The Nova Scotia Legislature

The House resumed on:
September 21, 2017.

Hansard -- Tue., Oct. 19, 1999

First Session

TUESDAY, OCTOBER 19, 1999

TABLE OF CONTENTS PAGE
NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 183, Fish. - Lobster Fishery (Non-Native): Moratorium -
Premier Explain, Mr. R. MacKinnon 456
Res. 184, Justice - Jail (Burnside): Democratic Rights (Dartmouth N.) -
Important, Mr. Robert Chisholm 457
Res. 185, Commun. Serv. - Charities: Funding - Partnership Resume,
Mr. P. MacEwan 457
Res. 186, GG - Literacy Award Nomination: Wendy Lill (Corker) -
Congrats., Ms. E. O'Connell 458
Res. 187, Fin. - Health: Statement (Current) - Truer, Dr. J. Smith 458
Res. 188, Commun. Serv - Poor: Future - Outlook Clarify,
Ms. Maureen MacDonald 459
Res. 189, Health - Strait-Richmond Hosp.: Care Improvement
(Dr. C.K. Thomas) - Congrats., Mr. M. Samson 459
Res. 190, Econ. Dev. - Wonder Auto Centre (Truro): Opening -
Congrats., Mr. B. Taylor 460
Res. 191, Health - Paramedics: Dedication - Recognize, Mr. D. Dexter 461
Vote - Affirmative 461
Res. 192, Commun. Serv. - New Waterford Family Res. Ctr.:
Funding Source - Removal Condemn, Mr. P. MacEwan 462
Res. 193, Fin. - Charities: Monies - Return, Mr. K. Deveaux 462
Res. 194, Lbr. - Fire Investigation: Staffing - Adequate Provide,
Mr. R. MacKinnon 463
Res. 195, Nat. Res. - Coastal Properties: Ownership -
Public Review Initiate, Mr. W. Estabrooks 463
Vote - Affirmative 464
Res. 196, Gov't. (N.S.): Moral Compass - Absence, Mr. M. Samson 464
Res. 197, Gov't. (N.S.): Public Consultation Process - Explain,
Mr. J. Pye 465
Res. 198, Educ. - Dal. Med. School: Research Funding (Gov't. [Can.]) -
Congrats., Dr. J. Smith 465
Vote - Affirmative 466
Res. 199, Commun. Serv. - Veith House: Dedication - Congrats.,
Ms. Maureen MacDonald 466
Vote - Affirmative 467
Res. 200, Educ. - Beechville Remove Learning Ctr.: Staff - Congrats.,
Mr. W. Estabrooks 467
Vote - Affirmative 468
Res. 201, Health - Paramedics: Bargaining - Encourage, Mr. D. Dexter 468
Vote - Affirmative 468
ORAL QUESTIONS PUT BY MEMBERS:
No. 61, Justice - Jail (Burnside): Cost - Increase, Mr. R. MacLellan 469
No. 62, Fin. - Casino (Sydney): Charities - Monies, Mr. Robert Chisholm 470
No. 63, Fin. - Charities: Cutbacks - Rationale, Mr. D. Wilson 471
No. 64, Fin. - Casino (Sydney): Charities - Funding Decision,
Mr. Robert Chisholm 473
No. 65, Fin.: Charities - Funding, Dr. J. Smith 474
No. 66, Commun. Serv. - Disabilities: Accessibility - Funding,
Mr. Robert Chisholm 475
No. 67, Justice - Jail (Burnside): Cost - Increase, Mr. M. Samson 477
No. 68, Fin. - Casino (Sydney): Charities - Funds Use, Mr. J. Holm 479
No. 69, Transport. & Pub. Wks. - Jail (Burnside): Cost - Increase,
Mr. P. MacEwan 480
No. 70, Fin. - Casino (Sydney): Charities - Cash Acquisition,
Mr. F. Corbett 481
No. 71, Transport. & Pub. Wks. - Antigonish: Bypass Route -
Re-Examine, Mr. R. MacLellan 483
No. 72, Justice - Jail (Bedford/Burnside): Site Selection - Process,
Mr. J. Pye 484
No. 73, Health - Paramedics: Wages - Meetings, Dr. J. Smith 486
No. 74, Health - Paramedics: Offer - Improvement, Mr. D. Dexter 487
No. 75, Transport. & Pub. Wks. - Antigonish: Bypass Route -
Instructions, Mr. R. MacLellan 488
GOVERNMENT BUSINESS:
GOVERNMENT MOTIONS:
ON MOTION FOR SUPPLY:
Mr. R. MacLellan 489
Mr. H. Epstein 491
Hon. N. LeBlanc 494
Mr. M. Samson 498
HOUSE RESOLVED INTO CWH ON SUPPLY AT 2:11 P.M. 501
HOUSE RECONVENED AT 5:58 P.M. 501
ADJOURNMENT:
MOTION UNDER RULE 5(5):
Justice: Jail (Burnside) - Community Input:
Mr. J. Pye 503
Hon. M. Baker 505
Mr. T. Olive 507
Mr. M. Samson 509
ADJOURNMENT, House rose to meet again on Wed., Oct. 20th at 2:00 p.m. 512

[Page 455]

HALIFAX, TUESDAY, OCTOBER 19, 1999

Fifty-eighth General Assembly

First Session

12:00 P.M.

SPEAKER

Hon. Murray Scott

DEPUTY SPEAKERS

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

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

The topic for the late debate tonight was submitted by the honourable Leader of the New Democratic Party. It reads:

Therefore be it resolved that the government should have kept the Premier's promise to give the nearby community greater participation and more weight in the selection of the new jail site.

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

The honourable member for Eastern Shore on an introduction.

MR. WILLIAM DOOKS: Mr. Speaker, I am very proud today to introduce a number of Grade 12 students who have come in from the Eastern Shore and Preston area. I would like to especially say hello to my cousin Joel Dooks who is over there in the Eastern Shore gallery. (Laughter) I would ask you folks to welcome them. Thank you. (Applause)

455

[Page 456]

PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS

PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES

TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS

STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS

GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION

INTRODUCTION OF BILLS

NOTICES OF MOTION

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

RESOLUTION NO. 183

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 Premier has publicly called for a moratorium on the non-native lobster fishery in all of Nova Scotia; and

Whereas this call for a moratorium was made without consultation with the non-native lobster fishermen; and

Whereas the call for a moratorium is contrary to the unanimous opinion of the non-native lobster fishermen in Southwest Nova who have declared their intent to have the lobster fishery take place as scheduled;

Therefore be it resolved that the Premier explain to the non-native fishermen of Southwest Nova why he does not want them to earn their livelihood by fishing as scheduled.

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

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

Is it agreed?

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

[Page 457]

The honourable Leader of the New Democratic Party.

RESOLUTION NO. 184

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

Whereas during the 1999 election campaign, the Premier recently stated that, "the Liberal Government was irresponsible to deprive Bedford residents of their right and I emphasize - their right - to participate in democratic decision-making", about the jail site; and

Whereas the Premier promised that his government would give greater weight to community consultation; and

Whereas instead the Premier urged Nova Scotians to spend time at the barbeque while his government negotiated a land swap to put the jail in Burnside without community consultation;

Therefore be it resolved that in the view of this House the democratic rights of the residents of North Dartmouth are just as important as the democratic rights of Bedford residents and the wishes of nearby residents should have equal weight in jail site decisions.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Cape Breton Nova.

RESOLUTION NO. 185

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

Whereas the hard-heartedness of this new Tory crew is mind-boggling and exceeds even the most austere times of Donald Cameron, yet they are just warming up; and

Whereas Nova Scotians traditionally have expected government to play the role of a generous and compassionate member of society, rather than one that has introverted itself from the society that surrounds it; and

Whereas the confiscation of certain casino profits assigned for charitable undertakings has confounded many worthwhile organizations in this province that were looking to that source for much-needed support;

[Page 458]

Therefore be it resolved that the Government of Nova Scotia should once again be a partner in society rather than an adversary of charitable causes and this government should restore to the charities funding they had counted on to carry their work forward.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Halifax Fairview.

RESOLUTION NO. 186

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

Whereas Wendy Lill, MP for Dartmouth, has been nominated for the 1999 Governor General's Literary Award, English Drama, for her play, Corker; and

Whereas Corker is about a cost-cutting, civil servant who tries to dump her mentally handicapped nephew into the system but finds support systems have disappeared; and

Whereas the author reports that the play, "was born from my feeling that our society is becoming one in which we have been ditching our responsibilities toward the vulnerable in our rush to cut, slash and be competitive";

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate Wendy Lill on her nomination for the Governor General's Literary Award and hope sincerely that under this government life does not continue to imitate art.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Dartmouth East.

RESOLUTION NO. 187

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 current Finance Minister said in June, "if we are to deliver quality, accessible health care to Nova Scotians, we need to find the dollars to make these and other investments in health care. But dollars alone will not guarantee a better and more efficient health care system"; and

Whereas the $204 million the Tories are throwing at health care clearly backs up the Finance Minister's statement; and

[Page 459]

Whereas the Tories have also taken absolutely no action to try to guarantee a better and more efficient health care system;

Therefore be it resolved that the current Finance Minister's statement on health is much truer now than it was in June.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Halifax Needham.

RESOLUTION NO. 188

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

Whereas on Friday and again yesterday the Tory Government rejected a benign resolution asking it to be mindful of the documented income inequality which is growing in our country; and

Whereas in rejecting these resolutions the Tory Government also rejected suggestions that it be mindful of the impact its policy choices have on income security for the poorest Nova Scotians; and

Whereas this astonishing response by the Premier and government suggests Nova Scotians living in poverty might not even receive empathy from this government;

Therefore be it resolved that the Premier clarify whether the poor, who are mostly children, disabled, and Aboriginal people, have any reason to fear this government.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Richmond.

RESOLUTION NO. 189

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

Whereas the Strait-Richmond Hospital in Richmond County was faced with a doctor shortage crisis last year; and

[Page 460]

Whereas through the efforts of local doctors, staff at the hospital, and the Strait Area Physician Recruitment Committee, and the overall community in general, a new, full-time physician was found; and

Whereas Dr. C.K. Thomas, who has provided stability to the Strait-Richmond Hospital and surrounding areas, has just signed a one year extension to his contract;

[12:15 p.m.]

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House extend congratulations to Dr. Thomas, local physicians and staff at the Strait-Richmond Hospital, the Strait Area Physician Recruitment Committee and the residents of Richmond County for their hard efforts to improve health care in our county.

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 Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley.

RESOLUTION NO. 190

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

Whereas Wonder Auto Centre Ltd., located at 109 Robie Street in Truro, held their grand opening this past Saturday; and

Whereas Manager, John Spears, his staff, and family, have shown confidence in our provincial economy by investing several thousand dollars into this automotive service repair outlet; and

Whereas Colchester Warden Mike Smith, Councillor Ray Merriam, the Bible Hill Kinsmen Club, the CEC Cougars Football Team and myself were exceptionally pleased to participate in Saturday's grand opening and welcome Wonder Auto Centre to the beautiful Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley;

[Page 461]

Therefore be it resolved that all members of the Legislature congratulate Wonder Auto Centre and wish them every success in their future endeavours.

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 Dartmouth-Cole Harbour.

RESOLUTION NO. 191

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

Whereas paramedics in this province earn between $7.00 to $11 an hour for their work; and

Whereas paramedics can work from 42 hours up to 120 hours in a seven day stretch; and

Whereas most paramedics in the province do not even have a pension plan;

Therefore be it resolved that this House recognize the dedication and commitment it takes to be a paramedic and the contribution that paramedics make to the health care system.

Mr. Speaker, I would request waiver.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried. (Interruptions)

[Page 462]

The honourable member for Cape Breton Nova.

RESOLUTION NO. 192

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

Whereas the New Waterford Family Resources Centre is a typical organization that had looked to the profits from the Sydney casino as a source for future core funding; and

Whereas the New Waterford Family Resources Centre delivers a range of worthwhile programs for children of all ages, to families in the New Waterford area; and

Whereas the New Waterford Family Resources Centre had expected to receive an equal and fair consideration for an appropriate share of the some $2.5 million funds that had been designated for this purpose by the former Liberal Government;

Therefore be it resolved that the Tory Party stands condemned for taking away this source of funding that had been made available by its predecessors to the great detriment of worthwhile organizations such as the New Waterford Family Resources Centre and many others of equal merit which can also be identified here in the House.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage.

