The Nova Scotia Legislature

The House resumed on:
September 21, 2017.

Hansard -- Mon., May 28, 2001

[Page 4009]

HALIFAX, MONDAY, MAY 28, 2001

Fifty-eighth General Assembly

Second Session

2:00 P.M.

SPEAKER

Hon. Murray Scott

DEPUTY SPEAKERS

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

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. Before we begin the daily routine, the honourable member for Chester-St. Margaret's on an introduction.

MR. JOHN CHATAWAY: Mr. Speaker, I would like to introduce to the House the class in the east gallery from Hebbville Academy in Lunenburg County. They are Grade 8 and Grade 9 French Immersion students. Welcome to this House, it is wonderful to have you here. The teachers are Mr. Raymond Aucoin and Miss Lynette Babin, who are accompanying the class to the big City of Halifax. We are more than glad to have you here and we hope you enjoy the day. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: We certainly welcome our guests to the gallery today.

We will begin the daily routine.

PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Opposition.

4009

[Page 4010]

MR. DARRELL DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to table a petition on behalf of the home support workers in Queens County. The operative clause reads, "Below, please find signatures of those who believe that Queens County Home Support Workers are unfairly paid. The lowest in the Province." There are 105 signatures and I have affixed my signature.

MR. SPEAKER: The petition is tabled.

PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES

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

MR. BROOKE TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the Chairman of the Committee on Private and Local Bills, I am directed to report that the committee has met and considered the following bill:

Bill No. 45 - Upper Stewiacke Fire Protection Act.

and the committee recommends this bill to the favourable consideration of the House, without amendment, upon receipt of letters of non-objection to the bill by the Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations and the Minister of Environment and Labour. These letters are attached to this report.

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

TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS

STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS

GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Community Services.

RESOLUTION NO. 1393

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

Whereas the week of May 27th to June 2nd is Access Awareness Week in Nova Scotia; and

Whereas the theme for this year is Full Citizenship For All; and

[Page 4011]

Whereas this special week provides an opportunity to heighten awareness for all of us that persons with disabilities are, first and foremost, fellow citizens;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House join me in congratulating Partnership for Access Awareness Nova Scotia for helping to improve the quality of life for all Nova Scotians with disabilities.

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.

HON. PETER CHRISTIE: Mr. Speaker, I would like to make an introduction.

MR. SPEAKER: Yes, please.

HON. PETER CHRISTIE: Mr. Speaker, in your gallery today we have Debbie and Ernie Rolfe who are here with their daughter, Kendall Rolfe, and they are here also with Donna Merriam who is the Chairman of the Partnership for Access Awareness Nova Scotia. Kendall is a Grade 7 student at Springhill Junior High School, and Kendall is also the winner of the Poster Award for Access Awareness Week. She did this poster. She received recognition this morning at the Access Awareness Week. We just want to welcome them. We would ask them to rise and receive the warm approbation of the House. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: We certainly welcome the Rolfes to the Legislature today, especially Kendall. The community and the whole province is very proud of you. We hope you enjoy your stay here in the city. They are from Springhill, Cumberland County, Nova Scotia. (Applause)

The honourable Minister of Education.

RESOLUTION NO. 1394

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

[Page 4012]

Whereas Saint Mary's University received Bacchus Canada's Carmi Cimicata Founders Award at a national conference in Barrie, Ontario, on the weekend for its long-running alcohol awareness campaign; and

Whereas the university's Drink Responsibly and Feel Terrific, or DRAFT, team was formed six years ago to promote the responsible use of alcohol on campus; and

Whereas this group, made up of student volunteers, organizes a number of educational activities during the school year;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate Saint Mary's University for receiving this award, and the volunteers who have made the DRAFT team a success.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Health.

RESOLUTION NO. 1395

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

Whereas Hereditary Hemochromatosis is one of the most common genetic disorders, with 1 in every 300 Canadians at risk of developing its complications, such as diabetes, liver disease, abdominal pain and arthritis; and

Whereas Hereditary Hemochromatosis is the only hereditary disorder in which all of the complications are preventable by early diagnosis and treatment; and

Whereas the Canadian Hemochromatosis Society is dedicated to the early identification and treatment of all Canadians at risk of developing these complications;

[Page 4013]

Therefore be it resolved that this House recognizes May 25 to 31, 2001 as Hemochromatosis Awareness Week, and support the Canadian Hemochromatosis Society in obtaining their goals for the early diagnosis, treatment and prevention of this condition.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

INTRODUCTION OF BILLS

Bill No. 64 - Entitled an Act to Provide for the Recovery of Health-care Costs Related to the Exposure to Tobacco Products. (Mr. Kevin Deveaux)

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

NOTICES OF MOTION

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Opposition.

RESOLUTION NO. 1396

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

Whereas June 3rd marks Cancer Survivors' Day across Canada; and

Whereas cancer daily ravages the lives of not only its victims but the friends and families of victims, and everyone is touched to some degree by its depredations; and

Whereas we must all work to make cancer survival less of a miracle and eradicate its heavy toll upon our loved ones and society;

[Page 4014]

[2:15 p.m.]

Therefore be it resolved that this House celebrate June 3rd as Cancer Survivors' Day, remember fondly those who have not survived and pledge to use every resource it can in the continuing fight against cancer.

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. 1397

MR. WAYNE GAUDET: Mr. Speaker, I would first like to read my resolution in French, followed with the translation for my colleagues in the House.

Monsieur le Président, par la présente, j'avise cette assemblée que je proposerai à une date ultérieure l'adoption de la résolution suivante:

Attendu que l'association de Candian Parents for French organise annuellement un concours oratoire dans la poursuite de son objectif de faire la promotion de l'apprentissage de la langue française;

Attendu que Guillaume Lamothe, un élève de sixième année dans une école du Conseil scolaire acadien provincial s'est mérité la médaille d'or lors du concours oratoire qui a pris place à Dartmouth le 21 avril; et

Attendu que Guillaume Lamothe s'est qualifié pour participer aux finales de la Dictée Paul Gérin-Lajoie à Montréal où se recontrent des représentants du Canada, des Etates-Unis, du Sénégal, du Mali et d'Haiti pour compétitionner pour mesurer leurs habiletés dans la langue française.

[Page 4015]

Qu'il soit donc résolu que cette Chambre exprime toutes ses félicitations et transmette ses meillieurs voeux à Guillame Lamothe et l'encourage à continuer ses efforts dans la maitrise de la langue française.

Monsieur le Président, je propose l'adoption de cette résolution sans prévais et sans débat.

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

Whereas every year the Canadian Parents for French public speaking competition is held to promote French learning opportunities for young Canadians; and

Whereas Grade 6 student Guillaume Lamothe of Conseil Scholaire Acadien Provincial earned a gold medal at the competition which was held on April 21st in Dartmouth; and

Whereas Guillaume Lamothe qualified to attend the Dictee Paul Gerin-Lajoie finals in Montreal, along with other competitors from Canada, the United States, Senegal, Mali and Haiti;

Therefore be it resolved that the House of Assembly congratulate Guillaume on his achievements and wish him every success for the future.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley.

RESOLUTION NO. 1398

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

[Page 4016]

Whereas Springhill Junior High School student, Kendall Rolfe, was honoured today for her winning entry in the Access Awareness Week Poster Contest; and

Whereas Kendall's excellent poster will form the bases of a poster produced to heighten awareness of disability issues over the upcoming year; and

Whereas Access Awareness Week and the poster contest are sponsored by the Partnership for Access Awareness Nova Scotia, a community-based organization whose mission is to improve the quality of life for all Nova Scotians with disabilities by promoting diversity and inclusion;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Kendall on her winning entry in the Access Awareness Week Poster Contest and encourage her in her effort to promote full citizenship for all Nova Scotians.

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. (Applause)

The honourable member for Halifax Needham.

RESOLUTION NO. 1399

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

Whereas Maggie Stewart, a former Page and tour guide of this House of Assembly has recently married Shahin Sayaid; and

Whereas Maggie has fond memories of this place, observing parliamentary democracy as practised in Nova Scotia; and

Whereas among the Pages still labouring here are many friends and well-wishers;

[Page 4017]

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly congratulate Maggie Stewart and Shahin Sayaid on their marriage and wish them all the best in the years to come.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Cape Breton South.

RESOLUTION NO. 1400

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

Whereas Crystal Aboud of Sydney has been awarded the Allister MacIntyre Memorial Trophy and Scholarship; and

Whereas this achievement recognizes an outstanding record in leadership, scholarship and character; and

Whereas Crystal received the award after completing a Bachelor of Community Studies and a Bachelor of Business Administration;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Crystal Aboud for her outstanding academic achievement.

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 4018]

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Sackville-Beaver Bank.

RESOLUTION NO. 1401

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

Whereas long-time Sackville resident and community volunteer, Eleanor Reeder, passed away Sunday; and

Whereas Mrs. Reeder was a tireless advocate for Sackville area seniors, serving as a charter member of the Sackville Seniors' Advisory Council, playing a key role in developing the Silver and Gold, the seniors' drop-in centre, and working on important projects such as blood pressure clinics and cancer screening programs; and

Whereas Mrs. Reeder will be sadly missed by the many people in the community whom she has helped over the years;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House extend condolences to the friends and family of Eleanor Reeder and recognize the many good works and achievements she has done over the years.

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. 1402

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

[Page 4019]

Whereas CFB Shearwater has a long and active history in both the aviation and naval branches of the Canadian Armed Forces with both naval and air force contingents on the base; and

Whereas CFB Shearwater remains an active military base, being home to the Sea King helicopter and the Maritime Atlantic Fleet Diving Unit; and

Whereas CFB Shearwater employs over 1,000 people and is a major employer in the metro Halifax area;

Therefore be it resolved that this House recognize the history of CFB Shearwater, its present contribution to Nova Scotia's economy, and encourage the federal government to maintain the base in the years 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 Dartmouth East.

RESOLUTION NO. 1403

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

Whereas the Canadian Medical Association Senior Membership is awarded to individuals who have been recognized by the Canadian Medical Association Board of Directors as making significant contributions to their community and to their profession; and

Whereas this past weekend, Dr. Mahmood A. Naqvi of Sydney was honoured by his peers by being awarded the Canadian Medical Association Senior Membership; and

Whereas in addition to Dr. Naqvi's hands-on involvement in recruiting physicians, his vision and energy has led to the establishment of critical care, neonatal intensive care, renal dialysis, coronary care and vascular units in Cape Breton;

[Page 4020]

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House of Assembly congratulate Dr. Mahmood A. Naqvi on this most recent honour and extend our appreciation for his contributions to health care in Cape Breton and indeed throughout Nova Scotia.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Pictou West.

RESOLUTION NO. 1404

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

Whereas an important part of Nova Scotia Access Awareness Week is the Mel Hebb Hour Glass Action Award luncheon; and

Whereas the owners of Stonehame Chalets, Fitzpatrick Mountain, Donald and Sharon Gunn, will be recognized at the luncheon for their physically accessible chalets and lodge in the beautiful mountains of Pictou County; and

Whereas also being recognized is Mr. Keith MacDonald with the Outstanding Individual Award for his dedication as a volunteer of Tetra Society of metro Halifax;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House join with me in congratulating both the owners of Stonehame Chalets for this honour, as well as Mr. MacDonald, for doing what they can to contribute to a barrier-free society.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

[Page 4021]

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Cape Breton Centre.

RESOLUTION NO. 1405

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

Whereas on April 28, 2001, Sister Sadie Henneberry of St. Agnes Convent, New Waterford, celebrated her Golden Jubilee as a Sister of Charity with an Open House; and

Whereas Sister Sadie, originally from Eastern Passage, spent 14 years in the New Waterford area, the first nine at the Carmel Centre and then five years at St. Agnes convent where she works with area seniors in the Aging Gracefully group; and

Whereas Sister Sadie enjoyed the open house with family and many friends from local parishes;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate Sister Sadie Henneberry on her Golden Jubilee as a Sister of Charity and applaud her for her work on behalf of the parishes of New Waterford and the surrounding area.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Victoria.

[Page 4022]

RESOLUTION NO. 1406

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

Whereas every year Attractions Canada awards prizes for the country's best tourist attractions; and

Whereas this year Celtic Colours International Festival and Pier 21 were both award recipients; and

Whereas these two Nova Scotian attractions were among only 14 winners chosen from 98 finalists across Canada;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House of Assembly congratulate the management and organizers of Celtic Colours International and Pier 21 for winning this prestigious honour.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

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

RESOLUTION NO. 1407

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

Whereas members of the Chester Basin-New Ross-Chester Lions Club recently completed their spring 2001 Adopt-a-Highway cleanup; and

Whereas the club has adopted a portion of Highway No. 3 as well as a portion of Highway No. 12 on which to complete their environmental services activities; and

[Page 4023]

Whereas the spring cleanup resulted in 50 bags of trash, several bags of recyclables and various other items;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House thank and congratulate the members of the Chester Basin-New Ross-Chester Lions Club for their efforts in keeping local highways clean.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Timberlea-Prospect.

RESOLUTION NO. 1408

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

Whereas residents of the Terence Bay River Road have recently undertaken a major cleanup along this scenic highway; and

Whereas this cleanup was a huge success because of the commitment of area volunteers; and

Whereas this project was coordinated by Barb Allen and Lynn Slaunwhite;

Therefore be it resolved - yes, I used to teach Lynn Slaunwhite - that the House of Assembly recognize the community spirit of the residents of the Terence Bay River Road, Lynn Slaunwhite and Barb Allen, coordinators of this recent road cleanup.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

[Page 4024]

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. 1409

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

Whereas senior citizens over the age of 70 are being hit with higher automobile insurance; and

Whereas such an increase is an insult to those who have had so much experience driving; and

Whereas price gouging of seniors by insurance companies must be stopped;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House call upon the province's insurances companies to cease and desist from further automobile insurance increases for people over 70.

