The Nova Scotia Legislature

The House resumed on:
September 21, 2017.

Hansard -- Wed., June 3, 1998

First Session

WEDNESDAY, JUNE 3, 1998

TABLE OF CONTENTS PAGE
Introduction of Mr. Arthur Donahoe, Q.C., Secretary-General of the
Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, Mr. Speaker 697
TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS:
Anl. Rept. of Vital Statistics (1995), Hon. K. Colwell 698
STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS:
Environ. - Resource Recovery Fund, Hon. D. Downe 698
GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 380, Agric. - Maple Leaf Poultry: Air Chill Facility (Canard) -
Recognize, Hon. E. Lorraine 703
Vote - Affirmative 703
Res. 381, Educ. - Tech. Recycling Prog. (Computers for School):
Achievement/Volunteers - Recognize, Hon. R. Harrison 703
Vote - Affirmative 704
Res. 382, Transport. & Pub. Wks.: Transport. Club (Anniv. 22nd) -
Congrats., Hon. C. Huskilson 704
Vote - Affirmative 705
Res. 383, Educ. - Prince Andrew H.S. (Dart.): Greg King/Student -
Commun. Work Congrats., Hon. J. Smith 706
Vote - Affirmative 706
Res. 384, Housing & Mun. Affs.: Personal Pty. Security Law
Conf. (Can.)[Hfx.] - Welcome, Hon. W. Gaudet 706
Vote - Affirmative 707
Res. 385, Fish. - Live Market: Promise - Recognize, Hon. K. Colwell 707
Vote - Affirmative 708
Res. 386, Agric. - Hereford Assoc. (Can.): Brian Trueman (V-P) -
Congrats., Hon. E. Lorraine 708
Vote - Affirmative 709
Res. 387, Educ. - Workplace Literacy Excellence Awards (CBoC):
Russel Metals & Nat. Sea Products - Congrats., Hon. R. Harrison 709
Vote - Affirmative 710
Res. 388, Health - Paramedics/First Responders: Work - Recognize,
Hon. J. Smith 710
Vote - Affirmative 710
Res. 389, Educ. - Children's WaterFest (Stellarton) (4-6/06/98):
Success - Extend, Hon. R. Harrison 712
Vote - Affirmative 712
Res. 390, Housing & Mun. Affs. - Heritage Pty. Act: Prov. Advisory
Council - Work Salute, Hon. W. Gaudet 712
Vote - Affirmative 713
INTRODUCTION OF BILLS:
No. 11, Assessment Act, Mr. G. Balser 714
NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 391, Transport. (Can.) - Hfx. Internat. Airport: Leadership -
Premier Show, Mr. R. Chisholm 714
Res. 392, Justice - Correctional Workers: Wage Parity - Recognize,
Mr. M. Scott 715
Vote - Affirmative 716
Res. 393, Justice - Correctional Officers: Wage Offer Fair - Direct,
Mr. Kevin Deveaux 716
Res. 394, NDP (N.S.) Leader - Glace Bay Voters: Vacuous Rep. -
Apologize, Hon. R. MacKinnon 717
Res. 395, Health/Justice: Mins. (Smith) - Switch, Dr. H. Bitter-Suermann 717
Res. 396, Econ. Dev. & Tourism - Prospect Rd. (HRM):
Destinations - Promote, Mr. W. Estabrooks 718
Res. 397, Culture - MacDonald School (Middleton): Anniv. 95th -
Reunion Congrats., Mr. L. Montgomery 718
Vote - Affirmative 719
Res. 398, Econ. Dev. & Tourism - Junior Achievement (Mainland N.S.)
Business Hall of Fame: Ken Rowe, Harry Steele & Cyrus Eaton
(1883-1979) - Selection Applaud, Dr. J. Hamm 719
Vote - Affirmative 720
Res. 399, Sports - Baseball: Trevor Wamback (Sackville) Professional
Career - Start Congrats., Mr. J. Holm 720
Vote - Affirmative 720
Res. 400, Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley MLA: Name Calling Avoid/
Soother Use, Hon. F. Cosman 720
Res. 401, Health - Musquodoboit Valley Mem. Hosp.: Ambulance -
Authorize, Mr. B. Taylor 721
Res. 402, Educ. - P3: Contracts - Read, Ms. E. O'Connell 722
Res. 403, Nat. Res. - Stora/Enso: Merger - Congrats.,
Mr. Charles MacDonald 722
Vote - Affirmative 723
Res. 404, Sydney Environ. Res. Ltd.: JAG - Support (Premier)
Mr. J. DeWolfe 723
Res. 405, Transport. & Pub. Wks. - Hwy. No. 376: Trucks (Local) Only -
Declare, Mr. C. Parker 724
Res. 406, Hfx. Chebucto MLA - Job Importance: Negativity - Rethink,
Hon. K. MacAskill 724
Res. 407, Fin. - Budget (1998-99): Seniors - Commitment, Mr. M. Scott 725
Res. 408, Health - Vic. Co.: Care Improvement - Congrats.,
Hon. K. MacAskill 726
Res. 409, Exercise MARCOT/Unified Spirit '98: Success - Wish,
Mr. R. White 726
Vote - Affirmative 727
Res. 410, Educ. - Dal. Univ.: Endowment Funds -
Comments (Hfx. Chebucto MLA) Harmful, Mr. G. Fogarty 727
Res. 411, Econ. Dev. & Tourism: Eastern Shore - Tourism, Hon. K. Colwell 728
Vote - Affirmative 728
Res. 412, NDP (N.S.) - Health Care: Plans - State, Mr. H. Fraser 728
Res. 413, Sports - Cheema Aquatic Club: Achievements
(Csom Latorovszki & Karen Furneaux) - Congrats., Hon. F. Cosman 729
Vote - Affirmative 730
Res. 414, Anna. Valley Apple Blossom Comm. Congrats. - Extend,
Hon. R. Harrison 730
Res. 415, NDP (N.S.) Leader - C.B. East: Disclosure Failure - Apologize,
Hon. D. Downe 730
Res. 416, Econ. Dev. - Job Creation: Good Gov't. (Lib.) - Recognize,
Hon. Manning MacDonald 731
Res. 417, Econ. Dev. - Strait-Highlands RDA: Business Confidence
- Congrats., Mr. R. White 732
Vote - Affirmative 732
Res. 418, NDP (N.S.) - Health Record (Sask.): Lectures (N.S.) - Refrain,
Mr. P. MacEwan 732
Res. 419, Educ. - Coldbrook (Kings Co.) Playground:
Commun. Contribution - Acknowledge, Hon. R. Harrison 733
Vote - Affirmative 734
Res. 420, Sports - Dragon Boat Festival (Dart. Sept. 1998): Mr. Peter Fardy
& Comm. - Congrats., Hon. J. Smith, 735
Vote - Affirmative 735
Res. 421, Educ. - S.W. Reg. School Bd.: Teachers (5) Recognized - Congrats.
Hon. W. Gaudet 736
Vote - Affirmative 736
Res. 422, NDP (N.S.) - P3 (Sask.): Success - Recognize,
Mr. G. Fogarty 736
Vote - Affirmative 737
Res. 423, MPs NDP (N.S.) - Absolute Failure,
Hon. Manning MacDonald 737
Res. 424, NDP (N.S.) - Gov't. Future: Experts (Ex. Prov.) - Possible,
Mr. P. MacEwan 738
Res. 425, Educ. - Entrepreneurship Value: Bill Curry (Lockeport) - Congrats.,
Hon. C. Huskilson 739
Vote - Affirmative 740
Res. 426, Hfx. Chebucto - NDP (N.S.) Agenda: True - Reveal,
Mr. H. Fraser 740
Res. 427, NDP (N.S.) - SOEP: Agenda - Reveal,
Mr. M. Samson 740
Res. 428, Culture: Internat. Dance Festival (Cheticamp [3-5/7/98]) - Congrats.,
Mr. Charles MacDonald 741
Vote - Affirmative 741
Res. 429, Rainbow Haven Opportunity Fund: Donors - Thank,
Mr. L. Montgomery 742
Vote - Affirmative 742
ORAL QUESTIONS PUT BY MEMBERS:
No. 57, Educ. - P3: Evaluation (Aud. Gen.) - Status, Ms. E. O'Connell 743
No. 58, Gov't. (Can.) - Gen. Election (Can.) (02/06/97):
MPs (N.S.) Non-Liberal - Consequences, Dr. J. Hamm 745
No. 59, Health: MS Drug - Government Approval, Mr. R. Chisholm 746
No. 60, Nat. Res. - Nat. Gas: Laterals - Guarantee (Gov't. [N.S.]),
Mr. B. Taylor 748
No. 61, Environ. - Sydney Tar Ponds: Pollutants - Underestimated,
Ms. Helen MacDonald 749
No. 62, Justice - Crown Prosecutors: Walkout - Discipline, Mr. M. Baker 751
No. 63, Health - Sutherland-Harris Memorial Hosp. (Pictou):
Ambulance - Availability, Mr. C. Parker 753
No. 64, Health: Complaints - Toll Free Line, Ms. Maureen MacDonald 755
No. 65, Health - QE II Health Sc. Centre: Deficit - Amount,
Mr. G. Moody 756
No. 66, Health: Cobequid Multi-Service Ctr. - Problems Address,
Mr. J. Holm 758
No. 67, Health: QE II Health Sc. Centre - CEO, Dr. H. Bitter-Suermann 759
No. 68, Health - Physicians: Payments - Improve, Mr. R. Chisholm 761
No. 69, Health - Care: System - Fix (Premier 04/03/98), Mr. G. Moody 762
No. 70, Commun. Serv.: Child Benefit Program (Cdn.) - Effect, Mr. J. Pye 764
No. 71, Commun. Serv. - Access-A-Bus: Strike - Alternatives, Mr. J. Muir 765
No. 72, Housing & Mun. Affs. - Co-ops: Management - Transfer, Ms. R. Godin 767
No. 73, Justice - Illegal Activities: Money Seizures - Options, Mr. J. Pye 769
No. 74, Commun. Serv. - Small Options Homes: Legislation - Awaited,
Mr. J. Muir 770
No. 75, Human Res. Comm. - NSRL: Appointments - Review,
Mr. J. Holm 772
OPPOSITION MEMBERS' BUSINESS:
PRIVATE MEMBERS' PUBLIC BILLS FOR SECOND READING:
No. 6, Health Council Appointments (1998) Act 773
Dr. J. Hamm 774
Hon. J. Smith 775
Ms. Maureen MacDonald 778
Mr. G. Moody 779
Vote - Affirmative 780
MOTIONS OTHER THAN GOVERNMENT MOTIONS:
Res. No. 231, re Transport. & Pub. Wks. - Hwys. Repair:
Non-Partisan Approach - Develop, Mr. G. Balser 781
Mr. G. Balser 781
Hon. C. Huskilson 782
Mr. W. Estabrooks 784
Dr. H. Bitter-Suermann 787
ADJOURNMENT:
MOTION UNDER RULE 5(5):
Econ. Dev. & Tourism - C.B.: Expansion/Diversification - Support:
Hon. R. MacKinnon 789
Mr. F. Corbett 791
Mr. G. Balser 794
ADJOURNMENT, House rose to meet again on Thur., June 4th at 2:00 p.m. 796

[Page 697]

HALIFAX, WEDNESDAY, JUNE 3, 1998

Fifty-seventh General Assembly

First Session

2:00 P.M.

SPEAKER

Hon. Ronald Russell

DEPUTY SPEAKER

Mr. Donald Chard

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. Before we commence with the daily routine, I would like to introduce to all members a person in my gallery. His name is Arthur Donahoe and Arthur Donahoe (Applause) I was preempted. I was going on to say that Arthur Donahoe served this House from 1978 to 1991 first of all as Deputy Speaker and then as Speaker until he left the Chair in 1991. Then he went on to bigger things, I don't know necessarily if they were better, but Arthur Donahoe is now the Secretary-General of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association and he services a constituency of about 14,000, all of them parliamentarians. Now most of us in this House have 14,000 or 15,000 people who are constituents but they are not politicians. So Arthur has a very big constituency as well as serving approximately 139 parliamentary Assemblies around the globe.

So Arthur it is a pleasure to welcome you back to this House. Come again and see us more often and perhaps next time you are back we can get together and discuss with the members some of the details of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association. So, again, good to have you with us.

We will commence with the daily routine.

PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS

697

[Page 698]

PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES

TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Business and Consumer Services.

HON. KEITH COLWELL: Mr. Speaker, I rise today to table the Annual Report, as of December 31, 1995, on Vital Statistics in the Province of Nova Scotia.

MR. SPEAKER: The report is tabled.

The honourable member for Digby-Annapolis for an introduction.

MR. GORDON BALSER: Mr. Speaker, I rise today to recognize some people in the gallery: Carl Webb and Shelly Webb of the Haven Side Bed & Breakfast; Innis MacDonald of Fresh Start Bed & Breakfast; and Darlene Fiander of TIANS. I ask the House to recognize their presence. Would you please stand and be recognized. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: I was also somewhat remiss in that I didn't advise the House with regard to the Adjournment motion today. The draw was won by the Minister of Labour, the honourable member for Cape Breton West. The resolution that will be debated at 6:00 o'clock is:

Therefore be it resolved that full support be given to expanded and diversified economic development in Cape Breton.

STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Finance.

HON. DONALD DOWNE: Actually, I am right now the Minister of the Environment.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of the Environment.

HON. DONALD DOWNE: Mr. Speaker, just over two years ago, Nova Scotians set off on a journey of environmental renewal. The Solid Waste Resource Management Strategy was a road map to lead us to a cleaner Nova Scotia. I might say this road map was started by my predecessor, to my right, who started this journey to a very successful conclusion at this point.

This being Environment Week, I want to provide you and all members of this House with an update on how far we have travelled toward the goal of 50 per cent diversion of solid waste. When the strategy began in April 1996, Nova Scotians were diverting less than 8 per

[Page 699]

cent from landfills. The latest available figure show the diversion rate in Nova Scotia is now above 26 per cent. We are halfway toward our goal of 50 per cent diversion.

I have every reason to believe that Nova Scotians will meet and then exceed our target by the turn of the century. This fall, Nova Scotians will take the next major step toward that target, Mr. Speaker. That is when wide-scale composting of organics will become part of our environmental lifestyle. The composting of organics is probably the single most important environmental advance in the solid waste strategy. Instead of being dumped in the landfills where it creates leachate, methane, organics will become compost.

So, instead of poisoning the soil and ground water, we will produce compost that will revive the soil. Many Nova Scotians have worked very hard to improve the environment. Today, 98 per cent of Nova Scotians regularly recycle. The landscape of Nova Scotia is benefiting as well. Two years ago there were 44 landfills or open-burning sites. Today, open-burning sites are history. There are just 19 landfills left. By the year 2005 Nova Scotia will have somewhere between 7 and 10 landfills left. All of them will be organic-free. Because there will be less garbage going into these environmentally friendly landfills, they will last much longer. That is great news for the taxpayers and great news for the environment.

These changes will take commitment and they will take cash. When we announced the sell-away strategy, this government promised that the profits from recycling would be placed in the hands of municipalities, the municipal units that worked hard to help us improve the environment in Nova Scotia. The promise was that the more they divert from landfills, the more money they could expect to help them offset the costs of meeting the 50 per cent target outlined in the strategy. During the fiscal year 1996-97, the Resource Recovery Fund Board Inc., generated revenues of $2.3 million; half that amount went directly to the municipal units, and the remainder went to fund waste management systems that help clean the environment and create jobs.

Today, I have even better news. The Resource Recovery Fund Board has informed me that they expect to have $6.8 million this year. (Applause) That is nearly three times as much money as was available last year. The $6.8 million comes from the beverage container deposit system and the sale of recyclables. Here is how the money will be used. Half, or $3.4 million, will be distributed directly to the seven municipal solid waste regions across this province. The money can be used, as municipal leaders see fit, to help pay the costs of the solid waste management. Municipalities have already received $700,000 of the $6.8 million. The other half, $3.4 million, will help pay for what the RRFB calls "approved programs". Approved programs include such things as municipal curb-side recycling systems, composting projects, public education, municipal solid waste coordinators, and value-added manufacturing.

[Page 700]

But let me make this clear today. Every nickel collected as part of the Beverage Container Deposit Program, and every dollar that comes in from the sale of recyclables, goes towards helping municipalities with their solid waste programs. We made that promise to the municipalities when we began this joint environmental effort and we have kept that promise.

Today I had the honour of presenting a cheque of $1 million, along with the Premier and the Minister of Economic Development, to Warden Richie Cotton, Warden of Richmond County and Chair of the Municipal Steering Committee on Solid Waste. Warden Cotton and Mr. Adrian White of the Resource Recovery Fund Board are in the gallery and I ask members of this House to provide the customary warm welcome of the House for these two gentlemen. I ask them to stand and be acknowledged by this House for the work you have done. (Applause)

I might say, as Minister of Finance, I found it very difficult parting with that $1 million, but I know it is for a good cause and a good reason. The solid waste strategy is cleaning Nova Scotia and putting people to work, Mr. Speaker. The RRFB part of the program, which includes enviro-depots as well as tire recycling and the sale of other recyclables, has created some 400 jobs. The latest detailed study into the impact of the strategy shows that today that 1,445 Nova Scotians earn their pay cheques as a direct result of solid waste, recycling, and composting.

Mr. Speaker, more good news. This year, the waste sector should smash through the mark of some 1,600 jobs for Nova Scotians. That is 1,600 jobs in the private sector, all across this great province, directly linked to reducing, reusing, recycling and composting. The Solid Waste Resource Management Strategy is now just over two years old. It has already delivered some 1,600 jobs in Nova Scotia. (Applause)

[2:15 p.m.]

Mr. Speaker, today it has delivered another $6.8 million to help our municipal units. In the days and years to come it will be clear that a cleaner and more prosperous Nova Scotia will come forth. By reinvesting the money earned from the sale of recyclables and plowing them into other recyclable programs, we are closing the loop on these valuable resources. We are creating jobs, we are cleaning the environment, we are helping the municipalities and getting even closer to our target of 50 per cent diversion for this province. All in all, it is a great way (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

MR. DOWNE: Mr. Speaker, we have youth of the Province of Nova Scotia in the gallery today, Grade 12 students, who are here to watch the Legislative Assembly. They are here because they are concerned about their future, they are concerned about the environment and they are concerned about making Nova Scotia the best place on the Earth to live.

[Page 701]

(Applause) I think it's only fitting that we give them the respect, as members of the House, to listen to this very important announcement about tying together the environment, the economy and creating economic wealth and opportunity, while at the same time showing stewardship to our land. So, in closing, all in all, it is a great way to mark Environment Week in Nova Scotia. God save the Queen. Thank you. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: That statement by the minister was almost a speech, it went for 10 minutes.

The honourable member for Dartmouth South.

MR. DONALD CHARD: Mr. Speaker, if I might respond to the minister's observations, I would like to compliment the government on the progress it has made in this area. (Applause) You might want to save your applause because my compliments are not totally unqualified. I think the progress has been rather slow and rather halting in some respects, and while it is nice to hear that $6.8 million has been regenerated through the return of beverage containers and through the sale of recyclables, that's a very modest amount when we look at the cost of cleaning up the environment and dealing with solid waste management in this province.

While it is good to hear that there has been progress made on shutting down some of our more obnoxious dumps, as the minister is well aware, we have some very sad instances of dumps masquerading as sanitary landfills in this province, such as the Kings County landfill. I am pleased to hear that thanks to the persistent pressure of people in that area, the department has finally taken action to see that the dump is managed in a little more appropriate manner.

I would like to point out that there are a number of sore spots in this. We speak effusively and glowingly of the amount of recycling, of the return of beverage containers, but the cost, the environmental cost, the energy cost of recycling containers is extreme, when in many cases other jurisdictions have demonstrated that we should be using refillable containers. There is much less energy expended, much less waste in the environment. I would like to point out also that we do have some major problems with the tire recycling program, which has been in the news recently. At the Kings County Regional landfill, it was just in the news within the last week that a company which was supposedly acting in an environmentally appropriate manner had been releasing CFCs into the environment.

So, I don't think that our record is totally unblemished. There are problems with the way we've been managing waste in this province and I think it is incumbent on us to acknowledge those sore spots. If the government wants to take credit for the good things that have been happening, it also has to accept some responsibility for the inadequacies in this system. Thank you.

[Page 702]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Pictou East.

MR. JAMES DEWOLFE: Mr. Speaker, through you to the minister, tire recycling has been a failure. Tires have been improperly storaged. The president of TRACC was fired and the whole program is in a state of chaos. Tires have been shipped to other jurisdictions to be burned and the government has waived the penalty fees, monitoring and enforcement of the terms and conditions of the contract TRACC has with this province and it is not acceptable. The tire tax has siphoned off millions of dollars from Nova Scotians. Where is the accountability?

Mr. Minister, don't try to take credit for Nova Scotians who are taking seriously this situation. I have to say I am proud of Nova Scotians and the children of this province who are taking the initiative to recycle.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Annapolis on an introduction.

MR. LAWRENCE MONTGOMERY: Mr. Speaker, I would like to draw your attention to the east gallery. Through you and to the other members of the Assembly, I would like to introduce a group of high school students from Middleton Regional High School, from the heart of the Valley. They are accompanied by their teachers, Mr. Bill Hines and Mr. David Stewart. Would you please recognize these people and I would ask them to stand, please. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party on an introduction.

DR. JOHN HAMM: Mr. Speaker, I would draw the attention of the members of the House to some visitors in the gallery opposite, the members of the Executive of the Pictou County Injured Workers Association: Ms. Mary Lloyd, Mr. Peter Boyles, Ms. Mary Richardson, Mr. Bob Baudoux and Mr. Stephen Nicholson. I would ask our guests to rise and receive the welcome of the House. (Applause)

STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS [Continued]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Agriculture.

