The Nova Scotia Legislature

The House resumed on:
September 21, 2017.

Hansard -- Tue., May 30, 2000

First Session

TUESDAY, MAY 30, 2000

TABLE OF CONTENTS PAGE
INTRODUCTION OF BILLS:
No. 56, Anglican Church Act, The Premier 6802
NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 2416, Sysco - Closure (25/05/00): Actions - Condemn,
Mr. P. MacEwan 6802
Res. 2417, Fin. - Budget (2000-01): Fee Increases - Promise Broken,
Mr. Robert Chisholm 6802
Res. 2418, Sports - Hockey (Stanley Cup Final): New Glasgow Reps. -
Colin White (NS) & Jon Sim (Dallas) Congrats., The Premier 6803
Vote - Affirmative 6805
Res. 2419, Commun. Serv.: Access Awareness Week (N.S.) -
Recognize, Dr. J. Smith 6806
Res. 2420, PC Party (N.S.) - Session Completion: Promise (29/05/00) -
Unreliable, Mr. Robert Chisholm 6807
Res. 2421, Health - Orthopaedic Fdn. (Cdn.): Hip Hip Hooray Walk
(Sydney) - Participants Congrats., Mr. Manning MacDonald 6807
Res. 2422, PC Party (N.S.) - Court of Star Chamber: Preference -
History Remember, Mr. J. Holm 6808
Res. 2423, Educ. - C.B.-Vict. Reg. Sch. Bd.: Heritage Fair
(Can.-Ottawa) - Students (5) Reps. Congrats., Mr. K. MacAskill 6809
Res. 2424, Educ. - Special Needs: Children's Parents -
Min. Meet (30/05/00), Ms. Maureen MacDonald 6809
Res. 2425, Transport. & Pub. Wks. - Equipment Use Fee: Inflated -
Abandon, Mr. R. MacKinnon 6810
Res. 2426, Sports - Hockey (Stanley Cup Final): New Glasgow Reps. -
Colin White (NJ) & Jon Sim (Dallas) Congrats., Mr. F. Corbett 6811
Res. 2427, Culture - Music: Gib Whitney - Memory Honour,
Mr. D. Wilson 6811
Res. 2428, Tory Democracy - True Definition: Political Opportunism -
Aware (N.S.), Mr. D. Dexter 6812
Res. 2429, Lbr.: NS WIN (Work Web Site) - Pointless,
Mr. Manning MacDonald 6813
Res. 2430, Econ. Dev. - HRDA: CED Vol. Award - Muriel Bartlett
(Terence Bay) Congrats., Mr. W. Estabrooks 6813
Res. 2431, Health - Bds.: Dismantled Views (N.S.) - Lost, Dr. J. Smith 6814
Res. 2432, Educ. - Sch. Bds.: Significance - Recognize, Mr. H. Epstein 6815
Res. 2433, Transport. & Pub. Wks.: Political Style (1978-90) -
Abandon, Mr. R. MacKinnon 6815
Res. 2434, Tory MLAs (Rural) - Agric. Cuts: Approval Fast - Explain,
Mr. John MacDonell 6816
Res. 2435, Premier - The Jerk (Movie Remake): Lead Role -
Eligibility, Mr. D. Wilson 6816
Res. 2436, Transport. & Pub. Wks.: Consol. Gen. (Can.-Boston)
Guardrail Damage - Collection Attempt Congrats., Mr. J. Pye 6817
Res. 2437, Educ. - Hfx. Reg. Sch. Bd.: Cuts (Classroom Impact) -
Reconsider, Ms. Maureen MacDonald 6818
Res. 2438, Commun. Serv. - Child Poverty (17/08/99 on): Deficit -
Address, Mr. F. Corbett 6818,
Res. 2439, Premiers (N.B. & P.E.I.): Maritime Tory Team
(John Hamm Trouble) - Warn, Mr. D. Dexter 6819
Res. 2440, Transport. & Pub. Wks. - Privatization: Consultation
(Hwy. Wkrs. [N.S.] & Aud. Gen. [Ont.]) - Start,
Mr. W. Estabrooks 6820
Res. 2441, Cape Breton The Lakes MLA - Mary Clancy: Role Model -
Serve, Mr. H. Epstein 6820
Res. 2442, PC Party (N.S.) - Commitments Key: Delivery Failure -
House Adjournment Inexcusable, Mr. John MacDonell 6821
Res. 2443, PC MLAs - Civil Service Cuts: Unknown -
Reality Recognize, Mr. J. Pye 6822
Res. 2444, Gov't. House Ldr. - Budget (N.S.-2000-01): Unpromised -
Responsibility Take, (By Mr. D. Dexter) Mr. K. Deveaux 6823
INTRODUCTION OF BILLS:
No. 57, Music Industry Council Act, Mr. D. Downe 6824
ORAL QUESTIONS PUT BY MEMBERS:
No. 813, Health - Cuts: Consequences - Info. Delay, Dr. J. Smith 6825
No. 814, Environ. - Water: Testing - Responsibility,
Mr. Robert Chisholm 6826
No. 815, Health - Hospitals: Business Plans - Approval, Mr. R. MacLellan 6827
No. 816, Environ. - Twin Mtn. Construction (Anna. V.): Dump Site -
Monitoring Failure, Mr. Robert Chisholm 6828
No. 817, Educ. - Special Needs Students: Multi-Year Plan - Outline,
Mr. D. Wilson 6829
No. 818, Health: Mira Long-Term Care Ctr. (Truro) -
Working Conditions, Mr. D. Dexter 6830
No. 819, Transport. & Pub. Wks. - Privatization: Yarmouth - Plans,
Mr. P. MacEwan 6831
No. 820, Educ. - APSEA: Cuts - Deaf Impact, Ms. Maureen MacDonald 6832
No. 821, Agric. - Yarmouth Office: Closure - Plans, Mr. W. Gaudet 6833
No. 822, Health - QE II: Breakfasts Hot - Replacement, Mr. D. Dexter 6834
No. 823, Justice - Family Violence: Tearmann Society - Cuts,
Mr. M. Samson 6835
No. 824, Educ. - Hfx. Reg. Sch. Bd.: Cuts - Classroom Impact,
Ms. Maureen MacDonald 6836
No. 825, Justice - Family Violence: Cuts - Justify, Mr. R. MacLellan 6837
No. 826, Bus. & Cons. Serv. - Seniors & Disabled: Gas Full Service -
Ensure, Mr. W. Estabrooks 6838
No. 827, Justice - Lun. Co.: Jail - Closure, Mr. D. Downe 6840
HOUSE RESOLVED INTO CWH ON BILLS AT 12:48 P.M. 6842
HOUSE RECONVENED AT 6:00 P.M. 6842
ADJOURNMENT:
MOTION UNDER RULE 5(5):
Nat. Res. - Brown Spruce Longhorn Beetle: Threat - Address:
Mr. John MacDonell 6843
Hon. E. Fage 6845
Mr. K. MacAskill 6847
HOUSE RESOLVED INTO CWH ON BILLS AT 6:30 P.M. 6850
HOUSE RECONVENED AT 11:56 P.M. 6850
CWH REPORTS 6850
ADJOURNMENT, House rose to meet again on Wed., May 31st at 2:00 p.m. 6851

[Page 6801]

HALIFAX, TUESDAY, MAY 30, 2000

Fifty-eighth General Assembly

First Session

10:00 A.M.

SPEAKER

Hon. Murray Scott

DEPUTY SPEAKERS

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

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. The subject for this evening's late debate was submitted by the honourable member for Dartmouth-Cole Harbour:

Therefore be it resolved that the province take urgent action in cooperation with the federal government, private woodlot owners and the forestry industry to address the threat posed by the brown spruce longhorn beetle.

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

We will begin the daily routine.

PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS

PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES

TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS

STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS

6801

[Page 6802]

GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION

INTRODUCTION OF BILLS

Bill No. 56 - Entitled an Act to Amend Chapter 130 of the Acts of 1967. The Anglican Church Act. (Hon. John Hamm as a private member.)

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

NOTICES OF MOTION

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

RESOLUTION NO. 2416

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

Whereas in 1941 the Empire of Japan launched an air strike against Pearl Harbour, Hawaii, without warning, pretending, even as the attack was launched, that all was well and there was no need for any concern; and

Whereas 59 years later this government shut down Sydney Steel without warning, pretending, even as the attack was launched that all was well and there was no need for any concern; and

Whereas even in October 1967, Hawker-Siddeley of Canada gave six months notice of its intentions to close down Sydney Steel, announcing a schedule for closure and site demolition and giving the community time to react and consider their response;

Therefore be it resolved that this House condemn the actions of this government in shutting down Sydney Steel on May 25th without warning or notice as being even worse than the actions of Hawker-Siddeley 33 years ago on October 13, 1967, a day that will live forever in infamy.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable Leader of the New Democratic Party.

RESOLUTION NO. 2417

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

[Page 6803]

Whereas when the now Premier launched his campaign on June 17, 1999 he said that, "To hard working Nova Scotians to increase government revenue means increasing taxes."; and

Whereas his government then hid more than $10 million in fee increases when the budget was presented on April 11, 2000; and

Whereas 347 days later, his government is using extraordinary measures to push through an increase in government revenue from fees from the ill and elderly and from personal income taxes;

Therefore be it resolved that Conservative backbenchers are advised that railroading a massive increase in government revenue makes this shameless broken promise even more obvious to hard-working Nova Scotians.

Mr. Speaker, I seek waiver.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear a No.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable Premier.

RESOLUTION NO. 2418

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

Whereas the battle for Lord Stanley's silver mug in the National Hockey League Championship begins this evening at the Meadowlands in East Rutherford, New Jersey; and

Whereas New Glasgow is well represented in this year's Stanley Cup final as Colin White will be playing defence for New Jersey while Jon Sim will attempt to help his Dallas Stars win a second consecutive Stanley Cup; and

Whereas the Town of New Glasgow has reached a feverish pitch in anticipation of game one;

[Page 6804]

Therefore be it resolved, through this resolution, MLAs and all Nova Scotians wish both Colin and Jon the very best as they begin pursuit of their Stanley Cup dreams tonight in New Jersey.

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.

MR. JOHN HOLM: A recorded vote, Mr. Speaker.

AN HON. MEMBER: On a resolution?

MR. HOLM: Yes, it is in order. (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. There was a request for a recorded vote.

We will ring the bells to the satisfaction of the Whips.

[10:11 a.m.]

[The Division bells were rung.]

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

A recorded vote has been called on the notice of motion.

[The Clerk calls the roll.]

[11:11 p.m.]

