The Nova Scotia Legislature

The House resumed on:
September 21, 2017.

HANSARD
01-15

HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY

DEBATES AND PROCEEDINGS

Speaker: Honourable Murray Scott

Published by Order of the Legislature by Hansard Reporting Services and printed by the Queen's Printer.

Available on INTERNET at http://www.gov.ns.ca/legi/hansard/

Annual subscriptions available from the Office of the Speaker.

Second Session

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 11, 2001

TABLE OF CONTENTS PAGE
TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS:
Anl. Rept. Of Vital Statistics (1998 and 1999), Hon. A. MacIsaac 970
STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS:
Health - Dalhousie Medical Research Foundation: Cancer Research -
Bequest ($1 million), Hon. J. Muir 970
Transport. & Pub. Wks. - Hwy. No. 101: Twinning - Construction,
Hon. R. Russell 973
Service N.S. & Mun. Rel. - Motor Vehicle Registration: On-line -
Open, Hon. A. MacIsaac 975
GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 412, Blakeley, Dr. Phyllis R. Award (2001): Recipients - Congrats.,
Hon. Rodney MacDonald 978
Vote - Affirmative 979
Res. 413, Educ. - Saint Mary's Univ.: Gambia - Programming Recognize,
Hon. J. Purves 979
Vote - Affirmative 979
Res. 414, Nelson, Hiram & Kathleen - Wildlife Habitat: Land (Cole Hbr.) -
Donation Thank, Hon. E. Fage 980
Vote - Affirmative 980
Res. 415, Health - Addiction/Mental Illness: N.S. Bus. Commun. -
Recognition Commend, Hon. J. Muir 980
Vote - Affirmative 981
Res. 416, Aboriginal Affs. - Aboriginal Art Exhibit: Participants -
Congrats., Hon. M. Baker 981
Vote - Affirmative 982
Res. 417, Tourism & Culture - Arts Infusion Proj.: Extension - Congrats.,
Hon. Rodney MacDonald 982
Vote - Affirmative 982
Res. 418, Educ. - Pavonis/CEED: Relationship - Recognize,
Hon. J. Purves 983
Vote - Affirmative 983
Res. 419, Justice - Prostitution Educ. Prog.: Organizers - Congrats.,
Hon. M. Baker 983
Vote - Affirmative 984
Res. 420, Environ. & Lbr. - Fire Safety: Select Comm. - Establishment,
Hon. D. Morse 984
INTRODUCTION OF BILLS:
No. 26, Chester Trails Act, Mr. J. Chataway 986
No. 27, Veterinary Medical Act, Mr. J. Carey 987
NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 421, Sydney Credit Union: Coady Award - Congrats.,
Mr. F. Corbett 987
Vote - Affirmative 988
Res. 422, Miles, Johnny - Boston Marathon Victory: Anniv. (75th) -
Impact Recognize, Mr. B. Boudreau 988
Vote - Affirmative 989
Res. 423, Stanfield, Robert Lorne - Birthday (87th): Best Wishes -
Extend, Mr. B. Taylor 989
Vote - Affirmative 989
Res. 424, Birks, Jake/Kelloway, Bruce: Can. Peacekeeping Services
Medal & Nobel Peace Prize Cert. - Congrats., Mr. D. Dexter 990
Vote - Affirmative 990
Res. 425, Health - Hepatitis C: System - Accountability Organize,
Dr. J. Smith 991
Res. 426, d'Eon's Bakery: Owners - Congrats., Hon. N. LeBlanc 992
Vote - Affirmative 993
Res. 427, Atl. Motorsport Park: Owners/Volunteers - Congrats.,
Mr. J. MacDonell 993
Vote - Affirmative 993
Res. 428, Educ. - College de l'Acadie: Budget - Explain, Mr. W. Gaudet 994
Res. 429, Die Big Band der Bundeswehr: Concert/Charity - Thank,
Hon. J. Muir 994
Vote - Affirmative 995
Res. 430, Educ. - Pavonis/CEED: Nat'l. Partners in Educ. Award -
Congrats., Mr. H. Epstein 995
Vote - Affirmative 996
Res. 431, Colchester-Musq. Valley MLA/Health Min. - Politics (Prov.):
Role - Re-examine, Mr. K. MacAskill 996
Res. 432, Clayton, Custio/Gray, Terry - Boxing: Medals - Congrats.,
Mr. D. Hendsbee 997
Vote - Affirmative 997
Res. 433, McCulloch, Thomas - Memory Preservation: Volunteers -
Congrats., Ms. Maureen MacDonald 997
Vote - Affirmative 998
Res. 434, Educ. - Capital Grants: Funding - Provide, Mr. W. Gaudet 998
Res. 435, Campbell, Jonathan - Atl. Writing Comp.: Recognition -
Congrats., Mr. J. Carey 999
Vote - Affirmative 1000
Res. 436, Murray, Bonnie & John - Parsonage Tea House:
RCMP Volunteer Office - Initiative Congrats., Mrs. M. Baillie 1000
Vote - Affirmative 1000
Res. 437, YM-YWCA - Y's Menettes (Pictou Co.): Donation - Thank,
Mr. J. DeWolfe 1001
Vote - Affirmative 1001
Res. 438, N.S. Skills First - Young Women's Conf.: Organizers/
Participants - Congrats., Mr. K. Morash 1001
Vote - Affirmative 1002
Res. 439, Health - Heart & Stroke Fund (N.S.): Evelyn Richardson
Mem. Elem. Sch. (Shelburne Co.) - Fundraising Congrats.,
Mr. C. O'Donnell 1002
Vote - Affirmative 1003
Res. 440, Harwood-Jones, Dawn - Chester Playhouse:
Volunteer Efforts - Congrats., Mr. J. Chataway 1003
Vote - Affirmative 1004
Res. 441, Fisher, Mary - Mulgrave Rd. Theatre: Role - Recognize,
Mr. Ronald Chisholm 1004
Vote - Affirmative 1004
Res. 442, Robichaud, Danielle - Veterans: Memorial Mural -
Commend, Mr. R. Hurlburt 1005
Vote - Affirmative 1005
Res. 443, Veinotte, Dr. Dennis - Career: Congrats./Retirement -
Best Wishes Convey, Mr. M. Parent 1005
Vote - Affirmative 1006
Res. 444, Young, Paul: Achievements - Congrats., Mr. T. Olive 1006
Vote - Affirmative 1007
Res. 445, LeGard, Derek: TIANS Pineapple Award - Congrats.,
Mr. F. Chipman 1007
Vote - Affirmative 1008
Res. 446, Agric. & Fish. - Maple Producers: Col. & Cumb. Counties -
Commend/Visit, Mr. W. Langille 1008
Vote - Affirmative 1008
Res. 447, Lada, Raj: Collaborative R&D Grant - Congrats.,
(by Mr. B. Taylor) The Speaker 1009
Vote - Affirmative 1009
Res. 448, Apple Island Marine Boat Bldg. & Repair: Boat Launch -
Congrats., Mr. C. O'Donnell 1009
Vote - Affirmative 1010
Res. 449, Tourism & Culture - Ambassadors Recognition Dinner:
Nominees - Congrats., Mr. B. Barnet 1010
Vote - Affirmative 1011
Res. 450, EMO - Queens Region: Work - Recognize, Mr. K. Morash 1011
Vote - Affirmative 1012
Res. 451, Rockingham/Birch Cove Girl Guides - Tea & Sale:
Fundraising - Congrats., Ms. M. McGrath 1012
Vote - Affirmative 1012
Res. 452, Mackey, Wendy: PanCanadian Students' Choice Award (2001) -
Congrats., Mr. D. Hendsbee 1013
Vote - Affirmative 1013
Res. 453, Jacquard, Donnie: Ducks Unlimited Pewter Teal Award -
Congrats., Hon. N. LeBlanc 1013
Vote - Affirmative 1014
Res. 454, Sutherland-Harris Mem. Hosp. - Veterans Comfort Comm.:
Royal Can. Legion (Pictou Branches) - Appreciation Acknowledge,
Mrs. M. Baillie 1014
Vote - Affirmative 1015
Res. 455, Pleasant-Joseph, Deborah - Educ.: Achievement - Congrats.,
Mr. M. Parent 1015
Vote - Affirmative 1016
Res. 456, Calvin's TV/Armstrong, Calvin & Judy: Commun. Spirit -
Recognize, Mr. J. Chataway 1016
Vote - Affirmative 1016
Res. 457, NSCC - Hospitality Service Prog. (Lunenburg Campus):
Gala Dinner - Students Congrats., Hon. M. Baker 1017
Vote - Affirmative 1017
Res. 458, Langford, Sam - Memory Preservation: Weymouth Falls -
Citizens Congrats., Hon. G. Balser 1017
Vote - Affirmative 1018
Res. 459, MacNeil, John (Jack): Ann Seton Award - Congrats.,
Hon. A. MacIsaac 1018
Vote - Affirmative 1019
Res. 460, Surette, Winifred/Crowell, Kathleen: Lief Ericson
IODE Award - Congrats., Mr. R. Hurlburt 1019
Vote - Affirmative 1020
Res. 461, Mahone Bay - Harrowsmith Magazine:
Prettiest Towns (Can.) - Rating Congrats., Hon. M. Baker 1020
Vote - Affirmative 1020
Res. 462, We Care Soc. - Telethon: Participants - Congrats.,
Mr. J. DeWolfe 1020
Vote - Affirmative 1021
Res. 463, Bosom Buddies - Flea Market: Breast Cancer Foundation -
Donation Congrats., Ms. M. McGrath 1021
Vote - Affirmative 1022
Res. 464, Sports - Hockey: Dart. Subway - Atl. Champions Congrats.,
Mr. T. Olive 1022
Vote - Affirmative 1023
Res. 465, Econ. Dev. - Western Valley Dev. Authority:
Smart Commun. Prog. - Efforts Congrats., Mr. F. Chipman 1023
Vote - Affirmative 1024
Res. 466, Econ. Dev. - Hfx. Downtown Bus. Comm.: Leadership -
Congrats., Hon. J. Purves 1024
Vote - Affirmative 1024
Res. 467, Tourism & Culture - Inverness Co. Tourism & Rec./
Inverness Communications Ltd.: Potential - Promotion,
Hon. Rodney MacDonald 1024
Vote - Affirmative 1025
ORAL QUESTIONS PUT BY MEMBERS:
No. 121, Agric. & Fish. - Farmers: Ambulance Fees - Disclosure,
Mr. J. MacDonell 1025
No. 122, Fin. - Tobacco Smuggling: Fine Reduction - Explain,
Mr. D. Downe 1027
No. 123, Agric. - Layoffs (Production Tech. Branch): Hiring -
Former EA (Mr. Bev Connell), Mr. J. MacDonell 1028
No. 124, Justice - Tobacco Fines: Fin. Min. - Discussions,
Mr. M. Samson 1029
No. 125, Petroleum Directorate - Sempra: Delays - Actions, Mr. J. Holm 1031
No. 126, Fin. - Anti-Smoking Prog.: Funding - Details, Mr. D. Downe 1032
No. 127, Transport. & Pub. Wks. - Hwy. No. 101: Twinning -
Time Frame, Mr. W. Estabrooks 1034
No. 128, Health: Information System - Details, Dr. J. Smith 1035
No. 129, Fin. - Budget (2001-02): Museums - Cutbacks,
Mr. Robert Chisholm 1036
No. 130, Transport. & Pub. Wks.: T.L. Sullivan School (Bras d'Or):
Crossing Light - Replacement, Mr. B. Boudreau 1038
No. 131, Tourism & Culture: McCulloch House - Min. Open,
Mr. Robert Chisholm 1039
No. 132, Transport. & Pub. Wks. - Cross Church Bridge: Damage -
Departmental Insurance Coverage, Mr. K. MacAskill 1040
No. 133, Fin. - N.S. Film Dev. Corp.: Funding - Cuts Explain,
Mr. Robert Chisholm 1042
No. 134, Fin. - Native Service Stations: Gasoline Prices - Inequity,
Mr. R. MacKinnon 1043
No. 135, Agric. & Fish. - Farmers: User Fees - Explain,
Mr. J. MacDonell 1045
No. 136, Commun. Serv. - Pharmacare Payments: Medication
(Restricted) - Investigate, Mr. D. Wilson 1046
No. 137, Health - Cutbacks: Patients - Hardships, Mr. D. Dexter 1047
No. 138, Commun. Serv. - Social Assistance Appeal Boards:
Appointments - Extend, Mr. D. Wilson 1049
No. 139, Health - Kendrick Report: Min. - Acceptance, Mr. J. Pye 1050
No. 140, Educ. - Hfx. Reg. Sch. Bd.: Decision-Making Process -
Accessibility, Mr. M. Samson 1051
OPPOSITION MEMBERS' BUSINESS:
MOTIONS OTHER THAN GOVERNMENT MOTIONS:
Res. 360, Educ. - Janitorial Strike: Gov't. (N.S.) - Settle,
Ms. Maureen MacDonald 1052
Ms. Maureen MacDonald 1052
Hon. J. Purves 1055
Mr. B. Barnet 1057
Mr. R. MacKinnon 1057
Mr. F. Corbett 1060
Ms. M. McGrath 1061
Mr. T. Olive 1063
ADJOURNMENT:
MOTION UNDER RULE 5(5):
Tourism & Culture - Coffin Island Lighthouse: Importance -
Recognize:
Mr. K. Morash 1065
Mr. W. Estabrooks 1067
ADJOURNMENT, House rose to meet again on Thur., Apr. 12th at 10:00 a.m. 1070

[Page 969]

HALIFAX, WEDNESDAY, APRIL 11, 2001

Fifty-eighth General Assembly

Second Session

2:00 P.M.

SPEAKER

Hon. Murray Scott

DEPUTY SPEAKERS

Mr. Brooke Taylor, Mr. Kevin Deveaux, Mr. David Wilson

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

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House recognize the importance of the Coffin Island Lighthouse to the Lighthouse Route and tourism in Nova Scotia.

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

We will begin the daily routine.

PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS

PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES

TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations.

969

[Page 970]

HON. ANGUS MACISAAC: Mr. Speaker, I would like to table the recently completed Vital Statistic Annual Reports for 1998 and 1999 published by Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations. I would just like to point out to members that traditionally we have been dependent upon Statistics Canada for the contents of these reports and that has delayed the reports. We currently now have the capacity to compile the data included in the reports in-house and that will speed up the publication of these reports on an annual basis. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The report is tabled.

STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Health.

HON. JAMES MUIR: Mr. Speaker, I was very pleased to attend a news conference this morning for an important announcement about medical research, and in particular cancer research in the Maritimes. The Chairman of the Dalhousie Medical Research Foundation announced receipt of an unprecedented $10 million bequest to the foundation. (Applause) Needless to say the announcement was greeted by a ringing sound of applause from the audience.

This bequest was made by the late Beatrice Hunter, in memory of her parents, Dr. Owen and Mrs. Pearl Cameron of River John, Nova Scotia. It is the largest, single donation in the foundation's history. Although it is not contained in my statement, I thought for what it was worth and a little trivia, the first donation to the Dalhousie Medical Research Foundation was $500,000 and it was given by a Mrs. Norah Balders, who was none other than the aunt of my good friend, the member for Halifax Citadel. (Applause)

The endowment will take cancer research in the Maritimes to a new level. It will generate $400,000 a year in perpetuity, to support and enhance local cancer research activities.

It was a pleasure to see the relatives of the late Mrs. Hunter at this morning's announcement. Mrs. Hunter's generosity is an example to all of us. Also in the audience this morning were representatives of the cancer research community. These are the men and women working hard each and every day to find a cure for cancer.

Dr. Andrew Padmos spoke in his capacity as Associate Dean of Cancer Programs at Dalhousie Medical School and also as the head of Cancer Care Nova Scotia. He attended today's announcement and said that more than 24,000 Nova Scotians are living with cancer right now and 5,000 new cases are diagnosed each year. Projections show that cancer cases will increase by 70 per cent by the year 2015.

[Page 971]

It is important that all members of this House bring the message of wellness to their constituents and remind them of the importance of a healthy lifestyle and to be cognitive of what steps they can take to reduce their chances of developing this devastating disease. I would also encourage all of us to follow Mrs. Hunter's example and do what we can to support medical research.

I do hope that Nova Scotians living with cancer are somewhat encouraged by today's announcement and the new and unique patient navigation initiative for cancer patients and their families, which was announced last week. Thank you. (Applause)

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

MR. DARRELL DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to have the opportunity to respond to the minister's statement with respect to this important bequest to the Dalhousie Medical Research Foundation. I would like to begin by simply saying I think this is an important statement about the direction of cancer research in this province. One of the things that I know and I am sure many people in this House know, is that many of our very bright young minds in this province have left to do work like cancer research in other places, in other provinces and indeed, in other countries. When you have this kind of bequest made to a foundation that is going to be used as the sustaining funding, that means the opportunity to bring some of our own very talented people home, then exists in those institutions.

This is an important announcement, it is an important recognition, not only for the fact that it sustains the medical research foundation, it is also a sign of tremendous foresight and generosity on behalf of the family, something that all Nova Scotians should be thankful for.

I want to thank the minister for sending me a copy of his statement in advance, which I had an opportunity to read before I came here today and to again, extend my congratulations on behalf of our caucus to the Dalhousie Medical Research Foundation for receiving this, and also to the estate, and to the relatives of the late Beatrice Hunter for being at the announcement today and seeing this very worthwhile donation made. (Applause)

[2:15 p.m.]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Dartmouth East.

DR. JAMES SMITH: Mr. Speaker, I, too, would like to thank the minister, and congratulate he and his government, and all those involved with the announcement this morning at the Dalhousie Medical Research Foundation. I would like to join others in thanking Mrs. Beatrice Hunter and her family, in memory of her parents, for such a generous gift to such an important cause as cancer research. This area is really placing itself on the map, that people now feel comfortable in coming forward with bequests in memory of their

[Page 972]

loved ones to aid others who will be suffering from the disease and the families who will have to support them.

I would like to note that in passing, and from our Liberal caucus, add our great thanks and debt of gratitude to Mrs. Hunter and her family. Also, to note in passing that we now have a formalized Nova Scotia Medical Research Foundation and other mechanisms, where corporations, organizations and individual citizens can come forward and feel that their monies will be well spent and well taken care of to fight that terrible disease, cancer.

Dr. Andrew Padmos, I think this morning he was speaking as Associate Dean of Cancer Programs at Dalhousie Medical School, and he is also the Commissioner of Cancer Care Nova Scotia. We have drawn cancer specialists from right across North America in this last couple of years. There was a time when we were down to three cancer oncologists here at the QE II, and now I think we are up to a full complement of 9 or 10, at least. I would like to pay tribute to Dr. Padmos and others.

Departments like the Department of Psychiatry and all the other groups that realized donations from, as I said, corporations and individual families, I think it is mainly one of deep gratitude. I would also compliment those at the medical school and research foundation, Dalhousie and Cancer Care Nova Scotia for creating an environment that is so friendly that people will trust this type of bequest and endowment in memory of members of their family. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Pictou West.

MRS. MURIEL BAILLIE: Mr. Speaker, I, too, am pleased to have a brief moment to add my comment to this ministerial statement read by the Health Minister today. These two individuals, Dr. Owen and Mrs. Pearle Cameron and their family, were neighbours of mine growing up in River John. I am so honoured to have former community members who gave so much during their lives to this province, now leaving a legacy to the people of this province, to their late daughter, Mrs. Beatrice Hunter, which will reverberate through the medical community for years to come. The $10 million endowment fund in memory of her parents will generate those hundreds of thousands of dollars each year for research so that others have needed resources to seek a cure for such a devastating disease as cancer, an affliction which has affected my family and so many thousands in this province every year.

Mrs. Hunter and other members of this Pictou County family have been quiet yet generous benefactors within their province, a fact evidenced by the anonymous donation Mrs. Hunter had previously given the research foundation just a few years ago when she was still living. This announcement today is overwhelming. I hope and believe that the Dalhousie Medical Research Foundation will ensure that the trust placed in them by these individuals through this incredible contribution will go a long way to honouring both Dr. and Mrs. Cameron and Mrs. Hunter, as they continue to work to seek answers to the many mysteries

[Page 973]

within medicine. I am sure I can say that all Nova Scotians are thankful for this everlasting gift. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Transportation and Public Works.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased and delighted today to inform the House that further construction on the twinning of Highway No. 101. (Standing Ovation)

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

MR. RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, after that kind of a standing ovation, it is difficult to say that it does not all belong to me, some of it belongs to the federal government.

