Assemblée Législative de la Nouvelle-Écosse

Les travaux de la Chambre ont repris le
21 septembre 2017

Hansard -- Tue., Nov. 26, 1996

Fourth Session

TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 26, 1996

TABLE OF CONTENTS PAGE
INTRODUCTION OF VISITORS 2385
TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS:
Commun. Serv.: Community Based Options Programs -
Interim Standards, Tabled, Hon. J. MacEachern 2386
STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS:
Curren, Donald: Death of - Tribute, The Premier 2387
GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 809, Nat. Res. - Woodlot Owner of the Year (N.S.-1996):
Rex Veinot (Lun. Co.) - Congrats., Hon. E. Norrie 2389
Vote - Affirmative 2389
INTRODUCTION OF BILLS:
No. 41, Fisheries and Coastal Resources Act, Hon. J. Barkhouse 2390
No. 42, Victorian Order of Nurses Act, Mrs. L. O'Connor 2390
NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 810, House of Assembly - Legislation: Free Votes -
Ldrs. Comm. Establish, Dr. J. Hamm 2390
Res. 811, Fin. - PST & GST Harmonization: Exco - Consult,
Mr. R. Chisholm 2391
Res. 812, PC/NDP - Coalition: Promotion - Opportunistic,
Mr. P. MacEwan 2391
Res. 813, Nat. Res. - Sable Offshore Gas Pipeline:
Route Favoured (Gov't. [Can.]) - Corres., Dr. J. Hamm 2392
Res. 814, Health - Children's Dental Care Destruction:
PST & GST Harmonization - Effect Explain, Mr. R. Russell 2392
Res. 815, Transport. & Pub. Wks. - Highway No. 104:
Western Alignment - Reality Check Urge, Mr. J. Holm 2393
Res. 816, Leader of the Opposition - PST & GST Harmonization:
Tax Initiatives (Gov't. [N.S.]) - Acknowledge, Mr. G. Fogarty 2394
Res. 817, ERA - Tourism: Upper Clements Theme Park -
Impact Recognize, Mr. J. Casey 2394
Vote - Affirmative 2395
Res. 818, Health - Care Complex (C.B.): Hiring Practices -
Investigate, Mr. A. MacLeod 2395
Res. 819, Hants East - Maitland Christmas Festival: Organizers -
Congrats., Mr. R. Carruthers 2396
Vote - Affirmative 2396
Res. 820, Commun. Serv. - Transition Houses: Funding - Reinstate,
Ms. E. O'Connell 2397
Res. 821, Environ. - Resource Recovery Fund-Min. & TRACC:
Meetings/Corres. - Report Table, Mr. T. Donahoe 2397
Res. 822, Environ.: Resource Recovery Fund Board Resignations -
Account, Mr. B. Taylor 2398
Res. 823, Sports - Hockey (World Under-17 Championships):
Ali MacEachern (Inverness) Team Atlantic - Selection Congrats.,
Mr. C. MacArthur 2399
Vote - Affirmative 2399
Res. 824, Environ. - New Waterford Fish & Game Assoc.:
Waterways Protection - Recognize, Mr. R. MacNeil 2399
Vote - Affirmative 2400
Res. 825, Housing & Mun. Affs. - Infrastructure Progs. (Natl.-Phase II):
Municipalities - Role Support, Mr. D. McInnes 2400
Res. 826, PC/NDP - Coalition: Power Grab - Recognize, Mr. R. Hubbard 2401
Res. 827, Educ. - Teachers' Inst. On Cdn. Parl. Democracy:
Students (N.S.) - Selection Congrats., Mr. J. Leefe 2401
Vote - Affirmative 2402
Res. 828, Health - Reform: Ruin - Denounce, Mr. R. Chisholm 2402
Res. 829, Fin. - Economy (N.S.): Opposition Parties - Cooperate,
Mr. R. Carruthers 2403
Res. 830, N.S. Home for Coloured Children: Anniv. (75th) - Congrats.,
Mr. G. Archibald 2404
Vote - Affirmative 2404
Res. 831, CBC - Funding: Gov't. (Can.) - Red Book Commitment Honour,
Mr. J. Holm 2404
Res. 832, Fin. - PST & GST Harmonization: Pictou West MLA Support -
Commend, Mr. P. MacEwan 2405
Res. 833, Nat. Res. - Forestry Strategy: Vol. Planning Advice - Heed,
Ms. E. O'Connell 2406
Res. 834, Nat. Res. - Primary Forest Products Marketing Bd. (N.S.):
Board Vacancies - Fill, Mr. B. Taylor 2406
Res. 835, ERA - ABCO Industries (Lunenburg): Success - Congrats.,
Mr. J. Leefe 2407
Vote - Affirmative 2407
Res. 836, Fish. - Lobster: Fishermen - Best Wishes Extend,
Mr. D. McInnes 2408
Vote - Affirmative 2408
ORAL QUESTIONS PUT BY MEMBERS:
No. 342, Nat. Res.: NSRL - Tax Pools, Dr. J. Hamm 2408
No. 343, Health: Care - Erosion, Mr. R. Chisholm 2409
No. 344, Nat. Res. - NSRL: Tax Pools - Sale, Dr. J. Hamm 2412
No. 345, Nat. Res.: Nat. Gas Rights - Back-In Provisions,
Mr. T. Donahoe 2414
No. 346, Nat. Res. - NSRL: Western Properties - Sale,
Mr. G. Archibald 2416
No. 347, Justice - Institutions: Abuse - Compensation, Mr. J. Holm 2417
No. 348, Nat. Res.: NSRL - Tax Pools, Dr. J. Hamm 2419
No. 349, Nat. Res.: Offshore Exploration - Safety, Mr. G. Archibald 2421
No. 350, Nat. Res. - NSRL: Wrongful Dismissal Suits - Damages,
Dr. J. Hamm 2422
No. 351, Nat. Res.: Forest Strategy - Consult, Ms. E. O'Connell 2424
No. 352, Environ. - Sydney River: Lead Contamination - Solution,
Mr. A. MacLeod 2425
HOUSE RESOLVED INTO CWH ON BILLS AT 1:53 P.M. 2427
HOUSE RECONVENED AT 5:59 P.M. 2427
CWH REPORTS^ 2427
PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES:
Law Amendments Committee, Hon. J. Abbass 2428
Law Amendments Committee, Hon. J. Abbass 2428
INTRODUCTION OF BILLS:
No. 43, Condominium Act, Hon. S. Jolly 2429
ADJOURNMENT:
MOTION UNDER RULE 5(5):
Gov't. (Can.): SW N.S. - Abandonment:
Mr. J. Leefe 2430
Mr. R. Hubbard 2433
Mr. J. Holm 2436
ADJOURNMENT, House rose to meet again on Wed., Nov. 27th at 2:00 p.m. 2438

[Page 2385]

HALIFAX, TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 26, 1996

Fifty-sixth General Assembly

Fourth Session

12:00 P.M.

SPEAKER

Hon. Wayne Gaudet

DEPUTY SPEAKER

Mrs. Francene Cosman

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

The honourable Premier.

HON. JOHN SAVAGE (The Premier): Mr. Speaker, I just want to introduce what is called a shadow student whose name is Brian Mihaichuk from Millwood High School. His teacher requested that he shadow me for a day and he is following me around here. He is a Grade 12 student at Millwood High School, a very ambitious young man, who is interested in politics and possibly going into law. He is involved in many school programs and he has also volunteered to help clean up the Sackville River. Let me introduce him, he is up there and we welcome him to this House, through you. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: We will now begin with the daily proceedings of the House.

PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS

PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES

TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS

2385

[Page 2386]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Community Services.

HON. JOHN MACEACHERN: Mr. Speaker, today I am tabling the interim standards for private and non-profit settings operating under the Community Based Options Program. It had been our intent to release these upon the completion of an audit report following a murder in a small options home, but the recent interest in and demand for these interim standards has convinced me that these should be released immediately.

Mr. Speaker, I would like to take a very few minutes to review the development of these standards. In February 1995, shortly after the Department of Community Services took responsibility for paying the costs of municipal placements of clients in community based small options homes, we began the process of developing common standards and operating practices for these homes.

The interim standards that we have released today are the result of community and stakeholder consultation based on two discussion papers. Last March, a report on Stakeholder Input, summarizing the report of 73 individuals and groups, was released.

Since that time, the department has been developing standards that reflect the insights and priorities identified by the community, as well as the best of the existing standards in the system, and basic standards from the Homes for Special Care Act. Mr. Speaker, these standards will continue to be reviewed, and further consultation carried out, as we move toward regulation governing these facilities. This will include the broad spectrum of needs, including those services that now fall within the jurisdiction of the Department of Health.

I hope that all members will recognize that the development of community based small options is a response to the need of individuals to have the opportunity to live in a home, with the normal flow and rhythm of community that we all experience. Obviously, independence is not an absolute and the small options network must reflect the broad range of needs for care and supervision.

Our challenge as we develop these standards is to ensure the greatest degree of autonomy and independence with the greatest measure of support and protection. This is a matter of balance, Mr. Speaker, not of simple formulae.

The standards that I am tabling today, Mr. Speaker, will evolve as we continue to monitor and develop the system to meet the needs of individuals. Thank you very much.

MR. SPEAKER: The report is tabled.

The honourable member for Cape Breton West.

[Page 2387]

MR. ALFRED MACLEOD: Mr. Speaker, it gives me privilege to rise today to just make a brief comment about this long overdue report that the minister has finally seen fit to release.

It is a report that many people have been asking for for a long time. We have not had an opportunity to see the report, but as soon as we do, I am sure it is being circulated and we will have a chance to read it. I can tell you from my dealings with people across Nova Scotia that this report has been long promised and long overdue, and many people are anxious to see just exactly what it contains.

With those few brief words, Mr. Speaker, I will sit. After I have had an opportunity to read this, there may be more comments that we would like to pass on. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Fairview.

MS. EILEEN O'CONNELL: Mr. Speaker, I just wanted to rise in response to the minister as well to say that it is about time that we have received these guidelines. We look forward to reading them and scrutinizing them closely. We are delighted that the government has finally moved on this critical issue and we look forward to looking at the particulars and the details so that we can contribute, and other stakeholders, people in the public can contribute their voice to a response to it. Thank you.

STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Premier.

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I thank you for acknowledging me. I want to rise for a moment to make a few comments about a notable and well-loved Nova Scotian who died on November 25th, Donald Curren.

Donald Curren is known to many people. He was appointed by another government as the Chair of the Human Rights Commission, a role he fulfilled admirably. Don Curren was known particularly throughout the metropolitan area but also throughout Nova Scotia as a very dedicated fighter for the rights of the disabled. He was a flying officer in the Royal Canadian Air Force during the Second World War and became paraplegic as a result of a plane crash in November 1943. In spite of this severe disability, Don became an outstanding inspiration to everybody who knew him, never letting you off the hook, he was an insistent and demanding person on the rights of the disabled. He founded the Maritime Division of the Canadian Paraplegic Association, instead of pursuing a career in active law.

In a world in those days virtually without rehabilitation, he worked for the improvement of the quality of life for disabled people throughout the entire Atlantic Provinces. He looked at Building Codes, he wanted improved Building Codes, curbed ramps, access-a-bus,

[Page 2388]

handicap parking. He was a founding member of the Nova Scotia Wheelchair Sports Club, representing Canada himself, incidentally, in the following Paralympic Games; basketball, archery, rifle marksmanship and javelin.

He was a remarkable man, a person whose life was dedicated to others. We would like to pay tribute to him. I would suggest that the Opposition might want to make a remark or two as well. I think perhaps he was such a notable Nova Scotian and such a well-loved Nova Scotian, that it would be appropriate if we had a minute of silence for this wonderful person.

MR. SPEAKER: I will recognize the honourable member for Halifax Citadel first.

MR. TERENCE DONAHOE: Mr. Speaker, I want to say thank you to the Premier for alerting me to the fact that he would be making remarks to mark the passing of Don Curren. I am pleased but, at the same time of course, very saddened to have the opportunity to respond in light of Don's passing. Don was a constituent of mine but, more important, he was a very good friend of mine.

