The Nova Scotia Legislature

The House resumed on:
September 21, 2017.

HANSARD
01-7

HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY

DEBATES AND PROCEEDINGS

Speaker: Honourable Murray Scott

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

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

Annual subscriptions available from the Office of the Speaker.

Second Session

FRIDAY, MARCH 30, 2001

TABLE OF CONTENTS PAGE
STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS:
Environ. & Lbr. - Sewage Management Discussion Paper,
Hon. D. Morse 443
Nat. Res. - Softwood Industry: Maritime Accord - Gov't. (Cdn.) Renew,
The Premier 448
GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 171, Duggan, Dave - Service: Prov. N.S. - Thank, Hon. G. Balser 449
Vote - Affirmative 450
Res. 172, Goldbloom, Dr. Ruth - NSCAD: Honorary Deg. - Congrats.,
Hon. J. Purves 450
Vote - Affirmative 451
Res. 173, Educ. - Literacy: Practitioners (Commun.-Based) -
Acknowledge, Hon. J. Purves 451
Vote - Affirmative 451
Res. 174, Agric. & Fish. - Outlook 2001: Initiative - Recognize,
Hon. E. Fage 452
Vote - Affirmative 452
INTRODUCTION OF BILLS:
No. 11, Financial Measures (2001) Act, Hon. N. LeBlanc 452
NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 175, Educ. - Riverside Educ. Ctr.: Multimedia Prog. - Congrats.,
Mr. J. MacDonell 453
Vote - Affirmative 453
Res. 176, Health - Long-Term Care: Downloading - Cease,
Mr. W. Gaudet 453
Res. 177, Fin. - Budget (2001-02): Content - Off. Opposition Review,
Mr. T. Olive 454
Res. 178, Sports - Hockey: Vince Ryan Tournament -
Participants Congrats., Mr. J. Holm 455
Vote - Affirmative 455
Res. 179, Econ. Dev. - C.B.: Economic Needs - Invest,
Mr. Manning MacDonald 456
Res. 180, IODE - Annie V. Johnson Chapter: Anniv. (20th) - Congrats.,
Mr. D. Hendsbee 456
Vote - Affirmative 457
Res. 181, Health - Long-Term Care: Cuts - Withdraw,
Ms. Maureen MacDonald 457
Res. 182, Coughlan, Justice Cyril Richard - Supreme Court:
Appointment - Congrats., Mr. D. Downe 458
Vote - Affirmative 458
Res. 183, Ruff, Eric - Yarmouth Museum: Commitment/Fundraising -
Applaud, Mr. R. Hurlburt 459
Vote - Affirmative 459
Res. 184, CWH on Supply/Subcomm. - Estimates: Meeting - Delay,
Mr. K. Deveaux 459
Res. 185, Health - Care: Crisis - Min. Response, Dr. J. Smith 460
Res. 186, TPF Factory Outlet (Amherst) - Star Choice Award:
Owners - Congrats., Hon. E. Fage 461
Vote - Affirmative 461
Res. 187, Shearwater Aviation Museum - Board of Directors/Staff:
Dedication - Congrats., Mr. K. Deveaux 462
Vote - Affirmative 462
Res. 188, Fin. - Cabot Trail: Upgrade - Windfall Employ,
Mr. K. MacAskill 462
Res. 189, WCB - Widows' Benefits: Fairness - Interpretation,
Mr. F. Corbett 463
Res. 190, Sports - Hockey: Vince Ryan Tournament -
Participants Congrats., Mr. D. Wilson 464
Vote - Affirmative 466
Res. 191, Environ. & Lbr. - Kyoto Accord: Pres. Bush - Min. Contact,
Mr. G. Steele 464
Res. 192, Transport. & Pub. Wks. - Budget (2001-02): Allocation -
Min. Employ, Mr. B. Boudreau 466
Res. 193, Gov't. (N.S.): Cdn. Assoc. Journalists Code of Silence Award -
Congrats., Mr. H. Epstein 467
Res. 194, Health - Strait-Richmond Hosp. Crisis: Min./Caucus - Solve,
Mr. M. Samson 467
Res. 195, SS Atlantic Sinking - Remembrance: Lr. Prospect Residents -
Efforts Recognize, Mr. W. Estabrooks 468
Vote - Affirmative 469
Res. 196, Fin. - Budget (2001-02): Rural Rds. - Problems Coverage,
Mr. K. MacAskill 469
Res. 197, Sports - Hockey: NSSAF Championship -
J.L. Ilsley Judges Congrats., Mr. Robert Chisholm 470
Vote - Affirmative 470
Res. 198, Health - Long-Term Care: User Fee -
Gov't. (N.S.) Explanation, Mr. D. Dexter 470
Res. 199, Justice - Jail/Forensic Hosp.: Dartmouth North -
Benefits Enumerate, Mr. J. Pye 471
Res. 200, Fin. - Budget (2001-02): Agric. Cuts - Mistakes Explain,
Mr. J. MacDonell 472
Res. 201, Sports - Hockey: Pictou Co. Zellers Midget AA Team (Girls) -
Congrats., Mr. J. Holm 472
Vote - Affirmative 473
Res. 202, Educ. - Budget Cuts: Job Opportunities - Effect,
Ms. Maureen MacDonald 473
Res. 203, Two Rivers Wildlife Park - Fundraising: St. Joseph Sch./
Tim Hortons - Congrats., Mr. F. Corbett 474
Vote - Affirmative 474
Res. 204, Creighton-Gerrish Dev. Assoc. - Housing Complex: Funding -
Congrats., Mr. J. Pye 475
Vote - Affirmative 475
Res. 205, Morash, Beverly: Atl. Writing Competition - Congrats.,
Mr. D. Dexter 475
Vote - Affirmative 476
Res. 206, Tourism & Culture - Commun. Museums: Funding Cuts -
Regret, Mr. Robert Chisholm 476
Res. 207, Transport. & Pub. Wks. - Min.: Timberlea-Prospect MLA -
Golf Game Accept, Mr. W. Estabrooks 477
GOVERNMENT BUSINESS:
GOVERNMENT MOTIONS:
Res. 1, Estimates: CWH on Supply - Referred, Hon. N. LeBlanc 478
Mr. K. Deveaux 478
Mr. D. Downe 490
Referred to CWH on Supply 506
PUBLIC BILLS FOR SECOND READING:
No. 10, Order of Nova Scotia Act 507
Hon. Rodney MacDonald 507
Mr. W. Estabrooks 508
Mr. M. Samson 510
Adjourned debate 510
ADJOURNMENT, House rose to meet again on Mon., Apr. 2nd at 4:00 p.m. 511
NOTICE OF MOTION UNDER RULE 32(3):
Res. 208, Redcliffe, Kelly Marie: Atl. Writing Competition -
Commend, Mr. M. Parent 512

[Page 443]

HALIFAX, FRIDAY, MARCH 30, 2001

Fifty-eighth General Assembly

Second Session

10:00 A.M.

SPEAKER

Hon. Murray Scott

DEPUTY SPEAKERS

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

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

PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS

PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES

TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS

STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Environment and Labour.

HON. DAVID MORSE: Mr. Speaker, it gives me great pleasure today to share with you and our colleagues here in this House, the release of our government's Sewage Management Discussion Paper.

AN HON. MEMBER: That was yesterday. (Laughter)

443

[Page 444]

MR. MORSE: It is appropriately titled, We all have a Part to Play because, Mr. Speaker, we all truly do have a part to play. You see, when it comes right down to it, sewage isn't the type of thing that many of us like to talk about and if we don't want to talk about it, there is a good chance we don't want to think about it much either. The fact is, many people in many places in Nova Scotia have septic systems that aren't working right. Others live in places where their sewage is going straight into the ocean, still others live in places where their treatment plants need to be brought up to today's standards.

It is a big problem and if we don't start doing something about it now, it is not going to get any better. It is the kind of problem that we need to start solving for ourselves and, just as importantly, for our children and our grandchildren. Within this 14 page discussion paper is an easy to read overview of our situation. As well, this discussion paper is consistent with our government's commitment, noted in the Budget Speech yesterday, to ensure safe and appropriate sewage disposal.

Basically, there are three parts to this problem. The first one is septic systems. It is a fact that properly designed, installed and maintained on-site sewage disposal systems, also known as septic systems, protect goundwater and surface water from contamination. Today, 45 per cent of Nova Scotians have their sewage treated and disposed of with individual, private, on-site sewage disposal systems. That means there are thousands of septic systems throughout the province. Even if a fraction of them aren't working properly, they might be contaminating water, including your own drinking water. Those septic systems are a homeowner's responsibility. It is up to each homeowner to make sure the home sewage disposal system is in good working order.

Frank Potter, engineer for the Cape Breton Regional Municipality, has said that the public wants to feel comfortable that what they are doing in their day-to-day activities does not create an adverse effect on their environment. I agree and I think getting some good discussion going on this and coming up with some viable options is the first step in developing a workable strategy. But septic systems are only part of it; 25 per cent of Nova Scotians have their sewage collected and treated at a central treatment facility. The history of many of these facilities dates back to the mid-1960's, when the province prohibited the construction of new outfall pipes discharging raw sewage. By the early 1970's, 55 municipal treatment plants were constructed.

Today, there are 290 sewage treatment plants in the province, about one-third of those municipally-owned. The others are owned by places like schools, trailer parks and commercial developments. Now these plants are aging and today's standards are more onerous. Stricter standards have been adopted for new sewage treatment facilities and regulations requiring certification of sewage treatment plant operators have improved environmental protection, but there must be further improvement.

[Page 445]

Finally, 30 per cent of our sewage is discharged raw. This situation has the potential to impact public health and contaminate the water resources. It also limits recreational use of water and detracts from the attractiveness of a community, which can impact on the tourism industry. The province has prohibited the construction of new outfalls discharging raw sewage but we still have to deal with existing outfalls. New developments have been allowed to connect to existing outfalls, increasing the quantity of sewage being discharged raw.

The public consultation process will begin today with the distribution of the discussion paper, both by mail and electronically on the department's Web site. The process will allow for the receipt of comments from the public through the normal channels, that being mail, electronic and a toll-free number and will include a public consultation process with sessions held at convenient times in all 18 counties. The four Nova Scotia Atlantic Canada Coastal Action Program sites will help to co-ordinate sessions in their communities.

Public consultation sessions will commence the week of May 2, 2001 and will continue through to the end of June 2001. Upon the completion of the public consultation process comments will be reviewed and the strategy will be developed based on the input provided by Nova Scotians. It is expected that the strategy document will be completed by the end of March 2002. It is a huge challenge but so was being the first and only province in Canada this far, to reach the goal of reducing our solid waste by 50 per cent last year. It is up to all of us to make this happen, so I encourage all Nova Scotians to participate. We have a part to play. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Fairview.

MR. GRAHAM STEELE: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today as the Official Opposition's Environment Critic to speak briefly to the ministers announcement today. I must say, I don't know how many times this has to be said in the House, but the government owes it to the Opposition to give us advanced notice of this kind of statement. I found out about this statement when the minister rose in his place to speak. That is not a good start Mr. Minister, and I hope you can do better next time.

Clearly something needs to be done, but the real issue on this matter is, as it is with most issues, who is going to pay for it. I would be hoping that this government and this minister are starting to cost immediately the provincial's share of the upgrading and improvements that undoubtedly need to be done to the sewage systems in Nova Scotia, because the question is, how much of this is going to be paid for by individual homeowners? How much of this is going to be paid for by municipalities? The strategy won't be worth the paper it is printed on if the province isn't prepared to pony up a significant amount of money.

[Page 446]

We will look forward to the public consultation, we will look forward to this process moving forward but let's not forget, ever, that this is about the province's responsibility and how much the province is prepared to put up. Thank you very much.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Richmond.

Order, please. There is a lot of talking in the Chamber and I ask the members to take their conservations outside, please. The honourable member for Richmond has the floor.

MR. MICHEL SAMSON: Very important things to say, Mr. Speaker. I also must start out by pointing out to the Minister of Environment and Labour that this ministerial statement was provided to us a mere few minutes ago and I would certainly encourage the minister, if he expects some form of co-operation from the Opposition, the least he could do is give us the notice that is granted to us by most of his other colleagues when it comes to ministerial statements. I hope that he brings that back to his staff. This government is usually quite quick to blame their staff when things like this happen rather than accept responsibility for themselves.

[10:15 a.m.]

A sewer waste management discussion paper is something that we are pleased to see the government finally bringing forward. Having had the privilege of serving as a Minister of Environment, I can inform this House today that this government since it was elected has been sitting on this discussion paper and have been sitting on their water strategy since they have been elected.

These are discussion papers which were ready to roll out when this government came into power. This is not something new that they have all of a sudden decided that they should work on. They made the decision not to move on this. If the minister says there is 30 per cent raw sewage still being pumped into this province's harbours and lakes, he can say it is because his government has made a concerted decision - for at least going on three years now - not to act upon this. To say that the situation in the Bras d'Or Lakes is something in which the government needs more information on, is a joke.

The Bras d'Or Stewardship Society has made it quite clear that this government (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

MR. SAMSON: The Minister of Economic Development seems quite testy today, considering the cuts to his department, I guess I would be testy also today.

[Page 447]

As I was saying, the Bras d'Or Stewardship Society has the data, has the facts that have been presented to this government, were presented to the previous government and which were being worked upon. For two years this government has refused to act upon that and has allowed the Bras d'Or Lakes to continue to receive raw sewage here in this province and that is nothing short of disgraceful.

For this minister to stand here today and say he is going to wait until March 2002 - before this government makes the necessary investments and puts forward the necessary regulations and plans to address sewage in this province - is again disgraceful. I do not want to lay the blame on this new minister because he is not to blame, it is his Premier and his government that have abandoned the Environment Department in this province. There has been at least five acting or part-time or sometime Ministers of Environment since this government has taken power. So I do not blame the new minister on that, but I am pleased he is bringing that forward.

The Province of Nova Scotia and the Department of Environment have a staff and the environmental information technology sector have been working very diligently to come up with solutions to both water problems and sewage problems. Last year this government gutted out that section of the Department of Environment and I am hoping that if the minister is sincere about what he has said today, that in this budget he will reinvest money into the environmental information technology sector of that department, because they have been able to come up with new, innovative ways to address this, but more importantly they have used Nova Scotian technology, Nova Scotian ideas to make this happen. This government made the decision to gut that sector out and because of that, our province continues to be faced with these very serious situations.

