The Nova Scotia Legislature

The House resumed on:
September 21, 2017.

Hansard -- Fri., June 26, 1998

First Session

FRIDAY, JUNE 26, 1998

TABLE OF CONTENTS PAGE
PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS:
Econ. Dev. & Tourism - Bishop's Landing: Development Plan (HRM) -
Revise, Mr. P. Delefes 1869
PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES:
Law Amendments Committee, Hon. J. Smith 1870
STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS:
Culture - Art Gallery of Nova Scotia Day (26/06/98), Hon. R. Harrison 1870
Health - Seniors' Pharmacare Program: Alternatives - Committee,
Hon. J. Smith 1873
GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 937, Bus. & Cons. Serv. - Paul LeBlanc: Retirement -
Best Wishes Extend, Hon. K. Colwell 1874
Vote - Affirmative 1875
INTRODUCTION OF BILLS:
No. 23, Certified General Accountants Act, Hon. J. Smith 1875
NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 938, Sask. (NDP) Gov't. - Health Reform: Vote of Confidence -
Congrats., Mr. R. Chisholm 1875
Res. 939, Health - Care Delivery: Review - Task Force Appoint,
Dr. J. Hamm 1876
Vote - Affirmative 1876
Res. 940, Nat. Res. - Offshore: Generic Royalty Scheme - Release,
Mr. J. Holm 1877
Res. 941, Educ. - Cumb. South: Students (Elem.) - Safe Summer Wish,
Mr. M. Scott 1877
Vote - Affirmative 1878
Res. 942, Educ. - Katherine Cahoon (Sec.-Canso Schools):
Retirement - Recognize, Mr. R. White 1878
Vote - Affirmative 1879
Res. 943, Educ. - Hfx. West HS: Graduates (1998) - Success Wish,
Ms. E. O'Connell 1879
Vote - Affirmative 1879
Res. 944, Econ. Dev. & Tourism - NSP-RDCs/RDAs: Vision -
Acknowledge, Mr. E. Fage 1880
Vote - Affirmative 1880
Res. 945, Gov't. (N.S.) - Swedish Guests (Hfx.):
Anti-Socialist Rhetoric - Avoid, Ms. Helen MacDonald 1880
Res. 946, Fish. - Seal Meat Subsidy: Maintain - Lobby,
Mr. J. DeWolfe 1881
Res. 947, NDP (N.S.) Leader - Legislature Cooperation Promise:
Unfulfilled - Condemn, Mr. M. Samson 1882
Res. 948, Nat. Res. - Coal Industry: Future - Decisive Action
(Premier) Take, Mr. F. Corbett 1883
Res. 949, Educ. - Teaching Excellence (PM Award): Stephanie Krszwda
& Janice Farrell (Colby-St. Joseph Complex [C.B.]) - Congrats.,
Mr. E. Fage 1883
Vote - Affirmative 1884
Res. 950, Gov't. (N.S.) - Legislation (Spring Session [1998]):
Meagre - Regret, Mr. D. Dexter 1884
Res. 951, Gov't. (Can.) - Maritime Forces: Equipment Insufficient -
Regret, Mr. J. Leefe [by Mr. B. Taylor] 1885
GOVERNMENT BUSINESS:
GOVERNMENT MOTIONS:
ON MOTION FOR SUPPLY:
Mr. C. Parker 1886
Mr. R. Matheson 1890
Mr. D. Chard 1893
HOUSE RESOLVED INTO CWH ON SUPPLY AT 10:11 A.M. 1895
HOUSE RECONVENED AT 2:18 P.M. 1896
PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS:
Transport. & Pub. Wks. - Anna. Valley: Hwy. No. 101 - Twin,
Mr. G. Archibald [by Mr. G. Moody] 1896
TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS:
Lbr.: Select Committee on Workers' Compensation - Members,
Hon. Manning MacDonald 1897
HOUSE RESOLVED INTO CWH ON BILLS AT 2:21 P.M. 1897
HOUSE RECONVENED AT 2:28 P.M. 1897
CWH REPORTS 1897
PUBLIC BILLS FOR THIRD READING:
No. 6, Health Council Appointments (1998) Act 1898
Mr. G. Moody 1898
Ms. Maureen MacDonald 1899
Vote - Affirmative 1899
No. 8, Auditor General Act & Provincial Finance Act 1899
Mr. G. Moody 1899
Mr. J. Holm 1899
Vote - Affirmative 1900
PRIVATE AND LOCAL BILLS FOR THIRD READING:
No. 20, Town of Kentville and Kentville Electric Commission
Sale of Assets Act 1901
PUBLIC BILLS FOR THIRD READING:
No. 11, Assessment Act 1901
ADJOURNMENT, House rose to meet again on Mon., June 29th at 12:00 p.m. 1902
NOTICE OF MOTION UNDER RULE 32(3):
Res. 952, Educ. - SW Reg. Bd.-Student Advisory Council (Lockeport):
Advice Source - Determine, Ms. E. O'Connell 1903

[Page 1869]

HALIFAX, FRIDAY, JUNE 26, 1998

Fifty-seventh General Assembly

First Session

9:00 A.M.

SPEAKER

Hon. Ronald Russell

DEPUTY SPEAKER

Mr. Donald Chard

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

PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Citadel.

MR. PETER DELEFES: Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to table a petition on behalf of the Save the Halifax Waterfront Committee. The petition reads as follows:

"With respect to the land northeast of Lower Water Street between Summit Place and the Electropolis Sound Stages, land that has been bought and paid for with tax dollars by the People of Nova Scotia for all to enjoy:

We, the undersigned, as of 1 May 1998 do hereby petition the Halifax Regional Municipality Council and the Legislature of the Province of Nova Scotia to:

1. hold all development until the inadequate waterfront plan is revised; and

2. replace present parking lots before development is permitted.".

1869

[Page 1870]

The petition contains 1,812 signatures and I have affixed my signature to the document, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: The petition is tabled.

PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Justice.

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

Bill No. 11 - Assessment Act.

and the committee recommends this bill to the favourable consideration of the House, with certain amendments.

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

TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS

STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS

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

HON. ROBERT HARRISON: Mr. Speaker, I rise on behalf of Premier MacLellan to inform all members of this House of our government's proclamation of June 26, 1998 as Art Gallery of Nova Scotia Day. The Premier's proclamation reads:

"Whereas, the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia is officially opening their Phase II expansion into the Provincial Building on Friday, June 26, 1998; and

Whereas, there is need to recognize the high calibre of visual arts in Nova Scotia; and

Whereas, the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia has played an integral role in art education and awareness for all Nova Scotians;

Therefore be it resolved that I, Russell MacLellan, Premier of Nova Scotia, do hereby proclaim Friday, June 26, 1998 as "Art Gallery of Nova Scotia Day" in the Province of Nova Scotia.".