YEAS NAYS

Mr. Christie

Mr. Baker

Mr. Russell

Dr. Hamm

Mr. LeBlanc

Miss Purves

Mr. Fage

[Page 6805]

Mr. Balser

Mr. Parent

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. Chipman

Mr. Barnet

Mr. O'Donnell

Mr. Hurlburt

Mr. MacAskill

Dr. Smith

Mr. MacLellan

Mr. Downe

Mr. Manning MacDonald

Mr. Holm

Mr. Robert Chisholm

Ms. Maureen MacDonald

Mr. Corbett

Mr. Epstein

Mr. Estabrooks

Mr. Dexter

Mr. MacEwan

Mr. Gaudet

Mr. MacKinnon

Mr. Samson

Mr. Boudreau

Mr. Wilson

Mr. Pye

THE CLERK: For, 44. Against, 0.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is carried.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order, just to advise the House that we will be unable to vote in favour of any waiver of motions until further notice. (Laughter)

[Page 6806]

AN HON. MEMBER: Is that a point of order, Mr. Speaker? (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

MR. JOHN HOLM: Mr. Speaker, was that a point of order or a threat? Which way would that be interpreted?

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, this is a point of order. The Government House Leader may not wish to vote for any waivers on notices of motion but certainly it is the prerogative of this caucus to ask for waiver and we will be doing that. There are some very good motions here that the government should support.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. It is not a point of order but certainly quite an exchange of information on all three. (Laughter)

[NOTICES OF MOTION]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Dartmouth East.

RESOLUTION NO. 2419

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

Whereas the week of May 28th to June 3rd has been proclaimed Nova Scotia Access Awareness Week; and

Whereas this week is sponsored by Partnership for Access Awareness Nova Scotia, a community-based organization whose mission is to improve the quality of life for all Nova Scotians with disabilities; and

Whereas raising awareness for a barrier-free society benefits us all, as it allows persons with disabilities to contribute fully to our communities;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House recognize this week as Access Awareness Week.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver.

[11:15 a.m.]

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

Is it agreed?

[Page 6807]

I hear a No.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable Leader of the New Democratic Party.

RESOLUTION NO. 2420

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

Whereas on May 29th the Premier said he had no timetable for completing this session of the Legislature, and had not yet considered or discussed amendments to health care legislation; and

Whereas the Premier's word turned out to be as reliable as ever, when the Government House Leader arbitrarily demanded, without notice, a 14 hour sitting; and

Whereas this inconsistent and unreliable behaviour tells Nova Scotians what to expect if this Conservative Government takes direct control of every school, hospital and health care clinic;

Therefore be it resolved that until the Conservatives can keep their word for at least 24 consecutive hours, they should hesitate to demand that all others bow down before them.

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. 2421

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

Whereas hundreds of arthritic Cape Bretoners celebrated their mobility at the annual Hip Hip Hooray walk this past weekend; and

[Page 6808]

Whereas some 500 people, including hundreds who have had total hip and knee replacements, participated in the event held at the Bicentennial Gym in Sydney; and

Whereas the Hip Hip Hooray walk was held to raise awareness and support for orthopaedic surgery and was held in 56 cities across this country;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate all the participants of the Hip Hip Hooray walk in Sydney, and wish them continued success in their fund-raising efforts for the Canada Orthopaedic Foundation.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Sackville-Cobequid.

RESOLUTION NO. 2422

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

Whereas the Court of Star Chamber was favoured by Kings Henry VIII, James I and Charles I because it was not bound by common law or parliamentary procedure; and

Whereas this meant that Star Chamber would enforce the King's will, regardless of the views of Parliament and in breach of the protection citizens enjoyed under the common law; and

Whereas use of these dictatorial and autocratic measures aroused such parliamentary opposition that the Court of Star Chamber was abolished, and Charles I was eventually executed;

Therefore be it resolved that although modern-day Conservatives still prefer a Court of Star Chamber where they can secretly rule this province without parliamentary process, they and their Premier should remember the lessons of history.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver.

[Page 6809]

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

Is it agreed?

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Victoria.

RESOLUTION NO. 2423

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

Whereas Allison Dunlop, Justin Nalepa, Matthew Christmas, Emily Redden and Sheila MacDonald from the Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board have earned a special trip to Ottawa this summer to represent the area in a national heritage fair; and

Whereas the five students were members of teams that won the regional portion of the Social Studies Heritage Fair May 11th at the University College of Cape Breton; and

Whereas these students were chosen to represent the area at the non-competitive fair in Ottawa, which will involve 164 projects from each of the country's provinces and territories;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate these five students from Cape Breton-Victoria for their accomplishments.

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 Needham.

RESOLUTION NO. 2424

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

[Page 6810]

Whereas today, in the gallery at 4:00 p.m., members of this House will be visited by parents of special needs children; and

Whereas these parents will be here to express their concern over funding cuts to the education system that now will affect their children; and

Whereas we hope the Minister of Education will be here to make herself available to these parents to explain why their children are the target of her mean-spirited budget;

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Education meet with special needs children's parents today at 4:00 p.m. and explain her budget to them.

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 Liberal Party on an introduction.

MR. RUSSELL MACLELLAN: Mr. Speaker, it is a great pleasure for me to introduce in the gallery today a great friend of all of us here in the Legislature, a former Minister of Agriculture and member of the Legislature for Colchester North. He has been a good friend of mine for a long time, and someone we miss. First I would like to introduce to you the former MLA for Colchester North Mr. Ed Lorraine. (Standing Ovation) With him this morning is Mr. Don Cox who is now retired but still one of the most knowledgeable pork specialists in this country. He has served this province well. (Applause)

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

RESOLUTION NO. 2425

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 Transportation and Public Works has deliberately and methodically inflated the fee structure charged for the usage of its own equipment; and

Whereas this is a deliberate effort to justify a politically motivated privatization agenda by the Hamm Government; and

[Page 6811]

Whereas history will show this privatization plan is ill-conceived and financially counter-productive;

Therefore be it resolved that the Hamm Government, through the Minister of Transportation and Public Works, abandon this new Conservative big business agenda that will only benefit corporate friends of the government.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Cape Breton Centre.

RESOLUTION NO. 2426

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 battle for Lord Stanley's Cup finally begins tonight, after eight months of hockey, with the New Jersey Devils taking on the Dallas Stars; and

Whereas Colin White of the Devils will be playing in his first Stanley Cup final game, and Jon Sim of the Stars will be playing in his second Stanley Cup final series in two years, and they both hail from the Town of New Glasgow; and

Whereas both young men have done themselves and their town proud with their athletic skills and gentlemanly play;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House, regardless of hockey allegiances, wish both Jon Sim and Colin White well in their quest for the Stanley Cup.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear a No.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Cape Breton East.

RESOLUTION NO. 2427

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

[Page 6812]

Whereas Gib Whitney, who died in 1975, was the recipient of the Stompin' Tom Connors Life Time Achievement Award at the ECMAs; and

Whereas Island Voices held "A Thank You for the Music" concert to honour Mr. Whitney on May 28th at the Lady of Fatima Church in Sydney River, and a second tribute concert will be held June 10th at St. Anne's Parish Centre in Glace Bay; and

Whereas proceeds from both events will go to the Bruce Denniston Bone Marrow Society;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House recognize Gib Whitney's contributions to the music and culture of this province and commend the organizers of these events to honour Mr. Whitney's memory.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear a No.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage.

RESOLUTION NO. 2428

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 Progressive Conservatives were committed to eliminating Pharmacare premiums but now are increasing costs to seniors; and

Whereas the Progressive Conservatives were committed to free fishing licences for seniors but are now charging them a surcharge; and

Whereas the Progressive Conservatives were committed to lower taxes but now have brought in innumerable tax increases, user fees and co-pay increases;

Therefore be it resolved that all Nova Scotians are now aware of the true definition of Tory democracy, as set forth by Sir Randolph Churchill, as having chiefly to do with political opportunism.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver.

[Page 6813]

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. 2429

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

Whereas the Tory Government has launched a comprehensive website aimed at providing the province's labour force with timely and accurate information about work; and

Whereas in its budget the Tory Government axed this province's Loan Remission Program which was designed to help students across Nova Scotia further their post-secondary studies; and

Whereas the same Tory Government cut $1.5 million in funding to the University College of Cape Breton;

Therefore be it resolved that because of the disastrous Tory budget, many students across this province will not have the opportunity to further their education, making this website pointless.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Timberlea-Prospect.

RESOLUTION NO. 2430

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 Halifax Regional Development Agency recently recognized area residents for their commitment to their respective communities; and

Whereas at this event long-time community activist and retired school teacher, Muriel Bartlett of Terence Bay, received a Community Economic Development Volunteer Award; and

[Page 6814]

Whereas Muriel has been a driving force in such projects as the SS Atlantic Heritage Park Committee and the Terence Bay Seniors Group while also remaining active in the Royal Canadian Legion, Branch 153 Whites Lake; St. Paul's Anglican Church; and collecting food for the workers during the Flight 111 disaster;

Therefore be it resolved that this House offer its congratulations to Muriel Bartlett for her example of involvement and dedication to her community.

Mr. Speaker, I ask for waiver.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear a No.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Dartmouth East.

RESOLUTION NO. 2431

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

Whereas the Annapolis West Health Foundation says the death of health boards has left communities with no voice in their health care system; and

Whereas the foundation is worried the community has no input as the Western Region administration is making major cuts imposed by this Tory Government; and

Whereas just last week the Minister of Health still tried to say that health boards exist, even though communities know better;

Therefore be it resolved that the decision to ignore the Goldbloom report and dismantle health boards has stripped Nova Scotians of their right to have a say in the delivery of their own health care system.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear a No.

[Page 6815]

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Halifax Chebucto.

RESOLUTION NO. 2432

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

Whereas locally-elected school boards are an important model for grass-roots representative democracy; and

Whereas education is a matter of such importance to the public that a significant portion of its governance must be in the hands of locally-elected citizens; and

Whereas school boards allow parents to have direct input into their children's educational needs;

Therefore be it resolved that this government recognize the significant contribution of school boards and reconsider any attempt to get rid of them.

Mr. Speaker, I seek 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 Cape Breton West.

RESOLUTION NO. 2433

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 Minister of Transportation and Public Works is embarking on a privatization plan of highway services that will reduce quality highway and road maintenance; and

Whereas it appears the Minister of Transportation and Public Works is being pressured by big business interests as they line up to the trough; and

[Page 6816]

Whereas it is the taxpayers of Nova Scotia who are the chief stakeholders on all issues regarding the Department of Transportation and Public Works;

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Transportation and Public Works abandon his John Buchanan-style politics of putting corporate friends of the government first and the general public second.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Hants East.