Anyway, as I was saying, further construction on the twinning of Highway No. 101 will likely begin as early as August if federal highway funds are directed, as expected, to Nova Scotia. The federal government has recently announced that $30 million in funding for urgent highway projects in Canada will be made available this year. This money is part of a five year $485 million fund to support highway construction projects in Canada.

Mr. Speaker, we fully expect Nova Scotia to get its fair share of that funding and have already begun the process of initiating discussions with our federal counterparts. The federal government has always maintained that these funds would become available in the fiscal year 2000-01, and they have made the decision to move $30 million of this money forward to this current year. I think it is important to note that in our discussions with the federal government, highway funding from the federal government was always a priority and we feel that we are beginning to realize success in our efforts. I should point out, although it is not in the handout, that we actually initiated the push to get money projected forward from the federal funding into this fiscal year and we started that process last year. (Applause)

As this House knows, the Department of Transportation and Public Works has set aside $5 million to begin twinning Highway No. 101 this year - this is contingent upon federal cost-shared funding becoming available - that funding will go towards continuing to build the roadbed between Mount Uniacke and Ellershouse.

Mr. Speaker, we have always been strongly committed to getting this job done. Last year the province spent $1 million getting Highway No. 101 ready for twinning; the Mount Uniacke interchange is undergoing an extension and clearing began this winter on the future roadway. (Interruptions)

Mr. Speaker, I am glad to see that the Opposition is so delighted at this good news. We have worked very hard getting ready to begin work on this important project and we think the federal government recognizes that. Of course, this promising news would not have been possible without the efforts of Premier John Hamm, our Nova Scotia Members of

[Page 974]

Parliament, and others who consistently spoke out on this issue. These voices have said that highway funding is a priority and that the federal government has to do its fair share for the national highway system.

Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to be able to share this good news with my colleagues in the House. (Applause)

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

MR. WILLIAM ESTABROOKS: Mr. Speaker, this reminds me of a paper that I once received from a Grade 11 history student. The comment went: I have read this before; is there any plagiarism here? So I would like to go through it, paragraph by paragraph, and give my grade on this piece of redundant history.

Your whole thesis, student, revolves around "if" in the first paragraph and "contingent" in the fifth. Those are vague words, those are non-starters. In the fourth paragraph, we read, student, "We feel we are beginning to realize . . ."; empty-headed phrase by an empty-headed student. It seems to me if we go farther, into paragraph six, "We have worked very hard getting ready to begin . . . "; getting ready to begin what?

Incidentally, Mr. Speaker, you will notice there is lots of red ink on this assignment, and I will table it in a moment.

Then we come to the line, ". . . we think . . ."; we think, I would write to the student, there is a first time for everything. Actually the closing comment says it all. If it was not laughable, it would be really pathetic. So much written, so much announced, about so very little. Dear Ronnie, you have a failing grade. I will table this. (Applause)

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

MR. RUSSELL MACKINNON: Mr. Speaker, I think what I find most unsettling about this particular announcement is the fact that we are dealing with a serious issue; a very serious issue where many, many people have either been killed or maimed and with long-term negative health effects. Yet, what we have here before us is an announcement of a non-announcement.

What I find very disappointing is the fact that when you read into the third paragraph, the minister states that he has, ". . . begun the process of initiating discussions with our federal counterparts."

Well, that is nothing more than simply asking his secretary to lift up the phone and make an appointment. That is about the essence of what the minister is saying.

[Page 975]

Now, let's look at the $30 million that has been set aside. Our percentage, 3.6 per cent, would be simply a little better than $1 million; 3.6 per cent on $30 million, that is a little better than $1 million. Mr. Speaker, that would not cover what the minister is saying would be the federal government's contribution to this program.

Initially he made the announcement during the election that he would move immediately to begin twinning of Highway No. 101 between Mount Uniacke and Windsor and at a later press release, as he did during an all-candidates debate, he said that he would do it with or without - and I emphasize with or without - federal government support. This is not what this announcement does.

This announcement, really, is very disappointing. It is disappointing to the people in the Valley who have to drive that highway every day. It has artificially inflated expectations and once people understand what this announcement has done, there will be twice as much unsettled reaction from the people in the Valley and that is very, very disappointing. This amounts to not much more than landscaping and public relations.

The minister led us to believe during Question Period yesterday that it was going to be a joint federal-provincial announcement. It was not until our staff contacted the federal Department of Transportation and found that the federal minister is in western Canada, that there is no such announcement contemplated, period, let alone discussions. I find this very distressing that the Minister of Transportation and Public Works would perpetrate such an artificial announcement on the people of Nova Scotia.

[2:30 p.m.]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations.

HON. ANGUS MACISAAC: Mr. Speaker, I rise today to let all members know that on-line motor vehicle registration renewal service is open for business. (Applause) We recently had our very first customer who renewed their vehicle registration through our new on-line express service. This new service has been available for less than three weeks yet it is already an overwhelming success. I would like to share a few of the comments we received through our on-line feedback system. A great service, a wonderful convenience. You have saved me hours of time.

Mr. Speaker, we have come a long way from the days of one Registry of Motor Vehicles office located across the street. There are now four ways to renew a vehicle registration. We can do it in person, we can do it by mail, we can do it by automated telephone service and now it is available on-line. We have made and are making great strides in improving service delivery to Nova Scotians - when, where and how they want these services. One hundred per cent of those who have already used the service said they would

[Page 976]

use other on-line government services. I am happy to say Nova Scotians can look forward to more Internet-based transactions. Soon they will be able to request copies of marriage, birth or death certificates through the Internet on a secure on-line environment.

Mr. Speaker, this government recognizes the need to satisfy the rapidly growing needs for better access to government and that means equal availability for all citizens no matter where they live. Technology is changing the way the world does business and government must keep stride. Service Nova Scotia Express kiosks, self-service computer terminals will be located in every county through Access Nova Scotia and Registry of Deeds offices. That is 22 kiosks in 19 office locations.

Service Nova Scotia Express will allow citizens to obtain government services and products much easier than ever before. Through Service Nova Scotia's Express, more and more Nova Scotians will realize the benefit of the Internet. We are making strides to expand on maximizing these benefits by providing access to the necessary tools to do business with government.

Mr. Speaker, while e-government is a boon for Nova Scotians, we also realize that face-to-face services are important to citizens. We will continue to focus on traditional ways of doing business. We recently expanded in-person Registry of Motor Vehicles services to Liverpool, Guysborough and Shelburne, three counties where until now customers had to travel to other counties. (Applause) To bring these services to every county in the province, we have plans to expand RMV services into Richmond and Hants Counties this year. We are using existing locations in these counties to provide better services, the services that Nova Scotians want and need.

Mr. Speaker, the old ways of doing business with government are not the only ways of doing business with government. It is no longer necessary to take time out during regular business hours to conduct business with government. The Nova Scotia Business Registry is modernizing the way government does business, leaving businesses more time to concentrate on what is important to them. Registry 2000 will reduce the hours of search time for deeds and land registration documents to mere minutes at the touch of a few computer keys.

We are doing a lot with technology, but it is not our sole focus. Our sole focus is on service and that means continuing to provide and improve the face-to-face personal services Nova Scotians expect and deserve. We are redesigning routine services for greater public choice and convenience. One of the reasons for this focus is that while the Government of Nova Scotia delivers products and services through millions of yearly transactions, we are increasingly considering this service delivery from a citizen perspective.

We will continue to deliver the high-quality services that Nova Scotians have come to expect from us. We are enhancing all levels of service and adding more ways to do business with government. We will have the right balance of clicks and mortar and are committed to

[Page 977]

serving all Nova Scotians better and moving toward our ultimate goal, providing the services they need when, where, and how they need them. Thank you, Mr. Speaker. (Applause)

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

MR. WILLIAM ESTABROOKS: Mr. Speaker, I thank the minister and congratulate him on his initiative from his department. It would seem to me that it is of real consequence to continue to rely upon service not just for the technical and the technological haves, but the technological have-nots. I encourage you, Mr. Minister, to make sure, and I know the good staff at Access Nova Scotia continues to make sure that they are available to people in the community who perhaps don't feel comfortable with the computer process. I look particularly at maybe some people in the senior age range. I also want to point out that there is nothing more important than that personal touch, whether it is across the counter or on the telephone.

I congratulate you on your initiative, Mr. Minister, and in particular I hope your staff continues to work forward with these developments, remembering that that personal touch is what Service Nova Scotia must always be. Thank you.

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

MR. BRIAN BOUDREAU: Mr. Speaker, first of all I would like to thank the minister for providing a copy of his statement well in advance and welcome this improvement to the RMV services. On-line motor vehicle registration renewal is part of a process started in 1996 by the previous Liberal Government when it introduced Access Nova Scotia. It is a great credit to the minister's staff that they continue to improve this service year in and year out.

The Nova Scotia Business Registry is also a Liberal measure that I hope the minister will acknowledge. I noticed the minister does not mention the red tape task force however. There's probably a good reason, Mr. Speaker. Despite their claims, the red tape task force has not recommended or implemented one original concept, proving once again that it was nothing more than a make-work project for government backbenchers.

The other thing the minister fails to mention is that more and more fees are being charged by his department and across government. I warn the minister that the Auditor General has already said that many fees may have no justification.

Mr. Speaker, improvements at RMV are welcome, and putting services in formerly unserved counties is very welcome. This does not mean the government is off the hook in rural Nova Scotia. This government has abandoned rural areas: jails are closing, court houses have been closed; rural hospitals are being turned into nursing homes; our roads are falling apart; doctors are leaving; there are not enough nurses; and young people are leaving rural

[Page 978]

areas in droves. Better services from RMV and Service Nova Scotia won't replace the destruction of our rural areas by this Tory Government. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Shelburne on an introduction.

MR. CECIL O'DONNELL: Mr. Speaker, in the east gallery we have two people from the Town of Shelburne - two important people in my life - my son-in-law, Mark Fraser, and his son, Riley, who of course is my grandson and, I might add, a very handsome grandson. (Laughter) I would ask that the House give them a warm welcome. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: We certainly welcome our special guests to the House today.

GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION

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

RESOLUTION NO. 412

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

Whereas Nova Scotia proudly possesses a long and rich history as well as a diverse cultural legacy; and

Whereas the MLA for Chester-St. Margaret's has long been working to support our heritage and local history, starting as a teenager promoting historical preservation and continuing as an adult with the founding of the Chester Municipal Heritage Society and the establishment of a Heritage Bylaw to register local properties as heritage properties; and

Whereas the MLA for Chester-St. Margaret's, along with Stanley T. Spicer, Harvey W. MacPhee and Robbins L. Elliott, were all awarded the 2001 Dr. Phyllis R. Blakeley Lifetime Achievement Award for their many contributions to the preservation and promotion of heritage in our province;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House extend their congratulations to our colleague, the member for Chester-St. Margaret's, as well as to Mr. MacPhee, Mr. Spicer and Mr. Elliott on receipt of the 2001 Dr. Phyllis R. Blakeley Lifetime Achievement Award for their work to recognize and conserve Nova Scotia's great heritage.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

[Page 979]

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Education.

RESOLUTION NO. 413

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

Whereas Saint Mary's University has been involved in assisting Gambia develop its education system and a new university; and

Whereas Saint Mary's has spent six years in the delivery of university-level programming in Gambia through its University Extension Program; and

Whereas Saint Mary's was recently honoured for its work at a special ceremony in Gambia's capital of Banjul during the country's national day celebrations;

Therefore be it resolved that this House recognize the work that Saint Mary's University has done in Gambia and congratulate the university for the honour bestowed on it by the Gambian Government.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries.

[Page 980]

RESOLUTION NO. 414

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

Whereas Hiram and Kathleen Nelson of British Columbia recently donated 186 hectares of land in the Cole Harbour area to the Province of Nova Scotia for conservation purposes; and

Whereas the donation of this ecologically and socially significant land was facilitated through Ducks Unlimited Canada as part of the Eastern Habitat Joint Venture Program under the North American Waterfowl Management Plan; and

Whereas this donation enables the province to preserve and protect the habitat of various birds and other wildlife, as well as the ecological integrity of the Cole Harbour-West Lawrencetown Coastal Heritage Park System;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House take the opportunity during National Wildlife Week to thank the Nelsons for their generous contribution to the province, assisting us in our efforts to protect significant wildlife habitat in Nova Scotia.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Health.

RESOLUTION NO. 415

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

Whereas the Atlantic Canadian Launch of the Business and Economic Roundtable on Addiction and Mental Health took place on April 10, 2001; and

[Page 981]

Whereas business leaders are beginning to understand that addiction and mental health issues are becoming an increasing significant factor in business success; and

Whereas the global knowledge economy is, by definition, an economy of mental performance;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House commend the members of the Nova Scotia business community who are recognizing that addiction and mental illnesses are not just a concern of health providers, but are a major factor in our economic well-being.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister responsible for Aboriginal Affairs.

RESOLUTION NO. 416

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

Whereas last Friday, I was honoured to attend the opening of the Homeboys Aboriginal Art Exhibit at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia together with the member for Dartmouth East; and

Whereas Millbrook artist, Alan Syliboy, is one of the two artists featured in this outstanding exhibit; and

Whereas Mr. Syliboy has received tremendous critical acclaim for his work;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Mr. Syliboy and the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, and be encouraged to visit the display.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

[Page 982]

[2:45 p.m.]

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Tourism and Culture.

RESOLUTION NO. 417

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

Whereas the Arts Infusion Project was launched at seven Nova Scotia schools in 1998 to combine art with academics; and

Whereas the program draws on the talents of artists, dancers, musicians and actors to enrich curriculum; and

Whereas the Nova Scotia Arts Council has extended the program another three years;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the Legislature recognize that the work of these artists has helped hundreds of Nova Scotia students broaden their horizons and given them an appreciation of the arts.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

[Page 983]

The honourable Minister of Education.

RESOLUTION NO. 418

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

Whereas Pavonis Ltd., a local company, in partnership with the Centre for Entrepreneurship, Education and Development (CEED), has been awarded the Conference Board of Canada's 2000-01 National Partners in Education Award; and

Whereas the award recognizes innovation in business support through a partnership between an educational institution and a business; and

Whereas Pavonis has contributed to education within the business community, particularly among young and aspiring business owners, through workshops, information sessions, sponsorships, programs and through their role in establishing business support organizations such as the Young Entrepreneur's Association (YEA);

Therefore be it resolved that this House recognize that Pavonis' long-standing relationship with CEED has led to a positive working partnership that has provided resources and support to many new business owners.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Justice.

RESOLUTION NO. 419

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

[Page 984]

Whereas the Prostitution Education Program, otherwise known as the john school, has recently finished its tenth class, with 117 participants, since it first began operating in November 1998; and

Whereas the school teaches johns about the negative impact prostitution has on our communities and is a joint effort with the Halifax Regional Police, health professionals, the Public Prosecution Service, Coverdale House and the Department of Justice; and

Whereas funds raised from the john school support School 213, an education program aimed at helping women involved in prostitution get off the streets;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate those responsible for these programs, and commend them for the positive steps they have taken to reduce prostitution in our communities.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister for Environment and Labour.

RESOLUTION NO. 420

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

(a) this House declare that a Select Committee on Fire Safety be established;

(b) this House declare that the select committee be chaired by and be composed of such members as the striking committee shall determine;

(c) the mandate of the select committee is to

[Page 985]

(i) review proposed changes to the Fire Prevention Act, as reflected by Bill No. 58, entitled an Act to Promote and Encourage Fire Safety, which was introduced in this House on June 6, 2000, and relevant reports of the Fire Prevention Advisory Council,

(ii) seek input from municipalities, local fire departments and others who are involved in addressing or who are affected by fire safety concerns, and

(iii) make recommendations respecting an Act to Promote and Encourage Fire Safety to ensure that Nova Scotians are protected by effective fire prevention laws;

(d) if this House is not sitting when an interim or final report is completed by the select committee, the select committee shall table the report with the Clerk of the House;

[(e) the House declares, pursuant to Section 36 of the House of Assembly Act, that the select committee is not dissolved by prorogation of the House and the select committee is authorized to continue its inquiry after the House is prorogued;

(f) all the powers and privileges of the House of Assembly Act applicable to committees apply and are in full force and effect during the sittings of the select committee; and

(g) the House requests the Legislature Internal Economy Board, on behalf of the select committee, to employ such members and staff as may be necessary to enable the select committee to carry out its duties and to provide the select committee, its members and staff, with such facilities and funds as are required to carry out its functions as provided for by Section 80 of the Public Service Act.]

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order. I am not exactly sure what the honourable member opposite is trying to convey to the House here. Is it a Notice of Motion, a Government Notice of Motion, a Ministerial Statement or all of the above? The member is going on about something he would like to see implemented in this House, clearly he is out of order.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. The honourable member for Cape Breton South is right, if the minister is rising on a point of order (Interruptions) Order, please. If it is a resolution, then it is too long. (Interruptions)

Order, please. Honourable Government House Leader, was it an agreement with the other Parties?

[Page 986]

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: I have spoken to both House Leaders with regard to setting up a Select Committee on Fire Safety and the agreement was that the committee would be set up (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. The honourable Government House Leader has the floor. Let him finish, please.

MR. RUSSELL: The striking committee would come into being again to set up the membership of that committee.

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order, I don't have any problem with the intent, but I think it should more properly come before the House in a ministerial statement form so that the Opposition and our Party can have a chance to respond to it. I am not going to suggest to the member that he retract the notice of motion, all I am saying is that perhaps he might, at some point, bring in a ministerial statement.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Atlantic.

MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, as a suggestion, I think there is no question that under our rules that kind of a motion cannot be introduced, because it is too long. Whether we agree or not, if the minister wanted to make this statement under other business, we could return later to Statements by Ministers and then he could make that presentation and we would be happy, as I think the Liberal Party would be, to make a comment in support of the movement. But we certainly cannot allow business to be done in this way because then the possibility is that ministers could be introducing topics that required our response through an inappropriate order of business.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: It is my understanding that to set up a select committee, it is set up with the concurrence of the House, therefore it is a notice of motion and the notice of motion is put into effect and the striking committee then strikes the membership and the Speaker's Office provides the necessary administration and the funding for the committee.

If it is too long . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. Yes, I would ask the Minister of Environment and Labour to either table it or reintroduce it at a later date and in a lot shorter time, please.

INTRODUCTION OF BILLS

Bill No. 26 - Entitled an Act to Enable the Municipality of the District of Chester to Make Expenditures on Trails. (Mr. John Chataway)

[Page 987]

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

The honourable member for Kings West.

MR. JON CAREY: Mr. Speaker, prior to the bill introduction, may I have permission to do an introduction?

MR. SPEAKER: Yes.

MR. CAREY: Today I am pleased to have in the east gallery, Dr. Frank Richardson. He is Registrar of the Nova Scotia Veterinary Medical Association and has much interest in the bill we will be introducing. I would ask that you would offer him a warm welcome to our House. (Applause)

Bill No. 27 - Entitled an Act to Continue the Nova Scotia Veterinary Medical Association and to Regulate the Practice of Veterinary Medicine. (Mr. Jon Carey)

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

NOTICES OF MOTION

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

RESOLUTION NO. 421

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

Whereas at the annual banquet last evening of the Credit Union Central of Nova Scotia, the Sydney Credit Union received the Coady Award for outstanding achievement in the area of social responsibility and community action, the most coveted honour within the credit union system; and

Whereas the Sydney Credit Union gives extensive support to Sydney with its student employment program, support to locate a community police office in the Sydney downtown area, establishment of the Sydney Credit Union room at the University College of Cape Breton and in many other areas; and

Whereas with their closeness to members, higher levels of trust as compared to big banks and their financial expertise, credit unions offer the alternative services Nova Scotians want and need;

[Page 988]

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate the Sydney Credit Union on receiving the Coady Award and wishes it a long and prosperous future in serving the community of Sydney.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Cape Breton The Lakes.