[Page 1871]

This proclamation, Mr. Speaker, coincides with the official opening of Phase II of the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia's expansion. This expansion is an important milestone for our Art Gallery. Making art accessible to all Nova Scotians is a primary mandate of the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia. The Phase II expansion, which we officially open this morning, greatly enhances the ability of our Provincial Art Gallery to fulfil this mandate. More space allows for more art to be on display in both viewing areas of the gallery. The original space in the Gallery North and now the expanded space in Gallery South, located in the Provincial Building, across Cheapside from Gallery North.

In the past, for instance, the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia offered classes and workshops but limited space was a problem. People would have to sit in hallways or on the floor or worked at tables set up in exhibit areas. Phase II offers new space for art education programs in the Barbara and Norman Newman Education Centre. People will be able to gather inspiration from viewing the gallery's collection and can then explore their own creativity in the Education Centre through its programs. Learning is a lifelong activity and the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia recognizes this by continuing to offer programs for people of all ages.

Mr. Speaker, there are other features to the Phase II expansion. The new Artist-in- Residence studio will allow visiting artists to offer workshops and lectures. Visitors can view works in progress and see first-hand artists at work in this new studio.

The expansion has also enabled the gallery to devote space for the reconstruction of the home of one of Nova Scotia's best-known artists, Maud Lewis. Her paintings have a new home in the Scotiabank Maud Lewis Gallery.

Phase II also provides for greater space for the Art Sales and Rentals office, an important service the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia provides.

This expansion, Mr. Speaker, was made possible by the generous support of private donors, who contributed more than $2 million of the $2.5 million capital cost of this expansion. Barbara Newman, Fred and Elizabeth Fountain, Scotiabank, Dr. and Mrs. Laufer, Sheldon and Marjorie Fountain, the Craig Foundation, and the contributions of several hundred other donors have made this wonderful and needed expansion possible.

Premier MacLellan, in making this Proclamation, acknowledges the work of his predecessor, Dr. John Savage of Dartmouth. Dr. Savage, as Premier of Nova Scotia, recognized the need of the Art Gallery for more space. In 1997, the province agreed to provide the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia with two and one-half floors of the neighbouring Provincial Building. The result is the Phase II expansion we officially opened this morning, an expansion I would encourage all members to view for themselves.

[Page 1872]

In closing, Mr. Speaker, the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia is a vibrant element of our province and a focal point in our community for the making and the exhibition of visual art. It is a jewel in the public crown: a place where Nova Scotians and visitors to our province can learn about our culture as expressed through the media of the visual arts; where Nova Scotians of all ages can participate in the creation of art; and, where visiting artists from around the world can present their views and their work to a Nova Scotian audience. In short, with the opening of the Phase II expansion, the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia is now more able than ever to bring art and people together. Thank you. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Fairview.

MS. EILEEN O'CONNELL: Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the minister for giving me the statement beforehand so that I could have a little look at it.

Mr. Speaker, the first thing I want to do is to congratulate the Minister of Education for educating the Minister of Labour on this very important subject yesterday when the resolution came before the House. It is one of the great pleasures of my role in this Opposition caucus, one of the greatest pleasures is to be the so-called Critic for Culture and to be a critic for Culture in Nova Scotia right now is frequently not to be critical at all. It is a moment of celebration for art and for culture in this province and I want to assure the minister that I will accept his invitation today to go and to view for myself, and I know that members of my caucus will do that as well, and I will be delighted to join in the celebration of the opening of this Phase II of the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia. Thank you very much. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Cumberland North.

MR. ERNEST FAGE: Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to respond this morning to the ministerial statement on behalf of the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia. I had the pleasure of viewing some of the exhibits recently and certainly the exhibits, the facility, the calibre of people displaying their art is second to none in the province. It is certainly something that all Nova Scotians and all members of this Legislature should view and take the time to appreciate because it is one of the treasures of this province.

It certainly was a pleasure introducing a resolution earlier in the week congratulating that June 26th, today, as designated by the ministerial statement, that the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia take the fore on this day and should take on every day. In conclusion, certainly our caucus will be supporting in any way the promotion of art and certainly this is a good day for the art and cultural community in Nova Scotia. Thank you. (Applause)

[Page 1873]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Health.

HON. JAMES SMITH: Mr. Speaker, there has been much concern expressed about the fairness of the Seniors' Pharmacare Program, specifically around the issue of the premium which some seniors have to pay to belong to the program.

Yesterday, this House of Assembly passed a resolution by the Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party calling for a committee to be created to examine and propose alternatives to the Seniors' Pharmacare Program. Today, I am announcing that the government will honour the wishes of the members of the House as enunciated through the unanimous support for the resolution.

It is my intention to immediately strike a committee that will include representatives from seniors' organizations to examine the Seniors' Pharmacare Program. Specifically the committee will be asked to propose alternatives to the premium for Seniors' Pharmacare and to identify additional reforms that will help ensure the long-term viability of the Seniors' Pharmacare Program. It is the government's intention to eliminate the premium paid by seniors to belong to the Seniors' Pharmacare Program. The committee will be told that this is one of the principles it must operate under. I will ask this committee to report back to government in time for changes to be made to the program before the next fiscal year. Roughly speaking, that means that we will need a report by the end of the summer in order to have adequate time to make the changes necessary.

Mr. Speaker, Nova Scotia has one of the most generous Seniors' Pharmacare Programs in Canada today. However, that does not mean we cannot bring in improvements that will be beneficial to seniors across the province. That is the intention of the resolution of the Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party, and that is the intention of the government today. We need to ensure that we have a Seniors' Pharmacare Program that will be there when our seniors need it and provide them with the drug coverage that they need in the future. Thank you. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Needham.

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I very much welcome this announcement today. Pharmacare is an important and a central pillar of the health care system in Nova Scotia and the interests of senior citizens in Nova Scotia are absolutely worthy of putting aside our partisan differences. I look forward to the establishment of this committee. I would remind the minister that we are also looking forward to the tabling of the studies and reports that were promised with respect to the Pharmacare Program during the estimates.

On behalf of the Leader of the Opposition and our caucus, we will fully cooperate with any program of public consultation and review of this very important program. Thank you. (Applause)

[Page 1874]

[9:15 a.m.]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings West.

MR. GEORGE MOODY: Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of the minister's announcement. I applaud the minister in this move, no question. Seniors in this province for many years now have talked about the problem of the premiums that they have had to pay, many of them struggled.

There is no question when the minister says we have a good Pharmacare Program for seniors, we do. But I think we can even make it fairer and that much better for seniors by the minister allowing seniors themselves and others to be part of this committee that is so important, to make sure that seniors have input along with those who understand the Pharmacare Program itself.

