The Nova Scotia Legislature

The House resumed on:
September 21, 2017.

HANSARD 01/02-96

















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/legislature/hansard/



Annual subscriptions available from the Office of the Speaker.





Second Session



WEDNESDAY, MAY 1, 2002





TABLE OF CONTENTS PAGE
SPEAKER'S RULING: Attachment of condition of concurrence to standing
committee report. (Pt. of Priv. by Mr. G. Steele [Hansard p.9112]) 9239
PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS:
Child Poverty - Awareness/Action, Mr. J. MacDonell 9240
Sunday Shopping - Oppose, Mr. C. Clarke 9241
TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS:
Econ. Dev. - Alternative Procurement Practices, Hon. G. Balser 9241
GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 3559, CAF: Service - Salute, The Premier 9241
Vote - Affirmative 9242
Res. 3560, Serv. N.S. & Mun. Rel.: Motorcycle Awareness Mo. (04/02) -
Proclaim, Hon. A. MacIsaac 9242
Vote - Affirmative 9243
Res. 3561, Tourism & Culture - Cultural Ind. Prog.: Participants -
Congrats., (by Hon. P. Christie) Hon. Rodney MacDonald 9243
Vote - Affirmative 9243
NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 3562, Ins. Costs - PC/Liberals: Priv./Pub. - Compare, Mr. D. Dexter 9244
Res. 3563, Googoo, Mr. Francis: Death of - Tribute, Mr. K. MacAskill 9244
Vote - Affirmative 9245
Res. 3564, Miles, Johnny - UCCB: Honorary Deg. - Congrats.,
Mr. C. Clarke 9245
Vote - Affirmative 9246
Res. 3565, N.S. Citizen's Health Care Network - "Save Medicare -
Keep it Public": Launch - Congrats., Ms. Maureen MacDonald 9246
Vote - Affirmative 9246
Res. 3566, Sports - Clare Acadiens Bantam B Hockey Team:
SEDMHA Tournament - Congrats., Mr. W. Gaudet 9247
Vote - Affirmative 9247
Res. 3567, Sports - Hfx. Oland Exports: Fred Page Cup - Congrats.,
Mr. D. Hendsbee 9248
Vote - Affirmative 9248
Res. 3568, Harrie, Jacob - Afghanistan: Service - Congrats.,
Mr. W. Estabrooks 9248
Vote - Affirmative 9249
Res. 3569, Gaudet, Reanne: Atl. Youth Bowling Championships -
Congrats., Mr. W. Gaudet 9249
Vote - Affirmative 9250
Res. 3570, Health - Reaching New Heights in Health: Fundraising
Campaign - Commend, Mr. T. Olive 9250
Vote - Affirmative 9251
SPEAKER'S RULING: Unparliamentary comment in French.
(Pt. of order by Hon. N. LeBlanc [Hansard p.9095]) 9251
NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 3571, StoraEnso (Pt. Hawkesbury): Environ. Award - Congrats.,
Mr. M. Samson 9251
Vote - Affirmative 9252
Res. 3572, Agric. - N.S. Apple Farmers/Farmers: Best Wishes -
Extend, Mr. M. Parent 9252
Vote - Affirmative 9253
Res. 3573, MSVU - Can. Instit. Of Health Research: Grants - Congrats.,
Ms. M. McGrath 9253
Vote - Affirmative 9254
Res. 3574, Noblet, Christian Edward - Soc. of Fundraising Executives:
Philanthropy Award - Congrats., Hon. M. Baker 9254
Vote - Affirmative 9254
Res. 3575, St. Joseph's Elem. - CD: Particpants - Congrats.,
Mr. C. Clarke 9255
Vote - Affirmative 9255
Res. 3576, Greaves, Daniel: Heroism - Commend, Mr. W. Langille 9255
Vote - Affirmative 9256
Affirmative 9257
Res. 3578, Arseneau, Mike/Hilden Fire Brigade: Commun. Support -
Recognize, Mr. B. Taylor 9257
Vote - Affirmative 9258
Res. 3579, CEC - Reach for the Top Team: Prov. Title - Congrats.,
Hon. J. Muir 9258
Vote - Affirmative 9258
Res. 3580, Sports - Antigonish Bantam AA Bulldogs Hockey Team:
Championship Season - Congrats., Hon. A. MacIsaac 9258
Vote - Affirmative 9259
Res. 3581, Little, Linda - Raddall Atl. Fiction Award: Nomination -
Congrats., (by Mr. J. Carey) Mrs. M. Baillie 9259
Vote - Affirmative 9260
PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES:
Select Committee on Establishing an Electoral Boundaries Commission:
Report - Amendment, Hon. M. Baker 9261
ORAL QUESTIONS PUT BY MEMBERS:
No. 963, Educ. - Tuition Increases: Students - Effects, Mr. D. Dexter 9261
No. 964, Educ. - Tuition Increases: Control - Plan, Mr. M. Samson 9262
No. 965, Health - Commun. Hospitals: Physician Incentives -
Cutoffs Explain, Mr. F. Corbett 9264
No. 966, Tourism & Culture - Retail Bus. Case Analysis:
Time Frame - Explain, Mr. D. Downe 9265
No. 967, Tourism & Culture - Museum Gift Shops: Privatization -
Explain, Mr. Robert Chisholm 9266
No. 968, Health: Youth Health Centres - Retain, Mr. W. Gaudet 9268
No. 969, Premier - Polling Companies: Costs - Explain, Mr. J. Holm 9269
No. 970, Educ. - Daycare Services (HS): Funding - Details,
Mr. D. Wilson 9270
No. 971, Premier - Martin, Roland: Suitability - Determination Explain,
Mr. J. Holm 9271
No. 972, Health - Smoking Cessation: Programs - Details, Dr. J. Smith 9273
No. 973, Agric. & Fish.: ADI - Accountability, Mr. J. MacDonell 9274
No. 974, Health - Smoke-Free For Life: Curriculum - Mandatory,
Mr. M. Samson 9275
No. 975, Agric. & Fish. - ADI: Freedom of Info. Request -
Denial Explain, Mr. J. MacDonell 9276
No. 976, Environ. & Lbr.: Kyoto Agreement - Stance, Mr. R. MacKinnon 9277
No. 977, Nat. Res. - Campgrounds: Hours of Operation - Strategy,
Mr. J. MacDonell 9278
No. 978, Transport. & Pub. Wks. - Comm. Vehicle Reg.: Increase -
Justify, Mr. P. MacEwan 9280
No. 979, Premier - Min. Wage: Increase - Details, Mr. F. Corbett 9281
Harrietsfield: Disposal Site -
Assessment Ensure, Mr. Robert Chisholm 9284
No. 982, Gov't. (N.S.): Ins. Increases - Plans, Mr. B. Boudreau 9286
No. 983, Housing - Low-Income: Affordability - Address, Mr. J. Pye 9287
No. 984, Tourism & Culture - Ind.: Growth - Methods, Mr. D. Downe 9288
OPPOSITION MEMBERS' BUSINESS:
MOTIONS OTHER THAN GOVERNMENT MOTIONS:
Res. 3321, Ins. Rates - Gov't. (N.S.): Plans - Reveal,
Mr. B. Boudreau 9289
Mr. B. Boudreau 9289
Hon. D. Morse 9293
Mr. J. Chataway 9295
Mr. F. Corbett 9296
Mr. D. Dexter 9297
Mr. R. MacKinnon 9299
Res. 2828, Gov't. (N.S.) - Health Care: Election Promises -
Fulfill, Dr. J. Smith 9303
Dr. J. Smith 9303
Hon. J. Muir 9307
Ms. Maureen MacDonald 9310
Mr. D. Downe 9313
ADJOURNMENT:
MOTION UNDER RULE 5(5):
Econ. Dev. - Queens Co.: Co-Operative Efforts - Commend:
Mr. K. Morash 9318
Mr. D. Dexter 9321
Mr. R. MacKinnon 9325
ADJOURNMENT, House rose to meet again on Thur., May 2nd at 12:00 noon 9327
NOTICES OF MOTION UNDER RULE 32(3):
Res. 3582, CBDC - Career Opportunity Ctrs.: Success - Recognize,
Mr. C. Clarke 9328
Res. 3583, White, Marie - Anna. Co. Vol. Roll: Nomination - Congrats.,
Mr. F. Chipman 9328
Res. 3584, Shaffner, Paul - Anna. Co. Vol. Roll: Nomination - Congrats.,
Mr. F. Chipman 9329
Res. 3585, Robar, Shelley - Anna. Co. Vol. Roll: Nomination - Congrats.,
Mr. F. Chipman 9329
Res. 3586, Rafuse, Betty - Anna. Co. Vol. Roll: Nomination - Congrats.,
Mr. F. Chipman 9330
Res. 3587, Potter, Roxy - Anna. Co. Vol. Roll: Nomination - Congrats.,
Mr. F. Chipman 9330
Res. 3588, Potter, Betty - Anna. Co. Vol. Roll: Nomination - Congrats.,
Mr. F. Chipman 9331
Congrats.,
Mr. F. Chipman 9331
Res. 3590, Moore, Douglas - Anna. Co. Vol. Roll: Nomination -
Congrats., Mr. F. Chipman 9332
Res. 3591, Montgomerie, John - Anna. Co. Vol. Roll: Nomination -
Congrats., Mr. F. Chipman 9332
Res. 3592, McIsaac, Darlene - Anna. Co. Vol. Roll: Nomination -
Congrats., Mr. F. Chipman 9333
Res. 3593, McConnell, Ann - Anna. Co. Vol. Roll: Nomination -
Congrats., Mr. F. Chipman 9333
Res. 3594, McCabe, Nancy - Anna. Co. Vol. Roll: Nomination -
Congrats., Mr. F. Chipman 9334
Res. 3595, Mailman, Brenda - Anna. Co. Vol. Roll: Nomination -
Congrats., Mr. F. Chipman 9334
Res. 3596, Langille, Glenn A. - Anna. Co. Vol. Roll: Nomination -
Congrats., Mr. F. Chipman 9335
Res. 3597, Irving, Steve - Anna. Co. Vol. Roll: Nomination - Congrats.,
Mr. F. Chipman 9335
Res. 3598, Hudgins, Wendy - Anna. Co. Vol. Roll: Nomination - Congrats.,
Mr. F. Chipman 9336
Res. 3599, Hill, Nita - Anna. Co. Vol. Roll: Nomination - Congrats.,
Mr. F. Chipman 9336
Res. 3600, Hawes, Mildred - Anna. Co. Vol. Roll: Nomination - Congrats.,
Mr. F. Chipman 9337
Res. 3601, Harris, Heather - Anna. Co. Vol. Roll: Nomination - Congrats.,
Mr. F. Chipman 9337
Res. 3602, Hannam, Mary - Anna. Co. Vol. Roll: Nomination - Congrats.,
Mr. F. Chipman 9338
Res. 3603, Hall, Roy - Anna. Co. Vol. Roll: Nomination - Congrats.,
Mr. F. Chipman 9338
Res. 3604, Goucher, Irvin E. - Anna. Co. Vol. Roll: Nomination - Congrats.,
Mr. F. Chipman 9339
Res. 3605, Francis, Velda - Anna. Co. Vol. Roll: Nomination - Congrats.,
Mr. F. Chipman 9339
Res. 3606, Fralic, Murray - Anna. Co. Vol. Roll: Nomination - Congrats.,
Mr. F. Chipman 9340
Res. 3607, Ford, Roderick - Anna. Co. Vol. Roll: Nomination - Congrats.,
Mr. F. Chipman 9340
Res. 3608, Eisner, Donna - Anna. Co. Vol. Roll: Nomination - Congrats.,
Mr. F. Chipman 9341
Res. 3609, Donaldson, Bob - Anna. Co. Vol. Roll: Nomination - Congrats.,
Mr. F. Chipman 9341
Res. 3610, Crouse, Carol - Anna. Co. Vol. Roll: Nomination - Congrats.,
Mr. F. Chipman 9342
Res. 3611, Cross, Darlene - Anna. Co. Vol. Roll: Nomination - Congrats.,
Congrats.,
Mr. F. Chipman 9343
Res. 3613, Charlton, Heather - Anna. Co. Vol. Roll: Nomination - Congrats.,
Mr. F. Chipman 9343
Res. 3614, Callanan, Anne - Anna. Co. Vol. Roll: Nomination - Congrats.,
Mr. F. Chipman 9344
Res. 3615, Burke, Theresa - Anna. Co. Vol. Roll: Nomination - Congrats.,
Mr. F. Chipman 9344
Res. 3616, Blades, Carl - Anna. Co. Vol. Roll: Nomination - Congrats.,
Mr. F. Chipman 9345
Res. 3617, Berry, Janet - Anna. Co. Vol. Roll: Nomination - Congrats.,
Mr. F. Chipman 9345
Res. 3618, Barteaux, Audrey Evangeline - Anna. Co. Vol. Roll:
Nomination - Congrats., Mr. F. Chipman 9346
Res. 3619, Barker, Chris - Anna. Co. Vol. Roll: Nomination - Congrats.,
Mr. F. Chipman 9346
Res. 3620, Miles, Johnny - UCCB: Honorary Deg. - Congrats.,
Hon. Rodney MacDonald 9347

[Page 9239]

HALIFAX, WEDNESDAY, MAY 1, 2002

Fifty-eighth General Assembly

Second Session

2:00 P.M.

SPEAKER

Hon. Murray Scott

DEPUTY SPEAKERS

Mr. Brooke Taylor, Mr. Jerry Pye, 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 commend the co-operative efforts between all levels of government and the private sector in attracting economic development to Queens County.

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

SPEAKER'S RULING: Attachment of Condition of Concurrence to Standing Committee Report. (Pt. of Priv. by Mr. G. Steele [Hansard p.9112])

MR. SPEAKER: At this time, I would like to give a ruling on a subject that has been brought before the House. On Tuesday, April 30, 2002, the honourable member for Halifax Fairview rose on a point of privilege. The member stated that at the Standing Committee on Human Resources he was denied the ability to attach a condition of concurrence to the annual report as prepared by the Human Resources Committee. The member felt that as past practice had indicated, that his privilege as a member was being breached by not allowing this practice to continue.

9239

[Page 9240]

As Speaker, it is my duty to determine whether in fact there is a prima facie case for breach of privilege. While there have been situations in the past where the committee has allowed attachments to reports by minority members, it appears to have been done so with the agreement of the committee. In the House of Commons, according to Chapter 10, Section 159, Standing Order 108(1)(a), "Standing committees are permitted to '. . . report from time to time and to print a brief appendix to any report, after the signature of the Chairman containing such opinions or recommendations, dissenting from the report or supplementary to it, as may be proposed by committee members . . .' Such material is only appended following the adoption of a motion to do so by the committee prior to the presentation of the report to the House."

It goes on to state further, "Any dissenting or supplementary opinions which the committee has agreed to attach appear after the Chair's signature." In Chapter 20 it states further, "Where one or several members of a standing committee are in disagreement with the committee's report or wish to make supplementary comments, the committee may decide to append such opinions to the report, after the signature of the Chair. Dissenting or supplementary opinions may be presented by any member of a committee. Although committees have the power to append these opinions to their reports, they are not obligated to do so." The committee has the right to make the decisions on its own.

I believe it is clear in the federal rules, while it is not very clear in our own, that a committee has the option to append comments of any of its members, however it is not obligated to do so and the committee has the right to make that decision on its own.

Based on this, I am ruling that there is not a breach of privilege as brought forward by the honourable member for Halifax Fairview but according to Rule 61.2 of our Rules and Forms of Procedure, "All decisions of the committee may be appealed to the House and such appeal shall be dealt with without debate."

We will begin the daily routine.

PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Hants East.

MR. JOHN MACDONELL: Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to table a petition with 28 signatures, that's including my own, regarding "Child Poverty: A Million Broken Promises" campaign of awareness and action. The first signature is Rev. Dr. Kate Crawford. My signature is there in support.

MR. SPEAKER: The petition is tabled.

[Page 9241]

The honourable member for Cape Breton North.

MR. CECIL CLARKE: Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to table a petition from members of the St. Matthew Wesley United Church in North Sydney. There are 113 signatories to this petition. In essence, it's saying no to Sunday shopping, and I have affixed my signature.

MR. SPEAKER: The petition is tabled.

PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES

TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Economic Development.

HON. GORDON BALSER: Mr. Speaker, yesterday during Question Period there was a request made of the Premier to supply the information related to the alternative procurement practices. I will do that now.

MR. SPEAKER: The documents are tabled.

STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS

GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Premier.

RESOLUTION NO. 3559

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

Whereas while all Nova Scotians happily saluted the return of the naval ships that departed to the Arabian Sea in the Fall of 2001, we are still awaiting the safe return of HMCS Toronto; and

Whereas HMCS Toronto will soon be joined in the fight against terrorism by HMCS St. John's, which left this morning; and

Whereas the crew of 240 will be sadly missed by family and friends;

[Page 9242]

Therefore be it resolved that, once again, members of this Legislature salute the brave members of our military who are willing to place themselves in harm's way and sacrifice time from their loved ones to serve our country. We wish them, also, a safe and speedy return.

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. 3560

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

Whereas it is estimated that we have more than 10,000 motorcycle enthusiasts in our province; and

Whereas 800 to 1,000 new motorcyclists learn to ride responsibly every year, through the efforts of the Nova Scotia Safety Council; and

Whereas motor vehicle mishaps are one of the leading causes of death and injury for the youth of Nova Scotia;

Therefore be it resolved that this House proclaim the month of May to be Motorcycle Awareness Month and urge all citizens to take part in observances designed to increase awareness and understanding of motorcycle safety.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

[Page 9243]

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 Community Services.

RESOLUTION NO. 3561

HON. PETER CHRISTIE: Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the Minister of Tourism and Culture, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas 27 cultural organizations will receive support under the Cultural Industries program for the February 15, 2002 deadline; and

Whereas over $213,000 will support projects across the province, with four in Cape Breton, eight in southern Nova Scotia, one in northern Nova Scotia, 10 in the Halifax Regional Municipality, and four that are provincial in scope; and

Whereas these investments will help organizations such as Mermaid Theatre, Jest in Time Theatre and SeaCape Publishing promote their activities, open new markets and increase sales;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate these 27 organizations for their hard work and dedication to growing arts and culture in this province.

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.

INTRODUCTION OF BILLS

[Page 9244]

NOTICES OF MOTION

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Official Opposition.

RESOLUTION NO. 3562

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

Whereas Saskatchewan motorists were just awarded a $16 million reduction in their auto insurance premiums as a reward for safe driving; and

Whereas the reduced premiums will be enjoyed by the majority of drivers because at least 60 per cent of all drivers have a safe driving record; and

Whereas in this province, private insurance companies have increased premiums dramatically for thousands of safe drivers, particularly targeting older drivers with a good record;

Therefore be it resolved that Conservatives and Liberals who argue in favour of privatization and deregulation as their economic cure-all should compare the rising costs of private insurance with the low and reduced costs of public insurance.

[2:15 p.m.]

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Victoria.

RESOLUTION NO. 3563

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

Whereas 76-year-old Mr. Francis Googoo of Wagmatcook, better known as Big Francis, passed away on April 29, 2002; and

Whereas Mr. Googoo was employed as a hunting and fishing guide, as well as with the construction of Highway No. 105; and

Whereas Mr. Googoo was a devoted husband, father and grandfather and a friend to many;

[Page 9245]

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House of Assembly express their sympathies to the family and friends of Mr. Francis Googoo and recognize his many contributions to the community of Wagmatcook.

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 North.

RESOLUTION NO. 3564

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

Whereas in a world that often seems sort on heros, Sydney Mines native Johnny Miles stands out as a bonafide sports legend and is the oldest living two-time winner of the Boston Marathon; and

Whereas the athletic feats of Mr. Miles are remembered in Nova Scotia with the Johnny Miles Marathon, the most prestigious full marathon in Nova Scotia; the Johnny Miles Foundation in New Glasgow that provides an endowment to the UCCB each year; and the Johnny Miles Scholarship Fund that provides awards to two UCCB students who excel in the study of sports; and

Whereas in recognition of his remarkable legacy, the University College of Cape Breton conferred the degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa, on Mr. Miles yesterday at his home in Hamilton, Ontario;

Therefore be it resolved that MLAs congratulate Mr. Miles upon receiving his honorary Doctor of Laws from President Dr. Jackie Scott and Chancellor John McLennan and recognize him for his amazing sporting legacy.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

[Page 9246]

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. 3565

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

Whereas today marks the launch of the Nova Scotia Citizens' Health Care Network's Save Medicare - Keep it Public campaign; and

Whereas the network is made up of health care unions, retired persons' groups and a wide array of other citizens groups who want Medicare maintained as a public and universally accessible service; and

Whereas the network's activities are part of a massive, country-wide undertaking that will involve thousands of volunteers over the next two weeks;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate the Nova Scotia Citizens' Health Care Network on the launch of its campaign, Save Medicare - Keep it Public, and wish them every success over the next two weeks.

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 9247]

The honourable member for Dartmouth North on an introduction.

MR. JERRY PYE: Thank you, kindly, Mr. Speaker. I want to thank the Legislature for giving me the chance to rise on this introduction. In the west gallery are the Grade 9 students of John Martin Junior High. They are here with their teacher Melinda Daye, who in fact is the daughter of the late Buddy Daye, the first African-Canadian Sergeant-at-Arms; Mr. Jim Hickman their teacher; and Librarian Lana Pinsky. I would like them all to stand and receive the very warm welcome of this House. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: I certainly welcome our special guests to the gallery today and hope they enjoy the proceedings.

The honourable Leader in the House of the Liberal Party.

RESOLUTION NO. 3566

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 Clare Acadiens Bantam B team participated in the SEDMHA International Minor Hockey Tournament in Dartmouth from April 4 to April 7, 2002; and

Whereas the team played against East Hants in the Civic Division final; and

Whereas the SEDMHA International Hockey Tournament is one of the largest and most respected multi-level minor hockey tournaments in North America;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House of Assembly congratulate the Clare Acadiens Bantam B team and their coaches for winning the Civic Division final during the 25th Annual SEDMHA International Minor Hockey Tournament.

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 9248]

The honourable member for Preston.

RESOLUTION NO. 3567

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

Whereas the Halifax Oland Exports pulled a 4-3 victory in the Fred Page Cup Eastern Canadian Junior A hockey final over the Ottawa Junior Senators; and

Whereas the win, obtained by a late goal from the Exports, secured the team's advancement to the Royal Bank Cup that is being held in Halifax in mid-May; and

Whereas not only will the Exports be hosting the Royal Bank Cup this year, they will also be defending the championship title;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate the Halifax Oland Exports on the Fred Page Cup victory and wish them the best of luck in defending their title in the Royal Bank Cup.

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. 3568

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

Whereas Jacob Harrie is a graduate of Sir John A. Macdonald High School, of the class of 1998; and

[Page 9249]

Whereas Jacob, a resident of White's Lake, is currently serving in Afghanistan with the Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry; and

Whereas Jacob Harrie's achievements are exemplary for our community and our province;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate Jacob Harrie of White's Lake and all of our Armed Forces serving in Afghanistan with best wishes for a safe and speedy return to our shores.

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 in the House of the Liberal Party.

RESOLUTION NO. 3569

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 Atlantic Youth Bowling Nova Scotia Provincial Championship was held at the Heather Bowling Lanes in Sydney on March 30, 2002; and

Whereas Reanne Gaudet of Concession participated in this provincial competition, representing the Acadian Lanes in Little Brook; and

Whereas 11-year-old Reanne Gaudet of Clare won third place in the Bantam Girls Singles;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House of Assembly congratulate Reanne Gaudet on capturing third place at the Atlantic Youth Bowling Nova Scotia Provincial Championship and wish her continued success and best wishes in all her future endeavours.