RESOLUTION NO. 422

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

Whereas Sydney Mines native Johnny Miles is regarded as a legendary marathon runner because of his record-breaking victory at the Boston Marathon in 1927; and

Whereas the 75th Anniversary of his first victory will be recognized this Saturday morning at a breakfast in Boston; and

Whereas Johnny Miles, now 95 years old and living in Ontario, later won the marathon for the second time in 1929;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House recognize the profound impact that Johnny Miles has made on the sporting community in Canada.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

[Page 989]

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley.

RESOLUTION NO. 423

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

Whereas the Honourable Robert Stanfield first led the Progressive Conservative Party to victory in 1956 and won three more elections in 1960, 1963 and 1967 respectively, becoming the first Progressive Conservative Premier to win four successive elections; and

Whereas Robert Stanfield fought hard for the interests of Nova Scotians and Canadians during his years as Premier of Nova Scotia and Leader of Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition in the House of Parliament, demonstrating great intelligence, compassion, integrity and responsibility; and

Whereas Robert Stanfield was recently chosen by newspapers and historians as Nova Scotian of the Century;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House extend their best wishes today to Nova Scotia's favourite son, the best Prime Minister Canada never - not ever - had, the Honourable Robert Lorne Stanfield on the occasion of his 87th birthday. (Applause)

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Dartmouth-Cole Harbour.

[Page 990]

RESOLUTION NO. 424

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

Whereas the Canadian Peacekeeping Service Medal (CPSM) was created to recognize all Canadians, including serving and former members of the Canadian Forces, members of the RCMP and other police services and Canadian civilians who contributed to peace on specific missions and is the formal recognition by Canada of the those who have served in the interests of world peace; and

Whereas today John Henry (Jake) Birks, who followed in his family's long tradition of military service, received the Canadian Peacekeeping Service Medal and a Nobel Peace Prize Certificate for his peacekeeping service in Vietnam; and

Whereas also today Bruce Kelloway, a founding member of the Halifax Chapter of the Canadian Peacekeeping Veterans Association received his Canadian Peacekeeping Certificate and Nobel Peace Prize Certificate for his service in the Golan Heights;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate Jake Birks and Bruce Kelloway on their awards and thank them for their stellar service on behalf of Canada in the interests of preserving world peace.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

[3:00 p.m.]

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Dartmouth-Cole Harbour, on an introduction.

MR. DARRELL DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, I would like to bring your attention to the west gallery, joining us here this after is Mr. Bruce Kelloway, one of the individuals who received these awards this morning, along with his wife, Sue. During the presentation this morning, Mr. Kelloway indicated, and brought to many people's attention the fact that on

[Page 991]

behalf of the Canadian peacekeeping veterans that for a long time Sue Riordon was the voice that people heard on behalf of those veterans. He opened and talked about the founding of the Halifax Chapter by saying, well, Sue, the reinforcements have arrived. So I want you, if you can, to welcome Mr. Kelloway and congratulate him on his achievements. Thank you. (Standing ovation)

MR. SPEAKER: The House certainly congratulates you, sir, and welcome to the House today.

The honourable member for Dartmouth East.

RESOLUTION NO. 425

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 federal government awarded hepatitis C survivors $300 million; and

Whereas hepatitis C survivors in Nova Scotia are concerned that the provincial government is putting Nova Scotia's allotment into general revenues; and

Whereas hepatitis C organizations are calling for Nova Scotia to create an arm's-length group to administer the funding to those eligible for those federal monies;

Therefore be it resolved that this government work with hepatitis C organizations to develop an accountable system to benefit sufferers of hepatitis C and not have the federal monies flow into the general coffers of this province.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear a No.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable Minister of Finance.

[Page 992]

RESOLUTION NO. 426

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

Attendu que Clayton et John d'Eon, les propriétaires de d'Eon's Bakery, une boulangerie de Pubnico-Ouest, ont été choisis comme finalistes au concours national les Lauriers de la PME; et

Attendu que ce concours vise à mettre en valeur le dynamisme des petites et moyennes entreprises francophones du Canada, et à souligner leur contribution à l'économie du pays; et

Attendu que la boulangerie fournit des services de qualité et des emplois sans la région depuis trois générations;

Qu'il soit résolu que cette Assemblée félicite Clayton et John d'Eon pour le succès durable de leur entreprise et leur contribution à l'économie de la région d'Argyle.

Mr. Speaker, I will repeat for the members' edification.

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

Whereas Clayton and John d'Eon, owners of d'Eon's Bakery were selected as finalists in the national recognition program honouring small and medium sized businesses; and

Whereas this program's objective is to recognize the vitality of Franchophone small and medium businesses, and highlight their valuable contribution to the economy of the country; and

Whereas d'Eon's Bakery has been providing quality services and employment in its region for three generations;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate Clayton and John d'Eon for the long success of their business and their ongoing contribution to the region of Argyle.]

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

[Page 993]

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Leader of the Opposition.

RESOLUTION NO. 427

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

Whereas auto racing is a sport and recreational pastime that attracts thousands of racing enthusiasts, in many instances whole families; and

Whereas Atlantic Motorsport Park outside Shubenacadie has, through astute management and racing fan loyalty, remained and prospered in business for over 27 years; and

Whereas this facility, the only road racing course in Atlantic Canada on which the late, great Gilles Villeneuve set the track record, has hosted numerous prestigious racing events, is aiming to upgrade to be able to host the Canadian GT Challenge Cup Race;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly congratulate the owners and volunteers who make AMP run so well in providing a one of a kind recreation alternative in the heart of rural Nova Scotia.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Leader of the Liberal Party.

[Page 994]

RESOLUTION NO. 428

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

Whereas in the 2000-01 budget, this Tory Government cut $500,000 from the budget of Le Collège de l'Acadie; and

Whereas in the 2001-02 budget, this Tory Government made a big show of announcing a $200,000 increase in the budget of Le Collège de l'Acadie; and

Whereas Le Collège de L'Acadie is still short $300,000 from its 2000-01 budget;

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Education and this Tory Government come clean with officials at Le Collège de l'Acadie and all Nova Scotians by letting them know that plain and simple arithmetic shows that Le Collège de L'Acadie is still short $300,000 from its budget.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable Minister of Health.

RESOLUTION NO. 429

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

Whereas Die Big Band der Bundeswehr, or the Big Band of the German Federal Armed Forces, performed the final concert of their 2001 Canadian tour at the Rebecca Cohn on April 10, 2001, and it was a remarkably entertaining evening; and

Whereas Die Big Band der Bundeswehr is not a traditional military band, it is a swing group and includes many of Germany's finest musicians who specialize in music from the swing era along with jazz and current favourites; and

[Page 995]

Whereas the April 10th evening was sponsored by Sobeys and the Nova Scotia International Tattoo Society and the proceeds are to be donated to the Nova Scotia Band Association and to the Little Dutch Church;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House thank the Die Big Band der Bundeswehr for visiting Nova Scotia and for putting on such an outstanding concert and thank the sponsors for the generosity which enabled the concert proceeds to assist two very deserving organizations.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Halifax Chebucto.

RESOLUTION NO. 430

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

Whereas Pavonis Limited, Your Marketing Resource Centre, in partnership with the Centre for Entrepreneurship, Education and Development, or CEED, has been awarded the Conference Board of Canada's 2000-01 National Partners in Education Award; and

Whereas this award, co-sponsored by the Royal Bank of Canada, recognizes innovation in business support through a partnership between an educational institution and a business; and

Whereas Pavonis has contributed to education within the business community, particularly among young and aspiring business owners through, among other things, workshops, free information sessions, their popular marketing tune-ups and mentor programs;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate Pavonis and CEED on receiving the National Partners in Education Award.

[Page 996]

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Victoria.

RESOLUTION NO. 431

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

Whereas the member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley, the beautiful Musquodoboit Valley, is making telephone calls like Rahim Jaffar; and

Whereas the Health Minister puts style before substance when answering questions like Stockwell Day; and

Whereas these members would have great appeal in the Canadian Alliance Party;

Therefore be it resolved that these two members re-examine their role in provincial politics and consider moving to Ottawa in an attempt to unite the right.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear a No.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Preston.

[Page 997]

RESOLUTION NO. 432

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

Whereas Custio Clayton, North Preston, of the City of Lakes Boxing Club in Woodside, Dartmouth, captured a gold medal in the 48 kilogram division at the junior national amateur boxing trials in St. Catherines, Ontario, last Sunday; and

Whereas Mr. Clayton's medal was one of three medals won by Nova Scotians; and

Whereas Terry Gray, East Preston, also of the City of the Lakes Boxing Club, won the bronze medal in the 54 kilogram division;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Custio Clayton and Terry Gray for their hard work and dedication which resulted in their recent amateur boxing accomplishments.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Halifax Needham.

RESOLUTION NO. 433

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

Whereas Thomas McCulloch, the son of a Scottish craftsman and trained as a Presbyterian minister, arrived in Nova Scotia to settle in Pictou County in 1803; and

Whereas being a firm believer that good education makes good citizens, he started a school in his home, which was incorporated and formally named Pictou Academy, in 1816; and

[Page 998]

Whereas Thomas McCulloch is known as Pictou's Renaissance Man because of his outstanding ability as an educator, preacher, naturalist and humourist;

Therefore be it resolved that this House honour those volunteers who work tirelessly to preserve the memory of this remarkable man whose sharp wit, keen mind and uncanny foresight made him one of the most outstanding contributors to the development of education in the Province of Nova Scotia.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Leader of the Liberal Party.

RESOLUTION NO. 434

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

Whereas the forecast expenditure for capital grants to universities for 2000-01 is $7.319 million; and

Whereas the estimate for 2001-02 shows that the capital grants to universities have been totally eliminated; and

Whereas our universities are in desperate need of new facilities, along with a need for repairs and upgrades to present buildings and facilities;

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Education immediately make provision to provide capital grant funding to Nova Scotia's universities.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

[Page 999]

Is it agreed?

I hear a No.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage on an introduction.

MR. KEVIN DEVEAUX: Mr. Speaker, I just want to make note that in the west gallery there are three members from the Nova Scotia Union of Public Employees who are here today to (Interruption) Yes, now talking to the member for Cape Breton West. They are here today to observe a bit of the Opposition Day debate and also Question Period. Nancy Elliott who is the Chief Negotiator for NSUPE, Mr. Dave Wells from the union and Valerie Christie from the union as well. Will you give them a big hand, please. (Applause)

MR SPEAKER: We welcome our visitors to the House today.

The honourable member for Kings West.

RESOLUTION NO. 435

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

Whereas the Writers' Federation of Nova Scotia's Atlantic Writing Competition is one of the most respected writing competitions in the country, and is the only general writing competition that offers feedback to each entrant; and

Whereas this competition actively fosters Atlantic Canadian writers by encouraging them to explore their talents and to send in new, unpublished work; and

Whereas Jonathan Campbell is doing just that, exploring his talents, and has been rewarded for his efforts by placing second in the competition's novel category for his work, Tarcadia;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Jonathan Campbell for the recognition of his novel, Tarcadia, and encourage him in his future writing endeavours.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

[Page 1000]

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Pictou West.

RESOLUTION NO. 436

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

Whereas River John was experiencing some break and enters, and the nearest RCMP detachment was 20 kilometres away; and

Whereas new business owners, Bonnie and John Murray, took the initiative to bring policing closer to their community by making space for a local RCMP office within the building where their business, the Parsonage Tea House, is situated; and

Whereas the new office, run by volunteers, is bringing greater police services to the people of River John and breaking down the barriers between the community and the police;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House thank Bonnie and John Murray for opening important doors for River John, and thank the many volunteers who have helped bridge the gap between the residents and the RCMP who serve them, ensuring the people of the area have a greater sense of security.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Pictou East.

[Page 1001]

RESOLUTION NO. 437

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

Whereas today's climate demands computer access for everyone, whether it involves education, employment opportunities or their communications; and

Whereas the Pictou County YM-YWCA has proudly served many people across the county in various capacities; and

Whereas the Y's Menettes have made the kind and generous donation of a new computer system to the Pictou County YM-YWCA;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House thank the Y-Menettes for their donation, for their support of the Pictou County YM-YWCA, and for their recognition of the increasing importance of computer technology and the ever-increasing need for greater access.

[3:15 p.m.]

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Queens.

RESOLUTION NO. 438

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

Whereas there is a need in Nova Scotia to encourage young women to explore the many prosperous career options in non-traditional female professions in trades and technologies; and

[Page 1002]

Whereas only 17 per cent of the total number of people employed in trades and technologies in Nova Scotia are women, where only 2 per cent of carpenters, 4 per cent of welders, 2 per cent of motor vehicle mechanics, and 1 per cent of plumbers in Nova Scotia are women; and

Whereas 50 Grade 9 girls from Hebbville Academy and South Queens Junior High School participated in the Nova Scotia Skills First Annual Young Women's Conference, exposing them to the many non-traditional female professions in trades and technologies;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate the organizers and participants of the Nova Scotia Skills First Annual Young Women's Conference for exploring new career opportunities for young women in Nova Scotia.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Shelburne.

RESOLUTION NO. 439

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

Whereas heart disease and stroke is Canada's leading cause of death, claiming about 1,500 lives each week; and

Whereas in an effort to raise funds for the Heart and Stroke Fund of Nova Scotia, students and staff at Evelyn Richardson Memorial Elementary School in Shelburne County held a Jump Rope for Heart event on March 23rd; and

Whereas 106 individuals, or 40 per cent of the school's population, participated in Jump Rope for Heart, raising $5,460.35;

[Page 1003]

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate students and staff at Evelyn Richardson Memorial Elementary School for their generous efforts to raise funds for the Heart and Stroke Fund of Nova Scotia.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Chester-St. Margaret's.

RESOLUTION NO. 440

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

Whereas live theatre is vital in many areas of Nova Scotia and part of the character of Chester; and

Whereas Chester Playhouse has an important role as a community theatre, producing new works, bringing successful acts to the rural stage, and encouraging young actors and amateurs to take to the stage; and

Whereas Dawn Harwood-Jones has played many parts in this success, has helped to open the theatre to many actors and audiences alike, and done so with an energy which is hard to match;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House recognize Dawn Harwood-Jones' years of volunteer work with the Chester Playhouse, acknowledge her ceaseless energy for the stage and the enthusiasm she has passed on to so many.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

[Page 1004]

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Guysborough-Port Hawkesbury.

RESOLUTION NO. 441

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

Whereas live theatre is a dynamic part of many Nova Scotian communities and lends character to this province's arts culture; and

Whereas Mulgrave Road Theatre plays its part in the growth of Nova Scotia's maturing cultural sector through its support, development and production of new works; and

Whereas one of Mulgrave Road Theatre's own stars, Mary Fisher, has played an outstanding supporting role for some 20 years as a volunteer, ensuring that seats are filled and the needed funds are raised;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House recognize the valuable role Mary Fisher plays with Mulgrave Road Theatre, congratulate her for her years of dedication and perseverance in the role of volunteer, and thank her for adding her energy to Nova Scotia's theatre scene.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Yarmouth.

[Page 1005]

RESOLUTION NO. 442

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

Whereas Danielle Robichaud, a member of the High School Memorial Clubs, has designed a mural in honour of the war veterans and in memory of the war dead; and

Whereas this Grade 9 student at Maple Grove Education Centre is paying tribute, through her mural, The Canadian Tree of Freedom, to our veterans for their sacrifice and to symbolize the rights and freedoms for which they fought; and

Whereas this student recognizes the need to remember, and has dedicated hard work and talent to communicate this message to others;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House commend Danielle Robichaud on her talented and thoughtful memorial to our veterans, and express to her our gratitude for helping to remind our younger generation of the call of our veterans to "never forget".

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Kings North.

RESOLUTION NO. 443

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

Whereas Dennis Veinotte is an ordained minister and Director of Clinical Pastoral Education at Acadia Divinity College; and

[Page 1006]

Whereas throughout his rich career, Dr. Veinotte has served as pastor, prison chaplain and professor helping, counselling, teaching and bringing comfort and enlightenment to many; and

Whereas Dr. Veinotte will be retiring from his position at Acadia Divinity College;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly congratulate Dr. Dennis Veinotte for his outstanding career and wish him the very best in future projects during his retirement.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Dartmouth South.

RESOLUTION NO. 444

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

Whereas Sydney resident, Paul Young, has battled his disability with passion and determination and became a leader in the advancement of the voice of the disabled; and

Whereas he has overcome the labels imposed on him from childhood, to become a generous contributor to his community as a long-time employee of CBC Radio, a founding member of People First of Nova Scotia, a founding member and Past President of People First of Canada, and as a small business owner; and

Whereas Paul Young, now the Chairman of the Council of Canadians with Disabilities, has demonstrated great leadership in the movement for people with disabilities;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House commend Paul Young, a man with a vision for people with disabilities, whose personal achievements are an inspiration for us all.

[Page 1007]

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Annapolis.

RESOLUTION NO. 445

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

Whereas the pineapple is the international symbol of hospitality; and

Whereas the Tourism Industry Association of Nova Scotia gives the Pineapple Award to individuals nominated by visitors to our province as a way of recognizing those who have gone above and beyond what is expected to enrich a visitor's stay; and

Whereas one of the award recipients was Derek LeGard of Falcourt Inn in Nictaux, Annapolis County, for adapting his accommodations and making sure he was always available for the needs of a guest, while also dealing with a progressively deteriorating medical condition;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Derek LeGard, and extend to him our appreciation for the outstanding contribution to Nova Scotia's tourism industry.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

[Page 1008]

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Colchester North.

RESOLUTION NO. 446

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

Whereas Colchester and Cumberland Counties are home to more than 70 maple producers; and

Whereas this snowy, harsh winter has taken its toll on tap lines and the cold spring has meant a slow start to this year's maple season; and

Whereas to their credit, our producers work with the inability to predict the supply of this sweet product each year and have found ways to augment the industry with tours and suppers;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House commend our maple producers for their perseverance and ingenuity and visit a maple farm in Colchester and Cumberland Counties and sample the delicious product these farmers produce.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

Maybe the honourable members would agree to travel there together.

The honourable member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley.

[Page 1009]

RESOLUTION NO. 447

MR. BROOKE TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, in co-operation with and approbation of the honourable member for Cumberland South, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas a team of researchers at the Nova Scotia Agricultural College, led by Professor Raj Lada, competed with the best from across Canada and has been awarded a substantial Collaborative Research and Development Grant from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada; and

Whereas these grants only support well-defined projects undertaken by university researchers; and

Whereas Oxford Frozen Foods, the project's private-sector partner, has also made a significant investment in this project which is aimed at understanding the factors that affect the yield and quality of carrots;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Professor Lada and his research team on receiving this prestigious grant and, along with Oxford Frozen Foods, for setting an excellent example of success through partnership.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Shelburne.

RESOLUTION NO. 448

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

Whereas boat building has a long and proud tradition in southwestern Nova Scotia; and

[Page 1010]

Whereas Apple Island Marine Boat Building and Repair took up that tradition when they opened for business in January; and

Whereas Apple Island Marine's first boat, the 43 foot Tanaia and Zachary, was recently launched;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House applaud Apple Island Marine Boat Building and Repair upon the successful completion and launch of their first boat, and wish them success as they continue a time-honoured industry in Shelburne County.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Sackville-Beaver Bank.

RESOLUTION NO. 449

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

Whereas 14 Nova Scotians were recently named at the Ambassadors Recognition Dinner at the World Trade and Convention Centre for their role in bringing convention business to Halifax; and

Whereas these individuals - Gerry Boudreau, Joe Cottreau, Dr. Balwantry Chauhan, Jim Delaney, Ivan Hicks, Ferial El-Hawary, Mo El-Hawary, Donna Farid, Jennifer Gillivan, Rev. Dr. Frank Guinta, Anna Nibby Woods, Dr. Daniel O'Brien, Tom Rich and Harold Shea - were named this year's ambassadors for their success in attracting business to metro; and

Whereas the World Trade and Convention Centre and the Halifax Metro Centre combined to generate $89.8 million in direct expenditures and $52 million in spinoff expenditures over the last year;

[Page 1011]

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate these ambassadors for the valuable part they have played in generating important business in the local and provincial economies.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Queens.

RESOLUTION NO. 450

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

Whereas all Nova Scotians understand the importance of diligent preparation and readiness for disasters and damage caused by natural catastrophes; and

Whereas the Queens Region Emergency Measures Organization, under the guidance of David Clattenburg, conducted several emergency simulations and provided training in basic emergency preparedness, in addition to drafting a comprehensive plan to implement in the event of a local disaster; and

Whereas Queens Region EMO was one of 16 of Nova Scotia's 55 municipalities to get a high rating from the province's Emergency Measures Organization for being well-prepared in case of disaster;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House recognize the hard work of the Queens Region EMO in securing the safety of all local Nova Scotians in case of disaster.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

[Page 1012]

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 Bedford Basin.

