The Nova Scotia Legislature

The House resumed on:
September 21, 2017.

Hansard -- Wed., May 27, 1998

First Session

WEDNESDAY, MAY 27, 1998

TABLE OF CONTENTS PAGE
Speaker's Ruling on Previous Point of Privilege
OIC Appointments - Rule 60(2)(c) Human Resources Comm.
(Point of Privilege by Mr. J. Holm) Page 37
No Prima Facie Case of Privilege
Rule 60(2)(c) - Assembly Matters Comm. Review 267
PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS:
Health: Nurses - Wage Parity, Ms. Maureen MacDonald 268
Transport. & Pub. Wks. - Hants West: Route 215 - Repave,
Mr. W. Estabrooks 268
STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS:
Transport. & Pub. Wks. - Port Business: Protection - Continue,
Hon. C. Huskilson 269
Human Res. - Career Starts, Hon. W. Gaudet 270
Transport. & Pub. Wks. - Bay Ferries: Cat - Test Drive,
Hon. C. Huskilson 273
GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 153, Agric. - Anna. Valley Apple Blossom Festival: Dedication -
Recognize, Hon. E. Lorraine 276
Vote - Affirmative 277
Res. 154, Health: Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Month (May 1998) -
Recognize, Hon. J. Smith 277
Vote - Affirmative 277
Res. 155, Guy Brown (MLA [1974-1998]) - Retirement: Best Wishes -
Extend, Hon. D. Downe 278
Vote - Affirmative 278
Res. 156, Fish.: Sportfishing Weekend (6-7/06/98) - Support,
Hon. K. Colwell 278
Vote - Affirmative 279
Res. 157, Culture - La Societe Promotion Grand-Pre: Board/Staff -
Success Extend, Hon. R. Harrison 279
Vote - Affirmative 280
Res. 158, Agric. - American Farmers' Direct Marketing Assoc.:
Doug Hennigar (President) - Congrats., Hon. E. Lorraine 280
Vote - Affirmative 281
Res. 159, Leader of Opposition - NDP (N.S.) Gov't.: Election Promises -
Fulfilment Methodology, Hon. D. Downe 281
INTRODUCTION OF BILLS:
No. 6, Health Council Appointments (1998) Act, Dr. J. Hamm 282
NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 160, Lbr. - Metro Transit: Strike - Negotiations Resumption,
Mr. F. Corbett 282
Res. 161, Educ. - Porters Lake School Lease: Aud. Gen. Examine -
Request, Mr. E. Fage 283
Res. 162, Econ. Dev. & Tourism - Cat (Ferry) Year: Yarmouth - Visit,
Mr. John Deveau 283
Vote - Affirmative 284
Res. 163, Lbr. - Westray Employees (Former): Severance - Issue,
Dr. J. Hamm 284
Res. 164, Crossroads Housing Cooperative (Sackville) -
John & Bev Chapelle: Work - Recognize, Ms. R. Godin 285
Vote - Affirmative 285
Res. 165, Maritime Inn (Port Hawkesbury) - Accessible Facilities:
Hour Glass Action Award - Congrats., Mr. R. White 285
Vote - Affirmative 286
Res. 166, Health - QE II Health Sciences Centre: Board Chairman
(Mr. C. Keating) - Terminate, Dr. H. Bitter-Suermann 286
Res. 167, Educ. - System (Two-Tier): Development - Denounce,
Mr. Kevin Deveaux 287
Res. 168, Educ. - Literacy Promotion: Peter Gzowski Golf Tournament -
Support, Hon. K. MacAskill 287
Vote - Affirmative 288
Res. 169, Nat. Res. - Cole Hbr. Marsh: Donors (Mary Osborne &
David Kuhn) - Thank, Mr. D. Dexter 289
Vote - Affirmative 289
Res. 170, Commun. Serv.: Access Awareness Week - Support,
Hon. F. Cosman 289
Vote - Affirmative 290
Res. 171, Fin. (Can.) - Payroll-Tax Deduction: Gov't. (N.S.) - Demand,
Mr. N. LeBlanc 290
Res. 172, Tim Horton's Camp (Tatamagouche) - Operators: Contribution -
Acknowledge, Mr. W. Estabrooks 291
Vote - Affirmative 291
Res. 173, EMO - Emergencies (911): Consultancy - Update, Mr. G. Balser 292
Res. 174, Educ. - Horton DHS (Kings Co.): Reach For The Top Team
(Natl.) - Success Wish, Hon. R. Harrison 292
Vote - Affirmative 293
Res. 175, Commun. Serv. - Disabled: Tech. Devices - Assist,
Ms. Helen MacDonald 293
Res. 176, Fish.: Schafner Point Sea Farm (Brian & Frances Higgs) -
Congrats., Mr. L. Montgomery 294
Vote - Affirmative 294
Res. 177, Nat. Res. - Nat. Gas Distribution: Cumb. Co. Commun. - Define,
Mr. M. Scott 294
Res. 178, Health - Nurses: Schools Reintroduction - Consultation
Failure, Ms. Maureen MacDonald 295
Res. 179, William Gills (MLA [1970-98]) - Retirement: Best Wishes -
Extend, Mr. H. Fraser 296
Vote - Affirmative 296
Res. 180, Environ. - Septic Systems: Regulations - Review, Mr. J. DeWolfe 297
Res. 181, Agric. - N.S. Agric. College: Funding (P.E.I.) - Protection,
Mr. J. MacDonell 297
Res. 182, Philanthropy Awards (Atl.): Helen Cassidy & Stewart McInnes -
Congrats., Mr. G. Fogarty 298
Vote - Affirmative 298
Res. 183, Fish. - Northern Shrimp: Quota - Leadership Take,
Mr. N. LeBlanc 299
Res. 184, Commun. Serv. - Employability Assist. For Persons With
Disabilities Prog.: Success - Ensure, Ms. E. O'Connell 299
Res. 185, Leader of Opposition - School Construction: Methodology -
Reveal, Hon. F. Cosman 300
Res. 186, NDP Caucus: Facts - Examine, Hon. K. MacAskill 300
Res. 187, Econ. Dev. & Tourism - Pictou Shipyards:
Sale (M&M Industra) - Complete, Mr. C. Parker 301
Res. 188, New Germany & Area Fire Dept.: Efforts - Commend,
Mr. M. Baker 302
Vote - Affirmative 302
Res. 189, Transport. & Pub. Wks.: Hwy. Hotline - Use, Hon. C. Huskilson 302
Vote - Affirmative 303
Res. 190, Fin. - HST: Seniors/Fixed Income - Relief Provide, Mr. J. Pye 303
Res. 191, Econ. Dev. & Tourism - Tourism C.B.: Ports Day Activities
(27-28/05/98) - Congrats., Hon. Manning MacDonald 304
Vote - Affirmative 304
Res. 192, Health - Care: Bureaucrats Severance - Harmonic Delusion,
Dr. H. Bitter-Suermann 304
Res. 193, Educ. - Auburn DHS: Bus. Educ. Partnership Award (Can.) -
Congrats., Mr. D. Dexter 305
Vote - Affirmative 306
Res. 194, NDP (N.S.) - Gov't. Future: Affiliations - Significance Consider,
Mr. P. MacEwan 306
Res. 195, CHAD (Pictou Co.) - Access Awareness Week:
Hour Glass Action Award - Congrats., Mr. J. DeWolfe 306
Vote - Affirmative 307
Res. 196, Transport. & Pub. Wks.: Hwy. No. 333 (Prospect Rd.) - Improve,
Mr. W. Estabrooks 307
Res. 197, Culture - Shearwater Museum Foundation Activities - Congrats.,
Hon. K. Colwell 308
Vote - Affirmative 308
Res. 198, Econ. Dev. & Tourism: Crossley Carpet Mills Ltd. (Truro)
ISO Certification - Congrats., Mr. J. Muir 309
Vote - Affirmative 309
Res. 199, Culture - Stan Rogers Folk Festival (Canso) (03-05/07/98):
Success - Extend, Mr. R. White 309
Vote - Affirmative 310
Res. 200, Amherst Y's (Men & Menettes): Lifestyle and Leisure Show -
Congrats., Mr. E. Fage 310
Vote - Affirmative 311
Res. 201, Fish. - C.B. Econ. Activity: Mins. (Can. & N.S.) - Congrats.,
Mr. Charles MacDonald 311
Res. 202, Hfx. - Standing Naval Force Atlantic: Visit - Welcome Extend,
Mr. G. Fogarty 311
Vote - Affirmative 312
Res. 203, Environ. - Digby East Fish & Game Assoc.: Commitment -
Congrats., Mr. G. Balser 312
Vote - Affirmative 313
Res. 204, Environ. - N.S. Youth Conservation Corp.: Commitment -
Recognize, Mr. M. Samson 313
Res. 205, NDP Pharmacare Prog. - Reveal, Mr. H. Fraser 314
Res. 206, Election (N.S.) - Political Parties: Objectives - Required,
Mr. P. MacEwan 314
Res. 207, Hfx. Fairview MLA - Educ.: Children -
Contradictory Messages Avoid, Hon. R. MacKinnon 315
Res. 208, NDP (N.S.) - Education: Children - Power Grab Opportunist,
Mr. Charles MacDonald 316
Res. 209, Econ. Dev. & Tourism - SW N.S.: Cooperation (Can./N.S.)
Agreement/Bay Ferries - Partnership Recognize, Mr. L. Montgomery 316
Vote - Affirmative 317
Res. 210, Nat. Res. - Forestry: Crown Land - Independent Audit Order,
Mr. J. Leefe 317
Res. 211, NDP (N.S.) - Election Promises/Outcome: Resultant Actions -
Condemn, Hon. Manning MacDonald 317
Res. 212, Econ. Dev. & Tourism - C.B. Co. Econ. Dev. Authority/
Cooperation Agreement: Pit Pony Film - Recognize, Mr. M. Samson 318
Res. 213, Educ. - Cumb. Co.: Teachers - Excellence Award Congrats.,
Mr. M. Scott 318
Vote - Affirmative 319
Res. 214, Econ. Dev. & Tourism - Ocean Produce Internat. (Shelburne):
New Product (Can. GP ) Award - Congrats., Hon. C. Huskilson 319
Vote - Affirmative 320
Res. 215, Sports - CHA (Director): Mr. F. Osborne (Dartmouth) -
Congrats., Hon. J. Smith 320
Vote - Affirmative 321
ORAL QUESTIONS PUT BY MEMBERS:
No. 12, Educ. - Lantz Elem. School: Construction - Deadline,
Mr. R. Chisholm 321
No. 13, Educ.: Porters Lake School Leases: Auditor General - Examine,
Mr. E. Fage 323
No. 14, Educ. - Horton School: Private Business - Funding Details,
Ms. E. O'Connell 325
No. 15, Lbr. - Access-A-Bus: Services - Restoration, Mr. J. Muir 327
No. 16, Educ. - O'Connell Dr. School (Porters Lake): Lease Costly -
Imposed, Ms. E. O'Connell 328
No. 17, Nat. Res. - Sable Gas: Distribution - Prov. Share, Dr. J. Hamm 330
No. 18, Lbr. - P3 Schools: Maintenance Staff - Wage Parity Ensure,
Mr. F. Corbett 332
No. 19, Fin. - Budget (1998-99) Balanced: Crown Assets - Status,
Mr. H. Epstein 333
No. 20, WCB: All-Party Committee - Consult, Mr. M. Baker 334
No. 21, Econ. Dev.: Phonettix - Layoffs, Mr. D. Dexter 336
No. 22, Health - Care: Long Term - Responsibility, Mr. G. Moody 337
No. 23, Health - QE II Health Sciences Centre: Strategic Plan - Job Cuts,
Ms. Maureen MacDonald 339
No. 24, Fish. - Northern Shrimp: Quota - Mins. Meet, Mr. N. LeBlanc 341
No. 25, Justice - Police Cadet Training: Changes - Justify,
Mr. J. MacDonell 343
No. 26, Nat. Res. - Tussock Moth: Infestation - Damage, Mr. J. Leefe 344
No. 27, Nat. Res. - Crown Lands: Silviculture Progs. - Funding,
Mr. C. Parker 345
No. 28, Transport. & Pub. Wks. - Hwy. No. 103: Twinning - Progress,
Mr. W. Estabrooks 346
No. 29, Health: Women's/Children's Care - Initiatives, Mr. G. Moody 347
No. 30, Tech. & Sc. Sec't.: Year 2000 - Preparedness, Mr. P. Delefes 350
OPPOSITION MEMBERS' BUSINESS:
MOTIONS OTHER THAN GOVERNMENT MOTIONS:
Res. 29, Educ. - Lantz Elem. School: Needs Ignored - Condemn,
Mr. J. MacDonell 351
Mr. J. MacDonell 351
Hon. R. Harrison 352
Mr. E. Fage 355
Ms. E. O'Connell 356
Res. 67, Halifax, Port of - Bill C-9 (Sec. 25) Stop: Gov't. (N.S.) -
Campaign Join, Mr. R. Chisholm 358
Mr. R. Chisholm 358
Hon. C. Huskilson 359
Dr. H. Bitter-Suermann 360
Mr. D. Dexter 361
ADJOURNMENT:
MOTION UNDER RULE 5(5):
Socialist Party - Gov't. (NDP [N.S.]): Future - Debate:
Mr. P. MacEwan 363
Mr. H. Epstein 367
ADJOURNMENT, House rose to meet again on Thur., May 28th at 2:00 p.m. 369

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HALIFAX, WEDNESDAY, MAY 27, 1998

Fifty-seventh General Assembly

First Session

2:00 P.M.

SPEAKER

Hon. Ronald Russell

DEPUTY SPEAKER

Mr. Donald Chard

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. Before we commence with the daily routine, I would like to give a decision on a point of privilege which was raised last Friday. On Friday, May 22, 1998, the honourable member for Sackville-Cobequid rose on a point of privilege with respect to certain appointments made by the Governor in Council on May 19, 1998 that the member considered to be in violation of Rule 60(2)(c) and Term of Reference Number 2.

Two specific appointments were cited in the submission from the member for Sackville-Cobequid. One referred to an appointment to the Board of Examiners in Psychology and the other to the appointment of persons as Directors of Nova Scotia Resources Limited, both without review and approval of the Human Resources Committee.

With regard to the appointment of persons as Directors of Nova Scotia Resources Limited, it would appear that such appointments are not to an agency, board or commission, as NSRL is a company incorporated under the Companies Act of Nova Scotia and as such does not fall within the purview of Rule 60(2)(c). It is noted, however, that in the past the appointments of directors to NSRL have been subject to scrutiny by the Human Resources Committee.

267

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With regard to the appointment of a person as a member of the Nova Scotia Board of Examiners in Psychology, such an appointment falls under Term of Reference 5(c) and thus would not appear to require submission to the Human Resources Committee for review. I find that there is no prima facie case of privilege.

I do find, however, that Rule 60(2)(c) and the accompanying Terms of Reference are: (1) confusing and thus open to interpretation; and (2) do not take into account dissolution of an Assembly. I would therefore request that the Committee on Assembly Matters review Rule 60(2)(c) and the attendant Terms of Reference and bring forth for the approbation of the House recommendations for change.

I will have copies of that available if anybody wishes to have one.

PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Needham.

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to table a number of petitions totalling 225 signatures calling for fairness, equity and wage parity for nurses in the province. These petitions come from registered nurses and licensed practical nurses who work in the following long-term care facilities: Valleyview Villa, Riverton, 28 names; St. Vincent's Guest House, Halifax, 23 names; G.H. MacGillivary Guest House, Antigonish, 45 names; Miners Memorial Manor, North Sydney, 6 names; Hants County Residence For Seniors, Windsor, 17 names; Fairview Villa, Halifax, 44 names; The Birches, Musquodoboit Harbour, 6 names; The Cove, Sydney, 15 names; and Northside Community Guest Home, North Sydney, 41 names. I have affixed my signature to each petition.

MR. SPEAKER: The petitions are tabled.

The honourable member for Timberlea-Prospect.

MR. WILLIAM ESTABROOKS: Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to table a petition from the residents of Hants West. The operative clause of this petition reads, "We, the people who live along Route 215 and we who use the road from Brooklyn to Walton in Hants County, humbly petition the Department of Transport of the Nova Scotia government to repave Route 215 as soon as possible. It is in a terribly poor condition.". I have affixed my signature to this petition which includes 1,093 names on the 24 pages attached.

MR. SPEAKER: The petition is tabled.

PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES

TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS

[Page 269]

STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS

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

HON. CLIFFORD HUSKILSON: Mr. Speaker, there is a great deal of concern among all of us about the potential ramifications of federal Bill C-9, the Canadian Marine Act. It has passed second reading and now before the Senate and I know the stakeholders are worried.

Mr. Speaker, as Minister of Transportation and Public Works, I recognize the province is a key stakeholder in the future of our ports. They generate an estimated $1 billion in our economy every year. Their competitiveness is vital to our continued economic strength and growth in Nova Scotia and, indeed, in Atlantic Canada. We do not want to see this compromise the changes proposed in Bill C-9. I want to assure the House and the people of Nova Scotia, we are actively working to see our concerns addressed.

I have written to the federal Minister of Transport, Hon. David Collenette, to further stress we must have access to federal funding for our major ports if they are to remain competitive. I have asked that the federal minister seriously consider amending his position in this regard and I will continue to fight to keep Nova Scotia in a position of advantage. We do want more local control. The day-to-day operations at the facilities, like the Port of Halifax, could be substantially under the changes proposed by Bill C-9, but there is heightened concern future capital upgrades and expansions will be compromised without federal interest.

Mr. Speaker, we are not sitting idly by. We are active participants in discussions with our stakeholders and lobbying the federal government to change its stand. The province submitted its concerns to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Transportation and will continue to appeal to the federal Transport officials to recognize and deal with the concern. The ports, and particularly ports like Halifax, Canso and the Sydneys, are too important to the future economic well-being of Nova Scotia and the entire region.

Today, I want to go on record, this issue is not being ignored. As the Minister of Transportation and Public Works, I will continue to fight to protect our port business as a vital player in our promising future. Thank you. (Applause)

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

MR. WILLIAM ESTABROOKS: Mr. Speaker, it is with pleasure that I respond to the fact that it is nice to see that our Minister of Transportation and Public Works has been in contact, in writing I noticed, with his Liberal cousins in Ottawa. In fact, I am aware of the fact that Senators throughout the country have been awoken on their return flights now from such far-off locations as Mexico, probably, but that is another topic, to vote on this particular bill today.

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However, my fear and concern is that without doubt, as many of us are aware, the central Canadian initiative again reminds me of the fact that we have, as a province and a region, been neglected since Confederation. You will excuse the pun but we can't miss the boat this time, under no circumstances. The current Minister of Transport, at the federal level, is far from aware of our agenda on the East Coast. I would hope that it would be more than just a letter, Mr. Minister, I would hope that there could be a follow-up meeting and that you will go to Ottawa personally to make sure that our concerns are first and foremost, an all-Party visit would even be better perhaps. I want you to know that I look forward to cooperating with you in making this a top priority. We certainly cannot trust, in any way, Mr. Collenette, as a central Canadian, to make sure that he and the particular Liberal Government takes our interests in this region as a top priority. Thank you.

