a child on a waiting list for speech therapy why the government's communications needs are more important than theirs.

We have talked about other examples of government waste in this House on many occasions; hand-picked deputy ministers and senior officials who don't work out and then depart with expensive severance packages; managers who get raises and job reclassifications while staff face salary cutbacks and layoffs; loyal partisans and come-from-away hustlers who collect big consulting contracts. We have also talked about the hypocrisy of creating a new ministry to accommodate the former Minister of Supply and Services who lost the game of musical chairs, necessitated by the government's recent re-design.

The idea of having a minister to run a department with a budget of $2.3 million is absurd. The solution, of course, is not to raise the budget; the solution is to get rid of the ministry. But, instead, the Premier gives this minister a new portfolio, the minister responsible for the Liberal campaign in the Halifax Fairview by-election. Imagine.

Mr. Speaker, there is a lot of cant and hypocrisy in this budget. So it is dangerous to use superlatives. However, the projected spending increases in the Department of Transportation and Public Works deserve special mention. The doubling of expenditures for highways, bridges and buildings from $23 million to $46 million means only one thing to me and to anyone else who knows Nova Scotia's politics. It says an election is coming.

HON. RICHARD MANN: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order. I would like to table this document which shows the reallocation of the capital program to current, that these are expenses that have been there every year. They are consistent and they show the $22.7 million going for such things as the Aid to Municipalities and Aid to Towns; Head Office Surveys, Land Claims, Administration, Aerial Mapping, Traffic Survey, Environmental Assessment, Reserve for Changes in Capital Program, Management System Development. The honourable member's seatmate just went through this outside the House, he is 100 per cent wrong. This is an accounting change taking such things as the surveys and land claims and administration from a capital account and showing it in a current account. I would table this document for the member and he will see that he is 100 per cent wrong, and it is even listed as Miscellaneous.

MR. SPEAKER: I don't think I need hear a comment on the point of order . . .

MR. CHISHOLM: I have no intentions, Mr. Speaker, I am going to speak to that issue again as I proceed.

MR. SPEAKER: But just before you do, I am obligated to rule on the point of order. While it is an interesting point, I would find it is a dispute in facts and not a point of order.

MR. CHISHOLM: . . . over the past 100 years probably, all about accounting changes. It says more than that, it says it louder than anything else that this government has done over the last three years, it says the old ways are back. It says that all of the talk about cleaning up Nova Scotia's politics was just that, it was talk. In the Transportation and Public Works budget there is an $11 million item called, Miscellaneous. That miscellaneous category is up from $1.5 million in the previous year. Mr. Speaker, how do you spell, political slush fund? Let's roll out the gravel trucks now.

[Page 1129]

HON. RICHARD MANN: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order. Once again I am going to read from the document, Miscellaneous: Surveys a) Roads $2.5 million; Surveys b) Bridges $500,000; Land Claims $5 million; Aerial Mapping $200,000 Miscellaneous; Environmental Assessment $200,000 Miscellaneous. There is your $11 million Miscellaneous fund. You can't build roads unless you buy the land to do it.

MR. SPEAKER: An interesting point, not a point of order, however.

MR. CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, it is an indication of how sensitive the minister is that he has to stand up in the House and try to interrupt my response to the budget. But that is an indication, clearly, of how the minister is back-pedalling and hiding on this. We will get some answers to those questions.

Now, the grimy requirements of getting re-elected must be a trial for the Premier and some of his ministers. They are no doubt grateful to the Minister of Transportation and Public Works for doing the heavy lifting on their behalf. As they have demonstrated they would rather hang out - and we have seen this - with the international corporate set.

This government, Mr. Speaker, has embraced the corporate mindset in a way that I don't think we have ever seen in this province. Part of that mindset involves efficiencies at all costs, making your operations lean and mean. But another part of that involves high salaries and perks for the people at the top. One of the first acts of this Premier before setting about his downsizing and cost-cutting was to construct his expensive shower-equipped private bunker over in One Government Place. That is a fitting symbol for what I hope will be this government's short tenure in office.

The continued attack on social services, the people who provide them and the people who need them is just one of the odious aspects of this budget.

