The Nova Scotia Legislature

The House resumed on:
September 21, 2017.

HANSARD
01-3

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

MONDAY, MARCH 26, 2001

TABLE OF CONTENTS PAGE
GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 45, Spacey, Kevin - Academy Awards: Nova Scotia Mention -
Applaud, Hon. Rodney MacDonald 103
Vote - Affirmative 104
INTRODUCTION OF BILLS:
No. 7, Lobbyists' Registration Act, Hon. M. Baker 104
No. 8, Motor Vehicle Act, Hon. M. Baker 104
NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 46, Fin. - Budget (2001): Health, Educ. and Jobs - Priority,
Mr. J. MacDonell 104
Res. 47, Women, Status of - Warner, Rita (Chair): Election - Congrats.,
Mr. W. Gaudet 105
Vote - Affirmative 106
Res. 48, Meals on Wheels - Frozen Food Pilot Proj. (Lun. Co.):
VON - Assistance Congrats., Hon. M. Baker 106
Vote - Affirmative 106
Res. 49, Sobeys' Stars of Christmas Proj. - Gertrude Parker Elem. Sch.:
Selection - Congrats., Mr. J. Holm 106
Vote - Affirmative 107
Res. 50, Sydney Academy - N.S. Sr. High Debating Championship:
Win - Congrats., Mr. Manning MacDonald 107
Vote - Affirmative 108
Res. 51, Sports - Curling: Dacey Rink - Applaud, Ms. M. McGrath 108
Vote - Affirmative 109
Res. 52, Women, Status of - Warner, Rita (Chair): Election - Congrats.,
Ms. Maureen MacDonald 109
Vote - Affirmative 109
Res. 53, Order of Canada: Bain, George - Congrats., Mr. D. Downe 110
Vote - Affirmative 110
Res. 54, Pare, Jillian: Accomplishments - Commend, Mr. T. Olive 110
Vote - Affirmative 111
Res. 55, Scott, Leslie - Marathon (Orlando, Fla.): Completion -
Congrats., Mr. K. Deveaux 111
Vote - Affirmative 112
Res. 56, Gov't. (N.S.) - Mismanagement: Fin. Min. -
Fault Acknowledge, Dr. J. Smith 112
Res. 57, Sports - Basketball CIAU Championships (Men): St. F.X. -
Effort Congrats., Hon. A. MacIsaac 112
Vote - Affirmative 113
Res. 58, New Waterford - Volunteer Firefighters: Service (85 yrs.) -
Congrats., Mr. F. Corbett 113
Vote - Affirmative 114
Res. 59, Educ. - Cape Breton: Educ. Opportunities - Elimination Explain,
Mr. R. MacKinnon 114
Res. 60, Econ. Dev. - Clearwater Fine Foods Inc.: Chinese Contract -
Signing Congrats., Hon. M. Baker 115
Vote - Affirmative 115
Res. 61, Armdale Place (Hfx.) - Residents/Congrats.: Gov't. (N.S.) -
Residential Tenancies Act Amend, Mr. G. Steele 115
Res. 62, Educ. - Teacher Recruitment: Min. - Plans Begin,
Mr. M. Samson 116
Res. 63, Educ. - Schools: Bullying - Eradicate, Mr. H. Epstein 117
Vote - Affirmative 117
Res. 64, UCCB - Commun. Studies Prog.: Breakfast Prog.
(Bras d'Or Elem. Sch.) - Recognize, Mr. B. Boudreau 117
Vote - Affirmative 118
Res. 65, Transport. & Pub. Wks. - Prospect Rd. Meeting: Min. -
Attendance Confirm, Mr. W. Estabrooks 118
Res. 66, Cape Breton North/Halifax Fairview - By-Elections:
Members Elected - Congrats., Mr. W. Gaudet 119
Vote - Affirmative 119
Res. 67, Health - Black Women's Health Centre/Mar. Centre of
Excellence for Women's Health: Proj. - Congrats., Mr. D. Dexter 120
Vote - Affirmative 120
Res. 68, Health - Fin. Min.: Strategic Investments - Lack Condemn,
Mr. D. Downe 120
Res. 69, E.H. Horne Preservation Soc. (East Hants) - E.H. Horne School:
Preservation - Efforts Congrats., Mr. J. MacDonell 121
Vote - Affirmative 122
Res. 70, Tourism & Culture - Rankin Mem. School: Gaelic Culture
Festival - Congrats., Mr. K. MacAskill 122
Res. 71, Sports - Ringette: Cole Harbour Jr. Team - Best Wishes,
Mr. K. Deveaux 123
Vote - Affirmative 123
Res. 72, Educ. - Sr. High Debating: Funding - Restore, Mr. R. MacKinnon 124
Res. 73, Royal Canadian Legion - Branch 15 (New Waterford):
Anniv. (75th) - Congrats., Mr. F. Corbett 124
Vote - Affirmative 125
Res. 74, Gov't. (N.S.) - Mun./Prov. Relations: Platform -
Commitment Keep, Mr. G. Steele 125
Res. 75, Smith, Nathaniel - Prospect: Genealogical Research -
Recognize/Thank, Mr. W. Estabrooks 126
Vote - Affirmative 126
Res. 76, Westphal/Cole Hbr. Firefighters Assoc. (LeRue, Mike/
White, Noel/Barr, Terry) - Communities: Preservation - Congrats.,
Mr. D. Dexter 127
Vote - Affirmative 127
GOVERNMENT BUSINESS:
GOVERNMENT MOTION:
ADDRESS IN REPLY:
Mr. G. Steele 128
Mr. Manning MacDonald 135
Mr. J. Carey 151
Mr. W. Estabrooks 156
Adjourned debate 165
ADJOURNMENT, House rose to meet again on Tue., Mar. 27th at 2:00 p.m. 165
NOTICE OF MOTION UNDER RULE 32(3):
Res. 77, Sydney Academy - N.S. Senior High Debating Championships:
Performance - Applaud, Mr. J. Holm 166

[Page 103]

HALIFAX, MONDAY, MARCH 26, 2001

Fifty-eighth General Assembly

Second Session

7:00 P.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

PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES

TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS

STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS

GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION

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

RESOLUTION NO. 45

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

Whereas the Academy Awards is the world's most watched awards show with an audience of over 800 million people; and

103

[Page 104]

Whereas Nova Scotia has a growing film industry that contributes considerably to our province's economy and has the privilege to host many Hollywood actors of high profile and calibre; and

Whereas actor and previous Academy Award winner for best actor, Kevin Spacey, mentioned Nova Scotia while he was introducing the nominees for the best actress award, one of the biggest highlights of the show;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House applaud Mr. Spacey for his best performance yet and award him our thanks for placing this province on the centre stage of such a prestigious, global event and allowing a spotlight to shine upon us.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

INTRODUCTION OF BILLS

Bill No. 7 - Entitled an Act to Provide for the Registration of Lobbyists. (Hon. Michael Baker)

Bill No. 8 - Entitled an Act to Amend Chapter 293 of the Revised Statutes of 1989. The Motor Vehicle Act. (Hon. Michael Baker)

MR. SPEAKER: Ordered that this bill be read a second time on a future day.

NOTICES OF MOTION

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Opposition.

RESOLUTION NO. 46

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

[Page 105]

Whereas polling research undertaken for our Party shows that health, education and jobs are the budget priorities for Nova Scotians; and

Whereas 79 per cent of Nova Scotians polled feel investment in health, education or jobs are their top priorities while only 18 per cent shows deficit elimination or a tax cut; and

Whereas Nova Scotians are sending a clear message to this government about what matters to them;

Therefore be it resolved that this government listen to the people of Nova Scotia as opposed to their Tory friends and make health, education and jobs a priority of this province and this forthcoming budget.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable Leader of the Liberal Party.

RESOLUTION NO. 47

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

Whereas recently it was announced that Rita Warner has been elected the Chair of the Advisory Council on the Status of Women; and

Whereas Ms. Warner brings tremendous experience both with the council and with women's issues; and

Whereas the Advisory Board plays a tremendously important role on behalf of women in Nova Scotia;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House join me in congratulating Rita Warner on her election and wish her and her group all the best.

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 106]

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Justice.

RESOLUTION NO. 48

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

Whereas the many Lunenburg County residents count on the Meals on Wheels delivery program to assist with their food requirements; and

Whereas the Meals on Wheels program is initiating a frozen food pilot project with the assistance of the VON; and

Whereas the pilot project will be commenced in the New Germany and Mahone Bay areas and will be extended throughout the Lunenburg County area over a period of six months;

Therefore be it resolved that the House of Assembly congratulate the VON for assisting the Meals on Wheels program in piloting this program and providing a valued service to Lunenburg County residents.

Mr. Speaker, I request of 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.

RESOLUTION NO. 49

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

[Page 107]

Whereas over 40 choirs throughout Atlantic Canada auditioned for the Sobeys' Stars of Christmas project; and

Whereas Gertrude Parker Elementary School in Sackville was featured on the CD and was selected as one of only two schools from Atlantic Canada to appear in the Christmas commercials; and

Whereas the 45 Grade 4, Grade 5 and Grade 6 students of Gertrude Parker and their music teacher, Eleanor Hall, who gave up their free time to rehearse, benefited from an exciting educational experience and the school received a generous donation from Sobeys as a result of their efforts;

Therefore be it resolved that all members congratulate Gertrude Parker students and their music teacher, Eleanor Hall, for being selected for the Sobeys' Stars of Christmas project and thank Sobeys for their generous contribution to the school that benefits all students.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Cape Breton South.

RESOLUTION NO. 50

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

Whereas in a unanimous judging decision, a debating team from Sydney Academy claimed the Nova Scotia Senior High Debating Championship title this weekend at Holy Angels High in Sydney; and

Whereas Emilie Pottle, Rory Gillis and Dominique McMahon made up the three-person team that defeated a team from Halifax's Queen Elizabeth High School in the final; and

[Page 108]

Whereas the topic of the debate was, Be It Resolved That We Are At War With Ourselves; the focus of the topic was whether or not the Atlantic Provinces should form one large province or remain separate;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate the Sydney Academy debating team of Emilie Pottle, Rory Gillis and Dominique McMahon for winning the Nova Scotia Senior High Debating Championship as they continue the Sydney Academy tradition of provincial high school debating supremacy.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Halifax Bedford Basin.

RESOLUTION NO. 51

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

Whereas last week Mark Dacey's Mayflower rink from Halifax made history by becoming the only Nova Scotia team to win three consecutive provincial mixed titles in the province; and

Whereas the Halifax base team of Mark Dacey, skip; wife, Heather Smith-Dacey, third; Robert Harris, second; and Laine Peters, lead, also have the honour of being the home team for the nationals to be hosted by Nova Scotia next January; and

Whereas the pooled talent of the team is matched only by the enthusiasm of the foursome;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House applaud a history-making event in Nova Scotia sports and wish the Dacey rink all the best in January 2002, where it is hoped the team can capture the national title for Nova Scotia in Nova Scotia.

[Page 109]

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. 52

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

Whereas Rita Warner was elected on Friday, May 12th as the new Chair of the Advisory Council on the Status of Women; and

Whereas in addition to her many years of work with various women's organizations, Ms. Warner brings to the position 25 years of community economic development experience; and

Whereas Ms. Warner is the first Cape Bretoner elected to this position and only the second woman elected from outside of Halifax;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate Rita Warner on her election to the important position of Chair for the Nova Scotia Advisory Council on the Status of Women.

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 110]

The honourable member for Lunenburg West.

RESOLUTION NO. 53

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

Whereas respected reporter, columnist and author, George Bain of Mahone Bay, has dedicated his life to the written word; and

Whereas Mr. Bain is among 98 Canadians who have been chosen to become a Member of the Order by Governor General Adrienne Clarkson on February 15, 2001; and

Whereas the Order of Canada is the highest honour bestowed by the nation on its citizens;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House congratulate George Bain for his significant contribution to journalism and public life as he receives the Order of Canada.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Dartmouth South.

RESOLUTION NO. 54

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

Whereas Nova Scotian youth are our province's most precious asset; and

Whereas the scholastic and extra-curricular achievements and contributions of Dartmouth High School student, Jillian Pare was recently profiled by a local newspaper; and

[Page 111]

Whereas Jillian approaches these endeavours with such enthusiasm and dedication, making her a shining example for today's youth;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House commend Jillian Pare for her accomplishments and wish her the best for all her future endeavours;

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage.

RESOLUTION NO. 55

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

Whereas arthritis is a debilitating disease that affects many Nova Scotians of all ages; and

Whereas the Arthritis Society recently held a full and half marathon in Orlando, Florida, to bring attention to the disease and raise money for research; and

Whereas Leslie Scott of Cow Bay successfully completed the half marathon on behalf of her mother, Carolyn;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulates Leslie Scott on her hard work in fundraising for and completing the half marathon in Orlando, and for her dedication to help fight such a disabling disease.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

[Page 112]

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 East.

[7:15 p.m.]

RESOLUTION NO. 56

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

Whereas in recent speeches, the Minister of Finance has blamed the former health boards for out-of-control deficits in the health care system; and

Whereas the minister has neglected to mention that his government dissolved the former health boards in 1999, and centralized all power in downtown Halifax; and

Whereas the since the health boards have been non-existent, they could not be responsible for out-of-control health spending;

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Finance start telling the truth to Nova Scotians that the fault for health care deficits is a result of his own government's mismanagement.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations.