I commend the government and the minister. I think this is a step in the right direction for seniors. This is something seniors have been saying for some time. I am proud to be a part of a Legislature and commend the government on what I think is this very important move for Seniors' Pharmacare in this province. (Applause)

GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION

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

RESOLUTION NO. 937

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

Whereas Paul LeBlanc, an employee of the highest esteem, will be retiring on June 30, 1998 from the Department of Business and Consumer Services after more than 15 years of faithful service to the province; and

Whereas Mr. LeBlanc has provided exemplary service to the Province of Nova Scotia in his role as Superintendent of Insurance, Credit Union and Loan Companies; and

Whereas Paul LeBlanc is truly an outstanding example of the dedicated civil servants we have serving this province;

Therefore be it resolved that this House recognize and applaud Paul LeBlanc for his many contributions and extend sincere best wishes to Paul, his wife, Theresa and their children for health and happiness for many years to come.

[Page 1875]

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Business and Consumer Services.

HON KEITH COLWELL: Mr. Speaker, with your permission I would also like to introduce Mr. Paul LeBlanc in the gallery opposite. I would ask the House to give him the cordial welcome he deserves. Thank you. (Applause)

INTRODUCTION OF BILLS

Bill No. 23 - Entitled an Act to Continue the Certified General Accountants Association of Nova Scotia. (Hon. James Smith as a private member.)

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

NOTICES OF MOTION

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Opposition.

RESOLUTION NO. 938

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

Whereas the Saskatchewan provincial by-election was held this week in the riding of Saskatoon Eastview; and

Whereas the main issue in the campaign was the health care record of the Romanow Government; and

Whereas that record was fully vindicated when front line health care worker Judy Junor won the seat for the New Democratic Party by a comfortable margin over the Leader of the Saskatchewan Liberal Party;

[Page 1876]

Therefore be it resolved that the Saskatchewan NDP Government be congratulated for earning this vote of confidence in its wise and humane approach to health care reform. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party.

RESOLUTION NO. 939

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

Whereas contrary to the recommendations of the Blueprint Committee on Health System Reform, regional health boards were given responsibility for the day-to-day operation of Nova Scotia hospitals; and

Whereas concerns have been expressed that regional health boards have stalled the decision-making process, disenfranchised Nova Scotia communities and health care providers, and eroded accountability across the system; and

Whereas Nova Scotians are demanding a system that is open, accountable, and that encourages a greater level of community input and control;

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Health immediately appoint a task force, including both health care consumers and providers, to review the current structure for health care delivery, and to recommend changes that will provide for the most efficient and effective community-based and controlled delivery of quality health care services throughout the province.

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 Sackville-Cobequid.

[Page 1877]

RESOLUTION NO. 940

MR. JOHN HOLM: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to see everybody is being responsible today in supporting that, and I want to let you know that I too will be requesting waiver of notice on this particular resolution and I am looking forward to the same kind of positive response from the government members.

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

Whereas the Liberal Speech from the Throne promised that a generic royalty regime for Nova Scotia's offshore would be announced shortly; and

Whereas past experience has shown that the Liberals cannot be trusted to devise a royalty regime in secret on their own that is in the interests of Nova Scotians; and

Whereas it is essential that members of this House have an opportunity to fully examine any proposed offshore royalty scheme;

Therefore be it resolved that in furtherance of accountability and public interest, the Premier release his generic royalty scheme for the offshore before the House adjourns.

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

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

Is it agreed?

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Cumberland South.

RESOLUTION NO. 941

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 last week of June is a special time of year for elementary school students; and

[Page 1878]

Whereas the last week of June means elementary school students are looking towards a summer of fun that will include family vacations and a wide variety of activities; and

Whereas students at Oxford Elementary, Junction Road and West End Elementary in Springhill, Wentworth Elementary, Parrsboro Elementary, as well as River Hebert and Advocate are winding down their school year in the next couple of days and looking forward to the summer of 1998;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House of Assembly wish elementary school students across this province, including those in Cumberland South, a safe, enjoyable and carefree summer.

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 Guysborough-Port Hawkesbury.

RESOLUTION NO. 942

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

Whereas 10,000 students will graduate from Nova Scotia schools in June; and

Whereas the Legislature has recognized the important role teachers play in shaping the future of these graduates; and

Whereas Katherine Cohoon will retire as a school secretary for the Canso family of schools including Fanning Elementary School and Canso High School;

Therefore be it resolved that the House recognize Katherine Cohoon's contribution to students and staff, and salute all support personnel who are a valuable part of the education system.

[Page 1879]

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Halifax Fairview.

RESOLUTION NO. 943

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 tonight 280 students will graduate from Halifax West High School; and

Whereas tonight's ceremony marks the successful conclusion of their public schooling; and

Whereas it also marks the beginning of exciting new challenges;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate the Halifax West High School graduates of 1998 and wish them success in meeting future challenges.

Mr. Speaker, I seek 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 Cumberland North.

[Page 1880]

RESOLUTION NO. 944

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

Whereas Nova Scotia Power and the Cumberland Regional Economic Development Association are presently in the process of doing a survey of local businesses in an attempt to build a detailed profile of Cumberland County's business climate while also identifying opportunities for growth; and

Whereas the business development coordinator for the Cumberland Regional Economic Development Association believes a survey can only support the expansion, retention and attraction of new businesses into the local area; and

Whereas Nova Scotia Power, in an attempt to play a key role in regional growth across Nova Scotia, launched their Business Pulse program in 1997 while profiles were conducted on both Pictou County and the South Shore region of Nova Scotia;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House of Assembly acknowledge the vision being offered by Nova Scotia Power and the Regional Development Commission and authorities across Nova Scotia as they work together in making Nova Scotia a better place to live.

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 Cape Breton The Lakes.

RESOLUTION NO. 945

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

[Page 1881]

Whereas yesterday members of this House joined with the Minister of Education and Culture to welcome a delegation from Vasternorrland, Sweden, and supported closer ties between Nova Scotia and Sweden; and

Whereas Sweden has been governed for most of this century by the Democratic Socialist Party whose international alliances have been explained in great detail by the member for Cape Breton Nova; and

Whereas in five weeks, Liberal Ministers and Government MLAs have made hundreds of attacks upon anything socialist, for example, using the word 17 times on June 3rd alone;

Therefore be it resolved that Liberal members of this House save Nova Scotians from further embarrassment by keeping a lid on their juvenile, anti-socialist rhetoric while our Swedish guests are in town. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Pictou East.

MR. JAMES DEWOLFE: Mr. Speaker, before I read my resolution, I would like very much to conduct an introduction, please.

MR. SPEAKER: By all means.

MR. DEWOLFE: In our west gallery we have two gentlemen visiting us from the beautiful city of Calgary, Alberta; Mr. Grant Kehoe and Jeff Warner. I would ask them to rise. They are here on natural gas business and I would like the House to recognize them in the usual manner. They are here with Travis Chemicals. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Pictou East.

RESOLUTION NO. 946

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

Whereas the sealing industry provides considerable financial value to Atlantic Canada; and

Whereas seals are a cause of concern for fishermen in different areas of Nova Scotia, including my own constituency of Pictou East; and

[Page 1882]

Whereas the Department of Fisheries and Oceans is phasing out the meat subsidy for the seal industry with funding to disappear following the year 2001;

Therefore be it resolved that the Nova Scotia Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture work diligently with those members of the Nova Scotia fishing industry who are impacted by seals and lobby the federal government to maintain the seal meat subsidy indefinitely beyond the fiscal year 2000-01.

