The Nova Scotia Legislature

The House will resume on:
September 21, 2017.

Hansard -- Mon., May 25, 1998

First Session

MONDAY, MAY 25, 1998

TABLE OF CONTENTS PAGE
GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 62, Commun. Serv. - Access Awareness Week: Organizers -
Applaud, Hon. F. Cosman 109
Vote - Affirmative 110
Res. 63, Sports - Capital Area Special Olympics: Organizers - Congrats.,
Hon. J. Smith 110
Vote - Affirmative 111
Res. 64, Commun. Serv.: Missing Children's Day (25/05/98) -
Recognize, Hon. F. Cosman 111
Vote - Affirmative 112
NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 65, Educ. - C.B.-Victoria School Bd.: Funding Protest -
Criticism (Premier) Condemn, Ms. E. O'Connell 112
Res. 66, Health - Prov. Health Council: Role - Review, Dr. J. Hamm 112
Res. 67, Halifax, Port of - Bill C-9 (Sec. 25) Stop: Gov't. (N.S.) -
Campaign Join, Mr. R. Chisholm 113
Res. 68, Health: Priorities - Review, Mr. G. Moody 114
Res. 69, Fin. - Gambling: Control - Contravention, Ms. Helen MacDonald 115
Res. 70, Health - Dr. H. Padma-Nathan: Research - Success Congrats.,
Mr. J. Muir 115
Vote - Affirmative 116
Res. 71, Health - Medical Society (N.S.): Dr. R. Mullan (President) -
Congrats., Mr. G. Moody 116
Vote - Affirmative 117
Res. 72, Environ. - HRM: Recycling Collection Reduction - Review,
Mr. D. Chard 117
Res. 73, Health - Hyland View Reg. Hosp. (Cumb. Co.): Doctors (2) -
Provide, Mr. E. Fage 118
Res. 74, Nat. Res. - Nat. Gas: Yarmouth Fight - Congrats.,
Mr. John Deveau 119
Res. 75, Ireland - Referenda [Yes]: Progress Commend - Letter Forward,
Dr. J. Hamm 119
Vote - Affirmative 120
Res. 76, Transport. & Pub. Wks. - Roads: Pothole Paradise -
Tour (Premier) Urge, Mr. W. Estabrooks 120
Res. 77, Econ. Dev. & Tourism - Young Entrepreneurs Assoc.
(Atl. Can.): Support - Offer, Mr. N. LeBlanc 121
Vote - Affirmative 121
Res. 78, Educ.: Dal. Law School (Emil Gumpert Award) - Congrats.,
Ms. Maureen MacDonald 121
Vote - Affirmative 122
Res. 79, Econ. Dev. & Tourism - Digby Neck Commun. Dev. Assoc.:
Commitment - Congrats., Mr. G. Balser 122
Vote - Affirmative 123
Res. 80, Lbr. - Metro Transit (HRM): Negotiations - Encourage,
Mr. J. Pye 123
Vote - Affirmative 123
Res. 81, Educ. - Yarmouth HS: Vickery Family (Vickery Cane) -
Appreciation Extend, Mr. E. Fage 124
Vote - Affirmative 124
Res. 82, Nat. Res. - Forestry: Mgt. Progs. - Cuts Condemn,
Mr. C. Parker 124
Res. 83, Lbr. - Metro Transit (HRM): Settlement - Seek, Mr. M. Baker 125
Res. 84, Sports - Baseball: Trevor Wamback (Sackville) Professional
Career - Congrats., Mr. J. Holm 126
Vote - Affirmative 126
Res. 85, Transport. & Pub. Wks. - Road Repairs: Taxes (Motor) -
Locate, Mr. J. DeWolfe 127
Gov't. (N.S.) - Oppose,
Mr. R. Chisholm 127
Res. 87, Transport. & Pub. Wks. - Hwy. Improvements: Excise Tax -
Investment (Gov't. [Can.]) Demand, Mr. B. Taylor 128
Res. 88, Junior Achievement - Hfx. West HS Students (M. MacIntyre &
N. Longaphy): Success - Congrats., Ms. E. O'Connell 129
Vote - Affirmative 129
Res. 89, Econ. Dev. & Tourism - Springhill Lamp Cabin: Heritage Site -
Efforts Recognize, Mr. M. Scott 129
Vote - Affirmative 130
Res. 90, Fin. - Gambling: Hfx. Casino - Symbolism (N.S.) Avoid,
Ms. Helen MacDonald 130
Res. 91, Educ. - Charina Cameron: Sonic Bee Detector (Prizes) -
Congrats., Mr. G. Archibald 131
Vote - Affirmative 131
Res. 92, Health - Yarmouth: Doctors Shortage - End, Mr. John Deveau 131
Res. 93, Educ. - Schools (SW N.S.): Bright Futures Award - Congrats.,
Mr. J. Leefe 132
Vote - Affirmative 133
Res. 94, Lions International: Membership - Congrats., Mr. W. Estabrooks 133
Vote - Affirmative 133
Res. 95, Transport. & Pub. Wks.: Old East River Point Rd. - Repair,
Dr. H. Bitter-Suermann 134
Res. 96, Striking Committee: Meeting - Announce, Mr. J. Holm 134
Res. 97, Justice - Police Cadet Training: Changes - Reveal, Mr. M. Scott 135
Res. 98, Commun. Serv./Health - Senior Citizens: Long-Term Care -
Inattention Explain, Ms. Maureen MacDonald 136
Res. 99, Transport. & Pub. Wks. - N.S.-P.E.I. Ferry Service:
Min. Stat. - Provide, Mr. J. DeWolfe 136
Res. 100, Fish. - Policy (Can.): Consultations (Mins. [N.S.-Can.]) - Begin,
Mr. N. LeBlanc 137
Res. 101, Environ. - Truro (Park St.): Flooding - Action, Mr. J. Muir 138
Res. 102, Transport. & Pub. Wks.: St. Margaret's Bay Tourism
Action Comm. - Meet, Dr. H. Bitter-Suermann 138
Res. 103, Housing & Mun. Affs.: B&B Assessments - Status Change,
Mr. G. Balser 139
Res. 104, Transport. & Pub. Wks.: Lun. Co. (Crouse's Settlement Rd.) -
Improve, Mr. M. Baker 140
Res. 105, Agric./Housing & Mun. Affs.: Farm Land Tax - Eliminate,
Mr. G. Archibald 140
Res. 106, Nat. Res. - Silviculture Prog.: Funding Adequate -
Provide, Mr. J. Leefe 141
GOVERNMENT BUSINESS:
GOVERNMENT MOTIONS:
ADDRESS IN REPLY:
Dr. J. Hamm 142
Mr. D. Dexter 146
Mr. E. Fage 156
Ms. E. O'Connell 167
Adjourned debate 171
TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS:
Justice: Civil Procedure Rules - Amendments, Hon. J. Smith 172
ADJOURNMENT, House rose to meet again on Tue., May 26th at 2:00 p.m. 172
ADJOURNMENT, House rose to meet again on Tue., May 26th at 2:00 p.m.

[Page 109]

HALIFAX, MONDAY, MAY 25, 1998

Fifty-seventh General Assembly

First Session

7:00 P.M.

SPEAKER

Hon. Ronald Russell

DEPUTY SPEAKER

Mr. Donald Chard

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

PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS

PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES

TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS

STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS

GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Community Services.

RESOLUTION NO. 62

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

109

[Page 110]

Whereas Nova Scotia Access Awareness is celebrating its 11th year of operation in Nova Scotia with the week of May 24th to May 30th designated Nova Scotia Access Awareness Week; and

Whereas it is government's hope and vision to create a province where everyone can lead more independent lives and reach their full potential; and

Whereas in the Speech from the Throne the Liberal Government committed to improving services for people with disabilities;

Therefore be it resolved that this House applaud the continuing efforts of the board of Access Awareness Week, the Canadian Paraplegic Association, the Disabled Persons Commission, the Abilities Foundation and all partners involved in making this week happen, for their continuing efforts to provide for all people accessibility and inclusion.

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

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Health.

RESOLUTION NO. 63

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

Whereas on Saturday, May 23, 1998, the Councils of the Knights of Columbus hosted the 1998 Capital Area Special Olympics at Dalhousie University; and

Whereas the regional track meet enabled Special Olympic athletes from our capital region the opportunity to participate in a well-organized sporting event; and

Whereas these special athletes need and very much appreciate the support of government, sponsors and volunteers;

[Page 111]

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate the organizing committee for hosting this event and congratulate the athletes on a job well done.

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 Minister of Community Services.

RESOLUTION NO. 64

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

Whereas May is Missing Children's Awareness Month in Canada; and

Whereas over 58,000 children across Canada were lost in 1997, including 655 children in Nova Scotia; and

Whereas Nova Scotians should remember the children who have returned safely and those who are still missing;

Therefore be it resolved that this House recognize May 25th as National Missing Children's Day.

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

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

[Page 112]

The motion is carried.

INTRODUCTION OF BILLS

NOTICES OF MOTION

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Fairview.

RESOLUTION NO. 65

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

Whereas the Cape Breton Regional School Board has publicly protested the government's decision to provide the board with less funding than was recommended by the Education Funding Review Work Group; and

Whereas the government has withheld from the public, parents, teachers and students the Education Funding Review Work Group Report and information on grants to school boards contrary to long-standing practice; and

Whereas the Premier seems angrier about the public finding out that Cape Breton education funds were cut than he is about another setback for education in Cape Breton;

Therefore be it resolved that this House condemn the Premier for his criticism of the Cape Breton-Victoria School Board and its efforts to gain fair funding for Cape Breton students.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party.

RESOLUTION NO. 66

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 Provincial Health Council was established on the recommendation of the Royal Commission on Health Care; and

[Page 113]

Whereas the Task Force on Primary Health Care and the Blueprint Committee on Health System Reform subsequently recommended that the council's role be expanded and broadened to allow for increased monitoring and greater accountability during the health reform process; and

Whereas the Liberal Government instead forced the arm's length volunteer watchdog agency out of existence because it was, according to the Premier, too negative;

Therefore be it resolved that the Liberal Government review the vital role the council played as watchdog, clearing house, advocate and facilitator role, roles that have not been performed since the council was dismantled and, further, that it recognize the serious gaps and serious problems in the government's approach to health care reform by immediately responding to calls from numerous community-based organizations to reinstate the Provincial Health Council.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable Minister of Natural Resources on an introduction.

HON. KENNETH MACASKILL: Mr. Speaker, I would like to introduce, through you, to the House some members from my constituency who are in Halifax for a meeting with Minister Downe and myself. I want to introduce Daniel Boudreau, Councillor for Cheticamp-Pleasant Bay; Hector Hines from Meat Cove; Stanley MacKinnon from Dingwall; and Kenneth MacKinnon from Big Intervale. I would ask the House to give these members a warm round of applause. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Opposition.

RESOLUTION NO. 67

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 Canada Marine Act, Bill C-9, introduced by the federal Liberal Government contains provisions that will enable the federal Liberal Government to escape its historic role in port development; and

Whereas Section 25 of Bill C-9 could seriously threaten the future of the Port of Halifax by preventing the federal government from investing in port infrastructure; and

Whereas only a Senate committee and a lobbying effort by Nova Scotia New Democrat and Tory MPs stands in the way of the enactment of the potentially devastating Section 25 of the Canada Marine Act;

[Page 114]

Therefore be it resolved that this House call on the Nova Scotia Liberal Government to immediately join the campaign to stop Section 25 of the Bill C-9 and thus secure a better future for the Port of Halifax.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Kings West.

RESOLUTION NO. 68

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 former Chief Executive Officer of the QE II Health Sciences Centre walked away with over $0.5 million dollars in wages and severance after less than one year on the job; and

Whereas the government has used the excuse that a $500,000 a year budget required to reinstate the Provincial Health Council is too costly; and

Whereas this is just another example of gross incompetence and of a government that has its priorities completely out of whack;

Therefore be it resolved that the Liberal Government acknowledge that it places more value on the failed leadership of one senior bureaucrat than it does on involving Nova Scotians in meaningful dialogue and, further, that it apologize to Nova Scotia taxpayers for failing to protect their interest.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Cape Breton The Lakes.

[Page 115]

RESOLUTION NO. 69

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

Whereas Ralph Fiske, the former Chair of the Gaming Corporation is suing the province for interfering with the arm's length integrity of the corporation; and

Whereas Mr. Fiske says the Cabinet and the Premier's Office undermined the operational independence of the corporation by negotiating directly with the Sheraton Casino; and

Whereas this interference directly affects the corporation's ability to act as a check to ensure the province and the casino operators act responsibility in their pursuit of gaming dollars;

Therefore be it resolved that this House condemn the government for seizing control of gaming in Nova Scotia in direct contravention of the Gaming Control Act.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Truro-Bible Hill.

