The Nova Scotia Legislature

The House resumed on:
September 21, 2017.

HANSARD
01-10

HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY

DEBATES AND PROCEEDINGS

Speaker: Honourable Murray Scott

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

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

Annual subscriptions available from the Office of the Speaker.

Second Session

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 4, 2001

TABLE OF CONTENTS PAGE
PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS:
Nat. Res.: Deer-Jacking - Oppose, Mr. B. Taylor 646
TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS:
Justice: Civil Procedure Rules - Amendments, Hon. M. Baker 646
GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 260, Miles, Johnny - Boston Marathon Win: Anniv. (75th) -
Congrats., The Premier 647
Vote - Affirmative 647
Res. 261, Tourism & Culture: Year of the Costume (2001) -
Recognize, Hon. Rodney MacDonald 647
Vote - Affirmative 648
Res. 262, Paquette, Wendy - Financial Post's "Power 50": Recognition -
Congrats., Hon. J. Purves 648
Vote - Affirmative 649
Res. 263, RCMP - Cdn. Peacekeeping Service Medal: Recipients -
Congrats., Hon. M. Baker 649
Vote - Affirmative 650
Res. 264, Tourism & Culture - Heritage in the Schools: Initiative -
Congrats., Hon. Rodney MacDonald 650
Vote - Affirmative 650
Res. 265, Colford, Ian - Atl. Writing Comp.: Award - Congrats.,
Hon. J. Purves 651
Vote - Affirmative 651
INTRODUCTION OF BILLS:
No. 16, Engineering and Geoscience Professions Act, Mr. J. DeWolfe 652
No. 17, Optometry Act, Hon. J. Muir 652
No. 18, Registered Nurses Act, Hon. J. Muir 652
No. 19, Licensed Practical Nurses Act, Hon. J. Muir 652
NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 266, Jachimowicz, Stefan Ian - Death of: Family -
Condolences Convey, Mr. J. Pye 653
Vote - Affirmative 653
Res. 267, Agric. & Fish. - Outstanding Young Farmers (Atl. Cdn.):
Nominees - Congrats., Mr. D. Downe 653
Vote - Affirmative 654
Res. 268, DeCoste, Elizabeth: ST. F.X. (Trudy Eagan Award) -
Congrats., Hon. A. MacIsaac 654
Vote - Affirmative 655
Res. 269, Educ. - Custodial Strike: Resolution - Encourage,
Ms. Maureen MacDonald 655
Res. 270, Health - Care: Plan - Details, Dr. J. Smith 656
Res. 271, Casey, Earl E. - Truro & Dist. Chamber of Commerce:
Business Person of the Year - Congrats., Hon. J. Muir 656
Vote - Affirmative 657
Res. 272, Eastern Passage-Cow Bay - Summer Carnival:
Anniv. (26th) - Congrats., Mr. K. Deveaux 657
Vote - Affirmative 658
Res. 273, Water - Contamination: Nova Scotians - Premier Call,
Mr. K. MacAskill 658
Res. 274, Morash, Shirley: World Curling Freytag Award - Congrats.,
Mr. T. Olive 659
Vote - Affirmative 659
Res. 275, Econ. Dev.: Write-Offs - Arithmetic, Mr. H. Epstein 659
Res. 276, Environ. & Lbr. - "Morsegate Affair": Funding -
Min. Identify, Mr. R. MacKinnon 660
Res. 277, Environ. & Lbr. - Sackville Rivers Assoc.:
Elaine Burke Award - Congrats., Mr. B. Barnet 660
Vote - Affirmative 661
Res. 278, Environ. & Lbr. - Stasiulis, Sandy/Merlin-Walsh, Golda:
Commitment - Thank, Mr. W. Estabrooks 661
Vote - Affirmative 662
Res. 279, Nat. Res.: Forestry - Memorial HS Maple Syrup Prog.,
Mr. B. Boudreau 662
Vote - Affirmative 662
Res. 280, Bentley, Avard - Maple Hall of Fame: Induction - Congrats.,
(by Mr. B. Taylor), The Speaker 663
Vote - Affirmative 663
Res. 281, Sports - Timberlea Titans Football Club: Formation -
Participants Congrats., Mr. W. Estabrooks 663
Vote - Affirmative 664
Res. 282, Garron, Robert - Royal Cdn. Legion: Zone Commander -
Election Congrats., Hon. N. LeBlanc 664
Vote - Affirmative 665
Res. 283, Blasco, Stefan - Order of Canada: Recipient - Congrats.,
Mr. J. Chataway 665
Vote - Affirmative 666
Res. 284, Shag Hbr. - Post Office: Stamp - Granting Congrats.,
Mr. C. O'Donnell 666
Vote - Affirmative 666
Res. 285, Baker, John: Firefighter of the Year (2000) - Congrats.,
Mr. K. Morash 667
Vote - Affirmative 667
Re. 286, Pictou-Antigonish Reg. Library - Veterans: Web Site -
Establishment Congrats., Mr. J. DeWolfe 667
Vote - Affirmative 668
Res. 287, Fulmore, David & Velma - PharmaChoice: Reopening -
Congrats., Mrs. M. Baillie 668
Vote - Affirmative 669
Res. 288, Bishop, Dr. Henry - NSCAD: Honorary Degree - Congrats.,
Mr. D. Hendsbee 669
Vote - Affirmative 670
Res. 289, Claussen, Barbara - Heritage Home Award (Lunenburg):
Recipient - Congrats., Hon. M. Baker 670
Vote - Affirmative 670
Res. 290, Ritchie, Danny/Family - Lequille Country Store:
Reopening - Congrats., Mr. F. Chipman 670
Vote - Affirmative 671
Res. 291, Islands Spay/Neuter Assoc. - Proj.: Participants - Applaud,
Hon. G. Balser 671
Vote - Affirmative 672
Res. 292, Embree, Sam - Port Hawkesbury Vol. Fire Dept.:
Anniv. (50th) - Congrats., Mr. Ronald Chisholm 672
Vote - Affirmative 673
Res. 293, MacDonald, Ruth - A Collection of Nova Scotia Firsts:
Publication - Congrats., Mr. B. Taylor 673
Vote - Affirmative 673
Res. 294, Birch Mountain Bluegrass Band: East Coast Music Award -
Congrats., Mr. W. Dooks 673
Vote - Affirmative 674
Res. 295, Nemeskeri, George & Monica - Chester Plastics: Efforts -
Congrats., Mr. J. Chataway 674
Vote - Affirmative 675
Res. 296, Beasley, Sharon: Taste of Nova Scotia Award - Congrats.,
Ms. M. McGrath 675
Vote - Affirmative 676
Res. 297, Sports - Basketball: Lockeport Jr. Boys Team -
Reg. Title Congrats., Mr. C. O'Donnell 676
Vote - Affirmative 676
Res. 298, Sports - Hockey: Lunenburg Falcons Bantam A Team -
Performance Congrats., Hon. M. Baker 677
Vote - Affirmative 677
Res. 299, Shubenacadie Canal Comm. - Fairbanks Centre: Foresight -
Congrats., Mr. T. Olive 677
Vote - Affirmative 678
Res. 300, Agric. & Fish. - Farmers: Gratitude - Express, Mr. F. Chipman 678
Vote - Affirmative 679
Res. 301, Carson Downey Band: East Coast Music Awards - Congrats.,
Mr. D. Hendsbee 679
Vote - Affirmative 679
Res. 302, Murray, Anne: ECMA Special Achievement Award - Congrats.,
(by Mr. B. Taylor), The Speaker 680
Vote - Affirmative 680
Res. 303, Can. Customs & Revenue - Commun. Volunteer Income
Tax Prog.: Volunteers Applaud, Hon. G. Balser 680
Vote - Affirmative 681
Res. 304, Sports - Curling: Truro Fire Brigade - Championship Congrats.,
Hon. J. Muir 681
Vote - Affirmative 682
Res. 305, Peacekeeping Medal: Recipients - Congrats., Mrs. M. Baillie 682
Vote - Affirmative 682
Res. 306, Fishing & Outdoor Expo (New Glasgow) - Pictou Co.
Rivers Assoc.: Members - Thank, Mr. J. DeWolfe 683
Vote - Affirmative 683
Res. 307, Tourism & Culture - Gaelic Culture: Bursary Endowment -
Organizers Congrats., Mr. Ronald Chisholm 684
Vote - Affirmative 684
Res. 308, Sports - Brookfield Curling Club: Bonspiel Hosts - Congrats.,
Mr. B. Taylor 685
Vote - Affirmative 685
ORAL QUESTIONS PUT BY MEMBERS:
No. 69, Environ. & Lbr. - Amherst Fabricators: Safety Inspector -
Interference, Mr. F. Corbett 686
No. 70, Health - Clinical Footprint: Impetus - Political, Dr. J. Smith 687
No. 71, Environ. & Lbr. - Amherst Fabricators: Documents - Table,
Mr. F. Corbett 688
No. 72, Transport. & Pub. Wks. - C.B.: Essential Service -
Neglect Explain, Mr. B. Boudreau 690
No. 73, Environ. & Lbr. - Amherst Fabricators: Investigation -
Details, Mr. F. Corbett 691
No. 74, Petroleum Directorate - Offshore Dev.: Safety - Assurances,
Mr. W. Gaudet 692
No. 75, Health - Point Pleasant Lodge: Meal Costs - Discrepancy,
Mr. D. Dexter 693
No.76, Nat. Res. - Nat. Gas: Processing Onshore - Premier Demand,
Mr. Manning MacDonald 694
No. 77, Environ. & Lbr. - Meadowview Residents' Assoc.:
Settlement - Details, Mr. G. Steele 696
No. 78, Econ. Dev. - Offshore Opportunities: Training Plan - Details,
Mr. M. Samson 697
No. 79, Environ. & Lbr. - Environment: Waverley Quarry -
Betrayal Explain, Mr. G. Steele 698
No. 80, Commun. Serv. - RESPs: Assistance Criteria - Regs.,
Mr. D. Wilson 699
No. 81, Commun. Serv. - Nat. Child Tax Benefit: Clawback -
Acknowledge, Mr. J. Pye 701
No. 82, Fin. - Min.: Surplus Mgt. Strategy - Status, Mr. D. Downe 702
No. 83, Comm. Serv.: Education - Income Assistance, Mr. J. Pye 703
No. 84, Sysco - Payments: Ernst & Young - Justify,
Mr. Manning MacDonald 705
No. 85, Sysco - Sale: Legal Fees - Explain, Mr. F. Corbett 706
No. 86, Econ. Dev. - Georges Bank: Moratorium - Status, Mr. W. Gaudet 708
No. 87, Health - Ambulance Fees: Review - Status, Mr. D. Dexter 708
No. 88, Educ.: Loan Remission Prog. - Status, Mr. M. Samson 710
No. 89, Educ. - Custodians Strike: Sch. Bd. Contingency Plan -
Condemn, Ms. Maureen MacDonald 711
OPPOSITION MEMBERS' BUSINESS:
PRIVATE MEMBERS' PUBLIC BILLS FOR SECOND READING:
No. 13, House of Assembly Act 713
Mr. D. Wilson 713
Mr. W. Dooks 715
Mr. J. Pye 716
Mr. Manning MacDonald 717
Hon. N. LeBlanc 718
Mr. T. Olive 720
Mr. F. Corbett 720
Mr. D. Wilson 721
Vote - Affirmative 722
MOTIONS OTHER THAN GOVERNMENT MOTIONS:
Res. 214, Health - Long-Term Care: Crisis - Solve, Dr. J. Smith 722
Dr. J. Smith 722
Hon. J. Muir 725
Mr. D. Dexter 728
Mr. D. Downe 730
ADJOURNMENT:
MOTION UNDER RULE 5(5):
Econ. Dev. - C.B.: Northside Industrial Pk. - Importance Recognize:
Mr. C. Clarke 734
Mr. F. Corbett 737
Mr. B. Boudreau 740
ADJOURNMENT, House rose to meet again on Thur., Apr. 5th at 12:00 p.m. 742
NOTICES OF MOTION UNDER RULE 32(3):
Res. 309, Claremont, Robert - Cdn. Cancer Soc.: Certificate of Merit -
Congrats., Mr. R. Hurlburt 743
Res. 310, Cdn. Assoc. Of Insurance & Financial Advisors -
Yarmouth Chapter: Cystic Fibrosis Award - Congrats.,
Mr. H. Hurlburt 743

[Page 643]

HALIFAX, WEDNESDAY, APRIL 4, 2001

Fifty-eighth General Assembly

Second Session

2:00 P.M.

SPEAKER

Hon. Murray Scott

DEPUTY SPEAKERS

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

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

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House recognize that Northside Industrial Park is a vital component to the future of industrial Cape Breton.

That will be discussed this evening at 6:00 p.m., the moment of interruption.

Are there any introductions before we begin the daily routine?

The honourable member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley.

MR. BROOKE TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, through you and to all members in the Nova Scotia Legislature, it is a great pleasure to introduce the students and their teachers from Grades 8 and 9 French immersion class at Bible Hill Junior High School. Now Bible Hill Junior High School resides in the constituency of Truro-Bible Hill but it also has students going to that great institution from the beautiful Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley. (Laughter) Also, students from Colchester North.

643

[Page 644]

The students are in both the east and west galleries and they are accompanied by their Principal, Mr. Andy Smith, and of course Andy resides in Hilden which is in the beautiful Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley. I should point out that the teachers with the class today are Traci and Gilles Boudreau and Claudette, I apologize to parent Claudette if I don't enunciate her last name but I will try Claudette Lanteigne. I would ask our guests from the Bible Hill Junior High School to rise and receive a warm welcome from the Nova Scotia Legislature. (Applause)

AN HON. MEMBER: En francais, Brooke. (Laughter)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Cape Breton North on an introduction.

MR. CECIL CLARKE: Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to introduce and welcome to the House today His Worship, Mayor John Morgan, and Councillor Vince Hall of the Cape Breton Regional Municipality in the west gallery. I would ask the House give them a warm welcome today. (Applause)

[2:15 p.m.]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Cape Breton East on an introduction.

MR. DAVID WILSON: Mr. Speaker, it gives me great pleasure to rise today and introduce a person who I have known personally for some 19 years. He joins us in the west gallery today. He is just completing his first year of studies - quite successfully, may I add - at Dalhousie University. (Interruptions) Luckily he has inherited those brains from his mother's side. I would like the members of the House to join me in welcoming my son Jonathan to the Legislature today. (Applause)

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

MRS. MURIEL BAILLIE: Mr. Speaker, it gives me great pleasure today to introduce His Worship Lawrence LeBlanc, Mayor of Pictou, a very good community-minded citizen. Would you rise Mr. Mayor and receive the welcome of the House. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Premier on an introduction.

HON. JOHN HAMM (The Premier): Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to welcome to Province House today the Mayor of the Town of Trenton, Mayor Cathy Cotter. I would ask the members of the House to give her a warm welcome. (Applause)

[Page 645]

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

MR. RICHARD HURLBURT: Mr. Speaker, to all members of the House, I would like to introduce a friend who has served the good people of Yarmouth for a number of years in public life, and he still continues to serve the good people of Yarmouth, Mayor Charles Crosby. I would ask you to give him a warm welcome. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley on an introduction.

MR. BROOKE TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, I would like to make this introduction on behalf of the honourable member for Cumberland South. Today, from the Town of Parrsboro, home of the Parrsboro fossils, we are privileged to have Mayor Doug Robinson. I wish Doug would rise and receive the warm welcome of the House. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Guysborough-Port Hawkesbury.

MR. RONALD CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, today I would like to introduce to the House, Joe Janega, Deputy Mayor of the Town of Port Hawkesbury; as well as Colin MacDonald, the Clerk; and I think over here we have Frank Fraser, Mayor of Canso; and the Mayor of Mulgrave is here somewhere as well, Leonard MacDonald. I would ask the House to give them a warm welcome. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Environment and Labour on an introduction.

HON. DAVID MORSE: Mr. Speaker, in the spirit of the occasion I would also like to make an introduction. Mayor Bob Stead from Wolfville is here today. He is a marvellous parliamentarian and spokesperson for the Town of Wolfville. I would like the House to give him a warm welcome. (Applause)

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

MR. JON CAREY: Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure today to introduce a good friend and Mayor of the Town of Berwick, a dedicated person who has worked endlessly for youth in the community and for the town, John Prall. (Applause)

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

HON. ANGUS MACISAAC: Mr. Speaker, I suppose as Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations I should stand and say "in case we have missed anybody," but I do believe that we have a representative of the Town of Antigonish here, Brian

[Page 646]

MacNeil, who is the Clerk of the Town, and I certainly want to welcome him to the House. I want to join all members in welcoming these representatives of municipal government right across the province. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: As always, we welcome all visitors to the House.

PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley.

MR. BROOKE TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to table a petition signed by hundreds and hundreds of Nova Scotians, a lot of Colchester County citizens, and this petition reads: "We, the undersigned . . ."

AN HON. MEMBER: Is Stockwell Day's signature on there?

MR. TAYLOR: I believe maybe Stockwell Day's signature is on this. I think he signed it. I think he did sign it; I think he signed it last Saturday in Bridgewater.

The prayer on the petition is essentially this, "We, the undersigned citizens of Nova Scotia, believe deer-jacking compromises public safety and is unfair to wildlife."

Mr. Speaker, I have signed my name to the petition. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The petition is tabled.

PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES

TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Justice.

HON. MICHAEL BAKER: Mr. Speaker, in my capacity as Attorney General, and pursuant to Section 51 of the Judicature Act, I hereby table amendments to the Civil Procedure Rules that were made pursuant to the Judicature Act by the Judges of the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia on January 26, 2001, and March 23, 2001, and by the Judges of the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal on February 20, 2001.

MR. SPEAKER: The report is tabled.

STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS

[Page 647]

GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Premier.

RESOLUTION NO. 260

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

Whereas in 1926, Johnny Miles made sports history by defeating favourites Albin Oscar Stenroos and Clarence DeMar to win the Boston Marathon; and

Whereas Johnny Miles is now the oldest living winner of the Boston Marathon; and

Whereas on April 16, 2001, the Boston Athletic Association will hold a reception where they will recognize all previous winners of the Boston Marathon and showcase Johnny Miles as the race's oldest living winner;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Johnny Miles on the occasion of the 75th Anniversary of his first Boston Marathon win, and send a letter to this effect to Johnny Miles, the Johnny Miles Foundation and the Boston Athletic Association.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Tourism and Culture.

RESOLUTION NO. 261

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

[Page 648]

Whereas traditional and contemporary handcrafts are expressive of the creativity, energy and community spirit of Nova Scotians, as well as a significant contributor to the economy; and

Whereas a craft theme is declared each year to celebrate the achievements of a particular craft and to help raise the profile of our many talented craftspeople and artists; and

Whereas this year it gives me great pleasure to declare 2001 The Year of the Costume with exhibits and events planned to familiarize residents and visitors alike on this aspect of our culture;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the House join me in recognizing 2001 as The Year of the Costume and join in celebrating the variety of costumes which have been, and may still be, seen in Nova Scotia.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Education.

RESOLUTION NO. 262

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

Whereas Wendy Paquette, President and Chief Operating Officer of MTT, was among 50 Canadian businesswomen named to the Financial Post's Power 50 on March 30th; and

Whereas Ms. Paquette's hard work and leadership abilities brought her to the top of one of the region's largest telecommunications companies; and

Whereas she is one of the first women in Canada to hold such a position; and

[Page 649]

Whereas Wendy Paquette and other women in executive positions are excellent role models for our young women, showing that women may indeed aspire to and achieve these positions;

Therefore be it resolved that this House extend congratulations to Wendy Paquette for the recognition she has achieved as one of the 50 most powerful women in Canadian business, and wish her continued success.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Justice.

RESOLUTION NO. 263

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

Whereas members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police have been involved in peacekeeping missions since 1989; and

Whereas a ceremony was held at Camp Aldershot, Kings County, to honour those members who served on peacekeeping missions; and

Whereas Sergeant Steve Mills, Corporal Mark Furey and Gerry Dunphy (retired) from Lunenburg County were awarded Canadian Peacekeeping Service Medals;

Therefore be it resolved that the House of Assembly congratulates Sergeant Steve Mills, Corporal Mark Furey and Gerry Dunphy on receiving the Canadian Peacekeeping Service Medal.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

[Page 650]

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Tourism and Culture.