The distorted spending priorities contained in the budget is another, Mr. Speaker. But the budget's worst shortcoming is in its failure to even begin to address the problem this government was elected to do something about, and that's jobs. This government has fully embraced the corporate mindset when it comes to jobs, the corporate mindset that says the only thing that matters is profit and the only people who count are the shareholders. They say to this government, reduce our taxes, deregulate us, let us raise our profits and jobs will be created. Then they lay off thousands.

This government says much the same thing. They told Nova Scotians during the election campaign that they were going to do something about the 63,000 unemployed in this province. Well, they did. They created more unemployed through public sector layoffs. It turns out that they didn't really mean what they said in 1993. Now the Savage Government says it really can't create jobs, it can only wipe them out. Ask the Minister of Finance what his budget will do to create jobs and he says the province can't do anything. That's the market's job, says the minister, the very same market that lays off thousands as profits soar; the very same corporate sector that marches to the tune of a stock market that falls sharply whenever there is an improvement in the job picture.

Despite all of this, if you ask the Premier what he will do about jobs, he says, as he did in this House several weeks ago, "get your financial house in order and investment will follow.". You know, maybe the Premier and the Finance Minister and some of the corporate elite they rub elbows with believe this stuff, but nobody else does. In the real world, the one that Statistics Canada surveys monthly for their Labour Force Report, things are not as rosy.

[Page 1130]

According to Statistics Canada, 8,000 jobs disappeared in this province last month. We now have 55,000 officially unemployed. The only reason we don't have more officially unemployed is that in the last month alone, 5,000 Nova Scotians gave up and quit the labour force. When you combine that with the 30,000 to 40,000 Nova Scotians who are working part-time but would prefer full-time employment, you get the whole distressing picture: nearly 100,000 Nova Scotians who are either unemployed or underemployed.

Of course, this is the age of the jobless recovery, a cruel concept if we ever heard one. Economic growth without job creation seems to be acceptable to the corporate elite and their political flunkies, Mr. Speaker, but this government can't even manage economic growth with or without jobs. They predicted growth of 2.2 per cent in last year's budget and got 1.6 per cent. This year they are projecting just 1.3 per cent. The budget calls it measured growth; much lower and you wouldn't be able to measure it at all.

On the job front, they are predicting 2,000 more jobs in 1996, but don't hold your breath; they are heading quickly in the other direction. During the first three months of this year, just as this government was patting itself on the back about its balanced budget, 14,000 jobs vanished in this province. In March, there were 2,000 fewer Nova Scotians actually working than there were in March 1994. It is going to take a major turnaround for the government to realize even those very modest job gains predicted in this pre-election period. Yet the government continues in its dogged, mistaken belief that the way to grow the economy and to create jobs is to destroy jobs. And they continue in the dogmatic and erroneous belief that the way to create jobs is to give more and more tax breaks to business.

The minister and the rest of this government don't want people talking about their dismal job record, their dismal growth record, their perverse spending priorities or their three years of government by cut and slash. This, after all, is a balanced budget; they have been talking about it incessantly for months, and I am sure they will try to keep talking about it for the next few months. They are counting on the fact that most Nova Scotians are not accountants, nor do they aspire to be. Nova Scotians have been bombarded by years of propaganda about debt and deficit, so when someone asks them whether they are in favour of a balanced budget, they say yes.

Of course, there is room for honest disagreement on this issue. Some people believe that a balanced budget right now is more important than a moratorium on cuts to health and education. I and my colleague don't happen to agree with them, but we respect their opinion. So you have an honest disagreement on the subject. But you cannot have an honest disagreement around this balanced budget. That is because it is not an honest balanced budget, Mr. Speaker. We have been predicting for the last couple of months that this would be a phoney balanced budget and we were right.

[12:30 p.m.]

A number of factors contributed to the black ink that the Minister of Finance was able to herald so loudly and so falsely yesterday, not the least of which are the spending cuts I talked about earlier. We know that a big reason the books are in better shape now than they were three years ago is simply pure happenstance. It is the result of a series of windfalls in federal equalization payments, windfalls that come about because this province's economy has been doing so badly relative to the rest of the country.

AN HON. MEMBER: Lucky Bernie.

[Page 1131]

MR. CHISHOLM: Lucky Bernie, unlucky Nova Scotia. Another reason the minister has been able to produce a balanced budget is the use of creative accounting. We witnessed that trickery during the session already when the government put through Resolution No. 38. The government claimed the resolution was about paying compensation to victims of abuse in provincial institutions but it wasn't, it was about getting that spending on the books in the past fiscal year so it won't show up in this year and spoil the balanced budget illusion.