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. 1410

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

[Page 4025]

Whereas next Friday, June 8th, marks the opening of the 16th Annual Greekfest at the Greek Community Centre on Purcell's Cove Road; and

Whereas the Greekfest based on the Greek tradition of Philoxenia, or hospitality, is a social and cultural event enjoyed by many from all over metro and other areas of the province; and

Whereas Greekfest is a manifestation of a vibrant Greek heritage and culture in Halifax we need to cherish;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate Saint George's Greek Orthodox Church and its congregation for their hosting and staging of Greekfest, one of the great festive community events in Nova Scotia.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Dartmouth East.

RESOLUTION NO. 1411

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

Whereas this past weekend Dr. John (Jack) Quigley of Halifax was presented the Canadian Medical Association Senior Membership; and

Whereas nominees for this membership must have distinguished themselves in their medical careers by making significant contributions to the community and their profession in addition to obtaining an unanimous vote of the Canadian Medical Association Board of Directors; and

[Page 4026]

Whereas Dr. Quigley served as consulting and active staff as well as Head of Ophthalmology at the Victoria General, IWK Children's, Halifax Infirmary and Camp Hill Hospitals from 1956 to 1993;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the House of Assembly congratulate Dr. John (Jack) Howden Quigley on his most recent honour and extend our appreciation for his contributions to health care in Nova Scotia.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

[2:30 p.m.]

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley.

RESOLUTION NO. 1412

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

Whereas the Town of Stewiacke has circumstances whereby the Main Street railway crossing provides the only means of access from the predominately residential part of the community to the remainder of town; and

Whereas the Main Street crossing is used regularly on a daily basis by motorists and pedestrians, including many seniors and children attending the Stewiacke Elementary School; and

Whereas the CN rail line and Main Street crossing have been the scene of three major train-related accidents since 1991;

Therefore be it resolved that the Nova Scotia Legislature support Stewiacke Town Council's request that passenger and freight train speed be reduced to a permanent slow order of 50 kilometres per hour through the Town of Stewiacke.

[Page 4027]

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Hants East.

RESOLUTION NO. 1413

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

Whereas the logging industry is a centuries old activity in Nova Scotia and has built up a long history of tradition and romantic lore; and

Whereas the Regional Heritage Fairs attempt to challenge students to dig into our cultural mosaic, dust off and present anew that which is both interesting and in danger of becoming lost to our knowledge; and

Whereas Karen Lake of East Walton, who attends Hants North Rural High School, won first prize at the Regional Heritage Fair in Truro for her presentation on old logging camps and can attend the National Heritage Fair in Kamloops;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly congratulate Karen Lake, representing the Chignecto-Central Regional School Board for her award winning research and presentation at the Regional Heritage Fair and wish her the best as she represents Nova Scotia at the National Heritage Fair.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

[Page 4028]

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Cape Breton South.

RESOLUTION NO. 1414

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

Whereas Patricia Morrison, a learning assistant with UCCB School of Business received this year's President's Award for support of common purposes; and

Whereas the award was first established in 1994 by UCCB President and Chancellor, Jacquelyn Thayer Scott; and

Whereas this award is issued to someone who has made a significant contribution to achieving the mission of the University College of Cape Breton;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Patricia Morrison for her outstanding contribution to the University College of Cape Breton.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley.

RESOLUTION NO. 1415

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

[Page 4029]

Whereas the Cumberland County communities of Springhill and River Hebert are steeped in rich coal mining heritage; and

Whereas despite this steep and rich heritage, coal miners and all Nova Scotians, on July 11th, will remember back 76 years ago when coal miner Bill Davis of New Waterford died while fighting for the rights of miners; and

Whereas besides the tragedy in New Waterford 76 years ago, numerous other casualties have been born by coal mining families in Cumberland County;

Therefore be it resolved that as we commemorate Davis Day, we also remember the lives lost in other coal mining tragedies in this province, including the Springhill disaster of 1891, the 1956 explosion and the 1958 bump, which had a devastating impact on 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 Dartmouth North.

RESOLUTION NO. 1416

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

Whereas this week marks Access Awareness Week in Nova Scotia, a time to encourage progress in areas of transportation, housing, employment, recreation, education and communication; and

Whereas this week celebrates the accomplishments of persons with disabilities and recognizes the support and encouragement given to them by their friends and community; and

[Page 4030]

Whereas though many improvement have been made in access for disabled individuals, much needs to be done yet;

Therefore be it resolved that this House pledge its support to Access Awareness Week and will work ceaselessly year round to achieve better access for persons with disabilities.

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. 1417

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

Whereas last year Canada Post announced it would close the sorting station in North Sydney which may result in the loss of up to 60 jobs; and

Whereas last fall, after some persuasion, Canada Post announced it would review the decision to close this important facility which has operated in North Sydney for over 50 years; and

Whereas during the review process, the Premier did absolutely nothing to keep these jobs in Cape Breton and as a result, these jobs will be lost to New Brunswick and Newfoundland;

Therefore be it resolved that the Premier take immediate action by meeting with his federal counterparts and demand that these jobs stay in North Sydney where they belong.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

[Page 4031]

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

Is it agreed?

I hear a No.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable Leader of the Opposition.

RESOLUTION NO. 1418

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 Minister of Economic Development announced today Nova Scotia's first trade surplus in a generation due to the shipment of our natural gas to New Brunswick and New England; and

Whereas the federal Finance Department's recent figures show Nova Scotia as the province most dependent on federal transfers; and

Whereas Statistics Canada forecasts that Nova Scotia will face decreasing federal transfers just when our aging population becomes a heavy burden on our already underfunded health care system;

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Economic Development and his government should get serious and adopt a development strategy that concentrates the development of secondary industries, jobs and capital locally, not in New England.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear a No.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Timberlea-Prospect.

[Page 4032]

RESOLUTION NO. 1419

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

Whereas tourism operators across Nova Scotia are ready for another busy season; and

Whereas bed and breakfast operations, cottages and small inns are the backbone of the tourism business in the constituency of Timberlea-Prospect; and

Whereas these businesses make a valuable contribution to the economy of our province;

Therefore be it resolved that the House of Assembly thank and congratulate tourism operators across the province with wishes of a successful tourist season.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Halifax Atlantic.

RESOLUTION NO. 1420

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

Whereas Halifax author Carol Bruneau was honoured this past Friday as a double winner at the Atlantic Book Awards in Dartmouth; and

Whereas Ms. Bruneau won the $1,200 Dartmouth Book Award for Fiction and the $5,000 Thomas Head Raddall Atlantic Fiction Prize for her very first novel, Purple for Sky; and

[Page 4033]

Whereas these awards auger well for Ms. Bruneau and book lovers everywhere should reap the rewards of her talent in future books;

Therefore be it resolved that this House applaud Carol Bruneau for winning the Dartmouth Book Award for Fiction and the Thomas Head Raddall Atlantic Fiction Prize for her very first novel, Purple for Sky, at the Atlantic Book Awards.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Hants East.

RESOLUTION NO. 1421

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

Whereas heroes of all ages will be recognized in a ceremony on Canada Day in Ottawa on Parliament Hill; and

Whereas four year old Nicholas Farquhar of Lantz showed remarkable courage in September 2000 when he rescued his mother after she had been rendered unconscious when hit by lightning in her home; and

Whereas Nicholas Farquhar also removed his one year old brother, Noah, out of the building which he feared was on fire;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House recognize the exceptional bravery displayed by young Nicholas Farquhar and congratulate him on being recognized as a hero at a ceremony in July in Ottawa.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

[Page 4034]

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.

RESOLUTION NO. 1422

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

Whereas the Dartmouth unit of the Canadian Cancer Society at their Celebration of Hope on Tuesday, May 15, 2001, celebrated 80 years of living of one of their volunteers; and

Whereas Jean Thorpe, the living volunteer so honoured, spent 50 years with the Canadian Cancer Society in every aspect of their work; and

Whereas Jean Thorpe, also a cancer survivor, was instrumental in initiating the Shelburne Unit of the Canadian Cancer Society before moving to Dartmouth;

Therefore be it resolved that this Nova Scotia Legislature recognize and appreciate the good work of Jean Thorpe with the Canadian Cancer Society during the International Year of Volunteers.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Government House Leader.

[Page 4035]

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, I would ask the consent of the House to revert to the order of business, Presenting Reports of Committees.

MR. SPEAKER: Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Pictou West.

MRS. MURIEL BAILLIE: Mr. Speaker, as Chairman of the Committee on Private and Local Bills, I am directed to report that the committee has met and considered the following bill:

Bill No. 56 - An Act Respecting the Cathedral Church of the Diocese of Nova Scotia.

and the committee recommends this bill to the favourable consideration of the House, without amendment.

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

ORDERS OF THE DAY

GOVERNMENT BUSINESS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

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

PUBLIC BILLS FOR THIRD READING

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 20.

Bill No. 20 - Government Restructuring (2001) Act.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Opposition.

[Page 4036]

MR. DARRELL DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to have an opportunity this afternoon to begin the third reading debate on Bill No. 20. I want to begin by recalling where it was we were when we started this debate, now several weeks ago, because I think it is important for us to remember that we started this debate - we in this caucus - started it by saying that the restructuring was kind of the same old, same old, that restructuring had taken place on so many occasions in the past that people had forgotten that every time the government wanted to look busy, what it did was undertook a restructuring that changed the departmental responsibilities of the ministers, shifted some responsibilities from one department to another and did away with a few.

All of this was nothing more than a little sleight of hand, a little hocus-pocus, some smokescreens, trying to make the government appear busy when really there was no real plan for the way in which to make government deliver the services that were needed by people in a more efficient fashion.

Mr. Speaker, we had an opportunity to go through and certainly inasmuch as the departmental restructuring that took place, I think we are more confirmed in our minds now than we were when this bill first came forward, that that is in fact the case, that really what reigns more than anything else on the government benches is confusion rather than any kind of an absolute plan for a way to better serve the interests of the people of the province. However, inasmuch as that is really about the restructuring plans . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. There is too much noise in the Chamber. I would ask the members to take their conversations outside, please.

Would the honourable member allow for an introduction?

MR. DEXTER: Certainly.

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

MR. BROOKE TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, thank you to the honourable Leader of the Opposition. I would like to draw the House's interest and attention to your gallery. We have with us this afternoon three young women who will be working at Province House this summer as tour guides. I would like to introduce them and ask the young ladies if they would stand, Nancy Ferguson from Glace Bay, Roxanne Béland from Dartmouth, and Stephanie Giffin - I see she started to write Stephenville, but she marked that out - from Halifax. If the House would give them a round of applause, I know they would appreciate it. (Applause)

[Page 4037]

[2:45 p.m.]

MR. SPEAKER: We certainly welcome these three young ladies to the Legislature and we hope they enjoy their summer with us.

The honourable Leader of the Opposition.

MR. DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, I will just pick up where I left off. I talked a little bit about the restructuring of the individual departments and how that was really nothing more than kind of rearranging the deck chairs; it really has no substantive ability or purports to have no substantive effect on the delivery of services to the people of the province. However, having said that, it is certainly the case that with respect to the departmental restructuring, there didn't seem to be a lot of value in the legislation for the people of the province.

Mr. Speaker, that is not to say that there was nothing significant in this bill, because in fact there was a great deal of significance in the bill that had less to do with restructuring government and more with the recapturing of power by the Priorities and Planning Secretariat and by the Executive Council than it did with trying to deliver services to the people of the province. Certainly what we saw, quite regrettably, starting with Clause 17 of that bill, starting with the provisions around the privatization of liquor sales in the province, was an attempt by this government - and apparently, as the clock winds down, a successful attempt - to draw into the hands of government the ability to be able to privatize liquor sales in the province in any way that they feel is appropriate, without having to come back to the House of Assembly, without having to engage in the debate around privatization of alcohol and the sale of alcohol in the province.

I pointed out when we first started this process, as did others in my caucus, that we were willing to work with the government to try to find amendments which would allow the government to achieve the aims that they put forward in terms of being able to run the agency stores they said they wanted to run, in terms of trying to allow them to bring forward the speciality permits they were looking for, and essentially conceding that the government had the power through this legislation and through this Legislature, with its majority, to be able to put that through the House of Assembly with the erosion of time.

As time flowed by, they were going to be able to do that, so we said, rather than just putting forward obstacles in the road of government, let's try to be constructive about this, let's try to put forward amendments to the minister and to the Government House Leader who is looking after shepherding this bill through the House, let's put through constructive amendments that will allow the government to be able to realize its objectives and, at the same time, narrow the focus of the legislation so that future governments, not necessarily this one but others that will follow it, subsequent governments - there will, in fact, I know sitting here, perhaps the government doesn't realize it, but there will be subsequent governments to this one - they will inherit the provisions of this bill.

[Page 4038]

It may be that they won't have the same kind of discipline of thinking that perhaps this government intends to display with respect to this legislation. They may take this legislation, in its black-and-white form, in the black letter of the law, and say under this bill we are entitled to privatize the liquor sales of the province and we intend to do that. They can do that without bringing anything further back to the House of Assembly, and they can do it in a way which means that they are not accountable to the people of the province, not accountable to their electors, not accountable to the other members of the House of Assembly who were elected to protect the interests of the people of the province. So that was the beginning and then there were any number of other amendments that came forward from various departments. Certainly it was the case that we were able to get, through some very hard bargaining and some very difficult negotiations, to rend from this government some amendments that will make the bill at least better.

I just want to touch on a couple of them. I want to specifically point to the amendment which we received that would prevent Service Nova Scotia from having within its mandate the mandate to privatize government services, to pursue a campaign of alternate service delivery. Alternate service delivery is a euphemism that is used for the privatization of government services and really an erosion of job protection for government employees. I might say, also, an erosion of service just generally to the people of the province.