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

DR. HINRICH BITTER-SUERMANN: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to hear that the Minister of Transportation and Public Works has admitted today, here, that he failed to try to influence the Senate when it met with representatives from Nova Scotia, particularly with our Leader John Hamm, May 4th this year. However, it is always good to be late than not be represented at all.

My concern is though that what the Liberal Government has done on this Bill C-9 has been lip service throughout. Instead of writing a letter to Mr. Collenette that may get lost in transit, I would urge the Minister of Transportation to follow the requests of my colleague on the other side of the aisle and go to Ottawa in person and plead with the Senate, that at this moment has its last sessions in the Transportation Committee and try to make the amendment the Minister of Transportation tries to extract from the minister, his federal counterpart in Ottawa. At this moment we do not need confirming or reassuring letters by the federal Minister of Transport, we need a bill that is changed in substance on our behalf. Thank you. (Applause)

[2:15 p.m.]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing.

HON. WAYNE GAUDET: Mr. Speaker, today, I am pleased to report to the House on an initiative from the government in the Speech from the Throne. Today, the government is pleased to announce a new program to give young Nova Scotians, interested in a career with the Civil Service, valuable work experience. Career Starts, as the program is called, is a Civil Service internship program. Young people today are caught in a catch-22. They have qualifications and skills for the job market but they need experience to get a job.

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Career Starts will give young people an opportunity to gain job experience plus more. The program also has a special training component that is designed to help them develop, clarify and modify their career options. In addition, they will learn about workplace issues, from occupational health and safety to how to work effectively in teams. Each department or agency with a Career Starts participant will also provide a mentor to the student, a civil servant who can support them during their internship and take an interest in their career aspirations.

We want these young people to learn about how the public sector works. We hope it will foster an interest among them to pursue a career in the Civil Service and let them consider the Civil Service as a viable career opportunity beginning as early as high school. One stream of Career Starts is aimed at recent high school graduates. The second stream is geared for post-secondary students, while the third stream consists of a year-long internship for recent post-secondary students.

Departments have developed placements, for all three categories, that are career-related and provide employment-related skills. The types of Career Starts placements are as varied as the many services government delivers. Students and recent graduates can apply for placements ranging from Assistant Coordinator for a Gas Hearing to a Junior Human Rights Officer to a Year 2000 Researcher for the Technology and Science Secretariat. Career Starts goes beyond job experience and enables the participant to see how organization works, enjoy skills training and benefit from a mentor.

Mr. Speaker, young people are the future workforce of the province and the public sector. We need to encourage and nurture their interest in public sector careers today. We believe this program will get their careers off to a good start.

Mr. Speaker, before I take my seat, I wish to acknowledge, through you, of course, and introduce to all members of the House, sitting in the east gallery we have Rick Gilbert of the Youth Secretariat and a few of his friends, along with Chris Webb, the coordinator of the program. I would ask members to give them their usual warm welcome. Thank you. (Applause)

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

MS. HELEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I want to offer my congratulations to the government on bringing forth this program. It is indeed encouraging when we see a government focusing on the needs of our young people because, as we have indicated many times, it is opportunities for them that are so important in the workforce. I do hope, as it was stated in the Speech from the Throne, that these positions would be created in consultation with the public sector unions. I hope that they are involved in this process. I know that the minister did have a briefing and one of our staff was there for it because I was not available.

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One thing that I would like to point out is that when I heard that the program was being introduced I had sincerely hoped that we would be moving outside the metro area in order to place some of these young people, and indeed we have, but the one thing that is obvious is that there are not any placements in Cape Breton. I would hope that we will consider that and look at that area because of course it is an area of high unemployment. It is an area where many of our young people find it necessary to leave in order to find employment.

I know that many of the positions in the Civil Service are being filled by casual employees without benefits and I hope that these people will not in any way feel threatened by any of the placements so there is a comfort level with them in respect to this so that no present employees will feel jeopardized.

I would like in closing to say, now that this step has taken place in relationship to employment, that I hope this government will continue to explore ways to find creative, long-term jobs for our young people. I want to thank the minister for his presentation.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Cumberland North.

MR. ERNEST FAGE: I would like to introduce to the members of the House some residents of Cumberland North who this morning participated in the Nova Scotia Access Awareness Program over at the Sheraton. It is my pleasure to introduce to the House Linda Stiles, Jim Mitchell, Cathy Lee and Gerald Fredricks.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings North.

MR. GEORGE ARCHIBALD: Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the minister for informing me and inviting me to attend his press conference and briefing this morning. This is a very important initiative the government is undertaking. It is an initiative that certainly our Party can support because this was the sort of thing we had in our election platform.

When I talk to young people and I see young people - and actually I have children - one of the things that is always said to youngsters when they are looking for jobs is, you don't have any experience. You know if you do not have experience, how are you going to get a job? It is just sort of like a dog chasing its tail.

This pilot project will give some young people the opportunity to gain useful experience so that when they do fill out their resumes they have something concrete. It is very similar to what is becoming so popular in universities and community colleges now and that is the co-op program where students of universities and community colleges are going out into the business world and part of their school term is spent in hands-on work experience. That is a tremendous leg-up when they are applying for a job.

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The other thing I like about this announcement is the cooperation between the Departments of Human Resources, Education, Youth Secretariat, and Economic Development and Tourism. You need the cooperation of all departments and the staff within them to make it work. The sheet where the program is going to be taking place is very full and it is going to give 25 youngsters in Nova Scotia, young people, a great leg-up and a career later on when they do apply for permanent status. As much as I hate to say it, I think we should commend the government when they do something right and certainly this is a great and a very positive announcement from a very forward-thinking minister.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Premier.

HON. RUSSELL MACLELLAN, Q.C. (The Premier): Mr. Speaker, it gives me great pleasure to introduce in your gallery today Mr. José Antonio Gonzalez Curi, Governor of the State of Campeche, Mexico, and his wife Mrs. de Gonzalez. As well, Mayor Victor Mendes Lanz and his wife Mrs. de Mendes and other members of the Mexican delegation who are representatives from the State and City of Campeche.

The delegation is visiting our province for an official four day mission to enhance trade, education, tourism and culture between the Mexican City of Campeche and the Halifax Regional Municipality. May I ask my colleagues to please extend a warm Nova Scotia welcome to our visitors. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Pictou West.

MR. CHARLES PARKER: I don't have as large and illustrious a group that I want to introduce, but there are a couple of family members today I want to introduce. In the west gallery are two of my brothers, people who worked hard in my campaign and they are in the city today to take in the Legislature. So, my brother Frank on the left and Donnie on the right, do you want to stand up gentlemen and be recognized? (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Transportation.

HON. CLIFFORD HUSKILSON: Mr. Speaker, as Minister of Transportation and Public Works, I am pleased to be able to report first-hand to the House today about the newest wave in North American transportation. It is fitting that Nova Scotia is first to operate the most advanced passenger and vehicle ferry on the Atlantic Seaboard. Yesterday I had the opportunity to be part of a very exciting event for Nova Scotia. Bay Ferries, a Nova Scotia company made history with the first public test drive of the Cat, the fastest passenger and car ferry in North America.

I was delighted and honoured to be a passenger and a representative of this Legislature as the Cat prepares to open for business tomorrow. This craft represents amazing new technology in marine travel reaching speeds up to 90 kilometres an hour. To put it into

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perspective, Mr. Speaker, the Cat makes it faster to sail from Yarmouth to Bar Harbor than to drive from Yarmouth to Halifax. It reduces the ocean crossing from six hours to just two and one-half hours. The Cat will be making two crossings every day, opening the door to a potential influx of 1,800 visitors to southwest Nova Scotia every day.

This breakthrough evolution in transportation opens our door to 2 million people who visit Bar Harbor's Acadia National Park every year. If just a portion of these visitors choose to cruise on the Cat, the benefits to Nova Scotia are easy to imagine. We have always enjoyed a strong connection with the State of Maine. The Cat simply points out how close we really are as partners in tourism, partners in business, indeed partners in progress.

This addition to Bay Ferries fleet will stimulate job creation in the tourism sector. It promises businesses for our cafes, craft shops, motels and malls, and as a transportation link the fast ferry is a showpiece. We will be welcoming people from around the world who are sailing into the future into Nova Scotia on this state-of-the-art craft.

Mr. Speaker, it gives me great pleasure and pride as Minister of Transportation and Public Works to welcome the Cat to Nova Scotia and to congratulate Bay Ferries and Mitch MacLean for the vision to make this a reality. Together we have stepped into the future, the red carpet has been rolled out over the Bay of Fundy for the world to discover southwestern Nova Scotia. I ask the House to join with me in wishing those Nova Scotians great success with their new crown jewel. Thank you. (Applause)

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

MR. WILLIAM ESTABROOKS: Mr. Speaker, Mr. Minister I sincerely offer congratulations on the fact that you had a great ride. I am appreciative of the fact that obviously you have a better transportation system than my honourable friend from Yarmouth who had other commitments here and I know regrets were noted on his part last evening. On his behalf, I want to extend our congratulations to the New Democratic Party on this very forward stepping move. I would like to point out however that hopefully you would encourage the Minister of Tourism to look at this as part one of a very important plan to encourage tourists not to just drive through Yarmouth County, but to stay and enjoy the many privileges and benefits of that particular part of our wonderful province. A part of the province that has largely been neglected in many ways; however, today is a fine day. It is a fine day for Yarmouth, it is a fine day for Bay Ferries and I congratulate you.

[2:30 p.m.]

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

DR. HINRICH BITTER-SUERMANN: Mr. Speaker, I would like, through you, to congratulate the Minister of Transportation on that happy occasion he participated in last

[Page 275]

night. With great interest did I notice that he mentioned that there is a fast ride involved to potentially bring 2 million tourists to Nova Scotia, and we are worth visiting. However, the fast ride back is a risk factor in this undertaking, because once those tourists are stuck on our secondary and tertiary roads they may avail themselves of that fast ride back sooner than we want. (Laughter) I would like to encourage the honourable Minister of Transportation to pay great attention to the maintenance of tourism in Nova Scotia, while they travel on our terrible roads. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Argyle.

MR. NEIL LEBLANC: Mr. Speaker, as someone who resides in the immediate area of the Cat, I would just like to say that I appreciated that the minister took part in last night's trial run. Actually, my father took a ride on my behalf last night. My father has been a great supporter of the ferry since 1956, and the fishing industry, and indicated that he would be proud to partake in last night's - what we would call - inaugural run.

I would like to say to all members of the House that it was reported that the vessel travelled at 42 knots; a few technicalities probably held it down from its possible speed, but it was smooth as silk. That was the report. People were just in awe of what this vessel can do and my father - I have to be honest and say that his interpretation of what this vessel could do and what happened are a little at odds - he was of the opinion that you probably had to be seated in and strapped in these vessels when we first talked about it, but, Mr. Speaker, that is the farthest thing from the truth. With this vessel, you swear to God, you are almost on solid ground.

For our area, this ferry has the potential to expand tourism, but I can't necessarily say that it is only going to benefit Yarmouth County; it is going to benefit all of Nova Scotia. I look at people along the South Shore, the minister's riding included, and Lunenburg and up towards the Valley and, indeed, Halifax and the rest of Nova Scotia. Yarmouth is a port; it is an entry point. There are two entry points for people from the United States into Nova Scotia and Yarmouth is an important link and we all benefit from it. For members to sometimes think that this is just an initiative for our area, I think they are very much mistaken; all Nova Scotians will benefit from it. If people come to our province once, the indications have always shown that they shall return. So, I look at this as a very positive step. One that will obviously help our riding, but it will also help all of Nova Scotia.

So I would like to thank the minister very much for getting up today; I would like to echo his comments in congratulating the company. This is a visionary approach to the tourism industry and many people say it is a big risk for the company but, like they said, they put their money where their mouth is, and I would like to congratulate them for their initiative. So thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.

[Page 276]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Needham on an introduction.

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I would like to welcome, and I would invite my colleagues to welcome, a gentleman who is in our gallery today, Wilson Hodder. Wilson, would you please stand for a moment? Welcome and thank you. Yesterday, I tabled a resolution in which I noted the very courageous and persevering nature of this man who made history in Nova Scotia the day before yesterday for same-sex partners with respect to spousal benefits. On behalf of men and women in the gay and lesbian community, Wilson, I thank you very much and I ask other people to welcome you here today. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: With regard to introductions, they are a very important part of our business in this House, but it is best if we can wait until the end of one particular segment before we do introductions so that we don't lose continuity.

GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Agriculture and Marketing.

RESOLUTION NO. 153

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

Whereas the 66th Annapolis Valley Apple Blossom Festival officially opens, the ceremonies are this evening; and

Whereas the festival celebrates tradition, heritage and marks the beginning of the season for an important component of the agricultural industry in this province; and

Whereas many people have worked hard to plan the 1998 Annapolis Valley Apple Blossom Festival so that it is enjoyable for local residents and tourists;

Therefore be it resolved that this House recognize the dedication and the hard work of all those involved to bring the 1998 Annapolis Valley Apple Blossom Festival together and wish the planners a very successful festival and our apple producers a successful growing season.

Mr. Speaker, I ask for waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

[Page 277]

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. 154

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

Whereas multiple sclerosis is the most common neurological disease affecting young adults in Canada today; and

Whereas multiple sclerosis is a devastating disease with no known cause or cure affecting 1 in every 500 Atlantic Canadians; and

Whereas the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada, Atlantic Division is a non-profit organization dedicated to finding a cure for multiple sclerosis and enabling people affected by MS to enhance their quality of life;

Therefore be it resolved that this House recognize the month of May as Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Month and commend the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada, Atlantic Division for the invaluable support it provides to those affected by MS, and for its dedicated efforts to raise the funds while increasing public awareness about this disease.

Mr. Speaker, I 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 Minister of Finance.

[Page 278]

RESOLUTION NO. 155

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

Whereas in April 1974, Mr. Guy Brown was elected to the Nova Scotia House of Assembly; and

Whereas he was subsequently re-elected in 1978, 1981, 1984, 1988 and 1993; and

Whereas Mr. Brown assumed many ministerial roles in government including Minister of Consumer Affairs, Minister of Labour, and Minister of Agriculture and Marketing, to name a few; and

Whereas he assumed all of his responsibilities with integrity, honesty and good judgment which earned him the respect and friendship of his colleagues regardless of their political background;

Therefore be it resolved that this House extend to Mr. Brown best wishes and good health and happiness upon his retirement from 24 stellar years of invaluable service to the people of the Province of Nova Scotia.

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

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 Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture.

RESOLUTION NO. 156

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

[Page 279]

Whereas the Nova Scotia Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture is sponsoring the 4th Annual Nova Scotia Sportfishing Weekend on June 6th and June 7th, established to promote sportfishing across the province; and

Whereas during this event, Nova Scotians may fish all species of freshwater fish, except Atlantic salmon, without a license; and

Whereas the province is co-sponsoring this sportfishing weekend with the Nova Scotia Wildlife Federation, an organization dedicated to the wise use of our sports fishing resource;

Therefore be it resolved that this House join the Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture, the Nova Scotia Wildlife Federation and the sportfishing derby groups across the province to support Nova Scotia sportfishing weekend and the sports fishing industry in general.

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

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Education.

RESOLUTION NO. 157

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

Whereas Grand Pré National Historic Site was created to commemorate the history of les acadiens and les acadiennes; and

Whereas the Canadian Heritage Minister Sheila Copps has formally agreed to partner with the Acadian community by transferring operating funds to la Société Promotion Grand-Pré; and

Whereas this partnership will serve to enhance, protect and promote Acadian culture at this historic site;

[Page 280]

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House extend félicitations et meilleurs voeux à la société, its board, chaired by Barbara LeBlanc, and its staff for success in all their endeavours.

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

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Agriculture.

RESOLUTION NO. 158

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

Whereas Doug Hennigar of Hennigar Farms was recently elected President of the North American Farmers' Direct Marketing Association; and

Whereas Mr. Hennigar is best known for his portable peach orchard, whereby he brings his peaches into the greenhouse so he can harvest the crop much earlier than anyone else; and

Whereas Mr. Hennigar has been actively involved in the North American Farmers' Direct Marketing Association for many years and has gained extensive knowledge which he has applied to his own operation;

Therefore be it resolved that this House recognize the honour it is for Mr. Hennigar to be named President of the North American Farmers' Direct Marketing Association given that it covers all of North America.

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

[Page 281]

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 Finance.

RESOLUTION NO. 159

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

Whereas on December 12, 1997, the Leader of the NDP issued a press release which stated, "the Liberals move toward an election campaign whose main theme will be to promise everything to everybody - fly now and pay later."; and

Whereas during the course of the election campaign, that same Leader of the Opposition, in full flight, made some 80 election promises including university tuition freezes, scrapping P3 schools, reducing Pharmacare premiums, $20 million in HST relief and renegotiating the Sable gas deal; and

Whereas in the same press release the Leader called the province's finances, "a mess that may have to be dealt with either through more cuts, higher taxes or further deficits";

Therefore be it resolved that the Leader of the Opposition tell this House how an NDP Government would plan to make good on their fly now and pay later slate of election promises, through more cuts, higher taxes or further deficits?

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party.

DR. JOHN HAMM: Mr. Speaker, I wonder if I could have your indulgence. There are three people in the Speaker's Gallery who are here representing groups in support of the bill I wish to introduce. May I introduce them?

MR. SPEAKER: You certainly may.

[Page 282]

DR. HAMM: Sitting in the gallery opposite are Mr. Ian Johnson and Ms. Debbie Kelly representing Citizens to Save Our Health Care and Ms. Shirley Murray of the West Pictou Wellness Watch. Those groups support the bill that I am about to introduce and I would ask our guests to rise and receive the welcome of the House. (Applause)

INTRODUCTION OF BILLS

Bill No. 6 - Entitled an Act Respecting the Appointment of the Members of the Provincial Health Council. (Dr. John Hamm)

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

NOTICES OF MOTION

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

RESOLUTION NO. 160

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

Whereas the Metro Transit workers represented by the Amalgamated Transit Union have been forced to take strike action in an attempt to reach a fair contract settlement with the Halifax Regional Municipality; and

Whereas the Minister of Labour's first response to the prospect of a work stoppage was to raise the possibility of back to work legislation; and

Whereas the president of the Nova Scotia Federation of Labour has pointed out that such an intervention by the minister was a strong signal to the employer that no last minute efforts to resolve outstanding issues were necessary because the employer had the government on its side;

Therefore be it resolved that this House demands that instead of making ill-timed comments about back-to-work legislation, the Minister of Labour should be taking whatever steps are necessary to get the parties back to the table to achieve a negotiated settlement.

[2:45 p.m.]

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Cumberland North.

[Page 283]

RESOLUTION NO. 161

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

Whereas yesterday the Premier appeared willing to finally go ahead with a request for the Auditor General's report on the lease signed for the O'Connell Drive Elementary School; and

Whereas this would be the first step in addressing Opposition concerns that the P3 process for school construction has not yet been recognized as the most financially sound method for building schools in this province; and

Whereas the Premier repeatedly stated that he would not go ahead with any more school construction through the P3 process until the Auditor General reviewed the first and only signed lease;

Therefore be it resolved that the Premier immediately request the Auditor General to issue a special report on the Porters Lake School lease.

Mr. Speaker, I ask for waiver of notice.

MR. SPEAKER: There is a request for waiver.

Is it agreed?

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Yarmouth.

