Assemblée Législative de la Nouvelle-Écosse

Les travaux de la Chambre ont repris le
21 septembre 2017

Hansard -- Wed., Nov. 26, 1997

Sixth Session

WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 26, 1997

TABLE OF CONTENTS PAGE
PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES:
Economic Development Committee - Interim Report (1997),
Mr. R. MacNeil 235
INTRODUCTION OF BILLS:
No. 5, Highway Workers Collective Bargaining Act, Hon. D. Downe 236
No. 6, Cape Breton Regional Municipality Act, Hon. Manning MacDonald 236
No. 7, Licences, Permits, Registrations and Certifications Act,
Hon. W. Gaudet 236
NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 98, Nat. Res. - Sable Gas: Maximum Benefit - Plans Reveal,
Dr. J. Hamm 237
Res. 99, Nat. Res. - Sable Gas: Negotiating Process - Open,
Mr. R. Chisholm 237
Res. 100, Commun. Serv. - Social Assistance: Reform - Consult,
Mr. A. MacLeod 238
Res. 101, Cape Breton The Lakes MLA: North Sydney
(Marine Atlantic HQ) - Premier Consult, Hon. K. MacAskill 239
Res. 102, Environ. - Bennery Brook (Hfx. Internat. Airport):
Restoration - Mr. Martin Silver (Bedford) Commend, Hon. F. Cosman 239
Vote - Affirmative 240
Res. 103, Peter Stoffer MP (NDP-Sackville-Eastern Shore):
Geography Course - Take, Hon. Manning MacDonald 240
Vote - Affirmative 241
Res. 104, Nat. Res. - Sable Gas: Details - Release, Dr. J. Hamm 241
Res. 105, Educ. - St. F.X. Univ.: Aquatic Resources Prog. - Commend,
Hon. W. Gillis 241
Vote - Affirmative 242
Res. 106, Premier - People (N.S.): Trust Earn - Message Convey,
Mr. J. Holm 242
Res. 107, Mr. Earle Rayfuse MLA - Commun. Serv.: Appreciation -
Convey, Mr. J. Casey 243
Res. 108, Health - Western Info. Project [Internet]:
Trudy Amirault & Jackie MacDonald - Congrats., Hon. A. Surette 243
Vote - Affirmative 244
Res. 109, NDP - Idealism: Errors - Beware, Mr. R. Carruthers 244
Res. 110, Environ. - Sydney Tar Ponds: Cleanup (Joint Action Group -
Mr. M. Britten) - Endorse, Mr. P. MacEwan 244
Res. 111, Health - Windsor-West Hants: Care Needs - Address,
Mr. R. Russell 245
Res. 112, Econ. Dev. & Tourism - Tourism Industry:
Receipts ($1 Billion) - Workers Congrats., Mr. W. Fraser 246
Vote - Affirmative 246
Res. 113, New Ross Reg. Dev. Soc. - Christmas Festival: Organizers -
Congrats., Hon. J. Barkhouse 247
Vote - Affirmative 247
Res. 114, Health - Victoria Co.: Care Improvements - Congrats.,
Hon. K. MacAskill 247
Res. 115, Educ. - NSSBA: Presidents (Pat Smith [Current] &
Margaret Forbes [Elect]) - Congrats., Mr. J. Leefe 248
Vote - Affirmative 249
Res. 116, Educ. - UCCB: Academic Excellence - Congrats., Mr. R. MacNeil 249
Vote - Affirmative 249
Res. 117, Econ. Dev. & Tourism - St. Mary's Tourism Assoc.:
"Old Fashioned Christmas" (Sherbrooke) - Congrats., Mr. R. White 250
Vote - Affirmative 250
Res. 118, Econ. Dev. & Tourism - Job Cuts: Protection -
Premier & Former Colleagues [Gov't. (Can)] Undependable,
Ms. E. O'Connell 250
Res. 119, Agric. - Truro Raceway: Atlantic Lottery Takeover -
Gov't. (N.B.)-Min. Meet, Mr. B. Taylor 251
Res. 120, RCL - Four Harbours Branch (Ship Hbr.): Anniv. (50th) -
Congrats., Mr. K. Colwell 252
Vote - Affirmative 252
Res. 121, NDP (N.S.) Convention (1997) - Dartmouth N. Delegate:
Health Care Comments - Commend, Ms. S. Jolly 252
Res. 122, Nat. Res. - Sable Gas: C.B. - Negligent Attitude Condemn,
Ms. Helen MacDonald 253
Res. 123, NDP - North Sydney (Marine Atlantic HQ)[Res. 85]:
Candour Lacking - Deplore, Mr. P. MacEwan 253
Res. 124, Culture - National Ballet School: Lindsay Bendell
(Musquodoboit Hbr.) - Selection Congrats., Mr. K. Colwell 254
Vote - Affirmative 255
Res. 125, Sport - Baseball: Hall of Fame (N.S.) -
Mr. K. Bridgeo (Yarmouth) Induction Congrats., Mr. R. Hubbard 255
Vote - Affirmative 255
Res. 126, Econ. Dev. & Tourism - Tourism Industry (Rural): Support -
Commend, Mr. R. White 256
Res. 127, Internet - Think Quest Competition (Washington):
Krista Johanson & Brett Tabor - Finalists Congrats., Mr. D. Richards 256
Vote - Affirmative 257
Res. 128, Econ. Dev. & Tourism - Commun. Econ. Dev.:
C.B. Initiatives - Compliment, Mr. R. MacNeil 257
Vote - Affirmative 258
Res. 129, Cape Breton The Lakes MLA: Gender Sensitivity - Ensure,
Ms. S. Jolly 258
Res. 130, Econ. Dev. & Tourism - Composites Atlantic: Boeing Contract -
Congrats., Mrs. L. O'Connor 258
Vote - Affirmative 259
Res. 131, Sport - Royal Bank Commun. Hero: Virginia Smith (Argyle) -
Congrats., Hon. A. Surette 259
Vote - Affirmative 260
Res. 132, Nat. Res. - Little Pond (C.B.): Strip Mining -
Environ. Impact Assessment Ensure, Ms. Helen MacDonald 260
Res. 133, Educ. - Auburn Drive H.S.: Achievements (Coady Debating) -
Congrats., Mr. D. Richards 260
Vote - Affirmative 261
Res. 134, Sport - "Sport Makes a Difference" Campaign: Support -
Extend, Hon. W. Gaudet 261
Vote - Affirmative 262
Res. 135, Mahone Bay Business Assoc.: White Lights Night - Congrats.,
Mrs. L. O'Connor 262
Vote - Affirmative 263
Res. 136, Nat. Res. - Offshore Industry Planning: Metro. Hfx. Chamber of
Commerce Recognition - Congrats., Mr. J. Abbass 263
Res. 137, Health - Strait Area: Physicians - Performance Exemplary,
Mr. R. Mann 264
ORAL QUESTIONS PUT BY MEMBERS:
No. 16, Health - Hepatitis C: Compensation - Negotiate, Mr. G. Moody 265
No. 17, Nat. Res.: Sable Gas - Petrochemical Industry, Mr. R. Chisholm 267
No. 18, Nat. Res. - Sable Gas: Mobil - Agreement, Dr. J. Hamm 269
No. 19, Nat. Res. - NSRL: Sale - Status, Dr. J. Hamm 269
No. 20, Nat. Res. - Sable Gas: Joint Panel Decision - Appeal,
Mr. R. Chisholm 270
No. 21, Nat. Res.: Sable Gas - Jobs (N.S.), Dr. J. Hamm 272
No. 22, Nat. Res. - Sable Gas: NSRL - Participation, Mr. G. Archibald 273
No. 23, Commun. Serv. - Social Assist.: Reform - Issue Paper Release,
Ms. Helen MacDonald 274
No. 24, Environ. - Tire Recycling (TRACC): Contract (Collection) -
Termination, Mr. B. Taylor 275
No. 25, Environ. - Tire Recycling (TRACC): Contract (Collection) -
Termination, Mr. B. Taylor 277
No. 26, Justice - Correctional Facilities: Privatization - Bidding,
Mr. J. Holm 278
No. 27, Environ. - Tire Recycling (TRACC): Contract (HRM) -
Co. (Principals), Mr. B. Taylor 280
No. 28, Econ. Dev. - Ranka Enterprise: Jobs - Rejection, Dr. J. Hamm 281
No. 29, Econ. Dev. - Ranka Enterprise: Jobs - Rejection, Dr. J. Hamm 283
No. 30, Educ. - Horton High School (Kings Co.): Construction - Costs,
Ms. E. O'Connell 286
No. 31, Fin. - HST: Heating Fuel - Removal Costs, Mr. R. Russell 287
No. 32, Transport. & Pub. Wks. - Hwy. No. 104 (Wentworth Valley):
Speed Limit - Changes, Mr. E. Fage 288
No. 33, Nat. Res. - Sable Gas: C.B. - Socio-Economic Impact,
Mr. R. Chisholm 289
No. 34, Environ. - Parks Division: Responsibility - Assumption,
Mr. J. Leefe 291
No. 35, Agric.: Young Farmers - Incentive Programs, Mr. G. Archibald 292
No. 36, Devco - Three Mine Commitment: Donkin Privatization -
Compatibility, Ms. Helen MacDonald 293
OPPOSITION MEMBERS' BUSINESS:
MOTIONS OTHER THAN GOVERNMENT MOTIONS:
Res. 7, Gov't. (N.S.): Mismanagement - Condemn, Dr. J. Hamm 295
Dr. J. Hamm 295
Mr. R. Carruthers 299
Mr. R. Chisholm 303
Mr. G. Archibald 306
Mr. P. MacEwan 310
Mr. J. Holm 313
Mr. B. Taylor 316
H.O. 1, Carried 319
ADJOURNMENT:
MOTION UNDER RULE 5(5):
Econ. Dev. & Tourism - Tourism Industry: Receipts ($1 Billion) -
Applaud:
Mrs. L. O'Connor 320
Mr. A. MacLeod 323
Ms. Helen MacDonald 326
ADJOURNMENT, House rose to meet again on Thur., Nov. 27th at 2:00 p.m. 328

[Page 235]

HALIFAX, WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 26, 1997

Fifty-sixth General Assembly

Sixth Session

2:00 P.M.

SPEAKER

Hon. Gerald Fogarty

DEPUTY SPEAKER

Mr. Keith Colwell

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. We will now begin the session for today.

PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS

PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES

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

MR. RUSSELL MACNEIL: Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the Standing Committee on Economic Development, I am pleased to submit the interim report for 1997.

MR. SPEAKER: The report is tabled.

TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS

STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS

GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION

235

[Page 236]

INTRODUCTION OF BILLS

Bill No. 5 - Entitled an Act Respecting Collective Bargaining by Highway Workers. (Hon. Donald Downe)

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

Before we continue with the daily routine, the Minister of Transportation and Public Works, has an introduction.

The honourable Minister of Transportation and Public Works.

HON. DONALD DOWNE: Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure today to introduce to the Members of the Legislative Assembly, two individuals who have worked very hard on behalf of the safety of Nova Scotians. I would like to introduce two representatives. First, the President of CUPE 1867, Garth Drinnan and Alex Sommerville who is a Regional Director of CUPE. I would ask them to stand and I would ask the members of the House to please give them a warm welcome. (Applause)

Mr. Speaker, these representatives represent the professional workers, the women and men, over 1,000 who work in our department. Thank you.

Bill No. 6 - Entitled an Act to Amend Chapter 3 of the Acts of 1994. The Cape Breton Regional Municipality Act. (Hon. Manning MacDonald as a private member.)

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

The honourable Minister of Business and Consumer Services.

HON. WAYNE GAUDET: Mr. Speaker, before I introduce the bill, through you, I would like to introduce a guest in our gallery. To all members of the House, Mr. Peter O'Brien, Vice-President of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business is with us this afternoon. I would ask Mr. O'Brien to stand and receive the warm welcome of the House. (Applause)

Mr. Speaker, Mr. O'Brien has been a member of our task force reviewing all the licences, permits and registrations presently in the different departments.

Bill No. 7 - Entitled an Act Respecting Licences, Permits, Registrations and Certifications. (Hon. Wayne Gaudet)

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

[Page 237]

NOTICES OF MOTION

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Opposition.

RESOLUTION NO. 98

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

Whereas New Brunswick is getting the majority of construction jobs, the majority of full-time operational jobs, and the majority of economic spin-offs from the onshore pipeline; and

Whereas foreigners are getting the vast majority of construction and trades jobs and economic spin-offs from the offshore pipeline; and

Whereas the joint review panel slammed the Liberal Government for its lack of foresight and lack of vision in developing a long-term strategy to maximize Nova Scotia's benefits from the development of Sable gas, including its failure to develop spin-off hydrocarbon industries;

Therefore be it resolved that the Premier tell Nova Scotians specifically what action he has taken or plans to take to ensure maximum benefit from the Sable gas development.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable Leader of the New Democratic Party.

RESOLUTION NO. 99

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

Whereas the Premier's response to questions about getting a better deal on Sable gas is to say trust me and then clam up; and

Whereas the people of Nova Scotia could not trust the Premier when he was an MP to protect them from the vicious federal cutbacks that the Premier now decries; and

Whereas since becoming Leader of the Liberal Party in July the Premier has given Nova Scotians no reason to trust him to keep his many promises;

[Page 238]

Therefore be it resolved that this House does not trust the Premier to negotiate a better deal on Sable gas and calls on the Premier and the government to open up the negotiating process to full public scrutiny.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Cape Breton West.

RESOLUTION NO. 100

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 Community Advocates Network is an alliance of people directly affected by social assistance policy who are committed to full community participation in the decision-making process of welfare reform; and

Whereas the Community Advocates Network held a press conference today in Province House because they are outraged by the resounding silence in the Speech from the Throne about social reform; and

Whereas officials in the Department of Community Services have been promising since January 1997 the people of Nova Scotia an issue paper on social reform would be released for public input;

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Community Services and the Premier implement immediately a full and open consultation process on social assistance reform in Nova Scotia.

Mr. Speaker, I would ask for 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 Minister of Natural Resources.

[Page 239]

RESOLUTION NO. 101

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

Whereas yesterday in this House, the honourable member for Cape Breton The Lakes made reference to the possibility of jobs with Marine Atlantic being moved from North Sydney to Port aux Basques; and

Whereas it would appear the member implied that if jobs with Marine Atlantic did leave North Sydney for Port aux Basques, it would be the Premier's fault; and

Whereas when the Premier was a Member of Parliament, he saw to it that Marine Atlantic jobs remained in North Sydney;

Therefore be it resolved that the member for Cape Breton The Lakes consult with the Premier to keep the jobs in North Sydney since the member knows full well that the present New Democratic Party Member of Parliament for Cape Breton-The Sydneys has been totally ineffective since being elected to the House of Commons.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable Minister of Community Services.

RESOLUTION NO. 102

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

Whereas when the Halifax International Airport was constructed approximately 35 years ago, Bennery Brook, a popular fishing hole adjacent to the airport, became contaminated and the fish population died; and

Whereas 10 years ago, Marvin Silver, a resident of Bedford, made a promise to himself to restore the natural surroundings of Bennery Brook; and

Whereas through the use of a process that reversed the acid pollution of Bennery Brook, the fish population of Bennery Brook has returned with salmon up to 14 inches in length having recently been seen in the brook;

Therefore be it resolved that the House commend Mr. Silver for his concern for the local environment and the actions he has taken.

[Page 240]

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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 Minister of Economic Development and Tourism.

RESOLUTION NO. 103

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

Whereas Nova Scotia NDP MP Peter Stoffer, in a recent speech in the House of Commons, stated that people should visit North America's most scenic drive, the Cabot Trail; and

Whereas the member encouraged people to visit communities along the Cabot Trail like Cheticamp, Louisbourg and Sydney; and

[2:15 p.m.]

Whereas Sydney and Louisbourg are, indeed, very fine communities and I, too, urge everyone to visit, they are not, however, located on the Cabot Trail;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House urge NDP MP Peter Stoffer to continue his tourism promotional activities on the floor of the House of Commons but first he should be subjected to a mandatory remedial Nova Scotia geography course.

Mr. Speaker, I ask for waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

[Page 241]

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Leader of the Opposition.

RESOLUTION NO. 104

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 Ministers of the Environment and Natural Resources are refusing to say anything about who knows the whats, whens and whys of granting environmental permits for the development of Sable Island gas; and

Whereas this is just merely the latest example of another government cover-up and refusal to provide Nova Scotians with information they expect and deserve to know; and

Whereas in a recent poll of 350 Nova Scotians, 63 per cent did not feel that Nova Scotia was getting a fair deal from the Sable offshore gas project;

Therefore be it resolved that this Liberal Government stop playing hide and seek with this multibillion dollar project and immediately release all known details with respect to the Sable gas project.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable Minister of Finance.

RESOLUTION NO. 105

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

Whereas in September 1997, St. Francis Xavier University became one of the first universities in Canada to offer a comprehensive interdisciplinary aquatic resources program; and

Whereas the Government of Nova Scotia has contributed over $800,000 to go along with a federal grant of $1.2 million towards the Aquatic Resources Education Marketing Centre at St. F.X.; and

[Page 242]

Whereas the centre will graduate its first degree recipients in the year 2001, the centre will create 23 full-time jobs and 20 part-time jobs when fully operational;

Therefore be it resolved that in the opinion of all members of this House that St. F.X. be commended for its foresight in establishing this program.

Mr. Speaker, I ask for waiver of notice.

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 member for Sackville-Cobequid.

RESOLUTION NO. 106

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 flip-flopped on Ranka Industries, first saying that Ranka was rank but then changing his mind when pressed by a reporter; and

Whereas the Premier has flip-flopped on privatized hospitals by first saying he was against them and then saying he was for them, maybe; and

Whereas despite such flip-flops the Premier tells Nova Scotians they should trust him to negotiate a better natural gas deal on their behalf;

Therefore be it resolved that this House convey to the Premier that he first must earn the trust of Nova Scotians before expecting them to follow him sheepishly.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Digby-Annapolis.

[Page 243]

RESOLUTION NO. 107

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

Whereas on November 15th, at the Middleton campus of the Nova Scotia Community College, a dinner was held to pay tribute to our colleague, Earle Rayfuse, MLA for Annapolis; and

Whereas over 500 people from all parts of Nova Scotia took the time to recognize his many outstanding contributions; and

Whereas Mr. Rayfuse has served his constituents loyally and faithfully since his election to the House in 1988;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House convey their appreciation to Mr. Rayfuse for his dedicated service to his community and our province and join me in welcoming his return to the House of Assembly. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable Minister of Human Resources.

RESOLUTION NO. 108

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

Whereas the Digital Knowledge II Conference, Building Electronic Space for Community Health Information, was held in Toronto on October 20th and 21st of this year; and

Whereas the Western Counties Regional Library's Director, Trudy Amirault, and Western Regional Health Sciences Librarian, Jackie MacDonald, were invited to the conference to talk about their joint effort, the Internet-based Western Health Information Project, which was introduced in March; and

Whereas the project, a first for Nova Scotia, is being looked upon as a model for delivering health care information to rural Canadians;

Therefore be it resolved that this House extend congratulations and best wishes to Trudy and Jackie for having developed this project, which delivers authoritative and up-to-date information while at the same time offering a high degree of privacy.

[Page 244]

Mr. Speaker, I request 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 member for Hants East.

RESOLUTION NO. 109

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

Whereas the New Democratic Party has been lost in the political wilderness for quite some time; and

Whereas the New Democratic Party Member of Parliament for Sackville-Eastern Shore took this a bit too seriously recently by going AWOL on a tour of Newfoundland; and

Whereas the same New Democratic Party Member of Parliament has now been found safe and sound;

Therefore be it resolved that this be a lesson to the members of the Third Party of how easily their idealism can lead them astray.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Cape Breton Nova.

RESOLUTION NO. 110

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

[Page 245]

Whereas Mike Britten, P. Eng., Program Co-ordinator, and Dr. Carl (Bucky) Buchanan, Chair, of the Joint Action Group on Environmental Cleanup, together with many committed and credible citizens, are providing strong leadership in the effort to remediate the tar ponds and coke ovens sites at Sydney; and

Whereas a tender has now been called by the Minister of Transportation and Public Works for the demolition and removal of nine prominent eyesores at the coke ovens site, visible from the Victoria Road Overpass in Sydney; and

Whereas the efforts made to bring matters to this point are greatly appreciated in the community and deserve the encouragement of this Legislature;

Therefore be it resolved that this House endorse the work of Mr. Britten, the leaders and members of the Joint Action Group on Environmental Cleanup, and the Government of Nova Scotia in bringing these matters forward for action.

I request waiver of notice.

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 . . .

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Hants West.

RESOLUTION NO. 111

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

Whereas this Liberal Government has been negligent towards looking after the health care needs of Windsor-West Hants; and

Whereas this point was recently reinforced with the release of the first community health plan by the West Hants Community Health Board; and

[Page 246]

Whereas one of four of this Liberal Government's "punching bags" - the Central Regional Health Board - is already being taken to task by the West Hants Community Health Board for their lack of consultation with the local community over policies which affect the operation of the Hants Community Hospital;

Therefore be it resolved that the Premier have his Minister of Health immediately look into this lack of consultation and ensure the concerns of Windsor-West Hants residents are fully addressed.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Pictou East.