So we were pleased that the government was willing to enter into an agreement to allow us to put forward that amendment. I think it is one that, I guess to a large degree, speaks for itself, but the reality is that it was only because the NDP caucus was here that that became a priority, Mr. Speaker. It is our role in this Legislature to continue to scrutinize every clause of the bill, but of course it is the philosophy that guides the various Parties that depends on what priorities are set and certainly this particular amendment I think is a credit to the work that my colleagues do here in the House. Certainly as the members have been saying all along, it is why we are here - to bring forward these kinds of common sense amendments to the legislation that the government brings forward.

There remains many regrettable features in the bill, none that I think is any more regrettable than the government's stated intention to interfere in the operation of the Workers' Compensation Board. It stated intentions to take control of third party agencies, agencies that receive funding from the government. The examples around the province are many and legion. The government points out that this is a discretionary matter, but you know, Mr. Speaker, that was what was said under the Health Authorities Act about the district health authorities. We have seen already resignations from the district health authorities declaring that they are tired of having people interfere in the operation of the health authorities, that the health authorities are being run out of Halifax, that they are not responsive to community needs.

[Page 4039]

These were all warnings that we put forward while the Health Authorities Act was going forward, Mr. Speaker, and what do you know? Here we are, less than six months later, and the predictions that we made about the way in which the Health Authorities Act would impact on the provision of medical and health cares services across the province have come to pass.

One of the things we are not here to do is simply to say I told you so. It would be tempting and it would be right, but we are not here to do that. So I won't engage in that, only enough to say that when we use that Act to compare what we are saying about this bill and when we say that ultimately what it means is a much greater centralization of power in the hands of Priorities and Planning, what it means is that there will be much less accountability, much less transparency, much less that we will be privy to as the elected representatives of the people of the province. When it is used in that regard as a tool of comparison then one can see that inevitably the comments that we have made and the observations we have made about the Government Restructuring (2001) Act will also, very regrettably, turn out to be true.

My colleague, the member for Halifax Fairview, pointed out on a number of occasions, and I think quite eloquently, while the amendments were going through, that this is a zero sum game. When you take power and when you bring it into the realm of the Priorities and Planning Committee, it has to come from somewhere else, you don't create more power, what you do is you take that authority, you take that power from somewhere else, and where you take it from is from here because this is the Chamber, this is the place in which all of the legislation is supposed to be vetted, it is the place in which we are charged with the responsibility to monitor the operations of government.

When the operations of government are restructured so that that the authority over those operations is given to the Priorities and Planning Committee, and when they can go downstairs, out of this Chamber, into the bunker and make decisions that are going to behind - I think it is the blue curtains now, it used to be the red curtains - the blue curtains down in the bunker, then they can make decisions about the lives of the people of this province that need never come to the floor of the House of Assembly for scrutiny.

Mr. Speaker, it is a mindset, it is a philosophy of government that is profoundly troubling, because as democrats, all of us as democrats, understand that one of the first pillars of democracy is openness, accountability and transparency, those are the touchstones of a democracy. Yet, that is a philosophy that seems to be at odds with the initiatives of the government; it seems to be at odds with the purposes of this government; it seems to be at odds with their raison d'etre. This is a government that is bent on secrecy; this is a government that is bent on hiding away its decision making. I might say much of what has been done in this Chamber in the name of the present government has been anything but building consensus; has been anything other than trying to build a better society for the people of the province, quite the opposite.

[Page 4040]

We have seen a litany of legislation of which the restructuring bill is only one. We have seen a litany of legislation come forward that is based around the notion that you have to divide people into groups, that you have to draw lines between people, that what you are going to do is pit groups against each other. That is what the Community Services legislation was all about. It was all about pitting one group against another. That was what the government's campaign was about, pitting mainland Nova Scotia against Cape Breton. That is what the restructuring bill does. That is what the initiatives of this government have been about right from the day it began. Unfortunately, it is not a constructive or a productive way to operate.

The Government Restructuring (2001) Bill will ultimately mean that decisions about the well-being of the people of this province are going to be made by the Cabinet and they are going to be made by the Priorities and Planning Committee, in secrecy, where it is impossible to shine the light of this Chamber onto the decisions that are being made. We will find out about them, rather than directly from the ministers who are involved, we will find out about them obliquely; we will find out by reports to the Legislature from our constituents and from interested parties who feel the jagged edge of the legislation. That is how we will find out rather than through the manner in which democracy intends, which is through the direct reporting of government on its intentions to the people through this Chamber.

[3:00 p.m.]

Mr. Speaker, that is one of the fundamental facets of a democracy that the ministers in their roles as the heads of the departments bring forward the initiatives. I must say, it has been a disturbing trend over the last number of years that the ministers of departments make announcements about programming that takes place outside of this Chamber and then they come here to tell the members in this Chamber only incidentally, after the decisions have already been made, after everybody else in the province knows, before the members of the House of Assembly know. Well, that's not the way that this House is supposed to operate because the ability to analyze these pieces of legislation, the responsibility to analyze these pieces of legislation reside here. The reality though is that this government is more concerned about its communications strategy than its legislative strategy. That's what they're concerned about.

You only have to look at the Department of Health. You only have to look at a department which started out by saying they were going to cut administration and they were going to invest in front-line health care and instead they hire. They now over there have a deputy minister, an associate minister, an assistant minister, they have attached to them numerous communications people who . . .

AN HON. MEMBER: Do they have a minister?

[Page 4041]

MR. DEXTER: They also have a minister from time to time as well. So, you know, Mr. Speaker, what they have done is they have invested in administration in a big way and the administration that they have invested in is designed not to provide better or more thorough or complete information to the people of the province, but rather to provide only that information which the Department of Health thinks that people should have, only the information that the Department of Health feels is beneficial to the case made by the government.

I have to say that on many occasions, we have not only found that information to be the product of spin or shaded or slanted, but we have found the information to be out-and-out wrong, Mr. Speaker. It is unfortunate when the Premier stands up in response to questions and instead of saying, I will get right back to you with that information, I will have my officials provide it at the earliest opportunity, when the Premier gets up he says, it is your job to go and ferret it out. Well, the Premier has a responsibility to this House to provide appropriate and adequate information so that we are in a position to be able to provide him with the best advice that we can provide him with because that is our responsibility. That's why we are here. We are here to provide good advice to the government.

Now, we gave them good advice and quite frankly, we were responsible, I guess, for the lion's share of the amendments, I don't know if the Liberals got any. Did they get one, I think? I don't recall. Anyway, we were able to convince the government that we needed a number of amendments to the bill and we got those and I think the government is quite thankful and I know the people of Nova Scotia were certainly well served by the amendments that we were able to put forward on their behalf. Again, it is certainly a large part of what we are here for.

Mr. Speaker, we managed to get some of the amendments that we wanted. We did it by persuasive argument. I know the member for Halifax Fairview on many occasions when he was speaking had the rapt attention of the members opposite and I could see them, go down the line with him, understand completely what the member for Halifax Fairview was telling them. It was only at the last moment when the front bench turned around and said, no, no, don't listen to him, I know it makes sense but you can't vote in favour of it. It was only then that the backbench voted against the amendment, because this is the Party that is in favour of free votes. Do you remember that?

They were in favour of free votes when they sat on this side, they were in favour of free votes but when they sit on that side, it is right down the line. Every now and then they will make a few people who want to vote against a bill leave the room, so they won't embarrass themselves, so every now and then - and I wouldn't believe it if I hadn't seen it with my own eyes - the Government House Leader turning around and telling people to leave because they didn't want them to vote against a particular bill because even they couldn't stomach it, Mr. Speaker. So you know that in the Conservative Party free votes come at a great price. We have seen that before in this House.

[Page 4042]

Nonetheless, Mr. Speaker, we did our job here. We did the best we could in the circumstances with the 11 members that we have. So I want to tell you, all in all it comes down to this. This is a bill that does not well serve the people of this province. Ultimately, the people of the province will be worse off because of it. We believe that. We've put forward all the arguments and reasons why that is the case. So the people of the province will have the ability to judge in the final analysis and we are going to hand the bill back to the government and allow them to go ahead and do what it is they feel is necessary. We are not going to support it because even with the amendments that we had made, it is still a bad bill and we are not going to be responsible for joining the government in passing a bad bill. So we are going to vote against it. Even though having made the amendments, we are here to provide voice for those people who have not been heard, that's why we are here.

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

MR. RUSSELL MACKINNON: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise and speak on the title of Bill No. 20, An Act to Restructure the Government of Nova Scotia. The first thing we have to do is ask ourselves what, in fact, is the government attempting to accomplish by Bill No. 20. (Interruption) I am going to try. Mr. Speaker, just some sidebar interventions from the NDP caucus cheering me on, which is very irregular at best.

Mr. Speaker, ultimately we have to ask ourselves what, in fact, is the government attempting to accomplish by implementing Bill No. 20. It says it is an Act to Restructure the Government of Nova Scotia. Well, is it an Act to restructure, is it an Act to reshape, is it an Act to redesign the government as we know it in Nova Scotia and its relationship to the people to which it is commissioned to serve, or perhaps is it an opportunity for the government to achieve some other objectives?

Mr. Speaker, certainly not to belabour some of the points that were raised on a previous day, but we heard a lot in the local media on a number of issues in the past weekend. It kept bringing me back to the thoughts about Bill No. 20 and really what the government was trying to achieve. There was one particular issue on, I believe, the Arts and Entertainment channel on our cable television. They kept referring to the issue of totalitarianism. Just to see how this particular word and what it really means in terms of Bill No. 20, I will read the definition. It says, "of or relating to centralized control by an autocratic leader or hierarchy:" Then it goes on and it says under section b, "of or relating to a political regime based on subordination of the individual to the state and strict control of all aspects of the life and productive capacity of the nation esp. by coercive measures . . ."

Mr. Speaker, many of the points the Opposition has raised on Bill No. 20, on the title, certainly bring you back to the thoughts of what totalitarianism really means. The issue and the arguments surrounding the issue of what Bill No. 20 intends to achieve really goes to this

restructuring process of what the government is attempting to position itself for. What we have is the government going back to a process that essentially puts the power of government

[Page 4043]

in the hands of a few. That is really what the restructuring of this government process is all about.

We see the reincarnation of this mild form of totalitarianism as defined in the dictionary by putting a tremendous amount of power and control in the hands of a very select group of the Cabinet. As we know it today, it would be P&P, although there are greater checks and balances on the P&P process to Cabinet and then subsequently to, for example, the government caucus backbenchers and then eventually to all members of the Legislature. But that will be eliminated by the design of Bill No. 20 because those checks and balances, for the most part, will be eradicated. That is one of the unfortunate parts about what Bill No. 20 really says to the people of Nova Scotia.

As the previous speaker has noted, what it does, it brings the decision-making process of government further away from the people in terms of any opportunity for the people to provide their thoughts on it, their input, any suggestions that they may have in terms of reshaping public policy, or any opportunity for the people to object or take issue with any aspect of the design of government under Bill No. 20 before it takes place. Everything will be after the fact.

I couldn't help but also look in the same dictionary for what the definition of Tory was. It was rather startling when you look at it because the definition of a Tory is, "an Irish papist or royalist outlaw . . . member or supporter of a major British political group . . .", in the 17th Century. Certainly, I don't think the Tory Party of today wants to go back into the 17th Century, but by the design of Bill No. 20, really, what the government is doing is isolating much of its own government caucus from the decision-making process.

It is almost as if we were going back prior to 1917 and 1919, which eventually saw the curtains come down on the Upper House, which we now refer to as the Red Chamber where the executive branch of government - or one would refer to as the Senate of Government - performed their functions in the Red Chamber and that Red Chamber had all the balconies as we have them in this Chamber much the same in the Red Room. They are all removed now and the Red Chamber is essentially for formal ceremonies and for the meeting of committees such as Law Amendments and other committees and select committees of the Legislature. Now all those powers have been kind of merged into one and the existing structure of government as we know it. We don't have the executive branch or that non-elected elitist group in the Red Chamber anymore; we have a fully accountable, a fully electable government now before the House of Assembly.

Bill No. 20, in fact, initiates a process to eliminate that accountability away from the individual elected members and from, perhaps, I would suggest the non-Cabinet members of the Conservative caucus, because what in effect they would be required to do, on a very selected basis, is to give their approbation or their disapproval to certain public policy

[Page 4044]

initiatives by the government when, in fact, they don't have all the information at their disposal, and that is really what Bill No. 20 does.

[3:15 p.m.]

Mr. Speaker, it also goes against the very essence of what responsible government stands for, because as we all remember, the responsible government that we have, or the government that we have here in Nova Scotia was the product, the end result of many generations of British parliamentary rule. According to our Canadian Constitution, responsible government as we know it was actually associated with Lord Durham's concurrent governorship of Upper and Lower Canada, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland, following the unrest and the agitation in the colonies in the 1830's. At that time he recommended responsible government and the retention of the appointment to the Executive Council, conditional on the continued confidence of the Legislative Assembly, the Lower House, which is what we would have had here at this particular point in time, and then the executive branch there, that all being merged here.

We now look at that whole thing as a package, and what Bill No. 20 does is, in fact, put the brakes on and now we are starting to move back into a different regime altogether.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. Would the honourable member allow for an introduction?

MR. MACKINNON: Yes, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Needham.

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the honourable member for Cape Breton West for yielding the floor. Today in our west gallery we have members of the Community Action Coalition to Implement the Kendrick Report visiting. They are Dorothy Kitchen, John Cox, Mary Rothman, Jennifer Gallant, Barb Horner, Crystal Gallop and Trent Coady. I would ask them to stand and receive the warm welcome of the House. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: We certainly welcome our guests to the gallery today, and we hope they enjoy the proceedings.

