The Nova Scotia Legislature

The House resumed on:
September 21, 2017.

Hansard -- Tue., Nov. 20, 2001

[Page 7341]

HALIFAX, TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 20, 2001

Fifty-eighth General Assembly

Second Session

2:00 P.M.

SPEAKER

Hon. Murray Scott

DEPUTY SPEAKERS

Mr. Brooke Taylor, Mr. Jerry Pye, Mr. David Wilson

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

Therefore be it resolved that while Cape Breton schools close the member for Cape Breton North does nothing.

This will be debated this evening at 6:00 p.m.

We will begin the daily routine.

PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS

PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES

TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS

7341

[Page 7342]

STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Justice.

HON. MICHAEL BAKER: Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to rise in the House today and speak about a very special Nova Scotian who is known to members of this House. That Nova Scotian would be Arthur George Henry Fordham, Q.C. Mr. Fordham has worked in the Chief Legislative Counsel's office since February 1, 1981. Art, as he is known, I think, affectionately to all of us, has in fact been working for government since November 3, 1980, which, for Art's benefit, is 15 days before I was admitted to the Bar. So Art has been working for government for quite some time. Art, in fact, was admitted to the Bar 20 years before that.

Art is going to be retiring from the Legislative Counsel's office before the House will be meeting the next time, and I wanted to make sure that all members of the House had a chance to publicly acknowledge Art's contribution. By way of Art's past accomplishments, I certainly can't enumerate all of them, but most recently he has been involved in drafting a number of significant pieces of public legislation, including the Elections Act amendments, the Personal Property Security Act, the Probate Act and the Land Registration Act. He also was, for many years, a delegate to the Uniform Law Conference of Canada representing this province. He acted also as the Assistant Chief Electoral Officer and participated in a case to the Supreme Court of Canada which acknowledged the rights and privileges of members of this House as part of the Constitution of Canada.

He has served as Assistant Clerk for this House for 10 years, but more importantly than that, Arthur has been a friend to each and every member of this House, not only in his capacity of Deputy Clerk. (Standing Ovation)

So to Art, on behalf of all of us, thank you very much for all your work in the Legislative Counsel's office. I let the other critics know that we would be making this little acknowledgement to Art today and I think they have a few words, Mr. Speaker, as well. Congratulations, Art. (Applause)

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

MR. KEVIN DEVEAUX: Mr. Speaker, I am glad to have a few moments to also recognize Mr. Fordham and his work, both in this Legislature as the Assistant Clerk, and as a member of the Legislative Counsel, he has done a lot of fine work. On behalf of the House and on behalf of the people of Nova Scotia, I am glad to see that he is being duly recognized by this Legislature.

[Page 7343]

For those who may not know a lot about Art - I have known him a little while through mutual friends and through my work here in the House - you may see him around the streets of Halifax walking in his sneakers at lunchtime, getting his exercise. If you had an opportunity to travel, like I have, on a trip with him and his wife, Trish, you get to see a different side of Art than you do in the House. He is always very warm and friendly and so is his wife. I am glad to have had the opportunity to have worked with him, the opportunity to have been able to get his advice when I was a Deputy Speaker, and I am glad to be able to say that in some ways, he is a friend, as well.

I just wanted to finish by saying I notice that some of the legislation the minister noted, the Elections Act and Personal Property Security Act, just today I was calling him for advice on the Cosmetology Act as well, which he also had some opportunity to work on, another piece of legislation that will go down as a piece that Art had a chance to work on. Thank you, Mr. Fordham, for all of your work in the House and on behalf of the Legislative Counsel. (Applause)

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

MR. WAYNE GAUDET: Mr. Speaker, on behalf of our Liberal caucus, I want to congratulate Mr. Art Fordham upon his retirement and wish all the best to him and his wife, Trish, for the future.

Mr. Fordham has certainly served the people of Nova Scotia well in this House as Assistant Clerk. On a personal note, when I had the privilege of sitting in the Speaker's Chair back in 1998, Mr. Fordham certainly was a very valuable asset to me, providing me with some advice, in terms of the Rules and Regulations of this House. I know Mr. Fordham will certainly be missed by all of his friends in this House, he has been a friend to all. We are very grateful to have had the pleasure of working with Mr. Fordham.

I want to thank him, personally, for all the assistance he has provided me over the years and behalf of all of us, I thank him for everything he has done. Thank you. (Applause)

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

Oh, the honourable leader of the Opposition. (Laughter)

MR. DARRELL DEXTER: I'm always showing these guys the way. (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

[Page 7344]

MR. DEXTER: Where is Brooke when you need him? (Interruptions) Mr. Speaker, I don't want to make light of this. I just wanted to take a second to assure the House that all of our caucus wants to associate itself with the remarks of both the Leader of the Liberal Party, and the remarks of the Minister of Justice, and to wish our heartfelt best to Art in whatever endeavours he takes forward from here. Thank you. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: I, as well, would like to take the opportunity to thank Art and as the Leader of the Liberal Party mentioned previously (Interruptions) the one farthest from me - that what has been on a lot of days, a most difficult job to sit here in this seat, I don't think I can ever remember a time, when I had sought advice from Arthur that he graciously gave me after a lot of research, that I can ever think back to where I made a decision I regret, based on the information and help I have gotten from Art. So Art, if you have been of as much assistance to previous Speakers as you have to this one, I know that that advice and friendship has been most appreciated by both myself and I am sure on behalf of all Speakers you have assisted over the years. Art, and to Patricia, thank you very much and all the best. (Applause) Hopefully, Arthur won't go too far.

[2:15 p.m.]

GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Community Services.

RESOLUTION NO. 2634

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

Whereas children are important and valued members of society; and

Whereas children need love and respect in order to grow to their full potential; and

Whereas all Nova Scotians are reminded that children thrive in an atmosphere of love, care, and understanding;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House join me today in recognizing the importance of National Child Day today, November 20, 2001.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

[Page 7345]

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Justice.

RESOLUTION NO. 2635

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

Whereas police officers add to our quality of life by keeping our homes and our streets safe; and

Whereas officers are important role models in our communities; and

Whereas 21 members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police have received their long-service awards, and eight officers have been given peacekeeping medals;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House commend and applaud these police officers for their dedication to duty, compassion, and professionalism.

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.

[Page 7346]

RESOLUTION NO. 2636

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

Whereas staff at the Department of Health set a goal to raise $12,000 for the United Way campaign and have already surpassed that goal by raising over $15,000; and

Whereas they have accomplished this by taking on duties beyond their already busy schedules by holding creative activities in the workplace such as weekly raffles, casual month, coffee breaks, and even bread baking; and

Whereas staff have not only organized these activities, but have very generously supported them;

Therefore be it resolved that this House recognize the commitment and generosity of all those, including the Department of Health staff, who work hard every day to raise money for the United Way and many other very worthwhile charities.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Justice.

RESOLUTION NO. 2637

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

Whereas Blue Thunder is a classic rock band comprised of past and present employees of the Halifax Regional Police; and

Whereas the band celebrates its 10th Anniversary this weekend; and

[Page 7347]

Whereas the band has educated more than 60,000 students about the dangers of alcohol and substance abuse in the past decade;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House commend Blue Thunder for their commitment to education through entertainment.

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. 2638

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

Whereas the Canadian Diabetes Association Report Card awarded Nova Scotia a B for its efforts to treat and educate those Nova Scotians who live with this disease, a grade that places our level of care second only to Ontario and equal to the federal government; and

Whereas the Diabetes Care Program of Nova Scotia was established in 1991 to act as an advocate for those with diabetes in Nova Scotia, with the mission to improve the quality of life of Nova Scotians affected by diabetes mellitus by bringing them the best quality of care possible; and

Whereas the Diabetes Care Program has been very successful in its mission, and this program and its work with many of the care providers across the province are some of the main reasons that Nova Scotia was awarded such a high grade for diabetes care from the Canadian Diabetes Association;

[Page 7348]

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate the staff of the Diabetes Care Program of Nova Scotia and the many other health care providers across this province for their good work, and acknowledge the success of their efforts to better educate and care for those Nova Scotians afflicted with this disease.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Halifax Fairview on an introduction.

MR. GRAHAM STEELE: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise on behalf of the member for Halifax Chebucto, and would draw the attention of the members of the House to the west gallery where there are six students from Kingsview Academy, along with teachers Tracey Devereaux and Wendy Brackett. I would like to ask them to rise and receive the welcome of the House. (Applause)

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

INTRODUCTION OF BILLS

NOTICES OF MOTION

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Opposition.

RESOLUTION NO. 2639

MR. DARRELL DEXTER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker, or should I say Gracias, Senor Presidente?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Where's Jamie?

MR. DEXTER: What did he say, Jamie?

[Page 7349]

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

Whereas our open and democratic society depends on the free exchange of ideas and information and thus upon journalists, who gather news in all corners of the world; and

Whereas Australian television cameraman Harry Burton, Afghan photographer Azizullah Haidari, Italian reporter Maria Grazia Cutuli and Spanish reporter Julio Fuentes were killed in Afghanistan on November 19th; and

Whereas French reporters Johanne Sutton and Pierre Billaud, German reporter Volker Handloik and an Afghan translator were killed on November 12th, adding to the total of more than 1,000 reporters and media staff killed in the last 10 years;

Therefore be it resolved that this House join the International Federation of Journalists in calling upon all governments to protect and increase freedoms by ensuring that no one can kill a journalist or media staff with impunity.

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. 2640

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

Whereas education is one of the most powerful tools for any Nova Scotian; and

Whereas Theodore Marr has demonstrated his commitment to learning as a lifelong goal; and

[Page 7350]

Whereas Theodore Marr of the J.D. Irving sawmill in Weymouth has received the Workplace Education Ambassador Award for committing himself to lifelong learning;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House extend congratulations to Mr. Marr on receiving this award as well as on his commitment to education.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Guysborough-Port Hawkesbury.

RESOLUTION NO. 2641

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

Whereas residents served by the Strait-Richmond Hospital are celebrating the news that an additional doctor has been found; and (Applause)

Whereas the hospital and community have been conducting a search for a daytime physician for a year now; and

Whereas the addition brings the complement of doctors in the area to more than nine;

Therefore be it resolved that MLAs offer our appreciation to those responsible for recruiting the new physician to the Strait-Richmond Hospital and welcome the doctor to our beautiful part of the world.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

[Page 7351]

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Sackville-Cobequid.

RESOLUTION NO. 2642

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

Whereas earlier this year the Premier presented at the first phase of hearings by the federal arbitration panel deciding the boundary dispute between Nova Scotia and Newfoundland over the Laurentian Sub-basin, a phase, incidentally, lost by Nova Scotia; and

Whereas the Premier claims he is not needed at this week's second phase of hearings, and besides, he has more pressing matters to deal with in the Nova Scotia Legislature; and

Whereas the Legislature's deliberations are so pressing that last evening the House sat for the grand total of 53 minutes, lacking any further business to continue;

Therefore be it resolved that the Premier acknowledge that his absence from the federal arbitration panel hearings because of the pressures of the House is a red herring . . .

AN HON. MEMBER: He wants to go to Mexico next, that's for sure.

ANOTHER HON. MEMBER: Learn Spanish.

MR. HOLM: I appreciate these helpful hints from across the way, Mr. Speaker - that he's really distancing himself from the process in hopes he won't wear it should Nova Scotia lose again, big.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

HON. JOHN HAMM (The Premier): On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. I can assure the member opposite that I had made myself available to the legal team, because the second phase is a much different phase, the arguments are different, it is a more legalistic approach. My input was not required.

[Page 7352]

[2:30 p.m.]

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. It is not a point of order, it is a point of clarification.

MR. JOHN HOLM: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. The Premier has advised that he has made himself available to the legal team and the Premier pointed out himself, in his comments right now, that the second phase is more legal than the first phase. We also saw that the Premier wasn't very successful in his political phase in phase one. I am pleased to see that the Premier therefore, since he is lax in the legal . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. Neither point is a point of order.

The honourable member for Lunenburg West. (Interruptions)

RESOLUTION NO. 2643

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

Whereas for the second year, the Salvation Army will oversee the Christmas Daddies operation in Lunenburg County; and

Whereas this partnership last year assisted nearly 1,000 people and over 330 families in need during the holiday season; and

Whereas donations to Christmas Daddies will be accepted beginning December 3rd;

Therefore be it resolved that the House extend thanks to the Salvation Army and to Christmas Daddies for the joy they bring at holiday time and encourage all Nova Scotians who can support such worthy community charities this holiday season.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

[Page 7353]

The honourable member for Dartmouth South.

RESOLUTION NO. 2644

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

Whereas only a week after services were held at cenotaphs across this country to honour our veterans, our military personnel and those who have made the ultimate sacrifice, we were saddened to learn of the extensive vandalism at the Dartmouth site; and

Whereas most of the 90 wreaths and crosses placed at the Dartmouth cenotaph with respect on Remembrance Day were vandalized on the weekend; and

Whereas as First Vice-President, Somme Branch, of the Royal Canadian Legion, George DeGrace, said of the disgraceful act, "What gets me is the disrespect to the men and women who paid the ultimate price for our freedom.";

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House condemn the actions of the vandal or vandals who desecrated a memorial to our Canadian heroes and urge anyone with information regarding the damage to come forward and ask the person or persons responsible to make amends through an apology to the Legion.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Halifax Needham.

RESOLUTION NO. 2645

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

[Page 7354]

Whereas since 1993, the Government of Canada has been celebrating National Child Day on November 20th; and

Whereas November 20th commemorates the adoption of the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of the Child in 1957 and the UN adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1989; and

Whereas as a society, we have a responsibility to meet children's basic needs and to provide them with the tools and resources they require to lead healthy, fulfilling lives;

Therefore be it resolved that this government recognize its responsibility in Nova Scotia's society to ensure our children's basic needs are met and be ever mindful of how its actions impact on our ability to provide our children with the tools and resources they require to lead healthy, fulfilling lives.

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. 2646

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

Whereas on June 9, 1997, the Liberal Government negotiated a three year agreement with the Medical Society that projected to not only slow the outflow of doctors, but lead to an increase for the first time in several years; and

Whereas the Minister of Health stated in a news release issued yesterday, November 19th, that the projection of retention and recruitment of physicians, as a result of the 1997 agreement, have proven to be true; and

[Page 7355]

Whereas in 1997, the Liberal agreement resulted in an increase of 109 new physicians for Nova Scotia;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House support the Minister of Health's position that the physician agreement negotiated by the Liberal Government was positive for the people of Nova Scotia.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear a No.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Cape Breton North.

RESOLUTION NO. 2647

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

Whereas the Canadian Peacekeeping Service Medal was created in the spirit of the 1998 Nobel Peace Prize awarded to United Nations peacekeepers; and

Whereas this medal recognizes the extraordinary efforts and leadership role of Canadian peacekeepers who have served in the theatres of war for the cause of peace; and

Whereas among those recently honoured were 12 officers of the Cape Breton Regional Police Force who have returned from Kosovo, along with a member of the Canadian Armed Forces;

Therefore be it resolved that all members congratulate the recipients of the Canadian Peacekeepers Service Medal and commend them for their efforts to help restore order in war-ravaged countries.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

[Page 7356]

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. 2648

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

Whereas Peter L. McCreath of Hubbards is a noted historical writer; and

Whereas Mr. McCreath has released The Life and Times of Alexander Keith, Nova Scotia's Brewmaster; and

Whereas Peter McCreath's boundless energy and enthusiasm for our history is exemplary;

Therefore be it resolved that the House of Assembly congratulate Peter McCreath on the publication of The Life and Times of Alexander Keith, Nova Scotia's Brewmaster.

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.

