Assemblée Législative de la Nouvelle-Écosse

Les travaux de la Chambre ont repris le
21 septembre 2017

Hansard -- Mon., Nov. 24, 1997

Sixth Session

MONDAY, NOVEMBER 24, 1997

TABLE OF CONTENTS PAGE
Res. 4, Queen Elizabeth II & Duke of Edinburgh: Wedding Anniv.
(Golden) - Best Wishes [p.32]; Letter Sent, Mr. Speaker 87
PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS:
Transport. & Pub. Wks. - Hants East: Burntcoat Road - Upgrade,
Mr. R. Carruthers 89
Transport. & Pub. Wks. - Upper Rawdon: Renfrew Road - Ditch,
Mr. R. Carruthers 89
Transport. & Pub. Wks. - Pine Grove Estates (Elmsdale): Culverts - Clean,
Mr. R. Carruthers 89
Transport. & Pub. Wks. - Budland Acres (Enfield): Roads - Upgrade,
Mr. R. Carruthers 89
Transport. & Pub. Wks. - West Green Harbour (Lockeport): Wharf Road -
Upgrade, Mr. C. Huskilson 90
Econ. Dev. & Tourism - AT&T Funding: MT&T Employees - Protest,
Dr. J. Hamm 90
Transport. & Pub. Wks. - Brooklyn: War Memorial - Retain,
Mr. R. Russell 90
RCMP: Enfield Detachment - Retain, Mr. B. Taylor 91
INTRODUCTION OF BILLS:
No. 2, Income Tax Act, Hon. W. Gillis 91
Citizens To Save Our Healthcare System: Efforts -
Commend, Mr. R. Chisholm 93
Res. 38, EMO/Health - Emergency Serv. (911): Problems - Correct,
Mr. G. Moody 93
Res. 39, Nat. Res. - Sable Gas: Petrochemical Operation (Strait Area) -
Support, Mr. R. Mann 94
Vote - Affirmative 95
Res. 40, Nat. Res. - Sable Gas: Mobil Oil - Commitments Table,
Mr. G. Archibald 95
Res. 41, Devco - Three Mine Commitment: Senate Comm. - Convey,
Ms. Helen MacDonald 95
Res. 42, Fin. - HST: Break - Intentions Reveal, Mr. R. Russell 96
Res. 43, Sport - Royal Bank Commun. Sport Hero:
Ms. Elaine MacDonald (Granville Ferry) - Congrats.,
Mr. E. Rayfuse [By Mr. J. Casey] 97
Vote - Affirmative 98
Res. 44, Fish. - Lobster: Season - Success Wish, Hon. A. Surette 98
Vote - Affirmative 98
Res. 45, Fish. - Don Boudreau & "Double Don" Crew: Sea Rescue -
Congrats., Mr. J. Leefe 98
Vote - Affirmative 99
Res. 46, Econ. Dev. & Tourism - Bed & Breakfast Operators:
Tax Policy - Equitable, Mr. D. McInnes 99
Res. 47, Fin. (Canada): Banks Profits/Charges - Investigate,
Ms. E. O'Connell 100
Res. 48, Housing & Mun. Affs. - Housing (Low Income): Applications -
Status Inform, Mr. A. MacLeod 100
Res. 49, Educ. - Schools: Public-Private Partnerships - Future Reveal,
Mr. E. Fage 101
Res. 50, NDP - Growing Enterprise: Investment Strategy - Recognize,
Mr. J. Holm 101
Res. 51, Transport. & Pub. Wks. - Highway Construction:
Funding [Gov't. (Can.)] - Absence Explain, Mr. B. Taylor 102
Res. 52, Sport - Baseball: Petit-de-Grat Red-Caps Teams (1947-97) -
Recognize, Mr. R. Mann 103
Vote - Affirmative 103
Res. 53, Fin. - Budget (1997-98): Balanced - Explain, Dr. J. Hamm 104
Res. 54, Health - Cumb. Co.: Hospital (Private) - Intention Reveal,
Mr. R. Chisholm 104
Res. 55, Health - Pharmacare Prog.: Seniors - Burden Acknowledge,
Mr. G. Moody 105
Res. 56, Agric.: Industry - Support, Mr. G. Archibald 105
Res. 57, Econ. Dev. & Tourism - Co-op Atlantic (Sydney River Depot):
Continuance - Support, Ms. Helen MacDonald 106
Res. 58, Mothers Against Drunk Driving (Canada) - Susan MacAskill:
Appointment Congrats./Progs. [Gov't. (N.S.)] - Commitment,
Mr. R. Russell 107
Vote - Affirmative 107
Res. 59, Transport. & Pub. Wks.: N.S. Truckers' Assoc. - Negotiate,
Mr. B. Taylor 108
Res. 60, Educ. - School Bds.: Composition - Assess, Ms. E. O'Connell 108
Res. 61, Transport. & Pub. Wks. - Amherst: Snow Plow (4x4) -
Retain, Mr. E. Fage 109
Res. 62, Econ. Dev. & Tourism - C.B.: Ranka Opportunity -
Rejection Detail, Mr. A. MacLeod 110
Res. 63, Fish. - TAGS Expiry: Chaos (1998) - Plans Reveal, Mr. J. Leefe 110
Res. 64, Pictou - Fundraiser (Needy-Xmas): Organizers/Participants -
Congrats., Mr. D. McInnes 111
Vote - Affirmative 111
MOTION FOR ADJOURNMENT (Rule 43):
Nat. Res. - Sable Gas: Sell-Out - Stop, Mr. R. Chisholm 112
Rejected 113
GOVERNMENT BUSINESS:
GOVERNMENT MOTIONS:
ADDRESS IN REPLY:
Mr. R. Carruthers 117
Mr. D. McInnes 125
Mrs. L. O'Connor 137
Mrs. E. Norrie 141
Adjourned debate 144
ADJOURNMENT, House rose to meet again on Tue., Nov. 25th at 2:00 p.m. 145
NOTICES OF MOTION UNDER RULE 32(3):
Res. 65, Transport. & Pub. Wks.: River Bourgeois (Route 4) - Upgrade,
Mr. R. Mann 146
Res. 66, Sport - Baseball: Coach of Year (Barry Marchand-Petit-de-Grat) -
Congrats., Mr. R. Mann 146

[Page 87]

HALIFAX, MONDAY, NOVEMBER 24, 1997

Fifty-sixth General Assembly

Sixth Session

7:00 P.M.

SPEAKER

Hon. Gerald Fogarty

MR. SPEAKER: Honourable members, in response to the resolution passed by the House on Friday requesting me to extend best wishes to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh on the occasion of their golden wedding anniversary, today I sent the following letter by fax to the Governor General:

"Her Majesty the Queen and

His Royal Highness, the Duke of Edinburgh

c/o Private Secretary to the Governor General

Rideau Hall

1 Sussex Drive

Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0A1

Dear Madame and Sir:

On Friday, November 21, 1997, members of the Nova Scotia House of Assembly agreed unanimously to extend best wishes to Your Majesty and His Royal Highness, the Duke of Edinburgh, on the occasion of your 50th wedding anniversary.

Your golden anniversary celebration marks not only 50 years of a sharing marriage, but also 50 years of selfless service to the people of the Commonwealth and beyond.

May you continue to enjoy good health in the pursuit of a commitment which has been exemplary the world over.

87

[Page 88]

I have the honour to be,

Your Majesty's and Your Royal Highness' obedient servant.

Sincerely,

Gerald Fogarty

Speaker"

The honourable Leader of the Opposition.

DR. JOHN HAMM: On Friday when the Premier was speaking in response to the Speech from the Throne, he made a statement to which I take strong objection. The Premier indicated that the Leader of the Opposition, ". . . is not too concerned, he doesn't put too much stake in steel and coal. That is not part of his concern right now.". These are words taken from Page 77 of Hansard.

Now the Premier - my goodness, we have gone back to the original. (Interruptions) Mr. Speaker, on Page 61, when I made my response to the Speech from the Throne, I said, "The Premier talks about steel and coal, and I know they are important, but wouldn't it be nice to develop a textile industry in Cape Breton.". The Premier obviously did not correctly hear my words and I will look forward to the Premier, when he is next in the House, withdrawing those words suggesting that the Leader of the Opposition does not take steel and coal seriously in Cape Breton. (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. I see no point of order in what has been brought to the attention of all members here this evening but of course all members are speaking in reply to the Speech from the Throne. Many speak extemporaneously and of course the Premier is not present at this time. But it is a matter and a disagreement between two honourable members. I can't see there is any point of order.

AN HON. MEMBER: Point of privilege.

MR. SPEAKER: Or point of privilege. I don't think the honourable member made the distinction as to whether it was a point of order or a point of privilege but neither would apply in this case.

We will begin the daily routine.

PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Hants East.

[Page 89]

MR. ROBERT CARRUTHERS: Mr. Speaker, I have a number of petitions to present this evening. I beg leave to table a petition which is signed by 86 residents and users of the Burntcoat Road that are requesting the Department of Transportation to immediately construct and pave very hazardous sections of highways. They are full of large holes and chunks of asphalt and these petitioners ask that their tax dollars be more accountable for a safer route in their community.

Mr. Speaker, I have endorsed this petition. I would support it and I wish to table it in the House of Assembly and I would so move.

MR. SPEAKER: The petition is tabled.

The honourable member of Hants East.

MR. ROBERT CARRUTHERS: Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to table a petition which is signed by nine residents. They are the residents of the Renfrew Road in Upper Rawdon. They would like to see the complete road ditched. Although a portion of it has been done, they do not feel this is quite enough and this would decrease the flooding as well as some hazardous conditions during the winter months. Once again, I have endorsed this petition. I know the road and I would like to see the whole road ditched. I support this petition and therefore would move its acceptance.

MR. SPEAKER: The petition is tabled.

The honourable member for Hants East.

MR. ROBERT CARRUTHERS: Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to table a petition which is signed by 20 residents. They are property owners in the subdivision of Pine Grove Estates near Elmsdale and they demand that the drainage culverts be cleaned of debris and wild growth. The conditions of these drainage culverts have deteriorated to such a condition that there is a potential for damage to properties in the event of heavy rain. I have endorsed this petition and I fully support this petition. I would table this petition.

MR. SPEAKER: The petition is tabled.

The honourable member for Hants East.

MR. ROBERT CARRUTHERS: Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to table a petition which is signed by 43 residents. "We, the residents of Budland Acres in Enfield, Nova Scotia have signed this petition in response to the ongoing poor condition of the roads in our sub-division. Because of the condition of the roads, ". . . we feel it necessary to petition to have our roads brought up to standard.". Once again, I have endorsed this petition. I do endorse its contents. I support it and I would table this petition. I would advise the House, these petitions have all

[Page 90]

come in since the last sitting of the House. I know some work has been done but much is to be completed and I would table all these petitions.

MR. SPEAKER: That petition, like the others, has been tabled.

The honourable member for Shelburne.

MR. CLIFFORD HUSKILSON: Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to present a petition signed by 46 residents of West Green Harbour in the Lockeport area. These residents would like their Wharf Road upgraded and paved, approximately one-half mile in length. I have affixed my signature on the petition for tabling purposes.

MR. SPEAKER: The petition is tabled.

The honourable Leader of the Opposition.

DR. JOHN HAMM: Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to table a petition from 31 employees of Maritime Tel & Tel. The petition reads thus, "We the members of AC & TWU employed with MT&T, wish to add our voice to protest against the government funding of AT&T. Why does the government see fit to spend our tax dollars to support a multi-million dollar corporation? A company that is in direct competition with a local telephone company that employs Nova Scotians?". I have affixed my signature to the petition for tabling.

MR. SPEAKER: The petition is tabled.

The honourable member for Hants West.

MR. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to table a petition signed by 1,000 residents of the Village of Brooklyn and the area around Brooklyn.

AN HON. MEMBER: How many?

MR. RUSSELL: Brooklyn has only a population of about 100 actually, but there were 1,000 people signed this petition, (Laughter) but the proximity is large.

Mr. Speaker, at the conclusion of World War II in 1947, the veterans built a memorial to veterans of World War I and World War II, and they built it right at the intersection of the three roads that intersect in the middle of Brooklyn. The Department of Transportation, in their wisdom, decided that was an impediment to traffic, which indeed to some extent it was because on November 11th, whenever they had a parade there, it did become quite dangerous.

[Page 91]

So, they have built a new memorial out at the volunteer fire station in Brooklyn and they got a plaque on that, et cetera. The villagers now want that cenotaph in the centre of Brooklyn to remain. It has been turned over to the Department of Transportation, but it is a historical landmark and is one that is very readily pointed out as being the direction to somebody's house or somebody's business.

So, Mr. Speaker, this petition signed by 1,000 people, endorsed by the Board of Trade of Windsor and West Hants, including a poem that was generated by this possible removal of the monument, I would now like to table, and suggest to the minister that he earnestly consider retaining the monument in the middle of the Village of Brooklyn.

MR. SPEAKER: The petition is tabled.

The honourable member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley.

MR. BROOKE TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to table a petition of residents of the Halifax Regional Municipality regarding police services. The petition briefly states that, "We, the undersigned, feel our elected representatives and the R.C.M.P. should know that we want our policing to continue to be delivered from the Enfield Detachment. Despite the fact we live in Halifax Regional Municipality and the Enfield detachment is located in Hants County, it is physically the closest R.C.M.P. detachment to us. We feel that Enfield Detachment is in the best position to provide the quality of police service we expect from our tax dollars and the R.C.M.P.". So, the Enfield detachment is requested and this is signed by four pages of petitioners.

MR. SPEAKER: The petition is tabled. (Interruptions)

Order, please. We will move on.

PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES

TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS

STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS

GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION

INTRODUCTION OF BILLS

Bill No. 2 - Entitled an Act to Amend Chapter 217 of the Revised Statutes 1989. The Income Tax Act. (Hon. William Gillis)

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

[Page 92]

NOTICES OF MOTION

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Opposition.

RESOLUTION NO. 36

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 federal Liberal Government has plans to cut 6,000 jobs across the country beginning next year, 2,000 of those job losses could take place in metropolitan Halifax; and

Whereas the Premier sat in Ottawa as a silent lamb as the federal government slashed military jobs, closed military bases and transferred military personnel; and

Whereas despite referring to himself as a lion, the Premier continues to play the role of a church mouse;

Therefore be it resolved that the Premier stop being a church mouse and immediately use the Ottawa knowledge he roared about during the leadership campaign in order to stave off the loss of 2,000 civilian Defence jobs in the metropolitan Halifax region that are expected to begin next year.

[7:15 p.m.]

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable Leader of the New Democratic Party.

MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, before I read my resolution I would like to take the opportunity to introduce a few people here in the galleries, I think maybe on both sides, people here that members may have met as they were coming into the House this evening, who were handing out some literature. They are people that are part of the Citizens to Save Our Healthcare System Committee. They have been working hard to raise issues relative to the state of the health care system in the Province of Nova Scotia. I would like to ask them to rise and receive the warm welcome of the members of this Legislature. (Applause)

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

[Page 93]

RESOLUTION NO. 37

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 Liberal Government has tried to fool Nova Scotians into believing that they are putting more money into health care to improve the system; and

Whereas Citizens to Save Our Healthcare System know that the $40 million in new spending announced in last week's Throne Speech has already been spent to cover cost overruns and will mean no improvement in direct patient care; and

Whereas Citizens to Save Our Healthcare are handing out leaflets tonight to inform Nova Scotians that government re-engineering and privatization, not improved patient care, are driving up the cost of health care;

Therefore be it resolved that this House commends Citizens to Save Our Healthcare System for their efforts to inform Nova Scotians of the truth behind the propaganda smokescreen created by the Speech from the Throne.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable Leader of the Opposition.

DR. JOHN HAMM: Yes, I, too, would like to welcome our guests in the gallery, Nova Scotians concerned about the deterioration in health care over the last four years. I would like to point out to the House that the leaflet that they have handed outside contains a letter from Dr. Hinrich Bitter Suermann . . .

MR. SPEAKER: I would have to interrupt the Leader of the Opposition. Is this in the form of a notice of motion? That is out of order. I was calling for a notice of motion when the Leader of the Opposition stood. That was not a notice of motion, it is out of order.

The honourable member for Kings West.

RESOLUTION NO. 38

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

Whereas the Executive Director of Emergency Health Services in Nova Scotia, Mike Murphy, said he wants Nova Scotians to have faith in the 911 emergency response number; and

[Page 94]

Whereas Mr. Murphy attempts to extol the many positive aspects of 911 while conveniently ignoring the many programs encountered by numerous emergency responders across Nova Scotia in recent weeks; and

Whereas the number of reported problems included ambulance drivers being dispatched to California instead of Cambridge, Kings County and a noticeable delay in response time by firefighters to an explosion and fire at a Sackville apartment building;

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Health and the Minister responsible for the Nova Scotia Emergency Measures Organization concentrate more on correcting the recent problems associated with 911 instead of boasting about a system that requires emergency intervention.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Richmond.

RESOLUTION NO. 39

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

Whereas the Sable Offshore Energy Project will see natural gas landed on Nova Scotia's shores for processing and distribution to other parts of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and the New England States; and

Whereas the byproducts of the gas, the gas liquids, can be fractionated, processed and utilized to create a viable petrochemical industry in Nova Scotia; and

Whereas the Strait of Canso area is home to world-class gas and petroleum storage facilities as well as cavernous salt domes, both valuable assets for a petrochemical operation;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House lend their support to efforts to have a petrochemical operation established in the Strait area.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

AN HON. MEMBER: Waive notice.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings North.

MR. GEORGE ARCHIBALD: Mr. Speaker, he called for waiver of notice. Who voted against it?

[Page 95]

MR. SPEAKER: I did not hear a call for waiver of notice. (Interruption) There was? I am sorry.

There has been a request for waiver of notice which requires unanimous consent.

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 Kings North.

RESOLUTION NO. 40

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 spokesman for the Sable gas project said last week that 85 per cent of the daily production of gas must be sent to New England markets to make the pipeline pay; and

Whereas earlier this year it was announced that the Irvings had a deal with Mobil and its partners to buy the remaining 15 per cent of the gas; and

Whereas this represents a commitment by Mobil and its partners to sell every ounce of gas outside of Nova Scotia;

Therefore be it resolved that the Premier immediately table in this House any commitments or guarantees that he has from Mobil and its partners regarding the availability of gas to Nova Scotia customers.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Cape Breton The Lakes.

RESOLUTION NO. 41

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

[Page 96]

Whereas the Senate committee on the Cape Breton coal industry is holding hearings on Devco's ill-advised plans to privatize the Donkin mine; and

Whereas it becomes clearer every day that the development of Donkin as part of a three mine Devco operation is crucial to the maintenance of coal industry jobs in Cape Breton; and

Whereas privatization plans which threaten Devco's future could be stopped in their tracks by a clear statement from this House that Nova Scotia will not approve the transfer of Devco's Donkin leases to a private operator;

Therefore be it resolved that this House convey to the Senate committee on Devco that it is committed to a three mine Devco operation that includes the Donkin mine and will therefore not permit the transfer of Donkin leases to a private operator.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

MR. SPEAKER: There has been a request for waiver of notice.

Is it agreed?

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Hants West.

RESOLUTION NO. 42

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

Whereas despite voting in favour of the HST while an MP in Ottawa, the Premier now recognizes that the tax is onerous and unfair; and

Whereas to correct his past mistakes the Premier flew to Ottawa to seek federal assistance in providing relief from the HST; and

Whereas his visit to the nation's capital resulted in the first major snowstorm of the season and a stock market crash, there was no relief for Nova Scotia consumers;

[Page 97]

Therefore be it resolved that since the Throne Speech said precious little about the HST the Premier tell Nova Scotians if his promised break from the HST will come during this mandate or is something he intends to promise for a second time during his next round of campaigning.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Digby-Annapolis.

RESOLUTION NO. 43

MR. JOSEPH CASEY: I have permission from the member for Annapolis to bring this resolution to the floor.

MR. SPEAKER: So you are presenting it on behalf of the member for Annapolis?

MR. CASEY: That is right. If that is the proper procedure.

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

Whereas Elaine MacDonald of Granville Ferry was named one of the Royal Bank Community Sport Heroes last Wednesday; and

Whereas Ms. MacDonald has spent many years coaching soccer, figure skating, basketball and track and field, as well as having spent five years with Special Olympics; and

Whereas Ms. MacDonald coordinates her local rink's canteen, fundraises for the Arthritis Society, Cancer Society and the Nova Scotia Heart Foundation;

Therefore be it resolved that this House extends congratulations and best wishes to Ms. MacDonald on this very significant achievement.

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

MR. SPEAKER: There has been a request for waiver of notice which requires unanimous consent.

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

[Page 98]

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Human Resources.

RESOLUTION NO. 44

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

Whereas today marks the opening of the 1997-98 lobster fishery in South West Nova; and

Whereas 4,000 lobster fishermen are heading out to sea today to set their traps; and

Whereas the lobster fishery contributes over $140 million to the economy and is a major economic driver in South West Nova and across the province;

Therefore be it resolved that this House extends best wishes to the men and women working in the fishery, their families and friends, for a successful and safe fishing season.

Mr. Speaker, I seek waiver of notice.

MR. SPEAKER: There has been a request for waiver of notice which requires unanimous consent.

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 Queens.

RESOLUTION NO. 45

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

Whereas four Wedgeport fishermen from the fishing vessel Dwayne Allen were washed overboard in November 1996; and

[Page 99]

Whereas Captain Donald Boudreau and his crew, Daniel Boudreau, Arlin Boudreau and Warren Cottreau of the fishing vessel Double Don, in spite of rough seas and danger to their own lives, rushed to the assistance of the crew of the Dwayne Allen; and

Whereas the Royal Canadian Legion in Wedgeport and the province have honoured the crew of the Double Don for this action;

Therefore be it resolved that this House extend congratulations and thanks to the crew of the Double Don, namely Captain Donald Boudreau, Daniel Boudreau, Arlin Boudreau and Warren Cottreau for their bravery and selfless regard.

Mr. Speaker, I seek waiver of notice.

MR. SPEAKER: There has been a request for waiver of notice which requires unanimous consent.

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 Pictou West.

RESOLUTION NO. 46

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

Whereas bed and breakfast accommodations are an important niche market in Nova Scotia's tourism industry; and

Whereas the Liberal Government instituted a new tax assessment policy on bed and breakfasts, which is applied in some counties and not in other counties; and

Whereas 10 months have passed since bringing this to the attention of the Liberal Government and there is still no resolution to this inequitable policy;

Therefore be it resolved that the government immediately sit down with representatives of the tourism industry and bed and breakfast operators, to work out a fair, equitable and even taxation policy.

[Page 100]

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Halifax Fairview.

RESOLUTION NO. 47

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 Toronto-Dominion, the smallest of Canada's big five banks, soared over the $1 billion annual profit mark last week; and

Whereas bank analysts immediately predicted that TD is establishing a trend that will see the big banks increase their profits by over $7 billion this year; and

Whereas the only thing rising faster than bank profits are bank service charges;

Therefore be it resolved that this House deplores the continued gouging of customers by the big banks and calls on the federal Liberal Government to carry out an inquiry into exorbitant bank profits and excessive bank service charges.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Cape Breton West.

RESOLUTION NO. 48

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

Whereas the backlog of applications for programs offered by the Department of Housing have reached an unacceptable stage; and

[7:30 p.m.]

Whereas the minister is acutely aware of the number of concerns being expressed by Nova Scotians about not being able to find out pertinent information concerning programs that are available to them; and

Whereas the Municipality of Annapolis County recently expressed dismay over the fact that only one employee is looking after the backlog of repair applications for a total of seven counties in the western region of Nova Scotia;

[Page 101]

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Housing and Municipal Affairs immediately move to have this serious backlog cleared up and inform low income Nova Scotians as to the status of their applications.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Cumberland North.

RESOLUTION NO. 49

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

Whereas after finally realizing there were no lease agreements in place this fall, the Premier called a halt to any further development of the public-private partnership of schools; and

Whereas for weeks we have been told that a solution to the impasse on the government's so-called 3P projects is on the way; and

Whereas while the Liberal Government attempts to work the bugs out, communities like Amherst and Yarmouth wonder where all this leaves the construction of their new schools;

Therefore be it resolved that the Premier explain to those communities and to all Nova Scotians where the promised leasing arrangements are and when to expect an evaluation as to why we have no financial backers picking up these projects.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Sackville-Cobequid.

RESOLUTION NO. 50

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

Whereas the Premier has made derogatory comments about members of the New Democratic Party because the Party is running a small deficit in its accounts at this time; and

Whereas that deficit has occurred because of the unprecedented activity being carried on by the New Democratic Party, without the benefit of tainted trust funds, as it strives to meet the desire of Nova Scotians for political change; and

[Page 102]

Whereas deficits during political campaigns are not unusual, witness the recent Liberal leadership campaign which finished over $55,000 in the red;

Therefore be it resolved that this House recognizes that the New Democratic Party's strategy of investing in a growing enterprise is fiscally more sound than the Liberal approach of running up a debt in a desperate attempt to save a sinking ship.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

Before we continue with further notices of motion, I wish to recognize the honourable Minister of Health on an introduction.

HON. JAMES SMITH: I wish to introduce to you and all members of the House, this evening in your gallery, Mr. Speaker, two young people from the Dartmouth East riding that I represent. I would like to introduce you to Christine Hann, and she is a senior student at Prince Andrew High School. She is president of the Key Club. I learned by some circuitous route today that she is probably 18 years of age today. Would you give her a warm welcome. (Applause)

Mr. Speaker, accompanying Christine is her friend Shawn MacDonald, a member of the militia and also a member of the Student Council in Dartmouth East. Would you offer them a warm welcome of the House. (Applause)

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

RESOLUTION NO. 51

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 Premier's voice in Ottawa remains that of a silent lamb; and

Whereas since this Savage/MacLellan Government has come to power in 1993, it has not been able to sign a cost-shared highway agreement with the federal government; and

Whereas the Province of New Brunswick recently signed a second highway deal with the federal government for construction on the Trans Canada Highway bringing the total amount of federal dollars for highway construction in New Brunswick to $320 million in the past 2.5 years, above and beyond that given New Brunswick as a result of the cancellation of the Atlantic Freight Assistance and Maritime Freight Rate Assistance;

[Page 103]

Therefore be it resolved that the Premier and his Minister of Transportation and Public Works explain to Nova Scotians today why they are being consistently ignored by Ottawa, while at the same time New Brunswick is able to generate $320 million in federal funding for highway construction, Mr. Premier. That would go a long way to removing the toll.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled. It is a little inaccurate but we'll table the notice.

The honourable member for Richmond.