RESOLUTION NO. 193

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

Whereas when the Titanic struck an iceberg and was sinking, women and children left the doomed ship first; and

Whereas these women and children were left to float in the cold Atlantic waters for hours alone; and

Whereas the current Tory Government has chosen to throw women and children who depend on the generosity of charities overboard with no life jacket or lifeboat into the frigid waters of Tory cost cutting;

[Page 463]

Therefore be it resolved that this House steer a clear course through the Tory icebergs and throw a life jacket to the women and children of this province by instructing the government of the day to return the money it is pilfering from charities.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Cape Breton West.

RESOLUTION NO. 194

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 fire marshal's office recently issued a report on the question of fire investigation; and

Whereas the report recommends that volunteer fire departments take over the responsibility of investigations for fires; and

Whereas the Stewiacke Volunteer Fire Department is the latest in a growing list of volunteer fire departments to publicly express concern over its ability to meet the service demands imposed on it by the provincial government;

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Labour reverse the decision to continue to download its responsibilities to volunteers and shoulder its responsibility for fire investigation by providing adequate staffing in the fire marshal's office.

Mr. Speaker, I would 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 Timberlea-Prospect.

RESOLUTION NO. 195

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

[Page 464]

Whereas Nova Scotians want to maintain the right of traditional access to coastal properties and islands; and

Whereas this land is one of our greatest natural resources; and

Whereas this government knows this is an important issue for all Nova Scotians;

Therefore be it resolved that this government initiate a public review of ownership and of access to coastal properties and islands in this province.

Mr. Speaker, I would ask for waiver.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Richmond.

RESOLUTION NO. 196

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

Whereas this government has constantly stated that all Nova Scotians will have to deal with our deficit problems; and

Whereas the government has disregarded the safety of Nova Scotians and is considering wasting money on a politically-driven highway through Antigonish; and

Whereas other blatantly political moves have been made in our Justice system with the changing of the forensic correction site, despite the ever escalating costs;

Therefore be it resolved that this government has no moral compass by which to guide its decisions, recalling the Tory glory days of old when politics replaced good public policy at the expense of the Nova Scotia taxpayer.

[Page 465]

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Dartmouth North.

RESOLUTION NO. 197

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

Whereas today the Ministers of Justice and Health announced the location of the jail and forensic hospital; and

Whereas before July 27, 1999, the Hamm Progressive Conservatives condemned the previous government on its skimpy public consultation process concerning the siting of these facilities; and

Whereas this government held only two public information meetings and one residents meeting in a three week period;

Therefore be it resolved that this Tory Government explain just what it means by the public consultation process.

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 Dartmouth East.

RESOLUTION NO. 198

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

Whereas Dalhousie University Medical School was presented with $2.9 million in federal research funding on Friday, October 15, 1999; and

[Page 466]

Whereas 12 research projects, covering such topics as heart disease, cancer, disorders of the brain and the immune system, will receive funding as a result of this recent announcement; and

Whereas medical research improves health and health care, enables Nova Scotians to retain the best and the brightest in the medical field and stimulates the economic growth;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate the Dalhousie University Medical School and the successful recipients of funding, and thank the federal government for recognizing the immense research talent and excellent facility we have in the Dalhousie Medical School.

Mr. Speaker, I seek waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Halifax Needham.

RESOLUTION NO. 199

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

Whereas Veith House, a community-based, multi-service, not-for-profit organization, established in 1972, is this year celebrating 25 years of service to its community; and

Whereas Veith House's mission is to encourage and support the personal growth, independence and self-empowerment of primarily low-income individuals and families in the Halifax Regional Municipality; and

Whereas Veith House's mission reflects the remarkable tradition of community service established by the former Halifax Children's Foundation, which operated an orphanage on the current site;

[Page 467]

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate the board and staff of Veith House for their dedication and good work, and wish them continuing success in the coming years.

Mr. Speaker, I seek waiver.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Timberlea-Prospect.

RESOLUTION NO. 200

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 community of Beechville has maintained a proud history of accomplishments; and

Whereas the citizens of Beechville have worked tirelessly to maintain that tradition; and

Whereas on Tuesday, September 21st, the Beechville Remote Learning Centre began this year's Certificate Program in Community Economic Development and Leadership;

Therefore be it resolved that this House offer its congratulations to staff members Terry Wright, Chris Blackmore, Yvette Jarvis and all involved with wishes of a successful year.

I would ask for waiver, Mr. Speaker.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

[Page 468]

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Dartmouth-Cole Harbour.

RESOLUTION NO. 201

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

Whereas Friday, October 29th, has been set as the deadline for strike action by NSGEU Paramedic Local 911; and

Whereas paramedics are justifiably frustrated by years of discrimination and non-recognition for the role they play in the health care system; and

Whereas men and women who work as paramedics are the forgotten members of our health care system;

Therefore be it resolved that this government encourage both sides in this dispute to return to the bargaining table and to seek a fair and just resolution that recognizes the contribution of paramedics to the health care system.

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

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

ORDERS OF THE DAY

ORAL QUESTIONS PUT BY MEMBERS

MR. SPEAKER: Question Period starts at 12:26 p.m. and will end at 1:26 p.m.

The honourable Leader of the Liberal Party.

[Page 469]

JUSTICE - JAIL (BURNSIDE): COST - INCREASE

MR. RUSSELL MACLELLAN: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Premier. The Premier has said that he and his government are going to cut the $2.2 million for charities that was to come from the Sydney casino. He has also said that all charities, all money given to charity by his government, is under review. That is one of the most mean-spirited things I have ever heard.

I want to ask the Premier how he can justify moving the jail from the Bedford site to the Burnside site - costing millions more - to keep his 243 promises, while at the same time cutting money to charity, putting other monies for charity under review, putting milk programs under review? How can he explain that to the people of Nova Scotia?

HON. JOHN HAMM (The Premier): Mr. Speaker, the reason the jail was moved is because it was originally to have been built in the wrong place. It is now going to be built in the right place. (Interruptions) The second part of my answer is this government is committed to reviewing each and every government service. We have identified over 1,000 government services and we are going to review each and every one of them. It is in that context that we can say yes, every government expenditure is going to be reviewed so we can do something that the previous government didn't do; prioritize government spending so we can bring in a balanced budget.

MR. MACLELLAN: Mr. Speaker, I think the Premier has just said it; he is prioritizing. Obviously the right of people to be housed, to be clothed and to be fed is at the very end of his priority list. The Premier mentions that the question of funding from the casino for charities will be part of the review and can be reinstated after the review is completed. What are the criteria for that review? What are the things that are going to be taken into consideration? How is that review going to take place and when are the people who need the help of this government going to get an answer as to whether this money is going to be given back?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I do welcome the question because it gives me an opportunity to inform the member opposite and all members of the House that an internal review is proceeding. We have identified over 1,000 government services and in the immediate - and I underline the word immediate - future we will be as well bringing out the plan for an external review of how this government can, in fact, deliver what Nova Scotians want, and that is a balanced budget and a budget that allows each and every taxpayer's dollar to be spent effectively.

[Page 470]

[12:30 p.m.]

MR. MACLELLAN: Mr. Speaker, the budget of the Government of Nova Scotia is for the people of Nova Scotia. How this Premier could give such a bloody wishy-washy answer to something this important defies description.

MR. SPEAKER: Question, please.

MR. MACLELLAN: Who is in charge? Is there going to be a review of that $2.2 million? Can that be reinstated as the Premier said or is it going to be like the Minister of Finance said, that that decision is not reviewable, that $2.2 million is gone? Who is running the government? Is anyone running the government?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I would ask the member opposite to watch his blood pressure. What is happening and what hasn't happened with the previous government is this government is determined to spend effectively every taxpayer dollar that is taken in, with an object to deliver a balanced budget. This is something that was not effectively addressed by the previous government and they should be, of all people in this House, less critical of what is going on at this time than anyone.

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

FIN. - CASINO (SYDNEY): CHARITIES - MONIES

MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, going back to the Premier on the whole question of the charity trust fund. There is some evidence that has come to light to suggest that this was never the government's money to take in the first place. The fund was set up by regulation, the fund is called the Sydney Casino Charities Profits Trust Fund. According to the law of Nova Scotia, that money can only be paid out on the advice of the trust fund's board of directors.

I want to ask the Premier, Mr. Speaker, did he get advice and permission from the trust fund's board of directors before he decided to abscond with the charities' money?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I can say to the member opposite that the Government of Nova Scotia did not request the board's permission to allocate the funds as we have seen fit. I believe the member opposite has spoken extensively in recent months about fiscal responsibility, he has spoken about a balanced budget. If the member opposite feels that we should not be looking at each and every dollar that the government spends in an attempt to deliver a balanced budget then could the member please deliver an alternative plan.

[Page 471]

MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, it is all about choices and the fact that this Premier made the wrong one is something that he should admit to. My first supplementary, trusts and trust funds are an important feature of our law. The essential feature of a trust fund is that the trustees must deal with the money solely for the advantage of the beneficiaries of that trust, yet this government has taken money from this trust fund without so much as a by your leave. I want to ask the Premier, when and by whom was the decision made to engage in this very clear breach of trust?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, the decision was made in July when the people of Nova Scotia elected a government that will work towards delivering fiscal sanity to this province, that will examine each and every government service that government provides in an attempt to rationalize how we can effectively spend each and every taxpayer dollar. That is when the decision was made.

MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, I don't buy it that it is the people of Nova Scotia's fault that this government has absconded with that charity money. My final supplementary, I want to say to the Premier that there is some serious doubt about whether this money was the government's to take. Number one, it is not the taxpayers' money, it is profits from the Sydney casino. Number two, the legal process by which the money was to be paid out was not followed. Three, the money was in a trust fund set up by law. It was not in the government chequing account.

MR. SPEAKER: Question, please.

MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: My question to the Premier is, will he admit that he and his government were wrong, return this money to the fund and see that it is distributed to the charities as it was supposed to be in the first place?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, this government is answerable and this government will answer for each and every one of its actions. I believe that the action we took regarding the funds that were set aside and have been set aside, beginning in 1996-97, was the appropriate thing to do in view of the situation that this province finds itself. (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. Sorry, I couldn't hear myself.

The honourable member for Cape Breton East.

FIN. - CHARITIES: CUTBACKS - RATIONALE

MR. DAVID WILSON: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Premier. Mr. Premier, it seems to me and to all Nova Scotians that this government has absolutely no compassion toward society's underprivileged. This point became very obvious when you decided to take $2.2 million out of the pockets of needy charities and put it into the pocket of the Finance

[Page 472]

Minister. Now we have learned that all the money coming from the government to charities is on the chopping block. My question is, why did this government choose to target society's most underprivileged individuals first when it decided to tighten its fiscal belt? Let me reiterate, they were the first to be cut.

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I can say to the member opposite that the decision to not go forward with the program, when all of the other important programs that government delivers are being reviewed simply does not make any sense. That is why a program that hadn't been begun was interrupted so we could allow a full evaluation of each and every service that government provides. (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

MR. WILSON: Mr. Speaker, this government was in power less than two months when it handed over $1 million to Britex, a move which directly contradicts the Tory's platform of no more handouts to business. The Premier now has the opportunity to regain some of the credibility he lost with flip-flops and handouts for business, credibility he lost when his former Housing Minister, as well, . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Question, please.

MR. WILSON: Will he now do the right thing and exempt charities from this program review?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, the member opposite seems to have drawn a conclusion that the result of the review would mean less money for charities. (Laughter) Let's go through the review and let's see where the money ends up. (Interruptions) Nova Scotians want to know where their taxpayer dollars are going. They want those dollars to be delivered effectively (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

THE PREMIER: . . . and where they will do the most good. That is what the review is all about.

MR. WILSON: Mr. Speaker, the Premier has lost all credibility with Nova Scotians. (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. Order.

[Page 473]

MR. WILSON: Mr. Speaker, the Premier has lost all credibility with Nova Scotians and the contradiction is obvious today in the media between the Premier and his Finance Minister over what to do and what is to be reviewed and what is cut absolutely. It makes me wonder, Mr. Premier, who is in charge of this government's policies?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I can assure the member opposite that all members of this team are united behind the commitments that we made to the people of Nova Scotia and we are determined to deliver those commitments.

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

FIN. - CASINO (SYDNEY): CHARITIES - FUNDING DECISION

MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, through you to the Premier, when the board of directors for the Sydney casino's charity trust fund was being considered, the then Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party, Mr. Hamm, was in the media saying, I hope government isn't trying to interfere with where this charity money goes. He said, the funding decision should be made by the citizens with roots in the non-profit community. I want to ask the Premier when did he decide, from the time he made those comments until now, that he was no longer in favour of the casino profits going to charitable organizations?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, the question gives me the opportunity to say that all Nova Scotians will have an opportunity, including those who represent charitable institutions in this province, as to where this government will spend its money because we are starting a process that will allow that to happen.

MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: It is nice of the Premier to tell these charities they are going to have some input now that he has taken $2.5 million from them.

Mr. Speaker, my first supplementary, the Sydney Casino Charities Profits Trust Fund has built up $2.2 million, but soon it will grow to the point where it is bringing in $3 million annually. That means the Premier is not just grabbing $2.2 million now, but he is grabbing $3 million a year which was going to go to support charities in the Province of Nova Scotia.

MR. SPEAKER: Question, please.

MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: I want to ask the Premier, Mr. Speaker, where in the Tory platform did the Premier say that he was going to balance the budget on the backs of the most vulnerable people in the Province of Nova Scotia?

[Page 474]

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I can assure the Leader of the New Democratic Party that the commitment to review all government services was part and parcel of our platform document. It was part and parcel of our commitment to the people of Nova Scotia and we are going forward as a team to keep that commitment.

MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, let me pose this. There has been another politically motivated decision that has just been made to relocate the jail to Burnside at a cost of $1.2 million. Would it be possible and will the Premier admit that he is gutting the charity trust fund of $2.2 million in order to pay for that politically motivated decision to relocate the jail to Burnside? Is that what is going on here?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, yes, it was. The member opposite I am sure had taken at some point some time to review our platform and one of those commitments was a relocation of the site of the Bedford jail and the forensic unit. So it was a commitment. We have kept the commitment just the same way as we will keep all of our commitments.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Dartmouth East.

FIN.: CHARITIES - FUNDING

DR. JAMES SMITH: Mr. Speaker, my question also is to the Premier. As the Premier well knows, charitable organizations are making valuable contributions to all communities in Nova Scotia. These charities are dependent on the fund-raising activities of volunteers. In 1997 alone volunteer work in Nova Scotia was worth nearly $2 billion to the economy which spells the equal of 81,000 jobs. It is safe to say that investment in charities has returned to Nova Scotia in ways that you cannot put a price tag on. My question to the Premier is - he said in the election that he had a plan for Nova Scotia - could the Premier provide details today of the part of your plan that describes what you will do with the monies that you take from charities?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, the member for Dartmouth East is quite right. This province is blessed with literally thousands of volunteers who provide services to the people of this province that government could never hope to duplicate. This government will do everything in its power to encourage volunteerism in this province and will support volunteerism, but it will do so in effectively spending each and every dollar that it has at its disposal in following up on the commitments that Nova Scotians expected to follow up on.

DR. SMITH: Mr. Speaker, to the Premier, I am sure that worthy charities like the Summer Street Industries in the Premier's own riding could find plenty of ways to spend new money from his government. Could the Premier please provide details of ways that he plans to consult, his government will consult, with charitable organizations to explore ways to overcome any funding shortfalls caused by the government's money grab? He mentioned

[Page 475]

earlier about consulting. What is the process that will be followed to consult? This is a formidable task. He must have a plan for that.

[12:45 p.m.]

THE PREMIER: The Dartmouth East member brings up an excellent point. How do charitable institutions and other agencies in this province bring forward their message to government, something that they had a tremendous difficulty in doing for the past six years. We will be providing those opportunities for consultation so we can get a handle on what it is that we, as government, are expected to do, as we also get a handle on what it is we, as government, can do.

DR. SMITH: Mr. Speaker, I would just ask the Premier, is this money grab an indication of a larger policy shift? There is a lot of code words being used here and one that will justify further moves on charities like this and one that was not mentioned during the election platform, that will see organizations and volunteer groups abandoned by the government. Is this part of a larger policy of abandoning volunteer run charities throughout this province that we are going to see? Is this a larger policy shift?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, with the background noise, I couldn't hear the member's question.

MR. SPEAKER: Would the member for Dartmouth East repeat the question, just the question only.

DR. SMITH: As I said, Mr. Speaker, there are a lot of code words and innuendoes being used here and people are concerned and they don't know.

MR. SPEAKER: Question only, please.

DR. SMITH: The money grab from the charity that we have spoken of here today, is that an indication of a larger shift against volunteerism and against charities in this province?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, the answer to the question is no.

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

COMMUN. SERV. - DISABILITIES: ACCESSIBILITY - FUNDING

MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, through you to the Premier. You have just confirmed that the budget has chopped a $1 million two year fund aimed at improving accessibility for people with disabilities. (Interruptions) This money would have allowed people access to public buildings. I want to ask the Premier, he spoke in the election of

[Page 476]

cutting waste, will he advise if this is what he meant when he said that he was going to cut waste in government?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, that is a specific budget question, we are prepared to answer it. I would refer it to the Minister of Community Services. (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

HON. PETER CHRISTIE: Mr. Speaker, I will wait until I have the floor. (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: I would remind the members that it is your own time that you are wasting.

MR. CHRISTIE: Mr. Speaker, I don't know what budget item he is referring to. (Interruptions) The budget amount in the presentation for the Disabled Persons Commission has gone up this year. The budget went from $218,000 to $221,000. So I don't know what he is referring to.

MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, I would be happy to pass over and table the original statement advising about this program. My first supplementary to the Premier, on Page 23 of the government's platform, it says, "Nova Scotians are a compassionate people who firmly believe their government must work to enhance the quality of life for . . . those Nova Scotians who are physically or mentally challenged.". I want to ask the Premier, is pilfering money from charities and chopping a program for physically handicapped Nova Scotians what you meant when you said you would enhance life for the disabled and the disadvantaged? Answer that question.

MR. SPEAKER: I would ask the honourable Leader of the New Democratic Party to table that document.

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I can say to the member opposite, the Leader of the New Democratic Party, that the commitments that we made to all Nova Scotians, including Nova Scotians with disabilities, those in unfortunate circumstances, those who through no fault of their own are going to food banks, those people are constantly on the minds of this government. We will be delivering those programs, that we can, most effectively to help those disadvantaged Nova Scotians.

MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, the fact that the Premier feels their pain doesn't pay the freight. It doesn't put bread in the mouths of those people who are going hungry in the Province of Nova Scotia as a result of decisions that his government is making. It also doesn't fly in the face of politically-motivated decisions . . .

[Page 477]

MR. SPEAKER: Question, please.

MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: . . . like relocating the prison at a cost of $1.2 million.

MR. SPEAKER: Question, please.

MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: I want to ask the Premier if he paid for that politically-motivated decision by cutting the millions of dollars to charities and to this program for the disabled? Is that what you have done? Those are the choices you have made.

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, to the member opposite, the Leader of the New Democratic Party, the decision of this government to relocate the jail was a decision that was made and it has resulted in the jail being in a much better situation than the one proposed by the previous government.

This government is determined to effectively utilize the resources on behalf of all Nova Scotians, the disadvantaged, those who require our help, as well as all Nova Scotians who are looking for good health care, who are looking for a good classroom environment. These are the kinds of commitments that this government is determined to deliver and we will move down the road to doing that.

The first process of doing that is to effectively look at how government dollars are being spent. I make no apology to the member opposite, who would appear to want to isolate various items of the agenda and to indicate that by doing so, he is being responsible in developing a balanced budget.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Richmond.

JUSTICE - JAIL (BURNSIDE): COST - INCREASE

MR. MICHEL SAMSON: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Premier. Mr. Premier, this morning your Ministers of Justice and Health announced that your political decision to move the new corrections facility from Bedford to Burnside will cost Nova Scotian taxpayers at least $1.2 million. Yet last week, your Minister of Justice said in this House that he hoped the decision to swap sites would be cost neutral.

Mr. Premier, government has just announced that they are stealing $2.2 million from Nova Scotian charities. How can you justify to Nova Scotians this blatant $1.2 million political . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

MR. SAMSON: . . . expense while you are speaking of fiscal responsibility.

[Page 478]

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. I would ask the member to retract that, you used the word stealing. It is unparliamentary, and I would ask you to retract that.

MR. SAMSON: Absconding. Mr. Speaker, this government announced this week that they were taking away $2.2 million from Nova Scotian charities and from the poor of this province. How can you now justify to Nova Scotians this $1.2 million blatant political expense when you try to speak of fiscal responsibility?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, to the member opposite, the member for Richmond, his question seems to revolve around the placement of the jail. If he wants that question answered, I will refer to the Minister of Justice, who has handled that file. If the question has to do with the decision to review all expenditures of this government, I am quite prepared to answer that question. What is the question, that is what I am asking the member opposite?

MR. SAMSON: Mr. Speaker, I will start off by telling the Premier that there is a major difference between reviewing and taking away money in this province, which is what your government is doing, not reviewing. Mr. Premier, your Minister of Justice is telling Nova Scotians it will cost $1.2 million to move the jail to Burnside, yet he fails to add in any additional highway work or any interchanges or . . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Question, please.

MR. SAMSON: . . . other work that will have to take place. You criticized our Liberal Government . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Question, please.

MR. SAMSON: . . . for lack of consultation over one and one-half years, yet you shoved this decision down Dartmouth's throat . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. Question.

MR. SAMSON: . . . after three meetings in two weeks. Is this the open, accountable government you promised Nova Scotians?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I would remind the honourable member for Richmond, the government of which he was a member, sat on these funds from 1996-97, up until the present, doing nothing and yet now they seem to say, because this government wants to review how funds are being expended, all of a sudden, after sitting on this for over three years it becomes an emergency issue. I would look at this previous government and say to them, if it was so urgent today, why wasn't it urgent last year when the same agencies were in place?

[Page 479]

MR. SAMSON: Mr. Speaker, my final supplementary is again to the Premier. Nova Scotians are asking themselves today what sort of policy direction is this government taking based on the promises they made in contrast to the decisions they are making. What we have seen today basically is that our Premier is taking money from the wealthy people of Cape Breton to pay for the wishes of the poor oppressed people of Bedford. Is this the open, accountable and clear leadership you promised Nova Scotians? (Laughter)

THE PREMIER: I am unsure if the member opposite was trying to be humorous about what is a very serious situation or if he is simply made a slip of the tongue.

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

FIN. - CASINO (SYDNEY): CHARITIES - FUNDS USE

MR. JOHN HOLM: Mr. Speaker, my question is also to the Premier. Two wrongs don't make a right and there is no question the former government should have been distributing the money designated for charities; that should have been done. The Premier keeps saying and he keeps trying to justify his government's decision to abscond with the money from the charity funds without following the proper legal process, using the argument that this is actually a new program.

Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask the Premier this simple question, why is it that you are trying to pretend that you are absconding with the money on the basis that it is a new program when the Premier knows that fund was set up four years ago in 1995?

THE PREMIER: Yes, the Premier does know but the Premier also knows, and the member opposite knows, that no funds were allocated. No funds were allocated so there is no operation that has been going on that is dependent on these funds. It seemed very prudent to look at these funds, as we are going to look at all funds, and make a determination if, in fact, the way in which these funds were being allocated is the most effective way for the taxpayers' money to be spent.

MR. HOLM: Mr. Speaker, I am sure that the Premier will be very familiar with strong leadership, a clear course, the Progressive Conservative platform. The very opening line in the Premier's letter says that he believes leadership is about providing hope and optimism. My question to the Premier is simply this, could he swear his decision to take the money intended for charities - to take and eliminate the program that was aimed at making buildings accessible for the disabled - how he squares that with providing hope and optimism to the most disadvantaged in the Province of Nova Scotia?

THE PREMIER: The greatest hope and optimism that this government can create is being able to provide a government that can effectively deal with the affairs of this province and provide effective distribution of each and every dollar that is made available to it. That's

[Page 480]

how Nova Scotians will derive hope and optimism from the activities of this government or any other government.

MR. HOLM: The Premier and his colleagues keep saying that these are tough times and that they call for tough decisions. Mr. Speaker, I agree that these are tough times. That's mainly what charities are there for, to help individuals and groups through those tough times . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Question, please.

[1:00 p.m.]

MR. HOLM: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Premier, whom I do not really think is a hard-hearted person. Will the Premier reconsider his government's decision and put that money back, give the hope back, give the optimism back to those who were counting on that money to assist them to help the most vulnerable and disadvantaged in our society? Will you do the right thing?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I can assure the member for Sackville-Cobequid that hope and optimism will grow in this province as all people of the province see that this government is determined to provide an effective government that provides the opportunities that Nova Scotians have been looking for for a long time and have been denied by the actions of previous governments.

