The Nova Scotia Legislature

The House resumed on:
September 21, 2017.

HANSARD
01-16

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

THURSDAY, APRIL 12, 2001

TABLE OF CONTENTS PAGE
PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS:
Educ.: School Closures - Oppose, Mr. J. Pye 1071
Transport. & Pub. Wks. - Sydney River: Carmichael Dr./Woodlawn Dr. -
Stop Signs Install, Mr. R. MacKinnon 1072
TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS:
Serv. N.S. & Mun. Rel.: Fines - Summary, Hon. A. MacIsaac 1072
INTRODUCTION OF BILLS:
No. 28, Securities Act, Hon. D. Morse 1072
No. 29, Elections Act, Hon. M. Baker 1073
No. 30, Financial Measures (2001) Act, Hon. N. LeBlanc 1073
NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 468, Burgess, Ted/Clarke Reg. - East Hants Tourist Assoc.:
Lifetime Membership - Congrats., Mr. J. MacDonell 1073
Vote - Affirmative 1073
Res. 469, Johnston, Don - Death of: Family - Condolences Convey,
Mr. K. Deveaux 1074
Vote - Affirmative 1074
Res. 470, Green, Marie: Tom Miller Human Rights Award - Congrats.,
Mr. F. Corbett 1074
Vote - Affirmative 1075
Res. 471, Transport. & Pub. Wks. - Hwy. No. 103 (Exit 3-Exit 5):
Twinning - Time Frame, Mr. W. Estabrooks 1075
Res. 472, MacDonald, Vanessa/Tobey, Neil/Robertson, Warren -
Can. Judo Championship: Best Wishes - Extend, Mr. D. Dexter 1076
Vote - Affirmative 1076
Res. 473, Recovery House Addiction Ctr. (Antigonish) - Funding:
Premier - Provide, Mr. J. Pye 1077
Res. 474, Transport. & Pub. Wks. - Haliburton Heights: Roads Priority -
Min. Explain, Mr. W. Estabrooks 1077
Res. 475, Cole Hbr.-Woodside United Church Youth Group -
Scotland Trip: Fundraising - Volunteers Congrats., Mr. K. Deveaux 1078
Vote - Affirmative 1078
Res. 476, Brymer, Alex: Chief Scout Award - Congrats.,
Mr. J. MacDonell 1079
Vote - Affirmative 1079
ORAL QUESTIONS PUT BY MEMBERS:
No. 140, Health - Physician Shortage: Inverness Co. - Address,
Mr. D. Dexter 1079
No. 141, Health - Physician Shortage: Inverness Co. -
Replacement Time Frame, Mr. K. MacAskill 1080
No. 142, Fin. - Income Tax: Decoupling - Revenue Amount,
Mr. K. Deveaux 1082
No. 143, Justice - Public Prosecutions: Director - Hire, Mr. M. Samson 1083
No. 144, Petroleum Directorate - Exploration: Onshore - Leases,
Mr. J. Holm 1084
No. 145, Justice - Jake Brakes: Legislation - Fine Amounts,
Mr. M. Samson 1085
No. 146, Health - Transportation Subsidy: Cuts - Effects, Mr. D. Dexter 1086
No. 147, Educ. - West Kings Dist. HS: Funding -
Fire Marshal Impetus, Mr. W. Gaudet 1088
No. 148, Health - Disabled Adults: Dept. Change - Effect, Mr. J. Pye 1089
No. 149, Commun. Serv. - Soc. Assist. Appeal Bds.: Reduction -
Location, Mr. D. Wilson 1090
No. 150, Health - Point Pleasant Lodge: Nutrition Allowance -
Assistance Adequacy, Mr. D. Dexter 1091
No. 151, Health - Alzheimer's: Drug Treatment - Effectiveness,
Dr. J. Smith 1092
No. 152, Sysco: Dismantling - Justify, Mr. F. Corbett 1093
No. 153, Transport. & Pub. Wks. - Five Island Lake: Cleanup -
Status, Mr. R. MacKinnon 1094
No. 154, Educ. - Hfx. West HS/J.L. Ilsley HS: Split-Shifting -
Solution Action, Mr. G. Steele 1096
GOVERNMENT BUSINESS:
GOVERNMENT MOTIONS:
Res. 420, Environ. & Lbr. - Fire Safety: Select Comm. -
Establishment, Hon. D. Morse 1097
Waiver Requested 1097
Vote - Affirmative 1098
HOUSE RESOLVED INTO CWH ON SUPPLY AT 11:21 A.M. 1098
HOUSE RECONVENED AT 3:27 P.M. 1098
ADJOURNMENT, House rose to meet again on Tue., Apr. 17th at 2:00 p.m. 1099

[Page 1071]

HALIFAX, THURSDAY, APRIL 12, 2001

Fifty-eighth General Assembly

Second Session

10:00 A.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, congratulations are in order for the honourable member for Cape Breton North, being it is his birthday today. (Applause)

We will begin the daily routine.

PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Dartmouth North.

MR. JERRY PYE: Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to table a letter, in the form of a petition, signed by concerned residents with respect to school closures, asking the minister to intervene. It is signed by Glynis Mullen, Georgina Lee and Jack Potter. I also have affixed my name to this petition.

MR. SPEAKER: The petition is tabled.

The honourable member for Cape Breton West.

1071

[Page 1072]

MR. RUSSELL MACKINNON: Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to table a petition regarding an issue in Sydney River, Cape Breton. The operative clause states, "Because of the growing concern of the speed of vehicles on Carmichael Drive, we are asking for your support for the installation of three way stop signs at the intersections of Carriage Hill Drive and Woodlawn Drive. Please show your support by signing this Petition.", which I have done. There are approximately 100 local residents who have signed this and I table it for the approbation of the House.

MR. SPEAKER: The petition is tabled.

PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES

TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS

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

HON. ANGUS MACISAAC: Mr. Speaker, I wish to table a document under the category of other papers. This is a court decision. It was heard before the Honourable Justice R. Brian Gibson, Justice of the Provincial Court. The place of the hearing was at Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. The dates heard were April 29, 1998 and June 26, 1998. The date of the decision was September 15, 1998. The subject matter is Section 12 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms in Canada, application regarding Section 69(1) and Section 91 of the Revenue Act of the Statutes of Nova Scotia 1995-96, Chapter 17. The counsel were James Clarke, Crown Attorney and David English, Defence Attorney. The paragraph of interest would be found on Page 8 when the judge found, therefore, the fine was so unfit, " . . . as to infringe the right embodied by s.12 of the Charter.", the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. That is better known as cruel and unusual punishment.