MR. SPEAKER: Are you asking for waiver on that?

MR. DEWOLFE: Mr. Speaker, I ask for waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Richmond.

RESOLUTION NO. 947

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 Leader of the socialist NDP publicly stated at the start of this session of the Legislature that it was his Party's intent to cooperate with the government and make this House work; and (Laughter)

Whereas the socialist NDP leader-in-waiting, the member for Halifax Chebucto, stated publicly even before the budget was tabled that his Party would vote against the budget and cause the downfall of the government; and

Whereas throughout this session the socialist NDP has been totally negative in words and action about anything that this government has proposed even though it is good for the people of Nova Scotia;

Therefore be it resolved that this House condemn the socialists and their Leader for saying to the people of Nova Scotia that they will cooperate to make the Legislature work and then acting in a totally uncooperative manner, displaying their total hunger for power at all costs.

[Page 1883]

[9:30 a.m.]

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Cape Breton Centre.

RESOLUTION NO. 948

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

Whereas before leaving for Boston, the Premier would not admit to this House that he knows anything about the grave concerns expressed by Cape Breton coal miners about the latest Devco five year plan; and

Whereas the Premier would not even respond to the requests that were made to him on Wednesday, June 24th by the President of the United Mine Workers, District 26, for decisive action to support the coal industry; and

Whereas the Premier sought re-election on the basis that he is the best friend the coal industry could possibly have;

Therefore be it resolved that this House urge the Premier to take decisive action to demonstrate that he is more than a fair-weather friend to the coal industry and to the 6,000 Nova Scotia families who depend directly and indirectly upon it.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Cumberland North.

RESOLUTION NO. 949

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

Whereas classroom school teachers play a significant role in the future of our children; and

Whereas the early school years for children are the most dramatic yet important stages of their development; and

[Page 1884]

Whereas the Prime Minister's Award for teaching excellence is presented annually to teachers in this country who show innovative leadership in teaching children about the challenges of tomorrow;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House of Assembly recognize the outstanding contributions by teachers Stephanie Krszwda and Janice Farrell of Colby-St. Joseph Complex in Cape Breton for being 2 of only 72 teachers recognized in all of Canada this year for their teaching excellence.

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 member for Dartmouth-Cole Harbour

RESOLUTION NO. 950

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

Whereas when this House approved only 11 pieces of legislation at its fall 1997 session, the Liberal Government assured Nova Scotians that long-delayed measures would be approved in the spring; and

Whereas it is now clear the government is determined to see even fewer than 11 bills receive Royal Assent in the spring 1998 session, but already promises fall legislation; and

Whereas careful search of the one-plank platform and other Liberal campaign material will not reveal a pledge to bring this House to a virtual standstill;

Therefore be it resolved that this House regret that the birthplace of responsible government now has a government which has lost so much steam that it would rather quit than legislate.

[Page 1885]

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley.

RESOLUTION NO. 951

MR. BROOKE TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, with your permission, I would like to read a resolution on behalf of my colleague, the honourable member for Queens.

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

Whereas supply ship HMCS Provider made its final sail past this week before being decommissioned after 35 years of service to Canadian naval vessels; and

Whereas the Canadian Government has yet to approve the new project to replace the multi-role support vessel so necessary to Canada's Maritime forces; and

Whereas the Canadian Navy still requires a replacement for its aging, unreliable Sea King helicopters;

Therefore be it resolved that this House condemn the federal Chretien Liberals for their lack of resolve in providing Canada's Maritime forces with the tools that they require to do the job demanded of them.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

ORDERS OF THE DAY

GOVERNMENT BUSINESS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

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

GOVERNMENT MOTIONS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I move that you do now leave the Chair and that the House resolve itself into a Committee of the Whole House on Supply unto Her Majesty.

[Page 1886]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Pictou West.

MR. CHARLES PARKER: Mr. Speaker, I want to take a few minutes at this time to talk a little bit about my riding of Pictou West. Since I am not going to have the opportunity to reply to the Speech from the Throne, I thought I would take a few minutes at this time to tell you about some of the concerns and some of the issues and some of the things that are happening in the riding of picturesque Pictou West.

I guess, first of all, I should say that it is certainly an honour and a privilege for me to have the opportunity to be here in this House of Assembly. I have many people I want to thank who have worked so hard on my campaign, that I do have the opportunity. Constituency workers, families members and others . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. People who want to have discussions would they please leave the Chamber.

MR. PARKER: . . . who helped during my campaign, I owe a vote of thanks to many people.

In every riding there is always at least one individual who perhaps has stood by the Party and has been a long-time and faithful member. I certainly have one person in the riding of Pictou West that I want to thank. That person is John L. MacLean. John and his wife, Margaret, live near Barry's Mills, just outside of Pictou. John has been involved with the CCF since about the 1930's and since 1961 with the NDP. Some of my colleagues certainly may know John. He has always been there and he has never given up on electing an NDP MLA to the Legislature from our area.

Unfortunately, just five days after the campaign John had a stroke. He is now in the long-term care wing of the Sutherland-Harris Memorial Hospital. But I will tell you, during the campaign, he was out there on the doorsteps, 86 years old, and he did a lot of good campaigning and a lot of work, and a very faithful member. (Interruption)

That is right. Our leader, Robert, and I were in to see John and he is still very much aware and on the ball with what is going on. So to John L. MacLean we owe a great deal for keeping democracy alive, for keeping our political process going, and for keeping a dream alive. Thanks, John, and all the best on your recovery.

I also should take a minute while I have the opportunity, Mr. Speaker, just to thank the last member who served here in Pictou West in our Legislature and that was Donnie McInnes. I believe he served long and well in this riding, representing the people of Pictou West, so I wish him well also in his retirement.

[Page 1887]

Before I get into some of the concerns that came along and some of the issues that are of importance to people in my riding, I just want to tell you a little bit about Pictou West. The riding is located on the Northumberland Shore. It contains the historic Town of Pictou and quaint coastal communities such Braeshore, Caribou, Caribou Island; fishing villages such as Toney River and Cape John; and the friendly Village of River John. Inland are farms and woodlots and around the villages of Scotsburn, Durham, Salt Springs, Green Hill, Union Centre and West River Station. As you travel along the Trans Canada Highway through Pictou County you will pass through communities such as Mount Thom, Central West River, Salem, Alma and Mount William.

Our County of Pictou is especially picturesque in the fall with rolling hills and autumn leaves. There is a new bypass being built through our county on the Trans Canada Highway No. 104 and it is presently under construction between Salt Springs and Alma. It will make that road a lot safer for traffic. However, there are a lot of stores and individual businesses that are going to be bypassed at that time and the people there would like to see some good signage both at and before the intersections so they can advertise their businesses and people will come in off the highway to patronize their services.