[Page 7357]

RESOLUTION NO. 2649

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

Whereas Dorothy Viger, of New Minas, is the only Atlantic Canadian to participate in the Olympic torch relay leading up to the opening of the 2002 Olympic Games; and

Whereas Mrs. Viger is one of 11,000 people from around the world and only one of six Canadians, she will carry the torch the distance of 300 metres; and

Whereas Mrs. Viger is a 75-year-old retired nurse, and a cancer survivor who regained her strength by joining a local walking club;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Dorothy Viger on being the only Atlantic Canadian selected to participate in the 2002 Olympic torch run.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed.

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Annapolis.

RESOLUTION NO. 2650

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

Whereas 150 people attended the fourth annual induction program of the Sport Heritage Hall of Fame at the Macdonald Museum on October 19th; and

[Page 7358]

Whereas during the program, Marcia (Bishop) McLean, Gerry MacMillan, Thomas E. Hankinson. William C. Spurr, the 1963-64 Middleton Regional High School rugby team, and the 1964-65, 1965-66, and 1966-67 Middleton Regional High School field hockey squad were all inducted into the Sport Heritage Hall of Fame; and

Whereas the Chairman of the Sport Heritage Hall of Fame, Al Peppard, thanked the inductees as well as the families, businesses and other organizations of the region, including the Annapolis Valley Historical Society, for their continued support for heritage and sport;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House recognize the great work of the Sport Heritage Hall in their mission to promote and preserve the sport heritage of their region.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage.

RESOLUTION NO. 2651

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

Whereas George Sullivan, a veteran and a long-term supporter of the Royal Canadian Legion, exemplified the spirit of a legionnaire; and

Whereas each year the Royal Canadian Legion Caen Branch 164 recognizes one individual as the Legionnaire of the Year with the George Sullivan Memorial Award; and

Whereas Chief Petty Officer Richard Eustace, a crew member on the HMCS Montreal, has been a member of the Royal Canadian Legion Caen Branch 164 for the past eight years and is an active member of the Legion;

[Page 7359]

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate Chief Petty Officer Richard Eustace on being awarded Legionnaire of the Year and the George Sullivan Memorial Award from the Royal Canadian Legion Caen Branch 164.

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 Glace Bay.

RESOLUTION NO. 2652

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

Whereas Saint Mary's University computing science students Steven Perron, Jonathan Sharkey and Chad West came second only to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology at the annual Northeast-North America Programming Contest held November 2nd to November 4th in Massachusetts; and

Whereas 68 teams from 41 universities in Quebec, Atlantic Canada and the northeastern United States competed at the skill-testing event; and

Whereas Saint Mary's is the first university from Atlantic Canada to place second at the prestigious competition;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Steven Perron, Jonathan Sharkey and Chad West on taking home second place at the Northeast-North America Programming Contest.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

[Page 7360]

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. 2653

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

Whereas each and every day, volunteer firefighters unselfishly respond to our emergencies, protecting our lives, homes and businesses; and

Whereas these same volunteer firefighters take an active part in community affairs, adding energy and life to the community and lending their support to many important causes; and

Whereas for 50 years the River John Volunteer Fire Department has served its community, and through these years many firefighters, present and past, have answered the call for help;

Therefore be it resolved that all members congratulate the River John Volunteer Fire Department on its 50th Anniversary and join me in thanking all the volunteer firefighters who have been so valuable to the quality of our community life.

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 7361]

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Hants East.

RESOLUTION NO. 2654

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

Whereas our history provides a record for the enlightenment of future generations about who they are and whence they came; and

Whereas shipbuilding in the 19th Century along the Fundy Shore played a major part in the unprecedented prosperity of the Golden Age in Nova Scotia, as Nova Scotia ships and crews plied the oceans the world over; and

Whereas on August 18th Maitland celebrated the 30th Anniversary of the Lawrence House Museum, which honours the Golden Age and its master shipbuilder, W. D. Lawrence;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly congratulate the Lawrence House Museum on its 30th Anniversary and on keeping this important link to our past shipshape and in good order.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Richmond.

RESOLUTION NO. 2655

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

[Page 7362]

Whereas Joe Taplin, an 11 year veteran with the RCMP recently received the John Dunlop Memorial Award from the Nova Scotia Criminology and Corrections Association; and

Whereas Constable Taplin from the Cole Harbour Detachment, won the provincial award for his years of community work with young people; and

Whereas Constable Taplin belongs to the Eastern Halifax Crime Prevention Association in Cole Harbour, the Westphal Block Parents, the Cole Harbour Drug Awareness Committee, the Crime Prevention Association of Nova Scotia and the Central Regional Advisory Council on Drug Issues;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House extend congratulations to Constable Joe Taplin on receiving the John Dunlop Memorial Award and his dedication to youth 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 Queens.

RESOLUTION NO. 2656

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

Whereas volunteer fire departments need firefighters available to fight fires day and night; and

Whereas Blair Douglas, owner of N. F. Douglas Lumber, has an understanding with several of his employees who volunteer with the local fire department so that they can leave their work to answer daytime fire calls; and

[Page 7363]

Whereas for this co-operation and willingness to halt production at his mill, Mr. Douglas has won the Department of Environment and Labour Partnership Award;

Therefore be it resolved that all members commend Blair Douglas for being so community-minded and for recognizing the vital role volunteer firemen play in our communities.

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. 2657

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

Whereas the Association for Women's Residential Facilities is establishing the Nahum Centre in the provincial constituency of Timberlea-Prospect; and

Whereas this centre fills a great need for a shelter for women, children and youth for up to a one year period; and

Whereas the centre will be a safe place of comfort, focusing on employment, education and life skills;

Therefore be it resolved that the House of Assembly congratulate and thank the Association for Women's Residential Facilities for their initiative in the establishment of the Nahum Centre in Timberlea.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

[Page 7364]

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Lunenburg West.

RESOLUTION NO. 2658

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

Whereas Bridgewater teens Aubrey Ives and Mark MacDonald learned video editing and computer animation in their public schooling at Centre Consolidated School and Park View Education Centre; and

Whereas with their classmates as actors and assistants, Messrs. Ives and MacDonald have been making a number of entertaining short films; and

Whereas two of their creations were accepted for showing at the prestigious Toronto International Teen Movie Festival, October 27th to November 4th;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate Aubrey Ives and Mark MacDonald for their artistic success and their contribution to our province's popular culture.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

[Page 7365]

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

MR. JOHN CHATAWAY: Mr. Speaker, with your privilege, I would like to introduce someone in the west gallery. I would very much like to introduce Martin Haase, who lives in Chester-St. Margaret's. I am not sure where Martin Haase was actually born, but he has lived many years in Chester-St. Margaret's and East Chester. I do know also that he has worked very hard at saving the great lands that make up Nova Scotia, at least in Chester-St. Margaret's. I know he is involved with many organizations that make that their main purpose. Mr. Haase, if you could please stand up, we would very much like to welcome you here. (Applause)

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

RESOLUTION NO. 2659

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

Whereas the Christmas Tree Council of Nova Scotia, along with its Coordinator Len Giffen and its President, John Lacey, have expressed concerns over the suggestion by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and Agriculture Canada to declare, apparently for the sake of convenience, all of Nova Scotia as a gypsy moth infected area, as opposed to simply stipulating western Nova Scotia the only infected area; and

Whereas such a declaration would mean additional expense and a major complication for growers and shippers in areas where this insect has never been found, since the gypsy moth only prefers hardwood trees and there has never been a gypsy moth egg mass found on a Christmas tree; and

Whereas a resolution was recently passed unanimously by the all-Party Standing Committee on Economic Development to send a letter echoing the concerns of the Christmas Tree Council of Nova Scotia to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House join the all-Party standing committee in their support of the Christmas Tree Council of Nova Scotia with regard to their concerns over the possible declaration of the whole province as a gypsy moth infected area.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

[Page 7366]

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Leader of the Opposition.

RESOLUTION NO. 2660

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 Premier is telling the Tory faithful that his government has fulfilled or are working on 200 of the 243 promises in their blue book; and

Whereas the Premier's two year report lists only 117 promises in their original language and admits there is no action taking place on some of those 117; and

Whereas among the disappeared promises are ". . . additional full-time nursing positions", ensuring that ". . . patients needs are properly met" and ". . . we will significantly reduce costs";

Therefore be it resolved that the Premier should respect his own Party members enough to tell them the truth by admitting that he has already abandoned 126 of his blue book promises.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

Question Period will be begin at 2:45 p.m. and end at 3:45 p.m.

[Page 7367]

ORDERS OF THE DAY

ORAL QUESTIONS PUT BY MEMBERS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Opposition.

HEALTH - PHYSICIAN FEES: INCREASE - COST

MR. DARRELL DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, we learned today that the government has reached a tentative agreement with the province's physicians. It has been reported that the physician fees are increasing anywhere from 20 per cent to 35 per cent. The Minister of Health has been bragging that our physicians will remain the third highest paid in Canada. I want to ask the Minister of Health, how much will this deal cost over the term of the agreement?

[2:45 p.m.]

AN HON. MEMBER: He has that at his fingertips.

HON. JAMES MUIR: Absolutely. Mr. Speaker, the actual details of the contract, including that question which has been asked by the honourable member, we will be releasing the details of the contract, including that information in due course.

MR. DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, well, you know, different standards for different health care workers. During Bill No. 68, this minister had no problem telling us what the government's offer to health care workers would cost. I want to table the Premier's statement in Hansard from June 27, 2001. He said, "We have put, before the health care workers, a raise that over three years is the equivalent of $100 million or $30 million a year." My question to the minister is this, why won't you give Nova Scotians, here and now, the same information about the doctor's deal?

MR. MUIR: Mr. Speaker, the answer to that question is that if the honourable member will go back in history, he will remember that the nurses had already voted on an offer. That is not the case in this situation.

MR. DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, I am not sure how that makes any difference. It sure makes a difference in the minister's mind. Nova Scotians, you know, are fair people. They want to pay a fair wage for services they receive from everyone who works in the health care system. They deserve and want to know the decisions that this government is making about the health care budget. I want to ask the Premier, why won't you give Nova Scotians the same information about the doctors' deal that you put into advertising about the deal with other health care workers?

[Page 7368]

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. Was the supplementary directed toward the Premier?

MR. DEXTER: Yes.

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I refer that to the Minister of Health. (Laughter)

MR. MUIR: Mr. Speaker, the situation last June, as all members know, is that the contract had been recommended by the union executive, not accepted by the union membership. It had been voted on and that is not the case this time.

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

EDUC.: SCHOOLS - OVERCROWDING

MR. WAYNE GAUDET: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Premier. Five portable trailers are being used as substitute classrooms to accommodate an overflow of 160 students of the Hammonds Plains Elementary School. Some HRM schools are bursting at the seams and so far we have nothing from this government. My question to the Premier is, what plans does the Premier have to alleviate overcrowding at schools outside the urban core of the Halifax Regional Municipality?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, the government's efforts to provide more satisfactory classroom environments for the young people of Nova Scotia is an ongoing challenge. The member opposite was instrumental in beginning a program of better schools for Nova Scotians. We would like to think that we are doing the same thing but using a better financial way in which to do it. Obviously it is a step-wise approach that we are using because, simply put, we can't do it all at once. The member brings a good point to Question Period. There are some deficiencies that have yet to be addressed.

MR. GAUDET: Mr. Speaker, the obvious solution here seems to be either build a new school or add to the existing school. My question is, will the Premier commit to a comprehensive school construction program in order to help alleviate this growing crisis?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, the member opposite, perhaps, will remember that the Minister of Education did put out a comprehensive school building program indicating what schools would be started and when and what the projected completion dates are. Already, the Department of Education and our minister has done that.

MR. GAUDET: Mr. Speaker, students have waited long enough for some action from this government. By the time he gets around to solving the problem, these children, these students will have graduated, knowing only substandard classrooms and trailers. My final

[Page 7369]

question to the Premier is, why won't the Premier simply commit to constructing new schools to help curb this overcrowding problem?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, it would be a great pleasure for government to simply say that all of the new schools that are required could be started next month and opened in the very near future; on the other hand, it is the way of this government that we don't commit to anything until we understand how we are going to pay for it.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Opposition.

HEALTH - PHYSICIAN FEES:

HEALTH CARE WORKERS - APPLICABILITY

MR. DARRELL DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, we have some serious shortages of health care workers in this province. We have beds closed and surgeries cancelled because there are insufficient nurses. The South Shore District Health Authority has a crisis situation due to a shortage of ultrasound technologists. Over and over again we are told that we just can't compete with the salaries being offered, not just with the U.S. but even with other Canadian provinces. Now we hear that our doctors are going to be the third-highest paid in the country. I want to ask the Minister of Health, why won't you apply the same standards to all of our health care workers?

HON. JAMES MUIR: Mr. Speaker, the member is correct, there is an issue with the technology preparation - people who work in the technology areas, the allied professions in health. We are addressing that problem and, indeed, I believe the staff in my department will be at the Public Accounts Committee on Wednesday. You may wish to explore that question in some detail tomorrow.

MR. DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, perhaps the minister didn't hear the question. I am sure he thinks that doctors practice in a vacuum. You can have a province full of doctors, but if there aren't enough nurses then necessary surgeries are cancelled. If there aren't enough lab technicians and radiologists the doctors can't make a diagnosis. If there aren't enough home care workers then you can't do day surgeries that require home support. My question for the Minister of Health is this, what good is it going to do to have the third-highest paid doctors in the country if there aren't enough staff to work with them?

MR. MUIR: Mr. Speaker, I wonder if the honourable member was suggesting that we should have rolled back the contract that had been negotiated by the previous government, which made them the third-highest paid workers in Canada.

[Page 7370]

MR. DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, of course it's the minister and his government that are the experts at rollbacks and interventions, legislation and collective agreements. The Tory mantra, of course, is the rich get richer, the poor get poorer. Home care workers in Cape Breton are prepared to strike. They want parity with the rest of Nova Scotia, and they are asking for $12.20 an hour, that's what they're asking (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. The honourable Leader of the Opposition has his final supplementary, please.

MR. DEXTER: I want to ask the minister, why won't you admit that home care workers are an essential component in the fight to reduce health care spending, and why won't you commit to making sure that they are also the third-highest paid in Canada?

MR. MUIR: Mr. Speaker, home care support workers are an integral part of our health system, as are technicians and everybody else. The fact is, as the honourable member knows, there is a collective bargaining process ongoing between all of those people. We do not negotiate on the floor of this House.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Dartmouth East.

HEALTH- PHYSICIAN FEES: INCREASE - CONFIRM

DR. JAMES SMITH: Mr. Speaker, my question is also to the Minister of Health. With the tentative agreement reached between the government and the nearly 2,000 Nova Scotia doctors, it was reported in the media that the doctors could earn over 20 per cent more for office visits, 35 per cent more for evening and weekend visits and over 37 per cent more for emergency surgeries. My question to the minister is, since such a deal with the province's physicians affects every Nova Scotian, will the minister confirm that the increases reported in the media are in fact accurate?

HON. JAMES MUIR: Mr. Speaker, as I said in response to the Leader of the Official Opposition's first question he asked, we will be releasing the details of the agreement in due course and this, of course, would be one of those details.

DR. SMITH: Mr. Speaker, the Liberal Government made great strides. The previous government made great strides in retaining and recruiting physicians. Under this minister's watch, since 1999, we have seen six doctors lost in Colchester County alone, from 78 to 72, and those are the statistics. The minister's claim about retention and recruitment will be put to the test when and if the agreement is accepted. So my question to the minister is, what weight of balance did the minister try to achieve with respect to the issues of quality of life for physicians, quality patient care and support services, or did the minister merely drop a bucket of money on the table for the physicians? (Interruptions)

[Page 7371]

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

MR. MUIR: In regard, Mr. Speaker, to his first comment about the number of physicians in Colchester County, I would suggest that the information he has is not accurate, however that doesn't surprise me. Secondly, like the contracts for nurses and other health care workers, there are conditions in there that address lifestyle and workplace issues. Yes, there are conditions and clauses in there that do address those issues.