The main reason that the government has achieved a balanced budget is that it has stopped making capital investments. Three years ago, when they embarked on the expenditure control program, this government said it would reduce capital spending by 5 per cent a year during the four years of the program. According to Government By Design which came out with last year's budget, back in the days before budget mania took over, net capital expenditures for this year were supposed to be $271 million. That is what last year's Blueprint for Recovery says capital expenditures were supposed to be this year, $271 million. This budget says net capital account expenditures will be $159 million.

There is your balanced budget, Mr. Speaker, right there. Balance the books by postponing spending. Pay the light bill by putting off repairs on the front veranda. Keep the wolf from the door by not repairing the leaky roof. Families do it all the time because they have to but governments don't have to and they are not supposed to. Capital spending is there for a purpose. It is there to ensure that we have the infrastructure that we need and that it is in good repair. Slashing capital spending like this is just an irresponsible election year trick. Nova Scotians will have to pay sooner or later. All this government is doing is postponing the deficit for another year.

Of course, deferring capital expenditure is only one component of the government's bag of tricks in this area. The other is the infamous public/private partnering approach as exemplified by the western alignment plan. That privatization scheme, as we pointed out a number of times in this House, will cost Nova Scotians more than a publicly built road would but to have the government build the road would spoil the bottom line in this, an election year. So the road is hived off to the private sector, Nova Scotians will be forced to pay higher bills later, after the election, to help this government's re-election campaign.

Looking at this budget as a financial plan for the current fiscal year, Mr. Speaker, is a pretty depressing exercise. Slow or no growth in the economy. Little growth in jobs and then only if we get a massive turnaround during the rest of the year. Another $73 million slashed from health, education and social programs people want, need and deserve; the postponement of capital projects for dubious political ends.

The current fiscal year is only part of the plan outlined in this budget. As the Conservative Finance Critic said yesterday, this is a blended budget. It deals not only with this fiscal year but the next one as well. Look at what the budget forecasts for that year, 1997-98. It is even more depressing, Mr. Speaker. Most of the tax measures outlined in this budget do not take place until a year from now and all I can say is thank goodness.

The government wanted to spin two messages out of this budget. The first was that it was balanced and, as we have said, it is not. The second message is that somewhere over the rainbow this budget will contain tax breaks for Nova Scotians, especially low income Nova Scotians. But that claim is a phoney one, Mr. Speaker, as phoney as the balanced budget one.

[Page 1132]

Let's take a look at what the government is doing for low income Nova Scotian taxpayers. First of all, the budget will be increasing the low income tax reduction by what amounts to a few hundred dollars a year for a family of four with an annual income of $15,000 or less. Then it introduces a 3.4 per cent reduction in the provincial personal income tax rate. That provision will have little or no benefit for low income individuals or families. For example, someone making $20,000 a year in taxable income will save, by our calculations, all of $46 a year in taxes. By contrast, someone with a taxable income of $100,000 will save $469 with this tax break.

Low income Nova Scotians will likely see even these modest breaks wiped out by the government's other big budgetary coup, the BST. With the BST, ordinary Nova Scotians will pay a 15 per cent tax on things like electricity, home heating fuel, children's clothing and footwear, and even funerals. The tax changes that the government is dangling in front of the electorate are not about helping low income Nova Scotians; they are not even about helping middle income Nova Scotians. They are about helping the re-election chances of the Liberals, both here and in Ottawa, and they are about giving a tax break to business.

The Minister of Finance keeps using phrases, over and over again, that this is a $120 million tax reduction, the largest in Nova Scotia's history. He bases this on some estimate that says the province will collect $120 million less under the BST than it collected under the PST. Unfortunately, that overall tax reduction, if it happens, does not translate into tax reductions for individual Nova Scotians. That is because, under the BST, businesses won't be paying any tax on business inputs. The hundreds of millions per year that Nova Scotia businesses used to pay in PST for purchases like computers, typewriters, office furniture, vehicles and so on, will stop coming into the provincial coffers.

