The Nova Scotia Legislature

The House resumed on:
September 21, 2017.

Hansard -- Wed., June 7, 2000

First Session

TUESDAY, JUNE 7, 2000

TABLE OF CONTENTS PAGE
Public Accounts Committee (07/06/00):
Decision (Meeting [14/06/00] Cancelled) - Appealed [Rule 61(2)]
Motion - Decision be sustained
Vote - Affirmative 7137
PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS:
NSLC: Privatization - Oppose, Mr. R. MacLellan 7137
NSLC: Privatization - Oppose, Mr. Robert Chisholm 7137
Nat. Res. - Provincial Parks Act: Cole Hbr. Heritage Park-Dogs off
Leash Permit - Amend, Mr. K. Deveaux 7138
PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES:
Law Amendments Committee, Hon. M. Baker 7138
TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS:
Ninth Annual Report of the Law Reform Commission of Nova Scotia,
Hon. M. Baker 7138
STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS:
Educ. - History (Cdn.): High School - Compulsory, Hon. J. Purves 7139
GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION
Res. 2675, Justice Comm. (HoC) - Westray Inquiry (Rec. 73):
Leg. Intro. - Consensus Applaud, The Premier 7142
Vote - Affirmative 7143
Res. 2676, Culture - Le Musée Acadien (W. Pubnico): Website -
Initiative Congrats., Hon. N. LeBlanc 7143
Vote - Affirmative 7144
Res. 2677, Econ. Dev. - Junior Achievement Prog.: Business Hall of
Fame (N.S.)-Inductees/Corporate Sponsors - Congrats.,
Hon. G. Balser 7144
Vote - Affirmative 7144
Res. 2678, Lbr. - Miners Mem. Day (Davis Day): Mining Deaths -
Remember, Hon. A. MacIsaac 7145
Vote - Affirmative 7145
Res. 2679, Fin. - Reporting (Quarterly Updates): Commitment -
Fulfilled, Hon. N. LeBlanc 7145
Res. 2680, Health - Medical Soc. (N.S.): Distinguished Serv. Award -
Dr. Sonia Salisbury & Dr. Bernard Badley Congrats., Hon. J. Muir 7146
Vote - Affirmative 7147
Res. 2681, Educ. - Natl. Skills Canada (2000): Competitors (N.S.) -
Success Congrats., Hon. J. Purves 7147
Vote - Affirmative 7147
Res. 2682, Transport. & Pub. Wks. - Transportation Week (Cdn.):
System (N.S.) - Recognize, Hon. R. Russell 7148
Res. 2683, Health - Healthcare Assoc. (Cdn.) Ex. Award 2000:
Brenda Montgomery (W. Reg. HB) - Congrats., Hon. J. Muir 7148
Vote - Affirmative 7149
Res. 2684, Educ. - NSSBA: Recognition Award (Member 2000) -
Robert Tumulty (Anna. Royal) Congrats., Hon. J. Purves 7149
Vote - Affirmative 7150
INTRODUCTION OF BILLS:
No. 59, Union of Nova Scotia Municipalities Act, Hon. A. MacIsaac 7150
No. 60, Members and Public Employees Disclosure Act, The Premier 7150
NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 2685, Sysco - Cleanup Proj.: Funding ($230M) - Use,
Mr. P. MacEwan 7150
Res. 2686, Health: Berwick & E. Kings Clinics - Retain,
Mr. Robert Chisholm 7151
Res. 2687, Health - Cancer Care (N.S.): Appreciation - Express,
Mr. T. Olive 7151
Vote - Affirmative 7152
Res. 2688, Health - Care: Clinic - Define, Mr. R. MacLellan 7152
Res. 2689, Kings. S. MLA: Civics Book (Grade 9) - Read, Mr. D. Dexter 7153
Res. 2690, Human Rts. - Racial Discrimination: Eradication Efforts -
Henderson Paris (New Glasgow) Award (CFM) Congrats.,
The Premier 7154
Vote - Affirmative 7154
Res. 2691, PC MLAs (PAC) - Expenditure Review: Delay - Condemn,
Mr. J. Holm 7154
Res. 2692, Sports - Baseball (World Children's Fair): Joel Holland
(Bridgewater) - Rep. (N.S.) Congrats., Mr. D. Downe 7155
Vote - Affirmative 7155
Res. 2693, Sports - Swimming (Ken Dunn Mem. Champs. [Dal.]):
Danielle Weir (Falmouth) - Record-Setting Congrats.,
Hon. R. Russell 7156
Vote - Affirmative 7156
Res. 2694, Tourism & Culture - Min.: Speech Hold -
Mouthpiece Check, Mr. M. Samson 7156
Res. 2695, Educ. - Black Educators Assoc.: Black Students -
Disadvantaged Position Info., Mr. K. Deveaux 7157
Res. 2696, Culture - Lunenburg: History - Congrats., Hon. M. Baker 7158
Vote - Affirmative 7158
Res. 2697, Gov't. (N.S.) - PAC: Meetings Delay - Secrecy,
Mr. R. MacKinnon 7159
Res. 2698, Health - Min.: Hospital Closures - Info. (PC Backbenchers)
Share, Mr. D. Dexter 7159
Res. 2699, Sports - Skippers (Champs. [Cdn.]): Bedford Skippers -
Bronze Medal Congrats., Hon. P. Christie 7160
Vote - Affirmative 7160
Res. 2700, Commun. Serv. - Shel. Co. (Sheltered Workshops):
Marion Boudreau - Service Commend, Mr. C. O'Donnell 7160
Vote - Affirmative 7161
Res. 2701, Culture - Black Cultural Soc. (N.S.): No. 2 Construction
Battalion - Sacrifices Recognize, Mr. D. Hendsbee 7161
Vote - Affirmative 7162
Res. 2702, Culture - Portuguese Soc. (N.S.): Commun. Ctr. (Dart.) -
Bonds (N.S.:Portugal) Recognize, Dr. J. Smith 7162
Vote - Affirmative 7163
Res. 2703, Educ. - Sc. Fair (Cdn.): Anna. V. Reg. Sch. Bd. -
Julia Frenette & Melissa Reekie Congrats., Mr. M. Parent 7163
Vote - Affirmative 7163
Res. 2704, Sports - Heritage Wall of Fame (Middleton): Paul Shaffner
(Basketball Coach) - Congrats., Mr. F. Chipman 7164
Vote - Affirmative 7164
Res. 2705, Culture - Yar. Hbr.: Cape Forchu Light Station -
Future Ensured Congrats., Mr. R. Hurlburt 7164
Vote - Affirmative 7165
Res. 2706, Tourism - NFL-Bay Ferries: Northumberland Strait
Service - Congrats., Mrs. M. Baillie 7165
Vote - Affirmative 7166
Res. 2707, Sports - Shooting: Sarah Bezanson (St. Mary's) -
Success Congrats., Mr. Ronald Chisholm 7166
Vote - Affirmative 7167
Res. 2708, Tourism: Privateer Days Comm'n. (L'pool) - Appreciate,
Mr. K. Morash 7167
Vote - Affirmative 7167
Res. 2709, Educ. - W. Kings DHS (Grade 10): Duke of Edinburgh's
Silver Award - Winners (15) Congrats., Mr. J. Carey 7168
Vote - Affirmative 7168
Res. 2710, Econ. Dev. - Business Hall of Fame (N.S.): Sobey Bros. -
Induction Congrats., Mr. J. DeWolfe 7169
Vote - Affirmative 7169
Res. 2711, Educ. - Acadia Univ.: SSHRC (Can.) Research Grants -
Scholars Congrats., Mr. D. Morse 7169
Res. 2712, Educ. - Eng. Sc. Diploma (1938): Manning Forster (Chester) -
Receipt (2000) Congrats., (By Hon. M. Baker) Hon. J. Chataway 7170
Vote - Affirmative 7171
Res. 2713, Culture - Dartmouth: Anniv. 250th Comm. -
Work Recognize, Mr. T. Olive 7171
Vote - Affirmative 7171
Res. 2714, Culture - Tom Hankinson & Family (Middleton):
Seats Donation (Ionic Lodge) - Commun. Spirit Recognize,
Mr. F. Chipman 7172
Vote - Affirmative 7172
Res. 2715, Grace & Gordon Hubley (Bedford): Golden Wedding Anniv. -
Congrats., Hon. P. Christie 7172
Vote - Affirmative 7173
Res. 2716, Sports - Swimming (Ken Dunn Mem. Champs. [Dal.]):
Danielle Weir (Falmouth) - Record-Setting Congrats.,
Hon. M. Baker 7173
Vote - Affirmative 7174
Res. 2717, Lions' Club Internat. (Vice District Gov. [41-N2 Dist.]):
Sharon Dykman (Mineville) - Congrats., Mr. D. Hendsbee 7174
Res. 2718, Educ. - Univs. (N.S.): Reputation - Recognize,
Mr. D. Morse 7175
Res. 2719, Nat. Res. - Erosion Prevention (Cape Sable Is.): Vandalism -
Condemn, Mr. C. O'Donnell 7175
Vote - Affirmative 7176
Res. 2720, Justice - Drunk Driving, Team Against: West Kings Teens (4) -
Video Content (CBC Award) Congrats., Mr. J. Carey 7176
Vote - Affirmative 7177
Res. 2721, Sports - Hockey (Pictou Co. Minor Assoc.):
Players of Month - Congrats., Mr. J. DeWolfe 7177
Vote - Affirmative 7177
ORAL QUESTIONS PUT BY MEMBERS:
No. 874, Health - Roseway Hosp. (Shel.): Downgrading - Confirm,
Mr. R. MacLellan 7178
No. 875, Health - Hospitals: Rural Areas - Future, Mr. Robert Chisholm 7179
No. 876, Health - Dep. Min.: Blue Book - Awareness, Dr. J. Smith 7181
No. 877, Health - IWK-Grace Hospital: Nutrition Program -
Reinstatement, Mr. Robert Chisholm 7182
No. 878, Health - Atl. Hts. Rest Home (Lockeport): Policies -
Confusion, Dr. J. Smith 7184
No. 879, Health - Hospitals: Commun. Health Bds. - Input,
Mr. D. Dexter 7185
No. 880, Fin. - Vol. Firefighters/Search & Rescue: Promises -^^
Fulfilment Complete, Mr. D. Downe 7186
No. 881, Health: Mental Health (Bland Report) - Release, Mr. D. Dexter 7188
No. 882, Sysco - Steelworkers: Pensions - Action (Pre-Sale),
Mr. Manning MacDonald 7189
No. 883, Nat. Res. - Brown Spruce Longhorn Beetle: Infestation -
Norway Spruce, Mr. John MacDonell 7190
No. 884, Sysco - Clean-up Proj.: Funding ($230M) - Implementation,
Mr. P. MacEwan 7192
No. 885, NSLC: Privatization - Social Issues, Ms. E. O'Connell 7193
No. 886, Health - Pleasant Rest Home (Bridgewater): Changes -
Consultation Absence, Dr. J. Smith 7195
No. 887, Human Res. - Civil Serv.: Cuts - Truro, Mr. F. Corbett 7196
No. 888, Transport. & Pub. Wks. - Marine Atl. HQ: North Sydney -
Jobs (N.S.), Mr. B. Boudreau 7198
No. 889, Environ. - Twin Mtn. Construction (Anna. V.): Dump Site -
Prosecute, Mr. Robert Chisholm 7199
No. 890, Nat. Res. - Energy Council: Appts. - Résumés,
Mr. R. MacKinnon 7200
No. 891, Justice - Workers' Comp. Act: Unconstitutionality (Widows) -
Appeal, Mr. H. Epstein 7201
No. 892, PAC - Meetings: Suspension - Justify, Mr. R. MacLellan 7203
No. 893, Bus. & Cons. Serv. - Gas Prices: Increases - Protection,
Mr. J. Holm 7204
OPPOSITION MEMBERS' BUSINESS:
PRIVATE MEMBERS' PUBLIC BILLS FOR SECOND READING:^
No. 57, Music Industry Council Act 7205
Mr. D. Downe 7205
Hon. Rodney MacDonald 7208
Mr. F. Corbett 7211
Mr. Manning MacDonald 7213
Mr. B. Barnet 7215
MOTIONS OTHER THAN GOVERNMENT MOTIONS:
Res. 2534, Health - Digby Gen. Hosp.: Fate - Reveal, Dr. J. Smith 7216
Mr. W. Gaudet 7216
Hon. G. Balser 7218
Mr. D. Dexter 7220
Dr. J. Smith 7222
ADJOURNMENT:
^MOTION UNDER RULE 5(5):
Fin. - Debt: Expenditure - Usage Other Unavailable:
Mr. B. Barnet 7225
Mr. P. MacEwan 7228
Mr. H. Epstein 7231
Mr. D. Hendsbee 7233
ADJOURNMENT, House rose to meet again on Thur., June 8th at 10:00 a.m. 7234

[Page 7133]

HALIFAX, WEDNESDAY, JUNE 7, 2000

Fifty-eighth General Assembly

First Session

2:00 P.M.

SPEAKER

Hon. Murray Scott

DEPUTY SPEAKERS

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

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. Before we begin the daily routine, the subject for this evening's late debate was submitted by the honourable member for Sackville-Beaver Bank:

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House understand, support and believe that the $900 million spent each year on servicing the debt would be better spent on essential programs like education, health care and social services.

This subject will be debated this evening at 6:00 p.m.

The honourable member for Cape Breton The Lakes.

MR. BRIAN BOUDREAU: Mr. Speaker, I would like to bring to the attention of the House, please, of two visitors in the west gallery. Fire Chief Dave Julian of Florence Volunteer Fire Department is certainly a well-respected volunteer within our community. Accompanying him today is Mac Robicheau from Yarmouth. They are here on a Coca-Cola beverage function that is taking place at the World Trade and Convention Centre. I would ask all members of the House to give them a warm welcome. (Applause)

7133

[Page 7134]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Education on an introduction.

HON. JANE PURVES: Mr. Speaker, there are 27 students here from a Grade 5 class at École Beaufort in my riding. They are in the east gallery and they are here with Jeanne LeBlanc, Barbara Houston and Janet Graham. I would ask them to rise and receive the welcome of the House. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Dartmouth-Cole Harbour.

MR. DARRELL DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, I rise in accordance with Rule 62(2). I appeal to the House the decision made this morning by a 5 to 4 vote of the Standing Committee on Public Accounts to cancel the meeting of that standing committee, which had been agreed to and arranged to review Pharmacare on June 14th, and to cancel other meetings of that standing committee that had been previously agreed. I seek an immediate vote on this appeal in accordance with the practices of our House.

Mr. Speaker, I understand you wanted a little bit of an explanation on it. Essentially there was a meeting this morning of the Public Accounts Committee, the subject matter of the motion, I think, is self-explanatory. I have spoken with the honourable Liberal House Leader. We would like to seek a recorded vote in this regard. We are not going to be ringing the bells, but we would like to have it on the record.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, I wasn't sure if I could rise on a point of order. This is the first time I have seen one of these in the House. I would suggest that this kind of matter, rather than voting in the House, which isn't really going to achieve anything, would be better suited to the standing committee of the House that deals with rules. That would seem to me to make sense.

MR. RUSSELL MACKINNON: Mr. Speaker, with regard to the same point of order, I too agree with my colleague, the member for Dartmouth-Cole Harbour, on this particular issue. It is totally unprecedented, what transpired here this morning in the Public Accounts Committee. The fact that we approved, on a previous day, witnesses to come before the Public Accounts Committee, have the schedule of those witnesses confirmed for attendance at next week's Public Accounts Committee's meeting, and then to have them unilaterally cancelled, not only the witnesses for next week but the entire slate of witnesses that were approved for the next number of weeks and months ahead. Totally unprecedented, Mr. Speaker. One would beg to wonder exactly what the agenda is.

I respectfully submit to the honourable Government House Leader that to refer it to the Committee on House of Assembly Matters or any other committee at this juncture would simply be a delaying tactic. There is absolutely no logical reason whatsoever for the clerk of the committee to have to go back and cancel all those witnesses who are scheduled for next

[Page 7135]

week. It literally took months to set the agenda, and literally weeks to get confirmation of the various schedules.

Mr. Chairman, I would respectfully submit the point of order raised by the honourable member for Dartmouth-Cole Harbour is well in order.

MR. JOHN HOLM: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order. I too rise in support of the motion put forward by my colleague. The Public Accounts Committee certainly has an important mandate, that mandate being to examine the expenditures of the Province of Nova Scotia. We have had, I believe, over the last number of years, an excellent record of cooperation among all Parties. At the previous meeting of the committee, we had worked long and hard to come up with a list of witnesses we wished to call before the Public Accounts Committee. That was a list of witnesses that had been submitted by all three caucuses and had been agreed to by all three caucuses.

Mr. Speaker, those lists include witnesses from the Department of Economic Development; the Department of Tourism and Culture; the Department of Transportation and Public Works, dealing with the western alignment; the Department of Transportation and Public Works, dealing with the capital construction process; as well as Pharmacare. The motion of today, I believe, is not only an insult and certainly an inconvenience to the witnesses who had already agreed to be at the Public Accounts Committee next week, but it also wiped out the work of the committee over a period of time where they were developing that list.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. Order, please. If I do accept this, it does say, without debate. I thought it was fair, at least, to give someone from each Party a turn because obviously this is not something that has happened in this House before. I think we have heard enough on the issue, at least I have at this point.

The honourable member said Rule 62, you meant Rule 61. Again, apparently this is not something that has happened in this House before. I believe that the motion or the appeal that the honourable member has made to the House is in order. We will allow for a vote.

A recorded vote has been called for.

[The Division bells were rung.]

MR. SPEAKER: Are the Whips satisfied?

Order, please. If I may, so all members are clear, the question we are going to be voting on is whether or not this House agrees that the decision made this morning (Interruption)

[Page 7136]

The motion says, "I appeal to the House the decision made this morning by a 5 to 4 vote of the Standing Committee on Public Accounts to cancel the meeting . . ." So you are either agreeing with what was done this morning or you are not. Am I right?

Are the Whips satisfied?

The question will be, shall the decision of the Public Accounts Committee be sustained? Do you understand?

[The Clerk calls the roll.]

[2:15 p.m.]

YEAS NAYS

Mr. Christie Mr. MacAskill

Mr. Baker Dr. Smith

Mr. Russell Mr. MacLellan

Dr. Hamm Mr. Downe

Mr. LeBlanc Mr. Manning MacDonald

Mr. Muir Mr. John Holm

Miss Purves Mr. Robert Chisholm

Mr. Fage Ms. Maureen MacDonald

Mr. Balser Mr. Corbett

Mr. Parent Mr. Epstein

Ms. McGrath Mr. Estabrooks

Mr. Ronald Chisholm Mr. Deveaux

Mr. Olive Mr. Dexter

Mr. Rodney MacDonald Mr. MacEwan

Mr. MacIsaac Mr. Gaudet

Mr. DeWolfe Mr. MacKinnon

Mr. Taylor Mr. Samson

Mr. Dooks Mr. Boudreau

Mr. Langille Mr. Pye

Mr. Morse Mr. John MacDonell

Mr. Hendsbee

Mrs. Baillie

Mr. Carey

Mr. Morash

Mr. Chipman

Mr. Barnet

Mr. O'Donnell

Mr. Hurlburt

[Page 7137]

THE CLERK: For, 28. Against, 20.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is carried.

We will begin the daily routine.

PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS

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

MR. RUSSELL MACLELLAN: Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to table a petition signed by roughly 5,000 Nova Scotians opposed to the privatization of the Nova Scotia Liquor Commission and the operative clause reads, "That the Nova Scotia Liquor Commission remain in Public Hands because we fear that the privatization of that organization will lead to increases in crime, drunk driving, alcohol abuse, health costs as well as loss of control over availability to minors, higher prices for consumers and loss of employment." I have affixed my signature to this petition as well.

MR. SPEAKER: The petition is tabled.

The honourable Leader of the New Democratic Party on an introduction.

MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, I would like to make an introduction, if I may. In the gallery opposite, Ken Conrod, Vice President of NSGEU Local 1670, the managers of the Nova Scotia Liquor Commission; Phil Arbuckle, Vice President of NSGEU Local 470, the clerks at the Nova Scotia Liquor Commission and they are accompanied by staff person Ian Johnson. They were the individuals along with President Joan Jessome who presented us with the petitions and I would like to ask them to stand and all members to afford them the usual welcome. (Applause)

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

MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to table a petition signed by 5,129 Nova Scotians. It appears 973 of them came from the constituency of the member for Inverness, Mr. Rodney MacDonald. He might want to go over these and see, that is a pretty large percentage. The operative clause of the petition reads, "That the Nova Scotia Liquor Commission remain in Public Hands because we fear that the privatization of that organization will lead to increases in crime, drunk driving, alcohol abuse, health costs as well as loss of control over availability to minors, higher prices for consumers and loss of employment." I have affixed my signature indicating my support for this petition.

MR. SPEAKER: The petition is tabled.

[Page 7138]

The honourable member for Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage.

MR. KEVIN DEVEAUX: Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to table a petition on behalf of ROLE, Responsible Off Leash Exercises and residents of Halifax Regional Municipality, the operative clause reads, "We, the undersigned, hereby petition the Province of Nova Scotia to amend the applicable section of the Provincial Parks Act to allow dogs off leash at Cole Harbour Heritage Park." I have affixed my signature.

MR. SPEAKER: The petition is tabled.

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. 28 - Motor Vehicle Act.

Bill No. 37 - Preston Area Housing 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.

TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Justice.

HON. MICHAEL BAKER: Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to table the Ninth Annual Report of the Law Reform Commission of Nova Scotia for the fiscal year April 1, 1999 to March 31, 2000.

MR. SPEAKER: The report is tabled.

[Page 7139]

STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Education.

HON. JANE PURVES: Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to announce today, in this historic House, a plan to ensure all Nova Scotia young people know the basics of their history and heritage.

