The Nova Scotia Legislature

The House resumed on:
September 21, 2017.

Hansard -- Thur., May 4, 2000

First Session

THURSDAY, MAY 4, 2000

TABLE OF CONTENTS PAGE
PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS:
Educ.: Cuts - Oppose, Mr. K. MacAskill 4957
Educ.: Cuts - Oppose, Mr. F. Corbett 4958
HRM: Fire Service Policy - Oppose, Mr. B. Taylor 4958
Educ.: Cuts - Oppose, Mr. W. Gaudet 4958
Educ.: Cuts - Oppose, Mr. K. Deveaux 4958
Educ. - Cuts: Demo. (Prov. House) - Window Broken Apology,
Mr. K. Deveaux 4959
Educ.: Cuts - Oppose, Mr. W. Langille 4959
Educ.: Cuts - Oppose, Mr. W. Gaudet 4959
Health - Environmental Illness: Treatment Clinic - Support,
Mr. D. Dexter 4960
Educ.: Cuts - Oppose, Mr. W. Gaudet 4960
Educ.: Cuts - Oppose, Dr. J. Smith 4960
Educ.: Cuts - Oppose, Ms. Maureen MacDonald 4960
TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS:
Justice: Civil Procedure Rules - Amendments, Hon. M. Baker 4961
STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS:
Justice - Family Court: Hon. John D. Comeau, Chief Judge - Appointment,
Hon. M. Baker 4961
NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 1742, Exco - Actions (17/08/99 on): Premier - Discuss,
Mr. R. MacLellan 4963
Res. 1743, Fin. - Budget (2000-01): Vote Hasty - Info. Secret,
Mr. Robert Chisholm 4963
Res. 1744, Educ. - System: Talks - Progress Recognize,
Mrs. M. Baillie 4964
Res. 1745, Argyle MLA - Representation: Commitment - Fulfil,
Mr. Manning MacDonald 4965
Res. 1746, PC MLAs - Budget (2000-01): Re-election Prospects -
Effect Recognize, Mr. J. Holm 4966
Res. 1747, Portuguese Soc. (N.S.): Commun. Contributions - Congrats.,
Mr. T. Olive 4966
Vote - Affirmative 4967
Res. 1748, Fin. - Mental Health Serv. (Yar.): Commitment - Remember,
Dr. J. Smith 4967
Res. 1749, Tory MLAs (2000) - Liberal MLAs Losses (1999):
Backbone - Use, Ms. E. O'Connell 4968
Res. 1750, Sports - Curling (Truro CC-Pres.): Sheila Clark -
Election Congrats., Hon. J. Muir 4969
Vote - Affirmative 4969
Res. 1751, Educ. - Special Needs Students: Requirements -
Consider, Mr. K. MacAskill 4969
Res. 1752, Educ. - Budget (2000-01): Cuts - Revisit,
Ms. Maureen MacDonald 4970
Res. 1753, Sports - Basketball (N.S. Men's Intermediate C Champs):
Lawrencetown Legends - Congrats., Mr. F. Chipman 4971
Vote - Affirmative 4971
Res. 1754, Gov't. (N.S.) - Restructuring: Consultations Absence -
Apologize, Mr. D. Downe 4972
Res. 1755, Commun. Serv. - Child Poverty (17/08/99 on): Deficit -
Address, Mr. Robert Chisholm 4972
Res. 1756, Sports - Basketball (N.S. Mini A Boys Champs 2000):
N. Preston Bulls - Congrats., Mr. D. Hendsbee 4973
Vote - Affirmative 4974
Res. 1757, Educ. - Min.: Concerns (N.S.) - Address, Mr. M. Samson 4974
Res. 1758, Educ. - Budget (2000-01): Cuts - Mins. (Educ. & Fin.)
Facts Reveal, Mr. F. Corbett 4974
Res. 1759, Health - Dep. Mins. (3): Employment - Plans Reveal,
Mr. R. MacKinnon 4975
Res. 1760, EMO - Personal Preparedness: Tory Repellent - Distribute,
Mr. D. Dexter 4975
Res. 1761, Yar. MLA - Budget (2000-01): Vote - Oppose,
Mr. W. Gaudet 4976
Res. 1762, Premier - Voters: Needs - Maintain, Mr. K. Deveaux 4977
Res. 1763, Educ. - Budget (2000-01): Cuts - Rethink, Mr. D. Wilson 4977
Res. 1764, Tourism - Peggy's Cove: Rock Patrollers Cut -^
Legal Opinion Table, Mr. W. Estabrooks 4978
Res. 1765, Transport. & Pub. Wks.: N. Sydney/Northumb. Ferry -
Locate, Mr. B. Boudreau 4978
Res. 1766, Hfx. Bedford Basin MLA - Budget (2000-01):
Constit. Watch - Remind, Mr. H. Epstein 4979
Res. 1767, PC Backbenchers - Prov. House: Premier - Release,
Mr. R. MacLellan 4980
Res. 1768, Premier - House: Absence - Explain, Mr. John MacDonell 4980
Res. 1769, Gov't. (N.S.) - Chaos (17/08/99 on): Responsibility -
Take, Mr. Manning MacDonald 4981
Res. 1770, Health - Col. Reg. Hosp.: Cardiac Care - Inform,
Mr. J. Pye 4982
Res. 1771, Environ. - Earth Day (Bridgewater): Organizers -
Commend, Mr. D. Downe 4982
Vote - Affirmative 4983
Res. 1772, Fin. - Budget (2000-01): Test Drive - Unavailable,
Mr. J. Holm 4983
Res. 1773, Nat. Res. - Strathlorne Nursery: Products -
Promotion Commit, Mr. K. MacAskill 4984
Res. 1774, Culture - Contemplative Photography Soc. (Exhibit-Hfx.):
Michael Wood & Students - Congrats., Ms. E. O'Connell 4984
Vote - Affirmative 4985
Res. 1775, Fin. - Budget (2000-01): Methodology - Explain (Min.),
Mr. R. MacKinnon 4985
Res. 1776, Educ. - System: Lifeline - Availability Ever-Present,
Ms. Maureen MacDonald 4985
Res. 1777, Educ. - Budget (2000-01): Funding Add'tl. -
Source Reveal, Mr. W. Gaudet 4986
Res. 1778, Kings S. MLA: Constituents - Prioritize, Mr. F. Corbett 4987
Res. 1779, Gov't. (N.S.) - Budget (2000-01): Picture - Clarify,
Mr. D. Wilson 4987
Res. 1780, Fin. - Budget (2000-01): Model - Review, Mr. D. Dexter 4988
Res. 1781, Youth - Rome Visit (4) (Pope John XXIII Parish
[Cole Hbr.]): Selection - Congrats., Mr. Kevin Deveaux 4989
Vote - Affirmative 4989
Res. 1782, Nat. Res. - Forestry: Ledwidge Lumber Co. Ltd. -
Stewardship Congrats., Mr. John MacDonell 4989
Vote - Affirmative 4990
Res. 1783, Question Period - Mins. Exclude: PC Staffers (Gallery) -
Include, Mr. J. Pye 4990
HOUSE RECESSED AT 12:57 P.M. 4991
HOUSE RECONVENED AT 12:59 P.M. 4991
ORAL QUESTIONS PUT BY MEMBERS:
No. 644, Health - Budget (2000-01): Hospitals - Unapproved,
Mr. R. MacLellan 4991
No. 645, Agric. - Budget (2000-01): Cuts - Criticism Restricted,
Mr. Robert Chisholm 4992
No. 646, P&P - Program Review: Report - Release, Mr. R. MacKinnon 4994
No. 647, Agric. - NSAC: Funding Cuts - Admit, Mr. John MacDonell 4995
No. 648, P&P - Prog. Review: Document - Release, Mr. R. MacLellan 4996
No. 649, Fin. - Budget (2000-01): Details Full - Reveal,
Mr. Robert Chisholm 4997
No. 650, Fin.: Budget (2000-01) - Gov't. Restructuring Fund,
Mr. D. Downe 4998
No. 651, Educ. - Budget (2000-01): Cuts - Programs,
Ms. Maureen MacDonald 5000
No. 652, Educ.: P3 Schools - Equipment Removal, Mr. W. Gaudet 5001
No. 653, Educ. - Budget (2000-01): Cuts - Special Education,
Ms. Maureen MacDonald 5002
No. 654, P&P - Prog. Review: Premier - Position, Mr. R. MacLellan 5003
No. 655, Econ. Dev.: Tibbetts Paints (Trenton) -
Workers/Assets Protection, Mr. F. Corbett 5004
No. 656, Educ. - Budget (2000-01): Cuts - Special Needs,
Mr. M. Samson 5005
No. 657, Fin. - Deficit (Educ.-Sch. Bds.): Assumption - Accounting,
Mr. Robert Chisholm 5007
No. 658, Transport. & Pub. Wks. - Hwy. No. 105 (Kellys Mtn.):
Controlled Access - Policy, Mr. K. MacAskill 5008
No. 659, Health: Lbr. Readjustment Strategy - Table, Mr. D. Dexter 5009
GOVERNMENT BUSINESS:
GOVERNMENT MOTIONS:
ON MOTION FOR SUPPLY:
Mr. W. Estabrooks 5010
Mr. R. MacKinnon 5014
Adjournment of House moved 5016
Vote - Negative 5017
Mr. B. Taylor 5017
Mr. D. Dexter 5021
Adjournment of debate moved 5021
Ruling: Out of Order 5022
Mr. J. Holm 5023
HOUSE RESOLVED INTO CWH ON SUPPLY AT 3:47 P.M. 5023
HOUSE RECONVENED AT 6:00 P.M. 5023
ADJOURNMENT:
MOTION UNDER RULE 5(5):
CBC - 1st Edition: Continuation - Support:
Ms. E. O'Connell 5024
Hon. P. Christie 5026
Hon. Rodney MacDonald 5027
Mr. D. Wilson 5029
HOUSE RESOLVED INTO CWH ON SUPPLY AT 6:30 P.M. 5031
HOUSE RECONVENED AT 8:18 P.M. 5031
PUBLIC BILLS FOR SECOND READING:
No. 46, Financial Measures (2000) Act 5032
Amendment [debate resumed] 5032
Mr. K. Deveaux 5032
Adjournment of debate moved 5051
Vote - Affirmative 5052
ADJOURNMENT:
MOTION UNDER RULE 5C:
Hon. R. Russell 5053
Vote - Affirmative 5054
ADJOURNMENT, House rose to meet again on Fri., May 5th at 9:00 p.m. 5054

[Page 4957]

HALIFAX, THURSDAY, MAY 4, 2000

Fifty-eighth General Assembly

First Session

12:00 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 submitted for this evening's late debate was submitted by the honourable member for Halifax Needham.

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House unanimously call for the continuation of CBC's 1st Edition and make their support clear to the federal Minister of Canadian Heritage, Sheila Copps, and President and CEO of the CBC, Robert Rabinovitch.

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

We will begin the daily routine.

PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Victoria.

MR. KENNETH MACASKILL: Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to table a petition from the Northside and Victoria school sections. The operative clause reads, "We, the undersigned, protest a reduction in the Public Education Budget recently announced by the Minister of Finance. These cuts will have a devastating impact on the students of the province. We demand the Premier reinstate Public Education Funding." There are over 1,900 names on this petition and I have affixed my signature.

4957

[Page 4958]

MR. SPEAKER: The petition is tabled.

The honourable member for Cape Breton Centre.

MR. FRANK CORBETT: Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to table 452 letters from the residents of the Cape Breton Regional Municipality. These letters are addressed to the Minister of Education and they express their anger at the disapproval on cuts made to public education. The operative clause is, "Lack of education leads to higher rates of unemployment, higher crime rates, and longer welfare lines. These programs all cost the government millions of dollars, so where are the savings? The residents of the community are not going to allow you to strip our children of their future!" I have affixed my signature to the stack of letters.

MR. SPEAKER: The documents are tabled.

The honourable member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley.

MR. BROOKE TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to table a petition whereby the prayer reads, "We the undersigned residents of the Halifax Regional Municipality are opposed to the Halifax Regional Municipality fire service policy that would diminish the role or possibly disqualify volunteer firefighters age 60 and over." I have affixed my name to that petition.

MR. SPEAKER: The documents are tabled.

The honourable member for Clare.

MR. WAYNE GAUDET: Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to table this petition in the form of letters. There are approximately 550 from parents from Yarmouth which say, "I am strongly opposed to the reductions in the provincial Education budget made by this government. I PLEDGE THAT IF EDUCATION FUNDING IS NOT RESTORED, I WILL NOT VOTE FOR THE PROGRESSIVE CONSERVATIVE GOVERNMENT IN THE NEXT PROVINCIAL ELECTION."

MR. SPEAKER: The documents are tabled.

The honourable member for Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage.

MR. KEVIN DEVEAUX: Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to table a petition with over 500 signatures from Bicentennial Junior High School which says, "Do you really want to take our smiles away?" Five hundred signatures with identification of the students and their concern with the education cuts. I would like to table that.

MR. SPEAKER: The petition is tabled.

[Page 4959]

The honourable member for Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage.

MR. KEVIN DEVEAUX: Mr. Speaker, I would like to note one letter that was received it and I just want to read this. It is from the student who actually threw the orange at the window of the members' lounge a couple of weeks ago. "To whom it may concern, Today I was at Province House with hundreds of my fellow students. We were protesting the proposed budget cuts to our school system and I was upset. I got caught in the moment. As a result of this I threw a plastic bottle at the building in anger. I was acting irrationally and I was wrong. I regret what I did and I am truly sorry for what happened. As a result I was very nearly arrested and I was forced to leave the otherwise peaceful protest early. I made a mockery of what we were protesting for and I very nearly damaged an historic building. There was no excuse for my actions and I am sorry. I hope you realize that almost all of the people at the protest were there to show support not to vandalize government property." I would like to table that letter, as well. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The letter is tabled.

The honourable member for Colchester North.

MR. WILLIAM LANGILLE: Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to table the following petition from the students of Chignecto schools, from approximately 650 students. The operative clause reads, "We, the undersigned, protest a reduction in the Public Education Budget recently announced by the Minister of Finance. These cuts will have a devastating impact on the students of the province. We demand the Premier reinstate Public Education Funding." I have affixed my signature for tabling purposes.

MR. SPEAKER: The petition is tabled.

The honourable member for Clare.

MR. WAYNE GAUDET: Mr. Speaker, I beg to table this petition with over 400 names from parents from Yarmouth which says, "We, the undersigned are adamantly and vigorously opposed to the cuts made by the Hamm government to the provincial Education budget. As parents, community members and taxpayers, we insist that you uphold the pre-election promises made by your party with respect to Education." I will affix my name to this petition and I would like to table this.

MR. SPEAKER: The petition is tabled.

The honourable member for Dartmouth-Cole Harbour.

[Page 4960]

MR. DARRELL DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to table a petition from Nova Scotians in support of a full-time treatment clinic for environmental illness in Nova Scotia, and the operative clause is as follows, "WE, the undersigned, wish to firmly express our support for (1) More physician training in Environmental Medicine, and (2) full-time Environmental Medicine treatment clinic service here in Nova Scotia, that will use treatment protocols and procedures that are accepted and widely used internationally within the field of Environmental Medicine." I have affixed my signature.

MR. SPEAKER: The petition is tabled.

The honourable member for Clare.

MR. WAYNE GAUDET: Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to table another petition that I received from parents from Yarmouth. The petition says as follows, "Yarmouth's Central Elementary School is a vibrant, thriving school with a structurally sound building and a superior outdoor recreation facility. Its staff have consistently done an outstanding job in meeting the needs of the students. We, the parents, staff and members of the community adamantly and vigorously oppose provincial funding cuts to public education and to any dismantling of Central School." I have affixed my name to that petition and I support these parents.

MR. SPEAKER: The petition is tabled.

The honourable member for Dartmouth East.

DR. JAMES SMITH: Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to table a petition in the form of letters from approximately 100 families in the Halifax community, "As a parent with children in the public school system I am deeply concerned about the quality of education in this province in view of the proposed budget cuts by the Department of Education.", and I have affixed my name.

MR. SPEAKER: The documents are tabled.

The honorable member for Halifax Needham.

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to table approximately 50 letters regarding budget cuts to education. The operative phrase is as follows, "Please reconsider the proposed Budget Cuts and let's work together returning the HRSB to the dynamic, supportive student-centered place of Education it should be."

MR. SPEAKER: The documents are tabled.

PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES

[Page 4961]

TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Justice.

HON. MICHAEL BAKER: Mr. Speaker, in my capacity as Attorney General and pursuant to Section 51 of the Judicature Act, I hereby table amendments to the Civil Procedure Rules that were made pursuant to the Judicature Act by the Judges of the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia on January 28, 2000, and by the Judges of the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal on the November 22, 1999.

MR. SPEAKER: The report is tabled.

STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Justice.

HON. MICHAEL BAKER: Mr. Speaker, I want to apologize to the critics with respect to the matter, for failing to give them notice of this, but it is a matter that will not be of any controversy. I am pleased to advise members of the House of the appointment of the Honourable John D. Comeau as Chief Judge of the Family Court.

Chief Judge Comeau has been a dedicated and committed member of the Family Court since 1981. His most recent service with the Family Court has been as Associate Chief Judge. In this era of transition, Chief Judge Comeau's leadership has been vital as we are moving towards expanding the family division of the Supreme Court in other areas of the province, we are fortunate that we can rely on the guidance and wisdom of Chief Judge Comeau.

Mr. Speaker, Chief Judge Comeau was called to the bar in 1973 after graduating from St. Francis Xavier University and Dalhousie Law School. He practised privately in Digby with the firm of Albert and Comeau until his appointment in 1981. He was the former solicitor for the Municipality of the District of Digby, and has served as Crown Prosecutor for Digby County. He brought to the bench many years of community service and activism throughout his years with the Family Court, which he has served with integrity and compassion.

[12:15 p.m.]

I wish to personally express my sincere appreciation to Chief Judge Comeau for taking on this important role. I know he will continue to serve the legal community and, indeed, all Nova Scotians well. Thank you again. I apologize to the members for the late arrival of these remarks.

[Page 4962]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Richmond.

MR. MICHEL SAMSON: Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the minister recognizing that we did not receive this. Unfortunately, in the past when he has done this, he has not recognized this wasn't done. Hopefully, this is a practice, in his capacity as Minister of Justice, Attorney General, and the Acting Minister of the Environment, that will cease, and that he will give the courtesy to members of at least more than two minutes to get this. In fact, I did receive it in the office. I waited until it came off the fax machine.

Mr. Speaker, as the minister has said, this is not a controversial statement. All the same, we too in our Party wish to congratulate Chief Judge Comeau on his appointment as the Chief Judge of the Family Court. I want to issue my congratulations to the minister and Attorney General for having made this appointment. It is clear from his statement that Judge Comeau has spent almost 20 years on the bench now, and I am sure he has gained a great deal of experience. I haven't had the privilege of appearing before him in my other capacity as a lawyer, but I certainly look forward to his time as the Chief Judge. Ironically, in their haste to put together this statement, the minister's department had him down as serving as the Crown Projector for Digby County. I think it is safe to say that he served as the Crown Prosecutor for Digby County.

Mr. Speaker, our Party recognizes the importance of this appointment, especially with the expanding Family Division of the Supreme Court, which was an initiative that we began, and we are certainly pleased to see it moving forward. I believe it is going to help our judicial system. Again, in thanking and in congratulating Chief Judge Comeau, one can only hope, in recognizing the importance of this appointment, the minister will move forward and actually appoint a director of the Public Prosecution Service, hopefully in the near future.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Chebucto.

MR. HOWARD EPSTEIN: Mr. Speaker, his honour Judge Comeau was a classmate of mine at law school. The class of 1973 was obviously a talented one. (Interruptions) I have to say that apart from making that passing observation, I don't know that any of us really should enter into a discussion here of the appointments or elevations of any of the members of the bench, when this occurs, unless there is an extraordinary reason for doing so. I encourage the honourable Minister of Justice to continue with his efforts to make the appointments as they are necessary inside the system, and I wish him well with the process of moving to the establishment of the family division of the Supreme Court.

GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION

INTRODUCTION OF BILLS

[Page 4963]

NOTICES OF MOTION

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

RESOLUTION NO. 1742

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 in this House, the Minister of Finance blamed, in one sentence, the former government for the decision to sell the province's 50 per cent share of the Panuke deep-well site; and

Whereas moments later, the Minister of Finance admitted that it was his Tory Government that made the decision; and

Whereas members of the Tory caucus have become pros at flip-flopping on questions that they have obviously no answers for;

Therefore be it resolved that the Premier sit down with his government and explain to them what they have done to date and what they can take credit for.

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 Leader of the New Democratic Party.

RESOLUTION NO. 1743

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

Whereas John Hamm's plan told Nova Scotians, "There is a better way to govern Nova Scotia;" and

[Page 4964]

Whereas in that plan the now-Premier said, "It means telling Nova Scotians about the choices. It means respecting the intelligence and common sense of Nova Scotians, and trusting them with the truth."; and

Whereas he said further, "We will accomplish our goal of eliminating deficit financing by setting clear priorities that are in lock-step with those of Nova Scotians."; and

Therefore be it resolved that those words are betrayed by a hasty budget vote while the Tory health care plans are hidden, the Tory Education budget is a state secret, the Agriculture budget is being rewritten, and Conservative MLAs are taking every opportunity to avoid their constituents.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Pictou West.