As the Premier has already said, Don became paraplegic in defence of all of us here and in defence of the democracy which we have available to us here in this Legislature and in this country, as a result of military action in North Africa.

Again, as has already been said, Don was the leading light and the founder of the Maritime Division of the Canadian Paraplegic Association. He was appointed and I was pleased and proud to be at the Cabinet table at the time that Don was appointed Chair of the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission.

Don's life, Mr. Speaker, and his commitment to others and his love of life and the fact that he simply didn't allow his physical disability at any point to interfere with his goal, to improve the quality of life of disabled persons, is really the hallmark of his life. Don's humour and his commitment and his effective work will be very much missed.

I want to associate myself with the remarks made by the Premier and extend deepest condolences to his family on his passing. He was a proud war veteran and a wonderful advocate for the disabled of Atlantic Canada and of Canada as a whole. He will be greatly missed. Thank you.

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

MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, I, too, want to lend my voice and that of my caucus colleagues to the respects being paid to Mr. Curren, the passing of Mr. Curren and for acknowledging his contribution to this province, to his community, to the efforts of the disabled. I extend, on behalf of myself and my colleagues, my deepest regrets and condolences to Mr. Curren's family.

[Page 2389]

[12:15 p.m.]

MR. SPEAKER: The motion has been made requesting a minute's silence.

Is it agreed that notice be waived?

It is agreed.

[One minute of silence was observed.]

GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Natural Resources.

RESOLUTION NO. 809

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

Whereas Rex Veinot, and his family, of Lunenburg County have been named the Nova Scotia Woodlot Owner of the Year for 1996; and

Whereas Rex Veinot placed first in the Nova Scotia provincial and the Canadian Christmas tree competitions, awarded by the Canadian Christmas Tree Growers Association; and

Whereas Rex Veinot, his family and their Christmas tree and maple syrup operation are featured on the cover of and inside the November issue of Harrowsmith Country Life magazine;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House congratulate Rex Veinot and his family for their contribution to forest management and wise resource use that spans four generations and more than 50 years in Nova Scotia.

Mr. Speaker, I seek waiver of notice.

MR. SPEAKER: Is it agreed that notice be waived?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

[Page 2390]

INTRODUCTION OF BILLS

Bill No. 41 - Entitled an Act to Revise and Consolidate the Laws of the Province Respecting the Fishery and to Encourage and Promote Programs to Sustain and Improve the Fishery. (Hon. James Barkhouse)

Bill No. 42 - Entitled an Act to Amend Chapter 184 of the Acts of 1909. An Act Respecting the Victorian Order of Nurses for Canada. (Mrs. Lila O'Connor)

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

NOTICES OF MOTION

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Opposition.

RESOLUTION NO. 810

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

Whereas the Liberal Government has stifled free and open debate among members of the Legislative Assembly on issues such as casinos and Sunday shopping; and

Whereas Nova Scotians demand that MLAs act as the primary representative of the interests of their constituents, instead of acting as the primary representative of partisan rhetoric and Party discipline; and

Whereas current matters under consideration by the House such as the increase of speed limits and regulations on bicycle helmets are not questions of confidence in the Liberal Government;

Therefore be it resolved that the Premier and the Leader of the NDP join with me to establish a Joint Leaders Committee charged with determining which legislation should be subject to a free vote without penalties for breaking Party discipline and that said committee examine holding a free vote on legislation respecting speed limits and bicycle helmets.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable Leader of the New Democratic Party.

MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, we do not have such penalties in the NDP caucus.

[Page 2391]

RESOLUTION NO. 811

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 Premier has issued a press release that confuses a serious attempt by the New Democratic Party to block his ill-conceived BS Tax with political posturing; and

Whereas the Premier, in his efforts to add further confusion, has taken the trouble to remind New Democrats and all Nova Scotians that the Tories, "gave Nova Scotia taxpayers an $8 billion debt, bridges to nowhere and a warehouse full of mechanical toilet seats"; and

Whereas Nova Scotians need no more be reminded of those Tory fiascos than they do of the toll roads, broken promises, devastated public services and breathtaking arrogance of the Savage Government;

Therefore be it resolved that instead of getting caught up in the political games played by media and politicians, the Premier and his Cabinet colleagues go out and discover first-hand from the people of Nova Scotia the unfairness and unpopularity of his BST rip-off.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Cape Breton Nova.

RESOLUTION NO. 812

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

Whereas the PC/NDP coalition now being promoted raises intriguing new possibilities for political mischief in Nova Scotia; and

Whereas the PC/NDP coalition of confusion will be simultaneously of both the left and the right and will have two different policies to offer the voter, to be delivered individually on a whichever you prefer basis; and

Whereas the entering into full communion by the Tories and New Democrats raises the question of whether the left will be in step with the right or the right in step with left, the likely outcome being that both will be out of step with the voters;

Therefore be it resolved that in the view of this House sensible Nova Scotians will be thoroughly turned off by the opportunistic, cynical sell-out of the principles of both left and right being engineered by the promoters of this peculiar political emulsification.

[Page 2392]

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable Leader of the Opposition.

RESOLUTION NO. 813

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

Whereas the Prime Minister of Canada claims to favour the best market-based route for the Sable Offshore Gas Pipeline; and

Whereas the Prime Minister has made it clear that his preference for the Sable pipeline route would be one that runs through Quebec; and

Whereas the Prime Minister's repeated statements of personal opinion respecting routing through Quebec continue to undermine what is supposed to be an even-handed, neutral, non-political process through the National Energy Board;

Therefore be it resolved that the Premier write to the Prime Minister of Canada and tell him unequivocally that he cannot have it both ways; that is, he cannot approve fair process and interfere in it at the same time, as he clearly is doing.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Hants West.

RESOLUTION NO. 814

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

Whereas the government has been reporting erroneous information on the BST; and

Whereas in the Department of Finance brochure entitled What it Means for Consumers it states the cost of toothpaste will go down in price as a result of the BST; and

Whereas if the Minister of Finance would care to check, he would see that the price of toothpaste will actually increase as a result of the BST because at the present time Nova Scotians are not paying the provincial sales tax on toothpaste;

[Page 2393]

Therefore be it resolved that since the Minister of Health recently cut millions from the children's dental plan, both he and the Minister of Finance explain to parents across Nova Scotia their specific plans on why they are so intent on destroying the dental care for the children of Nova Scotia.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Dartmouth-Cole Harbour, on an introduction.

MR. ALAN MITCHELL: Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to introduce to you and through you to the other members of the House, a group of Grade 6 students from Mount Edward School from the constituency of Dartmouth-Cole Harbour who are here today accompanied by Joanne Stonehouse, their teacher, and Ms. Trina Veno. I would ask them to please stand and accept the welcome from the House. (Applause)

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

RESOLUTION NO. 815

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

Whereas the Minister of Transportation and Public Works yesterday presided over what looks ominously like the first of a series of ribbon cuttings for the ill-conceived and expensive Highway No. 104 project; and

Whereas the Minister of Transportation and Public Works used the occasion to fantasize again about how the project would not be happening without the magic of public/private partnerships; and

Whereas the history of the 20th Century provides proof that constant repetition of the Big Whopper does not make it true;

Therefore be it resolved that this House urge the government to take a reality check on the Highway No. 104 and realize that it is not the Eighth Wonder of the World, but a costly boondoggle that will cost the motorists of this province dearly.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Halifax Bedford Basin.

[Page 2394]

RESOLUTION NO. 816

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

Whereas on April 18, 1994, the current Leader of the Conservative Party rose in this House to congratulate the Liberal Government for "embarking on the most ambitious and farsighted program of spending control ever undertaken in Nova Scotia"; and

Whereas on the same day, the Leader of the Opposition also welcomed this government's taxation philosophy, which "recognizes that taxes slow business growth, denying Nova Scotians the jobs they need"; and

Whereas on this same day, the Leader of the Opposition encouraged the government to exercise "a creative use of the tax system in its efforts to reduce the tax burden on Nova Scotians";

Therefore be it resolved that the Leader of the Conservative Party, who has publicly praised this government's tax initiatives, now acknowledge that the Liberal Government continues to encourage business growth and job creation through the proposed harmonized sales tax.

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

MR. SPEAKER: Is it agreed that notice be waived?

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Digby-Annapolis.

RESOLUTION NO. 817

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

Whereas the opening of tenders for an operator for the Upper Clements Theme Park is scheduled to take place tomorrow afternoon; and

Whereas the Upper Clements Theme Park is a very vital tourist attraction in Annapolis County, significantly enhancing the economy of the surrounding communities; and

[Page 2395]

Whereas the Upper Clements Theme Park provides much-needed seasonal employment for local residents, which would otherwise not be available;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House recognize the important economic impact that the Upper Clements Theme Park has on the local community and urge the government to make every effort to keep the park in operation for many years to come.

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

MR. SPEAKER: Is it agreed that notice be waived?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Cape Breton West.

RESOLUTION NO. 818

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

Whereas this Liberal Government pretends it has outlawed patronage and is the champion of fair hiring; and

Whereas it has appointed well-connected Liberals to the regional health boards who are now carrying out the government's dirty work by passing over long-time, well-respected and abundantly qualified employees in favour of Liberal supporters; and

Whereas the government is using Nova Scotia hospitals as their own political fiefdom and, in the process, are jeopardizing the quality of care provided by hiring on the basis of politics as opposed to competency;

Therefore be it resolved that this government appoint a joint committee of representatives from the Ombudsman's Office and the Human Rights Commission to investigate the hiring practices of the Cape Breton Health Care Complex.

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

[Page 2396]

MR. SPEAKER: Is it agreed that notice be waived?

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Hants East.

RESOLUTION NO. 819

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

Whereas this past weekend, my wife and I had the wonderful opportunity of attending the Maitland Christmas Festival, a very successful event that has become an annual part of Christmas festivities in Hants East; and

Whereas this delightful festival included a three day craft fair, an open house at two heritage homes decorated for the season, with guides in period costumes, a vintage toy display, along with a number of festival lunches and suppers; and

Whereas this Maitland Christmas Festival is a well-organized community event which attracts visitors from across this province;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate the members of the organizing committee and all the volunteers who coordinated the very successful Maitland Christmas Festival.

[12:30 p.m.]

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

MR. SPEAKER: Is it agreed?

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 Fairview.

[Page 2397]

RESOLUTION NO. 820

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

Whereas members of this House have approved several resolutions endorsing the Days of Action Against Gender Violence, which began yesterday; and

Whereas such resolutions and the wearing of the purple ribbon are important symbols of support for positive action in the campaign against violence against women; and

Whereas such actions sometimes ring hollow when government cutbacks force the curtailing or cancellation of programs and services for abused women and children or men who abuse;

Therefore be it resolved that this House urge the government during these Days of Action to reinstate funding for transition houses and other programs affected by recent budget cuts by the Department of Community Services.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

MR. SPEAKER: Is it agreed that notice be waived?

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Halifax Citadel.

RESOLUTION NO. 821

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

Whereas Environment Minister Wayne Adams has said that he considered Resource Recovery Fund Inc. to be a private, incorporated, arm's length, non-government agency, free of government influence or pressure; and

Whereas the Minister of the Environment, along with a number of departmental officials, attended the July 26, 1996 meeting of Resource Recovery Fund Inc. and created pressure in the decision-making process on the tire recycling issue; and

[Page 2398]

Whereas the minister's conduct was completely inappropriate in influencing the work of Resource Recovery Fund Inc., contrary to his public statements that the Resource Recovery Fund was "at arm's length" and "independent" of him, his ministry and government;

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of the Environment table a report outlining the detail of each and every time he or his officials attended and participated in meetings of Resource Recovery Fund. Inc., all correspondence between Resource Recovery Fund Inc. and the minister, and all correspondence between the minister and TRACC (N.S.) Limited.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley.