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

AN HON. MEMBER: This is Statements By Ministers.

MR. SPEAKER: I am sorry, I thought you had a Ministerial Statement.

[Page 703]

HON. EDWARD LORRAINE: Mr. Speaker, no, a resolution.

GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Agriculture.

RESOLUTION NO. 380

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

Whereas Maple Leaf Poultry is holding the grand opening of its new air-chill facilities in Canard, Nova Scotia this Friday, June 5th; and

Whereas the new facilities represent the first time a unique air-chilling process has been introduced in Atlantic Canada; and

Whereas this new, state-of-the-art air-chilling equipment will further enhance and support the excellent high quality and safe poultry already being produced in Nova Scotia;

Therefore be it resolved that this House recognize Maple Leaf, Canada's largest food processor, for its commitment to innovation in the agri-food sector and for publicly reaffirming its investment and confidence in Nova Scotia's agriculture and agri-food industry through the opening of this advanced air-chill facility.

Mr. Speaker, I would ask for waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Education.

RESOLUTION NO. 381

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

[Page 704]

Whereas the National Computer for Schools Program has delivered 50,000 computers to schools and libraries across Canada since 1994, earning the Treasury Board Gold Medal of Distinction for its fiscal policy and implementation; and

Whereas the Nova Scotia Technology Recycling Program, our province's Computer for Schools Program, has delivered over 4,000 refurbished computers to schools and libraries, earning the Computer for Schools Gold Medal for production and a $5,000 grant for achieving more than 230 per cent of expected deliveries of computers to schools and to libraries across this province; and

Whereas Mr. Kevin Scanlan, a dedicated volunteer in the Halifax refurbishing centre who has given over 1,800 hours of his volunteer time to this program, received the outstanding volunteer award for Nova Scotia at the fourth annual Computers for Schools national meeting in Ottawa;

Therefore be it resolved that the House of Assembly recognize this tremendous achievement of the Technology Recycling Program and the efforts of volunteers like Kevin Scanlan, the Telephone Pioneers of America, Acadia Chapter, and others in making the current technology available to our children and young people in our schools and to all Nova Scotians through public libraries.

Mr. Speaker, I would ask for 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 Transportation and Public Works.

RESOLUTION NO. 382

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

Whereas the Transportation Club, with 260 volunteer members, is celebrating its 22nd Anniversary in Nova Scotia this week; and

[Page 705]

Whereas the club is known for its good community work in Nova Scotia, including fund-raising for scholarship programs, the IWK-Grace hospital, the Missions to Seamen and other causes; and

Whereas this Thursday the Transportation Club will hold its annual dinner honouring people in the transportation industry;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate the members of this organization for their work in the community and their work to promote transportation issues 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 Minister of Health.

HON. JAMES SMITH: Mr. Speaker, I know that prior to my entering to the House today the honourable member who is in your gallery was introduced. I really want to welcome him as well and the kindness that he has afforded to me since my election here in 1984. I would point out to the honourable members, and I know I have received some criticism from the House, perhaps, and members of the House serving in two roles as Attorney General, Justice and Health, but that honourable member's father did those two roles, Attorney General and Minister of Health for, I understand, 14 years in this Legislature. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: You are speaking now as Minister of Justice, I take it.

DR. SMITH: I have big shoes to fill, Mr. Speaker. I am willing to try to meet the challenge.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Health.

[Page 706]

RESOLUTION NO. 383

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

Whereas Mr. Greg King, a teacher at Prince Andrew High School in Dartmouth East, has worked diligently with students to create the Kids, Cops, Business and Community Project; and

Whereas this project was last year's Conference Board of Canada-Royal Bank National Award winner for its innovative business education partnership program; and

Whereas this project has been chosen by the Canadian Federation of Mayors and Municipalities as the 1998 national award winner for public safety community partnerships;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate the students at Prince Andrew High School and Mr. Greg King on their recent award and commend them for their hard work and dedication in making communities a better place in which to live.

Mr. Speaker, I ask for waiver of notice and passage without debate.

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

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 Housing and Municipal Affairs.

RESOLUTION NO. 384

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

Whereas Nova Scotia is currently hosting the national Canadian Conference on Personal Property Security Law here in Halifax; and

[Page 707]

Whereas delegates have travelled to Halifax from all over Canada and, indeed, around the world to view the new high technology electronic personal property registry system which has recently been implemented in this province; and

Whereas the conference provides Nova Scotia with an unparalleled opportunity to showcase our products and also encourage tourism;

Therefore be it resolved that this House welcome delegates to our province and wish them well as they continue their deliberations.

Mr. Speaker, I ask for waiver.

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 Fisheries and Aquaculture.

RESOLUTION NO. 385

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

Whereas in early April, the Nova Scotia Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture hosted a live fish conference in Yarmouth; and

Whereas more than 200 fishermen and live fish experts attended the three-day conference which covered all aspects of the industry including the catching, shipping and marketing of live fish; and

Whereas the conference demonstrated that the live fish market has a tremendous growth potential, particularly in the export markets and could lead to Nova Scotia fishermen receiving much higher prices for their products than in the past;

Therefore be it resolved that this House recognize that live fish markets hold great promise for our fishing industry, and that the provincial Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture is committed to working with Nova Scotians to make this promise a reality.

[Page 708]

[2:30 p.m.]

Mr. Speaker, I ask for waiver of notice.

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

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 Agriculture and Marketing.

RESOLUTION NO. 386

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

Whereas Brian Trueman was elected Vice-President of the Canadian Hereford Association; and

Whereas Mr. Trueman previously served as President of the Maritime Hereford Association; and

Whereas Mr. Trueman is well known throughout the beef sector as a livestock judge and breeder of pure-bred Herefords;

Therefore be it resolved that this House recognize Brian Trueman for being a leader in the beef sector and for his election to the post of Vice-President of the Canadian Hereford Association, which is a reflection of his strong leadership ability.

Mr. Speaker, I would ask for waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

[Page 709]

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Education and Culture.

RESOLUTION NO. 387

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

Whereas the rapidly transforming global and competitive economy is requiring the development of an adaptable and innovative workforce that can learn efficiently; and

Whereas the Adult Education section of the Department of Education and Culture is working in partnership with Nova Scotia's companies, employees and unions to cultivate a culture of lifelong learning through the creation of customized workplace education programs; and

Whereas these programs are resulting in benefits to our province's workplaces, families and communities by helping employees increase their literary skills; and

Whereas Nova Scotia's workplace education initiative is on the leading edge of developing workplace education programs for large and small businesses in rural and urban areas; and

Whereas Russel Metals Inc. recently won the 1998 Conference Board of Canada Award of Excellence in Workplace Literacy in the small business category, and National Sea Products Limited won the same award for the large business category;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly extend congratulations to Russel Metals Inc. and National Sea Products Limited for their outstanding achievements, and for winning two of three National Conference Board of Canada Awards of Excellence in Workplace Literacy.

Mr. Speaker, I would ask for waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

[Page 710]

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Health.

RESOLUTION NO. 388

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

Whereas on May 26, 1998, The Daily News published a letter from Mr. Byron Bolt who was injured recently in an isolated area and required emergency medical care; and

Whereas this injured person wrote about the timely and competent emergency medical care he received by the paramedics, first responders and, later, the doctors and nurses; and

Whereas this day we thank emergency and other health care workers for their hard work and compassionate care in emergency situations;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House recognize our paramedics and first responders in this province for helping to save lives and prevent injuries by delivering them in a safe and coordinated manner to further health care settings.

Mr. Speaker, I would ask for waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

Is it agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Labour.

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

Whereas vacuous representation in leadership is not what the people of Glace Bay voted for and expected in the May 24th election; and

[Page 711]

Whereas the Leader of the New Democratic socialist Party deliberately turned a blind eye to dishonourable actions for the purpose of political power;

Therefore be it resolved that the Leader of the socialist New Democratic Party apologize for the shame and dishonour that he has brought to public service and resign.

Mr. Speaker, I ask for waiver of notice.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. I am not going to permit that resolution to be tabled, not because I disagree with the resolution itself but, however, under Government Notices of Motion the notices of motion should refer to the portfolio for which the minister is responsible. (Interruption) Yes, it is. We are under Government Notices of Motion.

Do you have another Government Notice of Motion?

The Minister of Education has already had, I believe, two notices of motion and my understanding of the rules is that the two notices of motion are applicable to Government Notices of Motion as well as to ordinary notices of motion.

HON. ROBERT HARRISON: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker, just on a point of order, when ministers are responsible for more than one department, is it possible to do Government Notices of Motion related to . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Yes.

MR. HARRISON: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Which department are you responsible for at the moment?

MR. HARRISON: Unlike a snooker player, Mr. Speaker, I feel like a pool player that has to declare the shot before I make it. This notice of motion, Mr. Speaker, relates to the Department of Education responsibilities.

MR. SPEAKER: It was my understanding that the other two previous notices of motion under Government Notices of Motion, were also Education.

MR. HARRISON: Mr. Speaker, the technology recycling computer resolution more properly fits . . .

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Education.

[Page 712]

RESOLUTION NO. 389

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

Whereas the Children's WaterFest Committee of Stellarton is sponsoring a three day WaterFest 1998 at the Museum of Industry on June 4th, 5th and 6th; and

Whereas the official opening of this WaterFest will be held Thursday, June 4th, at 1:00 p.m., in the foyer of the Museum of Industry; and

Whereas the purpose of this three day festival is to deliver environmentally sound messages about water and all of its uses to over 3,000 school children;

Therefore be it resolved that the House of Assembly congratulate the Children's WaterFest Committee on their initiative and vision and extend to them our warmest wishes for a successful WaterFest 1998.

Mr. Speaker, I would ask for 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 Housing and Municipal Affairs.

RESOLUTION NO. 390

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

Whereas as Minister responsible for the administration of the Heritage Property Act; and

Whereas the Provincial Advisory Council on Heritage Properties will begin on June 8th a three day tour of Hants, Kings, and Annapolis Counties to raise awareness and promote knowledge of designated heritage properties in these areas; and

[Page 713]

Whereas the tour provides an opportunity to encourage support of and foster interest in Nova Scotia's unique and proud past as reflected in area heritage buildings and properties and to involve local groups and interested parties in this process;

Therefore be it resolved that this House salute the work of the Provincial Advisory Council and wish them continued success in their ongoing efforts to promote, preserve and protect Nova Scotia's unique heritage.

Mr. Speaker, I ask for waiver, please.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

MR. JOHN HOLM: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker, and I certainly supported the resolution that was introduced by the Minister of Education and Culture on the third resolution that he introduced, but I am looking at the rules and I am just interested in ensuring that we are or are not establishing some precedents because the minister, like all members of this House and I appreciate that the resolutions are being brought forward under Government Notices of Motion, but he is a member of this House and the rule is quite clear, on Page 31, Rule 32(2) indicates that no member shall be permitted to provide more than two resolutions on any one day. Certainly critics who have more than one critic responsibility are bound by that rule and, in fact, judge the resolutions accordingly so that you would introduce two on one particular day and maybe if you have another one, you would introduce it on the following day. The minister, like all members of the Opposition, has the powers to introduce resolutions five days a week. Mr. Speaker, all I am seeking is clarity on whether or not ministers, if they hold more than one portfolio, are going to be permitted to introduce two resolutions for each individual department on any given day or if they will be expected to follow the same rules as other members of this House.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader on the point of order.

HON. MANNING MACDONALD: Yes, Mr. Speaker, on the same point of order. Certainly, our caucus and ministers did not wish to misuse the time of the House today. In fact, some ministers expressed the desire to introduce government resolutions and we discussed that and we, as I understand it, asked for some guidance from your office and received the guidance that we could do exactly what we are doing.

[Page 714]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable House Leader for the Progressive Conservative Party.

MR. GEORGE MOODY: Mr. Speaker, it is not a matter of consuming time. I think the resolutions that were put forward we can't argue about their value. I think though we do need a ruling on the rule, because if you read Rule 32(2), we are all members. It doesn't mention that ministers are any different from other members of the House when it comes to notices of motion. So, I think it is very clear that we have to establish what the rule is, because for future days this could be, obviously, an issue that could be debated. It is not abused today but it could be in the future.

I agree that if you a minister of more than one department but there are cases when we have members who are critic of more than one department. So I would ask your honour if you would revisit the rule and to make a ruling so we will know in the future, and if the rules aren't clear that we ask the committee on rules to reconvene and to clarify whether or not this Rule 32(2) means all members of the House.

MR. SPEAKER: I will take the matter under advisement. I would advise members that Government Notices of Motion, however, are different from Notices of Motion. They are two separate items within the daily routine. I can advise all members that in the past on at least one occasion to my knowledge, because I was personally involved, that I was permitted more than two notices of motion and I had to explain that I was speaking on behalf of another portfolio at the time. However, I think it is wise that I take that matter under advisement and I will report back to the House on a future day as to what action we will take.

INTRODUCTION OF BILLS

Bill No. 11 - Entitled an Act to Amend Chapter 23 of the Revised Statutes of 1989. The Assessment Act. (Mr. Gordon Balser)

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

NOTICES OF MOTION

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Opposition.

RESOLUTION NO. 391

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

Whereas the federal government continues to discriminate against Nova Scotia by refusing to fund needed renovations at Halifax International Airport; and

[Page 715]

Whereas the Metropolitan Halifax Chamber of Commerce is seeking a meeting with the federal Minister of Transport to put the case for quick federal action on the needed renovations; and

Whereas the Premier has so far failed to commit to efforts by NDP Members of Parliament to organize an all-Party meeting with the federal Transport Minister on the airport issue;

Therefore be it resolved that this House urge the Premier to finally begin to show some leadership and join the campaign for fairness and much-needed improvements to the Halifax International Airport.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Cumberland South.

MR. MURRAY SCOTT: Mr. Speaker, I would like to introduce to the House, in the east gallery, a group of correctional officers in Nova Scotia who are attempting to receive some fair bargaining on behalf of this government. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Cumberland South.

RESOLUTION NO. 392

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

Whereas a key issue that has been raised by Nova Scotia's correctional officers with government is that they achieve wage parity with provincial youth workers who are currently paid at a higher rate but have equal qualifications and job requirements; and

[2:45 p.m.]

Whereas the members of the Correctional Officers Union of Nova Scotia felt a renewed sense of hope with the government agreeing to a resolution introduced in this House by our caucus on May 22nd asking that the province recognize its concerns; and

Whereas instead, officers have once again found themselves in the position they've been in since talks began in March, at an impasse with government;

Therefore be it resolved that the government agree today that since it has recognized the need for wage parity in other essential sectors of the government workforce, that it also recognize the need for fair treatment of this province's correctional workers.

[Page 716]

Mr. Speaker, I would ask for waiver of notice.

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

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. 393

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

Whereas the Correctional Officers Union of Nova Scotia provides a vital service to the people of Nova Scotia in ensuring our correctional institutions are well maintained; and

Whereas the Minister of Justice, through his department, has failed to offer wage parity to the correctional workers with other government workers with similar jobs and experience; and

Whereas the Liberal Government has seen fit to provide wage parity to other vital employees, such as nurses and health care workers;

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Justice direct his negotiators to return to the bargaining table with a fair and just wage offer that recognizes the importance of correctional officers.

Mr. Speaker, I seek waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear a No.

The notice is tabled.

[Page 717]

The honourable Minister of Labour.

RESOLUTION NO. 394

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

Whereas vacuous representation and leadership is not what the people of Glace Bay voted for and expected in the March 24th provincial election; and

Whereas the leadership of the NDP socialist Party deliberately turned a blind eye to dishonourable actions for the purpose of political power;

Therefore be it resolved that in the opinion of this House the Leader of the NDP socialist Party apologize for the shame and dishonour that he has brought to public service and do the honourable thing and resign.

Mr. Speaker, I ask for waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

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

RESOLUTION NO. 395

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

Whereas the MacLellan brothers who own the Liberal ball club lost most of their key players due to insolvency; and

Whereas during yesterday's Question Period the Minister of Health and Justice hit into a near game-ending double play by showing ignorance regarding both doctors' numbers and the Ghiz-Archibald report; and

Whereas a double switch late in the game is an often used managerial ploy to get out of a jam;

[Page 718]

Therefore be it resolved that the MacLellan brothers move Jim Smith from Health to Justice and James Smith from Justice to Health (Laughter) thus making this the first auto-double switch in minor league history.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled. (Applause)

The honourable member for Timberlea-Prospect.

RESOLUTION NO. 396

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

Whereas tourism officials continue to promote Peggy's Cove as a popular destination in this province; and

Whereas tourism must remain an important source of income to Nova Scotians; and

Whereas various unique communities along the coast from Terence Bay, Lower Prospect, Prospect Village, McGrath's Cove, Bayside, Shad Bay, Blind Bay, to East and West Dover have largely been neglected by tourist officials;

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Economic Development and Tourism instruct his officials to take steps to promote other destinations along the Prospect Road route to this heavily publicized Village of Peggy's Cove.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Annapolis.

RESOLUTION NO. 397

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

Whereas from August 7 - August 9, 1998, a reunion will be held to celebrate the 95 year history of the MacDonald School in Middleton; and

Whereas the school which was in operation from 1903 to 1979 now houses the MacDonald Museum; and

Whereas 338 persons have already pre-registered for this significant 95th reunion, which will pay tribute to the rich history of Old MacDonald;

[Page 719]

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate the organizers of this reunion and wish them a very successful and entertaining weekend.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice and passage without debate.

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

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 Progressive Conservative Party.

RESOLUTION NO. 398

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

Whereas the Junior Nova Scotia Achievement presented three individuals with lifetime achievement awards last evening; and

Whereas the three individuals have or are contributing substantively to the economy of Nova Scotia through a variety of businesses and special projects; and

Whereas Ken Rowe, Harry Steele and Cyrus Eaton are all names that will be chronicled into the archives of Nova Scotia business entrepreneurs;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this Assembly extend our sincere and best wishes to Ken Rowe, Harry Steele and the family of the late Cyrus Eaton on being presented with lifetime achievement awards and being inducted into Nova Scotia's Business Hall of Fame last night.

Mr. Speaker, I seek waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

[Page 720]

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. 399

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

Whereas yesterday Trevor Wamback of Sackville became the highest Nova Scotian ever selected in the Major League Baseball amateur draft when he was chosen in the 22nd round by the Montreal Expos; and

Whereas Trevor had the further good fortune yesterday of being asked by the Expos to report to their single A Team in Vermont; and

Whereas Trevor has the talent, ability and drive to eventually play in the Major Leagues;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate Trevor Wamback and wish him well as he begins his climb through professional baseball's minor leagues on his way to the top.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

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 Community Services.

RESOLUTION NO. 400

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

[Page 721]

Whereas over 50 per cent of the voters in Nova Scotia are women; and

Whereas these women contribute to the richness of our society as legislators, homemakers, engineers, lawyers, child care givers, medical professionals, social workers, educators, construction workers, designers, executives, performers and a host of other events that they do; and

Whereas a woman member of this House was called baby by a member of the Tory caucus, illustrating their outdated and antiquated attitude toward women;

Therefore be it resolved that the honourable member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley accept this gift with the understanding that should he again feel the need to call a name of baby to a female member, he use this soother to calm his nerves. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley. (Interruptions)

MR. BROOKE TAYLOR: I have to tell you, Mr. Speaker, that is the first thing Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley has received from this government in five and one-half years so I will take it and appreciate it. (Applause)

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

RESOLUTION NO. 401

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

Whereas most, if not all, recommendations covered in the Eastern Shore-Musquodoboit Valley Health Board's comprehensive plan, which was presented to the Central Regional Health Board over one year ago, have not been enacted; and

Whereas there were over 200 ambulance visits made to the Musquodoboit Valley Memorial Hospital in the previous 12 months; and

Whereas the number of people employed in the industrial and manufacturing sector in the Middle Musquodoboit area is expected to double in the next few years, increasing the potential for industrial and trucking related accidents;

[Page 722]

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Health who has general supervision and management of the Regional Health Board Act, assented to on June 30, 1994, immediately authorize the placement of an ambulance at the Musquodoboit Valley Memorial Hospital, as recommended in the community health plan.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Halifax-Fairview.

RESOLUTION NO. 402

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

Whereas speaking in the Speech from the Throne debate the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture claimed that P3 schools like the one in Porters Lake are good, because if the roof leaks and it is not repaired you can stop paying the lease; and

Whereas a review of the actual contract for the P3 Porters Lake School shows that the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture was wrong, if the roof leaks it must be paid for through the operating lease; and

Whereas a review of the actual contract also shows that if the operating lease doesn't cover the full cost of the roof repairs, the school board has to come up with the extra money;

Therefore be it resolved that before members of the Liberal Cabinet sing the praises of P3, they take a close look at the fine print and discover what members on this side of the house already know, namely, that P3 schools will drain resources from the classroom and do harm to our children.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Inverness.

RESOLUTION NO. 403

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

Whereas the Finnish paper company, Enso, is merging with the Swedish company, Stora; and

[Page 723]

Whereas the merger will help the companies better compete against low-cost producers from Asia and Latin America; and

Whereas this merger will provide further stability for the company's operations in Nova Scotia, especially the supercalendered mill at Port Hawkesbury;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate Enso and Stora on their merger, reminding them of the strategic location of Nova Scotia on world trading routes and the high quality of Nova Scotia's workforce.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice and passage without debate.

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

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 East.

