The Nova Scotia Legislature

The House resumed on:
September 21, 2017.

HANSARD
01-2

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

FRIDAY, MARCH 23, 2001

TABLE OF CONTENTS PAGE
PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS:
Transport. & Pub. Wks.: Route 12 (Chester Basin to New Ross) -
Priority, Mr. J. Chataway 33
GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 1, Estimates: CWH on Supply - Referred, Hon. N. LeBlanc 34
Res. 2, Gov't. (Can.) - N.S. Offshore Benefits: Commitment - Honour,
The Premier 34
Vote - Affirmative 35
Res. 3, Striking Committee - Appointment, The Premier 35
Vote - Affirmative 36
Res. 4, Health: Anemia Awareness Wk. (26/03/01-02/04/01) - Recognize,
(by Hon. J. Purves), Hon. J. Muir 36
Vote - Affirmative 37
Res. 5, Tourism - Scotland-Nova Scotia: Partnership - Encourage,
Hon. Rodney MacDonald 37
Vote - Affirmative 38
Res. 6, Acadian Affs. - Acadian/Francophone Commun.: Contribution -
Recognize, Hon. N. LeBlanc 38
Vote - Affirmative 39
Res. 7, Sports - Curling: Colleen Jones Team - Best Wishes Convey,
Hon. Rodney MacDonald 39
Vote - Affirmative 40
INTRODUCTION OF BILLS:
No. 1, Land Registration Act, Hon. A. MacIsaac 40
No. 2, Public Services Protection Act, Ms. Maureen MacDonald 41
No. 3, Whistleblowers Act, Mr. F. Corbett 41
No. 4, Medicare Protection Act, Mr. D. Dexter 41
No. 5, Lobbyists' Registration Act, Mr. J. MacDonell 41
No. 6, Road Improvements Act, Mr. W. Estabrooks 41
NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 8, Sports - Basketball CIAU Championships (Men): St. F.X. -
Congrats., Hon. A. MacIsaac 41
Vote - Affirmative 42
Res. 9, Sports - Basketball CIAU Championships (Men): St. F.X./
Staff/Officials - Congrats., Ms. Maureen MacDonald 42
Vote - Affirmative 43
Res. 10, Cape Breton North/Halifax Fairview - By-Elections: Candidates -
Thank, Mr. Manning MacDonald 43
Vote - Affirmative 43
Res. 11, Bluenose II Launch - Anniv. (80th): Commemoration -
Participants Congrats., Hon. M. Baker 43
Vote - Affirmative 44
Res. 12, Nat. Res. - Forest Industry: Legislation - Implement,
Mr. J. MacDonell 44
Res. 13, Glace Bay: Emergency Water System - Remedy, Mr. D. Wilson 45
Res. 14, How, Harry & Juanita: Public Service - Recognize, Hon. D. Morse 46
Vote - Affirmative 46
Res. 15, Sports - Basketball: Sackville Lazers - Congrats., Mr. J. Holm 47
Vote - Affirmative 47
Res. 16, Fin. - Budget: Balancing - Time Frame, Mr. D. Downe 47
Res. 17, Sports - Hockey: Hfx. Mooseheads - Congrats., Mr. D. Hendsbee 48
Vote - Affirmative 49
Res. 18, Sports - Swimming: Duffy, Sean - Forum for Young Canadians
Selection Congrats., Mr. K. Deveaux 50
Vote - Affirmative 49
Res. 19, Health - System: Costs - Min. of Fin. Apologize, Dr. J. Smith 50
Res. 20, Sports - Hockey: Halifax Hawks - Commend, Ms. M. McGrath 50
Vote - Affirmative 51
Res. 21, Sports - Basketball: Andrea, Paul/X-Men - Good Luck Convey,
Mr. F. Corbett 51
Vote - Affirmative 52
Res. 22, Premier - Campaign for Fairness: Sen. Buchanan/
Rt. Hon. Brian Mulroney - Support Seek, Mr. K. MacAskill 52
Res. 23, N.S. Film Dev. Corp.: First Works Prog. - Applaud,
Mr. D. Hendsbee 53
Vote - Affirmative 53
Res. 24, Sfeir, Eminence and Beatitude Cardinal Mar Nasrallah Peter:
Halifax - Welcome, Mr. G. Steele 54
Vote - Affirmative 54
Res. 25, Serv. N.S. & Mun. Rel.: Municipalities (Richmond, Guysborough,
Saint Mary's) - Equalization, Mr. M. Samson 54
Res. 26, Transport. & Pub. Wks. - Commuter Rail (Hfx.): Position -
Gov't. (N.S.), Mr. H. Epstein 55
Res. 27, Transport. & Pub. Wks. - Nat. Gas: Distribution - Min. Allow,
Mr. R. MacKinnon 56
Res. 28, Nat. Res. - Coastal Properties: Ownership - Review,
Mr. W. Estabrooks 56
Res. 29, Transport. & Pub. Wks. - Floral Heights Sub.: Bailey bridge -
Replace, Mr. R. MacKinnon 57
Res. 30, Educ. - Literacy Pilot Project: Pianosi, Catherine/
Wallace, Jennifer/B.C. Silver JHS - Congrats., Mr. Robert Chisholm 57
Vote - Affirmative 58
Res. 31, Riordon, Sue - Veterans Affs. Comm.: Commitments -
Endorse, (by Mr. M. Samson), Mr. D. Wilson 58
Vote - Affirmative 59
Res. 32, Wentzell, Jamie: Abilities (academic/athletic) - Congrats.,
Mr. D. Dexter 59
Vote - Affirmative 59
Res. 33, Econ. Dev. - C.B. Growth Fund: Contribution - Gov't. (N.S.),
Mr. Manning MacDonald 60
Res. 34, Cape Breton Nova - MLA: Recovery - Best Wishes Convey,
Mr. J. MacDonell 60
Vote - Affirmative 61
Res. 35, Bridgewater Kinettes: Anniv. (50th) - Congrats., Mr. D. Downe 61
Vote - Affirmative 61
Res. 36, Holy Angels HS - HS Debating Championships: Participants -
Best Wishes Convey, Mr. J. Holm 62
Vote - Affirmative 62
Res. 37, Sports - Basketball CIAU Championships (Men): St. F.X. -
Win Congrats., (by Mr. M. Samson), Mr. B. Boudreau 62
Vote - Affirmative 63
Res. 38, Commun. Serv. - 8 Manor Opening: Northwoodcare Inc./
Deafness Advocacy Assoc. - Congrats., Ms. Maureen MacDonald 63
Vote - Affirmative 64
Res. 39, Craig, Michael - Dr. James W. Reid. Mem. Award: Recipient -
Congrats., Mr. K. Deveaux 64
Vote - Affirmative 64
Res. 40, Legislative Library: Staff - Congrats./Thank,^Dr. J. Smith 65
Vote - Affirmative 65
Res. 41, Health - Aricept & Excelon (Alzheimer's Disease): Gov't. (N.S.) -
Cost Cover, (by Mr. G. Steele), Mr. J. Pye 65
Res. 42, Smith, Daniel & Rennie - Melvin Jones Awards: Recipients -
Congrats., Mr. W. Estabrooks 66
Vote - Affirmative 67
Res. 43, Sports - Hockey: Yarmouth Consolidated Mem. HS Vikings -
Good Luck Convey, Mr. Robert Chisholm 67
Vote - Affirmative 67
Res. 44, Gracie, John: Accomplishments/Talent - Acknowledge,
Mr. D. Dexter 67
Vote - Affirmative 68
GOVERNMENT BUSINESS:
GOVERNMENT MOTIONS:
ADDRESS IN REPLY:
Mr. J. MacDonell 69
Dr. J. Smith 79
Mr. M. Parent 89
Mr. G. Steele 95
Adjourned debate 102
ADJOURNMENT, House rose to meet again on Mon., Mar. 26th at 7:00 p.m. 102

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HALIFAX, FRIDAY, MARCH 23, 2001

Fifty-eighth General Assembly

Second Session

10:00 A.M.

SPEAKER

Hon. Murray Scott

DEPUTY SPEAKERS

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

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. We will begin the daily routine.

PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS

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

MR. JOHN CHATAWAY: Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to table a petition on behalf of the people from the Chester-St. Margaret's area. The operative clause reads, "We the undersigned people, ask that replacement/repairs be given to Route 12 from Chester Basin to New Ross as a Number One Priority." I have affixed my signature to this petition.

MR. SPEAKER: The petition is tabled.

PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES

TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS

STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS

33

[Page 34]

GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Finance.

RESOLUTION NO. 1

HON. NEIL LEBLANC: Mr. Speaker, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall:

(1) read and table the message from Her Honour the Lieutenant Governor transmitting the Estimates of Sums required for the service of the Province for the fiscal year ending Marhc 31, 2002 for the consideration of the House;

(2) table the Estimate Books;

(3) table the Crown Corporation business plans;

(4) table the Estimate and Crown Corporation business plans resolutions;

(5) deliver my Budget Speech; and

(6) move that the Estimates of Sums required for the service of the Province, for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2002, being Supply to be granted to Her Majesty, and the Crown Corporation business plans be referred to the Committee of the Whole House on Supply.

Mr. Speaker, I wish to inform the House that I will be delivering my Budget Address on Thursday, March 29th.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable Premier.

RESOLUTION NO. 2

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

Whereas all members of this House support Article One of the Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Accord which guarantees that Nova Scotia be the principal beneficiary of our offshore resources; and

Whereas despite this agreement, the federal government collects 81 cents out of every dollar generated from Nova Scotia's offshore; and

[Page 35]

Whereas support for addressing this issue has been expressed by Leaders of the federal Conservative, New Democratic and Alliance Parties and members of the Atlantic Liberal Caucus, senators, Newfoundland Premier Roger Grimes, Alberta Premier Ralph Klein and former Alberta Premier Peter Lougheed;

Therefore be it resolved that a letter be sent to the Prime Minister of Canada on behalf of all members of this House urging the Government of Canada to honour its commitment to the people of Nova Scotia to be the principal beneficiaries of our offshore.

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 Premier.

RESOLUTION NO. 3

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

Be it resolved that:

(1) A Special Committee be appointed whose duty it shall be to prepare and report, with all convenient speed, lists of members to compose the Standing Committees of the House and

(a) the Standing Committees be constituted for the life of this Assembly;

(b) the lists be deposited in the Office of the Chief Clerk and that the Standing Committees be established with full authority from the date the lists are deposited in that Office;

(c) the Chair of each Standing Committee be the member named as Chair of that Standing Committee;

[Page 36]

(d) the Standing Committees be severally empowered to examine and inquire

into all matters and things, as may be referred to them by this House; and

(f) the Standing Committees be severally empowered to, from time to time, report to this House their observations and opinions, thereof, with power to send for and examine witnesses and records;

(2) this House extend to any witness appearing before the Standing Committees the protection of this House; and

(3) the Special Committee be composed of the Honourable Ronald Russell, as Chairman and the Honourable Neil LeBlanc, the Honourable Michael Baker, Mr. John Holm, and Mr. Manning MacDonald.

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. 4

HON. JANE PURVES: Mr. Speaker, I will be reading this resolution on behalf of the Minister of Health, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas the Anemia Institute for Research and Education is having its second Anemia Awareness Week on March 26th to April 2, 2001; and

Whereas anemia is a medical condition that occurs when red blood cells fail to carry enough oxygen to the tissues and can become a serious problem if it remains undiagnosed and untreated; and

[Page 37]

Whereas the goal of Anemia Awareness Week is to increase awareness of anemia as a serious condition for thousands of Canadians and to promote diagnosis, treatment and prevention among health care professionals and patients;

Therefore be it resolved that this House recognize March 26th to April 2, 2001 as Anemia Awareness Week and thank the members of the Anemia Institute for Research and Education for their efforts to create awareness of this medical condition.

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. 5

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

Whereas Nova Scotia and Scotland have a shared history and the Scottish-Gaelic culture, language and traditions are valuable and living parts of the stories and identities of both Scotias; and

Whereas upon having met with members of the Scottish Highland Council and representatives of Commun na Gaidhlig and others involved in the maintenance of the Scottish-Gaelic culture and language; and

Whereas having agreed that partnership between Scotland and Nova Scotia for cultural exchange and tourism development would be mutually beneficial;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House join me in recognizing our important historical links and commitment to maintaining the Scottish-Gaelic language and, to that end, encourage further dialogue, tourism development and cultural exchange between the two Scotias.

[Page 38]

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.

RESOLUTION NO. 6

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

Attendu que la Nouvelle-Écosse est le berceau de la francophonie canadienne; et

Attendu que cette année, la francophone canadienne est célébrée du 12 au 25 mars, et que les Acadiens et les francophones de la Nouvelle-Écosse ont souligné de façon spéciale le 20 mars, la journée internationale de la francophonie; et

Attendu qu'il y a en Nouvelle-Écosse une communauté acadienne et francophone vivante et dynamique qui est fière de son héritage, de sa culture et fière de faire partie de cette province;

Qu'il soit résolu que cette assemblée reconnaisse la contribution de la communauté acadienne à la richesse et à la diversité culturelle de la province de la Nouvelle-Écosse.

Mr. Speaker, I will repeat this resolution in English.

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

Whereas Nova Scotia is the birthplace of Canada and especially of Francophone Canada; and

[Page 39]

[10:15 a.m.]

Whereas this year, la Francophonie canadienne is celebrated from March 12th to March 25th, and the Acadians and Francophones of Nova Scotia celebrated on March 20th, la Journée internationale de la Francophonie; and

Whereas Nova Scotia is home to a vibrant and dynamic Acadian and Francophone community who is proud of its heritage, culture and proud to be an integral part of this province;

Therefore be it resolved that this House recognize the contribution of the Acadian and Francophone community to the rich cultural diversity of the Province of Nova Scotia.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister responsible for the Nova Scotia Sport and Recreation Commission.

