The Nova Scotia Legislature

The House resumed on:
September 21, 2017.

HANSARD 01/02-131

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://nslegislature.ca/index.php/proceedings/hansard/

Annual subscriptions available from the Office of the Speaker.

Second Session

WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 27, 2002

TABLE OF CONTENTS PAGE
PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES:
Anl. Rept. of the Standing Committee on Economic Development,
Mr. W. Dooks 12063,
Anl. Rept. of the Standing Committee on Human Resources,
Mr. J. Carey 12064
TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS:
Tourism Partnership Council Nova Scotia 2003 Integrated Plan,
Hon. Rodney MacDonald 12065
Gaelic Nova Scotia: An Economic, Cultural and Social Impact Study,
Hon. Rodney MacDonald 12065
STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS:
Agric. & Fish. - Hog Loan Support Program, Hon. E. Fage 12065
Justice - Crime Prevention Society: Let's Get Along (Booklet) -
Distribution, Hon. M. Baker 12070
GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 4961, McKeage, David - Can. Cancer Soc.: Contribution -
Congrats., Hon. J. Muir 12072
Vote - Affirmative 12073
Res. 4962, Tourism & Culture - Pineapple Awards: Recipients -
Congrats., Hon. Rodney MacDonald 12073
Vote - Affirmative 12074
Res. 4963, Bishop's Landing: Participants - Congrats., Hon. C. Clarke 12074
Vote - Affirmative 12074
Res. 4964, DNR - Helicopters/Staff: Emergency Response - Congrats.,
Hon. T. Olive 12075
Vote - Affirmative 12075
Res. 4965, Clean N.S. Waste Reduction Wk. Campaign: Anniv. (10th) -
Congrats., Hon. D. Morse 12075
Vote - Affirmative 12076
INTRODUCTION OF BILLS:
No. 163, Education Act, Mr. W. Estabrooks 12076
No. 164, Motor Vehicle Act, Mr. G. Steele 12076
NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 4966, Peterson, Betty: Birthday (85th) - Congrats.,
Ms. Maureen MacDonald 12077
Vote - Affirmative 12077
Res. 4967, Savage, Dr. John - N.S.: Dedication - Acknowledge,
Mr. Manning MacDonald 12077
Vote - Affirmative 12078
Res. 4968, Black Cultural Soc.: Anniv. (25th) - Congrats.,
Mr. D. Hendsbee 12078
Vote - Affirmative 12079
Res. 4969, Matthews, Larry & Peggy - Hants Realty: Anniv. (25th) -
Congrats., Mr. J. MacDonell 12079
Vote - Affirmative 12080
Res. 4970, Flinn, Justice Edward John: Death of - Tribute,
Mr. D. Downe 12080
Vote - Affirmative 12081
Res. 4971, Col. Co. Fed. of Agric.: Pres./Exec. - Congrats.,
(By Mr. C. O'Donnell), Mr. B. Taylor 12081
Vote - Affirmative 12081
Res. 4972, Martin, Paul - Ocean Polluters: Prosecution -
Policy Strengthen, Mr. H. Epstein 12082
Res. 4973, Sports - Pee Wee Atl. Challenge Cup 2002: Success -
Congrats., Dr. J. Smith 12082
Vote - Affirmative 12083
Res. 4974, Piping Plover: Cancellation Stamp Protection - Congrats.,
Mr. W. Dooks 12083
Vote - Affirmative 12084
Res. 4975, LOVEY Proj.: Participants - Congrats., Mr. K. Deveaux 12084
Vote - Affirmative 12085
Res. 4976, MacKeigan, Edna: Queen's Golden Jubilee Medal -
Congrats., Mr. R. MacKinnon 12085
Vote - Affirmative 12085
Res. 4977, Harvest Lbr. Services - Apple Challenge: Dev. - Congrats.,
Mr. M. Parent 12086
Vote - Affirmative 12086
Res. 4978, Zwicker, Don - UNSM: Pres./Exec. - Election Congrats.,
Mr. B. Boudreau 12086
Vote - Affirmative 12087
Res. 4979, Pictou Co. Chamber of Comm. - Awards (2002):
Winners - Congrats., Mrs. M. Baillie 12087
Vote - Affirmative 12088
Res. 4980, Jeffery, Nola Worthylake - Status of Women: Honour -
Congrats., Hon. G. Balser 12088
Vote - Affirmative 12089
Res. 4981, Palango, Paul/McNamara, Sharon: Bus. Success -
Congrats., Mr. J. Chataway 12089
Vote - Affirmative 12089
Res. 4982, Truro Blue Bombers: Mar. Peewee Football Championship
(2002) - Congrats., Hon. J. Muir 12090
Vote - Affirmative 12090
Res. 4983, Fezziwigg's Family Christmas Frolic - Production:
Vols. - Congrats., Hon. D. Morse 12090
Vote - Affirmative 12091
TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS:
Econ. Dev.: Ocean Nutrition Canada - Independent Assessment Process,
Hon. C. Clarke 12091
Human Resources Committee - NDP Condition of Concurrence,
Mr. G. Steele 12092
ORAL QUESTIONS PUT BY MEMBERS:
No. 1361, Health - Long-Term Care: Fin. Assess. Policy -
Farm Exclusions, Mr. D. Dexter 12092
No. 1362, Health - Gov't. (Can.) Funding: Potential Increase -
Usage, Dr. J. Smith 12093
No. 1363, Health - Long-Term Care: Policies - Contradiction Explain,
Mr. D. Dexter 12095
No. 1364, Health - Care System: Improvement - Prove, Dr. J. Smith 12096
No. 1365, Commun. Serv. - Can. Journal of Pub. Health:
Hunger Study - Action Details, Ms. Maureen MacDonald 12097
No. 1366, Health - Care Plan: Adequacy - Confirm, Mr. D. Downe 12099
No. 1367, Educ. - Dominion Sch.: Repair/Replace - Decision Make,
Mr. F. Corbett 12100
No. 1368, Commun. Serv. - Avalon Ctr.: Funding - Crisis,
Mr. W. Gaudet 12101
No. 1369, Energy - Kyoto Accord: Non-Ratification - Impacts Study,
Mr. H. Epstein 12103
No. 1370, Fin.: Pub. Serv. Superannuation/Teacher's Pension Funds -
Status, Mr. D. Downe 12104
No. 1371, Educ. - School Buses: Safety - Evaluation Details,
Mr. W. Estabrooks 12105
No. 1372, Sysco - Assets: Disposal - Value Ensure,
Mr. Manning MacDonald 12107
No. 1373, Educ. - Libraries: Funding - Inadequacy Explain,
Mr. J. MacDonell 12108
No. 1374, Auto Ins. - Complaints: Address - Details, Mr. B. Boudreau 12109
No. 1375, Health - New Waterford Cons. Hosp.: Full-Time ER -
Inclusion Confirm, Mr. F. Corbett 12111
No. 1376, Energy: Deep Panuke - Status, Mr. Manning MacDonald 12112
No. 1377, Educ. - École Beaufort: Promise - Breach Explain,
Mr. H. Epstein 12113
No. 1378, Educ. - Millennium Scholarship: Surplus -
Reinvestment Details, Mr. D. Wilson 12115
No. 1379, Nat. Res. - Woodlot Owners/Buyers: Dispute Resolution -
Provide, Mr. J. MacDonell 12116
No. 1380, Transport. & Pub. Wks. - Sydney Tar Ponds Cleanup Inc.:
Min. - Oversee, Mr. P. MacEwan 12118
OPPOSITION MEMBERS' BUSINESS:
MOTIONS OTHER THAN GOVERNMENT MOTIONS:
Res. 4775, Health - Care: Plan - Inadequacies Recognize,
Dr. J. Smith 12119
Dr. J. Smith 12119
Hon. J. Muir 12121
Ms. Maureen MacDonald 12124
Mr. D. Wilson 12126
Res. 4781, Gov't. (N.S.) - Debt Reduction: Policy - Inadquacy,
Mr. D. Downe 12129
Mr. D. Downe 12129
Hon. N. LeBlanc 12132
Mr. G. Steele 12136
Mr. R. MacKinnon 12139
PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEE:
Law Amendments Committee, Hon. M. Baker 12142
ADJOURNMENT, House rose to meet again on Thur., Nov. 28th at 12:00 noon 12143
NOTICES OF MOTION UNDER RULE 32(3):
Res. 4984, Vol. Planning: Vols. (New) - Welcome, Hon. G. Balser 12144
Res. 4985, Murphy, Dr. Brendan - Outstanding Science Communicator:
Award - Congrats., Hon. A. MacIsaac 12144
Res. 4986, Ng, Gary - Chess Championship: Greece - Representation
Congrats., Mr. Ronald Chisholm 12145
Res. 4987, Guysborough Waterfront Soc.: Tourism Award -
Congrats., Mr. Ronald Chisholm 12145
Res. 4988, Christmas Daddies (Digby/Annapolis): Vols. - Congrats.,
Hon. G. Balser 12146
Res. 4989, Alcock, Fran - Christmas Daddies (Digby/Annapolis):
Commitment - Thank, Hon. G. Balser 12146
Res. 4990, Everett, Leigh - Christmas Daddies (Digby/Annapolis):
Efforts - Applaud, Hon. G. Balser 12147
Res. 4991, Chief Scout Award: Recipients - Congrats., Hon. G. Balser 12147
Res. 4992, Smith, Greg - Restaurant Assoc. (N.S.): Award - Congrats.,
Hon. Rodney MacDonald 12148
Res. 4993, Sparks, Jeremiah/Smith, Jivaro: Musical Endeavours -
Congrats., Mr. D. Hendsbee 12148
Res. 4994, Smith, Virginia: Coaching Award - Congrats.,
Mr. R. Hurlburt 12149
Res. 4995, Cobequid Commun. Health Ctr. Fdn.: Fundraising -
Congrats., Mr. B. Barnet 12149
Res. 4996, Falls, Searria/Bartlett, Danny/Warren, Kyla - NADACA
Poster Contest: Winners - Congrats., Mr. R. Hurlburt 12150
Res. 4997, Port Medway Lighthouse Pk.: Opening - Congrats.,
Mr. K. Morash 12150
Res. 4998, Connors, Patricia: Can. Post Literacy Award (2002) -
Congrats., Hon. J. Muir 12151
Res. 4999, Fowler, Barbara: Caring Canadian Award - Congrats.,
Hon. J. Muir 12151
Res. 5000, Cobequid Neighbourhood Work Activity Prog.:
Participants - Congrats., Hon. J. Muir 12152
Res. 5001, Glassey, Jack: Death of - Tribute, Hon. J. Muir 12152
Res. 5002, Penney Fam. - Home: Fundraisers - Congrats.,
Hon. C. Clarke 12153
Res. 5003, Mutale, Rev. Elias - African United Baptist Church Assoc.:
Reg. Minister - Induction Congrats., Mr. D. Hendsbee 12153
Res. 5004, Hyslop: Caring Can. Award - Congrats., Mr. J. Carey 12154
Res. 5005, RCL Kings Br. 6 - Dutch Medal of Remembrance:
Recipients - Congrats., Mr M. Parent 12154
Res. 5006, Cogswell, Stella W.: Death of - Tribute, Mr. M. Parent 12155
Res. 5007, Valley Reg. Hosp. Aux.: Fundraising - Congrats.,
Mr. M. Parent 12155
Res. 5008, Hennigar, Doug - Integrated Fruit Production: Approach -
Congrats., Mr. M. Parent 12156
Res. 5009, Friesen, Valerie: Frances Burns Scholarship - Congrats.,
Mr. M. Parent 12156
Res. 5010, Northside Children's Aid Soc. - RBC Fin. Group:
Grant - Congrats., Hon. C. Clarke 12157
Res. 5011, Econ. Dev. - Ind./Academia: Partnerships - Commend,
Hon. C. Clarke 12157
Res. 5012, Growing Together: Service - Commend, Hon. C. Clarke 12158
Res. 5013, Langley, Eric - Nat'l. Search & Rescue Secretariat:
Recognition - Commend, Hon. C. Clarke 12158
Res. 5014, Almon, Dennis: Retirement - Congrats., Hon. C. Clarke 12159
Res. 5015, MacLean, Alan - PSC: Long-Service Award (25 yrs.) -
Congrats., Hon. C. Clarke 12159
Res. 5016, Keeling, Bill - PSC: Long-Service Award (25 yrs.) -
Congrats, Hon. C. Clarke 12160
Res. 5017, MacSween, Brian - PSC: Long-Service Award (25 yrs.) -
Congrats, Hon. C. Clarke 12160
Res. 5018, Champion, Charles H. - PSC: Long-Service Award (25 yrs.) -
Congrats, Hon. C. Clarke 12161
Res. 5019, Luedey, Cyril P. - PSC: Long-Service Award (25 yrs.) -
Congrats, Hon. C. Clarke 12161
Res. 5020, Griffin, Darlene - PSC: Long-Service Award (25 yrs.) -
Congrats, Hon. C. Clarke 12162
Res. 5021, Tobin, Donna Jean - PSC: Long-Service Award (25 yrs.) -
Congrats, Hon. C. Clarke 12163
Res. 5022, Chisholm, Edward - PSC: Long-Service Award (25 yrs.) -
Congrats, Hon. C. Clarke 12163
Res. 5023, Wrathall, Gary - PSC: Long-Service Award (25 yrs.) -
Congrats, Hon. C. Clarke 12164
Res. 5024, MacSween, Hector J. - PSC: Long-Service Award (25 yrs.) -
Congrats, Hon. C. Clarke 12164
Res. 5025, O'Connell, Janet L. - PSC: Long-Service Award (25 yrs.) -
Congrats, Hon. C. Clarke 12165
Res. 5026, Fraser, John - PSC: Long-Service Award (25 yrs.) -
Congrats, Hon. C. Clarke 12165
Res. 5027, Bryden, Joseph - PSC: Long-Service Award (25 yrs.) -
Congrats, Hon. C. Clarke 12166
Res. 5028, MacIntosh, Katherine - PSC: Long-Service Award (25 yrs.) -
Congrats, Hon. C. Clarke 12166
Res. 5029, MacDonald, Lawrence - PSC: Long-Service Award (25 yrs.) -
Congrats, Hon. C. Clarke 12167
Res. 5030, Mullett, Marilyn J. - PSC: Long-Service Award (25 yrs.) -
Congrats, Hon. C. Clarke 12168
Res. 5031, MacDougall, Norm - PSC: Long-Service Award (25 yrs.) -
Congrats, Hon. C. Clarke 12168
Res. 5032, MacNeil, Patricia Marie - PSC: Long-Service Award (25 yrs.) -
Congrats, Hon. C. Clarke 12169
Res. 5033, Gouthro, Peter - PSC: Long-Service Award (25 yrs.) -
Congrats, Hon. C. Clarke 12169
Res. 5034, Garland, Ron - PSC: Long-Service Award (25 yrs.) -
Congrats, Hon. C. Clarke 12170
Res. 5035, MacLeod, Scott W. - PSC: Long-Service Award (25 yrs.) -
Congrats, Hon. C. Clarke 12170
Res. 5036, Carras, Shirley L. - PSC: Long-Service Award (25 yrs.) -
Congrats, Hon. C. Clarke 12171
Res. 5037, LeBlanc, Valerie - PSC: Long-Service Award (25 yrs.) -
Congrats, Hon. C. Clarke 12171
Res. 5038, Chandler, William - PSC: Long-Service Award (25 yrs.) -
Congrats, Hon. C. Clarke 12172

[Page 12063]

HALIFAX, WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 27, 2002

Fifty-eighth General Assembly

Second Session

2:00 P.M.

SPEAKER

Hon. Murray Scott

DEPUTY SPEAKERS

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

MR. SPEAKER: I would like to bring this sitting of the House to order, please, beginning with the daily routine.

I should advise the House that there will be no late debate this evening. I understand that is by agreement.

PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS

PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for the Eastern Shore.

MR. WILLIAM DOOKS: Mr. Speaker, as a member of the Economic Development Committee, I am pleased to table the Annual Report of the Standing Committee on Economic Development.

MR. SPEAKER: The report is tabled.

12063

[Page 12064]

The honourable member for Kings West.

MR. JON CAREY: Mr. Speaker, it's my pleasure to present the Annual Report of the Standing Committee on Human Resources.

MR. SPEAKER: The report is tabled.

The honourable Premier on an introduction.

HON. JOHN HAMM (The Premier): Mr. Speaker, as members of the House may know, Halifax will host the Nokia Brier this coming March. In the gallery today we have with us Brier Bear, the official mascot of the Nokia Brier. (Applause)

Mr. Speaker, sitting quietly beside Brier Bear is Mr. Mat Harris, the President of the Nokia Brier Host Committee, and other members of the Nokia Brier Host Committee. We are proud that our capital City of Halifax has been chosen for the fifth time to host this prestigious sporting event. I would ask all our guests to rise and receive a warm welcome of the House. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: Yes, indeed.

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, while I'm on my feet, as well, I would like to do another introduction, if I may. I would point out to members of the House that in the East Gallery we have two special guests today. We have Brenda and Dean Porter. Brenda brought Dean here to witness this afternoon's activities in the House. Dean is a young student who is interested in politics and has been studying that in school. For that reason, he's here today to see first-hand how our business is carried out. I would ask Brenda and Dean to stand and receive the welcome of the House. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: Indeed, thank you for that very important introduction. I would like to welcome all visitors to the gallery this afternoon.

The honourable Leader of the Opposition on an introduction.

MR. DARRELL DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, before I begin I would just say, see you at the brier. I would like to draw the attention of the House to some visitors in our east gallery this afternoon, one of whom will be well known to you, Charlie Parker, the former member for Pictou West. (Applause) With him is Alan and Juanita MacKinnon from Pictou County. They're here to watch our proceedings this afternoon. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: Are there any further introductions before we move back into the daily routine?

[Page 12065]

TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS

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

HON. RODNEY MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to table the Tourism Partnership Council Nova Scotia 2003 Integrated Plan.

MR. SPEAKER: The report is tabled.

The honourable Minister of Tourism and Culture.

HON. RODNEY MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I also beg leave to table a curatorial report, Gaelic Nova Scotia: An Economic, Cultural and Social Impact Study by Dr. Michael Kennedy.

MR. SPEAKER: The report is tabled.

STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries.

HON. ERNEST FAGE: Mr. Speaker, it gives me great pleasure to rise today and share with the members of this House a new hog loan support program for our province's pork producers. (Applause)

Today the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries announced that $4 million will be made available through the Nova Scotia Farm Loan Board to assist farmers through this difficult time. As we have heard over the past several months, market prices for hogs have been steadily declining to the point where the cost of production is more than the price the farmer is able to get from the market. The market price per hog has gone from over $150 last summer to as low as $93 this fall.

For the province's 80 hog producers this has meant financial and personal stress. The Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, in anticipation of future downturns in the hog sector, has invested in the past in enhanced NISA net programming to better position producers when dealing with the cyclic nature of this industry. Nova Scotia has an enhanced NISA available for all non-supplied managed commodities since 1995, providing an additional $900,000 over and above the basic program for the 2001 NISA stabilization year.

A red meat NISA pilot project was introduced for the 2000 and 2001 NISA stabilization years. This allows red meat producers to contribute an additional 4 per cent of their ENS over and above the enhanced NISA program for a total of 8 per cent, which is 5 per cent higher than the basic NISA program offered in other jurisdictions. In the 2001-2002

[Page 12066]

NISA stabilization year, the red meat NISA pilot provided an additional $960,000 in income stabilization. The national agriculture policy framework bridge funding will add $6 million to Nova Scotia's NISA accounts - $3.5 million from the federal government and $2.5 million from the Nova Scotia Government. Approximately 40 per cent of Nova Scotia's $2.5 million will be targeted to the red meat industry to help as well. These monies will be deposited in participants' NISA accounts by year end.

Nova Scotia hog producers are active NISA participants, with several million dollars available for income stabilization accessible through interim withdrawals if required. In 1998 a $3.5 million loan was provided to the pork industry through the Pork Risk Management Program. The Pork Risk Management Program, along with the Beef Performance and Weather-Related Loss Provision program, in the 1998 and 1999 tax years offset farm income disaster effects such as low market prices and drought conditions, therefore reducing the federal liability under the AIDA program and the CFIP.

The provincial government invested, Mr. Speaker, in these programs a total of $15 million. We were recognized for these initiatives and were able to recover from the federal government $3.5 million. Of the total $3.5 million recovered, the pork risk management component represented 27.5 per cent, $2 million captured went to the Department of Finance to apply against the 1998 hog sector loan, while the remaining $1.5 million was held in reserve for safety net enhancements. This process allowed the funds to be recovered for the industry's benefit without having to pay the loans back.

[2:15 p.m.]

The Farm Income Support Program provided $4.3 million in federal funding to Nova Scotia producers in 2001-02. This was made possible due to the credits received for the provincially delivered Farm Investment and Agri-Food Industry Development Funds and the hog producers in Nova Scotia received $490,000 under this program.

However, this was not enough. It does not appear to meet the current crisis and the current issues at hand. We want to do more as a government. We have listened to the industry and today we announced a new $4 million loan program. This program will assist those farmers who do not have sufficient funds in the present safety net programs and those who are waiting to access their investment programs. The funding will permit the producers to meet the every day pressures of farming.

The loan program will offer farmers two loan repayment options. One will be a five year, with interest similar to the interest rate of today's lending institutions in line with other Farm Loan Board practises. The second option will offer farmers "interest only" loans until the market price improves. When a hog exceeds the $145 mark, the difference will be paid back to the loan board until the loan is recovered.

[Page 12067]

We believe this is a fair program and this is what the industry has asked for. This is what we can provide without jeopardizing our department's programs or loans. This program will not require any new money from the province's budget. The program will be covered through the current Farm Loan Board budget. There has been tremendous effort to make this program a reality. Department staff, industry members and even members of this House such as my colleagues, Mark Parent, Brooke Taylor, Jon Carey and other members of this side of the House have been key in making this happen for the producers. We have met one-on-one and in group settings with hog farmers. We have received correspondence, phone calls and this is what we have been asked to do - to bridge the gap for producers.

Nova Scotia's 80 hog producers generate over 1,500 jobs in this province. The hog industry contributes an estimated $100 million worth of economic activity to rural Nova Scotia, with $35 million in gross sales at the farm level. The viability of hog production in Nova Scotia is important to this government, to the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries and to all rural Nova Scotians. Today's $4 million loan program announcement is yet another sign of support for the hog industry in Nova Scotia, as well as the farming community in rural Nova Scotia.

Mr. Speaker, if I may be permitted an introduction? In the gallery opposite it is my pleasure to ask stand, Herman Berfelo, President of Pork Nova Scotia; Vice-president Martin Porskamp; as well as their CEO Henry Vissers, to receive the acknowledgement of the House. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: Indeed, welcome to the visitors in the gallery.

The honourable member for Hants East.

MR. JOHN MACDONELL: Mr. Speaker, I never thought I would have to stand and admit that there was an advantage to having a Premier whose name was Hamm. I want to just say to the minister, you did the right thing, thanks. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Lunenburg West.

MR. DONALD DOWNE: Mr. Speaker, I want to rise in my place to respond to the minister. I want to thank him for giving me advance notice of this announcement today. I guess it's one way of saying, I guess it's better late than never. The industry that is in the west side of the gallery today, looking down upon this sitting of the House, were here not too many days ago, along with some 20 or 30 other pork producers in the Province of Nova Scotia, who made it very clear to this minister, not only a few weeks ago but months ago about the crisis in the hog industry in the Province of Nova Scotia. It's sad that we had to go to this extent before this Progressive Conservative Government understood the human cry, the frustration and the disaster that was happening in the pork industry in the Province of

[Page 12068]

Nova Scotia. It is a shameful fact that we had to come to this stage before this government would listen and try to do something. (Interruption)

I will take my place and if somebody else wants to speak after they can but I want to say that I think the pork industry of Nova Scotia first and foremost deserves the credit for their tenacity and their perseverance and their efforts in making sure that this minister and this government understood what was clearly going on in their industry. I think they deserve the recognition of this House. (Applause)

Secondly, I want to say that the $4 million loan, the specifics of that, how it's going to work for the farmer, I trust that the minister has consulted with them and I trust that they are in support of the mechanisms that will trigger that loan. I will obviously have to talk to them about it but it seems like the right direction and I know that Herman and Martin and Henry Vissers and members who are here clearly have fought the valiant fight to bring this issue to the forefront.