RESOLUTION NO. 112

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

Whereas the tourism industry has long been an economic mainstay in this province; and

Whereas in 1997, the tourism industry experienced its greatest growth in a quarter century with an 18 per cent increase in overall visitor entries; and

Whereas the Tourism Industry Association of Nova Scotia and the Department of Economic Development and Tourism announced yesterday that Nova Scotia became the first province in Atlantic Canada to exceed $1 billion in tourism revenue;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate our many tourism workers who act so effectively to help boost the efforts of TIANS and the Economic Development and Tourism Department.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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.

[Page 247]

The honourable Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture.

RESOLUTION NO. 113

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

Whereas the 4th Annual New Ross Christmas Festival will take place December 5th, 6th and 7th; and

Whereas this is a wonderful opportunity to welcome in the Christmas season by taking time to enjoy the hospitality of a proud and historic community in Lunenburg County, the Balsam Fir Christmas Tree Capital of the world; and

Whereas you are cordially invited to visit Ross Farm Museum, the winter welcome post for details and directions to a great variety of weekend events and attractions hosted by local voluntary organizations and businesses;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the House of Assembly recognize the exceptional efforts of the members and friends of the New Ross Regional Development Society to organize this unique and truly family-oriented festival.

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

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 Minister of Natural Resources.

RESOLUTION NO. 114

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

Whereas health care services and its delivery is most important on the minds of most Nova Scotians; and

[Page 248]

Whereas my riding of Victoria, since 1993, has had one new hospital built in Baddeck and another will be constructed in Neils Harbour starting in the spring of 1998; and

Whereas two fire departments, one in Ingonish and one in Cape North, are extending their facilities to house ambulances as well as to provide accommodations for paramedics, all thanks to the Canada-Nova Scotia Infrastructure Works program;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House extend congratulations to all caregivers, doctors, as well as fire departments and the three levels of government, especially our Department of Health, for the foresight to make the necessary changes to improve the level of health care in Victoria County.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Queens.

RESOLUTION NO. 115

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

Whereas Margaret Forbes was elected President of the Nova Scotia School Boards Association at the special general meeting yesterday in Halifax; and

Whereas although this is an interim position until NSSBA's annual general meeting in May 1998, Ms. Forbes has a tremendous amount of responsibility and work before her in the months ahead; and

Whereas Ms. Forbes, a member of the Southwest Regional School Board and school board member of the former Lunenburg County District School Board since 1991, already had a busy slate but will now tackle many weighty issues still before the various boards since amalgamation;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Ms. Forbes on her new role, as well as outgoing president Pat Smith, on tackling not only the new problems associated with board amalgamation, but in taking on a position which involves decision making on behalf of some 164,000 students across Nova Scotia.

Mr. Speaker, I seek waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

[Page 249]

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Cape Breton Centre.

RESOLUTION NO. 116

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

Whereas the history of community economic development goes back to the Antigonish Movement of Fathers Coady and Tompkins in the 1930's; and

Whereas University College of Cape Breton, one of the province's three Centres of Excellence in computing science, plans on expanding its curriculum to include a Bachelor of Technology in Information Technology; and

Whereas, this summer, UCCB also began the University's first graduate degree program, an MBA program in Community Economic Development;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House extend congratulations on the University College of Cape Breton's dedication to academic excellence of the students of today and in the prosperity of our province.

Mr. Speaker, I ask for waiver of notice.

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 member for Guysborough-Port Hawkesbury.

[Page 250]

RESOLUTION NO. 117

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

Whereas Sherbrooke Village is a beautiful restoration of an 18th Century coastal community; and

Whereas the second annual Old Fashioned Christmas will take place this weekend, November 28th and next weekend, December 6th and December 7th, as an example of members of our community working to use historic assets for economic development; and

[2:30 p.m.]

Whereas the many events will include carol singing, craft and bake sales, workshops, dinner theatre and much more;

Therefore be it resolved that the House extend congratulations to the members of the St. Mary's Tourism Association and with Sherbrooke Village as they proudly present An Old Fashioned Christmas, and I extend a sincere invitation to everyone to visit Sherbrooke Village for a unique Christmas experience.

Mr. Speaker, I ask for waiver of notice.

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 member for Halifax Fairview.

RESOLUTION NO. 118

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 the Premier asked for help from his former federal colleagues to get the tolls off Highway No. 104, but came away empty-handed; and

[Page 251]

Whereas the Premier asked for help from his former federal colleagues to take the BST off necessities but now says if relief happens Nova Scotians will pay for it; and

Whereas the Premier now tells us there will be no more military or civilian job cuts in Nova Scotia because he is taking it up with his former federal colleagues;

Therefore be it resolved that this House warn Nova Scotians that they shouldn't depend on the Premier and his former federal colleagues to protect them from more federal job cuts in this province.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley.

RESOLUTION NO. 119

MR. BROOKE TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, I would just like to say that I am very delighted to see the honourable Earle Rayfuse with us here today.

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

Whereas harness racing has been suspended at the Truro Raceway for the third time in the past 12 months; and

Whereas the Truro Raceway employs 100 full and part-time employees and provides a strong economic stimulus to Colchester County businesses; and

Whereas both the Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island Governments have inked a deal with the Atlantic Lottery Corporation to take over the operation and promotion of tracks across the Maritimes, yet the deal remains in limbo because of the New Brunswick's Government reluctance to participate;

Therefore be it resolved that since 100 full and part-time people are out of jobs and industry personnel are moving to Ontario and Maine that Nova Scotia's Minister of Agriculture and Marketing move quickly and demand another meeting with the New Brunswick Government to find out what their difficulties are with the Atlantic Lottery Corporation and convince them that this is the only way that the Maritime harness racing industry can survive.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Eastern Shore.

[Page 252]

RESOLUTION NO. 120

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

Whereas loyal members of the Royal Canadian Legion across Nova Scotia and across Canada provide untold service to their community and country; and

Whereas the legion in Ship Harbour is especially acclaimed as the little branch with participation; and

Whereas this year marks the 50th Anniversary of this Royal Canadian Legion, Four Harbours Branch, No. 120;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House extend congratulations to the Four Harbours Branch of the Royal Canadian Legion for their 50 years of dedicated service to the lives of people that ultimately strengthens the very fabric of our community.

Mr. Speaker, I would ask for waiver.

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 member for Dartmouth North.

RESOLUTION NO. 121

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

AN HON. MEMBER: I must say this is like the old days.

MS. JOLLY: Yes, exactly.

Whereas the Nova Scotia NDP held their convention from November 14th to November 16th in Sydney; and

[Page 253]

Whereas during a debate on a health care resolution, a delegate from Dartmouth North was only allowed to speak after the vote on the resolution was held; and

Whereas when the delegate finally spoke and said, "I have recently moved here from Ontario and I have to say that the quality of care that I have received in Nova Scotia is far superior to anything I have encountered in Ontario";

Therefore be it resolved that this House commend the delegate from Dartmouth North for having the courage to speak the truth about our health care system despite the efforts by those conducting the session to stifle the delegate's comments.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Cape Breton The Lakes.

RESOLUTION NO. 122

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 Cape Breton Regional Municipality is one of three parties which have gone to the federal court to appeal the joint panel decision on offshore gas; and

Whereas the Cape Breton Regional Municipality supported by unions and businesses in Cape Breton is concerned with the possible negative impact of Sable gas development on Cape Breton; and

Whereas the municipality, businesses and unions would not be in court if the Liberal Government had done its job and carried out a full socio-economic impact study before rubber-stamping the Sable approval;

Therefore be it resolved that this House condemns the negligent attitude towards Cape Breton that has characterized this government's handling of the Sable gas issue.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Cape Breton Nova.

RESOLUTION NO. 123

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

[Page 254]

Whereas yesterday in Resolution No. 85 from the NDP, there was some huffing and puffing concerning our Premier so far not even committing to attend a meeting of business interests, labour and local politicians set for December 1st in North Sydney, in the Premier's own riding, to discuss the matter of Marine Atlantic; and

Whereas in yesterday's Cape Breton Post underneath the heading of, "MP wants meeting on Marine Atlantic", it stated, "Sydney-Victoria MP, Peter Mancini is organizing a meeting for Monday, Dec. 1, in North Sydney to discuss Marine Atlantic operations.", and the paper went on to describe how the NDP member was inviting others to attend his meeting; and

Whereas it is clear from the Cape Breton Post, if not from the NDP contingent in this House, that the meeting referred to is a Peter Mancini meeting, called by Peter Mancini and by the NDP for the purposes of their own self-promotion rather than representing any genuine, non-partisan community forum;

Therefore be it resolved that this House deplores the lack of candour by the New Democratic Party in failing to point out to this House that the meeting they mentioned was a meeting called, organized and directed by the NDP Member of Parliament, Peter Mancini who, recognizing his extreme ineffectiveness, has launched an attempt at self-promotion to try and stave off the impression that he is not doing anything. (Laughter)

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Eastern Shore.

RESOLUTION NO. 124

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

Whereas each year the National Ballet School tours across Canada to select the most promising boys and girls for training at their prestigious facility in Toronto; and

Whereas 10 year old Lindsay Bendell was first recognized for her outstanding talent by her dance instructor at the Faith Clare Ballet School in Musquodoboit Harbour; and

Whereas recently the National Ballet School selected out of 30 candidates only 4, including Lindsay, the only one to pass at the Grades 5-6 level;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this Assembly extend congratulations to Lindsay Bendell for being chosen to participate in a four week study in Toronto next summer and extend best wishes in being invited back to take the full-time curriculum in the fall.

[Page 255]

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

MR. SPEAKER: A request for waiver of notice 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 Yarmouth.

RESOLUTION NO. 125

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

Whereas baseball is a pursuit found on fields all across Nova Scotia; and

Whereas Baseball Nova Scotia honoured the inaugural entrance in its Hall of Fame at a ceremony held this past Saturday at the Nova Scotia Museum of Industry in Springhill; and

Whereas Keith Bridgeo of Yarmouth was recognized and inducted for his contributions as a player;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this Assembly congratulate Mr. Bridgeo for his outstanding contribution to baseball in Nova Scotia.

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

MR. SPEAKER: A request for waiver of notice 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.

[Page 256]

The honourable member for Guysborough-Port Hawkesbury.

RESOLUTION NO. 126

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

Whereas yesterday it was announced that tourism has become a $1 billion business in Nova Scotia; and

Whereas my constituency of Guysborough-Port Hawkesbury has benefitted from the tourism increase; and

Whereas to ensure continued tourism growth, the Department of Economic Development and Tourism has supported development of funding for Guysborough County Trails, a coastal park at Black Duck Cove, a Chapel Gully hiking trail, several Liscombe Lodge hiking trails, planning for the Port Bickerton Lighthouse, a Mulgrave look-off, and Port Hawkesbury and Canso waterfronts, to name a few;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House commend the Department of Economic Development and Tourism for its continued support of the tourism industry in rural Nova Scotia.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage.

RESOLUTION NO. 127

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

Whereas the 1997 Think Quest Internet Competition is sponsored by American software companies, including Microsoft, to design a unique educational web page; and

Whereas Krista Johanson and Brett Tabor were selected to travel to Washington this past week to participate as one of only three teams from Canada, with among 37 teams from across North America; and

Whereas their web page entitled, UNICA: A Journey Into Communications, features the history of communications, the many technical aspects, as well as ways to communicate better;

[Page 257]

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House join me in applauding the outstanding talents of these students and extend congratulations to Krista and Brett for being among the finalists.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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 member for Cape Breton Centre.

RESOLUTION NO. 128

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

Whereas increasing numbers of small, decentralized, high-tech businesses are coming on stream, as information technology makes its presence on Cape Breton Island; and

Whereas it is in everything from manufacturing to tourism and training, as rural and urban residents tap into the benefits of the information revolution; and

Whereas it is within this new economic climate that community economic development is helping entrepreneurs fulfil their dreams while living on or planning to move to Cape Breton Island;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House join me in complimenting the community economic development initiatives and the creation of information technologies designed to meet the challenges of a changing world and the growth of the economy of Cape Breton Island.

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

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

Is it agreed?

[Page 258]

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 Dartmouth North.

RESOLUTION NO. 129

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

Whereas the honourable member for Cape Breton The Lakes, when introducing a resolution earlier in this session, referred to the Workers' Compensation Board as the Workmens' Compensation Board; and

Whereas for many years now the women of Nova Scotia have worked long and hard to rid government agencies of sexist language; and

Whereas the reference to workmen by the member for Cape Breton The Lakes is of concern to the women of Nova Scotia;

Therefore be it resolved that this House advise the member to be more gender sensitive.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Lunenburg.

RESOLUTION NO. 130

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

Whereas earlier this month Composites Atlantic announced the construction of an addition to their building, creating 15 new jobs; and

Whereas just recently Composites Atlantic Limited and the Boeing Company announced the signing of a major three year contract valued at $8 million, creating 10 new jobs; and

[Page 259]

Whereas Composites Atlantic is a Lunenburg-based company well known internationally for its advanced plastic capabilities and for their commitment to this province's quality, loyal workers;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this Assembly extend congratulations to Composites Atlantic with the recent signing of their contract with Boeing and recognize this as a real vote of confidence in Nova Scotia as a good place to do business.

Mr. Speaker, I ask for waiver of notice.

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 member Minister of Human Resources.

RESOLUTION NO. 131

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

Whereas communities across Nova Scotia benefit from the support, time and experience of coaches; and

Whereas the Royal Bank Community Sport Awards were recently named to recognize commitment to sport; and

Whereas Virginia Smith of Argyle was one of eight recently named a Royal Bank Sports Hero for her contribution of 27 years as a swim coach, including coaching the 1997 Canada Games swim team;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this Assembly congratulate Virginia Smith for her contribution to sport.

[2:45 p.m.]

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

[Page 260]

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 Cape Breton The Lakes.

RESOLUTION NO. 132

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

Whereas people in Little Pond, Cape Breton, have lived for decades with hazards of previous strip mines; and

Whereas the Department of Natural Resources' non-solution to the problem is to invite even more strip mining; and

Whereas this is equivalent to heaping insult upon injury to residents of Little Pond;

Therefore be it resolved that no permits be granted until an environmental impact assessment and enforceable regulations are put in place to protect the residents from noise pollution and their properties from encroachment.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage.

RESOLUTION NO. 133

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

Whereas 11 Nova Scotia schools recently participated in the Dr. Moses M. Coady Debating Competitions in Antigonish; and

[Page 261]

Whereas Auburn Drive High School's "B" Team of Peter MacCracken, Dave Creamer and Stephen Duncan finished third, while Natalie Donahue placed third in individual awards, while Erin Burbridge was the top debater, winning a $1,000 St. F.X. University scholarship; and

Whereas Auburn Drive High School's "A" Team of Natalie Donahue, Erin Burbridge and Gordon Gillis topped 15 other teams, winning the Dr. Moses M. Coady Debating Competition;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this Assembly join me in extending congratulations to these exemplary students, their parents and teachers at Auburn Drive High School for their outstanding abilities in this highly regarded competition.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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 Minister of Business and Consumer Services.

RESOLUTION NO. 134

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

Whereas amateur sport in Nova Scotia represents a considerable segment of our population, including 150,000 individual members of sport organizations; and

Whereas Sport Nova Scotia is the federated voice of over 65 sport organizations in Nova Scotia and advocates on behalf of the benefits associated with the sport experience; and

Whereas sport makes a difference to the development of vibrant communities, healthy children, productive adults and social wellness; and

[Page 262]

Whereas sport makes a different to our economy, generating millions of direct and spin-off dollars for business and results in significant tax revenues for the Province of Nova Scotia;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House extend their support to Sport Nova Scotia's Sport Makes a Difference campaign, designed to advocate the benefits of sport to all our provincial citizenry.

Mr. Speaker, I ask for waiver of notice.

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 member for Lunenburg.

RESOLUTION NO. 135

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

Whereas this Saturday, November 29th, the Town of Mahone Bay will be seen all aglow, during our White Lights Night; and

Whereas each year for four years now, residents, business leaders, the Lions Club, Churches, museum and legion band all participate in lighting our town with white lights; and

Whereas throughout the Town of Mahone Bay there will be a Christmas tea and bake sale, tree lighting and carol singing and other celebrations, to name a few of the activities;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this Assembly extend congratulations to the members of the Mahone Bay Business Association for their outstanding leadership that contributes to the success of this event and I encourage everyone to visit Mahone Bay as we turn on our white lights this Saturday, November 29th.

Mr. Speaker, I ask for waiver of notice.

[Page 263]

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 member for Halifax Chebucto.

RESOLUTION NO. 136

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

Whereas the Metropolitan Halifax Chamber of Commerce represents the business voice of metropolitan Halifax; and

Whereas in its policy update document dated November 21, 1997, the chamber said it was pleased with the recent creation of a Petroleum Directorate by the provincial government; and

Whereas the chamber sees the creation of this directorate as a first step in the development of a coordinated, long-term action plan for the Nova Scotia offshore industry;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate the Metropolitan Halifax Chamber of Commerce for its recognition of this government's effective strategic planning process for the development of the Nova Scotia offshore industry.

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

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 Richmond.

[Page 264]

RESOLUTION NO. 137

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

Whereas for the past several years the Strait area has been identified and designated as an under-serviced physician area, having difficulty in attracting physicians to several communities; and

Whereas during this period when there was short supply and high demand, several physicians have always risen to the challenge to provide adequate coverage at both their offices/clinics and the Strait Richmond Hospital; and

Whereas the efforts of a local recruitment committee led by Steve MacNeil, combined with the rural incentives and concentrated efforts offered by the Department of Health, have stepped up the search for doctors which is resulting in more interest by physicians considering the area;

Therefore be it resolved that accolades be extended to the physicians in the Strait area who have performed above and beyond the call of duty, the Department of Health for their concentrated efforts to attract physicians to rural areas and a local recruitment committee for their unselfish and tireless work on behalf of their communities.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

Before we move on to Orders of the Day I wish to advise the House that the Clerk has conducted a draw for the Adjournment debate at 6:00 p.m. The winner is the honourable member for Lunenburg whose motion is:

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this Assembly applaud the outstanding achievement by the Minister of Economic Development and Tourism, members of the Tourism Industry Association, and the many stakeholders for reaching a billion dollar milestone in Nova Scotia's tourism industry.

That will be the subject for debate on the late show at 6:00 p.m.

ORDERS OF THE DAY

ORAL QUESTIONS PUT BY MEMBERS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings West.

[Page 265]

HEALTH - HEPATITIS C: COMPENSATION - NEGOTIATE

MR. GEORGE MOODY: Mr. Speaker, before I put my question I would like to welcome back the member for Annapolis, it is good to see him here in the House. He is a good colleague and, Earle, I am pleased that you are able to join us. (Applause)

Mr. Speaker, my question through you is for the Minister of Health. This minister and the two previous ministers before him constantly refused to negotiate a compensation package for victims of the blood system who contracted hepatitis C. My question to the minister is, is he prepared, in light of the Krever Report, to immediately begin negotiations to conclude a fair and just settlement to this issue, which this government so far has refused to address? Will the minister now, knowing what is in the Krever Report, begin those negotiations?

HON. JAMES SMITH: Mr. Speaker, the Krever Report, as the honourable member knows, will be released today at 4:00 p.m. our time. We will see what is in that report. We have some indications that are not official. It is a long and very comprehensive report that has far-reaching implications. We will be responding to that and we will be dealing with that through the federal government and the other provinces on those particular initiatives.

MR. MOODY: Mr. Speaker, the minister says that he will be awaiting the report, the report will be out. The minister also knows that some information has been leaked. I will ask the minister today, will he assure those victims that no matter what the other provinces do, because this province stood alone when it came to those who contracted AIDS through the blood system and set the example for the rest of the country, if he will put this long-standing issue and do the right thing, the just thing and the fair thing that needs to be done, will he begin to put together a package for those who are suffering because of a system that let them down? Will he and this province stand alone and start negotiations?

DR. SMITH: This issue surrounding the victims of hepatitis C infection is a very serious issue. It is one that deserves careful consideration and fair treatment. We as a province have initiated finding the cases of hepatitis C at a cost of $1 million to this province. We have led this country in that particular initiative. We have programs in place to support those persons who are suffering from hepatitis C. We have worked with our colleagues across this country and we will work with the federal government on this particular initiative. We will do what is right and fair for the victims of hepatitis C, Mr. Speaker.

MR. MOODY: I am glad the minister is going to do what is fair and right for these victims. He says they have helped these victims. I have talked to these victims, and sometimes being on welfare they tell me they lose the kind of dignity they think they should be able to deserve because it was not their fault that the system let them down.

[Page 266]

The minister knows that the federal minister has been in contact with him. I know there have been talks between the federal and provincial ministers with regard to a federal-provincial package. The federal minister has indicated that he would like to put together a package for these victims. I ask the minister, what was his response to the federal minister when the federal minister approached him about a package that would be put together by the federal and provincial governments for these victims who are suffering, have been suffering and need the issue addressed immediately?

DR. SMITH: I have had several meetings with the Minister of Health. There has been no package that has been forwarded to us for review. I certainly would look forward to that and what initiatives the federal government could help coordinate with all Ministers of Health in all governments.

This province has taken an initiative. We are concerned about the victims of hepatitis C. We have committed, just within the last few months, over $1 million to find those persons who have contracted, their lifestyle might be changed and improved and have a better outcome.