RESOLUTION NO. 162

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

Whereas Thursday, May 28th, marks the inauguration of the Cat, the new catamaran ferry service linking Yarmouth and Bar Harbor; and

Whereas all Nova Scotians are invited to Yarmouth to witness this newest addition to the feline population; and

[Page 284]

Whereas the Cat is expected to add $15 million a year to the local economy and make a great contribution to Nova Scotia tourism by reducing travelling time between Maine and Nova Scotia by more than 50 per cent;

Therefore be it resolved that this House encourage all Nova Scotians to celebrate the year of the Cat by visiting and exploring the Yarmouth area.

Mr. Speaker, I ask for waiver of notice.

MR. SPEAKER: There is a request for waiver.

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party.

RESOLUTION NO. 163

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

Whereas this province commemorated the 6th Anniversary of the Westray disaster this month, the issue of severance to both the former unionized and non-unionized employees remains unresolved; and

Whereas the province's reasoning for the underlying delay appears to be the sale of the remaining assets; and

Whereas since this delay ensures that those former employees cannot put, as one individual has said to me, closure on their involvement with Westray;

Therefore be it resolved that the Premier close the book on this issue once and for all and move immediately, in advance of the sale of assets, on settling the severance issue for all former Westray employees.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Sackville-Beaver Bank.

[Page 285]

RESOLUTION NO. 164

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

Whereas Nova Scotians have a long and proud tradition of reaching out to help others either inside this province or elsewhere in the world; and

Whereas Extended Hands Missions Outreach and Education Haiti is operating out of the constituency of Sackville-Beaver Bank; and

Whereas the mission raises funds through community events and partnering with Sackville recycling businesses to provide money and educational materials for Haiti;

Therefore be it resolved that this House recognize John and Bev Chapelle of the Crossroads Housing Cooperative in Sackville for their compassionate work and service to less privileged people in the world, as the Chapelles have a true understanding of what it is to be a citizen of this world, and know that distance is never a reason for turning away from need or a barrier for Nova Scotians committed to serving their fellow humanity.

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 Guysborough-Port Hawkesbury.

RESOLUTION NO. 165

MR. RAYMOND WHITE: 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; and

Whereas the Strait Area Chamber of Commerce actively promotes access awareness among its members; and

[Page 286]

Whereas the Maritime Inn of Port Hawkesbury today received the Hourglass Action Award in recognition of its efforts to provide accessible facilities;

Therefore be it resolved that this House extend congratulations to the Strait Area Chamber of Commerce and the Maritime Inn of Port Hawkesbury and encourage all Nova Scotia businesses to follow their example.

I request waiver of notice, Mr. Speaker.

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 Chester-St. Margaret's.

RESOLUTION NO. 166

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 Liberal Government in the Speech from the Throne has admitted to a looming shortage of nurses in Nova Scotia; and

Whereas the contracts of five well-qualified QE II OR nurses were terminated a few days ago only to be offered casual positions by management; and

Whereas at the same time Mr. Keating, a long-time Liberal and Chairman of the Board, in an advertisement of May 25, 1998, taunts our nurses to consider "a career" as casual nurses;

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Health apologizes to those five nurses, reinstates their previous contracts and instead terminates Mr. Keating's ill-fated and hapless tenure as Chairman of the Board of the QE II.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage.

[Page 287]

RESOLUTION NO. 167

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

Whereas the Halifax Regional School Board, in seeing fit to reject a proposal to provide portables to address overcrowding in schools in Eastern Passage because of a lack of funding, has put student's quality of education and safety at risk; and

Whereas the Halifax Regional School Board approved portables at the Michael Wallace School in Dartmouth, based on a proposal by those parents to purchase the portables themselves, thereby accepting the concept that money can buy a better education in Nova Scotia; and

Whereas the lack of funding for the Halifax Regional School Board and its drastic effects are the direct result of Liberal Government cuts to education;

Therefore be it resolved that this House denounces the development of a two-tier education system and urges the government to provide the leadership and funds to ensure all students in Nova Scotia have equal opportunities to a quality education and a safe education.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable Minister of Natural Resources.

RESOLUTION NO. 168

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

Whereas on June 14th and 15th the Bell Bay Golf Club at Baddeck in my riding of Victoria will host the 7th Annual Nova Scotia leg of the Peter Gzowski Golf Tournament for Literacy; and

Whereas over the years this event has been held to financially support the cause of adult literacy with all proceeds, including over $100,000 in each of the last four years, being distributed back to groups across the province committed to teaching adults to read; and

Whereas the location of the charity event this year is the Bell Bay Golf Club, one of Nova Scotia's newest 18-hole golf courses, described by many enthusiasts as a world class location overlooking the majestic Bras d'Or Lakes;

[Page 288]

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House extend support for this event and adult literacy in our province and take the opportunity this summer and subsequent ones to get their clubs out and play a round or two at the newly opened Bell Bay golf course in Baddeck.

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

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Truro-Bible Hill.

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

Whereas a large number of persons with disabilities in the Halifax Regional Municipality are effectively confined to their place of residence because the Access-a-Bus service is not operating due to the transit strike; and

Whereas nothing is more unequal than the equal treatment of persons who have special mobility challenges to consider; and

Whereas while the transit workers' right to strike is clearly understood, the Access-A-Bus service should be considered, in essence, an essential service;

Therefore be it resolved that the Speaker, on behalf of all members of the Legislature, write to parties involved in the transit strike, encouraging them to recognize the negative impact the strike has placed on persons with mobility disabilities and put the Access-A-Bus service back on the road to aid persons with mobility disabilities and their attendants only.

Mr. Speaker, I ask for waiver of notice.

MR. SPEAKER: Well, before you ask for waiver of notice, I would like to take a look at that particular notice of motion before it is tabled.

[Page 289]

The honourable member for Dartmouth-Cole Harbour.

RESOLUTION NO. 169

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

Whereas the people of the Province of Nova Scotia were recently presented with the title to 2,300 acres of property making up the marshes around Cole Harbour; and

Whereas this gift was made by Mary Osborne and David Kuhn on behalf of their family; and

Whereas this property is now a legacy for the people of the province;

Therefore be it resolved that the Nova Scotia House of Assembly extend its thanks to Mary Osborne and David Kuhn and their family for this valuable and important addition to the parks and ecological preserves of this province.

Mr. Speaker, I would 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 Minister of Community Services.

RESOLUTION NO. 170

HON. FRANCENE COSMAN: 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; and

Whereas National Access Awareness Week began in 1987 as a result of Rick Hansen's Man in Motion Tour and it is a week set aside each year so that progress can be made in providing access for persons with disabilities; and

[Page 290]

Whereas the Nova Scotia National Access Awareness legislative breakfast was held this morning;

Therefore be it resolved that this House supports the activities of National Access Awareness Week in Nova Scotia to make the Legislature and the general public aware of the need for access for all persons with disabilities.

Mr. Speaker, I 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 Argyle.

RESOLUTION NO. 171

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

Whereas there is presently a $15.7 billion surplus in the Chretien Government's employment insurance account; and

Whereas internal government forecasts show that that surplus will grow to $19.9 billion this year and $26.4 billion in 1999 and if only reduced marginally could grow to $42.9 billion by the year 2003; and

Whereas the federal Finance Minister was very clear in February when he said that the EI rate would be held next year to $2.70 for every $100 in insurable earnings;

Therefore be it resolved that the Premier and his government demand that the federal government immediately implement a payroll-tax reduction which offer tax relief to thousands of workers across Nova Scotia while helping to create much needed employment by removing heavy administration costs to Nova Scotia companies.

[Page 291]

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Timberlea-Prospect.

RESOLUTION NO. 172

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

Whereas Nova Scotia is truly fortunate to be the home of a Tim Horton's Camp in Tatamagouche; and

Whereas Tim Horton operators throughout the province are coordinating volunteer groups and interested individuals in serving customers on Camp Day to raise funds; and

Whereas these volunteers include this rookie MLA who had not only had to learn political double speak but today had to find out what a double triple single half a milk tea leave the bag in meant, the language of my neighbourhood coffee shop;

Therefore be it resolved that this House recognize Tim Horton's operators around Nova Scotia, in particular Tom Doane of the Tantallon location, for their contribution to the Tim Horton's Camp in Tatamagouche and the opportunity this camp provides to children across our country.

Mr. Speaker, I request 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.

[Page 292]

[3:00 p.m.]

The honourable member for Digby-Annapolis.

RESOLUTION NO. 173

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 Halifax County Fire Chiefs requested last November that an independent consultant be appointed to investigate problems associated with 911 emergency dispatching; and

Whereas the former Minister responsible for the Emergency Measures Act said in this Legislature on November 25th, and which was reported in The Daily News and The Chronicle-Herald respectively on November 28th and 29th of last year, that an independent consultant would review concerns expressed by the Halifax County Fire Chiefs about 911 dispatching problems; and

Whereas The Chronicle-Herald story of November 29th quoted the former minister as saying the review would take place in a week or so and that all 911 partners would help pay for it;

Therefore be it resolved that the new Minister responsible for Nova Scotia's Emergency Measures Act immediately undertake to provide Nova Scotians with an update as to when the consultation will be done and the report finished, in light of the fact that the contract has not been awarded, even though a request for proposals has closed and those proposals have been reviewed nearly one year after the Liberal Government promised the issue was being looked into.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable the Minister of Education and Culture.

RESOLUTION NO. 174

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

Whereas Nova Scotia hosts this year's national play-offs of the Canadian high school quiz game, Reach for the Top; and

[Page 293]

Whereas for the second consecutive year, the provincial championship team from Horton District High School will be representing Nova Scotia in this play-off; and

Whereas the superb team of Robin Bates, Mark Bouter, Raja Doak of Wolfville, Aaron Long of White Rock and Tim Heerebout of New Minas, and Chris Lau of Kentville, comprise the Horton District High School Provincial Championship Team;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly recognize the achievement of the Horton District High School Reach for the Top Team and extend our best wishes for their success in the national championship competition to be held this weekend at Dalhousie University.

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 Cape Breton The Lakes.

RESOLUTION NO. 175

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

Whereas the Province of Nova Scotia has the highest reported population of persons with disabilities in Canada, 21.3 per cent, according to a 1991 Census; and

Whereas 60,000 Nova Scotians use some type of technical aid, plus nearly 19,000 other Nova Scotians reported the need for technical aids; and

Whereas the access to technical aids is often directly related to the person's ability to pay;

Therefore be it resolved that this government cooperate with groups representing disabled Nova Scotians, to determine their needs in respect to technical and assistive devices and to explore ways of providing access to these devices for all disabled Nova Scotians.

[Page 294]

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Annapolis.

RESOLUTION NO. 176

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

Whereas in a recent study prepared for the Oceans Institute of Canada, aquaculture was identified as an area of major growth potential; and

Whereas aquaculture in the Annapolis Basin is an emerging venture in the diversification of our province's fishing industry; and

Whereas our provincial Fisheries Minister has recently approved an experimental lease and license for the suspended cultivation of European Oysters in the Annapolis Basin;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of the Assembly congratulate our Fisheries Minister for his support and approval of this worthwhile project and extend best wishes to Brian and Frances Higgs for every success at Schafner Point Sea Farm.

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

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Cumberland South.

RESOLUTION NO. 177

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

[Page 295]

Whereas the present Liberal Government has proven to be exceptionally ineffective in ensuring Nova Scotia communities have access to the natural gas fields off Nova Scotia's coast; and

Whereas the Premier was void of details yesterday when he committed to ensuring all Nova Scotia communities will have access to natural gas; and

Whereas the chair of the Springhill and Area Economic Development Committee recently said it was absolutely and positively essential to the growth of Cumberland County for natural gas to be made available in northern Nova Scotia;

Therefore be it resolved that the Premier ensure the confidence of rural Nova Scotia communities such as Springhill, Oxford, Parrsboro, River Hebert and Advocate is returned by defining how and exactly when pipeline laterals will begin branching throughout communities across Nova Scotia.

Mr. Speaker, I ask for waiver of notice.

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

I hear a No.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Halifax Needham.

RESOLUTION NO. 178

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

Whereas the Speech from the Throne floated the idea of re-instituting hospital-based nursing schools; and

Whereas this trial balloon was launched without any consultation with the nursing profession; and

Whereas this kind of clumsiness is typical of the lack of consultation that has marked five disastrous years of so-called reform of health care;

Therefore be it resolved that this House apologize to nurses for the government's failure to consult and declares that the reference in the Speech from the Throne to the re-introduction of hospital-based nursing schools is null and void.

[Page 296]

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Antigonish.

RESOLUTION NO. 179

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

Whereas on October 13, 1970, Mr. Bill Gillis was first elected to the Nova Scotia House of Assembly; and

Whereas Mr. Bill Gillis continued to be re-elected to the House of Assembly in general elections held in 1974, 1978, 1981, 1984, 1988 and 1993; and

Whereas Mr. Gillis, during his career as member of the Legislature, served as Minister of Agriculture and Marketing, Minister of Municipal Affairs, Minister of Public Welfare, Minister of Education, Minister of Mines, Opposition House Leader, Leader of the Opposition, Deputy Premier, Deputy President of the Executive Council, Minister of Justice and Minister of Finance, serving in all of these positions with honesty, integrity and loyalty beyond reproach;

Therefore be it resolved that this House extend to Mr. Gillis congratulations and thanks for service to Nova Scotians well above and beyond the call of duty and wish him well in a most enjoyable and deserved retirement.

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. (Applause)

The honourable member for Pictou East.

[Page 297]

RESOLUTION NO. 180

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

Whereas in February small business owners who install septic systems were informed by the Environment Department that as of April 1, 1998, the rules had changed; and

Whereas the new rules force the small business owners to take courses to design, inspect and approve their own systems; and

Whereas many small operators do not have the luxury of hiring extra staff, let alone an engineer, which the Environment Department has suggested would put the operators in an advantageous position;

Therefore be it resolved that the Liberal Government review this regulation which has nothing to do with protecting the public and everything to do with downloading unnecessarily onto small business operators.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Hants East.

RESOLUTION NO. 181

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

Whereas Eleanor Norrie, the Premier's former colleague, has demanded action to protect the Nova Scotia Agricultural College from a retaliatory loss of P.E.I. funding; and

Whereas Mrs. Norrie blamed the new MLA for Truro-Bible Hill, although it is her government's planned withdrawal from regional police training that caused the P.E.I. threat to the Nova Scotia Agricultural College; and

Whereas many Nova Scotians would find it very ironic that this government is trying to end a merger of Maritime post-secondary education that was designed to reduce duplication;

Therefore be it resolved that this House urges the government to include the loss of Nova Scotia Agricultural College funding in its calculation of the costs of a go-it-alone police academy, and to compensate the Nova Scotia Agricultural College fully for that loss so that an innocent bystander, the farming community, does not lose valuable services.

[Page 298]

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Halifax Bedford Basin.

RESOLUTION NO. 182

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

Whereas last week the 12th Annual Atlantic Region Awards for Philanthropy were announced in Halifax; and

Whereas Helen Cassidy and Stewart McInnes of Halifax shared the outstanding volunteer fund-raiser award; and

Whereas Ms. Cassidy has given her time and talent to many charities in the past 40 years including the House of the Guardian Angel, Abilities Foundation, Nova Scotia Rehab Centre Auxiliary, St. Vincent's Guest House, Heart and Stroke Foundation, the VON and New Leaf Enterprises; Mr. McInnes has been a major force in the financial campaign of Dalhousie University recruiting hundreds of volunteer canvassers and soliciting funds from corporate and private donors;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House extend their congratulations and best wishes to Ms. Cassidy and Mr. McInnes for their exceptional volunteer service to fellow citizens of their community.

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

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Argyle.

[Page 299]

RESOLUTION NO. 183

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

Whereas despite Nova Scotia's representations, 28,100 metric tons of northern shrimp quota was allocated entirely to the Province of Newfoundland, even though scientific advice called for an increase in quote to the tune of 35,000 metric tons; and

Whereas while the Liberal Government, through the Minister of Fisheries, has indicated he is trying to get something for Nova Scotia while in the same sentence he further admits that he is not sure what will come of it; and

Whereas this failure to get shrimp quota for Nova Scotia can be added to this Liberal Government's long list of failed negotiations with their federal cousins, such as the HST and the royalty agreement;

Therefore be it resolved that the Premier take leadership of this issue and demand that his federal cousins review the distribution of this valuable fishery and if nothing else, at least allocate to Nova Scotia the 5,400 metric tons requested which is only a portion of the difference between the recommended level of increase and the actual amount allocated.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Halifax Fairview.

RESOLUTION NO. 184

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 as part of Access Awareness Week, MLAs were briefed on the Employability Assistance for Persons with Disabilities Program by members of the disabled community; and

Whereas EAPD has the potential to positively affect the lives of disabled Nova Scotians; and

Whereas this can happen only if the government consults with the groups and individuals who will benefit from the program;

Therefore be it resolved that the government provide a mechanism and resources for substantive, meaningful consultation with groups and individuals in the disabled community to ensure the success of the Employability Assistance for Persons with Disabilities Program.

[Page 300]

Mr. Speaker, I seek waiver of notice.

MR. SPEAKER: Is it agreed?

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable Minister of Community Services.

RESOLUTION NO. 185

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

Whereas the parents of school-aged children from the Bedford-Fall River riding recently demonstrated at the opening of this session of the Legislature around issues of severe overcrowding in their schools; and

Whereas the parents have indicated their desire for new school construction; and

Whereas the Leader of the Opposition has criticized the Liberal public-private partnership method of constructing new schools while, at the same time, demanding a balanced budget;

Therefore be it resolved that the Leader of the Opposition publicly state whether he supports the construction of new schools without adding to the debt or a balanced budget.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable Minister of Natural Resources.

RESOLUTION NO. 186

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

Whereas it seems the NDP Caucus continues to offer pessimistic and negative comments on the future of Nova Scotia; and

Whereas the latest economic figures confirm continued economic growth in our province, aided by such initiatives as the Sable Offshore Energy Project and the Stora Port Hawkesbury expansion; and

[Page 301]

Whereas this type of positive activity will continue and even grow under the sound fiscal management of a Liberal Government;

[3:15 p.m.]

Therefore be it resolved that all members of the NDP caucus examine their facts and realize Nova Scotians want to hear the truth and what a positive job this Liberal Government is doing in running our province.

Mr. Speaker, I ask for waiver.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Pictou West.

RESOLUTION NO. 187

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

Whereas the Pictou Shipyards has been a large and important employer for Pictou and Pictou West in the past; and

Whereas the yard has excellent infrastructure and equipment, with the capability of offshore fabrication and shipbuilding; and

Whereas we have a capable and knowledgeable work force available through the United Steel Workers of America Local 4702;

Therefore be it resolved that this government take all steps necessary to complete the sale of the Pictou Shipyards to M & M Industra as soon as possible.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Lunenburg.

[Page 302]

RESOLUTION NO. 188

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

Whereas volunteer firefighters are the heart of firefighting services in rural Nova Scotia; and

Whereas the New Germany and Area Fire Department has organized the installation of dry fire hydrants in connection with the Infrastructure Works Program; and

Whereas it is the dedication of these volunteer firefighters to their community which has insured improved protection for the people of their community;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly commends the New Germany and Area Fire Department for its efforts in protecting the lives and property of the people living in their community and in particular for the construction of the new dry fire hydrants.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable the Minister of Transportation.