RESOLUTION NO. 264

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

Whereas the Federation of Nova Scotian Heritage promotes heritage for the benefit of all Nova Scotians through education, advocacy and networking; and

Whereas this organization helped initiate a partnership with the Colchester Historical Museum Society and the Chignecto-Central Regional School Board to launch a program called Heritage In The Schools; and

Whereas the Department of Tourism and Culture is pleased to be a partner in this initiative, which will enhance the role and use of local museum collections and research in our schools;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House join me in congratulating the partnership of the Federation of Nova Scotian Heritage, the Colchester Historical Museum Society and the Chignecto-Central Regional School board on this worthwhile endeavour.

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 651]

The honourable Minister of Education.

RESOLUTION NO. 265

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

Whereas Halifax resident, Ian Colford, won first place in the novel category in the Writers' Federation of Nova Scotia competition for his novel Sophie's Blood at a gala celebration of writers and writing last weekend; and

Whereas the Atlantic Writing Competition is one of the oldest and most respected writing competitions in Canada; and

Whereas the proceeds from the evening support the "writers in schools" initiative, encouraging young Atlantic Canadian writers for more than 20 years;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate Ian Colford for his award-winning book and recognize the work of the Writers' Federation of Nova Scotia in encouraging young talent in the Atlantic region.

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

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Pictou East.

MR. JAMES DEWOLFE: Mr. Speaker, with your indulgence I would like to make an introduction before I introduce the bill.

It gives me great pleasure to introduce a long-time friend, former colleague and a secretary-treasurer for the geoscience community of Nova Scotia, Dr. Howard Donahoe. I would ask Howard to rise and receive the warm welcome of the House. (Applause)

[Page 652]

Bill No. 16 - Entitled an Act Respecting the Engineering and Geoscience Professions. (Mr. James DeWolfe)

Bill No. 17 - Entitled an Act to Amend Chapter 328 of the Revised Statutes of 1989. The Optometry Act. (Hon. James Muir)

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

The honourable Minister of Health.

HON. JAMES MUIR: Mr. Speaker, I have two more bills to introduce and prior to that, with your permission, I would like to introduce some of the key players who were instrumental in developing these bills.

[2:30 p.m.]

In your gallery, Mr. Speaker, I would like to introduce: Donna Denney, President of the Registered Nurses Association of Nova Scotia; Carolyn Moore, Executive Director of the Registered Nurses Association of Nova Scotia; Ann Mann, Executive Director of the Practical Nurses Licensing Board; Joe MacLellan, Chairman of the Practical Nurses Licencing Board; Albert MacIntyre, Executive Director of the Licensed Practical Nurses Association of Nova Scotia; and Agnes MacDonald, President of the Licensed Practical Nurses Association of Nova Scotia.

Also, we have two nurse practitioners with us today: Susan McGowan, who is a primary health care nurse practitioner at the North End Community Health Clinic here in Halifax; and Nancy O'Neill, who is a neonatal speciality-class nurse practitioner at the IWK Health Centre. I would ask my colleagues in the House to warmly welcome these people. (Applause)

Bill No. 18 - Entitled an Act Respecting the Practice of Registered Nurses. (Hon. James Muir)

Bill No. 19 - Entitled an Act to Establish the College of Licensed Practical Nurses of Nova Scotia. (Hon. James Muir)

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

NOTICES OF MOTION

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Dartmouth North.

[Page 653]

RESOLUTION NO. 266

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

Whereas long-time Dartmouth resident, Stefan Ian Jachimowicz, passed away at home on Monday, April 2, 2001; and

Whereas Mr. Jachimowicz was a member of the Polish Navy, escaped captivity from the Nazis during World War II to rejoin his unit, and later travelled to Canada and joined the Royal Canadian Navy in 1951; and

Whereas Mr. Jachimowicz embarked on a long career in commercial and residential development, contributing to local projects including St. Peter's Church, the Dartmouth Sportsplex and the Banook Canoe Club, and operating several companies including Alfa Building Supplies, Precision Homes Ltd. and Airport Hotel Ltd., to mention a few;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House offer condolences to Mr. Jachimowicz's wife and family and many friends throughout the Dartmouth-Halifax area.

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. 267

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

Whereas the following couples were nominated for this year's Atlantic Canada's Outstanding Young Farmers Award: Chris and Karen Brown of Bridgewater, Kevin and Debbie Charlton of East Torbrook, and Patrick Ueffing and Cynthia Coleman of Canning; and

[Page 654]

Whereas the winners of Atlantic Canada's Outstanding Young Farmers Award were Chris and Karen Brown of Pine View Farm, Lunenburg County; and

Whereas the winning couple will travel to Quebec City later this year to compete nationally;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of the House congratulate all the nominees for Atlantic Canada's Outstanding Young Farmers Award, and wish Chris and Karen Brown the best of luck at nationals.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations.

RESOLUTION NO. 268

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

Whereas each year, St. Francis Xavier University presents the Trudy Eagan Award to a female student from Atlantic Canada in the business administration of information systems programs; and

Whereas the recipient of the Trudy Eagan Award demonstrates leadership and has a

positive impact on her classmates; and

Whereas this year's recipient is Elizabeth DeCoste, a single mother of four, who at age 50 returned to university and successfully juggled the demands of school and family;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House congratulate Ms. DeCoste on being the recipient of the Trudy Eagan Award and wish her well in her future endeavours.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

[Page 655]

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Halifax Needham.

RESOLUTION NO. 269

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

Whereas HRM schools are beginning to feel the effects of the custodial workers strike; and

Whereas in some schools floors are dirty and waste baskets are overflowing; and

Whereas by next week some schools will be so dirty as to cause concern for the health of our students;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House encourage both sides in this dispute to get back to the table, resolve their differences and get our schools clean and healthy once again.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear a No.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Dartmouth East.

[Page 656]

RESOLUTION NO. 270

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

Whereas yesterday in this House it was revealed that the Health Minister paid $0.5 million for a secret plan for health care in Nova Scotia; and

Whereas to date, Nova Scotians still have not seen the full plan, and do not know the fate of their community hospitals; and

Whereas this is from a government that promised full disclosure and community consultation on all health care decisions;

Therefore be it resolved that the Health Minister tell all Nova Scotians what they paid $0.5 million for and how the clinical footprint will impact on their communities.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable Minister of Health.

RESOLUTION NO. 271

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

Whereas a Business Person of the Year Award is presented annually by the Truro and District Chamber of Commerce; and

Whereas this prestigious award is presented to local business people in recognition of their personal excellence, successful business acumen and commitment to community service; and

[Page 657]

Whereas Earl E. Casey, whose most widely known business presence is as President and owner of Casey Concrete, a progressive and innovative company operating in Truro since 1969, was recently honoured with this award at the chamber's annual meeting;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House recognize Earl Casey for his commitment to business excellence and many contributions within the local community, and extend our sincere congratulations to Earl and his family on being named the chamber's Business Person of the Year.

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 Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage.

RESOLUTION NO. 272

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

Whereas Eastern Passage-Cow Bay has held an annual summer carnival in the community since 1975; and

Whereas the Eastern Passage-Cow Bay Summer Carnival now stretches over eight days and includes a large fireworks display, parade, sandcastle-building contest and a soapbox derby; and

Whereas the summer carnival is celebrating its 26th Anniversary in the community from August 5th to August 12th of this year;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate Pat Emberly, Tony Osmond and the other members of the Summer Carnival Committee, and wish them the best for the 26th Anniversary of the Eastern Passage-Cow Bay Summer Carnival.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

[Page 658]

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Victoria.

RESOLUTION NO. 273

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

Whereas a letter to the editor in the Cape Breton Post - I will table the letter with the resolution - told of one man's problems related to contaminated well water; and

Whereas the man said he placed several calls to local officials with no success in finding a water cooler and bottled water; and

Whereas the man reports that with one simple phone call to the Premier's Office his problem was solved;

Therefore be it resolved that all Nova Scotians with contaminated water call the Premier's Office toll free at 1-800-267-1993 to receive their very own water cooler and bottled water.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Dartmouth South.

[Page 659]

RESOLUTION NO. 274

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

Whereas Shirley Morash has been named winner of the 2001 World Curling Freytag Award in the builders category and will be receiving this award at this year's World Curling Championships in Lausanne, Switzerland; and

Whereas the Canadian Curling Association nominated her for this prestigious international award because of her distinguished career of over 30 years of dedication to the administrative side of the sport of curling; and

Whereas her valuable efforts in the organization and administration of this sport, which began 32 years ago at the Dartmouth Curling Club, are felt nationally and internationally;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Shirley Morash on this prestigious award and acknowledge her contributions to the increasingly popular and growing sport of curling.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Halifax Chebucto.

RESOLUTION NO. 275

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

Whereas this government promised, when in Opposition, it would not waste taxpayers' dollars; and

Whereas this government has now written off $18 million in bad loans; and

[Page 660]

Whereas this is $16 million over the Minister of Economic Development's original estimate of write-offs;

Therefore be it resolved that this government explain how it is that when it does its arithmetic taxpayers hear the distinct sound of someone whistling in the dark.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Cape Breton West.

RESOLUTION NO. 276

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

Whereas the Minister of Environment and Labour has confirmed that a secret deal to compensate residents adversely affected by the Meadowview landfill in Kings County was signed on March 31, 2001; and

Whereas the Minister of Environment and Labour refuses to identify the source of funding that will pay for this secret political deal; and

Whereas one can only conclude the Minister of Environment and Labour is either oblivious to the budgetary matters within his department, covering up for an unsavoury backroom political deal, being used as a pawn on a political chess board or has made an honest mistake by agreeing to a secret deal to which he has little knowledge;

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Environment and Labour identify the exact source of funding for this secret political deal known as the Morsegate affair.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Sackville-Beaver Bank.

RESOLUTION NO. 277

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

Whereas the Sackville Rivers Association's tireless work in its community has resulted in the revitalization of key ecosystems in a very short time; and

[Page 661]

Whereas thanks to this group of responsible citizens, the health of our community has been improved and will be of benefit to all for many years to come; and

Whereas the Sackville Rivers Association was the recent recipient of the Elaine Burke Award in recognition of its members' concentrated endeavours to encourage active living and environmental protection;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House extend a sincere thanks to the Sackville Rivers Association for its efforts to promote the benefits of an active lifestyle and a healthy environment throughout our community.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Timberlea-Prospect.

RESOLUTION NO. 278

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

Whereas active, aware citizens in all of our communities make Nova Scotia a better place to live; and

Whereas these volunteers give of their time so freely to address crucial matters that affect us all; and

Whereas Golda Merlin-Walsh and Sandy Stasiulis have shown exemplary dedication in their review of the compost facility on the Prospect Road;

Therefore be it resolved that this House thank and congratulate Sandy Stasiulis and Golda Merlin-Walsh for their commitment to their community.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

[Page 662]

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. 279

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

Whereas this is the sixth year that students from Memorial High School's forestry program tapped trees for maple syrup; and

Whereas because of the heavy snowfall students were forced to wear snowshoes as they tapped over 400 trees; and

Whereas part of the sugar shack roof collapsed because of heavy snowfall;

Therefore be it resolved that we congratulate the students and staff of Memorial High School for continuing the program even in adverse conditions.

[2:45 p.m.]

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley.

[Page 663]

RESOLUTION NO. 280

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

Whereas maple syrup and maple syrup products are traditional symbols of Canada; and

Whereas that tradition is in large part due to the hard work of the people, producers like Avard Bentley of Westchester, Cumberland County; and

Whereas on May 20th, Mr. Bentley will be inducted to the Maple Hall of Fame in Grogan, New York, and recognized for his 20 years in the maple industry;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of the Nova Scotia Legislature congratulate Mr. Bentley upon his induction to the Maple Hall of Fame, and wish him success as he continues his work in this unique industry.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Timberlea-Prospect.

RESOLUTION NO. 281

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

Whereas football provides the perfect example of the value of team sport; and

Whereas the newly-formed Timberlea Titans Football Club has received a $1,000 community development grant from Sports and Recreation; and

[Page 664]

Whereas this effort has been coordinated by area residents, Keith Skiffington and Joe Lauder;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate all involved in the formation of the Timberlea Titans Football Club.

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 Finance.

HON. NEIL LEBLANC: Mr. Speaker, before I bring a resolution je veux dire bienvenu à toutes les élèves de la tour Bible Hill, c'est ce faire que c'interessant à voir l'Assembleé à travail.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Finance.

RESOLUTION NO. 282

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

Whereas Mr. Robert Garron of Plymouth has served in many capacities with the Royal Canadian Legion Branch No. 155 of Wedgeport; and

Whereas Mr. Garron was elected zone commander at last Sunday's regional meeting held in Yarmouth County; and

Whereas his leadership qualities will prove to be an invaluable asset to the Legion and to its many members;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate Mr. Robert Garron on his newly-assumed responsibilities and wish him well in his future endeavours.

[Page 665]

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

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

RESOLUTION NO. 283

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

Whereas the Order of Canada is the highest honour bestowed upon Canadians and is presented to those Canadians who, through their hard work, dedication and perseverance, have made an outstanding contribution to Canadian society; and

Whereas Stefan Blasco of Dartmouth, a leading marine geophysicist at the Bedford Institute of Oceanography, recently became a Member of the Order of Canada; and

Whereas this honour recognizes his lifetime contributions to science and technology, particularly for his innovative design of ocean exploration and harvesting equipment and for a quality we admire in all great educators - his talent for explaining what oceanography is about to anybody;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House offer our congratulations to Mr. Blasco for being so honourably recognized for his pivotal role in the promotion of ocean exploration and thank him for his willingness to advance his great knowledge to the benefit of all.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

[Page 666]

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. 284

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

Whereas an unexplained event, widely thought to be a UFO sighting, occurred in Shag Harbour in 1967; and

Whereas international interest (Interruptions) in visiting Shag Harbour and getting mail stamped from the community has been growing since this extraordinary event was reported on the television series, Sightings, as well as gaining exposure on the Space Channel and in a new book called The Dark Object, co-authored by Don Ledger of Legislative Television and Chris Styles; and

Whereas the Shag Harbour Post Office will unveil its own unique postmark on May 18th, the only one in Canada which will feature a UFO hovering over the water with a boat and a lighthouse;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House congratulate the Shag Harbour Post Office on being granted their distinctive stamp which will encourage greater public interest in the community, especially from tourists, and commend Don Ledger and Chris Styles for chronicling the mystery of Shag Harbour.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Queens.

[Page 667]

RESOLUTION NO. 285

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

Whereas volunteer firefighters generously donate their time and risk their lives to ensure the safety of all residents of their community; and

Whereas volunteer firefighter, John Baker, of Milton, Queens County, joined the Liverpool Fire Department on March 5, 1998, and since that time he has further contributed to his community through his extensive committee work within his fire department, raising money for charities such as the Children's Wish Foundation and through additional fundraising to assist in the purchase of a new fire truck; and

Whereas Mr. Baker has been chosen as Firefighter of the Year for 2000;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House extend their thanks to Mr. John Baker for his tireless work, and applaud him on his award and for providing the residents of his community with a role model of exemplary character.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Pictou East.

RESOLUTION NO. 286

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

Whereas the Pictou-Antigonish Regional Library has established a Web site in honour of its veterans; and

[Page 668]

Whereas through the innovative work of Jolene Shaw and Fern MacDonald the site highlights local cenotaphs, and letters and photographs of local veterans; and

Whereas the history and efforts of veterans from the Pictou-Antigonish area will be forever preserved;

Therefore be it resolved that this House commend the Pictou-Antigonish Regional Library for its initiative, and acknowledge the hard work of Jolene Shaw and Fern MacDonald in protecting the memories of veterans for their families and for generations 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 Pictou West.

RESOLUTION NO. 287

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

Whereas Fulmore's PharmaChoice on Front Street in Pictou has been owned and operated by the Fulmore family for the past number of years; and

Whereas David and Velda Fulmore have based their business on excellent customer service to their community, particularly seniors and families; and

Whereas the Fulmores recently renovated the old IGA building in Pictou to expand PharmaChoice and make room for more services and products;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House congratulate the Fulmore family for the recent grand reopening of PharmaChoice and wish them all the best in their future endeavours.

[Page 669]

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. 288

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

Whereas Mr. Henry V. Bishop has been awarded an honorary degree from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design; and

Whereas Henry Bishop, who graduated in 1975 as NSCAD's first African-Nova Scotian male graduate, began his professional career with the Black United Front, pursued private practice in graphic design, and became associated with the Black Cultural Society of Nova Scotia; and

Whereas Mr. Bishop, whose accomplishments include co-curating the national exhibition, Africville, A Spirit that Lives On, and co-publishing two children's books, is currently the Chief Curator and Director of the Black Cultural Centre of Nova Scotia;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Dr. Henry Bishop on his honorary degree and applaud his contributions to the promotion and understanding of the African-Nova Scotia culture here in this province.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

[Page 670]

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Justice.

RESOLUTION NO. 289

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

Whereas Barbara Claussen purchased property at 315 Lincoln Street in the Town of Lunenburg in 1999; and

Whereas extensive renovations were conducted to the circa 1887 property; and

Whereas Ms. Claussen has received the Town of Lunenburg's Heritage Home Award for Rehabilitation-Adaption, for the renovations conducted to the dwelling;

Therefore be it resolved that the House of Assembly congratulate Barbara Claussen on receiving the Town of Lunenburg's Heritage Home Award for Rehabilitation-Adaption and commend her on her hard work.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Annapolis.

RESOLUTION NO. 290

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

[Page 671]

Whereas the unique and historic Lequille Country Store, located on Highway No. 8 in Lequille, has been owned and operated by the Danny Ritchie family for the last 19 years; and

Whereas the Ritchie family have prided themselves on making customer service and convenience their number one priority, and recognize that customer loyalty has helped their family continue to operate this store; and

Whereas the family recently renovated and expanded Lequille Country Store to better serve their customers with the slogan, "a little bit of everything and a whole lot of charm";

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House congratulate the Ritchie family for the grand reopening of the Lequille Country Store, and best wishes for its continued success.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Economic Development.

RESOLUTION NO. 291

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

Whereas the Islands Spay/Neuter Association is a private not-for-profit association of citizens who reside on Long and Brier Islands; and

Whereas since they established this committee last fall they have facilitated the surgical sterilization of 52 cats and have arranged for the adoption of 45 kittens; and

Whereas working in consultation with area veterinarians, their public education activities have substantially raised the awareness of the need to responsibly care for pets on the islands;

[Page 672]

Therefore be it resolved that this House recognize this worthwhile and necessary project and applaud their volunteer efforts.

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 Guysborough-Port Hawkesbury.

RESOLUTION NO. 292

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

Whereas volunteer firefighters risk their lives to protect the lives and property of their friends and neighbours; and

Whereas Sam Embree recently marked his 50th year of service with the Port Hawkesbury Volunteer Fire Department; and

Whereas Mr. Embree is the longest-serving member of that department;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Sam Embree upon his 50 years of service and thank him for his dedication to his community.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

[Page 673]

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley.

RESOLUTION NO. 293

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

Whereas Ruth A. Macdonald of Carroll's Corner, which resides in the beautiful Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley, has published her book, A Collection of Nova Scotia Firsts; and

Whereas this retired history teacher of more than 30 years, undertook to continue to research and document people and events in this province; and

Whereas Mrs. Macdonald recognized the need to ensure Nova Scotians were given credit for their accomplishments;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Ruth Macdonald on the completion of this wonderful project and thank her for recording the events and people of this province which should be remembered from generation to generation.

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 Eastern Shore.

RESOLUTION NO. 294

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

[Page 674]

Whereas the East Coast Music Awards' Bluegrass Artist/Group of the Year 2001 was awarded to the Birch Mountain Bluegrass Band; and

Whereas members of the Birch Mountain Bluegrass Band - Larry Boutilier, Mark Boutilier, Julie Boutilier, Trevor Boutilier and Fraser Martin - have made their community proud; and

Whereas this successful Eastern Shore band's new CD, From Us to You, is a musical sensation and a matter of pride on the Eastern Shore;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate the members of the Birch Mountain Bluegrass Band for their musical achievements and wish them every success in 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.

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

RESOLUTION NO. 295

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

Whereas Chester Plastics has been proud to base themselves in Chester since the company was founded by the Nemeskeri family in 1968; and

[3:00 p.m.]

Whereas for the past 33 years, Chester Plastics has been a proud supporter of its employees through its maintenance of an excellent work environment in both its Nova Scotia and Alberta operations throughout the life of the company; and

[Page 675]

Whereas Chester Plastics has been established and recognized for its contribution to the Canadian business community as a major supplier of plastic packaging to many multi-national food, confectionary and sanitary industries;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate George and Monica Nemeskeri in their pursuit of semi-retirement after their wonderful, lifelong efforts on behalf of Nova Scotians, yet still leaving an important and successful business up and running in Chester.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Halifax Bedford Basin.