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

TRANSPORT. & PUB. WKS. - JAIL (BURNSIDE): COST - INCREASE

MR. PAUL MACEWAN: Mr. Speaker, I want to explore with the Minister of Transportation and Public Works somewhat further the costs of moving the jail from Bedford to North Dartmouth. In all the press releases and statements from this government up until today, the cost of this project was referred to as a $57 million project. For example, on September 8th in the press release here, from The Daily News, a $57 million jail and forensic unit is referred to, yet in today's statement the number that is quoted is $58.9 million, which I think most people would round off to $59 million.My opening question to the Minister of Public Works would be, could he explain to the House where this additional $2 million came from?

HON. GORDON BALSER: Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the honourable member for the question. Obviously when they reviewed, there were some changes to the plans and the result would be somewhat of an increase in the cost.

[Page 481]

MR. MACEWAN: Mr. Speaker, it is my understanding that the costs that have been reported of the new jail relate only to the jail as such and do not include also ancillary or hidden costs. Would the minister be in a position to report to the House as to the costs of highway connections to the new jail such as a highway interchange and other such road connections that will be required? Is he able to report the costs of those additional construction items to the House?

MR. BALSER: Mr. Speaker, it is my understanding that there will not need to be additional costs for a highway to connect that building.

MR. MACEWAN: Mr. Speaker, there will be additional sewer, water and pavement charges involved to access that new facility, of that there is no doubt. My sources inform me that at least $0.75 million of additional money would be required to extend sewer and water to the jail, not counting pavement costs . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Question, please.

MR. MACEWAN: Could the minister confirm to the House that it is the intention of his government to pass those costs on, or download them to the regional municipality, those costs of sewer and water connections?

MR. BALSER: Mr. Speaker, I would like to defer that question to the Minister of Justice.

HON. MICHAEL BAKER: For the benefit of the member, the Halifax Regional Municipality has entered into an agreement with the Province of Nova Scotia involved in the land swap, and that agreement includes the cost of service exchange. So, in answer to the member's question, there is no downloading. The Halifax Regional Municipality has entered into a business arrangement, or proposed business arrangement with the Province of Nova Scotia.

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

FIN. - CASINO (SYDNEY): CHARITIES - CASH ACQUISITION

MR. FRANK CORBETT: Mr. Speaker, in 1995 the government announced that half the proceeds from the Sydney casino would be earmarked for charities. For five years worthwhile charity groups, such as the Glace Bay Food Bank and Loaves and Fishes in Sydney, have been counting on an opportunity to access these funds. These organizations look after the most vulnerable people in the province, and they are strapped for cash. My question is to you, Mr. Premier, I want to ask you and your government, why did you choose funds destined for the most vulnerable people in Nova Scotia for your cash grab?

[Page 482]

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, the member opposite should know, and I believe he likely does know, that the direction of these funds was not to operational costs of any charity but was to be directed at special projects. The operational costs of charities are not affected by the decision of government to review all government services. What we have to ascertain is whether or not the money that we are spending is going to the appropriate agencies and is going to be spent in the best interests of all Nova Scotians. I believe that the member opposite understands that there has been no disbursement of funds from this pot of money and no agency was dependent on it for current operations.

MR. CORBETT: Mr. Premier, I know one thing I am aware of and that is that these people are in need and you are not. According to regulations which govern that fund, it is the purpose to disburse money for new and innovative projects. New and innovative projects. Organizations such as the Cape Breton Firefighters Burn Care Society, they are cash strapped but they are long on initiative and well in the ways of doing new projects.

MR. SPEAKER: Question, please.

MR. CORBETT: They could use that funding for better facilities at the burn camp. My question to you Mr. Premier, I want to ask you, do you really think that putting this money into general revenues is a more innovative and constructive use of $2.2 million than giving it to a worthwhile charity whose work directly affects the communities in which they live?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, and to the member opposite, the proper disbursement of government funds is what this review is all about. At the end of it, we will be able to say that the expenditures of government are going where they can do the most good. That is what we have to determine by what it is we are doing. That is what it will do to assure all people of Nova Scotia, including the community that this member is addressing, that these people, as will all Nova Scotians, will be best served by the appropriate use of government funds.

MR. CORBETT: Mr. Speaker, let's make this clear. These are not government funds. This government is fine in saying they make tough decisions, but there is a difference between tough decisions and mean decisions. I am not sure if the Premier knows the difference. I am not sure if he knows the difference. Now, I come from a community . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Question, please.

MR. CORBETT: . . . where the economy is, as they say, in the toilet. You are telling people . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Question, please.

[Page 483]

MR. CORBETT: . . . let them eat cake. I want to ask Marie Antoinette, or should I say the Premier, where would these organizations go to get the funding they have been promised since 1995, since your government is taking it away?

THE PREMIER: To the member opposite, this government is going through with the commitment that it made, and that is a total review of all government services, all government programs to make sure that we, in fact, are spending the money where it can do the most good. That member and the Party of which he is a member are committed to a balanced budget, and if the member thinks that without an appropriate review such as this, that that can be achieved, if the member has a Plan B, can that member come forward with an appropriate Plan B to deliver the balanced budget in this province?

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

The honourable Leader of the Liberal Party.

TRANSPORT. & PUB. WKS. - ANTIGONISH:

BYPASS ROUTE - RE-EXAMINE

MR. RUSSELL MACLELLAN: Mr. Speaker, a few days ago we talked about the proposed bypass for Antigonish, which the Department of Transportation and Public Works recommended a blue route. Some business people and the MLA for Antigonish wanted a red route. I asked the Premier if he, in fact, asked the Minister of Transportation and Public Works to have his department re-examine their recommendation. I will ask the Premier the same question again today because I didn't get an answer the first time.

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I can say to the Leader of the Liberal Party that this has been an issue that had been brought to my attention many months ago at a time when there was a community debate going on, from the perspective of the community, which would be the best route for the new highway to take. We were interested in that question then, we are interested in that question now. What we are saying is there is opportunity for the community to have a view on this particular issue and that is proceeding and when all of the information is in, the decision will be made.

MR. MACLELLAN: Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the answer of the Premier but that is not the question I asked him. I asked him quite simply, did he ask the Minister of Transportation and Public Works to have his department review their recommendation for the blue route? That is the question that I asked the Premier. That is the answer I would like to have.

[Page 484]

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, to the Leader of the Liberal Party, not in so many words, but it is an ongoing file. It has been an issue of some public controversy and naturally this government is interested in the file and will remain interested in it until the right decision is made.

MR. MACLELLAN: Mr. Speaker, it is incredible that we can't get the straight answer but I think we do have the answer for the Premier. Also, it has now been stated by the minister's own department that the difference between the red route and the blue route is an additional cost of between $4 million and $11 million for the red route. The Premier talks fiscal restraint.

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

MR. MACLELLAN: We are asking for compassion for those who need help from the government, the charities, the food banks, the milk programs.

MR. SPEAKER: Question, please.

MR. MACLELLAN: We could, would not the Premier agree, fund a lot of benefits for the people of Nova Scotia for that $4 million to $11 million?

THE PREMIER: The Leader of the Liberal Party is quite right. The issue of the cost of the various routes will play a large role in determining which route is selected but the Leader of the Liberal Party is certainly misinformed if he thinks that the decision is made because it has not been made.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Dartmouth North.

JUSTICE - JAIL (BEDFORD/BURNSIDE):

SITE SELECTION - PROCESS

MR. JERRY PYE: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Premier. On Tuesday, June 22, 1999, when the Premier was trying to capture the chair he is now sitting in, he said some very interesting things about the jail. The Premier said, "The government was irresponsible to deprive Bedford residents of their right . . . to participate in democratic decision-making . . .". The words their right were written in bold letters. My question to the Premier is, will the Premier explain how the process of selecting Dartmouth North as a site for the new jail was more responsible than the process he so roundly criticized for Bedford?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, the member for Dartmouth North who has shown, as he should, considerable interest in this particular initiative, knows full well that the issue of the siting of the new jail and the forensic unit was one that was controversial in his area. He also knows that there were many in his area who supported that decision. He also knows that

[Page 485]

there was ample opportunity to allow the people who he represents to show their pleasure or displeasure with the proposed site. So the proper process was followed. While the member may not like the decision, the member knows that public consultation was held and it was well advertised.

[1:15 p.m.]

MR. PYE: Mr. Speaker, I would also like to remind the Premier that I have asked his Justice Minister to table the names of those individuals who supported the siting of the jail in the same way that I supported the (Interruptions) I want to go back on the same train of thought here to the Premier. On that same day the Premier said, the government is not listening to the people. He went on to say the site selection process was irresponsible and lacked a role of leadership. So what did this government do? They considered on-site but they did not seriously consider any alternatives. They held a couple of public meetings and ignored an 800-name petition. My question to the Premier is this, why should Nova Scotians believe that your government has treated the people of North Dartmouth any better or any different than the last government treated the citizens of Bedford?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I believe that the right decision was made. There was strong support for that site, including those who were in the immediate neighbourhood. Perhaps the most relevant comment made when the public meeting was held in a local hotel was that the hotel was too far away from the neighbourhoods of Dartmouth North to discuss an issue about that neighbourhood. That hotel is well over one kilometre nearer the residential area of Dartmouth North than the jail site that is proposed.

MR. PYE: Mr. Speaker, I would say that every time I stand in this Legislative Assembly I will have to eye the Minister of Community Services, the $1.2 million man. My question is to the Premier again. You said, understand " . . . the frustration of Bedford residents who feel the government has not given them a genuine opportunity to express their opinions or answer their concerns.". My final question to the Premier, since you don't appear to understand the frustrations of North Dartmouth residents, when will you meet with them to explain and defend your government's decision to put a jail in their community?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, this government is accessible, this government has listened. We did get information from any number of people who were concerned, who are constituents of the member for Dartmouth North, and I must say there was strong support for the site. I believe it is the right site. The jail has to be somewhere and it has to be in an area where it does not disrupt neighbourhoods. This site meets those criteria and, as a matter of fact, the site was given tacit approval by those in the immediate neighbourhood. Those are those people who are in the Burnside Industrial Park.

[Page 486]

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

The honourable member for Dartmouth East.

HEALTH - PARAMEDICS: WAGES - MEETINGS

DR. JAMES SMITH: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister of Health. The Minister of Health would well know that the paramedics in Nova Scotia are now in a strike position. The Nova Scotia Government Employees Union has indicated that essentially the issue is wages. My question for the Minister of Health is, have you had meetings this week or do you have a meeting scheduled with the administration of Emergency Medical Care to discuss the issue of wages for paramedics in Nova Scotia?

HON. JAMES MUIR: Mr. Speaker, as the member for Dartmouth East well knows, EMC is the employer of paramedics in the province. I'm optimistic that there will be contact and discussions between the employer and the NSGEU, the representatives of the paramedics group.

DR. SMITH: I had asked the minister whether he had meetings with EMC, not whether he had met with the paramedics, because I know it can be difficult under those circumstances, but with the very real threat of a strike looming, what meetings has the Minister of Health had with the EMC to discuss a contingency plan? Has the minister met with EMC to discuss definitive, foolproof, contingency plans in the event of a strike?

MR. MUIR: Mr. Speaker, obviously members of my department have been in touch with EMC about a contingency plan. My hope is that there is no need for a contingency plan and, if the member is asking me if I have seen a contingency plan, the answer is yes.

DR. SMITH: I will try on my second supplementary as to whether the minister has met with EMC to discuss this, and I realize he has as he had mentioned that he could not guarantee the same level of care - that is obvious - that is now provided by the 650 paramedics in the event of a strike. My question, could the minister please tell the House today, how in fact he does plan to ensure the safety of Nova Scotians, that safety will not be compromised in the event of a strike by paramedics? I know that he may well say that is confidential, but I think he should . . .

MR. MUIR: Mr. Speaker, to the honourable member for Dartmouth East, if there was one person in the House who should be aware of the conditions of agreement between the province and EMC and the management of the service provided by paramedics. EMC is required under the terms of its contract to provide a contingency plan in the event of a labour disruption. My hope is that the two sides will continue to negotiate and that it will not come to pass.

[Page 487]

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

HEALTH - PARAMEDICS: OFFER - IMPROVEMENT

MR. DARRELL DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, life-saving paramedics were disappointed with and rejected the offer made by the Emergency Medical Services Corporation. When this government was in Opposition, it urged the Liberal Government to ensure that a fair contract was reached between the two sides. During the election campaign they promised to give paramedics the benefits that they deserve. My question for the Minister of Health is, now that your Party has formed government, will you do exactly what you urged the former government to do? Will you tell the Emergency Medical Services to make a better offer?

HON. JAMES MUIR: Mr. Speaker, as the member well knows, the employer is Emergency Medical Care and our government does not tell it what offer to put on the table; however, I can tell the members of the House that the employer felt that their offer was good enough to put it out, to have an independent arbitrator take a look at it and make that decision. That decision was agreed to by the NSGEU but, unfortunately, I am sorry to report that it was rejected by the membership.

