Assemblée Législative de la Nouvelle-Écosse

Les travaux de la Chambre ont repris le
21 septembre 2017

Hansard -- Wed., May 8, 1996

Fourth Session

WEDNESDAY, MAY 8, 1996

TABLE OF CONTENTS PAGE
STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS:
Environ. - Colchester Co.: Stinnes Enerco Compost Plant -
Opening, Hon. W. Adams 1475
GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 471, Sports - Diana Sweets (Spring Garden Rd.): Owners -
Salute, Hon. J. Abbass 1478
Vote - Affirmative 1479
Res. 472, Environ. - Clean N.S. Fdn.: Leadership - Commend,
Hon. W. Adams 1479
Vote - Affirmative 1479
Res. 473, St. Joseph's Church (Hfx. North End) - Meeting Place
(CBC-05/05/96): Parishioners - Congrats., Hon. G. O'Malley 1479
Vote - Affirmative 1480
Res. 474, Order of Canada: Mr. Lou Collins (Hfx.) - Congrats.,
Hon. J. Abbass 1480
Vote - Affirmative 1480
Res. 475, Halifax, Port of - Ships (Post-Panamax):
Meeting Strategy - Congrats., Hon. G. O'Malley 1480
Vote - Affirmative 1481
INTRODUCTION OF BILLS:
No. 23, Dartmouth Pollution Control Account Act, Hon. J. Smith 1481
NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 476, Mun. Affs. - Hfx. Reg. Mun.: Road Maintenance Equipment -
Cost, Mr. B. Taylor 1481
Res. 477, Fin. - Taxation: Families (Low Income) -
Benefits Clarify, Mr. R. Chisholm 1482
Res. 478, Order of Canada: David Sobey (Stellarton) - Congrats.,
Dr. J. Hamm 1482
Vote - Affirmative 1483
Res. 479, Lunenburg - Good Morning America (TV Show):
Site Choice - Congrats., Mrs. L. O'Connor 1483
Vote - Affirmative 1483
Res. 480, Sackville-Cobequid MLA - Regional Differences (Educ.-JHS):
Focus - Condemn, Mr. Manning MacDonald 1483
Res. 481, Ross Bragg (MLA) - Recovery: Best Wishes - Convey,
Mr. T. Donahoe 1484
Vote - Affirmative 1485
Res. 482, Health - Multiple Sclerosis Society: Carnation Campaign -
Support Encourage, Mr. A. MacLeod 1485
Vote - Affirmative 1485
Res. 483, Gregg Ernst (First Peninsula) - Blacksmith Operations:
Best Wishes - Extend, Mrs. L. O'Connor 1486
Vote - Affirmative 1486
Res. 484, VE Day - Anniv. (51st): Sacrifice - Remember,
Mr. D. Richards 1486
Vote - Affirmative 1487
Res. 485, Educ. - Keizai Koho Centre Fellowship: Allan Ernest King
(Sir John A. Macdonald HS) - Congrats., Mr. B. Holland 1487
Vote - Affirmative 1487
Res. 486, Health - Nurses: Superb Care - Acknowledge,
Mrs. F. Cosman 1487
Vote - Affirmative 1488
Res. 487, Health - Mental Health Centre (Cole Harbour):
Initiative (N.S. Hospital) - Congrats., Mr. D. Richards 1488
Vote - Affirmative 1489
Res. 488, Health - Mental Health Centre (Sackville-Bedford):
Initiative (N.S. Hospital) - Congrats., Mr. William MacDonald 1489
Vote - Affirmative 1489
Res. 489, NDP Leader (N.S.) - Budget (N.S.): Opposition - Explain,
Mr. G. Fogarty 1489
Res. 490, Lbr. - Min. Wage Rules: Changes - Congrats., Mr. K. Colwell 1490
Vote - Affirmative 1490
Res. 491, Justice - Crown Prosecutors: Bargaining - Stakeholders Hear,
Mr. T. Donahoe 1490
Res. 492, ERA - Dynatek: Policies Similar - Abandon, Mr. R. Chisholm 1491
Res. 493, Health - Care: Professionalism - Salute, Mrs. F. Cosman 1491
Vote - Affirmative 1492
Res. 494, Yarmouth Lions Club - Fund Raising: Outstanding Philanthropic
Group Award - Congrats., Mr. R. Hubbard 1492
Vote - Affirmative 1492
Res. 495, Mun. Affs. - Infrastructure Improvement (Hants East):
Gov'ts. - Applaud, Mr. R. Carruthers 1493
Vote - Affirmative 1493
Res. 496, Gov't. (N.S.) [1993 to date]: Significant Achievements -
Congrats., Mr. B. Holland 1493
Res. 497, Health - Multiple Sclerosis Society: Work - Congrats.,
Mr. A. MacLeod 1494
Vote - Affirmative 1494
Res. 498, Educ. - Gertrude Parker School (Lr. Sackville):
Rededication - Commend, Mr. William MacDonald 1494
Vote - Affirmative 1495
Res. 499, Mun. Affs. - Infrastructure Improvement (Anna.):
Gov'ts. - Applaud, Mr. E. Rayfuse 1495
Vote - Affirmative 1496
Res. 500, NDP - Fear Mongering: Stop - Urge, Mr. G. Fogarty 1496
Res. 501, Educ. - School Construction: Promises Unfulfilled -
Shame Show, Mr. B. Taylor 1496
Res. 502, Environ. - Clean-up (04-11/05/96): Participants -
Applaud, Mr. R. Hubbard 1497
Vote - Affirmative 1497
Res. 503, Col.-Musquodoboit Valley MLA - GST Infliction:
Gov't. (Can.-PC) - Remember, Mr. R. Carruthers 1497
INTRODUCTION OF BILLS:
No. 24, Bridgewater Parks and Recreation Commission Act,
Hon. D. Downe 1498
ORAL QUESTIONS PUT BY MEMBERS:
No. 236, Health - Krever Inquiry: Court (Fed.) Applications -
Withdrawal, Dr. J. Hamm 1498
No. 237, Environ. - VG Hospital: Med. Waste Incinerator -
Emissions Standards, Mr. J. Holm 1499
No. 238, ERA - Team South-West: Concerns - Update, Dr. J. Hamm 1501
No. 239, Devco - Lease 73-1: Negotiations - Status,
Mr. A. MacLeod 1503
No. 240, Health - MSV Motherhouse: De Paul Centre - Respite Centre,
Mr. G. Moody 1503
No. 241, Environ. - Lunenburg Ind. Comm'n.: Blysteiner Lake -
Application, Mr. J. Leefe 1504
No. 242, Fin. - Taxation: Families (Low Income) - Cuts Veracity,
Mr. R. Chisholm 1505
No. 243, Agric. - Hfx. Reg. Mun.: Livestock - Fencing,
Mr. B. Taylor 1506
No. 244, Environ. - Enviro-Depots: Data (Prior [01/04/96] Post) -
Table, Mr. T. Donahoe 1508
No. 245, Health - Gambling: Addiction - Toll-Free Line (South Shore),
Mr. J. Leefe 1509
No. 246, Transport. & Pub. Wks. - LaHave Ferry: Operation -
Details, Mr. B. Taylor 1510
No. 247, ERA - Dynatek: Employees - Number, Mr. R. Chisholm 1512
No. 248, Agric.: Feed Freight Assist. - Task Force Report,
Mr. G. Archibald 1513
No. 249, Transport. & Pub. Wks. - Detox Centre (Pictou):
Renovations - Status, Mr. D. McInnes 1514
No. 250, WCB - Funds: Investments - Results, Mr. R. Russell 1515
No. 251, Housing - Authorities: Recycling - Infrastructure,
Mr. J. Leefe 1516
No. 252, Gaming Control Comm'n. - Lotteries: Ticket Sales
(Offshore) - Cessation, Mr. J. Holm 1517
No. 253, Health: Laboratory Services - Privatization, Mr. R. Russell 1519
No. 254, Environ. - Resource Recovery Fund: Tire Recycling -
Contract, Mr. B. Taylor 1520
OPPOSITION MEMBERS' BUSINESS:
MOTIONS OTHER THAN GOVERNMENT MOTIONS:
Res. 49, Health - Reform: Effect - Condemn, Mr. G. Moody 1521
Mr. G. Moody 1521
Hon. R. Stewart 1524
Mr. R. Chisholm 1526
Res. 177, Transport. - Hfx. (Port): Vessels Fees Increase -
Address, Dr. J. Hamm 1528
Dr. J. Hamm 1528
Hon. R. Mann 1530
Mr. J. Holm 1533
Mr. G. Archibald 1535
H.O. 11, Transport. & Pub. Wks.: Mgt. Audit - Recommendations,
Mr. B. Taylor 1538
Mr. B. Taylor 1538
Hon. R. Mann 1538
Mr. B. Taylor 1538
Vote - Affirmative 1539
H.O. 12, Transport. & Pub. Wks. - Travel (Ex Prov.)[10/04/95-to date],
Mr. B. Taylor 1539
Mr. B. Taylor 1539
Hon. R. Mann 1539
Mr. B. Taylor 1539
Vote - Affirmative 1539
H.O. 7, Stands 1540
H.O. 8, Stands 1541
H.O. 9, Stands 1541
H.O. 10, Stands 1542
H.O. 13, Carried 1542
HOUSE RESOLVED INTO CWH ON SUPPLY AT 4:52 P.M. 1543
HOUSE RECONVENED AT 6:00 P.M. 1543
ADJOURNMENT:
MOTION UNDER RULE 5(5):
Commun. Serv. - Compass Program: Initiative - Commend:
Mrs. L. O'Connor 1543
ADJOURNMENT, House rose to meet again on Thur., May 9th at 12:00 p.m. 1546
NOTICE OF MOTION UNDER RULE 32(3):
Res. 504, Culture - Surefire Bluegrass Group (Eastern Shore):
Kentucky Trip - Success Extend, Mr. K. Colwell 1547
Kentucky Trip - Success Extend, Mr. K. Colwell
[Page 1475]

HALIFAX, WEDNESDAY, MAY 8, 1996

Fifty-sixth General Assembly

Fourth Session

1:00 P.M.

SPEAKER

Hon. Paul MacEwan

DEPUTY SPEAKER

Mrs. Francene Cosman

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. I will call the House to order at this time and commence the daily routine of business.

PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS

PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES

TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS

STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of the Environment.

HON. WAYNE ADAMS: Mr. Speaker, yesterday I had the pleasure to be in Kemptown, Colchester County, to help open a home-grown solution that has possibilities for the entire world. A year of planning, building and testing has brought forth a system for dealing with organic waste that breaks new ground in efficiency and affordability.

The Stinnes Enerco compost plant will help turn the problem of organic waste into an environmental and economic opportunity. It is this type of thinking, Mr. Speaker, that makes the leaders, in this the second wave of our environmental movement. We, at the Department of the Environment, along with other government partners, gave this project strong financial and strong moral support. Frankly, we were looking far beyond the capabilities of this one facility. Nova Scotia was the first province in Canada to pledge to reduce its solid waste by a minimum of 50 per cent by the year 2000. We need innovative, affordable solutions for municipalities who are embarking on the next stage of solid waste management.

1475

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This system is ideal for many applications. It is affordable. Its modular design means that it can easily be adapted to larger or smaller municipal waste streams. The fact that there is virtually no odour means that we can place the plants closer to populated areas, saving on the cost of transportation.

Mr. Speaker, I believe this composting process has a role to play across the province. Our new Solid Waste Resource Management Strategy has two main thrusts. One is to cast aside the throwaway mentality that has fouled our Earth with garbage from past generations and the second is just as significant. We can clean up our province, create jobs at home and develop products and solutions for other jurisdictions that are just beginning to realize that Nova Scotia is on to something good.

Municipal leaders are looking for affordable solutions to the organic side of the solid waste question. They need to look no further than Kemptown, Nova Scotia. In the days to come, I hope that municipal leaders from across the province will travel to Colchester County to see what has been accomplished. Ideas mean progress and progress means jobs.

Mr. Speaker, 14 skilled people at Mulgrave Machine Works helped turn an idea into a working plant. Negotiations are now underway, aimed at expanding this plant so that it could be capable of handling all the waste organics from northern Nova Scotia. The result would be an environmental problem becoming an economic opportunity and a benefit. That would mean that those 14 people at Mulgrave Machine Works could become 45 people earning their living by making Nova Scotia even better and an even cleaner place to live.

This project has benefitted from the foresight of many people. The municipal leaders of Truro and Colchester County made a wise investment. So, too, did our own government's Department of Housing and Municipal Affairs, my Department of the Environment along with our federal partners in the Canada-Nova Scotia Sustainable Development Agreement are pleased to have played a part. I must not forget to mention, Mr. Speaker, the Resource Recovery Fund Board which is making a significant contribution to clean up this province and creating jobs in the process. Thank you. (Applause)

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

MR. BROOKE TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, I commend the minister for coming forward with this statement today. I had an opportunity yesterday to witness the minister and his entourage open the composting facility in Kemptown, Colchester County. The site certainly has the potential to serve all of Colchester County and more specifically it has the potential to serve a great number of communities throughout Nova Scotia.

I would like to personally congratulate the Department of the Environment for its commitment to this project and for its commitment to other types of initiatives that will, as the minister suggests, eliminate the mentality to throw away what we call waste and which really is, in many cases, resource. So, the Warden of Colchester County and Colchester County Council were very involved in this project. The Mayor of Truro and, of course, the Town Council of Truro were very involved. The Mayor of the Town of Stewiacke and his council were all involved and all supported this very worthwhile initiative.

The Kemptown composting facility, Mr. Speaker, is just one component of the waste management park that is set up in the community of Kemptown. They have a landfill there, a second generation bale fill facility. They have opened a material recycling facility. All the different components.

[Page 1477]

It is certainly my hope and desire that the Minister of the Environment will encourage the tire recycling facility to locate there because in that facility, Mr. Speaker, thousands and thousands of tires are also landfilled. I sincerely hope that the minister, I know he has some discussions recently with the Nova Scotian involving that initiative. So I certainly would encourage the minister to support the tire recycling facility being located in the same facility.

Mr. Speaker, one of the underlying things that must be mentioned any time you talk about this project is the fact that the community of Kemptown did not take the Nimby approach. They, in fact, saw this as an opportunity to create jobs, as an opportunity to do something positive for the environment. So I commend Colchester County and, more particularly, I commend the residents of Kemptown, because they were very, very forthright. Thank you.

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

MR. JOHN HOLM: Mr. Speaker, I think that we have unanimity here on a matter because I, certainly, too, do very much welcome the minister's announcement today. I would like to add my words of congratulations to the municipal councillors, the communities and to all of those who helped to bring this compost facility onstream.

I haven't had the opportunity to visit this particular site yet, but I can say, through you, Mr. Speaker, to the minister that I would very much like to have the opportunity to do that. I have visited some others and I believe very strongly and have for a long time, as I would suggest the majority of people in this province have as well, that the time has long passed when we have got to put an end to our destruction of what are, in fact, resources.

My only criticism, if I could have a criticism of the minister and of the government, is that we still have a target that I believe is too low, the 50 per cent diversion target, that I believe that that figure can, in fact, be much, much higher. There are many things that people don't realize can actually be composted can, in fact, be composted and items that are still being thrown away.

There are other benefits as well as the resources that are actually going to be composted and not being disposed of. We certainly, in this province, are at the present time raping acres and acres of good agricultural land to take that topsoil to use it for landscaping purposes and so on. That is one of the uses to which the compost can be put, for growing sods and many other things as well. It has been my understanding that for quite some number of years landscapers have said that they will buy all of the product that can be produced. There is a market there for it now.

I think, as I said at the beginning of my remarks, that this is a very positive step forward. I hope that we do become the leader in this country and I hope that other provinces and other jurisdictions, in fact, around the world will some day look to Nova Scotia as a positive example to follow.

So, Mr. Speaker, with those few remarks, again, I say that I congratulate the minister. I think that the approach and the modular approach, so it can be expanded, is a very positive one. I look forward to having the opportunity to visit the site for myself so that I can have an opportunity, in person, to say congratulations to those who have been directly involved in bringing this project onstream. Thank you.

[Page 1478]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of the Environment.

HON. WAYNE ADAMS: Mr. Speaker, if I might introduce through you to members of the House, two distinguished guests in the east gallery who are instrumental in a lot of our solid waste management diversion, particularly with the deposit return. We have the Chairman of the Resource Recovery Fund Board, Mr. Elwood Dillman, and the Acting General Manager, Mr. David Howell, who are in the gallery. (Applause)

GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Human Resources.

[1:15 p.m.]

RESOLUTION NO. 471

HON. JAY ABBASS: Mr. Speaker, I would beg the indulgence of the House over the lengthy preamble to this particular one.

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

Whereas the restaurant known as Diana Sweets, on Spring Garden Road, was the gathering place for the province's sporting fraternity for more than 30 years; and

Whereas many world-famous athletes were entertained there; and

Whereas the owners, Pop, Joe and Tom Sweet, provided a home away from home for university athletes and other young people, some of whom have grown into distinguished members of this House; and

Whereas Tom Sweet served on the executive of Basketball Nova Scotia for more than 20 years, financially supported many Halifax sports teams and later served as the first curator of the Nova Scotia Sport Heritage Centre, where he has also been a volunteer for 25 years; and

Whereas an event, A Toast To Tom, is scheduled for Friday, May 10, 1996, at Pier 22; and

Whereas the Victoria General Hospital Foundation and the Nova Scotia Sport Heritage Centre will share in the proceeds from A Toast To Tom; and

Whereas Don Warner will come out of retirement to lead his big band sound orchestra;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House of Assembly formally salute Tom Sweet, and the late Pop and Joe Sweet, and extend congratulations and best wishes to the organizers of the A Toast To Tom event.

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

MR. SPEAKER: Is that agreeable?

It is agreed.

[Page 1479]

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of the Environment.

RESOLUTION NO. 472

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

Whereas earlier today, a large number of staff from the Department of the Environment joined with people from the Clean Nova Scotia Foundation to clean up a part of downtown Halifax; and

Whereas The Great Nova Scotia Pick Me Up is an annual clean-up campaign to rid the province of litter; and

Whereas the Clean Nova Scotia Foundation has plans for a province-wide clean-up campaign this month and next;

Therefore be it resolved that this House commend the foundation for its leadership and urge all Nova Scotians, in all ridings, to follow the example of my department staff and take some time out of their day to make this province a little cleaner and greener place to live.

Mr. Speaker, I would request waiver of notice.

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

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of the Technology and Science Secretariat.

RESOLUTION NO. 473

HON. GERALD O'MALLEY: Mr. Speaker, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas the CBC program Meeting Place televised, nationally, the Parish of St. Joseph's Church on television on Sunday, May 5, 1996; and

Whereas the Pastor, Father Gordon MacLean, and his team of parishioners put so much preparation and success into this event; and

Whereas St. Joseph's Church was destroyed and 500 parishioners perished in the 1917 Halifax Explosion and it has flourished into an important and integral part of the spiritual community of North End Halifax;

[Page 1480]

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Father Gordon MacLean and the parishioners of St. Joseph's Church for a job well done on CBC television on Sunday.

Mr. Speaker, I would request waiver of notice.

MR. SPEAKER: Is that agreeable to the House?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Human Resources.

RESOLUTION NO. 474

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

Whereas Louis W. (Lou) Collins acted as Halifax's official historian for many years and led the province through restoration projects such as Historic Properties; and

Whereas today, in Ottawa, the Governor General, the Honourable Romeo LeBlanc, will present Mr. Collins with the Order of Canada, the highest honour bestowed upon Canadians;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly recognize Mr. Lou Collins as a great Halifax historian and extend to him our congratulations for being one of only two Nova Scotians who will be receiving Orders of Canada in 1996.

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

MR. SPEAKER: Is that agreeable to the House?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried. (Applause)

The honourable Minister of the Technology and Science Secretariat.