Now the minister won't tell us how much relieving business of the PST will cost the Nova Scotia Treasury. We have seen estimates that from one-third to one-half of the PST revenue now collected comes from business inputs. The Province of Saskatchewan is estimating that if the BST were implemented in that province, half of the PST now paid by business, about $400 million, would have to be picked up by consumers.

Mr. Speaker, the BST is not a tax break; like the GST, it is a tax shift, and the shift is from corporations to individuals. Everybody knows that, even Frank McKenna; he says business will be the principal beneficiary of the BST. The Minister of Finance seemed to acknowledge this, too, with the imposition of the corporate capital tax. What the Minister of Finance will not acknowledge is the extent to which business will benefit from the BST and the extent to which consumers will suffer. He accuses us of taking an ideological position on the BST. It is not we who are in the grip of ideology, it is the Minister of Finance and the rest of this government, because they keep putting their faith in something called "the market" as the solution to our problems. They continue to insist, against all odds, that lower corporate tax rates will create jobs.

Mr. Speaker, if that were the case, this country and this province would be booming; but it isn't. Nova Scotia has the lowest corporate tax rate in the country and is looking at one of the lowest economic growth rates in the country for the coming year. Across this country, governments have been handing over huge tax breaks to corporations for the last 20 years. Over those same 20 years, unemployment has become chronic; the economy has been in virtually a permanent recession. But still this government, including the Minister of Education - who is having lots to say on the sidelines - clings to the dogma: just one more tax break, just one more cut to the public sector and everything will be fine. They say shrink the public sector workforce and the overall workforce will grow.

[Page 1133]

The Finance Minister boasts in his Budget Address that when these changes come into effect somewhere in the future, Nova Scotia will have the lowest taxes east of Alberta. Well, hallelujah. First the warmest water North of Virginia; now the lowest taxes east of Alberta. In the race for the bottom, Mr. Speaker, the Finance Minister and the Premier have moved Nova Scotia up along the rail into the place position, just behind Ralph Klein. But hold on to your tickets racing fans because here comes Mike Harris charging up on the outside with his promises to cut Ontario taxes by 30 per cent.

The brave new future world promised by this budget, the one that is supposed to start happening a little over a year from now is not nearly as pleasant as the Minister of Finance suggests. The tax cuts he talks about are clearly tax shifts and they will be shifted right on to the necessities of life and thus, they will be extremely regressive.

Low income and workaday Nova Scotians will suffer a double whammy because in the future predicted by the Minister of Finance the revenues of this province will be under severe pressure. After Ottawa's BST subsidy is taken into account, we will still be facing a $60 million shortfall in sales tax revenue. That will be partly offset by the corporate capital tax. But the promised income tax cut will reduce provincial revenues by another $52 million starting in 1997-98. On top of that there is another $100-odd million to be removed as a result of the GST.

Health, education and social services already straining from the government's restraint program may well crack under the stress of further and prolonged restraint. Revenues will get no boost from natural economic growth. That is because in the future predicted by the Minister of Finance, high unemployment continues, economic growth lags. That's the future that I see taking shape with this budget and it is not a happy prospect.

Still, the Minister of Finance sticks to his prescription that doesn't work. Despite clear evidence to the contrary, this government and many others in the world cling to the view that the way to cure the deficit and the debt is to cut spending on education and social services while handing tax breaks to businesses.

But education and social services did not cause the debt and deficit. The debt and deficit were caused by tax breaks for the rich and the corporations and by high interest rates. They have been aggravated by the loss of tax revenue brought about by the unemployment that has resulted from those high interest rates.

If this government and the one in Ottawa would recognize what has and has not caused the deficit they could move to a solution. Part of that solution is at the federal level. Since high interest rates have helped cause the deficit, then a cure for the deficit has to involve lower interest rates. And lower real interest rates would do more than reduce the government's debt servicing costs. Lower interest rates would also provide a needed boost to the economy and job creation.

Job creation, not the job destruction being practised by this government is the real key to fighting the debt and the deficit while preserving and enhancing our health, education and social services.

MR. SPEAKER: I wonder if the Leader would allow a minute for an introduction?

MR. CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, yes.

[Page 1134]

MR. SPEAKER: The member for Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage on an introduction.