RESOLUTION NO. 296

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

Whereas Sharon Beasley, President of Mrs. Beasley's Cookies, started her business from scratch by renting space after hours from an established bakery to complete her efforts in the wee hours; and

Whereas now Mrs. Beasley has 21 different varieties of cookies and employs six full-time and six part-time staff, and has products in 30 grocery stores across our province and New Brunswick, as well as the HRM's school milk and cookie program, Costco, coffee shops and the IWK Grace Health Centre; and

Whereas Sharon Beasley was recently awarded the Taste of Nova Scotia award for the cookies, made with fine ingredients and no additives or preservatives;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House congratulate Sharon Beasley on receipt of this honour and for demonstrating the secret recipe of a successful business - a combination of dedication, determination, plain hard work and a quality product.

[Page 676]

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Shelburne.

RESOLUTION NO. 297

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

Whereas Lockeport recently won the Boys Regional Junior Basketball Tournament with an undefeated record; and

Whereas all four teams involved in the tournament treated fans to fast and well-played games; and

Whereas Coaches Bill Crosby, Jeff Peterson and Kent Balish led their team to victory by stressing hard work and determination;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate the Lockeport Junior Boys Basketball Team and their coaches on their regional title and wish them continued success next season.

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 677]

The honourable Minister of Justice.

RESOLUTION NO. 298

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

Whereas the Bantam A Hockey provincials were held in Sydney from March 16th to March 18th; and

Whereas the Lunenburg Falcons have been to the provincials three times; and

Whereas the Lunenburg Falcons took second place in the tournament;

Therefore be it resolved that the House of Assembly congratulates the Lunenburg Falcons Bantam A Hockey Team on their excellent performance at the provincial championship.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Dartmouth South.

RESOLUTION NO. 299

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

Whereas the Shubenacadie Canal system is an integral part of our heritage; and

Whereas through the efforts of the Shubenacadie Canal Commission and HRM, the future of the Fairbanks Centre has been redefined as a comprehensive learning centre, in addition to continuing its role as an interpretive centre; and

[Page 678]

Whereas this action will provide additional opportunities for the Shubenacadie Canal Commission to complete its mandate to refurbish this historic waterway;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate the Shubenacadie Canal Commission for its foresight and dedication in pursuing the ultimate goal of establishing this waterway as a functional part of our Nova Scotia history and a key element of our tourism potential for Dartmouth.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Annapolis.

RESOLUTION NO. 300

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

Whereas agriculture has been a primary industry in this nation for centuries, yet less than 3 per cent of the Canadian population are farmers and most Canadians are three generations removed from the farm; and

Whereas one farmer feeds over 120 people; and

Whereas there are over 4,000 farmers in Nova Scotia, creating over 16,000 jobs, and is a $1 billion industry;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House be forever grateful for the hard work, dedication and sacrifice that farmers across Nova Scotia provided to the good citizens of this great province.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

[Page 679]

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. 301

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 Carson Downey Band won Best Blues Artist/Band of the Year and the Best New Artist/Band of the Year at the recent East Coast Music Awards; and

Whereas this blues-rock trio has taken this country's blues scene by storm; and

Whereas the East Coast blues sound generated by Carson Downey's guitar, his brother Murray Downey's drums and Marlow Smith's bass, is bound for great success;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate the Carson Downey Band on its two East Coast Music Awards and cheer on its members as they build a national and international following.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley.

[Page 680]

RESOLUTION NO. 302

MR. BROOKE TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, following in the footsteps of the honourable member for Preston, I would like to keep on the musical theme regarding this resolution.

Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the member for Cumberland South, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas Anne Murray is known around the world for many timeless hits such as Snowbird; and

Whereas the Springhill native was recently honoured at the East Coast Music Awards with a Special Achievement Award; and

Whereas the evening included a tribute from seven East Coast singers who sang Ms. Murray's greatest hits;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Anne Murray on her Special Achievement Award at the East Coast Music Awards, and wish her continued success in her remarkable career.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Economic Development.

RESOLUTION NO. 303

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

Whereas the Community Volunteer Income Tax Program is an initiative of the Canada Customs and Revenue Agency, and is designed to assist persons with low incomes; and

[Page 681]

Whereas last year close to 500 volunteers completed almost 15,000 income tax forms; and

Whereas the volunteers of this program are dedicated Nova Scotians who are providing a valuable service to their fellow Nova Scotians;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House applaud the efforts of those volunteers and congratulate the agency for this enterprise.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Health.

RESOLUTION NO. 304

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

Whereas a foursome from the Truro Fire Brigade recently captured the Maritime Firefighters' Curling Championship; and

Whereas the members of the championship rink included skip Al Sutherland, lead Gary Whidden, second George Chestnut and third Randy MacPhee; and

Whereas the team finished with an impressive 5-1-1 overall record, including a 7 to 2 victory over Salmon Rive Fire Brigade in the final game;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate the members of the championship team from the Truro Fire Brigade for a season of excellence, and wish them well as they compete in the upcoming Canadian Firefighters' Curling Championship.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

[Page 682]

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. 305

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

Whereas those who offer to serve our country to help maintain peace and order throughout our world are worthy of great respect for their courage and unselfishness; and

Whereas 15 members of the 1st Nova Scotia Highlanders militia unit from Amherst, Pictou, New Glasgow and Springhill, were recently presented with peacekeeping medals; and

Whereas the Canadian Forces Decoration Medal was also presented to Sergeant Gordon Landry of Pictou, for more than 12 years of service to the military reserves;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate those whose service has been recognized, and extend our sincere gratitude to all the Canadian peacekeepers for their dedicated service to our country and throughout the world.

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 683]

The honourable member for Pictou East.

RESOLUTION NO. 306

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

Whereas the 8th Annual Fishing and Outdoor Expo held at the New Glasgow Stadium last weekend was a great success; and

Whereas this yearly event sponsored by the Pictou County Rivers Association brings thousands of interested people to the stadium to meet dealers and retailers and highlights Pictou County as a destination for outdoor activities and adventure vacations; and

Whereas this event would not be possible were it not for the help of dedicated volunteers;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House thank all the members of the Pictou County Rivers Association, with special thanks to Parker Wong and Richard Kellock for their dedication to the Fishing and Outdoor Expo and to their community at large.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations.

HON. ANGUS MACISAAC: Mr. Speaker, I rise for an introduction. In the east gallery today we have with us three individuals from Antigonish who provide a tremendous service to the people of Antigonish and to this province. They are my constituency assistant, Wendy Chisholm, and she is accompanied by the constituency assistant for MP Peter MacKay. They are accompanied today by my Executive Assistant, Mr. Robert Chisholm. I ask the House to extend a warm welcome. (Applause)

[Page 684]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Guysborough-Port Hawkesbury.

RESOLUTION NO. 307

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

Whereas the protection and the expression of the Gaelic culture is an important aspect of Nova Scotia's past, present and future; and

Whereas a Travel Bursary Endowment Fund, the brainchild of Reverend Vernon Boutilier of Antigonish, has been established and is being organized with the assistance of retired Senator Allan J. MacEachen, Senator John Buchanan and Margaret Chisholm, with a board of advisors including Buddy MacMaster, Sam MacPhee and Sheldon MacInnes; and

Whereas the bursary endowment will provide airfare to Scotland for young people from Nova Scotia who plan to study and explore Gaelic heritage;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House commend the organizers of the Travel Bursary Endowment Fund and wish them every success in their efforts to preserve Nova Scotia's Celtic history.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

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

MR. DARRELL DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, I wonder if I could bring to your attention and to the attention of the House the attendance today with us of my constituency assistant, Maureen Vine. I want to take the time to introduce her because she does so much work on behalf of my constituents in my office. If the House would extend a welcome to her, I would be pleased. (Applause)

[Page 685]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley.

RESOLUTION NO. 308

MR. BROOKE TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, I should mention that I wouldn't dare skip this resolution.

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

Whereas the 2001 Brookfield Lotta-Truck Nova Scotia Mixed Curling Championship has had another successful year; and

Whereas this mixed curling provincial championship is hosted by the Brookfield Curling Club, with assistance from the Truro Curling Club, and features some of Nova Scotia's top curlers; and

Whereas this bonspiel is a major winter event for Colchester County, bringing in curlers from all across Nova Scotia;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Brookfield Curling Club host committee, the event's sponsor, Brookfield Lotta-Truck Draw, and all the staff and volunteers who worked so hard to make this annual bonspiel a great success.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

ORDERS OF THE DAY

ORAL QUESTIONS PUT BY MEMBERS

MR. SPEAKER: Question Period will begin at 3:14 p.m. and end at 4:44 p.m.

The honourable member for Cape Breton Centre.

[Page 686]

ENVIRON. & LBR. - AMHERST FABRICATORS:

SAFETY INSPECTOR - INTERFERENCE

MR. FRANK CORBETT: Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Minister of Environment and Labour made a shocking admission in this House. He said he and his department interfered with a health and safety inspector and removed him as lead investigator at the Amherst Fabricators plant. He did this because his deputy received a call from the solicitor of the plant's owner who complained about the investigator. I will table a transcript from those minutes in a moment. I want to ask the Minister of Labour if he recognizes that what he did constitutes an abuse of his ministerial power, an abuse that jeopardizes workers throughout this province?

[3:15 p.m.]

HON. DAVID MORSE: Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the honourable member for his question. I would like to point out that this minister as a matter of policy and principle does not interfere with the actions clearly the responsibility of staff such as the designation of specific officers to an investigation.

MR. CORBETT: Mr. Speaker, well, he has been briefed but he should read the minutes. This is a serious breach by this minister. What is worse, he had no idea of the damage he has caused, so I want to ask that Minister of Labour, why would he send a message to his inspectors that he will demote them if they are tough enough to demand that they have a safe workplace?

MR. MORSE: Mr. Speaker, I am somewhat surprised by the suggestion by the member opposite. I can assure the House and the people of Nova Scotia that as I said in my first answer, I do not interfere with the assignment of specific officers to investigations.

MR. CORBETT: Mr. Speaker, I will say to that, the evidence speaks for itself. What is obvious here is, all it took to get this lead inspector off the company's back was a call from this minister, just because he was doing his job. So I want to go to the Premier. The Premier knows, because unlike this Minister of Labour, I am certainly aware that he is aware of the problems faced at Westray. The Westray Inquiry concluded that a strong safety mentality must by necessity start with the most senior officials, and I will table that document. Will the Premier send a message to workers and employers that this political interference is not acceptable, and step in and fire that minister?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, the member opposite would serve everyone a lot better if instead of reading his third supplementary, which was clearly voided by the previous answer by the minister.

[Page 687]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Dartmouth East.

HEALTH - CLINICAL FOOTPRINT: IMPETUS - POLITICAL

DR. JAMES SMITH: My question is to the Minister of Health. Today we have even more revealing news from the clinical footprint committee itself and I have an e-mail dated September 22, 2000 from a member of the clinical footprint committee to the chairman. I will table that, Mr. Speaker.

The e-mail talks about, ". . . a contradiction between . . ." a "(politically motivated) responsiveness . . . dressed up to look like the community's needs." The question to the minister, how can the minister still say that communities have a say over health care delivery when it is obvious to the clinical footprint committee that the system is politically driven out of Halifax?

HON. JAMES MUIR: Mr. Speaker, I guess I will have to agree with the member for Dartmouth East that clearly we have a politically-driven system and the political drive to it is to put in a sustainable, affordable, health care system in this province and that is exactly what we are doing.

DR. SMITH: Mr. Speaker, the e-mail continues, "The communications plan is very schizophrenic about whether this is a plan....or not. Do we or do we not have an overall plan for the health system.....I don't think we can have it both ways." Why did the minister tell Nova Scotians for over a year that the clinical footprint was going to be a plan for Health when it only turned out to be a tool?

MR. MUIR: Mr. Speaker, as the honourable member is well aware, when we entered government some 20 months ago there was no plan for health in the top drawer. Our commitment, as a government, was to provide that plan, to make health decisions based on evidence. What we also committed to was to return decision-making closer to the communities. If the communities are going to make good decisions in the interests of their residents then they have to have the tools, benchmarks and description of best practices upon which to make those decisions, and that is what we have provided.

DR. SMITH: Mr. Speaker, in a rush for power and a lust for power this minister and this government voted against a health plan and he has done exactly the opposite of what they promised Nova Scotians; the e-mail, Mr. Speaker, the health investment plan, and you, you the front bunch over there, know it.

Mr. Speaker, the e-mail also says, ". . . at this stage, . . .", and I want the member to hear, ". . . the 'emperor's nakedness' is not a particularly pretty sight!" Why does the Minister of Economic Development not get on with his job and protect his own department, it will be disappearing pretty soon? (Applause)

[Page 688]

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

DR. SMITH: Mr. Speaker, I am talking about the . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. Order, please. Order, please. The honourable member for Dartmouth East, do you have a question?

DR. SMITH: Mr. Speaker, my question is, and quoting from the e-mail of a committee member to the chairman of that committee, ". . . at this stage, the 'emperor's nakedness' is not a particularly pretty sight!"

MR. SPEAKER: Question, please.

DR. SMITH: I don't think they are referring to the minister, but the emperor's nakedness is not a pretty sight.

MR. SPEAKER: Question, please.

DR. SMITH: Will the minister please stop the play-acting and release the real, and release the original plan that district health authorities are being forced to accept anyway. Could he release it to this House of Assembly and the people of Nova Scotia?

MR. MUIR: Mr. Speaker, our health system had not been changing to meet patients' needs the way it should have. The clinical services planning document was provided to all members of this House, to all the district health authorities and to any resident of Nova Scotia who wished to see it. That is the document which I accepted and that is the one which is available to anybody who wishes to read it.

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

ENVIRON. & LBR. - AMHERST FABRICATORS:

DOCUMENTS - TABLE

MR. FRANK CORBETT: Mr. Speaker, the Amherst Fabricators plant is an unsafe place to work. The minister knows that Alan Ross, the investigator he demoted, had 27 orders against Cherubini since the company bought the plant in 1999. Other inspectors had issued a further 14 orders. That is 40 orders in 18 months, Mr. Minister. The workers say there have been more accidents resulting in amputations at that plant in the last 18 months than there were in the previous 25 years. My question to that Minister of Environment and Labour is, will you commit today to tabling all the documents in your department relating to the pressures put onto you by Cherubini on their behalf?

[Page 689]

HON. DAVID MORSE: Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the honourable member for his question. This is a concern and was gone over at some length the other day. I think that I indicated to the House that we ramped-up the investigation because of numerous complaints by the union and we increased the complement to do the investigation from 1 to 5. I think that in hindsight that was the correct decision.

MR. CORBETT: So, Mr. Speaker, he is not going to table those documents. So he has misled this House. Yesterday in this very House he said that the complement had been increased. He caved in under the pressure from a dangerous company and demoted his lead investigator. This action compromises the safety of its workers. It sent a clear message that a dangerous employer could get what it wanted from this minister. Just a couple of weeks after the minister's interference a young employee had his legs crushed in a terrible accident at that plant, Mr. Speaker. Does this minister recognize that his interference weakened the safety environment at that plant in the days leading up to this very serious injury?

MR. MORSE: Mr. Speaker, these are sad circumstances but I am glad that he again gets to point out how, by sending in a whole team of five officers and the ensuing 16 orders that were issued as a result of that, clearly it justified the attention that was brought to the situation by the department.

MR. CORBETT: Mr. Speaker, in the days before the employee's injury, other workers had raised concerns about the fact steel beams coming down from the conveyor belt were too large to be safely handled because they couldn't be picked up by chains. This employee's legs were crushed by a beam too large to be picked up by a chain. Instead, he had to use a grabber and the beam slipped and fell on him. Why didn't the Minister of Environment and Labour realize that his demotion of Mr. Ross sent a message to employees that their safety concerns would not be taken seriously?

MR. MORSE: Mr. Speaker, thank you again the chance to clear up a misperception that is being perpetuated by the honourable member opposite. I would like to point out that there was no demotion of the Amherst inspector. In fact, we augmented the investigation with an additional four officers (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. Order, please. The honourable members are hollering louder than the member who has the microphone on. Please let him have a chance to respond.

MR. MORSE: Mr. Speaker, I would also like to point out that by the suggestions from the member opposite, it makes it sound like I personally interfered with the allocation of staff and I want to assure the House that that is not the case.

[Page 690]

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

TRANSPORT. & PUB. WKS. - C.B.:

ESSENTIAL SERVICE - NEGLECT EXPLAIN

MR. BRIAN BOUDREAU: Mr. Speaker, I am sure you are aware as are all members of this House, Cape Breton has been hit with a severe snowstorm. In fact, my office has been bombarded with complaints all basically surrounding the fact that major roads have not been plowed as yet, as I speak, in fact. Several individuals have indicated to me that medical appointments were missed because of inadequate snow removal. My question is to the Minister of Transportation and Public Works. Snow plows had to be brought in from as far away as New Glasgow into Cape Breton today. This, I suggest, is a result of most maintenance equipment in the Cape Breton Regional Municipality being put away for the summer and local workers laid off as of April 1st. My question to the minister is, why is the minister neglecting rural Cape Breton in regard to essential services?

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, I would suggest sending in plows from 150 miles away - or 150 kilometres away, I guess - is not neglecting the present problems that we have in Cape Breton with regard to snow removal.

MR. BOUDREAU: Mr. Speaker, I will go to the Premier, please, on this question. It is obvious to me, at least, that the lone voice for Cape Breton in your Cabinet, Mr. Premier, is certainly a failure. When I look at the poor state of economy, recent job cuts at Sydport, lost teaching positions, as many as 80 jobs are being cut down there in the Department of Education. What will you do, Mr. Premier, to ensure the needs of Cape Bretoners are brought to this Cabinet table?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I can assure the member opposite and, through him, all of the people in Cape Breton that this government has, from day one, been concerned about issues facing the people on the Island of Cape Breton. We will continue to demonstrate that concern by working aggressively with the community itself and with the federal government to bring prosperity back to the Island of Cape Breton.

[3:30 p.m.]

MR. BOUDREAU: Mr. Speaker, just a little past a month ago you were in Cape Breton quite often actually, particularly during my election campaign. (Interruptions) You, Mr. Premier, as well as the good member for Cape Breton North, who won the by-election, and I recognize that.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear! Hear!

[Page 691]

MR. BOUDREAU: Mr. Premier, you led people in Cape Breton to believe that that member would be provided representation in your Cabinet, to ensure the people in industrial Cape Breton would have a voice in your Cabinet. When will you put this member in your Cabinet? (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I acknowledge the concern of the member opposite for the people of Cape Breton, and I also acknowledge that it would appear that he has now undertaken to become a campaign manager as well. (Laughter)

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

ENVIRON. & LBR. - AMHERST FABRICATORS:

INVESTIGATION - DETAILS

MR. FRANK CORBETT: Mr. Speaker, I want to table some very troubling documents. These are excerpts from an appeal prepared by Steven England on behalf of Cherubini in January of this year. In it, the company makes several complaints about then-lead investigator, Alan Ross. The company accuses Mr. Ross of having an inappropriate attitude and of harassment. This company wanted Alan Ross off their back because he was just plain tough. My question to the minister is, what makes you think you deserve to keep your job after showing such disregard for the safety of employees in this province?

HON. DAVID MORSE: Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the member opposite for his question and his concern. I too share that concern over the events that have transpired at Amherst Fabricators. I would like to advise the member opposite and Nova Scotians that I have a responsibility to ensure that enforcement of all legislation and regulations is done in the department, and, of course, not to personally interfere in the actual carrying out of the investigations. However, I would also like to mention, perhaps yet again, although it has been done several times before on the record, both here today and in estimates, that that particular officer remained an integral part of the inspection and of the ensuing investigation.

MR. CORBETT: Mr. Speaker, this minister is hell bent on either hanging out his deputy, or he doesn't realize that the demotion certainly was a slap to that inspector, telling him, don't you be so tough. This minister is a disaster waiting to happen. The company says, in its appeal in January, that Alan Ross was intent on finding fault in our company's operations instead of aiding our company. In February, they complained that Mr. Ross issued an order simply to harass Amherst Fabricators. Despite these claims, virtually all the orders issued by Mr. Ross were upheld by the appeal process. My question, if Mr. Ross has been vindicated by the appeal process, why would you then turn around and demote him as lead investigator? Why?

[Page 692]

MR. MORSE: Mr. Speaker, once again I want to thank the honourable member opposite for his question and his concern over this case. Perhaps I am not articulating this well, but I once again want to assure the House and Nova Scotians that Alan Ross, the officer that the member opposite is concerned about, remained an integral part of this team. We felt that because of the number of complaints that were coming forth from the union that we needed additional resources devoted to this concern.