RESOLUTION NO. 52

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

Whereas Petit-de-Grat Red Cap baseball teams have competed consecutively from 1947 to 1997 inclusive, winning numerous local, provincial and Maritime intermediate titles during that 50 year span; and

Whereas over 180 ball players have performed with the Red Caps throughout the years, enabling the club to establish this record of consistency, dedication and quality performance; and

Whereas on Saturday, November 22nd, the Red Cap teams of 1947 to 1997 were recognized for this outstanding achievement, and were inducted into the new Baseball Nova Scotia Hall of Fame;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House recognize and acknowledge the accomplishments of the Petit-de-Grat Red Caps and the outstanding contribution they have made to their Richmond County community and to amateur sport in Nova Scotia.

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

MR. SPEAKER: There has been a request for waiver of notice.

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 Leader of the Opposition.

[Page 104]

RESOLUTION NO. 53

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

Whereas last week's Speech from the Throne made vague promises of millions in new spending; and

Whereas last week's Speech from the Throne failed to provide important specifics, such as the total amounts, new spending program details, time-frames for implementation or where the millions in new spending will come from; and

Whereas the Premier, who has repeatedly said that his government is committed to a balanced budget, admitted that he hadn't even attempted to add up the costs of his new promises;

Therefore be it be resolved that the Premier explain to Nova Scotians how he can promise a balanced budget on the one hand, promise untold millions on the other, and admit to not even doing the math, and still expect to be credible.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable Leader of the New Democratic Party.

RESOLUTION NO. 54

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 Deputy Minister of Economic Development and Tourism stated publicly that this provincial government will examine entering into a private sector partnership to construct and operate the new Amherst Regional Hospital; and

Whereas the Minister of Health has publicly stated this government will not enter into a 3P arrangement with the new Amherst Hospital as it would represent moving towards privatization of management which might hurt standards of care; and

Whereas the Premier, in a 10 minute conversation with the Halifax Chronicle-Herald on November the 21st, went from saying, "No, no, no, there's not going to be a 3P hospital in Amherst" to "There may be a way of doing it.";

[Page 105]

Therefore be it resolved that this House call on the Premier to make it clear whether he intends to saddle the residents of Cumberland County with a privatized hospital that will, as the Minister of Health said, hurt the standards of health care provided to those residents.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Kings West.

RESOLUTION NO. 55

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

Whereas the Liberals imposed a new $215 annual Pharmacare premium, stating that it would secure the long-term future of the program and significantly reduce the cost to Nova Scotia taxpayers; and

Whereas the recent announcement of an $11 million short-fall in the Seniors' Pharmacare Program demonstrates that the Liberal changes to the Pharmacare program have done neither; and

Whereas while seniors and taxpayers pay more as a result of the Liberal Government's misguided scheme to be the first payer of prescription drug costs, the federal pension plan and the private insurance companies are saving millions;

Therefore be it resolved that the Liberal Government acknowledge that it introduced yet another horrendous burden on seniors and taxpayers and further that it identify a number of options to the annual premiums to be used for the basis of extensive consultation with seniors' organizations throughout the province.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Kings North.

RESOLUTION NO. 56

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

Whereas Nova Scotia potato producers are facing their third consecutive year of financial losses; and

[Page 106]

Whereas some potato producers are on the brink of collapse as a result to this summer's drought conditions; and

Whereas Nova Scotia potato growers and the processing industry have been informed that the financial institutions will no longer provide a credit line to the growers;

Therefore be it resolved that the Liberal Government, which promised in the recent Speech from the Throne to provide better support to Nova Scotia's agricultural sector, immediately announce what their plan is to support the Nova Scotia agricultural industry.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Cape Breton The Lakes.

RESOLUTION NO. 57

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

Whereas the economy of Cape Breton continues to suffer from an unemployment rate that is significantly higher than other parts of Nova Scotia; and

Whereas Co-op Atlantic plans to close its Sydney River distribution depot in early January and centralize jobs in Moncton; and

Whereas the 15 jobs that would be lost will hurt not only the employees but the whole community which benefits from the spinoff jobs created by the distribution depot;

Therefore be it resolved that this House unanimously supports the continuation of this facility in Cape Breton and urges the Premier and the Minister of Economic Development to meet with the Board of Co-op Atlantic to determine the action necessary to maintain those distribution depot jobs in Cape Breton.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice. (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

MR. JOHN HOLM: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order. The member for Cape Breton The Lakes had asked for waiver or notice on that last motion.

MR. SPEAKER: And there were several Noes that came from the government side of the House. (Interruptions)

[Page 107]

The honourable member for Hants West.

RESOLUTION NO. 58

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

Whereas four years ago, Susan MacAskill's father was killed by a drunk driver; and

Whereas four years later, Susan MacAskill, a founder and active member of the Annapolis Valley Chapter of MADD, has been named president of Mothers Against Drunk Driving Canada; and

Whereas MADD, with Ms. MacAskill at the helm, will continue to push to have stronger federal laws, including a lower legal blood alcohol level, an expansion of the Criminal Code's reasonable and probable grounds section and creation of a national victim's bill of rights;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate Susan MacAskill and further, that the federal Liberal Government, which has promised more programs to combat drinking and driving in this Speech from the Throne, commit to working with MADD to further reduce deaths and injury resulting from drunk driving.

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

MR. SPEAKER: There is a request for waiver of notice which requires unanimous consent.

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 Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley. This would be the third time on your feet, would it not?

MR. BROOKE TAYLOR: No, Mr. Speaker. (Interruptions) The second time with a resolution.

MR. SPEAKER: The second time, proceed then.

[Page 108]

The honourable member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley.

RESOLUTION NO. 59

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 Transportation and Public Works uses intimidation tactics in his dealings with Nova Scotia truckers; and

Whereas the minister seemed not to have the necessary backbone to do it, but instead, recently had a senior bureaucrat within the Department of Transportation and Public Works inform the Nova Scotia Trucker's Association that the minister felt he had been knifed in the back in connection with recent comments in the Chronicle-Herald; and

Whereas the present Minister of Transportation and Public Works is hijacking the negotiating process between the government and truckers by refusing to address serious issues facing truckers including waiting times at the salt mine in Pugwash and a level of pay that will not force truckers into a losing business proposition;

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Transportation and Works stop playing the role of schoolyard bully and sit down and negotiate with the Nova Scotia Trucker's Association in a fair and equitable manner.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Halifax Fairview.

[7:45 p.m.]

RESOLUTION NO. 60

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 school board amalgamation has brought together large areas in which governance is severely hampered by geography and a lack of community of interest; and

Whereas the savings and improved service delivery promised by school board amalgamation have failed to materialize; and

[Page 109]

Whereas the Southwest Regional School Board has asked the Premier to restructure it into two boards comprising Shelburne, Digby and Yarmouth for one and Lunenburg and Queens for another;

Therefore be it resolved that the government conduct an independent assessment of the new school board make-up in Nova Scotia to determine how boards can be better structured to meet the educational needs of students.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Cumberland North.

RESOLUTION NO. 61

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

Whereas the citizens of Cumberland North are expressing concern over the availability of snow-clearing equipment for the Amherst area; and

Whereas it is being reported that one of the remaining four-wheel-drive snowplows at the Amherst depot will be moved out of the area shortly; and

Whereas Cumberland North receives some of the heaviest snowfall and blizzard conditions in Nova Scotia;

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Transportation and Public Works immediately commit to leaving the only remaining four-wheel-drive snowplow at the Amherst depot and that he not take any action that threatens the health and safety of the residents of Cumberland North.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

MR. SPEAKER: A request for waiver of notice requires unanimous consent.

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Cape Breton West.

[Page 110]

RESOLUTION NO. 62

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

Whereas a multimillion dollar textile company was looking to locate a major manufacturing facility that would create up to 1,800 full-time jobs in job-starved Cape Breton; and

Whereas the Premier's brother and Director of Communications was recently quoted in the Saint John Telegraph Journal saying, "Right now we're not pursuing the Ranka opportunity because we feel it doesn't meet our development strategy"; and

Whereas unemployed Cape Bretoners would like to know why 1,800 full-time, decent paying jobs in an area of chronically high unemployment doesn't meet with this government's economic development strategy;

Therefore be it resolved that the Liberal Government immediately release its so-called economic development strategy and further that it specifically identify the reasons it rejected the opportunity Ranka was presenting to up to 1,800 unemployed Cape Bretons.

Mr. Speaker, I would request waiver of notice.

MR. SPEAKER: I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Queens.

RESOLUTION NO. 63

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

Whereas TAGS was established to help fishermen and plant workers cope with the failure of the ground fishery; and

Whereas the Chretien Government amended TAGS, shortening it by a full year; and

Whereas one of the Members of Parliament who voted in favour of curtailing TAGS was the member for Cape Breton-The Sydneys, now the Premier of Nova Scotia;

[Page 111]

Therefore be it resolved that the former Member of Parliament for Cape Breton-The Sydneys, now the Premier, explain to Nova Scotians what his provincial Liberal Government's plan is to deal with the chaos which will ensue when TAGS expires prematurely in May 1998.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Pictou West.

RESOLUTION NO. 64

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

Whereas the Pictou County media, the Pictou Advocate, the New Glasgow Evening News, CKEC Radio 1320 and Bragg Cable 10 sponsored the annual fundraiser for those needing a helping hand at Christmas, yesterday; and

Whereas many local entertainers performed on the stage of the deCoste Entertainment Centre in Pictou on Sunday afternoon and broadcast live on CKEC Radio and Bragg Cable 10; and

Whereas $57,000 was raised for those in need for Christmas;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of the Legislature congratulate all those who worked so hard and gave of their time to raise money for those unfortunate at Christmas time.

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

MR. SPEAKER: There has been a request for waiver of notice which requires unanimous consent.

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

Now before we move on to Orders of the Day, we have requests for a couple of introductions.

[Page 112]

The honourable member for Cape Breton Centre.

MR. RUSSELL MACNEIL: Mr. Speaker, I would like to draw your attention to the east gallery where a member of the Cape Breton-Victoria School Board is seated, Mr. Dan Hughie MacLellan. I would like him to stand and receive the warm applause of the House. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Shelburne.

MR. CLIFFORD HUSKILSON: Mr. Speaker, to you and through you to all members of the House of Assembly, I would like to introduce Mr. William Suttle from Lockeport. Mr. Suttle is seated in your gallery. Mr. Suttle served as Mayor for the Town of Lockeport for several years. I would like the House to please welcome Mr. Suttle. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: That completes the daily routine. We will move on to Orders of the Day.

ORDERS OF THE DAY

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

MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, I wish to move that the business of the House be set aside for the purpose of discussing a matter of urgent public importance under Rule 43(1) of the Rules and Forms of Procedure of the House of Assembly.

Mr. Speaker, the matter of urgent public importance is the decision of this government - and the Premier as the minister responsible for the offshore - to rubber stamp the sell-out of Nova Scotia's offshore natural gas resources. (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. Order, please.

MR. CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, if I may continue. Specifically, I refer to the decision by this government to grant approval under the Nova Scotia Environment Act to the Sable Offshore Energy Project without first obtaining greater benefits for Nova Scotians.

Mr. Speaker, this matter is extremely urgent. The government, by giving approval under the Environment Act, has already surrendered its most powerful tool for negotiating a better deal on tolls, royalties, laterals and natural gas liquids. Within the next few days, the 30 day deadline for a legal challenge of the offshore panel's report will expire. This Premier has promised to get a better deal for Nova Scotians from the offshore or leave the gas in the ground. So far he has failed and the time is running out.

[Page 113]

Stopping the sell-out of our offshore natural gas requires the urgent attention of members of this House. I therefore move for an emergency debate on this urgent matter at the time of Adjournment today. I await your ruling, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: I wish to say a few words. I will receive submissions from other members but I would like to respond to this request but I will listen to submissions from other members of the House of Assembly.

I went immediately upon receiving this request, and I will say first off that the honourable Leader of the New Democratic Party delivered to my office this notice of intention about two hours and 15 minutes before the House convened tonight. So he has met one of the stipulations. But I want to look at the section in our Rules and Forms of Procedure of this House of Assembly. Everything is there, there is much detail and I have had a fairly thorough look at it in the time which I had before the House convened.

"Adjournment for urgent debate" is dealt with in Rule 43(1), "Immediately after the daily routine . . . has been concluded, a Member may ask . . . to move that the business of the House be set aside for the purpose of discussing a definite matter of urgent public importance;".

In Subsection (4) in this same section dealing with Emergency Debate, "The Speaker shall decide . . . whether or not the matter is proper to be discussed and, . . . the Speaker may have regard to whether adequate notice has been given . . .". As I said a moment ago, there was two hours and 15 minutes notice that was given.

In Subclause (4A), ". . . the Speaker also shall have regard to the probability of the matter being debated by the House within a reasonable time by other means.".

It would seem to me that this matter certainly can be debated by the House by other means and certainly within a reasonable time. The Leader of the New Democratic Party could table the notice of motion, the resolution could be brought forward and debated in this House. Also there is the Adjournment debate which is another avenue for which this subject matter could be brought forward and the House could debate it at length.

I should also note in Subclause (6), "Reasons for ruling", the Speaker is not bound to give reasons for his decision. However, I do feel that in this case the honourable Leader of the New Democratic Party is certainly entitled to reasons for my decision.

My decision is, as I stated a moment ago, it seems to me there is ample opportunity. This House convened this session only several days ago and this is our third sitting. I also want to support my ruling with Beauchesne, which, of course, is the House of Commons' main source of support for rulings. I want to go to Beauchesne, Page 113, Paragraph No. 387, ". . . there must be no other reasonable opportunity for debate . . .", and I repeat, there

[Page 114]

is opportunity for debating this issue during this present sitting of the House of Assembly. The issue must be so pressing that the public interest will suffer if it is not given immediate attention.

I don't think the public interest is going to suffer if this is not given immediate attention. It will receive attention, I am sure, in days to come in this sitting of the House of Assembly.