[Page 9250]

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. 3570

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 General Hospital Foundation has embarked on a $4.4 million major fundraising campaign called Reaching New Heights in Health in support of the 47,000 square foot expansion of its emergency department; and

Whereas the already successful campaign, under the chairmanship of Mr. Neville Gilfoy, has raised in excess of $2.2 million toward the $11.7 million project; and

Whereas the Nova Scotia Department of Health has committed $7.3 million to this new facility in support of the health care needs of the residents of Dartmouth and the surrounding area;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the Legislature commend and encourage the campaign chairman and the volunteers on the Reaching New Heights in Health fundraising campaign on their efforts to ensure a continuation of quality and sustainable health care for the citizens of Dartmouth and the greater Capital District Health Authority.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

[Page 9251]

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

The motion is carried.

SPEAKER'S RULING: Unparliamentary comment in French. (Pt. of Order by Hon. N. LeBlanc [Hansard p.9095])

MR. SPEAKER: Just before I recognize the honourable member for Richmond, on Monday evening the honourable Minister of Health rose on a point of order. (Interruption) I'm sorry, the honourable Minister of Finance; I was just seeing if you're paying attention today. The honourable Minister of Finance rose on a point of order. The honourable member for Richmond, during his debate, in his language, French, according to the Minister of Finance, made a comment that he felt was unparliamentary.

The following morning, I had staff in Legislative Services transcribe in English the comments made by the honourable member for Richmond, and I do find that what the honourable member for Richmond said was very unparliamentary. I will now ask the honourable member for Richmond to rise in his place and apologize for his comments from the other evening.

The honourable member for Richmond.

MR. MICHEL SAMSON: Mr. Speaker, I certainly appreciate your ruling. As I said that evening, I would wait to see what your ruling was. Certainly my comments at the time of the heated debate were to talk of the effect of government cuts and not to refer a specific act; therefore, if you have found that it was unparliamentary language, I will certainly withdraw that.

J'apprécie votre décision aujourd'hui, M.Le Président. C'est certain que ce n'était pas mon intention de vouloir utiliser du langage n'étant pas respectueux de cette Chambre ou de ta position.

So with that, certainly, Mr. Speaker, I will withdraw the comment and offer my sincerest apologies to the House.

MR. SPEAKER: Thank you very much.

The honourable member for Richmond.

RESOLUTION NO. 3571

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

[Page 9252]

Whereas StoraEnso Port Hawkesbury has been named Environmental Business of the Year in Nova Scotia; and

Whereas the award was presented to the company for their efficient handling of waste material; and

Whereas located in Point Tupper, Richmond County, StoraEnso is home to PM 2, one of the world's largest and fastest supercalendered paper machines;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House of Assembly congratulate StoraEnso Port Hawkesbury and their hard-working workforce on their environmental award and recognize them as leaders in protecting our environment.

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. 3572

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

Whereas over the past several years, drought has devastated Valley crops and significantly reduced Nova Scotia's famous apple yields; and

Whereas apple trees have fared better this winter with new buds developing well, Nova Scotia's apple growers are feeling optimistic about the upcoming season; and

Whereas while spring frosts still pose a threat to the apple blossoms, water levels have returned to normal and farmers are getting set for a much more productive year;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House join me in wishing a moderate Spring for Nova Scotia's apple farmers and a good growing season.

[Page 9253]

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. 3573

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 Mount Saint Vincent University has received funding from the Canadian Institute of Health Research to study home care, family and child health, and aging; and

Whereas Hazel MacRae, a Mount professor in the Sociology and Anthropology department has received support from the Alzheimer's Society of Canada to examine the experience of people living with Alzheimer's and other illnesses; and

Whereas Janice Keefe, of the Mount's Family Studies and Gerontology Department and Katherine Side, of the Women's Studies Department, have each been awarded grants from the Canadian Institute of Health Research for their work on population and health issues;

Therefore be it resolved that this House acknowledge the importance of health-related research and congratulate Mount Saint Vincent University and its faculty, Hazel MacRae, Janice Keefe and Katherine Side, on securing these grants for the important research they have undertaken.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

[Page 9254]

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. 3574

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 Society of Fund Raising Executives of Nova Scotia is an organization representing 100 members from 60 not-for-profit organizations throughout Atlantic Canada; and

Whereas each year SFRE honours the many Atlantic Canadian individuals, small business, corporations and groups which make outstanding contributions of time and financial support to the community; and

Whereas the winner of the Atlantic Region Awards for Philanthropy were recently honoured at the 2002 conference and Christian Edward Noblet was recognized as outstanding individual philanthropist;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of the House congratulate Christian Edward Noblet for his award and recognize his contribution to the VON since 1987, and his tireless volunteer efforts and generosity.

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 North.

[Page 9255]

RESOLUTION NO. 3575

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

Whereas Voices of our Children; Melodies and Memories 2002 is a special CD that St. Joseph's Elementary in Sydney Mines has successfully produced; and

Whereas originally conceived as a fundraising project, the Voices of Our Children became much more as the recording process turned out to be a positive experience for everyone - a lesson in co-operation over competition and a real boost to students' self-esteem; and

Whereas Song for Peace, written by teacher Debra Murray, involved the entire student body and is the hallmark of the CD and recording process;

Therefore be it resolved that this House applaud Principal Dorothy Tennant along with the students and staff of St. Joseph's Elementary in Sydney Mines for this unique and memorable fundraising project.

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 Colchester North.

RESOLUTION NO. 3576

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

[2:30 p.m.]

Whereas Daniel Greaves of Manganese Mines, Colchester County, was recently presented with a bronze medal for bravery by the Royal Canadian Humane Association; and

[Page 9256]

Whereas the medal was for Mr. Greaves' heroic action at the scene of a warehouse fire in Northampton, New Brunswick on Remembrance Day, 1996; and

Whereas at the scene of the fire, Mr. Greaves first crawled 60 feet to safety by covering his head with a jacket before jumping on a forklift and driving back and forth along the main section of the warehouse inferno, leading between 40 to 50 people to safety by flipping on his lights and blowing the horn on the lift;

Therefore be it resolved that this House applaud the efforts of Mr. Greaves for thinking about the safety of others in a time of crisis.

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. 3577

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

Whereas the ninth annual Pictou Fishing and Outdoor Recreation Expo was recently held at the New Glasgow Stadium; and

Whereas the Pictou County Rivers Association played an integral role in the success of this year's expo; and

Whereas the Department of Natural Resources recognize the importance of such events and at the present time is using satellite-based technology to update the province's wetland inventory;

Therefore be it resolved that this House applaud the organizers of this year's Pictou Fishing and Outdoor Recreation Expo and wish them the best in their future endeavours.

[Page 9257]

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 Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley.

RESOLUTION NO. 3578

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 Hilden Fire Brigade held its 30th Anniversary recognition dinner and dance last Saturday evening at the fire hall; and

Whereas firefighters, like the true heroes that they really are, play a significant role in fire safety and can be called upon at a moment's notice to assist with an emergency in the community or surrounding areas; and

Whereas the Hilden Fire Brigade is also an integral part of firefighting operations in Colchester County as they supply mutual aid assistance whenever it is required;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this Legislative Assembly recognize the support offered by Chief Mike Arseneau and the Hilden Fire Brigade to their local community and wish them every success in this, their 30th year of operation.

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 9258]

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Health.

RESOLUTION NO. 3579

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 five member Reach for the Top team from Cobequid Educational Centre recently captured the provincial high school championship; and

Whereas the championship CEC team consists of students Tony Alexander, Matthieu Comeau, Ian Mallov, Stephen Tynes and Kelsi Parker; as well as Coaches Dianne Powell and Marion Retson, who are CEC teachers; and

Whereas this is the third time in four years that CEC has won the provincial high school title;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate the students and coaches of the 2002 CEC Reach for the Top team and wish them complete success in the national tournament in Edmonton.

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. 3580

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

[Page 9259]

Whereas the Antigonish Bantam AA Bulldogs recently won the Provincial AA Bantam championship; and

Whereas to become provincial hockey champions at any level, it takes perseverance, dedication and commitment; and

Whereas coaching also plays an integral role and the Bantam AA Bulldogs had Coaches Bill Garvie and John James Barter; along with Assistant Coaches Shawn MacKeen and Peter Barter; along with Manager Tom Bennett provide the necessary leadership and direction required for the players to be at the top of their game;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate the players and coaching team of the Antigonish Bantam AA Bulldogs on their 2001-02 championship season and wish them continued success with all 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 Kings West.

RESOLUTION NO. 3581

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

Whereas valued at $10,000, the Thomas Head Raddall Atlantic Fiction Award was established in 1990 by the Writer's Federation of Nova Scotia, with the Writer's Trust of Canada and is Atlantic Canada's largest prize for a novel writer; and

Whereas this year, Linda Little from River John has been nominated for her novel, Strong Hollow; and

Whereas this novel, a story of poverty and self-discovery, is also Little's first published work;

[Page 9260]

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House congratulate Linda Little on the honour of this nomination and wish her a long and successful writing career.

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.

MR. JOHN HOLM: Mr. Speaker, I indicated earlier that I wished to rise on a point of order. Earlier this afternoon the Minister responsible for the Petroleum Directorate kindly got up, thinking he was being helpful in providing me the information that I had requested yesterday. The information that he provided is basically the information that we had before.

What I had asked the Premier yesterday, and this had to do with the untendered contracts, and I will quote the very brief section in the Hansard. I said, "There is only one way that the government can legally give out hundreds of thousands of dollars of contracts untendered, that is if the Alternative Procurement Practice Report is completed and filed." That's a copy of the report, the Alternative Procurement Practice Report. The Premier indicated that he would, ". . . take the question under advisement in terms of the availability of the information the member opposite has requested."

Mr. Speaker, my point of order is what I requested has not yet been provided. I will send this across, a copy of the kind of report that has to be filed, to either the Premier or the minister responsible to file the report, because I am sure it was inadvertent that they didn't complete this, and have them file it today. I would ask you to request that they provide the actual information that was requested, not information that has already been ferreted out.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. Obviously, that's not a point of order. If I recall from yesterday, there was a volunteering to table information, which apparently was done by the honourable minister. There is a disagreement of the facts that it's been tabled.

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, could I have the agreement of the House to revert the order of business, Presenting Reports of Committees?

[Page 9261]

MR. SPEAKER: Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Justice.

HON. MICHAEL BAKER: Mr. Speaker, I am presenting this report in my capacity as Chairman of the Select Committee on Establishing an Electoral Boundaries Commission. This is an amendment to our report, which amends the date for filing the report, the final date, from May 30th to June 28th, and which deletes another reference in the committee's terms of reference.

MR. SPEAKER: The document is tabled.

ORDERS OF THE DAY

ORAL QUESTIONS PUT BY MEMBERS

MR. SPEAKER: Question Period will begin at 2:38 p.m. and will end at 4:08 p.m.

The honourable Leader of the Official Opposition.

EDUC. - TUITION INCREASES: STUDENTS - EFFECTS

MR. DARRELL DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Premier. Students at almost every university have been told to expect an 8 per cent increase in fees this year. That increase is a direct consequence of this government's decision to freeze university funding and to freeze the number of community college places. Now this issue is about who gets the opportunity of a higher education and whether the size of their family's wallet is the deciding factor. Can the Premier tell Nova Scotians why his government is using tuition fees to close the doors on students from families of modest means and on fixed incomes?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I would refer that to the Minister of Education.

HON. JANE PURVES: Mr. Speaker, I think the Leader of the Official Opposition has made at least an error or at least jumped the gun in saying students at universities everywhere are looking at an 8 per cent increase, because that is something that we have not heard. Students of modest means are well able to attend universities in Nova Scotia, student loans are available to students who do not have the financial wherewithal to attend university on their own.

[Page 9262]

MR. DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, it was the Premier himself who promised that Nova Scotians should have full access to higher education. I hope he will explain his broken promise here today. The Premier knows that students who come from other provinces, who have bursaries and loan remission programs don't have to borrow as much to pay tuition fees at Nova Scotia universities. Why has the Premier chosen to increase the debt for Nova Scotia students, instead of providing the full access that he has promised?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I refer that to the Minister of Education.

MISS. PURVES: Mr. Speaker, what this government has done this year in balancing the budget is one of the steps we are taking to ensure that all our institutions remain viable, that our province remains viable and that students in Nova Scotia will be able to attend higher education at whatever level they wish to pursue.

MR. DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, the minister just doesn't get it. The students that will be able to attend are those in the higher socio-economic groups, the wealthy. Those are the people who will be able to attend university. Arts tuition is already $700 higher in Nova Scotia than in any other province, yet this government plans to avoid spending one cent on loan remission before the next election. More students must mortgage their future or drop out, while the people who will benefit the most are the people who are going to receive the 10 per cent tax cut. That's the choice that this government has made. I want to ask the Premier, why won't your government bring back loan remission or start a bursary program now to give hard-working families and young people some hope that they can afford a higher education?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I refer that to the Minister of Education.

MISS PURVES: Mr. Speaker, a debt relief program for students was in our blue book. It is an election commitment. The Minister of Finance repeated that commitment in his Budget Address that year and that commitment will be kept.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Richmond.

EDUC. - TUITION INCREASES: CONTROL - PLAN

MR. MICHEL SAMSON: Mr. Speaker, tuition at most, if not all, Nova Scotia universities is rising this upcoming academic year. On top of that, available assistance for students will be $1 million less than it was last year. The minister has also told us that yet another year will go by before we see a student debt relief program for Nova Scotia university students. Statistics show that students from low income families are attending university at a much lower rate than those from middle and higher income families. My question to the Minister of Education is, what is the minister's plan for dealing with sky-rocketing tuition rates in Nova Scotia's universities?

[Page 9263]

HON. JANE PURVES: Mr. Speaker, tuition rates are rising in Nova Scotia. They are not sky-rocketing. They have risen pretty well every year in the 1990s. They rose highest under the funding cuts to universities of the previous government, which we had begun to address, but this year we provided stable funding.

MR. SAMSON: Mr. Speaker, university presidents warned the Minister of Education and this government that tuition rates would rise by 14 per cent if no additional funding was given to the universities. Given the fact that tuitions have not risen that dramatically as the presidents first anticipated, it makes it clear that Nova Scotia universities are doing their best to live with less funding from the government. My question, again to the minister is, why isn't the Minister of Education for the Province of Nova Scotia personally leading a campaign to control the increasing tuition rates in Nova Scotia's universities?

MISS PURVES: Mr. Speaker, post-secondary education is one of the most important things we can provide for our students, whether adult or whether younger people. We have given more money to our universities over the past two years. We've given more money to the community colleges. This year, we were unable to provide an increase to the universities, although we were able to provide monies to the community college. Our commitment to higher education is clear.

MR. SAMSON: Mr. Speaker, Nova Scotians know well that this province will not achieve the economic prosperity in the future that we all wish to see if we do not make strategic investments and make sure every Nova Scotian has access to our universities.

[2:45 p.m.]

My final supplementary to the Premier is, how can your government say that you are not limiting access to Nova Scotia universities when there is less money available for student assistance, tuition rates are going up and your government has not increased the cap on maximum student loans in this province?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I refer that to the Minister of Education.

MISS PURVES: Mr. Speaker, what the member opposite said is not true. There is not less money available for student assistance. Everyone who applies for a student loan, who is eligible for a student loan, will get a student loan.

[Page 9264]

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

HEALTH - COMMUN. HOSPITALS:

PHYSICIAN INCENTIVES - CUTOFFS EXPLAIN

MR. FRANK CORBETT: Mr. Speaker, this government is threatening the ability of community hospitals to attract and retain doctors. Recently, they are attempting to make any agreements between hospitals, communities and their doctors rendered null and void. The New Waterford Consolidated Hospital presently tops up doctors' hourly rates to work in the emergency departments. I want to ask the Minister of Health, why is his department cutting off the ability of community hospitals, such as New Waterford, to offer incentives to attract and retain physicians for their emergency departments?

HON. JAMES MUIR: Mr. Speaker, in the case of the New Waterford hospital, I don't think that is going to happen but the issue that he has put forth, he is referring to the Financial Measures (2002) Act, is that across the province, and it's not necessarily emergency room physicians, there are some really wild contracts out there, and the department, in conjunction with the Medical Society of Nova Scotia, thinks that we should get a handle on these so we can see where we are going to go in the future.

MR. CORBETT: Mr. Speaker, it's obvious this government is using a sledgehammer to kill an ant. They could easily have looked into individual contracts and he knows that. The New Waterford Consolidated Hospital is having enough trouble trying to attract and retain physicians. Little moves like this don't help. One of the reasons is that doctors are underpaid compared to their colleagues at other emergency departments and the minister knows this full well. So I want to ask the minister, will his department be offering equitable fees to doctors in New Waterford since the DHA can longer do this? Will your department be offering this to them?

MR. MUIR: Mr. Speaker, the honourable member knows very well that there is a study of the emergency room services associated with the Cape Breton District Health Authority. As that study is ongoing, the Cape Breton District Health Authority has made available money to people in New Waterford and also on the Northside, effectively that their salaries are topped up until that study is completed.

MR. CORBETT: Mr. Speaker, the minister knows full well that that study is completed. They have it, they have had it now for two months. It's not a matter of they're in the field doing any work. The community has spoken. They have run holes through that report and the minister knows that full well. He knows community hospitals are struggling to retain what services they have left, yet his department wants to regionalize everything in sight. So I want to ask, why are you regionalizing medical services at the peril of such hospitals as the New Waterford Consolidated Hospital?

[Page 9265]

MR. MUIR: Mr. Speaker, the New Waterford Consolidated Hospital provides a valuable role to its community. The Department of Health and district health authorities are concerned with the health of all of the residents and the health services available to all of the residents under their jurisdiction. The honourable member knows that.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Lunenburg West.

TOURISM & CULTURE - RETAIL BUS. CASE ANALYSIS:

TIME FRAME - EXPLAIN

MR. DONALD DOWNE: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Tourism and Culture. I wish to table a call for proposal issued by the minister's department for the retail business case analysis. The minister called for a review of the museum operations, the VIC operations and the Protocol gift bank. The purpose of the review is to maximize money flow into the government coffers. On the surface, this, to me, looks like a good idea but the review will start in June and end in August. At the same time, the minister has called for the private sector operator to run a gift shop at the Museum of Natural History and the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic - I would like to table that as well. Could the minister inform the House why the review is taking place after it is privatizing operations and not before?

HON. RODNEY MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, as the member mentioned, there's two different RFPs, one dealing with respect to the Museum of Natural History and the Museum of the Atlantic and also the visitor information centres that are on the waterfront. It is important that we do get the gift shop up and running at the VIC at the waterfront, it is a new VIC.

Mr. Speaker, with respect to the second part of the question, the other RFP is looking across the department at various initiatives, one of those initiatives being gift shops, but it's important that we have an opportunity to gain additional revenue, I believe, at both the museums that we have to gain that additional revenue.

MR. DOWNE: Mr. Speaker, I've heard of putting the cart before the horse, but I've never actually seen a minister accomplish that feat in this House and we've seen it here today. The minister seems to have made up his mind on the whole issue of specific operators for the museums. The cart before the horse process makes a farce of the whole issue of the tendering process. Why is this minister giving away government assets before assessing whether or not this is the proper way to go, unless the minister already has an operator in mind?

MR. RODNEY MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, what I'm hearing from the member is the member is suggesting - and we don't know yet, we haven't seen any RFPs yet - is that we shouldn't take a look at an opportunity. He speaks frequently in this House about gaining additional revenue for the province and we should be looking at those opportunities. We're

[Page 9266]

doing so, there's an opportunity this summer. We have a quarter of a million visitors going through these museums. There's a real potential to gain revenue - $100,000 last year, but that potential can be much larger and we need to seize the opportunity for this summer, not next summer.

MR. DOWNE: Mr. Speaker, on one hand he is calling for somebody to do a study to determine whether or not it's economically viable and it's a good business case, which I support. On the other hand, he is already calling a call for proposals that will end next week and this other study doesn't get concluded until August. So he's going to have business operations going very quickly without the study even being completed and that's why I'm saying the minister has the cart before the horse - unless he has somebody in mind to already take over the operation. My final question to the minister is, will the minister guarantee that this process is not the first step toward total privatization of the whole museum system in Nova Scotia?

MR. RODNEY MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I can't even believe what I'm hearing. The fact is the answer is absolutely, positively, no.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Atlantic.

TOURISM & CULTURE - MUSEUM GIFT SHOPS:

PRIVATIZATION - EXPLAIN

MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, I learned today that the Minister of Tourism and Culture is up to another attack on the arts and culture in the Province of Nova Scotia. What he has decided in his wisdom is that he's going to privatize the gift shops in two of the provincial museums here in metro - the Museum of Natural History and the Museum of the Atlantic.

Mr. Speaker, it's important because these gift shops not only provide additional revenue for the operation of that museum (Interruptions)

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

MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Not only do those gift shops provide additional revenue to the operation of those museums, but they also provide an absolutely essential opportunity to further present arts, crafts and cultural artifacts to the visitors to those museums. I want to ask the Minister of Tourism and Culture why this continued attack on those organizations and those individuals who are presenting arts and culture of Nova Scotia to Nova Scotians and to the world?

[Page 9267]

HON. RODNEY MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, in fact, if the member was actually listening today and heard the announcement, this government is actually investing in our culture, and if he will take a look, in fact, we're leveraging hundreds of thousands of dollars which will mean over $1 million of investment in cultural industries announced today, a $200,000 investment that's our . . .

MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, the reality is that this minister is taking every opportunity to kick the legs out of arts and culture in the Province of Nova Scotia and this is just one more opportunity. He's taking away the ability of the operations of these museums to function under the face of threat of funding cuts by this government. I want to ask the minister, would he provide this House and Nova Scotians with any evidence that this move to privatize gift shops will not do as we've suggested and further undermine the ability of those museums to provide important information to Nova Scotians and to visitors from other provinces?

MR. RODNEY MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I can't even believe I am getting this question today, to be honest with you. We are going out for an RFP. We're going to see if we can gain additional revenue. If we can gain additional revenue, that will increase the pressures we have at museums. That will mean more money back into the Department of Tourism and Culture, back into our museums. If the member can't accept that, then that's his problem.

MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, I don't believe this minister for one second. I don't believe that any additional revenue is going to go back into those museums because, if that was the case, then he would have discussed these plans with the operators of these museums and he would have engaged in some consultation with the arts and culture sector before he destroyed the Arts Council, but that's not what this minister is all about. He's been given the responsibility to sell out arts and culture in the Province of Nova Scotia and that's what he's doing. My final question to the minister is, will he in fact confirm here today that he is proceeding to further gut these two important provincial museums without any evidence of the impact that it's going to have on their ability to present arts and culture and artifacts to the people of Nova Scotia?

MR. RODNEY MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, the RFP is about creating opportunities for further investment so that we can gain additional revenue. It's absolutely ridiculous where the question is coming from. The fact is, if he takes a look at the investments we made today in places like Mermaid Theatre, for groups called Grand Dérangement, perhaps he can take a look at many other examples, over $1 million for cultural industries right here today. That's our investment. (Applause)

[Page 9268]

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

HEALTH: YOUTH HEALTH CENTRES - RETAIN

MR. WAYNE GAUDET: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Health. Some of us may be more aware than others as to the usefulness of the youth health centres within our schools and in our communities. Under the former Liberal Government, we began supporting this initiative within Nova Scotia with the start of four youth health centres on Cape Breton Island. There are now numerous centres across the province. My first question to the minister is, will this minister make a commitment in keeping these youth health centres open across the province?

HON. JAMES MUIR: Mr. Speaker, there are a number of those centres that have been started in the last three or four years, including at least two that began since we came into government. They are part of high schools, the ones to which he is speaking. There has certainly been some seed money provided to get those up and running. They did have some other funding sources too. We continue to look at all requests on an annual basis and, of course, there is also the source, the district health authorities, that they are working much more closely with now that they are up and running.