RESOLUTION NO. 822

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 the Environment is quoted in Hansard on April 10th of this year as saying, "The Resource Recovery Fund was not set up as an agency of government. It was set up as a private, incorporated, non-government agency"; and

Whereas on May 9th of this year the minister is also quoted in Hansard as saying, "This is a decision made by the tire industry, it is not a government decision. We had no impact on that decision at all in reference to a question on the reduced price for scrap tires"; and

Whereas the Minister of Community Services is quoted in the June 17, 1993 edition of the Daily News as saying, "The chief ethics lesson learned was that ministers have to remove any personal considerations from decisions they make";

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of the Environment stop playing hide-and-seek and provide the Nova Scotia taxpayers with a full accounting of the mysterious resignations of Chair Elwood Dillman and President Jeanne Cruickshank from the Resource Recovery Fund Board Inc. prior to the minister holding a news conference to announce a partnership between TRACC and the Nova Scotia Government for the recycling as well as the shipping of tires out of Nova Scotia to be burned.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Inverness.

[Page 2399]

RESOLUTION NO. 823

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

Whereas Team Atlantic, an Atlantic regional hockey team, will participate in the World Under-17 Hockey Championship in Red Deer, Alberta, from December 27th to January 4th; and

Whereas Ali MacEachern, a 16 year old from Inverness, will be the only Cape Bretoner on Team Atlantic; and

Whereas Ali is following in the footsteps of his brother, Liam, who participated in the same tournament three years ago, thus keeping up the family tradition of raising great hockey players;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House extend their congratulations to Ali on being chosen to play for Team Atlantic, and wish him all the best as he competes against the top under 17 hockey players around the world.

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

MR. SPEAKER: Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Cape Breton Centre.

RESOLUTION NO. 824

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

Whereas the waterways of Nova Scotia are a precious natural resource that must be protected; and

Whereas the New Waterford Fish and Game Association has undertaken many projects to protect and restore waterways so that they will be enjoyed for generations to come; and

[Page 2400]

Whereas the New Waterford Fish and Game Association has recently restored the health of various waterways, including the Northwest Brook, the Mill Dam and Grand Lake, through such methods as treating these waters with limestone and replenishing them with fish;

Therefore be it resolved that this House recognize the efforts being made by the New Waterford Fish and Game Association to protect and restore the waterways in their area, and commend them for their dedication to the health of their local environment.

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

MR. SPEAKER: Is it agreed that notice be waived?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Pictou West.

RESOLUTION NO. 825

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

Whereas aging old infrastructure in various municipal units across Nova Scotia is marginally satisfactory at best; and

Whereas details of Phase II of the National Infrastructure Program are presently being discussed by the federal government and Canada's First Ministers; and

Whereas it is imperative that if Phase II is to proceed, municipal units in Nova Scotia be given an equal role in determining what is best for their communities;

Therefore be it resolved that the Premier, the Minister of Finance, the Minister of Housing and Municipal Affairs, and the Minister of Transportation and Public Works put forth strong arguments on the national stage in support of the role municipalities must play in any future National Infrastructure Programs agreed to by the federal and provincial governments.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Yarmouth.

[Page 2401]

RESOLUTION NO. 826

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 Leaders of the New Democratic Party and the Progressive Conservative Party of Nova Scotia have revealed their plot to establish a coalition government after the next election if no Party wins a majority of seats; and

Whereas such a coalition would involve, by necessity, the compromising of one Party's principles to accommodate the principles of the other; and

Whereas the Leader of the Opposition, in an address to his Party's annual general meeting this past February, stated that the "Progressive Conservative Party will not oppose for the sake of opposition - we will not desert the principles that define us as a Party for the sake of a headline in tomorrow's paper or a 30 second sound bite";

Therefore be it resolved that this House recognize the PC/NDP coalition for what it is, an attempt to seize power at any price, and condemn the Leader of the Opposition for breaking his personal vow that his Party would not desert . . .

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

MR. HUBBARD: . . . its fundamental principles for cheap political gain.

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: No.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Queens.

RESOLUTION NO. 827

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

Whereas Marie MacLeod of North Queens Rural High School, David Cook of Parkview Education Centre and Ken Langille of Yarmouth Memorial High School were recently chosen from among 235 applicants from across Canada to attend the Teachers' Institute on Canadian Parliamentary Democracy; and

[Page 2402]

Whereas these talented high school social studies teachers joined a select group of 60 Canadians who travelled to Parliament Hill in Ottawa and participated in numerous workshops featuring the Speakers and Clerks of both the Houses of Parliament, MPs, Senators, public servants and journalists; and

Whereas these Nova Scotian educators have been nominated on the basis of professional excellence, interest in curriculum, innovative classroom practices and contributions to the larger community;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House congratulate Marie MacLeod, David Cook and Ken Langille for their considerable achievements and for being chosen to represent Nova Scotia on the national education stage.

I seek waiver of notice, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Is it agreed that notice be waived?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Leader of the New Democratic Party.

RESOLUTION NO. 828

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 process of health care reform in Nova Scotia has been undermined by this government's bottom-line preoccupation and refusal to consult Nova Scotians before taking action; and

Whereas the latest example of this deplorable habit is the Health Department's decision to spend just three weeks and to consult only with physicians on its plans to de-insure 19 services previously provided by MSI; and

Whereas patients and ordinary Nova Scotians are clearly being excluded from this consultation process;

[Page 2403]

Therefore be it resolved that this House denounce the government for the way in which it has ruined health reform through its high-handed refusal to listen to Nova Scotians before taking action.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Hants East.

RESOLUTION NO. 829

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

Whereas opposition to the new harmonized sales tax, for next spring, ignores future job creation, reduction in income taxes, and a much needed boost to Nova Scotia's economy; and

Whereas Official Opposition members exhibit political opportunism by using valuable media attention for personal gain rather than supporting their own Party policies or their position of responsibility to inform the public; and

Whereas this Liberal Government was voted into power by the vast majority of Nova Scotians in 1993, as an obvious sign of disillusionment towards NDP and Tory Party members;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of both Official Opposition Parties ardently strive to work with the present government in power for the economic well-being of all Nova Scotians.

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

MR. SPEAKER: Is it agreed?

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

On an introduction, the honourable member for Dartmouth-Cole Harbour.

MR. ALAN MITCHELL: Mr. Speaker, again, it is my pleasure to introduce to you the second half of a group of Grade 6 students from Mount Edward School, to introduce to you and to other members of the House through you. They are accompanied by Frank Hayden and Mr. Hayes, a parent volunteer. So I would ask them to please stand and accept the warm welcome from the House. (Applause)

[Page 2404]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings North.

RESOLUTION NO. 830

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

Whereas the Annual Christmas Broadcast for Funds to aid the Nova Scotia Home for Coloured Children will take place on December 8, 1996, this year on Access Cable; and

Whereas this year marks the 65th broadcast year, as well as the 75th Anniversary of the home's existence, the oldest co-ed residential facility in Nova Scotia; and

Whereas the home's mandate continues to be one of providing for any needy child, regardless of their racial origin, religious affiliation or ethnic background;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House congratulate the Nova Scotia Home for Coloured Children for its 75 years of success and encourage Nova Scotians to support this facility during their Annual Christmas Broadcast.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

MR. SPEAKER: Is it agreed?

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-Cobequid.

RESOLUTION NO. 831

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

Whereas the federal Liberals in their Red Book promised to provide stable, multi-year funding for Canada's national broadcast system; and

Whereas the CBC pledge joins scrapping the GST at the top of the heap of broken federal Liberal promises; and

[Page 2405]

Whereas the broken Liberal promise is forcing CBC once again to make major cuts to local and regional programming and reducing its capacity to meet its public policy objective;

Therefore be it resolved that this House urge the federal Liberal Government to honour its Red Book commitment on CBC funding made to the people of Canada.

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

MR. SPEAKER: Is it agreed that notice be waived?

I hear several Noes.

[12:45 p.m.]

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Cape Breton Nova.

RESOLUTION NO. 832

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

Whereas the honourable member for Pictou West wrote a letter to the editor of the Halifax Chronicle-Herald in July 1995 in which he supported a harmonized sales tax and pleaded with the Nova Scotia Government to adopt this tax; and

Whereas in his Address in Reply to the Speech from the Throne in this House on April 3, 1995, the same honourable member (Interruption)

Please be quiet, George, so you can hear. (Laughter)

I will repeat, Mr. Speaker;

In reply to the Speech from the Throne in this House on April 3, 1995, the same honourable member also expressed his support again for a harmonized sales tax, stating that he had supported a harmonized sales tax since the idea was first introduced by former Finance Minister Greg Kerr; and

Whereas on the same occasion the same honourable members did say, "I still say it should be harmonized. I know we did not do it but I think it is an important issue and I think it should be revisited";

[Page 2406]

Therefore be resolved that this House commends the honourable member for his consistent support of the harmonized sales tax and his courage in supporting a policy that is right for Nova Scotia.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Halifax Fairview.

RESOLUTION NO. 833

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

Whereas this province is in desperate need of a coherent forestry policy that protects the interests of all stakeholders and the people of this province generally; and

Whereas three years ago this government established a process involving the Coalition of Forest Interests to produce a strategy from which needed new policy, legislation and regulations were to flow; and

Whereas that process has failed to produce a strategy and has lost the confidence of many Nova Scotians;

Therefore be it resolved that this government heed the advice of Voluntary Planning: stop doing unnecessary studies, get a truly representative body to pull together a forestry strategy and submit it to full public consultation as soon as possible.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley.

RESOLUTION NO. 834

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

Whereas landowners continue to face mounting pressure in managing their woodlots while improving them to a higher level so they can be certified and become more acceptable on an international level; and

Whereas woodlot owners in Nova Scotia believe that the collective bargaining process of the Primary Forest Products Marketing Act should be used by this government; and

[Page 2407]

Whereas the present Savage Liberal Government is refusing to use this Act as it was intended and are also refusing to appoint qualified individuals to this board to fill two vacancies that presently exist;

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Natural Resources move towards filling these two vacancies with qualified individuals, while adhering to the legislation passed in this Legislature but yet to be proclaimed.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Queens.

RESOLUTION NO. 835

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

Whereas ABCO Industries employs between 55 and 70 people in the Town of Lunenburg; and

Whereas ABCO Industries has a long history of entrepreneurial initiative, which has allowed it to flourish in both domestic and international markets; and

Whereas ABCO Industries will celebrate its 50th Anniversary this upcoming February;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House both congratulate ABCO Industries, its President Jim Eisenhauer, and its many employees for helping build a true Nova Scotian success story and wish the entire ABCO team the very best in the coming years.

Mr. Speaker, I seek waiver of notice.

MR. SPEAKER: Is it agreed that notice be waived?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Pictou West.

[Page 2408]

RESOLUTION NO. 836

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

Whereas Nova Scotia's $150 million lobster fishery officially opened yesterday; and

Whereas more than 1,700 licensed fishermen and their crews took to the waters between Halifax and Digby for what is expected to be a buoyant season; and

Whereas lobster catches between Halifax and Digby in the western Nova Scotia lobster fishing district account for 25 per cent of the landed value of lobsters in Canada;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this Legislature extend their best wishes to the 1,700 licensed fishermen attempting to make a living at a time when the federal government is insisting on increasing their licence fees by 6,000 per cent.

Mr. Speaker, I would request waiver of notice.

MR. SPEAKER: Is it agreed that notice be waived?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

ORDERS OF THE DAY

ORAL QUESTIONS PUT BY MEMBERS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Opposition.

NAT. RES.: NSRL - TAX POOLS

DR. JOHN HAMM: Mr. Speaker, I have a question directed at the Minister of Natural Resources. The minister understands that she is now responsible for, among other things, Canada's offshore development of gas and oil, particularly Nova Scotia's development. The minister is aware that a considerable public investment has gone into the development of our oil fields and that in the last two years of reporting, NSRL, the provincial arm in that oil play, has, in fact, turned a profit the last two years. In other words, the oil play in Nova Scotia was starting to return benefit to the taxpayers.