I guess while the Minister of Transportation is here in the House, this morning, perhaps he is listening, I would certainly ask that he consider the Alma-Salt Springs business group in their quest to get better signage so they can get the travelling public to come in to see them. Maybe while I have your attention, Mr. Minister, there is another thing I should mention to you and that is a highway concern. Route 376 from the Pictou Rotary through Lyons Brook and Central West River and Durham, it is a busy residential area with schools, churches, businesses and just a lot of people that walk. It is very much a residential neighbourhood but there is a lot of heavy truck traffic on there from Prince Edward Island, the big tri-axle gravel trucks that travel from P.E.I. up through this area and heading to Mount Thom to get gravel. Residents are very concerned for their safety and would like to see those big tri-axle trucks transferred onto the Causeway 106 and up Highway No. 104 to Mount Thom.

So it is a matter of safety. It is a matter of utmost concern to them and I would ask the minister if he could take into consideration this alternate route to allow the truck traffic to leave the residential neighbourhood. I will probably be talking to you when you come to visit us about our rural roads and I will mention that again to you. (Interruption) Okay, great.

I want to return to Pictou West and the fine attributes that it contains. One day in the House here, we heard from the member for Kings North, telling us about the many fine vittles that they serve down that way and I want to tell you that in Pictou West we also have lots of good opportunities to get full, fat and fed. There is always something going on in the community - a church supper, a fire department dinner, a hunters' breakfast or whatever. Just as an example, the Ladies Auxiliary of the Alma Fire Department, the Scotsburn Fire Department pork chop barbeque, the Rotary Club of Pictou pancake breakfast, West River Church potluck supper, the Lions Club in River John lobster dinner, Hector Centre strawberry

[Page 1888]

social, and various other Christmas teas and socials. So you will not go hungry if you come to visit us in Pictou West, for sure.

The communities of Pictou West will be alive this summer with various musical ceilidhs and annual festivals. The Hector Heritage Quay in Pictou is now open and here you can see the replica of the ship Hector under construction as well as a complete display of life for Scottish settlers, both in the old country and after they landed here on our shores. It is a very worthwhile exhibit and well worth seeing.

In the Speech from the Throne, Mr. Speaker, there was mention of the marquee event in Pictou this summer, the Spirit is Highland, when we celebrate the 225th Anniversary of the Hector. That will take place between September 11th and September 15th and will include everything from a military tattoo, a Scottish village depicting life during the 18th Century, roaming performers, a pipe band concert and a Scottish arts and crafts fair. We expect thousands of tourists in September for this grand event.

During July 9th to July 12th, our Pictou Lobster Carnival will be underway and we expect a large downtown street party. We will have some top Maritime entertainers there at that time, mardi gras parade, fisheries competition, fairgrounds, buskers and entertainment for the children. Our annual Hector Festival runs from August 12th to August 16th and will include five days of entertainment, historical displays, genealogy information, outdoor concerns and costumed reenactment of the Hector landing.

Other events in my riding this summer, Mr. Speaker, include the RCMP 125th Anniversary celebrations in Pictou on August 20th. Also, we have the Pictou-North Colchester Exhibition running from September 9th to September 12th and finally, the River John Festival Days which run from July 19th to July 25th. Every Wednesday in July and August, the deCoste Entertainment Centre in Pictou presents some of the finest traditional musicians, singers and dancers from all across Nova Scotia. These informal ceilidhs will offer a wonderful variety of songs and tunes of the province that are now being heard around the world.

Mr. Speaker, I have only touched on some of the rich musical and cultural heritage that is coming alive this summer in Pictou County and I would invite everyone here to come out and visit us and to learn why Pictou County is fast becoming known as a tourist destination.

I believe I have a few more minutes, Mr. Speaker, and I just want to mention some of the concerns . . .

MR. SPEAKER: You have five more minutes.

MR. PARKER: . . . that came up during the election campaign in my riding. I guess the biggest concern I heard at that time was on health care. In travelling door to door, it was

[Page 1889]

heard more often than any other issue. In reading the Speech from the Throne, there is not a lot of substance, a lot of thrust there, that is going to help solve some of the problems that we have in Pictou West. In fact, one lady, during the campaign, told me about one of her concerns. She had a baby and she spent only 22 hours in the hospital and had to go home at that time. She developed some complications and she ended up in a Halifax hospital. It was quite a stress and a strain on the family. She eventually came home after four days but if she had only been able to stay one more day in the hospital, it would have been a lot easier for her, for her family and for her baby and certainly less costly to the whole system.

Another concern that was raised is on home care. Today, with patients going home so soon, the onus is now on the family to be care providers and many family members are not trained to change dressings or provide proper medications or quality care. I think we need a more far-reaching home care system, administered by the hospital, immediately after discharge and not several days later.

[9:45 a.m.]

In Pictou County we need more doctors. From 1995 to 1996 we lost nine doctors in Pictou County and more in 1997; this summer, five more are leaving. I think we need a good recruitment program and perhaps more important, we need a better retention program to keep those that we already have. We really have a crisis in our health care system in Pictou County and we need more doctors. Last fall, one lady told me that she had to travel all the way to Antigonish to find a family doctor and that is over an hour, one way, just to see a general practitioner. We do not think that is right.

The Sutherland-Harris Memorial Hospital in Pictou has been particularly hard hit in the last five years; downsizing, cutbacks and roll-backs have all taken their toll. The hospital has lost its emergency ward, all acute care beds, the maternity ward, even its administrator. Cutbacks have continued to occur, even after the election campaign.

What we would like to see restored most of all is emergency care and perhaps a few acute care beds. That would really help the people of Pictou West in getting adequate health care. At this time we feel that we are not getting quality, number one health care, we are getting second-rate care. I would ask the government to consider restoring services to the Sutherland-Harris Memorial Hospital.

I know my time is almost up but another concern was over the BST. We got a one-time relief here on electricity but it is still not enough and there are many people who heat their homes by oil and wood and they are not getting any relief. Not getting relief are parents, who have children in school, when buying children's clothes or school supplies, so certainly more has to be done to provide relief for low and middle income earners for BST.

[Page 1890]

The final issue I would like to mention is on rural roads. I think they have been neglected for far too long in Nova Scotia and in particular, in Pictou West. There are many roads in my riding that have not seen adequate care. I can mention a few like Caribou Island, West Branch, White Hill, Green Hill, Scotch Hill Road. I think we need a plan or vision for long-term maintenance on our secondary roads and really at this point that has not been happening. I am certainly looking forward to when the Minister of Transportation comes up with me. We are going to have a tour of our county and I will be able to show him some of the difficult roads that are in the riding of Pictou West. Hopefully, we will be able to get some action and get something done about the poor conditions of some of those secondary roads.