That honourable member said that Nova Scotia has been outstanding and stood alone on some issues. That is one that I have just mentioned. We have stood forward and on the edge of case-finding for hepatitis C. The problem that has plagued a lot of the initiatives, in our social and education and also in our health programs, has been the way that Nova Scotia has stood out under that government and mismanagement of the fiscal responsibilities that they had. That honourable member was there. Those are the types of issues that are making the difficulties within the delivery of the health care system. We are prepared. We have demonstrated that we are prepared to move. We are prepared to show leadership across this county in dealing with the victims of hepatitis C. Had you not bankrupted this province, we would have been able to do a lot more, not only for hepatitis C but for all other Nova Scotians. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. Before we continue, I want to be able to hear the response. I want to be able to hear the question that is posed to the minister and I want to be able to hear the response. I lost the words in the final portion of the minister's response. Please restrain yourselves and let me hear what is being answered and given to you, the answers to your questions.

The honourable Leader of the New Democratic Party.

[Page 267]

NAT. RES.: SABLE GAS - PETROCHEMICAL INDUSTRY

MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, I would like to direct my question through you to the Premier.

You saw and we saw, here in the House yesterday afternoon during Question Period, the Premier of this province absolutely refusing to state whether or not they were going to accept or reject the deal with respect to Sable gas, to state their bottom line. Yet, certainly I, along with a lot of other Nova Scotians watched the CBC News last night and saw that the Premier made it clear that his bottom line was leave the gas in the ground if there is no petrochemical industry established in Nova Scotia.

[3:00 p.m.]

So, my question, Mr. Speaker, is to the Premier and I am asking him to show some respect to members of this House and to Nova Scotians by telling us whether the establishment of a petrochemical industry in Nova Scotia is, in fact, the Premier's bottom line with respect to this Sable gas deal?

HON. RUSSELL MACLELLAN, Q.C. (The Premier): Yes, Mr. Speaker, the question of the natural gas liquids and the by-products from Sable gas is a very important consideration. We are presently discussing the future of Sable gas and the by-products with the companies involved in the offshore. We hope to be able to have some kind of resolution to this matter before too long.

MR. CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, you see, what we are trying to get at here, and increasingly Nova Scotians are concerned, there was a poll released in the paper the other day, a straw poll but a poll nonetheless, of Nova Scotians who are concerned. They feel they haven't gotten enough information, even Harry the Hat is concerned about the fact that he doesn't have enough information on this deal.

MR. SPEAKER: Please, let's hear the supplementary question.

MR. CHISHOLM: What I am trying to get from the Premier of this province is what his bottom line is. What are the pluses or minuses, because in the leadership race and in the last six months he has talked about things about preferential rates, he has talked about laterals, he talked about jobs for Nova Scotians as being his position, Mr. Speaker.

I would like to ask the Premier given the emphasis over the past couple of days, and certainly in the interview with the CBC last night about the establishment of a natural gas industry in the Province of Nova Scotia . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Let's hear the question, please.

[Page 268]

MR. CHISHOLM: I would like to ask the Premier whether or not he has, in fact, given up those other aspects, the laterals, the jobs, the toll rates, the preferential rates, whether he has given those things up in the process of this negotiation and whether they no longer form any part of his bottom line?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, the honourable Leader of the Third Party is right that Nova Scotians are very, I would say, concerned but they are also very hopeful and excited about the prospects of offshore natural gas and they want a good resolution for the province. They want to be a part of the future of the economy of this province. They want to be a part of the future of natural gas. They want a good resolution to his question because they want to be a part of it. That's the responsibility of this government to give them that future in natural gas for this province.

MR. CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, I remind members of this House that we got the same kind of claptrap from the Savage Government. (Interruptions) Deals being cut in the back-rooms and Nova Scotians were told nothing . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Let us hear the question.

MR. CHISHOLM: . . . until they found out that there was a report that said the Government of Nova Scotia was lacking vision, was lacking any planning or foresight with respect to this deal.

MR. SPEAKER: Let us hear the question, please. The question.

MR. CHISHOLM: My question to the Premier is this. Why is it that he is continuing the disrespectful practice followed by his predecessor in cutting deals and doing these negotiations behind closed doors without talking to Nova Scotians about something that has to do with their economic future for the next 75 years? Why is he continuing this disrespectful practice?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, no deal has been cut in confidence or in back-rooms. We are not, however, going to negotiate in public.

MR. CHISHOLM: Where is it being cut then?

MR. SPEAKER: Order. You have had your question.

THE PREMIER: There has been no deal cut yet. There are negotiations going on. I am very optimistic. However, the negotiations are still going on and when the proposal is reached, this House and all of Nova Scotia will be notified. There will not be anything kept secret.

[Page 269]

MR. SPEAKER: I want to say just a few words here. I don't want to be interventionist, I don't want to be interjecting constantly and urging members to get on to supplementary questions. But all of you know the rules probably better than I do in this Chair. The supplementary question is a logical follow-up to the initial question that was put to the minister. So please keep that in mind. I don't want to hear a speech every time I call for a supplementary question.

The honourable Leader of the Opposition.

NAT. RES. - SABLE GAS: MOBIL - AGREEMENT

DR. JOHN HAMM: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Premier. The Premier's answers just aren't cutting it. Would the Premier indicate what agreements his government has with Mobil and partners to date and will he table those documents for Nova Scotians to have a look at them?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, we have no agreements with Mobil to date.

DR. HAMM: Well, that is surprising because I thought we had an agreement on royalties. To the Premier, Mr. Speaker, would the Premier indicate to members of the House, was he in Toronto on Monday, involved in talks with Mobil and partners?

THE PREMIER: Yes, Mr. Speaker.

DR. HAMM: Mr. Speaker, that is the first time we had an answer that wasn't yes, no and maybe (Interruption) I meant all three.

The Premier indicated now that he went to Toronto on Monday and that explains his absence from the House and he was negotiating with Mobil and that is all well and good. Would the Premier indicate if he is negotiating new agreements or is he trying to distance himself from the agreements that were made by Ministers Downe and Norrie?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, we are trying to get the best deal we possibly can for the people of Nova Scotia. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Opposition on a new question.

NAT. RES. - NSRL: SALE - STATUS

DR. JOHN HAMM: Mr. Speaker, again with the Premier; would the Premier indicate if NSRL still has a for sale sign on it and if it forms part of his negotiations with Mobil?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, Nova Scotia Resources Limited is not for sale.

[Page 270]

DR. HAMM: To continue with the Premier, could the Premier tell this House the current status of NSRL's tax pools?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, Nova Scotia Resources Limited is operating in a normal course of business and their conduct and their operations will be made known to the House in the normal fashion.

DR. HAMM: Mr. Speaker, I would look for the Premier to clarify his position on tax pools very soon, it is a very important asset that we still believe may be in the hands of NSRL, worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

The Premier has indicated that he is actively involved in negotiations that he will not share with either members of this House or people of Nova Scotia. Would the Premier assure this House that he is not giving concessions to Mobil to get what is rightfully ours, that he is simply renegotiating what was a bad deal arranged by the people who now sit around him in government?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, if we get the best deal for Nova Scotia there won't be concessions. (Applause)

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

NAT. RES. - SABLE GAS: JOINT PANEL DECISION - APPEAL

MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, I would like to direct my question through you to the Premier. Today is the last day for an appeal before the federal courts of the decision made by the panel relative to the Sable gas development. I would like to ask the Premier whether he will not, in fact, agree that along with many other Nova Scotians who have read the panel's report, that clearly the deal we are into right now is a bad deal, as he has said during his leadership review, and it needs to be stopped, needs to be renegotiated.

I would like to ask the Premier, given the fact that this is the last day for filing an appeal, will the Premier direct his Attorney General to join the appeal at the federal court against the joint panel decision?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, the Province of Nova Scotia will not be filing any appeal.

MR. CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, you know we have given away the most powerful lever that we had under the Environment Act, which gave the Cabinet the authority to put conditions on or, in fact, reject the recommendations of the panel; we have given those away. Now we have given away any other lever we had, through an appeal to the federal courts. Clearly I would suggest that when the Premier says that he has negotiated a better deal, the

[Page 271]

emperor has no clothes. I want to ask this Premier, how is he going to negotiate a better deal with the Sable Offshore Energy Project proponents when he has abandoned all of his negotiating strengths?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, there are other ways for the province to have the right to stop the deal if they want to do it; an appeal is not the only course of action. We are negotiating in good faith with the oil companies and are trying to be constructive on behalf of the people of Nova Scotia to give them this resource that is so rightfully theirs. We will continue to do so, positively and thoroughly.

MR. CHISHOLM: The Premier says there are other ways and I would like to hear what they are. The Premier knows, as the former Energy Critic in the House of Commons, that what remains is essentially parts of the implementation process. It is simply a question of the process going forward and being implemented by the proponents and that is the way the process has been set up. The most powerful tool that he had at his disposal was the Environment Act. I want to ask the Premier if, in fact, he is committed to keeping gas in Nova Scotia and to having that gas be accessible to Nova Scotia consumers and businesses, why did he not make use of that lever under the Environment Act or, at the very least, file an appeal today through the federal Court of Appeals?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, it is so typical of the Third Party to only look at the fact that any discussions with the oil companies have got to fail. It is so typical. The fact is, golly gee, these discussions can be successful and there can be benefits for Nova Scotia.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Official Opposition.

DR. JOHN HAMM: Mr. Speaker, to continue with the Premier. Is the Premier satisfied that the Sable deal arranged by Ministers Downe and Norrie provides satisfactory job assurances for Nova Scotians?

MR. SPEAKER: Now that question deals with matters that were under the jurisdiction of two former ministers who held responsibility in that area and it just cannot be permitted. That question is out of order. The question should be directed to the Premier. The question is out of order. (Interruptions)

Yes, the honourable Leader of the Opposition brought up the names of two former ministers who did hold those particular portfolios, and it doesn't seem fair that the question should be put to the Premier at this time. It is inappropriate and it is out of order. We will move on and I will permit you to allow another question, then.

The honourable Leader of the Opposition.

[Page 272]

NAT. RES.: SABLE GAS - JOBS (N.S.)

DR. JOHN HAMM: Mr. Speaker, my question to the Premier. Is the Premier satisfied that the Sable deal provides satisfactory job assurances for Nova Scotians?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I have already told the honourable Leader of the Opposition that there is no deal yet.

DR. HAMM: Mr. Speaker, that is a strange answer when everyone seems to think, other than the Premier, that there is a deal. Certainly Mobil thinks they have a deal; they have been down here for months and years in negotiations with this government. I think they will be very surprised to understand that our Premier now thinks that there is no deal.

Since the Premier says we have no deal because he certainly had a lot to say about the deal when he was a leadership candidate, he thought there was a deal then . . .

MR. SPEAKER: This is a supplementary question.

DR. HAMM: This is a quote. "Mr. MacLellan is furious that outgoing Premier John Savage and Natural Resources Minister Eleanor Norrie negotiated a transportation toll deal on Sable gas just weeks before the Party elects a new Leader.".

MR. SPEAKER: Could we have your supplementary question now, please.

DR. HAMM: Mr. Speaker, I was just trying to get the record straight as to whether or not we have a deal. My question to the Premier is simply - and I am going now, referring not to a deal but I am referring to what is referred to in the joint review panel report, and I know the Premier has seen that, and it is getting to be a pretty familiar document around here - is the Premier satisfied that this report indicates that, things being as they are, New Brunswick will get $135 million in economic benefits from the pipeline and Nova Scotia only $98 million of benefit from the pipeline?

[3:15 p.m.]

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, Nova Scotia is going to do extremely well on any natural gas deal that involves the bringing of Sable natural gas ashore and sale outside of the Province of Nova Scotia.

DR. HAMM: Mr. Speaker, I will continue with the Premier. The Premier indicated that he did go to Toronto on Monday, and he had a meeting with Mobil and perhaps some of Mobil's partners. I would hope that the Premier would share with us what guarantees he asked for in that meeting that will guarantee that jobs and contracts will come to Nova Scotians as a result of the $3 billion project that he says will happen once he makes a deal?

[Page 273]

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, the meeting was a good one, and it will lead to other meetings and these negotiations will continue.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings North.

NAT. RES. - SABLE GAS: NSRL - PARTICIPATION

MR. GEORGE ARCHIBALD: Mr. Speaker, through you to the Premier, the Premier indicated moments ago that NSRL was no longer for sale, so if it is not for sale then NSRL must be going to take part in the offshore oil agreement that is underway because they own 6 per cent of the offshore. How much money will NSRL have to borrow to take part in the pipeline construction and the other activities that are going on in the offshore?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, there is no deal as yet, but then if there is one NSRL will be part of it.

MR. ARCHIBALD: Mr. Speaker, I do not think the answer was exactly what the question called for, but I guess that is all I am going to get. Now, could the Premier indicate to me then, if NSRL is going to be maintained by the province as a Crown Corporation, the tax pools that have been associated with NSRL, can they be sold to another company to be used, or are the tax pools no longer of any value?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, the tax pools are a part of the operation of Nova Scotia Resources Limited. NSRL is a Crown Corporation, as such they can conduct their own activities. I am sure they will make the best use of the tax pools that they possibly can.

MR. ARCHIBALD: Mr. Speaker, again to the Premier. Now for the last two years since the former minister announced that NSRL made him hurl and all those bad things, and he was going to sell it, they negotiated with Rothschild, I believe to do the selling. Could the Premier indicate to me, and if he does not have the number with him today, table in this House sometime in the next couple of days how much money the Province of Nova Scotia has paid to Rothschild for the last two years not to sell NSRL?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, there is no question that Rothschild has been involved as a consultant on Nova Scotia Resources Limited. I do not have the figure as to the amount, but I am sure through Public Accounts that information would be available.

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

[Page 274]

COMMUN. SERV. - SOCIAL ASSIST.:

REFORM - ISSUE PAPER RELEASE

MS. HELEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, my question, through you, is to the Minister of Community Services. Senior officials in the Department of Community Services have been promising that a Social Assistance Reform Issue Paper would be released since January 1997. In June 1997, the then minister promised that the issue paper would be released within days. The current minister has indicated that the document would be released in late September. My question is, will the minister tell this House when the issue paper will be publicly released?

HON. FRANCENE COSMAN: Thank you for the question, Mr. Speaker. It is a great pleasure to stand up and answer my first question. (Applause) I want to have a process of consultation that is meaningful and certainly all encompassing in terms of our stakeholders and those who want to respond to the consultation paper will have a very good length of time to do so. I have committed to that. The consultation paper is coming. I know that. Any further than that, I am not sure what the honourable member is looking for.

MS. HELEN MACDONALD: What in fact I guess I would like to know is when the document will be released. According to a Community Services official, they have already started the phase of public consultation. I want to know if the minister will give this House a description of the process: when it will begin, and how community network advocate groups and other community groups will be meaningful participants in the consultation process?

MR. SPEAKER: That sounds like a three part question.

MRS. COSMAN: Obviously, I want this process to be as meaningful as possible. I am trying to figure out which of the three questions in the supplementary has the most weight for the honourable member opposite. I will try all of them.

We currently have focus groups conducting focus sessions around the province on the issue of social assistance restructuring. The consultation paper is going to go out to as many people who want to be part of the process. I have something like 230 requests right now in the office for the paper. All of those requests will be met. The stakeholders, various people who are interested in social assistance reform, will be part of this process. There will be adequate time for everybody to take part in this process.

MS. HELEN MACDONALD: Now that we know there is a process, or at least we think there is some sort of a process in place, I wonder if the minister could go a little further and describe for us how, after this consultation process, the views of these front line participants will be incorporated into a meaningful and creditable response?

[Page 275]

MRS. COSMAN: It is an interesting question how I will take the views back and make it into a process where they are listened to and acted upon. Until I get those views it is difficult to tell how I will act on the views that I do not have at this point in time. I have committed to a meaningful process and there is a large amount of interest around social assistance restructuring. I am trying to put together a Department of Community Services that will take us into the next century and deliver a good product in the interests of the people we serve. I am committed to doing that.

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

ENVIRON. - TIRE RECYCLING (TRACC):

CONTRACT (COLLECTION) - TERMINATION

MR. BROOKE TAYLOR: I would like to direct my question to the Minister of the Environment. Is the relationship between the Minister of the Environment, in his capacity as Minister responsible for the Resource Recovery Fund Board and TRACC, close enough that the minister would be aware that R & D Stone Services Limited of Preston and Deborah Diggs of East Preston's contract to do the tire collection for the Halifax Regional Municipality was terminated on September 12th of this year?

HON. WAYNE ADAMS: Mr. Speaker, the question, I think, is improper in its totality. I think I can assure him and members of the House that I am aware there was a separation of the two companies, but I am also aware there was no contract between the two of them.

MR. TAYLOR: I concur with the minister that Deborah Diggs and her company were subcontracting in good faith, Mr. Speaker.

Could the Minister tell the House, then, if he agrees with the decision taken by Mr. Doug Vicars, as President of TRACC, to fire Deborah Diggs and her company, R & D Stone Services of Preston?

MR. ADAMS: I think the question is inappropriate in that it would be unwise for me or any other Minister of the Crown to interfere with private business interests and help him or her decide who is appropriate and who is not appropriate. So I think the question is out of order.

MR. TAYLOR: Again, I do concur with the Minister of the Environment that it is inappropriate for a minister to interfere with private contracts. I am going to table a letter that is addressed to Mr. Adams and signed by Doug Vicars and it states:

"Further to our recent discussions, with respect to the above mentioned company, please be advised that

[Page 276]The company was terminated as a collector of tires in the Metro Halifax as a result of poor performance and service, and that this was the only reason for the termination,".

Again, Mr. Speaker, I go to the Minister of the Environment and ask him if he was involved in the termination of Deborah Diggs and R & D Stone Limited for tire collection in the metro area?

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of the Environment, if he wishes to answer.

MR. ADAMS: Yes, Mr. Speaker, with some pleasure. I was absolutely not involved with any termination of anybody in private enterprise, certainly hardly in government. What the honourable member did do, he tabled a letter here that I have a copy of, because it was written to me, of course, but what he doesn't acknowledge is the preface correspondence that took place before that letter was written. As a constituent of mine, she came to me and asked me to find out if I could get it in writing why she was terminated. I asked that question and got the letter, the resolve that she had asked for, and delivered the same to her.

Mr. Speaker, I think it is perhaps unfair that he would bring to the House of Assembly, personal activities with a constituent of mine. It is not his constituent. Perhaps I should look through his riding and find who I can find who has been fired and bring it to the House of Assembly and parade that up and down the public record.

MR. SPEAKER: Now I hate to interrupt, we are on a roll here, normally in Question Period, however, the honourable Leader of the New Democratic Party has asked for a few seconds for an introduction. With the approbation of the House, a few seconds for an introduction? All right, go ahead then.

The honourable Leader of the New Democratic Party.

MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, I would like to introduce a visitor in your gallery, a member of the Halifax Regional Municipal Council, a candidate for the New Democratic Party in the upcoming provincial election for Halifax Chebucto, somebody that I know the honourable Minister of Economic Development wants to get to know better and somebody that the MLA for Cape Breton Nova is very concerned about. I would like to ask those members and other members (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. (Interruptions) Order, please.

MR. CHISHOLM: I would like those members, and all members of the House, to please join with me in welcoming Mr. Epstein here to the House of Assembly. (Applause)

[Page 277]

MR. SPEAKER: All right, you might say I got snookered on that one.

Is this a new question, the member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley?

MR. BROOKE TAYLOR: This is a new question, unless you had another supplementary, Mr. Speaker, I wasn't following.

MR. SPEAKER: You have run out of supplementaries.

The honourable member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley.

ENVIRON. - TIRE RECYCLING (TRACC):

CONTRACT (COLLECTION) - TERMINATION

MR. BROOKE TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, I think we have been able to establish, and the Minister of the Environment confirmed that he did have some discussions, as the letter indicates, with the President of TRACC (N.S.) Limited, Mr. Doug Vicars, relative to Deborah Diggs and R & D Stone Limited position with TRACC being terminated. So I go to the Minister of the Environment and ask him if he could tell us if he has made any inquiries of the clients of R & D Stone Limited to determine if the reasons given to him by Doug Vicars, and it states in that letter very clearly, that Deborah Diggs was fired because of job performance, I ask the minister if he could tell the House and indicate if he made inquiries of the clients of R & D Stone Limited to determine if the reasons given by Doug Vicars for termination were valid?

MR. SPEAKER: We are on the same topic here and the minister was a little uncomfortable with questions previously on this same subject. So if the minister would like to answer.

HON. WAYNE ADAMS: I would just like to make a point, Mr. Speaker, I think it is very inappropriate that he wants to parade the personal life of a constituent of mine in the House of Assembly. My answer is simply that I will not discuss that person's personal record in public unless she asks me to.

MR. TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, I have no difficulty discussing the personal record of that constituent of his. She furnished me with 10 or 11 letters from clients of hers, Miller Tire, Ralph Carroll's Ultramar, Kmart Services, Speedy Muffler King, Coast Tire, Crown Tire . . .

MR. SPEAKER: This is a supplementary. Supplementary question, please.

[Page 278]

MR. TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, I will table these letters and again, I ask the Minister of the Environment if he was involved in discussions with the president of TRACC to terminate the contract of Deborah Diggs of R & D Stone Limited who gave excellent service to these customers and more?

[3:30 p.m.]

MR. ADAMS: The answer is no, Mr. Speaker.

MR. TAYLOR: Could the minister indicate if he knows the name of the company that is now doing the tire collection service for the Halifax Regional Municipality for TRACC?

MR. ADAMS: I am sorry, Mr. Speaker, I didn't get the first part of the question, could he repeat it?

