The Nova Scotia Legislature

The House resumed on:
September 21, 2017.

Hansard -- Fri., Apr. 14, 2000

First Session

FRIDAY, APRIL 14, 2000

TABLE OF CONTENTS PAGE
PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES:
Law Amendments Committee, Hon. M. Baker 4002
Law Amendments Committee, Hon. M. Baker 4002
TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS:
Anl. Rept. of the Nova Scotia Real Estate Commission, Hon. N. LeBlanc 4003
STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS:
Fin.: N.S. Government Fund Ltd. - Review, Hon. N. LeBlanc 4003
INTRODUCTION OF BILLS:
No. 43, Energy and Mineral Resources Conservation Act,
Petroleum Resources Act, and Pipeline Act, Hon. G. Balser 4005
NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 1294, Premier: Commitments - Fulfil, Mr. R. MacLellan 4005
Res. 1295, Government Caucus - Whips: Counting - Learn,
Mr. F. Corbett 4006
Res. 1296, NDP (N.S.) - Health Critic: Scare Tactics - Condemn,
Mr. D. Morse 4006
Res. 1297, Health - Seniors: Drug Costs - Assist., Mr. D. Downe 4007
Res. 1298, Educ. - Chignecto-Central Sc. Bd.: Jobs Reduction -
Research Failure, Mr. Robert Chisholm 4008
Res. 1299, Commun. Serv. - Red Cross Soc. (Cdn.)/Mr. Bill Muirhead
(N Dist. Reg. [N.S.]): Housefire Response Prog. - Commend,
Mr. J. DeWolfe 4008
Vote - Affirmative 4009
Res. 1300, Gov't. (N.S.) - Openness: Ferret - Word Use Stop,
Dr. J. Smith 4009
Res. 1301, Educ. - Budget 2000-01: Meaningless - Revealed,
Ms. Maureen MacDonald 4010
Res. 1302, Educ. - Hfx. West HS: Model Parliament - Efforts Congrats.,
Ms. M. McGrath 4010
Vote - Affirmative 4011
Res. 1303, Econ. Dev. - C.B.: Inaction - Clear, Mr. K. MacAskill 4011
Res. 1304, Fin. - Budget (2000-01): Polecat - Search Limit,
Mr. Robert Chisholm 4012
Res. 1305, Educ. - Min.: Resignation - Tender, Mr. W. Gaudet 4013
Res. 1306, MLAs (Opposition) - Ferrets: Prey - Close, Mr. F. Corbett 4013
Res. 1307, Fin.: Deficit (1993) - Recalculate, Mr. P. MacEwan 4014
Res. 1308, Premier: Straightforwardness - Ensure, Mr. D. Dexter 4014
Res. 1309, Volunteerism - Vol. of Year (Richmond Co.):
Betty MacNeil (Johnstown) - Congrats., Mr. M. Samson 4015
Vote - Affirmative 4016
Res. 1310, Fin. - Budget (2000-01): Ferrets - Precautions Take,
Mr. K. Deveaux 4016
Res. 1311, PC Party (N.S.) - Endangered Species: Food Source -
Reduction, Mr. John MacDonell 4016
Res. 1312, Gov't. (N.S.) - Progs.: Quality - Focus, Mr. R. MacLellan 4017
Res. 1313, PC MLAs (Backbenchers) - Budget (2000-01): Effect -
Discover, Mr. J. Pye 4018
Res. 1314, MLAs (Gov't.) - Budget (2000-01): Political Panel (CBC) -
Viewing Unnecessary, Dr. J. Smith 4019
Res. 1315, Fin. - Budget (2000-01): Supporters - Public Contact
Encourage, Mr. J. Holm 4019
Res. 1316, Econ. Dev. - Ski Cape Smokey: Commitment - Fulfil,
Mr. K. MacAskill 4020
Res. 1317, Jamie Armstrong: Pesticide Removal (HRM) -
Actions Congrats., Ms. E. O'Connell 4021
Vote - Affirmative 4021
Res. 1318, Justice - Cuts: Revelation - Support, Mr. M. Samson 4021
Res. 1319, Volunteerism - Multicultural Vol. Award: Geraldine
Browning (Gibsons Woods, Kings Co.) - Congrats.,
Ms. Maureen MacDonald 4022
Vote - Affirmative 4023
Res. 1320, Educ. - Budget (2000-01): Cuts (SW Reg. Sc. Bd.) -
Liverpool Visit, Mr. W. Gaudet 4023
Res. 1321, Educ. - Budget (2000-01): Review - Request,
Mr. D. Dexter 4024
Res. 1322, Volunteerism: Trudy Vic (Metro Food Bank) - Congrats.,
Mr. K. Deveaux 4024
Vote - Affirmative 4025
Res. 1323, Educ. - Sir John A. Macdonald HS: Renovations - Info.,
Mr. W. Estabrooks 4025
Res. 1324, Premier - Fishing Lodge: Interest - Sell, Mr. H. Epstein 4025
Res. 1325, Educ. - Jake Rogers (South Maitland): Scholarship
(Mt. Allison Univ.) - Congrats., Mr. John MacDonell 4026
Vote - Affirmative 4027
Res. 1326, Fin. - Budget (2000-01): Actions - Cap't. Credibility,
Mr. J. Pye 4027
Res. 1327, Gov't. (N.S.) - Future: Dreaming - Refrain, Mr. J. Holm 4027
Res. 1328, Culture - Poetry Month: Poets - Hooray, Ms. E. O'Connell 4028
Vote - Affirmative 4029
Res. 1329, Commun. Serv. - Child Poverty (17/08/99 on): Deficit -
Address, Mr. H. Epstein 4029
Res. 1330, Lbr. - Offshore (Nordic Apollo): Shawn Hatcher, Death of -
Sympathy Express, Mr. W. Estabrooks 4030
Vote - Affirmative 4030
GOVERNMENT BUSINESS:
GOVERNMENT MOTIONS:
ON MOTION FOR SUPPLY:
Mr. M. Samson 4031
Mr. W. Estabrooks 4036
Mr. M. Parent 4040
HOUSE RESOLVED INTO CWH ON SUPPLY AT 10:50 A.M. 4044
HOUSE RECONVENED AT 2:50 P.M. 4044
ADJOURNMENT, House rose to meet again on Mon., Apr. 17th at 2:00 p.m. 4045

[Page 3999]

HALIFAX, FRIDAY, APRIL 14, 2000

Fifty-eighth General Assembly

First Session

9:00 A.M.

SPEAKER

Hon. Murray Scott

DEPUTY SPEAKERS

Mr. Brooke Taylor, Mr. Wayne Gaudet, Mr. Kevin Deveaux

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. Before we start the daily routine, I recognize the honourable member for Dartmouth North on a point of order.

MR. JERRY PYE: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. I just wanted to rise in this House and in heat of passion yesterday during a bill debate, I rose to the floor and questioned the Speaker of this House. The Speaker of this House is a Speaker who has the right to call procedure and I should not have interjected. For that I do apologize, Mr. Speaker. You do, in fact, control the workings of this House, not I, as a legislative member.

MR. DONALD DOWNE: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order. In order to get an understanding from the Speaker, as you recall, yesterday the session was shut down a little bit early. Looking at the procedures of the House, it states very clearly that the next sitting, the adjournment shall be until the usual hours of the next sitting day. My question to you is normally sitting hours on Friday are three hours long. I ask for you to give us your deliberations in regard to the hours that we will be sitting today.

3999

[Page 4000]

MR. JOHN HOLM: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order. I think that the issue is one that is bigger than just what happened yesterday. Certainly I think that the House Leaders may be able to get together and come to some kind of resolve possibly for today. I can't speak for others but certainly we are willing to sit down and talk to people.

There is an important principle here, Mr. Speaker, and the rules very clearly state that unless the hours are announced before the adjournment the previous day, then the regular hours, as are laid out in the rules, do apply. We are in a situation today where certainly I know I had a brief discussion with the Government House Leader but we certainly did not have any discussions with the Liberals at that time, so there was no agreement among the three Parties. I think that it has to be very clear that we don't make precedence as a result of what happened yesterday because of the government's incompetence and inability to keep a quorum in the House which, of course, is their responsibility. I would suggest I wouldn't want to see something come out of this that would let the government think that they can continue to shirk that responsibility to make sure that they have maintained a quorum in this House and not have to pay the consequences for that on future occasions.

MR. KEVIN DEVEAUX: On the point of order, Mr. Speaker, I was in the Chair yesterday when the adjournment happened. I just wanted to clarify why we are meeting at 9:00 a.m. It was my understanding as well that the normal procedure is that once there is an adjournment because of lack of quorum, we go to the ordinary hours, which would be 11:00 a.m. It was suggested to me that we ask for unanimous consent of the House to move the hours to 9:00 a.m. I asked for that and the House agreed and that is why 9:00 a.m. was chosen.