RESOLUTION NO. 451

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

Whereas included within the promise of the Girl Guides of Canada is the commitment to do one's best and to help others; and

Whereas the members of the Rockingham-Birch Cove Girl Guides continue to do just that and have just recently organized another successful tea and sale thanks to the help of Lynne Murphy, Carol Ann MacNeil-Rolls, Peggy Taylor, Suzanne Ball and the parents; and

Whereas the Guides, their parents and organizers worked very hard for several months to make crafts, as well as baked goods, to sell at the fundraiser which supports leader training and the purchase of unit supplies;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House heartily congratulate all involved on another successful fundraising and community event, and salute this very dedicated group of Girl Guides who are faithfully upholding the guiding promise.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Preston.

[Page 1013]

RESOLUTION NO. 452

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

Whereas teachers provide inspiration, motivation and practical assistance as students navigate their academic career; and

Whereas PanCanadian, Global Television and The Halifax Chronicle-Herald recently sponsored a Students' Choice Award for teachers who make a difference; and

Whereas Wendy Mackey, a teacher at Ross Road School, was recently named the Grades 7 to 9 recipient of the 2001 PanCanadian Students' Choice Award;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Ms. Mackey upon her recent award and all teachers who work so hard to make a difference in the lives of students.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

[3:30 p.m.]

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Finance.

RESOLUTION NO. 453

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

Whereas the South West Nova Scotia Ducks Unlimited annual banquet was held at the Grand Hotel in Yarmouth on March 16th; and

[Page 1014]

Whereas Mr. Donnie Jacquard of Wedgeport was awarded the Pewter Teal Award for his contribution of decoy carvings to Ducks Unlimited; and

Whereas Mr. Jacquard's contribution has helped raise over $5,000 over the past 15 years for ongoing work in wetland conservation;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate Mr. Jacquard for receiving this award and urge him to continue to contribute to this very important organization.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Pictou West.

RESOLUTION NO. 454

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

Whereas the Veterans' Comfort Committee at the Sutherland-Harris Memorial Hospital is dedicated to meeting the personal comfort and enjoyment needs of the veterans who live there; and

Whereas the committee wants to brighten the veterans' lives and has planned for the addition of a sunroom with an estimated cost of $100,000; and

Whereas the Pictou County branches of the Royal Canadian Legion have undertaken to raise $35,000 and will be looking to businesses and private donors for substantial support, while the Department of Veterans Affairs will provide one-fifth of the needed money once the committee has raised the first dollars;

[Page 1015]

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House appreciate the plans and efforts of the Veterans' Comfort Committee and the Pictou branches of the Royal Canadian Legion, wish them all the best in their efforts, and encourage members of their community to lend support to their cause and to the veterans they serve.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Kings North.

RESOLUTION NO. 455

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

Whereas Deborah Pleasant-Joseph of Kentville recently received her diploma as a continuing care assistant through a collaborative effort between the Community Education Division of the Annapolis Valley Regional School Board and the Kingstec Campus of the Nova Scotia Community College; and

Whereas Deborah Pleasant-Joseph is not only a mother but a grandmother, making this achievement even more noteworthy; and

Whereas Deborah does not intend to stop her education at this point but hopes to go on to obtain her LPN diploma;

Therefore be it resolved that this Legislature applaud Deborah Pleasant-Joseph and others like her who are committed to furthering their education, and commend the Annapolis Valley Regional School Board for its worthy efforts in adult education.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

[Page 1016]

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 Chester-St. Margaret's.

RESOLUTION NO. 456

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

Whereas community groups and organizations depend on the help and generosity of businesses in their area to support the services they provide; and

Whereas people and organizations from Hubbards, Blandford, Chester, Chester Basin, New Ross and Western Shore, to name just a few, have benefited for years from the generosity of one such business; and

Whereas Calvin's TV Sales and Services Ltd. in Marriott's Cove has, for 32 years, donated appliances and made innumerable other contributions which have impacted on many non-profit organizations and the quality of life of countless people;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House recognize Calvin and Judy Armstrong, owners of Calvin's TV Sales and Services Ltd., for their years of generosity and community spirit.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

[Page 1017]

The honourable Minister of Justice.

RESOLUTION NO. 457

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

Whereas the Nova Scotia Community College, Lunenburg Campus, offers a two year hospitality services program; and

Whereas the hospitality services students hosted their third annual gala dinner on March 30, 2001, which enables them to showcase their talents to invited guests; and

Whereas the proceeds raised from the event are donated to the Nova Scotia Community College, Lunenburg Campus, Scholarship Fund;

Therefore be it resolved that the House of Assembly commend the Nova Scotia Community College hospitality students for their tremendous efforts and for a job well done.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Economic Development.

RESOLUTION NO. 458

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

Whereas the Historic Sites and Monument Board of Canada recently recognized the contribution of Sam Langford to the history of Canada; and

[Page 1018]

Whereas Sam Langford was a well-known and successful boxer on three continents in the early 1900's and, even though he never held a world boxing title, is recognized as one of the best pugilists to ever enter the ring; and

Whereas he continues to be remembered for his achievements in his home community of Weymouth;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House applaud the efforts of the citizens of the community of Weymouth Falls who have worked diligently over the years to preserve the memory of his achievements.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations.

RESOLUTION NO. 459

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

Whereas John (Jack) MacNeil has spent all his life serving the less fortunate as a social worker and active supporter of Hope Farm which provides men, with active addiction, rehabilitation, accommodation and work experience; and

Whereas Jack has provided leadership to the Metro Turning Point Centre, a shelter for the homeless in Halifax, to erect a new building to expand its accommodations and facilities; and

Whereas Jack is a product of the Antigonish school system, a graduate of St. Francis Xavier University, and the son of the late Pearl (MacLean) MacNeil and the late Peter MacNeil, both of whom hailed from the community of Giant Lake, all of which contributed to Jack's sense of caring;

[Page 1019]

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate Jack on being presented the Ann Seton Award by the Sisters of Charity, and wish Jack continued success in his efforts on behalf of the less fortunate.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Yarmouth.

RESOLUTION NO. 460

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

Whereas two Yarmouth women, Winifred Surette and Kathleen Crowell, have been awarded the Leif Ericson IODE Centennial Award; and

Whereas Winifred Surette and Kathleen Crowell have made significant contributions to the lives of children throughout southwestern Nova Scotia over the course of many years; and

Whereas each woman has dedicated many years to community involvement concerning the needs of children;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate Winifred Surette and Kathleen Crowell on receiving the Leif Ericson IODE Centennial Award, and commend them for their good works on behalf of Nova Scotia children and young people.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

[Page 1020]

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Justice.

RESOLUTION NO. 461

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

Whereas Nova Scotia is known for its charming and beautiful small towns; and

Whereas Harrowsmith Country Life magazine is publishing its fourth annual ratings of the prettiest towns in Canada; and

Whereas the Town of Mahone Bay has been recognized by Harrowsmith as "one of the 10 prettiest towns in Canada";

Therefore be it resolved that the House of Assembly congratulate the Town of Mahone Bay on being recognized as one of the prettiest towns in Canada.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Pictou East.

RESOLUTION NO. 462

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

[Page 1021]

Whereas the sixth annual We Care Society telethon was held on Sunday, April 6th, and exceeded its $43,000 goal; and

Whereas the mandate of the We Care Society is to provide financial assistance to people who must leave Pictou County for medical care; and

Whereas this wonderful service would not be possible were it not for We Care Society founder Glenn MacLeod and the support of sponsors and volunteers of Pictou County, and the participation of local entertainers;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate the organizers, volunteers and participants in the We Care Society upon the success of the sixth annual We Care Society telethon, and wish them similar good fortune in their future endeavours.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Halifax Bedford Basin.

RESOLUTION NO. 463

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

Whereas Lynne Murphy, Flame Burton, and their volunteer team have organized another successful flea market which benefits the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation's Run for the Cure; and

Whereas these volunteers, known by the team name of Bosom Buddies, have worked very hard baking and collecting items for the flea market; and

Whereas, due to their efforts, the team was able to raise over $500 to contribute to the breast cancer cause;

[Page 1022]

Therefore be it resolved that the Bosom Buddies be heartily congratulated on yet another successful and worthwhile community event in support of the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation and the Run for the Cure.

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 Dartmouth South.

RESOLUTION NO. 464

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

Whereas the Dartmouth Subways Triple AAA Midget Hockey team has won the Atlantic AAA Hockey Championship and has advanced to the Air Canada Cup National Championships in Prince George, B.C.; and

Whereas this win, their first Atlantic championship in five years, came down to a dramatic finish with a goal by Nick Binder, tournament MVP, who completed his game hat trick to clinch the win at 5:24 in overtime; and

Whereas the Dartmouth Subways, a thriving team with a remarkable accomplishment in developing players who further their hockey careers, owes its strength to its talented players and the volunteers and coaching staff who have willingly contributed their time and efforts for the team's success;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate the members of the Dartmouth Subways AAA Midget Hockey team on their Atlantic championship, and wish them well as they face their competitors for the Air Canada Cup.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

[Page 1023]

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Annapolis.

RESOLUTION NO. 465

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

Whereas the western Valley region was chosen from 128 national submissions to officially join the Smart Community Program; and

Whereas the Smart Community Program is ambitious and aims to help business adapt to e-commerce, provide on-line education in both French and English, as well as free e-mail access, and make the Internet widely accessible across the region; and

Whereas, through the joint efforts of the Western Valley Development Authority, Industry Canada and 54 community-based partners, people in Annapolis and Digby Counties will profit greatly from this program;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate the Western Valley Development Authority and the numerous community partners whose joint efforts make this program possible and whose work will offer our area equal footing with all other Internet-connected communities across the globe.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

[Page 1024]

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Education.

RESOLUTION NO. 466

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

Whereas the Halifax Downtown Business Commission should be recognized by this House for its leadership on the issue of future development of the Cogswell Street interchange; and

Whereas the Halifax Downtown Business Commission brought together businesses, urban planners, academics and decision-makers to discuss the future potential of the interchange site; and

Whereas one of the proposed plans called for building a beautiful structure on top of the existing Trade Mart building, surely an improvement to the visual aesthetic of downtown;

Therefore be it resolved that this House recognize the Halifax Downtown Business Commission for showing leadership on the issue of development and progress of downtown Halifax.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Tourism and Culture.

RESOLUTION NO. 467

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

[Page 1025]

Whereas Inverness Communications Limited will soon publish the annual Tourism Guide for Inverness County entitled the Sunset Side of Cape Breton; and

Whereas this guide will offer visitors a better understanding of the area through features and short stories; and

Whereas these visitors will be better informed of the many activities available for their enjoyment along the beautiful coastal route, the Cabot Trail;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House acknowledge the efforts of the Inverness County Department of Tourism and Recreation and Inverness Communications Limited to promote the tourism potential of Inverness County.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

ORDERS OF THE DAY

ORAL QUESTIONS PUT BY MEMBERS

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. Question Period will begin at 3:44 p.m. and will end at 5:14 p.m.

The honourable Leader of the Opposition.

AGRIC. & FISH. - FARMERS: AMBULANCE FEES - DISCLOSURE

MR. JOHN MACDONELL: Mr. Speaker, for a government that says it is open and accountable it amazes me how often they hide things from Nova Scotians that they don't have the courage to tell them. I want to ask the Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries why didn't he tell farmers they would have to pay $500 for an ambulance if one of their employees had an accident on their farm?

[Page 1026]

[3:45 p.m.]

HON. ERNEST FAGE: I thank the honourable member for his question. Obviously, occupational health and safety regulations and guidelines fall within the purview of the Department of Labour and the Department of Health. The honourable member would be better served to direct his question to those departments.

MR. MACDONELL: Mr. Speaker, I just might do that. Greg Webster of Webster Farms in Cambridge got a bill for $500 when he required an ambulance for one of his workers. Now, I want to table an e-mail in which the Minister of Health attempts to justify the $500 charge. The minister says that his new policy requires that Mr. Webster use his insurance through the Workers' Compensation Board to cover the $500 charge. Now, I want to table the section of Workers' Compensation Act which says the employer, even if he has workers' compensation, must pay the ambulance fee. So my question to the Minister of Health, why are you choking farmers with red tape and user fees?

HON. JAMES MUIR: Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the question. This did come up earlier in the House and the explanation of that is, and I just want to remind the honourable member for Hants East that when the Auditor General reviewed user fees in government, the one which he said were well substantiated and well thought out were those relating to ambulance fees, so I just want to remind the honourable member of that. Secondly, my understanding of that is I know we did have some correspondence with Mr. Webster about this, we are looking into it, but I think the actual ruling - which I stand to be corrected on, I am going from memory now - is that he has to pay it upfront, he then can collect it. (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

MR. MACDONELL: Mr. Speaker, farmers are not required to have workers' compensation for their employees. Under the Minister of Health's new ambulance policy, if a farmer chooses not to cover his employees he will only pay about $85 for an ambulance. Mr. Webster pays $30,000 per year to the WCB and because of this, the province has seen fit to charge him $500. I want to ask the Minister of Agriculture why farmers who provide employees with workers' compensation are being forced to pay $415 more for an ambulance than those who don't?

MR. FAGE: Again, I thank the honourable member for his question. Again, as the honourable member knows, if you enrol within the purview of workers' compensation, then you are required to conform to the guidelines. Certainly, the agricultural industry is exempt and it is voluntary to belong to workers' compensation and pay that as a courtesy for your employees instead of a private health care plan, but the rules that bound workers' compensation, obviously, would be binding on that employer if he is involved in agriculture.

[Page 1027]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Lunenburg West.

FIN. - TOBACCO SMUGGLING: FINE REDUCTION - EXPLAIN

MR. DONALD DOWNE: Mr. Speaker, yesterday in the House, the Minister of Finance continued to dance around the issue of tobacco smuggling fines in Nova Scotia. Smuggling over 50 cartons of cigarettes under the new rules subject a criminal to a minimum fine of $2,500. Under the old program or the old Act the fine was $10,000. My question to the minister is straightforward. Does the minister insist he is being harder on tobacco criminals even though he is reducing the minimum fine by 75 per cent?

HON. NEIL LEBLANC: Mr. Speaker, I explained this to the member yesterday that the Provincial Court had refused to implement that fine and, as such, basically no fine was imposed. Now, if the honourable member wants us to continue to have the laws as they are, where they are not being imposed, I doubt very much that's what Nova Scotians want to have.

I should also point out, Mr. Speaker, that there were also federal fines being imposed, under the federal excise tax, which also include forfeiture of assets, cars and so forth, which is over and above what the province is putting in place. We have made changes which will be put in place, which also will be accepted by the courts. Now, that Party wants us to have cases thrown out of court; this Party doesn't want it to happen.

MR. DOWNE: The minister kind of fancies himself as a wannabe Premier; today we see that he is a wannabe Attorney General. (Interruptions) Mr. Speaker, would you bring order to this House, please?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. DOWNE: The minister has been reluctant to raise tobacco taxes; now he is watering down the smuggling legislation in Nova Scotia. On one hand, this minister is doing all he can to raise taxes and user fees to the average law-abiding citizen; on the other hand he is willing to give criminals a 75 per cent break on taxes.

MR. SPEAKER: Question, please.

MR. DOWNE: Is this minister so concerned with the welfare of criminals that he is willing to give them a tax cut?

MR. LEBLANC: Mr. Speaker, I will say first of all that I don't want to be a wannabe Finance Minister, I want to be a real Finance Minister. (Applause) (Interruptions) The members opposite have the facts. The facts are that the Provincial Court threw out the case because they didn't have the latitude to impose the fine. Service Nova Scotia put forward

[Page 1028]

changes that will make them meaningful, will allow our Provincial Courts to impose fines which will stick, which will deal with smuggling, along with the fines that are being put in place from Ottawa.

Mr. Speaker, there were also provisions in here that three times the provincial tax to be paid will be over and above those fines. This is reasonable, but it will also be effective and if he doesn't agree with that, that's fine. The people of Nova Scotia do.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

MR. DOWNE: Mr. Speaker, I can understand why he wants to be a Minister of Finance because he isn't a very good one at what he is doing right now. I think it is quite clear this minister doesn't know what he is doing and what he is talking about. He wants to tax law-abiding citizens and give criminals a tax break. It doesn't add up for a Finance Minister to think that way.

Will this minister leave the current minimum fines in place, instead of allowing Nova Scotia to become the cigarette-smuggling capital of Canada?

MR. LEBLANC: Mr. Speaker, I have answered the question on numerous occasions. The honourable member wants this government to keep the levels where they were, whereby they will not be imposed. It is totally illogical, and as Mr. Spock would say, it is too illogical to support. We are going to proceed with the plan that we had; it makes sense.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Opposition.

AGRIC. - LAYOFFS (PRODUCTION TECH. BRANCH):

HIRING - FORMER EA (MR. BEV CONNELL)

MR. JOHN MACDONELL: Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Agriculture last year angered farmers by cutting the Production Technology Branch, which had provided them with critical services. The minister has admitted that his former Executive Assistant, Bev Connell, participated in the program review that led to the demise of the Production Technology Branch. The minister used the money that went to the Production Technology Branch to establish the Agricultural Development Institute. Guess who the new Chief of Advisory Services is for ADI?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Who?

MR. MACDONELL: It is Bev Connell. (Interruptions)

AN HON. MEMBER: The same one?

[Page 1029]

MR. MACDONELL: The same one. I want to ask the minister to justify to farmers, how can he can give his buddy a job less than a year after laying off the specialists in the Production Technology Branch?

HON. ERNEST FAGE: I thank the honourable member for his question. Certainly, the honourable member knows, along with his researchers who have spent numerous hours talking to the Agricultural Development Institute, that the minister's office has nothing to do with the selection of agricultural development employees. As the member obviously knows, it is a farmer-controlled board, industry controlled, they make the decisions and the minister has nothing to do with it.

MR. MACDONELL: A couple of things the minister did not mention, one is that the agricultural institute has one shareholder, which is him, and the other thing is that he is using taxpayers' dollars to pay these salaries. It looks like the minister laid off specialists with years of experience, who had the trust of farmers, just so he could give his EA a job.

I want to ask the minister to commit today to tabling Mr. Connell's salary as well as all details and records relating to his hiring, including information on how the job was posted and how many applied.

MR. FAGE: I thank the honourable member again for his question because it gives an opportunity to set the record straight. As the honorable member is well aware of in his research, the Agricultural Development Institute is an industry-run and controlled board with the province supplying $2.2 million for the operation and delivery of those services. Certainly, the job interviews, the selection committee was done by the Agriculture Development Institute, which is a producer-majority controlled board and they are the group who would supply names, references and their opinions on how they hire people.

MR. MACDONELL: Mr. Connell held the minister's hand through the program review process, and he benefits while farmers and more than 50 civil servants who lost their jobs suffer with the consequences. I want to ask the minister to explain why he shows such disdain for the farmers of this province?

MR. FAGE: I thank the honourable member again for his question. The only disdain that is being shown is by the member opposite for the farming industry, who made the selection, not the Department of Agriculture.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Richmond.

JUSTICE - TOBACCO FINES: FIN. MIN. - DISCUSSIONS

MR. MICHEL SAMSON: The Minister of Finance has told us that the reason he needed to lower tobacco fines was that the judiciary was not enforcing the current fine

[Page 1030]

structure. The minister was heard to say during committee yesterday that whether we like it or not judges do not always do what they are supposed to. This seemed a very curious statement to Nova Scotians. Can the Minister of Justice tell this House what, if any, discussions he had with the Minister of Finance before the changes to tobacco fines were introduced?

HON. MICHAEL BAKER: Well, I will tell the honourable member something from practical knowledge as a former prosecutor in these matters. What, in fact, the honourable member fails to understand is that the federal fines and the provincial fines, when imposed in their totality, form a very serious deterrent to tobacco smuggling. That is what the honourable member fails to understand.

[4:00 p.m.]