RESOLUTION NO. 7

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

Whereas Nova Scotia's Colleen Jones Team competed in the Scott Tournament of Hearts in Sudbury in February; and

Whereas Skip Colleen Jones, Third Kim Kelly, Second Mary-Anne Waye, Lead Nancy Delahunt, Fifth Lanie Peters and Coach Ken Bagnell won the 2001 Tournament of Hearts; and

Whereas Colleen Jones is now one of the few women to claim three Scott Tournament of Hearts titles and will lead her team as they represent Canada at the World Curling Championship in Lauzanne, Switzerland next week;

[Page 40]

Therefore be it resolved that the Nova Scotia Government, in recognition of the achievements of the Colleen Jones Team, wishes the team 'good curling' in Switzerland.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

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

HON. ANGUS MACISAAC: Mr. Speaker, before I introduce this bill, which is related to the Registry 2000 Project, perhaps the House might permit me to recognize people in the gallery who have played a tremendous role in putting together this project which is going to be of benefit to all Nova Scotians. I said the gallery, but I would also want to recognize the contribution made by the honourable member for Halifax Bedford Basin, who lent her experience to this project and was a very valuable advisor to myself and those who worked on the development.

I would recognize Al Demings, the Nova Scotia Realtors Association; Catherine Walker, the Realtors Lawyers Association of Nova Scotia; Fred Hutchinson, Nova Scotia Association of Surveyors; Deborah Rosee, Barristers Liability Claims Fund; Darrel Pink, Executive Director of the Nova Scotia Barristers Society; Chris McCulloch, Department of Justice; and from the staff of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations, Nancy Van Stone, Mark Coffin and Gretchen Pohlkamp.

Mr. Speaker, these folks have made a tremendous contribution, worked tirelessly in the development of this project, and I am very pleased to be able to recognize that contribution here this morning. (Applause)

INTRODUCTION OF BILLS

Bill No. 1 - Entitled an Act to Provide for the Registration of Title to Land and to Amend Certain Statutes Respecting Real Property. (Hon. Angus MacIsaac)

[Page 41]

Bill No. 2 - Entitled an Act Respecting the Protection of Public Services in the Province. (Ms. Maureen MacDonald)

Bill No. 3 - Entitled an Act to Protect Civil Servants who Disclose Government Wrong-doing. (Mr. Frank Corbett)

Bill No. 4 - Entitled an Act Respecting the Protection of Medicare in Nova Scotia. (Mr. Darrell Dexter)

Bill No. 5 - Entitled an Act to Provide for the Registration of Lobbyists. (Mr. John MacDonell)

Bill No. 6 - Entitled an Act to Set Criteria for Prioritizing Road Improvement Projects. (Mr. William Estabrooks)

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

NOTICES OF MOTION

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

RESOLUTION NO. 8

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

Whereas the St. F.X. men's basketball team were the reigning national CIAU champions; and

Whereas they also played 28 games undefeated in the 2000-01 season; and

Whereas the X-Men dramatically recaptured the national basketball title against the Brandon Bobcats in a sellout game at the Metro Centre, winning the school's third title in the past nine years;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate the St. F.X. men's basketball team and their coaching staff for the best ending to an already great season, for upholding Nova Scotian excellence in national university athletics, and for thrilling the host of loyal fans in attendance rooting for their team at home.

Mr. Speaker, before I ask for waiver, I want to point out that the X-men's hockey team won their first game at the Nationals last night, 5 - 3.

[Page 42]

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Halifax Needham.

RESOLUTION NO. 9

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

Whereas the St. Francis Xavier X-Men repeated as CIAU men's basketball champions with a heart-stopping 83-76 overtime win over the Brandon Bobcats before a sellout crowd at the Metro Centre; and

Whereas Coach Steve Konchalski proclaims this year's team as "one of the great teams in CIAU history"; and

Whereas four of the young men on the roster hail from the Halifax area and played basketball at the YMCA, Gottingen Street;

Therefore be it resolved that the House congratulate Fred Perry, Jordan Croucher, Dennie Oliver, Mike Budreski and the entire X-Men team, coaching staff and university officials for this thrilling victory.

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 43]

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Cape Breton South.

RESOLUTION NO. 10

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

Whereas we live in an age where it is more and more difficult to convince quality candidates to endure the trials and tribulations of this place; and

Whereas several fine individuals willingly gave their time, energy and privacy to seek seats in this House during the recent by-elections; and

Whereas while we may disagree with each other's ideologies, we should always take care to respect one another.

Therefore be it resolved that the members of all Parties extend a heartfelt thank you to all the candidates who offered themselves in the recent by-elections in Cape Breton North and Halifax Fairview.

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. 11

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

Whereas Monday, March 26, 2001 will mark the 80th Anniversary of the launching of the Bluenose in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia; and

[Page 44]

Whereas the Fisheries Museum of the Atlantic, the Bluenose II Preservation Trust and the Captain Angus J. Walters House Museum will mark the occasion with a variety of presentations depicting the vessel's famous past; and

Whereas the 80th Anniversary celebrations which are taking place in Lunenburg, serve as a tribute to our glorious sailing past;

Therefore be it resolved that the House of Assembly congratulates the Fisheries Museum of the Atlantic, the Bluenose II Preservation Trust and the Captain Angus J. Walters House Museum on their efforts to remember our sailing past and our most famous sailing vessel.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Leader of the Opposition.

RESOLUTION NO. 12

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

Whereas in yesterday's Throne Speech, this government announced it will ensure sustainability of our forest resource by making an additional investment in silviculture on Crown land; and

Whereas this investment will subsidize the large pulp companies and sawmill operators who cut on Crown lands, thus depressing prices received for wood fibre by private woodlot owners, who own 75 per cent of forest lands in the province; and

Whereas low prices and no silviculture investment by government can only add to the vastly expanding cut on private lands as owners seek to reap what necessary income they can from their woodlands, being unable to carry on the cost of silviculture themselves;

[Page 45]

Therefore be it resolved that this government rethink its economic development plans for rural Nova Scotia and implement sound legislation and programs to sustain the forest industry through investment in private lands.

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 Cape Breton East.

RESOLUTION NO. 13

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

Whereas the government has committed to release a water quality protection plan; and

Whereas in typical Hamm-handed fashion, the government has embarked on another planning process with no commitment to actually act on a plan; and

Whereas the people of Glace Bay have one message to this government, stop planning and provide residents with safe, clean, drinking water!

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House urge the government to stop wasting more time on studies and move to remedy the emergency water situation in Glace Bay without delay.

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.

[Page 46]

The honourable Minister of Environment and Labour.

RESOLUTION NO. 14

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

Whereas Kings South was blessed with two of the kindest residents ever to serve their community in the late Harry and Juanita How; and

[10:30 a.m.]

Whereas it was said that Juanita knew the shoe size of every poor child in need on the South Mountain; and

Whereas Harry had before, during and after his term of office always discreetly been prepared to give the oil delivery man $50 to assist a less fortunate family, $100 to a family who had just lost their home to fire, as well as so many other similar quiet acts of kindness;

Therefore be it resolved that this House remember the late Harry How, a dear friend of the Nova Scotia Legislature and recognize the true mark made by both he and his late wife, Juanita How, as both were tremendous examples to all of true public service.

Mr. Speaker, I request a moment of silence to respect the memory of former Cabinet Minister and Attorney General Harry How and his partner in life and public service, his wife, the late Juanita How.

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.

All rise for a moment of silence.

[One minute of silence was observed.]

[Page 47]

MR. SPEAKER: Thank you. Please be seated.

The honourable member for Sackville-Cobequid.

RESOLUTION NO. 15

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

Whereas the Sackville Lazers won the Halifax Minor Basketball League Mini-Boys B Division on February 24, 2001 at the Dalplex; and

Whereas the Sackville Lazers also won the Bedford Classics Invitation in the championship game against Fall River; and

Whereas the Sackville Lazers, in their first year of existence will now be competing in the provincial championships to be held in Yarmouth in late March;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate the Sackville Lazers and their coaching staff on their successes in their initial year and extend best wishes for success at the provincials.

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. 16

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 Hamm Government is offering the promise of more spending in the face that the debt is still out of control, sucking up to close to $1 billion annually in interest; and

[Page 48]

Whereas increased revenue windfalls generated in Ontario and Alberta mean the government has an opportunity to balance the budget well ahead of schedule and before a North American recession takes hold; and

Whereas on June 30, 1999, the Tory Party stated in the Chronicle-Herald, "A PC government will achieve a truly balanced budget in year 3, if not sooner.";

Therefore be it resolved that in typical Tory fashion the Premier and Finance Minister are wasting a golden opportunity to balance the budget in time of economic prosperity . . . instead this missed opportunity will mean even greater pain and more cuts for taxpayers when the economy slows.

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 Preston.

RESOLUTION NO. 17

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

Whereas the Halifax Mooseheads clinching their first division title for the 2000-01 season, as well as the inaugural winners of the Pizza Delight Maritime Challenge Cup, clearly demonstrates the team's commitment to excellence and hard work; and

Whereas it was their quest to become the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League champions last year, but unfortunately came up short against a tougher Rimouski Oceanic, the number two ranked team in the country last year; and

Whereas the Halifax Mooseheads and their enduring, enthusiastic fans will once again bear witness to Rimouski Oceanic in the conference quarter-finals tonight and tomorrow at the Metro Centre;

[Page 49]

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate the Halifax Mooseheads on their accomplishments of the past season and offer our heartiest and best wishes of good luck in the upcoming playoffs.

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. 18

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

Whereas Sean Duffy is an active member of the Cole Harbour community and his local school, Auburn Drive High School; and

Whereas Sean is an accomplished swimmer and is active in student government; and

Whereas the Forum for Young Canadians is an organization committed to bringing students from throughout Canada to Ottawa to learn more about Canadian government and developing the skills necessary to be the future leaders of our nation;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate Sean Duffy on his selection as a participant in the Forum for Young Canadians in Ottawa in April and wish him all the best in his future endeavours.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

[Page 50]

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Dartmouth East.

RESOLUTION NO. 19

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

Whereas lately the Minister of Finance has been speaking on the need for strategic investments in information systems for health care in order to reduce costs and improve services; and

Whereas the Auditor General pointed out that a proposal for such an investment has not been acted on for two years; and

Whereas the cost of setting up such a health information system has increased over the past two years;

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Finance apologize to Nova Scotians for wasting precious time and, more importantly, precious money as the health care system becomes more costly and more inefficient.

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 Halifax Bedford Basin.

RESOLUTION NO. 20

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

[Page 51]

Whereas last week, defending provincial champs, the Halifax Hawks Bantam AAA hockey team, under the leadership of Head Coach Tom Duffey, were able to capture a second place finish for 2001; and

Whereas this weekend, the team will host the 2001 Nova Scotia Atom AAA Provincial Hockey Championships at the Centennial Arena in Halifax; and

Whereas this event was organized by a hard-working committee, chaired by Larry Allen, and will welcome teams and their families from across the province;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House commend the Halifax Hawks on their second place finish last week, wish them all the best in this weekend's tournament and thank the organizing committee for the dedication to the sport, as well as promotion of fair play and friendly competition amongst its young players.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

I understand it is the honourable member for Halifax Bedford Basin's birthday today. Happy Birthday. (Applause)

The honourable member for Cape Breton Centre.

RESOLUTION NO. 21

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

Whereas Sydney native Paul Andrea, of the St. Francis Xavier X-Men, is competing this weekend in the CIAU men's hockey title in Kitchener, Ontario; and

Whereas the X-Men showed their strengths on the basketball court against the Brandon Bobcats at the CIAU men's championship last week; and

[Page 52]

Whereas Paul will finish up his fourth and final season on the team's top line;

Therefore be it resolved that this House wish Paul and the rest of the hockey X-Men good luck in Kitchener this weekend.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Victoria.

RESOLUTION NO. 22

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

Whereas the Premier's Campaign for Fairness hit a snag in Ontario this week when Mike Harris, the Premier's mentor, sent him home empty-handed; and

Whereas this campaign has so far been a waste of taxpayers' money and the only benefit would be if the Premier stayed at home and saved that money; and

Whereas the key players in the equalization deal that the Premier dislikes so much were a past Tory Premier and a past Tory Prime Minister, neither of whom as far as we know have been asked for support;

Therefore be it resolved that the Premier ask Senator Buchanan and former Prime Minister Mulroney to come to Halifax and offer their illustrious support.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

[Page 53]

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Preston.

RESOLUTION NO. 23

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 third Nova Scotia First Works Program is being held this year in the greater Preston area until April 13, 2001; and

Whereas the program, which ran its pilot projects last year in Sydney and Shelburne, provides eight individuals between the ages of 18 to 29, who are out of school and unemployed, with hands-on experience in the film and video production as well as a slight income; and

Whereas today in Burnside, from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., an open house will be held to showcase the program of the Nova Scotia Film Development Corporation;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House support and applaud the program which opens doors for those eight individuals to potential opportunities in the ever-important film industry, as well as educates them on vital job searching skills, and wish the participants well in the days ahead.

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 Fairview.

[Page 54]

RESOLUTION NO. 24

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

Whereas His Eminence and Beatitude Cardinal Mar Nasrallah Peter Sfeir, Patriarch of Antioch and all the Orient for the Maronite Church, is honouring Halifax with a visit; and

Whereas His Eminence will preside over the Holy Pontifical Liturgy of the Mass on Sunday, March 25, 2001, at Our Lady of Lebanon Church in Halifax; and

Whereas this visit is of historic importance for Halifax's Maronite and Lebanese community, and indeed for all of Halifax;

Therefore be it resolved that this House welcomes His Eminence and Beatitude Cardinal Mar Nasrallah Peter Sfeir to Halifax, and sends its best wishes to the pastor, parish council and parishioners of Our Lady of Lebanon Parish.

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 Richmond.