MR. TAYLOR: Could the minister indicate if he knows the name of the company awarded the tire collection service for the Halifax Regional Municipality by TRACC, the present company that is doing the work?

MR. ADAMS: Mr. Speaker, I have to tell you that I am astounded by that question because I think that is the same member and his Party that chastised me for about 30 days in the House last session to not interfere. Now he is asking if I would interfere and find out the name of the new contractor. The answer is no, I will not interfere, I have not and I never will.

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

JUSTICE - CORRECTIONAL FACILITIES: PRIVATIZATION - BIDDING

MR. JOHN HOLM: Mr. Speaker, I am going to be directing this question through you, sir, to the Premier. Approximately a year ago, the government selected a consortium to provide a Cooperative Business Solutions approach to reconfiguring Nova Scotia correctional facilities. The first phase of that project was completed and the government has had the report since last spring. It calls for the construction of three new facilities: one in Sydney, one for the Halifax area, and one to serve southwestern Nova Scotia. The total price tag, approximately $100 million.

Now the government is currently negotiating with that group to build the Halifax facility, which is estimated to cost in the $35 million to $40 million range. They are negotiating with them on a sole-source basis, and my question to the Premier is quite simply, why has there not been any competitive process? Why is there not competitive bidding to ensure that we get the lowest price and the best quality for those facilities?

[Page 279]

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I would like to refer that question to the honourable Minister of Justice.

HON. ALAN MITCHELL: Mr. Speaker, we have had the report that the honourable member refers to. The government is in the process of examining that report. We will be reporting to government in the near future and will be making recommendations to government.

I would like to point out that the report really puts before government a number of options and government will have to examine these options and decide whether they want to adopt any one of them or whether they want to adopt none of the ones being recommended.

MR. HOLM: Yes, Mr. Speaker, I know that the government has had the report for quite some considerable time and that it contained a number of options. Of course the government had promised that they were going to be involving many people in that discussion - including the correctional officers - in evaluating that process.

I am going to direct my next question, Mr. Speaker, with your permission, back to the Premier, because this Minister of Justice and other Ministers of Justice have promised that they would release that report last May and that report has yet to be released.

My question to the Premier, through you, Mr. Speaker - the Premier who wants an open and involved government, to involve people in it - will the Premier commit that he will today order that that report will, in fact, be tabled, that it will be made public and that those who have an important stake in it, therefore, will be able to have some input and comment on such an important change here in Nova Scotia?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I would like to refer that question to the honourable Minister of Justice.

MR. MITCHELL: Mr. Speaker, we have had consultations with the union that serves the correctional officers, on a regular basis. I have had the opportunity to meet with them on two occasions. I know that my predecessors have met with them on a number of occasions before. We have promised to keep them up to date and we will do that.

As far as the releasing of the report, we have been doing a considerable amount of work on that. I believe that we are now getting very close to the point where we can come to a situation where we can release it and we can go forward with a proposal as to how we want to deal with this. It is my personal objective that we should be able to release it this month, sometime in December, and that is what I will be working for.

[Page 280]

MR. HOLM: Mr. Speaker, the contract, of course, the second phase of that calls for the design and construction of the new correctional facilities. My information is that, in fact, the government is negotiating on that design, and the costs of that construction, on a sole-source basis, on the basis of this report which is being kept secret.

I would like to direct my final question - and he can skirt this if he wishes and he can slide the question off to the Minister of Justice if he so chooses - to the Premier. I would like to ask the Premier when he will stop acting in secret, stop dealing in secret, make that secret report - which is paid for by the taxpayers of this province - public and stop negotiating in secret and, therefore, earn the trust that he is asking Nova Scotians to have in him. Will you start to earn that by putting the information on the table so that Nova Scotians can start to have a glimpse of what you are basing your decisions on?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, one sure-fire and quick way to lose the respect of Nova Scotians is to negotiate very important issues in public.

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

ENVIRON. - TIRE RECYCLING (TRACC):

CONTRACT (HRM) - CO. (PRINCIPALS)

MR. BROOKE TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, I would like to direct my questions to the Minister of the Environment. I believe I heard, through the din, the Minister of the Environment state that he is unaware of who is doing the recycled tire collection in the Halifax Regional Municipality now. For the benefit of the Minister of the Environment, I will table a letter informing the minister as to who is doing the tire collection. Perhaps I would even ask whether or not the minister is aware that the name of the company doing the tire collection in the Halifax Regional Municipality is none other than Perac Industries Ltd.; the Director of Perac Industries Ltd. is none other than Rosemary MacDonald; and the CEO is none other than his friend, Mr. Doug Vicars. Is the minister aware of that?

HON. WAYNE ADAMS: Mr. Speaker, he makes allegations that I received correspondence. I don't recognize it, but I appreciate him tabling that. He also makes an accusation in terms of referring to certain people as my friends. I think he should retract the allegation.

MR. TAYLOR: Could the minister indicate then why the penalty provisions in the contract between the Resource Recovery Fund Board and TRACC, in particular the $10,000 per week penalty provision for failing to live up to the job provisions in the contract, why those penalty provisions are being waived?

[Page 281]

MR. ADAMS: Mr. Speaker, the answer would be similar to the one I gave two questions ago, and that is that I do recall vividly he and his Party really coming on to me for interfering with the workings of the Resource Recovery Fund Board and their business deals. As minister, I will inquire of the information that he asks and bring it to the House accordingly.

MR. TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, back on October 23rd of this year, I sent a letter to Mr. Adrian White, the Chief Operating Officer with the Resource Recovery Fund Board, and I asked Mr. White if any alterations, deletions or additions had been made to the contract between the Resource Recovery Fund Board and TRACC. I haven't received a reply. So, if in fact this contract is still valid and no amendments have been made - none have been made public, that is for certain - then I ask the minister, will he tell this House if the $200,000 performance security that was supposed to have been posted with the Resource Recovery Fund Board by TRAAC has been posted?

MR. ADAMS: Mr. Speaker, I will, indeed, fulfil my earlier commitment. I will ask the Resource Recovery Fund Board to communicate to me, on behalf of the public, what has happened with regard to the contract, if there were amendments or otherwise.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Opposition.

ECON. DEV. - RANKA ENTERPRISE: JOBS - REJECTION

DR. JOHN HAMM: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Development and Tourism. The Minister of Development and Tourism is very aware that last week Mr. Barry Kline and other senior officials of Ranka Enterprises were in New Brunswick negotiating the establishment of a 150,000 square foot factory which would employ 2,000 New Brunswickers and in fact, they were recruiting in the Bathurst-Caraquet area, New Brunswickers. Mr. Barry Kline, a senior agent and planner for that company said that not only is New Brunswick in us, we are interested in New Brunswick. My question to the Minister of Economic Development and Tourism is simple. Why, when Mr. Barry Kline and other senior officials of Ranka Enterprises, were planning to come to Cape Breton to discuss the establishment of that factory and those jobs in Cape Breton, why on August 27th, three hours before they were to leave for Cape Breton, were they called by a senior official of this minister's department and told not to come to Cape Breton and talk about those jobs?

HON. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I thank the honourable Leader of the Opposition for his question. There are a number of questions contained in his first question and I will answer the first part. The reason they were in New Brunswick was thanks to the honourable Leader of the Opposition. We were negotiating with Ranka, in confidence, at the time to try to entice them to come to any part of rural Nova Scotia, not specifically Cape Breton, although one of the sites suggested was in Cape Breton. Thanks to the honourable Leader of the Opposition who decided to go public with that information in

[Page 282]

Sydney to score political points in the recent by-election, that New Brunswick became aware that Ranka was in the area, called them up and started to negotiate with them (Interruption) But let me go on.

There was never an attempt to get Ranka to come to Cape Breton in August, there was a proposal for Ranka to deal with our officials to come to Nova Scotia. We were dealing in good faith with Ranka and New Brunswick was also dealing in good faith with Ranka. We put a proposal on the table to Ranka which apparently was negotiable with them, we were still negotiating with it up to last week; the proposal was very pricey. What they wanted to come to Cape Breton and the Leader of the Opposition knows that, they wanted us to provide $8 million for a building in Cape Breton through a third party, prior to opening negotiations for the factory. Then they wanted a substantial amount per job, like the way they used to do business, just give the taxpayers' money away to anybody who comes along.

We were trying to negotiate a good price, per job, that we felt was in the best interests of the taxpayers. New Brunswick is doing the same. I can tell you that we were very forceful in our negotiations with them. The deal has not been cut with anybody yet and we have not been informed officially that Ranka is off the table.

DR. HAMM: Mr. Speaker, I want to continue with the Minister of Economic Development and Tourism. This minister knows full well that it was after the Nova Scotia officials said don't come to Nova Scotia, don't come to Cape Breton with these jobs, that New Brunswick was approached then to start negotiating with Ranka. I went public with this issue on October 28th and what was this minister's response? He said, I am not interested in them - and these are his words and it is in the press - because they are a sweatshop. That is what this minister said about the company that wanted to take 2,000 jobs to Cape Breton.

MR. SPEAKER: Supplementary, please.

DR. HAMM: For that minister to suggest that anyone, other than that minister or perhaps his officials, dissuaded Ranka to come to Nova Scotia is simply a falsehood.

MR. SPEAKER: Now the supplementary question, please.

DR. HAMM: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Premier. Here we have a company that for months has been wanting to come to Cape Breton. They wanted to bring 2,000 jobs to job-starved Cape Breton. I ask this Premier, when did he first become aware that this company was negotiating to bring 2,000 jobs to Cape Breton?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I am going to refer that question to the honourable Minister of Economic Development and Tourism.

[Page 283]

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, first of all let's put some things to perspective here. First of all, the Leader of the Opposition is playing fast and loose with figures here. There never was 2,000 jobs on the table anywhere. Can you imagine 2,000 people sitting in a factory sewing undergarments in Cape Breton? This company manufactures undergarments for export and probably is a very good company, but 2,000 people would be more than the entire textile industry of this province.

[3:45 p.m.]

They were going to set up in Nova Scotia somewhere, Mr. Speaker, not on Cape Breton Island. So, we had said to them, we will sweeten the pot a little, if you want to come to Cape Breton because of the high unemployment in that particular area, or in other sections of rural Nova Scotia. So, we offered them some incentive to do that, but what we would not offer them, and that is when they started to go elsewhere, we would not take $8 million of the public purse to build a new building for a company that was putting no discernible equity of their own. They were not coming in with any risk of their own. We are in the business of trying to get jobs in this province, that are good sustainable jobs, and we have to be very careful when we are dealing with the taxpayers' money in that regard.

DR. HAMM: Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Economic Development failed to answer my question, and I can answer the question. The Premier did not know the name of Ranka. He did not know the name of Ranka on October 28th when he was asked by the press as to what he knew about the negotiations on the lost jobs. So, this Premier became aware on October 28th that a company was negotiating for four months to bring jobs to Cape Breton.

MR. SPEAKER: A final supplementary, please.

DR. HAMM: My final supplementary, Mr. Speaker. Would the minister confirm that Ranka's annual payroll is in the vicinity of $30 million and that they pay an hourly wage, not by piecework as the minister had indicated earlier in the press?

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, to answer the question directly, I have no idea what their annual payroll is, and I have no idea what they pay. I am not in charge of Ranka. I am trying to run a provincial government department here.

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

ECON. DEV. - RANKA ENTERPRISE: JOBS - REJECTION

DR. JOHN HAMM: Mr. Speaker, I will continue with the Minister of Economic Development. The jobs they are offering in New Brunswick pay $7.50 to $13 per hour, so those are the figures that the minister did not have. It is interesting how much information he did not have about a company that wanted to bring 2,000 jobs to Cape Breton, the Minister

[Page 284]

of Development. Well, it is interesting that the Premier, four months after they started negotiations, did not even know the name of the company.

There seems to be a lot of confusion as to whether or not we are still negotiating with Ranka because we get one answer from the Director of Communications and we get another answer from the Premier. My question to the Minister of Economic Development is, what negotiations and what letters have gone out in the last three weeks to Ranka indicating interest for Nova Scotia in those 2,000 jobs?

HON. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, you know it is interesting when we provide incentives to bring jobs to Nova Scotia, we get criticized. We get criticized every which way but loose when we try to do that. The AT&T proposal, the other proposal, the IKEA proposals, all of them, we get criticized. When we are negotiating with a company that wants substantial incentives per job, and I mean substantial. This company wanted $10,000 a job with no risk of their own to come to Nova Scotia. Figure that one out at 2,000.

Let me tell you this, Mr. Speaker, I understand that New Brunswick, when they came into the hunt, wanted to offer in the area of $17,000 per job. Well, that is fine, if New Brunswick taxpayers have that kind of money to put out for that particular operation led by Mr. Kash Sood, is his name, the President, who by the way has never contacted me. I have never had any direct contact with anybody with Ranka. There were third parties doing the dealings in Cape Breton, trying to sell some land and trying to get some money out of government to pay for a building on that land. That is the only negotiation that I had as minister. I have never talked to anybody in that company.

Now further to that, Mr. Speaker, in regard to the direct answer to the question, our officials have been in touch with Ranka. We were trying to make a deal with Ranka all along, right up until this week. I understand, according to New Brunswick press reports, that New Brunswick is close to making a deal.

What is interesting, Mr. Speaker, is that Kash Sood, the President of Ranka, has never confirmed that with the press in New Brunswick. As a matter of fact, in the Telegraph Journal yesterday, it stated that attempts to contact Mr. Sood were unsuccessful.

DR. HAMM: To continue with the minister, the minister has just indicated that the principal owner of Ranka Enterprises, that wanted to bring 2,000 jobs to Cape Breton, was never contacted by this minister and certainly he was never contacted by our Premier because the Premier didn't even know his name or the name of the company. I did contact Mr. Kash Sood and I asked him, what kind of reception did you get in Nova Scotia? I said I hoped that one day I would have the opportunity to meet you in Nova Scotia, if you bring your jobs to Nova Scotia.

[Page 285]

My question to the minister - of what used to be economic renewal and now it is economic chaos, it seems - at what point does this minister feel that he should be personally involved in negotiating jobs? At what point does he feel that his Premier should be involved in negotiating jobs for Nova Scotians?

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, we are dealing with a number of proposals in Nova Scotia at the present time. Some of them are very good, some of them we just announced, some of them we are about to announce. We do that everyday. We have account executives who are out everyday, trying to entice business to Nova Scotia, particularly to rural Nova Scotia, such as in areas of high unemployment, as well as Cape Breton Island, of course. We are doing that on a daily basis.

The minister does not get involved in every one of these deals, not like the previous government, because they were all done on a political basis when they were in office. They just gave money away, willy-nilly, to their friends, most of whom went awry as soon as the money was given out.

Specifically to answer you question, honourable Leader of the Opposition, I will meet anybody, anywhere, if it means jobs for Nova Scotians. We are in the business of promoting Nova Scotia. (Applause)

DR. HAMM: Well, thank you, Mr. Speaker, I will continue with the minister. The minister indicated that he will do anything to get jobs to Nova Scotia, but obviously he draws the line at making a telephone call and obviously he draws the line at telling his Premier that there is a company that wants to bring 2,000 jobs to Cape Breton, and he doesn't even give it enough importance to pick up the telephone and say hello, I am Manning MacDonald and I would like to talk to you because you want to bring jobs to Cape Breton.

I am not suggesting for one minute, and this minister knows that I am not suggesting that we pay an unrealistic price for jobs anywhere in this province, but I am suggesting most strongly that this minister has dropped the ball, he has fumbled and we have lost the game with Ranka.

My question for the minister is simply, will the minister indicate what initiatives he and his department have taken in recent weeks to fulfil what the Premier said publicly to The Saint John Telegraph Journal, that we are still interested in Ranka and we are still negotiating? What has taken place to allow our Premier to make that statement?

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I thought I answered that before, but I will answer it again and remind the honourable Leader of the Opposition that he should watch his blood pressure.

AN HON. MEMBER: It is not my face that is red.

[Page 286]

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: It is certainly not mine.

Mr. Speaker, we went to officials of Ranka and we suggested to them that a new building of 150,000 square feet - if you can just imagine how large that building would be - was out of the question. However, in our negotiations with Ranka, we suggested that we would find locations for them, three locations in various rural sections of Nova Scotia, if they were interested, including the Mulgrave area, including the Cape Breton area, and including the Yarmouth area. We offered that to Ranka; they were not interested.

This figure of 2,000 jobs, I don't where that is being mentioned. I was negotiating with Ranka for 400 jobs in Cape Breton. That is all, and through my department. This pie in the sky 2,000 jobs. I heard it go, it is amazing, Mr. Speaker, already this week it has gone from 1,500 to 2,000 and it is only Wednesday. By Friday it will be 3,000 jobs.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Fairview.

EDUC. - HORTON HIGH SCHOOL (KINGS CO.):

CONSTRUCTION - COSTS

MS. EILEEN O'CONNELL: My question is for the Premier. The House may recall that the clock ran out yesterday when I was asking the Premier about the P3 school. Yesterday I asked the Premier whether he had done as he promised and looked into the matter of the P3 schools. His response was to defer to the Minister of Education and the minister referred me to the Hansard of the Public Accounts Committee meeting and left the impression that the original $8 million for Horton High was for renovations. The facts show otherwise.

In 1994, and I have a document that I will table, a press release, from the Department of Education. In 1994 the government announced a $7.1 million refit for Horton School and that is in this press release. In October 1996 a government information package on P3 school construction lists the projects for (Interruptions) Mr. Speaker, it is necessary to my question that I just finish this sentence. That document lists the new school construction project under P3. The new Horton School is listed there. Today that school's cost is $25,711,116 and my question for the Premier is, has the Premier looked into the P3 schools and can he tell us if he has learned why the costs of the Horton School have tripled?

THE PREMIER: Yes, I have looked into the concept of the P3 schools along with the Minister of Education and Culture and the department. In fact, we have looked into the P3 schools, all four P3 schools that have been announced, and we are compiling a report which will be made public on those four schools. We will also be bringing forward what we hope to do with respect to further school construction in Nova Scotia.

[Page 287]

MS. O'CONNELL: I have to ask the Premier this then. If there is a report coming, will the minister commit that he will absolutely have in this report the answer to the most vital question of all. Who authorized the cost escalation of the Horton School? The deputy minister did not know. Will the Premier tell this House now that that report will contain the answer? Maybe he can tell us right now. Who is responsible for making the decisions when the costs of the school triple?

THE PREMIER: We hope to have this report made available before the House adjourns for Christmas. I cannot say what is going to be in the report. I am hoping the report will meet the concerns of the honourable member. If it does not, then certainly she will have the opportunity in Question Period to ask further questions to clarify any information that is not there.

MS. O'CONNELL: I think the evidence for the answer to that question is in, in that the cost of this one school has more than tripled in the course of its construction. I would like to ask the Premier, given that the school is three times more expensive than it should be, will the Premier admit to this House now that this is a terrible way to build schools, and put an end right now to P3 construction of schools?

THE PREMIER: We are not acknowledging that the school is three times more than it should be. We are bringing forward a report that will have the information which the honourable member will be able to see for herself. If there are concerns arising from that report, then certainly she will be able to bring forward further questions.

The fact of the matter is that we need schools in Nova Scotia. (Applause) We are not privatizing the operation of schools. We are looking into the possibilities if public-private partnerships are the way to build the schools, not operate the schools; and if she will listen to the people of Nova Scotia, they will tell her that their prime concern is good, affordable schools in the Province of Nova Scotia.

[4:00 p.m.]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Hants West.

FIN. - HST: HEATING FUEL - REMOVAL COSTS

MR. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Finance. Yesterday in the House, the Premier advised the House in response to a question that the harmonized sales tax could be lifted off heating fuels. Since the Premier has been thinking about this - in fact, he said the time is nigh way back in early October - I was wondering whether or not the Minister of Finance has had discussions with the Premier and has advised

[Page 288]

him of the cost of taking the provincial portion of the HST off heating fuels, and how much that is?

HON. WILLIAM GILLIS: Mr. Speaker, certainly my officials and I have had discussions with the Premier on this matter and the staff in the Premier's office. It is certainly an important question and one that the Premier brought up a number of times.

MR. RUSSELL: Well, that certainly provided a lot of information, Mr. Speaker. What I want to know from the Minister of Finance is how many bucks are the Nova Scotia taxpayers going to be in for to accommodate this ill-thought-out harmonized sales tax scheme and the promise of the Premier to remove that tax from heating fuels?

MR. GILLIS: Mr. Speaker, it certainly depends on what the government decides, what Cabinet decides. The Premier is actively pushing this particular matter. I think there is a range in cost, but I think it would be premature and misleading to put an exact number on it. Suffice it to say, obviously there is a cost and it depends on whether you are looking at it from January 1st to March 31st of this fiscal year, or a full year.

MR. RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, my final supplementary is to the Premier. The Premier, back in as I said early October - early September and again in October - said that he was going to momentarily relieve the taxpayers of the Province of Nova Scotia of the provincial cost of the HST on heating fuels. Surely to goodness the Premier wouldn't be so irresponsible as to make that kind of a statement without having some realization of what the cost would be. So I ask the Premier, what is the cost going to be for relieving the people of Nova Scotia of the tax on heating fuels?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, what I said was that we were looking into the concern of the people of Nova Scotia with respect to HST on things including heating oil and that we would do what we could to help them in this concern. We never specified any definite way to do it and the fact of the matter is, I never said I'd do it momentarily. I always said that we hoped to have an answer on this before Christmas to apply the first of the year, and that is still our intention. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Cumberland North.