RESOLUTION NO. 189

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

Whereas the Nova Scotia Highway Hotline has been in place since April 7, 1998, with almost 100 calls received from motorists since that time; and

Whereas these calls have been followed up with an immediate contact to the Transportation and Public Works base closest to the problem with a later follow-up with the callers for their rating of our service; and

[Page 303]

Whereas the hotline is helping Transportation and Public Works by improving our response time, dealing with everything from filling potholes to repairing downed guardrails;

Therefore be it resolved that this House join me in encouraging Nova Scotians to use this service through either the toll-free cellular number, #3233, or the toll-free and line, 1-888-432-3233.

Mr. Speaker, I would ask for waiver.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Dartmouth North.

RESOLUTION NO. 190

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

Whereas Premier Russell MacLellan of the Liberal Government promised BST relief to seniors and people on fixed incomes; and

Whereas home heating fuel, power bills and clothing under $100 take a large chunk of the income from seniors and persons on fixed wages; and

Whereas with each day that passes an even greater financial burden is placed on those who can least afford it;

Therefore be it resolved that Premier Russell MacLellan take immediate action to provide BST relief to seniors and persons on fixed income.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver.

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

Is it agreed?

[Page 304]

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable Minister of Economic Development and Tourism.

RESOLUTION NO. 191

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

Whereas Tourism Cape Breton has reinstated Ports Day Activities being held May 27th and May 28th at the Canadian Coast Guard College in Point Edward; and

Whereas the focus of this year's event includes a workshop entitled Service of Cruise Ships and another called Opportunities for New Exporters; and

Whereas Cape Breton is about to embark upon its busiest cruise ship season ever, adding to the $1 billion plus in revenue now generated by the Nova Scotia tourism industry;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this Assembly congratulate Tourism Cape Breton and all participants in this year's Port Day as they endeavour to grow a thriving sector of the Nova Scotia economy.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

MR. SPEAKER: There is a request for waiver.

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

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

RESOLUTION NO. 192

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

[Page 305]

Whereas a Department of Health spokesperson advised May 23, 1998, "easy access to family doctors, other health care professionals and emergency services is lacking in parts of the province" and that she would apply for $2.8 million from the federal government "to look at better ways to deliver primary health care"; and

Whereas the honourable Minister of Health proclaimed yesterday in the House of Assembly that "it is a myth that health care in Nova Scotia is deteriorating"; and

Whereas this deficiency in the planning of damage control of the Liberal-orchestrated health care collapse comes as no surprise since the rapid turnover of senior health care bureaucrats and Ministers of Health has allowed for little opportunity for finetuning such propaganda;

Therefore be it resolved that the $2.8 million be spent on generous severance packages, not less than $330,000 individually, to weed out dissenting Liberal health care bureaucrats so that harmonious Liberal delusion concerning the real state of health care may prevail once again.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Dartmouth-Cole Harbour.

RESOLUTION NO. 193

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

Whereas the Auburn Drive High School recently won the National Business Education Partnership Award; and

Whereas this award is based on an overall assessment of the school business education partnership including curriculum development; and

Whereas this award was a great accomplishment by Auburn Drive High School;

Therefore be it resolved that the Nova Scotia House of Assembly extend its congratulations to the principal and staff of Auburn Drive High School.

Mr. Speaker, I would seek waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

[Page 306]

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 Nova.

RESOLUTION NO. 194

MR. PAUL MACEWAN: Mr. Speaker, I hereby give notice that on a future day (Interruption) I am not seeking unanimous consent, Mr. Speaker, they can hold their peace.

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

Whereas the Congress of the Socialist International held at New York in September of 1996, admitted to full membership status, on an equal basis with the New Democratic Party of Canada, the Nicaragua/Sandinista National Liberation Front of Daniel Ortega; and

Whereas the same Congress of the Socialist International also admitted to full membership status the Socialist Party of Chile, which was the Party of Salvador Allende; and

Whereas the same Congress of the Socialist International also admitted to full membership status the Hungarian Socialist Party, prior to 1989 the Hungarian Socialist Workers Party, which was the former Communist Party of Hungary, but declined to admit the application for membership of the Bulgarian Socialist Party, which was the former Communist Party of Bulgaria;

Therefore be it resolved that the affiliations represented by membership in the Socialist International to which the New Democratic Party of Canada is a full and leading member, are of significance in considering whether we want an unelected government of that persuasion here in Nova Scotia.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Pictou East.

RESOLUTION NO. 195

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

[Page 307]

Whereas the Nova Scotia Access Awareness Week 1998 Hourglass Action Awards were presented this morning; and

Whereas the Central Highlands Association of the Disabled, or CHAD, of Pictou County was one of the recipients for establishing a successful transit system for disabled persons of Pictou County; and

Whereas the buses now operate daily with a volunteer dispatcher to provide transportation for the disabled people of Pictou County;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of the House of Assembly congratulate the successful work of CHAD and its members by showing true community spirit and seeing them rewarded with a 1998 Hourglass Action Award.

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

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Timberlea-Prospect.

RESOLUTION NO. 196

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

Whereas it is obvious to the residents who daily use the Prospect Road to commute to their place of employment that there is a complete lack of foresight from this government regarding the need for immediate improvements to this busy highway; and

Whereas this road also serves as one of the highly advertised roads on the Lighthouse Route to one of the most popular destinations in our province, Peggy's Cove; and

Whereas recent highway improvements on the road coincidentally only went as far as the entrance to the Exhibition Park, the site of the Atlantic Winter Fair;

[Page 308]

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Transportation and Public Works undertake immediately a review of necessary improvements including the widening of this road and the need for proper look-off locations in coastal communities from Terence Bay through to West Dover.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture.

RESOLUTION NO. 197

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

Whereas the Shearwater Aviation Museum makes a valuable contribution to our understanding and appreciation of military aviation history; and

Whereas the Shearwater Aviation Museum Foundation headed by Mr. Frank Willis works diligently to promote and preserve the museum to the benefit of local residents and Nova Scotians across the province; and

Whereas 1998 marks the 80th Anniversary of military aviation activities at Shearwater;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate the Shearwater Aviation Museum Foundation on its work as it celebrates this milestone and recognize the importance of preserving our military aviation heritage.

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

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Truro-Bible Hill.

[Page 309]

RESOLUTION NO. 198

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

Whereas Crossley Carpet Mills Limited, Truro has achieved a remarkable financial turn-around since 1993; and

Whereas Crossley became the first carpet mill in Canada to become ISO certified; and

Whereas 94 per cent of all carpet produced by Crossley is exported outside of Nova Scotia;

Therefore be it resolved that the Legislature extend congratulations to the management, staff and directors of Crossley Carpet Mills Limited for its success and for being such a positive example for all Nova Scotia businesses.

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

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Guysborough-Port Hawkesbury.

RESOLUTION NO. 199

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

Whereas the 1st Annual Stan Rogers Folk Festival, which highlights traditional Nova Scotia music and hospitality was held in Canso in July 1997; and

Whereas over 400 volunteers from the Town of Canso, Guysborough County and area helped make the 1st Annual Stan Rogers Folk Festival a resounding success; and

[Page 310]

Whereas the public response to this year's festival to be held on July 3rd, 4th and 5th has been phenomenal;

Therefore be it resolved that this House extend congratulations to the organizers and the volunteers who work on the Stan Rogers Folk Festival and wish them every success.

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 Cumberland North.

RESOLUTION NO. 200

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 recent Amherst Y's Men and Y's Menettes Home Lifestyle and Leisure Show at the Amherst Stadium was highly successful with 57 exhibitors participating; and

Whereas the Show Committee Chair, Vern Short, who began preparing for the event last fall, is in large part responsible for the overall success of the show; and

[3:30 p.m.]

Whereas Y's Men, Ivan MacDonald and Carman Merrill, are looking toward the show next year which some exhibitors have signed up for already;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of the House of Assembly offer congratulations to the Y's Men and Y's Menettes of Amherst for a job well done hosting the Lifestyle and Leisure Show and wish them all the best for the future.

Mr. Speaker, I ask for waiver of notice.

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

[Page 311]

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 Inverness.

RESOLUTION NO. 201

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

Whereas fishermen from Cheticamp and the Bay St. Lawrence have been successfully fishing snow crab since 1995; and

Whereas the recent federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans decision to keep open the exploratory snow crab fishing areas supports Nova Scotia's efforts to pursue new fishing opportunities in our province; and

Whereas in the past the snow crab would have been left to die and this federal decision now provides these fishermen an important source of income;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House extend congratulations to both federal Fisheries Minister Anderson and our provincial Fisheries Minister Colwell for their cooperative efforts which led to this decision on behalf of these Nova Scotia fishermen and the resulting economic activity in coastal areas of Cape Breton.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Halifax Bedford Basin.

RESOLUTION NO. 202

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

Whereas sailors from seven warships of the Standing Naval Force Atlantic will start arriving in Halifax today; and

[Page 312]

Whereas these ships, under the command of Rear Admiral Gottfried Hoch, of the German Navy, will be in Halifax until June 9th; and

Whereas the 1,600 sailors forming the crews of these ships will be visiting Halifax during their stay;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House encourage all citizens of our province's capital to extend to our visitors a warm Nova Scotia welcome and display the hospitality that is our world famous trademark.

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

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 Digby-Annapolis.

RESOLUTION NO. 203

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 Digby East Fish and Game Association has been actively promoting the wise use and appreciation of our natural habitat for over 40 years; and

Whereas the Digby East Fish and Game Association has, in the past, received the prestigious Gulf of Maine Visionary Award in recognition of these efforts; and

Whereas this organization is the 1998 recipient of the Nova Scotia Wildlife Federation's Vice President's Award for the Acacia Valley Brook Stream Enhancement and Habitat Improvement Project;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate the Digby East Fish and Game Association for their commitment to conservation and environmental awareness.

[Page 313]

Mr. Speaker, I request 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 Halifax Citadel on an introduction.

MR. PETER DELEFES: Mr. Speaker, I would like to introduce two constituents from Halifax Citadel. The first is a very well known figure in the arts community of Nova Scotia and a member of the Pier 21 exhibition centre, which will be opening to the public in 1999, I would ask Mary Sparling to stand. (Applause)

The second, is a gentleman who is a permanent fixture in this House, seldom misses a day, Mr. Ron MacDonald. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Richmond.

RESOLUTION NO. 204

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

Whereas the Nova Scotia Youth Conservation Corp is an important part of the government's commitment to environmental protection; and

Whereas the Nova Scotia Youth Conservation Corp has also provided opportunities for thousands of Nova Scotians to gain valuable work experience; and

Whereas this summer the Department of the Environment will hire a record 156 young people to operate 41 projects in 25 communities across the province;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this Assembly recognize the ongoing commitment by this government to our environment and extend best wishes to those young people who may as a result of this program go on to pursue a career in the growing environmental industry sector.

[Page 314]

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable Minister of Housing and Municipal Affairs.

HON. WAYNE GAUDET: Mr. Speaker, on an introduction to you and to all members in the House, sitting in the east gallery, I would like to introduce the Municipal Clerk of the Municipality of Argyle, Mr. Robert Thibault. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Antigonish.

RESOLUTION NO. 205

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

Whereas seniors in Nova Scotia pay $215 a year or approximately 60 cents per day in premiums under the Seniors Pharmacare Program while seniors in Saskatchewan pay $1,700 per year, or approximately $4.72 per day; and

Whereas in Nova Scotia, once a senior reaches $200 in their co-pay, the remainder of their prescriptions are free, while in Saskatchewan, seniors never have the opportunity to receive free prescriptions, as there is no limit to their co-pay; and

Whereas in Nova Scotia, low income seniors do not pay the premium and, in some cases, receive a rebate;

Therefore be it resolved that the New Democratic Party clearly explain to seniors in Nova Scotia what an NDP Pharmacare Program would look like, given the type of program that exists in the province they claim they would most like to emulate, Saskatchewan.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Cape Breton Nova.

RESOLUTION NO. 206

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

Whereas in addition to the Socialist International, there is also an international organization called the Liberal International, of which the Liberal Party of Canada is proud to be a member, and of which Senator Al Graham, among his many accomplishments, has, on occasion, served as president; and

[Page 315]

Whereas the Liberal Party makes no secret of its affiliation with the Liberal International or of its commitment to liberalism, unlike the NDP, which is very sensitive and secretive about its ties to the Socialist International or of its commitment to socialism; and

Whereas the element of seeking to hide the whole truth from the public is readily apparent in the NDP's sensitivity on these matters, lack of candour when seeking votes and lack of disclosure of its political aims and affiliations;

Therefore be it resolved that those who are not frank with the voters at election time have no mandate to move on past this to gaining office on a unelected basis and governing without accountability or responsibility to the electorate.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable Minister of Labour.

RESOLUTION NO. 207

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

Whereas the children of Nova Scotia need and deserve the best possible centres of education; and

Whereas yesterday, in direct conflict to her Party's own policy, the member for Halifax Fairview, during Question Period, said that "regardless of how it is financed" a new school for Lantz should be constructed; and

Whereas this Liberal Government has offered a clear plan to construct new schools in communities throughout Nova Scotia;

Therefore be it resolved that this member be very mindful of making contradictory messages and encourage all members to follow the motto of the parents who spoke so clearly on the opening day of this sitting of the Legislature to "cooperate and educate" in the interests of our children.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Inverness.

[Page 316]

RESOLUTION NO. 208

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

Whereas the people of Lantz and other areas of the province where schools are needed can be assured that there will be a new school for the students under a Liberal Government; and

Whereas the NDP simply have no plans for schools yet and are determined to defeat a government committed to building over 30 schools in a process which is well under way; and

Whereas the NDP lack of planning and their willingness to overthrow the present government is a further indication that the NDP would sacrifice our children's quality of education for their political gain;

Therefore be it resolved that the NDP be proclaimed political opportunists of the worst kind, as they grab for power at the expense of our children's education.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Annapolis.

RESOLUTION NO. 209

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

Whereas Bay Fisheries is becoming a partner with the province to promote Nova Scotia as a vacation destination for people from Ontario and New England; and

Whereas visitors to Nova Scotia will be able to cruise to our province aboard the new high-speed ferry service between Bar Harbor, Maine and Yarmouth, Nova Scotia as part of a new marketing program to promote the crossing; and

Whereas tourist operators in the Annapolis region are looking forward to the economic impact that increased numbers of visitors will make to our area as a result of this new service;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House recognize this significant partnership between the Canada-Nova Scotia Cooperation Agreement on Economic Diversification and Bay Ferries to promote Nova Scotia as a vacation destination for tourists and as a boost to the tourism community in southwestern Nova Scotia.

[Page 317]

Mr. Speaker, I ask for waiver.

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 Queens.

RESOLUTION NO. 210

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

Whereas the pressure on Nova Scotia's Crown land for wood fibre is intense; and

Whereas there is widespread concern that current commitments for harvesting on Crown land may well exceed the actual availability of wood fibre; and

Whereas it is essential that Nova Scotians know as precisely as possible the carrying capacity of our Crown land forest resource in advance of more commitments being made;

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Natural Resources immediately order an independent audit of Crown land forestry resources respecting the capacity of those resources to meet current commitments and, if there is wood fibre in excess of current commitments, identify the quantity and quality of wood fibre available for further commitments.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable Minister of Economic Development and Tourism.

RESOLUTION NO. 211

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

Whereas during the last election the NDP made no less than 85 promises without bothering to say how they would pay for them; and

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Whereas the NDP fails to recognize that fully 65 per cent of the electorate voted against the NDP and for Parties who do not share their socialist vision of Nova Scotia; and

Whereas this is typical of the party who will say anything or do anything to take power without assessing whether the people truly want them or not;

Therefore be it resolved that the NDP be condemned for their complete and utter disregard for the concept that the people want this Legislature to work for them and not for the NDP.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Richmond.

RESOLUTION NO. 212

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

Whereas federal and provincial governments recently announced funding for a new sound stage designed to capitalize on the province's growing film and television sector; and

Whereas the new Filmscape sound stage has already attracted a major CBC television production; and

Whereas the production of The Pit Pony series will create over 200 direct and indirect jobs, increase the level of expertise among Cape Breton's film crew while also acting as a unique cultural and tourism marketing ambassador;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this Assembly recognize the outstanding efforts of the Cape Breton County Economic Development Authority along with the Canada-Nova Scotia Cooperation Agreement on Economic Diversification in support of this project and all their efforts to develop long-term, sustainable employment in areas of Nova Scotia that offer good prospects for future growth.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Cumberland South.

RESOLUTION NO. 213

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

[Page 319]

Whereas three Cumberland County teachers, Marilyn Mitchell of West End Elementary in Springhill, Karen Patriquin of Wentworth Consolidated Elementary and Cheryl Johnson of Parrsboro High School were nominated for the prestigious Award of Excellence in teaching; and

Whereas these three teachers continue, as all Nova Scotia teachers do, to provide excellent day-to-day instruction to our children; and

Whereas these three teachers were recipients of this award in Truro by the Chignecto Central Regional School Board and the Nova Scotia Teachers Union;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of the House congratulate and extend their best wishes to Marilyn Mitchell, Karen Patriquin and Cheryl Johnson.

Mr. Speaker, I ask for waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Transportation and Public Works.

RESOLUTION NO. 214

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

Whereas the Canadian Grand Prix New Product Awards were awarded recently in Ottawa; and

Whereas 15 Canadian grocery-product manufacturers received trophies; and

Whereas Ocean Produce International of Shelburne was awarded a prize in the produce category for their brand of sea parsley which was cited for its versatility in cooking applications;

[Page 320]

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate Ocean Produce International of Shelburne for receiving this significant award.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

[3:45 p.m.]

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. 215

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

Whereas last weekend Mr. Frank Osborne of Dartmouth East was elected to the Board of Directors for the Canadian Hockey Association; and

Whereas Mr. Osborne has been actively involved in minor hockey with both the Woodlawn and the SEDMA associations, as well as in the Central Minor Hockey Federation and the Nova Scotia Minor Hockey Council; and

Whereas his election, along with that of Mr. Jed Ritcey of Truro, marks the first time in 48 years a Nova Scotian has been elected to office of Canada's amateur hockey governing body;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Mr. Frank Osborne on his election and extend our sincerest thanks for the support he provides to our young people involved in the sport of hockey.

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

[Page 321]

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 on an introduction.

MR. ERNEST FAGE: Mr. Speaker, yes, I rise on an introduction. I would like to introduce to the House, Pam Cuthbert. Pam is in the gallery opposite. Pam is a council member from Ypsilanti, Michigan. She is a municipal councillor there and she is here, in the City of Halifax, presenting at a child welfare conference at Mount Saint Vincent. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: Before we go to Orders of the Day, I would advise that the draw was taken for the late debate. The winner today is the honourable member for Cape Breton Nova. The resolution reads as follows:

Therefore be it resolved that there be some frank and open debate about where Nova Scotia is heading with the Socialist Party seeking to be government without ever having clearly stated its aims, objectives or affiliations to the voters, and without having been elected by the people to be government.

That will be debated at 6:00 p.m.

ORDERS OF THE DAY

ORAL QUESTIONS PUT BY MEMBERS

MR. SPEAKER: We are starting at about 3:49 p.m., so we will go until 5:19 p.m. I think that is correct.

The honourable Leader of the Opposition.

