The Nova Scotia Legislature

The House resumed on:
September 21, 2017.

Hansard -- Wed., June 24, 1998

First Session

WEDNESDAY, JUNE 24, 1998

TABLE OF CONTENTS PAGE
GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 872, Transport. & Pub. Wks. - N.S. Safety Council:
Car Seat Use Info. - Applaud, Hon. C. Huskilson 1705
Vote - Affirmative 1706
Res. 873, Housing & Mun. Affs. - Senior Citizens' Sec't.:
Housing Options (Conf. 1999) - Convene, Hon. W. Gaudet 1706
Vote - Affirmative 1707
Res. 874, Educ. & Culture/HRDC - Post-Secondary Educ.:
N.S. Links Prog. - Congrats., Hon. R. Harrison 1707
Vote - Affirmative 1708
Res. 875, Masstown: House Fire (22/06/98) - Condolences Send,
Hon. E. Lorraine 1708
Vote - Affirmative 1709
Res. 876, Justice: Chief Justice, Hon. Lorne Clarke
(Retirement 30/06/98) - Contribution Applaud, Hon. J. Smith 1709
Vote - Affirmative 1709
Res. 877, Educ. - Libraries: Summer Reading Program (Kids Connect) -
Endorse, Hon. R. Harrison 1709
Vote - Affirmative 1710
Res. 878, Agric. - Farmers With Disabilities (Can.): Carl Palmer
(Aylesford, Kings Co.) - Leadership Recognize, Hon. E. Lorraine 1710
Vote - Affirmative 1711
NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 879, Bill No. 1 (HRM): Treatment (Gov't. [N.S.]) - Explain,
Mr. J. Holm 1712
Res. 880, Transport. & Pub. Wks. - Airports: Emergencies Response -
Request (Gov't. [Can.]), Dr. H. Bitter-Suermann 1712
Res. 881, Michelle Dockrill NDP MP: Expenses -
Taxpayers (Bras d'Or) Inform, Hon. R. MacKinnon 1713
Res. 882, Educ. - Schools: Rural Select - Unaffordable,
Ms. E. O'Connell 1714
Res. 883, Educ. - SW Reg. Bd.: Reading Recovery - Diana Fall and
Students Congrats., Mr. J. Leefe 1714
Vote - Affirmative 1715
Res. 884, Fin. - Gaming Corp. (PAC [17/06/98]): Evidence -
Opposition (Lib. MLAs-PAC [24/06/98]) Regret,
Ms. Helen MacDonald 1715
Res. 885, Fish. - Critic (NDP [N.S.]): Caring - Appoint,
Hon. C. Huskilson 1716
Res. 886, NSLC - Glass Collection: Contract Untendered - Table,
Mr. J. DeWolfe 1716
Res. 887, Commun. Serv. - Secure Treatment Centre:
Provision Failure - Regret, Mr. J. Pye 1717
Res. 888, Lbr. - Metro Transit: Collective Bargaining Process -
Commend, Mr. H. Fraser 1718
Res. 889, Bedford Days: Volunteers - Applaud, Hon. F. Cosman 1719
Vote - Affirmative 1719
Res. 890, Health - Hepatitis C: Joey Haché Mission -
Cumb. Co. Support Appreciate, Mr. J. Muir 1719
Vote - Affirmative 1720
Res. 891, Environ. - Sydney Tar Ponds: Pollutants (Frederick St.) -
Action Urge, Ms. Helen MacDonald 1720
Res. 892, Human Res. - ABC Appointments: Difference (Sask./N.S.) -
NDP (N.S.) Leader Explain, Mr. P. MacEwan 1721
Res. 893, Fish. - Shrimp Allocation (1998): Re-examination -
Encourage, Mr. R. White 1722
Vote - Affirmative 1723
Res. 894, Nat. Res. - Cape Chignecto Prov. Park: Opening - Congrats.,
Mr. M. Scott 1723
Vote - Affirmative 1723
Res. 895, Leader of Opposition - Power: Responsibility - Recognize,
Mr. G. Fogarty 1723
Res. 896, Econ. Dev. & Tourism - Queens: Privateer Days -
Best Wishes Extend, Mr. J. Leefe 1724
Vote - Affirmative 1725
Res. 897, Health - Wolfville Nursing Home: Accreditation Certificate -
Congrats., Hon. R. Harrison 1725
Vote - Affirmative 1725
Res. 898, Econ. Dev. & Tourism - Signage (Hwy. & Off-Premise):
Study - Table, Dr. J. Hamm 1726
Res. 899, Sports - Equestrian: Samantha Covert (Dart. East)
Success (Can.) - Congrats., Hon. J. Smith 1726
Vote - Affirmative 1727
Res. 900, Educ. - Anna. Valley Reg. Bd.: Murray Goulden
(Transport. Gold Award) - Congrats., Mr. L. Montgomery 1727
Vote - Affirmative 1728
Res. 901, NDP (N.S.): Responsibilities - Tend, Mr. M. Samson 1728
Res. 902, Culture - Atlantic Theatre Festival: Achievement -
Recognize, Hon. R. Harrison 1728
Vote - Affirmative 1729
Res. 903, Educ. - Bedford Library: Anniv. 30th - Congrats.,
Hon. F. Cosman 1729
Vote - Affirmative 1730
Res. 904, Fin. - Debt Reduction: Efforts - Commend, Mr. H. Fraser 1730
Res. 905, NDP (N.S.): Communications - Propaganda, Mr. M. Samson 1731
Res. 906, NDP (N.S.) Leader - Emperor (Fictional): Resemblance -
Recognize, Mr. R. White 1732
Res. 907, Econ. Dev. & Tourism - Eastern Shore Lobster Festival:
Success - Wish, Hon. K. Colwell 1732
Vote - Affirmative 1733
Res. 908, Halifax - Pier 21: Chrysler (Can.) Support - Thanks Extend,
Mr. G. Fogarty 1733
Vote - Affirmative 1734
Res. 909, Health - N.S. Hospital: Accreditation Award - Congrats.,
Hon. J. Smith 1734
Vote - Affirmative 1735
STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS:
Bus. & Cons. Serv. - Licences, Permits and Approvals: Task Force -
Update, Hon. K. Colwell 1735
ORAL QUESTIONS PUT BY MEMBERS:
No. 212, Fin. - Gaming Corp. (PAC [17/06/98]): Evidence -
Investigate, Mr. R. Chisholm 1737
No. 213, Fin. - Gaming Corp.: Mr. Ralph Fiske (Chairman) -
Confidence, Dr. J. Hamm 1739
No. 214, Econ. Dev. & Tourism - Sydport: CBRM Takeover -
Support, Mr. F. Corbett 1740
No. 215, Fin. - Gaming Corp./ITT Sheraton: HST Negotiations -
Settlement, Mr. G. Moody 1742
No. 216, Housing & Mun. Affs. - Housing Substandard
(Hfx. North End): Deaths - Prevent, Ms. Maureen MacDonald 1743
No. 217, Nat. Res. - Can.-N.S. Offshore Accord:
Laurentian Sub-Basin - Control (N.S.), Dr. J. Hamm 1744
No. 218, Nat. Res. - Can.-N.S. Offshore Accord:
Laurentian Sub-Basin - Control (N.S.), Mr. J. Holm 1745
No. 219, Educ. - P3 Schools: Construction - Bidders, Ms. E. O'Connell 1746
No. 220, Health - IWK-Grace Hospital: Fund-Raising Private - Use,
Dr. H. Bitter-Suermann 1747
No. 221, Justice - Prosecution Serv.: Interference - Prevent,
Mr. Kevin Deveaux 1748
No. 222, Nat. Res. - Nat. Gas: Pipeline TCP Challenge -
Consequences, Mr. G. Archibald 1750
No. 223, Transport. & Pub. Wks. - Myra Rd. (Porters Lake) Repairs:
Promise - Honour, Ms. Y. Atwell 1751
No. 224, Health - Deceased Persons: Remains - Transportation,
Mr. M. Scott 1752
No. 225, Environ. - Sydney Tar Ponds: Pollutants (Frederick St.) -
Action, Ms. Helen MacDonald 1753
No. 226, Environ. - Tires: Landfill Ban - Confirm, Mr. J. DeWolfe 1755
No. 227, Econ. Dev. & Tourism - Bishop's Landing:
Consultative Process - Use, Mr. P. Delefes 1756
No. 228, Health: Paediatrics Specialty Prog. - Students (N.S.),
Ms. Maureen MacDonald 1757
No. 229, Environ. - Tires Recyclers: TRACC - Subsidies,
Mr. B. Taylor 1759
No. 230, Council of Maritime Premiers - Sup'n. Fund: Share (N.S.) -
Confirm, Mr. H. Epstein 1761
Confirm, Mr. H. Epstein
No. 231, Educ. - Clare: Acadian School - Status, Mr. N. LeBlanc 1762
No. 232, Nat. Res. - Nat. Gas: Pipeline Size - NEB Consequences,
Mr. J. Holm 1763
No. 233, Educ.: School Bds. - Deficits, Mr. J. Muir 1765
No. 234, Aboriginal Affs.: Logging Rights - Arbitrator, Mr. C. Parker 1766
OPPOSITION MEMBERS' BUSINESS:
PRIVATE MEMBERS' PUBLIC BILLS FOR SECOND READING:
No. 17, Video Lottery Terminals Moratorium Act 1767
Dr. J. Hamm 1767
Mr. R. Chisholm 1769
Hon. D. Downe 1771
Ms. Helen MacDonald 1774
Vote - Affirmative 1775
No. 19, Regional and Community Health Boards Act 1775
Ms. Maureen MacDonald 1775
Hon. J. Smith 1777
Mr. G. Moody 1779
Mr. R. Chisholm 1782
Mr. G. Fogarty 1784
MOTIONS OTHER THAN GOVERNMENT MOTIONS:
Res. 803, Educ. - Univ.: Tuition Fees - Promises Unfulfilled
Apologize, Ms. Helen MacDonald 1785
Ms. Helen MacDonald 1786
Hon. R. Harrison 1787
Mr. J. Muir 1789
Ms. E. O'Connell 1792
ADJOURNMENT, House rose to meet again on Thur., June 25th at 12:00 p.m. 1794

[Page 1705]

HALIFAX, WEDNESDAY, JUNE 24, 1998

Fifty-seventh General Assembly

First Session

2:00 P.M.

SPEAKER

Hon. Ronald Russell

DEPUTY SPEAKER

Mr. Donald Chard

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

PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS

PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES

TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS

STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS

GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Transportation and Public Works.

RESOLUTION NO. 872

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

1705

[Page 1706]

Whereas it has been proven that car seats, when used properly, are a life-saver for children in car accidents; and

Whereas it is necessary for parents to be aware that children need to be tightly buckled into a car seat appropriate for the child's size and weight; and

Whereas the Nova Scotia Safety Council took the lead in educating the public about car seats with a free inspection clinic last Saturday that found some problem with 30 out of 33 car seats it inspected;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House urge parents to be informed about car seat use and applaud the Nova Scotia Safety Council for its efforts in increasing road safety for Nova Scotia's future leaders.

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 Housing and Municipal Affairs.

RESOLUTION NO. 873

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's population is aging and with this comes changing housing needs; and

Whereas the seniors of Nova Scotia make a valuable contribution to our communities and are very important to this government; and

Whereas adequate, affordable housing affects their quality of life;

[Page 1707]

Therefore be it resolved that this House unanimously agree to the government working with the Seniors Citizens Secretariat to convene a conference in 1999 which will provide information to seniors regarding housing options and give seniors an opportunity to voice their concerns.

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 and Culture.

RESOLUTION NO. 874

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 Province of Nova Scotia recognizes that career-related work experience greatly enhances the opportunity for employment for post-secondary students; and

Whereas the Department of Education and Culture, in partnership with Human Resources Development Canada and business and industry in Nova Scotia delivers the Nova Scotia Links Program which offers post-secondary students an opportunity to earn a competitive wage while working with a Nova Scotia employer to build skills related to their field of study; and

Whereas this joint initiative is in its fourth and final year of Success Nova Scotia 2000 Agreement; and

Whereas according to this agreement, Nova Scotia Links shall provide 3,000 internship opportunities to post-secondary students and as of this date Nova Scotia Links has offered 3,437 such internships and has achieved and surpassed its goal nine months earlier than anticipated in the agreement;

[Page 1708]

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly extend congratulations to the Nova Scotia Links Program for their outstanding achievement in the delivery of this unique and cutting edge program for post-secondary students.

Mr. Speaker, I would 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 Agriculture and Marketing.

RESOLUTION NO. 875

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

Whereas a tragic house fire occurred at Masstown on June 22nd that took the lives of four community members; and

Whereas more than 100 firefighters from six different fire departments worked tirelessly to save the lives and extinguish the blaze; and

Whereas this has been a devastating lost for the families involved and the community;

Therefore be it resolved that this House send its condolence to all those affected by this terrible tragedy and recognize the amazing support and sympathy shown by the community and Nova Scotians during a time of need.

Mr. Speaker, I would request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

[Page 1709]

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Health.

RESOLUTION NO. 876

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

Whereas Nova Scotians' 20th Chief Justice, the Honourable Lorne O. Clarke, will retire on June 30th after 17 years on the Bench and 13 years as Chief Justice; and

Whereas Chief Justice Lorne Clarke has shown unfailing devotion to the highest principles of our laws and culture, presiding over our justice system with wisdom, integrity and compassion; and

Whereas Chief Justice Lorne Clarke has made a significant and scholarly contribution to the evolution of the law in Nova Scotia through the more than 800 decisions in which he was involved as a Judge of the Supreme Court and as Chief Justice of the Court of Appeal;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House recognize and applaud the significant contribution of this worthy Chief Justice on the occasion of his retirement.

Mr. Speaker, I would 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 Education and Culture.

RESOLUTION NO. 877

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

[Page 1710]

Whereas libraries across the province are encouraging children to read during the summer months and learn more about the world around them through the 1998 summer reading program, Kids Connect @ the library/branchez-vous @ la bibliothèque; and (Interruptions)

A bilingual website. Ça c'est Chez Web, Mr. Speaker. (Laughter)

Whereas last year more than 8,000 young people were involved in this program which offers a variety of special activities such as story times, craft activities, games, author readings, and projections indicate even greater numbers this year; and

Whereas this year for the first time a virtual exchange program is being implemented which will provide a cultural-connectedness among children in Nova Scotia and those in the Northwest Territories;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House endorse the Kids Connect @ the library/branchez-vous @ la bibliothéque program and commend Nova Scotia's regional libraries for showing our communities how it can be done by fostering a lifelong love of reading beginning with our children.

Mr. Speaker, I ask for waiver of notice.

MR. SPEAKER: There is 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 Agriculture.

RESOLUTION NO. 878

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

Whereas Carl Palmer of Aylesford, Kings County, is the leader in supporting disabled farmers as Chairman of Canadian Farmers with Disabilities; and

[Page 1711]

Whereas Mr. Palmer as Chairman is leading a project to establish a registry of farmers with disabilities; and

Whereas Mr. Palmer continues his commitment as Director of the Canadian Coalition for Agricultural Safety and Rural Health;

Therefore be it resolved that this House recognize Mr. Palmer for his leadership and efforts to support and open lines of communication among farm families that have suffered from disabilities.

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.

Before we move on to the next item on the agenda, I would just like to bring to members' attention that there was no submission for the late debate tonight. So at 6:00 p.m. you can go home. (Interruptions)

Yes, we will have to have an agreement of the House for that submission. There is a submission forthcoming for the late debate.

Is it agreed that the submission can now be made?

I hear several Noes. (Interruptions)

Order, please. The ruling is clear. The submission must be made to the Clerk before the House opens.

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

DR. JOHN HAMM: Mr. Speaker, we have a guest in the west gallery watching the proceedings today, Mr. Ian Coll. Mr. Ian Coll is known to most members of the Assembly as the Chairman of the People Against Casinos and Video Lottery Terminals. I would ask Mr. Coll to stand up and receive the welcome of the House. (Applause)

[Page 1712]

INTRODUCTION OF BILLS

NOTICES OF MOTION

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

RESOLUTION NO. 879

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

Whereas the Council of the Halifax Regional Municipality has asked this House to proceed with the necessary amendments to the Halifax Regional Municipality Act to give HRM the power to regulate rooming houses, pesticide use and other important matters; and

Whereas these amendments have twice been brought before this House by two different members from two different political Parties but have failed to get second reading; and

Whereas the government has offered no reasonable explanation for its refusal to respect the wishes of the HRM and proceed with the legislation;

Therefore be it resolved that this House challenge the Liberal Government to explain to the people of the Halifax Regional Municipality why their need for changes to the HRM Act have been treated with such contempt by this government.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

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

RESOLUTION NO. 880

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 federal Minister of Transport defended safety at Canadian airports by saying firefighting regulations met national standards, despite the fact that firefighters were not on duty when an Air Canada jet crashed at the Fredericton Airport last December; and

[2:15 p.m.]

Whereas six months following the crash, firefighting staffing levels at both airports in Sydney and Yarmouth are practically non-existent; and

[Page 1713]

Whereas Transport Canada's hired gun fired mostly blanks in his review of fire safety standards at Canada's airports;

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Transportation and Public Works immediately request his federal counterpart to take the necessary steps to ensure Nova Scotia airports are not subject to another incident such as that which occurred in Fredericton, by ensuring appropriate emergency training is in place along with the necessary manpower to deal with emergencies involving aircraft at both the Sydney and Yarmouth airports.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member's notice of motion was rather long, but again I will accept it today. But, please keep them shorter in the future.

The notice is tabled.

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

DR. JOHN HAMM: Mr. Speaker, I wish to draw the attention of the members to two guests in the west gallery, Mr. Louis Comeau, a former Member of Parliament and a well known Nova Scotian, and with Mr. Comeau is Mr. Jocelyn Beaudoin, the President and CEO of the Council of Canadian Unity. I would ask our two guests to rise and receive the welcome of the House. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Labour.

RESOLUTION NO. 881

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

Whereas Michelle Dockrill, NDP MP for Bras d'Or, spent a total of $231,681 for expenses since her election in June 1997; and

Whereas Ms. Dockrill's expenses were the second highest in Nova Scotia, the highest being that of federal NDP Leader Alexa McDonough;

Therefore be it resolved that this House make the taxpayers of the riding of Bras d'Or fully aware of what happens to their taxes when they have the misfortune of electing an NDP member to the House of Commons.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Halifax Fairview.

[Page 1714]

RESOLUTION NO. 882

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 the Minister of Education boasts of building schools, like the $30 million Horton High in his own riding, that are "the finest schools in the country"; and

Whereas despite glaring anomalies like Horton High, education in Nova Scotia is far from the finest in the country, and in fact, ranks second-last in spending per capita among all provinces, states, and territories in North America; and

Whereas this evidence of chronic systemic underfunding creates a startling contrast to the $30 million investment in bricks, mortar, computers and outdoor amphitheatres being undertaken in the Minister of Education's riding;

Therefore be it resolved that Nova Scotia cannot afford to build the "finest schools in the country" in selected areas while the basic educational needs of most of our students are not being met.

MR. SPEAKER: That resolution was a little long too.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Queens.

RESOLUTION NO. 883

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

Whereas at a graduation ceremony at noon today, a group of eight teachers from across the Southwest region became certified to teach Reading Recovery; and

Whereas intensive training has prepared these teachers for the challenge of working one-on-one with students who have difficulties in the area of reading, under the leadership of Diana Fall; and

Whereas those graduating with these valuable skills are: Yvonne Armstrong, Jane Chisholm, Dave MacDougal, Andrea Mood-Nickerson, Kathy Muise, Jane Ross, Mary Ellen Sellers, and David Sollows, joining 27 others currently teaching the program in the Southwest region;

[Page 1715]

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulates the hard work of teacher, Diana Fall as well as today's eight graduates now trained to assist elementary students who must overcome barriers to become more able in the vital and basic skill of reading.