MR. DENNIS RICHARDS: Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the honourable member for allowing me the time to do this. Sitting in the Speaker's Gallery this afternoon are two young gentlemen. One is an exchange student from Germany who has been spending the past year in Nova Scotia going to school at Auburn High School in Cole Harbour, Mr. Maxim Nohroudi. Joining Maxim this afternoon is another fine young gentleman that I am very proud of, my son Adrian. I would like them to stand and receive the warm welcome of the House. (Applause)

MR. CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, I was talking about job creation, not job destruction being practised by this government as the real key to fighting the debt and deficit while preserving and enhancing our health, education and social services. Get people working and you reduce social program costs and you increase government revenues. You give people a sense of security, well-being and a sense of hope for the future.

Nova Scotians know that job creation is what is needed. That's why they listened to the Liberal Party when they talked about jobs in the election campaign three years ago. That is why so many Nova Scotians are angry at this government today, because this government has forgotten about its promises about job creation.

[12:45 p.m.]

In 1993, the Liberal Party talked about jobs; in 1996, in this budget, this government is smug despite a stagnant labour force and growing unemployment. The unemployed will always be with us, you can almost hear this government say. Toss a few crumbs to the little people and genuflect "to the market".

Since 1993, this government has talked about community economic development as the cornerstone of their plans to turn this province around. It has been mainly talk, Mr. Speaker, as this budget shows. Spending on community economic development is 25 per cent less. The government seems to be putting all of its CED eggs into the top tax credit basket. We hope it works, although Sinc Stevens' experience in Cape Breton with tax credits is hardly encouraging.

As we said before in this House, community economic development - even if it is carried out properly - is only part of the answer for our rural and coastal communities. There also needs to be a critical mass of economic activity in those communities. Employment in resource industries must be maximized through greater secondary processing of natural products in Nova Scotia. Government services must be maintained in those communities and there has to be a commitment to decentralization of government jobs. Government must fight to preserve the jobs and the incomes of rural Nova Scotians.

The government has failed in its duty in this area. Fishers and other seasonal workers who are demonstrating against UI cuts and changes in fishing regulations are fighting, yes, for their industry, but they are also fighting for the way of life and their very communities; they are fighting to defend the very fabric of rural Nova Scotia. Instead of confronting the federal Liberals on their behalf, this government cosies up to the federal Liberals at every turn. They accept short-term handouts from Ottawa in the form of equalization payments and the BST subsidies; at the same time, they let Ottawa escape its responsibilities for funding health and social services and promoting economic equality across this country.

I am proud to say, Mr. Speaker, that a Budget Speech from a New Democratic Government would be much different from this one; the main difference would be its philosophy. A Budget Speech from a New Democratic Party Government would not tell people to expect less from government. It would not advise people to wait patiently while the market works its magic. It would say to people that your government is one of the best tools that you have to build a better future for yourself and for your community. We would have tried to give Nova Scotians a sense of hope and a sense that through their government they can bring about positive change in their lives.

[Page 1135]

Specifically, Madam Speaker, a New Democratic Party budget would have told Paul Martin, "thanks, but no thanks", on the BST. We would have told him to come back and see us when he has a real replacement for the GST. A replacement that involves real tax reform at the federal level; tax reform that shifts more of the burden to those corporations and individuals with the ability to pay. A New Democratic Party budget would not have been the product of a secret, back-room negotiation between desperate politicians. A budget from this Party would have announced the establishment of a fair tax commission which would go out and consult Nova Scotians about the tax system.

A New Democratic Party budget would have recognized that we need to guarantee the viability of our public health care system. It would have acknowledged that, as a province, we must provide the resources to ensure that our health care system is universal, accessible, comprehensive, affordable and publicly administered. A budget presented by this Party would not have cut funding to hospitals by $32 million, while increasing funding to home care by less than $4 million.

A New Democratic Party budget would have recognized the fact that starving our universities and public schools is clearly a form of social and economic suicide. We would not have taken $10 million from public school funding and stuck it in a Transportation Department slush fund. A New Democratic Party budget, Mr. Speaker, would not have involved more offloading onto the hospitals, universities, school boards.

HON. JOHN MACEACHERN: On a point of order, Madam Speaker, the honourable member, contrary to evidence tabled in this House two minutes ago, still indicates that somehow $11 million, for example, he suggested came from Education to a slush fund in Transportation. The Honourable Minister of Transportation just provided him that the $11 million that is there is simply over here, and he showed him that. This money did not come from here. In fact, the money he is referring to for education three years ago was planned with the school boards. They knew this was coming. This is not a transfer from anything and they all knew that.