I want to also recognize, Mr. Speaker, the minister mentioned his caucus. Well, the bottom line, those backbenchers knew that they would be bacon, fried to the crisp if they didn't do something with regard to the hog industry in the Province of Nova Scotia and he's pretty happy to recognize them. I want to recognize the member for Hants East, he deserves credit. The member for Dartmouth North stood in his place and he spoke, although I thought somebody from the Legislature would have phoned CBC and said, I know that voice, I know who that was, and I want to congratulate him. I want to congratulate the member for Clare who had farmers from Clare here and he spoke that night in this Legislature. I want to congratulate the member for Cape Breton The Lakes who spoke very well about this crisis in the industry when he had a chance in this House.

So, Mr. Speaker, the bottom line is that this minister and this government realize one thing. There is an election coming around the corner and if they are going to maintain any kind of support anywhere in this province, they are going to have to start listening and paying attention to rural Nova Scotia. Well maybe it's a bit late because these hog farmers and these other producers in the province will not forget that they made then go through this bump and grind to get to this point.

Secondly, Mr. Speaker, it points out another key issue. This government doesn't have a plan for agriculture and you know this crisis is going to happen again to the hog industry. It's a cyclical type of industry. It's going to happen to other sectors. What I would encourage the government to do is to develop a long-term plan so when they get into this crisis situation again that we don't have to go to the House as these producers and these farmers should be home working on the farm instead of being in the Legislature demanding action by this government.

[Page 12069]

In closing, I want to thank the government for finally listening to the industry, finally listening to this side of the House, finally listening to the farmers across this province and say that this is a good first step, now we need to develop a long-term plan.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings North.

MR. MARK PARENT: Mr. Speaker, I want to very quickly thank the minister, the officials within the Department of Agriculture, for the work they did and the Premier, as well, for the interest he shows in agriculture. I want to thank fellow MLAs, such as my colleague, the member for Kings West, and yourself, Mr. [Deputy] Speaker, for the work you did. I want to thank the Opposition MLAs who raised this issue and worked hard on their behalf and most of all I want to thank the hog producers and wish them all the best. Thank you very much.

MR. JOHN HOLM: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order, I am just wondering if all members of the House now are entitled to speak on ministerial statements because normally, when the minister makes a statement, it is the critics who respond. In addition to that, if an incident deals with a particular MLA's constituency - that MLA. Maybe I should rephrase my question. Does this mean that everybody who has agriculture within their constituency can now get up and speak on this particular one?

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, on the same point of order. The Rules of this House, I believe, provide for a ministerial statement to be made and that statement to be responded to in the same amount of time by each of the two Opposition Parties. I would like to know when the member for Kings North became a minister of the government. All he's done here today is get up and try to score political points on the hog producers of this province. That's all he's trying to do. (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. Order, please. Order, please, honourable members.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order. I would just like to respond to the other two House Leaders who have some reservations about a member responding to a ministerial statement when it directly affects that member's constituency, and in this case (Interruptions) There are not too many pigs around (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. Order, please. Honourable members, if I could, I can respond to the point of order. I did have an opportunity to seek some advice and counsel on this very issue that the members of the Opposition raised today, and I've been advised that the tradition in this House is that if, in fact, a ministerial statement does impact your riding demonstrably - which in this case the Speaker believes it does for the member for Kings North, and perhaps some other members in the House - then they are permitted to speak. That

[Page 12070]

has been the tradition, and of course the Opposition critics and members within the Opposition Parties who feel that their ridings have been impacted demonstrably.

So I recognize the honourable member for Kings West.

MR. JON CAREY: Mr. Speaker, as far as political points, I'm not as interested in that as I am in that we were able to do something for the hog producers of Nova Scotia, as Kings County is very dependent on agriculture. I am thankful for the hog producers, the farmers in my community and for the assistance of the Kings North representative, Mr. Parent, and yourself, Mr. Speaker, and as well the Opposition members who supported us in being able to bring forth a good program to show the importance of agriculture in Nova Scotia and particularly the hog industry. I would like to thank the Premier, the minister and the entire caucus for their support in this effort. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: Perhaps it might be a good time for an introduction.

The honourable Minister of Energy.

HON. GORDON BALSER: Mr. Speaker, I call the members' attention to the gallery opposite. Today we have two visitors from the oil and gas sector, from El Paso Energy, Bob Otjen and Tina Badcock. I would ask the members of the House to give them a warm welcome. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Justice.

HON. MICHAEL BAKER: Mr. Speaker, I'm going to rise on what I consider a timely subject. I'm very pleased to bring a very special project to the attention of the House. The Crime Prevention Society of Nova Scotia has introduced an activity booklet, which is being distributed to all Grade 3 students throughout the province once again this year. I am very proud to indicate that I am the father of one such Grade 3 student in Nova Scotia, who will I'm sure be getting his booklet at his school. That's about 11,500 booklets. This booklet is simply titled Let's Get Along, and I think there's a message there that even some of the older children in the room could take, a concept that no doubt members of the House can always benefit from.

AN HON. MEMBER: Are you going to pass the crayons out?

MR. BAKER: Mr. Speaker, for those members of the House who would like them, the Department of Justice would be prepared to assist members, providing crayons if necessary.

[Page 12071]

However the objective of the booklet is serious. It's to help young people, first identify bullying and then to find ways to stop it, and at the same time, they are able to develop their colouring skills in filling out the booklet. Again, it's very important sometimes to stay within the lines.

[2:30 p.m.]

Mr. Speaker, this booklet was distributed to students last year and the response was very positive. I want to thank my colleague, the Minister of Education, for her support in allowing the Crime Prevention Society to bring these booklets to the students of Nova Scotia. I do have a booklet for every member of the House and I hope that they can distribute it to other children as they may feel appropriate. I also encourage all honourable members to commend the Crime Prevention Society of Nova Scotia for funding this very worthwhile project and helping children of all ages respect each other and show tolerance and friendship.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage.

MR. KEVIN DEVEAUX: Mr. Speaker, in all seriousness, this is an important step forward with regard to addressing issues of bullying and it's at the right age when we're looking at Grade 3 students. At an age in which those sort of issues are beginning to come to fruition, it's important that we do have a project like this. Obviously, like the other members of the House, I would love to have some crayons so that during Question Period I might have some time to fill in some of the pictures but, again, thanking the Department of Justice and the Department of Education for the project, I just want to ask how did they get the likeness of the Minister of Justice on the front page so accurately? (Laughter)

MR. SPEAKER: Yes, let's get along now.

The honourable member for Glace Bay.

MR. DAVID WILSON: Mr. Speaker, I rise in my place on behalf of our Justice Critic, the member for Richmond, to make a few remarks in reply to the minister's statement. It's a good step and the Crime Prevention Society of this province should be applauded for taking a lead in anti-bullying efforts in this province. The booklet itself probably bears a strong resemblance that the other side would know to a blue book that they distributed, only this one has much more detail than the blue book itself, but in all seriousness (Interruption)

Well, Mr. Speaker, when people start to make jokes, you know, you can't be left out, you have to join in along with other people. But I will take the opportunity to rise above that and I will say on this very serious topic that indeed the booklet that's going to be provided to Grade 3 students will help, especially at that age group. It does identify bullying which will enable students to stop it and it's a good step not only for students but for teachers and parents and it's essential that we all learn that bullying comes in many forms. It does not just

[Page 12072]

involve physical violence, hitting for instance. There is direct or physical contact such as hitting and bullying. There's also indirect such as spreading rumors and, of course, the most commonplace which is name calling.

Mr. Speaker, this is a problem that will go away with community involvement, with government involvement, with educational involvement and also with personal involvement. So I applaud today's announcement, but we must not lose sight that we all have a role to play. This is only part of the puzzle that we have to use to encourage safer communities throughout this province.

GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Health.

RESOLUTION NO. 4961

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 Canadian Cancer Society, Nova Scotia Division, bestowed upon David McKeage a Citation of Merit, which is a national award recognizing his years of volunteer service with the society, at their annual volunteer conference and awards ceremony last weekend; and

Whereas David's many years of volunteer work with the society, including his role as Director of Camp Goodtime, which is a camp for children with cancer, has reinforced his belief that children faced with the challenge of living with a chronic illness benefit, both physically and emotionally, from an outdoor experience where they can for a brief moment enjoy the simple pleasures of being a child; and

Whereas David has had the foresight to recognize the need to build a single camp designed to meet the unique and special needs of children living not only with cancer but a wide variety of chronic illnesses;

Therefore be it resolved that this House acknowledge the positive contribution that David is making to children in Nova Scotia and wish him well with his plans to establish Camp Brigadoon, the first camp of its kind in the Maritimes.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

[Page 12073]

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Health on an introduction.

HON. JAMES MUIR: Mr. Speaker, and to all members of the House, I would direct your attention to the east gallery where Mr. David McKeage is with us, the person of whom I just read the resolution, accompanied by his parents Maybelle and Jim McKeage and his brothers, Michael and John. I should also mention that his sister, Sue, is a communications person in my department, she's in the balcony as well. I would ask them to rise and receive the warm welcome of the House. (Applause)

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

RESOLUTION NO. 4962

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

Whereas last night I had the pleasure of attending the Tourism Awards of Excellence, as part of the annual tourism conference and trade show; and

Whereas the industry honoured some of its best with the 2002 Tourism Awards of Excellence and the 2002 Pineapple Awards; and

Whereas the Nova Scotia Pineapple Awards honour individuals for their exceptional service which enhances the stay of visitors to Nova Scotia and the Tourism Awards of Excellence recognize the best in the industry and acknowledges their expertise and excellence;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate this year's award recipients for their outstanding contribution to making visitors to our province feel welcome and at home.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

[Page 12074]

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Economic Development.

RESOLUTION NO. 4963

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

Whereas Bishop's Landing, a former fish plant site located on approximately seven acres of underdeveloped land on the Halifax waterfront, received the prestigious Best Mixed Use Award at the Excellence on the Waterfront Awards in Washington, D.C., for the design of a space that successfully integrates residential, commercial and recreational development; and

Whereas this award is a back-to-back international award with the first award won in 2001 for the Halifax Waterfront Open Space and Development Plan; and

Whereas the Waterfront Development Corporation, in partnership with Southwest Properties, saw the opportunity to create more park space, increase residential and commercial development downtown, enhance tourism and ultimately develop one of North America's premier waterfronts;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Southwest Properties, the Waterfront Development Corporation and architects, Lydon Lynch, for their vision, and the quality work of Nova Scotia's tradespeople that resulted in the international award winning Bishop's Landing.

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 12075]

The honourable Minister of Natural Resources.

RESOLUTION NO. 4964

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

Whereas last week's focus was on the use of DNR helicopters to transport government personnel around the province to deal with government business; and

Whereas there are many important uses of these helicopters, which are being employed throughout the year by the Department of Natural Resources, which include emergency calls for assistance by the RCMP, EMO and search and rescue efforts, fire suppression and smoke watch; and

Whereas a fine example of these types of emergencies was yesterday's call for help by the RCMP in the rescue of a three-year old boy who had fallen into freezing cold water in Mount Uniacke and who could have suffered from hypothermia, which was quickly responded to by a DNR helicopter that resulted in the pick-up of the child and father and their delivery to a waiting ambulance;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House congratulate the staff of DNR air services for their expertise and speedy response to this emergency situation and recognize the important service our helicopters provide on a daily basis.

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 Environment and Labour.

RESOLUTION NO. 4965

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

[Page 12076]

Whereas Clean Nova Scotia, a non-profit environmental education organization, celebrated its 10th annual Waste Reduction Week this past October with the assistance and financial support of the Department of Environment and Labour, Oland Breweries Limited, Walmart, and Farmers Dairy; and

Whereas Waste Reduction Week 2002, focussed on educating Canadians about over- consumption; and

Whereas Susan Stoddart and Terry Bryski and their four children: Natasha, Latoya, Grace and David, won Clean Nova Scotia's Just Between Families contest for submitting their waste reduction strategies that has limited the amount of garbage the family produces to just one bag every two weeks;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate our friends at Clean Nova Scotia on the 10th Anniversary of their increasingly popular Waste Reduction Week campaign, and that the members salute Susan, Terry, Natasha, Latoya, Grace and David on setting an example for all Nova Scotians and reminding us that pollution prevention is everybody's responsibility.

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

Bill No. 163 - Entitled an Act to Amend Chapter 1 of the Acts of 1995-96, the Education Act, to Require All School Facilities to be Made Available to Non- profit Groups at Cost. (Mr. William Estabrooks)

Bill No. 164 - Entitled an Act to Amend Chapter 293 of the Revised Statutes of 1989, the Motor Vehicle Act, to Enable the Further Restriction of the Use of Diesel Engine Enhanced Braking Systems. (Mr. Graham Steele)

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

[Page 12077]

NOTICES OF MOTION

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Needham.

RESOLUTION NO. 4966

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I hereby give notice that on a future

day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas social activist extraordinaire Betty Peterson, her friends and family will celebrate her 85th birthday party this evening; and

Whereas Betty Peterson, a member of our Raging Grannies chapter here in Nova Scotia, has dedicated her life to peace and issues of equality and social justice; and

Whereas examples of her extraordinary courage include that Betty Peterson has stood with the Innu against NATO low-level flying exercises in Labrador and with the Lubicon in their land rights negotiations in Alberta;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate Betty Peterson for her life of social activism and wish her a happy 85th birthday party and many more to come.

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 South.

RESOLUTION NO. 4967

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I hereby give notice that on a future

day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

[Page 12078]

Whereas former Liberal Premier John Savage has dedicated most of his life to a wide variety of humanitarian causes, from his work in various countries in Africa and his recent trips to help rebuild health care in Russia, to setting up free health clinics in Preston, along with the efforts he has made to help those with drug dependencies; and

[2:45 p.m.]

Whereas Dr. Savage's passion for helping others has extended well beyond his chosen profession as a medical practitioner, to work with the Dartmouth Literacy Network and the Dartmouth Book Awards to the inception of "Christmas Full of Caring", a major fundraiser for Feed Others of Dartmouth; and

Whereas this evening the Red Cross will present John Savage with their Humanitarian Award in recognition of the immeasurable contributions Dr. Savage has made to this province;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this Legislature acknowledge the dedication of Dr. John Savage has made to improve the lives of people throughout the world, especially here in Nova Scotia.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Preston.

RESOLUTION NO. 4968

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 Black Cultural Society of Nova Scotia is celebrating a cultural milestone this year with its 25th Anniversary, celebrating the theme Awakening Our Pride; and

[Page 12079]

Whereas the society came into existence to protect, preserve, and promote Black culture in Nova Scotia; and

Whereas the Black Cultural Society has been inspirational and instrumental in meeting the needs and aspirations of all Black communities in Nova Scotia;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate the Black Cultural Society of Nova Scotia on its 25th Anniversary, and wish the organization continued success in its important work for and with the Black communities of Nova Scotia.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Hants East.

RESOLUTION NO. 4969

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

Whereas 25 years ago the real estate business in Hants East was practically non-existent; and

Whereas Mr. Larry Matthews founded Hants Realty, and through vision and dogged determination kept it alive until it blossomed into the thriving operation it is today; and

Whereas on Saturday evening, November 16th, Mr. Matthews and his wife, Peggy, were honoured by friends, peers, employees and clients by celebrating Hants Realty's 25th year of operation;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House of Assembly congratulate Larry and Peggy Matthews of Hants Realty for their confidence in the growth of the communities of Hants East and their tenacity in seeing their business rise to success.

[Page 12080]

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 Lunenburg West.

RESOLUTION NO. 4970

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

Whereas November 26, 2002, Justice Edward John Flinn of the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal passed away after a courageous battle with cancer; and

Whereas throughout his career Justice Flinn has received many recognitions, including the coveted Smith Shield at his graduation from Dalhousie University Law School, as well as an honorary Doctorate of Laws degree from Saint Mary's University recognizing the contributions Justice Flinn has made to his profession, community, and the university where he served as chairman on the Board of Governors; and

Whereas before being appointed to the Bench, Justice Flinn practised law for 35 years with Flinn Merrick, served the Nova Scotia Bar Society in various positions including president, his work on the Board of Directors of the Public Legal Education Society of Nova Scotia is well known throughout the legal community, as well as vice chairman of the Nova Scotia Law Foundation which led to his position as president of the Federation of Law Societies of Canada;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the Legislature honour Justice Edward John Flinn for his many contributions to Nova Scotia, and offer heartfelt condolences to his wife Colette, family, and friends.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

[Page 12081]

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Shelburne.

RESOLUTION NO. 4971

MR. CECIL O'DONNELL: Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the member for the beautiful Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas I had the pleasure of attending the annual general meeting of the Colchester County Federation of Agriculture last evening in Truro; and

Whereas the Colchester County Federation of Agriculture is one of the top four agricultural-producing counties in the province; and

Whereas statistics clearly show Colchester County leads the way in the production of dairy cattle in Nova Scotia with nearly 6,000 cattle on approximately 115 farms, with one cow producing 100 glasses of milk per day;

Therefore be it resolved that MLAs in the House of Assembly congratulate President Sandra Fisher, her executive, as well as all farmers in Colchester County, while wishing them every success now and into the future.

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 12082]

The honourable member for Halifax Chebucto.

RESOLUTION NO. 4972

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

Whereas the federal Liberal Government has dragged its heels on providing needed equipment for maritime surveillance such as new helicopters to replace the aging Sea Kings and submarines that can do more than simply struggle to stay afloat; and

Whereas the successful prosecution of Canada Steamship Lines vessel CSL Atlas for laying a 40 kilometre-long oil slick off the coast, although welcome, has raised concerns that Canada is not providing enough assets to monitor such illegal activities; and

Whereas Liberal leadership-hopeful Paul Martin is himself hopeful that the "people running these vessels will, eventually, hopefully, bring this type of problem under control";

Therefore be it resolved that this House calls upon federal Liberal leadership hopeful Paul Martin to commit to beefing up Canada's abilities to catch and prosecute ocean polluters such as the Canada Steamship Lines vessel CSL Atlas.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear a few Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Dartmouth East.

RESOLUTION NO. 4973

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

Whereas the Pee Wee Atlantic Challenge Cup 2002 was held in Dartmouth this past weekend; and

[Page 12083]

Whereas Tim Lilly and his tournament committee of volunteers deserves recognition and acclaim for their great program for our youth from around this province; and

Whereas the Dartmouth Whalers hockey organization should be recognized for its commitment to safety and fair play in hockey;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate the young players and organizers for the success of the Pee Wee Atlantic Challenge Cup 2002.

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 the Eastern Shore.

RESOLUTION NO. 4974

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

Whereas the official launch of the Musquodoboit Harbour's Piping Plover Cancellation Stamp took place last Wednesday in the Musquodoboit Harbour Post Office lobby with Post Master Sandra Webber and Assistant Post Masters Yvonne Kerr and Nancy Turner among those in attendance; and

Whereas the piping plover was listed under the Endangered Species Act of Canada 1985 by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada; and

Whereas in 2001 at Martinique Beach along the Eastern Shore there was one breeding pair of piping plovers producing four chicks, now in 2002 there were three nesting pairs of piping plovers producing eight fledgling chicks at Martinique Beach;

[Page 12084]

Therefore be it resolved that MLAs in this House of Assembly congratulate Bonnie Ross, the local designer of the cancellation stamp, and the members of the Nova Scotia Coastal Guardian Program for their hard work in maintaining the 50 breeding pairs of piping plovers in Nova Scotia.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

I should note that the honourable member for the Eastern Shore also held a piping plover and he is very proud of that fact.

The honourable member for Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage.

RESOLUTION NO. 4975

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

Whereas Ocean View School is dedicated to providing a connection between the youth and children of Eastern Passage and the seniors in the community; and

Whereas Ocean View School teacher, Marilyn Martell, created a project entitled Linking Ocean View Elders and Youth, or LOVEY, for short, in the early 1990s to provide a link between the students at the school and the residents of Ocean View Manor; and

Whereas the LOVEY project has provided many annual events that have helped connect over 700 students with the seniors at the manor and through donations from local businesses has provided gifts to seniors at Christmas, Easter and other special events;

Therefore be it resolved that this House recognize the efforts of Ocean View School, Ocean View Manor and Marilyn Martell in creating and fostering the LOVEY project to better the lives of the children and seniors of Eastern Passage.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

[Page 12085]

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 West.

RESOLUTION NO. 4976

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

Whereas this year Canada, along with other Commonwealth Countries, has celebrated Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth's Golden Jubilee; and

Whereas in honour of these celebrations Golden Jubilee Medals will be presented to Canadians who, over the last 50 years, have contributed greatly to this nation; and

Whereas Edna MacKeigan of Hillside Road, Mira, will receive the Golden Jubilee Medal on Friday, November 29, 2002;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Edna MacKeigan for receiving this most prestigious honour.

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.

[Page 12086]

RESOLUTION NO. 4977

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

Whereas apple growers who struggled with a bumper crop this year obtained assistance from some non-profit organizations; and

Whereas the Apple Challenge was developed by recruitment company, Harvest Labour Services, when they discovered Valley farmers were having problems harvesting their apples; and

Whereas volunteers from approximately a dozen non-profit groups assisted farmers who were facing farm shortage labour while helping their own groups raise money at the same time;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Harvest Labour Services for developing the Apple Challenge, one ingenious solution to two problems.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Cape Breton The Lakes.

RESOLUTION NO. 4978

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

Whereas the UNSM recently held its annual general meeting here in Halifax, which resulted in a new executive taking over the helm; and

[Page 12087]

Whereas the previous executive, under the direction of President Jerry Blumenthal, a veteran councillor with the Halifax Regional Municipality, served this province with great distinction; and

Whereas long-serving municipal representative, Don Zwicker, has been elected President of the new UNSM executive;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House thank the outgoing executive of the UNSM for their hard work and dedication and wish the newly-elected president and executive of the UNSM every success the outgoing executive achieved.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Pictou West.

RESOLUTION NO. 4979

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

Whereas the Pictou County Chamber of Commerce handed out its annual awards on October 28, 2002; and

Whereas Proudfoot's Inc., a hardware, farm machinery and feed operation employing 94 people, was named Business of the Year; and

Whereas awards were also presented to the East River Pollution Abatement System, and the Mount William Landfill site in the environmental category;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate all the winners of the 2002 Pictou County Chamber of Commerce awards and express our appreciation for their contributions to the Pictou County business community and the people of Nova Scotia.

[Page 12088]

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 Energy.

RESOLUTION NO. 4980

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

Whereas in celebration of Women's History Month, the Nova Scotia Status of Women and the Western Area Women's Coalition chose to honour Mrs. Nola Worthylake Jeffery of Digby; and

Whereas Mrs. Jeffery, a distinguished educator, contributed greatly to the establishment of the Nova Scotia Community College site in Digby; and

Whereas she was the first regional director of the Nova Scotia Status of Women for Digby and Annapolis, one of the founding members of the Western Valley Development Authority, and a very active volunteer with the Admiral Digby Historical Society, the Digby Hospice Society, Digby and Area Learning Society and the Community Health Board;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House recognize this dynamic individual's continuing volunteer efforts and multiple contributions to her field that she has shared with the province and the community.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

[Page 12089]

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

The motion is carried.

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

RESOLUTION NO. 4981

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

Whereas Paul Palango and Sharon McNamara created a new line of artistic dinnerware made of crushed glass; and

Whereas the couple relocated to Chester Basin from Ontario to open their studio, Kiln Art, after visiting Nova Scotia to show their wares at the Maritime Gift Show; and

Whereas sales from the studio and their store in Chester, Chez Glass Lass, has skyrocketed since and their award-winning dinnerware now graces the tables of restaurants and homes throughout North America;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly thank Mr. Palango and Ms. McNamara for choosing Nova Scotia as their home, and congratulate them on their smashing success.

[3:00 p.m.]

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Health.

[Page 12090]

RESOLUTION NO. 4982

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 Truro Blue Bombers completed a dream season by defeating the Fredericton Eagles to win the 2002 Maritime Peewee Football Championship; and

Whereas the Truro Blue Bombers compiled a record of 11 wins and no losses in 2002, while scoring 396 points and allowing only 72; and

Whereas after the Maritime championship game, the Truro Blue Bombers took a victory lap, proudly waving a Nova Scotia flag;

Therefore be it resolved that all members congratulate the Truro Blue Bombers on winning the 2002 Maritime Peewee Football Championship and the entire Blue Bombers organization for making Friday night football in Truro a special event.