MR. GAUDET: Mr. Speaker, I think we can all agree that these centres provide an important function within the school environments. Why is it that the teen health centre at the Dartmouth High School is shutting its doors at the end of the school year because of a lack of interest by this government. There is no question that youth health centres save the system money in the long run. Therefore, my question to the minister is, how is the decision made regarding which youth health centre stays open and which one will be closed?

MR. MUIR: Mr. Speaker, the issue of which centres will stay open obviously depends on their funding source. To be quite candid, I wasn't aware that the one in Dartmouth was intending to shut its doors.

[3:00 p.m.]

MR. GAUDET: Mr. Speaker, in May 2000, a report entitled "Mental Health: A Time For Action" was submitted to the Deputy Minister of Health. A recommendation from this report stated, "That Youth Health Centres be encouraged as an effective model for collaboration in the delivery of services for youth."

My final question to the minister is, why is your government not acting on the recommendations of a report you commissioned and support these youth health centres instead of shutting them down?

[Page 9269]

MR. MUIR: Mr. Speaker, the government has supported youth health centres and in terms of the report to which the honourable member refers, this government has taken a number of steps which are in agreement with the recommendations made in that report.

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

PREMIER - POLLING COMPANIES: COSTS - EXPLAIN

MR. JOHN HOLM: Mr. Speaker, I would like to have a little chat with the Premier this afternoon because on the eve of the 1999 election, John Hamm said these words, the time for doing what the polls suggest is right has passed. Then again, maybe that time hasn't passed because we've obtained documents from the province's accounting system that shows that, in fact, John Hamm's Government has spent approximately $240,000 on just three polling companies.

My question through you, Mr. Speaker, of course, who will know that child protection workers and others have been laid off due to funding, why are you spending approximately $240,000 on polling companies after telling Nova Scotians that the time for governing by polls has, indeed, passed?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, one of the commitments of this government is to consult on issues that are important to the public. One of the ways in which we do this is through information gathering techniques which includes such things as focus groups. It is an economical way for the government to determine the position of Nova Scotians on issues of public interest, something that that caucus, on occasion, encourages government to do.

MR. HOLM: Mr. Speaker, I guess what the Premier just said is he didn't mean what he said in 1999. The Premier talks about focus groups and I will table a freedom of information response that deals with a $20,000 focus group conducted by Bristol Communications. It was done for the Treasury and Policy Board. Among other things the $20,000 was spent for, it was to discover that students are worried about tuition fee increases. The government also learned that people are concerned about a shortage of doctors and nurses and the cost of drugs for seniors.

My question through you, Mr. Speaker, in our friendly little chat this afternoon, I wonder if the Premier could tell us why his government spent $20,000 to find out what people already know and that is that your government is doing a lousy job?

THE PREMIER: I will put the member opposite down as undecided. It's interesting that the NDP, on occasion, encourages government to seek the advice and the opinions of Nova Scotians and we do that, on occasion, through focus groups, to determine what Nova Scotians think of various issues, to allow the government to go forward, following the wishes

[Page 9270]

of Nova Scotians. If that's wrong, then the government is wrong but if we're right, they're wrong.

MR. HOLM: So, Mr. Speaker, the Premier just stood up and reinforced his answer for the first time and that is that he's saying to us that he didn't mean what he said in 1999. That is quite clear. Now the figure I used, the $240,000, didn't include the Bristol $20,000, nor does it include the $180,000 paid to McArthur Thompson & Law to conduct surveys on assessment. My question, through you to the Premier - who, of course, would like to be very helpful - I wonder if the Premier could tell us or have his Minister of Finance ferret out for us the amount of money, the total number of dollars, that his government has spent on polling companies since it assumed office?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, this government takes no interest in not providing that kind of information. The member did ask a question about seeking the advice of the people of Nova Scotia on an assessment issue, and I would ask the minister responsible to respond.

HON. ANGUS MACISAAC: Mr. Speaker, one of the things that we were able to learn is ways to respond more effectively to the needs of Nova Scotians with respect to assessment matters. The result of that has allowed us to improve the delivery of our service immeasurably in this province, and our satisfaction ratings are increasing every year as a result of that consultation.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Glace Bay.

EDUC. - DAYCARE SERVICES (HS): FUNDING - DETAILS

MR. DAVID WILSON: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Education. I think everyone knows how important it is that young mothers in this province be given every opportunity to complete their high school education at public schools or otherwise. In most cases these young mothers will require daycare services for their children while they are attending classes. My question to the Minister of Education is, does the Department of Education protect funding for the operation of daycare services at schools in this province?

HON. JANE PURVES: Mr. Speaker, it is my understanding that the daycare centres in schools are funded partly through Community Services, partly through school board money and, perhaps, partly through the Department of Health. I would have to get back to the member opposite to find out exactly what the funding arrangements are for each daycare centre, because to the best of my knowledge they are not all the same. I will come up with that information for the member opposite.

MR. WILSON: Mr. Speaker, my next question is to the Minister of Community Services. It has come to our attention that the daycare at St. Patrick's High School in Halifax will be closing on June 28th of this year, with no plans to re-open. This daycare has space for

[Page 9271]

28 children, including children younger than 18 months old. My question to the Minister of Community Services is, can the minister confirm the number of high schools in this province that provide daycare services to young mothers?

HON. PETER CHRISTIE: Mr. Speaker, I am aware of St. Patrick's High School. The school board has been funding that, and the operators have decided not to carry on. That's one of the reasons, in terms of availability to high schools, that we introduced monies, so that they could open spaces. We gave grants to non-profit organizations to open additional daycare spaces across the province just to meet those needs.

MR. WILSON: Mr. Speaker, I will take that as a roundabout way of saying I'm not sure. While the Minister and Deputy Minister of Community Services' office expenses have gone up by over $38,000, this daycare needs only $8,000 to continue operations. My final question, again, is for the Minister of Community Services. St. Patrick's High School daycare must close because of financial constraints and the inability of the school board to assist in the operations; why then is the minister not giving young mothers every opportunity to receive an education, thereby greatly reducing their likelihood of relying on social assistance?

MR. CHRISTIE: Mr. Speaker, as I just indicated, one of the programs that we have introduced is money to enrich and increase daycare spaces across this province. If a particular daycare is looking and seeking a grant, they will put in an application to us. The particular one he's talking about is one that's funded by the Halifax Regional School Board and that's one that they're deciding with the school board operator how that will operate.

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

PREMIER - MARTIN, ROLAND:

SUITABILITY - DETERMINATION EXPLAIN

MR. JOHN HOLM: Mr. Speaker, I would like to consult with the Premier on another matter this time. I would like to consult with the Premier on his super-consultant, $400,000 approximately a year man, Roland Martin of Cadillac, I mean Martillac consulting. The Premier apparently has some super powers because on his own, he's been able to tell who is the best person for the job, without even calling a tender, or looking at any other single resumés. I'm wondering, could the Premier tell us - a couple of things - one, what his super power is that gives him the ability to determine who is the best person for the job without going to tender or without looking at resumés or if he doesn't have that super power, maybe he could undertake to tell us how he determined that Mr. Martin was the best and only person suitable for that job without going to a tender process and looking at other resumés?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I refer that to the Minister responsible for the Petroleum Directorate.

[Page 9272]

HON. GORDON BALSER: Mr. Speaker, the documents that were tabled today clearly indicate the procedures that were followed. In terms of what we received for the money spent, we have an energy strategy that's being recognized nationally and internationally as one of the best in existence.

MR. HOLM: Mr. Speaker, I'm disappointed that my consultation with the Premier got deflected to the minister who couldn't answer the question either. But I want to go back to the Premier again because in today's paper, not the Minister responsible for the Petroleum Directorate, but the Premier is quoted as saying, even after the fact, we haven't identified anybody that has Mr. Martin's expertise. Maybe it's just me, but it seems a little bit strange to me that the way you would be determining whether or not somebody is the best person for the job is you hire somebody, then after the fact you determine if in fact you hired the right person. Normally you would look to see if you have the right person first, before you spend $400,000. So my question to the Premier is, will the Premier tell us more about his government's new policy on awarding untendered government work and only then looking to see if they have actually hired the right guy?

THE PREMIER: Before the process began, Mr. Speaker, we thought we had the right person; after it was over, we knew we had the right person. (Interruptions)

MR. HOLM: As the saying goes, somebody suggests that maybe they're paying for it out of the Arts Council funds. Mr. Speaker, of course, we've already identified approximately $400,000 in untendered work that has gone to Mr. Martin and his company. But it doesn't end there. Mr. Martin is doing work for Inter-Governmental Affairs, and in fact, today he was working on the 7th floor of the Joseph Howe Building. So I want to ask the Premier this, will the Premier tell us what work Mr. Martin has been doing for Inter-Governmental Affairs, how much more of the taxpayers' money he has gotten for that work and will the Premier agree to table his contract dealing with his work for Inter-Governmental Affairs?

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. There were three questions there - if the Premier would like to answer one.

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, they are reasonable questions. First of all . . .

MR. SPEAKER: There's only time for one.

THE PREMIER: . . . Mr. Martin has been retained to do some support work for Inter-Governmental Affairs and as the member opposite correctly pointed out, he does continue to provide support services. And, yes, we will provide the member opposite and the members of the House with details of the current arrangement.

[Page 9273]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Dartmouth East.

HEALTH - SMOKING CESSATION: PROGRAMS - DETAILS

DR. JAMES SMITH: My question is to the Minister of Health. Treatment and cessation programs are important aspects of any comprehensive smoking strategy. Such programs not only assist adults and young smokers who want to quit, but they also help those who might be deciding not to start. This government has announced that it has earmarked $1 million this year to help reduce smoking. My question to the minister is, could the minister just briefly outline what plans his government has to reduce smoking this year with the new monies it has set aside?

[3:15 p.m.]

HON. JAMES MUIR: Mr. Speaker, I'm pleased to have the honourable member talk about our comprehensive tobacco strategy, which we were pleased to announce last year. I think it would be interesting just to note one of the things in that strategy - it was reported in the media this morning that the consumption of cigarettes across Canada is down roughly about 5 per cent. I understand that's about the same in Nova Scotia, and our strategy is working.

DR. SMITH: Mr. Speaker, I don't have it in my prepared text, but for the minister to get up here and make that statement, it's just irresponsible. What's he doing on the smuggling issues and all the other things? He may want to tell us another day. I'm not going to follow that direction.

No one can deny that with properly and adequately funded smoking cessation programs in place, the number of Nova Scotians smoking can be reduced. This year, this government will collect over $138 million from tobacco taxes, but it will only spend the $1 million, as designated, on reducing tobacco consumption - $138 million in, $1 million out. My question to the minister is, can he explain why the government is failing to redirect more financial resources into these necessary anti-smoking programs in light of the $138 million windfall from taxpayers' monies?

MR. MUIR: Mr. Speaker, not surprisingly the honourable member is about 50 per cent out on his numbers. The amount committed this year is $1.5 million, not $1 million. We believe that once the legislation is passed - and it will be passed this session - it will basically, not fully completed, put in place the seventh part of our tobacco strategy, and we expect to see that the number of people smoking, and certainly the protection of people from second-hand smoke, will be significantly reduced. I think, as a result of our tobacco strategy and the legislation, about 97 per cent of all workplaces will be smoke-free.

[Page 9274]

DR. SMITH: Mr. Speaker, I certainly look forward to debating the legislation with the minister. He said, I'm out. He and the Premier made an announcement last year and only spent half the money; they couldn't even get their act together to get coordinatorsthroughout this province designated. Money that sat in that program went wanting. It's quite clear where this government's priorities are when it comes to the health of Nova Scotians wanting to quit. This government is happy to have the additional resources from tobacco, but not to redirect and dedicate more resources necessary for smoking cessation programs. Will the minister, today, continue to ignore the need for necessary smoking cessation programs for Nova Scotians, or will he begin to redirect more resources to ensure the programs work with proper funding, not just $1 million out of the $138 million of taxpayers' money . . .

MR. MUIR: Mr. Speaker, just to refresh the honourable member's memory, in 1994 this was a statement from the former Minister of Health.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Who was that?

MR. MUIR: Not the honourable member for Dartmouth East. He rose in the House to say: Mr. Speaker, today the government is announcing that it is lowering tobacco taxes by $7 per carton. That's the response that that group had to a tobacco strategy. They did nothing. I have a whole file of broken promises about tobacco strategy. They should stand up and applaud the efforts of this Conservative Government.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Hants East.

AGRIC. & FISH.: ADI - ACCOUNTABILITY

MR. JOHN MACDONELL: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries. Yesterday, we received a return on a freedom of information application to his department. We wanted to know the salaries and benefits provided to employees of the Agricultural Development Institute, and the minister's department says it doesn't have that information. So I ask the minister, will the minister admit he simply has no information with which to hold ADI accountable for the $2.2 million he gives it every year?

HON. ERNEST FAGE: Mr. Speaker, as the honourable member knows, ADI is a farm member-controlled, arm's-length body of government. I wouldn't require that information. What I require from ADI is a list of work done and accomplishments made.

MR. MACDONELL: Mr. Speaker, what the minister doesn't realize is that Nova Scotia taxpayers require accountability for their tax dollars. If this is a farm-run organization, why is it that the Federation of Agriculture can't get that information as well? So since neither the minister nor the stakeholders can get information on salaries, benefits and

[Page 9275]

directors' fees from ADI, will the minister now admit that ADI has no accountability to anyone for the $2.2 million it receives from the taxpayers of Nova Scotia?

MR. FAGE: Mr. Speaker, obviously the member opposite doesn't trust farmers, is what he's telling us. The Nova Scotia Federation of Agriculture puts forward the names of the members who sit on that majority farm member-controlled board, so I would assume that they make the choice; they should have the opportunity.

MR. MACDONELL: Mr. Speaker, I think the farmers of Nova Scotia are having trouble trusting that farmer over there who is now the Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries. So we filed a freedom of information request with ADI and we got no response from them. They claim that they are not subject to freedom of information legislation, so is the minister prepared to allow ADI not to have to justify how it spends $2.2 million of public funds?

MR. FAGE: Obviously, the member appears to be confused again. The evaluation on whether taxpayers get their money is for services and jobs completed, and that's what ADI submits to the government and the people of Nova Scotia.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Richmond.

HEALTH - SMOKE-FREE FOR LIFE:

CURRICULUM - MANDATORY

MR. MICHEL SAMSON: Mr. Speaker, in May and October 1996, the Department of Health conducted a series of in-services around the province to update teachers on the youth smoking issue and introduce the new smoking prevention curriculum for Primary through Grade 9. Unfortunately, the outstanding Smoke-Free for Life curriculum is not required in Nova Scotia schools. It is also not used as widely as it could be. My question to the Minister of Education is, why is the Smoke-Free for Life curriculum not mandatory in the classrooms of this province?

HON. JANE PURVES: Mr. Speaker, yes, I agree with the member for Richmond. That curriculum is very good, and right now it is in the process of being updated. There are many aspects to anti-tobacco education in the schools. They start in elementary and go through to high school. Unfortunately, some of our young people still continue to smoke, but we work every day to stop that.

MR. SAMSON: Mr. Speaker, the participation of teachers who use the Smoke-Free for Life curriculum is less than one-fifth of teachers throughout this province. If utilized to its full potential, it is clear that this program can save the lives of Nova Scotians, especially our young Nova Scotians. My first supplementary to the minister is, will the minister commit today to making tobacco prevention education mandatory in the curriculums in schools throughout this province?

[Page 9276]

MISS PURVES: Mr. Speaker, certainly, I will talk to staff in my department about the feasibility of doing just that.

MR. SAMSON: Mr. Speaker, I'm pleased to hear that from the minister and the minister has implemented some important curriculum changes across schools in this province which we have certainly applauded and commended her for that. My final question, again, the minister is very well aware, obviously from her answers, about the benefits of this program, so today will she show leadership and commit to saving the lives of our young people by requiring the Smoke-Free for Life curriculum to be mandatory in all of our schools?

MISS PURVES: Mr. Speaker, yes, I said I would talk to staff about the feasibility of that, whether they think it would work. As the member opposite knows, in spite of all the education programs we have, in spite of not allowing smoking in schools and so on, there are still a great many families where smoking is not discouraged at all and while I do think teachers in the school system should make every effort to stop young people from smoking, that in no way absolves families of their responsibilities.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Hants East.

AGRIC. & FISH. - ADI:

FREEDOM OF INFO. REQUEST - DENIAL EXPLAIN

MR. JOHN MACDONELL: Mr. Speaker, in my previous question I indicated a freedom of information request that was refused at the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries and also our request for a waiver of fees was refused. Actually I will table the letter from the deputy minister and the deputy minister wrote: We did not provide an explanation of how this information is in the public interest to warrant a waiver of fees. So my question to the minister is, does the minister share his deputy minister's view that $2.2 million in public funding isn't of enough public interest to warrant waiving of the fees?

HON. ERNEST FAGE: Mr. Speaker, again, ADI is an arm's-length body controlled by industry who submit to the Province of Nova Scotia a list of services provided, as well as a list of job completions. That's the benchmark we're talking about.

MR. MACDONELL: So the deputy minister goes on, Mr. Speaker, to state another reason for refusing to waive the fees: ADI has not been in the media over the past six months to any great extent other than press releases issued by ADI. So I want to ask the minister, does the minister subscribe to his deputy's view that an organization's press worthiness is the benchmark by which fees are charged for processing freedom of information applications? (Interruptions)

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

[Page 9277]

MR. FAGE: Mr. Speaker, obviously, it was a freedom of information request. I'm not party to what was requested or observation, or questions asked of the deputy minister. He replied, obviously, to questions probably put forward by the member opposite.

MR. MACDONELL: Mr. Speaker, my final question is for the Minister of Justice. The Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries claims that if an organization isn't getting enough press, he can charge fees for freedom of information requests regardless of how public a body it may be. So will the minister explain how he has amended the freedom of information Act to charge fees based on whether a group or an organization is getting enough press, and what constitutes enough press?

HON. MICHAEL BAKER: The honourable member obviously misunderstood the freedom of information request. The freedom of information Act is being changed, Mr. Speaker, so that there will be fees charged to recover for certain types of people who are obviously using the system, just a cost-recovery basis; but other individuals who want their personal information, there's no change in the fees. So the honourable member must be obviously mistaken.

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

ENVIRON. & LBR.: KYOTO AGREEMENT - STANCE

MR. RUSSELL MACKINNON: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Premier. This question is addressed to the Premier because of his active stance that he took on a very important issue. As we recall, back in February, the Premier joined a number of other Premiers, including Premier Ralph Klein, and Premier Harris from Ontario, in demanding that the international Kyoto climate treaty be softened somewhat, and it's interesting to note that the climatologists expect an eightfold increase in extreme heat waves by the year 2050. My question, quite simply, to the Premier is, would the Premier give this House an update as to the status of Nova Scotia's position as it pertains to the Kyoto agreement?

[3:30 p.m.]

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I do thank the member opposite for addressing a very important issue. If the member opposite would refresh his memory relative to the energy strategy in Nova Scotia, on Page 33, we make definitive commitments to the emissions of sulphur dioxide, nitrous oxide, mercury and particulate matter. In addition, in our energy strategy, on Page 35, we reflect on our commitment to greenhouse gases emission. This province is determined that we will be at the forefront of improving the climate but we will do so in concert with other provinces and with our American neighbours. (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. Order, please. I would ask the honourable Premier to table the document that he read from during that, after this question.

[Page 9278]

The honourable member for Cape Breton West on your first supplementary.

MR. MACKINNON: Mr. Speaker, I thank the Premier for his response. Under Kyoto, Canada made a commitment to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 6 per cent I think by the year 2012. So far the federal government has committed more than $2 billion - I emphasize $2 billion - on climate change and climate change initiatives. My question to the Premier is, quite simply, what are you doing to implement your position on the Kyoto agreement?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, one of the initiatives of this government is that public buildings, in fact, will become less of a polluter by way of certain changes that we're making in our public buildings. I would ask the minister responsible to describe what we're doing in government buildings to conform with our commitment on greenhouse gases.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, we've just completed an energy audit of our public buildings and based on those audits that we've done, in the next two or three years, we will be making significant changes in the way we provide heating and cooling of public buildings.

MR. MACKINNON: Mr. Speaker, this question is for the Premier or perhaps the Minister of Environment and Labour, I will leave it to the Premier's discretion. Where in the budget are there any allocations to the departments regarding the meeting of our target set for the Kyoto agreement?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, the member opposite, I think, is confusing the issue. What the government has indicated through its energy strategy and what it has indicated through being a signatory of the resolution passed last summer at the New England Governors-Eastern Canadian Premiers Conference is that we are going to work in concert to achieve the Kyoto requirements relative to greenhouse gases. Clearly put, what we have to do is convince the federal government - I believe we have made great strides in doing that - that this must be done in concert with the other provinces and, indeed, we feel as well with our neighbours to the South. So clearly the government has made a commitment but part of that commitment is to work with others because clearly Nova Scotia cannot do it alone.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Hants East.

NAT. RES. - CAMPGROUNDS:

HOURS OF OPERATION - STRATEGY

MR. JOHN MACDONELL: During the debate on estimates, a report assessing the 2001 campground season was tabled. (Interruptions)

[Page 9279]

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

MR. MACDONELL: Mr. Speaker, during the debate on estimates, a report assessing the 2001 campground season was tabled. The information prepared by Natural Resources staff revealed that our provincial campgrounds are enjoyed by large numbers of Nova Scotians and tourists visiting our province. In 2001, we hosted campers from every single state in the union. Clearly our park system plays an important role in promoting tourism. The parks contribute to local economies and provide employment in areas where there are few employment opportunities. So, my question to the Minister of Natural Resources is, will the minister tell this House how reducing the times these campgrounds are open fits into a strategy to promote tourism travel in this province?

HON. ERNEST FAGE: Mr. Speaker, the important thing that we offer through our campgrounds is that we have 22 provincial campgrounds in the province that offer accommodations and camping to Nova Scotians and visitors alike. What we do each year is we assess the occupancy rate and we would lengthen the season of some parks due to higher occupancy rates and opportunities on the two shoulder seasons. If the occupancy rate is lower, then we would have a look at maybe shortening that because of weather.

MR. MACDONELL: Mr. Speaker, what we're looking at is the minister closing campgrounds across the board. In 2001 the province sold over 30,000 camping permits, up 20 per cent from the previous year. The minister's response, reduce the camping season. Where's the logic in this? The facts tell me the minister is punishing success. According to the department report, compared to 1994, camper nights are up 56 per cent and revenues are up 92 per cent - nearly doubled. So, I want to ask the minister, will you recognize that our campgrounds are a success and should figure prominently into our efforts to promote tourism in support of local economies and rural jobs?

MR. FAGE: Mr. Speaker, evidence based or ensuring that we take charge of opportunities is what we do with provincial campgrounds and that's why occupancy rates and revenues are up. When we look at individual parks, if the opportunity is there on the shoulder season due to better climate, or climatic conditions and people are attending those parks, then we keep them open longer, our revenue and our occupancy rates go up. It's proper management, that's what it is.

MR. MACDONELL: Mr. Speaker, I don't know when I've heard a minister contradict himself from one answer to another as that minister just did. He just said that revenues and occupancy rates are up, but yet he's closing down the season because of low occupancy rates. My question to the minister is, why are you punishing success and denying these rural economies some support and much-needed employment?

[Page 9280]

MR. FAGE: Obviously, it's the member opposite who appears to be confused. If there are very few people going to a particular campground, why would you extend the season? If you have a lot of people going to a particular campground, then you would extend the season and you would achieve greater occupancy and greater revenues.

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

TRANSPORT. & PUB. WKS. - COMM. VEHICLE REG.:

INCREASE - JUSTIFY

MR. PAUL MACEWAN: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister of Transportation and Public Works. Recently the government announced a 40 per cent increase in heavy commercial registration fees effective today. These fees will place an increased burden on commercial haulers in this province, their expenses are going up while their revenues will remain the same. Truckers associations across the province have spoken out against this large increase stating it is much too high. My question to the minister is, how can the minister increase heavy commercial vehicle registration by such a large amount when doing so will have a negative effect on transportation and economic development in Nova Scotia?