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 Cape Breton The Lakes.

RESOLUTION NO. 884

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

Whereas on a motion introduced by the Deputy Premier, this House urged the Public Accounts Committee to call a full list of witnesses so all sides of the Casinogate affairs could be heard; and

Whereas the Premier has declared that the Liberal Government wants to be completely open about casinos, with no restrictions or limits on examination of this affair; and

Whereas members of the Premier's Liberal Cabinet and caucus today voted against a complete, open examination of Casinogate in which all key witnesses would be heard;

Therefore be it resolved that this House regret the evident lack of Liberal Cabinet solidarity and the Liberal caucus discipline that led rebellious Liberal MLAs to again oppose an open and thorough examination of Casinogate.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable Minister of Transportation and Public Works.

[Page 1716]

RESOLUTION NO. 885

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

Whereas fishery issues are of vital importance to our coastal communities; and

Whereas the New Democratic Party member for Yarmouth sat silent while a resolution calling for improvements to the quota system was denied by his caucus; and

Whereas this member, who is also the Fisheries Critic was quoted in a local Southwest Shore newspaper describing the resolution, aimed at recognizing the situation faced by fishermen such as the ones from Shelburne County who demonstrated here, as useless;

Therefore be it resolved that the Leader of the Opposition show some real leadership by appointing a Fisheries Critic who actually cares about the future of the fishery in Nova Scotia.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

MR. JOHN HOLM: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order. I would ask you to take a look at that resolution because the one that the minister is referring to actually was not intended to do that which in his current resolution he states that it was. What it was, was a resolution to applaud the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture for his actions and that, of course, is the same Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture who voted no to a resolution calling for the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans programs to be decentralized and moved to the coastal areas. I would ask you to take a look at the resolution that was introduced to see if it is not, in fact, misleading - of course, unintentionally but misleading - the House.

MR. SPEAKER: A difference of opinion between members is not acceptable as a point of order.

The honourable member for Pictou East.

RESOLUTION NO. 886

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

Whereas Crown Corporations such as the Nova Scotia Liquor Commission are not exempt from the Atlantic Procurement Agreement; and

[Page 1717]

Whereas the Procurement Agreement calls for goods over $25,000, services over $50,000 and construction jobs over $100,000 to be publicly advertised; and

Whereas the Nova Scotia Liquor Commission has given Rayan Investments of New Brunswick an untendered contract valued at over $1 million for the collection of glass from all commission outlets across Nova Scotia, while recently extending the untendered contract once again for another six months at a cost of $500,000;

Therefore be it resolved that the minister responsible for the Nova Scotia Liquor Commission table in this House prior to closure today, details on this untendered contract valued at over $1 million and awarded to an out-of-province company.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Dartmouth North.

RESOLUTION NO. 887

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

Whereas the government has repeatedly failed to fulfill its promise of a secure treatment centre for troubled Nova Scotia youth; and

Whereas the government's justification for this failure is to cite its own failure to provide adequate support resources for emotionally and behaviourally troubled children; and

Whereas this vicious catch-22 means that the government continues to place troubled children in facilities that lack necessary resources to care for them;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House regret that the government is failing to carry out its responsibilities to provide adequate support for Nova Scotia youth at risk.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

[Page 1718]

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 Antigonish.

RESOLUTION NO. 888

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

Whereas the Halifax Metro Transit strike was settled yesterday; and

Whereas the buses and ferries in Metropolitan Halifax are now back in operation thus relieving congestion on the streets of metro; and

Whereas the physically disabled who relied so heavily on the Access-A-Bus system are now able to, once again, get around metro;

Therefore be it resolved that this House commend the Minister of Labour for allowing the collective bargaining process to take its proper course thus resulting in a settlement that is acceptable to both parties.

MR. SPEAKER: Did the honourable member request waiver?

MR. FRASER: No.

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

MR. JOHN HOLM: We would be happy to agree to debate the minister's involvement in that thing tomorrow if the government would like to call it.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable Minister of Community Services.

[Page 1719]

RESOLUTION NO. 889

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 community of Bedford has always been blessed with a wealth of volunteers; and

Whereas Bedford Days, which runs from June 24th through to the end of the month, requires a long commitment on the part of the planning committee; and

Whereas the Bedford Days committee, chaired by Dan Guptill, with the assistance of Halifax Regional Municipality recreation personnel, has planned a varied and extensive celebration of our community and people;

Therefore be it resolved that this House applaud the efforts of these volunteers on the community's behalf.

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 Truro-Bible Hill.

RESOLUTION NO. 890

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

Whereas Joey Haché, a 15 year old hepatitis C victim from Ottawa, has begun a cross-country bicycle trip to raise awareness of hepatitis C and to build support against the government's proposed compensation package for victims of tainted blood; and

Whereas Joey is being accompanied by his father, Joe, who was driving a rented van when the journey began; and

[Page 1720]

Whereas because of the interest of Cumberland-Colchester MP Bill Casey, Joe is now driving a new van donated by Pye Chev-Olds of Truro, with appropriate safety equipment donated by Amherst Auto Supply of Amherst and signage for the van to help communicate Joey's message to Canadians donated by Cumberland Signs of Amherst;

Therefore be it resolved that this House express sincere appreciation to Bill Casey, Pye Chev-Olds, Amherst Auto Supply and Cumberland Signs for their initiative in providing support to Joey Haché's mission and once again demonstrating to this country the generous spirit of Nova Scotians.

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 member for Cape Breton The Lakes.

RESOLUTION NO. 891

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

Whereas the new testing shows that in addition to arsenic contamination, soil in the Frederick Street area of the riding of Cape Breton Nova also contains unacceptably high levels of lead, boron and sulphur; and

Whereas residents of Frederick Street in the riding of Cape Breton Nova are concerned that promised safety measures like air monitoring and fencing have been inadequate; and

Whereas the member for Cape Breton Nova continues to perform his own farcical version of Arsenic and Old Flakes by telling Frederick Street residents their environmental concerns are unfounded;

Therefore be it resolved that this House step in where the member for Cape Breton Nova fears to tread and urge immediate action to protect residents of Frederick Street from environmental pollution.

[Page 1721]

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

MR. PAUL MACEWAN: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order. I would ask you if you could take that proposed notice of motion under advisement. I do believe that Beauchesne, without researching this and quoting an exact citation, does state that it is unparliamentary for an honourable member to cast aspersions on another honourable member of the House in a private capacity. (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

MR. MACEWAN: And further, the proposed notice makes accusations against me which are absolutely untrue, Mr. Speaker. They sully my integrity. They are a violation of my parliamentary privilege.

MR. SPEAKER: I shall examine the notice of motion, but I believe it is in order.

MR JOHN HOLM: Mr. Speaker, on the point of order. To the member's intervention, if I could, I guess there is an old comment that says if you cannot stand the heat, you should get out of the kitchen. I heard this member stand on the floor of this House on numerous occasions and cast aspersions against members from the other sides. The member may suggest that it is casting aspersions; I would suggest that it is a disagreement between two members in terms of the interpretation that people have of what that member's actions actually are.

MR. GERALD FOGARTY: Mr. Speaker, on the point of order. The honourable member for Sackville-Cobequid is raising a point of order on a point of order. That is strictly out of order. It is very clear in Beauchesne. (Interruptions) You cannot raise a point of order on a point of order. It is strictly out of order and I would ask Mr. Speaker to please find it in Beauchesne.

MR. SPEAKER: There is no point of order.

The notice of motion is in order and the notice of motion can be tabled.

The honourable member for Cape Breton Nova.

RESOLUTION NO. 892

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

Whereas the NDP Government of Saskatchewan recently appointed the honourable Allan Blakeney to the Board of Directors of SaskTel; and

[Page 1722]

[2:30 p.m.]

Whereas the honourable Mr. Blakeney is the former NDP Premier of the Province of Saskatchewan; and

Whereas the reason given for Mr. Blakeney's appointment was his previous service to the people of Saskatchewan;

Therefore be it resolved that the Leader of the Nova Scotia NDP should explain why Mr. Blakeney's appointment is any different than the names presented by this government for appointment to boards and commissions here in Nova Scotia.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Guysborough-Port Hawkesbury.

RESOLUTION NO. 893

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

Whereas one of the principles of the new TAGS program is economic diversification; and

Whereas Nova Scotians would rather work than receive TAGS; and

Whereas shrimp can provide economic diversification within the fisheries for communities such as Canso and Mulgrave;

Therefore be it resolved that this House encourage the federal Minister of Fisheries, the Honourable David Anderson, to re-examine the shrimp allocation for 1998 and come to Nova Scotia to meet with representatives of these communities.

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 1723]

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Cumberland South.

RESOLUTION NO. 894

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

Whereas the planning process for the opening of the Cape Chignecto Provincial Park began in 1983; and

Whereas this hard work will come to fruition on Friday with the opening of the park taking place in West Advocate with park management board members, workers, guests and members of the local media taking part in a five kilometre walk; and

Whereas the Cape Chignecto Provincial Park will offer 25 kilometres of coastal wilderness trail, four camp areas with up to 30 sites, along with 50 kilometres of trails beginning and ending at Red Rocks in West Advocate;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly acknowledge the perseverance and hard work of local groups in the area as well as the Cumberland Regional Economic Development Authority in their drive to secure various sources of funding to make Friday's opening a possibility.

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 Halifax Bedford Basin.

RESOLUTION NO. 895

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

[Page 1724]

Whereas the Leader of the Official Opposition continues to salivate at the prospect of becoming Premier of Nova Scotia, thereby becoming the first socialist Premier of this great province; and

Whereas the Leader of the Official Opposition has failed to demonstrate that he has the vision required to lead the province into the next century nor the capacity to make the difficult decisions required to run the province in a fiscally responsible fashion; and

Whereas the Leader of the Official Opposition continues to demonstrate a lack of leadership on all key issues, particularly with respect to the ethical controversy surrounding the honourable member for Cape Breton East;

Therefore be it resolved that the Leader of the Official Opposition recognize that power comes with responsibility and that he has failed to demonstrate that he has the capacity for leadership that the position of Premier requires.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Queens.

RESOLUTION NO. 896

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

Whereas Queens County's annual Privateer Days Festival will be held in Liverpool on June 26th to June 28th; and

Whereas this festival offers visitors an opportunity to, Step Back to 1780, including theatrical graveyard tours, an 18th Century military encampment, a mock battle between the local militia and rebel Yankee invaders and a super street parade; and

Whereas this festival offers something for everyone wrapped up in a good time package;

Therefore be it resolved that the House of Assembly offer best wishes to visitors and participants in Privateers Days and especially commends organizer of this unique event which celebrates an exciting aspect of Nova Scotia's history.

Mr. Speaker, I seek waiver of notice.

[Page 1725]

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 and Culture.

RESOLUTION NO. 897

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

Whereas Wolfville Nursing Home Limited has been awarded a three year Certificate of Accreditation; and

Whereas the Canadian Council on Health Services Accreditation commended the board, management, staff and volunteers for their commitment to quality improvement and individualized care and service to residents; and

Whereas the Canadian Council on Health Services Accreditation acknowledged that the staff at the Wolfville Nursing Home are client focused and the residents' concerns and opinions are always respected;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly congratulate the Wolfville Nursing Home for receiving this award, which recognizes the dedication of all members of the organization to the care of their residents.

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.

[Page 1726]

The honourable Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party.

RESOLUTION NO. 898

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

Whereas more and more Nova Scotia communities are being by-passed through our 100-Series Highway construction program; and

Whereas more and more local businesses are getting short-changed because of inadequate signage leading people and tourists from the 100-Series Highways; and

Whereas the Department of Economic Development and Tourism has been sitting on the Nova Scotia Highway and Off-Premise Signage Study for nearly two years without providing any reason whatsoever for the continual delay in its release;

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Economic Development and Tourism table the Nova Scotia Highway and Off-Premise Signage Study today and stop stalling economic activity for small business owners in many locations across Nova Scotia.

Mr. Speaker, I ask for waiver.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear a No.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable Minister of Health.

RESOLUTION NO. 899

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 Thursday, June 4th, Samantha Covert, of Dartmouth East, won the High Junior Jumper Class at the National Showjumping Championships at Spruce Meadows in Calgary; and

[Page 1727]

Whereas in so doing, Samantha wrote a bit of history, being the first Nova Scotian to win a jumper division in the 28 year history of this competition; and

Whereas on Saturday, June 6th, Samantha rode her horse, Othello, to a second first place finish at this same championship;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House congratulate Samantha Covert for her recent successes and wish her all the best in her future upcoming events.

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 member for Annapolis.

RESOLUTION NO. 900

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 Annapolis Valley Regional School Board was presented with the prestigious Gold Award at the Nova Scotia Transportation Conference in Dartmouth in early May; and

Whereas the Nova Scotia Provincial Achievement Award Committee assessed 36 carriers, giving a maximum of 200 points per evaluation of each carrier or school board; and

Whereas the Annapolis Valley Regional School Board obtained 198 points;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate Mr. Murray Goulden, Transportation Coordinator and his staff for a job well done.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

[Page 1728]

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Richmond.

RESOLUTION NO. 901

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 Nova Scotia Legislature is a provincial House established for the purpose of dealing with matters that fall under the jurisdiction of the Government of Nova Scotia; and

Whereas members of the NDP caucus repeatedly attack the federal government in this venue rather than present their concerns to their good friend and former provincial Leader, who now sits as federal Leader of the NDP in the House of Commons; and

Whereas the federal Leader of the NDP is provided with staff and resources in Ottawa to help her do her job;

Therefore be it resolved that the Nova Scotia NDP tend to their own responsibilities and stop using the resources afforded them by the people of Nova Scotia to prop up the flagging fortunes of their federal Leader.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable Minister of Education and Culture.

RESOLUTION NO. 902

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 summer theatre season has begun with the opening of this year's Atlantic Theatre Festival; and

[Page 1729]

Whereas the Atlantic Theatre Festival has established a credible reputation for the staging of world-class theatre productions in its unique stage venue in Wolfville; and

Whereas critical acclaim in both daily newspapers of the performances to date this season have identified this year's production as the finest yet staged at the festival;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly recognize the tremendous achievements of the Atlantic Theatre Festival and extend best wishes for continued success throughout this, the festival's fifth season.

Mr. Speaker, I ask for waiver of notice.

MR. SPEAKER: There is 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 Community Services.

RESOLUTION NO. 903

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

Whereas public libraries play an important and vital role in a community; and

Whereas easy access to information is the cornerstone of a free and independent people; and

Whereas the public library and the librarians in Bedford have provided exemplary service to the community of Bedford and surrounding communities for many years;

Therefore be it resolved that this House offer its congratulations to the Bedford Public Library on the occasion of its 30th birthday.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver.

[Page 1730]

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. 904

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 study prepared by CIBC senior economist, Linda Nazareth, states that Canadian provinces should continue to reduce overall debt as a means of ensuring long-term spending flexibility; and

Whereas Canadian provinces will owe an estimated $290 billion in tax supported debt by the end of the year, an increase of $8.8 billion over 1997-98; and

Whereas provincial debt currently accounts for 32 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product, causing provinces to spend 14 per cent of all revenues collected on interest and debt;

Therefore be it resolved that this House commend the government for its efforts on debt reduction and support this government's fiscally responsible monetary policy.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver.

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

Is it agreed?

The honourable member for Sackville-Cobequid.

MR. JOHN HOLM: Mr. Speaker, up to the "Therefore be it resolved . . .", part, I would have agreed, but the operative clause . . .

MR. SPEAKER: I hear several Noes.

[Page 1731]

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Richmond.

RESOLUTION NO. 905

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

Whereas recently in the local media there was a report about a study done by Graham Steele on patronage appointments to provincial boards and commissions; and

Whereas Mr. Steele gave the impression of simply being a neutral, apolitical observer of the political process in Nova Scotia; and

Whereas it was recently announced by the Leader of the socialist NDP that their new director of research was none other than the same politically neutral Graham Steele;

Therefore be it resolved that this House make Nova Scotians aware of the devious, deceptive steps that adherents of the socialist NDP will use to communicate with the people of Nova Scotia and that we recognize the study as nothing more than a cheap, pathetic form of NDP propaganda.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

MR. JOHN HOLM: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order, I would ask you to take a look at that resolution because what the member has done is cast very serious aspersions, not only against Mr. Steele but also against the Canadian Bar Association. They sponsored that study and I would ask you to take a look at that and I would ask the member to consider very seriously whether or not he really intends to be casting those aspersions not only upon the individual named but also upon the Bar Society which did, in fact, sponsor that study.

MR. PAUL MACEWAN: Mr. Speaker, on that point of order. I would like to point out that the casting of aspersions is forbidden by parliamentary law against other members of the House that one belongs to. It does not refer to individuals that are outside the House. It refers to other members of the House. I do not believe the honourable member referred to anyone who was a member of this House in his resolution.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

You can make the last submission.

[Page 1732]

MR. HOLM: In response to the member, and so I guess what the member for Cape Breton Nova is saying is that it is perfectly okay for a government member to stand in his place and to cast aspersions against anybody so long as they are not a member of this House.

MR. MACEWAN: That is parliamentary law.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

I am going to table that notice of motion. I do not like the spirit of some of these resolutions that are coming forward in this House. However, as long as they fall within the guidelines, they must be tabled. So that one is okay.

The honourable member for Guysborough-Port Hawkesbury.

RESOLUTION NO. 906

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

[2:45 p.m.]

Whereas repeated requests have been made by the citizens of Cape Breton East for their MLA to do the honourable thing and resign his seat in the Legislature; and

Whereas the member for Cape Breton East was a member of the socialist NDP; and

Whereas the Leader of the socialist NDP has failed to show true leadership by demanding that the member for Cape Breton East resign his seat immediately;

Therefore be it resolved that this House recognize that the Leader of the socialist NDP is much like the emperor in the story, The Emperor's New Clothes, and the NDP Leader's clothes have finally come off showing a glaring and obvious lack of leadership.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

Again, I am not in agreement with the tenor of those remarks.

The honourable Minister of Fisheries.

RESOLUTION NO. 907

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

[Page 1733]

Whereas the Seaside Tourism Committee plays a key role in promoting tourism along the Eastern Shore, and will be celebrating several events this summer; and

Whereas June 26 to June 27th, the Seaside Tourism Association will be hosting the Eastern Shore Lobster Festival, with various events to be held in Salmon River Bridge and Oyster Pond; and

Whereas the festival will include a kick-off party on the evening of June 26th, and a model boat sail, lobster-shelling contest, lobster-eating contest, lobster weigh-in, and a lobster crate relay on June 27th;

Therefore be it resolved that this House wish the Seaside Tourism Committee well as it hosts the Eastern Shore Lobster Festival, and wish them every success as they work towards the continued growth of tourism along the Eastern Shore.

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 Halifax Bedford Basin.

RESOLUTION NO. 908

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

Whereas yesterday in a ceremony at Pier 21, Ruth Goldbloom, President of Pier 21 Society, unveiled an artist's rendering of the Chrysler Canada Welcome Pavilion, a showpiece of the revitalized Pier 21 in Halifax; and

Whereas the unveiling followed an announcement of Chrysler Canada's support for the Pier 21 Capital Campaign by Chrysler Canada President and CEO, William C. Glaub; and

Whereas in announcing Chrysler Canada's donation of $250,000 to the project, Mr. Glaub called Pier 21 "a permanent and living testament to freedom and to Canada";

[Page 1734]

Therefore be it resolved that this House extend a sincere thank you to Mr. Glaub and Chrysler Canada for their contribution to this project which will, upon completion, become one of the historic landmarks of this great country of ours.

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

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

I have to also mention that the notice was rather long.