With the document I will also table a summary of fines imposed for such offences. This chart is dated April 1, 1999.

MR. SPEAKER: The documents are tabled.

STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS

GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION

INTRODUCTION OF BILLS

Bill No. 28 - Entitled an Act to Amend Chapter 418 of the Revised Statutes of 1989. The Securities Act. (Hon. David Morse)

[Page 1073]

Bill No. 29 - Entitled an Act to Amend Chapter 140 of the Revised Statutes of 1989. The Elections Act. (Hon. Michael Baker)

Bill No. 30 - Entitled an Act Respecting Certain Financial Measures. (Hon. Neil LeBlanc)

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

NOTICES OF MOTION

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Opposition.

RESOLUTION NO. 468

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

Whereas the East Hants Tourism Association has been long established to promote tourism in East Hants; and

Whereas associations such as EHTA are built by the efforts of volunteers dedicated to their chosen industry; and

Whereas Mr. Ted Burgess and Mr. Reg Clarke, have been awarded honorary lifetime memberships to the EHTA, for their long-standing and valuable contributions to that organization and to tourism in Nova Scotia in general;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly recognize the efforts of these gentlemen and congratulate them, as well as the East Hants Tourism Association, for their contribution.

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 1074]

The honourable member for Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage.

RESOLUTION NO. 469

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

Whereas Don Johnston was an active member of the Eastern Passage-Cow Bay community since he moved there in 1958, including: being a charter member of the Eastern Passage-Cow Bay Lions Club; active in the Canadian Diabetes Association; the Terry Fox Run; the Eastern Passage Summer Carnival; Scouts Canada; was a member of the Board of Directors of the Nova Scotia Hospital; and DASC Industries Ltd.; and

Whereas Don Johnston was recognized for his efforts by Betty Fox, mother of Terry Fox and with the Melvin Jones Fellow Award by the Lions Club; and

Whereas Don Johnston passed away suddenly on February 22, 2001, leaving his family and community heartbroken;

Therefore be it resolved that this House recognizes the lifelong efforts of Don Johnston to improve his community and sends our condolences to his wife, Elsie; daughter, Davelyn; son, Bruce; and granddaughter, Andrea.

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 Centre.

RESOLUTION NO. 470

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

[Page 1075]

Whereas Whitney Pier resident, Marie Green, has volunteered with the youth of her community to recognize their leadership potential and to help encourage children in difficult circumstances to become good citizens; and

Whereas the Tom Miller Human Rights Award for 2001 was presented to Marie Green this past Wednesday; and

Whereas some former winners of the Tom Miller Human Rights Award include Grand Chief Donald Marshall, Winston Ruck, Cheryl Aucoin, Joe Worrell, the late Rev. Donald Pearce, Alice Aucoin, Jean Murphy, Lem Skeet, Dan Christmas, and the late Rev. John Webb;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House join in congratulating Marie Green on this well-deserved award.

[10:15 a.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 Timberlea-Prospect.

RESOLUTION NO. 471

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

Whereas residents of the various growing subdivisions along Highway No. 103, from Exit 3 to Exit 5, have held a number of meetings; and

Whereas these subdivisions include Haliburton Hills and Heights, Westwood Hills, Highland Park, Sheldrake Lake and Heights, Lake of the Woods, Cambrian Cove, Three Brooks and Tantallon Woods; and

[Page 1076]

Whereas the major concern among these residents is the unfulfilled commitment to the twinning of this busy highway;

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Transportation and Public Works tell these residents his department's plans for the twinning of Highway No. 103, from Exit 3 to Exit 5.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Dartmouth-Cole Harbour.

RESOLUTION NO. 472

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

Whereas Vanessa MacDonald of Peidmont, Neil Tobey of Lyons Brook, and Warren Robertson of Barneys River are veterans in the national and international judo scene; and

Whereas these same three members of New Glasgow's Kanokai Judo Club are on their way to Kamloops, B.C. for the Canadian Judo Championships on April 21st and April 22nd; and

Whereas these three exemplary athletes train in New Glasgow;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of the Legislature extend their best wishes to Vanessa MacDonald, Neil Tobey and Warren Robertson in Kamloops next weekend.

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 North.

[Page 1077]

RESOLUTION NO. 473

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

Whereas the Recovery House Addiction Treatment Centre in Antigonish is providing a much-needed service to individuals with alcohol, drug and gambling addictions; and

Whereas this centre conducts a constant fundraising campaign to help meet its budget requirements; and

Whereas due to the financial constraints the centre has been forced to cut back service and reduce its client base from 15 to 9, along with a three-month waiting period for admittance;

Therefore be it resolved that the Premier live up to his promise to re-evaluate the financial situation of this institution and provide adequate funding to operate the programs and services this much-needed centre requires to service the community of Antigonish.

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 Timberlea-Prospect.

RESOLUTION NO. 474

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

Whereas area residents throughout the growing constituency of Timberlea-Prospect have conscientiously collected signatures on petitions requesting paving; and

Whereas the residents of Minna Drive, Paddington Way and Bristol Avenue, in the community of Haliburton Heights, have submitted these petitions for attention to their roads; and

[Page 1078]

Whereas these taxpayers have agreed to pay their share of this road paving;

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Transportation and Public Works state clearly for these residents of Haliburton Heights when their roads will be paved.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage.

RESOLUTION NO. 475

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

Whereas the Cole Harbour-Woodside United Church Youth Group, also known as the Chuters, has been working hard to raise funds for a group trip to Scotland later this year; and

Whereas the youth have made gourmet dinners, held lunches, sold oranges, and have conducted many other activities to raise the money to make the trip a success; and

Whereas the youth going to Scotland come from the communities of Cole Harbour, Eastern Passage, and Woodside;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate the efforts of the Cole Harbour-Woodside United Church Youth Group, Jennifer Parsons and the other volunteers who are working to ensure their trip to Scotland is a success.

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 Opposition.