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, I suppose I should answer the question by saying I cannot because the registration fees applied to trucking belong to Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations so they do not come under my department. However, to answer the honourable member's question, there was a meeting yesterday, as I understand it, with the Minister for Service Nova Scotia and the Minister of Finance at which matters relating to the trucking industry in Nova Scotia were discussed at great length. As a consequence of that meeting, there will be a further meeting with myself, the Minister of Transportation, for sometime in mid-June, I believe.

MR. MACEWAN: Mr. Speaker, I would like to return to the Minister of Transportation and Public Works, offering his comment, perhaps, on the observations of the Minister of Finance, who justifies these rate increases that we're talking about by stating that they are comparable to New Brunswick's heavy commercial vehicle rates. My question to the Minister of Transportation and Public Works would be, how can we state that these registration rates are comparable to New Brunswick's when truck drivers in New Brunswick earn $12 per hour more than their counterparts here in Nova Scotia?

MR. RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, the relationship between what truck drivers earn and what is paid in registration fees is somewhat drawing a long bow. The present difference between rates in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia is being looked at by my department and by Service Nova Scotia. In fact, the basic rate paid to truck drivers in Nova Scotia is $45 per hour, compared to $40 per hour in New Brunswick.

[Page 9281]

MR. MACEWAN: Mr. Speaker, my final supplementary. Since this government, as a government, has compared truckers' rates with those of New Brunswick's, my question to the minister would be, does the minister plan to look at methods to increase the hourly salary of truckers, such as the honourable member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley, so that they, too, would be able to pay fees comparable to those in New Brunswick?

MR. RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, we do not pay salaries to truckers in Nova Scotia, except for those who are employed directly by the Department of Transportation and Public Works driving snowplows, et cetera. The salaries paid to truck drivers are, in reality, contracts between contractors on road work and owners of trucking fleets.

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

PREMIER - MIN. WAGE: INCREASE - DETAILS

MR. FRANK CORBETT: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Premier today. The working poor in this province are among the poorest in all of Canada. There's a tragic lack of affordable housing for these people in this province and now the possibility of more tuition increases. Yesterday in this House, the Premier, responding to questions about why he paid three executives over $700,000, his response was that their leadership will help look after the minimum wage factors. I want to ask today in this House, what will you propose that minimum wage increases be this October?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, the government is committed to increasing the minimum wage on October 1st, and that announcement will come in due course.

MR. CORBETT: Mr. Speaker, this government and the working men and women of this province need a plan to see how minimum wage increases will affect businesses and so on, and they need to get on with their lives. The decision involves careful consideration by all people involved. This government is not doing that in any real way. Minimum wage in Newfoundland went up today, and it will go up to $6 in Newfoundland in November, which will make this province's the lowest in the country - not something to be proud of, Mr. Premier. My question to you is, what minimum wage studies have you done to ensure that Nova Scotians receive a living wage, and will you table those documents today?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I refer that to the minister responsible.

HON. DAVID MORSE: Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the member opposite for asking the question, because once again it gives us a chance to point out that we consulted over 1,200 Nova Scotians when we did this. We got input from all sectors, and we feel, as a result of that, that what will eventually be decided and announced in due course will properly reflect the wishes of Nova Scotians.

[Page 9282]

[3:45 p.m.]

MR. CORBETT: Mr. Speaker, what I take from the question is that they dare not table anything because they really don't have anything. They had a biased, Web-based survey that they had to take off their Web page because it was extremely biased and just didn't work. Over the last 10 years, minimum wage in this province has risen by a lousy 80 cents. That is certainly not keeping up with consumer prices and this Premier should well know that. So I would like to ask you, Mr. Premier, will your government commit today to provide Nova Scotians with a living wage based on the serious considerations such as personal needs and public needs?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, the member opposite brings a very serious issue before the House and government will be responding in time.

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

ECON. DEV.: STRATEGY - ADHERENCE

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, my question today is for the Minister of Economic Development. In October 2000, the Minister of Economic Development and the Premier announced their economic development strategy with great fanfare and much expectation of delivery by citizens of Nova Scotia. In this so-called strategy the minister gave the following deadlines, which I will table: Fall of 2000: Launch of economic growth strategy; Made in Nova Scotia Investment Framework; Start of restructuring of economic development functions; Cape Breton Growth Fund; Winter of 2000: Gas and oil economic development strategy and the list goes on through the Winter, Spring and Summer of the Year 2001. Most interesting is the fact that all of those deadlines should have been met last summer. Could the minister explain why this strategy is not being followed?

HON. GORDON BALSER: Mr. Speaker, this government has delivered on its commitments. We brought forward the first comprehensive development strategy for the province in a decade - something they failed to do; we brought forward a comprehensive energy strategy - something they failed to do; we've created something in the neighbourhood of 5,900 jobs in this province, many of which are in industrial Cape Breton, so I would say that we are meeting our commitments and exceeding expectations.

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, once again I will remind this House that that government and that minister have not put 10 cents into job creation programs in industrial Cape Breton. They're trying to piggyback on the initiatives of the federal government down in Cape Breton when they're not spending a dime in industrial Cape Breton, and for the minister to stand there and lie like that is a sham in this House. (Interruptions)

[Page 9283]

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. The honourable member for Cape Breton South knows that comment is unparliamentary and I will ask him to retract that before he asks his first supplementary.

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, yes, perhaps I will withdraw that remark - yes I will withdraw that remark and replace it with that minister playing fast and loose with the truth when it comes to provincial government initiatives in industrial Cape Breton, which are non-existent and that minister knows it. (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, my first supplementary to the minister is, in the Spring of 2001, you promised the following . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. It is getting awful noisy in here. It is very difficult to hear the honourable member. The honourable member for Cape Breton South on his first supplementary, please.

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, my first supplementary to the minister is, by the Spring 2001the minister promised the following: Brand Nova Scotia campaign; Nova Scotia trade plan; Business retention and expansion plan; and Provincial infrastructure scorecard. Could the minister table those items in the House today?

MR. BALSER: Mr. Speaker, I remind the member opposite that one of the recent candidates for the leadership of the Liberal Party, who was an employee of the province, used much of his platform to talk about the job creation initiatives that had come forward through the province, so he cannot have it both ways. In terms of what we've committed to, Nova Scotia Business Inc. is up and running and they recently tabled their business plan, which includes all of the items which he talked about.

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, let me remind that minister again that the sum total of the funding that this province has available, this government, to Cape Breton is $2 million, which we can't even find in the current budget. The initiatives that are going on in Cape Breton, after the Hamm Government took over this province were all initiatives by the federal government and, before that, they were the initiatives of the previous Liberal Government in this province, in industrial Cape Breton. (Applause) That crowd over there couldn't care less about Cape Breton, couldn't care less.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. The honourable member for Cape Breton South on your final supplementary.

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Just like Cape Breton is not on the map according to that crowd opposite. (Interruptions)

[Page 9284]

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. The honourable member for Cape Breton South on your final supplementary.

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: My final supplementary, Mr. Speaker, last summer was the deadline (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. Order, please. The honourable member for Cape Breton South on his final supplementary only, please.

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I've been trying to do that.

MR. SPEAKER: Well, let's have it.

Order, please.

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: But there are too many helpful interventions opposite there.

Mr. Speaker, my final supplementary to the minister, last summer was the deadline for an immigration plan, a state of business report and, most importantly, the first strategy annual report card. Given that economic development is the cornerstone of the Finance Minister's debt reduction plan and also a promise by the Premier, why can't the Minister of Economic Development follow his own economic development strategy or is this just another broken promise by this government?

MR. BALSER: Mr. Speaker, I realize the member opposite is fairly exercised about this issue, but I would like to correct a bit of information. The province's commitment to the growth fund is $3 million annually over four years for a total of $12 million, not $2 million as he said. In terms of immigration, I agree wholeheartedly with the member opposite that immigration is a big part of the solution to the problems faced by Nova Scotia, but it is to some degree a federal initiative. So we're working towards hitting our targets and, obviously, if you look at Nova Scotia's growth rate in the last year, second only to Alberta, we are, obviously, doing reasonably well.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Atlantic.

ENVIRON. & LBR. - HARRIETSFIELD:

DISPOSAL SITE - ASSESSMENT ENSURE

MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, I want to direct my question through you to the Minister of Environment and Labour. The minister knows that out in the community of Harrietsfield the community is in a position where it's being asked to host a construction and demolition debris disposal site. The matter is about to go before HRM Council. It

[Page 9285]

appears likely that the application will be approved and I want to raise with the minister here today my plea on behalf of the residents that his government and his department intervene to ensure that an environmental assessment is conducted relative to that application.

HON. DAVID MORSE: Mr. Speaker, I want to acknowledge that the member opposite has been diligently working on behalf of his residents. He has spoken to me about this before. While an environmental assessment would not be appropriate for a C & D site, I will undertake to give the member the assurance that on the industrial approval process, assuming that Halifax passes the bylaw and designates that area for a C & D site, that his constituents' concerns will be considered at any possible issuance of an industrial approval.

MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, I want to reiterate the fact that this construction and demolition disposal site is in a critical area with respect to the watershed for that community, directly at Harrietsfield, but also down through Williamswood. People are concerned about water quality in their wells as well as the quality of water in the local watercourse. As well, this operation has an impact and will continue to have an impact on traffic as well as on safety because there is an elementary school adjacent to this site and there's a very serious concern with respect to the safety of those students.

So I want to ask the minister, Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the residents of Harrietsfield and Williamswood, the people who are directly affected by this operation, will he ensure that his officials intervene and assure those residents that his government will make sure an environmental assessment will be conducted which is well within his authority?

MR. MORSE: Mr. Speaker, I thank the member again for his question. Many of the concerns that he brought up in terms of protecting the watershed are legitimate concerns and these are exactly the types of things that we will make sure are addressed in the issue of any possible industrial approval. Those are things that can be well covered in the terms and conditions, should the department issue one.

MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, my final supplementary is, it's extremely important that we try to lend the residents of this community some comfort that the Government of Nova Scotia, the Department of Environment and Labour, will in fact intervene to ensure that the interests of this community are protected. The other fact is that the applicant for this disposal site is under investigation by this minister's department. We raised this a year ago and we still have not learned what the conclusion of that investigation is. I would like to ask the minister again, would he advise this House and the residents of Harrietsfield and Williamswood, what is the result of the investigation into this operator's licence and will he report here?

MR. MORSE: Mr. Speaker, I thank the honourable member again for watching out for his constituents. I would say the member opposite is passionate about this and I want to tell the member opposite that in Kings County there is a community that is not unlike the

[Page 9286]

people of Harrietsfield. As such, I can feel exactly the sense of commitment that he has towards making sure that his constituents' concerns are considered in any potential industrial approval application process. With regard to the concern about the company, there has been an investigation undertaken and we are presently reviewing the evidence and weighing our options.

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

GOV'T. (N.S.): INS. INCREASES - PLANS

MR. BRIAN BOUDREAU: My question is also for the Minister of Environment and Labour. Mr. Speaker, no one can deny, not even this government, that the recent skyrocketing automobile insurance costs is a pressing issue for hard-working Nova Scotians. Many Nova Scotians are worried about how they will afford to insure their cars and now are looking to this government for answers and solutions. My question to the minister is, could the minister briefly outline what long-term plans this government has with addressing these high insurance increases?

HON. DAVID MORSE: Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the member opposite for a concern that I think is shared by all Nova Scotians. The member opposite would be aware that over 500,000 Nova Scotians, in fact, have a driver's license and so therefore have a vested interest in the outcome of where we're going with our insurance premiums.

There are three steps that have been taken by this government to address this. The first one, which he was invited to be part of because the all-Party committee had a chance to interview the representatives from the insurance industry and ask them questions. That gave them a chance to ask the questions that are on the minds of Nova Scotians. In addition to that, Mr. Speaker, as you would be aware and as the member opposite would be aware, out of concern for the size of the premium increases, we have felt it prudent and I have referred it to the URB to ask them whether they can substantiate that there's good value for the premiums that are being charged by the industry. The final step is we are looking as a region that's working for a long-term view as to where we should go with automobile insurance.

MR. BOUDREAU: Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Environment and Labour says that this government is doing something to address this issue because he has referred it to the URB, but it will take six months and the board will be unable to make changes that would best serve the Nova Scotian consumer. Two other Atlantic Provinces are bringing this issue to the public through all-Party committees, special committees and town hall meetings because it gives them a broader mandate for this review. My question to the minister is, will this minister commit to Nova Scotians that he will address the concerns of Nova Scotians by establishing an all-Party committee that can examine this issue thoroughly?

[Page 9287]

MR. MORSE: Mr. Speaker, I want to recognize the member opposite is fairly determined on this. I think he brought that forward as a motion at the committee and in fact it was voted down by the committee. But it's of interest, actually, as our approach as opposed to other provinces' approaches and I'm not in any way suggesting any criticism of their approaches, but I do want to learn by what has happened in Newfoundland, particularly, because this has been going on for some time there. At the end of the day, they came back with a number of potential suggestions as to how they might be able to better serve the people of Newfoundland. One of them, which was very significant, attracted a lot of attention when they went to the public. All the other ones that would tend to increase the cost of insurance were welcomed by the people, but the one that could actually cut the insurance was rejected by the people of Newfoundland.

[4:00 p.m.]

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. The honourable member for Cape Breton The Lakes.

MR. BOUDREAU: This government's failure to truly examine this issue through an all-Party committee clearly sends the message that it is not a priority of this government. The government approach seems to be hurry up and wait, but that approach still leaves many unanswered questions on how to stabilize insurance rates. My question to the Minister of Environment and Labour, besides dragging your feet, what are this minister's future plans for stabilizing insurance rates in Nova Scotia - not Newfoundland, Nova Scotia?

MR. MORSE: I would like to point out that this is a responsibility of the insurance industry and what we are doing is making sure, through the URB process, that Nova Scotians are indeed getting good value for their insurance premiums. That is the first step. Once we've completed that step we will know if we should be taking further steps, once they've completed their investigation.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Dartmouth North.

HOUSING - LOW-INCOME: AFFORDABILITY - ADDRESS

MR. JERRY PYE: My question is for the minister responsible for housing. The working poor of this province are finding it increasingly difficult to find affordable, appropriate housing for their families. Since 1997, the vacancy rate in apartment buildings in the Halifax Regional Municipality has declined from 7.7 per cent to just 2.8 per cent. That's virtually non-existent. That means that it is hard for landlord markets and rents are on the increase. People who are making minimum wage are finding it hard to keep a roof over their heads. I ask the Minister responsible for Housing, what steps are his department taking to address the needs of affordable housing for low-income Nova Scotians?

[Page 9288]

HON. PETER CHRISTIE: As I indicated to the honourable member during the budget estimates, this department has put $4.7 million into the corporation to meet the federal program, to meet our portion, to be able to meet some of the challenges of affordable housing in Nova Scotia.

MR. PYE: The minister is very much aware that $4.7 million he put forward is contingent upon the federal government agreeing to the Province of Nova Scotia's request, and the $4.7 million comes nowhere near addressing the issue. There is a three-year waiting list for families to access affordable housing in the Kentville area; there's a long waiting list for housing in the Antigonish area. In the Halifax Regional Municipality, rents are sky-rocketing, forcing low-income tenants to live in rundown, unsafe buildings. They need affordable and safe housing now. The federal government announced the funding for affordable housing in November. I ask the minister responsible for housing, when is his government going to take advantage of the initiative?

MR. CHRISTIE: I indicated to the honourable member that officials from the Atlantic Provinces were meeting in Halifax last week with CMHC. We have concluded our negotiations and we anticipate having the agreement signed within the next two weeks.

MR. PYE: Again, to the minister responsible for housing, Statistics Canada reported in December that food and shelter costs account for one-half of the spending in the lowest-income households. It is getting to the point that the working poor must choose between food and shelter - I say again, choose between food and shelter. My question to the minister responsible for housing is, how much longer is he willing to see families living in slum conditions before his department makes a commitment to create affordable housing?

MR. CHRISTIE: Mr. Speaker, we want to move on that to help families, as do all the other provinces across Canada. That's why we put the $4.7 million in, that's why we're doing other initiatives with municipalities, so we can help that situation.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Lunenburg West.

TOURISM & CULTURE - IND.: GROWTH - METHODS

MR. DONALD DOWNE: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister of Tourism and Culture. Recently we saw the Minister of Tourism and Culture shut down the Nova Scotia Arts Council, and we've seen the minister cut funding for museums, and we recently saw the fact that that minister is proposing to cut $1.4 million in marketing this year for tourism. At the same time, every other Atlantic Province is increasing their budget by about $2.1 million. The Premier stated, back in the year 2000, that he wants to make the tourism industry a $1.5 billion industry. My question to the minister is, what precisely is this minister going to do to grow the industry over the next two years to meet this Premier's commitment of growing a tourism sector?

[Page 9289]

HON. RODNEY MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, indeed, the member raised this during estimates, and we talked about some of the initiatives. Of course, one perfect example of that is the integrated tourism plan which includes market and product development, the first integrated plan of its kind in the province's history. Of course, we can also refer to the CAT promotions we have this upcoming month in the northeastern United States. We are marketing every core market for this province again this year as we did last year and the year before. We are committed to building the province's tourism industry and we will continue to do so.

MR. DOWNE: Mr. Speaker, this minister might talk the talk, but the walk is really a walk off the cliff for the Nova Scotia tourism industry, the same as it is for the Nova Scotia Arts Council. That minister has done nothing but decrease the level of tourism in the Province of Nova Scotia ever since he got that job. He's going to do the same thing to the Arts Council, and he's going to do the same thing to that whole structure of culture, tourism and industry. My question to the minister is, will he not live up to the Premier's commitment and promise to grow the tourism industry, even though he's incapable of doing anything for the Arts Council?

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 Liberal House Leader.

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Resolution No. 3321.

Res. No. 3321, Ins. Rates - Gov't. (N.S.): Plans - Reveal - notice given Apr. 22/02 - (Mr. B. Boudreau)

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

MR. BRIAN BOUDREAU: Mr. Speaker, it's a very interesting resolution, and I will get right to the point, of course, because my time is limited. Rising insurance costs are a pressing issue for hard-working Nova Scotians. There is no hiding from the fact that insurance rates for some people have increased by as much as 30 per cent, and many seniors - and I do have several cases - are facing even greater increases, as high as 400 per cent.

[Page 9290]

This government has said it was looking into car insurance rates and why some Nova Scotians are seeing rates double. David Morse, the honourable Minister of Environment and Labour stated on January 11th, "Nova Scotians have a right to know that the rates they pay for car insurance are fair and justified", a quote by the minister. In fact, even the Premier got into this debate. The Premier quoted - and these were his exact words - in February of this year, "Clearly, we'll have to look at this issue carefully, (but) it's increasingly difficult for many Nova Scotians now to keep their cars on the road, and we have to be concerned about that."

Mr. Speaker, it makes me wonder why the price of gasoline went up, the increase of tax at the pumps, but nothing of substance has happened yet. The Nova Scotia Government is still very far behind on addressing this insurance issue. Why? It has referred the issue of rising insurance premiums to the Utility and Review Board. The minister stated that the review will examine rates to determine whether they're excessive, inadequate, unfairly discriminatory or otherwise unreasonable. This is not adequate, particularly since the Utility and Review Board is expected to take approximately six months to complete its study and by the time the government responds another year will have been wasted.

As of today, Mr. Speaker, dates for the URB hearings to begin haven't even been set yet, but going down this path has its own set of problems. The Utility and Review Board lacks the authority to effect change on insurance rates in Nova Scotia. The minister is aware of that and so is the Premier. The URB review is a stall tactic that the minister is using to dismiss these rising rates. I don't want to get into the fact that he's actually an insurance broker himself and I have to wonder out loud what he's even doing with this file, particularly since it was with the Department of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations and as soon as the insurance industry approached that Premier and his government, the first reaction was to take the file from the knowledgeable people in the Motor Vehicle Branch in regard to cars and automobiles and he took the file from that department and transferred the whole entire file over to the Department of Environment and Labour who has a minister who is an insurance broker.

Now, Mr. Speaker, that's suspicious, I would suggest, and I would suggest that it was done deliberately. The Premier, obviously, didn't put much thinking around this because if he feels that it would be better that someone with the knowledge of the insurance industry . . .

HON. DAVID MORSE: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order. The member opposite is building an elaborate story about my involvement with the insurance industry and this is the auto insurance industry. This is accident and property insurance. In actual fact, I had no involvement in the accident and property insurance industry. So before he spends a lot of time going down that road, I thought I would point that out to him.

[Page 9291]

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. It seems as if we do have a dispute between two honourable members and I would like to point out that the honourable member for Kings South, the Minister of Environment and Labour, raises a point that he certainly disagrees with and I would ask the honourable member for Cape Breton The Lakes to try to stay away from those type of allegations as the honourable member insists that they are not based on evidence.

MR. BOUDREAU: Mr. Speaker, I don't know what you're saying. It's obvious that the minister is an insurance broker. In his previous life he sold life insurance for companies that, obviously, sell automobile insurance and home insurance as other companies as well and, honourable minister, if that is not true, ask the minister to rise in his place . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. The honourable member for Cape Breton The Lakes will take his seat, please. Thank you.

HON. NEIL LEBLANC: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order. As a member of this House, I'm more than willing to partake in many debates. The fact of the matter is the member opposite has imputed motive that the member somehow has an interest in selling automobile insurance. The minister has stated clearly that he does not have an affiliation and the fact of the matter is there is motive being imputed by the member opposite. The fact of the matter is he should correct himself or basically stand up to the consequences. (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. I would like to advise the House that I also have listened to the debate and that is not a point of order. The honourable member for Cape Breton The Lakes has the floor.

MR. BOUDREAU: Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and I'm not going to waste my time, not a breath, because people in Nova Scotia know the truth. This minister and the deputy minister have clearly indicated that the URB hearings, the entire process will cost up to $500,000, which still doesn't get us any closer to the issue of studying the whole entire industry. Perhaps that's why the minister is hiding under the fact that he won't put in place an all-Party committee, when his own backbench members agree that an all-Party committee would be in the best interests of not only this House but in the best interests of all Nova Scotians.

[4:15 p.m.]

Mr. Speaker, that's clearly indicated in the minutes of the Economic Development Committee meeting that the minister referred to during Question Period. Why? Why is this costing the Nova Scotia taxpayers $0.5 million? The Minister of Labour stated the review would examine rates to determine whether they're excessive, inadequate, unfairly discriminatory or otherwise. The URB doesn't go that far. Given the background of the

[Page 9292]

minister responsible for this matter, it seems suspicious why he's taking so long to address this particular issue. This government was told two years ago by the industry that rising rates were on the horizon, but nothing has been accomplished to date on this issue. Two years. I noticed that the minister referred to Newfoundland. Well, he's obviously watching the system in Newfoundland. The government toyed with this issue for four years before they called an all-Party committee, and six years later they still don't have answers.

That's simply not good enough for Nova Scotians, and it obviously is not progress on the issue. This isn't a plan for dealing with these sky-rocketing rates. This government should reveal, by being open and accountable to the public, and that's something they have to learn yet, because they haven't learned to be accountable to the people. That is the motto of the government, after all; isn't it, Mr. Premier? Let an all-Party committee examine the issue, and let the people of Nova Scotia see what additional solutions they have in order to deal with high insurance rates in this province. Nova Scotians have been facing these sky-rocketing rates, and want this government to do something to help now, not six years from now.

AN HON. MEMBER: They won't be here in six years.

MR. BOUDREAU: No, as my friend and colleague, the honourable member for Richmond, just indicated, they are not going to be around for six years. That's probably true, in all reality.

Mr. Speaker, if they're willing to accept the help of Nova Scotians, an all-Party committee could and would examine the entire insurance industry. That committee could report back to this Legislature with recommendations for appropriate action. That is the right thing to do, and that minister and that Premier and that Finance Minister, they know it. They're dragging their feet. Public consultation, so that people know the full range of options that are available to them to control insurance rates in Nova Scotia.