It was John Buchan, Lord Tweedsmuir, who said, "That is the supreme value of history. The study of it is the best guarantee against repeating it." In my view, every high school graduate should know the history of Canada and of Nova Scotia, but the sad reality is, in Nova Scotia, many do not. Only 77 students out of 11,000 Grade 12 students took Canadian History 12 this year; that is less than 1 per cent of our Grade 12 population.

Unlike the majority of provinces, Nova Scotia does not require high school students to study Canadian history to graduate. It is clear that our students are leaving school without knowing the key events and people in our history and, Mr. Speaker, we intend to change that. The Department of Education is launching a process to make a new Canadian history course mandatory for all Grade 11 students in the fall of 2002. We will be consulting with school boards, parents, teachers and students in the coming months to develop this program. We hope to have a pilot course ready for introduction in September 2001.

We think Canadian history should be a priority in our curriculum, and there are a number of good reasons for that. There has been growing concern among parents, academics, organizations such as the Royal Canadian Legion, and others that students are graduating without an understanding of Canadian history. An Angus Reid poll in 1998 showed that many young Canadians, and particularly those in Atlantic Canada, are not familiar with even the major turning points of our past.

Studying Canadian history will give students a sense of who they are, where they came from, and where they have the potential to go. It will also contribute to their literacy development, and their critical and creative thinking they will need to make sense of the world in the Information Age. We are hoping to integrate this change in a way that will minimize the logistical problems that go with curriculum change. Canadian History will be shifted from the Grade 12 to Grade 11 level to avoid scheduling conflicts with other required courses, such as Global Studies 12. Students will also be able to meet the new requirements by completing Histoire de l'Acadie et du Canada 11, African Canadian Studies 11, or Mi'kmaq Studies 10.

Mr. Speaker, I am not sure why the study of Canadian history has been allowed to lapse. Certainly there are other pressures as students prepare for university entrance and go out, literally, into the global economy, but I think this is a prime example of why we need to focus on our priorities in education. We must identify what is important and invest time and effort in following through; to make sure subjects are not only taught, but taught well. Some

[Page 7140]

people may argue that in this high-tech age there is no time to make history a priority. I think a strong case can be made, however, that history is more important than ever. As Cicero said, "To be ignorant of the past is to remain a child."

Understanding Canadian history will help young Canadians develop their sense of responsibility for their fellow citizens. They may appreciate why other young men and women fought for Canada, and about the significance of events such as Canada's triumph at Vimy Ridge. It will mean our children have a sense of Canada's place in the world, and why so many people have come, and continue to come, to our country to start new lives. It will mean that young Nova Scotians will learn about Canadians like Joseph Howe, about the epic of the Underground Railroad and about Nova Scotia's important trading role in the age of sail. It will help make Nova Scotia students define what it means to be Canadian at the dawn of a new century.

Mr. Speaker, in this birthplace of responsible government, we can look around and see plaques and portraits reminding us of events and individuals who contributed to so much of what this province is today. It is my hope that the students who tour through this building every day, as well as those who do not, will all know who Joseph Howe is before they get here. Making history mandatory in high school will be a good start. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

The honourable member for Clare.

MR. WAYNE GAUDET: Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the Minister of Education for forwarding a copy of her statement before the House opened. While I welcome the minister's announcement that Canadian history will be compulsory in high school, I find it ironic that she is making this statement now at a time when she is decimating our education system in so many other ways. First, where will the money come from to carry out this program? Will teachers be teaching this course to reasonable classes or will the classes have 50 or more students in them? Thirdly, will the classrooms in which this course will be taught be modern, up-to-date classrooms? Will there be enough teachers to teach this program?

[2:30 p.m.]

Mr. Speaker, students should have a knowledge of Canadian history before they graduate from high school. No one disagrees with that but there must be adequate textbooks, resource materials and supplies to adequately deliver the program. I see no evidence of this happening. In fact, I see evidence of the whole system being destroyed under the direction of this Minister of Education. So until she is willing to put the necessary funding back into the system, our students will continue to suffer.

[Page 7141]

Mr. Speaker, unfortunately, this Minister of Education has not yet understood that Nova Scotians are waiting to hear her speak and make other statements in this House on a number of high priorities within her own department. Many communities are waiting to hear when construction will begin on 16 new schools that were announced over a year ago and also, contrary to what the Minister of Education has been saying in the House lately, the crisis in education has not been resolved. The crisis still exists today. Everybody gets news every day. We get news of further cutbacks from school boards across Nova Scotia. The full impact of the magnitude of the crisis will only become evident when school opens next September.

In closing, Mr. Speaker, this Minister of Education still doesn't get it. There won't be leaders of tomorrow without investing in education now.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Needham.

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the minister. I guess it would come as no surprise to anyone in this House that it has been some time since I was a high school student. It was actually fairly recently that I learned that history wasn't part of the required curriculum in Nova Scotian schools. I was very surprised when I learned that. When I was in high school, history was one of my favourite subjects. I had excellent teachers at Antigonish East High School who taught me history, Mr. Veitch and Mrs. McKeoughs. In my family I have an uncle and a cousin who have written as amateur historians about certain pieces of Nova Scotia history, the Guysborough railroad, the community of Bantrey that doesn't exist any more.

This is a province with a great heritage and it is a heritage with a rich history of struggle and survival. To have our young people have an opportunity to know more about this, I think, is very important. Before I came to this place, I taught a history course in social welfare. One of the things we talked about was the history of the Indian Act and residential schools and the shame of what occurred in the residential schools. We learned about the history of the struggle for workers' compensation and the fight that the trade unions had to put in place decent workers' compensation programs. We studied about poorhouses and workhouses and the segregation of people with disabilities out of the mainstream of society and we see in this House features of the thinking that underpinned that kind of public policy creeping back into this province today. You know there is a good reason to be teaching history, Mr. Speaker, it is that if you don't know your history, you can be condemned to repeat your mistakes of the past. So, the link between history and progress is very important.

Mr. Speaker, I hope that if history is taught in the schools, we will teach the students about why there is a public education system in the first place. We will tell them about the role the trade unions had, for example, in making sure that there was no child labour any longer and that children of the poor had an opportunity to a universal public education system, so that the only people who were educated were no longer the rich and were no longer people in religious orders.

[Page 7142]

This caucus wholeheartedly agrees with history and history in the curriculum. But I think in closing I would like to say that this government's approach to public education clearly is a piecemeal approach; like Mike Harris, it imposes its decisions first and consults later. Moreover, I think following on the disastrous Education budget, it will be increasingly difficult for children to learn anything in our classrooms if the class sizes are too large, if the teachers themselves are unable to get the in-service, the professional development to teach these new required courses. I look forward to funding allocations that will result in smaller class sizes and adequate textbooks in the classroom to accompany these kinds of window-dressing statements. (Applause)

GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Premier.

RESOLUTION NO. 2675

HON. JOHN HAMM (The Premier): Mr. Speaker, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas yesterday in Ottawa, the House of Commons Standing Committee on Justice unanimously urged the federal government to pass legislation to enact Recommendation 73 of the Province of Nova Scotia's Public Inquiry into the Westray Mine Disaster; and

Whereas Recommendation 73 called upon the federal government to hold corporate executives and directors accountable for workplace safety through amendments to the Criminal Code or other appropriate federal Statutes; and

Whereas Nova Scotia MPs Peter MacKay and Alexa McDonough have been at the forefront of bringing this long unresolved issue to the attention of federal decision makers;

Therefore be it resolved that this House applaud the Justice Committee for reaching all-Party consensus on this important matter and urge the Government of Canada to act quickly and decisively in passing such important legislation.

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.

[Page 7143]

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Finance.

RESOLUTION NO. 2676

HON. NEIL LEBLANC: Monsieur le président, à une date ultérieure, j'ai l'intention de proposer l'adoption de la résolution suivante:

Attendu que le Musée acadien de Pubnico-Ouest et le Centre de recherche Père Clarence d'Entremont vont présenter officiellement leur site Web le jeudi 8 juin; et

Attendu que ce site permettra au Musée de faire connaître et promouvoir davantage les nombreux objets préservés au musée et la collection de documents légués au musé par le Père Clarence d'Entremont; et

Attendu que la création de ce site a été rendu possible grâce au ministère du Patrimoine canadien avec l'aide du Collège de l'Acadie;

Qu'il soit résolu que cette assemblée félicite tous ceux et celles qui ont contribué à la réalisation de ce beau projet et spécialement les nombreux bénévoles infatiguables qui travaillent sans relâche à assurer la préservation et la promotion du patrimoine acadien.

Mr. Speaker, for the members of the House, I will also repeat it in English.

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

Whereas the Musée Acadian de Pubnico Ouest and Research Centre "Les Archives Père Clarence d'Entremont" will officially launch their website on June 8th; and

Whereas this site will allow the musée to further promote the many interesting artifacts on hand, along with the large collection of research documents collected by Père d'Entremont; and

Whereas this site has been made possible by Heritage Canada and the assistance of Collège de l'Acadie;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly congratulate all those who have contributed to this new initiative and especially all the many volunteers who work tirelessly to ensure the continued existence of Acadian legacy.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

[Page 7144]

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 Minister of Economic Development.

RESOLUTION NO. 2677

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

Whereas the 2000 Nova Scotia Business Hall of Fame Awards Ceremony was held on Tuesday, June 6th; and

Whereas this annual program celebrates the positive contribution made by a number of Nova Scotia's most successful entrepreneurs while raising funds to support the Junior Achievement Program; and

Whereas this year's inductees include Colonel Sidney C. Oland of Olands Brewery; John Craig of Atlantic Tractors; and William, David and Don Sobey of Sobeys Inc.;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate this year's inductees and the corporate sponsors of this year's event which was able to raise $100,000 to support the Junior Achievement Program.

Mr. Speaker, I would ask for 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.

[Page 7145]

The honourable Minister of Housing and Municipal Affairs.

RESOLUTION NO. 2678

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

Whereas on Sunday, June 11th, people in Nova Scotia's mining communities will be observing Davis Day in memory of Cape Breton coal miner Bill Davis who was slain in 1925 while fighting for the rights of miners; and

Whereas a Miners' Memorial Day, observed annually, evolved from a commemoration of Mr. Davis' death at Waterford Lake, Cape Breton; and

Whereas on this, the 75th Anniversary of the tragic death of Bill Davis, it is important for all members, indeed all Nova Scotians, to work towards improving the workplace;

Therefore be it resolved that the Members of this Legislative Assembly and the people of Nova Scotia take time on Sunday to remember the miners who died on the job and for each of us to renew our commitment to creating safe and healthy workplaces.

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 Minister of Finance.

RESOLUTION NO. 2679

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

Whereas last week the member for Sackville-Cobequid called on the Minister of Finance to release a forecast update for the period ended March 31, 2000; and

[Page 7146]

Whereas the information requested by the honourable member was in fact included with the budget documents on April 11th; and

Whereas the forecast update for the current period of April 1st to June 30th will be released no later than September 30, 2000;

Therefore be it resolved that this government's actions are true to its words when it says it is committed to transparent and timely financial reporting.

Mr. Speaker, I don't think I will ask for waiver of notice, because I don't think they will agree.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable Minister of Health.

RESOLUTION NO. 2680

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

Whereas Dr. Sonia Salisbury and Dr. Bernard Badley recently received awards at this year's Medical Society of Nova Scotia Awards Ceremony; and

Whereas Dr. Salisbury received the Medical Society of Nova Scotia Senior Membership Award which recognized the great respect and high regard she has earned in the medical community of the province; and

Whereas Dr. Badley received the Medical Society of Nova Scotia Distinguished Service Award which is given to a physician who has made an outstanding contribution to the medical profession and to the people of Nova Scotia;

Therefore be it resolved that this House take the opportunity to congratulate Dr. Salisbury and Dr. Badley and thank them for their exceptional contributions to health care in Nova Scotia.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

[Page 7147]

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Education.

RESOLUTION NO. 2681

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

Whereas Nova Scotia was proudly represented at the 2000 National Skills Canada Competition in Quebec City by 24 secondary and post-secondary students; and

Whereas at yesterday's award ceremony, Lee Sabean of Halifax received the gold medal for Post-Secondary Mechanical CADD, Ryan Sparks of Sydney won silver for Secondary Carpentry, Chuck Close of Bedford won bronze for Post-Secondary Cabinet Making and Toby Parsons of Kentville received the bronze medal for Post-Secondary Electronics; and

Whereas this was Nova Scotia's best showing at the national skills competition;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this Legislature congratulate all of our talented competitors for displaying to the rest of Canada the tremendous level of talent we have here in Nova Scotia.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

[2:45 p.m.]

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 Minister of Transportation and Public Works.

[Page 7148]

RESOLUTION NO. 2682

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

Whereas Nova Scotia is a bustling gateway to the world; and

Whereas our communities are linked to each other and to the world by our roads and our rails and our shipping routes and our air routes; and

Whereas Nova Scotia's transportation network is an invaluable resource that moves people and products safely and efficiently;

Therefore be it resolved that this House recognize and celebrate the importance of Nova Scotia's transportation system as we mark National Transportation Week.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear a No.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable Minister of Health.

RESOLUTION NO. 2683

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

Whereas Brenda Montgomery, director of regional community health programs for the Western Regional Health Board, recently received a 2000 Canadian Healthcare Association's excellence award for distinguished service; and

Whereas this award recognizes Ms. Montgomery's many achievements in health care administration, service and leadership; and

Whereas Ms. Montgomery has made a significant contribution to health care at both a provincial and national level;

[Page 7149]

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate Brenda Montgomery on her recent national health care award and thank her for her contribution to our health care system.

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 Minister of Education.

RESOLUTION NO. 2684

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

Whereas Robert Tumilty of Annapolis Royal has received the Member of the Year Award for the Nova Scotia School Boards Association; and

Whereas Mr. Tumilty was recognized for his exemplary service to the education system; and

Whereas Mr. Tumilty has dedicated his life to students, working as a teacher and vice-principal at Annapolis Royal Regional Academy and Annapolis West Education Centre for 30 years;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this Legislature congratulate Robert Tumilty for his dedication to students and for the honour bestowed upon him by his peers at the Nova Scotia School Boards Association.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

[Page 7150]

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

The motion is carried.

INTRODUCTION OF BILLS

Bill No. 59 - An Act to Amend Chapter 103 of the Acts of 1981. The Union of Nova Scotia Municipalities Act. (Hon. Angus MacIsaac)

Bill No. 60 - An Act to Amend Chapter 4 of the Acts of 1991. The Members and Public Employees Disclosure Act. (The Premier)

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

NOTICES OF MOTION

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

RESOLUTION NO. 2685

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

Whereas this government budgeted $230 million, in its efforts to make the province's books look as bad as possible, for the costs of a massive clean-up project at Sydney Steel; and

Whereas having done this, the government now has a responsibility to actually do such a project and should unveil its plans for a $230 million clean-up project at Sydney Steel without delay; and

Whereas unemployed steelworkers at Sydney, unemployed as a direct consequence of the actions of this government, are ready, willing and able to start work immediately once the government gets its plans prepared;

Therefore be it resolved that having put $230 million in its budget for costs of a massive Sysco clean-up project, this government has a duty to carry this project out forthwith so as to give unemployed steelworkers some hope, and to clean up environmental blight in Sydney.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable Leader of the New Democratic Party.

[Page 7151]

RESOLUTION NO. 2686

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

Whereas on June 6, 2000, the Liberals warned that this government intends to close what they described as the Berwick and Eastern Kings hospitals; and

Whereas in reality it was the Liberal Government that shut down the Western Kings Memorial Hospital in Berwick and the Eastern Kings Memorial Hospital in Wolfville; and

Whereas it was the local communities and health care workers who started clinics to replace the hospitals shut down by the Liberals and maintain some accessible services;

Therefore be it resolved that the Progressive Conservative Government should not compound these Liberal errors by shutting down the Berwick and Eastern Kings clinics, which exemplify the community participation and leadership in health care the Premier promised to support.

Mr. Speaker, I seek waiver.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear a No.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Dartmouth South.

RESOLUTION NO. 2687

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

Whereas the mandate of Cancer Care Nova Scotia is to coordinate, strengthen and evaluate cancer services across the province to achieve a system of care with the highest possible standards and equality of access; and

Whereas Cancer Care Nova Scotia is hosting a round-table discussion in Dartmouth, today, with people involved in community cancer care around Nova Scotia; and

[Page 7152]

Whereas the objective of this discussion is to decide on a workable model for delivering cancer care in communities regardless of their location, and to determine the steps and schedule necessary to achieve it;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House express their appreciation and support for the work done by Cancer Care Nova Scotia, and wish those involved in today's meeting every success so that patients can receive quality care as close to their homes as possible.

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.

The motion is carried.

The honourable Leader of the Liberal Party.

RESOLUTION NO. 2688

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

Whereas yesterday when asked if hospitals would be downgraded, the Minister of Health seemed perplexed; and

Whereas left in a state of confusion, Nova Scotia's own Minister of Health had to ask what a clinic was; and

Whereas this same minister will not have to ask how his government's gutting of the health care system will reduce the quality of patient care in the province;

Therefore be it resolved that the inept Minister of Health at least have the decency to find out what the term "clinic" means before making decisions in health care that will destroy the system for generations to come.

Mr. Speaker, I ask for waiver.

[Page 7153]

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.

RESOLUTION NO. 2689

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

Whereas today at the Public Accounts Committee meeting the member for Kings South asserted first that he was not a member of the government, and since he was not a member of the government he had asked the Department of Health to appear; and

Whereas then the member for Kings South reconsidered and said he was a member of the government, but not a decision maker; and

Whereas the member should be aware that, when he voted for the budget, his vote counted just as much as the Health Minister's or even the Premier's;

Therefore be it resolved that perhaps the member for Kings South should dust off his Grade 10 civics book, read through it again, and understand that he is just as responsible for this disastrous budget as any Cabinet Minister, the Premier, or the backbenchers who sit around him.

Mr. Speaker, I would request waiver.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable Premier.

[Page 7154]

RESOLUTION NO. 2690

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

Whereas New Glasgow resident Henderson Paris was recognized nationally on the weekend by the Canadian Federation of Municipalities for his efforts to eliminate racial discrimination through the annual Run Against Racism, which he founded in 1990; and

Whereas marking the first time the federation has also chosen individuals to receive the award, Mr. Paris was chosen along with a member of the First Nations in British Columbia and two organizations; and

Whereas the award, established in 1996, was set up to encourage municipal governments, organizations, and individuals to demonstrate leadership in promoting acceptance of cultural diversity;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House praise the tremendous efforts of Mr. Paris and on the receipt of this award as he continues to strive to eradicate the devastating effects of racial discrimination on individuals and on society as a whole.

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.

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Sackville-Cobequid.

RESOLUTION NO. 2691

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

Whereas today the Tory MLAs approved a motion to delay, by one week, the hearing on Pharmacare, and then to cancel the Public Accounts Committee until the fall; and

[Page 7155]

Whereas the Tory motion also cancelled all other topics previously agreed to for the Public Accounts Committee; and

Whereas the cancelled topics are the sale of Sysco, the capital construction process, the Cobequid Pass, Tourism Nova Scotia and Nova Scotia Signature Resorts, and subsidies for call centres;

Therefore be it resolved that this House condemn the Conservative MLAs who combined to frustrate the all-Party review of government spending.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Lunenburg West.

RESOLUTION NO. 2692

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

Whereas the World Children's Baseball Fair is a non-profit organization established in 1989 in the interest of fostering an environment of world understanding and cultural exchange through the celebration of baseball; and

Whereas this year the 11th annual World Children's Baseball Fair will be held in Regina, Saskatchewan, from July 31st to August 8th; and

Whereas Joel Holland, of Bridgewater, was chosen by Baseball Nova Scotia to represent this province at the World Children's Baseball Fair in Saskatchewan;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House congratulate Joel Holland and all other candidates chosen to participate in the World Children's Baseball Fair.

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.

The motion is carried.

[Page 7156]

The honourable Minister of Transportation and Public Works.

RESOLUTION NO. 2693

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

Whereas Danielle Weir of Falmouth, a member of the Wolfville Tritons swim club, eclipsed a total of three new provincial swimming records at the Ken Dunn Memorial Long Course Championships at Dalhousie University this past weekend; and

Whereas Danielle broke the existing provincial girls 10 and under 100-metre butterfly record Sunday morning, and then later beat her own provincial record Sunday evening; and

Whereas Danielle began her outstanding weekend of breaking provincial records in the girls 10 and under 200-metre butterfly on Saturday;

Therefore be it resolved that all MLAs extend our best wishes to Danielle Weir for her record-setting weekend and wish her every success in future swimming meets.

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.

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Richmond.

RESOLUTION NO. 2694

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

Whereas last night during late debate, the Minister of Tourism and Culture accused the Opposition of putting words in his mouth; and

[Page 7157]

Whereas the only person who has ever put words in the mouth of the minister was the member for the beautiful Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley; and

Whereas true to form, mere moments passed before the minister was quoting the member for the beautiful Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley;

Therefore be it resolved that the minister learn not to speak too soon, at least not without checking his mouthpiece first.

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 Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage.

RESOLUTION NO. 2695

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

Whereas in June 1995, the government of the day accepted a report put to it by the Black Learners Advisory Council; and

Whereas at that time the report, which was made up of 46 recommendations, admitted that African Nova Scotian students had experienced systemic racism in the school system in the past; and

Whereas it was decided at that time, through redress, to provide transitional and educational incentives and initiatives that would assist Black students to have an equitable chance to learn;

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Education explain to this House and to the Black Educators Association why she is allowing her government to break faith with this report and its recommendations and return Black students in this province to a disadvantaged position.

Mr. Speaker, I would ask for waiver.

[Page 7158]

[3:00 p.m.]

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

Is it agreed?

I hear a No.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable Minister of Justice.

RESOLUTION NO. 2696

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

Whereas on June 7, 1753, the Township of Lunenburg was founded by German, French and Swiss settlers; and

Whereas these hard-working settlers came to Nova Scotia in search of religious freedom and prosperity for themselves and their descendants; and

Whereas in the 247 years since its founding, Lunenburg has developed a history of achievement and success;

Therefore be it resolved that the House of Assembly congratulate the people of Lunenburg on their history and that the House wish them success in the future.