RESOLUTION NO. 404

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

Whereas an environmental consultant has said the amount of toxic waste draining into Sydney Harbour from the Sydney tar ponds might be as much as 10 to 100 times the amount first thought; and

Whereas the Joint Action Group, JAG, has been working for more than two years to develop a clean-up plan for the Sydney tar ponds; and

Whereas this government has shown absolutely no leadership in support of the efforts of JAG to resolve the country's worst hazardous waste sites and one of its greatest public health hazards;

Therefore be it resolved that instead of just uttering words of praise to the members of JAG, the Premier demonstrate real action by committing to concrete efforts in support of JAG that will result in the long-promised clean-up of the toxic wasteland.

[Page 724]

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Pictou West.

RESOLUTION NO. 405

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

Whereas Highway No. 376 in Pictou County is frequently used as a through-road by large triaxle and other gravel trucks from Prince Edward Island; and

Whereas the residents of Lyons Brook, Durham and Central West River are very concerned about the safety of their children, their pets, and themselves because of the speed and large numbers of these P.E.I. trucks; and

Whereas the solution to this safety issue is to allow local delivery only on Highway No. 376 and not allow it to be used as a through-road;

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Transportation take immediate action to resolve this safety issue by declaring Highway No. 376 open to local truck traffic only, and other trucks be re-routed to the Trans Canada Highway No. 106 and No. 104.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable Minister of Natural Resources.

[3:00 p.m.]

RESOLUTION NO. 406

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

Whereas in his own 1996 Environmental Year in Review report for Nova Scotia, the now honourable member for Halifax Chebucto made reference to the dredging project in my riding as a fiasco and then went on to say it took place in the Bras d'Or Lakes for the Little Narrows Gypsum Company; and

Whereas it would seem the honourable member seriously considers securing the future employment of 125 well-paying jobs in Cape Breton as a fiasco; and

[Page 725]

Whereas it should be clarified that this dredging project actually took place in the Middle Shoal Channel and not in the Bras d'Or Lakes;

Therefore be it resolved that the honourable member think twice before making such further negative statements related to the importance of jobs in our province, but also that all Nova Scotians be protected from the clutches of any future decision-making authority being given to this honourable member or the NDP.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Cumberland South.

RESOLUTION NO. 407

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

Whereas this Liberal Government assured seniors last fall that concerns over increased costs to them would be taken under consideration; and

Whereas this Liberal Government has attacked seniors with undue hardship in the past five years that has resulted in a substantial increase to their cost of living expenses; and

Whereas the introduction of the $215 Seniors' Pharmacare cost and the forcing of an additional 8 per cent upon them to purchase home heating fuel has placed an enormous amount of financial stress upon thousands of seniors across Nova Scotia;

Therefore be it resolved that this Liberal Government with the release of the provincial budget tomorrow for the 1998-99 fiscal year make a strong and forceful commitment to seniors that will enable them to begin purchasing the necessities of life without forcing undue financial hardship upon them.

Mr. Speaker, I seek 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 Minister of Natural Resources.

[Page 726]

RESOLUTION NO. 408

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

Whereas last Thursday, May 28th, the Eastern Regional Health Board accepted and then conveyed to the Department of Health the recommendation to proceed with awarding the contract for construction of a new community health care facility scheduled for the Neils Harbour area; and

Whereas this decision to replace the aging Buchanan Memorial Hospital is now in the final stages which should mean the residents of Neils Harbour will see the first ground broken on the construction project later this month; and

Whereas I want to make all honourable members of this House aware that I am very proud of the ongoing role which residents of the north of Smokey area have played with their successful fund-raising efforts and participation in the planning process for this project;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House extend congratulations to the residents of the north of Smokey area in my riding but also to the present government and Department of Health for recognizing the need to improve the level of health care in Victoria County with a new health care facility.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Guysborough-Port Hawkesbury.

RESOLUTION NO. 409

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

Whereas Exercise Marcott/Unified Spirit '98 starts today with training and briefings in Halifax; and

Whereas more then half of the ships, aircraft and 15,000 personnel involved in the exercise are NATO Allies; and

Whereas offshore Nova Scotia will be the locale for this exercise which will train the forces to defend against submarines, surface ships, aircraft and missiles;

Therefore be it resolved that the House wish participants every success during this most important training exercise.

[Page 727]

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Halifax Bedford Basin.

RESOLUTION NO. 410

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

Whereas during the campaign leading up to the March 24th general election the member for Halifax Chebucto stated that if the NDP formed the government he would like to be Minister of Education; and

Whereas the honourable member stated that if he became Minister of Education, he would perform a close examination of university funds; and

Whereas the honourable member stated that he was especially interested in the endowment funds given to Dalhousie University;

Therefore be it resolved that this House remind the honourable member that many of these endowments specify the purpose of the legacy and are intended for the benefit of the university, and the real harm caused by the member's comments is to cause those who would give gifts to Dalhousie to reconsider their donation.

Mr. Speaker, I ask for waiver of notice and passage without debate.

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

I hear a No.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture.

[Page 728]

RESOLUTION NO. 411

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

Whereas tourism along the Eastern Shore has shown remarkable growth over the past five years with the help of such events as Tourism Day; and

Whereas in recent years there has been a strong effort by government and industry alike to promote off-season tourism along the Eastern Shore; and

Whereas statistics from the Department of Economic Development and Tourism indicate that room sales along the Eastern Shore from March 1997 to March 1998 increased by an incredible 73 per cent;

Therefore be it resolved that this House applaud the significant increase in tourism along the Eastern Shore with this resulting increase in revenue and jobs, and acknowledge the continued commitment of local businesses, organizations, communities, government leaders and Tourism Nova Scotia officials to work together to promote tourism growth.

Mr. Speaker, I would ask for waiver.

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 Antigonish.

RESOLUTION NO. 412

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

Whereas a report commissioned by the NDP in Saskatchewan concluded that acute care services had to be rationalized and consolidated and more money pumped into programs such as home care; and

[Page 729]

Whereas it was stated in the same report that quality health care had nothing to do with bricks and mortar and that a surplus of acute care beds is only an incentive to put people in a hospital at a greater rate; and

Whereas in the May 31, 1998 Saskatchewan Leader Post, it was reported that the Plains Health Centre in rural Saskatchewan will close down all of its 300 beds, making this hospital number 53 to close under the NDP Government;

Therefore be it resolved that the NDP in Nova Scotia clearly state their plans for health care, given the actions of the government they promised they would act like if given the opportunity to govern.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable Minister of Community Services.

RESOLUTION NO. 413

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

Whereas the athletes within the riding of Bedford-Fall River have a tradition of excellence in sport competitions; and

Whereas the Cheema Aquatic Club located in the community of Waverley has a long history of outstanding team and individual champions; and

Whereas at the recent IKON Nova Scotia Amateur Sports Awards, Cheema Aquatic Club head coach, Csom Latorovszki, was named Moosehead Coach of the Year and Karen Furneaux, Female Athlete of the Year;

Therefore be it resolved that this House applaud the outstanding achievement of these two individuals.

Mr. Speaker, I am requesting 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 730]

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Education and Culture.

RESOLUTION NO. 414

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

Whereas last weekend the 66th Annual Annapolis Valley Apple Blossom Festival was the largest and most successful Apple Blossom Festival ever, attracting 125,000 spectators to the Grand Parade, 30,000 spectators to the children's parade, 15,000 spectators for the fireworks and a standing room only crowd for the headline performers, Blue Rodeo, featuring 3,500-some rubber ducks racing for charity in the Gaspereau Canal - one named George that did not win - a train excursion aboard the Evangelise Express, and many other festival events attended by hundreds of spectators; and

Whereas the theme of this year's Apple Blossom Festival was a Valley Salute to the RCMP on their 125th Anniversary and included 125 RCMP officers, in full-dress uniform, marching in the Grand Parade; and

Whereas this spectacular festival was staged with the dedicated work of over 2,500 volunteers under the direction of the Apple Blossom Committee chaired by Mr. Ted Nicholson of New Minas;

Therefore be it resolved that the House of Assembly extend its congratulations to Mr. Ted Nicholson, Constable Gary Smith and the 19 member Apple Blossom Committee for staging a wildly successful community festival and for inaugurating Nova Scotia's festival season with an extraordinary public spectacle.

MR. SPEAKER: That resolution is much too long. I will permit it to be tabled so it will not have to come back again.

The notice is tabled.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Finance.

RESOLUTION NO. 415

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

[Page 731]

Whereas on March 24, 1998, Mr. Reeves Matheson was elected as a New Democrat to represent the people of Cape Breton East; and

Whereas in May of this year, Mr. Matheson resigned from the NDP caucus to sit as an independent member, as he was being investigated by the Nova Scotia Barristers' Society; and

Whereas in May of this year, the Leader of the Opposition admitted that he was aware of the incident prior to the March 24th election;

Therefore be it resolved that the Leader of the Opposition apologize to the people of Cape Breton and to the people of Nova Scotia for failing to disclose the details of this incident prior to the March 24th election.

MR. SPEAKER: I am not too sure about that resolution; I will take a look at it before it is tabled.

The honourable Minister of Economic Development and Tourism.

RESOLUTION NO. 416

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

Whereas exports are a key to creating jobs in Nova Scotia, as every $100,000 of new exports creates one job; and

Whereas since January of this year, trade missions led by the Department of Economic Development and Tourism have resulted in $52 million worth of additional exports; and

Whereas the end result of opening up new markets to Nova Scotia business will create some 500 jobs and $2.5 million in revenue for the province, adding to the numerous success as of this Liberal Government;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House recognize that a Liberal Government means good government and a government committed to job creation.

Mr. Speaker, I ask for waiver. (Laughter)

MR. SPEAKER: I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

[Page 732]

The honourable member for Guysborough-Port Hawkesbury.

RESOLUTION NO. 417

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

Whereas the theme for the Strait-Highlands Regional Development Authority is Poised for Prosperity; and

Whereas the Liberal Government has created a climate which fosters economic growth and investment; and

Whereas new services and retail activity in the Strait area has created over 290 jobs;

Therefore be it resolved that the House congratulate the Strait-Highlands Regional Development Authority and all of the new businesses for their confidence in the continued economic growth in this area of Guysborough-Port Hawkesbury.

Mr. Speaker, I ask for waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

I have read that notice of motion from the Minister of Finance and I will table it.

The honourable member for Cape Breton Nova.

RESOLUTION NO. 418

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

Whereas some suggest that health care concerns are restricted to Nova Scotia, due to some sinister plot or other evil on the part of this Liberal Government, but that if we were in NDP Saskatchewan, all would be well; and

[Page 733]

Whereas after suffering a seizure and concussion last Thursday, Donald Jones had to tour a good portion of southern Saskatchewan in an ambulance in search of a hospital that would admit him, according to the Saskatoon StarPhoenix of May 29th; and

Whereas the Jones family has serious doubts about the quality of health care in NDP socialist Saskatchewan, considering that Donald had to spend seven hours in an ambulance driving around that unfortunate province in search of a hospital that would admit him;

Therefore be it resolved that the socialist NDP, which in Saskatchewan closed down one-third of all hospitals in the province, has no moral right to come here lecturing us as to how a health care delivery system ought to be run.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable Minister of Education has already had two under the . . .

SOME HON. MEMBERS: He has had three.

HON. ROBERT HARRISON: No, no, it sounded like two, Mr. Speaker, but . . .

MR. SPEAKER: No, I have you marked down as two notices of motion under the order of business, Notices of Motion.

MR. HARRISON: No, Mr. Speaker, just one, just the Apple Blossom Festival.

MR. SPEAKER: I will recognize the honourable minister.

The honourable Minister of Education and Culture.

RESOLUTION NO. 419

HON. ROBERT HARRISON: This will be a shorter one, Mr. Speaker.

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

Whereas a playground, built by and for members of the Coldbrook community, opened on June 1st at Coldbrook and District School; and

Whereas this playground was paid for with funds raised in the community and donations from local businesses, designed by volunteers, and built with the voluntary labour of community residents; and

[Page 734]

Whereas at the heart of this effort was the playground committee led by Home and School President, Janice Nunn; fund-raisers, Ellen Grant and Kimberley Monette; planning coordinator, Andrea Stacey; installation coordinators, Tony Greenough and Peter Thomas; and the Coldbrook school principal, Bev Williams;

Therefore be it resolved that the House of Assembly acknowledge the contribution made to present and future children in Coldbrook by those volunteers who constructed and officially opened the Coldbrook playground.

Mr. Speaker, I ask for 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.

Is this the honourable Minister of Health or the honourable Minister of Justice?

HON. JAMES SMITH: MLA for Dartmouth East, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Health.

RESOLUTION NO. 420

[3:15 p.m.]

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

Whereas Lake Banook in Dartmouth will once again be the site of an historic event when it plays host to the Dragon Boat Festival in September; and

Whereas this rich and colourful 2,000 year old tradition will also include a traditional festival opening ceremony and multicultural entertainment; and

Whereas Nova Scotia is no stranger to this event, given that a Canadian team with seven Nova Scotians won the 1996 world championships in Hong Kong;

[Page 735]

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate and extend our sincerest appreciation to Mr. Peter Fardy and his committee for expanding our cultural awareness with an event that will be colourful, unique and will no doubt hopefully draw tourists to Dartmouth.

Mr. Speaker, I ask for waiver of notice.

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

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 Fisheries and Aquaculture.

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

Whereas the Leader of the socialist NDP signed the nomination papers for the honourable member for Cape Breton East; and

Whereas when he signed these papers, the Leader of the socialist NDP was aware of irregularities in the member's behaviour; and

Whereas the Leader of the socialist NDP has implied that going public could have hampered the NDP results in neighbouring ridings;

Therefore be it resolved that this House condemn the action of the Leader of the socialist NDP who, by his totally reprehensible action, lends truth to the assumption that the NDP will seek power no matter at what cost and that the Leader of the Opposition submit his immediate resignation to members of this historic and reputable House of Assembly.

MR. SPEAKER: That notice of motion is out of order.

The honourable Minister of Housing and Municipal Affairs.

[Page 736]

RESOLUTION NO. 421

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

Whereas Marilyn Comeau of Digby County was presented with a provincial recognition award during Education Week, April 20th to April 24th, along with fellow teachers from the Southwest Regional School Board: John Nauss of Yarmouth County, Shirley Vacon of Shelburne County, John Savage of Queens County and Genevieve McCarthy of Lunenburg; and

Whereas all five of these teachers have dedicated many years to improving their respective communities within and outside the school; and

Whereas Mrs. Comeau, a teacher for 18 years at the Weymouth Consolidated School, had supported the arts in the community, orchestrated family events, supervised school functions and coordinated fund-raising efforts among students and other community members;

Therefore be it resolved that this House extend congratulations to Marilyn Comeau, along with the four other teachers who, through their outstanding contributions to their students, schools and communities, were honoured with this recognition.

Mr. Speaker, I seek waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Halifax Bedford Basin.

RESOLUTION NO. 422

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

[Page 737]

Whereas Saskatchewan Technologies Incorporated, the commercialization arm of the University of Saskatchewan, and Alviva Biopharmaceuticals have recently signed a licensing agreement; and

Whereas this agreement will pave the way for jobs and new investment; and

Whereas this agreement is also expected to return millions of dollars of badly needed revenue to the University of Saskatchewan over the next 15 years to 20 years;

Therefore be it resolved that the NDP in Nova Scotia recognize that public-private partnerships, such as this one recently inked in the Province of Saskatchewan, can be a win-win situation for all parties involved.

I ask for waiver of notice and passage without debate, Mr. Speaker.

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

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 Economic Development and Tourism.

RESOLUTION NO. 423

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

Whereas one of only two NDP MLAs in Cape Breton, the member for Cape Breton Centre, praised the election of Michelle Dockrill and Peter Mancini even though they are members of a fifth Party in Ottawa, rendering them useless and ineffective as representatives; and

Whereas in contrast, the previous Members of Parliament, our current Premier and David Dingwall, did much for their constituents including expansion of Government Wharf in Sydney, expansion of Victoria Park, expansion of UCCB, decentralization of Citizenship and Immigration jobs and countless other projects; and

[Page 738]

Whereas Peter Mancini and Michelle Dockrill have provided zero projects, zero jobs and zero leadership for the people of Cape Breton, giving new meaning to the NDP as the "Nothing Doing Party";

Therefore be it resolved that federal NDP representation has proven to be an absolute failure for the people of Nova Scotia as they continue to be a voice among the wilderness of a fifth Party rump in the House of Commons.

Mr. Speaker, I would ask for waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Cape Breton Nova.

RESOLUTION NO. 424

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

Whereas another shortcoming of the socialist NDP is their heavy dependence on out-of-province professional organizers to run their election campaigns for them, who invade Nova Scotia like a swarm of locusts whenever an election is called; and

Whereas (Interruption)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

MR. MACEWAN: They are all for tourism, I hear. (Laughter) Well, that's some tourism.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

MR. MACEWAN: Whereas in many jurisdictions laws exist to forbid (Interruption)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

[Page 739]

MR. MACEWAN: Quiet, please. Whereas in many jurisdictions laws exist to forbid such outside interventions in elections, for example the Canada Elections Act, which makes participation in a Canadian election by persons not Canadian citizens an offence; and

Whereas if the socialist NDP cannot even run an election campaign without entrusting the key tasks to out-of-province people, it could scarcely be entrusted to run a government, which is an infinitely more complicated and challenging task, on its own resources;

Therefore be it resolved that this House note with concern the possibility of a socialist NDP Government unable to run the affairs of Nova Scotia without organizational assistance from outside the province, bringing in so-called experts from other jurisdictions to run the government, thereby denying the people of Nova Scotia the right to their own government.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honorable Minister of Transportation.

RESOLUTION NO. 425

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

Whereas Bill Curry of Lockeport began teaching entrepreneurship as a pilot course for the Department of Education in 1994 at the Lockeport Regional High School; and

Whereas Mr. Curry was just awarded, for the second time, the award of Atlantic Canada's Entrepreneurship Educator of the Year, at the Young Entrepreneurs Going Places Conference held recently in Halifax; and

Whereas Mr. Curry received the award in front of 800 attendees at the Department of Education-sponsored conference, making it possibly one of the largest of its kind in North America;

Therefore be it resolved that this House join in passing our congratulations on to Bill Curry for helping to instil the value of entrepreneurship in Nova Scotia's young people.

Mr. Speaker, I would ask for waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

[Page 740]

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Antigonish.

RESOLUTION NO. 426

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

Whereas during the recent provincial election campaign, the socialist NDP member for Halifax Chebucto participated in an all candidates debate at St. Agnes School; and

Whereas following the statements by each candidate, questions were invited by the audience; and

Whereas in response to one of the questions, the socialist NDP member for Halifax Chebucto agreed that taxes for middle income Nova Scotians would likely increase under an NDP government;

Therefore be it resolved that this House request that the socialist NDP member for Halifax Citadel, the Minister of Finance-in-waiting, reveal to Nova Scotians the true agenda of the socialist NDP.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Richmond.

RESOLUTION NO. 427

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

Whereas the member for Sackville-Cobequid has appointed himself and his Party as the grand defenders of Nova Scotia interest in the Sable Offshore Energy Project, even though the member for Halifax Chebucto made a concerted effort on behalf of a limited interest group to stop any development of Sable gas by the Sable consortium; and

Whereas as a member of the Ecology Action Centre, the member for Halifax Chebucto asserted that there is only 14 years worth of gas available, that any Phase II development was speculative, that the pipeline to Quebec was worth greater consideration and most importantly, that no project to develop the Sable gas field be approved; and

[Page 741]

Whereas the NDP has absolutely no conception of the enormity of the Sable project which indicates it has little or no ability to manage a project that members of their Party clearly oppose;

Therefore be it resolved that once again the NDP is saying one thing publicly, yet clearly has an agenda that Nova Scotians cannot trust, that would mean the end of the Sable Offshore Energy Project and any hope for access to gas by Nova Scotians.(Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Inverness.

RESOLUTION NO. 428

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

Whereas from July 3rd to July 5th, Cheticamp will be hosting the 2nd International Dance Festival; and

Whereas over 170 musicians and dancers will perform traditional dances from all over the world; and

Whereas the festival will also feature Acadian and Cajun culinary fare, as well as traditional French-Canadian arts and crafts;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulates the organizers of this festival and extend best wishes to all performers and participants.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice and passage without debate.

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

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.

[Page 742]

RESOLUTION NO. 429

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

Whereas the Rainbow Haven Opportunities Fund is now beginning its second year; and

Whereas the Rainbow Haven Opportunities Fund helps young Nova Scotians develop leadership, education, recreation and personal development skills; and

Whereas last year the fund whose administration costs are fully absorbed by the Chronicle-Herald, the Mail-Star and the Sunday Herald helped more than 200 young people develop their abilities;

Therefore be it resolved that this House extend congratulations and thanks to all Nova Scotians who contribute donations to the Rainbow Haven Opportunities Fund.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

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.

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

Whereas the member for Halifax Chebucto, NDP Finance Critic and part-time environmentalist, has stated in the media that he could not support any budget introduced by this government; and

Whereas this obviously proves that the Leader of the Opposition never intended to try to make this Assembly work, as he had cynically claimed; and

Whereas the comments of the Halifax Chebucto NDP member is a further demonstration that the NDP have no alternative plan and have no goals beyond power;

[Page 743]

Therefore be it resolved that the member for Halifax Chebucto at least wait until the budget is tabled before he passes judgement on it and this way he could show the NDP to be a mature political Party, rather than the rabble we see before us today.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice and passage without debate.

MR. SPEAKER: That notice is not tabled. The word, rabble, is not a permissible usage in this House.

I would advise all members that next week I am calling a meeting of the Committee on Assembly Matters and I would ask every caucus to talk to their members to develop some kind of a plan for notices of motion. I think today has been a pretty good demonstration of how far it can lead us down the garden path.