RESOLUTION NO. 70

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

Whereas Dr. Harin Padma-Nathan has received international acclaim for his research which led to the approval of the drug Viagra; and

Whereas Dr. Padma-Nathan is a graduate of the Cobequid Educational Centre in Truro, who later received his MD degree from Dalhousie University and also completed his surgical residency in urology at that institution;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this Legislature congratulate Dr. Padma-Nathan for the success of his medical research which will improve the physical and mental well-being of millions of people.

Mr. Speaker, I would request waiver of notice.

[Page 116]

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 Kings West.

RESOLUTION NO. 71

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

Whereas Dr. Robert Mullan was installed as 1998-99 President of the Medical Society of Nova Scotia, taking over from outgoing President, Dr. Kim Crawford; and

Whereas Dr. Mullan is medical examiner and special constable for the RCMP, Medical Director at the Kings Regional Rehabilitation Centre, Medical Director at the Crosbie Drug and Alcohol Rehabilitation Centre and medical advisor for Western Regional Home Care Nova Scotia, as well as being a well-respected family physician in Kentville, where he has practised since 1982; and

Whereas Dr. Mullan has also been active in the College of Family Physicians of Canada, the Nova Scotia College of Family Physicians, the Nova Scotia College of Physicians and Surgeons and the Canadian Medical Association;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of the House of Assembly welcome and congratulate Dr. Mullan on becoming President of the Medical Society of Nova Scotia for 1998-99 and extend to him our best wishes.

Mr. Speaker, I would request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

[Page 117]

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Justice.

HON. JAMES SMITH: On an introduction, Mr. Speaker. In your gallery this evening, I want to introduce three persons representing the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Nova Scotia and I would ask them to rise and receive the warm welcome of the House.

[7:15 p.m.]

We have Laurie Payne who is the executive director of the society; Susan Rouke who is the director of communications; and someone, she said, just representing herself, Nadine Legere. I would ask them to receive and the members of the House to respond with a warm welcome as they highlight MS month, Mr. Speaker. With your permission we have been able to wear these carnations this evening in recognition of multiple sclerosis. I would point out there are some handouts with their newsletter or their magazine and also some highlights on multiple sclerosis, particularly the drugs that are so important now. Within this government we are looking at and working with Dr. Jock Murray and others to bring forward a program to address these needs. Thank you very much. (Applause)

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

MS. YVONNE ATWELL: Mr. Speaker, I would like to welcome two special guests this evening, Janet Stevenson and Ann Marie Foote, two sisters who have taken time from their busy schedule to come and sit tonight with us. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Dartmouth South.

RESOLUTION NO. 72

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

Whereas small business owners and apartment residents in HRM are shocked to learn that the amalgamated municipality is about to stop collecting their recyclable and compostable material; and

Whereas not only is this another added cost from provincial downloading and misguided amalgamation, it also makes environmentally preferred practices more difficult; and

Whereas the province must take responsibility for ensuring that its promotion of waste reduction, reuse and recycling does not have the unintended effect of tempting people to dispose of waste inappropriately;

[Page 118]

Therefore be it resolved that this House urges the Minister of the Environment to satisfy himself that the HRM's reduction of recyclable collections will not cause an overall reduction in recycling and reuse of waste material.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Cumberland North.

RESOLUTION NO. 73

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

Whereas on Friday I tabled a petition signed by over 5,000 area residents pointing out that there are 7,000 people in Cumberland County with no access to a family physician; and

Whereas the Minister of Health stated in the Saturday Chronicle-Herald that Yarmouth, Windsor, New Glasgow, and the Strait region are the only areas of Nova Scotia which appear to be under-serviced by family doctors and specialists; and

Whereas the Liberal Government continues to ignore the medical needs of the people who live in Cumberland County, who are Nova Scotians;

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Health, through his government's rural incentive recruitment package, immediately make at least two medical doctor positions available at the Highland View Regional Hospital to help alleviate the chronic doctor shortage in this regional facility.

Mr. Speaker, I ask for waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Yarmouth.

[Page 119]

RESOLUTION NO. 74

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

Whereas municipalities throughout the province have come to realize that without access to natural gas their very futures are threatened; and

Whereas this provincial government refuses to take the necessary steps to ensure that rural Nova Scotia is not ignored in the rush to get natural gas to the United States; and

Whereas the Town of Yarmouth has the foresight to fight for natural gas for that community and the mayor has gone so far as to state the province should either allow it access to natural gas or compensate the region;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate the Town of Yarmouth and Mayor Charles Crosby for fighting to ensure that this provincial government no longer ignore issues crucial to rural Nova Scotia.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party.

RESOLUTION NO. 75

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

Whereas while Friday's "Yes" vote in Ireland signalled a significant achievement in the quest to end three decades of violence; and

Whereas the "Yes" vote was for some a vote for the future and for Ireland's next generation; and

Whereas although backed by a positive majority the political leaders now have many demanding hurdles to overcome to make the political accord a reality;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House, through the Speaker, forward a letter commending all parties for achieving such monumental progress to date and note the aspiration we, as legislators, share with them for everlasting peace for the people of Ireland.

Mr. Speaker, I seek waiver.

[Page 120]

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

I will have a copy of that motion to draft a letter.

The honourable member for Inverness on an introduction.

MR. CHARLES MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I ask the floor to recognize Duart MacAuley. He is a councillor from Whycogomagh and he is in the audience. Thank you. (Applause)

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

RESOLUTION NO. 76

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 Minister of Transportation recently took the opportunity to travel the roads of Antigonish County; and

Whereas the MLA for Antigonish said, "The Minister gained a better understanding of the need for extensive work to take place on a number of roads that we inspected"; and

Whereas most other MLAs could give the minister a similar lesson, yet the Throne Speech failed to even mention once the word road and failed to indicate any programs to address the deteriorating state of secondary roads;

Therefore be it resolved that this House urges the Minister of Transportation to take the Premier for a ride and keep him in the car until the government is prepared to reverse Nova Scotia's emerging status as a pothole paradise.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Argyle.

[Page 121]

RESOLUTION NO. 77

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 Young Entrepreneurs Association of Atlantic Canada was created last November to encourage people 35 years of age and younger to look into opportunities for business in their area; and

Whereas this organization offers its members support from peers, as well as mentorship, which will greatly assist them in the search for new business ventures; and

Whereas group member Brad Morrison has already established himself in the Dartmouth-based Can-Net Computer Group, serving as President, and Hilary Symonds has gone into the fishing industry as a partner in Scott's Seafood;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of the House offer a show of support for the Young Entrepreneurs Association of Atlantic Canada and wish them every success for careers in the challenging and rewarding field of business.

Mr. Speaker, I would ask for 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 Halifax Needham.

RESOLUTION NO. 78

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

Whereas since 1970, with the opening of Dalhousie Legal Aid Service, Dalhousie Law School has demonstrated itself to be a leader in legal education, advocacy and community service to low income persons; and

[Page 122]

Whereas following a rigorous international competition Dalhousie Law School has just been awarded the prestigious Emil Gumpert Award from the American College of Trial Lawyers; and

Whereas this award recognizes the excellence of trial advocacy training through their curriculum and through their clinical legal aid program;

Therefore be it resolved that this Assembly extend its sincere congratulations to the faculty, students and staff of both Dalhousie Law School and Dalhousie Legal Aid Service for the well-deserved recognition bestowed on them through this award.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Digby-Annapolis.

RESOLUTION NO. 79

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 downturn in the Atlantic Coast fishery has seriously altered the traditional way of life of many of our rural fishing communities; and

Whereas the Digby Neck Community Development Association has been established with a mandate to help diversify and revitalize the local economy of the Digby Neck area; and

Whereas the efforts and successes of this committee, to that end, have received national and international recognition;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate the Digby Neck Community Development Association for their commitment and fine efforts towards improving the economy and way of life in the Digby Neck area.

[Page 123]

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 North.

RESOLUTION NO. 80

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

Whereas this week is National Access Awareness Week with the aim of improving the quality of life for all persons with disabilities; and

Whereas persons with disabilities have many barriers to overcome; and

Whereas there is a possibility of a public transit strike which would involve Access-A-Bus;

Therefore be it resolved that the Government of Nova Scotia encourage all parties to get back to serious negotiations in order to avert a strike.

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 Cumberland North.

[Page 124]

RESOLUTION NO. 81

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

Whereas the family of the late bookseller, Mr. E. J. Vickery, has given the Vickery Cane to the Yarmouth Consolidated Memorial High School to be presented each year to the student or students who best represent the high school in the areas of language arts and drama; and

Whereas this special memorial award's purpose is to celebrate and showcase contributions made by the written and spoken word to education; and

Whereas the Vickery Cane is an artifact which has held great value to the Vickery family throughout the generations and it will remain on permanent display in the school along with a special trophy to be engraved each year with the names of the student or students receiving the Award for Excellence in Language Arts and Drama;

Therefore be it resolved that all the members of the House of Assembly extend thankful appreciation to the Vickery family for the gift to the Yarmouth high school for the purpose of encouraging students to take an active interest in language arts and drama.

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 Pictou West.

RESOLUTION NO. 82

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

Whereas this government makes a continuous practice of preaching sustainable forestry but continues to make cuts to sustainable forestry programs; and

[Page 125]

Whereas those cutbacks include slashing funds for the silviculture program from $12 million in 1995 to less than $5 million today; and

Whereas John Roblee, the Executive Director of the Nova Scotia Forest Group Venture Association, has stated the province's continued cuts to wages for silviculture programs will lead to the shutdown of mills in Nova Scotia within five years;

Therefore be it resolved that this government be condemned for jeopardizing the future of Nova Scotia's forest industry through its short-sighted cuts to forest management programs.

MR. SPEAKER: Did you request wavier of notice?

MR. PARKER: I didn't request waiver, no.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Lunenburg.

RESOLUTION NO. 83

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

Whereas upwards of 50,000 people will be forced to find an alternate way to work on Wednesday if 425 Metro Transit bus drivers, ferry operators and mechanics walk off the job at midnight Tuesday; and

Whereas conciliation talks broke off Friday afternoon between the Halifax Regional Municipality and the union representing Metro Transit bus drivers, ferry operators and mechanics; and

Whereas the Metropolitan Halifax Chamber of Commerce is concerned about the negative impact the strike will have on business, while hundreds of patients requiring kidney dialysis are also facing the prospect of being without a drive in order to get to hospital to secure their necessary treatment;

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Labour, in an attempt to seek a settlement, work around the clock if necessary to get a mediator involved in talks once again between Metro Transit bus drivers and ferry workers, and the Halifax Regional Municipality.

Mr. Speaker, I hereby request waiver of notice.

[Page 126]

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

Is it agreed?

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Sackville-Cobequid.

RESOLUTION NO. 84

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

Whereas Trevor Wamback, a resident of Sackville and a pitcher with the Sackville Chiefs of the Nova Scotia Senior Baseball League, has consistently proven to be one of the top amateur pitchers in Canada over the past few years; and

Whereas Trevor recently received calls from both the Montreal Expos and the Minnesota Twins asking him to try out for their respective major league baseball teams; and

Whereas he so impressed Montreal scouts during his tryouts at Olympic Stadium, they indicated they intend to draft him in this summer's amateur draft;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulates Trevor for his outstanding pitching performance and wish him well as he pursues a career in professional baseball.

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

[7:30 p.m.]

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Pictou East.

[Page 127]

RESOLUTION NO. 85

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

Whereas the Liberal Governments of Nova Scotia and Ottawa take in a combined $378 million annually from fuel tax and motor vehicle licensing; and

Whereas the people of Pictou County are not receiving the kind of roads their tax dollars are supposed to provide them and, as a result, the roads continue to deteriorate daily; and

Whereas the roads are in such a state now that they require emergency repairs on a constant basis, a quality maintenance program and new construction in order to make them safe for the many motorists who must travel on them;

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Transportation and Public Works immediately review the whereabouts of the taxpayers' money at both the federal and provincial level so we can see why the $378 million paid every year to the Liberal Governments in taxes is not being used to improve the road conditions of Pictou County and the rest of Nova Scotia.

Mr. Speaker, I would request waiver of notice.

MR. SPEAKER: I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable Leader of the Opposition.

RESOLUTION NO. 86

MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: 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 services centre; and

Whereas such a move will cost jobs, reduce services and compromise safety; and

Whereas Nav Canada's planned cuts could mean the death of Sydney Airport and one more serious blow to the economy of Cape Breton;

[Page 128]

Therefore be it resolved that this government, especially its members from Cape Breton, join community leaders in their fight to secure the future of the Sydney Airport.

Mr. Speaker, I would like to seek waiver of notice.

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

I hear a No.

The notice is tabled.

I heard a No.

The honourable member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley.