EDUC. - LANTZ ELEM. SCHOOL: CONSTRUCTION - DEADLINE

MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Premier. The Premier's Government has set June 15th as the date by which construction will begin on the new Lantz school. I want to ask the Premier, will the government meet that deadline?

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THE PREMIER: Yes, I would like to refer that question to the Minister of Education and Culture.

HON. ROBERT HARRISON: Mr. Speaker, the government is doing absolutely everything it can to meet that deadline, and to meet the deadline set for the September opening in 1999, of other schools as well.

MR. CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, that is a pretty clear no. I want to go back to the Premier because it is a commitment made by the Premier to the people of Lantz. I want to ask him why he would not proceed urgently with these urgently needed schools when this government has already built so-called P3 schools without a lease, especially when the Leaders of the two Opposition Parties have said that that is in fact what we should do. I want to ask the Premier - since P3 was supposed to speed up construction and other urgently needed schools are waiting to go ahead - why is it that his government school construction date seems to be equally unreliable?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I would like to refer that question to the Minister of Education and Culture.

MR. HARRISON: Mr. Speaker, the fundamental question here - and the Leader of the Opposition continues to present both sides of this issue - is what is a reasonable solution under the circumstances to the needed urgent need of school construction in this province?

We have put together a plan, using private sector partnership, that gets the lease payments off the books of the Province of Nova Scotia, thus is not incurring any new debt to the province. We continue to negotiate with those companies in good faith, with our partner school boards, to meet every construction deadline that we have set in the interests of the children of this province.

The Leader of the Opposition has come out in a number of ways and said that this is either a scam, misrepresenting the remarks of the Auditor General or that the private sector has no business in any public institution in this province. Mr. Speaker, it is fundamentally a problem for the people of this province when they hear the Leader of the Opposition one day ask for speed-up of delivery and on the other day condemn the plan to make that delivery possible.

MR. CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, the fundamental issue here is a question of confidence, it is a question of the government making good on its commitments. They have, on a number of occasions, told parents in these different communities, whether it be in Eastern Passage where we saw parents so extremely upset about the state of the schools in their community, whether it be in Bedford or École du Carrefour or Hammonds Plains or Beechville-Lakeside-Timberlea or whether it is in Lantz. They told people that the schools will be constructed and they consistently missed those deadlines. That is the fundamental issue here.

[Page 323]

I want to ask the Premier, Mr. Speaker, given the fact that these parents are continuing to wait on his government's move on this area, is the government's latest deadline for urgently needed schools just as unreliable or more unreliable than the June 15th date for the Lantz school?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, the question here is new schools that are badly needed in the Province of Nova Scotia. (Interruption)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. Order.

THE PREMIER: What we want to do is have new schools built by September 1999. What we want is action, what we want to do is get started. All we are asking from the Opposition is consistency. We want them to be part of the solution, not part of the befuddling of the whole question.

If the Leader of the Opposition really believes in this question, really believes that it is as serious as he likes us to believe he thinks it is, then what we want from them is cooperation or alternative solutions, not completely misrepresenting the concerns of the people. (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

The honourable member for Cumberland North.

EDUC.: PORTERS LAKE SCHOOL - LEASES:

AUDITOR GENERAL - EXAMINE

MR. ERNEST FAGE: Mr. Speaker, my question, through you, is to the Premier. Mr. Premier, earlier this afternoon I put before this House a resolution calling upon you to honour your commitment that you have made numerous times in the printed media of this province over the last several months, that the P3 process for the Porters Lake school will be audited by the Auditor General. You have stated in numerous press releases and newspapers that that was a condition for you to proceed.

Yesterday, when I look at Hansard, you agreed that if it was a priority with the two Parties opposite who have consistently stated that, and specifically our Leader and our Party, that if those leases were examined and proven to be fine by the Auditor General, we could proceed. Why, Mr. Premier, did the Liberal Party not support that motion when, clearly, the past history shows that everybody is in agreement that that lease should be analyzed and that will be the litmus test of how we gain support across this House?

[Page 324]

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, in fairness to the honourable member, this is the first time that the Conservative Party has said that the word from the Auditor General, the support of the Auditor General as to the lease of this, is the litmus test. (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

THE PREMIER: If there is that question and the Conservative Party has sent their letter to the Auditor General and the Official Opposition has sent a letter to the Auditor General, then that is one thing. I have not seen any copies of letters that have been sent to the Auditor General requesting this.

MR. FAGE: Mr. Speaker, again to the Premier. Yesterday the Premier stated in Hansard that he was willing to have that lease examined by the Auditor General if the two Parties opposite were in agreement and he was in agreement. Why, again, is that request by the Premier not being honoured? Why are you not today demanding a review from the Auditor General on the Porters Lake school so that we can make sure we can proceed with those schools and that taxpayers in Nova Scotia are getting good value for your money? We are trying our best to cooperate on this issue. It is your side of the House that appears to be holding it back.

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, that is completely untrue. The Auditor General has examined the lease of the Porters Lake school. We have met with the Auditor General on numerous occasions and continue to do so. We are quite prepared to ask the Auditor General to give any kind of report that he wishes on the P3 schools; more particularly, on the Porters Lake school and we would welcome his report. That is going to be the determination of the Auditor General and we would welcome him to come forward with any report he wants to give. (Applause)

MR. FAGE: The inconsistency on this issue by the Premier and the government quite frankly, Mr. Speaker, is quite unbelievable. It is the Premier who has said all along that he will ask for a special review. Has that request been made to the Auditor General by the Premier?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I would like to refer this to the Minister of Education and Culture and hope that he will be able to explain it in a way that will be acceptable to the honourable member.

HON. ROBERT HARRISON: Mr. Speaker, in the interests of the children of Nova Scotia we have a House of Assembly sitting, trying to match up the dilemma of a province that has just fiscally recovered from a rather damaging period in its economic history that is attempting, the House in a sense is attempting and we have made offers to provide opportunities and will make those offers real next week, opportunities for both of the Opposition caucuses to get a full briefing and understanding from our external auditors, from our department staff, on P3 school processes which they will find, if they are open-minded

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about it and I trust that they will be, is a reasonable way to go forward to build schools to meet needed deadlines.

The Auditor General, Mr. Speaker, is fully briefed on all of the events taking place with lease negotiations with the private sector in this province. We believe it is a way to go forward when you cannot add $0.25 billion to the debt of the Province of Nova Scotia and yet on the other hand we need fiscally responsible badly needed schools in communities throughout this province. This is a way for this House to meet both of those objectives, provided the Opposition Parties are willing to accept with an open mind this procedure. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Fairview.

EDUC. - HORTON SCHOOL:

PRIVATE BUSINESS - FUNDING DETAILS

MS. EILEEN O'CONNELL: Mr. Speaker, my question is also for the Minister of Education and Culture. It is on this very subject that we have been discussing. The Department of Education has allowed a private-for-profit business, known as Horton House, to set up at the new Horton high school. That business has asked the Annapolis Valley Regional School Board for a $250,000 handout. The school board is being asked to provide a full-time resource person to the business and five years of rent-free space as well. It also wants to use the students to test its products.

So my question for the minister is this, Mr. Speaker, why has the government chosen to take the scarce resources that are intended for these very children that the minister speaks about and use them to fund a private business?

HON. ROBERT HARRISON: Mr. Speaker, that speaks to the issue of the relationship between public institutions, like public education or universities or community colleges, and the private sector. I would refer the member opposite to the resolution which was introduced by her own Party today, Darrell Dexter, the honourable member for Dartmouth-Cole Harbour, making Auburn Drive High School the receipt of the approbation of this House for its business partnership, a leading light in the Province of Nova Scotia, Mr. Speaker, for its relationship with the private sector.

Now, every board in the province spends millions of dollars on professional development and curriculum materials. Unlike the Province of Ontario, we do not intend to contract with the private sector for the curriculum of the children of Nova Scotia, but in partnership, boards are developing the highest quality standards of education for the children of this province. In that case, that board, in particular, has its own ethical standards for dealing with the private sector. They are not the enemy, as the NDP would have us believe.

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They are, in fact, part of the economic engine of this province with which we must partner for the sake of our children. (Applause)

[4:00 p.m.]

MS. O'CONNELL: Mr. Speaker, I certainly didn't hear an answer to my question. In fact, the superintendent of the Annapolis Valley Regional School Board, in a presentation to the board, said that this particular use of resources for private business would not produce any financial gain in the first four years and that the long-term investment value was difficult to predict.

Mr. Speaker, in the light of this shaky investment, why didn't the Minister of Education direct Horton House to seek money, rental space and staff from traditional sources such as private investors or the Department of Economic Development?

MR. HARRISON: Mr. Speaker, is it possible that the Annapolis Valley Regional School Board might see another purpose than revenue generation in a partnership with the private sector to create world-class curriculum? Is that not a possibility? Is the NDP so fundamentally opposed to private sector intrusion in the lives of Nova Scotians, without a rule book in one hand and a guide book in the other, that they could not foresee that this board might, in fact, see a benefit for the children of the Province of Nova Scotia with a partnership that is quite innovative? Is that impossible to imagine?

MS. O'CONNELL: Mr. Speaker, my final supplementary is to the Premier. My question is this. Since the Minister of Education thinks he is the Minister of Economic Development, when will the Premier announce the minister's reassignment and replacement with a minister whose concern is for the education of our children? (Applause)

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I would like to refer that question to the Minister of Education and Culture.

MR. HARRISON: I don't know if that means he has any plans in mind or not, Mr. Speaker. Having been there once before, as Minister of the Economic Renewal Agency, I do see an opportunity for Team Nova Scotia to link up with the private sector. I am not opposed to private sector relationships with the public school system of Nova Scotia. I am not opposed to giving boards the ability to have ethical guidelines established for those relationships. I am not opposed when Auburn High School forms business relationships that cause a member of the NDP to stand up and ask this House to applaud that high school.

We have, in this province, the ability to forge a new prosperity. It cannot be done if the separation forever between public and private sector institutions precludes innovative partnership. So I am for innovative partnership, and if that means I get reassigned to both

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Education and Economic Development, so be it. That is in the interest of the people of this province. (Applause)

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

LBR. - ACCESS-A-BUS: SERVICES - RESTORATION

MR. JAMES MUIR: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Labour. This morning I was at the National Access Awareness Breakfast, like other members of this House. One of the statements that was made there is that there are about 4,000 people in the Halifax Regional Municipality who qualify for Access-A-Bus service and about 400 people a day use it.

The chairman at this morning's breakfast, Mr. Steve Young, somewhat apologetically looked around the room and saw a number of vacant chairs because a number of people who are physically disabled were not able to get there because the Access-A-Bus service is not in operation because of the labour dispute.

Will the Minister of Labour, this afternoon, contact the parties to the dispute and ask them to reach an immediate agreement to restore the services of the Access-A-Bus to the Access-A-Bus users?

HON. RUSSELL MACKINNON: Mr. Speaker, I thank the honourable member for his question. It is a very important question. With regard to the Access-A-Bus, as I indicated here in the House yesterday, our conciliator is in constant contact with both parties and I am advised, particularly by the labour representatives, the negotiating team, our conciliator, that first and foremost, that all disabled persons wanted to be treated equally and fairly as all other individuals.

Secondly, I've been given assurance by the Halifax Regional Municipality that indeed emergency transportation services have been made available for those that need it. Yes, there are inconveniences but indeed all citizens that use these modes of transportation are inconvenienced.

MR. MUIR: Mr. Speaker, two days ago the Minister of Labour indicated that he would be prepared to introduce back to work legislation. Yesterday it is reported, he changed his mind. Will the Minister of Labour tell the House exactly what his position is with respect to back to work legislation in the ongoing dispute between Halifax Regional Municipality and the transit workers?

MR. MACKINNON: Mr. Speaker, and I thank the honourable member for his question. First and foremost I think my position has been consistently clear, if one would really want to listen to the observations and the comments that I did make. As we know, what the

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collective bargaining process is, we are acting as a facilitator at the present moment during this strike and we are not the negotiators. We respect the collective bargaining process. As I have indicated, as inferenced by the honourable member, the suggestion of back to work legislation, I've indicated that that was heavy-handed and a last resort to be able to deal with matters of dire public need and I think my comments were quite clear and I explained the process that would lead to such a situation which I certainly do not anticipate.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Fairview.

EDUC. - O'CONNELL DR. SCHOOL (PORTERS LAKE):

LEASE COSTLY - IMPOSED

MS. EILEEN O'CONNELL: Mr. Speaker, I have with me today, and I'm going to table it, one example of the 'innovative partnerships' that the Minister of Education . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Who is the question to?

MS. O'CONNELL: I'm sorry, Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Education, but in order to ask the question I would like to table this document, if that's acceptable. This is the lease between the Halifax Regional School Board and Oxford Atlantic, a division of Oxford Development Group Incorporated, and I would like to table that document with the House. This is an example, as I said, of one of those innovative partnerships that under this minister education has been engaged in. Last night, the Halifax Regional School Board reluctantly agreed to sign an operations lease for the O'Connell Drive School. It commits the board to paying $16,554 a month plus expenses, that is to say it is an open-ended rather than a fixed-price lease, plus a 15 per cent profit on those expenses to the management company.

It was retroactive to September and the expenses have been shown to be much higher than anticipated and in fact, the board's director of operations says this lease is a bad deal as it is costing more than if the board managed the school itself. My question is coming, Mr. Speaker. So my question to the minister is why has the minister imposed such a costly deal upon the board at the expense of the children?

HON. ROBERT HARRISON: I assume the lease - which I have not seen and I have asked for a copy . . .

MR. SPEAKER: It was tabled.

MR. HARRISON: Well I have asked a Page to send a copy over to me. I assume the lease is a maintenance contract of some kind and would undertake to investigate just what was said at the board meeting last night in terms of the costs. Oftentimes when you have schools like this, the equipment in the schools require different maintenance staff so that the

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air-quality handling systems work 20 years from now. But I can't say until I see the lease, and I assume somebody is bringing that to me.

MS. O'CONNELL: I think the minister will see, when he sees the document that it is absolutely clear that this P3 process diverts money from the classrooms. So my question to the minister is why has the minister decided to put the profits of an Ontario company ahead of the needs of the children in the Halifax Regional School Board?

MR. HARRISON: Mr. Speaker, the member opposite would have us believe, from what she has tabled and from the comments made, that somehow as we enter into agreements for new school construction, badly needed and modern schools for our children, that we would deprive children of the operating budgets necessary to make sure that they have reasonable class sizes, adequate access to technology and textbooks and teacher assistants.

I can assure the member opposite and all members opposite that the budgets for the province, of education, the operating side of the budget, as we have seen in the Throne Speech and as we will see in this budget of Nova Scotia, will reflect an unprecedented commitment to the children of this province, not only for new capital construction but to ensure that we have adequate operating funds. In no way will the provision of space incur any negative effect on the children of this province.

MS. O'CONNELL: Mr. Speaker, I wish it were true. The waste and drainage of resources that has been going on under this government could have been avoided if the government had done its job. So I want to ask the Minister of Education, why didn't the government conduct the cost-benefit analysis that was called for by the Auditor General before they got into this mess, so that Nova Scotians will know the extent of the damage to schools from deals like Horton House and this lease?

MR. HARRISON: Mr. Speaker, I am sure this will be a recurring theme throughout this session of the House. What we have is a Party that is fundamentally opposed to private sector involvement in public sector institutions, in any aspect or any way. So they approach this topic not with an open mind, for the benefit of the children of the province, but with a closed mind looking for every opportunity to isolate elements, rather than taking things in context.

There is no question that the overall benefit of association with the private sector is a net benefit to the taxpayers of this province, a net benefit to the children of this province and is one that is defensible. Porters Lake is a defensible contract with the private sector for high quality space for the children of this province.

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

NAT. RES. - SABLE GAS: DISTRIBUTION - PROV. SHARE

DR. JOHN HAMM: Mr. Speaker, I have a question to the Premier. I have been very impressed in recent days when I saw the comparison of home energy costs by way of natural gas, compared to oil and other methods we have of heating our homes, like electricity. Obviously it will be a great advantage to any Nova Scotian who has access to our natural gas, whether they live in Yarmouth or Glace Bay or here in metro or perhaps somewhere close to the main line going through the province.

I was also impressed that out in Alberta there are some 108 distribution companies resulting in almost 95 per cent of the market in Alberta being serviced. Major industry in the volume of gas they use will be the anchor for facilitating distribution in this province.

My question to the Premier, as the minister responsible, Mr. Premier, can you tell the people of Nova Scotia how much of our gas has been committed to SOEP, as of today, to New Brunswick interests and how much of our gas has been committed to Nova Scotia interests?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, the only amount committed to New Brunswick interests is the amount committed to Irving. That will leave a lot for Nova Scotia. The amounts required by Nova Scotia interests have been serviced. What we don't need in Nova Scotia will be sold in New Brunswick and the northeastern United States. That is the intention. As long as Nova Scotia's interests are satisfied, I think the important thing is that the rest of the natural gas be sold at a good income to the Province of Nova Scotia.

DR. HAMM: Mr. Speaker, I will continue with the Premier. The Premier failed to tell the House that in fact interests in the City of Saint John, New Brunswick, have a commitment from SOEP to have delivered to interests in that city twice as much of our gas as has yet to be committed to the Province of Nova Scotia. That should raise some concern in the mind of the Premier as he sees more of our gas going to New Brunswick than going to Nova Scotia.

Nova Scotians will not have access to this cheap form of energy unless we do have broad-based community involvement in the distribution process. I would ask the Premier, would he agree with that?

[Page 331]

[4:15 p.m.]

THE PREMIER: No, Mr. Speaker, I completely disagree with that. The fact of the matter is that what gas is sold in New Brunswick has nothing to do with the distribution in Nova Scotia. The question is, is there enough gas for Nova Scotian use, and there is. That is one of the reasons that the province decided to retain Nova Scotia Resources Limited, so that our 8.4 per cent could be targeted to interests in Nova Scotia.

What New Brunswick does with the natural gas is New Brunswick's business. The question is, how can we use that natural gas, which will be cheaper for Nova Scotia than New Brunswick, how can we use that natural gas to the benefit of Nova Scotia? The more ways we can use it, the better. Once the natural gas leaves Nova Scotia and Nova Scotia has taken what they need, it does not matter if it is sold in New Brunswick, New England and Tuktoyaktuk. The question is, how can we maximize the benefit for Nova Scotians?

DR. HAMM: Mr. Speaker, some day I will ask the question that the Premier just answered but he certainly didn't answer the question that I just asked.

If we are going to have the kind of distributions that they have in Alberta, we have to learn the lessons of Alberta, that is that we have the availability of many distributors here in Nova Scotia. We have set a price here that small communities are going to have to pay a non-refundable, $50,000 simply to make an application. My question to the minister, are you prepared to arrange for the application costs to be based on the amount of the application; in other words, the amount of gas they are applying to distribute, rather than $50,000, allowing small distributors to go before the board and make their application, to ensure Nova Scotians that there will be applications coming from all over the province, to make sure that our gas ends up in Nova Scotian homes, not in the homes of New Brunswick or down in New England?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, the question is that the gas that is not distributed by small companies, that does not mean that that is not going to be gas distributed in Nova Scotia. That means that it may be large companies distributing the natural gas to Nova Scotians. It is not a question of how much, it is a question of who does the distribution. I agree with the Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party that we should do everything we can to make sure that municipalities can make their presentation to the Utilities and Review Board. That is an undertaking I am prepared to give, as I gave yesterday. We want the municipalities to be able to be part of the natural gas distribution. That is why we are anxious for them to undertake studies themselves as to how they should proceed. We will work with them in that regard. If we moved now, they would not have that opportunity; we want them to have that opportunity.