This government has announced $195 million for the infrastructure program for green projects. It is sad to see that only such little money was put in because when you look at the problems there are from one end of the province to the other, this will not come close to addressing the problems we have. Especially in the issue of sewer problems.

The minister points out many of these systems were built in the 1970's - some even before that. That is true. Those systems are approaching 30 years in age. They do not work, they malfunction and the municipalities are in dire need of emergency funds to replace the systems before permanent damage is done to our ecosystem, our harbours and our lakes throughout this entire province.

It is absolutely imperative that this government stop asking Nova Scotians for consultation and dragging and dragging. Consultation has taken place, a strategy was ready to roll out when they took office and they have intentionally made the decision not to move forward with either a water strategy or a waste management strategy.

[Page 448]

Mr. Speaker, if this government can say that Nova Scotians have been able to achieve 50 per cent waste diversion, they know very well that those were the programs put in place by the previous government with the support of Nova Scotians from one end of the province to the other. They are the ones responsible for this 50 per cent diversion. They are the ones to be thanked for this, not this government who has abandoned the Environment Department in this province.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. I know it is Friday, but there is a lot of noise in here this morning.

The honourable Premier.

HON. JOHN HAMM (The Premier): Mr. Speaker, I rise to table a letter sent yesterday to the Right Honourable Jean Chretien, Prime Minister of Canada, regarding the softwood lumber issue. The letter is signed by all four Atlantic Premiers and urges the federal government to renew the Maritime Accord on softwood lumber. Copies of the letter were faxed yesterday to the three caucus offices. The letter reiterates the joint position of the four Atlantic Provinces expressed to the Prime Minister in a previous letter of February 7th. It also reiterates the position unanimously adopted in this House through Resolution No. 110, sponsored by the member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley, as well as Resolution No. 108, sponsored by the member for Victoria. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Opposition.

MR. JOHN MACDONELL: Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the Premier for giving me a heads-up on his statement. Certainly, we concur with the appropriateness of his sending that letter. The members for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley and Victoria would recognize the need for renewal of the Maritime Accord. I want the House to know that I, as well, sent letters to the Prime Minister and Minister Pettigrew, from my office, on this issue. From where I stand on my doorstep in Enfield, there are at least 10 mills that would access lumber from Hants East, and in particular the central region in general. To realize the impact that has on communities and the lives of people in those communities, it is significant, and I would say that trying to convince the Prime Minister and the federal government to act more swiftly - the deadline is looming in the next day or so on that accord - and to have a new accord signed is imperative for the Maritime Provinces.

It seems to have been difficult to make the case that the situation in the forest sector in the Maritime Provinces is different than the other provinces in Canada, where the major portion of forested land is privately owned compared to that which is more often Crown owned in other provinces. It doesn't create the same ground rules and it is a different situation for those trying to get access to timber. With that, I want to applaud the Premier. I guess he saw me do that. The mission is an important one. I hope the message does get

[Page 449]

through to the Prime Minister, and that they can ratify a new accord just as speedily as possible. (Applause)

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

MR. WAYNE GAUDET: Mr. Speaker, I am glad that the Premier has done a follow-up on the resolutions in this House by the honourable member for Victoria and the honourable member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley. There is no doubt that this whole issue is very important to many parts of this province. We have to recognize that many people throughout this province earn their daily living from the forest industry and that many private individuals and businesses have substantial investments in this industry as well. I think it was stated earlier that it has been proven a number of times that Nova Scotia and the Atlantic Provinces are free from any subsidies.

Our caucus supports the Premier in his letter campaign to the Prime Minister over this important issue that is facing many Nova Scotians. Maybe before I take my seat I will encourage the Premier, in his Campaign for Fairness when he does meet with Premiers, especially in western Canada and B.C., to raise this critical issue that is facing many Nova Scotians. Again, on behalf of our caucus, I am pleased to support the Premier's initiative in writing directly to the Prime Minister over this forestry issue. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Economic Development.

RESOLUTION NO. 171

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

Whereas Dave Duggan's involvement with economic development in Nova Scotia spans more than 29 years as an employee; and

Whereas Mr. Duggan has a been a valuable financial services officer with the Nova Scotia Business Development Corporation; and

Whereas today is Mr. Duggan's last day of employment with the Province of Nova Scotia;

Therefore be it resolved that my colleagues here in the Legislature thank Dave Duggan for his years of dedicated service to the province and wish him a happy and healthy retirement.

[Page 450]

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Education.

RESOLUTION NO. 172

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

Whereas Dr. Ruth Goldbloom is one of the most active humanitarians and volunteers in Nova Scotia; and

Whereas her work has been recognized across Canada, most recently for her contributions to the founding and operation of the Pier 21 Society and Heritage Interpretation Centre; and

Whereas the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design will honour Dr. Goldbloom with and honorary degree at its Winter 2001 graduation ceremony next month;

Therefore be it resolved that this House recognize the work and achievements of Dr. Goldbloom and congratulate her for the honour to be conferred on her by the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design.

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 451]

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Education.

RESOLUTION NO. 173

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

Whereas a provincial conference for community-based literacy practitioners is being held in southwestern Nova Scotia this weekend, sponsored by the Department of Education, the Cumberland Adult Network for Upgrading, the Nova Scotia Provincial Literacy Coalition, and the National Literacy Secretariat of Human Resources Development Canada; and

Whereas the conference, Ocean of Learning 2001, will bring together more than 100 tutors, instructors and coordinators who work with the Department of Education's Community Learning Initiative; and

Whereas with the assistance of more than 600 volunteers, these community-based learning organizations provide more than 100 literacy and numeracy programs for about 2,000 adults;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House acknowledge the commitment and dedication of community-based literacy practitioners across Nova Scotia.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Natural Resources.

[Page 452]

RESOLUTION NO. 174

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

Whereas the Nova Scotia Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, in co-operation with the Nova Scotia Federation of Agriculture, recently held its Outlook 2001 conference in Truro; and

Whereas the agri-food sector in Nova Scotia, and indeed around the world, is facing both challenges and opportunity as it looks toward the future; and

[10:30 a.m.]

Whereas Outlook 2001 brought together key opinion leaders from across the country to share their thoughts and research with industry and government leaders from Nova Scotia and have provided a framework for the development and pursuit of new opportunities;

Therefore be it resolved that this House recognize the provincial agriculture community for taking the initiative and actively participating in developing an understanding of the future direction of an industry that plays such a critical role in the economic prosperity of our province.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

INTRODUCTION OF BILLS

Bill No. 11 - Entitled an Act Respecting Certain Financial Measures. (Hon. Neil LeBlanc)

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

[Page 453]

NOTICES OF MOTION

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Opposition.

RESOLUTION NO. 175

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

Whereas multimedia communications plays an important role in our everyday lives; and

Whereas Riverside Educational Centre offers the most extensive multimedia program in the province; and

Whereas four students from REC, Adrienne Ryan, Kris Sutton, Ryan Parsons and Patricia MacAulay were accepted, based on their exceptional ability and natural aptitude in multimedia communications, and attended the 3rd World Summit on Media for Children held in Thessaloniki, Greece, on March 23rd to March 26th;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly congratulate Riverside Educational Centre on its program of introducing students to a modern, relevant industry and wish the students all the best on their trip.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Leader of the Liberal Party.

RESOLUTION NO. 176

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

[Page 454]

Whereas in yesterday's budget seniors who cannot find a long-term care bed will be charged a $50 user fee per day in the hospital; and

Whereas it is terrible that seniors are being forced to pay for this government's failure to create a long-term care plan; and

Whereas as a result, acute care hospitals are being turned into expensive nursing homes;

Therefore be it resolved that this government stop downloading on senior citizens because of its own inability to manage the crisis in long-term care.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Dartmouth South.

RESOLUTION NO. 177

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

Whereas the response of the NDP Finance Critic to the budget yesterday appeared based on anticipated negatives regarding child care and nursing, not reality; and

Whereas in fact a $5 million commitment for the first-ever nursing strategy to address workplace issues of Nova Scotia nurses was included along with investments to help to improve wages of child-care workers and expand startup grants to non-profit centres; and

Whereas to make matters more confusing, while incorrectly criticizing our lack of investments in crucial areas, the NDP also commented that our spending was out of control;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House urge the Official Opposition to review carefully the content of Budget 2001 and confirm their position on the fiscal direction of this province before commenting further.

[Page 455]

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 Sackville-Cobequid.

RESOLUTION NO. 178

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

Whereas Cape Breton remains a hotbed for Canada's favourite winter pastime; and

Whereas in that vein, 37 teams from all over Canada will be taking part in the 12th Annual Labatts-Sobeys Vince Ryan Memorial Scholarship hockey tournament from March 29th until April 1st in Glace Bay; and

Whereas the tournament is expected to generate $2.5 million in revenue for Cape Breton;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate the organizers of, and all teams in, the tournament and wish them every success, particularly those Cape Breton teams carrying their colours onto the ice.

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.

[Page 456]

RESOLUTION NO. 179

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

Whereas once again we are presented with a Budget Speech that has not mentioned the provincial contribution to the Cape Breton Growth Fund; and

Whereas despite paying lip service to the fund it would not exist if it were not for the federal government; and

Whereas once again words and actions are two different things when it comes to this government;

Therefore be it resolved that the Hamm Government should put its money where its mouth is and pay attention to Cape Breton economic needs by making a solid investment in capital.

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 Preston.

RESOLUTION NO. 180

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

Whereas the Imperial Order of the Daughters of the Empire, IODE, was founded a century ago; and

Whereas the IODE has grown from its noble origins of assistance to soldiers of the Boer War to its goal in the year 2000 of helping to find ways to alleviate child abuse and neglect; and

[Page 457]

Whereas this Saturday, March 31st, the Annie V. Johnson Chapter of the IODE, North Preston, will celebrate two decades of service helping others;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate the members of the Annie V. Johnson Chapter of the IODE as they celebrate their 20th Anniversary and praise them for their valuable work in the community.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Halifax Needham.

RESOLUTION NO. 181

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

Whereas this government underestimated 2000-01 revenue by $250 million to justify its savage attack on Nova Scotia's health care; and

Whereas this government is underestimating its 2001-02 revenue by at least $100 million to justify the next round of cuts and fee increases; and

Whereas individuals who are literally confined to hospitals because of the shortage of long-term care beds are helpless victims of this heartless government;

Therefore be it resolved that the government should immediately withdraw this shameful attempt to extract money from Nova Scotians who are confined to a hospital bed through no fault of their own.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

[Page 458]

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

Is it agreed?

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Lunenburg West.

RESOLUTION NO. 182

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

Whereas Lunenburg County has produced some of the province's finest legal minds, including Chief Justice Joseph Kennedy; and

Whereas Cyril Richard Coughlan of Bridgewater - I was going to add Michael - was sworn in as a Justice of the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia last Friday; and

Whereas Justice Coughlan will no doubt be a great asset to the administration of justice in Nova Scotia;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Justice Coughlan as he fulfills his new duties with the Supreme Court.

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 Yarmouth.

[Page 459]

RESOLUTION NO. 183

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

Whereas Yarmouth Museum Curator Eric Ruff this week made a great sacrifice in support of successful fundraising efforts for the museum expansion; and

Whereas the English-born curator has shaved off his well-known long white beard - the last time was in 1968 - a commitment he made if $100,000 was raised for the $2.4 million expansion; and

Whereas the gala beard-shaving festival at Th'YARC was also a great success and included a kissing booth to which Mr. Ruff also made appearances before and after;

Therefore be it resolved that the House applaud Mr. Ruff on his personal sacrifice, his commitment to the museum and his wonderful fundraising incentive for the community, and commend all those involved in this tremendous effort towards the expansion of our beloved Yarmouth Museum.

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. 184

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

Whereas most of the estimates of expenditure tabled yesterday provide no comparison between fiscal year 2000-01 and the next fiscal year; and

[Page 460]

Whereas it is an insult to Nova Scotians and to this House for the government to provide estimates which hide and disguise so many changes in its estimated staffing and programs; and

Whereas it is impossible for this House to review the estimates without a reconciliation that presents spending for both years on the same basis, for comparison purposes to reveal these changes;

Therefore be it resolved that the Committee and Subcommittee of the Whole House on Supply should not meet until at least one day after the government presents its estimates of expenditure with the estimate and forecast for 2000-01 presented on the same basis as the estimate for 2001-02.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Dartmouth East.

RESOLUTION NO. 185

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

Whereas when the Health Minister was asked if his famous clinical footprint would cause hospital cutbacks or nurse layoffs, he replied, "I'm not going there."; and

Whereas as a result to the budget's approach to long-term care in hospitals, seniors won't be going there unless they pay $50 a day; and

Whereas when it comes to investing in a new health information system, the budget barely goes there;

Therefore be it resolved that Nova Scotians deserve more than flip phrases from their Health Minister when they are looking for real answers to the current health care crisis.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

[Page 461]

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

Is it agreed?

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable Minister of Natural Resources.

RESOLUTION NO. 186

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

Whereas small business and entrepreneurship plays a critical role in the development of economies right across this province; and

Whereas small business, by virtue of its very nature, develops skill sets in its employees and creates opportunities for employment and economic stimulus; and

Whereas the TPF Factory Outlet in Amherst has demonstrated leadership in marketing, staff development and sales and has recently been recognized by Star Choice for having the best growth in Atlantic Canada during the year 2000;

Therefore be it resolved that this House recognize owner Gerry and Carol Lirette and Sales Manager Rick Sisco on this major award and their continuing efforts to work for and within their community.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage.

[Page 462]

RESOLUTION NO. 187

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

Whereas CFB Shearwater has a long history of providing naval air support to the Maritime Fleet Atlantic, dating back to 1918 at Baker's Point; and

Whereas the Shearwater Aviation Museum has actively worked to preserve that history through photographs, refurbished aircraft and other exhibits; and

Whereas the Shearwater Aviation Museum has recently completed an expansion of its facilities to ensure more aircraft and exhibits will be preserved for future generations to learn about their important role in our past;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate the board of directors, staff and supporters of the Shearwater Aviation Museum for their dedication to preserving our history and building an excellent tool for educating generations to come.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Victoria.

RESOLUTION NO. 188

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 Cabot Trail is one of the most scenic highways in North America; and

Whereas the Cabot Trail is one of the main reasons tourists come to Cape Breton when they visit Nova Scotia; and

[Page 463]

Whereas highway sections of the Cabot Trail are in worse shape than any highway in this province;

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Finance allocate sufficient funds from last year's $250 million windfall to upgrade the Cabot Trail so that tourists can travel on the trail without the fear of causing severe damage to their vehicles.