RESOLUTION NO. 2434

MR. JOHN MACDONELL: Mr. Speaker, I won't be requesting waiver but I will offer this up to the former Minister of Agriculture, give him a memory of what things were like here.

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

Whereas the Minister of Agriculture and Marketing and the Tory MLAs from farm areas have tried to convince the farm community that the cuts announced in the budget will be moderated; and

[11:30 a.m.]

Whereas some Agriculture staff expect that the revised lay-off list and the face-saving predesignation of specialists is to be completed by mid-month; and

Whereas the minister and the MLAs clearly hope they will be safely hidden from public accountability and regular Question Periods before those promises are put to the test;

Therefore be it resolved that the rural Tory MLAs should explain to their constituents why they voted to steamroll final approval of budget legislation before farmers know what has been cooked up by way of a revised Agriculture budget.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Cape Breton East.

RESOLUTION NO. 2435

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

[Page 6817]

Whereas several times in this House Opposition MLAs have mistakenly said that the Premier is following the lead of the Tory Premier Lord of New Brunswick; and

Whereas surprisingly, after an ATV news report last evening, we learn that it is Premier Lord who has chosen Hamm as his mentor; and

Whereas in a discussion with students yesterday the Lord of New Brunswick indicated his favourite movie of all time was Steve Martin's The Jerk;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House recognize this shift in the regional power balance and while the Premier is no Steve Martin, he could be in line to play the lead role in a remake of The Jerk.

Mr. Speaker, I ask for 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 Dartmouth North.

RESOLUTION NO. 2436

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 Consul General to Boston, once a Liberal Member of Parliament, is in a spot of legal trouble in this province; and

Whereas it appears that Mary had a difficult time with her BMW and as a result a guardrail was victimized by her inability to control her car; and

Whereas it appears the Consul General now owes the Nova Scotia Department of Transportation close to $500 and we think a warrant for her arrest should be issued; and

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate the Minister of Transportation for continuing to attempt to collect this outstanding bill by showing Nova Scotians that even Liberals must pay their debts to Nova Scotians.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver.

[Page 6818]

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. 2437

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

Whereas today more than 170 jobs will be lost in the HRM due to education cuts in funding; and

Whereas this will result in larger class sizes, less support for special needs students and the loss of staffed libraries at the junior high level; and

Whereas without supplementary funding to buffer itself against cuts to the regional budget, schools in the old county will lose 36 teachers to city schools;

Therefore be it resolved that this government reconsider its devastating budget and the effect it will have in the classroom.

Mr. Speaker, I seek 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 Cape Breton Centre.

RESOLUTION NO. 2438

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

[Page 6819]

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, 1,700 children have been born into poverty; and

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

Therefore be it resolved that this Tory Government start waking up to the health, education and social deficits faced by the 1,700 children born into poverty under this Tory Regime.

I seek waiver, Mr. Speaker.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Dartmouth-Cole Harbour.

RESOLUTION NO. 2439

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 Conservative Government of Premier Gary Filmon was defeated at the first opportunity after it imposed cold and reconstituted food onto Manitoba hospital patients; and

Whereas the Liberal Government of Premier Camille Theriault was defeated at the first opportunity after it imposed cold and reconstituted food onto New Brunswick hospital patients; and

Whereas the Conservative Government of Nova Scotia is now imposing cold and reconstituted food onto Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and P.E.I. hospital patients at the QE II;

Therefore be it resolved that Premiers Lord and Binns should be warned that their brother John is getting the Maritime Tory Team in trouble again so they can intervene and isolate themselves from the Hamm disease.

[Page 6820]

Mr. Speaker, I would ask for waiver.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear a No.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Timberlea-Prospect.

RESOLUTION NO. 2440

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 road to the Transportation Department's privatization plan is obviously a dead end; and

Whereas privatization pilot programs in Ontario have proven to be failures; and

Whereas the Transportation Minister should consult with the Auditor General of Ontario on this matter;

Therefore be it resolved that the Transportation Minister start consulting with Nova Scotia highway workers and the Auditor General of Ontario before continuing these short-sighted privatization plans.

Mr. Speaker, I would ask for waiver.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear a No.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Halifax Chebucto.

RESOLUTION NO. 2441

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

[Page 6821]

Whereas the Liberal MLA for Cape Breton The Lakes took responsibility for the personal and political damage of his single car accident while driving a BMW on Highway No. 104; and

Whereas the former Liberal MP for Halifax, Mary Clancy, has refused to take personal responsibility for the damage caused by her single car accident while driving a BMW on Highway No. 102; and

Whereas the Liberal Party has long been accused of arrogance, high-handedness and acting as though being a Liberal means never having to say you are sorry;

Therefore be it resolved that the MLA for Cape Breton The Lakes should serve as a role model for Mary Clancy and help her climb down from her lofty Liberal pedestal.

Mr. Speaker, I would ask for waiver.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear a No.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Hants East.

RESOLUTION NO. 2442

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

Whereas rural Nova Scotians were particularly impressed by the Premier's promise that he would not increase government revenue, and his statement that anything to increase revenue amounts to higher taxes; and

Whereas rural Nova Scotians were also impressed by the Premier's promise to spend every cent of motive fuel taxes and motor vehicle fees on our highways; and

Whereas rural Nova Scotians know that the Tories are now pushing through a huge increase in government revenue without dedicating highway fees and taxes to the road system;

Therefore be it resolved that total embarrassment and failure to deliver on key campaign commitments is no excuse for the Tories to suddenly cut and run from this House and the accountability it ensures.

[Page 6822]

Mr. Speaker, I would ask for waiver.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Dartmouth North.

RESOLUTION NO. 2443

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

Whereas civil servants have been told that by June 9th they should expect to see lay-off lists and lists of jobs that have been eliminated; and

Whereas departments have been told that in the week of June 5th they should finally start learning some of the results of the Premier's famous secret program review; and

Whereas these reports must be true, because at 10:00 p.m last night the government moved to try to conclude consideration for the budget legislation this week before the news hits;

Therefore be it resolved that the Conservative MLAs should wake up and recognize that they are not going to win any prizes by claiming that, "I didn't know . . . no one told me before we voted for that 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 Dartmouth-Cole Harbour.

[Page 6823]

RESOLUTION NO. 2444

MR. DARRELL DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the member for Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas the Minister of Transportation and Public Works has gone public with his concerns about the failure of defeated MP Mary Clancy to take responsibility for the damage she caused to Nova Scotia; and

Whereas the Minister of Transportation and Public Works has expressed the view that this House should not take any more time to debate a budget that is doing much greater damage to Nova Scotia; and

Whereas the Minister of Transportation and Public Works was a member of the Buchanan Cabinet whose double standard brought this province into disrepute;

Therefore be it resolved that the Government House Leader should show more responsibility than Mary Clancy, and hold himself fully accountable to this House and to Nova Scotians for a budget that has blasted his own Party's platform.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Sackville-Cobequid.

MR. JOHN HOLM: Mr. Speaker, I move that the House be now adjourned. (Interruption)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. The member was on his feet during notices of motion, so were you up on a point of order? (Interruption) Order, please. Was the honourable member rising (Interruption) we are in Notices of Motion, so if you are on your feet to introduce a notice of motion . . .

MR. HOLM: Mr. Speaker, at any time, an order to adjourn the House is in order. Mr. Speaker, I have moved that the House be adjourned.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. I do not recognize the honourable member, unless he is up on a notice of motion or a point of order. (Interruption) Well, were you up on a notice of motion, which is the business the House is under right now? If not, thank you.

Order, please.

The honourable member for Cape Breton South.

[Page 6824]

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, earlier today the Government House Leader indicated to the member for Lunenburg West that we could revert to the order of business, Introduction of Bills. I would ask that before we go to Question Period, we go back to the order of business to introduce a bill that the member has scheduled a bill briefing on, which is due to start in a few minutes. So I would ask consideration be given to that.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Is the member requesting concurrence of the House?

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

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Yes, Mr. Speaker, I am asking that you revert to the order of business because the House Leader had agreed with the member for Lunenburg West earlier today.

MR. SPEAKER: Your request is that the House revert to the order of business, Introduction of Bills?

The honourable member for Sackville-Cobequid.

MR. JOHN HOLM: We will agree to that, and we will not call, on this occasion, for a recorded vote.

MR. SPEAKER: Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

The honourable member for Lunenburg West.

MR. DONALD DOWNE: Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank members of the House.

INTRODUCTION OF BILLS

Bill No. 57 - An Act to Create a Music Industry Council of Nova Scotia. (Mr. Donald Downe)

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

ORDERS OF THE DAY

ORAL QUESTIONS PUT BY MEMBERS

MR. SPEAKER: Question Period will begin at 11:42 a.m. and end at 12:42 p.m.

[Page 6825]

The honourable member for Dartmouth East.

HEALTH - CUTS: CONSEQUENCES - INFO. DELAY

DR. JAMES SMITH: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Premier. Last week, we learned of 45 full-time positions at the IWK-Grace being discontinued. Those cuts went into effect last Friday. Mr. Speaker, the fiscal year is well under way and these hospitals need to implement their business plans. My question to the Premier is, why is the Premier waiting until this House rises before he announces the bad news in health care?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, the government has been going ahead and implementing its agenda in a timely fashion. It is not the intention of this government to delay significant announcements until after the House rises. The situation we seem to find ourselves in is that that would be an unrealistic and inordinate delay of implementing the government's business. We are going ahead with our announcements as the timetable dictates.

DR. SMITH: Mr. Speaker, the 45 job discontinuations at the IWK-Grace impacted over 70 people. There were over 400 cuts at the QE II. The IWK-Grace still needs $9.2 million in savings from their prior budget. My question to the Premier is, when is the Premier going to admit that cuts at the IWK-Grace could reach as high as 200 to 300 jobs at that facility?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, if the Minister of Health were here today, I am sure he would remind the honourable member that in his budget, he is expecting every health care institution to look for savings within their budget. That is the only way in which we can, in fact, deliver health care that makes sense today but, not only that, will make sense tomorrow.

[11:45 a.m.]

DR. SMITH: The IWK-Grace Telethon is approaching, this weekend I believe, and Nova Scotians are going to have to dig deeper to help that hospital. Why is it that the Premier's government will not allow the hospitals to announce their business plans and get on with doing what they have to do? People are afraid out there in the health care system. Why is there a gag order, that the hospitals and facilities are not allowed, at this time, to announce any nurse lay-offs?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, if the Minister of Health were here today, he would be able to say to the member opposite that he had asked the IWK-Grace, as he asked other institutions and health boards, to provide their business plans. I think that was a responsible thing to do. They have all responded and those business plans are undergoing evaluation and, in fact, are being discussed with those various institutions.