It is your Assembly, you make the rules but, however, I am calling a meeting early next week and I would ask members on that committee to speak to their caucuses to come forward with any suggestions they may have with regard to how we should conduct our business under the order of business, Notices of Motion. We will now proceed with the Oral Question Period. We are starting at 3:30 p.m. and will go until 5:00 p.m.

ORDERS OF THE DAY

ORAL QUESTIONS PUT BY MEMBERS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Fairview.

EDUC. - P3: EVALUATION (AUD. GEN.) - STATUS

MS. EILEEN O'CONNELL: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Education. This morning at the Public Accounts Committee meeting, officials from the Auditor General's office confirmed that they have been gathering information on P3 schools and that they are ready and willing to do their evaluation of the concept. Days ago the Premier said he would ask the Minister of Education to write a letter asking the Auditor General's Department to do exactly that and look into the P3 schools. The officials also confirmed that as of this morning this letter has not been sent.

Mr. Speaker, why is the government dragging its feet? Would the Minister of Education tell us why they have not written this letter?

[Page 744]

[3:30 p.m.]

HON. ROBERT HARRISON: We confirmed yesterday in response to a question from the Third Party that we would be writing a letter at week's end. The member opposite is referring to a meeting at Public Accounts this morning where, had she questioned further, the members of the Auditor General's Department would know full well that we exchange any and all information with them on a regular basis. In fact, there is additional information being exchanged as we speak on other leases and, in particular, more information on the Porters Lake lease.

MS. O'CONNELL: Mr. Speaker, I cannot believe my ears. How long does it take to write a letter? Why does it take a week to write a letter and why hasn't it been done by now? I would like to ask the Minister of Education, instead of waiting until the end of the week, will he write that letter today?

MR. HARRISON: Mr. Speaker, part of the response is that the Auditor General is out of the country at present and we intend to meet with him and discuss this matter with him. The letter will be written as we indicated yesterday, by week's end.

MS. O'CONNELL: I want to remind the Minister of Education what the Auditor General said in his report in February 1997. He said the government did not prepare a formal analysis of the advantages of P3 arrangements in comparison to the traditional approach prior to making the decision to enter into P3 arrangements. He says, we recommend the government prepare a detailed analysis.

My question is around that. When it takes his fancy to get around and write this letter, so they can get a move on . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Question, please.

MS. O'CONNELL: . . . will he ask the Auditor General to do what was in that report which is to prepare a detailed analysis of the risks and rewards prior to entering into any further public-private partnership arrangements?

MR. HARRISON: It is clear that the members of the Opposition have no intention of leaving any mind open on this matter. It is quite clear that they would intend to block this no matter how favourable it appeared.

The issue is not what the Auditor General will do in response to the recommendations in his report, it is what we have to do. As I have confirmed on a number of occasions, prior to the signing of each and every lease in this province, a detailed risk analysis and business case is put before the Auditor General before we ever sign a lease in this province.

[Page 745]

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

GOV'T. (CAN.) - GEN. ELECTION (CAN.) (02/06/97):

MPs (N.S.) NON-LIBERAL - CONSEQUENCES

DR. JOHN HAMM: I have a question for the Premier. Yesterday in his Reply to the Speech from the Throne the member for Cape Breton Nova made reference to the fact that the Premier came to office in times of great difficulty. Then he went on to say that he felt that that terrible difficulty has been created by the absence of elected representatives from this province in the federal government since June 2, 1997. I thought that was rather an astounding kind of statement.

My question to the Premier is simply this. Does the Premier agree with his colleague for Cape Breton Nova that Nova Scotia is being punished for exercising its democratic right not to vote Liberal? Yes or no, Mr. Premier.

HON. RUSSELL MACLELLAN, Q.C. (The Premier): The federal government is weighing the concerns of Nova Scotians as they always have. They are looking at the needs and mention was made earlier on the airport. I have spoken to Minister Collenette on that question and it is of grave concern to the government, as it is to all Nova Scotians, that things are not moving more quickly. The federal government is working on it. I think the fact, frankly, that we are able to speak to the federal government and I am able to talk to some of the people with whom I have worked is certainly an advantage for me.

DR. HAMM: I will continue with the Premier. The Premier did not really address the question. There has been a distinct failure of the federal government to appreciate the problems of Atlantic Canada. Their recent budget fails to recognize the realities of health care provision in Nova Scotia, the provision of education, fails to recognize the Port of Halifax, the airport, road agreements, development agreements and so on. I would ask the Premier, has he been able to prevail upon his colleagues in a very real way, and will he itemize the steps that he has taken to put Nova Scotia back on the front burner up in Ottawa? The Premier has an excellent opportunity, I would feel, being a previous colleague of many of those who still serve the federal government . . .

MR. SPEAKER: I would ask the honourable member to put his question.

DR. HAMM: . . . will the Premier indicate what steps he is taking to put Nova Scotia back on the front burner in Ottawa?

THE PREMIER: I am certainly prepared to give the honourable Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party an indication of what I have done on a particular subject, but that is a very general question. I will assume that his one area of concern would be on the

[Page 746]

budget, where he talked about education being front and centre, not the airport, and not health care.

As the Minister of Finance stated, this was an education budget to deal with concerns in education, which I welcome, which I think will have tremendous benefits for the Province of Nova Scotia. I have talked to the Minister of Health and I have said to him, quite frankly, that I hope next year it will be a health care budget.

DR. HAMM: The Premier said he would provide some information, and I wonder if the Premier then, in terms of providing a responsible position by Ottawa for providing health care delivery in our province and every other province - I had written to the Premier well over a month ago, a month and a half ago, to see if he was going to respond to Premier Pat Binns' request that Premier Romanow would confer with the Premiers and the territorial Leaders and seek more health care funding for provinces - will the Premier stand up and tell what initiatives he took, knowing full well that representatives from other provinces wanted to challenge the federal budget?

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. Place the question.

DR. HAMM: What did the Premier do to get more funding for health care here in Nova Scotia?

THE PREMIER: I am aware of the letter that the honourable Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party sent to me, and the request of Premier Binns, but last December when we had a First Ministers' Meeting in Ottawa, it was the unanimous feeling of all 10 Premiers and 2 territorial Leaders that Ottawa do more in health care, particularly acute health care. This was made known to the Prime Minister, who was in the room meeting with us, and to the federal Minister of Health. There is no question, all of the Premiers in Canada are concerned about funding for acute health care; we all made the same request to the federal government at that meeting, in conjunction with the two territorial Leaders.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Opposition.

HEALTH: MS DRUG - GOVERNMENT APPROVAL

MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, my question through you is to the Minister of Health. Increasingly throughout this country in the past year, provinces have been, jurisdictions have been approving a breakthrough drug for the treatment of multiple sclerosis, including Betaseron, Copaxone and Rebif. These medications are for people with relapsing - remitting - MS. The Province of Nova Scotia has yet to make any move on that particular medication even though the Premier, when he was running for the Leader of the Liberal Party in the summer, made a commitment for speedy action on this regard. I would like to ask the

[Page 747]

Minister of Health, given the obvious benefits of such medication, why has the minister and his government not yet approved this drug?

HON. JAMES SMITH: I thank the honourable member for this question. This is a very important issue. I have had a couple of committees, Atlantic committees and also within our department, that have evaluated this particular medication and had initially advised against coverage. In spite of that, we, and myself as minister, continue to pursue this issue with Dr. Jock Murray and I have met with him on several occasions and we are looking at a program that would come forward that would involve assessment. It does involve some extra staffing in certain areas, but a program that would be comprehensive and meet the needs of all of those with multiple sclerosis, that the assessment would find eligible. We are looking at that and I think, in the near future, we will be able to see some movement on that.

MR. CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, today we spoke with two young women, one who had received the treatments while she was on a private medical plan as a university student. She is no longer a university student and, therefore, can't get them. She has gone from a wheelchair, basically a bed, to moving around and operating at a normal level. She, by the way, is leaving for Ontario, where the drug is covered, because she cannot afford to not have that drug and she can't afford it here. Another woman who is on a disability pension and cannot afford the drug, it is estimated to cost between $15,000 and $17,000 annually.

I would like to ask the minister, Mr. Speaker, given the obvious impact that this drug has on people with MS, given the fact that it will reduce long-term costs in health care, will the minister explain why he will not move immediately to ensure that this drug is covered under MSI?

DR. SMITH: Mr. Speaker, again, these points are very valid and they are well placed. I want to respond that it is not just a question of covering one drug, to start with, initially. There are many drugs, medications coming, not only for this particular disease but other illnesses, that are very special. The honourable member has mentioned private plans. I think this is very important. Some private plans cover and other people get disenfranchised sometimes when they move off those programs. I think he has pointed out a dilemma that faces many people.

Mr. Speaker, in summary I will say that it is more than just covering one drug, it is setting up a program that will address not only this medication, but other medications and also medications for other illnesses as well. I think we will see something in a very short period of time.

MR. CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, this is clearly a quality of life issue, in fact, a life and death issue for many Nova Scotians. It is estimated that approximately 100 Nova Scotians are affected. The Provinces of British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec have moved to cover Betaseron. I believe that there is absolutely no excuse for this

[Page 748]

government withholding a decision on ensuring that that particular medication is covered under MSI.

I would like to ask the minister, please, to explain why it is that this government is making these people suffer when the treatment is obviously available and when it is just a question of making sure that they have that priority in mind when they make their decisions on where the money is being spent?

DR. SMITH: Mr. Speaker, in this province, we have a very good level of care directed by Dr. Jock Murray, within the multiple sclerosis clinics. They have been working with medications and other support services. All provinces have not opened the door, so to speak, widely. I think, perhaps, some have brought it in from political pressure. We have resisted that. This is a very important issue. It is a very serious illness. It is a long-term illness that often involves young people with a highly productive life.

We are looking at a program. The program will be comprehensive. It will be medically correct and it will be fair and it will have a social component to it, as well. So it is more than just covering one drug, Mr. Speaker, it is introducing a program. We are committed to do that and I think you will see some movement on this within a very short period of time.

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

NAT. RES. - NAT. GAS: LATERALS - GUARANTEE (GOV'T. [N.S.])

MR. BROOKE TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, I would like to direct my question to the Premier. This government and this Premier have a pathetic record when it comes to obtaining financial agreements and financial arrangements, funding, from the Chretian Liberals in Ottawa. This province has no program such as a Strategic Highway Improvement Program. There is no cooperative programs for our resource-based industries. The Port of Halifax and the Halifax International Airport have been given short shrift by the federal government in Ottawa. There has been no shrimp allocation for Nova Scotia, no quota at all.

My question to the Premier is this, Mr. Premier, you are quoted as saying that Nova Scotians will have access to our natural gas from one end of this province to the other and you further proclaim that Ottawa will fund the necessary lateral infrastructure. Mr. Premier, I simply ask what guarantees can you give Nova Scotians to back up such a claim?

[3:45 p.m.]

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, first of all, I want to say to the honourable member that he says that Ottawa does not contribute to Nova Scotia. I would say that his memory is very short because just last week the federal government and the Province of Nova Scotia cooperated on a $62 million program for the purchasing of computers for Nova Scotia to aid

[Page 749]

universities. (Applause) I think his comments regarding the federal government are very unfair and I think he owes them an apology.

With respect to laterals, Mr. Speaker, first of all, we have to see what laterals are going to be needed and when we know what laterals are going to be needed, then we can make final arrangements with the federal government for funding.

MR. TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, it is just like everything else. This government kisses Ottawa while it kicks us. Will the Premier, in the absence of any guarantees and commitments from Ottawa to fund the necessary lateral infrastructure, admit that in fact he has no such commitment from Ottawa?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I have spoken to the Prime Minister and the Minister of Natural Resources in Ottawa on this very subject. The Prime Minister admitted to me that while he was Minister of Energy in his former incarnation that he, in fact, gave federal funding for laterals for provinces in this country.

MR. TAYLOR: Yes, Speaker, in the absence of a plan, and this government clearly has no plan to provide for the funding for the lateral infrastructure that must go so Nova Scotians can have access to their resource. It is their resource. It is not that government's resource. The Premier admitted that he has no commitment from Ottawa. His federal cousins, the Chretien Liberals in Ottawa, have not made any commitment. Yet the gas is supposed to come ashore in November of next year. My question is simply this. Mr. Premier, if you have no funding commitment from Ottawa, where will the funding come from?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, we will be bringing forward our regulations with respect to the distribution of natural gas. The hearings will take place on the applications for the distribution of natural gas. Once we know where natural gas is going and who wants natural gas, we will be in a position then to bring forward a financial package for the funding of those laterals.

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

ENVIRON. - SYDNEY TAR PONDS:

POLLUTANTS - UNDERESTIMATED

MS. HELEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of the Environment. Recognizing that the Minister of the Environment indicated that this is Environmental Week and that we have heard some good news around recycling from this minister today, but not all news around the environment is good news.

Recently a study conducted by the CANMET Energy Technology Centre in conjunction with Jacques Whitford Environment Limited stated that the hazardous waste that is oozing

[Page 750]

from the Sydney tar ponds is up to 100 times worse than previously thought and instead of 100 tons per year escaping from the site into the surrounding environment and the Sydney Harbour, there are now, we are told, up to 10,000 tons seeping.

Now, this information, of course, is confirming some of Cape Bretoners worst fears and I guess my question, Mr. Speaker, is why did it take this government so long to find out that the amount of pollutants going into the Sydney Harbour has been so grossly underestimated?

HON. DONALD DOWNE: Mr. Speaker, as the member opposite realizes, that this is really under the auspices of the Minister of Transportation and Public Works. I was involved with that portfolio some time ago but suffice it to say that the issue here is a very serious one. I see some members laughing. I find it a very serious issue, one that we have been working very closely with our federal colleagues, ministers responsible in Ottawa for one of the largest industrial waste sites in all of North America, right here in Nova Scotia and it is totally unacceptable.

I want to say to the member opposite and to members of the House that the Minister of Labour has been notified of this situation, in fact has instructed his staff to secure the areas where any pollutants are being discharged so that the security of the people is in place. I know the Minister of DoTPW is fully aware of what they are doing in regard to the department and we, at the Department of the Environment, are also in the monitoring process in making sure that the integrity of the community and the integrity of the site is protected.

MS. HELEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, when an issue this serious about the environment can be passed off to Transportation and Public Works or Labour, then I would have to express great concern about that. Already this government has spent $53 million and some 10 years later on the tar ponds, what do we have to show for it? We have a fence and a sign that says, danger, human health hazard and an incinerator that was constructed to burn waste that is idle because it cannot burn waste. What I would like to know is why weren't studies done initially as had been requested so at least the contaminants could have been contained?

MR. DOWNE: Mr. Speaker, the member opposite is a little new here and doesn't understand but clearly the responsibility of the clean-up is with the Department of Transportation and Public Works.

MR. SPEAKER: Do you want to transfer the question?

MR. DOWNE: Just so the member opposite doesn't come out with the comment, I believe that the Minister of Transportation and Public Works is responsible for that under the Public Works side of the clean-up.

[Page 751]

HON. CLIFFORD HUSKILSON: Mr. Speaker, we have been working very closely with JAG, the Joint Action Group, and with other partners on this. We continue to work with these partners, for example, with the federal government and also the Cape Breton Regional Municipality. It is a community effort where we are all working together on this to try to get this resolved as soon as possible.

MS. HELEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I guess I will direct this part of my question to the Minister of Transportation and Public Works. We are all aware of what has been happening with the JAG process. I don't think it is any secret these days that the community involvement in the JAG process feel that they are definitely not being listened to and have great concerns about that. What I guess I want to know then from the Minister of Transportation and Public Works is, does this government have a plan, does it have any idea of what it is going to do about these 10,000 tons of toxic waste that is seeping into the harbour, affecting our fishing industry, affecting our health in Cape Breton?

MR. HUSKILSON: Mr. Speaker, I just want to say again, yes, we are working with JAG and we support JAG and we will continue to work with JAG to solve this problem.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Lunenburg.

JUSTICE - CROWN PROSECUTORS: WALKOUT - DISCIPLINE

MR. MICHAEL BAKER: Mr. Speaker, my question is addressed to the Minister of Justice. This government has sat on the Ghiz-Archibald report for four and one-half years. When a strike became imminent with the Crown Prosecutors, the government did nothing. Is this minister going to make a scapegoat out of hard-working Crown Attorneys by disciplining them for taking job action when they had no choice but to do that to get the attention of this government?

HON. JAMES SMITH: Mr. Speaker, this government, and this Department of Justice, has been very active responding to the Ghiz-Archibald Report. The last several months, particularly, as an example, in the last six months, there have been major improvements with building a database with a computer system and accessing the Internet, including Quick Law. Contrary to some of the reports that we have read in the media that were placed there by the Crown Attorneys, a lot of the workplaces, the relocation of offices and other matters, have been dealt with. Many of the recommendations of the Ghiz-Archibald report have been enacted and are currently up and working. We have seen results of that and there will be now results soon.

On the discipline issue, the discipline issue is a matter of the Acting Director of Public Prosecutions and I will be watching as to what he will do. We will communicate and he will keep me informed.

[Page 752]

MR. BAKER: Mr. Speaker, the minister knows that he is responsible for the Department of Justice, not the Director of Public Prosecutions.

My second question for the minister. He is fond of the press and the press has reported that 19 dismissals and 49 adjournments were obtained during the time of the strike. Does the minister have an explanation as to why, with all the notice that his department had of the job action, the department's hired lawyers were driving around southern Nova Scotia on Friday evening picking up the files that they were supposed to be in court with on Monday morning?

DR. SMITH: The strike is a disruption; there is no question. The honourable member has pointed that out. Strikes are very severe and very serious disruptions, particularly in the areas of public safety and within the justice system, which is very important.

There is no question that some of the files, the access to those files is limited by virtue of the nature of the work and whether in fact there was going to be a strike or not. There was a plan in place. I think it worked as well as it could, but to say that the procedures and processes will go as usual is just not possible under those circumstances. That is why it is so important that we have been moving, and we have done a lot in the last few months, particularly on the issues within the Ghiz-Archibald report and other matters relative to the functioning of the Crown Attorneys.

MR. BAKER: Mr. Speaker, I am astounded. The minister has just suggested that the Crown agents that were appointed to represent the Crown in court on Monday and Tuesday of this week were not responsible enough to see the files. Frankly, I suggest to him that the minister does not know what is going on in his department.

My final question for the minister. Will the minister commit to immediately implement collective bargaining for Crown Attorneys before we have another strike in this province, or at least have the courage to call the bill that has been introduced in the House to a vote and we will see it resolved immediately?

DR. SMITH: Mr. Speaker, it was the second supplementary, but there were three questions there; I will try to address at least one of them. I repeat again in this House that we have not closed the door on collective bargaining. We have welcomed a process to be set in motion between our department and the Acting Director of Public Prosecutions and the Crown Attorneys, that we will work together to come to an arrangement where we can work and meet the needs of Nova Scotians within the justice system and particularly in areas of public and personal safety.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Pictou West.

[Page 753]

HEALTH - SUTHERLAND-HARRIS MEMORIAL HOSP. (PICTOU):

AMBULANCE - AVAILABILITY

MR. CHARLES PARKER: I want to address my question to the Minister of Health. Over the weekend I was talking to Dr. Gordon Young. Dr. Young is a fine doctor in the Sutherland-Harris Memorial Hospital in Pictou and he had a problem on the weekend. He had a patient who had some chest pains and he felt it was an emergency. As you know, the Pictou hospital has been cut back considerably. It does not have the emergency services that it used to have, so he called for an ambulance and he had some trouble getting an ambulance. There is one apparently available in Pictou, but it couldn't come because it does not do in-hospital transfers. There was one available in New Glasgow, but it could not come because they might need it for an emergency.

He could not seem to get an ambulance and finally, after 35 minutes, an ambulance showed up. It is not looking after the needs of an emergency patient. The people of Pictou West are feeling they are not getting . . .

MR. SPEAKER: What is the question?

MR. PARKER: . . . first-rate emergency care.

My question for the minister is what steps would the minister be willing to take to alleviate this dangerous and potentially fatal situation from happening again?

HON. JAMES SMITH: Mr. Speaker, those matters are very important and they are treated very seriously. I would suggest any instances that the operation of the emergency health services did not proceed smoothly that our office would like to hear and we will respond to see what happened. But without knowing the details of the case, I would not be prepared to comment further.

[4:00 p.m.]

We have, Mr. Speaker, a world-class, state-of-the-art fleet of ambulances in this province that get to where they are going and they are saving lives; 100 of those are actually equipped with defibrillators and we have documented - and with medical confirmation of this - that perhaps in the last year there have been at least 20 lives saved by those 100 defibrillators being available in ambulances in Nova Scotia. It is up and it is working and it is saving lives of Nova Scotians.

MR. PARKER: Mr. Speaker, I guess in the past when Dr. Young had a problem or anybody in Pictou West they could go to their local hospital administrator but as of March 31st, he is gone under health care reform. I suppose Dr. Young could have went to the local ambulance company but we no longer have any local ambulance company for him to talk to,

[Page 754]

and he could have gone to the health board or hospital board members in the past but now there are no local hospital board members. So under regionalization the only choice he had was to go to a distant town to try to get some answers.

My question then for the minister is, will the minister legislate elected community health boards so that people can bring their local concerns to local decision makers?

DR. SMITH: Mr. Speaker, we are looking at the whole issue of regional health boards and how they are functioning and how they can be coordinated in a system of a function that is comprehensive and integrated. So I think the point that the honourable member is making about community health boards is very important. We do intend to legitimize them, formalize their arrangement and I think that will all depend on how the regional health boards and the community health boards work within the system of the tertiary care hospitals within this province.