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Health.

RESOLUTION NO. 909

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

Whereas the Nova Scotia Hospital has been serving the people of Nova Scotia since 1858, and continues to be the major psychiatric referral centre for the province; and

Whereas the Canadian Council on Health Facilities Accreditation recently awarded the Nova Scotia Hospital a three year Certificate of Accreditation in recognition of its commitment to the delivery of quality care and service; and

Whereas a three year accreditation is the highest award granted by the council;

Therefore be it resolved that this House take this opportunity to recognize and to congratulate the board, management, staff and volunteers of the Nova Scotia Hospital on receiving this distinction.

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

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

Is it agreed?

[Page 1735]

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, would you please revert to the order of business, Statements by Ministers.

MR. SPEAKER: Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS

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

HON. KEITH COLWELL: Mr. Speaker, this will be from my Department, Business and Consumer Services. I would like to thank the House for giving me this opportunity. I wish to update members of government's progress in the implementation of the report of the Task Force on Licences, Permits and Approvals.

In April 1997, the report of the Task Force on Licences, Permits and Approvals was released. The LPA report recommended a number of changes that would remove or ease restrictions on business while retaining government's responsibility and authority to protect the public interest. That report set in motion a process to reduce red tape and streamline the administration of government's licences, permits and other approvals.

Last December, the Licences, Permits, Registrations and Certifications Act was passed. This legislation aimed to choke off red tape before it could be created. It established certain standards that must be met before a department may create another licence, permit or another approval. Since then we have been aggressively following up on the majority of recommendations that do not require legislation to implement. I am pleased to inform members that an implementation team, headed by Mr. Peter O'Brien of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business and supported by staff of my department, is accelerating the implementation of the LPA's report and recommendations.

As the Minister of Finance said in his Budget Address, we are committed to keeping this progress moving forward. This implementation team will coordinate efforts from across government to ensure the job gets done.

[Page 1736]

We have maintained close links with Nova Scotia business since this progress began almost three years ago. What we have heard from the business community is rather than there being one huge weight, there are a lot of little burdens that government can get off their backs. They have asked us to eliminate unnecessary licences and we have responded. They have asked us to make it easier to obtain permits and standardize processes across government and we are responding.

These changes are in direct response to issues raised by the business community to make it easier for them to do business with government. We are a government that wants to cut unnecessary red tape and get rid of requirements that serve no useful purpose.

This process is a win-win for everybody. Mr. Speaker, businesses are able to save time and money in dealing with government requirements. The government is able to focus on its human and financial resources in other areas while retaining its authority and responsibility to protect consumers' and the publics' interests.

This process is important not only for its results but for the message it sends to the business community. We promised that the LPA report would not gather dust and that we would get rid of the unnecessary red tape wherever and whenever we could and we are delivering. Thank you.

Mr. Speaker, I would like to beg your indulgence just for a second to introduce Mr. Peter O'Brien from the Canadian Federation of Independent Business seated in the east gallery. I would ask the members to extend our cordial welcome. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Preston.

MS. YVONNE ATWELL: Mr. Speaker, I would just like to say to the honourable minister that it is certainly encouraging to see the Department of Business and Consumer Services move on the LPA report recommendations. It is encouraging to see them move forward. Also, to make licences and permits easier, to standardize them across the province. It is also encouraging to recognize that businesses, particularly small businesses, often lose when waiting for unnecessary licences and permits, so I am happy to see that the LPA report recommendations are not collecting dust. Thank you.

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

MR. BROOKE TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, I welcome this statement by the Minister of Business and Consumer Services. The minister was kind enough, yesterday, to indicate - informally, at least - that he was bringing forward more recommendations that are contained in the LPA report and this caucus certainly supports that. Unfortunately, because his government is not moving as quickly as it should, a number of businesses are still being suffocated and, in fact, some developers are moving out of the province. (Interruptions)

[Page 1737]

Mr. Speaker, it is a fact of life. It is not fear-mongering, it is telling the truth. Scotia Minerals, for example, from Sydney, Australia and Nashville, Tennessee, U.S.A., tried to develop a mine in Gays River. They tried to redevelop an existing lead-zinc mine. The company came to Nova Scotia. I sent the Premier a letter indicating, Mr. Premier, you better get out and meet with the mine manager, Mr. Dennis Fisher, because this company plans on spending $15 million in this province and if you go to New Brunswick, the Government of New Brunswick will facilitate such business endeavours. You don't fill out a permit application and wait for weeks and weeks like you have to in Nova Scotia.

In fact, Mr. Fisher indicated, the Department of Economic Development keep telling me there is one-window shopping in Nova Scotia and he said, Brooke, do you know what? There are a lot of panes in that window. He said, as a consequence I am going to have to pull up stakes and move out. This government kept me waiting for permits from the Department of the Environment, for permits from the Department of Labour and for permits from the Department of Natural Resources.

This highly successful businessman, representing Scotia Minerals out of Australia, came to Nova Scotia and as a consequence of a government with too much red tape had to pull up stakes and essentially had to stop and that is a shame. If this government is moving towards adopting the LPA report they are very slow in doing so. I am hoping under this new minister we are going to see positive changes and we do welcome the statement today. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Finance.

HON. DONALD DOWNE: Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to introduce in the east gallery a colleague who I sat in the Legislative Assembly with for about five years, the former MLA for Truro-Bible Hill, Mrs. Eleanor Norrie. I would ask the members of the House to welcome her back. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: We will commence with the Oral Question Period. Today it is one and one-half hours which will take us to 4:26 p.m.

ORDERS OF THE DAY

ORAL QUESTIONS PUT BY MEMBERS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Opposition.

FIN. - GAMING CORP. (PAC [17/06/98]):

EVIDENCE - INVESTIGATE

MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, I want to direct my question through you to the Premier. You will recall last week we heard testimony before the Public Accounts

[Page 1738]

Committee from Mr. Ralph Fiske, former Chairman of the Nova Scotia Gaming Corporation, about the relationship between the Gaming Corporation, the government and, in particular, ITT Sheraton. Since then we have been trying to draw some of the information out. The Premier has been extremely helpful, indicating that he wants to get information out. A resolution was brought in earlier this week calling on the Public Accounts Committee to do that very thing.

I want to ask the Premier then if he would advise this House whether, in fact, it is the policy of the government that all sides of the story about the allegations made by Mr. Fiske, former Chairman of the Gaming Corporation, should be heard and that all information should be made available to the Public Accounts Committee or any other body or individuals investigating or inquiring about these allegations?

HON. RUSSELL MACLELLAN, Q.C. (The Premier): Mr. Speaker, I fully believe that all information that would be helpful should be able to come forward before the Public Accounts Committee but with the reservation, as I mentioned earlier, that we not give any information which would put anyone at a competitive business disadvantage.

MR. CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, that certainly is the position that the Premier has been taking of late and that is why I must say that I was somewhat surprised by the response of a member of his Cabinet and other members of his caucus this morning, when they opposed such a thorough examination as being proposed by a member of the Public Accounts Committee. (Interruption) I would like to ask the Premier if he would explain to this House why it is, given the fact that he has said already it is the policy of his government to get to the bottom of this, to hear any and all sides of the matter and to present Nova Scotians with a full and complete picture, why it is that a member of his Cabinet and members of his caucus opposed such a thorough examination by the Public Accounts Committee?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I do not think we need a public inquiry to do exactly what it is I want to do and what the honourable Leader of the Opposition wants to do. I think that there are some very good witnesses that can be called before the Public Accounts Committee that can address the allegations of Mr. Fiske. I feel very confident that they can be addressed openly and fully by the witnesses that have been suggested.

Also, too, the Public Accounts Committee has a very heavy docket and I would think that to tie it up with a public inquiry when we can resolve it with good, straightforward witnesses would not be a good use of the committee's time.

MR. CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, clearly the Premier is once again trying to have it both ways. Nova Scotians know that when this government had a majority on the Public Accounts Committee they blocked full examination into these allegations.

[Page 1739]

[3:00 p.m.]

MR. SPEAKER: Question.

MR. CHISHOLM: He knows that when they had an opportunity in this session, this morning in today's Public Accounts Committee meeting . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. Would the honourable member please put his question.

MR. CHISHOLM: I will, Mr. Speaker. I want to ask the Premier why he thinks that he can have it both ways: on the one hand he can tell Nova Scotians that he wants to get to the bottom of this, he wants to have a full investigation, but on the other, his government will not do anything in order to see that happen?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I want to say that while we may have not been readily agreeable to have Mr. Fiske come before the Public Accounts Committee, the allegations came from Mr. Fiske. When he did make the allegations, at no time have we ever tried to interfere with the addressing of those allegations. We are quite prepared, in fact eager, to be able to do so.

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

FIN. - GAMING CORP.:

MR. RALPH FISKE (CHAIRMAN) - CONFIDENCE

DR. JOHN HAMM: I, too, have a question for the Premier. My question for the Premier is very simple. Did the Premier have confidence in Mr. Fiske as Chairman of the Gaming Corporation?

THE PREMIER: Quite frankly, I was not there very long before Mr. Fiske decided he wanted to step down, but I certainly had no reason not to have confidence in Mr. Fiske.

DR. HAMM: I will continue with the Premier. The Premier indicates that he did have some confidence in Mr. Fiske and, therefore, I believe one could interpret that as meaning that he would have confidence in the way Mr. Fiske was handling the operation of the Gaming Corporation. My question to the Premier, did the Premier instruct his Deputy Minister, Mr. David Thompson, to go and indicate to Mr. Fiske that he should do anything to literally make a deal or did Mr. Thompson do that on his own?

THE PREMIER: I did not instruct Mr. Thompson to tell Mr. Fiske to do anything that ITT Sheraton wanted to get a deal nor did Mr. Thompson, I believe very strongly, do that on his own. What we said to Mr. Fiske and probably Mr. Thompson said to Mr. Fiske is, let's

[Page 1740]

get going, let's keep the process going to get the casino built. Certainly, that was not the same as the honourable Leader of the Conservative Party alleges may have been said.

DR. HAMM: Continuing with the Premier. The Premier has indicated that he did have confidence in Mr. Fiske. My question to the Premier then is simply this. If the Premier had confidence in Mr. Fiske and the way in which he was handling the Gaming Corporation and thereby what it implies - that he was confident in the way he was handling the negotiations with ITT Sheraton - why in fact then did the Premier arrange for the Gaming Corporation to be bypassed and to have direct negotiations of ITT Sheraton with Cabinet, if in fact he had confidence in the way Mr. Fiske was handling the corporation?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I have never given any undertaking for the negotiations to bypass the Gaming Corporation. In fact, it has always been my understanding that the Gaming Corporation negotiated with ITT Sheraton, certainly while I have been Premier of this province.

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

ECON. DEV. & TOURISM - SYDPORT:

CBRM TAKEOVER - SUPPORT

MR. FRANK CORBETT: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister of Economic Development. We have information today that ECB has announced plans to enter negotiations with the Laurentian Group for the sale of Sydport. The port is of a great economic value to the Municipality of Cape Breton and will play a central role in the development of the Laurentian oil fields, the shelf, if you will. Yet Sydport is given away on the basis of sadly deficient proposals that we have seen so far.

My question to the Minister of Economic Development is, will the Province of Nova Scotia support the Regional Municipality of Cape Breton which wants to take over the port and operate it in the best interests of the people of industrial Cape Breton?

HON. MANNING MACDONALD: I thank the honourable gentleman for the question. First of all, the fact that he is alleging that somebody gave something away is just supposition on his part at the present time. I have no idea about the financial details. I have not seen the bids nor have I been consulted on those bids. Sydport is owned by the federal Crown Corporation. They sent out tender proposals to certain groups to own and operate the Sydport plant. We have not been apprised of that situation at the present time. When we are, we will deal with it.

MR. CORBETT: Well, Mr. Speaker, I will take the minister back to less than a week ago when we were in Subcommittee on Supply and we had talked about this in committee and he had said, basically, that this group would create many jobs in Cape Breton. I may say to

[Page 1741]

him that they create jobs with our money, not theirs. Here is a quote, "We've been turning commercial people away from the city for years because we never had a place for them to have business in.". This is a quote from the Cape Breton Post, by the then Mayor of Sydney, Manning MacDonald and I will table it for their perusal if they wish.

Now, just a few years ago, the municipalities were in the business . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Question, please.

MR. CORBETT: Okay, Mr. Speaker, I am getting there. My question to the minister is, what changed your mind about development by municipalities in industrial parks? (Interruption)

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Well, as a matter of fact, Mr. Speaker, I thank the honourable member for the question, whatever it was. I have no idea what the honourable gentleman just asked me. I support commercial development in the City of Sydney and I always have. I support private entrepreneurs who want to invest money in Cape Breton.

MR. CORBETT: Mr. Speaker, I didn't know Damascus led to Sydport, because there certainly has been a conversion on that road to Damascus or Sydport, whichever. This group is headed by a former minister responsible for ACOA, David C. Dingwall, who is Chairman and President of Wallding Associates. My question to the minister then is what steps will he take to guarantee that the Regional Municipality of Cape Breton will have sufficient and ample opportunity to bid on that property?

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, Enterprise Cape Breton put out proposals for the sale and development of Sydport Industrial Park. I understand three groups replied and put their bids on the table to the federal government. The Province of Nova Scotia is interested in development in all of Nova Scotia and particularly in Cape Breton Island, where the unemployment rate is very high.

Mr. Speaker, we would like to see development come to Cape Breton. These gentlemen are putting their own money in and I know some of these gentlemen who have been investing quite heavily in Cape Breton. In regard to the comment about the federal minister, if that honourable gentleman creates as much employment in Cape Breton as the honourable David Dingwall did then he will be well served, I will tell you that.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings West.

[Page 1742]

FIN. - GAMING CORP./ITT SHERATON:

HST NEGOTIATIONS - SETTLEMENT

MR. GEORGE MOODY: Mr. Speaker, my question through you is for the Minister of Finance, who is in charge of the Gaming Corporation. If you go back to April 1997 and he was a Cabinet Minister at the time, there were a number of issues of dispute between the Gaming Corporation and ITT Sheraton. We all know what happened, it didn't get to the arbitrator because the government intervened with a lawyer. One of the areas of dispute was the calculation of the GST, or it became the HST as of April 1, 1997. I would ask the minister if that dispute has been settled?

HON. DONALD DOWNE: Mr. Speaker, in fact, we have kept the feet of the Sheraton to the fire, as it were, and through our negotiations it has been settled and it is a little over $1 million.

MR. MOODY: I would ask the minister when it was settled? As of April 1998, the operator, who is the Sheraton, stopped and excluded the non-recoverable GST/HST from the calculations. No other company in this province could stop payment because they felt that it wasn't fair. ITT Sheraton stopped as of April 1, 1998. I would ask the minister, was it settled since then and what was the penalty because they refused to pay as of April 1, 1998?

MR. DOWNE: Mr. Speaker, I understand as of the middle of June the settlement has been arranged and they will be paying the full amount.

MR. MOODY: Mr. Speaker, I would ask the minister, through you, we have to find out what the full amount was. Previously, they were paying over $5 million a year in the annual reports and also I understand that before when we had the GST they paid the 14 per cent and when the HST came in it was as high as 30 per cent. I am asking the minister, can he show me what the government did when they said, we are not going to pay, why it took so long because if any other company in this province stopped paying, they would be on their back tomorrow. Was there a penalty, and I want to know did we get a better deal than the 30 per cent?

MR. DOWNE: So members of the House realize that under the provision, the GST at 7 per cent, the Sheraton had to pay double that amount. When we brought in the HST, they had to double the amount of the HST which brought it from 14 per cent to 30 per cent. They argued the fact that they are already paying double the GST, why would they pay double the provincial side of the HST? We argued the case that we were right and that they had to comply. In fact, we ended up winning that argument. They have to pay the 30 per cent and they are paying the 30 per cent and we ended up getting the deal.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Needham.

[Page 1743]

HOUSING & MUN. AFFS. - HOUSING SUBSTANDARD

(HFX. NORTH END): DEATHS - PREVENT

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Housing and Municipal Affairs. Last night, yet another person died in inadequate housing in my riding. When the Speech from the Throne was delivered, we heard the government mouth a commitment to improving housing conditions. The Minister of Housing and Municipal Affairs has also acknowledged in this House the growing concern about the quality of housing in the Halifax Regional Municipality. My question is, what action are you prepared to take in this session that could prevent more deaths in substandard housing in North End Halifax?

HON. WAYNE GAUDET: Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the honourable member for her question. The honourable member certainly brings a very important question to the floor of this Assembly. It is something that I have specifically indicated to some of her colleagues that I personally want to tour some of these rooming houses in the metro area and I don't just want to see one extreme of it, I want to see both extremes, the high end and the low end. I think specifically in charge of looking at the standards of these rooming houses. I understand that the Halifax Regional Municipality is presently doing tremendous work in this area. I understand at the same time, with our department staff, that we are working in collaboration with them. I think it is absolutely important that we provide not just affordable but certainly safe housing to all the people across the province.

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, my supplementary question is for the minister. I would personally escort the minister through parts of the North End of Halifax, high and low end. We can do it tomorrow morning. This is urgent. People have died in the North End of Halifax and they are continuing to die. HRM has asked this House to act. They have expected people to act in this House. There is no action. I want the minister to tell the residents of North End Halifax, including the churches, non-profit organizations that have been raising this issue for a number of years, why they don't rate with this government on a list of priorities right now while we are all here with the will to do something about it?

MR. GAUDET: Mr. Speaker, there is something here that I, personally, don't understand. There was a bill introduced by the honourable member for Halifax Chebucto, Bill No. 1. The fact that today we are doing Opposition Members' Business, something that we saw that probably would be coming forward today, we certainly were ready to debate this bill. The fact that this bill was brought in by the Opposition Party and today the fact - and mind you, the Opposition Party has had four weeks in bringing this bill forward. I can't understand the fact that if it is a high priority, how come we are not debating this bill this afternoon?

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, the minister knows full well, you control the House, you call the bill, we will debate it, we will pass it and we will prevent deaths in the North End of Halifax. (Applause) I want to know, how many deaths is this government prepared to tolerate before you will act?

[Page 1744]

[3:15 p.m.]

MR. GAUDET: Mr. Speaker, I certainly have no intention of dictating what Opposition business will be brought forth to the floor of the House, and looking at the orders of the day, there is more than one bill that is on the order paper to be debated. I certainly would encourage the Opposition Party to bring these at a future date.

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

NAT. RES. - CAN.-N.S. OFFSHORE ACCORD:

LAURENTIAN SUB-BASIN - CONTROL (N.S.)

DR. JOHN HAMM: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Premier as it relates to his responsibility for the offshore. On August 26th, I believe it was, in 1986, the Prime Minister of Canada and the then Premier of Nova Scotia signed the Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Accord. As part of that arrangement, it ceded control over certain offshore areas to Nova Scotia. One of those areas involves a considerable portion of the Laurentian sub-basin. My question to the Premier is, how much of the estimated 60,000 square kilometres of the Laurentian sub-basin has been ceded to Nova Scotia by way of that accord?

THE PREMIER: I couldn't honestly say to the honourable Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party. But the line was drawn, the line is set out there, and as to how much, I don't know. As you know, Mr. Speaker, that of course is not agreed to by Newfoundland.

DR. HAMM: I have here a copy, and I will provide one for the Premier, and it is a map from the 1986 Accord which very clearly indicates the line dividing the area which has been ceded to Nova Scotia, and it is a very clear line. It is involved in Schedule 3, in which the coordinates of that line are very clearly delineated, and if you super-impose the sub-basin on that, it shows very clearly that the majority of that area has been ceded to Nova Scotia.