Mr. Speaker, I will remind the House that the last time this issue was before Nova Scotians and creating difficulties for premiums in the province, the Liberal Government put forth a resolution, a cure, one that went right across Canada. It is was the graduated licensing system. Records indicate that not only did insurance rates drop, but accident rates, particularly deaths, dropped by 37 per cent, right across this country, an initiative by the Provincial Government of Nova Scotia, at the time, a Liberal Government at that, a Liberal Government.

Not only is it the right thing to do, it is the responsibility of this present government to provide Nova Scotians with a full range of options and solutions . . .

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

[Page 9293]

The honourable Minister of Environment and Labour.

HON. DAVID MORSE: Mr. Speaker, thank you, and thank you, I think, to the member opposite for his opening comments. I would thank him for bringing this subject up today because it is an important subject, I think there are a few minor corrections that should be pointed out as to the subject matter of that diatribe.

First of all, it's the first time I heard that the insurance portfolio got transferred from the Department of Transportation and Public Works into Environment and Labour. However, maybe the member opposite knows something that took place long before I became the minister, so I just want to put that little correction on the record.

Also, the member opposite is a little confused about the licensing in insurance. There are two basic insurance licences: one is the casualty and property licence which would include the ability to sell and indeed advise clients on automobile insurance amongst other coverages; the other is the life and disability coverage. They're totally different products and they're in fact offered usually by insurance companies specializing in those areas so there's no crossover. Just to be absolutely clear - I know that it was confusing from the member opposite's rant before we got into this - I want to clarify that my licence is in life and disability and actually I particularly took an interest in disability insurance because I think it's an area that's in need of more attention.

So, with just those two minor comments, I think I could go on about the faux pas in the member opposite's opening statement for some length, but I do not want to waste the time that's available to us because I think the people of Nova Scotia are really interested in this subject.

I would like to say at the outset that auto insurance policies, typically, have three main components to them. One is the mandatory component, and in Nova Scotia that would be public liability and a form of accident which would include some medical coverage and disability coverage actually. So if the owner of a car is involved in an accident, this is a form of no-fault insurance, something which has been bantered about as a term during this debate and I just want to clarify that what that means is that the injured person, regardless of whether he or she is at fault, will get those prescribed medical and disability benefits. That varies right across the country as to the amount of those medical and disability benefits with one exception, that being Newfoundland where they do not require that as part of the basic coverage, but that in Nova Scotia is what's required in order to drive on Nova Scotia highways; in addition, of course, to a valid driver's license.

There are two other major components of an insurance policy. One is comprehensive insurance and I would tell the member opposite that on a trip to Newfoundland about 15 years ago I got to use my comprehensive insurance. I got a Newfoundland trophy, Mr. [Deputy] Speaker, and as a trucker I'm sure that you would be aware of what that means. In

[Page 9294]

Newfoundland there are a lot of large four-footed creatures that roam most indiscriminately on the road and they have very little respect for drivers and I put one on my windshield. I'm happy to say that my wife and I were able to slow the car down to about 10 kilometres an hour and the comprehensive insurance covered the entire cost of the claim.

MR. [DEPUTY] SPEAKER: Would the honourable member permit the [Deputy] Speaker to advise the member who has the floor that truckers refer to those moose as swamp donkeys. I thought it was important that we get that on the record seeing as how we're speaking about those big animals.

MR. MORSE: Swamp - what? (Interruptions) Well, Mr. Speaker, I can tell you that moose was very large and made quite an impression on me; made somewhat of an impression on the windshield of the car, as well.

Also, there's collision insurance. That is where if you wreck your car, even though you're at fault, the insurance company will typically pay for the cost of replacing the car or doing the repairs; again, regardless of fault. The thing to point out here is that the comprehensive and the collision are optional.

I would tell you that in my household, we have two cars, one of which is a 1991 Toyota that is in excellent shape, which I drive. Because of what I would anticipate being able to get back for it in a collision claim, I have chosen not to cover it with collision insurance. The other car, which is driven by my wife, is a newer car. It's a good deal more valuable. The cost of a claim, of writing off the car, would be a considerably greater hardship on our family and accordingly we do pay the premium to get the collision insurance. But the point that I'm making here is that really the coverage we are talking about is the coverage that is mandated by law in order to drive on Nova Scotia highways. It's that mandatory coverage.

I would also like to say that in Canada, there are basically two types of insurance companies. There are the public ones and the private ones. In Nova Scotia, as is the case with most of the provinces, we rely on competition between the private insurance companies to generate the premiums. The Leader of the NDP is anxious to know how it compares to the public. As long as he's throwing out those rabbit tracks, I would tell him that a government that until recently was an NDP Government, on the West Coast, in B.C., saddled their taxpayers last year with another $127 million claim on their general revenues because of the loss of their public insurance company.

Mr. Speaker, while I know that that government got into this with the best of intentions, I feel that Nova Scotians are not anxious to be taking money from health care, education, community services or, indeed, from roads to get into the insurance business. I know that the Leader of the NDP will have a chance to get up there and tell Nova Scotians how passionate he is about this and, perhaps, how he would like to divert some money from

[Page 9295]

the classrooms, dismiss some teachers' aides or cut some doctors so that he could go into the insurance business. If the NDP wants to get involved in the insurance business, then he should stand up and should say it, and he should be prepared to share that with Nova Scotians.

Mr. Speaker, it would be unfair to pick on just one province, because I understand that Quebec also had a similar experience, except, unlike British Columbia, they did not lose $127 million. So to be fair to the Leader of the Opposition, we should point out that the loss there last year was more to the tune of $200 million. Anyway, I want to express my appreciation to the honourable Leader of the NDP for pointing out the importance of not getting involved with the insurance business.

Mr. Speaker, I have to tell you that I could go on for some time here. I have quite a bit of material that I would like to go over, not unlike another time when I got up on another very important insurance program here in this House, in the main Chamber, the Workers' Compensation Board, and went through the notes to their financial statements. Time, unfortunately, does not allow me to go through all the information here, which compares - I'm happy to table this for the benefit of the members opposite, Automobile Insurance in Canada - An Overview, because it gives a description of all the different insurance products that are available, indeed that are mandated or not mandated across the country. So I would like to perhaps table this for the benefit of the member opposite, and maybe if he would read this the next time he gets up and speaks on this important subject, he will do so with a more informed message and therefore to the benefit of Nova Scotians.

The honourable member for Chester-St. Margaret's is also anxious to get up and share some of his thoughts on insurance, and I would like to relinquish the balance of my time to that honourable member.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Chester-St. Margaret's.

MR. JOHN CHATAWAY: Mr. Speaker, I very much prefer this opportunity, but I did very much appreciate my fellow Party member for Kings County just getting up and having a nice chat-a-way about car insurance. It's certainly far better than hearing one of the opposite people there yelling and screaming with many untrue facts. Basically, I don't have a long time, but I think every Nova Scotian is indeed very concerned about their car insurance. They want to know that we have good car insurance, that it's fair and it covers all inadequacies, et cetera, when we really need it.

[4:30 p.m.]

What I did know was that 500,000 Nova Scotians have driver's licenses, but last year the Insurance Bureau of Canada investigated, I think, only 500 issues vis-à-vis the soft tissue injury. Of course, they are claiming that they have lost money. It is very important that we

[Page 9296]

have a very good group investigating what they think and what other people think, because, basically, it can't be done by just a little committee. I understand, on February 28th, the Economic Development Committee, all members of this House, representatives from all Parties were there and did have an inquiry. It's complicated enough that you need a good investigation as to whether it be fairly done.

Basically - guess what? This House spent 40 years to bring in a balanced budget, well finally we did. We can't investigate this - with just one little committee with our other obligations so quickly. The URB will do a good investigation and report. There's no use wasting time with a fast study. We have to have a good one. I understand my time's up, and I appreciate this opportunity.

MR. SPEAKER: The House does appreciate it when the honourable member for Chester-St. Margaret's does get up on his feet and engage in debate.

The honourable member for Cape Breton Centre.

MR. FRANK CORBETT: Mr. Speaker, there will be no need to editorialize when I finish. We have this resolution in front of us. One of the nubs of why I don't support going forward with an all-Party committee is the fact of, really, who outside this House supports that, and that's the Insurance Bureau of Canada, they support this going forward. When I see those folks heading up this movement towards an all-Party committee, I smell a rat.

Mr. Speaker, let's talk about soft tissue injury for a moment. Half the problem is because the insurance company doesn't really want to do any substantive investigation to find out what's really causing that when accidents occur. That's a major one. Let's look at some of the problems going on in this province right now. Insurance companies are allowed to red circle communities, they do so in the Town of New Waterford, they do in parts of Glace Bay, they do in parts of Whitney Pier. That's what's wrong, and that's what has to stop. When automobile insurance is mandatory in this province, why are companies allowed to do this?

Mr. Speaker, you will hear people like Mr. Mumford, the Regional Director for the Insurance Bureau of Canada, saying that that's okay, that they will leave the area - well, they are leaving in droves. They have done that before any investigation started. We have fewer and fewer insurance companies. We've been told there are insurance companies that will not underwrite in the Town of New Waterford, and that's a problem. The URB has to investigate those, skyrocketing sources have to be investigated, and I don't believe that an all-Party committee has the wherewithal to do that, vis-à-vis subpoenaing and so forth.

Mr. Speaker, I want to advise this House that we have a serious problem about insurance in two areas, not just automobile but clearly in the area of homeowners. Both of these levels of insurance are directly having a severe and, I would say, utter catastrophic

[Page 9297]

effect on seniors. There are seniors going without paying their own home ownership programs, because it's a luxury they can no longer afford. They live in older homes that may not have some of the amenities of the newer homes.

Automobile insurance - we can all quote rates that have gone up 600 per cent, 700 per cent of the time. We can come before this House and tell you many instances of how insurance rates are crippling our young drivers and our older drivers, but in the few minutes I've got left - because I will be sharing my time with the member for Dartmouth-Cole Harbour - I want to tell you that there's a real need here to have these investigated. We have heard the member for Chester-St. Margaret's applaud the work that the Insurance Bureau of Canada did, and I would say some of those numbers, to be kind, are questionable. So we need an independent arm which I believe is the Utility and Review Board which will carry on an extensive investigation and I hope it will prove what we have said all along - that these are price gouging and that's all it is.

With that I will be taking my place and turning it over to the member for Dartmouth-Cole Harbour.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Official Opposition.

MR. DARRELL DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, I'm pleased to join this debate. I want to start by saying it always makes me extremely uncomfortable, sitting on this side of the Chamber, to watch while the members of the government, who for 40 years ran up deficits in this province, congratulate themselves, pat themselves on the back for finally solving a problem that they caused. I mean it just mystifies me how they can sit in their seats and congratulate themselves for that, but nonetheless I just couldn't let them get away with it yet again today.

From what was said by the minister and by the member for Chester-St. Margaret's, I can only conclude that the minister knows little or nothing about the automobile insurance industry in this province, and the member for Chester-St. Margaret's knows less. Neither of their dissertations were at all enlightening about anything with respect to why we have skyrocketing insurance rates in this province.

I mean the reality is, Mr. Speaker, no matter where you go in the province to buy your automobile insurance, you can go to any broker, you can go to any retailer of insurance, you're going to buy the same insurance policy no matter where you go and you're going to get the same coverage no matter where you go because you're going to buy the standard policy form, number one, that's your basic insurance, that's what's going to give you property damage coverage, that's what's going to give you public liability insurance, and those rates are determined independently by the various companies, but you're going to get the same coverage.

[Page 9298]

Now, you can choose, as the minister tried to point out, to add endorsements to the standard policy form that will increase or broaden the coverage that you have and, yes, Mr. Speaker, you will pay more for them. The reality though is that if we look at insurance across the country, we don't have to look very far, today we had a news release come out from the Saskatchewan Government Insurance, SGI, where they are going to be rewarding safe drivers and putting some $16 million back into the pockets of automobile owners and drivers in that province for safe driving. It's a well-managed system. It's a public auto insurance system. It has done well by the people of Saskatchewan.

The auto insurers in the country like to talk about paying out in excess of what they receive in premiums. For instance, what you will often hear from them is that we pay out 110 per cent of the premiums that we bring in. Now, you say, well how is that possible? How is it possible that you could pay out more in claims than you bring in in premiums? I mean isn't that a recipe for bankruptcy if you start doing that? Well, it's not, Mr. Speaker, and the reason it's not is because they receive their premiums up front and they invest them, and in addition to the income that they receive from premiums on policies, they also receive investment income, significant investment income. It makes these insurance companies extremely profitable and they have done very well by the people of this province over the last number of years.

I want to make sure I don't run out of time here, Mr. Speaker. Now I want you to look at just one little piece of the insurance policy that this government has control over and this is something called Section B. Now, in Section B of the auto insurance policy - the minister tried to refer to it although he didn't do a very good job - they are essentially the no-fault benefits that you are entitled to as a driver in an automobile or a passenger in an automobile which carries appropriate insurance. So if you get injured, there's up to, I think, $25,000 worth of coverage for any medical service that you require that is not an insured service.

In addition, Mr. Speaker, there is something called the weekly indemnity payment that you're entitled to. So if you are insured, you're working, but you are injured in a motor vehicle accident you could make a claim against your insurance company, regardless of whether or not you're at fault, to get your weekly indemnity payment to offset your loss of income. This is a noble idea and, when this was introduced, this was a very good thing. The problem is - and the minister should know this - that those rates have not been revised for a long, long time. Do you know what you're entitled to if you get injured in a motor vehicle accident? You're entitled to $140 a week. Now, how long do you think that you could sustain - any working person that's got a mortgage and a family to support - could sustain themselves on $140 a week? Not very long, I can tell you.

HON. DAVID MORSE: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order. I would like to offer the same material to the member opposite so he can see, in fact, what it is right across Canada. I thought that might be helpful . . .

[Page 9299]

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. That is not a point of order. The honourable Leader of the Opposition.

MR. DEXTER: . . . point, Mr. Speaker. See, this is the problem, because these are the kinds of benefits that could be addressed. It doesn't have to go to a committee, just common sense would tell you that these are the kinds of benefits that people who drive automobiles in this province and who are already paying exorbitant rates have a right to expect.

They complain that these are things that are beyond their control, it's open to the free market, competition's going to set the rates, when, in fact, what they need to understand is that when they take measures like they include in the Financial Measures (2002) Act that is going to cause very large premium claim payouts by the insurance companies on medical benefits - and I've pointed this out in the debate on Financial Measures (2002) Act - that they are going to cause insurance rates to climb yet again. Because what they're doing is they're off-loading their medical services costs from the government - which they pay under general revenues - on the backs of working people, and people on fixed incomes in this province who drive motor vehicles, through the insurance premium. That's what they're doing. It's another one of their methods of cost recovery. You mark my words, Mr. Speaker, insurance rates, insurance premiums in this province are going to continue to climb, not because of the increased losses because of soft tissue injuries or any of the other things we hear, but because the government has decided in its Financial Measures (2002) Act to include an entirely new area of claim against the insurance-premium pool in the Province of Nova Scotia. That is about as simple as it gets.

He talks about losses and other insurance programs and what he should know is that those losses mean that the individual insurance rates in those provinces are being underwritten by the government in order to keep down the insurance rates. It's not a loss, Mr. Speaker, it turns out that what they're doing is pulling down insurance rates for the consumers. You may disagree with that philosophically, but it's not a loss. There's a big difference.

I wanted to point out in this time that I had that the rise in insurance rates is a function of the initiatives that are undertaken by this government.

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

The honourable member for Cape Breton West.

MR. RUSSELL MACKINNON: Mr. Speaker, I'm pleased to rise and support Resolution No. 3321 that my colleague, the member for Cape Breton The Lakes has introduced for debate here today. I must say after listening to the comments of the various

[Page 9300]

members who have spoken on this particular issue today, the one I'm most disappointed in is, in fact, the minster who is responsible for this particular issue.

Mr. Speaker, I know it seems like sometimes I'm picking on the minister and very often - but then again it's not a personal thing, it's simply the fact that the minister is not doing his job. I will point out evidence that supports that particular position. Referring this issue to the Utility and Review Board - or PUB or PUARB or whatever title you want to put on it - does not address the problem and the minister knows that. Even representatives from the insurance industry know that that's not the problem. By going to the Utility and Review Board, we are dealing with the symptom, not the cause. The minister knows that because when the representative from the Insurance Bureau of Canada appeared before the Economic Development Committee on February 28, 2002, this is what he said on Page 7 of Hansard: "Government has to provide a clear process that will allow consumers to come forward, that will allow all stakeholders to come forward to voice their views on how we can fix this problem." It goes on to say, ". . . a formal process whereby this can take place. If that formal process is an effective one and consultation is wide, we can easily and quickly move on to action and actually have legislative change that will benefit consumers . . ."

So, Mr. Speaker, what the minister has done is short-circuit even efforts by the Insurance Bureau of Canada to have this issue addressed by referring it to the Utility and Review Board. The suggestion by my colleague, the honourable member for Cape Breton The Lakes, that this be referred to an all-Party committee is sound, thoughtful and the right choice, given the circumstances of the issue surrounding the complaints that have been brought forth by all members in this House, particularly members of the Tory caucus, who sat on that committee on that day and raised concern after concern to Mr. Forgeron. That is documented in Hansard.

So the reference by the minister that, yes, we're studying the Newfoundland model - yes, well, what has Newfoundland done? Mr. Speaker, Newfoundland, according to this press release dated May 1, 2002, has introduced legislation to deal with the problem. Why is it that since January the minister from our province has been hopping on a boat or jumping on a plane and going to Newfoundland and doing nothing about it, yet Newfoundland has taken the leadership role and introduced legislation to address the concerns of the consumers? One of the highlights of this particular piece of legislation is the fact that the provincial government will include in this legislation a consumer advocate to ensure that public interests are properly represented.

Well, why isn't the Minister of Environment and Labour doing that? Why is he hiding behind this regulatory process, which does not in any way, shape or form, address the problems that were addressed by his colleagues, who were complaining about 100 per cent premium increases for no justifiable reason? Even the honourable member for Annapolis complained publicly at that meeting that because of his age, his premiums were going to increase substantially and he didn't think that was fair. Well, Mr. Speaker, simply referring

[Page 9301]

this to the Utility and Review Board does not address the essence of what that underlying problem is. Even the insurance industry, as I said, is asking the government to provide some leadership. What does he do? He says, oh, we're going to refer it to the Utility and Review Board. That's quite disappointing, not surprising, though, considering this minister's track record in the department. Sometimes we wonder if he even knows what department he's in, with the way he responds to some of these issues.

Mr. Speaker, on the other side of the equation, let's look at it from a consumer's point of view. Mr. Forgeron says that with the more than 100 insurance companies across Canada that deal with this issue - I will try to be as exact as I can - they only had a net profit of $1.1 billion.

AN HON. MEMBER: How much?

MR. MACKINNON: Only $1.1 billion. Well, when you divvy that up, Mr. Speaker, that's not quite $10 million profit for every insurance company across Canada that he refers to. Do you know what he says? I'm absolutely astounded. This is not a highly-profitable business. Well, by golly, if I had $10 million in the till at the end of every year, I would say that's a pretty good profit.

What's the minister doing? What did the government members do on the committee? They voted down the opportunity to go and consult with Nova Scotians. They were quick to do that because of a political promise with the workers' compensation system, which by the way they were mandated by law to do whether they liked it or not. They did it with the Fire Prevention Act, which was studied to death for two years and every stakeholder that came before our committee said that it should have been introduced. Forget about the delay tactics and wasting taxpayers' money.

That's essentially what the government seems to do best, fumble the ball. They don't protect the interests of all the stakeholders. On one side of the equation you have the insurance companies, the Insurance Bureau of Canada, asking the provincial government to show some leadership. On the other side, we have the consumers who feel like they've been gouged to the bone. Maybe somewhere in between is the proper resolve. I don't know. You won't know, Mr. Minister through you, Mr. Speaker, and no member of this House will know until we go to the people of Nova Scotia and find out what their thoughts are on it.

Mr. Speaker, an all-Party committee is the logical choice. The date hasn't even been set for hearings to deal with this issue that the minister so gallantly says he referred to the Utility and Review Board. How many months have passed already? February, March, April, now we're into May and it's a six month process on that. We will be getting next year's rates by the time this would even come out of that particular process. How shallow a thought process, that they would expect people to believe that the government is being proactive. It's simply not there. The evidence speaks for itself.

[Page 9302]

Yes, the minister stood up and said, oh, I would ask the honourable member across to read this document that I will table, Automobile Insurance in Canada, an Overview. This is the one that was put out by Newfoundland. He seems to use Newfoundland as his benchmark. We're not disputing some of the comparables there. We're disputing the fact that the government is not showing any leadership in this issue. Newfoundland, not only put out a policy analysis on it, they took action, they introduced legislation to protect the consumers of Newfoundland, effective May 1, 2002. I will table this for the minister. Perhaps, at least he will be up to date on what he claims is part of his consultative process. Had he known that, he would have, I'm sure, included that in his dissertation.

Mr. Speaker, obviously, like most other issues in his department, he's oblivious to the facts, and he's outdated in his information. Yes, as one honourable member, my colleague, the member for Cape Breton South, has so eloquently stated, he's blissfully unaware. That really sums up what's happening down at the Department of Environment and Labour, doesn't it? You can put whatever acronym you like on it, but the evidence speaks for itself.

Mr. Speaker, I think the government, if they're really interested in protecting the interests of consumers - stand up, be counted, be a leader for a change. Don't be a wimp; don't be a follower; don't run around the country studying other people's problems when you have problems here in Nova Scotia. Go to the people who count the most and that's Nova Scotians, the Nova Scotia consumer. Listen to what they're saying. Listen to what your colleagues are saying. (Interruption)

Well, Mr. Speaker, we hear the echos from the backbenchers over there. Let them stand up for Nova Scotians. Stop worrying about Newfoundland. Worry about Nova Scotia for a change. I've never seen anything, shipping jobs out West, you know, we've seen that through the budgetary process.

AN HON. MEMBER: How?

MR. MACKINNON: Through the elimination of the Nova Scotia Film Classification Board. Now, had the honourable member for Preston been alert, because he chaired the committee when the information was given, he would have understood that. Yes, sit quietly while jobs are exported from Nova Scotia.

Mr. Speaker, I realize my time is over. I ask the minister to show some leadership.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member's time is over and just before I recognize the member for Cape Breton South, I would like to ask all honourable members if they would please be considerate and turn their cell phones off. If you must bring your cell phones in here, whether they're on vibrator mode, or ring mode, or whatever mode, it's no help to the

[Page 9303]

Speaker, other honourable members, the Pages, staff and Clerks in here. Please, shut them off or leave them out.

The honourable Liberal House Leader.

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: I agree, Mr. Speaker. If the members opposite want to talk to their stockbrokers, they should do it outside the House.

Mr. Speaker, would you please call Resolution No. 2828.

Res. No. 2828, Gov't. (N.S.) - Health Care: Election Promises - Fulfill - notice given Apr. 2/02 - (Dr. J. Smith)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Dartmouth East.

DR. JAMES SMITH: Mr. Speaker, thanks for the opportunity to start debate on Resolution No. 2828. It reads, "Therefore be it resolved that Premier Hamm and his entire caucus review their priorities and deliver on the promise to deliver quality care at an affordable cost." So that's the resolution that we'll be debating here today. It was introduced earlier in this session and remains a theme really throughout the whole budgetary process that we've addressed throughout the estimates and during Oral Question Periods and any time that we, as Opposition members, have the opportunity to hold this government accountable for what's happening to health care across this province.

Mr. Speaker, I clearly recall discussions around the issue of health care just three short years ago and we all clearly recall the Premier stating for all Nova Scotians to hear, particularly on the TV evening news - I remember getting glimpses of that once in awhile - and I will quote the Premier, "As your Premier, my first priority will be to fix the health care system. We will make sure that when individual Nova Scotians need health care, it will be there for them."