As far as Dr. Young, he mentioned another query, certainly if would call the Department of Health, I am sure there would be a response at any hour.

MR. PARKER: Mr. Speaker, I guess my final question I want to ask the minister, in an emergency lives are in jeopardy and it is certainly important that you get definitive care just as soon as possible. My question is, will the honourable minister assure this House that in an emergency the closest ambulance will be dispatched or he will bring the local hospital up to adequate care for emergency that they can look after the needs of their patients?

DR. SMITH: We have moved to a regional system that have made some changes in certain areas, not as much as some other provinces have done. I have a list here of Saskatchewan of the closure of 52 and now we hear of 53. (Interruptions) Some of us may notice places like Swan Lake, Saskatchewan. I have a list, I can table that list, Mr. Speaker, if anyone wants to know that. That's is what you call changing a system . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

DR. SMITH: So while the people of Pictou County have an excellent regional hospital there is no question, Mr. Speaker, that any disruption of function is treated . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. Your answer is getting a little long.

DR. SMITH: . . . very seriously but the ambulance service dispatch . . .

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Needham.

[Page 755]

HEALTH: COMPLAINTS - TOLL FREE LINE

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, my question is through you to the Minister of Health as well. Recently, this government announced a toll free phone line so that Nova Scotians could report potholes and other problems with roads across our province. The question for the Minister of Health is, when Nova Scotians can't get an ambulance, a hospital bed or a long-term bed, who are they going to call, the toll free pothole hotline?

HON. JAMES SMITH: Mr. Speaker, I am not going to trivialize what is a very serious matter and I will not honour that with any kind of an answer.

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, this is a very serious matter and a very serious question. Wouldn't the minister agree that there is as much a need for a hotline or a body like the Provincial Health Council where Nova Scotians can lodge their concerns and experiences with a dysfunctional health care system as there is the need for a hot line for potholes?

DR. SMITH: Mr. Speaker, the issue of access to our health care system and health care systems across this country is a major issue. Primary care is an issue and that is why we are looking at this very carefully and working with the federal government on new initiatives to help access the system.

There are many entrances to the health care system. There are many phone lines, there is Poison Control, there are emergency departments in hospitals. I would be very surprised if there wouldn't be somebody on the end of those lines who would be very sympathetic and working hard as dedicated people within this system. It is not a dysfunctional system, it is working very well in spite of all the fear-mongering of that New Democratic Party across the floor.

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, my final question is for the Minister of Health. I am not sure that we want federal government initiatives in health care. We have had a series of federal government initiatives in this province in health care and they have darned near destroyed the system. So I am not sure it is the federal government we need to be looking to right now. With respect to the lines that are already in place, I am not sure I would call a Poison Control line for an ambulance. My question is, wouldn't the minister and the government like to know where the problems are in the health care system as a first step in fixing the system? Wouldn't he agree that we need some vehicle for people to voice their concerns, to ensure their participation so these very serious matters are dealt with?

DR. SMITH: Mr. Speaker, we have over 400 to 600 volunteers connected with community health boards and regional health boards. There is more participation in the health care system from the volunteer sector than ever before, through hospital auxiliaries and many other ways. There are lots of opportunities and there has been consultation. Now is the time

[Page 756]

to put the system together and that is what we are working toward. With some cooperation, with those who are hopefully more reasonable than that Party, then we will be able to accomplish something in this province.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings West.

HEALTH - QE II HEALTH SC. CENTRE: DEFICIT - AMOUNT

MR. GEORGE MOODY: Mr. Speaker, my question through you is for the Minister of Health. In 1994, the Minister of Health of the day announced the amalgamation of the Halifax Infirmary, the VG Hospital, the Rehab and the Cancer Treatment Centre. I believe the announcement was made so that he could meet the Queen, but there was no planning in amalgamating those four institutions until after the announcement of the amalgamation took place. As the minister knows in all previous years when they were separate institutions, they did not run a deficit. The VG Hospital was owned by the province and there was no deficit from year to year. It was carried over but paid off and put on the books of the province. I would ask the minister if he could tell this House today the deficit that the QE II is now carrying, as of today?

HON. JAMES SMITH: Mr. Speaker, I know approximately but I don't want to get into numbers here on this particular issue. There are some initiatives that are undertaken. To say that those institutions were not running debt, that is just unreasonable. When I came to this House, there was one year that they found $250,000 worth of drugs missing from the VG Hospital. There was a lack of accountability. Things are now being put into a system of accountability and with management structures that are working and we will see the benefits of this type of an organization. However, I would point out that it was those people across the other side that actually built the new Halifax Infirmary, whether that was the right move or not you could debate that.

MR. MOODY: Mr. Speaker, we have a Minister of Health who does not know the deficit of the QE II. Approximately he thinks he knows, well I can't imagine. I can tell that minister that I never questioned the professionals that ran those institutions and still don't question those professionals that work hard there. We have a minister who does not know the deficit, that is not on the books of this province. I understand it is over $80 million and growing, by the way.

I would ask the minister, since 1994, consultants have been hired from the United States to come in and look at efficiency at the QE II. Those consultants, to my knowledge, were sole-sourced and not tendered. I would ask the minister how much money, thus far, has been spent on those consultants coming weekly to the QE II from the United States to tell us how to spend our money?

[Page 757]

DR. SMITH: Mr. Speaker, if he could repeat the last part of the question. I know the consultations that he is speaking of. Could he phrase the question again? I missed it?

MR. MOODY: The question was, these people came from the United States and were to be paid out of the savings. Since there were no savings, I would ask the minister how much money have the consultants from the United States cost the taxpayers of this province since the QE II has been up and running?

DR. SMITH: Mr. Speaker, I can have an approximate guess. I think that there are issues there that are multiple and through the reporting system, that will become known. For me to put a figure on that at this juncture, until the full costs are known, I think would be inappropriate. It was considerable. Our department worked with the QE II on that. We brought things to a close on some of those initiatives because there were some recommendations involved that were not conducive to the way that we wanted to move within the health care system.

The member is right, that there have been changes in that and we were not prepared to accept the recommendations of the consultation.

MR. MOODY: Mr. Speaker, I find it strange that an Opposition member knows what the deficit is of the QE II and the Opposition member knows that about $14 million has been spent on consultants over that period of time. I find it strange that I would know those numbers and the minister doesn't know them.

I would ask the minister, since we have had cuts on all kinds of nurses, staff at the QE II had been cut and we are short of beds and all of those things, we were able to go to the United States and spend $14 million. I heard the Premier say, at one point, that the management was running the hospital, now I hear the minister say that he is involved in hiring the consultants. I would ask the minister, who is running the QE II, his staff or the management at the QE II? Who is actually running the hospital?

DR. SMITH: Mr. Speaker, I did not say that I was hiring consultants. We were meeting with them on those matters and we were looking for concerns and ways that we could support the programs within the QE II hospital. They have a management structure. They have excellent staff. They have excellent leadership from their board and the chair of the board. There is no question that it is working and we are seeing good patient care. (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

DR. SMITH: They have no control on the numbers of people that come there.

[Page 758]

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

HEALTH: COBEQUID MULTI-SERVICE CTR. - PROBLEMS ADDRESS

MR. JOHN HOLM: Mr. Speaker, I would like to address a question, through you, to the Minister of Health. The minister will be very familiar with the Cobequid Multi-Service Centre, a centre that I am sure we are all very proud of as a community-based health care centre, one that has been studied, not only by people across Canada, but also from around the world. The Cobequid Multi-Service Centre has been seeing, over the past couple of years, a 10 per cent increase in the number of patients who are visiting the emergency department, in large part because they can't find doctors. It has seen a 22 per cent increase in the number of those who are going for lab work because, in large part, cuts in other hospitals like the QE II and others have meant that those services are not available so their doctors are sending them there.

MR. SPEAKER: Question.

MR. HOLM: My question to the minister is quite simply this. Given the fact that the problems that are being experienced at the Cobequid Multi-Service Centre are resulting in a tremendous loss of service to the people of the area, when is the government going to get on and address the problems of its own creation?

HON. JAMES SMITH: Mr. Speaker, the service centre in the Cobequid area is a very important community initiative. Some people feel that that area should have had a hospital, perhaps, instead of building more downtown in the more urban setting. But we have been working with the regional health board on this particular initiative. There are areas, particularly in the Windsor community, in the Dartmouth community and the Cobequid area and these are very actively being pursued. It is a priority issue and we are working on that and you will see initiatives there.

MR. HOLM: Mr. Speaker, during the election, the minister will know that the chairman of the regional health board, Mr. Fred French, a well-known Liberal, made an announcement planning to upgrade equipment and the emergency department and that that planning would begin immediately. Well, the minister will know, as Mr. French will know, that that planning had been done a long time ago by the Foundation of the Cobequid Multi-Service Centre and, in fact, they had not only done planning they also had started fund-raising.

[4:15 p.m.]

Now, Mr. Speaker, I know that the announcement wouldn't have been politically motivated so I want to ask the minister, when will the work that has been identified as being needed actually begin? We aren't interested in delays, we know what is needed, the minister knows. When will work begin?

[Page 759]

DR. SMITH: Mr. Speaker, that takes coordination between the regional health board, the Central Regional Health Board, and those other persons involved. I am not prepared to make a commitment today as to when actual work will be done but it will be done. It is a very important service, it is comprehensive and there needs to be a lot of support services put in. We are working on that. We did not use the last election as a time to make great announcements. We went to work thoroughly and quietly with people and that is the way we are doing it.

MR. HOLM: Well, it is a very important service, Mr. Speaker, there is no question about that. There is no hospital to serve the area. The minister said there has to be a coordinated approach. Well, there is so much coordination involved that members of the community health board who work on that were not even advised when this announcement was going to be made.

Mr. Speaker, the government has had years to make their announcement to solve the problems of their making. So my question to the minister, he can't keep hiding behind the regional health board; he is, after all, the Minister of Health. So can he tell us, is he allocating monies? Is he prepared to allocate the resources, to put back into the centre that which your government had stripped away from it and which is creating the problems, very serious health concerns for the residents served by that area?

DR. SMITH: Mr. Speaker, the honourable member is correct, that eventually, regardless of health boards, community health boards, the department, it is the Minister of Health who is responsible and I accept that. We are working with, particularly in the central region that he is involved with more directly and, as I mentioned, the Windsor community, the Dartmouth community and the Cobequid Multi-Service Centre. We are working actively with those groups. We are providing within a reasonable time-frame and it takes some time to put some of these together but the needs will be met in those facilities; not only in those facilities, Mr. Speaker, but within the community programs as well.

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

HEALTH: QE II HEALTH SC. CENTRE - CEO

DR. HINRICH BITTER-SUERMANN: Mr. Speaker, my question is through you to the Premier. The reason why it is to the Premier is that the Minister of Health refuses today to answer questions regarding the QE II and I work at the QE II. Mr. Premier, Mr. Schurman was fired as CEO on May 5th and you were on the radio on Friday, May 8th, assuring Nova Scotians that Mr. Keating was running an independent QE II. Mr. Keating reassured the same radio audience that he took direct and frequent phone calls from downtown Halifax. Now I wonder where that was?

[Page 760]

Could you, Mr. Premier, please assure me, at this moment in the absence of a CEO, who runs the QE II?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I want to refer that question to the Minister of Health.

HON. JAMES SMITH: Mr. Speaker, the people I have been meeting with at the QE II are the Chairman of the Board, Mr. Charles Keating, and Dr. Keith Hamilton who I am sure is known to the honourable member.

DR. BITTER-SUERMANN: This is in direct conflict to what Mr. Keating has told the people of Nova Scotia. Now, Mr. Keating in his newsletter of May 25th reassures the QE II employees, before we go anywhere, we must study the map to show us the way. In the same newspaper he says he wants to hire nurses to come back to Nova Scotia. Five OR nurses the same day were fired by Mr. Keating and were offered re-hiring. Would the Minister of Health please explain to me how a man who has no background in health care, who is insensitive enough to advertise for casual nurses, fires full-time nurses and offers them re-hirement?

AN HON. MEMBER: Is that document tabled, Mr. Speaker?

MR. SPEAKER: Yes, the document should be tabled. I would ask the honourable member to please take his seat.

DR. SMITH: Mr. Speaker, Mr. Charles Keating is not here today to defend himself and I would ask the honourable member to please rethink what he has said in light of Mr. Keating's experience, both as a businessperson, which many physicians often are not very good at that, but his involvement in the health care system is well known within this community. He is a very sincere and a very caring person. He is very committed to the job that he has agreed to do. He will see that job through. He is very interested in all people that work within that institution, not just the doctors, but everyone in that institution. He will do a good job.

DR. BITTER-SUERMANN: Mr. Speaker, my final question is again to the Minister of Health who mentioned today that we are fear-mongering. I find that is one of the most outrageous statements, disqualifying the people that have suffered from health care collapse in Nova Scotia. (Applause) I wish the Minister of Health to apologize to all those old people who get frightened when they get pneumonia because they know they cannot get admitted to any hospital. That is in rural Nova Scotia. You live in an ivory tower. You do not know what is going on in the back woods.

MR. SPEAKER: Was there a question?

[Page 761]

DR. BITTER-SUERMANN: Yes, my question was whether the Minister of Health would please apologize to the people that have suffered from health care collapse in Nova Scotia?

DR. SMITH: Mr. Speaker, the people have suffered from mismanagement of a province that has taken several years to put back together again. We are making progress. The financial health of the province is very important. We know that some of the major determinants of health are related to socio-economic and other issues. That is very important and that is what we are doing. The health system is not dysfunctional. It is not broken. It is not in crisis. (Interruption)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

The honourable Leader of the Opposition.

HEALTH - PHYSICIANS: PAYMENTS - IMPROVE

MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, I would like to direct my question through you to the Minister of Health. For several years in this province, in fact going back at least to the Royal Commission on Health Care, the Blueprint Committee, and since the Department of Health and others in the health community of this province talked about the need to find a better way of paying doctors, an alternate way at least to the fee-for-service system. Yet we see almost daily examples of doctors, specialists and GPs, issuing warnings about giving up their practice and leaving their province because of the limitations of the fee-for-service method of payment. I would ask the minister if he would explain why it is that the government is not taking action on this question of remuneration for physicians in the Province of Nova Scotia?

HON. JAMES SMITH: Mr. Speaker, there are more physicians on salary now than there have been for a long time. We are actively working with alternate funding. I think the model, for instance, proposed by the College of Family Physicians of Canada is one that we would look at, which is a mixture between fee for service and alternate funding. We are working at the IWK-Grace and various areas like that and we will be moving into the regions to look at paediatrician and obstetrician care as alternate funding. So we are not opposed and we are not committed to the fee-for-service structure of payment for physician. We are actively involved in pursuing this with the medical community.

MR. CHISHOLM: I don't know where it is that the Minister of Health spends his time. He stands up and says we're doing all these things about alternative payment schemes. Yet, for example, if you listen to the people from the Department of Medicine at the QE II, they have been negotiating for six months on an alternative funding proposal to prevent further exodus of specialists from the Province of Nova Scotia. Why is it that the government has failed to find a solution to those problems?

[Page 762]

DR. SMITH: We have been actively involved with the Department of Internal Medicine at the QE II particularly. There are some issues there, there has been an offer of over $1 million made to that group. I'm not sure their full membership, those physicians involved quite understand the implications of this. We have some real concerns on the entry level of the internal medicine specialists, and we want to see a more equal treatment of people than some of the proposals that have come forward. So, there are some issues there. I would suggest to the honourable member, I don't know where you have been, but I know that I have been attending to these matters and I am quite familiar with that particular issue. (Applause)

MR. CHISHOLM: I've been listening to this government now for five years talk about how they are going to deal with the problem of the provision of physician services in all parts of Nova Scotia, and yet that's all I continue to hear is a lot of language, a lot of words, a lot of rhetoric and no action. We just had a letter today with respect to a paediatrician in New Glasgow. Once again, the government talks about recruitment, but here we have situations where specialists are leaving rural Nova Scotia because there is an insufficient method of payment for physician services in these particular communities.

I want to ask the Minister of Health, what is he going to do to ensure that New Glasgow does not lose paediatrician services as a result of the inadequacies of the fee-for- service method of payment?

DR. SMITH: As I alluded to earlier, we are actively working and near completion to an agreement of alternate funding for paediatricians particularly at the IWK Grace. By this fall, we will have in place, a regional system, addressing areas like New Glasgow, Antigonish and other communities, Yarmouth, and those types of communities. I'm committed to that. Not only would we have one paediatrician funded through the program, but two, to at least give some coverage in those particular communities. We are very actively pursuing that and there is progress being made.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings West.

HEALTH - CARE: SYSTEM - FIX (PREMIER 04/03/98)

MR. GEORGE MOODY: My question, through you, Mr. Speaker, is for the Premier. I listened to the Premier during the election campaign, and actually had great faith in what the Premier was saying on March 4th. I think he really understood after travelling this province from one end to the other. Most of us campaigned in our local area, but the Premier went from one end of the province to the other, talked to many people. On March 4th, he said and I believed him to say it seriously, think he meant it, and matter of fact I agreed with him, he said, we're going to put more money into health care, the system is broken and it needs to be fixed, and I'm going to dedicate myself and my government to just doing that. I would ask the Premier if he still agrees with that statement he made on March 4, 1998?

[Page 763]

THE PREMIER: I think in Nova Scotia, we have a very good health care system. I don't say that it is perfect, I don't say that there are things that don't need to be done. There are things that need to be done, and we're aware of that. That's why I made that statement on March 4th outlining some of the things I felt needed to be done and where they needed to be done, and we will follow through with that.(Applause)

MR. MOODY: The Premier's backtracking just a little. I'm sure he was after votes on March 4th. Now, he's in reality, he's now the Premier of this province. I would ask the Premier, and I believe he made that statement on March 4th in all sincerity. I would ask the Premier today, when he says there are things that need to be fixed in the health care system, if it needs to be fixed, it must be broken. I would ask the Premier, would he commit again today to repair the health care system that he says has some cracks in it, so that Nova Scotians can be well served once again by a good health care system?

THE PREMIER: I can assure you and the House that I am not backtracking. What I said in my speech of March 4th is what I stand by today. I stated where we're going to be spending funding. We are going to be spending funding in those areas.

[4:30 p.m.]

The question here is not only of health care. It is the confidence of the people of Nova Scotia in their health care system. I would hope, where they can see fit, that all members of the House would cooperate with the government to make sure that that confidence is there where it should be.

MR. MOODY: I believe the Premier's sincerity. I agree with him. We all have to make it work. I believe I know where he wants to go.

I listened today to the Minister of Health who said nothing is broken, everything is perfect. If the Premier is serious, I will ask, through you, Mr. Speaker, the Premier this question. If he is serious and he wants to make it work, will he, as of today, announce a full-time Minister of Health for this province so we can get on with making a good health care system in this province.

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I honestly do not believe that anybody could do more than the Minister of Health is doing at the present time for the health care system in Nova Scotia. (Applause) There are things that need to be done. The Minister of Health admits that. We all know that. People in Nova Scotia have told us there are things that need to be done. We are working on that and we are going to get the job done.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Dartmouth North.

[Page 764]

COMMUN. SERV.: CHILD BENEFIT PROGRAM (CDN.) - EFFECT

MR. JERRY PYE: Mr. Speaker, my question will be to the Minister of Community Services. As you know there will be a National Child Benefit Program coming to Nova Scotia on July 1, 1998. That National Child Benefit Program was under the impression that many people in Social Services, including family benefits and those on social assistance, would be the recipients of additional dollars, those very poor people who have suffered through the period of time since 1993 to the present day.

Mr. Speaker, I want to table this insert. There was an insert placed in the family benefits cheques that were going to go out, but I think it was since pulled. The insert states this and it is important that the members of this Legislative Assembly hear this. It says, people who get both family benefits and child tax benefits will soon notice a small change in the way their cheques are paid. Your total monthly income will be the same. However starting August 1st, part of your family benefits cheque will be shifted to your child tax cheque. Added together they will give you the same amount of money as you get now.

MR. SPEAKER: Please place your question.

MR. PYE: My question to the minister is, will the minister tell the Legislature if families receiving social assistance or families on family benefits are going to be any better off under the national Child Benefit Program? I wish to table this.

MR. SPEAKER: You have to table it.

Will the honourable member please take his seat?

HON. FRANCENE COSMAN: Mr. Speaker, yes.

MR. PYE: As I have said earlier, a number of families on social assistance have had the hearts and souls cut out of them during the period from 1993 to 1998. They no longer get a meagre social assistance cheque, but they are forced to go to food banks, they are forced to have breakfast programs and they are forced to go to clothing depots. Will they be better off or does this government plan to reduce its assistance by an appropriate amount so the poor families are left poor now and forever?

MRS. COSMAN: I think there is one thing that the honourable member opposite ought to realize in his newness that he obviously does not. Nova Scotia is one of few provinces in this country that did not cut social assistance rates or did not cut family benefits rates. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: Perhaps the honourable minister would like to repeat that last statement because I did not hear it.

[Page 765]

Order, please.

MRS. COSMAN: Nova Scotia can stand proud on its record. It is one of the few provinces in Canada that did not cut budgets to social assistance and family benefits recipients.

MR. PYE: The honourable minister may be making a statement that, in fact, is not correct. As I understand it, there is a co-pay that has to come out of those family benefits food allowances. There is also the HST that has been introduced that, in fact, is an additional cost to those people who receive family benefits who, to this very day, have not received an increased allotment, as a matter of fact, to offset those particular costs.

My following question to the minister is directly related to the day care program. Does the minister, with respect as well, in 1993 when the Liberal Government came to power . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. Please place your question.