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. 189

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 Tory Government continues its pattern of picking on those unable to defend themselves; and

Whereas the government's more tireless efforts to prove that this case is more about money than discrimination led to yesterday's Appeal Court decision to overturn the decision granting widows retroactive workers' compensation benefits; and

Whereas they will now be forced to spend more time and more money pursuing justice from the Supreme Court of Canada;

Therefore be it resolved that this government be congratulated for their lucid and hypocritical interpretations of the word fairness.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Cape Breton East.

[Page 464]

RESOLUTION NO. 190

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

Whereas the annual Vince Ryan Memorial Old Timers Hockey Tournament opened yesterday in Cape Breton and continues until Sunday; and

[10:45 a.m.]

Whereas close to 100 teams will play in nine venues throughout industrial Cape Breton, with centering activities at the beautiful Bay Plex in Glace Bay; and

Whereas this tournament helps boost the local economy;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate the organizers and participants, and wishes them our best for another successful tournament this year;

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear a No.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Halifax Fairview.

RESOLUTION NO. 191

MR. GRAHAM STEELE: Mr. Speaker, I hope the Minister of Environment and Labour will listen to this one.

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

Whereas U.S. President George W. Bush has abandoned his country's commitment to the Kyoto Accord, which is designed to fight global warming by limiting emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases; and

Whereas this abandonment . . .

[Page 465]

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. There is too much noise in the Chamber. It is really hard to hear the member reading the resolution and to hear the votes at the end. I would ask the honourable members to please pay attention to the speaker at hand.

The honourable member for Halifax Fairview, would you start over please.

MR. STEELE: Mr. Speaker, I too am surprised at the amount of noise for such an important resolution. So, I think I will start from the top again.

Whereas U.S. President George W. Bush has abandoned his country's commitment to the Kyoto Accord, which is designed to fight global warming by limiting emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases; and

Whereas this abandonment has met with outrage and condemnation from nations and concerned citizens around the world; and

Whereas Canada's Environment Minister has met the Bush announcement with a whimper, and Nova Scotia's Environment Minister has so far met the Bush announcement with silence;

Therefore be it resolved that this House directs Nova Scotia's Minister of the Environment and Labour to write U.S. President George W. Bush, urging the President to reverse his decision, and affirming Nova Scotia's commitment to the Kyoto Accord and the fight against global warming.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice. (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. There has been a request for waiver.

Is it agreed?

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, you were commenting a moment ago about the noise in the Chamber. Inadvertently we refused the request for waiver of notice on a notice of motion that was submitted by the honourable member for Cape Breton East.

MR. SPEAKER: Could we have the honourable member for Cape Breton East read the, Therefore be it resolved again. (Interruptions)

[Page 466]

MR. DAVID WILSON: Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate the organizers and participants and wish them our best for another successful Vince Ryan Memorial Old Timers Hockey Tournament this year;

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Cape Breton The Lakes.

RESOLUTION NO. 192

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

Whereas the roads in Cape Breton County are in poor shape; and

Whereas very little roadwork has been done in Cape Breton County over the past 20 months; and

Whereas yesterday's budget allocated $10 million to roadwork;

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Transportation and Public Works use a large part of that money to repair these roads which his department has neglected for far too long.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

[Page 467]

The honourable member for Halifax Chebucto.

RESOLUTION NO. 193

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

Whereas this government entered office with a claim it would be open and transparent, but at every turn since it has zipped its lip and pulled down the blackout curtain concerning, among other things, the Sysco sale fiasco; and

Whereas the Canadian Association of Journalists has nominated this government for the coveted Code of Silence Award for its "tight-lipped stance over attempts to sell Sydney Steel"; and

Whereas another nominee is from the Tory Government in Ontario, the Ontario Environment Ministry for how it botched the Walkerton water crisis;

Therefore be it resolved that this House heartily congratulate the government on keeping such good company and on its nomination, and wish it every success on the gala awards night in securing the giant padlock award.

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. 194

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

Whereas today marks the 97th day since the Health Minister began ignoring the crisis at the Strait-Richmond Hospital and he has yet to help find a doctor to cover the emergency room; and

[Page 468]

Whereas the staff, local residents and physician recruitment committee have been very patiently waiting for some sign of hope from this government, but to no avail; and

Whereas the MLA for Inverness and MLA for Guysborough-Port Hawkesbury seem ignorant to the fact that this is a health care crisis that is affecting the lives of their own constituents;

Therefore be it resolved that if the Health Minister refuses to work with the good people of Richmond, at least he could try to work with his own MLAs to begin solving this crisis which is putting lives in the Strait area at risk.

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 Timberlea-Prospect.

RESOLUTION NO. 195

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

Whereas on April 1, 1873, 277 souls perished during the sinking of the SS Atlantic in the waters off Lower Prospect; and

Whereas this tragedy and the valiant rescue efforts of local residents are remembered by students at Atlantic Memorial School each year; and

Whereas area residents have shown great initiative in the creation of the SS Atlantic Memorial Park in Terence Bay;

Therefore be it resolved that this House recognize the efforts of area residents in their continuing efforts to remember the sinking of the SS Atlantic on April 1, 1873.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

[Page 469]

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. 196

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

Whereas extra money for rural roads in yesterday's budget will not go very far in fixing up the terrible condition of roads in areas like Victoria County; and

Whereas clearing brush and fixing ditches is a far cry from new pavement which would make our roads safer; and

Whereas the budget leaves little room to fix structures like the Church Bridge, which has been lying in a river since February;

Therefore be it resolved that this budget has barely addressed the problems with rural roads and the long-term plan for roads, which was promised by this government, is long overdue.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear a No.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Halifax Atlantic.

[Page 470]

RESOLUTION NO. 197

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

Whereas Spryfield's own J.L. Ilsley Judges won the Nova Scotia School Athletic Federation Division I Hockey championship in Glace Bay on Sunday, March 25th; and

Whereas the J.L. Ilsley Judges won over the Glace Bay Panthers with a score of 7 to 6; and

Whereas David Perks of the Judges scored the winning goal at 3:12 of overtime;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate the J.L. Ilsley Judges on winning the Nova Scotia School Athletic Federation Division I hockey championship.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Dartmouth-Cole Harbour.

RESOLUTION NO. 198

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 Tory Government has devised another scheme to introduce user fees in this latest budget by charging $50 per night to patients who may be unable to leave hospital for whatever reason; and

Whereas this user fee hits the most vulnerable of our community, our senior citizens, who are already suffering and in a stressful enough position while in hospital;

[Page 471]

Whereas this Tory Government keeps trying to convince Nova Scotians that they have the well-being of its citizens at heart and the intention is to improve the quality of life in Nova Scotia;

Therefore be it resolved that the Tory Government inform the members of this House how this user fee demonstrates a commitment to health care and how this user fee contributes to helping improve the quality of life for the sick and elderly of our province.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Dartmouth North.

RESOLUTION NO. 199

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

Whereas at a cost of $1 million, the Department of Justice relocated the jail and forensic hospital from its original site in Bedford to Burnside Industrial Park; and

Whereas at a public information meeting the Minister of Justice reiterated once again that this is a good news story for the residents of Dartmouth North; and

Whereas the Halifax Regional Municipality is offering host communities of the sewage treatment plants $1 million to lessen the impact on their community;

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Justice and his department tell this Legislature what benefits Dartmouth North will receive as a host community for the jail and forensic hospital.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

[Page 472]

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable Leader of the Opposition.

RESOLUTION NO. 200

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

Whereas this government discussed expanding the curriculum at the Nova Scotia Agricultural College; and

Whereas this government neglected to state that it made funding cuts at the Nova Scotia Agricultural College that resulted in job losses to the very people who could and would teach this expanded curriculum; and

Whereas this government made sweeping financial cuts to the agricultural industry as a whole, attacking farmers with cuts to agricultural experts who were vital to the industry;

Therefore be it resolved that this government explain to rural Nova Scotia how they got it so wrong last year and are now scrambling to fix their very obvious mistakes.

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 Sackville-Cobequid.

RESOLUTION NO. 201

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

Whereas the Pictou County Zellers Midget AA girls hockey team won the provincial title with four straight wins in Middleton recently; and

[Page 473]

Whereas Jenny Ferguson won as MVP and Candace Turnbull was chosen as the top goaltender; and

Whereas since 1989 the number of female hockey players registered with the Canadian Hockey Association has grown from 7,100 in 1989 to 44,000 last year;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate a new generation of champions from Pictou County.

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. 202

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

Whereas crumbling infrastructure is one of the most visible costs of poor planning and mismanagement by past and present provincial governments; and

Whereas Nova Scotians are paying a high price for 10 years of short-sighted cuts to the budget for repair and maintenance of public schools; and

Whereas the latest Tory budget compounds this error by also cutting the budget for capital improvements at our universities;

Therefore be it resolved that the Progressive Conservatives should recognize that Nova Scotians cannot seize emerging job opportunities if the infrastructure of our education system is literally crumbling around the heads of our students.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

[Page 474]

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. 203

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 Two Rivers Wildlife Park has provided years of enjoyment for tourists and the people of the Mira area and will continue to provide hours of enjoyment because of the commitment and support of a large group of local volunteers; and

Whereas the Grade 6 class of St. Joseph Elementary School in Sydney Mines in co-operation with Tim Hortons raised $325 for the Two Rivers Wildlife Park; and

Whereas the provincial government could learn from the students of St. Joseph Elementary School;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate the students of St. Joseph School in Sydney Mines and the Tim Hortons franchises who assisted.

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 North.

[Page 475]

RESOLUTION NO. 204

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

Whereas Creighton-Gerrish Development Association for years has expressed the need for more non-profit housing; and

Whereas their persistence has paid off by having three levels of government cost share in a new housing complex; and

Whereas many residents can now look forward to living in quality housing units;

Therefore be it resolved that this Legislature congratulate the Creighton-Gerrish Development Association on a job well done.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Dartmouth-Cole Harbour.

RESOLUTION NO. 205

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 Atlantic Writing Competition is the oldest and most respected writing competition in our country today with over 300 authors from the four Atlantic Provinces competing in different categories; and

Whereas Beverly Morash of Collins Grove, Dartmouth, placed second in the short story category of this competition for The Warranty; and

[Page 476]

Whereas Beverly will receive her award on Saturday, March 31st along with other prize-winning authors;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate all the participants in the Atlantic Writing Competition, and especially Beverly Morash, for their outstanding contribution to enriching the lives of Nova Scotians through their words.

[11:00 a.m.]

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Halifax Atlantic.

RESOLUTION NO. 206

MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: 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 the community museums throughout Nova Scotia are a credit to the volunteer spirit and deep-rooted heritage of our province; and

Whereas community museums have always known how to get every last cent of value from their limited budgets, but they do require operating funds to preserve and improve their collections;

Therefore be it resolved that the House regrets the shameful decision to cut the operating funds for community museums throughout Nova Scotia and force these volunteers to waste time preparing applications to get the money back in the form of cheques delivered by Tory MLAs.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

[Page 477]

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

Is it agreed?

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Timberlea-Prospect.

RESOLUTION NO. 207

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

Whereas golfers regularly use the Prospect Road with its two golf courses and its two driving ranges; and

Whereas in golfing terminology, the ultimate is a great drive out of the rough, straight at the hole; and

Whereas the route for those golfers, the Prospect Road, is full of potholes, is far too rough and far from a great ride;

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Transportation accept a golf game appointment with the member for Timberlea-Prospect if he has an all-terrain vehicle available to get us to our destination.

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.

ORDERS OF THE DAY

GOVERNMENT BUSINESS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

[Page 478]

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

GOVERNMENT MOTIONS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Resolution No. 1

Res. No. 1, Estimates - CWH on Supply: Referred - notice given Mar. 23/01 - (Hon. N. LeBlanc)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage. You have 48 minutes.

MR. KEVIN DEVEAUX: Mr. Speaker, I want to take those 48 minutes if I can to, in a little more detail, go over some of the matters in this budget, particularly where this government says it is going and where the people of Nova Scotia want them to go, and in the end, where I think most Nova Scotians are going to come to a conclusion of where this government truly is going.

I think it is important to note that this is the third budget brought down by this Tory Regime. The first one was back in 1999 after the original Liberal budget in 1999 was defeated. Then again in 2000, last year, I think no one will forget that budget, and then this one, being the third.

This is the mid-point of their mandate and I think that is also a telling comment on exactly why we have seen this kind of budget here today. By this point in time this government should be hitting its stride. People should see the government's vision for Nova Scotia and where they expect Nova Scotia to go over the next several years and how this budget is part of that process.

In fact, we heard in the Throne Speech some very big words about self-reliance of individuals, of communities and of the province. Unfortunately, when we look at the details, those platitudes and that rhetoric is simply not the case of how this government is actually dealing with the problems of Nova Scotia.

Instead, today what we are really seeing, or what we have seen in this budget, is a government that is looking forward by looking in the rear-view mirror. Of course we all know that makes for a bumpy ride when you are driving by looking backwards. And we all know, particularly in the last two years with the Tory cuts, there are plenty of bumpy roads in Nova Scotia, given the state of our roads in the rural parts of our province.

[Page 479]

The reason for the bumpiness of the ride, with regard to this government, is quite simple, this government is reactive, not proactive. They are a government that relies on good luck, and to use a famous quote, they rely on the kindness of strangers, particularly in Ottawa, to get them out of a jam. This is a government that makes policy fit the budget, not the other way around.

That is curious, because back on November 15, 1999, the Premier spoke to the Halifax Chamber of Commerce, and in speaking to the chamber he said, "Understand that this is not about cutting government to fit a budget. That has been tried and failed. This is about setting clear priorities and determining which programs and services are required to achieve those priorities." That doesn't even bear a vague resemblance to what this government has been doing to this province in the last two years.

Like the Liberal Government before it, this government is attempting to fit health care into the budget, rather than making the budget fit the priorities of health care. That has lead to some interesting things in the last couple of years. Cancelled surgeries, we heard recently about - and I can speak personally, I have had constituents calling me about their surgeries being eliminated and cancelled - a drastic reduction in acute care beds throughout Nova Scotia, particularly rural parts of the province; seniors stuck in acute care beds, for which they are now being charged $50 a day because this province has not built a single new long-term care bed facility; and an unquestionable decrease in health services, particularly in rural Nova Scotia.