DR. SMITH: Mr. Speaker, I would like to take the opportunity to table, from the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Nova Scotia, the Colchester County statistics for physicians and it will show, in fact, that there was a decrease from 78 to 72 physicians during that period. Health care services in Nova Scotia are eroding as we speak. This government cried poor when it came to dealing with the nurses. Some members of his Party are still blaming nurses for the government's financial situation. We heard nothing about what the agreement was going to cost the province. My question to the minister is simply, could the minister please inform the House as to the total global costs associated with this agreement with the physicians?

MR. MUIR: Mr. Speaker, that is a detail that will be disclosed in due course.

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

EDUC.: DEP. MIN. (COCHRANE, DENNIS) - COMPENSATION

MR. KEVIN DEVEAUX: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Premier. In March 2000, the Premier's government concluded an employment contract with Dennis Cochrane, who is the Deputy Minister of Education. I have obtained a copy of the contract through a Freedom of Information request and I will table that. It includes a lucrative benefits package as well as a salary of $127,500, with a provision for a 6 per cent raise after only nine months on the job. I want to ask the Premier, can the Premier inform the House of the total amount of compensation, benefits and expenses charged to Nova Scotia taxpayers by Mr. Cochrane in the 2000-01 fiscal year?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, the member opposite could have saved the government and the taxpayers of Nova Scotia some expense if he had simply asked for the contract instead of involving a Freedom of Information request. The second thing is (Interruptions) Now, the member opposite has the contract in front of him, so if he wants the details and he is having trouble after Question Period I will go over and I will read the contract to him.

[Page 7372]

[3:00 p.m.]

MR. DEVEAUX: Mr. Speaker, this is the wonderful thing about what we tabled; it actually has none of the details as to exactly how much he would have charged. It is all secret; it is all hidden; it is not in the contract that was provided when we asked for it under freedom of information. The last time I heard, that's what Question Period is all about, getting answers from a government that doesn't want to give answers to the public about how much it is spending on senior officials.

Mr. Speaker, as of January 1, 2001, Mr. Cochrane earned $135,000, plus six weeks paid vacation, a car allowance, 9 per cent of his annual salary contributed to RRSP and an education fund similar to that provided to Jack Sullivan. Taxpayers were also required to shell out the moving expenses to bring Mr. Cochrane here from New Brunswick, including up to three months of a living allowance. So my question to the Premier is, will the Premier tell this House how much was paid to relocate Mr. Cochrane to Nova Scotia, including normal work time he would have spent travelling to and from New Brunswick?

THE PREMIER: Yes, I believe that that information could be recaptured and provided to the member. But I also remind the member opposite that a great number of weeks ago the contract which he went to such great trouble to receive under the Freedom of Information Act was actually tabled here in the House of Assembly.

MR. DEVEAUX: I would hope that when the Premier is approving contracts he would actually know what is in them. Maybe I will have to sit down with him afterwards and go through it so he will know what's in those contracts.

Mr. Speaker, in addition to the very generous contributions to Mr. Cochrane's RRSP, the contract provides for severance pay, even if Mr. Cochrane chooses to resign, plus an annual annuity calculated as though he had been on a pension plan. Will the Premier please explain why Nova Scotians should have to pay not only a 9 per cent contribution to Mr. Cochrane's RRSP in lieu of participating in the pension plan, but also an annual annuity after he leaves the province's service, as though he was still on the pension plan?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, when government made the determination that Mr. Cochrane was the person that we wanted to become Deputy Minister of Education we entered into a process of negotiation. As a result of that negotiation, a contract was formalized between the Government of Nova Scotia and Mr. Cochrane, and that contract was tabled in the House of Assembly.

[Page 7373]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Richmond.

EDUC. - UNIVERSITIES: FUNDING - PREM. COMMIT

MR. MICHEL SAMSON: Mr. Speaker, the true test of a government is how it invests in the future of its province, especially in the face of unexpected revenues. The Education Department has just sent letters to all university presidents warning of budget cuts in this spring's upcoming budget. This Tory Government just doesn't get it. Universities in this province are investments, not burdens, and they are investments with long-term implications for this province. My question to the Premier is, instead of chopping university funding with only a few months' notice, why won't the Premier commit to a long-term funding arrangement with Nova Scotia's universities?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, it is difficult to field a question such as that because obviously the member for Richmond does not speak to his colleague for Lunenburg West, who has, on occasion, been heard to suggest that government is still spending too much money, is still too slow in balancing its budget. You can't have it both ways. I mean, either we balance the budget, which is the right thing to do, or we simply say to everybody who asks for a cheque, here it is.

MR. SAMSON: Mr. Speaker, what the member for Lunenburg West and what this caucus has said is that this Premier had a choice. What is your priority? Clearly what we are finding out today is your priority is not to higher education and it is not to students in this province and that your government had a choice, Premier, and you said no. That is the bottom line.

Mr. Speaker, as I said, cuts to university funding means higher tuition and higher student debt load. The Premier and his government have cut the Loan Remission Program and there is no tax relief for students with higher debt loads as was promised by this Premier in his own blue book. My question to the Premier is, will he commit today, in face of the unexpected revenues that he has received, to increasing university funding so that students are not once again holding the bag for the incompetence of this Premier and his government?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, the government - as the member opposite clearly suggested, and I think accurately suggested - had a choice. It had a choice to go down the road of uncontrolled spending, larger and larger deficits resulting in a bankrupt province, taking away any future from our children. We made a choice that we would control spending, we would provide, in the course of the mandate of this government, a balanced budget. I think that is the right thing to do.

[Page 7374]

MR. SAMSON: Mr. Speaker, this Premier had a choice. He had a choice to invest in the future of this province and to invest in the students of this province and his government said no and turned their backs to the students of this province. This same government cut infrastructure funding for universities, failing to renew a three year, $24 million commitment made by the previous Liberal Government to universities. Nova Scotia has the highest tuition rates. The Loan Remission Program has been cut by this Premier and the promised tax relief for students with high debt loads is nowhere in sight. My question to the Premier is, will the Premier finally admit that failing to invest in higher education and students in this province will delay Nova Scotia's ability to achieve self-sufficiency and a prosperous future?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I will take this opportunity to remind the member opposite that this government, despite a change in direction financially, was able to increase the funding for universities, was able to increase the funding for community colleges. On the other hand, if, as the member suggests, we simply open up the pocketbook, we will never ever balance the budget of this province and I believe the majority of Nova Scotians elected us to do that and we will do that.

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

JUSTICE: VICTIMS COMP. FUND - SERVICES

MR. KEVIN DEVEAUX: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Justice. The headline in the Sunday Daily News read, "Robbery steals cabbie's life." It was a story that was a heartwrenching account of the devastation caused by a vicious criminal act. Last week Mr. Tran's plight was raised in this House by myself and other members. First the Premier and then the Minister of Justice responded in a manner that showed a total lack of sympathy with regard to this tragic situation caused by a criminal act. The Trans story is everyone's worst nightmare and this government isn't helping to meet this family's special needs. My question to the Minister of Justice is, will the Minister of Justice give his commitment today that innocent victims of crime suffering life-altering injuries will receive the services they so desperately need from the Victims Compensation Fund?

HON. MICHAEL BAKER: Thank you very much for the question. One issue, of course, that the honourable member and I disagree on is that I don't believe any member has ever indicated anything but sympathy to this poor gentleman for his terrible tragedy. Every victim of crime in this province deserves nothing but the sympathy and compassion of members of this House. Mr. Speaker, what we have to do and what we are going to do is we are going to provide a range of services to all Nova Scotians who need help. We do have a social safety net in this province that provides not only income support but also provides things like home care to Nova Scotians who need it. So this government is committed to Nova Scotians who need help.

[Page 7375]

MR. DEVEAUX: Let's be clear, Mr. Speaker. Since this Tory Government came in, there is a gaping hole in that social safety net and this one is around victims being compensated when they are the innocent victims of crime. When the Victims' Rights and Services Act was brought into this House, the Tory minister at the time said that this was a bill of rights for victims. Our Justice Minister, backed up by the Premier, has torn up that victims' bill of rights, and is denying innocent victims access to funding from the compensation fund set up for that very purpose. Will the minister please admit to this House that the restrictions of funding was a mistake which reversed the very principle of the legislation, and that he will ensure that support for Mr. Tran's needs will be restored?

MR. BAKER: Mr. Speaker, as indicated earlier in the House, with respect to the Victims' Compensation Fund, the program has been changed to one that provides counselling because that was one where there was a shortcoming in the system which we are covering. There are also many other programs in this province which do cover victims of crime and do deal with their many needs. As had been indicated in the House earlier, we would like to do more, unfortunately we must do the best we can within our limited financial circumstances.

MR. DEVEAUX: Mr. Speaker, I wish this Minister of Justice could meet with Michael and Karen Tran and see what they have to go through, maybe he would actually begin to have some real legitimate sympathy for what they're going through and not just words that he comes to this House with. The Tory Minister of Justice in 1989, said that a victim has the right to access social, legal, medical and mental health services that are responsive to the needs of the victim and the victim's dependants, spouse or guardian. That was the intent of this Act in 1989.

Mr. Speaker, I challenge this minister to provide the needed support to Mr. Tran and other victims of crime. Will he tell us today that he's prepared to do the right thing and fulfill the intent of the legislation?

MR. BAKER: Mr. Speaker, as I have indicated to the honourable member, this government is committed to trying to do everything we can do to help this gentleman or any other Nova Scotian who needs help. As I have indicated to the honourable member, I am prepared to do everything I can to pursue assistance for Mr. Tran in his difficult circumstances. Beyond that, we have to recognize Nova Scotia's financial circumstances. There is a program that was created in this province with federal funding. The Government of Canada has changed the funding in this province. Unfortunately, we have to be cognizant of the fact that when the federal government withdraws support, like this program, like Legal Aid, and we can go on a long list, the Government of Nova Scotia has to react to those changes.

[Page 7376]

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

EDUC. - C.B. SCHOOLS: CLOSURES - PREMIER EXPLAIN

MR. BRIAN BOUDREAU: Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Education doesn't feel schools in Cape Breton warrant any special attention. The Premier has taken no interest in the current crisis facing the Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board. The Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board is losing approximately 700 students per year. The Premier made a promise to help in situations like the one in which the Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board now faces by reviewing funding formulas. My question to the Premier is, why is the Premier allowing schools to close and communities to die?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, it is a serious problem in Cape Breton-Victoria. There is a rapidly declining school population, as the member opposite has correctly identified, perhaps this year as many as 700 fewer students in that school system. The member opposite surely can't suggest that with fewer students, that does not equate to fewer schools. We cannot, if in fact we are going to have a continual loss of that magnitude in Cape Breton-Victoria, maintain all of the infrastructure that is now there in the school system.

MR. BOUDREAU: Mr. Speaker, in fact I did not make the promise to the people of Nova Scotia, that Premier made that promise. The Premier could at least show some concern here. In fact, he's coming to my riding on Friday night. (Interruptions) I certainly hope he has . . .

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

MR. BOUDREAU: Mr. Speaker, I certainly hope he doesn't just in-and-out, I hope he has an opportunity to visit roads and infrastructure and the unemployed and, of particular interest today to me, the schools in my area that are being closed. During the last election the Premier was full of promises. On July 12th the Premier stated: Let's plan now for a long-term formula for school board funding, to smooth out the highs and lows of student enrolments. My question is, why isn't the Premier living up to that promise?

[3:15 p.m.]

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, the member opposite no doubt is aware that already the Minister of Education has made funding available to recognize the fact that there is a transition going on in the Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board. I believe that while the member opposite may be in disagreement as to the amount of those funds, those funds actually were made available.

[Page 7377]

MR. BOUDREAU: Mr. Speaker, it's obvious that the Premier is confused on which year this is. The Tories also promised to ensure resources are allocated fairly throughout the province, so that all Nova Scotians have equal access to education. The bottom line is that the Premier made a promise and the Premier is not living up to that promise. Will the Premier commit here today to undertake a comprehensive review of funding to the Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board, so that Cape Breton children will have the same access to schools and the same education system as other Nova Scotians?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, already the kinds of things that the member opposite has made reference to are being done. We're looking right across the province at a declining school population. There are only two or three growth areas within Nova Scotia right now in terms of school population. On the other hand, you know, we can't do anything about that. If there are to be fewer students, obviously, there have to be serious adjustments in the program. But I have a piece of information for the member's attention that I didn't have when I answered the member's first question, that the Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board received an additional $900,000 to help adjust during the transition period with fewer students.

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

SERV. N.S. & MUN. REL.: ASSESSMENT - MORATORIUM

MR. WILLIAM ESTABROOKS: Mr. Speaker, this government has asked for suggestions on solving the very serious problems it has created around property assessments. We provided them with one yesterday, a solution that came out of an excellent meeting held Saturday in Riverport, Lunenburg County, by the residents who were present at that time. One of the people behind our plan is Tim Wentzell. The Wentzell family has owned a 13-acre property in Feltzen South since . . .

HON. MICHAEL BAKER: It's Feltzen.

MR. ESTABROOKS: Feltzen, thank you. I thank the member for Lunenburg for being there, but you weren't at the meeting.

Mr. Speaker, they've owned the property since 1750. They are the original deed holders. Their assessment has gone from $1,600 - and I will table the assessment - to this year's assessment of $74,400. My question is to the Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations. In light of that sort of assessment increase, do you support the concept of having a moratorium and a review of assessment procedures in this province?

[Page 7378]

HON. ANGUS MACISAAC: I thank the honourable member for the question. I can say to the honourable member and to the House, Mr. Speaker, that we are open to suggestions. I want to remind everyone, however, that the purpose of assessment is to provide fair and equitable basis of revenue for municipal units in this province. Whatever it is that we attempt to deal with, we must bear in mind that ultimately it is a question of taxation and revenue for municipal units.

MR. ESTABROOKS: This problem cuts across the responsibilities of a number of government departments. For example, the Wentzell property was assessed as a forestry property prior to this year, which meant it was tax exempt and the assessment bill shows that. But this year it's categorized as resource, therefore taxable. Mr. Wentzell has said to me: The only way my family can keep this land is if we have a major cut to maintain forest exempt status. My question to the Minister of Natural Resources is, could the minister tell me what discussions he has had with the Minister of Municipal Affairs to assist Mr. Wentzell in this unfair assessment?

HON. ERNEST FAGE: Mr. Wentzell has not approached me or my department, to my knowledge, to make that request. The classification of properties in Nova Scotia is under the jurisdiction of the minister responsible.

MR. ESTABROOKS: From one minister to another, let's go to the Premier if I may. Mr. Premier, I have heard from constituents of your backbenchers. In the last 24 hours I have received e-mails and faxes from over 40 Nova Scotians and they all don't live in Timberlea-Prospect. They live in the constituencies of your backbenchers. I want to ask the Premier, if you don't support our plan, what is your government's plan to address these unfair assessments?

THE PREMIER: I refer that to the Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations.

MR. MACISAAC: I want to say to the House, and the honourable member in particular, that we're dealing here with a question that is fundamental to revenues of municipal units. Whatever action we take is going to be one which will take into account the taxation questions that are associated with this issue. The moratorium creates a situation where a property owner whose property is valued at $300,000 becomes exempt from paying tax on that, while somebody with scrubland at a value of $20,000 would wind up having to pay additional taxes in order to subsidize the high-valued property. So that's an issue that has to be dealt with.