RESOLUTION NO. 87

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

Whereas the Deputy Premier in a June 1997 news release is on record as saying the province's primary arterial highway network needs some $800 million invested over the next decade, just to bring its most travelled routes up to standard; and

Whereas the Deputy Premier is also on record as having said, roads are deteriorating more rapidly these days, and suggesting that there needs to be a stronger commitment and an increase in the budget from the Nova Scotia Government for highways to be improved in this province; and

Whereas the 1998 Speech from the Throne on Thursday completely ignored any reference to improvements or upgrades to Nova Scotia's 26,000 kilometres of roads or for that matter anything else;

Therefore be it resolved that the Deputy Premier, in his new role as Minister of Finance demand that his federal Liberal cousins in Ottawa invest some of the millions of dollars that they siphon off Nova Scotian motorists via the Federal Excise Fuel Tax to ensure adequate funds and long-range federal/provincial plans are in place to improve both arterial highway network needs and the conditions of rural roads across Nova Scotia, which at the present time, Mr. Speaker, are in absolute destitute conditions.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

That notice is a little long however.

[Page 129]

The honourable member for Halifax Fairview.

RESOLUTION NO. 88

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 on Sunday, May 24, 1998, the 29th Junior Achievement Awards Night recognized teenage entrepreneurs; and

Whereas Mug Shots, whose President, Mathew MacIntyre, is a Grade 12 student at Halifax West High School, won company of the year; and

Whereas Nancy Longaphy, also of Halifax West High School, won achiever of the year;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate these students and all others involved in Junior Achievement for their persistence, creativity and business success.

Mr. Speaker, I seek waiver.

MR. SPEAKER: There is 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 Cumberland South.

RESOLUTION NO. 89

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

Whereas the Town of Springhill is steeped in a rich heritage of coal mining history; and

Whereas in ceremonies last Wednesday, the Town of Springhill's historic Lamp Cabin became the first mine building to be ever declared a provincial heritage site in Nova Scotia; and

[Page 130]

Whereas the 97 year old brick Lamp Cabin is the first of 230 buildings across Nova Scotia with mining industry connections that has ever been declared a heritage site here in Nova Scotia;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House of Assembly recognize the efforts being put forth by the people of Springhill, including town officials and retired miners, in securing a place for historic artifacts that will always keep the industry of mining in the forefront of the town's history.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Cape Breton The Lakes.

RESOLUTION NO. 90

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

Whereas this provincial government commissioned a report on gaming that talks of making the Sheraton Casino in Halifax the symbol for the Province of Nova Scotia; and

Whereas this historic province already has a host of symbols that properly reflect its proud traditions; and

Whereas most Nova Scotians do not want Liberals' casinos, and more particularly would be outraged if the Halifax Casino came to symbolize this province;

Therefore be it resolved that this government take whatever steps necessary to ensure that when people think of this province they do not think of the Halifax Sheraton Casino.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Kings North.

[Page 131]

MR. GEORGE ARCHIBALD: Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the Multiple Sclerosis people for giving us these lovely flowers and perhaps there is one out for you too.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings North.

RESOLUTION NO. 91

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

Whereas 16 year old Charina Cameron of Glenmont has won more than $43,000 in prizes at an international science fair for her creation of a sonic bee detector; and

Whereas these winnings include her second $40,000 scholarship from Polytechnic University in New York; and

Whereas Ms. Cameron has a tremendous talent in the field of science and is not only an asset to Horton District High School but also to the world of science;

Therefore be it resolved that all the members of this House of Assembly congratulate this young scientist on her excellent work and extend to her the best wishes in all her future endeavours.

Now, Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask for waiver of notice.

MR. SPEAKER: There is 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 Yarmouth.

RESOLUTION NO. 92

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

[Page 132]

Whereas the register of physicians reveals only three additional family doctors were practising in Nova Scotia last year despite five years of Liberal promises to resolve the shortage of rural doctors; and

Whereas more than 5,000 people in the Yarmouth area have no family doctor due to the extreme shortage, while hospital services throughout Nova Scotia are threatened by the lack of specialists; and

Whereas in Yarmouth, many seniors and others must now wait as long as four hours to have a prescription renewed at the emergency department;

Therefore be it resolved that this House urges the government to finally take decisive action to end the shortage of family doctors in Yarmouth and many other communities and thereby break the vicious cycle of decline in many rural medical services.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Queens.

RESOLUTION NO. 93

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

Whereas three schools in southwestern Nova Scotia, South Queens Junior High, New Germany Rural High and Shelburne Regional High have been awarded Bright Futures monies to develop community service programs; and

Whereas the training grant money of $30,000 will be allocated in the first year for training, professional follow-up and support, teachers' manual and project report for up to 30 teachers; and

Whereas Bright Futures ensures students that they can make a positive difference in their communities, as well as in their own lives;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the House of Assembly congratulate the Bright Futures award winning schools and encourage the students and faculties of all schools across Nova Scotia to continue to take an active role in approving the communities they live and work in.

Mr. Speaker, I would request waiver of notice.

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

[Page 133]

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Timberlea-Prospect.

RESOLUTION NO. 94

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

Whereas over 750 Lions Club members from throughout the Multiple District of Lions International, representing Lions Clubs from the State of Maine, and the provinces of New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland, and Nova Scotia met in Dartmouth this past weekend; and

Whereas host District Governor Jim Sherry of the Sackville club and District Governor Elect Bob Lyle from Kingston did such a fine job in organizing this event; and

Whereas the newest Lions Club in Nova Scotia, the Prospect Road Lions, were represented by Lions Peggy and Art Gilbert, whose new club pin I am proudly wearing this evening;

Therefore be it resolved that this House offer its congratulations to all members of the largest service club in the world, Lions International, and the over 70 clubs in our province.

Mr. Speaker, I would request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

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

[Page 134]

RESOLUTION NO. 95

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 Old East River Point Road is in terrible condition and requires immediate improvements; and

Whereas the present Liberal Government promised the residents of the Old East River Point Road, during the time Route 329 was being constructed, that their road would be kept in good condition; and

Whereas the Old East River Point Road desperately requires some resurfacing, while sections along the shoulder of the road also require immediate attention;

Therefore be it resolved that this Liberal Government immediately begin paying attention to the needs of the people using the transportation network across this province on a daily basis and implement a plan that will see roads such as the Old East River Point Road no longer ignored.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Sackville Cobequid.

RESOLUTION NO. 96

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

Whereas our Rules and Forms of Procedure instruct that the special striking committee, ". . . prepare and report with all convenient speed, listings of Members to compose the Standing Committees of the House . . ."; and

Whereas, in accordance with the rules, a striking committee was appointed on Thursday, May 21, 1998; and

[Page 135]

Whereas, to date, the Government House Leader, the chairman of the striking committee, has yet to announce a date for the striking committee to meet;

Therefore be it resolved that this House ask the Government House Leader to announce before the end of this evening's sitting, the date and time for the striking committee to meet.

Mr. Speaker, I would request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Cumberland South.

RESOLUTION NO. 97

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

Whereas without any consultation, the province appears to have abandoned a regional, cooperative agreement on education in jumping from a pilot police cadet training program in the province to a full-time training program with Nova Scotia's Community College; and

[7:45 p.m.]

Whereas while as yet no report on the so-called pilot project has been produced, plans are already in the works to incorporate the program into Nova Scotia Community College's calendar; and

Whereas while the Minister of Justice has been justifying abandoning the agreement with P.E.I. and New Brunswick because its program could be a moneymaker, he has ignored the fact that we would now be competing directly with our provincial neighbours for police training and breaking an agreement which relied on regional cooperation and participation;

Therefore be it resolved that the Justice Minister start being upfront with both Nova Scotia's new recruits for cadet training for our police forces who may be wondering just which training institute's qualifications will be acceptable within their own province and to the Government of Prince Edward Island as to how this move may affect reciprocal funding for Nova Scotia's Agricultural College.

[Page 136]

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Halifax Needham.

RESOLUTION NO. 98

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

Whereas a growing proportion of the population are elderly persons; and

Whereas this shift has many implications, including the need for a stable and comprehensive long-term care service sector; and

Whereas there is no evidence to date that the government has made any effort whatsoever to act on its commitment contained in last year's Speech from the Throne which said that the Ministers of Health and Community Services, "will be convening almost immediately to begin efforts to ensure this sector gets the attention it deserves";

Therefore be it resolved that the Ministers of Community Services and Health be called to explain to the senior citizens of this province and to their families why the long-term services which are often so important for the final years of life are not important enough to warrant the attention of this government.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Pictou East.

RESOLUTION NO. 99

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

Whereas the Prince Edward Island Government of Premier Pat Binns has initiated a task force with Northumberland Ferries Limited towards obtaining a commitment from the federal government to secure funds for the Caribou/Wood Islands ferry operation beyond the year 2000; and

Whereas 52 employees have lost their jobs in the last four years because of reduction in subsidies offered by the federal government that has fallen from $8 million to $3 million; and

[Page 137]

Whereas Prince Edward Island's Minister of Transportation has already gone after federal Transport Minister David Anderson in his pursuit of continued funding for this ferry service beyond the year 2000;

Therefore be it resolved that Nova Scotia's Minister of Transportation provide Nova Scotians, through a ministerial statement in this Legislature, as to what his government is doing concerning the future of this exceptionally important service to the residents and business community of Pictou County.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Argyle.

RESOLUTION NO. 100

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 cut The Atlantic Groundfish Strategy, or TAGS, a full year ahead of the originally planned termination date, ending the bulk of assistance at the end of May; and

Whereas the early ending of support to the fishermen of the Atlantic region has not only made it difficult to plan for the future for these families but also displays a complete lack of respect for the hardworking men and women of this area who lost their jobs due to Liberal mismanagement in the first place; and

Whereas the Liberal Government still refuses to offer the Canadian people any answers to whether or not there will be a post-TAGS program, what it will involve and who will qualify;

Therefore be it resolved that the provincial Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture speak immediately with the federal minister and discuss implementing a comprehensive, national fisheries policy and improve enforcement and conservation practices.

[Page 138]

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Truro-Bible Hill.

RESOLUTION NO. 101

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 populations of the Town of Truro and the Village of Bible Hill are affected by annual flooding; and

Whereas this flooding results in the closing of Park Street, which is one of the two road links between the communities, for several days a year; and

Whereas this closure is both an inconvenience and a safety hazard to the residents of the constituencies of Truro-Bible Hill and Colchester North;

Therefore be it resolved that the Department of the Environment, in conjunction with the affected municipalities, take immediate action to produce a proposal to solve this communication problem.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

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

RESOLUTION NO. 102

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 St. Margaret's Bay Tourism Action Committee is presently working on four specific initiatives which require immediate attention if they are to be implemented for the 1998 tourism season; and

[Whereas the projects involve the Department of Transportation and Public Works making three parcels of what appears to be surplus Crown-owned land available to the Tourism Action Committee, improving highway signage at Exit 6 on Highway No. 103, while enhancing ecotourism in Nova Scotia by developing pilot bicycle trails on Routes 333 and 329; and]

Whereas limited amounts of funding appear to be involved in the requests being put forth by the St. Margaret's Bay Tourism Action Committee;

[Page 139]

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Transportation and Public Works immediately undertake to meet with members of the St. Margaret's Bay Tourism Action Committee to review the specific initiatives put forth to him in a letter dated May 6th.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver.

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

It is agreed?

I hear a No.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Digby-Annapolis.

RESOLUTION NO. 103

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

Whereas a strong vibrant economy for the Province of Nova Scotia is dependent on the promotion, development and support of small independent business endeavours; and

Whereas the government of this province has recently required bed and breakfast establishments to be taxed at a commercial rate rather than the residential rate; and

Whereas this excessive tax has forced a large number of these small family owned and operated bed and breakfast establishments to cease operations;

Therefore be it resolved that the government take action immediately to ensure that bed and breakfast establishments are taxed at the residential rate of taxation.

MR. SPEAKER: Is it agreed?

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

Are we all agreed?

I hear a No, a very, very low No.

The notice is tabled.

[Page 140]

The honourable member for Lunenburg.

RESOLUTION NO. 104

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 citizens living along the Crouse's Settlement Road in Lunenburg County have formed a citizens' committee to ensure that they receive adequate maintenance on the public highway which leads through their community; and

Whereas the Government of Nova Scotia has failed to maintain the Crouse's Settlement Road adequately and has allowed this road to deteriorate to the point where the road became impassable during the last winter, which caused the lives of these people living along the said road to be endangered and their lives severely inconvenienced; and

Whereas the Government of Nova Scotia has failed to provide sufficient public money to the Department of Transportation and Public Works to allow for sufficient capital repairs to the Crouse's Settlement Road and other secondary roads in Lunenburg County and, indeed, throughout this province;

Therefore be it resolved that this House request the Government of Nova Scotia to provide adequate public funds for the required capital improvement to the Crouse's Settlement Road and similar roads throughout the Province of Nova Scotia.

I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear a No.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Kings North.

RESOLUTION NO. 105

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

[Page 141]

Whereas the present Liberal Administration imposed a significant burden upon both municipal units and farmers across Nova Scotia with the implementation of the farm land tax four years ago; and

Whereas the Minister of Agriculture and Marketing and the Minister of Housing and Municipal Affairs still appear to be steeped in a state of confusion when it comes to dealing with this issue; and

Whereas farmers in the Municipality of Cumberland County became the latest victims of this Liberal Government's incompetence in dealing with the issue when the farmers were informed after a council meeting last week they would be forced to pay $1.07 tax per $100 of assessment;

Therefore be it resolved the Minister of Agriculture and Marketing and the Minister of Housing and Municipal Affairs ensure that adequate funding is secured in this year's budget that will eliminate this stifling tax from the backs of Nova Scotia farmers.