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

LBR. - P3 SCHOOLS:

MAINTENANCE STAFF - WAGE PARITY ENSURE

MR. FRANK CORBETT: Mr. Speaker, through you to the Minister of Labour, the operation and the maintenance lease of the P3 O'Connell Drive School threatens the wages, jobs of custodial and maintenance workers who are now employed by the school board. Will the Minister of Labour guarantee that custodial and maintenance staff working at a P3 schools will receive the same wages and benefits as those working at traditionally-based schools?

HON. RUSSELL MACKINNON: Mr. Speaker, I thank the honourable member for his question. Not being particularly familiar with all the details of the particular school he has referred to just now, I will give him an undertaking that I will get further details but I also have to remind the honourable member that he, himself, who is very strong on the issue of collective bargaining rights, would certainly respect that that will be an issue between the employer and the employee.

MR. CORBETT: My supplementary again is back to the Minister of Labour. The Maintenance and Operation Lease for O'Connell Drive School, as he was maybe aware, was unveiled last night and tabled here today. It says that the board members were led to believe that whenever a P3 school was built to replace old schools, the jobs of custodial and maintenance staff will be considered redundant. Will the Minister of Labour confirm whether P3 schools will cost school board employees their jobs?

MR. MACKINNON: Mr. Speaker, as I have just indicated and the honourable member has essentially just confirmed what I have stated. He has indicated the lease has just been tabled. It has been tabled just moments ago. According to the honourable member previous, it is supposed to be a rather detailed and complex document with lots of figures. I am asked to comment on something right out of hand. I do not do that. The honourable member knows that. I will take that on notice and I will review the situation and I will give him an undertaking to get back to him.

MR. CORBETT: One more time, one walk around the block. One more time, Mr. Minister, will the Minister of Labour ensure P3 schools that are constructed is just not a back-door way of denying workers rights they have won through the fair collective bargaining process?

MR. MACKINNON: Mr. Speaker, I thank the honourable member for his question. Obviously, you know, he is committed to a particular philosophy that seems to espouse anything from the public sector, or for the private sector is bad news for the interests of all Nova Scotians. I do not agree with that. I believe that public-private sector partnerships in

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many instances is very positive. For him to ask myself to start giving an undertaking to speak to some of his union bosses, I do not intend to do it.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Chebucto.

FIN. - BUDGET (1998-99) BALANCED: CROWN ASSETS - STATUS

MR. HOWARD EPSTEIN: Mr. Speaker, a question for the Minister of Finance. In looking forward to the perhaps vain attempts to balance the budget this year, I wonder if the minister can tell us whether he has plans to sell off major public assets this year, such as Crown forest lands, publicly owned housing or resorts? In asking this question, Mr. Speaker, I do not include Sysco and the Pictou Shipyards.

HON. DONALD DOWNE: Mr. Speaker, I do appreciate the member's question in regard to the inevitable ability of our administration to balance the budget again which is quite a feat in the fact we have not seen it for quite some time. With any specific reference to questions on the budget, the member opposite will be seeing the budget presentation shortly, or soon, and by then he will be able to undertake to have the answers to the questions that he poses.

MR. EPSTEIN: Mr. Speaker, there is a clear intimation there that indeed some of our major public assets may be for sale. I wonder if the minister will commit on behalf of his government that before any of our major public assets are offered for sale that the government will go through a thorough public process of review in which the cost-benefits of such sales will be examined publicly before there is a decision to sell?

MR. DOWNE: Mr. Speaker, we are into fairly hypothetical issues here. I think the issue here is the budget will be coming forth shortly and I am sure that the members opposite will appreciate and respect that we have a very good budget for Nova Scotians.

MR. EPSTEIN: Mr. Speaker, in 1996, the predecessor Minister of Finance, the honourable Bernard Boudreau invited the public to comment on the possibility of selling off Crown forest land. Will the present Minister of Finance commit today that under no circumstances will his government offer for sale at least any Crown forest land?

MR. DOWNE: Mr. Speaker, when the then Minister of Finance, Mr. Boudreau, commissioned the report involving Nova Scotians on their input in regard to the disposition of assets, used or unused, there was a clear indication from the Nova Scotian public that forested Crown land were items that were considered very sacred to Nova Scotians and those are assets that were considered very important. I am glad that the members opposite have read the report. Thank you very much.

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MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Lunenburg.

WCB: ALL-PARTY COMMITTEE - CONSULT

MR. MICHAEL BAKER: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Premier. Mr. Premier, on April 24th you indicated in a letter to the Leader of our Party that you opposed referring any matters concerning workers' compensation to an all-Party committee. Later in that same day, after you proved to be totally incorrect in your assumption that the Ombudsman was dealing with those matters, you reversed yourself and indicated to us that you were prepared to refer the matters concerning the Workers' Compensation Act to an all-Party committee. Since that time, the all-Party committee has not met as a result, in particular, of the non-attendance of the Minister of Labour. In particular, the Minister of Labour has made a series of announcements without running them through the committee.

My question to you, Mr. Premier, are you committed to referring any further changes to the Workers' Compensation Act to the committee and not circumventing it?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I would like to, first of all, correct something that the honourable member has said.

When the Leader of the Conservative Party wrote to me initially, discussing the three-Party committee, it related to the cases that had been presented by the injured workers of Pictou County. I had said that we could not discuss those questions in a three-Party committee because the law would not allow us to do that. It was the prerogative of the Workers' Compensation Board and they had already been referred to the Ombudsman who could review them. I then, later on, after I had heard further from the Leader of the Conservative Party where he suggested that was not acceptable, I then suggested that if there was not in fact a sincere effort to work together on this question, why don't we work on questions that related to the operation of the Workers' Compensation Board and the concerns of injured workers anywhere throughout the province? He very agreeably, I think, agreed to that. That is how the matter came to be. We in this Party are completely agreeable and completely supportive of the three-Party committee on the Workers' Compensation Board questions.

MR. BAKER: Mr. Premier, again to you. In the letter that was sent to our Leader on April 24th, the first letter - and that letter was copied to Mary Lloyd, one of the Pictou County injured workers - you indicated in that letter that the matter was going to be dealt with by the Ombudsman. In point of fact, it has become apparent that you totally misapprehended the position of the Ombudsman. In fact, on May 25th the Ombudsman wrote to you to indicate to you that his office was not capable of doing that investigation.

Would you please apologize to the workers of Pictou County for that misstatement?

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THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I would not misapprehend the Ombudsman for anything. I went on to say that the reason I was able to state that the Ombudsman was looking at those cases was because the Ombudsman had said that his office would be starting their examination of those cases on or before the Easter weekend; the Ombudsman is quite prepared to substantiate that. The fact that they did not start it was unknown to me and was not related to me by the Ombudsman's Office.

MR. BAKER: My final supplementary is to the Minister of Labour.

Mr. Minister, my question to you is with respect to the Workers' Compensation Appeal Tribunal. Will you promise or would you indicate to the House when all of the matters of outstanding appeals will be dealt with, and commit to the House whether or not the government will be appointing sufficient members to the Workers' Compensation Appeal Tribunal to ensure that those matters are dealt with in a prompt and timely fashion?

HON. RUSSELL MACKINNON: I thank the honourable member for his question. It is a very legitimate question. First, I think that as the honourable member well knows, yesterday we announced that we were commissioning an additional, three full-time commissioners. We are going through Human Resources Division to post those additional job descriptions immediately. That will bring our contingency to thirteen. We also have six part-time positions that are there. I am hoping that eventually we will translate those into full time. Also, and very important to note, at WCAT - as the honourable member may have noticed in the annual report that I tabled yesterday - the 576 cases that were granted leave to appeal - it is very important - the decisions that were written up since the commission of this particular tribunal, they were writing complete, detailed reports, which was totally unnecessary.

[4:30 p.m.]

Mr. Speaker, I realize time is precious, but it is extremely important. I know it is extremely important to the honourable member. I have asked the head of the WCAT and her commissioners to start writing executive-summary type decisions that outline the points of law strictly on those decisions that were decisions to grant leave for appeal because, otherwise, we are getting into redundancy.

I believe that we can reduce our time factor there.

MR. SPEAKER: I don't want to cut the honourable member off but please conclude your remarks.

MR. MACKINNON: We can reduce our time factor by 50 per cent and we can deal with the backlog, along with a number of other initiatives that have been announced that all Parties seem to agree on.

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

ECON. DEV.: PHONETTIX - LAYOFFS

MR. DARRELL DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Economic Development. In February 1997, this administration announced, with great fanfare, the partnership with Phonettix and the investment of $3.5 million of taxpayers' money. They called for the creation of up to 470 jobs for Nova Scotians. Now with layoffs at Phonettix and with this call centre being used a dumping ground for Phonettix employees from the New Brunswick call centre, which is closing, can the minister tell the House, where did you go wrong?

HON. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, in regards to the Phonettix project, I would like to take exception to the numbers of the honourable member opposite. To date, Phonettix has invested $7.1 million in Nova Scotia. The Government of Nova Scotia has invested $875,000. When they started up last year, they had close to 230 people hired. They had a recent layoff. The layoff was simply due to the fact that they lost a contract. They have since recovered. They have now new contracts. Of the 50 people that were laid off, 25 of them have already been hired back. They are hoping to ramp up their work force in the next two years to over 400 employees here in Halifax metro. If the member over there is against jobs in Halifax metro, let him stand up and say so. (Applause)

MR. DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, as the minister knows, the annual payments to Phonettix are made six months in advance of the year-end. My question to the minister is whether or not he has determined a contract compliance and, if not, will he be seeking the recovery of the monies paid but not earned?

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, it is obvious that his researchers are either ill-informed, or he is not very sharp at picking up what they are telling him.

AN HON. MEMBER: Or both.

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Or both. (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: If the Leader of the Opposition is finished, Mr. Speaker, I will try to continue with the more sensible member's question.

MR. SPEAKER: You have the floor.

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MR. MANNING MACDONALD: With regards to Phonettix, we have invested, I believe, $300,000 so far of the $875,000 committed for this year. They have fulfilled all of their obligations in providing employment. Over the next three years, if they ramp up to 400 jobs, we will then commit additional funding to the project, as per the original agreement.

The agreement simply states that the more jobs Phonettix create and maintain in this particular operation, that the more assistance to a level that the government will assist them. But I have to keep in mind, you have to keep in mind, Mr. Speaker, that the company itself has invested $7 million. Their payroll in the Halifax area is $5 million. I consider that to be a considerable investment here in the Halifax metro area. It just goes to show that if you even talk about supporting the private sector in this province, the NDP are against it. (Applause)

MR. DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, today, the Newfoundland Government announced that it will be covering the salaries of employees laid-off when a call centre in that province closed. I want to ask the minister, will he tell the House what responsibility this government is prepared to accept for the wages of the laid-off employees at Phonettix who have had their jobs terminated?

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, in any business there are upswings and there are downswings in their business. In this particular business, they have lost a contract. People were laid off. I am hoping and I am sure Phonettix are hoping, that they will retain sufficient business to hire all our employees back. In the meantime, I would expect that the employees who are laid off are on employment insurance benefits in the province as any other employee would be in a similar situation.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings West.

HEALTH - CARE: LONG-TERM - RESPONSIBILITY

MR. GEORGE MOODY: Mr. Speaker, my question, through you, is for the Premier. Yesterday, I was listening to the Premier answer a question from the Leader of the Official Opposition and the Leader of the Official Opposition was talking about long-term care and about the many difficulties that we all know people are having in long-term care, whether you talk to staff, patients, family members or others. I listened carefully and I checked Hansard to make sure that I heard what the Premier said and the Premier said, "With respect to the long-term care, the long-term care has to be decided upon by the regional hospital boards. We don't have the power to tell them how many beds they are going to have in a particular regional health area.".

I would ask the Premier to advise me, Mr. Speaker, through you, when the responsibility for long-term care has been transferred officially over and is being run by the regional health boards of this province?

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THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, the honourable member knows full well that health care is still in the control of the Province of Nova Scotia. The announcements and delegation of where the long-term beds are is done through the regional health board, but I will ask the Minister of Health to discuss this further.

HON. JAMES SMITH: Mr. Speaker, I think it is a point of clarification and it may have been a way of saying it but what we are doing and the designation of the long-term care and the acute care will be done in conjunction with the regional boards on a regional basis based on need. So I don't really see that it is a real problem. There is no question, whatever is done in this province that the responsibility of patient care and the quality of patient care in this province rests with the Department of Health and the government of the day and if there is something more specific on that. We certainly will do a consultation process with those proposals that are coming forward but we will work with the regional boards and the community health boards, by the way, also.

MR. MOODY: Well, Mr. Speaker, no wonder we have such a problem in health care. Talk about mass confusion, I am getting confused over the answers from the Premier and the Minister of Health who is supposed to know what is actually going on in this province in long-term health care. The long-term health care people don't know what is going on, they can't get any answers from the minister's office on the future, nobody seems to know but the Premier can announce and tell the people of this province that we are going to have 170 new long-term care beds, then they tell us it is not up to them, it is up to the regional health boards.

I ask again, I would ask the Premier, the Premier promised during the election, 170 new long-term care beds, when he is going to lift the moratorium on long-term care beds in this province and deliver and stop passing the buck to the Minister of Health who doesn't seem to know what is going on?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, with due deference to the honourable member, I am afraid I am going to have to do what he doesn't want me to do and I am going to refer the question to the honourable Minister of Health.

DR. SMITH: Mr. Speaker, the promise of new beds was made and in the range of 170. Not all long-term care necessarily, I think there would be some acute care involved in that. As far as the working together, getting proposals, proposals are coming from various parts of the province, I am sure from the honourable member's area there are proposals as well. We will work with the community health boards, the regional health boards on the needs of those particular communities. Now, I don't see anything wrong with that. If the honourable member has some problem with that maybe he should be more specific. But the responsibility, the decision making will be, eventually, with the Department of Health. That's moving forward. We are working on our budget as we speak and it is looking better every day I am happy to report.

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I will let him know that while I don't know everything, I know a few things about the Department of Health and the practice of medicine and the health care of this province, Mr. Speaker.

MR. MOODY: My final supplementary, I don't know which person to give it to because it is going to be juggled anyway. So maybe if I ask the Premier he will shovel it off to the Minister of Health.

Mr. Speaker, in this province I am told by acute care people that we have 10 per cent plus of acute care beds being taken up by long-term care patients. Why? Because there are no long-term care beds. People can't get into hospitals because there are no acute care beds. You don't have to be very smart to know that we have a problem with long-term care beds. This government has put on a moratorium. I get calls from families, every member of this House does on a daily basis. Mr. Speaker, how do I tell those family members that the Premier made a promise of 170 long-term care beds and now they are just discussing them in the Department of Health? I want to know when the moratorium is going to be lifted. Is it today? Tomorrow? Next week? When can the people expect the moratorium to be lifted on long-term care beds in this province?

DR. SMITH: Mr. Speaker, when we took office in 1993 we inherited a system that was the most over-bedded per hospital bed per citizen in North America. It was a disgrace. You had some towns that had two hospitals. To get into home care you had to qualify for social assistance. Those are the types of situations we inherited.

The system as we know it today, the access to the care system has problems in two areas; at the primary care level, getting into the hospital in an acute care situation and the member is absolutely right, there are at least 10 per cent and I would say higher than 10 per cent on some days, waiting to go from acute care into long-term care. We inherited a system that was broken. We have fixed it and we have moved into decentralization and devolution of a system into home care. Home care is working. That is the way we will solve that. Part of that will be more long-term care beds. It is a continuum of care that we have evolved and we have put in place and is working and it will work.

Wait for the budget, you will see some indication there, Mr. Speaker, and then we will move forward.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Needham.

HEALTH - QE II HEALTH SCIENCES CENTRE:

STRATEGIC PLAN - JOB CUTS

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Health. In March 1998 the Premier assured Nova Scotians that there would be no more jobs

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cuts at the QE II Health Sciences Centre, that this was not part of the strategic plan. However, in May the chairman of the board of the QE II said there will be cuts in staff reductions. These are going to continue but at a slower pace and over a longer period of time.

My question is whether Nova Scotians should expect that even more health care workers will be losing their jobs at the QE II as part of the strategic plan?

HON. JAMES SMITH: Mr. Speaker, the QE II hospital, as we all know and we know it now, has gone through very difficult times. Four cultures have come together. Well, it wasn't us who built that hospital and we are trying to do as well with it as we can, the Halifax Infirmary. There is no question that there is management in place. The strategic plan calls for bringing together four different groups of population. There are some changes in the role. I cannot comment on some alleged remarks from the chairman of the board or whoever it was, I am not privy to that at this juncture. There may well be some changes. There will be new jobs made there, there will be changing roles and positions along the term. They are dealing with a very difficult transition period. I think the leadership is excellent there, the quality of care. We also don't have control over who comes to the door and asks for care but they can be assured that it is good care, Mr. Speaker.

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I am not sure that it is a real comfort to the people of Nova Scotia to know there is management in place, I think that is a basic assumption we all make. What it is that we do need to know, though, is if there are going to be changes in the strategic plan following the golden handshake that was given to the Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Schurman, to the tune of $330,000, then what are the implications of any changes being made to the strategic plan for health care out of that facility and for the workers in that facility?

DR. SMITH: Mr. Speaker, the strategic plan is important and it will be laid out, it will evolve and the aim is to have quality health care in this province that will be coordinated with the regions and all the particular issues. There are demands and it is yet evolved what the relationships between the regional health boards and a tertiary care hospital such as the QE II will be.

[4:45 p.m.]

I know that the management there is high-quality and the staff and all the workers there. I have been very impressed that one of the priorities of the new chair of the board has been to listen to people, all workers within that hospital, whether they are medical, nurses or maintenance or whatever. I have been assured, my meetings with him, I've been very comfortable that they will meet all the demands and multiple demands placed upon that institution.

[Page 341]

MS. MAUREEN MACONDALD: I find the vagueness and the generalities of the minister's response to the previous question fairly frustrating. I'm wondering, how is it that Nova Scotians are going to be able to find any accountability in this system if the minister seems to be unaware of the what the strategic plan is for the QE II and what it is that we can expect? Would the minister care to comment?

DR. SMITH: If the questions are very general or if the answers are a bit general, the questions are very general, would I care to comment on a document that is multiple, but I must say that I can only say that the responsibility of running that institution is with the board of directors and the chair. We have seen resignations from that board when the previous chair felt he had maybe not fulfilled his role to at least his standards.

Our role in the Department of Health is as a resource, we are a resource. There are continuing meetings with staff and we are aware of the strategic plans and the plans and the quality of care and the evaluation and the measurement of outcomes. We are putting together a very strong team there, as we are in our other tertiary care hospitals and throughout all the hospitals in Nova Scotia.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Argyle.

FISH. - NORTHERN SHRIMP: QUOTA - MINS. MEET

MR. NEIL LEBLANC: My question through you is to the Minister of Fisheries. Over the last seven to 10 days, events have transpired whereby we in Nova Scotia have learned that the allocations of northern shrimp have been given entirely to the Province of Newfoundland. As someone who has been involved in the fishery for a long time and who is proud of our history in this province that we have been successful, we have been aggressive and because of that our landings in this province are greater than the other ones.