I will, as I said a moment ago, entertain further submissions from other members of the House of Assembly, if it is felt necessary, if anybody would like to come forward. I have given my ruling, which is not subject to appeal, only through substantive motion. If there are no further submissions from other members of the House, then my ruling stands and we will continue with Orders of the Day. Thank you.

MR. JOHN HOLM: Mr. Speaker, you are asking for submissions from other members on the proposal that was put forward?

MR. SPEAKER: I indicated as much because another member stood before I addressed this issue. The opportunity was put forward to that other member and we have had no further submissions. The ruling has been made.

AN HON. MEMBER: Well, you are making a submission.

MR. JOHN HOLM: Mr. Speaker, I wanted to make a submission in support of why this . . .

MR. SPEAKER: A point of order, please. A point of order has been raised and I will entertain a point of order.

HON. GERALD O'MALLEY: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order, as you so astutely pointed out one moment ago, you have made your ruling, it is non-appealable. Therefore, I suggest strongly there is no further submission nor debate associated with the matter.

MR. SPEAKER: I have made my ruling, there will be no further debate on this issue.

MR. JOHN HOLM: May I speak in response to the point of order? In regard to the previous speaker, when you started with your ruling you indicated that you would be hearing submissions from other members. Other members were trying to be respectful of yourself, Mr. Speaker, as you were speaking in your place and giving your reasons.

We were under the impression, and I think a reasonable impression, that you were going to afford other members an opportunity to have their views heard. Mr. Speaker, I feel that that opportunity for those who would wish to speak in support of what I believe was an

[Page 115]

extremely responsible motion to be brought forward by the Leader of the New Democratic Party this evening, that opportunity is being denied.

MR. SPEAKER: Honourable member, just to clarify this situation here, and this will be the final word, there was another member who got to his feet before I said a word in responding to the notice of attention that was brought forward by the Leader of the New Democratic Party. That is why I made that point. I made my ruling in my statement, using our own Rules and Forms of Procedure in this House of Assembly, as well as those in use in the House of Commons in Ottawa, so there is no further discussion. The ruling has been made and we will continue.

On a point of order, and this will be the final point I will listen to then on this subject.

The honourable member for Kings West.

MR. GEORGE MOODY: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I guess the tradition in this House, and according to the Rules and Forms of Procedure, my understanding was that certainly the Speaker has the final say to make a ruling. In every case previous, the Speaker would hear one or two members from each side of the House, in support or against such a motion, before the Speaker would then announce his decision.

If the Speaker is going to announce his decision prior to anybody intervening, then what the Speaker is saying is that no one, from now on, need bother intervene because it won't be taken into consideration. I have been in this House about 20 years now and I very seldom get upset, but if we are now setting a new precedent (Interruptions) If we are now setting a new precedent in the House that when someone brings in a motion, such as the honourable Leader of the New Democratic Party did, that the Speaker will no longer allow any interventions prior to making a decision, if that is the case, then we would like to know that the rules, again, have been changed. (Interruptions)

[8:00 p.m.]

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. I am going to add a footnote to the comment from the honourable member for Kings West. The rules state very clearly that the Speaker, on a point of order, makes his decision. It is not necessary to call for further submissions. It can or it cannot be done. Again, I will say, I saw a member get to his feet, but my ruling was ready and I gave all the reasons that I feel are necessary to turn down this notice of intention submitted by the honourable Leader of the New Democratic Party. So, there will be no emergency debate on this issue. (Interruptions)

Case closed; we will now move on to Orders of the Day.

The honourable Government House Leader.

[Page 116]

MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order.

HON. GUY BROWN: Mr. Speaker, . . .

MR. CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, I have been calling for a point of order. I believe a point of order takes precedence over any business that is on the floor at the time.

MR. SPEAKER: All right. On a point of order, the honourable Leader of the New Democratic Party.

MR. CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, I would like to make it clear here tonight that there is nothing that is more urgent than a decision with respect to Sable gas. There is a 30 day legal deadline that is going to be up on Wednesday . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please! Order, please!

MR. CHISHOLM: . . . and we will not have an opportunity to debate this important issue before Wednesday. (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. CHISHOLM: You are silencing the House on this . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please! The honourable member will take his seat. (Interruptions) Order, please.

GOVERNMENT BUSINESS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. GUY BROWN: Mr. Speaker, I am glad to see the enthusiasm up so early in the session.

AN HON. MEMBER: There has never been an emergency debate refused in this House.

MR. BROWN: Oh, yes there has.

Would you please call the order of business, Government Motions.

GOVERNMENT MOTIONS

[Page 117]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. GUY BROWN: Mr. Speaker, I would request that the House now return to the adjourned debate on the Address in Reply to the Speech from the Throne.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Hants East.

MR. ROBERT CARRUTHERS: Mr. Speaker, mind you, that is quite an act to follow that we had a little earlier, but I will try to do so. I think I would like to remind the Speaker of where I left off with my debate. I wanted to speak about the issue of education, that being brought forward both in the Speech from the Throne and how it particularly affects the riding of Hants East.

Mr. Speaker, the first thing that struck me when I heard those speaking about education, were the comments made by the Leader of the Opposition in his Address in Reply to the Speech from the Throne. The Leader of the Opposition stated at one point that we have Cadillac schools in some districts as opposed to, well, I took it to mean some kind of economy, a low-class car in others. Cadillac schools in some districts. Now, I assume that when he talks about Cadillac schools, he is talking about the new high-tech schools that are being brought into the Province of Nova Scotia.

Perhaps the Leader of the Opposition has not been in touch with the business world for some time, because I want to bring to his attention that when you are dealing with computers and high technology, this isn't the exception in business today. This is so commonplace that all businesses throughout this province have high-tech relationships; they deal not just with such things as facsimile machines and word-processing machines, but almost every business office now is computerized to an extent; for instance, my own practice in Shubenacadie, which is not the biggest place in the world nor is my practice the biggest practice in Nova Scotia, we have about 10 people working in that office in Shubenacadie but we are computerized and everybody working there has high-tech involvement with regard to everything from word-processing machines to high-tech other instruments.

I can tell you, you cannot go out in the business world today if you are not trained in the use of this type of equipment. You just do not get hired. You cannot compete and therefore, as a result, if our students are not going to be educated properly in the use of high-tech equipment, then they are at a disadvantage. This is not a Cadillac we are talking about. You just do not compete at all. I should not be picking particularly on the Leader of the Opposition, except that he is the one who brought this forward on a couple of occasions and talked about Cadillac schools.

If you do not play in the big game, then our children are not going to be able to compete. They are not going to be able to compete with others in other provinces. They are not going to be able to compete with others in other countries and certainly on a complete

[Page 118]

global network they will be at a complete disadvantage. At one time we considered education in Nova Scotia, in my view, to be the best education you could get in this country. Perhaps it might even be seen as the best in the world. We have not really kept up with that. I do not think we have kept up with this. Why would we get criticized? Why would we get criticized by bringing in schools that have the type of technology that can compete?

They said, we only have a few. All the schools do not have the same. Look, you have to walk before you can run. You have to start somewhere. I would take those comments to mean you are not supposed to open up new high-tech schools. You are supposed to have the same boxes we always had just to make things equal. I would suggest to you, Mr. Speaker, that this is an innovative step forward. This Minister of Education has had a look at what is needed out there and has responded. Why is this important to me? I will tell you why it is important to me. It is important to me because there are two of them coming to Hants East. One is already started and the other is starting to be constructed next month.

I can tell you this much. The people of Hants East resent the idea that maybe we are being treated with a Cadillac version and others are being treated differently. Anybody who knows the schools in Hants East that we are replacing, the Lantz school, the Milford Elementary School, what kind of condition they were in. They kept being bumped for years and years from being built, for many, many years. Don't just take my word for it. Talk to the municipal councillors out there. People who have background in all political Parties or no political Parties and they will tell you that is what happened. It is about time.

I just cannot believe this criticism of schools like mine opening up in Hants East after all these years. I would have thought that all those involved in Opposition would applaud this move, would look forward to our young people being able to compete in the business world at all levels. I am a little surprised at it. I suppose in the exuberance it might be that one speaks without thinking. If you think about these schools now and they are not all - you get this idea that they are all in urban centres. They are not. Hants East is not an urban centre, I can tell you. We do not have a town that is incorporated nor a village that is incorporated. They are out there in the country. (Interruption) They have one in Stewiacke, over in my friend's area, but I must tell you we do not have any. So this is a sign.

It is not going to the big rich areas or the highly populated areas any more than it is going to the rural areas and I take great pride in announcing to my people when that school started and announcing that the other school is going to start within 30 days. This is a plus and it is going to go through all the province. We are going to show you have to start somewhere. I suspect the four or five new schools that have been built are going to be mirrored in all areas of the province. It is a great thing and I think most members of this House, and I believe perhaps all the members when they think about it, will support the initiative of bringing these highly adaptable high-tech schools to Nova Scotia.

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There are other programs that are coming in the area of school and school repairs. I think we are going to hear some good news very soon about some infrastructure money that may be going to Education to repair schools that are sorely in need of repairs, that have waited a long time, that is going to more than just repair. There could be some additions. There could be some innovative technology brought in there.

You know, Mr. Speaker, I heard my Leader, the Premier of Nova Scotia, speak on this issue before and he stated, and I think this is a very wise statement, he said, we want to attain a level of five students for one computer. I had a young fellow at my annual meeting the other night, and I say that there were young people attending, of course, there were so many people there, it was very impressive at this annual meeting. I suspect the Premier was a draw but in any case, this young person said he was concerned that young people have to have computers in order to learn not only at school but at home, how to compete and how to become adaptable to the high technology systems that are out there. When you think, if you can get computers at a ratio of 5 to 1, 5 students to 1 computer, they could use them at night in these new high-tech schools. There are not going to be restrictions. The old school hours where it shuts down at 3:00 p.m. or 4:00 p.m., that is changing. That is not the concept. We are going to put these high-tech schools to work. They are going to be an asset to the community, the whole community. It is really refreshing.

I can tell you, the average person out in my part of the world, they can't afford to equip their home with these computers. There are some who can but everyone can't and if you want to have people at an equal basis, whether they have money or whether they are low-income people, the only way to do it is through our schools, both elementary, middle and high schools. That is what we are aiming for and that is what we are achieving, Mr. Speaker. I am very pleased with that. I am glad that Hants East is a leader in that regard.

Mr. Speaker, I would be remiss if I didn't turn to the issue of roads and road construction and repair if I am speaking about a district such as Hants East which has so many kilometres of highway. This year, through our Nova Scotia federal infrastructure program, in conjunction with the municipal units, more than $1 million of local roads were paved and paved quickly before this year-end. It is really quite something to see subdivision roads paved, roads that have been sitting there idle for many years, 20 years in some cases. Some of the highways that had been repaved, 30 years without any work.

They say in Hants East now we are finally getting a fair amount of work. As a matter of fact, and I am not being critical of anyone, but when I first came to this House, it was sort of a joke how Hants East compared to its neighbours when it came to paving and repair work. Well, I guess we caught up, we are catching up, we may not be there yet. I suppose we still need a bit more paving before we get caught up with some of these neighbouring districts but they are not making a joke of us anymore. We are finally getting some equality and I must tell you the people of Hants East are very pleased with that.

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To make a point, I remember coming in this House and they used to make a joke. I think the then interim Leader of the Official Opposition used to call me the minister of pot holes. Well, I don't know whether that was an attempt to insult or whether it was a compliment. I felt it to be a compliment, because, yes, I brought concerns to this Minister of Transportation about the condition of my roads and this Minister of Transportation went and did something about it. That is the key to my district. There has been good work done and I suppose you could say that we need a lot more and I agree with that. It takes a long time to fix up 16 years or 17 years of neglect but we are on the road, if you will excuse the expression, we are back to having some equality in the system with the joint ventures, the municipal, provincial and federal governments, there have been many improvements. I know some of the members of the Opposition used to tell me that they always avoided driving across my riding because it was a little too rough. They would go the long way around it but I see now they are coming through and as a result of coming through my riding they are getting a bit taller and their chests are expanding and the hairs are growing on top of their head. I am trying to do the same thing with mine but I haven't quite got there yet.

I just can't leave the debate without complimenting this Minister of Transportation, the assistance that he has given us in Hants East in the area of road construction, road maintenance and repaving of existing roads, especially the repaving. That was the biggest concern we have. In the area of forestry, Mr. Speaker, as you know most of Hants County, especially in Hants East, are privately owned lands. There is a couple of big pockets of public lands, but most of the forestry woodlot areas are privately owned. A beautiful forested area. We have had the privilege of having been awarded the Woodlot Owner of the Year in terms of silviculture on a couple of occasions from members of Hants East residents. We are very conscious of maintaining our forest industry.

[8:15 p.m.]

In the Throne Speech, we have seen that we are looking forward to legislation and this is pretty important. The average citizen out there knows this. It is a movement of combining the much needed income and job creation in the forest industry with the protection of our environment ensuring that we will sustain this very important resource. Legislation is coming in to see that our harvesting does not surpass our capacity to replenish. That is going to come in this House very shortly, and I tell you I am very pleased with that because the concerns in my area come forward many times about the possibility of depleting this resource. Mr. Speaker, we have had trouble in the fisheries because of issues of depleting the natural resource that we have in the water. We have had trouble with other natural resources. We have seen it in certain types of products that have taken away the natural resources that we have. We must be sure that we do not deplete that great resource that we have in Nova Scotia of our forestry products.