Mr. Speaker, I also recall the following statement made by the Premier on June 25, 1999, and I believe it was at the Lord Nelson Hotel at the, as we call it, platform launch. It sounded like great things were going to take off, but we didn't know that health care was going to be spinning in outer space, as it is now, but it was here on that date that the Premier stated, "Health care providers have told us that $1.5 billion dollars is enough money to run a quality system in this province if it is used properly." So I think that's very crucial to today's debate, that it was adequate funding, $1.5 billion, if it was used properly.

Mr. Speaker, I would ask what has happened with these beliefs that were widely held and espoused by our Premier for all Nova Scotians to hear. Today health care costs are hovering close to the $2 billion mark - $1.98 billion this year - a $136 million increase in health care funding. I daresay this government would be hard pressed to find a Nova Scotian

[Page 9304]

who would say that the health care system is better today than it was three years ago. Ask the people of the Northside General whether the regular disruptions in emergency service is better now than it was three years ago. Ask the people of New Waterford whether their emergency care is better now under the Tories, in a town, a facility that people can no longer rely on the hours that their emergency department will be operating and open. How disabling and destabilizing to a health care system to have unpredictability of hours of emergency departments, a department that they've been used to using for all those years.

[5:00 p.m.]

What about the people in the Valley? I'm certain there hasn't been a caller who has phoned the MLAs of Kings North, Kings South, or Kings West to say you guys are doing a great job with health care in the Valley, keep up the good work. I think they heard some other things, but they didn't hear that. Just to touch on the Valley again, that's where they are being audited, to double-check, after they were vocal, reacting to matters of what they were told - they were told that they were going to get less money per capita than the rest of the province because they're too healthy. That's information that was shared with us in Kentville one evening. Too healthy, therefore less money.

Mr. Speaker, it's clear, not only has this government failed to provide a quality health care system, a system that Nova Scotians would have some confidence in and a system that Nova Scotians are able to access services in a timely fashion. They have failed to do so with a budget, the likes of which this province has never seen - the cost, that $1.98 billion is the highest health care budget this province has ever seen.

Mr. Speaker, there have to be average Nova Scotians out there who are scratching their heads. We meet them; they are wondering; and some of them are fearful. They're apprehensive that the system has destabilized under this Tory Government. The wait times have increased, surely they have. Services are becoming fewer and fewer at the community level. Programs that should have been expanded and enriched and enhanced in the northern region, in the southwest region, in the eastern region, they have been limited or actually curtailed. Specialists are leaving. Who in their wildest imagination would have ever thought that the liver transplant program in a tertiary care teaching hospital such as the QE II would be cancelled?

Those who are interested in coming to this province, our beautiful province, many of them have decided not to. I try not to respond to all the rumours, but you have to pay attention to some when you hear from physicians that they've talked to their friends out West or down in the States and they were looking and wondering how things were going, and they said they're not coming into this system that is so destabilized.

[Page 9305]

Even the French immersion cancellation here in metro is impacting. There are lot of physicians who live in peninsular Halifax, near the hospitals, and their friends, some of who wanted to come and continue their French immersion that they're taking in Ottawa or some other city, have actually said they've cancelled, they've decided not to come to our province. That's a terrible shame. We know that when young professionals like physicians and other professionals and all people - really, I shouldn't distinguish physicians here as being different, because all people - when they make move, the first thing they're looking at if they have young children is the education situation in that community, and that has been destabilized.

Mr. Speaker, to continue the Premier's words - I must repeat - that, "We will make sure that when individual Nova Scotians need health care, it will be there for them.", means that this government has failed and it's failed in the broadest sense. This government had a golden opportunity. They had opportunity that was not afforded, particularly, our minority government but the government before, from 1993 on. This government has had golden opportunities. Revenues are coming forward to this government that are unprecedented. They could have made decisions. They could have saved the health care system money now, and also down the road.

One such thing they could have done, and statistics have shown this would save the health care system money without even costing the government one red penny, was to implement a 100 per cent ban on smoking in public places. They had some choices to make and they didn't have the nerve to do it. They blinked, and they brought in some punitive legislation that possession of tobacco by anyone under 19 is illegal. (Interruption) You will get your chance to speak, but actions speak louder than words and your speech is made when you bring in the half measures within the anti-smoking bill.

HON. JAMES MUIR: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order. He's implying and, Mr. Speaker, I had a document in my hand a few minutes ago that simply said when he was Health Minister he had promised to bring in anti-smoking legislation and he didn't have the courage to do it.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. The Minister of Health's point of order is more, I guess, a dispute between two honourable members rather than a point of order. The member for Dartmouth East does have the floor.

DR. SMITH: Mr. Speaker, things were going along quite swimmingly, as he mentioned, and then we ran into something called a minority government where the socialists and the rednecks on the right ganged up and defeated a good government. I mean that's what happened to that, but times have changed, the moods of people - we knew that there had to be a lot of work done in education and we brought in these programs that have not been expanded and enhanced in this government.

[Page 9306]

So while on this side of the House we acknowledge the positive step and we want to congratulate the minister for his initiative, at least, to get through, although part of it should be called a Justice bill, not a Health bill - the punitive nature - but we want to compliment, I want to compliment and our caucus wants to compliment the government and acknowledge the positive step that they have made in introducing their smoke-free places legislation and we compliment them for that. They could have reduced health care costs with a 100 per cent ban on smoking in public places. They had a choice and they blinked.

Mr. Speaker, it has been estimated tobacco-related illnesses cost the health care system approximately $20.5 million a year. Reducing the exposure to tobacco smoke would have gone a long way in assisting this government in curbing health care costs. Here's another example. The smoking cessation programs that we spoke of earlier today, with $138 million in taxpayers' money going into revenue for this government, why doesn't this government just invest a little more to save a lot more in the long run? Another decision that could have saved the system money and, again, a decision with a very little price tag to it, is making the Smoke-Free for Life curriculum, that we mentioned earlier, mandatory from Primary to Grade 9 in the schools. The Minister of Education, today, said that she would try to do what she could, so I take that, at least, as a partial commitment. The statistics have clearly shown that every dollar spent in implementing this curriculum of Smoke-Free for Life curriculum in the schools would save $15 down the road.

Again, this government has been given every opportunity to provide quality health care at affordable prices. For example, over $30 million of federal money that flowed into this province for medical equipment from the federal government, we finally chased it down, it's being held in a trust fund in the Bank of Montreal. I don't want to give any free advertising just because we happen to share the building with the Bank of Montreal, but we'll say it's there and, hopefully, at a good interest rate. It looks like what they're going to try to do is live off the interest, so maybe we'll have to talk to the Bank of Montreal to up the interest rate so what this government spends on medical equipment, if you cut down the waiting time for CAT scans, x-rays and all the things that people in Nova Scotia are waiting for, to get the slush fund out and working for Nova Scotians, out where it belongs. But, certainly, it would free up this money that the federal government - when I say they've had a golden opportunity, this is a great example. Over $30 million from the federal government just like that, free money from the federal government and they can free up their own money to invest somewhere else.

I will just finish on this note, Mr. Speaker. I know it's near the end of my time. They've indicated that creating nine district health authorities instead of four regional health boards would save on administration, that there could be more invested in the front-line health care workers. We've seen budgets for district health authorities increase year after year, with district health authorities reducing services and programs. That's what we've seen across this province. When will the minister come forward with the information of all the monies that they've saved by changing from four regional health boards to nine district

[Page 9307]

health authorities? When will the minister bring that information before the House and share it with Nova Scotians? They've destabilized the health care system totally, just after it was getting stable after some reform changes, but reform with this government has meant cuts to services as they increase taxpayers' money into the health care system that is destabilized by what this government has done in the name of reform. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Health.

HON. JAMES MUIR: Mr. Speaker, I welcome the opportunity to speak on Resolution No. 2828. Just to begin with, the first condition, the whereas, I'm pleased to see that the Liberal Government finally did admit on the floor of this House that there was a problem with health and, indeed, his resolution says there was a plan to fix the health care system in this province and it's a recognition that it did need to be fixed. Just before I get into this, he talked about the priority of this government for health. I want to tell you that in 2002-03, this government has $2 billion worth of priority in the health of this province. Indeed, $134 million additional dollars of priority for health in this province.

Before I get into my real text, Mr. Speaker, I would just like to point out the difference, perhaps, between the former government and the present government. It's a difference between talk and action. They talked about anti-smoking legislation; we introduced it. They talked about a comprehensive anti-smoking strategy; we did it. They talked about a new CAT scan for the Cape Breton Regional Health Care Complex; we did it. They talked about a new health care facility for Cumberland County; we did it. They talked about improved emergency room services for the Dartmouth General Hospital; we did it. They talked about improved emergency room services for the Hants Regional Hospital; we did it. They talked about getting the budgets out for the long-term care facilities in a reasonable time so these institutions can better serve their constituents; we did that. They talked about the problems in home care and the lack of standardization of the various programs across the province; we did it. The difference between the two governments is that they were a lot of talk and absolutely no action.

The reason, Mr. Speaker, that we are action is because my department and this government have a long-range vision for health care in this province. Our vision is to have a dependable health care system that provides the right response by the right care provider in the right place at the right time. And I would just mention for the . . .

[5:15 p.m.]

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. We won't mention honourable members' names in this Legislature at this time, but the honourable Minister of Health does have the floor. Please give him your unqualified attention.

[Page 9308]

MR. MUIR: To bring the House back, you know we talk about health care in this system and the honourable member knows, too, that we have many fine health care providers and we do provide good service for those who need it. He might just want to check with his colleague for Glace Bay about the level of care that he got. He might want to check with his colleague for Cape Breton Nova about the level of care that he received in this past year. He might want to check with my colleague for Chester-St. Margaret's about the level of care he received this past year. He might want to talk to the Premier about the level of care he received in the last six weeks. He might want to ask me because I received an excellent level of care on Monday at a facility in this province. When people need services in this province, they get very good service and the honourable member knows that.

I just want to say that our vision for a health care system is one that is integrated and sustainable. We don't just have a vision; we have a working plan. We have dedicated and talented staff in the Department of Health and the district health authorities who bring us closer to our vision each year. It's an enormous challenge and we all recognize that. It's one that all governments across the country face, but we will get there.

One of the other things that I should point out - and it's one of the reasons that the previous government was not really able to move the system ahead a whole lot. It's because if you read the resolution, it talks about how the items that are covered in this resolution are less than 50 per cent of the cost of the health delivery system in this province. They don't talk about Pharmacare. They don't talk about long-term care. It doesn't talk about home care. They don't have the foggiest notion of what a comprehensive health care system is, and that's why there's a problem and we're trying to clean it up.

Everything that he's referred to has to do with the acute care side of the system, which is, I believe, very good. But the fact is that what he refers to in this resolution is less than 50 per cent of the cost of the health system in this province. The honourable member should know better. The problem is that for many Nova Scotians, care is defined in the context of a hospital bed. Unfortunately, that misrepresentation of what is appropriate care gets spun out on the floor of this House too frequently by the Opposition. We have to get beyond that if we're going to move the health system ahead.

One of the greatest challenges that we have as government and health care providers in Nova Scotia is to educate Nova Scotians on the fact that the health system represents a very broad continuum. The hospital - there's no question that the acute care facility used to be the apex of health care, but the philosophy of delivering health now in Nova Scotia and across the rest of the Western world is that what you need is appropriate care in the appropriate place by the appropriate provider. It's much broader than doctors, nurses, hospital beds and the other support staff who are in acute care facilities. That's why we are investing in the whole continuum of health care in this province.

[Page 9309]

In 2002-03, approximately 40 per cent of the health care dollars that are going to be spent in this province will be spent on acute care. The remaining 60 per cent will be used to support long-term care, home care, Pharmacare, mental health, professional salaries, population health, and our air and ground ambulance service. I was pleased to hear one of the candidates for the leadership of the New Democratic Party finally support what we have been preaching as a Conservative Government for the last two and a half years. He finally recognized, down in the Valley, that health care goes beyond hospital beds, and you have to take population health factors into consideration if you're going to do a good job. (Applause) Mr. Speaker, to tell you the truth, I don't think he really understood that, that's a term that he heard us use and he thought if we were using it, it had to be a good one, so he tossed it out. (Interruptions)

The biggest growth in our health care system in the last decade has not been in the acute care side but in those services which are delivered outside the acute care system. Nova Scotians are beginning to understand, as are most Canadians, that the types of things that occur outside of doctors' offices and in hospitals are not insured services under the Canada Health Act. I will tell you, I believe that they should be covered under the Canada Health Act. In our presentation to the Romanow Commission two weeks ago, we made that very clear. We believe that for health to really improve in Canada, the Canada Health Act should be broadened to include health services, not just medical services. Ottawa needs to step up to the plate with additional health care funding in recognition of that fact. By the way, as I think a good many members in this House would know, Senator Kirby released Volume 5 of his report on health in the country about two weeks ago, and he recognized that as well.

Mr. Speaker, I don't want to dwell on that this evening, but I would like to use the opportunity to focus on more positives, on some of the things that we have done and are doing to ensure that Nova Scotians have access to quality care at an affordable cost. As the honourable member for Dartmouth East mentioned, we promised a better alternative to regional health boards. The regional health boards were a structure that created confusion and chaos across the system. Communities felt isolated and the lines of accountability were often blurred. We restructured the system into district health authorities, which created a stronger voice for communities and more accountability to government and to the people for the delivery of acute health care services. Under that structure and under the legislation, the role of community health boards has been firmly established.

In addition, we are firmly committed to developing a funding formula for district health authorities that would allow dollars to flow to needs rather than simply to structures. We believe that such a formula should take into account factors such as the burden of illness, the percentage of seniors in the population, socio-economic conditions and geography, if we are to distribute the scarce health dollars to the areas where they are most needed and thus do the most good for all of our citizens.

[Page 9310]

Mr. Speaker, we know too, that a shortage of health care professionals, particularly nurses, can affect service delivery. I'm pleased to say again that in terms of the numbers of health care professionals that we have in this province, compared to the rest of Canada, we stand number two. We have the second-greatest number of physicians per 100,000 of population. We have the second-greatest number of nurses per 100,000 of population. We have done very well; our recruitment efforts are paying off.

One of the things that we put into a plan and implemented was our nursing strategy. The nursing strategy has proved very effective. We hired a nursing policy advisor and we implemented a strategy that was developed by care practitioners and particular nurses for nurses. This year we're putting an additional $5 million into that strategy - into education and training opportunities, job fairs and relocation allowances, co-op work experiences and bursaries - to try to keep our student nurses in our province. We've had great success with our nursing strategy in the first year, and I just want to refresh the memory of the members of the House with a few of the highlights.

There were 60 student nurses who completed co-op work terms, and 90 more have begun those co-op work terms already or will be beginning this month. Seventy-five RN students received bursaries and have completed or will soon begin service agreements at facilities across the province. Forty-six licensed practical nurses have received bursaries upon the completion of a refresher or pharmacy course and 95 more LPNs are in the process of getting upgraded. We've recruited more than 90 new nurses from outside our province through our new recruitment initiatives, including the relocation allowance.

We also introduced new nursing legislation that added a new member to our health care team in Nova Scotia, the nurse practitioner. It's interesting to see what positive reaction we've received with that legislation from right across the country. We had a vision of primary care in the province that involves teams of health care providers working together to meet the needs of the communities.

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

The honourable member for Halifax Needham.

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: I don't think that minister had a vision, Mr. Speaker, I think he has had a hallucination, frankly. It would appear that his short-term memory is quite selective. I want to tell you about a gentleman who I met with in my constituency this morning. He's an older man, in his 70s, whose wife is in a nursing home, and he gave me a file of documents. In that file of documents is a bill he received from the Capital District Health Authority for $4,300 for the period of time that his wife was on a transitional ward in the capital district waiting for a nursing home bed, but not just waiting for a nursing home bed, waiting to get assessed for nursing home care. She was being charged to be in hospital during that period of time.

[Page 9311]

This gentleman - his wife has now been assessed and she's in a nursing home. Every month he is paying roughly $4,200 for her care in a long-term care facility - $140 a day, Mr. Speaker. This minister would like us to believe that everything in the health care system under this government's watch is hunky-dory, but let me tell you that it's far from so. That family - that elderly gentleman is under so much stress that his own health is in question right now because of the unfair burden of this $50 a day user fee that has been placed on him and, in addition, the assessment for the nursing home care. In addition to that, this gentleman has to pay increased Pharmacare premiums, courtesy of that government, for himself.

[5:30 p.m.]

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. I wonder if I could advise all honourable members that most in the Chamber are engaged in some form of debate or another, but it's the member for Halifax Needham who does have the floor and it's very difficult to hear her.

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. This gentleman, in addition to all of these costs, has to pay increased Pharmacare fees for himself and he has to pay increased Pharmacare fees for his wife who is in the nursing home because this is the only way that her need for drugs will be covered and they're substantial.

So let's be clear about this government's plan for health care. The minister talks about his plan. Well, yes, the John Hamm Government did have a plan for health care and their plan had two essential elements. One part of that plan was to cut and rationalize health care services as extensively as they possibly could and the other component of their health care plan was to offload as much of the health care costs as they possibly could onto individuals, onto families, onto caregivers and, indeed, onto municipalities. We have seen that municipalities in this province have ponied up municipal revenue to support health care services where this government has failed to ensure that those services of importance to a community would remain in place.

The minister talks about home care and this government's plan and how much they've improved home care. Well, let me tell you, Mr. Speaker, he has to go back and check his facts and I have somebody I would like him to speak to. I would dearly like him to speak to a friend of mine who broke her leg and is housebound and has been for about six weeks. She's an elderly lady who also is visually impaired, has home care workers coming in to assist her every day. In the past six weeks she has had more than 30 different home care workers come into her home to provide her with care. Now, I ask you, is this a system that is working to its full potential? I think not. This is a disgrace. There are serious problems with the way the current system is being delivered.

So, Mr. Speaker, long-term care is problematic. The user fees on hospital beds for people in transition between acute care and long-term care is a problem. Home care and the delivery of home care is problematic. We have had day after day in this Legislature a litany

[Page 9312]

of situations where people who are requiring ambulatory care have been charged exorbitant fees, sometimes double and triple billing occurring in one incident, and this minister chooses selectively not to acknowledge this situation. He hasn't acknowledged the change in the Pharmacare premiums, the increase in Pharmacare to many seniors with very modest incomes and incomes that certainly in the current climate have no ability to grow whatsoever. He fails to speak about the waiting lists and the waiting times.

I had a woman in my constituency call me a few weeks ago. She's in chronic pain. She has already had three discs removed from her back. She needs an additional operation on her back, but until she has an MRI, Mr. Speaker, this operation will not proceed. In January she received a letter informing her that she will have her MRI on September 24th. She has to get up in the middle of the night and present herself in the emergency department for painkillers, she's in such an enormous amount of pain.

This is not a health care system that has been improved by the vision or the plan of this government. Again, let's be clear, their plan has been to cut and to rationalize services, to increase waiting times, to reduce access to services, and to off-load the costs as frequently as they possibly can, through the use of user fees, onto individuals, onto families, onto caregivers and, indeed, onto communities and municipalities.

Mr. Speaker, this is a very selective picture that has been painted for us by the Minister of Health who likes to puff himself up and trot out what he thinks is a record to be proud of. We had four bureaucracies under the previous government in terms of the four regional health boards; we now have nine bureaucracies. This is the government that in its collective wisdom decided more bureaucracy would be better, more CEOs. We see every day in this Legislature, the example of a government that has no difficulty spending public dollars at the top of the apex of an organization, but has a great deal of difficulty ensuring that people in the middle and people on the bottom of the communities in our province are actually taken care of.

Mr. Speaker, this is a government that denied the Sisters of Charity. They denied the Sisters of Charity a licence so that those elderly sisters could remain at the Mother Berchmans Centre. Those sisters, just in the last few days, have been moved into a private, for-profit health care facility. This speaks volumes about what this government values and what their commitment is to publicly funded health care in this province.

Mr. Speaker, perhaps the minister can fool some people with his pretense that this government has addressed the problems in the health care system, but there are an awful lot of people who see precisely what is going on and they know that things have not improved whatsoever under this government, and that the chaos that Nova Scotians have endured in their health care system through the 1990s with the John Savage reforms to health care that certainly contributed to a lot of upheaval and chaos in our system, the same chaos continued under Premier Russell MacLellan.

[Page 9313]

Well, the same features of these problems exist today. The one thing that I would say that has changed is indeed this government has a plan, and let's be clear about what that plan is. That plan has been to cut and rationalize services and to off-load the costs as much as they possibly can onto individuals and families and caregivers, as well as communities. I take some hope, I guess, in knowing that health care is important to people in our communities and that, as we speak, there are members of our province who are engaging in a process to save health care as we know it, to keep it public and to look for a strengthening of our health care system.

Mr. Speaker, I participated today in the launch of a campaign to save Medicare, to keep it public. There will be a canvass that will be happening all across the country and there will be literally thousands of Canadians involved in this campaign to save publicly-funded health care. People will be going door to door. In Nova Scotia, anybody who wants to participate in that campaign of going door to door can get involved by registering as a canvasser at 424-7086. Starting on Saturday, people will be knocking on doors. As I understand it, the first area of the province they campaign will be in Halifax West, the federal riding of the member of Parliament there, Geoff Regan.

People will be going door to door in that constituency, engaging with people on the doorsteps about their views on a publicly-funded health care system. There will be reading material given to people. There will be cards that people will be asked if they're interested in signing, and those cards will be forwarded to the Prime Minister. This campaign is timed to coincide with both the completion of the Kirby report, Volume 5, which has just come out, but, more importantly, I think, Mr. Speaker, with the Romanow commission, to ensure that Canadians get their message out that health care is the most important public program that binds us together as Canadians, that helps us identify each other as a caring community from coast to coast with some collective responsibility to share in looking out for each other in those moments when we most require the care of a supportive society. So again, I would urge people, including members of this Legislature, to support and participate in the public campaign to save Medicare and to keep it public.

Mr. Speaker, it's important I think to note that not only the government and previous governments in this province have a lot to account for with respect to the failure to address the real health care concerns of people in our province, I would be remiss if I didn't say that the federal government certainly shares in the failure to adequately provide for health care and the cost of health care in this province and in this country. The CHST, introduced in 1995, did a lot to harm to health care and we need to reverse this situation. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Lunenburg West.

MR. DONALD DOWNE: Mr. Speaker, I'm pleased to rise on this motion today, Resolution No. 2828, and to talk about health care. Health care is an issue that continues to be at the forefront of the agenda of every politician in this country, an issue that is of concern

[Page 9314]

to most Canadians and certainly most Nova Scotians as being a major priority. I noted with interest as the Minister of Health stood in his place today and went on a bit of a rant about all the successes that he has perceived he has been able to achieve in regard to health care and health delivery in the Province of Nova Scotia.

It's interesting that he can have his caucus go on and applaud what he says he's been able to achieve, but one acid test would be simply to ask Nova Scotians, is health care better today than it was in 1999? Is health care better today than it was in 1999? I would say that I don't think most Nova Scotians would do the same as his caucus members and clap as far as it being better. In fact, what we've seen as my colleagues have stated, Pharmacare costs increasing by 56 per cent, ambulance fees have gone from $500 to $600 for individuals that are not considered as acute care requirement. Regular ambulance service from $85 to $125 a trip. We're seeing beds closed throughout Nova Scotia only to be filled with offices for administration. Beds are closing to be filled with administrative individuals throughout the Province of Nova Scotia.

[5:45 p.m.]

The issue of long-term care - that minister stood on this side of the House, I think very close to exactly where I'm standing not that many years ago, crying out for the need for more money in long-term care facilities. We brought forward a plan that talked about long-term care facilities, in fact, we talked about the continuum of care in Nova Scotia. And, what has he done since he's been there? The answer is absolutely nothing in regard to long-term care requirements for the people of the Province of Nova Scotia. I note with interest some members disagree, but that's okay.