[Page 1079]

RESOLUTION NO. 476

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

Whereas Alex Brymer of Enfield received the Chief Scout award; and

Whereas this award is one of the highest awards in the scouting movement; and

Whereas Alex had to successfully complete the outdoor, leadership, personal development and citizenship requirements in order to qualify for the Chief Scout award;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House congratulate Alex Brymer on his outstanding achievements in the scouting movement.

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: Question Period will begin at 10:20 a.m. and run until 11:20 a.m.

The honourable member for Dartmouth-Cole Harbour.

HEALTH - PHYSICIAN SHORTAGE: INVERNESS CO. - ADDRESS

MR. DARRELL DEXTER: Rural communities all across Nova Scotia are in a medical crisis due to the lack of much-needed doctors. I know the Minister of Health wants to pretend this does not exist, but the reality is, today we discover yet another community facing the reality of not enough doctors to go around. The Inverness hospital has seven doctors, two of those doctors are about to leave. I want to ask the Minister of Health, what are you doing to ensure that the people of Inverness have adequate medical services?

[Page 1080]

HON. JAMES MUIR: Like the honourable member for Dartmouth-Cole Harbour, I too was a bit distressed to understand that a husband and wife team of family physicians are leaving Inverness. I can tell you that the recruiting section of my department, in conjunction with Dr. Naqvi at the Cape Breton District Health Authority, will be working very hard to see that replacement physicians get into the community of Inverness. This matter was brought to my attention already this morning by my colleague, the Minister of Tourism and Culture and, I should also add, on the other side of the House, the good member for Victoria. So you are third in line, sir.

MR. DEXTER: This problem is only going to be dealt with, with leadership from the office of the Minister of Health. That is the only way this is going to be dealt with.

To add to the looming crisis in Inverness, of the five remaining doctors, two are over 60 years of age. The people of Inverness are painfully aware of just how long it took this government to respond to the doctor shortage in Strait-Richmond. We know the minister's response for the shortage of doctors in his own backyard was to set up a telephone hotline in his constituency office. My question to the Minister of Health is, the people of Inverness would like to know, when can they expect their own dial-a-doctor line?

MR. MUIR: I do not know any place that has set up a dial-a-doctor line and if he wants to set up one in Inverness, maybe he wants to arrange it.

MR. DEXTER: The minister's cavalier attitude about this is regrettable. The minister is very good at writing out prescriptions for schemes to attract doctors to rural Nova Scotia, but these are prescriptions that never get filled. Will the minister tell us, while you are busy diagnosing the problem, who is going to be writing prescriptions for the sick people of Inverness?

MR. MUIR: Mr. Speaker, I would tell the honourable member that over the past two years we have recruited in Nova Scotia an average of over one doctor a week. Already this year, in the year 2001, we have recruited probably about 15 physicians, most of them going into rural areas. We do not have two names for Inverness right now, but we are very successful at recruiting here in Nova Scotia and I am optimistic that we will be able to meet that need in Inverness before too long.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Victoria.

HEALTH - PHYSICIAN SHORTAGE:

INVERNESS CO. - REPLACEMENT TIME FRAME

MR. KENNETH MACASKILL: My question is also for the Minister of Health. I am sure the minister knows that my riding covers a portion of the northern part of Inverness. I

[Page 1081]

know the other good member for Inverness couldn't ask a question in here, even if he wanted to . . .

AN HON. MEMBER: He wouldn't know how to go about it.

MR. MACASKILL: . . . so it is up to me to carry the torch this morning. This morning we learned that two doctors are leaving Inverness County. It means 2,000 residents are now without family physicians. Will the minister indicate the date by which these physicians will be replaced?

HON. JAMES MUIR: Mr. Speaker, obviously given the situation in Inverness, we will be increasing our recruitment efforts and targeting that area now that we know there is indeed a deficiency. To give an actual date, I would like to be able to do that but I think it would probably be speculative.

MR. MACASKILL: Mr. Speaker, I recall very clearly when this government came to power, they came on a plan to save the health care system and address the issue of the physician shortage (Interruptions)

SOME HON. MEMBERS: No new money.

MR. MACASKILL: Mr. Speaker, there is no plan. We see examples every day: the Strait-Richmond Hospital and now Inverness. My question to the minister is, when will the people of Nova Scotia see a health plan that takes action before more shortages occur?

MR. MUIR: Mr. Speaker, we have made a number of changes and improvements to the health delivery system in this province. One of the interesting things I thought when this came out this morning - it was called National Post Online - and as most members in the House know, Ken Fyke reviewed the situation in Saskatchewan and one of the conclusions that Mr. Fyke came to and is going to be reporting to the Premier of Saskatchewan, the conclusion that he has come to, indeed, is the course of action which very much supports what we are doing here in Nova Scotia.

MR. MACASKILL: Mr. Speaker, the minister's promises are cold comfort to many Nova Scotians. I know the minister is sincere and I know he is doing his best, but is that good enough? I understand the minister probably has two friends who could tell him where to get more doctors. My question is, when will the people in places like Noel, Inverness and Strait-Richmond have their doctor shortage taken seriously?

MR. MUIR: Mr. Speaker, Nova Scotia has done very well at recruiting physicians. As I have said in this House, we can recruit as many as we like but if the folks in Noel or in Strait-Richmond or in Truro or wherever it is, if they don't have a physician, the numbers that we are recruiting don't really matter to them and I recognize that. But I want to tell you,

[Page 1082]

we are very successful in recruiting physicians and I am optimistic that that problem will be solved. (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

The honourable member for Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage.

FIN. - INCOME TAX: DECOUPLING - REVENUE AMOUNT

MR. KEVIN DEVEAUX: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Premier. I want to ask the Premier about the Minister of Finance's latest underhanded tax grab from Nova Scotians. The minister is decoupling the personal tax exemption from the federal one. The federal government last October raised the personal tax exemption to $8,000 and the Minister of Finance didn't follow suit. I want to ask the Premier, can he tell Nova Scotians how much

extra money his government is bringing in from this latest tax hit?

[10:30 a.m.]

HON. JOHN HAMM (The Premier): Mr. Speaker, I can assure the member opposite that this government will follow through and do exactly what it said it was going to do. We will balance the budget and then we will provide income tax relief to the people of Nova Scotia, and we will do that according to the schedule that we outlined prior to the election in 1999.