RESOLUTION NO. 1744

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

Whereas as the Minister of Education stated repeatedly for the last two weeks, the spending reductions requested of the boards within the budget parameters were manageable without harming the students in the classroom; and

Whereas while initial negotiations were hampered, cooler heads prevailed and senior officials with the boards and the department have successfully negotiated through the former impasse; and

Whereas the many concerns of the parents, students, and teachers should be allayed with comments such as those of the HRM Board that, "I think, by the way, it's something we can manage",

[Page 4965]

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House recognize the significant progress made in the talks of the last week regarding our public education system which has affirmed our Minister of Education's solid commitment throughout this debate: protecting the education of our children in the classroom.

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.

Order, please.

The honourable member for Cape Breton South.

RESOLUTION NO. 1745

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

Whereas at a community meeting in Yarmouth last Friday night, 800 people waited to ask the Minister of Finance questions about his budget, but he never showed up; and

Whereas the Minister of Finance then tried to blame the MLA for Yarmouth by saying he knew about the meeting, but was never invited; and

Whereas the MLA for Yarmouth is trying to be a fighter for his riding, but is receiving no help or support from the MLA for Argyle;

Therefore be it resolved that the MLA for Argyle live up to his commitment to represent the people, and not hang Tory backbench MLAs out to dry by not defending his own unpopular budget.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver.

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

Is it agreed?

[Page 4966]

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Sackville-Cobequid.

RESOLUTION NO. 1746

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

Whereas when schools were rocked by Tory cuts in the early 1990's, every Tory MLA walked or was carried into the House to sustain the Cameron Government despite public anger; and

Whereas among the Tory MLAs who put their Party ahead of the public interest were Greg Kerr, Neil LeBlanc, Brian Young, Guy LeBlanc, David Nantes, Roger Bacon, Rollie Thornhill, Chuck MacNeil, Joel Matheson, Art Donahoe, Tom McInnis, Jerry Lawrence, Al Mosher, Marie Dechman, Donald Cameron, Ron Giffin, and Leroy Legere; and

Whereas those 17 seats were then lost to the Liberals;

Therefore be it resolved that Tory MLAs who recognize that this budget is toasting their re-election prospects should take a stand for their constituents and for their own 243 promises by giving notice that they cannot vote for such a betrayal of Nova Scotia's future.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. The resolution is too long.

[The notice is tabled.]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Dartmouth South.

RESOLUTION NO. 1747

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 members of the Portuguese Society of Nova Scotia will host the grand opening of their community centre in Dartmouth on Saturday, June 10, 2000; and

[Page 4967]

Whereas the Portuguese Society is active in many aspects of community life in Dartmouth and across Nova Scotia, including and especially its charitable work in support of the IWK-Grace Maternity Hospital and the Canadian Cancer Society; and

Whereas the opening of this centre will further enrich the multicultural tradition of our province;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate the Portuguese Society of Nova Scotia, thank its members for their many contributions to our community and wish them every success as they move into their new facility.

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. 1748

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

Whereas on Wednesday, November 24, 1998, in this House the MLA for Argyle expressed his concern over mental health services at the Yarmouth Hospital; and

Whereas the Argyle MLA demanded the government give answers about adequate funding for mental health services in the area; and

Whereas as a result of his own budget, mental health services in Yarmouth may well be forced to shut down and relocated causing great expense and trouble for patients and their families;

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Finance remember his commitment to mental health services in Yarmouth and apologize for coldly flip-flopping on this sensitive and important issue.

[Page 4968]

Mr. Speaker, I ask for waiver.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Halifax Fairview.

RESOLUTION NO. 1749

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

Whereas every Liberal MLA voted to betray their own platform with the Savage budgets that imposed tax and fee hikes, eliminated hundreds of teachers and shut down hospitals; and

Whereas Liberal MLAs who put Party ahead of the public interest included Bill Gillis, Allister Surette, Francene Cosman, Russell MacNeil, Bernie Boudreau, John MacEachern, Jim Barkhouse, Ed Lorraine, Dennis Richards, the late Ross Bragg, Guy Brown, Alan Mitchell, Sandy Jolly, John Savage, Joe Casey, Keith Colwell, Ray White, Gerry Fogarty, Jay Abbass, Gerry O'Malley, Bob Carruthers, Charlie MacArthur, Lila O'Connor, Wayne Fraser, Wayne Adams, Bill MacDonald, Cliff Huskilson, Eleanor Norrie and Richie Hubbard;

Therefore be it resolved that the subsequent Liberal defeats in those 29 constituencies should give Tory MLAs enough backbone to declare they will not support a budget which betrays their own platform.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. The resolution was too long.

[The notice is tabled.]

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

MR. PAUL MACEWAN: Mr. Speaker, you have taken my point of order. I thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Health.

[Page 4969]

RESOLUTION NO. 1750

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

Whereas Sheila Clark was elected to 2000-01 President of the Truro Curling Club; and

Whereas this is the first time in the long history of the club that a woman has been elected president; and

Whereas Sheila Clark is well qualified to assume the position of President of the Truro Curling Club, having served as president of its Ladies Division in 1989-90 and as head of the Nova Scotia Ladies Curling Association in 1989-90;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House join me in congratulating Sheila Clark on her election as President of the Truro Curling Club and wish her well as she leads her great organization through the year 2000-01.

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 Victoria.

RESOLUTION NO. 1751

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

Whereas the Halifax Regional School Board says that it is considering reducing educational program assistants to 428 from 488; and

Whereas the board says the system needs 530 program assistants to meet the needs of special need students; and

[Page 4970]

Whereas the Tory Government is abandoning the needs of those who need it the most in our society;

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Education consider the needs of special needs students and commit to them that she will not take their right of being part of our education system.

Mr. Speaker, I ask for waiver.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Halifax Needham.

RESOLUTION NO. 1752

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

Whereas the minister, our captain of Education, set sail not long ago off the cape of cost-cutting and dipping her net in search of $27 million in savings; and

Whereas the minister stated yesterday in this House, however, she has no targets for savings in her budget, leading to the obvious conclusion there is no mesh in her net; and

[12:30 p.m.]

Whereas the minister now appears to have set sail with no sextant, no compass, no radar, a broken calculator, and a shanghaied crew of restless backbenchers, while her Cabinet colleagues waved a merry goodbye as she sailed bravely in her leaky skiff from the lee of the harbour;

Therefore be it resolved that the House request that the minister beach her skiff before the seas take her, and revisit her decision to gut public education.

Mr. Speaker, I seek waiver of notice.

[Page 4971]

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

Is it agreed?

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Annapolis.

RESOLUTION NO. 1753

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 Lawrencetown Legends recently captured their third consecutive Nova Scotia Men's Intermediate C Basketball Championship; and

Whereas the Legends went undefeated at 5-0 by winning their three preliminary tournament games before winning in the semi-final and championship game; and

Whereas the championship game was played before a packed gymnasium in Middleton as the host Legends played to a home-town audience;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate the Lawrencetown Legends Men's Intermediate C Basketball Team for winning yet another provincial championship.

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 Lunenburg West.

[Page 4972]

RESOLUTION NO. 1754

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

Whereas this Tory Government promised to be open and accountable to the people of Nova Scotia; and

Whereas members of the Nova Scotia Highway Workers Union have asked the Premier for a seat on a committee that will examine privatization and have yet to receive an answer; and

Whereas the Minister of Education admitted that she should have communicated with school boards and other stakeholders in education before the budget was tabled;

Therefore be it resolved that this Tory Government apologize to their own Tory backbenchers and to all Nova Scotians for the lack of true consultation that has taken place since this government was elected.

Mr. Speaker, I ask for waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable Leader of the New Democratic Party.

RESOLUTION NO. 1755

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

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

Whereas since August 17th, this Tory Government's first full day in office, 1,566 children have been born into poverty; and

[Page 4973]

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

Therefore be it resolved that this Tory Government start waking up to the health, education and social deficits faced by the 1,566 children born into poverty under this Tory Regime.

Mr. Speaker, I seek waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Preston.

RESOLUTION NO. 1756

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 North Preston Bulls recently competed in the 2000 Nova Scotia Mini A Boys Basketball Championships, capturing the provincial title from their rivals; and

Whereas this victory is the result of dedication and skill of every young member of the team, as well as the leadership provided by Coach Robert Cain and Assistant Coach Cleveland Downey; and

Whereas the Bulls have demonstrated their mastery of the sport of basketball to players and fans across Nova Scotia;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House offer their congratulations to the North Preston Bulls on their provincial championship, and wish them as much success in the years ahead as they enjoyed this year.

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

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

Is it agreed?

[Page 4974]

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. 1757

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

Whereas to ferret out this Tory budget, many groups across Nova Scotia have asked to meet with Tory MLAs; and

Whereas Bev Roy of Canning, a concerned citizen, was given the opportunity to meet with the Minister of Education; and

Whereas the Minister of Education cancelled the meeting at the last minute;

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Education and the members of this Tory Government take the concerns of Nova Scotians seriously.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Cape Breton Centre.

RESOLUTION NO. 1758

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

Whereas the Minister of Education continues to do the dance of the seven veils; and

[Page 4975]

Whereas the Minister of Finance is now trying to do a two-step around the real budget figures and the ones he released in his budget address; and

Whereas the Minister of Education and the Minister of Finance are failing in their attempts to jive around the real funding cuts in education spending;

Therefore be it resolved that instead of doing a Mexican hat dance around the cold hard truth, that these ministers today tell Nova Scotians the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth on education spending cuts, cha-cha-cha.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Cape Breton West.

RESOLUTION NO. 1759

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 Department of Health is contemplating hospital bed closures; and

Whereas ambulance user fees are rising by 30 per cent; and

Whereas seniors will be charged with a 50 per cent increase in co-pay fees as a result of this year's Health budget;

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Health explain to this House his plans to employ three Deputy Ministers of Health: a deputy at $180,000, an assistant deputy at $140,000 and an associate deputy at $110,000.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Dartmouth-Cole Harbour.

RESOLUTION NO. 1760

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 Health Minister said in his Emergency Preparedness Week remarks that "Working together to build a more disaster-resilient family, community and country will result in a safer and more secure quality of life for all Nova Scotians,"; and

[Page 4976]

Whereas the minister noted that "The major objective of Emergency Preparedness Week is to emphasize the importance of personal emergency preparedness"; and

Whereas this year's budget truly underlines the need for a more disaster-resilient Nova Scotia;

Therefore be it resolved that Nova Scotians' personal emergency preparedness would be improved by the mass distribution of Tory repellent for use the next time Conservative MLAs come calling with a bottle of the doctor's snake oil.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Clare.

RESOLUTION NO. 1761

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

Whereas the MLA for Yarmouth has been asked by several of his constituents to cross the floor; and

Whereas during his election campaign, the MLA for Yarmouth used "elect a fighter" as his motto; and

Whereas since being elected, the MLA for Yarmouth has abandoned and misled his constituents by not representing their concerns in this House;

Therefore be it resolved that the MLA for Yarmouth do the honourable thing and truly represent the people of Yarmouth as he promised he would by voting against this government's budget.

Mr. Speaker, I would ask for waiver.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage.

[Page 4977]

RESOLUTION NO. 1762

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

Whereas last July the Hamm Tories rode the elevator of public opinion to the top floor; and

Whereas, speaking of elevators, we lack inspectors to ensure elevators in Nova Scotia operate safely, and this has become a pressing occupational health and safety concern; and

Whereas the Minister of Labour cannot even assure us he will not axe elevator inspections altogether;

Therefore be it resolved that the Premier be reminded that voters, like elevators, may fail him because of his lack of attention to maintaining their needs.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Cape Breton East.

RESOLUTION NO. 1763

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

Whereas the Minister of Education has stated that no more than 400 jobs will be cut as a result of her government's budget; and

Whereas the Minister of Education has continuously stated that these cuts will be in administration and will not affect students; and

Whereas the Halifax Regional School Board says that cutting administration will mean less supervision, reduced accountability and few people to address parent concern;

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Education rethink her plan to ensure that students across Nova Scotia are not forced to pay for her government's crippling budget.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

[Page 4978]

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Timberlea-Prospect.

RESOLUTION NO. 1764

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

Whereas the Minister of Tourism claimed client-solicitor privilege when asked to table a legal opinion his department sought on rock patrollers at Peggy's Cove; and

Whereas one would and should assume rightly that the client in this case is the people of Nova Scotia, who employ the solicitor; and

Whereas since Nova Scotians are the client, we are entitled to know what exactly is contained in the legal opinion the Minister of Tourism received;

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Tourism table immediately in this House to Nova Scotians, the only party in this case, the legal opinion he has in regard to rock patrollers at Peggy's Cove.

Mr. Speaker, I ask for waiver.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Cape Breton The Lakes.

RESOLUTION NO. 1765

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

Whereas Marine Atlantic is considering relocating its head office from North Sydney to St. John's, Newfoundland; and

[Page 4979]

Whereas this move will mean the loss of Nova Scotia employment opportunities; and

Whereas, when asked, the Minister of Transportation and Public Works seemed confused as to the location of Marine Atlantic with respect to the Northumberland Ferry;

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Transportation and Public Works check with his staff to find out where North Sydney is, where the Northumberland Ferry is and report back to this House.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear a No.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Halifax Chebucto.

RESOLUTION NO. 1766

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

Whereas in an e-mail copied to our office, and I will table it, a resident of Halifax Bedford Basin expressed her outrage at remarks made by the member for Halifax Bedford Basin; and

Whereas this resident accuses the member for Halifax Bedford Basin of misrepresenting the views of her constituents by reading two selected letters from constituents in this House; and

Whereas this resident also stated that you had told your colleagues that constituents in your riding would not be fooled by the numbers, that they had researched their facts and numbers and knew what was going on;

Therefore be it resolved that this House remind the member for Halifax Bedford Basin that her constituents indeed are watching and will understand that by voting for this savage Tory budget, she has forsaken the very constituents that she professes to represent.

[Page 4980]

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable Leader of the Liberal Party.

RESOLUTION NO. 1767

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

Whereas the Tories are scared to let their MLAs out of their sight for fear they may do what is best for their constituents; and

Whereas on Tuesday more than 500 people marched at the office of the MLA for Kings South; and

Whereas yesterday students, teachers and parents in northern Nova Scotia marched on the office of their local MLAs in Truro, Amherst, Springhill and New Glasgow;

Therefore be it resolved that the Premier put the guard dogs back in the pens, lower the drawbridge, put the fires out in the mouths around Province House and allow the backbenchers home to their constituencies so that they can be held accountable to the people.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Hants East.

RESOLUTION NO. 1768

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

Whereas I recently attended a meeting with concerned parents in the Tory-held ridings in the Annapolis Valley and the Tory MLAs who represent that area failed to show up to answer their voters' questions; and

[Page 4981]

Whereas Premier Hamm defended their absence by informing me in this House that a representative's job at the moment is to be in this House; and

Whereas Premier Hamm subsequently jaunts off to Houston while this House is convened;

Therefore be it resolved that Premier Hamm explain to the House and the Valley voters, now that he has returned, if he considers himself to be a representative of Nova Scotians who belongs in this House while it sits and if he is, then why does he have a different rule for himself than he has for his caucus?

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 Cape Breton South.

RESOLUTION NO. 1769

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

Whereas yesterday in this House the Minister of Health blamed the previous government for the debt that exists at the QE II hospital; and

Whereas yesterday the Minister of Education also blamed the former government for overrunning the costs of P3 schools; and

Whereas yesterday the Minister of Finance surprisingly blamed the former government for the decision to sell the province's 50 per cent share of Panuke;

Therefore be it resolved that the Tory Government start standing on its own feet and take responsibility for the chaos they began creating nine months ago.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Dartmouth North.

[Page 4982]

RESOLUTION NO. 1770

MR. JERRY PYE: 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 should now be referred to as Captain Flatliner for people looking for cardiac care in Colchester County; and

Whereas a flatline is all people will hear at the Colchester Regional Hospital when seeking cardiac care; and

[12:45 p.m.]

Whereas the people of Colchester in need of assistance from cardiac care will have to compete for the precious beds in other departments in that hospital;

Therefore be it resolved that Captain Flatliner, the Minister of Health, tell Nova Scotians that they should "Go Fish" when looking for cardiac care at the Colchester Regional Hospital.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Lunenburg West.

RESOLUTION NO. 1771

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

Whereas April 28, 2000, was Earth Day Challenge in Bridgewater; and

Whereas for several hours, a small army of volunteers displayed their community spirit and tidied up their town; and

Whereas over 1,000 people turned out to collect 3,680 pounds of garbage to help spring clean the community of Bridgewater;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House commend and congratulate the organizers of Earth Day and the residents of Bridgewater for their outstanding contributions to their local community.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

[Page 4983]

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. 1772

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

Whereas this week the Business and Consumer Services Department released the advice that Nova Scotians must be prepared to do their homework when they are buying from a used car dealer; and

Whereas this year's budget has the well-worn look of a used car, with the dents and damage done when Premiers Cameron and Savage had their hands on the wheel; and

Whereas the department advised Nova Scotians to look for signs of an accident, to do a test drive before buying and to make sure any warranty can be transferred;

Therefore be it resolved that if Nova Scotians had been given a chance to test drive this budget, they would have realized it is just as accident-prone as the hacking and slashing done by the Cameron and Savage budgets, and came with no warranty at all.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Victoria, on an introduction.

MR. KENNETH MACASKILL: Mr. Speaker, seated in the west gallery, I see Terry Little up there. Terry, as we all know, was a constituency assistant to the late Earle Rayfuse. Those of us who sat in the House with Earle Rayfuse would remember him as one of the finest individuals who ever sat in this Chamber. I would ask Terry to rise and receive a warm welcome from the House. (Applause)

[Page 4984]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Victoria.

RESOLUTION NO. 1773

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

Whereas the Strathlorne Nursery in Inverness County is responsible for the reforestation of Cape Breton, following the spruce budworm infestation in the 1970's; and

Whereas during the peak periods, the nursery can employ up to 80 local people and makes a major contribution to the local economy; and

Whereas government cuts have workers at Strathlorne Nursery fearing for their jobs, and they can't get any information from the Department of Natural Resources;

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Natural Resources commit to the promotion of Strathlorne Nursery products, like seedlings and trees, in order to ensure a healthy future for this vital local business.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Halifax Fairview.

RESOLUTION NO. 1774

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

Whereas on Friday, April 28th, at the Miksang Gallery, the Society for Contemplative Photography opened an exhibit at the Shambala Centre on Tower Road, in Halifax; and

Whereas the exhibit is the work of main instructor Michael Wood and 17 students; and

Whereas the exhibit will continue until May 30th;

[Page 4985]

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate Michael Wood and the students of the Society for Contemplative Photography on their exhibit at the Shambala Centre.

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 Cape Breton West.

RESOLUTION NO. 1775

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

Whereas education is basic and essential to the growth and development of Nova Scotia's citizens; and

Whereas the Governments of Donald Cameron and John Savage learned painful lessons on this issue; and

Whereas the lack of credibility in this year's Education budget will resonate with the students of today as they become the voters of tomorrow;

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Finance please explain to the Minister of Education why he hung her and the Tory backbenchers out to dry with his fudge-it budget.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Halifax Needham.

RESOLUTION NO. 1776

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

[Page 4986]

Whereas the Minister of Education put the education system of this province into "Jeopardy" by her own incompetence; and

Whereas now she seems to have found some money and "The Price Is Right"; and

Whereas in the game of "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire" the minister wants to make herself over to be the champion of education when in fact she is the destroyer;

Therefore be it resolved that the "lifeline" thrown to the education system appears to have been available all along, but not recognized by the minister or her department without having created panic and fear in Nova Scotia leaving one to wonder "Whose Line Is It Anyway?"

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Clare.

RESOLUTION NO. 1777

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

Whereas yesterday the Minister of Education announced that she had miraculously found money within her department to save our education system; and

Whereas the Tory Government has put Nova Scotians on a roller coaster ride by insisting there is no money to fix Nova Scotia's education system; and

Whereas when asked about the location and the amount found, the Minister of Education stated that she had found a little bit here and a little bit there;

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Education come clean with Nova Scotians concerning this new-found money by guaranteeing that she is not robbing Peter to pay Paul.

Mr. Speaker, I would ask for waiver.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear No.

The notice is tabled.

[Page 4987]

The honourable member for Cape Breton Centre.

RESOLUTION NO. 1778

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

Whereas the member for Kings South saw fit to criticize the member for Sackville-Cobequid for leaving this House to meet with the constituents from Kings South; and

Whereas the member for Sackville-Cobequid, like all NDP MLAs, recognizes that important functions must be attended to even if this House is in session; and

Whereas the member for Sackville-Cobequid felt it was important for the 1,000 people protesting in New Minas to have an elected official present to hear their concerns;

Therefore be it resolved that the member for Kings South take note of the actions of a long-sitting member of the House and remember that constituents come first and that is how you get re-elected.

Mr. Speaker, I would ask for waiver.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Cape Breton East.

RESOLUTION NO. 1779

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

Whereas last week the MLA for Halifax Bedford Basin read letters from Nova Scotians supporting her government's budget; and

Whereas in the House the Premier has also taken the opportunity to read letters of support; and

[Page 4988]

Whereas it is certain that the Tory Government has received thousands of letters, faxes and e-mails from angry Nova Scotians who see this budget as devastating;

Therefore be it resolved that the Premier and his Tory colleagues stop trying to paint a rosy picture and admit that this budget hangs below black clouds of doubt.

Mr. Speaker, I would ask for waiver.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Dartmouth-Cole Harbour.