MR. CORBETT: Mr. Speaker, I can't help but think I am hearing the echo of Leroy Legere in this House when it comes to workers' safety. We heard these same nonsensical rants when he was minister, when men died at Westray. So my question to the Premier, has he now heard enough? His minister interfered on behalf of a dangerous employer. He has upset the delicate balance of workers' safety in this province. Why won't you, Mr. Premier, act today and fire that minister now?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, workplace safety obviously was a concern to the Department of Labour. They ramped up the amount of resources being directed at that particular employer. They made the appropriate response to what they considered a serious situation.

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

PETROLEUM DIRECTORATE - OFFSHORE DEV.:

SAFETY - ASSURANCES

MR. WAYNE GAUDET: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Premier. Recently we witnessed off the coast of Brazil the dangers that can be associated with offshore development. In that particular case, the world's largest and supposedly safest drilling rig suffered an explosion and then tipped and sank into the sea, killing most of the workers on board and creating an ecological nightmare. My question to the Premier is, what assurances can the Premier give the people of Nova Scotia that this government is taking all necessary steps to avoid a similar situation here?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, that is a good question. Our regulatory regime in this province is very strict. Before any activity is authorized, the entire plan, the equipment and the procedures are reviewed with safety in mind. All equipment used in our offshore requires a certificate of fitness, which states that it is fit for the purpose intended and is in compliance with the regulation. It is a serious issue and this government is determined that offshore safety will be paramount as we develop our industry.

MR. GAUDET: I want to thank the Premier for his answer. Mr. Speaker, one of the contributing factors in the accident was the fact that this particular rig was engaged in offshore processing as well as drilling. Offshore processing not only means that there is a greater risk on the platform but also that there are far more limited economic benefits for

[Page 693]

Nova Scotia as compared to onshore processing. My question to the Premier is, can he tell the House whether or not PanCanadian is considering offshore processing for the Deep Panuke site?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, to my knowledge, PanCanadian has not yet submitted a formal plan to the province for the development of Deep Panuke. But I can assure the member opposite, and I am aware that he is aware but for the benefit of those who are not, there is at this particular time no offshore processing going on as part of our offshore activities.

MR. GAUDET: Mr. Speaker, safety in the offshore is a huge concern. The accident off Brazil certainly drove home the dangers involved. My final question to the Premier on this, in the interest of safety, will the Premier ensure that he will pay special attention to the safety concerns that are inherent to offshore processing?

THE PREMIER: Yes.

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

HEALTH - POINT PLEASANT LODGE:

MEAL COSTS - DISCREPANCY

MR. DARRELL DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, once again, the Minister of Health picks the pockets of the sick. Cancer care patients and those with other ailments requiring to stay overnight in Halifax will no longer have their nutritional requirements met. If a patient stays in the hospital, meals are covered, but if they stay at Point Pleasant Lodge, a facility that actually saves this government money, the patient must now pay for his or her meals. In contrast, if you stay at the Point Pleasant Lodge and you are from New Brunswick or P.E.I., those governments will see that their patients have their nutritional requirements met.

The Minister of Health will say that this was a decision of the Capital District Health Authority but, Mr. Speaker, I say it was a bad decision that the board was forced to make because the government failed to provide them with appropriate funding. I want to ask the Minister of Health, why is it that people staying at Point Pleasant Lodge from New Brunswick and P.E.I. are treated differently than Nova Scotians?

HON. JAMES MUIR: Mr. Speaker, I thank the honourable member for that question. He has quite correctly pointed out that the Department of Health transferred the funding for Point Pleasant Lodge to the Capital District Health Authority and they are administering it and they have made that decision.

[Page 694]

Mr. Speaker, what I can tell you and tell the honourable member, and he is well aware of this, is that people who do need help to pay for their food while they are staying at Point Pleasant Lodge, that money, that help will be available.

MR. DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, means testing for health care, that is what it is. It is shameful. The people who stay at Point Pleasant Lodge are there because they are sick. It is not because they want to be there, it is because they have to be there. Part of getting better involves eating right and I want to ask the Minister of Health, why is he allowing the Capital District Health Authority to cut meals which are essential to the patients' rehabilitation?

MR. MUIR: Mr. Speaker, one of the things that we have done and we said we were going to do was to turn a lot of the decision-making in health over to the district health authorities and we have done that. (Interruption) The fact of the matter is that residents of Point Pleasant Lodge who need assistance with meal allowance, the Capital District Health Authority has a fund available so that they can access it.

MR. DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, each day in this House we see another victim, people unable to protect themselves from a heartless government and a heartless Minister of Health. I want to ask the Minister of Health if he will intervene and continue to provide meals to sick people staying at Point Pleasant Lodge?

MR. MUIR: Mr. Speaker, as I indicated in my response to his initial question and his first supplementary, those people who need assistance with a meal allowance, it will be provided by the Capital District Health Authority.

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

NAT. RES. - NAT. GAS:

PROCESSING ONSHORE - PREMIER DEMAND

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Premier. Nova Scotia is on the verge of a great future in natural gas development, but only if the government makes the right decisions now. There has been a plan in place to develop the resource itself, but the real value, both in jobs and money, is in what you do with the gas after you bring it ashore. The new PanCanadian project is not even considering doing the primary processing of the gas onshore, let alone adding value.

My question, Mr. Speaker, to the Premier, why isn't the Premier demanding that PanCanadian process the gas onshore so that there will be jobs for Nova Scotians?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I will refer that to the minister who is dealing directly with PanCanadian.

[Page 695]

HON. GORDON BALSER: Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the member opposite for the question. As the members opposite were informed earlier on in response to a question, PanCanadian is still analyzing the business case. As the members opposite are probably aware, the gas field at Deep Panuke has sulphur in the gas and that impacts on how they go forward.

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, that is the kind of answer I would expect from the Minister responsible for the Petroleum Directorate, a non-answer. My question to the Premier was, what is he doing to demand that PanCanadian provide jobs for Nova Scotians. My first supplementary to the Premier is that this is a Nova Scotia resource. Newfoundland won't let INCO process outside of Newfoundland and this Premier should not let PanCanadian process the gas offshore. If PanCanadian is allowed to process its gas offshore, it will set a dangerous precedent for future gas developments including those in the Laurentian Sub-basin. If we don't draw the line now, Nova Scotia may never get another significant onshore employment opportunity. Again my question to the Premier is, how can the Premier guarantee maximum employment for Nova Scotians when the basic processing will be done offshore?

[3:45 p.m.]

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, the member opposite is correct in an assumption that the Deep Panuke find is significantly different than the Sable find in that it is high sulphur gas. We are awaiting a proposal from PanCanadian as to how they can best develop Deep Panuke. I think it is fair for government to look at evidence rather than to respond to a hypothetical question being delivered by the member opposite.

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, there is nothing hypothetical about trying to get jobs for Nova Scotians, I can assure you of that. This is the same Premier that constantly says he will maximize benefits for Nova Scotians. There are several hundred jobs in Goldboro and Point Tupper, I want to make sure that these jobs are not the only onshore jobs we will ever see. My final supplementary to the Premier is, will the Premier commit today to demand that PanCanadian process its gas onshore so that Nova Scotia will have employment opportunities in the future?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, the government is determined that all benefits that can be extracted from the development of the offshore will in fact accrue to the people of Nova Scotia.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Fairview.

[Page 696]

ENVIRON. & LBR. - MEADOWVIEW RESIDENTS ASSOC.:

SETTLEMENT - DETAILS

MR. GRAHAM STEELE: Mr. Speaker, my question is directed to the Minister of Environment and Labour. Yesterday in this House during the debate on the estimates, the Minister of Environment and Labour was asked some questions about a legal settlement with the Meadowview Residents Association. The minister claims that a deal has been struck. We have been speaking with the Meadowview residents and they do not know anything about it. My question to the minister is, if money is being paid out and the residents don't know anything about it, where is the money going?

HON. DAVID MORSE: Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the member opposite for his question. This concern was raised in some detail yesterday by the honourable member for Cape Breton West and at that time I pointed out the difficulty with revealing the details of the agreement. However, I did undertake to get him the line item from the budget and I delivered that after estimates to the Liberal House Leader.

MR. STEELE: Mr. Speaker, this is a deal that is so confidential that the people on the other side don't know anything about it. The minister is saying the matter is settled. No one from the community appears to know anything about it and the minister says he can't talk because of a confidentiality agreement; how convenient, how convenient. My question to the minister is, what steps will the minister take to waive that confidentiality agreement so the Meadowview residents and the people of Nova Scotia can know the terms of this secret deal?

MR. MORSE: Mr. Speaker, first of all, I would like to clarify something that I said a moment ago or correct, I delivered that information to the Liberal Leader not the Liberal House Leader.

With regard to the current question, in order to clear up the situation, I have requested that the parties to the agreement lift the confidentiality clause of the settlement, and they have agreed to do so.

MR. STEELE: Well, Mr. Speaker, I am happy to say that the basis of my last question has been taken away so all I have left to ask is, when will you table that agreement? Will you table it today?

MR. MORSE: Mr. Speaker, the settlement was for a total of $75,000 ex gratia and was to reimburse the residents of the association for payment made by them for water testing fees and other similar out-of-pocket expenses. The money was paid out of the administration expenses of the regional offices and the dollars spent were included in the estimates, again, a copy of which was left with the Liberal Leader in the absence of the member for Cape Breton West yesterday, after the estimates.

[Page 697]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Richmond.

ECON. DEV. - OFFSHORE OPPORTUNITIES:

TRAINING PLAN - DETAILS

MR. MICHEL SAMSON: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Premier. In recent statements in the media, companies like PanCanadian and Sable have indicated that there is a shortage of trained, skilled workers available to work in the offshore industry here in Nova Scotia. They have said that the industry will need hundreds of more trained people to work offshore once the Deep Panuke project is up and running. My question to the Premier is, does the Premier's government have a plan for training Nova Scotians to take advantage of the opportunities appearing on our own coast?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, the answer is yes, and I will refer it to the minister responsible for bringing forward, what we are calling, the skills agenda.

HON. GORDON BALSER: Mr. Speaker, certainly so. We are very aware of the looming shortage of skilled workers. I would like to point out that it was, in fact, Larry LeBlanc of PanCanadian who first brought that issue forward. So on one hand the members opposite talk about the lack of commitment on the part of PanCanadian to ensure that Nova Scotians get the benefits and on the other hand we have the spokesperson for PanCanadian coming forward saying there is a looming shortage. To answer the question more directly, we have within the department, people responsible directly for ensuring that training procedures are in place; and there was a significant commitment to the Nova Scotia Community College in this budget.

MR. SAMSON: Mr. Speaker, the Premier talks about plans for his finances, his plans for health care and plans for every other thing but he seems to have trouble delivering on anything. The unemployment rate in some parts of Nova Scotia remain unacceptably high. Hundreds of Nova Scotians are leaving home to work elsewhere because they can't find good jobs here in Nova Scotia. This is not just an education issue, but a concern for the future of the province. My first supplementary to the Premier is, is the Premier prepared to meet with industry officials in order to understand their needs, and prepare a plan to train Nova Scotians here, today, to take advantage of offshore opportunities?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I can say to the member opposite that despite criticism by the Finance Critic of that very caucus, we have gone forward and provided for the community college an additional $4.5 million, which will increase the seats in the community college and will increase virtual training opportunities to address the very question that the member is addressing.

[Page 698]

MR. SAMSON: Mr. Speaker, the fact is Nova Scotians need to know that training is available immediately, not tomorrow, not next year, not the year after, but today, Mr. Premier, so those youth in this province do not have to leave and know the opportunity is there. The Premier says he has a plan for everything, but the real measure of his plan is success. Will the Premier commit to this House that his government will treat this issue with the importance it deserves and set measurable outcomes for training offshore workers here in Nova Scotia?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, it must be that the member opposite actually read the mandate for the skills agenda, because that is exactly what it says.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Fairview.

ENVIRON. & LBR. - ENVIRONMENT:

WAVERLEY QUARRY - BETRAYAL EXPLAIN

MR. GRAHAM STEELE: Mr. Speaker, my question again is to the Minister of Environment and Labour. Occupational health and safety isn't the only area where this minister has been stepping out of bounds. For the past 18 years the residents of Waverley have fought to limit the operations of a gravel quarry located near their homes. Previous Environment Ministers, whether Tory or Liberal have, to their credit, recognized that any expansion to the quarry should require the highest level of scrutiny available under the Environment Act, until this minister came along. Within five weeks of assuming office, this minister undercut 20 years of work by the residents of Waverley and significantly downgraded the review requirements for that quarry. My question to the minister is, why did you, who is supposed to be the ultimate defender of the environment to Nova Scotia, betray the residents of Waverley?

HON. DAVID MORSE: I thank the honourable member for his question. I think that it is important that a Minister of the Crown always hold in the highest regard the legislation and the regulations. Accordingly, and because of the concerns of the citizens of Waverley, I have ordered a Class 1 environmental assessment. As the member knows, that leaves the door open to address all the concerns in the appropriate fashion.

MR. STEELE: This is not the first time this application has come forward from the quarry. They seem to try it regularly, particularly when there is a brand new minister. The last Minister of Environment refused the company's application to go to unlimited production; he insisted that the quarry expansion undergo a full environmental review and assessment, and I will table his ruling to that effect.

[Page 699]

The member for Bedford-Fall River, in whose constituency the quarry lies, supported that decision and supported his constituents in Waverley, and I will table a letter to that effect. Yet this minister, when faced with an application that is for all practical purposes identical, capitulated.

My question to the minister is, what did you know that the last Minister of Environment did not know, that the member for Bedford-Fall River did not know, that justifies this stunning about-face?

MR. MORSE: I thank the member opposite, indeed the whole Opposition today, I feel it must be Minister of Environment and Labour Day here.

In answer to the member's question, there was a new application put in by the proponent, the owner of the mine and there was only one change in the application as I understand it and that is to lift the annual tonnage cap.

AN HON. MEMBER: Yes, from 90,000 to unlimited.

MR. STEELE: It sounds so small, so simple, so easy. All they asked for was for the cap to be lifted, but it is a lifting of the cap from 90,000 tons a year to unlimited production; unlimited production. Hundreds of thousands of tons of more product every year, that is what the company is looking for.

In my last question, the minister did the right thing and I will give him the opportunity again to do the right thing. My question to the minister is, when will you reverse your wrong-headed decision and support the residents of Waverley and order a full environmental assessment of the Waverley quarry? (Applause)

MR. MORSE: I would like to assure the residents of Waverley that should the proponent come forth with a proposal, then we would wait to see its conclusion. If there are concerns that are brought out during the public process, where the residents will have every opportunity to voice these concerns, then I will have the option to focus on specific aspects of this, order the appropriate investigations and, if necessary, a Class 2.

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

COMMUN. SERV. - RESPs: ASSISTANCE CRITERIA - REGS.

MR. DAVID WILSON: Mr. Speaker, the Department of Community Services tabled new regulations not long ago which once and for all proved their lack of compassion when it comes to social assistance clients. Even so this latest story has left me surprised. A recently separated mother of two children called very distraught about a conversation she had with her caseworker. She had been told that the few dollars that she had managed to salt away into

[Page 700]

a Registered Education Savings Plan - or an RESP, as they are known - had to be cashed in and used before she could qualify for assistance. My question for the Minister of Community Services is simple, was this person told the truth?

[4:00 p.m.]

HON. PETER CHRISTIE: To the honourable member, I don't know. You indicate that the lady was told certain things. I don't know what she was told. She was told that the regulations would be coming into effect August 1st. She would have been told about the regulations. So the question of what she has been told, I cannot answer that, I was not there.

MR. WILSON: I think the minister knows full well what I am saying and what has been told to that lady. She has been told that she had to cash in her RESPs. It is unacceptable that you do not know about this, Mr. Minister. This government preaches about getting people off the system and less dependent on government. Then in the next breath you are asking people who have managed to put that little bit away for their children's education to give it up.

Mr. Speaker, can the minister tell the House what social assistance recipients should think when they are told that before they collect what already is too little to live on, before they can collect that, they have to give up that little bit that they have saved for their kids' future?

MR. CHRISTIE: Mr. Speaker, the honourable member, as we indicated, was at the regulations briefing as we indicated to everybody they would be going through an assessment with their caseworkers to look at their situation, to look at the different benefits and the items as to how they would go back to work. There is clearly an issue around and in the regulations about assets and that would be on an individual case.

MR. WILSON: Again this is totally unacceptable. Let's put rhetoric and politics aside here please, Mr. Minister. I am asking you a simple question. Does that woman have to cash in her RESP to receive assistance? Is that the policy of the Department of Community Services?

MR. CHRISTIE: As I indicated to the honourable member, each case is assessed on an individual basis. Each case is looked at on an individual basis, as in each case the budget is looked at on an individual basis. To sit here and say everything happens, all cases are the same, is not the issue.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Dartmouth North.

[Page 701]

COMMUN. SERV. - NAT. CHILD TAX BENEFIT:

CLAWBACK - ACKNOWLEDGE

MR. JERRY PYE: Mr. Speaker, my question will be to the Minister of Community Services as well. The Throne Speech eloquently committed the government to addressing the needs of children and it said, "And nothing is more important to Nova Scotia's long term economic health and social prosperity than helping our children become healthy, caring, productive adults." To show their commitment they claim they have eliminated the clawback of the National Child Tax Benefit. What they are not talking about is the fact that they have taken the children's personal allowance out of welfare. My question to the Minister of Community Services is, why don't you tell Nova Scotians the truth that you are still clawing back money from the poor?

HON. PETER CHRISTIE: To the honourable member for Dartmouth North, I know that he was at the regulations briefing and the different briefings. What we have done is we have taken children's benefits outside and made a child benefit for Nova Scotia that is $1,700 per child. It is one of the best in the country and we did that so that people would be able to leave social assistance and go back into the workforce without having children affected.

MR. PYE: Mr. Speaker, this government says that they want to help poor children, but let's look at the numbers. Now that this government has ended the clawback a 15 year old child will get $38 less a month. Now that this government has ended the clawback a 10 year old child will get $16 less per month. My question to the minister is, how is taking money away from children who are already among the poorest in this country helping them become caring and productive adults?

MR. CHRISTIE: Mr. Speaker, I am afraid that the honourable member hasn't quite read all the details, because in the regulations it says that anybody who is receiving more than the $1,600 will be grandfathered at the rate they were at. The rates coming in are the people that will be at the $1,700. That is not less.

MR. PYE: Mr. Speaker, that is misspeak. This government is getting out of the welfare business. The new integrated child benefit is mostly federal dollars that the government is taking credit for. When will this government truly eliminate the clawback, and increase the child benefit so that it includes both children's personal allowance and the full National Child Tax Benefit?

MR. CHRISTIE: Mr. Speaker, when we introduced the child benefit last summer and we indicated that it would take effect in August, we were very clear, we were setting a base for children's rates and that any further adjustments in the national rate, along with the provincial rate, would not be adjusted backwards. We have started that process, we are going forward on that, so futures are going ahead.

[Page 702]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Lunenburg West.

FIN. - MIN.: SURPLUS MGT. STRATEGY - STATUS

MR. DONALD DOWNE: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Finance. In the 2000 budget, the Minister of Finance put great emphasis on debt reduction and elimination of the deficit. In fact, the minister promised to introduce, as part of last year's budget that would come into effect this year, a surplus management strategy that would in fact be part of this year's budget to deal with future surpluses. I would like to table that statement the minister made as part of his Budget Address. My question to the Minister of Finance is simple, where is the minister's surplus management strategy today?

HON. NEIL LEBLANC: Mr. Speaker, our plan is on target. We have a $91 million deficit this year that is considerably better than a $500 million deficit of a budget that we took over from the previous member, and we will be on target next year to having a balanced budget, something that all Nova Scotians not only deserve but need.

MR. DOWNE: . . . answer to the question, Mr. Speaker. The minister was so confident about a surplus he was going to introduce that strategy that I just indicated before the surplus, and it was going to be introduced in this particular budget. The minister should be implementing a debt management strategy before spending non-existing surpluses. Will the minister commit future surpluses, if they are possible, toward reducing the debt of the Province of Nova Scotia?

MR. LEBLANC: Mr. Speaker, I have indicated publicly on many different occasions and just recently in our last budget, and in questions from the press outside the House, that for ourselves as a government, we will make a decision how we will treat any surpluses, whether they go directly to the debt or not. I told them, personally, my opinion is that the majority or all of it should be applied to the debt, however, we as a government will make that determination. Until such time as we do, I am telling you what my intent is, as a government we will make that decision as a Cabinet.