MR. DEVEAUX: Mr. Speaker, maybe I will tell the Premier, since he doesn't seem to want to tell the House. This government is raising an extra $12 million from this particular tax hit that they are hitting Nova Scotians with. It is going to hit low-income Nova Scotians the hardest because it is at the bottom level that the personal tax exemption takes effect. I want to ask the Premier, can he tell this House how much money, year after year, he has been taking from Nova Scotians with regard to the removal of the personal tax exemption, bracket creep, the HST windfall, the federal tax cut that wasn't provided to Nova Scotians and new user fees? How much money are you taking out of the pockets of Nova Scotians, Mr. Premier?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, what I can tell the member opposite is that the $12 million of addition revenue to which he refers won't pay the interest on the debt that this province has for five days.

MR. DEVEAUX: Mr. Speaker, the Premier doesn't want to tell us what that is, so I will have to tell you. It is $12 million from the personal tax exemption; $12 million from the fuel tax windfall; $30 million from bracket creep; $35 million in user fees; and $5 million with regard to the federal tax cut. That comes to $94 million this government has taken out of the pockets of Nova Scotians. I want to ask the Premier, how can he balance $94 million

[Page 1083]

in new taxes that he is taking out of the pockets of Nova Scotians with his statement during the 1999 election that he would not participate in any government that would increase taxes?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, what I can do is remind the member opposite that just last year when they had the public consultation and they produced the document, what we heard, what was pre-eminent in that document, is what they heard, is that the government should not add to the deficit or the debt of this province. That is what they heard but that is not what they are saying today.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Richmond.

JUSTICE - PUBLIC PROSECUTIONS: DIRECTOR - HIRE

MR. MICHEL SAMSON: Mr. Speaker, Nova Scotians are losing confidence in this Minister of Justice by the day. The position of Director of the Public Prosecution Service has been vacant for the entire time that this minister has been in office. This extremely important role doesn't seem to merit the minister's attention. On January 31, 2000, the minister said he had a candidate for the director's position, yet on November 15, 2000, still no director in sight. My question is, will the Minister of Justice tell the House when a Director of Public Prosecutions will be hired?

HON. MICHAEL BAKER: Mr. Speaker, first I might begin by saying that the position of Director of Public Prosecutions is very ably being filled by the Acting Director of Public Prosecutions, Mr. Martin Herschorn, so the interests of Nova Scotians have certainly not been neglected during this period of time. I can assure the honourable member that we have been working on obtaining a Director of Public Prosecutions, as the member knows. He also is aware of the fact that a candidate who had been identified during the time that he was in office had declined that position. We continue to look for the right person but we are not going to just put anyone in for the sake of having a Director of Public Prosecutions. (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

MR. SAMSON: Mr. Speaker, you know the minister is really becoming a laughingstock. The current Acting Director of Public Prosecutions has been in the position longer than any permanent director. By not hiring a permanent director, the minister is undermining confidence in the system. His government has now been in power 600 days and hasn't even been able to hire a Director of Public Prosecutions. Will the minister make an accurate prediction as to when he will hire a full-time Director of the Public Prosecution Service?

[Page 1084]

MR. BAKER: The unmitigated gall of the honourable member. (Interruptions) We have done more since we came to office to strengthen the Public Prosecution Service, to bring in the controls for the Public Prosecution Service, than that lot did in the whole time they were in office.

MR. SAMSON: Mr. Speaker, this is the minister and the Tory Government who campaigned to say that they would fight to get the toughest sentences on home invasions, only to find out when they got into office that the Liberal Government in Nova Scotia had the toughest sentences on home invasions for the entire country. That is what the Liberal Government did and for that minister to talk about gall, there is no more gall than in that Minister of Justice over there. The whole situation is bordering on the ridiculous. What kind of message is the minister sending out to Crown Attorneys and Nova Scotians by not making the acting director a permanent position?

MR. BAKER: I will tell you the message that we are sending out, Mr. Speaker. We are sending out the message that we implemented the Kaufman Report, we implemented arbitration for the Public Prosecution Service, we implemented the changes that Crown Attorneys were looking for and we are going to find a person to be the Director of Public Prosecutions. We will find the right person and we will appoint that person. (Applause)

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

PETROLEUM DIRECTORATE - EXPLORATION:

ONSHORE - LEASES

MR. JOHN HOLM: Mr. Speaker, we heard from the member for Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage about some of the tax gouges the government is doing to middle-income and low-income people. I am sure Nova Scotians were very encouraged when they heard from the Minister of Economic Development that the government is sticking it to big oil, that they are playing hard ball with those companies that want leases to explore for oil and gas onshore in Nova Scotia.

While we may not have a mature industry in this province like Alberta, where they get over $100 an acre, Nova Scotia was able to wrestle a whole 11 cents per acre from those companies. This government was able to put under lease a third of the province and get all of 11 cents an acre for that. I want to ask the Minister responsible for the Petroleum Directorate, did you take special training to learn how to drive such a hard bargain on behalf of Nova Scotians?

HON. GORDON BALSER: Mr. Speaker, in response to the member's question, there has been an onshore exploration industry in Nova Scotia since 1860. There have been over 1,000 wells drilled with no significant finds to date. This is an industry that is yet to be

[Page 1085]

developed in the onshore. So the royalty regime onshore is to support the development of that industry and to encourage exploration.

MR. HOLM: Mr. Speaker, I am sure that 11 cents is a tremendous hardship for those big oil companies. You know that for 100 acres, that would cost them $11 and do you know what? That would be enough to buy the executive of one of those oil companies a burger, fries and a soft drink. I want to ask the minister, how do you sleep at night knowing that you are driving such a hard bargain on behalf of Nova Scotia, causing such tremendous hardship to those oil industries?

MR. BALSER: Mr. Speaker, again to the member opposite, what we are attempting to do is encourage the development of an onshore industry, one that did not exist until there was significant interest in the offshore. We want to create an environment that will allow an industry that is yet to be developed to develop.

MR. HOLM: Mr. Speaker, he is like Rocky, he is so tough. Some people might think there is a little bit of sarcasm in my voice but that wouldn't be parliamentary so I wouldn't do that. But you know, if we had gotten $1.00 an acre, that would have been about $3.5 million. If we got $10 an acre, less than 10 per cent of Alberta, that would have been about $35 million. But we got 11 cents because our minister and this government is tough in fighting for Nova Scotia.