RESOLUTION NO. 475

HON. GERALD O'MALLEY: Mr. Speaker, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas the Port of Halifax is readying itself to take advantage of a new series of the world's largest container ships known as the post-Panamax ships; and

[Page 1481]

Whereas the post-Panamax ships will require adjustments to the Port of Halifax, including strengthening of terminals and the installation of larger cranes, expected to cost $10 million over the next five years; and

Whereas the Port of Halifax is strategically aligning itself to be the ideal North American port to receive these ships, the Goliaths of ocean trade, which can carry up to 6,000 20-foot containers;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate the foresight and marketing strategy of the Port of Halifax as it responds to the new generation of post-Panamax ships.

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

MR. SPEAKER: Is that agreeable to the House?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

INTRODUCTION OF BILLS

Bill No. 23 - Entitled an Act Respecting the Dartmouth Pollution Control Account. (Hon. James Smith as a private member.)

MR. SPEAKER: Ordered that this bill be read a second time on a future day.

NOTICES OF MOTION

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

RESOLUTION NO. 476

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

Whereas George McLellan, Operations Commissioner of the Halifax Regional Municipality, recently stated that the municipality must purchase $2.3 million worth of new backhoes, dump trucks and other heavy equipment for road work; and

Whereas the Department of Transportation, according to Mr. McLellan, is only offering inadequate equipment for sale to the Halifax Regional Municipality; and

Whereas the Halifax Mayor Walter Fitzgerald is concerned about the state that the provincial government has allowed the Halifax Regional Municipality's road to become;

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Municipal Affairs explain to the taxpayers of the Halifax Regional Municipality if the $2.3 million cost for new road maintenance equipment was included in her estimated gains from amalgamation.

[Page 1482]

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable Leader of the New Democratic Party.

RESOLUTION NO. 477

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

Whereas the Minister of Finance stated in his Budget Address that a family of four with a net income of $15,000 would receive a tax break of $930; and

Whereas in a document prepared by the Fiscal Policy Division of the Department of Finance entitled Analysis of the Low Income Tax Reduction it is illustrated that under no circumstances will a family of four receive one cent of a tax break if their net family income is less than $18,000; and

Whereas the Finance Minister is distorting other facts about who benefits from the low income tax reduction by stating that the low income tax reduction has already helped 155,000 low income Nova Scotians and their families when, in actual fact, it has only helped 88,000 individuals and 18,000 families;

Therefore be it resolved that this House demands that the Finance Minister come clean with Nova Scotians and admit that his tax breaks will disproportionately benefit those with the highest incomes and leave only crumbs for workaday Nova Scotians and their families.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable Leader of the Opposition.

RESOLUTION NO. 478

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

Whereas today, the Governor General will be honouring Canadians who have given outstanding service to their communities and their country by inducting them into the Order of Canada; and

Whereas David Sobey of Stellarton, Chair and Chief Executive Officer of Sobeys Incorporated, will be one of the inductees as a member of the Order; and

Whereas Mr. Sobey will be recognized for his business acumen and as a benefactor to such organizations as Tim Horton's Children's Foundation, Saint Mary's University and the Frank and Irene Sobey Memorial Fund;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate Mr. Sobey on this outstanding achievement in recognition of his outstanding contribution as a Nova Scotia businessman and contributor to the quality of life of his fellow citizens.

Mr. Speaker, I seek waiver of notice.

[Page 1483]

MR. SPEAKER: Is that agreeable to the House?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Lunenburg.

RESOLUTION NO. 479

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

Whereas the American television current affairs show, Good Morning America, now in its 20th year, has attracted millions of viewers; and

Whereas Good Morning America will be touring Canada from May 13 to May 17, 1996, featuring each of Canada's geographical regions, including Victoria, Vancouver, Ottawa, Quebec City, Montreal and Lunenburg, Nova Scotia; and

Whereas the Town of Lunenburg was chosen to showcase the charm and beauty of a small, seafaring town;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this Assembly extend congratulations to Joan Lunden, Charles Gibson, Spencer Christian, correspondents, cast and crew for choosing Lunenburg as the site of Good Morning America and wish them success as they travel across Canada.

Of course, I ask for waiver of notice.

MR. SPEAKER: Is that agreeable to the House?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Cape Breton South.

RESOLUTION NO. 480

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

Whereas the member for Sackville-Cobequid has taken it upon himself to begin comparing the cost of junior high schools in different regions of the province, recently comparing the new junior high school in Sydney with that in another area of the province; and

[Page 1484]

Whereas the motives behind such a comparison are unclear, in that politics of this kind are usually designed to pit Nova Scotian against Nova Scotian; and

Whereas the member for Sackville-Cobequid should know better than to engage in low-ball politics at a time when it is necessary for all Nova Scotians to work together, from Sydney to Yarmouth;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House condemn the member for Sackville-Cobequid for playing upon regional differences at a time when we must draw strength from the things we hold in common as a province.

MR. JOHN HOLM: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order. As one who would love to have the opportunity to debate the inaccuracies and distortions that are contained in the resolution, I would be willing to debate it; however, unless it is to be called for debate, I would like to ask you to rule whether or not that resolution is, in fact, in order because it does, in fact, impugn motives.

If the government wants to introduce it and call it some day for debate, I would be happy to take the member on.

HON. RICHARD MANN: Mr. Speaker, on the point of order. The honourable member, next Wednesday, could certainly call his own resolution for debate and it could be debated at that time, the whole matter.

MR. SPEAKER: Now I do know that Beauchesne contains provisions forbidding the imputations of motives under the heading of Content of Speeches, in the chapter entitled Rules of Debate: "a Member, while speaking, must not: (e) impute bad motives or motives different from those acknowledged by a Member.". I would, therefore, rule the second "Whereas" clause of this resolution out of order.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Halifax Citadel.

AN. HON. MEMBER: Unbelievable. We're going to remember that one.

MR. SPEAKER: Well, possibly the honourable member wishes me not to rule that out of order, but I will rule it out of order nonetheless, that one whereas clause.

The honourable member for Halifax Citadel.

RESOLUTION NO. 481

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

Whereas our colleague, Ross Bragg, MLA for Cumberland North, is now fighting the return of his affliction with leukaemia; and

Whereas Ross Bragg is a good friend of us all, a loving husband and father and a true servant of his community, his province and, of course, his family;

[Page 1485]

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House convey to our colleague, Ross, through the Speaker, our best wishes for a full and speedy recovery and an early return to his work here in this House with all of us.

I would ask for waiver of notice.

MR. SPEAKER: Is that agreeable to the House?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried. (Applause)

My office has already sent a communication to Mr. Bragg, but we will certainly send the resolution on as well.

[1:30 p.m.]

Now, we have three members on their feet at one time.

The honourable member for Cape Breton West.

RESOLUTION NO. 482

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

Whereas multiple sclerosis, a disease for which there is as of yet no known cure, affects some 2,000 Nova Scotians and their families; and

Whereas today, the Multiple Sclerosis Society is kicking off its annual Carnation Campaign, asking Nova Scotians to support the efforts of the society by buying carnations; and

Whereas funds raised by this effort will go toward supporting the research needed to help find a cure for multiple sclerosis and services to sufferers and their families;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House encourage Nova Scotians to support the Multiple Sclerosis Society in this, its 20th Carnation Campaign, and support their efforts to find a cure for this dread disease.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

MR. SPEAKER: Is that agreeable to the House?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

[Page 1486]

The honourable member for Lunenburg.

RESOLUTION NO. 483

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

Whereas Gregg Ernst of First Peninsula, strongest man in the world, has recently purchased the historic Walters blacksmith shop in Lunenburg; and

Whereas this shop, which is 121 years old, has been designated a heritage property; and

Whereas Mr. Ernst, although not a blacksmith, will be, over the next few months, learning the blacksmith trade from Vernon Walters, most recent owner of the establishment, in order to continue blacksmithing in this heritage facility;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this Assembly extend congratulations and best wishes to Mr. Ernst for purchasing this shop and carrying on the historic trade of blacksmithing.

Mr. Speaker, I ask for waiver.

MR. SPEAKER: Is that agreeable?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage.

RESOLUTION NO. 484

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

Whereas the 51st Anniversary of VE Day provides an opportunity for all of us to remember and salute the very significant contribution made by many thousands of Canadian men and women in World War II; and

Whereas throughout the six years of the war, 42,000 Canadian men and women, sacrificed their lives in the cause of freedom and peace; and

Whereas thousands of brave Nova Scotian men and women served in the three branches of the Armed Forces, as well as in the Merchant Marine, in an effort to end conflict and achieve peace, including several honourable members of this House;

Therefore be it resolved that as we pause to remember the liberation of Europe 51 years ago, the members of this Assembly pay tribute to the vital efforts and sacrifices in the pursuit of lasting peace made by thousands of men, women and families of this great country and province and honour their sacrifice with a moment of silence.

[Page 1487]

Mr. Speaker, I ask for waiver.

MR. SPEAKER: Is that agreeable to the House?

It is agreed.

It calls for a moment's silence in honour of those who died in the war.

[A moment of silence was observed.]

MR. SPEAKER: That motion was not actually put to the House but I take it by the consent that was demonstrated that it is carried.

The honourable member for Timberlea-Prospect.

RESOLUTION NO. 485

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

Whereas Allan Ernest King, social studies teacher at Sir John A. Macdonald High School, has been awarded a 1996 Keizai Koho Centre Fellowship for travel and study in Japan this summer; and

Whereas he was one of only 16 North American educators selected from several hundred applicants for the all-expense paid fellowships; and

Whereas he will tour Japan from June 22nd to July 9th as a guest of the Keizai Koho Centre (Japan Institute for Social and Economic Affairs) an organization supported by Japanese business and industry;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Mr. Allan Ernest King for his receipt of the 1996 Keizai Koho Centre Fellowship, as he embarks on a journey of international understanding and cooperation.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver.

MR. SPEAKER: Is that agreeable?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Bedford-Fall River.

RESOLUTION NO. 486

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

[Page 1488]

Whereas this week in Nova Scotia and throughout Canada, we celebrate National Nurses Week, whose theme this year is, "Ask a Nurse", which invites people to think about the many ways nurses provide quality health care; and

Whereas nurses in Nova Scotia promote wellness by offering medical expertise through knowledge, professionalism, commitment and accessibility in diverse settings, including hospitals, clinics, patient homes, seniors' residences, industry, schools and home care, and are actively involved in teaching and research; and

Whereas Nurses Week provides us with an ideal opportunity to think about our province's many nurses, as well as the opportunities and challenges they face in providing quality health care;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this Legislative Assembly acknowledge the superb health care given by the nurses of Nova Scotia and renew our commitment to provide Nova Scotia nurses with all the support and assistance they require to carry out their work.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver.

MR. SPEAKER: Is that agreeable?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage.

RESOLUTION NO. 487

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

Whereas today marks the grand opening of the new mental health service centre in Cole Harbour, a community outreach service of the Nova Scotia Hospital; and

Whereas the new mental health centre will offer easier access to mental health services at the local community level; and

Whereas each centre has a team of professionals, including general practitioners, nurses, occupational therapists, psychiatrists, psychologists and social workers, as well as mental health consumer representatives;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly congratulate the initiative of the Nova Scotia Hospital to promote healthier communities by opening this new mental health service in Cole Harbour.

Mr. Speaker, I ask for waiver.

[Page 1489]

MR. SPEAKER: Is that agreeable?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Sackville-Beaverbank.

RESOLUTION NO. 488

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

Whereas today marks the grand opening of a new mental health centre in Sackville, a community outreach service of the Nova Scotia Hospital; and

Whereas the new mental health centre will offer easier access to mental health services to residents in the Bedford-Sackville area, within their own communities; and

Whereas each centre will offer a range of mental health services tailored to individual and community health needs;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly congratulate the initiative of the Nova Scotia Hospital to promote healthier communities by opening this new mental health service centre in Sackville, to serve the Sackville-Bedford community.

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

MR. SPEAKER: Is that agreeable?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Halifax Bedford Basin.

RESOLUTION NO. 489

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

Whereas the Minister of Finance has succeeded in restoring the integrity of Nova Scotia, after 15 years of mismanagement, by balancing the books and thereby increasing investment interest that will lead to jobs for Nova Scotians; and

[Page 1490]

Whereas the Minister of Finance has taken a further step to ensure the financial security of our children by introducing a bill that will require future governments, regardless of political stripe, to manage tax dollars responsibly and to lessen the tax burden on Nova Scotians; and

Whereas the Leader of the New Democratic Party has publicly stated that he opposes this cut taxes-balance the books bill;

Therefore be it resolved that the Leader of the New Democratic Party explain to the people of Nova Scotia why he is against responsible management of their tax dollars, why he is opposed to tax cuts and how he would safeguard the future of their children by subjecting the province to the NDP philosophy of spend, spend, spend.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Eastern Shore.

RESOLUTION NO. 490

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

Whereas Nova Scotian's minimum wage will rise to $5.35 an hour on October 1st and to $5.50 an hour on February 1, 1997, which will give businesses time to adjust; and

Whereas the increases in the minimum wage will benefit more than 40,000 Nova Scotians including hundreds of individuals on the Eastern Shore; and

Whereas a minimum wage guarantee will also apply to many professionals during their training period;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate the Honourable Guy Brown, Minister of Labour, for introducing this progressive legislation which will benefit many people along the Eastern Shore and throughout rural Nova Scotia.

Mr. Speaker, I ask for waiver.

MR. SPEAKER: Is that agreeable to the House?

It is agreed, apparently.

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

The motion is carried. (Applause)

The honourable member for Halifax Citadel.

RESOLUTION NO. 491

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

[Page 1491]

Whereas the Municipal Association of Police Personnel, in a recent letter to the Premier, supported provincial Crown Prosecutors in their bid to have the Nova Scotia Government Lawyers Association recognized as their bargaining agent; and

Whereas Sergeant Tony Burbridge, President of the Police Personnel Association, stated the following in the letter, "It is our belief that these people deserve the same basic rights as all other citizens who want to form an association."; and

Whereas Sergeant Burbridge also questioned whether the government is applying as much pressure on the administration of justice as it does on threatening Crown Prosecutors;

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Justice listen to the stakeholders in the judicial system and reconsider his decision on the Crown Prosecutors' bargaining agent and engage in a meaningful dialogue with the Nova Scotia Government Lawyers Association.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable Leader of the New Democratic Party.

RESOLUTION NO. 492

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

Whereas a few months before the 1993 provincial election, the Tory Government of Nova Scotia poured millions of public funds into Dynatek Automation Systems in a desperate attempt to gain pre-election advantage; and

Whereas Dynatek was supposed to create 100 jobs in its first year and 250 jobs by 1997 but, to date, employs only about 60 in Nova Scotia; and

Whereas the Liberal Government has recently given Dynatek additional loan guarantees and extended, by five years, the deadline for living up to its job creation promises;

Therefore be it resolved that this government abandon the kind of economic policies that led to the Dynatek deal, because the record of failures by decades of Liberal and Tory Governments demonstrate clearly that those policies do not work.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Bedford-Fall River.

RESOLUTION NO. 493

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

Whereas on the night of January 15th, Bedford resident, Alexander MacDougall, required emergency medical treatment as the result of a broken ankle; and

[Page 1492]

Whereas Mr. MacDougall recounts how he was pleasantly amazed at the service and the attention he received at the hands of the professional medical people he encountered saying, "it was a joy to meet, and to be looked after, by these people"; and

Whereas Mr. MacDougall wishes to express his appreciation to the two ambulance attendants, the nurses, the X-ray technicians and the doctors on duty at the Cobequid Multi-Service Centre, and the doctors and nurses in the emergency department of the VG Hospital;

Therefore be it resolved that this House join with Mr. MacDougall in saluting the highly skilled and attentive care consistently provided by Nova Scotia's health care professionals in this province.

Mr. Speaker, I am requesting waiver.

MR. SPEAKER: Is that agreeable?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Yarmouth.

RESOLUTION NO. 494

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

Whereas the Canadian Society of Fund Raising Executives of Nova Scotia has celebrated excellence in the field of philanthropy in the Atlantic Region, receiving 28 nominations from throughout the region; and

Whereas the Outstanding Philanthropic Group Award went to the Yarmouth Lions Club, nominated by the Kaye Nickerson Adult Service Centre in Yarmouth; and

Whereas the award recognizes individuals acting collectively to provide resources for the community;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate the Yarmouth Lions Club for receiving the Canadian Society of Fund Raising Executives of Nova Scotia's Outstanding Philanthropic Group Award and for their outstanding community service.

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

MR. SPEAKER: Is that agreeable to the House?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

[Page 1493]

[1:45 p.m.]

The honourable member for Hants East.

RESOLUTION NO. 495

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

Whereas four East Hants projects, totalling $1.33 million, were announced today under the Canada-Nova Scotia Infrastructure Works Program; and

Whereas projects include an expansion of the Enfield Water Treatment Plant storage capacity, construction of a new substation, fire hall and ponds in Nine Mile River, a new computerized monitoring and measurement system for various water and sewage treatment plants, renovations to the Lantz Volunteer Fire Hall; and

Whereas all projects required cooperation from the provincial, federal and municipal governments;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House applaud all three levels of government for their commitment to infrastructure improvement in Hants East.

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

MR. SPEAKER: Is that agreeable to the House?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Timberlea-Prospect.

RESOLUTION NO. 496

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

Whereas in the last month our government has announced a balanced budget, tax reductions, compensation for victims of institutional abuse, new subsidized day care spaces, 100 per cent funding of the Public Service Pension Fund, 78 per cent funding of the Teachers Pension Fund, 171 jobs in recycling, a new 911 service and an increase in the minimum wage; and

Whereas since being elected our government has doubled the home care budget, saved seniors Pharmacare, saved the Workers Compensation Fund, hired new teachers, modernized community colleges, modernized ambulances, protected Nova Scotia wilderness, increased social service spending and brought fairness to government; and

[Page 1494]

Whereas despite the difficulty of great change, these initiatives and many more, make Nova Scotia a better place to live, under the most honest government in Canadian history; (Interruptions) (Applause)

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House recognize the significant achievements of a Liberal Government under Premier John Savage, while recognizing the many challenges still before us.

Mr. Speaker, I am seeking waiver of notice and passage . . .

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Cape Breton West.

RESOLUTION NO. 497

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

Whereas May is MS Awareness Month; and

Whereas one in every 500 Atlantic Canadians is affected by this disease; and

Whereas the MS Society is a not-for-profit organization, committed to achieving its mission of being a leader in finding a cure for multiple sclerosis and enabling people affected by MS to enhance their quality of life;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate the Atlantic Division of the MS Society for their unceasing work to find a cure for this devastating disease and for their compassionate support of those battling MS.

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

MR. SPEAKER: Is that agreeable to the House?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Sackville-Beaverbank.

RESOLUTION NO. 498

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

Whereas on Friday, April 26, 1996, a school rededication ceremony in honour of Gertrude M. Parker was held at Gertrude Parker Elementary School in Lower Sackville; and

[Page 1495]

Whereas Mrs. Parker, commencing in 1946, operated the telephone switchboard in Sackville, also acting as dispatcher for the local volunteer fire brigade, making sure that volunteer firefighters were dispatched to the scene of a fire; and

Whereas, in her role as a dispatcher, Mrs. Parker was instrumental in the development of the Sackville Fire Department which was established in 1955, continuing to serve and take an interest in the activities of the department until her death in 1980;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this Assembly commend the staff and students of Gertrude Parker School for the rededication of their school to this outstanding volunteer who served her community faithfully for over 30 years.

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

MR. SPEAKER: Is that agreeable to the House?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Annapolis.

RESOLUTION NO. 499

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

Whereas water and transportation projects totalling $1,062,000 were announced today under the Canada-Nova Scotia Infrastructure Works Program for Annapolis County and area; and

Whereas projects include: a $980,000 project that will provide a fresh, clear, potable water supply for the Town of Annapolis Royal and improved water for residents of Granville Ferry; a $60,000 sidewalk project for the Town of Annapolis; and a $62,000 water project for the Town of Bridgetown; and

Whereas all projects require cooperation from the provincial, federal and municipal governments;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House applaud all three levels of government for their commitment to infrastructure improvement for the County of Annapolis.

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

MR. SPEAKER: Is that agreeable?