My question is, what exactly did the Premier mean, now that he understands that that line is clearly delineated, and that area below that line is clearly Nova Scotia's, what did the Premier mean when he said, in reference to that, fine, let us talk about it, let us see if we can agree where the line should be. What did the Premier mean when he said that?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, as I just mentioned, Newfoundland has not agreed to the line, as set forward in the Canada-Nova Scotia Accord. They said they never signed off on it. The problem with Newfoundland is that we don't know where they think the line is, because to my knowledge, they have not told us where they think the line is. They are now saying Mr. Furey, the Energy Minister, wants to have arbitration. Nova Scotia's position is first, we have to find out where they think the line is; secondly, we have to have a dialogue with them to be able to discuss the matter; and then thirdly, if no resolution is reached, then arbitration.

[Page 1745]

DR. HAMM: Mr. Speaker, to continue with the Premier, Premier Tobin may not know where the line is, but I know where the line is, and the Premier of Nova Scotia should know where the line is, because it is delineated in the Accord. The Premier of Nova Scotia should not be saying, let us find out where the line is. The line is where it is, most of the sub-basin is on our side. Will the Premier get up and say on behalf of Nova Scotians that we own the majority of the sub-basin, or is he going to continue to say he doesn't know where it is? (Applause)

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, we have said that we know where our line is, and that is the line we are going by. We are prepared to talk to Newfoundland, and we will present our case to the federal government, if the federal government says that is what we should do. First of all, we have to be prepared to in fact know where Newfoundland thinks the line is. That is Nova Scotia's position, and it remains Nova Scotia's position.

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

NAT. RES. - CAN.-N.S. OFFSHORE ACCORD:

LAURENTIAN SUB-BASIN - CONTROL (N.S.)

MR. JOHN HOLM: Mr. Speaker, I too would like to address a question through you to the Premier. We know that the Premier of Newfoundland, the Premier who gained great fame as the turbot king fighter, that that Premier has demonstrated, for example in TAGS 2, that when you stand up and you fight Ottawa, you can often gain additional benefits and he had done that while our Premier sat on his hands and did nothing.

Now, Mr. Speaker, we have the Newfoundland Government turning their guns and their eyes at Nova Scotia and they are eyeing the portion of the Laurentian Shelf that has already been agreed to belongs to Nova Scotia. They say that Nova Scotia . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Question, please.

MR. HOLM: . . . cannot make any movement because of the weak political position. My question to the Premier is quite simply this. Is this another situation of Nova Scotia capitulation awaiting to happen and to be announced as soon as this House rises?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I guess if I was sitting on my hands, we know where the honourable member's hands were, they were all over his tie. (Interruptions) But this is purely a discussion between Nova Scotia and Newfoundland. It has not happened yet. Unless we know what Newfoundland thinks the line should be, it will not happen.

MR. HOLM: I appreciate that the Premier likes my Save the Children tie. Now, the Premier in his earlier answers basically was conceding to the Newfoundland position and that is that that agreement of 1986 is not binding. I want to ask the Premier, through you, Mr.

[Page 1746]

Speaker, if that is the position that the Premier of Nova Scotia is agreeing with Newfoundland, that that accord of 1986 is not binding. If he does not, is he prepared to stand up and fight for Nova Scotian interests, even if that means taking the matter to court?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, what I said was that Newfoundland does not agree with the line as stated in the Canada-Nova Scotia accord, that because they did not sign off on any document regarding that line, they say they are not bound by that line.

MR. HOLM: I appreciate the fact that the Premier of Nova Scotia is explaining the Premier of Newfoundland's position. What I want to know is what is the Premier of Nova Scotia's position and I ask you again, Mr. Speaker, through you with the greatest respect to the Premier, will he please enlighten Nova Scotians? Do you support the position of Newfoundland or do you believe that that is a binding accord and will you fight for Nova Scotia's interests and our gas rights that belong to us from that area?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, we are fully assuming that that line is the correct line because it is in our Canada-Nova Scotia agreement.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Fairview.

EDUC. - P3 SCHOOLS: CONSTRUCTION - BIDDERS

MS. EILEEN O'CONNELL: Mr. Speaker, my question through you is to the Minister of Education. We all know that the province released the short list for P3 school construction yesterday. We could not help but notice that after all is said and done there are only five companies in the running to build thirty-one P3 schools across the province. Two of those companies are from outside Nova Scotia. Can the minister explain to us why all but three well-connected Nova Scotia companies are out of the running for P3 schools?

HON. ROBERT HARRISON: Mr. Speaker, the Departments of Transportation and Public Works, and Education have been reviewing the submissions from, I think, 15 different consortia from across Canada. They have narrowed and selected, along with the board partners, to short-listed candidates. The member opposite would lead us to believe that the Nova Scotia content is 3 out of 5. I think, in fact, if she examines the members of the consortia, she will find that the Nova Scotia content is quite high in most of those consortia.

MS. O'CONNELL: Mr. Speaker, my supplementary is also to the Minister of Education. Could the minister indicate to this House what experience the Armoyan Group and SNC Lavilin have in building schools in Nova Scotia?

[Page 1747]

MR. HARRISON: Mr. Speaker, again one would have to look at the elements of the various consortia, which companies have formed together under the moniker of the title, and would be pleased to offer the member opposite any details she would wish on the experience of those individual components.

MS. O'CONNELL: Mr. Speaker, I have one more question in the vain hope that there may be an answer somewhere here. Can the minister confirm then, can he confirm for this House and for all of us that the logical sequence of bundling of P3 schools into megaprojects, the logical consequence of that is that only well-heeled firms that can raise millions in capital need apply?

MR. HARRISON: Mr. Speaker, I am glad we are having an open discussion about this process. We have moved from fiscal insanity to it may actually work. We have Nova Scotia companies that have demonstrated in project bidding to date, the ability to bring capital from not-for-profit pension funds from across this country. One of the elements of the P3 process to date that has been the most successful has been the ability of Nova Scotia companies partnering with others to bring financial creativity to these bids, the likes of which I think will win them, and have obviously already won them, contracts to build some of the finest schools in Canada right here in Nova Scotia.

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

HEALTH - IWK-GRACE HOSPITAL: FUND-RAISING PRIVATE - USE

DR. HINRICH BITTER-SUERMANN: Mr. Speaker, my question through you will be to the honourable Minister of Health. The IWK, in particular its paediatric component, provides unique health care for the sick children of the Maritimes. In a recent fund-raising letter it says, "Reductions by the Department of Health must end. These cuts have resulted in an annualized difference in funding of more than $11 million. The health centre can no longer cope at this reduced level of funding.". My question to the honourable Minister of Health is, should funds raised in the public and private sector for research and for additional equipment that is not essential to the running of a unique children's paediatric centre, should funds raised by private donors be used for operating funds?

HON. JAMES SMITH: Mr. Speaker, it was at that institution this week, the IWK-Grace, we made an announcement of an arrangement containing costs and ensuring a level of patient care, research and education within that facility to maintain that centre as a centre of excellence. Later I also met with the CEO and chairman of the board, along with our deputy minister from the Department of Health. We discussed many financial issues and I am pleased to say that the relationships are ongoing, as we will work with that institution.

[Page 1748]

How that institution spends its money is up to the board. It has a properly constituted board with responsibilities and it is not my job, as Minister of Health, to interfere with how they spend that money. I know that they are doing a good job and they will focus on patient care, particularly children of the Maritimes.

DR. BITTER-SUERMANN: Mr. Speaker, the honourable Minister of Health was his evasive best self. I am on the staff of the IWK and I am in the loop. There is some talk that essential services may be discontinued if the current reduction in funding of $7.8 million per year is not annulled. Would the honourable minister please comment?

DR. SMITH: Mr. Speaker, I think that that honourable member is on the staff of that institution, that maybe his time would be better spent assisting them up there than down here fear-mongering in the House of Assembly.

DR. BITTER-SUERMANN: Mr. Speaker, with due respect I take exemption to the effort by the honourable Minister of Health to belittle (a) my input as a surgeon at the IWK and (b) also my input to this House, although I know this input here may be questionable. We have requested a year ago essential instruments for transplantation at the IWK and we were turned down because there is no funding. The cost for those instruments was $20,000, the equivalent of one day's penalty forgiven the ITT Sheraton. My question to the honourable Minister of Health is, when will he finally admit that we have a health crisis in Nova Scotia, instead of waffling and waffling? We are talking about sick children.

[3:30 p.m.]

DR. SMITH: Mr. Speaker, I am not waffling and waffling. I am working with that institution. This is very important. This is a very serious issue. We are talking about sick children and their families and also the health of women. We are working with that institution almost daily. I feel that the issues are being addressed. That is as well as I can answer that. I really would ask the honourable member, especially in his position in a once-proud medical profession, who goes around saying such things as the health care system is in crisis. It is not in crisis. More Nova Scotians are receiving more services today than ever before.

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

JUSTICE - PROSECUTION SERV.: INTERFERENCE - PREVENT

MR. KEVIN DEVEAUX: My question through you, Mr. Speaker, is to the Minister of Justice. There were some press reports earlier in the week with regard to Sunday shopping charges being reviewed under the Retail Business and Uniform Closing Act. In particular, the report in the newspaper was that the Crown Attorneys who are prosecuting that particular piece of legislation are not going to be pursuing charges because the Minister of Justice's

[Page 1749]

press secretary said the Act is antiquated and because of that the Crown Attorneys will no longer be pursuing the charges.

My question through you, Mr. Speaker, to the Minister of Justice is, why is the Minister of Justice's press secretary dictating the policies of the Public Prosecution Service and why hasn't the Minister of Justice laid down objective policies on prosecutorial discretion to prevent this form of interference?

HON. JAMES SMITH: Mr. Speaker, there is an acknowledgement that the Act needs rewording. There are some areas that are unclear. It has caused extra difficulties for the retailers. Policy is not being determined by the person who is mentioned and there are guidelines for the Prosecution Service and they will make their decisions and I would trust them on their judgment.

MR. KEVIN DEVEAUX: On a related issue, we have in the Nancy Morrison prosecution an appeal being conducted by the Public Prosecution Service and this whole matter being left at bay and in limbo at the moment because the Minister of Justice has not made a decision as to whether he will interfere with that particular appeal. My question with regard to that is, why has the Minister of Justice not created clear and objective prosecutorial discretion guidelines to prevent these forms of ad hoc interference?

DR. SMITH: There is a process in place for guidelines. It is used at the appropriate times and there are processes in place. The system is working well. It is strong. It is at arm's length. It guarantees the lack of political interference and that is unique to the provinces in Canada. Nova Scotia is unique in that aspect of being at arm's length. As long as they are doing their jobs, there will be no need for interference and particularly that of political interference. That is why it is set up that way.

MR. KEVIN DEVEAUX: I agree with the minister that it was set up to be independent and to ensure the Public Prosecution Service did not in any way have interference from government officials. My particular concern, Mr. Speaker, and my question to the Minister of Justice is, whether it be Sunday shopping, whether it be Nancy Morrison, or whether it be the Crown Attorneys' strike, why does the Minister of Justice continue to allow forms of interference without ensuring the independence is being maintained?

DR. SMITH: If he could be more specific where the interference is, if he is inferring that the Minister of Justice is interfering with the administration of justice in this province, I wish he would lay that before the House. The fact is, he does not know whether I have made my decision or not. I have not rendered my decision on the case that he mentioned earlier. I think he is really jousting at windmills, if you will. The system is strong, it is working. The system of justice is stronger than ever before in Nova Scotia.

[Page 1750]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings North.

NAT. RES. - NAT. GAS:

PIPELINE TCP CHALLENGE - CONSEQUENCES

MR. GEORGE ARCHIBALD: Mr. Speaker, my question through you is to the Premier. To the Premier, on March 31, 1983, Trans Canada Pipeline and Nova Scotia Resources Ltd. entered into an agreement to cooperate in the design, construction, ownership and operation of an economically viable regional gas pipeline system for transportation, delivery of gas from offshore Nova Scotia to markets in the Maritime Provinces of Canada and United States.

At the present time, Mr. Speaker, Maritimes & Northeast are very busy making plans to construct and getting permits to construct. Trans Canada Pipeline is set for the challenge. Has the Premier got any contingency plans in place in case Trans Canada Pipeline is successful in their legal challenges?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I really cannot comment on that because it is before the courts.

MR. ARCHIBALD: Mr. Speaker, I know that the Premier says it is before the courts and it is before the courts. It is a very contentious issue but surely to goodness and mercy for something as serious and something as large and far-reaching as this, the government must have some kind of a plan in the works in case this goes unfavourably towards Maritimes & Northeast and, in fact, Trans Canada are successful. So could the minister please indicate what sort of a contingency plan they have or if they do not have a plan, as though he is indicating now?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, Trans Canada Pipeline have made certain allegations. They have started legal proceedings and certainly, as much as I would like to be helpful to the honourable member, I really cannot comment on something that is before the courts.

MR. ARCHIBALD: Mr. Speaker, again to the Premier, in the agreement of March 31, 1983, that was signed, Nova Scotia Resources have the right to 50 per cent of the pipeline. Is the Premier planning to do anything about reclaiming Nova Scotia's rightful ownership of the pipeline that we don't seem to have possession of anymore?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, if the whole agreement is before the courts, a part of the agreement has got to be before the courts and I do not want to be difficult to the honourable member, but I really do not think it would be helpful for me to comment on something that is the subject of litigation.

[Page 1751]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Preston.

TRANSPORT. & PUB. WKS. - MYRA RD.

(PORTERS LAKE) REPAIRS: PROMISE - HONOUR

MS. YVONNE ATWELL: Mr. Speaker, my question is directed to the Minister of Transportation and Public Works. The Myra Road in Porters Lake is in a serious state of disrepair. When this government was campaigning, promises were made to the constituents in my area who reside along the Myra Road that their roads would be repaired after the frost was out of the ground. Well, the frost is clearly out of the ground. So my question to the honourable minister is why is this government unwilling to move on this promise?

HON. CLIFFORD HUSKILSON: Mr. Speaker, to the honourable member, I understand that this project will cost $775,000 and this project is one of the very top priorities in our department and we certainly are looking at it and we will continue to work with it; as soon as the funds become available, we will be looking at this project further.

MS. ATWELL: Mr. Speaker, again to the honourable minister through you, the Myra Road is very dangerous and what I have been told by the minister's office is that roads that have been neglected and need repair, or are in an emergency state, are often moved up in the process. So I have another 18 roads that are also in need of repair. So I guess my second question to the minister is that if this road is on the priority list and is sadly in need of repair, then why is the minister not willing to move this road forward?

MR. HUSKILSON: Mr. Speaker, we have several roads in all the Province of Nova Scotia that need repairs. We are looking at all these roads. We have a system in place for grading the roads and putting them in certain categories, and the roads that are the worst in the province, we are moving on to have them paved. But we have a limited budget that we are working with, but when the funds are available, the Myra Road will be taken care of.

MS. ATWELL: Mr. Speaker, we have 18 roads that have been on a priority list for 15 years. I don't know what priority means. I would hate to see the regular list, if that is the case. So I guess my question is to the minister, Mr. Minister, are you willing to move some of these roads that are dangerous and may not make it through the next winter, once again, are you willing to move some of these roads that badly need to be paved forward before the winter starts?

MR. HUSKILSON: Mr. Speaker, to the honourable member, the way I am trying to explain this, is that if the roads are in that serious a condition, they will move ahead on their own. I don't move them, they will move ahead on that basis, so that they will be done. They will move according to the list, the engineers and the way the reports come in. The worst roads will be dealt with.

[Page 1752]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Cumberland South.

HEALTH - DECEASED PERSONS: REMAINS - TRANSPORTATION

MR. MURRAY SCOTT: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Health, or Justice, whichever hat he cares to wear on this one. The headline on June 24th read, "No dignity left". A gentlemen, 84 years old, Mr. Gordon Fisher of Truro, passed away on his own property. He had all his funeral arrangements pre-arranged in the event of his death, except for one unknown issue to the family. The family didn't realize the Province of Nova Scotia only authorizes certain operators in this province for body removal. The family waited well over two hours, according to Mrs. Fisher, for someone to arrive to remove her deceased husband. His daughter told me this is one thought that she will never get out of her mind.

Dr. John Butt, who is the Nova Scotia Chief Medical Examiner, said the family clearly didn't get the service they should have. My question to the minister, what has he done since June 15th of this year to ensure that this doesn't happen to another family in Nova Scotia?

HON. JAMES SMITH: Mr. Speaker, I have been advised of the matter of which the honourable member speaks and we are very sorry that this incident has happened. The honourable member mentions about only certain people allowed to carry out those particular duties. I think the issue has been of finding someone in that particular community that would do that work. If the honourable member knows of someone that would be qualified and would be available to do that work, they have been searching in that area for that particular service.

Having said that, one does expect on occasions such as those, that people involved would use some judgment and probably things could have been better. I personally thought the person should have been moved inside of the home. It would not have been contravening any rules and regulations, and certainly it would have been a measure of common sense that probably would have made that unfortunate situation at least a little easier for the family. We are truly sorry that this has happened.

MR. SCOTT: Mr. Speaker, I thank the minister, because I think there is someone who is well-qualified throughout this province to do that. In 1997, this government, under the Department of Health, decided that their state-of-the-art ambulances would no longer be allowed to do body removals. The company responsible for removals in this case is Crowell's Funeral Home of Sheet Harbour. The father-son operation has a contract to remove bodies in sudden death cases for seven counties.

Dr. John Butt, the province's Chief Medical Examiner again states, the bodies can lie on the side of the road after an accident, with an ambulance driving away empty, as they are not allowed to pick up deceased bodies. These ambulances, by the way, are paid for by Nova

[Page 1753]

Scotians. Will the minister re-examine that decision, in regard to ambulances removing deceased persons, and being allowed in those vehicles.

DR. SMITH: Mr. Speaker, I think the decision made back in 1997 as the honourable member mentioned, was the right one. It is one that we would at this time continue to pursue. There is a matter of fact there that he is attributing some statement to Dr. Butt that I think is incorrect. I think there is discretion allowed, obviously, if it involves an invasion of privacy, or some situation that is difficult, of a public nature, that there is some discretion there. But again, I have been advised and I believe it to be true, that there has not been a company, another company available in the immediate Truro area to provide that service.

MR. SCOTT: Mr. Speaker, will the minister commit to Nova Scotians today to ensure that this does not happen in the future, that there will be at least one service, one operator responsible for body removal in each county of this province so grieving families will never again be faced with this situation in this province?

[3:45 p.m.]

DR. SMITH: Mr. Speaker, the commitment is to have a service that is delivered competently and one that meets all the needs of the people involved. As far as the question about being a company for each county, that would be restrictive, but there is no question that Dr. Butt's office is very actively involved. We are very fortunate to have such a competent, qualified professional working on that. I am sure that the service, through the Medical Examiner's Office, will be well provided and we will work with them on that.

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

ENVIRON. - SYDNEY TAR PONDS:

POLLUTANTS (FREDERICK ST.) - ACTION

MS. HELEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, my question, through you, is to the Minister of the Environment. Over two weeks ago, the issue of Frederick Street and the level of arsenic found in the soil was raised in this House. At that time, the community was assured by the honourable minister that they were evaluating this on an urgent basis and looking at the test results and, in fact, that they were going to fast-track the process.

On the weekend, I visited that area again and the action that I have seen to date is that there is a piece of fence, like a snow fence. The only thing about it that seems attractive or useful is that it is orange in colour. There are two air monitors that are not turned on and new soil samples, which have led people to understand that there are abnormal levels of lead.

My question, Mr. Speaker, is what is this government, this minister, his department, doing in response to what they said they would do for the members of this community?