RESOLUTION NO. 57

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. Francis Xavier X-Men hockey team finished first overall in the AUAA league play; and

Whereas the X-Men qualified to play in the national championship in Kitchener this past weekend, and the X-Men played an outstanding tournament, defeating the first-ranked Alberta Golden Bears to qualify to play in the championship game; and

[Page 113]

Whereas the X-Men, under the leadership of Head Coach Danny Flynn, took the second-ranked QUTR Patriots to double overtime in the championship game;

Therefore be it resolved that this House extend its congratulations to the X-Men for their tremendous effort at the CIAU finals and express our pride in this hockey team for their hard-fought effort as representatives of Maritime intercollegiate hockey.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Cape Breton Centre.

RESOLUTION NO. 58

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

Whereas this is the International Year of Volunteers; and

Whereas volunteer firefighters perform with courage and selflessness a necessary service for their communities; and

Whereas the New Waterford Volunteer Fire Department is celebrating 85 years of service to the community;

Therefore be it resolved that in this year celebrating volunteers, this House expresses its great appreciation to volunteer firefighters in New Waterford and congratulate them on 85 years of meritorious service in their community.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

[Page 114]

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Cape Breton West.

RESOLUTION NO. 59

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

Whereas the Department of Education, through its (Interruption) Mr. Speaker, I was expecting this.

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

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

Whereas the Department of Education, through its Nova Scotia Advisory Board on Colleges and Universities, is proposing to designate all universities, community colleges and private career colleges according to the ability of students to repay their student loans; and

Whereas such a policy, if adopted in the Minister of Education's budget, will effectively cripple growth and opportunity at UCCB and lead to the possible closure of Nova Scotia Community College's Marconi Campus; and

Whereas this policy designation was prepared within a confidential document in November 2000 with little or no public consultation;

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Education explain why this Tory Government is proposing to eliminate educational opportunities in Cape Breton while telling the people of Cape Breton it is supporting their educational opportunity and enrichment.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable Minister of Justice.

[Page 115]

RESOLUTION NO. 60

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

Whereas Nova Scotia participated in the Team Canada trade mission to the People's Republic of China in February; and

Whereas Clearwater Fine Foods Inc. has signed a $15 million agreement with Shandong Shanhai Fishery Business Centre during this trade mission; and

Whereas this agreement secures a deal for Clearwater to sell 12,500 tonnes of frozen at-sea-shrimp over the next five years and is a positive step towards reducing Chinese tariffs on shrimp product entering China;

Therefore be it resolved that the House of Assembly congratulate Clearwater Fine Foods Inc. on obtaining this significant contract with Chinese business.

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. 61

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

Whereas on January 16, 2001, over 300 residents of Armdale Place at 36 Abbey Road, Halifax, were displaced from their homes by fire; and

Whereas the friends, family and neighbours of Armdale Place residents, as well as many community minded people and organizations like the Salvation Army, provided support and shelter in this time of crisis; and

[Page 116]

Whereas many Armdale Place residents have now returned to their homes;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate the residents of Armdale Place for their perseverance in this time of personal crisis, thank all those who provided support and shelter, and urge the government to amend the Residential Tenancies Act to remove the obstacles to accountability and compensation faced by present and former Armdale Place residents.

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 Richmond.

RESOLUTION NO. 62

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

Whereas recently, through an Order in Council, the Minister of Education raised the fee for a new teacher's licence to $80; and

Whereas in the next few years there will be a need for new teachers as baby boomers retire; and

Whereas the Department of Education does not have a plan to attract new teachers, instead they are implementing disincentives for young teachers starting out;

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Education take her head out of the sand and immediately begin laying plans for improved teacher recruiting instead of making tax grabs at the expense of young teachers.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

[Page 117]

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Halifax Chebucto.

RESOLUTION NO. 63

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

Whereas recent shootings in the United States at high schools once again illustrate the need to keep our children safe at school; and

Whereas at the root of some of these rampages are children who suffer constant bullying in school and on the schoolyard; and

Whereas bullying of any type should not be condoned in the schoolyard;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House agree to work together to eradicate bullying from our schools and to make schools a healthy and happy environment in which to learn.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Cape Breton The Lakes.

RESOLUTION NO. 64

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

[Page 118]

Whereas Denise Reynolds and other students at the University College of Cape Breton have started a breakfast program at Bras d'Or Elementary School; and

Whereas the program was set up as a project for UCCB's Community Studies program; and

Whereas the program feeds up to 180 students each morning;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House recognize the good work of these university students and extend to them our support for the continuation of this program.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Timberlea-Prospect.

RESOLUTION NO. 65

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 PROS (Please Respect Our Safety) committee continues to monitor road safety conditions on the Prospect Road; and

Whereas this volunteer group of concerned area residents has scheduled a public meeting for Wednesday, April 25th, at Brookside Junior High School; and

Whereas it is vital that elected officials remain accessible by attending such public meetings;

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Transportation confirm that he will be in attendance at this important public meeting about the Prospect Road on Wednesday, April 25, 2001, at Brookside Junior High School.

[Page 119]

Mr. Speaker, I would ask for 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 Leader of the Liberal Party.

RESOLUTION NO. 66

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

Whereas since the last time we gathered in this place there have been two by-elections; and

Whereas members of all Parties ran valiant candidates, but there can only be one winner in each contest; and

Whereas all those who offer themselves for public life should deserve the respect and thanks of the people of Nova Scotia;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate and welcome both Mr. Cecil Clarke, MLA for Cape Breton North, and Mr. Graham Steele, MLA for 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 member for Dartmouth-Cole Harbour.

[Page 120]

RESOLUTION NO. 67

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

Whereas on March 23rd and 24th, the Black Women's Health Network and the Maritime Centre of Excellence for Women's Health, presented a two-day research workshop on Health Care for the Black Community; and

Whereas the workshop provided a forum to discuss the inequities that affect the health of the Black population and to form a foundation for future study and advancement of evidence-based social policies relevant to the health of the Black community; and

Whereas this research project saw 85 women from across the province come together at the East Preston Recreation Centre to participate in discussions on ways to address identified health priorities;

Therefore be it resolved that the Black Women's Health Network and the Maritime Centre of Excellence for Women's Health be congratulated on this innovative community- based health project.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Lunenburg West.

RESOLUTION NO. 68

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 December 15th year-end forecast indicated the Finance Minister would be receiving $105 million in additional revenue; and

[Page 121]

Whereas, unfortunately for Nova Scotians, the Finance Minister only managed to reduce the deficit by $8.2 million due to the inability of the Health Minister to control health costs with targeted strategic investments; and

Whereas the Finance Minister now claims he will receive significant additional revenue that he will use to make strategic investments in Health, even though he had that opportunity over two years ago.

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Finance be condemned for not making strategic investments in Health two years ago to control costs, instead Nova Scotians are still faced with out-of-control health spending with no significant improvement in care.

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.

HON. NEIL LEBLANC: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order, I haven't been the Minister of Finance for two years. I just wanted to make sure the honourable member knows that.

MR. SPEAKER: That wasn't a point or order, it was a point of clarification.

The honourable Leader of the Opposition.

RESOLUTION NO. 69

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

Whereas Edmund Horne gave of his personal wealth to help build what was described in newspapers of the day as, the finest school that money could buy so that local children could obtain a decent education; and

Whereas this school has now been declared surplus; and

Whereas the E.H. Horne Preservation Society, together with a substantial grant from the Municipality of East Hants, is determined to renew the grand old school's usefulness to the Village of Enfield;

[Page 122]

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly congratulate the society and the Municipality of East Hants for their commendable efforts to preserve the legacy of one of Enfield's most notable citizens.

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. 70

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 Rankin Memorial School in Iona recently held a winter Gaelic festival called Feis a Gheamhraidh; and

Whereas the successful event gave students a real taste of Gaelic culture and introduced them to such aspects as storytelling, crafts, fiddling and milling frolics; and

Whereas the event opened with the singing of O Canada in Gaelic and the students enjoyed a ceilidh in the afternoon;

Therefore be it resolved that the students, teachers and parents of the Rankin Memorial School be congratulated for proving that you do not have to travel to Scotland to learn about authentic Gaelic culture.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear a No.

[Page 123]

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member of Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage.

RESOLUTION NO. 71

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

Whereas the Cole Harbour Junior Ringette team recently won the Nova Scotia Junior Ringette Championship; and

Whereas the Cole Harbour junior team will now represent Nova Scotia at the Canadian Ringette Championships in Moncton, New Brunswick, being held from April 2nd to April 7th; and

Whereas the 18 players and 4 coaching staff will try to bring home a national championship for Nova Scotia in the Junior Division;

Therefore be it resolved that this House sends its best wishes to Manager Cindy Sabourin, Managers June Thomas and Lucie Anne Ingoldoby, Coach Jennifer Grabman and all the players as they head to Moncton to represent Nova Scotia with pride.

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 of Cape Breton West. (Interruption)

MR. RUSSELL MACKINNON: Mr. Speaker, let's be clear at the outset, if I take these off, I don't have to look at that sorry lot across the floor. (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Cape Breton West has the floor.

[Page 124]

[7:30 p.m.]

RESOLUTION NO. 72

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

Whereas at the Provincial Senior High Debating Championships held in Sydney this past weekend, Emilie Pottle, Rory Gillis and Dominique McMahon represented Sydney Academy and Joanna Langille, Gordon Shotwell and Amol Verma represented Queen Elizabeth High School; and

Whereas the provincial government has placed an undue burden on high school debaters by recently cutting travel subsidies for high school debating teams; and

Whereas the art and competition of debating is a fine skill that every young person should have access to;

Therefore be it resolved that the Department of Education show its commitment to the development of the province's youth by restoring the rather meager funding program which assisted in provincial senior high debating initiatives.

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 Cape Breton Centre.

RESOLUTION NO. 73

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

Whereas the Royal Canadian Legion is Canada's largest veterans', ex-service persons' and community service organization with more than 480,000 members and 1,600 branches in Canada; and

[Page 125]

Whereas the Royal Canadian Legion puts more than $350 million into our communities each year and provides services for veterans, ex-service persons, seniors, youth and numerous community-based charities; and

Whereas Branch 15 of the Royal Canadian Legion now celebrates its 75th year of such proud service to the community of New Waterford;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulates all the good people associated with Branch 15 and wishes it continued success in its efforts on behalf of the grateful citizens of New Waterford.

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. 74

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

Whereas on Page 34 of the 1999 Progressive Conservative platform, John Hamm's plan opens its discussion of local government by stating that, "We believe municipal government is the cornerstone of democracy."; and

Whereas the platform states also that, "A Progressive Conservative Government will be committed to communities, working in true partnership with municipal government."; and

Whereas the platform criticizes the Liberal record which meant that, "the experience of many has been an increase in property taxes with no increased compensating benefits or services";

[Page 126]

Therefore be it resolved that the government should keep the commitment in its platform which states that, "During its first mandate, a PC Government will: stop the unilateral downloading which has characterized municipal/provincial relations in Nova Scotia."

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Timberlea-Prospect.

RESOLUTION NO. 75

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 Village of Prospect is an historic community with a proud past; and

Whereas Nathaniel Smith, son of Linda Coolen-Smith and grandson of Kathleen and Weldon Coolen, has put Prospect's past on the web with an award-winning site; and

Whereas Nathaniel, through his research, literally uncovered an 1811 headstone of Mary Hearn at Kelly's Point, thereby notifying developers of the significance of this piece of land;

Therefore be it resolved that this House recognizes and thanks student geneologist, Nathaniel Smith, for his diligence and hard work in preserving the past of Prospect and its significance.

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.

[Page 127]

RESOLUTION NO. 76

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

Whereas the Westphal/Cole Harbour Firefighters Association will hold its annual banquet on April 21, 2001; and

Whereas its members have given selflessly in providing fire service to their communities and will be honoured at the banquet; and

Whereas of particular note for their contributions are Mike LeRue and Noel White, each with 20 years' service, and Terry Barr who has served for 25 years;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulates Mike LeRue, Noel White and Terry Barr for helping to build and preserve the communities of Westphal and Cole Harbour.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

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.

[Page 128]

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 member for Halifax Fairview has the floor. You have 34 minutes.

MR. GRAHAM STEELE: Mr. Speaker, when I broke off last day, I was describing what it was that I thought I had learned on the doorsteps of Halifax Fairview during the recent by-election. I talked about four issues that had been brought to me with particular emphasis and I won't go over those issues again other than to say that they were health care, very great concerns about the health care system and whether the health care system would be there for people when they needed it. There was concern about the quality of the education system. Seniors told me over and over again that they cannot stand any increases in the costs that they are expected to bear, whether those are Pharmacare premiums or user fees or property taxes.

Mr. Speaker, the fourth issue, which I will start with tonight, was a variety of municipal issues. These are the issues that hit people where they live. These are issues like, well, snow and ice were on people's minds a lot, of course, but also the state of roads, the state of sidewalks, lighting. I am pleased to say that I have already managed to develop a good working relationship with the local Halifax Regional Municipality Councillors and I very much look forward to working with them on the concerns the residents have brought to my attention.

Mr. Speaker, I am fortunate and very pleased that the Leader of the New Democratic Party has decided that among the critic areas that I will have is one for Municipal Relations. I do think it is a very important area, certainly one that is topical now, since one of the most important current public policy issues concerns Municipal Relations. The government has put forward a proposal of municipal service exchange that includes an equalization component.

Mr. Speaker, I would like to put on the record, if I might, our caucus's position on municipal equalization. I would like to say first of all that the NDP caucus believes in the principle of municipal equalization. Every citizen of Nova Scotia should be able to expect reasonably comparable municipal services at reasonably comparable levels of taxation. In order to achieve that objective, equalization is necessary, but the responsibility for devising an equalization plan that is principled and fair rests with the province, not the municipalities. The NDP caucus believes that this government is evading its responsibility by downloading the burden of equalization onto the municipalities themselves.