It is agreed.

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

[Page 1496]

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Halifax Bedford Basin.

RESOLUTION NO. 500

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

Whereas the NDP candidate in the Fairview by-election has produced campaign literature which states, ". . . more and more, good health care is available only to those who can pay for it.", and

Whereas not only is this statement untrue, it is contrary to the policies of a Liberal Government, the Canada Health Act and common sense; and

Whereas this kind of statement is indicative of NDP fear-mongering tactics in which the truth is stretched beyond all credibility;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House urge the NDP to stop fear-mongering, but rather come up with credible policies, a task which seems to be beyond NDP capability.

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

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

I would remind honourable members by the way that there is a quota system of two resolutions per member per day. I haven't kept count of all honourable members. We will rely on the honour system.

The honourable member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley.

RESOLUTION NO. 501

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

Whereas the Minister of Education promised East Hants parent Linda Atkinson in 1994 to have a new Hants East elementary school completed within two years; and

Whereas two years have since passed with little or no progress made on this project as demonstrated by last week's protest at Province House by East Hants parents; and

Whereas similar commitments for Ash-Lee Consolidated School, Bible Hill middle school, East Hants middle school and Musquodoboit Central Elementary have also gone unkept;

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Education, the member for Truro-Bible Hill, the member for Hants East and the member for Bedford-Fall River hang their heads in shame for raising their constituents' expectations by making promises they won't keep.

[Page 1497]

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Yarmouth.

RESOLUTION NO. 502

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

Whereas from May 4 to May 11, 1996 The Great Nova Scotia Pick Me Up is taking place; and

Whereas, in 1995, close to 26,000 volunteers throughout the province "picked themselves up" after a long winter by picking up litter from school yards, parks, downtown areas and a variety of other sore spots; and

Whereas sponsored of the program include the Clean Nova Scotia Foundation, PITCH IN CANADA and GLAD Garbage bags, while the Clean Nova Scotia Foundation is providing an organizational guide, posters, data collection cards, sample media releases and GLAD garbage bags and blue bags;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House applaud the organizers, sponsors and volunteers participating in The Great Nova Scotia Pick Me Up, and for making Nova Scotia a better place to live.

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

MR. SPEAKER: Is that agreeable to the House?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Hants East.

RESOLUTION NO. 503

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

Whereas the member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley should remember that it was Brian Mulroney and his merry band of lost wanderers who introduced the GST on the Canadian public during the middle of an economic downturn; and

Whereas former Tory Premier Donnie Cameron indicated he was against sales tax harmonization during a provincial by-election, then he changed his mind, declaring in favour of sales tax harmonization just before the electorate flopped him off to Boston; and

[Page 1498]

Whereas the Memorandum of Understanding, reached between three Atlantic Provinces and the federal government, will go a long way to eliminate the unnecessary costs associated with the Tory GST;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House remind the member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley that it was a Tory Government who inflicted the GST on Canadians and, like all Tory measures, it is the Liberals who have to come in and clean it up.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

Are there any further notices of motion? If not, I have a request to revert to the order of business, Introduction of Bills.

INTRODUCTION OF BILLS

Bill No. 24 - Entitled an Act to Amend Chapter 83 of the Acts of 1973. The Bridgewater Parks and Recreation Commission Act. (Hon. Donald Downe as a private member.)

MR. SPEAKER: Ordered that this bill be read a second time on a future day.

Are there any further bills, or any other items to come under the daily routine, before we advance to Orders of the Day?

I wish to advise the House that the Clerk has conducted a draw for the Adjournment debate at 6:00 p.m. The winner this afternoon is the honourable member for Lunenburg. She has submitted a resolution for debate, reading as follows:

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this Assembly commend the government's initiative to help social assistance recipients find jobs through the very successful Nova Scotia Compass Program.

So we will hear discussion of that topic at 6:00 p.m.

We are ready to advance to Orders of the Day. The Oral Question Period today will last for 90 minutes, from 1:58 p.m. until 3:28 p.m.

ORDERS OF THE DAY

ORAL QUESTIONS PUT BY MEMBERS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Opposition.

HEALTH - KREVER INQUIRY: COURT (FED.) APPLICATIONS - WITHDRAWAL

DR. JOHN HAMM: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Premier. The Premier is fully aware of the importance of the work that the Krever Inquiry is trying to do in terms of providing answers to problems with our blood supply in the mid-1980's; particularly, I think, to provide information that will allow an even safer blood supply in the years to come. Yesterday, the Premier is fully aware that three former Ministers of Health, with the full support of this caucus, withdrew their applications to the federal Court of Canada in the matter of the Krever Inquiry.

My question to the Premier. Is the Premier prepared to do likewise and to join the Provinces of Saskatchewan and Ontario who have not made application to the federal Court of Canada, and so this would begin a process that would allow the Krever Inquiry to finally complete its work?

[Page 1499]

HON. JOHN SAVAGE (The Premier): Mr. Speaker, I thank the Leader of the Opposition for his question. I can tell you that we have not yet had the opportunity to discuss this matter with the fullness that it deserves. We are giving every consideration to our position, which will probably be enunciated by the minister within 48 hours.

DR. HAMM: Mr. Speaker, yesterday, when I was watching the accounting of what went on, on the 6:00 p.m. news, I saw the Minister of Health make reference that before he could make a decision - and I presume, the government could make a decision - that there would have to be some kind of dialogue between this government and other governments across the country.

My question to the Premier. What barriers are in front of this government that prevent them from making a decision irrespective of what information they get from other governments across the country?

[2:00 p.m.]

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I think it is fair to say that this government and in particular, this minister, have made decisions before that do not necessarily have to involve the kind of detailed discussion to which the Leader refers. The issue is quite simply one of joining with many people who wish to see this whole issue solved, who wish to see the Krever Report and I make no bones about the fact that I think that there is an appropriate way to go and that I will be talking with the minister within the next 24 hours.

DR. HAMM: Mr. Speaker, again to the Premier, I would suggest very strongly to the Premier that this is a case where it might be advantageous to lead rather than to follow and for the Government of Nova Scotia to take the lead in this particular endeavour as the former Ministers of Health did on their behalf. I think without leadership then it well may be this process of withdrawing applications may not happen, simply for lack of leadership. Again, I say to the Premier, is the Premier prepared, regardless of what information is received from the other governments in Canada, is the government prepared to go forward and withdraw its application to the federal Court of Canada?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I have given an answer twice that obviously conveys some meaning to the Leader of the Opposition. I would also add that this side of the House needs no lessons in leadership from that side.

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

ENVIRON. - VG HOSPITAL:

MED. WASTE INCINERATOR - EMISSIONS STANDARDS

MR. JOHN HOLM: Mr. Speaker, I would like to raise some questions dealing with the Victoria General medical waste incinerator. My first question is to the Minister of the Environment. I say to the minister that his colleagues don't appear to have been doing their jobs very well because despite having been given a two year extension to bring the burner up to scratch, tests show that the level of emissions coming out of that stack are still at least 10

[Page 1500]

times higher than what are considered to be safe, acceptable levels. The Department of Public Works officials say that it is still going to take at least six months in order for that incinerator to be brought up to the safe environmental standards. My question to the minister is quite simply this, why hasn't the minister ordered that that incinerator be shut down and the hospital told to find other ways to safely dispose of those medical wastes until or unless that incinerator can be brought up to standards and can be shown to be able to operate in a safe manner?

HON. WAYNE ADAMS: Mr. Speaker, I think he asked me a couple of questions there. I guess I will confirm that we do recognize that the emissions are exceeding the Canadian Council of Environment Ministers' standards and we are not too pleased about that. We do know that we have been given assurances by Health authorities that there are no impending or immediate health dangers from those emissions. We also know that the Department of Transportation and Public Works are working with all vigour to bring the burners under control. In other words, so that they will reduce those emissions that we now see coming from the smokestacks. Further to that, we have asked my senior staff to look at the air quality situation at that location.

MR. HOLM: Mr. Speaker, the minister says that he has the assurances from the Department of Health officials. Certainly, we have seen reports that at least one doctor has reported illness and nausea as a result of breathing in the air in the workplace and when the wind is blowing in certain directions that the emissions are blowing into the intake valve. The hospital says that they will not test the air quality for dioxins and furans because of the price. Instead, they are depending upon a five year old computer model that says that it should not be a problem.

So my first supplementary, through you, Mr. Speaker, will be to the Minister of Health, whom the Minister of the Environment seems to have referred this matter to. Will the Minister of Health require that the hospital do air quality tests inside the Victoria General Hospital, to ensure that the air is not polluted with the dioxins and furans and that the health of the staff and the patients in that facility is not being put at risk, as a result of the high levels of emissions?

HON. RONALD STEWART: Mr. Speaker, obviously this is an issue that transcends ministries and the interests of particular ministries but the Department of the Environment and the Environmental Health Section have been dealing with this issue. We in Health have certainly been contributing our expertise and we will continue to do so, although this is under the purview of the Ministry of the Environment and we have every confidence that the aspects of the issues to which the honourable member opposite refers are taken into proper account.

MR. HOLM: Well, thank you very much. We get the passing of the buck here and, quite honestly, what we have is the fox guarding the hen house.

The Minister of the Environment certainly is responsible for overseeing the safe operations of incinerators. The Minister of Health certainly should be concerned about the quality, the healthy environment in which patients and also staff are working. The Minister of Health is depending on a five year old computer module study that was done, Mr. Speaker. We already know that the incinerator is not working anywhere near what it was supposed to be working at.

In my final question I will go back to the Minister of the Environment, who has responsibility. Will the Minister of the Environment, who is responsible for overseeing incinerators, order that by ministerial order that the Department of Health have the air quality inside the buildings that are affected, tested to ensure that patients and medical staff and others who work in there are not breathing in dioxins and furans? And, if they are, order that incinerator shut down immediately, until it meets safe standards?

MR. ADAMS: Mr. Speaker, I will repeat part of my first answer and I don't believe we need a ministerial order to do what we have been doing. This topic has certainly consumed almost every day of our [Page 1501]

activities recently because we are concerned with what happens there and the result on people who are either patients or employees.

My senior staff are looking at ways to measure the air quality, to ensure that the health overtures, that there is no danger to health, are certainly, indeed, the facts. I will be happy to share the information at the end of the day, Mr. Speaker, with the honourable member opposite and to all members of the House.

We are standing vigilant. We want to make sure that we have a healthy operation. We do know it is a nuisance factor at the present time. None of us are impressed or happy with that but we are - I am, Mr. Speaker, satisfied that we are moving to resolve it with my colleagues in the government.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Opposition.

ERA - TEAM SOUTH-WEST: CONCERNS - UPDATE

DR. JOHN HAMM: Mr. Speaker, my question again is for the Premier. The Premier will recall that in February he was concerned about the economy of southwestern Nova Scotia, concerned about the Counties of Digby and Annapolis, Yarmouth, Queens, Shelburne and Lunenburg. He appointed Team South-West to look into the problems with economy down there.

The Premier's wisdom was no more evident when we saw what happened to the employment figures for that particular area, when a full 2,000 jobs were lost in the month of March in southwestern Nova Scotia.

My question to the Premier is, would the Premier now be willing to provide an up-to-date report on the progress of Team South-West and to report to the House any success they have had up to this point?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, yes, indeed, we did recognize the problems in southwestern Nova Scotia, as we do in other parts of this province. We did feel at the time that it was important enough to strike what we called Team South-West. This team of Cabinet Ministers and MLAs has been travelling around. It has met with groups and it has been working with ERA. I am assured that there are soon to be opportunities for a plan that will be discussed, first of all, with us and then we will see what happens to it after that.

DR. HAMM: Mr. Speaker, to continue with the Premier. The Premier's progress report consisted simply, I guess, that the team has been travelling around. One of the difficulties that we are having with this and in view of the areas concerned is that the most experienced legislator in all of southwestern Nova Scotia, the member for Queens, was not invited to be a participant in that particular endeavour, despite what I had heard earlier, that there was

[Page 1502]

some talk that there would be a look at the economy of this area in a sort of non-partisan approach.

My question to the Premier, specifically, now, in terms of the meetings that have occurred, how many meetings occurred and what groups attended those meetings and could the Premier give us any idea of where this endeavour is going?

THE PREMIER: Let me just answer the preamble first, since he has a way, Mr. Speaker, of posing a question without posing a question. This was a Cabinet committee. I brought in the MLAs from the area, as a courtesy, and despite the sterling service that the member for Queens has rendered in a previous Cabinet, it would be presumptuous to expect that he would sit on a Liberal Cabinet team. I think that is in keeping, obviously, with the kind of thing (Interruption) I have nothing but admiration for the member for Queens, he knows that, from my municipal days. I can assure him that we would find over here a seat should he wish to sit with us on this committee, it would require a certain change in membership of his card but we can work that out. (Interruptions)

AN HON. MEMBER: He's coming over.

ANOTHER HON. MEMBER: Halfway there.

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, may I express my disappointment at the half-hearted course that the member for Queens took. Three more paces and he would have been back in the bosom of Cabinet.

AN HON. MEMBER: He just went to call Liberal headquarters. (Laughter)

THE PREMIER: Well, make sure he surrenders his Tory card first, unless, of course, he has an NDP one.

Mr. Speaker, the serious part of this is important and it must not diminish the importance of jobs and the responsibility that we, the government, have for the area and the people of the southwest. We will have a plan, we will be looking at assistance and I will be talking to the members of the team before they make their final report both to the Cabinet and to caucus.

DR. HAMM: I thank the Premier for his answer and I fully expect that in the not too distant future the member for Queens will, in fact, be crossing the floor, but he will be crossing the floor with all of us.

My question, by way of final supplementary, to the Premier. The Premier has to understand that the March employment figures in this province were an utter disaster and the very worst since the government took power. That is why it is so difficult for any Nova Scotian to get any semblance of satisfaction from whatever it is the government is trying to put out as being good news. It is because jobs are going down the tube and our economy is not growing.

[Page 1503]

My question to the Premier is simply, what positive steps have been taken by Team South-West in the last two months that the Premier can come here and report to the House that something positive has been done for the economy of this province in southwestern Nova Scotia?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, let me remind the Leader of the Opposition that when his Party, of course, with which he claims no contact because he was not elected, left this government, unemployment in this province was 15.1 per cent and they did nothing about it, leave alone in southwestern Nova Scotia.

What we are talking about today, Mr. Speaker, is a serious situation that affects all of us. It is up to us to work together. We have struck the committee and when the committee is good and ready, then I will let the information out.

[2:15 p.m.]

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

DEVCO - LEASE 73-1: NEGOTIATIONS - STATUS

MR. ALFRED MACLEOD: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Premier. About a month ago, on April 9th actually, I asked the Premier if he could provide to this House and to Nova Scotians the status of the negotiations between the province and Devco in respect to Lease 73-1 which covers the Glace Bay and Donkin coal reserves. The reply that I had from the Premier at that time was, "Mr. Speaker, I am sorry, I can't give you that information at this time. I will find it for you and bring it in tomorrow.". Tomorrow has come and gone and I would like to know if the Premier has had the opportunity to find the answer to this question and if he would please share that information with us?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I regret that I have been that busy that I did not attend to the very important matter of answering his query. He will have it at the Question Period tomorrow.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings West.

HEALTH - MSV MOTHERHOUSE: DE PAUL CENTRE - RESPITE CENTRE

MR. GEORGE MOODY: Mr. Speaker, my question, through you, is for the Minister of Health. Back in September 1995, the Minister of Health met with Sister Marie McPherson of the De Paul Centre, Mount Saint Vincent Motherhouse. At that time, the minister indicated, according to Sister Marie McPherson, that they would be receiving good news in October. In other words, they would be treated the same as the Point Pleasant Lodge and, as she indicated, the Holiday Inn. As we have heard on the news, some people from out of town are put up there and not in hospital. I am wondering, what is the delay in approving the De Paul Centre at Mount Saint Vincent Motherhouse so people, if they so choose, can go there for their lodging?

HON. RONALD STEWART: Mr. Speaker, the honourable member refers to a private visit I made, a visit on invitation, to that very pleasant resource there at the Motherhouse. We had a delightful afternoon of conversation and a tour of the facilities. I indicated at the time that I was most impressed and would press forward with consideration of the Motherhouse, as the honourable member refers to. I have just recently received a communication, as of

[Page 1504]

yesterday, on this in terms of the status and I have just begun to investigate what any delays were. I will be happy to report back to those who have written me the letter. I appreciate his raising the issue.

MR. MOODY: I am sure the minister would agree that it is a very fine facility and I am sure that the minister would agree that the prices are very reasonable, as a matter of fact, probably lower than any other facility that would be on his list.

I wonder if the minister, who says he has to wait for an update, could indicate through you, Mr. Speaker, to me and everyone, whether or not he is going to insist that this De Paul Centre at Mount Saint Vincent Motherhouse be put on the list. In other words, as Sister Marie McPherson is saying, people will have a choice. In other words, you are not directed absolutely to go there but you have a choice between the Holiday Inn and Point Pleasant Lodge. In other words, the government will give you a choice on which facility you might want to go to. As Sister Marie McPherson points out, they certainly are competitive price-wise. As a matter of fact, it is probably the best price of the three. Will the minister indicate whether or not he is supporting that and would see that they do get on the list?

DR. STEWART: Mr. Speaker, I brought the case forward to be investigated with my department and the honourable member opposite knows there is a process in place for investigation of this and licensing and so on and the other aspects for most public buildings so used. I will follow that process and I will, again, invite a review of the process and find out what the situation is and convey, again, our decision to those who are involved at the Motherhouse. I would be happy to do that.

MR. MOODY: Mr. Speaker, I would ask the minister through you, did he last fall, at that time, instruct his people to investigate and put the De Paul Centre on the list? If he is just now doing that, how long a period of time would the people at Mount Saint Vincent Motherhouse have to wait to know whether or not they will be on the list of approval for places to stay?

DR. STEWART: No, at that time I had asked our officials to look at this in the central region. There is some reorganization of facilities in the central region in respect to our tertiary care institutions and at that time I asked them to consider this and asked them to visit. I also asked for a complete review of the hostels, if you might call them that, the hostels that are used for both patients and their families as they come into the city. There was a preliminary review done and I again will seek the status of the final decision on that.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Queens.

ENVIRON. - LUNENBURG IND. COMM'N.: BLYSTEINER LAKE - APPLICATION

MR. JOHN LEEFE: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of the Environment. The minister will be aware, consequent to the discussions that he and I had during the course of his estimates, that the Lunenburg Industrial Commission has made application to his department to draw up to 150,000 imperial gallons of water per day from Blysteiner Lake to be used in conjunction with the new golf course being constructed on the outskirts of Bridgewater, in large measure with public funds. My question to the minister - he now having had an opportunity to discuss this with department officials - is what is the status of this application by the Lunenburg Industrial Commission?

HON. WAYNE ADAMS: Mr. Speaker, I can confirm that, yes, we have had the application and I can tell the honourable member that we have not, at this point, approved the application. The process is not going very rapidly because we do have some concerns which have been expressed by the honourable member, as well.

MR. LEEFE: Mr. Speaker, I wonder if the minister would be prepared to commit to, particularly the persons who have an interest in Blysteiner Lake, if in advance of a final decision being taken, the [Page 1505]

department will make a thorough analysis of the carrying capacity of Blysteiner Lake with respect to the withdrawal of water from it for the golf course?

MR. ADAMS: Mr. Speaker, we will make the information available because it is critical in terms of the environment in that area; the water is relevant to the pesticide control for the site and all that will be in a controlled environment and we will supply that information.

MR. LEEFE: Mr. Speaker, I find the minister's response most encouraging. Finally I would ask him if he will undertake, on behalf of the department, to ensure that property owners on Blysteiner Lake are fully aware of the application and are given opportunity to respond to it respecting any concerns they may have?

MR. ADAMS: Mr. Speaker, that is a reasonable request that the residents are informed and we can comply with that, yes.