MR. MACKINNON: Mr. Speaker, I hope they don't find my dissertation too boring, because I like to go into the history to make my case for the present and the future and if they find it somewhat boring, about responsible government, it is the best I can do.

MR. GRAHAM STEELE: Spice it up. Spice it up.

[Page 4045]

MR. MACKINNON: The member for Halifax Fairview is asking me to spice it up, but we will save that for the second part of my one hour.

Mr. Speaker, as I was saying, when Lord Durham recommended responsible government, and eventually with the design of the Upper and Lower House, that was supposed to suffice for all the colonies, but then the possible conflict between a Governor's instruction from the British Colonial Office and the advice of the colonial government would be resolved by an appropriate division or distribution of responsibilities between the colonial and the imperial governments. Of course, the Upper Chamber also seemed to take the instruction from the imperial government; hence that conflict could only last for so long, and then eventually it was eradicated by the elected Assembly as we know it today. Lord Durham reported in 1840 and responsible government eventually came to Nova Scotia, and eventually to all of Canada. It was created in British Columbia as a condition to the entry into Confederation in 1870.

We ask ourselves what really the government is attempting to do with Bill No. 20, how does it fit into the design of responsible government? Well, the basic principle of responsible government is that every elected member, irrespective of their political stripe, whether you are Liberal, whether you are Tory, whether you are NDP or what have you, your first and foremost obligation is to your constituents under British Parliamentary Rules. That is the premise, that is the basis of responsible government. It is your obligation as an elected official to defend the interests and the rights and the needs and the aspirations of your constituents against all other forces. That is the principle upon which responsible government was built.

That continued fine and dandy with the merging of the Upper House and the Lower House and then, eventually, we got to the point perhaps 35 or 40 years ago when the Party Whip system came in. That was a way for the government to whip a lot of the dissidents, or those individual members who wanted to lean more on the premise for responsible government, to fall in line with what the government's policy or agendas were. What eventually transpired is that worked very well because it gave the government, especially senior members of government - the Cabinet that is, because any member who is not in Cabinet is not a member of government, they are only a member of the governing Party; that is the definition and that is a point of law - to kind of ensure control, ensure discipline and be assured that when critical votes of the House came that they would be guaranteed to pass those bills.

So with Bill No. 20, the government further emulates a lot of that style of governance that took place back when responsible government first came into existence here in Nova Scotia and then eventually when the Party Whip system kicked in. Unfortunately, what it does, Mr. Speaker, is it moves too far to the right. If you are looking at the political spectrum, you go to the extreme left, which is socialism in the first degree. But on the other hand, if you move to the extreme right, you are looking at the Toryism, and we have already given the

[Page 4046]

definition of Tory; in the Old English Dictionary it is referred to as an Irish thief. I am sure that is not the definition of a Tory by today's terms, but (Interruption) As a matter of fact, I myself am Irish, so I have to be a little careful. I took the first corrective measure by not being a Tory. The next step we will leave for the approbation of the members of the committee.

Really what they are doing, Mr. Speaker, by adopting Bill No. 20 is moving towards that totalitarian state. There are a number of examples and I raised it on three separate occasions, perhaps more, with regard to the Workers' Compensation Board. What the government will do is they will completely impose themselves - the government, the political arm of government will impose itself - not only from a legislative point of view but from an administrative point of view, into the workings of this independent agency of government; independent to the extent that from an administrative and an operational point of view, the government presently doesn't involve itself in that. But strictly as guardians of the public interest, legislatively, government's responsibility is to ensure that legal framework is there, but not to involve itself in the operation or the administration of such agencies as the Workers' Compensation Board.

Bill No. 20, by its design, eliminates that independence and starts to break down many of the objective measures from an arm's-length point of view that ensures that the government is providing good, responsible public policy. As well, Mr. Speaker, we can see, essentially, what has happened with the Department of Health; we saw what has happened with the Department of Education; we see it happening with the Department of Fisheries presently.

If you were to go on the Web site, just in the last several weeks, you will find where I believe the minister and his staff have a consultative draft public policy paper out on Nova Scotia Fish Processors and Fish Buyers License Policy. Well, that is not well-known to many of the lobster fishermen down through Clare, Argyle, and the southwestern part of the province. Many of them don't know about what is happening with this policy paper and the fact that the government is going to make some rather substantive changes on who the processors will be and who the buyers will be is quite concerning because this is a government that held itself out as being open and accountable and a government that would listen before it would act. (Interruption) I notice at least one minister saying, absolutely, that is correct.

Mr. Speaker, in fairness to the honourable Minister of Natural Resources, the fact that it is at least posted on the Internet is a sign of consultation. It is a sign of reaching out, but how many fishermen at this juncture have the opportunity to be participating in the consultative process in such a short time frame where all the submissions have to be concluded by June 1st and, hopefully, as I have been given some indication from department staff, that perhaps could be extended. I think in a sense of fairness, I would encourage the government to do that.

[Page 4047]

Mr. Speaker, that is one of the good things about this process. It also lends one to believe that this change of policy in the fishing industry is leading more and more to the demise of the inshore fishery and Bill No. 20 is a document that rubber-stamps some of those concerns that have been raised, but the fact of the matter is the government is not reacting. For example, for those who aren't familiar, by changing the requirement from having a holding tank of 2,000 pounds up to 25,000 pounds, that in itself would perhaps have a major impact on the number of buyers in the future, what impact that would have on pricing for the lobster fishermen, or crab fishermen, or what have you. So all these are issues that really should be ferreted out through a fair and open process, but that doesn't seem to be the process with this particular government. I would say that Bill No. 20 only furthers the concern that the people of Nova Scotia are again once removed from the consultative process and the decision-making process. We are surrounded by all our friends over here as you can tell. (Interruption)

Yes, Mr. Speaker, as one member would suggest, I am like the Maytag repairman. I am surrounded by all my friends here making this dissertation on Bill No. 20, but let's not be sidetracked by rabbit tracks. Where is the Premier's leadership on Bill No. 20 as well? The Premier, when he was in Opposition, was asking the people of Nova Scotia to have their members be allowed to have free votes. In fact, on Saturday, July 31, 1999, in The Chronicle-Herald, he said there would be some free votes allowed in the Legislature and he stated the important thing to remember is we stick together as a team day in and day out. So he is saying two different things at the same time.

[3:30 p.m.]

On one hand he is saying the individual members can vote to protect the interests of their constituents and the principles of responsible government that Joseph Howe and all who followed in his tracks had proclaimed and stand here before the Legislature, but yet, on the other hand, he is indicating to the Tory backbenchers, and I would suggest that perhaps certain individuals within Cabinet, that if they don't follow this particular policy then they are to be no more a part of the team. Everything was great when the Premier was on this side of the House, but while he is on that side of the House, what he says and what he does are two different things. As one would say, it is one thing to talk the talk, but it is another thing to walk the walk.

That is an issue that I believe individual members will come to realize that the people of Nova Scotia really have very little tolerance for these days. There seems to be some, I don't know if you would say ambivalence or indifference, or just a sense of frustration by government that no matter what you do or say the government is not going to listen anyway. It is just going to do what it wants, so why bother even to argue? Why bother even to say anything? That seems to be the case on a number of issues that were incorporated into Bill No. 20. If the government is talking about restructuring government to be open and more accountable and more accessible to the people then, certainly, this is not the way to do it.

[Page 4048]

We saw, for example with the issue of the Liquor Commission, the fact that the government now wants private liquor outlets in certain regions of the province. Well that may not be such a bad thing, but what the government seems to be doing is going one step further and opening up Pandora's box under Bill No. 20 so that every drug store, every corner store, every grocery store, you have it, will have the opportunity to start selling liquor in their commercial operations around the province.

Now bearing in mind the Nova Scotia Liquor Commission has the highest rate of return on the dollar than any other government agency in the Province of Nova Scotia - for every dollar the Liquor Commission invests, it gets $1.30 back, and that is a 30 per cent rate of return - what does it all mean? The government saw more than $130 million profit last year and rate it as one of the best institutions in the country, and yet it wants to start privatizing. Not just expanding the operations to the remote parts of the province where perhaps under the present structure it wouldn't be permissible, it seems to be more and more that the government wants to give away these cash cows to friends of the government rather than to meet the needs of the people that need it the most, because there is a balance there - meeting the needs of these remote communities and at the same time ensuring that we get maximum value for our dollar.

If we are getting a 30 per cent rate of return on our dollar, why would anyone want to tamper with that? You can't get that anywhere in the marketplace. If you get 6, 7, 10 per cent on your dollar in the marketplace - unless you want to play with high-risk stocks and bonds, and then maybe you might hit it lucky, but that is very iffy - this is a guaranteed investment for the taxpayers of Nova Scotia, where you are getting a 30 per cent return on every dollar. In other words, you invest a dollar, you get $1.30 back. I think the government has gone too far with Bill No. 20.

As well, the major stakeholders that found any sense of need to come before the Legislature and express their opinions, did in fact come and raise objection to many aspects of Bill No. 20, and what happened? The government just ignored it. What happened to any of the amendments? Most of the major amendments that were brought before this Assembly, they were cast aside. Yet, ironically, there hasn't been one member of the government benches who stood and defended Bill No. 20 in any measure, not one. Not on the introduction of the bill, which they couldn't, that is just for first reading; on second reading not one member defended the government on its plans to restructure government through Bill No. 20; at the Law Amendments Committee; Committee of the Whole House on Bills; and now again on third reading.

So I guess it is all about the waiting game. They feel if they wait long enough, the Opposition will wear itself out, or lose the attention of the general public and eventually it will pass and then we will move on to other issues.

[Page 4049]

Mr. Speaker, I don't think it is going to be quite that simple for the government, and I will make a prediction. This time next year, when people start to see the impact of Bill No. 20 as it is played out, they will have some serious concerns. Once the taxpayers start to raise concerns, then the government will throw it back at them and say, oh, well we brought this bill before the House and you didn't say anything; where was your elected official? It was posted on the Internet. We debated it for three months before the House here. This is not our fault. This is what you wanted. This is what you voted for, when in fact that is not what people voted for. They wanted a more open, more compassionate, more accountable, more responsive, more receptive government than what it is receiving.

We saw clear evidence of that on a number of local issues here just with the Halifax Regional School Board. On one hand, the government is portraying itself as being hands-off and have nothing to do with it. On the other hand, they have some of their agents from the department, or at least one agent from the department, a senior department official, sitting in on council meetings; in camera meetings; sitting in and participating in the discussions, in the deliberations for making offers to the labour pool at the school board. So the government has a bigger hand in what is happening, but it is more behind the scenes.

The government doesn't like the people to know that in fact they carry a big stick and if you don't like what they do, they will come down on you pretty heavy. But they have it blanketed in such a way so that the people of Nova Scotia really won't know who is behind some of the heavy-handed tactics that will be forthcoming because of Bill No. 20. Mr. Speaker, that is really one of the unfortunate things.

Another unfortunate thing is that the government has increased its budgetary allotments for spinning all this propaganda out. That is what they did during some right-wing regimes in previous days. What they would do is they would hire communications gurus to go around and spin-out the message. It didn't have to be entirely accurate. It didn't have to be dealing with a lot of detail and it didn't have to be informative to illicit a response from the general public in such a way that would allow them to come forth and express their concern or offer some rather constructive ideas that would change the process, perhaps for the better. Indeed, it was a design by the government to just spin-out the message that would fit their political agenda and nothing more. That was the unfortunate part.

It was unfortunate back then and it was something that came back to haunt the governments of previous days, and it will come back to haunt this particular government under Bill No. 20, Mr. Speaker, because it is an omnibus bill. For example, it has back-to-work legislation built right into it that by virtue of the fact that it - I believe it is Clause 41, Section 17B (a) that will effectively allow the government to bring back-to-work legislation by regulation. So, was that really the restructuring of government that the Conservative Government of John Hamm promised? Is that the open and accountable and responsive and effective and the kind, compassionate government the Premier promised when he read his Speech from the Throne? I don't think it is.

[Page 4050]

Is there a need for some increase or, perhaps better put, is there a need to reshape government somewhat? Sure, I don't believe anybody would debate the merits of becoming more effective and efficient but, in the final analysis, Bill No. 20 actually increases the size of government. It increases it in one way at the same time it is decreasing it in the other way. It is decreasing the size of the Public Service, it is beating them right to the ground in terms of job security, pension security, the obligations that are put on the individual public servants, that are put on the various government departments but on the other hand, it is increasing the political wing, the heavy-handed-ministerial-authoritarian-style movement within any right-wing government.

That's really what we are seeing. We are seeing a rather autocratic, right-wing government take shape. That's really what it is all about. I am sure that there are certain members on the government team, in a previous life, who would certainly have taken issue with this and had many public pronouncements about how unaccountable and how neglecting the government is on its obligations to the people. So, Mr. Speaker, I think that is one of the unfortunate things, again, with Bill No. 20.

Mr. Speaker, I know there are a number of members in the government caucus, when they ran for election and they were going door to door, they were telling the people about all the good things the government was going to do and how they were going to change the world when they got here and all the things. They weren't going to be just a bunch of pawns on a chess board for certain senior members of the Tory Cabinet. They were going to stand up to the government. They were the ones with a lot of spunk. If you look at the member for Preston, when he ran for election. All the things he was going to do. He was going to change the world. The member for Pictou East, the member for the Eastern Shore (Interruption) That's right, and the member for Halifax Bedford Basin and the member for Sackville-Beaver Bank. All these members, all the pronouncements they made about what they were going to do and say to stand up for their constituents and to be accountable and to ensure that their constituents wouldn't be used as a rubber stamp to feed into some Tory propaganda machine.

Yet, Mr. Speaker, that is essentially what Bill No. 20 is doing. Somehow they have been capitulated by the forces within the senior ranks of the government. Bill No. 20 only validates that, and it kind of puts the seal of approval that these Tory backbenchers have, indeed, become what they said they would not become.