The loss of the whole issue of nursing and nurses. This government said that they were going to do so much about nurses in the Province of Nova Scotia only to see that today in the newspaper we're seeing the emergency rooms and operating rooms are closing not because of any other reason but because we do not have the nurses to look after the patients with regard to being able to do the procedures that are required. Yet, this government says that they are doing all the great things for health care.

What about specialists? What are they doing to bring new specialists to the Province of Nova Scotia or to retain specialists? Very little, if anything. In fact, we just lost an ear, nose and throat specialist for the South Shore - the first time we have had an individual for the South Shore Regional Hospital and he left because this government had decided to close the pediatric wing of the South Shore Regional Hospital, that we along the South Shore will regret for years to come. I bet the member for Queens will regret the fact that we lost the ENT specialist. The member for Chester-St. Margaret's, the member for Lunenburg will all agree that the ENT specialist was very much required in our area.

[Page 9315]

The loss of beds, the loss of emergency rooms across this province - we're having emergency rooms closed. In other words, we're asking people in the Province of Nova Scotia if you get sick, we don't want you to get sick at certain times of the day or the evening, we don't want you to use certain facilities so you have to schedule when you get sick. Emergency rooms closing - the issue of mental health in the Province of Nova Scotia.

I want to say as I stand in my place to talk about the region I represent - and I'm very honoured and proud to be a member of the Lunenburg County-South Shore community in the Province of Nova Scotia - and when one realizes that we now have in the areas of mental health reduced the level of service to less than one person year, one full-time person for the whole South Shore, one has to ask the question, are we putting people's lives at risk? I say yes. We realize that we are now at the crossroads in regard to delivering quality health care for mental health in the Province of Nova Scotia, we have an emergency before us and we've done nothing to realize and to fix the problem.

The professional community has indicated that we need somewhere between four to six mental health professionals in the South Shore area alone. We have one. That is a shame because this is a government that promised that they could deal with this. The minster talks about being in the right place at the right time coming with the long-term plan. Well, I would say that he's got a long-term plan of disasters that we've seen in the Province of Nova Scotia or the long-term plan is so long-term that none of us has been able to share in the specifics of that plan. You can talk about the long term, but what about the immediate crisis that we have that this government seems to be neglecting its responsibility on.

To me it's a shame that we have a situation before us, and as the minister mentioned all the things he did they clapped, but when I mentioned the things that have happened, promises that they made, I never heard a word from the government benches. Maybe they don't mind that those things are happening, but I ask the members who are in the Valley, I ask the members who are from the beautiful Annapolis Valley, is their health care system better today than it was in 1999? You know, maybe in Halifax, I don't know maybe everybody is happy in Halifax. I'm not hearing that, but I know the people in the Valley are not happy and they're concerned about health care delivery in that part of the province. What about people up in Cumberland, Amherst, and other areas, are they happy with the health care delivery they're currently getting?

This government has spent about $400 million on health care since they've been in power - new money, borrowed, or whatever the case may be, and yet the problem still gets worse day after day after day. One has to ask the question, why. Because this was a government that promised Nova Scotians - you remember - for $46 million and a few administrative cuts, we'll be fine in health care. I think the quote was that we have spent enough money in health care, we've got to manage it better.

[Page 9316]

Managing health care better is fine, and I think everybody would agree that we should be managing taxpayers' money better, but I don't believe Nova Scotians are seeing better management. I think what we're seeing is that we're spending more money. I agree with the government that they're spending more money in health care, but is it any better? If it isn't any better, then what's happening is that they are putting money at a problem instead of coming up with a plan.

One of the areas that I have talked to the minister about is where is their plan specifically for health care that we can lay it down and show Nova Scotians what it is that we're going to be doing for health care in the Province of Nova Scotia. I believe members on this side of the House would love to see that plan and how it affects hospitals in Glace Bay, or in Cape Breton, or areas in the South Shore, people in the Annapolis Valley, and Cumberland and Colchester Counties. Those people want to know what that plan looks like; they want to know what that blueprint knows like; they want to know what is going to be delivered to their community. The Musquodoboit Valley, the people from beautiful Musquodoboit Valley, they would love to know what's going to happen for health delivery in that area of the province.

I know that the member from that area used to stand up here and go on and on and on about these issues, but you know the member fought for his community and I respected that and, although he has been muzzled in the House by the front benches, I believe that that member probably speaks in spades in caucus and he probably lets them know in caucus what his concerns are. But he has been muzzled here in the House. (Applause) I see you've got a following, but I wish and I hope that that fire in his belly that he had on this side of the House soon rises again on that side of the House and he gets a chance to talk about it. (Interruption) Yes, he's speaking in tongues all right.

So I ask the question, what are the long-term plans? And you know the reason I ask that is because we have some very specific concerns on the beautiful South Shore. I note with interest we have members in the west gallery who are paying attention to this and I appreciate that. I respect that we have some people in the gallery who are concerned for what this government is not doing - was that the good finger or the bad finger, Mr. Minister? But anyway, I want you to know that we have some very serious concerns on the South Shore and it's not just me speaking, hundreds of people in my riding are talking about concerns with the South Shore Regional Hospital.

I would like to table a letter by the Bridgewater Chamber of Commerce that the Chamber of Commerce for Bridgewater and area strongly encourages the South Shore District Health Authority to stay the decision on the South Shore Regional Hospital's pediatric unit and to call on more public input from the stakeholders and the taxpayers. Only when all arguments have been heard and all alternatives explored can reasonable decisions be made and importantly be reasonable explanations to those same stakeholders. That was presented by the Bridgewater Chamber of Commerce and sent off to the minister, and I will

[Page 9317]

table it. So it's not just the MLA. Mr. Speaker, I think you should ask for order in the House. It's a little noisy. (Interruptions) I like to have a captive audience when I speak.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. The honourable member for Lunenburg West has requested that the Speaker ask for order. The Speaker will ask the honourable members for order. Order, please. The honourable member for Lunenburg West has the floor.

MR. DOWNE: Mr. Speaker, the Chamber of Commerce has stated very clearly that it is concerned with the pediatric unit in the South Shore Regional Hospital being gone or moved somewhere else. I was looking today for the letter I received from the Town of Bridgewater. The Mayor and the Town of Bridgewater also passed concerns on to the minister with regard to it. I believe the municipality is looking at that issue as well. The issue and the concern are surrounding the area of the pediatric unit at the South Shore Regional Hospital.

I would like to table a letter that I received recently . . .

AN HON. MEMBER: Did you read it?

MR. DOWNE: Yes, I did read it. . . . from a nurse and a parent who lives in Pleasantville. The letter was sent to Mr. Merkley, who is CEO of the South Shore Regional Hospital. It's a Mrs. Matheson, who is a nurse and a mother, by the way, a parent, is pointing out her serious concern with the closure of the pediatric unit, you know, DHA 1 made a decision that they were going to close the pediatric wing. They go on to say that they would like to put it over and maybe move three of those beds - of the six or seven or eight that are being used - into surgery.

Now, one only has to think about this for a second. The specialists who are nurses that are dealing with pediatrics are now going to be cross-trained. Are they going to have those same pediatric specialists and nurse specialists in the surgical wing to deal with those children? I would say that that will probably not happen. So what we're going to do is put children, to some degree, at risk, by putting them in the surgical wing in partnership with what's happening in the surgery ward. What happens with the issue of transmission of disease? I asked that question of the staff and they said that they were told, just wash your hands really well after you deal with a child who has pneumonia or something and the problem will be over.

Well, there are ambient problems in a hospital. There can be a disease transmitted in the air that circulates around. These are all concerns that should be addressed by the South Shore Regional Hospital or the hospital board. I would ask that they do find a solution. I know that they are meeting and trying to find a solution, but I haven't heard the answers to that solution yet. I want to table and I want to state here today that the people of the South Shore are concerned and worried about the future of the pediatric wing at the South Shore

[Page 9318]

Regional Hospital, but they're also worried about whether or not the South Shore Regional Hospital stays as a regional hospital. Mr. Speaker, I've been asked to stop and I will. I will release the floor. Thank you very much for your attention and your controlling of the order of the House.

MR. SPEAKER: That concludes debate on Resolution No. 2828 and Opposition Members' Business.

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, I move the House do now rise to meet again tomorrow at the hour of 12:00 noon. The House will sit until 8:00 p.m. The order of business will be Public Bills for Second Reading.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is to adjourn and the House will sit tomorrow at 12:00 noon.

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 Adjournment debate this evening has been submitted by the honourable member for Queens, " Therefore be it resolved that members of this House commend the co-operative efforts - between all levels of government and the private sector - in attracting economic development to Queens County."

[6:00 p.m.]

ADJOURNMENT

MOTION UNDER RULE 5(5)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Queens.

ECON. DEV. - QUEENS CO.: CO-OPERATIVE EFFORTS - COMMEND

MR. KERRY MORASH: Mr. Speaker, I rise tonight on behalf of the constituents of Queens County to talk about the positive economic developments in Queens County, and to bring to the attention of this House the level of co-operation and collaboration that is taking

[Page 9319]

place in Queens County by all levels of government and the private sector, and to commend the co-operation which is responsible for the growth in the local economy.

Co-operation is making things happen in Queens County. We're very fortunate that we have a lot of people who are working very closely together for the benefit of the area and the benefit of the province. It certainly is showing and beginning to pay off. Co-operation at its finest with the municipal government is shown because of the amalgamation of the Town of Liverpool and the Region of Queens. That was a voluntary amalgamation, which has benefited and has worked out very well for the residents of Queens County.

The good mayor of the Region of Queens is doing very well. He was a member of this House for some time. (Applause) Everyone who would know Mayor Leefe would appreciate and understand that he is working very hard for the constituency and working very hard for Queens County, and certainly is a benefit to the province.

AN HON. MEMBER: . . . don't need an MLA.

MR. MORASH : Well, that could be debatable.

An immediate benefit of that co-operation was the creation of the Region of Queens Economic Development and Tourism Department. This was no small thing, Mr. Speaker. Collaborative efforts among the Department of Economic Development and, as we like to call it, the Queens-Lunenburg RDA and the South Shore Tourism Association are already showing results. The previous mayor, Mayor Clarke, suggested that perhaps Queens-Lunenburg was a better name for that RDA, rather than Lunenburg-Queens.

The Region of Queens Municipality has completed the Queens County Economic Development strategy that is currently being implemented. That is known in the area as the Sapp-Dunlop Report. It was put together by two very capable individuals, Jim Sapp, who is a private businessman, and also Jack Dunlop, who had worked in industry as well. They went around, taking a look at what was needed to stimulate the economy, what they should be doing, and what Queens County should put in place to make sure that we're ready for the future, and that we are there and are able to seize any opportunities that take place.

We have the Brooklyn Marina and Waterfront Park expansion that is ongoing currently. That has certainly been a boost and a credit to the people who have organized that. Currently, provisions are being made to move a cenotaph and monument to Markland Shipping Company to that site. That's something that's quite substantial because Markland Shipping Company was the shipping company that was related to Mersey Paper Company. During the war they were used as merchant marine vessels. Currently, they're looking at putting up a nice monument that would recognize all those who sailed on the vessels that were registered with that company. I'm also proud to say that my father worked with that

[Page 9320]

company and sailed on the Vineyard, I think, which was torpedoed off Seal Island, up off Cape Island during the war.

AN HON. MEMBER: Captain Norman Smith.

MR. MORASH: Captain Norman Smith, I'm told, was the captain of that vessel when that took place. In the coming years, we're looking forward to the Liverpool Waterfront Development taking place and making an impact on the community. A lot of work has gone into that. We are fortunate to have some very capable people who are working to bring that forward. What's most impressive in all these collaborative efforts is the quality of leadership, municipal, business and community collaboration is making anything possible. Together we're able to plan well and execute these plans. We're going to get things done in Queens County. There have been a lot of positive things that have taken place in the last five years. That's certainly a credit to the local people. (Applause)

One thing, it's worthwhile mentioning previous and current municipal leadership, because it has been exceptional, and we have been very fortunate to have councils that have shown strong and aggressive leadership. As everyone in this room would know, that is certainly important with regard to economic development, to good governance, to ensuring that we have things in place, and that we are willing to grow and to be there and be ready.

Collaboration is the key, and we have a lot more capacity, a lot more assets than we think we have. The challenge is to understand that to be more effective we must work with each other, and government is part of the mix too. We will provide support as the regions take charge of their own future. That's one item that we've had some discussion on with regard to whether government or provincial government is responsible for economic growth in an area such as the region of Queens, or whether that is something that has to be stimulated or jump-started from within, and then government is available to make sure that the roadblocks are taken out of the way and we try and smooth the way to allow it to happen. That's the way things are working in our area right now, Mr. Speaker. The region is aggressively looking for opportunities. The provincial government will certainly assist in any way they can and the federal government will do the same. They have been very, very co-operative in the past.

With our RDAs, we need to keep them working. In fact, the terms of the Queens-Lunenburg RDA, we're privileged to have them. They are a great organization. Jim Brown is the Executive Director of that and he has called me on several occasions and ensured that I was up to date with things that were taking place, possible prospects that were going on, and we have worked closely to try and make sure that we have made the way as smooth as possible for them to come in. We do have solid leadership in Queens County. We have an independent and innovative spirit, and we always have had, and we have a great deal to work with. We are very fortunate because of the people who we have, and amalgamation was a

[Page 9321]

very good thing. The voluntary amalgamation seems to be the key that ensures that things work along very well.

We have traditional industries like forestry and tourism and they're complemented by a diversified year-round fishery, as well as manufacturing. The economic development strategy that I mentioned earlier certainly has to tie in to fisheries as well, and tourism to ensure that we expand and that we grow. Our government believes in our foundation industries, and these are essentially the rural resource industries that are based on our water and our land and are critical to the province's economic health and well-being. We must move in new directions and let innovation into our foundation industries as much as we possibly can. It is time that we start looking at some changes from the fundamental industries and businesses that we have certainly associated ourselves with, and knowledge-based innovation in the new market is something that will be good for small-town Nova Scotia.

Economic development in rural areas has its own issues and concerns. Number one is our areas' young people and how to keep them there. Unfortunately it seems in the rest of rural Nova Scotia or in a lot of rural Nova Scotia it's very difficult to ensure that you retain the intelligence and the youth and the spirit of our young people and ensure that they have ample opportunities so they do not have to leave home. The size of the population in this area is such that we not only would like to get along, but we have to get along to ensure that we're successful and it's just essential for our economy to grow. We need to do what earlier generations of Nova Scotians have done, and that's find the opportunities that still surround us and work together to build up our communities' capacity to capitalize on those opportunities.

We do have some new industries, and one that is choosing to locate in our area is Service Zone, and we're very fortunate that they have decided to locate in our area. It is looking at providing 300 jobs in our area, Mr. Speaker, and they will start building very soon. With that, one thing that is certainly worth mentioning in that project is it was exceptional to see the federal government, ACOA and the minister responsible at that time, work with the provincial government, Economic Development, our minister, Nova Scotia . . .

AN HON. MEMBER: Business Inc.

MR. MORASH: Nova Scotia Business Inc., thank you. The municipal government and everyone else, they worked co-operatively to make sure that occurred. Thank you. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Official Opposition.

MR. DARRELL DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, I'm going to wait for the applause to die down for the honourable member for Queens. I, too, was very pleased to see him get on his

[Page 9322]

feet and speak. It is so seldom that we hear his voice in this Chamber and I was certainly pleased to hear it tonight. (Interruptions)

Mr. Speaker, they heckle but, you know, at one time a colleague of mine actually did a count to see how many words the member for Queens had said in the first session of the House and I think it was something around 500.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. Even though it is late debate, I would suggest that the speaker and all members of the House have usually found the honourable member for Queens to be very gracious and courteous to other members in this House and I would think that he deserves the same. (Applause)

MR. DEXTER: There's nothing ungracious about my comments, Mr. Speaker, it's just a fact, all right, it was just a fact. I say this, not because I want to admonish the member, because I want to encourage him to get on his feet and speak on behalf of the people of Queens. They deserve no less and, you know, he's a good speaker. He could do it if he really wanted to and all he has to do is find it somewhere deep within himself to get up and talk about the issues that are important to Queens County. I say this because like my colleague, the member for Dartmouth East, you know, one thing that Queens County does produce it appears is members of the Legislature because we have three of us here - myself, the member for Dartmouth East as well as the member for Queens.

As I said, I grew up in Queens, I actually grew up in Milton which is a very tiny town. As I like to say, the number six power dam was actually in my backyard. I walked out of the back door of my house and that's what you would see is the number six power dam on the Mersey River. So Queens is a place that's very near and dear to my heart and I want to see, in fact, great success for this beautiful part of this province. Unfortunately, I believe that many of the decisions that have been made in government mitigate against any kind of success for rural communities. I know, for example, the member was talking about the decision of Service Zone to locate in Queens County. Certainly many people in Queens County were happy with that announcement. Unfortunately, today, they announced that they're going to delay their opening. They're not now going to be in a position to open their headquarters until sometime in November and they're not going to be hiring employees until sometime next year so a bit of a setback but, nonetheless, the intention is that they will be able to move ahead.

The member was presenting a rosy picture and certainly I think there are many people certainly in Liverpool who believe that they have turned the corner in terms of the long period of economic decline that has taken place in Queens County, the number of people who have left the area, the depopulation, the loss of young people, but I think it's important that we have a look at what's going on in Queens County. I want to begin by tabling the labour market review which Human Resources Development Canada came up with. This is from 1999. It's the 1999 review, but it is the most current one, and in it it talks about both

[Page 9323]

Lunenburg and Queens Counties. I want to quote from it and that's why I've agreed to table it.

The report reads, "Looking exclusively at Lunenburg and Queens County, the latter . . ." meaning Queens County, " . . . does tend to have the weaker labour market. It has suffered a larger population decline, employment growth has been negative from 86-96 - whereas Lunenburg actually saw an increase of 7.5 % - the education levels of its population is lower and it has a smaller share of its population earning an income from employment."

These are problems, Mr. Speaker, these are problems with things that could be addressed by government and I want to give you an example of just how that impacts generally. This is the report of the Queens Regional Development Agency, the Lunenburg-Queens, which the member was quoting from. I'm going to table that as well, but it talks about the labour force which is what we just talked about in the Human Resources development document. It points out that Queens County has a 16. 2 per cent unemployment rate and that the participation rate of people in Queens in the labour market is at only 53 per cent.

Now, how does this compare with Canada or the rest of Nova Scotia? Well, here, Mr. Speaker, are the employment statistics, the most recent ones, for this month. In Canada the unemployment rate is 8.3 per cent, about one-half of the rate of unemployment in Queens County. The participation rate is almost 66 per cent, almost a full 13 per cent more than that which takes place in Queens County. So these are difficulties that need to be overcome by the community of Queens and in order to look at that in some depth, what the Department of Economic Development did is they had a Queens County round table. They went and they met with people in Queens County and they asked them, what are the good things and what are the bad things about Queens County that's going to make it successful.

[6:15 p.m.]

The people in Queens County managed to identify, and I think quite correctly, what some of the obstacles for that county were. They said, we have lost the railroads, this is a detriment to business expansion. We must develop better highways and trucking in order to become more competitive, something that I'm sure the [Deputy] Speaker would agree with. Inland freight to Halifax is too expensive, making our location a problem. Air freight is a large problem in the region, there's no commercial rate to Boston, so we must depend on the trucking industry. I'm sure that's not necessarily something that concerns the [Deputy] Speaker. Education cuts are hurting the area, funding is based on the number of students, with declining student numbers there are fewer teachers, special needs youth will not get assistance and will drop out, and this becomes a problem because the Nova Scotia Community College campus requires Grade 12 for entry.

[Page 9324]

These are problems that are being identified by the people in Queens County. Transportation for students to community college is a problem because the buses were dropped several years ago. Many industries will hire younger people, but they cannot read or write properly. Where is the industry to get a trained workforce? These are all things that are identified by the people of Queens County. Young adults are leaving and going West where the jobs are. There's no work to keep the youth here. Funding for community projects is gone. There is concern about how projects will be developed without provincial money.

These are all things that have been identified, and whether it's in education or in funding for community projects, or in any of those, they are all things that result from the policy decisions made by the government. The government could choose to provide support for rural communities, it could choose to keep institutions in those communities that will support them, but they have decided not to do that.

What can government do to help improve economic growth? Government is still centralizing. It needs to be decentralizing more. They are too concerned with short-term vision. They will save $10 today and it will cost them $100 over the next few years. These are things that the people of Queens County have identified as problems with their government. I don't think that the member for Queens honestly understands. He's not fooling anyone by standing up with grandiose kinds of statements about the county when the people in that community know better.

MR. KERRY MORASH: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order. It seems that the member opposite should realize that some of us are trying to help and grow and build Queens County, and some of us think that we should just roll up the sidewalk and close it down. That really is not what we're trying to do at all.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. The Leader of the Opposition has the floor.

MR. DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, the member misunderstands. What he doesn't seem to understand is simply talking about it is not going to help. You should be telling people in your government that taking the obstetrical unit out of the Queens General Hospital is a bad idea. It's a bad idea because with it goes young people, people who would be attracted there. It's an economic development generator. It's not just the obstetrical unit.

These are the decisions that you should be standing up and talking about, because they affect Queens County. Nowhere in what you talked about tonight did you talk about the dichotomy in Queens County between North Queens and South Queens, and how most of the large industries are located in South Queens, smaller businesses are located in the North, and that they have different needs from government, they have different infrastructure needs.

[Page 9325]

These are the things that need to be expressed on behalf of the people of Queens County. When I started I wasn't admonishing the member, I was asking him to participate because friends of mine who live in Queens County, indeed family of mine and friends of his need him to stand on his feet to represent the people of that community. I do this only to try to encourage him to take a larger part in this House.

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

MR. RUSSELL MACKINNON: Mr. Speaker, I would like to rise and speak on the resolution that's been brought before the House by the honourable member for Queens. I would like to congratulate the honourable member for bringing this resolution. It's refreshing when you see people take a positive attitude about things. I commend the honourable member for doing this very thing because there's a lot to be said for the power of positive thinking.

But, that having been said, I would be remiss if I didn't address a few of the vacuums in this process.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. Is the honourable member for Preston up on a point?

MR. DAVID HENDSBEE: No.

MR. MACKINNON: The honourable member for Preston would probably not want to hear what I'm about to say, Mr. Speaker. He doesn't seem to share the same enthusiasm for Queens as the member for Queens because he wants to do away with the constituency of Queens. That will show you the type of support the honourable member for Queens is getting from the honourable member for Preston. He wants to just get an eraser and erase them right off the map. It's a good thing that we have an independent board - God forbid if you were ever to take an eraser to Cape Breton. The only thing they haven't been able to take out of Cape Breton so far is the Cabot Trail and that's because they haven't figured out how to move it. Only for that, I think that would be gone, too.

The issue of the obstetrics unit at the Queens General Hospital, obviously, I'm sure it's a concern for the honourable member for Queens but I think in particular, it sets a very dangerous precedent when you have the municipal taxpayers of a municipality now paying for Medicare. That sets a very, very dangerous precedent. We saw what happened with a colleague of his from one of his sister constituencies in the last session of the House where the municipality picked up the tab there, but (Interruption) Well, yes, the honourable member for Preston is very mindful of the fact that the government did abdicate its responsibility back last year on the so-called Barrington bill.

[Page 9326]

What I found most intriguing about the member's dissertation on some of the good things in Queens County is how they are in sharp contrast to the achievements of the Minister of Economic Development on this very issue. Today, rather surprisingly, I heard the Minister of Economic Development say that his government had created 3,500 new jobs since it came to power. That sounds great. Every job that you create is one less you worry about and that's a welcome addition to Nova Scotia's economy. But this is the same minister who essentially privatized the office of Economic Development, the job creation division of his department in the form of Nova Scotia Business Inc.