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

FIN. - TAXATION: FAMILIES (LOW INCOME) - CUTS VERACITY

MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, I would like to direct a question through you to the Minister of Finance. In the minister's Budget Address to this House and to Nova Scotians, he said, "A family of four with a net family income of $15,000 will receive a tax break of $930.". In fact, his own department's analysis - and I will table this when I am through - called an Analysis of the Low Income Tax Reduction with Illustrative Examples from the Fiscal Policy Division, Nova Scotia Department of Finance, clearly demonstrates that such a family of four earning $15,000 will get absolutely nothing, not one red penny under these tax changes. I would like the minister to please explain why it is that he presented information to this House and to Nova Scotians that was clearly not true?

HON. BERNARD BOUDREAU: Mr. Speaker, the Department of Finance, and indeed myself, released information which showed in a number of columns what the eligibility would be in various income groups under the low income tax credit arrangement. We also, with that, indicated what the tax payable would be and indeed what the impact of a program would be. Somebody earning $15,000 a year under the program would be eligible for $930 worth of tax rebate. The difficulty is, as the honourable member points out quite correctly, they don't pay $930 worth of taxes so that measure is not worth $930 to them. That information, as it was presented, did tend to be misleading and I take responsibility for that. I have done what I can to correct that impression and distributed supplementary material. But there is no question, that referred to eligibility, not actual benefit.

MR. CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, I thank the Minister of Finance for clearing that up and for confirming that, in fact, a family of four with a net family income of $15,000 will not receive a tax break of $930. My first supplementary to the minister, he also told Nova Scotians that this year, 155,000 individuals and their families benefitted from the low income

[Page 1506]

tax reduction. Again, from the same document that the minister, by the way, has not released but we have been able to obtain and I would be happy to table it when I am through with my questions, from that document we have learned that it is not 155,000 individuals and families but 88,000 individuals and 18,000 families. I would like to ask the minister, would he not agree that he had grossly overestimated the number of Nova Scotians who will benefit from the low income tax reduction?

MR. BOUDREAU: Mr. Speaker, I am not precisely aware of the document he refers to. Let me state that the information that we have given out is that under the new enriched low income tax program, over 200,000 Nova Scotians will benefit.

MR. CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, again, I guess I can now table this and maybe the minister will have an opportunity to take a look at it. It is from his own department but let's table it, I don't think I need it again, anyway. These same discrepancies that were in the Budget Address and have been circulated are also contained in the document that is being sent out to Nova Scotians called, One Tax Many Advantages, Tax Harmonization's Sectoral Review. This is supposed to be the document that precedes the consultation that the minister will have. The problem is how are you going to have real consultation, if you are presenting information that is inaccurate or misleading, as the minister has indicated? I would like to ask the minister, given the discrepancies between what he has said, between this PR document and the department analysis that he now has, will he agree to withdraw this obvious tissue of lies and his earlier references, will he withdraw those documents and release the real facts and all the facts to Nova Scotians so they know exactly what it is that this government and this minister has in store for them?

MR. BOUDREAU: Mr. Speaker, first of all, that document was prepared primarily to assist the MLAs. The distribution has been relatively limited but primarily we distributed it to the MLAs to help them answer quickly any inquiries that they should have. Indeed, we sent some to the caucus office of the honourable Leader of the Third Party, not a large number to that caucus. I am just getting a chance now to look at the document he referred to that he said stated there was 88,000 Nova Scotians benefitting. What it seems to say and I have just glanced at it, it says, "In 1995 it is estimated that the credit will be claimed on behalf of 157,000 Nova Scotians.".

The reference (Interruption) That is true. The reference that he made, I will read it, he tabled it, let me read it, "The overwhelming majority of these are the 88,000 single individuals while the remaining 18,000 are the couples.".

AN HON. MEMBER: Read it again, Rob.

MR. BOUDREAU: Then right above that, it has the breakdown of single adults, couples, total adults, children, total. The total at the bottom is 157,000. (Applause)

[2:30 p.m.]

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

AGRIC. - HFX. REG. MUN.: LIVESTOCK - FENCING

MR. BROOKE TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the honourable Minister of Agriculture and Marketing. Last week (Interruptions)

[Page 1507]

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. Order. Order! The honourable member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley has the floor.

MR. TAYLOR: The Minister of Agriculture and Marketing will know that last week I raised a question with him relative to a herd of wayward cattle in the Musquodoboit Valley area. The Halifax Regional Municipality has stated that the new super-city is not designated under the Fences and Detention of Stray Livestock Act. Yet, the Minister of Municipal Affairs and her department has concluded, at least verbally they have confirmed, that the new Halifax Regional Municipality is designated. Mr. Speaker, as you can appreciate, this causes a lot of concern for the municipality.

Will the Minister of Agriculture please clarify for this House and, of course, more importantly for the Saunders and the neighbours, who have to endure the transgressions of the livestock, is the new Halifax Regional Municipality designated under the provincial Statute?

HON. WAYNE GAUDET: Mr. Speaker, as I pointed out earlier to the honourable member, the discussions between Municipal Affairs, between our department and between the Halifax regional municipal unit, we certainly recognize the transition period that did actually take place. One particular item here that has to be recognized is the former Fence Arbitration Board that was in place.

We are in the process to have it confirmed. I understand, in speaking with staff this morning, that we are making progress and that we are (Interruption) No, we are not sitting on the fence. We are going to be providing the member with an update, as soon as the details have been finalized, Mr. Speaker.

MR. TAYLOR: Different members, perhaps understandably, would find this as perhaps a humorous subject. But, Mr. Speaker, there is a very serious side to this concern. The Saunders have four young children who travel up and down their long driveway every day. Mrs. Saunders recently was nearly gored by one of the cattle, so it is a very serious concern. The individuals who have to put up with these misdeeds are certainly suffering immeasurably.

I wonder if the Minister of Agriculture can tell me that once the designation has been confirmed, how long his department will be in putting together a fences arbitration committee?

MR. GAUDET: How long? We anticipate that we are moving relatively quickly on this, Mr. Speaker. We have advised the federation to forward to us the name of one of their representatives. The federation will be requested to forward the name of their representation on the board. As well, the department ministerial appointment will be made. We are presently looking at doing that and I suspect we will, by the end of the week, have that person from our department on that committee appointed.

Naturally, we will have to go through the system, will have to receive Cabinet approval, will have to be, I guess, blessed by the Human Resources Committee. So I suspect that at the next meeting of the Human Resources Committee that name should be before them and, at the same time, the Halifax regional municipal unit will have theirs as well. So, Mr. Speaker, I anticipate that this will, hopefully, be looked after in the next couple of weeks. So I anticipate that this will be looked after.

[Page 1508]

MR. TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, I thank the honourable Minister of Agriculture and Marketing for that response. By way of final supplementary, may I go to the Minister of Municipal Affairs. The minister's department has, at least verbally, confirmed that the new super-city, the Halifax Regional Municipality is, in fact, designated under this particular legislation, the Fences and Detention of Stray Livestock Act. Will the minister advise the House whether or not her department has contacted the new Halifax Regional Municipality and advised them of her department's position relative to this provincial Statute? (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order.

HON. SANDRA JOLLY: Mr. Speaker, I can tell the honourable member that I had lunch with Mayor Fitzgerald last week and he didn't bring this particular difficulty to my attention at that particular time. (Interruption) Yes, we had steak. But I will be more than happy to do my utmost to deal with it and have it brought to a resolution as quickly as possible.

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

ENVIRON. - ENVIRO-DEPOTS: DATA (PRIOR [01/04/96] POST) - TABLE

MR. TERENCE DONAHOE: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister of the Environment. Some very considerable time ago, here in this place, the Minister of the Environment gave me an undertaking that he would get an answer for me, and table a document showing how many of the enviro-depots which have been certified under his thirst tax arrangement, the deposit arrangement - the deposit/thirst tax arrangement - that he and his government have established.

To be completely serious, will the minister please table the document today, indicating how many of the enviro-depots which are now certified and qualified, and whatever, as being enviro-depots in this plan today, how many were in business the day the program was announced? That is the document the minister promised to table. Will he table it today?

HON. WAYNE ADAMS: Mr. Speaker, I understand the question quite well, but we tabled that last week and I read it into the record. The information is here; we have compared the enviro-depots that were recycling before we started the program, the additional 55 that have come onstream since April 1st and the jobs that were created from those depots. I think we made the issue quite public; they have appeared in newspapers and I think it is the end of the issue.

MR. DONAHOE: I will apologize to the minister if I am selling him short, but I have no recollection of any such document being tabled. My recollection is that a list was tabled, indicating that some 70, 75, 77, 70-some number (Interruption) - 77; I was going to get to it -77 organizations were, in fact, certified as depots. But unless I am mistaken - and I ask for the minister's clarification; I sincerely do - is the minister saying to me that the document that he tabled that says, these 77 enviro-depots are now certified, were or were not in business on the day in which the plan was announced? The point I want to get, how many new enviro-depots were established as a result of the new program?

MR. ADAMS: Mr. Speaker, I understand the question clearly. That is exactly what we tabled. We tabled how many enviro-depots were established since April 1st and we also indicated how many were there before as bottle recyclers and had become depots. So the two

[Page 1509]

figures are there. I thought it was rather clear. The media picked it up; it has been in the papers and on television. We can re-table it or I am sure the Clerk can find it, but we did table that material.

MR. DONAHOE: I will make inquiry of the Clerks-at-the-Table, Mr. Speaker, but if I find, as I expect I am going to find, that the minister is perhaps a little bit off the mark and not I (Interruption) Well, I say that I expect I will find that, but I may be wrong. But if I am wrong, I will apologize. But if that is the case, I ask if the minister would be prepared to recommit or reconfirm the commitment to table the kind of document to which I refer?

MR. ADAMS: Mr. Speaker, on Page 1219 of Hansard, of Wednesday, May 1st, it is very clear that I said in my tabling of the document that, ". . . there are 30 new enviro-depots and/or satellites in addition to the existing 55 bottle recyclers in Nova Scotia.".

AN HON. MEMBER: May?

MR. ADAMS: May 1st. That was the anniversary of the start, the first 30 days.

MR. DONAHOE: It was tabled when?

MR. ADAMS: May 1st.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Queens.

HEALTH - GAMBLING: ADDICTION - TOLL-FREE LINE (SOUTH SHORE)

MR. JOHN LEEFE: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister of Health. The South Shore Drug Dependency Board has put forward a proposal to create a 1-800 line for problem gamblers in the South Shore catchment area. Gambling, the minister and I will agree, is a serious addiction throughout Nova Scotia. I am sad to say, my part of the province being no exception. I ask the minister if the type of project that the South Shore Drug Dependency Board has put forward is compatible with the gambling addiction policies of his department, is it compatible?

HON. RONALD STEWART: Mr. Speaker, I cannot comment specifically except to say that knowing the group - and I do know some history and performance of the group - I would suspect it would be done in a very proper and good way, and I would suspect it is quite compatible. I would just assume, based on their performance in the past.

MR. LEEFE: Mr. Speaker, I will table a letter and perhaps, before it is put on the table, the minister could have a look at it because I will be referring to it.

In an interview on January 17, 1996, the South Shore Drug Dependency was told a decision would be made by mid-February 1996, and that the 1-800 line would be operational by May 1996. No response was forthcoming from the Department of Health until March 5, 1996, when they were notified of a second interview. At that second interview, a decision was promised within a week to 10 days; that was two months ago and there still is no answer. I wonder, has the minister been given any indication from staff what the hold-up is?

[Page 1510]

DR. STEWART: Yes, Mr. Speaker, I recall this issue was canvassed, I believe, during the estimates or the previous Question Period. I, shortly after that, did ask for an update and I was informed that the awarding of contract was going on - there were two, I believe, left to be evaluated - and that it would be announced in due course. I can only say that I will continue to monitor that process. I believe the process is a fair and open one and I do not want to interfere in any way except to say that I will, again, pose another inquiry regarding that.

MR. LEEFE: Mr. Speaker, the minister will note that the date on the letter from the South Shore Drug Dependency Board is April 29, 1996, and we now are well on into May. I would ask the minister if he would be kind enough to provide me a status with respect to this process, and when may we anticipate that a decision will be taken?

DR. STEWART: Yes, I certainly can, again, inquire of my staff the status and would happily convey it to the honourable member opposite.

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

TRANSPORT. & PUB. WKS. - LAHAVE FERRY: OPERATION - DETAILS

MR. BROOKE TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Transportation and Public Works. The minister will know that his department's Strategic Planning Committee, a few months ago, made some recommendations relative to ferry service in this province. Some of those communities included LaHave, Englishtown, Country Harbour and Little Narrows. A joint committee of representatives of communities affected by the proposed closure of the LaHave ferry found some of the recommendations not options at all. I wonder if the minister can tell us what hours the LaHave ferry will operate under during the upcoming season and whether or not personnel will be displaced relative to that particular ferry operation?

HON. RICHARD MANN: No, Mr. Speaker, I cannot say at this time. One of the overriding concerns, if you will, or requests that came through in all the public meetings held by the Department of Transportation and Public Works and the communities, and in reports that have been received, is that all the communities be treated fairly. What we are attempting to do is wait until we get the reports back from all the liaison committees, the community committees, before we make the final decisions on this, in an effort to make sure that all the communities are, in fact, treated fairly.

[2:45 p.m.]

MR. TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, the minister will know that it is and certainly has been quite some time since the executive summary was submitted to his department. I wonder if the minister would be kind enough to confirm to the communities that are so very concerned about their ferry service that between the hours of 11:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m. that the particular operations in the respective communities will not see a reduction in personnel to one crew member operating the vessel?

MR. MANN: Mr. Speaker, I am not exactly sure, without revisiting the report, but I believe that may have been a recommendation of the committee in the community that went to work on this. Now, the member opposite is saying, I should not accept the recommendations which have come from the community itself. I guess I am losing something here. We have attempted to be very fair in the process used here. (Interruption) Well, the member for Hants West says, we lost it some time ago. It took absolutely no courage to keep fares on ferries in this province at 20 cents or 25 cents a crossing and has led to the problem that we have today, that as budgets are being cut in departments, we have very significant costs in operating ferries. Everyone's goal in this is the same, to have a good and sustainable ferry operation in all of these communities. That's the goal.

[Page 1511]

We have issued, yes, a challenge to the communities to work with us to come up with a solution. To their credit, the communities have done that. They have been willing to face reality. The member opposite is not.

MR. TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, I have been listening to the community members, I know some of the other members in the Savage Government, have been listening to what the community members have been saying and it was not the community members who said, cut back in the manpower, people power, on those vessels. The community said, whatever you do, try to keep my neighbour and my friend working on those vessels. It was the Department of Transportation, in fact, that made the recommendation to displace the people on the vessels, it was not people from the community.

Mr. Speaker, my question to the Minister of Transportation and Public Works is basically this, will the Minister of Transportation state to those communities and to all Nova Scotians, including tourists who will be visiting our province, in the name of safety that he will not approve any executive summary that reduces the number of people operating those vessels to one person between the hours of 11:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m.?

MR. MANN: Mr. Speaker, the document the member opposite is waving around is a document prepared by members of the Department of Transportation, not back-room analysts, not senior management but the men and women who provide the service to the public day after day across this province, the 40-some individuals that this department involved in the strategic planning process, not a top-down, top-driven evaluation of the department's strategic goals and plans but one that involved all members.

Subsequent to that document - now get this - the Department of Transportation went into the community, had public meetings, called by the department, not by the community, showed people in those halls, in those communities what the problem was and asked the people to form a joint committee with the Department of Transportation and Public Works to help solve some of the problems in a way that would maintain, protect and sustain quality ferry service in those communities.

On April 16th, that joint committee submitted a report, with recommendations, to the Minister of Transportation. Recommendation No. 6 said, reduce the crew on the 11:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m. shift to one person as quickly as possible. Recommendation No. 6 from the joint community/Department of Transportation and Public Works committee. He wants to go back in time to the only document that he has that would favour anything he wants to say and he wants to ignore what the community has done. I am not going to ignore what the community has done. I am going to take a very serious look at the recommendation and treat the people with respect, the people who put a lot of time and effort into this. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: Before I call on the next questioner, who will be the Leader of the New Democratic Party, I would like to introduce distinguished guests in our midst. In the Speaker's Gallery, in the front row there, a very distinguished gentleman, Mr. John Kingston, who is the District Representative for the United Steel Workers of America, and behind him Mr. Frank Corbett, who is the Recording Secretary of Local 1064 of the United Steel Workers

[Page 1512]

of America, and, I believe, Mr. Murdock McRae and Mr. Rod Livingstone. Would you gentleman stand up and take a bow, please. (Applause)

The honourable Leader of the New Democratic Party.

ERA - DYNATEK: EMPLOYEES - NUMBER

MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, through you to the Minister for the Economic Renewal Agency. Yesterday I raised issue with the government support for Dynatek Automation Systems Inc., the fact that the former government had participated in a deal worth over $15 million back in 1992, in exchange for some job creation commitments by that company. It has come to our attention in recent months that this government had agreed to basically extend that time limit for those commitments.

Mr. Speaker, in asking the minister to explain why they were continuing to support this company in this way, he indicated, among other things, that the company is supported by other lending institutions, such that we have confidence in this company. I understand that those lending institutions include the Royal Bank and the Quorum group, an equity firm in Toronto.

I guess my first question to the minister is, if, in fact, these lending institutions have so much confidence in this company, why did the Province of Nova Scotia have to kick in an ultimate guarantee worth $4 million?

HON. ROBERT HARRISON: Mr. Speaker, it gives me an opportunity to respond to the honourable member that in this day and age there are situations where private sector institutions and government partner for the good of job creation in Nova Scotia. I could list off any number of them. We talked yesterday about high-tech sectors, we also talked about resource-based industries, many of whom partner with government and the private sector to ensure that the investment capital is in place - the sharing of risk, if you like - in this day and age, to ensure there are jobs for Nova Scotians.

MR. CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, I am sure that Nova Scotians will be pleased to hear that their tax dollars are being used to protect the investment of an institution like the Royal Bank, whose profits exceeded $1 billion in 1995 alone.

I also asked the minister and he committed to check out how many jobs are now at the Dynatek facility in Bedford. I would like to ask him whether he was able to obtain that information. I had indicated that there are around 60 jobs but I even understand now that that has been reduced to 53. Perhaps the minister could indicate what, in fact, the job situation is at the Dynatek facility in Bedford?

MR. HARRISON: Mr. Speaker, what is interesting to me is that I can't confirm here whether or not, when we talk about protecting the investments of the private sector - and I have indicated that what we do is leverage dollars in this province by partnering with the private sector to create jobs for Nova Scotians - he believes in that or not. It is difficult to assess whether or not the Leader of the left is, in fact, attempting here to make an argument that no Nova Scotia taxpayers' dollars should be lent to institutions, should be supporting institutions, with or without private sector levering, to support job creation in this province. I am left to assume that he doesn't believe it is important.

The answer to his question as to how many jobs in Dynatek; my staff is communicating with his office to make sure that that information is conveyed. He will have that information in detail, right up to the minute, in fact. Are we committed in this province to creating jobs by innovative partnering with the private sector? Yes.

MR. CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, I just wish, and I think many Nova Scotians would agree with me, that this minister would show as much concern for the workers at IMP, for example, as he does for a lending institution like the Royal Bank who made profits last year in the billions of dollars.

[Page 1513]

My final supplementary to the minister, it has to do with the question of the job commitments that this company made in exchange for the over $15 million they received in public money. I understand that the original agreement with Dynatek was that there was to be 180 jobs created in the Province of Nova Scotia by March 1996. I want to ask the minister if he will indicate whether that schedule has been amended, the schedule that indicates that target, among others and if so, what job creation timetable has been set out under the new schedule?

MR. HARRISON: Mr. Speaker, I had the occasion, after the member opposite tabled an article yesterday, Computing News, I think was the name of the magazine but I am not sure. It was an article that is circulated Canada-wide and the comments of the member opposite are in that article. What they refer to is the ideological position of a Third Party that would claim that we shouldn't be supporting the information technology sector in this province, without much information, I might add, in terms of having read the information, without much information he is, in a sense, stating a position that the Province of Nova Scotia should not be partnering with the private sector to create information technology jobs in this province. I read it with a certain amount of shame, actually. I was surprised to see it in print. I was surprised to see this member representing our province, I don't mind being accountable as a government but representing our province as being misguided in terms of partnering with companies he knows absolutely nothing about, companies that have voted with their dollars in Nova Scotians, in job creation, in the IT sector and he, in a public article, is criticizing this province and those workers.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings North.