TRANSPORT. & PUB. WKS. - HWY. NO. 104 (WENTWORTH VALLEY):

SPEED LIMIT - CHANGES

MR. ERNEST FAGE: Mr. Speaker, my question today will deal with a situation that many residents of Cumberland-Colchester have contacted me in recent days over. Would the Minister of Transportation and Public Works agree that since the opening of the Cobequid Pass that all truck traffic, except the wide loads and local deliveries, is travelling on that local road, but that all other truck traffic and passenger vehicles are travelling free on the Cobequid

[Page 289]

Pass? I might add, as all traffic should in the Province of Nova Scotia. My question is, does the minister agree that there is less traffic travelling on the old Wentworth section of Highway No. 104?

HON. DONALD DOWNE: Mr. Speaker, the answer is yes.

MR. FAGE: If that is so, and there is less traffic travelling on the old Highway No. 104, then why is the speed limit lowered to 70 kilometres per hour in certain areas of that section?

MR. DOWNE: Mr. Speaker, the reason for the differential in the speed is part of the negotiations that took place with the private sector to have a 30 kilometre speed differential from the old route to the new route.

MR. FAGE: Mr. Speaker, it seems very sad that safety is not the issue here. When I travel that road it is a beautiful, wide road that could certainly sustain 80 kilometres an hour. If safety is not the issue then the bottom line of the Atlantic Highways Corporation is what the issue is all about. If there is $151 million worth of tax included in that going to general revenue of the Province of Nova Scotia, I feel that this agreement does all Nova Scotians a disservice that instead of safety, a highway speed limit is brought to 70 kilometres.

My final question is, will the minister agree today to have a uniform 80 kilometres per hour speed limit through that old section of Wentworth, Highway No. 104 reinstated?

MR. DOWNE: Mr. Speaker, I do appreciate the comments by the honourable member, the new member to the House. Just to inform the members of the House, as I have in the past, that, in fact, what we had previously was an 88 kilometre an hour average speed (Interruptions) As we indicated previously, the average speed on that older route was, in fact, 88 kilometres an hour. The new speed now will be, on average, 80 kilometres an hour, about a four minute differential in travelling time.

We have, for example, 10 or 11 kilometres of highway at 90 kilometres an hour; we have a number of areas at 80 kilometres an hour; we have two smaller sections of less than 6 kilometres long, of 70 kilometres an hour. One of those areas is the ski resort and the other one is in the area of a school. So the average speed, in fact, is 80 kilometres per hour along those sections, which is eight kilometres less than in the previous agreement.

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

NAT. RES. - SABLE GAS: C.B. - SOCIO-ECONOMIC IMPACT

MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, I would like to direct my question through you to the Premier. Yesterday the member for Cape Breton The Lakes asked the Premier

[Page 290]

about the socio-economic impact of Sable gas on Cape Breton. The Premier went off on a bit of a lateral on that one. I want to try again to focus his attention on what I think is the real, crucial issue here, with respect to the social impact assessment.

Yesterday, representation was made before the Senate Committee on Devco by Jim Livingstone, former President of Nova Scotia Resources Limited, that offshore gas could kill the Cape Breton coal industry. So my question to the Premier is this, why would the government grant approval of the Sable project before, in fact, determining whether the project will destroy the Cape Breton coal industry?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I am very concerned about the welfare of the people of Cape Breton but there are other parts of Nova Scotia, too, that want natural gas. It may be that industrial Cape Breton doesn't want natural gas. That could be the choice of the people of industrial Cape Breton. There will be a feasibility study completed well before the natural gas comes ashore that will involve all of the aspects of the economic activity in industrial Cape Breton and a decision will be made. It may be that they may not want it but other parts of Nova Scotia do.

MR. CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, you see this is what happened a bit yesterday, that the Premier got off on talking about the lateral and it is not the lateral that is the problem. In fact, the lateral may be the solution to the whole issue of the impact this will have. The problem is natural gas usage on the mainland by Nova Scotia Power. That is the whole issue here relative to the displacement of Cape Breton coal. That is why the question is there.

So given the fact that the Premier doesn't seem to think that this is an issue, I want to ask him, has he received any guarantee from Nova Scotia Power, beyond their vague assurances before the Sable panel, that it will not reduce its purchase of Cape Breton coal below a certain amount, let's say 2 million tons . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Could we have the question, please.

MR. CHISHOLM: . . . has he received any assurances whatsoever that that will not happen?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, there is a good future for Cape Breton coal. The fact of the matter is right now that almost all if not all of the Cape Breton coal is sold to Nova Scotia Power. There is an international market, there is a beautiful state-of-the-art. international pier in Sydney that can ship coal to other areas that need coal. There are a lot of possibilities for Cape Breton coal and I think the honourable member is really downplaying the coal industry of Cape Breton and frankly, maybe quite unintentionally, demeaning the coal industry of Cape Breton.

[Page 291]

MR. CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, the answer is clear, the Premier has not gotten any guarantees from Nova Scotia Power. So that is why it is that business, labour and municipal leaders in Cape Breton have gotten together and filed an appeal before the courts of that panel decision because they are so desperate about the impact that Sable gas will have on the Cape Breton coal industry. I want to ask the Premier my final question. Once the provincial government has been given the green light to the development, which it appears that they have, they have given up their levers to do anything to slow them down, how does the Premier expect to do anything at all to deal with the negative impacts identified by a socio-economic study, whether it is done in the spring or any other time? What is he going to do if there are, in fact, any negative impacts determined by that study?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, the honourable Leader of the Third Party is completely missing the point. The fact of the matter is the impact study will determine the effect on industrial Cape Breton and there are two very large coal generating plants in Cape Breton that will continue to be fired by coal completely. There is also a steel industry that could very well benefit, increase and expand because of natural gas in Nova Scotia. That could be the determining factor.

The people of Cape Breton have a future that is much more interesting and with a lot more possibilities than the one that the honourable Leader of the Third Party is trying to impose on them.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Queens.

ENVIRON. - PARKS DIVISION: RESPONSIBILITY - ASSUMPTION

MR. JOHN LEEFE: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister of the Environment. Recently a decision was taken by government to transfer the Parks Division of the Department of Natural Resources from the responsibility of the Minister of Natural Resources to that of the Minister of the Environment. My question is whether in addition to the responsibility for the Parks Division, he also now is responsible for the operations side of the provincial parks?

HON. WAYNE ADAMS: Mr. Speaker, the question is timely in that we have a team of officials between the two departments who are now working out the very details for the transfer of parks services to the Department of the Environment. The two teams are headed by the two respective deputy ministers and in very short order I expect to have those details available for everybody. It is premature to assume what we may or may not be doing in that exchange.

MR. LEEFE: Mr. Speaker, the minister causes me to back up a little bit. He said it is premature to determine whether or not the exchange will occur. Is the minister now saying that the decision to move the Parks Division to the Department of the Environment may now

[Page 292]

occur or is the minister saying that the operations side of Parks may remain with the Department of Natural Resources?

MR. ADAMS: Mr. Speaker, I was very specific to the details of operation. There is no question the Premier's announcement is standing. There will be a transfer of Parks and Services to the Department of the Environment.

MR. LEEFE: Mr. Speaker, is consideration being given with respect to these ongoing discussions to a significant transfer of dollars and/or personnel from the Department of Natural Resources to the Department of the Environment in the event that the operations side responsibility is assumed by the Department of the Environment?

[4:15 p.m.]

MR. ADAMS: Mr. Speaker, without having all the details completed, I would say at this point, and I state with some caution, that we do know that there would be transfer of budgetary arrangements along with personnel. We have made assurances that there would be no losses in each respective area.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings North.

AGRIC.: YOUNG FARMERS - INCENTIVE PROGRAMS

MR. GEORGE ARCHIBALD: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Agriculture. Now, there are a lot of questions that I would like to ask the Minister of Agriculture, from the drought to the decline in the revenues that farmers received this year - the net revenue in the farm was down 13 per cent - the list of questions about that important industry is endless, but today I would like to confine my question simply to the minister, could he indicate to me what programs he has in place that are helping young Nova Scotians get into the agricultural industry?

HON. EDWARD LORRAINE: Mr. Speaker, we have a number of programs, in fact, we are looking at interest-free forgivens for new farmers. That sits at $8,000 at the present time and we are taking a look at that, but we also have programs such as our safety net programs and many of them to assist not only new farmers, but all farmers.

MR. ARCHIBALD: Mr. Speaker, if I could speak quite specifically. I was talking to a young farmer and his wife - actually his wife and the farmer yesterday - and they want to farm together. They can buy the father's farm with the land and the government, through the Farm Loan Board, will make a small loan - it is really quite a substantial loan - to purchase the land, they can get a cattle loan but, in this day and age, they have no money for operating capital, they have no money for machinery and what they need is some kind of assistance that does not exist today within the Government of Nova Scotia.

[Page 293]

The minister indicated that his department is having a look at interest forgiveness. I am wondering, Mr. Speaker, how soon will that program be available to farmers and whether these young people should, indeed, say, well, look, we will wait around for a couple of months because it is coming or whether we should just say forget about it, Dad, sell the farm, and then forever we have lost one young couple who would like to be farmers?

MR. LORRAINE: Well, I, for one, as minister of our department certainly wouldn't advise any young farmer to forget it. I had many a young farmer come to me who wants to get in the business of beef production because they thought I might know something about it. I have gone through calculations with them and a number of those young farmers have taken my advice and have gotten involved. Unfortunately, you are as aware as I am as to what happened this summer due to the drought conditions and I feel sometimes that I may have given them the wrong advice by getting them started with the drought conditions this year, but I think we are going to work through that if you give us a little bit of time.

MR. ARCHIBALD: I know that the Minister of Agriculture is a very kind and caring and concerned individual and I know that he has a great deal of agricultural experience and background, but, Mr. Speaker, these young people called me and they wanted my advice on what they should do, and I am not a loan agency, I can't help finance them, all I can do is say, look, what program has the government available to help out. Would the Minister of Agriculture indicate whether this program to help initiate young farmers into the industry will be available shortly or whether it is something in never-never land? I just want to know, how soon can these young people expect to have a relief program so that they can begin farming?

MR. LORRAINE: I am not going to put any time limit on, Mr. Speaker, but I have had a lot of discussions with the president of the Federation of Agriculture, with agriculture commodity groups and, in fact, just this morning the deputy minister and I discussed this very - look, the member asked the question and he is not even listening (Interruptions) - in fact, this morning the deputy and I had quite a lengthy discussion about this very issue of trying to get an increase for the first-time farmer on interest forgivens, similar to what we had in the past. (Interruptions) Look, I am not going to make any predictions as to how soon, but I have already answered your question. Now if you are going to rise on a new question, I will answer that, too.

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

DEVCO - THREE MINE COMMITMENT:

DONKIN PRIVATIZATION - COMPATIBILITY

MS. HELEN MACDONALD: My question would be directed towards the Premier. In a September news story, prior to the by-elections in Cape Breton, the Premier indicated that he was very concerned about the Donkin Mine issue and the possibility of selling it to a

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private operator. In the same news story the Premier agreed that Donkin is the future of Devco.

Does the Premier believe a three-mine Devco operation is compatible with the privatization of the Donkin Mine?

THE PREMIER: Well, if you are going to have a three-mine operation, Donkin is going to be part of Devco. It is not going to be a private operation.

MS. HELEN MACDONALD: So the Premier is indicating to this House that Donkin will be part of the three-mine operation and will not be sold.

MR. SPEAKER: Try not to follow the rabbit tracks.

MS. HELEN MACDONALD: Pardon me?

MR. SPEAKER: Try not to follow the rabbit tracks. They are meant to throw you off course, so just continue with your question.

MS. HELEN MACDONALD: That is my question. I would like the Premier to confirm what I understand he just said - that Donkin would be part of the Devco operation and not part of a private operation.

THE PREMIER: What I said was, if Donkin is part of Devco, it is not private. The fact of the matter is, if Donkin is part of Devco and is developed by Devco, that is the decision of the federal government. They are the owners of the Cape Breton Development Corporation. We have a 20 per cent share and we appoint two of the directors in Devco, but the decision on the future of Devco and the expenditures they make, are a federal decision.

MS. HELEN MACDONALD: It is my understanding, Mr. Speaker, that the Premier would need to approve the transfer of Donkin leases to a Donkin Resource Limited. Is that what he is indicating?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I did not say anything about leases at all. I am just talking about the fact that if Donkin is developed by the federal government, by Devco, it has to get the approval of the federal government. I agree that it is important to the future of Devco, but it remains a federal decision.

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

[Page 295]

OPPOSITION MEMBERS' BUSINESS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Opposition House Leader.

MR. GEORGE MOODY: Mr. Speaker, would you please call the order of business, Motions Other Than Government Motions.

MOTIONS OTHER THAN GOVERNMENT MOTIONS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Opposition House Leader.

MR. GEORGE MOODY: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Resolution No. 7.

Res. No. 7, re Gov't. (N.S.): Mismanagement - Condemn - notice given Nov. 21/97 - (Dr. J. Hamm)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Official Opposition.

DR. JOHN HAMM: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to be able to start off debate on the resolution which deals with bad deals. Bad deals that this government has made over the past four and one-half years, bad deals that Nova Scotians will have to live with and bad deals that this Premier would have us believe he can fix.

"Therefore be it resolved that the Liberal Government be condemned for its bungling and mismanagement and its abject failure to plan and implement a vision for a prosperous, safe and healthy Nova Scotia." [Resolution No. 7]

Well, we have so many bad deals that it is going to take all afternoon to discuss this resolution. I have decided that rather than talk about public-private partnerships and schools, rather than talk about the blended sales tax, rather than talk about the toll highway, rather than talk about the casinos, all bad deals, I am going to talk about the Sable gas deal and the fact that Nova Scotians are not getting all they deserve from their gas, their deal, and from their government.

We had, earlier today in the House, the Premier responding that there are no agreements in place. No agreements in place. What about the royalty agreement? This government confirmed, and Mobil and partners confirmed, that there was a royalty agreement in place, and this was discussed at length in previous months and at a previous sitting. As a matter of fact, the Premier had a lot to say about the royalty agreement when he was a Liberal leadership candidate, when he said that he did not like it either, but today he said in the House there are no agreements. So, it seemed to be that the Premier would have us believe that there is no royalty agreement, but what is wrong with the royalty agreement?

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There was a lot of criticism because the agreement is not production-driven except in the lower return levels and when the profits, if there are profits in the upper levels, it will be simply a sharing of profits. We are going to run into the same difficulty with that as we are going to run into sharing profits with ITT Sheraton because there will not be profits to share; certainly, not in the amounts that the government has predicted would be there. What is another bad deal with the royalty agreement? It is not only that it is not production-driven, but it is in fact profit-driven, but there is a bad royalty deal in that there is no specific, no special royalty for the natural gas liquids.

On April 18th, the Premier seemed to understand. He said that he would take a second look at the royalty agreement. Well, the royalty agreement is not good. It leaves us strictly at the mercy of the performance of Mobil and its partners, and we could easily see the gas being piped through our province and the royalty payments would not amount to a fraction of the value of that gas.

One of the other comments that one can make about the Sable gas is the fact that Mobil and partners did not take the time to read the Canada-Nova Scotia accord. That was an agreement in the 1980's negotiated between this provincial government and the federal government of the day. It indicates, clearly, that Nova Scotians should be the primary beneficiary to the development of the Sable offshore, but unfortunately, Mobil did not seem to take that to heart. This government did not see fit to point out to Mobil that all development of the Sable Offshore Energy Project should be conducted with making Nova Scotians the primary beneficiaries with that in mind every step of the way; bad deal, another bad deal negotiated by this government.

Another bad deal, when the minister of the day responsible for the Sable Offshore Energy Project was negotiating with Maritimes and Northeast. What kind of a rate are we going to pay for gas to go through the pipeline, and particularly, when we are going to be syphoning some of it off in Nova Scotia here, we hope. What kind of a deal? Did the minister go and say, look, no way are we going to accept a deal that allows Nova Scotians or penalizes Nova Scotians to pay the same tolling price as they pay in New Brunswick because it is our gas, and we are closer. It only makes sense that we get a better deal forever and a day on the tolling costs of the gas going through our province.

That would mean cheaper gas in Country Harbour, Antigonish, Port Hawkesbury, Pictou County, Amherst, Truro, Halifax-Dartmouth, Windsor, wherever the gas ends up, than would be available in Fredericton, Moncton or Saint John. That seems so painfully obvious, it is hard to understand why it was not painfully obvious to this government in negotiating with Maritimes and Northeast. I could remember the day when the president of Maritimes and Northeast stood up, publicly, and said, we are proposing a postage stamp rate from Country Harbour all the way to St. Stephen, New Brunswick, meaning no price advantage for Nova Scotians. No advantage to Nova Scotia businesses, no leg up for an economy that needs help.

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No acceptance of the clause in the Canada-Nova Scotia accord that should give us a preferential price.

Then we have the drama of the eleventh hour negotiations in the dying days of the Savage Administration, when they negotiate with New Brunswick the joint position, giving Nova Scotians a minuscule advantage in the tolling cost, not for the life of the project but for 10 years, an advantage that would disappear in 10 years time. The Canada-Nova Scotia accord would be ignored after 10 years; a bad deal.

[4:30 p.m.]

Certainly the now Premier had a lot to say about the tolling arrangements when he was a leadership candidate. As a matter of fact, I remember when he said, I would be prepared to go to court to fight that tolling arrangement. I wonder what he is saying to Mobil when he has these secret meetings with Mobil. I wonder what he said on Monday, when he was in Toronto and had that meeting with Mobil and partners, that meeting that we can find out so little about, other than the fact that the Premier had been there.

Remember what the Premier said on June 27th? "After a 10 year period we are on an equal footing with New Brunswick.". I am saying there has to be a price advantage to Nova Scotians. That was this Premier's position on June 27th. Why would he not commit to this House that that is his position in November, when he is now dealing directly with Mobil?

The joint position recommended by the review panel is a bad deal because Nova Scotians didn't realize and didn't think to suggest to Maritimes and Northeast something different. Here we have a project that at least in its initial phase is going to provide daily 460 million cubic feet of natural gas. Maritimes and Northeast says, we need 85 per cent of that production going right through to the United States if our pipeline is going to be viable. That leaves 15 per cent of the production for Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.

With substantial sales already arranged in New Brunswick, the amount which will be available to Nova Scotians is suspect. It is a bad deal because nowhere did this government think to arrange with Mobil that we need as much gas as we can use and we need that gas effectively marketed here in Nova Scotia and we need a distribution infrastructure that will make gas available to Nova Scotians.

Why wouldn't Maritimes and Northeast be happy if we didn't buy any gas here in Nova Scotia? Certainly they would be happy, because they would get the full rate for all the gas, the entire length of the pipeline. Never will it be in Maritimes and Northeast's interest to sell gas here in Nova Scotia. They will only do it if they are forced to and they can only be forced to by this government and that Premier. It is a bad deal because there is no arrangement, there is no contract that says that Maritimes and Northeast has to aggressively

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market and make gas available here in Nova Scotia. Mobil must be made to understand that Nova Scotia gets first dibs on the gas and only the rest is available for export.

The government has failed to negotiate a supply for Nova Scotians, despite the fact that it is our gas. It is a bad deal.

Let's talk about distribution. Maritimes and Northeast is very excited about two laterals here in this province. They want to build the lateral to Halifax-Dartmouth because there will be a big demand here in Halifax-Dartmouth and that will be a profitable lateral. They want to build the lateral in Pictou County because it is very short and there are two major customers potentially - Trenton Works and Nova Scotia Power. So that is going to be a profitable lateral and those are the two they talk about. They don't talk about a lateral to Amherst and they don't talk about a lateral over to Windsor, they don't talk about a lateral to Truro and they don't even talk about a lateral to Port Hawkesbury. I see that the member for Richmond knows full well and is nodding that he wants gas over in Richmond County.

If we allow them to only build the profitable laterals, then how are we going to finance the laterals that are not profitable? We give them the farm and then we have nothing left to barter with. It is a simple concept that I am sure even those of us who speak in this Legislature can get their heads around. It is the same thing as if we only allow Nova Scotia Power to deliver power to Halifax and the major centres, there would be no power line ever to Meat Cove because that power line doesn't make any money.

In order to get the profitable lines they have to put in all of the lines. That is the way it has to be with the laterals here in Nova Scotia, if you are going to get the gravy then you have to deliver and you are going to have to put all of the laterals in. This is a bad deal when we recommend that Maritimes and Northeast put in a lateral to Halifax-Dartmouth and a lateral to Pictou County without requiring other laterals to other centres in Nova Scotia.

Natural gas liquids are very important because, as I mentioned in the royalty agreement, we are getting the same royalty for the natural gas liquids as we are for the gas itself. We missed the boat on that one. What about a petrochemical industry here in Nova Scotia, in Port Tupper, for example, an industry that would provide valuable jobs for those people in Cape Breton and that particular area? We know it is only 20,000 barrels a day but there are companies in Canada today building petrochemical plants that process only 20,000 barrels a day.

What is wrong with delivering the ethane? Let's not burn the ethane in Boston; let's not let the people of Boston separate the ethane from our gas and provide a petrochemical industry in Boston because our gas is going to New England. Let's take the ethane out; let's demand the ethane be taken out. Let's demand it go to Point Tupper and then ask Mobil if they don't want to develop the petrochemical industry themselves, to put it out for tender. There are other companies that are expressing interest in a petrochemical industry in Cape

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Breton and they will purchase additional quantities of ethane on the world market to make sure that we have a supply that makes a viable industry.