[Page 7379]

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

PET. DIR.: PANCANADIAN AGREEMENT - DETAILS

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: My question is to the part-time Minister responsible for the Petroleum Directorate, hopefully to be full-time Minister responsible for the Petroleum Directorate. If the Premier takes my suggestion to do so, hopefully it will be soon.

In the past two weeks, both the Premier, the Minister of Finance and the Minister responsible for the Petroleum Directorate have neatly danced around the issue of whether or not the province is planning on entering into an agreement with PanCanadian to purchase 50 per cent of the offshore pipeline for $150 million. My question to the minister is, could the minister inform the House as to whether the CEO for the Petroleum Directorate, Walter Tucker, met with PanCanadian Vice-President Larry LeBlanc on September 13th, informing PanCanadian that the province was indeed purchasing 50 per cent of the pipeline for $150 million, yes or no?

HON. GORDON BALSER: Mr. Speaker, the CEO of the Petroleum Directorate, as do many staff members in the Petroleum Directorate, meets regularly with members of the industry to discuss how best to ensure that Nova Scotians get maximum benefit from the development of our offshore. In terms of the opportunity to purchase a 50 per cent option back into the pipeline, no final decisions have been made, as has been indicated on a number of occasions in this House. What we have indicated to PanCanadian is that that has some value. We want to ensure, in the deliberations PanCanadian undertakes as they go forward, that they recognize the province has an interest in how that proceeds.

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, that somewhat convoluted answer didn't tell this House anything, and did not tell Nova Scotians what they want to know. On September 14th, Walter Tucker received a letter from PanCanadian confirming that a meeting took place and that the province was interested in investing $150 million; in fact the minister sent a letter of intent back to him on the same day. Will the minister table those letters in the House before the end of business today?

MR. BALSER: Mr. Speaker, I will take that under advisement.

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: So the minister, Mr. Speaker, does not deny that those letters exist, he is going to take it under advisement. He went to great pains before to say that there were no negotiations going on and now he is going to take my request for tabling those letters under advisement.

[Page 7380]

Mr. Speaker, my final supplementary is, if senior bureaucrats are making $150 million expenditure decisions without Cabinet approval, then Nova Scotians have a right to know; if the Premier and the Finance Minister don't know what is going on, they should make themselves aware. Will the minister simply commit to a full disclosure and reveal to the House whether or not the taxpayer is on the hook for an investment of $150 million, yes or no?

MR. BALSER: Mr. Speaker, when this issue was first brought to the floor of the House by that member, he asked if we were interested in taking a back-in option to the existing Sable pipeline and the answer to that was no. When the question came forward a second time, related specifically to PanCanadian, what we indicated was that we recognize that that option has value. No final decision has been taken as to what is in the best interests of the taxpayers of Nova Scotia, but I can reassure the member opposite, and all Nova Scotians, that we will not give it away like those people did. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Atlantic.

HEALTH - BRAIN INJURIES: GOV'T. (N.S.) - NEEDS NEGLECT

MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, through you to the Minister of Health. Brain injuries increasingly are falling into a list of unmet health needs in the Province of Nova Scotia. Brain-injured people require individually tailored care. Speech, behavior, physical and occupational therapies, these are necessary components for recovery, and as important is the fact that these therapies have to be delivered in a timely manner. But this government, as well as the previous government, has neglected the needs of brain-injured Nova Scotians. I want to ask the Minister of Health to explain to Nova Scotians, in particular to those suffering brain injuries, why his government continues to fail brain-injured Nova Scotians without meeting their needs?

HON. JAMES MUIR: Mr. Speaker, the honourable member does raise the issue of a group in society in Nova Scotia and in most other jurisdictions of North America and elsewhere in the world for which it is difficult to establish what is appropriate treatment and what is not, because the conditions are so different. I can tell you that this government did, in 2000, establish a brain injury working group, which presented a report. The report is still under the consideration of our department and, hopefully - and I support the intent of the question - we can provide better services to those people, the same as I hope we can, in the future, provide better service to a good many other people who have other types of injury and disease as well.

[Page 7381]

[3:30 p.m.]

MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, the truth of the matter is that beyond the Nova Scotia Rehabilitation Centre, there are very few services available to address the specific needs of people with brain injuries. I am going to table a letter here today that was sent to me from parents with a brain-injured son who had a terrible accident this summer and they have been trying to get some services. On October 1st they were told that they would have to wait three to four months for those services to be available. As of today they learned from those same physicians that it would be four to six months now. I want to ask the minister to explain to me and to these parents why his government would believe that it's acceptable to leave people with brain injuries from getting the necessary treatment in a timely manner?

MR. MUIR: Mr. Speaker, as I said, we would like to provide more support for persons in Nova Scotia who have suffered a brain injury. We would like to provide more support in Nova Scotia for people who have a variety of afflictions and diseases. We do what we can. It's not as much as we'd like to do, but there are limits in how we can address each individual case. I really don't personally have a knowledge of the case which you were speaking of, but if you would like to make that information available, I will have staff take a look at it.

MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: The minister mentioned earlier that the Brain Injuries Association has put forward, along with a group of doctors at the Nova Scotia Rehabilitation Centre, a proposal for a day program for brain injury survivors. He has also indicated that that matter is still on the table. It's not good enough, I would suggest to you, Mr. Speaker, members of this House, for this government and for this minister to be concerned and want to do something and yet leave these needs unmet. I want to ask the Minister of Health if he would make a commitment here today to deal with the proposal that is still on the table forthwith, and make sure that the people, like the gentleman that is talked about in the letter that has just been tabled here today, to make sure that his needs do not go unmet one more day?

MR. MUIR: Mr. Speaker, the QE II was approached to develop a more detailed program plan and to give cost estimates for the types of services that the honourable member is referring to. We did receive a report in the latter part of the summer, and it's under consideration at this time.

[Page 7382]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Lunenburg West.

AGRIC. & FISH.: ECON. DEV. COMM. - RECOMMENDATIONS

MR. DONALD DOWNE: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries. As the minister well knows and certainly all members of this House know, agriculture is going through a crisis. We have had many years of droughts that have caused problems for the beef industry, for the horticultural sector and many other sectors within agriculture. On September 25th of this year, the Economic Development Committee had a presentation by the Nova Scotia Federation of Agriculture. That presentation was made to the all-Party committee and a resolution was made and adopted by the all-Party committee that there is a crisis and that the committee commit to a letter to the minister requesting that the minister act on the recommendation to set up an all-Party committee to deal with this crisis immediately. I want to table in the House the minutes of the Economic Development Committee meeting of September 25th.

My question to the minister is, is the minister going to act on the recommendation of that all-Party committee to be struck to address the crisis in agriculture immediately? Yes or no.

HON. ERNEST FAGE: Mr. Speaker, I thank the honourable member for his question. There is no question, it has been an unbelievably dry year here in Nova Scotia. Many farmers in the livestock sector as well as horticulture have experienced difficulties. Currently, because of the motion, I am reviewing the intent of the motion with the chairman of the Economic Development Committee. We are looking forward to setting up a structure that can accommodate that type of input.

MR. DOWNE: Mr. Speaker, I was at an Economic Development Committee meeting this morning and that issue came up again. I am not aware of such a meeting being undertaken. So I take the answer as being maybe yes, maybe no. I will then move to the question to the minister. Mr. Minister, there is a serious crisis out there, and in that discussion by the Federation of Agriculture they asked very clearly that the committee work with the Minister of Agriculture immediately to deal with some of the water crises, the water strategy for the long-term sustainability of agriculture. I am asking the minister this question, simply put, will the minister work immediately with the all-Party committee and develop a long-term sustainability strategy for agriculture, yes or no?

MR. FAGE: Mr. Speaker, the honourable member is certainly correct; there is a very strong need for a long-term sustainability on the water strategy, particularly. Again, the motion was made by the honourable member, not the Federation of Agriculture. The setting up of that structure - I am working with the chairman of the committee to accommodate that. We are working, the department and the industry, together on a long-term strategy. We are

[Page 7383]

working with our federal partners to establish some of the links with their expertise to also help us deal with that situation of a long-term water strategy for the agriculture industry.

MR. DOWNE: Mr. Speaker, to begin with, the federation cannot make the resolution in the Committee of Economic Development, it takes a member of the committee to make the motion, and I did and it was seconded by a member of your caucus. I appreciate very seriously where that member was coming from.

My final supplementary to the minister, this morning, that was not brought to our attention by the chair, nor has that been informed back to the members of the committee, who in turn have asked that question. My question finally to you, Mr. Minister, without any more horseplay, will you admit and talk today, take initiative today to strike the committee, yes or no?

MR. FAGE: I was certainly aware of the committee structure, that groups or individuals before a committee cannot make a motion, so I was simply correcting the member on his prelude. It wasn't the federation, as he stated, that made the motion; it was the members who actually made the decision. Mr. Speaker, we are presently taking care of that committee structure and when it is ready to unveil, we will unveil that committee structure and, as well, we will deal with the agricultural community directly.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Dartmouth North.

SERV. N.S. & MUN. REL.: EQUALIZATION - PROP. TAXES

MR. JERRY PYE: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations. In February, the minister floated the idea that he would solve a provincial problem by giving property tax revenues from some municipalities to others. Last week, the Halifax Regional Municipality issued an open letter to the HRM residents against this proposal, which I will table. The minister responded that his February proposal is dead. Again, I will table. I wish I could believe that but I don't. Will the minister agree that the proposal to use regressive municipal property taxes to fund municipal equalization should be shot?

HON. ANGUS MACISAAC: Mr. Speaker, the honourable member is correct to point out that the proposal which we put forward, and it was a proposal in February, is now a proposal that is not under consideration.

MR. PYE: Mr. Speaker, the minister says he is negotiating with the UNSM on, among other things, equalization among municipalities. He claims he wants to help, yet the minister rejected the proposal by the UNSM that the province fund municipal equalization through

[Page 7384]

revenues it would administer through the deed transfer tax. Will the minister explain why he flat out rejected the UNSM's funding on municipal equalization?

MR. MACISAAC: Mr. Speaker, I do not agree with the honourable member's assumption that we have flat out rejected the proposal. What I did say was that we do not agree that the proposal should be compulsory for all municipalities.

MR. PYE: Mr. Speaker, I would like to remind the honourable minister that from the largest municipality in Nova Scotia, that is not what's being portrayed here. The minister is playing a mug's game. He claims the HRM will work with the province and other municipalities to resolve this situation. He is casting HRM as a bad guy by fuelling anti-metro sentiment. He hopes to hide the fact that the only fair way to fund municipal equalization is through the general revenues of this province because it is a provincial responsibility to ensure municipalities offer reasonable comparable services. Will the minister, to show he is serious about implementing a principled and fair plan for the municipal equalization, promise today that the municipal tax base will not be used to fund it?

MR. MACISAAC: Mr. Speaker, the honourable member is quite correct to point out that the largest municipal unit in this province is spending a lot of money on advertising. They're spending money on advertising on a campaign against a proposal which has been rejected and which has been withdrawn; in other words, they're spending a lot of money flogging a dead horse.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Lunenburg West.

TRANSPORT. & PUB. WKS.: 100-SERIES HWYS. - TWINNING

MR. DONALD DOWNE: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Transportation and Public Works. Highways are extremely important for the issue of safety to all Nova Scotians. They are a vital vehicle for tourism and economic development throughout the Province of Nova Scotia. This government was elected in the Valley on a promise that it would immediately twin Highway No. 101. It took two years and federal money to start to follow through on that so-called promise. However, statistics prove very clearly that accident rates among 100-Series Highways all over Nova Scotia are comparable. Given the danger of these highways, why is the government not twinning other 100-Series Highways like Highway No. 103 to protect the lives of all Nova Scotians?

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, I would be delighted to twin Highway No. 103, but I'm sure the honourable member, I think as a former Minister of Transportation and Public Works, recognizes there's a very basic difference between Highway No. 103,

[Page 7385]

Highway No. 101 and Highway No. 104, et cetera, because Highway No. 103 is not considered to be part of the National Highway System.

MR. DOWNE: Mr. Speaker, you know, it's interesting to listen to this government. They seem to think that just because there's federal funding on one road, the other roads don't count. So if people die on Highway No. 103, it doesn't matter. It only matters if they die on Highway No. 101. What a shameful thing for a minister to say. I want to table statistics in this House today that show, for example, in the last year we had a higher number of fatality accidents on Highway No. 103 than Highway No. 101. (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. Order, please! The member for Lunenburg West has the floor.

MR. DOWNE: When you compare the fact that statistics show that the fatality rates on Highway No. 103 exceed those of Highway No. 101 in the year 2001, as a percentage of population, it is even a higher percentage of fatalities relative to the population base, and it clearly shows that Highway No. 103 is a serious situation. My question to the minister is - whether it's Highway No. 103 or Route 208, or whether it's Highway No. 104, there are other highways in this province that deserve attention - will the minister undertake to put more attention to other roads than just Highway No. 101?

MR. RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, I would be . . .

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

GOVERNMENT BUSINESS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

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

[3:45 p.m.]

PRIVATE MEMBERS' PUBLIC BILLS FOR SECOND READING

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, we will accommodate the Minister of Justice by calling Bill No. 95.

[Page 7386]

Bill No. 95 - German Settlers Day Act.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Justice.

HON. MICHAEL BAKER: Mr. Speaker, it is my great pleasure to rise with respect to this piece of legislation. This legislation is designed to acknowledge the heritage of the very many Nova Scotians who can trace their ancestors back to the original German settlers in Nova Scotia. German Nova Scotians began to settle in Nova Scotia in 1750. Very shortly after the founding of the City of Halifax, Germans began to come to Nova Scotia and these Germans later become the nucleus of the settlement of Lunenburg in 1753.

Mr. Speaker, the contribution of Nova Scotians, both in the past and in the present, of German origin is obviously very significant. For example, we have a former Lieutenant Governor in the Honourable Lloyd Crouse, whose family was one of the German settlers in Nova Scotia, but also my understanding is that another Lieutenant Governor I know quite well from Lunenburg, the Honourable James Kinley - his mother was a Young - also was one of the German settlers in Lunenburg.

You know, Mr. Speaker, to some extent, the German settlers in Nova Scotia have become, over time, a bit invisible because many of them have had their names Anglicized. Amongst them, of course, the Bakers, who were originally Beckers. Also, many Smiths in Nova Scotia were Schmidts and there are many other names that would appear to be English names that are in fact German names in Nova Scotia. Of course we have a lot of names. One of the honourable members mentioned the Wentzells. Of course, the Wentzells would have been part of the original settlers. There was the Hine family, who are now known, of course, as the Hamms in Nova Scotia. So we have a lot of German heritage in this province. Much of it, as I said, is not as apparent as it might be, but which is quite clearly important.

I would like to thank a number of people who assisted me from Lunenburg County with respect to this bill, two people in particular. One was Mr. Tom Ernst, who is a Christmas tree and forestry producer in Lunenburg County and a very active and interested person involved in the German-Canadian Cultural Association. Mr. Ernst brought to me the fact that there was similar legislation in the Province of Ontario dealing with what they call Pioneer's Day, but the principle is very much the same. He brought that to my attention and was a proponent of that. Also, there is a Councillor in the Town of Lunenburg, Heather-Anne Getson, who is the Nova Scotia representative on the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada and she provided a lot of the assistance with respect to historical information, which can be found in this bill, Mr. Speaker. There were many others. The German-Canadian Cultural Association, of course, is a very important proponent of maintaining, I guess, an emphasis on German culture, both past and present, in Nova Scotia and I would like to congratulate that group for the work that they did.