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I am glad to see this Premier has taken the bull by the horns and has decided to put forward legislation to ensure that we do not over harvest, that we do not outdistance our means of replenishing our forests and that will be brought to this House shortly. Mr. Speaker, we see the implementation of a new silviculture project coming forward that is highly needed, I can tell you. I know even the members of the Opposition were concerned about their silviculture projects and that they should come forward again. That is happening under this government, and if we have to do it mostly on our own then we will do it mostly on our own. Because of the importance of the forestry industry, I have to say that I support and applaud this movement in bringing back silviculture programs to a certain extent, to be brought in fairly soon in the rural areas of Nova Scotia.

Mr. Speaker, some of the comments, as I have been speaking, from some of my friends in the Opposition indicated that they would like to know whether I am going to speak to the matter of agriculture. Well, let me tell you, I am going to speak to the matter of agriculture. I will tell you right now, this member says that agriculture is basically the backbone of the industry in Nova Scotia. It is a primary producer, it creates a lot of jobs and it puts a pile of money into the system in Nova Scotia.

Mr. Speaker, the agriculture industry in Nova Scotia right now needs some help. It needs some help. They have had two or three bad things happen to them, bang, bang, bang. As you know about our drought situation this summer, that really caused a forage problem in Nova Scotia. Can you foresee these things? Well, no, you cannot, but that is what happened. It caused a shortage in our foraging materials. We had hay or silage in Nova Scotia. It came out of the blue. We had many weeks without any really effective rain and that hurt. I can tell you it hurt out in Hants East and it hurt in other rural areas of this province. How can you foretell these things. On top of that, we have had some other problems recently. We had problems on the other side of the coin. We had a wet year recently that caused some losses. In some of the industries, we had some disease. These things came bang, bang, bang on some of the agriculture people in my area.

It is one thing to take a shot and then you get four or five years and then you have to take another shot and then you have four or five years then you take another shot. That is sort of the way the industry is used to, but if you have to take one, or two, or three blows right in a row, that is pretty hard on you. So this agricultural industry needs some help. I can tell you there has been some foresight involved. This government, and I think that perhaps the previous governments had a look at it when they started it, so I am not going to criticize them as being no help at all in this. We have some safety net programs that are in place, and it is a good thing they are in place, I can tell you, because if it was not for this, these safety net programs, the agricultural industry would be in a real hard place.

Now this is the best safety net program in Canada. I must tell you that without it we would be in real difficulties. I am not in any way trying to say that it is enough because the agricultural industry needs help because of the bang-bang things that happened to them, but

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it is a good thing we have had it in here, from the Farm Loan Board systems to the Income Stabilization Programs.

I want to tell you another thing, we have had some good Ministers of Agriculture and we have a great Minister of Agriculture now. The minister we have is well respected, he is an expert in the area of agriculture. Every meeting he goes to, he tells it as it is and the people in the farming industry know they are dealing with a person who understands the problems. He has been all around the province. We have had a couple of good ministers but it is nice to see the member for Colchester North in that capacity because it helps when farmers talk to farmers. It is as simple as that.

I want to mention a couple of other things. One of the industries hurt the worst lately is the beef industry. The beef industry took quite a beating lately because of a variety of reasons and this silage and hay, forage product loss was one of the most important. There is a new NISA-type program for beef that was just announced. This province has budgeted $0.5 million towards this program. This commitment is going to lever, if everybody plays, another $300,000 out of the feds. That is a lot of money. That money is brought in by the initiative of this government and this minister. I tell you, I think it is going to go a long way to help the beef industry.

That is not all, there is more. The member for Kings North wants to know if there is more and yes, there is more. Right here in River City I have to tell you there is more; $1.5 million in beef farm loans have been refinanced through the Farm Loan Board. That is a lot of money. It may not be a lot of money when you spread it over the whole community but it is a lot of money in one year, immediately moved out. Three million dollars of the Farm Loan Board budget is reserved for beef loans, in the first instance; $500,000 in new loans have been made to beef farmers.

Mr. Speaker, there are all sorts of marketing initiatives that this government has put forward in the beef industry, developing partnerships with processors and retailers, encouraging government institutions to purchase Nova Scotia beef. I can tell you something, I wear this little pin every so often, it says "Buy Nova Scotian". It is important. When the government agencies put on dinners or luncheons or whatever you like, you know, let's make sure that they are buying Nova Scotian beef. Let's just make sure. You would think it is a sure thing but, you know, it is not always a sure thing. We are checking into it; you buy beef here and you buy from Nova Scotia. That is pretty important. That is not just for beef, that is for all the other agricultural products. You have chicken, our milk products. The beef right now is especially important to develop a branded beef program, to make consumers aware that we are dealing with Nova Scotia beef.

Mr. Speaker, it is not just beef producers, I used them as an example. For instance, there is a program we brought in; if a person were to sell their herd because of a downturn and then buy it back, I believe the time is within a year, then any money made on that sale is

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going to be income tax free. Now that could be a real plus to somebody who has to move out right now and wants to get back in, an incentive to come back into the industry.

Here is what I am concerned about in the agricultural industry; you start to lose a couple of these farmers, it is hard to get them back once they move out. I don't want to see any farmers lost and I don't want to see any in Hants East lost. I am not going to be a happy camper if I see that happen. So I can tell you, Mr. Speaker, I support the programs that have been brought in by this minister and by this government but I am going to go on record as saying that I am not satisfied yet. It is not enough, I think there is more needed. I want to go on record right now as saying that more is necessary, it is not enough, we need more.

Mr. Speaker, I anticipate more and I want more because it is not very often that the agricultural industry asks for much. They are a pretty independent bunch. There is not much in the budget of Nova Scotia spent on the agriculture industry. I am just telling you that in my view, a few dollars more might be warranted, especially when we need (Interruption) no we have to be careful how we spend it. We are not going to do what the previous government did. It said, here you go and gave it to their friends and the like.

I am talking about an industry that has had a couple of bad blows over the last five years. That means we have to pay a little more attention to it. I am convinced that this minister is going to be, he has already talked to the feds and the minister has been talking to the Premier and I am convinced you are going to see some more stuff. I for one, in Hants East, am going to keep an eye on it and keep badgering that there are a few more things for the agricultural industry in Nova Scotia. Sometime you have to take that view, everything is not rosy and everything the government does is not rosy. I am just telling you that I think agriculture needs a leg up and I am going to push for that.

I am going to move away from what is perhaps the traditional area in the Address in Reply to the Speech from the Throne and talk about something that I may not get another shot to talk about. I have raised it once before and it is my concern about the awesome power of the financial institutions in this country.

I know to a certain extent that the biggest control over these financial institutions is mostly a federal responsibility. I don't want anyone to get the idea that I am out here bank bashing because I have supported private legislation that helped merge so that people who had to have their releases could get them without costing them an arm and a leg. I know that members opposite remember a couple of those bills, we all voted for them and supported them so that people would not have to pay an arm and a leg to get their trust through. I know with the help of the Clerk, Arthur Fordham and that committee, those were good bills. I am not out here just against lending institutions, I supported that. As a matter of fact, at some point I think I even sponsored one of those bills. Having said that, I just have something that I have to say about this because I may not get a whole lot of kicks at this.

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It is not just banks and it is not just the ones you see out here, it is the whole system. The banking system's power is immense and this has always bothered me. If you are powerful enough and you say look, it's going to be a tough winter and we are not going to lend any money unless we are absolutely sure of it, it is a tight money policy. Okay, so you don't lend any money - except to people who don't need it - and then their businesses cannot expand, things start to shrink and there is a downturn in the economy and they turn around and say see, I told you so. Of course they told you so, they are the ones that caused it and they can do that. Don't kid yourself, they could do it and have that kind of power.

I am tired of seeing certain institutions that are semi-protected who are allowed to go out and invest money offshore at much higher risks and lower interest rates, but won't do the same here. I think that we have to pressure our federal friends to make sure that when these massive profits are being shown, I don't want to see some of my farmers or some of my businessmen out in Hants East not being able to get some money.

AN HON. MEMBER: How about the truckers?

MR. CARRUTHERS: That goes for the trucking interests and all the small business interests.

I am not trying to pick on any particular bank or any particular branch. Lord knows we all have our own banks that we deal with, they may be great friends and great buddies. I am talking about up there and don't kid yourself, that pyramid gets narrow when you get up there. It is really strange how things seem to complement each other and I am concerned about it. I would like to see some effort put on behalf of this government at the federal system, perhaps even at the international level. Do you know something? Sometimes these lending institutions want to play it all. They are stepping into the insurance business now, they are stepping into the accounting business, they are stepping into the legal business now. They want to do it all.

It is an amazing thing that you go to your accountant to check out to see if the lender is doing the right thing, if you are making the right decision. You might check out your insurance people or professionals and your lawyer. No, no, they are going to run the whole show now, they are going to have it all. You can just imagine when you go tripping off to your insurance agent who works for the bank, he is going to be really concerned about your welfare. The accountant who is paid through the bank and referred to from the bank, like he is really going to be concerned about your welfare, or if you go to the bank and he is going to send you to some title insurer that works for them, like he is really worried about your concerns. Keep a vigilant eye; these are very powerful interests.

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[8:30 p.m.]

I am concerned about it and darned if I was going to leave it go, because it is out there and it has to be faced. The more times it is exposed, the more times that perhaps you have to pull in their horns. Once again, nobody in particular, no branches in particular - like one comment was the big banks. Do you know any little banks? We have the cooperatives, but they are not covered under the Banking Act, I don't believe. I think they have their own Act. Didn't we bring a bill in ourselves on cooperatives? We did a pretty good job of it, I thought. (Interruption)

The member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley talks about how it might be seen as a left - you know, the great thing about the Liberal Party, as the Leader of the New Democratic Party says, I believe we say what we think is right - left, right, middle and different. Whatever we think is right, that is what we have to stick up for; that is what this member has to stick up for. Mr. Speaker, we must control our own economy.

Mr. Speaker, I see my time is probably getting fairly short. I think I have covered most of the main issues. (Interruption) My friend says a swan song, well, there is some truth to that. I am not going to seek the office in the next election, so I thought I just wanted to say to you and to all members of this House how much I have enjoyed the years here and how much I have enjoyed this House particularly. I really have; it has always been fun in this House of Assembly. I have enjoyed it from all Parties. (Interruptions) One of my friends says my nose is growing, well, I can tell you, that's not true. I really do enjoy this and I think it is a great experience. I think more people should get involved.

I always said I would never be a professional politician and I am going to stick by that. When I say professional, for the rest of my days (Interruptions) I had a comment that said I have succeeded in that. Well, I believe the system is set up not for people to come forever, I think it is set up for many to take part. I have had my kick at the can. I want to thank my family and my constituents, particularly, for helping me and supporting me. I think our Party is in great shape out my way. (Applause)

Mr. Speaker, I guess that just about covers it. It has been a great pleasure since 1991 to be the candidate and then the MLA for Hants East. I want to thank you, I want to thank all members of the House. I want to thank my constituents, who have been very supportive and we have gotten stronger through the years out in Hants East, and especially to my family and wife Judy. That concludes my response to the Throne Speech. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Pictou West.

MR. DONALD MCINNES: Mr. Speaker, it gives me a great deal of pleasure this evening to participate in the Address in Reply to the Speech from the Throne. As you and most members know, I represent the constituency of Pictou West and I am very honoured to

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have had that privilege. The people of Pictou West have bestowed their faith in me over five provincial general elections, spanning almost 19 years now, and I would like to thank the citizens of Pictou West for their continual faith and trust in me.

I would like to add my words of welcome to Premier Russell MacLellan to the Legislature, not only as Leader of the Liberal Party and Premier, but as the new member for Cape Breton North.

Let me also say how pleased I am to have Ernie Fage join the ranks of the Official Opposition as the new Progressive Conservative member for Cumberland North, and another dairy farmer. I can only repeat what my leader has said about Ernie's massive win on November 4th, it was a huge vote of confidence in Ernie's ability to bring a strong, reasoned and compassionate voice to the floor of the Legislature on behalf of the people of Cumberland County. I can say that I have known Ernie for quite a number of years previous to his being involved in politics and I know he will be a great MLA.

Mr. Speaker, I also want to offer my congratulations to Edwin Kinley, the new member for Halifax Citadel, and also my new seatmate. My friend and colleague Terry Donahoe did a great job for over 18 years for the constituency of Halifax Citadel. I know that Mr. Kinley knows he has big boots to fill in replacing Terry as a member for that riding. I would also like to congratulate Helen MacDonald on her victory. I welcome her to the Legislature and wish her well, as the newest member for Cape Breton The Lakes.

I would also like to congratulate some of the new ministers, the Honourable Wayne Gaudet on his new appointment as Minister of Business and Consumers Services. I would like to say that although his time as Speaker was fairly brief, Mr. Gaudet always exercised fairness in all his decisions. Of course, I also want to congratulate my friend and colleague for Colchester North who is Minister of Agriculture. Ed has a lot of experience in agriculture and I know that he will do a great job and do his very best as Minister of Agriculture for the province.

The Honourable Ken MacAskill as Minister of Natural Resources and the Honourable Francene Cosman as Minister of Community Services, and also the Honourable Bruce Holland, as Minister responsible for the Technology and Science Secretariat.

I would be very remiss, Mr. Speaker, if I did not congratulate you on your appointment and also to your deputy, Keith Colwell. I know, hopefully, that you both will do well in your positions. They didn't hear me but that is all right, I will tell them later.

Thursday's Speech from the Throne marks the sixth Throne Speech since the Liberal Government was sworn in on June 11, 1993. The new Premier has said that he wants to put his stamp on government and "have some kind of track record of this government on which to base their support or non-support.".

