The Nova Scotia Legislature

The House will resume on:
September 21, 2017.

First Session

FRIDAY, MAY 22, 1998

TABLE OF CONTENTS PAGE
House of Assembly: Mace - Refurbished, Mr. Speaker 39
PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS:
Health - Cumberland Co.: Physicians - Positions Fill, Mr. E. Fage 40
Transport. & Pub. Wks. - HRM: Old Truro Road - Pave, Mr. B. Taylor 40
Nat. Res. - Pollets Cove-Aspy Fault: Protected Site - Drop, Mr. J. DeWolfe 40
Educ. - Bedford: Schools Construction - Needs Identify, Hon. F. Cosman 41
STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS:
Labour - WCB: Audit - Independent, Hon. R. MacKinnon 41
GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 2, National Unity: Calgary Declaration - Endorsement, The Premier 44
Res. 3, Health - Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy: John Anderson [Jesse's
Journey: A Father's Tribute] - Support, Hon. J. Smith 45
Vote - Affirmative 46
Res. 4, DFO - Northern Shrimp Quota: Allocation (1998) - Condemn,
Hon. K. Colwell 46
Vote - Affirmative 47
Res. 5, Health: Sneaker Day - Support, Hon. J. Smith 47
Vote - Affirmative 48
INTRODUCTION OF BILLS:
No. 1, Halifax Regional Municipality Act, Mr. H. Epstein 48
No. 2, Halifax Regional Municipality Act, Mr. H. Epstein 48
No. 3, Nova Scotia Music Teachers' Act, Mr. H. Epstein 48
NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 6, Health - Care: Long Term - Urgency, Mr. R. Chisholm 48
Res. 7, Health: Regional Bds. - Abolish, Dr. J. Hamm 49
Res. 8, MLAs (Former) - Family Bereavements: Condolences - Extend,
Mr. R. White 49
Vote - Affirmative 50
Res. 9, Health - Hepatitis C: Compensation (Full) - Commit,
Mr. R. Chisholm 50
Res. 10, Health - Hepatitis C: Compensation Just - Lead, Mr. G. Moody 51
Res. 11, Nat. Res. - Offshore Gas: Royalties - Public Advice Seek,
Mr. J. Holm 51
Res. 12, Health - Multiple Sclerosis: Pharmacare Prog. - Drugs Include,
Dr. J. Hamm 52
Res. 13, Sports - Cabot Trail Relay Race (Victoria): Congrats. - Extend,
Hon. K. MacAskill 52
Vote - Affirmative 53
Res. 14, Culture - Dr. Sheree Fitch (Hfx. Fairview): Honorary Doctorate -
Congrats., Ms. E. O'Connell 53
Vote - Affirmative 54
Res. 15, Justice - Victim Protection: Communications - Improve,
Mr. B. Taylor 54
Res. 16, Sysco - Clean-up: Initiatives - Commend, Mr. P. MacEwan 55
Res. 17, Transport. & Pub. Wks. - Sydney Airport: Future - Secure,
Ms. Helen MacDonald 55
Res. 18, Health - Highland View Reg. Hosp. (Cumb. Co.): Doctors -
Provide, Mr. E. Fage 56
Vote - Affirmative 57
Res. 19, Lbr. - Safety Regulations: Approval - Demand, Mr. Kevin Deveaux 57
Vote - Affirmative 58
Res. 20, Health - Pictou Co.: Physicians Shortage - Address, Mr. J. DeWolfe 58
Res. 21, Nat. Res. - Natural Gas Distribution: Plan - Provide,
Mr. G. Archibald 59
Res. 22, Bus. & Cons. Serv. - Washington Carver Credit Union: Failure -
Inaction Condemn, Ms. Y. Atwell 59
Res. 23, Health - Care: New Waterford Cons. Hosp. - Success,
Mr. P. MacEwan 60
Res. 24, Health - Care: Long Term - Nurses Recognize, Mr. J. DeWolfe 60
Res. 25, Devco - Donkin Mine: Job Losses -
Inaction (Gov't. [N.S.]) Condemn, Mr. F. Corbett 61
Res. 26, Health - Registered Nurses: Changes - Surprise Regret,
Mr. P. Delefes 62
Res. 27, WCB - Appeals: Backlog - Clear, Mr. M. Baker 62
Res. 28, Educ. - Hammonds Plains Elem. School: Inaction - Condemn,
Ms. R. Godin 63
Res. 29, Educ. - Lantz Elem. School: Needs Ignored - Condemn,
Mr. J. MacDonell 63
Res. 30, Transport (Canada) - Hfx. Internat. Airport: Deal - Action Take,
Dr. H. Bitter-Suermann 64
Res. 31, Nat. Res. - Nat. Gas: Cooperatives - Opportunity Ensure,
Mr. C. Parker 64
Res. 32, Health - Hants Commun. Hosp.: Recommendations -
Non-Implementation Explain, Mr. G. Moody 65
Res. 33, Commun. Serv. - Day Care Prog. (Natl.): Promises Unfulfilled -
Condemn, Mr. J. Pye 66
Res. 34, Transport. & Pub. Wks. - Hwy. No. 101 (Digby-Weymouth):
Construction - Commence, Mr. G. Balser 66
Res. 35, Fgn. Affs. & Internat. Trade (Can.) - MAI: Signing - Oppose,
Mr. D. Dexter 67
Res. 36, Nat. Res. - Springhill: Strip Mining - Moratorium Place,
Mr. M. Scott 68
Vote - Affirmative 68
Res. 37, Fin. - HST: Promise (Premier) - Keep, Mr. H. Epstein 68
Res. 38, Transport. & Pub. Wks. - Yarmouth-Bar Harbor Ferry Service
(Cat): Bay Ferries - Congrats., Mr. N. LeBlanc 69
Vote - Affirmative 70
Res. 39, Truro Tulip Festival (Internat.) [22-24/05/98]: Organization -
Commend, Mr. J. Muir 70
Vote - Affirmative 70
Res. 40, Health - Provincial Health Council - Reinstate,
Ms. Maureen MacDonald 71
Res. 41, Educ. - Beechville-Lakeside-Timberlea: School Construction -
Efficient Begin, Mr. W. Estabrooks 71
Res. 42, Gov't. (N.S.): Rural Improvements - Incapability Admit,
Mr. John Deveau 72
Res. 43, Econ. Dev. & Tourism - TIANS: Promotion - Congrats.,
Mr. G. Balser 73
Vote - Affirmative 73
Res. 44, Environ.: Kings Co. Reg. Landfill - Close, Mr. D. Chard 73
Res. 45, DFO - Northern Shrimp Quota: Review - Demand,
Mr. N. LeBlanc 74
Res. 46, Sports - Capital Area Special Olympics: Best Wishes - Extend,
Mr. J. Holm 75
Vote - Affirmative 75
Res. 47, Educ. - Class Sizes: Reduction - Plan Table, Ms. E. O'Connell 75
Res. 48, Sports - Shooting: Jennifer Swan (Oxford) Rep. (Can.) -
Congrats., Mr. M. Scott 76
Vote - Affirmative 76
Res. 49, Culture - Dr. Rita Joe (Eskasoni): Honorary Doctorate -
Congrats., Ms. Helen MacDonald 77
Vote - Affirmative 77
Res. 50, Health - Cops for Cancer: Community Spirit - Commend,
Mr. G. Archibald 77
Vote - Affirmative 78
Res. 51, North Queens Heritage Soc. - Bicentennial Event (1999):
Work - Commend, Mr. J. Leefe 78
Vote - Affirmative 79
Res. 52, WCB - Injured Workers: Concerns - Legislation Address,
Mr. F. Corbett 79
Res. 53, Lbr. - Workplace Health & Safety: Lead - Take, Mr. M. Baker 79
Res. 54, Educ. - Hfx. Schools Music Prog.: Value - Recognize,
Mr. P. Delefes 80
Res. 55, Educ. - Hfx. Reg. School Bd.: Young Children -
Equal Opportunity Support, Mr. B. Taylor 81
Res. 56, Fin. - Financial Statements: Audit General - Available,
Mr. H. Epstein 81
Res. 57, Halifax, Port of - Importance: Gov't. (Can.) - Premier Contact,
Dr. H. Bitter-Suermann 82
Vote - Affirmative 83
Res. 58, Educ. - Hfx. Reg. School Bd. (W): Arts Showcase -
Efforts Recognize, Mr. W. Estabrooks 83
Vote - Affirmative 83
Res. 59, Sports - Senior AAA Hockey (Allan Cup): Bearcats (1998) -
Winners Congrats., Mr. J. Muir 84
Vote - Affirmative 84
Res. 60, Transport. & Pub. Wks. - Cumb. Co.: Roads - Min. Inspect,
Mr. E. Fage 84
Res. 61, Justice - Correctional Workers: Wage Parity - Recognize,
Mr. J. Leefe 85
Vote - Affirmative 86
GOVERNMENT BUSINESS:
GOVERNMENT MOTIONS:
ADDRESS IN REPLY:
Mr. R. Chisholm 86
Amendment moved 93
Dr. J. Hamm 95
Adjourned debate 107
ADJOURNMENT, House rose to meet again on Mon., May 25th at 7:00 p.m. 107

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HALIFAX, FRIDAY, MAY 22, 1998

Fifty-seventh General Assembly

First Session

11:00 A.M.

SPEAKER

Hon. Ronald Russell

DEPUTY SPEAKER

Mr. Donald Chard

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

MR. JOHN HOLM: Mr. Speaker, I rise, as I have given you notice that I intended to do today, yesterday in writing, to advise you of my intention to bring to your attention and to raise a point of order that I actually believe constitutes a breech of the privileges.

Mr. Speaker, Rule 60 Terms of Reference No. 2 stipulates that, "Prior to making a Ministerial Appointment to an Agency, Board or Commission for which Governor in Council approval is not required, a Minister shall submit the name of the proposed appointee to the Executive Council for consideration. Where the Executive Council recommends the name, the Clerk of the Executive Council shall submit the name of the person to the Human Resources Committee.".

37

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Mr. Speaker, we learned that on May 19th, Orders in Council were passed by this government appointing people to the Nova Scotia Resources Limited board, to the Examiners in Psychology and a number of other boards. Those names were not submitted to the Human Resources Committee as the rule that was adopted and passed by this House unanimously requires. Therefore, instead of it simply being a matter of breach of the rules - which, quite clearly, it is - I would suggest it is also a question of privilege since Cabinet has interfered with the exercise of MLAs duties as assigned and defined under the Rules and Procedures of this House.

The rule in question, as I said, was introduced by this government, by the Liberal Government, adopted unanimously and the Government House Leader, himself, this week, in public announcements, acknowledged that the procedure is binding upon the government.

So, Mr. Speaker, I am asking for your ruling. If you find that this is a prima facie case of privilege, I am prepared to move that the matter be referred to the Internal Affairs Committee of the House for an investigation and a report to this House. If the fact that the standing committee's report has not yet been prepared is a technical barrier to that motion, I seek your advice as to whether or not I should instead move that the Premier and others who can explain this contempt for this House, be called before the Bar of this House.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. MANNING MACDONALD: On behalf of the government, Mr. Speaker, the member opposite is drawing a very long bow here and I would suggest to him that Rule 60(2)(c)(ii) does not apply in this particular case. We have checked and received some legal opinions to that effect that appointments to this particular government agency do not come under the purview of the Human Resources Committee and it is on that basis that we acted to appoint those directors to that particular board.

Mr. Speaker, I will await, certainly, your perusal of this whole matter and we will certainly have something further to add when this matter comes back to the House.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings West.

MR. GEORGE MOODY: Mr. Speaker, I rise to speak on this point of privilege. The rules are very clear and it is very difficult to tell from the Order in Council how the government could determine whether or not it fell under Rule 60 Terms of Reference No. 5 or not, whether or not they were recommended by another board of governors or directors of the institutions. There is no way for us to know that in the Orders in Council. I don't see anywhere in the rule where it says that boards and commissions, any of them are exempt, unless they are being recommended by the board of governors or directors of an institution.

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My understanding was when this government came to office, that all boards and commissions would be open and be fair to all Nova Scotians. That was the reason this Human Resources Committee was set up with the terms of reference, so Nova Scotians would not only think that they were being treated fairly, that there was a mechanism in place where those with the qualifications, regardless of your political persuasion would have an equal opportunity to be appointed to these boards and commissions which are so important to Nova Scotians.

We know, Mr. Speaker, in the past, the Human Resources Committee was only a rubber stamp in many cases . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. I would ask the honourable member to stick with the point of privilege.

MR. MOODY: Well, I would ask, Mr. Speaker, when you consider this point of privilege that we indeed make sure that the government is following its rules and that this Legislature and this committee are not being bypassed.

MR. SPEAKER: The Chair will take the matter under advisement and report back to the House early next week.

Before we start with the daily routine, I was somewhat remiss yesterday - and in fact I was not aware of it - in that the Mace that we have in this Chamber was refurbished of recent date. It has certainly been restored to its former lustre and glory. I have the information on that particular work that was done on the Mace.

The Mace, as we know, was manufactured in the U.K., in Birmingham, by Elkington and Company Ltd., but the most important thing is that the refurbishing of the Mace has been done in Nova Scotia by a company called Elegant Metals Ltd. of Sydney, Cape Breton. This particular job was done by Mr. Brian Tetford and I think we can congratulate the company and Mr. Tetford on doing an excellent job in bringing the Mace back to its former glory. (Applause)

The honourable Leader of the Opposition.

MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: I would like to make a couple of brief introductions. In our gallery across and in your gallery, Mr. Speaker, are two Nova Scotia MPs representing, in the case of Michelle Dockrill, the riding of Bras d'Or, and in the case of Peter Mancini, the riding of Sydney-Victoria. I would ask them to rise and receive the warm welcome of members of the Legislature. (Applause)

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MR. SPEAKER: We will get on with the daily routine.

PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS

The honourable member for Cumberland North.

MR. ERNEST FAGE: Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to table a petition on behalf of the residents of Cumberland County. I will read that petition before I present it.

"Whereas there is a serious shortage of medical doctors in Cumberland County, and

Whereas currently 7,000 people in the area have no access to a family physician, and

Whereas between the dates of December 27th, 1997 and January 4, 1998 there will be no surgeon in the area, therefore

We, the undersigned, do hereby make petition to the government of Nova Scotia to take immediate action to fill the three vacant physicians positions and to ensure that there will be a surgeon available to service the area from December 27 through January 4.".

I have affixed my signature as well to the petition, and fully realizing that the House was not open at the time, this is the first opportunity to present this petition. The situation obviously has been taken of on the four days without the surgeon, but the three doctors are still not there and the people of Cumberland . . .

MR. SPEAKER: The petition is tabled.

The honourable member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley.

MR. BROOKE TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to table a petition on behalf of the people of Beaverbrook subdivision in the Halifax Regional Municipality.

Mr. Speaker, they are requesting that the Old Truro Road be paved. It is one kilometre in length, and I thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: The petition is tabled.

The honourable member for Pictou East.

MR. JAMES DEWOLFE: Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to table the following petition signed by 1,857 residents of northern Cape Breton Island. This petition urges the government to listen to their concerns and drop the Pollets Cove-Aspy Fault candidate protected area from the list of 31 candidate sites. Mr. Speaker, I have affixed my signature to this document.

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MR. SPEAKER: The petition is tabled.

The honourable Minister of Community Services.

HON. FRANCENE COSMAN: Mr. Speaker, I am tabling a petition presented yesterday actually at the demonstration by the parents of school age children who came here around educational issues and, in particular, a committee acronym BEST, Bedford Education Stays Together. I have affixed my signature to this petition. Basically, it is asking that the plan by the Department of Education and the Halifax Regional School Board proceed without delay with a new proactive approach to identifying school construction needs and the approach to be based on realistic demographic projections of the expected student populations from Grade Primary to Grade 12. Thank you.

[11:15 a.m.]

MR. SPEAKER: The petition is tabled.

PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES

TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS

STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Labour.

HON. RUSSELL MACKINNON: Mr. Speaker, I rise in this House today to announce an initiative designed to help injured workers and their families across this province. An initiative designed to find answers to a number of pressing questions. An initiative that I hope will result in real solutions for everyone concerned.

Mr. Speaker, today I am announcing an independent audit of the workers' compensation system to be carried out by Nova Scotia's Auditor General. This includes a review of all elements of the system, including the Workers' Compensation Board, the Workers' Compensation Appeals Tribunal and the Workers' Advisers Program.

Mr. Speaker, each of us gathered in this Legislature today knows that there are problems. We hear it when we go home on the weekend to meet with our constituents. We read it in the papers and in the letters that arrive on our desks. We see it when we sit down to meet with injured workers in our offices. But to simply say that we have a problem isn't good enough. Injured workers deserve far more. They deserve action. They deserve answers. But first, we need to ask serious questions.

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What is the root of the problem? Where does responsibility rest? Is it policy? Is it procedure? Is it legislation? And most importantly, what can we do to address these issues? What are the solutions?

This audit will attempt to answer many of these questions. And injured workers and their families deserve answers - straight answers.

The Auditor General's Office has the expertise and the insight to do a very detailed and thoughtful review. This government will provide them with the financial support and background to make this happen.

Some potential issues for review include: general board operations, the process for administering benefits, consistency and timeliness of case management, the appeal system and other issues. The Auditor General will develop more detailed terms of reference in consultation with the all-Party committee on workers' compensation.

It was just three years ago that Nova Scotia's Workers' Compensation Act was overhauled and whenever new laws are introduced, Mr. Speaker, there will always be a need to monitor and to make some changes. We must always work to improve. We must listen and respond to concerns. That's what this review is all about.

While a review of the system is needed, it is important to note that the strength of this system is its people. Here in Nova Scotia we have a dedicated group of individuals serving on the board of the WCB. This includes worker-labour reps and employer-business reps. We have a dedicated Chair in Innis Christie and there are hard-working staff members right across the system. These people have seen things through a period of transition. They have managed to make some vital improvements and I commend them for their work.

I believe this audit will not only provide answers for injured workers, it will also provide meaningful information and a clear focus for the board, for staff and all those involved in administering the workers' compensation system. When you get right down to it, Mr. Speaker, there has to be a better way. This issue is a priority.

I am now working with staff to finalize a set of amendments to address a number of workers' compensation issues and I will be discussing this package with my all-Party colleagues over the coming weeks and I believe as a side bar, Mr. Speaker, the Conservative caucus already has a list of our proposed amendments and the NDP are in the process of receiving theirs. I have consulted with both Parties appropriately. I look forward to hearing their comments before proceeding. Injured workers deserve fair treatment, fair compensation and respect. Employers deserve a system that is fair and certainly affordable. Nova Scotians deserve the security of knowing there is a stable compensation system that will look after them if they are injured at work. We are committed to these goals, we are serious about finding real solutions.

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The independent audit is an important first step, the next step will be to work together for the benefit of injured workers and their families. This is not about politics, it is about people. I look forward to working with everyone concerned: injured workers, Nova Scotian businesses, the Auditor General, my colleagues on the all-Party committee and indeed all members of this House and other partners in the system to find real solutions. Together, Mr. Speaker, we will find a better way. Thank you.

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

MR. FRANK CORBETT: Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the minister for putting these proposals forward. I also have some very troubling problems with these; not the least of which there is no consultation, these landed on our desks this morning. We are here, we have struck an all-Party committee. These were not vetted through this committee. These problems seem to exist on that side of the House, where they just are moving stuff forward without consultation. We believe there should be more consultation than what is happening because there is none going on now. There seems to be no time-frame for the AG's Department to report back to here and we wish that if the Party across the way wishes to do these types of things, if they are serious about consultation, sit down, talk to us, bring these things forward in the all-Party committee and we will certainly see where they are at. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Lunenburg.

MR. MICHAEL BAKER: Mr. Speaker, the minister seems to have come rather late to the subject of all-Party cooperation. The problem has been of course that we have been anxious to have a meeting of the all-Party committee and we have been having great difficulty to get members from the government side of the House to attend the committee. We have also been having a difficulty with the proposal for the Auditor General in that the timeliness of dealing with this issue is a problem. Workers in this province are waiting for answers. From speaking with the Auditor General's Office this morning, I understand that it would be the fall before any report would be produced. Are we to allow injured workers in Nova Scotia to sit around and wait until the fall of this year in getting an answer? People need help now and I think that the all-Party committee should be getting together to meet to get answers now. Clearly there are problems in the system that need to be addressed and I look forward to working with my colleagues from the other Parties in doing that, but I assure this House that our Party is committed to making sure the matter is dealt with now and not in the fall.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Preston for an introduction.

MS. YVONNE ATWELL: Mr. Speaker, I would like to recognize the students from O'Connell Drive Elementary School in Porters Lake. There are 30 students in the east gallery. Welcome. I would also like to recognize their chaperones: Linda Saunders, Mrs. Scott, Mrs. Rothwell, Mr. Donovan and Mr. Arsenault.

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GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Premier.

RESOLUTION NO. 2

HON. RUSSELL MACLELLAN, Q.C. (The Premier): Mr. Speaker, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution in the attached schedule as submitted by the Select Committee on National Unity for consideration by members of the House of Assembly. It is my understanding that all members have been given copies of the resolution. Thank you very much.

[SCHEDULE

WHEREAS the members of the Nova Scotia House of Assembly wish to reaffirm their commitment to a strong and united Canada and to the promotion of greater understanding and mutual respect among all Canadians;

AND WHEREAS on September 14, 1997, nine premiers and the two territorial government leaders agreed to submit a Framework for Discussion of Canadian Unity, commonly known as the Calgary Declaration, to the citizens of their respective jurisdictions for consideration and comment;

AND WHEREAS on November 18, 1997, the same premiers and government leaders received a Framework of Principles for a Discussion of Relationships from the leaders of five national aboriginal organizations and agreed to refer it to the consultative or legislative processes under way in their jurisdictions;

AND WHEREAS a Select Committee on National Unity of the House of Assembly of Nova Scotia has consulted Nova Scotians on the Calgary Declaration and the Framework of Principles for a Discussion of Relationships;

AND WHEREAS Nova Scotians, proud of their own rich and diverse heritage, have clearly indicated their belief that a united Canada in which Quebec is a full participant is to the benefit of all Canadians;

AND WHEREAS Nova Scotians consider that, in the Canadian federation, the federal government must continue to be able to address the diverse circumstances and needs of all the provinces, and to ensure comparable public services across Canada;

AND WHEREAS Nova Scotians have expressed their support for the Calgary Declaration as a positive first step toward meeting Canada's national unity challenge;

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THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that this House of Assembly, on behalf of the citizens of our province, endorses the Calgary Declaration as follows:

1. All Canadians are equal and have rights protected by law.

2. All provinces, while diverse in their characteristics, have equality of status.

3. Canada is graced by a diversity, tolerance, compassion and an equality of opportunity that is without rival in the world.

4. Canada's diversity includes aboriginal peoples and cultures, the vitality of the English and French languages and a multicultural citizenry drawn from all parts of the world.

5. In Canada's federal system, where respect for diversity and equality underlies unity, the unique character of Quebec society, including its French-speaking majority, its culture and its tradition of civil law, is fundamental to the well-being of Canada. Consequently, the legislature and Government of Quebec have a role to protect and develop the unique character of Quebec society within Canada.

6. If any further constitutional amendment confers powers on one province, these powers must be available to all provinces.

7. Canada is a federal system where federal, provincial and territorial governments work in partnership while respecting each other's jurisdictions. Canadians want their governments to work co-operatively and with flexibility to ensure the efficiency and effectiveness of the federation. Canadians want their governments to work together particularly in the delivery of their social programs. Provinces and territories renew their commitment to work in partnership with the Government of Canada to best serve the needs of Canadians.]

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable Minister of Health.

RESOLUTION NO. 3

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

Whereas John Davidson from London, Ontario is walking across Canada to raise money for genetic research on behalf of his son Jesse, who suffers from Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, a disease affecting only male children; and

[Page 46]

Whereas in 1995 Mr. Davidson pushed his son across Ontario in a wheelchair raising over $1 million for this cause; and

Whereas Mr. Davidson's goal is to raise $10 million on his current journey which started in April and is expected to conclude in December;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House express their strongest support for John Davidson, a role model for fathers everywhere, as he undertakes Jesse's Journey: A Father's Tribute.

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

MR. SPEAKER: Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture.

HON. KEITH COLWELL: Mr. Speaker, first of all I would like to also welcome the students from O'Connell Drive Elementary School. There are also many students in my area who go to that school and I would like to point out to the Legislature that is one of the new P3 schools. (Applause) I am pleased to see them all here today and look forward to greeting them after the start of the session today.

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

RESOLUTION NO. 4

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

Whereas last week the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans rejected applications from a number of Nova Scotia communities for modest shares of the additional northern shrimp quota; and

Whereas this marks the second consecutive year in which Nova Scotia-based applications for access to this resource were rejected, ignoring the historic attachment Nova Scotia fishermen have to this area, violating their legitimate right as Canadian fishermen to fish in Canadian waters; and

[Page 47]

Whereas for the past several weeks the Nova Scotia Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture have been working closely with these Nova Scotia communities and their local MLAs as part of a group lobbying effort of the federal government;

Therefore be it resolved that this House condemn the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans for the way in which they have allocated the northern shrimp quota for 1998 and commit to working together with our communities to represent the interests of our province on fisheries and related issues in a strong and aggressive manner.

I would ask for waiver of notice and to pass this motion without debate.

MR. SPEAKER: 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. 5

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

Whereas May 22nd is the official national day to promote physical activity which improves the health and quality of life of Canadians; and

Whereas we recognize the work of the Nova Scotia Sport and Recreation Commission, the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Nova Scotia, and their partners in their efforts to promote healthy living; and

Whereas this day is celebrated as Sneaker Day across the country as a day to lace up and participate for the good of our health and for a healthier future;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House, their families, their friends, and their fellow employees find time to be active today and every day after.

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

MR. SPEAKER: Is it agreed?

[Page 48]

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

[11:30 a.m.]

INTRODUCTION OF BILLS

Bill No. 1 - Entitled an Act to Amend Chapter 3 of the Acts of 1995. The Halifax Regional Municipality Act. (Mr. Howard Epstein)

Bill No. 2 - Entitled an Act to Amend Chapter 3 of the Acts of 1995. The Halifax Regional Municipality Act. (Mr. Howard Epstein)

Bill No. 3 - Entitled an Act to Amend Chapter 71 of the Acts of 1941. The Nova Scotia Music Teachers' Act. (Mr. Howard Epstein)

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

NOTICES OF MOTION

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Opposition.

RESOLUTION NO. 6

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

Whereas nurses, staff, patients, family members and other caregivers in the homes for special care themselves, have emphasized their grave concerns about standards and conditions for Nova Scotians who need long-term care; and

Whereas when the Premier presented the Liberal plan, also known as the one-plank platform, on March 4th, he emphasized an increase in long-term care beds; and

Whereas yesterday's Throne Speech was absolutely silent on the subject of long-term care, not mentioning funding, beds, minimum standards or the Liberal plan;

[Page 49]

Therefore be it resolved that this House urges the Premier to recapture the sense of urgency about the state of long-term care that he demonstrated ever so briefly on March 4th, and respond to the 65 per cent of voters who want a new direction and a new confidence in health care.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party.