Because of that, we have an extensive history throughout the Maritime Provinces and indeed the Atlantic Provinces. I think in some instances, people can deem that Nova Scotia has had its share and I think that new allocations sometimes are viewed upon as they should be given to other provinces and I think maybe that's part of the reasoning that came down in this decision.

The decision that has come down is going to negatively affect four constituencies, the communities of Canso, Arisaig, Petit-de-Grat and Mulgrave and many people are going to be affected negatively. We had some meetings yesterday with . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. I would ask the minister to shorten up his question.

MR. LEBLANC: Minister?

[Page 342]

MR. SPEAKER: The member, former minister. (Laughter)

MR. LEBLANC: That sounded very good, Mr. Speaker, but I would say (Interruption) my question for the Minister is whether he can indicate to this House whether or not he has met with the federal minister since the time of this announcement and what transpired at that meeting or that discussion?

HON. KEITH COLWELL: I am also very disappointed with the result that Newfoundland received all the shrimp quota. It has been clear in this House in the resolutions I put forward already. I met prior to that decision being made with the federal minister as the Premier has spoken with him and so has the community. I have arranged for meetings with the community to meet regarding the quota. It is a very serious economic impact for those four communities and we are very concerned. As of this date, I haven't met yet with the federal minister after the decision. We have put correspondence forward to him indicating our displeasure with the decision and continue to lobby on behalf of the communities.

MR. LEBLANC: Mr. Speaker, I have listened to the honourable minister put forward his explanation as to what has transpired and I find it hard to believe that after approximately 10 days after a major decision, those 28,100 metric tons were allocated and the minister is indicating that he has had some communications by correspondence.

I beg the question to the minister, if this was Newfoundland, I know that the Minister of Fisheries would have been in Ottawa at the office of the minister and would demand a meeting. Mr. Speaker, this influences many communities and I want to know what the minister is going to do, in more precise terms than generalities?

MR. COLWELL: Mr. Speaker, we have been working very diligently with the communities and continue to do that to resolve the problem we have had on an ongoing basis getting quota for Nova Scotia. As a result of what the previous speaker said, our success, I think, is one of our worst downfalls. However, we are not going to take it lying down. We have been working with the federal Department of Fisheries to make our view very clear, very precise and, through the Premier's Office, we have also been dealing with the federal minister to see if we can't acquire further allocations for Nova Scotia and further development in the communities.

MR. LEBLANC: Mr. Speaker, I will change tactics. I will put my question to the Premier. As the Premier has served in Ottawa for many years with the Premier of Newfoundland, obviously the Premier of Newfoundland has learned something and, perhaps, this province hasn't.

I will call on the Premier, whether or not he will personally intervene into this matter, because as of now, that hasn't happened, and see whether or not you can use your influence with your fellow cousins to intervene on behalf of the people of the four communities that are

[Page 343]

affected because, obviously, your minister is just going to be sending correspondence back and forth?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I think, quite frankly, that the honourable member is being very unfair to the Minister of Fisheries. The Minister of Fisheries has done everything he possibly could. He has worked with the representative of that area. He has spoken with the minister and he has spoken with the communities.

As recently as yesterday, I spoke with the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans in Ottawa and he is still making decisions regarding . . .

AN HON. MEMBER: You spoke to him before.

THE PREMIER: I did speak to him before, as well, but that wasn't the question. The Minister of Fisheries and Oceans is still going to be making decisions very shortly relating to Canso and Mulgrave, as well as Petit-de-Grat. There are shrimp licenses off Nova Scotia and I think we will just have to wait for the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans to make his announcements.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Hants East.

JUSTICE - POLICE CADET TRAINING: CHANGES - JUSTIFY

MR. JOHN MACDONELL: Mr. Speaker, I will direct my question, through you, to the Premier. A breakdown of cooperation appears to have arisen from action of this government by unilaterally pressing its own program for police training. The Association of Police Chiefs is on record as supporting the Atlantic Police Academy.

Why is the government pursuing this unilateral action and will the Premier table to this House today any cost-benefit studies the government has done that would justify this action?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I would like to refer that question to the Minister of Justice.

HON. JAMES SMITH: Mr. Speaker, the Government of Nova Scotia, Department of Justice, continues to honour its contract with Holland College. We have continued that and the initiatives that we have taken have been in concert with the other provinces that have withdrawn from the program, including Prince Edward Island, the host province, by the way.

MR. MACDONELL: Everyone is acting on the basis that this is a done-deal and a deal that is posing a threat to the Nova Scotia Agricultural College. I direct this to the Premier, again, please.

[Page 344]

Why has the Premier put Prince Edward Island's financial contribution to the Nova Scotia Agricultural College in jeopardy?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, we certainly haven't put any interest of the Agricultural College in jeopardy. With respect to Holland College and Nova Scotia's participation there, I believe the Province of Prince Edward Island is discussing legal action, so it is improper to comment further on that.

MR. MACDONELL: The legal action is only civil, so that shouldn't interfere with anybody discussing it. My final question is to the Premier. When the threat from Prince Edward Island is clear and public, there is already talk of a rival agricultural college, which may be more attractive due to the presence of the Atlantic Veterinary College, why is the Premier not putting these unilateral actions on hold, sitting with the farming community, discussing the consequences and preparing to take a more cooperative approach with the Maritime Premiers?

THE PREMIER: We are very proud of the record of the Nova Scotia Agricultural College and feel it would be awfully difficult to duplicate the record that college has. As a matter of fact, we are proud of all 11 of our universities in Nova Scotia and we are not in any way going to put in danger the future of the Nova Scotia Agricultural College.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Queens.

NAT. RES. - TUSSOCK MOTH: INFESTATION - DAMAGE

MR. JOHN LEEFE: My question is to the Minister of Natural Resources. Mr. Speaker, as you and all members of the House will know, there has been significant damage to our forestry resource in eastern and northern Nova Scotia as a result of the presence of the tussock moth in epidemic proportions. I wonder if the minister could advise the House as to the extent of the damage to date and, in the event that no action were to be taken, how much more damage would occur in the future?

HON. KENNETH MACASKILL: I want to thank the honourable member for that question. I know the honourable member's background in the forestry as a former minister and I know his concern that he shares with the House today.

We have in the area of 1.4 million hectares of somewhat moderate to severe defoliation from the white-marked tussock moth. We have 450,000 hectares of severe defoliation. To the best of my knowledge, that is somewhere in the range of $30 million to $60 million worth of damage to the timber industry; that is about equal to one year's supply of wood to our sawmills.

[Page 345]

MR. LEEFE: I thank the minister for his response. Mr. Speaker, again through you to the Minister of Natural Resources. BTK is the insecticide which is going to be used this year to undertake control of the tussock moth. I wonder if the minister could advise the House whether BTK in fact is tussock moth-specific or if it has a broader range than the tussock moth?

MR. MACASKILL: Mr. Speaker, 4A-4-8B is an insecticide. We have done a sample spray in the area of Colchester County last year; we have done a 50-hectare site. At the time, BTK did not have the label for the tussock moth. We did a sample spray so we could get Health Canada to approve this insecticide for the tussock moth. We have done that. They have given the label for the tussock moth. I give this 4A-4-8B as an insecticide that will destroy the tussock moth.

MR. LEEFE: Then my final supplementary to the minister is this. Can he guarantee, through this House, to the people of Nova Scotia, that the application of BTK will not pose any threat to human health or to other animal health, irrespective of whether that is direct or indirect, for example, through the food chain? Can he give that commitment, make that guarantee?

MR. MACASKILL: The information we have from the medical director, Dr. Jeff Scott, is that this BTK is completely safe. It may be interesting to note that this has been used in the city for at least 20 years. The City of Halifax has used it as a (Laughter) To the best of our knowledge, Mr. Speaker, this is as safe an insecticide as we can get.

[5:00 p.m.]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Pictou West.

NAT. RES. - CROWN LANDS: SILVICULTURE PROGS. - FUNDING

MR. CHARLES PARKER: Mr. Speaker, my question is also for the Minister of Natural Resources and it is on a related topic. As you know, Mr. Minister, our forests certainly are being attacked by the tussock moth and certainly being attacked by other man-made things, like over-harvesting and clear-cutting in our forests. Recently in your letter back to me you replied that all the money for the program for the tussock moth is coming from silviculture programs that had been earmarked for Crown lands.

I guess my question for you is, why has the government decided to scrap all the silviculture money for our Crown lands?

HON. KENNETH MACASKILL: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker, and I thank the honourable member for that question. To the best of our knowledge, it is going to cost us $6 million to get control of the tussock moth. I think that is a good investment in the forest. Our

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department has budget pressures and it would not be wise, in my opinion, to allow the tussock moth to destroy our forests if we have the money to protect it. I think it is a good investment, it is the only option we have.

MR. PARKER: Mr. Minister, as you know, good forestry requires good silviculture. It is a good investment in the long-term use of our forests, it creates jobs now and it creates jobs down the road in the future. It makes for a healthier forest for man and for wildlife and just continues good economic development in rural areas. But if you take all the money away from the silvicultural programs on Crown lands this year, are you not making the process worse by taking all this money away? Could not additional money have been found to maintain good silviculture programs?

MR. MACASKILL: Mr. Speaker, again we are faced with a very serious situation with this insect. I think the department made the right move to get control of this insect. I want to assure the honourable members that we have the full support of the industry on our decision to get control of this insect. We hope we will find, and we are attempting to find, additional money for silviculture. It is not a decision we take lightly but, in my opinion, it is the only option we have.

MR. PARKER: Well, obviously, you have no money for silviculture and no money for long-term forest development in this province. I guess I would ask the minister, what are your long-term plans for protecting our forests and especially for protection from this tussock moth? What are your long-term plans in this regard?

MR. SPEAKER: I would ask the honourable minister not to go through the whole long-range plans of the department.

MR. MACASKILL: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. (Interruption) What are we going to do? Well, we believe we will have control of the tussock moth after this application this summer. We are going to do two applications if the window of opportunity, which is between June and August, will allow us to spray. I would advise the honourable member to read our position paper, Towards Sustainable Forestry. I think from that position paper he will gather all the information he needs.

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

TRANSPORT. & PUB. WKS. - HWY. NO. 103: TWINNING - PROGRESS

MR. WILLIAM ESTABROOKS: Mr. Speaker, my question through you is to the Minister of Transportation. Mr. Minister, your predecessor in your department announced in April 1997 the importance of the twinning project of Highway No. 103 as far as Exit 5, which is the Hammonds Plains-Tantallon exit, a road that I assume you travel on a fairly regular basis. The reasons for this twinning was due to the 30 per cent increase in traffic and

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the need for safety. Nowhere in that announcement was there any route or any mention in the route about the famous garbage expressway which it is now known as locally.

I would like you to assure residents, please, of the communities of Beechville, Lakeside and Timberlea, that Highway No. 103 will be completed on time and be extended as far with the years that were in the guidelines expressed by Mr. Downe at that time, by the year 2002?

HON. CLIFFORD HUSKILSON: I want to thank the honourable member for the question. Mr. Speaker, we certainly plan to follow and to go ahead with this and try to meet what our expectations are and our time limits. I will certainly look into this, discuss this with staff, and proceed with this as is planned.

MR. ESTABROOKS: Mr. Speaker, again through you to the Minister of Transportation, I am aware of the fact, of course, that public relations is an important part of all the Cabinet positions. However, it seems to me that there certainly has been some poor PR with the rumour mill existing in the parallel route along Highway No. 3. For example, I am aware of the fact that there have been a number of major complaints from subdivisions adjoining the current construction project from Parkdale, from Governor's Glen. There have been complaints from families that there have been no warnings when major blasts have been let off and I would like to know what steps your department would take to improve the public relations with those particular residents of Beechville, Lakeside and Timberlea?

MR. HUSKILSON: We certainly would want to have good public relations and we want to have public consultations with the people in this area. I certainly will speak to staff and direct staff to see that this is done and done the way it should be.

MR. ESTABROOKS: Mr. Speaker, again to the minister through you, that wonderful word of consultation. I am aware of the fact that the current map says that the road when it is twinned will go through the proposed site of the Bay Baptist Church. At no time has that congregation or the minister been notified of that and it was with great surprise that it was brought to their attention that their proposed site could be a concrete highway on the road to heaven (Interruptions) or whatever. I am wondering if the minister can assure these residents that a member of his staff will meet with this group as soon as possible?

MR. HUSKILSON: Yes, I certainly will undertake to do that, to see that a member of my staff will meet.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings West.

HEALTH: WOMEN'S/CHILDREN'S CARE - INITIATIVES

MR. GEORGE MOODY: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I have a question through you to the Minister of Health. I was quite disappointed, and I know a number of

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Nova Scotians were, in the Speech from the Throne in the absence really about health care in general but there was a particular absence of a focus on child health care and women's health care. I would ask the minister since it was absent from the Speech from the Throne, are he and his department going to be doing any new initiatives or anything to ensure the children and women of this province that there is going to be an emphasis on health care for that particular group in the near future?

HON. JAMES SMITH: Thank you, I appreciate this question, particularly, Mr. Speaker, because it has been an interest of mine, both as a physician and as a member of this Legislature, particularly with children and adolescent services. We have increasingly seen working a better relationship between the Departments of Community Services, Health, Education and Justice. We have a group called CAYAC and it is a group representing those departments. They are working together. In fact, last week we met with the parents and those representing children that suffer from the disease autism and pervasive disorders.

So there are initiatives that are coming forward. The recent opening and announcement of programs at the IWK-Grace for women, particularly, so there are initiatives, the breast screening, the mobile units and the emphasis on that and expanding that throughout the province. So there are many areas. We would also like to hear from the community health boards and the regional boards as to what their priorities are in those regions. Children, early intervention programs, those types of things are areas that are priorities of this government. (Applause)

MR. MOODY: I would not clap just yet because we have to find out exactly what they are going to do. This generality won't cut it, Mr. Speaker.

My first supplementary is to the Minister of Health. He barely mentioned the IWK-Grace Health Centre but I know he is a great supporter of the IWK-Grace and I know he is aware of all the fine work the IWK-Grace does, not only serving this province but serving the Atlantic Region. I am pleased that the minister did include them in one small sentence in his remarks because they are very much the leader, in my books, in this area, much more so than his department.

I would ask the Minister of Health, if he is committed to the area of children's health and women's health, that he will ensure that we get the kind of funding needed to make sure that not only will the programs be maintained at that very fine facility but will also be enhanced, Mr. Speaker.

DR. SMITH: Mr. Speaker, this is a very important area. He is speaking in terms of what are the roles of tertiary care hospitals located in Halifax, delivering programs to Nova Scotians. I think in some cases, in many cases, yes, they can do that and the IWK-Grace has a great reputation, particularly the old Children's Hospital, as we refer to it. We have met, I have met with the board chairman, I have met with the CEO, as I have with all chairs and

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CEOs of the regional health boards in a non-designated. I think the general role as we go forward in the times ahead is a very important who does what and whether the service is best delivered to the Nova Scotia Hospital Outreach Program or some outreach programs from the IWK-Grace, I think that shall be determined. I think the structures are important. We have to get the regional health boards and the community health boards, that structure working and understood because it is the function that we need to address and that is where the money has to flow. The money has to flow with the client, with the patient, with the children, with the women, throughout wherever they are in Nova Scotia.

Our job is to have quality, standardized care for all people, women and children and all people in Nova Scotia. The IWK roles may be different and that will be determined as we go, Mr. Speaker.

MR. MOODY: Mr. Speaker, I am quite disappointed. The government can't hide behind regional health boards when it comes to the tertiary care hospitals in this province because the province directly funds them. It is not a matter of discussing with the regional boards, it is a matter of the government not trying to figure out, and I am amazed that we have gone four or five years, they are still trying to figure out what the regional health boards are doing. It is time that somebody made some decisions.

I am asking the minister, through you, Mr. Speaker, just plain and simple, not to utter the kind of words he just uttered but to make a commitment to the tertiary care hospitals and especially the IWK-Grace. I, not like him, would ever question the fine programs that facility puts in place.

DR. SMITH: Mr. Speaker, I will review Hansard but I am not sure that I put down the quality of programs at the IWK-Grace.

MR. MOODY: You are questioning their programs.

DR. SMITH: Mr. Speaker, I am questioning how best to deliver programs to children and . . .

MR. MOODY: You have the control there.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. The honourable Minister of Health has the floor.

DR. SMITH: I know he is pretty exercised, Mr. Speaker, about this and it is very interesting, in answering a question earlier, I outlined some of the problems as briefly as I could that we inherited and how we worked our way through. We are relying on regional health boards, we are relying on community health boards, we are relying with all the boards and all the volunteers we have across this province that are connected with tertiary care, non-designated and designated facilities. We are responsible and, as Minister of Health, I am

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responsible whether that service is delivered in the IWK-Grace or it is delivered in Neils Harbour. I am quite aware of that.

We are working. We have gone through a consultation process, a Royal Commission, blueprints and the other things. As the Chair of the IWK-Grace, Andrew Cochran, said, it is time to not put so much effort on structure, but to deal with function. That has been the problem, Mr. Speaker, that the function and the dollars and the budget have got to follow the patient as they go through the continuum of care. (Interruptions)

The IWK-Grace is very important. We will support that as strongly as we will other institutions in this province.

[5:15 p.m.]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Citadel.

TECH. & SC. SEC'T.: YEAR 2000 - PREPAREDNESS

MR. PETER DELEFES: Mr. Speaker, our time is short here. I have a question for the Minister responsible for the Technology and Science Secretariat.

MR. SPEAKER: You have 3.3 minutes left.

MR. DELEFES: Thank you. The Auditor General's Report on the year 2000 readiness observed that the year 2000 issue is a real threat to government and its ability to provide complete and uninterrupted service to the people of this province at the turn of the century. The Auditor General also noticed that the government must fully consider risks and ensure that sufficient resources are available to deal with the problem. I am particularly concerned about the safety and health of citizens with respect to life support systems, security systems, power generation systems, systems that use embedded chips in their operation.

My question, Mr. Speaker. What specific measures has the government taken to ensure that there is no serious disruption of government services to Nova Scotians with respect to the year 2000 readiness and, again, with respect to the health and safety of our citizens?

HON. ROBERT HARRISON: Mr. Speaker, I thank the member opposite for his question in this House of Assembly. The question, fundamentally, is the government committed, first of all, to ensuring that the problems with the year 2000 are addressed and that fundamental services are preserved and protected? That is a responsibility of this government. It is a responsibility of the secretariat to serve departments and the responsibility of ministers to ensure that their staff take steps, not only within their department and their mandate, but also with their partners to ensure that essential services are protected from what is very real, complex, and a problem that needs to be addressed.

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The second issue, are we committing funds? There is no question that the Department of Finance and the departments themselves have a priority to commit funds necessary to address these problems. I would be pleased to entertain further questions from the member opposite, as to details at any time.

MR. DELEFES: Mr. Speaker, again to the minister. The Auditor General's Report, again on the year 2000 readiness, emphasizes the limited scope of the government's Year 2000 Project Office. It addresses only eight corporate service units, as well as a few small entities. Many public service sectors are excluded from the project, the Crown Corporations, regional health boards, hospitals, museums, so it is evident that the year 2000 is not a government-wide project. What is the minister going to do for these departments?