[Page 7387]

Mr. Speaker, as I indicated before, this piece of legislation sets out June 7th as the day to be celebrated as German Settlers Day. The reason for that, quite simply, is because that is the day traditionally celebrated in Lunenburg County as the founding of the Town of Lunenburg as the first settlement for German settlers in Lunenburg County. This is, I guess, what you call the Nova Scotia day, where as in Ontario, I think it is fair to say that Oktoberfest is the focus for German-Canadian cultural events. I think in Nova Scotia, part of our tradition is to celebrate the founding of Lunenburg and Lunenburg County as a whole as the beginning of the sort of genesis or of German-Canadian culture. So that is the reason that day was selected.

We have a very significant day coming up, Mr. Speaker, in Nova Scotia in 2003 and that is the 250th Anniversary of the founding of the Town of Lunenburg and of the German settlement of Lunenburg in that year. I think it would be very appropriate if on that day when many Nova Scotians meet, not just Lunenburgers but people from all over Nova Scotia and indeed Canada, that they will know that this House has given its endorsement for the importance of German-Canadian culture as a part of Nova Scotian culture.

There is nothing more important that we can do than to acknowledge our past. In Nova Scotia, we have a tremendously rich and varied past. We have a cultural mosaic which represents people of all nationalities. We have, of course, the original Mi'kmaq settlers of Nova Scotia, we have, obviously, Scottish settlers, English settlers, French settlers, we have settlers from many other backgrounds - whether they're Ukranian or Polish or any nationality you would want. Nova Scotians represent the world. What this bill is about is to simply acknowledge a group of Nova Scotians who are very important in our history, who were really a part of the first major influx of settlers to Nova Scotia - post the Acadians - and I would hope that this House can see it within their power to support what I believe is an endorsement of the importance of German-Canadians to the cultural mosaic of Nova Scotia. Thank you.

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

MR. WILLIAM ESTABROOKS: I would like to thank the member opposite for bringing this very worthy piece of legislation forward. I would also like to thank him for his - what shall I say - compact history lesson. I have had the opportunity over the past number of months to be in contact with various people in Lunenburg County on a certain issue and during those meetings, I have met a number of past teachers of the Minister of Justice. It's unbelievable for me to bring to this House's attention that he was an exceptional student and he was a qualified young historian when he moved to the university down the street here. In fact, at one time I believe he was studying history as a major profession with the idea that perhaps he could get side-lined into the law.

[Page 7388]

Maybe the classrooms - perhaps definitely, from the comments that I have heard from past teachers of the Minister of Justice - of Nova Scotia have lost a valuable history teacher based on the history lesson that I have just heard here a few moments ago. I say that with some compliments because I, too, am aware of the fact of the contribution of the Germans to our heritage. In particular, I would like to draw the House's attention to the Slauenwhite family. I would pronounce it incorrectly perhaps and I know that Hansard will have to ask for the correct pronunciation from the member for Lunenburg, but the Schlagenweid family of course is now the Slauenwhites and the importance that they have contributed to numerous communities along the South Shore, particularly the community of Terence Bay.

I think it's a real consequence for us to be able to recognize our heritage. To look at the Town of Lunenburg and the communities surrounding Lunenburg, the town that is, to realize the importance and the contribution that this particualr influx of population to our province has brought to us.

One of the great places to visit in this province are the Islands of Big and Little Tancook. Wonderful place to go, also make sure that you can get the ferry at the right time and while you're there, you have an opportunity to taste some of that great German food. I can pronounce it to you on the visits that I have made to Tancook because friends of mine that had the opportunity to teach in that wonderful community when the school was operating on Big Tancook - a wonderful place to go and visit. So I can tell you.

I am aware of the fact that the Baker family is a Becker family, originally from Tancook. I want to know and I am very interested - I notice that June 7th is a Friday in 2002. That would be the first day of celebration, I would assume, for this day which we certainly in our caucus are going to support (Interruption) 2003? So I am now at 2003 - hopefully I will be well and alive and looking at the fact that on that weekend, if the calendar falls correctly, my wife Carolyn and I would accept the invitation of Mr. and Mrs. Baker to be in attendance at that time.

I know that if the right celebration is taking place, it might not even be German food that we're also celebrating that day. It also could be another beverage of which the Germans are famous for. I look forward to the opportuntiy and I am not saying I wouldn't support the bill without the invitation, I certainly don't want to impugn motive to my comments, because I would like to say that that would be a wonderful day for us as legislators and for me as the MLA for Timberlea-Prospect to go to the community of Lunenburg to celebrate on the first occasion, German Settlers Day, on June 7, 2003. I look forward to that invitation, and the response will be in the affirmative.

[Page 7389]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Lunenburg West.

MR. DONALD DOWNE: Mr. Speaker, the member for Timberlea-Prospect (Interruptions) Pardon me?

AN HON. MEMBER: Tell us about your German heritage.

MR. ESTABROOKS: I'll go with you on June 7th.

MR. DOWNE: The member for Timberlea-Prospect . . .

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

MR. DOWNE: Mr. Speaker, the member for Timberlea-Prospect, I thought he needed some Chap Stick or something there for awhile, he was romancing so much with the Minister of Justice. It's the first time, it's nice to see that, because normally it has been criticism.

I, too, would like to stand up on this bill and talk about the good German history of Lunenburg County. Unlike the member opposite, I wouldn't request a liquid refreshment in order to be there on June 7th to observe the founding of the Town of Lunenburg; I will want to be there simply because it's such a beautiful town and it has such beautiful people, and it's next door to my riding.

AN HON. MEMBER: Good, you're not getting any. I'll drink yours.

MR. DOWNE: Well, I have to drive, so if you want to drink and drive, go right ahead. Anyway, Tom Ernst is a known historian in our area, and I am glad that the member for Lunenburg took heed from that very interesting individual who has worked very hard in the forestry sector, but also worked very hard to maintain the German culture in the Province of Nova Scotia, especially in Lunenburg County. When you listen to Mr. Ernst, he talks with great pride of the German heritage, not unlike Dougie Rhodenizer, who also speaks with great pride of his German background - he referred to himself as Dougie Rhodeniza - he understand his history very well.

I rise today to speak on Bill No. 95, the German Settlers Day Act. This bill sets out to recognize the industriousness, the unique culture, the strengths of the German settlers and their ancestors, and what they have proven and provided to the continuity and the success of the Province of Nova Scotia. It's interesting, upon being declared, in Lunenburg, by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site it was stated that the reason for the site was Lunenburg's status as the best-preserved example of British-colonized, settled patterns in North America; however Lunenburg was settled by the Germans in the 1750s, if I recall correctly.

[Page 7390]

As many would agree, it was the colonists not the colonizers who gave the settlement its content, its culture and its traditions. Observing June 7th, maybe I might partake in a wee taste of German cuisine . . .

MR. ESTABROOKS: You told me you were driving.

MR. DOWNE: No, no, German cuisine. I, too, look forward. Normally the member for Timberlea-Prospect (Laughter) Yes, we have a load of sauerkraut for the member for Timberlea-Prospect as well. Normally the member for Timberlea-Prospect is condemning foreign ownership in Nova Scotia, and I wonder if he was back in the 1750's if he would be condemning the German settlers who settled that part of the Province of Nova Scotia.

Mr. Speaker, many ancestors and residents from Lunenburg are immigrant farmers to begin with, most were Germans, some were English, some were French, some were Swiss, and through two generations were modelled into some of the world's finest seamen and shipbuilders. All we have to do is look at the Bluenose and the Bluenose II . . .

AN HON. MEMBER: The Bounty.

MR. DOWNE: And the Bounty, to know how that tradition in my riding and throughout Lunenburg County has been preserved.

I trust the minister is bringing this matter to the attention of the Minister of Tourism and Culture. I would hope that he would realize that the Minister of Tourism and Culture has a role to play in doing more to inform people of the history of Lunenburg County, whether it's New Ross, Bridgewater, Lunenburg, Chester, Feltzen South, Big Tancook, Little Tancook, or some other areas, and the list goes on.

[4:00 p.m.]

Maybe what the minister should do, the Minister of Economic Development or the Premier, is point out that Icelandair used to bring Germans to our coast and now is no longer going to be in service for Nova Scotia and that is a tremendous blow to keeping the traditions alive. Maybe the minister could also make sure that the Minister of Tourism and Culture would do his part to bring more of the cultural diversity to the great Province of Nova Scotia. Statistically speaking, from 1996, the German community plays a vital role in Nova Scotia. There are some 17,560 Nova Scotians who indicated their ethnic background is German. That is something to be very proud of. It is only led by the French, Irish, Scottish and English in greater numbers, but the German community is substantive. It's not just Lunenburg County, but throughout Nova Scotia.

[Page 7391]

So I would like to rise and say that on behalf of our caucus, we will be supportive of the bill that was brought forward, that was started by a man like Tom Ernst who did have the dream of making sure that the identity of German ancestry is brought forward in this Legislature. We have newspapers that were published for Germans and the list goes on. But I would like to compliment Tom Ernst for being tenacious enough to get the ear of the minister and for the minister to realize the importance that Germans play not only in Lunenburg, but throughout Nova Scotia. It's my pleasure, as a member for Lunenburg County, to be able to support that bill. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Hants East.

MR. JOHN MACDONELL: Mr. Speaker, my colleague, the member for Timberlea-Prospect, is saying, give a teacher's lesson. Actually, I won't do that. I didn't go research any facts around this bill, but I do want to stand and speak to this bill. I want to applaud the minister for bringing this forward. I do know Tom Ernst a little bit and I have to say that I know him more on the Christmas tree connection, but if he is as passionate about everything that he does, which I tend to think that he probably is, then I can certainly see why he would take the minister's attention on this issue.

The minister and any other members would know that with the name MacDonell, they wouldn't assume that I would have any German ancestry, but I certainly do. Jacob Horne, who settled in the Eastern Passage area, in the area of my colleague, the member for Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage, actually is an ancestor of mine. I do know about the connection of my family to Lunenburg. John C. Horne of Enfield, who would have been a descendent, who was what was referred to in those days as a lumberman, used to go to Lunenburg and actually get part of his woods crew for the winter, lumbermen from the Lunenburg area. Actually, I think a few of them had come up to the Enfield area and descendants of theirs are still in that area.They met and married local girls so, therefore, there are some names that I assume are from the Lunenburg area; my grandmother was a Horne who had roots in Eastern Passage.

I also want to make note of the people in Dutch Settlement in the area of the member for the beautiful Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley. Certainly, the Isenor name in the Dutch Settlement area is of German descent and a fairly large community in that area crosses the Shubenacadie River and a number of people in my constituency would have their ancestry there, as well.

I think, in my community, one of the most notable Hornes was E.H. Horne, who grew up in Enfield and actually it was his discovery of gold in Rouyn-Noranda that led to the nickel find which became the company that we know today as Noranda - actually a local boy who does good and came back to Nova Scotia, to the Enfield area, as a millionaire. So certainly in the days when people still did a lot of prospecting, he was actually one of the

[Page 7392]

ones - I guess news of his discovery probably fuelled the fire for lots of young up-and-coming prospectors in that area; it's just that it took him into his later years actually to make that discovery.

So I want to say that there certainly is a lot of history in this province, and I am aware of some of it in my local area, which we can say the Germans who had come and settled those areas are responsible for, and I again want to applaud the minister for bringing the bill forward and certainly let him know that I would support it.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Needham.

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I just want to take a few moments to make a few remarks about this particular bill. I am very pleased that the minister has brought this bill forward.

I am particularly reminded of the Little Dutch Church in the north end of Halifax, in my constituency. This church - for members of this Legislature who might not know this, but the minister full well knows because he attended a celebration, really, at the Little Dutch Church two years ago when it was designated as a national heritage site by Parks Canada - goes back to the original settlement of Halifax, in fact, with the German settlers who arrived here in Nova Scotia. I want to say I don't think I had an opportunity that day to say to the minister, but he spoke there that day on behalf of the Province of Nova Scotia, and it was a speech that was very informative in terms of the information he brought forward, but also very moving. I know that people I spoke with afterwards were very appreciative of the remarks that the minister made, his knowledge and the emotion he displayed, really, as he came there to participate in that particular event, and it was a lovely event.

I would say to members of this House, if you've never been to the Little Dutch Church in the north end of Halifax on Brunswick Street, it's well worth a visit. It's a very plain and small church. Its simplicity, Mr. Speaker, is truly sort of a moving kind of situation to be in, to close your eyes and think about what it must have been like for the first settlers here in Nova Scotia and the importance that this church must have had to the community that it has been able to survive the many things that have occurred in our province and in the City of Halifax.

Mr. Speaker, the bill makes mention of the industriousness of the German settlers and I would like to add to that the innovation and the resilience, really, of this particular ethnic group which has been the backbone, in many respects, of many communities throughout the Province of Nova Scotia. So I really just wanted to make those few remarks to acknowledge the existence of the Little Dutch Church in the north end of Halifax, the importance of that church today.

[Page 7393]

Mr. Speaker, sometimes those of us who teach know that for many young people the Beatles are now history. It's sometimes difficult to imagine that we have a much richer and deeper history and tradition in this province, reflected in places like the Little Dutch Church and like, indeed, the Town of Lunenburg. I am very pleased to see this particular legislation brought forward, and hope to be part of the celebrations on June 7th.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Dartmouth East.

DR. JAMES SMITH: Mr. Speaker, I too welcome the opportunity to briefly speak to Bill No. 95 and add a few comments. I would be remiss, I think, if someone from the South Shore of Nova Scotia did not in some way compliment those who have brought legislation such as this forward to the Legislature for recognition of a great and rich culture. Enrichment of that whole shore followed in the early 1700's and 1750's from Halifax, up along the shore. I think it's been very interesting, the history and the genealogy of following the names. I don't know what Smith was, I have followed back some but very quickly got into other names.

It is interesting, the Jewish names in that community, such as Schwartz and others that have really not been recognized as Jewish persons but have been very proudly recognized through some of the research that has been done in the last few years. There have been books published on that. Belgium and France and Germany, they were a melting pot in western Europe, also the South Shore of Nova Scotia became a duplicate, a replica of that. I am very proud to be part of that heritage. Also, the enrichment of those persons and entrepreneurial spirit that they brought to the land and to the sea.

I remember the stories that we told about people coming from Big Tancook, selling cabbages.They were 10 cents apiece, or two for a quarter. If you just think about that for a moment, that's entrepreneurship. (Laughter) I guess they felt that the people from Port Mouton could easily be fooled. It took me a long time to figure that out, Mr. Speaker. That's when I realized why Lunenburg was richer than Port Mouton. (Laughter)

It's interesting that out of tragedy comes some recognition of your own family roots sometimes. I was reading of the tragedy that befell St. John's Anglican Church, the burning this year. I noticed the name Jean-Baptiste Moreau, and I kept thinking over the next week or so that I had read that before and I didn't know where. All of a sudden it came to me. I have some genealogy records at home. I pulled them out, and sure enough there in our family tree is Jean-Baptiste Moreau, a French-Catholic priest, who changed to Anglican, married a lady, Elizabeth, had a son, Cornwallis, who was born, I think, in 1749, obviously named for the governor. They had a child, Elizabeth, who came down through, later married a person, very early on, James Smith. Down that came the lineage to my grandfather, Laurie Smith.

[Page 7394]

I guess I was thinking of him this last while, because he died a young man, coming up Halifax Harbour, 1919, suffering from, as they called it, the Spanish flu, the influenza. He left four children, the oldest who was five, and that was my father. I didn't think that there would be a Catholic priest in my heritage but I guess in some way there has been. That demonstrates to me very personally, and it also gave me some linkage, I guess, with my grandfather who I never knew, but I always admired the fact that he went to sea, which I guess I followed to some extent and others in the House would probably say that I should have stayed there, but I didn't choose that as a vocation. Reading about the tragedy of St. John's Anglican Church and linking it with my family which I wasn't aware of prior to that and when I went back I realized that he was a priest and I wasn't going to talk about it because I thought he was Catholic, but I realize now that it was all probably quite legitimate. He had made the switch and everything was quite legitimate.