RESOLUTION NO. 1780

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

Whereas May 1st to May 7th is Emergency Preparedness Week and this year's theme is "Together we prepare . . . the family, the community, the country"; and

Whereas despite the government's magic list of 1,126 programs they supposedly had carefully reviewed, this year's budget is the worst prepared in living memory; and

Whereas Nova Scotia families, communities and country areas were completely unprepared for the budget's wholesale portrayal of the Conservative platform;

Therefore be it resolved that the small inner circle responsible for this disastrous savage Tory budget should have taken the time to look ahead and model their work on the Emergency Preparedness Week theme of "Together we prepare".

Mr. Speaker, I would ask for waiver.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage.

[Page 4989]

RESOLUTION NO. 1781

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

Whereas four youths have been chosen from Pope John XXIII parish in Cole Harbour to travel to Rome this summer; and

Whereas these four youths were chosen by the parish to go to the Youth Day Celebration in Rome; and

Whereas 82 people will attend from the region including 56 young people from senior high schools and universities, chaperones, two priests, the coordinator of Youth Programs for the Archdiocese of Halifax and the Archbishop;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate Natalie Cushing, John Deg, Michael Johnstone and John Stevens as well as all others selected to participate in Youth Day Celebrations in Rome.

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 Hants East.

RESOLUTION NO. 1782

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

Whereas the forest sector contributes over $1 billion and employs in the range of 30,000 Nova Scotians directly or indirectly; and

Whereas Ledwidge Lumber of Enfield has raised the bar for others in the industry to follow where stewardship initiatives are concerned; and

[Page 4990]

Whereas on April 29th, Ledwidge Lumber Company Ltd. became the first recipient of the Future Forest Award for excellence in delivery of a private land management program awarded by the Nova Scotia Silviculture Contractors Association;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate Laurie Ledwidge and family as well as the employees of Ledwidge Lumber Company Ltd. for their efforts towards stewardship of Nova Scotia forests and for receiving this prestigious award.

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 North.

RESOLUTION NO. 1783

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

Whereas ministers of this Progressive Conservative Government, senior ministers, are regularly fed their lines from two staffers in the gallery on a daily basis; and

Whereas every time a hard question is asked of a minister, we can watch as a Page makes their way down from the gallery with a note from these two Progressive Conservative staffers to assist the confused, floundering ministers; and

Whereas it would seem to us that perhaps the two Progressive Conservative staffers in the gallery should be sitting in this Chamber and not the Cabinet Ministers who cannot answer questions for themselves;

Therefore be it resolved that in the interests of providing some cost-saving advice to this government, we recommend getting rid of all Cabinet Ministers and just have the two Progressive Conservative staffers sitting in the gallery to come into this Chamber and answer all the questions put forward to them by the Opposition members.

[Page 4991]

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.

MR. SPEAKER: Question Period will begin at 12:57 p.m. and end at 1:57 p.m.

We will recess for two minutes.

[12:57 p.m. The House recessed.]

[12:59 p.m. The House reconvened.]

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

ORDERS OF THE DAY

ORAL QUESTIONS PUT BY MEMBERS

MR. SPEAKER: Question Period will begin at 12:59 p.m. and end at 1:59 p.m.

The honourable Leader of the Liberal Party.

HEALTH - BUDGET (2000-01): HOSPITALS - UNAPPROVED

MR. RUSSELL MACLELLAN: Mr. Speaker, I would like to welcome the Premier back. Before entering the Chamber, he told the press how happy he was and how well he thought things were going the last two and one-half weeks. Now, I don't know what the Premier was doing in Texas, but I think he was eating some bad tacos.

I want to ask the Premier how he feels about the Health budget, where the QE II reduced their budget by $10 million and were told to go back and reduce their budget by another $18 million; they came back with that. The government became so concerned as to what they would have to do to reduce the budget to that extent, 350 people laid off, bed closures, and I want to ask the Premier, why has he not approved the budget of the QE II and other hospitals and regional boards and when he will be doing that?

[Page 4992]

HON. JOHN HAMM (The Premier): Mr. Speaker, I thank the member opposite for the question. What the government has been doing, and I think perhaps I would preface my answer to this question by the way in which the Education budget is now starting to come together and all of the things that Opposition members seem to suggest as being the only solution are now fading from people's memories as we are coming up with real solutions. We are looking for solutions in health care, in education, and in all our budgets. We think those solutions are there. Those solutions are absolutely necessary.

MR. MACLELLAN: Mr. Speaker, the Premier is still eating those tacos.

I want to ask him how he feels the budget is coming together when we don't know where the money is coming from, if in fact more money is going to be granted at all. I want to ask the Premier as well, how does he feel he can make that statement when no details have been given to the people of Nova Scotia?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, the member opposite asked where the money is coming from. Unfortunately, where the money comes from in Nova Scotia is from the banks, and that is what the problem is, that is what the problem has been, and it is the problem that we are here to fix. That is why the kind of budget that we have introduced to the people of Nova Scotia is a budget that does not require us year after year after year to go the banks. There is a problem, we are going to fix it.

MR. MACLELLAN: Mr. Speaker, the Premier says more money is going to education, but will not say where it is coming from; he wants the health boards and the hospitals to cut, but he will not approve their budgets. Why will this Premier not admit that his budget is just a work in progress, and how can he expect any member of this Legislature to be able to vote on this budget tomorrow when they have not been given the details of the real budget?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, the member opposite suggests that this budget is a work in progress. Yes, it is. It is progress towards a balanced budget in the year 2002-03. It is a work in progress to fix 30 years of deficit financing. That is the kind of a budget this is.

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

AGRIC. - BUDGET (2000-01): CUTS - CRITICISM RESTRICTED

MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, I want to direct my question through you to the Minister of Agriculture. Yesterday, the member for Hants East tabled a memo whereby the Department of Agriculture employees were being threatened into silence. Now we have a report of the minister telling farmer representatives - and I am going to table that memo - and I quote, "If the government continued to take criticism for its position on agricultural services, the government would take decisive action on its own with no consultation."

[Page 4993]

Mr. Speaker, my question to the Minister of Agriculture is, this is the kind of behaviour that people expect in a Fascist state, and I want to ask the Minister of Agriculture to explain his behaviour.

HON. ERNEST FAGE: Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the honourable member across the way for the question. The statement was not made by me and was not penned by me. It was penned by an employee of the Nova Scotia Federation of Agriculture. On speaking with the Executive Director of the Nova Scotia Federation of Agriculture, not five minutes ago, on why such a statement would be made on my behalf when it was not true, he said we were trying to impress upon our membership that they generated to show that we needed to sit down and finish up the discussion (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. The honourable Minister of Agriculture and Marketing has the floor.

MR. FAGE: . . . the discussion on alternative delivery of services in the Department of Agriculture.

MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, it is shocking to hear this Minister of Agriculture blame everybody but himself for his actions. I want to ask the Minister of Agriculture to withdraw his threats, to get them off the table and make it clear, both privately and publicly, that he will not threaten people who speak their minds, whether it is good or bad, with respect to the activities of his department and his government; will he make that commitment here today?

MR. FAGE: Mr. Speaker, obviously the member opposite is confused. A moment ago this particular document he had, I told him that I did not pen it, those are not my words. Thank you.

MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: The Minister of Agriculture gets up and stands in this House and says that the representatives of farmers in the Province of Nova Scotia are lying, when clearly the communication was directed that they were told to be quiet or they would face actions from the minister.

I want to ask the Premier, Mr. Speaker, he brought in the Code of Conduct that was supposed to elevate the standard of performance for Ministers of the Crown. In view of the Minister of Agriculture's naked and reprehensible threats to farmers in this province, I want to ask the Premier what action he is going to take to ensure that his ministers remember that Nova Scotia remains a free and open society.

THE PREMIER: Yes, we have a great system of government in this province, one that I support and I believe all members of the House support. On the other hand, we have a serious problem because government for 30 years has not responded to the real requirements

[Page 4994]

of Nova Scotia, that is to balance revenues and expenditures. This government is totally supportive of its budget and I am totally supportive of every member of my Cabinet, including the Minister of Agriculture.

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

P & P - PROGRAM REVIEW: REPORT - RELEASE

MR. RUSSELL MACKINNON: My question is for the Minister of Finance. Mr. Speaker, through you, to the minister, the Conservative Government refused last session to answer, in any substantive way, a number of issues because the minister, on a number of occasions, indicated that they needed to see the results of the government's program review. Now this government campaigned on being open and accountable to Nova Scotians and promised to make the results of the program review public. My question to the minister is, why have you not come forward with the results of this completed program review?

HON. NEIL LEBLANC: Mr. Speaker, the program review was one part of the budgetary process that was used in this year's budget. The member opposite is correct in saying that we announced that in the fall. In regard to the PAO report, the internal review, that has been handled through Planning and Priorities. If you want to direct your question to him, I am sure he will answer it.

MR. MACKINNON: Mr. Speaker, it is ironic because this is the same minister who yesterday made the quote, " . . . we made the right decision, and I stand by that decision.", with regard to the Panuke gas well, whereas earlier in Question Period he indicated that it was the Liberal Government that made that decision, so he was wrong in his comments. So I guess my question to the honourable Government House Leader is, will he now supply the House with the results of this completed program review?

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, the program review process is an ongoing process. In essence, there will probably be no end to that process for the rest of time in government because as things evolve, things must change and so programs must change.

MR. MACKINNON: Well, Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Finance has indicated that the honourable Government House Leader has that report in his hands. My question is, why is the honourable Government House Leader sitting on this particular report, suppressing this information from all members of the House and not making it available so that we will be able to better evaluate the implications of this budget in the context of this program review?

MR. RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, I would suggest that the honourable member for Cape Breton West isn't listening. I said it is an ongoing work and there is no completion to it.

MR. MACKINNON: You said you had a report. Table it.

[Page 4995]

MR. RUSSELL: There is no report except for a report that was made to Cabinet and that is a Cabinet document and that is a report up to date. (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Hants East.

AGRIC. - NSAC: FUNDING CUTS - ADMIT

MR. JOHN MACDONELL: Mr. Speaker, my question will be to the Minister of Agriculture and Marketing. Last week I stood in this House and asked the Premier why his government would threaten agriculture by slashing $1.5 million from the Agricultural College's budget. The Premier said I had erroneous information. Well, the budget tabled by this government says that there is $1.5 million gone and the Agricultural College says there is $1.5 million gone. I ask the minister, why won't you admit that your Premier misled Nova Scotians by denying the cuts and explain why you are cutting and gutting the NSAC?

HON. ERNEST FAGE: Mr. Speaker, again, the honourable member, as said, he has been misled and he is confused. The estimate of last year is $135,000 less than it was this year. There was a decrease of $135,000 from last year's estimate to this year's estimate. There was no cut of $1.2 million or $1.5 million. Again, the member has a problem with numbers.

MR. JOHN MACDONELL: The minister should realize that the numbers last year were topped up to account for $1.2 million that was missing and that is taken out this year as well, which adds up to $1.5 million.

Mr. Speaker, I also ask the Premier if he would know how many jobs would be cut at the college as a result of his foolish budget? He said he didn't know but that the Minister of Agriculture and Marketing would tell me. So I ask the minister to tell this House how many staff of the Agricultural College will be laid off because of your budget cuts?

MR. FAGE: Mr. Speaker, to the member opposite, the college is administered by a dean who manages that facility. This year's decrease is $135,000 and he is working his own budget out and he said he could accomplish that through administration. If the member opposite wishes to manage the Nova Scotia Agricultural College, maybe he should apply for a job there. (Interruptions)

MR. JOHN MACDONELL: Mr. Speaker, I will be applying for his job in the next election. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. The honourable member for Hants East has the floor.

[Page 4996]

MR. JOHN MACDONELL: Mr. Speaker, in one short year, the Premier and the minister have fallen out of touch with agriculture in this province. They are destroying agriculture and they act like nothing has changed. As much as one-quarter of the staff at the NSAC may be cut as a result of this budget.

MR. SPEAKER: Question, please.

MR. JOHN MACDONELL: I want to ask the Premier, will you get out of your Hollis Street downtown office suite and take a first-hand look at the devastating damage you have inflicted on the Agricultural College and on farmers in this province?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I can assure the member opposite that as soon as members opposite let us out of the House I will be quite pleased to comply with the member's request. (Interruptions)

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

P & P - PROG. REVIEW: DOCUMENT - RELEASE

MR. RUSSELL MACLELLAN: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister of Transportation and Public Works. The budget that this government has brought forward is just a hollow shell. All of the information was to be in the program review. This government promised that program review would be made available to the people of Nova Scotia. Now he is saying it is a Cabinet document. He has no right to keep the contents of that document secret. People deserve to know where that money is going to be spent. Why will he not release this document?

[1:15 p.m.]

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, clearly the Opposition hasn't listened to the answer I made. It is ongoing. The completed report will be available as an ongoing document at sometime in the future. It is not available at this time.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

MR. MACLELLAN: Mr. Speaker, this is not a ongoing document. It wasn't presented that way by the Minister of Finance. It was a document to show where cuts were going to be made, what programs were evaluated and what the result was going to be. Clearly, this government hasn't got the courage to let the people of Nova Scotia know where they made those cuts. They are hiding this information that the people have a right to know. When is he going to make this document available?

[Page 4997]

MR. RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, the program review was part of program analysis and options, and there were various options that came forward from that program analysis review that were used to put the budget document in place. They are still ongoing. (Interruptions) Please listen. It is a still ongoing process. (Interruptions) I am sorry you don't like a lecture, but I am telling you what is going on. The program analysis process is continuing.

MR. MACLELLAN: Mr. Speaker, this program review holds the information on which the budget is based. It is an integral part of the budget. It was presented as such by the Minister of Finance when he presented his budget and The Course Ahead. Now, the Minister of Transportation and Public Works lacks one thing, and that is courage, the courage to present this document that the people of Nova Scotia have a right to see. They want to know what this government has been up to. They want to know what this government has cut. Why will he not release this document? (Interruption)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

MR. RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, the program analysis and options process provided, for the Minister of Finance, are details of various options that were available to him in the preparation of his document, which is the budget of the Province of Nova Scotia. (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. Order, please. The honourable Minister (Interruptions) Order, please. (Interruptions) Obviously they don't want to hear the answer. Order, please.

The honourable Leader of the New Democratic Party.

FIN. - BUDGET (2000-01): DETAILS FULL - REVEAL

MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, my question is through you to the Premier. In the election campaign the Premier promised to respect the intelligence and common sense of Nova Scotians. He promised to trust them with the truth. Now we are faced with the spectacle of a budget vote before Nova Scotians see the patchwork Education budget, before people know if there is a deal to absorb school board deficits, before people know the size of the new hospital deficits. I want to ask the Premier, why will he not trust Nova Scotians with the truth about his budget before he asks this House to start voting on that budget?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I can assure the member opposite that the process we are going through in the House, of the estimates, the budget that was presented by the Minister of Finance, has been exhaustive, and I believe Nova Scotians have the kind of information they were waiting to hear, and that is, that we are finally coming to grips with over-expenditure. That is what this budget is all about, and I believe the majority of Nova Scotians expected that of this government, and they are receiving that from this government.

[Page 4998]

MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, the only thing that is exhausted is Nova Scotians' patience with this government who has a budget in this House that is going through change after change after change, and yet we are not able to see the final result in order to vote on it. I want to ask the Premier, why will he not trust Nova Scotians enough to be able to present the details of what is happening in Education, what is really happening in Health, what is really happening in Agriculture before he asks all of us in this House to vote on his budget?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I can remind the member opposite that if he looks carefully that the resolutions that were brought into the House and the numbers that are included in those resolutions are and will be the same numbers that we will vote on when the budget analysis is complete. The numbers have not changed, the budget has not changed, it remains intact.

MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, I never heard such foolishness in my life. The Premier thinks that he can bring in a budget and say, well, this year we are going to spend this much, we don't know how in the heck we are going to spend the money, we don't know where the money is going to go, exactly, we are going to shift it all around, but trust us. That's not good enough. Nova Scotians want to know the details even though the Premier thinks otherwise.

MR. SPEAKER: Question.

MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: I want to ask the Premier, Mr. Speaker, the budget that he has presented has changed and changed again, why will he not ensure that the details are present before he asks Nova Scotians to accept a budget and vote on it in the House here tomorrow?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I can say to the Leader of the New Democratic Party, because what he said is Nova Scotians want to know where the money will go. What Nova Scotians really want to know, is where will the money come from, because it is coming from the bank and they know that there isn't any more and that's why we are sticking to our budget.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Lunenburg West.

FIN.: BUDGET (2000-01) - GOV'T. RESTRUCTURING FUND

MR. DONALD DOWNE: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister of Finance. The Superintendent of the Halifax Regional School Board stated that some money will be coming from other sources rather than strictly the Department of Education in order to fix the tremendous mess that is currently in the minister's budget, specifically with education. I understand that there is $88-some million set aside for the restructuring of government. Is any

[Page 4999]

of this money being used to help fix the educational problems in the Department of Education?

HON. NEIL LEBLANC: Mr. Speaker, the honourable member asks a question which is a very good one. The answer to that question is, yes. I want to say that in the school boards' discussions with the Department of Education that there were some pressures along the line of wage increments that were there. The restructuring fund is meant just for that. It is for salary negotiations and increments coming forward. It is also for the restructuring costs of government and also for the displacement costs that the government will incur when people do leave the Public Service.

MR. DOWNE: I guess over the last two weeks, Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Finance finally understood that there are some wage adjustments that have been made to the Department of Education. I suppose this minister finally understood the implications of his budget and for that he is parachuting millions of dollars out of that $88 million fund to help correct the disastrous Education budget.

My question to the minister is, how much of that $88 million in that particular budget is specifically going to Education?

MR. LEBLANC: Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to see that the member for Lunenburg West understands that is what the fund is for, it is for those types of pressures. Today, finally, the member has understood what I told him in the estimates in the Red Room that obviously at that point in time he wasn't listening.

MR. DOWNE: Mr. Speaker, I think we have heard it all right now. I will ask the question now to the minister, realizing that this Minister of Agriculture gutted the Department of Agriculture and Marketing, and this Minister of Health is going to destroy the health system, and we have a mess in Education, will the Minister of Finance just answer today, is that $88 million restructuring fund also going to be used to bail out Health and Agriculture in this budget?

MR. LEBLANC: Mr. Speaker, this is the same honourable member who said he had a $2.5 million surplus last year, when he had $500 million. (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. The honourable Minister of Finance has the floor.

MR. LEBLANC: Mr. Speaker, it is obvious that I struck a nerve. That restructuring fund is meant to help every department of this government deal with the severance costs and so forth of employees who will be displaced. That is exactly what it was meant to be. The other member has articulated very well in his questions, so obviously he agrees very much. (Interruptions)

[Page 5000]

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

The honourable member for Halifax Needham.

EDUC. BUDGET (2000-01): CUTS - PROGRAMS

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I am sure I will sleep easier tonight. My question is for the Minister of Education. This government was elected to fix problems that have been building over 20 years, but instead of solving them, they are creating more. This government has been placed in the embarrassing situation of having to rewrite its Education budget, just 20 days after presenting it. My question to the Minister of Education, who is scrambling to clean up the mess she has made, is, will the minister guarantee that there will be no program cuts in education in order to bail her government out of the mess she has made?

HON. JANE PURVES: Mr. Speaker, it is obviously difficult for the Opposition to welcome a positive solution. We are able to help school boards, school boards have been able to accommodate us. We have come to a reasonable solution. There will still have to be cuts to the system. It will be difficult, but we will manage it together.

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I don't think there is any good news in hearing that there will be program cuts. As a result of meetings between the school board and the Education Department officials, it is now promised that there will be no lay-offs of permanent or probationary teachers. However, in this province there are 1,200 term teachers; many have been teaching on contract for years. These teachers are young, they are energetic and they are talented. My question for the minister is, will she make sure that there will be no lay-offs to term teachers across this province?

MISS PURVES: Mr. Speaker, as the honourable member opposite knows very well, term teachers are just that, term teachers. They are there to fill in for people on sabbaticals and for people on sick leave. When their term ends, their term ends. They are not subject to lay-offs.

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I don't think I am the one who doesn't understand what a term teacher is. This minister is playing with people's careers and with our children's education. Her budget will be packing off the youngest, brightest, most energetic teachers we have to other provinces. When will this minister make clear her plans for education in Nova Scotia and give us an accurate impact of the cuts for students, teachers and support services?

[Page 5001]

[1:30 p.m.]

MISS PURVES: Mr. Speaker, this is one of the few budgets in the whole government that has been protected and will be throughout the mandate of this government. I would also like to add that within the next five years almost 50 per cent of the teacher workforce will be retiring. There is going to be room galore for bright, young teachers graduating from our teachers' programs. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Clare.

EDUC.: P3 SCHOOLS - EQUIPMENT REMOVAL

MR. WAYNE GAUDET: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Education. This morning on CBC Radio the Minister of Education stated that new P3 schools for which the equipment had not already been ordered might not receive the full complement of new equipment designated for those schools. My question to the minister is, will the minister confirm for the House that she did indicate that the new P3 schools would not receive the full complement of approved new equipment?

HON. JANE PURVES: Mr. Speaker, I said in this House yesterday that we were looking for every way possible to save money because of P3 school cost overruns incurred by the previous government. We are not moving equipment out of schools where it has already been installed. In the case of new schools, we may or may not look at cost savings in equipment and furniture for those schools. No decisions have been made on what to do until we have an analysis of those costs. Thank you.

MR. GAUDET: Experts in information technology are continually stressing the fact that in order to keep up to date in this world of ever-changing technology, it is necessary to be exposed to the most advanced and up-to-date equipment. How will Nova Scotia's students keep up to date in the world of information technology if they are using old and out-of-date equipment?