RESOLUTION NO. 7

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

Whereas the implementation of regional health boards has proven beyond any reasonable doubt to be detrimental to the delivery of health care in Nova Scotia; and

Whereas regional health boards impose a smothering level of burgeoning bureaucracy on local health care institutions which interferes with their capacity to meet legitimate public need; and

Whereas regional health boards, by virtue of their very existence, are eating scarce health care dollars, thereby denying desperately required funding for local health service;

Therefore be it resolved that the Liberal Government immediately move to abolish regional health boards and institute a system of community health boards.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Guysborough-Port Hawkesbury.

RESOLUTION NO. 8

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

Whereas Mr. Jay Abbass, Mrs. Lila O'Connor and Mr. Dennis Richards served with dignity and honour in the last session of this Legislature; and

Whereas Mr. Ferris Abbass, father of Jay, Mrs. Vivian Macdonald, mother of Lila, and Mr. Arthur Richards, father of Dennis, have recently passed away; and

[Page 50]

Whereas each of these parents of former MLAs served their communities and countries with distinction, instilling in their sons and daughter a sense of duty and commitment to their fellow citizens;

Therefore be it resolved that this House extend to each of these former members of the Legislature and their families, sincere condolences and expressions of sympathy on their recent losses.

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 Leader of the Opposition.

RESOLUTION NO. 9

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 Health Minister has claimed he cannot afford the simple decency and compassion of compensation for those infected with hepatitis C by the blood supply system; and

Whereas federal government researchers reported yesterday that the number of individuals infected by the blood system before 1986 may be only 40 per cent of the previous federal minimum estimate; and

Whereas Nova Scotians were rightly proud that our province took national leadership when the member for Kings West put aside political considerations to compensate those infected with HIV;

Therefore be it resolved that this House urges the government to immediately commit itself to providing compensation for all who were infected with hepatitis C through the blood system.

[Page 51]

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Kings West.

RESOLUTION NO. 10

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

Whereas the Krever Report clearly demonstrated Canada's blood system failed its users and condemned many to death, suffering and shortened lives full of physical and emotional pain; and

Whereas the Krever Report recommended that compensation for years of suffering and pain be extended to cover hepatitis C victims who contacted tainted blood; and

Whereas the Liberal Government continues to sacrifice dignity, fairness, justice and what is right to concerns over the bottom line when time and time again it found cause and threw millions at wasteful expenditures, including compensation for wrongfully dismissed bureaucrats;

Therefore be it resolved that this Liberal Government take the lead and notify the federal government and other provinces that a just settlement shall be worked out with hepatitis C victims tainted by Canada's deadly blood system and further that it acknowledge that the excuses that it has used to date are an insult to the intelligence of Nova Scotians who want and expect their government to be accountable, just and compassionate.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Sackville-Cobequid.

RESOLUTION NO. 11

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 Nova Scotia Government got taken to the cleaners when the Liberal Government negotiated the existing royalty structure for offshore natural gas; and

Whereas on March 24th, 65 per cent of Nova Scotians supported Parties who were opposed to the Liberal sell-out offshore gas deal; and

[Page 52]

Whereas the Premier ignores the verdict of the voters when he promised to announce a generic royalty regime for future gas development based on its existing unfavourable to Nova Scotians royalty scheme;

Therefore be it resolved that the Premier reach across traditional partisan lines for advice from all members of this House and the public on royalties so as to avoid what a newspaper columnist has described as, "another hayseed Nova Scotia Government hitching its donkey cart to Mobil's juggernaut.".

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party.

RESOLUTION NO. 12

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

Whereas new effective drug therapies such as Betaseron, Copaxone and Rebif are proving effective in reducing the number of multiple sclerosis attacks and lesions; and

Whereas Betaseron, Copaxone and Rebif are not covered under the province's Pharmacare Program, many Nova Scotians suffering from multiple sclerosis are denied relief from this disease; and

Whereas the Premier promised a swift and efficient review process last summer but yet no definitive decision has been forthcoming despite many promises;

Therefore be it resolved that the province recognize and address the suffering of MS patients by immediately listing Betaseron, Copaxone and Rebif under its Pharmacare Program.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable Minister of Natural Resources.

RESOLUTION NO. 13

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

Whereas this upcoming weekend, May 23rd and May 24th, my riding of Victoria will host the 11th Annual Cabot Trail Relay Race; and

[Page 53]

Whereas over the years this event has become an increasingly popular competition that sees participants running over the picturesque and world-renowned Cabot Trail; and

Whereas a total of 3 of the 55 teams registered for the relay race hail from my riding and the remaining squads come from across Canada and the eastern United States;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House extend congratulations to all the organizers of this event and offer their best wishes to all teams for a fair and successful race.

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

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Halifax Fairview.

RESOLUTION NO. 14

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 Halifax Fairview constituent, Sheree Fitch, has written such well-loved children's books as Mable Murple, Toes In My Nose, and most recently a book about children's rights called, If You Could Wear My Sneakers; and

Whereas children not just in Canada but in other countries around the world, such as Switzerland and Israel, have received enormous pleasure from her books; and

Whereas St. Mary's University, on May 11, 1998, recognized her contribution by conferring an honorary doctorate on her;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate Dr. Sheree Fitch on this well-deserved recognition and wish her well as she continues her writing for children.

Mr. Speaker, I seek waiver of notice.

[Page 54]

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 Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley.

RESOLUTION NO. 15

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

Whereas this government's Throne Speech yesterday stated that it is, "determined that Nova Scotia will continue to be the kind of place where people can feel secure walking the streets of their neighbourhoods, day or night."; and

Whereas the family of a child who was stabbed in the head 14 times in November 1996 is once again feeling unsafe in their neighbourhood as the individual who committed the crime has been given permission to re-enter society, a decision which was not communicated to the family; and

Whereas while the justice system is ensuring that the accused is being given a chance for rehabilitation, as the government has stated, the victim and his family must also be given equal consideration during the years following the crime, noting especially the seriousness of this crime and the young age of the victim;

Therefore be it resolved that the Premier and the Justice Minister ensure that such a lapse in communication with regard to protection of a victim under such circumstances not happen again so that people can feel safe in their own neighbourhoods.

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

MR. SPEAKER: Is it agreed?

I hear a Nay.

The notice is tabled.

[Page 55]

The honourable member for Cape Breton Nova.

RESOLUTION NO. 16

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

Whereas this government has shown great leadership in identifying a positive solution to the long-standing problems at the Sydney Steel Corporation which have bedevilled every government of this province since the times of G.I. Smith; and

Whereas this government, with help from Ottawa arranged by the ever-helpful Senator Al Graham, has undertaken a clean-up program at Sydney Steel that has been tremendously helpful, improving the appearance of the plant while putting 157 unemployed steelworkers to work, all of whom would otherwise be on welfare; and

Whereas this government and the Liberal Government in Ottawa has teamed up to initiate a further clean-up of the coke oven site where long-standing eyesores and derelict facilities are biting the dust on a daily basis;

Therefore be it resolved that this government should be commended and supported for its initiatives as regards the Sydney steel plant and that in particular the leadership of the Honourable W. Manning MacDonald, C.D., be cited for particular and well-deserved commendation.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Cape Breton The Lakes.

RESOLUTION NO. 17

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

Whereas Nav Canada plans to cut services at the Sydney Airport by closing the manned flight service centre, a move which will cost jobs, reduce services and which raises concerns about safety; and

Whereas that decision could mean the death of the Sydney Airport, which would be yet another critical blow to the economy of Cape Breton; and

[Page 56]

Whereas during recent meetings with community leaders on the issue, not one member of the government caucus was in attendance to add their voice to the unanimous support of the flight service centre;

Therefore be it resolved that this government, and particularly those members from Cape Breton, join the people of Cape Breton in their fight to secure the future of the Sydney Airport.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

Would all those in favour of the motion please Aye. (Interruptions)

I regret that I did not (Interruptions) Order, please.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Cumberland North.

[11:45 a.m.]

RESOLUTION NO. 18

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

Whereas thousands of people in Cumberland County are still without a family doctor; and

Whereas presently the medical staff at Highland View Regional Hospital in Amherst is short four doctors, a situation that has not changed in nearly a year; and

Whereas the present Liberal Government has simply failed to recognize the anguish and stress people are under when they are unable to secure the services of a family doctor;

Therefore be it resolved that the Premier and his Minister of Health immediately undertake to have some of the 100 doctors and specialists allegedly recruited to Nova Scotia in the past year, come to Highland View Regional Hospital and begin delivering the necessary services that will ensure thousands of residents will no longer be without a family doctor.

[Page 57]

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.

The honourable member for Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage.

RESOLUTION NO. 19

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

Whereas this week is Occupational Health and Safety Week in the Province of Nova Scotia; and

Whereas even today, more than six years after the Westray Mine blew up and killed 26 workers, there are far too many people hurt or killed in work-related accidents; and

Whereas according to the Mainland Building Trades Council five construction industry workers have died already this year and thousands of Nova Scotians continue to go to work each day under archaic safety regulations;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House demand this government stop its endless stalling and finally approve proposed new safety regulations so that Nova Scotians can finally begin to feel safe at work.

Mr. Speaker, I move waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

[Page 58]

AN HON. MEMBER: Nay. (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: There was no Nay when I asked for the waiver.

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Pictou East.

RESOLUTION NO. 20

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

Whereas Pictou County is facing a crisis by July unless a solution is found to the declining number of doctors leaving the county; and

Whereas the president of the Nova Scotia Medical Society in a recent comment made in the New Glasgow Evening News said there is a vacuum between health care planners and the regional health boards; and

Whereas the Nova Scotia Medical Society president was also quoted as saying, it's a very complicated mess we've gotten ourselves into . . . and what got us into this mess was government planning;

Therefore be it resolved that the Premier and his Minister of Health immediately undertake to address the seriousness of the physician shortage in Pictou County and begin filling the vacancies created instead of constantly promoting their version of physician recruitment, which is clearly not providing a level of service desirable to the residents of Pictou County and thus avoiding a crisis situation in July concerning the availability of medical doctors.

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.

[Page 59]

The honourable member for Kings North.

RESOLUTION NO. 21

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

Whereas natural gas and oil can have an economic benefit for Nova Scotia; and

Whereas Nova Scotians from across the province are requesting information about distribution to their community; and

Whereas the government does not seem to have a plan for distribution to all regions;

Therefore be it resolved that the Government of Nova Scotia provide the government plan so that we can understand the goals of natural gas distribution for the Province of Nova Scotia.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Preston.

RESOLUTION NO. 22

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

Whereas last month the community of Preston suffered a serious blow to its community economic development when the George Washington Carver Credit Union was forced to close its doors; and

Whereas the historic institution was Canada's only black-owned credit union which was a source of pride and a testament to the efforts of generations of volunteers; and

Whereas the Liberal Government was elected in 1993 in part on a promise to make community economic development the engine of growth in this province and yet it did not act to save the George Washington Carver Credit Union;

Therefore be it resolved that this government be condemned for failing to take seriously its pledge to foster community economic development and for failing to act to save one of Preston's historic institutions.

[Page 60]

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Cape Breton Nova.

RESOLUTION NO. 23

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 health care policies of this government have been a noteworthy success, as demonstrated by the significant achievements of the Cape Breton Health Care Complex, which among other things has attracted over 40 new doctors to industrial Cape Breton in the past two years; and

Whereas these successful health care policies enabled the New Waterford Consolidated Hospital to reverse a long-standing pattern of shrinkage and underutilization to the point where today the hospital is in full use for the first time in a great many years; and

Whereas the Conference Board of Canada recently found the New Waterford Consolidated Hospital to offer the best service anywhere in Canada in terms of informing patients' family and friends;

Therefore be it resolved that the example of the success of the New Waterford Consolidated Hospital demonstrates that this government's health care strategies have worked and are yielding positive and beneficial results to the community.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Pictou East.

RESOLUTION NO. 24

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

Whereas there is at present a huge disparity in wages between nurses working in the long-term care sector compared to nurses working in the acute care sector; and

Whereas this wage disparity between long-term and acute care nurses, combined with a growing shortage of nurses, will make it virtually impossible to retain and recruit nurses to the long-term care sector; and

[Page 61]

Whereas nurses in long-term care have the same qualifications and are licensed by the same standards of practice as nurses in acute care, but yet are earning as much as $16,000 less on an annual basis;

Therefore be it resolved that this Liberal Government recognize the importance of work done by long-term care nurses and ensure they achieve their objective of wage parity with acute care nurses in their contract negotiations currently taking place.

Mr. Speaker, I seek waiver of notice.

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

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Cape Breton Centre.

RESOLUTION NO. 25

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

Whereas the coal operations of the Cape Breton Development Corporation continue to be a mainstay of the Cape Breton economy and a vital source of jobs in areas with nearly 20 per cent unemployment; and

Whereas in recent months Devco has announced plans to shut down the international pier, failed to develop export markets for Devco coal and cooperated in the importation of coal for use in Nova Scotia power generators; and

Whereas the MacLellan Liberal Government has remained silent while federal Liberals carry out the destruction of the Cape Breton coal industry;

Therefore be it resolved that this House condemns the MacLellan Liberal Government for its failure to fight for the jobs of Cape Breton coal miners by standing up to their federal counterparts and by bringing forward measures to stop the importation of coal and the privatization of the Donkin mine.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Halifax Citadel.

[Page 62]

RESOLUTION NO. 26

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

Whereas the Registered Nurses Association of Nova Scotia is the duly authorized governing body of the profession, mandated to set the educational requirements for RNs; and

Whereas the Registered Nurses Association engaged in a careful public process of consultation and detailed negotiations with government before requiring a university nursing degree for entry into the profession; and

Whereas the registered nurses yesterday declared themselves to be shocked at the panic-based, quick fix Throne Speech announcement that the requirement will be dropped;

Therefore be it resolved that this House deeply regrets the lack of consultation or even advance notice to the registered nurses of a Throne Speech announcement to fundamentally change the admission requirements of their profession, and urges the government to start proceeding in a manner that will again regain the trust of health care providers.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Lunenburg.