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Mr. Speaker, I read the speech thoroughly and I came away with great disappointment. Nova Scotians have endured huge tax increases, including the BS Tax. The BS Tax has caused great hardships to Nova Scotians. Nova Scotians are feeling the pinch now that they have to pay BS Tax on many things that did not previously attract the tax. Again, there are two areas that really hurt when you add the BST and you all know what they are. The two areas are home heating energy and children's clothes.

I have had the privilege of being a member of the Law Amendments Committee over the last number of years. Representation after representation pleaded with the government against this tax, most especially not to add the tax in these two areas. But, once again, the Liberal Government didn't listen.

I had some hope for Nova Scotians just last month. The new Premier said he would have an answer this month about making changes to the BS Tax. So again, I listened to the Throne Speech which tells Nova Scotians what the government is going to do. I was looking forward to hearing about help for Nova Scotians and the BS Tax. I read it very anxiously, searching for an announcement regarding the BS Tax, but there was nothing. It was silent on this issue.

As we all know, the Premier was in Ottawa when the BS Tax was introduced. We should all be reminded that the Premier voted for the tax when he was in Ottawa.

The weather is getting colder and we have snow in some parts of the province. It is getting colder across this great province of ours, so people have to turn up their thermostats or throw some more wood on the fire. I know that many Nova Scotians are struggling with the added cost to their home energy caused by the BS Tax.

I was pleased that someone mentioned a moment ago that Nova Scotia Power has teamed up with the Salvation Army to give help with high heating costs to those who need it. This program will run through the winter months and offer a one time only payment to cover not just an electricity bill but also wood, fuel oil and propane. I think this program is an example of leadership. That is what I was looking for in the Throne Speech and, sadly, the Throne Speech was empty and the Premier's promise was hollow.

The biggest deal for Nova Scotia is Sable gas. Again I had to look long and hard to find a reference to this deal in the Throne Speech. In its report released last month, the joint review panel slammed this government for its lack of vision and foresight in protecting Nova Scotia's interests with respect to the Sable gas development. The report confirmed what we as Opposition have been saying all along. The Liberal Government has no bottom line, no vision, no foresight, no plan and no backbone, and is squandering the jobs and economic benefits Nova Scotia should be receiving from the Sable gas project.

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New Brunswick had a shopping list when it negotiated for our gas and now New Brunswick is sitting back, patting itself on the back, because they won the day on the majority of their demands.

The Premier promised that he would fix this deal. He made an appearance at the joint panel saying that the tolling deal that has been signed was no good. On June 21st he said, "As Premier I would seek immediately to reopen negotiations with the parties. We would either achieve in those negotiations the terms that Nova Scotia needs or the natural gas will remain under the ocean until we achieve those terms.". That is the Premier's quote.

On June 27th the Premier said he would go to court to ensure Nova Scotia gets maximum benefits from Sable gas. He said it would be cheaper to go to court than be stuck with a compromise deal the province and New Brunswick reached. He further indicated the expense of going to court would be a drop in the bucket compared to the revenues.

This is Nova Scotia's resource. Nova Scotians must be the first and foremost beneficiaries of this resource. Do you know what, Mr. Speaker? The Premier once again promised that he would fix this bad deal for Nova Scotians. I was looking in the Throne Speech for some hope that this bad deal was going to be amended. This is Nova Scotia's resource and Nova Scotians, instead of benefiting from it, are once again the beneficiaries of a bad deal and the Premier has once again not carried through on his promise to fix the deal.

The Mainland Nova Scotia Building and Construction Trades Council has written to the Premier about their grave concerns over the loss of millions of man hours of construction work in the fabrication of the offshore platforms for the project.

[8:45 p.m.]

The council has asked that the construction of the offshore platforms should be tendered in a manner where Canadian businesses have the maximum opportunity and ability to be able to perform this work. Mr. Speaker, what the council is asking for is common sense. Tenders should be bundled in a way that provides every opportunity for Nova Scotian and Canadian companies to bid. This seems to me like a very logical and fair way to do business, and Nova Scotians watch as the possibility of access to a cheap source of home heating energy goes down the pipeline to other markets.

There is another spin-off from Sable gas that we should be doing everything to capture and that is the liquid gas by-products. Once again, promises have been made. When asked what he is doing to develop the industry here and ensure that Nova Scotia reaps the benefit, it is a secret plan. The Premier will not tell us.

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It has never been clearer what Nova Scotia's shopping list was for the Sable gas deal. The joint review panel has scolded the province, and it is now up to the Premier to immediately table in this House any demands that he has made of Mobil and its partners with respect to the Sable gas deal in relation to jobs, economic spin-offs, availability of gas, processing of liquid gas by-products, laterals, price advantage and last, but not least, the royalty agreement. This is our gas, Nova Scotians should benefit.

On another topic, Mr. Speaker. There is hardly a day that goes by that I do not have an opportunity to talk to a constituent telling me about their experience in the health care system. Disastrous health care reforms that chased away doctors and created huge cracks in the system where taxpayers kicked in millions only to receive a lot less. This Liberal Government has closed hospitals, reduced the number of beds and fired health care workers. It has abolished local boards, replacing them with politically-appointed regional boards with huge powers and no accountability. Where do communities fit in the mix? Communities certainly have not had a greater say in the local health care decisions.

Let us talk a little bit about value received for money spent on health care. Taxpayers in this province are spending $68 million more today for health care than they did four years ago, $68 million, and you know what? They are getting a whole lot less. This is evident, time after time, when becoming ill and trying to assess the system. Let me say, that once you get into the system, once you get in, the doctors and nurses are doing everything possible to help you. But there is no evidence of improvement in service delivery from the extra money that is being pumped into the system.

Where is the money going? Ask the patients in the emergency room who after four or five hours are still waiting to get to see a doctor. Ask the patient who is lying on a stretcher in the hallway, hoping that a bed will become available, and he or she will not be sent home to struggle on their own or in the care of a worried family. Ask the patient who has been waiting months to see a specialist. Ask the patient who has been waiting months to have tests done. It certainly is not going where it is needed most. Before anything is done, a close look must be taken to ensure that those dollars are not funnelled into administration and make sure that it is directed to where they are most needed, to service delivery.

Senior citizens have been dinged with a new $250 annual premium. This premium is hurting seniors but saving the federal pension plan and private insurance companies. We have had many complaints about this system.

In our spring session, I talked about the condition of roads in Nova Scotia and many of the secondary roads in this province are in very bad shape. I am extremely worried about the safety of these roads. If I could get the minister's attention I would like to say to him that I would like him to listen briefly, I will only be a couple of minutes on the transportation things and I appreciate that the minister was talking to my colleague for Pictou East. They may be coming up with some more work for Pictou County.

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I did mention in the spring session that there are a lot of roads in bad shape in this province. I am talking about the paved roads that are broken up and are getting broken up very badly. I just say to the minister that I hope that he will continue to do the repaving on the secondary roads and the by-roads of Nova Scotia that are paved now. I think it is very important that we continue to do that and not pave new roads until we get those roads in shape. (Interruption) I won't mention any roads but the former Minister of Transportation would like to see that great road from Pictou Rotary to River John done. There is some of it done but we do need some more on that road.

I want to talk about a particular problem in my area with regard to trucks. For a number of years there have been a number of trucks hauling gravel and rock to Prince Edward Island from the Mount Thom area. These trucks, of course, come on the P.E.I. ferry from Wood Islands to Caribou and there are about 8 or 10 trucks that come at the same time and they make several trips a day.

These trucks come about 7:30 a.m., the boat leaves Wood Islands at 6:00 a.m. and it gets in to Caribou at 7:30 a.m. These trucks then leave Caribou and head up Highway No. 106 and then, when they get to the Pictou Rotary, they take Route 376 out to Central West River. (Interruption) My colleague for Guysborough-Port Hawkesbury is telling me it is out through Lyons Brook and out through Lyons Brook we have a very large high school, the West Pictou District High School and we have the West Pictou Elementary School. Then we go on through until we come to the Village of Durham.

These trucks go in tandem, in other words they go one right behind the other and we have asked the RCMP to come out and check them and they have. Of course, the truckers all have two-way radio so once the first fellow sees the RCMP they slow it down. The truth is that they are probably only going the speed limit but when you get 8 or 10 tractor-trailers going one behind the other through a nice country road, it is a major concern. There are about 40 school buses travelling in this area and what the citizens of the area would like is to have this Route 376 for local trucks only. What we are saying is that we need a sign at the Pictou Rotary and at Central West River saying local trucks only to eliminate the P.E.I. truck traffic that is in the gravel and rock business.

The distance going by Route 376 is 16.3 kilometres. Going up Highway No. 106 from the Pictou Rotary to Highway No. 104 to the same point at Central West River is 23.6 kilometres, which is a difference of 7.3 kilometres. Next year, probably by the fall, the twinning will be in place and it might even be a little less than 7.3 kilometres when the road is straightened out and so on.

Besides that, the speed limit on Highway No. 106, of course, is 100 kilometres per hour and I presume on Highway No. 104 it would follow and be 110 kilometres per hour. Whereas going out Route 376 - I don't know if I am confusing everybody or not but I think the minister understands - the speed limit is 80 kilometres per hour, it is 70 kilometres per hour,

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it is 60 kilometres per hour and then back up to 80. So in actual fact time wise, they may be able to go almost as quick on that new road.

I want to make it perfectly clear that the local people have no problem with the local truckers. We have two large trucking outfits in that area on the Harris Road, King Freight Lines and Gerald Madison's operation and they are very good. If their driver lives in the area that is fine, they take their truck home, no problem. But they do travel Highway No. 106 and Highway No. 104 primarily. There are also a bunch of trucks out of the Scotsburn Co-op, Gammco Lumber and Peter Sutherland Transport and other trucks that the local people have no problem whatsoever with.

It is these trucks that are going like a train through the village and it actually shakes the houses to be truthful. I appreciate the minister listening to that information because I think it is important and I hope that we can take some action on it. I have written the minister about it and I have talked to his deputy and others.

On another subject, talking about school buses, brings me to the topic of education. As some of you know, I had the opportunity to sit on the municipal school board for the County of Pictou for quite a number of years. These new school boards have left many misguided educational reforms, where some students enjoy Cadillac schools while many others go without basic supplies. The creation of these huge, unruly school boards have left many communities - parents, teachers and students - feeling isolated and powerless.

The Liberal Government has gotten us into another questionable deal by entering into a public-private partnership to build schools. As I understand it, the province is on the hook for a reported $47 million for the two schools already built on the P3 projects, and there is another under construction. Again, the Premier has stated publicly about this deal that the Liberal Government wanted, "that money all to be put up by the private partner. Otherwise our game plan is way off kilter.". That is what the Premier said. Another bad deal. The government has gone full speed ahead on these three schools before financing was in place and contracts signed.

What about other schools that need to be repaired or replaced? I understand the Education Minister has finally resurrected the School Capital Construction Committee, but the government has been sitting on that priority list for almost two months. I would be interested to know why that list hasn't been released so that many parents, teachers and students aren't left with unhealthy, overcrowded and ageing schools.

Also in the same vein, students debt loans are reaching crisis proportions. Mr. Speaker, approximately one-half of Nova Scotian students borrow to finance their education. Over the past five years default rates have increased by 250 per cent. To many, post-secondary education is becoming almost out of reach. I would like to know what the government is

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going to do about this. We have often heard the saying, and I agree, that the youth are our future. Well, the future is dim for those who would like to further their education.

On another topic which has been a crisis, but hopefully it is being resolved to some extent, and what we are hearing about pretty near every other day in the paper. The troubling issue of incorrect dispatches being made by 911 operators continues to surface in the news. On November 28, 1996, I introduced a resolution bringing to your attention last fall, when a fire department within the Halifax Regional Municipality was dispatched to a mobile home fire in Prospect, Halifax County, while the fire was actually burning 100 miles away in Kings County.

[9:00 p.m.]

There have been recent stories in the Halifax Chronicle-Herald concerning problems encountered by various individuals after telephoning 911. One that we probably all recall is the one report about ambulance operators and firefighters being dispatched to Waterville, Kings County, to a motor vehicle accident that was actually taking place in our county, Pictou County, in Watervale.

Other examples of the problems with 911 dispatching brought to my attention include a recent incident outside of Hantsport, Nova Scotia, in which the 911 dispatcher did not realize that a fire department existed in the Town of Hantsport and was calling other fire departments in the area, wanting to know who should respond. There are also difficulties with the new ambulance dispatch centre with volunteer fire departments and ambulances being paged to calls over 300 kilometres away.

The Halifax County volunteer fire chiefs earlier this week asked that an independent consultant be immediately appointed to investigate the ongoing problems with 911, so that measures can be implemented and the lives of Nova Scotians be no longer placed in jeopardy.

I had an incident last week where a party in Pictou had called 911. It wasn't really a life or death situation but they were not able to get through. I must say that I called the minister's office and he did respond and acted on the matter very quickly. I appreciated his promptness on that matter. I do support the request by the fire chiefs and would urge that the Minister responsible for the Emergency Measures Act take immediate action.

Mr. Speaker, there is another bad deal that the Liberal Government has imposed on Nova Scotians. Yes, it is another deal that the Premier said he would fix. I recently drove the new toll road, the Cobequid By-pass. I am sure that next summer, in the fine weather, it will be a real nice road to drive on. As we travelled up that road - it was a week ago today that my wife and I took a drive, I wanted to see what the road was like - up at the top of Westchester there was more snow. I had a call last night from a trucker who tells me that it is foggy up there, too, that when there is no snow it goes the other way, it is hard to see. They

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are telling me that they have to gear down on that hill, down to the lowest gear, on two different hills on that road.