MISS PURVES: Mr. Speaker, we are putting $6 million of new equipment into schools this year. What we are talking about when we may reduce or may not reduce, we are talking about the number of computers per classroom, possibly. That is a possible solution.

I would like to add, Mr. Speaker, that the most important things in a classroom are the teachers and what the students are learning and, at bottom, it is not the equipment. Thank you.

MR. GAUDET: Mr. Speaker, it is very reassuring for those communities that have been waiting a long time for these schools to be open and now they are being faced that these schools will be open with less equipment than is needed. My last question to the minister, if

[Page 5002]

it is not your intention to build the remaining 17 new schools with the advanced technological equipment that was promised to the parents, students and teachers in these school communities, will you please say so here and now, in this House?

MISS PURVES: The new schools will have advanced technology and equipment, Mr. Speaker. The exact amount will be determined and the parents will know well ahead of time what that will be. Parents in Nova Scotia know that their teachers and the knowledge and the books are the most important thing; technological equipment is very important but not as important. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Needham.

EDUC. - BUDGET (2000-01): CUTS - SPECIAL EDUCATION

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, my question again is to the Minister of Education. It appears that the Minister of Education has singled out children with hearing or sight impairments for special treatment. Unlike children from New Brunswick and P.E.I., whose governments have maintained or increased education spending, Nova Scotian parents have learned from the director of the Atlantic Provinces Special Education Authority that their children will be losing tutors, sign language interpreters and itinerant teachers. My question to the minister, are you now cutting programs for children with special needs as a way of fixing your disastrous Education budget?

HON. JANE PURVES: Mr. Speaker, if the Opposition had ferreted out this item in the estimates, they would have known before today that we have reduced our grant to the Atlantic Provinces Special Education Authority. That is correct, we have reduced it by a modest amount, and the organization, I believe, can handle that amount.

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, two other have-not provinces have seen fit to maintain or increase funding to this authority for these children. If this troubled Minister of Education will not invest new money in her department, then she is going to have to take money from somewhere else. It is that simple. I want to ask the Minister of Education, which programs and services in your department are going to get the axe?

MISS PURVES: Mr. Speaker, very few programs in my department are getting the axe. Very many of them have been reduced. This came out during estimates. It has been clear during Question Period since the start of the session. All programs are being reduced.

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I would have thought this minister would have learned her lesson in the last 20 days in this House. Hiding the truth from Nova Scotians doesn't pay. Will the minister agree to table immediately the details of her revised covert Education budget? Will she tell Nova Scotians about the compromises she has made to save her political life?

[Page 5003]

MISS PURVES: Mr. Speaker, I would be most pleased to discuss some of the solutions we arrived at with the school board. We are able to help the school boards eliminate their many deficits in excess of $20 million. We are going to be able to find some money within the Education budget to help them, and we are going to be able to use some money as the Minister of Finance said from the restructuring fund, which it was designed to do. The school boards will also have to make considerable reductions.

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

P & P - PROG. REVIEW: PREMIER - POSITION

MR. RUSSELL MACLELLAN: Mr. Speaker, in the document Budget Highlights which was presented along with the budget, we see that the slush fund does not stop this year at $88 million. It continues next fiscal year at $126 million, the year after $107 million and the year 2003-04, $109.5 million. This government promised open government. They promised to allow the people of Nova Scotia to know where the money was going. The Premier has said the Opposition would have to ferret out information. That is not what the Minister of Finance said. He said this review was taking place and we would get that information. The Minister of Finance says the document is ready. The Minister of Transportation says it is a Cabinet document.

MR. SPEAKER: Question, please.

MR. MACLELLAN: What does the Premier say. Is he going to go back and say the people now have no right to know? Is that his position?

THE PREMIER: I have a little bit of difficulty understanding where the member was going with his question. First he seemed to be talking about the adjustment fund, and now I believe he is asking a question about PAO. The member could nod. Yes. As has been reported any number of times, the PAO has been an integral part of defining this budget. We have said that there is a work in progress that is not yet complete, but I have seen drafts. That document will be coming forward.

MR. MACLELLAN: I am told that there is a document, that there has been a completion of this process. Now whether it will be updated later on is another question. There is information to be released that backstops what the government says it is doing in the budget. The people of Nova Scotia have a right to see that, because certainly the information isn't in the budget. When will the people of Nova Scotia be given this information?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, the member opposite has it right. It is, as has been reported by the Chairman of the Priorities and Planning Committee, an ongoing process that doesn't stop this week, next month, or even into next year. What we have said is that there will be a document coming forward explaining the process up until now, and particularly as

[Page 5004]

to how it impacted on this budget. This is a piece of information that has never, ever been available before, because it has never been done before. It will be available. Nova Scotians will see it, Opposition members will see it as well.

MR. MACLELLAN: Mr. Speaker, the Premier has said Opposition Parties would have to ferret out this information. The information is in a document that is available and can be made public to the people of Nova Scotia. The budget vote is tomorrow. The budget is a shambles, an absolute shambles. He has an obligation to provide what information he can. Will the Premier provide that information? Yes or no.

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, again, the answer hasn't changed, the answer is yes, we will provide the information. I would remind the member opposite that this is a piece of information that has never been available before; it is new, it is innovative and it is a worthwhile exercise. You and members of the public will benefit from seeing that piece of information.

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

ECON. DEV.: TIBBETTS PAINTS (TRENTON) -

WORKERS/ASSETS PROTECTION

MR. FRANK CORBETT: Mr. Speaker, last October, the Tibbetts Paints plant in Trenton closed, throwing 18 people out of work. The doors were padlocked and the workers received no severance. Since 1967, the province has sunk over $1.2 million into that plant; at least $400,000 is still owing to the province, possibly more. Yet, the Department of Economic Developments has done absolutely nothing to protect its investment or to protect the workers. My question to the minister is - you can't blame this one on the previous government - why is the Department of Economic Developing doing nothing while valuable assets sit rusting in a padlocked plant?

HON. GORDON BALSER: Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the member opposite for the question. Tibbetts Paints had been in operation since 1947, and was a valuable member of the community, certainly creating employment and long-term jobs. It is our commitment, because of the difficulty the plant faces at this particular point in time, in part because of the illness of the owner, we want to work with that owner to try to ensure that if at all possible the plant can reopen under new management and create additional jobs and sustainable employment in that particular community.

MR. CORBETT: We know the track record of this minister when looking to find a new employer for a business. He knows the claim that he is looking for a new buyer has no basis in fact. Nobody knows this plant better than some of the employees; some are here today in the gallery. The employees say the land is contaminated, and the building is falling apart. There are no buyers out there, and you know it. It is time to get what we can out of that plant

[Page 5005]

so we can pay these employees what is owed to them. My question to the minister is, why is the minister doing nothing? Who is he trying to protect?

MR. BALSER: Mr. Speaker, as I said when I answered the first question, what we are trying to do is ensure that if at all possible that plant can reopen and recreate that employment opportunity for those people involved. Certainly I am well aware of the issue surrounding the employees, but I think their first interest would be to be able to go back to work in that plant.

[1:45 p.m.]

MR. CORBETT: My final supplementary is to the Premier. The Premier is quoted as saying the reason he got into politics was to do something about the high unemployment in Pictou County. Mr. Speaker, the plant is near the Premier's riding. Some of the employees live in your constituency, Mr. Premier, and the Premier knows many of these people involved, including his fishing buddy, Donald Sobey, who was on the board of directors of Tibbetts until last June. Mr. Premier, you have the ability to exercise at least some moral influence here, but so far you have refused to do so. Why is this Premier doing nothing, who is he trying to protect?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, what I can say to the member opposite is that Tibbetts Paints is not near my constituency, it is in my constituency. That is point number one. Point number two is the best solution of all would be to reactivate the company and provide jobs. That is the very best solution for everyone concerned, and that is the direction in which this government, and that minister, is taking.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Richmond.

EDUC. - BUDGET (2000-01): CUTS - SPECIAL NEEDS

MR. MICHEL SAMSON: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Education. Since the Tory Education budget was announced, parents have been filled with fear and apprehension as a result of the cuts and lack of specifics. The minister has maintained all along that there will be no cuts to special education programs as a result of her budget. On Tuesday, I spoke with Sandra Scanlan, whose daughter, Kateesha, is hearing impaired and in Grade 2, attending school in Richmond County. Sandra received a call from staff with the Atlantic Provinces Special Education Authority indicating that there would be a reduction in services to hearing impaired and blind children.

My question is, how could the minister stand in this House and tell Nova Scotians there would be no cuts to special education when she admits today that she cut funding to APSEA?

[Page 5006]

HON. JANE PURVES: Mr. Speaker, I have said that our budget for special education, at $41 million, remained at $41 million. It is unfortunate, we did reduce funding to APSEA but, if I may say, APSEA informed the department that they would be able to bear a cut of about $300,000, and our cut to APSEA was about $500,000. We think this is modest. APSEA is very well funded by all the provinces and it was our estimation that this was bearable for that organization.

MR. SAMSON: Mr. Speaker, this minister just becomes more and more incredible by the day. She says APSEA said they could handle $300,000 in cuts. She turned around and cut $500,000 from them. Let me give you an example. Sandra was told by staff in your department that APSEA would no longer fund the three special hours of special tutoring that Kateesha receives per week, and other rural students throughout the province. Special hearing equipment will no longer be serviced or replaced by APSEA . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Question, please.

MR. SAMSON: . . . and that these changes will take effect May 12th, eight days from now.

MR. SPEAKER: Question, please.

MR. SAMSON: How can the minister say she is open and accountable when she gives parents of special needs kids an eight day notice of these severe cuts?

MISS PURVES: Mr. Speaker, what our government is doing is protecting the future for children now, and for all children. No government, and certainly not ours, promises that what we have to do to save the future of Nova Scotia is to not reduce anything. The Premier has said, and it is true, that this budget will be felt by many people across this province. (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

MR. SAMSON: Mr. Speaker, making cuts to special education programs which benefit hearing impaired children and blind children is one of the harshest things this government has done, yet not admitting it to Nova Scotians is what makes it even more despicable. My final supplementary. Will the minister finally admit that she was not being truthful to Nova Scotians when she said there would be no cuts to special education funding?

MISS PURVES: Mr. Speaker, the reduction to APSEA was in, and is in, the Education budget there for all to see; nothing was hidden.

[Page 5007]

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

FIN. - DEFICIT (EDUC.-SCH. BDS.): ASSUMPTION - ACCOUNTING

MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, I want to direct my question to the Minister of Finance. Today, in response to questions, the Minister of Education informed this House that the Department of Education was going to assume deficits from the school boards in the Province of Nova Scotia. I want to ask the Minister of Finance to tell us how, in fact, he is going to show those deficits. On what line item?

HON. NEIL LEBLANC: Mr. Speaker, the member opposite brings up a good question in regard to the deficits of the schools boards. I want to say the deficits that are accrued by those school boards refer to prior years. If the member himself would look at the discussions that happened in this House, what we did for the hospital boards in this province, we took onto the province's books the deficits of those hospital boards, and school boards deserve no less.

MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Finance has tabled the documents for 1999-2000 in this House. I am just asking the Minister of Finance - not whether it is a good decision or a bad decision - to point out to members of this House where the deficits for the school boards are going to appear in the books of the Province of Nova Scotia and would he tell us where and how much?

MR. LEBLANC: Mr. Speaker, the deficits of the school boards aren't known as yet because of two things. We happen to be in early May, and the school boards' deficits will be known relatively shortly; at the time this budget had been tabled, they were not yet determinable. The other thing that goes on is that there is a difference in accounting for how we treat school boards in this province. They, in the past, were not using the consolidated method that we do now use in this province, so once those are known they will be added to the deficit of the previous year.

MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, I can't believe this. The Minister of Finance and the rest of the front benches are changing things as they go. They are changing things on the fly. What are we going to be voting on tomorrow? That's a question I want to ask the Minister of Finance.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. Was that the question?

MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: What is he telling backbenchers and his other colleagues? What is he going to tell us here in this House tomorrow? What are we voting for? The bottom line is not the bottom line. Tell the truth to Nova Scotians.

[Page 5008]

MR. LEBLANC: Mr. Speaker, what I am telling my honourable colleagues in the back row is not to listen to what that honourable member is saying. That honourable member is saying that school boards should not have the same privileges that hospital boards have, and that they should pay for those deficits going forward. I don't believe that for a second and that honourable member, I am certain, doesn't also.

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

TRANSPORT. & PUB. WKS. - HWY. NO. 105 (KELLYS MTN.):

CONTROLLED ACCESS - POLICY

MR. KENNETH MACASKILL: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Transportation and Public Works. The minister knows that Highway No.105 runs across Kellys Mountain. At the base of Kellys Mountain, it runs through a local community, and I have talked with the minister on this previously. There is a local fish business located at the end of St. Ann's Harbour that is suffering because it has no access to a highway. My question to the minister is, he knows we can't move the bay, that is a given, but is the minister willing to move on his department's policy on controlled access highways?

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, while I have sympathy for those who are facing that problem, we do have a policy that you cannot gain access to controlled highways and I believe that matter is still being looked at within the department. However, at the present time there is no notion of changing the policy.

MR. MACASKILL: Mr. Speaker, the minister knows that controlled access is 45 years old and it is probably time to look at it. I am sure there have been developments and road safety and traffic control since then. One of the 243 Tory promises was to, "Work with communities to ensure highway and secondary roads are planned and designed to optimize economic growth as a priority;". That is clearly in the blue book. My question to the minister, is he prepared to work with communities to adjust the regulations on controlled access highways to allow for business development?

MR. RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, as I said, we would like to be able to accommodate all of those whose properties bordering on the 100-Series Highways to gain access, but it is not possible or practical. I would suggest if the honourable member would have the community come forward with an option that may enable us to do something for that particular individual, we would certainly take a look at it.

MR. MACASKILL: Maybe I will ask the minister to go to Ontario and pay $40,000 for somebody to come here and explain to the government the handicap that this creates for some communities. There is no other road in that community but Highway No. 105. That community has a right to develop a business as well as anywhere else, so maybe I will ask the

[Page 5009]

minister today, can he tell the House if there is another community in Nova Scotia faced with that problem where they don't have access to a highway?

MR. RUSSELL: Off the top of my head, I cannot. However, I do know that we have had a large number of applications from various people to gain access to the 100-Series Highways and we have indeed rejected those applications.

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

HEALTH: LBR. READJUSTMENT STRATEGY - TABLE

MR. DARRELL DEXTER: The Minister of Health has gone out of his way to assure that the health care system in this province is shrouded in secrecy and mystery which leads me to believe that a time bomb is about to drop. What I want to ask the Minister of Health is, in this memo it says there is a labour readjustment strategy, will you commit to tabling in this House the labour adjustment strategy today?

HON. JAMES MUIR: I missed the first part of his question, but what memo is it to which he is referring? I don't believe you stated that, sir, in your question.

MR. DEXTER: Yesterday in this House was tabled the memo from Tom Ward, the $180,000 a year deputy minister. Will he table today the labour adjustment strategy?

MR. MUIR: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. The time allotted for the Oral Question Period has expired. I actually gave an extra half a minute.

GOVERNMENT BUSINESS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

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

GOVERNMENT MOTIONS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

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

[Page 5010]

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

MR. WILLIAM ESTABROOKS: Mr. Speaker, I would like to take a few moments today to share my thoughts and the thoughts of my constituents on some recent developments that have happened in this community and in this House.

I am very pleased to tell you - and you have heard me in the past speak - about the community which I am fortunate enough to represent. This community has strength, the sort of energy which I am proud to say that I am the MLA to represent. Recently I know, Mr. Speaker, you are aware of the fact that the communities that I represent demonstrated some of that strength and that resourcefulness when they became involved in the recovery operation after the Swissair disaster.

[2:00 p.m.]

Now, Mr. Speaker, I have been informed by the European Association of Swissair Families and I am proud to announce in this House today that the European Association of Swissair Families has offered to 30 young people in the community which I represent, the opportunity this summer to travel to Switzerland for two weeks. They are recommending that there will be two groups going to Switzerland this summer; one groups of 15 will be going during the last two weeks of July and another group of 15 will be going during the first two weeks in August. This is completely gratis to these students.

What a wonderful opportunity this is for the young people in the communities that I represent. Many of these young people were involved very heavily in the Swissair recovery operation. I can recall visiting the Legion in Seabright and seeing young people working through the night making sandwiches. So it is with great delight that I announce publicly that the schools involved are: Brookside Junior High School which will be represented by Teacher Bonnie Steeves; Tantallon Junior High School and Vice-principal Ron Naud; and Sir John A. Macdonald High School where Guidance Counsellor Carol Page will make this information known to these students.

I should bring to the attention of this House that it is because of active, involved people, such as the ones that I represent, that these young people are going to have an opportunity to travel to Switzerland this summer. You know we have a very special new resident in the community of Timberlea-Prospect. His name is Ian Shaw and I want to take a few minutes to tell the House about Mr. Shaw. Ian Shaw had never been to Nova Scotia. Unfortunately, Mr. Shaw, during the Swissair tragedy, lost his daughter. When Mr. Shaw came to visit the memorial, he visited the community of West Dover. Mr. Shaw and his wife decided to stay. They have stayed and set up in the community of West Dover a place you heard me speak about earlier, called Shaw's Landing. Mr. Shaw is the Canadian representative for the European Swissair Family Association. He is coordinating this opportunity for the young people of the community which I represent.

[Page 5011]

Mr. Speaker, it is the young people in my community that I want to speak about today. As you well know, I hear from many of them. Young people in this community are tremendously concerned about what they have been hearing about education. Now I don't want to be accused of being an alarmist and I don't want to say that I provoked these students because I am now no longer in the school system. When I was at Sir John A. Macdonald High School and we were giving out the information about the Swissair trips, it was wonderfully received, I want you to know, but there were many young people there who were asking me; Mr. Estabrooks, what do these numbers all mean? It is that confusion, it is that misinformation that has young people in the schools in the communities that I represent, frustrated, upset, wanting to know exactly what are the numbers.

When I was at Sir John A. Macdonald High School the other day I had the opportunity to, of course, meet with a number of young teachers. They, too, are very pleased and very concerned. They are pleased about the Swissair and the positive response that it is receiving from students in the community but they are very alarmed again about the response that we are continuing to hear from the Minister of Education, whether she is responding in this place or if she is responding to the media.

Mr. Minister, I can say honestly that I don't know all the people who work in the Department of Education. If the day comes, and maybe it might be soon, that I was ever allowed to serve opposite and I, heaven forbid, were the Minister of Education, I would assure you, Mr. Speaker, that there would be people in that department who had given that minister the shoddy information that she has had to defend in public time after time, that minister I hope returns over to the Trade Mart daily and straightens out a few of these people. The information that is being brought forward to the young people in the community that I represent, they daily read the paper, they hear these numbers and I think it is very important that members opposite know that high school students, junior high school students, as you see by the petitions that were presented here over the last couple of days, are very concerned about what they are seeing and what they are hearing when they watch television, or when they listen to the radio, or pick up the newspaper, exactly where they stand.

I also hear from community groups. There is no more active group in the communities that I represent than the PTAs, or the school councils, or the parent action committees. As you are probably aware, some of these groups vary in name from school to school, but I can assure members present that very clearly they want answers. They want clear answers because of the fact nothing concerns a growing community more, Mr. Speaker, and you are aware of that, nothing grows more in a community than discontent when it deals with schools.

Mr. Speaker, I represented a community that had to put up with portable classrooms for years. That lack of planning and the fact that I have had the opportunity in the past to teach in portables and to have daughters who went to schools in portables, that says to me there is a lack of planning. Now the problem is even more compounded because of the fact that there is obviously a lack of proper funding.

[Page 5012]

I listen attentively in this House. I make sure that when I have a chance, when the topic is education, I read Hansard the next day. Mr. Speaker, I am concerned as an educator and the people I represent, as parents and as young people, are concerned about the lack of funding that is going to be apparent when it comes to the future of education come this September 2000. That is the question.

Let's have a look at some of these questions that have been brought forward by the parent-teacher action committees at a couple of schools. I don't want to be an alarmist, but I have got some concerns and so does a parent named Doug Branscombe. Doug Branscombe has a young daughter, Mr. Speaker. She is a special young lady in the community that I represent, but Doug's daughter needs a little help in class. Resource is important to her and what the principal of this young lady's school has been telling the parents is that there is a very good chance there will be no resource teacher available next year for Doug Branscombe's daughter. Those are tough decisions for principals to make.

Mr. Speaker, I have been there through some of that. When you look at what you are given and what you are going to deal with, I understand that in the midst of those tough decisions you have got to put kids first. I don't think there is a member here who would disagree with that. However, it concerns me that many young people want the straight goods and through all of the media reaction, through all of the hysterics and the histrionics that we sometimes have to put up with, where are the answers?

Some of the answers, it seems to me, are coming out piecemeal, Mr. Speaker. It seems to me that the Minister of Education is doing this, excuse the expression, by the seat of her pants and it seems to me that is not the sort of answer that young people in the community that I represent want. I want to mention a couple of them. Danielle Stone is an outstanding young person who graduated from Sir John A. Macdonald High School. Recently I had the opportunity to announce a resolution in the House in Danielle's honour. Danielle is going into journalism.