RESOLUTION NO. 25

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

Whereas the Premier is calling on the federal government to allow Nova Scotia to keep the full benefit of gas royalties so that the province can "land and stay on its feet"; and

Whereas the government is citing municipal equalization as a demonstration that it is leading by example, even though municipalities like Richmond, Guysborough and Saint Mary's do not have the same level of service enjoyed by most Nova Scotians; and

[Page 55]

Whereas these areas will not have the opportunity to "land and stay on their feet" because the province is clawing back a significant portion of new Sable tax revenues;

Therefore be it resolved that the Premier practice what he preaches and allow for fairness for the Municipalities of Richmond, Guysborough and Saint Mary's before he lectures Ottawa on its role to provide more equalization to Nova Scotia.

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 Halifax Chebucto.

RESOLUTION NO. 26

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

Whereas Halifax Regional Municipality voters have now elected a new mayor with a history of concern to promote commuter rail; and

Whereas the Halifax Regional Municipality Committee on Commuter Rail has primarily explored a route connecting Halifax downtown with Bedford and Sackville; and

Whereas heavy traffic flows exist from metro to Truro, metro to Windsor, and metro to Chester;

Therefore be it resolved that the provincial government state its position on promotion of commuter rail for the province's capital area.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear several Noes.

[Page 56]

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Cape Breton West.

RESOLUTION NO. 27

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

Whereas thanks to the inaction of this Tory Government, the first Canadian province to cook with natural gas is New Brunswick; and

Whereas this Tory Government is dragging its feet in making a decision on Sempra's distribution plan because Sempra wants to use the roadbed for gas pipeline; and

Whereas this inaction is causing Nova Scotians lost economic and social benefits;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House urge the Minister of Transportation and Public Works to allow for natural gas distribution plans to be clarified so that Nova Scotians can enjoy their own natural resources instead of selling it to New Brunswick.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Timberlea-Prospect.

RESOLUTION NO. 28

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

Whereas coastal communities from Terence Bay to the Peggy's Cove Light are deeply concerned about access to waterfront properties and numerous islands; and

Whereas control of our coastlines, as one of our greatest natural resources, must remain a top priority; and

Whereas there has not been a proper review of this neglected issue since the 1970's;

[10:45 a.m.]

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Natural Resources initiate a proper review of the ownership of coastal properties immediately.

[Page 57]

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Cape Breton West.

RESOLUTION NO. 29

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

Whereas last November a severe hurricane storm caused flooding and property damage in the Floral Heights subdivision in Howie Centre; and

Whereas in the subdivision a large culvert and portion of the roadway on Tometary Drive was washed away; and

Whereas since that time nearly 200 families have been forced to use a single lane Bailey bridge to access their homes;

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Transportation and Public Works direct his staff to replace the Bailey bridge with a permanent structure or a culvert so these families can have normal access to their subdivision.

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 Halifax Atlantic.

RESOLUTION NO. 30

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

Whereas students at B.C. Silver Junior High School are participating in a pilot project to improve literacy for children in Grades 4 to 9; and

[Page 58]

Whereas a group of Grade 9 students will be trained to help younger students to improve their reading, in the process these tutors will develop valuable leadership skills and earn academic credit; and

Whereas this program is the work of teachers Catherine Pianosi and Jennifer Wallace;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate Catherine Pianosi and Jennifer Wallace as well as B.C. Silver Junior High School tutors for their desire to assist other students to fulfil their potential.

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 Richmond.

RESOLUTION NO. 31

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

Whereas recently the Veterans Affairs Committee had the opportunity to hear a presentation by Mrs. Sue Riordon; and

Whereas the tale of the tribulations that she and her now deceased husband had to endure as a result of his service in the Persian Gulf is a blemish on Canada's proud military tradition; and

Whereas while this matter is clearly under federal jurisdiction, all assistance possible should be extended to Mrs. Riordon by her native province, Nova Scotia;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House endorse the commitments of the Veterans Affairs Committee and extend to Mrs. Riordon, along with our sympathies, an offer for any assistance that we may be able to provide.

[Page 59]

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.

RESOLUTION NO. 32

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

Whereas Jamie Wentzell of Bridgewater and a student at St. Francis Xavier University is 1 of 7 recipients of the Frank H. Sobey Award for Excellence in Business Studies; and

Whereas Jamie Wentzell has maintained a 3.67 grade point average and did so while being a member of the university's varsity hockey team and of the Student Business Society; and

Whereas he was also awarded the Danny Gallivan Scholarship;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulates Jamie Wentzell on his outstanding academic and athletic abilities.

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 60]

The honourable member for Cape Breton South.

RESOLUTION NO. 33

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

Whereas the government's Speech from the Throne contained reference to the Cape Breton Growth Fund; and

Whereas this growth fund is mostly a federal fund initiated by the federal government; and

Whereas the Minister of Economic Development has yet to contribute the province's $12 million portion of the $80 million fund;

Therefore be it resolved that the government should at least cough up its $12 million for the Cape Breton Growth Fund before it starts singing its praises ensuring concrete economic growth, instead of lip service and platitudes.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable Leader of the Opposition.

RESOLUTION NO. 34

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

Whereas the member for Cape Breton Nova suffered recent injuries that require his continued hospitalization; and

Whereas 'tis strange and sad indeed not to have that long-serving and tireless member with us today; and

Whereas this House will be diminished with his absence;

Therefore be it resolved that this House express its deepest sympathy to the family of the member for Cape Breton Nova and wish him a very speedy recovery and return to his rightful place in this learned Assembly.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

[Page 61]

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. 35

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 Bridgewater Kinettes are valuable members of the community; and

Whereas the Bridgewater Kinettes are involved in diverse activities on local and national levels, including donations in the fight against MS and CF, the Family Support Centre and local hospitals just to name a few; and

Whereas this year is the 50th Anniversary of the Bridgewater Kinettes in their service to the community, the province and the nation;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of the House of Assembly of the Province of Nova Scotia offer congratulations to the Bridgewater Kinettes on their 50 years of dedication and valued service.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Sackville-Cobequid.

[Page 62]

RESOLUTION NO. 36

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

Whereas this weekend Holy Angels High School in Sydney hosts the Nova Scotia High School Debating Championships; and

Whereas the host school is entering two three-member teams in what promises to be a very competitive event; and

Whereas such debates encourage students to be convincing, creative and open-minded thinkers;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulates Holy Angels High School on hosting these championships and wish all participants the very best in the competition.

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 Richmond.

RESOLUTION NO. 37

MR. MICHEL SAMSON: Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the member for Cape Breton The Lakes, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas this past weekend the CIAU final eight played their tournament here in Halifax as they have for the past several years; and

Whereas for the second year in a row a Nova Scotia team from St. Francis Xavier University won the tournament; and

[Page 63]

Whereas this tournament not only has a huge significance for university sports, but also for the local economy;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate the team from St. F.X. and their coaches on their tremendous win, and encourage the Minister responsible for the Nova Scotia Sport and Recreation Commission to work hard to keep the CIAUs in Halifax indefinitely.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Halifax Needham.

RESOLUTION NO. 38

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

Whereas today Northwoodcare Incorporated in conjunction with the Deafness Advocacy Association of Nova Scotia are having their grand opening of 8 Manor, a floor that offers both apartments and nursing-home care for deaf seniors; and

Whereas more than 100 employees of Northwood are learning sign language so that they may better communicate and service residents of this special floor; and

Whereas this type of floor will allow deaf seniors an opportunity to flourish in an environment well suited to their needs;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulates Northwoodcare Incorporated and the Deafness Advocacy Association for their initiative in creating this special floor, and the employees of Northwoodcare Incorporated for learning sign language and creating a special place for deaf seniors.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

[Page 64]

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. 39

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

Whereas Michael Craig was a victim of a diving accident in 1990 shortly after graduating from Dalhousie Law School and finding employment with MTT; and

Whereas Michael has overcome his quadriplegia, continued to work with MTT and was recently appointed a regional manager out of Truro; and

Whereas Michael has been active in his various alumni organizations, the Canadian Paraplegic Association, the Nova Scotia Abilities Foundation, the Truro Rotary Club, the Truro and District Chamber of Commerce and many other great organizations;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulates Michael Craig on his receiving the Dr. James W. Reid Memorial Award from the Canadian Paraplegic Association of Nova Scotia and for being a motivator for others who may be in a similar situation.

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 65]

The honourable member for Dartmouth East.

RESOLUTION NO. 40

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

Whereas the Legislative Library provides an invaluable service to all members of this House and their staff; and

Whereas in our haste to return to that day's project, we may not always properly thank the library staff for the important work they do; and

Whereas without their assistance members of the House would be unable to represent their constituents nearly as well;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate the Legislative Library staff on their tremendous work and continued innovation, as well as extend a sincere thank you.

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 Fairview.

RESOLUTION NO. 41

MR. GRAHAM STEELE: Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the honourable member for Dartmouth North, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas more than 7,000 Nova Scotians are known to have Alzheimer's disease; and

[Page 66]

Whereas this degenerative brain disease destroys nerve cells and robs persons of their memory and learning capacity; and

Whereas the drugs Aricept and Excelon are known to halt the progression of the disease;

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Health consider covering the cost of these drugs for persons with Alzheimer's disease.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear a No.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Timberlea-Prospect.

RESOLUTION NO. 42

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

Whereas the prestigious Melvin Jones Fellowships are the highest awards in Lions International; and

Whereas at the Annual Charter Night of the St. Margarets Bay Lions, Lions Daniel and Rennie Smith were recognized as Melvin Jones Fellows; and

Whereas Lions Rennie and Danny are original members of this Lions Club, who have given of themselves and their time so freely for many years;

Therefore be it resolved that this House offer its congratulations to Lions Danny Smith and Rennie Smith of the St. Margarets Bay Lions Club on their Melvin Jones awards.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

[Page 67]

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 Atlantic.

RESOLUTION NO. 43

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

Whereas the Yarmouth Consolidated Memorial High School Vikings will be competing in the Nova Scotia Schools Athletic Federation Championship Tournament in Glace Bay; and

Whereas the semifinals of the eight-team tournament will be happening on Saturday, March 24th, at 6:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m.; and

Whereas the championship game will be played Sunday at 1:30 p.m.;

Therefore be it resolved that the House congratulates these Western Region Division 1 Hockey champions and wish them good luck in the championship game.

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.

RESOLUTION NO. 44

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

[Page 68]

Whereas John Gracie, along with Cape Breton's aboriginal group, Sons of Membertou, were honoured with a Juno nomination; and

Whereas John Gracie and the Sons of Membertou were nominated in the category of Best Music of Aboriginal Canada Recording for the song Figure Love Out; and

Whereas this nomination for John Gracie is just another of many for the multi-award-winning singer/songwriter;

Therefore be it resolved that this House acknowledges the fine work of John Gracie, his many accomplishments and his great talent.

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

GOVERNMENT BUSINESS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

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

GOVERNMENT MOTIONS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, I move that the adjourned debate on the Address in Reply to the Speech from the Throne be now resumed.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Opposition. You have 47 minutes.

[Page 69]

MR. JOHN MACDONELL: Mr. Speaker, as I resume today I offer a welcome and a welcome back, from our caucus, to the Sergeant-at-Arms, the House staff, the Pages and messengers who do so much for us, and the wonderful people at the Legislative Library who perform miracles daily as they get information for us on such short notice. We appreciate the dedication and the public spirit of those who serve this House in the various offices that report to the Legislature.

Mr. Speaker, today I want to review the Throne Speech in some detail. I want to talk about the recent by-elections, to offer constructive suggestions and to propose how the House should reply to the Throne Speech. It is important to set the context. Nova Scotians were promised accountability, so let's take a count and see whether this is a government that delivers on its Throne Speech commitments.

The news isn't very good. Yesterday's Throne Speech made a major contribution to Nova Scotia's effort to reduce, reuse and recycle. Here are just some of the items, in the government's own words, which first appeared in the October 1999 Throne Speech and which again appeared yesterday: a single-entry system for assessing the care needs of Nova Scotians for delivery of health care; investment in wellness and disease prevention; new information technologies in order to reduce duplication and speed the delivery of care; legislation governing the responsibilities and duties of various health professionals; developing Brand Nova Scotia and Buy Nova Scotia programs; a 10 year road improvement plan - that I would like to see; listen intently to the ideas of Cape Bretoners themselves, as together we work to build a new and lasting economy for the future of the Island.

[11:00 a.m.]

Education holds the key. Every available tax dollar directed to the education of young Nova Scotians must help improve the learning opportunities for our students; a code of conduct for students and teachers that recognizes and supports a respectful and healthy atmosphere of learning; and a process of meaningful dialogue in dealing with the aboriginal peoples of this province.

Eighteen months have gone by and the Progressive Conservatives are still spinning their wheels. This is a government that simply cannot get its act together, as my colleague, the member for Cape Breton Centre said, they are spineless and heartless.

It is not just the recycled Speech from the Throne. The Conservatives are reducing also. They have abandoned even more of their commitments. Remember these blasts from the recent past in the 1999 Speech from the Throne? They promised: our first goal must be to build a healthy society; this government will establish the position of Health Care Advocate; we will work with business in establishing binding principles for attracting new investment to Nova Scotia; a Technology Council with members from business and post-secondary

[Page 70]

institutions; and support the tourist industry by investing strategically in primary and secondary highway systems.

A top priority in dealings with the federal government is a new federal-provincial highways cost-sharing agreement; devolve the powers and authority of economic development to the community level; initiate a long-term remediation plan for the declining heavy industries in Cape Breton; provide long-term school board funding that allows greater flexibility in planning; immediately allow for the apprehension of children involved in prostitution; and immediately make good on its commitments to look for increased penalties for those who seek out prostitutes.

Lead the way by setting an example of openness and accountability; improve access to adoption information for adult adoptees and birth parents; extend to communities, whether they be cultural, geographic, linguistic or communities of interest, the respect due them by allowing proper input in critical decisions; this government is committed to respecting the rights of its employees; performance pay for senior officials that will reward effective performance; a rational planned program of expenditure reduction; and a new and flexible work environment for our employees.