[Page 1754]

HON. DONALD DOWNE: Mr. Speaker, as I understand, the scientific group and, I believe, the Department of Health were involved with reviewing what was happening there. They have done some sampling. The sampling was taken out of the water in the ditches. They realized where the problem is originating and they are, in fact, I understand, doing an analysis of the whole area. That work is under review not only with the Department of the Environment, but I believe there are scientists that are involved federally and, of course, the Department of Health would be involved. Unless the member opposite has indications or proof that the department staff, federally or provincially, and the Department of Health are incompetent or not doing their job, I believe it is being handled in the proper fashion.

MS. HELEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I think it is the minister who has the responsibility to see that the issues raised by this community are addressed. Those people were expecting some kind of a response. They are expecting something to happen. Are they going to be temporarily relocated? Some of them are looking to be temporarily relocated. What is happening about their safety and their health while everybody in the country is again testing this soil on Frederick Street?

MR. DOWNE: Mr. Speaker, what I understand, in talking to my staff, if there was any way that there is a situation that would be putting the health of the people at risk, we would be dealing with it. We are looking at plans and we are developing plans in the event that there is a serious health issue. I think what the member opposite is saying about the minister here, is that Environment Canada are leading this process. What we are saying is that until we can prove there is a problem, there is not much point of moving everybody out or taking over the properties. We are being told, and I am being informed, unless there is a change today, that there is not a health hazard, at this point, to the people in the areas where there is a problem. We have asked them to stay away and have fenced off the areas that are of concern.

MS. HELEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, the people have been telling this government for longer than three weeks, long before this came to this floor, that they are sick. They have sore throats. They have headaches. They are not healthy. It is not a healthy area. Putting up a snow fence, what does that protect? Anything can move through that. Perhaps, since we are not able to convey through this means, will the minister go and meet with the people on Frederick Street and explain what an excellent job they are doing in respect to the safety of these people?

MR. DOWNE: Mr. Speaker, I want to make this House very aware, especially the member opposite implying that the Minister of the Environment is not concerned about the health and safety of the people up there is one that I take as a bit of an insult personally. I think it is a shameful comment for a member to make. We take that situation extremely seriously as we have indicated.

[Page 1755]

Environment Canada is leading the efforts and we are working with other jurisdictions to make sure that the safety and health of the individual are at the forefront of our efforts. With regard to going up there, obviously, how do you get up there on a day like today when you are dealing in the House? Once we are over the House activities I would be happy to be able to go up there. In fact, I have invited the federal Minister of the Environment, as soon as she possibly can, to get down to take a look at the tar ponds-coke ovens site and the other areas in that riding.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Pictou East.

ENVIRON. - TIRES: LANDFILL BAN - CONFIRM

MR. JAMES DEWOLFE: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of the Environment. Will the minister confirm for me today that all tires from Nova Scotia are banned from the landfills, as was noted in the November 12, 1996 news release? The ban, I understand, was to take place January 2, 1997.

HON. DONALD DOWNE: Mr. Speaker, as I understand, the issue of the tires and the amount of tires that were being stored around the province is a concern. If I recall correctly, there have been between 5,000 and 7,000 tires removed recently in the areas where there was a concern. Recently we have put money into cleaning up a number of areas and we are keeping a very close eye on the whole issue of tire stockpilage in the Province of Nova Scotia.

MR. DEWOLFE: Mr. Speaker, the minister may not be aware that tires over 20 inch rim diameter are not being recycled at the present time. My concern is why business people in some local areas, including my own, are forced to either pay $20 to have a private company cart them away or stockpile them, as they are so often doing. Can the minister tell me whether local landfills are obligated to take those tires? I am referring to these large truck tires and the ones used on skidders and tree farmers and the like.

MR. DOWNE: Mr. Speaker, the Resource Recovery Fund just recently announced that money is being allocated to be able to deal with the tires that are spread across the province in areas that are not able to look after them. We have undertaken that just recently to make sure that we deal with the other tires. With regard to the over-sized tires, I will have to get back to the honourable member with regard to where they are being dealt with.

MR. DEWOLFE: Mr. Speaker, back to the minister again. They are indeed being stockpiled. One of my local companies has 60 of these large tires, some of them weighing upwards to 1,200 pounds, in storage at the moment. There are no doubt all kinds of these large ones all across the province, the ones that the company will not take at this time. Will the minister please commit today to immediately look into this situation and come back

[Page 1756]

tomorrow with some information on what these companies might have for options in dealing with these tires?

MR. DOWNE: Mr. Speaker, yes I will.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Citadel.

ECON. DEV. & TOURISM - BISHOP'S LANDING:

CONSULTATIVE PROCESS - USE

MR. PETER DELEFES: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Economic Development and Tourism in his capacity as Minister responsible for the Halifax Waterfront Development Corporation. The Halifax Waterfront Development Corporation, as of June 8th, about two weeks ago, approved a new set of policy guidelines for consultation on major initiatives and projects with regard to waterfront development. I certainly am very pleased with this new consultative approach that the Waterfront Development Corporation is about to initiate. I believe the corporation has taken this positive step in response to concerns raised by many citizens about the lack of input by the public in the development of waterfront property. Will the minister urge the Waterfront Development Corporation to take the next step and employ the new consultative process for an overall development plan for the Halifax waterfront, including the land being considered for the Bishop's Landing proposal?

HON. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the honourable member opposite for the question. The whole question of land development in the City of Halifax is the responsibility of the regional municipality. They have by-laws that they institute from time to time to take care of their needs. Also there is a mechanism whereby by-laws can be changed to protect certain areas of the municipality or to, indeed, change the zoning in particular areas to, hopefully, adhere to the wishes of the residents of the municipality in various projects that are undertaken throughout the municipality.

I understand that the group that the honourable member refers to in his preamble will be going before the Halifax Regional Council to express their frustration at the Bishop's Landing project. I am sure that the Halifax Regional Council will adequately deal with that problem in the best interests of the majority of people of this municipality.

MR. DELEFES: Again, sir, my question is to the Minister of Economic Development and Tourism. Of course, the minister well knows that the Waterfront Development Corporation has a role in planning projects for the Halifax waterfront. When a waterfront development plan was developed for the Town of Yarmouth a few years ago, there was an extensive consultation process used to formulate design and performance criteria. These criteria were in place before bids were received from developers. Designs then had to conform to these criteria. Will the minister urge the Halifax Waterfront Development Corporation to

[Page 1757]

take a similar approach in the development of the Halifax waterfront as was taken in Yarmouth?

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, to the honourable gentleman opposite, it is my understanding that the regional municipality in Halifax and the Waterfront Development have had some consultations on various aspects of their particular involvement with waterfront properties, including zoning, and I understand that some time ago there were zoning objectives presented to the Halifax Regional Council, when it was then the City of Halifax, by this particular group and they were accepted by that council.

MR. DELEFES: Mr. Speaker, the minister is aware that only a small but very priceless area of the Halifax waterfront is left for development. That is the area between the waterfront warehouse and the Electropolis Building. Thus the options for development are becoming more and more limited with the approval of each new development project along the Halifax waterfront.

My question is, will the minister assure metro residents that the Halifax waterfront development will no longer be done in a piecemeal fashion?

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, with respect to the member opposite, this whole matter, Halifax Regional Municipality are quite capable of looking after their own affairs. I understand that Halifax Regional Municipality for the most part are very concerned about this particular project and are going to hold the hearings that are necessary. I was talking to a group the other day who are concerned about this particular development. They tell me they are going before the Halifax Regional Council to make their case. That is where the case should be made. That is why we have a municipal government here in Halifax, to look after the needs of their municipality in terms of zoning.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Needham.

HEALTH: PAEDIATRICS SPECIALTY PROG. - STUDENTS (N.S.)

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Health. In answer to a very straightforward question, yesterday, about ensuring training opportunities for qualified Nova Scotian medical students, the Minister of Health refused to mandate slots at the IWK in the paediatrics specialty training program. As the minister knows, no Nova Scotian students have been accepted into that program for more than two or three years. Will the minister justify to the House today why he is willing to spend $80,000 per student per year for training and yet not require that at least one of the slots be filled by a local Nova Scotian student?

[Page 1758]

HON. JAMES SMITH: Mr. Speaker, whether the $80,000 a year is correct or not, I am not sure where she got those figures. However, it is a considerable commitment that this government has made on behalf of the taxpayers to fund medical students.

[4:00 p.m.]

I said yesterday and I will say it again, my job, as Minister of Health, is not to mandate positions. I would hope, and it is a concern of mine if there are not specialists trained in any particular area. I have been concerned about some of the programs for various reasons. It is certainly an area that I have interest in, have worked in, have a great interest in the health of children in this province and her points are well made. It is the solution that I disagree with and I will not make that commitment.

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, over the course of a student's training in this program, we are looking at a cost of approximately $1 million of taxpayers' money. So when communities like New Glasgow are in need of another paediatrician, will the minister agree that without training Nova Scotian students who are much more likely to return to their communities after completing their training, that we are simply giving away $1 million to other provinces and will he recognize that a physician resource plan must have a training component to be an integral part?

DR. SMITH: Mr. Speaker, in this province, we reversed the trend of physicians going out in the community and coming back in to do specialties. We have created 12 positions to do that and it is a multimillion dollar commitment a year. We are working with the universities. We believe in working with universities, the hospitals and all those persons that are involved. I agree that if persons leave their community to either train as physicians or enter medical school, they are more likely to return there. That is an encouragement, but we are not going to do it with a hammer.

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I think the minister overlooks the fact that we have situations in the province where we can not find paediatricians. Will he now recognize that the first step is ensuring that we have spots available in our own speciality training programs for our own students instead of throwing away $1 million on training specialists for other provinces?

DR. SMITH: The first step, Mr. Speaker, one of the earlier steps with retention and the recruitment of physicians is to have communities that are good places to live in, but also that the health care system is working well. We are doing that. We are in the process of alternate funding where, for instance, a community such as Antigonish will be funded for probably, most likely, two paediatricians. Now there isn't enough work there for that, but they will be able to do outreach programs in Guysborough, Inverness County and other works like that. So we have a plan. It is working and we are seeing results from that as we speak.

[Page 1759]

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

ENVIRON. - TIRES RECYCLERS: TRACC - SUBSIDIES

MR. BROOKE TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask the honourable Minister of the Environment a question. This provincial Liberal Government heavily subsidizes a big corporation, now, Tire Recycling Atlantic Canada. TRACC receives $2.50 for every passenger tire equivalent that it collects and subsequently processes. Companies like Skid Mats in Stellarton, Atlantic Rubber Recyclers in Debert and Melanson's Forging in Digby County do not receive a cent for recycling and value added rubber. As a consequence, these small companies are losing business. They are being squeezed out by the big, heavily subsidized corporation, TRACC.

What is the Minister of the Environment going to do to level the playing field?

HON. DONALD DOWNE: Mr. Speaker, to begin with, the member referred to $2.50 a tire. That is only when the tire is processed and exported. Secondly, in regard to TRACC, it was a competition and they won the competition. The others didn't win. Thirdly, what are we doing for the people that lost the bid to be the end user of the tire? What we are doing is working with our organization and working with TRACC to try to find ways to help accommodate some of the concerns they have. That is what this Liberal Government is doing. That is what this Department of the Environment is doing, working with all people in Nova Scotia.

MR. TAYLOR: Essentially what the Minister of the Environment has told us is that his government is doing nothing to assist these small Nova Scotia businesses. Businesses that have been providing jobs and bolstering the Nova Scotia economy for years are being forced out of business. When this government announced that it had awarded the contract to the big corporation there was a whole lot of fanfare, a whole lot of hoopla. In Nova Scotia more than 900,000 tires a year are discarded. In the Counties of Annapolis, Pictou, Colchester, Halifax Regional Municipality, tires are illegally stockpiled. What is the minister going to do specifically to help these small businesses and assist them to fight on a level playing field with the big corporation TRACC?

MR. DOWNE: The fact that TRACC had won the expression of interest, they won the bid. In the real world of business today, companies win and companies lose, that is just the way it is, but what we have been able to do is we have tried to work wherever possible; if a company comes to us and is looking for help in trying to work with TRACC, we have tried to open those doors to show that we want to see if we can find a solution to some of those individual concerns.

[Page 1760]

The member opposite also alluded in his preamble to what we are doing about the tires. As I indicated before, as of June 16th, the RRF reports that there were 7,600 tires removed from tire piles in the past month alone; 2,000 from Meadowview and there were about 1,300 from West Hants landfill. (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

MR. DOWNE: There are also 30 other piles in the Province of Nova Scotia that we will be dealing with over the next . . .

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

MR. TAYLOR: For years these little companies have been supporting the provincial economy by providing jobs and now they are losing contracts, one right after another. We had a call from one business individual down in Digby that lost $60,000 because the heavily subsidized corporation is receiving $2.50 for every tire it collects and processes. It does not state in the contract, Mr. Minister, that it has to be exported, so you go back and read the contract. TRACC is burning 30 per cent of those tires and you are not allowed in Nova Scotia to burn a tire.

MR. SPEAKER: Question, please.

MR. TAYLOR: The question is this, when will the minister level the playing field so these little companies can compete? When will the minister do the honourable things and bring these companies back into a level playing field?

MR. DOWNE: It is interesting the member opposite is so worried about the environment and now talks about burning tires. He will not allow us to burn a tire in the Province of Nova Scotia. Can you believe this member opposite, being so self-righteous about the benefits of burning tires in Nova Scotia? I know he did not mean to say it that way. I know that the member opposite is concerned about the environment, the same as all members are in this House.

What I have undertaken, since I have been minister, is to have our staff work with companies that are having a problem to work with TRACC, to try to accommodate some of their business concerns and I will continue to do that.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Chebucto.

[Page 1761]

COUNCIL OF MARITIME PREMIERS -

SUP'N. FUND: SHARE (N.S.) - CONFIRM

MR. HOWARD EPSTEIN: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Premier. Members will recall that during the election campaign there was an announcement with respect to the proposed withdrawal of pension plan surplus from the Nova Scotia Superannuation Fund to the tune of $28 million. This was drawn to the attention of all members of the public at the time. I have since learned and I wonder if we can get confirmation from the Premier that there was in early 1998 a withdrawal of a sum of about $11 million from the pension fund that affects employees and retired employees for the Council of Maritime Premiers. I wonder if we can have confirmation that Nova Scotia's share was $11 million?

THE PREMIER: I do not have any information to help my honourable friend. I would certainly be prepared to look into that and to get back to him.

MR. EPSTEIN: If it helps the Premier in making his enquiries, I am informed that this would affect, almost exclusively, retired employees of Atlantic Loto, but it was administered through the Council of Maritime Premiers pension fund.

I find it astonishing that a tidy little sum of $11 million could arrive in the coffers of the province and the Premier not be informed about it. Could he tell us which of his ministers might therefore have responsibility for knowing about this?

MR. SPEAKER: The question is referred to the honourable Minister of Finance.

HON. DONALD DOWNE: Mr. Speaker, I will look into this matter. I am not aware either of the situation but obviously the member opposite has checked something out that I am not aware and I would be happy to be able to report back to the House with the information.

MR. EPSTEIN: Mr. Speaker, I would welcome the information when it comes but the essential point on which I am looking for an explanation is why it is that in the case of the Nova Scotia Superannuation Act there was a split 50/50 between the government as employer and the employees of the money withdrawn, whereas in the case of the money withdrawn from the other fund that I mentioned, that is the one for the Council of Maritime Premiers, the money went 100 per cent to the governments. It is that that I want an explanation on.

MR. DOWNE: Mr. Speaker, I will undertake to find the information and I will report back to the member.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Argyle.

[Page 1762]

EDUC. - CLARE: ACADIAN SCHOOL - STATUS

MR. NEIL LEBLANC: M. le président, ma question est pour le Ministre responsable des Affaires acadiennes, but I will ask the question in English, Mr. Speaker. I had a look at a press release that came out of the Liberal caucus back on January 31st, which is two or three days after the other candidate in Clare offered for re-election regarding the homogenous school in Clare, and I will table this, Mr. Speaker.

The honourable minister mentioned at that time that there would be a separate homogenous school in Clare effective September 1998. Could the Minister responsible for Acadian Affairs please update the House as to what the status of this school is at the present time?

HON. WAYNE GAUDET: Mr. Speaker, I guess before I ask the honourable Minister of Education to maybe specifically provide the honourable member with the answer, I just want to share with the House this commitment that was made. I have indicated to the parents and the students in Clare that I will continue to bring those concerns forward to the minister's attention. I have, we are working on it and we are progressing in that area.

Mr. Speaker, I would refer that question to the Minister of Education to provide the honourable member with an update.

HON. ROBERT HARRISON: Mr. Speaker, the answer to the question as to the commitment for homogenous programming within the jurisdiction of the CSAP, le Conseil scolaire acadien provincial, is that the board is meeting with the Southwest board and with our department. They are meeting with their communities. They have done a survey of community interests and are making decisions to fulfil the commitment to have homogenous francophone education available for the students in Clare, beginning this September in 1998.

MR. LEBLANC: Mr. Speaker, I find it rather amazing that the Minister responsible for Acadian Affairs who is responsible for it has very little to say in this matter but during the election campaign had considerable amounts to say about it.

I will table another document here that comes from the Comité pour une éducation de qualité en français dans Clare. They had a presentation here and they quote, Mr. Speaker. There was a meeting on February 22nd - this is a presentation on the 22nd - there was a meeting on the 21st whereby the Premier of this Province, along with the member for Clare, stated very clearly that a homogenous school would be in place by September 30th.

I once again ask, this time I will ask the Minister of Education because obviously I am not getting the answers from the other minister, I will ask more specifically as to what specifically is going on now because the parents and educators in Clare are asking questions

[Page 1763]

and none are forthcoming. The commitments were given by government and not by the school board. I ask one more time, what is the situation with regard to this issue?

MR. HARRISON: Mr. Speaker, the commitment by government was to work with the school board to fulfil its mandate and responsibilities under the charter. CSAP has a clear mission to provide high quality, francophone, homogenous programs in the schools within their jurisdiction in this province. They have met with their communities. I understand there is a board meeting, if I am not mistaken, on June 25th, at which time they will receive recommendations from the southwest school board, from CSAP, from the communities themselves and will render that decision, make it public and will explain to the communities how they will fulfill the commitment of the board to have francophone secondary school available in the Clare district for the students of that community.

[4:15 p.m.]

MR. LEBLANC: Mr. Speaker, I do not diminish the importance of this issue, it is a very difficult one. However, when they were campaigning for votes they knew exactly what to say and they promised many things to the people of Clare. Perhaps it affected the outcome of the election in one way or another but I will ask one more time, the people of Clare deserve more than this empty promise and this Premier stood up in Clare and made that commitment. You are his Minister of Education and I want to have answers today for the people of Clare, who are asking my office for very specific time schedules and recommendations of this government put through to the CSAP, as to what will happen in September. Not just generalities, not just that we are going to have more meetings, they want to know specifically what will happen. The commitment was made by the provincial government and not by conseil scholaire.

MR. HARRISON: Mr. Speaker, I am not sure the member understands the relationship between the province and fully elected and accountable school boards of this province. It was this government that brought in francophone governance. It was this government that led the initiative to ensure that the Charter of Rights and Freedoms that are expressed in that Charter were fulfilled. It established with the community support CSAP, a francophone governance structure in this province and that very board will make public its decision after its meeting within a few days, to make sure that the community knows full well what commitments will be honoured this fall for the students of Clare in their francophone high school this September 1998. (Applause)

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

NAT. RES. - NAT. GAS: PIPELINE SIZE - NEB CONSEQUENCES

MR. JOHN HOLM: Mr. Speaker, my question is through you to the Premier who has also made numerous promises on other things. One of them is the Premier has indicated that

[Page 1764]

he is going to ensure that all Nova Scotians have access to our natural gas. He has said that he is going to make an intervention before the National Energy Board to argue for a properly sized pipe. My question to the Premier is if the National Energy Board is not prepared to rule that the pipe must be of the size that is appropriate, in other words, at least a 16 inch pipe for Nova Scotians, what is the Premier's next plan of action?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, the commitment I did make was to the communities not to the people of Nova Scotia. We know that not everybody in Nova Scotia is going to have access to natural gas right away, but the communities should be able to have access as soon as reasonably possible. With respect to the National Energy Board, I think that is hypothetical. I do not imagine that they would turn down the size of the pipeline that would benefit the Province of Nova Scotia.