RESOLUTION NO. 27

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

Whereas the Liberal, New Democratic and Conservative Party Leaders agreed to establish a committee to resolve the major difficulties faced by a great many injured workers in this province in their dealings with certain aspects of the Workers' Compensation Act; and

Whereas that committee has met and agreed that one of the major concerns of injured workers was the 2,000-plus persons awaiting hearings of their appeals to the Worker's Compensation Appeals Tribunal; and

Whereas the committee was unable to reach an agreement on how best to deal with this horrendous backlog;

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Labour shall be instructed to immediately develop whatever legislative changes or regulations that are necessary to clear this backlog before the end of this calendar year.

[Page 63]

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Sackville-Beaver Bank.

RESOLUTION NO. 28

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

Whereas students at the Hammonds Plains Elementary School continue to be faced with overcrowded conditions and portable classrooms; and

Whereas alleviating that problem by building the new Hammonds Plains Junior High and St. Margaret's/Boutilier's Point/Tantallon Elementary School was supposed to be the top priority for construction in 1997-98; and

Whereas those needed schools were bounced completely off the priority list by overspending on the Horton District High School in the Minister of Educations's own riding;

Therefore be it resolved that this House condemn the actions of the Minister of Education in putting his personal political interests ahead of the educational needs of children attending Hammonds Plains Elementary School.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Hants East.

RESOLUTION NO. 29

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

Whereas parents of students at the elementary school in Lantz are concerned about health problems of their children because the Liberals have failed to meet the long-standing need for a new school in the community; and

Whereas the recommendation to build a new school in Lantz has been ignored for over five years while costly construction projects like the one in the Minister of Education's riding have been allowed to jump the queue; and

Whereas the latest cause for delay of the Lantz school is the failure of the Liberal Government's Triple-P school construction program;

[Page 64]

Therefore be it resolved that this House condemns the Liberal Government for ignoring the needs of the students of Lantz Elementary in favour of its pricey, patronage-ridden and political Triple-P approach to school construction.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

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

RESOLUTION NO. 30

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 Halifax International Airport is the seventh busiest in Canada with an economic impact of nearly $1 billion and provider of nearly 10,000 jobs; and

Whereas the Chair of the Halifax International Airport Authority has said, "the federal government should consider Halifax International Airport to be one of the most principled economic development priorities for Atlantic Canada"; and

Whereas Aerospace consultant John MacLeod said Halifax International is doomed to a deficit-saddled future unless the airport authority is able to get ownership of the land and the buildings from the federal government, prior to operations being transferred to the authority;

Therefore be it resolved that the Premier immediately move to contact the Prime Minister's Office in an attempt to get a deal struck between the airport authority and the federal government that will lead to a prosperous future for the Halifax International Airport. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: A little long but the notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Pictou West.

RESOLUTION NO. 31

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

Whereas the Antigonish Regional Development Authority along with many rural municipalities are now leading the fight for rural gas distribution through locally-owned gas cooperatives; and

[Page 65]

Whereas those organizations, along with community leaders, realize that without natural gas many rural communities will see their existence threatened; and

Whereas this provincial government has no vision or plan which would see natural gas extended to communities and residents in rural Nova Scotia;

Therefore be it resolved that this government begin working with various community leaders and municipalities to ensure rural gas cooperatives are given an opportunity for gas distribution rights.

[12:00 p.m.]

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Kings West.

RESOLUTION NO. 32

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

Whereas the stress level of the medical staff at Hants Community Hospital has reached a crisis level because of this Liberal Government's ineptitude in dealing with a matter as simple as adding additional beds at the hospital, so that people suffering from illness will not be forced to go home before getting proper treatment; and

Whereas the Premier commissioned an external review of the situation during the election campaign; and

Whereas this review recommended putting additional beds back into operation without the necessity of any structural renovations, while also urging the government to provide a firm commitment to reassure citizens of the hospital's long-term existence as an active treatment facility;

Therefore be it resolved that the Premier and his Minister of Health prior to the closing of the Legislature this afternoon, provide a detailed explanation as to why they are refusing to accept the recommendations put forth in the report requested by the Premier and the need for this Liberal Government to continually play political games with the lives of 20,000 people in Hants County.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Dartmouth North.

[Page 66]

RESOLUTION NO. 33

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 provincial and federal Liberal Parties have both promised significant improvement in day care services including a commitment to the a national day care program during the 1993 election campaigns; and

Whereas no such program has ever developed and no such improvement has ever occurred, proving once again a Liberal will say anything to get elected; and

Whereas yesterday a national day care study was released showing that day care workers are underpaid, need more training and have a high turnover rate;

Therefore be it resolved that this House condemn the federal and provincial Liberal Governments for failing to keep their promises to parents and children across the province and the country.

I move unanimous consent, Mr. Speaker.

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

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Digby-Annapolis.

RESOLUTION NO. 34

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

Whereas the 100-Series Highway between Digby and Weymouth represents one of only two sections of 100-Series system which remains incomplete across Nova Scotia; and

Whereas the increased tourist and heavy truck traffic on this section of highway, as a result of the implementation of the catamaran ferry service between Bar Harbor, Maine, and Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, will significantly increase the risk of traffic accidents and fatalities; and

[Page 67]

Whereas the Government of Nova Scotia has a duty and a mandate to ensure a safe and adequate transportation infrastructure for all regions of the province;

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Transportation and Public Works commit today to guarantee the commencement of the construction of the 100-Series Highway between Digby and Weymouth.

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

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

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Dartmouth-Cole Harbour.

RESOLUTION NO. 35

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

Whereas the Legislatures of Prince Edward Island, Yukon, and British Columbia have voted unanimously to oppose the Multilateral Agreement on Investment that Canada is negotiating; and

Whereas the Government of Saskatchewan has declared its opposition to the MAI, while the Governments of Manitoba and Alberta have also expressed their basic reservations about the MAI; and

Whereas the federal Liberal Government has discouraged broad public discussion of the MAI and its consequences while shopping for an international forum where the MAI might get approved;

Therefore be it resolved that in view of the Multilateral Agreement on Investment unwarranted interference in provincial jurisdiction over health, education, social services, the local economy, cultural development and the development of natural resources, this House urges the federal government not to sign a multilateral agreement on investment based on the model that it has been negotiating.

I would ask for waiver of notice.

MR. SPEAKER: There is a request for waiver of notice.

[Page 68]

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Cumberland South.

RESOLUTION NO. 36

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

Whereas 84 per cent of respondents in a plebiscite in Springhill rejected the proposal of strip mining in their community; and

Whereas strip mining will cause irreversible harm to the community, possibly causing health problems, along with the lowering of property value; and

Whereas strip mining will not serve any valuable purpose to the Town of Springhill but will undermine the hard work of the residents to increase the beauty of that town;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House agree to support the overwhelming majority of Springhill residents in their desire to place a moratorium on strip mining in and around the Town of Springhill to prevent this travesty from happening.

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

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Halifax Chebucto.

RESOLUTION NO. 37

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

[Page 69]

Whereas mere months ago the Liberal leadership race was dominated by attacks on the Liberals' own BST with the now Premier promising tax relief on heating fuel, children's clothing and other family necessities; and

Whereas the Premier no longer pretends he will keep his BST promise, claiming the money went for higher priorities; and

Whereas the Premier's government has lost $13.5 million on Dynatek, given away $45 million to Michelin and paid $330,000 severance to the President of the QE II, all apparently higher priorities;

Therefore be it resolved that this House urges the Premier to respect Nova Scotians, including his own Liberal voters, enough to actually keep his own BST promise and to give the notice of withdrawal from the BST deal that at least 65 per cent of the voters endorsed.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Argyle.

I shouldn't forget the honourable member for Argyle. He has been in the House for a long time.

RESOLUTION NO. 38

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

Whereas Bay Ferries Limited has displayed a visionary approach to the transportation industry by its introduction of the Cat, a $64 million ultra-modern catamaran on its Yarmouth to Bar Harbor ferry service; and

Whereas this represents North America's only high speed super car ferry which can achieve speeds of 90 kilometres per hour, therefore shortening the time of its service from six hours to two and one-half hours; and

Whereas this vessel is capable of carrying up to 240 cars and 882 passengers and will operate twice daily during the peak season;

Therefore be it resolved that the House offer its congratulations to Bay Ferries on its new service and wish them a long and productive relationship with Yarmouth County and indeed Nova Scotia.

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

[Page 70]

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 Truro-Bible Hill.

RESOLUTION NO. 39

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

Whereas the 1st Annual International Tulip Festival will be held in the Truro area on May 22 to 24, 1998; and

Whereas the Tulip Festival will kick off the 1998 tourist season in my constituency with an event which combines its natural beauty with at least 25,000 blooming tulips; and

Whereas there are numerous special events planned to appeal to a wide range of interest groups and to attract participation from both local people and visitors;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of the Legislature commend the organizing committee, volunteers, sponsors, and the Truro and District Chamber of Commerce for their outstanding effort in making this festival a reality.

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 Needham.

[Page 71]

RESOLUTION NO. 40

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

Whereas Nova Scotians value above all else a high quality, universally accessible, comprehensive health care system; and

Whereas over the past five years the pace and administration of restructuring of health care has resulted in needless chaos in the health care system for patients, their families, their communities and those who work in the health care system; and

Whereas the Provincial Health Council, the first of its kind in Canada, served as a model for the participation of the public in health care planning while also acting as a public watchdog to hold the government accountable for activities that had obvious negative health implications for Nova Scotia;

Therefore be it resolved that an immediate call for nominations to the Provincial Health Council be made so that this body, which has been disempowered by the government, again can begin to fulfil its much-needed, legislated mandate as a public watchdog, advocate, evaluator, planner and facilitator.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Timberlea-Prospect.

RESOLUTION NO. 41

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

Whereas the students of Hammonds Plains, St. Margaret's Bay and the Timberlea areas have been forced to put up with years of overcrowding and substandard schooling with no clear end in sight; and

Whereas a new St. Margaret's-Boutilier's Point-Tantallon elementary school should have been built this year to relieve overcrowding and improve the educational environment for many students in the area; and

Whereas the school was not built because the Liberal's costly and political P3 program squandered the construction budget on the Horton School in the Minister of Education's riding;

[Page 72]

Therefore be it resolved that this House urge the Liberal Government to scrap the slow and costly P3 approach and get on with the construction of the critically needed schools and a school in the Beechville-Lakeside-Timerlea area in a speedy and cost-efficient manner.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Yarmouth.

RESOLUTION NO. 42

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

Whereas this province's rural and coastal communities suffered greatly at the hands of this government since 1993 as a result of cutbacks to health care and education services and the loss of jobs; and

Whereas this Liberal Government has no plan in place that will reduce or bring to an end the hardships rural and coastal communities face; and

Whereas the New Democratic Party has outlined a plan of action to assist outlying regions, a plan which includes school construction, more doctors, road maintenance, enhanced community economic development and the establishment of a rural gas working group;

Therefore be it resolved that this government admit it is incapable of fostering improvements in rural Nova Scotia and adopt the New Democrat plan as outlined during the most recent election campaign.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable Minister of Finance on an introduction.

HON. DONALD DOWNE: Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to introduce to members of the House, a person in the audience today who represents Peter's Place, which is a very new and innovative approach to brain injury problems in Nova Scotia, one who has worked very hard to deal with the challenges of those who have experienced brain injury and has run a very successful facility in Lunenburg West. I would like to introduce Tom Donnellan. I would ask members of the House to give a warm welcome to Tom who is in the audience today. (Applause)

[Page 73]

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

RESOLUTION NO. 43

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

Whereas the Tourism Industry Association of Nova Scotia has been actively involved in promoting and developing the tourism industry for this province; and

Whereas tourism represents one of the most rapidly expanding areas of the provincial economy; and

Whereas that rapid growth experienced in the tourism industry is due in no small part to the ongoing efforts of the Tourism Industry Association of Nova Scotia;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House extend their congratulations to the members of TIANS for their ongoing efforts to promote and enhance the tourism industry of Nova Scotia.

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

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Dartmouth South.

RESOLUTION NO. 44

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

[12:15 p.m.]

Whereas residents adjacent to the Kings County Regional Landfill have serious concerns about its operation and its ongoing impact on the environment; and

[Page 74]

Whereas the landfill has been operating without permits for several years and is under a closure order;

Therefore be it resolved that the province should move to close the landfill without further delay and ensure that it is cleaned up in a manner that minimizes and eliminates harm to the environment surrounding the landfill.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Argyle.

RESOLUTION NO. 45

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

Whereas the federal Liberal Government has announced that the entire increase of 28,100 metric tons of northern shrimp quota has been allocated entirely to Newfoundland with Nova Scotia being completely shut out; and

Whereas four Nova Scotian companies have made application to receive allocations including Canso Trawlermen's Co-op, Arasaig Fisheries Ltd. of Lismore, ACS Trading of Mulgrave and have requested a combined total of 5,400 metric tons or 23 per cent of the total increase in quota; and

Whereas this provincial government through the Premier and Minister of Fisheries have failed to convince their federal cousins to fairly distribute this resource;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly direct the Premier to write to the Prime Minister of Canada and the federal Minister of Fisheries and Oceans demanding that this decision be reviewed immediately so that Nova Scotians can also share in this valuable fishery.

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

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

Is it agreed?

I hear a Nay.

The notice is tabled.

[Page 75]

The honourable member for Sackville-Cobequid.

RESOLUTION NO. 46

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

Whereas on Saturday, May 23rd, the Knights of Columbus Council of Saint John Vianney Church of Sackville will again be hosting the Capital Area Special Olympics; and

Whereas the 1998 Capital Area Special Olympics to be held at Dalhousie University are made possible because of the volunteer commitments of Sackville Knights of Columbus and many others; and

Whereas the Special Olympics give participating athletes an important opportunity to demonstrate both their athletic and sportsmanship skills;

Therefore be it resolved that this House extend best wishes for a successful Capital Area Special Olympics to all participants and express its appreciation to all who have volunteered so generously to make this important event possible.