MR. DOWNE: Mr. Speaker, it is becoming abundantly clear this minister has no plan, and he is out of control and his Cabinet is out of control. He stated he was going to present a minister's surplus management strategy or plan this year. He failed to do so. He goes on to talk about no plan for the retiring of the debt. The debt of the Province of Nova Scotia is projected to go up each and every year under this government despite projected surpluses in his own Budget Address. How is it that this minister is projecting budget surpluses, yet the debt will still rise each and every year they are in power over the next three years?

MR. LEBLANC: Mr. Speaker, earlier I was looking for a piece of paper. The honourable member opposite was saying how much the debt has gone up since I became Minister of Finance. I think all members of this House agree that the first budget that I tabled

[Page 703]

in essence, was a continuation of the one that he had commenced himself. (Interruptions) On Page 12 of the statements, it points out that the net-direct debt of March 31, 2000 - which was basically the situation that we inherited from these gentlemen - had gone to $11.2 billion from $10.2 billion. That is what we inherited from the honourable gentleman opposite, and when he says that we are responsible for that debt I think that is an aberration of the facts.

(Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. The honourable member for Lunenburg West will bring himself to order.

The honourable member for Dartmouth North.

COMM. SERV.: EDUCATION - INCOME ASSISTANCE

MR. JERRY PYE: There is nothing like using up Question Period time. My question is to the Minister of Finance. This budget claims that it will invest new dollars in closing the skills gap, that there are "more jobs than qualified people to fill them." Mr. Speaker, there are over 36,000 adults on income assistance in this province. This government boasts of putting $1.5 million into adult education. That amounts to $41 for each person to help them with education that tells you that they will get them a job. What kind of an education can you get for $41 these days that will land you a good job?

HON. NEIL LEBLANC: Mr. Speaker, obviously this is a question that would be better related to the Minister of Community Services, but I will attempt to explain to the honourable member opposite. (Interruptions)

If the honourable member thinks that every one of those recipients will take training, he is the only person in Nova Scotia who believes that. What we are looking at is to put in place education, whereby, certain people who wish to better their lives can take that opportunity to do so. If that member is against that initiative then he can have that opinion because we, on this side, wish to give those people who want a chance to get on their feet and better their lives, if they want to do that we will work with them. He can twist the numbers any which way he wants, the intent is there and we stand by the investment.

MR. PYE: Mr. Speaker, this is the government who told people on social assistance that they were going to make sure, all 36,000, that there would be self-reliance and independence, not me. So the Minister of Finance ought to have put that kind of money in the budget to address that particular issue.

The Finance Minister talks about his budget as a virtual education world. Well, let me tell him about a world that is anything but virtual; that is the world of poverty. There are 36,000 Nova Scotians in this province who have to scrape together their pennies at the end of each month so they can put food on the table. While they are sitting in your virtual

[Page 704]

classroom there are very real stomachs with real grumbling because they are empty. My question to the Minister of Finance is, how can you learn when you are thinking about food? What is virtual about that?

MR. LEBLANC: Mr. Speaker, it is obvious that we have a difference of opinion on both sides of the floor. This government has invested $30 million in trying to help the same people he is referring to; help them get on their feet and make a life for themselves better than what they have. I go back, it is obvious that the investments that we make, he does not share the intent of them; 4,000 people this year moved off the welfare rolls into the workforce. The economy is going well in Nova Scotia. There are opportunities and if they want to make their lives better, we are prepared to work with them. If the honourable member has suggestions on how to get those same people into education, that is where I think he should be asking the questions rather than complaining what his opinion is lacking.

[4:15 p.m.]

MR. PYE: I want to inform the Finance Minister that it has nothing to do with the Tory Government's direction. In fact, in 1997, 3,500 people walked off the welfare roll. In 1998, 4,100 people walked off the welfare roll and that is good. In 1999, 4,200 people walked and that is a good thing, but that had absolutely nothing to do with this government. That had absolutely nothing to do with this government. (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

MR. PYE: It had nothing to do with the financial direction of this government, but with the economy of the Province of Nova Scotia. Mr. Speaker, my final supplementary is, the Minister of Community Services has forced upon the poor of this province a new welfare program that requires them to call their caseworkers up all the time to get basic needs. Yet there is no money in the budget to hire more caseworkers. The Director of Income Supports admitted this. I want to ask the Minister of Finance my final supplementary. Why won't you admit that you are setting welfare recipients up, that there is no one at the end of the line to help them as you said there would be? What is fair about that kind of a process?

MR. LEBLANC: Mr. Speaker, that was a very long question. There were a few things there he said I think that are important. He made mention that we, as government, should not sit here and take all the credit for the jobs that were created, people moved off. I will give credit to the previous administration who were there, they made some initiatives to help people get off welfare and working. I will give them credit when it is there.

But we have a difference of philosophy in the sense that they would rather leave things the way they are. We are bringing about change and that change is positive, but it is with trepidation that many of those people face that change and it is difficult for people to accept.

[Page 705]

But the Minister of Community Services put in place an initiative that will give them the training and I stand by his actions. (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

The honourable member for Cape Breton South.

SYSCO - PAYMENTS: ERNST & YOUNG - JUSTIFY

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the minister who is still responsible for the now closed Sydney Steel. We learned today that Ernst & Young have been paid over $2 million so far for trying to sell Sysco when they were originally hired only to liquidate the assets. In addition, this minister spent an additional $155,000 with Bristol Communications even though he has the services of Communications Nova Scotia available to him on a regular basis.

Mr. Speaker, what is more telling here is that about a month ago the minister, when asked how much Sydney Steel was costing through Ernst & Young, the minister said, in the vicinity of $20,000 a month. Either the minister has no idea what the costs for the Sydney Steel liquidation through Ernst & Young was or, again, that minister is misleading Nova Scotians as to the true costs. My question to the minister, given that Ernst & Young have failed to sell the plant, how can the minister justify over $2 million to be paid to liquidators who have not liquidated anything yet?

HON. GORDON BALSER: Mr. Speaker, I think it is somewhat ironic that that member opposite, the former minister responsible for Sysco, would talk about the expenditure on Ernst & Young or any of this process that ultimately is going to see the province out of the steel business when, in fact, that particular government spent $44 million annually with no end in sight. What we have done is made a commitment and the money is being invested. I remind the member opposite that money came out of the operating account of Sysco and was not new money from the taxpayers of Nova Scotia, a commitment we made and kept.

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: I might remind members opposite that it was this government that kept 800 steelworkers working in Sydney, a very important industry for that area of this province and I do not apologize to anybody for doing that.

It does not take $2 million to sell a steel plant piece by piece. Ernst & Young were never equipped to sell a plant; as a working entity they were only asked to liquidate it for parts. What you do is you list the parts, you advertise them, you get the best price and you sell them. Why is this process taking over $1 million? I don't know, but I can tell you this, Ernst & Young are not in any hurry to back away from this with the kind of money they are getting paid to keep this charade going.

[Page 706]

My supplementary to the minister is, will the minister, in light of the fact that over $2 million has been spent to date - and the meter is still running on the expenses - will the minister provide a detailed breakdown of that $2 million to this House, including fees paid to Ernst & Young and all relevant expenses to that company?

MR. BALSER: Mr. Speaker, to the member opposite, it is my understanding there has been a request for that information. It is being gathered, and again I would compare the expenditures by this government to the previous government and say that the taxpayers of Nova Scotia are truly getting good value for their investment. We are ending that 30 year reliance on taxpayers' dollars to sustain an industry that did not turn a profit in all that time.

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: I want to remind the minister of another matter that we have been made aware of, and it is the fact that only very recently we found out that the minister, his department, on Sydney Steel spent $635,000 on legal fees in the past year to Stewart McKelvey Stirling Scales. I want to say to you, the minister, and to the members of this House - and I will table this - that compares with our government that spent $85,000 for the year previous to that, $635,000 was spent by your government in legal fees. (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. The honourable member for Cape Breton South has the floor.

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: My question to the minister is, why would he have to pay that kind of legal fee when he has lawyers available to him departmentally?

MR. BALSER: To the member opposite. I remind him that same law firm represented that particular government in their failed attempts to divest themselves of that particular enterprise. In addition to that, I would remind the member opposite that those legal fees dealt with two agreements of sale, and also represented the negotiations with the union that would have been required to ensure a collective agreement so the sales deal could be completed.

I say, once again, we look to the past government and say that law firm seems to have some level of knowledge, we will retain them to carry through. So, once again, I believe good return on the investment.

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

SYSCO - SALE: LEGAL FEES - EXPLAIN

MR. FRANK CORBETT: Mr. Speaker, I too want to talk about Sydney Steel and I too want to talk to the minister in charge of botching the Sysco deal.

[Page 707]

This minister told us in the House that if you pass this legislation, we will be hiring tomorrow, Duferco will be hiring tomorrow. Well, the only people who got hired when this government botched this deal, were lawyers and accountants. Now it is over $3 million spent on helping you botch this deal, Mr. Minister. Can you tell us today where that $3 million went?

HON. GORDON BALSER: Mr. Speaker, to the member opposite, I think he is well aware of where that money went. There was approximately $888,000 for legal fees, there was $1.4 million for Ernst & Young to handle their involvement, there was money spent for communications. The money that was expended is clearly itemized and the member opposite knows that.

MR. CORBETT: Mr. Speaker, it is always good for the minister to put some facts on the record every once in a while. It is the same minister who hoodwinked the steelworkers. Who told them, I have more money for your pensions, made out of town and didn't give them a cent. But here he is, he gives $1.4 million to Ernst & Young for professional services, another $431,000 for professional services. They have nothing to show for it. Steelworkers still need a pension and he is giving money to rich firms here in downtown Halifax. I want to know, what kind of contracts did you sign that allows you to spend over $3 million of Nova Scotian's hard-earned money, and you have absolutely nothing to show for it?

MR. BALSER: Mr. Speaker, I would remind the member opposite that we have a great deal to show for it. We made a commitment to the people of Nova Scotia that the province would be getting out of the steel business. We made every attempt to find a buyer who could operate that facility; that did not happen, and we moved to liquidation. We are carrying through on a commitment. I believe that $3 million expended to divest this province of something that accumulated $3 billion to the debt is a good investment and a reasonable return.

MR. CORBETT: Mr. Speaker, that statement just goes to infuriate everybody in Cape Breton Island. What this minister does clearly every time he gets up is he tries to put the blame for that $3 billion on the heads of steelworkers, when it was on the heads of people like John Buchanan, who feathered the money away. Now you are saying, this is the new Tory Party. You have already spent $155,000 on Bristol Communications, none of which steelworkers saw; on a communication plan for, what are we going to do when Duferco turns it around and doesn't buy this place. Will the minister admit that the real story here is that you are closing Sysco for political reasons and you don't care how much of Nova Scotian's hard-earned tax dollars you spend doing it?

MR. BALSER: Mr. Speaker, what I would tell the member opposite is that we are closing that plant because there is no viable alternative. We made that commitment, and we have treated the steelworkers and the people there as fairly as possible.

[Page 708]

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

ECON. DEV. - GEORGES BANK: MORATORIUM - STATUS

MR. WAYNE GAUDET: Mr. Speaker, in 1988 the Province of Nova Scotia decided to extend a moratorium on oil and gas development on Georges Bank, yet on March 19, 2001, the Minister of Economic Development told the Yarmouth Chamber of Commerce that this moratorium is hurting offshore oil and gas development. My question to the Premier is, is this an indication that the government wants to start a campaign aimed at lifting the recently extended 10 year moratorium on Georges Bank?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, no.

MR. GAUDET: Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the Premier for his answer. On November 3, 1998, the current Minister of Finance thought that the threat to the fishing grounds was so great he introduced a resolution in the House urging an extension to this moratorium. Given the lengthy hearings and debate into this issue, will the Premier please state for this House whether or not he supports such a moratorium?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, yes.

MR. GAUDET: Mr. Speaker, my final question is again to the Premier. The fishermen from southwestern Nova Scotia are counting on your tough stand to protect their interests. During the last election, you wanted to extend the moratorium even longer. Can the Premier tell this House why the Minister of Economic Development has been suggesting that oil and gas development may proceed on this bank?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I wasn't there when the statement was made but the debate goes on as to what would be in the best interest of Nova Scotia in general and obviously development of Georges Bank would be of great interest to the oil and gas industry. We as a government and others as well came to the conclusion that on balance the best policy to follow was to protect Georges Bank through a moratorium.

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

HEALTH - AMBULANCE FEES: REVIEW - STATUS

MR. DARRELL DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Health. Last May the minister approved a dramatic increase in the cost of ambulance use. Members of the public who had non-emergency transfers were shocked when they found out they had to pay $500 for a trip that may have only been a few kilometres. When the NDP revealed to the public the extent of these fee increases the Health Minister said that they were reviewing

[Page 709]

the issue. It has been almost a year since the minister made the increases and eight months since he knew it required a review. The question is, where is the review?

HON. JAMES MUIR: Mr. Speaker, I thank the honourable member for the question. I would just like to remind the honourable member that when the Auditor General did his review of Emergency Health Services and it talked about user fees, the user fee that was well documented, well thought out and well substantiated was the user fee associated with the emergency medical service. I just want to remind the honourable member that that was the opinion of the Auditor General.

Having said that, the ambulance user fee policies are reviewed annually. Indeed they have been reviewed and there will be an announcement coming in a very short period of time.

MR. DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, our office was told that one of the options that the department is considering is an appeal process. One can only assume that that means that people who feel they have been unfairly charged can tie themselves up in a lengthy bureaucratic process to see whether or not the charge is fair. Well, what is there to appeal about this issue? If there is no other way for a senior to travel to a nursing home, if ambulance travel is the only safe way, is $500 a fair charge to someone who has to use an ambulance?

MR. MUIR: Mr. Speaker, just for a matter of information to the honourable member and the House, that appeal process is in place now and does from time to time get used, not too often because the fees have been well thought out.

There are cases such as the one the honourable member just pointed out and that is why the ambulance user fee policies are reviewed on a yearly basis and on occasion some of the fees should be increased and I suppose some of them should be diminished. The fact is that in this province the ambulance user fees are moderate compared to other parts of our country, and certainly in other countries, for medically necessary transport, a person is not really penalized.

MR. DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, Emergency Medical Care, the company that charges these fees, estimated that there are about 250 calls that warrant the $500 charge. The department has received complaints, they admit that they were faulty in notifying the public, they recognize there is a problem, will the minister commit today to fully reimbursing those persons who have been charged the $500 fee?

MR. MUIR: Mr. Speaker, the honourable member knows that in most instances people who have had medically necessary transport and were involved with a $500 fee is because they had private insurance that covered that.

[Page 710]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Richmond.

EDUC.: LOAN REMISSION PROG. - STATUS

MR. MICHEL SAMSON: Mr. Speaker, on Monday, January 29, 2001 the Minister of Education said that her department was looking at introducing a debt reduction program for university and college students as early as the spring. The minister went on to say, we are the only province in Canada that does not offer either a bursary system or a loan remission type of system. She said that her department was presently studying various options to reinstate the previous program. My question, will the minister tell the House what progress has been made in the study of a student loan remission program?

HON. JANE PURVES: Mr. Speaker, the honourable member is quite right, the department has been looking at various programs, but we were unable to come up with one for this year. We were unable to afford one and we will be looking at some kind of a program for next year.

MR. SAMSON: I am sure that the graduating students this year will take cold comfort in the minister saying, sorry, none this year. Mr. Speaker, university students in Nova Scotia face the highest tuition rates in Canada. This makes a student loan a real necessity here in this province. Not only do students pay the highest tuition rates, they are now faced with having their applications rated according to the student loan default rate of the institution they wish to attend based on a policy paper currently before the minister. My first supplementary, will the Minister of Education commit today to abandoning the idea of rating student loan applicants according to the default rate of the institution which they plan to attend?

MISS PURVES: Mr. Speaker, the honourable member is deliberately misrepresenting the issue. (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. Order, please. For the honourable minister to say that the member is deliberately doing that is unparliamentary and I would ask her to retract that, please.

MISS PURVES: Mr. Speaker, I apologize for those remarks. There are two things I would like to say in response to the member's question. One is that the issue of student loans in Nova Scotia is not as dire as is often presented. About 50 per cent of the students attending university in Nova Scotia apply for student loans and that is quite a low rate. On the other hand, there are among the other 50 per cent some who do accumulate very large debts. It is a very real issue. They are not going to be rated according to some kind of default policy which he insists is before me, which it is not.

[Page 711]

MR. SAMSON: Well, Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Education has again just become completely ridiculous. We tabled a policy paper here that is in front of her department. Whether she acts on that or not is another matter, it is before her. For her to say to this House there is no policy paper talking about rating based on default rates, really, is absolutely ludicrous.

Mr. Speaker, a recent study found that for each additional year of education, an individual's annual wages are increased by an average of 8.3 per cent. The results of the study would make one assume then that the longer students stay in school, the more they will be able to contribute to the strength of the province's economy. My final supplementary, will the Minister of Education commit here and now to reinstating the student loan program of $10 million so that students who are presently attending university or college can qualify for loan remission this year?

MISS PURVES: Mr. Speaker, students graduating this year who had previously applied for loan remission will still be able to get it. It is in future years that students will not be able to apply for that and, by that time, we will have a substitute program in place.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Needham.

EDUC. - CUSTODIANS STRIKE: SCH. BD.:

CONTINGENCY PLAN - CONDEMN

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Education. We have received information that the Nova Scotia Teachers Union is being pressured by the HRM school board to draw their members into the ongoing NSUPE strike. The school board's job action contingency plan, which I will table, asks principals to record, photograph or video evidence of the picket line.

It calls on teachers to report events on the picket line to the board and it calls on principals to keep a record of events in case they are called on as witnesses. This is hardly performing one's regular duties; it is part of intimidation and strikebreaking, pure and simple.

I want to ask the Minister of Education - your department is surely aware of this plan - do you condone these unfair labour practices or will you advise the board that the province does not tolerate strikebreaking?

HON. JANE PURVES: A couple of issues are being put together here that really should be separated. Principals are responsible for what goes on in their schools and thus should be recording incidents which they feel may affect students and teachers in their school. The so-called strikebreaking, that is not a matter for the Department of Education to adjudicate because the employees are of the school board, not the Department of Education.

[Page 712]

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Well, I would think that promoting harmony in all of the employees who work in the education system would very much be a part of the minister's responsibility.

Now in today's paper the Superintendent of the Halifax Regional School Board asked whether we can afford the luxury of labour management peace. Now this is a worrisome question from the head of an organization who has put forward a contingency plan that includes instructions for using replacement workers and replacement people to perform the work of people who are striking.

My question to the minister is, will you commit today to help restore labour- management peace by using your influence to bring the two sides back to the bargaining table?

MISS PURVES: I would like nothing better than for the two sides to get back to the bargaining table, but meanwhile the process continues.

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: The board's plan also puts a gag order on principals, and it prohibits teachers and students from talking to the media on school property. So I want to ask the minister, do you support these kinds of tactics or will you take some action to ensure the process of collective bargaining is resumed?

MISS PURVES: What I support is that school boards should be able to do the job that they are required to do under the Education Act.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Cape Breton East. You have about 20 seconds.

MR. DAVID WILSON: I will not have full time for my question, which was supposed to be concerning the quality of water in Glace Bay. I will say to the Premier that when that side of the House stood up and applauded the Premier yesterday for being a great crusader on behalf of fairness and justice, I will give you another crusade on behalf of clean, safe . . .

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

The honourable member for Shelburne on an introduction.

MR. CECIL O'DONNELL: I would like to direct the attention of all members of the House to the east gallery. We have visiting us today from the office of the Member of Parliament for the South Shore, Kim Clattenburg and Cam Crowell. I would ask that they rise and receive the warm welcome of the House.

[Page 713]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Finance on an introduction.

HON. NEIL LEBLANC: Speaker I want to also point out in the gallery two other people. We have Sherri Richard from Greenfield, in beautiful Colchester County, and we also have Kristy Herron-Bishop from Sandy Cove. Both are Constituency Assistants. I would like for them to rise and receive the warm welcome of the House.

OPPOSITION MEMBERS' BUSINESS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Liberal House Leader.

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, would you please call the order of business, Private Members' Public Bills for Second Reading.

PRIVATE MEMBERS' PUBLIC BILLS FOR SECOND READING

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Liberal House Leader.

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 13.

Bill No. 13 - House of Assembly Act.

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

[4:45 p.m.]

MR. DAVID WILSON: Mr. Speaker, this bill, Bill No. 13, was introduced not only because it makes common sense to identify the community where I come from by its name, but also because it will coincide with the 100th Anniversary of the former Town of Glace Bay. The constituency itself has a long history beginning with its creation in 1925 and I am currently the 12th MLA who has had the privilege of representing the fine people of Cape Breton East.