MR. HOLM: Mr. Speaker, communities are made up of people. Of course, this government is one which likes to be prepared, they do not like the unforseen to happen. So I am sure, in terms of the long-range planning, through Priorities and Planning and other areas this government, surely to Heavens, has a plan, an option. My question to the Premier is what steps does the Premier plan to take to ensure that all people in communities across this province have access to our natural gas if the National Energy Board does not protect and look out for Nova Scotia's interests?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, as the honourable member knows, if that should happen there is always the possibility of applying directly for an Order in Council from the federal government. I have every confidence that if we require a certain sized pipeline and back it up with the appropriate information, that our wishes will be adhered to.

MR. HOLM: Mr. Speaker, I am sure that the Premier would have the inside track with his former colleagues in Ottawa, some might say the pipeline to Ottawa. This is indeed extremely serious and communities across this province are very anxious to have the assurances and it is not a hypothetical question so I want to ask the Premier, does he have the assurance of the Prime Minister of Canada, with whom he would have direct contact, does he have the assurance that there would be an Order in Council, federally, to overturn a National Energy Board ruling, should that ruling not meet the needs of the people of Nova Scotia as determined by the people of Nova Scotia?

THE PREMIER: If I was to mention that to the Prime Minister, he would say that the matter is hypothetical. If in fact the National Energy Board is not responsive to the needs of Nova Scotia, we can consider it at that time.

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

[Page 1765]

EDUC.: SCHOOL BDS. - DEFICITS

MR. JAMES MUIR: Mr. Speaker, through you to the Minister of Education. The minister on a number of occasions, as other members of the government have, talked about the financial benefits of amalgamation. He has mentioned in the House on a number of occasions in recent days about how much money, I think in the order of $21 million or something like that, he was saying that the reduction in the number of school boards created. My question to the minister is, how many of the school boards in Nova Scotia in the fiscal year 1997-98 broke even and how many were in a deficit position?

HON. ROBERT HARRISON: Mr. Speaker, I think four boards carried deficits, either bridge-financing deficits or actual deficits in the year he questions.

MR. MUIR: Mr. Speaker, thank you and again to the Minister of Education, continuing on with that train of thought, you said I believe four boards had a deficit. So, none broke even. Is that correct?

MR. HARRISON: I realize we are in the estimates mode, but I think the member opposite is asking whether there were a number of boards, to my recollection four of the seven boards had or carried deficits. Those deficits were managed by a mechanism called bridge financing to help them through to the next school year.

MR. MUIR: Mr. Speaker, and again through you to the minister, when the minister is talking about the amount of money saved by amalgamation with respect to school boards in the province, it seems to me that he could not have taken into consideration the deficits that were incurred by four of those boards. Would the minister then tell the House, what would be the net benefit, if we were looking at last year's budget, of the amalgamation?

MR. HARRISON: Mr. Speaker, there was considerable discussion in Public Accounts this morning about the savings of amalgamation. The Auditor General identified at least $6.7 million in saving and we projected closer to $11 million and $16 million. The question is whether or not boards carrying deficits has anything to do with the ability of amalgamated boards to pass more dollars where they are needed most, to the classrooms.

There is no question, there have been considerable savings in this province, considerable reduction in administrative costs, consolidation and savings in transportation and facilities and all of that money, in addition to the external resources, some $14 million last year, some $82 million plus $15 million this year, another $1.7 million added today in infrastructure, have all been added to the per pupil expenditure, some $500 new dollars per student have been added in the last three years to the schools of Nova Scotia. (Applause)

[Page 1766]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Pictou West.

ABORIGINAL AFFS.: LOGGING RIGHTS - ARBITRATOR

MR. CHARLES PARKER: Mr. Speaker, I want to direct my question through you to the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs. Mr. Minister, you would know that in New Brunswick they have had some real problems, and I guess, have made a mess there of the Native logging issue. Now it has actually spread to Nova Scotia, where Native loggers from New Brunswick have come into Cumberland County last week. The Mi'kmaq community has indicated in the past that they are willing to allow a mediator to be appointed to broker a deal. I guess my question for the minister is, has a mediator been appointed to broker such a deal, and if not when will the government appoint such a person so that the situation similar to New Brunswick can be avoided?

HON. DONALD DOWNE: Mr. Speaker, in fact we have been working very closely with the Mi'kmaq community. The Minister of Natural Resources and myself have had a number of meetings, just recently we had the federal Minister, the Honourable Jane Stewart down last week signing an addendum to the agreement, the MOU that we signed a year ago. We had discussions with the Aboriginal communities, and we talked with the federal minister about the fact that we are trying to find a solution through a cooperative approach with government and the Aboriginal community, the Mi'kmaq.

We are moving forward with that. The minister responsible for Natural Resources is working on a proposal. He and his deputy minister have been dealing with the Aboriginal community, with the Mi'kmaq, and we hope to deal with it through that vehicle. In the event we can't find a solution that way, then, obviously, we will look at some other options.

What was really interesting, Mr. Speaker, was that the federal minister complimented the province for its leadership and its ability to sit down and try to resolve this situation before it became a serious problem.

MR. PARKER: Mr. Speaker, as we all know, the case in New Brunswick has been appealed to the Supreme Court of Canada. No matter what the outcome, this decision will certainly have an impact on Nova Scotia.

My question to the minister is, is this government ready to face a decision made by the courts?

MR. DOWNE: It is hypothetical. Obviously, we have to wait to see the courts ruling and then we will assess it from there.

[Page 1767]

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

The honourable Minister of Education.

HON. ROBERT HARRISON: I am not sure if it is a point of order or not, but during Question Period, there was a pledge made to provide the component parts, the member parts of the consortium teams. I would like to table the information for the member opposite. All of the member companies of each of the 12 consortium teams that bid and, obviously, the member opposite can determine those that made the short list, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: The papers are tabled.

The honourable Minister of Finance.

HON. DONALD DOWNE: As Minister of the Environment, a question was posed to me earlier with regard to tire size and the larger tire sizes and what is being done to deal with them. I would like to table a briefing note for the member regarding the answer to that question.

MR. SPEAKER: The papers are tabled.

OPPOSITION MEMBERS' BUSINESS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Opposition House Leader.

MR. JOHN HOLM: Mr. Speaker, would you please call the order of business, Public Members' Bills for Second Reading.

PRIVATE MEMBERS' PUBLIC BILLS FOR SECOND READING

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Opposition House Leader.

MR. JOHN HOLM: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 17.

Bill No. 17 - Video Lottery Terminals Moratorium Act.

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

DR. JOHN HAMM: Mr. Speaker, I welcome the opportunity to briefly discuss Bill No. 17, a bill that will do two things. First, it will place a freeze on video lottery terminals currently in place in Nova Scotia. Second, it calls for the Community Services Committee to have an independent study conducted on the socio-economic impact of video lottery terminals.

[Page 1768]

The number of video lottery terminals has almost tripled since 1993. On March 31, 1993, in Nova Scotia, there were 1,388 video lottery terminals. On March 31, 1998, there were 3,533 video lottery terminals. The recent annual report of the Provincial Government's Gambling Help Line had some startling revelations. In the period of January 1, 1997 to December 31, 1997, a period of 12 months, they had calls from 1,600 separate individuals and 1,100 of those individuals eventually received referrals to either Gamblers Anonymous or to the Drug Dependency Agency in Nova Scotia. That agency is the official treatment centre for gambling addicts. There were 1,100 Nova Scotians who became ill in a very serious way because of their exposure to a gambling habit here in Nova Scotia; 67 per cent of the callers to the Help Line were addicted to video lottery terminals, 20 per cent were addicted to casino gambling and some 6 per cent to lottery tickets.

All of us in our communities are aware of the very high social price we pay when Nova Scotians become addicted to gambling. The statistics from the Gambling Help Line, I believe, highlight and indicate to us, in a numerical way, the seriousness and the magnitude of the problem here in Nova Scotia. There are marital, financial, health, employment, mental health, social, school and legal problems. As MLAs, I do not believe there is a single member of this Assembly who has not had to deal with at least one serious problem that has been created for a constituent who has become or fallen victim to gambling in this province. Some of the problems have been so severe they have resulted in suicidal ideation.

[4:30 p.m.]

Before we proceed any further, we must call a halt to the process and that is what this bill achieves. We must find out and quantify and qualify what it is that we are dealing with. How big is the problem? How harmful are the VLTs? So the first part of the bill provides what I feel is an important first step, a moratorium on video lottery terminals. Before I get into the socio-economic problem, I believe we have a very serious problem here in Nova Scotia being created by the very nature of the video lottery terminals.

Evidence is starting to accumulate that we have the most addictive video lottery terminals that are available. Are we, by providing this kind of video lottery terminal, not catering to gambling as an entertainment, but are we catering to the addict and creating a problem that does not necessarily have to be created by way of the very machines that we have chosen to introduce to the people of Nova Scotia? We must look at the kinds of machines during this moratorium and decide if, in fact, we are adding to the problem by the types of machines. I have no particular moral problem with those that use gambling as an entertainment. I have a very great problem in terms of providing an illness to many Nova Scotians. The magnitude of this illness has yet to be determined.

The socio-economic study that I am asking for in this particular piece of legislation is an important part of the bill. We must look at how many jobs have been lost to the economy of Nova Scotia by way of introducing these video lottery terminals and casinos. How serious

[Page 1769]

is the social and health problems that we are creating by government sponsored gambling? We must look at the amount of revenue from gambling that we are devoting to the treatment and the prevention of gambling addiction.

I believe that we are not doing the job that we can do. I believe that we should be providing this moratorium and this study to start to have a rational approach to what we are doing here as a province, what the government is doing in promoting gambling in this province. The rosy projections that were given to members of this Legislature by the Savage Government have never come to pass. The employment statistics provided by the casinos have never been realized and the revenues have not, as well, ever been achieved.

I take particular objection to the casino trying to increase its revenues by an advertising program directed to Nova Scotians when, in fact, it should be directed to those who gamble outside of Nova Scotia and try to bring new money into the province. I will ask this House for unanimous consent that we proceed with second reading of this bill and that it be referred to the Law Amendments Committee. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Opposition.

MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to have the opportunity to speak on Bill No. 17. Bill No. 17 was introduced by the honourable Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party, the member for Pictou Centre. This is not often done in this House, that one Opposition Party would call forward a piece of legislation from another Opposition Party. (Applause) But this is the second time that this has been done. We also did the same with the bill trying to change the role of the Auditor General in the Province of Nova Scotia, to be responsible for the books of this province.

People ask me why is it that we are doing this. What I try to remind people is that the commitment that this Party made, and I think that other members of this House made when we came in here, was that we are going to continue to put forward the agenda of Nova Scotians in the business that we conduct in here and that we are going to try to get beyond partisan politics in order to do that. The issue here is not whether this is a Tory bill or whether it is an NDP bill. It is the fact that we have a problem in this province with the proliferation of VLT machines and the impact of those machines on Nova Scotians and on Nova Scotian communities. Until, Mr. Speaker, we actually do something to recognize that we have got that problem, then the problem will simply continue.

What is being proposed here is something that we have talked about as part of a plan to try to come to grips with the dependence of the Province of Nova Scotia on the revenues from VLTs. I mean, some of the figures are quite outstanding. The province took in $63 million in 1995; in 1996-97, the province took in $68 million. The increase again for this year is expected to be in the area of over $1 million. It is money that the government has become

[Page 1770]

dependent on. Let us be clear about that, that it is revenues that they use to help fund important programs.

We have to recognize that VLTs are causing a problem. I remember when the decision was made by the former government to introduce these VLTs everywhere, you know, into corner stores. I was part of the Community Services Committee that then went across the province and talked to, you will remember it was called the Kimball Committee. In fact, I think you played a role, Mr. Speaker, in us actually travelling by bus to many of those public meetings. But anyway, what we did was we talked to Nova Scotians about the impact of these VLTs on them and on their families.

Let me tell you that you can go back to that report, the Kimball Report, and you can see that we got an extremely strong response from Nova Scotians who said that these VLTs are having an impact on our lives, are having an impact on our families and our communities, and they need to be controlled.

We then had another Community Services Committee go out and look at the whole issue of gaming under this administration, after the election in 1993, and they talked about casinos but they also talked about VLTs. I do not think there is any question that the vast majority of people that appeared before the committee said we have to get control over the impacts that these VLTs are having on individuals, on families and on communities.

That did not happen. Since 1993, the number of VLTs, Mr. Speaker, has almost tripled. It is quite obscene when you imagine that VLTs were taken out of corner stores and then they were simply put into licensed premises so you would think that would be some indication of a control over the numbers. But, in fact, what we have seen is many more VLTs going across this province. So what is being said with this piece of legislation today, is that in order to begin to address the problems created by VLTs, we have to first of all acknowledge that there is a problem, not unlike an addicted person. We have to acknowledge, the Government of Nova Scotia has to acknowledge that there is a problem.

We suggest the best way to do that is by saying we are not going to add any more VLTs to the numbers that already exist in the Province of Nova Scotia. Once we do that, then we know that we can examine the problem and we can examine, hopefully in a short period of time, the need for programs and resources to be directed to those individuals and those communities that are suffering impacts, serious negative impacts as a result of the attraction, of the addiction, of this form of gambling which has been characterized as the crack cocaine of gambling.

Then the government has to acknowledge and has to recognize that there needs to be resources directed towards dealing with the consequences of problem gambling. Once we have done that, maybe it is time that this government and any future government turns its attention to how the government can be weaned from the addiction of these gambling

[Page 1771]

revenues. That is an extremely important part of this whole equation, recognizing the dependency, increasingly, that this government has.

In Question Period the other day the Premier in response to a question with respect to the casinos said that if we did not have the revenues from these casinos then we could not fund many important programs in the province. We have to recognize that there is something obscene about that and that we need to find an alternative revenue stream that does not prey on the innocent people who are already poor and destitute and contributes to an already desperate situation. Surely, we have a responsibility to do that.

Mr. Speaker, you have indicated that my time is drawing near and I want to urge all members of this committee to support this piece of legislation, it is the first step. I think we need to recognize as we pass it that it means it is over, no more new VLTs in the Province of Nova Scotia and that we get the Community Services Committee on to the socio-economic impacts and then we turn our attention immediately to finding ways to wean the government from this revenue stream. I urge all members to support this bill. Thank you. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Finance.

HON. DONALD DOWNE: Mr. Speaker, I too stand here today with the opportunity to speak on Bill No. 17, a bill that raises the important issue of VLTs and has a tremendous impact, in a negative way, on Nova Scotians. Let me say right off the top, on behalf of our government, I will be speaking in support of Bill No. 17.

The Leader of the Opposition talked about how we are working together, we listened to Nova Scotians and we are here to try to find solutions and I concur. I find it interesting that they were prepared to condemn a budget before they had seen it but nevertheless I am very happy to see them moving forward on this initiative.

In the short time that I have been Minister responsible for Nova Scotia Gaming Corporation I have heard many comments about gambling and VLTs. Without doubt, people have concerns about gaming in Nova Scotia and as minister I understand that and understand it very well and am taking it extremely seriously. We have always had to be aware of the socio-economic impact that gambling has on our neighbourhoods, on our province, on our people. Nova Scotians have told us to act with great care and responsibility and we will do that.

It is clear that the concerns of the VLTs and the problems of gaming are shared by all three Parties in this House. I would believe that we share a common goal and that goal, quite simply, is for all of us to do the right thing. We are responsible for having a better understanding of all the issues and to help Nova Scotians who may be facing some real problems. While the majority of people gambling, gamble moderately without incident, there are some Nova Scotians who suffer great tragedy from the issue of problem gambling. Not

[Page 1772]

only does this impact on individuals involved, it also touches their families, their friends and the workers in their communities. As one problem gambler told me, it consumes every aspect of their life.

We care about people who suffer from problem gambling and we care about the impact of individuals, families and communities. We have been working to address these issues and for example, this year we initiated the Nova Scotia Gaming Foundation. This foundation was set up to provide financial support for projects in problem gambling research, prevention and education. The money is to be contributed by the provincial VLT retailers which match contributions from the Nova Scotia Gaming Corporation.

The first project funded was an outreach centre run by a Compulsive and Problem Gamblers Society. The centre offers people with a place to drop into to talk about their problems. It also provides information, education, counselling and support. Another groundbreaking project supported by the government is the VLT Harm Reduction Study at Dalhousie University. This study is the first of its kind in the world. The study is looking at ways to make VLTs less harmful and addictive by modifying the way the machines work. Some possibilities include restructuring and restricting the choices of games, the length of play, the variety of play and the percentage prizes.

[4:45 p.m.]

Mr. Speaker, in fact, the government is looking at developing a strategy of VLT usage and update machines and new technology being addressed with problem-gambling issues. When gaming was legalized in 1991, the government of the day recognized an important factor. The choice, do we have VLTs in Nova Scotia or don't we? The question was, do we have illegal and unregulated VLT gaming or do we have legalized and regulated VLTs?

Before the legislation, there were approximately 4,000 grey or illegal machines across this province, today there are 3,207 terminals in Nova Scotia. It is clear, we don't want a return to the old days. But we can't just wipe out VLTs completely, because history has shown that doesn't solve our problem. What we can do is make the program work better. We can look at ways to make the machines less harmful and less addictive, and we will continue to be carefully monitoring and controlling this. A freeze on VLTs will provide the right environment to focus on these initiatives.

Experience has proven that keeping things legal is the best way of dealing with the problem of gaming. It is much better to deal with the issue upfront than to hide it in the closet. We don't want to drive people and the problem underground. Where is it easier to deal with this issue is right here and with proper regulatory processes. The previous government clearly recognized this issue and paid close attention to putting in place the proper controls and safeguards. For example, in 1993 they took action in removing VLTs from corner stores, and restricting them to licensed establishments only. In fact, they led all other Atlantic

[Page 1773]

Provinces in this regard, and I believe it was just recently that P.E.I. has made that decision to go in that direction.

Without a doubt gaming and gambling isn't without its problems, and we have to take this issue extremely seriously, and we do. We will continue to regulate gaming carefully and responsibly, and we will continue to monitor it regularly and will support people and families who need help; help with problem gambling by programs that we develop, such as the 24-hour help line, the one-on-one counselling that is so important to those who are experiencing this serious sickness.

As I said earlier, there is more to the story. Nova Scotia Alcohol and Gaming Authority, the province's independent gaming watchdog recognizes it in their annual report. The comprehensive study proposed by Bill No. 17 will help us have a better understanding of the issues and a better guide to some solutions. Recognizing that we are in a business, we need to manage it properly and have the best information possible.

Certainly this issue of implementing the VLT moratorium raises some questions, one of which is how to avoid the re-emergence of the illegal and grey machines. We need to cover all of the issue in a thoughtful way so a moratorium has the most positive effect as possible. We want to make sure we do it right. A moratorium raises valid business questions, as well. Right now there are 650 establishments with VLTs, and there are others waiting for approval. We need to look at considerations such as how to ensure fairness in that particular process. Again, the Alcohol and Gaming Authority says a go slow approach would allow businesses sufficient time to align their plans with the eventual changes to the VLT program.

With our first priorities for the people, families and communities, we must be fair about the business point of view as well. To ensure a moratorium is done right from both the social and business point of view, I will be bringing forward a number of small amendments to Bill No. 17. First off, I believe there should be consideration given to the businesses that are already in the sleeve, as it were, we need to treat them fairly. First Nation Bands will also be excluded in our view from the overall Act. My suggested amendments would cover some minor technical items, clarification and definition of terminals, First Nation Bands, and the authorization to fund for more community services commitments. Without question, the video lottery program . . .