What about the member for Guysborough-Port Hawkesbury, with all the things that have been happening down in his area? How do the lobster fishermen feel about the fish buyers and processors regulations, the new policy that is about to come in? How will that effect all the fishermen down in his constituency? We haven't heard a boo. We haven't heard a boo from the member for Preston or the member for the Eastern Shore. All these individuals who said they were going to come up and stand up for their constituents. Bill No. 20 takes all those rights and privileges away.

[Page 4051]

We saw the member from Kings County, who is now the Minister of Environment and Labour, well, Heaven forbid, he wanted plebiscites, he wanted government by plebiscites, Mr. Speaker. What does he have now? I don't know, he may be walking around with a quarter in his pocket, ready for the first slot machine so he can go ka-ching. He sees the opportunity to put money ahead of the principles that he stood for when he was advocating plebiscites.

[3:45 p.m.]

Bill No. 20 is really kind of an abdication of his responsibility as an elected official, as a member of the Legislature under the principles of responsible government. He has completely compromised himself, but more so with Bill No. 20 he has compromised his constituents, because they put that individual, much the same as they put other individuals, into this Chamber, they gave their vote of confidence, their stamp of approval. They felt that they were getting the best member in the election in that constituency at the time of that vote, of all the other candidates who stood.

What a disappointment that now we feel we have reached that little cocoon, that little circle, that golden circle, that elitist group within the Tory caucus that has the wherewithal to come up with Bill No. 20 and say, okay, well, now we don't have to talk about principle, we don't have to talk about our principles upon which we were sent here to represent the people, we will, in fact, now become transformed into these political heavyweights who now know that everything that we say, everything that we do is right, and if people disagree with us they are all wrong, and it is only a matter of time before we will send our spin doctors out to advise them about how right we are and how wrong they are.

Mr. Speaker, Bill No. 20 is a serious mistake. It is a serious mistake. What has happened to the poor member for Kings North? He is at a complete loss, he is overwhelmed by Bill No. 20. It is almost like they are in a daze over there. Yet, for some reason, the people of Nova Scotia, perhaps very unwittingly, have been lulled into this very calm, that everything is going along well here in Province House, but it is not. When Bill No. 20 takes shape before the public eye, when the government starts to initiate many of the objectives of Bill No. 20 and the restructuring of government, then there will be a lot to be said.

There will be a lot of questions to be asked. Where were those members on the government benches? Where were the government backbenchers? Why didn't they stand up? Why didn't they speak about what was happening to our communities? That is going to be the story that will be told on a future day. What a disappointment. When they first came in and when the Speech from the Throne was read, why haven't all the government members had an opportunity to give their Address in Reply to the Speech from the Throne? We don't even know what they represent half the time, because they haven't been allowed to speak about what is important to their constituents.

[Page 4052]

They haven't been able to convey those messages to other members of the Legislature; they haven't been able to get those messages to the senior members of the government, to the Cabinet, and now to this new Treasury and Policy Board, which will be as unaccountable as you can get. We have often heard criticism in recent years about the PMO's office in Ottawa, about how far removed it is even from the Cabinet and from Parliament, the accountability processes, because it has become so complicated and so bureaucratic that it is too hard for an individual to figure out where to go or what to do to be able to resolve an issue for his or her constituents. Bill No. 20 only ratifies that furthermore. It puts that stamp of approval where it should not be put and that is very disappointing because what happened to all those good members who came in on the government team who said that they were going to stand up for their constituents?

Mr. Speaker, not even a whisper from one of those members. The only time we saw them stand and speak to either the title or the principle, or Committee of the Whole, or what have you on Bill No. 20, was when they were heckling Opposition members about frivolous little points that the government members thought could develop some rabbit tracks to kind of bring the Opposition members off the essential issues to Bill No. 20. That again is another disappointment, but clearly it demonstrates the point that I made, why bother having all those members here if they can't do anything, if they can't say anything? If they are only going to be here just to vote for whatever the Cabinet tells them to vote for, why don't they just stay home, get wired in on the Internet, and then when a certain vote is going to take place, we will call them up and tell them to push the button, like they do on Jeopardy or something like that there.

AN HON. MEMBER: They could vote by proxy and give them all to the Premier.

MR. MACKINNON: That is right. They could vote by proxy, send it up to the Premier, and say yes, yes, yes, to Bill Nos. 1, 2, 3 and 4 and no, maybe, and undecided on Bill Nos. 15, 17 and 19. (Interruption) That is right, yes, and the government, like certain Opposition members, is filled with rabbit tracks.

Mr. Speaker, that is very unfortunate. The government had an opportunity to respond to some rather legitimate concerns that were raised on this side. Before I take my place, I want to focus once again on a rather concerning matter that ties directly to the title of this bill, An Act to Restructure the Government of Nova Scotia, and that being Bill No. 20. The fact that the government has now positioned itself in a very politically compromising position by interfering with the independence of the Workers' Compensation Act, it is something that will come back to haunt employers, employees, the health care system, the taxpayers. Indeed it will. Bill No. 20 came to mind last evening when I was listening to the 6:00 o'clock news about the reports that came out that seniors insurance, like health care costs in Nova Scotia and the other Atlantic Provinces, are going to increase because of the increased number of accidents with seniors and certain individuals who are somewhat not

[Page 4053]

attentive drivers, or reckless in their driving habits, but that again ties in to Bill No. 20 and to the WCB.

Mr. Speaker, I am not so sure how many members are aware that if you are an injured worker, if you are a worker and you become injured on the job site and you have to go to the hospital and you have to receive surgery, or a considerable amount of therapy, or what have you, the entire bill for those health care costs are billed from the Department of Health back to the Workers' Compensation Board. Now, if the government is raising the flag about the seniors getting in accidents here, or any other group of individuals in society for that matter, and this is a policy point that the government, particularly the Minister of Finance may want to ponder, why is it that the Nova Scotia Department of Health is subsidizing the American insurance industry?

If we are not doing it in one area, why is it that we are doing it for another group and then rather than deal with that public policy matter, what do we do? We beat up on the seniors of the province. Bill No. 20 is a licence for the government to do that instead of addressing that public policy issue, such as why aren't we charging back to the American insurance industry. If you go down through the United States, health care costs are covered in on their premiums. They are supposed to be here in Nova Scotia, but they are not charged back from the Department of Health to the American insurance industries. So why the double standard?

If they are looking at ways to save money for the taxpayers, is that not a comparable argument as to what has been taking place with the Workers' Compensation Board of Nova Scotia? My understanding is we are looking at anywhere between $10 million and $13 million a year that is paid out by the Workers' Compensation Board to the Department of Health. So if it is good for one, why isn't it good for the others? Why is the government beating up on those who can least defend themselves?

That is what Bill No. 20 does. It allows the government to do things like that without accountability and that is what is disappointing, Mr. Speaker. The Premier appointed, supposedly, some very competent, able individuals to protect the interests of the people of Nova Scotia and that is not happening. So what does Bill No. 20 do? It lets us down. As the point in title says, An Act to Restructure the Government of Nova Scotia and the sponsor being the Honourable Ronald S. Russell, C.D., Chairman of the Priorities and Planning Committee of the Executive Council.

Well, Mr. Speaker, let's look at the track record. A senior member in this government was also a senior member in a previous administration that put us in the state we are in today. It is a fact. He, and to a lesser extent the Minister of Finance, were part and parcel of a government that bankrupted the province. Now we are trying to restructure government to make it look like they are going to be the champions to come in and solve all the problems, which they are not doing with Bill No. 20. They are just shuffling the deck. They are just

[Page 4054]

putting up smokescreens and they are building barriers and walls that would ensure less accountability, more of that political interference and, yes, manipulating good public policy to the advantage of a political ideology that is not necessarily conducive and in the best interest of all Nova Scotians. That is really the disappointment in Bill No. 20.

I would have expected, quite frankly, Mr. Speaker, that the sponsor of this bill would have given us a little more detail rather than the skimpy generalities that didn't even touch on such major issues as: government taking political charge of the Workers' Compensation Board; bringing in back-to-work legislation by regulation through some obscure clause; the rather substantive changes that have been enacted through the Education Act. Indeed, in the general scheme of things it speaks really to how the government speaks to its own members and to members of this Legislature. The fact that the government is operated in such a covert and a rather behind-the-scenes fashion. It speaks to the reality of what type of government we are getting in Nova Scotia.

[4:00 p.m.]

Mr. Speaker, you, yourself, were a champion of the people for your constituency and you have never let up on that, and I congratulate you for that, but what about the other members of your caucus? What happened to them? Did the cat get their tongues? Has somebody stuck some Krazy Glue to the roof of their mouths? What is the problem? Are they just here simply to bide their time and say yes sir, no sir and then, when the opportunity avails itself, jump up and down and cheer for the minuscule representations that are made in an open and fair fashion?

Mr. Speaker, it is very unfair. Bill No. 20 does everything that the people of Nova Scotia do not want. It does do some things that the people do want, and I congratulate the government for that, but for the most part it is all about attitude and process. One thing this government will learn, like its predecessor under then-Premier John Buchanan, is that you cannot legislate opinion. This is what this government is trying to do.

AN HON. MEMBER: John Savage tried.

MR. MACKINNON: They tried, and yes, going back to the previous administration, about attitude and process, I can certainly speak to that.

Mr. Speaker, if we have not learned from our mistakes, if you can't learn from the mistakes of the past then we are only doomed to failure in the future. There is an old adage: if you don't know where you are coming from, how do you know where you are going? This government, they came out with the blue book. Bill No. 20 is supposed to be a blueprint of the blue book, when, in fact, it actually does the opposite. It is very disappointing, because the government really failed in its opportunity to sell this message to the people of Nova Scotia that it was an open, accountable, compassionate, responsive and kind-hearted

[Page 4055]

government; it hasn't done that. Aside from some of the very feeble chants from the Tory backbenches and the absolute silence of Tory ministers, Bill No. 20 has been a failure.

Mr. Speaker, with that I will conclude my remarks. I have two minutes left? Oh, well that is an excellent opportunity for me to really say in very succinct terms how we feel on this side of the House. This Bill No. 20 is not democratic. It is autocratic; it is bordering on moving towards totalitarian government. If you want to know exactly where this government is going, and I will reiterate so I won't be ruled out of order on what totalitarian really is and why this government is moving in that regard.

Totalitarian is defined: "1a: of or relating to centralized control by an autocratic leader or hierarchy . . . b: of or relating to a political regime based on subordination of the individual to the state and strict control of all aspects of life and productive capacity of the nation . . ." If that doesn't speak to what this government is trying to do with Bill No. 20, what does?

Mr. Speaker, the heavy-handed, the backroom dealings, the "silence of the lambs" over there - or the Hamms - or what have you . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. Would the honourable member table that document on totalitarianism?

MR. MACKINNON: Mr. Speaker, the document is in the Legislative Library, actually it is a definition from the dictionary in the library. It is a good read for all members on the government benches, before they go too far, maybe perhaps before they even vote on Bill No. 20. There is also a good section, a good read on responsible government, something that they have forgotten about. They have forgotten what responsible government is all about. Forget about the Party Whip system that they seem to rely so heavily on. It is crumbling at their heels and they don't even realize it because people in Nova Scotia don't accept that - they don't accept it from the NDP, the Liberals and they won't accept it from the Conservatives. So, with that, Mr. Speaker, I conclude by saying that we will not be supporting Bill No. 20 in its present form. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. Are there further interventions on third reading of Bill No. 20? The motion is for third reading of Bill No. 20. Is the House ready for the question?

A recorded vote has been called for.

Ring the bells. Call in the members.

[4:06 p.m.]

[The Division bells were rung.]

[Page 4056]

MR. SPEAKER: Are the Whips satisfied?

[The Clerk calls the roll.]

[4:38 p.m.]

YEAS NAYS

Mr. Rodney MacDonald Mr. Corbett

Mr. Christie Mr. Deveaux

Mr. Russell Ms. Maureen MacDonald

Mr. LeBlanc Mr. Dexter

Mr. Muir Mr. Holm

Miss Purves Mr. Manning MacDonald

Mr. Fage Mr. Downe

Mr. Parent Mr. Gaudet

Ms. McGrath Dr. Smith

Mr. Ronald Chisholm Mr. MacAskill

Mr. Olive Mr. Wilson

Mr. Morse Mr. Boudreau

Mr. MacIsaac Mr. MacKinnon

Mr. DeWolfe Mr. Pye

Mr. Dooks Mr. MacDonell

Mr. Langille Mr. Estabrooks

Mr. Chataway Mr. Epstein

Mr. Clarke Mr. Steele

Mr. Hendsbee

Mrs. Baillie

Mr. Carey

Mr. Barnet

Mr. O'Donnell

Mr. Hurlburt

THE CLERK: For, 24. Against, 18.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is carried.

Ordered that this bill do pass. Ordered that the title be as read by the Clerk. Ordered that the bill be engrossed.

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 30.

[Page 4057]

Bill No. 30 - Financial Measures (2001) Act.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, with the concurrence of the House, I move that the bill be referred to the Committee of the Whole House on Bills - there is a copy of an amendment - and that the reversion be to consider this amendment only.

MR. SPEAKER: Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

[4:42 p.m. The House resolved itself into a CWH on Bills with Acting Deputy Speaker Mr. William Dooks in the Chair.]

[4.47 p.m. CWH on Bills rose and the House reconvened with Deputy Speaker Mr. Brooke Taylor in the Chair.]

[MR. SPEAKER: The Chairman of the Committee of the Whole House on Bills reports:]

THE CLERK: The Chairman of the Committee of the Whole House on Bills reports: that the committee has met and considered an amendment to Clause 89 of the bill, and the amendment was carried and the bill has been favourably referred back to the House with that amendment.