Mr. Speaker, I would ask for 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 Cape Breton West.

[Page 7159]

RESOLUTION NO. 2697

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

Whereas the Public Accounts Committee was first established in 1932 as an all-Party committee to review public expenditures; and

Whereas this committee has operated continuously on a regular basis since that date until today; and

Whereas actions by Tory MLAs at today's Public Accounts Committee meeting are indicative of a repressive regime whereby government dictates and does not want to be held up for public and open accountability;

Therefore be it resolved that the open and accountable John Hamm Government has yielded to the veils of secrecy as reflective of the former John Buchanan Regime.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Dartmouth-Cole Harbour.

RESOLUTION NO. 2698

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

Whereas the Minister of Health is unaware of the differences between a hospital and a clinic and that is really frightening for the health care system in this province; and

Whereas it appears that the Minister of Health is too afraid to pass regional health board budgets before the House rises for fear of the grilling he will get in this House from the public, from the press and from his own backbenches; and

Whereas communities, hospital workers, nurses and doctors are concerned about the level of care they will be able to provide and receive;

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Health share with all members of this House what he will tell Tory backbenchers to say to their constituents when hospitals close or are downgraded in their ridings.

[Page 7160]

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable Minister of Community Services.

RESOLUTION NO. 2699

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

Whereas the Bedford Skippers were formed nine years ago under the direction of Ed Cooper, a physical education teacher at Bedford's Basinview Drive Community School; and

Whereas the purpose of the group, which now has 25 members, was to promote fitness and fun; and

Whereas recently the Bedford Skippers have won the bronze medal from the national championships held in Edmonton, and this summer and they will pack their ropes for a two week skip across Germany and Austria;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House extend their congratulations to the Bedford Skippers on their bronze medal performance and wish them well on their future activities.

Mr. Speaker, I would ask for 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 Shelburne.

RESOLUTION NO. 2700

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

[Page 7161]

Whereas Marion Boudreau retired last Friday after spending 12 years organizing many activities at two sheltered workshops in Shelburne County; and

Whereas the workshops for mentally challenged adults operated at the Heritage Hall in Shelburne and the Sea Spray Laundry in Barrington; and

Whereas board chair, Jack Fry recently commented on Boudreau's ability to attract trainees, good staff and good clientele;

Therefore be it resolved that Marion Boudreau be commended by this Nova Scotia House of Assembly for her 12 years of dedicated service at the Shelburne County workshops and wish her the very best with her future plans.

Mr. Speaker, I would ask for 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 Preston.

RESOLUTION NO. 2701

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

Whereas the Black Cultural Society of Nova Scotia will celebrate the No. 2 Construction Battalion in a ceremony on July 8, 2000 at the deCoste Centre in the Town of Pictou; and

Whereas this ceremony will feature the debut of the film, A Brief History of the No. 2 Construction Battalion, by Anthony Sherwood, a performance by the Cherry Brook Mass Choir and performances by retired U.S. Lt. Col. Leo Gray and Senator Calvin Ruck; and

Whereas the veterans of this battalion from the Cherry Brook and Lake Loon area will receive special recognition this year;

[Page 7162]

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House recognize the contributions and sacrifices of the No. 2 Construction Battalion during World War I and thank the Black Cultural Society for sharing such an important part of our military heritage with all Nova Scotians.

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.

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Dartmouth East.

RESOLUTION NO. 2702

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 Portuguese Society of Nova Scotia celebrates the official opening of their community centre in Dartmouth on June 10th; and

Whereas the opening realizes a dream of the Portuguese community after much planning, fund-raising and volunteer hours of dedication to this centre; and

Whereas this centre will serve as a focal gathering place for the Portuguese community and all people of Nova Scotia;

Therefore be it resolved that this House recognize the strong bonds between Nova Scotians and the people of Portugal, these will strengthen at this centre and throughout our province in the times ahead.

Mr. Speaker, I ask for waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

[Page 7163]

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Kings North.

RESOLUTION NO. 2703

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

Whereas a team of students from the Annapolis Valley Regional School District participated recently at the National Science Fair in London, Ontario, competing against more than 400 entrants from 110 regions across Canada; and

Whereas the members of Team Annapolis included Julia Frenette, Grade 8, from Cornwallis District High School and Melissa Reekie, Grade 9, from Kings County Academy; and

Whereas Julia won a gold medal in the Junior Life Sciences Division for her entry on The Honey Crisp Apple and Melissa a gold medal in the Intermediate Physical Sciences Division for her entry on Food Poisoning Bacteria in Green Bins;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House recognize the accomplishments of these two students, congratulate them on their awards and thank the teachers and parents for providing guidance and support.

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 Annapolis.

[Page 7164]

RESOLUTION NO. 2704

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

Whereas Middleton native and Regional High School Senior Boys' Basketball Coach Paul Shaffner will be inducted into the Middleton Sports Heritage Wall of Fame later this fall; and

Whereas Shaffner has been coaching the senior boys' basketball team for 30 years; and

Whereas besides his many hours spent coaching the Regional High Martens, Paul has also volunteered many hours outside of school in developing mini camps and summer basketball programs;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly, through this resolution, send congratulations to Coach Shaffner for his promotion, education and community efforts in the sport of basketball.

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 Yarmouth.

RESOLUTION NO. 2705

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

Whereas the Cape Forchu Light Station has been a landmark for Yarmouth for more than 160 years; and

[Page 7165]

Whereas through an agreement with the Canadian Coast Guard, the first of its kind in Canada, the Municipality of Yarmouth will assume ownership for the Yarmouth light for $1.00, preserving its legacy as a tourist destination; and

Whereas many people were instrumental in securing this unique arrangement, including Nancy MacNeil of the Canadian Coast Guard, Yarmouth Municipality Warden Chris Perry, as well as Gert Sweeney and Craig Harding, co-chairs of the Friends of the Lighthouse Association;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House extend their sincere appreciation to everyone involved with this special project in ensuring the Yarmouth light will continue to stand guard over the mouth of Yarmouth Harbour as a reminder of our long rich and sea-faring history.

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.

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Pictou West.

RESOLUTION NO. 2706

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

Whereas the ferries MV Confederation and MV Holiday Island continue to ply the waters between Caribou, Nova Scotia, and Wood Islands, P.E.I., making nine trips per day in the summer season; and

Whereas these ferries provide an experience integral to any tour of the Maritime Provinces by visitors from home or abroad; and

Whereas the ferry service remains popular with visitors because of that experience, with an 8 per cent increase in annual revenues this year alone in spite of competition from the Confederation Bridge;

[Page 7166]

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House offer their congratulations to the management and staff of NFL-Bay Ferries on this strong performance and wish them every success as they continue the 130 year tradition of ferry service across the Northumberland Strait.

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 Guysborough-Port Hawkesbury.

RESOLUTION NO. 2707

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

Whereas 16 year old Sarah Bezanson of St. Mary's is quickly gaining a reputation as a top-ranked marksman in Nova Scotia; and

Whereas Sarah, a member of the 2610 Royal Canadian Army Cadet Corps has competed in numerous competitions representing Nova Scotia and Canada; and

Whereas Sarah has been involved with marksmanship since joining the cadets at the age of 12 and currently has her sights set on competing at the Olympic level;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House recognize Sarah Bezanson as an up-and-comer in the sport of marksmanship and wish her well in her quest to one day compete in the Olympic Games.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

[Page 7167]

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Queens.

RESOLUTION NO. 2708

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

Whereas the Privateer Days Commission of Liverpool, Queens County, will host Privateer Days 2000 between June 29th and July 2nd of this year, marking 241 years since the establishment of the Township of Liverpool; and

Whereas this annual festival gives visitors to Liverpool an opportunity to "Step Back to 1780" with a variety of informative re-enactments and to enjoy the natural beauty of Queens County at the same time; and

Whereas Privateer Days 2000 will also include Canada Day celebrations as well as contemporary sports and entertainment events;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House recognize and express their appreciation to the Privateer Days Commission for its hard work and wish the commission every success this year and in the years to come.

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 Minister of Education.

[Page 7168]

HON. JANE PURVES: Mr. Speaker, we have three visitors in the east gallery today. My son, Tom MacEachern, and two of his friends, Fwad Hosein, Fwad grew up in River John and his friend, Vaughan Wallace, who grew up in Boulardarie and they are now living in Saskatchewan, where Fwad is in the RCMP. Would you rise and receive the welcome of the House. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings West.

RESOLUTION NO. 2709

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

Whereas 15 Grade 10 students from West Kings District High School were the recipients of the Duke of Edinburgh's Silver Awards in a reception at Government House last week hosted by the Lieutenant Governor; and

Whereas the Duke of Edinburgh Award is now presented in 104 countries throughout the world and presented to self-driven, self-motivated young people between the ages of 14 and 25 who are preparing to become better citizens in their communities; and

Whereas the Duke of Edinburgh Award is described as Canada's most prestigious award for youth in fostering the development of responsibility, leadership and perseverance;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House of Assembly commend the 15 students at West Kings District High School for being chosen as award winners, while also showing gratitude toward the four leaders for demonstrating excellent leadership skills in helping these students reach their goal.

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 Pictou East.

[Page 7169]

RESOLUTION NO. 2710

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

Whereas Pictou County natives David, Donald and, their late brother, William Sobey, were inducted into the Nova Scotia Business Hall of Fame last evening during a dinner at the World Trade and Convention Centre; and

Whereas Sobey's Incorporated is the second largest retail food distributor in Canada with annual sales of $11 billion while employing 32,000 people; and

Whereas David is Chairman of Sobey's Incorporated while Donald is Chairman of the Board of Empire Company Limited;

Therefore be it resolved that we as legislators congratulate the three brothers for their induction and commend them for their confidence in our provincial economy.

Mr. Speaker, I seek 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 Kings South.

RESOLUTION NO. 2711

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 Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada recently announced two grants to members of the faculty at Acadia University in Wolfville; and

Whereas one will allow psychologist Dr. Darlene Brodeur and her colleagues, Dr. Doug Symons and Dr. Robin McGee, to investigate factors which lead to attention disorders in young children; and

[Page 7170]

[3:15 p.m.]

Whereas the other will enable Mr. Bruce Matthews, a Lumsden professor of comparative religion to research the political influence of Buddhism on ending the military dictatorship in Burma and the possibility of establishing democratic rule;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House offer their congratulations and best wishes to these scholars, whose work has the potential to create profound social and educational benefits for those living in Canada and elsewhere around the world.

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 Minister of Justice.

RESOLUTION NO. 2712

HON. MICHAEL BAKER: Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the Honourable John Chataway, the honourable member for Chester-St. Margaret's, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas Chester native, Manning Forster graduated from engineering school in Halifax in 1938 but did not receive his diploma because he had not met the requirement of six months' work experience in his field of study; and

Whereas Mr. Forster enjoyed a successful career as an engineer with Alcan and as a consultant with the Canadian International Development Agency; and

Whereas DalTech was happy to confer the diploma on Mr. Forster, noting that the work conditions were now more than fulfilled;

Therefore be it resolved that the House of Assembly congratulate 94 year old Manning Forster, originally from Chester, for receiving his engineering diploma 62 years after his graduation.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

[Page 7171]

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 South.

RESOLUTION NO. 2713

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

Whereas the residents of Dartmouth will celebrate the 250th Anniversary of the founding of the City of Lakes with a variety of events this year; and

Whereas the opening ceremonies for this anniversary will take place on the Dartmouth waterfront on June 24th, coinciding with the Nova Scotia Multicultural Festival; and

Whereas Dartmouthians - ever mindful of history - will celebrate their unique heritage by enjoying their own annual fireworks display once again;

Therefore be it resolved that the House of Assembly recognize the hard work of the anniversary committee, thank its members for recognizing the importance of the City of Dartmouth in the history of our province, and wish them every success in the year ahead.

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 Annapolis.

[Page 7172]

RESOLUTION NO. 2714

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

Whereas the old Capitol Theatre in Middleton was recently closed and converted to the Capitol Lounge, following many years of featuring motion pictures for film enthusiasts in Annapolis County; and

Whereas not everything was lost in the conversion of the theatre, as the Hankinson family, spearheaded by Tom Hankinson, recovered approximately 50 seats from the theatre; and

Whereas in turn, the Hankinson family donated many of them to IONIC Lodge No. 73 in Middleton, with more going to another Masonic lodge in the coming weeks;

Therefore be it resolved that MLAs recognize the community spirit demonstrated by Tom Hankinson and his family while thanking them for their generosity and goodwill.

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 Minister of Community Services.

RESOLUTION NO. 2715

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

Whereas Grace and Gordon Hubley have been long-time residents of Bedford; and

Whereas Mr. and Mrs. Hubley were married in June 1950 and are now celebrating their 50th Wedding Anniversary;

[Page 7173]

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House extend their congratulations, along with the Hubley family, to Grace and Gordon Hubley on reaching this milestone of marriage.

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 Minister of Justice.

RESOLUTION NO. 2716

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

Whereas the World Children's Baseball Fair will be held from July 31 to August 9, 2000 in Regina, Saskatchewan; and

Whereas Joel Holland, of Oakhill, Nova Scotia, has been chosen as one of only five children from across Nova Scotia to participate in the World Children's Baseball Fair; and

Whereas there will be approximately 250 children attending this event from across Canada, representing all provinces, as well as children from 25 other countries;

Therefore be it resolved that the House of Assembly congratulate Joel Holland on being chosen as one of Nova Scotia's representatives to attend the World Children's Baseball Fair, and wish him every success at the upcoming event.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

[Page 7174]

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Preston.

RESOLUTION NO. 2717

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

Whereas Sharon Dykman of Mineville, Nova Scotia, was recently elected Vice District Governor of 41-N2 District of the Lions Club International and the first woman to be elected to this position after 18 years as a member of the Lake Echo Lioness and Lions Club; and

Whereas Sharon has had a long history of service to her community, including participation in the Lake Echo Ratepayers' Association, the Ladies Auxiliary of the Lake Echo Fire Department, and COPALS, a community action group, and many years as a Sunday school teacher; and

Whereas volunteers like Sharon enrich the lives of people in every community across Nova Scotia;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House extend their congratulations to Sharon Dykman for this distinction, commend her for her service to Lake Echo-Mineville and the surrounding area, and wish her all the best in years to come.

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 Kings South.

[Page 7175]

RESOLUTION NO. 2718

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

Whereas Acadia University is one of the top-ranked universities in Canada; and

Whereas Student Union President Ruth Petrykanyn, a native of Florida, chose to attend Acadia ahead of any university or college in the United States; and

Whereas when Ruth graduates in 2002 she, along with hundreds of other international students attending Nova Scotia universities, will have obtained one of the finest university degrees in the world while contributing to the universities financial viability by paying international tuition fees, while still herself saving upwards of $150,000 Canadian by choosing one of Canada's fine universities over a U.S. institution;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House recognize the reputation of Nova Scotia universities as world-class institutions of higher learning for so many reasons, but also as evidenced each year by the number and calibre of international students who choose to attend these institutions.

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 Shelburne.

RESOLUTION NO. 2719

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

Whereas a group of 40 students from Barrington Consolidated School transplanted beach grass in an effort to prevent further erosion of the sand dunes on Cape Sable Island's North East Point; and

[Page 7176]

Whereas the beaches of Nova Scotia are one of our most prized and beautiful natural resources, drawing visitors from home and abroad and providing habitat for wildlife; and

Whereas the grass transplanted by these conscientious volunteers was just destroyed in a senseless act of vandalism;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House condemn this mindless action and express their support for the conservation efforts of local volunteers and the dedicated staff of the Department of Natural Resources.

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.

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Kings West.

RESOLUTION NO. 2720

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

Whereas the West Kings Teens Against Drunk Driving Team recently captured their second consecutive CBC Extreme Attitudes Against Drinking and Driving Video Contest; and

Whereas the team consisted of members David Potter, Sean McBean, Lucas Fitch, and Michael Ross; and

Whereas the four young men prepared a 30 second ad showing four teenagers participating in various academics and then a blank screen;

Therefore be it resolved that MLAs congratulate Dave, Sean, Lucas, and Michael for their creativity while also delivering a sobering message to all.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver.

[Page 7177]

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 Pictou East.

RESOLUTION NO. 2721

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

Whereas the Stanley Cup will be awarded tomorrow night in New Jersey if the Devils defeat the Dallas Stars; and

Whereas minor hockey across Nova Scotia is now quiet until the fall; and

Whereas despite this, five players from Pictou East should be recognized after recently being named players of the month for the Pictou County Minor Hockey Association;

Therefore be it resolved that MLAs in this Legislature today commend Bruce Treby of Little Harbour, Craig Anderson from Frasers Mountain, Thorburn's Chris Brewer, Westville's Trevor Bowles, and Tyler Ross from Barneys River for their excellence in Canada's national game and wish them every success in the 2000-01 series.

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.

The motion is carried.

[Page 7178]

ORDERS OF THE DAY

ORAL QUESTIONS PUT BY MEMBERS

MR. SPEAKER: Question Period will begin at 3:25 p.m. and will end at 4:55 p.m.

The honourable Leader of the Liberal Party.

HEALTH - ROSEWAY HOSP. (SHEL.): DOWNGRADING - CONFIRM

MR. RUSSELL MACLELLAN: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister of Health. It seems that when the government is back to the wall, some lemming in the backbenches manages to have a press release which says something that is absolutely misleading. I want to quote from a press release from the member for Shelburne. It says, "'Let me make it very clear so there is no mistake,' Mr. O'Donnell said. 'Roseway Hospital is not going to close and it is absolutely outrageous for the Liberals to make such false accusations on the floor of the Legislature.'" So I want to ask the Minister of Health, ignoring the fictitiousness of what I have said, let's go to what actually was said and that the Roseway Hospital in Shelburne and other hospitals that I mentioned yesterday are going to be downgraded. Will he, in fact, confirm that today?

HON. JAMES MUIR: Mr. Speaker, I thank the honourable member for his question. Yesterday afternoon, during Question Period I had asked the honourable member to table information that he had about these misleading allegations that he was making and he did not; however, he did distribute it to the media following Question Period. All I can say on the credibility of that document, the only thing I can think of is that that was the Liberal plan that was stopped when the government changed.

MR. MACLELLAN: Mr. Speaker, it is so soon the backbenchers forget that it may have been the Liberals that saved their hospitals and they know it. Every one of those smiley little cherubs knows that. I want to say to the minister there is only one inaccuracy in that document and that is that it referred to Berwick and East Kings as hospitals. They are not hospitals, they are clinics. I want to know from the Minister of Health, will he be a big boy and all by himself be big and brave and stand up and tell us the truth, admit that there are going to be hospitals downgraded? It is not going to be tough. Telling the truth can be easy if he does it once.

MR. MUIR: Mr. Speaker, I have to say, again, the amount of things that were not accurate that were presented by that Liberal Leader and by that Liberal Health Critic yesterday are shocking and disgraceful. That is a pair of people and a Party that is so bankrupt in terms of positive ideas that it is shocking what they did (Interruptions) Even up in a place where we were trying to recruit an emergency room physician, up in his home on the Island of Cape Breton in the riding of the honourable member from over there - sorry, Cape Breton

[Page 7179]

Centre - here we are trying to recruit an emergency room physician and he stands up there and he puts out (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. The honourable Leader of the Liberal Party on your final supplementary.

MR. MACLELLAN: Mr. Speaker, the minister refuses to answer the questions and we have heard that in the bunker in the Department of Health the little pens are feverishly making little changes to that document. We know that, but the fact is we stand behind the document that we provided yesterday and we will continue to stand behind it, but just want to ask the minister, if he believes in the changes that this government is making, if he believes in them, why does he not have the courage to stand up and admit that these things are taking place? Where is his intestinal fortitude to stand behind what he says he believes in?

MR. MUIR: Mr. Speaker, in terms of intestinal fortitude about telling the truth, I would tell the honourable member that if he had any intestinal fortitude, he would stand in this House and name the source of that misinformation which he has presented to the public of Nova Scotia.

[3:30 p.m.]

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

The honourable Leader of the New Democratic Party.

HEALTH - HOSPITALS: RURAL AREAS - FUTURE

MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, I want to go to the Minister of Health on this question as well. It is shocking, frankly, the story is out there that all the rural hospitals and health clinics are going to be downgraded or shut down somehow, or services are going to be reduced. Day after day the Minister of Health stands in this place and he stands out there in front of the media and he says, yes I know, but I don't really want to tell you. I think the Minister of Health respects this place and respects Nova Scotians more than that. The anxiety that many Nova Scotians, health care deliverers and other people in rural communities are experiencing as a result of the pronouncements that there are going to be these cuts and downgrading, is very significant. I want to ask the Minister of Health if he would step forward, if he would clarify this issue for Nova Scotians and identify what his plan is for those rural hospitals and health care facilities? Will they be downgraded as has been proposed? Will he clarify that issue and tell us what his plan is?

HON. JAMES MUIR: Mr. Speaker, I hope that I did not misunderstand what the honourable Leader of the New Democratic Party said. You weren't accepting this particular document as being creditable, I hope?

[Page 7180]

MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: I asked you to clarify, to tell us what is going to happen.

MR. MUIR: No, but you are not accepting this document, this piece of trash that was put on the floor by that bunch yesterday? No, good, okay.

Mr. Speaker, we are going through a business planning process and a business planning process for us is consultation with the people out in the field, the people in the non-designated institutions, the people in the regional health boards, the people in the facilities out there. We are going through a planning process with them. It is a work in progress. The final conclusions have not yet been reached. Now there have been some conclusions reached but we are not revealing them, we are not cherry-picking the things that have already been decided.

MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, Nova Scotians are extremely distressed about this news, and rightly so. When the Liberals came in in 1993, even while they were shutting down the Eastern Kings Memorial Hospital and the Western Kings Memorial Hospital, they kept saying, it is not going to happen, along with other facilities in the Province of Nova Scotia. We now have a question on the floor about the status of rural hospitals and health care centres. The minister's deputy, who he pays nearly $200,000 a year, will confirm and has confirmed that in fact there won't be a downgrading of those health care facilities. I want to ask the Minister of Health right here today, why can the $200,000 Health Deputy Minister answer this question but the Minister of Health, who is elected by Nova Scotians, who is ultimately responsible for the health care system, why can't he tell us right here today what is going to happen to the rural health care facilities in the Province of Nova Scotia? Come clean, Jamie, come on.

MR. MUIR: Mr. Speaker, the rural health care facilities we have in Nova Scotia today to serve the needs of their residents will be there tomorrow to serve the needs of their residents.

MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, there aren't going to be any teachers laid off, there aren't going to be any program assistants laid off, there are not going to be larger class sizes either. We know that is not true because we ferreted out the information. Now we are giving the Minister of Health the opportunity not to delay any longer, not to add to the anxiety being experienced by Nova Scotians in rural communities throughout this province . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Question, please.

MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: . . . tell us the truth, tell us now, what his government's plans are for health care facilities in rural Nova Scotia? Tell us now.

[Page 7181]

MR. MUIR: Mr. Speaker, I think most of the fear that is out there, if there is any, is simply that which is being stirred up for political reasons by the members on that side of the House. For presumably responsible people to circulate and put in the public record trash like that and not give the source, I am surprised we have sunk to that level.

However, as I will say to the honourable member for Halifax Atlantic, we are going to continue to go through this planning process we are going through, the people in those facilities are being consulted. They are aware of where we are in the planning process. We have not made all the decisions, and don't forget we have eight business plans to look at and they aren't just in isolation. We have to . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

The honourable member for Dartmouth East.

HEALTH - DEP. MIN.: BLUE BOOK - AWARENESS

DR. JAMES SMITH: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister of Health. The minister has told Nova Scotians that the Tory Party has a plan for health, and this plan is well laid out in the Tory blue book. My question to the minister is, will the minister explain why the Deputy Minister of Health, the person who has been administrating health care for the past six months, has no knowledge of the promises made in the Tory blue book?

HON. JAMES MUIR: Mr. Speaker, I think that he has the way that this government operates confused with the way that that government used to operate in a good many places. When the deputy minister was hired, he was hired for his competence, not because of his political persuasion, not like that bunch. I can say as well, it was one of the few questions I happened to see in the Public Accounts Committee this morning, and I believe the deputy did say at that time, yes, after he assumed the position here, he became aware of what was in the blue book.

DR. SMITH: Mr. Speaker, it is widely known that the current Premier promised to fix health care by saving $46 million in administration, cutting out the fat as he said. To our surprise, not only did the deputy have no knowledge of the Premier's promise, and he said that this morning, if the minister was watching; he also said that the promise is not attainable. How do you expect initiatives which you promised during the election to be kept when the deputy minister, the chief administrator of health care in this province has no knowledge of them or does not believe they are reasonable? (Interruptions)

THE PREMIER: Thank you . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. The question was for the honourable Minister of Health.

[Page 7182]

MR. MUIR: Mr. Speaker, there was a very good reason if that statement was ever made. I have to tell you, except on the floor of the House, I have never heard that statement from that bunch over there. Anyway, of the number of promises that the Conservative blue book had in health, we keep a tally of those. Of the 200 and some promises that are contained in that blue book across all fields, the people of Nova Scotia cannot remember, certainly in recent history, where a government has made that many promises and done so much in a 10 month period. (Laughter)

DR. SMITH: Mr. Speaker, I would join in the laughter if it wasn't so sad, because it is sad days for health care in Nova Scotia. Simply, to the minister, would the minister agree to brief his deputy and get the deputy up to speed on his Party's promises or admit here today to Nova Scotians that the agenda that they voted for is not the agenda the government is following?

MR. MUIR: Mr. Speaker, when I reviewed the six years previous to us assuming power, I can understand why the honourable member would stand up on the floor of this House and ask a question about direction because clearly they did not know where they were going. That was clear. Nova Scotians said that 10 months ago, but we do have a plan. The deputy minister is following that plan in the Department of Health. We are going to build a health care system in this province that fixes the mess that they left. It will be responsible, sustainable and affordable.

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

HEALTH: IWK-GRACE HOSPITAL:

NUTRITION PROGRAM - REINSTATEMENT

MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, I want to direct my question through you to the Minister of Health. We raised before the fact the IWK-Grace was going to be cutting the special nutritional formula program for children at the IWK-Grace. We learned today at the Public Accounts Committee from the deputy, the $200,000 man, in fact, that program will be reinstated. Good news for those families whose children's very lives depend on receiving that formula. I want to ask the Minister of Health though, he has asked the IWK-Grace to cut $16 million from their budget, how he will pay for the reinstatement of this formula program, if he would explain that to us here today?

HON. JAMES MUIR: Mr. Speaker, contrary to the myths that this bunch over there is now trying to spin, like that bunch over there, we made it abundantly clear 10 days ago that that program would be continued. What we are going to do now (Interruptions) We made it abundantly clear that people who needed that service would receive it. We know that. It is on record. They don't want to listen to it. They want to make political hay, go around and basically turn people up, disgraceful behaviour, irresponsible behaviour. (Interruptions)

[Page 7183]

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, the key word today must be disgraceful because the Minister of Health has said the word now, what, about 10 times already. I want to go back to the Minister of Health and, in fact, what he said when we have asked him to clarify whether this program still exists, he said that the business plan is still under review and nothing has been finalized. It was the deputy who finally said to us, today, to Nova Scotians, that that program is going to be reinstated. I am trying to find out how, in fact, the program is going to be funded because the minister has said that his government will have control over this institution's budget, over the hospital's budget. So I want to ask the Minister of Health, what has he told the IWK-Grace to cut instead of the formula program? Where is the change in the budget that is going to happen? What decisions has he made that we still don't . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. (Interruption)

MR. MUIR: Mr. Speaker, again, let me remind the honourable member for Halifax Atlantic that that program was never cut. It was never cut. So to say that it was reinstated implies that it was removed, which it never was. We made it abundantly clear that we were moving through these business plans. At the IWK-Grace we have made the decision and the IWK-Grace has been informed, the senior administration there, that we would prefer that they, at least in the interim, continue on with that program and they will do that. We are asking them, when we turn the business plan back to them, to take a look inside their operation to see where there might be some adjustments made.

MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, this program was not being cut, just like the funding to APSEA was not being cut, just like the $53 million was not being hacked out of the education system. The government, the minister in that case and this minister now, has come up with extra money to put back in to save those programs. It makes people think that the squeaky wheel gets the grease when it comes to this government.

MR. SPEAKER: Question, please.

MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: So what I want to know from the minister is how is he deciding, how is he and his brain trust, the expensive brain trust in the Department of Health, how are they deciding which programs will be saved and which programs won't? How is he making that decision?

[3:45 p.m.]

MR. MUIR: Mr. Speaker, I understand why the honourable member really has some difficulty, because the way he and his group operate, they don't do consultation or look at all sides of the issue. The idea of consultation and thoughtful analysis is something devoid of the

[Page 7184]

thoughts on that side. I can hear the member for Cape Breton West over there rambling on, making some more of these silly comments . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

The honourable member for Dartmouth East.

HEALTH - ATL. HTS. REST HOME (LOCKEPORT):

POLICIES - CONFUSION

DR. JAMES SMITH: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister of Health. Last week the minister was asked about the Atlantic Heights Rest Home in Lockeport. It was evident that he didn't understand the new policies of his department on residential care homes. He didn't seem to know what homes fell under Health and Community Services. No surprise. It is probably because Brian MacLeod's committee has been making rules up as they go. My question to the minister is, how does the minister expect the residential care homes to understand the policy when the minister himself is confused by it?

HON. JAMES MUIR: Mr. Speaker, this is another example of the incompetence of that bunch on the other side. He presented a question to the Department of Health that was a question for the Minister of Community Services. That home is under Community Services, it is not under Health.

DR. SMITH: Mr. Speaker, that was exactly my point. The minister was too (Interruptions) The minister was stunned enough, at least at the moment, that he didn't refer it to the Minister of Community Services, and tried to answer the question. I will continue with the Minister of Health. (Interruptions)

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

The honourable member for Dartmouth East has the floor.

DR. SMITH: The minister said, " . . . I am not really sure how the financial condition of those small homes would be changed or threatened by those rules." Well, I will try to explain. By not allowing the homes to have both senior and non-senior members, you have in fact cut off a portion of the client base. In rural areas, it is hard to fill those homes. Why is the minister trying to put some of these residential care homes out of business?

MR. MUIR: Mr. Speaker, it is not the intention of this government to put any private business or residential care home out of business. The thing is, there were no policies and procedures in long-term care. This bunch over there made it on the basis of political expediency. We came in, and we are trying to fix the system, to address this for Nova Scotians in the future, and he has the nerve to stand up there and criticize us.

[Page 7185]

DR. SMITH: Mr. Speaker, yes, I have the nerve to do it, and I have the responsibility, and I have the intestinal fortitude to do it. (Applause) One home that is suffering because of the new policy is the Pleasant Rest Home in Bridgewater. The operator there, Debbie Reid, has been getting conflicting information from the Departments of Health and Community Services. My question is, why has the minister not consulted with operators of these homes before implementing these confusing and frustrating policies?

MR. MUIR: Mr. Speaker, I am tired of dealing with innuendos from that bunch. If he has information, put it on the table.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Dartmouth-Cole Harbour.

HEALTH - HOSPITALS: COMMUN. HEALTH BDS. - INPUT

MR. DARRELL DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Liberals put fear in the hearts of Nova Scotians when they stated that certain rural hospitals will be downgraded or closed. This morning, the Deputy Minister of Health said this would not occur, at least not this year. Rural communities like Shelburne, Tatamagouche and Wolfville, communities desperately hanging on to their services will find some temporary comfort in this decision. This scare however, has revealed something that is equally shocking - community health boards have been left completely in the dark about the health care decisions that are going to affect them. My question to the Minister of Health is this, why are you not seeking input of community health boards in decisions that will impact the life of their communities?

HON. JAMES MUIR: We have widely consulted or greatly consulted the community health boards. Indeed, the Health Authorities Act, which is before this House, a good deal of substance of that was generated from conversations with community health boards. In terms of consultation, and I have said this in here before and from the information after talking with people around the province in the period of time I have been in this office, I am inclined to believe, and I sincerely believe that no government has consulted with communities more than this one has in the time we have been in office.

MR. DEXTER: Perhaps the minister can table the evidence of his consultation. This government committed, during their election campaigning. to have open government and transparent decision making. When the new landmark health care bill was announced, it was sold as legislation that would give communities a stronger voice. A voice that this government said they were interested in hearing. I want to ask the Minister of Health, how can communities provide you with input into health care decision making when they are the last to know what is coming down?

MR. MUIR: As the honourable member knows, and I thank him for that question because it enables me the opportunity to reinforce how important the thoughts of community health people are going to be as the health care plan for this province unfolds. We are going

[Page 7186]

through a planning process and the final decisions have not been made, but I want to tell you that the . . .

AN HON. MEMBER: It is a work in progress.

MR. MUIR: It is a work in progress, you are absolutely right. It is a work in progress, and the fact that it is in progress means that there is some give and take in the determination of these final plans. Indeed, we will be going back to the communities in due course.

MR. DEXTER: What we are seeing in health care today is what we saw in education several weeks ago. The government announced major changes and then discovered the devastation that was going to happen on the ground floor level. It showed in education and it is showing in health care now that this government is not in touch with how services are delivered in this province. I want to ask the Minister of Health, why won't you honour your commitment to communities and let them in on the decision making taking place in health care at this time?

MR. MUIR: They are involved in the decision making that is taking place and the directions that are taking place in health care, and again I go back to that bill which is before the House. A good deal of that was generated from suggestions from community health board members. I have met with community health board members from right across this province from one end to another; as a matter of fact, representatives of every community health board in this province, and will continue to deal with them. I have been out in the communities meeting with people. I have been down in Musquodoboit Harbour, I have been in Sherbrooke, Guysborough, Roseway, Yarmouth, Kentville, Truro, Amherst, Antigonish, Guysborough . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

The honourable member for Lunenburg West.

FIN. - VOL. FIREFIGHTERS/SEARCH & RESCUE:

PROMISES - FULFILMENT COMPLETE

MR. DONALD DOWNE: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister of Finance. (Interruption) I promise you that today. Last June the Liberals announced free license plates for volunteer firefighters, and at that time, the Tories said that was not good enough. One of the 243 promises made during the election was the commitment to introduce a volunteer benefits Act which included insurance benefits and a $500 tax credit. Last December the Tories finally followed through on the Liberal initiative by providing free license plates. We have yet to see the rest of this volunteer benefits Act. My question to the Minister of Finance is, why is this minister breaking his promise to volunteer firefighters and search and rescue workers?

[Page 7187]

HON. NEIL LEBLANC: Mr. Speaker, I want to say to the honourable member that we are not breaking any commitments. I remember very clearly in this House the games that bunch on that side who were asking the question in this regard, played, with both Opposition Parties at that time. We put in place free license plates for those people he is referring to. We came through with that promise.

MR. DOWNE: Mr. Speaker, I think the Minister of Finance is listening to the Minister of Health, and he is refusing to answer any question. Again, the question that was posed here was very straightforward, when is he going to live up to his commitment.

I would like to move to the Premier. During the election the Tory Leader was quoted in The Chronicle-Herald on July 21st when he met with a bunch of firefighters. He said, "I want to tell the men here today that every other volunteer firefighter in this province, that a Progressive Conservative government won't play politics on this issue." As for the $500 tax credit, Premier Hamm said, "They will earn it, and I will see that they will get it." My question to the Premier is, when will his government keep its promise to volunteer firefighters and search and rescue workers?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, the member opposite has already heard the Minister of Finance indicate that we kept the first part of our commitment to volunteer firefighters and provided them with the free licenses that were part and parcel of the many commitments we have made. Like all of the commitments we have made that we have kept so far, we will be keeping the rest. Those things will come, bearing in mind, we expect to be here for sometime yet to come.

MR. DOWNE: Mr. Speaker, well the minister and the Premier had stated very clearly, I understood this was going to be done in year one of their mandate of their 243 promises. They have already broken it. Last week, Tory MP Scott Brison introduced a private member's motion in the House of Commons calling on the government to amend the Income Tax Act to provide a $500 tax credit to volunteer firefighters and other emergency services and volunteers. Will the Minister of Finance commit to and follow the lead of his federal cousin and bring forward the tax breaks of volunteer firefighters in the first year of the Tory mandate as he said during the election campaign?

MR. LEBLANC: Mr. Speaker, I go back to the point that was very well said by the Minister of Health. There were 243 promises that we made. I can say, in the time we have been there, we have accomplished a great deal of those promises. But I will say one thing, we made commitments, and I would say that is a lot better than those two Parties made. We were judged by what we said, and we will deliver on the agenda we have set out.

[Page 7188]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Dartmouth-Cole Harbour.

HEALTH: MENTAL HEALTH (BLAND REPORT) - RELEASE

MR. DARRELL DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, the Deputy Minister of Health confirmed this morning that the mental health review or the Bland Report is finished and in the minister's hands. The mental health community has been waiting for this report since April. When asked why the Department will not release the report today, the deputy minister said, "It is because they are having printing problems." That is about the lamest excuse I have ever heard. Within five days they can print 100,000 copies of a map, but they can't print a relatively small report because of printing problems. I want to ask the minister, why won't you release the report today?

HON. JAMES MUIR: Mr. Speaker, who is going to translate it for them? The report was received in my department I think about two weeks ago. It has been looked at by staff. I got my copy last Friday. I got part way through the report yesterday, and I read part of it again this morning. I had actually about a two minute conversation with the staff member who was largely responsible for that area in the department and when I become a little bit more familiar with it myself, honourable member, we will get it out as quick as we can. I just don't want to put it out until I know what is in it.

[4:00 p.m.]

MR. DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, this report is not being released because the report says that there should be no further cuts in mental health services in this province. In fact, it is our understanding that this report states that funding to mental health services should be increased. The minister is holding onto the report, using a flimsy excuse like printing problems, because he wants to avoid having to account for the recommendations. I want to ask the minister, if he will not agree to release the report today, will he at least confirm or deny that the report calls for no cuts?

MR. MUIR: Mr. Speaker, the report will be made public in due course. I don't want to cherry-pick from the report because I have not been all the way through it and I would like to be able to put comments in context. I can tell you one thing that it does say, is it did review a lot of the material that was here in the province and clearly it does say it is consistent with our platform commitments that mental health is a very important part of the health care system in Nova Scotia.

MR. DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, this government has cut mental health in the last budget by over $1 million. Statistics say that at least one in five Nova Scotians will experience a mental illness. Community mental health organizations say that if services are cut or reduced, there will be immediate increases in hospital admissions. So I want to ask the minister, will

[Page 7189]

the minister assure mental health consumers, in light of the demand for mental health services, that the recommendations of the Bland Report that he commissioned will be implemented?

MR. MUIR: Mr. Speaker, obviously, we will consider the recommendations of this report in our decision making with reference to mental health. One of the things that has happened in terms of mental health services in Nova Scotia is that a lot of them are moved out into the community. The report talks about community services. It also talks about services that are delivered in hospital settings. One of the problems - and we ran into this last spring I guess it was, or earlier this spring - in talking about the closing of psychiatric in-patient beds, the general thing which was promoted, unfortunately, by members on the other side of the House was that you did not have mental health services unless you had in-patient beds and we all know that that is not correct. That was a terrible thing to put out there into the public and to whip people up.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

The honourable member for Cape Breton South.

SYSCO - STEELWORKERS: PENSIONS - ACTION (PRE-SALE)

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Premier. We have very recently learned that the government is in final negotiations to sell Sydney Steel to a company called Duferco and have rejected offers from other companies that want to operate a rail mill in Sydney. Duferco is only interested in semi-finished products for their own use in another plant they own and are not interested in pursuing new markets, especially for rails. It is probable that when they no longer need feed stock from the Sydney plant, they will close Sydney Steel. Duferco will employ less than 200 steelworkers which means close to 500 workers will have no future in the industry.

My question to the Premier, Mr. Premier, would you tell this House and steelworkers what plans you have to look after the steelworkers in regard to outstanding pension and other contractual issues? Will you keep your promise and look after those issues prior to the sale?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, it would appear that the member opposite is looking for an update as to where we are with the sale of Sysco and I would ask the minister to bring the member opposite up-to-date.

HON. GORDON BALSER: Mr. Speaker, the member opposite is correct. Ernst & Young are moving forward. They have limited their review of proposals to two significant proposals. They are in the process of talking to those two groups to determine which is in the best interests of the taxpayers of Nova Scotia. They will be bringing forward a recommendation in the very near future. We do, as a government, recognize our commitment

[Page 7190]

to the workers, and we will honour those commitments. We do, in fact, have a negotiator who has been charged with the responsibility of reaching an agreement, and we will do that.

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, again, I am going to the Premier with this question. We have also learned that the government will give Duferco a substantial loan guarantee to ensure the sale's success, and this company will not be required to make any large capital improvements in the Sydney operation. Will the Premier confirm to this House that the government will invest public money in Duferco to complete the sale and, if so, what agreements have you put in place that requires the plant to be operated in Sydney?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, we put a number of requirements forward that would be used to adjudicate any sale. The offers that have come in, some, of course, would have met those requirements, others did not. We will be pursuing, and E & Y is pursuing on our behalf and will eventually bring to the board of directors, and after that through to the Cabinet, recommendations relative to offers that meet the requirements that government put to E &Y.

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, again, no answer to the question. It would seem there is no answer to the question of whether or not the government is going to put substantial loan guarantees in place to Duferco. We know that Duferco is the only one they are talking to, and this garbage we are hearing from the minister on a regular basis regarding Sydney Steel doesn't cut any ice with steelworkers, because it is simply that, just garbage that he thinks somebody is listening to.

My final supplementary is to the Premier. Again, Mr. Premier, steelworkers, their families and the people of the Sydney area are concerned you are using Duferco to eventually close Sysco. In other words, you won't do it yourselves, you are going to get Duferco to do it for you, and steelworkers' concerns will not be addressed prior to the sale or closure. Will you assure steelworkers, Mr. Premier, that their contract concerns will be met, and that any sale will ensure Sysco assets and equipment will not leave Sydney? Mr. Premier, will you give the people of Sydney and steelworkers that assurance?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, this has been - as the member opposite is well aware - a very difficult time for steelworkers and their families. The member opposite has asked whether or not this government will meet all the contract requirements that are part of the contract that they signed, the answer is yes, and we will go beyond that.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Hants East.

NAT. RES. - BROWN SPRUCE LONGHORN BEETLE:

INFESTATION - NORWAY SPRUCE

MR. JOHN MACDONELL: Mr. Speaker, my question will be for the Minister of Natural Resources. The European brown spruce longhorn beetle has caused a great stir

[Page 7191]

locally, due to its massive infestation of red spruce at Point Pleasant Park. The beetle has been found by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency in another species, a Norway spruce, also in Point Pleasant Park. Will the minister assure Nova Scotians today that there are no more species affected by this beetle?

HON. ERNEST FAGE: Mr. Speaker, yes, yesterday at Point Pleasant Park a Norway spruce was identified as having been infected by the beetle. I should add, this was certainly not unexpected. In Europe, that is the natural tree that that particular beetle does attack. Certainly the important thing here is to ensure that we find the degree of the infestation and are then able to eradicate it later in the year.

MR. JOHN MACDONELL: Mr. Speaker, considering the geography of Norway, we might expect that the beetle might eat a Norway spruce here, but I think the minister should be aware that it is the other species of trees in this province we are concerned about. The joint task force charged with dealing with the beetle problem met this past Monday - two days ago - to map out a strategy. I understand the spread of the beetle to another species of trees was not confirmed until yesterday, but it was suspected for some time. The joint task force doesn't meet again until Monday, June 12th and, minister, time is of the essence. What are you going to do to act on this information now? I mean you and your department, I don't mean the Canadian Forest Service or the Canadian Food Inspection Agency. What are you and your department going to do?