I ask for waiver of notice, Mr. Speaker.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Queens.

RESOLUTION NO. 106

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

Whereas Thursday's Speech from the Throne contained not so much as one word relating to Nova Scotia's forest industry which employs 28,000 Nova Scotians; and

Whereas the Liberal Government's commitment to silviculture is and has been, at the very best, lukewarm to say the least; and

[Page 142]

Whereas a former Deputy Minister of Natural Resources, the well-respected Wilfred Creighton, recently observed, and I quote Dr. Creighton, "The forests have been mined, not managed and all our forest is being over cut and it's going to come to an abrupt and sorry end . . .";

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Natural Resources move immediately to consult with all forest industry sectors and establish a well-planned, adequately funded, multi-year silviculture program designed to repair our depleted forestry resource so it can sustain the finest industry upon which 28,000 men and women depend for their livelihoods.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

ORDERS OF THE DAY

GOVERNMENT BUSINESS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

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

GOVERNMENT MOTIONS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, this evening we will continue with the adjourned debate, the Address in Reply to the Speech from the Throne.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party. You have about 14 minutes. (Applause)

DR. JOHN HAMM: Mr. Speaker, I welcome the opportunity to continue. In my 45 minutes on Friday I spoke about the clear message that Nova Scotians sent to the government. I spoke about the Speech from the Throne and the message that it sends to Nova Scotians; two messages, miles apart.

I said on Friday that I know most Nova Scotians view what happens in this Legislature with only passing interest or no interest at all, but what we do here has far-reaching consequences affecting the lives of virtually every Nova Scotian, either directly or indirectly. The debate in this House may at times become overheated. That fact must never be lost upon the members of the House.

[Page 143]

Mr. Speaker, I would like to spend the last few minutes of my reply defining what I and the members of my caucus believe must now happen. The Throne Speech did not respond to the message that Nova Scotians sent to the government on election day and is therefore unacceptable. (Applause)

On April 1st, I met with the Premier and I talked about the priorities of Nova Scotians. I spoke to him at length about the problems in our health care system, about the need to address the requirements of young Nova Scotians falling through the cracks of our education system and about the government's failure to secure Nova Scotia's rightful benefits from Sable gas 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.

The Premier said, and this goes back to April 1st, that his government would keep in touch, it would consult my Party to determine where we could find common ground so that the men and women elected to this Legislature could move forward in addressing the people's business.

I did not receive a response; there was no cooperation. I felt the only responsible action was to publicly express my concerns prior to the opening of the Legislature. I publicly stated last Wednesday that to date, "the Liberal Government has failed to demonstrate that it has been enlightened by the last election. Nova Scotians elected each and every member of this House to represent their interests, not to play partisan politics. Politics is not a game and it is time that politicians acted accordingly. Politics is about principles, it is about working to achieve the policies that we were elected to implement. It is about setting partisan politics aside and finally putting the people first.". (Applause)

Only after saying this publicly did I receive a response from the Premier. I received a letter by fax at 6:32 p.m. that evening. As woefully late as it was, it was a response but it totally lacked substance.

[8:00 p.m.]

The next day the Speech from the Throne was delivered and as I have stated, it was unacceptable. Once again, I felt the only responsible action was to publicly state that the Throne Speech failed to address the message that Nova Scotians delivered on March 24th. I also felt I had the responsibility to lead by example. I immediately wrote to the Premier requesting a meeting.

As I sat in my place the following day, preparing to deliver my Address in Reply to the Speech from the Throne, I received a message that the Premier agreed to meet with me later that day. As woefully late as it was, it finally was an agreement to meet. I felt the responsible course of action was to listen and hear what he had to say, to determine if he was prepared

[Page 144]

to set partisan politics aside and start putting the people first, reflecting the reality of this Assembly. I decided to give the Premier his opportunity before I concluded my Address in Reply to the Speech from the Throne. We have now met and I can now complete my reply.

Let me make it abundantly clear, all members of this House heard the priorities of Nova Scotians, and first and foremost health care is the priority. The Premier has not only failed to address the fundamental problems in our health care system, he has even failed to recognize it is a priority. In the 17 page Speech from the Throne, we did not hear about health care until Page 13. Even at that, it received only lip service.

The Premier now must certainly know that regional health boards do not work. They have increased administrative costs, slowed down the ability for health care providers to make decisions and, once decisions are made, they do not reflect the needs of local communities.

The government lacks a plan to resolve the crisis in health care. Re-establishing the Provincial Health Council can provide government with that vision and a well-managed and financially-sound plan to provide Nova Scotians with desperately needed doctors, nurses and beds. Nova Scotians are paying the price of this government's mismanagement with their health. Mr. Speaker, if you do not have your health, what do you have?

The Throne Speech failed also in education. As I stated on Friday, the issue is fairness. The government is building a $30 million school in the Education Minister's riding while other schools borrow from petty cash to photocopy textbooks for students. Where is the fairness?

Our province needs to build new schools. The question is not whether they should be built but how they are financed. The government has wasted precious time and has ignored the true meaning in the debate.

P3 schools could have immediate and long-term adverse effects on the operational budgets of overburdened school boards. Students, parents and teachers have endured too much while waiting for their schools. It would be grossly unfair for them to later learn that P3 schools may have resulted in fewer programs, fewer teachers and less equipment.

I have for the Premier a simple demand, a demand that, had he acted earlier, would today be completed. The Auditor General can be instructed by the Premier to conduct an urgent independent analysis so the public can be assured that P3 financing will not result in forcing school boards to cut programs, teachers and equipment.

My time is short and I did mention some of my concerns on Friday; however, I must mention a few more briefly.

[Page 145]

Mr. Speaker, the government has failed to present a clear plan on how natural gas distribution will be maximized and made available to communities throughout Nova Scotia. I do not want my community not to have gas and I know you do not want your communities not to have gas, and you should not want your communities not to have gas.

Municipalities, regional development authorities and local businesses across our province have asked the government to give them a fair chance to prepare distribution applications and the government, I hope, is prepared to listen. The real value of natural gas comes from making it available to Nova Scotia consumers and businesses. It is a clean, cheap energy source and is an inducement to investment and new jobs. The government has clearly failed to recognize and present any kind of comprehensive plan for the real opportunities presented by Sable Gas.

The Throne Speech mentioned that the Port of Halifax is again at the economic heart of our province and that the government will continue its efforts to attract investment and business to our port. If the government continues its current level of effort, the port will suffer from heart disease.

My colleague, Hinrich Bitter-Suermann, the member for Chester-St. Margaret's put forward a resolution on Friday, a resolution that I may hasten to add received the unanimous consent of the House, that the Premier immediately contact the Prime Minister and personally, personally defend Nova Scotia's interest in the Port of Halifax. The Premier has failed to do this during the hearings in Ottawa on the Marine Act. He has failed, so far to do so during the Port of Halifax's most important opportunity, post-Panamax shipping.

The port is competing with six U.S. ports for megaport services requested by Maersk/Sea Land. Clause 25 of the Marine Act will deprive the Port of Halifax of the ability to access funding that other Canadian ports have been provided. Furthermore, the province has done nothing to ensure that every consortium willing to submit a proposal to Maersk/Sea Land is being encouraged to do so. The government's efforts are woefully unacceptable.

This government has failed to address the concerns of injured workers. The Minister of Labour, knowing that the Premier made a written confirmation of participating in the all-Party committee and the Minister of Labour continues to avoid participating in the all-Party committee.

The government has failed to deliver on its promise to provide HST relief. It has failed to provide safe roads in many parts of our province. And, Mr. Speaker, as the government struggles to balance its budget, it has failed to follow the lead of other provinces and mandate the Auditor General as the auditor of record. How else will Nova Scotians know that the budget is truly balanced?

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The government has failed to recognize and address the plight of hepatitis C sufferers. It has failed to approve Betaseron for Nova Scotians suffering from Multiple Sclerosis. These are but a sampling of the government's failures.

The Speech from the Throne is indeed unacceptable. What now, Mr. Speaker, is an acceptable course of action, an acceptable course of action for this government? I believe the responsible action is to advise the House that I cannot support this Speech from the Throne as it now stands. (Applause) I want to make it perfectly clear, I am not here to pull down the Liberal Government nor am I here to launch the NDP, I am here to preserve this Legislature and make it work with the members chosen by the people of Nova Scotia.

MR. SPEAKER: You have one minute remaining.

DR. HAMM: How many?

MR. SPEAKER: One minute.

DR. HAMM: The Premier must make a commitment. He must demonstrate this commitment in writing in public and if this last opportunity fails to convince the people of Nova Scotia, it will fail to convince me and the members of my caucus. (Applause)

There comes a time when a government must decide if it is prepared to change, a time when it must clearly demonstrate tangible evidence of change. That time is now. The last opportunity has been presented. Dialogue is a beginning, but it is not enough. Promises to change are mere words. The judgment will be for action.

In closing, I paraphrase Edmond Burke, a government without the means of some change is without the means of its conservation. It is up to you, Mr. Premier. If you want the job, you had better perform and perform now. Not a month from now, but now, today. Today, Mr. Premier, you must understand. You do not have many tomorrows. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Dartmouth-Cole Harbour. (Applause)

MR. DARRELL DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, I rise today and stand in my place to speak for the first time in this Legislature. I would like to begin by acknowledging the nature of what I have just referred to as my place. Because, at this time in the province's history, with many great challenges before us, we are privileged to be here.

We will be reminded daily with a House divided, all our places belong truly to the people of Nova Scotia. We are representatives elected to serve the interests of the people and not narrow political interests. For this privilege, we have our constituents, our families, our friends, our Party workers to thank.

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I want to congratulate all the members of the House on their success and I know that for each of you, it could not have been done alone. I, therefore, want to extend my congratulations to your families and to your supporters.

Mr. Speaker, I also want to extend my congratulations to you on your election as Speaker. The exercise of your election was not a formality, as it may have been in the past. We have all placed our confidence in you and I know that you will see that this Chamber, the birthplace of responsible government, will be run in an orderly manner. I know that your dedication to the impartial administration of the House will mean that the serious business of the province can be conducted in a way that ensures the best interests of the people of Nova Scotia will be well served. Again, I congratulate you.

Mr. Speaker, my riding is Dartmouth-Cole Harbour. It is among the fastest growing parts of the metropolitan Halifax-Dartmouth area. There are many among the residents of my constituency who can remember when they were surrounded by woods and farms. It was not that long ago, but it is not so today. Today, most of my constituents are bounded by arterial highways and new subdivisions that are underway. The neighbourhoods are alive with children. In the eastern part of my riding, the residents of Ross Road watch the inevitable march of the city toward them.

I should tell you, Mr. Speaker, that Dartmouth-Cole Harbour is the home of the Cole Harbour Rural Heritage Society, of which I am proud to be a member. The society maintains the Cole Harbour Heritage Farm, which is an island of serenity. It provides a window on the past, an opportunity for children to share a farm experience. It is a busy and well used asset of the community. The volunteers and staff at the Heritage Farm work long hours to preserve this piece of our rural history.

I would point out that Dartmouth-Cole Harbour is also the home to two high schools - Cole Harbour High School and Auburn Drive High School. Mr. Speaker, you may have seen the front page coverage of the Cole Harbour Cava Chronicle. This newspaper was launched by the students of Cole Harbour High School, "to build bridges between cultures and communities". This newspaper has been widely praised by the members of surrounding communities and has been successful in attracting sponsorships from the business community. I understand that next year it will become part of the applied journalism course at the school.

[8:15 p.m.]

The Auburn Drive High School recently won the National Business Education Partnership Award. This award is sponsored by the Conference Board of Canada and the Royal Bank and is based on an overall assessment of the school's business education partnership including curriculum development. This was a great accomplishment for the Auburn Drive school as they continue to strive for excellence.

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Both of these institutions, their staff, the parents and children, are all working hard toward a common goal, preparing for the future. Despite the difficulties, they have persevered. They are showing the province and the country that minds, like umbrellas, work best when they are open.

Recently, Mr. Speaker, the people of Dartmouth-Cole Harbour, indeed the people of the province, were blessed with a generous gift by Mary Osborne and Mr. David Kuhn. They conveyed to the province, on behalf of their family, title to 2,300 acres of property that make up the marshes around Cole Harbour. Historically, these lands were dyked and farmed by the Kuhn family. Today they are a legacy for our province. The donation was received by the province in part because of the work and cooperation of the nature conservancy of Canada. At the ceremony where the province accepted this gift, I was pleased to meet and to speak with Mr. George Mitchell who spoke on behalf of the conservancy. Mr. Mitchell was a past Speaker of this House and continues to work on behalf of the province in these endeavours. I won't say any more about the vast majority of this property. It is in the constituency of Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage and perhaps the honourable member will have more to say about it at a later date.