MR. SPEAKER: The bill has been referred favourably back to the House with that amendment.

[PUBLIC BILLS FOR THIRD READING

Bill No. 30 - Financial Measures (2001) Act.] [Debate resumed.]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Finance will move third reading.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Finance.

HON. NEIL LEBLANC: Mr. Speaker, I think that was a message by the Speaker that I should move third reading. However, I want to thank the other two Parties for their

[Page 4058]

concurrences in making that amendment possible, back into third reading. I have spoken often on this bill, so I would be moving forward third reading of Bill No. 30, please.

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

MR. KEVIN DEVEAUX: Mr. Speaker, Bill No. 30 is the culmination of the Financial Measures (2001) Bill, it is a culmination of the budget process for this year that started back in March when the Minister of Finance introduced his budget. We did the Budget Address, we voted on it; this is the last vote we will have with regard to this budget.

I think it is important that we talk about the fact that this budget is a lost opportunity for this government and for the people of Nova Scotia. If we remember back to 1999 when this government was elected, it was elected on a mandate of change. People were tired with the Liberals, they wanted to make a clean sweep, they came forward, this government did, with ideas. We may not have agreed with them on this side of the House on all their ideas but 39 per cent of the people, more than any other Party, voted for the Tories because they felt there were certain ideas that this government was going to bring forward; 243 of them in the blue book, 260 if you include some of the promises made by then Leader of the Third Party, now Premier, on his promotional tour.

Mr. Speaker, the point is that a lot of these promises were ones that people truly felt would happen. They were told by the Tories during the election in 1999 that health care could be saved for $40 million. They were told that their education system would be saved, whether it was a $200 lunch fee in the suburban area of Halifax-Dartmouth, whether it was six schools in Cape Breton, whether it was school amalgamations in Pictou County; they were going to build two super high schools. The Tories promised the people of Nova Scotia that all their issues would be dealt with, with a sprinkle of pixie dust and a snap of their fingers and a click of their heels they would be able to change everything that the Liberals had done badly. They promised it to them while balancing the books and giving them a tax cut.

That is a big order, Mr. Speaker, but we came into this House in 1999, shortly after that election on the belief that this government had a mandate to make these changes. Tough decisions, yes, we knew, but this government had a mandate to make these changes and people believed that four years after that vote, they would be better off. We are two years through and I can assure you the people of Nova Scotia are not better off than they were two years ago.

Two years ago people were not having to go and buy paper for the photocopier at their school, Mr. Speaker. People were not having to deal with the issues of asthma and allergies to the rate and the extent that they have to now. There is a long list of promises they did not keep, of issues they thought they would address, but in the end they have not addressed. Let us be clear that in the end this government will be judged on whether or not it has made the

[Page 4059]

lives of Nova Scotians better for themselves, for their children, for their parents, for the grandparents. They have not and that is why this is a lost opportunity.

This was an opportunity for this government, Mr. Speaker, to talk to the people of Nova Scotia and explain to them their vision of how they will make this province better. Tuition fees are higher than they were two years ago. Schools are in worse shape. We recently had to deal with janitors on strike in the province that was caused by this government's cuts in the Education budget. We have teachers being laid off throughout Nova Scotia because this government continues to cut money from our Education budget. In real dollars we are not even keeping up with inflation.

Mr. Speaker, in our education system we have a system that is falling apart and the people of Nova Scotia know it. This government has failed them. In my own local area I remember during the election, promises by the candidate for the Tories and the now Premier, then Leader of the Third Party, talking about the fact that they would put more money into education to save our education system. Well, they haven't. They continue to withdraw money. We have many more children and youth going on into the university system and still there is no money for the infrastructure for our universities. Our universities are falling apart. Tuition fees are skyrocketing and this government is not doing anything about it.

If you are a parent who is trying to fund your children's education in university or community college, if you are a student who is keen on getting that education so you can go out and get a decent job so that you can stay in Nova Scotia because you like it here, you want to live here, you want to raise your family here eventually, get married, retire, Mr. Speaker, this government has done nothing to make it easier for you to get that education. It has done nothing to ensure that you are going to be able to obtain that level of education that not only makes your life better, it makes you less of a burden on society. It makes you healthier. It means reduced costs for our health care system. It is the long-term investment in our education that will make us prosper as a society and this government has done nothing at all to ensure that our education system is there when Nova Scotians need it. In fact, they have only made it worse.

Mr. Speaker, that is the problem with this Financial Measures (2001) Bill, it is a missed opportunity to tell Nova Scotians that we will invest in the long term for our education system because Nova Scotia succeeds when it is well educated. That is a history that we have had in this province, but it is one on which we are continuing to slide down the slippery slope. If you look at places like Ireland where education has been made a priority, you begin to see, it didn't happen in a year, it didn't happen in two years and I wouldn't expect this government, I wouldn't be standing here now if this government began to invest, began a long-term plan for educational development in our province, I would be standing up and applauding them, knowing that this will take 10 or 20 years, but they are not even going in that direction.

[Page 4060]

Whether it is a need for "Four-Plus" Programs and full service schools throughout Nova Scotia, whether it is increased tuition and deteriorating infrastructure in our universities, whether it is our school system that has teachers who are underpaid and overworked and support staff who are being treated like dirt, Mr. Speaker, this government has done nothing to improve our education system and that is why this Financial Measures (2001) Bill is a missed opportunity.

Mr. Speaker, we can do the same thing with the health care system. Let's take a look at what they have done. Increased Pharmacare costs, $50 for a senior to have to stay in a bed in an acute care hospital because there are no long-term care beds. Talk about the Catch-22. This government doesn't have the vision to go out and invest to build more long-term care beds or more home care capacity, and so our seniors are forced to stay in hospitals, because there is no facility for them to go to that is more economical, more cost-effective, better for them, and while they are in the hospital we are going to ding them for $50 a day. That is a shame. It is a very crass example of how this government has failed the seniors in this province, and they will continue to fail them.

People have surgeries cancelled at the last minute, elective or otherwise. People have waiting lists to get into hospitals for MRIs or bone densitometry or many other tests. People don't have doctors. How many people, back in 1999, in rural Nova Scotia or even in parts of Dartmouth, probably, voted Tory because the Tories made them, with a wink and nudge, believe that they would be given a doctor because they didn't have one? Yet, we still have problems with the lack of physicians in this province.

How many nurses may have voted, real or otherwise - as some members on the other bench have called them - how many nurses will and had believed that this government was going to provide more nurses, more nursing? This government has done nothing. It kept the promise that the Liberals had made before, but it has done nothing to increase the number of nurses in this province.

Mr. Speaker, the problems are still there. The quality of our health care system is no better. In fact I would suggest it is worse than it was before this government came in, and therein lies the other problem. This government, again, has failed to improve the quality of life of Nova Scotians. People voted for change on the belief that they would get a government that would create change, not maintain the status quo, or even make things worse, but actually make their health care system work for them.

Again, people didn't expect miracles in a year or two. People expected this to be a 5, 10 or 15 year plan, but the people of Nova Scotia knew a couple of things. They believed in public sector Medicare, our medical system run and operated totally in the public sector for all the right reasons. They believed that we needed a health care system that was there when us or our children or our parents or grandparents were sick, that an appropriate level of care and adequate care would be provided when necessary, that when I have elective surgery, the

[Page 4061]

people of Nova Scotia would think, I know I am going to be able to get that done without too much inconvenience and that I will be able to do in time so that it doesn't become something serious.

Mr. Speaker, that is all they have asked for in their health care system, and they have not gotten it. That is why this Financial Measures (2001) Bill is a lost opportunity. It was an opportunity for this government to provide to the people of Nova Scotia a vision in the long term, how they would resuscitate our health care system, and they have failed the people of Nova Scotia on all counts.

Mr. Speaker, let's talk about municipal affairs. This government has continued to download on our municipalities, whether it be the equalization; whether it be the removal of capital grants; whether it be the removal, in the budget, of snow and ice removal. We have situations where municipalities continue to take the hard reality of the downsizing of this government. They keep passing the buck down to municipalities. That is the problem with this government, they continue to try and take credit for what might be good, what little may be good, in their budgets, and blame others.

I said, when I talked about this on second reading, that there were five envelopes that this government has that they open up to blame people. The first one is the former government; when in doubt, blame the former government for the problems. The second one, when it comes to health care, district health authorities. They create an institution that is run by the Health Department; the Minister of Health must sign off on all the budgets of the district health authorities, he is the one who has to put pen to paper to do the spending requirements for all these health authorities. Yet, whenever there is a problem, whether it be the tar ponds or whether it be a lack of proper food for cancer patients, this Minister of Health blames the district health authorities and tries to shrug his shoulders and say, I can't do anything about it, when it is his pen and his fingers signing that document that approves the budgets. Blame someone else.

The people of Nova Scotia will remember. They are not going to be voting for the district health authorities; they are not going to be saying those darn health authorities are the reason why my quality of life isn't as good. They are going to be saying, when they go back to the polls, the Tories promised me something, and they have failed miserably; quite frankly, I don't care if it was a district health authority or the Minister of Health but I am going to blame someone, and they are going to blame this government for destroying their quality of life.

Mr. Speaker, let's talk about education, same thing. The Minister of Education, how many times in the last couple of months during the janitors' strike did we hear her stand up and say, oh, it is not my fault, blame the school board? How many times has she used the school boards as a scapegoat for her government's inability to have a vision for how our education system can work? It is disgraceful, quite frankly, but like the Minister of Health

[Page 4062]

she continues to blame someone else for the problems that she has created. There were massive cuts in Education last year and spending this year that does not keep up in real dollars with the inflation rate, which in the end means more cuts and more layoffs and schools that continue to fall apart.

[5:00 p.m.]

Mr. Speaker, this Minister of Education and this government will pay the price in the next election because again people will say why do I have to put paper into my schools. I had this happen where Colby Village Elementary School in my riding, the PTO put out a newsletter. In that newsletter they said, thank you for donating paper to the school. Have we come to the point in our province we must have parents and members of the community donate paper? How many times have parents, through our education system, had to buy chocolate bars or Regal products? I applaud the people, whether the be PTOs or SACs or the teachers or the principals or the vice-principals who do the hard work, but let's be honest, their job is to educate and to ensure our children get the proper education. It shouldn't be to fundraise for essentials, yet that is what we have because this government continues to cut. It has no vision on how our education system can be improved.

We will continue to see the deterioration of our schools and of our education system because this government has no long-term plan for how it will ensure they will invest in education. Mr. Speaker, that is why this is a lost opportunity, why the Financial Measures (2001) Bill is a missed opportunity for this government to spell out how it will create an education system that will help the people of Nova Scotia.

The third envelope I mentioned is the municipalities. Blame them. If your property taxes go up because of downloading of services, blame the municipalities, don't blame me. Mr. Speaker, this is another sign of how this government has continued to try and pass the buck without truly addressing, this isn't leadership; this isn't addressing the problems Nova Scotians elected them to do. This is about creating scapegoats so that when the next election comes and when they go knock on doors - whether it be the member for Shelburne or the member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley - when someone says my education system sucks . . .

AN HON. MEMBER: Blame the school board.

MR. DEVEAUX: . . . blame the school board.

My parents have to pay $50 a day to stay in a hospital because you haven't built any long-term care facilities. Well, let me open up the second envelope. Oh, blame the district health authorities. My road is in bad shape. Well, blame your municipality.

AN HON. MEMBER: Downloading.

[Page 4063]

MR. DEVEAUX: It is all about downloading. Then we talk about the individuals, Mr. Speaker, these are the people that you can't pass on any more. These are the individual Nova Scotians who end up bearing the costs, from Pharmacare increases to increases in bed costs to stay in a hospital. There are tons of costs, increased property taxes because of municipal downloading.

Mr. Speaker, in the end this government has increased $120 million a year - that is $120 million a year annually - user fees and taxes on Nova Scotians so that they can claim that they are balancing the books eventually, though they haven't gotten there yet. That is $120 million a year that they are trying to hide from Nova Scotians. They are trying to tell them that they are not actually collecting that. They haven't denied it when we have put it to them, but they are not out there explaining. If they had promised the people of Nova Scotia $120 million in tax increases, I can assure you that they wouldn't be where they are right now.

It is a secret agenda of jacking up taxes on the people of Nova Scotia for one purpose, so that in the final year, to get themselves re-elected again when they go back to those doorsteps, they will be able to say to the people I gave you a tax cut. Well you know what? There are going to be people on this side of the House and there are going to be people in the media who will be reminding the people of Nova Scotia that you are not giving them a tax cut. All you are doing is paring back the money you took from them over the last four years. Mr. Speaker, that is a shock and it is a shame and I would hope that the people of Nova Scotia wouldn't fall for it. I can assure you that we will be out there reminding people.

That is why this is another missed opportunity. This Financial Measures (2001) Bill was an opportunity to come clean with Nova Scotians, to explain to them how they are able to provide an increase in taxes in an honest way. We produced legislation this session to attempt to do that. Let's spell out how you are increasing user fees. We have a government that doesn't even know where it is getting its money from, Mr. Speaker. The Minister of Finance's department, in a FOI application, had no idea how much money they were collecting, which departments are collecting or how much. That is clearly a government that is out of control when it comes to collecting the people's money.

That is not what people wanted; people wanted accountability. The Minister of Finance stood up in this House time after time and claimed that his government is more accountable, that they have created, according to the Generally Acceptable Accounting Principles, certain rules to prove how much money they are bringing in and how much money they are spending.

The problem is, they haven't really told people - maybe the expenses they have done better on, on revenue, they have not - we need a clear accountability of how this government is jacking up taxes on the people of Nova Scotia. That is the fifth envelope. Blame individuals.