MR. SPEAKER: With the consent of the House, the honourable minister may continue, but . . .

MR. DOWNE: I have been reading as fast as I possibly can, I think I even missed a page or two.

[Page 1774]

MR. SPEAKER: Is it agreed that he continue?

It is agreed.

MR. DOWNE: Without question the video lottery program brings a valuable revenue for important government programs, such as health and education. It is clear that the program means benefits for businesses and jobs in Nova Scotia but it is also extremely clear that we need to take time to study the difficult issues of problem gambling and implement measures that address the problem, measures that are right and are responsible.

We have a duty to our people and our families in communities across this province. That is why, Mr. Speaker, I am pleased on behalf of our government to do the right thing and what is responsible, that is to support Bill No. 17. Thank you.

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

MS. HELEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, it is with great pleasure that I rise this afternoon to make just a few very brief comments about what has happened here. To say I am delighted would be putting it mildly, to realize that in this House we have finally accomplished something that is for the betterment of people in Nova Scotia. Bill No. 17, something that we campaigned on and worked hard to bring forward, a bill brought forward by the Progressive Conservative Party and called for debate by this Party, for that to be supported by the members on the other side of the House is, indeed, very enlightening.

I guess the only comment I would like to make is that the minister did make some commitments to how he would see this move forward. I would hope that would be done in cooperation with representation from the other two Parties in this House. I think we all have a very serious stake in this and we would like to be participants in the moving forward of this bill.

Problem gambling will not go away in Nova Scotia by the passage of this bill. I guess we must re-emphasize the importance of including in any action we take, extensive programs for people who are already involved in this VLT gambling.

The other issue that obviously has to be seriously addressed is the whole issue around revenue. Obviously this government had planned on receiving revenue from that very mode of gambling. So that is an issue that hopefully again, in cooperation with the other Parties, this government will be addressing.

I will encourage all members in this House to move forward and support this bill. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

[Page 1775]

MR. SPEAKER: Is it my understanding that there is agreement within the House that the bill be moved for second reading?

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

The motion is for second reading of Bill No. 17. Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried. (Applause)

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

The honourable Acting Opposition House Leader.

MR. KEVIN DEVEAUX: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 19.

Bill No. 19 - Regional and Community Health Boards Act.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Needham.

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, it gave me great pleasure last week to introduce this bill, An Act to Establish Regional and Community Health Boards. I want to start by saying if you want to play a new game, you have to be prepared to change the rules. This is the intention of this bill.

Health care reform in Nova Scotia wasn't just about services. Health care reform in Nova Scotia was about power and empowerment. We had a situation where the costs of health care were rising and the outcomes were not any better. All of the indices of health for Nova Scotians were not improving in spite of actually quite dramatic increases in expenditures. That resulted in a Royal Commission on Health Care that took a serious look at what would be required to reform our health care system and as part of the process we had a blueprint document that was the beginning of a plan for a reformed health care system in Nova Scotia; a plan that rested very much on a shift in the rules of the game; a plan that would require extensive citizen and community participation in a way that we had not seen in this province with respect to health care before.

Prior to the Royal Commission, throughout the province Nova Scotians did participate, quite often in hospital boards, a very important role doing fund-raising, doing local hospital planning, but we have accepted that this was not enough. A central feature of what we required in a reformed health care process was community health boards. The community

[Page 1776]

health boards are responsible for developing community health plans that address health care service needs as well as identifying ways in which the community's health can be improved.

Up until today, we have a very large problem with the way community health boards have failed to be legitimated in the process. The issue of legitimacy is an issue for many of the volunteers who sit on community health boards, some 30 community health boards around the province, who have been working very hard to develop community health plans which they then recommend to regional health boards. However, in the absence of any legitimacy, any legislated authority, the regional health boards do not have to take the recommendations, do not have to act on the recommendations of community health boards. This was never the intent. The intent was always that citizens' participation, that community control would lay at the community health board level.

This bill very much intends to address that situation and specifically I would like to refer to Clause 12(1) which outlines what a community health board will do: "(a) develop and co-ordinate community health plans . . . (b) develop the budget and authorize the funding for primary health care programs . . . (c) assist the regional health board with the development of a regional human resource plan; (d) foster community development to ensure health-care consumers and providers actively participate in planning and delivering services;".

This bill is about giving some authority and some legitimacy to the many community health boards around the province. It is about opening up the regional health board process, which we have seen in this House particularly through the estimates with the Department of Health, is not a process of accountability from the minister, accountability at the regional health board level. It is not a process where there is transparency. It is not a process that many people working very hard in the community health boards have any faith in. It is a process that has actually betrayed in many ways the intention of the Royal Commission and the blueprint document coming out of this.

So, Mr. Speaker, I would urge members in the debate of this important bill to consider the need to get health reform back on the rails, to establish a process where communities are empowered and have control for very important decisions that they want to make, that they are very capable of making, that they are very committed to making, but which have been undermined by what appears to be a belief by the current government that communities are incapable of making these decisions, that they can't be trusted with the kind of power that really is required to put in place a plan, turn our health care system around so that the needs of citizens in Nova Scotia, in health care issues, in preventive health, in primary health care, are taken care of. (Applause)

[Page 1777]

[5:00 p.m.]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Health.

HON. JAMES SMITH: Mr. Speaker, I rise to debate Bill No. 19, An Act to Establish Regional and Community Health Boards. This legislation is primarily about regionalization of our health care system, which didn't take place in Nova Scotia until similar systems had been in place across Canada.

Regionalization is still a relatively new concept for Nova Scotia. In fact, it is a relatively new concept for the rest of the country. Almost every province has moved to some form of regionalization over the past five years. In fact, Nova Scotia was one of the last provinces to move in that direction. It has been a very busy time for boards and, prior to regionalization, Nova Scotia's health care system consisted of scattered and fragmented programs, management structures and decision-making processes.

It is important to note that in Nova Scotia, it has only been about two years since regional health boards assumed responsibility for operating all but four of the hospitals in the province. They have also assumed responsibility for delivery of public health, drug dependency and hospital-based mental health services. Every province has taken a look at the models of regionalization that they implemented and made changes based on lessons learned about how to improve the system.

In British Columbia, for example, the government has made some regions larger and some regions smaller. This was in response to input from citizens, board members and health care providers about what parts of the model were working and what parts needed improvement. In Saskatchewan, the government established district health boards with responsibility for nearly all health programs and services. They started with entirely elected boards. They then decided to change that approach because it didn't seem to work as well as a mix of appointments and election. In Manitoba, there are regional health authorities, as well as hospital boards in Winnipeg, much like the four stand-alone institutions in Nova Scotia.

The QE II Health Sciences Centre, IWK-Grace Health Centre, Nova Scotia Hospital and the Cape Breton Health Care Complex. Quebec has the CLSCs for almost 30 years now, which are like expanded community health centres. Physician services are more closely linked with the CLSC than they are with health boards in any other jurisdiction. In Alberta, they have moved to regional health authorities, also. There are 17 in that province. Some are almost as large as the population and the health budget of our entire province, and others are smaller than in our smallest region. In New Brunswick, the focus was on hospitals and home care when they regionalized.

[Page 1778]

Regionalization of provincial health care systems across the country took place for the same reasons. Number one would be to make administration more efficient by not duplicating management, to improve the integration of services, to ensure common standards of quality, to tailor health programs to meet regional needs and, finally, to help make decision making closer to the communities.

I am happy to say that Nova Scotia is able to report successes in each of these goals, but more must be done to achieve the greatest possible efficiency and quality in our health care system. We can certainly learn from our own experience with regionalization, as well as the wealth of experience from all other provinces that have tested different models of governance, management and service delivery.

There is overwhelming consensus of opinion that there are benefits to some form of regionalization. Returning to a system where there were 36 hospital boards with unnecessary management and administration competing for health care dollars, is not an option, in my opinion. We need to remember that we have had partial regionalization in place for 14 months. So these are early days for regionalization in Nova Scotia. There is still time for changes. Any model that we consider has to have clear accountabilities. These are regional, these are clinical and service provision accountabilities, management and financial accountabilities, governance accountabilities and accountability to the public. We need to ensure that we streamline the management of the health care system so that we can redirect as much money as possible directly into patient care.

For example, by moving from 36 boards to 8 boards we have saved more than $1 million alone in salaries and benefits of senior and middle management executives. Savings have been achieved without cuts to health care programs and without hospital closures. There are other administrative savings through bulk purchasing and better use of leased space, but, more important, are the increased opportunities for citizen involvement and enhanced care.

Communities are playing an integral role in health care planning for the very first time through community health boards. There are programs in place today that were not available to Nova Scotians before regionalization. We are working toward an integrated continuum of care with boards not based on programs and sectors but responsible for a range of services that must be adapted to the needs of communities. A regional Diabetic Care Program has been established by the Northern Regional Health Board. The Western Regional Health Board has worked hard on making the boundaries of different programs in the region invisible to patients and to their families.

By sharing resources between hospital programs in a region, more emphasis is being placed on bringing service as close to the community as possible. For example, the Northern Regional Health Board, with the cooperation of the Colchester Regional Foundation, has been able to provide outreach services in blood collection, EKGs and child and adolescent mental

[Page 1779]

health directly to the residents of East Hants. Outreach geriatric clinics are now available in parts of the region which never had these services before.

I know there have been complaints about a need to reconnect our health care system with the community but I can tell you that there are areas of increased involvement in Nova Scotia. There are now 500 Nova Scotians who belong to regional health boards and community health boards. The regional boards are making decisions in the community about where health care dollars are being spent. These are decisions that had been made in Halifax before regionalization. Decisions are being made by volunteer boards who live, work and receive health care in the region that they represent.

We want to ensure that community input begins at the grass roots level. By hearing directly from the community we can plan health care services from the ground up. There has never before been an opportunity for such solid community representation until now. Hospital boards could only plan for the services provided within their walls. Health boards can plan for a broad range of health care services to meet the diverse and unique needs of the communities they serve.

Volunteers are a valued resource and I am sure that everyone in the House would like to recognize and acknowledge the vital role that volunteers play in all aspects of the health care system - providing leadership to boards, raising funds or providing services in hospitals and in the community.

Mr. Speaker, we have a health care system of which we ought to be proud. It is people who are important. The structures we have in place will only be as good as the people we have to run them and provide health care services. I welcome the opportunity to take a look at the structure for regionalization and urge members to build on what have already been successes as we work together to make changes which are improvements for all. I thank you, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings West.

MR. GEORGE MOODY: Mr. Speaker, I rise to speak on Bill No. 19 which was brought in by the member for Halifax Needham. I have to say there are parts of the bill that I do support. There are a couple of parts of the bill I am having a little difficulty with. I want to give a little history, Mr. Speaker, and you probably know it better than anyone in the House. We had a Royal Commission that spent much time, a couple of years, making recommendations for health reform in this province. I thought the Royal Commission did an excellent job. They recommended that we have six regions in the province. We had a Blueprint Committee put together by the present government when they came to power. Part of the mandate that the Blueprint Committee was given was that there be four regions.

[Page 1780]

In other words, you can make the kind of recommendations that you want about how the system works, but they were mandated to be four regions, which I think was a mistake, Mr. Speaker. My problem with this bill is that it talks about four regions. I think that has to be revisited from the point of view that I think the Royal Commission was probably closer to where we should be than the four.

I think in some areas, communities feel they are not attached. They don't feel they have any ownership. They don't feel they belong to anything. They feel that other people are making the decisions for them in their community and that is wrong. I am not saying we go back to hospital boards, but I am saying we go back to a smaller board that the community can feel attached to. So that part, I am having difficulty with.

The other part, on the regional board, no person who is a provider shall be a member of a regional health board. I am having difficulty with that, Mr. Speaker, because the nurses, the doctors, the technicians tell us they are not part of the reform. I am not saying they should dominate any board, but they have got to have representation or they are going to feel left out like they have been left out in the past. So I am having difficulty with that provision that we shut them out completely, because that sends the wrong message to the nurses of this province who, for years, were shut out of hospital boards, who rightly said to me, we should have representation on hospital boards. Now they are being shut out by this bill of having any representation on regional boards and that part I disagree with.

This bill, even though I will go back to the part that I think has a lot of merit, there are parts of this bill, Mr. Speaker, that I couldn't support in its present form because I don't think it reflects what, really, providers and others are telling me should happen in this province. When you go back to the community health board part, it does reflect, I believe, what should happen in this province. I believe that community health boards do have to have legislation. They do have to have a mandate.

I like what it says here with regard to primary health care at the local level. I agree with that, I totally agree. I agree that they should have a budget and there should be some funds. But as you read in the bill, I am a little bit confused because it says later the regional boards are going to set those budgets. I am, again, concerned that some regional boards may say, yes, primary health care projects are important and others may say, no, institutional funding is important.

If you allow funding across the province for primary health care boards, that it is determined that there is going to be funding and that the institutions won't take away as they have in the past from primary health care, then I could support that. But this bill allows the regional boards so therefore it could be different. I know it is only a recommendation on the core programs, but I fully believe that we have to have core programs in the province. I think that direction has to be set up provincially to ensure that the core programs are from

[Page 1781]

Yarmouth to Sydney to Amherst and that every Nova Scotian has a right to those core services.

That is part of what happened because the Blueprint Committee, Mr. Speaker, did recommend that we have core programs. That has never happened. There has been some discussion that it should happen. I don't see anything wrong with the regional boards making some sort of recommendation and saying, maybe you should consider, as a province, that something that isn't a core program maybe should be considered. I really don't have any difficulty with that.

The problem, Mr. Speaker, is that one of the things that I hear constantly is that we have sort of led the community health boards down a path that has been quite different, depending on what region you are in in the province, and it is time for legislation. I know the minister has said to some community health board chairs - and I know that he sincerely agrees, and I believe that he does agree - that we have to get legislation in place for community health boards. I don't think there is any question. I don't think any member of this House probably disagrees with that. It is how we tie it in to the four regions that we may have, obviously, some disagreement on how that fits.

I think when we set up community health boards, we have to assure that they have some autonomy, Mr. Speaker, because you know if they have to go hat-in-hand all the time to the regional board for any project or funding, that is not going to work. I believe our legislation gives them their mandate, the type of budget that will be set up, and lets them be independent, lets them know what their mandate is, and allows them to get on with the job. If we can do that, we are off in the right direction. That this bill is good in the community health boards area, no question.

[5:15 p.m.]

We have to revisit the regional part. I could not support a bill that does not allow some providers to make sure they have input. I have promised providers, be it nurses, be it physicians, be it technicians, that any health reform that I would see changed in this province or changes, they have to be part of it. The community has to be part of it, but so do the providers. We have great providers in this province. Let us tap into that great resource because we have dedicated providers in this province. We have dedicated community-minded citizens that want to be part of this process.

So, Mr. Speaker, I guess in summary I support the community health board part, I have some difficulty with a couple of parts of the regional boards, as I explained. So I could not support the bill in total unless that was amended in some form. Thank you.

[Page 1782]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Opposition.

MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, could you indicate how much time I have?

MR. SPEAKER: You have eight minutes plus a few seconds.

MR. CHISHOLM: Thank you. Mr. Speaker, I tell you what, this bill, An Act to Establish Regional and Community Health Boards, was I believe first introduced in this House back at some point in 1995, maybe it was 1996, when regional health boards were originally established. What we wanted to do was to say to the government, you brought in a Regional Health Boards Act that did not even talk about community health boards and that was completely contrary to the Blueprint Committee which this government was supposedly following.

The Minister of Health said, other members of this House may recall that we are following the Blueprint Committee. We are following the Blueprint Committee and the key of the Blueprint Committee's recommendations was to ensure that decisions are made in the community, to ensure that the communities are provided with the structures, with the resources to be able to do two things. One was to identify the health needs of their community, who best to do that. The second thing was to make the decisions on how best to meet those needs.

Here we are in 1998 and we are no closer. Out there right now we have these interim regional health boards that everybody is whining and crying about, but yet we are not doing anything about them. They are just out there operating. The CEOs are not accountable to anybody. They are spending money. They are setting up bureaucracies. They are making decisions without any accountability whatsoever.

We have also got 30 community health boards, Mr. Speaker, that operate without any mandate, without any standing in law. They have never been properly constituted through legislation. You have people participating, some of them working their guts out and have now for three years, to establish these community health boards and to make them work, but they do not know what they are doing, where they are going. They do not know what the point is. I met with some people from the Chebucto West Community Health Board that covers my area and they have been working tirelessly in order to get things established. They have presented a plan to the regional health board. They consulted with 600 people maximum out of over 8,000 in the particular constituency; 600 out of 8,000.

Mr. Speaker, what those people are saying is that because they are not properly constituted, because they do not have any clear mandate, because they do not have any resources, nobody takes them seriously. People do not participate. They do not answer their questionnaires, their surveys. They do not come out to their meetings. Yet the Minister of Health and other members of this Chamber suggest that we should just let it go like that. Let's

[Page 1783]

take advantage of these volunteers because then we can say we have community health boards. Well, it is a facade that is unfair to those people. It is unfair to the communities in which they operate and something has to be done about it.

This legislation, Bill No. 19, was originally developed. (Interruption) The member for Kings West says we cannot do it. It does not allow providers in here. I remind the member for Kings West that this legislation was developed in complete consultation with providers, with RNs, with the Nova Scotia Government Employees Union, with CAW and CUPE and the Medical Society. They acknowledged the fact in maintaining consistency with the Blueprint Committee that there are other ways for providers to participate. What we need to do is to make sure that we have more people in the community actually involved in this process. What I am trying to say to the member for Kings West is that we cannot continue to say that we need to put the decisions in the hands of the communities and not be prepared to do something about it.

I am not saying and the member who introduced this legislation is not saying this is the be all and end all, but how long are we going to sit here and not do something about it? If we have problems with various parts of the bill, let's do what we always do and let's agree to refer it to Law Amendments Committee and have those people come. What are we going to do? Are we just going to talk about this? Are we just going to say we need to review it? There are serious problems with regional health boards in the province, Mr. Speaker. Absolutely serious problems that we need to examine.

The point about whether there should be four or seven or eight is absolutely valid. We need to deal with that, whether we even have them. Perhaps we need to deal with that because they have not performed well. I do not think there is any question about that. We cannot continue to sit and wring our hands. We have to try to tackle the problem and that is what the member for Halifax Needham is intending to do and that is what our caucus is intending to do when we bring this legislation forward. We ask members to support the principle of regional and community health boards as was stated in the Blueprint Committee Report. Let's take this document into Law Amendments Committee. (Interruption)

What I am saying to the member for Kings West is that I do not disagree but I am saying let's use this as a model. Let's take it into Law Amendments. Let's bring people who are so desperately interested in this issue forward and let's do something. It is a commitment that we made in the election campaign to make sure that communities are allowed to make the decisions. I think it is a bill that should be supported in principle. If we have problems, let's deal with those problems in Law Amendments.

I ask all members in the spirit of trying to solve the problems we have with community health boards and regional health boards in the Province of Nova Scotia to support this legislation going forward to Law Amendments. Thank you.

[Page 1784]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Bedford Basin.

You have about six minutes.

MR. GERALD FOGARTY: I am pleased to have the opportunity to say a few remarks on Bill No. 19. Regionalization in the provision of health care is relatively new. The Minister of Health made that point a few minutes ago. The regionalization in the provision of health care and the administration of services have been in place only about two years. Since the regional boards were given responsibility for managing hospitals, drug dependency and public health, regionalization already has saved money by reducing unnecessary administration. New programs are being offered. They were not provided before the regional boards were put in place.