This is a government that has also treated education as a cost, not as an investment. This has lead to overcrowded classrooms, resource-poor schools. Recently, not that long ago, we heard about schools that didn't have any paper. This is unheard of in a developed country and in a province like Nova Scotia that claims to have such a commitment towards education. Special needs children are an afterthought.

That is not the type of government Nova Scotians voted for in 1999. They voted for John Hamm because he said some very specific things. He promised to fix Nova Scotia's health care problems with $40 million. Remember that quote, remember that promise? Forty million dollars will fix all our health care problems. He said he could restore stability in our health care system and provide stable funding for it. That has just become a joke, unless by stable you mean health care spending as we see this year has fallen behind the rate of inflation. John Hamm promised to fix the crisis in recruitment and retention of nurses in Nova Scotia, and that same John Hamm promised more acute care beds but told us we had to settle for less.

What have the John Hamm Tories provided over the last three budgets? I want to take you back to talk a little bit about the first two budgets. I promise you it might be a little painful, but it won't take that long. The highlights of the fall 1999 budget. First, $2.2 million taken from charitable organizations, funds destined for them. The cancellation of a program

[Page 480]

to enhance access for the disabled. It is only the government being embarrassed by that move that forced them to replace it in the year 2000. That is some first budget, and they were only getting started.

Then there was the budget of 2000. If you listen hard you can probably still hear the glass breaking. I am in a charitable mood, so I will just categorize the spring of 2000 Budget as a catastrophe, and I think that is being kind. It was a budget based on no consultation, and spending targets and revenue projections that were not even remotely based in reality. That is not that different than the lowballing of revenue that this government is doing in this budget as well.

Here are some of the highlights. Close to $100 million worth of mistakes. Yes, mistakes that included $20 million that they were off on the school budgets; $60 million off on the health care budgets; $2 million to $3 million off on the Agricultural budget, and we are seeing that mistake being covered up in this particular budget because they have had to create a new agency, the Agriculture Development Institute, to make up for gutting the production branch, and close to $10 million in user fees they failed to report in the original budget document. I can tell you, based on the Premier's own suggestions, the ferret is still tired from that budget.

So I told you it would be quick, maybe not painless, but this now leads us to the third budget, yesterday's budget. I will steal a phrase from my good friend John MacDonell in his reply to the Speech from the Throne. He said that this budget makes it clear that Tories have learned a lesson - unfortunately, the wrong one - and they have learned it is better to hide what you are really doing. The government thinks it is better to create a facade, like a Hollywood movie set. It looks good, but there is nothing behind it. There is very little, if anything, there and it is held up by sticks.

I want to go through some of the key points, and our Party took the opportunity to do a little polling just before the budget came down and found what Nova Scotians truly believe are their priorities. Investing in education, investing in health care, investing in social programs; those were their priorities. It was not reducing the deficit, it was not paying down the debt, and it was not a 10 per cent tax cut as this government seems to be promising. Let's talk about some of those priorities of Nova Scotians. They spoke about them in 1999, they spoke about them in the last year, and this poll is only the most recent example of proof of what people in Nova Scotia truly want.

Let's start with health care. We all know quality education is an important component of the future of Nova Scotia, but they have also been quite clear that health care is their number one priority. At one time John Hamm knew this as well. On June 17, 1999 - remember back then, Mr. Speaker, you were probably in the House - in response to the then Liberal budget, before it was defeated - it might have been that day - he said he believed, as

[Page 481]

do all Nova Scotians, that health care must be the number one priority of government, and it continues to be his and that of his caucus and it shall remain so.

This government and this Premier have abandoned health care as a priority and I will let the facts of this budget speak for themselves. Let's start with the biggest ruse of them all, that this budget represents a real investment in accessible health care for Nova Scotians. That is what this government wants us to believe, that this is a real investment in health care. There are several problems to that assertion, though. Most of the new money that this government claims to be spending on health care is flowing through from federal dollars. Remember back in September of last year when the Premiers all got together with the Prime Minister, they had a lovely dinner, I'm sure, and decided to make some decisions with regard to the future of health care.

There were some particular provinces that had the foresight and - yes, here is this word again - they were proactive and they were attempting to ensure that through this negotiation process they got more money for health care that was tied to specific initiatives. Nova Scotia was not one of them, they were just along for the ride, but the money we see invested in this budget in information technology, in children, in health, generally is money that the federal government has handed to this province and told them that you must spend it on health care. The government has turned around and written a cheque that they had no other choice but to make; I assure you that if this government had a choice about spending that money somewhere else, they probably would have.

The initiative for children is all federal money, no provincial money. That does not show much vision or much desire to actually invest in children, when you can't even scrape up a few dollars of our own but instead just take federal money and transfer it. The medical equipment is money from the federal government. This government would not have made a single investment if it were not for that federal health accord, September 11, 2000. That is a sad but true fact.

This budget is also providing false hope. The money earmarked for health care is not only modest, to say the least, but it does not even address the needs of Nova Scotians. This government has increased spending on health care by $68 million, which amounts to about 3.9 per cent. This barely returns us to where we were when the Tories took office. It represents, on average, a 1.5 per cent increase in health care spending over the last two years, well below the rate of inflation. So we are not even keeping up in real terms with the cost of health care. The spending in the last two years, $1.76 billion in 1999-2000 and $1.82 billion in 2001-02 represents a 2.9 per cent increase over two years. As I said, that represents a 1.5 per cent increase per year; not keeping pace with inflation.

[Page 482]

[11:15 a.m.]

I might call that taking one step forward and two steps back. But, quite honestly, what this government is really doing is continuing to backslide while trying to tell people they are actually moving forward. Using a term from my youth, Mr. Speaker, it is sort of like a budgetary moonwalking that this government is doing, trying to make it look like they are moving forward when, in fact, all they are doing is continuing to put Nova Scotia and our health care system and the people who depend on it further and further behind.

Let's contrast that with some of our other sister provinces. Newfoundland recently tabled its budget and its health care spending went up 8 per cent, more than twice as much as this province has done. New Brunswick increased its spending by 5.1 per cent this year, and it is up 11.2 per cent over the last two years. Now, luckily for this government, Mr. Speaker, we still have P.E.I. Last night P.E.I. tabled its budget and it has not moved ahead of Nova Scotia with regard to health care spending. So, let's all have a round of applause for Nova Scotia, where you have the second lowest health care spending of any province in this country. That's a shame.

A couple of other points I want to make around health care in this budget. It will not create one single new long-term care or acute care bed in Nova Scotia. What happened to the promise of more long-term care beds that this government promised in 1999? I think we all know the answer to that. I was just outside listening to the Premier being scrummed by the media and he talks about happy times will be here some day and we will all have to live through this to get there. Well, the sad fact is that seniors who possibly have to be sent to long-term care facilities have nowhere to go. This government is not giving them any reason to feel that happy days will ever be here. Investing starts now if we are going to have a payoff in 2 or 5 or 10 years and this government isn't even beginning to provide the investment that Nova Scotians so desperately need and want in health care. There are a lot of seniors out there who are scared. Pharmacare costs last year, acute care costs for beds at $50 a day this year; God only knows what it will be next year, Mr. Speaker, and the year after.

Also with regard to health care, this government has not, in this budget, created one new nursing position in acute care or long-term care facilities. Now, the Budget Address that the Minister of Finance provided did talk about the 100 positions transferring them from casual to full-time, but that is last year's promise. There are no new positions being created. On top of that, when they did create 100 full-time positions last year, there were still no new positions created. They were just transferring casual to full-time.

Just a couple of other facts. Registered nurses in Nova Scotia are the lowest paid in Canada. LPNs - the member for Dartmouth South may remember meeting a few of them a few months ago; I think that was the second apology he had to make, I can't remember, I have lost track of them, but anyway - licensed practical nurses are the third lowest paid LPNs in Canada.

[Page 483]

Just to give you a sense of what is happening with the nurses who graduated in 1998 in Nova Scotia before this government got in: 58 of them stayed in Nova Scotia; 54 of them are still in nursing; but 60 per cent of those nurses are still working casual positions. It does not give them much hope of wanting to stay here, particularly when they see provinces like Alberta getting major increases in funding; Texas, other places. Why should they stay? Why isn't this government giving them any reason to believe, in the short or long-term, they have any hope of finding good full-time work so they can stay here, raise their families and continue to be proud Nova Scotians?

What has the government done in response to these particular problems? They have increased the district health authorities' budgets by 1 per cent. Inflation is going to go up almost 3 per cent in the next year, Mr. Speaker. That is one-third of the inflation rate. They have put $19 million into funding long-term care facilities without creating a single new bed and then are levying a $50 fee on seniors because there are no beds for them to go to, ironically. They are providing less than a $1 million commitment to smoking cessation programs. Nova Scotia has the highest rate of smoking in the country at 30 per cent and our teens, 36 per cent, and this government is doing nothing but putting a few drops in the bucket of addressing smoking cessation.

Mr. Speaker, $500,000 has been provided for mental health services for youth. I would be the first one to tell you, and I have talked to constituents about this, we are in desperate need of mental health services for youth. So I applaud anything that is provided, but at the same time this will maintain our status well below the national average, and represents an increase of only $2.92 per child for a per-capita total of $32.92 per child for mental health. The government has failed to take health care seriously, whether through the imposition of new user fees, failing to address the need of more long-term and acute-care beds, or by failing to put resources into recruitment and retention, adequate resources. They have also failed Nova Scotians by failing to make long overdue investment in diagnostic and other technical equipment. Finally, they have failed Nova Scotians by refusing to provide the district health authorities with that stable, adequate and predictable funding that they so much promised back in 1999.

Let's talk a little bit about education, Mr. Speaker. On many occasions in the past few years this government has affirmed its commitment to lifelong learning. Well, if that is not rhetoric, if those are not buzzwords, then this government has to do more than just reaffirm its commitment through resolutions in this House and speeches. They have made many statements about the need to ensure the quality of our education and that it is responsive to the needs of students. This budget certainly fails on that score.

Let's talk about how public education will be impacted by this budget. A $13 million increase in spending again, better than last year, if everything is relative, but at the same time that is only a 2 per cent increase in funding. Inflation is going up 2.7 per cent. That means this government is not even keeping up with inflation and that means that the school boards

[Page 484]

are going to have to do the heavy lifting. They are going to have to make cuts in real terms in order to address the budget shortfall.

That is what the government wants, Mr. Speaker, whether it is the district health authorities in health, or the school boards in education, this government puts out a budget with ticking time bombs and then it is hoping over the summer, when no one is paying attention, that the health authorities and the school boards are going to make the tough decision. Well, here is the problem. They are going to have to go back to the polls in a year or two, and when they go back people are going to ask themselves, is my health care system better than it was, is my child getting a better education? That is the litmus test of a government, and I can assure you that the people of Nova Scotia are going to judge this government accordingly.

The honourable member for Pictou West seems to believe that the health care system is better. Obviously, she has not been going to the hospital in Pictou, the Sutherland-Harris Memorial, because I think if she did she might actually have a better understanding of exactly what the health care system is going through.

Education, Mr. Speaker, is something else that is also in desperate need. Now, again, maybe the honourable member for Pictou - I think in a few hours actually there will be people from her riding showing up to complain about the new mega schools in Pictou County which I believe the Premier, when he was in Opposition, complained about, saying I don't want these mega schools. Now we have people coming up here by bus in a couple of hours to complain about these schools and I hope the member for Pictou West is around to listen to their concerns about education and does not hoof it back to River John before they have a chance to talk to her.

Mr. Speaker, this is continuing a pattern of limiting school board's ability to deal with chronic problems that are now reaching crisis proportions. Crumbling building, sick schools, decrepit classrooms. For the past 10 years, boards have been told to hold off on providing the maintenance necessary to ensure our schools are a safe and healthy place for our children.

And on top of that, one-third of the schools in Nova Scotia have been deemed sick buildings. Do the members of this government actually believe that the $95 million in capital investment - which I would work out to maybe about four or five schools - will actually help address the fact that one-third of our schools need major renovations, or maybe, in the case of Halifax West High School or other schools, need to actually be torn down and new ones built?

Perhaps they should take their Cabinet road show on the road and go to some of these schools and see exactly how bad it is. Or maybe they should just turn around - the Cabinet members - and listen to their backbenchers. I hope those backbenchers are coming forward with the stories of the schools in their area because they are in bad shape. This government

[Page 485]

has refused to acknowledge the pressing capital expenditures needed to ensure children are educated in a safe and healthy environment.

This is not just a plea to bring back P3 because we did not believe that was the answer either. But there clearly needs to be a fiscally responsible way of investing capital into our schools so that we can maintain the services. Just maintain the infrastructures that our children need.

This government has provided $3 million for children with special needs. This falls more than $30 million short of what is required to even begin to address the needs of special needs children in Nova Scotia; $100,000 for the code of conduct is nowhere near enough to fulfill its objectives. That amount will barely keep the Tory backbench under control with regard to code of conduct and $900,000 for an active reader's program. This does not even address the real problems. Teachers believe it is just a gimmick, not a useful way of dealing with classroom resources.

Let's talk about post-secondary education - $5 million more for universities. In January of this year, the President of Dalhousie University, Tom Traves, said Nova Scotia universities need $10 million just to prevent further cuts. This government is considering a ludicrous designation plan that would prevent many students from getting the student loans they need at a reasonable rate at many of the universities and community colleges in Nova Scotia; the government that cut the loan remission program last spring which delivered $10 million in debt relief to Nova Scotians.

Finally, two months ago, in response to that whole schemozzle, the Minister of Education acknowledged, we are the only province in Canada that does not either provide a bursary system or a loan remission type of system. That is a shame. Again, if this Premier is serious about the words of the last election, is serious about dealing with the future prosperity of Nova Scotians. He knows full well we need a post-secondary education system that is able to work and is accessible to all Nova Scotians. We never had that and it is only getting worse under this Tory Government.

When things like this are brought to the attention of the government, I wonder if the Minister of Education or the Premier will continue to say that this amount of money is adequate for the needs of the students and repair the damage they have done to university and colleges over the last few years.

One final note, recently many of us in this House have heard from the professors and from the staff and even the universities a cry for help with regard to the infrastructure - it is crumbling. This government has not put one red cent into capital expenditures to help prop up and help ensure the infrastructure of our universities and community colleges is actually safe and healthy. Government addressed the Civil Service in this budget.