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 Environment and Labour.

RESOLUTION NO. 4983

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

Whereas delightful Christmas plays portraying Ebenezer Scrooge's first employer, the kindly Mr. Fezziwig, have now run eight consecutive years at Wolfville's Atlantic Theatre Festival's facilities; and

Whereas approximately 140 volunteers, mostly children, partake in this annual Christmas musical; and

[Page 12091]

Whereas my son's former school principal, Ray Baltzer and singer, Nancy Chisling stole the show with their hilarious depiction of Mother Goose and Gus the Goose, respectively;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of the House congratulate the 140 volunteers for producing yet another sold-out chapter in the 2002 production of Fezziwig's Family Christmas Frolic.

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 Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, I request the unanimous request of the House to revert back to the order of business, Tabling Reports, Regulations and Other Papers. It's simply a return to a question.

MR. SPEAKER: Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Economic Development.

HON. CECIL CLARKE: Mr. Speaker, I thank the members of the House for allowing me to take this opportunity to respond to a question posed yesterday by the member for Cape Breton West, regarding Ocean Nutrition Canada and the independent assessment process that was engaged by Nova Scotia Business Inc. I table that information and have copies for both critics.

MR. SPEAKER: The papers are tabled.

The honourable member for Halifax Fairview.

[Page 12092]

MR. GRAHAM STEELE: Mr. Speaker, while we've reverted to this order of business, I beg leave to table the condition of concurrence of the New Democratic Party members of the Human Resources Committee.

MR. SPEAKER: The documents are tabled.

ORDERS OF THE DAY

ORAL QUESTIONS PUT BY MEMBERS

MR. SPEAKER: Question Period will run until 4:34 p.m.

The honourable Leader of the Official Opposition.

HEALTH - LONG-TERM CARE:

FIN. ASSESS. POLICY - FARM EXCLUSIONS

MR. DARRELL DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, it will come as no surprise that my question is for the Minister of Health. Under the changes to the financial assessment policy for people entering a nursing home after November 1st, the family farm is now excluded. Cold comfort for the MacKinnon family of Pictou County, who came into the system a few weeks too early. What is not counted among the newly-protected assets is farm equipment or livestock. My question to the minister is this, what good is the family farm if you have nothing with which to operate it?

HON. JAMES MUIR: Mr. Speaker, this government has put $90 million into continuing care over the past three years. We look forward to the day - and we've said this - where the medical care portion of nursing home costs can be borne fully by government. We have made changes to the assessment process, which are good changes and I think the honourable member should recognize them as such.

MR. DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, what I recognize is that every day the hand of this government reaches into the savings of seniors and takes them at an unprecedented level. That's what I recognize.

Mr. Speaker, on the financial assessment form, other assets, it says to list: motor vehicles, boats, farm equipment. One motor vehicle is now exempt based on a staff interpretation. This government didn't exempt boats, didn't exempt farm equipment, they're listed on the assessment form even if the boat is used by the family to fish for their livelihood. Why does the government take the means of making a living right out from underneath the family left behind of a person going into long-term care?

[Page 12093]

MR. MUIR: Mr. Speaker, the changes that we made in the assessments are good changes. They are received positively by people who are in the know. I can tell you that the changes that were made were in response to concerns expressed by seniors and recognized by our staff.

Mr. Speaker, again, the honourable member is, I think, probably playing hard and fast with the truth about the assessment. (Interruptions)

MR. DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, apparently for the minister seniors are not people in the know. This situation points out the serious and devastating aspects of this government's policy on health care for seniors in long-term care. They will continue until the savings of seniors are all gone in their quest to recover money for health care, but the question is, when does it end? I want to ask the minister, can he confirm that the Department of Health's enforcement unit routinely files claims against the estates of seniors?

MR. MUIR: Mr. Speaker, this government has put $90 million more into continuing care and I want to tell you, in the first three years our main concern was to improve care for people in the continuing care system and that was home care, those who were taken into custody because of adult protection issues as well as long-term care. We have made a significant number of advances in those three years and I'm proud of them.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Dartmouth East.

HEALTH - GOV'T. (CAN.) FUNDING:

POTENTIAL INCREASE - USAGE

DR. JAMES SMITH: Mr. Speaker my question is for the Minister of Health. Tomorrow the Romanow report on the future of health care in Canada will be released. While we're not aware of the details, of course, one thing is certain, the federal government will likely be asked to invest more money into provincial health care. It has been obvious over the last three years that this government has no plan for health care. After all, the minister has squandered almost $500 million in additional dollars and all he has to show for it are emergency room closures, longer wait times, physician shortages, nurse shortages and the list goes on.

My question to the minister is, if the federal government does give the province more funding for health care, why should Nova Scotians believe that it won't be squandered like the $500 million was squandered?

HON. JAMES MUIR: Mr. Speaker, I believe this is going to be the subject for debate a little bit later this afternoon but I just want to begin to remind the honourable member for Dartmouth East, and I would just like to, just for the edification of members of the House and those who else might be listening, on June 18, 1999, the member for Dartmouth East - and

[Page 12094]

I believe he was then Health Minister - said I didn't come here this morning with a full plan. We are creating it as we go.

DR. SMITH: Mr. Speaker, my colleagues say to ignore that even though it is taken out of context but I'm not going to stoop to that level, I'm going to rise above that level. If the federal government does provide additional health care funding for the government there must be a plan. Five hundred million dollars was not enough, now the minister is already saying - he said it earlier - that whatever he gets from the federal government will not be enough. An amazing statement. If you want a statement, there's one of your own, Mr. Minister, right back in your eye. If you have a price tag, you must have a plan. My question to the minister is, can the minister please share with all of Nova Scotia the details of his health care plan?

MR. MUIR: Mr. Speaker, the honourable member is absolutely correct. I know that he and his caucus colleagues, and the Health Critic for the New Democrat Party, and his caucus colleagues . . .

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Her. Her.

MR. MUIR: I'm sorry, her. I apologize to the member for Halifax Needham. I meant to say the Leader of the New Democratic Party, but I should have said her too, I know she's the true Leader. (Interruptions) We all hope, seriously, that Mr. Romanow does recommend that there be a greater participation from the federal government in health care. When Medicare began, it was supposed to occur on a 50/50 basis. The federal government currently contributes about 14 cents of every health care dollar. That certainly is not sufficient. Our needs are expanding. Mr. Speaker, what we want to do is to have predictability and sustainability, and there's where we're going.

DR. SMITH: Mr. Speaker, all Nova Scotians know that any funding that comes from Ottawa also comes courtesy of the Nova Scotia taxpayer. It is your responsibility, Mr. Minister, to deliver value for that dollar. My final supplementary question to the minister is, how can you ensure that without a plan Nova Scotian taxpayers are getting good value for their health care dollars?

MR. MUIR: Mr. Speaker, we have a plan. I just want to, again, tell the House, we have done a number of things in this province in the past three years that have put us among the Canadian leaders. I will start off with something which that former government could accept responsibility for, the ambulance service in this province. That's the best in the country, and we've enhanced that since we've come in.

Mr. Speaker, we're the only jurisdiction in the country to provide our acute care, the district health authorities, with three-year funding, rolling funding plan. The information system that we will soon have up and running, connecting all parts of our province, will be the best and first in the country.

[Page 12095]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Opposition.

HEALTH - LONG-TERM CARE:

POLICIES - CONTRADICTION EXPLAIN

MR. DARRELL DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, tomorrow the Premier will address the Empire Club. The title of his speech is We're All in This Together, yet his government's long-term care policies go against that very theme. Applicants, after November 1st, can keep their farm, insurance policy and $25,000, if they have a spouse or child living at home. Families like the MacKinnons of Pictou County, who filed before November 1st, are just out of luck. My question to the Premier is, why is he going to Toronto to say he runs a value-based health care system and that we're all in this together when his treatment of seniors and families like the MacKinnons is so discriminatory and shameful?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I welcome the opportunity to make a remark about the health care system in Nova Scotia. It's not perfect. It is getting better with the changes that the minister has introduced over the past three years. We have a way to go, and we will keep on travelling that road. I was invited to speak before a Toronto audience because, as a small province, we are recognized as making significant improvements in our health care delivery system.

MR. DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, if the Premier really believes that, he's living in a dream world. He's just living in a dream world. If you have a $0.5 million home and no assets, you get free health care in a nursing home, but if you saved and worked your life and managed to put away $50,000 but couldn't afford to buy a house, they will take every single cent you have, every cent. (Interruptions) Yes, every cent. The corporate plan of this government was summed up in three words, a tax cut.

My question to the Premier is this, will you proceed with a tax cut even if it means

continuing to take the savings of seniors?

[3:15 p.m.]

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, one of the disadvantages of being in government is that you have to make choices and you have to work to help each and every Nova Scotian. There are Nova Scotians from one end of this province to the other who need help and the balanced approach of this government will determine, as time progresses, that each and every Nova Scotian will benefit from the policies of this government - each and every Nova Scotian.

MR. DEXTER: I assume that the answer that the Premier was trying to give is that they will continue to take seniors' savings at any cost, Mr. Speaker, at any cost. We're all in this together, so the Premier says. Well, some of us, like the MacKinnon family, are in a little deeper than others. They still face the loss of their farm and their only supply of heat, so you

[Page 12096]

will have to excuse them if the new policies don't give them that warm, fuzzy feeling. I would like to ask the Premier, why does he refuse to take responsibility and do the only thing that will make the system fair for families like the MacKinnons, and cover the health care portion of nursing home costs for all Nova Scotians?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, the minister has made a significant improvement in the assessment process that goes on prior to going into a nursing home to the point that now we have the fairest assessment program in Atlantic Canada. We are going to be, over the weeks and months ahead, continuing to look at the issues that we should address, and we will address them with policies that are fair and equitable.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Dartmouth East.

HEALTH - CARE SYSTEM: IMPROVEMENT - PROVE

DR. JAMES SMITH: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister of Health. Time and time again the Minister of Health has indicated that the health care system is better than it was two or three years ago. If that is the case, I would ask why are Nova Scotians - and this is supported through a national study - waiting 14 weeks longer for orthopaedic surgery; 9.5 weeks longer for treatment of skin cancer, tumors and hand surgery; and almost two weeks longer for radiation cancer treatment? I would like to table that national study. My question to the minister is, how can you say that things are getting better, Mr. Minister, in the health care system, when Nova Scotians are waiting longer for treatment?

HON. JAMES MUIR: Mr. Speaker, I think he's probably referring to the Fraser report and, as he knows as well as I do, there were certainly some limitations to the information. The public is interested in wait-time information and so are we, and we're working with the districts to help to compile accurate wait-time information and improve those areas where we can do better. Indeed, wait times are increasing across Canada. It's a national problem. It's linked with our aging population and a steady decrease in federal funding for health care.

Back on October 29th, Mr. Speaker - the honourable member is talking about health care - the Leader of his Party said that he would be prepared to cut health care spending in Nova Scotia.

DR. SMITH: Mr. Speaker, the people of Nova Scotia who are waiting today for treatment know that this minister is not managing the health care system well and, today, this government can't hide from the facts. The facts speak for themselves. Another fact is that this government has spent almost $500 million in additional health dollars on health care in this province. So my question to the minister is, would the minister please explain to the people of Nova Scotia why he is spending $500 million more for health care and they're having to wait even longer for treatment?

[Page 12097]

MR. MUIR: Mr. Speaker, I would not like to interpret the honourable member for Dartmouth East's comments as criticizing the government for increasing spending in health care. I know he really doesn't mean that. I want to tell you that in terms of wait times, I agree, they're not as short in some cases as we would like. We are at least in the middle of the country in most of these cases, we fare better in some others. For example, our wait times in Nova Scotia for CAT scans are the shortest in the country.

DR. SMITH: Mr. Speaker, if I could call on the Premier for my final supplementary. I've noted with great interest that on the day that the Romanow report is released, the Premier will be in Toronto addressing the Empire Club on value-based health care in Nova Scotia. My question to the Premier is, given that the government is spending more on health care and the people of Nova Scotia are waiting longer for that care, what possible message can the Premier deliver on value-based health care service in Nova Scotia to the Empire Club?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, tomorrow will be an excellent opportunity for me in Toronto to talk about the health care system in Nova Scotia because it is an attraction that we have in this province. I will be able to report to the Torontonians that we now have three-year funding for hospitals, allowing them to plan in a way that they haven't been able to plan before. I will be able to tell the people in Ontario that in fact we have the most successful nurse recruitment program and doctor recruitment program in the entire country. I will be able to tell the people of Toronto that now, as a result of the activities of this government and that minister, that we now have an appropriate diagnosis program for osteoporosis. I will be able to tell the people in Ontario that we have the shortest waits in Canada for CAT scans. I have a great message for tomorrow. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. The honourable member for Halifax Needham.

COMMUN. SERV. - CAN. JOURNAL OF PUB. HEALTH:

HUNGER STUDY - ACTION DETAILS

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, my question through you is to the Minister of Community Services. Last week a study in the Canadian Journal of Public Health by Dr. Lynn McIntyre, an epidemiologist at Dalhousie, discusses hunger among women and children in single parent families in Atlantic Canada. The findings of this study are very disturbing because it shows a very high percentage of single-parent women and their children going hungry regularly. The study shows that single moms routinely go without food in order to provide for their children. I want to ask the Minister of Community Services, whose staff has been briefed on the findings of this study, what is he going to do to address these disturbing facts?

HON. PETER CHRISTIE: Mr. Speaker, we have had an opportunity to meet with Lynn McIntyre and her group. The Minister of Health and I met with them back some months ago. We've had an opportunity for them to meet with members of our department. Indeed, we

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had planned to have a conference two weeks ago that got snowed out, that spoke on that very subject. We are very active in looking at that subject, looking at how we can work our way towards that and to seek solutions to that problem.

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, the matter has been studied. Now what is required is some action, not more study. Even though food banks are attempting to fulfill the needs, they can't meet the needs of these families and this study showed that women in Nova Scotia are three times more likely to go hungry than single-parent women in New Brunswick. I want to ask the Minister of Community Services to explain why it is that a single mother in Nova Scotia is three times more likely to experience hunger than a single mother in New Brunswick? Can you tell me that, Mr. Minister?

MR. CHRISTIE: Mr. Speaker, last week I had the opportunity to meet in Moncton with the Ministers of Community Services across the country. We were looking at the National Child Benefit and the benefits that the provinces attach with that. Indeed, Mr. Speaker, this problem is a problem all across the country. Nova Scotia, as you look at the statistics of the report that came out, has improved in child poverty. We have improved in that area over the last couple of years, but there is no question there is more work to do and we continue to work on that issue.

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Well what the minister didn't tell this House, Mr. Speaker, is that this report found that the reason lone parents are going to be hungry three times more often in Nova Scotia than in New Brunswick is that this government continues to claw back the National Child Tax Benefit. New Brunswick has never clawed back the benefit and mothers have more resources to feed themselves and their kids, as this minister full knows. So I would like to ask my last question to the Premier.

Mr. Premier (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: I understand you may have to place it to another minister at this particular time.

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: I will go back to the Minister of Community Services then . . .

AN HON. MEMBER: He's coming in now. (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Needham to resume questioning.

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Premier, the reason lone-parent women are three times more likely to be hungry in this province than in New Brunswick, according to Dr. McIntyre's study, is because New Brunswick does not claw back the child tax benefit and we

[Page 12099]

do. Mr. Premier, I want to ask you, you promised in the election campaign of 1999 to end the claw back of the National Child Tax Benefit, and I want to know why have you broken your promise, leaving children and their mothers to be hungry in Nova Scotia?

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

MR. CHRISTIE: Mr. Speaker, I'm quite surprised at the member's question because the member fully knows that when we made some adjustments to the Income Support System back last year, we stopped the claw back and we indicated we were flowing all of the monies coming from the federal government back through the people.

MR. SPEAKER: I just wonder if I could ask honourable members, when they are placing their questions, and honourable ministers when they are responding in particular to the final supplementaries, if you would try to shorten those up a bit. Thank you.

The honourable member for Lunenburg West.

HEALTH - CARE PLAN: ADEQUACY - CONFIRM

MR. DONALD DOWNE: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Health. I want to bring to the minister's attention a case involving a constituent that further illustrates the frustration that many Nova Scotians are having when it comes to waiting times for procedures. A constituent of mine had to wait almost two years for hip replacement surgery. While it is bad enough that they were told that they would have to wait a year, back in December 2000, it was even worse that the procedure finally took two years to have it done. My question to the minister is, how can the minister stand in his place and say that this health care plan is working if so many Nova Scotians, like the members in my constituency, are waiting two years for treatment?

HON. JAMES MUIR: Mr. Speaker, like the honourable member, I'm distressed when I hear about people who have wait times for orthopedic surgery and indeed that is something that we are working to improve. One of the things that we have in Nova Scotia is we have the highest rate of hip and knee replacements in the country. We think that part of that, obviously, there are some reasons for that. We are working for that. All I can tell the honourable member is that we continue to look at ways to address wait times in this province and it's no consolation for anybody who has knee or hip discomfort while they are waiting, but we are making progress and, comparatively speaking, we're not bad.

MR. DOWNE: Mr. Speaker, that might sound all right for the minister that it doesn't sound bad, but I can tell you that individual lived in pain every single day for two years and that individual, what's even worse, is 36 years of age and in serious pain. That individual couldn't work, his debts piled up and he wasn't able to pay the bills. The bottom line is that this minister - it has to be so frustrating to Nova Scotians to hear this minister spent $500

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million in the last three years to have so-called fixed the health care system and yet that individual in my riding waited two years for a surgical hip replacement. That's wrong, Mr. Minister and this is not fair.

My question to the minister is, if $500 million has been put into the system, the minister is saying the health care system is improving, then why did my constituent have to wait two years to have his hip replaced? Two years, Mr. Minister, why?

MR. MUIR: Mr. Speaker, two years does sound like an unusually long time. If the honourable member wishes to provide my department details with that I would have somebody look into it. On the other hand, the positive thing I take from his comments that whoever it was has had their surgery and I trust it was successful and they are able to carry on a full life at the present time.

[3:30 p.m.]

MR. DOWNE: Mr. Speaker, I'm going to table a letter I received from a constituent. I talked to her today about her husband. She said, if anything, maybe this minister, maybe this government can learn that people have suffered because of their inaction and inability to be able to provide a proper health care system in the Province of Nova Scotia. If we can get it fixed, the better for it. We are talking about value for dollar here. The minister is not providing good value for money in the Province of Nova Scotia. My question to the minister is, where is the value for dollar in health care when my constituents have to wait two years for this surgery?

MR. MUIR: Mr. Speaker, one of the things about health care is that money doesn't guarantee a good health system. You can't have an excellent health system without it. I just want to tell the honourable member that it's worthwhile noting, though, that there are some provinces that are spending more money on health care than we are and you will find that their waiting times are longer.

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

EDUC. - DOMINION SCH.: REPAIR/REPLACE - DECISION MAKE

MR. FRANK CORBETT: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Education. The people of Dominion want some answers. It's been a month now since the school started sinking. It appears that the sinking has stopped. In the interim, part of the floor sank 12 inches, roofing tiles on the exterior of the building have popped, expansion joints have moved in the vicinity of 5 to 6 inches. This school was built by the former Buchanan Tory Government over an existing mine shift. We all know the problem with that school is subsidence, so the community shouldn't have to pay for this government's faux pas. I want to ask the minister - there are two choices - replace the school or repair it, which one will it be, Madam Minister?

[Page 12101]

HON. JANE PURVES: Mr. Speaker, that decision will be made when we have the final engineering report. The member opposite is quite correct, it appears that the damage to the school is slowly stopping but we are nowhere near being able to have a solution.

MR. CORBETT: Mr. Speaker, all the government has to do, and the minister has to do is take responsibility. They built the school. She should assure the people of Dominion (Interruption) The Minister of Justice says they don't build schools. Well, you do build schools. Now, it's very simple, they built this school over an existing mine shaft and God knows how many others are in that same position. I asked the minister last week if her department would take a study to check schools that were built in the Cape Breton coalfields and to see if situations exist elsewhere within the Cape Breton coalfields. I will ask the minister again this week, will she make that undertaking and check out the schools that were built in industrial Cape Breton, in the Cape Breton coalfields?

MISS PURVES: Mr. Speaker, I would like to correct the misstatement by the member opposite in that this government did not build that school. There are many buildings built over coal shafts, as the member opposite knows. These days we have more sophisticated engineering, and there is a new school in Glace Bay, recently, which was built in a compartmentalized way so that it will be able to withstand any subsidence. But it is absolutely impossible to guarantee that any building in those areas, especially older ones, may not be affected by subsidence.

MR. CORBETT: Mr. Speaker, the question, quite simply, to the minister was twofold. One, I didn't say this government built it, as I said earlier it was a Tory Government that built it; some of the ministers who are on that front bench were there. We've asked her already if she would do an undertaking and examine those schools. Obviously she won't do it. What she can do today in this House is assure the people of Dominion that that school will either be replaced or repaired. I'm going to ask her once again, will she commit today that her department will replace or repair that school for the people of Dominion?

MISS PURVES: Mr. Speaker, I can assure the people of Dominion and the people of Nova Scotia that we will do what is right and necessary in terms of that school or any other school. I'd like to say that the children from that school are receiving an excellent education right now, and that is the most important thing.

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

COMMUN. SERV. - AVALON CTR.: FUNDING - CRISIS

MR. WAYNE GAUDET: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Community Services. As the minister is undoubtedly aware, the Avalon Sexual Assault Centre in Halifax has been providing programs and services to women dealing with sexual assault and abuse for over 20 years. Other than the small office with one staff person in Truro, Avalon is the

[Page 12102]

only agency providing individual counselling and therapy to victims of sexual abuse and assault. What makes the centre so important is that it provides services to women from all regions of the province. Demand for Avalon's services has grown steadily over the past 20 years. It has not had a funding increase for 10 years. The result is the centre is no longer able to retain qualified staff and sustained services at its present funding level. My question to the minister is, why has this government continued to ignore the funding crisis at the Avalon Sexual Assault Centre to ensure that this essential service will continue to be available to victims of sexual abuse and assault in this province?

HON. PETER CHRISTIE: Mr. Speaker, the honourable member is quite right, we do recognize the importance of that service and that's why we provide funds for that service each year. We've been working with that group, with that whole region and we were talking the other day about the transition houses. That is part of the reason that we're looking at how we're going to deliver that service so we can provide all of those facilities, all of those different services across this province with the resources to do that. That's why we're having this discussion with all of the sector.

MR. GAUDET: Mr. Speaker, this past summer the centre had to relocate its offices, which only added to further financial strain to this organization. The staff sought the assistance of the Department of Community Services with the move and to address their general funding concerns. This essential organization has made many requests to have meaningful discussions with the decision-makers of this department. Yet, the government has refused to meet with members from the Avalon Centre. Instead this department informed the Avalon Centre on October 13, 2002, that they would not assist them with their funding crisis. My question to the minister is, can this minister explain to this House why he will not address the financial concerns raised by representatives of the Avalon Centre at a time when demand for services have increased but funding has not?

MR. CHRISTIE: Mr. Speaker, I have, as I no doubt the member has, had the offer to be there on a number of occasions to visit the facility and look at the service they provide. The honourable member will recall back last year that what we had talked about was the fact that, with the growing demands, we had to define core service that they were going to provide. They had to be able to say to us what the core services were and how we would be working with them. That's what we have been saying to those groups, that's what we have been saying to the Avalon Centre and if the Avalon Centre wishes to meet with me all they have to do is call and I'm happy to meet with them.

MR. GAUDET: Mr. Speaker, we know that this minister is not committed to investing in the most vulnerable of our society and the record shows that. We know that this minister is aware of these problems, but as the crisis grows for the centre, the minister and his department can no longer turn their back on the centre at their greatest time of need. So without funding assistance to the Avalon Centre, there will be impacts on the delivery of

[Page 12103]

programs and support. My final question, will the minister agree to meet with representatives of the Avalon Centre to address its funding as soon as the House rises?

MR. CHRISTIE: Mr. Speaker, I just want to correct something the honourable member said. He said this government doesn't care for people in need and I would like to point out to him that this government has initiated a number of things: in the terms of a secure treatment facility; 71 social workers that we've got; and we've made a further investment in early childhood development to show the way this government responds to children and, yes, I'm happy to meet with the centre, I'm happy to meet with all the 153 associations that we meet with. We meet with them regularly and I'm happy to do it.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Chebucto.