MR. FAGE: Mr. Speaker, to the member opposite, the paramount thing here is to ensure that we assess the problem correctly and eradicate the pest. Acting in haste to try too quickly and cause a larger infestation or to cause it to be spread is not prudent. Certainly the task force does not want to put Nova Scotia in that particular parameter and I am sure that is not what the honourable member means when he says he wants drastic measures taken quickly. I will tell the honourable member and this House that our department takes this very seriously. So does the task force. We are doing everything possible to assess the size of the infestation and the species of trees involved and the proper eradication program. To that end, starting tomorrow morning, we will have 40 technicians on-site at Point Pleasant Park from the staff of Natural Resources. They will be assessing the density of the infestation and start mapping out where the infestation is and the degree it is in the park.

MR. JOHN MACDONELL: Mr. Speaker, 40 staff who must be doing something else prior to this beetle infestation. We now know this beetle was here in 1990 and it has been found in other species of trees, and it has been found outside Point Pleasant Park. I am told the aerial search for signs of predation has expanded to a 10 kilometre range outside peninsular Halifax, but that is a slow, arduous process, and positive identification will have to be done by the joint task force teams on foot. The minister will, of course, claim his department is doing all it can within the joint task force, but that is not good enough. Time is the enemy here. Can the minister assure Nova Scotians that a huge sign won't be erected

[Page 7192]

soon at the New Brunswick border saying the forest industry is closed, under quarantine until further notice in Nova Scotia?

MR. FAGE: Mr. Speaker, I thank the honourable member for his question. Obviously the honourable member again appears to be confused about the situation. Creating a situation by acting imprudently and abruptly right now would only cause the beetle, in all probability to widen its area of infestation. (Interruption) This particular phase of what we are trying to control here is to assess the size of the problem and plan eradication. The honourable member is confused when he feels that by acting in haste that we should somehow run out and run through the park. I really don't feel the honourable member has a grasp of the situation.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

The honourable member for Cape Breton Nova.

SYSCO - CLEAN-UP PROJ.:

FUNDING ($230M) - IMPLEMENTATION

MR. PAUL MACEWAN: Mr. Speaker, I would like to direct my opening question to the Premier. The budget that was passed by the House contained an item of $230 million for the estimated costs of a massive clean-up project at the site of the Sydney Steel Corporation in my constituency. I would like to ask the Premier, now that the House has passed that budget and it is law, would the Premier outline if his government is prepared to proceed with a $230 million clean-up program at Sysco? If so, could he give us some brief indication of how and when that program will be implemented.

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, the member for Cape Breton Nova is somewhat confused as to the budgetary item. I would ask the Minister of Finance to clarify it for him.

HON. NEIL LEBLANC: Mr. Speaker, it is obvious that the member for Cape Breton Nova really didn't look at the data that was there. In last year's budget that finished on March 31, 2000, there were provisions put in for Sysco both in regard to environmental reclamation and also for pension obligations as currently under the contract. They were to be shown because of the fact that they were quantified, and in conjunction with Generally Accepted Accounting Principles they should be shown at the time they are determinable or quantifiable and that is what happens when he says that was in this year's budget. That is not the case, and I think the member is aware of that.

MR. MACEWAN: Mr. Speaker, I don't accept that gobbledegook at all, and neither do the unemployed steelworkers at Sydney. They are looking right now for the jobs that were promised in the budget; $230 million. We are not talking about the money for pensions, that is a separate item, the total amount involved is $300 million, but the amount that is designated for clean-up work is approximately $200 million, plus I want to say $230 million and I would

[Page 7193]

like to table this newspaper exhibit here. Steelworkers looking for jobs as physical evidence of the fact that the steelworkers in Sydney, the unemployed ones, are now looking for those jobs cleaning up the site of the plant. Could the Minister of Finance advise those steelworkers when and where they can apply for those jobs?

[4:15 p.m.]

MR. LEBLANC: It is obvious that when the member stands up and says that is gobbledegook, that is the reason that the previous administration didn't bring about the changes in accounting that should properly show the finances of the province. I do believe that the previous Minister of Finance was moving in that direction and I will say I am sure if he had had that type of member in his caucus, he probably would have had the chance and would have had the opportunity to do it. We have presented the finances of the Province of Nova Scotia at the end of last year in accordance with the Generally Accepted Accounting Principles and for a member to say that is gobbledegook, I can empathize with the previous Minister of Finance how difficult a task he had.

MR. MACEWAN: I may not understand the principles of high finance that the Minister of Finance claims to be outlining, but either there is or there isn't a $200-plus million item in his budget for a clean-up project at Sydney Steel. I want to know when that project is going to get under way because there is certainly massive environmental blight to be combatted in Sydney. There is a legal onus, a legal responsibility, on government as the owner of the property to clean up their unsightly premises. The Minister of Transportation and Public Works over there should be the lead minister in this fiscal clean-up project. Perhaps I might direct my final supplementary to him because I am not getting very far with the Minister of Finance. Would the Minister of Transportation and Public Works advise the House when these massive $230 million worth of public works will be getting under way in Sydney so as to put the unemployed . .

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: I would like to refer this question to the Minister of Economic Development. (Laughter)

HON. GORDON BALSER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Fairview.

NSLC: PRIVATIZATION - SOCIAL ISSUES

MS. EILEEN O'CONNELL: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister responsible for the administration of the Liquor Control Act. When the minister struck a review committee to look at privatizing the Liquor Commission, he didn't include in the terms of reference any attention to the social problems associated with privatized liquor sales and, at the very least, you would think he would have included representatives of the Departments

[Page 7194]

of Health, Education and Community Services on the committee, but he didn't. I would like to ask the minister, have you at least asked your Cabinet colleagues for their help in dealing with any social issues associated with the privatization of the Liquor Commission?

HON. RODNEY MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I can assure the member that if there are any changes once the review is done, that the Minister of Health, the Minister of Community Services and all the ministers will have ample opportunity to take a look at the options available.

MS. O'CONNELL: It appears as if they don't have any involvement at all at this point so I am just going to check, so I want to ask my next question to the Minister of Education. We know that from other jurisdictions that privatized liquor sales mean minors have easier access to alcohol and it creates more problems at home and more problems at school. So, I want to ask the Minister of Education, how has the minister asked you to help teachers and guidance councillors prepare to deal with an increase in alcohol consumption and alcoholism among students and will you table that request in the House?

HON. JANE PURVES: I know the member opposite is deeply concerned about this problem, but there has been no decision in any way whether to privatize all or part of the Liquor Commission. Should such a decision be made, then everyone in the Cabinet will be looking at all aspects of the advice given to us on results of any such privatization.

MS. O'CONNELL: Mr. Speaker, this not an after-the-fact issue, this is something that should be discussed beforehand. Let's be perfectly clear here, the minister doesn't seem to have a clue about that. Let's just confirm whether or not he has talked to the Minister of Health about it. We know that the level of alcohol consumption tends to rise in jurisdictions where liquor sales are privatized. That means more accidents, more violence and more sickness, and it means a substantial cost to health care. So I want to ask the Minister of Health, so that we all know and so that it is clear to everybody, when did the minister ask you to look at the increased cost of alcohol-related problems to the health system? When will you tell this House what that cost is?

HON. JAMES MUIR: Mr. Speaker, I would respectively ask my colleague, the minister responsible, to answer that question.

HON. RODNEY MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I can tell the honourable member one thing, as the Minister of Health said today and as the member for Cape Breton Nova said, there is a lot of gobbledegook. It is coming from the other side of the House, that is where it is coming from.

[Page 7195]

Mr. Speaker, the fact is that we are doing the review and we are doing it openly. We are not trying to hold anything back. The people of Nova Scotia know where we stand on this issue and the honourable member knows where we stand on this issue; we have not offered one single suggestion of a possibility of change, not even one.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

The honourable member for Dartmouth East.

HEALTH - PLEASANT REST HOME (BRIDGEWATER):

CHANGES - CONSULTATION ABSENCE

DR. JAMES SMITH: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister of Health. Earlier the minister speaks of innuendo regarding not having information to table. I want to read from a letter from the Pleasant Rest Home in Bridgewater. "I am writing regarding the March announcement of the transfer of senior programs to the Department of Health . . . " In another paragraph, " . . . our home has been transferred back to the Department of Community Services. There was no discussion with us regarding this change." The question to the minister is, will the minister now explain why there was no consultation with the administrators of the Pleasant Rest Home and other administrators of homes?

HON. JAMES MUIR: Mr. Speaker, we made the decision to move seniors' programs over to the Department of Health effective April 1st. Obviously if that was at one time in the Department of Health, it moved to the Department of Community Services because it is not a seniors' residence.

DR. SMITH: I would like to ask my supplementary question to the Minister of Community Services. I will read from another letter, dated May 12th, from the same home. It reads, " . . . accommodating both senior and non senior clients for over 25 years and have spent a good deal of time and energy creating an atmosphere conducive to both populations . . . We have the accommodation available for these people and their level of care falls within our licensing capabilities. No one seems to know what to do." I would like to table that letter as well, so both ministers will understand that this is not just innuendo.

My question to the Minister of Community Services is, why were homes like the Pleasant Rest Home in Bridgewater made to follow regulations, without any explanation?

HON. PETER CHRISTIE: Mr. Speaker, as the honourable member knows, as we move to put these seniors' houses to Health, it depended on the level of care people needed. At the time we were doing that, we were notifying the houses as to what we were doing, we were notifying people. At the same time we were not taking people who had been presently there, and moving them out, who didn't meet the qualifications. So we have notified them and we continue to work with them.

[Page 7196]

DR. SMITH: Mr. Speaker, we have now learned of residential-care homes in Lockeport and in Bridgewater - these are just two that we know of that are being ignored by this government, and as a result, families are being left wondering where they can turn for residential care for their families. My question to the minister is, will the minister inform the House today what reports, if any, have led to these decisions, and table them?

MR. CHRISTIE: Mr. Speaker, the decisions on how this was going was through a process of consultation. The honourable member will be aware that we started to have a variety of services that we had to provide, the member will also be aware that down in his area we have gone forward with the repairs on Bayside Homes. We are attempting to work with the communities to provide that level of service.

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

HUMAN RES. - CIVIL SERV.: CUTS - TRURO

MR. FRANK CORBETT: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Premier. Civil servants across this province are fearing for their jobs because this government refuses to be forthcoming with the details of these cuts. It is left up to the Opposition to ferret these out. We have learned that the first round of Civil Service lay-offs resulting directly from this budget will entail approximately 220 employees. Of the 220 positions being cut, nearly 70 will be in the Town of Truro. Truro represents barely 1 per cent of the population of Nova Scotia, but will bear over 32 per cent of these job loss cuts. Will the Premier explain to this House how making such ill-advised, disproportionate cuts in Truro will help create, as the Premier says himself, strong families, strong communities and a better province?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, the whole issue as to whether the government will meet its agenda is a very difficult one. The government is working towards doing what has to be done, and what that member understands has to be done. When that Party did the consultation, that is what the people told the New Democratic Party in January and February of this year, that the deficit and the debt were very important to Nova Scotians. In fact, they told them it was the number one issue. If that member can tell me how we can address the debt and the deficit while continuing the spending practices that were adopted by that government, I fail to see how it is going to work.

MR. CORBETT: Mr. Speaker, his own Finance Minister said in this very House that we can't cut our way to prosperity, and that is exactly what this government is doing. The citizens of Truro have had just about enough of fiscal restraint. Under the previous Liberal Administration, they lost the Teachers College, a youth training centre and a children's residential centre. The government is refusing to make the secure treatment centre a priority, which is what he said in Opposition, and is now downloading another round of massive lay-offs on the Town of Truro. When the Premier talks about smaller government, does he mean

[Page 7197]

less employees to issue lay-off notices to, or fewer jobs for deserving, hard-working, rural Nova Scotians? Which do you mean?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I thought the member opposite was going to ask a question about the secure treatment centre, but he seems to want to pursue the line of questioning that obviously will not allow this government to do what it heard from Nova Scotians when it had its own consultation with Nova Scotians in January and February of this year, some six months after the election. What that member and that Party heard in their public consultation process is the same message that we delivered on July 27th, during the election. Six months later, Nova Scotians said to the New Democratic Party, we like what the Conservatives told us at election time, and we want you to support it. That is what you heard . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

MR. CORBETT: Mr. Speaker, if Nova Scotians wanted to cut jobs, the only job they would want to cut is that of this Premier. Truro is not the only rural area in this province that is suffering. Kentville, that has less than 0.5 per cent of the population of this province, will be seeing at least 20 lay-offs, almost 10 per cent of the overall cuts, 10 per cent. Mr. Premier, what messages can you tell your besieged MLAs from Kings County when they go home with the dull outrage over this unfair and unwarranted attack on workers? What message will you tell your MLAs from Kings County to tell their constituents? What are you going to tell them?

[4:30 p.m.]

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I am sure at the end of this question you will ask the member opposite to table the paper that he has held up and read from during the question.

The difficulty that the members opposite are having is understanding that this government has decided that it will make government work for Nova Scotians; that it will balance revenues and expenditures; and that all members of this government, front benches and back benches, are committed to doing what we said back on July 27th and the weeks prior to that. That is, making government fit the province.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please, the member for Cape Breton Centre, what you read from, was that a document or was that your question?

MR. CORBETT: That was my question, Mr. Speaker.

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

[Page 7198]

TRANSPORT. & PUB. WKS. - MARINE ATL. HQ:

NORTH SYDNEY - JOBS (N.S.)

MR. BRIAN BOUDREAU: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Premier. Recently municipal representatives, local business leaders, local residents and employees of the Marine Atlantic facility in North Sydney got together and created a new committee, the Cape Breton Action Committee. This committee was formed because the local community is concerned about the jobs at the Marine Atlantic facility in North Sydney and they are concerned that this province is going to lose out to the Province of Newfoundland in regard to this facility. My question is, will the Premier show Nova Scotians that he is not afraid of Brian Tobin and guarantee here today that Nova Scotians will be employed in North Sydney at the facility and eligible for the new positions created by the federal government?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, it is a very serious question, particularly if you happen to live in North Sydney and you happen to work for Marine Atlantic, or perhaps if you live in the North Sydney area and you want to get one of those jobs on the new ferry. This is a very important issue.

What I have done, and I hope that members of the Party opposite are doing the same, I have been speaking to the Senator who represents Nova Scotia in the federal Cabinet. I have spoken with and talked with federal officials, I have been in contact with Marine Atlantic and we are doing all that we can. That is an issue that this Party could help with. I am prepared to work with that Party, work with that member to make sure that we get, in North Sydney, our fair share of Marine Atlantic jobs. (Applause)

MR. BOUDREAU: Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to hear that because many members of this committee, myself included, don't feel the training being offered at the community colleges is on par with training that is available in Newfoundland for their residents. Newfoundlanders are getting training for these new ferry jobs while Nova Scotians simply get hospitality training. Will the Premier guarantee that the training offered at the community college in Sydney is enough to allow Nova Scotians to qualify for these positions?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I would ask the minister responsible for our community college system to respond to the member's question.

HON. JANE PURVES: Mr. Speaker, the bulk of the new jobs on the ferry are going to be hospitality jobs. There are many Nova Scotians who are qualified now and the college has offered a course, to anyone who wants to take it, that was developed in cooperation with Marine Atlantic in order to qualify students completing that course to get jobs on that ferry.

MR. BOUDREAU: Mr. Speaker, I did not hear the yes word for the guarantee, however the tuition for the Nova Scotia Community College is going up thanks to this new budget and the student loan remission has been cut by this government also. My question to

[Page 7199]

the Premier, what is the Premier doing to ensure that Nova Scotians who don't qualify for student assistance can get the training that is required for these positions?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I am unsure completely of the nature of the question, but the question seems to be, what can we do to ensure that those who don't qualify for student loans in fact will get the training? Now it is my understanding that student loans will be available for that training, as it is other training in the community college system if in fact they meet the requirements. The requirements usually are quite clear. One of the requirements being, of course, is that you do not have the wherewithal to finance your own education. So I presume the student loan program will be as available to those students as it is to all Nova Scotian students.

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

ENVIRON. - TWIN MTN. CONSTRUCTION (ANNA. V.):

DUMP SITE - PROSECUTE

MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, I want to direct the question through you to the Acting Minister of the Environment. We have raised, a couple of times in this House already, concerns with respect to the Twin Mountain composting facility in Waterville. Despite assurances from the minister to the contrary, activity at the site continues. The sludge still rests on the aquifer, continuing to impair the water supply of the community of Waterville. Worse still, Twin Mountain has shipped untold amounts of this sludge as topsoil to two Halifax companies who have sold it to unknowing consumers. I want to ask the minister, why has he not charged the operator instead of simply asking nicely that the operator clean up this awful mess?

HON. MICHAEL BAKER: Mr. Speaker, the decision on whether charges are warranted is a decision that is based on a recommendation by staff working with the person in question. I can, however, indicate to the honourable member that the ministerial order issued by me requires that the site be completely shut down and cleaned up by June 30th of this year.

MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, well, that order issued on June 1st by the minister not only gives the operator a great degree of latitude in the removal of this material, but the department also makes a fulsome offer to clean up after him should he fail to do so. The operator has now applied for a new site just metres from the current toxic site. I want to ask the Minister of the Environment, will he agree here today to block this application and immediately move to stop all activity at the site until a full assessment can be conducted?

MR. BAKER: Mr. Speaker, I can assure the honourable member that when I have received that application, it will receive the significant critical appraisal that all applications deserve, and the application will be assessed if and when I receive the application. I can

[Page 7200]

indicate to the honourable member that fortunately there is no empirical evidence that there is leachate that has left that site and entered the aquifer.

MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, this is a problem that has been in existence now for three years, and this department has not moved quick enough to clean it up; in fact we obtained documents yesterday through Freedom of Information wherein we learned that the department knew the sludge was contaminated a full three months before they granted approval in July of 1997 - I will table the documents - that is incredible. The Department of the Environment has claimed they did not know the sludge was contaminated. Now the Department of the Environment is focused on covering their tracks instead of solving this environmental hazard. I want to ask the minister, will he commit here today to immediately undertake a public inquiry into this disaster that has been happening in Waterville?

MR. BAKER: Well, Mr. Speaker, as the honourable member knows, I was not Minister of the Environment or Acting Minister of the Environment in 1997 when that decision was made. What I can tell the honourable member though is that since I have become minister, we have issued an order that is going to mean that that site is cleaned up and that any concern that the public has about their health is remedied.

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

NAT. RES. - ENERGY COUNCIL: APPTS. - RÉSUMÉS

MR. RUSSELL MACKINNON: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Premier. On June 2nd the Premier announced appointments to the province's Energy Council. I would like to ask the Premier if a thorough check of the résumés and references of the appointees were carried out prior to the council members being appointed?

THE PREMIER: If the question is - and it was difficult to hear - were the résumés looked at prior to appointments to the Energy Council, then the answer is yes.

AN HON. MEMBER: Yes, that is all he wanted to know.

ANOTHER HON. MEMBER: Go barbeque.

MR. MACKINNON: We are not at the barbeque yet.

Mr. Speaker, is the Premier aware that one of the appointees, Mr. David Nantes, a former Tory MLA and Minister of Health in 1990, revealed confidential medical information about a former public servant during a hearing at the Public Accounts Committee, an irresponsible act which eventually led to the resignation of Mr. Nantes?

[Page 7201]

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, it would appear that the member opposite is providing a rather innovative interpretation of fact.

MR. MACKINNON: Mr. Speaker, the good Premier, who is also a member of the Medical Society, would certainly remember this particular issue, Nova Scotia Medical Society backs Nantes probe, which eventually concluded, as we well understand, that Mr. Nantes did, in fact, violate the issue of confidentiality on a public servant. Ironically, Mr. Nantes has never apologized for his actions in 1990. In fact, he refused to admit any wrongdoing despite all the evidence.

MR. SPEAKER: Question, please.

MR. MACKINNON: This was typical of the way things were done during the Buchanan era.

MR. SPEAKER: Question, please. (Interruptions) Would the honourable member put the question.

MR. MACKINNON: Mr. Speaker, the question to the Premier is, given the fact of all this evidence concerning Mr. Nantes, referring back to the days of patronage and corruption in the Buchanan era, will the Premier do the honourable thing and ask for the resignation of Mr. Nantes from that committee?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, it must be extremely discouraging to Nova Scotians who volunteer, without remuneration, to serve their province and then to find themselves having a trial conducted here in the House of Assembly where they have no opportunity to defend themselves. Mr. Nantes is well-qualified to serve on this Energy Council and in so doing he will well serve the people of Nova Scotia.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Chebucto.

JUSTICE - WORKERS' COMP. ACT:

UNCONSTITUTIONALITY (WIDOWS) - APPEAL

MR. HOWARD EPSTEIN: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Justice. Sir, on April 25th our Supreme Court in a written decision found parts of the Workers' Compensation Act to be unconstitutional in that they discriminated against certain widows because of cut-off dates for eligibility for survivor's benefits. That court decision was practically six weeks ago. Mr. Minister, your department has been refusing to deal with the issue of costs and interest. As a result, no order has been issued by the court and so the 30 day appeal period has not yet started to run. Has the minister given instructions to the departmental solicitor to delay dealing with that matter until after the House rises?

[Page 7202]

HON. MICHAEL BAKER: Mr. Speaker, I am not sure if that matter is technically or not before the courts, but I will assume it is not. I can tell the honourable member that that is absolutely not the case. I would never ever instruct the department to delay a matter in the justice system for those kinds of reasons.

[4:45 p.m.]

MR. EPSTEIN: Mr. Speaker, do you know what? It doesn't actually matter whether it was the minister's personal direction or whether it is the staff solicitor who is holding up the process. The fact is that the widows, many of whom are quite elderly, are still out there without their compensation. This is exactly like the last Tory Government and their treatment of the widows of the coke ovens workers at Sysco, again delay, delay, and that makes matters worse. Obviously the strategy is easy to interpret; they are hoping some of the widows will die of old age so the pay-out will be less.