AN HON. MEMBER: There was no quorum.

MR. DEVEAUX: Maybe that was an issue around whether we had a quorum or not, but that was what was asked at the time and that is on the record.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order. Yesterday was unfortunate, we did lose the quorum and there is probably no excuse for that, however, I would point out it was at 6:30 p.m., and right after the moment of interruption quite often the House is below (Interruptions) I am not trying to make excuses (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. The Government House Leader has the floor.

MR. RUSSELL: I am not trying to make excuses but we had an agreement in this House with regard to the hours for this week. (Interruption) I beg your pardon, this was when the House was under way, last Monday or Tuesday. I was asked for the hours for the rest of the week and I gave them to the House. (Interruption) If the honourable member was not present when I made that statement, I am sorry but, however, the statement was made in the House as to what the hours would be. As a for instance, out of courtesy, I was going to give

[Page 4001]

the hours for next week and I presume the member over there doesn't want to know what the hours for next week are going to be, today. Is that correct?

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. Could I make a suggestion. Perhaps we could take a five minute recess and the House Leaders could get together and confer for a couple of minutes to see if we can resolve this. We certainly have ample quorum here this morning and we have business to do.

Is it agreed that we could recess for five minutes? (Interruptions)

Is there unanimous agreement that we will carry on for the normal hours today, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.?

Is it agreed?

I hear several Noes.

MR. DONALD DOWNE: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order. There were comments yesterday, prior to the fact that the government lost its quorum, that 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. were the hours for today. They lost their quorum and the question really is are we going to live up to the Rules of the House, or are we going to make up rules as we go along. One of the principles is that we do have rules that are established and that this House had agreed to, and now we are going to say, well, by the way, that rule didn't really count because of the fact we were not in our seats and a quorum was not here and they were caught. Now the rules state very clearly . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. I think most members of this Legislature understand what the rules are and how they read. Very clearly, I am suggesting and asking that the House Leaders get together, take five minutes to discuss this and report back to the Speaker. I will render a decision at that time. There will be no further points of order. We will take a five minute recess. Please ring the bells for five minutes.

[ 9:10 a.m. The House recessed.]

[9:16 a.m. The House reconvened.]

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. I would like to bring the Chamber back to order, please.

The honourable Government House Leader.

[Page 4002]

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, with the cooperation of the two Opposition House Leaders we have reached an agreement that we will complete four hours of Supply today and we will not be doing any bills which will mean that people will get out of the House about 3:00 p.m.

MR. SPEAKER: Is it agreed by all members?

It is agreed.

PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS

PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Justice.

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

Bill No. 29 - Medical Laboratory Technology Act.

Bill No. 32 - Water Resources Protection Act.

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

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

The honourable Minister of Justice.

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

Bill No. 31 - International Wills Act.

and the committee recommends this bill to the favourable consideration of the House, without amendment.

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

[Page 4003]

TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Finance.

HON. NEIL LEBLANC: Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to table the Annual Report of the Nova Scotia Real Estate Commission for 1999.

MR. SPEAKER: The report is tabled.

STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Finance.

HON. NEIL LEBLANC: Mr. Speaker, I wish to inform members of the House that I have ordered a review to determine the future of the Nova Scotia Government Fund Limited. This fund was created in 1994 as part of the Immigrant Investor Program. It was approved by Citizenship and Immigration Canada as a government-administered venture capital fund.

The intention of the government at the time was to create a pool of funds to finance privatization and out-sourcing initiatives for government. The fund was very successful in attracting investors. It is fully subscribed and has approximately $26 million in assets. However, the fund has been less successful in finding investments that qualify under the federal rules and the prospectus that established the fund.

Of more than 20 prospective investments that were considered, only one investment has been made. That was an $11 million loan in 1999 to assist with interim financing for a group of P3 schools. Federal legislation is very restrictive as to which types of projects can qualify as an investment for this fund and has clearly defined time-frames for investing the money. As it now stands, the Nova Scotia Government Fund is unable to comply with all these provisions.

Mr. Speaker, I have asked the Minister of Justice for assistance in providing legal advice on our options for this fund. We need to know if the fund can still be reasonably used for investments, or if we should dissolve the fund in an orderly fashion. While I am disappointed that this fund has not been used as it was intended, I can assure all investors that their investments are safe and they will be repaid. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Lunenburg West.

MR. DONALD DOWNE: Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the minister sending this information over this morning and I want to thank the minister for bringing this matter forward.

[Page 4004]

We should find ways to try to access this fund. To dissolve the fund seems, in a way, to be a defeatist option in light of the fact that the Atlantic region and Nova Scotia have at the best of times difficulty in securing venture capital. Any avenue that can be explored to provide greater access to these funds is most welcome and clearly, the provincial government should lobby the federal government to ease the restrictions on that fund in any way they can. The minister should also look at other funds like the labour-sponsored Venture Capital Fund which is also underutilized and other ways to access capital for Nova Scotia businesses.

Clearly any attempt to dissolve this fund should be seen as another measure that this Tory Government has taken to get out of the business of economic development, especially in the areas that are regionally depressed regionally, rural Nova Scotia and Cape Breton. The government has already cut community economic development in half. Abandoning the regions outside of Halifax is to me a cold, calculated measure in a market place that needs economic development and venture capital. Thank you.

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

MR. JOHN HOLM: Mr. Speaker, I too would like to thank the minister, first of all, for giving me a heads-up yesterday that a ministerial statement was going to come forward and then for making sure that his announcement was made available half an hour before.

As I begin, I would want to reiterate that Nova Scotia does need immigrants and we do need investments and we do need to ensure that we are able to attract immigration to this province to help to encourage economic development. That having been said, I do have some considerable concerns with the program that is under review. Schemes like this across Canada have come under considerable RCMP scrutiny and in fact charges have been laid, as I understand it, in a number of those situations. Here in Nova Scotia, at least, we are fortunate in that we have avoided those kinds of difficulties in terms of any RCMP investigations or charges being laid, at least none that I am aware of.

The minister has said that he is going to have a review of that program. What he did not say is that review, upon completion, will be made public and be made public immediately. I hope the minister is prepared to make that commitment. I think that also as part of that review, it is important to try to identify who it was that sold the government of the day on the scheme and who stood to make money from that scheme. I think that those are two very important questions that this review should be looking at and investigating. It is also important for that review to look at why it was that the government of the day approved such a scheme without there being any kind of assurances that the program would comply with the federal regulations and that it would be successful.

We are doing a review of what was a program that technically still is. I think that if we are to be doing this for the right reasons that would mean that the information that is garnered is going to be made public and that the information so garnered will also then be useful in

[Page 4005]

planning or developing any future programs that might be aimed at trying to attract investment to this province. We certainly want to learn from this failed experience and the only way we can assure that we can do that is that the review be thorough, open and the results of that review be made public so that everyone in this province can understand what happened, what went wrong and what has to be done better in the future. Thank you.

GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION

INTRODUCTION OF BILLS

Bill No. 43 - Entitled an Act to Amend Chapter 147 of the Revised Statutes, 1989, the Energy and Mineral Resources Conservation Act, Chapter 342 of the Revised Statutes, 1989, the Petroleum Resources Act, and Chapter 345 of the Revised Statutes, 1989, the Pipeline Act. (Hon. Gordon Balser)

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

NOTICES OF MOTION

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Liberal Party.

RESOLUTION NO. 1294

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

Whereas on June 26, 1999, The Daily News quoted the Tory Leader as saying, "The day that I can't keep my commitments to the people of Nova Scotia is the day that I'll start the process of un-involving myself in public life;" and

Whereas the Tory Leader, now Premier, has broken his commitments to public servants, nurses, senior citizens, steelworkers, the disabled, and charities; and

Whereas the Premier has also broken his commitments to health care workers, social assistance recipients, paramedics, students, teachers, foster families, and farmers, just to name a few.

Therefore be it resolved that the Premier be encouraged to live up to all his commitments, including the one he made to The Daily News on June 26, 1999.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver.

[Page 4006]

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

Is it agreed?

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Cape Breton Centre.

RESOLUTION NO. 1295

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

Whereas the member for Timberlea-Prospect had the House captivated with his comments on non-resident land ownership after late debate last night; and

Whereas the members of the government caucus were glued to the Harry and Parker Show to see just how awful they did this week; and

Whereas the member of the government caucus cannot function in a room with 52 members, let alone a classroom with 50 or more students;

Therefore be it resolved that the Tory Whip, the member for Pictou East, and the Deputy Whip, the member for Preston, be sent back to school to learn how to count, and hope their classroom has less than 50 students so they can actually learn something this time around.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Kings South.