The current riding boundaries encompass the same boundaries as the former Town of Glace Bay. No other community is within the boundaries of the riding of Cape Breton East. This bill would have no effect on the boundaries of the constituency. In the year 2002, those boundaries will be up for review by the Boundary Review Commission as will the boundaries of all provincial ridings.

I think this bill is appropriate on many levels. When Glace Bay first became a town on February 19, 1901, there was some great hope for the future. Indeed, Glace Bay once rivalled Sydney in terms of population and economic growth. The mayor at that time, D. M. Burchell, wrote in the Halifax Herald that a boom was underway. He even speculated that a city of

[Page 714]

Glace Bay perhaps was in sight. Of course, everyone knows Glace Bay once had the distinction of being the biggest town in Canada. At the turn of the century, as then Mayor Burchell put it, the largest community in the province, half as big again as Halifax and two-thirds bigger than that of the City of Sydney in area.

I do not think the people of Glace Bay have given up their dream of a brighter future but it is, however, a very difficult time. We have an unofficial unemployment rate of over 40 per cent and currently there are a number of people in the community - sometimes in excess of 1,000 clients - who rely on social assistance. It is my opinion that this bill can give people there a hope that there will be a brighter future for Glace Bay. Recently, Sobeys and Superstore signalled that they believe in a brighter future by building two modern stores in Glace Bay. We have some tremendous community assets such as the Savoy Theatre, the Miners' Museum, the Marconi Museum and the Bayplex to mention a few.

The Italian Government has recently issued a 2,000 lire note commemorating Marconi's transmissions from Glace Bay, another celebration which will be held next year. A committee of residents has put together an economic strategy and other groups such as the Glace Bay Historical Society and the Glace Bay Centennial Committee are dedicated to preserving the past while looking towards the future.

I have great faith in the future of Glace Bay, if all levels of government will support the hard work of its residents. In a small way, only a small way, this bill I feel will help those efforts. It will keep in the minds of members of the Legislature that Glace Bay is a force to be reckoned with on the provincial scene and I am hoping to get the required unanimous consent from the members of this Legislature to support this bill.

As well, recently I attended a session of Cape Breton Regional Municipal Council and at that session presented a presentation calling on the councillors of the various regions, a number of the councillors whose districts would include portions of Glace Bay, and telling them of the introduction of this bill into the Legislature and asking for their support. I would be pleased to table here today, as a matter of fact, a copy of a letter which has been sent out to the various House Leaders of the caucuses in the Legislature supporting - on behalf of Mayor John Morgan and the Cape Breton Regional Municipal Council - unanimously supporting, may I add, that this bill be given the approval of this Legislature. I would table that now.

Mr. Speaker, anybody I have come in contact with and brought this to their attention - and many, indeed, have brought it to my attention once the news got out that I was looking to change the name of the riding from Cape Breton East to Glace Bay - and the many people that I have spoken with have said that they think this is a really good idea. Glace Bay, as are all communities in Cape Breton, is very distinct. We have a lot of pride in our community, and I am sure that applies to communities throughout this province, indeed, the amount of pride that they take in their own communities.

[Page 715]

Mr. Speaker, in this case, may I stress, it is unique. We have a provincial riding whose boundaries are the same as a former municipality in this province. That uniqueness alone will allow legislators here to rename that riding without any repercussions. If we can deal with it on a financial aspect, the change to Glace Bay from the riding of Cape Breton East, would cost absolutely nothing, which I think is a bargain these days, at any time. Indeed, even on stationery that would come from my constituency office, which is generic in nature - your stationery says Nova Scotia Legislature - you could very simply type in below, where you used to type Cape Breton East, you would type in Glace Bay. I suggest that saves one word, while you are typing, which in effect would save ribbons and would save ink. (Interruptions)

The point I am trying to make is that actually to change the name to Glace Bay from Cape Breton East not only makes sense in terms of honouring the town on its 100th Anniversary but also is a fiscal saving to the Province of Nova Scotia, in a roundabout way. (Interruptions) Six cents saved over 10 years is six cents saved, that is what I say.

Mr. Speaker, seriously, it gives me a great deal of pride to bring this bill before the Legislature. As I said, we have had some trying, difficult times in Glace Bay. I think we are about to turn the corner, as a matter of fact, I am sure we are about to turn the corner in Glace Bay and surrounding area. We feel that in this 100th Anniversary year that by changing the name, it would put Glace Bay - and give it more geographical relevance - on the electoral map in Nova Scotia. It would indeed be an honour for me to be referred to, when it comes time for you to recognize me, as the member for Glace Bay. Of course, it is an honour to be recognized as the member for Cape Breton East, but I think that honour would be even more so if the name change goes through.

Mr. Speaker, it has even started to catch on, the whole idea of changing names, because in a recent editorial from the Cape Breton Post, dated December 1, 2000 - and I will table that once I refer to it, please, if you would for the rest of the legislators - that, indeed, the regional council tossed around this idea, and said, that might be a good idea at home, instead of referring to districts by number, we will refer to them by name. People identify with a name; people identify with the name of their community; people identify with the name, Glace Bay. The name, Cape Breton East, I think, has been recognized for a great number of years. The name, Glace Bay, indeed, would be a welcomed name change.

Mr. Speaker, again, I am simply asking the members to give this some serious consideration. Hopefully, they will realize that their support of this bill is certainly justified. I thank them for that in advance.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Eastern Shore.

MR. WILLIAM DOOKS: Mr. Speaker, I rise from my seat today to speak on Bill No. 13, a Private Member's Public Bill, in relation to the name change of the riding. Since the time of history, in the Americas for sure, it is nothing new to define geographical areas by

[Page 716]

names, that is for sure. It was first started by, I would think, British grants, and then as the government was established, we get into federal-provincial, the whole issue surrounding the name of geographical areas. Then society itself has certainly defined groups of people or geographical areas, by having area codes and telephone numbers. We have our exchange numbers. We have fire departments. We have our provincial ridings, our municipal districts, so on and so forth.

What the member for Cape Breton East is asking for today is nothing new. Recently in our own federal riding, once named the Eastern Shore riding, it was requested by our NDP federal member, Peter Stoffer, to change the Sackville-Eastern Shore riding to the Sackville-Musquodoboit Valley-Eastern Shore riding and, simply, his request was honoured at the federal level and what happened there is reflective of the views of the people of the communities which he represented.

Mr. Speaker, I think that the member for Cape Breton East has an honest and true request and I would be pleased to tell the member that I guess the greatest anniversary gift we could give to Glace Bay would be in supporting this bill and at the conclusion of debate it is the caucus wish to support his request to support the bill.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Dartmouth North.

MR. JERRY PYE: Mr. Speaker, I am going to speak on behalf of the name change. As you know, it is not uncommon for many citizens, particularly in pocketed communities throughout Nova Scotia, to request name changes. As a matter of fact, when I was a member of the Dartmouth City Council, many times one would come forward with respect to street name changes, community name changes and to identify particular communities as they stand out throughout this entire municipality.

What the member for Cape Breton East is asking for is not uncommon. Glace Bay is a beautiful town. As a matter of fact, the Town of Glace Bay was considered historically one of the largest towns in North America and it stayed the largest town in North America - I can be corrected on that - I believe it stayed the largest town in North America until the mid-1980's when, in fact, it was still considered the largest town in Canada, not North America, in Canada, and I want to make that correction as well. The Town of Glace Bay is a vibrant town. It has been a vibrant town. It has seen its setbacks, but I want to tell you that anytime that I have visited that town, the warmth, the comfort from that particular community and from the residents of that community exemplify a unique, distinct town within the Province of Nova Scotia, a town that warrants to have its electoral boundaries changed as to identify the particular town.

I want to stand here and speak on behalf of the members of my particular Party here today that we, in fact, support that particular name change for the Town of Glace Bay to now call it the constituency of Glace Bay. We know that there will be insignificant costs put out

[Page 717]

by the Chief Electoral Officer with respect to these name changes. However those costs may be, it is significantly important that people are able to identify their electoral boundaries as part of their community.

So, Mr. Speaker, I want to say to the good member for Cape Breton East, he has done a service to his community and he has done a service to the Province of Nova Scotia when, in fact, he comes before this Legislative Assembly and asks for an electoral boundary change.

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

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I would like to say a few words in support of my colleague, the honourable member for Cape Breton East, hopefully soon to be the colleague from the constituency of Glace Bay. I want to congratulate the member for bringing this bill forward and I want to say to you, Mr. Speaker, that it is common sense that this name be changed because of the mere fact that, as the member rightfully pointed out, this constituency of Cape Breton East lies entirely within the boundaries of the old Town of Glace Bay which is still referred to as Glace Bay, as are the other communities in industrial Cape Breton. Even though we have the CBRM, the Cape Breton Regional Municipality, nobody refers to that very much. They refer to the individual areas where they come from and I believe that that is the proper way in order to keep those names alive and well into the future.

Glace Bay, Mr. Speaker, has a proud history and I want to congratulate the people of Glace Bay on celebrating their 100th Anniversary this year. (Applause) If there is any town that should be given an award for survival, it is the Town of Glace Bay in the past 100 years with the adversity that has been visited on that town over the years. But I can tell you, there is an old saying in Cape Breton, and it really applies when it comes to Glace Bay, when the going gets tough the tough get going. In Glace Bay certainly that is very appropriate. They have been tough in their existence over the years in spite of great adversity and have made great strides.

[5:00 p.m.]

I want to pay particular note of some of the people that I was associated with in Glace Bay, Mr. Speaker, in regard to former mayors of that town, like Dan A. MacDonald who I knew; Dan Munroe; Bruce Clarke, a good friend of mine; and, of course, Donald MacInnes, a very respected Member of Parliament for many, many years. All of those people played pivotal roles in the development of the Town of Glace Bay in my time. Certainly, there were people before that but I can also echo the sentiments of the member for Cape Breton East, that many, many people contributed to the lifestyle, the lifeblood, the resilience of the Town of Glace Bay over the years including, of course, the number of MLAs that came before the current member for that area.

[Page 718]

I want to, in conclusion, say that the member is quite right, the member for Cape Breton East, that there has been a great rivalry over the years between the City of Sydney and the Town of Glace Bay and that was never more evident than in hockey. In my younger days as, first of all, a stick boy for the Sydney Millionaires, who used to travel to Glace Bay on Saturday evenings to play the Glace Bay Miners and were lucky to get out of town alive, especially if we won.

Later days when I played junior hockey for the Northside Junior Victorias and when we played the Glace Bay Junior Miners, again the rivalry existed between the Glace Bay Junior Miners and the team that I toiled with, the Northside Junior Victorias. Those were the days when we had good Junior A hockey in Cape Breton. (Interruptions) I was a stick man then, that's right. I want to say that there was great rivalry between the Town of Glace Bay and the Sydney Millionaires. There are great people in Glace Bay; they are people that I have a great deal of respect for, they have toughed it out over the years and I think it is only fitting that this Legislature would agree that for their 100th Anniversary, that this constituency be renamed and, Mr. Speaker, I would like to move second reading on behalf of the member for Cape Breton East.

MR. SPEAKER: If I recognize the honourable member for Cape Breton East, it would be to close debate on second reading.

The honourable Minister of Finance.

HON. NEIL LEBLANC: Mr. Speaker, if I am permitted, there is time allotted for debate on the bill and my understanding is that until that time is used up, other speakers can speak on this issue. Am I correct on this?

I was going to speak a couple minutes, very shortly. (Interruptions) I just want to, on this issue, lend my support to it. There are a few issues that the member should be made aware of. There was some of the debate that mentioned the fact that we are setting precedents and redefining boundaries. Just for the edification of the members and for those listening to this debate, what we are doing here is changing the name awaiting the work of the Electoral Boundaries Commission which is going to do some work very shortly.

Back in the early 1990's, there was a process set forward to redefine boundaries and in that point in time many were redefined; mine in Argyle remains the same, but many people who stand here in the House today representing many of the ridings across this province have had their boundaries redefined. I want to say it is a very difficult process to explain to people why boundaries change, where they change. There may very well be a redefinition of the boundary in Glace Bay.

[Page 719]

We don't know how that work will be done and, obviously, when the work of the commission is done, they try to bring about relatively equal-sized ridings and that may have an impact on this riding of Glace Bay and, in effect, may have an impact on its name. I just want to bring that out here so that it is considered.

I want to say I am intending to support the motion but, at the same time, I think it is important that caveat is put in place that when the commission does its work and the final verdict comes in, we may not have a very clean boundary with Glace Bay being the only town in this boundary that could actually change and they may very well redefine the name again into another one. My understanding is that they would have the latitude of changing the name, because usually there is legislation that comes forward, and it is usually at the suggestion of the commission itself, if I recall, the last time we accepted the name changes they suggested.

I do know, from my time in the House, back since in 1984 . . .

AN HON. MEMBER: You have been here that long?

MR. LEBLANC: I have been here that long.

AN HON. MEMBER: That was an interruption.

MR. LEBLANC: That was an interruption, that is correct. In 1984, I came in with the honourable member for Sackville-Cobequid, Mr. John Holm, and also the honourable Dr. Jim Smith from Dartmouth, and have been around a long time. We have had many fine people represent the constituency of Glace Bay. I know the member for Cape Breton South mentioned some of the mayors, and I met some of them. I will tell you, any of the representatives from that area have what I call a fiery love of their constituency and are willing to speak up for it. There are many different words you could use. I have spoken to some of them who are a little more fiery than others, and that is fair.

I just wanted to add those few words, that we understand that when we make a decision today that it is not forever, because the commission will make recommendations and it could very well change the boundaries of Glace Bay, that it may be split; that, we will have to wait and see. I know that many of the members here today have communities that they are hoping will be changed by this boundary. They have communities that they feel do not have the same interests as other parts of the constituency and they will probably be readjusted. That will probably happen in Glace Bay, but perhaps not. We will have to wait and see how it all works out.

I thought that I would add those few comments to this debate because I think it is something that is worth considering. However, as I mentioned before, my intention is to support this bill, and I thank the honourable member for putting it forward.

[Page 720]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Dartmouth South.

MR. TIMOTHY OLIVE: Mr. Speaker, I too rise in support of this bill. I find it quite appropriate. As you are aware, with all that has happened over the many years in Dartmouth, we were given the privilege of keeping our city name and our constituency, Dartmouth South in my case, Dartmouth East, Dartmouth North, Dartmouth-Cole Harbour. I think it is quite appropriate that the relationship between the name that the member represents and the community spirit and the history that go with it be given the due recognition.

Mr. Speaker, I have a very great fondness for Glace Bay and that is why it is quite a pleasure to stand up and speak on the issue. Back in the mid-1970's when it was represented by one Mr. Akerman, who subsequently took a package, there were a number of individuals who went to Glace Bay - I was among them - to work on a campaign of a previous member of this House, who became affectionately known as Little Donnie from Glace Bay.

AN HON. MEMBER: Did he win the election?

MR. OLIVE: Actually, he did, yes. Thank you for that.

One of the things that I really found quite interesting and just showed the level of love and concern that the people have, was that it was always called Glace Bay, it was never called Cape Breton East when I was up there. It was always the member for Glace Bay. I remember people like the late Frank Bettens and Ted Kelly, two very devoted people from Glace Bay who worked very hard for their community. Dan MacLeod is another gentleman who is still working hard for us up there and, of course, our proverbial Donnie MacInnes, who I am sure many of you remember who, again, always talked about that region as his Glace Bay, not Cape Breton East.

Having said that, I would just like to say that I continue to have a number of very happy moments in Glace Bay, with the people of Glace Bay. I welcome the opportunity to support this bill, and congratulate the member for Glace Bay in presenting it in front of the House.

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

MR. FRANK CORBETT: Mr. Speaker, I too would like to stand in the House and support this Bill No. 13, an Act to change the name of the riding of Cape Breton East to Glace Bay. Many times we fight about different positions in this House and where we may be coming from on them, but this is one that - not to sound trite about it - transcends politics for two reasons.

[Page 721]

One, because while the member for Cape Breton East and I may be from different Parties, we found out last Sunday some other third parties were amazed that we still could be friends. I tell people that, because that member and I have a history going back over approximately 25 years - some of it good, some of it rough - but we have always been able to disagree like gentlemen, I think.

This is one where I agree with this member because I want to go on record saying a few very kind words about what always used to be referred to as the "biggest town in Canada". The member spoke of things like the signal sent from Table Head by Marconi and the uniqueness there. I believe there were some other firsts, like the first underground telephone system was done in Glace Bay in the mining systems, and that was one of the first in all of Canada. Another one was the transportation system, some firsts in the tramline that used to run into Glace Bay from Sydney. It was pioneered there and was the model used not only across Canada but in North America.

So there are many things there that should help perpetuate the name of Glace Bay, because whether it is like the member who sits in that seat today or some of the other ones we talked about before, the member, and I don't know whether it was Mr. Akerman or Layton Fergusson, all these people brought a certain thing to this House. I just want to say that in this year, the 100th Anniversary of Glace Bay, it certainly gives me great pleasure, and my Party pleasure, to stand here and be in support of this bill and hope it has speedy passage. It will be another reason for that great town to have a celebration this year. Thank you. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: If I recognize the honourable member for Cape Breton East, it will be to close debate.

The honourable member for Cape Breton East.

MR. DAVID WILSON: I rise in my place to move closure of debate but, first of all, before I do that I would like to thank the honorable members in particular for the co-operation that has been shown here today. I was told when I came to these great Chambers that it was a rare occasion to take an Opposition Member's Bill and see it move through this House, but I have seen unprecedented co-operation here today and I certainly look forward to more of it happening, I can tell you that, Mr. Speaker.

To the honourable minister, in terms of surviving any possible boundary redistribution that may occur, we have one of the largest ridings in the province now and, with the great economic growth that I expect over the next two years, I would suggest the number of people residing in Glace Bay would go up, which would indeed leave the boundaries the same and would allow the name to continue, but I understand what the honourable minister was saying and I thank him for his comments.

[Page 722]

Having said that, and again on behalf of the people that I represent in Glace Bay and the current riding of Cape Breton East, I would thank everyone for their co-operation today, and I move second reading of Bill No. 13. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is for second reading of Bill No. 13. Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

Ordered that this bill be referred to the Committee on Law Amendments.

Just for the information of the House, the honourable House Leader for the Liberal Party has agreed when the time allotted for the next resolution expires that the House move into late debate.

MOTIONS OTHER THAN GOVERNMENT MOTIONS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Liberal House Leader.

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I would like to have now Resolution No. 214 called and I would suggest that each Party be allotted 10 minutes as programmed here and that the Liberal Party, our Party, today would then wind up the debate, and that will be the end of our business for today.

Res. No. 214, Health - Long-Term Care: Crisis - Solve - notice given Apr. 2/01 - (Dr. J. Smith)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Dartmouth East.

DR. JAMES SMITH: Mr. Speaker, I thank you for the opportunity to address Resolution No. 214, which essentially says:

"Therefore be it resolved that this government should focus on solving the growing problem in long-term care before forcing seniors to pay for the government's mistakes."

That has got to do specifically, initially precipitated by the $50 a day fee imposed on seniors who are awaiting long-term care beds that are still in acute care. On Page 39 of the Tory blue book, it is promised, "ensure that input from seniors and the interests of seniors are in the forefront of all government decision making affecting the future of our province." I wonder who the Tory Government consulted on this $50 tax on seniors, obviously there was no consultation with seniors or seniors' groups and we are hearing more of that.

[Page 723]

[5:15 p.m.]

The Tories moved responsibility for all seniors' programs from Community Services to the Department of Health last year. This was supposed to improve services for seniors and since that time we have seen the cost of seniors' Pharmacare rise; a tax on 911; an increase in the price of ambulance rides, some of them chasing the ambulances from one place to another, from the accident scene to the hospital to the other hospital and bills following at $500 a bill. Now we have a $50 per day tax on hospital stays for seniors - largely affecting seniors. More money out of the pockets for seniors and those who cannot afford it and it is a tax. A $50 tax on seniors is unacceptable.

The Tories are forcing seniors to pay for the government's failure to address the long-term care crisis. Senior citizens are being punished because there are not enough long-term care beds. This is not the fault of senior citizens, this is the fault of this Tory Government. Instead of dealing with the crisis in long-term care as promised, this government is turning hospitals into expensive nursing homes and very inappropriate care for our seniors, I might add. Long-term care nursing and other services in long-term care, particularly for our frail elderly, is a specialty within itself and is not appropriately delivered in an acute care institution. This is a waste of acute care hospital resources, converting acute care hospitals into transitional beds puts an extra burden on doctors, nurses, all staff and particularly the seniors, the patients.