I want to ask the minister, Mr. Speaker, I am wondering, because he is so worried about the hardship that this is creating for those companies that want to explore for our oil and gas onshore, is he lobbying his Cabinet colleagues to reduce that onerous 11 cents an acre that he is charging these big, multinational oil companies?

MR. BALSER: Mr. Speaker, to the member opposite, what this government is attempting to do is to encourage the development of an industry that will create an economic future for this province for the next decades. (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Richmond.

JUSTICE - JAKE BRAKES: LEGISLATION - FINE AMOUNTS

MR. MICHEL SAMSON: Mr. Speaker, this Minister of Justice is becoming the laughingstock when he says that this government is getting tough on crime. They said they would fight home invasions, then turned around and made a home video blaming seniors for not locking their doors and windows. Most recently, the minister heralded his great jake brake legislation saying they will be getting tough on truck drivers going through residential areas. My question to the minister is, can the Minister of Justice tell us what the fine is for a first offence violation of his heralded jake brake legislation?

[Page 1086]

HON. MICHAEL BAKER: Mr. Speaker, first of all, to talk about the home invasion strategy the member alluded to, that was endorsed by the Senior Citizens' Secretariat. By the way, the honourable member obviously didn't see the video because the video does not blame seniors for home invasion, it gives them tips on how to avoid being victims of crime.

Mr. Speaker, I honestly don't recall the amount of the fine but I am sure the honourable member will be glad to illuminate it.

MR. SAMSON: Mr. Speaker, keep in mind the context that I started off with, the laughingstock of the province. The fine for a first offence for this wonderful, get tough Tory criminal legislation, $15 and with a third offence bringing a walloping $65 fine. What a joke. Yesterday, rather than getting tough with the courts on tobacco smuggling, the government caved in to criminal activity. My question is, why should Nova Scotians have any confidence in this Minister of Justice?

MR. BAKER: Mr. Speaker, in case the honourable member hasn't figured this out, people who operate jake brakes in residential areas, while they are highly undesirable, are hardly criminals and if he feels that that is organized crime, then we are all in a very sad state of affairs.

MR. SAMSON: Mr. Speaker, a $15 fine is not worth the paper that this bill is written on. A mere parking ticket in front of Province House is $15 yet this government heralded this wonderful legislation. What a joke. This minister refused to take responsibility for prostitution problems, rather he wanted to dump them on the municipalities. He is also the same minister who declared an escaped convict who kicked his common-law wife 30 times with a steel-toed boot as a low risk to the community. My final supplementary is, will the Premier of this province deal with justice issues in a responsible manner by appointing a new Minister of Justice?

[10:45 a.m.]

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, what I can do is affirm that I feel that the Minister of Justice is serving the people of Nova Scotia very effectively.

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

HEALTH - TRANSPORTATION SUBSIDY: CUTS - EFFECTS

MR. DARRELL DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Health. The minister may recall that last year one of the casualties of his budget reductions was the transportation subsidy that allowed children with behavioural problems to travel to the IWK day treatment program. A bus brought the children to the hospital where specialists worked with them on behavioural problems that were causing hardships at home and in school. Now

[Page 1087]

that subsidy is gone and some low-income families can't participate in the program because they can't afford it.

Mr. Speaker, your Throne Speech said, ". . . nothing is more important to Nova Scotia's long-term economic health and social prosperity than helping our children become healthy, caring, productive adults." I want to ask the Minister of Health, can you explain how cutting the subsidy program achieves that objective?

HON. JAMES MUIR: Mr. Speaker, I don't believe it was the province that cut any subsidy program.

MR. DEXTER: Well, the minister doesn't know his own budget then. The province cut the subsidy program, whether it was through the district health authority, he had to approve it. I am having a hard time separating the rhetoric from reality with this minister. He says he is committed to children, he claims they are the key to a healthy future but he allows mental health services to limp along. A parent has to wait six to eight months before they can get their children in to see someone at the IWK, and they usually make that call when they are at their wits' end, but the hospital says, no, you have to wait a lot longer. I want to ask the minister, what do you expect a parent and a child to do for those six months, when they need help right now?

MR. MUIR: Mr. Speaker, the mental health services belong to the district health authorities and they were part of the former regional structure. There is a wide-ranging support system for parents out there. The case that the honourable member is referring to, normally people would be referred to the people at the IWK after these other options have been explored. There is a waiting list. I can say, as well, that sometimes if the cases are extreme then they would be treated. There are waiting lists for a number of things. We would prefer that there wasn't, but there is.

MR. DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, the minister just doesn't get it. This subsidy program was an example of schools and parents and mental health professionals working together, pooling resources to help children who desperately need help. The program was successful and it was cost-effective. I want to ask the minister, when will you reinstate the transportation subsidy program to make sure that low-income families have equal access to the mental health services their children need?

MR. MUIR: Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the honourable member's concern. He is right, the health and welfare of children is a priority of this government, and we do everything we can. We have increased our efforts this year. I can tell the honourable member that there is a new initiative being done co-jointly between the Department of Community Services, the Department of Justice and my department, which is specifically targeted to services for the mental health services under the CAYAC program for young people here in Nova Scotia.

[Page 1088]

Going back to his specific question about the subsidy, that decision was not made by the Department of Health.

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

EDUC. - WEST KINGS DIST. HS:

FUNDING - FIRE MARSHAL IMPETUS

MR. WAYNE GAUDET: Mr. Speaker, yesterday the fire marshal announced that unless the conditions improve at West Kings District High School, he would be forced to close the school come fall. Only after an ominous announcement from the fire marshal did the Minister of Education agree to provide funding for repairs. My question to the Minister of Education isn't it true that you would not be doing anything had the fire marshal not stepped in?

HON. JANE PURVES: Mr. Speaker, just to set the record straight a bit, this is not a new report by the fire marshal, it is about three months old. It is just that it happened to surface in the news yesterday.

The conditions at West Kings are well-known to the school board and to my department. They have been taken into consideration in a report that still has to go to Cabinet and it will be considered in our renovations budget for this year.

MR. GAUDET: There are approximately 1,100 students in this school. That means that this minister was playing with the lives of more than 1,100 people with her inaction. Two years ago, under the Liberal watch, there was not only a plan to fix this problem, but there was money set aside to do it.

My question to the minister, why did this minister cancel that money and endanger the lives of these students and staff?