RESOLUTION NO. 1296

MR. DAVID MORSE: 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 Health Critic has been misleading in his remarks regarding cuts to the health care system in the Annapolis Valley; and

[Page 4007]

Whereas this member incorrectly attributed all cuts in the Western Region to the Annapolis Valley, including reporting the possible closure of a Valley hospital; and

Whereas not only is this member wrong in his facts, but he is also wrong in using information to incite fear throughout the Annapolis Valley;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House condemn the irresponsible use of such scare tactics by the NDP and their Health Critic.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Lunenburg West.

RESOLUTION NO. 1297

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

Whereas in a strange twist of fate, the Economic Development Minister defended the Liberal gas royalty regime against NDP attacks; and

Whereas Liberals agree with the minister that our Liberal gas royalty regime was a significant step forward for oil and gas exploration in Nova Scotia as Seniors' Pharmacare was a significant step forward in seniors' medical coverage; and

[9:30 a.m.]

Whereas unlike the royalty regime, the Tory Government has decided to gut Seniors' Pharmacare, meaning some seniors will have to choose between food and life-saving medication;

Therefore be it resolved that the Tory Government should defend seniors against rising drug costs instead of abandoning seniors to the cold calculations of the market place.

I ask for waiver, Mr. Speaker.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear a No.

[Page 4008]

The notice is tabled.

The honourable Leader of the New Democratic Party.

RESOLUTION NO. 1298

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 and his colleagues have treated northern Nova Scotia as their own backyard, an opinion that was certified a year ago by their in-house pollster, Dr. Peter Butler; and

Whereas if this Premier and his Conservative Government could be expected to know any education system like the back of their hands, it would be the Chignecto-Central Regional School Board; and

Whereas the superintendent of that board reports that the budget means 200 fewer positions in Chignecto-Central schools, where exactly nine teachers are expected to retire;

Therefore be it resolved that the Premier and the other Tory MLAs representing communities in northern Nova Scotia should explain how they failed to ferret out the fact that a board with nine retirees is looking at 200 fewer jobs, while honouring the government's pledge of no lay-offs.

Mr. Speaker, I see waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Pictou East.

RESOLUTION NO. 1299

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

[Page 4009]

Whereas Bill Muirhead, co-ordinator of the Canadian Red Cross Society's Northern District region of Nova Scotia, is the key organizer for the Red Cross' Housefire Response; and

Whereas Mr. Muirhead is working to promote this program in Pictou County, Truro and Antigonish to assist families who had extensive damage to their home due to fire; and

Whereas a Thorburn, Pictou County, family were recent recipients of assistance by Mr. Muirhead and the Housefire Response Program;

Therefore be it resolved that all members commend Mr. Muirhead and the Canadian Red Cross Society in northern Nova Scotia for their quick and effective action in times of need through this very worthwhile service to our communities.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

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 East.

RESOLUTION NO. 1300

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

Whereas Premier Hamm promised Nova Scotians an open and accountable government; and

Whereas this Tory Government has been anything but open on the true cost of Pharmacare, the number of new nurses, how many hospital beds will be closed, cuts to health services and the fate of small hospitals; and

Whereas the Premier said if Nova Scotians want the truth, it is up to the Opposition to ferret it out;

[Page 4010]

Therefore be it resolved that since the ferret is a cousin of the weasel, the Premier and the Health Minister had better stop using weasel-words and begin telling the truth to Nova Scotians.

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

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Halifax Needham.

RESOLUTION NO. 1301

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

Whereas David Reid, Superintendent of the Halifax Regional School Board states in a letter to principals and school council chairs that, "It is no exaggeration to say that the indicated funding would devastate our system and render useless any creative effort that we might develop to make due"; and

Whereas Elmer MacDonald, Superintendent of the Chignecto-Central Regional School Board says, "the reductions are the worst I've seen in 30 years"; and

Whereas Mr. MacDonald also says that, "The information contained in the Finance Minister's budget speech was misleading";

Therefore be it resolved that people working in the education field have ferreted out the truth in this savage Tory Budget, which is that education is meaningless to Tories.

Mr. Speaker, I seek waiver.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Halifax Bedford Basin.

RESOLUTION NO. 1302

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

Whereas yesterday marked the opening of Halifax West High School's 10th Annual Model Parliament; and

[Page 4011]

Whereas the opening of this millennium year Parliament was marked by a Speech from the Throne read by the Governor-General, none other than the honourable member for Halifax Fairview; and

Whereas this Model Parliament is led by the new Government of Canada, the Bloc Party, let by Prime Minister Stephanie Doyle;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate the efforts of the students, teachers and budding politicians of Halifax West High School and extend best wishes for a successful and productive term for Prime Minister Stephanie Doyle and her new government.

Mr. Speaker, I seek waiver.

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

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 Victoria.

RESOLUTION NO. 1303

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

Whereas in the new Tory bible, The Course Ahead, the Premier promised to decentralize jobs from Halifax; and

Whereas the Natural Resources Minister said last week Cape Bretoners should not hold their breath waiting for government jobs; and

Whereas yesterday the Economic Development Minister said a funded commitment in his own backyard was more important than honouring a commitment to Ski Cape Smokey;

Therefore be it resolved that the Premier and his Cabinet Ministers can't get their stories straight, but the message is still loud and clear, this Tory Government is doing nothing to address the economic situation in Cape Breton.

[Page 4012]

Mr. Speaker, I ask for waiver.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable Leader of the New Democratic Party.

RESOLUTION NO. 1304

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

Whereas the Premier has said it is the job of the Opposition to ferret out the truth about the latest Progressive Conservative budget; and

Whereas in Encyclopaedia Britannica it says that the common ferret is a domesticated form of the European polecat, which it resembles in size and habits and with which it interbreeds; and

Whereas the Premier's reputation for politeness means that he could never have intended to describe Opposition MLAs as polecats;

Therefore be it resolved that the Premier need not look as far afield as the Opposition in his search for polecats, and maybe just behind him, since many Nova Scotians find that the aroma generated by the Tory budget is none too sweet.

Mr. Speaker, I seek waiver.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, I asked for a waiver. You didn't ask for the House . . .

MR. SPEAKER: I realize I didn't ask because I heard several Noes during the course of your request.

MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: I think you have to ask the question.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Yes, you have to put the question. (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Clare.

[Page 4013]

RESOLUTION NO. 1305

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

Whereas the Nova Scotia Teachers Union in a news release yesterday stated that phone calls that morning to five of the seven regional school boards revealed that less than 100 teachers were eligible for retirement; and

Whereas during Question Period, yesterday, the Minister of Education continued to insist that 400 teachers will retire next year; and

Whereas the minister's statements concerning cuts in education and the number of anticipated teacher retirements are so incredulous that she has lost the confidence of all Nova Scotians;

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Education do the honourable thing and tender her resignation as Minister of Education as recommended by the Nova Scotia Teachers Union.

Mr. Speaker, I would ask for waiver.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Cape Breton Centre.

RESOLUTION NO. 1306

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

Whereas the ferret is a small half-domesticated animal of the weasel family; and

Whereas this cuddly little critter is used to hunt rabbits and rats; and

Whereas the Premier has instructed Opposition members to don the coat of the ferret when looking for program cuts and hidden agendas;

Therefore be it resolved that the ferrets on this side of the House have caught the scent of a rat on the other side of the House.

Mr. Speaker, I seek waiver.

[Page 4014]

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

Is it agreed?

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Cape Breton Nova.

RESOLUTION NO. 1307

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

Whereas the honourable Minister of Finance is proud to have served under John Buchanan and Donald Cameron; and

Whereas if he is indeed proud of that record, the minister should recalculate the 1993 deficit, using Generally Accepted Accounting Principles, so that Nova Scotians might understand the true legacy of past Tory Governments; and

Whereas failure to provide this information means that the Finance Minister is afraid to tell Nova Scotians the truth about past Tory failures;

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Finance should come clean and recalculate the 1993 deficit so that Nova Scotians can know the true background behind Nova Scotia's current deficit.

Mr. Speaker, I would ask for waiver.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Dartmouth-Cole Harbour.

RESOLUTION NO. 1308

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

Whereas a Freudian slip is the inadvertent use of a word or phrase which reveals the hidden thoughts of the person speaking; and

[Page 4015]

Whereas ferrets belong to the genus Mustela of the weasel family; and

Whereas the Premier has been trying with all his caucus to weasel out of the 243 promises he put into the Tory blue book;

Therefore be it resolved that the Premier should be straightforward with Nova Scotians or else he should guard his tongue before he once again puts a weasel into it.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Richmond.

RESOLUTION NO. 1309

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

Whereas Betty MacNeil of Johnstown in Richmond County has been a tireless volunteer for the Strait-Richmond Community Health Board; and

Whereas Betty MacNeil was chosen by Richmond County as its Volunteer of the Year; and

Whereas the Richmond County Recreation Department will honour Betty tonight, April 14th, along with over 100 more volunteers at an awards banquet;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House of Assembly congratulate Betty MacNeil and the over 100 other volunteers from Richmond County for their continued hard work and dedication to our community.