[Page 486]

Mr. Speaker - if I could just ask how much time do I have left?

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. The honourable member has until 11:51 a.m.

MR. DEVEAUX: Okay, thank you.

I would like to talk for a minute about the Civil Service. Many civil servants - as we heard yesterday - were relieved this budget did not create massive cuts like the last one. The government has created, through its fear-mongering, a relative sense of relief in the Civil Service because they have only cut, I think in this case, 83 jobs. This goes right to the kind of working conditions created for public servants. They threatened civil servants with execution but instead sentenced them to hard labour and they are supposed to be pleased with that.

The Public Service wants a sense of vision from this government, like all Nova Scotians do, and they want the chance to serve the public well. This government continued the goal of reducing the size of the Civil Service for no other reason than an ideological predisposition which will impoverish our province in the long term.

[11:30 a.m.]

Penny-wise and pound foolish is a term that many of us have used and it fits this government so well. You are so worried about the short-term costs that you are forgetting about the long-term goals of actually trying to ensure our province can be prosperous and our government can have the resources it needs. It is quite simple. This government is not fiscally disciplined; we support fiscal discipline because it helps ensure that we have a balanced budget while at the same time focusing on the priorities of Nova Scotians. This government is fiscally obsessed. It is about balancing the books at any cost and that is exactly what this Premier said he was against in 1999.

I want to talk about transportation. Many of the backbenchers gave such rousing applause when they heard there was $11 million more for transportation and roads. They are going to get in their cars, drive back on those bumpy roads, go home this weekend, they are going to go down to the Legion or they are going to go to the local bean dinner and they are going to tell their local people, I got you more money for roads. Who cares about health care, who cares about education but I got you more money for roads.

Well, let's put it in perspective, $11 million. I actually thought the heavyweight Minister of Transportation and Public Works would actually be able to get a little more money for roads than he did but let's put this in perspective. An $11 million increase in highway budget, $5 million of that is a phantom pool of money for Highway No. 101 which is just like all the press releases the Minister of Transportation and Public Works is constantly putting out, press releases saying, oh, we are doing work on Highway No. 101, don't worry,

[Page 487]

work on Highway No. 101. Anyway, the $5 million goes in a pool until the federal government comes forward with its money which, I agree, it is a priority of Nova Scotians. It is something that must be addressed and I hope we are able to do that but $11 million for highways.

By my count, this government is setting itself an ambitious agenda of paving a full six kilometres of the 100-Series Highway at $5 million, not much. Just so you can go back with the facts, that means that all you backbenchers from rural Nova Scotia can go home and tell your constituents that with the money left over, you are going to be able to pave 194 metres of roads in your own constituency with the increased funds that this Minister of Finance has provided for you. That won't even get you down to the end of the street, 194 metres. It is a shame. Nova Scotians know how bad the roads are in this province and this government has done nothing to address them.

Now let's go back to the promise that this government made in its blue book, that famous blue book. The Tory Government promised that in its second year it would put all the taxes from the motive fuel and motor vehicle fees into paying for highway construction and maintenance.

AN HON. MEMBER: No, it didn't.

MR. DEVEAUX: It is right there on Page 26 of the book. Now according to this year's spending estimates, the Transportation and Public Works Department will spend approximately $156 million on maintaining and building roads in Nova Scotia. However, it is going to take in $278 million from the motive fuel tax and motor vehicle fees. That is a difference of $122 million. The Minister of Transportation and Public Works and the Minister of Finance, you are not even close to the promise you made. Nova Scotian roads are deteriorating. People in Nova Scotia are telling us on a daily basis that you had promised there would be a lot more money and all you have done again, like you did with health care, like you did with education, is put a couple of drops (Interruption)

Mr. Speaker, what I really find galling - it was in the Budget Address and I heard the Minister of Finance today on a local radio station talking about this as well - he was complaining about the fact that the federal government was taking in all excise tax and not spending enough on roads. This government is doing the exact same thing. It promised in 1999 that by this year it would be taking all the tax revenue and all the motor vehicle fees and put it into roads, maintenance and construction. One hundred and twenty-two million dollars short, well, the Minister of Transportation, when he goes back to Hants West this weekend, I hope he is able to explain to them why that promise was broken.

I want to talk a bit about the revenue projections of this government because, like the Auditor General has said, they are a bit of fiction. I don't know if those are his exact words, but he is clearly concerned about this government's revenue projections. He said it last year,

[Page 488]

and considering this government has done nothing to change its ways, I would be surprised if he doesn't say it again in the coming report.

Last year the budget numbers were low-balled, that is my term. It was done in order to make the deficit picture look worse than it really was. Why would someone make the deficit picture look worse than it really was? Because this government has an ideological agenda that wants to ensure it can make cuts to essential services. I can't say I am pleased to see that the same theme is alive and well in this year's budget.

Last year they underestimated revenue by $250 million. There was a 3 per cent growth in the GDP in the year 2000-01, which produced 7 per cent revenue growth. Economic growth is projected to be 2.3 per cent this year, a number that I have said publicly is a sound number. That is only a 23 per cent drop in GDP. Revenue growth in Nova Scotia is expected to only be 1.8 per cent for personal income taxes. That is a drop of 74 per cent. If you can put the two of them together, you can see that if it continues to drop at the same rate as economic growth, if personal income tax revenue continues to grow at the same rate that the economy is growing and not at the rate that this government seems to be doing, there would be a 5 per cent increase in personal income tax revenue, an extra $100 million in our own sources of revenue. What do you know? That is a balanced budget.

But this government doesn't want to do that, because then people would start, like we showed in the poll, saying where is our money for health care, where is our investment in the things we so cherish about Nova Scotia.

While we are on the topic of revenue projections, let's take a look at a couple of specific areas that I particularly enjoyed in this year's budget. CHST, Canada Health and Social Transfer from the federal government. This province is forecasting $560 million to be received from the federal government. The federal government's own Web site says $586 million. That means an extra $26 million in revenue right there.

My personal favourite, with regard to low-balling revenue projections, on Page A8 of the Budget Address, it is very Orwellian in language. It is in the second paragraph. It says, with regard to Sable gas and revenue projections, "Given the introduction of this new industry . . ." meaning Sable and the offshore oil ". . . into the provincial economy, there is a potential upside risk on the economic assumptions related to exports and to corporate profits." Upside risk, isn't that a lovely term. If I don't miss my guess, upside risk on the economic assumptions means that there is a good chance the revenue assumptions are being low-balled by this government, and that this government is going to bring in more money from royalties from Sable than they are willing to admit in their own budget.

Maybe this Premier and this government feels Nova Scotians can't handle the truth, but I tell you what is really the problem is they don't want to admit they have more money than they do, because they are afraid they won't be able to clearly rationalize the cuts they

[Page 489]

are making in Nova Scotia. We already know, last year $250 million more in revenue than they actually forecasted in the budget of 2000. They are doing the same this year, all because if they have to show that they have that money, it is a lot harder for them to explain why they are doing the cuts that Nova Scotians so desperately do not want to see any more of.

Mr. Speaker, in conclusion I want to just talk about a couple of points, all of which leads me to what I know you will be happy to hear, my conclusion. What we in the Official Opposition were looking for in this budget was simple; keep the promises that you made to Nova Scotians in 1999 - and that you have been breaking ever since - because you know it is what Nova Scotians want. None of the folks opposite have talked with real Nova Scotians recently. So let me tell you what we have been hearing because we really enjoy talking to real Nova Scotians and they should try it.

Maybe when you go back this weekend and start talking about roads you will start to be able to really tell them exactly how much you are going to be spending. How many new nurses are going to be in their hospitals; that persistent cough that their son or daughter has because the school is old and mouldy, whether or not that is going to be addressed; whether or not that long wait they have had for the surgery or the MRI is going to be addressed; whether or not there will be the doctor they have been waiting to come to their community, or they have heard that their other doctor is leaving and they are hoping there is another one; whether there is any money to really help bring new doctors into this community. Maybe if you sit down and have a real conversation with them you can explain to them that there is no real money, there is no new money for those things.

That is what Nova Scotians are going to be judging you on. They may not judge Neil LeBlanc on that, they may not judge Ron Russell on that, they may not judge Premier Hamm on that, because they are Cabinet Ministers and they may be able to obfuscate things with other promises. When you are a backbencher and you do not have a lot of time to talk on the record and you do not have a lot of opportunities to voice your concerns publicly as to what your government is doing, your only time to do it is when you go back to the polls. This, as I said when I started this speech, was the middle mandate. This was the third budget from this government, this is the middle of your mandate. This was your opportunity to begin to transition from what were very harsh budgets to potential budgets that will show Nova Scotians that you truly are ready to invest in health care and education.

In real terms this government is still cutting. It is not providing the services Nova Scotians want. You can pour over numbers all you want, but Nova Scotians know: that waiting lists have not gotten any shorter; there are no doctors still in their communities; there are still no new nursing positions; their mom or dad is going to have to pay $50 to stay in an acute care hospital because there are no new long-term care beds; that their children's school is still not very safe or healthy; that their classes are still overcrowded; that their child with special needs is still not going to get the services that they need. That is what they will judge

[Page 490]

you on in the next election. That is what these members across the way must remember, Mr. Speaker.

This government has to make genuine efforts to provide health care that is available when Nova Scotians need it. They have to make genuine efforts to provide quality education for Nova Scotian children. They have to make genuine efforts to attract new and expanded industries to bring jobs to Nova Scotia.

One last point. I do not believe that Cape Breton was mentioned once in this budget and that is a shame. Cape Breton that has suffered so much. Cape Breton that is still suffering. Cape Breton that in the last year this government closed one of its major industries, Sysco. This government did not mention Cape Breton once and that is a problem and that is a shame. It really and truly shows this government's true agenda and its commitment to all Nova Scotians.

This budget does not do any of the things I have mentioned or talked about. It may pretend to do them, but sadly it does not. We know it. We are talking to average Nova Scotians. We will continue to talk to them and explain to them what they can expect from this government. I would hope that you would begin to talk to them as well because it is about time you started doing what you said you would do in 1999. Start investing in health care, investing in education, in a way that will ensure prosperity for all Nova Scotians. You have not done it and we are still waiting. Thank you Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Just before I recognize the honourable member for Lunenburg West, I would like to advise all honourable members that it is a custom in the House that no member should refer to another member by name. Members should be referred to in the third person as "the honourable member for", so I caution all honourable members and I would invite them to keep that in mind in future debates.

The honourable member for Lunenburg West.

[11:45 a.m.]

MR. DONALD DOWNE: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to stand here today to give my remarks on behalf of our Liberal caucus in regard to the budget that was presented yesterday.

What is remarkable about this budget is it could be presented as a case study for bad management, it could be a case study for mismanagement, and it could be a case study for a government that does not have any management plan in place.

I remember the comments by the members opposite some 593 days ago, when they stood in this House and they talked about building self-reliance. I remember this Conservative Government that stood in this House and spoke about their fiscal plan and how

[Page 491]

they were going to lead this province forward in a balanced approach, but more importantly an approach that will put our fiscal house in order. I remember in 1999 when the Premier stated that they will be a government that will not only put their house in order in probably two years, maybe three but will also be a government that will not grow the debt.

Not grow the debt. This so called self-reliant group; this body that said we are the champions. We are the fiscally responsible group; we have the backbone to stand up to the challenges and the concerns of the backbenchers; we will do what is right for this province. Ah, what 593 days does to a government with no backbone, no spine, no determination in the vision and direction that they said they had.

What an example of a Minister of Finance who does not have a business plan, does not have a direction and a focus or, if he did, he obviously lost it by the Premier calling a number that is different than what he wanted. This is a government that had a remarkable opportunity to make their job so much easier than any other government of late. They had a choice, but when they came to power, since they have been in power, some 593 days ago - a little over a year ago - they had a windfall of additional revenue from Ottawa and the private sector in the province in excess of $0.5 billion; that is $512 million of new money and revenue to this government.

Now any so-called fiscally responsible, strong, self-reliant government would have parlayed that $512 million, almost $0.5 billion of new revenue, into all sorts of opportunities for paying down debt and balancing the budget. Instead, what did we see from this government, this government that has no plan and no direction?

We saw a government that turned around and in fact increased the debt of the Province of Nova Scotia to the tune of $1.3 billion. In other words, this government spent $3.5 million a day more than they took in for some 593 days, and at the same time they received $0.5 billion more than they ever thought they'd ever receive. I say shame on this government, shame on this Premier, and shame on the Minister of Finance.

This is the same government that says they do not want to add burden to our children; this is the government that has done nothing but add burden to our children. Now, I am not going to take the same tack as my colleagues to my right - although they are really far left - they say one minute they are going to criticize the government for not managing the affairs of state properly, and this Minister of Finance has gotten off the hook for so long not being blamed for this mismanagement, they've taken that tack and then they go along and talk about spending more money. Then they are saying they should have done more of this, so that they are sucking and blowing at the same time. I won't take that direction.

I will take a direction where the Minister of Finance could have made strategic investments that would have been paying him dividends today, all Nova Scotians dividends today, and I will bring those to the forefront. I will also bring to the forefront where this

[Page 492]

Minister of Finance has made some poor decisions. Whether it is the poor Minister of Finance and his inability to manage or the fact that his backbenchers or the Premier or his Cabinet colleagues got weak-kneed, or was it simply because this government is not unlike the John Buchanan Government that governed by polls, governed by the good feelings of the day without any kind of direction or management, by the feelings of the day and the polling of the day, I may suggest this is really what we are seeing in this particular budget.

I would say that we should not make the mistake of picking on the minister too fast because the last time they did that in a scrum, he got kind of sensitive, a little upset, got a little exercised and he went after the reporter a little bit. It is unlike a Minister of Finance to get so exercised, but he did and I think his comments were that he didn't want to talk about the past. He did not want to talk about the time when he was in government with Buchanan and the debt that was there. (Interruption) Actually, seeing as the question was asked, I will answer while I am here, Mr. Speaker.

This Minister of Finance has increased the debt of the Province of Nova Scotia by $1.3 billion since they have been in power. When we took over in 1993 the operating deficit after the Buchanan-LeBlanc era was about $1.3 billion for one year, so he is consistent on that. I can understand why the minister says he doesn't want to talk about the past, I understand why. I will focus my attention today on the present and why this minister should have been focusing more of his attention on the present as well.