Now, Madam Speaker, he is going to get up and continue this same discussion as if it is true but, for the record, this is not true. He is, if I might dare say, seeming to be misleading the House and it gives me great discomfort.

MADAM SPEAKER: I don't take this as a point of order but it is a dispute between two members.

MR. CHISHOLM: Well, Madam Speaker, what is interesting is that this minister talks about misleading this House. You know what Nova Scotians are real clear about is that this minister has been misleading Nova Scotians for the last three years, that the Minister of Transportation has been misleading Nova Scotians, the Minister of Health, the Minister of Community Services and, yes, the Minister of Finance. The Minister of Education, for

[Page 1136]

example, told Nova Scotians that we are going to reform the education system to ensure that more money goes into the classroom. Nova Scotians know, students, parents, teachers, anybody who is concerned and interested in education in this province understands very clearly that what has happened as a result of the exercises by this Minister of Education is that the quality of education has gone down, class sizes have gotten larger and assistance to people with special needs has almost dried up. That is the reality here.

MADAM SPEAKER: Honourable member, I will caution you at this point that when you say a minister is misleading on actions he is taking that I cannot accept that. That is imputing an unworthy motive and I cannot accept that.

MR. CHISHOLM: So it is okay for him to say that I am misleading the House.

MADAM SPEAKER: No, he did not say that.

MR. CHISHOLM: But it is not okay for me to suggest that this minister and everything he has done and this government has done has been misleading to the people of Nova Scotia. Is that what is being said?

MADAM SPEAKER: Honourable member, you may want to check Hansard tomorrow for the wording. I think you will find that what I have commented on is appropriate, if you would be so kind as to check Hansard when you get the copy and check the wording. If you would like to carry on with your debate, please do so.

MR. CHISHOLM: Thank you, Madam Speaker. I certainly do, as I always do, enjoy the interventions of the Minister of Education because it just reaffirms everything I am saying; it reaffirms all the concerns and all the mistrusts that Nova Scotians have about this government when this minister gets up here and tries to counsel me or anybody else about the truth. It is a phenomenal but yet an exciting and interesting contradiction that that minister continues to participate in.

Madam Speaker, where was I before I was so rudely interrupted?

AN HON. MEMBER: You were just about finished.

MR. CHISHOLM: I think I have had a fair bit but let me just go back and repeat this paragraph, Madam Speaker. A New Democratic Party budget would have recognized the fact that starving our universities and public schools is a form of social and economic suicide. Does anybody see the Minister of Education jumping to his feet to contradict that? (Interruption) Okay, so the Minister of Education is going to serve as the Minister of Transportation's bodyguard on that.

Let me finish. We would not have taken $10 million from public school funding and stuck it in a Department of Transportation slush fund, Madam Speaker, we would not have done that. A New Democratic Party budget would not have involved more offloading onto the hospitals, universities, school boards, community organizations and the poor. We would not have indulged in a celebration of a bogus balanced budget while ignoring those who clearly have borne the costs of that achievement. Our budget, instead of downloading restraint onto others, would have put an end to spiralling administration and spin-doctor costs.

[Page 1137]

The creation of new Cabinet Ministries, contracting out - well, I guess I can add in there new Cabinet Ministers too because we now have the Cabinet minister for the Liberal Party campaign in Halifax Fairview - the provision of expensive golden handshakes to senior managers and expensive business handouts to firms that don't need the money. Our budget would have removed the special tax breaks that have been handed out to lawyers, doctors, dentists and accountants.

Instead of balanced budget legislation we would have brought forward legislation that would force a government to set, and stick to, job creation targets. That was the priority of this government, you may recall, back in 1993.

A New Democratic Party budget would be quite different from this one. It would recognize the need and the value of investing in our future. It would recognize the need and value of restoring funding for our children's education. It would invest in healthy individuals and healthy communities. It would assist the most vulnerable in a way that would enable them to contribute to their communities.

We believe that our infrastructure, our education, our health services are an investment in our future. If we want to have a society that we are all proud of then that is what we need to focus on. The private sector is important to the fulfilment of our goals but so too is the public sector. Only by working together and providing a mixed economy are we going to be able to build the kind of society that Nova Scotians need in the future and that Nova Scotians deserve in the future.