MISS PURVES: To the contrary, there certainly was a plan; the plan had no money attached to it. Be that as it may, the conditions at Central Kings, if they require immediate action, the school board will speak to us about that, the action will be done. I will repeat what I said to the press yesterday. If the report stands that certain renovations have to be done at the school by the fall in order for it to open, that is what we will do.

MR. GAUDET: We have seen this model from this minister before. She waits until a situation is near disaster level before she acts. Whether it is the fire marshal in West Kings or the quality of the air in Halifax West, this minister deals in crisis management, rather than planning. Will the minister tell the House how bad the problems in Kings West have to be before she will act?

[Page 1089]

MISS PURVES: The Leader of the Liberal Party is pointing out the inaction of his own government in anything to do with Halifax West. It is our government that took action on Halifax West, not theirs.

There are many schools in this province that require repairs and renovations and we are proceeding to do those in a methodical way.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Dartmouth North.

HEALTH - DISABLED ADULTS: DEPT. CHANGE - EFFECT

MR. JERRY PYE: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister of Health. I have been approached by a mother of a disabled 18 year old girl. The family has been receiving respite support from the Department of Community Services. This young woman is about to turn 19 and will no longer qualify for Community Services support. The family was told to apply to the Department of Health for any help that they will need after this time. This mom is terrified that changing to a different government department will result in a loss or a change of services that the family and their daughter have come to depend on. My question to the Minister of Health is, can you assure this family that changing departments will not result in change or loss of services to her daughter?

HON. JAMES MUIR: I have no knowledge of the case to which the honourable member refers. If he would make details available to me or to members of my staff, I could give a better response.

MR. PYE: I anticipated that sort of a response from the minister. Surely there are a number of other cases that have come to his department's attention already.

Under the Department of Community Services, this family would have had input to the kind of services that would best suit their needs. Their daughter has developed a trusting relationship with her caregiver over time and now the Department of Health says that they will decide who, if anyone, will provide that kind of care. Now, the Department of Health is aware of this, so my question to the minister is, why are you jeopardizing the well-being of this family simply because this disabled child has a birthday?

MR. MUIR: Mr. Speaker, I have no direct knowledge of the situation to which the honourable member is referring. If he would like to make some details available to me or members of my staff, I could give a better answer.

MR. PYE: Mr. Speaker, the minister is obviously dealing with the problems one at a time as they become visible to him through this Legislature and not through his department. When this mom expressed her fears that her daughter's support would not remain consistent, she was told by Health staff to ask her Community Services worker if they would extend her

[Page 1090]

daughter's support for one year. Mr. Minister, this is a real mother, with a real disabled daughter, not just a number on a ledger. My question to the Minister of Health is, does he expect other departments to break their eligibility policies because he is not prepared to assume the responsibility for persons with disabilities?

MR. MUIR: Mr. Speaker, I have no direct knowledge of the case that the honourable member is referring to. If he would be willing to provide details to me or my staff, I could give a more appropriate answer.

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

COMMUN. SERV. - SOC. ASSIST. APPEAL BDS.:

REDUCTION - LOCATION

MR. DAVID WILSON: Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Minister of Community Services told us there will be six income assistance appeal boards after August 1st and, as he knows, currently there are 10. That probably means that some areas of the province, which have boards now, are going to lose them. My question to the minister is, will he now tell Nova Scotians where in this province is he going to make social assistance recipients travel greater distances to have their appeals heard?

HON. PETER CHRISTIE: Mr. Speaker, as I indicated to the member yesterday, we were consolidating some of the social assistance appeal boards. Those boards will be meeting in different parts of the province. They will be meeting and going to where the cases are required. So those will be adapting and adjusting to where the demand is. (Interruptions)

MR. WILSON: Mr. Speaker, I had some problems hearing the minister's answer over the cackling going on on the other side over there, but I take it that the social assistance boards are going to travel where the cases are being heard, if that is what the minister said. Yesterday, the minister also patted himself on the back and congratulated himself for promising to hear appeals within 45 days. Well, currently, appeals are usually heard in 30 days. Isn't it true that this government is going to make those in hardship wait longer to have the appeals heard, Mr. Minister?

MR. CHRISTIE: Mr. Speaker, it is quite the contrary. The appeal boards hear the cases as the demands require. What we have done is set a new objective for them to meet and make sure that cases do not go beyond 45 days.

MR. WILSON: Mr. Speaker, what this government and what that minister is doing to social assistance recipients with those new regulations, you will be having more cases to be heard and 45 days will simply be too long to wait. Those are people who are in hardship and will need the help sooner than 45 days. With fewer boards and longer waits, you are going to cause people to lose hope. I want to know, isn't it true that the new process is really

[Page 1091]

designed to discourage appeals, Mr. Minister, so that fewer people will qualify for social assistance?

MR. CHRISTIE: As we have indicated, all of the people receiving social assistance will be developing a plan with their caseworkers. That will give them an opportunity to get themselves up to date on the rules and regulations. What we have done is we have indicated that there will be a timeline of 45 days and we have made that commitment.

[11:00 a.m.]

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

HEALTH - POINT PLEASANT LODGE:

NUTRITION ALLOWANCE - ASSISTANCE ADEQUACY

MR. DARRELL DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, the problems with the cancellation of the nutritional allowance for residents of Point Pleasant Lodge just keep mounting. Now Cancer Care Nova Scotia patients are starting to speak out. Now, 48 per cent of all Cancer Care Nova Scotia patients reside outside of Halifax and use Point Pleasant Lodge, and in the 1980's, these patients were in-patients but were moved, to be more cost-effective, by the Tory Government of the day. They decided to house them at Point Pleasant Lodge. They told those people - and they believed them, in good faith - that their needs would be taken care of, and now the Tories have cut the nutritional allowance. I want to ask the minister, why is he telling people he will take care of those who need help when he knows that this is just not so?

HON. JAMES MUIR: Mr. Speaker, this government does take care of those who need help. We cannot be all things to all people. In the case of Point Pleasant Lodge, the funding from the Department of Health has been given to the Capital District Health Authority and they are administering the $523,000 - the same amount of money this year as was there last year - for those beds at Point Pleasant Lodge. They have made the decision, and they are administering that money at the particular time.