MR. SAMSON: Mr. Speaker, what the minister fails to realize is that they used to be a deterrent before this minister and this government caved in to organized crime in this province. This is the minister and the government who say we are going to get tough on crime. Now, their way of getting tough is by lowering fines for organized crime. The fact is that the minimum fine under the Lobbyists' Registration Act is $25,000 whereas the minimum fine for tobacco smuggling is now a mere $250. It is clear that the minister is not being tough on crime. How can the minister claim that they are getting tough on crime when they lower the fines for this damaging, illegal activity?

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. Who is the question directed to? Which minister?

MR. SAMSON: Justice.

MR. BAKER: Again, for the benefit of the honourable member, this bill does not weaken our enforcement in Nova Scotia, what it does is it makes it realistic to what the courts are going to impose. The honourable member knows that the courts will not impose a fine - no matter all the bluster that the member may come up with - that is disproportionate to the offence; that is the reality. (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. (Interruptions) Order, please. The honourable member for Cape Breton East will bring himself to order.

MR. SAMSON: Mr. Speaker, this minister said he was going to get tough on crime. On in-home invasions, his get tough was to make a home video to show seniors how to lock their doors; on illegal smuggling, his get tough is to say we are going to lower the fines in the Province of Nova Scotia, and that is how we get tough in this province. The majority of Nova Scotians support the increase in tobacco prices, but can't understand why this minister and his government have caved in to this illegal activity.

[Page 1031]

MR. SPEAKER: Question, please.

MR. SAMSON: Will the Minister of Justice tell this House what he plans to do to combat increased tobacco smuggling now that the Finance Minister has lowered the fine structure in this province?

MR. BAKER: The first observation for the honourable member is that the reason that they have come up with this lame excuse is because they can't really find anything wrong with the budget. That is the real reason, Mr. Speaker, that these questions are coming forward. Secondly, we are going to work with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the Public Prosecution Service to actually do something about crime, instead of talking about it like the honourable member's government. (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

The honourable member for Sackville-Cobequid.

PETROLEUM DIRECTORATE - SEMPRA: DELAYS - ACTIONS

MR. JOHN HOLM: Mr. Speaker, they are rowdy today.

MR. SPEAKER: A little.

MR. HOLM: Mr. Speaker, my question is through you to the Minister responsible for the Petroleum Directorate. The minister will know that yesterday the Premier said that he expects Sempra to live up to the terms of its franchise. Well, the minister will know that if it had, and if that was true, gas would already be flowing to Truro, to Amherst, to New Glasgow and to Halifax. If that were true, we wouldn't have seen the construction cancelled in Truro, Amherst and New Glasgow, and the construction outside of Halifax put on hold indefinitely. I want to ask the minister, exactly how many more changes and delays is your government going to permit before it takes some concrete action to ensure that gas is flowing in Nova Scotia?

HON. GORDON BALSER: Mr. Speaker, as was explained yesterday, there have been a number of factors which impacted on Sempra's ability to carry through and certainly the current price situation is one of them. They have a seven year commitment and we intend to hear what their plan is to deal with the issues that are before them at this point in time, before we move to do anything that would precipitate their leaving the province or reacting in that manner.

MR. HOLM: Mr. Speaker, the only thing that this minister and this government seems prepared to do is make one commitment, and that is to keep Nova Scotians waiting while the people in New Brunswick and New England are using our gas. Now the minister stands up

[Page 1032]

and he sounds like he is an apologist or is explaining on behalf of Sempra. You represent the people of Nova Scotia, Mr. Minister, you are supposed to be defending our interests. I want to ask the minister, what deadlines have you and your government given to Sempra to present a revised rollout plan; when will Nova Scotians have access to our natural gas?

MR. BALSER: Mr. Speaker, I would remind the member opposite that we were in fact, at the Point Tupper Power Generating Station, burning gas before New Brunswick. So we have that access to gas, but in terms of how quickly we can respond, we need to first of all hear Sempra's reaction and position around the issues that are before them before we can make any predetermination as to when the time will expire.

MR. HOLM: Mr. Speaker, if Nova Scotians had as much as access to natural gas as the hot air that we are getting from governments in this province we would be well-served. This minister, this government slept through the whole application process, just as those in the predecessor government had been sleeping through the whole negotiations, with regard to the offshore and the onshore.

I want to ask this minister not to come up with any vague, wishy-washy things and let's wait and see, but what is your plan, how are going to guarantee that natural gas is going to be provided to the residents of Nova Scotia in accordance with the schedule of the franchise that you approved and the government promised?

MR. BALSER: Again to the member opposite, he is overlooking the fact that the URB were the ones who made the determination as to which would be the successful franchise winner and they made the recommendation to Cabinet, which then approved it. So, obviously, any plans that deal with this current issue would undoubtedly involve the URB.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Lunenburg West.

FIN. - ANTI-SMOKING PROG.: FUNDING - DETAILS

MR. DONALD DOWNE: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Finance. The Minister of Finance told us yesterday that he will receive a total of $20.7 million of new money for tobacco taxes this year. The minister pointed out that $5.7 million of that new money that was already allocated in the budget will, in fact, go to health and educational programs for those who are smoking. The rest of the money, the windfall, the new $15 million, will go into the proverbial Tory black hole of general revenue, where we have already seen endless amounts of money go in with no outcome. Will the minister tell this House why he didn't simply divert all the $20.7 million of new revenue into anti-smoking campaign programs in Nova Scotia?

[Page 1033]

HON. NEIL LEBLANC: Mr. Speaker, I first of all should point out to the member that he is not altogether clear on what I said yesterday, because we talked about the fact that we had made provisions for $5.7 million increased revenues based on the tax increase coming this year. He is correct that the total will be approximately another $15 million over and above that, but I had pointed out that we had put $1 million into community health boards this year; that part of those funds will be in smoking cessation programs. I just want to clarify the comments that he made, and maybe in his second question he will go back to the points that he would like to have addressed.

MR. DOWNE: Well, he hasn't answered that question, Mr. Speaker. The bottom line is that increased tobacco taxes should be a health issue and not a finance issue. This government said emphatically that it will be tough on tobacco. The Premier has stated that it is a personal issue with this Premier and this government to deal with the issue and the crisis around tobacco. The minister says he has enough money in his budget, without this additional $15 million, to meet all the targets that he has indicated. So I ask the question to the minister, can the minister tell us why he is keeping $15 million in the general coffers instead of diverting those dollars into an anti-smoking program where the end result could reduce the health care cost to the Province of Nova Scotia.

MR. LEBLANC: First of all, I would like to point out this is the honourable member who said we should have slashed and burned no matter what happened to get a balanced budget this year. Now he is asking me to divert additional revenues and put them into other programs.

I want to point out that we have been asked, that the Minister of Health, my colleague, will put in place come this fall, a smoking strategy that will deal with some of the issues that the honourable member opposite is talking about. We all agree that the increase here is a deterrent. It is not looked at as a revenue measure and the honourable member can say that as much as he wants. Why we are raising the taxes here is to stop people from smoking and, specifically, we are looking at, the money of our youth and unfortunately, many of those youths happen to be female. As to why that is occurring, we do not know, but we are very concerned . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Order please.

MR. DOWNE: The bottom line, this minister cannot explain to this House or to Nova Scotians why he is pocketing the extra $15 million.

This caucus supported the increase in the price of cigarettes as a deterrent. We believe that the extra money - and I believe Nova Scotians believe - that extra money would be going into a health program for those who are addicted to tobacco and that in the end result, Nova Scotians would be paying less for health care in the Province of Nova Scotia. A quote, unquote strategic investment could have been made by that so-called Minister of Finance.

[Page 1034]

My question to the minister - pardon me, the wannabe minister - is, will the minister commit to the House and to all Nova Scotians that he will do the right thing and divert the additional money of tobacco tax revenue into programs for Nova Scotians and not into general revenues as he wants?

MR. LEBLANC: Mr. Speaker, if I was listening to the member's comments, he is saying that every increase in tobacco taxes should have been put to programs. The obvious question is that, when they were in power, why didn't they do that. But I want to say that for ourselves, we will be putting more money into smoking cessation programs in the fall. The Minister of Health will be bringing forward a program and I cannot be any clearer than that.

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

TRANSPORT. & PUB. WKS. - HWY. NO. 101:

TWINNING - TIME FRAME

MR. WILLIAM ESTABROOKS: (Interruption) I think the Liberals want a fourth question. Sorry.

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Transportation and Public Works. Earlier, the Minister of Transportation and Public Works delivered a statement in this House that was laughable about a very serious subject. If you listened to the minister, you would believe that federal funding has been secured for the twinning of Highway No. 101. Well, guess what? No money has been received from Ottawa. The minister's statement is based on in paragraph one, if, and in paragraph five, contingency.

Nova Scotia will be up against every other province in Canada looking for a share of this $30 million federal fund. My question to the minister is, I want to ask, when can we expect the pavement to hit the road on Highway No. 101?

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: That member of the Opposition may indeed think it is laughable, but I can assure him that the people who live down in the Annapolis Valley and travel that road everyday do not think it is a laughable matter. They are very serious about the twinning of Highway No. 101. If the honourable member opposite does not think it is a good news story today, well I feel sorry for him because the people in the Valley certainly do.

MR. ESTABROOKS: What is laughable is the number of press releases put out by this minister time and time again on this very serious problem. Mr. Speaker, cutting shrubs will not save lives on Highway No. 101. This Minister of Transportation promised, during his last election campaign, that he would twin Highway No. 101 immediately, and now the minister has made another statement on Highway No. 101 that is not worth the paper that it was

[Page 1035]

written on. I want to ask the minister why he has not started the twinning of Highway No. 101 like he promised on that warm summer evening in 1999?

[4:15 p.m.]

MR. RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, obviously, the honourable member for Timberlea-Prospect has not driven down Highway No. 101 of recent date, because anybody who travels that route can certainly see construction in progress and it has been in progress for the last year. It would be a terrible shame if the member for Timberlea-Prospect ever became Minister of Transportation, and he does not know enough to cut the bushes before you lay the asphalt. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

MR. ESTABROOKS: Every member over there who is enjoying that laugh, whether we are talking about the minister of bushwhacking or the minister of clear-cutting, this is no laughing matter. Highway No. 101 is a road I have travelled on on numerous occasions and I want the minister to be very clear. What he wants to do today, is to make people think that he is actually doing his job. He is not doing his job, Mr. Speaker. He is continuing to fool people with the fact that he can issue releases and not lay pavement. I want to ask again, when will the Department of Transportation begin laying asphalt on Highway No. 101, to be twinned?

MR. RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, I made a commitment, the government has made a commitment that Highway No. 101 will be twinned in sections. The first section from Mount Uniacke to Ellershouse. I said that construction would start in the year in which I was re-elected in 1999. We did start in that year and we have continued . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. The honourable Minister of Transportation and Public Works has the floor.

MR. RUSSELL: If the honourable member thinks that you can twin a section of a highway from scratch in one year, of 20 kilometres in length, Mr. Speaker, he just does not know what he is talking about. The pavement will be laid after the bushes are cut, after the rocks are put into the roadbed, then the pavement will be laid.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Dartmouth East.

HEALTH: INFORMATION SYSTEM - DETAILS

DR. JAMES SMITH: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister of Health. The Auditor General recently remarked that a health information system should have been implemented two years ago. In spite of the fact that the minister was left with a plan for a

[Page 1036]

health information system, he chose not to use it. We recently heard that the Minister of Health is now finally planning to invest in a health information system. My question to the minister is simply, will the minister confirm whether the new health information system will connect internal hospital systems, or it will be a data centre with a common client registry and home care forming a comprehensive integrated system?

HON. JAMES MUIR: Mr. Speaker, the honourable member is correct. We are in the business of modernizing the health information system and he knows, and, indeed, they did start to initiate that not in the appropriate way through the Health Investment Fund but we are moving ahead with that. It is our intention, when we are finished with our information technology initiative, to have all of the institutions and all of the services interconnected.

DR. SMITH: It is not clear whether there is a complete plan for a comprehensive, but if he includes services in a general term, then that may well be. My question is a little more direct. Will the minister confirm whether or not he has signed - or his department, his government - a contract with MediTech based on a request for proposals that was done for the Department of Health over four years ago in order to develop a new health information system that was recently announced? Has he signed a contract with MediTech?

MR. MUIR: Mr. Speaker, I will confirm that we are doing some negotiation with MediTech for technology services. I don't think it is on something that was done four years ago, to be quite frank. This is a new initiative. I will confirm this, I have not signed a contract with MediTech.

DR. SMITH: Mr. Speaker, that leaves me with two alternatives. Yes, he has, in which case, how would he explain the rationale for not developing a new tender call? If they have not signed a contract - the government, and when I say he, I mean in the broad sense - then when will tenders be expected to be called for this multi-million dollar project and not rely on a request for proposals that was developed over the past four years? That is clear as I can be because the minister didn't answer the question directly.

MR. MUIR: Mr. Speaker, we are in the process of making final decisions about the way that information service is going to be delivered and, indeed, we are negotiating with a provider at this particular time. The honourable member had asked me if I had signed the contract and the answer to that was no.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Atlantic.

FIN. - BUDGET (2001-02): MUSEUMS - CUTBACKS

MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, I am just checking to see if the Minister responsible for Culture is over there behind your desk.

[Page 1037]

AN HON. MEMBER: Culture? No, but Brooke's there, he does culture.

MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: I finally get a chance to get up and ask a question and the minister is not even there. What am I going to do now?

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. I remind the honourable members not to indicate the presence or absence of a member. (Interruption.) You just did. Order, please.

The honourable member for Halifax Atlantic has the floor.

MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: I would like to direct my question, if I may, through you to the Minister of Finance. Mr. Speaker, in the minister's Budget Address, he said that he was increasing funding to museums through a sustainability development grant but, once again, we see that this minister has played a lot of sleight of hand with this budget; he says one thing but in fact does something else. Two things, the grant is not new and, as part of his own budget, he has cut funding to Nova Scotia's 63 museums by 2 per cent. I want to ask the Minister of Finance why is it that he thinks so little of the museums throughout this province that he would cut such an essential part of their operating budgets by 2 per cent.

HON. NEIL LEBLANC: Mr. Speaker, I would like to say first of all that I disagree with the honourable member, that we don't have a high esteem for our museums throughout this province. If I recall, obviously I am not as well versed as the minister in all the details in regard to that, but I also recall that there were provisions so they could apply for other funding based on performance. I think if the member reflects on that, we are also trying to make sure that our museums not only provide a service but are also measuring outcomes. I think if you look at that in perspective that that puts it in better balance.

MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, back to the Minister of Finance, what does he think that the people who work in these museums do? A lot of them work for nothing, they are volunteers in communities from one end of this province to the other. What we are talking about here are their operating costs. The costs that have risen, the costs for fuel, the costs that have risen as a result of inflation that are affecting the budgets to operate these museums. I want to ask the Minister of Finance, Mr. Speaker, through you, will he commit here today to review this decision to cut the essential operating budgets of these museums, which is crippling some of these individual museums, and reinstate that money? Will he make that commitment here today?

MR. LEBLANC: Mr. Speaker, as a government we are trying to deliver services and we started our mission here with a $500 million deficit, that is not a small obstacle for us to overcome. Museums, as other organizations which government fund, will also have to do their part. We realize that they do an important job here in Nova Scotia but all museums, all agencies that we deal with, are looking at other sources of how they can become more efficient or other sources of revenue that they can bring in to deliver that same service.

[Page 1038]

Although I realize that it is difficult for them, it is difficult for all facets of the public sector and museums will work with us to deliver that service at the levels that we provided.

MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, what the Minister of Finance and his government is forcing museums to do is to go out and beg for money. I guess what we should do is ask them to go to the Lieutenant Governor because she seems to have some extra cash, go to the Minister of Education because she seems to have some cash in her coffee fund. I would like to ask the Minister of Finance if he would commit to dropping the requirement that museums must have cash upfront in order to access money under this grant program, will he make that commitment?

MR. LEBLANC: Mr. Speaker, as to the specific question that he asks, I will take that under advisement with my colleagues but I will say one thing. When the honourable member talks about the Department of Education and the money they are spending there to have meetings and they make light of it in the sense that it is a waste. The honourable minister outlined that many of the people coming there are working through their lunch and would be charging those meals outside. That is the difference between running a business and wishing that you had all the answers as sometimes the Opposition says.

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

TRANSPORT. & PUB. WKS.: T.L. SULLIVAN SCHOOL (BRAS D'OR):

CROSSING LIGHT - REPLACEMENT

MR. BRIAN BOUDREAU: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Transportation and Public Works. At the T. L. Sullivan School in Bras d'Or a crossing light switch and pole were destroyed by a snowplow earlier this winter. For the past two months, crosswalk guards, students and parents have been awaiting replacement. DOT staff have said they are waiting for parts. In the meantime the crossing guard has to put herself at risk by stepping into traffic because lights and switches are missing from one side of the crosswalk. My question is, will the minister agree to look into the situation and speed up the replacement of this much-needed safety light?

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, the very brief answer is yes, we will. We have had problems in Cape Breton, I don't have to tell that honourable member the kind of winter that they experienced in Cape Breton, probably more snow, I would imagine, this year than they have accumulatively over the last five years. I am sure that there are exceptional circumstances, however, I can assure the honourable member we will look into that situation immediately.

[Page 1039]

MR. BOUDREAU: Mr. Speaker, the crosswalk in question was created after a fatal accident that robbed a student of his live several years ago. Some Bras d'Or parents worry that the delay is more about budgets than parts. Can the minister confirm the delay in replacing this has nothing to do with the end-of-fiscal-year budgets?

MR. RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, I cannot positively confirm that, but I would doubt very much that would be the case. Actually this year our snow and ice removal and general winter budget ran about $5 million or $6 million over budget anyway and that would have been a minor detail. So, I think that I can assure the honourable member it just simply a fact of the matter that we haven't had the parts available to carry out the repair.

MR. BOUDREAU: Mr. Speaker, as the minister knows, the Trans Canada Highway is a very busy road. Not only is the crosswalk light out of service, snow has not been removed from the sidewalk area so the junior high students have to climb over snowbanks to get to the crosswalk. Will the minister undertake to have the staff carry out much-needed snow removal in this area in the future?

MR. RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, I am not too sure what the honourable member means. If he means are we going to plow the sidewalks, I don't think that comes under the jurisdiction of the Department of Transportation and Public Works, however, I will check into it, and if it does, then it shall be done.

[4:30 p.m.]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Atlantic.

TOURISM & CULTURE: MCCULLOCH HOUSE - MIN. OPEN

MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, I will direct my question, through you, to the Acting Minister of Tourism and Culture. This afternoon we passed a resolution, unanimously, praising the achievements of Thomas McCulloch of Pictou. Thomas McCulloch was a remarkable man; he laid the cornerstone for a system of public education in this province. Now the McCulloch homestead is part of the Nova Scotia family of museums, and guess what? It is now closed. She's shut up tight as a result of the cuts to the department's budget. I want to ask the Acting Minister of Tourism and Culture, will he commit here today to ensure that the McCulloch House will be open for public visits this year?

HON. ANGUS MACISAAC: Mr. Speaker, what I will commit to the honourable member is that I will take the question as notice and get back to him with the answer.

[Page 1040]

MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, I want to go back to the acting minister and say to him that many Nova Scotians, especially those in Pictou right now, are very concerned with what the Minister of Finance has done to the budget of museums in the Province of Nova Scotia, by cutting it by 2 per cent, because they have a provincial museum, the McCulloch House, that is closed until further notice.

Mr. Speaker, I want to ask the acting minister, will he admit that what he and his government have been doing has been affecting and continues to affect the culture and history in this province, by affecting museums like McCulloch House, and that it is time to change that cut to the museum's budget and ensure that that house stays open?

MR. MACISAAC: Mr. Speaker, the budget for museums is a budget that doesn't come anywhere near to covering the entire cost of the operations of museums. It runs anywhere from 40 per cent to 50 per cent of the operation's costs, so that a 2 per cent reduction is not a reduction that can be attributed or be the cause of a single decision in any one museum in this province. All museums, all cultural institutions have a role to play with respect to raising their own funds.

MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, the acting minister just underlined my very point, this 2 per cent cut in the budget has added hardship on a budget that already is inadequate.

I want to ask the acting minister, does he not recognize that Thomas McCulloch had to struggle long and hard with nearsighted politicians in order to see that good education was available to all in this province, and now his many admirers are struggling with present-day politicians in order to ensure that his many contributions are not forgotten. I want to ask the acting minister, will he go on record, make a commitment here in this House, that he will bring back, at the earliest opportunity, the department's plans for McCulloch House for this year?