AGRIC.: FEED FREIGHT ASSIST. - TASK FORCE REPORT

MR. GEORGE ARCHIBALD: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister of Agriculture. The price of feed, as we all know, is the most expensive component in a livestock farmer's operation. The Government of Canada cancelled the Feed Freight Assistance Program after carrying it on for many years. The provincial government under this minister has established a task force that was going to look at ways of providing cheaper feed to Nova Scotians. I am wondering when the minister will be able to report to Nova Scotian farmers that indeed, the government has found that farmers can bring grain ashore on foreign ships and other cheaper methods of purchasing grain. I am just wondering when there will be a conclusion to that task force report?

HON. WAYNE GAUDET: Mr. Speaker, I wish to correct the honourable member. As I pointed out last August at the ministers conference with the federal minister, the Task Force on Feed Freight Assistance, indicated at the time that they were looking at a second part of their mandate and part of that was to look at providing livestock producers in Atlantic Canada a cheaper feed cost. The livestock producers of Nova Scotia, there is no doubt, have taken a

[Page 1514]

direct hit with increased costs to feed. We anticipate at the upcoming national meeting to be taking place either toward the end of June or early July, the federal task force will provide us with an update on exactly what type of work they have done in the past year. I certainly undertake to provide that follow-up and the update on this personal matter that I know the honourable member wishes to be updated on.

MR. ARCHIBALD: Mr. Speaker, more important than me being updated is that the farmers are given a solution to this very taxing problem. One of the other things that the farmers have undergone this year is a reduction in the lime assistance policy. Now a couple of weeks ago, there was an article in the paper where an official from the minister's department said that there may be some relief for farmers in the purchase of lime, depending upon how the Budget Address went and the discussions in the Legislature.

[3:00 p.m.]

I am just wondering whether the Minister of Agriculture can indeed indicate to the farmers that the price of limestone will be going back to its traditional price or whether the farmers are going to have an increase this year because the minister has changed the limestone policy?

MR. GAUDET: Mr. Speaker, the Limestone Program in Nova Scotia is the oldest assistance program that the department is involved with. It dates back to 1940-1945, in that area. Naturally, as the honourable member is aware, our department, like all the rest, is faced with extremely difficult decisions especially in addressing our fiscal reality that has been set before us. Part of those realities is that this year, the Department of Agriculture and Marketing has roughly $3 million less in their budget. Part of those cuts, one area that we were looking at, was the Limestone Program.

Initially there were some talks, Mr. Speaker, that the Limestone Program would be completely eliminated. With some consultation that we have had with the industry, with the Nova Scotia Federation of Agriculture, from last year's forecast of roughly $775,000 that was in the Limestone Program, we are very pleased that we were able to provide the industry with $400,000 to provide limestone to farmers throughout this province. So, I am pleased that we were able to come up with some funding in order to continue this program that originally started back in the 1940's.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Pictou West.

TRANSPORT. & PUB. WKS. - DETOX CENTRE (PICTOU):

RENOVATIONS - STATUS

MR. DONALD MCINNES: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister of Transportation and Public Works. Through the Minister of Health, the detox centre in Pictou, it was decided that the old facilities - which were the old Sutherland-Harris Memorial Hospital - were pretty well out of date. The fact was that the Children's Training Centre on Elliott Street in Pictou was available. I had asked the former Minister of Supply and Services in regard to the commitment to having that children's centre renovated so that the detox centre could move into the new facility.

I just wondered today if the Minister of Transportation and Public Works could bring me and the people from Pictou up-to-date as to what are the plans now for the renovations at that Children's Training Centre which will be used for the detox centre?

[Page 1515]

HON. RICHARD MANN: Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to say that the Department of Supply and Services, now the Department of Transportation and Public Works, inherited the Children's Training Centre in Pictou, I think, approximately three years ago. On March 28th of this year, a tender was put out to make improvements, to upgrade that facility, to be used as the northern region detox centre. That tender closed. It was awarded in mid-April to Blunden Construction.

MR. MCINNES: Mr. Speaker, I thank the minister for that information. I wonder is there a time-frame as to what the completion date would be and whether that will be the only contract required to bring the facility up-to-date?

MR. MANN: I believe, Mr. Speaker, it is the only one. It was awarded at a cost of $194,200. Work began approximately one month ago and it is expected to be completed by the middle of August.

MR. MCINNES: Mr. Speaker, I am sure the people at the detox centre will be pleased to hear that. The other facility was certainly getting rundown. It is a good facility; they do excellent work. I hope that the minister will see that the work is done completely and then the Minister of Health will have his people move them in as quickly as possible.

MR. MANN: Mr. Speaker, as I say, mid to late August it is anticipated that the work will be completed on what will be the new northern region detox centre. At that time, it is also the intent of the department to issue a tender to demolish the old facility.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Hants West.

WCB - FUNDS: INVESTMENTS - RESULTS

MR. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Labour. The Minister of Finance, when he presented his budget this year, expressed in glowing terms what the board of the superannuation fund for the government employees of this province had accomplished during the year. Also, the Nova Scotia Teachers Union pension funds. We passed legislation, Mr. Speaker, about, oh, 12 months or so ago, which authorized the Workers' Compensation Fund trustees to invest, I think, in the same securities essentially as that by the Minister of Finance.

Everybody is nodding their heads over there so they all know all about it, I guess. Well, that is wonderful. Anyway, my question to the Minister of Labour, since the teachers did so well and the Nova Scotia Government Employees Union did so well, how great did the Workers' Compensation Fund do?

HON. GUY BROWN: Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the honourable member for the question. The WCB will be tabling their report, I believe, around the end of this month but it is my understanding, although I do not have it in writing yet, that after the new Act that was introduced and after we proclaimed it, not when it passed the House but when it was proclaimed, those sections, the WCB started to move in that direction. Mr. Steuwe told me last week when the member first raised it with me that the return, he thinks, is going to be a little over 17 per cent with regard to the investments that we had there. It was not just luck. We needed legislation, Mr. Speaker.

MR. RUSSELL: Actually, we in the House here should form an investment club, I guess, and each chip in 10 bucks a month, or something.

[Page 1516]

My supplementary to the Minister of Labour, Mr. Speaker, is, I wonder if the minister could tell us approximately where we stand with regard to the unfunded portion of the Workers' Compensation Fund at the present time. Are we somewhere below $500 million, $400 million, or where?

MR. BROWN: Mr. Speaker, I hate to get involved in these figures until the report is tabled but, yes, we made some gains last year. Keep in mind, our investments are different under the WCB because there is like a five year window there that we have to go in five year groups with regard to the total. So we really still do not have the flexibility. The unfunded liability, and I am only guessing, I think will be around $350 million, maybe, this year and I believe we are going to come in about $15 million less than was forecast. I am just guessing at that but I can tell you the report will be tabled by the end of this month outlining all that information.

MR. RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, my final supplementary to the Minister of Labour, the provincial government at the present time provides to the Workers' Compensation Fund to assist with lowering the unfunded liability a certain amount each year, and I have forgotten what the amount is. I think it is something like $40 million over 4 years or something. I was wondering, how long does that contribution by the province continue towards the reduction of the unfunded liability for the workers' compensation fund?

MR. BROWN: Well, Mr. Speaker, to the best of my knowledge, it will continue until we have that unfunded liability secured or in a position that we can start making some other changes with lower benefits and all those things under the WCB. I think we transfer something like $4.8 million for a number of things, $4.6 million with the Act that went through the House and then we have another $200,000 or $300,000 there dealing with widows, some old claims and things like that, that we pay the board for. All that will continue, likely longer than we are here and if you come back in and then out again.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Queens.

HOUSING - AUTHORITIES: RECYCLING - INFRASTRUCTURE

MR. JOHN LEEFE: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. On April 24th, I spoke to the minister about infrastructure that she may have ordered to be put in place through various housing authorities to assist senior citizens and persons in low rental units with respect to recycling opportunities. She may remember that question. The minister, on that date, about two weeks ago, promised that she would come back to the House with the information so this afternoon I am asking her what she can tell me about opportunities provided through her department in that respect?

HON. SANDRA JOLLY: Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the honourable member's question and he is quite right. He did ask me that question and I have gone back to the Department of Housing to get information on that. It is my understanding that the department had written to all of the housing authorities and asked them to comply to whatever extent they could. One, they asked that space be made available in each of the units so the recycling components would be able to be housed in certain spaces. They also are contacting the contractors, or the people who pick up the garbage in those various areas, to see what the cost implications would be to have the recyclable components picked up at some of the housing authorities and they have written to the individuals. My understanding is that they have written or have communicated with the individuals who are in the various housing authorities and asked them to comply with the recycling components that have been suggested by the government.

[Page 1517]

MR. LEEFE: I thank the minister for her full reply and ask the minister if she would be kind enough to provide me with a copy of any correspondence relating to the statement that she just made. She nods her head, yes.

Mr. Speaker, may I take it then that in areas where there is no curbside opportunity available, that she is indicating to me that in the absence of curbside opportunity, the local housing authorities are being requested to arrange their own opportunities for their tenants to participate in this kind of recycling program? Is that what she is telling me?

MS. JOLLY: Yes, Mr. Speaker, in actual fact that is part of the communication that is going on between the housing authority people and the residents of the housing authorities, that they are trying to look at ways of addressing the funding and the refunds and how they can have that material collected and what they might be able to do with those funds. If I am not mistaken, I think when I talked with staff they suggested to me there were one or two senior centres who, themselves, were looking to collect this money and put it into the fund that the centre has, that they, in actual fact, are going to collect the refund and use it for the overall good of the centre in one of their clubs or one of their funds.

MR. LEEFE: Mr. Speaker, sticking with the same subject but moving to the Minister of the Environment and looking at a little broader spectrum with respect to landlords, could the minister advise the House if, in consequence of his response to me of about two weeks ago that landlords were responsible for the provision of infrastructure to facilitate the recycling initiatives of the department, will he advise whether there is any penalty that landlords who refuse to comply, or fail to comply, would face with respect to this?

HON. WAYNE ADAMS: Mr. Speaker, I don't know if we are that far along the way yet but I will undertake, a week from now, I am sure that a week from now I can have a report to table in the House as to where that cooperative planning agreement is.

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

GAMING CONTROL COMM'N. - LOTTERIES:

TICKET SALES (OFFSHORE) - CESSATION

MR. JOHN HOLM: Mr. Speaker, I would like to direct a question to the Minister of Business and Consumer Services, wearing his hat as the Minister responsible for the Gaming Control Commission. The minister, of course, will know about the offshore sale of lottery tickets schemes that I have raised in this House and which I had actually taken a complaint to the RCMP about over a year ago, Mr. Speaker.

[3:15 p.m.]

Now I am sure the minister should also know that some other governments across this country are also concerned about this scheme. This is an operation whereby here, as I understand, in Nova Scotia, what has happened is that numbers are provided to brokers in other jurisdictions and those brokers end up selling those numbers for inflated prices. For example, the Attorney General in British Columbia has referred to some of these kinds of practices as involving reprehensible business practices, that they appear to target the elderly and the vulnerable.

[Page 1518]

My question to the Minister responsible for the Nova Scotia Gaming Control Commission is if this government has now undertaken some regulatory changes to ensure that these kinds of business practices are not operating out of Nova Scotia?

HON. DONALD DOWNE: Mr. Speaker, I would be interested to know if the member opposite had received a letter from the RCMP in regard to their response to his concerns in regard to offshore gaming activity. If he has, would he be willing to expose to the House exactly what the RCMP had informed him in regard to those allegations?

MR. HOLM: Mr. Speaker, I would have absolutely no hesitation in doing that. What the RCMP found out, according to my understanding and remembrance of the letter, is that there was not necessarily a criminal activity because the physical ticket did not leave the Province of Nova Scotia. That does not change the fact that the numbers are leaving and that people are profiteering from that.

In cases, for example, in British Columbia, and a letter has been written to the Attorney General which I am sure he has shared with the Minister responsible for the Nova Scotia Gaming Control Commission, points out that those who are selling the telemarketing can generate personal incomes in excess of $400,000 a year and that that is only a fraction of what the principals generate and that they, ". . . all create the appearance of an industry that, at best, exhibits business practices that are unethical and, at worst, conducts activities that are criminal but for which evidence is difficult to obtain.".

MR. SPEAKER: You will have to table that letter you are quoting from.

MR. HOLM: Oh, I have no hesitation, it was sent to a Minister of the Crown here in the Province of Nova Scotia.

MR. SPEAKER: All right, let's have the question now.

MR. HOLM: My question, through you, Mr. Speaker, is to the Minister responsible for the Nova Scotia Gaming Control Commission. Does the Liberal Government of Nova Scotia condone these kinds of activities where tickets are purchased in this province, for the numbers to be resold at higher, inflated prices to clients around the world, preying upon the vulnerable, the elderly and others? Does the Government of Nova Scotia condone that?

MR. DOWNE: Mr. Speaker, I take it from the response from the honourable member that there was no basis, from the RCMP's point of view, in regard to the allegations. One would have to take from that that there are no grounds. I guess it has been dismissed on the basis of the correspondence.

In regard to the commission itself, have they undertaken any activity? I would be willing to again go back to the commission, to determine whether or not they have had any further correspondence in regard to that. It is clear that the RCMP have indicated, from what I understand, that this member's allegations were not in place and, in fact, were dismissed.

We are monitoring, as I understand through the commission, all illegal activity. I would have to say that we finally have a commission in place in this province that is doing all it can in regard to making sure the underground economy in gambling in this province is under control. That is much more than the previous administrations have ever done in the Province of Nova Scotia.

[Page 1519]

MR. HOLM: I think that the minister and this government are auditioning for Yuk Yuk's, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Now that's not very kind, let's have the final supplementary question.

MR. HOLM: Mr. Speaker, the RCMP in their letter to me did say that they had briefed the Nova Scotia Gaming Commission and they have also pointed out that although there have not been any fraud-related offences committed in the Province of Nova Scotia, there is an ongoing investigation in other areas.

My question to the minister is quite simply, this minister pretends that they are trying to control gaming and this minister knows that the Province of Nova Scotia is responsible for monitoring and control of gaming activities in the Province of Nova Scotia. The minister also knows that the casinos did not generate the revenues, the thirst tax, for profits from gambling that this government has.

My question, is it not a fact that this government had decided not to shut down these kinds of operations because they take a cut of the action when those tickets are sold and they are more willing to accept that money than they are to act in a responsible way to shut down these kinds of unethical operations that are operating out of Nova Scotia, under the minister's and under this Liberal Government's nose?

MR. DOWNE: Mr. Speaker, obviously the member is getting a little exercised over there. This province has taken steps far beyond any other activity and any other government in the Province of Nova Scotia, to make sure that gambling in this province is under control, is regulated and controlled at arm's length of this government administration. We don't have to take a back seat to any administration, anywhere in this country, for the activities of this gaming control commission in the Province of Nova Scotia.

I would back up, I would ask the member opposite, when the previous administration were in power in the Province of Ontario, what control mechanisms did they put in place with regard to the gaming going on there, or in the Province of British Columbia? The bingo activities that were going on in the Province of British Columbia, let it be known the people of B.C. understood who was taking advantage of that particular situation.

This province is running an organization that is doing more to make sure that the corruption and the underground activities in the Province of Nova Scotia in gambling in this province is under control so that we can make sure that people are aware that they have a responsibility to legalize the activities in this province that are fair and just to the well-being of this province. Thank you. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Hants West.

HEALTH: LABORATORY SERVICES - PRIVATIZATION

MR. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Health. A few days ago, I questioned the Minister of Health regarding Medical Diagnostic Systems Health Group, as to whether or not any approaches had been made to the Department of Health with regard to the privatization of lab services in the province. The minister said that he would check with the local boards of regional facilities, et cetera, along with the QE II and staff, et cetera, to determine whether or not such approaches have been made and whether any talks are ongoing. I was wondering, could he give me a report on that matter?

[Page 1520]

HON. RONALD STEWART: Mr. Speaker, I believe the honourable member opposite asked me whether I had been approached or my staff, and my answer was not with my knowledge or consent was my staff approached, et cetera, and I would reaffirm that. I have canvassed my staff and they certainly do not know nor have they engaged in conversations in any way that they had recalled, in terms of this particular company.

MR. RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, far be it for me to suggest that the minister may be skating around the question, I don't know. Perhaps it was some other company, other than the Medical Diagnostic Systems Health Group. In other words, would the minister confirm that there is no intention at the present time to privatize the lab services in the Province of Nova Scotia?

DR. STEWART: Mr. Speaker, yes, I could confirm that. I thought I did during the answer to the question, that there was no intent on the part of this ministry to do that since, certainly, we have had no conversations to that effect.

MR. RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, I wonder if the minister would also confirm that if a regional hospital wanted to privatize their lab services, could they do so without the authority of the Minister of Health?

DR. STEWART: Mr. Speaker, this may well be a legal question. I dare not tread on that. No intention or proposal has been received in that regard from any regional board and I would suspect that one is not imminent.

MR. SPEAKER: There are three minutes remaining, two and one-half.

The honourable member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley.

ENVIRON. - RESOURCE RECOVERY FUND: TIRE RECYCLING - CONTRACT

MR. BROOKE TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the honourable Minister of the Environment. The Minister of the Environment will know that negotiations between the Resource Recovery Fund and the Mennonite Central Committee, relative to a tire recycling plant in this province, are not going very well at all. In fact, there is a fair amount of deliberation taking place respecting the new tire tax that Nova Scotian consumers will pay regarding this whole matter of setting up a tire recycling plant.

I stated before in this House that a private consultant who was engaged, Mr. Barry Alexander's tender, which was a lucrative tender, Mr. Speaker, and that contract did not go out to tender. I wonder if the Minister of the Environment would tell this House and all Nova Scotians whether or not the private consultant is still employed through the Resource Recovery Fund relative to the negotiation process?

HON. WAYNE ADAMS: Mr. Speaker, the honourable member raised a few concerns and made some allegations regarding what is going on with the negotiations. I can only confirm that negotiations are still under way between the Resource Recovery Fund Committee and Tire Recycling Canada Atlantic. I talked today with Mr. Elwood Dillman who was here earlier and he confirmed that he expects that those negotiations will wrap up by the end of this month.

[Page 1521]

MR. TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, the Minister of the Environment told me back on April 3rd - actually he volunteered to provide me with the name, address and telephone number of the firm chosen by the Resource Recovery Fund to set up a tire recycling business in Nova Scotia, a company the minister refers to as TRAC. The only thing we can find out about TRAC is that they do have a cell phone. Would the minister provide that information to me today before the end of regular business in this House?

MR. ADAMS: Mr. Speaker, I certainly will provide the information. I do believe that a member of my staff was supposed to forward that to him. Yes, we will confirm that TRAC is a Nova Scotia-based company located in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, not Manitoba.

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

The honourable Premier to respond to Question No. 4.

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I do apologize for not having the information for the member for Cape Breton West. I have it now and I thought that he might be interested in seeing it rather than waiting until tomorrow. The essence of it, of course, is that Devco coal leases are not in jeopardy.

MR. SPEAKER: The response is tabled.

OPPOSITION MEMBERS' BUSINESS

MOTIONS OTHER THAN GOVERNMENT MOTIONS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Opposition House Leader.

MR. GEORGE MOODY: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Resolution No. 49.

Res. No. 49, re Health - Reform: Effect - Condemn - notice given Apr. 1/96 - (Mr. G. Moody)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings West.