I would point out, Mr. Speaker, that the name of my constituency is Dartmouth-Cole Harbour. The residents of this area have many shared features and interests. They shop in the same places, their children go to the same schools and, for the most part, they have the same municipal services, but those citizens of the former City of Dartmouth and those citizens of the former Halifax County, did not share a vision of an amalgamated civic unit. I can tell you, I heard it in the recent election at almost every door. My constituents disagreed with the government's decision to amalgamate the civic units but more than that, they disagreed with the way in which it was thrust upon them. They felt that they were not consulted and that their opinions were ignored and indeed that was true. I can tell you that as a member of Dartmouth City Council, we were not happy with the decision at the time. We said that the local priorities of neighbourhoods would appear further down on a much longer list and sadly we were right. I want to make it clear that I am not critical of the present municipal councillors. They are working as hard as they can. We know that there are deficiencies in the legislation that created the municipalities and perhaps some of those can be fixed in this session.

Mr. Speaker, presently the municipality is struggling over the location of a new library which would house the administration. There is a proposal that would see a capital investment of $25 million of taxpayers' money which is, quite frankly, unnecessary. The people of Dartmouth are proud of peninsula Halifax. We are proud of the number of corporate head offices that are located here. We are proud of the vibrant retail districts. We are proud of the rich cultural life but the reality is that there are 40,000 fewer people on the peninsula than lived here in 1960. The new main library in Dartmouth is perfectly capable of accommodating the main branch administration without this expenditure. The Alderney Gate branch already accommodates some 4,000 Halifax members. I was distressed to see that this issue

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deteriorated into name calling and allegations about pre-amalgamation debt levels. If the HRM is to work, it must work in issues like this. The main branch administration can and should be done in Dartmouth.

Amalgamation has altered the relationship between our citizens and their government and it is not working in the way that we all would have hoped. We, in the New Democratic Party, believe that this decision must be reviewed and that where changes make sense they should be undertaken. There should be an open process which allows the citizens an opportunity to have a say.

My constituents, Mr. Speaker, are practical people and they do not expect to roll back the clock but they do expect to be listened to. Like the people of my constituency, I also expect that the government will listen on this issue and on other issues.

The last election was instructive; I am sure that the government members found it so, being the dominant political force, I guess. I want to mention one issue that became very clear to me on some of those very inhospitable nights in February and March as I went door-to-door. There is no provision for candidates for election or their representatives for access into apartment buildings. This is left to the whim of building superintendents or building owners. Many complied with the request for entry but others did not. This means that tenants in those buildings are left out of the election process, without an opportunity to discuss issues, to receive literature or to evaluate candidates.

In other provinces such participation is considered a tenant right and the provisions are made to accommodate democracy right in the Residential Tenancies Act. This seems to me to be a common sense approach and I would recommend it to this government.

I want to touch briefly on another matter of local interest to the citizenry of Dartmouth-Cole Harbour. I am sure you are aware of the establishment of the Multi-Use Trail in Dartmouth. It was envisaged that this trail would accommodate bicycle traffic but difficulties have arisen as a result of provisions of the Motor Vehicle Act. I understand that an amendment has been drafted, but not introduced, that would remedy this. I want to encourage the government to bring it forward forthwith.

In the Speech from the Throne the government says that it reaffirms its commitment to health care and education, but beyond demonstrating that the members opposite have a strong grasp of the obvious, we shall have to see much more before we can determine what these promises are made of. The election no doubt impressed upon the government that the people of Nova Scotia thought the government had gone too far with the slash and burn approach to these programs. The devastating cuts to hospitals and to the education system were unacceptable and could not be tolerated.

[Page 150]

I heard from people faced with the reality of declining services. They experienced the long waiting lists, inadequate provisions of homecare services for the elderly. On every street I heard from health care professionals who were pushed beyond their limits. They told me about the stress they were experiencing and the increased workloads with shrinking resources. What they worried about most was the refusal of the government to listen.

The people of my riding, Mr. Speaker, are middle class and working families. They are seeking to buy a house and to make a home. They want to raise their children in safe neighbourhoods and they want to maintain a reasonable standard of living. They want to be assured that their children will receive a good education and that their parents will be respected and allowed to age with dignity. They want to be assured that the health care system will be there when they need it. Finally, when they retire, they want to know that their pensions will be sufficient to meet their needs.

Through misfeasance and miscalculation, this government attacked all those very basic desires of our community. Declining family incomes have made it harder to buy a home. Escalating municipal taxation and assessments have made it harder to maintain a home once you have one. One older gentleman told me, Mr. Speaker, the government says they want me to remain in my home but they are doing everything possible to drive me out of it.

The BST, Mr. Speaker, was another miscalculation. The tax meant that homeowners did not receive the benefit of declining oil prices. Young families with children found that the cost of essentials like children's clothing were taxed, while taxes on luxury items went down. Is it any wonder that they responded negatively? The many young families in my constituency found that the tax deal was simply unacceptable. The BST deal was a bad deal for them and they rejected it.

I was struck, Mr. Speaker, by the great many stories I heard on the doorsteps of my constituency about how taxation was bringing such great pressure on families. Sometimes it was in combination with unemployment, where one wage earner was downsized out of their job and the family was now relying on one income, where before there was two. The BST made this struggle that much greater.

For single-parent families, it has always been tough. But the BST created a whole new set of challenges for them. They were forced to make trade-offs which affected their lifestyles and many of them told me that they were no longer able to make ends meet.

For seniors, the BST, along with Pharmacare premiums, have dealt a severe blow to the quality of their life. For those who are alone, without an extended family or perhaps without family at all, these methods of taxation are seen for what they are, an abuse of trust. For a lifetime, these people have contributed to a society which does not give them the thanks they deserve. Statistically, the group most affected are elderly women.

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I draw the attention of this House to the fact that this was not dealt with in the Speech from the Throne. I urge the government to address this in a way which is consistent with the demands of both Opposition Parties during the recent election.

The other day, Mr. Speaker, I was pleased to attend here with the Grade 6 students of Joseph Giles School. These young people had many questions about the building and about the process of government. You see, they know that their school is in bad need of an upgrade to their playground facility. The cost of that upgrade is some $150,000, of which the school, through the parents, are prepared to contribute $40,000 in labour and other in-kind services. Indeed, the design work was done through the volunteer efforts of parents skilled in that vocation. The local councillor has put up $15,000 through his budget.

This is a cooperative project which has been submitted to Sport and Recreation for consideration. I understand that this project has not yet been approved. The project is badly needed. It will be resubmitted. I urge the department to look again at the commitment of the parents and to look again at the needs of the children. We should be encouraging this kind of participation in our schools. It is part of the history of community living, bringing together the parents of children and the community to assist where it is needed. I know that this group of dedicated parents will eventually be successful. But let's make it sooner, rather than later. I encourage the department to approve the project.

Many aspects of education are of concern to my constituents: overcrowded classes, underfunding, building maintenance requirements, the lack of resource teachers, school boundaries and busing. I will touch on only a few of these at the present time.

Presently, Grade Primary students must be at least 2.5 kilometres from a school before they will be considered for busing. Most of the affected families consider that this is just too far. In my constituency, as I noted earlier, this often means that the children will be walking next to or crossing very busy streets. In some cases, the lack of sidewalks makes this very hazardous. In bad weather, it is even more treacherous. Snowbanks mean that these children are not easily seen as they make their way along.

In response, there must be a plan to get these children safely to school. This means more crossing guards and more sidewalks. So the trade-off , it seems, is purely budgetary. Who pays? What level of government, as one level of government shifts the burden down to the next? At what point is safety compromised to balance the budget?

[8:30 p.m.]

It has been reported to me that some of these children take shortcuts, as children will. In the case of the Bel Ayr School in my constituency, it is through the woods by Bell Lake and the Abenaki Canoe Club, and in the winter some of these children take shortcuts across the ice. The potential for disaster is self-evident. I urge the government to address the

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underfunding in education in a substantive way and I will be interested to see the supporting documents from the Speech from the Throne in this regard.

It is clear that the amalgamation of schoolboards did not result in the savings forecast. I am told that, as with the municipal amalgamation, the actual costs have been much higher, resulting in a further diversion of money out of the classroom. The classroom has become a very complex place. Teachers are now dealing with many new challenges, challenges in technology, new challenges with integration, and challenges with curriculum which have not been supported by new resources. The class sizes from Primary to Grade 3 range as high as 34 students and I am pleased to see that in the Speech from the Throne delivered by the government it says that the appeal has been heard. However, the people of my riding require proof of the commitment to more teachers and teachers' aides, more textbooks, and technology, as the Speech from the Throne says. Again, we need proof of the government's commitment to bring down class size.

Unfortunately, we are not a small town and we do not always know our neighbours. Children are no longer able to play unsupervised and there certainly is a heightened sense of awareness around issues like abduction and abuse. This is a stressful time for many families.

In short, Mr. Speaker, the cutbacks to education mean that access is limited and that parents seek alternatives like home schooling in response to the cutbacks and in response to these issues. The government must act to restore confidence in the public education system and I look forward to a fuller explanation of the government's plan.

I know that this session of the House will be a busy one and I know that the government is expected to take a lead role in addressing the deficiencies that I have been pointing out but there is a crisis, Mr. Speaker, a crisis in confidence. Increasingly people feel that government has lost touch with what matters to people as they get on with their daily lives. These people want a hand up, not a handout. Many feel that the priorities of the past administration were not the priorities of people. Privitatization, globalization, and free trade are the precious objectives of many governments, provincial and federal. They are articles of faith to some and have become a mantra for those who would have us believe that we must do away with the legislation that protects working people.

The Multilateral Agreement on Investment is the latest of these attacks on our way of life. I introduced a resolution on this matter earlier and I encourage the government to oppose the MAI. Other provinces, including Saskatchewan, British Columbia and P.E.I. have passed these resolutions in opposition to the present round of negotiations. The MAI does not set minimum standards in labour relations, environmental protection and social security. It could block future initiatives to promote Nova Scotia's unique arts and culture and the draft presently being discussed would interfere with provincial jurisdiction over the local economy, particularly efforts to foster community-based development and to secure long-lasting investment.

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We in the New Democratic Party do not ignore world economic trends but we are careful about what they mean for this province and for this country. At a time when average family incomes are on the decline, we do not simply accept that our economy is undergoing some mystical structural shift and that there is nothing that can be done about it. Our resources must be managed in a way which will ensure that there is a sustainable economy which will continue to create good paying jobs, not only today but in the future. We must not export our resources raw but ensure that the value added production jobs remain here in Nova Scotia. So we will be watching carefully the initiatives and priorities of this government to ensure that these issues are addressed. We will not accept compound incompetence. We will be watching to see that every government investment secures the maximum return.

The Speech from the Throne, Mr. Speaker, mentions the Bank of Montreal report and the provincial economy and the projections for the upcoming year. That report also says the growth of our economy is tied directly to the Sable Island natural gas project. It notes that as Phase I winds down employment will decline. If it were not for this project, we would again trail the country-wide average in economic growth. The real question is, what is being done to bolster economic growth in other sectors?

I want to mention, Mr. Speaker, that I was dismayed to learn that Industry Canada had recently published a working paper that suggested that the way to reduce regional disparities in the poorer provinces was to force the unemployed to leave and the way for the federal government to accomplish this was by cutting transfers to the provinces. This is misguided and muddled thinking. Nova Scotians have been going down the road for too long. One parent said to me recently that his favourite time of year was March break, not because he went away, but because that was when his children came home. That was when he got to see his grandchildren.

What, Mr. Speaker, would this policy mean for our young people? I can tell you that if this approach was adopted we would lose an even higher percentage of our youth to Ontario and the West. To make Nova Scotia's economy work it must work for our youth. We want to be assured that the young people of this province are properly prepared to enter the workforce but more importantly, that there is a job there for them when they have completed their training.

The young people of today are our greatest resource. Yet they find themselves facing many obstacles. Some of the highest tuition fees in the country and crushing student loan debts have many of them graduating into poverty. The time for empty promises, slogans and budget jingoism on behalf of the government is over and we must dedicate ourselves to the serious business of addressing the concerns of youth. Today we can pledge ourselves to the proposition that at the beginning of the first decade of the next century the youth of this province will have the lowest unemployment in the country. Let us do that.

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They have put their trust in us. Let us put our faith in them. Bring them into the economy. Encourage the growth of producer co-ops and small businesses. Establish new initiatives for the growth of industry in rural Nova Scotia which will allow young people to return to their communities.

These things can and must be done if we are to take our place as a have province. We must take on the naysayers in Industry Canada, the nodding nabobs of negativism, if I can borrow that phrase from John Crosbie. We can take them on. We can take them to task and we can keep our young people home.

This is one reason why we must prepare now to make the best use of the natural gas resources as they come ashore. We must maximize the employment return from this project. That is why we must have a plan that ensures all the communities of Nova Scotia have access to natural gas. This has been done in other provinces. If we do not do it, then we risk creating an imbalance among those communities which would have access and those which do not. That would destroy jobs rather than create them.