May I suggest to him that he may start concentrating on where we are headed in this province because this minister has mismanaged phenomenal amounts of additional revenue. Gosh, I would have loved to have had $0.5 billion extra revenue when we were in power. Can you imagine, $0.5 billion additional revenue in less than two years - a year and a couple of months - $0.5 billion extra revenue you received and what did you do with it? Squandered it away in a normal Tory mismanagement approach. I would say this budget is about the fact that this government lost its nerve and its resolve to deal with the issues.

I note that the Deputy Speaker - and I don't know if I am out of order here - will be speaking tomorrow with the Canadian Alliance Party. I don't know how he is going to speak to that group of people when he can stand up there and say, yes, our Conservative Government bent. Our resolve to go forward has weakened and our government has come down to the point where we are back to the days of the Buchananites. We are ready to spend, ladies and gentlemen, we are back to the trough, we are back to the disorder, we are back to the abuse, we are going back to where we wanted to be and that is down the hole in the Province of Nova Scotia.

MR. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order, please. I think the honourable member will be afforded a lot of latitude and leeway by the Speaker, but I fail to see what the Canadian Alliance Party has to do with this debate.

[Page 493]

MR. DOWNE: I am just wondering, Mr. Deputy Speaker, how you are going to give the speech tomorrow that they lost their nerve.

I will say I believe what this government has clearly done is that they sat back and when they realized that the prior year adjustment numbers came in, some $60 million, $70 million net benefit, the $177 million that Paul Martin sent your way, all within the last number of months, this government said, we have about $0.25 billion more this year than we ever expected to have, a windfall. What are we going to do with it? Well, I think what they did is they said, let's go and poll Nova Scotians; that is how we should govern. Month after month we will poll Nova Scotians. Then they did the poll and then they said we should talk to our caucus. Then the backbenchers are saying, hey, minister, hey, Premier, we want this job back again so we should just simply spend more money to make it happen.

Instead of this Cabinet, this front bench and this Premier saying, listen, we are not going to cave in, we are going to follow our mandate and if we happen to win a windfall of profit here, instead of squandering it we are going to move our agenda further, faster and better. No, instead of that, they backed up and they bent. They talk a good talk.

When they came to power I listened with interest to the Premier and the Minister of Finance speak but, boy, I tell you, what 593 days will do to a Premier and to a Minister of Finance especially who does not have the backbone, the vision, the direction or the commitment that they had before. Only two months ago our Minister of Finance was saying the sky is falling. Only two months ago the Minister of Finance, who, by the way, was the mastermind of the last budget and the budget before to some degree, but their last budget specifically, said that they were going to stay to the course. They made everybody go through a lot of cuts and everything else and said, we are not going to change and deviate. That is the minister who gave the Department of Health its budget. He is responsible for that budget and he was responsible for the Department of Education's budget, only to find out later $25 million was poured back in. That same minister was saying, you know, the world is coming to an end. We are in serious trouble.

AN HON. MEMBER: Chicken little.

MR. DOWNE: Chicken little is the term that was used. Well, today, that same minister (Interruption) Yes, I will be sensitive about chickens, but the same day, the same time, two months later this minister is saying, oh, well, our good friends from Ottawa, the good Liberal Government, the John Chretien Government, that Paul Martin, my big brother in finance, bailed me out so I can say now is the time we can spend some money. I can tell you this government is a sad commentary on its own direction.

The other side of this story is that when they had all this additional money what did they do? They said we are making strategic investments. I would like to ask how many seniors who are sick and going to a hospital, and because of the fact there are no long-term

[Page 494]

beds, or any kind of facilities outside of hospital to look after these seniors, they are going to be nailed $50 a day, each and every day they are in there.

Now, where is the strategic investment when you talk about seniors in the Province of Nova Scotia, Mr. Speaker? Shame, shame on that Premier, but more importantly, shame on that Minister of Finance who has said to all seniors in this province that if you are sick and you might not be chronically sick, you know, to be in the hospital, but you have no place to go, that is too bad for you; nobody to look after you, tough luck, we are going to take $50 out of you each and every day that you are there. Shame on that Minister of Finance. Can you believe it? Rather than trying to accommodate and give some dignity to our seniors and treat them with dignity, what do we do? We are slapping them. We are telling them that it is their fault. This Minister of Finance is saying to the seniors, it is your fault you are not well; it is your fault you have no place to go; it is your fault you cannot find a location that will look after you so, seeing how it is your fault as a senior, we will charge you $50 a day to fix that problem.

I tell you, where is the compassion of this Minister of Finance. He is the one who has all this money. It is just like walking down a street with millions of dollars, in fact $249 million, coming out of his pockets as he is spreading it around the province. (Interruption)

I think if this Minister of Finance had made strategic investments in the beginning he would have been able to have even more money to invest seniors and other areas if he had been smart. I will give you one example. This government has this blue book fixation. They have to have a check mark by all this blue book no matter what. Let's take a look at the fact that we have gone now from four boards to nine regional health districts. Anybody who can add will realize that if you have four sets of staff and you are going to go to nine sets of staff, you are going to increase the cost of administration. Instead of four CFOs and CEOs, you are going to have nine CFOs and CEOs. This is that Minister of Finance who says that is the prudent way to go to spend more money on senior staff. Quite frankly, I think most Nova Scotians are looking for people on the front line; they are looking for nurses; they are looking for specialists; they are looking for doctors; they are looking for the ability to look after seniors; they are looking at investments in strategic areas that they should have made.

[12:00 p.m.]

Instead, what we have is a government that is so fixated on meeting that checklist in the blue book, no matter how wrong it was, that is what they are going to do. I can tell you, seniors in the Province of Nova Scotia today will be paying for it to the tune of $50 a day, staying in a hospital because there is no location for them to go to.

Another area that I think was a concern to a lot of university students in the Province of Nova Scotia, and we heard it time and time again, that is the whole issue of the Loan Remission Program. I believe we are the only jurisdiction in this country that does not have

[Page 495]

a program of some sort for our university students. We talk about education as a lifelong learning effort. I applaud them for saying education is a priority. I applaud them for that, I agree with that. My gosh, here we have university students who are in situations, and we are going to say to them, tough luck. It is interesting.

Are we starting to get a picture of this government now? You are a senior, you are sick, you have no place to go, we are going to hit you with $50 a day. You are a student coming out of university, you are trying to find a job, you cannot find a job because of whatever, maybe you are in Cape Breton - by the way, this budget has nothing in it for Cape Breton that is going through an unbelievable deterioration of economic opportunity - those students and those university graduates, they are bright, articulate, strong, willing, hardworking individuals are saying, gosh, we can't seem to find a job today. What does this government do? Tough luck, we are going to take it out of you one way or the other.

Are you getting a picture of this government? If you are a senior, you have problems, you are going to get hit. If you are a young person, you believed what they said, you advanced your education, you can't find a job, you are going to get hit. This is a government with a lot of compassion. This is a government that talks about doing what is right. Well, they are not doing what is right, they are doing what the polls tell them to do on the broader issues. They have no real plan and no direction.

The minister talks about, well, we had a plan, we laid it all out. Well, in that plan, it didn't show they were going to get a windfall of $0.25 billion this last year. They didn't have in their plan that out of the graces of the economy of the Province of Nova Scotia, the tax revenue from the workers of this province, and by his big brother, Paul Martin, the federal Minister of Finance, the Liberal Government, under John Chretien, $177 million. Instead of saying this is new money coming into us, this $249 million, they just let it go away.

Yet, we have a Premier with a tin cup, walking around Ottawa saying, give me more money. Bring this approach to Ottawa, give me more money, don't ask me how I want to do it, but just give me more money and I will find a place to spend it. It is pretty obvious here today, they don't want to put their fiscal house in order, they just want to do all sorts of things, whatever the polls tell them and the backbenchers tell them. I blame the Minister of Finance for misleading the Premier and not giving him any kind of direction and any kind of focus to go to Ottawa with. He sends him up so he looks foolish. He sets him up so he looks foolish. Maybe he wants a job later on, I don't know. (Interruptions)

The government is also saying we are moving in another direction, we have changed directions, that is right. All those things we said before to Nova Scotians in the election, they are not really real. We are going to change direction and we are going to move into another area. They are trying to set this facade up, and this facade is saying that we are going to spend more money. I note that my colleague to my right is saying, well, you do more and more. The bottom line is they are saying, we are going to give $2.2 million extra to Agriculture, as an

[Page 496]

example, under the ADI. You have to remember that last year they took $4.5 million out of the budget, they fired 100 people, let them go, they shut down a division in the department that they now realize is so important to this province. Now they are mentioning $2.2 million, well, that $2.2 million, if I recall correctly, is the same $2.2 million that the Minister of Agriculture stated will be in the budget for the next three years.

So what did the Minster of Finance do? He re-announced what was already announced last year as if it is more money going into this project. Interesting little façade. After nearly gutting the education system, the minister says we are going to put 2 per cent more into the budget. The 2 per cent more might cover the energy costs of those particular boards, but is that really any more money? I do not know. I talked to the teachers and they are saying it is standstill at best. But yet, they want everybody to think that they are this moderate-spending government. The reality is they do not have a plan on the fiscal side and they do not have a plan on the spending side. They are a government that is just trying to set this image. It is like scratch and sniff. We will be scratching and sniffing during the budget estimates when we start going through budget by budget exactly what this government is doing.

The Premier talks about ferreting it out. It is more like scratch and sniff and that smell might not be all as pretty as everybody wanted it to be. The devil will be in the details and I am sure that we will see that. If this government had a vision to tackle the debt with a $512 million windfall since they have been in power, money for education and money for health would have been there. They could have balanced their budget by now, they could have put their house in order and they could have been going forward. Instead they have a government that is out of control.

I asked the question and I will be asking the minister later - debt servicing costs sucked up $70 million. Where was this? What was that all about Mr. Minister of Finance? And why? Because this government did not deal with the debt, they let the debt grow to the tune of $1.3 billion since they have been in power; a growth of approximately $3.5 million a day. Each and every single day that they have been in power, some 593 days, they have been allowing it to grow.

If there is not enough money in education, I think what we need to do - and let there be no mistake in this House - we should blame the Minister of Finance because his inability to make strategic proper investments in fiscal management decisions when they took over some 593 days ago and nobody else should have that blame but the Minister of Finance.

Ottawa gave this government this past year some $177 million more than what they anticipated. The Atlantic Provinces Economic Council of Ottawa will be giving these individuals - and they are talking about different monies - some $636 million over the next five years for additional money that will be coming in through CHST funding.

[Page 497]

How much more money does this government want to have? How much more money does this government want to have from Ottawa when they talk about not enough money? We all want more money, but generally you try to make sure where the more money goes is for very strategic and very principled and very focused visions and plans. Not ones that change every other day because the polls say so.

Or the backbenchers - I mean they have so much trouble in that backbench back there. This backbench back there I never thought had a lot of power, but they have power. They have been able to get this Minister of Finance to change his focus. They have been able to get this Premier to change his focus. You know why? They are scared. They are scared to go back home, they are scared to talk to their people because they did not sell what they wanted to do in the beginning. They said health care would be fixed for $46 million. A couple of cuts in administration and we are back, we are happy and everything is fine. We don't have to worry about not meeting our health requirements - $46 million. That was the same Minister of Finance today that was on the campaign trail feeding that information to the Premier, that was saying $46 million to fix the problem.

Now, either the Premier did not know what he was talking about or the Minister of Finance did not advise the Premier properly about what is going on in the province, or neither one of them understood the reality of the problem. But, you know what? We have a Minister of Health over there trying to figure it out and he has been there for 593 days, probably another three or four years from now - well, they will not last that long, but whatever period of time they will be in power this term - he might try to figure it out. But I know deep down inside he knows that those guys made a big mistake by misleading Nova Scotians on the $46 million fix-up and this problem will go away.

They say, Ottawa, give us more money and yet in this budget I haven't seen any real long-term strategic plans of economic growth. You know, we are talking about the economy in North America going sideways. We're talking about the economy in Ontario; the Minister of Finance in Ontario is concerned about what is happening economically south of the border and how much that is going to impact on their economy in Ontario. This Minister of Finance is saying, well, you know we're resilient, we're going to bounce. Exports are down, manufacturing is down, we're seeing in his own estimates a 2.3 per cent growth in the economy, that's down from last year. Is that over inflated? I don't know.

The minister is saying that unemployment is going to rise in the Province of Nova Scotia. Less tax revenue to the Province of Nova Scotia. It is going from 9.1 to 9.5. You know, the Minister of Finance is also saying in his own report, there are going to be changes and things are slowing down. We're concerned about it. If he had put his fiscal House in order when he could have, he could have been able to weather a little bit now but instead he didn't do it then and he hasn't done it right now. He is going ahead and spending more money.

[Page 498]

You know what, our children are going to pay for that and our grandchildren are going to pay for that mismanagement. I only hope and pray that we don't get sideways worse than we already are. Because if we are, this Minister of Finance, to meet his targets that he's talking about, is going to have a massive slash and burn in the next budget unless this minister has set up slush funds somewhere in the budget that we haven't found, or if this particular government has got revenue estimates that have not been forthcoming, and fair, to us.

I think what has happened is maybe this minister is - you know the staff over in the Department of Finance has always tried to be conservative in their estimates. I applaud them for that, I applaud them for it and the Minister of Finance would applaud them for it but maybe they are tweaking a little bit tighter to the bottom side of those estimate numbers just so that he builds a little cushion. Maybe he's got a cushion built in there. We know of one cushion. One of those cushions is going to be the NSRL's sales that go through, they will net them a $140 million. Maybe that $140 million will be used for something else. I wonder what the minister has got up his sleeve. Oh, well maybe, some people are saying this budget is more like an election budget than half way through the term, maybe what they are going to do is announce a 10 per cent cut in income tax because it costs exactly $140 million to implement that program. Maybe that's what he is trying to do. Gosh only knows what this government has up its sleeve; the games are being played.

If this Finance Minister directed his energies toward debt he would be able to have more money for roads, education and health but instead he hasn't. Mr. Speaker, the minister says we need to make strategic investments in Health. What did the minister do? This minister committed $9 million for an information system and I can tell you this is again one of the strategic investments I think this minister could have made earlier. Because this investment - and I told the minister that, I told this House that - in the information system will save money. This Minister of Finance and the Premier and the Minister of Health understands all too well that they have no way of controlling what's going on in Health. It is out of control under their leadership. They know that the growth is still there and they keep writing off these debts but you know the bottom line is that they are clearly out of control as to what the numbers are.