I thank you, Mr. Speaker. Those are a few of the issues that are of concern in Pictou West and again, it is certainly a privilege to have the opportunity to be a member here in this House and to serve the people of my area. Thank you. (Applause)

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

MR. REEVES MATHESON: I rise this morning to speak for a few minutes on news out of Cape Breton that has come to light over the past several weeks. Mr. Speaker, since you were at the late debate last night and this has been an item that has been present in the news reports out of Cape Breton in the last couple of weeks, you are aware the Cape Breton Development Corporation has, in the advance of its plan to downsize the coal industry, announced the loss of another 250 to 300 coal mining jobs in Cape Breton, in addition to the 600 or so that have already been lost over the past four to five years.

I rise today because if there is anything that serves to bring home the seriousness of the economic crisis that is visiting the industrial area of Cape Breton Island, it is again the announcement that we are forced to bear the loss of 300 more jobs in an area of the province that is least equipped and least able to sustain those losses. It goes without saying that in the last four or five years, as a consequence of the efforts of both the federal and provincial governments to downsize and to wrestle their deficit problems to the ground, that hundreds if not thousands of jobs have been lost in the industrial area of Cape Breton, and now this additional 300 jobs on top of it has forced the economic hopes and aspirations of the people in the community that I represent to sustain another blow.

I would submit that it is an experience and it has been an experience in the last five weeks to drive out of Cape Breton Island on each Monday morning, and leave that area, and then to have experienced the drive into the metropolitan area of Halifax. It is a sight to behold, it is a wonder; it is a demonstrable example of economic disparity when compared to the growth and the wealth of the capital region of this province.

Mr. Speaker, I had come here at the opening of this session with the real expectation and hope that there would be initiatives announced by this government over the course of the last four or five weeks that would at least commit in a very real sense to helping or addressing

[Page 1891]

the problems of the industrial area of Cape Breton Island. I am sad to say that four weeks later, the record is abysmally lacking in terms of demonstrating in any real sense to the people of the area that I represent, any of those initiatives that I thought might be necessary or might send the signal of confidence to the area necessary to generate the kind of turnaround that is required if we are to project for ourselves and our children a future in that area.

I have tried, over the course of the last three or four weeks, to direct this government's attention to the fact that in areas such as mine, where there is a lack of private initiative because of the economic uncertainty of the area, that it has a responsibility to lead. It seems to me that in a real sense, the government has to - and I have said in my Address in Reply to the Speech from the Throne - if there is to be the kind of turnaround that we require in Cape Breton, send a message of confidence into the area necessary to allow private initiative to take hold and to allow the economy to begin the process of rebuilding and real growth.

It would seem to me, that this government could have committed to the people in this area its very significant economic clout by announcing in a very real sense a long-range plan that would have allowed for some proportional sharing of the job wealth that is generated by this provincial government in its public sector. It is clear, and it is easily recognizable and understood, that the Province of Nova Scotia generates in its Civil Service somewhere in the area of approximately 8,000 jobs. At the present time, in the industrial area of Cape Breton, there is probably 700 to 750 of those Public Service jobs that are actually employed and working in the industrial area of Cape Breton.

If you take that breakdown in terms of the population, proportional representation of the Island, approximately 20 per cent of the population of this province exists in Cape Breton Island, then it is not unreasonable to conclude that we would be entitled to share, if we were sharing those jobs on a proportionate basis, another 700, 800, 1,000 of those jobs.

There have been all kinds of arguments advanced why that can't be, some of the arguments have been put forward that, really, we are not interested in putting jobs there, we want to create new jobs. The argument has been put forward that, well, we can't get employees to move there, the public sector unions won't allow that to happen. The argument has been put forward that it is not really an economic tool that can be used in a practical sense, it doesn't make economic sense to try to decentralize those jobs.

Mr. Speaker, this government in its Throne Speech talked about having an economic advisory group go about the province to ask local communities, to get the input of local communities, to ask them to contribute as to how they best saw economic development taking place in their particular area.

Mr. Speaker, in 1994 in Cape Breton, the Cape Breton Economic Development Authority was commissioned and did a very comprehensive plan that involved a broad and extensive consultation with all the players in the economy of the industrial area of Cape

[Page 1892]

Breton. That authority as a result produced the blueprint, which I submit is still viable, which is still applicable, and which still shows and demonstrates a plan that could be followed in terms of trying to promote an economic turnaround in the industrial area. One of the principal components of that proposal was to call for a decentralization of jobs into the industrial area of Cape Breton.

Mr. Speaker, the pilot report not only encouraged and called on the government to decentralize those jobs, but it also addressed those arguments that had been put forward as reasons for not advancing the cause of the growth of the economy in Cape Breton by moving those jobs there. It is clear in its findings that relocating government jobs in the manner that was proposed in terms of its effect on the local economy is immediate. It is cost-effective and it has the immediate affect of generating confidence because the jobs in question are generally immune to the general movement in the economy in terms of recession and/or depression. They are long term. They are stable. They are generally well paying and as a result they create in the community, in the economic sense at least, a confidence of a long-term viability in the area.

Mr. Speaker, it is clear as one looks at the record over the last number of years that there are members of this government who have on numerous occasions spoken in support of the concept of decentralization of provincial government jobs. The Premier of this province in 1979 was instrumental in moving the Citizenship and Immigration Registration Services to the City of Sydney. That particular federal organization still exists in the City of Sydney. It employs in the vicinity of 100 to 125 people and it generates in the vicinity of $4 million to $5 million in wages in the local economy per year.

In 1994 the Premier of this province, who was then the assistant to Monique Begin in the federal government in Ottawa, argued and lobbied for the decentralization of jobs from Halifax, federal department jobs from Halifax to the City of Sydney. He was quoted in the Cape Breton Post on March 12, 1984, in the following respect: "`This decentralization will not only create a federal presence on Cape Breton Island, not only create badly-needed jobs but will serve as a catalyst for downtown development in the city of Sydney,' he told the Commons. `The money to be used for this decentralization cannot be better used,' Mr. MacLellan argued. . . . `On the one hand there is the industrial area of Cape Breton with a very severe unemployment rate and on the other hand the area of Halifax-Dartmouth which has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country,' the Cape Breton MP said.'"

Mr. Speaker, I would submit that the argument is equally applicable today. Circumstances have not changed. They have gotten progressively worse. If you would check the record, in terms of what has been reported from significant or prominent members of this House, the government side of this House, present and past, we would find that there was widespread support for decentralization of jobs. I wonder what happened or when this government lost the political will to put the plan in place to get on with the job over the long term?

[Page 1893]

Mr. Speaker, it is not a quick fix solution that we are proposing in Cape Breton. We are simply asking for a fair share. What we need now more than anything else is a long-term plan that commits this government and future administrations in this province to the decentralization in a long-term context. We recognize that the problems in terms of putting a plan in place are difficult and will be difficult to solve but, nonetheless, they are not insurmountable and in terms of the economic well-being of the industrial area of Cape Breton, the effort is warranted. The signal has to be sent. Government has to lead. If government refuses to lead, if government, especially this government, continues to find reasons why it cannot act on behalf of the people of the industrial area, then we have to reach the logical economic conclusion.