Addressing other issues relative to this issue, Mr. Speaker, I touched on the clinical footprint. Just yesterday we learned that the Health Minister was secretly paying an Ontario company to create the clinical footprint health plan. This Ontario company has been paid nearly $500,000 to date - $0.5 million - and we have still only seen phase one of three phases of this skeleton report. The $0.5 million is enough to pay for a senior to stay in a hospital for nearly 30 years, but instead of helping seniors we have a clinical footprint plan for health that does not even mention long-term care.

The footprint was supposed to deal with all aspects of health care, including continuing and long-term care. Apparently long-term care will not be addressed until phase two of the clinical footprint plan - so-called plan. I guess we will have to wait another year and spend another $0.5 million to find out what we are supposed to do about the severe loss of long-term care beds. Extra fees for seniors, the Tories expect to gouge the seniors to the tune of $1 million per year with this tax. That is the projected revenue for turning acute care into inappropriate long-term care.

This comes less than a month after the Auditor General criticized Tories for not being able to justify user fees. Last year seniors were charged an extra $8.4 million for Pharmacare, how well we remember that, Mr. Speaker. This time headlines, no new care for Pharmacare. Watch out for the following years. We have seen that the cost of ambulances went up from $60 to $85 and this is expected to make the province $5 million a year, mostly on the backs

[Page 724]

of seniors. Plus as I mentioned earlier, chasing seniors and other unfortunate people who suffer accidents from the accident scene to the hospital to the other hospital and we see the trail of $500 bills left behind.

Single access, I would like to make a few comments on that. The Tories say that their move towards single access is proof that they care about seniors and I think that is commendable. The changes to the way seniors are admitted to long-term care facilities is a step in the right direction and we recognize that and we introduced the single entry access system. However, there are many questions about the impact these changes will have on seniors and nursing homes. When the government announced these changes in January they never said how they would make sure that nursing homes were consulted and have the new resources needed to implement the plan. We have seen a lot of changes in the price of oil, wage negotiations and those other initiatives and that is why we see our acute care, our community hospitals being turned into long-term nursing care beds. The government seems to expect other options like home care and adult day programs to pick up the slack and reduce the demand for nursing home beds. However, the Minister of Health has not been willing to properly fund these programs to handle the extra responsibility.

The Cape Breton pilot project to reduce waiting lists for nursing home beds is a positive move but it must be considered carefully. The reality is that the same number of people are still waiting for beds. That is reality in spite of the public relations program that was being put on here at Northwood by the minister and others. What the Tories did was put their lists together. There was duplication of lists and they put it all together. A fancy chart on television, big public relations effort. Instead of being on several waiting lists, a senior would just be on one list, that is very commendable in itself. It is called management of health care. The waiting lists seemed shorter but we have yet to see if the waiting time is reduced. That shall be evident in the time ahead. The problem is that the seniors have not been consulted on that either. Just ask the many seniors' groups throughout this province.

The Tory blue book did promise. They promised that no person would be discharged from a hospital until a home care recovery program was developed by the hospital. Is this promise being fulfilled, Mr. Speaker, and are stakeholders being consulted? Is this the plan, trying to relieve seniors of $50 per day because there are no long-term care beds? Is that their solution to long-term care?

I just want to spend a couple of moments on another important issue that has really impacted and worried seniors, and disillusioned seniors. It is the home heating rebate. It is making a habit now of downloading on seniors. A good example is the home heating fuel rebate. The Tories were dragged kicking and screaming this year to find another home heating fuel rebate for low-income families this year. This in spite of having a whole pot full of money left over from their bungled attempt last year. There should have been approximately $3.25 million left over from that failed program last February. This was more

[Page 725]

than enough money to fund a better, accessible program this past winter. Did they do it? No. It failed because they ignored our advice.

Our experience indicated these types of programs do not work well and they sought not to take that advice. Last year only about 10 per cent, or 10,000 eligible families out of 75,000 that would make 13 per cent, got the refund. In January, our Liberal Leader, the MLA for Clare, warned the Tories not to try to take the federal heating refund from social assistance recipients or seniors in nursing homes. What did they do? The Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations accused us of fear-mongering. He sent a nasty press release at taxpayers' expense attacking our Liberal Leader for making such a suggestion. The minister said that the Tories would never do such a thing. What did we find out a few weeks later? They sent out an order to nursing homes across the province demanding that the federal fuel rebate be held back from seniors. Again the Tories are trying to grab money destined for seniors. It was shocking especially after the Tories accused us of fear-mongering on that very issue.

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

The honourable Minister of Health.

HON. JAMES MUIR: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased with the opportunity to speak to this resolution which is typical of a Party which has never understood health care and it did create (Interruptions)

I think the first point that I would like to make, Mr. Speaker, is that if there is a crisis in long-term care, and I don't really think there is, I think there are some improvements that need to be made, but it is simply because in the six years that that bunch was in power, they showed a lack of foresight and total incompetence when it came to managing long-term care. They had a pathetic response to the needs of the long-term care system in this province. (Interruptions) We did not create some of the difficulties that appeared in long-term care in this province, but I want to tell you it is the first time in seven years that a government has tried to do anything about it, dealing with the long-term care system, despite the objections and the misinformation that is being spewed out by the Opposition Parties.

Mr. Speaker, I just want to make a few comments about the fee before I talk about long-term care in general, to remind members of both Opposition Parties of the positive steps and the ringing endorsements this government's action has received from those who know about long-term care in this province.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Who?

[Page 726]

MR. MUIR: When we introduced the single entry access plan, when we drew it to the attention, we were up at Northwood, I would just refer the honourable members on the other side of the House, go back and read the clippings about that announcement and also the ringing endorsement, as I said, by those long-term care providers.

The other thing, Mr. Speaker, I would just like to remind the House and it is really unfortunate and I am a bit sad to have to report this, is that although we take credit for introducing innovations in long-term care, including the single entry access, the honourable member for Dartmouth East just in his comments did say that it was a good system and he praised the government, but I guess the unfortunate part is we are probably 10 years behind the rest of the country in some of these things. Unfortunately, we are playing catch-up and when I talk about the utter incompetence and lack of vision and stalled and no action at all by that previous government, that is why we are 10 years behind.

They did not do anything. They did not understand the system. All they did, Mr. Speaker, was rotate deputy ministers. That is all they did. Their plan for health care was to bring in a new deputy minister every six months. (Interruption) So you were paying two instead of one. (Interruptions)

Mr. Speaker, referring to that specific fee, what it is, as I explained in the House the other day, long-term care is not an insured service in this province although we spend, as the honourable members well know, a tremendous amount of our health care budget on long-term care. One of the principles of long-term care in this province and every other province in the country, and I know that the members on the opposite side really cannot dispute it, is that people should participate, patient participation, in the provision of long-term care, and they don't pay the full costs. They don't pay the full costs. The average price of a long-term care bed in this province is somewhere, probably $130 to $140. Now, in some facilities it is greater than that.

That is what we are asking people to do, people who have been medically discharged from the hospital, and who must stay there or choose to stay there. There might not be a placement for them and they choose to stay there. One of the things the honourable members don't understand is that in many cases there is a placement for people, and somebody says, well, I don't want to go live out in Cole Harbour because of the MLA out there, I want to live in Dartmouth South where they have a good MLA. (Interruptions)

[5:30 p.m.]

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

MR. DARRELL DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order. I know the minister is kind of caught up in the fervour of what he is doing, but to suggest that one member is a good member and another member is a bad member, I think, entrenches on my personal

[Page 727]

privilege. I know the minister doesn't mean that when he says it, but I still think he should withdraw that comparison and respect the representatives who were elected by the people of Dartmouth-Cole Harbour.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. That is not a point of order, it is rather an opinion of an honourable member.

MR. MUIR: Mr. Speaker, it was not my intent to malign the member for Dartmouth-Cole Harbour, simply to indicate there are various reasons, like that perhaps, why people would not take a placement in long-term care. What the honourable members on the other side - the member for Dartmouth East, the member for Dartmouth-Cole Harbour - I expect will stand up and say, well, why should they go into a placement that is there for them, if they don't like it, because the state, the province (Interruptions)

But what happens when you are medically discharged from the hospital, the care you are receiving at that point is long-term care. In this province, and in every other province of Canada, people contribute as they can to the costs of long-term care. For example, our neighbouring Province of Prince Edward Island, for those who are in acute care facilities for one reason or another, where they could be appropriately cared for in long-term care, then the charge to those who can afford it is greater than the one that has been assessed here. Out on the West Coast, as I indicated the other day, people who refuse a placement and choose to remain in the hospital, for that privilege they pay $500 a day.

AN HON. MEMBER: Pay $500, that is an NDP Government out there?

MR. MUIR: That is an NDP Government out there, you are absolutely right. They pay $500 a day. I just want to point out to the honourable members that we have to get used to, in Nova Scotia, looking at health in a different way. We have to be responsible for our own health, and part of our wellness strategies are intended to encourage that.

I would like to remind the members of the House, in terms of our government's commitment to long-term care, that we put an additional $1.5 million in this year's budget to improve access to seniors for continuing care and, of course, that is the implementation of the single-entry process. We have added an additional $19 million to the long-term care budget. We have added an additional $10.5 million for home care, and a good deal of that home care goes to the senior population.

The honourable member for Dartmouth East got up and raved about Pharmacare premiums, but because we think we now have exercised some control over that Pharmacare Program, there was no increase in either the premium or the co-pay in the Seniors' Pharmacare Program. That was a good thing.

[Page 728]

Mr. Speaker, like everything else, there are no free rides. For these honourable members to get up and think that there is a free ride, we have about an $11 billion debt in this province, and who is paying for that debt? It was run up a considerable portion by that government that we displaced 20 months ago. (Interruptions) Oh, there it is. A Tory in Liberal clothing. What the Tories want, they gave.

Mr. Speaker, we have made significant improvements in long-term care.

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

The honourable member for Dartmouth-Cole Harbour.

MR. DARRELL DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, my first thought is that perhaps the member for Dartmouth East might want to go over and check to see if the Minister of Health got tendinitis in his elbow from patting himself on the back. I want to tell you that not only is it unseemly for him to do that, it is also quite regrettable, given the facts as we know them.

Mr. Speaker, this $50 fee for seniors who stay in hospital after they could have been medically discharged to long-term care beds should be characterized and should be seen in the light of the other initiatives that have been undertaken by this government. When I say this, that this amounts to not a fee, it is a fine, it is a fine that is being levied by this government on seniors. It is an attack on people who have done nothing to deserve it and whose only transgression is in the eyes of this government is that they have grown old. That is what it is. It is a fine that is placed on individuals who have grown old and who have gotten sick. That is how you have to characterize this because that is what it is. As pathetic and as appalling as it is, that is what it is.

AN HON. MEMBER: Put them out on an ice floe.

MR. DEXTER: You have to view this in light of all of the other things and ask the question, how can you justify it? I know the Minister of Health and he will mumble something about getting the financial house in order and then maybe he will say something about the province's debt. Then it will be a little sleight of hand, a little smoke and mirrors, a little deception - not a fact contained in the whole matter, but that is what he will produce. In the end the burden will fall on the bent and bowed backs of the seniors of this province, those who are least able to afford it. That is where the burden will fall.

I want you to think about it just for a second, Mr. Speaker. Where did it start? Where did this attack on the seniors of the province start? Did it start with the breaking of a little commitment, maybe something really small minded like fishing licences that were supposed to be free? Maybe they throttled the life out of that particular commitment and instead of doing what they ought to have done, decided they were going to charge a fee for it.

[Page 729]

What about the increase in the co-pay in Pharmacare? What about in the increase in the cap? This is money that comes right out of the meagre food budgets of the seniors of this province. Perhaps the minister can wave the incense of rhetoric across the budget numbers and justify it to his bosses, but I want to tell you he is taking money right out of the pockets of the poor seniors of this province. He knows that this is a policy that has punishing results for these seniors. He knows that there are documented studies which prove that they will drive up the mortality rates. Even that is not a stark enough picture for the minister. Literally, he knows that seniors will die. This is what will happen, that is what the studies all say. He has been given the documented evidence and he doesn't care or he refuses to see.

It is grim and it is appalling. Unfortunately that is not all. More seniors will end up in emergency rooms and in doctors' offices. Seniors tell us incredible stories about what happens when you increase the Pharmacare rates. (Interruptions.)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. I just wonder if honourable members could turn it down just a little bit. It is almost impossible to hear the honourable member who has the floor.

MR. DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, the seniors tell stories about having to cut their medication in two, or having to take it every second day because they can't afford it. They talk about taking the money for their medication out of other essential budgets like food and rent. One senior told me, well, I guess I can eat less, I guess I can turn down the heat and I guess I can stop going to see my grandchildren, and then perhaps I will have money to pay for my medication. Those are the kinds of punishing results we see from a government, that for whatever reason, has decided to attack the seniors' population in this province.

What about ambulance fees? Perhaps the minister will remember the case of Leotta Daniels, who booked an ambulance to transfer her ailing 81 year old sister-in-law to a nursing home, a 65 kilometre drive. She was shocked to get bill for $500, but she says, I had no choice.

Look at the fuel rebate. I know this was mentioned by the member for Dartmouth East. The first reaction of this government was to try to claw back the federal fuel rebate. Finally, because of public outrage they relented. That is not all, the fuel rebate they put in place doesn't begin to compensate the people of this province, including seniors, for the amount of extra revenue they generated through the HST. You may remember, as I do, the evidence of the officials from the Department of Finance who said that the average price of fuel in 1999 was 37.3 cents. In February 2000 it was 56.8 cents. A difference on a 900 litre tank of $171.50, meaning that the provincial government picked up $13.72 in just the provincial portion of the tax on every fill-up. The government made a fortune on that program and yet what do they have to offer to the seniors of the province, something that barely scratches the surface of need. It is pathetic!

[Page 730]

The minister knows all that and he knows that I know that. He knows that people are not a number; he knows that seniors are not a statistic; he knows they are not lines in a budget. These seniors are mothers and fathers and daughters and sons. They are veterans of the great conflicts of our century. He knows they are the retirees from this country who made the wheels of the economy go round. That they poured money into the coffers of this province over their lifetime and that they deserve to be rewarded and not punished, that is what the Minister of Finance knows and that is why he becomes frustrated when we continue to point out the folly of what it is that he does when he punishes seniors by bringing in measures such as this. An extra $50 being taken squarely out of the pockets of the people who can least afford it.

It is shameful, it is shameful because the minister understands the ramifications to the population of seniors throughout the province, not just in my riding, not just in the riding of Glace Bay, not just in the riding of Cape Breton Centre or Dartmouth North but right across the province.

Mr. Speaker, I want to leave this debate with this thought for you. Alexandre Dumas, in his novel The Count of Monte Cristo, once said that all of human wisdom was summed up in the words wait and hope. So here we are on this issue, and we wait and we hope.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Lunenburg West.

MR. DONALD DOWNE: Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to rise today to get into the debate on the resolution that we had presented to the House. A resolution that points out that seniors are going to be taxed by $50 by the Tories failure to deal with the long-term-care crisis in the Province of Nova Scotia. I note with interest, the Minister of Health who gets up and talks with great arrogance about the fact that he knows all the answers to the problems in health care. I note with interest this minister from Truro-Bible Hill who has said that anybody prior to him did not understand the complexity of health care and that he has all the answers. He talks about some of the pathetic comments that came from the former minister. Well, I can say to you that this minister is somewhat pathetic in his own approach to dealing with the complexity of health care and dealing with the reality that this minister and the Minister of Finance are taxing seniors in the Province of Nova Scotia. That is wrong, Mr. Speaker. That is just wrong.

[5:45 p.m.]

This minister who gets up and talks about how he has all the answers to the problems of health care, I remember in this Chamber when that minister was a member of the Third Party on this side of the House, when he got up and spoke, as well as the now Minister of Justice, the same thing, and talked about the need for long-term care beds across this province immediately. Those present ministers both spoke very well about the fact that we

[Page 731]

have a chronic problem and a shortage of long-term care beds in the facilities in this province.

So I think the minister, although he thinks he knows it all, has maybe got the cart before the horse because the reality is that these seniors and individuals who need long-term care, whether it is Level 2 or Level 3, need the proper facilities to go to. The reason they cannot go there and they are using the hospitals is because there is no location for them to go. We, as the government of the day, recommended that 160 or 170 seats would be (Interruption) well, you never gave us a chance to do it, but this arrogant government over here without a plan and without a focus, they had a chance to fulfill that need that they themselves admitted was there.

Do you know what they did, Mr. Speaker? They stuck their heads in the sand. They walked away from the problem. They tried to hire as many high-priced deputy ministers - I think the minister now has got three or four or five, a deputy and the assistant deputy and the assistant to the assistant deputy minister - as he could possibly have. I don't know if they are adding on to the office over there, but they are fitting them all in somewhere, just so that he has this arsenal of help so that he can go out and tell everybody that he is the only one who knows the answers to the problems in health care. We will all see the answer to that come the end of their term and going into the election.

But do you know what, Mr. Speaker, this particular government was given an opportunity to do something about it. I recall back, just to show a couple of press releases back in November of 2000, where I brought to the attention of the minister the problems of long-term care and problems for Hillside Pines as well as the Rosedale Home for Special Care, the need for those facilities to be able to build the facilities to be able to house individuals for long-term care. Would the minister agree that those letters and those press releases went out and went out time and time again?

I did another one in March 2001; another press release back in January 2001; November 2000; it went on about the need to look after the long-term care facilities in Lunenburg County. I even went as far as to pick up the torch that the member for the constituency of Lunenburg was screaming about over here, and now that he is on that side of the House, he went quiet. All of a sudden the big clamp went on him.

So I have picked up the torch to fight for the good people of Lunenburg County and beyond, to make sure that facilities are expanded, to build facilities at the Rosedale Home for Special Care and Hillside Pines, and that is what that minister knows should be done. He knows that should be done and if he had done that in the beginning, we would have been able to provide proper care for these seniors in those locations. The minister either misled the House when he was in Opposition or he is now negating his responsibility to admit that he was wrong now and he should have done it when he was in power first.

[Page 732]

This government is taxing seniors and do you know what really bothers me? It bothers me the way this was rolled out. I don't believe there was consultation with the seniors and the Senior Citizens' Secretariat across this province. I don't know how many seniors this minister brought in and said, listen, if you are sick and you go in a hospital and you get to the point where you are not as acutely sick as we need you to be to fit into this criteria, but you have no place to go, we are going to tax you. Some members call it a fine, a tax, whatever you want to call it, they are going to do that. I don't think this minister went out and consulted with seniors. Maybe the minister did not even have a choice. Maybe it was the Minister of Finance who did all these flip-flops and all these different policies without a plan. Somebody did it. It was either the Premier, the Minister of Health or the Minister of Finance. Somebody did it. To say to seniors that they are going to tax them. I do not believe that they consulted properly on that particular rationale.

Why are patients and their families forced to pay penalties when it is the system that is failing them. This is the Nova Scotia Nurses' Union that was put out Friday, March 30, 2001. They are saying that the Minister of Finance has rationalized this new user fee because he has rationalized it on the basis of being able to receive more money for health care. Is this the beginning of the slippery slope of privatization of health care in Nova Scotia? It is a Tory game, it is a Tory program, Ralph Klein is trying to move in that way. Is that what this Minister of Health is really looking at, his way to fix health care is to charge people? Is that the way we are going? Is the way we are going is that we are going to move into some sort of privatization of health care in Nova Scotia? Why not start off with the most vulnerable in society, our seniors? Is that what you are suggesting, Mr. Minister, starting off with seniors in the Province of Nova Scotia?

It is interesting that this is a government that said that they wanted free fishing licences for seniors. Do you remember that, member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley? They were going to do that because they said they cared about seniors. Well, they did not come forward with that particular commitment. What they have come forward with is a tax on seniors who have no place to go. These people are not well enough to go home and provide for themselves. They are in a situation where they have no place to go. They have nothing to do. They did not create the problem. What we have done is turned around and said we are going to tax them. This minister is talking about building facilities across the province for long-term care. Why would they not have gone ahead and done that first and then have been able to deal with seniors in a just and fair way? I do not know why. That was an option. I think this is going to create, what is it, $1 million they are expecting in different revenue?