MR. DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, during the election campaign the present Premier said his Party had already drafted legislation that would provide paramedics with fair treatment under the Labour Standards Code of this province. My question to the Minister of Health is, will you keep your campaign promise and table immediately the amendments to the Labour Standards Code legislation so that the working conditions of paramedics meet national standards?

MR. MUIR: Mr. Speaker, as the member well knows, that to do any type of thing in the midst of negotiations would be inappropriate.

MR. DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, paramedics do not want to strike, and the Nova Scotians who rely on their services do not want them to either. What are the details of this minister's plans to ensure that paramedics receive a fair contract and emergency services are not disrupted?

MR. MUIR: Mr. Speaker, the member obviously did not hear my answer to the question from the honourable member for Dartmouth East.

MR. DEXTER: I heard it.

MR. MUIR: He did not want to pay attention to it.

[Page 488]

EMC, by contract, is required to continue to provide the service that is provided by paramedics and, I said it before, EMC has put a wage offer on the table. It was willing to, as was the union, put that offer to binding arbitration to see just indeed if it was fair and it was rejected.

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

TRANSPORT. & PUB. WKS. - ANTIGONISH: BYPASS ROUTE - INSTRUCTIONS

MR. RUSSELL MACLELLAN: Mr. Speaker, I asked the Premier, regarding the bypass in Antigonish, if he had instructed the Minister of Transportation and Public Works to have his department review their recommendation. He said, "not in so many words". I would ask the Premier, what words he did use to instruct the Minister of Transportation and Public Works?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, to the Leader of the Liberal Party, the government of which he was Leader worked on this file for a considerable length of time. It was a controversial file. We were being approached by community advocates on both sides of the question. It is only sensible that government, because it is a controversial issue and a file which we were not privy to until we became government, would have some interest for us. Needless to say, we have looked at the file and the minister is continuing with his department to make those evaluations that will result in the right decisions.

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

GOVERNMENT BUSINESS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

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

GOVERNMENT MOTIONS

MR. SPEAKER: The honorable Government House Leader.

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

[Page 489]

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

MR. RUSSELL MACLELLAN: Mr. Speaker, I have to say, quite frankly, that I am very disturbed at the course that the government is taking in the early days of their mandate. They are saying that they have to review all of the programs of government. Is there not something that this government believes in? Is there not something that this government believes it has to provide to the people of Nova Scotia? Can't this government say that people who are destitute, people who are hungry, need clothing, need shelter, have to be looked after in a province like Nova Scotia? Are they so void of any kind of opinion or belief on the decency that government must follow that they cannot say that the people of Nova Scotia have to be provided with the essentials that people in this great country can take for granted? Does this government not believe so strongly in the value of our people that they cannot tell the people of Nova Scotia that they will continue with the milk program in the schools? Are they so void of any compassion that they cannot come forward with a decision, that they have to send this question to review?

Mr. Speaker, I want to say that the programs that this government is bringing forward are going to heighten the crisis that exists in this province with people who are having a difficult time. There is no question with the policies of reducing economic development, of taking away the dream of our young people to be able to work in Nova Scotia, that those who don't leave will not have the opportunities to find work that they imagine they would have. They are going to have to pay this to take away the $2.2 million that the casino was going to provide to the people of Nova Scotia who needed it. They are, in fact, saying that there is no budget for those who need the assistance of this government.

What are they going to do with these people? Are they just going to leave them? Are they going to let them go hungry? In the situation in Cape Breton, where this government has been completely abysmal in fighting for the rights of the workers of the Cape Breton Development Corporation, where these workers are not going to be able to get jobs, where if they did have an opportunity to seek a job they would be competing with their own children for that employment, that there is going to be a destitute population never before seen in our memory in Nova Scotia. Add to that their policy on the Sydney Steel Corporation.

I don't mind the government formulating a timetable on the Sydney Steel Corporation. That is why we brought forward Hoogovens, ABN Amro, to give Sysco the best chance within this fiscal year that they could have. What I object to is the government cutting the feet out from under itself by saying that they were going to close the steel plant, thereby nullifying the work that this government put into effect to create that best chance.

[Page 490]

[1:30 p.m.]

Now, we don't have the best chance because they have said that the plant was going to close, thereby reducing the appetite for prospective buyers of the product to order the product, for those who were going to buy the plant to think that if they just let it go, they will be able to pick up the assets for a bag of coloured beans.

What about the fishers? Here this government has let the federal government do what they want with the fishery in the Province of Nova Scotia. It is absolutely incredible. The federal government had no plan in the eventuality that the decision that came down from the Supreme Court would in fact be that decision; no plan at all and this government has had no plan.

I want to say to this government, if you think the fishers of this province are going to forget the way that you have backed away from your responsibility to act on behalf of the best interests of the people of Nova Scotia, then I think you are badly mistaken.

HON. NEIL LEBLANC: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order. I won't usually interrupt the speech of an honorable member, but when that member gets up and he says that we have let the people down, this is the government that did not intervene in the Donald Marshall, Jr., case, and this is the government that didn't stand up and represent fishers in this province. (Interruptions)

MR. MACLELLAN: Mr. Speaker, the truth hurts. We have hit a nerve with the Minister of Finance. He knows his government has backed away from the fishers of this province. He knows his government has hung them out to dry. He knows that the natives and the non-natives are completely on their own. (Interruption) I beg your pardon; I hope that Hansard picks that up. I hope the people of southern Nova Scotia realize exactly where the Minister of Finance stands on this, somewhere in Kalamazoo. (Interruptions)

Mr. Speaker, let's now move from the fishery to Nova Scotia Resources Limited. All the brave talk that the Minister of Finance was going to do this with Nova Scotia Resources Limited he was going to shut it down, this was terrible, it was irresponsible. All of a sudden, Nova Scotia Resources Limited may not be shut down, it may be kept open for a while.

Mr. Speaker, he is going to get whiplash from the way he is changing directions so quickly. This government is absolutely off course. They have no idea where they are taking the people of this province. I want to say to this government that they are going to ruin the economy and they are going to ruin the confidence that the people have in this province.

It is absolutely incredible that they cannot make a decision, and that they are leaving the people of Nova Scotia alone when the decisions have to be made: education, no decisions on education; everything is under review; everything. How can everything be under review?

[Page 491]

Somewhere in there, there has to be something that this government believes in. There has to be something. It is obviously not the welfare of those who really need their government.

Mr. Speaker, a government exists for the benefit of the people it represents. The budget goes toward those who need the help of government. The people who need it most are being cut adrift. I want to say that in Cape Breton, this government doesn't realize what is going to happen, what is going to transpire as a result of the flip-flopping and the abandonment that it has followed.

It doesn't realize that this situation with the fishery is not over, but the fact that it doesn't want to get its hands dirty and get involved is going to exacerbate the problem. The native people are trying their best. They have sent signals time and again that they want to work towards a solution. The government has not taken them up.The non-native people are saying, we have our traditional livelihood that we have to protect, that they, and their families, are dependent on it. So much is at stake. This government has bailed out, quite content to let the floundering of the federal government be the answer and the response to the people of Nova Scotia.

Mr. Speaker, the cancelling of the charitable funds, the abandonment of the fishery and the need to make decisions and stick to them, the fact that they haven't done that is going to have tremendous ramifications for the Province of Nova Scotia. I want to say, it is darned alarming where this province is going to be going as a result of the actions of this government.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Chebucto.

MR. HOWARD EPSTEIN: Mr. Speaker, I intend, today, to continue with some remarks I started yesterday with respect to general observations about the budget. Before I do, I wish, however, to introduce to the members of the House who have appeared today, first, we have present in the gallery, Joan Jessome, President of the Nova Scotia Government Employees Union. Accompanying her is Gary Cornish who is President of the NSGEU Paramedic Local 911. I would ask them to rise and receive the acknowledgement of the members of the House. (Applause)

Mr. Speaker, I started yesterday with comments about problems in the budget as it has been presented to us. I started by discussing the way in which the question of deficit and debt has been presented, the way in which the government failed to come to grips with its promises to be honest, open and accountable in the facts about the budget and the true financial state of the province.

Any new government must come with high expectations. The high expectations are the high expectations of the public. The public expects that the government will follow through in a manner different than the government it succeeded. The government expects that the

[Page 492]

Party it voted for will, if it promises to be honest, open and accountable, indeed become honest, open and accountable.

It is clear that it has not taken very long for this government to betray the expectations of the voters of the Province of Nova Scotia. It is extremely disappointing for us, on this side of the Chamber, and I am sure for many members of the public of Nova Scotia, to be so quickly faced with serious deficiencies.

I heard twice today, the honourable Premier suggest to the Opposition Parties that they should come up with an alternative budget, or what he also called a Plan B. I think that is an invitation that we ought to take up. I think in starting yesterday by talking about what really ought to be encompassed in true statements about debt and deficit, we have made a start on that. We made a start by going back 20 years and 25 years and looking at the true state of the deficits each year. That is exactly the kind of information we would include in what we would consider to be an honest, open and accountable budget for the people of Nova Scotia.

I want to turn today to the next necessary step in budget making. After being honest about what has gone on before, then the government should be obliged to consult widely with Nova Scotians about what goes into a budget. Indeed, this has been one of the promises of the new government. I quote, as so many other members have done already in the few short days which this government has convened this House, from the election platform document of the Progressive Conservative Party. At Page 19 of that document it says, "We believe Nova Scotians are right to demand greater openness, accountability and participation.". It is particularly the participation part that I want to focus on today.

The other day, when we were discussing the piece of legislation that has been introduced by the Minister of Finance to amend Bill No. 2, Costs and Fees Act and Probate Act, our attention was drawn to the provisions in the Constitution that require no taxation without representation. Now those provisions have been narrowly interpreted to essentially mean that taxation has to be imposed by a duly convened Legislature.

The words do, however, provide a general guideline that should require any government that is producing a budget to consult widely with all segments of society about what they believe ought to be in that budget. A budget without consultation violates the underlying thinking of those sections of the Canadian Constitution. I am not saying it is constitutionally illegal; what I am saying is it violates the kind of thinking that led to those sorts of provisions.

Now I think that this government can do better than it has done on this occasion. Clearly the government can do better because it didn't consult with anybody about this interim budget. If there was any consultation it certainly wasn't referred to in the Budget Speech of the Minister of Finance. So we are left to conclude that there was no formal consultation. Now not only am I looking for consultation with wide segments of the public

[Page 493]

before any future budgets come in, I am looking to this government to institutionalize the practice. What I mean by that is there should be specific regulations adopted by the department requiring the minister and his senior officials to consult with a wide range of opinion in Nova Scotia before any budget is introduced into the House.

This is exactly the practice in other provinces. In other provinces, these kinds of consultations do take place. I am aware of this because, indeed, I have directly participated in Ontario budget consultations in the past. I have met with the Minister of Finance for the Province of Ontario on behalf of a group that I represented at the minister's invitation in a pre-budget consultation. I did this on several occasions. It was common practice in Ontario for the Minister of Finance, personally, to meet with major groups from a diverse array of sectors inside the economy in the months leading up to the presentation of a budget in the Ontario Legislature. They met for frank exchanges, they met as a source of ideas and they met because the minister and the Ontario government understood - and many other provincial governments understand - that this kind of consultation is the source of good ideas, solid ideas and solid thinking about things that could be included in the budgets of the province.

There is no reason why this could not take place in Nova Scotia. Now I know that the predecessor government, run by the Liberals, did not do this either. It was a great failing of theirs. I have spoken in this House before and said to the Liberals that they ought to engage in formal consultations as well. They never did. This government has gotten off on the wrong foot by failing to consult the public of Nova Scotia and the interest groups that have specific knowledge about different segments of the economy, before presenting their first budget. Now, the opportunity is there because there will be a second budget coming up very soon for the government to correct this error and consult widely. I want to suggest who exactly the government ought to consult.

[1:45 p.m.]

We are all used to hearing comments in pre-budget months from the local chamber of commerce, from the Canadian Federation of Independent Business. I want to make it clear that I have no hesitation in the minister meeting with those groups, I think the minister ought to meet with those groups and I know the predecessor ministers to this minister have regularly met with those two groups to hear their views as to what ought to be in the budget. Their views are important but what I am suggesting is that there is a wide range of other opinion that is perfectly valid and well rooted in all segments of our community throughout Nova Scotia that ought to be consulted in addition to the two groups that have traditionally been consulted. I want to suggest that each and every segment of the economy has groups within it that ought to be consulted and consulted formally.