Sometimes, Mr. Speaker, I wonder about whether or not that is not the plan - I hate to say that, I don't want to believe that - that rather than assist the people of the industrial area, the plan afoot is to put forward gratuities, to express concerns, to furrow the brow and say yes, it is bad, but what can we do, while the area reaches its natural economic conclusion. I don't want to believe that is the situation. I want to believe that there is hope. I want to believe that this government is concerned about what is going on in the industrial area of Cape Breton.

I would urge the government, if not in this session then in the next, that it come back and tell the people of Cape Breton what it proposes to do in terms of the economic crisis that is besetting our Island. The choices are few and far between. Unless there is some economic miracle, unless the geology of the area under and surrounding our Island that has supported us for the last 100 years somehow yields forth again, in terms of a natural gas or oil find of some magnitude, that in itself can provide that economic stimulus, then our Island - especially the industrial area - will continue to spin towards oblivion while the rest of the province, in relative terms, moves forward into the next century.

Mr. Speaker, the people of Cape Breton, in the last 100 years, have shouldered the weight, have carried the burden in better times. We have produced and we have contributed to the economic well-being of this particular province. We are owed that, not in terms of hand-outs but in terms of a clear and strong message that this government has confidence in us as a role, as a player in this provincial economy and that with some help, we can rise again and support ourselves and once again contribute in a positive sense to the economic prosperity of the province in which we live. We deserve it, we have contributed to it and what we need to know now is whether or not this particular government sees a role for the industrial area of Cape Breton in the future of the province that we live in. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Dartmouth South.

MR. DONALD CHARD: Mr. Speaker, I would like to speak briefly on the subject of this government's forest management policy. On Monday of this week, the government started its aerial spray program against the white-marked tussock moth. This is a spray

[Page 1894]

program that is probably the most widespread this province has seen. In the minds of many people in this province, it takes us back to the days of the spruce budworm spray programs in the 1970's.

I would acknowledge, though, that there is a significant difference between those earlier spray programs and the current program. Those earlier programs involved the use of chemical sprays. This one involves spraying with bacillus thuringiensis variety kurstakus, which is apparently less hazardous than chemical sprays but it is not without risk. I think that is a point that needs to be acknowledged and in some respects it has been acknowledged by the government. I would remind the honourable members that in New Zealand, a spray program with BT resulted in hundreds of people reporting health problems to the authorities there. I would also remind the honourable members opposite that the Victoria Health Board in British Columbia banned aerial spray with this agent on the grounds of possible health risks.

I would also note that Dr. Jeff Scott, the Chief Medical Officer of this province, has in place a monitoring program and I would take this as a clear acknowledgement that the government realizes there are health risks and that the government has cautioned people living in the area, where the spray program is being conducted, that they should take care not to be exposed to the spray. How they are supposed to avoid it, short of leaving the area for several weeks or staying indoors for several weeks, is difficult to know. I do appreciate the fact that the government has acknowledged that there is some health risk from this spray program.

More importantly, I think we have to look at what the government's approach to the problems created by the tussock moth indicate to us. There is an even more serious risk to this spray program than the risks to human health. I have consulted with a number of independent scientific authorities on this subject and what they have told me is that while this spray may be safer in relative terms than chemical sprays, there is a serious risk that spraying the tussock moth may simply reduce the population to sustainable levels and what we will have is a chronic outbreak. In fact, there are woodlot owners who are concerned about this and who feel that the current spray program may be ineffective and that the government may simply have wasted $6 million. Indeed, Mr. Speaker, there are woodlot owners who have suggested to us that the government might have been farther ahead in using the $6 million to compensate woodlot owners who may suffer losses this year. But even the extent of the losses that the government has put forward are perhaps not as soundly based as they would lead us to believe.

I would draw the government's attention to the fact that as we have brought out here in this House, there are some serious contradictions in the government's own literature on the subject of the tussock moth. The Department of Natural Resources' own official bulletin on the subject, which the honourable minister has acknowledged as authoritative does not state that one year's defoliation will kill trees, it says that repeated defoliation of 90 per cent or more over several years may cause mortality. Yet, more recently, the Department of Natural

[Page 1895]

Resources has published material suggesting or leaving the impression that one year's defoliation is going to kill trees.

Now, Mr. Speaker, my Party has been accused of fear-mongering because of concerns it has raised about health care. I would submit that the government is fear-mongering and is attempting to sow seeds of fear among woodlot owners that if they don't agree to a spray program that they will suffer very serious and extensive losses as a result of one year's outbreak. I would suggest that the government does not have very good evidence of this and that it is engaged in a propaganda campaign here to hide its own failures in the area of forestry management. Indeed, if you look at what this outbreak indicates and the problems behind it, what you will see is a regime of over-cutting, a regime of clear-cutting and a monoculture which has simply set our forests up for this kind of outbreak to the point where the government has had to resort to, what it hopes will be, a quick fix.

One forester with whom I discussed this did express the hope that our weather patterns next year would be such that the outbreak would diminish, but that will not necessarily be the case. There are many people in the industry who feel we will see a prolonged outbreak because of the government's misguided approaches to forest management. Indeed, Mr. Speaker, this government's approach to forest management makes a mockery of its own commitments to a healthy environment and to sustainable development.

I would submit, Mr. Speaker, that spraying now could conceivably result in a delay in the activation of the virus that normally and naturally controls the tussock moth. We may possibly find ourselves going down the same road that New Brunswick did starting in the 1950's when it started its spray program against the spruce budworm and ended up spraying for 40 years at tremendous cost, not just in terms of the health of its forest and of the public purse but in terms of public health, because as we well know, in New Brunswick the use of chemical sprays was linked, and linked very definitively, with problems for human health and problems with diseases such Reye's Syndrome.

I would submit that if the government does not sit down, as we have suggested to the former Deputy Minister of the Environment and be prepared to open up a dialogue with all stakeholders in our forests, with the woodlot owners, the pulp and paper industry and with environmentalists, we may never reach the kind of consensus we need in this province on proper management of our forests. We are looking at a scenario that would have us, given the extent to which we are cutting, where our forests could be going the way of the codfish. Thank you. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is carried.

[10:11 a.m. The House resolved itself into a CWH on Supply with Deputy Speaker Donald Chard in the Chair.]

[Page 1896]

[2:18 p.m. CWH on Supply rose and the House reconvened. Mr. Speaker, Hon. Ronald Russell, resumed the Chair.]

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

THE CLERK: That the committee has met and made some progress in considering Supply and asks leave to sit again.

MR. SPEAKER: Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, would you please revert to the order of business, Presenting and Reading Petitions.

MR. SPEAKER: Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings West.