The municipality's principal source of revenue is, of course, property tax. Property tax is regressive, by which I mean that the amount of tax bears no necessary relationship to the property owner's ability to pay. Anything that places a burden on property taxes should

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therefore be closely related to services to that property. Funding for equalization payments does not pass that test. Unfortunately, the existing equalization formula has not worked. Some municipalities like the Cape Breton Regional Municipality - and there are others - are in severe financial difficulty. Municipal amalgamation did not solve the problem of an assessment base that is actually shrinking in CBRM. CBRM is one of the municipalities - and there are others - that soon may not be able to provide a basic level of municipal services. We believe that this government must immediately and directly address this problem and that is the province's responsibility.

The NDP caucus believes the principled solution is to continue to make equalization grants from general revenues. Individual and corporate taxes based on ability to pay are the biggest source of general revenue. A bank vice-president no matter where they live in Nova Scotia, should be expected to contribute to municipal equalization. A senior who is living on a fixed income in a home they have owned for 40 years should not.

Mr. Speaker, it is unfair to implement any equalization plan that does not recognize this reality. There are two differences between this government's plan and the responsible, principled and fair plan. One is whether individuals share the tax burden fairly. We believe that this proposal that the government has brought forward does not do that. The other difference is whether this government will keep its promise to not unilaterally download any more costs onto municipal taxpayers. With this plan we believe that is precisely what they have done.

Mr. Speaker, there is one more issue that came up on the campaign trail that I would like to talk about, and that is what you might call the pervasive cynicism among voters. There is a lack of belief in the relevance or the importance of their democratic institutions. One common refrain I heard, and I'm sure all the candidates heard is, well, you're all the same. Another is, what difference could it possibly make if I vote for you or whether I vote for someone else? The most extreme example is a lady who opened her door and I got out the first few words of what I usually said which was, "Hi, I'm . . .", and she pointed her finger and she said, you're all liars. You're all liars, she said, and I'm not going to vote for any of you, and she slammed the door. Of course I was left on the doorstep saying yes, but you don't know about me.

It was a particularly extreme example, I thought, of something I'm sure that everyone who has run for office has seen, and that is the cynicism about the political process and I think we all have to ask ourselves where it comes from. It comes, I think, from a number of sources, one of which is governments that do not follow through on the promises that they made on the campaign trail, and if I might say, the government that we have today is particularly guilty of that sin; having made 243 promises in its blue book and more besides.

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Other promises were made on the campaign trail that were not recorded in the blue book. Chief among them was the promise to immediately twin Highway No. 101, but there were others, amounting to 260 promises all together. Of course, the people of Nova Scotia know that this government couldn't possibly fulfil all of those promises. This government is well on its way to not, in fact, fulfilling those promises. That is one important source of the cynicism that is pervasive among the electorate today, governments that do not keep their promises.

Another is that voters detect very little difference to their lives no matter who is elected. Of course, this Party is one that has not yet had a chance to govern but that Party has and that Party has. There seems very little difference to the voter between that Party and that Party, and I wonder why that is, Mr. Speaker. Could it be that it is the members of the government, perhaps the backbenchers, who are duly elected who really end up having no influence over government policy, who end up being voting machines to be directed by the Cabinet? Is it that the government is really run by the bureaucracy, by the civil servants who don't change between elections and whose advice to this government or that government is pretty much the same? Or are other interests, other more permanent interests, are they the ones that are really telling governments what tune to dance to? I don't know, but what I do know is that there is a pervasive cynicism among the electorate that is very destructive to the faith in our democratic institutions.

[7:45 p.m.]

Mr. Speaker, in my previous position, I had the opportunity to observe this House from the gallery for the last two and one-half years. I may say that one of the immediate differences I noticed from being up in the gallery and being a member is that the view from up in the gallery is much better. Over on this side, there is a good portion of the government caucus that I simply can't see. There are a few Cabinet Ministers whom I am not able to see. I have a very fine view of the back of the head of the member for Cape Breton Centre. Up in the gallery I felt I could survey the domain and see everything that was going on in the House.

One thing I did notice from the gallery - and I am sorry to say this in the home of representative government in Canada - is the lack of real debate that goes on on the floor of the House. The real decisions of government, I guess we all know, are made elsewhere. They are made in the corridors, they are made back in the departments, there is very little that anyone would realistically call debate on the floor of this House. Why is that, Mr. Speaker?

There are two reasons that I would like to talk about. One is the rigid Party discipline imposed by the government. I was a little disappointed the other day, although I suppose it is revealing, when the Premier was asked his opinion of the Liberal Party's proposal to have a free vote on the municipal equalization plan. Whatever the merits of that, I will leave for another day. The Premier was asked whether he would allow his caucus to have a free vote

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on that very important issue. He said no. He said no because in his opinion it was not a matter of conscience, and therefore there should not be a free vote.

Mr. Speaker, we have come a very long way from the parliamentary tradition, which is that members should be allowed to vote as they wish unless it is a matter of confidence in the government. We have slid from matters of confidence, which are very few indeed, related mostly to budgetary matters, and motions of non-confidence. We have slid from that to that unless it is a matter of conscience, which again, are very few indeed, then all the members of the government caucus should be expected to vote the same way.

Mr. Speaker, that is a shame. There are other parliaments, most particularly the Parliament at Westminster, in the United Kingdom, where members of all caucuses routinely vote against their Party's leadership, voting a different way. It hasn't destroyed democracy there, it has led to Members of Parliament having a real, viable, valid, important role in the process of government. It seems to me that the power to relax that kind of Party discipline rests with the government. It could be done, it could be done soon. This government, I believe, could do something very quickly about this pervasive cynicism that I have just experienced on the doorstep.

Mr. Speaker, I am now going to say something that is almost shocking, almost heresy, and I apologize in advance to my caucus colleagues for saying this, but the government is not always wrong. The government is not always wrong, and neither is the Opposition. There are some very valid, important, necessary ideas that come from the Opposition benches, and I will say that is true of the Liberal Party or of the Official Opposition, of the Third Party or the Official Opposition. We are not always wrong.

If the government believed that valuable ideas came from the Opposition benches and that they could be incorporated into legislation or into the budget, we would be travelling a very long way to making this institution one, again, of real debate and, again, it would attack this pervasive cynicism among the electorate. Mr. Speaker, democracy, if it means anything, is about the value of every voice, and that includes the value of every voice in the government backbenches, the value of every voice in the Opposition, and the value of every voice of every public-minded citizen who wants to contribute to public debate in Nova Scotia.

Mr. Speaker, in light of all these campaign issues that I have outlined: the very great concern of the people of Halifax Fairview about their health care system, about their education system; the very great concern that seniors in my riding have about the costs being imposed upon them or downloaded upon them; in light of the very important municipal issues that are of interest to the people of Halifax Fairview; in light of this pervasive cynicism that I have spoken of, about the lack of a value that the voters see in our democratic institutions, I have to say that the Speech from the Throne was very disappointing. There was nothing of substance to offer to my constituents to tackle these very real issues they raise

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with me. So we will have to wait and see what is in the government's budget, which will be delivered this Thursday, where the fine words of the Speech from the Throne become government reality.

Mr. Speaker, in the meantime, there are several other easy steps that this government could take that would go a long way to improving government and maybe, just maybe, increasing people's faith in their government.

The first, Mr. Speaker, is the way this government goes about choosing people who serve on agencies, boards and commissions. A part of that process involves the Legislature's Human Resources Committee and I requested of the Leader of the NDP if I could be nominated to sit on that committee and I am pleased that she has allowed me to do so. Tomorrow morning I will take my place on the Human Resources Committee, which is an issue that has a great deal of interest to me, because there are very few things that have been more corrosive to governments in Nova Scotia, more corrosive to good public decision making than the tradition of patronage that has pervaded the government appointment process. This is a matter of great personal interest to me. It was a topic of my master's thesis at Dalhousie Law School. It is something that I have studied a great deal and something that I care very much about.

My master's thesis, which was done several years ago, under the last government, showed conclusively that political affiliation was an important consideration in decisions that were made about who was appointed to agencies, boards and commissions, even those carrying out a quasi-judicial function, which should have been entirely free of any kind of political consideration.

At least, Mr. Speaker, I hope that that study in a small way contributed to advancing the debate where the previous government and the government before that denied that there was even any patronage involved. Well, of course there was. It seems to me that we can only advance when we take it for granted, when we take it as a fact that patronage has pervaded the appointment process in Nova Scotia because the people on those agencies, boards and commissions make hundreds of decisions every day - and I am not exaggerating when I say that - these are everything from social assistance to workers' compensation to the Utility and Review Board, the police commission, the Residential Tenancies Board and beyond.

The only sure guarantee that this or any other government has or that the people of Nova Scotia have that those decisions are being made in the best possible way is to appoint the best possible people. But the last government and this government have resisted any meaningful attempt to come up with a process that would ensure that the best people are appointed. That's a shame, Mr. Speaker.

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Few things could be done more immediately to improve the quality of government decision making than to put into place processes that have already been proposed by the NDP caucus, that have already been proposed by my predecessor in this chair as the member for Halifax Fairview, to improve the quality of appointments to agencies, boards and commissions.

The second immediate improvement that this government could make to the quality of government decision making is to take freedom of information seriously, Mr. Speaker. Like all governments, when they were in Opposition, when they sat on this side of the House, they had a certain idea and certain speeches they liked to make about the importance of freedom of information, but somehow in the migration of a few feet across the aisle those ideals have been lost.

I would never say, I would never claim that this is the least open government Nova Scotia has ever had because the last government certainly would give them a run for their money. But I would say that this is a government that does not take freedom of information very seriously because freedom of information, after all, is not so much the words on the paper of the Freedom of Information Act, it is an attitude. It is an attitude that percolates down from the top.

This is a government that was asked before the last budget for a copy of all public opinion polls that it had taken. It turns out there had, in fact, been two. But the leadership of this government and the person widely considered to be the chief civil servant in Nova Scotia released only one - there were only two, but they released one - and on budget day last year the NDP caucus received a letter by courier enclosing the second saying that it had simply been forgotten, it had been overlooked. Two opinion polls conducted by the government in advance of last year's budget and the top civil servant in Nova Scotia in the name of the Cabinet, forgot about one of them.

It is little wonder that the civil servants who do administer freedom of information applications every day, get the wrong message. Because, of course, the punch line to that story is that the second opinion poll that was released on budget day, far too late to be of any use, on far too busy a day to catch any attention, showed that the government had its priorities all wrong. That is what freedom of information is supposed to be for, Mr. Speaker, so the public has that information in a timely and complete way. This is a government that does not take freedom of information seriously and that is part of the reason for that pervasive cynicism that I talked about.

The third thing is its citizens need to have a place to go when governments obstruct them, when governments don't do what they are supposed to do. The Office of the Ombudsman was, heaven knows, not perfect, but it had a job to do and this government abolished it. Oh, sure they can say no, we did not really abolish it, we folded it into the Human Rights Commission, but to all intents and purposes it was abolished. The Human

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Rights Commission is suffering under a terrible backlog of its own with a very different mandate. It can hardly be expected to take on in a meaningful way an entirely different mandate, functions of an entirely different office, without a substantial increase in resources, which of course, it is not getting. So the citizens' defender in Nova Scotia has been abolished. That is the wrong thing to do, it is the wrong way to go.

Through my time in the House, I hope I will always remember what the people of Halifax Fairview told me during the campaign and what they tell me as I go and talk to them, I hope consistently and constantly between now and the next general election because I do not intend to be one of those politicians who people see only at election time. I will be fighting every day for a health care system that is there for people when they need it. I will be fighting to make sure that people who go to emergency rooms do not have to wait for hours and hours. I will be fighting to make sure that people who want to get tests, who want to see a specialist do not have to wait for months and months. I will be fighting to make sure that the quality of the education system goes up and not down, that the focus of the education system becomes what our students are learning, not how much the administration can save

I will be fighting for those seniors in my riding who told me very clearly that they cannot stand any more increases in the costs that they are expected to bear. They simply cannot stand another increase in the Pharmacare premium. They simply cannot stand any increases in their property taxes. They simply cannot stand any increases in user fees from a government that said no new taxes, but then imposes user fees which are a tax by another name. I will be working very closely with the HRM councillors in my district on a variety of municipal issues that are of concern to my constituents.

[8:00 p.m.]

Mr. Speaker, more than anything, I hope to be able to work on this pervasive, corrosive cynicism among the electorate that is born of governments that do not keep their promises, that is born of governments that do not appear to believe in the idea of freedom of information and the idea that letting citizens have information can actually improve government - what a radical idea, but it is one that I profoundly believe - cynicism born of a government that seems determined not to do anything meaningful about the quality of people who are appointed to agencies, boards and commissions; cynicism born of governments that have all the wrong spending priorities and then cut the one office in government that is dedicated to be the defender of the citizen.

Mr. Speaker, if I keep those things as my compass during my time in the House, I know that I will not go wrong because it is the people of Halifax Fairview who put me here, it is the people of Halifax Fairview who will keep me here and as long as I am able to act on their needs, their interests, then I am sure I will be able to serve them with the courage and credit and conviction that they expect of all of their representatives.

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Mr. Speaker, on that note I will close and say that I will be supporting the amendment proposed by the Leader of the Opposition during his speech. (Applause)

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

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to have this opportunity to respond to the Speech from the Throne and as I look across the floor here and to my right, a Party that is not usually on the right, but they are right now, there are many new faces in the House since I first responded to the Speech from the Throne back in 1993, representing the good people of Cape Breton South which I have continued to represent since then.