I wish that I had more time because I wanted to talk about the by-pass provision - it is something that we haven't talked about enough here in this place - but I will close in saying if this government drops the ball on the Sable gas deal, they will be remembered as the government that gave away the future of Nova Scotia. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Hants East.

MR. ROBERT CARRUTHERS: Mr. Speaker, I take great pride in being able to speak to this resolution because when it first came forward in the House it interested me. It looked to me just to be a resolution of political rhetoric, but I see that this Party decided that this is the one they wish to debate. Perhaps it is because they had no other resolution worthy of debate and they consider that this one is, but I would have thought that on Opposition Day they could have perhaps spoken to issues that made some sense.

I have just listened to the Leader of the Opposition speak for his whole period - and this is a bit longer than many of the resolutions debated on Opposition Day, I think it was 14 or 15 minutes - about one issue and one issue only, although the resolution speaks of bad deals, bad faith, bad decisions, bad taste, HST, casinos, Sable gas, public partnerships, schools, highways, recycling, Pharmacare, and I didn't see partridge in a pear tree but it was very close.

So he spoke to this one issue, and what amazes me is that this issue was asked in Question Period two or three times. I guess the Leader of the Opposition had a speech written out beforehand because he was answered on two occasions clearly by the Premier of this province that there is no deal made. Those were the questions that they kept putting to him: how are the negotiations going; what are the results? He told them, we are negotiating, but not in the House of Assembly, and we hope to come to a conclusion soon that is best for all Nova Scotians because there are no deals. No deal on royalties; no deal on anything. The only deal that is in place is that there is going to be a good deal for Nova Scotians or there isn't going to be a deal at all.

The Leader of the Opposition would like to make a deal on his own. It appears he picks up the telephone and calls presidents of certain companies who don't call our government. Maybe he is negotiating on his own. The member for Hants West says that is a good thing but I hope he is not negotiating in the same vein that the previous government negotiated because, there goes the kitchen sink, except for a few toilet seats.

One of the things I found interesting, Mr. Speaker, was the general comment that all these deals are bad - schools, highways. We have no schools, we can't build new schools. Why? It sounds old hat but if there is no money in the bin, you can't build things. When we

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took office we found that out pretty quickly, when we looked into the promises that were made.

Two schools in my district were promised and not a penny to build them with. In my district I remember knocking on some doors in certain areas and I had the people of the constituency tell me they were promised that this road was going to be paved; if you get elected, is this road getting paved? I said well, I didn't promise you that the road is going to be paved. I suppose if the money was there and targeted, then it probably would be paved but I didn't promise it and I don't owe it.

Well, my Heavens, when I got there the cupboard was bare, Mr. Speaker. There was not any money at all to pave that road. It was kind of funny, I remember that there was one road, in two elections of the previous government, they started to pave it just before the election. They paved it for about 100 feet and then, of course, stopped when the election took place and there it stood. In the next election they started at the other end of the road and paved it for 100 feet and then they stopped. I couldn't believe it. That is just one example of the deals. No wonder he talks like he does, he is listening to these fellows who were there before, bankrupted us and then expects us to - but guess what, the two schools in my district, one is being built right now and one is starting next year, because of this private partnering.

I just wonder, is the honourable Leader of the Opposition saying that he doesn't think the schools in my district should be built? Is that what he is saying? I can take no other reason because there was no money there to build them when they promised them. I would like to know how he got to build them. The member for Yarmouth says, his, too, and there are two or three others that are in the immediate area, immediate construction term area, but they are not going to get built, so we don't get them. Not only that, to add insult to injury, he goes on and says in a previous speech that these are Cadillacs while others have - well, I don't know, you could be picking on Volkswagens, I don't know what he is comparing them to, he says my schools are Cadillacs. We are only trying to keep up with the competition and technology everywhere else.

There are some other things I want to talk about because this resolution is of great interest to me. What about development? If we don't make any deals, we don't get any jobs. Our unemployment rates in this province are very high. We have to make deals. Now we don't want to give up the kitchen sink and we don't give deals to people just because they are our friends. That is what used to happen. If you happen to come from Hants East - I have to tell you my good friend from Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley he is making some noise back there, he wasn't there then. He may have inherited the highways but he wasn't there then so I don't pick on him particularly, although he is learning, he is consulting with the member for Hants West. That is interesting. It is nice to be in the middle, between these two great ridings and great politicians.

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I have some great fun noticing now that because of property, we actually are getting some work. People are actually getting paid money and making a living and we didn't give up the kitchen sink. Just for example, the questions in Question Period asked of the Minister of Economic Development earlier about the Ranka deal. Well, why did you not give it to them? They wanted $10,000 a job. They were not putting any money in. I can remember the first year we all got up and spoke. Everybody agreed. We were all in line then, even the Opposition, the Third Party, and I think the Third Party still agrees with this one. The Second Party, they agreed with us early in this mandate. You do not give a bunch of money to companies that are not from here, that are not committed to here, that have not got any money in the thing because they come in, move in and take your money and, poof, off they go. We have had enough of that. My heavens, how many examples can we point to?

[4:45 p.m.]

About four years ago, the first time we spoke in this House, everybody agreed. We were all in agreement on that, but now somehow they want to do it again. They want to do exactly what they agreed they should not have done. The first year they were mea culpa. You know, if we only had known or if we had approached it differently. Well, here you are, you want to do it again. Remember the Premier's line about pay $5.00 and you lost the hockey game because of the goal and then you paid $5.00 to lose in the replay. Like here it is, take a picture of this one. Nobody there, well, that is too bad.

Some good deals, can I point to some good deals. I tell you in Hants East we have that peat moss outfit right in the heart of a high unemployment district, very rural too. Did we spend a whole pile of money? (Interruption) The member for Hants West says maybe it was the good member for Hants East. Well, I thank him for that.

AN HON. MEMBER. Hants West.

MR. CARRUTHERS: Oh gee, I thought it was in Hants East all this time. You have to check your borders. You have been there for quite some time too. In any case this one is located in Hants East. I do agree, it will probably benefit Hants West too, because I believe in benefiting the whole community in the whole area. I make no distinction of what politics happens to be representing the seat. I think it is good for Hants West too, and I think it is good for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley. Any other Tory seats, I can help out here tonight?

That is just an example though. We have more. Talk about the highways. I could not believe a couple of the things I heard earlier. For a long time, we got hammered in Question Period for the first two years, when are you going to do something about that deathtrap highway outside of Truro that goes to Amherst? When are you going to do something about it? People are dying, you have to do something. So, we go and do it and here we go, what a bad deal and why don't you not raise the speed limit on the other highway it is a beautiful highway. The one that was a death trap three years ago, according to these members. Now

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they want to raise the speed limit on it. I must have been out for a minute or two when these things happened.

Well, look, they even had the nerve to put Pharmacare down here as a bad deal for the seniors of Nova Scotia. It is one of the best in all of Canada, the numbers have shown it, sometimes people do not understand when it is first brought in. Now, it is in there, and it is working good. Pharmacare is one of the best deals in all this nation, and I have to tell you that they do not want that either. No, do not do that.

I guess what we are talking about, and I am going to be interested to hear what the Third Party says. I am going to be interested. The Progressive Conservative Party, for instance, has been in office before and knows some of the troubles that can come with being in office. The New Democratic Party hasn't, so I am just going to be interested to see what they propose to do with deals.

I am going to sit down and let them have a go, I am. The member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley thinks I should sit down. I was having a good time, but I will sit down shortly. I am really going to be interested in whether they are going to throw money out the window and how they possibly think they could manage a province with the criticisms they have put forward. This is not a New Democratic resolution. This is a Progressive Conservative resolution, so I am going to be interested to hear from the New Democratic Party as to their comments and whether we should get in the same bad deals that they had got in for all those years. After being in Opposition for three or four years they have gone all the way back to where they started. Well, it is possible they might get a seat or two, with a couple new members and that might be exciting. I see they have brought a new member with us today, just started in the last week. I am glad at that, might be something enlightened. Although he was the fellow that I thought was going to raise the speed limit on the old highway because he said it was nice and wide, the one that was supposedly a deathtrap.

Mr. Speaker, there has been some good news in these deals that we have made because things are getting done. Highways are being built, roads are being constructed, and I am telling you, Mr. Speaker, if we do not have these things, our infrastructure falls apart. We are doing them. We are keeping our books balanced.

Just on the tail-end of that Sable thing, I have to reiterate - the Leader of the Opposition spoke all this time on the deal, there is no deal - everything is on the table once again. This Premier is going to deliver on that deal. You just wait. It is not going to be long. He is going to deliver. When the negotiations are complete, he will come forward and it will be too bad, really, for the Opposition because they are sitting here debating the deal that never was. I hope that we will have an apology from them in that case. I know the Leader of the New Democratic Party will ensure that the Leader of the Conservative Party will give us this apology when the deal comes forward.

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My time is up, Mr. Speaker, but I will be interested to hear the Third Party's position on this resolution.

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

MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, you know how I would hate to disappoint the member for Hants East. When he wanted me to try to hold the Leader of the Official Opposition accountable again, I missed what he said. I will have to come back to it some other time. I will tell you what I was doing at the time. I was out in the hallway here and it really does relate to the issue at hand, and that is the question of bad deals, bungling mismanagement and so on by the province, the abject failure to plan and implement a vision for a prosperous and healthy Nova Scotia.

I was outside while the media were trying to ask questions of the Premier on Sable gas. The Premier was refusing to answer questions relative to what is happening around the whole question of the development of Sable natural gas. He was trying to erase the history over the past nine months, not unlike what the government is doing about the last whole four and one-half years, trying to ignore the fact that that happened. He was trying to suggest that all the issue he took with what the former Minister of Natural Resources had done and what the former Premier had done on the Sable gas deal - remember he talked about how they were incompetent and that they had negotiated a bad deal and if I am elected Leader things are going to change - well, he forgot all about that and now we do not know exactly what it is he is doing because he is doing it behind closed doors. He will not talk to Nova Scotians. He will not talk to members of this Legislature. It is part of, maybe it is a disease, a virus that has inflicted the Liberal Party. I do not know.

What we have gotten from this government since they were elected in 1993 is a continuation of decisions made, and my good friend and colleague from Sackville-Cobequid refers to decisions made in the bunker behind the red curtain. You have all heard it time and time again. What it is is this government negotiating behind closed doors, making decisions behind closed doors, not talking to Nova Scotians until after it is all done. You remember last spring, you remember what happened last spring. We were talking here about the blended sales tax and the fact that this government was planning to harmonize. What we found out through other sources is that the Minister of Finance was out in the Airport Hotel negotiating with the federal government and the other provinces on this deal. We came into the House with that information. We asked the Minister of Finance. No, he said. Refused to answer and denied, in fact, that he was negotiating a deal. In fact, it went to the point where he denied having signed an agreement and after the fact we brought in a copy of that same agreement with his signature signed and dated prior to the date when he said he had not signed it. In other words, as we alleged in the House at that time, he was misleading this House once again.

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The problem was, you see, that Nova Scotians did not find out that this was going on. They did not find out the ramifications of that particular deal until it really hit us.

AN HON. MEMBER: This government said it was a good deal.

MR. CHISHOLM: They said it was a good deal. They said trust us, we know what is best for you, Nova Scotians. Even though when given the opportunity Nova Scotians have said in great numbers and huge percentages that they were opposed to harmonizing the sales taxes. This government went ahead behind closed doors and negotiated them and what happened? We all know what happened. On the final day of adjournment, the report, the analysis, we finally grabbed it and brought it into this House against the wishes of this government and Nova Scotians found out the truth.

Nova Scotians found out that what we were talking about was a deal that was going to cost them nearly $100 million in extra taxes. Nova Scotians were hammered by that kind of back-room, mischievous, disrespectful kind of negotiation in dealing and management that this government has been carrying out for so long.

Let's go back even a little further and talk about casinos. Do you remember, that when asked, Nova Scotians said, we don't want - Nova Scotians to the tune of over 70 per cent - casinos in this province? We had a standing committee of the House go out around the province and ask, and Nova Scotians said overwhelmingly they don't want casinos. What happened? (Interruption)

This government brought in a deal. Was it a good deal? No. It was a deal that flew in the face of what Nova Scotians wanted. But not only that, it was a bad deal. It ensured that ITT Sheraton would suck money out of the pockets of Nova Scotians and send them down to New Jersey, New York or wherever it is they're operating from this particular time and leave the consequences of gambling and addiction for the Province of Nova Scotia to deal with.

Not only that, they tied the hands of any future administration with a clause in there that ensured the government wouldn't break the deal, a penalty clause - $300 million if you can believe it. Another deal that was done in silence and done completely against the wishes of Nova Scotians. Another example of serious and irresponsible mismanagement.

The claim to fame of the former administration, because this government has come out in the Throne Speech and ever since the member for Cape Breton North was elected as Leader of the Liberal Party, they're trying to erase the last four years. Why? Because Nova Scotians had been betrayed by those Liberals and they were angry with them so they're trying to get people, you know this costly, long and elaborate strategy, to try to create a sense of amnesia within Nova Scotians on what has happened in the past four and one-half years.

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But one of the claims to fame, in fact, is the balanced budget. The government brought out the trumpets, brought out the band, beat on the drum, told Nova Scotians that it's the first time we've had a balanced budget in the history of Nova Scotia. Do you know, they couldn't even do that right. You'll recall that the Auditor General said, no, no, no, no, according to accepted public administration practices and accounting practices in this country, that's not what happened. You've cooked the books is what we've talked about here because of the fact that they moved expenditures from one year to another in order to try to make it look good. But the reality was that there was a deficit in that particular year to the tune of $52 million and that there was no balanced budget.

But nonetheless that was this government, or no, that was the government from last year. That was their claim to fame. Did you hear anything about the balanced budget in this Throne Speech? Not a word. I wonder why that is? It could be because reality is beginning to creep up on this government. It could be creeping up the fact that they came out with their quarterly statement in the end of August and said, we're still on budget here, we're going to have a smaller surplus but a surplus nonetheless, $1 million. A week later the Auditor General came out and he said, no, no, no, that's not true. Not only are you not going to have a surplus, you're going to have a deficit to the tune of $10.5 million.

[5:00 p.m.]

What is going on over there? We have had the new Premier, the member for Cape Breton North, buy his way to election in that particular by-election, spending tens of millions of dollars to try to convince the voters of Cape Breton North to give him six months. Certainly those people are practical, responsible people. They know their community needs that kind of support and that kind of money but I don't believe that they will, in fact, show any more confidence beyond that, Mr. Speaker.

Health care, education, talk about the whole question of the public-private partnerships. We have a situation where schools are being built in this province and we are lending a private consortium money to build schools and then lease them back to us. Imagine! The Sherwood Park School in Sydney started off with a budget of $7.5 million and ended up with $15 million. The private consortium didn't put in a nickel. Now the government is madly racing to try to fill out a lease.

Do you know why they are doing that, Mr. Speaker? They are doing that for only one reason. Because it is a good deal? No. Because it saves taxpayers money? Not on your life. Not even their accounting can ever try to show that. They are doing it because they are trying to hoodwink Nova Scotians once again. They are trying to say that we are maintaining a small deficit or even a balanced budget.

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That is not the case. What they are doing is taking the costs of constructing off the books and putting it on someone else's books. In other words, what they are doing is paying for that with their credit card, Mr. Speaker. That is irresponsible, that is the kind of financial mismanagement that has resulted in this province having the largest per capita debt in this country. We are still nearly $9 billion in debt, the largest debt per capita in this country, increased, by the way, a month ago when we forgave that poor little company named Michelin $25 million because we had all this money laying around that we could forgive that company that makes in excess of $500 million in profits, we forgave them $25 million.

That is the kind of irresponsible and absolutely unconscionable management that this government has brought about in its four and a half, now nearly five years of management of this province. It doesn't matter how you dress it up, it doesn't matter how they dress it up, it doesn't matter who is in that chair. All of the Liberals in this government have voted for each and every measure that Nova Scotians are so upset about in this province. Nova Scotians will not forget, when the time comes, that this is the government that fooled them, misled them, has held information from them, and has not had the decency to involve them in negotiations on an issue that is as important as any issue facing us at the present time. What is going to happen with respect to Sable gas.

Do you know that the current Premier said back in July, after becoming the Leader of the Liberal Party, that if this isn't the best deal for Nova Scotia, we are going to leave it in the ground. He said, I don't want to see Nova Scotians saying for the next 75 years that we should have left it in the ground because we got a bad deal. That is exactly what is happening and that is what we have to try and stop, Mr. Speaker. That is what I and my colleagues here in the NDP caucus will try to do, to hold this government accountable, as we have for the past four and a half years. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings North.

MR. GEORGE ARCHIBALD: Well, Mr. Speaker, thank you very much. What a unique pleasure it is to have you in the Chair.

Now this resolution that was presented by the Leader of the Opposition, Dr. John Hamm, addresses a very serious situation in Nova Scotia in that it discusses the Liberal Government's legacy for the last four years, remembered for its bad deals, bad faith, bad decisions and the bad taste it has left in the mouths of Nova Scotians.

That debate could encompass many things; it could travel along the roads of poor deals. Where do we begin? The new schools that have miraculously started building for private consortiums and then trying to figure a way to draw up a lease; would it be Highway No. 104 toll road that is going to cost more money to build this way than it would have had the government done it in a normal fashion; what about the ambulance service and the 911; what about the casino; what about Tire Recycling Atlantic Canada Corporation; Sable gas,

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the royalty agreement; the deal that the government had to sell Nova Scotia Resources Limited and now it is not for sale? You see, this goes on and on.

I fail to understand how there could be any quibbling from any member of this government because during the Liberal Leadership Convention that was held - and I notice that one of the front runners didn't offer, I am not too sure why, I have heard rumours but I don't know why - don't they remember what the Premier said only a few weeks ago when he was running for the leadership? He certainly indicated to one and all that there was a litany of bad deals in Nova Scotia.

Yesterday, in Question Period, we learned something that shows you just how bad the deal is in this natural gas and the misunderstanding of the government when it comes to the liquids contained in the gas. The gas is coming from Sable Island and goes to Goldboro and there is a stripping machine there that separates everything out. This government and this Premier want to strip out the methane, the propane, the butane, but what they want to leave in the gas as it goes from here to New England is the ethane. The ethane is the building block of the petrochemical industry. What must be done at Goldboro, if there is ever going to be a petrochemical industry in Nova Scotia, you absolutely must, at the very beginning, build a facility with the capability of removing ethane. If they choose to leave the ethane in for the first couple of years or the first few months, well that is one thing, but if you build a facility without the ability to remove ethane when it is being constructed, you are going to have a battle on your hands to do it later. It is not difficult to instruct the partners of Mobil, the consortium, that that is the only kind of a facility that Nova Scotia will accept.

We learned today I guess probably that we had a fundamental waste of time. It took 56 days to produce the Joint Public Review Panel Report on Sable Gas Projects. Professor Fournier from Dalhousie University was the chairman and probably one of the most able chairman of any federal forum that has ever been held. For 56 days, at a cost of hundreds and hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal and engineering fees, people went and they made presentations before the joint review panel and all of a sudden the Premier said today that there is no deal.

I don't blame him for saying it because the deal that was signed by the two Ministers of Natural Resources for Nova Scotia did not do what it should have done. There was no line in the sand that said Nova Scotia first, Mobil and the consortium second. I have the greatest and utmost respect for Mobil because they did a superb job. They marched in and they got what their shareholders told them they wanted, the best deal for Mobil. What else would you expect them to do? That is what they are paid to do and that is what they did. I have no idea in the world who negotiated for Nova Scotia, but whatever Mobil suddenly said they wanted, we said good, how much and how high can we jump.

[Page 308]

Today we learned there is no deal on royalties, which is a good thing because the royalty deal that was signed by this government, in the words of the Premier, was terrible. It offered no money for the people of Nova Scotia. In this $1 billion gas project we were looking at a few hundred million dollars. Totally out of whack with any royalty arrangement anywhere.

The pipeline going through here to New Brunswick and down through New Hampshire and Massachusetts - no deal there either. What in the devil was the joint review panel doing here? Waiting for the Premier of Nova Scotia to say yes?

Mr. Speaker, that is not reality, I don't think, because the Premier said there is no deal on anything with regard to natural gas. He said something else today which we have been saying right along. There is no assurance or guarantee from any of these people that the government bent over backwards for that this project is going to take place in the foreseeable future. Mr. Phelps, when he spoke here in February of last year, indicated, if this project goes ahead. He did not say when we do it. He did not say we are going with it. He said if it goes ahead.

Now we are finding out the Premier has no confidence in the former ministers for the deal they signed because he says it does not exist. We will not accept it. That is a good thing because there is nothing in it for Nova Scotians. This deal that they did sign on gas, Mr. Speaker. Nova Scotians said, we want a better price than our competitors. We want our industry to be able to purchase gas more cheaply than in New Brunswick or Maine or Vermont or New Hampshire or Boston. Totally ignored by our government at the time was the availability.

We want an unlimited source for Nova Scotians. If Nova Scotian industries suddenly say, we need to double our capacity, then Mobil and its partners have to say, you have it. Looking down the road a few years, if a gas shortage should arise and they have happened before, Mobil American company, American customers in Boston have a choice to make. Are we going to leave the gas in Nova Scotia for the Nova Scotian customers or is it going to go to Boston? Your guess is as good as mine where it is going to go. Unless we have a firm agreement that it is a Nova Scotia first policy, I can guarantee the gas is going to go to Boston first.