[Page 4064]

That is only the direct user costs. As I have said before in this House, let's think about the cost of car alignments because of the potholes that get bigger and bigger because this government isn't paving the roads. Let's talk about the fundraising fees that people have to pay at schools because this government isn't investing in our education system. All these are indirect examples that aren't even calculated in that $120 million a year of what people in Nova Scotia are paying. It is all because this government had an opportunity this year, in the middle of its term, to spell out how it was going to determine and protect and promote our education and health care systems, how they, as a government, would take a leadership role in proving to Nova Scotians that they can make their life better. They missed that opportunity.

The people of Nova Scotia will remember in a couple of years when they go back to the polls - we will remind them, I assure you of that - that this government has failed. The ultimate test for a politician, the ultimate test for a political Party is, is your life better off today than it was four years ago? That is an old adage, it is an old test. I remember back from Ronald Reagan in the 1980's and I am sure it goes back much further than that, but that is the question; are you better off today than you were four years ago? Mr. Speaker, in two years I can suggest to you - with budgets like this, with a lack of vision, with a lack of leadership, with increased user fees, with increased taxes, with reductions in services in health care and education and municipal services - there is only one answer the people of Nova Scotia will have - no. My life is not better off, my children's life is not better off, my parent's life is not better off and that is not why I voted Tory in 1999.

That is what they are going to say, whether they be in Kingston in the Valley or whether they be in Florence in Cape Breton or whether they be in Bible Hill or whether they be in downtown Dartmouth, these people elected Tory members. They voted Tory, many of them, and they are going to be holding those members across the way accountable. They are going to be telling them, my life is not better off. You promised me it would be, and what have you done? This was an opportunity, this Financial Measures (2001) Bill was a great opportunity to begin to explain to Nova Scotians and it is a disappointment on this side of the House to see that this government continues to worry about re-election, not worry about our education system, not worry about our health care system, just worrying about trying to provide a tax cut in their fourth year.

The people of Nova Scotia won't be bribed with their own money. They will know that their lifestyle, their quality of life, is not as well off as it was four years ago and they will remind this Tory Party in the next election. That is why we will be voting against the Financial Measures (2001) Bill. Yes, there have been some amendments. Yes, they made amendments with regard to the Register for Child Abuse, we thank them for making a small change that helps ensure that NGOs aren't going to pay a fee when they can't afford it. We don't need the Child Abuse Register not to be used because people have to pay a fee. That is a good amendment.

[Page 4065]

We are happy to see the amendment that was just passed a few minutes ago in Committee of the Whole House on Bills that addressed the issue of increased fines for tobacco smuggling. These are good amendments, but overall, that is just fine tuning of legislation that does not have a vision, that does not have a heart, that does not have the ability to make people's lives better, only worse. That is why we will be voting against the Financial Measures (2001) Act and I hope the people on the other side of this room listen because it is not me they have to worry about, it is going back to the people in their own ridings and the people of Nova Scotia in two years and telling them on the doorstep why their lives aren't better off, even though they were given a mandate to do that. We will be voting against this legislation. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Lunenburg West.

MR. DONALD DOWNE: Mr. Speaker, I just want to say that I will be the last speaker on this Bill No. 30 that we have debated for quite some time in this House. Not that this caucus wants - there are members of this caucus, I am sure, who would like to speak on this bill for quite some time to bring out a number of issues because of the fact that this bill, the frustration of dealing with this Minister of Finance and this government on Bill No. 30.

We have debated and discussed this bill for the last what, seven weeks, six weeks, and I think we have made it very clear that this government has come short of the mark of what they had promised Nova Scotians. They have come short of the mark of what they indicated to Nova Scotians just a few months ago about how they would like to govern if ever given the opportunity.

Do you know what really frustrates me the most? It is this Progressive Conservative Government, that is supposed to be so sensitive and understanding about the issues of cash flow and putting its fiscal house in order, blew an opportunity just a few months ago when they had $249 million additional revenue come into the Province of Nova Scotia. This Minister of Finance had a chance to grab hold of that dragon of operating deficit by the neck and choke him down to the ground and get him under control, but instead the Minister of Finance blew a great opportunity. He blew a great opportunity to move forward with the agenda. There have been many organizations saying for quite sometime that this minister blew the opportunity that he had to regain good solid credibility on issues such as investing in strategies for paying down the debt and things of that nature.

You know it is interesting, a few months ago the Auditor General spoke indirectly about Bill No. 30. What the Auditor General said was that this government really doesn't have a plan about how it is going to get itself in balance over the next number of years. They don't have a plan of how they are going to acquire that. How are they going to do that? It is kind of like they are stumbling along, tripping over the fact that there is all this extra hundreds of millions of dollars flowing their way, you know, and yet they don't have a plan.

[Page 4066]

I believe it was $413 million additional revenue that came in from Ottawa since they have been in power and just recently the Minister of Finance announced and trumpeted it out, not in any of his press releases but under another minister's press release, or Web site I should say, that the approximately $140 million net of the sale of NSRL, for which the net sale of NSRL has yet to take place, will be applied to last year. So, you know, this minister had close to $400 million of additional revenue, according to that, in one year.

What his worry was, was where was he going to hide all this extra cash that he has coming in? How is he going to put away these slush funds in different areas so that he can try to meet the task at hand. Well, the Auditor General says he doesn't have a plan. We have been saying he doesn't have a plan. We have been asking him for a plan and he keeps getting up and saying he does have a plan, but he blew the opportunity when he got all this extra hundreds of millions of dollars additional revenue. What did he do? We don't know. He, obviously, did not deal with it in the way that we had asked him to deal with it and the way Nova Scotians felt he should have.

We asked him to come in with a plan to deal with the debt of the Province of Nova Scotia. I know that members on the front bench were to deal with the issue of debt. They talked about dealing with debt, but we have yet to see a plan of how they are going to deal with the debt of the Province of Nova Scotia, not only a plan of how they are going to deal with it, but there wasn't even a realization by the Premier that the debt of the Province of Nova Scotia was growing each and every hour of every day that they are in power, not only for the first year, not only for the second year, but the third, the fourth and then, obviously, we will be into a provincial election somewhere around that period of time, but even without the provincial election, the debt will continue to grow to the year 2007 even with the projected surpluses that this Minister of Finance is saying they are going to do.

We simply ask the minister, well, Mr. Minister, will you give us the strategy or a plan to come forward to show us how you are going to deal with the growing, escalating debt that you are now acquiring. The debt grew by over $2 billion since they have been in power. The debt grew in the last fiscal year by $1.3 billion; $3.5 million a day that this government has allowed the debt to grow and yet, there was no plan.

[5:15 p.m.]

We brought in a private member's bill to ask the minister so we could deal with some of these strategies and plans on taxation and debt but, obviously, that was rejected. They don't have a plan but they don't want anybody else to have an input on how those plans should be coming forward. Somewhere back in the dungeon of this Progressive Conservative Party they will come up with a plan, gosh only knows when and how, but they say trust us. Just like they said during the election campaign, trust us, trust us on Health, don't listen to the Liberals that health care is complicated and we have problems. Don't listen to the Liberals who said the demographics show that the Province of Nova Scotia is an aging

[Page 4067]

population, and the demographics pointed out that those numbers are not going in the right direction.

That was a Liberal Government under a Minister of Health, Jim Smith, who pointed out very clearly that the demographics are there, that there are chronic problems within the health care system that needed repair and needed investment. It was Dr. Smith, the member for Dartmouth South, I believe (Interruption) Dartmouth East, Dartmouth South, he wouldn't know anything about the Health Department, he knows a little bit about business but I don't know if knows much about Health; anyway, Dartmouth East. It was the member for Dartmouth East who pointed out to Nova Scotians that we are going to try to fix the health care system and work with the people of Nova Scotia.

It was that government that said, don't listen, $46 million will fix our problem, $46 million will resolve the health care problems in Nova Scotia, don't worry, trust us. Well, they snowed Nova Scotians big time. They snowed Nova Scotians, big time, because not only have they spent $46 million, they have spent over $200 million additional in the health care system, and they are still chopping beds and they still haven't got a problem resolved. They are now coming out with programs to tax seniors because seniors have no place to go after they come out of the hospital, they are not well enough to go home, they are not healthy enough to go home, but they don't have long-term care beds or beds for those seniors in the Province of Nova Scotia, something we indicated should have been done years ago. Yet, they cast aside those suggestions.

No plan. This is a government that stumbles around hoping to find some solutions without any plan in dealing with the issue of the debt. We asked, and we were prepared, we are prepared to tell the Minister of Finance that we will co-operate in any way we can to help develop a strategy in dealing with the debt. We have suggested plans to work with an all-Party committee on dealing with the issues of taxation.

Here is another opportunity that this minister has blown, the issue of bracket creep. This government hailed at the fact, it said in the year 2003-04 they will bring in a tax reduction of 10 per cent to the people of Nova Scotia. Of course, during the year of the election people were assuming that was what it would be from that point on. What we have done and what we have seen is a government that has continually increased taxes in Nova Scotia. They have increased not only direct taxes such as - well, have seen tobacco, in excess of $20 million. (Interruptions) Long before you came in with a taxation, Mr. Minister. So we have offered to work with them on strategies and plans, and yet they refuse. This is a government and a Premier that said they want an open government, they want a government that cares and listens to Nova Scotians. They won't listen to an all-Party committee, with involvements of unions and businesses and communities. They said, no. They don't trust anybody else but themselves and, of course, their backroom players.

[Page 4068]

I think the Minister of Transportation and Public Works would probably be willing to work on an all-Party committee but the Minister of Finance won't and the Premier won't. The Minister of Transportation and Public Works has been around for a while, he understands the importance of working together and bringing in Nova Scotians to talk about the needs. The Minister of Finance is just a little bit self-centred in saying, no, only he and only his group can do it. So I have challenged him. I have offered to do anything I can to help and obviously he doesn't want to pay attention.

We have asked this government to come up with a plan to deal with issues of taxation. I want to talk about bracket creep because we have tabled to the minister a book, it says the ABCs of bracket creep. I keep showing this to the minister, the ABCs of bracket creep. What we are saying is that this government is directly increasing income taxes to Nova Scotians every day. He had a chance and he has a chance and a choice to make. We are not asking him to raise taxes. We are not asking him to lower taxes on this issue. We are asking him to freeze it off so that he doesn't, next year and the year after, continue to raise taxes on Nova Scotians because of bracket creep.

A family making $15,000 to $30,000 a year is going to pay over $2 million extra to this government because of bracket creep. Those numbers could be a lot higher, but when you compound it out, they are going to be spending $40 million to $50 million more overall. So when the minister lays out this 10 per cent tax, I can just visualize how this Minister of Finance - if he is still Minister of Finance - will stand in this House and say to the public, I am giving you what we said we were going to give you. In the meantime, he has probably taken close to 15 per cent taxes out of the pockets of working Nova Scotians.

This government is becoming the experts on user fees. They are very good at it. They are very good at how they implement it. They are implementing them every single day. They are slipping out, slowly but surely. The Auditor General said, anytime a user fee is above the true cost of implementing that fee, then it is a tax and this government is again coming forward with a tax. This government had an opportunity again from the flow-through. The federal Liberal Government first fixed the bracket creep issue across the country. The federal Liberal Government also provided a tax decrease and the Government of the Province of Nova Scotia could have flowed those savings through to Nova Scotians, but refused to do so. So the 10 per cent, ladies and gentlemen, is no laughing matter. All it is is getting back the money that we were supposed to have.

Now the changes that the minister brought in just recently on Bill No. 30, on the issue of tobacco, tobacco smuggling, to be exact. We were surprised at this government lowering the bracket and changing the whole issue of the tobacco tax, the smuggling tax, the level of conviction for smugglers. I notice that he has changed and we support him for changing. So it shows that there is a possibility for that Minister of Finance to come forward and make some changes. If he pushed hard enough and given the right encouragement, he will make changes. He has blown the fiscal opportunity. He has increased the debt every day that he is

[Page 4069]

in power and he has blown the opportunity of helping working Nova Scotians on the issue of bracket creep. But at the same time, he was prepared to go and make it easier for smugglers. Well, he has made some changes there and we support him for that, maybe not far enough, but it is in the right direction.

As I mentioned before, he has gone after seniors, penalties and fines for seniors who are not healthy enough to go home and there is no location for them to go to. It is a sad commentary on what this government's priorities really are. This government has gone after rural Nova Scotia in Bill No. 30, in the Financial Measures (2001) Bill and in fact on the budget. They have gone after rural Nova Scotia with a vengeance. This is a government that has said, we will not go after and hurt rural Nova Scotia. But what did they do? They went after the heartland of Nova Scotia, the rural community.

They went after it by reducing the budget in Agriculture by about 25 per cent. Everybody realizes that budgets have to be cut. I am not arguing that point one bit with the minister. But it appears to me that the minister has favourites. Some departments he says, yes, agriculture - I support the minister's direction of a 20 per cent or 25 per cent cut in the last couple of years - but with other ministers he is saying we don't want you to cut, we want you to spend more.

Yet the heartland of this Progressive Conservative Party is in the area of the rural community, and what he has done to Agriculture is unbelievable. He fired 100 people; user fees are coming out left, right and centre. User fees for water applications. If you are irrigating your farm and you have four, five or six irrigation locations, $200 an operation, an individual site. Fees for ambulances - can you believe it? - if you go under the workers' compensation, if you go to another location it is $85, but if you go to a farm it is $500. And this is the group that said they support agriculture. A $25 fee per year, $75 for marked gas. The retailers are the ones who provided that service, but they want to go after them, on a fee.

The farm community, they haven't forgotten what this government is doing, and they won't forget. They are frustrated, very frustrated. This government has done a lot to frustrate rural Nova Scotia. Let's take a look at some of the initiatives that they have gone after. The whole issue of equalization. Do you remember the scheme of going after property tax, to put a carrot out for some areas, and they were going to go after the property tax? Just enough to frustrate rural Nova Scotia, and not everybody in rural Nova Scotia was happy, I can assure you. HRM wasn't happy; but Bridgewater wasn't happy; the Municipality of the District of Lunenburg was not happy; the Town of Lunenburg was not happy; and a number of other areas were not happy. They have gone back to the drawing board on that, and we will wait and see what the minister is going to be able to do. We have seen it time and time again, where they pit community against community.