They threw it all out the window, Mr. Speaker, which leads Nova Scotians to ask, how much of this Speech from the Throne is also destined for the recycling bin?

It undermines the credibility of everyone in this House when a government drops the ball so frequently and makes a habit of breaking its promises. I urge the government to practice accountability instead of just saying the word. I urge them to report to Nova Scotians on these abandoned commitments and to vastly improve its performance in carrying out these Throne Speech commitments.

The New Democratic Party will gladly support the good ideas and good proposals that are in the Throne Speech, when or if the government proceeds with those good ideas. An Order of Nova Scotia to honour community service will be very positive, especially if it recognizes the unsung heroes among us and is not simply used to reward the Party faithful or add to someone's long list of honours.

More opportunities for Nova Scotians to go to community colleges will be very welcome if they materialize any time soon. I hope these opportunities include restoration of the loan remission program and steps to provide fair access to all post-secondary education. Modern assessment and admission criteria for nursing homes are even long overdue as is the single-entry system for health care. Nurse practitioner legislation is also long overdue. Nurses are eager to see it improved, but they are more eager to see if this government will make room for more nurse practitioners in the Nova Scotia health care system.

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Reducing Nova Scotia's excessively high rate of smoking is welcome, especially if it includes widely accessible programs to help people quit smoking as the taxes go up, instead of using addiction to tobacco as a revenue centre. We will happily support a program to provide Nova Scotians with disabilities greater access to transportation services in the less populated areas of the province. In fact, we would also happily support a program to ensure that there are transportation services, period, in the rural and semi-rural areas.

Regulations covering long-distance small van carriers should be a timely response to help prevent the tragedies that have taken place elsewhere. I hope the government sticks to this commitment to public safety.

Cancer Care Nova Scotia has made great strides. We hope the new patient navigation system will be another step forward in a cancer care program that hit such a low point in 1998-99.

Those are not the only positive items, Mr. Speaker, but the New Democratic Party is concerned to see that in most of this Throne Speech there is much less than meets the eye. As we reviewed it in detail we found the speech to be full of slippery language and non-commitments. The speech said, "My government expects that every department, agency, board and commission will treat every taxpayer with respect and every tax dollar with care.". Tell that to the farmers who are paying another $25 fee for the fuel rebate and to the low income folks facing two 911 fees for the same service.

The speech said, "For accountability to be more than a buzzword, there must be open reporting structures, a clear understanding of expectations and consequences for indifference." Our caucus finds this deeply ironic coming from a government going to the court of Appeal to try to prevent open reporting structures for its own so-called rational program review. I say ironic, others might say hypocritical. For an example of a real puffball, look at the paragraph about how participating in sport, recreation and fitness helps to build healthier bodies and sharper minds. Sounds swell, eh? On closer inspection, we see that the only commitment is to work closely with partners to develop a strategy to provide more access to activities. There is no commitment to more participation, no timelines, no targets, no measurable results; it means absolutely nothing.

A commitment like more predictable care for those who rely on Nova Scotia's health care system means less than nothing. Care can be predictably inadequate. Too often, that is exactly what it seems to be, especially in rural areas.

Investing in new approaches to help students with special needs, slips right around the broad consensus that we already know how to help these students. The problem is that the government simply cannot or will not provide the necessary resources and the Education Minister quite typically dismissed the initial report from the special needs review that she

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herself had commissioned. Investing in proven approaches would be a whole lot more reassuring to the thousands of parents who fear their children will once again be excluded.

The promised non-partisan road plan has become a Needs Assessment Study. More studies are not going to fill many potholes. The former member for Chester-St. Margaret's may be planting flowers in potholes once again. The government is suspiciously silent about its very precise election commitment to spend all fuel tax and vehicle fees on highway improvements, in this the second year of its mandate.

The Throne Speech boasts that this government introduced Nova Scotia's first school for adult learning, side-stepping the shutdown of adult learning centres and programs that the Conservatives forced onto school boards.

The government claims to be working across government to provide better support to families in crisis and to identify opportunities for improving responses to family violence. How then do they explain the elimination of the entire family violence prevention initiative, especially now that we have forced them to reveal that it had undergone a very positive evaluation?

Addressing the serious gaps that exist in the delivery of mental health services sounds a lot less specific than one would have expected from a government that has the benefit of a recent review of mental health, with a Premier who said this was a top priority.

Community health boards are supposed to make primary health care and wellness central to our health care system. Now it looks like wellness will be marginalized and limited to whatever small share of the budget is dubbed the Wellness Fund. This is a big idea made small. That isn't progress, Mr. Speaker.

Home visitation is a long-established program that provides real benefits for new mothers and their babies, despite the chaotic and discouraging working conditions imposed on the public health nurses. It takes a lot of brass to claim it will be a new Tory program.

Mr. Speaker, nothing may be more slippery than the way this Throne Speech dances around the government's plan to download more responsibility onto property taxpayers. The Throne Speech says, "My government asks nothing more of Ottawa than we are prepared to do for our citizens and our communities.", yet the federal government does not make rich provinces pay equalization to poorer ones. That would be unfair and divisive. Federal equalization is paid from the consolidated revenues, which themselves rely on progressive tax sources.

I would respectfully suggest that this government should do nothing worse to any of its own citizens than it expects from Ottawa.

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AN HON. MEMBER: Yes, we are going to have some support from Tory backbenchers in imposing that plan.

MR. MACDONELL: Despite all the talk about new jobs, the Throne Speech's one specific commitment is to a comprehensive assessment of new and developing job demands, which is supposed to mean that over time the government will put forward a plan to make sure young people aren't leaving to find work. "Over time" is a great phrase, isn't it, coming from a government that can't seem to remember what it promised last week.

It took days of relentless national news coverage of the water problems in Garland to prod this government into discovering the source of the contamination in people's drinking water, yet this Throne Speech pretends that Nova Scotia's water quality has the most extensive coverage in Canada.

Our caucus will be looking very closely at the plan for a new Public Service Commission whenever or if ever it is introduced, Mr. Speaker. The Conservatives dismantled the independent Public Service Commission and the Liberals then replaced legislative protection of the merit principle in public sector hiring and promotion. Considering this government's track record of creating jobs for the boys, we have to ask whether this will actually be a Progressive Conservative service commission that grabs jobs for well-placed government pals in our hospitals, universities and school boards.

After all, a Throne Speech which says the government, ". . . will focus more of our energies and more of our resources on building eager, young minds . . .", sounds great, but those eager young minds are receiving fewer resources now than they were a year ago. Former Tory MLAs are the only group that seems to be getting more resources from the Education budget. The Minister of Education is setting up some kind of Tory senate with money that is supposed to help children learn.

Mr. Speaker, the NDP is committed to providing reasonable and constructive ideas in this House. We view our return to the role of Official Opposition as an additional responsibility to the people of Nova Scotia. Therefore, I want to spend some of my time describing what we believe should be done by the government instead of the choice it has made to say one thing and do another.

[11:15 a.m.]

While we did not agree with all of the 261 promises that the Premier made in his platform and in his campaign speeches, and while we thought anyone who made so many promises must never have intended to honour them, we were prepared to co-operate with an honest effort by this government to keep its promises. Our advice from day one has been that the government should keep the commitments it made to get elected. It is still our advice and

[Page 74]

we will ask this House to urge the government to honour a number of its key commitments, Mr. Speaker.

I will list those key commitments later but one in particular must be mentioned: to make health care the number one priority. That was the centrepiece of John Hamm's plan; more and better health care was the plan. They dropped it, Mr. Speaker, and they have spent their time trying to find an excuse that will convince folks that they had to drop that number one priority.

I had to say, there they go again, when I read the government's claim that, "If health care costs continue to escalate at the levels witnessed throughout the 1990s, in just 10 years from now the government will not be able to provide Nova Scotians with any other service." With that sentence, the Hamm Government jumped over, it's the usual credibility gap and flew straight into the world of fantasy and science fiction and probably bordered a little bit on the Liberal realm as well.

Last night we looked at the historical analysis of government spending, which is part of the budget's presentation. There is no 10 year, straight-line increase in the share of spending that goes to health care. Health share has gone up and down over the last 10 years. Many recent increases are actually just more honest reporting. You might make a case for this government's own budget presentation that health care would consume the entire spending package sometime around the year 2070. It is a pretty weak case but that is about as far as the truth can be stretched.

This government's claim about our out-of-control health spending will be best described by our friends at Frank Magazine as a nose stretcher. This government is not focused on the reality of health care delivery. This government is focused on micromanaging health care budgets so obsessively that someone in the penthouse at One Government Place can cancel grandma's elective surgery because this month's budget for surgical supplies has been spent.

The Throne Speech says, "Perhaps the most significant challenge Nova Scotia faces, along with virtually every other province in Canada, is recruiting new nurses." It makes no sense therefore that this government has been laying off nurses, discouraging nurses and bullying nurses at the bargaining table. The Throne Speech ignored the core question, how many more full-time nursing positions will be created to improve working conditions and retain nurses?

The clinical services process is designed for health cares administrators, not patient care. It is Liberal health reform all over again. Budgets for health prevention clinics and for most cost-effective community hospital care have been slashed without regard to the costs that result when sicker patients are hospitalized and regional hospitals are overwhelmed by people who used to get care close to home. The Auditor General confirmed in his recent

[Page 75]

report that the government has no idea what is resulting from its program cuts, that it has not taken any steps to evaluate the cuts it is making.

The NDP have consulted people in every corner of Nova Scotia about health care. We have consulted every major player in the health care system. Our conclusion is that change in the health care system must be from the bottom up, Mr. Speaker. Start with changes in patient care. Stabilize the system and ease the pressures on patient care in co-operation with nurses, family doctors and other health care workers. That will end the chaos, which in itself has cost Nova Scotia so much, and help government move on to the next level of truly making our universal health care system sustainable.

The other urgent goal in the field of health care is to tackle the root causes of poor health. It is just great from the Throne Speech to proclaim a commitment to healthy active bodies. The government knows and the Premier knows that poverty is one of the single biggest contributors to poor health. Yet in the entire section of the Throne Speech that goes on and on about healthy children there is absolutely nothing about reducing this disgraceful level of child poverty in our province. The number one cause of poor health is ignored.

What about a minimum wage lower than anywhere except Newfoundland? That traps the working poor in deep poverty. What about the reduced incentives for people to get off assistance? What about denying access to university degrees for moms and dads who want to pull their family up out of poverty? What about this government's very clear policy of minimal wage increases for janitors, orderlies, school bus drivers, and a whole range of hard-working men and women who struggle every day to make a decent life for their family? How can a government pretend it wants healthy children while it holds back the working parents who try so hard just to keep their heads above water?

The former Liberal Government unleashed a tragic increase in child poverty among Nova Scotians, making us one of Canada's child poverty capitals; this Conservative Government has carried on with that same vicious policy of trampling on the working poor. In terms of health care alone, it just does not make sense. The Conservatives won't see instant savings or greater micromanagement from the lifelong health benefits that arise from a reduction in poverty, but that is no reason to ignore the biggest cause of poor health. I might say it is all the more difficult to understand, considering that we have had two Premiers in recent history who were doctors.

Mr. Speaker, my next bit of advice is that the government should admit that improved revenue is the way to balance the budget, and that policies of economic growth are the best way to improve revenue. The Finance Minister came close to the truth in his most recent speech at the Metro Chamber of Commerce. He came a lot closer to the truth than he did when he spoke to the downtown Dartmouth business people or the chamber last year.

[Page 76]

The Auditor General let some cats out of the bag also. He revealed that in preparing its last budget, the government asked every department for ways to increase revenue. In the election campaign the Premier scorned the idea of revenue increases, so I guess I can understand why the government was reluctant to admit what they have been up to. The Auditor General also revealed most of what the government calls user fees actually look a heck of a lot like more taxes: new taxes, higher taxes and, in some cases, taxes that have been levied illegally. The Premier admitted as much when he said that fees like the so-called 911 levy, which has no evident relationship to 911 costs, could be called a tax.

Mr. Speaker, how much time do I have?

MR. SPEAKER: Until 11:46 a.m., you have 23 minutes.

MR. MACDONELL: Farmers are steamed up, as I said yesterday. Seniors and others on low or fixed incomes who want to stay in their own houses are steamed up too. They see this government barrelling ahead with unilateral downloading onto the property tax base. The NDP position was that any tax increase has to clearly be a last resort, and that tax cuts in other provinces make it difficult for Nova Scotia to go in the opposite direction.

The Conservatives promised that they would not increase revenue, and it is so clear that they never intended for one moment to keep that promise. Our Party will keep exposing the dozens of big and small tax increases that this government has imposed, and will impose, because we are not about to support anyone who makes promises that he knows he can't keep.

The NDP has long urged that Nova Scotia get a fair share of offshore benefits as an obvious way to improve revenue and ensure that all Nova Scotians are the beneficiaries of this new opportunity. The Conservatives were also dedicated to much better benefits from the offshore, until they got elected. Now we see that they only want more benefits from the federal government; they aren't very interested in the royalty, economic benefit or ownership routes to greater offshore revenue. Worse, their handling of the offshore seems just as inept as the Liberals. How could the government have agreed to a gas distribution plan based on pipelines in road shoulders, then turn around and delay natural gas for most rural areas because it wants to reconsider that basic aspect of the whole plan? This Throne Speech brags about self-reliance, but the truth is that the government has been tripping over its own shoelaces when it comes to taking advantage of the offshore bonanza.

Mr. Speaker, it was almost creepy to hear the Throne Speech's discussion of children when everyone in the House knows what has really been happening. Shabby tricks like cutting families' food and shelter, then offering them a small amount for school supplies. Saying that all children will have access to reading programs, but denying the support necessary for children with special needs to take advantage of the program. And ignoring the

[Page 77]

fact that it takes a lot more than the tests that are done at Grade 6 to evaluate the Young Active Readers Program.