Well, the Minister of Economic Development spent $3 million just in PR and advice, other ministers have spent all sorts of money on all sorts of initiatives to make themselves look good. The bottom line is that they could have just simply built facilities to meet the requirements of those individuals. I know that the good Minister of Health knows that the department has studied this issue inside and out. They have more studies on this than on probably any other issue in health. He knows that the need is there to help provide facilities

[Page 733]

in all of Nova Scotia. I will talk to him about Hillside Pines and Rosedale Home for Special Care and he knows how many times I have talked to him about the need for that facility to be built and expand those two facilities. I would hope that this minister would ask the Minister of Finance to reconsider this tax and put a moratorium on this tax until facilities are built so seniors have a place to go. A place to be able to have some dignity in the process.

Mr. Speaker, I realize our time is running short. The Minister of Health who talked about all sorts, was chastising everybody around here. This is the same Minister of Health who has now spent $300 million of borrowed money since they have been in power on health and they still have not dealt with the number one issue facing seniors, and that is long-term care beds in the Province of Nova Scotia. They had the chance to do it and they did not do it and now they are going to tax seniors in this province. That is the minister who says he knows the answers to the problem.

Mr. Speaker, I know that my time is all but over and I realize that the good Minister of Health would love for me to speak a little bit longer but the time is not there to do so. I am willing to share my time with him anytime . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. The time allotted for the debate has ended.

The honourable Liberal House Leader.

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I was just going to suggest that our business is completed for the day and turn it over to the Government House Leader.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, I move that the House do now rise to meet again tomorrow at the hour of 12:00 noon and sit until 8:00 p.m. The order of business will be the daily routine, Question Period, Supply, and then Public Bills for Second Reading, commencing with the Bill No. 11, the Financial Measures (2001) Act.

I move that the House do now rise.

MR. SPEAKER: Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

The motion is carried.

We have reached the moment of interruption. The resolution for this evening was submitted by the member for Cape Breton North:

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"Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House recognize that Northside Industrial Park is a vital component to the future of industrial Cape Breton."

ADJOURNMENT

MOTION UNDER RULE 5(5)

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

ECON. DEV. - C.B.: NORTHSIDE INDUSTRIAL PK. -

IMPORTANCE RECOGNIZE

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

"Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House recognize that Northside Industrial Park is a vital component to the future of industrial Cape Breton."

To anyone who has any awareness, and an acute awareness as I do, in Cape Breton right now that could never be more relevant. I have the great honour to represent the good people of North Sydney, Sydney Mines, and Florence. In our area, we are fortunate that such a facility as the Northside Industrial Park does exist to provide a means of an economic engine to allow us to move forward for new economic opportunity.

As information for members in the House, in industrial Cape Breton there are three core industrial parks: There is Cossitt Heights, which is 112 acres, unfortunately 70 per cent of that space is available; we have Sydport, 600 acres, 62 per cent or more is available for development; and we have the Northside Industrial Park, where 70 per cent is available for development. However, what we do have are 1,200 acres in total for economic activity.

In the Northside Industrial Park however - and I want to go back with a bit of the history - back in the early 1980's, the Towns of North Sydney and Sydney Mines came together in recognizing what the economy was at the time, and had the vision to move forward on developing this proposal with the federal and provincial governments. What they were successful in doing was putting in place incentives that brought new industry. If anyone recalls, over the course of time there were some great successes in that park and there were some failures. Sometimes people have dwelt on what the failures were, but in the process of time evolving what has happened is every single facility in that industrial park today has activity happening in it, and it is happening because people did not give up. People are working towards new opportunities.

[Page 735]

I want to highlight some of the activities that do exist in the park. We have East Coast Rope, a plant that was going to be moved to the United States, but local people stood up and took control of that destiny; today a second plant in Sydport Industrial Park now exists. We have Tesma, Precision Fineblank Components, a division of Magna International, a plant that has grown and continues to grow, and I believe we will see even further growth, a multinational company operating from the industrial park in North Sydney, being competitive to the point that we even see spinoff opportunities where they show corporate citizenship, and we see that in Northside Adult Services Centre, where people with mental or physical disabilities are actually supplying the crates for shipping from that area, and are doing a fine job. People are now working in that plant as a result, because they have the capacity and we have a corporation that understands what community is about.

We have the Northside base for the EMC. We have several local businesses and area businesses operating in that park, whether that is a printing company, landscaping, industrial supply companies or resource supplies. We have a division through Correctional Services there, the provincial government. We have MacTech, distance education, providing education throughout this country, and from the Northside Industrial Park is a base. We have Copol International Ltd., a plastics manufacturing company, a quiet success that is producing over 1 million pounds of plastic product and shipping it throughout North America every month.

We have Atlantech Extrusion Inc., and we have a new development at the former IMP plant. I think that is going to be something that we all look forward to hearing some more good news about as there is activity currently happening in and around the grounds there for new employment.

[6:00 p.m.]

What we see in the Northside Industrial Park is a model of the fact that this community could have allowed all those things to collapse and die but what they chose to do was to stand up, innovate their approach to business development and they are reinvigorating the economy.

Whereas today in the Northside Industrial Park in my riding, I am happy to say that there are over 500 individuals employed, contributing to the quality of life in that area and I think that is a testament to the future that we have on the Northside and the ability to move forward.

Part and parcel to that, we look at the opportunities, manufacturing. The Northside Industrial Park has been a key area of manufacturing. I hope it will be a niche market for us to further develop. As we know with Sydport, the large focus there is now looking to the offshore opportunities that are available and hopefully that will be realized as business people and the community work together to see that employment growth and opportunity is

[Page 736]

seized. Once again, it is being seized by local people determining that they are going to take control of the destiny of the area.

With Cossitt Heights we see a lot of resident activity and a lot of potential, hopefully, whereby we can see local companies that can grow and the spinoff in service benefits as things evolve with offshore and future developments.

So we have the capacity and we have the infrastructure. What we have to have is a plan and an ability to move forward. I also believe that the Northside Industrial Park provides some supply management opportunity for the offshore and is utilizing that but also we have a resident opportunity through the existence of Marine Atlantic and the service that it provides to the good people of Newfoundland and Labrador, whereby we can look at further opportunities for marshalling, warehousing and inventory management for the growing Newfoundland market and look to where we have complementary relationships between areas and jurisdictions and not merely disputes between both areas.

We want to look at why the Northside Industrial Park is strategic for the future of industrial Cape Breton. We have rail links to that area and I know there is a lot of concern about the future of rail, but we have companies in that park that utilize rail facilities on an ongoing, daily basis and hopefully other opportunities are going to come forward to ensure that Rail-Tech has the ability to provide an increased service to the area, not a declining service to the area.

We have the Trans Canada Highway which is directly adjacent linking both Marine Atlantic and the industrial park and being the first point of delivery in industrial Cape Breton and once again, providing a strategic positioning.

We also have the Port of North Sydney and the other port facilities that exist in and around the harbour of Sydney. In North Sydney we have a private venture that has taken over the previous Government Wharf and now is utilizing that facility for private development providing in excess of $50 million of business activity and employing dozens and dozens of people, offering new opportunity for people to utilize that facility as a common-user approach to development.

Our air links - Cape Breton and the Sydney Airport Authority have provided us with a world class airport. We all agree it should expand and can expand even more but it adds to our building a business case.

We have business, community and governments all committed to growth. What we need now is to reinvigorate our focus for that area. What we want to do is ensure that we do maintain the necessary levels of infrastructure. A key player in the Northside Industrial Park today is the Cape Breton Regional Municipality and it was great that we were able to have His Worship, Mayor Morgan, as well as councillor Vince Hall present at that time. Because

[Page 737]

they are providing leadership and we see proposals coming forward from the CBRM which show regardless of what the outcome is, we do not currently know, it shows that people in the CBRM are determined to look for new ways of providing a future economic base that is not reliant on the traditional economies of coal and steel but utilizing the workforce that has driven those industries to bring forward new opportunity.

When we see in the Northside Industrial Park, the capacity for full water, sewer, storm sewer, power, with the street alignments necessary and rail into the area, with land availability - but most importantly, we have the people availability and the ability to grow our economy, to complement the other areas and build a wider, more strategic plan for all of industrial Cape Breton.

I know I had the ability to be at the doorsteps recently and hear from people who are determined to see just that and have given me a mandate to ensure that the Northside Industrial Park is very much a part of the future of industrial Cape Breton and to ensure that we take the opportunity to expand those new horizons. That is why my office as well is going to be located in the Northside Industrial Park, because I want to send a message, if you want to talk about development, put your money where your mouth is. That is what I have done because I want people to know our economy and our future looks bright and it will be bright, thanks to people committing to this government. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. FRANK CORBETT: Mr. Speaker, I think the member in his motion - it is a good one, I think we should be supportive of the Northside Industrial Park, but I want to hit on some of the things the member said and then maybe some things he didn't say. I agree wholeheartedly for a facility like that to grow and add real value to the community, there has to be local input, local buy-in and by and large I see that there. That local input, local buy-in should be aided by outside forces. By and large, when I talk about some of those outside forces it still has to be considered government in a lot of ways. Government has to play a lead role in an economy such as Cape Breton's. Does government do it all by themselves? Absolutely not. Government has to be there as an incubator, if you will.

I don't plan on using my whole 10 minutes, but I want to speak about some of those things, where the government should be showing leadership; some they are and many of them they are not. One in particular was just last week in the naming of the board of directors for Nova Scotia Business Inc. I think they sent a message out and only put one person from Cape Breton on that board. I think it spoke volumes, saying we don't really consider that input. Is that putting down the person they named to that board? No, not particularly. The gentleman that they put on there, Mr. MacLeod, is a fine man and I am sure that, to the best of his abilities he will represent Cape Breton and Cape Breton's concerns but he is just one voice, one lone voice. So it brings me to question that member's government's commitment to economic development in areas such as Cape Breton. We could be talking about other

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areas but this is in particular about the Northside Industrial Park which is located in industrial Cape Breton.

Some of the points the member made were talking about its proximity to the TCH and that is good, but there has to be a commitment - and this may be both levels of government - to a highway that would want to attract users, not a highway that is in some disrepair all the time, to its infrastructure. The government has to come forward and, in earnest, invest in that. That would aid those local people.

Another vital piece of transportation infrastructure is the railway. Again, I agree with the member that it is necessary, but his own government has put that in great jeopardy. I guess we look at it that this is a privately-run railway and it is not going to come up to North Sydney because we are nice people. It is going to have to have a reason to exist. With all due respect to the member, I am afraid that is not going to happen with the closure of Sydney Steel and the sell-off of its assets. That causes me concern. I think the member shares some of that concern with me. He may not want to say it publicly and I don't think he hides behind anything, I think he understands that that is a real concern. You just cannot take that big a piece of pie out of your economic equation and say it is business as usual.

I don't want to sound the alarm bells, I don't want to say that there will be no railway services. On the other side, if it gets down to, we pull a train into Cape Breton once a week, well, the new people coming in say, well, I want to be able to get my product in and out of there. I think, you know, we have to be cognizant of that. We have to go and we have to say, this is important. When I hear the member say that he has shown his support for that industrial park, I would hope and I am not going to chide you in any way, honourable member, but what I want to do is make sure that you are telling your government how important that is.

As we see today, we certainly crossed Party lines today and we talked about the bill put forward by the member for Cape Breton East. I stood in this House last year and to the chagrin of some people, supported a government bill on the sale of Sydney Steel for what I was led to believe was there. We did that with good faith and we did that in the hope that we were securing a future for some of those workers. So we are not here to be negative all the time, we are in earnest trying to come forward and help grow the economy.

Sometimes you know, if I push in the front and you push in the back, maybe we'll get something done. Correct me if I am wrong, but I don't think he was saying that we are out of the economic woods in Cape Breton, that things are great and everybody has a job and whatever. I do not think he is saying that.

We still need the buy-in from both levels of government. We need that period of growth that can help us get by. Whether we want to say steel and coal are of a bygone era, I really don't know. Maybe hope springs eternal. Coal certainly has its place in the world

[Page 739]

energy market, coal operators in the United States probably did a real jig last week when President Bush backed away from the Kyoto Accord. I mean that's another debate, burning those fossil fuels and what they do to the environment. But I am sure it has breathed some new life into the coal industry and I know the member for Cape Breton The Lakes - correct me if I am wrong - the Point Aconi generating station is in your area and so you are burning fossil fuels there, you are also doing it on a fluidized bed system and it is fairly clean technology.

Talking to Nova Scotia Power, while they haven't announced anything yet but certainly they are looking at the possibility of putting scrubbers on the Phase I and II stacks at Lingan generating station and again, we are looking at clean coal technology. I don't want us to say Devco has gone, coal mining is gone. I don't think there are too many. They are a hearty breed and a good bunch of people. I don't think everyone espoused when they were a three year old and said I want to be a coal miner. Most want to be a fireman, policeman, that type of thing. I speak as someone whose father spent 47 years working in the coal mine, I didn't espouse to be a coal miner. Not that there was anything wrong with that, I have nothing but the utmost respect for a lot of those people.

What I am saying in the short few minutes I have left, when I said I wasn't going to go that long, is just that I think I agree with the member's proposal, I think we should support things like that. I think we should look at overall economic development for industrial Cape Breton because I hear sometimes groups like ECBC are trying to pigeonhole groups like saying, well, the area I represent, New Waterford, well, we won't do any economic development over there. We will make that a bedroom community. Well, talk to the people about that. Don't make a decision in Ottawa or Halifax of what we are going to do with those communities. Bring them in and be inclusive.

There is a new group over there called New Era, they are trying to do some economic development there. Grass roots, just what the member spoke about; people we should be supporting. I think that it is important that we take areas like Northside Industrial, show the good side but remember that it is a long uphill battle and I think that we all have to work together and I would hope that we would be supportive of New Era and be supportive of the Northside Industrial Park and over at Sydport, that has to be, and then Cossitt Heights in the City of Sydney. All those things have to be packaged, and I think what we are all hopefully here in this House to do is to move the economy of Cape Breton forward. Whether that is with or without coal and steel, we don't know yet, but certainly whatever form that takes, that we are supportive of moving that economy upward.

[Page 740]

[6:15 p.m.]

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

MR. BRIAN BOUDREAU: Mr. Speaker, I have to admit that I agree with the member for Cape Breton North, that the Northside Industrial Park is obviously very vital, particularly to the Northside area of the CBRM. The good member for Cape Breton North did touch on one issue that I would like to discuss here this evening and, of course, it indicates very clearly that any future development of the park is threatened by the potential loss of the Cape Breton and Central Nova Scotia Railway. I would hope that particular member would recognize that.

With the loss of Sysco it means that the days of the railway are numbered in Cape Breton without new industry, that is quite obvious. That is the problem with the plan of this government to close Sysco, Mr. Speaker. They had no plan to deal with the fallout. They had no real plan. In fact, every large-scale employer from Sydney to Truro is threatened by a possible abandonment of the railway, and this government has done absolutely nothing about that. The Minister of Economic Development does not see this as a problem and he has made that very clear. He indicates that he has no respect for the challenges of economic development in eastern Nova Scotia or Cape Breton. In fact, every time our critic asks a question about Cape Breton, the minister replies that the problems of Cape Breton are normal, basically, and that there are problems of equal degree throughout the province.

Mr. Speaker, that is completely contrary to the opportunities for prosperity, the government's economic strategy which says Cape Breton's problems are unique to the rest of Canada. The only explanation, of course, is this minister has nothing but disdain for the people of Cape Breton and the problems we face. So this member can talk about the Northside Industrial Park all he wants, but he will not get any help from the Economic Development Minister who, obviously, is not in support of that particular region. If the member from the Northside cares, he should ask his Economic Development Minister to follow the government's economic development strategy, which recognized the Cape Breton problem as being unique to Canada.

Unemployment on the Northside is twice that of everywhere else in Nova Scotia. So before this member comes to the House for support, he should go talk to his Economic Development Minister and perhaps maybe he can get some direction on how we are going to contain that and improve that. Is this the best the member can do in late debate, Mr. Speaker? Put your money where your mouth is and do something for the Northside instead of lecturing in this House.

Let's not forget this member was elected under the false premise that he would be in Cabinet, Mr. Speaker. This member and the Premier deliberately misled the people of the Northside so they could take this seat in the last by-election.

[Page 741]

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. I appreciate the member may have some issues, but to use the words deliberately misled is unparliamentary and I would ask that the member withdraw that statement.

MR. BOUDREAU: Mr. Speaker, I will withdraw that comment. I will replace it with the phrase, that this member and the Premier obviously misled the people on the Northside when they made people believe that this member would be put right in Cabinet, right on the front lines. Until he gets that Cabinet post, that particular member will have absolutely no impact on the direction this government is taking, especially with a Minister of Economic Development and an Education Minister, I may add, who have absolutely no respect for Cape Breton or Cape Bretoners. The last time the Economic Development Minister, in fact, visited UCCB - and I don't know if the good member for Cape Breton North knows this or not - he took two bodyguards with him. He announced the project that was funded by the Liberal Government and left with his bodyguards. Not only does he not respect Cape Bretoners, but it appears that he has a problem with courage.

If this member cares at all about the Northside Industrial Park, as well as the entire community of the Northside, he will demand a Cabinet post - demand it. Unfortunately, the member for Dartmouth South, perhaps, and the member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley will do everything they can do to stop him from getting to the Cabinet. I would suggest there are other individuals over there who would take that same direction.

I want to leave this member with the following advice, when the last train leaves the Northside I want this member to remember a postcard that I have a copy of - and I will table that this evening for the benefit of the good member for Cape Breton North, just to ensure that he has it; perhaps he could obtain a copy. No, Sysco was not the new economy, that is obvious, and it has taken up too much money. That is obvious, and we agree on this side of the House.

Remember, this government had no plan to support the industry that it left behind. That is the problem with Sysco. It also has no plan to clean up the billion dollar environmental disaster that it left behind. We still have to deal with that. Perhaps that is another issue which may require the attention of the new Cabinet Minister from the Northside, when he is, in fact, appointed, which I would suggest will be very shortly. Remember this postcard, Mr. Member, and ask yourself, did I do everything I could to prevent the last train from leaving? If the train has left the station, then I think you will have your answer.

Mr. Speaker, being a former municipal councillor on the Northside, representing the area just adjacent to where this park is located - and actually I am kind of proud to say that I was a former deputy mayor - I have knowledge, of course, that the CBRM is the management team responsible for the management of that particular park. I can assure you that they do a very professional job. I think it is also important to recognize, as the good member for Cape Breton North has indicated, that companies that locate in that park have

[Page 742]

played a major role throughout our community. In all aspects of community life, they are contributing on a daily basis. I for one and I know the residents that I represent, particularly in the Bras d'Or, Alder Point, Florence, Little Pond area, Millville, South Side Boularderie, that particular area, we are very proud of the contribution that these industries are providing our communities. Not only in providing jobs, but they sponsor many events, they support various causes and they contribute a great deal.

I want to thank both the management and the employees in that particular part, as my good friend, the member for Cape Breton North indicated, there are approximately close to 500 jobs over there. They are very important. However, it is important to recognize that they are not all residents of the Northside who work in that particular park.

Mr. Speaker, I know the member for Cape Breton North has good intentions, but I hope that he does not intend to play or take credit on projects that are initiated by the federal government. I know the good member, and he cares. I don't have a problem suggesting that. He will probably be at the table when Mark Eyking, our new MP for the area who picked up this project at Tesma, which will create more than 100 jobs in that park, in the next few days it will be announced by the MP, and I hope that this member does not for one minute believe that we on this side of the House will allow him - and that government - to take credit for the initiatives of the federal government, particularly the two new MPs who have been working very hard all winter for the residents on Cape Breton as a whole.

In closing, I am eager to work with all members of this House, particularly the member for Cape Breton North who, I guess, is my sister member here and I can assure you when he is put in Cabinet I will support that decision. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: The time allotted for late debate has ended.

The House is adjourned.

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

[Page 743]

NOTICES OF MOTION UNDER RULE 32(3)

RESOLUTION NO. 309

By: Mr. Richard Hurlburt (Yarmouth)

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

Whereas Robert Claremont is the recipient of the Canadian Cancer Society's Certificate of Merit; and

Whereas Robert has served on his unit for 15 years in several capacities and manages the local office of the Cancer Society; and

Whereas Robert has demonstrated an untiring commitment to his unit of the Cancer Society and their cause;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate Robert Claremont on his Certificate of Merit and acknowledge his years of dedicated service to the Canadian Cancer Society.

RESOLUTION NO. 310

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 Canadian Cystic Fibrosis Foundation has awarded the Yarmouth Chapter of the Canadian Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors with a national fundraising award; and

Whereas the local chapter has assisted the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation with its Santa Sock Campaign; and

Whereas the campaign would not be the success it is without the outstanding effort and contribution of groups like the local chapter of the Canadian Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors;

[Page 744]

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate the Yarmouth chapter of the Canadian Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors on their national fundraising award and commend them on their contribution to the Canadian Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.