[4:15 p.m.]

This morning I was thinking of the heritage of the South Shore and I was driving our daughter Alexa back to Acadia and we were talking about the view as you come over the mountain and the Cornwallis River and she says so many people have remarked that is their favourite view. And, personally, it is one of my favourite views in Canada. She's been at Mount Allison University and now at Acadia and each time she's felt disconnected from the ocean and from the sea and how it keeps bringing all of us back. Two medical colleagues and I had a ship called The Avenger built by Stevens in Second Peninsula and the many hours that we spent with that schooner sailboat, spending time in the rope lofts and the sail lofts and that is that great German tradition that enriches that area.

So many times, the story of these people have been filled - while a great culture and enrichment - there have also been many losses suffered at sea. One of our colleagues, Dr. Kenny MacIntyre, drowned off Bermuda and he was a partner in that boat and so that brief experience of myself being part-vessel owner ended in tragedy for one of our colleagues. So many times those were the losses that those families had to bear and still very much the story of that tradition.

The enrichment of that community, Lunenburg, was the most wealthy area per capita in Canada for a period of time. I think it was surpassed later in the 1940's by Sarnia, Ontario as to that statistical evidence of the success and entrepreneurship of those people. The German people have played such a large part in the history of that. I don't want to take any more time of the House other than to say that we support the bill and we'll probably be seeing it in the Law Amendments Committee where I am sure it will receive quick passage. Thank you.

[Page 7395]

MR. SPEAKER: If I recognize the honourable minister it will be to close debate on Bill No. 95.

The honourable Minister of Justice.

HON. MICHAEL BAKER: Mr. Speaker, I would like to rise to close debate. Often in this House you learn lots of things that you didn't know before. The honourable member for Dartmouth East just referred to the fact about the boat that sank with Dr. MacIntyre. I can tell you that as an interesting side story, my grandfather worked on that vessel at the Lunenburg foundry and had a before and after picture of that vessel hanging in his house until the day he died. Sometimes you do learn very interesting pieces of information. (Interruption) Yes, well, I certainly do and I bet you the honourable member didn't realize that my grandfather was one of the people who had worked on that vessel for many years.

I would like to thank all the honourable members for their support of the bill. I hope that German Settlers Day will be much like St. Patrick's Day, although there isn't an Irish bone in my body, but I don't know anyone on St. Patrick's Day who doesn't have a little bit of the Irish. I hope that German Settlers Day will be the same thing with respect to all other Nova Scotians with respect to the German heritage. I would like to welcome all honourable members to Lunenburg on the 250th Anniversary of its founding on June 7th. Again, I would like to thank all the honourable members for their support and with that, I move second reading of the bill.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is for second reading of Bill No. 95. 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 be referred to the Committee on Law Amendments.

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, would you please call 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. 90.

[Page 7396]

Bill No. 90 - Co-operative Associations Act.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Economic Development.

HON. GORDON BALSER: Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to rise today and make a few brief comments on third reading of Bill No. 90, the Co-operative Associations Act. As everyone in the House is aware, the purpose of this bill is to revise and modernize the legislation to enable the co-operative businesses, which are so very important to this province, to move forward, and the Co-operative Associations Act, of course, will touch every community in this province. The Province of Nova Scotia appreciates the Co-operative Council's dedication to revising this legislation. Council staff have spent many months and many hours working with my department to ensure that the revisions to Bill No. 90 are those which are needed. I can assure the members of this House and all Nova Scotians that my department will continue to work very closely with the council to ensure that the co-operatives movement is a large part of the growth and prosperity in this province.

With these few words, Mr. Speaker, I would move third reading.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Sackville-Cobequid.

MR. JOHN HOLM: Mr. Speaker, just very briefly, I would like to say that we certainly are in support of the bill. The comments have been made on the record during the second reading debate; therefore, I just want to indicate that our caucus is in support of the legislation going forth.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Lunenburg West.

MR. DONALD DOWNE: Mr. Speaker, we too would like to acknowledge the efforts of the minister in bringing this bill forward. We will be giving support for this because Mr. Marinus Van de Sande, who is now president of the co-operative movement, has played a vital role in the co-op movement for many years, in fact, all of his life, either in farming or with Scotsburn Dairy. Marinus Van de Sande is his name. Anyway, the work that has gone on with the co-op movement is world renowned, and the co-op movement in Nova Scotia has got such a great legacy and a great history.

The areas of change are changes similar to that. An individual from up in Minudie and that area brought forward some changes before in the co-op bill, if I recall correctly, Mr. Guy Brown, who is a legend in his own right and a very strong promoter and supporter. (Interruption) As the Minister of Transportation and Public Works says, he was a very brilliant man. So I want to say that the co-op movement has been one that is important to the area and we, as a Liberal caucus, will also be supporting the initiative by the minister on third reading.

[Page 7397]

MR. SPEAKER: If I recognize the honourable minister it will be to close debate on Bill No. 90.

The honourable Minister of Economic Development.

HON. GORDON BALSER: Mr. Speaker, I would like to close debate on third reading.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is for third reading of Bill No. 90. 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 the 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. 84.

Bill No. 84 - Vital Statistics Act.

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

HON. ANGUS MACISAAC: Mr. Speaker, I move that this bill be now read for a third time.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Question.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. Give me a moment to turn the page and we will get to it.

AN HON. MEMBER: We are just getting excited.

MR. SPEAKER: I just like to do it right.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Agreed.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is for third reading of Bill No. 84. 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.

[Page 7398]

Ordered that the 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. 86.

Bill No. 86 - Pharmacy Act.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Health.

HON. JAMES MUIR: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise and move third reading of the Pharmacy Act.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Needham.

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I would just like to take a moment to say that the NDP caucus is certainly in support of these changes to the Pharmacy Act. We had an opportunity to sit at the Law Amendments Committee and hear representation from the association and from those who have worked very hard for a number of months to see these amendments come to the floor of the Legislature and we certainly wish the college and those who are associated with this profession, an important profession in the health care delivery system in the province, well as this legislation actually has an opportunity to be put into daily practice.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Richmond.

MR. MICHEL SAMSON: Mr. Speaker, on behalf of my colleague, the member for Dartmouth East, who has spoken on this legislation at second reading, we have certainly given our support to this legislation from the beginning. We think it's a good piece of legislation for the pharmacy industry and certainly are pleased to give our full support to it on third reading today.

MR. SPEAKER: If I recognize the honourable minister it will be to close debate on Bill No. 86.

The honourable Minister of Health.

HON. JAMES MUIR: Mr. Speaker, I'm pleased to rise to close debate on third reading of the Pharmacy Act.

[Page 7399]

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is for third reading of Bill No. 86. 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 the 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. 88.

Bill No. 88 - Underground Hydrocarbons Storage Act.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Economic Development.

HON. GORDON BALSER: Mr. Speaker, I would like to move third reading of this bill.

MR. SPEAKER: Mr. Minister, it seems like we were waiting for more, I'm not sure (Interruptions)

The honourable member for Sackville-Cobequid.

MR. JOHN HOLM: Mr. Speaker, some of us were waiting for a little bit more from the minister, but the minister doesn't always deliver what you anticipate or expect that he would. I couldn't help but get that one in.

I'm going to be brief in my comments on the bill today. I made a number of observations during second reading debate and there really isn't much need to repeat those. Certainly you might be inclined to call me to order if I was to drift off from the point, Mr. Speaker. I just want to say very briefly though that we are certainly in support of the legislation going forward, as this is a very important part of the infrastructure in developing the oil and gas industry in the Province of Nova Scotia.

Certainly if we hope to be able to develop a petrochemical industry in this province, we are going to have to have the facilities in which to be able to store the resources that are going to be needed and also to ensure that there is a consistent supply for that industry and for the use of Nova Scotians. So, Mr. Speaker, I have no hesitation in saying that we are in support of this. Hopefully, it will prove to be quite a benefit also to the Strait area. That's the area, of course, where the majority of the salt domes, major areas where the storage can take place. It is also, therefore, an excellent area to be trying to insist that the gas products that are

[Page 7400]

going to be developed offshore, that they should be landed there, of course, because then you have the ability to be storing the products in suitable volumes to be able to develop the petrochemical industry.

I was also pleased, Mr. Speaker, to hear the minister earlier today saying that they won't be giving away the back-in 50 per cent provision on the pipelines as was done with Sable. One of the things that I have said about this and former governments is that they haven't ensured that Nova Scotians get their fair share of benefits that we should be getting from the offshore and that, of course, is something that's continuing. I'm hoping with the passage of this legislation that it will be an important part of the infrastructure that will help to assist in developing the secondary processing in this province and allow for the development of additional industries and, therefore, very important jobs.

Mr. Speaker, although the minister didn't say it here - and maybe it might not have been appropriate for him to say so - but I'm certainly hoping the minister, who delivered very little in his speech today, will deliver much more substance in future remarks, in which he will be indicating that the natural gas that is going to be developed off our coast will be processed onshore so that the jobs can be developed here.

[4:30 p.m.]

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

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, our Party also rises in support of this particular bill, but I do want to make a few comments. My good friend, the member for Sackville-Cobequid, made some reference to the giveaways in the previous project. Well, thank heavens the NDP will never have the opportunity to give anything away in this province, never have and never will. They can talk from a position of never having been there, and that's a pretty cushy position to be talking from. I also might say to you that if it was up to the NDP none of this gas would ever leave the ocean floor, let alone be developed in a petrochemical industry. The only gas that is going on around here is the gas coming from those members.

Anyway, I do want to talk for a moment about the Underground Hydrocarbons Storage bill. As I said yesterday during debate on this bill, in Committee of the Whole House, I hope there is at least some meat on the bones of this bill, and it's not just window-dressing and not just buying more time. We have been speaking with at least two companies that are interested in setting up a petrochemical industry in Nova Scotia, and would like to see some direction from the government here as to a go-forward position, whether or not this government is interested in doing something other than putting legislation into place that really does very little.

[Page 7401]

I hope this is the start of something that we can build on in the petrochemical industry here in Nova Scotia, and it's in that regard that I would encourage the minister to go forward from this day forward, with this particular bill and start to try to encourage people to invest in Nova Scotia in the future, particularly in the petrochemical industry. The Strait area needs it; Nova Scotia needs it. We hope we can look forward to an early development of that particular industry. With those remarks, our Party will be supporting this bill.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Richmond.

MR. MICHEL SAMSON: Mr. Speaker, I simply rise again just to make a few comments on this bill. As has been pointed out by the member for Cape Breton South, Pugwash is one of the areas being looked at, but I am certainly pleased to say that Point Tupper in Richmond County, with the salt domes there, there has been some quite active work going on around those salt domes, seismic activity and everything to see exactly what the scope is and have them ready for the storage of natural gas and other liquids.

I certainly want to take the opportunity again to commend Statia Terminals, who I am led to understand have recently been purchased by a different outfit, I believe they are now known as Statia Terminals New Jersey, if I'm not mistaken. Clearly, Paul Crissman, the Manager down there, and Joe Calnan from Statia Terminals have been doing a tremendous amount of work, but once again, Mr. Speaker, if we're going to store natural gas and this is going to be a reality for the Strait area we need more gas to be coming ashore.

On second reading, I mentioned the fact that we have two Cabinet Ministers and a government backbencher from the Strait area who have been dead silent on the issue of whether the gas coming ashore, which has been proposed going down to Lockeport, should be permitted to go down to Lockeport, or whether this government should mandate that it come to Goldboro, Guysborough County, so that the amount of gas coming into the Strait area, coming into the petrochemical fractionation plant in Point Tupper will then make it viable to create a petrochemical industry in this province. Not only have those members been silent - I can't accuse the Premier of being silent, instead he has been the chief apologist for PanCanadian, elpaso, and every other offshore energy group that he can find, saying it's sour gas, it would be too expensive to bring it ashore, and maybe they should process it offshore, maybe it should hit shore in Lockeport and then take off down to the States.

Mr. Speaker, it's quite ironic to hear this government criticize the actions of the former government when you look at what they're doing now, now that they have an opportunity to determine and to play a role as to where natural gas, in the development of our offshore, should be going. This is an opportunity for the minister to rise, for the Premier to rise to say there will be no offshore processing of natural gas in this province. Instead, the Premier has failed to say that, continues to be a chief apologist for PanCanadian and it's ironic that while the member for Guysborough-Port Hawkesbury remains silent, his Warden, Lloyd Hines, the

[Page 7402]

Warden of Guysborough County has been one of the more vocal advocates for the natural gas industry on behalf of Nova Scotians in this province.

I want to take this opportunity to commend the Warden of Guysborough, to commend his regional development authority that he has there. Gordon MacDonald has been another tremendously hard-working individual from the County of Guysborough, working on the issue of natural gas and trying to maximize benefits for the Strait area. I want to take this opportunity to again commend them and to say one more time that it's unfortunate that their provincial representatives in the Tory caucus don't share the same enthusiasm that they do for the future development of the Strait area. Thank you Mr. Speaker.

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

The honourable Minister of Economic Development.

HON. GORDON BALSER: Mr. Speaker, I move third reading of Bill No. 88.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is for third reading of Bill No. 88.

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, would you please call Bill No. 89.

Bill No. 89 - Wildlife Act.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries.

HON. ERNEST FAGE: Mr. Speaker, I will be very brief with my remarks before I move the bill. Two things I would like to highlight, these amendments honour a commitment made by our government to enshrine and recognize heritage angling, hunting and trapping within the bill. Amendments to Chapter 504 of the Revised Statutes, 1998, the Wildlife Act, as well, provides a much clearer definition of what constitutes wildlife and domestic wildlife in the province of Nova Scotia. So with those brief remarks, I move the third reading of Bill No. 89.

[Page 7403]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Hants East.

MR. JOHN MACDONELL: Mr. Speaker, I'll be brief. I certainly want the minister to know that this caucus supports this bill. I do want to say that I am not sure that I agree that his definition of wildlife is the most appropriate definition if his goal is to have a definition that allows the government to act on those non-indigenous species that show up on the borders of Nova Scotia, like the spruce longhorn beetle, but I would think that a definition that indicates all organisms under the Kingdom Animalia would be far more appropriate and define those as indigenous. Then that would give the minister the room that he needs to act on any organisms whether they be insects, or shellfish, which we see with the explosion in numbers of zebra mussels; also with the invasion of the green crab around the shores of Nova Scotia. So I think that definition would still work. I think it would be more appropriate, and I think it would still allow the minister the leeway that he thinks he needs.

As far as the permitting process, as long as these permits are readily available from Natural Resources depots, local depots, and no fee or significant fee associated with those, I would say that would be appropriate. I don't want to see people who want to keep pheasants or any other birds in the way of a hobby have to go through a great bureaucracy in order to do that. I think if the minister can keep it simple that that would be appropriate. I do want to say that I agree with the minister. One of the thrusts of this bill is to recognize angling, hunting and trapping as valued parts of the heritage of the province. I would say, certainly I would agree with the minister on that as long as these activities are carried out in a humane way. I guess the minister has never explained it and when he gets up to close debate, if he will, where that came from, why the minister felt the need to do that. When you identify that in legislation, there has to be a reason unless it's just that warm and fuzzy message we're trying to send to Nova Scotians. I don't disagree with the message, I think that's an appropriate one. So with those few comments, I want the House and the minister to know that we'd be supporting this piece of legislation as it moves through. Thank you.

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

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I will just rise on behalf of the member for Victoria, the critic in our Party to tell the House we will be supporting this bill.

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

The honourable Minister of Natural Resources.