Parents, teachers and MLAs will be watching carefully to see if this time Conservative promises really mean more resources for the classrooms of Nova Scotia. So far, every time this government declares that education is the key, they are getting ready to slam it once again.

A code of conduct for our public school system is welcome, but any code will be a hollow shell without the resources schools need to make it a reality. Early intervention to help families at risk, resource teachers, counselling, back-up for health and community services are all essential elements to truly make our schools more peaceful and productive.

Many more child care spaces are required to make the new income assistance policy meet its goals. The speech contained no specifics on this child and family issue either.

Any Cape Bretoner who reads the line that, "My government will also continue to work hand in glove with the people of industrial Cape Breton to bring about a modern economy sustained by modern business and industry." will know this Throne Speech is a work of fiction. The real test of this claim came when the Cape Breton Regional Municipality looked for support in purchasing the Government Wharf from an indifferent federal Liberal Government. Another test looms with the search for Sysco buyers and a question of who will reap the net benefit from disposal of those assets.

This government knows that Nova Scotia has two economies, but the Throne Speech goes no further than to express a pious wish that the prosperity in metro might spread elsewhere, somehow, someday. It takes a real plan, a real strategy and real consultation to bring balance to this province. This government seems to have given up without a fight.

Mr. Speaker, before concluding, I want to make a few comments about the recent by-elections. Some will recall that months after Robert Chisholm had been chosen to be the New Democratic Party Leader, the New Democratic Party won a tremendous victory in Halifax Fairview. Months after we chose Helen MacDonald to be our Leader, we won Fairview with another tremendous margin. The New Democratic Party's record of dedicated service in that constituency is very convincing. I want to say that both victories do credit to our Leaders then and now, Robert and Helen. This government, this Premier went to Cape Breton North with the Liberal handbook and promised a glorious future if people would just elect a member on the government side. It worked for the Liberals last November and it worked for the Tories last month.

In both cases, Cape Bretoners knew the government was not going to change. People voted for the belief that they had a bird in the hand. Now we will see if the federal Liberals and the provincial Conservatives will follow through on their promises of patronage for Cape

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Bretoners as payment for their victories. People have not seen much yet from the new Members of Parliament. The Prime Minister went to the other end of the province, as far as he could get from Cape Breton, to choose a Cabinet Minister. Cecil Clarke is not in Cabinet, not yet anyway.

The Premier may feel that he has until just before the next general election to either make good on that commitment or throw Cape Breton North back out into the darkness. He may feel he does not really have to hustle and make good on those promises anyway - why break the pattern?

It was the Liberals who went into these by-elections with a bold declaration by their interim Leader, that in politics, winning is everything. It seems like justice triumphed when, after making that their battle cry, the Liberals lost both by-elections. They are a Party dedicated to winning power for its own sake. It is the glue that binds them together. They win or lose on the basis of the relentless pursuit of power.

[11:30 a.m.]

The NDP is held together by our policies and our principles. We are a Party of ideas and ideals, not personalities and power. Whether we are first, second or third in this House, we keep working in every way possible to make life better for people. Some pundits seem to think we are the Liberals, who eat leaders for breakfast and punish anyone who dares lose an election so much as once. Think again.

Our Party has a Leader whose courage, commitment, good humour and common sense inspire us every day. New Democrats know that we would have disappeared long ago if we ever acted as though winning is everything. This caucus knows that in Helen MacDonald, we have Leader who is dedicated to a better life for people, regardless of their wealth or influence. We have a Leader who understands from her life experience how to overcome tough obstacles and prevail in the end. We have a Leader who exemplifies the principles of the NDP, and who never thinks that it is all about her. We are so proud to sit at our caucus table with Helen in the Leader's chair. (Applause)

I hope and expect that every Nova Scotian will learn the kind of mettle that she is made of and how good a person she is. We need only look across the aisle at the Premier to remember how fleeting misfortune and fortune can be in Nova Scotia politics.

In conclusion, I offer this opportunity for all members of the House to endorse some very important goals that come straight from John Hamm's plan. I move that the resolution before the House be amended by adding the following words: that this House urges the government to take up the mandate it won on July 27, 1999, to set clear priorities that are in lockstep with those of Nova Scotians by keeping the Conservative platform commitment to:

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a) make sure that when individual Nova Scotians need health care, it is there for them, with more acute care beds, more nurses, and a shorter waiting time for surgery;

b) look at education as an investment in our future rather than simply as a cost to government, with an education system which is adequately funded, fully focused on the student and the classroom;

c) provide the most attractive tax structure in the region;

d) stop the unilateral downloading of provincial responsibilities to the municipal property taxpayers;

e) dedicate all taxes raised through motor vehicle licensing and fuel sales to highway construction and maintenance to provide a solid base for highway spending;

f) protect agricultural land and provide the support necessary for young Nova Scotians to continue their family tradition of farming;

g) establish a long-term strategy for environment clean-up and new environmental industries in industrial Cape Breton;

h) protect our environment with measures like an environmental green plan, established through consultation with Nova Scotians, and support of private woodlot owners to protect forest resources from overharvesting; and

i) ensure a greater openness, accountability and participation from a government who listens to Nova Scotians and acts in accordance with their priorities and expectations.

Mr. Speaker, with that, I will take my seat. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Dartmouth East.

DR. JAMES SMITH: Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the opportunity afforded to me and my caucus this morning to reply to the Speech from the Throne in the absence of our Leader, who is ill this morning, I am sure he will be back in his seat next week. I rise in my place today to say it is my pleasure to rise in this historic Legislature to respond on behalf of the constituents of Dartmouth East to the Speech from the Throne.

I must acknowledge the skill and the grace with which Her Honour the Lieutenant Governor presented the Throne Speech. She has brought great enthusiasm and openness to her role as the Queen's representative here in Nova Scotia. Her Excellency's work has brought new life and vigour to what can sometimes be considered a somewhat stuffy and traditional office. I want to compliment her and her family.

[Page 80]

Mr. Speaker, this session of the Legislature is an important one for this government. It is at this point of the mandate of a government when members, especially those who make decisions, should be making their mark, putting their own programs and ideas into practice.

Today, Mr. Speaker, I must say that this 20 page document, the second Throne Speech of this government, must truly be a disappointment to Nova Scotians. It has certainly has been a disappointment to our caucus.

Mr. Speaker, I feel that this government has not served the people of Dartmouth East well and has not served Nova Scotians well in the manner that they were promised or which they deserve. For example, Nova Scotians have been getting mixed messages from this government in important issues like municipal equalization. I personally have received more telephone calls and e-mails and letters from constituents of Dartmouth East on this issue than any other single issue since I was first elected in 1984. I have been keeping a record of those and I will respond in due course.

This confusion is made worse because the Tory backbenchers contradict the information coming from Cabinet Ministers. My constituents are confused on the position of this government and they are confused as to what will happen to their property taxes in the times ahead. I call on the Premier today to clear up this conflicting information. Today I challenge this government and I ask the Premier to clear up this conflicting information.

Today I challenge this government and I ask the Premier to fulfil his election promise to allow his MLAs to have free votes in this House on this issue. When the legislation on municipal equalization comes before this House, I challenge the Premier to allow all of his MLAs to vote according to the wishes of their constituents. This will be a true test for a Tory Government that promised to be open, that promised to be accountable, that promised to allow MLAs more freedom to express the views of the people they represent. I look forward to the Premier's answer to this challenge. The issue will be a challenge for this government.

In speaking with my constituents, there is a strong feeling of support to be fair. They want to be fair. They want to be fair in the riding of Dartmouth East and in the Halifax Regional Municipality. What they do not support is the way that this government has structured the formula. They truly feel that it should be based on income tax but not on property assessments. I leave that challenge open to the Premier and his government.

This government told the people of Nova Scotia that governing would be easy. I think that municipal equalization is certainly one example of many that proves that governing is never easy. We know that and the Premier has found that out and we share that with him. We will support good legislation and we want it to be fair and we want it to be fully consultative.

[Page 81]

Remember when we heard that the Tories could fix the entire health care system for only $46 million? Even more impressive, they led Nova Scotians to believe during that last election that they could find this $46 million by cutting out some administrative fat in the system.

This government also told Nova Scotians that the quality of the health care system can be determined by the number of hospital beds. They convinced Nova Scotians that a new information technology system for health care was too expensive and it was unnecessary. The Tories promised that they were not going to invest in technology for health because they were going to spend the money on the front-line health care workers. They weren't going to waste their money on health information technology.

I remember the Premier enjoyed using the line "eyeball to eyeball" in health care. Do you remember that, Mr. Speaker? Well, now the crisis in health care is staring the Premier directly in the eye and I am relieved to see that the Premier, in the Speech from the Throne yesterday, finally blinked; this government has finally woken up to the need for a new health care information system. The Minister of Finance has been alluding to this system and the necessity for strategic investments in health care over the last couple of weeks like it was some amazing new invention, some new initiative.

Unfortunately, as pointed out by the Auditor General in his report, it is now two years late. Despite their promise of evidence-based health care decisions, the Premier and the Health Minister ignored the mountains of evidence that called for this new investment. They ignored it simply for political reasons, just because it was a good idea that we, as Liberals, had thought of, and brought forward first. It was all about the government's pride, Mr. Speaker, and the fact that our Liberal Government was right. It was never about the quality of the health care system and what needed to be done - as far as the Tories - since they have taken over government. Let us hope that we have not lost ground in terms of the costs of such an important system, an integral part for the safety of Nova Scotians who need the health care system, and we know that ground has been lost in terms of quality of care for the people of Nova Scotia.

The Liberals did not invent the idea, Mr. Speaker. The proposal for a significant investment in health technology was developed by health care providers right around this province, from one end to the other. Go to Neils Harbour and speak with Dr. Buffett there, who is very active on the Internet and Telehealth and a great supporter of Telehealth. There are many examples of how he has probably saved the lives of the people in his area through technology.

Mr. Speaker, the Auditor General, as I mentioned earlier, had discussed this important issue in his latest report, and for over two years this proposal sat on the Health Minister's desk. When the health care system could have been moving forward, the minister allowed this plan to gather dust while he tried to concoct some political solutions to a complex crisis.

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Do you remember the response, the announcements by the backbenchers in Shelburne and various other communities, a political response to crisis in the health care system? According to the Auditor General, this health information system would have cost about $50 million if it were implemented two years ago.

Our previous Liberal Government proposed to invest $75 million over three years. If it had not been rejected by the Tories and voted down by the Tories, Nova Scotians would be benefiting from this system today. I look forward to the budget to see what a state of the art system will cost today and I also look forward to facing the Health Minister eyeball to eyeball across this hall and asking him why he waited so long.

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the media responded to the Speech from the Throne and various groups have responded, but I just want to go through a couple because it is certainly like the clinical footprint announcement that we waited so long for; it was certainly a rehash of old figures and old numbers. I just want to read a bit of a list here of the things that were previously announced either by this government or also by the previous government.

For instance, the Speech from the Throne yesterday spoke of the Nova Scotia Business Registry that had been announced in the Budget Speech on June 4, 1998; the Waste Diversion Program, previously announced November 7, 1995; Restorative Justice was in the Speech from the Throne of May 21, 1998 - and I was very pleased as Minister of Justice to have been part of that, along with Danny Graham and others who worked so hard on that project that is being used right across this country as a hallmark initiative - information systems for health was previously mentioned in June 1999; and the Cancer Patient Navigation System, June 17, 1999, was just re-announced and after a workshop in Dartmouth that dealt with that earlier this year. The Nurse Policy Advisor, in the blue book, in the last year, June 1999, previously announced by the previous government. The rural and semi-rural transportation program, August 1997, previously announced; and the highway signage policy, March 1999. Mr. Speaker, I don't care to go on but that is the sort of Throne Speech that we are responding to here today.

[11:45 a.m.]

We are looking for initiatives, Mr. Speaker, and sometimes what is absent from a Throne Speech is more of an indicator of the true agenda for a government than what is contained between the pages. I oftentimes remember listening to the government when they were in Opposition and how they felt that it was only fair and right that the government of the day should be paying for particular drugs. Once we gathered the information, we made decisions. We made decisions on multiple sclerosis medication and we put a program in place and it is one of the best in Canada. That was a difficult decision and it was expensive but it was fair and it was the right thing to do.

[Page 83]

Today this government has information on the new Alzheimer's drug, Aricept and Excelon but refuses to place them on the formulary. Not everyone who has Alzheimer's is a suitable candidate but for those who are, there is an ever-growing mound of evidence that shows that it works. This research has been done from Korea around the globe, Mr. Speaker, and people here in Halifax, specialists such as Dr. Rockwell and others, are advocates for the use of this medication. I see nothing contained in these pages that shows that this government is willing to act when they have the evidence. They talk about evidence-based decision-making, here is evidence before them and yet, nothing in the Throne Speech.

Mr. Speaker, there is a chance for this government to expand the formulary committee to include specialists in certain areas such as Alzheimer's. This would definitely enhance the evidence that this committee would have at their disposal. While I chose Aricept and Excelon as examples, there are countless other drugs that are coming onto the scene that will no doubt not find their way into the formulary based on this goverment's agenda to cut and slash.

Seniors' Pharmacare, no consultation. Will the premiums go up? User fees on 911. Taxation. We have asked questions and I have not received satisfactory answers to date. The increases in that tax, obviously, we understand, to enhance the 911 system but will that continue as a tax, really, and will it be more than full recovery? I believe it will be, Mr. Speaker, and that is a tax on the health care of Nova Scotians.

The specialist care that we see. We have seen the exit of a paediatric cardiologist, a cardiac surgeon and we see other programs threatened, Mr. Speaker, such as the renal services in paediatrics and those.