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

[Page 6826]

ENVIRON. - WATER: TESTING - RESPONSIBILITY

MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, I want to direct my question through you to the Acting Minister of the Environment. In light of recent events, in particular in Walkerton, Ontario, many Nova Scotians are asking themselves, how do I know that my drinking water is safe? Unfortunately, right now, the government is not in a very good position to be able to provide that answer. Last year, in spite of opposition from the Union of Nova Scotia Municipalities, the government gave up responsibility for testing drinking water. Now municipalities must test for bacteria such as E.coli. I want to the ask the Acting Minister of the Environment, how can Nova Scotians know that their water is safe, when their government is unwilling to take responsibility for testing all public water supplies?

HON. MICHAEL BAKER: It is a very serious issue. Nova Scotians can be satisfied that their drinking water is safe, because the people who are responsible for producing that water, the municipal units, are responsible for doing the testing. There are very clear guidelines on testing, and the Nova Scotia Department of the Environment monitors those results as provided by the laboratories doing the test.

MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, municipalities have been told to do their own testing, so have school boards. School boards have been told to do their own testing as well. The government still hasn't come up with regulations to ensure consistent monitoring of quality. A full year after the government dropped water testing onto municipalities and school boards, we still only have draft regulations for monitoring water quality. I want to ask the minister, why did we not ensure that adequate regulations were in place before water testing was dumped onto municipalities and school boards?

MR. BAKER: I can assure the honourable member that adequate testing is being done at the present time. The guidelines are in place; the testing is being done. It is a very serious issue. I can also assure the member that we are reviewing all of our policies in Nova Scotia, in light of the lessons to be learned in Ontario, to make sure that we have the very best water-quality system that we can.

MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, the minister is right, it is a very serious issue. In light of the fact that the government has downloaded this responsibility to municipalities and school boards, combined with the fact that the Department of the Environment's budget has been slashed by 50 per cent, Nova Scotians are concerned that this government is not doing enough to protect the quality of water in the Province of Nova Scotia. I want to ask the minister, in light of the fact that he only has draft regulations, there are no regulations ensuring that proper monitoring of public water supplies is in place, will the minister, on behalf of this government and on behalf of the very real concerns that exist about water quality, commit today that the province will assume full responsibility for testing public water supplies until proper regulations are put in place, not after?

[Page 6827]

MR. BAKER: Mr. Speaker, for the benefit of the honourable member, the issue of who pays for the test does not affect the validity of the test. The situation here is that municipalities are in the business of delivering water supply; that is their job. The Province of Nova Scotia is in charge of making sure that there are adequate standards, the adequate standards exist. The municipal units are responsible to do the testing.

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

HEALTH - HOSPITALS: BUSINESS PLANS - APPROVAL

MR. RUSSELL MACLELLAN: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Premier. The Premier talks about good health care today, and good health care in the future. What his government is assuring Nova Scotia is just the opposite. This government is decimating health care in the Province of Nova Scotia, and trying to keep that information from the public, at least until the House adjourns. Why has this Premier and this government intentionally kept back approving business plans for hospitals in Nova Scotia?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, contrary to what the member opposite would have members of the House believe, the business plans had been requested, they have been delivered, they have been analysed, and they are now being discussed with the institutions that are involved. The process is moving along with considerable expediency. Contrary to what the question would suggest, this government is moving ahead in a very expeditious way in looking at the business plans.

MR. MACLELLAN: Mr. Speaker, the QE II developed its business plan between November and February, where they reduced their expenses by $10 million. The government said they wanted another $18 million knocked off. Then the QE II brought back that business plan; it horrified the government to see the cuts that would be made and they haven't been able to stop shaking since. Two months now into the fiscal year of the hospitals and they still don't have their business plan. Why is this government putting politics over good health care in Nova Scotia?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, contrary to what the member opposite would suggest, what is driving this government is good business practice, good financial planning (Laughter) so that the health care decisions made today will not jeopardize health care tomorrow.

MR. MACLELLAN: Mr. Speaker, what is driving this government are back-room Tories and stupidity and complete insensitivity to the people of Nova Scotia. When is this government going to learn that people's lives and the health care of Nova Scotians comes way before the bottom-line agenda of this government?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, it would appear that the member opposite is suggesting that this government revert to the same kind of financial planning that his government delivered, the same kind of financial planning that almost resulted in this province being downgraded in terms of a credit risk.

[Page 6828]

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

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

DUMP SITE - MONITORING FAILURE

MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, I want to go again to the Acting Minister of the Environment. Back on April 12th, I raised in this House the issue of environmental contamination at the Twin Mountain Construction dump site in the Annapolis Valley. It was only yesterday when a camera was stuck in his face that the acting minister committed to ensuring that that site be cleaned up and that the material be removed. The Department of the Environment approved that dump site in 1997; they then later authorized the dumping of untreated human waste in that site. Never did they monitor what was going on there. I want to ask the Acting Minister of the Environment, will he explain to this House and to members of that Kings County community why his department failed to monitor what was going on in that dump site and that sewage was allowed to be dumped there and contaminate water sources and drinking water in those communities?

HON. MICHAEL BAKER: Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the honourable member for the question because I know he is very concerned about that situation. For the member's information, first of all, there is no evidence of any contamination of drinking water as a result of that site. There has been no evidence of leachate from that site getting into drinking water. However, the department will be issuing a ministerial order demanding that the operator of that site come up with a plan for removal of the material from the site in order to make sure that the situation is permanently remedied.

MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, from the beginning, it has not been the minister's staff who has done any of the work there. It has been local citizens who have monitored the problems of leachate into the water supply, who have done the tests and then have found contamination, not his officials because they leave it up to the private operator to do the testing. He says the material was going to be removed, it has been confirmed to be contaminated human waste in that dump site and I want to ask the minister, where is this contaminated soil going to be taken and who is going to monitor it and make sure that is done properly?

MR. BAKER: Mr. Speaker, first of all, the requirement will be under the ministerial order that the operator come up with a plan for removing that material to a site acceptable to the department. So both the method of movement and the site must be acceptable to the department. Furthermore, it will be the Department of the Environment that will monitor both of those steps to ensure that they comply with the ministerial order.

MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, the problem still exists. The minister says, don't worry, we will look after it, the owner will look after it but it was his department and his officials that granted the permit in the first place. It was his department and his officials that allowed human waste to be dumped in that site and it was his officials who failed to monitor what was going on at that site. They left it up to the private operator. I want to ask

[Page 6829]

the minister to explain to us here today and to explain to Nova Scotians who are concerned about this type of incident happening and contaminating water supplies, what his government is going to do to ensure that this kind of incident, which has been going on for over three years, is not going to happen again in the future. What guarantees can you give Nova Scotians?

MR. BAKER: Mr. Speaker, the guarantee I can give to the honourable member and to all Nova Scotians is that this government is committed to ensuring that the environment in Nova Scotia is protected and that public health is protected. This government will ensure that the public health of Nova Scotians is a top priority.

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

EDUC. - SPECIAL NEEDS STUDENTS:

MULTI-YEAR PLAN - OUTLINE

MR. DAVID WILSON: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Education. In the Tories' blue book from the election campaign, the following statement appears. "Developing a multi-year plan for addressing the need for additional resources for students with special needs;" Just last week the Acting Superintendent of the Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board said, "Support staff will likely be laid off and teaching assistants helping students with special needs will work an hour less per day." My question is, will the minister please outline for the members of this House, and indeed for all Nova Scotians, her department's multi-year plan for students with special needs?

HON. JANE PURVES: Mr. Speaker, as the honourable member knows, our department is reviewing the implementation of our special needs policy. Part of this review is designed to determine what those additional resources would be. We are working on that plan right now.

MR. WILSON: Mr. Speaker, while the minister says they are working on the plan, the protests are ongoing and what is happening is that you are cutting the ones who make the least and you are hurting the ones who need help the most. Will the minister please explain how the lay-off of support staff and the reduction of working hours for teachers' assistants is going to fit within her department's multi-year plan for special needs students?

[12:00 p.m.]

MISS PURVES: Mr. Speaker, my answer to the honourable member is that there is no one in the system who has told me that more of the same is the answer to the issues we face in education.

MR. WILSON: Mr. Speaker, it is not more of the same. It is much less that is being offered and as one parent of a special needs child said in the media, her child cannot be left alone for one minute, let alone an hour, which is being proposed per day because of the cuts

[Page 6830]

in that department. In my own community I personally know teachers' aides and support staff who are going to lose their jobs and that is going to hurt special needs children. Will the minister please assure those teachers' assistants and support staff, as well as the parents and their special needs children, that they will not lose their teachers' assistants and support staff during the coming school year and the school years to follow?

MISS PURVES: Mr. Speaker, what I can assure the honourable member is that the school boards, principals and teachers involved with students with special needs will make sure that those with the highest needs receive the most help, as they do now.

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

HEALTH: MIRA LONG-TERM CARE CTR. (TRURO) -

WORKING CONDITIONS

MR. DARRELL DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Premier. Yesterday, the Premier attended the official opening of the Mira Long-Term Care Centre in Truro. At the opening the Premier was treated to a smorgasbord of shrimp and lobster by his friend and political financier, Syed Hussain, the owner of Gem Health Care Group. In addressing the attendees, the Premier said, "Families can take comfort in knowing the people they care about . . . live in a clean, healthy, comfortable and secure environment."

Mr. Speaker, my question to the Premier is, how do you expect family members to take comfort in the fact that the nurses at the facility are going on stress leave and resigning because of working conditions?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, yes, I did attend the opening yesterday of the Mira Long-Term Care Facility. It is a beautiful facility, in fact, it is a state-of-the art facility. This government was pleased to be part and parcel of a process that was actually initiated by the previous government and one would look forward to the day when we can accommodate all of our elderly citizens in that kind of a facility.

In regard to the lunch, actually I was on quite a tight schedule and I was not able to have my lunch there. I actually had my lunch at a doughnut shop further down the road. So I cannot comment on the quality of the lunch, but I do say that it was a great day yesterday for Truro and it was a great day for the residents who will be living in that facility.