MR. GEORGE MOODY: Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the honourable member for Kings North, I would like to table a petition from the volunteer fire department in Kentville. This petition has been signed by all the volunteer firefighters and because of the number of accidents on Highway No. 101, obviously these people feel that, ". . . Highway 101 through the Annapolis Valley, do hereby request that the Government of Nova Scotia give due consideration to the twinning of Highway 101 through the Annapolis Valley in a reasonable and multi-phase time frame.".

MR. SPEAKER: The petition is tabled.

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, would you please revert to the order of business, Tabling Reports, Regulations and Other Papers.

Is it agreed?

[Page 1897]

It is agreed.

TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, as Chairman of the Special Committee under Rule 60, the Striking Committee, I am directed to report that the committee has met and determined that the Select Committee on Workers' Compensation, established by Resolution No. 844 of the House of Assembly on June 22, 1998, be composed of the following members: Michael Baker, Chairman; Frank Corbett; James DeWolfe; Ernest Fage; Hyland Fraser; Rosemary Godin; Charles MacDonald; Paul MacEwan; and Charles Parker. I so move.

MR. SPEAKER: Is the House ready for the question? Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

The honourable Government House Leader.

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

MR. SPEAKER: Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

[2:21 p.m. The House resolved itself into a CWH on Bills with Deputy Speaker Mr. Donald Chard in the Chair.]

[2:28 p.m. CWH on Bills rose and the House reconvened. Mr. Speaker, Hon. Ronald Russell, resumed the Chair.]

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

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

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

Bill No. 8 - Auditor General Act & Provincial Finance Act.

Bill No. 11 - Assessment Act.

[Page 1898]

Bill No. 20 - Town of Kentville and Kentville Electric Commission Sale of Assets Act.

and the chairman has been instructed to recommend these bills to the favourable consideration of the House, each without amendment.

MR. SPEAKER: When shall these bills be read a third time?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Today.

MR. SPEAKER: Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

The honourable member for Sackville-Cobequid.

MR. JOHN HOLM: Mr. Speaker, it certainly is in agreement that we do them today, but if it had been the wish to do them today, I would have appreciated the advice that there had been some communications in advance. I raise this really as a point of order because if we are going to be operating efficiently in a cooperative manner, that means communication between all three House Leaders. So with that I believe it is a very clear intervention on my behalf. This time we will give approval to have those bills heard today a third time.

[2:30 p.m.]

PUBLIC BILLS FOR THIRD READING

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 6.

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

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings West.

MR. GEORGE MOODY: Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party, I would move third reading of this very important bill.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Needham.

[Page 1899]

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I think I speak for all members of the House in welcoming the passage of this bill. The Provincial Health Council will serve a very important role, as it has in the past, and I think that Nova Scotians will welcome this change. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: Is the House ready for the question? The motion is for third reading of Bill No. 6. Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

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

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 8.

Bill No. 8 - Auditor General Act & Provincial Finance Act.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings West.

MR. GEORGE MOODY: Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party, I am very pleased to move third reading of Bill No. 8, the Auditor General Act & Provincial Finance Act.

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

MR. JOHN HOLM: Mr. Speaker, I welcome the opportunity to stand up briefly to comment and to speak in support of this. I do so at this stage because I certainly want it in the public record, and the comments that are made in the Committee of the Whole House on Bills stage are not recorded in Hansard, and so there is no public record of that. Therefore, it is important to do it at the third reading stage.

Mr. Speaker, for far too long it has been recognized that the Auditor General should have been and should be appointed as the official auditor for the Province of Nova Scotia. We have had in the province for many years a situation in which we had an auditor who is independent and who is accountable and answerable to the members of this House, not to a political Party, not to a government, not to the Opposition, but is accountable and answerable to all members of the House.

Whereas the auditors who have been employed by the government, and this is no slur against the individuals who are doing those audits, nor is it any question as to the competence of those auditors but, Mr. Speaker, the reality is that they didn't work for the House of

[Page 1900]

Assembly, they actually worked for the Department of Finance, so that they could not be considered to be the independent auditors in the same way as the Auditor General. Certainly the Auditor General of the province over the many years, our current auditor and many auditors that we have had, and certainly those with whom I have had the privilege of having had dealings in my time as a member of this House, they have all performed their responsibilities and their duties in an exceptional manner.

Certainly our current Auditor General may decide to assist him in carrying out his functions, may employ other auditors and other accounting firms to do much of the work. But it will be under the auspices of the Auditor General, and that is extremely important. It will also give the Auditor General, this legislation will, the opportunity, the legislated opportunities to be filing reports, not only once a year, but when the Auditor General has completed a section, or completed a portion of the audit, it will mean that the Auditor General will be able, as the Auditor General so wishes, a number of times a year to release those audits as is done federally and in other areas on a timely basis.

This is certainly something, and I know that through many, many years in Question Periods, members of the Opposition have stood up and have been pressing the government, this government and the former government both to act on this progressive move. I am pleased that I have been here in this House long enough to see this important change actually come into reality and to see this legislation moving forward. Our caucus wants to be on record as publicly supporting wholeheartedly this very progressive legislation, and I might add, very responsible. It certainly is opening up the process to make if far more accountable, and that can't be anything but good. Thank you. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: Is the House ready for the question? Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

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

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Private and Local Bills for Third Reading.

PRIVATE AND LOCAL BILLS FOR THIRD READING

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

[Page 1901]

HON. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 20 for third reading.

Bill No. 20 - Town of Kentville and Kentville Electric Commission Sale of Assets Act.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings North.

MR. GEORGE ARCHIBALD: Mr. Speaker, I so move Bill No. 20.

MR. SPEAKER: Is the House ready for the question? Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

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

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Public Bills for Third Reading.

PUBLIC BILLS FOR THIRD READING

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 11 for third reading.

Bill No. 11 - Assessment Act.

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

MR. GORDON BALSER: Mr. Speaker, I so move Bill No. 11.

MR. SPEAKER: Is the House ready for the question? The motion is for third reading of Bill No. 11. Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

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

[Page 1902]

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, that concludes Government Business for today. I would inform all honourable members that the House will sit again on Monday at 12:00 noon. I move to adjourn.

MR. JOHN HOLM: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order. Is it 12:00 noon to 6:00 p.m.? That was the announcement the other day.

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Pardon me, 12:00 noon to 6:00 p.m., yes.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is to adjourn.

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 House rose at 2:37 p.m.]

[Page 1903]

NOTICE OF MOTION UNDER RULE 32(3)

RESOLUTION NO. 952

By: Ms. Eileen O'Connell (Halifax Fairview)

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

Whereas the Student Advisory Council for the Lockeport Family of Schools has been advised that no money will be available for schools in southwest Nova Scotia unless the Liberal estimates are approved; and

Whereas this is not true; and

Whereas any official who would deliberately deceive students with such a blatant misrepresentation is betraying the public trust;

Therefore be it resolved that this House urges the Southwest Regional School Board and the MLA for Shelburne to determine who has stooped so low as to deceive the Student Advisory Council for the Lockeport Family of Schools as to the effect on the ongoing operation of government of a vote for an honest budget.