Mr. Speaker, I would ask for waiver.

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

Is it agreed?

[Page 4016]

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage.

RESOLUTION NO. 1310

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

Whereas the Premier recently in this House declared that the Opposition would have to ferret out the details of any program cuts made in his infamous budget; and

Whereas the noble ferret is specially bred to hunt out rats; and

Whereas in spite of that, it wouldn't take much of a ferret to smell out a rat in this budget;

Therefore be it resolved that the Premier, the Minister of Finance and the Minister of Education watch their backs as the ferrets are beginning to encircle them.

Mr. Speaker, I would ask for waiver.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Hants East.

RESOLUTION NO. 1311

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

Whereas today is the day when Opposition MLAs are supposed to take on the Premier's challenge to ferret out the truth he has hidden about the budget; and

[Page 4017]

Whereas the budget came down on the same day as the new federal legislation on endangered species; and

Whereas the only ferret that is native to North America, the black-footed ferret, is on the list of endangered species because its main source of food has largely disappeared;

Therefore be it resolved that like the black-footed ferret, Nova Scotia Tories are also becoming an endangered species because their main source of food, in this case the votes of honest Nova Scotians who expect honest representation, is disappearing under the weight of a government that can't and won't tell Nova Scotians the truth.

Mr. Speaker, I would ask for waiver.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable Leader of the Liberal Party.

RESOLUTION NO. 1312

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

Whereas last October when the Tory Government introduced their 1999-2000 budget, government departments were instructed to cut administrative costs by 3 per cent; and

Whereas the Tory Government, when it introduced its 2000-01 budget this week, increased funding for senior administration across several departments, including by as much as 86 per cent in the Department of Tourism and Culture; and

Whereas the Tory Government is slashing funding for hospitals and school boards and imposing user fees on Nova Scotians on everything from ambulance services to propane fuel and electrical permits;

Therefore be it resolved that this government focus its attention on delivering quality public programs and services and relieving the burden on Nova Scotian taxpayers, not feathering their own nests and ministerial offices in downtown Halifax.

[Page 4018]

Mr. Speaker, I would ask for waiver.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Dartmouth North.

[9:45 a.m.]

RESOLUTION NO. 1313

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

Whereas ferreting, the use of the ferret in driving vermin from their underground burrows, has been practised since Roman times; and

Whereas the ferret's long, lithe body, short limbs, and aggressive hunting temperament made it ideal for this function; and

Whereas the Premier's call for the truth about his budget to be ferreted out can only have arisen from his concern that the budget is vermin-ridden;

Therefore be it resolved that backbench Tory MLAs should heed the Premier's cry for help and assist him by aggressively hunting out the underground truth about just how bad this budget is going to be for their constituents.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Dartmouth East.

[Page 4019]

RESOLUTION NO. 1314

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

Whereas the Government House Leader set yesterday's House hours as ending at 8:00 p.m.; and

Whereas the Government House Leader must have forgotten to tell his own members; and

Whereas his own members were more interested in watching the Harry and Parker show cut apart their budget than being in the House, resulting in the loss of a quorum;

Therefore be it resolved that government members of this House realize that they did not need Harry and Parker to break the bad news about their budget, just ask us.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Sackville-Cobequid.

RESOLUTION NO. 1315

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, phone number 424-6600, supports the devastation of our health and education systems, along with user fees, in direct contrast to his election promises; and

Whereas the Minister of Education, phone number 424-4236, and the Minister of Finance, phone number 424-5720, see no problem with having up to 50 students in junior and senior high school classrooms because it is good training for those who will be able to go on to university; and

[Page 4020]

Whereas the Metro Chamber of Commerce, phone number 468-7111, and their spokesperson, the $180,000 man Murray Coolican, phone number 428-6897, believe the cuts didn't go deep enough;

Therefore be it resolved that this House encourage those who do not share the asinine measures contained in the budget to express their views to the power brokers in Nova Scotia.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Victoria.

RESOLUTION NO. 1316

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

Whereas yesterday the Economic Development Minister refused to honour a government commitment that would allow Ski Cape Smokey to continue operating; and

Whereas Ski Cape Smokey is a major employer and contributes over $1 million annually to the local economy; and

Whereas the minister feels it is acceptable to honour commitments in his own riding, but not in Liberal constituencies;

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Economic Development fulfil his moral obligation to fulfil the government's commitment to Ski Cape Smokey in order to ensure the continued operation of this popular attraction.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver.

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

Is it agreed?

[Page 4021]

I hear a No.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Halifax Fairview.

RESOLUTION NO. 1317

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 Jamie Armstrong of Halifax has suffered all 10 years of her life from extreme environmental sensitivity; and

Whereas for years her parents have fought on her behalf for the removal of pesticide treatments from residential lawns; and

Whereas Jamie had the composure and the courage to present her case to a meeting of the Halifax Regional Council on March 7th;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate Jamie Armstrong for her active citizenship and urge her to continue her battle on her own behalf and on behalf of others.

Mr. Speaker, I seek waiver.

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

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 Richmond.

RESOLUTION NO. 1318

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

[Page 4022]

Whereas the Justice Minister has demonstrated that he believes he is not accountable to the Legislature for budget decisions; and

Whereas the absolute arrogance of this minister is demonstrated by his decision to close correctional facilities without telling the Legislature or the communities affected by the cuts, prior to the budget; and

Whereas the minister did find the time to tell the Tory backbencher, the member for Dartmouth South, who announced the corrections closures in a press release but curiously failed to post it on the PC caucus website;

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Justice respect the right of the Legislature and all Nova Scotians to know the details of government cost-cutting instead of hiding the information from the full view of public scrutiny and burying it with a government backbencher who is not accountable to this Legislature in Question Period.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Halifax Needham.

RESOLUTION NO. 1319

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

Whereas Geraldine Browning of Gibsons Woods, Kings County, has devoted many years of dedicated service to her church and to other important community-based endeavours in Kings County and indeed throughout Nova Scotia; and

Whereas among Mrs. Browning's contributions is her volunteer work as a founding member of the Black Cultural Society and the Black United Front; and

Whereas Mrs. Browning has been recognized today as this year's recipient for the Multicultural Volunteer Award;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate Geraldine Browning on her award and thank her for her outstanding contribution to Nova Scotia.

Mr. Speaker, I seek waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

[Page 4023]

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 Clare.

RESOLUTION NO. 1320

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

Whereas senior administration of the Southwest Regional School Board has met to assess the damage caused by $7 million in cuts to the board's budget; and

Whereas a report outlining possible cuts will be brought to an emergency meeting of the school board commencing at 6:00 p.m. tonight at the Liverpool Regional High School; and

Whereas at tonight's meeting the board will consider reduction of teaching staff by 100 positions, possible savings in student transportation, school closures and consolidations, and reorganization of support staff;

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Education drive down to Liverpool this afternoon so she can see first-hand the devastation she has caused to our education system by her cavalier decision to cut the Department of Education's budget by over $27 million.

Mr. Speaker, I ask for waiver.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Dartmouth-Cole Harbour.

[Page 4024]

RESOLUTION NO. 1321

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

Whereas it is said that only one-fourth of an iceberg protrudes from the water; and

Whereas the rest of the iceberg lies beneath the water, hidden and deadly to unsuspecting ships; and

Whereas the Education Department now finds itself crashed on the iceberg of the Tory Budget with the frigid waters of Tory cost-cutting pouring in;

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Education stem the tides of this savage Tory Budget and ask the Minister of Finance to review her Education budget because she, herself, has missed the boat.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage.

RESOLUTION NO. 1322

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

Whereas Trudy Vic has been volunteering for the Metro Food Bank for more than seven years; and

Whereas Trudy Vic is one of the longest serving volunteers the Metro Food Bank has ever had; and

Whereas food bank volunteers are the heart and soul of this worthwhile agency;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate Trudy Vic and all the members and employees of the Metro Food Bank for their commitment and selfless dedication to a worthwhile cause.

Mr. Speaker, I ask for waiver.

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

Is it agreed?

[Page 4025]

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Timberlea-Prospect.

RESOLUTION NO. 1323

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

Whereas Sir John A. Macdonald High School currently has two portables on-site to deal with overcrowding; and

Whereas this legendary high school has served the growing communities of Timberlea-Prospect for over 30 years; and

Whereas four more portables are scheduled to arrive at Sir John A. Macdonald High School in the next two years to assist with increasing enrolments and ill-advised teacher cuts;

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Education immediately inform concerned students, parents and teaching staff on her department's plans for renovations and improvements to Sir John A. Macdonald High School.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Halifax Chebucto.