Mr. Speaker, the Throne Speech is very easy to respond to since it is almost exactly the same document as the government's first Throne Speech from the fall of 1999. The only thing interesting about the Throne Speech was its delivery. I thought the delivery was done very professionally by the Lieutenant Governor and I congratulate Her Honour for that, but that was all that was interesting about the speech. It seems that everything old is once again new.

Mr. Speaker, the Throne Speech is just a rehash of the 1999 Throne Speech, the Tory blue book and initiatives started by the previous Liberal Government. I will elaborate on that in a few moments, but I think the government is trying to reach its waste diversion targets by recycling old policies.

Mr. Speaker, it is difficult to find fault with much of the Throne Speech because much of it is left over from the previous Liberal Government and I will give you some examples. For example, the new information technology for health, we proposed this in June, 1999; the Nova Scotia Business Registry, this was in our budget of 1998; the Cancer Patient Navigation System, announced by the Liberal Government on June 17, 1999; the nurse policy adviser is a position created by the Honourable Jim Smith in June 1999; Internet connections for schools and communities, every school in Nova Scotia was connected under the Honourable Russell MacLellan's Government; highway signage policy, a consultation process announced in March 1999; land use Registry 2000, a process underway in 1997; Nova Scotia Business Registry, Liberal Budget Speech, June 4, 1998. Restorative waste diversion, November 7, 1995 - that is how old that one is. Restorative Justice, Speech from the Throne, May 21, 1998.

Mr. Speaker, it is heartening to see that the government is giving the past government so much credit. However, I can't be so generous. I see very little to give the current government credit for. There is very little vision and absolutely no details of plans for future opportunities. In the year 2001, it is a shame that Nova Scotia's offshore potential is given little more than a passing mention in such an important document.

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For the second Throne Speech in a row, the Tories promise an energy policy for Nova Scotia. Before we develop an energy policy, Mr. Speaker, we need a vision for development and this government has not demonstrated that it knows where it is going, let alone knows how it is going to get there. The only thing this Premier knows how to do is to go begging to Ottawa for more handouts. The Premier's tin cup tour is not gaining Nova Scotia any respect in the rest of Canada. While the Liberal Party agrees that Nova Scotians should be the main beneficiary of our offshore resources, we are disappointed the Premier has not provided a detailed plan as to how the offshore accord and equalization should be changed.

Mr. Speaker, where is the plan? If the Premier is truly serious about changing equalization and the offshore accord, he should provide Ottawa and the other provinces with a detailed plan. The Tories can't even provide a detailed and clear explanation of its municipal equalization program. If that plan is too complex, surely the offshore accord and national equalization require a detailed debate with adequate information.

Mr. Speaker, the Premier can't even get his messages straight. On the one hand he defends an unsigned agreement over the Laurentian Sub-basin in 1964 by saying a deal is a deal and on the other hand he wants to tear up an agreement signed by John Buchanan and Brian Mulroney. Nova Scotians deserve a more consistent argument from their Premier.

The public relations campaign raises some very important questions. Why is it okay for the province to claw back Sable assessment from Richmond, St. Mary's and Guysborough just when they are getting on their feet but the province feels it needs a special deal with Ottawa and the other 10 provinces? How is it possible to make Nova Scotia more self-reliant, Mr. Speaker, while asking that we become dependent on federal transfers?

It is the belief of the Liberal caucus that this public relations campaign is a convenient sideshow so the Premier can avoid taking responsibility, Mr. Speaker, for the major problems of health care, education, roads and economic development. It is an old song from the Premier. It is called blame Ottawa. The Premier is not giving all the facts when he narrows down the equalization issue to one item, royalties. The equalization is calculated by using the overall strength of the economy, not just oil and gas royalties. The more prosperous the economy, the less we get in equalization.

According to the Atlantic Provinces Economic Council, Nova Scotia will be receiving $636 million in additional revenue over the next five years from federal transfers. How much more does this Premier need? When he can answer this question, then maybe Ottawa and the other provinces will listen.

Mr. Speaker, this Legislature can pass all the resolutions we want but we will not see any real action until this Premier can show us a real vision. This government has trouble with vision and I want to return to equalization for a moment and remind members opposite, on the recent proposal by the province, by this government, through its Minister of Service Nova

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Scotia and Municipal Relations, the distribution of property tax throughout the province is a contentious issue right now, giving municipalities that have less, more share of the tax revenues available from the province. I want to tell the members opposite that this is an issue that the members who are not sitting on the front benches or the Treasury benches or are constrained by Cabinet solidarity, that they must be able and should vote the wishes of their constituents on this particular matter.

Now the Premier, as recently as three days ago, stated that this equalization program is going through. I would ask the backbenchers, who are not members of government, they should follow the lead of the backbencher from Cape Breton North, who was just recently elected, who stated that he favours the equalization program. He wasn't shy coming out and telling the people what he favours. He favours a shift in tax revenues to support the municipalities in industrial Cape Breton, and indeed in all areas of the province that need that increase in revenue for their very survival.

Now, that member made that statement as a backbencher on the government side. I am happy that he made it when he did, because if you believe what they told the people of Cape Breton North, and if you believe what the Premier alluded to about the member for Cape Breton North playing a major role, then I expect that member to be elevated to the Cabinet any day now, and when that happens he is going to be constrained by his position in the Cabinet, in the front benches, in the Treasury benches, to say anything about an issue like this, except to toe the government line.

There are other backbenchers over there who have no hope of ever getting into the front benches, and I suggest that they should spend their time in this House doing what their constituents want them to do, to represent them, because they are not members of the government, they are MLAs sent here by constituents throughout this province to do the will of those constituents who sent them here to represent them. I expect those backbenchers to call for a free vote in this House when that matter on taxation comes before this House. If they do not, they will not be around here after the next election.

As I said the last time I rose in the last session of this House, while looking across, there are many new faces over there, and there will be many new faces after the next election because there are only a handful of people left in this place since 1993. Most of them, by the way, in the Liberal Party; a couple over there and a couple over there, but most of them representing the Liberal Party, and they are here for one reason, because they represented the wishes of their constituents over those years.

I expect the member for Cape Breton North to go back to Cape Breton North, to Cape Breton, and continue to tell the good people of that constituency that he is going to represent their wishes. I hope that he is able to have an impact on the rest of the backbenchers over here before he goes to Cabinet. The good people of Cape Breton North are expecting that event to happen any day now, very soon, which will no doubt upset some members, one of

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them who is trying to speak to me across the hall now. Be that as it may, I believe that that member took the opportunity, knowing that he would be going to the front benches, to echo the sentiments of his constituents immediately to the Premier, that he favoured that shift in taxation revenue in the province.

I want to know how the other members feel about that. I would hope that over the next days and weeks, as your constituents ask how you feel about these particular initiatives, you will be able to represent the people of your area. I refer again to another constituency, Kings North. The member has made a statement there. I don't know whether he is going in the Cabinet or not, but I would suspect he is probably . . .

AN HON. MEMBER: Toast.

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: His ambitions are probably set back a day or two. I would hope that other members will realize that that member was speaking his conscience on that issue, and I congratulate that member for doing that.

I just hope the members from HRM will speak their conscience, instead of hiding behind the fact that their government is about to make a decision, and knowing full well that they are not part of that government decision, rather they are flying in the faces of the wishes of their many constituents who are against this particular plan.

Now, I digressed for a few moments, and I will get back to the text here. I want to say again, remember what I said before, faces have a habit of changing in this place very rapidly if you do not pay attention to the wishes of your constituents. As I have looked across from that side to this side and from this side to that side since 1993, the chairs remain constant, the faces have changed; some weren't here long enough to warm the seats.

[8:15 p.m.]

So I say to you all, you have an opportunity here to represent the wishes of your constituents. Do so or you will not be here after the next election. That is something I will guarantee you. History will tell you that and if you don't learn anything from history, learn that if you don't look after the people who sent you here, the same people will take you out of here and they have done it with great regularity in this Chamber since 1993. The faces of this place have changed considerably since then.

I want to talk a few moments about NSRL. I may get back to that point I was making about equalization in a few moments, but I want to go to NSRL. Mr. Speaker, the lack of vision of this government resulted in a fire sale of NSRL and luckily the deal was made somewhat better for Nova Scotians because of the investments made by the previous Liberal Government. Without the 8.4 per cent share of the Sable project purchased in 1997 by the previous Liberal Government, the value of NSRL would be considerably less. But the Liberal

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caucus will hold any endorsement of this deal until all the details are made available. I just hope the Tory Government is now getting better advice than what they brought to the Public Accounts Committee in 1999. Their so-called expert, Jim Livingstone, said his assessment of the net worth of NSRL was $40 million. Well, that is a far cry from the figures that are being thrown around today. I think it is safe to say, Mr. Speaker, that you can't have a vision if you have blinders on. I think that is exactly where this government is sitting.

I want to talk about Sydney Steel for a moment. Now, Mr. Speaker, the government has been blinded to the economic realities facing all areas of this province. For instance, I can't believe the government does not have a plan in place to keep the Sysco marine equipment in Sydney. Now, keeping the cranes and the other equipment in Sydney will give the port a chance to jump-start a new business opportunity. There is no logical reason why this government included the marine equipment on the docks at Sysco in the fire sale proposals that went up for liquidation.

The Premier came to Sydney on more than one occasion and said he wants to see a new economic direction for Cape Breton. He wants to see the economy diversify. He wants to see us change direction and get away from our dependence on steel and our dependence on other industries that he said were outdated. He told the board of trade in Sydney and he told other interested groups that he was going to do everything he could to give the port of Sydney and the people of that area - through the board of trade and through other groups - a chance, a jump-start. The first thing he did to accomplish that was allow the Minister of Economic Development, who is the minister responsible for Sysco, to take all the equipment in the docks and put it in the fire sale proposal so the local port authority or municipality would not get their hands on it and hopefully start a beginning to a new and vibrant port industry in the City of Sydney and the surrounding areas. No, that would have been too easy.

That would have been too easy, to give the Port of Sydney a head start. Did somebody up here say, don't leave that equipment there because the Port of Sydney will get a head start and maybe some business will be lost to Halifax or other ports throughout the province? Don't give those people anything to get them started down there. Make them compete with somebody else.

Now you have the spectacle of a backbench Tory, the honourable member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley, musing that the Cape Breton Regional Municipality is not in a position to make a bid for anything, missing the whole point, which was the equipment should have been left there by this government for development by the local port authority in the future. It should have had nothing to do with the municipality's ability to bid on a piece of equipment. The fact is, that piece of equipment should not have been up for bidding in the first place. It should have been left there for use by the port authority in that area. That is the least this government could have done in the face of closing Sydney Steel and killing 800 jobs while they were doing it. The least they could have done was left the port equipment alone in the hands of a port authority to develop the Port of Sydney but the honourable

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member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley, who is probably echoing the government's sentiment, they probably sent him out and said, you say that, we are getting tired of telling the people down there they can't afford this and can't afford that so you say it as chairman of that committee.

I think, Mr. Speaker, it is another example of the attitude of this Tory Government toward Cape Breton. I want to challenge the member for Cape Breton North. I want to challenge him to tell his Premier and get on his feet and tell whoever will listen to him that he agrees that that port equipment should be left in Sydney and not "fire saled" to somebody else because the people of Cape Breton North and the people of industrial Cape Breton are looking for leadership from somebody representing this crowd over here to do the right thing. If that member, or any other member of this government, or the backbenchers, allow that equipment to leave Sydney, then shame on them.

We have another serious situation as a result of the closure of Sydney Steel, that you know is going to happen. The Cape Breton and Central Nova Scotia Railway is going to be severely, negatively impacted by the loss of rail business and the Port of Sydney is going to need some activity in that harbour for shipment of goods in the future because, as sure as I am standing here, that railway is going to be gone in the near future. When coal shipments are down to a minimum and when steel shipments are halted altogether, then the railway is going to be gone as well and that is going to impact not only Cape Breton but the Strait area and all the way up to Truro. That is as a result of Tory policies in Cape Breton.

The mishandling of the issue surrounding Sysco shouldn't surprise anybody but what does surprise me is the callousness of this government, through its headhunters, Ernst & Young, putting in the paper the very cranes and very equipment, naming them, for a fire sale, lumping it in the rail-making equipment, the electric arc furnace and all the other equipment on Sydney Steel, knowing full well that that community wanted that equipment left there for the future development of Sydney Harbour. They had the gall to stand up in this place, time after time in the last session, and say they were interested in doing something about the economy of Cape Breton.

Well, Mr. Speaker, they have one hell of a way of showing it. I know that the member for the beautiful Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley does not have a voice at the Cabinet Table but he obviously was the voice that was sent out to send another message to Cape Breton that we don't think you people can handle any bid for any equipment down there. The gall of a member from Musquodoboit Valley telling the people of industrial Cape Breton what they can afford and what they can't afford but maybe he, too, should wait until the MLA for Cape Breton North is in the Cabinet and then he can take his concerns directly to the Cabinet representative from Cape Breton North because as sure as I am standing here, that member will be in the Cabinet before the member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley.

[Page 141]

Mr. Speaker, I want to refresh the memories of the members opposite here and my right-wingers here and members of my own Party here, let's not forget (Interruption) And Howard, too, yes. (Laughter)

Let's not forget about the taxpayer-funded vacation that Jim Spurr took one day before his leaving the service of government. That could have been nothing but a going-away present for Mr. Spurr from the people of Nova Scotia. The government, Mr. Speaker, promised to be open and accountable but the Liberal caucus had to make a freedom of information request to find out the Tories spent $5,000 to send Mr. Spurr to Europe to get the information that they already knew, that Duferco was bailing out of the deal to buy Sysco. They already knew that before they sent him over there, so they sent him over there to find out what they already knew.