I am also concerned about the government's commitment to Telehealth and the fact hat it is not mentioned in the Speech from the Throne. I mention the use of it in places like Neils Harbour, where I have seen it working first-hand and heard from physicians about how important it is to them. But the contract, I understand, has not been renewed and there was given a few months ago a six month term of life and what that decision will be. When those things start happening, without the commitment and without the will of this government to do something, I am concerned about the survival of those programs. The list that I read earlier with the previous announcements in the Speech from the Throne was a rehash of previous commitments.

Speaking of Telehealth, there is no better tool for recruiting a physician to rural communities. Physician recruitment is mentioned in the Throne Speech but they offer no plan on how they will do it. I have spoken to health care administrators and I have heard them say publicly in this city that they have finally hit the wall. That was a term used earlier. They can no longer sustain the massive cuts in the Health budget and still maintain services without a plan. The flatline budgets that do not take into account the deficits that were incurred last year is a major decrease. It is fine to talk about accountability in the regional health

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authorities but it is another matter to adequately fund them to meet the needs of those particular regions.

If there was a plan - and there is no plan - there would be a light at the end of the tunnel and maybe health providers would have some optimism for the future. They would work with government, that is the commitment they made with our government, that they would work with us to be accountable and to make this health care system more efficient. The only plan this government has was that infamous clinical footprint. Do you remember that, Mr. Speaker? In Nova Scotia, everything we asked in this House last year from the Minister of Health, was it will be then. Whether it is a densitometer for osteoporosis in the Colchester Region, it would be in the clinical footprint. Well, it wasn't in the clinical footprint and neither was anything much else.

When it finally was delivered it was a great disappointment. Nova Scotians should be concerned that after a year of clinical service planning there is no plan for health. The Throne Speech says there is even more planning to come. I am sure that it will please people on waiting lists, that must be encouraging to people today who are on the waiting list; or those nurses who are unable to find full-time employment throughout this area; or the physicians in the Richmond-Strait area that our member for Richmond always speaks so clearly on, and the need for those particular initiatives. It almost appears that the rest of the footprint will be delivered in instalments, just like the Book-of-the-Month Club, the phase-of-the-month club. We've received one on acute care. We'll see the final phase, I would predict, just before the next election.

It's ironic that the final phase of the footprint deals with emergency services because I believe that this government may need CPR by the time the next election comes along. This government, for the clinical footprint, promised a full-bodied report but Nova Scotians got a skeleton and not a report. This is an expectation that the Tories themselves created. The Minister of Health went around saying, in due course, it shall be revealed unto you. You expected to see him coming down from the mountain with a bunch of tablets.

The member from the eastern part of the HRM, I realize he probably had his hearing aid off, Mr. Speaker, and he picked out the wrong tablets. It is no surprise when we hear the Minister of Finance telling all Nova Scotians that he can't fix the health care system like they promised with the financial resources obtained by trimming some fat from the system. Nova Scotians very quickly learned that. In the last Throne Speech this government stated that health care was not only their first goal, it was their number one priority. Now, in this Throne Speech we see that it is no longer number one. That concerns me. The Tories had all the answers when the Liberals formed the government. Now we see the majority of the commitments to health care are more studies, more reports and more consultations.

[Page 85]

This is from a government that said, the time of consultation was over. That this is now time for action. You know there is an old saying that has never rung so true as it does today, that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. I am flattered by parts of that Throne Speech that re-announced the initiatives that we had started. Such as navigators for Cancer Care Nova Scotia, those types of initiatives.

As I read with interest the remainder of the health care commitments, I ask myself how will these commitments make people better off? How is the Minister of Health going to show that the clinical footprint, the phases that are being brought in, will actually determine not only length of stay in a hospital, but how sick people are getting better. Because it is sick people coming into the health care system. How is the minister going to show that his system is working?

I do realize that people are better off because these commitments, as I mentioned earlier, had already been made and well underway under the past Liberal Government: recruiting and retaining physicians, especially in underserved areas; a comprehensive tobacco control strategy; a patient navigator system in Cancer Care Nova Scotia, these are all examples that I am very familiar with, and some of them I announced and initiated as minister.

For your confidence in our Liberal plans and programs, I want to sincerely thank this government for having confidence in sustaining these programs. I couldn't help but notice the confident support for the Liberal initiatives went beyond the words that were contained within the text of the Throne Speech. The honourable member for Dartmouth South was quick to praise his government for the Dartmouth General Emergency Department expansion yesterday. I too would like to echo this praise. This is a very important expansion for our Dartmouth community. As MLA for Dartmouth East, I am proud that as Minister of Health, I and the previous government announced the expansion of the emergency room and the X-ray department at the Dartmouth General Hospital.

I hope the honourable member for Dartmouth South continues to be gracious the next time he faces the licensed practical nurses and nurses from the Dartmouth General Hospital. I am sure we will have a chance to meet them again. That does bring up the point about the profession of nursing. The Liberal caucus has had the opportunity to meet with representatives in support of the nurse practitioner legislation. I am pleased to see this finally included in the Throne Speech, and look forward to some informed debate when the bill comes forward. The other legislation regarding nursing, we look forward to that; the nurse practitioner and those other parts of that registered nurses legislation.

The Throne Speech also mentioned the nursing strategy, this is very positive since the promise to hire more nurses was the very first promise in the Tory blue book. It is interesting to note that they are finally getting around to doing something after two years in their mandate. Health care was the first set of promises in the Tory blue book, in fact the first two-

[Page 86]

thirds of the Tory blue book contained promises on health, education and jobs. Nowhere in those first 17 pages does it mention finance, balanced budget or 10 per cent tax cuts. Even tourism ranked higher than finance in the Premier's election campaign.

But today, the Premier is trying to convince Nova Scotians that he was elected based on a promise to balance the books and a promise of a 10 per cent tax cut. I am confident that a 10 per cent tax cut will not be enough to make Nova Scotians forget the chaos in the health care system today. For the second Throne Speech in a row, we are treated to some kind words about wellness promotion and disease prevention. Maybe if they keep repeating it long enough something will finally happen by accident. I wonder if most of the recycling comments were just included to provide some continuity between the last Throne Speech and this one.

I was glad to hear that the Throne Speech has shown a new commitment to our children. I want to be positive about this. I thought the home visitation was a very positive step, Mr. Speaker, and to the minister and the Cabinet and the support of the government. This is one that is extremely important. I hope there is a political will to see this through. I trust it will be based somewhat on the Hawaiian model, where lay visitation under the public health nurses will support families. The early detection and prevention of child abuse and parenting issues, this is a very worthwhile project. For me, I thought it was one of the highlights of the Throne Speech that I would be very pleased to support and was positive.

We will support initiatives like this when they come forward, particularly when they come forward for families with special needs, families that need support, particularly with children and recognizing the rights of children to fairness and early social and education development supports. I know these types of initiatives take coordination between departments of government. I know this isn't easy. I want to compliment the government in their continuation to try to develop that coordination between Health, Justice, Education and the Youth Secretariat. This type of program is certainly one that really highlights the particular need for the coordination between the various departments of government.

The Youth Crisis Intervention team was cut from a 24 hour-a-day service to just 12 hours, that was last year and when it is 2:00 a.m., it is not an option to tell a suicidal teen that they have to wait another 12 hours when the crisis intervention worker is available.

[12:00 p.m.]

I want to applaud the work at Dalhousie University Medical School, the community and the private sponsors for recently creating a new chair to focus on teen mental health. We heard about this last week - or maybe earlier this week - and this is extremely important. At a time when this government is more concerned with the bottom line, Nova Scotians should be thankful that the private sector is showing compassion and concern in areas where the government has turned its back.

[Page 87]

I would like to particularly note that Mr. and Mrs. Haley and the work that they have done in this particular area is so instrumental in having this chair recognized for focus on teen mental health. The story of that family is well-known, I heard them on the radio this week and how it speaks to a need for many families in Nova Scotia that need this type of support.

These are initiatives that I look at, that I brought my concerns, relative to child abuse and other issues to the House. In my first speech, in answer to the Throne Speech in 1984-85 I brought those concerns to the House at that time and I continue to do so. I want to compliment those people who recognize these initiatives as being areas where the programs are lacking and they need the will and the commitment of this government and I look forward to that and I compliment the government for bringing that forward.

I am disappointed that among the rehashed commitments in the Throne Speech, there is no real vision for our communities, the vision of communities and development - economic and of a social nature. I am very proud that my own constituency of Dartmouth East and its citizens that I have had the opportunity to represent since 1984 - particularly this year I want to note a resident of Dartmouth East, Kim Kelly, will be joining Colleen Jones and her team that will be travelling to Switzerland for the World Curling Championship and we wish them well. These are the type of people that I represent in Dartmouth East that are working not only at the local level but also on the world stage.

I want to compliment the parents' group at the Mary Lawson School that have worked diligently to bring their concerns forward on the threatened closure of that particular school. Again, it is a group - Michael Mont and his group, the others that have been involved, they want fairness. They are asking that concern be given to their smaller children, particularly that elementary school group, that elementary schools should remain small and they should remain, directly right in the community near the homes of the children. I think this is a concern. It is fine to bus junior school perhaps, and many of us in our lifetime have travelled many miles to school and I think we got a better education for that. I do not see that being translated necessarily at the elementary level and that is what the people and the parents of the children that attend the Mary Lawson School are concerned about; again, with the system being open and sharing information that is correct.

Last year this government abandoned the Fairbanks Centre in Shubie Park in Dartmouth East. This interpretive centre illustrates the rich history that your honourable member for Dartmouth South mentioned in his remarks yesterday and I certainly hope the government will revisit its lack of commitment to communities and review its decision on funding for the Fairbanks Centre.

This government has a golden opportunity to revitalize communities through its new infrastructure program. Currently the East Dartmouth Boys and Girls Club finds itself without a permanent home. That is a terrible shame in this day and age that a worthwhile

[Page 88]

service has just run out of steam and is unable to maintain a permanent home. There is no better community model in my experience and I have served on national boards of boys and girls clubs across this country. There is no better community model to promote physical activity and address the emotional well-being of children than the boys and girls clubs of Canada. They need our support and with the positive thrust of this Throne Speech focusing on healthy, productive children, I certainly hope that this government supports a joint community centre and the Boys and Girls Club proposal that is so badly needed in Dartmouth East. This is something that I will continue to bring to the government's attention in the days ahead.

In this session the Liberal caucus will work hard to make our voices heard and our message understood. Contrary to what some NDP media mouthpieces say, that the NDP has done the heavy lifting - yes, that is what I said, I say that quite frankly - and the Liberals have been asleep, I don't know if any of you heard that the other week. I know the ministers in the front row are saying, the same, that is not true. I know it is not true, but this is the sort of thing that one must rise above, but our message will be understood. We will try to be focused. We will hold the government accountable and we will champion projects, initiatives and programs when they are positive, fair and best for the people of Nova Scotia. We are not . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. Let's restore a little bit of decorum to the House during the member's reply if we could, please; to all members in the House. Thank you very much.

The member for Dartmouth East has the floor.

DR. SMITH: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Although some of those were positive comments, I do appreciate that it was getting a little bit loud there. So on behalf of our Leader and our caucus, I want to serve notice to the Premier and his government that we are focused, as our Leader has said, straight ahead and from where we sit, we are looking forward to the government side of the House and we are serving notice that this is a goal that we have. We are looking forward to the Liberal caucus to be a responsible and reasonable Opposition and we will provide that.

Mr. Speaker, I have hastily put my comments together today. We will have a chance to address our comments in response to the Speech from the Throne and we will not be supporting it, but we certainly will have the opportunity to address it and we look forward to combining the Speech from the Throne with the budget to see what the agenda of this government is. I want to thank the members of the House for this opportunity to address the Speech from the Throne. (Applause)

[Page 89]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings North.

MR. MARK PARENT: Premier, fellow government members, Opposition members and Mr. Speaker, I want to thank you for the opportunity of speaking to you today. I want to begin by welcoming our new members to the Legislature. I have already experienced the knowledge and keen insight of the member for Halifax Fairview second-hand, so to speak, in my capacity as Chairman of the Human Resources Committee, as he has been involved in researching issues of importance both to himself and to the New Democratic Party. So welcome to the House of Assembly.

To the member for Cape Breton North, a warm welcome to you as well. I stand amazed at your electoral victory. It is one thing to win in a riding such as mine where Tories win on a regular basis. I was at the Rotary Club the Monday after the Saturday when I won the PC nomination for my riding and someone at the table, not knowing who had won the PC nomination, asked who had won it. At that another Rotarian piped up and said it would not matter who won it - a pig in a blue suit would win in this riding - and so I turned to him and replied quietly oink, oink. You, however, honourable member, won when you were not expected to and that is a tribute not only to our Premier and to the government, but to you and to your individual popularity and ability in that part of Nova Scotia.

So welcome to the two of you. I do hope that as new members you will find your experience in the House every bit as fun and enjoyable as mine has been to date. Actually, that would be somewhat parsimonious of me, I must admit. So let me amend my comments to say that I hope you find your experience in the House to be more enjoyable than mine has been to date.

I would also like to welcome back to the House the member for Chester-St. Margaret's. It is indeed touching to see you here. (Applause) It is an inspiration and, as the member for Hants East noted, it is a source of hope for the member for Cape Breton Nova, Mr. Paul MacEwan. I was at a committee meeting with Mr. MacEwan shortly before his health problem, and he came over to me at the end of the meeting with a cartoon caricature which he had drawn of me. He mentioned that he hadn't made big ears on it because he didn't want to offend me, but he wanted me to have this cartoon caricature. I asked him to sign and date it, which he obligingly did.

Mr. Speaker, in two short years I have amassed several items of interest. Eileen O'Connell's - who we miss very much - NDP ferret which peeked out from behind the Opposition desk; an authentic piece of folk art from the beautiful Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley, comprised of a miniature china cabinet; and now an original cartoon signed and dated by the honourable member for Cape Breton Nova.