RESOLUTION NO. 1324

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

[Page 4026]

Whereas in the last sitting of this House it was revealed that the Premier shares a fishing lodge with the Sobeys; and

Whereas it is easy for the public to misconstrue this arrangement between the Premier and a large business operator in this province; and

Whereas with the new exemption from fees for fishing licenses for seniors, the Premier may want to be out fishing more often;

Therefore be it resolved that this House today advise the Premier to sell his interest in the fishing lodge he shares with the Sobey family.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Hants East.

RESOLUTION NO. 1325

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

Whereas academic achievement is a goal that all students should strive for; and

Whereas there are many distractions that can derail students as to the importance and benefits of diligent studying; and

Whereas South Maitland student Jake Rogers has overcome the distractions that can plague today's students and has won a scholarship from Mount Allison University in the amount of $4,000;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly congratulate Jake Rogers for his shining example to other students of the benefits of diligent studying.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

[Page 4027]

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Dartmouth North.

RESOLUTION NO. 1326

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

Whereas today, April 14th, is a Titanic anniversary; and

Whereas the good ship Nova Scotia is now, 88 years later, picking its way through a perilous Tory ice floe while travelling too quickly towards a balanced budget at any costs; and

Whereas the good ship Nova Scotia does not have enough life boats or life jackets to save all on-board;

Therefore be it resolved that the international law of the sea states women and children first, but that doesn't mean thrown over board first like the captain of the good ship Nova Scotia would have you believe.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Sackville-Cobequid.

RESOLUTION NO. 1327

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 suggested his government is unsinkable, by openly speculating about what he will do in his second term that would be expected to run from 2003 to 2007; and

[Page 4028]

Whereas another undertaking that was defined as unsinkable was the RMS Titanic which sank 88 years ago today; and

Whereas the overconfidence of the Titanic's captain and owners contributed to the tragic loss of 1,500 lives, including a disproportionate numbers of women, children and low-income passengers seeking a better life in a new era;

Therefore be it resolved that instead of dreaming about how great he will look seven years hence, the Premier should take today's anniversary of the great tragedy as a warning of the peril his government is creating for women, children and Nova Scotians who seek a better life in this new century.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Halifax Fairview.

RESOLUTION NO. 1328

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 poetry month is here, honouring poets far and near; and

Whereas we're known for pithy prose and to us a rose is just a rose; and

Whereas we all some couth could use, I call upon the House's muse;

Therefore be it resolved that this House do say to poets everywhere - Hooray.

[10:00 a.m.]

Though, Mr. Speaker, you may want to save it, I would prefer that you do waive it. (Laughter)

[Page 4029]

MR. SPEAKER: Has there been a request for waiver?

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. 1329

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

Whereas every day in the Province of Nova Scotia six more children are born into poverty; and

Whereas since August 17th, this Tory Government's first full day in office, 1,446 children have been born into poverty; and

Whereas this heartless Tory Government would prefer to talk about only one kind of deficit, a budget deficit;

Therefore be it resolved that this Tory Government start waking up to the health, education and social deficits faced by the 1,446 children born into poverty under this Tory Regime.

I seek waiver, Mr. Speaker.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear a No.

[The notice is tabled.]

The honourable member for Timberlea-Prospect.

[Page 4030]

RESOLUTION NO. 1330

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

Whereas on April 14, 1999, Shawn Hatcher died on the Panuke-Cohasset oil field while doing a routine inspection in the engine room of the oil-storage vessel, Nordic Apollo; and

Whereas the Nova Scotia Department of Labour wished to press charges against the operator of the Nordic Apollo for its appalling safety practices, but admitted it had no jurisdiction to do so; and

Whereas officials of the Department of Labour and the federal-provincial board that oversees offshore development warned as early as 1993 that the regulatory regime for safety is "unclear and deficient in some important areas";

Therefore be it resolved that this House expresses its deep sorrow and regret to the family of Shawn Hatcher and assures them and all working Nova Scotians that a strong, regulatory health and safety regime will be in place for offshore workers by no later than this fall.

I ask for waiver, Mr. Speaker.

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

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 Timberlea-Prospect on an introduction.

MR. WILLIAM ESTABROOKS: Mr. Speaker, we have some guests from Upper Canada, as we might say down East, but I would like to bring to the attention in the west gallery, Meaghan and Evan Deveaux, I think they have a relative here on the floor, that is my seat mate's wife and young son. With them are Meaghan's grandparents from Lakefield, Ontario, Thelma and Gordon Pilkey. We welcome you to the House and could you stand and receive our greeting. (Applause)

[Page 4031]

MR. SPEAKER: Welcome to all our guests in the gallery.

ORDERS OF THE DAY

GOVERNMENT BUSINESS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

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

GOVERNMENT MOTIONS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, I would move that you do now leave the Chair and that the House resolve itself into a Committee of the Whole House on Supply unto Her Majesty.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Richmond.

MR. MICHEL SAMSON: Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to be able to rise today to speak on an issue that is very important to the people I represent, the good people of Richmond County, and that is the issue of roads throughout our county.

Mr. Speaker, as you well know, roads are a serious issue throughout the entire Province of Nova Scotia but certainly in rural Nova Scotia it is of essential importance, especially when one considers the growing tourist industry and even the growth of rural Nova Scotia through community economic development which, as I have said many times on the floor of this House, has been a tremendous success in my county.

Mr. Speaker, I want to take this opportunity to publicly congratulate the Minister of Transportation on his appointment to that portfolio. To go one step further, shortly after his appointment, the Minister of Transportation, as all members of this House will know, wrote to each of the members of this House requesting that the members provide him with what they felt was a priority list for the Department of Transportation work to be carried out throughout their county. Certainly, in my two years as a member of this House, it is the first time I have seen such an offer or such a request come from a Minister of Transportation.

AN HON. MEMBER: Generous.

[Page 4032]

MR. SAMSON: Yes, very generous, and I certainly want to commend the minister for showing that leadership and initiative shortly after assuming that post. When I received that letter, I was very pleased to see that there was recognition of the input that we, as elected members of this provincial Assembly, could have in trying to encourage the Department of Transportation and Public Works as to what work should be carried out in our area.

I went one step further Mr. Speaker, as I felt that such an offer should not be vetted out by only one person. What I did is I sent that letter along to my municipal council, and at one of their council meetings it was raised and I made a request that all of the councillors who wished to contact me and provide me with a list of their priorities in their areas, because as far as I am concerned municipal councillors are even closer to their particular constituents than we as provincial members can be. So I felt their input was essential.

Mr. Speaker, I was quite pleased that a number of municipal councillors contacted me and provided me with their priority list, which I was very pleased to be able to pass on to the Minister of Transportation and Public Works. On that list sent to the minister, and on the list that I have had as my priority since I have been elected in Richmond County, is without a doubt the repaving, pulverizing, and reconstruction of Route 4 from the Grand Anse intersection to the River Tillard intersection; this route encompasses the communities of Grand Anse and the major community of River Bourgeois. This road has been in a disastrous shape for many years and certainly I am not going to stand here and say that only this current government is to blame or is responsible for that, but the fact is that the people in these communities have waited long, have been very patient, and it is now time to address this very serious state of this road.

Mr. Speaker, certainly since I was elected as a government member, I lobbied very hard to have this particular piece of road addressed immediately by the Department of Transportation and Public Works. It is always unfortunate in politics, when one has some initiatives that are just about ready to be carried out, that we have democracy kick into action and we are often sent back to the polls at the times that we would least like to be going back to the polls because of certain initiatives.

In this case, Mr. Speaker, it was Route 4 from Grand Anse to River Tillard which was the initiative that our government had made a commitment to, and that we were prepared to move forward on immediately as soon as we could get the election out of the way and resume business. Unfortunately, as we all know, we were not given the opportunity to resume business as we would have liked and we now find ourselves on the other side of the House.

Certainly the people of this area, as I have said earlier, have been very patient. We made a clear commitment to this particular section of road, to start work immediately on this following the election, and it is my hope, today - and I certainly will continue to do so in the months, hopefully not years, but at least in the months ahead - to encourage the Minister of

[Page 4033]

Transportation and Public Works to immediately continue the work that was started on Route 4.

One of the things that has changed since that time, Mr. Speaker, which has raised the level of importance on this particular piece of road, is that with the construction of the new Richmond Academy in Whiteside there will now be even more bus traffic which will be going through this road, because it is my understanding that many of the buses will travel along Route 4, which has now basically become a secondary road with the construction of the highway from Port Hawkesbury to St. Peters. So, rather than have the buses full of children travel on a 100-Series Highway with the amount of traffic, it has been proposed that there will be more buses using Route 4, which raises the level of importance of making sure that this is an adequate road for our school buses and our children to be travelling on.

Mr. Speaker, I hope that the Minister of Transportation and Public Works will take this concern very seriously. The letter I sent him, which was endorsed by the municipal council, clearly indicated that Route 4 was to be the number one priority, not just for myself as the MLA but has been the number one priority for Richmond County Council for quite some time.