If they wanted to reconfirm that, Mr. Speaker, all they had to do was hold a phone conference with the people over there. A teleconference, that is all they had to do. They didn't have to spend $5,000 to send Spurr over there in his last day of public service. Less than one day of his three-day trip was spent meeting with Duferco officials. Even when the minister found out the deal was dead with Duferco, he tried to hide the truth from Nova Scotians. This was not first time the minister tried to trick Nova Scotians, and I am talking now about the Minister of Economic Development.

In December 1999, Mr. Speaker, the Liberal caucus received an e-mail that proved the Sysco minister knew that a decision had been made on a gas distributor for Nova Scotia even though the minister tried to tell the media no such decision was made. More recently, the minister made a commitment to Sydney Steel employees that they would be eligible for pensions but backed away from that promise as soon as he and his bodyguards left Cape Breton. He backed away from the promise immediately when he got out of Dodge. That's what the minister said on that date, they would be eligible for pensions. Funny how the memory faded as soon as he went across the Causeway.

In 1999, the Premier made a promise; he made a commitment to protect steelworkers when Sysco closed. He said he would put steelworkers on pension and put those left to work on a cleanup. What happened? The province booked $250 million for cleanup last year and hasn't spent any of it. Booked it but never spent it. They booked it to make the deficit look worse than it did so then when they came in with numbers that will fly better with the public and if the reverse happened they could blame it on Sysco and take the credit for any resulting downturn in the numbers about the deficit.

Nova Scotia taxpayers are paying interest on that money for a cleanup that is not even happening. CBRM will also be losing $1 million in tax revenue from the closure of Sydney Steel because the Tories botched that deal. (Interruptions) If the minister would like to take the floor and add to the debate, when I am finished he can do that, okay?

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Mr. Speaker, make no mistake about it, the Sysco closure is going to be felt throughout the province, not only in industrial Cape Breton. There are a bunch of suppliers over here in the industrial park in Burnside, and there are some small businesses throughout the province who owed their entire existence to the goods and services they provided for Sydney Steel.

Mr. Speaker, make no mistake about this, the Cape Breton and Central Nova Scotia Railway is going to be severely impacted, and that is going to hurt all the industries along that line, right up to Truro. There has been no talk from the government of doing anything with the Cape Breton and Central Nova Scotia Railway. The Liberals, we always understood that selling Sysco would be difficult, I will allow that. We understood that. We understood that it wasn't an easy sale, but we also knew that the Duferco deal was a non-starter from day one. That's why we voted against the deal when it came to the House. The shabby treatment of steelworkers was made even worse when the government spent taxpayers' money to defend their pension offer to Sysco employees.

Now, I have asked time and time again - and haven't gotten satisfactory answers - as to why a liquidator, put in place to liquidate the assets of Sydney Steel, ended up trying to sell the plant, posing as steel experts. They are not steel experts, they are an accounting firm. A bunch of headhunters that sell assets of businesses that are going bankrupt. That's what they are in business for. They are not steel people that were in the business of selling steel plants or assessing world steel markets. I am talking about Ernst & Young, that is who I am talking about. (Interruption)

Hoogovens was a steel plant, a group of people who had steel expertise. These people were put in place to liquidate the assets and here we are going on the second full year of Ernst & Young being in the employ of the Government of Nova Scotia, costing hundreds of thousands of dollars and as we sit here in this House - and I can recall the standing ovation the minister got when he announced the deal at Sydney Steel. They all ran over and gave him a standing o and shook his hand, but here that was a year ago, or six months ago, whatever. It started out a year ago.

[8:30 p.m.]

As a matter of fact, New Year's Eve 1999, was the first day they announced that and here we are a year and three months later and it is still uncertain who is taking what, where, but I can tell you that the equipment at Sydney Steel - I will guarantee you two things. I will guarantee you that the rail-making equipment at Sydney Steel will find its way to another plant somewhere else in Canada, maybe even on the mainland here, or in the United States or somewhere making rails, I will guarantee you that, being used to make rails.

The second thing I will guarantee you is that this government is going to have one heck of a time trying to get that marine equipment off the docks in Sydney, even if they do sell it. I can tell you that because if I know anything about the people down there, they hate being

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double-crossed and whoever buys that does so at their own jeopardy because that equipment should not be removed from that location, it should be used to help develop a port authority on that site in the future.

So I would suggest to you, Mr. Speaker, that the Economic Development Minister should give serious consideration to making that equipment available to the local municipality to be put through its Port Authority for $1.00, not $250,000, and then that would relieve the anxiety that the member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley has about the municipality's ability to pay for it. I am sure the municipality can cough up $1.00 for that and the Premier, if he is interested in developing the economy of that part of Cape Breton, then that Premier should immediately halt the fire sale of that equipment and give it to the local authorities down there to help kick-start the development of Sydney Harbour.

AN HON. MEMBER: Give it to the Bank of Nova Scotia.

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Are they bidding for it, too?

Mr. Speaker, a few months ago the Tories broke another campaign promise by running expensive three-quarter page ads in the Chronicle-Herald and the Cape Breton Post. The Tory blue book promised that a Tory Government will stop spending taxpayers' money on politically-motivated government advertising. Of course, the government is doing the same thing with their flawed equalization scheme. I would like to know how much taxpayers are forking out in order for the Tories to pay for this propaganda.

The oft-stated comments made by this government regarding the new call centres in Cape Breton, I want to tell you, Mr. Speaker, that not only in Cape Breton but throughout the province this government has no plan for any sustainable economic development beyond the initiatives started by the previous Liberal Government. I am talking specifically about a strategy to attract call centres to Nova Scotia. The Tories used to complain loudly when the previous Liberal Government would bring a call centre to our province. Today, the government is still trying to attract call centres, but have crippled the process.

Mr. Speaker, the Tories' answer to that was to cut Connections Nova Scotia, one of the primary engines used to encourage call centre business to come to Nova Scotia. Connections Nova Scotia was a partnership between MTT and the previous Liberal Government to bring call centres to Nova Scotia. Since 1994 Connections Nova Scotia has attracted over 5,000 jobs to this province and I believe that Premier Lord in New Brunswick continues to operate a similar initiative in his province.

Mr. Speaker, I firmly believe that killing Connections Nova Scotia was a mistake. Obviously, Tory backbenchers like the MLA for Sackville-Beaver Bank agreed that it is a mistake because he defended the opening of the Staples Call Centre in Sackville which was a good initiative on his part. So, obviously, he agrees that that partnership was good. Staples

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was brought to Sackville because the Department of Economic Development and Connections Nova Scotia got together. So I congratulate that member.

MR. JOHN HOLM: That is in Sackville-Cobequid, not Sackville-Beaver Bank. I supported it too.

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: I was giving him the credit for it; you want to take the credit too, you supported it too. (Interruptions) This type of development, along with hundreds of jobs, would be more difficult because of this government's policy of carving up Economic Development. Soon the Minister of Economic Development will have less to do than the Minister of Tourism in this province.

Mr. Speaker, we can expect some announcements about call centres in Yarmouth and Cape Breton in the near future. I hope these ventures will have the full support of the government in order to secure those jobs for a long time to come. Call centres are important economic drivers in areas that formerly depended on resource-based industries. Areas like Port Hawkesbury and the entire Strait area are becoming one of the most diversified economies in the province. Now the Strait area can add call centres to an economy that includes everything from manufacturing to petroleum.

The EDS call centre in that area builds on the success of previous Liberal Governments in attracting call centres from one end of the province to the other, including ICT in Sydney and Watts in Bridgewater. This Tory Government is a follower rather than a leader in attracting call centres. Even the much-touted payroll rebate program is merely a continuation of a Liberal Government policy from two years ago. I think it is great that the Tories are borrowing ideas from the Liberals. Nothing succeeds like success.

But this is not what they promised during the election. They said they had a better way of doing things. They said they had a plan. Therefore when the Premier breaks the promises made during the election, Nova Scotians are left wondering what they voted for. The Premier promised that this government would not assist large corporations. Do you remember that? One of the first things the government said was they would not assist large corporations. No more loans, that is the first thing. What he would focus on was infrastructure and training.

Sobeys was happy that he didn't adhere to that policy. The government was very proud of its rebate program to Sobeys and ICT. They said it was innovative Tory policy. We welcome the government's investment in ICT and the continued support provided under the MacLellan Government. But when the same policy is also applied to fishing buddies of the Premier, Nova Scotians are left wondering about the appropriateness of it all.

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Economic Development has also shown very poor judgement in the elimination of the Nova Scotia Business Development Corporation. The minister was singing the praises of the BDC in a news releases yet at the time, he already had

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the lock on the door. With the announcement of Nova Scotia Business Inc. last October, the BDC is to be effectively eliminated on April 1st, this year. This is despite the fact that the Annual Report of the BDC states that it helped to create and maintain 1,400 jobs in this province. It also generated sales of over $112 million between 35 Nova Scotia companies. The BDC has been a tremendous boost for rural Nova Scotia.

Even with all this success, the Economic Development Minister dared to attack the BDC last October. I am afraid of what will happen when a successful and accountable organization like the BDC is replaced by a politically unaccountable organization like Nova Scotia Business Inc., who, by the way, will not be responsible to this Legislature. The minister will not have to answer questions on the floor of this Legislature for that Nova Scotia Business Inc.

Once again, everything old is new again. Back to the good old Tory pork barrel policy days. This is becoming a real theme of this government. Find the easiest way to look after our friends and get on with it.

Another perfect example of the Tories looking back to the future is the resurrection of the old Industrial Estates model, because that is what this is. I have heard that there is plenty of dissension in the Tory ranks about how Nova Scotia Business Inc. is going to operate. I want to tell you one thing I know about how it is going to operate, and I wish I could speak directly about this issue to the member for Cape Breton North, soon to be the minister representing industrial Cape Breton, and perhaps the shift might mean that he is responsible for all of Cape Breton, I don't know what is going to happen there, that is not my decision; all I do know is that the good people of Cape Breton North are waiting for the ascension to Cabinet of the member for Cape Breton North; because if that does not happen, that will be the shortest term of office for any member in this House.

I do want to say something about the conflict here and how that conflict applies to Cape Breton. A list of names of nominees of this Nova Scotia Business Inc. came by my desk the other day and lo and behold there are about 12 representatives - there is one from Cape Breton. Another slap to the people of Cape Breton. There was one out of 12 in an area that desperately needs economic development - this government has put one member on that Nova Scotia Business Inc. corporation and it is the president of the Board of Trade. The president of the Board of Trade, a known supporter of Premier Hamm is the only gentleman from Cape Breton Island on that Nova Scotia Business Inc. I say shame on the Minister of Economic Development and shame on this Premier who continually say they are supporting any policies for economic development for Cape Breton.

Well, I think the Minister of Tourism, who represents part of Cape Breton, should be awfully upset himself about the lack of representation, not even anybody from his county on the Nova Scotia Business Inc. board. Couldn't they find any more than one Tory in Cape Breton to put on that board? So do not stand here in this House Mr. Premier or Mr.

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Economic Development Minister and say you are interested in development in Cape Breton when you are only paying lip service by including one member on this particular board.

The Tories claim to understand the challenges facing Cape Breton and I say again it is an insult. An insult to the people of Cape Breton that only one person will be placed on this board out of 12, the makeup of this board. Shame on that government.

I want to touch on schools. How much time do I have, Mr. Speaker?

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member can go until 9:02 p.m., or approximately 20 minutes.

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: I want to touch a moment on the neglect and the state of repairs of the schools in my particular area, Cape Breton South, and in some schools in the surrounding area, but more specifically in Cape Breton South.

We have four elementary schools in Cape Breton South that are in such bad repair, one of them is 100 years old and the other three schools are in bad repair to the extent that my colleague, the previous Minister of Education, agreed with the previous government that provision had to be made for new schools in those areas, and we approved the capital monies for those schools.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. Honourable members, it is difficult to tell just who has the floor here. The honourable member for Cape Breton South has the floor.

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: I want to again talk about the situation regarding schools in my riding. I realize there are pressures on the Education budget in this province, but hopefully the Minister of Education, who is well known to the people in my area for other reasons, must realize, through her department, that you cannot play politics with this issue.

These schools have to be replaced, and replaced now in Cape Breton South. We need replacement schools for Sacred Heart, St. Anthony Daniel, Colby and St. Joseph's. The children of those schools deserve adequate schools, schools that are at least current in their construction, not 100 years old, but with the kind of facilities that are lacking today in these existing schools. So I would implore this government that hopefully in the budget there will be some indication there is going to be additional money spent in health and education throughout the province, but in particular I hope that consideration is given to new schools in my area.

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[8:45 p.m.]

Now before I go on, I want to touch for a moment on some of the contradictions that we've heard during my talk, and during speeches by other people, about government policy ranging all the way from call centres and who's responsible for call centres and who set the initiative. We all know who set the initiative for call centres. We did on this side of the House and that side of the House knows that.

I want to talk about the contradiction of individual members making statements to the press espousing their own policies from their own areas. I want to congratulate them for that, but I've got to tell you that there are some weird happenings in that particular caucus. I refer again to the Saturday, March 24th, edition of the Halifax Herald where the Canadian Alliance Leader Stockwell Day is meeting in Bridgewater for the South Shore's Riding Association and Tory MLA Brooke Taylor will be the meeting's guest speaker. I want to tell you, there are some independent thinkers and doers in the Tory caucus, there's no question about that, but I am just wondering when the house of cards is going to come tumbling down because you're not keeping that solidarity together for much longer.