[Page 2409]

I would ask the minister if she would confirm that prior to February 1995, among the assets of Nova Scotia Resources Limited, there was a tax pool in excess of $300 million and that the sale of that tax pool would result in no less than $50 million to be returned to NSRL and, therefore, indirectly returned to the taxpayers of Nova Scotia? Would the minister confirm that those tax pools, in fact, at that time, did exist?

HON. ELEANOR NORRIE: Yes, Mr. Speaker.

DR. HAMM: I wish to table a couple of documents here. It is the business plan of NSRL from 1994 to 1999 and a letter from First Energy Capital Corp. that makes direct reference to the fact that, in fact, these tax pools did exist. So now that we have established that NSRL had a resource or an asset that was worth somewhere in the order of $50 million, will the minister confirm that attempts were being made by the former president of NSRL to sell these tax pools and achieve the income of some $50 million? Will the minister confirm whether or not, after the new administration was put in place for NSRL, that this was pursued and, in fact, the sale took place and $50 million of benefit accrued to NSRL? Will the minister confirm whether or not that happened?

MRS. NORRIE: I cannot confirm that, no I cannot.

DR. HAMM: Well, the minister has said, clearly, to this House, that there was a benefit that existed in 1995, the sale of which would have resulted in income to NSRL of $50 million. Will the minister explain why this was not pursued and why NSRL did not benefit from the sale of these tax pools and allowed it to drag on until the spring of 1996 when the federal government, in fact, cancelled the tax pools? Why was this asset not sold? Why was it not pursued and the asset sold and the benefit accrued to NSRL?

MRS. NORRIE: Mr. Speaker, I think if the Leader opposite would look at the whole aspect of NSRL, he would find that this province, under a different administration, had made huge investments into the offshore oil here in Nova Scotia. We have accrued a debt of $450 million that is on the books of this province. We are handling this. The previous minister handled it in a very professional way. I want to tell the member opposite that, as well, any measures made by the federal government have not had a significant impact. We are in the process of trying to divest NSRL off the books of the Province of Nova Scotia. We will get the best deal we can for that and it will be done in a professional way.

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

HEALTH: CARE - EROSION

MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, I want to direct my question through you to the Minister of Health. I want to raise again today some concerns with respect to the current state of the health care system in the Province of Nova Scotia. I do that understanding

[Page 2410]

that the Minister of Health has accused me and other members of the Opposition of running around like Chicken Little talking about how the sky is falling. I want to remind him that for some people that is, in fact, what is happening. For people who are being sent home too early, people on waiting lists who are dying, people who are not receiving the home care services they need, that is in fact what is happening.

Mr. Speaker, for most of us it is a steady erosion and deterioration of the single tier health care system that this minister refuses to do anything about that is the problem. The most recent example is the proposed de-insurance of over $4 million of medical procedures. I would like the minister to explain to Nova Scotians why, when making such important changes which would contribute further to the erosion of the single tier system of health care in this province, does he exclude the public and talk only with doctors?

HON. BERNARD BOUDREAU: Mr. Speaker, I appreciate that question from what is obviously a very sensitive member of the House. Let me answer for a moment his preamble. I suggested that some people, including the honourable member, by describing the health care system in a state of total collapse, were acting occasionally in a somewhat irresponsible manner. Now I stand by that statement. The people who listen to the comments will judge. I did not make any comments about anyone else, any individuals having difficulties. There are plenty of challenges left for us in the health care system. No one with any degree of common sense denies that but equally, on the other side of the coin, anyone who goes out and irresponsibly claims that the whole system is collapsing, run for your lives kind of thing and takes that approach, I think from time to time is being just a tad irresponsible.

With respect to the de-listing, here is a good issue because it represents for our government an opportunity to focus limited resources on areas of critical concern. Yes, we will no longer be paying for stomach stapling but we are refocusing that in other areas. It is very important. The honourable member and his Party, I might add, would have people believe that there is no need to do that, there is enough to do everything. There is no need to face any crisis. Well, people out there simply, in my view, Mr. Speaker, do not believe that because they know the difference, they have experienced the difference. If they have any lingering doubt about the approach taken by this Party, I just suggest they look at British Columbia where that particular Party, this year, has said that instead of the balanced budget they promised, instead of the one they promised, they are going to have a deficit probably in the range of about $1 billion. Oops, missed by $1 billion. They are the only government and the only Party in the history of this country that can make John Buchanan's Government look good by comparison. (Laughter)

MR. CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, we have discussed the fact that this decision, like so many others facing this government and other governments, is a question of choices. Let's remember, when we talk about them trying to save $4 million by de-insuring certain services, they are doing it at the same time they are giving corporations in this province a $240 million tax break. That is what we are talking about here in terms of choices.

[Page 2411]

Mr. Speaker, my first supplementary - we have raised the issue before - is about this government's and the federal government's negligence in taking action on the imposition of user fees for important tests like pap smears and prostate exams. Now, with the de-insurance plan, patients are going to be charged for biopsies. All of these procedures are important for the early detection of cancer.

[1:00 p.m.]

Mr. Speaker, my question to him, can the minister provide Nova Scotians with any evidence that you can charge for these tests and not deter people from going to the doctor and getting these necessary examinations?

MR. BOUDREAU: Well, Mr. Speaker, I am not a doctor nor is the honourable member but I can tell you that the Department of Health worked very hard with the Nova Scotia Medical Society, looking at this whole situation, to ensure that we were not de-listing anything that would put people at risk.

Together, after much discussion, I can tell you, many sessions, many options, many considerations, we came together on this list. We think it is a reasonable attempt to refocus resources.

MR. CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, let me say that Nova Scotians are getting very tired of this government getting together with some group or other and making decisions for them, just like they are getting together with corporations, with the powerful and the privileged, to tell consumers that an $84 million tax burden is not a problem.

Mr. Speaker, a very quick question to the Minister of Health. I want to ask this minister how much further along the road towards a two-tiered system, a system where you have one for the rich and one for the poor, is this minister and his government prepared to drag Nova Scotians?

MR. BOUDREAU: Mr. Speaker, it obviously doesn't give any degree of comfort to the honourable member but I get some comfort when the doctors in Nova Scotia say that these items can be de-listed safety. That gives me some level of comfort and I think the public can take some level of comfort in that.

Let me get to the essential element of his question. It has to do with a two-tiered system. I will tell you, that issue is very much before us here in Nova Scotia and in Canada. The single-tiered system that we have come to know and love and, indeed, identify ourselves with is very much at issue. But I will tell you what the risk is; the risk is from people who will not recognize where the real threat comes from. The real threat comes when we fail to manage the system, when we think there are unlimited resources and we can spend as much

[Page 2412]

as we want, without threatening it. That is when you end up with the $1 billion deficits and that is when the system is threatened.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Opposition.

NAT. RES. - NSRL: TAX POOLS - SALE

DR. JOHN HAMM: Mr. Speaker, to continue with the Minister of Natural Resources. The Minister of Natural Resources did admit, and we have documented proof now that a value of some $50 million in tax pools existed prior to 1995 with NSRL. But the minister has failed to provide any legitimate reason why these tax pools were not, in fact, sold and the benefits accrued to NSRL, particularly when documentation is available, perusal of the minutes of NSRL, indicates that the board was, in fact, discussing the sale of these tax pools.

Would the minister be prepared to admit that the letter of July 13, 1994, which was a letter to the then Chairman of Nova Scotia Resources Limited, Mr. Robert MacKay, the letter was sent by Mr. Donald Downe, the then minister. The letter is short and said; "Re: Tax Pool Planning Proposal, NSR(V)L and Pan Canadian. In reference to the above issue and on review of the brief memo and letter I received July 11, 1994, I request that all present and future discussions by the Board of Nova Scotia Resources Limited be put in a hold position immediately, until such time that I have had an opportunity to discuss this matter with my cabinet colleagues.". That is over the signature of Donald Downe. I will table that.

Now would the minister indicate that the Cabinet and the minister were interfering from this time on, on a day-to-day basis, with the affairs of NSRL, the activities of the board of directors, who should be at arm's length in all of this and, in fact, that resulted in $50 million of benefits to NSRL never having been activated and the people of Nova Scotia have lost that benefit forever?

HON. ELEANOR NORRIE: Mr. Speaker, I think it is very interesting that the Leader of the Opposition can tell me exactly how much the tax pools are worth. There is no way of measuring that, and I will say again, the Province of Nova Scotia is in the process of divesting ourselves of NSRL, a company that has not been to the best interest to the people of this province. It is a $450 million debt on the books and we are going to have to absorb that. We are in the process now of getting out of the gas and oil business, in case the member opposite does not realize that, and this whole issue has been handled in the best interest to the people of this province.

DR. HAMM: Well, the minister's answer was very creative. It ignores the fact that the business plan showed how the debt would be eliminated. The $450 million of investment would be returned to the taxpayer and, in fact, $50 million could have been returned to the taxpayer overnight by the simple sale of the tax pools, which did not occur because of

[Page 2413]

interference with the Board of Directors of NSRL. So we now have established that $50 million was allowed to slip through the cracks and, in fact, has been lost forever.

I am going to table a couple of more documents. One is called the Barry Memo and the other is an Agreement of Purchase and Sale, a draft dated September 30, 1994 between LASMO Nova Scotia Limited, the vendor, and Nova Scotia Resources Ventures Limited, the purchaser and I will table those.

The minister will know, that as well as tax pools being credited to Nova Scotia Resources, LASMO, as well, had significant tax pool losses that it credited to that company. LASMO, as is documented by what I have just tabled, went to Nova Scotia Resources Limited and said, we will turn all of this over to the Nova Scotia Government and, in fact, that will result in perhaps a $50 million or $60 million credit accruing to the Nova Scotia Government.

Will the minister explain why the Nova Scotia Government refused the offer of LASMO to give the Nova Scotia Government gratis, free of charge, its resources in the oil play?

MRS. NORRIE: Mr. Speaker, I will say, again, that the Province of Nova Scotia is divesting itself presently of Nova Scotia Resources Limited. We are getting out of the gas and oil business. It is best left with the companies, their expertise and the professionals that are involved in the business. We have sold some portions of that to date and we are continuing to work to try to continue to sell it. There is a $450 million debt racked up over a period time - that is debt - and I say, again, that this is being handled by an outside company and it has been handled in the best interest of the province in the most professional manner possible.

DR. HAMM: Mr. Speaker, in the Chronicle-Herald of March 1, 1995, and I quote the then minister, the Honourable Donald Downe, "'There are $400 million of tax pools', the minister said Tuesday. 'I'm sure those are of some value to somebody'. Mr. Downe, who put Nova Scotia Resources Ltd. up for sale Monday, acknowledged the huge losses that made owning the company such a burden to the taxpayer may prove to be its most attractive selling point.".

Will the minister confirm that the LASMO interest, which was offered to the Province of Nova Scotia gratis, and refused by the Province of Nova Scotia because, as the minister said, we want out, that that interest, which was offered free to the Province of Nova Scotia was then sold by LASMO to PanCanadian for $60 million, another $60 million loss to the taxpayers of Nova Scotia?

MRS. NORRIE: Mr. Speaker, I think the member opposite should get his facts straight. He is now talking back in 1994. We are now in 1996. We are divesting ourselves of Nova Scotia Resources Limited. PanCanadian, yes, is out there now, on the first gas field that is here off the shores of Nova Scotia. We are receiving some royalties from that, but we are, at

[Page 2414]

the same time, in the process here in Nova Scotia of the very first natural gas on the East Coast of Canada. We are on the brink of Nova Scotia becoming a have province. We are doing this with those people who are best able to do it. That is the gas and oil companies themselves. We will divest ourselves of Nova Scotia Resources Limited for that very reason. We should not be involved in it. We will not be involved in it. The member opposite should realize that. We are not in 1994. We are in 1997.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Citadel.

NAT. RES.: NAT. GAS RIGHTS - BACK-IN PROVISIONS

MR. TERENCE DONAHOE: Mr. Speaker, my question is as well for the Minister of Natural Resources. I ask if the Minister of Natural Resources would confirm for this House that advisors and experts in the oil and gas industry believe that the back-in provision, which was available to this government and which has apparently been given away now by this government to Mobil, had a monetary value of something in the order of $20 million. Would she confirm that?