MR. PYE: Okay. Mr. Speaker, the question. Since there are only 50 allotted day care spaces annually in the Province of Nova Scotia, does the minister intend to use any of the funds from the National Child Benefit Program to increase subsidized daycare spaces in the Province of Nova Scotia?

MRS. COSMAN: Mr. Speaker, I think the honourable member opposite is really trying to get the details of the National Child Benefit Program rolled out in the House prior to it being announced. I want to reassure him that he will be very happy when he sees the results of the National Child Benefit Program in this province and where its activities are being targetted.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Truro-Bible Hill.

COMMUN. SERV. - ACCESS-A-BUS: STRIKE - ALTERNATIVES

MR. JAMES MUIR: Mr. Speaker, my question is also for the Minister of Community Services. This is day eight of the Halifax Regional Municipality transit strike. Last Wednesday, I asked the Minister of Labour what his intentions were with respect to helping the 4,000 people who are eligible and the 400 daily users of the Access-A-Bus service. The essence of his reply was that it had been taken care of. Unlike the Mayor of the Halifax Regional Municipality who wrote to both Parties, it is clear from his inaction that the Minister of Labour has limited empathy for persons with disabilities who use this service.

[Page 766]

At the National Access Breakfast last Wednesday, the Minister of Community Services indicated that she was providing a personal taxi service to people waiting at bus stops. I am not sure she would find . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Would the honourable member please come to the question?

MR. MUIR: My question , Mr. Speaker, is, what action has the Minister of Community Services taken, or is intending to take, to restore an adequate transportation service for the citizens of the Halifax Regional Municipality who depend on the Access-A-Bus service.

HON. FRANCENE COSMAN: Mr. Speaker, I really like the question the honourable member opposite has asked, because I think there isn't a disabled person in the Halifax Regional Municipality who isn't equally concerned around these issues. I mean, this has a horrendous impact on the disabled community. Let's face it, they cannot easily access transportation if they are disabled, so it has a differential treatment of the disabled in this community, with the strike.

As I mentioned at the breakfast, which many of our colleagues attended, I had put a letter through to the honourable Mayor - I am prepared to table that today - certainly in that letter I re-emphasized the significant concern over the loss of transportation services for the disabled who have no viable alternative.

Yes, there is a service in place and the Disabled Persons Commission has been working on this with the disabled community. They are able to access that service, though it is limited . . .

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Truro-Bible Hill, your first supplementary.

MRS. COSMAN: Are you cutting me off?

MR. SPEAKER: Yes, I am.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Yes, he is.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

MR. MUIR: I am not so sure that taxis are the answer, but my second question also goes to the Minister of Community Services. In addition to persons who are disabled, another segment of the Halifax Regional Municipality population whose members rely heavily on public transit is senior citizens. The minister has some responsibility for the particular interests and concerns of our senior citizens.

[Page 767]

My question. Has the minister considered the effects the strike is having on seniors and has he discussed with the Minister of Labour . . .

AN HON. MEMBER: She.

MR. MUIR: Has she discussed - thank you, and I apologize - and encouraged him to get the two sides of the dispute back to the table to bring an end to this dispute as quickly as possible?

MRS. COSMAN: Mr. Speaker, I will try to be shorter on this answer, although I find it very unfair that you cut me off in the midst of the first question. I want to re-emphasize that the issues around who is affected by this strike falls disproportionately on the shoulders of the disabled, it falls disproportionately on the shoulders of the elderly and those who simply cannot get out and hitch a ride or walk or ride a bicycle. My colleagues and I have regular discussions around this issue and, certainly, are very concerned about the effects of the transit strike on that group of seniors and on that group of the disabled.

MR. MUIR: This question is for the Minister of Labour, Mr. Speaker. The day before the strike occurred, the Minister of Labour indicated that he would be considering back-to-work legislation. Is he still considering this action and what is his timeline for getting more directly involved in the dispute and taking some concrete action to try and resolve it?

HON. RUSSELL MACKINNON: Mr. Speaker, unfortunately, the honourable member didn't take time to listen to the preamble and the conditions by which that particular answer had been given. Had he done that, he probably would have come to a different conclusion. For the sake of clarity, once again, I stated that back-to-work legislation was a measure of last resort and it was heavy-handed. I explained the process to all members, particularly this member. I believe all honourable members recognize the fact that we have to respect the collective bargaining process and that, indeed, we, at this present time, are facilitators and doing everything we can to bring both parties together.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Sackville-Beaver Bank.

HOUSING & MUN. AFFS.- CO-OPS: MANAGEMENT - TRANSFER

MS. ROSEMARY GODIN: Mr. Speaker, I would like to direct a question to the Premier, through you. Last month, members of this caucus met with representatives of the Co-op Housing Federations of Canada and Nova Scotia and we expressed our support for their well-researched proposal to transfer the management of housing co-ops to the co-ops themselves. This is something that the federations have been asking for for some time.

Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask the Premier why this has not been dealt with to this point?

[Page 768]

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I would like to refer that question to the Minister of Housing and Municipal Affairs.

HON. WAYNE GAUDET: Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the honourable member for her question. There is no doubt that the present agreement with the co-op housing that we have had brought forward, the department is presently looking at the proposal. I have undertaken to meet with representatives from this group. I believe, in the next couple of days, that meeting will be taking place. At this stage, we are ready to look at this proposal. We understand and we do have a number of questions. At the same time, we have been in contact with a number of co-op housing units across the province. With the little feedback that we have received pertaining to this agreement, we still have, as I pointed out, a number of questions that we have to look at. Again, as I pointed out, we are meeting with this group very shortly.

MS. GODIN: Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the Minister of Housing for his answer and just to clarify, I believe you are meeting on June 23rd, which is not necessarily in a few days. I would like to direct this to the Premier. In a letter written to the president of the Co-op Housing Federation of Nova Scotia only days after the March 24th election, that was written by you, Mr. Premier, you correctly pointed out that, "Nova Scotia has a long and positive history of involvement with the co-operative housing sector.". You did say a positive history, Mr. Premier. Those were your words in your letter.

MR. SPEAKER: Question, please.

MS. GODIN: Would you agree, Mr. Premier, that residents of housing co-ops, with all their skills and abilities are quite capable of managing their own affairs and when will your government allow them to do that?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I agree with the honourable member that members of co-ops are very capable. However, we do have to have a program. We do have to have a framework in place and I would want to refer the question to the honourable Minister of Housing and Municipal Affairs for further commentary.

HON. WAYNE GAUDET: Mr. Speaker, to the honourable member and to all members of the House, there are approximately 1,900 co-op housing units in Nova Scotia. Co-operative housing is certainly owned collectively by the residents who are the housing cooperative members, of course. The operation and management of the housing cooperative is certainly the responsibility of its members. The staff within our department have worked and will continue to work with these groups across the province.

[Page 769]

[4:45 p.m.]

I just want to highlight this before I take my seat, I just received an invitation from a cooperative housing group from Yarmouth that wishes to meet with me. I indicated to them that I certainly would love to meet with them as soon as we have the chance. I certainly extend that invitation to any housing groups across the province. Thank you.

MS. GODIN: Mr. Speaker, I again thank the honourable minister but I do believe that my question is something that only the Premier can answer. I assume you have a home you take great pride in. I have one final thing to ask. How would you feel if the Department of Housing were making all your household decisions for you?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I can assure the honourable member that this government has nothing but the highest regard for the cooperative movement. Coming from an area of this province where the cooperative movement has been an integral part of our society, I can assure the honourable member that the cooperative will be treated with the utmost attention and consideration by this government.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Dartmouth North.

JUSTICE - ILLEGAL ACTIVITIES: MONEY SEIZURES - OPTIONS

MR. JERRY PYE: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister of Justice. In the Speech from the Throne the Liberal Government claims that it will implement a comprehensive crime prevention strategy with focus on early intervention to community involvement. My question to the minister is, he realizes there are many activities going on in certain sectors of this community that, in fact, are crack houses, drugs, prostitution, will this government explore the option of money seized from Nova Scotia criminals through illegal activities going back into the community to help municipal police services combat illegal activities such as drugs and prostitution?

HON. JAMES SMITH: Mr. Speaker, this is a very important issue the honourable member brings up. The issues are community, personal safety and the factors that bring about matters of which he has discussed. One of the things that I have been most impressed with in the Department of Justice are the initiatives in the preventive area.

The Restorative Justice Program that is being worked on and we have read in the media recently some quite good coverage, that is a particular program, along with the federal government that will be addressing these particular needs. Some others are; the Victims of Violence Program that we fund within the community, the Head Start Program that is in that honourable member's area that is being funded. It is not just the Department of Justice, it is Education, Health, Community Services and all of those other departments of government

[Page 770]

to work with the community and that is what they are doing in Dartmouth North in the honourable member's riding.

MR. PYE: Mr. Speaker, as the minister is aware there are many concerned residents with respect to the issue of prostitution. As a matter of fact, the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police recognize that it is an extremely difficult matter to deal with, simply because they do not have the legislation available. As a matter of fact, there was such concern in our community that there was a report which was brought forward by the former minister, the honourable Sandra Jolly. My question to the minister is, will the minister report back to this House on what happened to the report titled, Province of Nova Scotia - Consultation on Prostitution, Summary 1995, submitted by the Province of Nova Scotia to the federal Department of Justice. I have a copy and I guess that has to be tabled as well?

MR. SPEAKER: Not if you haven't quoted from it.

DR. SMITH: Mr. Speaker, yes that is very important. I am pleased that the honourable member is doing his work on these particular matters as they are important ones. I shall report back to the House on the exact disposition of that, I remember that going through at the time. I read it at the time but I will make a commitment to bring that report back to the House and the action taken on that.

MR. PYE: Mr. Speaker, as the minister knows, many residents are concerned, as a matter of fact. A number of residents I have met most recently want to try to curb the prostitution problem in particular areas. My question to the minister is why is it that this government is moving so slowly to address a very serious problem in this community.

DR. SMITH: Mr. Speaker, the honourable member does bring very important issues here today. They are societal issues and some of his questions are directly related to the federal government. I hesitate to say that because I want to point out that we are working with the federal government. There are programs and issues that are also coming from the federal government to do that. We have programs in place. They are important issues. I think this is important and we are doing restorative justice and other types of programs in the community that will strengthen those communities. Also it is the overall function of socio-economic matters in the whole province. It is multi-faceted. I think this government is addressing all of them as we move forward.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Truro-Bible Hill.

COMMUN. SERV. - SMALL OPTIONS HOMES: LEGISLATION - AWAITED

MR. JAMES MUIR: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Community Services. When the present government assumed office in 1993, one of its stated priorities was to pass legislation which would standardize the option of small options homes in Nova

[Page 771]

Scotia. Yes, indeed, Mr. Speaker, for five years this government has been promising to develop standards for the operation of small options homes entrench them in legislation. I hope these badly needed pieces of legislation are just not another example of a broken Liberal promise. On November 20, 1996, Mr. Speaker, a set of interim standards was adopted.

The date has come and gone, Mr. Speaker. April 1, 1998 has come and gone, the date when the legislation was to have been passed because the province has taken over the operation of small options homes. There is no evidence that this government has done anything. What timetable does the minister have for bringing forth this very necessary legislation?

HON. FRANCENE COSMAN: Mr. Speaker, it is for certain that the honourable member opposite is probably aware, at least I hope he is, that we have been conducting a very thorough review of all our small options homes across Nova Scotia. While some of the members opposite want this to happen overnight and very quickly, I am more concerned that the process is thorough and comes up with the directions that we know we are going to be taking. So I do not want anyone to have the impression that this is going to be a process that is a rushed job. Certainly the review has been conducted over a period of time. The draft report now is being prepared and once I have it in my hands, we have given a promise to put that draft report out to the stakeholders affected by this.

MR. MUIR: So they did not meet the deadline again, Mr. Speaker. My next question is the interim standards require that individual program plans be developed for all residents and be monitored through case worker meetings with service providers and quarterly reports from homes through the Department of Community Services. The Auditor General reported that this was not being done. In your response, you indicated the review of small-option homes ongoing and the issues were being addressed. What is the degree of compliance now?

MRS. COSMAN: If I understand the question you are asking, the honourable member opposite is asking what is the degree of compliance with the interim standards. Until I have reviewed the report, I cannot give that answer. Once I have it, I will be happy to provide it.

MR. MUIR: I am surprised, Mr. Speaker, that she could not because the Auditor General said that the department was to monitor that and the department's response was that it would. My next question is the Auditor General also reported that there were inconsistencies in existing classification assessment practices across the province or aspects of them where policies needed to be established. In the absence of the new standards, what steps has the department taken to ensure consistent classification and assessment practices across the province?

MRS. COSMAN: Very clearly we have put in place a case management system in Nova Scotia. As you know, we took over several hundred of these small options homes. When that happened a few years ago, that created some significant management questions and demanded

[Page 772]

a corporate response and due diligence on these issues. We have put in place a case management system.

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

HUMAN RES. COMM. - NSRL: APPOINTMENTS - REVIEW

MR. JOHN HOLM: Mr. Speaker, my question through you is to the Premier. The Premier broke with accepted practices when he appointed people to the Board of Nova Scotia Resources Limited without going through the Human Resources Committee. Of course, the Premier will know that I had raised some concerns about possible conflicts of interest which the Premier publicly has assured all don't exist.

So given the Premier's confidence, my question to the Premier is simply this. Is the Premier now prepared to submit to the Human Resources Committee the names of those whom he has already appointed to the Nova Scotia Resources Board for confirmation, Mr. Speaker, in accordance with the standard practice and rules?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I think that you have ruled on this and I am prepared to respect your ruling.

MR. HOLM: Mr. Speaker, the Premier is rather good at skirting around the answers and, of course, providing creative interpretations. It is called cooperation, yes. The Premier will know that I did raise questions about the President of Corporate Communications, which is the public relations firm which is working for the Irving interests which are competing for that gas, in competition with Nova Scotia interests and, in particular, the fact that Mr. Parker, the president of that company, was appointed by this Premier to that board.

My question to the Premier is simply this. Will the Premier agree to submit Mr. Parker's name to the Human Resources Committee for review?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, this is a company that is going to deal in hundreds of millions of dollars to the benefit of the people of Nova Scotia. It is extremely important that we get the best people we can on the board. Mr. Parker is a good person, he is a business person in Halifax. I don't even know what his politics are if he has any politics at all. I do know that he is very involved in public relations and marketing and I think that is a very important feature.

I was accused of being in Houston and not having a slide presentation and not being able to present the profile of Nova Scotia. Now the Opposition has to get it right, one way or the other. Do they want public relations and marketing? Do they want profile for Nova Scotia or not?

[Page 773]

MR. HOLM: Mr. Speaker, the Premier may not have had a slide show but he sure is learning how to slip slide away. I have no idea what Mr. Parker's politics are either, it doesn't even matter, that is not the point. The Premier has demonstrated by his answers that he lacks the confidence that those who he has appointed would, in fact, pass a review in the Human Resources Committee.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member will put the question.

MR. HOLM: My question to the Premier is simply this. Given his public utterances in the confidence, the fact that there are no conflicts of interest, that they would pass any review . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. If the honourable member doesn't put his question, he won't get an answer.

MR. HOLM: . . . why is it or what is it that has caused the Premier to change his mind so that he now no longer has any confidence and therefore is unwilling to submit them to the committee?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, this is a Crown Corporation. It would be dealt with the same way the province has been dealing with Sysco for years. I have tremendous respect for the Human Resources Committee and I am prepared, where required, to use it. I see nothing wrong with that. But where it is not necessary, Mr. Speaker, the rules were set down for a purpose. All we are trying to do in this government is follow the rules as they were meant to be followed.

MR. SPEAKER: The time allotted for the Oral Question Period has now expired.

[5:00 p.m.]

OPPOSITION MEMBERS' BUSINESS

PRIVATE MEMBERS' PUBLIC BILLS FOR SECOND READING

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Progressive Conservative House Leader.

MR. GEORGE MOODY: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 6.

Bill No. 6 - Health Council Appointments (1998) Act.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party.

[Page 774]

DR. JOHN HAMM: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise to speak to Bill No. 6, Health Council Appointments (1998) Act. There has been a tremendous interest outside of this Chamber, interest in what has happened to health care in this province and what we can do to make it better. Many of the suggestions that come forward, obviously, cost a great deal of money and many of the suggestions, fortunately, can be achieved at very small and reasonable and realistic cost.

The Provincial Health Council arose directly as a recommendation of the final draft of the Royal Commission on Health Care of 1989. As a result of that, the then Minister of Health, the honourable George Moody, supported by all Parties in this House, introduced legislation resulting in the Provincial Health Council. That Provincial Health Council had a very specific mandate and it was put in place for a very specific purpose. That purpose was to provide a broader input and a realistic organization that could be critical on behalf of the people of Nova Scotia of what many feel is the most important service delivered by the provincial government, and that is our health care system.

So there was great support in 1990 for the Provincial Health Council. I would remind government, and I don't need to remind the members of the New Democratic Party, that all Parties did support that legislation and were in favour. They were in favour of an arm's length volunteer agency, supported by a small group of staff, which would act as an advocate and a watchdog and a facilitator. It would be the public voice on health and health related matters and would draft the Nova Scotia health goals.

The Blueprint Committee, a committee of the present government in its previous form, endorsed the Provincial Health Council and, in fact, not only did it endorse the Provincial Health Council, it recommended expanding its activities to include such things as monitoring and accountability functions. That is what makes it all so passing strange that the government, in its previous form, allowed the Provincial Health Council to wither on the vine.

I would remind members of the House that the legislation setting up and legitimizing the Provincial Health Council is still on the province's books. What is not there is the appointment process or the follow-up appointments by government to allow that council to function. We are all aware that the former office space that they occupied is now occupied by others and the legislation is lying fallow, even though there is tremendous support in this province for a re-continuation of the Provincial Health Council.

Many groups have come forward in support of a reinstitution of the Provincial Health Council as the advocate of health care and the watchdog on behalf of the people of Nova Scotia. The Nova Scotia Federation of Labour, over the signature of Mr. Rick Clarke, have endorsed the setting up of the health council again. Other groups interested in health care delivery in this province who have been working as volunteers have supported the Provincial Health Council.

[Page 775]

I will refer to a few, and it is certainly not a complete list, but groups like: the Citizens to Save our Health Care; the West Pictou Wellness Watch; the Community Action Committee of Shelburne County; the Nova Scotia Government Employees Union; Canadian Pensioners Concerned, Nova Scotia Division; the Persistently Annoyed of Annapolis; the AIDS Coalition of Nova Scotia; the Cape Breton Regional Health Care Committee.

These are but a few of the volunteer agencies and agencies that are concerned enough about the Provincial Health Council that they have added their voices to the voices in this House which are asking that we restore the Provincial Health Council. If the delivery of health care were easy, then of course we would not be in the quandary we are. Yet we cannot escape the fact that we are spending over $1.3 billion on health care delivery in this province and somehow we are not getting full value for the money.

An agency such as the Provincial Health Council would, by way of its very activities, make government accountable and, I believe, would come forward with the ideas and the suggestions that will result in a better expenditure of health care dollars that are now being appropriated for health care delivery in this province.

We cannot look at every problem and say it is simply a matter of spending more money. It often is a matter of spending the money better. I believe that the health council would have that effect and would provide the kind of information to government that would allow the proper decisions to be made to make sure that the taxpayers' dollars being directed to health care are getting 100 cents in return for every dollar.

I am very pleased then, Mr. Speaker, to move this bill for second reading.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Health.

HON. JAMES SMITH: I rise to enter the debate on the proposed legislation introduced by the honourable Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party.

I know the honourable member has the best interests of the province in mind as he brings forward this proposed legislation. In fact I had a discussion with the Health Critics of the two Opposition Parties last week on a number of issues related to health care and this was among them.

I found the discussion a very useful and enlightening conversation and one in which there were many occasions on which there was agreement, which may surprise some people to hear. Let me say right away that I have no opposition in principle to the work of the health council. However, I think it is important for the health council, if it were to be reborn, to have a focused mandate. That mandate must have a direct impact on improving the health of Nova Scotians, plain and simple. The health council, as it was structured in the past, cost between

[Page 776]

$400,000 and $500,000 a year. That is about $0.5 million a year from our health care budget that is not going directly for patient care.

I know there is good work the health council can do to promote and protect health care, but really we have to ask ourselves if this is the best way to spend the health dollars. Assuming we go ahead, there are a few things I have to say about the role of such a body. Before I indicate what direction I think we can move in the formation of the Provincial Health Council if that were to occur let me say what I think Nova Scotians do not want to see their health care dollars spent on.

The health council does not need to be another political Party. The province spends $1.8 billion a year funding the offices of the Opposition Parties. That is in addition to millions of dollars in tax credits for donations to all political Parties that have been given out to help encourage the democratic process. These are appropriate expenditures of public funds that support our form of government. No one really argues with that.

However, we do not need to spend precious health dollars on a body that will be primarily politically motivated, advocating behind the scenes for one political Party or another. This is about health care, not about politics.

Another thing the health council does not need to be is an extension of a labour union, fighting for improved paycheques for its members or better vacations or some other workers' rights. Again, these are appropriate activities for labour unions. A health council priority should be to advance the health status of Nova Scotians, not erect billboards paid by the trade unions to try to embarrass any government into giving health care workers a raise. One of the things that has troubled me most since becoming Minister of Health is the politicization of the health care system. I'm not singling out anyone to blame here, I'm just stating a fact, and I think most members, deep down inside will admit to themselves, that this has become part of life in Nova Scotia. We all know what I'm talking about.