In the few minutes that I have, Mr. Speaker, I would like to give a few examples if I may. Before regionalization in Nova Scotia there was no access to diabetic care in several parts of the northern region. With regionalization, a new regional diabetic care program has been established by the northern board, giving new services to communities which did not have them before. Mental health funding before regionalization was inequitably distributed. Now, with regionalization, the northern regional board developed a mental health services plan for that entire region. That plan allowed for the sharing of resources between programs in the area. This moved money into a mental health service which would otherwise have had cutbacks due to budget restrictions.

Hospital-based services before regionalization and home care lacked coordination. Today, Home Care Nova Scotia and the regional health boards are collaborating in several communities to share nursing staff from the hospital and assessment staff from home care so that patient care is provided in the home. Hospital-based services and long-term care lacked coordination; that was before regionalization. Today, with regionalization, the western board has established a regional utilization and discharge planning working group to make the boundaries of the different programs invisible to the patient and their family. The eastern regional board is working in partnership with the Cape Breton Health Care Complex to develop a continuing care single entry system to make movement between hospital, home care and long-term care easier for people in the Province of Nova Scotia.

Before regionalization, there were 36 independent hospital boards. Now with regionalization there are four regional boards with a total of 67 members and 30 community health boards with a total of 420 members. The remaining 10 community health boards will be established in the coming months. That will result in more than 100 additional citizens volunteering their time to become part of the regionalized and decentralized health care system.

[Page 1785]

Hospital boards before regionalization were responsible for only managing acute care services. Today, with regionalization, regional boards are responsible for governing, managing and integrating a wider range of programs and services than ever before in the history of the Province of Nova Scotia. That does include acute care services. Mr. Speaker, there are many more examples here and if I do have a couple of minutes remaining I would like to bring them to the attention of yourself and all members of the House.

Before regionalization, programs were duplicated within the region; that wasted money. That money could have been spent on patient care. Now, with regionalization, the regional board is responsible for the management of a range of programs streamlining administration. An example, in the western region four separate Drug Dependency offices serving that region were integrated into a single program and this allowed a 3.5 per cent budget reduction to be achieved with no loss of front line workers.

The bottom line to these few comments that I have had the opportunity to make is we must continue to make sure that Nova Scotians have input into the decisions that affect their health care. A few moments ago, I heard the honourable Leader of the Official Opposition make a comment to that effect saying that there is no opportunity for Nova Scotians, they do not have a say, they cannot come forward and say what they like and do not like about regionalization of health care and services in Nova Scotia.

I would like to bring to the attention of all members this advertisement that appeared in the Halifax papers over the last several days. It is an advertisement to the effect that the first annual general meeting of the central regional health board - this is in my particular part of the province and in my constituency - and I am very proud to say that the first annual general meeting of the central regional health board will be held on Monday evening, June 29th at 7:00 p.m.

This is when Nova Scotians can come forward; they can hear the annual report. They do have input and the opportunity is being given to them in this first annual general meeting at the Seton Academic Centre at Mount Saint Vincent Auditorium on the Bedford Highway. These are the opportunities that are going to be provided to Nova Scotia. Regionalization in the provision and the administration of health care in this province is working and it will get better. Thank you.

MOTIONS OTHER THAN GOVERNMENT MOTIONS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Opposition House Leader.

MR. KEVIN DEVEAUX: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Resolution No. 803.

Res. No. 803, re Educ. - Univ.: Tuition Fees - Promises Unfulfilled Apologize - notice given June 19/98 - (Ms. Helen MacDonald)

[Page 1786]

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

MS. HELEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to have this opportunity this evening to speak on this very important issue. I will confine most of my comments to Cape Breton and how this issue relates to them. My honourable colleague for Halifax Fairview will address the issue more globally. Cape Breton, as we know, is an area of high unemployment. An area where it is very difficult for young people to get work, either part-time jobs, or summer jobs, a difficult area to find employment at any rate. An area where programs, as we saw announced in this House, the Career Starts Program, have been forgotten when it comes to Cape Breton.

[5:30 p.m.]

In Cape Breton we have a university called the University College of Cape Breton, and it is quite an interesting establishment. Its mandate was to provide innovative programs. It is dedicated to the blending of technical science and liberal arts education. It certainly does a lot of things with respect to looking at education in the widest perspective. The university has made every effort to reach out and get students from Cape Breton. I don't think it can be overstated, how important this university is to the very fabric of that community, and indeed, as an important engine in economic development. Because, the university itself offers quite a variety of programs, including, not only technology, but a trade program, and some programs that you will not find in many other universities, at least in Nova Scotia.

Many of the students who attend that university, quite honestly, wouldn't have the opportunity for post-secondary education if it weren't for the university being there. Because of the economy, and the constraints many people find themselves living under, students would not be able to access post-secondary education. I think the university has done an excellent job at reaching out into the community.

But their trades program is still not a funded program. They do have quite an interesting trades program, as I indicated, but the fact that NSCHE (Interruptions) No you are not distracting, but you are not correct. If you want to get your facts straight, then start hollering back and forth across the floor.

MR. SPEAKER: Both members, not across the floor, through the Speaker.

MS. HELEN MACDONALD: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Well, the NSCHE declined to provide any funding for the UCCB Trades Program. UCCB being the only post-secondary institution in Canada that actually gets no secure funding for the programs that aren't duplicated anywhere else in Nova Scotia. And of course, this is creating quite a problem, and it really doesn't make a whole lot of sense from the point of view of education. As we move towards the, again promised, offshore Sable gas deals and the technology arena, many of the

[Page 1787]

things that UCCB are doing to get students ready for those types of careers are actually happening with an enrollment of well over 1,200 students.

My point is what we are likely to see happen here is, if UCCB doesn't get additional funding that they feel they certainly deserve for those programs and if this government doesn't encourage the proper authorities to make that funding available to them - they also have a difficulty with the whole business of the amount of money they receive for isolation and their distance from Halifax, but that one, although critical, is not as critical as the trades training one - but if UCCB is not able to get additional funding, then they are going to look at tuition increases. They are going to have no choice. That, in the end, is really going to make it extremely difficult for many students to attend. I guess they rightfully so ask the question, why is it only certain programs that are considered to be fundable? Why aren't programs that are meeting the needs of this economy being funded?

In order to move this forward, we are asking that the government fulfill its promise concerning tuition freezes and, at the same time, so that it will give students an opportunity to continue to be educated in communities like Bras d'Or, but, at the same time, look at the funding formula and how it has been devised and going back and encouraging the NSCHE to actually fund the trade programs. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Education.

HON. ROBERT HARRISON: Mr. Speaker, the honourable member who has just concluded her speech in defence of one of the finest institutions in the province, UCCB, deserves an answer to the question of how the trades program, not dealt with, as she correctly points out, by the Nova Scotia Council on Higher Education will, in fact, be considered by this government and perhaps even by the federal government in terms of support.

She rightly points out the UCCB is one of the economic cornerstones of the Island economy, committed to making sure that the Island is prosperous and as we enter a new age, an information age, that its citizens and many from around the world are well educated in the institution that is in Sydney.

There was a momentarily heated exchange about the contribution by Minister David Dingwall. (Applause) I want to commend the efforts of David Dingwall in the interests of UCCB because I had the pleasure of attending a ceremony on the campus at the official opening of the new building which, in a sense, completes the campus. It adds a component to that campus that was not there before. It could not have occurred without a federal minister that took a particular interest in his home Island and his community and, more particularly, in UCCB. For anyone in this House to suggest that his contribution was insignificant is to admit a total lack of understanding of the importance of that federal minister's contribution to one of the finest institutions in this province.

[Page 1788]

Mr. Speaker, the issue that is presented for debate tonight has to do primarily with access and secondarily with quality. The Premier, during the election campaign, asked the universities to hold off in setting their tuition until such time as it was known to them whether this government and this budget that we are about to debate and, hopefully pass, will accede to the request by the Council of Higher Education in this province to commit $24 million to the under-fundedness of the post-secondary institutions.

It might interest the members opposite to know that the Nova Scotia Council, I hear one of the members opposite who will get to her feet in a moment say, but it was over three years. Mr. Speaker, the members opposite make sure that their views are known, that all of those dollars should be injected. I would ask the member opposite for Halifax Fairview, when she gets to her feet, in the interest of this debate, to ensure that it is not just rhetoric but, in fact, reality, where would she take the $16 million from the $4.5 billion budget that we are debating here? Where would she take it from in order to place it in the university revenue stream right now? Where would it come from? What program would she cut? Would she take it out of health care? Would she take more out of highways? Would she take it from some other department or would it simply come, as money perhaps is thought to come by the members opposite, from the trees? Where would it come from? What is the plan for balancing the books of this province and, at the same time, addressing the social needs? Would she take it from the $100 million we are putting into the public education system from Grade Primary to Grade 12? Would she take it away from the students at that level and give it to the universities?

You know, Mr. Speaker, it is all well and good to say that we have a plan to inject the money immediately and maybe even we would go further, as the member for Halifax Chebucto suggested when he criticized, had the audacity to criticize Dalhousie University, that he would intervene and tell Dalhousie how to use the endowment fund of the university.

If that isn't intervention of the worst kind; these are gifts left by people in their wills to an institution, to be used by an autonomous chartered institution in the best interests of the quality of programs and research and faculty attraction for the students of that campus. To suggest for a moment that the Finance Critic would have the audacity, in a public forum, to make claim that when he forms a government or when he becomes a member of a government, that he would actually enter into the kind of intervention that would disturb the legacy of gifts.

Notwithstanding the rather horrific statement in and of itself, does he have any idea what a cavalier statement like that means to those considering gifts to the institutions of this province? Does he ever think about that when he makes statements that are outlandish, cavalier, irresponsible at worst, Mr. Speaker?

[Page 1789]

Here we are debating tonight intervention. Freeze tuitions, like they do in B.C., that will fix it. The Minute Rice solution, we will just freeze it. I am going to table the average salaries, by rank, in Canada, showing Acadia, Dalhousie, St. Mary's and comparing them to Trent, Queens and Brock. We have at least a $10,000 to $15,000 differential in a very competitive market to attract the finest faculty members and researchers to this province. (Applause)

Do they have any idea whatsoever, this Party that claims to let the people govern their institutions - we believe in CED, we believe in the autonomy of institutions - until such time as it is politically expedient to intervene with rules; a little rule book to tell Dalhousie how to operate, a nationally recognized institution; we will tell them how to operate; we will impose a freeze. No consideration whatsoever to what that might mean to the jobs of those faculty members, to the ability to attract the finest to this province, to the ability to make sure that students are attracted to those programs. Not an ounce of consideration for that, Mr. Speaker, not an ounce. Then they parade, we are the champions of the students, we will provide access. (Interruptions)

Here the members of the Opposition are prattling on that we should go back to bursaries, no means tests. I will table this as well. In 1992-93, 7,900 students were helped by $13 million in bursaries. Do you know what is happening now, Mr. Speaker? There are 19,000 Nova Scotia students being assisted by $55 million, $15 million in this year alone, to access post-secondary institutions in this province and throughout Canada. (Interruption) Now we hear them prattle on about (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

MR. HARRISON: Yes, Mr. Speaker, but what about the debt burden. Do you know who helped create Paul Martin and Pierre Pettigrew's federal education budget, that did more to assist students, by the way, 48 per cent of whom used Nova Scotia and Canada student loans to support their education at an average borrowing rate of $15,000? The federal government came to the table, they listened to Nova Scotia student voices, they matched the most generous program in Canada right here in Nova Scotia for loan remission, $6.6 million alone last year, to provide access to Nova Scotians to fulfil their dreams, Mr. Speaker. (Applause)

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

MR. JAMES MUIR: Mr. Speaker, I do appreciate that applause and I know it is for me, isn't it?

MR. JOHN HOLM: Let's listen to a real educator.

[Page 1790]

MR. MUIR: Thank you again. This is a very interesting resolution and I should say off the top, just perhaps to comment on something that the minister said in his last couple of minutes was that he was reluctant to interfere in the inner workings of universities. I think, and I really agree with that, but I do know of three or four institutions, including Dalhousie University and Saint Mary's University and the Nova Scotia Teachers College and TUNS, where there was direct interference by this government. For him to stand up there and say, that the government will not interfere in the internal workings of universities is ridiculous, because they just did it. (Interruption) He has a short memory. He has a very short memory (Interruption) I beg your pardon?

[5:45 p.m.]

MR. SPEAKER: Order please, discussion across the floor is out of order.

MR. MUIR: I could talk about the interference of the government in that process (Interruption)

HON. ROBERT HARRISON: Would the member opposite entertain a question, Mr. Speaker?

MR. SPEAKER: Would you entertain a question? He said no.

MR. MUIR: In the 1998 election campaign, the Liberals again promised to freeze tuition fee increases, and then of course, Dalhousie and Mount Saint Vincent and St. F. X. have all increased by 5 per cent. Now I just want to perhaps refresh the House's memory, (Interruption) That was the spring thaw. That was electioneering. Yes I know. Nova Scotia has the highest per capita concentration of universities in the country. I think the university and community colleges should be seen as an economic benefit to this province. There is no question about that. (Applause)

For that reason, I am wondering why the government doesn't treat the education community with a little more respect. At 28 students per 1,000, Nova Scotia has a greater student population percentage-wise than any other province. Indeed, these figures are just a little dated, Nova Scotia has 54 per cent more full-time undergraduate and graduate students than any other province in Canada. Provincial and federal underfunding of university education has caused numerous problems for higher education in Nova Scotia. In particular, accessibility of higher education to students is a major concern. A recent report of the MPHEC recognized the serious threat rapidly-increasing tuition fees posed to the accessibility of higher education students from lower socio-economic backgrounds.

Seven Nova Scotia universities are included among the country's eight most expensive. Now, I read that to you, it isn't something that I re-created, that came from the Liberal election platform in 1993, and they didn't do anything about it. (Interruption) Lots of talk and

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no action. For the sake of individual Nova Scotians, post-secondary education must be an area of investment and promotion. One of the things that they said (Interruption) A Liberal Government will fight to change the present federal funding formula to one that recognizes our province's unique status as the one province with the highest per capita concentration of universities in the country. And, this should have been done, and as far as I know, it has not been done. This is one of the failings of this Liberal Government. Failure to negotiate with Ottawa to get some more of that money that has been stripped out of education and health in this province, and bring it back down to this province, so that university education can be kept to a reasonable level, and tuition fees do not have to rise exorbitantly.

I must say that I don't really think freezing tuition fees is a practical thing. I don't think it can be done. The only way it could be done, is if the government would make a real commitment to education, and put sufficient dollars in it so that the institutions can operate without continually downloading on the students. And this is what we have seen in the last 10 years, a tremendous shifting of the funding of the institution, despite the fact that every piece of literature they put out on education claims that education is the economic saviour of this province. In some of their documentation this year, they say the average student needs 17 years of education if they are going to succeed, and the problem it is going to be. If that is the case, then there has to be a commitment to enable students to get that education and that training that they need.

So there has to be a reasonable amount of funding going to the community college system, and to the university system and indeed one of the things that is a gap in here, Mr. Speaker, that has perhaps created some of this difficulty in getting the students to university is that this government has stripped vocational education from the province.

There is one thing that I have heard time and time again. There are some students for whom university is not the option. There are some students who, in the present situation, for whom technical education or community colleges is not the option, and they are falling through the cracks. Indeed, the entrance requirements to get into the community colleges or technical schools or whatever we wish to call them these days, certainly, I think the way they are operating, the community college is certainly a misnomer, is that you are getting students from university who are competing for those spaces in community colleges and there is nothing left for the people for whom they were intended in the first place.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member has one minute.

MR. MUIR: About a minute? Mr. Speaker, what I am saying is that in looking at education, you have to look at the whole package, simply, as this government did, to look at the bottom line is not sufficient. The university rationalization process had nothing to do with education. It had to do with bottom line, mistakenly. Health reform had nothing to do with really improving health care as much as it did with the bottom line. This government would be much better off if they would stand up and simply tell the people of Nova Scotia, we did

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it for this reason. Now we have to get to the business of trying to improve things. Thank you. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Fairview.

MS. EILEEN O'CONNELL: Mr. Speaker, before I make a couple of remarks, I would, with your permission, like to make an introduction. In the gallery opposite this afternoon, we have, for this debate, Penny McCall Howard, the Chair of the Nova Scotia component of the Canadian Federation of Students. We have Jessica Squires, the Nova Scotia national executive representative of the Canadian Federation of Students and with them we have a number of students today from Kings College who have come to hear what the Parties say on the subject of student debt and tuition fees. I would like to ask those students if they would be good enough to rise and receive the welcome of the House. (Applause) (Interruption)

MR. SPEAKER: We will speak tomorrow. That is actually improper.

MS. O'CONNELL: Is that right, Mr. Speaker? I am sorry. I didn't know that it was. I hope everybody saw it before they sat down. I am sure that it would not be improper for the Minister of Education to get a look at those T-shirts outside the Chamber after we finish here. Would that be acceptable?

MR. SPEAKER: Yes.

MS. O'CONNELL: Mr. Speaker, I think the question before this House, really, given the situation in this province over the last few years, is who can go to university today in this province? So I made a list of the people who I thought could go to university, given the high fees that students are charged, especially the escalating fees in the last eight or nine years. The first people who can go to university are the independently wealthy. The second group of people who can go to university are people who win big in the lottery. The next group that can go to university, maybe, is people with extremely well-paying summer jobs, and they are in the minority. The next group of people who can go to university in this province are people who work all the time while they are going to university and work all summer too, if they can get a job. The next group of people are the people who have very good scholarships and maybe, in addition to that, they have a summer job and a job and some help from their parents.

Then there are people who have student loans, Mr. Speaker. They can't go to university on their student loans, probably, unless they live right next door to the university on the same block. People who can go to university have student loans and bank loans, maybe, or student loans and bank loans and a job, or student loans and bank loans and a job and a summer job. We lived through this in my home in the last seven or eight years. What I am saying to you is that in the last number of years more and more people are unable to go to university and

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fewer and fewer people have that genuine option. We are talking about inequities in educational funding. We have the gap between the rich and the poor. We have the rural and urban because you have to be there if you are poor. Students with high marks have the benefit of assistance sometimes that students with average or even good marks do not have. We have the ones with jobs and the jobless. We have this increasing inequity, day in, day out, year after year, in this province when it comes to who can attend university in this province.

The Canadian Federation of Students on budget day put out a news release and in the news release, and I will be happy to table this, Mr. Speaker, they say if the provincial government is serious about making post-secondary education accessible, it will have to do more than just ask nicely that universities stop increasing their fees. Well, guess what, they did not even bother to ask nicely. We know in this House last week, when I asked the Premier what was going to happen with student debt and what was going to be done about it, his response was we cannot control universities. Another member has indicated how untrue that is. All we can do is give them the wherewithal to maintain the status quo so they will not increase tuition. The Premier goes on to say we have done that. Well, I leave it to you to interpret that. We know tuition fees are going up. They have gone up in this province and we do not believe for a minute that the government does not have any power over the universities to stop the inequities in funding so that students in this province can go to university and at least have a faint hope of a decent job. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: That completes the Opposition business.

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, tomorrow we will be sitting from the hours of 12:00 noon until 7:00 p.m. The happy hour show will be at 7:00 p.m. instead of 6:00 p.m.

MR. SPEAKER: Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. MANNING MACDONALD: Also tomorrow the order of business following the daily routine and Question Period will be dealing with the Supply again. Following that we will be calling Bill No. 13 tomorrow afternoon.

I might also inform the House, because I have been asked by numerous members about the hours for the next few days, on Friday we will be sitting between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m.; on Monday, at 12:00 noon until 6:00 p.m.

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MR. SPEAKER: There is a motion to adjourn.

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

The motion is carried.

[The House rose at 5:59 p.m.]