So the Minister of Finance has increased his budget so that he can have all these people in his office. He is now investing $9 million on an information system and I will say to this House, $9 million is not enough on that particular issue; an issue that would save money long-term. If the minister - as the Auditor General stated very clearly - had spent the money that he needed to spend and I believe that cost was somewhere around $40 million, 22 months ago, if that money had have been spent then and we're now at 19th month of that period, then we would have enough money to deal with issues such as nurses, doctors and health care workers and so on, and so on, and so on.

[Page 499]

This is mismanagement on a grand scale. This Minister of Finance should be condemned by the fact that he did not want to follow the advice of previous governments in regard to strategic investments in health that would save money. Instead, he went out and borrowed money and put health further back into debt and never had anything to do with it.

You have spent that money now. You are borrowing money to spend in health care right now. The Minister of Transportation is saying, yes, we want to borrow more money because he too is a member of the Buchananite Government that put this province so much in debt.

(Interruption)

[12:15 p.m.]

I will not go down there, Mr. Speaker. The government is also saying it is going according to plan, and I said before, the plan stated that a 10 per cent reduction was going to come into effect in year 3 and in year 4. They estimated the cost at that time to be somewhere around $110 million. I think that number now, the best guesstimate in Finance is probably between $130 million and $140 million. Well, the reality will be that during the ramp-up of $1.3 billion debt since they have been in power, that is going to continue to grow. The Minister of Finance is going to have a tremendous struggle when he brings in that $140 million tax reduction because he has not put his house in order today.

The sale of NSRL might be his saving grace. It might be one of his slush funds that he has buried in hiding out there for his numbers to grow. Let us face it, Mr. Speaker, if the economy go further sideways, this Minister of Finance, this government in the Province of Nova Scotia could be in serious shape.

The Auditor General made it very clear that this minister and this government failed to control their spending in Health and other departments and also failed to put a plan in place to meet the target of a balanced budget and tax reduction in the time frame they used. Time is wasting. This government might have been able to do something but I believe that in many ways they have blown it. The downturn in North America is a tremendous worry to me. The downturn in the Canadian economy is a tremendous worry to our Liberal caucus and what impact that will have on our government's ability to go forward. I think that this Minister of Finance is closing his eyes, sticking his head in the sand and saying don't worry, be happy. I have heard it before.

The government has also gone on to the issue of saying we are going to set up these additional revenues by using these so-called user fees. You know, let us not forget that this is a government that said very clearly that we will not increase taxes to Nova Scotians. Do you remember that? Does anybody on this side of the House remember the government saying we are not going to increase taxes to Nova Scotians? I remember that.

[Page 500]

In the year 2000-01 user fees went up some $29 million under the Tory Government. They went after seniors, $8.4 million more for co-pay for seniors in the Province of Nova Scotia. Are you getting the picture? Again going after seniors, a 43 cent charge on 911, actually it is 46 cents with MTT increases in there. An $85 ambulance fee increase to people across the Province of Nova Scotia. Yearly fees, they are charging $5 million more for hospital user fees, whether it is to do with fibreglass casts or whatever; driver testing books for seniors and our young people.

Whether it is the Loan Remission Program that was for students that was not looked after; the young people, and our seniors, another almost $1 million that they grabbed out of the pockets of those individuals. Prescription drugs for welfare recipients. People on welfare, it is not that they are making a lot of money, but you know that they are going to claw $7,000 for people on welfare for prescription drugs. They do not take those drugs because they want to, they take them because they are sick. They take them because they have to, they are taking them because the doctors tell them that they have to do it. This Minister of Finance took $7,000 out of their pockets. The $300,000 for the ferry increases, $200,000 for insurance agents, $200,000 for environmental approvals, and the list goes on.

In 2001-02 we are seeing it again that this government is going after seniors. Again $50 as I mentioned already. If you are in the hospital and you are not well enough to go home or you do not have a place to look after you, Level 2, Level 3 facilities - and the minister announced in the budget that they are going to spend some money in that - my gosh what do you do between now and when they are built? They are going to provide those extra beds, well, they have to build the facilities to do that. Where are you going to put them? They have no place to go, Minister of Finance, they have no place to go. You know what you are going to do? You are going to say, well, too bad. I am going to soak you $50 a day until we build these facilities.

I know the Minister of Finance is a nice individual, he is a nice man, but boy, I will tell you, he really has lost it. He has lost it when it comes to managing and making his priorities; $70 in registered deeds. The Registrar of Deeds, they are talking about increasing that. I mean this is about a $1.1 million clawback, maybe even more. It affects everybody in this province. The list goes on here. I remember the minister saying it is only $2 million or $3 million in user fees. In other words, altogether this government is going to be taking in in excess of $32 million new taxes from Nova Scotians and at a time when the Tory blue book, the Hamm book, states very clearly no new taxes.

Another area that the minister should have addressed is the issue of bracket creep. Bracket creep is something that has been stated very clearly when they decoupled from the tax of the federal government and the federal government said, lower the tax. The Province of Nova Scotia did not flow through the provincial side, so they actually increased the provincial portion relative to the federal tax to the point now where provincially we are 60 per cent of the federal tax, but one thing we suggested to them and they said, well, we cannot

[Page 501]

do it, we cannot afford it. Well, okay, you cannot afford it. What about bracket creep because bracket creep means that Nova Scotians, because of inflation, actually would be paying a higher tax. They are not making any more money. They are just going to have to do it.

This government had a chance to reduce or eliminate bracket creep. They did not do it. I did not see it in the budget. Now, maybe the minister has it hidden in there somewhere, but I have not seen it. That would have been of real benefit to Nova Scotians, Mr. Speaker, but they blew it again. Another one of these strategic investments that this government has blown. It is a hidden tax that we have not even added to these two pages of taxes that they are charging Nova Scotians, another hidden tax of this government.

The minister is talking about increasing tobacco tax. I agree, Mr. Speaker, that that particular area is a good move. I have quit smoking, actually a little over a year ago for the right reasons, and it has been very tough, but I can tell you after watching the mismanagement of that government, I almost want to have a cigarette the odd day, but the reality is that I support that initiative. The question is what are they going to do with that money and whether it is $5.7 million that is going to be brought in, it is a right step.

I want to bring to the House's attention, this morning I was on a talk show and a caller called in. Allan Horne is his name and he had spoken to Dr. Hamm during the election. He said, he was with Homeward Addictions. He said, I have programs for people on tobacco addiction and what would you do if you were the Premier. I guess the response back was that the Dr. Hamm I support anybody who tries to quit smoking and any program out there for that and that we would put 5 cents for every package of cigarettes towards helping people to quit smoking. That, according to this individual, is what the Premier said.

Programs to stop people from smoking are helping people who are addicted to tobacco, are important, and I don't know if the Premier has that in the budget, and I will give the Premier this individual's phone number, he can phone him himself, but they asked me what can we do? I said, I will talk about it today because if the Premier said it, he will explain what he is going to do on it. These organizations provide free assistance and help for those who cannot afford it, but only to a point. They can only do that so much. There needs to be programs out there to help people quit smoking because I tell you it is a tough addiction. I smoked for 35 years and it is the hardest thing I have ever done, to quit smoking. I enjoyed every cigarette I had. So I can tell you for anybody who is considering quitting smoking, it is tough, but it is the right thing to do. I applaud the government for that initiative. Of course, it was an initiative that we were talking about as Liberals as well, but I won't go into that.

Since taking office, Mr. Speaker - and trying to sum up here - the Tories have added $1.3 billion to the debt; $3.5 million a day more than they took in; make no mistake about it, a $1.3 billion Tory blue mistake. In fact, the gross debt of the Province of Nova Scotia has gone up $2.1 billion since the Tories took power, but under their fiscal budget years, as the Minister of Finance is saying, they increased that debt by $1.3 billion. The sad part about it

[Page 502]

is they have no plan on how they are going to deal with it. Despite the fact of the windfall to the province of $512 million in revenue, this government is sending mixed messages, mixed signals to everybody across the province. I have had more people ask, what happened? Gosh, we expected that this government was going to make one more tough decision this year and go forward from there. They were waiting for that.

What did they do? The floodgates are open. What did they do? They charged seniors. What did they do? No Loan Remission Program for youth. What did they do? They never did anything to deal with the chronic problem in Cape Breton, unless the Premier has something up his sleeve on one project there is nothing long term to deal with that serious problem. Mixed messages for the chamber of commerce. They are saying to the chamber that they were going to be the fiscally responsible guys. Trust us, we are the guys in charge; we know what we are doing. Boy, I will tell you, those guys are pretty upset right now; they are pretty disappointed in this government not making the right decisions.

One more year of making the right decisions could very well put this province on a good solid foundation, but they were afraid to do that. They caved in to their backbenchers, they caved in to the polls, they caved in to what they thought would be a nice facade to give, in the middle of their term.

It is clear, with this budget, that there is absolutely no real plan for fiscal management. A $0.25 billion additional revenue this year not dealt with properly. I have said that about the province's debt before. In fact, I mentioned, a number of months ago, that this province was having windfall profits come in, what are they going to do with it? It is clear they don't have a plan, they never really had a plan and, whatever plan they had, it didn't matter, because they are going to do what they think is politically expedient for them. In reality, the political expediency of the day could very well be their political downfall of tomorrow, if they don't plan and do the proper thing.

The Chronicle-Herald said, on June 26, 1999, quoting the Premier: "A Progressive Conservative government is committed to reducing the provincial debt." - reducing the provincial debt, believe this - "Over our first four-year mandate we will ensure the debt, that being the true debt that includes all on-book and off-book borrowing, will not increase."

Mr. Speaker, it has increased. It increased over $2 billion, but on their watch alone, from the last budget to this budget, $1.3 billion. What happened between then and now? I will tell you what happened: This government, this Minister of Finance, this Premier blew it. They blew it for the future of this province. The blew a golden opportunity for balancing the budget, something that this government promised to all Nova Scotians.

On June 30, 1999, The Chronicle-Herald: "A PC government will achieve a truly balanced budget in year 3, if not sooner." Premier you had a chance to fill those words you said, "if not sooner". You had a chance, you had the opportunity, you had $0.50 billion of

[Page 503]

free money, money you didn't even know you were going to get, and you blew it. You blew it because you listened to the Minister of Finance who led you the wrong way or you led him the wrong way. You blew what you said, I will do it sooner if I can. You could have, but you didn't. You had a choice and you gave up your choice. Instead of saying that the debts will be reduced, and the long-term debt will reduce, we are seeing that it increased by $1.3 billion.

The Tory Party from 1999 and the Tory Party of the day have changed direction, either changed direction to the point where all Nova Scotians are wondering what is next, are they going to have a snap election? Is that what they are going to do? Are they going to come out and try to trick people with a snap election? Are they moving in that direction? (Interruptions.) You never know what is up their sleeves. Are they moving in a direction that says we realize that we cannot retain a majority government because our backbenchers would leave if we followed the direction that we said to Nova Scotians during the election campaign is the direction we will follow? I think this government is running scared in a big way, because they know they are in trouble.

[12:30 p.m.]

Mr. Speaker, how many governments have taken in $0.5 billion in additional revenue in less than two years, at the same time spending $1.3 billion more than what they took in? This is the greatest tragedy I have seen and that we are seeing by this government, that still remains for our children and their children to pay off.

Minister of Finance, you had a choice; Premier, you had a choice; frontbenchers, you had a choice to eliminate the deficit and even pay down something on the debt. Mr. Speaker, they had a choice and they have chosen to abandon our children and our grandchildren. They had a choice and they decided to change the Tory plan to a plan that they think will be politically palatable. Well, we will see at the end of this year how palatable it will be. We will see during these budget estimates how it will be with regard to the ability of their departmental heads to go through the budget line by line. Quite frankly I think that when you go through the budget line by line you realize that this government is trying to be all things to all people, where in reality they are going to be failures to the people who are there.

Maybe it is the fact that this government is becoming arrogant. They are becoming arrogant with power. Maybe they are becoming arrogant to the point that they say it does not matter what they do, they will be able to massage it to make it to their advantage. Maybe what is happening is that there is a real split between the Premier and the Minister of Finance. Maybe the Minister of Finance is saying we want to spend more money because that might be good for me and my future political career; and the Premier is saying, no, we shouldn't do that, I promised Nova Scotians we wouldn't do that. Maybe the Minister of Finance - I think they reported him as Teflon - well, maybe he is perceived as Teflon, he is going to be Velcro in a little while because that is going to stick to him.

[Page 504]

The poor Minister of Health over there, he is feeling better now, I notice, but he was pretty sick for a while. I sincerely am glad he is feeling better - and he didn't pay $50 a day - but he got blamed from one end of this province to the other, all last year, for the fact that they could not fix health care for $46 million. The Minister of Health got blamed for all sorts of things and I think everybody in Cabinet would say, thank goodness I don't have his job. The Minister of Tourism, the only job he has - it is a great job, Tourism is a great department - I am sure he wouldn't want to trade Tourism for Health. He is a pretty young fellow but I think he would age in a hurry. I am sure that the Minister of Transportation wouldn't want to trade with the Minister of Health and I am sure that the Minister of Economic Development - who had his budget gutted - would not want to trade. In fact, I am sure the Premier would not want to trade positions with the Minister of Health.

Let there be no mistake in this House today. Let there be no mistake, to the members sitting here today and to the public of Nova Scotia, it was the Minister of Finance who gave this Minister of Health his marching orders and gave him the mess that he had to deal with. It was the Minister of Finance who gave that minister the budget.

Just a few months ago the Minister of Finance was going on, blaming everybody for health care woes. The $1.8 billion budget we have right now in Health, the Minister of Finance was saying that the Minister of Health has to get his house in order. That is what he was implying, that he had better get his costs under control. He was blaming health care workers, he was blaming Nova Scotians. Well, let there be no mistake here. The Minister of Finance was trying to blame everybody, but let there be no mistake, it is the Minister of Finance's responsibility to make sure that the health care system works and runs in an effective, efficient and financial way.

I think the poor Minister of Health should have gotten some reprieve because he did not set those numbers, it was the Minister of Finance who gave him the direction.

The Minister of Finance just sits back and smiles while the Minister of Health takes the heat for the mismanagement of the Minister of Finance. I tell you, there must be a lot of IOUs in that Cabinet. That Minister of Health has a lot of IOUs of that Minister of Finance because he made him wear a lot of pain.