Just the other day, someone in the House was criticizing the government and the health care system for reducing the number of ambulances in the province. To someone who doesn't understand what's really happened, that sounds alarming. The big, bad government has cut the number of ambulances in the province. But examine the reality of what's happened in emergency health services in this province in the last couple of years, and that member should be ashamed for misleading Nova Scotians. We bought a new fleet of ambulances. They are state-of-the-art machines that are the envy of provinces across this country. Of 100 of these ambulances, there are defibrillators that are saving lives. We mentioned that earlier today, and more than 20 lives were probably saved by this equipment alone in the past year. Ask those people what they think of emergency health services in Nova Scotia.

Whether it is for political gain or monetary gain, the everything-in-chaos mentality has to stop for the betterment of all Nova Scotians. For one thing, it is scaring Nova Scotians,

[Page 777]

especially the vulnerable Nova Scotians. It is not helping to attract world-class professionals to our province, to make our system better. Consider for a moment, something that is consistently reported by public opinion polls. Roughly three-quarters of Nova Scotians, who have had direct experience with the health care system report great satisfaction with their treatment and care, and I'll repeat that in case anyone has missed it; three-quarters of those who have had direct experience with the system are satisfied with their care. That's a far cry from the three-quarters of all Nova Scotians who when polled reported a high level of concern for the state of the health care system.

I think a health council may actually be beneficial, if it is structured properly. A large role for a health council would be to help restore some of the confidence in our health care system. So, what would be an appropriate role for a health council? The most important contribution that the health council made was its ability to engage and to inform the public on health issues from an objective, plain-language point of view. Building on that role, the mandate for a new council could include monitoring and reporting on patient satisfaction with the health care system, and recommendations for areas of improvement. It could also identify what, in fact, is working well, and there are many things that are working well in this province within the health care system.

The council could provide advice through broad-based consultation on public health policy across government departments. This would include strategies to improve the health of communities and the whole province. The council could monitor the health status and report on areas for improvement. We know that there are areas in which there is great opportunity to help Nova Scotians lead healthier lives. We also know that we suffer in this province from some of the highest incidences of cancer than anywhere else in the country. Many deaths could be prevented if we took more action strategies which include health promotion, lifestyle changes, earlier cancer screening and detection.

There are also issues of injury prevention, such as child safety, such as our bike helmet legislation, road safety, like seat belts and graduated licences and environmental concerns that all have an impact on the health status of this province. We know that many of the issues that affect health lie outside the mandate of the Department of Health, and this policy needs to be developed and implemented in a coordinated way. The council could provide Nova Scotians with information about health and ways that they can take personal attention to maintain and improve their own health status. We all need to be informed consumers and take responsibility for ensuring that we make choices that will allow us to enjoy our optimal level of well-being as the Provincial Health Council itself defines health.

Those are a few of my thoughts about the role a Provincial Health Council could play in Nova Scotia's health care system. I've not closed my mind on this matter, but I think we have to be careful. Caring for the health of Nova Scotians is a tremendous responsibility. We have to be careful and prudent as we ensure that we continue to make sure that our health care system is the best that it can be. Where a health council fits within our structure for

[Page 778]

health care is one thing, how it fits in the function of a sustainable, coordinated, effective health care system is the challenge. Mr. Speaker, I look forward to working on that challenge. I thank you. (Applause)

[5:15 p.m.]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Needham.

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I would like to speak in support of the re-establishment of the Provincial Health Council. I would like to thank Dr. Hamm, the Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party, for his excellent summary and synopsis of where the Provincial Health Council originated, the history of that council and why it is still necessary today, as well as outlining for us the groups that have called for its re-establishment.

I want to say that I think Dr. Hamm, in his remarks, indicated that the council had a very focused and has a very focused mandate which is about improving the health of Nova Scotians. With respect to the comments from the minister, who is somewhat concerned that money for a health council would not be going directly to patient care, I would like to say to the minister that the provincial budget overall is about $4.2 billion of which $1.4 billion goes to health care. It seems to me that $500,000 for a Provincial Health Council is really not a big amount of money to ensure that we have a watchdog, an advocate, a facilitator to involve communities and ensure public participation in the operation and the direction of health care in Nova Scotia.

I have to say that the inference that the Provincial Health Council, as it previously operated, was politicized in some way, perhaps a partisan way, in terms of the trade union movement is a bit of an insult, Mr. Speaker. I want to remind the minister of the important role of the labour movement in ensuring that there was socialized health care in this country. We would not have Medicare today without the labour movement. I would also like to remind the minister that it was medical doctors and the insurance industry that tried to prevent hospital insurance and Medicare. I would also like to remind the minister of the unique role of social democratic Parties, namely the CCF and the NDP, in ensuring Medicare. So this is not a partisan kind of issue that is owned by any one group. There are important and historical groups that have been involved in ensuring we have strong health care in this country and we are not going away, whether or not the minister really likes that or not. So let me just say that.

Now, it seems to me that what is required is a fairly detailed explanation for why it is that we need the re-establishment of the Provincial Health Council because it seems to have escaped the consciousness of both the Premier, who is on record as saying that the Provincial Health Council actually had not done much or it really did not accomplish very much, and the minister who is on record as saying that the council had outlived its usefulness and that there are other health advocacy groups to fulfill this role.

[Page 779]

The last report of the Provincial Health Council provides some very good detail, Mr. Speaker, in terms of the issues that were addressed by the council, issues that were of great interest and concern to Nova Scotians and continue to be, questions with respect to gambling, questions with respect to environmental health, programs for the health of children and youth, how the Department of Health operates in terms of health promotion, programs, et cetera. So the issues that the council were involved in, in the past are important issues and they continue to be important issues.

Now, is the council still needed? I think that the discussion and the debate in this Chamber in the last few days certainly would indicate that there are problems in the health care system and where do you start, in terms of outlining what those problems are and who is going to be addressing and acting as a watchdog for the people in Nova Scotia. We desperately need a group that will address these issues, that will take up problems around the under-serviced areas of Yarmouth, Amherst, Antigonish, Cape Breton, Pictou, problems with ambulatory care, the long-term care sector, the de-listing of all kinds of procedures, extra billing, user fees, rationing around home care, the QE II, Pharmacare, the Children's Dental Program. The list is endless, Mr. Speaker, of the issues that a Provincial Health Council could really get involved in and provide some leadership, involve people in the communities, involve those groups that really want to be involved in solving the problems of health care.

Mr. Speaker, we have moved to a process in our society where we understand that health is not just about physical health but it is also about social health, it is about the psychological and economic environment in which people live from day to day, the impact that poverty has on health, the stress workplaces have on health, job security questions and the fact that some people seem to think that job security as an issue is passe. We have heard about the environmental concerns, for example, around the Cape Breton tar ponds. These are all issues why we need a watchdog, a planner, a researcher, an evaluator, a facilitator, to be taking up on behalf and with people who live in this province, who understand there are problems in the health care system, that there are things we can be doing to improve the health care delivery and people want to have more control over their own lives and their own services.

So, Mr. Speaker, I would say to the minister and to the government that the Provincial Health Council accomplished a lot in the past and it could accomplish a lot and go a long way to helping your government get health care back on the rightful track, one that will have participation at the community level with consumer groups. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings West.

MR. GEORGE MOODY: Mr. Speaker, I rise to speak on Bill No. 6. The bill will revitalize and bring back the Provincial Health Council. All three speakers who spoke supported the concept. I think it is an excellent concept. Not only do we need a group to monitor, I think the Minister of Health would agree that there are many issues that the health

[Page 780]

council could be given the task and I am sure it would be a good resource for the department and for the minister. I agree with the minister that we obviously have to look at expanding the role that was there. It did have a purpose, a good purpose but I think it is like everything, we have to look at how much better can we make a health council today compared to the health council that was set up.

Mr. Speaker, I think there is a great opportunity for this health council to be a great help to community health boards in this province because they don't have staff and we can't afford to give community health boards a lot of staff, but they would be a great resource for our community health boards.

So, Mr. Speaker, given the fact that all three Parties seem to agree that this is the kind of legislation that can go forward and will, I think, have a good effect on the health care system in this province. I know the minister is concerned about $0.5 million not being spent directly on health care. Well, we had $14 million spent on consultants. We don't want to get into that argument, we want to get into the argument where I think all three Parties agree, let's look at a health council that can effectively help all Nova Scotians and can, in some manner, obviously play an important role in the development of health care and the health strategy in this province in the future.

So, I am going to ask for unanimous consent, Mr. Speaker, that this bill be read for a second time and that it be referred to the Committee on Law Amendments. I know I need unanimous consent to get that and I would ask for unanimous consent.

MR. SPEAKER: Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

The motion is for second reading of Bill No. 6. 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. (Applause)

It is a rather historic occasion.

The honourable House Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party.

MR. GEORGE MOODY: I think we just made history in this province.

Mr. Speaker, would you please call the order of business, Motions Other Than Government Motions.

[Page 781]

MOTIONS OTHER THAN GOVERNMENT MOTIONS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable House Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party.

MR. GEORGE MOODY:Mr. Speaker, would you call Resolution No. 231.

Res. No. 231, re Transport. & Pub. Wks. - Hwys. Repair: Non-Partisan Approach - Develop - notice given May 28/98 - (Mr. G. Balser)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Digby-Annapolis.

MR. GORDON BALSER: Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the opportunity to get up and open the discussion on Resolution No. 231. The intention of that resolution was to request a fair and non-partisan approach to highway repair and construction in the Province of Nova Scotia, and it is kind of interesting to note that that request did not receive unanimous consent of this House. What would be more reasonable than a request of the Minister of Transportation and Public Works to develop a long-range highway repair and construction program that would benefit all Nova Scotians and, at the same time, underscore the Liberal Government's espoused commitment to cooperation?

The minister recently spoke of a need to balance fiscal responsibility with highway construction, the need to balance the big picture against individual issues and concerns. This proposal would have done just that. Every area of Nova Scotia has road construction needs which must be addressed. This proposal suggests fairness and equity. Perhaps the Liberal intent is to pay lip-service to a process while retaining the ability to hand out road construction plums as they see fit.

It is somewhat ironic that at the time when the world, in economic terms, is shrinking, when firms need to be moving faster and faster to remain competitive, that the provincial government is neglecting this province's most critical transport infrastructure support mechanisms. Less money is being spent on road construction in this province than ever before. Main arterial routes are being neglected. Roads which are critically important to the Maritimes to move goods to Upper Canada and to American markets are being converted to toll roads, and this is not acceptable. Secondary roads in this province are in deplorable condition. In the spring of the year, they are sink-holes and, in the summer, they are dust bowls. To borrow from my colleague, the member for Chester-St. Margaret's, many are passable only on horseback. Highways in this province are a clear example of trying to do more with less.

We have repeatedly heard speaker after speaker addressing health care and educational issues. These are truly important, but the reality in this province is that not every Nova Scotian has a child in school and not every Nova Scotians is accessing health care facilities;

[Page 782]

the reality is that every Nova Scotian in this province is directly or indirectly affected by the quality of roads and the need for repairs.

There is an old political adage that says, "So go the roads, so go the riding.". The Romans knew well the need for good roads; hence the saying, "All roads lead to Rome". Poets like Robert Frost spoke of "roads not taken". Writers and poets throughout the ages have spoken of the metaphor of the road of life, life's highway; these metaphors are endless. It would appear to me that the Liberal Government would like to place Nova Scotians on the proverbial road paved with good intentions. I, for one, am well aware of exactly where that road leads.

While road construction is central to this resolution, there are other indications that the Liberal infrastructure development plan is woefully lacking. The Liberal Government has failed to aggressively lobby to ensure that Halifax becomes a post-Panamax eastern seaport, and they have failed to ensure that Halifax International Airport is granted the funding necessary to carry out much-needed upgrades to ensure that the Maritimes, and Nova Scotia in particular, remains competitive in the world market.

[5:30 p.m.]

Resolution No. 231 clearly links the need for highway upgrades to the growing tourism related industries. Highways are the lifeline for small rural communities. Tourists are painfully aware when they arrive in Nova Scotia of the high cost of gasoline in this province. Every road they travel reinforces the message that the revenue generated from the sale of gasoline is not being directed towards highway repair and construction.

The resolution was without doubt reasonable, it was fair and it was equitable. The government's refusal to grant unanimous consent is what was unreasonable. There is a saying that says, beware the folly when reasonable men are unreasonable. The resolution in and of itself was what was needed and asked for by Nova Scotians. It is merely reflective of the fact that the money generated from gasoline excise sales tax is not being directed toward road repair and construction. I feel the resolution was fair and valid and deserved to be consented to. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Transportation. I have readjusted the time allowance, you have eight minutes to accommodate the additional time.

HON. CLIFFORD HUSKILSON: Mr. Speaker, the member for Digby-Annapolis today asks for a detailed, non-partisan, long-range highway repair and construction program. It gives me great satisfaction to bring before this House and the people of Nova Scotia a plan developed at the direction of our government and implemented in the Department of Transportation and Public Works since 1993.

[Page 783]

Our provincial repaving prioritization process was developed by the engineering expertise within the Department of Transportation and Public Works. It is based on fairness and the needs of all Nova Scotians. The process was first used by the department in establishing the repaving projects in the province for the 1994 construction season. In fact, the details of this process and the resulting project lists have been tabled in this House over the past number of years.

The method of evaluating and privatizing repaving projects is intended to rank repaving needs. Projects requiring micro-surfacing or strengthening are not included in this analysis. Each year the four district directors across the province are asked to submit to our Infrastructure Management Division a ranked list of the top repaving priorities within their districts. This list is divided into two categories, the 100-Series Highway and the non-100-Series Highway.

To be consistent with efforts being used by other transportation agencies for similar types of analysis, the data for the analysts includes traffic volumes, pavement condition ratings and riding comfort index. Traffic volumes used are the average annual daily traffic. The pavement condition rating is a measure of the surface distress based on the severity and the density of cracking, wheel track rutting and other surface defects. The riding comfort index is a measure of the roughness of the riding surface. All riding comfort indexes and pavement conditions data are obtained by either the Technical Services Branch or by private consulting firms.

For the 100-Series Highway, each project submitted is analyzed and rated between 1 and 10, with 10 being the worst. It is calculated based on an engineering formula I will table today. Factors for traffic volumes, riding comfort and pavement conditions can be determined using this formula. All 100-Series Highways are prioritized, provincial wide, based on these rating. For non-100-Series Highways, the method of calculating the ratings is the same for the 100-Series Highways; however, before ranking, projects are divided into three groups based on traffic volume, zero to 300, 301 to 1,000 and more than 1,000 vehicles per day.

The provincial repaving priority list is based on the ratings for each project. These are prepared for the 100-Series Highways and for each of these subgroups of non-100-Series Highways. The selection of repaving projects to be included in the capital program are based on the priority lists which are developed within the funding available in each category. Certainly, a higher percentage of funding is allocated to the higher volume grouping.

How much time do I have left?

MR. SPEAKER: Quite a bit of time, you still have five minutes.

MR. HUSKILSON: Five? Thank you. This entire process is a valid guide, but there is an allowance for extreme deterioration over the winter. Sometimes we must take a second

[Page 784]

look when roads have experienced extraordinary deterioration after the analysis. To explain this further, this year our engineers are analyzing roads to prioritize for the next construction season, but if winter and spring conditions devastate an area not seen as a direct priority today, than that road could be reassessed and perhaps added to the list of recommended work for the next season.

Transportation and Public Works is always working to advance our pavement management system. Just one year ago, we introduced to Nova Scotia the ARAN. The Automated Road Analyser, is designed for computerized monitoring and rating of the pavement condition. The ARAN vehicle is a vehicle equipped with computers for data collection. Data is gathered continuously at highway speeds to determine pavement condition, rutting, roughness, grade, curve radius, roadside inventory and as signage and guard rails, passing zones, the things that determine the overall condition of the road.

Although we can see the ARAN as a money saver for Nova Scotia, this computerized system is capable of measuring at high speeds. Now they are taken manually requiring full traffic control and this practice is time consuming and costly. The ARAN will not only eliminate this problem, but will also enhance Nova Scotia's objective road evaluation criteria.

It is our vision that someday we will be able to get ahead of the complete decay of roads and highways by using the ARAN as a tool that can warn us of the maintenance problems before they are visible to the naked eye or felt by driving discomfort. So far the ARAN has been used to access the condition of the 100-Series Highways, and we are anxious to have it doing work on the secondary roads throughout the province.

Mr. Speaker, I am satisfied that the decisions made within the Department of Transportation and Public Works about road development and maintenance are good decisions based on fairness and need. I am proud of the hard-working and dedicated men and women working in our districts whose job it is to rate the roads and highways in the areas where they work, where they live and where they drive each day.

I trust the judgment of these professionals and the recommendations they make. Transportation and Public Works infrastructure management engineers work in concert with these professionals in the field to make the best decisions for all Nova Scotians. Keeping our highways safe, our connectors strong and the potential to move goods, services and people through the province in a safe and efficient manner is our top priority. This may not be the way it has been done in the past, but I assure you this is the way it is done now, and it will be done this way in the future. Thank you. (Applause)

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

MR. WILLIAM ESTABROOKS: First of all, I would like to congratulate the member for Digby-Annapolis. Last evening, in about, what is that, 21 minutes time, we debated during

[Page 785]

the late show, an issue somewhat like this, but we didn't have quite as many members present, did we? Obviously because perhaps it is not media driven, perhaps because maybe tourism wasn't attached; suddenly we are getting closer to prime time with every move.

Yet, it is of real consequence to Nova Scotians that health care is important, education is important - ask me, school teacher that I am - but roads, a topic near and dear to the seat of our pants is important to every Nova Scotian. Was it mentioned in the Speech from the Throne, that simple, five-letter word roads? It was not mentioned.

However, I would like to address my remarks, and of the member who is going to follow me, closely connected as a neighbour, I believe we are going to talk about the connection between tourism and important roads. So I am going to ask you, where do the majority of tourists go when they come to this province? Where do they visit? Secondly, where are the major tourist attractions in Nova Scotia? Finally, how can we, as legislators, assist in the development of this important industry?

Where do tourists go in this province? They do not come to metro Halifax to go to the casino. This is not Atlantic City North, I want to assure members opposite. The majority of tourists come to this province to witness up-front and in person the quality of life that we know exists here. They come to visit the valleys, the forests, they come to visit our famous shorefront. That is why they are here. Tourism Nova Scotia provided me with two excellent videos recently that it distributed to students in one of our elementary schools, Destination Nova Scotia and Come to Life by the Sea. I think we will all agree that tourism is a major industry in this province. Where are these major attractions for tourism?

My apologies to Cape Breton and the Highland National Park but I would like to point out to you that when you go to the major tourist attractions in this province you are not on 100-Series Highways, you are on secondary roads. In fact, I had the opportunity today to meet with a couple of old friends who were in our gallery earlier, tourist operators in close proximity to Peggy's Cove. They said, it is so great to see that you are the Critic for Transportation. I said to Carl and Shelley Webb, why is that? Well, the number one problem we have in tourism is roads. The connection? Think about it. Should we be talking to the Minister of Transportation and Public Works about tourism or should we be talking to the Minister of Economic Development about tourism?

I have a letter here from Miss Heather Coolen. I will table it. This letter comes from the Honourable Clifford Huskilson, who is replying to Miss Coolen about the many concerns she has in the St. Margaret's Bay area about roads. Roads and more roads. There is that topic again.

However, I also want to point out that there are some concerns in areas of my riding of Timberlea-Prospect. I ask the Minister of Transportation and Public Works, is he at all aware of where the community of Terence Bay exists? Do you know Lower Prospect from

[Page 786]

Prospect? Do you know Porcupine Hill from around the river? He smiles at the answer. I say to people who visit us in our riding, go visit Porcupine Hill, it is on the road to downtown, beautiful Terence Bay. However, (Interruptions) I am sorry, you have that patented, I assume, do you? Porcupine Hill is a section of one of the worst sets of roads in this province. It is part of Timberlea-Prospect. It is travelled by many tourists. Yet I can compare it in all likelihood to a mogul ski hill. Ignored, forgotten.

[5:45 p.m.]

So, the final point, what do we have as suggestions? Let's be cooperative. Let's be consultative. I think it is important for some long-term planning. The plan should be very straightforward and quite simple.

The Department of Education, led by the esteemed minister, I believe refers constantly to these terms. I might have them wrong, but there are crucial schools, there are important schools, there are necessary schools. There are criteria, I have been told, according to that terminology. I believe the Minister of Education should give the advice . . .

AN HON MEMBER: I don't believe him?

MR. ESTABROOKS: I do not believe him most of the time either, but I believe the Minister of Education should (Interruptions)

Let me rephrase that, sir.

MR. SPEAKER: Would you please.

MR. ESTABROOKS: Could it be please with orange ribbon?

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

MR. ESTABROOKS: I would ask the Minister of Education to perhaps consult with the Minister of Transportation and have him priorize the roads in this province. In fact, perhaps we should call it the P3 program for roads in this province. We should have a plan. We should priorize the plan.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member has one minute.

MR. ESTABROOKS: And last, Mr. Speaker, I believe we should publish the plan. Tell us three Ps for highway improvements in this province. Do not talk 100-Series to us. Make sure that you know that the majority of tourists in this area get off your beloved 100-Series Highways, the garbage expressway through Timberlea-Prospect. They go down the Prospect

[Page 787]

Road. They go down Route 333. Those are the roads according to three Ps of highway construction that we would like to see you respond to.

Congratulations again and I support your resolution.

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

DR. HINRICH BITTER-SUERMANN: Mr. Speaker, I am much relieved that I may rise tonight on an issue that is not health care. It is like having a holiday from pain.