Some of these things are bold and maybe some would say courageous to make them, but I am reminded of Shakespeare's words in Julius Caesar. Cowards die many times before their deaths. The valiant never taste death but once. So we must be valiant. I say let's not stop at those matters that I have previously enumerated.

Restoring the economy of Cape Breton to its rightful place should be one of the most pressing objectives of this House. It is not enough to say that we are doing the best that we can. It is about saying what can we do best to improve conditions so that growth can take place in Cape Breton. Cape Breton is one of the most beautiful locations in this country. It offers a quality of life which should be the envy of the world. We cannot continue to hide this light under a bushel. We must adopt policies which encourage the growth of a diverse economy on Cape Breton Island and we must acknowledge that to date we have failed. We must be firm in our resolve not to simply accept that things are the way they are. The great question, it has been said, is not whether you have failed but whether you are content with failure.

I was interested and intrigued with the reference in the Throne Speech to the federal-provincial agreement to help Nova Scotian boatbuilders to "capitalize on the lucrative world market for ocean vessels.". This country is without a shipbuilding policy and I would again urge this government to pursue an agreement with their federal counterparts to establish a concrete policy to assist the shipbuilding industry. One of the ironies of the free trade agreement is that the U.S. protects its domestic shipbuilding industry with exemptions under the Jones Act. They also subsidize the building of vessels in order to keep their industry competitive. We have no such policy and those good paying jobs are lost.

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For a moment, Mr. Speaker, I would like to take a look back at the New Democratic Party's past. In 1989, the Leader of the Party noted in her opening address that she was the only woman in the House. Alexa McDonough fervently believed that others would follow and today nearly one-third of this Party's caucus are women, the most of any Party to take their place in this House. Federally, half of the Nova Scotia caucus are women who daily take their places to fight on behalf of all Nova Scotians. I point this out because I think it is important to recognize this accomplishment.

I know I am not afraid and I know that my Party is not afraid of what lies ahead in this session and in the years to come because this Party has a proud heritage of winning battles that some believe are unwinnable. This is so with the battle against poverty. There are those who say that the poor will be with us forever and that this is a battle that cannot be won. But I want you to know, Mr. Speaker, that on this issue I am stubborn.

We must be ever mindful that there are those among us who are economically disadvantaged. Food banks are staffed by willing volunteers and supported by communities they service but they are not a source of pride. Our proudest day must be the day that the last food bank is closed and that we have rescued all of our citizens from the vagary of charity. (Applause)

Child poverty which continues unabated is a great shame. I learned this month that child poverty in Nova Scotia is among the worst in the country and getting worse each year. You have heard me speak on the commitment which is necessary for our youth. For many, the cycle of poverty begins far earlier in their lives. We cannot expect children who come to school without proper nutrition to lead their class.

We must address poverty in the home. The food basket on which welfare rates are established is inadequate. It does not provide the proper nutritional requirements set out in Canada's Food Guide. This is clear and we are failing the children of the province and in that, we fail ourselves. I am pleased, therefore, to see that a child nutrition strategy is being developed but may I say, deeds not words are what is required.

Children are often silent victims of unemployment and declining services. They are also victims, Mr. Speaker, of the lost paycheques that flow into the VLTs of the province. In this election, our Party called upon the government to allow municipalities to decide for themselves whether or not VLTs should be allowed to stay in their communities. Here is a real chance to give people a say. I urge the government to commit itself to this exercise in direct democracy.

So, Mr. Speaker, the job ahead of us in the next number of weeks is great. All Parties have spoken with enthusiasm about cooperation. A cooperative effort is an association that strives together for mutual benefit. In this case, we are striving together for the mutual benefit

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of the people of Nova Scotia. I hope that this evening that I have added to this goal and I look forward to the work ahead. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Cumberland North. (Applause)

MR. ERNEST FAGE: Mr. Speaker, I rise tonight to address the House in response to the Throne Speech, but first I would like to convey to this House what an honour and a privilege it is for me to be returned to serve another term. Also, I would like to congratulate you, Mr. Speaker, on the historic occasion of being the first elected Speaker to this House; I would also like to congratulate Mr. Chard on his election, as well, as Deputy Speaker. It is an historic moment to see this House elect its first Speaker and properly put, it represents the actual make-up of the House, the Speaker and the Deputy Speaker. I think that is an extremely important thing to happen in this historic Legislature in this province.

[8:45 p.m.]

Mr. Speaker, I want to congratulate the returning members on their election, and I want to welcome the new members to the House. This is my second session. Six short months ago it was my opportunity, along with three other new members to be inducted into this House in a by-election and it is a privilege to welcome the new members.

I want to thank the constituents of Cumberland North for returning me and in particular I want to thank my wonderful wife, Elaine, my children, Jillian, Isaac and Adam, and other family members for supporting me, putting up with all the phone calls that you all receive at any hour of the day and night and the demands on your personal life. I truly want to thank them for allowing me the privilege to serve.

There are some special people in Cumberland North that I indeed need to say a special thank you to. Those people are my campaign manager, Frank Elliot, a couple of our key campaign workers, Susan MacDonald, Deby White, Brian Fowler, to name a few and especially my local riding president who has steadfastly remained with me over the last four years, Graham Nelson. There are many others, too numerous to mention but I can't convey strongly enough how important it is to have good people around you who support you and believe in you through the hard times and the good times.

Mr. Speaker, when I went door-to-door in this election, there was a message that kept coming through very strong, very clear. The people of Cumberland North were dissatisfied with the government they had been receiving over the last number of years, and by the make-up of the House; certainly that feeling was strong across all Nova Scotia. When I look at the benches in the House, there seems to be, to my view, many more seats on the Opposition side of the House than on the government side of the House and those wishes were conveyed by the people of Nova Scotia. I don't think there is a member in this House that should forget that through this entire session.

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Mr. Speaker, people in my area were very concerned about health care. They felt, and rightly so, that a Liberal Government that had a vast majority, that had no main idea other than change, slash and burn were willing to create a situation where they receive fewer services at a greater cost to the taxpayers of Nova Scotia. In my area, we are continually understaffed with doctors, nurses are pressed to the point of exhaustion, careworkers in the hospital are understaffed. It is not uncommon to go into the hospital and wonder if the cleaning staff has been there and it is not their fault they are not there. They were part of the budgetary cut.

When I talk to seniors they are very concerned about their Pharmacare. They say, Mr. Speaker, my income has not risen considerably, but my obligations have. They also ask, why would a government make seniors in the Province of Nova Scotia first-payers? It is a good question, fellow members. Many people paid their entire life into a drug plan, why aren't those plans that they paid all those dollars into all their working lives being the first-payers instead of the taxpayers of Nova Scotia? It is a good question.

Young people and parents in my area are extremely concerned about education. They have endured the situation where Primary was cut and through lobbying and petitions it has been reinstated but it has not been an easy road.

Teachers have been stressed through the 3 per cent roll-back, through the lack of supplies in the classroom. When I visit teachers in schools they will show me situations where they are photocopying a book so they can distribute it to the classroom. We talk about technology enrichment in some schools and other schools, other students, parents, teachers, do not have even the basics that were there 10 years ago to provide education even in the written word in a textbook form. It is no wonder that those people in Cumberland North and, indeed, the people of Nova Scotia, had a message to send on March 24th. That message was, we have endured massive cuts, massive change, and to what end? The question is, to what end?

Well, Mr. Speaker, that end is more cost for fewer services. Cumberland North is a largely rural riding. On March 24th, in early spring, it was a great opportunity for residents to express to me their concern about the state of the secondary road system in Nova Scotia. Cumberland North is no different than most rural areas of this province, the roads are practically impassable. How can citizens safely convey themselves and their goods? How can children be conveyed in school buses to school when the roads are practically impassable and certainly a hazard and a danger? How can local fire departments protect public safety when those roads are barely passable?

Residents in Cumberland North took me on roads - or I should rephrase that - took me to roads that were impassable. It is not much wonder that they were extremely upset about the conditions of those roads. People were walking to their homes and leaving their cars in front of holes in the road, they could not get through. Washouts from early spring storms had

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left sides of the road off; they were dangerous situations. The resources, according to the local DoT dispatch, were not there to look at them immediately, they would get to them when they could. Well, ladies and gentlemen, this is not good enough in Nova Scotia; this is a province that looks after its citizens, or should. People come first.

Mr. Speaker, the real reason I rose to speak tonight is this document. This document is supposed to lay out the path of where we are going. Well, if this document is to lay the foundation for the future and where we are going, the future is awfully weak and vague for Nova Scotia. Weak and vague because that is what is in this document.

There is no solid commitment to Nova Scotia's concerns and the ones that I have touched upon. As I read through this document, Mr. Speaker, I see the insert in the side, it says, "Increased investment in public schools . . . ". What is increased investment? When we have seen the operating budget over the last five years, education for this province cut by $51.8 million, that is a huge amount of money on a system that was already stressed.

Now we hear in this Speech from the Throne, and what I hear when I meet with school board representatives, the Minister of Education is saying, I am going to put a little more money back into school boards. Doesn't it appear very obvious to all Nova Scotians? Isn't the message clear to the opposite side of the House? You created the problem, now you are going to fix it. You are going to give a dime back where you took a dollar.

Creating problems to solve them may be a pastime for some politicians and partisans in Nova Scotia, but it is not what Nova Scotians want and it is not what the Tory Party stands for. We clearly understand and know that education, training and learning is where the future is. You have to have those skills for our young people to have an opportunity at that future. Nobody has guaranteed it, as the NDP would say, but there has to be an opportunity. It is up to government to provide that groundwork of opportunity.

In the last couple of months and, indeed, during the fall, I have had the opportunity to tour a number of educational facilities, meet with educators, meet with parent groups, meet with students, people concerned about the future we have chosen and how we are going to get there. Last week, I attended a parents meeting at the regional board offices in Dartmouth. Those parents were there because they were concerned that full-day Primary was on the cutting block. Three members of the Tory caucus were concerned enough to show up at that meeting. I didn't see any members from the NDP there. I didn't see the Education Minister there concerned, but I saw three members of the Tory Party, their concern was to hear those parents' concerns.

What it was all about was, what is a provincial responsibility? Those people were talking about equity across a school board. This House and this minister should be concerned about equity across the province. You don't have to go too far across this province, from one community to the next, to see that inequity. Two weeks ago, I was at the Sherwood school

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in Sydney, a beautiful architectural institution, no question about it. Nobody denies that. But what is going to happen to those students when I quizzed Mr. MacDonald, the Principal, when they move on to a middle school, the next level, or a senior school where there are only one-half dozen computers involved and they come from a totally technology-rich environment, is that equity, even in a local school system? That is not equity.

Why would we embark on a program that is not uniform across Nova Scotia where operating budgets and the capital part of those should be that all schools are infused with technology enrichment at the same time, so that those students, once they start, and each student and every student has that opportunity at that better future out there. I am not seeing that in the education policy. I am not seeing it in action in this province.

When I look at the amount of money being directed toward the construction of the Horton school, quite honestly, I am appalled. There are other communities in Nova Scotia. There are schools in deep and desperate need of repair and a need of new schools being built. Is a $30 million school right for one community and an $8 million school for another? Could three schools have been built for that amount of money? Those are the questions my constituents are asking. Those are the questions Nova Scotians are asking. They are not saying, don't build the schools. We all want the institutions and facilities built as quickly as possible. There is no question, those schools have to be built, but they have to be cost-effective to the taxpayer of Nova Scotia. That is why each and every member here has a responsibility to the people who put you here. That responsibility is protecting the public interest, not one school in one area with a lot more advantages, a lot more whistles and bells, technology incorporated under the guise of P3.

[9:00 p.m.]

Three weeks ago I attended a meeting in Lantz. Lantz had a rally that night at the fire hall because of carbon monoxide levels being too high in the local school. You could not hold it there, a sick school if there ever was one. Those parents were extremely upset and extremely concerned. There were petitions there asking that the school be honoured that the government had committed to and rightly the parents should be there asking that.

Members of the NDP and members of the PC Party showed up to support those parents. Sadly, no one from the government benches felt that that was a concern worthy of coming. The demonstration of support, concern and compassion for the needs of the people of Nova Scotia have to be a concern of all Parties and all members of this House. That is another reason why we are here.

When you look at the situation, a school like Lantz and the commitment, I certainly hope for the benefit of those parents, that the commitment that the ground will be broken by June 15th is honoured. They are losing faith in members of this House, in the function of

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government, when government ministers and bureaucrats on their behalf make commitments but deadlines pass. Another one is made. It passes again. It goes on into the future.

How can people have faith in their elected officials if the commitments are not honoured?

I want to take a few moments to talk about some of the things and people who are not addressed. There are adults in every community in Nova Scotia who desperately want the opportunity to complete their education. Where is the adult education program? I have people come to my constituency office who have made a decision in their life - they are in their twenties, early thirties - that they want to achieve a Grade 12 certificate. Most of the people are on social services and want to better themselves. There is no opportunity for those people to achieve - the funding, the support - to achieve that Grade 12 certificate so they have the opportunity to go to a community college.