MR. MACISAAC: Mr. Speaker, I am glad that the honourable member points out the importance of education, because we have increased the budget for the Department of Education and that underlines what we are doing. I can tell you that that priority of education will be met by this government as we move forward.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Victoria.

TRANSPORT. & PUB. WKS. - CROSS CHURCH BRIDGE:

DAMAGE - DEPARTMENTAL INSURANCE COVERAGE

MR. KENNETH MACASKILL: Mr. Speaker, since the Minister of Transportation and Public Works is on a roll today and he is so generous, I want to ask him a question. Last week I asked the minister when he was going to replace the Cross Church Bridge which was

[Page 1041]

knocked into the river by a snowplow on February 28th of this year. The minister said at that time that it was only a two mile detour and that we didn't actually need a bridge, but I want to tell the minister that it is actually a 5.4 mile detour.

Mr. Speaker, if a private vehicle, say a tow truck, was the one which damaged the bridge, I assume that that tow truck would be responsible for paying the damages. So my question to the Minister of Transportation and Public Works is, what is the scope of the department's insurance policy on departmental vehicles that do property damage?

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, I don't think that the section of the Department of Transportation and Public Works that looks after snowplows is going to sue the section of the Department of Transportation and Public Works that looks after bridges for damage caused by the plows.

Having said that, I recognize the member's concern. The member for Victoria brought this up the other day and I said we don't have the money this year and the truth of the matter is, we don't have $500,000-odd to replace that bridge at the present time. It will be replaced in the fullness of time, but I am sure the honourable member will agree that there is very little inconvenience to the people living in that area and that he would much rather have the money spent on fixing up some of the roads in his area than he would on replacing that bridge in the immediate future.

MR. MACASKILL: Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the honourable minister, and he is partially correct, as usual, but I am sure he is going to hear from the people in Middle River within the next few days, and, of course, through many channels of the media.

I want to come back to the insurance policy for a minute, if I can. I understand that the department's vehicles are insured through a policy with Dominion Insurance that covers up to $5 million in damages. Now the minister may claim that that is one part of government suing the other, but that bridge belongs to all Nova Scotians. It is the property of all Nova Scotians, not the Department of Transportation. So I want to ask the minister, is there a possibility that that insurance is available to replace that structure?

MR. RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, you must give the honourable member full marks for ingeniousness, but, however, that isn't going to get him another bridge unfortunately. (Laughter) No, I don't think our insurance does cover damage done by our own trucks to our own bridges. I think it is third party insurance that we have in the Department of Transportation and Public Works with regard to - what do you call it - property damage.

So, Mr. Speaker, I am afraid that that probably wouldn't work, but I can assure the honourable member that it is not our intention to not replace the bridge eventually, and it will be done; however, at the present time, unfortunately, there are a lot of other items that are of higher priority and therefore we must put it in abeyance for the next couple of years anyway.

[Page 1042]

MR. MACASKILL: I want to thank the honourable minister for his long-range forecast. (Laughter) Mr. Speaker, the minister saw fit to spend $1.3 million to fix the Mantua Bridge in his riding in August of last year. (Interruptions) He spent the money even though it ranked number three overall in priority for Hants County, and I will table that information that we have. Now my question is simply, how can the minister justify similar expenditures in his own riding when the people of Victoria County are facing only an inconvenience and a safety hazard? (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

MR. RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, it is wonderful that the honourable member brought up the Mantua Bridge, because the Mantua Bridge was out to tender in 1993 when there was an election, and the tender was actually let to Dexter Construction. One of the first things that the new Minister of Transportation did when the Liberal Government came into power was promptly cancel that. (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. Order, please. To step back in time is wonderful, but I think the time for that question really has gone beyond.

The honourable member for Halifax Atlantic.

FIN. - N.S. FILM DEV. CORP.: FUNDING - CUTS EXPLAIN

MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, I want to direct my question through you to the Minister of Finance. The Nova Scotia Film Development Corporation has had its budget slashed once again by this government. It is an important Crown Corporation which has a vital role in promoting and sustaining the Nova Scotia film industry. In the past two years, this Minister of Finance has stood by and seen a 28 per cent cut in the operating budget of the Nova Scotia Film Development Corporation. I want to ask the Minister of Finance, why is it that he is jeopardizing one of the province's most promising industries by slashing funding to the Nova Scotia Film Development Corporation?

HON. NEIL LEBLANC: Mr. Speaker, obviously, I don't agree with the member's comments. I will let someone who knows all about it give him the details and that is the minister responsible, the Minister of Economic Development.

HON. GORDON BALSER: Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the member opposite for the question. It is interesting that he would raise this issue at a time when we have a number of major productions that have relocated here in the province because of advantages that do exist. What we did last year in terms of dealing with the deficit was redirect our investment strategically; a 35 per cent tax credit for rural film development and a 30 per cent investment here in metro. This year we have more film production than in past years. So, in fact, it is working very well.

[Page 1043]

MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, I think I will direct my question to the Minister of Economic Development, I think he is now. This government cut nearly $600,000 from the Nova Scotia Film Development Corporation. Did they turn around and spend that money in Cape Breton? No. What did they do with it? They spent it on bureaucrats right here in Halifax, in the department's own budget. I want to ask the minister, will he explain why it is that they cannot seem to understand that films are made by filmmakers, not by bureaucrats?

MR. BALSER: Again, Mr. Speaker, I find it interesting that he would raise this issue when we are enjoying one of the best years in terms of film development production in the province in recent memory. So, obviously, what we are doing is working well, and in terms of reinvesting money, we are doing it strategically.

MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, let's be clear that the film tax credit has had an impact in some of the activity that is going on, but other provinces, other jurisdictions in this country are increasing their tax credit while this province is standing pat. So next year and the year after, all of a sudden the film business in the Province of Nova Scotia is going to be flat.

MR. SPEAKER: Question, please.

MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: I want to ask the minister, Mr. Speaker, why is it that his department, his government is not moving forward into the future and ensuring that their policies are matching other provinces so that we can have a vital film industry in the Province of Nova Scotia, in the future, for years to come?

[4:45 p.m.]

MR. BALSER: Mr. Speaker, there is more to encouraging the growth of the film industry than simply tax credits. The real risk is that we could find ourselves engaged in a bidding war, if you will. What we have done is create an environment that extends beyond the tax credit. The tax credit is simply one of the considerations that production undertakes before they make a decision to do filming in this province.

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

FIN. - NATIVE SERVICE STATIONS:

GASOLINE PRICES - INEQUITY

MR. RUSSELL MACKINNON: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Finance. Over the past several months several private service station owners and operators in industrial Cape Breton, in particular my constituency, have had difficulty competing with the low gasoline prices that are being offered at native service stations in industrial Cape

[Page 1044]

Breton. My question to the minister is, what action is the Minister of Finance prepared to take to deal with this inequity?

HON. NEIL LEBLANC: Mr. Speaker, I am a very popular fellow today; for some reason they are asking me questions even when it isn't my portfolio. I would refer the question to the minister responsible, the Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations.

HON. ANGUS MACISAAC: Mr. Speaker, I want to the thank the honourable member for his question and it certainly is an issue which is deserving of consideration. I can say to the honourable member that we are working toward finding a solution with this. We are currently working with the industry, as well as the native community, and I hope we will be able to bring forward a resolution to this in the near future.

MR. MACKINNON: Mr. Speaker, in the very near future, that is a rather relative term. This particular inequity is putting considerable strain on these small private service station operations who, at the best of times - I believe all members would agree - their profit margin is very marginal at best. So my question to the Minister of Finance - I would presume this question would be for the Minister of Finance, or whatever minister is responsible - would the minister please advise this House as to what tax agreements or legal agreements the province has with the local native bands on the issue of gasoline and home heating oil sales?

MR. LEBLANC: Mr. Speaker, this is a question that transcends departments; it does involve Service Nova Scotia, but also mine. I will say that there are discussions going on. This has been a situation where there are no agreements, and the member opposite knows that. He would know from his time being in Cabinet that this is an issue not probably isolated to Nova Scotia. It is one that we would like to have a clear understanding on, and I think the member brings up a question which is serious in regard to the competition and some of the concerns that he has brought forward here today are not new. I think most of us, as legislators in this Assembly, probably have had people in our ridings speak about it, but it is one that I think he would be better served if there was an agreement. I know we are working towards that, but we have not reached that stage yet.

MR. MACKINNON: Mr. Speaker, what we are witnessing here is a considerable amount of buck-passing and somebody seems to be asleep at the switch. My concern is, because of the government inaction, a lot of small private service station owners and operators are going to be forced out of business because there is no agreement and the provincial government doesn't seem to have a handle on these service station activities within the native community.

[Page 1045]

My question is, when will the minister, or when will the government - whoever wants to answer; it doesn't seem like anybody has the answer to the question - when will some concrete solutions be offered that will ensure that these small business operators will not lose their livelihood because of this obvious inequity?

HON. MICHAEL BAKER: Mr. Speaker, with all due respect to the honourable member, first I want to acknowledge the fact that there is a problem. Discussions have been going on for a long time and, in fact, have been going on when the honourable member was a member of the Executive Council of Nova Scotia and to no avail, I might add.

Really, one of the problems here is that the federal government has to be a partner in achieving a solution because the federal government has, obviously, a legislative role with respect to Indian Affairs. Unfortunately, the federal Department of Indian Affairs is not being very helpful. We are continuing to work with the aboriginal community and with the federal minister; however, if the honourable member wants to contact the federal minister who is also a member of the Liberal Party, he is certainly free to do so.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Opposition.

AGRIC. & FISH. - FARMERS: USER FEES - EXPLAIN

MR. JOHN MACDONELL: I will be directing my question to the Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries again. Last week I ran short in Question Period when I directed a question to the minister around the $25 fee for the HST rebate program, a question which he handed off to the Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations, just as earlier today he handed off blame for the hiring of his former EA to the Agricultural Development Institute. I want to say that I know for a minister who has a department, he seems to be able to get away with not having to make any decisions in his department. I know that in the past, governments had a minister without portfolio and I am wondering if they are trying a pilot project of a portfolio without minister in his case. My question for the Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries is, why did he allow his colleague to continue to pile more user fees on the backs of farmers?

HON. ERNEST FAGE: I thank the honourable member for his question. I would also like to acknowledge that the honourable member is doing a commendable job for a Party without a Leader. Mr. Speaker, there are different regulatory functions with different departments. Certainly, on behalf of the agricultural community, I do have discussions with other departments along with Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations and we continue to have discussions over the issue of fuel permits in the Province of Nova Scotia.

MR. MACDONELL: I think we are doing a better job than his Party with a Leader.

[Page 1046]

Farmers are saying that this fee amounts to a tax on food. I want to ask the Minister of Agriculture, has he ever opposed the introduction of this user fee on farmers?

MR. FAGE: I thank the honourable member for his question. Certainly, the whole issue of exemption for fuel whether it is in the farming industry, whether it is in natural resources, forestry, mining, fishing, volunteer fire departments, is a very important issue in which the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Fisheries, and Natural Resources do have discussions. Currently I am representing those views and having discussions with the Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations.

MR. MACDONELL: There is clearly a duplication of service here. We have a farm registration system in place for all farms in Nova Scotia. This system will provide government with all the information they need to serve the agricultural industry.

My question this time will go to the Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations and ask why he can't use the information that they already have instead of making farmers pay yet another fee?

HON. ANGUS MACISAAC: I want to thank the honorable member for the question. It is very important for all members of the House to realize that what we are dealing with here is an item which amounts to about $25 million to $30 million with respect to the provincial revenues which the province forgoes in order to provide fuel to people involved in the agricultural industry, the fishing industry, and the forest industry of this province. It is incumbent upon government, when they are putting in place a program which provides that much tax relief, to ensure that we have in place proper procedures to monitor those programs to ensure that only those who are entitled to receive the benefit do in fact receive the benefit, and that is what we are attempting to do.

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

COMMUN. SERV. - PHARMACARE PAYMENTS:

MEDICATION (RESTRICTED) - INVESTIGATE

MR. DAVID WILSON: Mr. Speaker, the Department of Community Services has put in place a policy that restricts Pharmacare payments to those medications contained in the Nova Scotia formulary. As a result, a young woman in Cape Breton suffering from a life-threatening tumour of the pituitary gland is no longer receiving medication under Community Services Pharmacare. It leaves me wondering how many other cases similar to this are occurring in this province.

Mr. Speaker, my question for the Minister of Community Services is, will he give this House his assurance that he will investigate this particular case?

[Page 1047]

HON. PETER CHRISTIE: Mr. Speaker, to the honourable member, as the honourable member said, the prescriptions and the drugs that are provided by Community Services through our card are the drugs that are on the formulary. If the honourable member makes the details available, I am happy to research it and advise him of any results.

MR. WILSON: Mr. Speaker, I thank the honourable minister and I will make those details available. We have reviewed the formulary already and we found that the prescriptions that this patient received are not part of the formulary. My question for the Minister of Health is, why are these medications such as Dostinex for treatment of pituitary tumours, why are they not included in the formulary?

HON. JAMES MUIR: Mr. Speaker, the drugs that are on the formulary are determined by an expert management committee. The answer to it is that, obviously, in the opinion of those who make the decisions they should not be added. The cost benefit of these drugs probably, or the efficacy of them was not such that the expert committee felt that they could justifiably add it to the formulary.

MR. WILSON: Mr. Speaker, let me tell you though that is cold comfort to a woman whose life is in danger right now because she is not receiving these medications. Cold comfort from a cold-hearted government, and I would suggest that that be changed immediately. Given this policy directive I am going to ask the Minister of Community Services to undertake to ensure that staff are not only implementing this policy but they have to go the next step and act as advocates on behalf of their clients whose real needs are being left unmet by the application of this policy?

MR. CHRISTIE: Mr. Speaker, I think the honourable member's question was that some of the drugs he has referred to aren't on the list. I did indicate to him that if he makes the details available we will undertake a review, and not knowing the details I can't comment any further.

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

HEALTH - CUTBACKS: PATIENTS - HARDSHIPS

MR. DARRELL DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, yesterday here in the House we introduced members to Tera Lee Bird who had just had a kidney transplant. Tera Lee is receiving just $10 in meal vouchers per day from this government and another $5.00 voucher from the Kidney Foundation. Things just keep getting worse for Tera Lee. In order to redeem her meal vouchers, Tera Lee must go to the hospital from the lodge. Well, because of this government's cutbacks to the lodge, it does not provide transportation to the hospital on weekends. I want to ask the Minister of Health how he expects a patient, who has just received a new kidney, to walk from Point Pleasant Lodge to the hospital to eat?

[Page 1048]

[5:00 p.m.]

HON. JAMES MUIR: Mr. Speaker, the Capital District Health Authority is responsible for the administration and the policies at Point Pleasant Lodge. I would guess that the person to whom he refers is one who is going to be at the lodge for more than five days and, therefore, is getting help with meals. My understanding is that the complimentary transportation between the lodge and the hospital was continued. I wasn't aware that it is no longer available on weekends. However, that would be something to be taken up with the Capital District Health Authority.

MR. DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, this is just inhumane. Tera Lee just had major surgery. In order to get better, she has to eat; her medication makes her hungry, but she can't stay at the lodge to eat and she must depend on a shuttle service to get to the hospital. I want to ask the Minister of Health how he expects Tera Lee to eat this weekend, when no transportation is available to her? Does he expect her to walk to the hospital?

MR. MUIR: Mr. Speaker, I know absolutely nothing about Tera Lee other than I saw her picture in this morning's paper, and I did understand that she was in the balcony yesterday. I don't really comment on individual cases. However, one of the things that I think is a positive thing is the fact that Tera Lee obviously has received a kidney here in Nova Scotia. That is a very positive thing.

One of the interesting things is today all members celebrated the addition of a $10 million bequest for cancer research here in Nova Scotia. I would like to see the members in the Opposition commend the province for the excellent services that are provided, instead of dwelling on the odd thing that, perhaps, does not meet their . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

MR. DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, the minister responsible for picking the pockets of the sick said he would take care of people who were in need. That is not true. He is not taking care of Tera Lee. I wonder how many other people are in the same situation. I want to ask the Minister of Health if he will admit he has failed people like Tera Lee, and will now commit to review the decision to cut the nutritional allowance? You can do that, Mr. Minister.

MR. MUIR: Mr. Speaker, I would say again that the system has supported Tera Lee, if she was able to get a new kidney here in Nova Scotia and she had been on dialysis. That is a very strong thing. I would think that all members on that side, as well as Tera Lee, ought to be grateful for that.

AN HON. MEMBER: Oh, come on.

[Page 1049]

MR. MUIR: The administration of Point Pleasant Lodge is under the auspices of the Capital District Health Authority. Perhaps the honourable member could express his concern to that body.

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

COMMUN. SERV. - SOCIAL ASSISTANCE APPEAL BOARDS: APPOINTMENTS - EXTEND

MR. DAVID WILSON: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Community Services. As the minister will know, the 10 current regional Social Assistance Appeal Boards will disappear on August 1st of this year, when the new regulations under the Employment Support and Income Assistance Act will take effect. In the meantime, all the current membership terms for this province's 10 Social Assistance Appeal Boards expire by the end of this month. That would appear to create a void of three months, according to my calculations, time during which it is unclear how appeals will be heard or even if they will be heard.

My question is, can the minister indicate if current appointments to the Social Assistance Appeal Boards will be extended from the expiry dates of the 14th and the 30th of April until the boards disappear at the end of July?

HON. PETER CHRISTIE: Mr. Speaker, the honourable member is quite correct. We have already done that, we have extended their term from the end of April to the end of July. That is in place now. (Applause)

MR. WILSON: Mr. Speaker, maybe the minister isn't aware that there are instances out there of cancelled appeals before boards because they don't have enough numbers to hold a meeting, that are required to form a quorum for those boards. So I am going to ask the minister when he will be establishing appeal boards as stipulated by Sections 11 and 12 of the Employment Support and Income Assistance Act?

MR. CHRISTIE: Mr. Speaker, as I indicated, the present boards will be carrying on their function until the end of July. The new boards will be created. We will be getting applications for those. We will be dealing with those and having the new boards ready for August 1st.

MR. WILSON: Mr. Speaker, in the meantime there are clients, there are people out there who are being left out in the cold by the inaction of this minister and this government because those boards are not meeting. I would like to know from the minister, how many appeal boards are going to operate after August 1st, how many members will serve on each board and can the minister, please, explain the configuration?

[Page 1050]

MR. CHRISTIE: Mr. Speaker, those boards that are coming into place on August 1st, there will be six of them and they will have a little bit expanded membership. I think we are increasing them by two, but one of the things that the honourable member will remember from the regulations is that we indicated in the regulations under the appeal process that we would get and we would have appeal boards in place that would ensure people would have their appeals heard within 45 days. That is our commitment to the people of Nova Scotia.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Dartmouth North.

HEALTH - KENDRICK REPORT: MIN. - ACCEPTANCE

MR. JERRY PYE: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Health. On April 1, 2000, home care programs for disabled people were transferred from the Department of Community Services to the Department of Health. Since that time there has been a moratorium on new admissions. Services are only available to those in dire need. In the Kendrick report, Dr. Kendrick recommends that this government should reconsider and reverse the decision to move these services from Community Services to Health. My question is simple, Mr. Minister. Does the Minister of Health accept this recommendation?

HON. JAMES MUIR: Mr. Speaker, parts of the Kendrick report refer to the Department of Health and parts of it refer to the Department of Community Services. I can tell you that our department is studying the report now and will make some determination of what parts of it can and will be accepted as well as those that perhaps will not be.

MR. PYE: Mr. Speaker, so the minister is indecisive and does not know how long he is going to take to study the report. Dr. Kendrick goes on to say that the transfer of this program could lead to unnecessary premature residentializing of disabled people. As well, these changes will lead to more expensive medicalized home care. My question to the minister, in light of the Kendrick report, does the minister believe that the erosion of support for disabled persons is acceptable?

MR. MUIR: Mr. Speaker, the Kendrick report was released and I believe recognizes that it does offer a welcome review of that particular service that is offered here in Nova Scotia. We have received the report. We are studying the recommendations of Dr. Kendrick and we will determine how we will deal with these recommendations. The determination is now ongoing and we will make an announcement in due course.