I look forward in the upcoming days, weeks and months to debating the specifics of this bill, the specifics of the Transportation Department's slush fund, among others and talking to Nova Scotians, especially those in Halifax Fairview who will have an opportunity to pass judgment on this budget and other actions of this government. Thank you. (Applause)

MADAM SPEAKER: Under our orders and rules, specifically Rule No. 62(a), this concludes the Budget Debate at this stage. Resolution No. 218 is deemed to be carried. The Budget Debate therefore ends at this point.

The estimates are referred to the Committee of the Whole House on Supply.

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RICHARD MANN: Madam Speaker, I can advise members of the House that on Monday we will be sitting from the hours of 4:00 p.m. until 10:00 p.m. and following the daily routine the House will go into a Committee of the Whole House on Supply. We will be deliberating the estimates of the Minister of Health in this Chamber and in the Committee Room we will begin alphabetically with the Department of Agriculture and Marketing, followed by the Department of Business and Consumer Services.

I move that we adjourn until 4:00 p.m. on Monday.

MADAM SPEAKER: The motion is that we adjourn until 4:00 p.m. on Monday. It is in order.

We stand adjourned until Monday at 4:00 p.m.

[The House rose at 12:58 p.m.]

[Page 1138]

NOTICES OF MOTION UNDER RULE 32(3)

HOUSE ORDER NO. 7

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 Economic Renewal Agency:

(1) Schedules and cost of all government funded out-of-province trips paid for through the Economic Renewal Agency that were taken by all private sector participants between July 1, 1993 and April 15, 1996; and

(2) The purpose of the trip.

HOUSE ORDER NO. 8

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 Economic Renewal Agency:

(1) Schedules and cost of all government funded out-of-province trips paid for through the Economic Renewal Agency for the period July 1, 1993 to April 15, 1996 that were taken by:

(a) The Premier; and

(b) Staff of the Premier.

HOUSE ORDER NO. 9

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 Economic Renewal Agency:

(1) Regarding the recent management audit conducted in the Economic Renewal Agency, the following information is requested:

(a) The total cost of the audit, including tendering costs;

(b) A pre-audit organizational chart and post-audit organizational chart which indicates pre-audit full-time and casual staff complement and current full-time and casual staff complement;

(c) Status report on the implementation of each of the recommendations made;

(d) Total savings resulting from recommendations implemented; and

(e) List of audit recommendations.

[Page 1139]

HOUSE ORDER NO. 10

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) Number and make of automobiles, trucks and vans purchased by the department between April 1, 1994 and March 31, 1996;

(2) Number and make of automobiles, trucks and vans leased by the department between April 1, 1994 and March 31, 1996;

(3) Conditions of leases signed for vehicles;

(4) Number of vehicles traded in and the price accepted by the Department of Justice in the purchase of new vehicles; and

(5) Name and place of dealership where purchase or lease locations of the new vehicles took place.

HOUSE ORDER NO. 11

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 Public Works:

(1) Regarding the recent management audit conducted in the Department of Transportation and Public Works, the following information is requested:

(a) A list of audit recommendations;

(b) Status report on the implementation of each of the recommendations made; and

(c) Total savings resulting from recommendations implemented.

HOUSE ORDER NO. 12

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 Public Works:

(1) A detailed listing of out-of-province travel undertaken by the Minister and Deputy Ministers of Transportation and Public Works as well as out-of-province travel undertaken by senior staff in the department, including that of engineers, between April 10, 1995 to the most recent date available;

[Page 1140]

(2) The total cost of each out-of-province trip listed above, reasons for the trip and length of stay; and

(3) The total number of department employees who participated in out-of-province travel during the same timeframe.

HOUSE ORDER NO. 13

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) Number and make of automobiles, trucks and vans purchased by the department between April 1, 1994 and March 31, 1996;

(2) Number and make of automobiles, trucks and vans leased by the department between April 1, 1994 and March 31, 1996;

(3) Conditions of leases signed for vehicles;

(4) Number of vehicles traded in and the price accepted by the Department of Natural Resources in the purchase of new vehicles; and

(5) Name and place of dealership where purchase or lease locations of the new vehicles took place.