There was an article in the paper, and we all heard about it today, about the toll-booth lanes not being wide enough for mobile homes to go through. I hope it will be a great road for the people of Nova Scotia and will save lives. This is the only road on the Trans Canada Highway, as I understand it, on which there are tolls. In Nova Scotia we like to be first, but not first for things like that.

I also want to tell you that when I got to where the other four lane was built . . .

AN HON. MEMBER: I thought you said it was a beautiful highway.

MR. MCINNES: I said it was a beautiful highway, I said it was a nice road to drive on. You go back and read what I said. Anyway, when we got to where the other road was built to, we turned around and went back through Wentworth.

AN HON. MEMBER: Were you driving a wide vehicle?

MR. MCINNES: I was able to get through the tolls. (Interruptions) Anyway, Mr. Speaker, they want to help me but I really don't need the help right now.

Anyway, I drove down the old highway, through Wentworth. You know, when there is no traffic on that road it is really a good, wide road. You know what? They reduced the speed limit to 80 kilometres an hour. I am telling you, that fine Monday afternoon there was hardly any traffic on it. I will bet you there was more traffic on my road, where I live on the Scotch Hill Road. They also gave them $250,000 recently.

AN HON. MEMBER: You still take the helicopter up. Why don't you drive it then?

ANOTHER HON. MEMBER: Are there snow fences up?

MR. MCINNES: Yes, there is a snow fence up. (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

The honourable member for Pictou West is getting plenty of help and he really does not need any. He is doing just fine.

The honourable member has the floor.

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MR. MCINNES: Thank you, Mr. Speaker, for that. I recently noticed that there was another $250,000 payment to establish a subsidy plan to reduce the cost for using that highway. That is additional to the $55 million from taxpayers for construction of the road. Again, that is $250,000 more of taxpayers' money going into the pot, being paid in advance for vehicles that have not yet used the road. Another bad deal. (Interruptions) We are going to go on. There are other bad deals. There are cases where a deal cannot be reached. I did the resolution on it actually earlier tonight.

I am sure that we are very proud of our beautiful province. The tourist industry has high hopes of reaching the $1 billion mark in revenues in the Nova Scotia economy. Tourism in Nova Scotia is nearly 6,000 enterprises and 42,000 jobs.

One of the important components of tourism is the operation of bed and breakfast facilities. Now, assessments were being allocated to the bed and breakfast accommodations. In addition, different criteria were being used depending on which county the accommodations were located in, without being fair.

Bed and breakfasts fulfil a very important niche in the industry but I have heard that many did not open their doors this year because of this unfair assessment. I understand that we are the only province that decided to tax bed and breakfasts. I did receive information last month that a resolution to this matter would be presented to the bed and breakfast operators. I can only report that I am still hearing from the operators, saying that this situation is totally unacceptable and is not resolved. Once again, this is an ill-conceived, unfair and bad policy.

I want to talk about a great Pictonian whom many of you may remember. Thomas McCulloch. Thomas McCulloch of Pictou is one of the least known of the great Canadians of the nineteenth century according to one respected scholar. Mr. McCulloch was the founder of Pictou Academy. He was the first President of Dalhousie University and he laid the groundwork for education in Nova Scotia and Canada. His achievements spanned education, politics, natural history, theology and so on. He was even a friend of Joseph Howe. His house and property is owned by the Nova Scotia Museums and, of course, is located in the Town of Pictou.

His home, called Sherbrooke Cottage, is deteriorating rapidly and plans to restore it to its original cottage style have been made by the museum, but because of deterioration and what have you it has caused considerable leakage around the windows. The brickwork is falling apart and although minor repairs have been made the damage increases with each storm. There is real concern that we will be able to restore this beautiful tourist attraction in Pictou. We ask that the minister involved get on with having a protective wrapping, the engineering study and finally the restoration of the house to its original style. I think, Mr. Speaker, that Nova Scotians owe the memory of Dr. Thomas McCulloch nothing less.

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September 15, 1998, which is 10 months away, marks the 225th Anniversary of the landing of the ship Hector in Pictou County; 179 from Scotland arrived that day in 1773 beginning the influx of Scottish immigration in Canada. In commemoration of this significant historical event, Pictou County has adopted the theme of Hector 225 for 1998. This is a marketing scheme, it is an initiative which will build upon the rich history and culture of the county and indeed the province.

Throughout the year they planned various activities, festivals and celebrations which will take place all over Pictou County with an additional Scottish flair. Celtic music, Scottish athletics, cultural adventure trips and special clan activities will add to the already well-established series of festivals and events held in Pictou County. The theme will be highlighted with the Hector 225 celebrations in the Town of Pictou, September 11th to 15th. The Hector 225 theme provides the opportunity to further develop culture tourism from our already solid base in Pictou County. Visitors to the county for the Hector 225 will enjoy the rich Scottish culture of the era through music, heritage, festivals and events.

It has been estimated that Nova Scotia has seen hikes of about 36 per cent in airline traffic and 15 per cent in visitors driving in the province. The question has to be asked whether or not this increase is due to one-time events such as the re-enactment of the Matthew. If so, that is great, maybe the Hector 225 will take up the slack on that. We have much to offer in Nova Scotia. We must be aggressive in our marketing efforts, especially to the rest of the country and our neighbours to the south. We must toot our own horn, brag about our eco-tourism opportunities, Nova Scotia's natural beauty and our reputation for friendliness. I must add, as I have on other occasions, that especially now because of the value of our dollar compared to the U.S. dollar, we should be really pushing that U.S. market, particularly the New England market.

I want to mention just a few things about some of our businesses in Pictou County. My colleague from Pictou East did mention the Trenton Plant which is, by the way, located in the riding of Pictou Centre which is the Leader of the Official Opposition's riding. This plant was taken over in March 1995 by Greenbrier Companies of Oregon, and they have spent around $10 million in improvements and the workforce has almost tripled. I am very pleased to say that they recently signed a new contract and that two days later, after that announcement, it was announced that a 450 car order has been awarded by the parent company. It was also noted that the parent company will be soliciting new business for the plant in 1998. In fact, yesterday, the company being a good corporate citizen, gave the Christmas fund, which I also mentioned in a resolution earlier tonight, $10,000 U.S. which is almost $14,000 and it is nice to have corporate citizens that are like that.

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[9:15 p.m.]

One of the other long-time Pictou County plants, of course, was recently sold. Harmac Pacific Inc. of British Columbia is buying the Pictou mill from the U.S. paper giant Kimberly-Clark which of course, was owned for many years by Scott Maritimes. Harmac is also buying a plant in Ontario. The Pictou mill is the smallest of three but is also the most economical. I just hope that Harmac will be as good a corporate citizen to Pictou County as Kimberly-Clark and Scott were.

Last Thursday at the official opening of the Legislature, I was not here because I had the opportunity to visit and tour the Michelin plant at Granton with a number of municipal leaders and business people of Pictou County. It was indeed most worthwhile and interesting to see the tires being built from start to finish.

We started in on the tour at about 2:00 p.m. and I'll tell you, and we walked through the plant, and at 4:50 p.m. we stopped. So we had quite a tour and it was very good.

The Michelin story in Nova Scotia is a good news story and I am pleased to see that Michelin is going to spend many millions over the next three or four years to upgrade the three plants in Nova Scotia. Just a day later, it was announced that Michelin will supply the tires for 240 new armoured personnel carriers being built by General Motors.

I just want to speak for a moment about the Pictou Shipyard. Pictou Shipyards was owned by an Ontario firm for a number of years and approximately three or four years ago they decided to close the plant down and I must say the government of the day, took the plant over and kept it in place until they reached a deal, some time ago, with Pictou Industries 1996. That company, under the proprietorship of Mr. Moodie Mansour, did a lot of restoration work on the equipment, cleaned the yard up and got it ready to do work. They did tender on many items and they did receive some work; but they really didn't get a lot of work.

The fact is that last week there was like two people there.

My understanding is, I say to the Cabinet Ministers, that I understand there is a deal coming, as I understand it, with an American firm with an affiliate company in Nova Scotia that I hope can provide some work in Pictou County. I understand it is getting very close and I'm not trying to make any announcement. I just say to the government, if you can pull it off and get an industry in there, it would be very helpful to the Town of Pictou because, otherwise there is very little work at that yard.

I mentioned in my earlier remarks that the new Premier has said he wants to put a stamp on government and have some kind of a track record. Well let's just review it so far. The Premier voted for the BS Tax in Ottawa and then he said he was going to change it. No action yet.

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Sable gas, he said the gas would stay in the ground and it would be cheaper to go to court than to continue on with this deal as it is. No action yet.

Liquid gas industry, he has a secret plan. No action yet. Health care, more money is being made available but wait; that money, the minister said, has already been spent. No plan, no action.

Toll highways. The tolls are being lowered, but guess why? The taxpayers have paid for this highway three ways over: first, $55 million for building the highway; second, the tolls have to be paid each time you go on the road; and third, the taxpayers have just recently put up $250,000 to establish a subsidy plan to pay for the reduction in the tolls that the Premier arranged. Another bad plan.

Mr. Speaker, I said at the beginning of my remarks that I was extremely disappointed with the Speech from the Throne. No matter what the concern or issue is, Nova Scotians will not find any answers in that Throne Speech. I would like to thank you, sir, for the opportunity to respond to the Throne Speech. I will conclude by saying that I will be voting against the motion. Thank you very much. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Lunenburg.

MRS. LILA O'CONNOR: Mr. Speaker, as always, it is my honour to return here to this distinguished House of Assembly as the representative of the people in the riding of Lunenburg. I would first like to say thank you to our Lieutenant Governor, James Kinley, for his presentation of the Speech from the Throne. Both the Lieutenant Governor and Mrs. Kinley have gained our appreciation and support for their dedication to Her Majesty and to the people of Nova Scotia.

In 1993, Mr. Speaker, when I rose in this Assembly for the very first time, it was to second the Speech from the Throne. I found it to be a very humbling experience. I felt uncomfortable and a little unsure how to handle the members who heckle and cry out catcalls and jeers while another member is speaking. Now, after four years of experience, it has come down to this: if you can't beat them you may as well join them. Lately I find I have become as good or as bad - depending on how you look at it - as anyone.

To you, Mr. Speaker, I am delighted to extend my congratulations on your recent appointment. You are highly respected for your loyal service to the people of Halifax Bedford Basin and now we confidently look forward to your vital role in our historic Assembly. Of course, you have to remember that we taught you well.

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Through you, Mr. Speaker, to our Premier, Russell MacLellan, I, too, applaud your election to the Office of Premier and on your most recent victory as the representative for Cape Breton North. Also, to another colleague, Dr. Edwin Kinley, for Halifax Citadel, and the new members for Cumberland North and Cape Breton The Lakes, welcome.

The people of Nova Scotia will soon realize what the people of Cape Breton North already know: Russell MacLellan is the Leader of the strongest political Party in this province's history and, what is more, he is worthy of being chosen to direct Nova Scotia. (Applause)

Mr. Speaker, I am happy to have this time to publicly express my love and appreciation to my husband, Michael, our two sons and daughter, and their families. After spending many long hours away from home with my colleagues in government, I, too, have learned that our job is made much easier with the support of our family and friends.

Mr. Speaker, I am also grateful for the support shown to me and our government from the many residents of the riding of Lunenburg. I have always said it is important for us to work together and they have continued to be my eyes and ears in the many communities throughout the Lunenburg riding. Many people in Lunenburg, like those throughout our province, anxiously look forward to the Speech from the Throne because they have the opportunity to hear our government's intentions for the months and years ahead. I am proud to report that Nova Scotians welcome this government's commitment to set new directions for the future of this province, directions based on those priorities of the people.

Once challenges are faced, Mr. Speaker, this government will measure our success in terms of healthy families, who are creating strong local economies while living in vibrant communities. I am delighted to have this opportunity to comment on these themes and how they relate to the prosperity of the riding of Lunenburg within the Province of Nova Scotia.

Mr. Speaker, this government remains committed to the education of our young people in preparation for Nova Scotia's economic future. To this end, the government has streamlined administrative costs so that as much as possible limited funds go where they are needed most, in our classrooms. I am pleased to report that this government has funded the long awaited replacement of windows and ventilation repairs at the New Germany High School. For these repairs I want to extend my appreciation to the Minister of Education. This government is ensuring a healthier school environment during our students' learning experiences.

This government, Mr. Speaker, upholds the values of the people of this province by giving Nova Scotians, especially our young people, the tools they need to succeed. Mr. Speaker, a vigorous focus on the linkage between jobs and education are one key to Nova Scotia's future. Nova Scotia's future depends on an education system that supports both our students and its teachers.

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I am proud to support the government's commitment to prudent fiscal management that will see funding to education, health care and a strong economy. Supporting healthy Nova Scotians is a top priority of this government. It is so vital to this government, we have committed further investment into our health care delivery system.

Recently, Mr. Speaker, staff of the Emergency Health Services attended an international air medical transport conference. By offering specialty services for adult, neonate, obstetrical and paediatric patients, it was reported that in Emergency Health Services, Nova Scotia clearly has one of the best diverse air medical treatment programs in the world. As of August 1997, Nova Scotia's Emergency Health Services air ambulance flew 400 missions and in our Western Health Region, 83 missions were completed.

Mr. Speaker, the province-wide home oxygen program was announced and it is expected that 400 to 500 Nova Scotians with chronic respiratory conditions will benefit. I would like to say that the late John Hughes from Maitland, Nova Scotia, campaigned very hard for this program. I know that he and his family were certainly pleased that this happened. In our Western Health Region there have been a total of 46 clients who have gained a greater quality of life thanks to this program.