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 Fairview.

RESOLUTION NO. 47

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 last year's spring Speech from the Throne promised the unveiling of a four year plan to reduce class sizes; and

[Page 76]

Whereas no such plan has been unveiled, while average class sizes have continued to rise at all levels under the Liberals; and

Whereas despite the lack of the promised plan this spring's Speech from the Throne promises that a four year plan to cut class sizes will take hold in September, 1998;

Therefore be it resolved that this House urge the Minister of Education to table without delay his promised plan to reduce class sizes so that members of this House can see whether this spring's class size promise has more credibility than last spring's class size promise.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Cumberland South.

RESOLUTION NO. 48

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

Whereas Jennifer Swan of Oxford was chosen to represent the Province of Nova Scotia at the Annual National Cadet Corps Shooting Competition in Ottawa; and

Whereas Jennifer's team placed first nationally and she individually placed sixth overall in Canada; and

Whereas Jennifer will be travelling to Bisley, England, to represent Canada in the international shoot;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate and add their best wishes and good luck to Jennifer Swan as she represents Canada in England.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

MR. SPEAKER: There have 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.

[Page 77]

The honourable member for Cape Breton The Lakes.

RESOLUTION NO. 49

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

Whereas Mi'kmaq poet Rita Joe of Eskasoni has been called the poet laureate of the Mi'kmaq people and is recognized across Canada for her outstanding work; and

Whereas she is one of the few non-politicians ever called to the Queen's Privy Council and is an Officer of the Order of Canada; and

Whereas Mount Saint Vincent University recently honoured Rita Joe with an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters degree;

Therefore be it resolved that this House offers its congratulations to Rita Joe, one of Nova Scotia's finest poets.

Mr. Speaker, I request 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 member for Kings North.

RESOLUTION NO. 50

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

Whereas some police officers across Canada are taking part in a program called Cops for Cancer. You will recognize them because they have shaved their heads; and

[Page 78]

Whereas Cops for Cancer is fund-raising and hoping to raise $100,000 for Camp Goodtime, a summer camp for youngsters with cancer, my daughter Cassie has been a counsellor at Camp Goodtime on two occasions; and

Whereas in Kentville on May 9, 1998, more than 50 local police officers, youth counsellors, radio personalities and other interested citizens had their heads shaved;

Therefore be it resolved that this Legislature thank the participants in Cops for Cancer and commend their community spirit for helping youngsters who are suffering with cancer.

Mr. Speaker, I would ask to waive notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Queens.

RESOLUTION NO. 51

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

Whereas the history of permanent settlement of the northern district of Queens County dates back to 1799; and

Whereas this settlement in North Queens began when William Burke and his wife and family walked the 28 miles from Liverpool to what is now South Brookfield and built a log cabin on the site of the present home of Mrs. Freda Smith; and

Whereas the North Queens Heritage Society has initiated plans for a celebration of the North Queen's bicentennial in the summer of 1999;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of the House of Assembly recognize the efforts of President Sharon Crooker and members of the North Queens Heritage Society and commend them as they work towards the summer 1999 special bicentennial event recognizing the beginning of North Queens as we know it today.

[Page 79]

Mr. Speaker, I seek waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Cape Breton Centre.

RESOLUTION NO. 52

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

Whereas as of today, nearly 2,800 injured Nova Scotians are waiting on decisions from the Workers' Compensation Appeals Tribunal on whether they will receive workers' compensation; and

Whereas in the face of a leadership campaign and a by-election campaign this Premier promised injured workers of Nova Scotia on several occasions that he would make changes to the Workes' Compensation Act that would address their concerns; and

Whereas despite his repeated promises, this Premier did absolutely nothing to help the injured workers, a fact that so angered Pictou County injured workers that that group occupied the Premier's office for a number of days;

Therefore be it resolved that this Premier and this Liberal Government live up to their word and bring forward legislation to be passed in this sitting of the House that will end the unending delays and address the concerns of injured workers.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Lunenburg.

RESOLUTION NO. 53

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

[Page 80]

Whereas North American Occupational Health and Safety Week is being recognized this week under the theme of Occupational Health and Safety Partners - Together in Safety; and

Whereas the president of the Mainland Building and Trades Council has noted that while those killed in the construction workplace appear to be down this year, "Whatever the numbers are, they're too many, and hopefully people are becoming more aware and helping to solve the problem"; and

Whereas it is hoped that the events this week will help to ensure that both workers and employers promote greater education and action on workplace safety and the number of individuals injured or killed on Nova Scotia's work sites will continue to decline this year and years to come;

Therefore be it resolved that the government take the lead this week and continue to move forward on striving for a safe and healthy workplace for its employees.

Mr. Speaker, I ask for waiver of notice.

MR. SPEAKER: Is it agreed?

I hear a Nay.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Halifax Citadel.

RESOLUTION NO. 54

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

Whereas on May 14, 1998, over 300 students in the string program gathered at St. Patrick's High School to demonstrate the year's achievements in the Halifax school's music program; and

Whereas the performance of students at all levels showed talent, discipline and enthusiasm as the students made beautiful music together; and

Whereas this government's underfunding of education has jeopardized the existence of opportunities for fine arts learning in the schools;

[Page 81]

Therefore be it resolved that this government recognize the value of outstanding fine arts programs like the one at St. Patrick's High by reinvesting in education.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley.

RESOLUTION NO. 55

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

Whereas while the Halifax Regional School Board has decided this year to retain full-day Primary classes, the possibility of half-day Primary for the former county schools will again be a reality when the board debates the issue next year; and

Whereas the future decision on this issue proposes an inequity between the educational opportunity for a Primary-aged student in the former county and those children in the cities; and

Whereas the government forced both the merger of the cities and county and the metro county and city boards because they considered them being communities of interest;

Therefore be it resolved that this government support the need for an equal educational opportunity, especially in the formative early years of our children and ensure that the metro board does not once again revisit the idea of abandoning a full-day Primary year for a select number of children in the province's largest school board.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Halifax Chebucto.

RESOLUTION NO. 56

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

Whereas yesterday's Throne Speech wasted 236 words to rationalize this Liberal Government's practice of denying the Auditor General statutory authority to audit the province's financial statements; and

[Page 82]

Whereas the NDP and PC platforms both call for the independent Auditor General to audit the province's books, and on April 1st the Premier singled out this issue as one where he could accommodate the Opposition's wishes; and

Whereas nevertheless the Liberals still refuse to join all other Canadian governments in submitting their financial statements to the independent auditor;

Therefore be it resolved that this House advise the government that the Auditor General stands ready to audit the province's financial statements so that time and money need not be wasted hiring a firm to duplicate the functions of an independent officer of this House.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

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

RESOLUTION NO. 57

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 with the passage of Bill C-9, the federal Liberal Government is moving rapidly to ensure the Port of Halifax is unable to directly compete with U.S. East Coast ports; and

Whereas the Port of Halifax is the engine which drives a substantial portion of this province's economy, and with enhanced infrastructure improvements could create thousands of additional jobs over the next few years; and

Whereas despite the existence of such evidence, the present Nova Scotia Liberal Government chose to ignore both parliamentary and Senate hearings on Bill C-9 in Ottawa;

Therefore be it resolved that the Premier immediately move to contact the Prime Minister's Office and attempt to bring Ottawa to their senses and have them begin to understand the importance of the Port of Halifax to Nova Scotia's economy that will result in a competitive future for the Port of Halifax.

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

MR. SPEAKER: There is a request for waiver.

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

[Page 83]

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Timberlea-Prospect.

RESOLUTION NO. 58

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

Whereas last evening approximately 1,000 students from the western area of the Halifax Regional School Board presented their Showcase of the Arts at Exhibition Park; and

[12:30 p.m.]

Whereas the show featured school bands from the 11 elementary schools, 4 junior high schools and the band and art students of Sir John A. Macdonald High School; and

Whereas a great evening was appreciated by the students, parents and the audience present;

Therefore be it resolved that this House recognize the efforts and congratulate art teacher, Isla MacEachern, and band teachers, Barbara Coates, Craig Reiner, Susan Mantin, Jeff Stern and Mark Cuming.

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 Truro-Bible Hill.

[Page 84]

RESOLUTION NO. 59

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

Whereas the 1998 Truro-TSN Bearcats won the Allen Cup which is emblematic of the Canadian Senior AAA hockey championship; and

Whereas the first and only other time the Canadian Senior hockey championship was won by a Nova Scotian team occurred in 1935;

Therefore be it resolved that the Legislature, on behalf of all Nova Scotians, salutes the achievement of the 1998 Truro-TSN Bearcats and extends its congratulations to the players, coaches, trainers, equipment managers, team officials and team owner.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

MR. SPEAKER: 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.

RESOLUTION NO. 60

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

Whereas roads such as the Tyndal and Mount Pleasant Roads in Cumberland County, to name a few, are in absolutely disgraceful shape, as are most other secondary roads in this county; and

Whereas the previous Minister of Transportation and Public Works obviously understood just what a sad state of repair roads in Cumberland County are actually in when he blatantly refused an invitation from the Municipality of Cumberland to appear before their regular council to discuss this specific issue; and

[Page 85]

Whereas next to no road work has even commenced in Cumberland County after a hard winter of freezing and thawing conditions, despite this Liberal Government's pledge last spring to spend an additional $60 million on highway construction and repairs in fiscal 1997-98;

Therefore be it resolved that the present Minister of Transportation and Public Works commit to a tour of sections of Cumberland County with me so that he can see first-hand the disgraceful condition of the roads in the county which, in turn, would be followed by a meeting with the Municipality of Cumberland to outline details of road work that would be undertaken in Cumberland County in fiscal year 1998-99.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Queens.

RESOLUTION NO. 61

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

Whereas the members of the Correctional Officers Union of Nova Scotia have attempted to deal in good faith with the Government of Nova Scotia on the issue of wage parity; and

Whereas officers are now claiming that they are not making any progress in negotiations with government even though talks have been underway on the issue since the end of March; and

Whereas a key issue is that correctional officers achieve wage parity with provincial youth workers who are currently paid at a higher rate but have equal qualifications and job requirements;

Therefore be it resolved that as government has recognized a need for wage parity in other essential sectors of the government work force that it also recognize the need for fair treatment of this province's correctional workers.

Mr. Speaker, I seek waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

[Page 86]

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

The motion is carried.

GOVERNMENT BUSINESS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

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

GOVERNMENT MOTIONS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I move that the adjourned debate on the Address in Reply to the Speech from the Throne be now resumed.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Opposition.

MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, I began my remarks yesterday by promising to spend some quality time with the document presented to the House yesterday, searching for that resolute direction promised by the government at the outset of the speech. I have to tell you, I did my homework, some midnight oil was burned, but I regret to say, I didn't find that resolute direction in the document. Neither did I find any evidence in the Speech from the Throne that the Liberals are really interested in providing good government across partisan lines. In fact, a closer reading of the speech simply confirmed my first impressions. This is one more product from the same gang that brought us the one-plank election platform. It is a rehash of the same old thing, brought to us by a government that clearly has no new ideas.

Not only does this speech have no new ideas, it has even forgotten about a few of their old ideas that might have made a bit of sense. Take health care for example. Last spring the Liberals promised that the method of paying for doctors' services would change. That was a good idea, but it hasn't happened; in fact, it is not even mentioned in this Throne Speech.

Last spring the Liberals promised that hospital funding would be stabilized; that needs to happen, but it hasn't happened either. Hospitals across this province, from the IWK to St. Martha's and points in between, are still trying to cope with funding cuts. There are no promises of stable hospital funding in this spring's Throne Speech. Instead, the Liberals are promising that, ". . . universally accessible, high-quality care for every Nova Scotian, at no direct cost to the user, is assured.". That's great, Mr. Speaker, but is that before or after we get a chicken in every pot and two cars in every garage?

[Page 87]

Last fall the Liberals had another idea. They promised to ease anxiety over health care restructuring by appointing a panel of health care professionals and community leaders to evaluate services and ensure programs are secure across Nova Scotia. I quote from that document. "The panel will report back to government in the spring", said that Throne Speech. Well, here it is, late spring and still no panel appointed, let alone a panel report.

The health care panel promise seems to have vanished into thin air, or maybe it has gone into Liberal limbo along with other half-baked and half-forgotten promises.

Remember the industrial commission announced in the Throne Speech last fall? It was going to work with the federal government on developing an industrial strategy for Cape Breton. Here we are six months later, no industrial commission, no beginnings of industrial strategy for Cape Breton and a continuation of unemployment on the Island in the 20 per cent range. Now the industrial commission is in Liberal limbo, and the unemployment situation in Cape Breton and parts of Nova Scotia, like Yarmouth, are glossed over with more generalities.

Remember the promise in last spring's Throne Speech for the unveiling of a four year plan to reduce class sizes? The plan was never unveiled, but we learned yesterday that the four year plan is about to take hold in September 1998. I guess our students and teachers will soon find out what it is like to be taken hold of by a non-existent plan.

This Throne Speech is further evidence - if we needed it - that this Liberal Government has few ideas and even less ability to implement ideas. Mr. Speaker, it is a government that has no plan, no direction. Its record shows that it is incapable of providing resolute direction to Nova Scotians.

This Throne Speech is also the product of a government that still hasn't figured out what happened on March 24th. Well, let's look for a second at what happened on March 24th. On that day Nova Scotians elected just 19 Liberals; they elected 33 MLAs whose Party platforms repudiated the policies that Liberals have inflicted on Nova Scotians over the last five years. Yet, when we look at the Speech from the Throne, we see little evidence that the Liberals have figured out yet what the people of Nova Scotia were telling them on March 24th. The speech contains rhetoric about reaching across traditional Party lines to involve all members and Parties in the House in a project to provide good government. Mr. Speaker, that's a good idea, but when you look for substance, there is very little; in fact, almost nothing.