HON. ERNEST FAGE: I thank my honourable colleagues for their comments and certainly I think it's extremely important in Nova Scotia with our heritage and ancestry to enshrine angling, hunting and trapping within the legislation. As well, I would comment to the honourable member that we conform to all international conventions as far as trapping

[Page 7404]

and all humane methods. I think I can alleviate those fears. Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to close debate and move third reading on Bill No. 89. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is for third reading of Bill No. 89. 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 request unanimous 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 Minister of Justice.

HON. MICHAEL BAKER: Mr. Speaker, as Chairman of the Committee on Law Amendments, I am directed to report that the committee has met and considered the following bill:

Bill No. 95 - German Settlers Day Act.

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.

The honourable Government House Leader.

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

[Page 7405]

[4:43 p.m. The House resolved itself into a CWH on Bills with Acting Deputy Speaker, Mr. William Dooks in the Chair.]

[4:44 p.m. CWH on Bills rose and the House reconvened with Acting Deputy Speaker Mr. William Dooks in 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 bill:

Bill No. 95 - German Settlers Day Act.

and the chairman has been instructed to recommend this bill to the favourable consideration of the House, without amendment.

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

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: We will recess until 5:00 p.m.

MR. SPEAKER: Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

[4:45 p.m. The House recessed.]

[5:00 p.m. The House reconvened.]

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. We will now call the House back to order.

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.

[5:00 p.m. The House resolved itself into a CWH on Bills with Deputy Speaker Mr. William Dooks in the Chair.]

[Page 7406]

[5:07 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 bill:

Bill No. 80 - House of Assembly Act.

and the chairman has been instructed to recommend this bill to the favourable consideration of the House, with certain amendments.

MR. SPEAKER: Ordered that this bill be read a third time on a future date.

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, I move the House do now rise to meet on the morrow for Opposition Day. The honourable Opposition House Leader will give us the hours and the order of business for tomorrow.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Opposition House Leader.

MR. JOHN HOLM: Mr. Speaker, I want to assure members on the government benches that we will have a full day tomorrow. We will meet between the hours of 2:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. Tomorrow we anticipate dealing with two pieces of legislation, Bill No. 66 and Bill No. 99 on the order paper.

Mr. Speaker, I move that the House do now adjourn to meet again tomorrow at the hour of 2:00 p.m.

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order. Earlier in Question Period I asked the Minister responsible for the Petroleum Directorate to table in the House two letters that I had asked him for, and indeed that has been done. I would like to thank the minister for tabling these letters in the House today. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is that the House do now adjourn until 2:00 p.m. tomorrow. (Interruptions)

Order, please. Before we go to that . . .

[Page 7407]

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order. I just want to say that I don't know whether the minister tabled them, he gave them to me but I am going to table them. (Interruptions) Did he? Okay, fine.

MR. SPEAKER: The letters are tabled.

The motion is that the House do now adjourn until 2:00 p.m. tomorrow.

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

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

We have reached the moment of interruption. The subject for this evening's late debate was submitted by the honourable member for Cape Breton The Lakes:

"Therefore be it resolved that while Cape Breton schools close the member for Cape Breton North does nothing."

ADJOURNMENT

MOTION UNDER RULE 5(5)

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

EDUC. - C.B. SCH. CLOSURES: C.B. NORTH MLA - ACTIONS

MR. BRIAN BOUDREAU: Mr. Speaker, it's certainly a pleasure for me to rise in my place, especially tonight with tonight's topic because it's a very important issue, particularly for the area that I represent, especially when I take into consideration the assault that is going on in the rural schools, in particular in the education system in rural Cape Breton, but I would suggest it will soon be province-wide.

Mr. Speaker, I think it is important to note that since this government came to power just this year eight rural schools were under attack and are scheduled now for closure, affecting hundreds of students, hundreds of teaching professions, professional positions.

[Page 7408]

Once you look at the numbers there, four or five years from now we're going to require those teachers. They are the teachers who are necessary to continue forward.

If we look at the economic development in Cape Breton, it has just collapsed. The community that I represent is on the verge of collapse. It's simple - jobs. Hundreds of jobs in the steel industry gone, history. We can look at harbour development - harbour development, a blind eye from this government. The municipality down there has earmarked harbour development as a priority in that area. No, not this government. They refused even to assist the municipality when it came to the purchasing of a wharf down there. Just recently I had my colleague, the member for Cape Breton North, attend a press conference down in my riding, near my constituency office, and what he announced on behalf of this minister, the part-time Minister of Economic Development - on behalf of his minister that he was creating 30-some jobs, approximately 30 jobs, in my riding, which is a very welcome announcement.

But, Mr. Speaker, I didn't see that member when the 30 jobs at Borden's, which is a subsidiary of Sobeys in the Sydport Industrial Park, left my community. That member never said a word; not a word, nowhere. The attack and the assault on the schools and the education system in my community is affecting his community. Gannon Road School, which is a school that traditionally, the community has fought time and time again against closure - it is time this government recognize that these schools are vital in rural areas.

Mr. Speaker, steelworkers - hundreds of jobs eliminated basically overnight by this government. Not one commitment that they made, that I am aware of, to the steelworkers was kept in regard to severances, pensions or those type of issues. This government is abandoning Cape Breton. This province was number one in economic activity and growth within Canada when Russell MacLellan's Government was defeated in 1999. The last time I checked, this government, its record is ninth. We have fallen to ninth. Now, that's the kind of attention that, right across the province, the government fails to provide any attention to, the attention that is required.

The honourable member for Cape Breton North stood and very gracefully bragged about the fact that a kidney dialysis machine was purchased for Northside Harbour View Hospital just recently, last week. I do recognize the efforts of the honourable member. However, I think it's important to note, Mr. Speaker, that that funding is a result of a partnership with the federal government in which federal funds are obtained and provided to the Province of Nova Scotia for hospital equipment. I know if I checked, that's where the funds come from. That member did not come up with $1 million on his own. There's no way. That did not happen. (Interruptions)

[Page 7409]

[5:15 p.m.]

Mr. Speaker, it is obvious that the honourable members across the floor think this is a pretty funny topic, but it isn't. This is a real problem and it's a problem that this government must deal with and must face. They have to be responsible enough to be up and counted, and approximately 150 jobs soon to be lost. Now this, just within the last year, the commitment that that particular member or that particular Premier and the rest of that gang on the front rows down there, when they were campaigning for the by-election seat in Cape Breton North, the commitments were clear. The commitments and the promises were very clear. That member went on doorsteps and said, oh, don't think of John Hamm, don't even think of him because when you need me in Halifax, I will be heard. I will be heard, and don't think of John Hamm. I will deal with him later.

Well, Mr. Speaker, he has been nothing but a yes-man since he got here and there are 51 witnesses to that. When Marine Atlantic jobs were under attack by the federal government, that minister turned around and said go see your federal representative, that is not my responsibility. When the post office jobs in North Sydney were under attack he said go see your representative; I don't have time for you was what the post office people were told.

Mr. Speaker, this member continually misleads this House. Of course that is a habit that they all have over there, actually. They stand in their place. Talk is very cheap. It is time to put talk into action. My community, our area requires jobs and attention from that member and that government over there, and it needs it now and not after the schools are all closed and the jobs are all gone and the students are bused instead of taught in their local community. Everybody knows that in the local rural community, anywhere in the province, but in Cape Breton, and in particular my area, the school is the backbone of the community. It is the backbone where parents, teachers, children, grandparents, contribute to their community for common goals and that is the importance of a school. But that member hasn't said a word about the assault on schools, including the children in his own area who attend Gannon Road School.

He hasn't opened his - not once, not a word. In fact, all he does is sit in the back down there and mumble and murmur and laugh and joke. He thinks it is a big joke. Well, Mr. Speaker, the children and the parents and the grandparents in George's River School don't think it is a joke, in George's River, when the suggestion from that government is to bus those children from George's River, to pass right by an elementary school and continue on further to another elementary school. It is just not viable and it is not reasonable to ask children in Grade Primary to Grade 6 to start battling all types of weather conditions on a bus. The distance is unbelievable. From Long Island in my constituency, they are intending to bus the children from Long Island all the way to Florence.

[Page 7410]

AN HON. MEMBER: It's a school board issue.

MR. BOUDREAU: They will stand up and complain that it is a school board issue. The fact is that questions that were asked today, by me to the Premier, said that he . . .

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

The honourable member Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage.

MR. KEVIN DEVEAUX: Mr. Speaker, I am glad to have a few moments to speak on the issue brought forward by my colleague for Cape Breton The Lakes, and I think it is an important issue to have some discussion around. Schools are closing in Cape Breton because the Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board is having trouble making ends meet. The government has not provided them with the sufficient funding to ensure that the students in the Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board are going to be able to keep the classrooms, are going to be able to keep the schools that they now have.

That is a problem, but let's be clear. The problem in Cape Breton is the same problem they are having in Amherst or they are having in Pictou or they had in Mabou or they had in Judique or they had in Richmond County. It is a problem of this government not making a commitment to rural education and to education in parts of this province where population is decreasing. That's a concern. It's a concern that our caucus has.

The only answer our government has is to provide money for consolidated mega-schools that mean busing students an hour or two hours. I can remember when the Richmond issue came up, I believe the Liberals were in power then, it was the issue of consolidating the high schools and moving an English high school to Louisdale. There were students in the far reaches of Richmond County, past St. Peters all the way down to areas like Framboise and places like that that were going to be bused to Louisdale - a two hour bus ride I believe in each direction, or an hour and a half in each direction. That's a symptom of a bigger problem. The problem is that our government is not committed to ensuring that children in rural parts of this province, or in the case of industrial Cape Breton, an area where the population is decreasing, our governments have not been committed to ensure that they get the same level of education as other students.

That's the crux of the problem. Governments that are unwilling to be committed to ensure - in communities that are suffering, that have suffered, whether it be the drying up of the fish stocks, the issue of being harder to harvest lumber because of clear-cutting that's going on. These are creating economic problems in our communities. Droughts that we hear of on a regular basis with regard to agriculture, these are causing problems in our rural communities that are resulting in more and more people moving to metro and in return it means we have schools that are not able and school boards that are not able to make ends

[Page 7411]

meet. This government is unwilling to ensure that funding is there to ensure that those students have the same right to education as students in the metro area.

My colleague, the member for Timberlea-Prospect and myself and I am sure the member for Sackville-Beaver Bank or other areas in the suburban area of Halifax will comment. You go around to parts of our ridings - new developments, new construction - and you go door to door and you find out where those people come from. A good chunk of them come from Newfoundland, but I would say half of those people in those new places come from Cape Breton. Sometimes I wonder if I have more Cape Bretoners in my riding than the member for Victoria, given the population of his riding.

AN HON. MEMBER: You probably do.

MR. DEVEAUX: I might very well.

My point is, because of the policies of this government with regard to Cape Breton, we have a serious problem of depopulation because Cape Bretoners have to leave; whether it's the closing of Devco or the closing of Sysco, whether it's the issues around the fishery, whether it's the issues around, for example, not setting the pipeline and ensuring the distribution of gas in industrial Cape Breton, or the problem with how they've negotiated the Laurentian boundary that's delaying the ability of the Laurentian field to be developed so that natural gas can come ashore in Cape Breton. All of these issues are resulting in long-term chronic depopulation in Cape Breton. Because of that, we have problems in our schools in Cape Breton; we have problems because people are leaving Cape Breton. This government has no answers to the economic woes of Cape Breton or how they will stop the flow of people moving and crossing the causeway to come to the mainland or to Toronto or to Calgary or to Los Angeles or anywhere else in the world.

Many of them just come to Halifax. They want to stay in Nova Scotia while at the same time, know they're only a short drive from home, but they cannot stay in Cape Breton because of the economic policies of this government and that's causing hardship in our schools, it's causing hardship for the children in Cape Breton because the schools are being closed because this government won't fund our education system to ensure that our schools can stay open in places like the Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board.

That is the real problem with regard to this issue, this government's lack of leadership on economic issues, lack of ability to ensure that there's good, solid economic strategy for Cape Breton in the short term, in the medium term and in the long term so that we don't have people packing up and having to move to places like Eastern Passage or Timberlea or Beaver Bank where we see so many of them moving to find work, and their children are coming there.

[Page 7412]

This is a real irony in some ways. We heard earlier today from the Leader of the Liberal Party a question on overcrowding in suburban areas of Halifax. This is quite funny in a way. We have a problem - the same people are creating the same problem. The Department of Education says, we don't have the money to build new schools in Halifax, we don't have the money to keep schools open in Cape Breton and it's probably the same problem. You have people leaving Cape Breton, moving to places like Hammonds Plains and having to set up house and a new job and everything else that are overcrowding the schools in Hammonds Plains, that are depopulating the schools in Cape Breton. Instead of some form of transition plan, instead of some form of bridge financing from this government to ensure we have some realistic and real opportunities to ensure that people are going to be educated in their communities.

We have a government that turns a blind eye and says, we've done everything we can, now the school boards are going to have to make those hard cuts, they are going to have to close schools. We've heard this Minister of Education time after time when asked about this, whether it be from my colleague, the member for Cape Breton Centre, or from other members in this House, she has said look, we have given enough, we have provided everything we can. This is the same Minister of Education who is afraid to go down to Cape Breton even for the Electoral Boundaries Review Committee. She seems to be nervous about even stepping foot on the island. So her answer to the problems of Cape Breton is always, we've done everything we can. Whether it be the postcard that she sent out during the last election or her answer in this House last week, her position has been consistent, who cares about Cape Breton as long as we ensure that we can balance the books. That is what that Minster of Education is thinking, that's what the backbenchers are thinking, and that's the problem with this government.

No economic planning, bad economic strategies for Cape Breton, lack of funding of education for schools in Cape Breton, and that has resulted in major problems in that area, and yet we have this government doing nothing about this issue. They seem to be willing to allow the school boards to come forward with decisions that they are forced to, like a gun to their head the school boards are forced to have to make cuts because they are not allowed to keep deficits, Mr. Speaker, and this results in them having to, in the long term, close schools.

Yes, the government ended up giving a little extra money this year. They gave a lot of extra money last year, but given the major problems in Cape Breton caused by this government, caused by its lack of economic strategy for Cape Breton, caused by the closing of Devco, caused by the closing of Sysco, this government should be doing more. It is the cause, this government is the cause of schools having to close in the Cape Breton Regional Municipality. That's the problem, and until this government is willing to admit that and begin to address it whether it be bridge financing, whether it be transition financing, whether it be some means of ensuring that there are going to be decent student/teacher/pupil ratios, Mr. Speaker, we are going to continue to have problems with schools closing in Cape Breton.

[Page 7413]

The people of Cape Breton have had enough. They have had to deal with the closing of major industries, they have had to deal with the fishery closing, they have had to deal with so many other issues and this government just keeps heaping it on them - problem after problem after problem. But what they need to know is that this government is going to be on their side, is going to be working for them to ensure that the people of Cape Breton are going to have a government that is going to ensure that their schools are going to remain open.

You know, in many cases, you have people who maybe worked at Devco or Sysco who are now off work, some of them may have pensions, many of them didn't get pensions primarily because of the deals negotiated by this government, Mr. Speaker, and now they look at their children and they see in their children an opportunity for success in the future, and now they are seeing that taken away because of long bus rides, because of schools being closed, because of teachers being cut.