MR. PYE: Mr. Speaker, Dr. Kendrick echoed a fear within the disabled community that this move reduces the criteria for assistance from what families need, respite services to medical care only, and that is the problem here. My question to the minister is, when will the minister assure families, who desperately require respite care, that this service will remain a part of the Department of Health?

[Page 1051]

MR. MUIR: Mr. Speaker, we have received the Kendrick report and we are reviewing Dr. Kendrick's recommendations. Once we have had the opportunity to do that, and to do it thoroughly and carefully - we are in the process of determining which of those recommendations can be accepted and can then be implemented, we will make an announcement when we are ready.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Richmond.

EDUC. - HFX. REG. SCH. BD:

DECISION-MAKING PROCESS - ACCESSIBILITY

MR. MICHEL SAMSON: Mr. Speaker, last night, staff at the Halifax Regional School Board unveiled their plan for school closures next year in the school district. Many parents are critical of the short time frame of this decision-making process. While in Opposition, the Progressive Conservative Party argued that the Minister of Education bore the ultimate responsibility and accountability for the decision-making process followed by the province's school boards. This government's Throne Speech also promised action to increase the accountability of school boards throughout Nova Scotia.

My question to the Minister of Education is, what have you done to ensure that the decision-making process that the Halifax Regional School Board is following is accessible, open and accountable?

HON. JANE PURVES: Mr. Speaker, the school board in Halifax, as well as other school boards across the province, are improving accountability measures, and this particular school board will be getting into the business-planning process. I would like to say regarding the situation with the school closures, is they are following a process laid out under the Education Act. They are doing that correctly, it doesn't make some of their decisions any easier and it is not going to make parents like their decisions.

MR. SAMSON: Mr. Speaker, all members of this House know that the issue of closing community schools is an extremely difficult one. The issue that parents have raised throughout the Halifax Regional Municipality is the fact that the guidelines under the Education Act are not being followed by the Halifax Regional School Board. Parents are saying they do not believe they are provided with enough information to evaluate the effectiveness of the board's decisions to close schools.

Can the Minister of Education tell this House exactly what steps she has taken to ensure that the Education Act is being properly followed and that public accountability of elected school boards is maintained?

[Page 1052]

MISS PURVES: Mr. Speaker, officials in my department are in touch with the school board on this and other matters on a daily basis. The decision on these particular schools has not been made; that will actually be made next Monday night. I am sure if the member paid attention to last night's board meeting, he will see that the members of the board itself are questioning, very closely, staff recommendations and are doing their job as elected officials.

MR. SAMSON: Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to hear the minister say that even the board members themselves are frustrated with the process and, in fact, the board members are appealing to the minister to get involved in this and to try to make sure that the process is being properly followed by officials with the Halifax Regional School Board.

Board members do not feel staff at the board have provided them with enough financial information to make a fair and effective decision. What action has the minister taken to answer the concerns of the parents and elected representatives of . . .

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

OPPOSITION MEMBERS' BUSINESS

MOTIONS OTHER THAN GOVERNMENT MOTIONS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Deputy Opposition House Leader.

MR. WILLIAM ESTABROOKS: Very good, Mr. Speaker. Does that mean I have been promoted? (Laughter)

MR. SPEAKER: You have, move to the front.

MR. ESTABROOKS: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Resolution No. 360.

Res. No. 360, Educ. - Janitorial Strike: Gov't. (N.S.) - Settle - notice given Apr. 9/01 - (Ms. Maureen MacDonald)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Needham.

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, we all remember very well, last year, when the Minister of Education introduced her Education budget that sparked protests in the streets around Province House. When the dust had settled she might as well have declared open season on caretakers, custodians and trade workers in school boards and, in particular, the Halifax Regional School Board. Today we are seeing the 19th day of a strike by custodial workers, caretakers and maintenance workers on the HRM board, a strike that began on March 24th.

[Page 1053]

[5:15 p.m.]

Mr. Speaker, the resolution we have before us today says:

"Whereas the lowest paid employees of the Halifax Regional School Board are paying the highest price for years of provincial underfunding and a terribly misguided amalgamation; and

Whereas the deteriorating situation in metro schools during the board's dispute with its janitorial staff is the latest result of the province's deliberate neglect of education in metro; and

Whereas this province has stood by as the school boards try to break the strike and force people earning $15,000 a year to accept a contract that provides even less than they had enjoyed;

Therefore be it resolved that this House urge the government to take an active role to settle the current dispute at the Halifax Regional School Board with fair funding of daily cleaning, maintenance and other tasks that are essential for quality education in clean, healthy schools."

Mr. Speaker, this strike and these 400 workers are every bit as important to the health and well-being of Nova Scotians as the nursing home workers and the paramedics, who both faced strikes in recent years in this province and who took a considerable amount of time and attention from members of this House, although the issues here are very different.

I ask the Minister of Education, the Premier and other members in this House to imagine what it is like to clean up in our own homes behind two or three or more people in that household. Now I ask you to magnify that by 100 or more times. Imagine what it is like to have to clean up behind hundreds of teenagers, boys and girls, or hundreds of ten year olds or five year olds using washrooms, hallways, classrooms, locker rooms and gymnasiums on a daily basis. Imagine what it must be like, then, if these places aren't cleaned in the regular way, on a regular and routine basis, because that is what is occurring right now in the Halifax Regional School Board.

The focus of the work of the custodial workers, caretakers and tradespeople who were on the sidewalk today is cleanliness, it is hygiene, it is safety, it is security, it is routine maintenance and it is ensuring a comfortable and a functional environment for our students to learn in and for our teachers and other support workers to work in, and teach in and provide what is really important in our education system. Let's be clear, what is at stake here is our schools, it is our children and it is labour relations in the education system in HRM. This is about fair treatment for everyone who contributes to an efficient and effective operation of our schools.

[Page 1054]

I can speak from personal experience where there was a very bitter labour dispute at Dalhousie University, where the cleaners were treated abysmally by the employer and the repercussions of those kinds of labour relations were felt for many years in that setting. A lengthy, bitter strike in an environment such as an educational institution will take years to remedy and, for that reason, it is very important that this government become actively involved in assuming some responsibility for a situation that they had a great deal to do with promoting in the first place.

Mr. Speaker, we have to ask ourselves, why are these workers on strike? More to the point, what responsibility does the Minister of Education and the Hamm Government have for this strike? The answer to that is plenty, because education in the Province of Nova Scotia is underfunded. Last year we saw an Education budget introduced in here that would have taken 800 teachers out of the classrooms of Nova Scotia. In the end, the government backed off. Nevertheless we lost 200 full-time equivalent teachers.

The end result is that school boards such as HRSB have had to go looking within their budgets to find money elsewhere so that they can live within the limited means that they are given by this government. School boards in Nova Scotia are not in the business of raising funds privately. The money for the operation of school boards comes from the province. If they do not have enough money to provide educational services, then there are basically two reasons for that. Either it is mismanagement or a lack of adequate funding from the province.

I think we need to know here, what is the minister saying by sitting back and not doing anything about this situation? Is she saying that there is mismanagement in the board and if that is what she is saying, then what is she prepared to do about it? If she is not saying that, will she accept her responsibility in terms of the underfunding of this board because if you look at the situation, the largest issue here is the inadequate funding of the Halifax Regional School Board.

Mr. Speaker, we see a situation that could become much worse. In the next few days and weeks we face the distinct possibility of other bargaining units within the HRSB being in a legal strike position, bargaining units that contain school secretaries, library technicians, educational program assistance, student support workers, and so on. Our understanding is that at the bargaining table, these workers are being asked to make concessions. They are being asked to give up the things that they have fought very hard over the years to acquire. They are looking at seeing their full-time status being eroded so that they are looking at a future where all that is available to them is part-time work.

These are workers whose salaries are basically at the bottom of the hierarchy in the education system. These are workers who watched senior managers and other people in the system see very significant increases in their annual salaries. These are men and women who are fighting very hard to protect their benefits plans, their drug programs, their dental plans. These are things that this government failed to provide in any other way which is why it is

[Page 1055]

very important that benefits packages be part of the condition of their employment. I urge the Minister of Education to become more actively involved in settling this dispute.

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

The honourable Minister of Education.

HON. JANE PURVES: Thank you, Mr. Speaker, for the opportunity to respond to this motion. First I want to say that any employer-employee conflict is difficult. I happened to be involved in a difficult one, myself, some years ago at the CBC and it took years for those labour relations to improve.

The one involving the school board and its maintenance staff is particularly difficult because of its potential impact on students. I agree with the member for Halifax Needham and other members that this is a challenging situation and although I hate to use the phrase, roles and responsibilities, given the municipal situation. There are roles and responsibilities in these specific situations and the Education Act is very clear in this regard. Section 64 of the Education Act defines the general responsibilities and powers of school boards. Clause 64(2) clearly places the responsibility for the hiring and paying of superintendents, principals, teachers and other staff with the school board. School boards, in bargaining with their employees, must adhere to the provisions of the Teachers' Collective Bargaining Act, in the case of teachers, and the Trade Union Act, in the case of other staff.

Mr. Speaker, clearly, the responsibility in this labour dispute lies with the Halifax Regional School Board. I know negotiations have been difficult. The parties were back again negotiating last night, but again have broken off to date, as far as I have been told to this minute. As minister, I stay away from that table, because there is due process and that is being followed. It may not be moving as quickly as we would like, but there is due process and we need to let that process run its course.

Mr. Speaker, that said, the Education Act clearly says I have a role to play. Under Section 68, I have the authority to issue directives in accordance with the Education Act when things like health, safety and educational welfare of students are endangered. To that end, Dr. Robert Strang of the Capital District Health Authority is working with staff of the Department of Environment and Labour. Those staff are touring schools, perhaps as we speak. Their tours are unscheduled so they can get a true picture of the condition of the schools.

The school board has said it will co-operate fully with government officials, and any problems identified by the inspectors will be remedied immediately. As of yesterday, the school board had not received a negative report from the inspectors. I have every confidence in the abilities of the staff of the Department of Environment and Labour, and Dr. Strang. If

[Page 1056]

the health and welfare of students or teachers or anyone else in the schools were in jeopardy because of this job action, they would take immediate action.

Certainly, my department is and will continue to monitor the situation, just as we have been monitoring the school board's use of replacement workers. The member for Halifax Needham asked a question not long ago about security checks on replacement workers. We check daily with the board to make sure their policy of clearing the replacement workers is still in place, that the workers are not in the schools, usually, during the day, unless accompanied by a staff member, that those very few workers who have not had security checks work at night when there are no students, and they never work alone.

Mr. Speaker, we are monitoring the situation very closely, and so far we are satisfied the board is exercising due diligence in this area, and that the students and teachers are safe. We are having daily discussions with the school board members and the school board staff, because we want to stay on top of the issue and have awareness of the current situation. But, as I said in answer to previous questions, I am not going to micromanage this situation. If there is clear and present evidence from Dr. Strang that the health of students is at risk or there is a physical threat of some kind, I will take the more active role that the member for Halifax Needham suggests but right now, the board and the union are following due process, and we need to let that process take its course.

Mr. Speaker, before I end, I want to address the issue raised in the resolution, about the fair funding. I want to remind the House that in 2000-01, this government provided one-time additional funding to cover the Halifax Regional School Board's outstanding deficits and other outstanding expenditure commitments. The total cost was $23.2 million, that we gave to the Halifax Regional School Board last year. This year the Halifax Regional School Board has received a funding increase of $7.3 million or a 2.8 per cent increase. This is the biggest increase given to any of the school boards this year. The average for all school boards is a 2.1 per cent increase.

[5:30 p.m.]

We have been more than fair, Mr. Speaker. The numbers and our actions support that. We cannot be accused of not putting the school board in a better position to be able to deal with some of the challenges it is facing, including this one. Again, at this point, I am not prepared to micromanage issues that are clearly the responsibility of the school board. That is one thing board members and superintendents have asked me, the deputy and the department this year not to do, is to not mandate this, mandate that, and micromanage the situation. So, again, I am going to abide by the requests of these board members not to do that and let them carry out their duly constituted responsibilities. Occasionally I have sensed that the Opposition would like me to jump in and take over the school board or take care of situations that lie outside my authority. I will not be doing that unless there is clear evidence that such measures are needed.

[Page 1057]

Mr. Speaker, right now I am confident the health and safety of students and teachers are not at risk and they are not in jeopardy and that the labour settlement process is continuing. In conclusion, I would like to say that we do admire the work and we realize the importance of the work of the custodians and others who look after the schools and clean the schools and, yes, I can imagine what it is like to do that kind of work. It is needed work. I am sure many of them like their work very much because they get to be involved with students and talk to them and they feel their work is worthwhile. I do hope that a settlement will come before too long that both sides can live with.

Mr. Speaker, how much time do I have left?

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member has a minute and a half.

MISS PURVES: Mr. Speaker, I would like to give up some of my time to my colleague.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Sackville-Beaver Bank. You have approximately one minute and 10 seconds.

MR. BARRY BARNET: Mr. Speaker, unfortunately, that is not nearly enough time to say what I would like to say and there may be another opportunity at some point in time to speak on this matter. I would like to say from the outset that I am very impressed with the decorum and the responsibility that the union has shown over the past week and a half to two weeks. I had the opportunity to meet with a number of the janitors and, quite frankly, they have shown a great deal of respect for the students and for the parents. Many of the janitors, particularly in my community I know personally, and I know that this is the last place that they would like to be. They would sooner be in the halls, cleaning the halls, rather than walking the streets and I think it is safe to say that the people who work in our schools take a great deal of pride in what they do, they miss the students. Quite frankly, they are the ones who are suffering the most as a result of this and it is unfortunate that the two sides have not been able to reach an agreement.

Mr. Speaker, what has disappointed me the most - and I have said this to the minister - was a letter I received from Mr. Reid that went out to all parents.

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

The honourable member for Cape Breton West.

MR. RUSSELL MACKINNON: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise in support of this particular resolution that is perhaps one of the few resolutions I will support brought forth by the socialist Party, but it is a very important resolution. I could not help but do a little reminiscing after I listened to the member for Sackville-Beaver Bank as he had his very short

[Page 1058]

dissertation on this issue. Perhaps if he could just give the members of the House the benefit of his representations at municipal council when he supported bringing supplementary funding back to the original levels, back pre-1993, that maybe there would be some additional money in the budget to be able to deal with such issues as we have with this labour dispute.

That having been said, Mr. Speaker, I am a little disappointed in the minister, I have to be honest with you. I am disappointed because the minister knows that ultimately this responsibility is the responsibility of the Department of Education. Yes, we understand there is a process, but this process is flawed and I believe the honourable member for Sackville-Beaver Bank was just about to focus on one of the sources of the problem of this entire negotiation. In my view, it is the Superintendent for the Halifax Regional School Board. I believe that Mr. Reid has been very counterproductive to this entire process.

I couldn't help but read his comments in the presentation he made to the Halifax Regional School Board with regard to this latest document called Students First annual report to the board prepared March 6, 2001. I was amazed at the arrogance of this individual. I was absolutely astonished at the condescending attitude that he held toward senior officials within the Province of Nova Scotia, in particular the Auditor General. He said about the Auditor General: it is likely unwise to chastise the provincial Auditor General regardless of the justification.

That is only a sample of what this individual had to say about the process. He is actually challenging the Auditor General and in the same report he says that all outstanding issues in the Auditor's management letter have been addressed. Well, how could that be? How could that be when the Auditor General said he couldn't do an audit because of the lack of information that was provided by the Halifax Regional School Board.

I will quote what the Auditor General said in his report, ". . . we encountered an audit scope limitation because certain critical pieces of information were not available. We, therefore, were unable to give an overall opinion on the budget process and the budget document." He goes on to say, ". . . and certain supporting budget documentation was not retained." Somebody is not being forthright here. I believe the Auditor General has done a darned good job on this issue. My concern is why the Minister of Education and the provincial Department of Education are doing nothing to address the unknown quantities and this hide-and-seek approach by Mr. Reid and senior administration at the Halifax Regional School Board.

Is it any wonder elected officials would be frustrated by the presentations? In fact, the Auditor General even raised concerns about the lack of written documentation on the presentations that are made to elected officials. Is it little wonder that the parents and the students and, indeed, the employees who are on strike would have problems with this process. Is it any wonder people would be discouraged when we see the senior administration

[Page 1059]

in the Halifax Regional School Board awarded a 1.9 per cent pay increase for this year and then they offer their working component, all those workers on the front lines doing a lot of hard work, jobs that other people wouldn't even consider to do because they think, oh, that's below them, we're not going to do that, that's their responsibility; they offer them 0.8 per cent.

Well, how can Mr. Reid - and senior administration in the Halifax Regional School Board - hold his head high and boast about the wonderful labour/management relations in this document? What is the Minister of Education doing? Nothing. They are actually perpetrating a divide and conquer approach to all these well-meaning, hard-working employees at the school board. That's shameful. Look at this document. It is ironic that the same superintendent of the school board has no problem promoting his own family interest on the Web site. (Interruption) Yes, that is correct, I will quote, "We have heard of this company by the name of Chescrow"

AN HON. MEMBER: Who is that?

MR. MACKINNON: Well, Chescrow happens to be the son of the superintendent.

AN HON. MEMBER: Two sons.

MR. MACKINNON: There was no tender, there was no procurement policy that we are aware of. How did this sweetheart arrangement add up? Yet elected school board members can't even get basic information. The Auditor General for this province can't even find out what is going on over there. What does Mr. Reid say? It doesn't matter because no matter what we say we are going to be attacked.

Mr. Speaker, it is amazing. The letter to the editor that this individual - if we want to solve problems we have to go to the source of the problem. I don't think that we had to go to Ontario for high-priced help to come down and tell us in such a condescending form and fashion that these employees who are out on strike shouldn't be there; it is their own fault; they brought it on themselves; they are asking too much. We don't need this, it is absolutely shameful. Yet what does he say? Throughout the past 20 months that he has been an employee of the board, the school board has suffered in relative silence while every expert, media outlet, pundit, community action group and letter writer has commented and criticized the board's action and questioned the wisdom of its every move. Why wouldn't we question, when we as legislators who are accountable for this $280 million budget, can't even get answers as to how it has been spent. It is shameful and the Minister of Education is saying nothing.

Where is the long-term funding policy that was promised? Notwithstanding the junior Cabinet Minister over in the Department of Labour who is too busy trying to impose political will on the occupational health and safety officers, to force them not to be doing what they

[Page 1060]

should be doing, upholding the law. What about the Fire Marshal service? So we wouldn't expect the Minister of Environment and Labour, who is the overseer of these labour negotiations, to do anything constructive. It is absolutely shameful.

Mr. Speaker, in his same document, Mr. Reid said that we are going to have a surplus of over $350,000 this year. The contradictions are absolutely outstanding. Either he has money or he doesn't have money. If he has got surplus, why is he closing schools? Where is the Minister of Education? (Interruption) Silent. No, it is not her job to get involved in the actual negotiations, that is true.

How much time do I have?

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member's time has expired, but thanks for asking.

The honourable member for Cape Breton Centre.

MR. FRANK CORBETT: Mr. Speaker, there has been much said about not having to say anything. The Minister of Education keeps telling this House that it is not their role as the department to get involved with this work stoppage. I don't particularly agree with that. I don't think it has to go to the depths sometimes that she says it has to go to. I think as the lead department in this it should be.

What this strike speaks volumes about are the inadequacies of the Trade Union Act in this province. I had a chance last week to stand here in estimates and discuss some of these things with the Minister of Environment and Labour. His position quite clearly was everything is working fine in this province. This province has a great Trade Union Act. We don't have to introduce any amendments to the Trade Union Act, it is working fine. At that time I pointed out to the minister, I asked, what about the scab workers who are prolonging the strike at the school board here in metro? He felt that is nothing; no problem, I am sure employers would rather have the regular workforce in there, but that is the way it goes.

[5:45 p.m.]

Well, if this government - and this is not a cost factor for this government - were worried about moving this province forward instead of making it Honduras North for workers, it would give the workers a Trade Union Act which they could be proud of. But, what we have today, we have the Nova Scotia Teachers Union filing a grievance against this board because it is forcing principals to do struck work. Yet, this government thinks that is all right. The government believes that not only do you have to administer a building, you have to clean it. They sit there as if they are the Marie Antoinettes of the trade union movement and say, let them eat cake, we don't have to do anything here.