Let's take education as a case in point. All members of this House must agree by now with the need to reinvest in public education, especially after five years of Liberal cuts and mismanagement that have left the school system $120 million in the hole, with many communities without adequate school buildings.

[Page 88]

Good government, Mr. Speaker, would see the Parties represented in this House having a debate about how much we can put back in the education system at this time and where the priorities ought to be. But we don't get that. All we get are some vague generalities about increasing investment in public schools and more vague generalities about increasing university funding.

I say to you, Mr. Speaker, and members of this government, the vague generalities about education are not good enough. They are certainly not good enough for the people I represent in Halifax Atlantic. Vague generalities will not save the Sambro-Ketch Harbour Elementary School in Halifax Atlantic. The situation being faced by students, teachers and parents of that school is being duplicated all across this province. Thanks to the Liberal cuts of more than $50 million, students in many communities are attending classes in substandard buildings.

Sambro-Ketch Harbour Elementary has 150 students. The gymnasium badly needs repairs, the school has serious structural problems. The community is concerned about those repairs, and without those repairs they may lose their school.

Vague generalities won't do it for them any more than they will do it for the adult literacy programs in Halifax Atlantic. Like literacy programs across Nova Scotia, people are struggling with inadequate funding while this government squanders education dollars on the construction of a double outdoor amphitheatre at the minister's favourite high school. It is unfair, Mr. Speaker, beyond belief.

The only place where this speech goes beyond vague generalities and does get specific is on the question of P3 schools. No generalities there. The Liberals say that they are going to build 30 schools under the P3 method, come what may. Never mind that the Auditor General said in his report last February that P3 is a scam; never mind that Nova Scotians elected 33 MLAs whose Parties have expressed very serious concerns about P3.

When are the Liberals going to get the message on school construction? P3 is collapsing around their ears. It is expensive, it is unfair, it is a vehicle for patronage and pork-barrelling. Instead of speeding up the building of schools, P3 has brought school construction to a virtual halt, at least outside the Education Minister's own riding. When will the Liberals get the message?

A minority government that is truly interested in involving all three Parties in providing good government would be looking for a compromise with the other two Parties on the P3 schools. Such a government would be prepared to put forward a plan to proceed immediately with schools on the critical list. At the same time, a full public review would be carried out to determine which method of school financing best meets the needs of Nova Scotians.

[Page 89]

That the Liberals have failed to propose such a solution to the current deadlock on this issue suggests to me that they have not received the message yet from March 24th, or at least they hadn't got the message by the time they sat down to write the Throne Speech. Maybe the events of yesterday will help them get that message, Mr. Speaker. Clearly it is time that they did.

The Liberals haven't gotten the message yet on Sable gas. The Throne Speech makes reference to the issue of a generic royalty regime for future gas development. It was mentioned in the speech, it was also announced a few weeks ago by the Premier before the oil industry down in Houston. Mr. Speaker, this is an extremely important issue. If, in fact, there is 15 trillion cubic feet more of natural gas off our coast, the royalty regime drawn up in the next while will have a tremendous impact on the benefits that Nova Scotians will get from offshore development.

There is a large number of people, both inside and outside of this province who think that Nova Scotians got taken to the cleaners when the Liberals negotiated the existing royalty structure for offshore natural gas. As my colleague, the member for Sackville-Cobequid noted in a resolution this morning, when newspaper columnists compared the Liberal Government's Sable negotiations to "another hayseed Nova Scotia Government hitching its donkey cart to Mobil's juggernaut.".

[12:45 p.m.]

Incredibly, the Throne Speech says the royalty deal the province is set to announce will be based on the existing royalty deal, the very one negotiated by a hayseed government that gives the profits to the industry, the risk to the citizens of Nova Scotia. On March 24th, 65 per cent of Nova Scotia voters supported Parties who opposed the Liberal sell-out of our offshore natural gas. A government, I suggest to you, Mr. Speaker, and to all members of this House, that was truly interested in good government, crossing partisan lines, would be discussing its template royalty regime with the people of Nova Scotia and with all members of this House first, not announcing it to the oil industry tycoons down in Texas.

Mr. Speaker, the image that comes to mind is that of a hayseed government that can't put one foot beside the other without stumbling, yet still insisting that they are going to lead the dance.

I have to repeat today what I said yesterday after the initial reading of the speech. This speech, Mr. Speaker, is not worth supporting. There are a few good ideas in there but we know what happens to worthwhile Liberal ideas, scarce as they are, nothing. They disappear into Liberal limbo or they end up being promised, like the protected places bill, session after session after session. The Liberal Throne Speech clearly has no plan of action. It provides no clear direction for the province and there is no reaching out to the other Parties in this House to involve them in ensuring that Nova Scotians get a Legislature that works for them.

[Page 90]

Mr. Speaker, this Throne Speech fails to take notice of what happened on March 24th. It appears that the Liberals also seem to have forgotten what the preceding election campaign was all about. There were a lot of issues in that campaign, but the most important were the BST, jobs and health care.

Mr. Speaker, the BST is as unfair now as the day it was introduced through the back door dealings of the Liberals here and in Ottawa. Nova Scotians elected 33 MLAs who said they would get rid of the unfair, backroom BST deal. The Premier has even suggested that he might be in favour of looking for a fairer arrangement than the BST. But the Throne Speech is silent on the issue and that is unacceptable. Once again, a Legislature that worked for Nova Scotians would start looking for a replacement for the unfair BST deal - a replacement that is fair to both businesses and consumers. The voters who sent most of us here expect that.

A Legislature that worked for Nova Scotians would also get serious about jobs. Mr. Speaker, there are over 50,000 unemployed in this province. The rate in Cape Breton is nearly 20 per cent. Yarmouth is nearly as bad off. The Liberal response is a vague promise about training. While training is important, it is only one part of a job creation strategy.

During the campaign, New Democrats talked about a new approach to the economy. Government needs to ensure that every one of its actions will have a positive effect on jobs. Government needs to ensure that its scarce resources are used to support economic development in our communities, not squandered on fly-by-night outfits or handed over as a form of tribute to companies like Michelin, another $18 million, Mr. Speaker, since the election. No money for victims of hepatitis C but $18 million more for Michelin. What we need in this province is a government that will stand up to corporations like Michelin (Applause) and say, we're thankful for the jobs you provide, but please finance your investments out of your own profits.

Mr. Speaker, we need a government in this province that will start building an economy that will not be subject to the whims of multinational corporations. We need to have economical alternatives in our communities, healthy, small- and medium-sized enterprises with real roots in the community. For too long, governments have paid lip-service to community economic development and what we need and what Nova Scotia needs now is real commitment to do it. We need a government that will be an advocate for vital infrastructure projects, projects that will have a major impact on the future economic growth of this province.

The Throne Speech makes passing reference to the Port of Halifax as the economic heart of the province, but it fails to mention Bill C-9 which is going through Parliament right now. The bill will enable the federal government to slough off its responsibilities for ports.

[Page 91]

It will leave the Port of Halifax reliant on the private sector alone to raise the hundreds of millions in capital needed to help the Port of Halifax grow and prosper in the years ahead. Mr. Speaker, Bill C-9 is bad for the Port of Halifax and should be stopped. This government should stand up for jobs in Nova Scotia and demand that their federal buddies put a stop to that bill, but we hear nothing from them on Bill C-9, just as we hear nothing from them as the federal government sloughs off its responsibility for the Cape Breton coal industry and the thousands of jobs that rely on that industry.

A Legislature that worked for Nova Scotians would be more than a cheerleader for the economy, it would stand up and fight for jobs for Nova Scotians. Mr. Speaker, a Legislature that worked for Nova Scotians would come up with more, much more I say than the rehash of ideas on health care contained in this Throne Speech. A Legislature that worked for Nova Scotians would start the job of restoring faith in our health care system, and that means scarce resources going into the areas of greatest need, front-line patient care, long-term care and health resources in rural areas. It also means putting control of the health care systems at the community level.

During the campaign, New Democrats talked about the need to carry out full consultation with front-line health care workers to find out where the most serious problems were and determine the priorities for reinvestment. As I pointed out, last fall's Throne Speech made the promise of a similar consultation, but now that promise has completely disappeared from the Liberal shopping list. Why, Mr. Speaker, has that happened? The campaign showed clearly that people are concerned, the Liberal cuts have damaged the quality of care they are getting from the health care system. We need to identify and deal with problems in front-line patient care as a matter of priority. This Throne Speech makes no reference whatsoever to the need to deal with the mounting problems facing the extended care sector in this province.

Have the Liberals abandoned their one-plank platform already? Because it makes no reference to the need to redress the pay disparity faced by nurses in long-term care, the question has to be asked, Mr. Speaker has the Premier forgotten that campaign promise as well?

The Throne Speech extols the virtues of the teleHealth network as the key to making health care accessible to rural areas. Do you know what? It is ironic that the tying together of the Radiology Department at St. Martha's Hospital with the hospital at Neils Harbour is used to illustrate the successful application of the teleHealth network. It is ironic, because we have been told recently that a combination of underfunding and the lack of a CAT scanner would mean the demise of the radiology department at St. Martha's. All the technology in the world is not going to solve the problems of the health care system when parts of that system are underfunded, thanks to years of Liberal cuts.

[Page 92]

Five years of Liberal cuts - here and in Ottawa - and five years of Liberal mismanagement have left our health care system in disarray. The only new idea in this Throne Speech that comes up to dealing with the problems created by Liberal blundering is another blunder. They propose in this Throne Speech to reinstitute hospital nursing schools, but somebody forgot to consult, Mr. Speaker, with those people most affected - nurses. It is abysmal, the lack of competence on the other side.

If we are going to preserve and enhance our health care system in a sustainable way, we need real health care reform, not cutting and slashing disguised as health reform. Health reform is supposed to be about reorienting the system from one focused on disease and acute care, to a system focused on prevention and good health. That is what the 1989 Royal Commission Report told us and it is what the Blueprint Committee Report told us in 1993. Those reports also told us that health reform is supposed to be about community-based decision making and about emphasizing primary health care, attacking poverty, poor housing and environmental degradation, those things that are often the cause of poor health care.

Instead of health reform from the members opposite, over the past four years we have had budget cuts, leading to a 30 per cent reduction in hospital beds before alternatives are in place. We have seen growing concern in communities across the province about access to primary and acute care. We have seen recommendations for decentralization and community-based decision making distorted into top-heavy, top-down regionalization.

We have seen increased user fees for medical procedures, the de-insurance of many procedures, and we have seen premiums for Pharmacare coverage and a move towards privatization. All of these developments, Mr. Speaker, each and every one of these developments undermine the goal of comprehensive universal health care for Nova Scotians. Nova Scotians want comprehensive universal health care, they want a government that will take the leadership in securing that in the future. The Throne Speech that was presented here yesterday shows no such leadership on this issue.

Mr. Speaker, over the years NDP Leaders in this House have made a practice of trying to make a positive contribution to this debate by outlining some of the measures that would be in a Throne Speech brought forward by an NDP Government. We have tried to be responsible in what we would say about our would-be program. We don't want to make promises that we can't keep, even when debating the Throne Speech, a document that the Liberals clearly don't take seriously as a blueprint for government action.

The Party standings in this House make it doubly necessary that we are careful about commitments that we make in response to the Throne Speech. So does the fact that among the three Parties in this House, only the Liberals know the true state of the province's books. We have been, let me say, Mr. Speaker, and continue to be extremely concerned about that. We accord the Premier's promise of a balanced budget no more credibility than we do his promise of BST relief.

[Page 93]

So with those caveats in mind, an NDP Throne Speech would take a different approach from the one presented to this House by the Liberals. Instead of insisting on calling all the shots like the Liberals do, we would have looked for points of agreement between our platform and that of the other Party in this House that had the courage to put its platform in front of Nova Scotians during the election campaign.

[1:00 p.m.]

Mr. Speaker, a Throne Speech from an NDP Government would, among other items, begin the process of getting the province out of the BST deal and finding a fair replacement. We would commit to an educational policy that puts quality education in the classroom ahead of the expensive P3 approach to school construction. We would adopt a new approach to health care delivery aimed at restoring confidence among caregivers and patients. We would propose steps to ensure that Nova Scotia gets more jobs and benefits from Sable gas through better royalty and gas distribution arrangements. We would conduct a full public review of gaming policies. We would improve programs to upgrade and maintain rural roads. We would give legislative authority to community health boards.

We would commit to better provincial participation in the important aboriginal tripartite process. Mr. Speaker, we would begin negotiations for the extension of compensation for Nova Scotians infected with hepatitis C through tainted blood and, Mr. Speaker, we would introduce legislation to clear up the backlog and make workers' compensation fairer to injured workers.

Mr. Speaker, Nova Scotians are looking for change. They are looking for representatives who will show leadership in tackling their problems on jobs, on health care, education and fair taxes. What they have been getting from these Liberals before and during the election and since, confusion, aimlessness and vague feel-good words designed to induce in Nova Scotians a false sense of well-being but Nova Scotians are not buying the approach that is contained in the Speech from the Throne and they made that clear on March 24th.

Mr. Speaker, this Throne Speech is sadly lacking in vision. It ignores the message that Nova Scotians sent to its elected representatives on March 24th and it provides absolutely no basis for cooperation across Party lines in the interests of good government. This Throne Speech is not worthy of support. Therefore, I move that the resolution before the House be amended by adding the following words:

That this House lacks confidence in this government because it has failed to respond constructively, in a co-operative and responsible manner, to the historic general election on March 24, by taking up Nova Scotians' mandate to:

a) adopt a new approach to health care, restoring confidence among care-givers and patients;

[Page 94]

b) adopt a new approach to education, by emphasizing equal opportunity to quality education in the classroom instead of concentrating on 3P construction financing which increases costs and delays urgently needed schools;

c) adopt a new approach by keeping the Premier's original promise of BST relief, giving notice that Nova Scotia will withdraw from the present unfair and restrictive BST deal and holding province-wide hearings;

d) adopt a new approach to Sable gas that truly maximizes jobs and benefits for Nova Scotians, including a fair royalty structure and measures to ensure communities can participate in the earliest possible rural gasification;

e) adopt a new approach and a new openness with steps like a new program to upgrade and maintain rural roads, a public review of gaming policies, and legislative authority for community health boards.