Then we had the Minister of Education who was confused a little bit in the beginning of her mandate, and I will not say any more than that, but you know that nobody is going to be fired, nobody is going, and it was a big fiasco. There were riots in the street. The Minister of Education was taking all the heat while the Minister of Finance sat back and said, boy, I really cooked her goose - but the bottom line is I gave her the budget, and it was his budget that was not adding up to the Minister of Education's needs.

[Page 505]

I think the bottom line here is that this Minister of Finance has gotten away far too easy and I think he should be accountable. He should be more accountable to the public of Nova Scotia because it was his decision to do what he did to Health, Education, and Transportation. It was his decision now to change direction. It was his decision that says that we are going to abandon all our plans and we are going in a new direction. It was his decision. I hope his colleagues realize that he has gotten away scot-free. I am sure that the Minister of Health had many sleepless nights wondering why everybody hated him in the Province of Nova Scotia, and he wished he could have shared some of that pain with the Minister of Finance. I am sure of that, Mr. Speaker.

For the backbenchers, the lowly crowd in the back. By the way, the other day, on the issue of equalization, I am sure that the minister responsible for the equalization bid in Nova Scotia, on the municipalities, is sitting back. I don't know, maybe he doesn't care, maybe he is going to retire at the end of this term, but I will tell you he has his caucus all in an uproar back there. Half of them speaking in favour, half of them speaking against it, the Premier is wondering, what am I going to do now? I am sure that he has his staff over there more worried about his caucus colleagues than he is about the future of the Province of Nova Scotia, because there is a riot going to happen over there, a revolt in the Tory caucus.

That Minister of Finance, the bottom line here is Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations is going to collect $20 million net to the Province of Nova Scotia. They are going to charge property tax in Halifax and in other jurisdictions to pay for other areas, and it is wrong. The Premier knows it is wrong; the government knows it is wrong, and his backbenchers who were former members of councils are saying it is wrong and they are in power to make that choice.

Do you know what that Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations told some of the other councillors and wardens? You go tell this side of the House not to rock the boat. Shame on them. They are the government; they are in power; they have the majority; they bring the bills in; and they should govern today. (Applause)

Do you know what? They cannot even govern their own government. They cannot even control their own caucus or their own government plan or their vision. It is a sad commentary that we stand in this House today and say to the Minister of Finance, to the Premier, that you blew it. You had a $0.5 billion windfall, you had $0.75 billion in the last year alone, $249 million more than what you even knew you were going to have - not counting anything else that might be hidden - and you blew it.

AN HON. MEMBER: How much?

MR. DOWNE: Mr. Speaker, $249 million and you blew it, and at the same time you increased the debt of the Province of Nova Scotia $1.3 billion - $3.5 million a day - and this is a government that said we are going to make this province self-reliant, we are going to

[Page 506]

manage the fiscal affairs of this province, we are the ones you can trust. Now they have done an about-face.

Gosh knows what is going to happen. My only hope is that the economy does not go sideways because none of us need to go through that pain, but this government, I am concerned, is out of control. They have blown their opportunities. They have mismanaged in the areas. They have done nothing to help our young people and universities. They have gone ahead and attacked the seniors. They have done nothing about chronic problems in Cape Breton. All they are interested in is politics and getting elected. There is no backbone; there is no strength; there is no vision and there is no direction. This government is out of control. (Applause)

I would say to the backbenchers and to the Cabinet members who are scared of the Minister of Finance, who fear he might do something like what he did to the Minister of Health and the Minister of Education, that this Minister of Finance is not perfect. He has made mistakes and he has changed direction of this government. He has changed direction of this government, for whatever reason I don't know, but let it be very clear the Minister of Finance blew it. He blew a great opportunity of taking almost a little over $0.5 billion extra revenue and dealing with the problems that are systemic to the Province of Nova Scotia, and then to be able to say we are free and we are able to go forward on a go-forward basis. Instead what he has done, in my view, is given a facade, a thin veneer of what he says is now the softer, gentler government. In reality, he has moved this so-called softer, gentler government away from the plan and not even taking advantage of the windfall profits, only to find out, as we will go through estimates line by line, that this government is more facade than substance. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

The Estimates are referred to the Committee of the Whole House on Supply unto Her Majesty.

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, would you please call the order of business, Public Bills for Second Reading.

PUBLIC BILLS FOR SECOND READING

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 10.

[Page 507]

Bill No. 10 - Order of Nova Scotia Act.

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

HON. RODNEY MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to stand in my place today to speak on the Order of Nova Scotia Act in second reading. The Order of Nova Scotia will honour in the highest degree, individuals across this province who have contributed greatly to the social, cultural and the economic life here in the province.

Mr. Speaker, there are many Nova Scotians across this province who have done wonderful things for us, yet we do not have a provincial Order to recognize the selfless contributions to our province and communities which they make. Already eight provinces in the country have a similar provincial Order, but we do not and this bill will verify that. The Order of Nova Scotia will be the highest honour this province bestows on its citizens, and like the Order of Canada, it will have the blessings of Her Majesty The Queen and will give each recipient the right to proudly use initials, ONS, the Order of Nova Scotia.

There will be immense prestige for Nova Scotians who receive this medal, Mr. Speaker, and who carry the ONS initials following their name. No more than five recipients per year will be named to the Order and such an honour must and will be handled with the greatest of care and respect. The Order of Nova Scotia will be prestigious, much like the Medal of Bravery, which I know the Speaker is familiar with, as well as our member for Timberlea-Prospect. Neither social prominence nor wealth nor political influence, Mr. Speaker, will win anyone an ONS. The only path to an ONS will be through merit, and I believe that will work towards making this province a better place and it will make the recipients that much more reflective of what they have done for this province.

[12:45 p.m.]

So what kind of people might qualify Mr. Speaker? The list of possible candidates is endless. Some might have worked tirelessly for their cultural identity in some part of the province. Some might excel in the arts, or developing the arts. Some might have improved the economic development in their community, or well-being of their community. Some might be great educators, scientists or health care innovators. Some might be volunteers who salvaged the lives of young people, helped the needy or conserved our environment. They could be young or old, but I would suspect that it will usually take a fair bit of living to accumulate enough good works to be worthy of an Order of Nova Scotia. A deserving Nova Scotian could be named posthumously within a year after death.

Mr. Speaker, the Order of Nova Scotia will go beyond the reach of any sitting member of this Legislature, the House of Commons or the Senate. This is a safeguard to keep the selection non-political. Further safeguards are in the make-up of the Advisory Council that will choose the recipients. The Council will include a Supreme Court Justice, a university

[Page 508]

president and a member of the Order. To be sure, there will be members appointed by the Executive Council but that will be balanced by members appointed by the Opposition Parties.

Mr. Speaker, Nova Scotians are a people with big hearts who give thousands of hours of volunteer time each and every year never asking for a reward and very often never asking for any sort of recognition. Very often they do not receive that recognition which they deserve. Our small communities are thriving no doubt in large part to what these people and their volunteers do throughout this province. I think it truly is a very good time to introduce this bill with the Year of the Volunteer happening as we speak.

Mr. Speaker, the Order of Nova Scotia will for the first time allow us to recognize the achievement and outstanding excellence of those Nova Scotians who go that extra mile to make Nova Scotia what it is. A province of caring, dedicated, selfless individuals. At the same time it will not interfere in any way with any of the awards that already exist in Nova Scotia.

Mr. Speaker, this is a bill that every member of this House, I believe and hope, will support and with pleasure I move second reading.

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

MR. WILLIAM ESTABROOKS: Mr. Speaker, I rise in my place this afternoon to look at a piece of legislation that has been long in coming in this province. I am aware of the fact that other governments and other Premiers perhaps talked about looking at this but, now that this particular Minister of Tourism and Culture in an appropriate year, the Year of the Volunteer, has brought it forward, I congratulate that minister and that government on their initiative. However - there is always a however, right. I have a few points and I think they are of some consideration and hopefully when we proceed to the Law Amendments Committee, there will be some consideration for a couple of appropriate suggestions which we should consider.

I agree completely with the minister that exclusivity is of real importance in the awarding of a prestigious award such as the Order of Nova Scotia. It is certainly not something that people are going to campaign for or somebody is going to go looking for it. After all, as you well know, you are a recipient of one of the highest awards that this country can give. I am aware of why you received the Medal of Bravery and the fact that you certainly did not go looking for it during that particular incident. Again, I congratulate you publicly for that. (Applause)

I am also aware, because of other experiences which I would rather not speak of here, of the nomination process for the award that we have received, Mr. Speaker, if I may join your company, and I know that the MB after your name means as much as the one that I am

[Page 509]

permitted after mine. The nomination process is of some consequence and I have some concerns about the nomination process. During the Law Amendments Committee, hopefully we can clarify the nomination process, because the concern really is that in the first couple of years, there will be - if I can use the expression - an absolute glut of members of the public who could put forth nominations. In the first year, off the top of my head, I have John Allan Cameron, Natalie MacMaster and Anne Murray, so there is three of the five. I know we can go on with other musical talents. Unfortunately the current Minister of Tourism, according to the provisions, will never be a recipient of an Order of Nova Scotia.

Mr. Speaker, seriously though, I think it would be appropriate, and I look forward to discussing this further at the Law Amendments Committee, and hopefully the minister and his staff could look at the fact that perhaps in the first two or three years there could be a provision for a greater number. I am not saying 50, but I am suggesting for the fact that perhaps in the first number of years there could be a provision for more award winners than five during the first number of years.

I point that out just as a suggestion, something that perhaps we could work out through the Law Amendments Committee process. The time will come, in 20 years' time when the tradition - and hopefully this piece of legislation will go through, there could be 100 living Nova Scotians who have received this prestigious award. Incidentally, there is a wonderful clause in this legislation, and again the minister's staff and I assume the minister was involved in drawing this up, there is a provision to be awarded the ONS posthumously, that shows great foresight.

I think that when we look back in 20 years' time, God willing we are still here, to recognize the fact, and when the announcements of the Orders of Nova Scotia, if there is an appropriate number that in 20 years will be nominated and brought forward, at that time that will be a prestigious award because of the tradition that has been built. The first couple of years, it is very important that we understand the nomination process and how it is going to work, furthermore we have provision for the fact that perhaps we should have more than five in that first couple of years.

Mr. Speaker, let's look at the example of other provinces, because as you are well aware, it is important. I know the member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley likes to look at the examples of what they do in other provinces, whether it is this sort of piece of legislation on the Order of Nova Scotia, or it is other ideas that are brought forward. So here is a worthy example from other provinces that we, in the foresight of this province, have decided to look at and preview. I congratulate the minister for that, and hopefully the member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley, in future endeavours, might learn of the example of which I am referring. I want to look at the criteria, if I could, for a moment. The words that are used, merit of real consequence, I agree. Cultural contribution, social contribution, those are umbrella terms of which I feel very comfortable awarding the Order of Nova Scotia.

[Page 510]

But I do have some reservations, and I will be bringing these forward on behalf of my caucus at the appropriate time; that builders of industry, economic development contributors, that people could be brought into the Order of Nova Scotia based upon their chequebook or their bank book. I know that you could say, here is the typical NDP MLA standing in his place pointing out a particular piece of criticism on legislation. As far as I am concerned, the builders of industry, the economic drivers of this province can be rewarded in other manners as opposed to the Order of Nova Scotia. I am not, at this stage, willing to suggest that we should say who should not be there, but the concern will come down.

I know that I am quoted in a piece by The Chronicle-Herald, and I would like to table it for the minister's attention, in which I say that I just hope it is not tied to somebody's paycheque or someone's bank account; in fact, I believe the nominees should earn less that $50,000 a year. I would like to table that because that's the sort of suggestion that in the give and take of the Law Amendments Committee, we look at some suggestions that can be brought forward.

Let's face it, the Order of Nova Scotia is going to be in many ways a prestigious award based upon your contribution to this province. Do you have to be a resident of this province or can you be living for example full time, year-round in the big apple of Toronto? Although a particular person might have grown up in your hometown, Mr. Speaker, maybe that particular person also has been rewarded with the Order of Canada, but that person no longer lives in Nova Scotia and that person lives in another province. Should that person be eligible for the Order of Nova Scotia? These are some of the types of questions that I am sure people will bring forward. I am sure that Nova Scotians are going to look at those examples and say, now there are some points we should be recognizing.

Mr. Speaker, I want to point out to you that the award which has been finally brought forward by this government is a wonderful example. I know that the Protocol Office has been involved in the drafting of the legislation. I compliment them for that. I bring these potential suggestions to the minister and I look forward to supporting this bill as it moves on to the Law Amendments Committee. Mr. Speaker, I take my place.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Richmond. Would you care to move adjournment please.

MR. MICHEL SAMSON: Mr. Speaker, my colleague, the member for Lunenburg West, will be making further comment on Bill No. 10 next time it is called for discussion but I would be more than happy to move adjournment at this stage.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is to adjourn debate on Bill No. 10. Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

[Page 511]

The honourable Government House leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: I move the House do now rise to meet again on Monday at the hour of 4:00 p.m. The House will sit from 4:00 p.m. until 10:00 p.m. The first order of business following the daily routine, Mr. Speaker, we will move into a Committee of the Whole House on Supply and at the conclusion of that period within the Committee of the Whole House, we will continue with second reading of the Minister of Finance's bill, the Financial Measures (2001) Act.

I would also like to advise the House that on Tuesday - and this is strictly for planning - we will be sitting from 12:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m.; on Wednesday from 2:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m.; on Thursday from 12:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m.; and on Friday, to be arranged mutually between the House Leaders. So, Mr. Speaker, I wish everybody a pleasant weekend, and I move adjournment.

MR. SPEAKER: There is a motion to adjourn.

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

The motion is carried.

[The House rose at 12:58 p.m.]

[Page 512]

NOTICE OF MOTION UNDER RULE 32(3)

RESOLUTION NO. 208

By: Mr. Mark Parent (Kings North)

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

Whereas this Saturday, Kelly Marie Redcliffe of Kings County will be recognized for her literacy talents; and

Whereas Ms. Redcliffe won third prize in the poetry category in one of the oldest, most respected writing competitions in this country; and

Whereas the Atlantic Writing Competition is unique because it offers to every entrant constructive feedback, a necessary element to improving one's abilities;

Therefore be it resolved that this Legislature praise the competition for going that one step further and encouraging our aspiring writers, and commend Ms. Redcliffe on being honoured for her work, . . . Leaning Into It.