When I met with her recently, as her MLA and as her past volleyball coach and teacher, she asked me some tough questions. So I took some of the Hansard answers that I have been listening to from the honourable Minister of Education and as a future journalism student, which she will be doing this summer at CBC's Newsworld, I asked her, Danielle, can you work your way through some of this stuff for me because I would like to know, too. I will tell you, Danielle Stone, as analytical as that young woman is, comes back to me and she begins the whole process again by asking the very tough question - this is it - does anybody know what is going on in the Education Department? I asked that question today, to members present. I know there are members over there, members back in their riding, who have been asked these questions, whether on the phone, whether they are receiving calls here or back in their constituency offices. They are concerned, because they have been asked the same sort of questions, does anybody really know what is going on in the Education Department?

[Page 5013]

Mr. Speaker, as you well know, there is no topic that is nearer and dearer to my heart than schools. I want to turn to another program that is of real concern to parents in my community, and that is the French immersion program. Maybe I could give you a quick geography lesson, if you wouldn't mind. The amalgamated school board now has, with the Halifax Regional School Board, Halifax City, Dartmouth City, and of course the old County, as we call it. The concern is that you don't get the same service across the board. French immersion, which is a vitally important program, has to be offered across the board.

Mr. Speaker, the many young teachers who are in the school system are predominantly French immersion teachers. I would not want to be put in the situation of having to take a veteran teacher and say, if you want to stay on the staff of this school next year, and you have a permanent contract, and you didn't receive one of these pink slips, which really doesn't mean anything - I understand or that is what I have been told and that was what Danielle Stone has been told, those pink slips don't mean anything - but taking that older teacher and saying, you are teaching French immersion physics next year. That is not an example that perhaps a lot of people have thought about. It is tough enough to get competent, young teachers, but is it even tougher when it comes to getting young teachers in French immersion.

Mr. Speaker, those are the sort of issues that I hear from parents in the community that I represent, from students, and I have mentioned just a couple here today. It concerns me, and I can tell you honestly, it is a pleasure to represent my community. As a teacher, I know that I am expected to have answers on education. As a teacher, I look at the responses, day after day, that the Minister of Education gives in this House, and I scratch my head in wonder.

I know the Minister of Education believes that the children should come first, that there are tough decisions to be made, but what is happening is this misinformation is confusing so many people. I go from the positives of a wonderful announcement involving the young people in my community, the positives of the opportunity of going to Switzerland and having that cultural exchange, with all expenses covered incidentally, $300 American in every one of these students' pockets, to the negativity in the midst of that being announced at that high school. Those young people in the middle of all the positives of this particular announcement with Swissair are still more concerned about whether this teacher or that teacher, this program or that program will not be there.

Mr. Speaker, on that note, I think it is important that at this stage I call . . .

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

MR. ESTABROOKS: I called for the adjournment of the House.

MR. SPEAKER: Your time expired. The honourable member's time expired.

The honourable member for Cape Breton West.

[Page 5014]

MR. RUSSELL MACKINNON: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise and make a number of observations going into Supply today. First of all, I want to start off with how disturbed I was with the comments from the Minister of Finance yesterday in his reply to questions in Question Period with regard to the relationship between the Nova Scotia Government, through its Crown Corporation, Nova Scotia Resources Limited, and PanCanadian. The Minister of Finance, when initially asked about this particular issue indicated that that particular decision was made under the Liberal Administration.

Mr. Speaker, through a Freedom of Information request, the public record shows quite to the contrary. In fact, Mr. Jim MacDonald, CEO with Nova Scotia Resources Ltd. came before the Public Accounts Committee yesterday morning and indicated contrary to what the Minister of Finance stated in the House. The public record, the minutes of the meeting, and I will table them for the minister in case he doesn't have them at his disposal, will show that decision wasn't made until September 29, 1999. That is when that decision was made. That was after the Progressive Conservatives took over the government. So the Minister of Finance has misled the House. Now whether he did that intentionally or unintentionally, that is not for me to decide. I have my own opinion, but I will let the facts speak for themselves. Mr. MacDonald, when he was here before Public Accounts, was quite clear in stating that the final decision had not been made as of the July 22nd meeting that the Minister of Finance refers to. In fact, even Mr. MacDonald, under oath before Public Accounts, a committee of this House, contradicted his own public statements that he made to The Chronicle-Herald.

Mr. Speaker, something is amiss. I think it is important that this information be put on the public record, because the Minister of Finance took great delight in trying to insinuate that it was the former Premier, Russell MacLellan, who was in control of the ship when that decision was made. The fact of the matter is, it was the Minister of Finance and Mr. MacDonald and the board at Nova Scotia Resources Ltd. that made that decision after the election.

Mr. Speaker, for the edification for some of the newer members to the House who may not be aware of some of the history of Nova Scotia Resources Ltd., Mr. MacDonald, by the way, made many of the decisions that landed Nova Scotia Resources Ltd., he was a lead agent, in the financial quandary we are in today. That is public record. All we have to do is go back and check Hansard from October 1989 when Mr. MacDonald and some of his colleagues came before the Public Accounts Committee at that particular point in time. In no way, shape, or form can the government today put the damages of what is happening at Nova Scotia Resources Ltd. on the laps of the Liberal Administration. In fact, Mr. Parker, who is now the Chairman of the board at Nova Scotia Resources Ltd. stated unequivocally that the $178 million that was invested under the Liberal Administration was a wise investment. So if you take the $250 million debt that was there before the Liberals took power, add the $178 million and the rest of the debt is interest charges.

[Page 5015]

What we see is the Minister of Finance, who has made a political decision and then tried to beat up on the previous administration. A little bit of spin-doctoring, Mr. Speaker, but I don't think his statements will withstand the acid test. In fact, what we witnessed here today during Question Period was an attempt by the Minister of Finance and the government to build up a slush fund for political purposes at the expense of education. The Minister of Finance has put the Minister of Education in a very, very precarious position, having to go and defend the indefensible when all the school boards across the province have been saying for weeks, almost months, that their figures are solid and hers were not. Finally, in the last number of days, we have seen a turnabout. Mr. Speaker, while the Minister of Finance would argue that their six year plan that they have laid out, starting from the last fiscal year right up until the year 2003-04, that all this money is set aside for restructuring of government. If the whole object of this process is to save money, why is it that we will require $461.7 million to restructure government? I thought we were supposed to save money. Why are we spending approximately $462 million for restructuring of government? That is absolutely obscene; you are better off leaving everything as it is.

Look at the Department of Agriculture. That department has been all but decimated on the front lines, taking $9 million out of that budget. We have seen member after member stand in their place today and give examples of real pain and suffering because of this budget. Well, Mr. Speaker, I think because of what happened with the Education budget, the Minister of Finance has been discovered. He is playing politics, he is playing politics with the budget. It is the big scam, make the people of Nova Scotia believe that the bad old Liberals have bankrupted the province and now we are going to restructure, we are going to make things better. Under the microscope what do we find? The Minister of Finance has built up a slush fund. He is trying to build up a slush fund to buy votes with the people of Nova Scotia.

That perhaps is why the Minister of Transportation and Public Works won't table the program review report, which the Minister of Finance says has been completed and is in the hands of the Chairman of Priorities and Planning, who is the Minister of Transportation and Public Works. So what we see here is the old John Buchanan style of politics, and why wouldn't we? These two ministers were part and parcel of that regime. (Interruption) Honest to Heavens, Honest John is back. The only difference is that John's last name is a little different - it not Buchanan, it is Hamm.

Mr. Speaker, the honourable Government House Leader and the Minister of Finance may think that everybody has forgotten about their participation in the way they have helped to destroy the finances of this province. This is classic evidence that they will not forget. You cannot use $462 million of the taxpayers' money for restructuring government, you are laying-off the anticipated plan of between 1,400 to 1,600 public servants, you would think you would be putting $460 million into the kitty. This is absolute political mischief at the worst. Then the Minister of Finance, the Government House Leader and the Premier will say, ferret it out.

[Page 5016]

This is not hide and seek, Mr. Speaker, this is public accountability. This is the taxpayers' money. Where is the blue book and the plan for strong, open and accountable government? It is not there. We can't continue to endorse this type of charade.

Do you know what, Mr. Speaker? I will bet a dime to a doughnut that the people of Nova Scotia will be very upset when they find out this was nothing but a political scam to squirrel away some patronage money, to keep the backbenchers silent, and a whole lot of other goodies. Well, the scam is up. For that reason, I move that the House be adjourned.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. There has been a motion to adjourn.

A recorded vote is being called for.

Ring the bells. Call the members.

[ 2:25 p.m. ]

[The Division bells were rung.]

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. A motion to adjourn debate was made and a recorded vote is being called for.

[The Clerk calls the roll.]

[3:25 p.m.]

YEAS NAYS

Mr. MacAskill Mr. Christie

Dr. Smith Mr. Russell

Mr. Downe Dr. Hamm

Mr. Manning MacDonald Mr. LeBlanc

Mr. Holm Mr. Muir

Mr. Robert Chisholm Miss Purves

Ms. O'Connell Mr. Fage

Mr. Epstein Mr. Balser

Mr. Estabrooks Mr. Parent

Mr. Deveaux Ms. McGrath

Mr. Dexter Mr. Olive

Mr. Gaudet Mr. DeWolfe

Mr. MacKinnon Mr. MacIsaac

Mr. Boudreau Mr. Rodney MacDonald

Mr. Wilson Mr. Taylor

[Page 5017]

Mr. Pye Mr. Dooks

Mr. John MacDonell Mr. Langille

Mr. Morse

Mr. Carey

Mrs. Baillie

Mr. Hendsbee

Mr. Morash

Mr. Chipman

Mr. Barnet

Mr. O'Donnell

Mr. Hurlburt

THE CLERK: For, 17. Against, 26.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is defeated.

[Motion for Supply continued.]

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

MR. BROOKE TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, I am honoured to have an opportunity once again this afternoon to rise and participate in the debate going into Supply.

MR. SPEAKER: Would the honourable member allow an introduction?

MR. TAYLOR: Absolutely.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Dartmouth North.

MR. JERRY PYE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and thank you honourable member for the beautiful Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley. I rise on the floor of this Legislature today to introduce a resident from Dartmouth North, Mr. Vincent Shepherd who has volunteered for many hours of his life in Dartmouth North, and will probably continue; with the Progressive Conservative budget that is coming through, it will require a great deal more volunteers. I would hope this House would give their warm applause to Mr. Vincent Shepherd, and would you stand and receive it. (Applause)

MR. TAYLOR: On Page 21 of the blue book, "Strong Leadership . . . . a clear course", we promised as a government to join the efforts of other Canadian provinces, including Alberta, Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, New Brunswick, the Northwest Territories, Yukon and Nunavut in legally challenging the Firearms Act, Bill C-68. I know members opposite probably don't appreciate the Government of Nova Scotia talking about this particular issue, the Firearms Act, but the fact of the matter is, Mr. Speaker, as you would

[Page 5018]

well know, being a rural MLA, that a number of us are still receiving questions. My colleague, the member for Eastern Shore, is meeting on a regular basis with groups and organizations in the Eastern Shore riding who are still concerned about this legislation. My colleague, the member for Colchester North, is meeting from time to time with constituents, and obviously a number of gun clubs and organizations are concerned as are individual law-abiding citizens in the Province of Nova Scotia.

[3:30 p.m.]

Canada's firearm law; today, if you permit, I would like to get into some of the specifics about the firearm law. The document that I am going to be quoting from is An Introduction to Canada's Firearms Law and this document is available through the Chief Firearms Officer, the Administrator, Private Security Industry Programs, Mr. Maarten Kramers with the Department of Justice, Police and Public Safety Services in the Province of Nova Scotia and if anybody in this Legislature thinks that it is a simple matter to go out and register a firearm in the Province of Nova Scotia, or in fact in Canada, as a consequence of that dastardly deed carried out in Ottawa, well, they need to think differently.

When will the new law begin? The Firearms Act and regulations are being phased in between December 1, 1998 and January 1, 2003. What should I know about firearms' licences? Under the Firearms Act, individuals must obtain a licence to possess, a licence to acquire, a licence to use; there are several types of firearm licences that law-abiding Nova Scotians must acquire. There is a possession licence that is only a licence for adults. There is a possession and acquisition licence that is for adults. There is a possession licence for minors and there are temporary borrowing licences for visitors to Canada.

The bureaucracy to administer the Firearms Act in Canada and in particular Nova Scotia, is absolutely outrageous. It is expensive. Do you remember, Mr. Speaker, when the former Minister of Justice told Canadians, Allan Rock claimed that Bill C-68 would cost Canadians only $87 million? Well, it is now widely accepted that before this exercise, this Firearms Act is completed, it could rise to $1.5 billion.

I know you can't call Members of Parliament and MLAs and things of that nature liars, but the federal government duped and snookered Canadians into believing that this was going to be an inexpensive way to take firearms away from the criminal element in this country. Mr. Speaker, it doesn't focus on criminals. I know I shouldn't get sidetracked, but I will make this comment that under the Savage Regime, remember the savage swarm, yes - members of the NDP remember when they were issued an ultimatum, either shut up, keep your mouth shut about the Firearms Act or you are going to be turfed and thrown out. We remember that and the NDP remember it and our government remembers it, but what we did, we made a conscious effort, we stood up for Nova Scotians. When Nova Scotians told us they didn't like that costly boondoggle we put our money where our mouth was and the Minister of Justice, Michael Baker presented a strong case.

[Page 5019]

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

MR. JOHN HOLM: I was just wondering first if the member would entertain a brief question.

MR. TAYLOR: No.

MR. JOHN HOLM: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order. What he is accusing others of doing to those questions about the firearms is exactly the same thing that he and members of the government are doing to public servants and . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. It is not a point of order.

MR. TAYLOR: If the honourable member wants to ask the question, he can wait until next Tuesday during Question Period.

Mr. Speaker, you know you have to ask yourself, I was going to commend the NDP for finally seeing the light. The honourable member for Hants East. (Interruptions)

MR. JOHN HOLM: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order. I am sure the member didn't mean to misspeak himself, but he said that I could ask him a question next Tuesday and unfortunately, or fortunately, he . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. That is not a point of order.

MR. TAYLOR: Here are some of the questions that Nova Scotians are asking the federal government and their MLAs about this Firearms Act. Now it is no more Bill C-68, it is legislation, it is law. Will I need a licence to buy ammunition? The answer is, if you are getting ammunition from the government in fulfilment of a treaty obligation, you will not need a firearms licence to receive it. In other words, if you are not part of a treaty obligation then you will need a licence to buy ammunition, so the answer is yes. So that is another licence and permit you will require.

What I am trying to point out, Mr. Speaker, is that the federal government spends under $5 million on breast cancer which claims 5,300 lives each year in this country. To date the feds are known to have spent at least a $0.5 billion on what we were told was going to be an $85 million bureaucracy. That is out and out dupery and snookering of Nova Scotians and Canadians. I know we can't call the federal government liars, but I think it is absolutely outrageous.

Mr. Speaker, the question is, once I have my firearms licence, do I have to renew it? The answer is yes, if you finally get your application, and I understand the applications in some cases have been in the mail or in the process for up to six or seven months before

[Page 5020]

anybody ever hears back. But, the fact of the matter is, if you do get a firearms licence, yes, you have to renew it at cost. Renewal fees. Let's talk about renewal fees. Canadians and Nova Scotians aren't getting off lightly. Renewal fees are $60 for all possession-only licences and for possession and acquisition licences for non-restricted firearms. So for a non-restricted firearm it is $60. It is $80 for a possession and acquisition licence for restricted and/or prohibited firearms.

Mr. Speaker, another case in point is, after the Chretien Liberals took office in Ottawa, do you remember how they cut the Canada Health and Social Transfer to the provinces? I am sure the members opposite remember. I know the Health Critic for the NDP remembers. I guess, what I am saying, if we can find $1.5 billion in the federal treasury to spend on what really is a bogus Firearms Act, why the heck can't we find money to put in health and education in this country. Something is absolutely wrong. There is something fundamentally wrong in this country when we are going to spend $1.5 billion on a bogus Firearms Act. It is attacking law-abiding citizens in this country, and in Nova Scotia. It is outrageous. I am pleased that the NDP has finally seen the light on this issue. I notice the honourable member for Hants East nodding his head because that honourable member has taken a stand on this particular issue. He is the only one in that caucus who stood up for his constituents.

Now the question is, do I also need a firearms licence if I have a hunting license? The answer again, yes, you also need a firearms licence if you have a hunting licence. This is a costly boondoggle. These taxes and user fees are being thrust upon law-abiding citizens in Nova Scotia. It is absolutely unconscionable. I know you feel that way too, Mr. Speaker, because you took a stand in Cumberland South on behalf or your constituents, and my colleagues in my caucus have taken a stand, too.

Why don't we focus on the criminal element that is wrongly using firearms? That is the . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

MR. TAYLOR: My next question, Mr. Speaker. I took a firearms safety course a few years ago, but it was not a Canadian firearms safety course. Would this other course be acceptable? Do you know what you have to do? Well, you contact the chief firearms officer of your province, and he will tell you whether or not it is acceptable.

Now, another question that Canadians and Nova Scotians are asking my colleagues, and they are probably asking members opposite, I hear the Canadian firearms safety course has been changed. How will the changes affect me? Well, the changes to the Firearms Act have been changed to reflect the new law and the regulations that are constantly evolving. So, the fact of the matter is, how are Nova Scotians going to know from one day to the next what the regulations actually are, Mr. Speaker?

[Page 5021]

This is just absolutely outrageous. I hunt to provide sustenance for my family. Do I get a break from the registration fees? Mr. Speaker, did you know this? I bet the members opposite did not know this. Sustenance hunters do not have to pay to register their long guns. To find out if you qualify as a sustenance hunter, call the Office of the Chief Firearms in Nova Scotia. I called the Chief Firearms Officer, Mr. Kramers' office, and do you know what I was told - that nobody in Nova Scotia, as of yet, has qualified as a sustenance hunter. So, therefore, anybody who wants to register a firearm in Nova Scotia must comply with all these regulations and guidelines. It is absolutely ridiculous.

Mr. Speaker, another question members opposite might hear from their constituents: I have heard all kinds of rumours about how much it will cost to register my hunting rifle, how much will it cost? If you had registered back on December 1, 1998, to November 30, 1999, it was only $10. As of today, it now costs $18. So it has gone from $10 to $18 to register one single firearm, but collectively you can register en bloc for the same price.

What does the law say about registering my firearms? The Criminal Code, Mr. Speaker, is brought into the Act. Do you know that the penalties that are meted out to law-abiding Nova Scotians and Canadians are represented in the Criminal Code of Canada and they are more severe than committing the act of murder in some cases. It is right in this document, right here, and that is absolutely shameful. What is this country coming to?

Will the Firearms Act allow the police to search my house without a warrant just because I have registered rifles? Get this, Mr. Speaker, and get this, members opposite, an inspector may only enter and inspect places where he or she has reasonable grounds to believe firearms are stored. Can you believe it? No warrant is even necessary in some cases. So I am really surprised and, again, I have to especially condemn, perhaps I could go a little lighter and just mildly criticize the former Liberal Regime for saying nothing on behalf of their constituents. They absolutely kept their mouths shut on this issue and as a consequence by supporting Jean Chretien's Ottawa Liberals, that program is going to cost $1.5 billion. No money for health in Nova Scotia. No federal money for education. No federal money (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

The honourable member for Dartmouth-Cole Harbour has four minutes.

MR. DARRELL DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, I think somebody should call Barnum and Bailey because we found their opening act. At this time and given what the member has said, it is so incredibly ludicrous that I am going to have to move the previous motion was to adjourn the House, so I am going to move to adjourn the debate and ask for a recorded vote.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

[Page 5022]

The motion is out of order because according to the rules, only one motion to adjourn immediate proceedings (Interruptions)

Order, please.

The honourable member for Sackville-Cobequid.

MR. JOHN HOLM: Mr. Speaker, very definitely, the previous motion before this was to adjourn the House and that was a point that the member who made the motion was very clear on.

Mr. Speaker, when you were calling the vote, I was stating that it was to adjourn the House and it was obvious, and if you wish to adjourn the House right now to go and review Hansard, you will see it was a motion to adjourn the House. This is an entirely different motion. This is to adjourn the debate in support of the motion that is here and I call for a recorded vote.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, I think the honourable member is trying to circumvent a very clear rule which says that there must be another order of business before another motion to adjourn is considered.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

The honourable member for Sackville-Cobequid.

MR. JOHN HOLM: The Government House Leader knows the rules very well in this place, Mr. Speaker, and he knows that there does have to be intervening business for the same motion to be moved twice. We cannot have two motions to adjourn the House without intervening business. We have two entirely separate, different motions. The first was to adjourn the House. This is to adjourn the debate.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. I have made my decision that the motion is out of order. (Interruptions)

Order, please.

No, the honourable member has had two chances. You have until 3:47 p.m. if anyone else would like to speak to the motion.

[Page 5023]

[3:45 p.m.]

The honourable member for Sackville-Cobequid.

MR. JOHN HOLM: Mr. Speaker, I am going to speak for the moment or so that is left to suggest that obviously there is a need for the House of Assembly's committee to meet in the very near future because quite obviously sometimes there are some different and creative interpretations of the rules, like that given by the Government House Leader.

Now I cannot, in my place, Mr. Speaker, question and challenge your rules and I certainly am not going to violate the rules to do that. However, there is nothing that prohibits me from challenging the advice that is given to you, the incorrect advice given to you by the Government House Leader that is self-serving and it is self-serving for this government.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order, I was offering advice to the House, not necessarily entirely to the Speaker. The Speaker makes the decision, not the House Leader. (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

MR. HOLM: . . . Mr. Speaker, that when he is giving advice (Interruptions) especially to a Speaker who hasn't been in the Chair for a long time, that has become very obvious and it is self-serving, I would suggest on behalf of this government.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is carried.