[Page 494]

In agriculture, the Federation of Agriculture should be called in by the minister and given an opportunity to either meet face to face or put in a written submission. Why not? There is no reason why not. They will have views, they will have on-the-ground information and they ought to be consulted.

In fishing, we know that there is a time of upheaval at the moment and not only should some of the fishing groups be called in but the representatives of the Aboriginal communities ought to be called in. They ought to be called in not just with respect to fishing but with respect to a wide range of natural resources issues. These are groups that have not traditionally been invited by the Minister of Finance to come forward and express their views.

Let me also suggest to the Minister of Finance that he ought to consult, formally, with representatives of groups that deal with social justice issues, in particular I have in mind the organizers and administrators of food banks throughout Nova Scotia, particularly given the decision that the government has just made with respect to charities that it cannot possibly have any kind of contact with those who organize food banks if it can possibly arrive at that kind of decision.

The government ought to talk to those who run day care centres and the government ought to talk to those who run women's shelters, and the government ought to talk to the Nurses' Union and it ought to talk to the Nova Scotia Government Employees Union and it ought to talk to the Federation of Labour and it ought to talk to Oxfam Canada and it ought to talk to the Nova Scotia environmental network and it ought to talk to the universities presidents, and it ought to talk to the Federation of Students.

Every one of those groups ought to be formally invited in to meet with the Minister of Finance or his senior officials in the months leading up to the formation of each and every budget. Those are the groups and there are many more on top of them that have the detailed knowledge of the problems out there. Any government preparing a budget should not only engage in that kind of consultation but should adopt as an institutionalized, formalized, rule- made and mandated scheme that it will do so in the future. The opportunity is there, the government has missed it this time, but the opportunity is there for the government to do it the next time. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Finance.

HON. NEIL LEBLANC: I wasn't planning on speaking today but I did hear the Leader of the Liberal Party speak about a fact that he stated, and I think it was that this government - the government that I am part of - has abandoned the fishermen in Nova Scotia by not being prepared for the Marshall decision and the severe consequences which ensued from that decision.

[Page 495]

Mr. Speaker, the reason I got up - there is more than one reason but the most important reason - is because of how passionate I am about the fishery. My whole community, all my childhood friends that I associate with are involved in the fishery, my best friend next door is an operator of a lobster boat, the neighbour across the street buys lobsters, I can go aross the street and name a whole lot of them, one is a scallop fisherman and it goes on; almost everyone in my community of Wedgeport, let alone the many other communities are very much touched by what happens to it.

I am prepared to give the floor two times to the member for Richmond, who cares to make light of this comment. I think this is very important and I am prepared to allow some comments or some questions in regard to this, but I want to put a few things on record. The thing that I want to put on record first is that the Leader of the Liberal Party said in this House that this government that I am part of was abandoning fishers. Last year, and I look at the member for Dartmouth-Cole Harbour, and he will remember a lot of these comments, when we made passionate pleas to this government to prepare an intervention on behalf of the Province of Nova Scotia to go and be put forward to the Appeal Court of the Supreme Court of Canada. The reason we did that is because of the fact that every single community, mostly in rural Nova Scotia along the coast, is dependent on the fishery. The implications of that decision could have far-reaching - I think the word we used was far-reaching - consequences for the communities that we represent.

I would like to know how many times I asked this question of the government as to whether or not they were prepared to stand up and represent rural Nova Scotia, represent the fishermen who are located across this province in that court case.

Mr. Speaker, when I was saying that, I wasn't sitting here making political speeches, people in my area were asking where the Province of Nova Scotia was? You can say, well, why should the province intervene? Let's just say that on the other side. It is funny that the Province of New Brunswick had bothered to intervene. Fishermen in my riding had to go spend their own money, they had to go raise their own money to put forward an intervention in this court case.

When I look at the situation whereby people who had to go, who don't have the financial means of the province, and try to put forward, in their best attempt, an intervention before this case, and I tend to think that they don't have the resources that the Province of Nova Scotia has. I see that this former Liberal Administration refused to listen to their appeals and refused to put forward an intervention, then I say that for them to stand up today and to say that we have abandoned the fishermen of Nova Scotia is a travesty and a misrepresentation of the facts. That is why, especially, that I wanted to stand here today and clarify the record. They were the ones who abandoned the fishery, and I am more than prepared to stand up . . .

[Page 496]

MR. RUSSELL MACKINNON: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order. The fact of the matter is, contrary to what the honourable minister is stating, it is this government, this Premier that has asked for a moratorium on the non-native fishery in Nova Scotia, despite the fact that it is regulated, and all those have abided by the laws and prepared to go and participate in their traditional fishery modes.

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order. The member opposite seems to have lost track of the issue. As we speak, the negotiator for the (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

AN HON. MEMBER: The Premier is out of order here.

THE PREMIER: I was named in a point of order.

AN HON. MEMBER: No. The Minister of Finance has the floor in this debate. This is not a point of order and you know it. (Interruptions)

THE PREMIER: I was named in a point of order.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

THE PREMIER: I was named in a point of order.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. (Interruptions) The member made his point, but it is not a point of order. I would ask the honourable Minister of Finance to continue with his comments.

MR. LEBLANC: Mr. Speaker, the situation is now one that is very grave in our communities. I was in Yarmouth yesterday, I was at the Yarmouth Wharf. There were probably about 150 boats tied up there. A lot of them have moved out of the wharves because of the fact of the matter that it was giving 40 to 50 miles an hour wind last night. A lot of them would not have the protection of the wharves and the lee in the wharves last night, so they made a decision to move.

Today, I am hearing that there may be more boats in Yarmouth. People are very concerned. I can't emphasize enough that this goes beyond politics, beyond everything. What we have here is a very serious problem. People cannot believe (Interruptions) I think people can't believe the situation how the courts can make a decision. Most lay people don't understand how the legal system works. For them to see a decision come forward that has such far-reaching consequences, for most Nova Scotians, to be candid about it, they cannot believe that the laws of the land allow this to occur. When I am saying that, that is very true.

[Page 497]

We look at the situation that we have, especially in Yarmouth, and I am hoping with all my heart that violence does not come out of it. There have been a few touches of very strenuous circumstances that could have exploded and I am hoping that cooler heads prevail and that we do not have someone hurt in this province due to the tension that is out there.

I would like to say in regard of where the province is that I think the basic philosophy of this province that has been put forward is that what we need in this province is conservation, besides the comment as required at the first, but it is conservation and if you look at the lobster fishery, it is only one small part of the whole decision that Marshall brought about. It brings about a situation that I would like to say to the members that it concerns especially the biggest conservation measure that we have, and that is closed seasons.

Mr. Speaker, our position on that as a province is that conservation has to be paramount, and a closed season is a most important utilization of a tool to bring about the continuing development of the fishery. I would like to say that for people in my area, when I went on the wharf yesterday, that is the most strenuous point they put that when we have closed seasons, when all the lobsters are on the inside ground, a lot of the breeders we would call them that perpetuate the stock, is that in Nova Scotia there is very strongly the belief that fishing should stop, but they realize that the natives have rights.

I would like to say, Mr. Speaker, that they acknowledge it and it took a long time for them to do so. It is not easy for them to change their minds, but I want to say that they are starting to realize that they have to work together, but really we have to acknowledge that closed season.

Mr. Speaker, I just wanted to make those few points in regard of an issue which I consider very close to my heart. I know that it represents the thoughts of many of my fellow members in this caucus and I am sure across the floor also. We sometimes get mad across the floor, but the bottom line is I think that we all have the betterment of the people of Nova Scotia at heart, and I am hopeful that cooler heads will prevail in the next weeks and days ahead so that we will not have a circumstance that happened up in Burnt Church happen in Nova Scotia. Thank you. (Applause)

MR. JOHN HOLM: Mr. Speaker, I want to rise briefly on a point of privilege if I may. Outside this House the Minister of Finance announced that the board of the Sydney Casino Charities Profits Trust Fund had been abolished in September by an Order in Council.

Mr. Speaker, Orders in Councils, after they are passed, are required to be made public within a week. That Order in Council, to the best of my knowledge, has not been yet made public and if, in fact, as the Minister of Finance stated in his press conference outside, or a press scrum, that that was actually passed in September, then I would suggest that the minister is in violation of the privileges of members of this House by not making that Order in Council publicly available as he is required to do.

[Page 498]

Mr. Speaker, I would ask that you investigate to see if, in fact, that Order in Council was passed abolishing that board as the minister stated or if he was in error, and if it was in fact passed, I would ask you to rule on whether or not the privileges of members of this House - and, in fact, I would suggest all Nova Scotians - have been violated by the government's failure to release that Order in Council as they are required to do within one week's time.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, I do not know if it is a point of privilege or a point of order, but if it is a point of privilege or a point of order, it makes no difference. The Order in Council does not become an Order in Council until it has been signed by the Lieutenant Governor. In this particular case, that Order in Council has not as yet been signed by the Lieutenant Governor. One week after that, it becomes public.

MR. HOLM: Mr. Speaker, then I take it from the Government House Leader, he is saying that the information that the Minister of Finance provided to the press outside was inaccurate, and in fact that board still exists because it has never been abolished because that OIC has never been signed by the Lieutenant Governor. If that is what the honourable Government House Leader is saying, I accept his explanation in telling us that what the Minister of Finance said was, in fact, one more error.

[2:00 p.m.]

MR. RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Finance, as I understand it, stated that as far as the government was concerned, in other words the matter had been discussed and the abolition of the board had been agreed to and action was taken by means of an Order in Council; however, the Order in Council has not as yet come into effect because the Lieutenant Governor has yet to sign it.

MR. SPEAKER: I don't believe there is any prima facie case on the point of privilege.

The honourable member for Richmond.

MR. MICHEL SAMSON: Mr. Speaker, it is a privilege to rise today to speak, before we go into Supply. It was with interest that I listened to the comments, certainly, from our Leader, and then to hear the reply coming from the Minister of Finance on the other side of the House. As with our questions today, what interesting contradictions to watch this government, many of its members who sat on this side of this House, and now to see what they spew out from the government side of the House.

I certainly know that the Minister of Finance is quite proud of his heritage involved in the fishery. I, too, myself, am the son of a fisherman, my grandfather was a fisherman, his father was a fisherman; as far back as we can go in the family history, they have all been fishermen. The Samson family has had a proud history in the fishing industry. We have had

[Page 499]

some good times and we have had some bad times. The last few years, certainly, have been some of the bad times, because we, like many coastal families around this province, saw it to the point where when the Department of Fisheries and Oceans shut down the fishery, we had no choice but to sell the family boat and sell the family business. We had to abandon our history in that industry.

Mr. Speaker, I can tell you, I am quite proud of the university education that I have been privileged to have with the support of my family, but at the same time, it almost breaks my heart to see that the proud Samson tradition of fishing in my family will no longer continue because of the policies of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans and the officials in Ottawa.

Mr. Speaker, with the Marshall decision, we have had a lot of comments come forward, and my constituents are not very happy with the current situation, as are most Nova Scotians, as the Minister of Finance has alluded. The one big message coming from Nova Scotians, coming from fishermen around the province, coming from fishing families around the province is, where is our provincial government? Where is the Minister of Finance, who on this side of the House was such an advocate of fishing interests? Where is the Minister of Fisheries?

In a recent press release, I noticed the Minister of Fisheries was making a comment and he criticized Ottawa, and it went on to say the minister said, along with some other observers. Well, that is what the Minister of Fisheries in this province is, he is an observer. Nova Scotians didn't elect observers, they elected a government, they elected leadership; what they thought would be leadership, not observers. They have already let Nova Scotians down with how they have handled this.

Where is the Minister of Justice, who also happens to be the Minister responsible for Aboriginal Affairs? All they have done is pass the buck to Ottawa. They have been riding Ottawa's coat-tails. Any time Ottawa says something, they are right behind them to follow on what Ottawa has said. That is disappointing to Nova Scotians. We didn't elect followers, we didn't elect observers. We elected a government that ran with its blue book that said, Strong Leadership . . . a clear course. We haven't seen leadership, and Lord only knows what course we are on right now.

Mr. Speaker, when the Minister of Finance talks and he gets angry at comments made by our Leader and he gets passionate about it, I recall when that minister sat on that side of the House, when he came to the issue of lobster poaching in his constituency. Now everyone knew that was a federal matter, but let me tell you, in looking through Hansard, you wouldn't have thought that the Minister of Finance knew that at the time because every day he was criticizing our Minister of Fisheries. I am quite proud to say that our Minister of Fisheries made every effort he could - and there has been a great deal of effort done by that Minister of Fisheries - do provincially to increase monitoring to prevent illegal fishing here in this province.