[Page 4070]

Back to the bill. We need to fully understand the implication of what this bill is all about, and we have debated it for a number of weeks, literally months. The bottom line is that this government blew great opportunities to move the agenda forward. Their priorities of health and education, if the minister had properly managed the additional revenues he received, he could have hired an additional 700 nurses, another 800 teachers, and still been able to pave 20 kilometres of roads, with the additional money they received from Ottawa.

This minister blew an opportunity. It is either the Minister of Finance or it is the Premier.

AN HON. MEMBER: Both.

MR. DOWNE: Or maybe a combination of both. This Premier doesn't seem to understand it. I thought it might be the Premier too; I thought maybe the Premier grabbed the Minister of Finance and struggled him to the ground and said, I want you to waste this opportunity. But, gosh, the more questions asked the Premier, the less he knew. I was getting embarrassed. He didn't understand that they are increasing taxes every day; he didn't understand that bracket creep is increasing income tax to Nova Scotians every day; he didn't understand that the debt was growing every day; and he didn't understand there was no plan on how to deal with that debt every day.

So I said to myself, my gosh, the Premier is obviously out the loop, maybe he has never been in the loop, but he is out of the loop, he didn't know. Then I started posing the questions to the Minister of Finance. Well he has yet to even admit that he is increasing income taxes every day. Even when I try to provide information to him from independent sources, he has yet to stand up and say yes I am increasing taxes. In a roundabout way he is saying it, but he hasn't quite got the strength or the courage to be honest with Nova Scotians about that issue.

We will hold them accountable, as it is our job to hold them accountable. I guess that is why all of us on this side of the House are here, including the Leader of the Official Opposition, to hold them accountable. That is why we are here. Bill No. 30 is the bill that provides the opportunity to go forward with the budget, and I think we have covered in detail many of the areas that we wanted to bring to the attention of Nova Scotians. We can talk about municipal grants and we can talk about a number of other areas in the bill but the bottom line is this government had a fiscal opportunity to move forward with the agenda . . .

[5:30 p.m.]

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. There is too much noise in the Chamber. I would ask the honourable members to keep the noise down, please. The honourable member for Lunenburg West has the floor.

[Page 4071]

MR. DOWNE: They had an opportunity to deal with the fiscal matters and they blew it; the so-called fiscally responsible government. Equalization plays a big part of the budget of the Province of Nova Scotia and this government doesn't seem to understand the complexity of that particular issue, but that is another matter. The bottom line, Mr. Speaker, I will conclude my remarks by saying, the government has had a great opportunity, they have been very fortunate by the fact that the very successful federal Liberal Government under Jean Chretien, and the Minister of Finance, Paul Martin, has provided $.05 billion extra revenue to these guys and they blew the opportunities and will continue to blow the opportunities. They have no plan, they know not where they go, they don't even remember where they came from. The reality is, I am not here, as the minister would say, to talk about the past, but I am here to talk about the future. I am asking the minister to show us the plan for the future, show us the direction of the future, Bill No. 30 is not that plan. Thank you, very much.

MR. SPEAKER: If I recognize the honourable Minister of Finance it will be to close the debate.

The honourable Minister of Finance.

HON. NEIL LEBLANC: Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the members opposite for their comments. Obviously, we sometimes have a difference of opinion on the issue, however, I appreciate their comments and I do move third reading of Bill No. 30, please.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. A recorded vote has been called for.

Ring the bells.

[5:32 p.m.]

[The Division bells were rung.]

MR. SPEAKER: Are the Whips satisfied?

[The Clerk calls the roll.]

[5:43 p.m.]

YEAS NAYS

Mr. Rodney MacDonald Mr. Corbett

Mr. Christie Mr. Deveaux

Mr. Russell Ms. Maureen MacDonald

Mr. LeBlanc Mr. Dexter

[Page 4072]

Mr. Muir Mr. Holm

Miss Purves Mr. Manning MacDonald

Mr. Fage Mr. Downe

Mr. Parent Mr. Gaudet

Ms. McGrath Dr. Smith

Mr. Ronald Chisholm Mr. MacAskill

Mr. Olive Mr. Wilson

Mr. Morse Mr. Boudreau

Mr. MacIsaac Mr. MacKinnon

Mr. DeWolfe Mr. Pye

Mr. Taylor Mr. MacDonell

Mr. Dooks Mr. Robert Chisholm

Mr. Langille Mr. Estabrooks

Mr. Chataway Mr. Epstein

Mr. Clarke Mr. Steele

Mr. Hendsbee

Mrs. Baillie

Mr. Carey

Mr. Barnet

Mr. O'Donnell

Mr. Hurlburt

THE CLERK: For, 25. Against, 19.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is carried.

Ordered that this bill do pass. Ordered that the title be as read by the Clerk. Ordered that the bill be engrossed.

[PRIVATE MEMBERS' PUBLIC BILLS FOR THIRD READING]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 13.

Bill No. 13 - House of Assembly Act.

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

[Page 4073]

[5:45 p.m.]

MR. DAVID WILSON: Mr. Speaker, I will only take but a few moments of the time of the House. By now, I think everyone in this province hopefully knows that this is the 100th Anniversary of the former Town of Glace Bay, a very proud history and a very proud people and this, in a small way, will certainly restore some pride to the people and the community of Glace Bay.

Mr. Speaker, I would encourage all my colleagues, all the MLAs in this House and, indeed, all Nova Scotians, at some point this year to pay a visit to Glace Bay and experience our hospitality. Certainly there are many events that are planned. A calendar of events has been set up for throughout the year which is highlighted by official ceremonies which will be taking place between the dates of July 11th and July 22nd of this year. For those of you who are seeking information on specific dates and specific times, you can contact the Centennial Committee's Web site, Mr. Speaker, at http://www.GlaceBay2001.ca.

Knowing how difficult times have been and at the same time knowing that the future holds better times ahead, Glace Bay will rise again. Mr. Speaker, it gives me great pleasure to call for third reading of Bill No. 13, the House of Assembly Act.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is for third reading of Bill No. 13. Is the House ready for the question? Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

Ordered that this bill do pass. Ordered that the title be as read by the Clerk. Ordered that the bill be engrossed.

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, I move that you do now leave the Chair and the House resolve itself into a Committee of the Whole House on Bills.

MR. SPEAKER: Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

[The motion is carried.]

[5:49 p.m. The House resolved itself into a CWH on Bills with Deputy Speaker Mr. Kevin Deveaux in the Chair.]

[Page 4074]

[9:27 p.m. CWH on Bills rose and the House reconvened. Mr. Speaker, Hon. Murray Scott, resumed the Chair.]

MR. SPEAKER: The Chairman of the Committee of the Whole House on Bills reports:

THE CLERK: That the committee has met and considered the following bills:

Bill No. 1 - Land Registration Act.

Bill No. 15 - Teachers' Collective Bargaining Act.

Bill No. 17 - Optometry Act.

Bill No. 18 - Registered Nurses Act.

Bill No. 19 - Licensed Practical Nurses Act.

Bill No. 21 - Transportation Amendments (2001) Act.

Bill No. 32 - Livestock Health Services Act.

Bill No. 33 - Scalers Act.

Bill No. 34 - Social Workers Act.

Bill No. 24 - St. Francis Xavier University Millennium Centre Grants Act.

Bill No. 26 - Chester Trails Act.

Bill No. 54 - District of Barrington Health Professionals Assistance Act.

Bill No. 57 - Halifax Corresponding Committee Act.

Bill No. 45 - Upper Stewiacke Fire Protection Act.

Bill No. 56 - An Act Respecting the Cathedral Church of the Diocese of Nova Scotia.

Bill No. 27 - Veterinary Medical Act.

and the chairman has been instructed to recommend these bills to the favourable consideration of the House, each without amendment, except Bill No. 1, with certain amendments.

[Page 4075]

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

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.

Bill No. 10 - Order of Nova Scotia Act.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Cape Breton West. I believe you have about 30 minutes, if I recall.

MR. RUSSELL MACKINNON: Mr. Speaker, much to the surprise of many of the members on the government benches, I will be concluding my remarks. I would like to congratulate the Minister of Tourism and Culture for bringing this bill forward. I think it is a good piece of legislation, and I think we have dealt with a number of detailed and important pieces of legislation a little earlier, and I think our points on the Order of Nova Scotia have been well stated.

I think the intent is to do good and to recognize the talent, the rich quality of life and our culture here in Nova Scotia, and the contributions that not just very well-known Nova Scotians but, certainly, ordinary Nova Scotians have made in their own special way, making us the great province we are. I know the minister will probably have a few comments in terms of the committee structure, and so on in wrapping up. Again, I would like to commend the minister and the government for this particular piece of legislation.

MR. SPEAKER: If I recognize the minister it will be to close the debate.

The honourable Minister of Tourism and Culture.

HON. RODNEY MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the members across the floor for their comments on this bill. Indeed, there were some positive comments brought forward. I know there was one in particular that the member for Timberlea-Prospect brought forward, and many members on the other side, as well, with regard to the numbers of people, especially in the first year, recognized. It is certainly something we will take into account as it goes forward to the Law Amendments Committee. With that, I would like to move second reading.

[Page 4076]

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is for second reading of Bill No. 10. Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

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

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, I move the House do now rise to meet again on the morrow at the hour of 12:00 noon. The House will sit from 12:00 noon until 8:00 p.m. The order of business will be Public Bills for Third Reading, and if there is sufficient time and the bills are back, perhaps we would have some Committee of the Whole House on Bills.

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

[The motion is carried.]

MR. SPEAKER: We are adjourned until 12:00 noon tomorrow.

[The House rose at 9:30 p.m.]

[Page 4077]

NOTICES OF MOTION UNDER RULE 32(3)

RESOLUTION NO. 1423

By: Hon. Murray Scott (The Speaker)

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

Whereas June 11th will mark the 76th Anniversary of the death of coal miner Bill Davis who died tragically while fighting for the rights of miners in this province; and

Whereas Springhill and River Hebert are no strangers to the coal mining industry, as both communities were involved with the industry for many years; and

Whereas the coal mining industry remains a significant part of the history of Cumberland County;

Therefore be it resolved that the MLAs in this Legislature recognize the ultimate sacrifices made by Bill Davis and other coal miners in Nova Scotia who have died while searching for black gold.

RESOLUTION NO. 1424

By: Hon. Murray Scott (The Speaker)

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

Whereas the Springhill Chamber of Commerce held its annual spring banquet on May 4, 2001; and

Whereas several new local businesses were also honoured at the spring banquet, including JB's Steakhouse, Great Canadian Dollar Store and Horsman's RV Park; and

Whereas Dr. Randy Ryan, Springhill Businessperson of the Year, also welcomed a new business owner, Louann Smith of Louann's Creations, to the chamber of commerce;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Dr. Randy Ryan and all members of the Springhill Chamber of Commerce for their strong work ethic and their contributions to their local business community.

[Page 4078]

RESOLUTION NO. 1425

By: Hon. Murray Scott (The Speaker)

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

Whereas foster parents play a vital role in providing a safe and nurturing environment for foster children in need of guidance and love; and

Whereas in addition to raising their two children, Julie and Steven Dormiedy currently care for two children, one of whom will be living with the family until they are of legal age; and

Whereas the Dormiedy family has provided security and comfort to 13 foster children since they became a home for foster children last August;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Steven and Julie Dormiedy and all foster parents for their selfless devotion to those children in need of stability and love in their home environment.

RESOLUTION NO. 1426

By: Hon. Murray Scott (The Speaker)

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

Whereas approximately 100,000 Canadians suffer from a combination of Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis, referred to as inflammatory bowel disease, for which there is no known cure; and

Whereas representatives of Parrsboro at the annual Heel 'N' Wheel-A-Thon fundraiser for the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of Canada in Amherst on June 2, 2001, will include Josh Paris, Gerald McPhee, Sarah McPhee, Jim Paris, Barb Gilbert, Debbie Anderson, Betty Ann Paris, Nicole Paris, Adeline McPhee and Emilee McPhee; and

Whereas participants from the Parrsboro area are canvassing for their third straight year, with all proceeds going towards finding a cure for inflammatory bowel disease;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate all those participating in the third annual Heel 'N' Wheel-A-Thon for their dedication and determination to help find a cure for those suffering from inflammatory bowel disease.

[Page 4079]

RESOLUTION NO. 1427

By: Hon. Murray Scott (The Speaker)

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

Whereas Matt Gamblin has demonstrated exceptional athletic skill while playing on the Advocate District High School basketball team and an Oxford-based Bantam level team; and

Whereas Mr. Gamblin has been named to the Nova Scotia Midget provincial basketball team, making him the first student to represent Advocate District High School on a provincial basketball team; and

Whereas the 13 year old Mr. Gamblin is now the youngest player on the under 15 provincial team;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Matt Gamblin on his hard work, athletic achievement, and dedication to sport and fitness.

RESOLUTION NO. 1428

By: Hon. Murray Scott (The Speaker)

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

Whereas Canada's peacekeeping forces have a long and proud legacy of providing much-needed stability in regions of conflict throughout the world; and

Whereas Mr. Charles Winters recently became the first in Parrsboro to receive the National Peacekeeping Medal in a special presentation at the Royal Canadian Legion Branch No. 45; and

Whereas Mr. Winters received words of congratulations from branch Past-President Hugh Clarke who entered the armed services with Mr. Winters;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Mr. Charles Winters and all peacekeepers for serving their country faithfully, and for contributing to the resolution of conflict throughout the world.