ENERGY - KYOTO ACCORD:

NON-RATIFICATION - IMPACTS STUDY

MR. HOWARD EPSTEIN: Mr. Speaker, this question will go to the Minister of Energy. The minister has pulled out of the Kyoto talks. He's following Ralph Klein and big oil and he should be protecting Nova Scotians. I've asked his department for any studies they've done on the impact of Kyoto and this is what I got back - a slim, 14-page document on the economic impact; it's silly, this document. If you do a study of this sort, you have to look at costs and benefits. Mr. Minister, I want you to know that global climate change is going to affect our agriculture and fisheries industries, our health care, our shoreline and our water quality. What I would like to know is what studies the minister has done on the impact of not ratifying the Kyoto Accord?

HON. GORDON BALSER: Mr. Speaker, I thank the member opposite for the question. As I've pointed out on a number of occasions, the difficulty that this province and all provinces have had to date is the fact that the federal government has not provided the information that would be required so you could do the economic analysis. In the absence of that, you run models and every time you change a number, the outcome changes. So we, as all other provinces and territories, came forward with 12 principles, asked the federal government to provide the information necessary so we could do the economic modelling. I find it interesting the member opposite is now clued into the fact that there is a cost associated with ratification.

MR. EPSTEIN: Mr. Speaker, there are always costs, but there are enormous benefits and what we know about Kyoto is that it will present a challenge for Nova Scotia Power and it certainly won't help EnCana, but that's because it is so heavily invested in Alberta oil but, overall, Kyoto is in Nova Scotia's best interests. Kyoto will help protect rural land and sea-based economies. It will help protect our tourism industry. It will help protect our health and it will support our natural gas industry. What I want to know, Mr. Minister, is how you can take this silly paper seriously? I want to know who you're working for.

[Page 12104]

MR. BALSER: Mr. Speaker, I, like every member of this government, am working on behalf of all Nova Scotians and, in fact, our role, as joint ministers, is working on behalf of all Canadians. The issue we've had is not that long ago in this very House, the member who raises the question talked about the cost of power increases and now again, the question we've had, if we move forward to ratify with a 2012 implementation date, there will be added cost burdens for power production in this province. That's our concern. No one knows at this juncture what the costs will be. What we do know is it will not be a free ride.

MR. EPSTEIN: Mr. Speaker, all I said was that Kyoto would provide challenges for Nova Scotia Power. It's a big leap from there to increases in power rates and that minister should be delving into the details. The minister wants everyone to think he has the answers. The reality is he has bought the Alberta oil industry line, plain and simple. Climate change will affect all of us. We either address it now or pay for it later. It's that simple. What I would like to know from the minister is when will he start to protect the interests of all Nova Scotians, when is he going to do that?

MR. BALSER: Mr. Speaker, people in the Department of Energy have been working in concert with members of other governments across this country to try to develop a plan that will not bankrupt the province and ruin the economy. Unlike the member opposite who belongs to a Party that has no sense of what it costs to do things, we are working towards a plan that will not be fully costed by the province.

[3:45 p.m.]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Lunenburg West.

FIN.: PUB. SERV. SUPERANNUATION/TEACHERS'

PENSION FUNDS - STATUS

MR. DONALD DOWNE: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Finance. On November 13th in this session I asked the Acting Minister of Finance at the time, the current Minister of Education, whether or not she could give us an update of the status of the public sector superannuation plan and the Teachers' Pension Fund. The minister indicated to this House that she would be able to get back to the House before the House adjourned. My question to the minister is, can the minister update us as to the status of those particular funds and confirm that you will be able to live up to the acting minister's comments in the House?

HON. NEIL LEBLANC: Mr. Speaker, with regard to that, I was away at the time of the question. I do have the Nova Scotia Public Service Superannuation Fund financial statements as of March 31, 2002 and I will table those for the member opposite, and those were the latest results that were there. I will look for the ones for the NSTU fund. I thought I had it in my desk and I don't, but I will try to get that for the member.

[Page 12105]

MR. DOWNE: Mr. Speaker, the bottom line is that this minister is managing some $31 billion in funds and trusts throughout the Province of Nova Scotia. We understand very clearly that the market is in a downward shift; it's picked up the last few weeks, but overall has been hit over the last year or so. The question really is whether or not those funds will have a negative impact on the financial capability of this minister in regard to his budget for this year. My question to the minister is, has the downturn in the market had any negative impact on your ability to manage the finances of the Province of Nova Scotia?

MR. LEBLANC: Mr. Speaker, I may have misheard, but the member opposite said that we managed $31 billion of pension funds and that is incorrect. I believe it's more in the $8 billion range and that's a combination of both the Public Service Superannuation Fund and also the Nova Scotia Teachers Union plan, which are managed together. However, the issue is that to look at the pension plans at a point in time, I think, is the wrong way to manage them. If we were to do that, we would be obviously making decisions that are not in the long-term interests of people who would receive those benefits from those pension funds. Are we concerned with the volatility of the markets? Of course we are. Many of our pension funds are invested in fixed incomes, we have a percentage of those which are in equities and obviously we look at the long-term versus the short-term, as any prudent manager of those pension funds should.

MR. DOWNE: Mr. Speaker, the government is using derivatives for debt management so there is exposure to the markets throughout government. According to last year's Auditor General's Report, as of March 31, 2001, the province was managing $31 billion of treasury-related balances and trusts. That's $31 billion that the Auditor General says you're looking after, minister. That spot in time, I remember you in this House, on this side of the House, asking a spot in time in regard to where those funds were. My question to you is, have those funds as they've gone down caused you any kind of financial problems with regard to being able to balance the budget this year and will it impact on your budget coming up?

MR. LEBLANC: Mr. Speaker, in regard to the impact on this year, the answer is it will not have an impact. The member opposite brings up a good question. Will it have an impact on future years? Obviously, the answer is yes because gains and losses are amortized over the future. So will it have an impact next year? The answer is yes, but the fact of the matter is in real terms the number will not be major. But any dollar, of course, is a point of concern to me as Finance Minister and to our government.

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

EDUC. - SCHOOL BUSES: SAFETY - EVALUATION DETAILS

MR. WILLIAM ESTABROOKS: Mr. Speaker, my question through you is to the Minister of Education. This morning at my constituency office I received a number of calls about a school bus accident that took place in Hammonds Plains yesterday. Students riding

[Page 12106]

on a school bus nearly missed getting hurt when a dump truck collided with their bus. On September 16th and 24th, there were also separate school bus incidents in the Halifax Regional Municipality; thankfully, there have been no serious injuries. Transport Canada reports that between 1988 and 1997, in that decade, there were 204 deaths, 10,480 injuries from school bus collisions. I questioned those figures when I was first given them this morning but let's look at 204 deaths on school buses in a decade.

I want to ask the minister, what evaluations has your department done on the need for additional safety devices on our school buses such as seat belts and strobe/stop arm lights, those lights that would be of big assistance when our buses are stopping in our notorious Nova Scotia fog?

HON. JANE PURVES: Mr. Speaker, I think the main point of the question of the member for Timberlea-Prospect that there have been no serious injuries in these recent accidents, is the most important one. Every year safety on our school buses is reviewed. We operate according to the standards of the Canadian Standards Association. If, for example, strobe lights are seen to be a major improvement, which they have not been to date, we will proceed with them. But we are very concerned about safety and we are constantly monitoring standards and our buses.

MR. ESTABROOKS: Mr. Speaker, when I had a real life in a previous career, one of the grave concerns that we always had was school bus safety. The American Academy of Pediatrics says that the use of seat belts could reduce death and injuries by 20 per cent. In fact, a number of young people have asked me personally why aren't there seat belts on our school buses? The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that at minimum all new school buses come equipped with seat belts. Now, we have over 1,200 school buses in this province. The potential for accidents is certainly high. In a recent national poll, which I'll table for the minister's attention, seven out of 10 Canadians said they think school buses should be equipped with seat belts. So, Madam Minister, have you consulted with anyone in the industry or anyone within your department on the need for seatbelts on school buses in our province?

MISS PURVES: Mr. Speaker, as I said previously, we review our standards every year and I think the member opposite knows that there is a great deal of evidence to show that seat belts on buses can, in fact, cause injuries. I hope the member opposite is not saying that we should base our safety standards upon polls and what people think as opposed to real evidence. I'm also surprised at him bringing forth American values from a Party that doesn't usually share them.

MR. ESTABROOKS: Mr. Speaker, this is no time for glib answers. I'm talking about the safety of children. I mean what are we talking about, an American firm as opposed to what happens in our province. We remember the Annapolis Valley example, I'm sure that the minister is saying, and I'm hoping she agrees that prevention is worth an ounce of cure. But I want you to know that New Brunswick has had their Auditor General do a complete review

[Page 12107]

on bus safety and the need for seat belts in their schools. So will your government ask the Auditor General to undertake an audit of school bus safety as our neighbours in New Brunswick have done?

MISS PURVES: Mr. Speaker, we do monitor the safety of school buses and we replace them on a regular basis and we update our standards according to national standards. It is of primary importance that our students be safe.

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

SYSCO - ASSETS: DISPOSAL - VALUE ENSURE

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the minister responsible for Sydney Steel, I believe it is the Minister of Transportation and Public Works. After this government added $250 million to the debt of the province for the Sysco cleanup, the current government has charged Ernst & Young with the disposal of Sysco assets and are paying substantial public funds for this purpose. Trans-Canada Liquidations was contracted out on the liquidation sale of these assets. I would like to know from the minister, what is the minister doing to ensure that Trans-Canada Liquidations receives the best value for its money when it disposes of Sysco assets?

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, the reason we hired that firm is simply because it has expertise that I do not have.

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, even though the debt of Sysco has been written off, it's still important that this minister do everything he can do to ensure that we are receiving full dollar value for every Sysco asset sold, even if it's sold for scrap. I wish to table documents entitled INVITATION FOR OFFERS TO PURCHASE Electrical, Mechanical, PLC & Miscellaneous Inventory OF SYDNEY STEEL CORPORATION. I will table those documents.

Mr. Speaker, my supplementary to the minister is, will the minister investigate whether or not full value was received for these assets and that the highest bidder was accepted for this sale?

MR. RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, I would have to take that question under advisement because I don't know what the advertisement is that he's talking about, but I do know that the assets are being sold to the highest bidder.

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: I was hoping the minister would say that because the assets are not being sold to the highest bidder, Mr. Speaker, and that's the reason for the question here, and the evidence is there on the table, and I would ask the minister to look at that evidence following Question Period today.

[Page 12108]

My final supplementary is, when you sell assets, Mr. Minister, it only makes sense to sell to the highest bidder; it also makes sense that this government do everything it can to ensure it gets full market value for what it sells. My question to the minister is, will the minister commit to an independent audit of the sale of Sysco assets by Trans-Canada Liquidations and make the results of that independent audit public to the people of Nova Scotia?

MR. RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, I have advised the honourable member that I would take the matter under advisement. As far as I am concerned, we've had no difficulty at all with the disposal of the assets of Sydney Steel and I do, indeed (Interruption) They have been sold to the highest bidder.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Hants East.

EDUC. - LIBRARIES: FUNDING - INADEQUACY EXPLAIN

MR. JOHN MACDONELL: Mr. Speaker, my question will be for the Minister of Education. Canadian public libraries are the most heavily used public community facilities; they get more than 150 million visitors per year. By contrast, Canadian museums got 26 million visitors and Blue Jays baseball games get 2 million spectators. In 2000 this government began to ignore the funding review committee that previously provided stable, predictable funding levels, and that resulted in libraries being cheated out of 75 per cent of the recommended funding increase. So I want to ask the minister, will the minister tell this House why, with your government's recent emphasis on reading, you have so consistently failed to provide the necessary funding to libraries in Nova Scotia?

HON. JANE PURVES: Mr. Speaker, in point of fact the government has increased funding to libraries since we've been in office but, the member opposite is right, we did not proceed with the committee's recommended increases because we have been trying to balance the budget and keep it balanced. I couldn't agree with the member opposite more, libraries are very worthy causes.

MR. MACDONELL: Mr. Speaker, I would like to outline for this minister the demand for library service in Nova Scotia. The Truro library sees an average of 500 to 600 people per day; the South Shore Regional Library Board estimates that they get nearly 100,000 visits a year. This year alone libraries were supposed to get a 7 per cent funding increase and were instead given only 0.4 per cent. The South Shore Regional Library Board had to cut their library materials in half this year. So, Madam Minister, why are you forcing libraries to cut budgets in half to cope with deficits you created by chronic underfunding?

MISS PURVES: Mr. Speaker, while we have not given libraries the increases that they wanted, they have received increases and, as soon as we are able to provide libraries with more money, we will. We don't go with all the doom and gloom of the Party opposite. New

[Page 12109]

libraries and better libraries have been opening across this province in the last three years with the help of municipalities and the province whose responsibility for libraries is shared. While we would like to do more, libraries in Nova Scotia are very successful.

[4:00 p.m.]

MR. MACDONELL: Mr. Speaker, I guess you have to be the right person in this province to get the government to do more for you, because they certainly won't do it for ordinary people who want to use libraries. I want to say that in my constituency, Mount Uniacke has built a library. They did get support from the province, as well as from the municipality, but they can't hook the library into the Colchester-East Hants Library system to make use of the whole system. It's a single entity unto itself in that community, and that's not good enough. Libraries are not only used for pleasure, they're especially valued resources for people of lower income levels. They are used for word processing, Internet access, job search information and many other important functions. Madam Minister, why are you ignoring your own funding formula, consistently underfunding the very resource many lower income Nova Scotians rely on to find work?

MISS PURVES: Mr. Speaker, I don't need to be lectured by the member opposite on the value of libraries. I have librarians in my own family, my immediate family. I know what good they do in communities for students, old and young alike. It is the object of this government to fund the needed services at a sustainable level so that they will continue to exist and provide information and learning and enjoyment for all Nova Scotians.

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

AUTO INS. - COMPLAINTS: ADDRESS - DETAILS

MR. BRIAN BOUDREAU: Mr. Speaker, last week in New Brunswick an all-Party committee tabled its recommendations on addressing the auto insurance problems that are plaguing that province. I would like to table a copy of that report. This is indeed timely given that much of what is happening in New Brunswick is also happening here with many Nova Scotian drivers forced to either quit driving or pay out insurance increases to stay on the road. Some recommendations in the New Brunswick report included better rate control and eliminating age and gender discrimination, yet Nova Scotian drivers are still left without any solutions from this government about similar complaints about their high insurance rates. My question is, in light of the New Brunswick report, can the minister explain what his plans are for Nova Scotian drivers to address the more substantial complaints that they may have with their auto insurance?

HON. DAVID MORSE: Mr. Speaker, the member opposite is quite right, the New Brunswick select committee has finally tabled its report. This is something that's been going on for quite some number of months. I would point out that it came a couple of months after

[Page 12110]

it was first anticipated, which just highlights the challenge of dealing with this issue. As the member opposite well knows, the process that we have undertaken in Nova Scotia is to give it to the arm's-length body, the Utility and Review Board, and ask them for an assessment of the premiums. We look forward to them concluding that process.

MR. BOUDREAU: Mr. Speaker, Nova Scotian drivers are frustrated by the actions of this minister because he continues to use the URB hearings as an excuse for not addressing the broader insurance issues. What the minister doesn't seem to grasp is that the URB, which began hearings again this week, can only examine one issue, whether or not automobile insurance rates in this province are too high. The URB cannot seek public input on changes that could improve the current insurance practice or recommend options that emerge from the hearing process. My question is, can this minister explain how he plans to examine those broader insurance issues, when he doesn't even want to have the government undertake a review or establish an all-Party committee on insurance?

MR. MORSE: Mr. Speaker, as the beneficiary of quite a number of letters from Nova Scotians expressing their concerns about auto insurance, I can tell you that what they are concerned about is the premium and appropriately we are acting on that by sending it to the arm's-length agency that can express opinion on the appropriateness of the premiums.

MR. BOUDREAU: Mr. Speaker, Nova Scotians deserve a similar opportunity to discuss the different approaches governments can take with improvements to the insurance issue. This is an important issue that affects many Nova Scotians, particularly seniors, low income families and people with disabilities. People living in areas with no access to public transportation feel helpless. The Premier and minister responsible for insurance can no longer look the other way, they must take responsibility. They have known for over two years that rates were on the rise, but yet they chose to ignore it and they're still ignoring it. My question is, how can this government reassure drivers in this province that it is concerned about insurance rates if it's unwilling to come forward with approaches that could recommend right changes, eliminate age and gender discrimination, or appoint a consumer advocate?

MR. MORSE: Mr. Speaker, as the member opposite knows, this is not a one-pronged approach on the part of the government, but the first step is to get an independent professional opinion on the appropriateness of the premiums in Nova Scotia at this time. Clearly, we are also interested in what's going on in New Brunswick. Before New Brunswick, Newfoundland had two select committees report on insurance. I would say that Newfoundlanders were not universally accepting of what came back from those select committee reports. We do look forward though, going through with this process, to getting the report of the URB and at that time, we will take the appropriate steps and surely we are aware of what's gone on in New Brunswick and Newfoundland and we are very interested in their recommendations.

[Page 12111]

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

HEALTH - NEW WATERFORD CONS. HOSP.:

FULL-TIME ER - INCLUSION CONFIRM

MR. FRANK CORBETT: Mr. Speaker, in the State of the Province Address a month or so ago, the Premier announced three-year funding for district health authorities. He discussed how the funding plan would allow stability and put an end to uncertainty for the health districts. He must have meant everywhere except New Waterford. They're still living with the uncertainty of what will happen to their emergency room. So, Mr. Premier, does your promise of stability for health care include a full-time emergency room for the New Waterford Consolidated Hospital?

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

HON. JAMES MUIR: Mr. Speaker, I thank the honourable member for the question in recognizing the value of the three-year budget for the district health authorities. The issue of provision of emergency health services, facility-based emergency health services in DHA 8 is one that the district is considering very carefully. As the honourable member knows, there was a report done there last Spring which made certain recommendations. I know that the DHA and its board are wrestling with those recommendations at the present time.

MR. CORBETT: Mr. Speaker, that's cold comfort for the people in New Waterford. The Premier said in his announcement and told anybody that would listen, that this secure funding would mean no program cuts. That's what he told everybody it would mean - no cuts at all. I want to ask the Premier very directly, does this mean there will be 24-hour-a-day, 7-day-a-week emergency coverage at the New Waterford Consolidated Hospital? Is that what that means, Mr. Premier?

THE PREMIER: I refer that to the Minister of Health.

MR. MUIR: Mr. Speaker, the issue of the provision of emergency services in the Cape Breton District Health Authority is a matter for that agency and its board. No question, the issue of the provision of services and what type of services that will continue to be delivered in that New Waterford facility is one that's been the subject of discussion not only by the board, but by the public and by the medical staff. What I want to do is assure that the people in New Waterford they will continue to have access to emergency services.

MR. CORBETT: Mr. Speaker, what the minister stopped short of is saying access 24- hours-a-day, 7-days-a-week in New Waterford. I want to know what the Premier meant by no program cuts. To me it means that that will not be cut in New Waterford. The emergency room has been given a second reprieve until January 2003. I want to ask you, Mr. Premier, will you give the people of New Waterford assurance that their emergency room will stay

[Page 12112]

open, because you said you've given stable funding to that DHA for three years? Is that what it means, 24/7 for that emergency room at New Waterford Consolidated Hospital?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, the member opposite knows that the government is providing hospitals now with a 7 per cent annual increase in the operational budget for three years. This should allow the Cape Breton Regional Health Authority to not only provide the current services to enhance services. The decisions of how that health care system will be developed in Cape Breton will be determined by Cape Bretoners, the neighbours of that particular member.

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

ENERGY: DEEP PANUKE - STATUS

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Energy. EnCana has signalled its intention to delay the start-up of the Deep Panuke project, but the best this minister can come up with is that it's Kyoto's fault. I refer back to the Rumsfeld corporate plan that we released in this House two weeks ago, the same plan that the government was trying to hide. We tabled this plan two weeks ago, where it says the government should concentrate on its success stories. Two of those success stories are Deep Panuke and back-in rights. My question to the minister is, now that Deep Panuke is in jeopardy, could the minister enlighten the House as to why Deep Panuke and back-in rights are being touted as success stories in the government's corporate plan?

HON. GORDON BALSER: Mr. Speaker, I thank the member opposite for the question. Of course everyone in Nova Scotia recognized just what an important sector to the economy of Nova Scotia the oil and gas industry is. At the same time, we recognize that there are tremendous costs associated with these projects. Each of the wells in deep water offshore run in the neighbourhood of $100 million. EnCana is committed to offshore Nova Scotia, to the Atlantic Region, and they are dealing with how to bring that project forward. It's good to hear the member opposite recognize that this industry is fragile, and we must work together to ensure that these opportunities come to Nova Scotians.

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, he's right in one thing, everybody in this province realizes the importance of the energy sector, everybody but this minister and his government. The minister has said in this House that he would use back-in rights to Nova Scotia's advantage as a negotiating tool, and this minister said that the back-in rights had value. Now, again, this minister is part of a government that is touting Deep Panuke as a success story. My supplementary question to the minister is, will the minister table in this House all correspondence between himself and EnCana regarding back-in rights since last year so that Nova Scotians can decide whether or not this government is properly handling our offshore industry? Would he table these documents before the House rises tomorrow?

[Page 12113]

MR. BALSER: Mr. Speaker, the member opposite has brought this issue to the floor of the House on a number of occasions. Unlike that member, when he was the minister, we intend to extract a value for that, not give it away in the 11th hour for no value whatsoever. We're working towards what's in the best interest of Nova Scotians. We haven't fully fleshed that out. At the appropriate time we will bring it forward.

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, this minister and his government have no plan for the energy sector in this province and everybody in Nova Scotia knows about it. They have no plans for Kyoto for where they're going to be. That same minister said that he would table the Kyoto plan in this House before the House rose tomorrow, and we haven't seen that. I'm asking him to table documents with EnCana so Nova Scotians will know what is transpiring between this minister and EnCana. Once again, the minister should read the Rumsfeld plan so he knows what the Premier expects of him. The plan states, that Nova Scotians need to be convinced that you are managing the oil and gas opportunity well, you being the Minister of Energy. My final supplementary, why won't the minister simply convince us and explain what exactly he is doing to ensure the EnCana project will go forward - just a simple answer, Mr. Minister?

[4:15 p.m.]

MR. BALSER: Mr. Speaker, I find it ironic that that member, when he was a Minister of Economic Development failed to deliver on a comprehensive plan, failed when he was responsible for the Petroleum Directorate of bringing forward any plan. I, when I was Minister of Economic Development, did bring in the first comprehensive economic development strategy for this province in 10 years and, in fact, while I was Minister responsible for the Petroleum Directorate, we brought forward a plan for that one as well. So this government is bringing forward plans to deal with these issues of significance to Nova Scotians. I think perhaps that member is just jealous.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Chebucto.

EDUC. - ÉCOLE BEAUFORT: PROMISE - BREACH EXPLAIN

MR. HOWARD EPSTEIN: Mr. Speaker, this question will go to the Minister of Education. On July 23rd the Minister of Education announced that she would use her very considerable powers to ensure that French immersion students from the South Central Halifax peninsula were not temporarily moved. She made it clear that the provincial government would block any movement of that student population until the Halifax Regional School Board had a plan worked out for the delivery of French immersion. But just one week later, the minister endorsed a one-year move of 150 students with no long-term plan. What I would like to know from the minister is, why did the minister break her promise to Ecolé Beaufort families?

[Page 12114]

HON. JANE PURVES: Mr. Speaker, I kept my promise to those families. It is the role of the minister and my role is to protect the educational programming of those children and all children in French immersion and all other programs. We worked with the school board to achieve a solution, while though not perfect, protects the educational integrity of the programs.

MR. EPSTEIN: Mr. Speaker, the minister knows full well that all of the parents involved see it quite differently. We obtained the minister's file on this situation. That file was virtually empty. She and her department were simply not ready to deal with this particular issue. Yet this minister accepted millions of federal dollars on the condition of improved retention in French immersion. Now her one-year plan directly caused 20 per cent of the Grade 6 students, and nearly 50 students in total, to leave French immersion completely in one fell swoop. What I would like to know is why it is that the minister agreed to such a non-starter when she had to know it would break her legal agreement to increase the retention rate in this French immersion program?