What about Cape Breton? Cape Breton has more to lose or gain in the gas business than any other region of Nova Scotia. Was a socio-economic study ever considered or ever contemplated or even done? Not on your life. We do not want to do that. With all the Liberal MLAs from Cape Breton and particularly from industrial Cape Breton you would have thought that they could not do a thing without doing that study first, Mr. Speaker, but no study; no concern for Cape Bretoners.

[Page 309]

The liquids, Mr. Speaker. Yesterday in Question Period the Premier told us that the ethane was going to stay in the natural gas for a while because it would make the gas burn better, make it more desirable for the Boston customers. What the heck do I care about the Boston customers? I care about Nova Scotia and so should the Premier. Ethane cannot leave Nova Scotia if we are ever going to have a chemical industry here.

I have heard them indicate that it is too small, only 20,000 barrels a day. That is not enough for a petrochemical industry. What is enough, 50,000 barrels a day? If you have 20,000 barrels a day, there are ships going by on the way to New York, on the way to Boston, Baltimore, all the time. You could bring in some gas to the great harbour that we have at Port Hawkesbury and Port Tupper and unload it. That is what they do at every other petrochemical industry. You have to mix gas. You have to mix your ingredients. They can do it. I will tell you how serious this is. One of the people who is interested in moving gas, they are talking about a gas industry in Newfoundland. If you look at the pipeline, the gases go to Newfoundland and then they come away. I said, how come it works because he said, the Newfoundland Government said, that there is no removal of liquids from gas exported from Newfoundland waters. Some of you may say, well you cannot tell the oil companies what to do. Well, Mr. Speaker, we saw one year ago exactly how you can tell the oil companies what to do when the Premier of Newfoundland indicated to the oil companies when they wanted to build their trans-shipment port in Port Hawkesbury at Point Tupper. The Newfoundland Premier said, that is what you think, the trans-shipment is going to be done in Newfoundland. So, at a cost of hundreds of millions of dollars the oil companies, at no cost to the Newfoundland taxpayers, built a trans-shipment point in Newfoundland; rather than use the cheaper, more convenient location of Nova Scotia, they did it in Newfoundland.

[5:15 p.m.]

So, a provincial government that knows its power and is concerned for its citizens can certainly tell the oil companies exactly what it is going to take to get the benefits for the consumers in their province. The royalty agreement, Mr. Speaker, the Premier already covered it. He said, if we cannot get a better royalty agreement than was signed by the former administration of the Premier and his Minister of Natural Resources, we are going to leave it in the ground. That is a bad deal. Well, it is the same administration, he likes to pretend it is different, but his Cabinet Ministers, one of them is still there and the other one he fired, signed a deal that was so awful, he said he would cancel all the deals and leave it in the ground before he would agree to it.

The jobs in Nova Scotia, Mr. Speaker, even the joint review panel expressed grave concern about the jobs for Nova Scotians. On Page 57, they are indicating that there are no jobs in this program for Nova Scotians. The jobs are for New Brunswickers and people living in the United States. This is just one example of the bad deals that this government has signed in the last four years. I do not know whether we have a deal or what we have because the Premier said the deal, the natural gas does not exist. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

[Page 310]

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

MR. PAUL MACEWAN: Mr. Speaker, over the last few moments, I happened to be scanning the Atlantic Edition of the Ottawa Times, a rather interesting publication where a front page item caught my attention under the heading of, Liberals poised to win next spring's election. It read, Russell MacLellan and his revitalized Liberals are now the Party to beat in the 1998 general election after winning two of four provincial by-elections on November 4th. Especially convincing was the Premier's personal victory in Cape Breton North where he nearly doubled the NDP runner-up in the popular vote. With the momentum they have now established under Mr. MacLellan's leadership, the Liberals are comfortably poised for next spring's election campaign. The carry-over on an inside page read, the big losers on November 4th were John Hamm and his Tories while Ernie Fage did win big in Cumberland North, on the strength of highway toll anger and a largely small "c" conservative rural electorate that was rendered a somewhat pyrrhic victory by dismally poor third place showings in the other three races. I would like to table that clipping, Mr. Speaker, because I think that it relates very directly to the content of Resolution No. 7 now before the House.

You see, when you read this litany of bad faith, bad deals, bad decisions, bad taste, bad management, bad teeth, bad heart, bad lungs, bad liver and whatnot and you read the conclusion. "Therefore be it resolved that the Liberal Government be condemned for its bungling and mismanagement and its abject failure . . .", and this and that and the other. It makes you wonder what world, what planet these people live on. They just don't get it at all. Apparently the lessons of November 4th have not registered. Lest it be forgotten, in three ridings out of four the Progressive Conservative candidate placed third and last; two out of four lost their deposits and yet there is no humility or contrition across the way. In those four contests the average vote pulled by the three respective political Parties was; for the Liberal candidates, 40 per cent of the vote; for the NDP, 32.5 per cent and for the Tory candidates, 28 per cent. They just don't get it. I suppose they represent what the geologists, like my good friend the Deputy Premier, would refer to as the impervious layer.

They speak of bungling and mismanagement. Have they forgotten the bungling and mismanagement that was carried on in this province from 1978 to 1993, especially the latter period, the years 1990, 1991, 1992 and 1993? Did you ever witness such bungling and such mismanagement as took place then?

I read last night a summary of some of the events of that time, Mr. Speaker. It pained me to read the details. I am not going to recite them here in this House today but I want to tell you that they certainly represented bungling and mismanagement, if you ever wanted to see it. They would speak of the abject failure to plan and implement a vision for a prosperous, safe and healthy Nova Scotia.

[Page 311]

Mr. Speaker, I ask you, what vision for a prosperous, safe and healthy Nova Scotia was developed in 1990, in 1991, in 1992 or in the first four months of the year 1993? My recollection is that Donald Cameron wanted to throw out potted plants, even wanted to do away with bottled water. The list of prohibitions that that man would have implemented, had he been re-elected in 1993, would have been staggering.

I don't want to smite the Conservatives too vigorously here this afternoon, Mr. Speaker. I want to applaud those many lifelong Tories who are seeing the light and appreciating the new political realities in Nova Scotia and who are prepared to endorse and to vote for this government, as took place in the four by-elections earlier this month. Those kinds of Conservatives should be encouraged. They deserve our heartfelt support. (Applause) It is only the unrepentant type, as exemplified by the spirit of the resolution now before the House, who deserve to be admonished.

The resolution accuses this government of bungling and mismanagement. Mr. Speaker, on the contrary, this government is the personification of competence and of the ability to respond appropriately to the myriad of complex challenges facing government today. This is why this government passed the test of November 4th in such an exemplary fashion and why the Tory Party placed so poorly in that particular test.

The resolution refers to, ". . . abject failure to plan and implement a vision . . .". On the contrary, Mr. Speaker, this government exudes vision and sound planning of strategy. These qualities, in my view, are this government's greatest strengths. Regrettably, the Party which has exuded abject failure to plan and implement a vision, sir, is the Progressive Conservative Party of Nova Scotia. It is due to this failure that the provincial Tory Party has run out of steam, to the point that it is obvious that they will not even be a contender in the next provincial election. It is due to this failure that the Progressive Conservative Party of Nova Scotia has entered an era of eclipse, a tailspin so all-pervasive that they now face the very likely prospect of placing third and last, not just in three constituencies involved in last month's by-elections but generally across the province.

It is due to this failure to plan and implement any positive vision that valiant Conservative standardbearers, such as Rollie Clarke in Cape Breton The Lakes, such as Danny Laffin in Cape Breton North, lost their deposits, meaning not just the loss of the $100 election deposit but also the forfeiture of entitlement to reimbursement of campaign expenses, meaning the loss of many thousands of dollars in each constituency. This is what happened in two of the four constituencies they contested on November 4th, half of the total slate. Furthermore, those losses were sustained in a part of Nova Scotia, in a part of Cape Breton which only a few short years ago was the heart and soul of the Tory Party in Nova Scotia, the backyard of such candidates as Robert Muir and Dr. Tom McKeough who in their day were absolutely untouchable in that particular part of the province. Still more recently, Brian Young was elected time after time in that same area yet now their candidates, not one but two

[Page 312]

of them, lose their deposits. That ought to teach a lesson to anyone except the most impervious, impenetrable and uncontrite type that one could possibly imagine.

The sad demise of the Tory Party in that area in recent times, in my view, is the product of the type of systematic negativism of the negatories, as expressed in this particular resolution, a resolution whose tone and inflection closely resembles the types of campaigns that were waged in Cape Breton North and Cape Breton The Lakes by the Tory candidates. (Interruptions) Yes, the negatories. Who could possibly be attracted to such whining and snivelling as a political platform? They should study the way in which Robert Stanfield gained a following in Nova Scotia. Believe me, sir, it wasn't with this kind of an approach. I don't know what I can do to help them. There are none so blind as those who will not see.

I believe that history will have no place for them just as history records that in the days of Robert Stanfield, the Tory Party produced good government, a Conservative might even say great government. Just as in the days of John Buchanan, the Tory Party produced government that was electorally successful, if not always good. So the same record is showing that in these times when the Tory Party has become fixated with such nonsense as contained in this resolution, they are sinking to the lowest level of public acceptance in two generations.

The people are not easily deceived; they know and appreciate that this government under Premier Russell MacLellan represents the best option available for the clear choice for the future. I agree that not all the problems have been solved. I am not going to stand up here and say that everything is perfect. I agree that there are immense challenges that yet lie unsolved, still to be dealt with in the future. This is precisely why Nova Scotians recognize that we need the stabilizing and healing work of this government to continue and grasp how foolish it would be to encourage those who have nothing better to offer than the fluff and nonsense contained in this particular resolution.

In concluding, I don't want to be offensive or abusive to my Conservative friends. I want to help them if it is at all possible. I feel sorry for them as they flail and thrash around rather than accepting the inevitable as have those many Conservatives who did the right thing and voted Liberal on November 4th.

I think there are some in these Chambers that might agree with me that good ideas are sometimes found in the Province of Saskatchewan. In that context I would like to submit for the consideration of the House an item I found recently in the press under the heading of "Saskatchewan Conservatives Render Party Inactive" and it read, its dateline Regina, "Over 90 years of Saskatchewan political history was laid to rest on Sunday as provincial Conservatives voted to put their party into a deep slumber, with no guarantee that it will ever be revived. Delegates voted 130-32 in favour of an amendment to their constitution that will render their party 'inactive' for the next two provincial elections. . . . 'I think the only practical choice that could be made was made today,' said Dwight Dunn, a former candidate

[Page 313]

and past president. . . . it was, I believe, necessary, and I think the people of Saskatchewan agree with me.'". Here, I think, is the answer for our friends across the way. Let them voluntarily do as their colleagues in Saskatchewan did, it would save them much trouble and difficulty in the months ahead.

I do state that if they persist in their continued negatory frame of mind and if they persist in going to the people with such guff as is contained in this resolution, they may do so at their peril. However, I would like the record to show that at least my conscience is clear. I have tried to help them. I thank you. (Applause)

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

MR. JOHN HOLM: Mr. Speaker, as I begin, I cannot help but wonder if that was the member for Cape Breton Nova's endearing speech to the Tories to see that, and it is sort of like a pre-request, can I join you after the next election should I be lucky enough to be returned and my colleagues not form the government?

[5:30 p.m.]

One of the things that I must admit and it is absolutely, positively scary, to me anyway, and that is a part of what the previous speaker said, I actually agreed with and what I agreed with was when he was talking about the previous government's record, Mr. Speaker. I would suggest that in fact if one takes a look at the record of the two, both this government and the former Tory Administration, I think that it is a toss up as to try to figure out which one was more incompetent, which one did more bungling and which one was involved with more or worse mismanagement. The member spoke and he talked about the fact that we do not claim to have all of the answers and that there are challenges ahead.

Well, Mr. Speaker, this government promised that it would work with the people of Nova Scotia and they talk about and they pretend that they are a new administration. They have a new Premier-designate, they have a new Leader who is hoping some day to take the Party to the polls in the hope that the people of this province will return them to office. That is why I say Premier-designate.

Although the Premier, and I congratulate him, has won his own seat, he certainly has not yet won a mandate for the Liberal Party. Mr. Speaker, it is the same Liberal Administration. We can pretend or the government can try to pretend that it is a new team, a new administration, but it is the same government. It is exactly the same government and in fact the majority of those who are occupying the front benches except for those who have been placed in the ejector seats are in fact members who were either in the Cabinet before or voted like the sheep in support of the measures that this government is now pretending to try to distance itself from.

[Page 314]

Mr. Speaker, except for the new members of this House, all members of the Liberal team voted for the casinos, against the wishes of the vast majority of the people of the Province of Nova Scotia. They made commitments, they promised that there would not be more giveaways, that they would not bend over and give in to everything that the casino wanted. Yet, they are doing precisely that. They voted for the worst workers' compensation legislation and now they are talking about reforming the system that they made worse. They all, except for the new member for Halifax Citadel, voted for the BST, including our Premier in Ottawa against the wishes of the people of this province.

They talk about good management, well, Mr. Speaker, the previous speaker talked about Saskatchewan. All members of this House, I am sure, will be familiar with a gentleman, and I am sure all members of this House have tremendous respect regardless of your political affiliation for Tommy Douglas. Tommy Douglas said that governments have to have priorities, but the first priority has got to be to keep your financial house and to put your financial house in order because if you do not put your own financial house in order, you are beholden to the bankers and to the bondholders. You will not then be able to deliver the kinds of programs that your citizens need and deserve.

Mr. Speaker, this government would have us pretend that they are putting their financial house in order. They would pretend that they are controlling the debt when, in reality, what they are doing is shuffling the debt, hiding the debt and, as my Leader puts it, placing it on the credit card, where even those on the government benches have to know that it costs more in terms of borrowing charges. Supposedly, I guess, the government figures that they can sucker the people of Nova Scotia into believing that they are controlling the debt if it doesn't appear on their books. They are not going to fool the bondholders, they are not going to be fooling those who give the credit ratings.

You know, Mr. Speaker, before 1993 - I am going to talk about the schools as just one example, for a moment - the debts for new school construction were hidden. Prior to 1993, the liabilities for schools appeared on the books of the school boards in whose district that school was owned. The debt was paid by the province through payments to those boards, but the liability showed up on the books of the school boards. You know even then the borrowing was guaranteed by the Province of Nova Scotia, so we received a preferred rate of interest.

What the government is doing now is trying to return to the pre-1993 situation in terms of hiding the costs, but they are paying a premium for that because through their P3 process that they call public-private partnerships, which, more accurately, would be referred to as public-to-private profiteering, what they are doing, in effect, is hiding the costs on the private borrowers' books and paying a premium in terms of higher interest rates.

[Page 315]

Those four schools that have been built with $47 million of our taxpayers' money that we are lending to their consortiums, interest-free, if those schools are to be financed at the same rate as Highway No. 104 is, at 10 per cent, and you compare that to the provincial borrowing rate of the last long-term bond of 6.66 per cent, over 20 years, just 20 years, those higher interest rate charges are going to be over $30 million, and that is just higher interest rate charges and, at the end of the day, Mr. Speaker, we don't own anything. We would own zero.

The only way the province can play this game and try to hide those costs from Nova Scotians is to pretend that this is strictly nothing but a lease operation and we will not be buying them back and we are not going to get them at a preferred rate because then it becomes a capital lease and, if it is a capital lease, it has to appear in the books of the Province of Nova Scotia. Only if it is an operating lease, where they are strictly leasing, can they hide those costs.

So, after 20 years, after paying the mortgage payments for their so-called partners, paying the higher interest rate charges, we end up with zero, except the ability to either purchase it outright at the market value or continue to lease it. That is the kind of price we are paying and that is what the government calls good management.

I will tell you, Mr. Speaker, the bondholders down in New York or up on Bay Street are going to look at what the obligations of the province are. You can call it a mortgage, you can call it a debt that we owe or you can call it a debt that is owed because we have entered into 20 year leases where we are committed to pay x numbers of dollars. Call it an apple, call it an orange, it has the same effect, we are committing x numbers of dollars. The only thing is that we have no equity, we don't own it, we have nothing, and the government won't even tell us, the government can't even tell us who gave the authority. The school in Horton, last October the list that came out for new school constructions - new, not renovations, the government tries to keep sliding around and they go back to the 1994 list that came out when they were talking about renovations - the 1996 list was for a new school, $8 million. That now is $25.7 million and I have yet to see one piece of paper authorizing it.

I do not know if the Premier knows it. Maybe the Premier can stand up even now and tell us who authorized the increase from $8 million to almost $26 million. Who authorized it? Was that by an Order in Council? Did Cabinet approve that? Somebody surely had to. It cannot have been by bureaucrats alone. If it is, government has totally abdicated any responsibility. They are the ones who are accountable. They should be able to put on the table a piece of paper that says on such and such a date Cabinet approved this kind of an expenditure. It is not there. That is not only mismanagement, that is irresponsible, that is shirking your responsibilities.

[Page 316]

Talk about the prisons. I contend that this government is now well on its way to negotiating a contract for construction of the prisons that are contained in the report that they have had since last May. Government talks about wanting to be open and accountable yet we cannot find out from the Premier or any of the heavyweights on the government benches what they are looking for. What are their tools going to be on the Sable gas?

The best way for us to combat our debt in this province is to have people working, to grow the economy. Yet this government is passing away, giving up, throwing up its hands, saying, trust us. We will negotiate. We will achieve what is best. Yet they have given up their opportunities. They are not challenging the joint review panel in the courts. They gave up their rights on the environmental review process. What are we getting out of it? We are getting good and warm fuzzies from the Premier who is telling us, trust me. We are only going to be negotiating for the best.

We are promised about 150 long-term permanent jobs. All of the gas is flowing away. We do not have preferential long-term price reductions here in Nova Scotia. We do not have commitments or guarantees that the gas liquids are going to be producing a petrochemical industry here in Nova Scotia. In fact, we have gotten virtually nothing out of all of this but we are told, trust us.

Mr. Speaker, I think you indicated that my time is just about running out.

I say to you, Mr. Speaker, and I say it through you to the Premier and to all members of the government benches, Nova Scotians would love to trust in this government because Nova Scotians are, indeed, very optimistic about their future. That optimism about their future is being dampened by the incompetence of this government and by the secrecy of this government. They ask, they demand, of this government, involve them in the decision-making process. They have answers as well. More importantly, they have a right. They have a right to know what is going on. They have a right to be actively involved. They have a right to have a government that works for them and with them for the benefit of them and future generations of those who are working in Nova Scotia, not one that hides behind the red curtain and makes its decisions in secret down in the bunker, down in the Cabinet Chamber.

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

MR. BROOKE TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, again I congratulate you on reaching the top.

There is absolutely no question that this Savage-MacLellan Government has signed and made, in fact, a lot of bad deals for Nova Scotia. They have signed one bad deal after another, as other colleagues have mentioned. We have talked about the HST a little bit; the casino deal; the Sable gas project; public-private partnerships; the Cobequid Pass; the toll road; and those deals have left a bad taste in the mouths of Nova Scotians.

[Page 317]

This evening I feel it is important that I try to dedicate my time to the deal that his province signed with Tire Recycling Atlantic Canada Corporation Limited. Mr. Speaker, this is perhaps the worst deal of all that this government has signed. It is important that we look at some of the provisions in the contract and very quickly it is established that the Resource Recovery Fund Board has been mandated by the Minister of the Environment to developed and implement an industry stewardship programs. TRACC Limited will be in the business of collecting and processing used tires into crumb rubber for the purpose of manufacturing moulded rubber products for resale.

[5:45 p.m.]

Mr. Speaker, I am sure I need not remind you that this government on January 1, 1997 imposed a tire tax. The minister likes to call it an environmental fee, but I wonder how much money from the Nova Scotia taxpayer via that fund has gone to Tire Recycling Atlantic Canada Corporation. How much money was sent to Mr. Doug Vicars and TRACC? There are terms and conditions in this contract that was signed last October that have been violated, a bad deal. I am going to read some of the bad deal provisions into the record. TRACC shall locate, construct and operate at its cost the processing plant. I subscribe to you, Mr. Speaker, that the processing plant has not been built yet. This deal was signed last October, over a year ago. Perhaps the minister could indicate, when the time is appropriate, as to why the processing plant has not been built?

TRACC further agrees to construct or establish and maintain the processing plant in accordance with all industry standards, Mr. Speaker. TRACC agrees that the processing plant and all storage facilities for used tires shall be in compliance with the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment (CCME), the guidelines for storage. I wonder if the minister can tell us if those used tires, those hundreds and hundreds of thousands of used tires that are stored in Cornwallis and at the Greywood Landfill site are stored in compliance with those guidelines?

Mr. Speaker, I wrote to the Resource Recovery Fund Board and asked them if any additions, alterations, amendments and extensions had been made to this contract. I have not received a reply. So, we can only take that this contract is valid. It states that TRACC hereby undertakes to complete the construction of the processing plant and to begin processing used tires at the processing plant on or before June 30, 1997.

Mr. Speaker, here comes the catch, that company, we all know, was given preferential treatment when they were given the provision whereby they could burn 30 per cent of the used tires they collect. After receiving 54 expressions of interest, the minister went after the deal was signed and gave (Interruption) The minister tells me to tell the truth. TRACC shall maintain comprehensive general liability insurance coverage over the processing plant to the tune of $5 million. I ask the minister has the $5 million liability insurance been filed with the Resource Recovery Fund Board as requested in the contract?