[Page 90]

One of the charming customs which this House has adopted over the years is to allow the Address in Reply to the Speech from the Throne to focus not only on the Throne Speech itself but on the attributes of the riding which that particular member happens to represent. In keeping with this tradition, in my first speech in October 1999, I focused on the riding of Kings North, which I have the privilege of representing and, in particular, the geography and the key communities in that riding.

From the majestic rocks of Cape Split, which cleave the water of the Minas Basin, to the meandering waters of the Cornwallis River; from the rocky shores of the Bay of Fundy to the gentle farmlands of Canard; from the picturesque fishing boats of the lovely community of Halls Harbour to the bustling community of the Town of Kentville, the largest town in the Annapolis Valley; from the quaint village of Port Williams, my hometown, to the growing community of Centreville; the constituency, the riding of Kings North ranks second to none in its scenic beauty.

I had the privilege the other evening of speaking to a group of parents and teachers at the Wolfville Elementary School. The head of the School Advisory Committee is a woman who comes originally from the country of Argentina. She and her family have been living in Kings County now for, she told me, the past six years. I asked her what her impression of Kings County and of the Valley was. She replied to me, these words, me encanta, using a phrase which is common in Spanish but not so common in English. Literally it means it enchants me, and so it does to me. Every time I drive home and come up past Hantsport, over the hill there and see Blomidon and the Minas Basin, with the sunlight playing its colours along the valley floor, I say to myself, sometimes quietly and sometimes audibly, me encanta, it enchants me.

This time, however, rather than focusing on the geography and the communities of Kings North, I would like to focus on the various people groups which have made this part of Nova Scotia, this small section of Canada, such a wonderful place in which to live and in which to raise a family.

It is difficult to know, honourable members, where to begin. Anthropologists are continually pushing back the veils of time in regard to the first settlers to inhabit North America, but I must begin somewhere, and it seems somewhat fitting to begin then with the Mi'kmaq people who inhabited most of the Maritime Provinces at the time of the European arrival.

I live just a few kilometers from a very famous Mi'kmaq landmark. According to some of the myths, the legendary figure Glooscap created the world by tossing clumps of earth to the ground, thereby forming Blomidon, the most distinctive Valley landmark. While it may verge on being somewhat of a caricature, I think there is nonetheless a great deal of truth in the claim that the Mi'kmaq people have had and still have a unique appreciation for the value

[Page 91]

of the land. Certainly respect for the land is a key aspect of North American Indian spirituality, as our Sergeant-at-Arms, Mr. Noel Knockwood can tell you better than I can.

[12:15 p.m.]

This respect for the land, this recognition that man is not the measure of all things, but that instead the human creature is part of a larger whole, has been, I think, a key contribution of the Mi'kmaq people to the riding of Kings North. I found it interesting that in his book, Radical Tories: the Conservative Tradition in Canada, the author, Charles Taylor, also notes that respect for the land and for the environment is also part of the Canadian Conservative tradition as well. He writes, "With his belief in man's essential freedom, the liberal regards the landscape as something to be subdued and exploited in the name of progress. There is neither reverence nor any sense of roots: nature is something to be used. To the conservative, on the other hand, man and his world are part of an organic whole - a unity which includes other races, other species, and the land itself. His view is always touched with awe: the landscape is important not only for what it can provide but also for what it has meant to earlier generations, for how it feeds our imaginations, and for the place it holds in some larger natural order of which the human creature is only one component."

I think this respect for the land, the environment is why the quintessential conservative George Grant, in a CBC documentary filmed on a rocky coast in Nova Scotia, noted, "we have lost the sense of what lies beyond space and time, beyond our power to manipulate and change. That is why", he concluded, "I love this place. It gives me a sense of holiness, of eternity."

It is heartening to see in the Throne Speech several key initiatives to protect the environment by reducing greenhouse gases and pushing for this in the federal government by advancing a clean water program, by furthering silviculture efforts and by helping to set aside and facilitate the process of setting aside land for conservation purposes. In this regard I would be amiss if I didn't congratulate my neighbour and a person who I had the honour of wooing into the Nova Scotia Progressive Conservative Party, the honourable member for Kings North as the newest member of the Cabinet in charge of the key Departments of Labour and the Environment.

AN HON. MEMBER: South.

MR. PARENT: Kings South. We think the north is the centre of the world and it was; according to Glooscap, the world was created, the navel of the world is at the heart of Kings North riding just a few miles from my home. Congratulations to the honourable member for Kings South, the newest member of the provincial Cabinet.

[Page 92]

The next key people group to come to Kings County was the Acadians. Keeping my house from being flooded, in fact, is an old Acadian dike just about two kilometres down the road. The Acadians settled around the Minas Basin beginning in about the year 1680. Having immigrated from the northwestern part of France, they brought with them the technology of dike building which enabled the reclamation of farmland. By the time of the tragic expulsion of the Acadians in 1775, it is estimated that 4,600 acres of usable farmland had been reclaimed by Acadian dikes.

Clive Doucet in his book, Notes from Exile: on Being Acadian, observes that although Longfellow's famous poem on the tragic expulsion of the Acadians was written some one 100 years after the fact, nonetheless, Longfellow captured very beautifully two key characteristics of the Acadians: one is their love of community, and the other is their love of the land. It was the Acadians who recognized and developed the rich agricultural heritage which has marked Kings County in the past and continues to mark it to this day. Over 25 per cent of the agricultural financial activity in the Province of Nova Scotia in 1996 came from Kings County, approximately $132 million in total and over 2,000 people are employed in the agricultural sector in that county.

From the broccoli farm of my good neighbour, Mr. Bruce Rand, to the blueberry bushes of the Kidston family; from the strawberry plants of Gilbert Allen who ships his strawberry seedlings throughout the world, to the apple production of Blake Sarsfield and others like him; from the port farm of Gerry Vermuelen to the poultry barns of Martin Porskaamp; from the grapevines of the Habitant Winery to the beef production of Legge Farms; agricultural activity forms the backbone of the riding of Kings North. It is heartening to hear in the Speech from the Throne of a continued and indeed renewed commitment to agriculture not only in Kings County but throughout the province.

Following the tragic expulsion of the Acadian peoples, New England settlers known as the Planters were enticed by the government to move to Kings County. These settlers, the Planters, continued the rich agricultural tradition of the Acadians. Evidence of what the Planters accomplished can be seen in the Kings County Museum which is located in the Old Courthouse in the town of Kentville, the centre of the riding of Kings North. I invite you all to come and to visit sometime and to see what the Planters did in our area.

After the Planters came a group known as the Loyalists, well-known to all of us. It is from Loyalist stock that my family springs. Originally Huguenots, French Protestants, the Parent family escaped to England during the persecutions in France and then moved in time over to the State of New York. However, as the War of Independence loomed in that country, their loyalty to the Crown and to the tradition of British parliamentary democracy meant that once again they gave up home and property and this time they moved up to the Maritimes.

[Page 93]

The Loyalist influence in Kings County is seen in so many different ways. It is seen in respect for the parliamentary system of democracy, and it is seen in the respect for tradition and the importance of tradition, which marks the peoples of the riding of Kings North. G. K. Chesterton once noted that "tradition is the democracy of the dead". It is heartening to see this government in recent decisions respecting ancient traditions and seeking to preserve them in the midst of the society which at times seems to have lost its roots.

The poet T.S. Eliot asks the question in one of his poems, "where is the life we have lost in the living, where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge, where is the knowledge we have lost in information." I love technology as much as anyone, perhaps more. The member for Sackville-Beaver Bank, my colleague, has nicknamed me Reverend Gadget, a moniker which I wear with great pride. But technological progress and consumerism do not have all the answers to the good life; there are older and deeper perspectives which must be taken into account as well. Perspectives which are as important today as they were when first they were formed: time for rest and reflection, time for family, humility in the face of the mystery of life, and the acknowledgement that there is something deeper and something greater.

My Loyalist background is the reason why I sit on the government side today. My roots are historic Tory roots, not the conservatism which one finds in the United States, but that historic Tory position which is so aptly summarized by that biblical saying "to whom much is given, much is required." But it is a historic Tory position touched by another important aspect of life in the Annapolis Valley, and in Kings County in particular, and that is the strong religious tradition that is the background of so many people of Kings County. It was the charismatic preacher, Henry Alline, whose preaching, starting in April 1776, set revival fires alight in the area that I represent. Alline was a Congregationalist, but most of his followers became Baptists.

Their contribution to Kings County can be seen in three areas: one, an emphasis on religious liberty; two, a commitment to education; and three, a stubborn democratic and populist spirit which trusts the wisdom of the common person rather than the benevolent guidance of the elite.

Indeed, Acadia University in Kings County was founded on the ideals of religious liberty and a love of education for all people, not just the elite, being the first university in this province to offer a post-secondary education to all people regardless of religious affiliation. Today Acadia University, while maintaining its historic roots, has become one of the leading universities of the world, on the cutting edge of technological improvement, recognized recently as a leader in North America in this respect, and is joined in this endeavour to help the education of our people by Kingstec Campus of the Nova Scotia Community College, a community college system which, under the leadership of President Ray Ivany and Minister Jane Purves, promises to be one of the best, not only in Canada, but indeed in the world.

[Page 94]

Recently I received notice of an innovative proposal that I had talked to the community college about, setting up a community college system in the country of Bolivia, since, in common with other Latin American countries, such a system is absent. I have heard to my great pleasure that this pilot proposal has received some federal seed money and perhaps in time Nova Scotia may export its community college educational system, not only to the country of Bolivia, but to the rest of Latin America as well.

A respect for education, I believe, Mr. Speaker, is fundamental to what this government is all about, as is evidenced in the Throne Speech by the introduction of the Active Young Readers Program, by literacy programs that we have heard about and by the commitment in the Throne Speech to make our schools a safe and happy place in which students can learn.

Mr. Speaker, another important group in the riding of Kings North is the Afro-Nova Scotian Black community which is located principally in North Kentville and in the community of Gibson's Woods. The first Black settlers in Kings County came with the Planters as slaves, but they were soon joined by freemen who jumped ship in Halifax. Some of them had moved up to Kings County. The Blacks in Kings County have played a very important role and have contributed, having a very strong emphasis on the importance of community and on perseverance in the face of hardship and difficulties. Kings County is a community, in common with many other communities in Nova Scotia, with a very strong community spirit. We care for each other and we seek to help each other. That is why we welcomed the reforms to the health care system which were mentioned in the Throne Speech, reforms that promised to give greater community input and greater community control over the health of the citizens of our particular community.

More recent people groups to Kings County have been immigrants from Holland who came to Kings County following World War II principally, people such as my neighbours Rene and Jose Van Vilstrem or the Ueffing family or, in the Woodville area, the Van Hattem family. People such as these and many others of Dutch descent have contributed much, Mr. Speaker, to the life of Kings North and to Kings County. The Dutch people in Kings County are known for their strong faith in God, expressed primarily through the Roman Catholic Church and the Christian Reformed Church, but they are also known for their willingness to work hard and for their frugality concerning money, never spending more than they have. The people of my riding understand that we cannot live on borrowed money. They understand that as a province we have to live within our means. They understand that $1 billion, roughly, spent on debt servicing is money which cannot be spent on health, education and social services and they want this to stop.

Finally, Mr. Speaker, I should mention more recent immigrants, people groups such as the Topolli family. I had the privilege of bringing the Topolli family to Halifax when they received their landed immigrant status, an essential step in the process of becoming Canadian citizens. The Topolli family, along with 900 other Kosovo refugees were welcomed to

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Canada by the citizens of Kings North as they were housed at Camp Aldershot in the community of Kentville. The Topollis were slated by the government to move out to Western Canada, which they did, but they so missed the beauty and they so missed the friendship of the people of the Town of Kentville and Kings North that they asked to come back, so various groups, church groups and others, raised funds to bring the Topollis back to Kentville where they live today. For the Topolli family, Kings County, Kings North is the land of the rising sun. It is a place of promise and hope, and I think it has been that place for all the various people groups who have made this riding their home.

Mr. Speaker, my hope is that, in the opportunity which I have been given to represent them in this Legislature, I can help strengthen my riding, and through that my province and through that my country; that I can help make Kings North an even better place to live than it already is. I ask for your assistance in this regard as I, in return, pledge to you my assistance in helping you all to improve your communities that you, too, have the privilege of serving. (Interruption) In appropriate ways I may add. Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Fairview.

MR. GRAHAM STEELE: Mr. Speaker, yesterday the new member for Cape Breton North, I believe, received a standing ovation from the House and I am a little disappointed that I received only a sitting ovation. (Standing Ovation)

[12:30 p.m.]

Mr. Speaker, I hope it is going to be that easy in the future to receive a standing ovation, simply to ask for it. It is truly an honour to be here, and I know that many members of this House have been here for a long time, some for a shorter time, but each of you, I am sure, remembers the day that you walked in here for the first time. Each of you remembers what it was like to stand up for the first time in this House, and you will know a little bit of what I am feeling today.

In this historic House of Assembly, the home of representative government in Canada, to think that I am standing here today and that I have the floor is a real honour. I have to thank, for that, a number of people, but I want to say first and foremost to the people of Halifax Fairview, who elected me, who asked me to be here, to be their representative in this Assembly, to be their advocate in government, to be their voice in the public affairs of the province, I am truly grateful for the responsibility that they have given to me, and I hope that I am able to meet their expectations during my time in this House.

I would also like to thank my two predecessors as MLAs for Halifax Fairview, because since redistribution in 1992, there have been only two, Alexa McDonough and Eileen O'Connell. I can tell the members of this House that as I was campaigning not so very long

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ago the mention of those names on the doorsteps of Halifax Fairview elicited a great deal of respect and goodwill. Whatever members of this House believe about those members, whatever partisan ideas they may hold, the fact is that Eileen O'Connell and Alexa McDonough served their constituents well and worked hard for them. I know that I benefited from that hard work, and that it is because of that tradition of representation that I am able to stand here today.