The business plan for Nova Scotia Business Inc. shows that the intent is to create 18,000 jobs in five years. Well that works out to approximately 3,600 jobs per year. The minister stands in his place today and says that in three years he created 3,500 jobs. So, obviously, that's a sure admission that he is failing on job creation in Nova Scotia. He can't even meet the objectives of his new economic development strategy by even 33 per cent. It's less than 33 per cent. That's the admission of the minister during Question Period today and Hansard will show that was his proclamation, they created over 3,500 new jobs since coming to power.

Yet, we had Mr. Morley before Public Accounts here today saying that the objective is to create 3,600 jobs a year for the next five years. The record will also show that for the last three years that the Liberals were in power, they created on average, 5,000 jobs a year. During that total period, there were over 30,000 jobs - full-time jobs - created in Nova Scotia, of which Mr. Morley, because he was a former employee on the other side of that development agency within the office of Economic Development, acknowledged that 50 per cent of those were created because of the funding and the policies of the office of Economic Development when we were in power. So, in other words, he's indicated, quite clearly, that we created 5,000 jobs a year for the last three years we were there. The minister brags about creating 3,500 jobs in three years? It is not even meeting one-third of the objective that Mr. Morley had outlined.

Even more disturbing is that Mr. Morley's presentation before the Public Accounts Committee today equally acknowledged that the government is dealing in somewhat of a recession-like mode because they feel the challenges on the national and the international markets are going to make it much more difficult for them to be able to create the jobs that were created at the same level under the Liberals. Now that's in sharp contrast with their overly optimistic proposal that they will exceed the national average during that five-year period. So there's a contradiction in what is being proposed by Nova Scotia Business Inc. It just doesn't add up.

While I commend the honourable member for Queens for doing the best he can in his constituency, advocating the interest, both from a community, a social and an economic development process, I would encourage the honourable member to speak with the minister responsible and find out why his department is failing Nova Scotia. It's failing Nova Scotia

[Page 9327]

because it can't even meet the objectives that are outlined in his own business plan. Equally more disturbing, Mr. Speaker, is the fact that Mr. Morley couldn't even tell us what the budget was for this new Nova Scotia Business Inc. at the Public Accounts Committee today. He couldn't tell us who has the ultimate responsibility for approving loans. He said there were various lines of authority and, in some cases, we may have to go to the minister or we may have to go to Cabinet and in other cases, we don't. But he couldn't give us a clearly delineated line of authority.

Mr. Speaker, that sets a very dangerous precedent. It's almost like we're going back to the old Industrial Estates scenario where there were some good success stories, as we know, with Michelin and so on. But as I pointed out as well, I believe it was close to 80 per cent of all the development dollars during that Stanfield Administration, 80 per cent of all the development dollars went to Tory-held ridings; much the same as when the honourable Donald Cameron was Minister of Development for the province, 78 per cent of all the development dollars were spent in Tory-held ridings. So I believe what the government is trying to do is to try to veil itself from public criticism and come in the backdoor and get into the old patronage ways.

I raise that because I'm supporting the honourable member for Queens on his efforts for this new call centre and a lot of other development initiatives because when things go well in Queens County, they go well for Nova Scotia because every job created is one less we worry about. That's so true, Mr. Speaker. It doesn't matter where you live. So I support the member on his initiatives, but I would encourage him to cast off the thought process from the honourable member for Preston. We do need the constituency of Queens, contrary to that myopia. We do need forward-thinking members, but we also need members who support a government that will do things for all Nova Scotians and, unfortunately, that's where the contradiction is and that's where we, as an Opposition, have problems. So I congratulate the honourable member and I encourage him to take these issues up with the Minister of Economic Development. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: That concludes the late debate. The time has expired.

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

[Page 9328]

NOTICES OF MOTION UNDER RULE 32(3)

RESOLUTION NO. 3582

By: Mr. Cecil Clarke (Cape Breton North)

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

Whereas Cape Breton Development Corporation's Career Opportunity Centres in North Sydney and Glace Bay are celebrating two years in business; and

Whereas they were created to address the downsizing and then closure of the coal industry in Cape Breton, the centres assist former miners with finding permanent employment; and

Whereas these centres have become a focal point for clients working toward new employment through career planning;

Therefore be it resolved that this House recognize the success of CBDC's Career Opportunity Centres and the dedicated staff and committed former miners who have contributed to this success.

RESOLUTION NO. 3583

By: Mr. Frank Chipman (Annapolis)

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

Whereas volunteers are of vital importance to all of our communities; and

Whereas the Annapolis County 2002 Volunteer Roll has recently been published, nominating people deemed as outstanding community volunteers; and

Whereas Marie White is one of the nominees who has been a great benefit to Annapolis County and whose efforts are invaluable;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Marie White for being nominated as an outstanding community volunteer and thank all volunteers for their continued hard work and dedication throughout the province.

[Page 9329]

RESOLUTION NO. 3584

By: Mr. Frank Chipman (Annapolis)

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

Whereas volunteers are of vital importance to all of our communities; and

Whereas the Annapolis County 2002 Volunteer Roll has recently been published, nominating people deemed as outstanding community volunteers; and

Whereas Paul Shaffner is one of the nominees who has been a great benefit to Annapolis County and whose efforts are invaluable;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Paul Shaffner for being nominated as an outstanding community volunteer and thank all volunteers for their continued hard work and dedication throughout the province.

RESOLUTION NO. 3585

By: Mr. Frank Chipman (Annapolis)

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

Whereas volunteers are of vital importance to all of our communities; and

Whereas the Annapolis County 2002 Volunteer Roll has recently been published, nominating people deemed as outstanding community volunteers; and

Whereas Shelley Robar is one of the nominees who has been a great benefit to Annapolis County and whose efforts are invaluable;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Shelley Robar for being nominated as an outstanding community volunteer and thank all volunteers for their continued hard work and dedication throughout the province.

[Page 9330]

RESOLUTION NO. 3586

By: Mr. Frank Chipman (Annapolis)

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

Whereas volunteers are of vital importance to all of our communities; and

Whereas the Annapolis County 2002 Volunteer Roll has recently been published, nominating people deemed as outstanding community volunteers; and

Whereas Betty Rafuse is one of the nominees who has been a great benefit to Annapolis County and whose efforts are invaluable;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Betty Rafuse for being nominated as an outstanding community volunteer and thank all volunteers for their continued hard work and dedication throughout the province.

RESOLUTION NO. 3587

By: Mr. Frank Chipman (Annapolis)

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

Whereas volunteers are of vital importance to all of our communities; and

Whereas the Annapolis County 2002 Volunteer Roll has recently been published, nominating people deemed as outstanding community volunteers; and

Whereas Roxy Potter is one of the nominees who has been a great benefit to Annapolis County and whose efforts are invaluable;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Roxy Potter for being nominated as an outstanding community volunteer and thank all volunteers for their continued hard work and dedication throughout the province.

[Page 9331]

RESOLUTION NO. 3588

By: Mr. Frank Chipman (Annapolis)

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

Whereas volunteers are of vital importance to all of our communities; and

Whereas the Annapolis County 2002 Volunteer Roll has recently been published, nominating people deemed as outstanding community volunteers; and

Whereas Betty Potter is one of the nominees who has been a great benefit to Annapolis County and whose efforts are invaluable;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Betty Potter for being nominated as an outstanding community volunteer and thank all volunteers for their continued hard work and dedication throughout the province.

RESOLUTION NO. 3589

By: Mr. Frank Chipman (Annapolis)

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

Whereas volunteers are of vital importance to all of our communities; and

Whereas the Annapolis County 2002 Volunteer Roll has recently been published, nominating people deemed as outstanding community volunteers; and

Whereas Brian Oliver is one of the nominees who has been a great benefit to Annapolis County and whose efforts are invaluable;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Brian Oliver for being nominated as an outstanding community volunteer and thank all volunteers for their continued hard work and dedication throughout the province.

[Page 9332]

RESOLUTION NO. 3590

By: Mr. Frank Chipman (Annapolis)

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

Whereas volunteers are of vital importance to all of our communities; and

Whereas the Annapolis County 2002 Volunteer Roll has recently been published, nominating people deemed as outstanding community volunteers; and

Whereas Douglas Moore is one of the nominees who has been a great benefit to Annapolis County and whose efforts are invaluable;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Douglas Moore for being nominated as an outstanding community volunteer and thank all volunteers for their continued hard work and dedication throughout the province.

RESOLUTION NO. 3591

By: Mr. Frank Chipman (Annapolis)

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

Whereas volunteers are of vital importance to all of our communities; and

Whereas the Annapolis County 2002 Volunteer Roll has recently been published, nominating people deemed as outstanding community volunteers; and

Whereas John Montgomerie is one of the nominees who has been a great benefit to Annapolis County and whose efforts are invaluable;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate John Montgomerie for being nominated as an outstanding community volunteer and thank all volunteers for their continued hard work and dedication throughout the province.

[Page 9333]

RESOLUTION NO. 3592

By: Mr. Frank Chipman (Annapolis)

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

Whereas volunteers are of vital importance to all of our communities; and

Whereas the Annapolis County 2002 Volunteer Roll has recently been published, nominating people deemed as outstanding community volunteers; and

Whereas Darlene McIsaac is one of the nominees who has been a great benefit to Annapolis County and whose efforts are invaluable;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Darlene McIsaac for being nominated as an outstanding community volunteer and thank all volunteers for their continued hard work and dedication throughout the province.

RESOLUTION NO. 3593

By: Mr. Frank Chipman (Annapolis)

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

Whereas volunteers are of vital importance to all of our communities; and

Whereas the Annapolis County 2002 Volunteer Roll has recently been published, nominating people deemed as outstanding community volunteers; and

Whereas Ann McConnell is one of the nominees who has been a great benefit to Annapolis County and whose efforts are invaluable;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Ann McConnell for being nominated as an outstanding community volunteer and thank all volunteers for their continued hard work and dedication throughout the province.

[Page 9334]

RESOLUTION NO. 3594

By: Mr. Frank Chipman (Annapolis)

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

Whereas volunteers are of vital importance to all of our communities; and

Whereas the Annapolis County 2002 Volunteer Roll has recently been published, nominating people deemed as outstanding community volunteers; and

Whereas Nancy McCabe is one of the nominees who has been a great benefit to Annapolis County and whose efforts are invaluable;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Nancy McCabe for being nominated as an outstanding community volunteer and thank all volunteers for their continued hard work and dedication throughout the province.

RESOLUTION NO. 3595

By: Mr. Frank Chipman (Annapolis)

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

Whereas volunteers are of vital importance to all of our communities; and

Whereas the Annapolis County 2002 Volunteer Roll has recently been published, nominating people deemed as outstanding community volunteers; and

Whereas Brenda Mailman is one of the nominees who has been a great benefit to Annapolis County and whose efforts are invaluable;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Brenda Mailman for being nominated as an outstanding community volunteer and thank all volunteers for their continued hard work and dedication throughout the province.

[Page 9335]

RESOLUTION NO. 3596

By: Mr. Frank Chipman (Annapolis)

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

Whereas volunteers are of vital importance to all of our communities; and

Whereas the Annapolis County 2002 Volunteer Roll has recently been published, nominating people deemed as outstanding community volunteers; and

Whereas Glenn A. Langille is one of the nominees who has been a great benefit to Annapolis County and whose efforts are invaluable;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Glenn A. Langille for being nominated as an outstanding community volunteer and thank all volunteers for their continued hard work and dedication throughout the province.

RESOLUTION NO. 3597

By: Mr. Frank Chipman (Annapolis)

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

Whereas volunteers are of vital importance to all of our communities; and

Whereas the Annapolis County 2002 Volunteer Roll has recently been published, nominating people deemed as outstanding community volunteers; and

Whereas Steve Irving is one of the nominees who has been a great benefit to Annapolis County and whose efforts are invaluable;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Steve Irving for being nominated as an outstanding community volunteer and thank all volunteers for their continued hard work and dedication throughout the province.

[Page 9336]

RESOLUTION NO. 3598

By: Mr. Frank Chipman (Annapolis)

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

Whereas volunteers are of vital importance to all of our communities; and

Whereas the Annapolis County 2002 Volunteer Roll has recently been published, nominating people deemed as outstanding community volunteers; and

Whereas Wendy Hudgins is one of the nominees who has been a great benefit to Annapolis County and whose efforts are invaluable;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Wendy Hudgins for being nominated as an outstanding community volunteer and thank all volunteers for their continued hard work and dedication throughout the province.

RESOLUTION NO. 3599

By: Mr. Frank Chipman (Annapolis)

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

Whereas volunteers are of vital importance to all of our communities; and

Whereas the Annapolis County 2002 Volunteer Roll has recently been published, nominating people deemed as outstanding community volunteers; and

Whereas Nita Hill is one of the nominees who has been a great benefit to Annapolis County and whose efforts are invaluable;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Nita Hill for being nominated as an outstanding community volunteer and thank all volunteers for their continued hard work and dedication throughout the province.

[Page 9337]

RESOLUTION NO. 3600

By: Mr. Frank Chipman (Annapolis)

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

Whereas volunteers are of vital importance to all of our communities; and

Whereas the Annapolis County 2002 Volunteer Roll has recently been published, nominating people deemed as outstanding community volunteers; and

Whereas Mildred Hawes is one of the nominees who has been a great benefit to Annapolis County and whose efforts are invaluable;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Mildred Hawes for being nominated as an outstanding community volunteer and thank all volunteers for their continued hard work and dedication throughout the province.

RESOLUTION NO. 3601

By: Mr. Frank Chipman (Annapolis)

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

Whereas volunteers are of vital importance to all of our communities; and

Whereas the Annapolis County 2002 Volunteer Roll has recently been published, nominating people deemed as outstanding community volunteers; and

Whereas Heather Harris is one of the nominees who has been a great benefit to Annapolis County and whose efforts are invaluable;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Heather Harris for being nominated as an outstanding community volunteer and thank all volunteers for their continued hard work and dedication throughout the province.

[Page 9338]

RESOLUTION NO. 3602

By: Mr. Frank Chipman (Annapolis)

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

Whereas volunteers are of vital importance to all of our communities; and

Whereas the Annapolis County 2002 Volunteer Roll has recently been published, nominating people deemed as outstanding community volunteers; and

Whereas Mary Hannam is one of the nominees who has been a great benefit to Annapolis County and whose efforts are invaluable;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Mary Hannam for being nominated as an outstanding community volunteer and thank all volunteers for their continued hard work and dedication throughout the province.

RESOLUTION NO. 3603

By: Mr. Frank Chipman (Annapolis)

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

Whereas volunteers are of vital importance to all of our communities; and

Whereas the Annapolis County 2002 Volunteer Roll has recently been published, nominating people deemed as outstanding community volunteers; and

Whereas Roy Hall is one of the nominees who has been a great benefit to Annapolis County and whose efforts are invaluable;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Roy Hall for being nominated as an outstanding community volunteer and thank all volunteers for their continued hard work and dedication throughout the province.

[Page 9339]

RESOLUTION NO. 3604

By: Mr. Frank Chipman (Annapolis)

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

Whereas volunteers are of vital importance to all of our communities; and

Whereas the Annapolis County 2002 Volunteer Roll has recently been published, nominating people deemed as outstanding community volunteers; and

Whereas Irvin E. Goucher is one of the nominees who has been a great benefit to Annapolis County and whose efforts are invaluable;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Irvin E. Goucher for being nominated as an outstanding community volunteer and thank all volunteers for their continued hard work and dedication throughout the province.

RESOLUTION NO. 3605

By: Mr. Frank Chipman (Annapolis)

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

Whereas volunteers are of vital importance to all of our communities; and

Whereas the Annapolis County 2002 Volunteer Roll has recently been published, nominating people deemed as outstanding community volunteers; and

Whereas Velda Francis is one of the nominees who has been a great benefit to Annapolis County and whose efforts are invaluable;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Velda Francis for being nominated as an outstanding community volunteer and thank all volunteers for their continued hard work and dedication throughout the province.

[Page 9340]

RESOLUTION NO. 3606

By: Mr. Frank Chipman (Annapolis)

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

Whereas volunteers are of vital importance to all of our communities; and

Whereas the Annapolis County 2002 Volunteer Roll has recently been published, nominating people deemed as outstanding community volunteers; and

Whereas Murray Fralic is one of the nominees who has been a great benefit to Annapolis County and whose efforts are invaluable;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Murray Fralic for being nominated as an outstanding community volunteer and thank all volunteers for their continued hard work and dedication throughout the province.

RESOLUTION NO. 3607

By: Mr. Frank Chipman (Annapolis)

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

Whereas volunteers are of vital importance to all of our communities; and

Whereas the Annapolis County 2002 Volunteer Roll has recently been published, nominating people deemed as outstanding community volunteers; and

Whereas Roderick Ford is one of the nominees who has been a great benefit to Annapolis County and whose efforts are invaluable;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Roderick Ford for being nominated as an outstanding community volunteer and thank all volunteers for their continued hard work and dedication throughout the province.

[Page 9341]

RESOLUTION NO. 3608

By: Mr. Frank Chipman (Annapolis)

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

Whereas volunteers are of vital importance to all of our communities; and

Whereas the Annapolis County 2002 Volunteer Roll has recently been published, nominating people deemed as outstanding community volunteers; and

Whereas Donna Eisner is one of the nominees who has been a great benefit to Annapolis County and whose efforts are invaluable;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Donna Eisner for being nominated as an outstanding community volunteer and thank all volunteers for their continued hard work and dedication throughout the province.

RESOLUTION NO. 3609

By: Mr. Frank Chipman (Annapolis)

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

Whereas volunteers are of vital importance to all of our communities; and

Whereas the Annapolis County 2002 Volunteer Roll has recently been published, nominating people deemed as outstanding community volunteers; and

Whereas Bob Donaldson is one of the nominees who has been a great benefit to Annapolis County and whose efforts are invaluable;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Bob Donaldson for being nominated as an outstanding community volunteer and thank all volunteers for their continued hard work and dedication throughout the province.

[Page 9342]

RESOLUTION NO. 3610

By: Mr. Frank Chipman (Annapolis)

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

Whereas volunteers are of vital importance to all of our communities; and

Whereas the Annapolis County 2002 Volunteer Roll has recently been published, nominating people deemed as outstanding community volunteers; and

Whereas Carol Crouse is one of the nominees who has been a great benefit to Annapolis County and whose efforts are invaluable;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Carol Crouse for being nominated as an outstanding community volunteer and thank all volunteers for their continued hard work and dedication throughout the province.

RESOLUTION NO. 3611

By: Mr. Frank Chipman (Annapolis)

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

Whereas volunteers are of vital importance to all of our communities; and

Whereas the Annapolis County 2002 Volunteer Roll has recently been published, nominating people deemed as outstanding community volunteers; and

Whereas Darlene Cross is one of the nominees who has been a great benefit to Annapolis County and whose efforts are invaluable;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Darlene Cross for being nominated as an outstanding community volunteer and thank all volunteers for their continued hard work and dedication throughout the province.

[Page 9343]

RESOLUTION NO. 3612

By: Mr. Frank Chipman (Annapolis)

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

Whereas volunteers are of vital importance to all of our communities; and

Whereas the Annapolis County 2002 Volunteer Roll has recently been published, nominating people deemed as outstanding community volunteers; and

Whereas Gordon Colwell is one of the nominees who has been a great benefit to Annapolis County and whose efforts are invaluable;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Gordon Colwell for being nominated as an outstanding community volunteer and thank all volunteers for their continued hard work and dedication throughout the province.

RESOLUTION NO. 3613

By: Mr. Frank Chipman (Annapolis)

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

Whereas volunteers are of vital importance to all of our communities; and

Whereas the Annapolis County 2002 Volunteer Roll has recently been published, nominating people deemed as outstanding community volunteers; and

Whereas Heather Charlton is one of the nominees who has been a great benefit to Annapolis County and whose efforts are invaluable;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Heather Charlton for being nominated as an outstanding community volunteer and thank all volunteers for their continued hard work and dedication throughout the province.

[Page 9344]

RESOLUTION NO. 3614

By: Mr. Frank Chipman (Annapolis)

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

Whereas volunteers are of vital importance to all of our communities; and

Whereas the Annapolis County 2002 Volunteer Roll has recently been published, nominating people deemed as outstanding community volunteers; and

Whereas Anne Callanan is one of the nominees who has been a great benefit to Annapolis County and whose efforts are invaluable;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Anne Callanan for being nominated as an outstanding community volunteer and thank all volunteers for their continued hard work and dedication throughout the province.

RESOLUTION NO. 3615

By: Mr. Frank Chipman (Annapolis)

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

Whereas volunteers are of vital importance to all of our communities; and

Whereas the Annapolis County 2002 Volunteer Roll has recently been published, nominating people deemed as outstanding community volunteers; and

Whereas Theresa Burke is one of the nominees who has been a great benefit to Annapolis County and whose efforts are invaluable;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Theresa Burke for being nominated as an outstanding community volunteer and thank all volunteers for their continued hard work and dedication throughout the province.

[Page 9345]

RESOLUTION NO. 3616

By: Mr. Frank Chipman (Annapolis)

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

Whereas volunteers are of vital importance to all of our communities; and

Whereas the Annapolis County 2002 Volunteer Roll has recently been published, nominating people deemed as outstanding community volunteers; and

Whereas Carl Blades is one of the nominees who has been a great benefit to Annapolis County and whose efforts are invaluable;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Carl Blades for being nominated as an outstanding community volunteer and thank all volunteers for their continued hard work and dedication throughout the province.

RESOLUTION NO. 3617

By: Mr. Frank Chipman (Annapolis)

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

Whereas volunteers are of vital importance to all of our communities; and

Whereas the Annapolis County 2002 Volunteer Roll has recently been published, nominating people deemed as outstanding community volunteers; and

Whereas Janet Berry is one of the nominees who has been a great benefit to Annapolis County and whose efforts are invaluable;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Janet Berry for being nominated as an outstanding community volunteer and thank all volunteers for their continued hard work and dedication throughout the province.

[Page 9346]

RESOLUTION NO. 3618

By: Mr. Frank Chipman (Annapolis)

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

Whereas volunteers are of vital importance to all of our communities; and

Whereas the Annapolis County 2002 Volunteer Roll has recently been published, nominating people deemed as outstanding community volunteers; and

Whereas Audrey Evangeline Barteaux is one of the nominees who has been a great benefit to Annapolis County and whose efforts are invaluable;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Audrey Evangeline Barteaux for being nominated as an outstanding community volunteer and thank all volunteers for their continued hard work and dedication throughout the province.

RESOLUTION NO. 3619

By: Mr. Frank Chipman (Annapolis)

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

Whereas volunteers are of vital importance to all of our communities; and

Whereas the Annapolis County 2002 Volunteer Roll has recently been published, nominating people deemed as outstanding community volunteers; and

Whereas Chris Barker is one of the nominees who has been a great benefit to Annapolis County and whose efforts are invaluable;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Chris Barker for being nominated as an outstanding community volunteer and thank all volunteers for their continued hard work and dedication throughout the province.

[Page 9347]

RESOLUTION NO. 3620

By: Hon. Rodney MacDonald (Nova Scotia Sport and Recreation Commission)

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

Whereas on June 8 to June 9, 2002, citizens will once again participate in the annual Johnny Miles Race Weekend; and

Whereas the marathon honours the athletic achievements of Mr. Miles, the oldest living two-time winner of the Boston Marathon, and the Johnny Miles Foundation in New Glasgow funds an endowment to UCCB each year and the Johnny Miles Scholarship Fund which provides awards to two UCCB students who excel in study and sport; and

Whereas in recognition of his tremendous contributions to this province, the University College of Cape Breton conferred the Doctor of Laws, honoris causa, on Mr. Miles, Tuesday, at his current home in Hamilton, Ontario;

Therefore be it resolved that MLAs thank Mr. Miles, who at the young age of 20 showed to the world true spirit by posting his first incredible victory in the 1926 Boston Marathon, becoming a hero to Nova Scotians and all Canadians, and applaud his receipt of this latest honour.