MR. DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Health said he talked to some people who stayed at Point Pleasant Lodge who feel they can afford to pay and should pay for their own meals. My question to the Minister of Health is, who did he talk to, what was their income level, or were the comments just another urban myth?

MR. MUIR: Mr. Speaker, the Capital District Health Authority administers Point Pleasant Lodge. For reasons of efficiency, and to allow more people to use the lodge, they have made some decisions this year. One of the decisions they made was to take away the meal allowance that was routinely given to everyone who entered and to make the money available to those who needed it most. For those who are entering Point Pleasant Lodge from

[Page 1092]

out of town and need a food allowance supplement, the Capital District Health Authority has made that available.

MR. DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, I want the Minister of Health to really listen carefully, because this is what is really happening. People who can't afford to pay for meals will receive just $10 in meal vouchers that will be used at the hospital. People who are sick, people who are receiving chemo treatments will be expected to leave Point Pleasant Lodge and go to the hospital to receive their nutrition there. It doesn't matter how they feel, they will have to leave the lodge. I want to ask the minister, again, to review the cutting of the nutritional allowance for the inhabitants of Point Pleasant Lodge.

MR. MUIR: Mr. Speaker, I will repeat, probably for about the 20th time - slow learners, I think, on that side of the House - the Department of Health did not reduce the meal allowance for residents at Point Pleasant Lodge, and thinking about the other part of the question, I think the honourable member is implying that people now have to leave the lodge and go get their meals elsewhere. Have they ever had an in-service food service at Point Pleasant Lodge? Yesterday, the honourable member raised the question of transportation on the weekend . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

The honourable member for Dartmouth East.

HEALTH - ALZHEIMER'S: DRUG TREATMENT - EFFECTIVENESS

DR. JAMES SMITH: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister of Health. The provincial formulary committee has not been able to justify the costs of the Alzheimer's drugs Aricept and Excelon, because they claim there is not enough evidence for their effectiveness; all this in spite of the worldwide research indicating that they are beneficial. I would like to table a few of those studies. I know the minister has been speaking with the Alzheimer's Society regarding these treatments. My question to the minister is, will the minister agree here today that the evidence is growing in support of the effectiveness of these two drugs?

HON. JAMES MUIR: The decision on the evidence as to whether to include a particular drug on the formulary or not is made by the Formulary Management Committee. They are the ones who judge that evidence and decide whether it is sufficient in terms of the efficacy of the drugs proposed compared to others that may be available, whether it would represent good value to include a particular drug on the formulary.

DR. SMITH: The minister has some discretion there as to what will be approved by the government. It is impossible to deny that the evidence is growing, it is simply overwhelming. That is why, in fact, most provinces in Canada already have approved the

[Page 1093]

drug under their own formularies. But the minister and his colleagues - now he has joined up with the Atlantic Health Ministers - seem to be circling their wagons for support against this. My question to the minister is, why is the minister more committed to some philosophical approach to Atlantic co-operation than he is to the quality of life of our Nova Scotians with Alzheimer's disease?

MR. MUIR: The formulary committee which has experts on it - family doctors, geriatricians, pharmacists, drug information specialists and others - has, in their opinion, determined that there is not sufficient evidence at this time to include Aricept on the approved formulary. There is another drug, Excelon, which was reviewed over some period of time, the same conclusion was reached and, at that time, the evidence on Aricept was reviewed again.

DR. SMITH: There is growing evidence that the stress on the caregivers for Alzheimer's patients adds enormous costs to the health care system. I want to mention in my question about the input into the formulary. Can the minister tell us if the evidence on caregiver burden is included in any of the evaluations of the new Alzheimer's drugs? I did include Aricept and Excelon in my first question, Mr. Speaker.

MR. MUIR: I am sorry. I apologize to the honourable member, I did not hear his reference to Excelon.

The Formulary Management Committee reviews the evidence related to the clinical efficacy of these products. We have approximately 3,500 medications on that formulary and we spend about $170 million a year on drug programs. If the evidence is strong enough in the opinion of the formulary committee to include Aricept and Excelon, I am sure they will make that recommendation.

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

SYSCO: DISMANTLING - JUSTIFY

MR. FRANK CORBETT: The Premier promised steelworkers they would be taken care of. The minister promised steelworkers they would be treated fairly. Well, Mr. Speaker, this government has misled and failed steelworkers at every turn. Now they are playing the fast track to shut down and dismantle Sydney Steel. Rather than give jobs a chance, this government wants to sell Sysco for scrap. I want to ask the minister responsible, why is your government fast-tracking the dismantling of Sysco and closing the door on future employment for steelworkers in that area?

HON. GORDON BALSER: This government undertook to find a private sector operator who would acquire that facility and continue to run it into the future. Unfortunately, that was not possible. We, on two occasions, tried to sell the plant. It didn't work out. The

[Page 1094]

steel market globally is depressed. We are taking the only other prudent course of action which is to begin a process to decommission the plant and liquidate the assets.

MR. CORBETT: Mr. Speaker, we know they took that advice from Ernst & Young and told them that the company they proposed would be a hedge against these prices. We know that was a failure but CBRM has made it known that they want to buy the Sysco wharf. It could play an important role in the plans to develop Sydney Harbour, especially as the offshore oil and gas becomes apparent in that area. To date, this government has refused to support CBRM's offer. I want to ask the minister directly, will he quit the political doublespeak and say here today, once and for all, that his government supports CBRM taking over that wharf with all its facilities and support them today? No more doublespeak, Mr. Minister. Do you support CBRM's offer on that wharf?

MR. BALSER: Mr. Speaker, certainly we recognize the wharf and all those pieces of the facility are important, but what we have to do is review the proposal to determine what is the best course of action. At this point, that hasn't been completed. Once it is done, then we will announce how we move forward.

MR. CORBETT: Mr. Speaker, it is obvious he doesn't support CBRM's bid. Obviously he wants to support his other friends in big business. This government won't give Cape Bretoners a chance to keep working by selling Sysco one piece at a time. It won't let Cape Bretoners get any possible benefits from selling off the assets. I want to ask the minister to answer to Cape Bretoners, will you admit that you have deliberately steered the whole process toward a shutdown and fire sale and that you and your government promised to shut down to look good in Halifax and the heck with Cape Bretoners?