[ 3:47 p.m. The House resolved itself into a CWH on Supply with Deputy Speaker Brooke Taylor in the Chair. ]

[6:00 p.m. CWH on Supply rose and the House reconvened. Mr. Speaker, Hon. Murray Scott, resumed the Chair.]

MR. SPEAKER: We have reached the moment of interruption. The subject for the late debate this evening was submitted by the honourable member for Halifax Needham:

"Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House unanimously call for the continuation of CBC's 1st Edition and make their support clear to the federal Minister of Canadian Heritage, Sheila Copps, and President and CEO of the CBC, Robert Rabinovitch."

[Page 5024]

ADJOURNMENT

MOTION UNDER RULE 5(5)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Fairview.

CBC - 1ST EDITION: CONTINUATION - SUPPORT

MS. EILEEN O'CONNELL: Mr. Speaker, I rise on the resolution tonight in some alarm and some concern that I think is shared by a great many members in this House, if not indeed all of them. Let me say two things right at the outset. Number one, most members of this House and people who work here know that a family member, a person related to me, is employed by 1st Edition. I want the House to know, and the public to know, that I was a fan of 1st Edition long before that came to be and, secondly, and way more importantly, in my teaching years I did a great deal of work around media literacy and worked hard to teach it in my classroom, to teach myself and, in fact, inserviced hundreds of other teachers on this subject. I am not the least bit ashamed to do my duty as the Culture Critic for the Party by standing up and speaking loudly in favour of this resolution and maybe speaking very loudly given the excitement that is going on outside.

Mr. Speaker, I don't know how many people in this House know that of all the countries in the world, Canada leads and has for 40 or more years led the world in understanding electronic communication. We all know Marshall McLuhan. We all know his famous condensed saying, 'the medium is the message' but there were others with him who characterized the electronic media in simple ways that have turned out to be profoundly true and which deeply have affected the culture of our region in Nova Scotia.

Two things, Mr. Speaker, two first premises of electronic culture according McLuhan and others, the first one is that electronic media moves culture to the centre. This premise has been borne out sadly in Nova Scotia up to now and if we do not stop it, it is going to continue its process of movement towards the centre. Many years ago the CBC was able to have stringers in the regions. They went except for Yarmouth. Then the next thing that went was CBC Sydney. Now the central media gurus at CBC in Toronto want to take Nova Scotia's suppertime and evening news out of this province altogether and instead tell us what is going on in Nova Scotia as Toronto sees it.

This is a perfect example of the notion that electronic media moves culture to the centre and, Mr. Speaker, I have to say that the next step, and they don't seem to be aware of this, is it keeps centralizing and the next place that media electronic culture will move is to New York or Atlanta. Then in spite of our efforts, our rearguard efforts to fight for a distinct Canadian and distinct regional cultures, we will be left with Americans, no less, telling us who we are, what we should be doing and what we have done.

[Page 5025]

The second characteristic of electronic media that is an absolute, if you like a biblical truth, a commandment, is that electronic media homogenizes culture. Now, do we want to homogenize culture? Of course, we do not. Regional culture is the very culture that we have defended in another late debate in this House, the value of communities, whether they be ethnic, whether they be artistic, whether they be crafts, whether they be rural or whether they be urban.

Mr. Speaker, our communities right now, are rich and diverse and have a rich and diverse artistic and other cultures. If we lose a voice that reports to us about ourselves from where we live and work within our culture, we will lose a major portion of ourselves. It is bad enough we have had to fight American influence in this country through the homogenization of television, culture and our proximity to the United States.

In the past, the CRTC has been a regulator for electronic medium, for radio and television. It is not interested in regulating new media. So, there are very few mechanisms left by which we can salvage this voice that belongs to us that is reflected back to us and, many times we don't agree with it, and let's just get that right out here, politicians, in particular, may sometimes object to what is said about them or how they are depicted. Who will say anything to the people of Nova Scotia about our provincial politics, as well as everything else, if we do not have a news culture in this province. There are those who will say, well, the privates can do it. With all respect to the privates, news loses money, as I understand it, and whether or not the privates will stay in the markets if the CBC is gone is a question that remains to be answered

Mr. Speaker, in the last number of years, since the NAFTA Treaty, we have found ourselves in the position of defending ourselves against another culture and another nation. We have persistently said that culture is not a commodity. That is what we are talking about here, who we are and how we see ourselves. Last week, the Minister of Heritage, herself, went down to the United States, she showed the new beer commercials and, as the member for Cape Breton Centre pointed out earlier, we not only have the best beer, we have the best beer commercials. If the Minister of Heritage is going to go down to the United States and show them, through the medium of television advertising, who we are, and that they don't know anything about us, what does that say about the risk that we will lose yet another voice that depicts ourselves to ourselves in this province?

Mr. Speaker, a few minutes ago, in the budget estimates, I asked the Minister of Tourism and Culture a question that had nothing to do with his own department and that is, will you help the rest of us? Will the government, will the Conservatives, will the other side of this House help the Liberals and the NDP fight this terrible decision that it is going to gut this province of a regional news show. The commitment was made there. So I await the clear statement of what it is we will all do to bring this thing together in some way so we can all do what has to be done. We have to do much more than what is in this resolution. It is fine for us to talk to Sheila Copps and send her messages. It is fine for us to make our voices

[Page 5026]

known to the President and the CEO of the CBC, Robert Rabinovitch, but we have to do a lot more then that. We have to get all those people who understand who we are and want to salvage our culture as it exists in this province, to reawaken their interest in saving it, bring them together and, ultimately, have some voice in central Canada before central Canada is us. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Community Services.

HON. PETER CHRISTIE: Mr. Speaker, I am going to intervene for a few minutes to make a few comments on this important topic, and share the time with the honourable Minister of Tourism and Culture. I think, as the honourable member indicated, the programs that we have from Halifax and the ones in Nova Scotia have been extremely important over the years. A lot of us will go back in time and remember some years ago when we used to have the programs on from Halifax, with Don Tremaine and Rube Hornstein and those people. I guess perhaps you are showing your age at some point in time, but we all remember. Those people became local folk heroes to us, we all looked foward to the news.

One of the things I was involved with before I came to this House was the book industry. The book industry is somewhat akin to that, in that if you get away from having local authors, if you get away from having local input and having local content, then you start to lose some of that. It is through having the content from local writers, it is having the development of local singers, local talent that we have seen, that brings the message home to Nova Scotians, and it helps take forward the Nova Scotia message.

This particular issue that we are talking about this evening is the evening show on CBC. Now, whether we all agree with the format of the show, whether we all agree that the show brings the content and brings opinions that we want, I think all of us would agree that we should have programming done local; that is extremely important, that we keep viewing that.

The national agenda on culture has certainly been varied over the years. It has gone from cultures of different sectors, it has gone from cultures that are trying to be national to trying to break down at the local areas. I think as people have looked over the years at the cultures across the province and across the country, they have seen that to bring forward our talent, to bring forward those views and opinions, they have to be developed and brought forward on a local basis.

I think that is one of the reasons why I wanted to intervene on this particular motion, because I too, as a member of this area and a member of this Legislature, believe that if we are going to have the opinions, if we are going to have the reasons, and bring forward all the ideas and thoughts of people in Nova Scotia, then we have to have programs such as the CBC news. As I indicated to you, whether it is the news side of things, whether it is the artistic or the writing side of things, if you don't promote the area that you are in, if you don't promote

[Page 5027]

the talent, if you don't promote those things, then you start to lose some of these things. Once you have lost things, it is very hard to get them back, and it provides a lot of the things.

Mr. Speaker, as I indicated, I wanted to share the time with the Minister of Tourism and Culture, and I would relinquish the floor to him.

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

HON. RODNEY MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, thank you to the honourable member. I appreciate his words, as I am sure does the rest of the House.

AN HON. MEMBER: Play your fiddle.

MR. RODNEY MACDONALD: I won't be going out and playing a tune tonight, I don't think; maybe some other night. I would like to thank the honourable member for Victoria.

The topic of discussion is the CBC, and it was a topic brought up during the estimates by the honourable member for Halifax Fairview. I should also mention that I believe there are two resolutions so far that were put on the floor of the House; one by my colleague and now the second from the NDP caucus.

Mr. Speaker, I do agree with the honourable member that an all-Party approach towards this would be in the best interests of not only my Department of Tourism and Culture but of the province as a whole. I am certainly willing to sit down with her or members of her caucus, or the Liberal caucus, to push the message forward that the CBC is very important here in the province.

The word that comes to my mind when I start thinking about the CBC is identity. It is about the identity of who we are as Nova Scotians, it is about the identity of whether you are from the Springhill area, Inverness County, Victoria, Cape Breton North, the South Shore, or Yarmouth. When I think of identity I always think a lot of what the CBC has done in my area and down in the Sydney area, in Cape Breton West especially, they have done a lot of great things. I think of people in CBC Radio, like Wendy Burkefelt, for instance, who does a tremendous job of helping promote the culture in that area, and CBC Television. The CBC has been a great part of not only our identity as Canadians but as Nova Scotians.

When I think of the CBC, when I think of identity, I remember listening and watching the shows, and whether they are poking fun at the member for Cape Breton West or the member for Cape Breton East, I always enjoy that part of the show more so than anything. I want to say that this is an issue which I do take very serious and I do feel an all-Party approach would be in the best interest.

[Page 5028]

The honourable member for Halifax Fairview, I was kind of surprised because when I came in she was almost saying, I wish the government would come out with a statement. Well, in fact, an hour and a half ago I had already made a statement in Hansard regarding this very issue. She knew that and I was quite surprised by that issue. (Interruption) Oh, did you say that? I apologize for that, Mr. Speaker. I would like that noted, that I do apologize. (Interruption) Did you? I am sorry, I missed that. I would like to make sure that is in Hansard, to indicate that I do renege those remarks and I do appreciate the comments made by the member for Halifax Fairview.

The next thing to be determined will be how we approach this situation and what is decided by an all-Party approach in making our point towards the federal government and to the minister responsible. Mr. Speaker, I can say that I do take this issue very seriously and I didn't realize it was going to be debated tonight. When I heard the honourable member telling me in estimates that it was going to be debated, I had to participate. I said, that is an issue I have to take part in, yes. I felt compelled to take part in this debate tonight.

Mr. Speaker, again I do want to go back to the identity part of this. The CBC regionally, not only in Nova Scotia but in the Maritime Provinces, New Brunswick and P.E.I., it is not only a way of connecting the province and connecting our music and our talent, and whether it is something to do with the arts, whether it is something to do with local and regional news, it is very important that we have that outlet. It is a way we learn about ourselves and we see what other parts of our province are doing and what other parts of the Maritimes are doing, it is a connection. I know they have done a great deal for a variety of my friends, and I think of people like the Rankin Family, for instance. The Rankin Family is a big part of my community, as well, it has been a large part of Nova Scotia, and I am sure on the Eastern Shore the Rankin Family is as well known there. One of the reasons is because of the CBC.

I would like to say, and I am sure that whether you are an artist or a musician, whether you are from Yarmouth or from Glace Bay, this is something which is very important, not only to the growth of the culture and the arts here in Nova Scotia, but also the growth for ourselves. I think about how many people who are leaving areas like the Eastern Shore and I think about how many people have to leave areas like Glace Bay or New Waterford or Inverness County or Richmond or Shelburne or the Valley, who have to go away looking for work. When they do come back, Mr. Speaker, they have the opportunity to watch CBC and learn something about themselves and learn something about their heritage and part of their history and culture.

So I would like to thank the honourable member for Halifax Fairview for bringing this issue up. Again, I can certainly say it is one I take very seriously and I look forward to working with both her and somebody from the Liberal caucus on this issue. I am sure every member of our caucus would like to pass on the same message and we sincerely hope CBC will be here for a long time, to stay. We certainly believe they do add a lot, to not only the

[Page 5029]

culture of Nova Scotia but also to the economy of Nova Scotia as well. Socially, it is a very important part of our beautiful province and the life here.

MR. SPEAKER: Your time has expired.

The honourable member for Cape Breton East.

MR. DAVID WILSON: Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the comments of the minister, and I would certainly be willing to say that on behalf of the Liberal caucus, we would be willing to work in all-Party support for this resolution. The resolution of course is that, ". . . all members of this House unanimously call for the continuation of CBC's 1st Edition and make their support clear to the federal Minister of Canadian Heritage, Sheila Copps, and President and CEO of the CBC . . .".

It is a pleasure for me to rise in support of this motion because I am certainly well aware of the impact that cuts to regional programming can have. It wasn't that long ago that there were a couple of supper-hour newscasts broadcast out of Sydney, and first the private broadcaster in the market decided that they then became a part of the network, of course, the Atlantic Television Network. What happened in that instance was that an hour-long supper-time news show disappeared. Then later on CBC's Sydney station decided their local hour-long supper-time news program, Cape Breton Report was also cancelled as well.

When those programs were cancelled, it had a tremendous impact on employees and their families. If that wasn't bad enough, it also took a little piece of Cape Breton. It died in that instance, and we lost a little bit of our identity as well, because news has a tremendous impact on our communities. I can speak personally to that comment because I spent over 20 years in the news industry. One of the main competitors against private broadcasters in any market, of course, is the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. What that does is it creates competition within that market itself. It actually serves to make any journalist, in this case broadcast journalists, better journalists because of that competition that is there. Most importantly, what would happen in this case with the loss of 1st Edition would be the loss of local identity. You can probably recall, Mr. Speaker, every night when you turn on 1st Edition, News for Nova Scotia. I think that is very important to Nova Scotians that they have a local supper-hour news program and that it is to continue.

I don't think all of the CBC programming should end up in a few blocks of Toronto real estate. I think that would be a mistake. Instead of solidifying regional programming, CBC has chosen to build a broadcasting palace, so to speak, in Toronto. Certainly in Cape Breton we have seen more than a few institutions taken from our community as well. There is really no reason why the CBC can't sell that palace and just put the money back into the local regions where it should be. Mr. Speaker, regional programming must be preserved and expanded. It should not be cut. An argument is used by some that certainly, well, we have private stations, that should be enough. Indeed, those private stations do a tremendous job in their newscasts.

[Page 5030]

Their staff are certainly nothing but top rate. But the loss of CBC would make it that much easier for government to perhaps implement some bad policy or even deceptive policy.

There are some days, I am sure, some members of this House in particular, the last few months, but some members of this House on the government side would say that it is very difficult to watch CBC in the evening, because if you turned on 1st Edition this evening, for instance, you would see that very large protest that is happening outside the Legislature. That can be very difficult for some politicians sometimes, watching that sort of thing going on. You know, Harry and Parker, or sometimes there is a guy by the name of Paul Withers, who might take a few shots here and there at politicians or perhaps at the government. It is that kind of hard-hitting style that is also necessary for an open democracy, and I think that is fairly important.

Of course, as the honourable Minister of Tourism has indicated, there is certainly more to the CBC than just news. It has the ability of local programming to be produced here, not only for local, but for national and international distribution as well. That is very important. The loss of local programming would make it that much harder to find an audience for high-quality shows that are produced in Nova Scotia. That, certainly, is a shame and, as I mentioned, I would fully support this resolution, Mr. Speaker.

It is a major expense, as my honourable colleague from the New Democratic Party mentioned earlier. News is a major expense in private broadcasting and I would take it - although I have never worked at the CBC, it has always been when you start out as a broadcaster, I would expect that, certainly, one of those goals that you aim for is to work for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation because of their tremendous track record and because they do some pretty excellent work.

Now, as I mentioned, it is a big ticket item and that can, to a lot of private broadcasters, have a big effect on just how much news they do. I think by standing here in this Legislature today - and another honourable colleague of mine, the member for Cape Breton Centre, would be able to attest to this, as well - that sometimes private broadcasters will take a look at the bottom line, more so than anything else, and it leads to such things as downsizing - the big 'd' word - and cuts. (Interruption) What happens, unfortunately, in that case, is people lose their jobs. I am an example of that. I think my honourable colleague, the member for Cape Breton Centre is another example of that, what happens when that does occur. (Interruption)

That may have been a possibility that he wasn't doing his job but, from time to time, I worked with him and that did happen from time to time, I will agree, but for the most part he did do his job. That is quite correct. I think though, in no joking manner, Mr. Speaker, that it has a tremendous impact on our communities when you have such a program as 1st Edition, the news for Nova Scotia. The news-gathering that is done, not only from the capital

[Page 5031]

of Halifax in this province, but also from every little community across this province that has put on a province-wide newscast, is very important to the people of Nova Scotia.

1st Edition is so important some nights that people will go out of their way to watch 1st Edition. They will leave whatever they are doing and just drop whatever they are doing to go watch 1st Edition. For example, I can remember one night here in this very Legislature, that the entire Tory caucus found it so important that they had to go watch 1st Edition, what was on that program, that they forgot that they had to take a quorum in the Legislature; it was because of the importance of 1st Edition. I can understand all of the members of the Tory caucus wanting to watch what was going to be on that newscast that night. It is extremely important that we have access to that type of programming, Mr. Speaker. Not just because we might lose a quorum, but I think it is important that Nova Scotians hear that type of news and exactly what is going on in their community.

Again, Mr. Speaker, I certainly welcome the comments from the honourable Minister of Tourism. I think that is a great idea. Perhaps, some form of an all-Party committee can be struck from this Legislature to, certainly, build on this resolution and to take it a step further. I think the pressure should be put on people like the head of the CBC and the Canadian Heritage Minister in the federal government, that perhaps we have to get our message across in a bigger, stronger way, just how important 1st Edition is to all Nova Scotians and because of that local identity that I was talking about, it is not just chopping another TV program. You are doing more when you talk about getting rid of 1st Edition. You are taking away what people have come to expect, and that is some solid news broadcasting and some differing opinions that are aired, certainly, on CBC and their 1st Edition program on a nightly basis.

So, again, Mr. Speaker, it was my full intent to speak in support of this motion. I agree with it. Again, I would reiterate that I agree with the honourable Minister of Tourism and I think we have agreement from all three Parties here in the Legislature that, perhaps, some sort of all-Party support should be quite evident, coming from this Legislature. There have been resolutions introduced. If we can take that any further then, certainly, that would be my intention and the intention of the Liberal caucus to fully support that idea and to fully work with the goverment and the NDP caucus, as well. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. I would like to thank the members for taking part in this debate this evening. The House will now resolve itself back into a Committee of the Whole House on Supply.

[6:30 p.m. The House resolved itself into a CWH on Supply with Acting Deputy Speaker Mr. William Dooks in the Chair.]

[8:18 p.m. CWH on Supply rose and the House reconvened. Mr. Speaker, Hon. Murray Scott, resumed the Chair.]

[Page 5032]

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

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

MR. SPEAKER: Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, would you please call the order of business, Public Bills for Second Reading.

PUBLIC BILLS FOR SECOND READING

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 46.

Bill No. 46 - Financial Measures (2000) Act.

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

MR. KEVIN DEVEAUX: Mr. Speaker, I am glad to be able to have a few moments to talk about the motion to hoist Bill No. 46 for a six month period in order to give this House and the people of Nova Scotia an opportunity to think a little more about exactly why this particular bill is of concern, and why in six months our province may have more time to really better understand the exact implications of this legislation and its impact on the voters and the people of Nova Scotia.

Mr. Speaker, it is important to understand that six months is a long period of time. It is a period of time in which Nova Scotians - and we have already seen, within the last two, two and one-half weeks, since the budget came out on April 11th - have seen the impact of this budget, we have seen the anger and the emotion that it has created within the people of Nova Scotia. It is important to understand that in the next six months, it would give people an opportunity, quite frankly, to calm down somewhat, to have an opportunity to take a look at this legislation with a little more lack of passion, and maybe look at the numbers a little more clearly, and from there be able to have a better understanding of its implications.

[Page 5033]

Mr. Speaker, I think a lot of the problems in the last few weeks, that we have seen, and I don't necessarily consider them problems, but the rallies, the protests, the e-mails, the letters, the phone calls are because people understand that this budget process is so short. It is only a matter of weeks before the government has an opportunity to pass through its legislation, its Financial Measures (2000) Bill, its budget. But six months would give the people of Nova Scotia a great opportunity to really understand exactly where this is going to impact the most on Nova Scotians.

Obviously, there are some specific areas that in the next six months, the people of Nova Scotia will have a lot of opportunity to look at and get a sense of. Education is obviously one that has already been a major concern but in the next six months education can be addressed even more closely and give people the summer, whether it be the teachers or the parents or the students, an opportunity, coming back in September, to understand exactly where this is going to impact.

In the next six months, Mr. Speaker - and I will talk about this in a little more detail - health care will be an issue that will become more clear, as the health authorities or the health boards, or whatever you may want to call them, their budgets become finalized by the minister. In that six month period we will have a much better understanding of exactly what impact it will have on health care - job cuts, bed closures, equipment being taken away, sections of hospitals, like the cardiac care unit at the Colchester Regional Hospital, being closed. It is important that that six month period be given to enable people to have an opportunity to really understand the implications with regard to health care. Again, I will get into that in a bit more detail and discuss it on a local level as well.

In the next six months, with my constituents I will have an opportunity to think about and discuss Community Services. Obviously as the Critic for Community Services for my Party, that is an area that we are still finding - well, in fact, the minister has admitted that the other shoe is still to drop with regard to Community Services. It will be in the fall that he will introduce - in the next six months - be a new Act that will harmonize one rate between social assistance and family benefits. There will be many other implications in that legislation as to how people will be impacted, those who are in desperate need of assistance, those who don't want to have to rely on the government but must rely on the government. In the next six months there will be an opportunity to discuss in some detail exactly how that will be impacting on people.