[Page 500]

In that sense, they didn't care about federal powers. They wanted the federal minister to take care of it, whether it be quotas - the Minister of Finance would attack the then Minister of Fisheries. What are you doing for shrimp quota? Where is Mulgrave? What are you doing for Mulgrave? What are you doing for Canso? So, at that time, he wasn't aware of the division of powers because as far as he was concerned, for blatant political purposes, he would attack our government and our Minister of Fisheries. Now, when they sit on that side of the House, the Premier is silent, the Minister of Fisheries is silent, the Minister of Justice is silent and the whole entire government is silent.

Mr. Speaker, Nova Scotians are the losers in this. They are sitting around those wharves today and they are not saying bad DFO - everyone says that - they are saying where is the province? Where is the Minister of Finance when he walked on that wharf? What did he indicate that his government was doing? Did he indicate that they were going to take charge of this issue? They were going to show leadership and those fishermen on that Yarmouth wharf could be told, rest assured that our government is on top of this matter and is dealing with this. He couldn't say that because they are not. They have absolutely no idea what is going on out there. They are just hoping and praying every night that DFO is going to be able to take care of it and they can ride on DFO's coat-tails and just hope everything goes away.

I hear the Minister of Finance and I agree with him. No one wants violence. Everyone hopes that cooler heads will prevail and all will be well. Mr. Speaker, they are the government. It is not for us to sit here and take care of this. It is not for the fishermen to have to take care of this by themselves. It is not for Nova Scotians sitting at home to solve this issue. They elected a government to take care of these matters. Yet they have seen absolutely nothing from this government that would reassure them that this issue is being dealt with, that Nova Scotians' interests are being protected up in Ottawa, because we don't hear anything from this government. They have at no time indicated what Nova Scotia's position could be. When the crunch came, when the decision came down, their solution was, we want a stay of the decision. Run away, hide, hope it goes away, we want a moratorium, a stay of the decision.

It is interesting because I heard the Minister of Finance say - and he was being a man of the legal profession - and I took exception to some of his comments; he could not possibly understand how the Supreme Court could make such a decision considering the implications and threw this out for them to have to deal with. There should be laws in this land to stop the Supreme Court from making such decisions so that governments would have time to react.

Mr. Speaker, if the Supreme Court of Canada had said we will hold this decision until the Government of Nova Scotia is organized and financially ready to handle this, well Lord only knows how old that document would have been before the Supreme Court could have ever released it. The Supreme Court of Canada must do what is right. It must make its decisions. It cannot be based on whether a government is ready for that decision or not.

[Page 501]

Clearly we have seen that this Tory Government was not ready. They are still not ready and they are not getting ready which is the sad part, because the other day, when the Premier was asked what he was doing to prepare for native logging, now that those rights have been recognized - because the criticism of DFO has been why didn't they have a plan in place for this decision? Why?

The Tory Government said the same thing so we would think, with this decision, the first thing that this government would do is immediately put a team in place; in Natural Resources, Agriculture, Fisheries and any other affected department and say, let's start working on a plan because this is coming down and we need to be organized. We have learned from the mistakes of DFO; we have learned from our past mistakes of not being ready for this. Yet when he was asked have you started to work on a plan, is your Department of Natural Resources ready, the Premier said no, there was litigation taking place and we will await the court decision and then act. So déjà vu is what we get from this Tory Government.

We see incompetence now and we are guaranteed to see incompetence later. Well that is a pretty sad statement for Nova Scotians who elected this government on the belief that they would give a new government, Strong Leadership . . . a clear course.

They have let down Nova Scotians, Mr. Speaker, and we can only hope that as time goes on that they will start to show leadership, that they will remember that they were elected to govern this province, not the NDP, not us. They are expected to govern, but we are not seeing any sort of governance from that side of the House. The losers in this are the fishermen who today again are on the wharves. There is hostility and they are not sure what to do. They are frustrated. They do not know who to blame but then, again, I remember when the honourable member for Kings North spoke on the Address in Reply to the Speech from the Throne, he spoke about the perception that politicians had and how people were disappointed with politicians and how it was difficult as a candidate. We all agree. We have all gone through that.

Mr. Speaker, I am sad to say that that perception by this government has not been enhanced, it has been worsened.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is carried.

[2:11 p.m. The House resolved itself into a CWH on Supply with Deputy Speaker Mr. Kevin Deveaux in the Chair.]

[5:58 p.m. CWH on Supply rose and the House reconvened with Deputy Speaker Mr. Brooke Taylor in the Chair.]

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

[Page 502]

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

MR. SPEAKER: Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

The honourable Deputy Government House Leader.

MR. WILLIAM DOOKS: Mr. Speaker, before adjourning perhaps the honourable House Leader of the NDP would like to outline business for tomorrow.

MR. JOHN HOLM: I would be pleased to Mr. Speaker. The hours tomorrow will be from 2:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m. There are a number of items we would like to be able to get addressed and I guess how far we get through our agenda will depend upon the cooperation we receive from the government. There is a resolution and two bills that we hope to bring forward and not necessarily in any particular order, but the resolution is Resolution No. 156 and the bills are Bill No. 3 and Bill No. 4. That is one resolution and two bills. How far we get through that agenda, as I say, will depend upon the cooperation from the government.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Deputy Government House Leader.

MR. WILLIAM DOOKS: Mr. Speaker, I confirm that the order of business for tomorrow will be the Daily Routine, Question Period, Opposition Members' Business and I move that the House now do rise to meet tomorrow at the hour of 2:00 p.m. and will sit until 6:00 p.m.

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

The motion is carried.

[6:00 p.m.]

We have reached the moment of interruption. The submission for the late debate tonight was submitted by the honourable Leader of the New Democratic Party and it reads:

"Therefore be it resolved that the government should have kept the Premier's promise to give the nearby community greater participation and more weight in the selection of the new jail site.".

[Page 503]

ADJOURNMENT

MOTION UNDER RULE 5(5)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Dartmouth North.

JUSTICE: JAIL (BURNSIDE) - COMMUNITY INPUT

MR. JERRY PYE: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise to speak on the resolution:

"Therefore be it resolved that the government should have kept the Premier's promise to give the nearby community greater participation and more weight in the selection of the new jail site.".

Mr. Speaker, no one was surprised by the announcement of Burnside as the location for the jail and forensic hospital. If they were, they certainly were not living on this planet or even in this galaxy. The past three weeks, contrary to what the government might say, it knew and it knew all along that Burnside was going to be the site for the jail and forensic hospital. This government, even if it meant ignoring one of its election platforms, which I might read to this particular Party is, "We believe Nova Scotians are right to demand greater openness, accountability and participation. A John Hamm Government will be a government that listens to Nova Scotians and acts in accordance with their priorities and expectations.". What happened to Dartmouth North?

Mr. Speaker, allow me to tell this Legislature the sequence of events leading up to the Burnside site selection. First, the Tory Government made a promise to the Bedford residents that if they were elected, they would review the public consultation process and relocate the jail and forensic hospital.

Mr. Speaker, immediately upon winning the election, a call was placed to the economic development manager of the Halifax Regional Municipality requesting that they recommend a site within the Halifax Regional Municipality boundaries. They did not request an application to rezone the Bedford property. They did not request another site within the Halifax Regional Municipality. Furthermore, the government did not entertain the possibility that a community might want to host a jail and forensic hospital. In fact, Springhill wanted the jail and forensic hospital. But no, Burnside is going, and was going, to be the site and that is all there was to it.

Mr. Speaker, the site was an election promise, and it was never to be visited again. As a result, Nova Scotians have witnessed the single most expensive purchase of a political individual in the history of Nova Scotia. As a matter of fact, it takes me back to the 18th century British days when there were rotten boroughs, and I am sure that many of the members opposite know, where people were hired, paid and appointed to those particular

[Page 504]

boroughs. Now, a message has been sent to all Nova Scotians that if you are elite and you elect a Tory member or members and that you have a pie-in-the-sky dream that it can become a reality.

Mr. Speaker, back to the process. The Halifax Regional Municipality went in camera to discuss the government's request to enter into an agreement with the then Burnside site. This Legislature should be made aware that when the request first came to the regional council, that council voted 11 to 9 in favour of entering into this agreement; hardly a resounding endorsement. Again, a notice of reconsideration was passed at the city council, and a vote that came forward at that notice of reconsideration was in fact a tie, and the motion died; again, not a resounding endorsement.

Mr. Speaker, the Health Minister said: We have considered the issues raised by the community and have addressed each one of them. He did not come back to the community, as he said he would, with their answers and their concerns. He did not let the community know in advance what the recommendations would be, as he said he would, and that he would provide them with the input, as he said he would, as well.

Mr. Speaker, instead, the Minister of Health and the Justice Minister based their selection in part by listening to unnamed persons whom they said supported the location over and above the voices of 800 residents, who were so concerned about the location that they placed their names on a petition which was presented to this Legislature. Is this an open and accountable and participatory process, Mr. Speaker? No.

Mr. Speaker, I want to point out an issue that was made by the Premier today in Question Period. He made reference to residents complaining that they wanted a bus because the location of the meeting was so far away. The reason the residents needed a bus is because many of the residents closest to the facility are on a fixed income and there are no transit services to this location site of the meeting after 6:00 p.m.

In fact the community offered this government the use of one of its facilities and, as a matter of fact, free of charge. If this government was interested in listening to the people of Dartmouth North, why haven't they carried on the consultation process? Again, I was asked, where is their rights to a democratic process?

Mr. Speaker, a few residents were at that announcement today. A number of the residents have expressed their concerns that they were not heard by this process, that in fact the government has reneged on the public consultation process by virtue of the fact that it was going to come back to this community once again, I want to add, and let this community partake in that process.

Mr. Speaker, there are many people who were at that meeting today, and some have even said as a result of this location, that they were going to sell their properties. Now that

[Page 505]

is most unfortunate. This community has worked very hard to rebuild parts of this community, that in fact this community has decided once again that it would continue to work in that direction. Thanks to this government, the citizens of Dartmouth North now have another facility they have to concern themselves with. The majority of the citizens of Dartmouth North, once again did not want this facility. I want to make it perfectly clear that the Minister of Justice knew very well that in fact there were no residents who consulted his office, who told him that they wanted this facility in Dartmouth North. If not, the minister would have tabled that in this House. The minister would have done exactly the same thing that I have done, he would have brought those names before this House and indicated to this Legislature the names of those individuals who, in fact, wanted this jail.

The only reason why this government was able to get away with the site in Burnside Industrial Park is because it knew it would have less chance, because of the nature of this community, of getting the kind of opposition that it received in the Town of Bedford. (Interruptions) Mr. Speaker, I speak highly of my community and I would like the honourable member for Dartmouth South to know that I have been here one more time than he has been here and, hopefully, I will be here one more time than he has been here the next time around. That is the bottom line. (Interruptions)

Mr. Speaker, you don't insult your residents and you don't take political positions where, in fact, you are going to turn around and change the political dynamics of this province by turning around and making site location part of your election platform. That is the bottom line. The bottom line is that you buy a seat for $1.2 million. This government had the right to turn around and ask for an application to rezone that parcel of land. This government chose not to do that and, instead, said it was a residential property and therefore did not allow this institution to be sited on that property. Why? Because it bought the seat of the Minister of Community Services for $1.2 million . . .

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

The honourable Minister of Justice.

HON. MICHAEL BAKER: Mr. Speaker, the honourable member for Dartmouth North said a great deal and given the fact that I have laryngitis, unlike most days I won't be able to out-yell him. In any event, I would ultimately indicate to the Speaker that I intend to share part of my time with the honourable member for Dartmouth South.

Mr. Speaker, as I indicated earlier today, this government made a good-news announcement for the people of Dartmouth and for the people of Nova Scotia. We have announced a facility which is going to be constructed in Dartmouth North which will represent 40 new jobs. Those jobs are permanent jobs and they are in the health care field. We have an obligation, and the honourable member opposite knows that we have an obligation

[Page 506]

in this province to provide decent health care for those people committed to our care in psychiatric institutions. Does that member honestly believe that we are not going to do that?

The other thing is that this member has failed to consider something else, and that is that we have a duty to provide decent correctional facilities so that the public can be protected, the people in those facilities can be protected and the correctional officers can be protected. That is the top priority of this government to provide (Interruption) and I am sure the member for Richmond, who supported this facility, continues to support this facility because he is interested in making sure the right decision is made for Nova Scotians.