MR. DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, the Premier indicated that he was out to lunch, that comes as no surprise to anybody here. Gem Health Care Group donated at least $10,500 to the Tories last summer. The Premier was the recipient of $5,000 of Mr. Hussain's political philanthropy and the Ministers of Health and Agriculture each received $2,500. Subsequently, Gem was given a startling 15 per cent of the seats on the new Advisory Committee on Long- Term Care Capital Infrastructure. The chairman of that committee is also a well-known Tory. I want to ask the Premier, will you commit to disbanding the current Long-Term Care

[Page 6831]

Advisory Committee in favour of one that is selected by an all-Party committee, not one that is made up of political cronies and the friends of Cabinet?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, the member opposite has just provided the information that heretofore I did not have because this particular member has not looked at the donation list to the Party, he has not looked at the donation list for his own personal re-election. The member opposite has actually provided me with information that, up until this time, I did not have.

MR. DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, I will tell him something else about the Mira complex. The Director of Care there has resigned; three nurses have resigned; a few more are on stress leave; there are 63 patients being serviced by one RN per shift. Mr. Premier, I wonder if you can tell me, as a doctor and as a politician, how can you endorse the level of care at Mira by attending their official opening and extolling the virtues of this "wonderful" facility?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, the member opposite - it would appear - is not appreciative when the province, in partnership with others, can provide a first-rate facility for ageing Nova Scotians. If we could provide this kind of care for every ageing Nova Scotian, what a great place this would be, but we will never, ever be able to do that if we keep on taking suggestions about spending from that group opposite.

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

TRANSPORT. & PUB. WKS. - PRIVATIZATION:

YARMOUTH - PLANS

MR. PAUL MACEWAN: Mr. Speaker, a question for the Minister of Transportation and Public Works. On Sunday, the honourable member for Yarmouth was featured on a phone-in show on radio station CJLS, hosted by Gary Nickerson, during which time the member for Yarmouth spoke extensively concerning the work of the Department of Transportation and Public Works, stating, for example, that he had met with Transportation workers on Friday evening past. I wonder if the minister is aware of that broadcast, its content, and of a meeting between the member for Yarmouth and Transportation workers that took place Friday evening, concerning the agenda of the department that he heads?

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, no, I am not aware.

MR. MACEWAN: Mr. Speaker, according to reports I have of a meeting held in Yarmouth on Friday evening with workers of the Department of Transportation, they were advised by the honourable member for Yarmouth on the matter of privatization. The workers presented their member with several options that the department could consider, if it was looking into that possibility. I would like to ask the minister, is he prepared to consider the options presented by the Yarmouth Transportation workers to their MLA?

[Page 6832]

MR. RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, the Department of Transportation and Public Works, like all departments with government, is very receptive to views and opinions and suggestions from staff.

MR. MACEWAN: Mr. Speaker, I am advised that in answer to a question on the CJLS broadcast, the honourable member for Yarmouth reported to the listeners that a consultant has been hired to review the Department of Transportation and Public Works. I wonder if the honourable minister would please inform the House of this consultant, the terms of reference for the consultant, and when that consultant was hired?

MR. RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, the Department of Transportation and Public Works, on occasion, does hire consultants. I don't know which consultant the honourable member for Yarmouth was referring to. I can tell you that I certainly endorse an MLA's interest in talking to the workers within their transportation system. One of the problems the previous government had was that they never spoke to the people in the Public Service. (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

The honourable member Halifax Needham.

EDUC. - APSEA: CUTS - DEAF IMPACT

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, my question through you is for the Minister of Education. Last night I attended a meeting of the Atlantic Provinces Special Education Authority with parents of deaf and hard of hearing children. What we learned was precisely which services would be cut since the Minister of Education has ripped $0.5 million from APSEA's budget. While many areas will be affected, the most disturbing thing is that deaf and hard of hearing children being mainstreamed into classes in September for the first time will not be given any interpreters. My question to the minister is, would the minister please explain how denying deaf children a proper education makes any sense at all?

HON. JANE PURVES: Mr. Speaker, I don't believe that denying any child a proper education is helpful in any way and the member opposite is bringing me new information, because I had been assured that no interpreters would be lost in any reductions at APSEA.

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Interpreters aren't being lost for existing children in the system, it is children coming in who will go without. Deaf and hard of hearing children in the metro area might be able to double up with interpreters, but those from rural Nova Scotia are completely out of luck. The minister has stood on this floor and she has said that APSEA is well funded and she said that classroom teaching will not be affected by her budget cuts. I want to ask the minister, will she now admit that she was wrong on both those counts?

[Page 6833]

MISS PURVES: I will look at the information the honourable member has provided. The information I have is that no teachers or interpreters or itinerant teachers will be cut from the system. I should also inform the House that discussions between my department and officials from APSEA are still going on and that final decisions have not been made.

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: It is a little late to be talking after the cuts have been made. Later today, a delegation of parents from APSEA will be visiting this Legislature to speak to the minister and with their MLAs. I want to ask the minister, will she undertake to meet with these parents to learn from them first-hand what her short-sighted cuts mean for deaf and hard of hearing youngsters and their parents in this province?

MISS PURVES: Certainly I would be most pleased to meet with this group of parents or any group of parents who would like to talk to me.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Clare.

AGRIC. - YARMOUTH OFFICE: CLOSURE - PLANS

MR. WAYNE GAUDET: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Agriculture. As my honourable colleague, the member for Cape Breton Nova, indicated earlier, the honourable member for Yarmouth this past weekend was on his local CJLS radio speaking on various topics, including the agricultural office in Yarmouth. He gave some indication that the Yarmouth agricultural office would remain open. My question to the minister is, will the minister commit to keeping the Yarmouth and all the other agricultural offices open in the province?

HON. ERNEST FAGE: I want to thank the honourable member for his question. I want to inform the House and the honourable member that I have met with the Federation of Agriculture from Yarmouth and we have had discussions on their concerns, but I would want to reiterate to the House that we have five regional agricultural offices across this province that will be open in the coming year.

MR. GAUDET: There are double standards throughout this province. The Minister of Agriculture has not been very clear and open or, indeed, honest about cuts to his department. Will the Minister of Agriculture ensure there are no double standards and fully disclose the details of all cuts to his department?

[12:15 p.m.]

MR. FAGE: Mr. Speaker, I thank the honourable member for his question and for his participation in the budget estimates which rounded up a couple of weeks ago. In those estimates of the Agriculture budget the five regional offices were front and centre in discussions. Certainly, we are deceiving nobody in that regard, that there will be five regional offices to serve the agricultural community of Nova Scotia.

[Page 6834]

MR. GAUDET: Mr. Speaker, maybe the minister could indicate if Yarmouth has been added to the list of these district offices.

Mr. Speaker, the minister has been saying one thing to farmers and another to his Tory colleagues. Why is the minister showing favouritism in some Tory ridings and leaving farmers in other areas out in the cold?

MR. FAGE: Mr. Speaker, I thank the member opposite for his question. I have had extensive discussions with representatives from many Federations of Agriculture from counties around Nova Scotia, including the Federation of Agriculture from Yarmouth. We have had extensive discussions with an industry committee on the implementation of the budget and no one has been deceived. I am at a loss to know what the member opposite is questioning.

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

HEALTH - QE II: BREAKFASTS HOT - REPLACEMENT

MR. DARRELL DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, we have just heard that the QE II will replace hot breakfasts with a cold breakfast basket. The plan is being sold under the guise of reflecting a breakfast characteristic of those for people on the go; the problem, of course, is people who are sick are recuperating and can't go very far. Staff in the dietary services have been told that they will soon be moving to - and you are going to love this little euphemism - "a non-select menu", which means that patients won't have a choice. My question is to the Premier, you are ill, you are away from your home, what would you rather have, a warm breakfast delivered to your bedside or a cold basket placed there while you are asleep?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, the member opposite is aware that this has nothing to do with hot or cold. What it has to do with is a good nutritious breakfast served in a hospital setting that is appropriate in content for somebody who is a patient in the hospital. That is what this is all about. That's the kind of breakfast they are going to get at the Queen Elizabeth II Health Sciences Centre; a good, healthy, nutritious breakfast.

MR. DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, I beg the Premier's pardon, what this is really all about is how to lay off staff. That is what this is really all about. What they are going to do, they are going to take 11.3 full-time positions out of the QE II food services department because of the cuts made by this government. The effect of this cut on the capacity of the food service department will, of course, be considerable. My question to the Premier is, people who are ill require the very best in nutritional foods to recover. How can you justify making cuts to services which are so vital to the health of ailing Nova Scotians?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, it is very difficult for government to implement an agenda that does result, as we had indicated during the election, in smaller government, which really becomes fewer people. We certainly wish that we could develop an agenda that would achieve what has to be achieved in this province without doing some of these kinds of things.

[Page 6835]

On the other hand, if it comes to a decision that allows health care to continue today as well as tomorrow, that is the decision we will make, despite the fact that those decisions today are very difficult and, for some, very hurtful.

MR. DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, the reality is that this move is a bad one from all perspectives, patient care declines, enormous waste is created from the use of disposable dishes, staff lose jobs. The Premier may recall that the fresh-to-frozen hospital foods fiasco in Manitoba raised such a public outcry that it contributed to the toppling of the Tory Government there. What assurance will the Premier give Nova Scotians that if they end up in the hospital, they won't get pre-packaged foods more suitable to an airline than to a hospital?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I can assure the member opposite that the meals that will be provided in all our hospitals across this province will be good, nutritional meals which are appropriate for the hospital setting. I can also reassure the member opposite that where, for medical purposes, a hot breakfast is required, a hot breakfast will be delivered.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Richmond.

JUSTICE - FAMILY VIOLENCE: TEARMANN SOCIETY - CUTS

MR. MICHEL SAMSON: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Justice and Attorney General. This Tory Government cut the Family Violence Prevention Initiative, despite the fact that it trained thousands of Nova Scotian nurses, police officers, teachers and others to spot the signs of abuse. The Tories said money for this initiative would be redirected to other programs, like transition houses. However, we learned two weeks ago that the Tories also cut funding for the Tearmann Society for abused women in New Glasgow. My question is, if the Tories are committed to dealing with issues around abuse, why was funding for the Tearmann Society cut?

HON. MICHAEL BAKER: Mr. Speaker, I thank the honourable member for the question. As the honourable member would know, the Family Violence Prevention Initiative was the subject of not one, but two studies that were conducted before this government took office. The result of both of those studies determined that that program was subject to significant waste and duplication. As a result of that study, this government took the decision to end the initiative.

MR. SAMSON: Mr. Speaker, if that is the case, the statement was made by the minister at the time when that program was eliminated that the money would be funnelled down to the transition houses, yet we see the cuts taking place, which the minister has not addressed. On a review of the numbers, government funding for the Tearmann Society equalled just $285 per person served by this society. Law enforcement officials in the area have expressed grave concerns over the cut to this very important program. My question to the minister is, why does this minister feel that $285 is too high a price to pay to help protect a woman from an abusive relationship?