I think, just as important, Mr. Speaker, we see on a daily basis, whether it be on television or those who may actually be involved in the stock market, global economics can change quite quickly in six months. This government has made certain determinations as to what the currency rate will be for the Canadian dollar. In the next six months that currency rate can change. The government can also assume certain interest rates and in six months those rates can change. This government can also assume certain rates with regard to investments it may have. It is important to understand that within six months that also can

[Page 5034]

change. So I guess it is important on all those fronts to have a real appreciation of exactly what this budget means.

Quite frankly, and this was noted earlier I think today, or it might have been yesterday, Mr. Speaker, in one of the Question Periods by one of the ministers, that the budget for 1999-2000 was not passed until November 1999, well past the six month mark for the fiscal year. So it is quite clear there is no legal reason why the budget has to be passed quickly; there is no legal reason why the government needs to ensure that this budget is passed. Cabinet can issue warrants to extend funding.

Quite frankly, Mr. Speaker, if this government is serious about its commitment in the blue book, if this government is serious about its election promises that we have heard recently how some ministers have quite eloquently stated that they only learned to tell the truth after the election, it is important that if this government wants to hold true to its promise to its commitment to Nova Scotians to consult, to its commitment to Nova Scotians to listen and to ensure that whatever moves it makes will be ones that Nova Scotians feel comfortable with, six months are important to ensure that can be done.

We never saw the consultation beforehand, we never saw the discussions beforehand, we never saw this government take the time to talk to Nova Scotians. It is important that that be done. Nova Scotians must know and must understand what this budget will mean for them, what it will mean when their children return to school in September, which is less than six months from now, what it will mean when they want to - hopefully this won't happen but there are going to be people who will need emergency rooms in the next six months. We will find out much more clearly exactly what it is going to mean for them.

There are people who are going to want to try and move from welfare to work and have dreamed about this and thought this was an important step forward. Maybe they have been able to build up the confidence or to keep a little savings that they are going to be able to use now to move from welfare to work. In the next six months that could be devastating if this budget is not properly interpreted.

Mr. Speaker, that is important. All these issues are important, and I would hope this government would support a motion that would give the people an opportunity to understand exactly what is going on. Quite frankly, as I said, this Cabinet can issue warrants, they did it last year, that allow for the government to ensure the economy can keep moving, the government can continue to pay its bills, but at the same time, consultation will be allowed. In a democracy, consultation should be the top priority.

Mr. Speaker, someone said that we live sometimes, some call it a quasi-democracy, because in Canada, unlike some other democratic countries, we elect a government, and if they are a majority, they have four years, up to five years actually, in which they stay without

[Page 5035]

having to actually go back to the people for a mandate. In the United States people actually have to re-elect their congressmen or congresswomen on a two year basis.

MR. PAUL MACEWAN: Senators, that is six years.

MR. DEVEAUX: Senators are six years, as the honourable member for Cape Breton Nova points out, but actually one-third of them are rotated every two years, which ensures a turnover, a changing of the water on the beans, so to speak. Quite frankly, given a six-month hoist, this government would maybe have a better opportunity. They don't have to go back to the people for years, but truly, if they want to see themselves as a government with any chance of being re-elected, if they want to see themselves as a government that will have an opportunity to have the respect of the people of Nova Scotia, they will give six months in order to try and build some consensus.

Getting back to the United States, you have governors of states who are elected on a two year basis. We may look at that as something that is quite incomprehensible. How can a governor manage on a two year mandate? The Americans see it as an important check and balance. In Canada, using the parliamentary system from the U.K. thought differently. Mr. Speaker, what truly is important is that we use our democratic process as we can, and this hoist motion is the key part of that to enable some form of democratic accountability, when our constitution may not see that it is necessary. It is things like the hoist motion, and the ability of this Opposition to continue to fight for the rights of Nova Scotians to be consulted, to be listened to, that will ensure that this is not becoming a quasi-democracy, but that this government will listen and will be forced to have to listen to the people of Nova Scotia.

Mr. Speaker, I think it is important to take a look at this on a more personal level or more local level, and that is why I want to talk about this with regard to my particular riding of Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage. This is a riding, I will note, that in the 15 months between March 24, 1998 and July 27, 1999, grew at a fairly big rate. This is a riding that probably gained about 1,000 people in that short period of time. I think it is important to recognize that in six months, this riding, my riding, could end up having an extra 500 people, and how many of those are children; a lot. (Interruption)Well, in fact, the member for Timberlea-Prospect makes a good point, I have in my riding CFB Shearwater, and in CFB Shearwater there are a lot of people, every June, who leave and are shipped out either to Cold Lake or to Bagotville or Greenwood where they do work as mechanics and as pilots and administrators of the air force bases. Some move to naval bases like Esquimalt where the other Sea King base is.

Mr. Speaker, it is important to recognize that in the next six months there will be a large turnover of the personnel at CFB Shearwater, as there is every year, and there will be new people coming in. We don't know how many children. We don't know how that is going to impact the classroom. We don't know how many of those military personnel have wives or husbands who might have disabilities that are going to be addressed through the health care

[Page 5036]

system. I think it is important to recognize that in a riding like Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage, and I don't think it is that different than the other ridings, the kind of turnover we have, the growth in the population of that riding will result in major changes in the next six months. It is important to recognize that if we are going to ensure that the people of my riding have an opportunity to understand exactly what this budget means for them, they be given the next six months to really understand how that will happen.

[8:30 p.m.]

Let's talk a bit about education. As I said, this is actually a very important time. If this had been October, maybe six months would not make a great difference because we would still be in the same school year, budgets would have been set, but this is May. We are now into May 2000. Six months from now will be November and in that six months, Mr. Speaker, we are going to have a change in the school year. We are going to have one school year end. We are going to have an intervening period of two months in which children and teachers have an opportunity to catch their breath.

AN HON. MEMBER: Some of them will have six months.

MR. DEVEAUX: Absolutely and I will get to that in a second, but I think it is also important to recognize that in September those children will go back to school and those teachers will go back to school and those parents in September will have a real opportunity to really appreciate what will be happening to their classrooms. We saw this last year with the lunch fees in the former school board in Halifax County. Parents were furious in June when they were first told this was going to happen. Then it sort of died off, but within a few short months it became clear, when they went back to school, they actually had to pay that $200 a year, they remembered exactly the impact it had and they were furious once again.

The lobbying that was done in September 1999 to fight that lunch fee was as important as the lobbying done in June or July 1999 and it did have an impact. I give full credit to those parents, children and teachers who fought to ensure that the slippery slope of user fees was not imposed on them, but that we ensured that it was reduced as much as possible. Some schools eliminated it. There were some places where it was eliminated; other places, it was reduced to a minimum. The same thing can happen with our education system, with our schools, with our teachers, with our parents, and with our students when they have an opportunity to think about this budget and to really dwell on exactly what it is going to mean for them.

Let me talk about some of the specific schools and some of the people who are in those schools, Mr. Speaker. I will start with South Woodside. It is a lovely community, a working class community, right next to the Imperial Oil Refinery. It used to be known as Imperoyal, primarily because it was a company town which is something rare in the Halifax area. It was a company town that actually was built by Imperial Oil in 1918 when they built the refinery,

[Page 5037]

almost a throwback to the era of Cape Breton where you have many company towns, but the Imperial Oil town was different in the sense that it was in an area where there were not many others.

Mr. Speaker, that community has a school, South Woodside. It is a small school. It is a school that has a heart and in the next six months the people of that community will have a real opportunity to understand exactly what this budget will mean for them. They have been fighting for a couple of years now for something called inter-city school status. What does that mean? That means that the Halifax Regional School Board would recognize it as a special school, a school with a lot of people who socially and economically need help, a school where the students could use the extra services of a "Four-Plus" program, could use the extra services of resource teachers, could use the extra services of speech therapists, librarians, art programs and many other things that would be provided through inter-city school status.

They have been fighting for this and I have met with them. I have had a town hall meeting in Woodside and discussed this, Mr. Speaker, but, quite frankly, this budget changes everything and in the next six months those people at South Woodside School should have the opportunity to learn exactly how this budget is going to impact their chances to get the special funding and the special status their school needs. Their children deserve that. They are children who have the potential, like all other children in Nova Scotia, to grow up and achieve the most that they can, whether that be a plumber, or a bus driver, or a doctor, or a lawyer, or a priest. That should be their choice, but right now the education system is built against them. It is not equitable because of the community they come from and the opportunities that they might have.

An inter-city school status would help them, Mr. Speaker, but in the next six months they should be able to understand much more clearly whether this budget will make that a reality or will it destroy that opportunity and destroy a lot of opportunities for those children in the future. That is why this hoist motion is important. That is why we must continue to fight for this Financial Measures (2000) Bill to be delayed so that the people of Nova Scotia, the people of South Woodside School, the people of Everett Street, the people of the Bonnie Brae Trailer Court, have an opportunity to understand quite clearly what this is going to do to them.

Let's talk about the teachers in that school, and there are many good ones. This is actually quite telling, I think, because as I have listened to the Education debate, this is something that has come quite close to me, I have observed. This is going to result in a greater gap between the have schools and the have-not schools in Nova Scotia, and here is why. In the next six months, Mr. Speaker, here is an opportunity to really evaluate what that means. You look at the schools, and we heard about them in Question Period a couple of weeks ago, the schools where there would be massive lay-offs. Even now, maybe the permanent teachers will be safe, but the term positions are still going to be lost and that is

[Page 5038]

going to be a huge loss, whether it be in Halifax, in Eastern Passage, in Lawrencetown, in Yarmouth or in Cheticamp.

Those are going to be major losses. This is my concern and this is why. In those communities where the schools maybe don't have the ability to raise as much money and provide as many services, maybe the computers, maybe the technology isn't there. In those communities that socio-economically aren't as well-off, it is tougher to get teachers to go there for a lot of reasons. I see that in my own riding, where there are two high schools that dominate my riding. One school has all the bells and whistles; it is a great school and the students have had a great opportunity to proceed, to get a good education and to move on. In the other school - it is actually my old alma mater as a high school - Cole Harbour High, you have a school that is very good and has a real heart and it fights hard for everything it has, but it doesn't have the teachers with all the seniority.

The teachers with all the seniority want to go to the new school. They want to go to the school that they feel would be nicer, that would have cleaner air for all I know, but the school that they feel would be a better place for them to continue their professional development, and in the old school, Cole Harbour High - and when I mean old, ironically, we are only talking 20 years since it was built - that school, Mr. Speaker, has younger teachers, and a lot of those teachers are term positions. They fill in the void, where the senior teachers move on, and those teachers are in a position where they may be losing their positions.

How is that going to impact on those working class communities that use Cole Harbour High School? It is going to be devastating. Those places that may be working class or may be not as well-advantaged as other places have the younger teachers and, in the next six months, will have an opportunity to truly evaluate how those schools are going to ensure that we are not going to widen the gap between the have schools and the have-not schools. This budget could very well do that. I have seen that; I am beginning to see the implications. Even if we do get an agreement between the school boards and the province, with regard to funding, it doesn't affect the term positions that could be gone, and it will be those schools that are already disadvantaged that are going to be affected. In the next six months, we really have an opportunity to address that.

Mr. Speaker, we can go on and talk a bit about the number of children in classes. Again, in Woodside, it is a real issue. They do have the opportunity through supplementary funding, in government the province has mandated through the Education Act, but through the old City of Dartmouth, and then grandparented in to the HRM, the City of Dartmouth provides extra funding to those students in South Woodside and the class sizes are somewhat small.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. I remind the honourable member that he is to be speaking to the amendment that was introduced. I would ask him, how does the size of these classrooms relate to the six months' hoist that has been introduced, please?

[Page 5039]

MR. DEVEAUX: Mr. Speaker, thank you for asking; I appreciate the opportunity. Small classes are the norm right now and in six months, under this budget, the students and the parents and the teachers of South Woodside will have a better opportunity to understand exactly whether their class sizes are going to increase because of this budget. They will have a better opportunity to evaluate the numbers, evaluate the funding and its implications, and it class sizes, as we have heard, could very well go up under this budget.

Let's take six months to think about that. Let's take six months, not only to think about how that is going to affect South Woodside Elementary, not only how it is going to affect the people of Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage, let's talk about in the next six months how that funding is actually going to impact the people in Nova Scotia, longer term, not just in the next six months, but to use that as a window period to evaluate the long-term implications of these kind of budget cuts. Yes, it can mean larger class sizes; I think it will. But let's really think about that and what that is going to mean for the students and their parents in Nova Scotia. It is going to be devastating. I think that is why it is important in South Woodside that they have the opportunity in the next six months to seriously consider how this is going to affect them.

Let me talk for a minute about Cole Harbour. Cole Harbour is divided between my riding and my colleague, my seatmate, the member for Dartmouth-Cole Harbour, but it is important to recognize that a good chunk of that Cole Harbour area is in my riding. We are talking about an area that has a wide variety of individuals, but in the next six months they should have the opportunity to clearly understand exactly how this budget will affect them.

In particular, there are several schools in that area, three elementary schools: Colby Village Elementary School, Caldwell Road Elementary School and Astral Drive Elementary School and a junior high school, Astral Drive Junior High School, one of the largest junior high schools in Nova Scotia. Those schools are going to be affected by these education cuts one way or the other. You can rob Peter to pay Paul so to speak, as my friend the NDP Education Critic, has stated. In the next six months let's really understand exactly how this is going to affect us, how this is going to maybe prevent students from being able to learn to the top quality that they should be. I think it will, and that is why I am supporting this hoist motion because in the next six months the students and the parents of Cole Harbour should have the opportunity to really understand what this is going to mean.

Again, let me make a couple of suggestions. I have talked to people like Laura Lee Nichols, who is the President of the parent-teachers organization at Colby Village Elementary School. They are very concerned about what this budget will mean. They have more questions, I mean it is only recently that we had all these numbers being bandied about of the number of teachers who will be lost. Can't six months do a lot to ensure that these people, whether they be PTO presidents, whether they be home and school members, whether they be teachers, whether they be principals, give them an opportunity to truly evaluate and understand.

[Page 5040]

Number crunching can be done quickly, but we all know that when you rush that kind of thing it is easy to mistake the numbers and their impact. Six months gives us an optimum amount of time to understand exactly what is going to happen. It gives the parents, when they come back to school in September, a real understanding of how this is going to affect them and their children.

Let's talk about Lisa Nearing. Lisa Nearing is a teacher at Colby Village Elementary School someone whom I had gone to high school with - she teaches Primary. She was really caught in a dilemma, she told me she was in a situation where because she taught Primary, she might not be able to gather as much seniority time. In the next six months she should have an opportunity to have a better understanding, sitting down with her union, sitting down with here employer, sitting down with the Department of Education to understand exactly what this is going to mean to her, exactly what it is going to mean to her ability in the next six months to really understand how this will affect her. That is what is so important about this hoist motion. There are so many people out there, people like Laura Lee, people like Lisa, people like you and I, who in the next six months really need an opportunity to understand how this will affect them, how they can be consulted. As I mentioned earlier, consultation is the backbone of democracy. Particularly in a place like Nova Scotia and Canada where we have elections only on a four or five year basis when we elect a majority government.

It is important that we consult. If the government doesn't want to consult, like this government, it is important that we impose consultation and that is what this hoist will do. Let's impose consultation. This government won't do it, then we as an Opposition have the duty, not the privilege, but the duty, to ensure that a six months' hoist be imposed so this government is forced to talk to the people.

We have MLAs over there who are afraid to go back to their riding. They seem to only want to talk to people at 6:00 a.m. on Mondays. In the next six months, they will have that opportunity to consult fully with their constituents to really appreciate where they are coming from and, hopefully, then come back to this House in the fall and really understand exactly where they are going and why they are doing this.

On the other hand, maybe this gives six months for the members over there to be able to sell this budget to the people of Nova Scotia. Maybe it gives them six months to go out - town hall meetings - to go out and consult, to go out and meet, to go door to door. You did it last summer, the weather was beautiful. I hope we have another beautiful summer. MLAs for the Tories on the government side can go out and knock on every door in their riding and one on one talk to the parents, the teachers, the students and explain to them why they are doing this. Why it is important for them. That six month period will allow them to do that and that is why I think this hoist is important. Let's go out there, let's put on our running shoes and let's talk to our constituents, one on one. Then we will have a better understanding, in the next six months, of how this budget will impact. It gives you a great opportunity to sell this budget.

[Page 5041]

[8:45 p.m.]

It gives the Tories a great opportunity to really explain to the people of Nova Scotia why this budget is so important to the people of Nova Scotia. You hear the Premier saying it, you hear the ministers saying it, sometimes, that this is the bitter pill we must swallow to be able to get that long-term benefit. I think we heard that before, with John Crosbie, with the 1979 budget. Maybe you remember that, Mr. Speaker. Short-term pain for long-term gain, I think was the term he used about an 18 cent per litre, I think it was back then, increase in gas.

In the next six months, let's explain that short-term pain, long-term gain for the constituents and the people of Nova Scotia. Let's give them an opportunity to truly understand what this is going to mean. They might buy it, they may think they are right, but the most important thing is - and this is why the people are so upset - July 27th, they didn't vote for a government that said short-term pain for long-term gain. They didn't vote for a government that said, we will slash and burn your health care, your Education, your Community Services, and every other department, Agriculture, Transportation and Public Works. We will slash and burn those so that we can make this province better.

People might have bought that, but because they never told that to the people, they need the next six months to explain it to them and to have a real opportunity to consult them. Do you know what? We may hear from them as well. After they go out and talk to them in the next six months, if the people of Nova Scotia call me and say, we have changed our minds, these Tories have done the right thing, these Tories are on the right path. This six months' hoist has worked, because we as an Opposition then will listen, we will understand, and we can move forward with passing the Financial Measures (2000) Bill.

Those six months will have a dramatic impact, one way or another, on those MLAs in the Tory Government, they can sell it, they can pitch it to their constituents and make sure that they agree that this is important. Short-term pain for long-term gain. Or maybe, in the next six months, the constituents will tell those MLAs, education is an investment. In the next six months, you should listen to those constituents when they tell you, maybe, that this government is wrong. If we are to become a have-province, if we are to succeed, in the next six months those MLAs may very well hear that what they need to do is invest in education.

Let's not talk about people getting $5.00 an hour, $6.00 an hour jobs at Wal-Mart or McDonald's. Let's really dream big, let's talk about investing in education so more people graduate from high school. In the next six months, maybe they will hear from constituents who will tell them that if we invest in education, we will have more people with a post-secondary degree or a diploma. In the next six months, maybe they will hear from constituents who will tell them that if we invest, we can create people with the skills to go out and get the job that can compete in the global market.

[Page 5042]

In that six months, maybe these MLAs will believe, truly believe that this budget is not right, and that we must turn it around, and we must begin to fight for investing in education. This is a great example, we have six months to have a real debate, an ideological debate, one that wasn't had during the last election. In the next six months, we could have a debate about whether our province will move forward and succeed based on slashing and burning the government budget or by growing and investing. Simple. Maybe those are buzzwords to some people, but they surmise in a very short way exactly what this government should be doing, having a debate, one that was not truly put to the people back in July 1999. In the next six months, we can have that debate, we can have that discussion, we can begin to discuss whether people of Nova Scotia are tired of the cuts, are tired of this belief in short-term pain, long-term gain, and are truly ready to accept, or not, that we must invest, and by investing we will have people who are able to get higher-skilled jobs, people who are able to hold jobs for longer periods of time, people who will be healthier.

In the next six months, maybe we will hear from our constituents that they want to invest in education so that we don't spend as much on health care, in the long run. If we are serious about cutting health care costs, in the next six months, maybe we should have a debate about primary health care, about investing in the factors that allow someone to be healthier. One of the primary factors that makes someone healthy is their level of education. In the next six months we can have a debate about why investing in education means saving money in health care in the long run. Why don't we talk about that? Why don't we, in the next six months, talk about how investing in education means a higher tax base because people have better jobs, because people are being paid more and therefore, they are paying more taxes which, in turn, grows the economy so we can invest in more education.

This isn't just a pipe dream, these are things that are being done in Ireland right now. Look at what Ireland has been able to do, as a Celtic tiger. In six months let's have a debate about whether we want to be Ireland or Mississippi. Let's have a debate in the next six months about whether Ireland has the right equation for investing in education and building its economy or, in the next six months let's have a debate about whether we should be doing the Mississippi theory, which is cutting money, cutting taxes, cutting spending, in hopes of improving.

Mr. Speaker, in the next six months maybe those MLAs can take a junket to Ireland and to Mississippi and get a real sense of what is happening in both places and which one people are more likely to invest in. That is what this government should be doing in the next six months.

Mr. Speaker, I think it is important to recognize that in the next six months all this can be done. It can be done in a way that ensures that this government has an opportunity to listen and to mature. We can accept that in the first year any government, particularly this government, wasn't expecting to win. In the next six months they can mature greatly; they

[Page 5043]

can learn from their mistakes, they can build and they can turn this ship of state around and begin to really move towards a province that can succeed.

That is a debate we have to have in the next six months, it is about ideology. This isn't about Tory blue, Liberal red or NDP orange, this is about a belief system, what the role of government is. We heard about it in the Budget Address, we heard the Minister of Finance talk about it, but do you know what? He thinks he has a mandate. He did not get a mandate to do this; July 27th was not a mandate to do what this budget does. Let's take six months to really have a debate about the mandate for this government and whether or not they should be doing this. That is what six months can do for us; that is what we can do in that time period and that is why it is important to have this hoist bill pass. I'm sorry, I said hoist bill, Mr. Speaker, I meant hoist motion.