HON. ELEANOR NORRIE: We have not exercised our deal for the back-in because that is not a free gift. That is not something we can do and it is not a free ride. It would have cost us something like $500 million to be involved in the back-in rights. We are not going to be involved in that. We have not given anything away. We are divesting ourselves of being involved in the gas and oil business.

MR. DONAHOE: Well, maybe the minister did not understand my question. I did not ask whether or not the Province of Nova Scotia or NSRL or anybody on behalf of the Nova Scotia taxpayers was going to be exercising back-in provisions. I am trying to have this minister come straight to this House and acknowledge that the back-in provision owned by the taxpayers of Nova Scotia as a result of the agreements made by the Province of Nova Scotia and the Government of Canada has a value. It has a value, in the opinion of experts in the industry, of something in excess of $20 million. It is my understanding - and if I am wrong, I ask the minister to tell me - that this minister and this government have in fact backed away from the back-in provision, not by way of exercising it, but by way of giving it away to Mobil and that by having done that, there has simply been a gift on behalf of the taxpayers of Nova Scotia by this government to Mobil. Will the minister confirm that that in fact has happened?

MRS. NORRIE: No, I am sorry, Mr. Speaker, in fact, that has not happened. The back-in option is not a free ride. It would have required a huge investment of monies. This government would have to borrow from the future, as the members opposite did in the past, to exercise an option that we cannot afford to do. It would have cost us $500 million to do so and we did not exercise that option for that very reason.

[Page 2415]

MR. DONAHOE: I guess I have to assume that the Minister of Natural Resources misses a very fundamental piece of information. The fundamental piece of information I say to the minister through you, Mr. Speaker, is that the back-in provisions have in and of themselves a value to the taxpayers of Nova Scotia. They are an asset.

AN HON. MEMBER: I can't hear you.

MR. DONAHOE: Well, if you cannot hear me, ratchet up your hearing aid then. (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

MR. DONAHOE: The back-in provisions, Mr. Speaker, through you to the Minister of Natural Resources, are an asset. They have a value. I acknowledge and I understand that for the exercise of the back-in provisions by the taxpayers of Nova Scotia, that carries with it a financial commitment. It carries with it a financial commitment if they are sold elsewhere.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Question.

MR. DONAHOE: Do you have a question?

AN HON. MEMBER: No, you should have one.

MR. DONAHOE: The back-in provisions, having a value, if they were sold to a purchaser, I recognize that that purchaser would have to make a financial investment to activate the back-in provisions. The point and the question through you, Mr. Speaker, to the minister is, is the Minister of Natural Resources saying that the back-in provisions available to the taxpayers of Nova Scotia as a result of these agreements have no monetary value as an asset of the taxpayers of Nova Scotia, is that what she is saying?

[1:15 p.m.]

MRS. NORRIE: What I am saying, Mr. Speaker, is for the province to exercise their option, to take part in an agreement signed by the administration that that member was part of, to invest up to 50 per cent of building a pipeline in this province, we cannot afford to do that. We cannot afford to put the taxpayers' dollars to the risk of (Interruption)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please! Will members across the floor please withdraw their comments.

MRS. NORRIE: It would not be a free ride for us to be involved in this; it is not a risk that this government is prepared to take with the dollars of the taxpayers of this province. (Interruption)

[Page 2416]

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

MRS. NORRIE: We are not in the gas and oil business. It is best left to those people who are experts at it, the gas and oil companies themselves. This government is not involved in it and we will not be involved in it. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings North.

NAT. RES. - NSRL: WESTERN PROPERTIES - SALE

MR. GEORGE ARCHIBALD: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Natural Resources. The Paddock-Lindstrom Report that NSRL has in its files indicates that your government sold the western properties for $6 million less than their appraised value. Could you please indicate why the government sold an asset for less than it was appraised for?

HON. ELEANOR NORRIE: I will say again, Mr. Speaker, the members opposite seem to be intent that this government get involved in producing gas and oil in this province. It is best left with those companies that are experts at it, that are in the business of doing it; let them take the risks.

The value he is talking about now is a value from back in the days when maybe he was there, but it isn't there now. The western properties were sold for the best value we could get for them and we are continuing to try to divest ourselves of all of the NSRL because we are determined not to be involved in that business.

MR. ARCHIBALD: Just prior to the sale of the western properties for $6 million less than their appraised value, NSRL had another western property that it sold, and it sold it for about $4 million more than its appraised value. Could the minister explain to me why the sudden change in rationale? I know the minister wanted to get out of the gas and oil business, and that is the government's decision, but could you tell me why an asset that was worth $10 million was sold for $4 million and, about six months after, an asset that was worth $4 million was sold for $8 million? Could the minister indicate why, under her regime, are assets being sold at lower prices than their assessed value?

MRS. NORRIE: Mr. Speaker, I will say again to the member opposite that the members opposite seem to be determined that we be involved in the gas and oil business. We are not going to be involved in that; we are not going to put further taxpayers' dollars at risk. Anything that was sold was sold at a value, if there is an assessed value there is a depletion of the resource at the same time, there may be an increased value of a resource that is expressed. We are trying to get the best value that we can for the resources that are there and, I will say again, this government is not going to risk taxpayers' dollars being involved in a business that is best left with others.

[Page 2417]

MR. ARCHIBALD: Mr. Speaker, again to the Minister of Natural Resources. I don't want to belabour the point, however, the minister indicated today in Question Period that the tax pools, worth $50 million to $60 million, were not realized; the back-in provision for the pipeline, that was probably worth some $20 million, minimum, to another company that wanted to get into the pipeline business; and now we see that the western property was sold $6 million under value. So if you add up the tax pools, the pipeline back-in provisions, the western gas and oil fields, you are at $70 million or $80 million of money that this minister's government decided didn't have any value and they just released them, or let them go or didn't act.

Is the minister not a little bit concerned, realizing the fact that NSRL is for sale - Rothschild is trying to market the company for the government - that, based on the track record of previous sales, the government is going to get absolutely nothing for an asset?

MRS. NORRIE: Mr. Speaker, that comment is absolutely not true. We will get the best value we can for the assets that are there and I think it is in the best interests of the people of this province that we do divest ourselves of Nova Scotia Resources Limited and we will get the best value that we can for the assets.

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

JUSTICE - INSTITUTIONS: ABUSE - COMPENSATION

MR. JOHN HOLM: Mr. Speaker, through you I would like to address a question to the Minister of Justice. On November 1st, of course, the minister announced that he was suspending the alternate dispute resolution mechanism that the government had previously agreed to to help compensate those who had been victims or survivors of abuse in youth facilities in this province. At that time the minister said, and I am going to quote a brief sentence here, it said, "that the results of file reviews which were heard prior to November 1st will be honoured even if the decision is given subsequently.". So the minister committed that the results of file reviews, if they had been done by November 1st would be honoured. Of course, the Memorandum of Understanding said that the government not may but shall pay such amounts to survivors within 20 days of the amount being decided.

Mr. Speaker, I know of at least two cases that had completed the file review process prior to the minister making his statement and making yet another promise. I would like to ask this minister why should those survivors have any confidence in the word that is given by this government when not only has the government broken the Memorandum of Understanding that it entered into but the minister's commitment made on November 1st has also already been violated?

[Page 2418]

HON. JAY ABBASS: The member opposite raises two examples, among perhaps five or six or even more that exist of cases in which a file review was actually heard on or near or maybe just before October 31st and then a decision wasn't rendered, wasn't passed on or before November 1st. There are cases, as well, in which file reviews were held on November 1st in spite of the notice having gone out to file reviewers. Each of these cases that comes to our attention is being reviewed with the lawyer or lawyers for the claimants, as the case may be, and with staff. Each case is being discussed on its own merits to see if there is anything in particular that can be done.

MR. HOLM: The minister obviously didn't hear my statement, either by accident or design, when I said that those file review processes had been completed before the minister even made his state on November 1st and the amounts of the awards had already been decided.

Mr. Speaker, when I sit down I am going to be tabling a letter. This is a copy of a letter that was sent to the minister dated November 21, 1996 by a therapist, somebody who has been involved in trying to treat, trying to help those who are the survivors come to grips with the difficulties that they are having in their personal lives so that they can get on with the healing process. As the therapist points out, those who are the survivors as a consequence of the actions taken by this minister on behalf of the Liberal Government in this province, feel very much betrayed and they are certainly, if I put it mildly, emotionally vulnerable because of the government's actions.

Now, the minister will be very familiar I am sure with this letter. Given the evidence that his coming forward, given the fact that the minister clearly has to know that the actions taken by his government in betraying its commitment and the trust that had been built up as a result of a year and one-half process, this government is destroying that trust, destroying that confidence and placing those people in extremely vulnerable situations that only but add to the harm that has been done to them. In light of that evidence, will the minister here and now agree to honour the commitment made by this government to follow the process in the Memorandum of Understanding that was signed by your predecessor and which had received Cabinet approval? Will you do that?

MR. ABBASS: If it is the same letter that I think it is, then I certainly am familiar with its contents and, in fact, the concerns raised in that letter would have been repeated by representatives of the Family Services Association when I met with them. They did explain very clearly that this taking-stock period or this delay is having an effect on the claimants and on the victims and certainly is causing that much more angst or pressure or upsettedness. That is equally of concern to me as it is to the member opposite. Therefore, I have continued to say and I will say again that within days I will make as clear as possible what my intentions are and what the intentions of government are regarding pursuing this ADR process as soon as possible.

[Page 2419]

MR. HOLM: The minister says that he is aware of this and he is not surprised at the comments contained in it and that he has heard it before.

I would say then, through you, Mr. Speaker, to the minister and to all members of the front bench, that an honourable government, if you know the harm being created by breaking your word, that you will honour that commitment. So it is time for some straight talk.

My question to the minister is simply this; is it not a fact that the government has chosen to abandon the Memorandum of Understanding and the ADR process, the government has chosen to suspend that because they are afraid that if they continue to follow it, it will cost more money than they had originally planned to provide justice for those victims, for those survivors, so that the healing process can go on. Let's have some straight answers, is that not the real reason why the government has decided to suspend the process?

MR. ABBASS: Mr. Speaker, that is not the real reason. The process has been put on hold because the very system, the ADR process that the member is concerned about and which is in jeopardy, we are concerned that it must be scrutinized and if it can proceed from here on in, the ADR process, the alternative to the rigours of the civil law courts is still the right idea. It was the right approach in the first place, it is the right approach now. Everything about this taking-stock period is about retaining that ADR process and about getting back to it just as soon as possible. So everything we are doing is with that in mind.

So many people have asked and will continue to ask, well is this really not about money? I will continue to say that the dollars will flow from the number of legitimate claims established. The underlying principle of all this is to make sure that those with legitimate claims of having been abused at Shelburne or either of the other two institutions should receive compensation for that abuse in as fair and compassionate and timely a manner as possible. Everything we continue to do is with that in mind.

MR. SPEAKER: On a new question, the honourable Leader of the Opposition.

NAT. RES.: NSRL - TAX POOLS

DR. JOHN HAMM: Again, a question for the Minister of Natural Resources. The numbers are adding up; we lost $50 million on tax pools, we lost $60 million by failing to capitalize on the assets offered by LASMO and we have lost $20 million by not exercising the back-in provision of the offshore pipe.

You know it is interesting, all of the minister's answers up to now would seem to indicate that the only way you get out of farming is to give away the farm.

[Page 2420]

My question for the minister is, will the minister confirm that Canmac Economics Report established the value of NSRL at $336 million, a report that has never been made public, and the fact that it would be in the best interests of this government to keep from the public? Is the minister prepared to table the Canmac Economics Report establishing a real, significant value to NSRL?

HON. ELEANOR NORRIE: Mr. Speaker, I think the member opposite ought to know that I was, in fact, born on a farm. I will tell you, if I had a farm that had a debt of $450 million and somebody gave it to me, do you think I would want to operate that farm with a debt over my head of $450 million?

[1:30 p.m.]