[Page 6836]

MR. BAKER: Mr. Speaker, I can assure the honourable member that protecting women, in fact, all family members, from family violence is a very high priority of this government. I also tell the honourable member that one of the things that was discovered was that many of the people who were employed by the program were not being properly utilized. In fact, there was one part of the study where in one particular county there were months on end where there wasn't a single referral to someone who was working with funds under the initiative.

MR. SAMSON: Mr. Speaker, all members of this House know that just last week Lisa Marie McNeil, a young woman who had been a victim of an abusive relationship, died tragically in a Halifax house fire. We all know that her boyfriend is now in custody. My final supplementary to the minister is, how many more deaths will it take before this government realizes its decision to chop funding from abuse programs was wrong?

MR. BAKER: Mr. Speaker, clearly, one tragedy such as that is too many. I can assure you that this is a terrible tragedy. Unfortunately, what we need to do is to work toward educating people as to the dangers of family violence. We have to work towards protecting people, but no system, unfortunately, no matter how good we devise, will prevent some criminals from committing those acts.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Needham.

EDUC. - HFX. REG. SCH. BD.: CUTS - CLASSROOM IMPACT

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister of Education. The impact of the devastating Education budget continues to roll out day by day. Tonight the Halifax Regional School Board will be forced to shift resources from the former Halifax County to the former cities of Halifax and Dartmouth. Among what will be lost in Halifax County schools are the following: 11 English as second language teachers; 17 teaching assistants for special needs students; 6 student support workers; and up to 70 teachers. My question to the minister is, what are you going to do to abandon the charade that your budget cuts will not be felt, and felt deeply, in the classroom?

HON. JANE PURVES: Mr. Speaker, budget cuts will be felt across this province by many people. In this particular case, the issue is with that of supplementary funding in the former Cities of Halifax and Dartmouth, and that is an issue that the municipality is going to have to work out.

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, my first supplementary is for the Premier. In their election platform, the Premier said that a PC Government would improve secondary education by assuring allocation of resources is done fairly. Well, tonight's decision by the Halifax Regional School Board will drive a stake into the heart of educational fairness in Halifax County. I wonder if the Premier has the nerve to stand up and say those words now. My question to the Premier is, do you have the nerve to stand up and tell parents in Halifax County that your budget has resulted in "a fair allocation of resources"?

[Page 6837]

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, the question does give me an opportunity to make a comment about where all of this is going, and where it is going is a sustainable education system and opportunities for post-secondary education in this province that heretofore have been denied many, many young Nova Scotians. The members opposite would have you believe that there is an unlimited supply of money and that it is simply a matter of more money for the system. What this government believes is that that solution, which has been tried on an annual basis in this province for far too long, has not worked. The member opposite is suggesting we continue it and that, in essence, will not give any help to those who sit in our classrooms, either now or in the future.

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, this clearly is a Premier who has absolutely no shame when it comes to breaking election promises. This is a government that has forced school boards into making decisions that no one interested in quality education should have to make. My final question to the minister is, you want control over Nova Scotia's school boards, so let's see you make some decisions. What are you going to do to restore some equity to education in Halifax County?

MISS PURVES: Mr. Speaker, the issue of supplementary funding has been plaguing council for several years now. This is an issue they are going to have to work out among themselves. The people of Halifax County have elected representatives on council. I know they have tried, and they will have to continue to try to see that this supplementary funding is distributed more equitably than it is at present.

[12:30 p.m.]

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

JUSTICE - FAMILY VIOLENCE: CUTS - JUSTIFY

MR. RUSSELL MACLELLAN: Mr. Speaker, I have been sitting here listening in complete disbelief at the words of the Minister of Justice, how he completely dismisses the problems of abused women, threatened women in our society. How does he possibly believe the nonsense he is spouting? I want to ask the Minister of Justice, how does he justify spending thousands of dollars challenging gun registration while at the same time he is cutting back on the safety of abused women in Nova Scotia?

HON. MICHAEL BAKER: Mr. Speaker, the honourable member knows that family violence is a tragedy. It is a tragedy that needs to be combated in a number of ways. One of those ways is clearly to ensure that government does everything it can to protect the victims. I can assure the honourable member that we are doing that but what is really a tragedy is that the $100 million that his Liberal Government is taking from Canadians isn't going to prevent family violence.

[Page 6838]

MR. MACLELLAN: Mr. Speaker, it just gets worse. The insensitivity of this government is unparalleled in anything I have ever heard in all my years in politics. I have never heard such nonsense in all my life for a Minister of Justice to say, we can talk to the abusers and everything will be all right. While he is talking, women are continuing to be abused and what is this Minister of Justice going to do to protect those women and their children?

MR. BAKER: Again to the honourable member opposite, what this government is doing for women is to fund transition houses, to fund women's centres, to fund programs that will be of benefit to women. What our government is doing is bringing in a program that will make sure that women are protected. What we are doing is supporting a very aggressive approach with respect to prosecution of family violence and what we are also doing, Mr. Speaker, is trying to discourage the federal government from wasting hundreds of millions of dollars on a program that will not prevent violence.

MR. MACLELLAN: Mr. Speaker, what this government is doing is cutting back on the protection for abused women, homes that will help abused women. They are cutting back on special needs teachers so that the young children in their community will not be able to get the important care and consolation in schools that they need. They are cutting back on education, cutting back on health care, programs in health care which identify the needs of women, and they are saying, well, it is all the federal government's fault. That is a disgrace and this government should be accountable.

MR. SPEAKER: Question, please.

MR. MACLELLAN: What is this minister going to do to rectify the harm that this government has done to abused women and children in Nova Scotia?

MR. BAKER: Again I will answer the honourable member's question. What this government is doing is supporting a wide range of initiatives, all of which are designed at combating family violence, Mr. Speaker. This government is committed to ending the cycle of family violence. We are supporting programs all across Nova Scotia that are designed to do that and we continue to do that. What we are also going to do is ensure that the perpetrators are prosecuted and punished.

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

BUS. & CONS. SERV. - SENIORS & DISABLED:

GAS FULL SERVICE - ENSURE

MR. WILLIAM ESTABROOKS: Mr. Speaker, my question through you is to the Minister of Business and Consumer Affairs. In the opinion of many Nova Scotians, there is a disturbing trend affecting customer service at service stations across this province as more and more gas stations switch their pumps from full serve to self serve. Nova Scotians are

[Page 6839]

concerned with this decline in service at our gas pumps. I would like to ask the Minister of Business and Consumer Affairs whether he shares these concerns of Nova Scotians?

HON. NEIL LEBLANC: Mr. Speaker, in regard to the change in the gasoline industry, obviously this is one that has been going on over a number of years. I think all of us are aware in our communities there has been a marked change from what we used to see as dealers, and I probably can predict there will be a change going into the future. However, Nova Scotia is not alone in that transition, and I think the member opposite will have to agree with that.

MR. ESTABROOKS: Mr. Speaker, seniors, the disabled and others unable or unwilling to pump their own gas want to be able to have the choice of having their gas pumped for them. Young people and students count on these jobs, pumping gas, for employment. Mr. Minister, under the Motive Fuel and Fuel Oil Approval Regulations, you have the power to ensure provisions for full service in some form is available at every gas station in this province. My question is, what are you prepared to do to ensure that Nova Scotians will continue to have their choice, self serve or full serve at the pumps?

MR. LEBLANC: Mr. Speaker, in regard to where we are headed and in regard to the way service stations will operate, I can tell the honourable member that for ourselves here in Nova Scotia, there will obviously be a monitoring of trends. Within the private sector there is competition. The member brings up a point that is very valid, that many people would like to have that choice. Some people, because of their age or disability, can't pump their own gas; I believe the private sector will address that. If that doesn't occur, we as a government will have to do an assessment and at that time, make a decision. But I am not going to prejudge what will come out of the industry's reaction to the overall change in the gas industry.

MR. ESTABROOKS: Mr. Speaker, again to the Minister of Business and Consumer Affairs. Monitoring and assessment does not help a senior in my community who had to drive three kilometres out of her regular traffic pattern so that she did not have to go to a self serve. Mr. Minister, are you prepared now not to do any more monitoring or assessing, but to impose - there is the word, impose - a moratorium on the transfer of any more self serve to full serve at any gas stations in this province immediately?

MR. LEBLANC: Mr. Speaker, the short answer is no. I am not prepared to impose a moratorium on it. I have stated to the member opposite that I will be prepared to look at it. He brings up a good point in that regard, but I think this brings up a real change in philosophy, a change or difference in philosophy that the NDP would like to have everything regulated by government. I think it goes along with the fact of regulation and deregulation. The evidence shows clearly that for Nova Scotians, over the long term, deregulation benefits the consumers. You can't be all things to all people and that is exactly what the NDP would want us to be.

[Page 6840]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Lunenburg West.

JUSTICE - LUN. CO.: JAIL - CLOSURE

MR. DONALD DOWNE: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Justice. The Lunenburg municipality is calling upon this government to keep the Lunenburg County Correctional Centre open. I will table this article from the local paper back home, The Bulletin. People in my riding, in fact, I am sure that people in the riding of the minister responsible, are very concerned about the potential job loss of this facility being shut down. In fact, it employs some 18 people, and they are possibly going to be losing their jobs. My question to the minister is, will the minister commit to keeping this important facility open in Lunenburg County?

HON. MICHAEL BAKER: Mr. Speaker, the honourable member obviously asked me a question of great interest to me personally. There is nothing more that I would like to do than to be able to keep all the correctional facilities across Nova Scotia open. Unfortunately, those correctional facilities do not exist for the purpose of job creation, they exist for the purpose of holding prisoners safely and protecting the public. What we are going to do however, there is a transition plan in process to fairly treat all the correctional workers with kindness and respect. That is one of the reasons that this government announced to those workers, a very long time in advance of the closure, the plan, so there would be a chance for them to readjust.

MR. DOWNE: That does not answer the concerns of the municipal council. It does not answer the concerns of the public of Lunenburg County. Families and lawyers are going to be seriously disadvantaged by making daily trips between Halifax and Lunenburg in the year 2001. This is not a matter of keeping it open for his political hide because that is what is going to be on the line, the issue here is to provide the quality of service and the location of that service in an area that is required. My question to the minister is, will he reconsider his decision on the basis of closing that facility, to keeping it open? I know members in Yarmouth are fighting to keep theirs open and other members are keeping theirs open, will the Minister of Justice from Lunenburg County keep that responsibility and keep that facility open for the people of that area?