Six months is important, it is half a year but it is important to recognize. Half a year ago we were in November and we were debating the last budget. Did anyone really know the implications of this budget six months ago? I don't think so. In six months we can really understand exactly what it is going to mean for us.

Let me talk a bit about Eastern Passage, a place that is near and dear to my heart, Mr. Speaker, having grown up there and living in that community now. It has several schools that are going to be directly impacted by this budget and, in the next six months, the people of Eastern Passage can learn exactly what it is going to mean for them.

There are three elementary schools in Eastern Passage and in the next six months the parents and teachers and students of those schools can sit down and discuss what this will mean for them. We have what was originally known in the fall as Eastern Passage Senior Elementary, they changed the name to Seaside Senior Elementary, Grades 5 and 6, and Mr. Fowlie, the Principal, I have met with him before the budget came out and he already had problems, Mr. Speaker, with meeting his budget. It was a school that was sort of built on the fly, a new junior high school was built in Eastern Passage, the old junior high school became the senior elementary. No money was put into infrastructure, no playground equipment for the younger children who would be going there.

In the next six months we can really understand whether that is going to impact even more severely because of this budget. They were beginning to get on their feet at Seaside Elementary, they were beginning to see the light of day, whether it be through some funding or whether it be through fund-raising that allowed them to get the equipment they needed, whether it be a playing field that they could use, they saw the light of day. Mr. Speaker, in the next six months they can really appreciate whether this budget is going to bring them back to their knees and prevent the children from having the services and equipment and infrastructure they need to really, truly learn. That is what is important about the next six months and that is why this hoist motion must be passed.

[Page 5044]

Let's talk about Tallahassee Community School, one of only two community schools in Nova Scotia. By community I mean it is partially a community recreation centre and it is partially a school. I think the other one is in the riding of the member for Chester-St. Margaret's, I think it is Forest Heights Community School. Tallahassee Community School has had a long and proud history over the last several years of building good students, of having the services in place to help them grow and to make those students better students, when they move on to junior high and high school. I think it is important to recognize that in the next six months they will have an opportunity to understand how this budget will affect them, how this budget will either make or break their ability to continue to provide those services.

It is important to recognize, Mr. Speaker, that there is a difference between the former county, I mentioned that South Woodside in the former City of Dartmouth has supplementary funding but the former county in the Cole Harbour area, in the Eastern Passage area, they don't have supplementary funding. Some of the members over there, whether they be from Sackville, Beaver Bank, or Eastern Shore understand those issues quite clearly, particularly from their previous careers. But, in the next six months, those schools in the former county should be able to evaluate quite clearly. They don't get that supplementary funding. That supplementary funding may help the schools in the former cities alleviate some of the stress from the cuts. That supplementary funding can go into things that were maybe not core, but were important. Now they can begin to move that money from important matters to core matters so that they can continue to provide core services.

What about in the former county, Mr. Speaker? In the next six months, they should have the opportunity to truly evaluate whether or not the elimination of those programs and services can be and will be affecting their students. They don't have the supplementary funding, but maybe in the next six months, they can lobby the city to provide that supplementary funding for them as well. Maybe they can begin to look for other sources. If this government isn't willing to meet its commitment to invest in education, maybe the parents and children and teachers in the former Halifax County area can, whether it be through supplementary funding or some other means, address the issues that need to be addressed. That is what six months can do for them if they really understand what this budget will do.

Let's talk about Ocean View Elementary School. It is a school I used to go to when I was a kid. I tell you that school has been a school that has been growing. It was expanded a few years ago. Mr. Speaker, in six months, there has been big change, particularly in the population. We have seen where the Ocean View Elementary School's population overprojections will go down somewhat while the Tallahassee School will go up. In the next six months, we can get a clearer appreciation of whether or not the students at Ocean View Elementary School in Eastern Passage are going to have the teachers they need, whether their class sizes will grow because of this budget. Quite frankly, again, even within communities, you have schools where more senior staff go to the better schools, the newer schools, the schools with the bells and whistles, and maybe that will impact as well. In the next six months

[Page 5045]

we can take a look at that and see exactly how that is going to affect the students in Eastern Passage.

The real irony of all this, Mr. Speaker, and I think we are beginning to see this in the last couple of days, is that there is a brand new school in Eastern Passage, the Eastern Passage Education Centre, a junior high school, Grades 7 to 9. It is a school built under the P3 system and it is not my place today, because I have to talk about this hoist motion, to discuss P3. But I think it is important to note that it is a very, very good school. It is a school with a great staff. It is a school with great services. It is a school with great students. They want to learn and grow and move forward with their lives. This budget may stop that, may prevent them from being able to truly grow and learn and get the best possible quality education they can. In the next six months, shouldn't we give them an opportunity, the Eastern Passage Education Centre, to truly take a look at this budget and see how it is going impact them?

Lord knows, in the last couple of days, we have seen how the P3 schools have had their equipment removed. I haven't heard that this has happened at the Eastern Passage Education Centre, but it could very well be, or maybe they are next on the list. If we pass this budget tomorrow and then pass the Financial Measures (2000) Bill in another week or so, Mr. Speaker, maybe the next they go out and start taking equipment from these new schools, ones like Eastern Passage Education Centre. Let's give this six months for them to really appreciate what this will mean for them, what the budget will mean for the programs they are trying to provide, the equipment they are trying to provide, and whether or not this government does intend to actually take equipment from there or to not provide equipment that should be provided. That is what six months can do, and that is why this hoist motion should be approved.

As I said, Mr. Speaker, those are some issues around education. I have talked a fair bit about education, so let me go to health care. We have at the Dartmouth General Hospital, it is the one hospital for the Dartmouth area which covers 110,000, 120,000 maybe even more people. It is one of the fastest-growing areas in Atlantic Canada, if not Canada. It is important to recognize that this hospital is going to be impacted by this budget. Do you know what? I am not sure exactly how. Why? Because this government has produced the budget without consulting. It has produced the budget without actually asking those who are directly involved in the health care system, how their budgets will be impacted. I see the Minister of Health nodding his head and saying that this is probably true.

Mr. Speaker, I think it is important to actually recognize that if this budget is going to pass, let's give it six months, for the people in the Dartmouth General Hospital, for the people in the central health board, for the people in the central district health authority or whatever the heck it is going to be called, to truly recognize what this will mean for them.

[Page 5046]

They have to produce a budget. That budget does not even have to be passed to the minister until May 15th and then the minister has plenty of time, we don't know how long, to approve it. What are the cuts going to be? Will there be doctors who will not have privileges? Will there be services cut? Will there be beds closed? These are all questions I have and I cannot answer them when my constituents call and, quite frankly, if we had six months to discuss this further, to talk to the Minister of Health, to talk to the health boards, to get a sense of what this budget proposal is, we could talk to them and get a sense.

[9:00 p.m.]

Let those consumers of health care go out and talk to their MLAs, whether it be myself, or the member for Dartmouth South, or the member for Dartmouth East, or the member for Preston, who use the Dartmouth General Hospital, and tell them, the budget being produced by the Central Regional Health Board, or whatever it is going to be called after this government is done with it, does not allow for primary health care promotion. It takes away our CAT Scan, I don't know what it is going to do, and that is part of the problem. Six months will allow them to take a look at that budget and then discuss with their MLAs and then through them, the Minister of Health and the Premier, why they should not do this, why investing in health is important and why this government should particularly think twice about cutting from acute health care which is what they are doing in this budget.

Not wanting to be redundant, but talking about health care as well, I think it is important, Mr. Speaker, to recognize a six months' hoist motion, if it was passed, would give this government an opportunity to go out and sell the health care part of this budget. If this Minister of Health, if this Premier, if these backbench MLAs, truly believe that this is the right path to ensuring a stable and good health care system in Nova Scotia, go out and tell your constituents. Explain to them.

You have all summer to go out and talk to them, whether it be at barbeques, whether it be at summer fairs and carnivals, whether it be at the beach. Take your shoes off, rub your toes in the sand and go out and talk to your constituents about why they should in the next six months listen to you and begin to understand why this budget will save the health care system of Nova Scotia. Talk about why there are cost savings that we may or may not be producing through our budgets, why you can lay out a budget that every one of these regional health boards and district health authorities will be producing, why these budgets are good for health care in Nova Scotia, that six months will give these MLAs in the Tory benches a chance to really discuss this with their constituents and sell it to them.

That should be a golden opportunity because, quite frankly, I have not been in the House this long, the member for Cape Breton Nova has been in here much longer than me but, Mr. Speaker, in the last two years I have learned one thing, having gone through two elections, talking to your constituents is the primary way of getting re-elected.

[Page 5047]

AN HON. MEMBER: Listening to your constituents.

MR. DEVEAUX: Listening to your constituents is the primary way of getting re-elected and in the next six months you have a golden opportunity to do that. Constituents are not single-minded. If they hear that you are changing your mind, if they hear that you are listening to them, do you know what, you are changing the budget because of what they want, they may respect you for that and they may accept you in the next election as someone who listened to them. If you don't accept this hoist motion, if you don't accept the next six months as an opportunity to listen and discuss and create a dialogue on health care, Mr. Speaker, if you don't take the six months to do that, then I warn you, you will pay repercussions in the long run, not in the next six months, but in four years when you go back to the polls.

You heard the resolutions put forward today about what other members have had to face after doing things like this. I think there is an old saying, Mr. Speaker, if you don't learn from history, you are destined to repeat it. I am probably paraphrasing that to some extent, but in the next six months let this government learn from history and not repeat it. In the next six months give them an opportunity to try to explain this to the constituents, explain how health care will be affected, explain how this will save our health care system.

Quite frankly, in the Budget Address and in the Supply debate on Health, I was looking for some vision from the Minister of Health and from the Minister of Finance that would explain how health care will be saved, how this will do it but, Mr. Speaker, I have not heard it and I don't think many constituents have either in Nova Scotia. So let's take the next six months to listen to them, to talk to them about this, and explain exactly where we are going to take health care because that is what the Tories must do, that is what they are not doing, and in the next six months they can do it. They can try to explain this and, hopefully, begin a dialogue, something which, quite clearly, hasn't been done in the last six months, but in the next six months it can be done. This government should be able to learn from its mistakes

I am looking at the member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley.

MR. PAUL MACEWAN: On a question, Mr. Speaker. I wonder if the member who has the floor would permit a question? In reference to the motion that the bill will not be read now, but be read six months hence, I note that on Page 49 of the bill, in Clause 40(2) appears a mathematical formula: (A x B x C/D) + (E x (C - (B x C/D))). I wonder if the honourable member could advise the House his opinion as to whether it would require six months to understand the meaning of that particular mathematical formula?

MR. DEVEAUX: Mr. Speaker, well, that is a very good question from the member for Cape Breton Nova. I only finished two years of my Commerce Degree, so I am not sure I have enough education to understand exactly what the equation means. But you know what? In six months I would give it a try and so would every other voter in Nova Scotia. That is what six months can do. It can give the people of Nova Scotia an opportunity to know

[Page 5048]

whether they want to evaluate bizarre algebraic equations in Bill No. 46, or sit down with their constituents and talk about certain issues. It gives them an opportunity.

MR. SPEAKER: It seems like we have reverted this debate to Question Period.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: On a question, Mr. Speaker. The honourable member was quoting a formula in the bill and the honourable member for Cape Breton Nova brought it to his attention. I wonder if the honourable member is aware of the bill that was introduced about one year or two years ago with regard to the HST, which contained five pages of equations that even the minister couldn't begin to decipher?

MR. SPEAKER: Would the member for Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage like to answer?

MR. DEVEAUX: I will try. The point is, Mr. Speaker, it will take six months. No, it is important to remember that I wasn't in the House when that particular debate went on. Quite frankly, maybe I am in this House and I won my seat because that debate did go on. Maybe it was the stalling of members like the member for Hants West, at that time, and the motions that he brought forward and the debates that he had to try to stall the implementation of the HST that helped people of Nova Scotia better understand exactly what was being done to them and then they made a decision on March 24, 1998 that ensured that those types of things wouldn't happen again.

That is what six months, that is what a delay in discussion and allowing people to have an understanding exactly what a piece of legislation can do. I would hope that the member for Hants West, the honourable Government House Leader, when he was in Opposition, used these same tactics for the same reason. Because he knew the government was doing things he didn't agree with. I would hope that he would have the heart to understand that this is doing exactly the same thing and to take off the blinders of being a Government House Leader and look at this for truly what it is, for the effect that it is going to have on the students and the children and the parents and grandparents and the seniors and all those in Nova Scotia who will truly have to be affected by this budget.

Mr. Speaker, let's talk a bit about the fact that there are ways of saving money in the health care system. Let's talk about the fact that in the next six months, again, let's have a true debate about the future of health care. You know what? We didn't have that debate in 1999. This government, again, promoted the fact that they could save the health care system by spending, I think, $46 million. That is it. No major investments of $600 million. No cost savings here, $46 million would do it. Well, you know, in the next six months, let's have a debate about whether that is what they did in this budget. It isn't what they did. They cut the budget. I am not sure of the exact number, but it wasn't a $46 million increase in spending.

[Page 5049]

Mr. Speaker, let's talk about, in the next six months, how this government can truly fix the health care system. It is not too late for them to change. It is not too late for them to recognize the promises they made in 1999 can be kept. They are going in the wrong direction now, but in the next six months, let's give the voters of Nova Scotia an opportunity to truly talk to their MLAs, especially the Tory ones, and explain to them why health care must be saved. This isn't going in the right direction, and this is not going to do it, but we haven't had that debate because in 1999 this government, before it became a government, did not even promote this as a way of saving the health care system. Let's begin to talk about that. Let's use the next six months to debate, again, how we save health care.

Mr. Speaker, in the next six months that debate can include the fact that we have so many people who should be in long-term care beds and acute care beds. My understanding is, particularly in regional hospitals, that we are spending $1,000 per diem to keep someone who could be in a long-term care bed in an acute care bed. If they moved to a long-term care bed, that would be $100 a day. That is a difference of $900 a day, and we are talking about hundreds of people who could be in long-term care, but are in acute care.

Mr. Speaker, I have worked that out. Even if it was 500 - and that is just a round figure - it would work out to $160 million a year saved in the system by moving people from acute care to long-term care. Yes, there is a capital investment in building long-term care beds, but with the number of beds that are being closed and have been closed and will be closed, with the parts of hospitals that are there now, the infrastructure shouldn't be that great. We have the facilities that aren't being used; let's take advantage of those to build long-term care facilities. At $100 a day compared to $1,000 a day, in the next six months we could have a true debate about how we can save money in the health care system and reinvest it where it is needed. That is what six months can do, and that is why this government should begin to have a real debate about health care.

AN HON. MEMBER: It will fly by. That time will fly by.

MR. DEVEAUX: Time will fly by, and it is an opportunity for this government to truly listen. It is six months for this government to re-evaluate what it is doing, and that is what we need, and that is what this government must do.

I said I would talk a little bit about global economics. As I said, Mr. Speaker, it is important to recognize - and a lot of people have been predicting this - that in the next six months there could be major economic changes in the economy. I read in the paper today the economy will boom for another four years. I begin to worry when people talk like that. Six months is a long time in global economics, particularly these days. We saw in Mexico, only a few years ago, where a currency drop, a significant drop created massive economic change within six months.

[Page 5050]

This government should give six months to allow the people of Nova Scotia to really understand where the economy is going. There has been such volatility in stock markets; there has been volatility in currency markets. Let's have six months to really, truly understand where the government's numbers are legitimate and whether or not they will actually be able to truly apply these numbers, whether it be the currency rate they use, and I am not even sure what it is in this budget, but the number is under 68 cents now for the dollar. We saw, only a couple of years ago, where the Minister of Finance at that time had a number that was not reasonable and it resulted in a greater deficit than he was willing to admit.

Mr. Speaker, let's take six months to look at these numbers and see how solid they are and whether or not the economy, as it stands in six months, can truly legitimate the numbers they are using. Maybe the economy will do even better. There are rumours that our economy, that these numbers are actually low projections, and maybe we will grow at 4 per cent, maybe we will grow at 5 per cent, maybe we will grow at 6 per cent; a couple of years ago, people wouldn't even have thought of these numbers. In six months, economies have grown at an annual rate of 6 per cent or 7 per cent, whether it be the U.S. economy or parts of Canada. Why can't Nova Scotia be one of those as well, particularly with the oil and gas industry coming on line?

Mr. Speaker, it is important to say that maybe their numbers of revenue projections are lowball, are low expectations and, in the next six months, the people of Nova Scotia will have a true understanding, a better picture of exactly how much money they are going to be bringing in in revenue. Then maybe we can talk about the fact that we don't need to make the drastic cuts that this government is making, but that in the next six months this government can have a real opportunity to explain to the people how they will use that new revenue to begin to truly ensure that we are going to invest in education and invest in health care.

Mr. Speaker, let's also talk about the fact that we recently heard that the federal government is talking about not clawing back the equalization payments for 10 years for those places that are beginning to bring oil and gas royalties on line. I think it is important in those circumstances to recognize that in the next six months there could be some major developments in that area, and that could mean a huge windfall over the next 10 years for Nova Scotia, in royalties from oil and gas. And not just Sable, there are many more that are going to be coming on line, and we will have a better understanding of what that will mean. Back when the Cohasset/Panuke, they first declared in January that it was going to be drillable, and they were going to be producing, they said it would take about a year. Well, six months from now it will be near the end of the year, and they should be much closer to an understanding of how big that field is.

In the next six months, we could have a much better understanding of whether that means another pipeline, more construction, more jobs, more royalties. I think it will, but in the next six months we will have a much better idea to project what our royalties and our revenue will be, as a government. Again, we will have six months to understand whether the

[Page 5051]

federal government is truly serious about implementing this removal of the clawback of the equalization payments for 10 years.

[9:15 p.m.]

Those two factors together, plus such things - again, Mr. Speaker, we have discussions over the Laurentian field and the drilling of that. In the next six months we can see whether that is going to come on line. Maybe the arbitration will come in, maybe we can quickly deal with that as well and in the next six months Nova Scotia may be the one province that is solely controlling the royalties with regard to the Laurentian field - maybe we are not; maybe we are sharing it, maybe it is Newfoundland. But again, in six months we should be better able to project what type of revenue we can get and garner in royalties from that field.

There are many more out there but in six months, Mr. Speaker, those kinds of applications can truly ensure that we are going to be able to make sure that Nova Scotia knows exactly how this budget is going to impact on it. So having said that, and I see my time drawing to a close, I think it is important to recognize that this budget should be delayed for six months, this hoist motion should be dealt with and should be addressed but for now, and given the time of the evening, I move adjournment of debate on this Bill No. 46.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. The motion is for adjournment of debate on Bill No. 46.

A recorded vote is being called for.

Ring the bells. Call in the members.

[ 9:17 p.m. ]

[The Division bells were rung.]

MR. SPEAKER: Are the whips satisfied?

There has been a motion to adjourn debate and a recorded vote was called for.

[The Clerk calls the roll.]

[10:15 p.m.]

YEAS NAYS

Mr. Christie

Mr. Baker

[Page 5052]

Mr. Russell

Dr. Hamm

Mr. LeBlanc

Mr. Muir

Miss Purves

Mr. Fage

Mr. Balser

Ms. McGrath

Mr. Ronald Chisholm

Mr. Olive

Mr. Rodney MacDonald

Mr. MacIsaac

Mr. DeWolfe

Mr. Taylor

Mr. Dooks

Mr. Langille

Mr. Morse

Mr. Hendsbee

Mrs. Baillie

Mr. Carey

Mr. Morash

Mr. Chipman

Mr. Barnet

Mr. O'Donnell

Mr. Hurlburt

Dr. Smith

Mr. Holm

Ms. O'Connell

Mr. Corbett

Mr. Estabrooks

Mr. Dexter

Mr. Gaudet

Mr. Wilson

THE CLERK: For, 35. Against, 0.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is carried.

Maybe we should do more evening hours, we are so cooperative.

The honourable Government House Leader.

[Page 5053]

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, I move that the House do now rise to meet again on the morrow at the hour of 9:00 a.m. The House will sit until 9:00 p.m. or until the debate and the passage of the Supply motion is complete.

MR. SPEAKER: This motion is to adjourn, the hours to be from 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. (Interruptions)

A recorded vote is being called for on the hours of 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. tomorrow.

Ring the bells. Call in the members.

[10:19 p.m.]

[The Division bells were rung.]

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. Are the Whips satisfied?

There has been a recorded vote called on the hours for tomorrow from 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.

[The Clerk calls the roll.]

[11:17 p.m.]

YEAS NAYS

Mr. Christie Mr. Holm

Mr. Baker Mr. Wilson

Mr. Russell

Dr. Hamm

Mr. LeBlanc

Mr. Muir

Miss Purves

Mr. Balser

Ms. McGrath

Mr. Ronald Chisholm

Mr. Olive

Mr. Rodney MacDonald

Mr. MacIsaac

Mr. DeWolfe

Mr. Taylor

Mr. Dooks

Mr. Langille

[Page 5054]

Mr. Morse

Mr. Hendsbee

Mrs. Baillie

Mr. Carey

Mr. Morash

Mr. Chipman

Mr. Barnet

Mr. O'Donnell

Mr. Hurlburt

THE CLERK: For, 26. Against, 2.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is carried.

The House will now rise until 9:00 a.m. tomorrow morning.

We stand adjourned.

[The House rose at 11:18 p.m.]