The issue that will get some of you will be the equalization issue, unless you stand up and represent your constituents like some other people are doing. The independent like the member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley, the independent like the member for Cape Breton North. He is doing that now because he won't be able to do it when he gets to the Treasury benches, which we hope will be before the end of this session because the people of Cape Breton North would rather see him in the Cabinet than the assistant doorman to the member for Preston, who is again in the door right now.

Again, Mr. Speaker, I feel it necessary to address the lack of vision for the offshore in this Throne Speech. The Premier was very vocal, when he was Leader of the third Party, about making sure that Nova Scotia received the bulk of the benefits from our offshore resources. The Tories said that the previous Liberal Government was not doing enough; they said that they would do better if they were elected. The Tories promised that they would improve Nova Scotia's content in the offshore. What have they done? PanCanadian is now going forward with Deep Panuke. This is great news, but PanCanadian wants to process the gas offshore. What does this mean for Nova Scotia's content? This means that Nova Scotia's content will not be 30 per cent, it will not be 20 per cent, it will not even be 10 per cent. If PanCanadian goes ahead with their plan, we might be lucky if we get 5 per cent Nova Scotia content.

This is a disgrace and an insult. What has our Premier said about it? Nothing. He has said absolutely nothing about it. When is this Premier going to stand up for Nova Scotia in areas that really matter? When is he going to demand that PanCanadian have Nova Scotia content in their operations? It is bad enough that this Tory Government gave away Deep Panuke for a song. This government let it go for a mere 2 per cent of the gross overriding

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royalty; they should have at least asked for 4 per cent. This is an issue, Mr. Speaker, that must be dealt with. Not in Calgary or Ontario, it must be dealt with here. The Premier is not having much luck in his cross-country tour.

I want to say in regard to this offshore regime, and in regard to the whole question of royalties, that I believe the Premier owes a further explanation to the members of this House and to the people of Nova Scotia as to exactly where this government is going in their dealings with PanCanadian and the entire offshore industry, oil and gas.

Before I take my place - and I am sure that the members opposite will be happy to hear that - I want to talk for a few moments about the Throne Speech and its relevance to Cape Breton. I want to talk about the two paragraphs in the Throne Speech that made reference to Cape Breton. Two paragraphs out of 24 pages were devoted to Cape Breton. This is the area of the province that the Premier continually states needs a shot in the economic arm, that they're going to do something about. In the meantime, they put the cranes and the marine equipment up for fire sale, whoever has the highest bid can truck it out of Sydney. They're not doing anything about economic development, they're not doing anything about a major project of environmental remediation.

Over and above all that, two paragraphs in the entire Throne Speech document and one of those paragraphs - and this I find highly offensive - one of those paragraphs refers to the $80 million growth fund; $68 million of it was federal money and this government has the gall to put that in their Throne Speech, that they're having an $80 million growth fund at their disposal. This government hasn't got a nickel booked for that yet; $68 million of the $80 million is federal money and this government puts it in the Throne Speech as an initiative of their own. Shame on you for doing that. You don't have any plan, or you don't plan on doing anything yourself for Cape Breton Island.

People in my area are not going to forget the Tory policies in Cape Breton. They are not going to forget them well into the future, from the infamous post card to the trying to tell people of industrial Cape Breton that they're going to build the economy with federal money, as if they owned the right to build the economy in industrial Cape Breton, when we can't even identify where their own $12 million is; that $12 million wouldn't fix one of the streets that are falling apart on Route 4 or a couple of kilometres of pavement that's needed down there and they talk about economic development initiatives.

Mr. Speaker, it is going to take more that the elevation of the member for Cape Breton North into the Cabinet to mend the fences in Cape Breton that were knocked down by this government. When I continue to read the platitudes and the various statements that are being made by the Minister of Economic Development or the Premier and, by the way, not too many other ministers are making any statements at all about Cape Breton. They're ducking, but the Minister of Economic Development wades in every once in awhile to tell people what he thinks they want to hear so he can get out of town safely.

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The nerve of the Minister of Economic Development going to the University College of Cape Breton to cut the ribbon on a project that was done by the previous government and not announce one further nickel for UCCB in their offshore program that they undertook there under our government, under our watch. Not only that, he caused greater insult because when he walked in there he had two police bodyguards with him to do it. Two bodyguards at the university to go in and cut the ribbon on a project that this government started at UCCB. Then when he spoke with steelworkers, the bodyguards were so close to him the steelworkers couldn't get within 10 feet of him. The steelworkers - I listened, I was there - they weren't hostile, they weren't trying to get at the minister, they were just looking for answers. I suggest to you, Mr. Speaker, that minister did not need bodyguards at UCCB. The people at UCCB knew that ribbon cutting, that opening was done by the previous Liberal Government.

What they were hoping for, Mr. Speaker, was that while he was there he was going to announce another initiative for UCCB in offshore training. But did he? No, he didn't do that. He and his bodyguards came in (Interruption) no, like a phase II of that project or something, spend some money down there. Instead of that, he trundled on out with a bodyguard on each side, got in his car and went back to Halifax. He was there all of about two or three hours, had lunch first and then he left.

I suggest that the UCCB paid more for the lunch than he gave them for the project, because all the money that went into that project was put in there by the previous Liberal Government.

Mr. Speaker, I bring those matters to your attention because it points to the fact that this government is saying one thing in Cape Breton and doing another. As a matter of fact, they are saying lots in Cape Breton and doing nothing. There are four active call centres in Cape Breton right now, all employing a lot of people. I believe the total figure is around 1,500, between the four of them. All of those were put in there by the previous government with the exception of the most recent one, which was done with our program, our payroll rebate program.

The majority of the money came from the federal government on this one. The majority of the money came from the federal government on the last one, yet this Premier and this minister both went to Cape Breton and said, look at what we have done here. They didn't do anything there. They came down and took credit again for the previous initiatives done by this government and the large injection of federal money for the call centres in Cape Breton.

Mr. Speaker, lest anybody think that I am speaking only on behalf of Cape Breton, I want to assure you and all Nova Scotians that I am concerned about the direction this government is taking in respect to all policies of this government that are presently under scrutiny and will be in the next few weeks that affect all the people of Nova Scotia. There are initiatives coming that we have to debate fully and make sure that Nova Scotians are

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absolutely aware of what this government is up to. As the coming days and weeks roll out, Nova Scotians are going to see what this government is doing, they are going to see how it is going to impact on their daily lives.

Mr. Speaker, I am going to continue to speak out on behalf of my constituents, and anybody else in this province that wants me to speak out on their behalf, either in debate, debate on the estimates, or outside these doors or in my constituency. Accountability is going to be demanded from our Party on a regular basis in this House over the next few weeks. I can assure you that Nova Scotians are going to hear what we have to say about the budget that is going to be rolled out by the Minister of Finance on Thursday, knowing full well that they know, with the smug looks on the faces, that they have a majority government, and when the Government House Leader gets tired of listening to us, he will just fold the page and go home. That is what will happen here, because they have a majority government. Once the budget is passed, then the House Leader, who is a very fair guy by the way, but he knows when it is time to exit stage left, and he will probably do that at an appropriate time.

The colleagues on my left and I, and I am sure the colleagues to my right - it is awfully strange calling these guys right-wingers but I will make an attempt at it again - are going to collectively keep the government's feet to the fire over the next few weeks, I am sure. I can assure you, Mr. Speaker, and the members opposite, as I said earlier, that after the next election, if people don't pay attention to their constituents - and I try to lecture backbenchers as much as I can on that because what I am trying to do here is save your jobs, really. (Interruptions) If I tell you long enough and as many times as I can, you may get the message, that if you don't come here and do the bidding of your constituents in your home ridings, then you will not be here after the next election. I can recall when my colleagues to the right only had three members in here.

[9:00 p.m.]

AN HON. MEMBER: And I can remember too.

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Yes, that is right. I can remember when you people had 40-odd in here, 38, I believe, and we had 40. Yet there were people in all three Parties who didn't pay attention to the wishes of their constituents, didn't pay attention to the need to come to this place and represent their constituents, to vote their conscience on certain issues. I suggest for the benefit of the Premier who just entered the Chamber (Interruption)

Mr. Speaker, I apologize for that. I did not want to suggest that the Premier was out of the Chamber for any length of time. (Interruption) Yes, re-entered the Chamber. The backbenchers who are not members of the government benches but are sent here by their constituents to represent the people of their ridings, I suggest that a free vote on the equalization issue is definitely a must in this House if people are going to have the opportunity to represent the wishes. (Applause)

[Page 151]

Mr. Speaker, the member for Cape Breton North has already said he favours that equalization and he is doing that now because he won't have the luxury of doing it when he goes to Cabinet which we hope will be in the next week or so as we understand. So I want to assure him that he made the move quickly and we appreciate that.

Mr. Speaker, in conclusion, I just want to say that we are going to continue to keep the government accountable here as much as we can until the next election when the Liberal Government will take its rightful place again as the government of this province. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings West.

MR. JON CAREY: Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to stand before you to say a few words regarding the Throne Speech and representing the constituency of Kings West. It is a beautiful part of the Annapolis Valley and I am honoured to be here to represent that constituency. After a year and a half or so I have come to realize the time and the support that it takes a family that we might be here. So I would like to certainly express my thanks to my wife, Rhonda, and my boys, Shawn and Bryce, and for the people who are back home that support me on a daily basis and particularly in the office, Bob Ripley and Ron Walker. (Applause)

I expect most here this evening have been to the beautiful Annapolis Valley and to Kings West, but if you have not spent time there or thought about it, you will realize if you look closely that most of Kings West is nestled in the Valley area between the North and South Mountain and, therefore, we have a climate that is even superior to some other parts of Nova Scotia. It certainly helps us in our agricultural business which is so important to us.

It also is an area where people come and once they come and find out what it is like, they very often return to retire in that area. It has a growing senior population and we are pleased that people who have been there and worked in the Valley, particularly maybe the military, a good number choose to return and be there. I think a reason for that is not only the climate, but the people. Certainly we have, like most Nova Scotians, very generous and caring people who contribute to various causes to meet the needs of the people. We have a diversity of people in the military. We gather people from all over Canada who are transferred in and out. We have our industrial base who work at our meat packing plants or at our Michelin plant. We also have the agricultural segment which is, as I said, a very important part of our constituency.

We have organizations in this small area. We have an excellent fire service made up from four communities that volunteer their time and serve very well and are known world wide actually for the mutual aid system that was developed in Kings County by Bev Wade several years ago. That is something we are very proud of in our area. We have three Lions Clubs, two Legions, we have 4-H Clubs, we have our scouting movements - just to name a few and once you get into naming them, of course, you are always apt to leave somebody out.

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But there are a lot of organizations, people volunteering their time supporting the community and making it just a great place to live and finding it a helpful place to support our people.

If we look at it from geography, Mr. Speaker, we will find that Kings West and Annapolis County join and, at the west end of our constituency we have one of the largest and better military bases in Canada, that being CFB Greenwood. I was pleased the other day to see that finally the federal government has acknowledged there is a need to support the military and they are investing $90 million in Greenwood. That is certainly a very positive effort and the Valley and the local communities will benefit from that. CFB Greenwood has for years provided a tremendous service of search and rescue, environmental patrols where they would check on pollution in the seas, where they would have coastal surveillance, where the drug market may be monitored somewhat and, of course, the peacekeeping initiatives that they take on. I am pleased to see - and hopefully it will be soon - that some of the equipment will be updated because some of the obsolete equipment, the copters and so on that are used in search and rescue, are outdated and very expensive to maintain and they certainly deserve better equipment because they are highly trained professionals who do an excellent job.

Mr. Speaker, if you move from Greenwood to the south you will come to the Village of Kingston and this is a village where the agricultural industry's needs are met by O.H. Armstrong and the cattle business. It is a meat packing and slaughter facility and it employs a good number of our people. Kingston is a quaint little village that has many senior citizens and it continues to hold its own in a tough economy.

As we move up the Valley we come to the Village of Aylesford, which is basically a senior citizens' area, but we do have the distinction of having the largest zoo east of Montreal, Oaklawn Zoo, and the Rogerson Family do a tremendous job. We have over 100,000 visitors every year to this zoo and if you haven't been there I would certainly invite you to attend. (Applause)

The only town in Kings West is the incorporated Town of Berwick, where we have again an agricultural base that employs a large number of people with Larsen Packers and Cobi Foods. These people produce, of course, our canned vegetables, juices and fruit and are the big employers in the area. As we move to the east end of my constituency, we come to Waterville, where we have, of course, our largest industrial employer in Michelin and we do have the Kings Regional Rehabilitation Centre and the youth correctional centre there. We have a variety of things to offer in Kings West and I think you will find it a tremendous mix of people working together for the betterment of an area.

From the Throne Speech, Mr. Speaker, there were many items that I would like to discuss, very positive things. If you are representing a rural area, you will find that people have, maybe, a little different concern than some other areas; roads are of prime importance. We know that roads have been neglected over the years, lack of funding and maintenance. Roads are very important, particularly for people who work in the Michelin area on shift

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work or at CFB Greenwood and so on, they need to get to work and so it is important that we provide the roads that are updated and I am pleased to see that our government is increasing some funding and have a plan, that over the next number of years, to bring roads up to a higher standard.

Naturally, our health system, we all know that it required some assistance and it had some difficulties over the years. The costs were rocketing skyward and people are reluctant to change and no one wants to give anything up, but people in Kings West understand we need a sustainable health system and we believe that this government is going to provide that. It has started to provide it, and we are investing money in the right places and in the right programs and I think we will see in a short time that the programs that are in place will meet the needs and people will adapt and have a very good, solid, sustainable health program in place.