This government is getting out of this business. This member opposite should get into the year 1996 when this government is trying to do the best we can to get the best deal from NSRL, that was a product of the previous administration that put a huge debt on this province. We are trying to make this province a viable province where investors want to come and invest and that is happening. We are not in the gas and oil business. We will not be in the gas and oil business and I think the member opposite should get that through his head, that we are not going to continue to risk taxpayers' dollars in this industry.

DR. HAMM: Mr. Speaker, the minister seems to be indicating that I am having some difficulty understanding. In reality, that has been the problem with the government all along. They have not understood the oil and gas business and they simply have been taken to the cleaners.

The minister seems to be indicating that everything was handled above board and with reasonable expertise. I am now tabling two documents, both dated in the summer of 1994, from Joseph Randell and Susan Evans. Will the minister confirm that these two members of the board of NSRL, whom the former minister had appointed with great pride, in fact resigned in disgust over political interference in dealing with the board of NSRL? They resigned in disgust because of political interference with the actions of the board of NSRL. Will you confirm that this is so?

MRS. NORRIE: Mr. Speaker, I cannot confirm that anybody resigned from anything in disgust. The member opposite is certainly taking some great liberties with what went on in the past. If the NSRL was such a great venture for this province, I want to know why the previous administrations, the Buchanan Government or the Cameron Government, did not turn a profit instead of putting this province $450 million in debt.

DR. HAMM: Mr. Speaker, to continue with the Minister of Natural Resources, the minister seems to be indicating to the members of the House and others that everything that happened with NSRL in the government's haste to get out of the oil business was, in fact,

[Page 2421]

done to the maximum benefit to the Nova Scotia taxpayer, despite piles of documentation that that is not the case. The minister has got to bear some responsibility that there has been political interference since at least 1994 with the board of NSRL and that the actions of that board have been impeded by political interference and by the nature of the appointments that have been made.

Is the minister prepared to agree that the political interference in the actions of the board of NSRL has resulted in tremendous financial disadvantage, both to NSRL and to the people and the taxpayers of Nova Scotia?

MRS. NORRIE: No, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings North.

NAT. RES.: OFFSHORE EXPLORATION - SAFETY

MR. GEORGE ARCHIBALD: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister of Natural Resources. The offshore Nova Scotia that is operating now is working the new Panuke-Cohasset and the Balmoral fields. The oil rig that is operating in the offshore was scheduled for its five year inspection last January. It was given a six month extension. It was given another month's extension and then another month's extension. The rig continues to operate almost a year after it should have been in for its annual inspection.

Is the minister unaware or does the minister lack concern for the workers that are in the offshore to allow this rig to continue working almost a year after its scheduled maintenance and inspection?

HON. ELEANOR NORRIE: Mr. Speaker, I will take member opposite's question under consideration.

MR. ARCHIBALD: The royalty agreement under which this rig is operating in the offshore indicates that when the oil companies are in a non-profit position, the royalty schedule is 2 per cent. However, it indicates that when the royalties begin, when the profitability of the oil fields increase - then the royalty schedule increases dramatically to about 28 per cent to 30 per cent.

Now, PanCanadian purchased LASMO for $60 million. They immediately wrote it off as a tax loss. PanCanadian is operating in a profitable position. You have about 40 million barrels of oil out there at $25 million a barrel - that is $1 billion. Would the minister indicate whether she is collecting royalties at the reduced 2 per cent rate or have the royalties increased to the more realistic 28 per cent where they should be when the oil company is operating in a profitable position?

[Page 2422]

MRS. NORRIE: Mr. Speaker, the member opposite is speaking of a royalty agreement that was signed by the previous administration that has not kicked in because I don't think they have reached that volume that the member opposite is talking about. We are receiving royalties now for the oils that are being developed now of about $3.4 million a year. At least it was last year. We are receiving the benefit, the only benefit we can receive from it based on the royalty regime that was signed off by the previous administration.

MR. ARCHIBALD: The royalty regime that was signed off previously indicates that when a profit shows the royalty rises. The Balmoral Oil Field is the exclusive property of the taxpayers of Nova Scotia. It is being mixed with the oil coming from the Panuke-Cohasset Oil Field. I can assure you that with the kind of dollars that are being realized from the offshore to the oil companies we certainly should be receiving more that $3 million or $4 million a year in royalties as you just indicated. The figures should be closer to $280 million, based on 28 per cent of $1 billion.

Now, will the minister look into the royalty regime under which they are operating at the present time because we are not getting the benefit that we should. PanCanadian is in a profit position in the offshore and the minister should certainly be concerned enough to look into it and correct the error so that Nova Scotians get some benefit from the offshore.

MRS. NORRIE: I am afraid the member opposite is not only misleading this House, he is misleading Nova Scotians. That group opposite are the ones who signed the royalty regime that we are living under. (Interruptions) We should maybe be getting more than we are. We are living with a regime that was signed off by the members opposite when they were in charge of this province that put us not only in debt through the Nova Scotia Resources Limited but through the whole Province of Nova Scotia; $9 billion in debt. We are receiving royalties from that project based on the royalty regime that was signed by the members opposite. If that is not good enough for the member opposite, that was what they signed off. It is not the responsibility of this administration to change that agreement. We have to live within what was signed by those people opposite. (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Opposition.

NAT. RES. - NSRL: WRONGFUL DISMISSAL SUITS - DAMAGES

DR. JOHN HAMM: Mr. Speaker, my question again is to the Minister of Natural Resources.

Will the minister confirm that in fact the Government of Nova Scotia arranged to settle a wrongful dismissal suit brought against it by Messrs. Livingstone, French and MacDiarmid? Did the government pay damages as a result of a wrongful dismissal suit?

[Page 2423]

HON. ELEANOR NORRIE: I think if the Leader opposite had consulted with his members prior to all of this, discussing any personnel issues, discussing contracts that were signed that this administration had to live under, the member opposite would be very careful of the questions he asked. The previous minister handled this whole situation in a very professional way. It is a personnel issue that I am not prepared to discuss on the floor of this House. This province settled any call that was made on this province in the best interests of the province at the least possible dollars to the taxpayer.

DR. HAMM: Mr. Speaker, to continue with the Minister of Natural Resources. Would the minister confirm that she has knowledge of the existence of a report of July 14, 1994, which was provided by Doane Raymond, that, in fact, praised the senior management of NSRL? I will table that document.

MRS. NORRIE: Mr. Speaker, the member opposite seems to have a whole library of documents that he is tabling on the history of NSRL and they are public documents. I appreciate them being tabled here.

I will say again, that the previous minister in this administration has handled this whole situation in a very professional manner. It has all been very above-board. I don't think it is an issue that should be discussed on the floor of the House of Assembly. It is a personnel issue and I am not prepared to discuss it any further.

DR. HAMM: Mr. Speaker, I find it very strange that an issue that has cost the taxpayers of Nova Scotia millions of dollars that the minister is indicating it is not an issue that we should discuss in Question Period. I would dearly love to know what would be an issue that the minister would consider appropriate to bring to the attention of the government in Question Period?

Will the minister make reference to and be prepared to respond to a statement made in the press conference of Wednesday, October 6th, by her predecessor, in which he makes the statement, and he is making reference to the board of NSRL that the new board will not include any civil servants or members of government. He said, I have pledged my continued personal assistance to NSRL President, Jim Livingstone, and staff.

Is the minister prepared to examine what has gone on and to admit that the problems with accessing the profits from the sale of the assets of NSRL began with political interference and the introduction of political appointees with a strong government bias, has resulted in the loss of millions of dollars of assets to NSRL and, subsequently, through them, to the taxpayers of Nova Scotia?

MRS. NORRIE: Mr. Speaker, I would not confirm that statement.

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

[Page 2424]

NAT. RES.: FOREST STRATEGY - CONSULT

MS. EILEEN O'CONNELL: Mr. Speaker, my question today is also for the Minister of Natural Resources. Voluntary Planning has recently completed public meetings and it is widely known throughout the province, through reports in the media, that people were extremely unhappy with the government's new forest strategy for Nova Scotia.

I want to ask the minister today, is she prepared to go back right now, consult with the groups that have been excluded, and get proper consultation, get a new forestry strategy for Nova Scotia and get the job done?

HON. ELEANOR NORRIE: Mr. Speaker, the member opposite is referring to a coalition of forest interests that was formed to address the whole management of the forestry here in this province and the wood supply. It has taken two years for the coalition to come with a draft discussion paper that was taken out under the auspices of Voluntary Planning, at the request of the coalition, to have the whole document, have a response from the public.

It is now back to the coalition and they are addressing the responses they heard. This is the whole consultative process. This is not a government document, it is a discussion paper only. We are working very closely with industry and others in Nova Scotia to make sure that we come up with a good policy in the best interests of the people of this province.

MS. O'CONNELL: Mr. Speaker, that report is already complete. It is called The Public Response to the Coalition of Nova Scotia Forest Interests. I want to read just a couple of paragraphs from it, from Dr. John Sears, the Chair of the panel. He says in this report there is not broad-based support for the coalition's proposed strategy. It was perceived by many to be authored by too exclusive a group and was seen to be both too narrow and too lacking in detail to form the basis for any change in policy. The discussion paper is a good starting point for another round of forest strategy development and it makes reference to the vast majority of the topics with which such a strategy must deal.

[1:45 p.m.]

Mr. Speaker, my question is - she has the information that she needs; this group reports to her - when is she going to get on with it?

MRS. NORRIE: Mr. Speaker, the coalition put together a discussion paper after two years of long, hard, very difficult discussions at the table to come up with a discussion paper that was made public by the coalition for public comment. Voluntary Planning were asked to take the discussion paper around the province, to have feedback. That report is now with the coalition and they are taking the report and looking at it and digesting that report. That is the stage we are at. There is no government document here, it is a discussion paper created by the coalition of forest interests.

[Page 2425]

MS. O'CONNELL: Mr. Speaker, will this minister go to the coalition, get the report and read it, so she can get on with the job and come back to this House with some plans for getting the job done?

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

AN HON. MEMBER: Is the minister going to answer?

MR. SPEAKER: There was no question.

AN HON. MEMBER: Yes, there was.

MR. SPEAKER: I am sorry, we will return back to the honourable member for Halifax Fairview, there was a final question. There was a question.

The honourable member for Halifax Fairview, on her final supplementary.

MS. O'CONNELL: Mr. Speaker, I do apologize if the question perhaps was not clear to you.

The question was, would she go to the coalition, get the document, read it and come back to this House and tell us how she is going to get on with the job?

MRS. NORRIE: Mr. Speaker, I intend, as the minister responsible for the natural resources of this province, to allow the coalition to complete their work. They have a report back from Voluntary Planning and I intend to let the process continue. When the outcome of the process is finished, then I will be prepared at that time to address whatever recommendation comes to them.

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

ENVIRON. - SYDNEY RIVER:

LEAD CONTAMINATION - SOLUTION

MR. ALFRED MACLEOD: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister of the Environment. As the Minister of the Environment is quite aware, there has been a lot of talk and discussion about a lead problem that was created in Sydney River by some sandblasting in the Parkdale Drive and the Belvedere Drive area, and recently more homes have been found to be contaminated. My question for the minister, what steps is the minister taking to make sure that the other residents living in that area do not have to go through the same torment that the MacKenzie family had to go through?

[Page 2426]

HON. WAYNE ADAMS: Mr. Speaker, I think the honourable member who asked the question is fully aware and is up to date with the fact that we have an independent person doing a study of that whole issue. When he has that study finished, he will report to me and at that point we will determine future directions.

MR. MACLEOD: The minister is quite correct, I am aware that there is - after continuous calls from myself and this House for an independent investigation - one going on and John Timmerman is a private investigator. It is also my understanding that this evaluation of the situation will include and highlight the MacKenzie problem, but also include the other people in that area.

My question to the minister, will the minister confirm that the other residents of the area will be approached by Mr. Timmerman, so that they can have proper input into this reporting procedure?

MR. ADAMS: Mr. Speaker, it is rather interesting. Earlier, in a resolution, I hear them being accused for interfering and now, in Question Period, I am being asked to interfere.