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Mr. Speaker, TRACC agrees to arrange for and deliver to the Resource Recovery Fund Board on or before January 2, 1997, a performance bond of $200,000. I can say, with all certainty that on January 2, 1997, the $200,000 performance security was not posted. The Minister of the Environment knows that. It shall be the conditions of the performance security that if TRACC fails to comply with the requirements of Articles 205 and 602 of the agreement which speak to the processing plant being up and running by June 30th of this year, if they fail to do that, the Resource Recovery Fund Board shall be entitled to demand and receive under the performance security the sum of $10,000 for each and every week that TRACC is not in compliance therewith. How come the terms and conditions of this contract are not being enforced?

Mr. Speaker, I can table that contract for other honourable members because it is important that all members in this House understand that what we are dealing with here is a company that has a reputation that is not all that credible. I offer this as evidence. In the New Brunswick Telegraph Journal, on Saturday, November 15th, a 4,000 word article was submitted. It was somewhat a bi-province article, featuring the track record of TRACC primarily New Brunswick, but it also mentioned Nova Scotia. I will gladly file these documents too, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Vicars is the majority shareholder, President and Chief Executive Officer of the company. Mr. Speaker, you should listen because you are part of the government that signed a bad deal, the member for Argyle should listen.

For almost two years public monies flowed into the tire operations in both New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, Mr. Speaker. Now in Nova Scotia where TRACC has an exclusive contract with the province, the company also has fallen at least four months behind. The Resource Recovery Fund Board, the non-profit, government-appointed corporation that oversees the tire recycling program in Nova Scotia extended the deadline for the company to begin processing tires into recycled products, from June 30th to September 30th. The extension was done without public consultation or notification. Once again, penalty provisions have been waived. Again, I ask the Minister of the Environment, why is he being so generous to his friend, Mr. Doug Vicars?

Incidentally, Mr. Speaker, the story indicates that the Department of the Environment office in Fredericton says government lawyers are continuing to renegotiate their contract with TRACC. I think this here is very important and, as much as I don't like to get into Mr. Vicars' reputation, I think it is important that all members in this House understand just who we are dealing with. Mr. Vicars is originally from St. John's, Newfoundland, where he worked at a community centre for the disabled, known as The Hub, in the early 1980's, and participated in municipal politics in Mount Pearl. His resumé says he was involved in a tire recapping operation. Now this is the president of the tire recycling company that is doing our business in this province and you say it is not a bad deal. According to court records from the Newfoundland Supreme Court, Mr. Vicars' former tire retreading company, Eagle Tire Corporation Limited of St. John's, was founded in April, 1986, but by February of 1987 the

[Page 319]

company was having difficulty in making payments for a large order of tires. They are the type of people we are doing business with.

The Bank of Nova Scotia (Interruptions) Obviously I have had difficult times, sure. We all have difficult times, but when my colleague, the former member for Halifax Citadel, pointed out to that minister that he had better check the track record of Mr. Vicars, he refused to listen to us. The Bank of Nova Scotia sued Mr. Vicars. Mr. Speaker, this is in a daily newspaper in the Province of New Brunswick, the Telegraph Journal. The Bank of Nova Scotia sued Mr. Vicars and his partner for $72,000. Mr. Vicars moved to Nova Scotia. Now this character is doing business with the Province of Nova Scotia and this government has approved the tire recycling facility, on behalf of Mr. Vicars.

I want to know how much money out of the tire tax, out of the environmental fee, has been approved and sent along to Mr. Vicars. Can the minister tell this House, perhaps some time, with all certainty, Mr. Speaker, that monies from Nova Scotia are not going over to New Brunswick to prop up the Minto plant? The minister should look and find out whether or not the environmental fees that are charged in this province are staying in this province and how much money has been approved.

This is a bad deal and Tire Recycling Atlantic Canada Corporation, by way of conclusion, to my knowledge, has not sold one piece of value added product, they haven't sold one that was manufactured in Nova Scotia. So this contract is being violated day in and day out and the $10,000 fee per week that should be a penalty is not even being enforced.

MR. SPEAKER: The time allotted for the debate of Resolution No. 7 has expired.

The honourable Deputy Opposition House Leader.

MR. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, would you please call House Order No. 1, and I so move on behalf of the member for Cumberland North.

H.O. No. 1, re Transport. & Pub. Wks.: Cumb. Co. - Winter Operations (1997-98) - notice given Nov. 21/97 - (Mr. E. Fage)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. GUY BROWN: Mr. Speaker, I have already been speaking with the Minister of Transportation and Public Works. He has read it and we are prepared to move it.

MR. SPEAKER: Is the House ready for the question? Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

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The honourable Deputy Opposition House Leader.

MR. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, this concludes Opposition Members' Business.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. GUY BROWN: Mr. Speaker, I would now move that the House now rise to meet again tomorrow afternoon from 2:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. The order of business that will be on the order paper will be Question Period, followed by the Address in Reply to the Speech from the Throne.

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

The motion is carried.

We have arrived at the moment of interruption. The resolution for the Adjournment debate for today has been submitted by the honourable member for Lunenburg:

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this Assembly applaud the outstanding achievement by the Minister of Economic Development and Tourism, members of the Tourism Industry Association, and the many stakeholders for reaching a billion dollar milestone in Nova Scotia's Tourism Industry.

ADJOURNMENT

MOTION UNDER RULE 5(5)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Lunenburg.

ECON. DEV. & TOURISM - TOURISM INDUSTRY:

RECEIPTS ($1 BILLION) - APPLAUD

MRS. LILA O'CONNOR: Mr. Speaker, what a pleasure it is to stand and respond to this resolution. I believe it comes as no surprise to anyone in this House that I asked for this opportunity to speak on Nova Scotia's newest billion dollar industry.

Over the last four years I have been proud to work on a number of committees, travel to conferences, act as legislative assistant to the Minister responsible for Tourism and speak in this House on the many initiatives that promote growth in the tourism industry of Nova Scotia.

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I would like to begin by complimenting the Minister of Economic Development and Tourism, the department, the members of this province's Tourism Industry Association and all of the stakeholders who have contributed so much toward Nova Scotia's newest billion dollar tourism industry. Thank you for demonstrating what Nova Scotia needs to achieve self-reliance, the confidence to build a healthy, prosperous industry.

This recent announcement means that ours is the first province in Atlantic Canada to break the billion dollar mark and affirms Nova Scotia's position at the forefront of tourism in the region. Nova Scotia's billion dollar tourism industry means full-time jobs for over 33,000 Nova Scotians with an estimated payroll of $400 million in 1997.

I am particularly proud to note that all sectors in the tourism industry have experienced growth. Air and motor coach remained the largest sector increase of 21 per cent or $220 million. The restaurant sector grew by 18 per cent and fixed-roof accommodations, as they are known, increased by 16 per cent. It is very obvious that this year we are seeing the best growth rate in a quarter century, with an 18 per cent increase in overall visitor entries.

[6:00 p.m.]

So whether you look at road entries, air visitations, rooms booked or inquiries, the result is the same: tourism numbers are up significantly and bring vital dollars to our urban centres and into our villages and rural communities.

Of that $1 billion, about one-third comes from offshore. Developing the offshore has been in the news a lot lately. But I'm proud to note that our tourism industry has been developing the offshore for years, and this year, in particular, we are all seeing the benefits.

Of course, tourism is about more than economic gain. It's about community growth and appreciation of our heritage and pride. We, as Nova Scotians, feel a real sense of pride in who we are with our world famous hospitality and what we have in the beauty of our natural landscapes: from the splendour of Cape Breton Island, the cosmopolitan excitement of Halifax, to the natural wonders of whales in the Bay of Fundy and the most beautiful sunsets anywhere along Port Hood's coastline. We are Canada's premiere touring destination.

We've earned this reputation through the strength of our partnerships in everything from helping a community to highlight our natural strengths, to joining with a major overseas airline to take our tourism message around the world.

Together this government, with the stakeholders and associations, have accomplished a lot including the creation of a joint tourism strategy for Nova Scotia. That strategy sets out plans to keep Nova Scotia open to visitors year round by calling for a true partnership

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between industry and government in everything from research and development to marketing and support and, as a result, build and strengthen the Nova Scotia tourism industry.

Today, I am proud to report that this new made-in-Nova Scotia solution is to be called the Tourism Partnership Council. It will give the industry a direct voice in the development and the delivery of tourism initiatives that will translate into a winning combination of all our strengths; strengths like our music and culture.

This year we launched a two year Celebration of Music program to boost this part of our product offering. Music is a part of our identity, part of the fabric of our society. Audiences are buying tapes and CDs, buying tickets to concerts and they're coming to the province to hear more. In fact, our culture and tourism survey shows that when they come here to experience our culture, they're also staying longer and spending more money. Our success as a tourism destination is closely tied to our music.

A lot of people are hearing about Nova Scotia by hearing Nova Scotia music. I am reminded of the music made famous internationally by Stan Rogers. I'm sure the member for Guysborough-Port Hawkesbury can inform us all more fully about this summer's highly successful celebration of Stan Roger's music in Canso. Not only was everyone entertained by the wonderful music at the festival but the town, businesses and residents certainly gained from the economic injection into their community.

That is just one reason why we will all continue to partner with as many people as possible to grow this innovative part of our provincial economy.

We've joined forces with other levels of government and with communities to enhance our natural and historic attraction. Consider our waterfront development program which helps revitalize waterfront areas in communities throughout the province.

In Yarmouth, for example, the waterfront has been transformed over the past few years. The town now has an ideal venue for festivals and events. It's more than a gathering place. It's still a working waterfront as well as a tourist draw, its visibility increasing the level of economic activity for this community. This is obviously a great asset to Yarmouth as it is for all the other towns participating in the waterfront development program.

At the other end of the province we recently invested $800,000 to support community-based tourism attractions throughout towns and villages in Cape Breton. Funding came from the Canada-Nova Scotia Cooperation Agreement on Economic Diversification.

Yesterday, Mr. Speaker, I was pleased to hear the minister make the announcement concerning three additional projects under the cooperation agreement. Communities along the Fundy Shore will get $460,000 so they can continue to build on their unique competitive

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strengths while complementing the new Cape Chignecto Provincial Park and the new visitor information centre near Amherst.

Another $500,000 funding will give a boost to cultural and natural heritage initiatives along the Marine Drive, from the Canso Causeway to the Halifax-Dartmouth metropolitan area. Another $500,000 funding boost will help communities enhance cultural heritage themes and improve nature exploration along the Sunrise Trail. We are making these investments to improve Nova Scotia's product offering, a "must-do" if we are to maintain our competitive advantages and grow the industry.

On the marketing side, Mr. Speaker, we have recently renewed our commitment to the Atlantic Canada Tourism Partnership. This investment enables us to look beyond our own backyard and to stretch out into a worldwide market place. With our Atlantic Canadian partners, we are better able to attract attention from places where there is little or no knowledge of everything Atlantic Canada has to offer, a goal that will ensure Nova Scotia maintains its position as Atlantic Canada's tourism leader.

Clearly we have what it takes to become a world-renowned tourism destination, but it is going to take multi-level cooperation and a commitment to excellence at every level, from single-owner operations to whole-community organizations.

Mr. Speaker, I think the minister and the members of this House know you can count on my support to do whatever it takes to further develop the tourism industry in Nova Scotia. Based on this government's combined efforts and commitment in partnership with the industry associations and all the stakeholders in our tourism industry, I am confident that, together, we will overcome the challenges and move forward toward our goals for the future of tourism in Nova Scotia. Thank you.

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

MR. ALFRED MACLEOD: Mr. Speaker, it gives me a great deal of pleasure to stand before you tonight to speak on this resolution regarding the $1 billion tourism industry in the Province of Nova Scotia, a first in the Province of Nova Scotia. A first that every person in this House and certainly every resident of the Province of Nova Scotia should take some pride in, and a first of, hopefully, many to come, where we will reach and break the $1 billion mark in tourism in the Province of Nova Scotia.

There are a lot of times in this House when the members do not agree on all the things mentioned, but I think there is one thing that we will all agree on, that Nova Scotia is, indeed, the finest province in all of Canada in which to live and that is one of the reasons why tourists want to come and visit us.

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There is another part, Mr. Speaker, that draws the crowds to Nova Scotia, it is Cape Breton Island. You know there is a little saying . . .

AN HON. MEMBER: The jewel.

MR. MACLEOD: The jewel, that's right, the jewel. Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia's masterpiece. I am very proud to be a member from that area, not only a member, but born and bred in Cape Breton Island.

Tourism in Cape Breton Island is one of the bright spots that we have to talk about. It is one of the few areas in Cape Breton that we can talk about and actually feel some pride. If I look at my own constituency of Cape Breton West, we have things like Fortress Louisbourg, one of the largest re-creations not only in Canada, but in North America, where you can come and visit and see how people lived in 1745, prior to the first siege. In 1995 there was a celebration in Louisbourg that was the envy not only of the island, but of the country. At one time if someone had told me that I would be caught up in a traffic jam in Catalone, I would have looked at them and asked them what kind of drugs they were on, but this is what happened because people took pride in their community, got together and put their best foot forward. Those are the kinds of things that all Nova Scotians are good at.

When we talk about the $1 billion tourism industry, I not only want to thank the people that the honourable member for Lunenburg thanked, I want to thank each and every individual Nova Scotian because they all play a part, a major role, in the tourism industry here in Nova Scotia.

Let's go on and talk a little bit more about the things that Cape Breton West has to offer our tourism industry. We have a few things that are going to get on the list before the Two Rivers Park, all just as important as the Two Rivers Park, I might add. The 1995 celebrations in Louisbourg were one of them. The theatre in Louisbourg offers very unique entertainment. It has a bill every night of the week and offers something for everybody.

Of course, to make this even more valuable a resource and help increase the dollars that are brought in, we have to have some infrastructure. The infrastructure for Louisbourg comes in the way of the completion of the Fleur-de-lis Highway because then Louisbourg will not be just a day trip from Sydney but it will be a round trip, a destination where people can come, spend the night and leave the next morning and go off in a different direction so they do not have to backtrack. We have to see that some infrastructure money is put into place.

Of course, Cape Breton West is the home of the famous Mira River, the longest single river in all the province. Not only that, it is the namesake of a very famous song. A song that was developed by Allister MacGillivray who lives on the Mira River; a song that was developed first for a world-wide Girl Guide camp that was held at the site of today's Two Rivers Wildlife Park.

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Two Rivers Wildlife Park is still alive and well, no thanks to this government, I might add. It is alive and well because the people have taken their own destiny in their hands and made sure that this was going to be there for the people not only of Cape Breton Island but for all the visitors that come to Cape Breton Island. Again, it is a beautiful attraction - the only wildlife park on Cape Breton Island. It is situated in beautiful Cape Breton West, not too far from Marion Bridge.

Then we go on. What else has Cape Breton West to offer the tourism industry of Nova Scotia? Well, we have Big Pond, the home of Rita's Tea Room. Of course, everybody knows that Rita is a famous singer. It was mentioned again by the member for Lunenburg how our music attracts people to Nova Scotia. There has been a concert held in the area of Big Pond that is going on to its 27th year. Every year there are major crowds attracted to this beautiful event. At the same time, people are coming to see where Rita lived, where she grew up and where she went to school.

It is not just Rita. There are all kinds of other good, talented individuals who are members of the Cape Breton community, people like Natalie McMaster, Lee Cremo, Ashley MacIsaac, Tracie Dares, and of course we cannot go on without mentioning the Rankins or the Barra MacNeils or someone like Buddy MacDonald. All these people are talented individuals who help to bring people to Cape Breton, but not only that, are ambassadors for Cape Breton. They go off the Island and they go around. They spread the good word about Cape Breton and the music and the traditions of Cape Breton Island.

You know, Mr. Speaker, there is always one sad note when we have visitors to Cape Breton Island and that is the condition of the roads. That can be fixed with some proper planning and some money invested in the right places. We can come into Cape Breton Island and not only be proud of our scenery, but allow the tourists to leave with their cars in one piece.

There are a few other problems that are being dealt with, that have to be dealt with. Bed and breakfasts and the way they are assessed by this government. The people who are operating the bed and breakfasts add a unique quality to the tourism trade. Indeed, if we do not look at how the assessments are being done, that quality is going to be taken away from this part of the island and all parts of Nova Scotia.

The other question that someone has to put in the forefront is indeed how do the numbers come about to show that we are over the $1 billion? Are we using the same formula that we used the last time around or indeed is it a different formula? Would we really have a higher number or, sadly, maybe even a lower number? We have to wonder and we have to question that.

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The question is, of course, Mr. Speaker, is tourism up all over the province? We have hit the $1 billion mark and that is important, and I do not want to make light of that, but there are still parts of this province that have not reached full potential. There are parts of this province that have actually seen a decline in the number of visitors and that is something that we have to keep in the forefront of our thoughts and address those thoughts. If we can make $1 billion, we could make a lot more, because we have what people want to see. We have quality of life, scenery, good people, good food and now and then we have a great time. Those are the types of things that attract people to the Province of Nova Scotia.

[6:15 p.m.]

There are other items, Mr. Speaker that attract people to Cape Breton Island and they would be the beautiful Cabot Trail, the Village of Baddeck, the Highland Village in Iona where you can go back and see how the Scottish settlers landed and how they progressed through the years. You could come to the Gaelic College in St. Ann's and learn how to speak Gaelic and that would be quite an accomplishment for some of us in this House. Some of us who are still struggling to master the English language. With all those qualities that we have to offer, things like the Bras d'Or Lakes, a great inland sea that some days you can forget when you are out sailing on the Bras d'Or Lakes that it actually is an inland lake. There are so many things to offer, from so many parts of our province that we should all be very proud of the accomplishments of the men and women in the tourism industry. We should also realize that that potential has not been completely filled and that we, as a government, have a role to play in making the job for the people that are in the tourism industry even easier. So, we can build on this very important occasion, but we should build sooner than later. Thank you.

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

MS. HELEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, it certainly gives me great honour to speak, as well, on this resolution today. I, too, want to offer again my congratulations to the many people who are responsible for this a landmark event. In our zeal to thank the players that we see in the forefront of the tourism industry, we sometimes neglect to think of the people who really make this industry work. I guess I believe that the reason why tourism is alive and flourishing in Nova Scotia, and in particular Cape Breton, is because of all the efforts that have been put forth by many people, but in particular, by the people who work in some of our tourism industries. When we think of restaurants, hotels, lodges and inns, I think the thing that brings people back to Nova Scotia and to Cape Breton over and over again are those people who serve, who wait on tables, who meet the needs of the people, the tourists who come to Nova Scotia. So, I think we certainly want to offer our thanks and congratulations to them. Obviously, the front-line workers are doing a great job.

The honourable member for Cape Breton West certainly gave you a great description of Cape Breton and the many beauties that it holds. We are fortunate, as you know, to have some of the most wonderful beaches in Nova Scotia and of that we are always very proud.

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A couple of the things that he may not have mentioned that I would like to bring to your attention would be a place like Christmas Island that at this time of year ends up being a very popular spot because of its post office and the many letters that are sent to and from Santa at that particular post office. The postmistress there will tell us each year about the number of letters she is asked to mail, so Christmas Island becomes quite an attraction all year around. Some of the people in that community have written songs and stories and, in particular, stories about Christmas for children, based on the whole community of Christmas Island. So that, too, brings attention, as was indicated before, to our province.

The music, in Cape Breton The Lakes; Fred Lavery operates one of Nova Scotia's finest recording studios, in a little community called Point Aconi. He has one of the finest studios, I am sure, in North America and many people have done the recording of their music there.

In Cape Breton The Lakes we boast of being the home of people like Jennifer Roland and Brenda Stubbert, who are two very popular fiddlers. That instrument, of course, is a popular one in Cape Breton and brings lots of attention and lots of tourists out to hear and see what happens around music in Cape Breton.

Lee Cremo was already mentioned and Lee, too, is a resident of Cape Breton The Lakes. Lee lives in the community of Eskasoni, which is part of Cape Breton The Lakes, another community in Cape Breton that entices people to come and learn about native culture.

I guess the other thing I would like to mention about Cape Breton, in particular, and certainly something that attracts tourists is the whole business around our craft industry. I know that is a whole other industry on its own but it certainly is one that people ask about and want to see. The kilt making that takes place in different parts of the Island certainly attracts many people who come to the province.

I guess realizing all the beauties and all the wonderful music and all the wonderful attractions that Nova Scotia has to offer tourists makes us stand back and think of how careful we have to be of our environment and of what it is that makes this such a wonderful province. I think of decisions around the Jim Campbells Barren and what we are doing to make sure that we do continue to protect the land in this beautiful province.

The issue, I guess, that we also have to think about when we talk about the tourist industry is the number of people it employs. I wonder about that whole area and, with the growth in the tourist industry, whether or not, in fact, some of the statistics we have seen published lately are accurate, with the accounting that the number of people who actually work in tourism is down. I would love to hear that that is not correct.

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In closing, Mr. Speaker, I certainly want to say that being a Cape Bretoner and knowing my geography of Cape Breton, from Louisbourg to Bay St. Lawrence and Glace Bay and all around the Island, we are very proud to be part of this province that has attracted so many visitors. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: The Chair would like to thank the three honourable members who contributed to the debate, just to say that all three are outstanding Nova Scotians, ambassadors and sales people for our province.

We have reached the moment for adjournment.

The motion is carried.

[The House rose at 6:25 p.m.]