MISS PURVES: Mr. Speaker, again the members opposite continually focus on the negative. Enrolment in French immersion across Nova Scotia, and particularly in the Halifax Regional School Board, has been increasing at a very satisfactory rate and we are not breaking any agreements with the federal government.

MR. EPSTEIN: Well, it's obvious, Mr. Speaker, that increases in one part of the province have nothing to do with diminution of enrolments in another part. The minister agreed with the school board to pay all the costs of her one-year plan to break up this school community and disrupt French immersion, but her department did no financial analysis. They still don't know how much they will pay for this minister's betrayal of these parents. Their file ignores the fact that French immersion costs less than the English language program. So I would like to know why it is that the minister is restricting access to French immersion and other program choices for parents like those in my constituency and hers while disregarding the cost to the taxpayers and to the school system?

MISS PURVES: Mr. Speaker, we are very aware of costs to taxpayers. We have often been accused by the Party opposite of being too concerned about that. The French immersion programs at Le Marchant and St. Catherine's School are very good programs, that the children are being educated in good programs is the most important thing. We did commission a study on French immersion, and we are working with the Halifax School Board, which is taking this study very seriously, to improve French immersion programs in all of the Halifax School Board, not just my riding.

[Page 12115]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Glace Bay, on a new question.

EDUC. - MILLENNIUM SCHOLARSHIP:

SURPLUS - REINVESTMENT DETAILS

MR. DAVID WILSON: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Education. When the minister scrapped the Loan Remission Program and did not replace the funding for students, the minister broke an agreement with the Millennium Scholarship Foundation. I will table a section of that agreement that clearly points out what I'm saying, and I will also quote from that. "That the foundation shall grant scholarships in a manner that complements existing provincial student financial assistance programs."

Mr. Speaker, it's clear that the scholarships were meant to be a top-up and nothing more. This foundation provides students with scholarships that are put against their student loans, and therefore students receive less funding in provincial student loans. But instead, this government used the millennium scholarships as an excuse to scrap the Loan Remission Program and, in doing so, gave students the highest debt loads in this country. My question is, why didn't the minister instruct her department to reinvest the money it saves from the millennium scholarships back into student assistance, as that contract stipulates?

HON. JANE PURVES: Mr. Speaker, overall, assistance to students in Nova Scotia and to universities has gone up steadily since this government came to power. I will say again, in terms of a debt relief program, that is something that we are working on.

MR. WILSON: Mr. Speaker, again my question is to the Minister of Education. The minister is saying that she has not reduced financial assistance to students since coming to office, but the reality is that this minister and this government have indeed reduced student assistance. This government dropped the Loan Remission Program, which was used to reduce student debt by $10 million per year, but it has also saved almost $7 million in loans because of the bursaries provided to students by the foundation. So the reality is that this government has become dependent on the Millennium Scholarship Foundation's funding and does not act as a partner with that foundation, as it should, and as other provinces do. The foundation and the students of this province want to know where that money is. My question is, has this money that was supposed to be put toward student financial assistance programs been used instead to balance the budget?

MISS PURVES: Mr. Speaker, all departments in government were required to help in our effort to balance the budget and to keep it balanced, but the so-called savings from the millennium scholarships do not, in fact, exist. Assistance to universities and post-secondary institutions, including the community college, have gone up steadily since we came to power.

[Page 12116]

MR. WILSON: Mr. Speaker, one could easily take that as a yes, indeed, that's where the savings have gone, that's where the money has gone, on the backs of students in this province, to try to balance the budget. That's what the minister is telling us.

This is the only province that does not reinvest that money that it saves back into student assistance - the only province in the country. It's also the only province that does not report to the foundation how it's reinvesting the money into students. Despite the agreement which states that the foundation may periodically thoroughly inspect student assistance information to ensure that the terms and conditions of the agreement are being respected, Mr. Speaker, in this case, they are not being respected at all.

My question to the minister is, why, then, is this minister purposely and intentionally not living up to the conditions of this agreement between the Canada Millennium Scholarship Foundation and the Province of Nova Scotia?

MISS PURVES: Mr. Speaker, the member for Glace Bay may not be aware but Nova Scotia was the first province to sign on for the millennium scholarship. Our requirements for reporting are being lived up to; they are not the same as those in other provinces. On another point, all Nova Scotians, including students, have helped this government balance the budget and work towards a more sustainable future.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Hants East.

NAT. RES. - WOODLOT OWNERS/BUYERS:

DISPUTE RESOLUTION - PROVIDE

MR. JOHN MACDONELL: Mr. Speaker, my question will be for the Minister of Natural Resources. The Sustainable Forestry Fund is a vehicle to encourage forest companies and registered buyers who acquire wood from small woodlot owners to do silviculture. It doesn't regulate how the harvest is done, nor does it dictate what kind of silviculture treatment must be done in the aftermath. This has led to some tension between buyers and woodlot owners. Yet the regulations don't provide a dispute resolution mechanism to settle differences between small woodlot owners and buyers. So my question to the minister is, why has the minister not protected small woodlot owners by providing a mechanism to settle grievances with registered buyers?

HON. TIMOTHY OLIVE: Mr. Speaker, I thank the honourable member for the question. We have an excellent working relationship within our department with the forest products sector in Nova Scotia and those issues, which the member talks about, are discussed on a regular basis within the department with our staff and with the private sector. We're quite satisfied that the issues that he indicates are of concern are, in fact, being adequately addressed at the department level.

[Page 12117]

MR. MACDONELL: Mr. Speaker, I would like the minister to think about taking it outside the department level where the small woodlot owners are. They're not in the Department of Natural Resources. The fact is, small woodlot owners own 50 per cent of the forested land in the province so what takes place on those lands will dictate the future of our forest industry. Yet the sustainability regulations don't give any real power to woodlot owners to control what's done on their lands. They do not have equal bargaining power with registered buyers so why have you left them with no one to turn to for help if something goes wrong with the work done on their properties?

MR. OLIVE: Mr. Speaker, the honourable member is not correct when he talks about the fact that the small woodlot owners are not represented in issues related to forest sustainability. We have a very good working relationship with the small woodlot owners through the forest sustainability regulations. That process is ongoing and we're very satisfied with that.

MR. MACDONELL: Mr. Speaker, the minister is probably very satisfied with a lot of things that Nova Scotians are not satisfied with and that's the point I'd like him to lean his thinking to. What's needed is a body representative of the industrial players to mediate and arbitrate disputes that may arise between buyers and woodlot owners. The minister's department is not viewed by woodlot owners as an impartial body and frankly it doesn't have the resources to deal with monitoring forest activities, let alone mediate disputes. The minister must know this if he's been listening. Why won't the minister agree to provide a binding dispute resolution mechanism for small woodlot owners . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. It's really difficult to hear the member who is almost to my immediate left here. Please, honourable members, just a few more minutes left in Question Period.

The honourable member for Hants East.

MR. MACDONELL: Thank you, Mr. Speaker, I guess I am to your immediate left. Why won't the minister agree to provide a binding dispute resolution mechanism for small woodlot owners through either the Primary Forest Products Marketing Board of Nova Scotia or an impartial non-governmental body such as the sustainable forestry association?

MR. OLIVE: Mr. Speaker, again, the honourable member leaves the impression that the small woodlot owners are left out there to fend for themselves and that's absolutely not so. It's absolutely not true. We have the Forest Products Association of Nova Scotia, there are a number of other organizations in the province that we deal with on a very regular basis and we're more than pleased with the approach and the response that this government has with the small woodlot owners and others involved in the forest practices in Nova Scotia.

[Page 12118]

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

TRANSPORT. & PUB. WKS. - SYDNEY TAR PONDS

CLEANUP INC.: MIN. - OVERSEE

MR. PAUL MACEWAN: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the honourable Minister of Transportation and Public Works. Yesterday in the House I raised in Resolution No. 4937 the plight of the family of Mr. Rick Chisholm of 25 Hankard Street in Sydney who's dealing with the Sydney Tar Ponds Cleanup Incorporated agency, who want to raise his house up unto the air and relocate it in a field, which is currently a swamp. Whereas the tar ponds cleanup don't know when they want that work done, but they want it done next Spring, which would be after the end of the current fiscal year and in the 2003 fiscal year. So they don't know the budget they will have for that period of time.

[4:30 p.m.]

They can't guarantee Chisholm that they have the money to pay for this work, so they want him to front the money and pay for the job and then come after them for compensation afterwards. He's not very happy about that. In fact, going into Christmas with that frame of mind, I would say he's downright angry. I would like to ask the Minister of Transportation and Public Works if he could advise the House, is he keeping a watchful eye on that Sydney Tar Ponds Cleanup Incorporated and seeing to it that they're doing the job that they are supposed to be doing?

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, yes, they're doing an excellent job. Generally, I think everybody is very satisfied with what they're doing. In this particular case, there are actually three houses very close together and there's considerable difficulty in carrying out the remediation work that was recommended by the remediation agency. Tar ponds agency I think is the name of the actual association that's carrying out the work. They've had some difficulties with the household simply because of the fact that these houses are very close to each other and are very difficult to work around.

MR. MACEWAN: Mr. Speaker, what the minister says is true. The houses are very close together, they involve a father and his son (Interruptions) No, not the Holy Ghost. Another gentleman.

Now, of these three gentlemen of these three homes, two of them are war veterans. I just mention that to put the thing in some perspective. The runaround and the delay tactics that they're getting from the tar ponds agency on this matter are certainly not, in my review, a very worthy display by this tar ponds agency. Quite frankly, someone wanted to talk about the three persons of the Holy Trinity, I think it was the second who said, Father, forgive them because they don't know what they're doing; and so it is with the tar ponds agency here, I think. I would like to ask the minister, could he confirm that and perhaps elaborate?

[Page 12119]

MR. RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, actually, I believe they have come to a satisfactory solution. Let me assure the member that they are not going to relocate the houses, actually, they're going to keep the three houses in their present location. What they're going to do is put a brand new basement under each of these houses. That work will be done by a private contractor which will be contracted by the actual property owners. However, they will not have to put any money up front at all. The agency has the money and they will be footing the bill. So, there are no houses moving. Like all other things, you can have problems when you start to work on those small contracts, and they get resolved.

MR. MACEWAN: How could the owners of these homes not know that?

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

HON. NEIL LEBLANC: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order. During Question Period I indicated to the member for Lunenburg West that there were two sets of pension plan statements that I would table. I tabled the Public Service Superannuation Fund; and the Teachers' Pension Fund, I couldn't put my hands on it, but I have found it and I will table it for the members opposite.

MR. SPEAKER: The documents are tabled.

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. 4775.

Res. No. 4775 - Health - Care: Plan - Inadequacies Recognize - notice given Nov. 15/02 - (Dr. J. Smith)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Dartmouth East.

DR. JAMES SMITH: Mr. Speaker, I rise in my place to begin debate on Resolution No. 4775. The resolution reads as follows:

"Therefore be it resolved that this House recognize the Premier's plan for health care for what it is, one devoid of priorities or vision and not providing the value for dollar that Nova Scotians deserve."

[Page 12120]

Mr. Speaker, it struck me as I began preparing for this debate how appropriate it is that we would be discussing this resolution on the eve of the release of the Romanow report. Tomorrow, the nation will hear the synopsis of the report that has been some 19 months in the making. While many of the recommendations that will be contained in the report have been the focus of attention over the last several weeks, tomorrow that focus will change. Tomorrow, the focus will be that of a reaction of the provinces and in particular the response of the Health Minister. I suspect that the response of the minister will be predictable, that there won't be enough money. That will most likely be the response of the Health Minister of the Province of Nova Scotia.

I must state in this House once again, that if you don't have a plan, there will never be enough money. With that simple statement, I feel that aptly describes the state of the health care system here from 1999 onwards. You ask any Nova Scotian if they feel that the health care system is being better managed now than it was three or four years ago, the answer would be no. You would think that with $500 million additional, we would be seeing better results. You would assume that. As we illustrated earlier today, sadly we're not.

Wait times for treatment after seeing a specialist has grown in this province over the last year, despite the fact that the minister would like us to believe otherwise. Quite frankly this doesn't make sense. Naturally one would think that if you spend more money, you would see better results and you would have better wait times, not worse wait times. I'm here to say that you'll never see improvements in the health care system without a plan. That is what has been missing from this government, despite the fact that they claim in the Hamm/Rumsfeld playbook that they have a plan and to date they have failed to share that plan with any Nova Scotians. A failure to share means only one thing, that there's nothing to show.

Longer wait times are not the only legacy that this government has when it comes to the delivery of health care. Despite the fact that the minister likes to brag about the fact he has recruited nurses, I'll throw him a bouquet and say that is good when he does that. Once again, facts elude the minister. From October 31, 2001 to October 31, 2002 this government, this province lost 987 nurses and these were active practising nurses. Was this the result of that insensitivity of this government with Bill No. 68 that caused this loss? This type of loss to the system, we all know, puts a tremendous strain on those in the system. This puts a strain on those nurses left behind to pick up the pieces, to fill with their days off, et cetera. This puts a strain also on wait times and productivity of the whole system, when surgeries are postponed because of a lack of a nurse. These are fine professionals doing the best job that they possibly can and quite frankly they deserve better from this government.

I note with interest that the minister likes to bring up the fact that he's put more MRIs and CAT scans - he said that today, more CAT scans. Therefore, he's delivered a plan to provide the MRIs and the high-tech, funded by the federal government, and this is the health plan of this government. I must remind the minister and his government, and all Nova Scotians that, firstly, these additions to the health care system came courtesy of the federal

[Page 12121]

government. Despite this minister's grumbling about never getting enough from the federal government, he sure likes to use the pieces of equipment as examples of his own personal success.

Mr. Speaker, we are back to the good old Tory days - if we can cut the ribbon on an MRI machine, or a CAT scanner, then we are doing something in health care and, in fact, we have a plan. Well, the system doesn't work that way and the health care system today in Nova Scotia is proof of that point. If doctors are experiencing the frustrations, assessing specialists as a national survey has indicated, if they are experiencing the frustration in getting to specialists, that people are experiencing longer wait times for treatment, then the system is broke and there is no plan, and there has never been a plan of this government. In fact, I couldn't help but notice today the one glaring example. The minister did use the proof that the system was working. It was the EHS system, the ambulance system.

Well, Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the minister for acknowledging that we, as a Liberal Government, had a plan, we had foresight and we had vision. We created a system, an EHS system of this province that is the envy of the world, and I would like to thank them for not tearing this apart although I had my doubts at times, but I would like to acknowledge that it is still the pride and the envy of the world.

Perhaps what I find most frightening, Mr. Speaker, for this province is the fact that there isn't even a vision for health care in this province and this government doesn't have any idea what they would like to see. Do they know what they want their health care system to look like and the end results we see today are concrete proof - $500 million additional health care dollars in the system and nothing to show for it. Tomorrow, when the Romanow report comes forward with the federal recommendations to invest more in health care, the Province of Nova Scotia will not be ready. If this minister has a plan and he has a price tag, how much is enough?

I will close with a quote, Mr. Speaker, and the quote goes like this: When there is no leadership, when governments don't plan and won't listen, government doesn't work. This quote comes from the Leader of the Third Party, and now Premier John Hamm, on July 9, 1999. Well, no statement could be closer to the truth when you take a look at this government's record on the health care system today - no plan and no vision - and that will be the legacy of this government.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Health.

HON. JAMES MUIR: Mr. Speaker, I'm delighted to have the opportunity to participate in the debate and let me just begin by saying that this resolution is ludicrous. What makes it particularly ludicrous is that it was introduced by a former member of the government of this province and, indeed, a former Minister of Health. This is the same member who, as minister in the lead up to the last election, had a plan to borrow $600 million

[Page 12122]

outside of the budget to fund a non-existent health plan and, as I said earlier today, on June 18, 1999, the member for Dartmouth East, then a Minister of Health, said I didn't come here this morning with a full plan. We're creating it as we go.

Mr. Speaker, that was true, they didn't have a plan, but we do. We had a plan to hire more doctors and full-time nurses and we have. Indeed, we have 282 more nurses working in Nova Scotia than we did at this time last year.

[4:45 p.m.]

Compare that to the Liberal record. Granted, it was not under his leadership, but his former colleagues paid nurses to leave our province. Mr. Speaker, there are 80 more doctors practising in Nova Scotia compared to last year; in fact, Nova Scotia now has the second highest doctor-to-patient ratio in the country. I'm pleased to say that about 96 per cent of Nova Scotians report, when asked, yes indeed they do have a family doctor.

We had a plan that called for a new information management system to eliminate duplication, eliminate waste, and speed access to care. Today Nova Scotia is leading the country when it comes to using advanced information technology. We had a plan that called for evidence to guide decision making, and today it is; we had a plan to hire more nurse practitioners, and we have; we had a plan to get rid of those costly, chaotic regional health boards, and we did; we had a plan to extend supports for children with autism and PDD, and we did; we had a plan to invest in wellness and disease prevention, and we have. (Applause)

We had a plan to deal with osteoporosis in this province, and we have - indeed, we have the only province-wide plan in this country to deal with osteoporosis. We had a plan to increase respite for seniors and families taking care of a loved one at home, again we have implemented it. Mr. Speaker, we had a very detailed, comprehensive plan that we have been implementing and that's working to ensure that Nova Scotians get the care they need when they need it.

We continue to plan ahead and to identify other opportunities for improving health care in Nova Scotia. Just recently we became the first province in the country to announce funding increases which totalled $63 million, or 21 per cent, over the next three years so our hospitals can plan better, manage better, and provide faster and more appropriate care to Nova Scotians.

That $63 million, or $21 million a year on the average, is in addition to the money which we will commit to those DHAs to cover new wage settlements. Our DHAs have been advised that government will cover the salary increases over and above that $63 million that we are giving to improve front-line care.

[Page 12123]

The members opposite don't have to take my word that this is good news for health care in Nova Scotia. They can ask the Acting CEO of Capital Health, Maura Davies, or they can ask the CEO of DHA 8, the Cape Breton District Health Authority, or they can ask the CEO of DHA 3 - all of whom have publicly stated that this advanced money, that the certainty of money, will enable them to provide better, stable and more predictable care for the people that they serve. That is a good thing.

Mr. Speaker, one other point, the fact that we are debating this resolution or soon will be debating one for condemning the government for its record in date management, debating these two things on the same day, well, it is laughable, as the honourable member for Sackville knows.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Date management.

MR. MUIR: If the Liberals had had their way they would have borrowed $600 million outside the budget to pay for health care. Remember the reaction of the creditors. They said if that had happened they would have been forced to downgrade Nova Scotia's credit rating. That result would have cost Nova Scotians untold millions in added interest payments. That was the Liberal plan. The only plan that the Liberals have for health care right now is to cut it. In fact, the new Liberal Leader is on record - now I don't know whether this was endorsed by all members of his caucus or not, but the new Liberal Leader, the Leader who is not in the House, is on record - as saying he will pay down the debt by cutting health care.

Mr. Speaker, I will compare our health care plan to improve health care for Nova Scotians against their plan to cut health care spending any day of the week. Our plan has received national recognition. Tomorrow, we will hear from Commissioner Romanow about his plan, his suggestions for renewed health in our province. What Mr. Romanow will report will be an endorsement of a good many of the initiatives our government has put in place over the past three years. Our leadership in health human resource management in Nova Scotia, then in Atlantic Canada, is recognized nationally. The health human resource plans that we have are excellent.

Mr. Speaker, what this government has done in assessing new pharmaceuticals for inclusion on the formulary of our province has received national recognition. Indeed, the Nova Scotia model has become an Atlantic model which will soon become a Canadian model. We are doing very, very well there. I mentioned earlier the reference to the information management system, which we are soon going to have fully implemented. Our plan on information management has received national recognition and will be endorsed, I believe, by Mr. Romanow when he releases his report tomorrow. Our plans for primary care renewal will be endorsed by Mr. Romanow tomorrow. This province is recognized on the national level as having one of the most advanced health plans in our country.

[Page 12124]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Needham.

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I don't know, I was just listening to the Minister of Health here and I'm not a clinician, but I know that there is a condition that people suffer from when they imagine that they have a God-like ability or state. I think, given what the minister just had to say about the state of this government's health plan, he seems to be suffering from that very condition.

Mr. Speaker, I also want to say that I sort of sit here feeling like I need to say a pox on both of their houses as both of these caucuses go toe-to-toe about who had the better plan and who had no plan. I mean, we have seen the chaos in the health care system under the former Liberal Government without a plan, and we continue to see this government quite seriously underperform in the field of health care in this province. We have seen the federal Liberal Government, which has contributed greatly to the situation of chaos in the health care system in this province and in other provinces, fail to take their responsibilities under the Canada Health Act seriously to the extent that a coalition of groups have initiated a court case against the federal government to force the federal minister to implement the provisions of the current Canada Health Act. I figure there's enough blame to go around, with respect to the current problems that people experience in our health care system.

Mr. Speaker, I want to focus on the areas that the Minister of Health conveniently failed to mention in his contribution to this debate, with respect to the performance of this government, on health care. One of the greatest failures, I believe, of the Hamm Government, with respect to health care, is the absolute, not only their inability but their lack of commitment to dealing with the privatization of health care, the fact that waiting lists for MRIs have been allowed to contribute to a situation where we've seen the opening of a private MRI clinic that we know is an extreme threat to our public health care system. As my colleague, the member for Dartmouth East, said when he opened this debate, we're on the eve of the Romanow report. I don't need to remind members here that Romanow has heard from absolutely many, many Canadians who have expressed their overwhelming desire to see the maintenance of a publicly-funded, universally-accessible, not-for-profit health care system.

Mr. Speaker, this is where the vision for Canadians lies in our health care system. It's a vision for a system that's not the American dream package where everything can be reduced to opportunities to make a buck. That's the set of values that needs to inform plans for whatever government, whatever political Party is in place, to govern health care in this province. It's a publicly-funded, fully universal, not-for-profit health care system. This government, as stewards of the health care system in this province, have not upheld those basic principles and values and the vision of Nova Scotians that that be the system that we have.

[Page 12125]

Mr. Speaker, there are any number of other areas where this government has failed, in terms of their management of our health care system. Members of this caucus and our Leader, Darrell Dexter have brought to the floor the issue of the funding for long-term care and the fact that people in this province, particularly seniors, have serious disadvantages by being citizens of this province, by the failure of this government and previous governments to cover the health care component of nursing home care.

In addition to that, I would point out to the Minister of Health that the long-term care Act, the Homes for Special Care Act in this particular province is in serious need of being modernized. It's a profoundly outdated piece of legislation. We and other groups have called on the minister to pay attention to the modernization of long-term care and the Homes for Special Care Act. We have seen absolutely not one thing happen with respect to this. That minister has had three years to do some planning in long-term care, and the failure to deal with these issues is not inconsequential.

[5:00 p.m.]

This government introduced a half measure smoke-free legislation and in failing to enact legislation that would allow 100 per cent smoke-free public places throughout the province, this government failed to articulate and enforce legislation - a vision that would truly reflect the need for a wellness agenda in the Province of Nova Scotia. They had an opportunity to do that and it failed dismally.

Last night members of all caucuses here had an opportunity to meet with people in the diabetic association to talk about the fact that Nova Scotia is one of only three provinces in the country that provides no program of support for low income Nova Scotians with diabetes. A very, very serious problem. The minister conveniently ignores this terrible situation, a life-threatening situation for people.

We have lost, under the watch of this government, the liver transplant program over at the QE II, a program that we have not only relied on to save lives, but it was a program of world class quality. To lose that program, to have it suspended, to have it not operating and to have a Minister of Health who has taken not one ounce of responsibility for that situation, is absolutely unacceptable.

Mr. Speaker, we have seen a government that has gone to war with the health care workers in this province through the shameful introduction of Bill No. 68. The scars left on the health care workers in this province are still very apparent and will continue to be apparent probably for some time to come.

Seniors in the province have seen their Pharmacare costs increased under this government and at the same time they have seen many of the drugs that they're being prescribed so that they can live productive and healthy lives, not covered under the

[Page 12126]

Pharmacare Program. We have seen no plan from this government for how they are going to alleviate the shift in drug costs onto the seniors of the province and off the provincial Pharmacare Program.

So, there are many, many areas that this government has underperformed with respect to the management of health care and these are issues that we have talked about here on the floor of the House and outside this House and we will continue to talk about them as the Minister of Health attempts to paint one picture, but the reality is quite different.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Pictou West on an introduction.