This government just keeps giving it to Cape Breton, they keep giving them the back of their hand and not really trying to ensure that Cape Breton can get that "leg up" to make sure that Cape Breton can succeed. We don't see that. We don't see that in this government. We only see them creating more problems for Cape Breton and I have not seen when this government will stop doing that, but I hope that resolutions like this, and debates like this, will finally sink in to the front benches and the backbenches that this is not something we can allow to happen anymore. The people of Nova Scotia - not just the people of Cape Breton - need a strong, healthy economy, well-educated and taught children in Cape Breton, and when that happens maybe this government can begin to say that they have done something for this province. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. CECIL CLARKE: I rise tonight to speak on this resolution brought forward by the member for Cape Breton The Lakes, and seeing as the resolution was "Therefore be it resolved that while Cape Breton schools close the member for Cape Breton North does nothing.", Mr. Speaker, I felt it very prudent that I speak to this, being named in such a manner.

You know, I want to go back to a statement made by the member for Cape Breton The Lakes. He said talk is cheap, and that is one of the cheapest debates I've heard, but then again what do I expect from that member and that Party across the way, Mr. Speaker.

Resolution No. 2529 in this House, by that very same member for Cape Breton The Lakes said that the old theory that the person who speaks the loudest usually has the least to say, so maybe we should close the debate after what the member for Cape Breton The Lakes had to say. He was waxing on loudly, not eloquently, loudly, and you know why? I have to raise my voice in this House occasionally, Mr. Speaker, because of the rhetoric and nonsense

[Page 7414]

from that bench over there, the Liberals. That's why Nova Scotians put them down to 10 seats and third place in this House. It's going to be amazing if they can form official Party status after the next election with the rhetoric they put out over there.

[5:30 p.m.]

Mr. Speaker, the cackles and the caws coming out of the benches over there. There is a real dichotomy about this member doing nothing, because that member - nothing, I suppose, would explain the blotter book for him and his accomplishments in Cape Breton The Lakes, not about doing constructive things for and with education in the Province of Nova Scotia. (Interruptions)

Mr. Speaker, if the member for Cape Breton The Lakes would like to talk about his own Party's record of closing schools, which they did and tried to justify in the name of responsible government, if he would like to talk about their program of P3 schools, on why this government did the right thing and stopped that negative process, and put kids in classrooms in the proper facilities in our communities, he doesn't want to talk about that. He doesn't want to talk about their ability to put the deals and the financing in place. Well, I can tell you, after some of the things we've heard there would be a heck of a lot more money in the public coffers rather than in contracts that are ill-suited for the needs of putting money in the classroom. (Interruptions) But he doesn't want to talk about that.

Mr. Speaker, he does not want to talk about that at all. Do you know what he did, he brought up a resolution on education. He spoke very little on it, wanted to talk about all the things, and the good things happening in Cape Breton North, and I understand why because many good things are happening. I have heard the foolishness that that member was bringing up here in this House, and even the member from the New Democratic Party, and nothing new was said that wasn't said during a recent by-election just this year.

The people of Cape Breton North voted against that foolishness, and they voted for a responsible accountable voice, and that's what they have. That's what they have, a member of this government making every effort to try to correct the ills and the wrongs made by that government and the path they were sending us down. This government, Mr. Speaker, has made difficult decisions in the name of a better future for all Nova Scotians of which Cape Breton is a part. (Interruptions) I was a part of forging ahead with a new agenda for Cape Breton because Cape Bretoners are tired of the lunacy of that Party and that member in this House.

Let's talk about - well, maybe I should, Mr. Speaker, before the member calls a point of order - as the member for Richmond would, because I know he understands the word lunacy - I would retract that and say the nonsense from that member and the rest of his colleagues.

[Page 7415]

MR. DAVID WILSON: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order. I regret that the member has been allowed to get up and use that phrase to refer to any member of this House, but in particular to the member for Richmond, to use that phrase I would think would be unparliamentary and he should be asked to retract it immediately.

MR. SPEAKER: I will agree with the honourable member for Glace Bay. I was willing to sit and listen to some of this, but obviously this resolution is going to attract a lot of debate. It appears there is going to be a lot of personal debate, and it's unfair to this House to lower our standard down to that type of debate. (Interruptions) Order, please.

I would ask the honourable member to retract that comment, and to bring his comments back to the debate that is before the House at this time.

The honourable member for Cape Breton North has the floor.

MR. CLARKE: Mr. Speaker, I agree but when the level of the debate brought by that member - and I retract that comment - and the comments being made are such, I guess one would digress to such levels to match the comments that were there. You would have to say a lot more than what I just said and retracted to match what we've heard from those benches in the last little while.

I want to get down to constructive comment on this. Mr. Speaker, I don't know, I assume that member does do consultation and gets out in the community and works with the representatives in the school board. I have met with both my area school board members. I have met with the facilities manager for the Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board. I have discussed this matter with the superintendent directly, and have arranged to meet with him and discuss the needs of the Cape Breton district school board. I have spoken with the chairman, and am in the process of coordinating a meeting to look at the very issues and look at the challenges that we face versus declining enrolment and the need for teachers and the need for facilities. I am talking with parents in my area.

I am concerned about school closures, without facilities in the capacity or newness in the system to provide the type of facilities that are relevant to this day and age. Mr. Speaker, I ask the member to seriously consider the age and condition of many of our facilities, and I ask him to look at what this government's doing to provide good, new facilities relevant to the needs of Nova Scotian children.

AN HON. MEMBER: Right in your school, right in your area, Main Street . . .

MR. CLARKE: Mr. Speaker, I'll cede the floor if he'd like. (Interruptions)

[Page 7416]

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. Order, please. I would ask the honourable member to bring himself to order.

AN HON. MEMBER: Please, please.

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

MR. CLARKE: Mr. Speaker, I am fully prepared to talk seriously about these issues, but obviously it's important I do that in Cape Breton with the officials and the school board members that do care about being constructive because that member just proved, once again, he is not interested in being constructive. He is interested in trying to throw some foolish shot across the way. He needs to talk about the real needs and the real long-term plan for education, for putting teachers in classrooms and facilities so they can provide for the long-term ability for Cape Breton to be competitively positioned.

Mr. Speaker, one of the things that the NDP member brought up as well is about the number of Cape Bretoners he is seeing in his area. Well, he is talking about two different items because I would be happy and I am sure Cape Bretoners would love to see a divestment of resources from HRM to other non-metropolitan areas, if you want to talk about balance. But it is easy to talk from one side of an issue, but it is much more difficult to take every issue by issue and the responsible and the accountable decisions that we have to make. This government is doing that. This member for Cape Breton North is being constructive and I would strongly suggest and recommend to every member of the Liberal caucus that they get out in their community and do the same and I think Nova Scotians would be better off for that. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: I thank the honourable members for taking part in this debate here this evening. We are adjourned until 2:00 p.m. tomorrow.

[The House rose at 5:37 p.m.]

[Page 7417]

NOTICES OF MOTION UNDER RULE 32(3)

RESOLUTION NO. 2661

By: Mr. Timothy Olive (Dartmouth South)

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

Whereas the Liberal House Leader and the member for Cape Breton West described the fall sitting of the House as a waste of time and taxpayers' money; and

Whereas during this productive sitting of the House, the PC Government brought forward important legislation against domestic violence; and

Whereas fighting domestic violence is a waste of neither time nor taxpayers' money;

Therefore be it resolved that the Liberal House Leader and the member for Cape Breton West apologize to all Nova Scotians for equating the fight against domestic violence with waste.

RESOLUTION NO. 2662

By: Mr. Richard Hurlburt (Yarmouth)

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

Whereas Yarmouth Canadian Tire Store Manager Michael Raynard, on behalf of the Canadian Tire Foundation for Families, recently presented a cheque for $1,300 to Clare Christmas Daddies and its Chairman Robert Millette; and

Whereas the Canadian Tire Foundation for Families provides a helping hand to families in crisis by ensuring the life basic needs are met such as food, shelter, clothing and essential goods; and

Whereas the Canadian Tire Foundation for Families Lunch Association helps to fund soup kitchens, hostels and food banks across Canada and provides food, shelter, clothing or essential goods to those individuals or communities affected by natural disaster;

[Page 7418]

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House thank the Yarmouth Canadian Tire store, its Manager Michael Raynard and the Canadian Tire Foundation for Families for giving a helping hand to Clare Christmas Daddies and many other organizations, individuals, families and communities in crisis.

RESOLUTION NO. 2663

By: Hon. Gordon Balser (Minister of Economic Development)

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

Whereas photographer Judy Amero has been a photographer for over 34 years; and

Whereas she was recently honoured by receiving the Kodak Professional Innovator Awards this year for her work with N.S. flora; and

Whereas on October 25th Her Honour Lieutenant Governor Myra Freeman opened a selection of her work, Wildflowers of Nova Scotia, at the Digby Heritage Centre on October 25th;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House applaud this creative and talented Nova Scotian artist and join with her community to congratulate her on this international recognition.

RESOLUTION NO. 2664

By: Hon. Gordon Balser (Minister of Economic Development)

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

Whereas for over two decades the Children's Training Centre in Digby provided care and support to their clients and with the closure of this facility in the early 1990's the building was left empty but today this building has been transformed to a multi-service community facility which houses the Isaiah W. Wilson Memorial Library, the Digby Co-op Preschool, Human Resources Development Canada, the Nova Scotia Department of Community Services, the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission, Nova Scotia Vehicle Compliance, Nova Scotia Public Prosecution Service, Nova Scotia Advisory Council on the Status of Women and Community Corrections; and

[Page 7419]

Whereas staff of the various services housed in this building requested a formal rededication of the building, sponsoring a community contest to rename it; and

Whereas on October 29th, at a ceremony held in Digby, the building was rededicated and renamed the Maud Lewis Provincial Building;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House applaud the co-operation that exists between three levels of government and the diligent hard work of the staff who provide the multitude of services to the citizens of the Municipalities of Digby and Clare and the Town of Digby.

RESOLUTION NO. 2665

By: Hon. Gordon Balser (Minister of Economic Development)

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

Whereas at the Isaiah W. Wilson Memorial Library there is currently a display which recalls wartime life in Digby and wartime beneath the waves; and

Whereas the multi-media retrospective includes videotape, photographs and the personal remembrances of Bear River's adopted son, Bob Foster; and

Whereas this display will be located in several other sites in the county, including the Admiral Digby Historical Society Museum and the Weymouth Branch of the Royal Canadian Legion throughout November;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate the individuals who have diligently collected this material and arranged this display, including Rob Hersey of the Municipality of Digby and Bob Foster, as well as those organizations who are providing display space.

RESOLUTION NO. 2666

By: Hon. Gordon Balser (Minister of Economic Development)

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

Whereas the Digby and Area Board of Trade this year is celebrating 100 years of service to the community; and

[Page 7420]

Whereas they have collected through the assistance of their summer student, Jennifer Titus, a phenomenal amount of memorabilia from the last century; and

Whereas the Admiral Digby Historical Society will soon have a new exhibit that will portray this valuable historical record with the assistance of the new N.S. Community College site in Digby as well as Mr. Anton Vogel;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate the membership, past and present, of this proactive business group and encourage their efforts to preserve this part of our past while moving forward into the new century.

RESOLUTION NO. 2667

By: Hon. Gordon Balser (Minister of Economic Development)

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

Whereas on August 11th, the Plympton and Gilberts Cove Fire Department celebrated 36 years of service to the community; and

Whereas the members of this department, past and present, have been dedicated volunteers; and

Whereas the department, through a great community fundraising effort, recently acquired its first real modern pumper they named Gus the Fire Engine, in honour of the department's first Fire Chief, Gus Melanson;

Therefore be it resolved that we, the members of this House, recognize the phenomenal volunteer effort of these committed individuals.

RESOLUTION NO. 2668

By: Mr. Cecil O'Donnell (Shelburne)

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

Whereas suicide has claimed the lives of many teenagers whose families and friends did not recognize the depth of depression and despair their loved ones were feeling; and

[Page 7421]

Whereas the Light for Life Foundation, founded in the United States by parents of a suicide victim, has found a way for teens to express their troubled feelings and Shelburne County has established the first chapter in the Maritimes; and

Whereas more than 650 students in western Shelburne County are now card-carrying members of a suicide prevention program and clergy, RCMP and teachers are all aware of the card's purpose;

Therefore be it resolved that all members commend students at Barrington Municipal High School for taking part in this important project and thank Cheryl and Janelle Baker for their concern for teen suicide and for bringing this program to their community.

RESOLUTION NO. 2669

By: Mrs. Muriel Baillie (Pictou West)

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

Whereas Maritime musicians are growing in popularity and the entertainment business is an expanding sector in Nova Scotia's economy; and

Whereas smart, young Nova Scotians are combining their talents, education and experience and finding success in this competitive industry, here at home; and

Whereas Wendy Phillips of Seafoam, Pictou County, has matched her own company, Phillips Public Relations, along with Louis Thomas and Quay Entertainment Services, to offer full entertainment management and marketing services under one roof.;

Therefore be it resolved that all members recognize the industriousness of young talented people like Wendy Phillips and Louis Thomas and congratulate them for their part in a growing and successful entertainment sector.

RESOLUTION NO. 2670

By: Mr. William Estabrooks (Timberlea-Prospect)

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

Whereas Chris Campbell was a legendary volunteer in the communities along the Prospect Road; and

[Page 7422]

Whereas each year the Chris Campbell Community Volunteer Award is presented to a deserving local resident; and

Whereas this year's winner is Andrew Mitchell of Prospect Bay who was recognized for his countless hours of volunteerism;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate Andrew Mitchell of Prospect Bay on his selection as this year's recipient of the Chris Campbell Community Volunteer Award.

RESOLUTION NO. 2671

By: Mr. Kerry Morash (Queens)

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

Whereas the Hospital Hustle is a Queens County event which raises money for the Queens General Hospital; and

Whereas this year's event offered great fun and entertainment and raised almost $25,000 for the hospital; and

Whereas with many volunteers organizing, musicians donating their time and lots of people turning out, the Hospital Hustle is a real Queens County affair;

Therefore be it resolved that all members congratulate Shirley Melanson and Linda Delaney and all the volunteers for making the 22nd Annual Hospital Hustle a great success.

RESOLUTION NO. 2672

By: Mr. Kerry Morash (Queens)

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

Whereas the Superhost Program was designed to help businesses and employees develop their service provider skills; and

Whereas businesses get their Superhost designation when 70 per cent of their workforce has been trained and a community can achieve this status when 60 per cent of its businesses have attained this designation; and

[Page 7423]

Whereas Caledonia is only five businesses away from becoming the first "Superhost Community" in Atlantic Canada;

Therefore be it resolved that all members acknowledge the work undertaken by Caledonia businesses to get this Superhost designation and encourage the remaining business owners to invest in this valuable training for themselves and their staff.

RESOLUTION NO. 2673

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 this past summer a tragedy was narrowly averted thanks to the quick actions of a young Springhill resident, Mary Ann Matheson; and

Whereas while swimming at Five Islands, Ms. Matheson realized that fellow visitor to the area, a Collingwood youth, Stefan Weatherbee, was in trouble; and

Whereas with no thought to her own safety, Ms. Matheson jumped into the water and saved Mr. Weatherbee from drowning;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House salute this young Springhill hero who saw another young person in dire need and did the only thing she thought was right and that was to risk her own life for that of another.

RESOLUTION NO. 2674

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 there is no time in recent history when the risks associated with the job as well as the sense of duty of all fire departments has been more evident to all; and

Whereas Dean Emmerson of the Oxford Volunteer Fire Department has placed his life on the line for the good of his community for the last four decades, rising through the ranks from regular firefighter to captain of the hoses, to deputy chief and to chief for 14 years, from 1966 to 1980; and

[Page 7424]

Whereas not only is his community appreciative of his commitment to Oxford and area, but his fellow firefighters value his knowledge, his work and think so well of him personally, a true credit to an individual;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House thank Dean Emmerson for standing above the crowd through outstanding service for 40 years with the Oxford Volunteer Fire Department, a true Nova Scotian hero.