MR. BAKER: Again, the honourable member mentions something in his earlier question, which was the number of positions that are affected. I expect very strongly there will not be that number of job losses, that a large number of the workers presently working at the Lunenburg County Correctional Centre will not lose their jobs and that many of those . . .

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

The honourable member for Eastern Shore on an introduction.

[Page 6841]

MR. WILLIAM DOOKS: It is my pleasure today, on behalf of the Minister of Community Services, to introduce 10 lovely ladies in the east gallery. They are members of the PC association of his constituency, and also the very lovely Mrs. Christie. Ladies, I would ask you to stand and receive the warm welcome of the House. (Applause)

GOVERNMENT BUSINESS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

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

MR. SPEAKER: Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

MR. JOHN HOLM: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order. In fact, my colleague, the member for Hants East, had been on his feet before trying to get your attention. Under Rule 42 it says, "A motion to adjourn shall always be in order, but no second motion to the same effect shall be made until after some intermediate proceedings have been had."

Mr. Speaker, earlier in the day I made a motion for adjournment, which you ruled out of order. You did not cite any rule or authority for ruling it as out of order, and I am not aware of any rule changes that have set aside Rule 42 in the Rules and Forms of Procedure of this House. I am rising on the point of order to ask you to reconsider that motion that was put earlier and allow you to recognize my right to have moved the motion of adjournment and have the question put.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Speaking to the point of order, it is my understanding that the daily routine is an order of business.

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

MR. HOLM: Mr. Speaker, if the Government House Leader, as a former Speaker, would care to take a look at the business under Rule 17, it talks about the daily routine, but it does not say, at any point in that section, that a motion for adjournment is not in order, there is nothing in that. Rule 42 says it is always in order. Always - underlined.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. As I understand it, we were doing business of the House at the time, and we would have to get out of that business before we could entertain . . .

[Page 6842]

[12:45 p.m.]

SOME HON. MEMBERS: No.

MR. SPEAKER: Could I please finish? Thank you. We have to leave that bit of business before we could entertain to adjourn the House. Now, we were under Orders of the Day at the time, therefore, I ruled that the motion was out of order because of the fact that we were dealing with business which was Notices of Motion at the time.

Obviously, the member is not satisfied. I will do some more research and report back to the House. But I made that ruling and I stand by it.

The honourable member for Sackville-Cobequid.

MR. JOHN HOLM: Mr. Speaker, I am not going to win this one on the floor right now, quite obviously. But when you report back to the House, I would appreciate it, and I am sure all members of the House would appreciate it, if you would cite the rule or authority which indicates that. Because in looking at the rules under the Daily Routine, it talks about the order in which things will happen and Rule 17(1) says that it ". . . shall be without debate." When a motion to adjourn as such was placed, ". . . shall always be in order . . ." according to Rule 42, that is not a debate, that is a vote. These are two entirely separate situations and I, with the greatest respect, believe that the ruling that you made was in error. Therefore, when you come back, hopefully today, with that ruling and the citation for that, you will then afford us the opportunity to have the vote on the motion that I placed earlier.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

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

MR. SPEAKER: Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

The motion is carried.

[12:48 p.m. The House resolved itself into a CWH on Bills with Deputy Speaker Mr. Brooke Taylor in the Chair.]

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

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

[Page 6843]

"Therefore be it resolved that the province take urgent action in cooperation with the federal government, private woodlot owners and the forestry industry to address the threat posed by the brown spruce longhorn beetle."

ADJOURNMENT

MOTION UNDER RULE 5(5)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Hants East.

NAT. RES. - BROWN SPRUCE LONGHORN BEETLE:

THREAT - ADDRESS

MR. JOHN MACDONELL: Mr. Speaker, my recollection is that it was submitted by the honourable member for Dartmouth-Cole Harbour.

MR. SPEAKER: There are three here, all the same.

MR. JOHN MACDONELL: Mr. Speaker, it is certainly timely, and I am glad to see that this resolution was chosen to be debated this evening. I look forward to the minister's intervention on this resolution. I think all members should be aware, partly because of what we don't know about the European brown spruce longhorn beetle, the information so far that the province has been able to glean - actually I have learned more through the press conference at City Hall the other day, and there are some questions about how long this beetle has been in the province. It was first detected in 1990 - which was misidentified - and there is no way to be sure that the infestation we are experiencing right now is a product of that original infestation, if that population died due to whatever natural circumstances, and that the identification of this more recent population is a new infestation.

That raises a couple of concerns actually. One of those is, if the infestation that we are experiencing right now in Point Pleasant Park came into the park or came into the province in 1990 and it hasn't moved anywhere out of the park, then that gives us a fairly good indication of the ability of the insect to move. It has the capability of flight but is considered to be a lazy insect. If it has a close food supply, then it will probably stay in that area. If it has taken 10 years for it to show as much damage as we are experiencing right now in Point Pleasant Park, then that actually may be a good thing in the sense that it has taken this long and it doesn't seem to have shown much evidence outside the park.

If this is not the original infestation of 1990 but actually a much newer one, say around 1998, when damage was first noticed in the park at that time, then this may be a far more serious problem. In other words, that shows it has done a significant amount of damage in a short period of time. It would also lead one to believe that perhaps the beetle is not as lazy as it was first thought to be. There is every indication by that that it may be outside the park.

[Page 6844]

Now, there are still questions to be answered in relation to the adaptability of this insect to the new environment in which it lives. In Europe, it feeds on the Norway spruce. It seems to have taken a liking to our red spruce in this province, and that in and of itself is probably not all that significant because there would be some similarity between the two species of trees. What is significant is in Europe the beetle attacks dead or dying trees, in other words, trees that are stressed seem to be the ones that it picks on. So far, from what we have been able to understand here in this province is that it attacks healthy trees. Unless there is some stress factor in the red spruce in the park that we are not aware of and that the beetle is aware of, and that is the reason it is attacking the red spruce, that hasn't become known yet. We have experienced three years of drought in the province and that may have stressed the red spruce populations all across the province, and that may be one of the factors that is leading to the infestation.

One of the severe problems that I recognize and I want the minister to be aware of, I think, from the press conference, the provincial entomologist, Eric Georgeson stated that later in the season they would be doing aerial surveys to identify dead red spruce trees. In other words, until they turn brown or more red actually, when they die, then it is very difficult to pick them out. I would say to the minister that the death of coniferous trees, we would be assuming that the trees we are going to see die this year are trees that were infected last year. So who is to assume that those infestations occurred only last year. The specialist from the Canadian Forestry Service, I think Mr. Hurley, had mentioned that it could take one to three years for a tree to die, depending on how bad the larval infestation would be.

Now if we assume that the bug has been here at least two years and possibly longer, then there should be ample evidence out there to indicate whether or not this longhorn beetle has gotten outside the park. Therefore I see no need to wait until the end of the growing season for these trees to show some evidence they are dead. I would think the trees that were attacked last year would certainly be showing those signs, even though they may have gone into the fall with green foliage, they would probably maintain that green foliage.

Most people would know here that when you cut a balsam fir tree for Christmas, you can take it and throw it out into your backyard and it maintains its green colour until spring. It will lay there all winter and look green, it doesn't turn brown as though it were dead. That is because it is dormant, for the most part, but once those trees start to photosynthesize, they then turn brown and die. What members should be aware of is that you can watch that tree in your backyard turn brown in the spring of the year, or once we get to the stage when all trees in the forest start to carry out photosynthesis. The only problem for these trees, is that in a very short period of time, they use up whatever available nutrient that is in the trunk of the tree because they are not attached to the ground so they live for a little while and then, within a few days, they start to show the off-colour and turn brown.

I would say the same thing applies to those red spruce trees, once the cambium layer under the bark has been devoured by the longhorn beetle larvae, then basically what it has to do is the same thing that people have known for years - if you take the bark or ring a tree all the way around so that the nutrients are not able to travel up the cambium layer, then you

[Page 6845]

basically kill the tree. That is what the beetle is doing, not in such a coordinated manner but with enough of the larvae under the bark, then eventually we would assume they will compete the job all the way around, under the bark, and therefore cut off the food supply to the tree and the tree will die. So there certainly should be trees showing signs now that the damage has been done that they are dying.

I would say that the minister or his department doesn't have to wait until later in the summer to do this. This is not a question of control, this is a question of eradication. The province should not consider trying to figure out a mechanism for controlling this insect; this insect is going to cause severe damage to one of the most economically important species of trees in this province. Actually the red spruce was the attractant for the pulp companies to this province because of the particular fibre it has, which is great for making paper. So roughly 15.5 per cent of Nova Scotia's wood is exported. I know that roughly 15 per cent of round logs are exported and there probably is a significant number that are milled as well. The destinations are: New Brunswick, a major buyer of Nova Scotia timber; not to mention the United States, in particular Maine; the offshore actually takes another significant amount.

If these jurisdictions decide they don't want Nova Scotia lumber because of this, that could have a serious economic impact. I have to be honest and say that I would not be disappointed to find out that round logs were not leaving the province. I think they should be manufactured here for value-added purposes. This is something that the minister needs to get on right away. I see my time is gone, Mr. Speaker, I will relinquish the floor.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Natural Resources.

HON. ERNEST FAGE: Mr. Speaker, tonight's resolution for the late debate, I think it is important to read the wording: "Therefore be it resolved that the province take urgent action in cooperation with the federal government, private woodlot owners and the forestry industry to address the threat posed by the brown spruce longhorn beetle."

Speaking to the motion directly is very important because the motion does speak very properly that this is a cooperative effort. There are a number of jurisdictional issues here that I think we have to go to right from the fore, that being that the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, when an exotic insect or pest is identified, is the lead agency responsible to do the coordination of that particular service. So here in Nova Scotia, once the brown spruce longhorn beetle was identified, our officials in cooperation with HRM officials and cooperation with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency have gone to work. This particular beetle is a native of Europe and Asia. Right now our entomologists and our researchers are gathering evidence that has been assembled in those two jurisdictions over the last number of years on the lifestyle and habits of that particular beetle, and what that particular beetle's mode of attack is on the forest, and what is the best way, and possible ways, to eliminate and eradicate that particular beetle.

[Page 6846]

Here in Nova Scotia, it has been identified at Point Pleasant Park, which is a municipal park, and is attacking live red spruce, whereas in Europe and Asia that particular beetle is known to thrive primarily on dead trees or trees that are at the very end of their life cycle. So that particular piece of information on the pest is new for its life cycle. It is one that bears scrutiny, evaluation, and certainly as quickly as possible. Certainly, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, which is the lead agency, along with our entomologists are currently assessing how large the infestation is, how serious it is, is it contained solely on the site within Point Pleasant Park? To that end, we have insect monitoring traps and stations located throughout Point Pleasant Park and the Dingle area of Halifax. Also, we are doing regular monitoring outside in the boreal forests of Nova Scotia. To date, the only identified spot that the beetle has been found is at Point Pleasant Park.