MR. GEORGE MOODY: Mr. Speaker, I just want to look at briefly the whereas clauses in Resolution No. 49. It talks about:

"Whereas the Minister of Health has effectively gutted the Provincial Health Council; and

Whereas both the Royal Commission on Health Care and the current Minister of Health's own Blueprint Committee on Health System Reform supported the Provincial Health Council's original role as an arm's length volunteer non-partisan watchdog over public policy issues affecting the health and well-being of Nova Scotians; and

Whereas Nova Scotians, extremely worried about the future of health care cuts under the Health Minister disguised as reforms, have no forum to express their legitimate concerns;".

Mr. Speaker, almost on a daily basis, I get calls in my office from people who have concerns about what is happening in the health care system. When we had the Provincial Health Council, it was a non-partisan forum where people could call. It travelled around the

[Page 1522]

province to hear concerns about the effect that the cuts that are happening in health care, that happened around the province, and how it is affecting people and their use of our health care system.

I know the minister describes many of the health cuts as reform. Well, I happen to talk to many people who call me as the Health Critic and say, Mr. Moody, these are the difficulties I, or a family member, are having with this almost perfect system that the Minister of Health describes that is supposed to look after me and my family in case we do get ill.

[3:30 p.m.]

I am still having calls about the Pharmacare Program. I had a retired minister call today who is very upset, he says he has been hoodwinked about the whole thing. He has written to Dean Salsman, he has yet to receive an answer. He does not understand. He does acknowledge that he is 88 years old, in good health. He doesn't take any medication at this particular time but he feels that this government - besides sending them $215 last fall - is now wanting another $215. He is not using medication and with his income, he is finding it very difficult.

I know that a recent letter I had was about an individual whose father had difficulty in getting diagnosed. I know the minister has probably read this letter about a family that originally lived in Antigonish, moved to Dartmouth, had difficulty getting diagnosed, was eventually diagnosed as having cancer and died a short time later. All of the difficulties that family went through are outlined in that letter. I guess what the individual was saying was that unless your dad or your mom or your brother or sister gets sick, you don't understand some of the difficulties that are happening out there because of a shortage of funds. In other words, people aren't being diagnosed because there are not enough funds to get them diagnosed.

We all know that being diagnosed early, especially if it is cancer, is so important. Anybody will tell you that early detection and early treatment lead to the success of that treatment. So what is the difficulty? The difficulty is that doctors are saying that the resources are not there. Then, when people become very ill, the resources are not there to put them in hospital.

Maybe for somebody my age, as a family member, I could be a health care giver. But for some people, especially in their 80's, it is very difficult for them, to 24 hours a day, look after their spouse who is very ill. Somehow we have to find a way that these cuts in health care - I watch how the government spends its money and it talks about, there is no money. Well, there is money for many things but when it comes to some of the critical areas of health care, and I believe this to be true, that the Department of Health would not allow many of these things to go on, but it is being driven by the Minister of Finance. The Minister of Finance is setting the numbers, the Minister of Health is accepting those numbers and then we are asking the health care workers to work under those extreme conditions.

We have given the four regions in the province many of the powers that were held previously, and I think the government has done this to deflect any criticism. In other words, I had a lady call me from down, I think, in the Pubnico area yesterday. She said, I can't get any information out of the regional health boards. I can't go to their meetings because they are closed, and I talked about this earlier one day. She says that she called the local member and he says it is the health board, the regional health board has the say where the cuts are made.

[Page 1523]

Well, she says, you know I elected a government to ensure that I had a good health care system; I didn't elect a regional health board to assure that I had a good health care system. I can't get to talk to them, I can't get the information. She said, I am really concerned about some of the cuts they are having to make. The reason they have to make it is because this provincial government is not providing the funds to adequately provide the kind of system that these people need when they become ill. So these people are very upset about what is happening in our health care system. As you talk to friends and neighbours who have to use the system and go to the hospital, they will tell you how upset the health professionals are and the conditions in which they have to work.

All of our doctors and nurses and technicians are dedicated people. As you know, Madam Speaker, they are very dedicated, hard-working, they are working long hours, they are doing their best with what is available to them. The problem is this minister has made cuts to the effect that the resources aren't there to provide the kind of care that these people absolutely need. It is not a matter of whether you want it or not, it is a matter of what you need. As this one gentleman said, surely to Heavens, when we get ill there has to be some dignity left for us to make sure that we can, in our last number of days, be treated in a manner that shows that the system will provide for one's needs.

As we watch the regional health boards make their cuts in the various areas, and I know that there are cuts in the hospitals in the western region and there are cuts in hospitals around the province, all of that money isn't transferred into providing better home care. I think if the home care did the kind of job the minister envisions it to do and would like it to do and we all envision it to do and would like it to do, it would certainly fill a lot of the void that is missing now.

Unfortunately, we had a personal case in the family, where home care was asked for last fall. The person came out, did the assessment and said, yes, the person can't look after themselves, they have to hire someone to come in and, yes, this person is in need of home care. They qualify but you are on a waiting list. Just recently we called and nobody knows what happened to the information. In other words, it got lost in the shuffle. We have to make sure and I am sure these people are stressed out. I am sure these people have so many cases that sometimes in the shuffling of paper, things get misplaced.

I guess what I am saying is that one of the things we, as elected officials, have to remember is that health care in this province is so important to the citizens of this province. It is something that is important to every one of us. I know that we have to have reforms and some reforms have worked very well. Some of the cuts we have made have gone too deep and have caused great concern among many of our health professionals. It does end up causing great concern to many individuals when they have to use our system.

I know my time is running out, Madam Speaker, but I hope that all members will understand that if we continue to cut the system as we have been cutting it, the system we were once so proud of and one that, yes, maybe one could argue about how it served us but I have to say, it served us as well as any system around the world. Yes, there are improvements that can be made, I acknowledge that. We have to continue to make those improvements. But let's not forget the people out there who are in need, that we make sure we do something and the minister listens so that when there are problems they are corrected and those problems will not occur again.

[Page 1524]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Health.

HON. RONALD STEWART: Madam Speaker, I welcome the opportunity to respond to the honourable member opposite who begins with the Provincial Health Council and makes some rather unfounded and sweeping allegations in the resolution and then transfers on to every ill that he perceives to be present in the current system. I want to address these forthrightly and, in many respects, as candidly as I can and address first of all the initial part of the resolution which talks about the Provincial Health Council.

The Provincial Health Council never was a watchdog and never was supposed to be a watchdog. The honourable member over there knows that full well because he constructed the legislation which brought it in place and said that this was an advisory body appointed by the minister and will consider issues submitted by the minister. That is democracy? I think not. That is not even giving to a group of honourable people who came from around the province the mandate to actually watch what was going on.

Do you know why they couldn't watch well what was going on? They couldn't because there was no information system in this province in terms of health care, there were no computer systems, there were no data collection systems. So how could we possibly have known what was going on in the system?

The honourable member opposite for Kings West said to me one day across the floor, we didn't need that information. How in the world can anyone responsibly say that when we lacked every elementary situation, indeed, every . . .

MR. GEORGE MOODY: Madam Speaker, on a point of order. I would ask the minister to table in Hansard where I said we didn't need any information at all about the current system. I would ask him to table that; otherwise, withdraw that remark because it is not true.

MADAM SPEAKER: Well, I think my comment on the point of order would be that I don't want to try to give a judgment on a dispute between two honourable members.

DR. STEWART: If I could explain, Madam Speaker, if that is acceptable to you, the honourable member yelled across the floor to me as an aside - it wasn't recorded in Hansard -that we didn't need that when I was talking about information. That happened between the two of us some months ago.

In any event, the fact is that we did not - whatever the difference of our opinions - have information on which to make some major decisions, which, by the way, didn't seem to matter much because they never really did make major decisions in this regard. Nova Scotia was notorious across this country, if not across the continent, for having an antiquated structure and a system that was paternalistic; it was top-down management and it was centralized. Everyone across the country was saying, do not do it this way. You should, in fact, reach out to the community and involve the people in the decision making.

We talk about data collection and we talk about the performance of a system. This very honourable member opposite who criticizes our system persisted with a system that, for example, in emergency health services had absolutely no standards in terms of vehicle design, training; you name it, we didn't have it. Yet, he stands up on his feet in this place and begins to say how terrible the system is now because we are doing x or y. We have returned decision making to the communities. It will remain there and it will no longer be a paternalistic top-

[Page 1525]

down operation, and we are proud of that. We are going upon the advice of a group of citizens who sat around, collected the 13 reports that existed since 1972, laid them before us and said, here is a blueprint to do it, and we are doing that and for three years we have been doing that.

Let's talk further in terms of home care. This is the very honourable member who was in charge for two years and had a home care program that denied care, in terms of home-hospital, to seniors and everyone else in this province. You, in fact, had to be over 65 years of age to access the care or be disabled. You could not get home-hospital; it did not exist in this province. Why not? Because there was no desire to make the changes that were needed in order to provide care to the citizens. Now that we have home care, which is now providing for up to 120 per cent more citizens involved in home care, we hear the honourable member grousing and grumbling about the fact that, for some reason, he doesn't think the services are in place.

I am getting rather impatient with the honourable member opposite who, every chance he gets, sows doom and gloom in the land, when he knows full well that we have changed the program, opened it up, and done what he has paid tribute to; that is, the importance of home care in the province. He, again, takes every opportunity to attack Pharmacare, which is considered by most Canadians, in terms of Nova Scotians and in terms of other Canadians, a program that has survived a deficit of $40 million that was incurred in the honourable member's regime some years ago and, in fact, has been put on a sound fiscal footing and has returned to some 62,000 Nova Scotians a credit for help with their drugs.

Further to that, in fact, the very honourable person that he uses as an example would have been paying more for his prescriptions, most likely, during the tenure of the honourable member opposite than he is now paying. This is the kind of program that we have instituted in this province. I would suggest that we have saved that program and we are proud of that.

The honourable member and his Party continue to attack regional health boards, attack them unmercifully. Well, they are regional health boards composed of citizens of this province giving freely of their time to reconstruct an antiquated system that led to the difficulties that we see in this province. Why, for example, do we not have in this province a concerted effort in terms of mammography screening, or the kinds of programs such as women's clinics and so on that we so desperately need? They are not there, Madam Speaker, because the honourable member who just spoke did not have the vision, or whatever it takes, to put them into practice. We are doing that now and we are doing it in a real way.

[3:45 p.m.]

We have to stand up in this place and take our place to say that health care is being changed, yes, and it is being changed in a real way - not from the top down but from citizens' groups that are now participating.

Let me give you an example, Madam Speaker, we have literally tens of groups around the province, citizens' groups, citizens who have perhaps never before come forward and been involved in health care in any real sense are coming forward in steering committees to put into place the bedrock of the system, which will be community health boards. They are gathering in West Kings, in East Kings, in Cape Breton, in places which have church halls and church basements and fire department places. They are coming together and deciding on how they are going to govern themselves, in terms of health care. That is an historic occurrence in this province. We have initiated that, based on the Blueprint Report, which we will carry forward as we go forward with a renewed system. So we are carrying these changes forward without any apology whatsoever, in fact pointing out that the very programs that should have been in place some tens of years ago are only now coming onstream. Other provinces have had 6, 10, 12 years of reform, so they can now make other changes, particularly in acute care services, and we are just getting started in the last year or two.

I might say, in terms of acute care services, which the honourable member opposite, in fact, seems to concentrate on, to the exclusion of prevention and other aspects of public health, acute care services in [Page 1526]

this province are being provided in a timely fashion more so than ever before. We have more procedures being done, we have more physicians' services being given to the citizens of the province and, in fact, we take pleasure in that and we will not sit down and be silent when we are challenged by the kind of innuendo and lack of attention to facts that was shown by the honourable member as he opened this debate on this resolution. (Applause)

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

MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Madam Speaker, let me just say as I rise to speak in support of the resolution, that I do so because of my support for the principle of, the concept of and the activities of the Provincial Health Council that has existed in this province. I am reminded just how important that Provincial Health Council is when you get the kind of exchange that we had just now, between the Health Critic for the Official Opposition and the Minister of Health. We have had that same kind of disclaiming of each other's reality on the whole question of what is happening with health care and with health reform in this province ever since the Provincial Health Council has ended its function in this province. That is part of the problem because we still have, under the problems of health care, we continue to have concerns raised by many people in our communities about the role of community health boards. In many areas of this province community health boards are having troubles organizing themselves because the Department of Health fails to give them the kind of resources and support they need to carry out their functions.

In areas where they have been able to establish - there are a couple - the Department of Health is beginning to back off on the commitment they had originally made in this House when they established the regional health boards, that they would ensure that community health boards had access to their own resources, in order to be able to do what it was that they were set up to do, that is to identify the health service and the health care needs in their communities and how, in fact, to see that those are provided, Madam Speaker.

There are other issues: the problems with Pharmacare; the lack of action on a core health program by the minister and his department; the mental health policy that we talked about here yesterday; the community audits; and home care. There are people in this province who are crying out for some action by this government to fill in the holes with home care. You are continuing to cut and slash at the hospitals and send people home early, but we do not have a home care program in place in many communities to provide the kind of assistance and the kind of care and, as a result, families are being made prisoners in their own homes. The burden, financially, on many family members is absolutely unrealistic and unconscionable. It is something that we need to have, an independent body to monitor health reform, for this very reason.

This is not a new concept. For 20 years now, studies have shown and recommended to the government of the day that we need to ensure that we have an independent body to monitor and to report on changes in the health care system. The 1989 Royal Commission on Health Care recommended a leading role for the Provincial Health Council. This

[Page 1527]

recommendation was followed up on; it was one of the first health care reform recommendations to be fully and freely implemented. The Royal Commission Report was specifically endorsed, you will recall, by Dr. Savage, Dr. Stewart and Dr. Smith when they were putting together and announcing the Liberal health policy in 1993. They knew well at that point that their own Liberal health policy included a lasting role for the Provincial Health Council.

The Liberal policy also promised a separate body with a much different mandate, that of a Health Sciences Research Foundation, and its purpose would be to be the funding of health research, not monitoring and advice, not public involvement and not the definition of provincial health goals; that was clearly to be the role for the Provincial Health Council. That was reinforced by the Blueprint Committee, that very committee report and those very recommendations that this minister has the nerve, two years later, to stand on his feet and tell us that he supports those recommendations.

The minister says that he is impatient with the continued criticism from the Opposition. Let me tell you, there are hundreds and thousands of Nova Scotians that continue to be impatient with the fact that this minister and these ministers, this government, fail to recognize the damage that is being caused in many communities in this province with their failure to respond to the absolute and the undeniable concerns that are being raised about the very health care reform process that this minister is in charge of. As recently as late January of this year, this minister was assuring people in the province that he was not intending to see the demise of the Provincial Health Council until the Health Research Task Force made their report.

As I have said in this House, we had confirmed, in early April, that the offices of the Provincial Health Council are now vacant; the telephone lines for the Provincial Health Council are disconnected; and there is no longer any staff with the Provincial Health Council. So in all cause and effect, the Provincial Health Council is no more, even though the legislation which created the Provincial Health Council has never once been brought before this House to be rescinded or, in any way, changed. In other words, as we sit on our hands and wait for the task force report, there is no body out there monitoring and reporting on the problems, as well as the successes, but also the failures of health reform in many of our communities.

We are seeing the consequences of that as Nova Scotians try to bring their concerns about the impact of some changes in areas like home care to the attention of this minister and his government. We know what happens, they just simply refuse to listen, they refuse and they dispute any suggestion that there are any problems whatsoever with the changes that are going on in health care reform. That, in itself, is the very heart of the problem and why we need the Provincial Health Council to look at those issues of planning, to talk in terms of the need for community advocates and health care practitioners to cooperate, to work together, to try to fix health reform that has gone off the rail so badly in this province and to ensure, in fact, that there is some accounting for the hundreds of millions of dollars that have been cut out of, that have been slashed away from the health care system, from hospitals, Madam Speaker. At the same time, there has been a disastrously inadequate amount of money put into the home care field. That is absolutely irresponsible and what we need in this province and what Nova Scotians need is that independent body to be able to provide that kind of assurance, evidence, and recommendation that is required.

[Page 1528]

I think what really happened with the Provincial Health Council, Madam Speaker, began back when the Blueprint Committee made its recommendations, when they first came out. The Blueprint Committee, itself, asked the minister if, in fact, he accepted this report that he would endorse all of the recommendations, that he would not cherry pick, that he would not just pick and choose at various times what recommendations he supported, but he would make a full response indicating officially his endorsement of the report. He has not done that to this day. Whenever it serves his purpose, he stands up and talks about how he is supporting the recommendations of the Blueprint Committee, but we know, and the Provincial Health Council knew, and they reported on this. They were critical of this minister and his government in the Department of Health for their failure to follow through on many of the recommendations of the Blueprint Committee.

I believe to this day that, in fact, is the reason why we no longer have a Provincial Health Council functioning in the Province of Nova Scotia and why we no longer have an independent body that is monitoring and reporting on the activities of this minister and his department. Madam Speaker, the reality was that this minister wasn't following through with commitments and it was being picked up and he simply did not like that. That is the reality.

You have indicated to me that my time is up. Let me say, as I close, that Nova Scotians are not being well-served by this decision by the Minister of Health and we will do everything in our power to put pressure on him, as other community health activists in this province are trying to do to ensure that we get that independent body in place to report on the truth about what is happening with health reform.

MADAM SPEAKER: The honourable Premier on an introduction.

THE PREMIER: Madam Speaker, it gives me great pleasure to introduce a group of senior business people who have come from Zhuhai in China, a group of 29 senior financial managers, lawyers and officials from the Zhuhai Special Economic Zone in China. They are in that area of China, the Special Economic Zone, which is not very far from Hong Kong. They have been brought to Nova Scotia by Mr. William Bu of the Eastern Tide International Exchanges Co. for a 10 day training session provided by Saint Mary's University. The leading delegate in this program is Mr. Defeng Zeng, the Standing Deputy Mayor of Zhuhai Special Economic Zone, who is in charge of finance and international trade.

Mr. Speaker, it is a great pleasure for us to welcome them. I spoke to them for a few moments in the Red Chamber. I think the House should give them the customary warm welcome that we extend to visitors here and hope that their stay will be profitable for them and profitable for us. (Applause)

MADAM SPEAKER: The honourable Opposition House Leader.

MR. GEORGE MOODY: Madam Speaker, would you please call Resolution No. 177.

Res. No. 177, re Transport. - Hfx. (Port): Vessels Fees Increase - Address - notice given Apr. 12/96 - (Dr. J. Hamm)

MADAM SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Official Opposition.

DR. JOHN HAMM: Madam Speaker, I am pleased to rise and debate this resolution as it gives an opportunity for us to focus for a few minutes on the future of the Port of Halifax, but not only the future of the Port of Halifax but the future of all our ports here in

[Page 1529]

Nova Scotia. The economic generation resulting from the activity in these ports is no more apparent anywhere than it is here in Halifax. We must not lose sight of the fact that in Country Harbour, Mulgrave, Port Hawkesbury, Shelburne, Sydney, Weymouth, Yarmouth, Pugwash, Digby, Bridgewater, Pictou, Baddeck and North Sydney there is, as well, port activity and that port activity is important to those areas.

[4:00 p.m.]

The recent determination by the federal government that a user fee system comes into play, a user fee system that obviously didn't receive a lot of debate prior to the introduction of those fees, nevertheless presents a formidable challenge to Nova Scotians for us to maintain that position of advantage that we have, being here on the coast. We must fight very determinedly to maintain that advantage.

The assessment of port fees, to provide by this year, $20 million by 1997, $40 million; and by the year 2000, $60 million of revenue to the Coast Guard for their activities, must be determined in an equitable fashion. We must recognize that Halifax must have a system in place that recognizes that we are, in fact, a drop-off port and many of our ships come in here and do not discharge their full load. The marine port fees should reflect that situation.

We are faced right now with an interim arrangement of some 17.6 cents per ton, up to 50,000 tons. Even at that rate, some of the container companies are saying that that rate is too high and even that charge will result in them taking a second look at whether or not they should be utilizing the Port of Halifax. This becomes perhaps more important as we realize that with dredging some of the American ports may become more competitive, in that the drop-off arrangement that we have here in Halifax won't be as critical as it has been in the past. The interim arrangement that is in place, I understand, will be for the next year.