We do not believe in trades in this province any more. We do not do it at community college. I guess maybe there are not going to be welders in the future. There were 22 jobs in my community. They had to be hired from New Brunswick. I guess we do not want to train tradespeople. Ordinary Nova Scotians would like to have the opportunity to get those jobs rather than bringing them in from another province. The industry would like to hire them. It is our job to make sure the opportunity and the course is there.

Technology enrichment is a fine pair of words strung together. It is a great platitude but that has become part of the mandate for every school. It has nothing to do with P3. P3 is little more than a financing scheme to keep borrowings off the books of the Province of Nova Scotia. Bond rating agencies are the same as bankers and private business. They want to know the obligations of the individual or the firm, all of them.

A lease obligation that may have cost more in the long run - and in this case, the four we have, I do believe that they will cost more in the long run with no ownership - does not miss the eye of the creditor. It is added to the total mix of how much the province's obligation is and if the sole purpose is, as we are led to believe, a financial scheme that allows us to build schools quicker, then, Mr. Speaker, I really believe this government's objective is misguided.

Financial responsibility to the people of the Province of Nova Scotia is primary in that regard. Building those schools as efficiently and quickly as possible with the true competitive process involved is what this equation is about and it is what those communities who desperately need the schools want to see happen.

P3, if it is going to be a process that survives into the future, will require an audit system that is independent of government to prove it is of financial benefit to the Province of Nova Scotia. The Auditor General would seem an obvious and right place to begin that process. It has been disheartening to the people of Nova Scotia, certainly disheartening to

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members of this caucus, that public statements have been made by the Premier that he has requested those assessments of the Auditor General. When consulted, the Auditor General says those requests have not occurred. Consistency and focus on behalf of the people of Nova Scotia is what is required of the Crown Ministers in this province and any province in Canada. Is it little wonder that people are discouraged with politics and politicians? It comes back to sincerity and trust. The people will support a government if they trust them. March 24th said the bond of trust was very weak in this province.

Mr. Speaker, when I glance on through this document, we see such things as opportunity and growth in Nova Scotia and the people of Nova Scotia are sure looking for some opportunity and they are sure looking for some growth. This government, run to achieve a balanced financial budget on their terms, have missed a great opportunity which other provinces in the Atlantic Region have not. They made the decision to inflict as much financial pain and woe, increases in taxes from sales tax to the implementation of HST rather than like our sister province going after federal agreements and establishing a presence with the federal government, Mr. Speaker. This government has been weak-kneed and slipshod in its approach to making sure Nova Scotians and Nova Scotia receives its fair share of interprovincial agreements.

The highway agreements achieved by our sister province of New Brunswick, technology transfer, aquaculture, all those type of agreements and many more, huge infusions of tax dollars have been transferred to that province. Those tax dollars are used to further increase their competitive ability over ours, while our government has been navel gazing over the last five years and inflicting more red tape and taxes and stifling business in this province.

Mr. Speaker, business in Nova Scotia, business people would want an opportunity to grow this province. They need government to create that climate that allows that to happen. That climate, when it takes weeks on end to get an approval out of this government's Economic Development Department, when that approval is conditionally given, then possibly withdrawn, it discourages business. It doesn't encourage business to invest in this province and our home-grown entrepreneurs, the most important ones in our community, are stymied.

I only think of the bed and breakfasts, the backbone of tourism in rural Nova Scotia, a full tax on them, treating them the same as a hotel. They're business people, they're providing a niche market, they're opening up the scenic beauty of our rural communities, they are one of the most important mechanisms to retain out-of-province tourists in a rural community. If the biggest scramble for tourists to leave your community tonight is because they can't find accommodations, then they are gone by 4 o'clock. Where's the opportunity for our local entrepreneurs that this government claims they so strongly support? You have to think the process all the way through and not look at a tax grab at every corner.

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Businesses in some communities in this province, in rural Nova Scotia, have decided that they can't wait a long time for this government to make up its mind, they are charting their own future. I am proud to say that I live and represent such a community.

Unemployment is slowly subsiding, we are seeing investment from the private sector encouraged by local politicians, encouraged by businesses themselves seeing the opportunity, and local entrepreneurs doing the partnership. We have seen four major retailers move into Amherst in the last year and one-half, and this is creating a retail centre in northern Nova Scotia that gives us the means to compete with the Moncton-Dieppe quarter. It is a great opportunity. The government has a great obligation to help that grow.

We have seen the industrial base in our communities grow on its own with partnerships in the local community. Those partnerships began before this administration, before some of these ministers try to take credit for it. I think of the partnership with Ballastronix in the Amherst area, a true success story; local community involvement.

I think of the foresight, that IMP would be given provincial support and establish a new plant in Amherst. The foundation and framework for community economic development was grown in our community, the community has taken it over and putting the course out there. Local entrepreneurs, local businessmen and businesswomen are buying into that course.

I don't think government should take credit for that. I think that the people who did it, the communities, the businesses themselves, deserve that credit and, rightly, should take that credit.

I think of a business that has started up in tourism in Cumberland North last year, and that is Fox Harbour Development. A private developer recognized the beauty of the Northumberland Strait, the positive tourism potential in the future, and wanted to create something that would be of lasting benefit to the communities along Northumberland Strait. Fox Harbour Development, ladies and gentlemen, who invested in $15 million over three years, all private money to bring that golf course and resort onstream. That's real investment, that's people in a community selling itself, bringing itself on course to deliver real growth.

It is such a shame, Mr. Speaker - and I come back to it - that this government would not stand up to their brethren in Ottawa to bring some real money, to help with that growth, to this province through agreements that our sister provinces seem to negotiate so easily.

[9:15 p.m.]

Mr. Speaker, young people in all communities in Nova Scotia deserve the opportunity with their skills and their education level to become part of the growing economy of the future. This has to be nurtured, this has to be looked at in a serious light. Unemployment rates for young people in excess of 20 per cent are not acceptable. Those young people are the

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people who will direct and provide the financial benefits for all members in their senior years in this House and I think a few of us will probably be senior more quickly than some of the others in this House. I think strongly of the second youngest member ever elected to the Nova Scotia Legislature. He probably will be the one who will help support us here. We need people like that involved in business in Nova Scotia, we need people involved in decision making of that age.

Mr. Speaker, if we do not allow these young people, and provide the incentives where we can, to take their role, they will become disillusioned or, worse still, they will fuel the engine of another province's economy and not the Province of Nova Scotia.

Mr. Speaker, the vagueness, the weakness of this document as you turn each page blatantly jumps out at you. When I look at the direct offshore benefits and I look at the process of late of Sable gas, Nova Scotians are concerned. It is a complex issue. The decisions fostered and made by this government are starting to come out and come clear in the public realm of Nova Scotia. Talk of renegotiation of the agreement, where net revenues may be smaller, concerns Nova Scotians at this point. Is it going to be six years or eight years before we see any net revenue now coming to the province?

Net revenues are an important part, Mr. Speaker, if and when they ever do come, they will pay some bills on behalf of the Province of Nova Scotia. The true opportunity which has been the greatest in this century, Sable gas, has been given lip service, it has not been pushed to the forefront. A petrochemical industry would provide thousands of jobs in the Strait and Cape Breton area. There is the economic boost that will take that region of Nova Scotia, lift it up and carry it into the future.

Where was this government on insistence of a petrochemical industry? We hear of reserves five and six times, maybe 10 times, on tap offshore. The petrochemical industry, if this government had been insistent, had stood up for Nova Scotia and Nova Scotians, had made sure that Nova Scotian gas would benefit Nova Scotians, would have been viable from day one; instead of "may, shall", it should have been "there will be", Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, all Nova Scotians can truly benefit from a low cost energy carrier. That is what the opportunity of Sable gas provided. There is no regulation, there is no plan out there to make sure that Nova Scotians have that opportunity. At present it appears the largest return for Sable gas is to get the maximum amount to the United States border, not to the economic benefit of Nova Scotians where a low cost energy sources could provide full-time, good paying industrial jobs in many communities in Nova Scotia as they are hooked up. Indeed, each Nova Scotian's entitlement to that residential and business benefit that would offer from Sable gas coming to each community is profound. Where is the policy that would enable that to happen for all communities in Nova Scotia? It doesn't appear to be out there.

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Nova Scotians are starting to ask those vital questions. How are we, as a community, as individuals, going to participate in a boom if it doesn't come to our community? The very negotiation, the map that we are all shown by Sable, shakes the foundation of how well Nova Scotia's interest was protected and negotiated. The laterals are going to Moncton, to Fredericton and to Saint John. It appears that much better negotiators worked on behalf of the Province of New Brunswick than they did for the province that actually owns the gas - Nova Scotia. These laterals are even on the map.

What can we say? Nova Scotians are left shaking their heads wondering, will we have an opportunity to participate? Will this government get their act together so that industry is not lured across the border into New Brunswick because their communities may be hooked up to natural gas sooner? Those are the serious questions that not only Nova Scotians are asking, but the leaders in business in this province when you meet with them.

This government needs to design a course, one that benefits Nova Scotians and makes sure that, for the future, Nova Scotia's natural gas benefits Nova Scotians. Nova Scotians aren't greedy people, but Nova Scotians deserve the equal opportunity, at the very least, so that each community participates to the fullest in the economic benefits of the greatest boom that this province has seen in 100 years.

Mr. Speaker, when I look at other areas highlighted here, I congratulate the people of Pictou and I congratulate the government for including the Ship Hector. But, I see other festivals, I see other gatherings in the community and people are asking me, as I meet with their groups and associations, tourism people, education, cultural groups are saying, where is this government on the International Gathering of the Clans that is coming soon? Where are the plans? Where is the consultation that we are going to benefit from this huge gathering that could come to Nova Scotia if we take it seriously? What about Sir William Henry Sinclair? It is another opportunity. Are we going to miss that one? He landed in Nova Scotia. The celebration should be a large one. It should be one that draws tourists all over North America and internationally to this province. Are we going to miss that opportunity too?

Mr. Speaker, in my community, we take seriously every opportunity, whether provided by any level of government, private industry, or just good home-grown ideas. The federal government has announced that funds will be appropriated to a millennium project. Will this group here have a millennium project that will put lasting benefits and infrastructure into communities in Nova Scotia? Is there any sign or thought of it? Are they worrying about the bugs in their computers when the millennium arrives? Can they solve it? At the rate they are going, the snail will win and the bugs will remain in the computers.

Mr. Speaker, another heading in this document talks about communities, a source of strength. It says the economic heart of Nova Scotia lies in our cities. Our souls come from our communities. Well, I think there are a lot of communities in Nova Scotia that would like their fair share of economic opportunity. The economic heart should be the entire Province

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of Nova Scotia, it should be our objective, it should be our goal, it has to be the future of this province.

How can we talk about communities when we see our health care system with regional boards unaccountable to communities; we see regional school boards that take over two hours to get in your car and drive across. That is not a community as we know it in Nova Scotia, Mr. Speaker. A community is where you are proud of your neighbours, proud of the street or road you live on, you are proud of your local church, you are proud of that volunteer fire department. You have a school, you have a hospital that you are happy to raise funds for, those are what communities are built on. Putting in another layer of government that slows down the process of delivery and closes government's responsibility to small communities in Nova Scotia, I fail to see where it builds strength in our communities.

Mr. Speaker, when you move into a section on health care it goes beyond vague, it goes to the point where it appears that this government does not know what direction they are taking on health care. They have spent a tremendous amount of money in the last five years to ensure that we have fewer ambulances; they have spent a tremendous amount of money on policies that bring new doctors to the province but they don't measure the net. One hundred new doctors to the province is a fine sentiment but did anybody ask the question, did 110 leave last year? Did 90 leave? To the people who do not have a doctor or to the people of Nova Scotia, they are concerned how many doctors are there on a daily basis and when they or their loved ones are sick, that they actually have a family doctor they can visit.

On numerous occasions in this House I have raised the chronic doctor shortage at the Highland View Regional Hospital that has existed for well over a year. This government pretends that it is not even there. Thousands of citizens signed petitions that thousands of their neighbours and themselves, indeed, do not have a family doctor. This government does not even acknowledge it. Compassion, understanding, health care, are those what that is or is that cold callousness, worrying more about a system than the people the system is supposed to serve?

Mr. Speaker, this document talks about accountability in public finance, it talks about balanced budgets. When we get to the budget, in all probability it will be balanced on paper. Nova Scotians are asking me, and indeed, I am asking myself, on paper does that mean leases that have not already been signed, that the money that has been loaned to the private developers isn't included on this year's books? Does it mean that a debt of $57 million at the QE II remains there instead of on the books of the province? Those are questions I have to ask myself, those are questions that Nova Scotians ask themselves. They will be asking that when a budget comes forth, they will want to know those things.