MR. BALSER: Mr. Speaker, I would remind the member opposite that there is a 30 year history of association between Sydney Steel and the Province of Nova Scotia. There have been six failed attempts to find a private sector operator. With a depressed global steel market, it is just not practical to try to continue to hold forth a dream that is impossible.

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

TRANSPORT. & PUB. WKS. - FIVE ISLAND LAKE:

CLEANUP - STATUS

MR. RUSSELL MACKINNON: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Transportation and Public Works with regard to the Five Island Lake watershed. Last November, when questioned in Question Period, the minister wasn't familiar with that particular project, according to Hansard anyway. I would ask the minister, given the fact that it is on the agenda to be cleaned up, would the minister be kind enough to apprise all members of the House as to what the status of this particular project is, particularly for the benefit of the community liaison committee that is quite curious as to what the status is?

[Page 1095]

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, on the contrary. I was well aware of the Five Island Lake project when I was in the Department of the Environment, before I even got to Transportation and Public Works. That project is coming to its conclusion. There has been a very successful arrangement between a local committee and the government to achieve remediation of an area that was badly contaminated.

MR. MACKINNON: Mr. Speaker, the fact of the matter is that the dredging of the north bay is certainly behind schedule, as I understand. It was supposed to have been completed last fall and the waste trucked to Quebec over the winter for destruction. Will the minister please apprise all members of the House by what date the north bay dredging will be completed?

MR. RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, the honourable member for Timberlea-Prospect, who represents that area so well, I am sure, could advise the honourable member that it is right on the timeline and we have money in the estimates this year to complete the project. The only thing that will be remaining to be looked after will be the containers that we have in Jake's junkyard, or whatever it is called, and some of that will have to go to Quebec for disposal and some of it will be going into the landfill.

[11:15 a.m.]

MR. MACKINNON: Mr. Speaker, the community liaison committee, they don't bother with that honourable member too much these days because they are practical-thinking people and they want the issue addressed. The fact of the matter is, over $6 million (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

MR. MACKINNON: Mr. Speaker, over $6 million of public money has gone towards this cleanup, which has been running behind schedule since the minister took over, quite frankly. This year the government proposes to devote $3.1 million for the cleanup. My question is, what assurances can the minister offer the community liaison committee and the public that this sum is sufficient to get the project back on track and to make up for lost time?

MR. RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, I don't know what kind of a world this gentleman is living in but (Laughter) In all sincerity, your home is a long way away from Five Island Lake. I would suggest that he drive out and take a look. The project is not behind, it is coming along quite well. The liaison committee is quite satisfied with the project, and we have sufficient money to finish this year.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Fairview.

[Page 1096]

EDUC. - HFX. WEST HS/J.L. ILSLEY HS:

SPLIT-SHIFTING - SOLUTION ACTION

MR. GRAHAM STEELE: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister of Education. Last week in debate on the Education estimates and in response to my colleague, the member for Halifax Atlantic, the minister made a commitment to meet with parents from J.L. Ilsley High School who are concerned about the effect of split-shifting on their children. They have legitimate concerns about the health, social and academic effect of split-shifting on their children. The Halifax West High School parents also have a legitimate concern, they want their children to attend classes in a healthy environment while also respecting the students' health, social and academic best interests.

My question to the minister is, you are responsible for the quality of education in Nova Scotia, what immediate steps will you take to bring together the parents, teachers, students and administrators to work out a solution to this very difficult situation?

HON. JANE PURVES: Mr. Speaker, yes, I did agree to meet with the parents' group from J.L. Ilsley and I will do that. The responsibility for relieving this situation and/or taking alternative steps for the kids is up to the Halifax Regional School Board and the school population. I will be in touch with the school board to make sure that process is ongoing, and I will try to do anything I can to help should there be a problem. But I do believe that the processes that we have in place usually work and I would prefer to let people do the jobs they are elected to do before I start interfering.

MR. STEELE: Mr. Speaker, both sets of parents want nothing more, nothing less than a high-quality education for their children, but with each passing day tensions are increasing and reconciliation is becoming more difficult. There is an opportunity here for the province to show leadership, the province has a duty to get involved with conciliation, with resources, with ideas. This is not a time for the minister to shrug her shoulders and say it is not her concern. What commitment is the minister prepared to make today to get involved to find a constructive solution to this very difficult situation?

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Education, you have about five seconds.

MISS PURVES: Mr. Speaker, is the member suggesting that we move all the students to different schools?

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

GOVERNMENT BUSINESS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

[Page 1097]

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

GOVERNMENT MOTIONS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Resolution No. 420.

Res. No. 420, Environ. & Lbr. - Fire Safety: Select Comm. - Establishment - notice given Apr. 11/01 - (Hon. D. Morse)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Environment and Labour.

HON. DAVID MORSE: Mr. Speaker, I request waiver and passage without debate.

MR. SPEAKER: There has been a request waiver.

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

MR. RUSSELL MACKINNON: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. My concern is, and I have to raise this issue because it is paramount to what is transpiring here today. If that is the wish of the government, they have the majority and that is the will of the House. But I am quite concerned about the fact that the minister has this document in his possession and he is going to delay it, that could end up for at least another two year delay, this new fire prevention bill.

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

There has been a request for waiver.

MR. JOHN HOLM: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order. My understanding is that the resolution has to do with the setting up of the select committee, nothing to do with the previous one. I understood that all caucuses, we certainly had agreed in advance to the waiving of notice on that.

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

Is it agreed?

[Page 1098]

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Government House Leader.

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

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is carried.

[11:21 a.m. The House resolved itself into a CWH on Supply with Deputy Speaker Mr. Brooke Taylor in the Chair.]

[3:27 p.m. CWH on Supply rose and the House reconvened. Mr. Speaker, Hon. Murray Scott, resumed the Chair.]

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

THE CLERK: That the committee has met and made considerable progress and begs leave to sit again.

MR. SPEAKER: Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, I move that the House do now rise to meet again on Tuesday at the hour of 2:00 p.m. The House will sit from 2:00 p.m. until 10:00 p.m. Following the daily routine we will go into Question Period and then into estimates and following estimates, we will go on to the bill that replaces Bill No. 11, that is Bill No. 30, the Financial Measures (2001) Act that was introduced today.

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

The motion is carried.

[Page 1099]

I wish all members a happy and safe Easter weekend with your families and we will see you on Tuesday at 2:00 p.m.

[The House rose at 3:29 p.m.]