Now the interim arrangement for cruise ships has not been well received by the cruise ship industry. I understand that some 46 cruise ship calls were planned for this summer. I hope that when the minister is discussing this and debating the resolution that he will give us some indication as to the reception that the arrangement of 19 cents per ton, what kind of reception that arrangement is being given by the cruise ship companies, bearing in mind, it is my understanding that one cruise line would be charged $13,000 for one call and another cruise line would be charged $36,000 for its calls over a one month period, bearing in mind that I understand the charge is being levied on a per month basis, regardless of the number of calls. I think it is important when we all know that these cruise ship stops here in Halifax generate some $3 million of activity here in Halifax.

Now, one of the difficulties that I have in understanding the way that this matter is being addressed by the federal government is that when they are prepared to make an arrangement here on the coast and through our ports, which has not had the benefit of a socio-economic study. Yet the issue of ice-breaking on the inland ports, when it received the objections of those ports, that particular matter is now being subjected to a proper study before an arrangement is brought forward. I think that is one of the things we have to look at, as an East Coast port province is that this is what must be considered a double standard. In other words, the ice-breaking situation was serious enough for the inland ports that a socio-economic study had to be done and yet we are going forward without the benefits of that and we are having an interim arrangement that already is providing difficulties for cruise ships. As well, the container companies here that use this port are suggesting that the levy that is in place, in fact, will have some effect on whether or not they will continue to use Halifax as a drop-off port.

[Page 1530]

The whole situation that we have to address here is, is there enough information before us to absolutely determine that the interim arrangement is not going to hurt the Port of Halifax, both in the bulk traffic, the container traffic, the roll-on roll-off traffic and, as well, the cruise ship traffic? There is no question that the Port of Halifax and the economic activity that is generated here has the potential for growth, but it only has the potential for growth if, in fact, a satisfactory arrangement can be made. Whether or not the arrangement that comes forward will suit us will only be determined by the aggressiveness with which we address the problem with the federal government.

Now my suggestions of a solution to the development of the Port of Halifax are quite simple and straightforward. There is a planned $5 million upgrade for Terminal A and I think this is a reflection as to the healthy situation that has been allowed to develop here in the Port of Halifax. We must look at upgrading our facilities to accommodate the post-Panamax ships. I think that particular service will come to the Port of Halifax and it will be the way of the future in terms of container traffic and will, as well, put us in a position to become a very key part of a continental bridge between Europe and the Far East.

We must, over the next year when the interim arrangement is in place, do an economic study to determine what is going to happen to business at the Port of Halifax. Are these fees appropriate, are these fees going to in any way be negative to the amount of business that comes to the Port of Halifax and, as well, to the other ports that we have around the province? While they are smaller contributors to the economy, they are key contributors to the local economy in those areas and their concerns must be addressed.

The other thing that has to be done, we have to assess the value of the navigational aids that are present and whether or not, in light of improving technology, all of the navigational aids for which we are going to be required to pay are still necessary in light of improved technology. We have a year to do that and I would hope that the Minister of Transportation, who I presume will be addressing this in debate, would be prepared to bring forward whether or not it is his understanding that will be done.

What we really need is a strong lobby to put forward our position and I would suggest very strongly that it behooves this government to work very closely with the Atlantic caucus of the Liberal Party to make sure that our East Coast concerns are presented properly in Ottawa. That is the key to the solution and we must be doing that over the next year. We must develop an Atlantic position that is compatible with growth and prosperity in our Atlantic ports, including the Port of Halifax.

My time is up, Madam Speaker. I see you giving me the signal. I would suggest very strongly that there is a strong role for the provincial government to play here in participation with the Atlantic caucus of the Liberal Party. Thank you.

MADAM SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Transportation and Public Works.

HON. RICHARD MANN: Madam Speaker, let me begin by stating that I welcome the Leader of the Opposition's resolution on this very crucial issue. Our government has been working very diligently to encourage the implementation of a fair, equitable and reasonable cost-recovery policy by the Coast Guard since early last fall. We continue that fight today and we will continue it into the future. It is refreshing to have the Leader of the Opposition join us, as well as joining with the other ports and port users throughout Nova Scotia in our endeavours.

[Page 1531]

From the outset, the Province of Nova Scotia's position has been relative simple, clear and straightforward. We support Coast Guard user fees that are indeed just that, true user fees based upon the cost and consumption of service, with an opportunity for users to have a direct say in the services they need and want, and with a clear and unequivocal commitment from the Coast Guard to work with users toward achieving significant cost reductions. We initially suggested that one way of accomplishing true user fees, would be through the introduction of a distance component into the equation, but this is only one way and there are undoubtedly others as well.

The Honourable Robert Harrison and I, along with other members of our government, have met with and listened to the ports community from across the province. We have been carrying their message and our own message to Ottawa, as forcefully as we can and on every occasion that presents itself. In that great Canadian spirit of compromise, we also support a clear and transparent mechanism for addressing the unique situations of those particular ports, commodities or trade routings that may have difficulty with such a system. In our region, this includes shippers of low value bulk commodities, such as coal, gypsum, aggregate, salt, petroleum and so forth. Companies such as Statia Terminals, Martin Marietta, Fundy Gypsum, National Gypsum, Devco and others will suffer should the short-sighted view of the Coast Guard be allowed to rule the day. Indeed, I am sure that the special concerns of bulk shippers are not unique to either Nova Scotia or to this region.

While I am pleased to note that the Leader of the Opposition's resolution addresses the very serious concerns of the Port of Halifax, I am also pleased that today and maybe for the first time, that he has also reflected on the other ports across the Province of Nova Scotia. This issue affects many ports and businesses throughout the province from Sydney to the Strait of Canso to Yarmouth and every port in between. We must ensure that the Coast Guard treats every port and every user group in a fair and reasonable manner.

Instead of a true user fee approach, however, we continue to see the Coast Guard advance proposals, and there have been numerous proposals over the past few months, that are really nothing more than another form of taxation in the flimsy guise of being a user fee. Such approaches will do nothing to instill discipline into the system, nor will they do anything to encourage individual ports and users to actively pursue appropriate service reductions with the Coast Guard.

Why does the Coast Guard shift its position with every breeze of the wind, with every complaint? Quite simply, it is because they have no rational basis for their cost recovery formula. It serves up the latest flavour of the day, based upon whomever screams the loudest and screams the longest. The Coast Guard has yet to vigorously examine the services it provides and link those services with specific costs to individual ports and individual users. Unless and until these vital linkages are made, the Coast Guard cannot justify the assignment of cost to shippers, nor in fact, can it justify any of the proposals it has put forward to date.

The Coast Guard's latest proposal, for example, calls for foreign-flag shipping in this region to pay a flat fee of 17.6 cents per ton of cargo loaded or discharged, whereas the so-called east inland region which encompasses the St. Lawrence River and Great Lakes would pay only 14 cents per ton. The inequity of this proposal is blatantly obvious. The same ship would pay more in aids to navigation fees to travel the short distances from the open ocean to call at Nova Scotia ports than it would to travel many hundreds and in some cases thousands of miles inland to call at St. Lawrence and Great Lakes ports. Where is the fairness in such a system? Where is the reasonableness that we have been seeking?

[Page 1532]

Nova Scotians must be allowed to fully exploit our natural advantages, such as deep-water, ice-free ports close to the great circle route between Europe and the U.S. East Coast. We most certainly have geographic disadvantages, most notably the inland rail distances to reach our major markets in Montreal, Toronto and Chicago. We do not ask or expect others to subsidize our disadvantages and, quite frankly, they should not expect us to subsidize theirs.

[4:15 p.m.]

I am pleased to note, Madam Speaker, that there is now representation from this region on the Marine Advisory Board. That is the national body that came up with many of these ridiculous proposals in the first place. In addition to a representative from Newfoundland and one from New Brunswick, Mr. Fritz King of the Atlantic Container Lines and the Halifax Shipping Association has recently been appointed to the Marine Advisory Board. I continue to believe, however, that there are many viewpoints which should be brought to the table on this issue and will continue to request that the federal Minister of Fisheries and Oceans consider appointing at least one additional Nova Scotian to this board.

Madam Speaker, let me note that the Port of Halifax and other Nova Scotia ports are absolutely crucial to the continued economic prosperity of this region. They provide global access to exporters and importers throughout the Atlantic Region and gives us our single greatest opportunity to compete in the markets of the world. The port, in conjunction with many other stakeholders, including the province, has been working very hard to develop new business.

Most recently we were pleased to note that our persistent efforts have resulted in burgeoning growth of U.S. midwest container traffic. Nevertheless, this traffic not only provides the slimmest margins to the shipping lines but ports such as New York are very aggressively pursuing such discretionary type cargo through specifically designed incentive rates. Obviously such hard-won business is very vulnerable to diversion to our U.S. competitors. We will continue to make our federal counterparts aware of the seriousness of this situation. The opportunity for growth is great and we will also continue our pursuit of this port as a significant East Coast gateway to the North American continent.

Madam Speaker, please be assured that our government will continue to vigorously oppose any measure by the Coast Guard that results in this port, or any other Nova Scotian port, subsidizing ports elsewhere. This would only serve to drive our hard-earned business into the hands of our U.S. East Coast counterparts, a result that is in the best interests of no one in this country, including the Coast Guard itself. Indeed, despite the Coast Guard's best attempts, I think even they would find it difficult to collect fees for navigation aids or ice-breaking or any other service from ships calling at U.S. ports.

Furthermore, Madam Speaker, we believe the Coast Guard has made a shambles of this issue from the very outset. There should be a one-year moratorium placed on the collection of any fees for any Coast Guard services. This will allow the Coast Guard the opportunity to introduce ice-breaking fees simultaneously with aids to navigation fees, so that the overall impact will be more clearly understood. As well, it will allow the Coast Guard the opportunity to conduct a proper and thorough socio-economic impact analysis of the fees.

Finally, and most importantly, it will allow the Coast Guard the opportunity to put in place the proper user fee regime. Such a regime has been sadly lacking in the proposals we have seen to date.

Madam Speaker, the Treasury Board of Canada set out principles that should be followed in establishing Coast Guard user fees and collection for the navigational aids. They said that across the board approaches, while simpler, would not achieve the policy objectives. Yet what they have done is that they have proposed an across the board approach, even though port specific charges are the fairest approach, given the different circumstances in various parts of the country.

The Treasury Board of Canada said that prices and the method of charging are to be structured to be equitable, promote economic efficiency and to be administered economically. Yet what they have done, [Page 1533]

the proposal would set prices for services arbitrarily and would not be administered in a way that would allow consumers to make decisions about how much of the service they require.

The Treasury Board went on to say that a user fee shifts the burden from taxpayers generally to those who benefit most directly. Yet this proposal involves cross-subsidization and asks users to pay for services they do not use.

Finally, the Treasury Board of Canada said that the fee and the improved management resources should introduce a degree of market-type discipline on the demand for, and supply of, goods and services that benefit specific users; demand is conditioned by cost, supply by users' willingness to pay. What they have done is provide no mechanism that rations the use or encourages efficiency by the consumers of Canadian Coast Guard services.

Madam Speaker, I am pleased to have an opportunity to participate in this debate and I encourage the Leader of the Opposition and all other interested Nova Scotians to join us in our efforts to find a fair and equitable system.

MADAM SPEAKER: The honourable member for Sackville-Cobequid.

MR. JOHN HOLM: Madam Speaker, I think that this is, again, one of those occasions where pretty well all members or, hopefully, all members of this House are in agreement. I was struck the ministers remarks and some of the very good advice that he was giving at the end.

Certainly, when I take a look at the resolution that is before us that had actually been introduced by the member for Halifax Citadel, but to which the Leader of the Official Opposition spoke - and I am looking at the "be it resolved" clause - "Therefore be it resolved that since no meeting had taken place despite a request on March 22nd by the Minister of Transportation for such a meeting with the federal Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, the Premier move swiftly and urge the Prime Minister's office to address this very serious situation, that unless resolved will have a severe, negative impact upon the Port of Halifax and Nova Scotia is economy in general." - as I think of that resolve, and I listen to the minister's comments, I think that the minister is making a very good case that the Premier himself could argue with the Prime Minister's office, first minister to first minister, in terms of why this is essential, because the across-the-board fees that are being imposed are, in fact, going to be detrimental and they do not begin to live up to the very guidelines that the minister talked about as having been laid down by the Treasury Board.

As I begin my remarks on this very important topic, Madam Speaker, I am reminded of something that we were told, actually in this Chamber this morning at the Public Accounts Committee, and it was on a totally different matter; it was dealing with the Bluenose Ferry and the tourist industry. The representatives, on behalf of those who are involved in that

[Page 1534]

industry in the southwestern portion of the province, were pointing out that, as a result of the loss of the Bluenose Ferry service through the winter season, that region had the worst winter season in years this past year.

The point of raising that is we have to start to look at things in a holistic approach. We cannot just look at things in isolation and make decisions that we are going to be cutting a service here or we are going to be trying to recover the full costs of a particular type of service without looking at the impact that that will have on other segments, other sections, of the economy. The Leader of the Official Opposition and the Minister of Transportation and Public Works talked about the tremendous work, the tremendous effort that has been made by port officials in this area, and about the very hard-won business that they have achieved as a result of that.

That, Madam Speaker, does not mean benefits only to those who are directly involved in importing and exporting those products, that helps to enhance the position of not only the province and the Halifax area, certainly, it enhances the potential for economic growth in a whole host of areas. If we are going to end up losing traffic, if that traffic is going to be diverted because of these increased user fees which are being imposed inequitably, which are being imposed without that kind of social economic impact assessment that is needed, then a whole host of other businesses will suffer.

There was some discussion earlier; for example, we talked about cargo, but it was also talked about in terms of the cruise ship lines. This city, this port, and we won't lose it this summer because tourist companies and cruise ship lines have their schedules and agendas set in advance. So whatever ships have in their schedules designed to be coming to the Halifax Port in 1996, I am sure will show up. They will be here because they have already been selling those cruise lines. (Interruption) And more, hopefully.

The port stands to make, in terms of spin-off industries, over $3 million from that operation alone, at least, coming as a spin-off into our pockets as a result of that. (Interruption) Thank you. The Minister for the Economic Renewal Agency points out that a piece of paper is falling out of my pocket, so thank you. For the very modest sum, sounds modest, of $30,000 to $40,000 fee being imposed, those ships - because they don't operate on such a huge profit margin - those cruise lines could determine that it is not economically feasible or viable to come to our port and therefore redirect to another U.S. port where those fees are not going to be imposed. So, for a few dollars, comparative to the tremendous gain that we can make, we stand to lose.

Madam Speaker, that just makes no good fiscal economic sense. We talked about cooperation in here. I honestly would like to know what is the position of the Member of Parliament for this City of Halifax, Mary Clancy. She represents this riding, she represents this Halifax constituency and I haven't heard a word from Mary Clancy or from her constituency office about their opposition to the imposition of these fees and the negative impact.

Geoffrey Regan, I don't know if he has said anything. Maybe he has; I haven't heard it on this, as well. He represents Halifax West where many of the businesses that benefit as a result of the port's activity are located as well as many of the employees. One has to wonder - and I am not suggesting that the fees should be imposed for the ice-breaking on the St. Lawrence system without having a socio-economic impact assessment done there - but surely to Heavens if it is fair and proper to do it in one place, it is fair and proper to do it somewhere else. I bet that the Members of Parliament in the Liberal caucus who represent ridings along the St. Lawrence Seaway were standing up and kicking up quite a stink about any suggestion that those kinds of fees could be imposed before it was determined how that would affect their communities.

I certainly hope that the Minister of Transportation and the Premier will be able to stand up and announce that the Members of Parliament, all of whom are Liberals sitting on the government side in the House of Commons, that those MPs are standing shoulder to shoulder with the people of this province and with members of this Legislature in fighting against the imposition of these fees.

[Page 1535]

AN HON. MEMBER: A conspiracy of silence.

MR. HOLM: It does sound, as somebody says, very much as if there is a conspiracy of silence. As has been pointed out by numbers of those who are far more knowledgable than I in this matter, the fee that is going to be imposed come June 1st is not as high as it was originally going to be. It is only going to be about $1.5 million instead of $2.4 million.

For those businesses which are operating on a very small profit margin and who are looking for the competitive advantage, Madam Speaker, that can be the nail - maybe it doesn't drive all the business away - but certainly has the potential to make it much harder for us to maintain and certainly much harder for us to attract new businesses that we desperately need to fight the very high unemployment that exists in Nova Scotia, drive that needed business away. Than you.

[4:30 p.m.]

MADAM SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings North.

MR. GEORGE ARCHIBALD: It is important that we speak on this resolution and it is important that we, as MLAs, begin to represent our constituents. It is important that this government begin to represent the people that elected it and try to get the federal government to do the same. We are not simply speaking of the Port of Halifax - Country Harbour, Mulgrave, Port Hawkesbury, Shelburne, Sydney, Weymouth, Yarmouth, Pugwash, Digby, Bridgewater, Pictou, Baddeck, North Sydney and Liverpool. These are some more of the ports that were concerned about, but do we hear anything? We hear the minister stand up and say user fees are great, let us make the devils that are using them pay. Does he not realize, does this government and does the government in Ottawa not realize that we are competing on an uneven playing field.

We would not even have a port operating today if it had not been for the foresight of the previous government building double-stacked rail cars and insisting that CN get involved. We stuck up for Nova Scotians and the result is clear. Today in the newspaper we can see, Pier A to get a $5 million make-over. That is very good. It would not have happened without the double-stacked rail cars and you people have done absolutely nothing for the Port of Halifax or any other port in Nova Scotia since the election. The federal government has attacked Atlantic Canada and is attacking Halifax and Nova Scotia. The Port of Halifax is being neglected by this government and it is being neglected by the government in Ottawa. It is absolutely not fair. Where are the fresh ideas that a new government should have been bringing? Have they brought any ideas with them - any idea like a double-stacked rail car? No. The only thing that they wanted to bring with them was the suggestion that we should (Interruption) and listen to the fool of the House. He thinks he is a genius and he is a fool,

[Page 1536]

listen to him. Bring him to order, Madam Speaker. What do you have to do to get some order around here?

MADAM SPEAKER: I will bring you to order. You will take your seat, please, while I make a comment.

No member in this House will be treated with a disrespect such as you have just exhibited. Every single member in this House is an honourable member and will be referred to in debate as such. I would ask you to withdraw the comment.

MR. ARCHIBALD: I certainly would not want to offend the Speaker. I will withdraw the comment.

MADAM SPEAKER: I thank you for doing that.

MR. ARCHIBALD: It is very peculiar that the Port of Halifax, which is the engine that could drive Nova Scotia to even greater heights, has been so ignored by this government, the Port of Halifax (Interruption) Listen to the other little fellow over there laughing. What kind of respect could you show to a person like that. It is difficult to show respect for people who have no respect for the people who elected them. (Interruption)

MADAM SPEAKER: Honourable member, you are back at it again. You have just done exactly what I cautioned you against doing. All members in this House are honourable members, not little fellows.

MR. ARCHIBALD: I am sorry, I meant to call him a big fellow.

MADAM SPEAKER: No, I think you better mean to call him an honourable member.

MR. ARCHIBALD: An honourable member, that is fine. I want you to know that the ports in Nova Scotia are competing with Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York and all the ports in the eastern U.S. Let me tell you what other states and other federal governments are doing to try to get the business. They are not putting users fees on navigational aids in the United States. What are they doing? The Army Corps of Engineers are digging the channels deeper so Panamax ships can land in the U.S. ports. The U.S. Government is spending over $10 million so they can handle double-stacked rail cars in the United States.

We are trying to compete and it is difficult. What does the minister say? Harbour tax, harbour tax, let us get serious. We are having a very difficult time competing and just when CN and the Port Corporation can go together and meet the shipping people, what happens? The federal government jumps in and says, now we are going to make you a little bit less competitive. Does anybody know what the left hand - it is like the fellow that threw all the garbage on your front lawn and then he came by the next day and cleaned it up and you say, what a great guy, he cleaned up the mess. The federal government is making a mess with these fees that they are trying to charge. It is going to be to the detriment of the Port of Halifax.