Mr. Speaker, we already have much to be proud of. Nova Scotia will soon be the first province in Canada to establish a province-wide computer based telemedicine network. This system will connect every hospital in the province by the end of 1998.

AN HON. MEMBER: Good stuff.

MRS. O'CONNOR: I think it is excellent stuff. (Applause) With 43 sites, it will be one of the largest telemedicine projects in the world and the first to connect all hospitals in a jurisdiction. Telemedicine, Mr. Speaker, will improve Nova Scotians' access to the health care system by enabling patients and doctors in rural Nova Scotia the opportunity to access specialist services in their own communities.

On April 16th of this year, Mr. Speaker, I would like to remind the House that $8 million was announced to immediately stabilize physician services across the province. Emergency on call payments - again, a first for Nova Scotia - will help to sustain emergency services and assist in the recruitment and retention of rural physicians. And let me proudly advise this House that Nova Scotia's doctors voted to accept a new four year agreement with this government.

[9:30 p.m.]

Rural Physician Locum Service was developed in response to rural doctors' concerns about the lack of available relief coverage. The Department of Health will hire a pool of doctors to fill in when a rural physician is ill, on vacation, on maternity leave or away for

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continuing medical education. In addition, the people of New Germany continue to benefit from our government's initiatives in allowing communities to design programs and services based on each community's own health needs.

I am very happy to report that this year the residents of New Germany identified a need and designed their first Well Women's Clinic. This was so successful they plan on another clinic for 1998. They were very pleased that this year the Minister of Health came down and took part in that clinic. On behalf of them, I want to thank the minister again. It all adds up to a government committed to better patient care, particularly in rural areas.

Rural communities throughout Nova Scotia offer unique and often characteristics not found in other parts of our nation. That is why more and more production companies select communities throughout Nova Scotia as location sites.

Since 1993, the film industry has expanded in Nova Scotia over 600 per cent, one of the fastest growing industries in Nova Scotia, with a 50 per cent increase over the last year alone. Just recently, too, the Lunenburg area enjoyed the benefits of the Disney Company while they were filming the movie titled, A Small Miracle and that will be shown next year on your local television. In just two weeks, this latest movie is reported to have brought into Lunenburg, $750,000.

Over the last few years I have had the privilege to announce a number of infrastructure projects in our riding. Just this year alone this government has supported funding for the Blockhouse Fire Hall, the Dayspring Fire Hall and for the Town of Mahone Bay. And before this year is out we are hopeful for funding to further support the Town of Lunenburg's project.

This year in particular I am pleased to report that the Minister of Transportation and Public Works has paid particular attention to a number of roads that serve as vital links between our rural communities and his name is the Honourable Donald Downe, my neighbour from Lunenburg West.

There have been two roads in particular, Highway No. 3 from Mahone Bay to Herman's Island Road and Highway No. 10 from New Germany to North River Road, that received repaving. These roads will now better serve the transportation and safety needs of local businesses and residents.

The Walden Road received much needed attention with the replacement of culverts and needed gravel. I must also report that the bushcutter was appreciated, however, there are other areas in need as well and the bushcutter will see them soon, if not next year, right, Mr. Minister?

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I am always proud to report that the riding of Lunenburg is a very worthwhile place to do business. And just recently we have had evidence that one business truly believes this is so. Composites Atlantic is just one business in Lunenburg helping to secure valuable jobs in one of Nova Scotia's beautiful, rural communities. Earlier this month, Composites Atlantic announced an addition to its building and the creation of 15 new jobs. Just recently, Composites Atlantic Limited and the Boeing Company announced the signing of a major three year contract valued at $8 million and growing.

This Lunenburg-based company is well known internationally for its advanced plastic filament winding capabilities. With this new contract, Composites Atlantic will create at least 10 new jobs to produce the vital anti-icing duct systems for Boeing aircraft. So when you are flying in the wintertime and you know that anti-icing device is working, you know it came from Lunenburg.

This is a total of 25 new jobs and impacts positively on 25 families and helps communities like Lunenburg to remain vibrant and profitable.

Mr. Speaker, I, too, would like to acknowledge the recent Michelin announcement. Many residents throughout Lunenburg County enjoy the benefits of employment at this world-class manufacturing plant. Furthermore, the Michelin investment is a vote of confidence in our quality, loyal workers and in Nova Scotia as a good place to do business.

I will not speak for other members, but each of us has employment opportunity in our communities and look forward to growing economies.

Mr. Speaker, for four years now it has been my privilege to work with a number of honourable members of this Assembly. I would like to take this time to say how much I look forward to working with each of my government colleagues today and well into our future together.

In addition, after speaking with many residents of Lunenburg and throughout Nova Scotia, I now realize how much Nova Scotians are looking forward to the unlimited potential for this province under the strong, confident and inclusive leadership of a MacLellan Government. That is why, Mr. Speaker, I will be voting in favour of the Throne Speech as read. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Truro-Bible Hill.

MRS. ELEANOR NORRIE: Mr. Speaker, I want to say how pleased I am to stand in my place to speak in the Address in Reply to the Speech from the Throne. I have only done this once before and that was in 1994, the first year that I was elected. It is really a great opportunity for members to stand and speak to what the government is doing and also to

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recognize the good things that are happening in the area and the good things that are happening within the province.

I come from one of the best areas of Nova Scotia. I do not think there is any argument from anyone in this place. I bring greetings from the good people of the historic Town of Truro. Truro is one of the oldest towns in the province and has a lot of wonderful historic buildings, a lot of history, a lot of history involved with the architecture in the town. It is one of Nova Scotia's most beautiful towns and it is now a revitalized town.

I also bring greetings from the villagers in the growing, energetic community of the Village of Bible Hill. The villagers in Bible Hill have a wonderful community spirit. It is a small village, but it is a mighty village and it is a good bedroom community for the Town of Truro, as well as a good area of the community in which to live. It has good schools in the area. It has good recreation facilities in the area. It is one of the few areas of Nova Scotia that can really boast good recreational parks as well as good recreational programs provided by the village.

I also bring greetings from the residents of Colchester County who live in the most scenic area of the county, that is in Salmon River. That part of the county is also within the riding that I represent.

I also bring greetings as well from the native community that makes up part of the riding, that is on the Millbrook Reserve. I am going to attempt to bring their greetings in their language, which is ME'TALWULEYIN. Speaking with the native community, yesterday as a matter of fact, it is a growing reserve in the province, it is one of the fastest growing reserves in the province. It has 600 residents. They are very involved in developing their own community, in developing their own economic development within the community and providing jobs for their young people. The largest part of their community is young people. They are working very hard to provide jobs for the young people of Millbrook Reserve and to give them a sense of worth and of well-being and a reason to stay there and develop and grow and bring up their own families on the Millbrook Reserve.

Each area of the constituency that I have mentioned has its own identity and its own strengths. Together they form the best community in Nova Scotia in which to live. It is a strong, vibrant community. I am very proud to represent them and to bring greetings to this House from those people. I want to thank them for their continued support and for their encouragement, as I bring their concerns to this House, as well as bring good programs to the area from the Government of Nova Scotia.

Mr. Speaker, I also want to congratulate and welcome the newly elected members for Cumberland North, for Cape Breton The Lakes, for Halifax Citadel and, of course, for Cape Breton North. It was very touching to be at the swearing-in last Thursday to watch the four be sworn in, from each political Party. The bond will be with those people forever, as they

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remember the wonderful day that they were sworn into this wonderful House as they represent the people of their area. It is an honour to serve in this House. It can be intimidating at times but I think they will all learn that they bring something very special to the area, they bring the voice of the people in their ridings to the House. I look forward to serving with each of them, as we bring the concerns of our constituents forward and work to make Nova Scotia the very best it can be.

Mr. Speaker, at this time I would also like to welcome you to the Chair and to congratulate you. We all watched you in the House of Assembly over the last four years and watched you represent the people of your area very strongly. Of course many comments have been made about your previous profession and we watched you and we see and can witness your skills as a moderator. We will see that come to the Chair of the House of Assembly as you exercise your authority over this House.

In speaking to this Speaker about his previous profession I said the only thing different about being Speaker is that we can't hit the button and change the channel to change what you might be saying within the House of Assembly.

I also would like to join, as has been mentioned by other speakers, with all members of the House and all Nova Scotians in congratulating Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip as they celebrated their 50th year in their marriage. They have had a difficult 50 years, we can all recognize that, but they are strong examples of how we can all work together through difficult times and stay together and work out our difficulties and be a good example of a love and marriage and working together. You see, Mr. Speaker, although I do hate to admit it, I am old enough to remember the marriage of Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip. As a matter of fact, Queen Elizabeth is one of my namesakes and has been a role model for me, as I have grown and become a member of the House of Assembly. I acknowledge the impact that their marriage had on the world as we were recovering from the great second war.

[9:45 p.m.]

Mr. Speaker, it would be appropriate, as well, to acknowledge the lives and the deaths of the century's most prominent women. I speak, of course, of the people's princess, Diana, and her tragic death in the fall, in September of this year. Diana touched all of us with joy and with comfort in her caring for other people, and she will remain in our hearts and our memories forever. I also am speaking, of course, of the people's saint, Mother Theresa, who touched all of us as well, with her charity and with her warmth, and will remain a beacon for the poor and the wanting of the world forever.

I would also like to add here, if I can move from my speech just briefly because there was a tragedy that happened in my own community over the weekend. We lost one of our most prominent citizens and that is Lorne Nicholson. He passed away very suddenly over the weekend, and it has been a very great shock to the community, a shock to myself. We were

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all very saddened. I counted Lorne Nicholson as a very close friend for a number of years, for many, many years. I knew him as a student when he came to Truro as a very young man, watched him develop into one of the most prominent businessmen in the community and in the Province of Nova Scotia. I would like to extend, on behalf of the House of Assembly, the sympathies of the House of Assembly to Lorne's wife, Judy, and his sons, and to also his brother and his wife, and his nephews. He will be sadly missed, and I know that the House will agree with me in knowing that we have lost a very valuable member of the community.

Mr. Speaker, as I look forward to the future and into the 21st Century, I feel confident, and I feel very optimistic about this province and about the people of Nova Scotia. All of the economic indicators tell us that Nova Scotia is the province to be watched. We are, indeed, as is stated in the Speech from the Throne, poised for growth. The key priorities of this government, as stated in the speech - our strong economy in all areas of the province. As the previous Minister of Natural Resources, I feel the strongest areas of the economy are in our natural resources and that covers all areas of this province. It is an economic driver of the province. It is the provider of jobs. Opportunities for added value to our natural resources will provide the jobs in this province as we also improve technology to develop those natural resources in a very economically efficient and environmentally friendly way.

The second key priority of this government is an enhanced emphasis on health care. We all know how vital health care is to each and every one of us, how important it is that we retain the valued health care we have in the province and make sure that every person in this province gets the same opportunity to have good quality health care right across the province, no matter where they live. The third priority is a focus on jobs and education and the two go hand-in-hand, Mr. Speaker. Education is very important to this province, not only because of the facilities we have here for training and education, but also to educate our young people for the jobs that are here and to keep them here in Nova Scotia.

Mr. Speaker, the area that I represent, Truro-Bible Hill, we are leading the way in these three areas. We are strong in our economy. We have a strong emphasis on health care. We have a strong emphasis and a growing opportunity for jobs and, of course, strong opportunities for education.

As the hour of the evening is growing late, I think maybe at this time it would be appropriate to move adjournment of the debate for a future day. I would like at that time to expand further on those key priorities that I have just spoken of. Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker, and I will move adjournment of the debate for a future day.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is for the adjournment of the Address in Reply to the Speech from the Throne.

The motion is carried.

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The honourable the Government House Leader.

HON. GUY BROWN: Mr. Speaker, I would move that the House now rise to meet tomorrow at 2:00 p.m. We will go through the order of business and after Question Period we will go back into the Address in Reply to the Speech from the Throne and carry on with that all afternoon. The House will sit from 2:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. as I indicated last week. The hours will be the same on Wednesday, the same on Thursday and we will talk about Friday. Maybe we can set it a little earlier so we can get out a little earlier.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is that the House now do rise and meet again tomorrow afternoon at 2:00 p.m.

The motion is carried.

[The House rose at 9:51 p.m.]

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NOTICES OF MOTION UNDER RULE 32(3):

RESOLUTION NO. 65

By: Mr. Richard Mann (Richmond)

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

Whereas Highway No. 4 between Louisdale and St. Peters is a heavily travelled section of road servicing many Richmond County residents; and

Whereas numerous businesses depend on this road to allow consumers to access their businesses, to get their products to market, and not to dissuade travellers from using the route; and

Whereas Route 4 is in deplorable condition, thereby encouraging many would-be travellers to use alternate routes at the expense of the well-being of local residents and businesses;

Therefore be it resolved that the Department of Transportation immediately begin plans to upgrade Route 4 from Grand Anse to River Tillard, providing a quality road for residents of River Bourgeois and surrounding areas.

RESOLUTION NO. 66

By: Mr. Richard Mann (Richmond)

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

Whereas Barry Marchand of Petit-de-Grat was named the Coach of the Year by Baseball Nova Scotia at their awards banquet on November 22, 1997; and

Whereas Barry's long association with the game of baseball as a player, coach, manager and organizer dates back 40 years; and

Whereas his first love has always been sharing his considerable knowledge of the game with youngsters, teaching them the qualities which result in the development of talented ballplayers and gentlemen;

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Therefore be it resolved that members of the House of Assembly applaud the excellent and unselfish efforts of Barry Marchand which have earned him the Coach of the Year honours.