Mr. Speaker, I so move. (Applause)

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

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I don't want to interrupt the member in the middle of his speech, so I wonder if we could make an introduction now, and I would ask the honourable Minister of Health to do so.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Health.

HON. JAMES SMITH: Thank you very much, and I apologize to the Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party for a brief interruption, but it would be better now than later perhaps.

I know that all members of the House would like to extend a warm welcome to those gathered in the Speaker's Gallery this morning. Many of you are aware of John Davidson - somebody has termed him, here in my notes, as the walking machine, I guess that is proper - I would like to draw your attention, Mr. Speaker, in your gallery, Mr. John Davidson; Trish Federkow, road manager; Bevin Palmeteer, medic manager; Steve Casey from London, Ontario; Gerry Buchanan; Renatta Van Loon; Susan Potts, Halifax; and David Meadows from Halifax.

Those of you who have been following Jessie's Journey, A Father's Tribute, we just want to pay honour to them, particularly John and his team for this great initiative for genetic research, particularly in illnesses affecting children. I think most of us in the House know his story, so I will not read it at this time and those of you who will meet with him perhaps later will be able to share some of that.

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I feel very honoured, the Premier and I had the opportunity to meet with John and his entourage and we just want to welcome them to Nova Scotia. We presented him with the Order of Good Time from the people of Nova Scotia. We just want to say a special thanks for this great initiative and the courage and the foresight and vision to make this type of a commitment, not only on behalf of his son, Jessie, but for all children. Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and I ask the House to offer a warm welcome. (Applause)

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

DR. JOHN HAMM: Mr. Speaker, I would like to begin with an introduction. Sitting in the gallery opposite are old friends of the Deputy Speaker, of the Premier, and old friends of mine . . .

MR. JOHN LEEFE: And mine.

DR. HAMM: And old friends of John Leefe. I wish to introduce for the greeting of the House Mr. and Mrs. Tom LeBrun, former residents of Nova Scotia, now residents of Ontario. (Applause)

Mr. Speaker, I would like to take a minute or two to welcome all returning members back to this historic Chamber. Particularly a warm welcome to all of the new members who I am sure, are excited and nervous and apprehensive about their new responsibilities, particularly given the unprecedented and uncertain political climate that we all now face.

I would like to single out one member in particular who made history on March 24th, the new member for Preston, Yvonne Atwell. (Applause) I congratulate her on becoming the first Black woman elected to Nova Scotia's Legislature, a significant accomplishment and a long overdue milestone for this place. I hope that it sends a strong message to more and more women and more and more Nova Scotians of minority origin that this House represents all Nova Scotians and this House belongs to all Nova Scotians. (Applause)

Yesterday there was another historic first. I congratulate the Speaker on becoming the first elected Speaker of this Legislature. This year marks the 150th Anniversary of responsible government in Nova Scotia. It is fitting that we have moved forward in electing the member for Preston and in electing a Speaker to watch over the proceedings of this House. I know the Speaker will be fair-minded and thoughtful and be an efficient arbiter of all the proceedings in this House, and I do wish the Speaker the very best in his new duties. (Applause)

I also congratulate the new Deputy Speaker on his election and I offer the same best wishes.

[Page 96]

Never before has there been so much anticipation about a sitting of the Legislature. Is it any wonder? On March 24th, the dynamics of this Legislature changed dramatically. The political landscape for Nova Scotia became a dream come true for constitutional experts, political scientists, journalists and even arm-chair politicians, but let not the dream come true become a nightmare for Nova Scotians. For those of us who occupy the 52 seats in this Legislature, this is more than just a study in parliamentary procedure, a study of constitutional issues and political manoeuvring. We have come here to do the people's business. It's a responsibility that all 52 of us here swore we would take seriously.

While I know that most Nova Scotians view what happens in this Legislature with only passing interest, or perhaps no interest at all, what we do here has far-reaching consequences affecting the lives of virtually every Nova Scotian, either directly or indirectly. The full significance of this statement might not be obvious right now, but I am hoping that we will keep it in mind as I continue my response to the Speech from the Throne.

On March 24th, the people of Nova Scotia did send the government a message. That message was loud and clear. The message is, things have changed and it is not business as usual. The Premier and the government still don't get the message.

On April 1st, I met with the Premier and I talked about the priorities of Nova Scotians. I spoke to the Premier at length about problems in the health care system; about the government's failure to secure all the rightful benefits from Sable gas; about the need to address the requirements of young Nova Scotians falling through the cracks of our education system and a host of other important issues. In the absence of any plan of his own, I gave the Premier a copy of my Party's platform and urged him to examine it in detail and to adopt any or all of it.

[1:15 p.m.]

The Premier said his government would keep in touch. It would consult my Party to determine where we could find common ground; where we could reach consensus; where we could cooperate; so that the men and women elected to this Legislature could move forward in addressing the business of the people. Well, it just didn't happen.

It wasn't until Wednesday past, at 6:32 p.m., 59 days after we first met on April 1st, 59 days after he said he wanted to cooperate to make things work, one day before the Legislature opened, less than 24 hours before the Speech from the Throne was to be read and just hours after I held a press conference to put forward my frustrations with the government's lack of cooperation, it was only then I heard from the Premier.

It is ironic and it is unfortunate that the government didn't take up its own call to reach across partisan lines and honour the pledge of good government made by all members to those they now represent. Those eloquent sounding words are contained on Page 1 of the

[Page 97]

Speech from the Throne. Those words ring hollow in light of the government's actions since March 24th.

Despite the government's unwillingness to reach out to the Opposition to make things work, I was hopeful, truly hopeful, that the Speech from the Throne would address the priorities of Nova Scotians that I had earlier raised with the Premier. It did not. It seemed to have just resulted in more of the same.

I have been asked to yield the floor, Mr. Speaker, for an introduction, so with your permission.

MR. SPEAKER: I thank the honourable Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party for that.

I will call on the honourable member for Preston.

MS. YVONNE ATWELL: Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and thank you, as well, Dr. Hamm, and I apologize for the interruption. I would like to welcome the second group of students, 31 students in the gallery from O'Connell Drive Porters Lake School. I would also like to welcome their chaperones: Mrs. Reeves, Mr. Stevens, Mrs. Phillips, Mrs. Leekie and Mr. Williams. Thank you for coming. (Applause)

DR. HAMM: Mr. Speaker, in reading the government's Throne Speech, it is painfully clear to me, as I am sure it will be to the vast majority of Nova Scotians, that the government did not get the message. It is clear to me as far as this government is concerned that it hasn't learned a thing from its close call with the electorate. The government didn't even make an effort to cooperate. In reading the Speech from the Throne, it is clear that cooperation was never on the government's agenda, rather it was business as usual. Business as usual with this government has more often than not meant promising something - promising lots of things - things it never delivers.

Look at what happened with injured workers. The sit-in at the Premier's office provoked by anger, frustration and the betrayal that the workers felt as a result of the Premier's failure to carry out a plan to address their concerns. Despite all of its talk about cooperation, the government had to be dragged, kicking and screaming, into participating on the all-Party committee that I put forward to set up a process for dealing with the huge and growing backlog of injured workers' claims. In fact, the government had to be embarrassed into the process.

The Premier only agreed to participate after it was revealed that the government's excuse for not participating, namely it would interfere with the Ombudsman's review, didn't wash. The Premier apparently wasn't aware the Ombudsman hadn't even started his review and wouldn't for some time to come. Remember, this came less than 48 hours after the

[Page 98]

Premier was caught out on his claim that the Auditor General was doing a review and would be reporting publicly on the Porter's Lake School P3 lease.

Mr. Speaker, I am extremely disappointed that this process, a process that could come and should have worked, now appears stalled. The government's representative on the all-Party committee, the Minister responsible for the Workers' Compensation Act, has given little indication he wants the process to get underway, little indication that he understands truly the urgency in dealing with the backlog of claims that continues to grow. So much for all the talk about cooperation and wanting to make things work; so much for reaching across traditional partisan lines.

Mr. Speaker, the minister's statement this morning in which he indicated he has requested the Auditor General to review the Workers' Compensation Act and the policies and procedures of the board cannot be taken to mean the work of the all-Party committee will be delayed and that a resolution to the hundreds of outstanding claims is once again put on hold. Again business as usual with this government, a failed commitment.

The Throne Speech reiterates past promises that have yet to be fulfilled. Containing comfortable sounding phrases and vague promise, the government completely misses the mark in terms of communicating a real understanding of the fundamental problems with our health and education system, completely misses the mark in setting out a clear, realistic and reasonable plan of action addressing the issues of principal concern to all Nova Scotians.

With the new dynamics in this Legislature, it is proof of the continued arrogance of a government that I am convinced is still completely out of touch with most Nova Scotians. Remember the Premier and his government had a huge majority going into the election, squandered the majority by taking the people of Nova Scotia for granted, and it would seem that nothing has changed. In fact, it was only at the very last moment, only after the Premier realized I was deadly serious about my intentions to hold his government accountable on the issues of concern to Nova Scotians that he made any overture to me and to the members of my caucus. If the Premier is serious about cooperating to make this Legislature work, I would have expected he would have made a commitment, he would have honoured the commitment that he made to me on April 1st.

The Premier is quoted today in one of the daily newspapers saying "There's no question that there's a stable government. The problem that the opposition stated is that they wanted dialogue. Well, the fact of the matter is, we are running government and we've stated that as long as we're in power, we'll be in charge of government.". So much for all the talk about wanting to make things work, about reaching across traditional partisan lines, the bottom line with this government is that things have not changed. The government has not gotten the message delivered by the people on March 24th.

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I want to make it perfectly clear that I recognize the limitations of government and I recognize that it has limited resources and that the demands are great. I recognize we cannot fix everything in one fell swoop, but what I was looking for, what I was hoping for was a Throne Speech that on balance gave me and, more important, the people of Nova Scotia some comfort that the government was starting to move in the right direction, a Throne Speech that would recognize and address the fundamental problems created by regionalized health care delivery. Regionalized health care delivery has failed. The government promised that it would bring decision making closer to communities. It has done the opposite, and Nova Scotians feel a sense of betrayal. Health reform was supposed to give communities more authority and greater control over local health care decisions; instead, communities lost control.

Ask Dr. Kim Crawford about the impact of regional health boards. He said we have, ". . . an unstable health system . . . where the problems are getting worse.". Dr. Cathy Felderhof, who despite being run off her feet, had to spend half a day working through bureaucratic red tape just to get blood work done for a patient. The reason? The patient lived in the eastern region and she practises in the northern region.

Nova Scotians continue to volunteer time, energy, money and talent on community health boards, despite the fact the government still has not lived up to its long-standing promise to legislate their authority. Apparently, that will not happen any time in the near future because the Throne Speech didn't even mention community health boards.

The Throne Speech does say significant new investments are already going towards more doctors, specialists and surgeons. I am not sure if this reference to the Premier's election promise to bring 100 new doctors to Nova Scotia, for which he still has not provided a plan or even a dollar figure, or if the government borrowed a page from last year's Throne Speech by referencing money already committed or spent through the previously signed agreement with the Medical Society, but one thing is certain, that unless the government acts and acts quickly and addresses the 20 alternative funding proposals it has had before it for months, Nova Scotians will lose a lot more specialists and a lot more family doctors, and thousands more Nova Scotians will be searching for a family doctor. But here again, the Throne Speech was silent. This, despite the fact that the government released a report that endorsed alternative funding proposals well over a year ago. For the government, nothing has changed; it is just business as usual.

I was also disappointed that the Throne Speech failed to give a commitment to restore the Provincial Health Council. Last year, the Speech from the Throne promised a panel of experts to review and report on the direction of health reform. That panel has never been struck. Yet, the Premier and his Minister of Health cite this nonexistent panel of experts as one of the reasons we don't need a health council. That, and the fact that the health council was, to quote the Premier, "too critical"; perhaps far less critical than many people in Nova

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Scotia who are having difficulty accessing health care. To me, this is just proof that the council was doing its job and doing a good job at that.

The Provincial Health Council did serve a critically important role - it was the arm's length, volunteer agency that drafted Nova Scotia's health goals. It held province-wide consultations on health policy, undertook important research into health policy and, perhaps more important, it served the vital role of monitoring and keeping the government accountable for the decisions it made that impacted on the health and well-being of Nova Scotians. There has never been a greater need for a Provincial Health Council. Instead, we have politically-appointed regional health boards operating behind closed doors with huge powers for influencing the delivery of health care in Nova Scotia.

Mr. Speaker, I could spend the remainder of my allotted time addressing health care alone. But before I move on to other important issues, I want to say that, once again, the government has totally ignored the critical issues with respect to long-term care.

[1:30 p.m.]

The gross disparity in wages between nurses working in the long-care sector and those working in the acute-care sector combined with what will soon be a critical shortage of nurses in all sectors is going to make it impossible for the long-term care sector to retain and recruit nursing staff to care for those who live in our nursing homes and homes for special care. There is virtually nothing in the Speech from the Throne that gives me any sense that the government has heeded the warnings of the report released last fall by the Nova Scotia Nurses' Union that said it would take a tragedy to get the government's attention. In fact, again, on this issue the Throne Speech is silent.

Now, despite all the evidence to the contrary, despite all the concerns being expressed by people who work in the health care system and all of the fears of Nova Scotians who rely on it, the government continues to carry out its health care agenda with business as usual.