The inquiry is independent. It will be done without me. I am confident that the person who has been appointed will, indeed, take a look at the entire region in his investigation and his study.

MR. MACLEOD: The answer, as usual, is up in the air, and I really don't think that he answered the question. There have been a lot of stresses and strains put on the people who live in this area. There have a been a lot of complaints and a lack of cooperation with the Department of the Environment in getting to the bottom of this problem, and it is time that this government do the right thing. It is time that this minister do the right thing.

My question for you, Mr. Minister, is, will you, as minister, classify this total area as a contaminated site, help the people in that area, do the thing that is right for those people, and you and your department deal with PetroCanada so these people can get on with their lives and have a quality type of life that they cannot enjoy now because of what is going on there?

MR. ADAMS: Mr. Speaker, I am a bit alarmed by the animated question because we have received some positive response from the residents of that area. That positive response is, I want to thank you for the attention being paid to the neighbourhood, beyond one house, beyond two houses. So, therefore, at this point, I am going to reiterate my first position and that is when Mr. Timmerman has this report done, we will respond accordingly.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. The time allocated for Oral Question Period has expired.

[Page 2427]

The honourable member for Dartmouth-Cole Harbour.

MR. ALAN MITCHELL: Mr. Speaker, again, I would like to introduce to you and to all members of the House, through you, a group of Grade 6 students from Bel Ayr School, approximately 23 students. They are accompanied by their teacher Anna Marie Sartoe. If they would please rise. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: Before we move to Government Business, the Clerk has conducted a draw for tonight's late debate. The honourable Leader of the Opposition will debate at 6:00 p.m.:

Therefore be it resolved that the Chretien Liberal Government has abandoned the people of southwestern Nova Scotia, with the acquiescence of Liberal MPs who consistently put their Liberal Party ahead of their people.

GOVERNMENT BUSINESS

Mr. Speaker: The honourable Government House Leader.

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

GOVERNMENT MOTIONS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

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

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is carried.

[1:53 p.m. The House resolved itself into a CWH on Bills with Deputy Speaker Mrs. Francene Cosman in the Chair.]

[5:59 p.m. CWH on Bills rose and the House reconvened. Mr. Speaker, Hon. Wayne Gaudet, resumed the Chair.]

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

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

Bill No. 6 - Animal Cruelty Prevention Act.

[Page 2428]

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

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

Bill No. 10 - Regional Community Development Act.

and the chairman has been instructed to recommend this bill to the favourable consideration of the House, without amendment; and begs leave to sit again.

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

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RICHARD MANN: Mr. Speaker, I wonder if you could revert to the order of business, Presenting Reports of Committees.

[6:00 p.m.]

PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Justice.

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

Bill No. 28 - Motor Vehicle Act.

Bill No. 30 - Motor Vehicle Act.

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

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

The honourable Minister of Justice.

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

[Page 2429]

Bill No. 14 - Occupiers' Liability Act.

Bill No. 31 - Real Estate Training Act.

and the committee recommends these bills to the favourable consideration of the House, with certain amendments.

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

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RICHARD MANN: Mr. Speaker, could you please call Introduction of Bills.

INTRODUCTION OF BILLS

Bill No. 43 - Entitled an Act to Amend Chapter 85 of the Revised Statutes of 1989. The Condominium Act. (Hon. Sandra Jolly)

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

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RICHARD MANN: Mr. Speaker, perhaps you would ask the NDP House Leader what we are doing tomorrow.

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

MR. JOHN HOLM: Mr. Speaker, tomorrow we will be meeting between the hours of 2:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m. and members of the House will have an opportunity to debate health under Resolution No. 742 and the BS Tax under Resolution No. 646.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RICHARD MANN: Mr. Speaker, we will sit tomorrow from the hours of 2:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. and I would move that we adjourn until 2:00 p.m. tomorrow.

MR. SPEAKER: We have arrived at the moment of interruption. The Adjournment debate has been announced earlier and won by the honourable member for Queens who will debate the following motion:

[Page 2430]

"Therefore be it resolved that the Chretien Liberal Government has abandoned the people of southwestern Nova Scotia, with the acquiescence of Liberal MPs who consistently put their Liberal Party ahead of their people.".

ADJOURNMENT

MOTION UNDER RULE 5(5)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Queens.

GOV'T. (CAN.): SW N.S. - ABANDONMENT

MR. JOHN LEEFE: Mr. Speaker, the Chretien Government's abandonment of southwestern Nova Scotia is baldly blatant. The Chretien Liberals, by their own admission, have written off large sections of Nova Scotia with respect to winning seats here in the next federal election. I provide as evidence to any who wish to see a headline from a story in the Halifax Chronicle-Herald, October 28th, "Grits foresee losses in N.S." and here is the Prime Minister right here telling his Liberal colleagues to watch out, there are going to be fewer Liberals elected federally in Nova Scotia in the next election than was the case in the last federal election.

Clearly, the Chretien Liberals deem Harry Verran and Derek Wells to be dispensable. Our MPs in southwestern Nova Scotia have been rendered by their Liberal colleagues in Ottawa at best impotent and with respect to speaking out on matters of local issues, issues of deep concern to the constituents, all too frequently in Nova Scotia Members of Parliament have been at worst silent by their own choice. Their slavish and abject submission to the Party line has, in fact, become too frequently their trademark. So bad has this become that even the Liberal Minister of Transportation and Public Works in Nova Scotia has found it necessary to make public utterance when appearing before a committee in the House of Commons in Ottawa.

Mr. Downe said and I quote him from the Chronicle-Herald, "That particular area of the province . . ." and he is referring to southwestern Nova Scotia, " . . . has been absolutely devastated with federal cutbacks and clearly we need to make sure that there is some winter operation," of the Bluenose Ferry.

Let's have a look at some of the other areas that have been adversely impacted by the federal government in southwestern Nova Scotia. Let's take a look, for example, at the cutbacks in Armed Forces bases. In Cornwallis, in the constituency of South West Nova, the closure there according to figures in the Chronicle-Herald state that there would be a loss of 360 military and 310 civil personnel jobs. The base pumped $50 million annually into the economy of southwestern Nova Scotia - $50 million gone like that from the economy of southwestern Nova Scotia and nothing to replace it excepting a one-time $7.5 million seed

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money fund which has had somewhat chequered results, as we all see from reading the papers. That was the impact of the closure of that base.

If we look at my own constituency, South Shore, in which I live, we find Mill Cove and Shelburne bases both closed. Together that provided a total job loss of 430 and it cut nearly $24 million annually of total spending out of our community and our constituency of South Shore. The Mayor of Shelburne said that the cost to the town alone was probably something in the vicinity of $100,000 in property taxes. What do they get in place of that? A fund of $5 million or $6 million to try to scramble something together which will take the place of the loss of that $24 million annual expenditure in our South Shore constituency.

No need to take my word for it. I will quote a businessman from Shelburne. This was in the Shelburne Coast Guard on March 1, 1994. "Graham Huskilson, owner of a Chrysler dealership in Shelburne, said the economic impact will be tremendous.". Here I quote Mr. Huskilson, "It will be the downsizing of every business in Shelburne. We are doing half the business we did five years ago. We accepted that and geared to it, but it is going to be even worse.". There are the words of a well-known businessman in that area.

What does the Member of Parliament have to say with respect to all of these kinds of changes and particularly with respect to the downsizing of these military bases taking, in our constituency, $24 million a year out? Derek Wells says, "I cannot focus my energies on anger. That is not going to be productive. My job is to find something to replace the station and its jobs.". He says, "My hands were tied.". Well, he was hog-tied all right. He was hog-tied as a consequence of decisions taken by the government which he supports and he tied his own hands with respect to his abject failure to move away from the Party line when his constituents' best interests were in danger.

Unemployment insurance. We do not need to spend a lot of time on that, but let's stop and think what changes in the Unemployment Insurance Act and changing it into employment insurance mean for Nova Scotia. This is from the Kentville Advertiser. "The impact of changes on Nova Scotia are expected to be $55 million in the first full year of implementation in 1997-98, rising to $85 million per year in the year 2001.". Again, Nova Scotia devastated in the hit. We find that the consequences for other parts of Canada are rather different than they are for us. Where were our Members of Parliament when a request was made by Elsie Wayne, the Member of Parliament for Saint John, to debate these changes in the House? They were absolutely silent or they were missing, because they absolutely refused to provide the support that was necessary to bring these changes into Parliament for debate in the open. So much for the interests of the people in the South Shore and South West Nova constituencies.

We could take a look at Georges Bank. There still is a very strong and appropriate bias on the part of people in southwestern Nova Scotia to ensure that there is no petroleum exploration and drilling on Georges Bank. The previous federal government and the provincial government of which I was part passed legislation to ensure that there will be a 10

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year moratorium. That moratorium could have been extended, but the federal government and this provincial government, in fact, also ensured that the question is now reopened and a panel established to hold hearings around the province.

Why in Heaven's name would anybody ever consider putting at risk a renewable resource in order to extract a non-renewable resource, a non-renewable resource whose profits will accrue to those who live far away from Nova Scotia while with our renewable resource, the profits largely remain home here with us.

We could look at Sable gas. The Prime Minister, very clearly, has compromised himself and compromised the even-handedness of the National Energy Board by publicly stating his preference for the gas pipeline to go through Quebec. Where have our MPs been? Has anybody heard any of our MPs, let alone our two from southwest Nova Scotia, stand up and speak on behalf of the people of Nova Scotia who want there to be a fair and just return on the investment that will accrue to the gas route from Sable?

What about MV Bluenose? The ATi Study tells us what the impact will be if there is a loss of winter service, a study which, in fact, was funded by government. This study says, "We conclude that the Canadian economy", not just the Nova Scotia economy, "will be made worse off in net terms if 'winter' ferry service is terminated.". In fact, the cost of terminating is greater than the cost of the subsidy to keep it going.

While we are being told by Mr. Anderson that there is no money for Nova Scotia to keep the Bluenose Ferry operating in the winter, at the same time the federal government is providing $80 million in assistance to a British Columbia high-tech company that has had a very checkered career, $87 million to Bombardier and I say to all of us, we should stay tuned for Canadian Air to see what happens there.

Then there is the BS Tax. How many people have heard our Members of Parliament speak on that? What they are doing is hanging their provincial colleagues out to dry on the front line of the fight for the BS Tax and they are standing back trying to avoid being hit by the ricochets.

Then, of course, we could take a look at gun registration. Mr. Wells, in a constituency meeting in Caledonia, Queens County, said that if he had to make a choice between his people and his Party, he would have to choose his Party. It strikes me that that is a very weak platform for any politician to speak from.

With respect to Mr. Verran, there was a fish meeting not long ago and somebody said, what is Harry Verran's position in all of these changes in the fishery? One of the fishermen responded, well, as for Harry Verran, we are soon going to have to put his face on a milk carton because nobody can find him.

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That pretty well ties up what I have to say in my time, Mr. Speaker, except to say that I concur entirely with my colleague, the Minister of Transportation and Communications in Nova Scotia, who, again, said that southwest Nova Scotia, that particular area of the province, has been absolutely devastated with federal cutbacks and, clearly, we need to make sure that, among other things, there is winter operation for the Bluenose Ferry.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Yarmouth.

MR. RICHARD HUBBARD: Mr. Speaker, I think it is entirely false for members of the Opposition to rise to their feet tonight to ridicule the efforts being made by both the federal and provincial governments to support the economic growth and diversity of southwest Nova Scotia. I remind members of this House that many of the economic problems which southwest Nova Scotia faces today are the direct result of poor coastal management and fiscal irresponsibility by previous Tory Governments, both at the federal and the provincial level. If previous Tory Governments had addressed the financial issues of the day in a credible manner, we would not have been placed in a situation of drastic financial restructuring by provincial and federal governments to try and contain the mess we were put in.