MRS. MURIEL BAILLIE: Mr. Speaker, it gives me great pleasure to do an introduction in the House this afternoon. In the east gallery are two very important ladies from Pictou West, my special assistant Barb Child and Marg Macleod who is the secretary to the Pictou West PC Party. I will ask them to stand and receive the warm welcome of the House. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Glace Bay.

MR. DAVID WILSON: Mr. Speaker, this resolution, of course, deals with and shows the dismal record on health care that this government has. The gall of that Health Minister to stand in this House today, the audacity of that Health Minister to stand in this House today and say that everything is all right with health care in this province is unequalled gall in this province. We have never seen the likes of that Health Minister standing and telling the people that everything is fine. Tell the people of Middleton; tell the people of Pictou that everything is fine with health care in their area. Or has the government, and the backbench MLAs who represent that area, have they not heard from their constituents of the troubles in the health care industry? Do they not know that emergency departments are closed, that you can no longer go to emergency departments in this province, sometimes on weekends or at night, a situation that exists in my constituency of Glace Bay, a situation that exists now in the constituency of Cape Breton Centre, in New Waterford, that is threatened with a hospital closure?

The member for Cape Breton Centre rose in this Legislature today to tell the government and the people of Nova Scotia that the very future of that hospital is threatened by this Health Minister and this government and their supposed plan for health care in this province; it is a plan that does not exist. What we saw here today was all of the little government MLAs and the sheep cheer and shout when the Health Minister rose to his feet and said what a great job this Health Minister is doing, when they indeed know themselves what a miserable job this minister is doing trying to do something for health care in this province.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Sit down. Sit down.

[Page 12127]

MR. WILSON: Furthermore, Mr. Speaker, they can tell me to sit down all they want, but I'm not. I will say it the way it is. This is the reality of the situation, and they may not like it, but the reality is that the former Minister of Health, my colleague, the member for Dartmouth East, forgot more about health care than that Health Minister will ever know, and they know that. They know they have no plan, no plan whatsoever. We heard today in this Legislature - justify this, justify this, anybody on the government side - that someone in this province should wait two years to get medical treatment. Justify that. One person. No one can. Justify that there are hundreds of people on cardiac waiting lists in Cape Breton. Justify that, if you're from Middleton or Pictou or Yarmouth or anywhere else. No one can justify that.

AN HON. MEMBER: There are 400 on the cardiac waiting list.

MR. WILSON: Mr. Speaker, 400 people on a waiting list for cardiac care. It's shameful, absolutely shameful that a Minister of Health in this province, a Minister of the Crown would stand up on his feet to try to convince people that everything is okay, when all he's done is hire high-priced spin doctors to try to tell and convince everyone that everything is okay. The money that goes towards those spin doctors goes towards the propaganda of the government. We know that they know the truth, that the uncertainty that they have created - they have been in government for three and a half years in this province, not the Liberals . . .

AN HON. MEMBER: That's long enough.

MR. WILSON: That's long enough for them to have made a difference, that's long enough for them to know the difference, but apparently it's not, because they have made no difference whatsoever; indeed, they have made things worse.

The people of Nova Scotia know that. Again, I make reference to the areas - and the only reason I make reference to those areas is because those are areas that are represented by government MLAs, in Middleton and in Pictou County where hospitals are threatened with closure, where people don't have emergency services, but yet those same government MLAs will cheer and shout when the Minister of Health gets to his feet and says everything is okay.

Mr. Speaker, they know better than anybody else that it's not right, and they know, despite the Minister of Health telling them that everything is okay, that everything is not okay. From October 31st of last year to October 31st of this year there were 987 nurses lost, active, practising nurses in this province. Now, Heaven knows, we know how fond that government is of nurses. We've seen the tremendous respect they have for nurses. Nurses remind me and I'm sure they remind them everyday, of how well they've treated them with the infamous Bill No. 68. The nurses will remember them forever and a day, I can guarantee you Mr. Speaker.

[Page 12128]

We know that the nurses in this system with the loss, the tremendous strain that has been put on hospitals, on health care workers, nurses included of course, they're left to pick up the pieces, to fill in on days off, to put in overtime, to work until they're almost dropping from exhaustion to take care of the people involved in our health care system, and the Minister Health stands on his feet and says everything is okay, don't worry, be happy. Health care is fine.

Those nurses and health care workers know the difference, and they know that because of what is going on in the health care system now, because of what this government has not done. They know the strain on the health care system is starting to show and it's about ready to bust at the seams. Anybody who works in health care in this province will tell you that. You know it's a reality - I'm sure you do. Mr. Speaker, I'm sure the government MLAs know that's it a reality, that the health care system is about to bust at its seams.

Now what we don't need in this province, and what we don't respect in this province is a government or a minister who gets up on his feet and says everything is fine, its okay, forget about it. What we would respect is the minister who gets to his feet and says we have some problems, some real problems and here's our plan to solve things. All we have asked for, as Opposition MLAs, is here is the plan, show us the plan and show us how much it's going to cost and tell the people of Nova Scotia how you're going to fix things. It hasn't happened; it has not happened in any way, shape, or form. Longer waiting times, among other things, are going to be the legacy of this government when it comes to the delivery of health care in this province and that is no legacy to look forward to.

When you have people waiting, as I mentioned, for two years for surgery in this province - and you still have people waiting for average routine tests, by the way, hours on end, and I will be the first to admit that that has been, yes, an improvement, but is it acceptable? I'm sure the people who are waiting will tell you no; I'm sure the people involved in the health care industry will tell you no, it's not acceptable, but they have been crying out for help from this government, and this government has not been listening. This government has not delivered to those people who are looking for that help.

So despite the fact that they claim that they have a health care plan and they're doing better than the previous administration, which is always what they always fall back on - it's the only place for them to go, because they can't point to their record of improvement. They can't point to their record of achievement, they have to look back.

After three and a half years, I say it's time for that government to stop looking back and to look ahead and start planning for the future of health care in this province, start planning for the future of Nova Scotians so that their legacy is not one of waiting lists that are a mile long, and one of the health care system that is in disarray. They are government, they should have the plan, they should have the solutions to our problems. Thank you very much. (Applause)

[Page 12129]

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

MR. WAYNE GAUDET: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Resolution No. 4781.

Res. No. 4781, Gov't. (N.S.) - Debt Reduction: Policy - Inadequacy - notice given Nov. 15/02 - (Mr. D. Downe)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Lunenburg West.

MR. DONALD DOWNE: Mr. Speaker, I'd like to read into the record Resolution

No. 4781, a resolution by the member for Lunenburg West. It says that:

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

Whereas on April 17, 2002, the Auditor General stated before the Legislature's Public Accounts Committee, '. . . under any set of accounting principles if your revenues do not exceed your expenditures - that's ongoing operational expenses and capital expenditures - then your debt is going to grow, your debt charges are going to grow and your financial position continues to get worse'; and

Whereas despite this, the Premier is blissfully unaware that his government keeps piling on the debt; and

Whereas this is debt that will keep growing until the government deals with it in a more serious manner;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House condemn the current government for its unwillingness and inability to deal with its ever-growing debt."

[5:15 p.m.]

Now, I didn't get unanimous consent, I don't think, when I made that resolution and I didn't anticipate to get it, but the fact is that the debt is continuing to grow and we are spending more than we take in. Last week in a question outside the Legislature to the Premier, I believe the question was and I paraphrase, what is your biggest worry about the budget, you know, in setting it up. He said, well, if we spend more than we take in, it's probably the biggest concern he has. The reality is, and we will show that here today, that this government has, since it has been in power, spent more than it has taken in.

[Page 12130]

From 1999 to today, the net direct debt has grown from $11.2 billion to $11.638 billion, a total of $418 million more and by the year 2006 the debt will have grown to about $12 billion. In the budget lockup last Spring, we were told that the debt will continue to grow until the year 2011. We are growing the debt this year by $11,000 an hour - 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year, the debt is continuing to grow, and yet this is the same government that says we've got to live within our means. Yet at the same time they're growing the debt.

The revenue growth for 1999, the government took in over $4.622 billion in ordinary revenue from all sources. That's in 1999. That's a fairly substantial amount of money. By the way, about 40 per cent of that, I believe 40-plus per cent is federal. This year it's estimated that the revenue to the Province of Nova Scotia will be $5,306,000,000. In other words, the government took in $683 million more than it did three years ago. Now, that's a good sign. They took in $683 million more than they did in 1999. Despite that, we have borrowed an additional $418 million which means that we have a total difference, when you consider it, the government, of $1.1 billion. So that's $418 million that we borrowed. The revenue increased by $683 million more in revenue. This government went through $1.1 billion more this year than it did in 1999.

Now, this is the same government that said we are going to manage the affairs, we've spent enough money on health. We just had the debate on health. Do you remember that? We spent enough money, what was it, $1.5 billion in health at the time. We spent enough money on health, we don't need more money in health. Well, this government has borrowed some $400 million-plus since they have been in power and where has it gone? Basically in health and is the health system any better? No.

So they misled Nova Scotians when they said they had enough money for health care. Clearly they didn't. Clearly they didn't know what they were talking about. Secondly, they turned around and said we will manage the affairs of the province better. We will not borrow more than we take in and there's a number of quotes. I mean there are so many quotes that we can go on that, I could spend 10 minutes of just quoting the Premier on his statements about how we will not allow the debt to continue to grow, the blue book, the promises there, statements by the Premier when he was at the Chamber of Commerce and everywhere else, we will not allow the debt to grow in the Province of Nova Scotia. Well, Mr. Premier, you have allowed the debt to grow and you will allow this debt to grow not only this year, not only next year, but to the year 2011.

You know it's true under the Generally Accepted Accounting Principles, GAAP, the budget is in balance. You cannot, however, run a household like that and you certainly cannot run the province the way they're running it now. The Premier knew then what we knew in Opposition. On June 4, 1999, in Hansard, the Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party said, ". . . by changing the name of borrowing you are somehow changing the effect of borrowing. Borrowing is borrowing." If you have to borrow money, it's borrowing. Now,

[Page 12131]

that's what the Premier said. "It would seem to me that any homeowner who has a loan at the bank, perhaps a small mortgage . . .", maybe even a larger mortgage, " . . . and owing several thousand dollars on two credit cards, is in fact not helping the family finances one bit by applying for a third credit card." and that's what we're doing, provincially that's what's happening. I notice some ministers on the front benches shaking their heads. They're borrowing even more. Borrowing is borrowing and borrowing must stop.

Mr. Speaker, it's absolutely a crime that this government has been able to get away with this type of an approach. They rhymed off several dozen times where the government and this Premier and the Minister of Finance has said that we cannot mortgage our future. I can remember the Minister of Finance getting somewhat exercised in the House - we cannot mortgage our future, we cannot borrow more than we take in, we must stop borrowing in the Province of Nova Scotia.

Well, this is the same minister who now is doing just exactly that. He said, well, we can do that now because we got GAAP. We can go under tangible capital assets and borrow additional money because we don't have to expense it all in the same year. They can say whatever they want, the GAAP was the right direction to move, but in the decision to go with GAAP - and the Minister of Finance knows this because he would have checked with the Department of Finance's staff who would have confirmed what I'm going to say - is the concern that we had is that under tangible capital assets you have to control the expenditure, the capital expenditure of departments, otherwise, you might have a minister that just goes out and spends a whole pile of money on capital. In fact, more money on capital than they can afford to pay for, and they only have to charge up so much.

This government has been notorious for saying one thing and doing the other. I remember when he said no new taxes. Well, we've had taxes, we've had tobacco taxes, we've had gas taxes. That $25 million in gas tax alone could do $250 million worth of new paving under tangible capital assets on a depreciated base of 10 years for a road. If we assume the road will last 10 years and you take a depreciation on that basis, you could, theoretically, go out and the Minister of Transportation and Public Works could go and pave $250 million of new paving in Nova Scotia right now and that gas tax, which is going to mean $25 million for the minister, could pay for that without touching the budget one bit. That's the type of thing they can do and they can borrow that money. That's what is happening. Anyway, this government is really not living within its means.

As a company in the business, I can understand the concept because it works well when you're selling a product, but they're not selling anything. In fact, they have a hard job selling what they do, but they don't sell anything with regard to hard product. So what's happening is that this Minister of Finance and the Premier has to learn how to control some of his ministers who want to go out and spend and spend and spend, because this is a government that said that's exactly what they're going to do.

[Page 12132]

That's not what I said. That's what that minister said. That's what the minister and that's what the Premier said. So the question you have to ask yourself, if the Auditor General is making the statement, when you spend more than you take in and you're borrowing, even though he agrees with GAAP, he has also said about GAAP that they have to make sure that they don't get to the extent on capital so much money borrowed on expenditure that they are going to start putting themselves in further trouble.

Well, if the debt is going to continue to grow until the year 2011, we're going to get in trouble. That means that the servicing costs of that money are going to increase. It means less money for the Minister of Finance to spend on other programs and the list goes on. So what have we said to the minister? The GAAP is the right way to go, I announced it back in the 1998 budget, it's the right way to go. I haven't seen the plan that this minister has with regard to controlling expenditure; because it's clear, since 1999 he's had a $1 billion differential in new revenues and growth and expenditure and he has still not been able to control the expenditure side of the budget.

So, we said to the minister, well okay, why don't you at least come up with a plan of how you're going to deal with the fact that the debt has continued to grow? We've asked the minister to simply lay out a plan. Well, he has not laid out a plan that talks about deficit reduction. The blue book talks about it, the Premier's talked about it before, but the minister has yet to table a plan that absolutely points out clearly how they're going to approach starting to pay down the debt. You can't allow the debt to continue to grow - quote, unquote the Minister of Finance and the Premier. Yet, they have no plan except the fact that the debt will continue to grow until the year 2011 and we can't go beyond that because we don't know what's going to happen there.

In the meantime, they haven't got a plan and they haven't tabled a plan. So the challenge is, why isn't the Minister of Finance who is concerned about the future of this province - he's in financial difficulty right now, we've heard, he's under a lot of pressure of how he's going to handle all the promises of the 10 per cent reduction and cover all the expenditures for health and education and all the other commitments that everybody else desires, including the need for more money for tourism and culture that the minister has talked about before. He's in trouble. Not only is he in trouble with that, on the expenditure side he's in trouble with the debt. I will stop now and thank the House for the opportunity to say those few words.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Finance.

HON. NEIL LEBLANC: Mr. Speaker, I welcome the opportunity this afternoon to talk on this issue. I think it is an important one. I almost admire the Liberals for having the courage to bring up this issue, because there's an old saying, you could drive a tractor-trailer through the argument. When they're chastising this government for allowing the debt to increase you have to remind yourself, did they balance the budget, did they reduce the debt when they were

[Page 12133]

there, and did they have a workable plan when they were in office? I guess the answer to all those questions is no. The thing that is somehow ironic is that the issue that defeated the previous government was that they came forward and they told Nova Scotians that we will borrow $600 million and we will pay it back by taking the future revenues from royalties to pay it back, as if that was something outside of the future interest of the province, that somehow these were revenues that were irrelevant to the inner workings of the government, and that somehow they had found these revenues in a closet somewhere. They were in some closet that they opened up and said, my God, look what I found. When it came in, that was the issue that defeated the government.

Now, let's take a look here. A few weeks ago, I think it was on November 15th, a member of their caucus stood up in the House and he tabled a list of all the things that we had thrown money at, and I think it was about bridges and schools and hospitals, things that we had recklessly spent upon and we, as a government, should be chastised for, Mr. Speaker. The obvious question is, which school does the Liberal Party believe that we shouldn't have built? The next one, which hospital shouldn't we have repaired? Or which capital projects should we have not built? Which roads shouldn't we have repaired and which bridges, that were perhaps even in decay or had been damaged, we shouldn't have been repaired?

You listen to the new Liberal Leader - I'm not sure who it is today (Interruptions) No, it's Mr. Graham - the issue is - I listened to the member opposite saying that we should be reducing the debt, and I also hear his Leader saying that he would spend $10 million more for healthy beginnings, he would double the investment that our government made in health care in day cares; he would spend $10 million to $12 million more for loan remission programs; he would restore the Sydney Casino program, another $3 million; he wants to upgrade Highway Nos. 101, 103 and 104 to have it twinned from New Glasgow to the causeway, another $100 million from St. Peters to Sydney; he also wants the government to pay for universities for people who are on welfare; he opposed the extension of the large corporation corporate tax which is $40 million; he wanted the government to match the federal tax cut which is $20 million; he supported a one-year commitment of $20 million for special needs students; and he wants more money for physical activity and wellness.

The obvious question people ask, well, if he supports all these things, why didn't the Party do it when they had the chance? At the same time, this is the Leader of the Party of the member opposite who just made the argument that we are not being fiscally prudent. If you want to have a conversation and a debate, I find it amazing that people try to talk out of both sides of their mouths at once. That is exactly what's going on.

The other thing is that they've also said they would roll back every fee for service increases, most of which do no recoup the full costs of services, and they also said they would take away all the FOIPOP fees or they would reduce them to a very insignificant level.

[Page 12134]

Mr. Speaker, I remember that we talked about health care, and the Premier made an announcement some time ago at the casino ballroom, talking with district health authorities, and there was also people in health care, about giving multi-year funding to district health authorities so that they could plan. That was a leap of faith by our government in the sense it's a three-year commitment that we were told that if we could, that they could do proper planning and, in their opinion, district health authorities would be well served and the decisions that would be made would be more logical and more beneficial to the taxpayers and to the people they serve.

The first thing I've heard about the Liberal Party is that they want to save money in Health by cutting back on administration and start paying down the debt. Now, I look back at some of the changes - have we been fiscally responsible? I look back when we took office, the regional health boards, which was the organization put in place by the previous Liberal Government to deliver health care, and in the first two years that they were operational, they ran deficits of $319 million. So, let's compare that to what we have done as a government. One of the things that we did is we instituted the district health authorities and over the first full year the first cumulative amount of deficits was $16 million.

[5:30 p.m.]

I've talked to my peers across the country and when I'm telling them the results that we have had in controlling our costs in health care, and though they are growing, the overspending and the lack of control that I've been seeing in other provinces has not been parallelled here. We have been good, prudent managers.

The other thing though - and I'm pointing very much to the Liberal Party because they are the ones who initiated this debate - they talked about is they slammed the government about Learning for Life exercise in education. He said it was a PR exercise, but then he said if he was the Premier of the province, he would implement it. I find that amazing. Then, he chastised our government for stopping the building of schools in the P3 format. How anyone could stand in this House and say that the overspending that happened in P3 schools is good for Nova Scotia and that we should have all those cost overruns, is not thinking of the taxpayers of this province. I have to wonder where his priorities are and who in God's name he was speaking to.

We have had debates in this Chamber about the fact that many of these schools can't even control their destiny and that the private operators control who uses the school after hours and what fees they will be paying to use a school that was paid for by the taxpayers of this province. I don't agree with it.

But there's another issue that I want to speak about. We talk about tax reduction in this province. I listened back and the Liberal Party, through its Leader, Mr. Graham, said on August 17th in The Chronicle-Herald that the balanced budget came through largely increased

[Page 12135]

taxes, new and higher user fees and not passing along the full effect of federal tax cuts. That shows a complete lack of understanding of the situation. We have decoupled our tax system in Nova Scotia. We have moved from a tax on tax to a tax on net income.

Every tax break that the federal government gave to people in our province, flows through to those individuals in our province. The fact of the matter is if we had stayed with the same tax system that we had before, our personal income taxes would have gone down also; the amount of provincial income tax they would have paid would have been reduced.

The fact of the matter is that we said until we balance our budget, Nova Scotians would have to do their part and they would maintain taxes of where they were. The fact of the matter is, Mr. Graham wanted us to give tax relief to Nova Scotians when we had a deficit. Now, when we have a surplus, he is saying we shouldn't give a tax cut. I find this rationale is amazing. Now, I haven't chastised the NDP yet, but this is the Liberal Opposition day and I have to focus on them because they're the ones that brought it up, but on another day I'll have a chance.

The Liberal Party of Nova Scotia wanted us to continue to operate Sysco - they said we should sell it and that the private sector could operate it. The member for Cape Breton South brought that up. Does anybody in this province believe that we could sell that to a private operator and that the provincial government would not become involved in a monetary way? I don't think anyone believes that.

The other issue is when we sold NSRL, they were saying then that we shouldn't have sold it. We got a very good price and that went against the borrowings of this province. The $400-and-some-odd million that we received is $400-and-some-odd million that this province didn't have to borrow.

Have we been prudent? We have. We haven't done everything perfectly, but we've done every decision based on the best interests of the citizens of this province. Every decision is based on trying to ensure that the taxpayers get their money's worth of every dollar that we spend. The circumstances are that I believe in all honesty that we have come a long way. I will say that we have more to do and even in this year there is an increase in our debt, I don't disagree with that. We have balanced our budget. The fact of the matter is that we have spent a considerable amount of money in upgrading our roads, our bridges, and also our hospitals and our schools.

The reason is, Mr. Speaker, in those infrastructures we had to do the investment, especially the roads and bridges, because the fact of the matter is the consequences down the road would have been much more expensive. It would not have served the taxpayers of this province very well if we had allowed it to continue to deteriorate as it was under the Liberal regime that that member opposite was a member of.

[Page 12136]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Fairview.

MR. GRAHAM STEELE: Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to rise to speak in support of this resolution today. It's not very often, you know, as Finance Critic, that I get a chance to address the House say in late debate or on Liberal Opposition Day because most of the time the other two Parties don't want to raise financial issues because they have so much to be sorry for in the way they've handled the finances of the province. Although the Liberals have a lot to answer for and the Finance Minister has indicated a few of those things they have to answer for, I mean every time the minister gets up and lectures anybody on financial propriety, I feel it's incumbent upon me to remind that member that he voted for a Buchanan deficit in 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, and 1993 before the government was defeated. Nova Scotia is in a very serious financial situation and before that member stands up and lectures anybody, I think it is incumbent upon him to remember his own personal role in the dire financial straits that Nova Scotia is in today.

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Finance again, well, it's the only place he has to go so it's not surprising he should go there again. He talks about the government's balanced budget and on strictly accounting terms, it is balanced. All you have to do is ask the Auditor General and he will tell you that on technical definitions of budgets, it is balanced, but we keep pointing out and, as usual, when the Liberals hear a good idea, they say it too, that in fact from a real point of view, the budget is not balanced because the government is continuing to increase the debt this year and the year after that and the year after that and so on, as the member for Lunenburg West pointed out, until the year 2011 at least. That's just as far as the projections go, but at least that far the debt of the province is going to continue to go up and then we get to the real nub of the question which is that, therefore, the interest payments on the debt are going to go up because, let's remember, we must always remember a balanced budget in and of itself is not the objective, or holding the line on the debt in and of itself is not the objective.

The objective is to reduce the amount of money that we pay in interest every year on the debt. Now, eliminating the deficit is a step on that road and holding the line on the size of the debt is a step on that road, but neither is a necessary condition for containing the interest payments. So we need to all be focused on the fact that that is what we're trying to do. It is one of the tragedies of Nova Scotia public finance that every year in this province $900 million gets sent to bankers and bond holders as interest. It doesn't even go to pay the principal. It's just the interest - $900 million more than we pay on the public school system goes to interest on the debt. Where did that debt come from? Did it come from the NDP? No, it didn't. It came from the Progressive Conservatives principally and the Liberals secondarily.

It would be nice once in awhile to hear somebody from those Parties stand up and acknowledge their role in the financial straits that the province is in and to admit they made a mistake. Now, the Liberal Leader just recently has taken to apologizing for past Liberal

[Page 12137]

mistakes and that's a good thing. It's a good trend to start. I would encourage him to do it a lot more often, to acknowledge, to admit, to apologize for the mistakes that they have made.

Mr. Speaker, the problem with this government that we have today, as far as finances go, is they have no plan. They have no plan taking them past the next election and it's very clear. The Liberals, I think it's fair to say, have not had a great session this session, but the one good thing (Interruptions) I thought they weren't sufficiently awake over there, so I thought I would wake them up a little bit.

The one good thing that they did do was release what they've been referring to as the Rumsfeld-Baillie plan, and that was a good thing. This was an internal government document that somehow or other got leaked to the Liberals and was tabled by the Liberals in the House, and that was a good thing. This document, which is much more frank than the typical product of the government communications machine, makes it very clear that the tax cut is on. The tax cut is on and all they're trying to do is work out the details.