The Throne Speech section on education includes the heading "Education: The Foundation". It says, "When the school bell rings in communities across Nova Scotia, it signals something important is about to happen. Children want to learn. Teachers want to teach.". That is fair enough. Children want to learn and teachers do want to teach but what the government fails to acknowledge is that in too many cases it, government, is the reason they cannot. We have schools in this province that borrow from petty cash to photocopy textbooks for students. We have at least one school, a high school with over 1,000 students, where the students on a cold day wear their coats to keep warm because the heating system will not work and just a few miles up the road another high school is being built for a cost of $30 million.

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The one word I keep hearing whenever Nova Scotia's education system is being discussed is fairness. Students, teachers and parents want an education system that is fair to all, that offers fair access to facilities and resources to all of our children. The word fairness is not referenced once in the Throne Speech in relation to education. We have a two-tiered education system, students that have and students that have not. Despite the fact that we still do not have a lease for Sherwood Park - the government's first P3 experiment - the government continues to promise more privately built, owned and operated schools, schools, that without proper design and operating standards, will just create more inequities.

Despite the fact that the jury is still out on P3 schools, despite the Premier's on again, off again promise to have P3 schools analysed by the Auditor General, this government forges ahead in promising schools that I suspect will be on the drawing board perhaps well into the future. We have seen one partial lease for one school. The government continues to promise over and over and over again that the other leases will be released in a weeks time, or two weeks time, but they never seem to materialize.

Despite the fact that the government says no more schools will be built until the lease agreements are signed, the Throne Speech says 30 new schools are on the way and the first sounds of this construction boom will soon be heard. We have been waiting for months to see lease agreements for schools already built or under construction. I fear the government has created yet another expectation it will fail to live up to.

Mr. Speaker, the new money that the government promises for public schools is welcome. It will, no doubt, be directed to repair some of the damage created when the government removed more than $50 million out of the classroom at the same time that it saddled school boards with millions of dollars in new costs.

The government boasts that three out of four Community College graduates have found a job within a year of graduation. That is an admirable record. It is all well and good, Mr. Speaker, but what is unfortunate is this government has done nothing to improve access to vocational training in the province.

Too many young people who want to pursue a trade, who have talent, interest, and desire to pursue that trade are denied that opportunity because they don't have the academic qualifications required; a particularly sad situation when we continue to have the highest drop-out rate in our schools in Maritime Canada.

The result, because of the failure to receive the appropriate vocational school training, they start dropping out of school. The result is that business and industry have openings that they cannot fill, too many young Nova Scotians who could otherwise be working are unemployed or on welfare.

[Page 102]

Again, the Throne Speech is silent on addressing this problem. In fact, the Throne Speech is even silent on promises the Premier repeated over and over again. Not a word about blended sales tax relief. It was promised in last year's Speech from the Throne but this year nothing, zip, gone, forgotten. The Throne Speech made reference to child poverty as a national disgrace. The blended sales tax has added to the struggle of low income Nova Scotians, particularly those with young children. That too is a disgrace.

The Throne Speech states, "'Support for families must always include a special commitment to the elderly.". Pretty sounding words that don't mean anything when you measure them against the actions of the government, with the blended sales tax, with new Pharmacare premiums, with the turmoil created in health care, the abandonment of the long-term care sector and the list goes on.

For many, particularly those who live on small fixed incomes, the blended sales tax was just one more hardship on top of many others. Seniors organizations from across this province, including the Federation of Senior Citizens and Pensioners, have been pleading with the Premier and pleading with this government to live up to its promise to provide blended sales tax relief on a number of essential items, most especially home heating cost.

The blended sales tax is an unfair, onerous tax, a tax on consumers; a tax that the Premier himself on a number of occasions acknowledged is unfair, but despite acknowledging it is unfair, a tax that he is prepared to keep all the same and not to make any adjustment.

There are a number of other significant omissions in the Speech from the Throne and I want to identify them. The Speech from the Throne didn't reference our resource sectors. Not a word about the forestry sector, agriculture or mining, just passing reference to Nova Scotia's seafood trade.

Mr. Speaker, our resource industries have largely sustained rural Nova Scotia, providing a livelihood for thousands of Nova Scotia families and contributing hundreds of millions of dollars to our economy. Yet, not a word. The government obviously believes it has nothing to offer, nothing worthwhile to say, no vision.

Again, despite the many challenges confronting those critically important sectors of our economy and the need to sustain our forests and to protect our agricultural land and to diversify and strengthen our fishery, the government has decided it is business as usual.

The federal government recently announced the entire increase of 28,000 metric tons of northern shrimp will go to Newfoundland. The federal government has completely shut out Nova Scotia. Nova Scotia has become, on many fronts, the federal government's favourite target. We continue to receive short shrift from Ottawa. Time and time again we are short-changed with little if any objection from government.

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The Throne Speech does not include a word about the need to identify and address urgently needed highway and road construction. Many of the secondary roads in this province are barely passable. One example that highlights two problems that need to be addressed. The beautiful Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley, the area with the largest network of secondary roads in this province hasn't had a single, not one tender for road work called in the last six years. I know there are roads right across this province that are in desperate need of repair. But I doubt there is a single Liberal MLA who can say that no work has been done in their constituency since 1993.

I was delighted that the Speech from the Throne made reference to the importance of the Port of Halifax. In fact, it referred to the Port of Halifax as being the economic heart of our province. Isn't it too bad that not a single representative from government bothered to appear before the Senate Committee hearings on Bill C-9 to defend the port's interests, to defend what you call Nova Scotia's economic heart. Bill C-9 will relieve Ottawa of its obligation to give the Port of Halifax the same support it has given other ports across the country. It is all well and good for the government to talk about a junior capital pool to access capital to finance upgrades of the port, it should also have been demanding that Ottawa treat Nova Scotia fairly and it should have been demanding changes to Bill C-9 and the Premier with all of his Ottawa connections should have led the charge.

The same holds true for the urgently needed upgrades of the Halifax International Airport. Again, government has been silent as Ottawa sticks it to Nova Scotia. But as Nova Scotians will recall from comments from the Premier's office during the election, that's a federal responsibility.

Mr. Speaker, the Throne Speech proclaims, "Job creation remains a top priority of government.". It cites as the first example the government's work in offshore resources development but the government has yet again failed to present a clear vision on how that development will be pursued. A lack of planning has resulted in serious questions about the Premier's promise to create a generic royalty agreement.

The Premier took the responsibility himself to attempt to improve the Sable gas royalty agreement and he failed. The embarrassing proof of his failure is in his own government's hiring, just a few weeks ago, Washington lawyers to intervene in the United States Federal Energy Regulatory Commission hearings. The problem here is that the Premier agreed to a profit-based royalty agreement and not a commodity-based agreement. Maritimes & Northeast Pipeline has now applied for U.S. approval to roll their phase one development cost into the pipeline tolls for the transportation of Nova Scotia's natural gas. The result is increased costs and decreased profit and decreased royalties. Mr. Speaker, it is our gas. We deserve a royalty determined by Nova Scotians, not a bunch of Washington lawyers.

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How then, Mr. Speaker, can Nova Scotians have any faith in the Premier's ability to create a sound generic royalty agreement? Perhaps our Premier could speak with and seek some advice from his colleague Premier Tobin. In fact, I understand that Mr. Tobin has already provided some advice to our Premier. Our Premier who has also been the minister responsible for the Petroleum Development Agency from the day he was first sworn into office. On May 6th, during an international oil and gas conference in Houston, Premier Tobin said, we set up a royalty regime 60 days after I came into office. Nova Scotia needs to get going on that.

How then, Mr. Speaker, can Nova Scotians have any faith in our Premier's ability to manage the Petroleum Development Agency and deliver on the offshore development promises contained in the Throne Speech? The embarrassment in Houston endured by all Nova Scotians did not end there.

I know as well, as any member of this House, that the Premier is having a very difficult time balancing the province's budget but perhaps the next time he represents our province to the top international oil and gas industry leaders, he could manage to find a few dollars for a slide show.

Yes, Mr. Speaker, that was an embarrassing week. The Premier toured the Houston Brown & Root facility that is working on our Sable gas project at the same time when Premier Tobin announced that the new Brown & Root facility was going to be in Newfoundland. A double-whammy for Nova Scotians looking for business and employment opportunities supported by a government that will, ". . . jealously protect the interests of Nova Scotians.". The government goes on to say, "The benefits from offshore energy will accrue, first and most, to Nova Scotians.".

[1:45 p.m.]

Yesterday, the government did present its Throne Speech. A few strengths, but many silences, and I didn't get a sense of compassion and fairness. The government's failure to recognize and address the plight of hepatitis C sufferers means it fails on both counts: on compassion and fairness. The refusal of the government to approve Betaseron - a drug that has made a world of difference for Nova Scotians who suffer from multiple sclerosis - a proven drug therapy significantly reducing the need for more costly medical interventions, helping many who suffer from multiple sclerosis to return to work and enjoy the quality of life, the government's refusal to approve this drug, again means it fails on compassion and fairness.

I had an opportunity to visit with a young lady who is attending university, who just a few short months ago was confined to a wheelchair, she began treatments with Betaseron and today is attending university and walking about her apartment without a cane and walking outside with a cane, literally taken from that wheelchair by this drug, and now pursuing her

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education at university. Those are the kinds of things that we are denying the sufferers of multiple sclerosis in this province.

Mr. Speaker, earlier on I said that what we do in this Chamber affects the lives of virtually every Nova Scotian, directly or indirectly. I said I understood that I swore an oath to take my responsibilities seriously. A government cannot survive if this is the best it can do. It has to do better.

I made an overture to the Premier on April 1st and I agreed, and I am sure that with a proper overture by the Premier to the Leader of the New Democratic Party, some semblance of cooperation can be established in this Legislature. It matters little to me whether it will be Liberals across the floor or New Democrats. It matters to me which government will address those items of concern to the people of Nova Scotia. (Applause)

Government, in a minority government situation, cannot survive without cooperation. That means a very different approach than what we have seen to date. Now, the Premier has indicated to me - as a result of a note that I had sent to him - that he is prepared to meet and I will be having that meeting with the Premier and following up on the things I think are important that this government has heretofore chosen to ignore.

Time is running out on this Liberal Government. The Leader of the New Democratic Party has moved his amendment and there is much substance to that amendment. I am not going to start playing Russian roulette with the government, but I will play fair with the government and I will give them an opportunity to address the issues that are before this House and are being brought to their attention by members of the Opposition. But time is short and it is essential that if we are going to survive and provide some kind of stability in this place over the next number of months, then the cooperation that we have been asking for must start to appear.

You have seen the cooperation that we have been able to establish with the New Democrats. You have seen, perhaps, a greater cooperation, yesterday, between the New Democrats and the Conservative Party, a greater cooperation than has ever before been witnessed in this House. Not that we share a lot of political ideals, but we share some, and when we see those common ideals, then we must be prepared to work together.

I have a few moments left, Mr. Speaker, and I want to take the opportunity - as I am sure all members of the House will avail themselves of when they are on their feet - to talk a little bit about my constituency. I have lived most of my life, as you know, in my constituency and, like most Nova Scotians, I am proud of where I come from. I do thank the people of Pictou Centre for again putting their confidence in me to represent them for however long this General Assembly lasts.

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It is certainly a humbling experience when the people with whom you have lived all your life put that kind of confidence in you and all of us have received that kind of confidence from their constituents and something that we must not lose sight of, is that behind each and every decision must be the realization that we are not here for ourselves or Party, we are here for our constituents and the people of the province.

There are a number of interesting things and one particularly interesting thing going on in New Glasgow that I want to talk about but I want to talk a little about the three towns that I represent. There is an interesting series of festivals going on in our community. I hope I can find the list here, because I certainly want each and every one of you to become aware that there is a lot going on in Pictou Centre this summer as there will be right across Pictou County and I am sure that the members from Pictou East and Pictou West will want to bring you up to date as to what is going on in their communities.

There is one very interesting festival that I do want to mention and it is a little bit different. The Town of New Glasgow has initiated one of the most interesting relationships ever formed between two communities in the world. And this story began in the 1860's when the Presbyterian Ministry in New Glasgow assisted the Rev. Dr. John Morton to head up a missionary team to begin a school in Trinidad. Today, two million residents of Trinidad-Tobago still credit our town, the Province of Nova Scotia and Dr. John Morton with the founding of the education system in that country. In 1997, Mr. Parisan former Director of Trinidad's television network, now Executive Director of CBC Newsworld in Halifax, came to New Glasgow to explore the educational roots of his people.

Thus began a process that resulted in the twinning of San Fernando, Trinidad and New Glasgow, San Fernando being the location of the first school. The statement of principal forming this association consists of three missions as follows: first, to undertake cultural exchange which highlights the historical ties between the two communities and builds on the cultural diversity of the two areas. Two, to look at a municipal development exchange which would create a sharing of ideas on municipal management and development of infrastructure; and, thirdly, to explore trade, industry, and business opportunities between firms and agencies located in Trinidad and Nova Scotia. June 19th and 20th of this year, this event will to some degree eclipse all of these statements but the main thrust will be cultural exchange with a strong thrust on a trade component which is to be organized by the Pictou Regional Development Commission. So I invite all of you to take note of that particular event and, as I say, it is going to be rather unique and I think it is going to be very, very interesting to see the Trinidadian and the Scottish culture combined under one roof.

Mr. Speaker, we are reaching the hour of adjournment. I would be prepared to . . .

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member has about 14 minutes left. If he wishes to avail himself of adjourning . . .

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DR. HAMM: Yes, well, perhaps I would adjourn and continue on Monday.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is to adjourn the debate on the Speech from the Throne.

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, the hour of adjournment being upon us, I would move that this House do now rise to sit again Monday evening at 7:00 p.m. We will continue with the Address in Reply to the Speech from the Throne by the honourable Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is carried.

We stand adjourned until 7:00 p.m. on Monday.

[The House rose at 1:56 p.m.]