The Bluenose Ferry service between Yarmouth and Bar Harbor, Maine, is a good example of what I am talking about. Previous Conservative Governments, as far back as 1985, knew about the problems in ferry service, but they chose to do nothing about it. Over the years, lack of attention to the needs of southwest Nova Scotia by Conservative Governments has only made the problems worse. It was the Conservative Government that abandoned southwest Nova Scotia, Mr. Speaker.

This Liberal Government has worked with local groups and with the federal government to maintain a stable ferry service in the area. This year, when we realized how serious the problems were, the provincial government put $400,000 to extend that winter service between Yarmouth and Bar Harbor, Maine, in order that we might transport our fisheries products, such as the lobster which, as you know, Mr. Speaker, the season opened on Monday. The month of December is a crucial month for those people to get their product to markets, as is it for the Christmas tree growers of Lunenburg who require that service to get their product to the eastern United States as well, and, of course, to a flourishing pulpwood industry which in the last year has just started to develop. So we realized the importance of that winter ferry service and we stepped in.

[6:15 p.m.]

The federal government has recently announced a new, private ferry service provider. We continue to work with the federal government, local industry and groups to stress the importance of maintaining year-round ferry service.

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Mr. Speaker, the Liberal Government of Nova Scotia is totally committed to securing the economic viability and health of southwestern Nova Scotia. I think this is proven by the setting up of Team Southwest by the Premier of our province last year, the Honourable John Savage, when he set up Team Southwest to focus on the issues relating specifically to that area of the province, the southwestern part of it. I think that committee struck by the Premier, a Cabinet committee, has done some good things. I won't elaborate on those, but just to say that we weren't trying to go around the regional development authorities, we don't have an extra package of money that we can go into areas and hand out, but perhaps it was a question of fast-tracking some items or trying to find a different way to resolve that problem, whatever it might be in that area. So yes, the provincial government did recognize the economic hardships of that area and did respond.

Mr. Speaker, this government is also working to support the important shipbuilding industry in southwestern Nova Scotia, in yards such as Shelburne Marine. We are actively involved in securing a new owner and, in fact, as late as last week, our Minister responsible for the Nova Scotia Economic Renewal Agency, the Honourable Richard Mann, the member for Shelburne, Clifford Huskilson, and myself met with those union people in Shelburne and assured them that we are going to actively pursue that problem.

Mr. Speaker, the Opposition has accused this government of abandoning southwestern Nova Scotia. Well, I have done a quick review of monies and projects which this government has injected into the area, along with joint federal-provincial projects, and the amount of financial support reaches into the tens of millions of dollars. I would like to outline for the members of the House some of the projects I am referring to. They show, not the abandonment of southwestern Nova Scotia, as trumpeted by the Opposition but, rather, a solid and continuing commitment to working with local residents and community groups, industry and all levels of government, to return prosperity to this vital and beautiful part of Nova Scotia.

Mr. Speaker, here are some of the projects I am referring to. In Shelburne, through the Infrastructure Works Project, $1.9 million for a new Barrington arena. Well, some people might say, how is an arena infrastructure? In a small place like Barrington it means that people are going to go there to take part in hockey tournaments; it means that they are going to eat in the restaurants in that area; and it means that they are going to stay overnight in the area. They have done that, they have held tournaments there, so that area of the province which traditionally may not have seen major tournaments is now able to do that because of that new arena. They are attracting teams there from all over the Maritimes.

Mr. Speaker, $1.3 million for a new fire hall and community centre in Shelburne, a fire hall which was long overdue. Having spent some time in Shelburne County, I know the importance of that fire hall which they now have. In Woods Harbour a new wharf; $75,000 for waterfront development in Shelburne; in Clarks Harbour a pool for $300,000, and resurfacing of the main street in Clarks Harbour for $400,000.

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I will move on to Digby, Mr. Speaker, and a $690,000 Digby Waterfront Development project, as you know, partially funded by the federal government; $660,000 for a water storage tank in Digby, a big one I am told; approximately $400,000 for the Digby terminal upgrading; $871,000 worth of sidewalk construction in Weymouth; $654,000 in Bear River for a world-class, state-of-the-art waste sewage treatment plant. I was there this fall, and it is quite a place. You should see the amount of tourists who go there to visit that plant.

MR. JOHN LEEFE: Did you feel well-treated after having . . .

MR. HUBBARD: Your point is well taken, John, yes, I was treated well.

Mr. Speaker, $575,000 for a joint water supply system in Annapolis Royal; and $300,000 in various sewage projects in Digby.

Let's move on to agriculture. The Nova Scotia Fruit Growers Association, the federal and provincial governments provided $850,000 in assistance to the Nova Scotia Fruit Growers Association towards a $2,142,000 project to seed 500 acres of Northern Spy apple trees newly planted in the Annapolis Valley. The project means a guaranteed market for their product and the creation of 25 full-time, on-farm jobs and many other seasonal agricultural jobs.

And take the Digby Ferry, The Joe Casey, named after one of our own colleagues, a $2.5 million self-propelled ferry, plus a new wharf at a cost of $3 million. So I think Digby has done well. Shelburne has done well.

Aquaculture loan guarantees. Mr. Speaker, $10 million in loan guarantees will be managed through the Fisheries Loan Board, earmarked for aquaculturists.

The Federal/Provincial Economic Diversification Agreement in Digby: $200,000 to the Western Valley Development Authority for interim structure; $200,000 core funding for the Regional Development Authority; and $50,000 to Whitewater Farms.

Again, further Federal/Provincial Economic Diversification Agreement projects in Annapolis: $84,250 for the Annapolis Basin monitoring; and for the assessment of a new mooring system for sea cages in the Annapolis Basin, $49,000.

I will move on to Yarmouth, Mr. Speaker, knowing that I am running out of time, but to say that in Yarmouth we received from the feds $1.8 million to renovate the Domtex facility - there we saved 35 jobs, and we created another bunch of jobs there; I think 27, in the enviro depot and other jobs in other companies that moved in there - the South Ohio Pollution Control System $1.3 million; and the Broad Brook trunk sewer, $1 million.

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And the list goes on and on, Mr. Speaker, that the feds have poured into the southwestern area of the province and we realize that both provincial and federal governments have fiscal restraint policies in place now, and it was about time. Each of us had to clean up our fiscal house in order to maintain, I think, those core everyday programs that we need throughout the year. So, yes, there have been some tough decisions made, but these are tough times and tough decisions had to be made. Thank you.

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

MR. JOHN HOLM: The member for Argyle wants to know if I am planning to run federally, too, and I say as honestly to him as I can to you, Mr. Speaker, not to the best of my knowledge.

I rise to say a few words tonight on the resolution that is before us for debate. With the greatest respect for the mover of the motion, the member for Queens, I find myself in agreement with much of what he has said, but I also have to say that the problems which began and which are being compounded by this government in Ottawa and the Government of Nova Scotia are only compounded on top of many of the problems that were started and created by former Conservative Governments, both here and in Ottawa.

Mr. Speaker, there are a number of things, I am not from the area and I do not plan to say from afar that I know everything that has gone on or have all the answers to what is needed. When I stand back and take a look at it from afar, one of the things that strikes me is that so many of the key underpinnings, so many of those crucial infrastructures that are so essential for the prosperity and development and the maintenance of southwestern Nova Scotia are indeed under very heavy attack. It is not an attack that just began, but it is an attack that is continuing.

The member for Yarmouth listed off many projects where monies were spent on many very worthwhile projects and I am not disputing that. Some of them, of course, are very short term, short job-creation projects and they are important and also serve as band-aids to the employment situation but developing a golf course is not going to create the kind of long-term employment and prosperity that is needed. It is not going to replace the gaps in the transportation system. For example, after I don't know how many years the 100-Series Highway has yet to be completed, so southwestern Nova Scotia does not have rapid highway transportation to get their products out and to market. Of course, this even after the rail service which was abandoned under the former Conservative Government, so that crucial link to transportation is missing.

Let's take a look at our ferry service. Here we have the service - and yes I acknowledge that the province because the feds wouldn't listen and I am not suggesting or I am not disputing what the member for Yarmouth was saying in that there were many problems with the way that that ferry service operated, there were many inefficiencies that could have been

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corrected. It would have meant that it would have not lost as much money in many innovative ways that could have been tried had it been run in a business-like fashion.

None of that negates the fact that southwestern Nova Scotia and the fishermen, those who are involved in the Christmas tree industry, those involved in agriculture and forestry depend to a very great extent upon that service to get their product to market in a timely fashion. That was neglected and it is something that the federal government the Liberals in Ottawa, the Chrétien Government seems to be thumbing their noses at.

They look at things in departments, they look at a little envelope and they say, this service is costing x number of dollars and we are going to cut that money, we are not going to continue to spend that subsidy, nor are we going to allow sufficient time to find out how that system can be run in an efficient, effective manner but we are going to cut that service to save this number of dollars immediately, not looking at what is in those other envelopes, not looking at what is going to be lost when they do that. By cutting that, as the member for Queens correctly pointed out, based on the studies that have been done, the costs of eliminating that service are greater in a financial sense, let alone all of the social implications and employment aspects, far greater than the monies that are to be saved.

Now they have announced who their private option is going to be for operating the service between Digby and Saint John, New Brunswick. What commitments have we gotten? What commitments do they have for the long-term that that service will also not be curtailed? None.

What about the air service to Yarmouth? The member for Yarmouth will know better than I but I know that I have been told by the people in Yarmouth that they are in danger of losing their only air link. One of the reasons is because the air plane service provider says, either use our service or lose it. But you try to get a seat on that plane from Yarmouth. The plane, I am told, will often land half empty but when the people from that area have called trying to book a seat they are told, I am sorry all of the seats are taken, only a few seats are designated for Yarmouth. If you want to get a seat on that plane, you have got to book it through Halifax where the majority of seats are registered, that is where the block is saved. The people there can't even use it if they want to and can afford the high price that has come about as a result of deregulation. Those are key infrastructures that if southwestern Nova Scotia is to be able to continue to survive and thrive prosperously, have to be maintained. A commitment must be made, not in the narrow partisan sense, not, you said this and the other Party said that, but working genuinely together to ensure and to find ways with the communities that those vital services are maintained.

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[6:30 p.m.]

There were suggestions and talk about the closure of the forces bases and they were crippling blows to the economies. Mr. Speaker, services like that, those key anchors in the communities that provide so many millions of dollars, not only for the military personnel who were there, but pumped so many millions of dollars into a local economy that then circulate out and create so much more employment, not only for those who work as civilians on the base, but provide services to the base, provide services to those people who work on the base. It is a multiplier effect. When major decisions like that are being made, if the governments care for the people in those communities, then they have to allow the proper lead time, the proper resources to put proper programs in place to attract and to develop alternate industry and employment to take its place.

We talked about the EI, and there is no question that the changes to the EI system are going to have a devastating impact here in Nova Scotia and the ripping of tens of millions of dollars out of our economy. The GST did the same thing, because the GST imposed by the federal Tories, which the Liberals promised to get rid of, the GST benefited the manufacturers, and that means benefited, primarily, the manufacturers in central Canada. So, in central Canada, they saw their taxes go down with the GST. Here in the regions and areas like Nova Scotia, including all of Nova Scotia, but mainly southwestern Nova Scotia and other areas, where we don't have that manufacturing base, then we do not and our industries and businesses do not benefit, supposedly, if anybody did from that GST being brought in instead of the manufacturer's sales tax. We lost and out of this area, again, tens of millions of dollars were taken and shipped off to central Canada.

When we hear the federal government, I don't care what stripe it is, whether it is Liberal or Conservative saying that we cannot afford, we cannot put any dollars back into your area to maintain these vital, essential transportation and other links, I remind them, not only as the member for Queens has done, about the many millions that they have pumped into companies in other parts of Canada and central Canada and so on, like Bombardier and so on, but I also remind them, because of their fiscal policies and those of the predecessors, they have ripped tens of millions out of our economy, which is placing our industries and our rural communities at greater risk. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: I would like to thank all the honourable members for having taken part in tonight's debate. The motion for Adjournment has been made. The House will rise to sit again tomorrow at 2:00 p.m.

[The House rose at 6:33 p.m.]