Now, there were a lot of things that were said earlier, but I just want to deal with a couple of the issues. First of all, the red herring of busing. The honourable member suggested that there was a problem getting to the site for the meeting and that is poppycock. We provided free busing to make sure that anybody who wanted to get to that meeting got to that meeting. Secondly, the notice. That member was complaining that the government was not moving quickly enough to have consultation, so the government moved quickly to have consultation. Then, when we had consultation quickly, he complained that we moved too quickly. Which is it? You know you can't suck and blow. Should you go quickly or should you go slow? The member cannot have it both ways. You cannot tell someone that you should have consultation right away and then, when the consultation takes place, complain that it is too quickly. It is very inconsistent.

I honestly believe that the honourable member has what he feels is the best interests of his residents at heart. My view is that he is mistaken, and the reason I believe he is mistaken, Mr. Speaker, is because . . .

AN HON. MEMBER: Will the honourable minister entertain a question?

MR. BAKER: No. You have an opportunity later for that. The honourable member has lots of opportunity to ask questions. Now, Mr. Speaker, I want to make this perfectly clear for anyone, and that is that this facility is being constructed there because this property was properly zoned and was identified by the Halifax Regional Municipality - and the honourable member can cut all the fine things that he wants - which is the government closest to the people of Dartmouth and of all the province. The municipal government has identified that as a suitable site. Now either cut it or slice it or dice it, that is what happened; that was the decision. The municipal government has identified this as a site and furthermore this facility is a good facility. It is going to be a facility that will be taking care of the people of Nova Scotia.

Now there are a couple of other things. You know, the honourable member suggested, briefly, that for some reason I should produce the names of people who have contacted me. That is poppycock and he knows it. The reason it is poppycock is because there was a petition. Fair enough. The member has every right to produce a petition in the House . . .

[Page 507]

AN HON. MEMBER: How many names? Just name the number of people who called you.

MR. BAKER: Does the honourable member intend to provide me with a calling list of the people who call him? I don't think that is very likely.

[6:15 p.m.]

MR. JERRY PYE: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order. If the minister will, in fact, provide me with the names of the individuals who have called his office, and a list of the number of individuals who have called his office with respect to supporting the jail site being located in Dartmouth North, I will be pleased to provide him with a list of the names as well. (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Dartmouth made his point, however, I don't believe there is a point of order. Continue. (Interruptions)

MR. BAKER: That was the point of order, and the honourable member knows. I think, however, and I am going to yield the floor very shortly, but the honourable member should be very careful, because I think he is underestimating the strength of the Dartmouth North community. It is a vital, important community. I am interested in working with the honourable member and other members of that community to make sure that Dartmouth North is a better community. It is a very vital community. It is a wonderful area and the community has grown and prospered over the last 20 years. I think that the member should exult in the successes of his community and not wallow in their problems. I would yield the rest of my time to the member for Dartmouth South.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Dartmouth South.

MR. TIMOTHY OLIVE: Mr. Speaker, I probably should be representing Dartmouth North, when the Dartmouth North member stands up and says the people in Dartmouth North don't need any jobs. I hope that somebody is writing that down and it will hit the paper tomorrow morning.

Mr. Speaker, I just have a couple of comments to make here. I have been working very hard - and I think there are days when the honourable member for Dartmouth North works hard - to try to get some development initiatives going in Dartmouth, to get some industry in Dartmouth, to get some spin-off in Dartmouth. Here is an opportunity for the people of Dartmouth, . . .

MR. JERRY PYE: Mr. Speaker, would the honourable member for Dartmouth South entertain a question?

[Page 508]

MR. OLIVE: No, I would not at this time. (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Dartmouth South, continue please.

MR. OLIVE: Mr. Speaker, it is just incredible, the spin-off business that could come from an industry such as this, the new business opportunities, the people that will work at this jail. It is unfortunate that the honourable member for Dartmouth North has no appreciation for development, for business, for good common sense. The only thing he understands is that people need a free bus to go to a briefing on something that is such a tremendous advantage for Dartmouth as a city.

There is another major issue here that has to be considered - I recently had a tour of the forensic facility, maybe the honourable member for Dartmouth North should have one too, he may get lucky and find a room. The fact is that facility is right out of Charles Dickens. We need a facility to help the mentally ill in this province that are in that facility. We have people now that are not criminally responsible getting treated there, who are in there with people who are murderers and everything else. They are not separate, they are not in their own rooms, they are co-ed. It is a crime, it is a crime in a society today that promotes support for mental illness to put up with a facility like that.

Those are the issues that are not being discussed. Instead, you are circling around a bus to a hotel, telling your people that they don't need jobs, and telling the people in Dartmouth North that there is no advantage to this facility at all, except it should be somewhere else. Never mind the dollar value that it would cost if this facility was placed in Springhill, 1,500 people transported between the hospitals and the facilities a year.

This facility will service all of Nova Scotia. We are making decisions as a government to support all the people of Nova Scotia, all of Nova Scotia, not the whims and the whimsicals of the member for Dartmouth North. This is very important that we do provide a service, a much higher standard of service, a facility that is more secure (Interruptions)

AN HON. MEMBER: Get some jobs in your own constituency.

MR. OLIVE: That is exactly what this institution is going to do, thank you very much for that.

AN HON. MEMBER: Not in your district.

MR. OLIVE: Yes, it certainly will. It will bring jobs to Dartmouth as a whole. It is extremely important.

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

[Page 509]

The honourable member for Richmond.

MR. MICHEL SAMSON: I am not sure where to begin now, we have poppycock over here with that guy, and over there the good member for Dartmouth South, well, listening to him tonight, I think it is unfortunate that the Minister of Justice did not consider a site in Dartmouth South because in listening to his argument tonight it is quite clear that his constituents would like to have this facility in their riding. So why would the Minister of Justice not put this facility in Dartmouth South when the good member for Dartmouth North has put an 800 name petition in front of this government showing opposition to this facility. Then we hear from the member for Dartmouth South that he would be more than happy to welcome this into his constituency.

MR. TIMOTHY OLIVE: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order, I would just like to say that there was no suitable site in Dartmouth South, that I certainly asked that question, but there was no suitable site in Dartmouth South. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: Thank you for your interjection. There is no point of order.

MR. SAMSON: Mr. Speaker, it is unfortunate what has come around this facility, the untruths, mistruths, complete ignorance around what this facility is going to offer. I spoke already in this House and I spoke of the process that was followed by our government, one which has been soundly criticized by the current administration for lack of consulting with the good people of Bedford, the poor, oppressed people of Bedford as I like to refer to them, and how, thank God, the minister came to save the day to alleviate them from this great terrible curse that this prison was going to put on them.

It is they, fostered by this government, who have put out these negative impressions of this facility. If the member for Dartmouth South does not like what people are saying about this facility and the negative impressions that are out there, he can thank the Minister of Community Services, the honourable member for Bedford-Fall River, and he can thank his government for having fostered these negative ideas in this province because what they have done is set a barrier. They have said this prison is not good enough for the people of Bedford.

AN HON. MEMBER: But it is good enough for Dartmouth North.

MR. SAMSON: But it is good enough for Dartmouth North. Paint it whatever way you want, Mr. Speaker, that is the bar that they have established. The member for Dartmouth South says that they did this on behalf of all Nova Scotians. I can guarantee you they do not have the support of the good people of Richmond County and I can guarantee you they do not have the support of the good people of Dartmouth North with this kind of decision, or the way they did it.

[Page 510]

Let's go back to the process. The minister said no consultation. We had a year and one-half. This began in April of last year. (Interruption) There we go. He made the decision first. That is what the honourable Minister of Justice said. So they get in power, they cancel the site at Jack Lake. They go to HRM, negotiate a deal for Burnside, then they go and say we are going to have meetings in the community to discuss this and last week he said no decision had been made. Yet, today, we find out that last Thursday at Cabinet that decision was made. Yet the minister tries to convince Nova Scotians that we made the decision first but that they did not make the decision first.

I think that that minister is clearly not being up front with the people of Dartmouth North or being up front with Nova Scotians because, you know, the old adage is that you are speaking from both sides of your mouth. Well, that minister and that government, it cannot be applied because they are speaking from so many sides that it just does not apply because each day it is a different story. One day it is because of zoning. The next day it is because of consultation, not proper consultation. The next day it is because of cost. You do not know what to believe any more from what this government has been saying.

Last week the Minister of Justice told us that he was hoping this switch would be cost neutral. Cost neutral is what he said. This morning, at their press conference, last week's cost neutral became $1.2 million, but he did not know that last week when he told this House that he was hoping it would be cost neutral. So that is new information and I am hoping that the minister will confirm that, that he has only become aware of that $1.2 million this week and when I asked him last week, that he did not know about this $1.2 million.

But it gets better than that because in their press release they said that this facility would cost $57 million. Yet today's press release says it will cost $58.9 million. Now, I was never good at math and I will be the first one to admit that. When I went to university, I went to law school, not math because I was never good in it, but $57 million to $58.9 million is not $1.2 million. It is $1.9 million. So, right away, we do not have that clarification from the minister. He is not quite sure what that discrepancy is and I am hoping he will be able to give us that information.

In a time when a government turns around and takes away $2.2 million from the charities of this province, the poor, the oppressed, the underprivileged, from one end of this province to the other, and then turns around and says for the poor, oppressed people of Bedford, we are going to stick Nova Scotia taxpayers with $1.2 million because of a blatant political decision at a time when we have promised Nova Scotians to tighten up the belts. What a disappointment, Mr. Speaker. Nova Scotians will not forget this government.

The minister stood up last week during Question Period and said, I have been mandated by the people of Nova Scotia to move that jail. Now I wonder if he will stand up and say, I have been mandated by the people of Nova Scotia to stick it to them for $1.2 million to move this jail a couple of kilometres down the road so we could elect the good Minister of

[Page 511]

Community Services. I am hoping he will make that statement in the House because he is big on talking about the mandate they have from Nova Scotia so I hope to hear that from him.

This morning we had a press release, press conference. We heard the criticisms of the facilities they had in Dartmouth. Now one would think, okay, they are going to learn from this, they are going to learn from the criticisms of that little phone booth that they had a meeting in in Dartmouth North, yet we go to a meeting this morning and there was a line-up to get inside. It was hard to even move, no proper ventilation. You could hardly move in that room. It is probably the smallest room there is in this entire government in which to have a press conference, rather than come here to Province House and in the Red Room, which they should have properly done, given a proper opportunity for the good people of Dartmouth North to come here and question them on that. Instead, they have a little private news conference in a small room, which I am sure had the fire marshal come there he would have shut it down because of the number of people in there and the amount of equipment for the relative size.

Yet I have to give it to the minister because, well, I was a little shocked that he actually had this release on a Tuesday because this government has already established a record for sending out their releases at 4:30 p.m. on Friday, so I have to commend the minister for actually having it during the middle of the week when we can actually question him on that.

What it all comes down to is this idea of what the government, what this Party campaigned on. They campaigned on "Strong Leadership . . . a clear course", an open and accountable government. (Interruptions) An open and accountable government is what we were told. They went, they signed a deal for the Burnside site, they had three meetings in two weeks and they called that consultation. Then they turned around, as the honourable member for Dartmouth North said, they stuck it to the people from Burnside. (Interruptions) I am going to challenge that Minister of Justice also, as well as the member for Dartmouth North. He says that he got phone calls. Well, I think any phone calls he got were from the Minister of Community Services or from the 835 exchange, talking about how much they liked the Burnside site. (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order. The honourable member for Richmond has the floor.

MR. SAMSON: I have to agree with my colleague, the member for Dartmouth North and I want to commend my colleague. He is here for the second time and the honourable member for Dartmouth South is here for the first time. But if he gives one more speech like that, on what he believes are the impressions of his constituents, that they support having this jail in their constituency, I can tell you right now that my good colleague, the member for Dartmouth North, you won't have to win again to beat the record, you will have it now. That just shows how out of touch that member is with his own constituents, to get up and give the rhetoric that we heard today.

[Page 512]

Mr. Speaker, $1.2 million is the cost to taxpayers. I commend the member for Dartmouth North for what he has done for his constituents because this government took a political decision, they shoved it down his throat. He represented his constituents, he brought an 800 name petition to this House, to this government, for them to consider the wishes of his constituents. If every MLA did their work like that member, this government would be in a much better place than where it is at. So don't criticize the member for Dartmouth North. Once you have done as much as he has, then you can get up in this House and we will give you credit for what you have done, but wait until you have been able to do that before you start firing rocks across the floor to a member who has been here for over a year and one- half.

MR. SPEAKER: The time for the late debate has expired. I want to thank the participants for their lively discussion this evening. We look forward to the next time.

We stand adjourned until 2:00 p.m. tomorrow.

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