Mr. Speaker, another area in my county which is in serious need of upgrades are the roads throughout the historic community of Arichat, not only the main road going through the community of Arichat, but especially the low road. I am pleased to say that Arichat, and history buffs in this House may know, was once the shipping capital of Nova Scotia and of Eastern Nova Scotia. It was by far the busiest port, it had the busiest shipbuilding trade and shipping trade of the entire Eastern Seaboard. Unfortunately, throughout the years with modernization, the community has seen a sharp decline in the amount of activity in that area, but through the efforts of organizations such as Development Isle Madame and support of the Richmond Municipal Council and other government agencies, the community has been turning itself around. More industries are locating to that area. Old boarded-up buildings are being revamped and being restored. There is a new sense of revitalization in that community.

One of the problems that comes with revitalization, Mr. Speaker, is that if you do not have an adequate transportation system prepared for that revitalization, you are faced with very serious problems. In the community of Arichat, the roads that were constructed were not constructed to handle the amount of traffic, especially heavy traffic, that is currently using these roads. I think of the low road in particular, which now has tractor trailers travelling to the Clearwater lobster holding facility; you have tractor trailers travelling to the new Co-op store which was constructed; tractor trailers travelling to Premium Seafoods, a fish processing facility, and most recently, you have a lot of tractor trailers travelling to Scotia Rainbow, the new aquaculture farm located in Arichat.

[Page 4034]

Mr. Speaker, the result is that these roads have taken a serious beating due to this heavy truck traffic, and the main reason is because these roads were built as residential roads, but have basically, in essence, become commercial roads. It is certainly my hope that the minister will see fit to immediately address his attention to the roads in the Arichat community so that no way is the continued development of that community hampered by a lack of an inadequate transportation system to handle the growth.

Mr. Speaker, another community which has suffered a lot of damage over the years, I think of the low road in Poulamon, where, unfortunately, this past year they had to erect some cement barricades along the side of the road because it is on a steep bank, and due to erosion, the bank has been eaten out to the point that there is no more guard rail. The guard rail has fallen over the side into the water, and large chunks under the road have been eaten out. I know the Department of Transportation is going to do some work to that road, and they have carried out some and certainly there is a lot more that needs to be done.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. Would the honourable member permit a brief introduction?

MR. SAMSON: Sure.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings North.

MR. MARK PARENT: Mr. Speaker, it gives me great pleasure to introduce - there are actually two gentlemen, but I am going to share the introduction with the honourable member for Kings South. I will introduce the guest who lives in my riding, and that is Mr. John Morrison. We are delighted to have him with us. He is visiting today, and I value John's judgement very much, his insight, and I am pleased that he is here. I would ask the House to give him a warm welcome. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings South to finish up the introduction.

MR. DAVID MORSE: Mr. Speaker, I would like to extend the same warm welcome from the House to Mr. Chris Parker who is also up in the gallery, and I would ask both John and Chris to stand and receive that warm accommodation. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: Welcome.

MR. SAMSON: Mr. Speaker, as I was saying, that lower road in Poulamon is certainly getting some attention but needs a larger commitment from the government. One of the other communities which has suffered through very serious problems with their roads is the community of Rocky Bay. A few years ago, the beginning of the main road into Rocky Bay was resurfaced, pulverized, and new pavement was put in. Unfortunately, it only went so far, and there is a point in Rocky Bay going up to Poirierville that has not been completed. This

[Page 4035]

section of road suffers greatly due to heavy frost action which has broken up the road in many areas.

Mr. Speaker, this road has become a bit of a folk story in the local community because in the summertime it has been indicated that the Department of Transportation will have to buy new equipment to be able to maintain this road. In fact, the new equipment that has been suggested by the residents of that area is a lawnmower because the road has become so broken in certain areas that it has now become a concern that the grass is growing too much through that particular road. (Interruption)

[10:15 a.m.]

Mr. Speaker, unlike a former NDP/Tory MLA in this House, I certainly have no intentions of putting on my rubber boots and going to plant any lawn seed on that road. But certainly the residents are very concerned. This road is used by school buses, and as I have said before, it is not a problem that happened overnight. Certainly I am not trying to say that this government is to blame for that, but we certainly hope that they will continue the work that has been started on that road and address the concerns of the residents.

Mr. Speaker, one of the last areas I wanted to address is one that this government in its blue book has referred is giving more attention to secondary roads; back home, what we like to call the gravel roads. Richmond County does have a number of those roads. We are fortunate that we have, compared to other counties such as Antigonish, fewer kilometres of gravel road than other communities, but certainly it is a serious problem. I think of the community of L'Ardoise, especially with the fishermen in that area. Little Harbour was a project which underwent over $0.5 million in upgrades to fix the wharf, a new breakwater and some floating docks for the fishermen in that community. There are 10 to 15 boats in that area now that fish lobster, crab and shrimp.

The problem is that the roads leading to the wharf, for about one and one-half kilometres to two kilometres are gravel roads. What has happened is that because of the increased level of fishing activity, there are more heavy vehicles using this road than ever before. Needless to say we all know the action that frost has on our gravel roads and the problems it creates. What the fishermen have asked the local councillor, Councillor Steve Sampson, a good friend and a very hard-working councillor, has been pushing for quite some time to try to have that road paved. I certainly know the Department of Transportation has indicated over the years that they have been trying to maintain their paved roads, not pave more gravel roads.

We know that this new government has indicated that they will stem that tide and start to pave some of these gravel roads and I certainly hope that they can live up to that commitment and that they will consider the Mombourquette Road and the Shore Road,

[Page 4036]

leading up to the Little Harbour facility so that they can continue the growth which is taking place and that they can have adequate roads leading to that facility.

Mr. Speaker, I could speak about many other communities. I think of the community of Whiteside where Richmond Academy is being built, which is currently a gravel road. I hope the government will give serious consideration to paving that road based on the fact that buses will be using that road on a continual basis. That road just cannot sustain itself with the amount of bus traffic that will now be on it if it is not paved. I think of the roads going to the Evanston area which is home to the Strait-Richmond Hospital, the Walter Fougere School; they are in a horrific state, which needs to be addressed. Then I think of the many roads through the communities of Loch Lomond, Stirling, Framboise, Fourchu and Grand River. I hope that the government and the Minister of Transportation will give serious attention to all of those roads. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Timberlea-Prospect.

MR. WILLIAM ESTABROOKS: Mr. Speaker, I thank you for giving me a few moments this morning to bring some concerns of my growing constituency to the attention of the House. I think it is of some relevance, of course, to remember that one of the fastest growing areas in eastern Canada is contained within the constituency of Timberlea-Prospect. As a result, we have a number of growing concerns from people who have brought them to my attention and I would like to bring them to the attention of the House this morning.

Of course, predictably, with my past, I want to talk about schools. We are in a situation in my growing community, Mr. Speaker, whether we have an old high school with 30 years of wonderful service, such as Sir John A. Macdonald High School or two new P3 schools in close proximity servicing the needs of this growing community, the problem is that we also still have portables in use. The very school that my children attended when they went to Tantallon Elementary School, this fall the Principal, Mr. Doug Pickup has told me that overcrowding will result in portables being used again at Tantallon Elementary School. Sir John A. Macdonald High School has two portables and is scheduled for two more. That says to me we have a lack of planning when it comes to education, a lack of planning, a lack of support and in the midst of those increased enrolments, I hear the Minister of Education talking about teacher cuts.

Parents, students, the community of Timberlea-Prospect are alarmed. I also want to bring to the minister's attention and to the House's attention a growing concern about access to these schools, whether it is over March Break or during the summer; access to these schools for evening and weekend activities. There is a growing amount of confusion about access to P3 schools. What does it cost exactly to rent the gym; to have access to this technology which we have heard so much about? That confusion has caused many headaches for soccer coaches, for Scout leaders, for organizers of activities that do not have the

[Page 4037]

opportunity to get access to our public schools and of course, access to our public-private partnership schools.

I want to move from schools quickly because I know my time is limited. You heard me earlier introduce a resolution in this House. A growing community needs recreational facilities. The St. Margarets arena is so overcrowded with demands on its ice time that we have young men and women involved with figure skating, ringette and hockey that have to travel outside of this growing community to other facilities for ice time. They have to travel down the dangerous Highway No. 103 as far as Chester for early morning practices.

I would like at this time to congratulate the Prospect Road Lions for their involvement, Lion Gary Langille in particular, for his initiative and the club's initiative in looking into the possibility of having a second arena service the needs of Timberlea-Prospect.