Will the minister assure the widows that his department will not appeal this very reasonable decision to award the widows equal treatment under the Workers' Compensation Act? Yes or no from the minister.

MR. BAKER: Mr. Speaker, I think that is sort of a two part question. The first part of the question was, of course, whether there was some strategy of delaying this matter. Clearly there is no strategy to delay the matter. That is a very unfortunate suggestion.

Mr. Speaker, I cannot indicate whether or not the province will be appealing this matter. That decision is in the process of being made and it will be apparent in very short order.

MR. EPSTEIN: Well, I can't think of any good reason to wait six weeks to make that decision. Mr. Speaker, my final question is to the Minister of Labour. The Workers' Compensation Board is also a party to this matter. I am told that they, too, are haggling with the widows over costs and interest. The Workers' Compensation Board also has a right to appeal, if the order ever gets written. All the widows want is to make their applications to the Workers' Compensation Board and get their benefits.

Will the minister assure this House that he doesn't want this case appealed and he will make that known, in writing, to the chairman and chief executive officer of the Workers' Compensation Board and immediately seek the board's assurances that it will not appeal?

HON. ANGUS MACISAAC: Mr. Speaker, the normal course for the Workers' Compensation Board is to deal with matters and I will respond to them when they make a recommendation to me and I have not seen that recommendation at this stage.

[Page 7203]

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

PAC - MEETINGS: SUSPENSION - JUSTIFY

MR. RUSSELL MACLELLAN: Mr. Speaker, earlier today we had a vote on the decision to suspend the Public Accounts Committee meetings. The Public Accounts Committee goes back to 1761 and it was an all-Party committee as of 1932. The Premier voted to suspend these Public Accounts Committee meetings. I want to know and I want to ask the Premier why he voted in favour of suspending the Public Accounts Committee meetings? What does that have to do and how does that justify his open and accountable government?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, the member opposite errs on a point of fact; it was the committee itself that voted to postpone the meetings in July and August. My understanding is that that is a common practice, it is not unusual for the Public Accounts Committee to not meet during the summer months.

MR. MACLELLAN: Mr. Speaker, the Premier knows very well that this is very unusual, what happened today, to actually cancel meetings that were already set up, for absolutely no reason whatsoever. Whether the committee did it or not, this Premier voted in favour of it. I want to know why he voted in favour of it and how does that fit with his open and accountable government?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, the member opposite is aware that the Public Accounts Committee is a committee of the Assembly. That committee has the opportunity and the privilege to set its own agenda. They have done so and they did so by way of a democratic vote.

MR. MACLELLAN: Mr. Speaker, I can't get over the hypocrisy that exists in that government. This is unprecedented. It is just another example of this government doing whatever it wants, regardless of its commitment, regardless of the democratic process, and regardless of the interests of Nova Scotia. They have absolutely muzzled the Public Accounts Committee and I want to know from this Premier, why?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, can you imagine the furore if the government upset the decisions of the Public Accounts Committee? Can you imagine that furore, Mr. Speaker? It would even be more aggressive than the issue that they are trying to make into an issue today. The Public Accounts Committee is set up by way of the Rules of the House. It is a duly constituted body that has the privilege of setting its own agenda, and they have done so.

[Page 7204]

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

BUS. & CONS. SERV. - GAS PRICES:
INCREASES - PROTECTION

MR. JOHN HOLM: Mr. Speaker, I would like to direct a question through you to the Premier. We have learned just recently that the price of regular gasoline in metro has gone up now by 5 cents a litre. Regular gasoline is now selling at 80.9 cents a litre. A 1 cent increase in the price will take over $12 million out of the pockets of Nova Scotians, so that is already ripping about $60 million - this last increase - out of the pockets of Nova Scotia. My question to the Premier is, what are you now going to do to finally step in to protect Nova Scotian consumers and businesses?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, the member opposite appears to be an advocate of regulation of gas prices. May I quote from an independent publication called FuelFax, Gasoline Price Monitor? (Interruptions) What the conclusion of this independent publication is, if the government were to freeze prices, consumers would benefit. Fact: wrong. Freezing prices would ensure that they would be frozen at artificially high levels. The member opposite knows that since deregulation has occurred in Nova Scotia, there has been an annualized saving in excess of 2 cents a litre for all Nova Scotians. (Interruptions)

MR. HOLM: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to see that the Premier is quoting the Fraser Institute's report for the oil industry, because FuelFax is funded by big oil. If that is who you go to for your advice, Mr. Premier, then there is no wonder why we get the kind of decisions being made. I want to ask the Premier, what is your price? How high are you prepared to allow it to go? How much greed are you going to allow those oil companies to exercise before you finally start to take some incentive and defend Nova Scotians? What is your price? (Applause)

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, it would appear that the member opposite was raising his voice not to make sure that I heard the question, but to make sure that the OPEC nations heard the question (Laughter) because that is where the problem is, not here in this Legislature, not here in Nova Scotia, but in OPEC. That is where the problem is.

Now I would like to point out - because the member opposite never likes to deal in facts - if you look at the price of gasoline, and this is of May 9th, that the non-tax component of gasoline prices here in Nova Scotia was lower than it was in Prince Edward Island, the only regulated province in Canada.

MR. HOLM: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to see that the Premier is well-entrenched in the propaganda of big oil. My final question. One of the things you are doing is getting a windfall profit, because every time the price goes up, you are gaining in HST. Will you at least give a rebate to consumers on the tax grab that you are ripping them . . .

[Page 7205]

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear! Hear! (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

Order, please. The time allotted for the Oral Question Period has expired. I would ask the honourable Premier (Interruptions) Order, please. I would ask the honourable Premier to table the documents that he referred to.

The honourable member for Lunenburg West.

MR. DONALD DOWNE: If I may, on an introduction in the west gallery, we have (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. The honourable member for Lunenburg West has the floor.

MR. DOWNE: Pretty exercised in here today, Mr. Speaker. In the west gallery, I am pleased to introduce a member from my constituency, a nurse who works in the South Shore Regional Hospital. I would ask the members of the House to give a warm welcome to Ms. Lillian Fynes. I would ask her to stand and receive the welcome of the House. (Applause)

OPPOSITION MEMBERS' BUSINESS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Liberal House Leader.

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, would you please call the order of business, Private Members' Public Bills for Second Reading.

PRIVATE MEMBERS' PUBLIC BILLS FOR SECOND READING

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Liberal House Leader.

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 57.

Bill No. 57 - Music Industry Council Act.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Lunenburg West.

MR. DONALD DOWNE: Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to stand today to speak on Bill No. 57, a bill that was brought forward by our Liberal caucus, a bill that was brought forward for the purpose of expanding the capabilities of the music industry in the Province of Nova Scotia. This Music Industry Council bill, in fact, talks about how we can start

[Page 7206]

building a stronger economic base in Nova Scotia through developing a natural comparative advantage that we have, and that is through our people and our music and the music industry.

On March 15, 2000, I issued a press release calling on this government to come forward with initiatives such as tax incentives and things of that nature to help develop and strengthen the music industry in Nova Scotia. What we were suggesting at the time was a tax provision similar to that of the film tax credit that we brought forward as a Liberal Government in the 1990's. I remember all too well when the film industry was virtually a few million dollars a year, at the time - I see the Premier is nodding his head in agreement - and since that time, it has flourished into about $130 million a year. It was done because of the leadership and the initiative of the Liberal Party, to take a bold step forward to strengthen - as the Premier shakes his head, he is shaking his head in agreement with this comment, but as he knows that bold step forward helped develop and create economic wealth and jobs in the Province of Nova Scotia.

We as Liberals realize that the government is dealing with budgetary cuts, but we continually bring before them the challenge of growing the economy as well. It appears to me that this government is fixated on one side of the ledger, and is not even concerned about growing the economy. That is why we on this side of the House, the Liberal side, have worked very hard to try to find new initiatives to continually grow the economy in this province. The bold step we are suggesting here today is to help develop and strengthen the music industry in this province.

Since that press release of March 15th, we have had a number of calls and communiqués and e-mails from people all over the province saying this is an excellent idea. It is an excellent idea, Mr. Downe, and we should continue to do more. It is one thing to say that you need to do something about it, why don't the Liberals come up with an idea of how, in fact, this government can do something? What we have done, and being as proactive as we are as Liberals, and bold in regard to coming forward with suggestion, we, in fact, have brought in a bill that actually answers those questions. I don't know how this government is going to handle a positive suggestion here, it is meant in a very positive way, but we have brought forward a bill that, in our view, allows this government to take a look at how they can expand the music industry, which is worth about $100 million a year to the economy of Nova Scotia.

What we are suggesting in the bill is the creation of a council, a council that would bring together representatives of MIANS, the Music Industry Association of Nova Scotia; three representatives from the Atlantic Federation of Musicians; and one from each respective department, the Department of Finance, the Department of Economic Development, and the Department of Tourism and Culture. They would sit back and work together, up to a year, to develop a strategy and a plan on how to move the music industry along to the extent that we eventually could be the music capital of Canada, right here in Nova Scotia.

[Page 7207]

One of the suggestions we had made, on the Liberal side, was a tax credit. The minister and the Premier understand that we cannot bring in a financial measure, we cannot suggest a tax credit. So what we have said is that this council would get together and they would look at what would be appropriate. I have talked to representatives from the industry and some are saying that tax credits might be a good idea, some have said if we change some of the accounting procedures in Nova Scotia and allow for more liberal accounting procedures as they have in the United States, that would help stimulate the industry. There are all sorts of ideas out there. The one thing I have heard from the industry is, thank goodness somebody is wanting to make the music sector a priority. Thank goodness somebody is trying to bring forward the concerns of the music industry or to make sure that the industry is in the forefront of the thought process of this government and of course, in the opportunity that does exist to the people of Nova Scotia because of the expanded economic base.

[5:00 p.m.]

It is not just for the musicians, but it is for the developers, the promoters and the list goes on. The trickle-down effect or the spin-off effect of the music industry is felt across the province, whether it is in Halifax or whether it is in Mabou or Yarmouth or in beautiful Lunenburg County. The reality is that we all see the benefit of the music industry and we need to do more to promote this initiative. This bill talks very specifically about establishing this council that will have a very specific mandate that would work very closely with government in a tri-party approach of finding a solution to expanding the music industry.

This is an opportunity for the Minister of Tourism and Culture to grab hold of. This is an initiative that he can grab hold of and show some tremendous leadership, an opportunity for the minister to come forward and to go boldly where normal Tories are scared to tread and are scared to move forward and that is into growing the economy and creating wealth and the Minister of Finance agrees with me, I see very clearly.

We have a wealth of talent in many sectors of the economy of this province and in many sectors of the economy of the music industry. The promoters of this province, the production, the artists themselves are extremely gifted and they would stack up anywhere. In fact, I met with one of the reporters when we announced this bill and the reporter had just come back from New York, she was down in Greenwich Village. She was saying, when I see the talent that was in New York (Interruption) She came back and she listened to the talent we had in Halifax, she said, we have nothing to be ashamed about. The quality of talent in Halifax or in Nova Scotia is second to none. We need to do more to promote the music industry in this province. That is another initiative that this bill will be able to do.

This doesn't handcuff the government. It allows the government to flow and grow and to find initiatives that would be brought forward by the private sector, working with this government. It would bring together the silos of bureaucracy to sit down around the table,

[Page 7208]

to find solutions, whether it is financing, development and tourism and culture with the industry.

Somebody said this shouldn't be a new initiative - the government has the chance to do that now. They had lots of chances to do things to help stimulate the economy for quite some time and they haven't done it. That is why we have brought this forward and I ask the government to give due consideration to this bill. We ask for your support because not only do we think it is a good idea, I believe generally across the board, Nova Scotians would like to see a music industry stronger than it currently is and have an opportunity for it to flourish and grow and become a major part and a stronger part of this dynamic Province of Nova Scotia. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Tourism and Culture.

HON. RODNEY MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to stand to say a few words on the bill put forward by the member for Lunenburg West to create a music industry council of Nova Scotia.

Let me first begin by saying our government definitely recognizes the important cultural and economic benefits of Nova Scotia's music industry which it provides to us each and every day. Our department's mission is to champion the development, the preservation and the promotion of not only tourism, but culture and heritage with music being a very significant part of that. Our aim is to stimulate economic development, generate export revenues and enhance the quality of life and benefit for all Nova Scotians.

Mr. Speaker, in carrying out this mission we do work with organizations such as MIANS, which is the Music Industry Association of Nova Scotia, and I applaud the efforts of MIANS in developing our music resources. I have many friends who are part of MIANS as I have been very involved in the music scene here in Nova Scotia. As one example of a partnership that my department has with MIANS, and we are very pleased, is to help deliver FACTOR, which is the Foundation to Assist Canadian Talent on Records, funding programs in Nova Scotia for sound recordings.

Our staff in Tourism and Culture have and continue to work very closely with MIANS on other initiatives to help further this industry. I, too, will again be meeting with MIANS in the near future to listen to some of their views on what else is required to help grow the music industry here in Nova Scotia. I also understand that MIANS is in the process of developing a strategic plan for this exciting sector. Mr. Speaker, I can assure you that we will continue to work with them and other partners, such as the Atlantic Federation of Musicians, to help understand and to discuss the challenges and the barriers and the potential which is there for the music industry here in the Province of Nova Scotia.

[Page 7209]

Mr. Speaker, of course, we are also working with other industries such as Symphony Nova Scotia, the Nova Scotia Choral Federation, I think of the Gaelic College in the member for Victoria's riding which is an excellent institution where young children have an opportunity to not only learn Gaelic, but violin, step-dancing, or piping, and that is like many organizations, whatever culture it might be in the province.

Mr. Speaker, by supporting the work of organizations like MIANS, our department is helping to ensure our music industry's growth, development and success. We believe that these types of organizations working on behalf of their members are very key to the long-term development of Nova Scotia's music industry. We also realize that there are other components which are very vital to helping grow our cultural resources such as music. Consider the importance of our music teachers, both in schools and in private business, who inspire and influence our youth in helping to develop their skills.

It is something that I am very familiar with. I have had the opportunity to teach elementary music in the member for Richmond's riding at a First Nations school and it was a tremendous opportunity for me and I have had the opportunity of teaching privately as well, but doing it in school is something else and it reminds me of a story about a teacher friend of mine, Jackie Dunn, who comes from the member for Antigonish's riding. The professionalism which she brings to the classroom in working in the schools in my area is beyond her call of duty. I cannot say enough about her and it is people like that who really make a difference in our education system and in our music industry.

Mr. Speaker, as a performer myself, I understand the tremendous competition that exists in the field. Not only must our musicians have excellent musical skills, but they also need to travel to national and international events, competitions and audiences if they are to compete on the world stage. I think that people, not only in the last 10 years, but over the last 50 years have taken notice of the Province of Nova Scotia and our strong musical associations.

Mr. Speaker, speaking of audiences, there are many ways which people can hear about and enjoy our music. Consider one example, the East Coast Music Awards, which we hosted in Sydney which I guess the Centre 200 would be in the member for Cape Breton South's riding. I can tell you it was a wonderful event this year. Through these initiatives such as this we draw attention to our local artists. They have helped many East Coast musicians excel and to go beyond, another level from what they are now. It has provided tremendous opportunities, not only here in Nova Scotia, but to all Atlantic Canada. Another event I can think of that happened not long ago is the Nova Scotia Kitchen Party, featured on CBC Radio and broadcast around the world via radio stations and on the world web.

[Page 7210]

Mr. Speaker, in addition to these special events, music has been integrated into regional, international, and national tourism marketing for this province. This year, for example, this province's tourism marketing campaign included an offer of a free CD of Nova Scotia music.

AN HON. MEMBER: A Rodney MacDonald CD?

MR. RODNEY MACDONALD: No, not a Rodney MacDonald CD. The results I can tell you have been outstanding again. Thousands of telephone enquiries were received for the Nova Scotia Travel Guide and the compilation CD. Those telephone calls have translated into many visits. I should commend the staff in my department. We don't very often compliment staff, but we should more. They have put in a tremendous amount of hours in doing that for the Province of Nova Scotia.

Another example that comes to mind is Celtic Colours which we are investing in this fall, and also we have an investment for the following fall. That is a tremendous event for all the members from Cape Breton, and it is good for the entire province.

Mr. Speaker, I would now like to make some specific comments about the bill at hand. First let me state upfront that this bill has not been put forward to government by the industry, but I do commend the member for Lunenburg West for putting it forward, because it does show initiative that he is trying to present something to government that is positive. I have to say that. We do believe that a legislative framework is not required at this time to engage in dialogue with the music industry on what steps are required in order to help build and grow the industry. In reviewing this bill, we do see some good components. However, at this time, we will not be advancing this initiative. The stated purpose of the council is for the 12 months. The council I am referring to is that referred to in the bill by the honourable member. However, within the draft legislation put forward by the honourable member, are references specifically made to possible tax incentives, fostering good relations and developing assistance programs to grow the sector. While the dialogue on these issues is certainly required, I do not believe that legislation is required at the present time.

Mr. Speaker, these issues will be discussed directly with the music sector to determine priorities for economic growth, and defining both government and industry's role based on a well-thought-out strategy. Although tax incentives may be something that could benefit the sector, we would need to ensure that this is the most strategic approach. Instead, we want to sit down with MIANS and the members of the industry to have some discussions on what is really needed to grow the industry. This discussion should also first take place within the context of the cultural sector group mandated to examine the implementation of the culture sector strategy.

[Page 7211]

That strategy which is called the Culture in the New Millennium, Planning our Future, which we released last September 1999 in this very House, is a province-wide strategy that focuses on the economic aspects of cultural development here in the province. It aims to increase the rapid growth in this dynamic sector which includes cultural industries.

MR. SPEAKER: The minister has approximately one minute.

MR. RODNEY MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, in closing again, I want to emphasize that this government does support the music industry in a variety of ways, and we will continue working with the sector. That is what is important. Again, I want to congratulate the member for taking some positive ideas to the floor of the House, although we will not be moving forward with it. Again, I will yield the floor to the member for Cape Breton Centre to offer his comments on the bill.

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

MR. FRANK CORBETT: Mr. Speaker, I, too, would like to say a few words on this bill because Bill No. 57, as in a lot of bills that aren't perfect when they come before this House, there are some problems with the bill. By and large, our Party supports this bill because it goes to the heart of creating a music industry council. In some ways one would say it is just another level of bureaucracy but I think with a good bill and some real foresight and forethought into this bill, it could be supported by all Parties.

[5:15 p.m.]

Both of the previous speakers talked about the value of the industry. The Music Industry Association of Nova Scotia values that industry at $95 million to $100 million, but, more than that, this industry has probably grown like no other in this province in the past 15 to 20 years. We have taken what a lot of people would consider musicians who did this duty as a part-time job and have come around to make it a full-time industry.

With that, Mr. Speaker, not only does that become a full-time job for them, but clearly 75 per cent of that industry is made up of non-recording artists and non-composers. A lot of that industry is made up of promotional people, management, booking, rental, technical, lighting and staging and so on. So that is clearly a whole new industry created by those people being in that sector full time.

A very large component of the music industry is getting your product out there. It is fine to say that we have x number of people recording work and so on, but the problem also is getting our product out on what is referred to as the air waves. Now we have come to almost accept the fact that if you are a first-time musician and you have a product, about the only real station in this province you can go to to get a considerable amount of air play is the CBC.

[Page 7212]

Most radio stations in this province are owned by large corporations now. Maritime Broadcasting, I would say, owns the majority of radio stations in this province. The majority of their air time is not live presentation. So far, as many of those people will tell you, we don't do this, we play the hits. They want to play people who are already established. They don't try to have an ongoing niche, if you will, for traditional roots home-grown music, whether that music is by the way of our Celtic tradition, whether it is blues, whether it is jazz, whether it is Acadian, many radio stations do not allow these people the proper amount of air time. (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

The honourable Minister of Labour.

HON. ANGUS MACISAAC: Would the member permit a question?

MR. CORBETT: Certainly.

MR. MACISAAC: I wonder, Mr. Speaker, upon reflection, if the honourable member wouldn't agree that the radio station at Antigonish, CJFX, does not provide considerable opportunity for local musicians to display their talent and, indeed, Ray MacDonald, who recently retired from that station, did a great deal to develop and foster local talent?

MR. CORBETT: Mr. Speaker, I agree with the member, but if he heard my remarks, I am saying the majority of radio stations, with the majority of audience available to them, is run by and large by Maritime broadcasters. There are pockets, there are small radio stations - if you look at what the community station in Cheticamp is doing. Again, I agree with him on CJFX in Antigonish and some other smaller ones.

The problem is we are looking at overall exposure here, we are looking at a maximum reach and that is what is not happening. We are not breaking those types of people and that is why part of my discussion was on the fact that - with all due respect to the Minister of Tourism - our musicians just are not fiddle players. I stood in this House last year and congratulated Kirk MacDonald from New Waterford who won the mainstream jazz Juno. That very CD was cut at a studio, Atlantimix, on the street this building is on. Where can you go in this province to hear jazz music broadcast? We need these things.

It is very important that we recognize these things. If we could ensure things that this council would do, we would develop young and aspiring artists in that field, whether it is to expose them at the very young level at high school dances - I am sure that at the majority of high schools in this province they play recorded music; very few live bands. I remember in my youth there was a band from the Pictou County area that the member for Pictou East would know very well. The member for Pictou East played at my high school dances, Mr. Speaker, and I am sure that there was many a girl swooned at that time for that member.

[Page 7213]

(Interruptions) Most high schools do not participate in live music, they use recorded music. It would be an introduction for many musicians. That would be one way the council could encourage it.

Mr. Speaker, it is very important that we understand how the music industry is developing in this province. Again, with all due respect to what they refer to as roots-traditional music, we support that and encourage it; but we also have responsibility to encourage other forms of the music endeavours. Whether those are of the jazz genre, or whether it is rock or whether it is the operatic setting - like the world-famous Portia White was involved with, that is what we need. I guess one could try the Liberal Party and say, why didn't you do this while you were in power? I guess that is for them to answer. One could say that there was a veiled resemblance of this in their failed budget of 1999.