[Page 1537]

Now, is there any function that this federal government will agree that they should, in fact, provide for the benefit of Canadians? There are thousands of people who depend on the ports in Nova Scotia and Atlantic Canada for their livelihood. Where would the country be without transportation? And we are just getting started.

The federal government has said they want $20 million in 1996, $40 million in 1997 and $60 million by the year 2000. Here we are trying to compete with the United States.

HON. RICHARD MANN: On a point of order, Madam Speaker, the reference to, I guess, government not caring, not trying to promote the port. I wonder if the member opposite is aware of the announcement that the Halifax Port Corporation has made within the last 24 hours about building new facilities and the infusion of significant dollars? Not the post-Panamax crane issue but the other issues. I wonder is he aware of that?

MADAM SPEAKER: Thank you. I don't rule that as a point of order, honourable member, but it is an interesting point. I recognize the honourable member for Kings North.

MR. ARCHIBALD: Madam Speaker, I am quite well aware of the announcements that were made yesterday. There were two of them, that bulk break cargo business is picking up, as well as the Panamax. I cannot understand. We can always read the newspapers but the proof of the pudding is in the eating, they used to say. I want to know why in the name of goodness is this government so reluctant to do anything? Can you remember when your government was in Opposition and the Premier at that time, when he wasn't Premier, was saying something about another government, that the government seems to be conceding defeat in the face of a fight with their federal counterparts, that they are already acknowledging possible (Interruption) Exactly. The Premier when he was in Opposition could so clearly see the role of government to be the advocate and the beneficiary of the Province of Nova Scotia but when he became Premier, he seemed to forget that. They will accept any crumb that the federal government decides to slap away from us.

We elected all Liberal MPs to go to Ottawa, the majority of MLAs in the province are Liberal. We would expect better treatment than we are getting from the government. We would expect greater leadership with the ports in Nova Scotia than we are getting from the government. The double-stacked rail cars, we are still reaping the benefit of that. If it hadn't been for them dear knows where the port would be today but I can guarantee, there would be very little shipping going on through here.

How can the Minister of Transportation say, well we don't mind user fees? I think it is the right of Nova Scotians to expect that ships can arrive at our ports and discharge their cargo and go and come, back and forth, as long as we are competing with aggressive governments throughout the world for shipping. Do these governments in Nova Scotia and in Ottawa not realize the value of trans-shipment? We are not the port of final call. We are a trans-shipment port. New York is a destination, we are not. We have to develop the cargo to trans-ship. How can we do that if it costs more to do it than it would be to ship through New York? We are competing with Canadian Pacific who choose to ship everything they can through New York, Baltimore and Philidelphia so that they can haul it on the rail line. CN is being privatized. What position does that leave Atlantic Canada in? There are so many unanswered questions.

The federal government indicated at the privatization that the head office for CN must be in Montreal. Did the federal government also say there must be service to Atlantic Canada? No. So there was an opportunity for the federal government to come forth and say,

[Page 1538]

we are going to do something to make a difference for Halifax and for Nova Scotia and for Atlantic Canada, and they chose not to. The federal government has had other opportunities to help and assist Nova Scotia in transportation. What did they do rather than help us? They put up barricades and blockades and this government we have with no backbone, no vision, is going along with it as quickly as possible. It is a disgrace to the people of Nova Scotia and all Nova Scotians feel let down by the lack of interest from this government.

MADAM SPEAKER: The honourable Opposition House Leader.

MR. GEORGE MOODY: Madam Speaker, would you please call House Order No. 7.

H.O. No. 7, re ERA - Private Sector: Trips (Ex-Prov.) [01/07/93-15/04/96] - Funded - notice given Apr. 26/96 - (Mr. G. Archibald)

MADAM SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings North.

MR. GEORGE ARCHIBALD: I so move, Madam Speaker.

[The House Order was read by the Clerk.]

MADAM SPEAKER: The honourable Opposition House Leader.

MR. GEORGE MOODY: We will leave that until the minister comes in, Madam Speaker. Would you please call House Order No. 11.

H.O. No. 11, re Transport. & Pub. Wks.: Mgt. Audit - Recommendations - notice given Apr. 26/96 - (Mr. B. Taylor)

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

MR. BROOKE TAYLOR: I so move, Madam Speaker.

[The House Order was read by the Clerk.]

MADAM SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Transportation and Public Works.

HON. RICHARD MANN: Madam Speaker, I certainly have no difficulty with that, but I think it is an exercise in duplication. I think the report, all the recommendations, the status and the response are listed in their entirety in the Report of the Auditor General. I wonder if that would satisfy the member, that if he cannot find what he is looking for there, then perhaps he could let me know and I would provide it. But I don't think there is any point in putting staff through this again. I think it is there in its entirety, the status of every one.

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

MR. BROOKE TAYLOR: I appreciate the minister's response, but, however, the Auditor General certainly outlines several concerns that he had relative to that management audit. We felt it would be beneficial if we had the contents, but we can certainly draw conclusions from the Auditor General's Report, if the minister does not want to provide us with the information.

[Page 1539]

MR. MANN: It is not a matter of not wanting to provide the information. It is there. It is public on the status on every one of them, which is what he asked for. He talks about the cost. The management audit, for example, said cut your number of divisions down to seven and we cut it to four. So we have gone far and beyond what the Auditor General wanted to do in many of these items. So it is not a simple matter of providing, but what he asked for is the status report on them and that is what he would get in the report. Whatever conclusions he wants to draw, he is going to draw the same. But, sure, we will agree to provide it.

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

The motion is carried.

MADAM SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Official Opposition.

DR. JOHN HAMM: On an introduction, Madam Speaker. I wish to introduce to members of the House, Mr. Michael MacDonald, who is in the gallery opposite. Last night, Mr. MacDonald won the candidate selection process in Halifax Chebucto and will be our candidate in the next provincial election. (Applause)

MADAM SPEAKER: The honourable Opposition House Leader.

MR. GEORGE MOODY: Madam Speaker, would you please call House Order No. 12.

H.O. No. 12, re Transport. & Pub. Wks. - Travel (Ex Prov.) [10/04/95-to date] - notice given Apr. 26/96 - (Mr. B. Taylor)

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

MR. BROOKE TAYLOR: I so move, Madam Speaker.

[The House Order was read by the Clerk.]

MADAM SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Transportation and Public Works.

HON. RICHARD MANN: Madam Speaker, he says, first of all, senior staff. Maybe he could define that for me. Then he says, all department employees. I don't know which one he wants.

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

[4:45 p.m.]

MR. BROOKE TAYLOR: Madam Speaker, perhaps if the minister would provide both, it certainly would be appreciated on this side. (Interruption)

MR. MANN: I will take a look at the House Order and I guess I will provide my interpretation of what he is looking for.

MADAM SPEAKER: Is that agreed?

The motion is carried.

[Page 1540]

The honourable Opposition House Leader.

MR. GEORGE MOODY: Madam Speaker, could we go back to House Order No. 7, that we stood, now that the minister is present?

H.O. No. 7, re ERA - Private Sector: Trips (Ex-Prov.) [01/07/93-15/04/96] - Funded - notice given Apr. 26/96 - (Mr. G. Archibald)

MADAM SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings North.

MR. GEORGE ARCHIBALD: Madam Speaker, I so move.

[The House Order was read by the Clerk.]

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

HON. ROBERT HARRISON: Madam Speaker, I would again, without having the reference to the original FOI request made by the same member for the same information, appreciate having this stood so that I can compare this resolution to what has already been asked for by the member opposite and, if it is the same information, then we have already given him a response. So if it is possible to wait a week until we can confirm that this resolution, in fact, corresponds to information we have already sent the member opposite, we will stand this for that week, if that is possible.

MADAM SPEAKER: Shall the House Order stand for a week?

House Order No. 7 stands.

The honourable Opposition House Leader.

MR. GEORGE MOODY: Madam Speaker, would you please call House Order No. 8.

H.O. No. 8, re ERA: Trips (Ex-Prov.) [01/07/93-15/04/96] - Funded - notice given Apr. 26/96 - (Mr. G. Archibald)

MADAM SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings North.

MR. GEORGE ARCHIBALD: I so move, Madam Speaker.

[The House Order was read by the Clerk.]

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

HON. ROBERT HARRISON: Madam Speaker, again perhaps the member opposite could clarify but it is our understanding that on August 17, 1995, an FOI request was responded to; in other words, all the information has been provided, it is in the public domain. If there is some difference here that I am not aware of, perhaps the member opposite could explain. Otherwise, we would not, in fact, approve this House Order because the information has already been provided.

Could the member opposite explain if he already has the information?

[Page 1541]

MADAM SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings North.

MR. GEORGE ARCHIBALD: Stand it, then.

MADAM SPEAKER: Shall the House Order stand?

House Order No. 8 stands.

The honourable Opposition House Leader.

MR. GEORGE MOODY: Madam Speaker, would you please call House Order No. 9.

H.O. No. 9, re ERA: Mgt. Audit - Costs - notice given Apr. 26/96 - (Mr. T. Donahoe)

MADAM SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Official Opposition.

DR. JOHN HAMM: I so move, Madam Speaker.

[The House Order was read by the Clerk.]

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

HON. ROBERT HARRISON: Madam Speaker, on August 17, 1995, an FOI request again was sent out in response to a request from the Opposition. Our answer to this House Order is yes, but could he please explain - the member opposite - exactly what he didn't receive, so that we can know what information is discrepant and, therefore, will provide it for him? The detail, in other words, because we have already provided most of this information, or perhaps all of it.

DR. HAMM: Yes, it is agreed.

MADAM SPEAKER: There was a request for information on what information was missing.

MR. HARRISON: Agreed to what exactly. I will make my point clear again, Madam Speaker, that on August 17, 1995, an FOI request, information was sent out to the member opposite, the Leader of the Opposition. So the answer is yes, but could we please have the specifics of what it is that they are looking for, in addition?

MR. GEORGE MOODY: Stand it and we will give it to him next week.

MADAM SPEAKER: House Order No. 9 stands.

The honourable Opposition House Leader.

MR. GEORGE MOODY: Madam Speaker, would you please call House Order No. 10.

H.O. No. 10, re Justice - Vehicles (01/04/94-31/03/96) - notice given Apr. 26/96 - (Mr. T. Donahoe)

MADAM SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Citadel.

[Page 1542]

MR. TERENCE DONAHOE: I so move, Madam Speaker.

MADAM SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RICHARD MANN: Yesterday the Minister of Justice, before he left for the Justice Ministers' Meeting, indicated that he would like to stand this one. He also indicated that House Order No. 5 which is showing on the order paper, has previously been passed, that he had agreed to that. House Order No. 5 is the one on the peace bonds.

MADAM SPEAKER: House Order No. 5 is not on my order paper.

MR. MANN: Sorry, I have yesterday's that he marked up, but he had asked, for some reason, to have House Order No. 10 stood until he got back, to respond to it himself, so I would ask that it be stood.

MADAM SPEAKER: Shall the order stand?

House Order No. 10 stands.

The honourable Opposition House Leader.

MR. GEORGE MOODY: Madam Speaker, would you please call House Order No. 13.

H.O. No. 13, re Nat. Res. - Vehicles (01/04/94-31/03/96) - notice given Apr. 26/96 -(Mr. B. Taylor)

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

MR. BROOKE TAYLOR: I so move, Madam Speaker.

[The House Order was read by the Clerk.]

MADAM SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RICHARD MANN: I agree to provide as much of that information as we can.

MADAM SPEAKER: The motion is carried.

The honourable Opposition House Leader.

MR. GEORGE MOODY: Madam Speaker, that concludes Opposition Members' Business for the day. I will turn it over to the Government House Leader.

GOVERNMENT BUSINESS

MADAM SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RICHARD MANN: Madam Speaker, would you please call the order of business, Government Motions.

[Page 1543]

GOVERNMENT MOTIONS

MADAM SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

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

MADAM SPEAKER: The motion is carried.

[4:52 p.m. The House resolved itself into a CWH on Supply with Deputy Speaker Mrs. Francene Cosman in the Chair.]

[6:00 p.m. CWH on Supply rose and the House reconvened with Acting Deputy Speaker, Mr. Robert Carruthers in the Chair.]

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

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

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is carried.

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RICHARD MANN: We will sit from 12:00 noon until 8:00 p.m. and following the daily routine and Question Period in this Chamber, we will continue with the estimates of the Minister of Education, followed by debating Public Bills for Second Reading. In the Subcommittee, I understand that we will be starting with the estimates of the Premier and then moving on, as scheduled, in alphabetical order. I move that we adjourn until 12:00 noon tomorrow.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is carried.

The Adjournment debate topic is:

"Therefore be it resolved that the members of this Assembly commend the government's initiative to help social assistance recipients find jobs through the very successful Nova Scotia Compass Program.".

ADJOURNMENT

MOTION UNDER RULE 5(5)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Lunenburg.

COMMUN. SERV. - COMPASS PROGRAM: INITIATIVE - COMMEND

MRS. LILA O'CONNOR: Mr. Speaker, as always, it is an honour for me to stand in this assembly and commend the Government of Nova Scotia for doing an outstanding job at assisting those in need.

[Page 1544]

Mr. Speaker, the Nova Scotia Compass Program is a federal-provincial pilot project to help social assistance recipients find jobs, funded on a 50/50 basis by the Nova Scotia Department of Community Services and Human Resource Development Canada. The Compass Strategic Initiative was developed in response to rising caseloads, at both the provincial and municipal levels, and to growing dependency on social assistance. Especially the increasing number of youth depending on municipal assistance and the growing number of single parents on the provincial family benefits caseload.

The Compass Program is intended to enhance the employability of social assistance recipients. Specifically, Mr. Speaker, the program has been designed to provide opportunities to working age adults, including single women and laid-off fishers displaced from the labour market, to assist unemployed youth at risk of long-term dependency to develop job skills and to complement and build on existing training and employment services offered by the province, municipalities and the federal government and the Compass Program was designed to encourage the participation of private sector employers as partners in the program.

The Compass Program, initiated in October 1994, complements existing training and employment services and encourages increased partnerships with private sector employers across the province. Compass achieves that goal by helping people break out of a cycle of social assistance and long-term unemployment into the world of jobs and opportunity.

I would like to take a few moments this evening to briefly describe the four major components of the Compass Program. First, the Work Experience Option. This component of the Compass Program is designed to provide youth 18 to 30 years of age, in receipt of municipal assistance, with an opportunity to gain work experience. During the pilot period, the Work Experience Option has also been opened up to a limited number of family benefits clients. In the first year of the program, clients are paid an allowance of $160 a week while on work placement.

The second component is the Traditional Training Option. Under this component, a wage subsidy is available to private sector employers to provide employment opportunities to job-ready, social assistance recipients. This is for a maximum of six months for full-time work, with a wage subsidy of up to $5.62 an hour. Mr. Speaker, employers are required to contribute a minimum of 25 per cent of the hourly wage.

The third component of the Compass Program is the Enterprise Development Option. The goal of the component is to assist social assistance recipients to establish and operate a small business. Under Stream I of the EDO, clients acquire core training and entrepreneurial skills and business development over a 20 week period, as well as receive after-care support, consisting of one-on-one counselling, with a trainer for a minimum of six months. Under Stream II, qualified clients receive loan assistance of up to $2,000 for their business and, in exceptional cases, up to $5,000, through the Business Service Centres of the Nova Scotia Economic Renewal Agency.

The final component of the Compass Program is the Opportunity Fund. The Opportunity Fund enables the purchase of specialty items or services, such as textbooks, manuals, course fees, workbooks and safety equipment to enhance the employability of a client. This fund is also available for Employment Resource Centre clients and for clients who are involved in provincial vocational training and employment programs.

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Recently the Governments of Canada and Nova Scotia funded an evaluation of the Compass Program and we are all so pleased that it has exceeded our expectations not only in providing training and job experience but also by creating long-term employment; a most innovative cost-effective approach for all taxpayers.

The evaluation reviewed the first six months of the implementation of the Compass Program. The evaluation examined issues related to program design and delivery as well as preliminary outcomes. Information sources included a review of the literature, interviews with stakeholders, focus groups with program stakeholders and a survey of 251 client participants, 110 eligible clients and 56 employer participants. This process evaluation focused on the first three components; work experience, transitional training and the enterprise development.

The Work Experience Option has been successful in placing youth with employers. The survey results indicated that 34 per cent of those who completed the placement were hired by their employer.

The transitional training option is meeting the employment needs of municipal clients. The survey indicated that 67 per cent of this client group, who finished their placements, were hired by employers.

Finally, the preliminary evaluation of the Enterprise Development Option indicated that the Stream I training component is providing the target group with the knowledge and skills required to establish and run a small business and in some cases, skills necessary to obtain employment elsewhere.

The majority of businesses started as a result of the Enterprise Development Option were small and home-based in nature and were funded under Stream II without obtaining additional financing for start-up costs.

Much of the overall success of Compass is due to the design established for its delivery. Compass was designed to be one part of an integral range of employment and training services available to social assistance recipients. The program is delivered throughout the province by existing Employment Resource Centres who have the experience and knowledge of municipal and provincial clients.

A particular strength of the organizational structure of Compass lies in the regional Compass liaison committees established throughout the province to facilitate communication among the Compass partners. Members of the committee include ERC coordinators, counsellors, job developers, ERA field officers and Community Services counsellors. Close to one-third of all clients who were placed through Compass indicated that the chance to acquire relevant experience was the most important program feature for them.

The evaluation of the Compass Program was important for a number of reasons. It provides us with an assessment from the people who are using the program. It has enabled the department to make adjustments to improve the program. I understand that virtually all of the recommendations contained in the report have been adopted and fully implemented. The evaluation also pointed to the success of the Compass approach and opened our eyes to the possibility of extending the program past its pilot stage.

Compass is about helping people find the opportunities they need. It's about real jobs in businesses that have roots in Nova Scotia. It's about matching people with jobs in their own communities. To date, over 2,200 people have participated in the program. Let me state very

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clearly again, 67 per cent of those clients who have completed the program's short-term, on-the-job training component are being hired full-time at the end of their placement.

Yes, these numbers are impressive but more importantly they represent real people, people who I am proud to recognize as having created new opportunities for themselves and their families. They represent employers who have benefitted from the skill and determination of willing workers. That is the real key to the early success of this program - the people.

Local communities, clients, employers and staff at all levels of governments are the real success story here.

Strengthening partnerships is the key to our future. The success of the Compass Program proves that if we work together, we can achieve real and lasting results. This is not a band-aid solution. The Compass Program is about finding real jobs for people in their own communities across our province.

This government is committed to finding new solutions to the continuing challenges. Our government is committed to cost-effective programs that are beneficial to all Nova Scotians. We are committed to creating a climate for investment and job creation in Nova Scotia.

On behalf of my caucus colleagues, I am proud to have this opportunity to congratulate the Honourable Jim Smith for his lead role to initiate the Compass Program, as part of the future climate of growth in Nova Scotia. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: Hearing no more interveners I would declare that the Adjournment debate is now over.

The House is adjourned to meet again tomorrow at 12:00 noon.

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

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NOTICE OF MOTION UNDER RULE 32(3)

RESOLUTION NO. 504

By: Mr. Keith Colwell (Eastern Shore)

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

Whereas the musical group, Surefire, a bluegrass group founded in early 1995 with strong connections to the Eastern Shore, has been chosen to participate in the 1996 Pizza Hut International Bluegrass Showdown in Owensboro, Kentucky; and

Whereas Surefire members, Dave DeVries, Len Beck, Art Zilkowsky, Vernon Robichaud and Cleve Beeler, are highly talented musicians who will represent all of Eastern Canada at this international bluegrass event; and

Whereas the 1996 Pizza Hut International Bluegrass Showdown is an international talent search which will provide the band with an unparalleled opportunity to showcase their talents before a world-wide audience;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate the five members of the bluegrass group, Surefire, and wish them every success as they travel to Kentucky to participate in the Pizza Hut International Bluegrass Showdown and represent Nova Scotia as musical ambassadors.