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If we come to the stage where debts are being carried by public institutions, by chicanery, by funds being appropriated not in that year, do we have a balanced budget or do we have a piece of paper? Nova Scotians want to know that about accountability and where our finances actually belong.

[9:30 p.m.]

Nova Scotians want to know after all the hardship, frustration and pain they have gone through for the last five to six years, if their lot in life really got better fiscally as a province or, in rough figures, has their debt increased by 50 per cent? Has the net debt of this province gone from something over $6 billion to approximately $9 billion in five years? Has five years of what the government benches claims is fiscal responsibility really just increased our debt, our borrowing, total amount? Have we turned a corner? What kind of a corner is it if that is the one that we have turned? That is what public accountability is about. Those are the questions that Nova Scotians ask me. Those are the ones I ask myself.

When I get toward the end of the document I think about the area of Nova Scotia that I represent as the MLA for Cumberland North and I look at some of the important industries in my area and all of Nova Scotia because Nova Scotians do indeed like to support Nova Scotian. They do indeed like to buy Nova Scotian. They do indeed when they go to the grocery store like to eat Nova Scotia products.

In this document I cannot find anything about primary industry. In a county like Cumberland County, approximately $56 million to $57 million farmgate is what agriculture represents to the County of Cumberland. It represents, not even a mention in this document of where we want to go. Last week in Cumberland County land tax was instituted for the first time. I had many calls from rural constituents who are involved in the farming industry who are very concerned. They see our future being taxed for the first time in many generations because this government has reneged on their commitment of three different years and three different Speeches from the Throne. Where is the commitment? Why should people trust this government? They give so many reasons to me and I have to ask that question, how can I trust them? Why should I trust them?

The forestry industry, a major industry in this province, as well as the agricultural industry over this entire province, it does not even rate a mention. Apparently it is not important to this government. The thousands upon thousands of Nova Scotians who work very hard in those industries, who are employed in those industries, and who export goods from this province and who provide the opportunity for value added. Platitudes but no mention and no support.

Mr. Speaker, on March 24th I believe my constituents, and I believe all Nova Scotians, gave this House and every member who is elected here a clear direction for change and that direction in rough calculations is that 65 per cent of them wanted change. As a member

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representing Cumberland North and the people of Cumberland North, unless I have concrete guarantees from the government across the floor on the secondary highway situation in Nova Scotia, a concrete policy to renew those roads in a timely and fair fashion out there for the consideration of all the people of Nova Scotia.

Health care, the unwieldy health boards are not addressed. If communities are not provided with proper medical services, and that is a concerted effort that doctors are recruited to all Nova Scotians. They deserve the same health care. Nurses and other health caregivers must have the opportunity for equality, parity and a reasonable workload.

If in the education field that the student does not come first and after all, Mr. Speaker, why do we have an education system? In my view it is to provide the best possible opportunity for our young people to compete for a livelihood, a career, a profession, that they will indeed enjoy doing themselves and provide a benefit to society. That is what the goal of education is.

Mr. Speaker, we see in those school boards the finest educators we have. They are spending hours in a vehicle driving from one point to another rather than administering education or providing it to our students. Why would we create a region so large that their valuable lives and time are risked, spent in an automobile rather than in an institution of learning? You have to ask those questions because my constituents and Nova Scotians are asking those questions. Why are we going through the process if education, and offering the opportunity to our young people, is not the goal?

If those types of commitments and the opportunity for young people in Nova Scotia and the protection of seniors are not clearly evident by the time we are ready to vote on the Throne Speech, I will have severe reservations on supporting this document.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. It has been my privilege to address the House. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Fairview.

MS. EILEEN O'CONNELL: Mr. Speaker, I rise in my place today very mindful of the old Chinese curse, may you live in interesting times. However, as interesting as it may be, I am very clear in my stance tonight. I am speaking against the motion and in favour of the amendment that has been proposed by the Leader of the Official Opposition on Friday.

Before I do any of that, though, I do want to say a few words. First of all, I want to, as one member to others, welcome members back those who have been here before. I am not an old hand myself. I have not been here all that long. I want to welcome the new members as well. Because I have not been here for all that long, I can remember very clearly the courtesy and the respect with which I was treated by the old hands and also the assistance I was given by members of all Parties. I do remember it and I do thank them for it.

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I think that it is more important than ever in this particular House and so I speak about it partly out of gratitude and partly because I think we all need to remind ourselves that in these circumstances, it is a very relevant reminder of the way we should conduct ourselves in trying times. I want to just read and remind us what the Throne Speech said about that very thing. It is on the very first page.

In the Throne Speech the government says that, "On March 24 Nova Scotians voted for good government. The people saw elements of good government across the political spectrum, and divided membership in this House accordingly. The challenges before members of this Assembly are many and great. But the first is to reach across traditional partisan lines and honour the pledge of good government made by all members to those they now represent.". And Mr. Speaker, I think those are probably the wisest words in the Throne Speech unfortunately, but they are worth paying some attention to. Mr. Speaker, I have a number of documents which I would be happy to table all at once at the end with your permission, if that's all right with you, rather than hand them over one at a time.

I am reminded of John Ralston Saul's words in an article called 'The Good Citizen' which was in the December edition of Canadian Forum, and I am going to paraphrase it, I'm not going to read it directly. He says that the first obligation of the winner of an election is towards the minority who lost, and he goes on to say that the second obligation is to think about the totality of the society, not about those who are with us versus those who are against us. And again, Mr. Speaker, I think those are very wise words for this particular moment in our history.

Before I say thank you to the people of Fairview and that would be all the people, the people who didn't vote for me as well, and make some commitment to them, I did want to congratulate both the Speaker and the Deputy Speaker. I think we are all aware that we have made a little piece of history in this House, it was slow coming, but worth waiting for, and I wish both of them well in their work. And I want to welcome back the staff of Province House, the Pages and messengers, Charlie in the kitchen and all the people who have helped us all so much, and welcome the new Pages and messengers who will, no doubt in very short order, get the hang of everything, Mr. Speaker.

Halifax Fairview has once again voted for me in sufficient numbers that I could come back to this place, which it is no secret that I like, Mr. Speaker. The people of Halifax Fairview have not made any great strides towards wealth, I think in the last number of months, much is as it was. But I have had some very pleasant experiences and I just wanted to mention a few of them.

Two of them have to do with the arts, Mr. Speaker, which relates nicely to my area as Education Critic for the Party. But one particular task that I undertook one Saturday morning was to go with Councilman Walker to Piercy Field to help the Kiwanis Air Cadets Squadron 292 clean up Piercy Field in preparation for the summer ball season. Mr. Speaker, the most

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remarkable thing about it for me, was that there was very little work to do. There was a whole winter in which to accumulate mess and garbage and all the things that happen when the snow covers the ground and there was very little work to do.

The Kiwanis Air Cadet Squadron did manage to work very hard and to do a beautiful job. I can't say that Councillor Walker and I worked quite as hard, but we certainly did pitch in and as I said, what was most remarkable to me was how little work for a huge field needed to be done. That was very heartening because that tells you how a community feels about itself and takes pride in its amenities and makes them useable for all, at all times. So, Mr. Speaker, that was one pleasant experience I had recently.

The two others, as I said, have to do with the arts. I had the enormous pleasure, on May 6, 1998, of going to Ecole Chebucto Heights School, which is an elementary school, Mr. Speaker, in Cowie Hill, one of the communities in Halifax Fairview.

[9:45 p.m.]

Mr. Speaker, I cannot tell you how impressed I was and what a moving experience this production of Peter Pan was. You would have thought that these were not elementary school children, but perhaps a high school production or even adult amateur theatre. The discipline and the talent and the ensemble performance of the group and also the joy of working together was so evident on their faces that it was really a stupendous experience. We have all, I am sure, sat through school concerts with our children and we are not quick to admit publicly sometimes that we squirmed in our seats, but there was no squirming in the seat this night. It was a thoroughly enjoyable experience.

What was really interesting about it for me was that the teachers, and all the teachers were involved and all the staff was involved, but there were three teachers, in particular, who put their heart and their soul into kind of being the coordinators of this. They took the opportunity in the program, Mr. Speaker, to make an appeal to politicians about the fine arts in schools. It seems to me that times are tough when you have to use the musical program to tell your representatives that you need these, the children need it and what a joyful experience it is for them The teachers said that night in the program that there were children in this production for whom this had become the most important experience of their lives. It was the first time in the lives of some of the children that they would not miss one single practice because they were so committed and they were so dedicated to having this experience.

I just want to read this one paragraph, Mr. Speaker. It says, "If you believe, as we do, that this kind of experience is invaluable to your children, and to children of the future, inform those who have the power to support or eliminate artistic ventures such as this, your political representatives. Tell them that it is important for teachers to have the opportunity to extend valuable learning experiences beyond classroom work. Tell them that the bare necessities are not always enough to nurture and develop the whole child. Tell them that our kids really do

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matter.". It is signed by teachers, Nancy Jamison, Joan Freeman and Stephanie Carver. I found it extremely moving and rather sad that we have to be appealed to in such a manner, but the program was worth every single minute of the children's talent and joy.

Mr. Speaker, the other event that I attended was not actually in Fairview, but it involved Fairview children. It was called String Night. It was held at St. Patrick's High School, I believe on May 14, 1998. I went along to this out of base motives. My nephew was in the first year violin class and I went along with other aunts and uncles and parents and grandparents to see well over 300 children playing stringed instruments, a whole gymnasium filled with enthusiastic, hardworking musicians. They played beautifully.

They played in small groups from their individual schools. The advanced orchestra played and then, in what was a really stupendous finale, I would say that they sawed away, except they didn't saw away, they made beautiful music, except, perhaps, for the first year class who sawed away with the others through the entire theme for the Titanic. It was a truly splendid moment in the teaching of fine arts and the pride of the teachers and the students was just tremendous. What a musical argument for the development of the whole child, as the other teachers put it. What a wonderful way to say, this is food for the spirit and we can provide it in our schools. So, I was most delighted to be there.

It would surprise no one in this House to hear that I want to talk about education. The Leader of the Official Opposition brought in an amendment to the Throne Speech on Friday; it has five parts. As I said, it would surprise no one to find out that I am going to concentrate on (b) of the amendment, the preamble of which says, "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: ..." - and I will just read (b) because that is what I would like to focus on - ". . . 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;".

Mr. Speaker, there is a saying that the only thing you can do quickly in education is damage. I think this is a true statement when it comes to education policy in the Province of Nova Scotia; it is sadly true. It seems to me that this is the proper moment in the history of this government - which was first elected in 1993 - to look at the damage and to do an assessment to see what it is that has to be done differently.

It is significant, Mr. Speaker, that when you open the Throne Speech, apart from the chit-chat at the beginning, the first thing up is education. This government has come to the realization - or at least I hope that it has - that it has done a whole lot of damage. They were elected initially five years ago, and I have to say that there was absolutely no hint of what was to come, of the dizzying pace of chaotic change and confusion visited on the children, parents,

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teachers, administrators, school councils, school boards and communities in general across this province. It is unbelievable what has been done.

Now the motives for it. I think the motives are important because the government was in slash-and-burn mode. It was going to take out the deficit, put it in a choke-hold, pin it to the mat come hell or high water, no matter who else went down in the scuffle. So one of the motives was to cut funding to save money, to strip the system down. The second, and related motive, Mr. Speaker, was to open up education to private industry.

Now some people might say that is not really true, Mr. Speaker, but if you go right back to the Education Act that this government brought in several years ago, that Act set the stage for much of what came later. Two characteristics in particular of the new Education Act laid the groundwork for the damage that was to be wreaked like a tornado across this province, in education. The first one was that the new Education Act allowed for, and possibly mandated, revenue generation by school boards. Along with that there was a corollary, which was that school boards could not run deficits, and those were clearly Tweedledee and Tweedledum.

The other thing that was not immediately apparent, but which I think has become very clear over the years, Mr. Speaker, is that the new Education Act centralized more power with the Minister of Education and the ministry at the same time that it downloaded responsibility and accountability onto schools, parents and communities. It set the stage for the makings of an untenable situation.

Now that was the first thing, the Education Act.

Mr. Speaker, I do not know how late you want me to go. You will tell me.

MR. SPEAKER: Does the honourable member wish to continue or just to adjourn debate at this time?

MS. O'CONNELL: I would be happy to do whatever suits, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Adjourn debate?

MS. O'CONNELL: I will adjourn debate until tomorrow.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is to adjourn the debate.

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

The motion is carried.

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The honourable Government House Leader.

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

TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Health.

HON. JAMES SMITH: Mr. Speaker, in my capacity as Attorney General and pursuant to section 51 of the Judicature Act, I hereby table amendments to the Civil Procedure Rules that were made pursuant to the Judicature Act by the Judges of the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia on January 30, 1998. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: The documents are tabled.

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, tomorrow the hours of sitting will be from 2:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m. Following the daily routine and Question Period we will revert to the adjourned Address in Reply to the Speech from the Throne.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is to adjourn.

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

The motion is carried.

[The House rose at 9:57 p.m.]