I think that by and large we support this bill. Like its mover it has many imperfections, but we do support it and I think it is worth going on. I think the government should see that fact and go on and I think, in essence, do what the mover had said and look at it in a non-partisan light to help an industry because it certainly is one that does not pollute and one that really helps this province. Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to rise in support of Bill No. 57 and the efforts of my colleague, the member for Lunenburg West, in bringing this bill to the House. I think it showed tremendous initiative on his part and points out his dedication to the music industry and where he perceives that industry to be going in Nova Scotia.

It has been stated here many times in this House and stated here today by previous speakers that the music industry represents $100 million a year to the Nova Scotia economy and employs 2,500 people. That is a very significant industry to the economy of Nova Scotia, certainly one that deserves our attention and the kind of consideration that we hope the House will give to this particular bill.

Mr. Speaker, it is entirely up to the Music Council to decide what types of measures can and should be taken to grow the music industry in Nova Scotia. One measure I am certainly familiar with in my previous life, as Minister of Economic Development and Tourism, is that something needed to be done with the film tax credits in this province to make the music industry competitive. We suggested some time ago that the tax credit would go to the film industry and also the music industry, up to 40 per cent, to bring us in line with some of the other jurisdictions in this country and put us on a level playing field.

Mr. Speaker, that has not happened. Every time we brought the issue of tax credits to the Minister of Finance and also to the current Minister of Economic Development it met with a very cool response. They have maintained and still maintain that they need to study the

[Page 7214]

whole issue of tax credits. Well, I think the proof is already out there, that you have to compete in this business, it is a very competitive field, the music industry and the film industry in this province. I mentioned the film industry because in a lot of respects they go hand in hand because the facilities used for the film industry, the new facilities going up, are probably very compatible with facilities you would use in the promotion of the film and music industry together or individually.

Mr. Speaker, the current Minister of Economic Development may not be convinced of the need for more tax credits. I see the Minister of Finance here and I would remind him that he has not paid enough attention to the whole issue of tax credits for the film industry and also the music industry and there needs to be some additional work done in that area.

As the member for Cape Breton Centre pointed out, not only artists are involved in the music industry but the people who work day to day in the industry who are not on the front lines with the ones who do a lot of work in the industry in this province also deserve our attention. The industry has grown tremendously over the past few years, a lot of times it was the film industry, in particular, and I would hope that the music industry eventually goes that route as well. The reason they have expanded is because of the film tax credit, but now we are falling behind other provinces. We have to set legislation in motion, we have to set goals here, in terms of the kind of tax credit we need in this province in order for the music industry to grow even more than it already has.

Now I believe that the Minister of Tourism and Culture feels, like most people in the music industry, that there is merit in this bill going forward. There is also merit in the fact that the people who know best in this province what they need in the music industry have given their approval to this legislation going forward. As a musician himself, he must realize the enormous potential for growth in the music industry in this province, and I am sure he does.

I believe that making strategic investments through tax credit breaks is a clean and painless method to promote economic growth. In a place like Cape Breton, Mr. Speaker, there is no reason, with the economy the way it is in Cape Breton right now, with a little hard work and a little promotion and a bill like Bill No. 57, it can't all contribute to having 10,000 people working in the movie and music industry in Cape Breton in the future.

I mention the film industry again because there is a place in Cape Breton now called Filmscape, which was constructed with some federal-provincial help, to assist in the promotion of the film industry, but it was also devised in such a way that it could help grow the music industry on the Island of Cape Breton by acting as a home base for musical promotion and for the multi-talented people we have in Cape Breton to ply their trade. Filmscape is an excellent example of the kind of facility that would achieve that.

[Page 7215]

[5:30 p.m.]

I think what the industry lacks, Mr. Speaker, is a clear support and a recognition by government that music is more than a culture. It can be a strong business. It can be an even larger industry for the province than it already is. This bill will go a long way to change that situation and the perception out there that music is something just to be listened to, and something that we pay attention to from time to time, and we enjoy. It is a huge industry in this province, and it should be promoted as a huge industry. To do anything less, I think, would be counter-productive in terms of where we are going with the whole question of the music industry of Nova Scotia in the future.

I believe most Nova Scotians, including members opposite, would feel that this bill is a good bill and should go forward. I believe the member for Lunenburg West canvassed stakeholders in this province, the people in the music industry. They were here at the bill briefing. They were very supportive. I believe that this bill should go forward. It is a good bill. It is a bill that somebody will have very much difficulty in speaking against or giving us a reason why this bill should not go forward. I would like anybody who did not want this bill to go forward to explain that to the music industry in this province.

Mr. Speaker, as a result of what has happened here, the bill has been brought forward by my colleague for Lunenburg West who is very serious about this, the music industry is very serious about it, and I am very serious about it. That is why I elected to speak on this bill today.

Mr. Speaker, I would like to move second reading of this bill.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Sackville-Beaver Bank.

MR. BARRY BARNET: Mr. Speaker, I would like to take a few minutes to speak on Bill No. 57, an Act to Create the Music Industry Council of Nova Scotia. As the members opposite have clearly indicated, music in Nova Scotia is an important part of the traditional fabric of this province. In fact, I would point out that recorded music from Nova Scotia is across the airwaves in Nova Scotia. It is across the airwaves of Canada, and it is across the airwaves of the world. It is making big ground across Canada, North America.

In addition to that, the live music that the people from Nova Scotia will have an opportunity to witness, that people from away who come to visit Nova Scotia will have an opportunity to witness, we will be seeing here in Halifax at events like Tall Ships that is coming up July 20th to 24th. Mr. Speaker, there are a number of opportunities for people who visit Halifax and people who live here in Nova Scotia who visit this Tall Ships event to witness Nova Scotia music live. They will be able to see it on July 20th and the 21st and every day throughout through the entire Tall Ships event.

[Page 7216]

MR. SPEAKER: The member has one minute.

MR. BARNET: In addition to that, Mr. Speaker, there are number of other events across the Province of Nova Scotia, where Nova Scotians and visitors will have an opportunity to witness first-hand live Nova Scotia talent, the Stan Rogers Festival, the Irish Festival that is happening tomorrow and the next day and the next day. The Tattoo here in Halifax will be an excellent opportunity for people to witness live Nova Scotian and Maritime music.

I would be remiss to not mention one very important festival to me, and that is the Stoney Mountain Music Festival that happens in the County of Richmond. My former colleague Frank Sutherland and his family put on a beautiful festival in that area. They have hundreds of people that come and visit. There are local artists, there are artists from away. They witness and enjoy some very good Nova Scotia music.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. Time allocated for Bill No. 57 has now expired.

The honourable Liberal House Leader.

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, it is nice to know the government has killed the music bill. They will have to explain that to the music industry, not us anyway.

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

MOTIONS OTHER THAN GOVERNMENT MOTIONS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Liberal House Leader.

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Resolution No. 2534.

Res. No. 2534, Health - Digby Gen. Hosp.: Fate - Reveal - notice given June 1/2000 - (Dr. J. Smith)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Clare.

MR. WAYNE GAUDET: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise and speak on Resolution No. 2534. "Therefore be it resolved that the Health Minister reveal the fate of Digby General, and other small hospitals, so people can begin to make travel plans in order to receive adequate health care."

[Page 7217]

This Tory Government, as they announced back on April 11th when the budget was tabled in this House, is planning to cut $83 million out of the Health budget. This is the same government that said they could fix health care for $46 million. It is obvious this government has no plans. This Minister of Health has no plans. They have already invested well over $200 million in health care, and still they have no plan before this House.

Mr. Speaker, now Nova Scotians are starting to question this Minister of Health and starting to question this Tory Government. Especially after all the rumours and stories that have been reported lately, Nova Scotians are becoming very concerned and very nervous about this Tory Government. They don't know what to expect in the next few days. This is the same Party, this Tory Party, which, while on the campaign trail last summer, promised Nova Scotians they would be open and accountable. Furthermore, when you look at all the 243 promises the Tories made to Nova Scotians last summer during the election campaign, you have to start asking yourself or wondering what happened.

I just want to go to the famous Tory blue book, Page 6. The Tories said, "Building a responsive, outcome-based and efficient health care system is the Progressive Conservative Party's most urgent priority . . . And we will do it by including care givers, volunteers and communities - - every step of the way. In everything we do we will put the health care needs of Nova Scotians first." Well, speaking about including caregivers and volunteers and communities, let's ask the people of Digby County if they have been included in the discussion with this Tory Government about downgrading the Digby General Hospital to a community health centre.

Mr. Speaker, downgrading means bed closure, it means loss of jobs, it means reduction of services. The closure of hospital beds and the cutting of most staff is certainly not good news for the people of Digby County. Many people served by this hospital will be forced to drive about 100 kilometres either way, either to the Yarmouth General Hospital or to the Kentville Regional Hospital, for some services. Furthermore, residents of Digby Neck, Brier Island and Long Island are worried about access to adequate health services.

Mr. Speaker, the people of Digby County will certainly not tolerate being told by this terrible Tory Government that they will be losing their hospital. I know the MLA for Digby-Annapolis, the Minister of Economic Development, knows that the level of health services in an area is a key factor for businesses looking to move there. So, without adequate health services the economy of Digby County, the Town of Digby certainly will suffer.

MR. SPEAKER: One minute remaining, honourable member.

MR. GAUDET: So, lots of details are known at this time about where this Tory Government will be making these cuts in health. This Tory Government unfortunately is waiting for this House to adjourn before any formal announcements are made. As we heard yesterday from my honourable colleague, the member for Dartmouth East, the Department

[Page 7218]

of Health had planned to make these cuts public this past Monday, but because the House was still in session these announcements have been put on hold. I will take my seat and allow other honourable members to enter this debate.

MR. SPEAKER: Thank you, honourable member, it won't be necessary to table your version of the blue book whereas you have read extensively from it, but there does seem to be an abundance of copies around.

The honourable Minister of Economic Development.

HON. GORDON BALSER: Mr. Speaker, it gives me pleasure to stand today and speak to this particular resolution. What I find most curious is that the members opposite will stand and sanctimoniously talk about restructuring and change and yet, when there were two rallies and my invitation to the members opposite to attend, there were none present.

At the first rally, we reassured them that there would be no hospital closure and, interestingly enough, it wasn't long after that the members opposite rose in this House to again create fear and concern in the community; that fear is unfounded. I spoke at length with the nurses, with community members, and reassured them that the Premier had a very close knowledge of the issues facing the community of Digby, that geography does significantly impact the level of service.

They were reassured that no final decision had been taken around restructuring. I told them that, as everyone knows, there is a clinical footprint review process in place that will review the provision of service right straight across this province and they accepted that. We need to be able to create a health care system that is affordable and effective, and it will require some restructuring, but again nothing has been finalized. I will say it here for the record, the Digby General Hospital will not close. It will remain open and it will continue to provide the level of care that the people of Digby, the people right straight across this province have come to expect and rely on.

I would also say that we arranged for a meeting because there was an invitation extended to the minister to attend the rally last Saturday. He was unable to do that because he was, as he said in answer to a question today, attending similar meetings right straight across the province. He was away in Cape Breton, I believe, on that particular day and was not able to be there, but what he did do was commit to meet with representatives of the community right here in the Legislature, which they did. The mayor came up from Digby, as did the representative of the municipal council, people who were involved in the health care, as did the chair of a nursing home centre, as did community representatives. They came here and they had a good meeting with the minister.

[Page 7219]

At that time they had the opportunity to hear what plans were in place for the Digby General Hospital. The Digby General Hospital will continue to have the 24-hour emergency room service as is expected and as is needed. As the member opposite talked about the issue of economic development being very closely linked to provision of those kinds of services and they will be there. The companies involved are aware of that, so they will have that service. They will also continue to have diagnostic imaging and laboratory services provided as they have in the past.

They will have the appropriate number and right type of beds to provide a level of care and service that the people in the community need to have. In fact, at the end of the rally, they were somewhat satisfied with the outcome. They recognize that this is a work in progress and that we cannot give definitive answers at this point, and they accepted that because I made the commitment to go and attend the meeting and hear their concerns, and the minister made the commitment to meet with community representatives and hear their concerns and that was done. In fact, representatives from the Department of Health have been in almost daily contact with the people in my community to reassure them that the services that they need and expect will be available.

Let's not just limit it to Digby, and as I said, what the members opposite want to do is create a level of concern and fear that is unfounded simply because it is politically opportunistic. Not that they would ever stoop to that level. Digby is a strong community and what they did was react to a level of concern that was unnecessarily created. They came together with one voice and said they want to be reassured that the Department of Health is listening and that I, as the member for the area, am carrying their concerns back to Halifax, and I was doing that and I did do that. In fact, the Premier reacted positively, as did the Minister of Health.

[5:45 p.m.]

There was no decision taken and what happens when members opposite fuel speculation with rumour and innuendo, you create uncertainty. There is no need of that in this time and place. We want to move to a new structure of district health authorities. That will give an opportunity for communities to really get involved in health care planning. One of the criticisms they have said consistently is that the move to regionalization brought forward by the former Liberal Government created a situation where communities felt they no longer had the opportunity to voice their concerns and be involved in the structure.

One of the people who spoke most eloquently was the widow of the former chairman of the Digby General Hospital Board, a board that ran in the black, a board that viewed it was being punished because it was forced into a regional amalgamation in spite of the fact that they had run an efficient operation. So they viewed regionalization with some level of suspicion and, in fact, much of the concern generated around the current issue probably was fostered by the way in which the previous government handled the move to regionalization.

[Page 7220]

The other thing is that they recognize the government is committed to providing quality service regardless of the community, whether it is Digby, Yarmouth, Shelburne or any other area in the province. They also recognize that there is a need to be fiscally responsible and they are willing to accept that. They recognize there needs to be change, but the change has to be brought about in a way that engages the community in the decision-making process and that is what we have committed to do and that is what the rally satisfied the people was happening. They recognized that there was a commitment on the part of the minister to come to Digby. He cannot be everywhere at once and he has made a very aggressive commitment to visit communities that are being affected through the restructuring or through the ongoing consultation to determine exactly what health care should look like in this province.

What we need to do in this province is maximize our resources to achieve a sustainable health care system and that is what people expect. That is what they want and that is what they feel is the right direction to be moving in. Nova Scotians expect also to be able to get services that cannot be provided in small rural communities . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. The honourable member's time has expired.

The honourable member for Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage.

MR. DARRELL DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, I know why it is that the member is so touchy because he knows darn well that health services across this province, and mostly in rural communities, are going to be eroded as a result of the budget that he was forced to vote for in order to support his Cabinet colleagues.

Mr. Speaker, I want to table a little motto here that I found and I think is likely the words that the Minister of Health lives by these days. I have two copies so that they can take one directly over to the Minister of Health. It is from Detronius Arbiter, around 210 BC, and he said, "I was to learn later in life that we tend to meet any new situation by reorganizing; and a wonderful method it can be for creating the illusion of progress while producing confusion, inefficiency and demoralization."

Well, Mr. Speaker, that is exactly the game that we have watched the Minister of Health and his Cabinet colleagues engage in over the last number of months. It certainly is not to his credit. We have watched as we have had this minister try to explain away his penchant for the systematic erosion of health care services in this province. You say to him, but where is the money to sustain the health care services that the people of this province want and need? What do you get? He offers up every time the same old stale whine, where are we going to get the money? When Scotiabank comes knocking, they have money. They have money for Scotiabank who made record profits on the backs of the people of Nova Scotia.

[Page 7221]

They have money when the Premier's campaign manager comes looking for money for his industry. Oh, yes, they have money. They have it coming out their ears. They have money. They can afford to let the natural resources of the province go without decent royalties because they don't need the money. But you ask for money for health care, you ask for money to sustain the metal health services of this province, you ask for money to maintain nutritional support programs and, no, that will have to wait for another day.

So I know why the member for Digby is so touchy about this, because he knows that in the end the willingness of this government to throw money at everything but health care is going to flow right down to his constituency. I watched him on TV with the bullhorn out there talking to people and saying to them, I want to reassure you that no decision has been made. What kind of a reassurance is that, Mr. Speaker? It is like jumping out of an airplane - you are plummeting toward the Earth and the Minister of Economic Development says, don't worry, you haven't hit the ground yet. What are you complaining about? That is the same kind of reassurance.

Maybe the Minister of Economic Development, the member for Digby-Annapolis, would care to put his money where his mouth is. If that hospital is reorganized or downgraded, perhaps he will undertake to resign his seat. That would be a guarantee, maybe he would do that. Maybe he would offer the people of his constituency something tangible, something they can hold on to, or maybe he will do exactly what the member for Inverness did, which is offer to resign and then find about 45,000 different ways to skate backwards out of the commitment once he realizes there really is trouble in his constituency. Maybe he will do that instead, Mr. Speaker.

That is the record of the members of this government, they can't keep a commitment. They made 243 promises and they are breaking every one of them. They are taking out a big score pad and they are checking them off every time they break one. (Interruptions) Right, this is a group of individuals who guaranteed people in this province over the course of their election campaign that they were committed to more community input. They are reviewing the business plans, they are seriously eroding the health services to every community in this province and they have not consulted with a single community health board. They have not taken the time to take the business plans for those communities to the community health boards and say, look, here are the cuts we are thinking about - are these going to be appropriate for your community? Have they done that? No, Mr. Speaker, of course they haven't, because they don't really believe in community consultation and they are not going to do it.

You will get a little misdirection, you will get a little smoke and mirrors, a little hocus-pocus, but are you going to get any consultation? Not a chance, because they are not committed to it. They don't care what the people in rural Nova Scotia think of what they are doing. They take them for granted. They say, we won rural Nova Scotia, we can do what we

[Page 7222]

want, we can act with impunity. They are our people, they will just suck it up, they will take it from us.

MR. BROOKE TAYLOR: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker, I was just wondering if the Acting Sergeant-at-Arms would have a word with that honourable member, he is a little out of control, here.

MR. SPEAKER: That is not a point of order.

The honourable member for Dartmouth-Cole Harbour, your time has expired.

The honourable member for Dartmouth East.

DR. JAMES SMITH: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to take the time here to address Resolution No. 2534, to hear the member for Digby-Annapolis there who still does not get the connection between economic development and health care and education, painting such a great picture of how sweet things are in his area. I just want to table the Vanguard, the newspaper from Digby - " 'Digby Mayor Frank MacIntosh said he left a meeting with the health minister last week . . . I wasn't very optimistic when I left that meeting. It's going to be a large, large change,' he predicted." I would like to table that for the House.

Anyway, Mr. Speaker, we see this government over here today scrambling, scrambling like you have never seen before. Spin doctors all over the place, you know, huddles all over the place - what is coming now? They have seen the list and they know what went to Cabinet. The deputy said, now 95 percent of the business plans have been approved and now the caucus has been briefed. Now they are bartering and they are saying well, these changes - yes they are going to take place but it won't be this year. It is going to be very interesting to see and the member for Digby - Annapolis said the same thing as the Minister of Health, they got vaccinated with the same phonograph needle - there will be no facilities closed this year. That is right, because the member for Digby . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. Will the honourable member allow for an introduction?

DR. SMITH: Certainly, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Finance.

HON. NEIL LEBLANC: Mr. Speaker, I will make it quick and I appreciate the member for Dartmouth East ceding the floor.

[Page 7223]

I do want to bring to the members' attention in the east gallery, Clair Callaghan who is the past President of TUNS, and also has tried the political arena on a number occasions unsuccessfully, but I would like to bring him to the attention of the members and to ask him to stand and to receive the warm approbation of the House. (Applause)

DR. SMITH: I was just going to say there must be some interest in agencies, boards and commissions, perhaps they are coming back - the swallows of Capistrano. With all the scrambling that is going on today, what will it look like when what has already gone to Cabinet is finally released, and what about next year, and the year after? We were talking about the Digby hospital. The member there didn't know the difference, he thought a community health centre would be good for the people. What does that mean? What do they do, go in and ring a little bell? If someone cuts their arm down in Brier Island and finally gets there, what is he going to do, ring a bell for the emergency care?

Anyway, he did say that it was good news and that the hospital would stay open. I have never heard such weasel words, and putting a spin on bad news like I have the last little bit. (Interruptions) What about the Alzheimer's unit in Digby? Does he care about that? What about the ferry coming across? What about the J. D. Irving sawmill? We know that is a very sensitive industry. These industries aren't going to go into communities and stay there when there is no adequate health facility.

Any emergency, by definition, is a threat to life or a life and death situation. The one thing that the MLA for Digby-Annapolis could say to his constituents is that emergency departments will remain open 24 hours a day and that you will have the proper back-up. You start cutting back and downsizing, you won't have the physicians there to serve the community. With the way the program for primary care is going, you won't have the nurse practitioners either.

Mr. Speaker, people in the western region and other regions are not going to stand for this kind of cutback, the way the backbenchers aren't standing for it. Mental health in the western region, under the current plan, is to be cut 14 per cent; addiction services, 16 per cent, and maybe moving the whole thing to Kentville to boot. Long-term care funding is really passed by in that particular area. The downgrading of the Digby General Hospital is going to put undue pressure on Yarmouth and Kentville and Middleton as well. They can't handle the extra strain. The Valley Regional itself, we know in the last while, has had to close its doors. What will happen when further downgrading . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. There is too much noise in the Chamber. The honourable member for Dartmouth East has the floor.

DR. SMITH: Nine beds, we know, have already closed in Yarmouth. In Roseway, they have closed beds, and they are not only closing them, they are taking them away. It adds new meaning. I figured it out, the member for Halifax Citadel, during the election, circulated a

[Page 7224]

postcard to her constituents, Close Sysco, Open Beds. Now you are going to see, right across that hospital bed, For Sale, because they are moving them out of the hospitals, and there is going to be a big sale on hospital beds right across this province. Worse than that, it is not only the hospital beds - I understand there is more to health care services than hospital beds - it is the programs that are going to suffer in these particular regions.