Now they know, because we've pointed it out to them, that a 10 per cent across-the-board tax cut is dramatically unfair in Nova Scotia, because one-third of Nova Scotians are so poor that they don't pay any Nova Scotia tax, so 10 per cent of nothing is nothing. That's a third of all Nova Scotia tax filers. Another quarter would receive $100 or less, because they pay $1,000 or less in Nova Scotia tax. More than half of all Nova Scotians would get less than $100 from an across-the-board tax cut, while the David Manns of the world, the John Risleys of the world would get literally thousands of dollars.

I think that despite its leanings, even this government will acknowledge that that's not fair. So the Rumsfeld-Baillie plan makes it clear that they are trying to work out the details, but it is going to happen because it's all the government has left. What are they going to run on in the next election, their record? I don't think so. I don't think this government is going to run on its record. What they want more than anything is to try to get people to forget their record. Their wildest dream of the next election is that it's going to be about a tax cut, that if you want it, you vote for the Conservatives, if you don't want it, you vote for somebody else. That's what they wish it's going to be about.

That's the only plan the Conservatives have. They never talk because they don't want to talk about who's going to pay for the tax cut. Like any financial transaction, if money goes into somebody's pocket, you have to talk about whose pocket it's coming out of. It's coming out of the pockets of seniors who've seen their Pharmacare premiums go up again, and they will see them go up again next year and the year after that and the year after that. It's coming out of the pockets of post-secondary students who are weighed down by debt, but yet can't get this government to carry through on its promise of any kind of debt relief.

[Page 12138]

Mr. Speaker, that's whose pockets it's coming out of. I could go down the list, but I'm not going to, about other pockets that it's coming out of. What this government is all about is downloading and offloading costs onto Nova Scotians. How about our crumbling schools? The Minister of Education knows that our schools need $0.5 billion of repair work, just to bring them up to scratch, just to bring them up to the standard they would be if they had been properly maintained all along, $0.5 billion just to bring it up to scratch.

But the government will not deal with that issue. They hand out a little bit here and a little bit there, but they won't even touch the issue because it interferes with their plan to promise a tax cut in the next election. That's the Tory plan. There is no plan to tackle the debt or deficit. None at all. They haven't even thought past the next election to what they're going to do. (Interruptions)

The member for Cape Breton West asked, what's the NDP plan, I'm getting to that, but I want to talk first of all about the Liberal plan. I would talk about the Liberal plan if I had any idea what it was. I promised the member for Lunenburg West that I would pay him a compliment in my remarks tonight, and I'm going to do that. Listen closely because I'm about to pay that member a compliment. (Interruptions) The member for Lunenburg West has been consistent in his theme that his Party is also for the tax cut. The Minister of Finance has done a much better job than I could do of laying out the long list of Liberal spending promises. The Liberals are for everything these days, you ask them. If you're asking, they're for it. In fact, depending on who asks them, they will be for different things at different times, because Liberals will tell you what you want to hear. That's the Liberal way.

Mr. Speaker, what is distressing to me, as someone who respects the member for Lunenburg West in his consistency, in his ability and his knowledge, is the way that his Leader just pulled the rug out from under him on the tax cut because at first the Liberal Leader was for the tax cut, but just recently I read that he's against it. Now, I'm not sure if that's his permanent position or if that's just his position today, but I personally find it distressing that apparently without any consultation with his Finance Critic, certainly without respecting the position that that member has consistently laid out over a lengthy period of time in this Legislature, that the Liberal Leader would say the opposite. I find it distressing.

[5:45 p.m.]

So then we get to the NDP plan. Here it is, Mr. Speaker, here it is. (Interruptions) I think I hear an offer from the Liberal Party to donate some of their time to me. This plan has been out there since April. It's clear. It has got concrete proposals, what needs to be done and when it needs to be done. Now, since I'm running out of time, I would refer the members of the Legislature to my Web site because you may find it there - www.grahamsteele.ca - and I'm pleased to say, I'm pleased and proud to say that just this week my Web site has received 5,000 hits since being elected. I commend the NDP plan to the members of this House.

[Page 12139]

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

MR. RUSSELL MACKINNON: Mr. Speaker, I'm pleased to rise and speak on Resolution No. 4781 with regard to the financial issues of the province. I guess I would be remiss if I didn't comment on the socialist meandering that just confronted the people of Nova Scotia. Has anyone looked at what the socialist philosophy is all about? Look on the Web site, for example, look in the Province of Saskatchewan and do you know, when you read the base policy of the NDP, what it says - we will not stop until we eradicate every aspect of capitalism in this province.

Now, how does that square with the socialist diatribe that we have heard here today? In all our living daylights, he stood on his feet for 10 minutes criticizing and spent less than 50-some seconds to outline what his Party's platform would be. That will tell you how much substance there is. Those guys, the NDP couldn't balance the budget on a fudge sale and that's a known fact. (Applause)

Well, Mr. Speaker, let the right-wing socialist Leader come to the forefront. Well, well, well, talk about a contradiction in terminology, but let's focus on the six years that the Liberals were in power. When they took over, the first year, the operating deficit that the Minister of Finance refers to was one that we had no choice to deal with because it was handover from the previous administration under then Premier Donald Cameron who the year before had an operating deficit of close to $500 million. Go to the library and look at the Public Accounts. (Interruption)

The Minister of Transportation and Public Works says, no, he didn't. Adjusted - when it was adjusted, it was closer to $1 billion under the new GAAP, Generally Accepted Accounting Procedures. That's how bad it was if you want to compare apples and oranges. Mr. Speaker, let's look at NSRL. Who in the name of heavens was the government that bankrupted that Crown Corporation? NSRL - it was on the verge of bankruptcy. That's why they had to sell it. The Liberals came in and tried to salvage it and the Auditor General himself said the debt that grew and grew with NSRL was because of the overwhelming interest charges, because of the way it was managed, under that rather politicized regime to which the Minister of Finance was party too; he was also a minister in that government.

Mr. Speaker, look at the workers' compensation system. That was on the verge of bankruptcy until the Liberals bailed it out. The unfunded liability pushing close to $500 million, exactly $476 million with the paydown plan that had to be put in place. That unfunded liability is now less than, I would suspect, $300 million. It will be paid off in 16 years, not the 45 years that was contemplated, that's how well the province was run under very difficult circumstances.

[Page 12140]

When the Minister of Finance went down to the bonding agencies in New York, what were they asking for? They were expecting lobster dinners, because that's all they were accustomed to for the previous 14 or 15 years. They may still be giving lobster dinners, but I hope it's not at the taxpayers' expense.

We realize that it is a difficult situation and the Minister of Finance knows that, but to try to say that he's borrowing over $100 million a year and that's not increasing the debt

of this province, how in the name of heavens can he say he has a truly balanced budget? He doesn't. (Interruptions)

Yes Mr. Speaker, balanced budgets. You know the member for Yarmouth crackles about the Liberal agenda and the Liberal performance in that 6-year period. The Auditor General has come before the Public Accounts Committee, of which he is a member, and he repeatedly stated the problems that the Liberal Administration had were in large measure, almost 99.9 per cent, because of the previous administration. The Tories bankrupted the province and you can't cut it any other way. He can crackle all he wants in the front row, the back row, where he's relegated to, and probably will stay for some time if he's even lucky enough to come back. The fact of the matter is that's the reality and the Minister of Finance will wax eloquent about a great job he's doing.

The fact of the matter is they said there will be no new taxes, and what do they do in the last budget - 2 cents a litre on gasoline. That's a tax. Look Mr. Speaker at the hundreds of millions of dollars in user fees that were implemented since this government came to power. Now a tax is a tax is a tax, it doesn't matter whether you call it user fee or any other name, the fact of the matter is they're gouging the consumers of Nova Scotia.

Look at the ambulance fees, those were implemented in the year 2000 by the Tory Administration. They're gouging people even when they're not taken for medical services in the ambulances, because they go to accommodate a sick child, they're still being charged $500. How in any conscience can they say that is a user fee? And the Minister of Health pretends that everything is fine and okay. What happened to this wonderful plan? It was $47.6 million or $46.7 million - it was less than $48 million the Premier said he was going to correct all the problems in health care for, and the Tories were going around for months, almost a year saying the federal government only put 14 cents of every health care dollar into Nova Scotia's health care system.

Well, let's go with that, if that's the case, that means that the provincial Tories only put 4 per cent into education, 4 per cent into community services and 4 per cent into just about every social program in the province of Nova Scotia , because the federal government, 96 per cent. They can't have it both ways Mr. Speaker, but you know once the federal government decided to remind the provincial government of that, they dropped that line. Do you notice that you don't hear that anymore? You don't hear it anymore. It's much like the Premier with Kyoto. Nova Scotia Power came, advised the Premier rates are going to go up 20 per cent to

[Page 12141]

30 per cent. Well, he couldn't wait to rush out and scare the living daylights out of the people of Nova Scotia until a senior representative from the Department of Energy appeared before one of our legislative committees and indicated it would be somewhere between 1 per cent and 9 per cent. Notwithstanding the fact the whole picture, in the long run, would benefit Nova Scotia.

Did you notice the Premier doesn't say anything anymore? The Minister of Energy indicated in a late show debate here, before this House, that Nova Scotia had a plan for Kyoto. Today he stands up and says that he doesn't have a plan. Well, either they have one or they don't. The Premier says they do. He says today they don't. A few weeks ago, he said they did. A senior employee from the Department of Natural Resources came before a committee the other day and indicated that they hadn't done an analysis.

What are they telling the people of Nova Scotia? They're telling the people of Nova Scotia that they want to keep the lid on things until after the next election. They can't make a decision on anything because they're afraid to offend somebody. They can't comment on the implications of Kyoto, because they don't know. They don't know if they have a plan, they don't know if they do, they don't know what the implications are, they don't know whether they're coming or going. It's like they're walking backwards in the fog. That's essentially what we have here. I don't know if they're steering the ship by guess or by golly, or what in the name of heavens is going on over there.

There's been no action on the railway problem in Cape Breton. There's been no action on educational problems for students. There's been no action, Mr. Speaker, on the Kyoto plan. Well, the Minister of Energy is all concerned that we're being a little too focused on that, and that's because he's a non-minister because he's not doing anything. When he first came to the House he was all glam and glory because he had all these responsibilities, and as time went by they took them away from him, one by one, because he did nothing. (Interruptions) He did nothing. Now, he's doing nothing on the energy issue.

All we can do for this government is offer our sympathies. Mr. Speaker, what can I tell you? We have to support this resolution. We have to support this resolution (Interruptions) I do have a mentor. I'm pleased to see the Minister of Finance agrees with us on this resolution.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. The time has expired on Resolution No. 4781 and on the Opposition Members' Business for today.

The honourable Leader in the House of the Liberal Party.

MR. WAYNE GAUDET: Mr. Speaker, that completes our business for today.

[Page 12142]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader on tomorrow's hours and business.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, could I have the unanimous consent of the House, as previously agreed to by the Opposition House Leaders, to return to the order of business, Presenting Reports of Committees.

MR. SPEAKER: Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Justice.

HON. MICHAEL BAKER: Mr. Speaker, as chairman of the Committee on Law Amendments I am directed to report that the committee has met and considered the following bill:

Bill No. 83 - Maritime Provinces Harness Racing Commission Act.

and the committee recommends this bill to the favourable consideration of the House, with certain amendments.

MR. SPEAKER: Ordered that this bill be referred to the Committee of the Whole House on Bills.

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, I move that the House do now rise to meet again on the morrow at the hour of 12:00 noon. The House will go through the daily routine and Question Period, then we will move into Committee of the Whole House on Bills and the other order of business will be Public Bills for Third Reading. The House will sit from 12:00 noon until 6:00 p.m. or until the conclusion of the business for the day. I move that the House do now adjourn.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is that the House adjourn until 12:00 noon tomorrow.

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

[Page 12143]

The motion is carried.

The House is adjourned until 12:00 noon tomorrow.

[The House rose at 5:59 p.m.]

[Page 12144]

NOTICES OF MOTION UNDER RULE 32(3)

RESOLUTION NO. 4984

By: Hon. Gordon Balser (Energy)

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

Whereas Voluntary Planning - an arm's-length policy advisory body to the provincial government - held a conference yesterday to begin discussions on population dynamics, a significant topic for Nova Scotia's future; and

Whereas Voluntary Planning's Chairman, Jim Eisenhauer, noted that the board of directors believes that the shifting population trends within the province need to be understood and carefully thought through and that many important policy decisions in the months and years ahead particularly be influenced by population and demographic factors; and

Whereas this conference also served to officially kick off the new Voluntary Planning following organizational restructuring, with about 100 newly recruited volunteers now making up Voluntary Planning, including members who sit on six sector committees;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House welcome the new volunteers on this important working group and recognize the significant implications noted by Voluntary Planning and the need to focus the work of government to address these new trends within our province.

RESOLUTION NO. 4985

By: Hon. Angus MacIsaac (Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations)

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

Whereas St. Francis Xavier University Earth Science Professor and Department Chairman Dr. Brendan Murphy has been named Outstanding Science Communicator at the First Annual Discovery Awards; and

Whereas this award recognizes major achievements in the use of various media to promote science to members of the general public; and

[Page 12145]

Whereas Dr. Murphy has been a columnist for the Cape Breton Post, written for Scientific American and American Scientist, and is currently involved in a UNESCO publication project on the history of the earth;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Dr. Brendan Murphy on being named Outstanding Science Communicator and on continuing the Xaverian tradition of excellence which has made St. F.X. the top university in Canada.

RESOLUTION NO. 4986

By: Mr. Ronald Chisholm (Guysborough-Port Hawkesbury)

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

Whereas Port Hawkesbury student Gary Ng has dominated his age group in the provincial chess scene for the past three years; and

Whereas the Grade 11 student has competed in numerous national level tournaments in Prince Edward Island, Alberta, Ontario, Newfoundland and, most recently, in Montreal, Quebec; and

Whereas Gary will be the first Nova Scotian to represent Canada at the World Under-16 Chess Championship in Greece;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Gary Ng on being selected to represent Canada at the World Under-16 Chess Championship in Greece and wish him the best of luck at the competition.

RESOLUTION NO. 4987

By: Mr. Ronald Chisholm (Guysborough-Port Hawkesbury)

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

Whereas the Antigonish Eastern Shore Tourism Association presented its 2002 Albert E. Whidden Award on October 4, 2002, at Liscombe Lodge to the Guysborough Waterfront Society; and

Whereas the award is presented to an individual or organization whose efforts and contributions to tourism have significantly assisted the tourism industry in the area; and

[Page 12146]

Whereas Rose's Garden of Gifts, the Dreamer's Pub, Chedabucto Candlery and the Jost Wharf are all part of the Guysborough Waterfront, making it a highlight on the Marine Drive tourist trail;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate the Guysborough Waterfront Society on winning the Antigonish Eastern Shore Tourism Association's 2002 Albert E. Whidden Award for its outstanding contribution to tourism in the area.

RESOLUTION NO. 4988

By: Hon. Gordon Balser (Energy)

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

Whereas on December 1st organizers of the Christmas Daddies of Digby and Annapolis will be holding their annual broadcast; and

Whereas long-term volunteers Leigh Everett, Margo Nesbitt, Marilyn Mackintosh, Joe Casey, Ron Harrison, Diane Theriault, Jean Raymond, Sue Dexter-White, Maureen Doucet, Greg Buckler, Fran Alcock and Richard Levy have continued to dedicate themselves to this worthy cause; and

Whereas without this annual commitment, many of these counties would not have a joyful holiday season;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House applaud the ongoing efforts of these dedicated volunteers.

RESOLUTION NO. 4989

By: Hon. Gordon Balser (Energy)

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

Whereas for over 20 years Fran Alcock has been an active volunteer for Christmas Daddies of Digby and Annapolis Counties; and

Whereas over the years she has raised substantial sums through her efforts to obtain donations from businesses and raffle ticket sales; and

[Page 12147]

Whereas she has always invariably assisted in many other ways, including working during the broadcast and coordinating donations of crafts for the auction;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House extend to Mrs. Alcock their appreciation for her dedication and commitment to this worthy cause.

RESOLUTION NO. 4990

By: Hon. Gordon Balser (Energy)

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

Whereas members of this House have often recognized significant contributions of committed volunteers who, through their demonstrated care and concern for others, have made a considerable difference in our communities; and

Whereas for over 30 years Leigh Everett has been a pivotal organizer for the Christmas Daddies for Digby and Annapolis County; and

Whereas Mr. Everett has, with the assistance of many long-term volunteers, been able to ensure that countless families in both Digby and Annapolis Counties through these years have had a memorable and festive Christmas season;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House applaud the efforts of this incredible individual for his considerable services on behalf of his community.

RESOLUTION NO. 4991

By: Hon. Gordon Balser (Energy)

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

Whereas the Chief Scout Award was created in September 1973 by Governor General Roland Michener who was then Chief Scout of Canada; and

Whereas this award represents a phenomenal commitment to the scouting movement and requires that the individual successfully complete an arduous number of tasks in which the Scout must demonstrate an awareness of the community, the country and international issues; and

[Page 12148]

Whereas on Thursday, November 21, 2002, Dennis Bremner, Jeremy Thibodeau and Jeremy Thompson were recognized by their Scout troop for their achievements and will formally be presented with the Chief Scout Award in May 2003 by Her Honour Lieutenant Governor Myra Freeman;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House recognize the outstanding effort demonstrated by these remarkable young people who have completed the requirements for the Chief Scout Award.

RESOLUTION NO. 4992

By: Hon. Rodney MacDonald (Tourism and Culture)

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

Whereas last Thursday I had the pleasure of speaking at the Restaurant and Foodservices AGM; and

Whereas that evening the Restaurant and Foodservices Association of Nova Scotia presented its inaugural Lifetime Achievement Award to Greg Smith; and

Whereas Greg Smith, who is Director for Food and Beverage at the World Trade and Convention Centre, is a long-time industry advocate, active board member of the association and a passionate teacher;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House join me in congratulating Greg on his award and recognize his many contributions to the food services industry and the tourism industry.

RESOLUTION NO. 4993

By: Mr. David Hendsbee (Preston)

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

Whereas the Toronto production of Disney's The Lion King has come to Nova Scotia to recruit the talents of Jeremiah Sparks of Cherry Brook and Jivaro Smith of North Preston to join the cast and to play the role of Mufasa; and

[Page 12149]

Whereas Jeremiah Sparks has starred in many plays and films over the past several years, released his first compact disc, Let Go and Let God, in 1999, provided musical direction of both the Cherry Brook United Baptist Choir and Nova Scotia Mass Choir, and was recently awarded the Preston Board of Trade Youth Entrepreneurship Award; and

Whereas Jivaro Smith recently played Vony 'Butterboy' Willis in the 2002 Preston Cultural Festival play The Meeting and is an active member of the Hallelujah Praise Choir;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly congratulate Jeremiah Sparks and Jivaro Smith for their artistic excellence, and wish them both all the best in their stage performance career and musical endeavours.

RESOLUTION NO. 4994

By: Mr. Richard Hurlburt (Yarmouth)

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

Whereas volunteers are integral to success of sport in Nova Scotia; and

Whereas the 4th annual Investors Group Community Sport Awards honoured 100 of the province's sports volunteers on November 16, 2002 in Halifax; and

Whereas Virginia Smith, head coach of the Yarmouth "Y" Whitecaps Swim Team was named the Investors Group Community Coach of the Year for her 30 year commitment to swimming in Yarmouth;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House congratulate Virginia Smith on winning the Investors Group Community Coach of the Year award and express our appreciation for her many years of providing outstanding coaching to our area's swimmers.

RESOLUTION NO. 4995

By: Mr. Barry Barnet (Sackville-Beaver Bank)

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

Whereas the Cobequid Community Health Centre Foundation has raised $1.8 million of their $4 million goal, one quarter of the cost of the health-related section of the new Cobequid Community Health Centre; and

[Page 12150]

Whereas students from area high schools have pledged to raise $80,000 for the centre over the next five years and the Royal Bank has donated $40,000; and

Whereas the facility will double the capacity of the emergency room, have additional diagnostic equipment and new clinics and add a round-the-clock Emergency Health Services ambulance station;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House extend our congratulations to the Cobequid Community Health Centre Foundation on a strong beginning to their fundraising campaign and challenge other organizations to match the generosity of our area's students and the Royal Bank.

RESOLUTION NO. 4996

By: Mr. Richard Hurlburt (Yarmouth)

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

Whereas the Native Alcohol and Drug Abuse Association of Nova Scotia (NADACA) was established in 1974 to deal with alcohol and drug addiction among Nova Scotia's First Nations peoples; and

Whereas three students from Arcadia Consolidated School were the winners of NADACA's recent Drug Awareness Week poster contest, specifically Grade 1 student Searria Falls who placed third in the contest, Grade 4 student Danny Bartlett who came second and Kyla Warren, the Grade 6 student who took first place; and

Whereas the poster contest was held for the first time this year as part of NADACA's strategy to help young adults to become more educated about drug addiction and become more involved in substance abuse awareness;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly congratulate Searria Falls, Danny Bartlett and Kyla Warren for their interest in promoting awareness of drug abuse and thank NADACA for their continued work in the education and treatment of alcohol and drug addiction.

RESOLUTION NO. 4997

By: Mr. Kerry Morash (Queens)

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

[Page 12151]

Whereas in the past, lighthouses were a vital part of many Nova Scotia communities, but many have fallen victim to neglect; and

Whereas the Medway Area Communities Association recognized the significant historical and tourism value of the Port Medway Lighthouse and its surrounding area and convened a subcommittee to develop a tourist attraction around the lighthouse; and

Whereas this project was made possible with funding from the Region of Queens Municipality, the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, the Nova Scotia Sport and Recreation Commission and the Nova Scotia Department of Tourism and Culture;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate the people of Queens County on the opening of the Port Medway Lighthouse Park and wish those involved in the project success in their goal of growing their tourism industry.

RESOLUTION NO. 4998

By: Hon. James Muir (Health)

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

Whereas the Canada Post Literacy Award recognizes an individual who has overcome social or economic barriers caused by literacy skills; and

Whereas at 43, Truro resident Patricia Connor has overcome many barriers including poverty, visual impairment and a Grade 7 education; and

Whereas in the past six years she has completed a braille and academic program, graduated with honours in child and youth care from the Nova Scotia Community College and currently holds a job with the Colchester Residential Services working with mentally challenged adults;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Patricia Connors on winning the 2002 Canada Post Individual Literacy Achievement Award and express our admiration for her determination and success, which serves as an inspiration for us all.

RESOLUTION NO. 4999

By: Hon. James Muir (Health)

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

[Page 12152]

Whereas compassion and charity are part of the Nova Scotian character and Truro resident Barbara Fowler exemplifies these qualities; and

Whereas Ms. Fowler will be among 22 Canadians to receive the Caring Canadian Award for her unyielding work on behalf of individuals with disabilities; and

Whereas Ms. Fowler has volunteered with the Disabled Consumers Association of Nova Scotia for the past 20 years and continues to do so despite painful rheumatoid arthritis that limits her mobility;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House extend our congratulations to Barbara Fowler on winning the Caring Canadian Award and express our appreciation for her many years of dedicated and noble work that has improved the lives of the disabled in our community.

RESOLUTION NO. 5000

By: Hon. James Muir (Health)

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

Whereas the Cobequid Neighbourhood Work Activity Program is a client-driven approach to helping individuals overcome barriers to finding meaningful employment; and

Whereas the program is one of five provincially funded non-profit training centres offering participants opportunities to gain various skills and self esteem; and

Whereas the program is so successful, providing personal development counselling and job search techniques, 85 per cent of its graduates gain employment or go on to further training;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate all those involved in the Cobequid Neighbourhood Work Activity Program and wish them continued success in their future endeavours.

RESOLUTION NO. 5001

By: Hon. James Muir (Health)

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

[Page 12153]

Whereas one of Truro's most community oriented citizens and a former long-serving mayor, Jack Glassey, passed away on November 5, 2002; and

Whereas Mr. Glassey served the citizens of Truro for 24 years as mayor and for 40 years as a member of the Truro fire brigade, six of those years as chief; and

Whereas Mr. Glassey was the first chairman of the local amalgamated school board and maintained memberships in a wide range of community organizations;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House join me in expressing our condolences to Mr. Glassey's family and friends and express our sadness at the loss of a man who was dedicated to the people of Truro.