[Page 1061]

This government, its inactions are prolonging this strike and it is hurting the children, it is hurting the very people that department is supposed to help. They are putting them in schools that are dangerous and dirty, yet the Department of Environment and Labour will sit by and do nothing. We heard the Minister of Education say they are talking. Well, that is not good enough because as I indicated last week to this very Minister of Environment and Labour, the laws are not weighted for the workers, they are weighted for the employer. So whether it is the superintendent who is calling the shots, or the Minister of Education, it is the workers who are suffering, and it is the children who are suffering.

We talk about involvement before this House. There is Bill No. 15 that talks about bringing collective bargaining together for the NSTU and the Department of Education. That, in some ways, is a progressive piece of legislation. It is showing some foresight and it is showing where they can come together. Yet the Department of Education will not offer the same courtesy to the members of SUPE or CUPE of NSGEU.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. Order, honourable members. It is almost impossible to hear the member to my immediate left.

MR. CORBETT: So, Mr. Speaker, I have very few moments left, about 30 seconds, I would suspect. I think that there are two vital departments in this government that have to get involved in a real and sustainable way. One is the Department of Education, because they have the power; and two, is the Department of Environment and Labour to get in there and get this deal done. We are coming up to graduation and grading day for these kids. Do something responsible for the children and the workers in this province. Get together; get a fair collective agreement, and help move this province forward. Thank you. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Bedford Basin.

MS. MARY ANN MCGRATH: Thank you for the opportunity to speak on Resolution No. 360. In the middle of all of this very raucous debate, there are a couple of groups of people who are wrestling with a very important issue, and I am speaking about the custodial staff and the elected members of the school board. Many would say that these are two groups of people for which a lot of complaining is done and very little praise is given.

I want to tell you that I have friends on both sides of that table, friends that I have had for many, many years and I know that there is a huge human cost to this unfortunate strike and the time that it is taking to resolve it. I have a long-standing respect for custodial staff. Before my time here, I spent the best part of the last 15 years in volunteer work in the public education system in this city. Two of the custodial staff who worked continually at the elementary school, Grosvenor-Wentworth Park Elementary school, where I did most of my volunteer work, Buzzy and Dennis, have been friends of mine for a long time. Buzzy has been a friend of mine for years.

[Page 1062]

MR. RUSSELL MACKINNON: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order. In all sense of fairness, how can that honourable member stand up and make patronizing comments when she is sitting right behind the Minister of Education and across from the Minister of Environment and Labour . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. Honourable member, that is not a point or order.

The honourable member for Halifax Bedford Basin has the floor.

MS. MCGRATH: Mr. Speaker, Buzzy, in particular, would take great offence to me being accused of making patronizing statements about somebody I have grown up with all of my life. (Interruptions)

Mr. Speaker, this strike has devastating effects on people. (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. Would honourable members, conversationalists, please crank down those conversations.

The honourable member for Halifax Bedford Basin does have the floor, please respect that.

MS. MCGRATH: Mr. Speaker, I can speak from personal experience about the effect of living through a strike. My husband had been a unionized electrician for 25 years, and we have lived through three major strikes in this province, one of them lasted seven months. I would not wish that anxiety or that hardship on any member of the working population of this province. I know how difficult it is. (Interruptions)

I hope and I pray every day that the parties involved in settling this dispute will get back to the table and do the job that they were both elected to do. I also have friends who are on the Halifax Regional School Board, both elected and employee. I know, personally, that their concern for the students and the employees who depend on them is great and deep. Those same elected board members have friends who are among some of the bargaining agents that are either on strike or are currently trying to negotiate contracts. Their concern is not phony, their concern is real. They take their jobs seriously, but they have jobs to do, and those jobs involve making the best budget decisions possible. Those decisions sometimes put them at odds with how they feel but they have to do the job they were elected to do.

Now what this resolution is asking us to do is insinuate ourselves into a process that has been given by legislation to an elected body to deal with. As the Minister of Education has so well put it, unless the safety and health of those children is at risk, the job to settle this strike belongs to the elected members of the Halifax Regional School Board. (Interruptions)

[Page 1063]

MR. MACKINNON: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order. Clearly, the honourable member is misleading the House. The ultimate responsibility, by law, is the Minister of Education, and she should read the Act. (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. The honourable member's time has expired. (Interruptions) That is not a point of order. I go again to the Liberal caucus. We have no speakers. Order, please, order.

The honourable member for Dartmouth South.

MR. TIMOTHY OLIVE: Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the opportunity to stand and speak on Resolution No. 360. In this resolution, "Therefore be it resolved that this House urge the government to take an active role to settle the current dispute at the Halifax Regional School Board with fair funding of daily cleaning, maintenance and other tasks that are essential for quality education in clean, healthy schools." Mr. Speaker, it is not just a problem that is being faced right now with this strike. It says so in this resolution, where the mover makes reference to, ". . . other tasks that are essential for quality education in clean, healthy schools."

Mr. Speaker, the school board is also going through a situation here now with the closure of schools in Dartmouth. The issue indeed is a very delicate one. Under Section 68 the minister has the authority to issue directives in accordance with the Education Act, as the previous speaker mentioned, where the health, safety, education and welfare of students are in danger. There is no question that the Halifax Regional School Board is facing a number of very serious issues at this point in time, not the least of which obviously is the strike by the maintenance workers who I might add, just to echo the comments of the member for Sackville-Beaver Bank - who previously mentioned what a fine outstanding job those maintenance people do in our schools - I think we all in this House owe them a debt of gratitude and our support in that effort that they do on a daily basis.

Mr. Speaker, the issue is obviously related to the funding issue and the ability of the school board, in this case the Halifax Regional School Board, to adequately manage the adequate funds that they are given to manage and to run their school system. Many years ago, prior to getting into this job, I was a member of a group in Dartmouth called the Parents Advisory Committee on Education - it was called PACE - and one of the members of that, Norman, was the chairman. I believe he is also an underwriter with an insurance company and even today he goes through many exercises trying to figure out what it is that the Halifax Regional School Board is doing with the money and whether or not the monies they are spending are being spent in the right place. One of the issues obviously . . .

MR. RUSSELL MACKINNON: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order. If the honourable member for Dartmouth South feels so strongly about the resolution, why doesn't he put the question to the vote?

[Page 1064]

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

The member for Dartmouth South has one minute remaining.

MR. OLIVE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Norm used to do all the numbers, being an actuary, on the expenditures of the Halifax Regional School Board and, even today, calls me frequently with concerns about how they are managing the monies and their somewhat trying experiences are indicative of the situation they are in now with the maintenance workers' strike and with the very reactionary response they take to things like the closure of schools. We go through this budget year in, budget year out, and it is a crime because when you take, for example, the Alderney School which is in my riding, a community school, a very important school for that area, and none of the issues that the school board . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. The time has elapsed with regard to the debate. That ends the time allotted to Opposition Members' Business.

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, I move the House do now rise to meet again on the morrow at the hour of 10:00 a.m. The House will sit from 10:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. or until such time as four hours are completed on the estimates. We will start off with the daily routine, Question Period and then into Supply. So I move the House do now rise.

MR. SPEAKER: Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

The motion is carried.

[6:00 p.m.]

Late debate tonight is a motion put forward by the honourable member for Queens:

"Therefore be it resolved that members of this House recognize the importance of the Coffin Island Lighthouse to the Lighthouse Route and tourism in Nova Scotia."

ADJOURNMENT

MOTION UNDER RULE 5(5)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Queens.

[Page 1065]

TOURISM & CULTURE - COFFIN ISLAND LIGHTHOUSE:

IMPORTANCE - RECOGNIZE

MR. KERRY MORASH: Mr. Speaker, I certainly appreciate this opportunity to stand and speak about a lighthouse that is close to where I live and important to the Lighthouse Route and important to Queens County from an historical and, as well, an economical point of view.

It is one of a number of lighthouses that are in Queens County. It was the fifth lighthouse to be built in the province. Just going through some of the lighthouses that are in Queens County and when they were built: Coffin Island Lighthouse began construction in 1812; we have Fort Point Lighthouse which was built in 1855 and has since been refurbished as a tourist attraction; we have the Little Hope Lighthouse which was built in 1856; we have the Medway Lighthouse which was built in 1899; Medway Head at Long Cove was built in 1851; Spectacle Island Lighthouse was built in 1873; also Western Head Lighthouse, which is the youngster of the crowd, was built in 1962. I know there are members in this House who can speak more of Spectacle Island and Little Hope Lighthouse than I, because there are some members of this House who have a relationship with that area and certainly were born there and put Port Mouton on the map and have been doing that ever since.

Some of the history with regard to the Coffin Island Lighthouse: it was commissioned in 1811 by the Justice of the Peace for approximately 500 pounds to build a lighthouse on Coffin Island which is at the mouth of Liverpool Harbour, and also to build a residence for the keeper. At that time Simeon Perkins was the Justice of the Peace. It is kind of interesting to realize that he was also a member of this Legislature for 34 years from 1765-1799. It really seems interesting that the original cornerstone was laid by a member who had served so diligently in this House. The work on the lighthouse continued on during the War of 1812 and it was sporadic with regard to funding, determining the amount of work that could be done in the run of a year, and the lighthouse was completed in 1815. The lighthouse first began to shine through the night in June 1816. Sort of worthy of note, it was the first revolving light in the Province of Nova Scotia and had a clockwork-type mechanism which revolved and helped the visibility greatly. The original light was lit by whale oil lamps, and I believe there were four whale oil lamps inside a prism on this clockwork-type mechanism that helped the sailors make their way into port.

There is a trail that goes up through the centre of the island and there is a natural cove which is now washing in a bit but is still capable of handling a 40 foot boat to come in. At that point in time they used to bring over the whale oil, land it at this cove, which would be approximately a mile away from the lighthouse. There was, I believe, a horse that was kept over or taken over on occasion, and there was also a storage building where the whale oil was kept; then with a cart and a horse the whale oil would be taken up through the centre of the island to a storage area near the lighthouse where the keeper would keep the light going.

[Page 1066]

The original structure was a wooden structure and it was approximately 100 feet high and it was painted white and red in diagonal and kept the shores quite safe for the vessels that were coming in at that point in time. Unfortunately the original lighthouse, which has quite a glowing history and has a lot of sentimental value for a lot of people from Queens County and thereabouts, was struck by lightening in 1913 and burned to the ground along with the keeper's house. So that was a very unfortunate thing, however, everybody realized at that point in time that the necessity of a lighthouse at the mouth of Liverpool Harbour, which was a very important harbour and had lots of fishing activities, was essential.

In doing some research, and looking on the Internet, I noticed that in 1914, a new lighthouse was begun and built to new standards pioneered by the Department of Marine and Fisheries. This was steel reinforced and it was 52 feet high, and it was approximately 150 feet from the shoreline. This is kind of an important fact, because 150 feet seems like a long distance for the ocean to erode away in such a short time, from 1914 until present time. Unfortunately that wasn't true. The light was automated in 1961. I haven't asked as many questions of an aunt of mine as I should have because she was married to the lighthouse keeper, I think, at that point in time, and I am sure has some very interesting stories of the cold, hard winters that I am sure they endured when they were over there.

On July 29, 1998, unfortunately, the Coast Guard determined the light was surplus, and plans were made to demolish the light. They were going to knock it out into the sea and put in place an electronic buoy, which would take care of navigation. That was a decision that rather triggered a lot of enthusiasm and a lot of interest from the area. It also triggered the formation of the Coffin Island Lighthouse Heritage Society. The heritage society's goal was to keep the light in public hands, so that access is available for all. I didn't realize, until that point in time, that so many people were so passionate about this lighthouse. It is something I had grown up with and noticed on a regular basis, almost to the point that you didn't notice it any longer.

At the point in time when the Coast Guard determined it was surplus and decided they were going to push it into the ocean, there were a lot of people who came out in support, to try and make sure they could keep it from the historical and economic aspects. The efforts were tremendous. One of the first problems that the Coffin Island Lighthouse Heritage Society faced was that this 150 feet of land, which would have been grassland with a fair amount of boulders in it - if anybody knows what Queens County is like - had washed away and washed right up to the base of the light. The actual footings of the lighthouse were exposed to the ocean in each storm. There was concern that if nothing was done, the lighthouse would, by itself, just fall into the ocean, and that would be the end of it.

This group, the Coffin Island Lighthouse Heritage Society, raised approximately $70,000 to save the light. This was quite an endeavour from their point of view. They are still working to pay off the total amount, but they did raise the amount and they placed armour rock around the lighthouse, and have saved it. They got an excavator out and a bulldozer

[Page 1067]

around the light, and took good care to make sure that it will be there for many years to come.

They have been fundraising and working tirelessly since that point in time, to ensure they can pay off the debt they have accumulated. They also have some other plans for what they can do to help promote the light and the lighthouse, which in turn will promote the Lighthouse Route. They offer tours during the summer, through the local marina. The local marina offers boats free of charge, and all proceeds go to the Lighthouse Heritage Society to help ensure the lighthouse will be there for many years to come.

In closing, I would just like to thank the Coffin Island Lighthouse Heritage Society, because what they are doing is preventing the destruction of a lighthouse that had been slated to be demolished. Really, what they have done is preserve our history, and they have preserved, for economical and historical gain, the lighthouse that is part of the Lighthouse Route, and a very important part of our community, and very visible to anybody who drives down along the mouth of Liverpool Harbour. It is really a pleasure to speak on this this evening, and thank the people who have done so much hard work to ensure that the lighthouse, hopefully, will be around for another 100 years or more. Thank you.

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

MR. WILLIAM ESTABROOKS: Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the member for Queens for bringing forth this resolution during late debate. As a student of history and as a teacher of history, I appreciated some of the comments that you made, particularly the background, back to the War of 1812, and its importance. I want to point out, I understood through some Liverpool contacts, that this lighthouse wasn't just important for fishing, there must have been other activities coming and going out of Liverpool. Wasn't this the home of the privateers? Wasn't this the home of some of that great rum-running - the rum-running was great; I don't know what the rum was like - that was brought through that famous port of so many years ago. Now, of course, it is still a busy port. So, I am going to ask before I begin if the member could clarify . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

MR. MORASH: Mr. Speaker, I would be delighted to clarify that. From my understanding the privateers really preferred darkness over light, therefore the lighthouse really wasn't important to them.

MR. ESTABROOKS: Is darkness in the whole or is that darkness with what they - oh, I understand the part of it.

[Page 1068]

Let's look at this seriously in terms of the promotion of lighthouses, in particular Coffin Island. I was listening quite intently to the member and I did not get why the particular name of the island. I know there is a family name, the Coffins, but there were always those wonderful islands that are named off our coast. Devils Island, the Speaker would notice for example, that has a lighthouse, and of course there is McNabs Island here locally.

I want to compliment this government for using the right lighthouse. This lighthouse that is in the Doers and Dreamers guide is actually a Nova Scotian lighthouse. In previous years, if you remember, there was a previous government that wanted to use a lighthouse. Through their research that previous government - the members of the Third Party of course will remember this - they had to use a New England lighthouse for some unknown reasons.

Lighthouses are absolute magnets when it comes to tourism. However, I don't want to dispute and make politics of this wonderful resolution, but it says, if I may, "Therefore be it resolved that members of this House recognize the importance of the Coffin Island Lighthouse to the Lighthouse Route and tourism in Nova Scotia."

Absolutely, but there is one member in this House who should pay a lot more attention because in Doers and Dreamers - and if necessary I will table this - you will notice that on Page 312 Coffin Island lighthouse is mentioned a mere once as an attraction in the Liverpool area. It say a view of Coffin Island lighthouse in Liverpool Bay. I understand that if the Minister of Tourism and Culture is going to promote other areas of this province it would be of vital importance that he promote all areas and not have one line on such a wonderful destination as Coffin Island.

Let's look in particular, however, at the intrinsic value of lighthouses, as they are attractions. There are people, and the member for Queens agrees with me on this, who come to this wonderful province, Canada's Ocean Playground, not to go downtown and play the slot machines - I am sorry, that could be another topic in this late debate - what they come for is to get off, if we can say it, the beaten track, but we won't have any analogies to highways tonight for the Minister of Transportation and Public Works. They want to get down and see some of these wonderful coastal destinations, and the magnet is always a lighthouse. There is nothing more mystical or nothing more attractive than on that night when you see that light revolve and it comes back.

The most famous light, the one that has been most photographed probably more than any lighthouse - definitely in this country and probably anywhere on the coast from Florida to Newfoundland - of course is Peggy's Cove. I want you to know, Mr. Speaker, that along the way to the Lighthouse Route, along the way to Peggy's Cove, those tour buses go up and down the Prospect Road; 42 a day in the middle of the summer. There are a couple of wonderful destinations. There is the Prospect High Head, the SS Atlantic Heritage Park, but there is the Sandy Cove lighthouse.

[Page 1069]

Sandy Cove is just down the road from Terence Bay and the community of Terence Bay is being very proactive about this lighthouse. This lighthouse, unlike the Coffin Island lighthouse, has not yet been declared surplus. It is of vital importance that when these lighthouses have been declared surplus by the appropriate federal jurisdiction, that these lighthouses first and foremost become available to the community. There must be a commitment from the federal decision makers that there is a local body there, a local group there that is interested in maintaining this lighthouse as a tourist attraction. These lighthouses must not be allowed to fall into private developers' hands. They must not be allowed to just deteriorate. There are people in the community of Terence Bay, in Sandy Cove - I think of Debbie Morash in particular - Debbie Morash has led a long campaign to make sure the community of Terence Bay is ready when the Sandy Cove lighthouse becomes available.

[6:15 p.m.]

It is a wonderful location. It does not have the problem of erosion that they have on Coffin Island and I remember seeing the picture of Coffin Island from the ocean. It was very appropriate that the member for Queens spoke up about erosion and what happens to that relentless pounding of the surf as it comes in, moment after moment, hour after hour.

In Terence Bay there is a wonderful bluff with two beautiful, very exclusive beaches. In fact, there is a move in the community to make sure that that is accessible to all Nova Scotians who want to visit, not promoted, not with T-shirts and various other things which we might get in some of the other tourist destinations in my community. We are talking about an exclusive place to go and have a quiet moment, to do a little walking, to have a few park benches, to have a safe place to park, to make sure that you understand that tourists understand what an integral part in the heritage and history of this province lighthouses have.

The Sandy Cove lighthouse is something I can talk a great deal about because I was involved in a number of community events about the plan around that lighthouse and that is the concern that I always come to when it comes to tourism, the strategy of tourism; the strategy of bringing people to this province, to follow up of who came, but why they came. That is the crucial factor in the Doers and Dreamers guide. That is the crucial factor for the member for Queens or the member for Inverness, the members who are outside of the metro area because more and more people are coming to this province because of our wonderful, oceanfront properties.

It is of vital importance and I am coming to this matter of some consequence because, again, I want to be on the record. I see that the member for Queens is very supportive of the Coffin Island Heritage Committee. Those people deserve every amount of credit, but I want the member to know that I also personally hear from people in Queens, from people in Lunenburg and, of course, from people from the Peggy's Cove light to the Sandy Cove light and that remains a major concern of accessibility to oceanfront property; accessibility guaranteeing the fact that our children and our grandchildren will have the opportunity to

[Page 1070]

visit a particular lighthouse, not to have to go through a gated community to get to a piece of oceanfront property and in this case, a wonderful island.

There is nothing more attractive than the islands off Nova Scotia, but more and more of them are falling into the hands of private developers. Those private developers, whether they are from this country, whether they are from Europe, whether these developers are going to have the conscience which is necessary for communities such as Liverpool, Terence Bay; to be aware of the heritage and the local attraction and the importance of keeping these pieces of property accessible to all Nova Scotians. I hope that the member opposite is willing when the time comes and the Voluntary Planning group is touring this province to look for opinions on non-resident ownership of coastal property, non-resident ownership of land in Nova Scotia, that he will be willing if there is a meeting in Liverpool, to make sure that he attends those meetings and stands up for the fact that many people in Queens County, many people in Nova Scotia want to make sure that not only Coffin Island, not only Sandy Cove remain accessible and part of our Nova Scotia heritage.

I thank you for your time and I thank you for bringing forth the resolution.

MR. SPEAKER: Very impressive, you landed right on 10 minutes.

Seeing no other speakers, that ends the late debate and the House is adjourned.

[The House rose at 6:20 p.m.]