With a growing community, many of these people are moving into these expanding subdivisions and I, for the benefit of the Minister of Transportation, would like to bring to his attention - and I am going to table this - a map of Haliburton Hills and Haliburton Heights. This map, for members present, excuse me for being the teacher, you will notice the paved, the unpaved section and then the paved section again. In other words, when you go into Haliburton Hills you go through a paved section for a number of kilometres; because of recent changes in the municipality and rules with regard to developers and opening up lots, you now go further on and you come to other sections that are paved. It makes no sense to me for the Department of Transportation to have to put two plows in there to handle snow removal, to continually have to go back into these growing subdivisions because initially they are going through a paved section, then they come to a gravel section and then they are back to the paved again. That says to me, these subdivisions such as Highland Park, Haliburton Hills, St. Margarets Village, these growing subdivisions, they need attention when it comes to the fact that subdivisions and the cost-sharing benefits that we are supposed to have from this provincial government, they need the attention and the direction of this House.

In particular, there is growing frustration with people who signed petitions and then call after the petitions have been tabled at the HRM, petitions that have been tabled in this House by myself, they then call the Department of Transportation and they ask that predictable question, now where is our road on the priority list? That magical priority list seems to be as confusing at times today as speakers and Cabinet ministers making those speeches in this House on that topic.

In particular, Mr. Speaker, I would like to draw the attention of the Minister of Transportation to an outstanding young man in my community by the name of Joel Jessome. Now Joel Jessome has brought the condition of Leeward Avenue to the minister's attention on many occasions. What Joel and his neighbours, in this expanding subdivision of Highland Park, want to know is, just tell us when our roads will be paved with the cost-sharing situation with the municipality. Just tell us, will it be 2000? Will it be 2001? Those residents

[Page 4038]

will take faith in the fact that there is a plan when it comes to growing subdivisions such as the ones I have mentioned.

Of course, I cannot talk about roads in the community of Timberlea-Prospect without mentioning Prospect Road. Mr. Speaker, as you are undoubtedly aware, I had the privilege to be a school teacher in this community for a number of years. I can tell you, with the growth on the Prospect Road and the expanding subdivisions in that area, that there is a major problem happening on the Prospect Road. There have been an increased number of accidents. That increased number of accidents, unfortunately, is the result of tourist traffic, tour buses on the way to Peggy's Cove, and the many people who have moved into this community. The people on Prospect Road, Linda Keddy, Ed Andrews, the people involved with the Please Respect Our Safety organization want, from the Minister of Transportation, a commitment for a plan. At this point, all politics aside, I should thank the Minister of Transportation for paying personal attention; for meeting with Mrs. Keddy and Mr. Andrews; for going out and confirming the concerns I have brought to the attention of this House many times, that Prospect Road, in the words of Fire Chief Doug Avery, is a killer road. The last thing I need, is another emotional farewell to a young person in my community where I have had to go to represent my school and the views of the community when it comes to an accident on the Prospect Road.

The concern is, there are limited funds. I am appreciative of that. I understand the Minister of Transportation has tough decisions ahead, but when you are in expanding communities, secondary roads such as the Prospect Road and Hammond Plains Road and the Old Bay Road cannot be forgotten, because that arterial highway is the way people get to Highway No. 103. That is how they get out onto our 100-Series Highways. There has to be attention to such issues as making sure there is a safe place to pull off if you do have a problem with a tire, that there is a place to pull off if you want to pick up a hitchhiker, Mr. Speaker. I can tell you if you pull off on the Prospect Road, you immediately become a traffic hazard. There must be attention to the difficulties in a growing community, such as the one I represent, when it comes to proper funding for roads.

Mr. Speaker, I want to bring to the attention of the Acting Minister of the Environment, the topic that is going to be addressed further in this House, I want to assure you, regarding the continual clean-up of the Five Island Lake PCP site that has lingered on for far too long. That work is continuing, yet there is a problem with the access road - there's that road again - as we have these huge trucks coming and going through the community of Hubley. We have to make sure that the access road is up to standard and if it is used by these trucks, they don't use it as a detour, and make sure they can get these dangerous trucks in and out of that growing community, incidently, right next door to Sir John A. Macdonald High School. I know with your past, in the business you had, you know that when you have big trucks moving in a school zone, it is important that the proper access road is used. I hope the Acting Minister of Environment continues to press to make sure this particular matter is attended to in my community.

[Page 4039]

There is also, of course, other environmental concerns. In particular, I point to the New Era Farms compost facility on the Prospect Road. I am sure following the news as you do, Mr. Speaker, you have seen and heard of some of the ongoing problems we have had with this facility. We have met with the operators and they have told us they have invested almost $0.5 million in improvements, and I congratulate Vernon Kynock and the operators of New Era Farms for that.

[10:30 a.m.]

However, Mr. Speaker, the community told environment officials that the concern they had was from the hot summer to the very cold of the winter, there were problems with New Era Farms. Finally, environment officials react and confirm; yes, the community was correct. Well, duh - excuse the sarcasm - we knew it, does it take the difficulties that the community had to put up with to finally have the environment officials react?

Mr. Speaker, in my limited time I want to highlight some young people I have had the privilege of teaching, who now are parents themselves in the community. You well know, based upon your experience in this House, that you bring constituency concerns because you hear from people in your community. I would like to point out Karla and Mike Blackburn, that their continuing concerns about the Prospect Road will be brought to the attention of the Minister of Transportation, time after time in this House.

When the Atlantic Winter Fair or the Ideal Home Show is held at Exhibition Park on the Prospect Road, Mr. Speaker, we suddenly have traffic jams. We have emergency situations where people coming up that road, because of the traffic coming and going in and out of the park, have had to wait on the road for as long as an hour, and an hour and 15 minutes. I want to thank Mike Blackburn for bringing that to my attention.

I want to thank Marie Wournell, a hockey mom, and you know how important hockey moms are, Mr. Speaker. I want to thank Marie Wournell for continuing to press to make sure that her family members do not have to go as far away as Chester to have a 6:00 a.m. practice. That is, incidentally, over an hour's drive from their home in Shad Bay.

I want to thank Ronnie Lee. Ronnie Lee has a history with this old vice-principal, Mr. Speaker. Ron Lee brings concerns to my attention on a regular basis because of the location of his home in Greenwood Heights. Ron Lee is concerned about some of the matters in a growing community and, as a young parent, he had the opportunity recently to see his son, Ron Lee, Jr., and a young woman by the name of Deanne Howe make very emotional statements on the opening of their new school.

In particular, I want to thank Randy Pulsifer, who is a referee and in his good judgement has dealt with both of us on many occasions. Randy Pulsifer is a member of the community of Haliburton Hills and Randy Pulsifer continues to bring to my attention concerns

[Page 4040]

about such matters as postal delivery and concerns about the highways. For us to do our jobs, we must speak up in this House and I know that as we go into estimates, you will hear from me again on some of the concerns from the growing community of Timberlea-Prospect. I encourage other members from that side of the House to also rise in their place and bring to your attention the concerns that they hear from their constituents. I thank you for your time on this nice Friday morning.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings North.

MR. MARK PARENT: Before I start, Mr. Speaker, could I just ask how much time I have?

MR. SPEAKER: You have 15 minutes, honourable member.

MR. PARENT: I want to thank you for this opportunity to speak. When I gave my reply to the Speech from the Throne some time ago, I spoke for quite a long time about the beautiful constituency of Kings North, and the various aspects of that community that I have grown to love and to enjoy.

I am hoping I have the indulgence of this House to speak more personally this morning rather than speaking about my constituency, because one of the questions that I keep getting asked, and I welcome this opportunity to be able to respond to it in a more public manner, is why, as a minister of religion, I decided to run for political office? As you know, politicians don't have the greatest reputation in Nova Scotia or in Canada. I have already shared with you before Frank McKenna's joke - how do you know what the difference is between a dead skunk in the middle of the road and a dead politician? The answer is there are skid marks in front of the skunk. Also, the other saying, how do you know when a politician is lying? His lips are moving. So I continually get this.

At a Salvation Army banquet I had to explain my fall from grace on how I fell from being a minister to a politician, and Bruce Rainnie, from the CBC, at the Kentville Volunteer Dinner, I had to speak before him. We were sitting next to each other, and he asked, what did you do before you entered politics? I said, I was a church minister in a Baptist Church, and he said, boy, that's a 360 degree turn isn't it? So, I continually get this in my riding and I get this in Halifax as well, so I welcome the opportunity to speak just for a few minutes on this transition in my life and why I would make it. It does relate to the budget as well, and I want to come to that at the end.

What I have had to do in this transition is go back and re-read the books of a thinker who was very formative in my life, during my university years, and has been very formative in the life of many Christians who have wanted to be involved in helping society to be a better place. That person is named Reinhold Neibuhr. Probably most of you in the House would not have heard of Reinhold Neibuhr's name. After all, he was born in a small town in the United

[Page 4041]

States, in Missouri. He belonged to a very small denomination that had roots from Prussia, in Europe. To make things even worse, he ran for the Socialist Party in the United States before he fell under the spell of Franklin Delano Roosevelt and became a Democrat, which, Mr. Speaker, makes me reflect that maybe there is some truth that if you are not a socialist before the age of 30, you have no heart, but if you are still one after the age of 30, you have no head.