RESOLUTION NO. 5002

By: Hon. Cecil Clarke (Economic Development)

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

Whereas Terry-Lynn Penny contracted an E-coli infection in 1999 and was left with severe personal difficulties; and

Whereas since 2001, with a trust fund established and many community fundraisers, the roof was recently raised on a new home specially designed for the needs of Terry-Lynn and her family; and

Whereas next week Tim Hortons on King and Blowers Streets in North Sydney and Bras d'Or will join the fundraising efforts and donate proceeds from the sale of gingerbread cookies to this worthwhile cause;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House applaud the kind efforts of the community fundraisers and Tim Hortons owner, Campbleview Enterprises for joining the efforts to build the Penny family the home they need.

RESOLUTION NO. 5003

By: Mr. David Hendsbee (Preston)

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

[Page 12154]

Whereas the African United Baptist Association of Nova Scotia and the Convention of Atlantic Baptist Churches held an induction service for Rev. Elias Mutale and his wife, Sheena, on November 2, 2002; and

Whereas Rev. Elias will serve as the first regional minister of the African United Baptist Church Association; and

Whereas since accepting this position, Rev. Elias has already attended an Evangelism conference in New Brunswick and visited various Black communities across the province;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House of Assembly congratulate Rev. Elias Mutale on his new position and extend our appreciation to the Reverend as he seeks to fulfill God's purposes as Regional Minister to the people of the African United Baptist Association of Nova Scotian and the Convention of Atlantic Baptist Churches.

RESOLUTION NO. 5004

By: Mr. Jon Carey (Kings West)

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

Whereas compassion and charity are part of the Nova Scotian character and Kingston resident Donald Hyslop exemplifies these qualities; and

Whereas Mr. Hyslop has made exceptional contributions to his school as coach of the junior girls' softball team, coordinator of the Great Canadian Geography Challenge, and supervisor of the Duke of Edinburgh Award Program; and

Whereas Mr. Hyslop has also been very active in the community as a coach for youth baseball and minor hockey for more than three decades and as an active member of the Kinsmen club for 20 years;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House extend our congratulations to Donald Hyslop on winning the Caring Canadian Award and express our appreciation for his many years of dedicated work at school and in our community.

RESOLUTION NO. 5005

By: Mr. Mark Parent (Kings North)

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

[Page 12155]

Whereas Canadians played an instrumental role in freeing the Netherlands from German control in World War II; and

Whereas members of the Kings Legion, Branch, received the Dutch Medal of Remembrance for their efforts to liberate Nazi occupied Netherlands; and

Whereas members of the local Dutch community presented the medals, expressing their appreciation to the 28 local men who risked their lives during the liberation of the Netherlands;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate these men on their receipt of the Dutch Medal of Remembrance and express our gratitude for the noble service they provided to our country as well so many other nations during World War II.

RESOLUTION NO. 5006

By: Mr. Mark Parent (Kings North)

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

Whereas Canning native and loyal Progressive Conservative volunteer Stella W. Cogswell passed away on June 19, 2002; and

Whereas Mrs. Cogswell was a long-time supporter of the Progressive Conservative Party and she was awarded 2002 Volunteer of the Year for Kings South; and

Whereas she was the mother of 13 children, but still always made the time to assist or comfort those in her community in need;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House join me in expressing our condolences to Mrs. Cogswell's family and friends on the loss of such a caring individual.

RESOLUTION NO. 5007

By: Mr. Mark Parent (Kings North)

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

Whereas the Valley Regional Hospital Auxiliary has donated $30,000 towards the purchase of a Sentinel Node Probe and Gamma Counter for the Valley Regional Hospital; and

[Page 12156]

Whereas this diagnostic tool will assist doctors in performing less invasive testing procedures in patients with breast cancer; and

Whereas since 1986, the auxiliary has given more than $763,000 to the Valley Regional Hospital Foundation to support programs, services and vital medical equipment at the hospital;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House express our appreciation to the Valley Regional Hospital Auxiliary for its continued support of the Valley Regional Hospital.

RESOLUTION NO. 5008

By: Mr. Mark Parent (Kings North)

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

Whereas today's consumer wants to know that the products they buy are grown in an environmentally safe manner; and

Whereas 10 Annapolis Valley apple growers have adopted a new orchard management system called Integrated Fruit Production, a series of environmentally friendly guidelines for farming; and

Whereas Greenwich resident, Doug Hennigar, is the first of these farmers to bring his crop to market under this system and attributes the exceptional quality of his apples to Integrated Fruit Production;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Doug Hennigar and his colleagues for their progressive approach to farming and for raising the bar for other farmers in Nova Scotia.

RESOLUTION NO. 5009

By: Mr. Mark Parent (Kings North)

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

Whereas the Olympic Chapter of the IODE in Kentville has honoured long-time member Frances Burns by establishing a scholarship in her name; and

[Page 12157]

Whereas Ms. Burns joined the IODE after retiring from teaching in 1962 because of a commitment to helping children, youth and those in need through educational, social service and citizenship programs; and

Whereas Kings rural high school student, Valerie Friesen, was awarded the $500 scholarship to assist her in attending Ms. Burn's alma mater, Saint Mary's University;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House acknowledge the work of Frances Burns to her community and express our gratitude for her congratulations to Ms. Friesen on her receipt of the scholarship set up in Ms. Burns' name.

RESOLUTION NO. 5010

By: Hon. Cecil Clarke (Economic Development)

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

Whereas the Cape Breton Children's Society was awarded a $40,000 after-school program grant from the RBC Financial Group for a second year; and

Whereas one of six awarded in Atlantic Canada, the Northside Children's Aid was selected because of the program's record of success; and

Whereas this Northside after-school program provides tutoring, parent-child hour, drama and other activities and reaches over 20 children and their families;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate the Northside Children Aid's Society for its success in promoting child literacy and self-esteem and thank the RBC Foundation for supporting this worthwhile endeavour.

RESOLUTION NO. 5011

By: Hon. Cecil Clarke (Economic Development)

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

Whereas the damage done by leaking furnace tanks has created a serious and expensive problem; and

Whereas a local Cape Breton company has entered a partnership to produce a cost-effective tank that resists deterioration; and

[Page 12158]

Whereas Pluracom Atlantic, located in Sydport, has joined forces to produce a polymer coating which resists corrosion and provides longer, safer protection from deteriorating oil tanks;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House commend this development and partnerships like these - between industry and academia - which provide cost-effective ways consumers can enhance their safety and protect their environment.

RESOLUTION NO. 5012

By: Hon. Cecil Clarke (Economic Development)

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

Whereas a community-minded service, Growing Together, was designed to improve the well-being of little children and their families through supportive home visits; and

Whereas the people at Growing Together asked the residents at Harbourview, Miners Memorial Manor and the Northside Guest Home for their help to create special tokens for the new babies they visit; and

Whereas both staff and residents good-heartedly knitted and made small crafts and enjoyed themselves and were glad to be part of the giving;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House salute all community-minded services like Growing Together - groups whose efforts make a difference by bringing together children and families and communities.

RESOLUTION NO. 5013

By: Hon. Cecil Clarke (Economic Development)

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

Whereas Eric Langley of Sydney was one of five Nova Scotians to be recognized by the National Search and Rescue Secretariat for 30 years of service to the people of Nova Scotia in ground search and rescue; and

Whereas Mr. Langley was nominated by the Nova Scotia Ground Search and Rescue Association for his untold hours of volunteer work, his teaching skills and invaluable contributions to the development of search and rescue training programs; and

[Page 12159]

Whereas Eric Langley is a founding member of the Cape Breton Search and Rescue Team and has helped create a strong and effective search and rescue service for Cape Breton Island;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House commend Eric Langley for his long-time service in Nova Scotia's search and rescue service.

RESOLUTION NO. 5014

By: Hon. Cecil Clarke (Economic Development)

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

Whereas after 21 years with the Department of Transportation and Public Works as a Supply Technician, Dennis Almon of North Sydney retired on October 31, 2002, after 21 years serving the Province of Nova Scotia; and

Whereas for just over two decades Mr Almon served the Province of Nova Scotia and was both dedicated and committed; and

Whereas over those years, Mr. Almon was both well liked and well respected;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House join me in congratulating Mr. Almon on his retirement and wishing him every happiness as he finds new pursuits and takes the time to enjoy the things he loves.

RESOLUTION NO. 5015

By: Hon. Cecil Clarke (Economic Development)

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

Whereas Nova Scotia's Public Service is recognized within Canada and across the world as among the best in the world; and

Whereas the Long Service Awards are this province's opportunity to commend its 25-year public servants for their contributions to our society and to honour their contributions and dedication to serving the public of Nova Scotia; and

[Page 12160]

Whereas in Alan MacLean's dedication to this province over the past 25 years, he has been required to work through periods of tremendous change while under the scrutiny of the people of Nova Scotia, challenges he has faced with professionalism, commitment and hard work;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House recognize Alan MacLean's achievement and thank him for the excellent services provided to the people of Nova Scotia over the past 25 years.

RESOLUTION NO. 5016

By: Hon. Cecil Clarke (Economic Development)

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

Whereas Nova Scotia's Public Service is recognized within Canada and across the world as among the best in the world; and

Whereas the Long Service Awards are this province's opportunity to commend its 25-year public servants for their contributions to our society and to honour their contributions and dedication to serving the public of Nova Scotia; and

Whereas in Bill Keeling's dedication to this province over the past 25 years, he has been required to work through periods of tremendous change while under the scrutiny of the people of Nova Nova Scotia, challenges he has faced with professionalism, commitment and hard work;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House recognize Bill Keeling's achievement and thank him for the excellent services provided to the people of Nova Scotia over the past 25 years.

RESOLUTION NO. 5017

By: Hon. Cecil Clarke (Economic Development)

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

Whereas Nova Scotia's Public Service is recognized within Canada and across the world as among the best in the world; and

[Page 12161]

Whereas the Long Service Awards are this province's opportunity to commend its 25-year public servants for their contributions to our society and to honour their contributions and dedication to serving the public of Nova Scotia; and

Whereas in Brian MacSween's dedication to this province over the past 25 years, he has been required to work through periods of tremendous change while under the scrutiny of the people of Nova Nova Scotia, challenges he has faced with professionalism, commitment and hard work;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House recognize Brian MacSween's achievement and thank him for the excellent services provided to the people of Nova Scotia over the past 25 years.

RESOLUTION NO. 5018

By: Hon. Cecil Clarke (Economic Development)

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

Whereas Nova Scotia's Public Service is recognized within Canada and across the world as among the best in the world; and

Whereas the Long Service Awards are this province's opportunity to commend its 25-year public servants for their contributions to our society and to honour their contributions and dedication to serving the public of Nova Scotia; and

Whereas in Charles H. Champion's dedication to this province over the past 25 years, he has been required to work through periods of tremendous change while under the scrutiny of the people of Nova Nova Scotia, challenges he has faced with professionalism, commitment and hard work;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House recognize Charles H. Champion's achievement and thank him for the excellent services provided to the people of Nova Scotia over the past 25 years.

RESOLUTION NO. 5019

By: Hon. Cecil Clarke (Economic Development)

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

[Page 12162]

Whereas Nova Scotia's Public Service is recognized within Canada and across the world as among the best in the world; and

Whereas the Long Service Awards are this province's opportunity to commend its 25-year public servants for their contributions to our society and to honour their contributions and dedication to serving the public of Nova Scotia; and

Whereas in Cyril P. Luedey's dedication to this province over the past 25 years, he has been required to work through periods of tremendous change while under the scrutiny of the people of Nova Nova Scotia, challenges he has faced with professionalism, commitment and hard work;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House recognize Cyril P. Luedey's achievement and thank him for the excellent services provided to the people of Nova Scotia over the past 25 years.

RESOLUTION NO. 5020

By: Hon. Cecil Clarke (Economic Development)

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

Whereas Nova Scotia's Public Service is recognized within Canada and across the world as among the best in the world; and

Whereas the Long Service Awards are this province's opportunity to commend its 25-year public servants for their contributions to our society and to honour their contributions and dedication to serving the public of Nova Scotia; and

Whereas in Darlene Griffin's dedication to this province over the past 25 years she has been required to work through periods of tremendous change while under the scrutiny of the people of Nova Nova Scotia, challenges she has faced with professionalism, commitment and hard work;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House recognize Darlene Griffin's achievement and thank her for the excellent services provided to the people of Nova Scotia over the past 25 years.

[Page 12163]

RESOLUTION NO. 5021

By: Hon. Cecil Clarke (Economic Development)

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

Whereas Nova Scotia's Public Service is recognized within Canada and across the world as among the best in the world; and

Whereas the Long Service Awards are this province's opportunity to commend its 25-year public servants for their contributions to our society and to honour their contributions and dedication to serving the public of Nova Scotia; and

Whereas in Donna Jean Tobin's dedication to this province over the past 25 years she has been required to work through periods of tremendous change while under the scrutiny of the people of Nova Nova Scotia, challenges she has faced with professionalism, commitment and hard work;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House recognize Donna Jean Tobin's achievement and thank her for the excellent services provided to the people of Nova Scotia over the past 25 years.

RESOLUTION NO. 5022

By: Hon. Cecil Clarke (Economic Development)

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

Whereas Nova Scotia's Public Service is recognized within Canada and across the world as among the best in the world; and

Whereas the Long Service Awards are this province's opportunity to commend its 25-year public servants for their contributions to our society and to honour their contributions and dedication to serving the public of Nova Scotia; and

Whereas in Edward Chisholm's dedication to this province over the past 25 years, he has been required to work through periods of tremendous change while under the scrutiny of the people of Nova Nova Scotia, challenges he has faced with professionalism, commitment and hard work;

[Page 12164]

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House recognize Edward Chisholm's achievement and thank him for the excellent services provided to the people of Nova Scotia over the past 25 years.

RESOLUTION NO. 5023

By: Hon. Cecil Clarke (Economic Development)

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

Whereas Nova Scotia's Public Service is recognized within Canada and across the world as among the best in the world; and

Whereas the Long Service Awards are this province's opportunity to commend its 25-year public servants for their contributions to our society and to honour their contributions and dedication to serving the public of Nova Scotia; and

Whereas in Gary Wrathall's dedication to this province over the past 25 years, he has been required to work through periods of tremendous change while under the scrutiny of the people of Nova Nova Scotia, challenges he has faced with professionalism, commitment and hard work;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House recognize Gary Wrathall's achievement and thank him for the excellent services provided to the people of Nova Scotia over the past 25 years.

RESOLUTION NO. 5024

By: Hon. Cecil Clarke (Economic Development)

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

Whereas Nova Scotia's Public Service is recognized within Canada and across the world as among the best in the world; and

Whereas the Long Service Awards are this province's opportunity to commend its 25-year public servants for their contributions to our society and to honour their contributions and dedication to serving the public of Nova Scotia; and

[Page 12165]

Whereas in Hector J. MacSween's dedication to this province over the past 25 years, he has been required to work through periods of tremendous change while under the scrutiny of the people of Nova Scotia, challenges he has faced with professionalism, commitment and hard work;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House recognize Hector J. MacSween's achievement and thank him for the excellent services provided to the people of Nova Scotia over the past 25 years.

RESOLUTION NO. 5025

By: Hon. Cecil Clarke (Economic Development)

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

Whereas Nova Scotia's Public Service is recognized within Canada and across the world as among the best in the world; and

Whereas the Long Service Awards are this province's opportunity to commend its 25-year public servants for their contributions to our society and to honour their contributions and dedication to serving the public of Nova Scotia; and

Whereas in Janet L. O'Connell's dedication to this province over the past 25 years, she has been required to work through periods of tremendous change while under the scrutiny of the people of Nova Scotia, challenges she has faced with professionalism, commitment and hard work;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House recognize Janet L. O'Connell's achievement and thank her for the excellent services provided to the people of Nova Scotia over the past 25 years.

RESOLUTION NO. 5026

By: Hon. Cecil Clarke (Economic Development)

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

Whereas Nova Scotia's Public Service is recognized within Canada and across the world as among the best in the world; and

[Page 12166]

Whereas the Long Service Awards are this province's opportunity to commend its 25-year public servants for their contributions to our society and to honour their contributions and dedication to serving the public of Nova Scotia; and

Whereas in John Fraser's dedication to this province over the past 25 years, he has been required to work through periods of tremendous change while under the scrutiny of the people of Nova Scotia, challenges he has faced with professionalism, commitment and hard work;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House recognize John Fraser's achievement and thank him for the excellent services provided to the people of Nova Scotia over the past 25 years.

RESOLUTION NO. 5027

By: Hon. Cecil Clarke (Economic Development)

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

Whereas Nova Scotia's Public Service is recognized within Canada and across the world as among the best in the world; and

Whereas the Long Service Awards are this province's opportunity to commend its 25-year public servants for their contributions to our society and to honour their contributions and dedication to serving the public of Nova Scotia; and

Whereas in Joseph Bryden's dedication to this province over the past 25 years, he has been required to work through periods of tremendous change while under the scrutiny of the people of Nova Scotia, challenges he has faced with professionalism, commitment and hard work;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House recognize Joseph Bryden's achievement and thank him for the excellent services provided to the people of Nova Scotia over the past 25 years.

RESOLUTION NO. 5028

By: Hon. Cecil Clarke (Economic Development)

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

[Page 12167]

Whereas Nova Scotia's Public Service is recognized within Canada and across the world as among the best in the world; and

Whereas the Long Service Awards are this province's opportunity to commend its 25-year public servants for their contributions to our society and to honour their contributions and dedication to serving the public of Nova Scotia; and

Whereas in Katherine MacIntosh's dedication to this province over the past 25 years, she has been required to work through periods of tremendous change while under the scrutiny of the people of Nova Scotia, challenges she has faced with professionalism, commitment and hard work;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House recognize Katherine MacIntosh's achievement and thank her for the excellent services provided to the people of Nova Scotia over the past 25 years.

RESOLUTION NO. 5029

By: Hon. Cecil Clarke (Economic Development)

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

Whereas Nova Scotia's Public Service is recognized within Canada and across the world as among the best in the world; and

Whereas the Long Service Awards are this province's opportunity to commend its 25-year public servants for their contributions to our society and to honour their contributions and dedication to serving the public of Nova Scotia; and

Whereas in Lawrence MacDonald's dedication to this province over the past 25 years, he has been required to work through periods of tremendous change while under the scrutiny of the people of Nova Scotia, challenges he has faced with professionalism, commitment and hard work;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House recognize Lawrence MacDonald's achievement and thank him for the excellent services provided to the people of Nova Scotia over the past 25 years.

[Page 12168]

RESOLUTION NO. 5030

By: Hon. Cecil Clarke (Economic Development)

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

Whereas Nova Scotia's Public Service is recognized within Canada and across the world as among the best in the world; and

Whereas the Long Service Awards are this province's opportunity to commend its 25-year public servants for their contributions to our society and to honour their contributions and dedication to serving the public of Nova Scotia; and

Whereas in Marilyn J. Mullett's dedication to this province over the past 25 years, she has been required to work through periods of tremendous change while under the scrutiny of the people of Nova Scotia, challenges she has faced with professionalism, commitment and hard work;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House recognize Marilyn J. Mullett's achievement and thank her for the excellent services provided to the people of Nova Scotia over the past 25 years.

RESOLUTION NO. 5031

By: Hon. Cecil Clarke (Economic Development)

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

Whereas Nova Scotia's Public Service is recognized within Canada and across the world as among the best in the world; and

Whereas the Long Service Awards are this province's opportunity to commend its 25-year public servants for their contributions to our society and to honour their contributions and dedication to serving the public of Nova Scotia; and

Whereas in Norm MacDougall's dedication to this province over the past 25 years, he has been required to work through periods of tremendous change while under the scrutiny of the people of Nova Scotia, challenges he has faced with professionalism, commitment and hard work;

[Page 12169]

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House recognize Norm MacDougall's achievement and thank him for the excellent services provided to the people of Nova Scotia over the past 25 years.

RESOLUTION NO. 5032

By: Hon. Cecil Clarke (Economic Development)

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

Whereas Nova Scotia's Public Service is recognized within Canada and across the world as among the best in the world; and

Whereas the Long Service Awards are this province's opportunity to commend its 25-year public servants for their contributions to our society and to honour their contributions and dedication to serving the public of Nova Scotia; and

Whereas in Patricia Marie MacNeil's dedication to this province over the past 25 years, she has been required to work through periods of tremendous change while under the scrutiny of the people of Nova Scotia, challenges she has faced with professionalism, commitment and hard work;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House recognize Patricia Marie MacNeil's achievement and thank her for the excellent services provided to the people of Nova Scotia over the past 25 years.

RESOLUTION NO. 5033

By: Hon. Cecil Clarke (Economic Development)

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

Whereas Nova Scotia's Public Service is recognized within Canada and across the world as among the best in the world; and

Whereas the Long Service Awards are this province's opportunity to commend its 25-year public servants for their contributions to our society and to honour their contributions and dedication to serving the public of Nova Scotia; and

[Page 12170]

Whereas in Peter Gouthro's dedication to this province over the past 25 years, he has been required to work through periods of tremendous change while under the scrutiny of the people of Nova Scotia, challenges he has faced with professionalism, commitment and hard work;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House recognize Peter Gouthro's achievement and thank him for the excellent services provided to the people of Nova Scotia over the past 25 years.

RESOLUTION NO. 5034

By: Hon. Cecil Clarke (Economic Development)

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

Whereas Nova Scotia's Public Service is recognized within Canada and across the world as among the best in the world; and

Whereas the Long Service Awards are this province's opportunity to commend its 25-year public servants for their contributions to our society and to honour their contributions and dedication to serving the public of Nova Scotia; and

Whereas in Ron Garland's dedication to this province over the past 25 years, he has been required to work through periods of tremendous change while under the scrutiny of the people of Nova Scotia, challenges he has faced with professionalism, commitment and hard work;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House recognize Ron Garland's achievement and thank him for the excellent services provided to the people of Nova Scotia over the past 25 years.

RESOLUTION NO. 5035

By: Hon. Cecil Clarke (Economic Development)

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

Whereas Nova Scotia's Public Service is recognized within Canada and across the world as among the best in the world; and

[Page 12171]

Whereas the Long Service Awards are this province's opportunity to commend its 25-year public servants for their contributions to our society and to honour their contributions and dedication to serving the public of Nova Scotia; and

Whereas in Scott W. MacLeod's dedication to this province over the past 25 years, he has been required to work through periods of tremendous change while under the scrutiny of the people of Nova Scotia, challenges he has faced with professionalism, commitment and hard work;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House recognize Scott W. MacLeod's achievement and thank him for the excellent services provided to the people of Nova Scotia over the past 25 years.

RESOLUTION NO. 5036

By: Hon. Cecil Clarke (Economic Development)

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

Whereas Nova Scotia's Public Service is recognized within Canada and across the world as among the best in the world; and

Whereas the Long Service Awards are this province's opportunity to commend its 25-year public servants for their contributions to our society and to honour their contributions and dedication to serving the public of Nova Scotia; and

Whereas in Shirley L. Carras' dedication to this province over the past 25 years, she has been required to work through periods of tremendous change while under the scrutiny of the people of Nova Scotia, challenges she has faced with professionalism, commitment and hard work;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House recognize Shirley L. Carras' achievement and thank her for the excellent services provided to the people of Nova Scotia over the past 25 years.

RESOLUTION NO. 5037

By: Hon. Cecil Clarke (Economic Development)

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

[Page 12172]

Whereas Nova Scotia's Public Service is recognized within Canada and across the world as among the best in the world; and

Whereas the Long Service Awards are this province's opportunity to commend its 25-year public servants for their contributions to our society and to honour their contributions and dedication to serving the public of Nova Scotia; and

Whereas in Valerie LeBlanc's dedication to this province over the past 25 years, she has been required to work through periods of tremendous change while under the scrutiny of the people of Nova Scotia, challenges she has faced with professionalism, commitment and hard work;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House recognize Valerie LeBlanc's achievement and thank her for the excellent services provided to the people of Nova Scotia over the past 25 years.

RESOLUTION NO. 5038

By: Hon. Cecil Clarke (Economic Development)

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

Whereas Nova Scotia's Public Service is recognized within Canada and across the world as among the best in the world; and

Whereas the Long Service Awards are this province's opportunity to commend its 25-year public servants for their contributions to our society and to honour their contributions and dedication to serving the public of Nova Scotia; and

Whereas in William Chandler's dedication to this province over the past 25 years, he has been required to work through periods of tremendous change while under the scrutiny of the people of Nova Scotia, challenges he has faced with professionalism, commitment and hard work;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House recognize William Chandler's achievement and thank him for the excellent services provided to the people of Nova Scotia over the past 25 years.