We will be monitoring, with those other agencies, to determine the degree of infestation. We will also be doing aerial surveys and continue to determine to see if the insect has indeed spread outside the bounds of the park. At this stage, because of the serious nature of this beetle, it would be certainly a very positive thing if it is contained within the bounds of Point Pleasant Park. It certainly enhances the opportunity to eradicate the insect at that site, and isolate it and allow that opportunity to ensure that it happens.

I want to make one thing clear. These traps are monitoring tools, and they, being set up, detect only the presence of the beetle. At this stage, I think it is extremely important, before we make brash moves that we employ the use of our entomologists, our researchers, to determine what is the best way to eradicate the insect. Obviously, over the next few months, I think it is extremely important to establish the extent of the infestation, devise a strategy that can eliminate the insect, and I should add, certainly it would seem prudent from recommendations from experts at this point because there is an ample food source, the beetles appear to be staying close to the area. They could have possibly been here for up to 10 years, when the math is done on the multiplication factor of a pair or isolated individuals to build a significant population enough to be noticed, that is probably the proper time-frame.

[6:15 p.m.]

I think it is very important to point out that an eradication program may possibly occur at the most important point in the cycle of that particular beetle, or all insects, and as cold weather comes they become dormant. The risk of causing the insects to leave the area because you are taking down diseased trees and attacking the wood supply to eradicate them, it would be prudent to ensure that we pick the optimum time when there is the least opportunity for those particular insects to move out of that area, because we want to contain those particular beetles in that area where they have identified.

This is a situation that is so serious that elimination or eradication is what we desire to see happen here. I think it is extremely important to also point out some of the steps that have been taken in consultation with the Canadian Food and Inspection Agency, and today the Canadian Food and Inspection Agency - which again, because of the exotic nature of the pests - is the leading agency within the jurisdiction. We are there to cooperate and support and

[Page 6847]

announce that a quarantine has been put in place around the boundaries of Point Pleasant Park, and that announcement was made today by the Canadian Food and Inspection Agency.

No wood, logs, lumber or branches will be allowed to be removed from the park without the permission of the Canadian Food and Inspection Agency. A task force is currently being formed to address the control and eradication options. This will include federal, provincial, municipal and industry representatives in conjunction with, as this analysis goes forward, the aerial survey will be conducted to determine how widespread the beetle is. This will be used in conjunction to help determine the appropriate strategy to control this particular beetle.

Mr. Speaker, I don't need to reinforce to you or members of this House how critical it is to do this particular eradication appropriately, timely and properly. The forest industry in Nova Scotia, and primarily the red spruce, is of significant economic value to this province; softwood in Nova Scotia generates in excess of $1 billion of output, meaning jobs in every rural community in the Province of Nova Scotia.

So you can see with what is involved, the best course of action is to ensure that we can quarantine, isolate, and be sure that this pest remains within the bounds of Point Pleasant Park, and then devise the appropriate eradication method to ensure that this pest can be successfully eliminated.

Going back to the issue of jurisdiction, the resolution speaks about cooperation. That cooperation has been there and will continue to be there, and we will provide the resources that we have available to ensure that everything possible is done to contain this particular outbreak of this exotic pest.

But, again, the lead agency, because they are an exotic pest, is the federal government's Canadian Food and Inspection Agency. Under their guidance that final decision will be made on the eradication, and appropriate proclamations issued to ensure that particular task is carried out. Point Pleasant Park is an old piece of property with much history, a piece of federal property that the municipality of Halifax leases for a shilling, I believe, in a ceremony each year. It is an integral part of the heritage of HRM and all residents of Halifax and really all residents of Nova Scotia.

Ensuring that as the elimination process is done, that a proper clean-up and preservation and restoration occurs is imperative . . .

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

The honourable member for Victoria.

MR. KENNETH MACASKILL: Mr. Speaker, I want to take a few minutes of the House tonight to say a few words on this resolution, which is very appropriate for this point in time. The resolution reads, " . . . that the province take urgent action in cooperation with

[Page 6848]

the federal government, private woodlot owners and the forestry industry to address the threat posed by the brown spruce longhorn beetle." The resolution left out an important partner in that, and that is the Halifax Regional Municipality, of course, which has jurisdiction over Point Pleasant Park.

Mr. Speaker, through all avenues of the media in the last week or two, we have read a lot and heard a lot about this particular beetle and the threat to the woodlands of Nova Scotia. This insect has travelled all the way from Asia to Point Pleasant Park, so it is not unreasonable to imagine that it could spread very quickly right across this province. It is good to see that the Department of Natural Resources seems to be taking this issue very seriously.

Mr. Speaker, we learned this afternoon that the Canadian Food Inspection Agency has put Point Pleasant Park under quarantine and we hope this is not too late. Should this insect have been picked up quicker? We don't know. But, in all fairness to the Halifax Regional Municipality, do they have the personnel to detect insects of this nature within their trees or parks? I am not sure. In cooperation with the Department of Natural Resources, I know they have very thorough entomologists within that department who, I am sure, if they had seen this insect two, three, four or five years ago, whatever the case may be, it may have been a different situation that we are facing today.

Mr. Speaker, as the minister has said, the quarantine means there will be no logs, no wood, lumber or branches that will be allowed to leave the park. In the past few years, the Halifax Regional Municipality has cut down more than 1,100 dead or dying trees within that park. Where did those trees go, or even pieces of those trees or bark? We hope that debris has not been removed to some place and the beetle went with it. Those are the questions that remain to be answered today, and that is what the Department of Natural Resources needs to determine.

Mr. Speaker, Nova Scotia forests are a very sensitive resource and this government must be prepared to spend the money to divert or avert any potential devastation that might occur. The brown spruce longhorn beetle could result in such devastation. I recall, just a few years ago, we were faced with the white-marked tussock moth. Many of you will remember the spruce budworm, also, of the 1970's. Thanks to provincial and federal funding, our forestry has been able to survive to this point. It has survived, in some respect, due to the Strathlorne Nursery in Inverness, which played a major role in the reforestation of land hit by the spruce budworm. That nursery, again, will play an important role in reforestation, if this insect creates devastation within our province.

Mr. Speaker, the minister's staff has assured me that the Strathlorne Nursery will be around to make a contribution to the Nova Scotia forest industry for years to come. I believe we need the Strathlorne Nursery, in the near future, if this brown spruce longhorn beetle is not contained.

[Page 6849]

I was somewhat disappointed to read in today's Chronicle-Herald that the Minister of Natural Resources does not know which level of government will pay to reforest Point Pleasant Park, if need be. I would expect the provincial government to take a lead role in any reforestation project in Point Pleasant Park and that could go well beyond, if necessary.

Mr. Speaker, should this insect be allowed, or if it happens, to get into our supply of red spruce throughout this province, we can expect to see major job losses as well as a long-term negative impact on our forests. Yesterday, officials said that the three levels of government have not set a date to check properties outside the park and I hope this is not an indication that the Department of Natural Resources is dragging its feet. These types of problems may be avoided in the future if some strategic investments in the forestry sector occur.

Unfortunately, this fact is lost in the current Tory Government. Why else would they have to cut funding for innovative tree breeding centres in Debert? This centre was opened in 1981 to work with the major players in the Atlantic Canadian forest industry to develop better trees that are stronger, grow faster and resist insect damage. Mr. Speaker, luckily private industry like Stora Enso, Port Hawkesbury is working to keep this facility alive.

Halifax is a major port. There are a wide variety of foreign pests that reach our shores every year. About $1.2 million containers are shipped into Canada from outside North America and, sadly, only 2 per cent are inspected for bugs. Some of the pests have made their way into Canada, including the Asian longhorn beetle and the European spruce bark beetle. The Department of Natural Resources should be investing in developing trees that resist insect damage. The cuts to the Department of Natural Resources could threaten the very livelihood of our forest industry.

Mr. Speaker, after all, the red spruce, which makes up 70 per cent to 75 per cent of the trees in Point Pleasant Park, is the official tree of Nova Scotia. It was named the official tree in 1988 and for a good reason. It is Nova Scotia's number one sawn lumber product and second in pulpwood; 90 per cent of lumber produced in Nova Scotia is red spruce. Now that the quarantine has been imposed, there are many things that all three levels of government must consider when dealing with this serious problem. Any trees that are felled must be carefully disposed of. If they are not burned on the site, they will have to be removed from Point Pleasant Park and moving any infected trees off parkland presents its own set of problems. There are temptations of people to take felled trees for their own use, but all felled trees must be closely monitored.

Mr. Speaker, the geography of Point Pleasant Park must be taken into consideration. South End Halifax is one of the most heavily treed urban areas in the province . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. I would ask the members to take their conversations outside. I cannot hear the speaker.

[Page 6850]

MR. MACASKILL: Mr. Speaker, the park sits next to the railway corridor which is lined with trees. We are told the spruce longhorn beetle is a lazy bug; it will not venture far from a plentiful food source, which is good, but if the food source extends along our railway corridor off the Halifax peninsula, the rest of the province is in danger. There is a concern that this beetle is attacking healthy trees, normally the pest will only attack dead or dying trees. We have learned that this is one aspect of the beetle that is new to Nova Scotia, as its food in the European and Asian countries has been dead or dying trees; in Nova Scotia it is new trees, a great threat to our province.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. I would like to thank the honourable members for taking part in this evening's late debate.

We will now return to Committee of the Whole House on Bills.

[6:30 p.m. The House resolved itself into a CWH on Bills with Deputy Speaker Mr. Wayne Gaudet in the Chair.]

[11:56 p.m. CWH on Bills rose and the House reconvened. Mr. Speaker, Hon. Murray Scott, resumed the Chair.]

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

THE CLERK: That the committee has met and considered the following bill:

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

and the chairman has been instructed to recommend this bill to the favourable consideration of the House; and the committee begs leave to sit again.

MR. SPEAKER: Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

Ordered that this bill be read for a third time on a future day.

The honourable Leader of the New Democratic Party.

MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, I just wanted to announce that it is Opposition Day tomorrow and the business will be Resolutions No. 2198, No. 2250 and No. 1818. The hours for tomorrow will be from 2:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m.

I move that we adjourn the House for today.

[Page 6851]

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is that we do now rise until tomorrow at 2:00 p.m.

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

We stand adjourned.

[The House rose at 11:57 p.m.]