What you would know about Reinhold Neibuhr is the little poem he wrote that has been used as prayer by many self-help groups, Alcoholics Anonymous, Gamblers Anonymous, and self-help groups in Canada and throughout North America. That little prayer goes like this, "God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to distinguish the one from the other." I think the reason that prayer is so popular is because what Neibuhr managed to do in that little prayer which, as I said, is used by AA groups in my riding and throughout this province and by other self-help groups, is he managed to crystallize in just a few words the philosophy and theology he had been working on, called the philosophy of Christian realism.

What happened is when Neibuhr looked at the religious people of his day - and he was a professor in a seminary and also an ordained minister - what he saw was that they weren't getting involved in helping society become a better place, and the reason they weren't getting involved is because they were so idealistic. They had no real solutions to the practical problems of the society of their day; in other words, what Neibuhr saw when he looked, and I think this applies to people of all religious stripes, not just to the Christian community, they were so heavily minded that they were no earthly good.

He challenged the church of his day to begin to get involved in making society a better place. The way he did this was by differentiating between what he called proximate goals and ultimate goals. Proximate goals were the small steps that were taken towards the ultimate goals, and the ultimate goals were the ideals. They were the things the community of his day believed in and felt firmly about, but what they were lacking were these proximate steps that would get them towards those ultimate goals. So, he worked out this whole philosophy where he was able to get the community, the Christian community of his day and the church leaders of his day, to be able to focus not just on the ultimate goals of society being a better place, but also on these proximate steps that would be needed to get them to the place where they would have that society they visualized and hoped for.

Re-reading Reinhold Neibuhr has encouraged me as a church minister to be involved in the political process which, at times, is very different from my former activity, and where I am focusing not so much, as I did as a minister, on these ultimate ideals of this wonderful society of - to use traditional theological language - the Kingdom of God on Earth, but where you are focusing more on these proximate steps, on these small steps that will get you towards those long-term goals. That is where I think we tie in with the budget, because I believe that the short-term steps that we are taking in this budget are directed to some very

[Page 4042]

important long-term goals. The tie-in between the long-term goals, Mr. Speaker, and the short-term steps are important to reflect upon.

What are these long-term goals? Well, I think the long-term goals are goals that we would share as citizens of Nova Scotia which are: a society where children are free to grow up enjoying the benefits of being a member of Nova Scotia's society free from poverty and free from inadequate shelter; a society where students have the best education that we can provide for them, with teachers who are supported as well as we can support them; a society where our young people aren't put in a position where because of economic uncertainty and because of economic problems, they have to leave this province of ours in order to go find jobs in Upper Canada or out West.

This is a big concern, I am sure, to all of us. It is to me as a father who has two children now in university who are looking towards the future and looking to where they will find employment and who want to live in Nova Scotia and who want to live in the Annapolis Valley, per se, because they love the Valley and they love that region, they love the people, they love the geography, they love the outlook on life we have.

It is a society where adults will have even better health care than we now enjoy. It is a society where seniors can retire and know that they will be able to live out the rest of their days in relative prosperity.

These are the long-term goals that I think all of us share. The differences come in in these proximate steps. How do we get to those long-term goals? I don't think there is anyone in this House who would deny or who would quibble with any of the long-term goals that I have set out. I think we would all say - if I can use church language, again - a hearty amen to all those goals, that is what we all want, but how do we get there? That is where Neibuhr comes in handy for me because it is very tempting to just concentrate on those long-term goals and forget the proximate steps and then to fall into idealism and to lapse into self-righteousness when those ultimate goals don't seem to materialize as quickly as we want them to do.

I think it is these proximate steps that are important and it is the challenge that Neibuhr has and it is these proximate steps that I believe, Mr. Speaker, and I hope that we are taking in this budget towards these long-term goals. We need a province that is financially self-sustaining, we need a province where we can control our own financial future, where we are not dependent upon the whims of financial analysts in the City of New York, who, when they burp, we have to jump. We need to wrestle down this deficit, we need to get on track with this debt, so that we can be masters in our own house, financially. The reason why we have to be masters in our own house is because that is the only way in which we can help children, in which we can help students, in which we can help the poor and in which we can help health care and in which we can help education.

[Page 4043]

It is those long-term goals that drive these short-term steps. Of course, there is always disagreement about how you are going to get there and I expect that in this House we will have differences of opinions about these proximate goals or these short-term steps that different Parties will have different solutions as to how to get there. I firmly believe that our Party is trying, as best we can, to get to those long-term goals. To get to those long-term goals, we need to do something to deal with this deficit and to deal with this debt.

The criticism was made on the campaign trail to me, Mr. Speaker, as it is being made in the House right now that we had our chance in the past and that we shouldn't have a chance in the present. I wasn't here in the past. I can only speak to the present. The present is that if we are ever going to reach these long-term goals we have to deal with the financial problem in this province; we have no choice; globalization has made this need to wrestle down the deficit and to begin to deal with the debt even more important than it did in the past. We are no longer an isolated little part of Canada, we are part of the global scene and, if we want to have any sort of control over our destiny as a province, we have to do something about our financial future.

[10:45 a.m.]

I think that proximate step is so very important because as difficult as it is to take those proximate steps - and of course one could always be wrong in deciding what the proximate steps are - unless those are taken, the long-term goals will never be reached; they will never be reached. So it is those proximate steps that Neibuhr challenged me to think about. Those proximate steps, those short-term steps that I have had to wrestle with.

Believe me, Mr. Speaker, I am sure I speak for every member on this side of the House, they are not easy decisions to make in any way whatsoever. Some of them are not decisions that we want to make, but what we are trying to do is balance the short-term steps with that long-term vision of a province that is master of its own house economically, a province where young people have a good education, a province where we have adequate health care for all people, a province where children don't grow up in poverty and a province where seniors can retire in peace.

It is that balance, and it is a balance that is very hard . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Would the honourable member yield for an introduction please?

MR. PARENT: Yes, I would be happy to.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage.

[Page 4044]

MR. KEVIN DEVEAUX: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today in my place to introduce a few members of the Nova Scotia Government Employees Union who are here today to listen to some of the budget deliberations. I think we are going into the health debate shortly after these speeches are over, so they will have an opportunity to hear a bit more about the government's plan with regard to that.

They are in the east gallery: Louise Arsenault, Maureen McQuaid, Pauline Gabriel, Darren McPhee and Kelly Maupe from the Nova Scotia Government Employees Union, and if they will stand and be acknowledged by the House for their attendance. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: Welcome to our guests in the gallery.

MR. PARENT: Just for my edification, Mr. Speaker, how much time do I have left?

MR. SPEAKER: Approximately one minute.

MR. PARENT: This is really the point I am trying to make and I welcome the opportunity to do it because I do get this question all the time, of how can you get involved with the muck and mire of politics, you should stay above it, you are a church minister. But unless one gets involved in trying to make it better, one can't sit back and criticize in some sort of self-righteous manner. We have to get in there and we have to try our best. We know that we are going to make mistakes along the way, but we are trying our best to get involved to make this a better society, where we are in control of our financial future for the ultimate goals of good education, good health, and for the ultimate goal of equality for all people.

That is what we are working for and that is what we are trying to do, so, Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the opportunity of having to speak to this and trying to explain a little bit of my perspective and where I come from, because I get this question very much. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is carried.

[10:50 a.m. The House resolved itself into a CWH on Supply with Deputy Speaker Mr. Wayne Gaudet in the Chair.]

[2:50 p.m. CWH on Supply rose and the House reconvened with Deputy Speaker Mr. Brooke Taylor in the Chair.]

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

THE CLERK: That the committee has met and made some progress in considering Supply and asks leave to sit again.

[Page 4045]

MR. SPEAKER: Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, the hours for Monday will be from 2:00 p.m. until 10:00 p.m. The order of business will be Private Members' Public Bills for Second Reading, I am sorry, no, I stand corrected, we will do that last. We will continue with the adjourned debate on Bill No. 42, Public Bills for Second Reading and then we will move to the Committee of the Whole House on Bills and we will do the bills as listed on the order paper, that is Bill Nos. 10, 30, and 35, and those reported today, Bill No. 28 and Bill No. 42. My order paper is not up to date. So, that will be the order of business on Monday and, of course, we will be doing four hours of estimates prior to that.

So, it is 2:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. and as I said, the order of business following the Committee of the Whole House on Supply will be primarily bills for second reading and Committee of the Whole House.

I would like to move that the House do now rise.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is to adjourn. Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

[The House rose at 2:51 p.m.]