Eileen O'Connell, as you know, was a different kind of member. She was not one to pound the table, she was not one to raise her voice and point fingers, she spoke quietly, but I think over her time here she was able to gain the respect of the members of the House, all members of the House. To be able to earn their respect and to be listened to takes a great deal of hard work.

I would also like to thank my family because I know, and I have heard from many of you, many members of the House, that one of the biggest challenges for all members of the House is to maintain that balance between the work that is expected of you as a member and what we all owe to our families. I have a wife and I have a young son, and I want to be with them. I am very lucky, more lucky than many of you, in that my home is only a 15 minute drive from here. I can go home every night. I know how difficult it must be for those of you who have to stay overnight, away from your families, who have to travel constantly as part of your work. I don't have to do that, and I know that it is still going to be difficult to be able to devote the time to my family that I want to, but I am going to try very hard to do that.

I want to congratulate the new member for Cape Breton North. He knows what it was like to campaign throughout the month of February, from beginning to end. I also want to congratulate the people who ran for other Parties in the Halifax Fairview campaign, Jeremy Akerman, a former member of this House; Narayana Swamy, who has run not for the first time; Heather Drope, and Melanie Patriquin, who all put their names forward. I must say that each of them conducted themselves with grace and honour during the campaign, and I thank them for that.

I also want to say that I want to extend my thoughts, as many people in the House have, to the member for Cape Breton Nova and his family. The member for Cape Breton Nova I think has a reputation for being quite partisan and I will say this as a new member of the House, that whatever he has said or done, he has a remarkable record of being elected and if I am counting correctly, he has been elected and re-elected nine times, nine times continuously without interruption since his first election, I believe it was in 1970, 30 years longer than some members of this House have been alive. Almost as long as I have been alive, almost as long as the member for Cape Breton North has been alive, the member for Cape Breton Nova has been in this House serving the people and I know from the example of the member for Sackville-Cobequid and the member for Chester-St. Margaret's that it is possible to overcome this dreadful illness that has struck him and I hope that he does. He is known as a constituency person whether he was in this Party or in that Party, or his own

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Party, or Independent, he has been elected continuously for over 30 years and he is known far and wide as the consummate constituency person and that I think is an important lesson for all of us, especially members like myself. (Applause)

I was looking forward, Mr. Speaker, I have to admit, to trying to match wits with the member for Cape Breton Nova, a battle that I am sure I would have lost, but I would have looked forward to it at any rate and so I wish strength to him and his family in this difficult time.

Mr. Speaker, I would like to talk now a little bit about what I learned during this campaign that started at the end of January and ended on March 6th. I would like to start first of all by saying that the most difficult opponent that I think any of us faced was the weather. I learned the hard way that the coldest weather of the year truly is in February, but there are benefits to a winter campaign and I want to tell the members of the House what some of them are. Some of you will know. (Interruptions) If the members on that side, if the Premier is ever tempted again to call an election that runs through the month of February, I want to let all the members know that there are some benefits to a winter campaign. The first and probably most important is that all the dogs are inside. (Laughter)

Mr. Speaker, I was defeated by only one dog. It was a nice day and he was sitting there hunched down, looking like he was ready to spring, and I looked at his tail because I always look at the tail first to see if it is wagging. This dog's tail was not wagging. This dog's fangs were bared and from my voter's list (Interruptions) The members are saying a Tory dog. It may very well have been a Tory dog. I looked at my voter's list and according to my list there were two voters in that house on the other side of the dog. I had a choice. I could go through the dog or I could let the dog win. I let that dog win.

The second benefit of a winter campaign, and it is much more obvious, which door people use. If they have a front door, a back door and a side door, in this winter campaign it was very clear which one they used and that is a benefit for anybody knocking on doors. The third benefit of a winter campaign, Mr. Speaker, is that anyone who is shovelling snow or chipping ice will accept any excuse to take a breather, including talking to a passing politician. So those are the benefits of a winter campaign in Halifax Fairview.

I wanted to take a minute to talk about Halifax Fairview and what it is all about before I talk about what they told me on the doorstep, what they wanted me to do if I was fortunate enough to be elected. One of the problems in Halifax Fairview is that there is nothing that can be said that is true of the entire constituency. There is absolutely nothing that is true of every part of that constituency. There are some stereotypes and misconceptions about Halifax Fairview, people would try to say well, it's this or it's that, but I found as I talked to them that it was really none of those things.

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Halifax Fairview is neither rich nor poor. There are parts of the constituency that are poor. There are a number of my constituents who are on social assistance or are just above the threshold levels and are very much part of the working poor. There are parts of my constituency that are bordering on, and we may as well say that they are rich. They are very well off. It is not a big part of my constituency, but they are there.

Halifax Fairview is neither old nor young. There are many seniors and I will talk a little bit later about what the seniors were telling me because they delivered to me a very important message about what they wanted me to do if I was their representative.

There are some parts of Halifax Fairview that are very well settled. People have lived in the same home for 30 or 40 or 50 years and there are other parts of Halifax Fairview that I am glad to say are attracting young families and it is a wonderful process to see. They are either moving into new housing or in the older, more settled parts, they are buying up homes that perhaps were owned by their parents, their aunts and uncles, their family.

Halifax Fairview is neither settled nor transient. There are parts of Halifax Fairview, as I have said, where people have lived in the same home for a very long time and they have their own particular concerns. There are parts of Halifax Fairview that are very transient - high-rise apartment buildings and other apartment buildings where people come and go very frequently.

Halifax Fairview is neither very busy nor very quiet, although there are parts that are both. The constituency is intersected by some major roadways, including the Bicentennial Highway, Dutch Village Road, Herring Cove Road, Northwest Arm Drive. It can be very busy and there are also some very idyllic spots as well, for example the area bordering on Chocolate Lake.

The housing is neither new nor old. There are parts with brand new housing in Stanley Park and there are places that have been there for a very long time.

Eileen O'Connell said in one of her replies to a Speech from the Throne that I reviewed that, "Halifax Fairview is best described more as a community of communities.", and I accept that description completely. There are five or six very distinct neighbourhoods in Halifax Fairview, each with their own interests, each with their own concerns, each with their own personality.

So, with that broad overview of what my constituency is like, what it is all about, I want to talk a little bit about what they told me and what they expect me to do when I am here. There were four main issues that were brought up and I don't think any will come as a surprise to any of the members. The first was a great deal of concern about the health care system. People want the health care system to be available to them when they need it.

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The health care system covers a lot of territory but if there is one theme that came up most often, it was around the idea of waiting periods. Waiting periods when people go to emergency rooms. There are some truly horrific stories of how long people have to wait in emergency rooms, particularly in a context where they may not have a family doctor to go to.

There is also concern about waiting periods for surgery, waiting periods to see specialists. It is a very important issue that needs to be dealt with head-on because that is what is on people's minds.

Concern about home care, about whether home care that is provided is adequate and appropriate and there when it is needed. One person told me that they felt having experienced it, that home care was very much oversold in the hospitals, that the theory that was sold to family members was very, very good, but the practice was quite different.

On the health care system, I would like to say to the House that every single nurse that I spoke to, every single nurse with one exception, is very upset, very demoralized, very concerned about their future in their profession. The one person who was not concerned had made the deliberate choice to accept casual work only in order that she not have to deal with the stress of full-time work, and she was lucky enough to have a working spouse who could make up for that lost income.

[12:45 p.m.]

We need a government that understands that the heart of the health care system is the people who run it, the nurses in particular, although also the doctors, also the technicians and technologists. The people have to have working conditions that are acceptable to them, and when that happens, I suspect that much else will fall into place in the health care system.

The second most important issue that was brought up to me during this campaign was a great deal of concern about the quality of education, a very great concern about the quality of education, especially with people who had school age children or grandchildren. In Halifax Fairview in particular, an issue on many people's minds is the Halifax West High School. I have never seen a more focused, concerted, productive lobbying effort than the parents of the Halifax West High School feeder group that covers not only my constituency but also the constituency of the member for Halifax Bedford Basin. They did wonderful work, and they put it to the government in such a way that the government could not resist the call for a new school to replace the old school. The old school was too sick to be saved at a reasonable cost. I am very glad that this government recognized that, but we have to remember that it was not the government that did that, it was the parents, it was the parents of Halifax West High School and the schools that feed into it.

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Just because the government has decided to build a new school to replace a sick, old school doesn't mean that is the end of the issue. One of the most important issues in what I will call Fairview proper, the Fairview portion of Halifax Fairview, is what is going to happen to the old school site.

Mr. Speaker, I paused there for a moment because as a new member, I wasn't sure if this level of noise was normal in the House, perhaps it is. It is something that I would like the members on the other side to hear . . .

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member has the floor. Just to answer your question, it is probably fairly quiet for what it can be sometimes. It is probably fairly quiet for what it will be in the future. The honourable member for Halifax Fairview has the floor.

MR. STEELE: I know the members are being kind enough not to actually heckle me while I am talking. I know that will change in due course. I know that will change. I would like the members on that side of the House to hear, because the most important public policy issue in the Fairview part of Halifax Fairview remains the Halifax West High School. There is a great deal of concern about what is going to happen to the old school site. What is going to happen to that site? I hope this government does not simply wash its hands and say, well, it is up to the municipality. That old school site is the single, biggest, most important public institution in Fairview. It is now moving up the hill, like most everything else, like the banks, like the doctors' offices, like the big stores, it is moving up the hill into Halifax Bedford Basin, leaving very little in the Dutch Village Road portion of Halifax Fairview.

There is an opportunity here to do something truly wonderful for that community, something that will add value to the community. I do hope that this is something that the provincial government will not wash its hands of, that it will participate in a true partnership with the municipality so that something can be done with that old school site, not the building itself but the site. There is an opportunity for a seniors' recreation centre or a recreation centre for the whole community with a seniors' component in particular. There is an opportunity for office space, there is an opportunity for many things that will add value to that community. I urge this government to consider what it can do to make sure that that site, which I will repeat is the single most important public institution in Fairview, to consider what will be done with that site. There are also issues around the school boundaries. The people who went to the old school expect and demand that their children will have the right to go to the new school. It is very important that this government does what it can to ensure that everyone who had the right to go to the old school has the right to go to the new school. There should be no rejigging of the school boundaries so that anyone is left out.

Finally, Mr. Speaker, and this is something that I am sure I will be asking the Minister of Education, publicly or privately, and that is the proposed completion date for the school. When the school was proposed the minister stated confidently that the school would open in September 2002. There is a very real question about whether that's possible. There will

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be a lot of very disappointed people in the Halifax West High School catchment area and beyond, and beyond because of the impact it is having on other schools in the area, if that school, as promised by the minister, does not open in September 2002. I'll say no more about it now because as I said, I am sure, whether across this aisle or privately, I will be raising that subject with the Minister of Education.

The concerns in Halifax Fairview about quality education don't end with Halifax West High School. There is general concern about resources devoted to education. The teachers in the system tell me that they have been asked for 15 years, so far beyond this government, far beyond even the last government, to do more with less. They have come to the point where they are saying, we cannot do more with less. You can only do more with more. So I, along with my caucus colleagues, will be looking carefully, very, very carefully at the education portion of the budget that will be presented next week.

Mr. Speaker, if I might say, a particular area that needs more resources is the resources for special needs children. In my last job as Director of Research for the NDP caucus I became painfully aware of some truly sad and difficult cases of children with special needs whose needs were not being met in the school system. The policies were fine, the intentions were good, but the resources were not there to deliver the services those children needed. Over the course of the campaign I was able to come face-to-face with people, families because this is a family issue, it is not just about the children, it is about those families; they need more resources. I was pleased to see that the Speech from the Throne made brief reference to that, but again the important thing is not what was said yesterday, it is what is going to be done. What is going to be done about resources for special needs children.

Mr. Speaker, the third most important issue that came up during the campaign and this is one that I will admit I had to learn. I was taught by the seniors in my community, in my constituency about their concerns. I would like to talk for a moment about what they told me. The message I got very clearly from seniors and others on fixed incomes, but particularly seniors, is that they cannot stand any more increases in the amounts they are expected to pay. They simply do not have the money. Whether it is the gentleman whose Canada Pension went up by $3.00 a month, only to find out the next day that his rent was going up $15 a month. Or whether it was the retired railway person who I was speaking to the other day, a man who worked his life in the railways, who got a monthly increase to his pension of $75, about which he was very pleased but by the time the taxes and other deductions had entered into it he actually, believe it or not, lost money. He was actually down a couple of dollars in what he was making before.

The seniors of my constituency and I would suggest of the province as a whole cannot stand anymore increases in what they are expected to pay. They cannot stand anymore increases in Pharmacare premiums, they cannot stand anymore increases in user fees, they cannot stand any increases in their municipal taxes or anything that will put pressure on their municipal taxes. I have learned that a very important filter through which I must see

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everything in this House is the impact that it is going to have on the seniors in my constituency.

Mr. Speaker, those are the three most important issues I heard about during the campaign, I am going to in a moment move that debate be adjourned, and when I resume on Monday evening, I would like to speak for a moment about what the government appears to be willing to do about these issues in its Speech from the Throne, and then perhaps make a few suggestions of my own about what could be done about it.

Mr. Speaker, on that note, I move the debate be adjourned.

MR. SPEAKER: Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

The motion is carried.

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, I move the House do now rise to meet again on Monday at the hour of 7:00 p.m. The House will sit from 7:00 p.m. until 10:00 p.m., and will continue with the Address in Reply to the Speech from the Throne. On Tuesday, the House will sit from 2:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m.; on Wednesday from 2:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m.; and on Thursday from 2:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m. The hours for next Friday are still a matter of negotiation.

Mr. Speaker, with that I move that the House do now rise.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is that the House do now rise, would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

We stand adjourned until 7:00 p.m. on Monday.

[The House rose at 12:57 p.m.]