I would like to congratulate the Minister of Transportation for his initiative that he is embracing, namely to establish a fair, bipartisan approach to road maintenance and road construction in Nova Scotia. That is an excellent idea and I think if it is not just lip-service, and I have no reason to believe that it should be lip-service, I think it can work. Nova Scotians are sick and tired of the pre-election paving and the post-election neglect of roads.

Maintenance of roads, as the honourable Minister of Transportation well knows, is cheaper than reconstruction or rebuilding of roads. If we could get out of this rut, no pun intended, to let roads go downhill until election looms or is predictable, then Nova Scotian taxpayers would earn. We all would be better off.

I think, obviously, one of the reasons that we have to be parsimonious in our approach to road construction and maintenance is that the federal government has not been forthcoming to refunnel the monies that Nova Scotia car drivers and consumers of gasoline pay to Ottawa. I think it would be an excellent initiative, again a bi- or really a tri-partisan initiative if you could get together and make it our position that we get back from Ottawa in terms of road money that goes to Ottawa from our roads.

Another point I would like to make is that, obviously, a good road infrastructure - and the Minister of Transportation and Public Works knows that - is the healthiest underpinning for tourism and industry. Without an infrastructure province-wide, we have a patchy and hopscotch-type of distribution of industry and tourism.

Case in point. In my riding, we have the symbol for Nova Scotia. It is situated in my riding. I take great pride in knowing that Peggy's Cove is at the end; it is the outpost of my riding, Chester-St. Margaret's. The road to Peggy's Cove, as you know, is a disaster. Most tourists go to Peggy's Cove via Route 333, and not from Halifax, because it is the Yankees that come to our province to visit Peggy's Cove and they come from the South Shore. The very fact that the first kilometres of the Peggy's Cove Road are now paved is an excellent initiative by your department and I congratulate you for it. It shows that we are on the right way; however, there are roads that are not as catchy as the Peggy's Cove Road and they are as important.

[Page 788]

The Lighthouse Route, of which my riding possesses quite a few miles, has tertiary routes. They are the roads that go along the coves and the points and that is where the tourists go. They don't rush the Highway No. 103 to Yarmouth. They go not on the Highway No. 103, but they go around the Blandford Peninsula, Highway No. 329. Those roads are equally important. I think, with all due respect for your enthusiasm for a road analyser and a toll-free number, the vox populi is the best voice to, and those are the tourists and the people who live in rural Nova Scotia; they will tell you where paving is needed.

If I would be a dreamer, Mr. Minister of Transportation, I would suggest that we in this House should pass a bill, put it into legal lingo, that paving should be outlawed in an election year or for a one-half year before an election. That is what the people in Nova Scotia want. They want their roads paved when needed. I think when I visited you in your office I got a very good impression that that is the road to success that you want to travel, and I have great faith in your enthusiasm and in your honesty. I congratulate you. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Progressive Conservative House Leader.

MR. GEORGE MOODY: Mr. Speaker, that finishes the business of the day for the Progressive Conservative Opposition Day.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, tomorrow we will depart somewhat from the regular agenda. The tabling of the budget will be at 2:00 p.m. and following the speech from the Finance Minister and the tabling of the budget and the replies that will come tomorrow, we will then revert to Orders of the Day. The hours will be from 2:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.

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

The motion is carried.

We have reached the moment of interruption and the debate for the evening is:

"Therefore be it resolved that full support be given to expanded and diversified economic development in Cape Breton.".

ADJOURNMENT

MOTION UNDER RULE 5(5)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Labour.

[Page 789]

ECON. DEV. & TOURISM - C.B.:

EXPANSION/DIVERSIFICATION - SUPPORT

HON. RUSSELL MACKINNON: Mr. Speaker, it gives me a great deal of pleasure to rise this evening and say a few words on this most pressing and important issue that affects not only Cape Bretoners in particular but, indeed, all of Nova Scotia because it is, in fact, a part of Nova Scotia's economy and the social and economic well-being that is at hand.

Mr. Speaker, over the last number of months and, indeed, over the past year, since Premier MacLellan took stewardship in the Premier's Office, I have noticed a number of significant and important improvements to the Nova Scotia and, indeed, Cape Breton's economy.

Mr. Speaker, we have certainly enjoyed the benefits because of the federal and provincial cooperation with private industry, with Stora Forest Industries expansion and that expansion has stabilized over 800 direct employment, full-time, good paying jobs at Stora Forest Industries. It was a multi-Party agreement that was put in place several years ago by the previous administration and all the stakeholders, that not only stabilized the 800 jobs but it also created 290 new jobs in the Strait area. As well it created during that period of time, particularly for construction workers in industrial Cape Breton, some 2,000 full-time positions during that two year time-frame.

Mr. Speaker, I was also pleased to see during that time-frame a number of other important economic and social benefits take place in industrial Cape Breton. I notice that Tim Systems in the Sydney Mines area created some 55 employable positions. At Sysco we now see that the order book is full, helping to stabilize some 600 full-time positions at Sydney Steel. I also see that additional short-term jobs, and I emphasize short term because I always have the concern that short-term jobs do not seem to give the same benefit as long term but every job is a benefit and every job is a help. Every job is an asset to the economic and social well-being of anyone who works and thereby creating some benefit for his or her family.

The Sysco clean-up is creating some 150 jobs as well as the 25 jobs at the coke ovens. I also notice that SHL Systems, the call centre and communication centre that was put forth in the Sydney area some year and a half ago has created more than 100 full-time jobs, Mr. Speaker, not to mention the indirect spin-off jobs that have been created because of that as well. I notice as well in Louisbourg, Heinbach, a Korean-based company, has entered into a mutual agreement, a joint agreement with the federal and provincial governments to stabilize the more than 250 jobs that are desperately needed in that area. As we know, the downturn in the fishing industry, the TAGS program was coming to an end and many individuals were, in effect, either being victimized, quite frankly, because they were falling through the cracks because of the terms of reference of that particular program, disqualifying them or, in fact, they just did not meet what was intended to be a benefit from that particular program,

[Page 790]

whether it be through job retraining or, in fact, just weathering the storm until the fishing industry would hit an upswing.

But certainly the announcement for National Sea with Heinbach was welcome news. Albeit, Mr. Speaker, that company is just in the preliminary stages of bringing that employable situation back into fruition and it is working very closely with the community and particularly the union stewardship that represents all the employees that worked at that particular facility in the past.

I am going to digress just slightly in terms of the federal government's initiative with regard to the TAGS program. Quite frankly, Mr. Speaker, I am not satisfied with the federal Department of Fisheries' action to date on this particular initiative. I understand discussions have been taking place, that there have been some proposals put forth, discussions back and forth between the federal government, the provincial governments across the respective regions and, indeed, with all stakeholders. I really feel that is not good enough for all those individuals and their families who are suffering, who are in a position of possibly losing their homes, being forced onto unemployment and, subsequently, onto welfare. That is not good enough. We have to be aggressive and I guess by taking whatever initiative I can, I certainly make a note here today that I am not satisfied with the federal government's position to date.

[6:00 p.m.]

I am equally, probably more, distressed at the bureaucratic wrangling that I have seen at the federal level over the past number of years. I get very disheartened, coming from a background in a resource community, when I see bureaucrats and technocrats talking about issues in Ottawa in their ivory towers. When, in fact, some of them, I am sure, couldn't tell you the difference between a cod fish and a trout. That is the real situation as I know it and I am very unhappy with that. I am giving notice on that, as well.

On the education front I was very pleased to see, over the past several years, significant improvements and investment both by the federal and provincial governments in terms of improving our technology, our computer systems and indeed, the infrastructure at the University College of Cape Breton. It has been a major, significant improvement. Last Friday the direct financial contribution by those respective stakeholders is in excess of some $17 million to that particular facility. Not to mention the nearly $24 million that was brought forth through expansion and development by the concerted and hard-working efforts of our previous Public Works Minister and subsequent Minister of Health, the Honourable David Dingwall. I think irrespective of what our political stripes are, we all have to agree that an individual who would work so diligently to secure that type of funding, certainly should be applauded.

We have to be realistic. We are all equals as Canadians and we should all be afforded equal and fair treatment but this is the real world too and we have inequities in all political

[Page 791]

Parties. I have seen it, I have weathered it. I will recognize the fact that in Cape Breton, an area of extremely high unemployment, we do need help at every available opportunity. When you see at the federal level that we had a federal Cabinet Minister coming from a small populated area representing less than one per cent, 0.2 per cent of the total population in Canada, to have a voice at the federal Cabinet level was extremely significant. We have lost that voice, albeit that we have lost that voice we have to work a little harder to make sure that at every available opportunity our voice is heard.

On the note of education, I am quite pleased to be in full support of the P3 school that is slated for the Mira area. I understand that the respective community leaders, the parents, the school board officials, the municipal officials and indeed everybody at that level is making an effort to cooperate and ensure that the site selection process is fair. It is generally agreed, overwhelmingly, that that particular facility is much needed in helping to educate our young children to be prepared for tomorrow's market place.

I realize my time has come to an end. I have really just started but I would appreciate any comments and observations from my colleagues across the floor.

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

MR. FRANK CORBETT: Mr. Speaker, well, well, well. My friend from across the way spoke on a resolution talking about diversifying the economy and development of Cape Breton and I wonder where we are with that because he certainly didn't talk in any terms of any diversification. I remember that honourable member when he was in the House before. One of his plans, and correct me if I am wrong, was the fact that he was going to get livestock to eat the weeds along the side of the road so the highways would be in better repair to get rid of the road hazard, I guess. That was a great economic engine, I am sure. Oh well, we put them out to the Mira pasture, I guess.

You know, we talk in terms of the economy of Cape Breton and all these marvellous changes. Well, let me tell the honourable member something. I come from what is considered a high-tech background, I come from the broadcasting sector. What did he and his federal cohorts do? They sat along and watched the demise of that industry in Cape Breton. It has been made a shambles. They appoint their friends to the CRTC, their friends sit there and they make these decisions that affect all of Canada and, in particular, hard economically hit areas like Cape Breton. They take away their television stations, for all intents and purposes, they take away their radio stations and then give their friends these soft licences so that they are protected.

Mr. Speaker, it would be funny if it were not so tragic. Fellow workers I have known who worked in that industry and people who worked there for 30 or 35 years being set aside because of corporate greed, yet these people tell us, oh, we are in line for supporting high-tech jobs. Well, you know they and their friends, if they are at all interested in protecting high-

[Page 792]

tech jobs they would certainly have made the CRTC say, you want to grant new licenses, you put those jobs in Cape Breton, you put these jobs in areas where they are needed. Don't broadcast from your ivory towers in Toronto. But they and their federal cousins sat with their hands in their pockets and did nothing, absolutely nothing.

Here we are talking about the offshore and the exciting future that awaits us. So what are they doing? Again, we are kind of tied to talking about some federal people because they keep bringing up the name of a former minister and all his largesse. (Interruption) Yes, that man, according to them, could probably walk on water, no doubt, he just couldn't wash his hair with it, that is all. They are talking now about that.

Let's talk about walking on water because you know what? That is what we are going to have to do if we are going to bring offshore oil onshore anywhere in the Sydney Bight because this group wants to sell it to a bunch of their Liberal friends. Do they want to give it to a community-based group? Oh no, no, we don't want to look after Cape Bretoners, hard-working Cape Bretoners, let's give it to the municipality. Oh no, no.

I would suspect that maybe in retrospect the municipality would have had a better chance of getting it two elections ago had another mayoralty candidate been more successful. They would have been at the doorstep because that person would have been more aggressive. I wouldn't dare say a name but there are five or six who ran for it. I don't remember all the names offhand but there were some people there. There was a Mr. Muise and that very well could have been him. Thank you.

You know, Mr. Speaker, they talk about Stora. I think we all agree that Stora is a good corporate citizen; us socialists, we ate their lobster. We were there and we will stand beside. They have done everything but yet, for some reason, this government wants to saddle up close to them and say, we did it, we pointed them in the direction.

You know, a 700 year old company that this group has finally just put into place and I said, holy jumping, aren't they a great bunch of guys. Here is Stora foundering around for years and this group points them in the right direction. I say, thank goodness for this group; this upstart company that has to be pushed ahead by these guys.

There is this Tim Systems, you know, oh God, I hope they don't come to Sydney too often because it certainly has all the sounds of a fly-by-night operation but no navigation system there. We may be there, we may be in trouble. (Interruption) Oh, it may be no Dynatek, but go over, yes, and see how long they wait, see how long they are there, Mr. Speaker.

Sysco's order book is full. Well, I would like to know the definition of full. Is every person on layoff working? Is that the definition of full? You know, we have a great deal of people over on that side talking about what a great job the minister is doing with Sysco, and

[Page 793]

talking about what's referred to as the north end clean-up. Well, you know that north end clean-up, I would like to see where that job was tendered. On property owned by the Government of Nova Scotia, was that ever tendered? I would say, if you look into it, it wasn't. It was never tendered. There are certain ways you can open the door for people.

Here's the real one, they talk about UCCB, but yet, still they will not fund it properly. You know, what's the best way to have our young people stay in Cape Breton and be the economic engine, if you will, of that area? Well, I'll tell you, the way to do it is to give them a good education system. The way not to do it, is provide them with a P3 education system. But I digress, I want to go back to UCCB, again, this group likes to talk about the fellow they say can walk on water. He built that mausoleum there, an edifice to himself, and a wall. Give us that seat, give us that side of the room, and we'll show them.

This group here likes to talk about how many jobs they brought, let's talk about how many jobs they caused us to lose. There's an old saying, when it's all said and done there's more things said over there than done. And that's exactly it with that crew over there. And we talk, the underfunding. The president of that group, of UCCB, keeps telling us that we're being underfunded and we're being shanghaied, yet these people will not stand up, stand on the side of justice and say, we support you. We support you in your efforts in getting fair funding. Yet, they'll play that game with whomever's in power or whoever, they don't want to annoy any of their leaders, especially some of the corporate sector. They don't want to get any of them mad at them. So, this small, little university in poor, little Cape Breton, they will not stand, locked-arm and say this is it, this is it, we're going to move forward with you and we're going to push your agenda forward, and for the good of all of Cape Breton.

No, they will sit back there and probably take their pacifiers and suck on them while the government says, here's what you're going to do and be quiet with it. I suppose I can draw my sights, in some respects, on the Minister of Labour, because, in all of his talk about diversification and so on in the Cape Breton economy, he has not once in this House talked about visiting the Trade Union Act and trying to bring it into, well, we're almost out of the 1990's now, but even bring it into the 1990's.

We would certainly welcome the opportunity to help him with that document. (Interruption) Yes, we could do it, he's over there. Yes, listen to that. Truly, there's an old saying, empty barrels make the most noise, so I guess that's certainly an indication right there.

They talk about their Career Starts Program, that's a dandy. That's really great for Cape Breton. How many jobs are coming to Cape Breton from the Career Starts Program? Well, I guess I'll answer it myself and say, none to Cape Breton. They talk in terms, they pay that part of the Island or that part of the province just mere lip-service. It's time that this group realizes that the people aren't buying their schtick anymore, we're coming on the age of a new millennium, and people are tired of it. People are tired with these people's politics as usual. It's not politics as usual anymore. It's politics for the people. These people have to

[Page 794]

realize it. Those across the way from me are here day in, day out, making ludicrous suggestions to us and talking about job creation, which just isn't there for them.

In conclusion, I just can't believe that they would put a motion like that forward and not talk in any substantive way about diversifying the economy, just praising their former federal members. Thank you.

[6:15 p.m.]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Digby-Annapolis.

MR. GORDON BALSER: It gives me pleasure to rise tonight and speak to the resolution that we give full support to an expanded and diversified economy in Cape Breton. Cape Breton and the rest of Nova Scotia, too, are in need of some serious economic development, a plan that is more than just words and lip-service.

I have a document here that would indicate that unemployment in Cape Breton is actually increasing. Cape Breton suffers from the highest level of unemployment in the Province of Nova Scotia and, in fact, in Canada. There is no relief in sight. There is no plan that clearly addresses the uniqueness of Cape Breton's needs. We do not want to sacrifice the needs of the rest of Nova Scotia at the expense of Cape Breton. What we need to do is put together a plan that clearly gives us a direction and a focus. As they say, when you look at Cape Breton and compare it with metro, metro has much lower levels of unemployment. Even in the rest of mainland Nova Scotia the unemployment levels are significantly lower.

It is nice to hear positive comments from the Minister of Labour around the things that have been going on to help develop new opportunities, but the problem still exists. In fact, the president of industrial Cape Breton's Board of Trade indicated one of the solutions on the horizon, of course, is the Sable gas project and the opportunities that may come from that. The president of the Board of Trade for Cape Breton is very seriously concerned that unless there is an opportunity to have lateral lines in place that will provide natural gas to all areas of Cape Breton, not just Cape Breton but all of Nova Scotia, there will be lost opportunity. There must be a plan to ensure that the rural areas of Nova Scotia, particularly Cape Breton, have an opportunity to access gas so that they too can compete with the rest of Nova Scotia.

Another instance is the high cost of telephone line service. I have another document that indicates that the cost per line in Cape Breton is $812 while that same line in metropolitan Halifax would cost something in the neighbourhood of $550. That is $300 in the difference before these two areas can compete. That is the problem. The problem is that it is not a level playing field and never has been and never will be, until such time as the government implements policies that assess and address that disparity.

[Page 795]

Cape Breton needs the opportunity to be able to compete. How can jobs be drawn to an area when the costs of operations are significantly higher? There are many examples of this. I have before me another document that indicates that Tim Horton's was in the process of putting $5 million into Cape Breton and now may withdraw that simply because the economic climate there is not suitable for ensuring that they will have a positive opportunity to succeed and expand. That tends to be the history.

Companies locate where there are government incentives and when the incentives dry up, the businesses fail to meet their full potential in terms of hiring. That is unfortunate. The problem is very complex and requires that we approach it from a non-partisan point of view. Typically, good ideas get lost in posturing and rhetoric. It is unfortunate because it impacts on the people of this province, the people that we have all been elected to represent. It is indeed unfortunate that oftentimes politicians fail to meet the mandate of their constituents.

Halifax Steel is another example. It seems to me that when we talk about an economic development plan, much of the plan hinges on two signs - for sale and for rent. That is no way to promote a positive economic environment for expansion and development. It seems the solution is, get rid of it. Hopefully someone will buy it and maybe we can patch it together enough to create a few jobs. That is no plan. That is no vision and it will not work.

Stora is a real success story. Stora has expanded and is creating economic opportunities and jobs for the area. In fact, it is the single biggest employer on Cape Breton Island. That is a wonderful thing but it is interesting to note that a company has purchased it. That is what tends to happen too. Success stories wind up being turned over to other companies. What we need to do is put together a plan that will ensure that good ideas have an environment that allows them to grow and develop. That is what is lacking. The plan that is put in place to bring economic development and prosperity has to look at the long term. It has to start by looking at what Cape Breton can provide. Cape Breton has a workforce, a workforce that is willing and able. Cape Breton has some of the most picturesque scenery in the world. You need to develop that in terms of tourism dollars.

You have Cape Breton Highlands Park, a wonderful location, a place that would automatically draw tourists, tourists who would spend money and create spin-off employment. You have Louisbourg. You have countless little communities along the coast, the Bras d'Or Lakes known worldwide for their picturesque beauty. Tourism has to be integral to any plan that is put in place and developed.

Once you move from tourism, there are the forest-related industries. I mentioned Stora earlier. What we need to do is put together a forest management plan that ensures that the forests are there for the long term. More and more there is concern being expressed that many of the forest contractors are in it for the short term and we need to ensure that that is in place. We need to ensure that the lateral pipeline is in place so that whatever industries want to locate in Cape Breton can do so at reduced costs to make them more competitive.

[Page 796]

You have the Canso Causeway, the Port of Canso, granted it is on the mainland side but it still provides an opportunity for businesses to locate there and economic spin-offs. That is what we really need to address. It is no longer looking at the 800 or 900 jobs that can be created when a big project is introduced. It is how do we allow small businesses to have a firm footing and expand. Without that there can be no economic development, no economic engine that will drive Cape Breton's revitalization.

There is a bright future forecast for stevedores and the Port of Sydney. We need to make sure that that can happen. The government needs to ensure that money is spent to upgrade the port facilities so that when opportunity knocks, we have a door that can be opened. On and on the list goes. There are lots of opportunities for businesses to locate in this area - tax incentives and, again, a good workforce that will undoubtedly be willing and able to work with them. Point Tupper is important, to get the new plant there located up and running and working and to, again, have the natural gas that will provide the cost-effective means of competition.

We talked today at length about highways. There is no question that one of the disadvantages Cape Breton experiences is the fact that it is geographically removed from the mainland corridor to the markets of the United States and Upper Canada. It is interesting to note though that one of the things that the government has done to ensure competitive advantage is to put up a toll road so that any goods taken from Cape Breton and transported by highway have to pay a toll to their own provincial government before they can be marketed. That is unfortunate and shortsighted.

What has to happen is the plan must bring together all the players. It is no longer enough for government simply to say, we have a vision and we know what is right. What has to happen is business has to sit down at the table with labour, with government, with the various other groups, and make a plan that works for everyone in the Province of Nova Scotia.

To single out Cape Breton for special treatment - it is a special situation, does deserve special consideration - but what has to happen is the entire province has to grow as a unit; as one area becomes stronger, so do the other areas. The list goes on and on as I said. We talk of the fact that Cape Breton now has access to world-class tourist facilities and that too is a wonderful thing. As I say, it is high time that we began to look at the uniqueness of Cape Breton and address the concerns but at the same time what is good for Cape Breton is good for the rest of Nova Scotia. Thank you, Mr. Speaker. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: Honourable members, that concludes our business for the day.

[The House rose at 6:24 p.m.]