We know about the gag order in that western region. It is too bad a fine person like Brenda Montgomery, who the minister brought in a resolution honouring, had to sign her name on behalf of the government for a gag order for those people, that they find themselves . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. The honourable member's time has expired. The time has expired on Resolution No. 2534.

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, I move that the House do now rise, to meet again on the morrow at the hour of 10:00 a.m. The House will sit until 12:00 a.m. or until the business of the House is completed. The business that we will be conducting tomorrow will be Committee of the Whole House on Bills and a large number of bills in third reading.

Mr. Speaker, I move that the House do now rise.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is that the House do now adjourn until 10:00 a.m. tomorrow.

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

The motion is carried.

We are adjourned. The House will now rise until 10:00 a.m. tomorrow. (Interruptions)

I was just checking to see if you were paying attention.

The subject for this evening's late debate was submitted by the honourable member for Sackville-Beaver Bank:

"Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House understand, support, and believe that the $900 million spent each year on servicing the debt would be better spent on essential programs like education, health care and social services."

[Page 7225]

ADJOURNMENT

MOTION UNDER RULE 5(5)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Sackville-Beaver Bank.

FIN. - DEBT: EXPENDITURE - USAGE OTHER UNAVAILABLE

MR. BARRY BARNET: Mr. Speaker, I was a little bit concerned there for a minute. I saw you standing, leaving your space. I know that I spent a great deal of time last week preparing for this speech. Unfortunately, an event . . .

AN HON. MEMBER: . . . text?

[6:00 p.m.]

MR. BARNET: No, I have no prepared text. An event occurred last Wednesday that somehow took precedence. We lost our opportunity to speak and now here I am, one week later. I have lost most of my notes but I am sure I have enough so that I can fill in a full 10 minutes and talk about this particular issue.

Mr. Speaker, the resolution is, "Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House understand, support and believe that the $900 million spent each year on servicing our debt would be better spent on essential programs like education, health care and social services."

I think it would be very difficult for any member not to support this resolution. It talks about pretty basic things, the fact that we would sooner spend our money on health care; we would sooner spend our money on education; we would sooner spend our money on essential social services, rather than paying the interest on a debt.

Unfortunately, Mr. Speaker, that is not the case. It is one of those . . .

AN HON. MEMBER: Who ran up the debt?

MR. BARNET: The member opposite asks a very good question, who ran up the debt? Although it is somewhat of a rabbit track, I might take a few minutes of my time to talk about that, about who runs up deficits, over the next 10 minutes. I have some very interesting pieces of information that I will be prepared to table in this House, so they can have a look at the stuff themselves, to see where these facts and figures are coming from.

The first piece of information I would like to talk about comes from The Daily News, dated October 15, 1999. It is a graph that actually shows very well where and who ran up debt and deficit in this province. It goes back to 1992 so it gives you sort of a 10 year span

[Page 7226]

of where the province is, on an annual basis, on its annual operating deficit, Mr. Speaker. It shows very clearly - and I am making no apologies for this - that in 1992-93 the Conservative Government under Buchanan ran up an annual operating deficit of $617 million. That was not acceptable then, it is not acceptable now.

Then we had an election and along came a government that realized the same thing that this government realizes right now, that it is not acceptable to continue to operate with borrowed money. They put in measures to try to wrestle this problem to the ground, Mr. Speaker. In 1993-94 the Savage Liberal Government reduced that amount to $547 million. They went on further, to do what some thought they couldn't do. I actually read the debates of this House, in Hansard, talking about this. It is almost amazing because some of the debates in 1992, 1993 and 1994 are almost exactly the same debates we are hearing today. They were talking about reductions and cutbacks and all this sort of stuff. Somebody said to me one time that all the members do is leave the speeches in the desks and they move back and forth. In fact, I tend to believe that might be a little bit true but I will tell you that history will show that this government is going to actually wrestle this problem to the ground.

I am going to go on, Mr. Speaker, and talk about where we went. In 1994-95 the deficit went to $235 million, according to The Daily News. In 1995-96 the Savage Government was able to bring it down to $201 million. Then in 1996-97 they brought it down to a $115 million deficit - not bad. Guess what, Mr. Speaker? That is where the good news ends. It went the opposite way the next year, back up we go: in 1997-98, $245 million; in 1999, under Russell MacLellan, $384 million; and the trend kept going up and up.

We know where we are today, we know the situation this government is in today. What we know for a fact is that this cannot continue to happen. The services we received in those years are being paid for by people in the future. That is not fair and acceptable to the young people who are growing up who are going to (Interruption) I will table this graph, yes. That is not fair to the young people growing up who are going to make a life and live here in Nova Scotia for the rest of their lives and raise a family and enjoy the quality of life we have all seen because, quite frankly, we have all borrowed from the future and that is not nearly good enough.

Mr. Speaker, in addition to that, I would also like to table some information about our debt servicing charges and our revenue projection. It is interesting to know that in the year 2000, the fiscal year ended March 31, 2000, the Province of Nova Scotia was spending 19 cents out of every dollar servicing our debt. That is our debt ratio. In the Province of Newfoundland, less than that, 17 cents; Quebec 17 cents; Ontario 17 cents; New Brunswick, under 15 cents, I think they are around 12 cents or 13 cents; Saskatchewan the same thing; P.E.I. even lower; Manitoba lower; Alberta even lower; and British Columbia, the lowest of all. We sit at the top of the class, and that is the class where we shouldn't be. Spending 19 cents out of every single dollar servicing our debt is not the place that Nova Scotians ought

[Page 7227]

to be because we are using that money that we could otherwise be spending on valuable service like education and social services and health care.

Mr. Speaker, a number of governments over the years, as I have shown you, have demonstrated their concern and their commitment to try to wrestle this to the ground. I said earlier that the previous Liberal Government tried to do it but were unsuccessful. We all know that the federal government has made big strides to deal with its debt and deficit problem. This year they have announced some very interesting and innovative approaches in how they are going to spend now what they are calling their surplus. As an experienced municipal politician, I can tell you that I know for a fact that Halifax Regional Municipality as a municipal council went through the exact same thing. We went through a program service review. We looked at an initiative called activity-based costing, where we actually costed out every single initiative that the municipality does. We were able, as a municipality, to take steps and to make measures that would wrestle that problem, which may not be as big a problem as this one we have here, right to the ground. In fact, the Halifax Regional Municipality in its four or five years' existence, as a result of the initiatives that the municipal council took, this year is the first year they have ever been able to reduce their budget below their operating expenses. They should be commended for that. That was hard work, that was dedication, and that was the commitment to living within their means.

So the citizens of the Halifax Regional Municipality will see some services restored that they otherwise have lost as a result of some programs being reduced. They will also see an opportunity, as I understand, for some tax reduction over the next little while, and certainly they are looking forward to that because no one wants to pay any more taxes than they absolutely have to. The key and most fundamental point that has to be made is the fact that the Halifax Regional Municipality now lives within its means and operates with the money it receives. No more, no less. There is no debt. There is no deficit. They live within their means.

I must clarify, Mr. Speaker, they do have a debt. They have an accumulated capital budget that certainly is something they have to deal with. They do their financing slightly different than we do. The accumulated financial capital deficit that the municipality has is something that they are going wrestle to the ground. If you noticed here in Halifax, they have made some bold and big steps toward bringing their debt ratio into line. In fact, what the Halifax Regional Municipality has done is set a goal of 10 per cent, their revenues to service their debt are not more than 10 per cent. That is a reasonable approach considering the fact that they have gone out and done some studies, and they have looked at other municipalities to see where they are at. Other municipalities have clearly demonstrated to Halifax that they are in a situation where they dealt with this problem in advance of Halifax dealing with it, the same as the province of Nova Scotia, and they put their financial books in order. We have seen municipalities, the same size or slightly larger or slightly smaller than the Halifax Regional Municipality that have taken initiative, three, four, five years ago, got their house in order, and now they are reaping the benefits of that.

[Page 7228]

Mr. Speaker, this province now has the resolve and the commitment of our government to do that very same thing. We have made some pretty bold and some pretty strong statements on how we intend to do that. Our government has indicated that we are on a clear course, and we are going to follow through on the commitments that we have made. We made commitments to reduce taxes once we resolve the outstanding issues with debt and deficit. I believe, as do the members here believe, that our government will fulfil those commitments. How much time do I have left?

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. The honourable member's time has expired.

MR. BARNET: It's too bad, Mr. Speaker. I had so much more to contribute.

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

MR. PAUL MACEWAN: Mr. Speaker, I want to begin by referring to the graph from The Daily News of October 15, 1999, because it is a very nice looking graph, very good graphics. It is not historically accurate, it claims that John Buchanan was Premier of Nova Scotia in 1992-93 and anybody who knows Nova Scotian history would know that is not so. John Buchanan was called to the Senate in 1990, Roger Bacon followed him as Premier for an interim period and Donald Cameron was elected the Leader of the Conservative Party and thereby became Premier of Nova Scotia in the year 1991. So a graph that claims that John Buchanan was in power in 1992-93 certainly is not an accurate graph and cannot be relied on.

However, having said that, I would say, wrong in part, wrong in whole. In any event, I would say if the graph was continued back this way for another 15 years, then you get the picture. Because the years of rampant and uncontrolled runaway expenditure were not at any time in the 1990's. Donald Cameron's Government was one of extreme fiscal restraint, but it was in the 1980's, in the period probably from 1980-90, more than any other time, 1978, 1979 perhaps the trend began, but it reached its full bloom in the 1980's when the Honourable John Buchanan was Premier and the Honourable Greg Kerr, Minister of Finance.

The graph is not accurate. It doesn't give the full picture - it should be stretched out this way back to 1978 and then you get the big picture and that is just a small piece of a bigger pie.

As for the proposition that the honourable member has introduced, following which it seems he has left, I don't think anybody could disagree with its essential content. All members of the House understand, support, repent, believe and affirm that the $900 million would be better spent on education and health care and social services than on servicing the debt. I don't know if by that he means that we should stop servicing the debt and transfer that money over to education, health care and social services - it might be a good idea, or perhaps in part. But, I think we are kind of locked in there and we have to pay the debt, that money, and so those other programs suffer. If you want to lay blame, history will show that the Liberal years

[Page 7229]

were not the years where the major portion of it was accumulated by any means. It was during the Conservative years from 1978 to 1990. (Interruption)

Well, actually when Gerald Regan's Government was in power, they balanced the budget every year as I recall, but in any event, I am not going to disagree with the content of the member's resolution. I think the question is how you go about eliminating the deficit and paying down the debt without in the process destroying the fabric of our province. I notice that you, Mr. Speaker, had a date with the Grim Reaper recently as I found on the front page of the Parrsboro Shore News. A picture of two people and yourself in the middle and it states here, the Grim Reaper met with MLA Murray Scott on May 27th outside his Parrsboro office to discuss the proposed cuts to health care in Cumberland County. Perhaps I should table that picture of the Grim Reaper and the Speaker side by side to indicate the concern that exists throughout our province right now about what our government is doing to the public service.

Certainly, that is where I think the focus of concern ought to be. There has been much talk about open accounting and the use of Generally Accepted Accounting Principles. The Liberal Party was moving in that direction during its six years in office, but recognized that you couldn't move overnight into such a system from the traditional bookkeeping methods involved in this province because it would inflict unnecessary pain on Nova Scotians which is what we are going through right now.

If we look at the current government, only the Minister of Finance and the Minister of Transportation belong to the Cameron Government, but I would say that the Cameron Government, like the Buchanan Government before, did not use these bookkeeping methods. They used the traditional Nova Scotian methods of accountancy and that is the yardstick by which the governments of those times were judged. To introduce a different bookkeeping system now to make things look worse than they actually are - and we saw in Question Period this afternoon, the inclusion in the budget of a vast item, $220 million to $230 million for a Sysco clean-up project which the explanation came from the Minister of Finance that apparently they don't intend to implement. It is just there and that makes the deficit look worse. Then they come forward and say, but we have to face this terrible financial crisis that we face.

[6:15 p.m.]

Is it real or is it imaginary? I have raised that question before and I claim, sir, that the primary function of government is not to meet the standards of accountancy, but rather to meet the needs of people. That is the primary purpose of government and the other functions of government, such as paying one's debts and honouring one's financial obligations, they, of course, form a part of the picture, an important part of the picture, but not an obsessive part of the picture.

[Page 7230]

That is the difference I think, Mr. Speaker. Now, sir, the Finance Minister, I believe, is using a different accountancy system than was used in the past and if we use the Generally Accepted Accounting Principles to recalculate the figure that was included in the graph which the honourable member tabled which I seem now to have lost, anyway that deficit in 1993 would not have stood at $617 million at all, it would have stood at over $1 billion because of the different bookkeeping system. So the graph is a mixture of fish and fowl. It is a mixture of different accountancy bookkeeping methods and if you used the yardstick by which the government is measuring itself today and applied that to those earlier numbers, they would be skewed considerably and inflated by perhaps a factor of 40 per cent, 45 per cent, something in that range.

Now, the Finance Minister, of course, and his former colleague from the Cameron Government don't admit those things, but they are very much part of the financial picture. They have introduced a new bookkeeping method now, not used in the past, to heighten the concern and they accuse us of fear-mongering and spreading panic and inciting people and all this kind of thing, but they themselves are the architects of that approach I submit by changing the bookkeeping methods, magnifying the amount of indebtedness that is actually there and entering amounts into the books for expenditures that they don't intend to undertake and which certainly are not matters of current expenditure at all.

In 1993 when this Party came to power, Mr. Speaker, both the public servants and the teachers' pension plans were severely underfunded. This is another part of the picture that they don't explain. Nova Scotia Resources was wracking up debt. Most of Nova Scotia Resources Limited's debts were accumulated by the Cameron and Buchanan Administrations, but they conveniently forget that part of the picture, too.

Now we have, Mr. Speaker, a government bent on destroying health, education and the economy in the interest of chasing a phantom debt and trying to beat it to death, a debt that they themselves have conjured up by mirages and visions of indebtedness greater than actually exists by past standards of bookkeeping in this province. That is their vision and it is such a negative vision. They have no plan to grow the economy. They admit you cannot grow the economy by cuts, but they still keep up their agenda of cuts and intend actually to heighten it next year. They say they don't intend to close any hospitals this year. They say they don't intend to do this, this year. By that they mean that they intend to do it next year. That is when the pain will be inflicted.

The cut in social assistance rates will kick in next year, in April of next year to be exact, when social assistance rates for the needy people of this province will be reduced by 10 per cent. That is what is coming in the year ahead and when they apply that standard to hospital reductions, or closures of beds, or other such reductions of health care services, they say nothing is going to happen this year, but what they mean when they say that is that it is going to happen next year. That is their agenda. That is their vision.

[Page 7231]

In a province where the vast majority of cuts are being implemented to ensure a 10 per cent tax cut four years down the road on the backs of the most vulnerable members of society, the sick and our children, I think, Mr. Speaker, that that is a despicable political agenda and I don't support it one whit. I notice all Progressive Conservative members are now gone from the Chamber and I say, oh, happy day, I am glad. One has come back now.

Mr. Speaker, yes, indeed, we could do much more with $900 million than pay the debt, but let's not forget where it came from. Let's not forget that this government is sending Nova Scotia back to the Stone Age.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Chebucto.

MR. HOWARD EPSTEIN: Mr. Speaker, this resolution brought forward by the member for Sackville-Beaver Bank is profoundly offensive. It is offensive to all citizens of Nova Scotia, not because of the manifest content, not because of the statement in it that it would be much more desirable to take the money that we are obliged now to pay on our accumulated debts and redirect it towards social services and needed services that people in Nova Scotia need, on the face of it, of course, one could agree with that, but that is not really what it is that the member spoke about. What he said was, and obviously what he meant was that he wanted to go on record as saying that he endorsed the program of his government which is to regard as the one paramount value dealing with deficits and debts. I don't know what it is that member and his colleagues have in mind when they say that.

Well, you know what? Unfortunately, I do know what they are thinking about. And I have to say to that member that we received in our caucus a complaint from one of his constituents who was in the gallery the other day watching him and his colleague for Yarmouth playing Tiger Woods' golf on the laptop computer that they had at their desk. Now that isn't attention to the people's business that people expect. The quality of the product that the voters in Sackville-Beaver Bank are getting from that member is exemplified by the so-called piece of research he has done and tried to lay before us with this ridiculous graph printed in The Daily News, and that came from his own Minister of Finance.

Let me tell you that as a piece of research that leaves out 20 essential years of background history. It misses the point entirely. When the predecessor Tory Government came to power in 1978 on a night in October - I remember the swearing in. I was here in this building watching as an interested citizen of Nova Scotia on the day they were sworn in - the Province of Nova Scotia had less than $500 million of total debt. I have gone back and I have read the financial statements issued by every Minister of Finance every year since 1978 when that Tory Government under John Buchanan first came in, and let me tell you that by the time they went out of office, that debt of about $500 million had grown to $6.5 billion.

[Page 7232]

The bulk of the debt is Tory debt, and you want some sample figures? First year, $144 million overspending - that was the deficit the first year - $126 million the next year; $210 million the next year; $369 million the next year; $578 million the next year; $351 million the next year; $464 million, and it goes on. Never mind that the bulk of that debt was Tory debt. Now listen. The Liberals did their part. They added to that debt during the time they were the government, but the only difference - although there is a slight difference in the annual rate - is that the Tories were the government for 15 years and the Liberals were the government for about six years.

So $6.5 billion added under the Tory Regimes, $2 billion, $3 billion, $4 billion added under the Liberal Regimes; the average per year under the Tory Regimes was $423 million and, under the Liberal regimes, $355 million. Let me tell you, the Tories have the edge, but it doesn't matter. I regard it as profoundly offensive, as I said, that that member made his motion and spoke to a small piece of history and tried to suggest that somehow he was giving a complete picture.

Well, what I am giving is the complete picture, and let's start with that. There is something worse in what it is that this resolution somehow tries to imply. Never mind that it ignores the true facts and the history of it. It tries to say, oh, if only we had the money we would start to deliver services. That is what it tries to imply. It says if we didn't have to pay $900 million on our debt we would start delivering real services to people in Nova Scotia; I don't believe that for a minute. I think that if, by some miracle, suddenly our debt were to disappear or even be reduced by some significant amount - take our $11 billion debt and reduce it by $2 billion or suppose we didn't have to service the debt by $900 million, but only $700 million, and we had $200 million that we could do something with - I don't believe that government would take one nickel of that money and start reinvesting in the real services that Nova Scotians need.

Do you know what they would do? They would follow the model of the Mike Harris Tories, they would continue to squeeze and cut the essential public services and they would go for tax cuts. That is what they would do and that is mostly what the federal government did last year as well; they reinvested a little bit but for every two cents they put back into health, they put 98 cents into cutting back on taxes. Let me tell you, we are paying down on the debt - this is nuts. So for the member to come forward with that kind of motion, he has more nerve than an aching tooth. I know that is exactly what his leaders would do.

Do you know who the two most senior members of his government are? The Minister of Finance and the Minister of Transportation, both of whom were there in the Buchanan era government's spending our way into disaster that we have to grapple with now. They are the leaders, they are the Minister of Finance and the House Leader, they are the people who are in charge of his Party in that Cabinet. They are the ones giving direction and they have the wrong agenda.

[Page 7233]

Let me tell you something else - and this is another thing that is wrong with that motion - it seems to imply that somehow we are going to be able to pay down on the debt. Where is that money going to come from? Pay down on the debt, excuse me, it is going to take, by that government's admission, on their program - never mind that it is a bad program, never mind that it is the wrong agenda - they are going to bring the budget into balance within three or four years. Then what are they going to do? Are they going to get rid of the debt? How are you going to get rid of $10 billion or $11 billion worth of debt in Nova Scotia? What Fantasyland do they live in? Do they think that suddenly we are going to be generating billions of dollars a year surpluses; that suddenly in 10 years we are going to be able to pay off that debt, or in 20 years? Hah, it is not there, it isn't within our fiscal capacity. We are going to have to continue to carry that debt. Even if we can whittle it down a little bit it is not going to significantly change the amount we are going to have to pay for our debt servicing, unless something amazing occurs. Maybe if Brian Tobin's proposal that the equalization formula gets changed comes through, we will be $1 billion to the good, and if every penny of that goes to pay down our debt, then we could reduce our debt payments by about $100 million. Terrific, but where else is there $1 billion floating around that we are going to suddenly come into? It isn't on the horizon, it just plain is not going to happen.

The only alternative is to grow the economy and to get on with that job. That is what that government is not doing. That government has the wrong agenda; that government is not doing a good service to the people of Nova Scotia. That, in the end, for all those reasons, is why this motion is profoundly offensive and just plain wrong. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Preston. You have about one and one-half minutes.

MR. DAVID HENDSBEE: Mr. Speaker, I should also acknowledge the remarks made by the previous speakers. Also back in those days, the 1970's, when you accused Mr. Buchanan of all those spending habits and stuff, you also must realize that the people of this province also elected him four times and wanted the particular mandates he was doing. Also look at the spending practices the other provincial governments were doing across this country at that time; practically all of them were also doing debt servicing of some sort in regard to financing their yearly budgets. We have to look at those things.

We also have to look at what the federal government was doing at that time in providing cost-sharing initiatives and formulaes with the province and then afterwards, what happens? They start pulling it out; they start pulling out the cost-sharing dollars and what is left? The province had to carry the rest. What do you do, start cutting programs? No, the provinces took on the responsibilities of paying more to maintain the programs and that is what happened. Now we are trying to deal with the reality that that is not going to happen anymore because the federal government is not coming with the dollars. What we have to do now is look at our services, look at our programs, start rationalizing and wondering what is there that we can afford? What is there we have to provide and what can we do in the future.

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I concur that we have to look at everything. I had the experience at the HRM when we did the program service review and am looking forward to the provincial program service review, to do what we have to do to make sure that we do live within our means. I would appreciate that very much. Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker, I see that my time has now expired.

MR. SPEAKER: Order please. The time for the late debate has expired. I would like to thank honourable members for taking part in this very interesting debate this evening.

The House will now rise until 10:00 a.m. tomorrow.

[The House rose at 6:30 p.m.]