Like parents all over Nova Scotia, our people are concerned about the education of their children and we want safe, healthy schools and I am pleased to see that one is being opened in the Kingston area, and we have made commitments to do more work in the school area, the building facilities. We want to use these facilities to provide an education for our young people so they may not only be educated in Nova Scotia from kindergarten to senior high, but they may go to community college or to university in the area so they may be prepared to take the jobs that are coming to Nova Scotia in the next number of years in the oil and gas industry and in other areas. We are in a time where we must prepare for prosperity and have the workforce in place that we may keep our young people at home and work in our facilities, and we have reached that point where we can do that now. I would encourage our education people and our teachers to provide the opportunity for these young people to get the education they need so they may stay here and prosper in Nova Scotia.

Certainly, one of the important things in Kings County, if you have ever been there you would recognize, is agriculture. Forty per cent of the gross gate receipts of all the farming in Nova Scotia comes out of Kings County. Our farming communities have had to be downsized, we have lost farmers over the last number of years, but the ones that are remaining have become efficient, extremely good business people who have good business plans and they are geared for the long haul, but they need the assistance of government.

Whether you realize it or not, prices are at the level they were in 1970 for farm produce. People all over the world, Nova Scotia, Canada, certainly need food products and it is a question if we are going to meet those needs and have global cheap food - and that is what we really have - then governments have to be prepared to assist and keep these people farming because you cannot provide the equipment, the fuel, the labour using 1970 prices. We must move on, we must support these initiatives and certainly where weather is a major factor in the farming, whenever there are disasters or poor seasons we need to be in a position to support the agricultural community. (Applause)

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Also in the Throne Speech, I see that forestry is having silviculture work being done and we are going in a direction that needs to be looked at. We have to look at the methods of harvesting our forests. We have to look at the stumpage fees that are charged and I am pleased to see that this government is doing that.

In economic development I understand, and heard this evening there is some criticism, however, we are providing economic development with a group of people who have proven success records, that know a business plan when they see one, have done it and will continue to be able to monitor when a plan is good and what is good for Nova Scotia. Over the years I am sure that all areas of Nova Scotia will get representation so I am not concerned about that. We have to start at a certain point and we have good people in those positions now who have proven track records.

[9:15 p.m.]

Mr. Speaker, one of the highlights, I think, of this term of government is a Community Services program. It was criticized a lot when it was brought in, but we have a dedicated group of people in Community Services . . .

AN HON. MEMBER: Good minister.

MR. CAREY: A good minister, there is no question about that, who has brought in a new program. (Applause) Will it meet all the needs of everyone? Probably not, but it will work to help people who want to get off the system, to break that system that some have been in for generations. We will provide education for them, the opportunity. Most people just want an opportunity. I would encourage everyone to support this new program. I am pleased that this initiative is being taken.

Mr. Speaker, in the tourism industry, if you have been watching the curling, I am pleased to see that we are promoting Nova Scotia. One of the better advertisements, Mr. Minister, that I have been able to see, was Nova Scotia out there advertising and promoting this great province for tourism.

Kings West has places that certainly will attract the tourists. We have several very fine campgrounds; we have three golf courses, which include Paragon, Greenwood and the new Valley Vista that is very handy to my home. I am pleased that we are able to offer that. We are only minutes away from the Bay of Fundy, where you can get boat rides and see the sea life and so on, or you can fish; golden opportunities that tourists may not have the opportunity in other areas to do. As I have said before, we have the largest zoo east of Montreal in our riding.

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Mr. Speaker, those are the positive things that this government is doing and will continue to do. On a note that bothers me somewhat, I must say that the people of Kings West do have some concern - and something that saddens me - of the decorum and civility of what goes on in this House. The level of debate, I am told, has deteriorated from the 1960's and so on, by the people who have been here previously. I think it is sad when people feel that this House does not carry on good debate, that it does not show respect for people, for the concerns of all people. I am not pinpointing anyone or trying to point anyone out. I understand that when the Conservatives were in Opposition, they also were at the same level. I am not trying to (Interruptions) Well, you have become a good student. (Applause)

The people of Nova Scotia, the people of my area find it incredible that we would talk poverty and that we are in a financial crunch and yet we would allow bells to ring. Every day that this House is open costs an extra $6,000. Why don't we do the business of the House, and get on with it in a professional manner? Teachers, for example, have told me that they will not bring their students here, because the level of conduct and so on is below that of kindergarten and sets such a bad example. I find that appalling. I am saddened by that, I truly am.

When all of us say - various Parties will make claim to this - we feel that we are compassionate and that we have the concerns of our people, but do fear-mongering and use only half-truths to get our points across, that scares people, and our seniors become fearful; there is fear-mongering with the most vulnerable in society. I think it is disgraceful, I really do. I was disappointed when it was felt they had to bring a code of conduct in here, because certainly it is my opinion that you cannot legislate a code of conduct and ethics. I think it is there or it isn't. People should try to do that.

I had a meeting some time ago, a short time ago actually, with a very high-profile person here in Nova Scotia, one who is considered a very honourable person, certainly trusted by many and holds a very high position. I had a question for the person and I asked the question and I asked for a candid answer. I knew that the answer might not be what I would like to hear, but I thought I knew the answer anyway. I was disappointed when I got a political answer. I find that we should not have to operate in those realms. This same person told me, he said, politics brings out the worst in good people. That is a sad commentary.

At any rate, Mr. Speaker, Kings West and I support this Throne Speech and the government because we know and believe that the budget must be balanced. We know that the Premier is committed to doing the right thing. We know that people want leadership and we believe that this government will give that leadership. In conclusion, I support the Speech from the Throne and I thank you. (Applause)

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

MR. WILLIAM ESTABROOKS: Mr. Speaker, as I rise in my place again, I am reminded of course of the responsibilities which we face, the challenges ahead. I would like to welcome the new members and I am aware of the fact, having spoken to them both personally, particularly the member for Cape Breton North, the responsibilities which he is about to face and I guess the lessons that he learned. You know the previous speaker represents an area represented by a very famous previous minister and I can say that that particular gentleman, the honourable George Moody, in fact, and the honourable John Leefe, they had much to teach me and actually when the other side of the debate is on, you know, it is great to have a debate, but it takes two to debate ideas and not debate personalities, to look at issues and ideas and not point fingers and attack each other.

However, I want to point out that I represent a constituency that is faced with challenges that I, as their MLA, attempt to help them face. Perhaps it would be of some consequence if I looked at some of the challenges ahead, in fact. There are three particular ministers who sit opposite there, I would love to have them assist me, maybe it would be appropriate if they did help me with some of the challenges, including visiting the constituency and pointing out some of the salient features of one of the fastest growing suburban yet - Prospect included - also a rural riding in this province.

I point to the new Minister of Environment and Labour. As that new minister knows, I sent him a note of congratulations. I also sent him at the same time, of course, down to the business at hand, a request to have his staff turn to a particular piece of business. Mr. Speaker, to that new minister's credit, he responded appropriately. Now, maybe it was not quite the information that I wanted, but he did get back to me and he pointed out that there was the possibility that there is further legislation coming on an issue of some concern in my province and I thank him for that. That does not mean, as the previous speaker, the next time we get into Question Period and I don't quite get the answers that I want, that I am going to forgive him for the fact that he does not deal with the issue the way I want it dealt with. But that Minister of Environment, in the new challenging position, he has ahead of him some tough decisions.

That department, in particular, Mr. Speaker, as you well know, we make jokes, or I do anyway, about the Minister of Economic Development and the fact that he has nothing to do, or he won't have anything to do after Nova Scotia Business Inc. gets involved. But the Environment Department is in the same boat. I mean, I look at the responsibilities that face that minister and what he has as a staff now as opposed to what it was a short three years ago and the concerns that we have as Nova Scotians, the concerns that I have in a fast growing riding like Timberlea-Prospect.

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Mr. Speaker, as you well know, Timberlea-Prospect is the home of the HRM landfill site. We have a compost facility that continues to cause problems. We have the notorious Five Island Lake. All of those issues, that minister has very quickly made himself aware of and I thank him, but I want him to know that I will be back on my feet in this House asking for him to be accountable about finally producing solutions to those issues with the environment.

Of course, there is the Minister of Education. To the Minister of Education's credit, I want to point out that she did visit Sir John A. Macdonald High School. I remember her standing in this place and saying how impressed she was with the young people in that school, as she should be impressed with many of the young people, most of the young people in our schools across this province. Those platitudes are not going to solve the problems which my growing community faces, with after all, outside of that school, portable classrooms.

How many members here have overcrowded schools that have portable classrooms? I firmly say to you that Timberlea-Prospect is the constituency in this province that has the most portable classrooms. That government over there, when that Party over there was the government, they had no plan; they had no plan and they left us out in the cold. I challenge that Minister of Education to follow up with a plan, to make sure that she addressed the issues of the overcrowded schools in my growing constituency.

The one minister who would pack a gym, would fill an arena, would bring them in by droves would be the good Minister of Transportation. Not that the Minister of Education wouldn't be a popular visitor to Timberlea-Prospect, not that the new Minister of Environment wouldn't be a popular person in my constituency, but I can assure you that my constituents would love to have a few moments with the veteran Minister of Transportation. I know for a fact that if he would accept the invitation that has been put forward by the PROS group, which is the Please Respect our Safety group, for the Prospect Road, that we will be able to fill the school gymnasium at Brookside Junior High. These people want to talk to the Minister of Transportation.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order, I think the honourable member is giving the impression that I have not met with the PROS group. I went out one Sunday actually and met with the group and went on a tour of the roads in that particular area.

MR. SPEAKER: That is not a point of order.

MR. ESTABROOKS: I should point out that they were rotten roads that you were on. Correct, Mr. Minister? So let's look at some of the challenges that are ahead of me as the MLA for this growing constituency and the challenges that are faced by the people who live in my area. I would like to begin with the frustrations of the system. I could turn particularly

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to numerous people in my constituency who have about had it with WCB. Now the minister has to be responsible, let's face it, with the ultimate questions always asked of you when you deal with an injured worker. Does anybody ever reach satisfaction when it comes to WCB? Is everything appealed? I can give you examples, Mr. Speaker - as you can too, in your constituency - of men and women who, through no fault of their own, have been injured at work. Yet, they have been put through the hoops. They have been made to basically make sure that their doctor sees the WCB's doctor, and the WCB lawyers. Is that really how people should make the system work? I look at WCB and I ask why Nova Scotians have to put up with those frustrations.

If there are frustrations with WCB, let me tell you that I had a call from an ex-student of mine who is a nurse, a nurse who has graduated and is ready to move on in her career. Her frustrations with the system and the fact that she is leaving Nova Scotia to go to, of all places, Texas. No reflection on Texas here, but the fact is that the system in her opinion, the health care system and the frustrations she ran into as a student nurse just aren't worth the struggle when, after all, she can go off to the States, she can deal with a health system in another part of this continent and get paid much more. When we look at the frustrations that young nurse has to face, I can tell you that it is of a real concern to me as her MLA.

I should point out to you that, for example, the growing subdivisions which I am fortunate enough to represent, the growing subdivisions have paid and are willing to pay their fair share of attention to roads. Now, Mr. Speaker, you are aware of the petitioning process in the growing communities that both you and I represent. These people live in subdivisions in growing areas like Haliburton Hills and Haliburton Heights, in Highland Park, and they cannot travel their roads. They get a petition in which they agree that they are going to pay their portion of the paving project, and the municipality agrees that the petition should go forward and that these particular roads should receive attention, but where is the aid to municipalities that will allow these people to live in these subdivisions, to live on roads that they can properly travel?

I have roads in those subdivisions that I just mentioned, and others, where garbage trucks cannot go on garbage days to pick up the refuse, where fire trucks express their dissatisfaction that they cannot safely get in there if there was a disaster, but the most important example is we have school bus drivers who are refusing to travel certain subdivision roads in Timberlea-Prospect because of the danger that they might not be able to get back out at the end of the road.

[9:30 p.m.]

Now, let's talk about roads. Let's look at the frustration of a number of businesses. If you're in the tuna fishing business and you can't have your refrigerated truck travel a secondary road; instead you have to have a convoy system that is going to bring the fish up from the plant out onto the 100-Series Highway where the refrigerated truck is sitting

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because the secondary roads are in such poor condition that it is impossible to move the product up to the 100-Series Highway on the refrigerated truck. Instead you must do it in small pickups, to ensure safe passage of the product.

As you are well aware, I represent a number of coastal communities. Coastal communities that continually bring forth a concern that I stand in this House, I think from the first moment I was elected, the first resolution that was introduced in this session of the House, an issue that members over there know full well is of real concern. That issue is that non-residents continue to buy up exclusive coastal properties and then gate those communities. Now that issue is not being dealt with by this government.

There was a gem of hope because at least the minister opposite dealt with the issue to the degree that it did get to the Law Amendments Committee, much more than this crowd did who said, there is no problem at all with non-resident ownership buying up our coastal properties. I know there are members over there, members opposite who know that's an issue and know it is a problem and I challenge the Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations to stand up and take care of this issue and make sure that non-residents and Nova Scotians alike are treated fairly.

Let's have a look at one particular community and that is the community of Prospect. The Prospect Village is a wonderful community at the end of the terrible Prospect Road that has just had 112 hectares of exclusive coastal property set aside in the Nature Conservancy of Canada. That has been accomplished because of activists in that community who have pursued that issue and have made sure that governments provincially and federally are listening to the importance of the fact of having access to coastal properties so that future generations, future Nova Scotians, our children and our grandchildren will be able to have access to coastal properties in this province. To these particular people in the Village of Prospect, to Pat Hardiman, to Sue Brown, those people deserve the credit for pursuing that issue.

I want to talk about an issue of real concern that constantly gets neglected by this government. The connection between tourism and transportation. Do you know that there are on average, between the Victoria Day weekend and the Labour Day weekend, 42 tour buses that travel Route 333 from Goodwood to Upper Tantallon daily. On average 42 of these coach buses travel to the popular lighthouse destination of Peggy's Cove. The member for Chester-St. Margaret's, who shares that road with me for responsibility, should be made aware of the fact - and I hope he is aware of the fact - that there are some times during the summer that there are as many as 74 tour buses that have reached Peggy's Cove.

Mr. Speaker, that is a concern, when you look at the wear and tear that is on those roads. I urge the member for Chester-St. Margaret's to speak to the Minister of Transportation and look carefully at the influence - if you look at the Private Member's Bill which I introduced the other day, member for Chester-St. Margaret's, let's consider how we

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should prioritize roadwork in this province. It should be based upon the amount of average daily traffic. It should also look at when the road was last worked on. As you know, member for Chester-St. Margaret's, there are sections of that road that haven't seen a lot of work for a long time.

But there is also an important economic tie-in with that Private Member's Bill: how do we decide where the prioritization of that work is going to be decided, because of the importance of that secondary road on Economic Development? The Minister of Tourism will stand in his place and he will say how important tourism is to the economy of this province. We agree, but unless you only keep on the 100-Series Highways, how are you possibly going to get to some of these exclusive areas in our province, particularly coastal properties where you have to travel a secondary road and be able to navigate it like a billy goat? There are sections of the Prospect Road, the Indian Point Road that are in absolutely awful shape. I know that the member for Chester-St. Margaret's is going to address that issue and continue to work with me and make that, after all, a safer road on which to travel.

Mr. Speaker, I want to speak to you about one of the challenges that is of real concern when it comes to the twinning of a highway. The minister in the previous Liberal Government, the member for Shelburne, who lost the coin-toss - remember him? - that Minister of Transportation gave assurances to the people of Timberlea-Prospect that there was a phase one for the twinning of Highway No. 103 and a phase two. The phase one to the twinning of Highway No. 103 took the twinning project from the city limits, as we used to call it, from the Armdale Rotary, out to as far as the landfill site. There that twinning project has stopped. There it sits, and it has not proceeded since that date.

Phase two, and we were told that after all there are budgetary decisions, the member from Lunenburg, obviously he was aware of the fact that there was a project and that there was money to be set aside for the twinning of that project. If you go from Exit 3 to Exit 5 on Highway No. 103, the amount of traffic on that short section of road and the attention that has to be paid to it is a challenge for that minister.

I know there are other twinning projects in this province that are as important. In fact, considering the number of accidents and the challenges ahead for the Annapolis Valley highway, that has to take priority. I am not questioning that. I am, however, questioning the fact that if the earlier plan was there from the Liberal Government, and this government has taken over, can they not at least come clean with the people of Timberlea-Prospect and look at when this particular section of the very busy Highway No. 103 will be twinned? It was a promise made by a previous government, and should be a promise kept by that government because of the safety and the very issue of transportation in the busy communities that I represent.

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Mr. Speaker, I would be remiss to stand in my place if I did not talk about one of the greatest challenges in the growing community that I represent, and that, of course, is education. This isn't going to turn into a love-in with teachers and the challenges that the many teachers have in the classrooms across this province, but I want to point out to all members of this House that the education system in which the children that I was fortunate enough to teach - and my own children attended schools in my area - these schools are overcrowded. That is a unique problem these days, I have been told. I am aware that the member for Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage has some of the same concerns, but we are not talking about schools that do not have enough students, we are talking about schools that have too many students - too many students - too few supplies, too many challenges ahead.

One of the schools in my area that, as March Break began, the principal called me and said, "What am I to do for paper?" I know the response is, you get a budget, you live with it and those students, that should not be a concern. But when you get parents coming forward to the school with bundles of paper, are we talking about a user fee system when it comes to education in this province?

It seems to me that is one of the God-given rights that young people should have. They should have the right to be able to go to their particular school and not worry about the fact that if they make a particular mistake on a piece of paper that they are not going to have another piece of paper to replace it.

As you undoubtedly are well aware, we are in the middle of a labour dispute currently in the municipality in which the young kids in my community go to school. There is an unfortunate situation in which a school board is in conflict with a group of dedicated professionals. I say that because I want you to know that when you are in the school business, the principal is not the most important person in the school. I can speak from authority on that one. The vice-principal - he or she is not the most important person in the school. The most important people in the school are the little people - the kids, the children, the teenagers, and it is all the people who work with those young people, they are the ones; whether it is the custodian, the school secretaries, the EPAs and of course, the classroom teachers. That is the challenge that the school staffs in my community face. They face the challenge that they have now as teachers, they have a responsibility to educate young people but they do not have the proper support - whether it is financial, whether it is through staff.

Let us look at the challenges that are now happening in the school system. I know you have heard the term - young people have been mainstreamed. So you go into a classroom now and you realize that in front of you, the group of 35 or 36 students - maybe higher in some situations - they are of varying ability. So you know the EPA that is in there - that is the teacher's assistant, the educational program assistant, whatever the particular term each board uses - is of real importance to that classroom teacher. That person is vital in that classroom because you as the teacher, you are teaching the middle of the class. In many situations, the gifted child, you give that person something to do and say, "Try to stay busy

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because I am dealing with the middle.", while the other part, if you look at the spectrum, those students who face certain challenges, they get forgotten. They get forgotten because of the fact there are only so many minutes in a class and that sink-or-swim attitude when it comes to education no longer can be allowed.

Why is that challenge there in front of us? Because the proper funding has not been there. I will tell you and you know that from the boards that I have worked with, I will tell you that as a classroom teacher and as a school vice-principal and principal, I can point out there are better places to spend money. I know that the Minister of Education is aware of some of those tough decisions which she has to face ahead.

From the comments I have made, you can tell that I have a community that is facing challenges, but I want you to know that the volunteers and the people that I work with in that community, they face those challenges daily. Whether it is making their views known on roads through petitions and community meetings, whether it is the concerns about writing to the new Minister of Environment, whether it is dealing with the Minister of Education, the people of Timberlea-Prospect are going to continue to speak out because they pay taxes and in relation to those taxes, they deserve a certain quality of services.

Over the last two weeks I have heard from over 65 - I believe the last count today when I left my constituency office was 68-members of my constituency who question why residential tax money that they pay on their piece of property is going to be put into an equalization project. They don't question equalization, Mr. Speaker, they do not question the fact that there are other areas of this province, but if Timberlea-Prospect is such a have area as a member of the Halifax Regional Municipality, I want to ask why do I, as the MLA for Timberlea-Prospect, have so many calls and concerns about the potholes, the rotten roads and the fact that these roads have not received attention.

Mr. Speaker, if I represent a have constituency, how come I have students in my community who do not have enough paper, who do not have equal access to computers? I know that we are a member of a have municipality, but I point out to the government opposite, that within the HRM there are have-not areas also that question the fact that we pay our taxes, residential taxes, and we expect in return a quality of service to match those taxes.

Mr. Speaker, I want to point out to you the fact that there are a number of very concerned communities in my area. I would like to point out in particular the historic community of Beechville. Beechville is a community that faced the challenge historically, Beechville is also a community that has a massive problem when it comes to getting access to their school. It was this government over here, at the time, who had a developer building schools. Now, mind you, that developer is now selling houses around that school, but do you know that the residents of Beechville cannot get access to that P3 school - they cannot get access.

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MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. There is too much noise in the Chamber. The honourable member for Timberlea-Prospect has the floor.

MR. ESTABROOKS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. That problem of access to schools happens in other P3 schools. The fact, of course, that to get to use a P3 school, if I went in and I wanted to run a volleyball camp on the weekend, I have to have $1 million personal insurance as the person running the event. That is not equal access to schools across this province, and particularly to a P3 school in an area such as Beechville.

I want to point out also the growing challenges of living in Beechville, Lakeside and Timberlea. Timberlea is, as we say, in the core area and with amalgamation - and you might be aware of this Mr. Speaker - with a core area there is a difference in services. The HRM is responsible for a certain number of services within the core area, but if you step outside that core area, then you have a completely different set of circumstances, but the people of Timberlea, they want to know, where are the sidewalks? Where are some of the safe ways to move young people around in that community if they have to walk those kilometres to school? The people in Timberlea want to know, as we face more and more developers and they continue to move into the community of Timberlea, is the Minister of Environment and Labour ready to step up and make sure that the lakes are not polluted, that the drainage and runoff from those busy streets that just empty into those lakes, will that problem be taken care of?

When you look, Mr. Speaker, at a growing community that has growing needs, whether it is in recreation, roads, or in schools, those sorts of problems have to be addressed and they will be addressed if local tax money is used locally. I can very clearly say that this equalization plan, as I understand it now, that has been put forward by this government, is adamantly opposed by the people of Timberlea-Prospect because they expect a quality of service which they pay their taxes for, that local residential tax money must be used locally to ensure the quality of service that these people expect.

Mr. Speaker, I would be remiss if I did not mention the community of Terence Bay. Terence Bay is one of those destinations that I encourage members opposite to attend. It is the site of the S.S. Atlantic Memorial Park it, of course, has many other attractive features that you should go and see for yourself, but the problem is you have to travel over a notorious stretch of road called Porcupine Hill.

You have heard me talk about Porcupine Hill before. Porcupine Hill, and it is appropriately named I can tell you, is a needle that I can stick in that Minister of Transportation at a moment's notice because that particular section of the Terence Bay Road - I mean you can't have tour buses go to Terence Bay. It is impossible at this time of the year, not just because of weight restrictions but because that section of the road is just downright dangerous. Terence Bay and the people of that community, a coastal community who wants to promote their beautiful village as a destination, have reached the frustration level with the

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fact of exactly what do they have to do to get this minister to put that section of the road on some kind of prioritized list. Do they have to fill out a petition? I think that has been done, Mr. Speaker. Do they have to hold public meetings? I think that has been done. Yet Porcupine Hill continues to be a needle that that Minister of Transportation is going to get stuck into him regularly in this House by this particular MLA.

I want to at this stage recognize a number of young people who I have been fortunate enough to live with and deal with over the past number of years. As you are well aware, Mr. Speaker, during the past summer there was an opportunity for young people in the communities that I represent and some young people from the community of the member for Chester-St. Margaret's, to visit Switzerland and France. Those young people were chosen because their parents, and some of them themselves, were involved in the Swissair Flight 111 disaster and the recovery period.

Those young people left this province as ambassadors and when they returned they were so grateful for the opportunity which they received. When the families returned to the Swissair Memorial they joined in the fact of celebrating the strength of the communities that I am fortunate enough to represent. I know you represent a community like that too, that has that spirit, Mr. Speaker, that has that endurance to make sure that when the time comes they will speak up and they will come to the assistance of something as tragic as Swissair, but they have the spirit and the dedication and that word endurance, to again make sure their community is going to be a better place because they had their say.

Mr. Speaker, those young people who I was so fortunate to work with for years have expectations of us. I heard the member for Kings West say that when they come in here, the decorum of the House, they don't want to see debate, they want to hear an exchange of ideas. They want to hear and see some passion when it comes to idea differences. I will tell you that the visits they have had here, the Opposition are the ones who are on their feet suggesting the ideas, and that crowd over there wants to vote and get out of here, vote and get out of here, and when we have to define the fact democracy in action takes time, democracy in action is not perfect, and when we have to explain to these visiting students why the bells are ringing, well, you explain to them it is a process in democracy. It is a process in making sure that the ideas that are expressed in here get a full and open hearing. That is, after all, what democracy is all about.

I am fortunate enough, if you, Mr. Speaker, could take a moment here, I hear the word decorum in this House and I hear the fact that we get in here and we have our say and we bang our desks and for one reason or another we are making our views known; that is why perhaps I got elected. I got elected because I was going to have my say on their behalf and not to sit here merely and vote, vote, get it over with, over to the Law Amendments Committee, back in here and get out of here. That is not how democracy works. The challenges ahead of us, whether it is the issues of a growing constituency of Timberlea-Prospect, whether it is other areas in this province that face some of the challenges that I hear

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from Cape Breton, and my friend from New Waterford brings forth some of the challenges that his community has to receive, those are issues that we have to discuss passionately, that we have to have our say on, and that we have to make sure that as elected representatives we have our say.

Mr. Speaker, it was Joseph Howe who said, speak the truth and feel it. Joseph Howe, no one accused him, when he spoke in there for five, almost six hours, of being in a rush. When we look at the fact that Joseph Howe took his time to make his point, I want to assure members opposite that we have much more to say on many topics.

Mr. Speaker, I would like to take the opportunity, if I could, to adjourn debate.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is to adjourn debate.

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

The motion is carried.

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, I move that the House do now rise to meet again on the morrow at the hour of 2:00 p.m. The House will sit from 2:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. The order of business after the daily routine and Question Period will be Public Bills for Second Reading, and we will be debating Bill No. 1. If there is time remaining, we will return to the debate on the Throne Speech.

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

The motion is carried.

We are adjourned until tomorrow at 2:00 p.m.

[The House rose at 9:57 p.m.]

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NOTICE OF MOTION UNDER RULE 32(3)

RESOLUTION NO. 77

By: Mr. John Holm (Sackville-Cobequid)

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

Whereas the Nova Scotia Senior High Debating Championships took place this past weekend at Holy Angels High School in Sydney; and

Whereas 22 teams from across Nova Scotia took part in the debates;

Whereas the team from Sydney Academy, consisting of Emilie Pottle, Rory Gillis, and Dominique McMahon, won the debate, proving the statement that Cape Breton has a legacy of having strong debaters;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate the team from Sydney Academy on its fine performance and applaud all those who made the event such a rousing success.