MR. HARRISON: The Auditor General's Report takes a snapshot of a period of time when, in fact, there were limitations. That is why we have an Auditor General. The departments and the government has ensured that policies are in place for the corporate government and, in addition to that, extended policies to the various department's partners, such as the Department of Education through to its school boards, to ensure that there is a commitment for essential public services and that we honour the commitment to make sure that essential public services are not affected negatively by the year 2000 problem.

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

OPPOSITION MEMBERS' BUSINESS

MOTIONS OTHER THAN GOVERNMENT MOTIONS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Opposition House Leader.

MR. JOHN HOLM: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Resolution No. 29.

Res. No. 29, re Educ. - Lantz Elem. School: Needs Ignored - Condemn - notice given May 22/98 - (Mr. J. MacDonell)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Hants East.

MR. JOHN MACDONELL: Mr. Speaker, the Lantz School issue is not an issue about priorities and it is not an issue about commitments; it is an issue about children. For those people in that community who have been waiting since 1993 for their school to be built, education used to be the main priority for them and their children, but now it has shifted and health has become a major priority for them. If the school had been built when it should have been built for them, between 1993 and now, then health issues probably wouldn't be a major component.

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Who do you have to be in this province to get a school? Here is a riding where the people have asked repeatedly. They have had deadlines imposed on them time and time again. All they have ever seen is those deadlines come and go. The only other deadlines they have received are the deadlines that come out of the minister's mouth. Nothing that has been said by the government has produced any action on the part of these people. I think for them as citizens of Nova Scotia, they deserve better treatment. (Applause)

This school is 58 years old. Recently it was shut down because of air quality conditions, et cetera. The board, because of high CO2 levels, said they were going to initiate a system of opening windows, a proactive system of opening windows. That was going to accomplish getting rid of the high CO2 levels. For years that is what people have put up with. Now parents are not sending their children to those schools, at least several families. They have environmental illness and they are still not getting any support from government as to doing something about that school.

The Premier in the recent March election had promised again that the leases would be signed by the end of March. Days before the election itself on the 24th, he spoke with the head or Co-Chair of the Hants East Educational Task Force and said two weeks, maybe less, that lease would be signed. Here we are near the end of May and no lease has been signed yet.

So why would the people of Lantz feel any gratification in the idea of a P3 program? They have not seen it any faster. We are told it is going to be cheaper and I fail to believe or see how it is if that cost is not on the books of the government that the people of Nova Scotia are not going to pay it. It would seem to me that if the schools are going to be built, they are built with the people's money because they are paying for the lease. So whether the money is on the books or off the books, Nova Scotians are going to pay for it. I think they would rather see the schools, forget about the P3 and have their kids in a healthy place and a good environment to learn.

Most people when their family grows up, they want to move away, they are going to get married, they do not tell them, rent a house, that is a good thing to do. Anybody I know who is a contractor, who builds an apartment building, they do it to make money. So the people who are building these schools are doing it to make money. That means it is going to cost Nova Scotians more than it should have cost them in the first place if we had done it by some other more traditional method.

My message to the minister and the Premier is, take these children and these parents into consideration and build their school. Thank you. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Education.

HON. ROBERT HARRISON: Mr. Speaker, I welcome the member's comments. Clearly we are faced with a dilemma that the member opposite offers a solution to. That is

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that we simply borrow or create through the Municipal Finance Act an additional debt to the province of some $0.25 billion for the necessary schools.

If we are committed to a balanced budget and if we are committed to not returning to the days not long ago of May 1993, where we inherited a province with close to $700 million deficit, a ballooning $8 billion debt - to this day we are still the only province in the country that spends more on debt service than we do educating all of our children - then we have to find ways, in this case partnering, to provide schools at less cost over the time period by sharing risk, in this case with the private sector, to ensure that the people of Lantz receive what the people of so many communities in this province need and that is new school construction.

Let me quote from some of the people in Lantz. Karen Atkinson: TR3LC has a good track record and we are pleased with their selection, not only for the Hants East Elementary School but for the Hants East Middle School. Susan Travis says, I have no problem with the P3 arrangement for building schools. I just want the best education possible for my children. Here is a parent, actually a teacher from O'Connell Drive, "We were consulted through the entire process, what we wanted to see in a lab, what books to order, it's hard to believe how much we are achieving in this environment, we wish the day could be longer". Now these are the experiences of parents who as the member opposite will I'm sure tell us over and over again, spent years protesting the delays of governments, not only our own, previous governments with the capital needs of the schools in this province, 461 of them, average age 40 years, let's say. We should be, as a province, cutting a ribbon literally every month just to keep pace and we have not over the past 15 years kept pace.

The members opposite would contend that partnership with the private sector will lead to increased costs, partnerships with the private sector will have an injurious effect on the children, that this is a purely public institution and that we should use purely public dollars to solve the capital problems. This Party believes that there is an innovative alternative to using purely public funds, not just because we don't have them, but in fact because the innovative approach of the private sector has led to comments from parents and from teachers across this province that are positive. It wasn't long ago that the Department of Public Works, then known as Supply and Services, in fact discouraged community consultation, that architects and others involved in the school construction process were discouraged from talking to communities and to parents. (Interruption)

The Leader of the Opposition is calling across, who eventually pays for all of this? And the question is, I assume the further question is, will the pay be more? I challenge the members opposite that after the briefings that we intend as a result of the Premier's comments the other day and the acceptance by the Parties opposite, because in a sense this House does have to operate in a much more collaborative and consensus mode than in the past, that they remain open-minded and that if, in fact, the costs and the sharing of risk with the private sector are such that we indicate they are, that that Party would in fact change its position

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which is simply anti-private sector, not anti the details of whether this could be in fact cheaper or at least the same for much higher quality services over 20 years. But that they remain open-minded that possible affiliations with the private sector can actually enhance, whether its universities' publicly funded education or community colleges' publicly funded education.

In health care a private company actually operates one of the finest emergency health care systems in Canada. That the private sector working with public sector institutions cannot only be cost-effective, better rates of return for the expenditure of taxpayers' dollars but can actually help us play catch-up with much needed, high-quality facilities for our children. We have taken that position. I ask only that the members of the NDP remain open-minded, that they approach this problem from its context, that what is reasonable under the circumstances may very well be the kind of affiliation with the private sector that produces return on investment for the taxpayers, high-quality facilities, not only in a cost-effective manner now but out well into the future. Are you signalling me that I have five minutes left or that I have no time left?

MR. SPEAKER: You have less than five, but it is substantially less. You have approximately one to two minutes left.

MR. HARRISON: Was that the one or two minute signal? Thank you. You know, there are many educators who have joined this House of Assembly at this point in time, educators who for decades have not seen the investments in publicly-funded institutions nearly match the rhetoric. On all sides of the House we have come from a cherished profession to try to make a difference. This Throne Speech features education in an unprecedented way. This budget will feature education in an unprecedented way.

The reality in the context is that we live in a province that pays more on our debt service than we do educating all of our children. That forces us to be innovative. It forces us to maintain ethical lines of demarcation between pure public sector, what's good and in the public good and that of the private sector. But an alliance is necessary between a dynamic Public Service in the province where part of its job is to help create wealth for this province and prosperity for this province so that it can be redistributed to the people who have brought us to this House. Part of that public-private sector alliance can build and lease space, not just space for schools but perhaps other space as well, and that we must remain open-minded to relationships with the private sector.

Team Nova Scotia will ensure future prosperity. Team Nova Scotia cannot build walls and fences between public and private institutions. There must be a way of coming together in the provision of essential public services that meets the public good by tapping all sources of innovation and one of the greatest sources for this province, one of the ways that we can ensure that Nova Scotia becomes a jurisdiction known as a place that sparkles with innovation, is that we remain open-minded about the relationships with the private sector that can benefit each and every Nova Scotian and at this time and on this day remain open-minded

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to the possibility that the private sector partnering with the public sector can provide the highest quality school space for our children. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

[5:30 p.m.]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Cumberland North.

MR. ERNEST FAGE: Mr. Speaker, as usual the minister has missed the mark on the debate. The people in Lantz, when I was there a month ago to hear their concern about a school that could not be inhabited because it was sick, was that they needed a new school. They did not need an explanation for a financing scheme on how to build schools and the debate today concerns all those parents, all those students, and educators in this province who are working in facilities that are injurious to their health or facilities that have outlived their usefulness and need a new classroom, need new schools. That is what the debate is about today.

Financing schools, whether it is the traditional method with principal and interest payments, or whether it is leasing, do not fool Moody's, or Standard and Poor's, or other bond rating agencies. Any bank looks at your total commitment whether it is a lease payment, whether it is a loan or on the capital budget. If the sole purpose of the minister's tirade about the opportunity to build new schools on a financial arrangement consists of purely saying if it is a lease payment and the commitment is there for 20 years is better because it is off the books, then we seriously have to ask the question what is this government's commitment to those communities that need schools.

Every member of this House agrees that we need new schools and they need to be built as soon as possible. The people of Lantz the motion deals with, when are they going to get a school? Well, Mr. Speaker, across this desk is spread press clippings of the last four years. There is no school, no ground being broken in Lantz this afternoon. That is what the debate is about. This government would have us believe that technology enrichment and P3 go hand in hand. The people of Lantz want the opportunity for their children to go to school and be educated in a safe environment. They want their children to have the opportunity of technology enrichment but P3, safe environment and technology enrichment are not equatable to each other. Those three things are accomplished or can be accomplished, I should say, in any given manner and it does not have to be tied to the P3 concept.

Mr. Speaker, when I visited Lantz and heard the concerns of the parents, those parents obviously wanted that school built. They deserve to have that school built and if it cannot be maintained on a deadline with public-private partnering then obviously government has to look at building it conventionally. That is what those parents are asking of this government. If your P3 process does not pass muster as a financial obligation or a financing scheme with the Auditor General as good accounting practices in this country, then that is a determination

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that has been asked all along. The parents are simply asking, build the school. That is what this debate today is about.

It is rather interesting when you pick up newspaper clippings and you read, "A $5.3 million replacement school was supposed to open this fall but a government audit of the public-private financing partnership has been delayed delaying the proposed opening until September, 1999. Last weekend Premier Russell MacLellan announced no leases for P3 schools will be signed until he receives an Auditor General's report on such arrangements.".

Well, we see the consistency of the minister, we see the consistency of the Premier, and we see the consistency of this government. One day the Auditor General is going to do it. The request has never been made but in the press this Premier, this government said they are not going to build any more schools until the process has been done with the Auditor General. That is why the parents in Lantz, that is why the people of Nova Scotia are having a great deal of problems swallowing the sincerity of this government, because one day they say one thing, the next day they say another. It lends little comfort to the people of this province, students and parents, that an obligation made to their community is going to be fulfilled and fulfilled on time. That is where the distrust comes, the wondering, the insecurity on those commitments. Those are the reasons that we are debating the resolution from Lantz today, because those parents and those students have been promised a school since 1993. The school has not been built, regardless of the minister talking about financial arrangements, hypothetically or not. There is no school construction started out there.

There is a sick school there, let's deal with the facts. It is time that that school was built. Those parents were promised that school. We listened to the minister talk about theories with private enterprise. As far as I can remember, in this province there was no government school construction company that built schools traditionally. Private companies have always built schools. Private companies build most of the roads. It is whether you contract them or lease them, that is what the debate is about.

The people of Lantz are not really concerned whether it is contract or lease, they are concerned about a safe school for their children to attend so they can get a proper education, like all Nova Scotians are entitled to. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Fairview.

MS. EILEEN O'CONNELL: When I listen to the government on the subject of schools I can't help thinking about those sheep in Animal Farm, the ones that went around bleating the same thing over and over. It is as if we have been hearing for years in this province, P3 good, public bad, P3 good, public bad.

Mr. Speaker, the people of Lantz and the people of other communities that critically need schools have truly had the misfortune to need them even more critically during the last

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five years of the life of this government. In fact, the promise for the Lantz school goes back all the way to the former Conservative Government, when they were promised a school in 1978.

Here we have this government in 1993 making a promise to a community, a group of people, and then for the last five years all we have heard is, trust us; it is good, it is going to be good, it is going to be better, we are going to make money, we are going to be world-class, we are going to show initiative, ad nauseam.

Now it seems to me that if you have several hundred thousand people all over a province who hear the government put forth a plan, it seems that the responsibility for explaining the worth and value and effectiveness of that plan rests with the government. What they have done instead is this senseless and endless mantra about the glories of public-private partnering. Mr. Speaker, this is in defiance of their own report on public-private partnerships which used a school as a bad example of public-private partnering because there was no way to make a profit in a school.

Mr. Speaker, the government of this province has toyed with people. People trusted them, people felt they would give them the schools they need and if this method would work, they would accept it because they were desperate. In four years, or three years or whenever they launched this ill-conceived initiative, they built one school that they got a lease for and they built another one that they could not do a deal on. Now they have this other one down in the minister's riding.

That's it, that is all they have, they have no more. There are the people of Lantz waiting, and the people of other areas waiting. Mr. Speaker, what does this government do? It dusts it off and pulls it out during the election campaign. They go around, in at least one riding, slapping up stickers on their signs that say we build schools. Well, they don't build schools and the people of Lantz know it. Worse than that, they set up displays of plans for schools outside school libraries when they are polling stations on election day. Enough is enough.

We have been accused of inconsistencies on this, Mr. Speaker. It has been said, you want it both ways. We don't want it both ways. The people of Lantz want it one way. They want a school and what we are saying is that it hasn't been proven, it isn't going to work, so get out the shovels, go about it the old way, speed it up with design build, if you keep control of it, and give those people the school they need. Thank you. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Acting Opposition House Leader.

MR. KEVIN DEVEAUX: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Resolution No. 67.

[Page 358]

Res. No. 67, re Halifax, Port of - Bill C-9 (Sec. 25) Stop: Gov't (N.S.) - Campaign Join - notice given May 25/98 - (Mr. R. Chisholm)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Opposition.

MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to have the opportunity to rise and speak for a few moments tonight on Resolution No. 67, which deals with Bill C-9, which is currently before the Senate in Ottawa. It is the Canada Marine Act. It was introduced by the federal Liberal Government.

Mr. Speaker, this bill contains provisions that will enable the federal Liberal Government to escape its historic role in port development and have a serious impact on the future of the Port of Halifax by preventing the federal government from investing in port infrastructure.

Mr. Speaker, the industry here in Halifax, the municipal level of government, at the federal level, there have been Tory MPs and NDP MPs and Tory Senators that have tried to impress upon the federal Liberal Government, the Minister of Transportation, that this is a bad deal for the Port of Halifax. It is a bad deal for Halifax. It is a bad deal for Nova Scotia and, ultimately, we believe it is a bad deal for Canada. We can't seem to get the message through to the federal Liberal Government that we need to make changes, specifically with respect to a clause in that particular bill, which will continue to allow the federal government to participate in financing arrangements with respect to increasing the capacity of the port by investing in infrastructure.

Mr. Speaker, the Port of Halifax makes a huge impact on the economy of this region. There are approximately 7,000 Nova Scotians employed at the Port of Halifax-Dartmouth, resulting in $240 million of annual incomes earned. The port's total expenditure into the local economy is estimated at $330 million per annum and rising. Container shipping is a particularly important part of the total port economy. It provides an estimated 2,000 jobs, $70 million in incomes earned and $100 million in expenditures.

Surely, anything that is going on in this country that threatens that kind of economy, Mr. Speaker, should be a concern of this Liberal Government. It should be something that they and their federal cousins are hammering away at day in and day out. But we have hardly heard a word from this government at a time when a piece of legislation is going through the Parliament, is going now through Senate and will have a disastrous impact on the economy of this region.

It is all about these post-Panamax containers, the ships that are travelling the world. There is estimated now to be approximately 50 of these world-class vessels travelling the sea routes that are looking for two ports in North America, on the Eastern Seaboard, that they will visit.

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There was recently an announcement made in New Jersey by the state, the government, Mr. Speaker, that they are prepared to invest $30 billion into the infrastructure to allow them to be able to compete to be one of the ports for that major contract that is out there between Sealand and Maersk, the biggest container-ship company in the world. At the same time, our federal government is pulling out completely; they don't even want to be there to provide an opportunity to assist private investors here in Nova Scotia, here in Canada, to be able to raise the money necessary for that kind of infrastructure investment.

[5:45 p.m.]

There is no question that in terms of investment in ports around the world, investments in this kind of infrastructure, governments play a role. If this federal government continues to play this game of pulling out of all of these important transportation centres, like our airports and our ports, Mr. Speaker, it is going to be devastating on Nova Scotia and, eventually, it is going to devastating on Canada.

I think that this government has a responsibility to work together with the federal MPs, to work together with the senators and to work together with all members of this House to try to get the message through to their federal colleagues that they cannot allow this bill to go through the Senate unchanged. They cannot allow that kind of damage to the future of the economy of this region, Mr. Speaker. It is time we stood up in this House. It is time we stood up and defended the rights of Nova Scotians on this issue. (Applause)

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

HON. CLIFFORD HUSKILSON: Mr. Speaker, I certainly appreciate this opportunity to speak on this very important issue. Let me simply say to the Leader of the Opposition, who tabled this resolution, welcome to the debate. I am glad to have you on our side. You are joining individuals from the Halifax Regional Municipality, the Halifax-Dartmouth Port Authority Commission, the Halifax Shipping Association and the Halifax Chamber of Commerce, who are helping to carry the flag for Nova Scotia.

One of my first orders of business as minister was to reinforce Nova Scotia's position on the Canadian Marine Act, as laid out by my predecessor, the Honourable Donald Downe. We have been lobbying the federal government through the previous Transport Minister, David Anderson, and recently, Minister David Collenette, for two years. I have letters here from October 1996 to November 1997, and from as recently as two weeks ago, stressing to Ottawa that we do believe sections of this bill are detrimental to Nova Scotia, particularly the major Port of Halifax and the Strait of Canso.

We have worked in cooperation with our partners in this fight for many months. Just last week, I met with the members of the Halifax-Dartmouth Port Development Commission to further advance our efforts. The Port Development Commission is a voice for provincial

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and municipal interests on this issue. Its leaders are key players in the industry and they have been prime agents in getting our message to Ottawa. This minister would like to publicly thank them for the effort they have been putting forward to this fight.

Mr. Speaker, the continuous issue is about dollars, access to capital dollars needed for our major ports to thrive and survive in a rapidly changing, highly competitive shipping world. Access to capital dollars is crucial for port expansion and upgrades to meet the new challenges and opportunities for our ports.

Mr. Speaker, we have sent the message to Ottawa that cutting off ports from federal financing through the consolidated revenue fund is tipping the balance in favour of the American competition and this is not acceptable.

Mr. Speaker, Atlantic Canada has advantages that come with deep-water and ice-free harbours. What we need is the ability to expand port facilities here to make Atlantic Canada the port of call for international shippers.

Mr. Speaker, Nova Scotia ports generate about $1 billion of economic activity over the province in one single year. With the next generation of post-Panamax shipping already in service at major world ports, there is more economic activity that we can help capture to keep Nova Scotia growing strong.

Mr. Speaker, I again welcome this resolution and welcome the fact that colleagues throughout the House support the government in our efforts to ensure that Nova Scotia's interests are heard. Thank you. (Applause)

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

DR. HINRICH BITTER-SUERMANN: Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the fine grasp that the Minister of Transportation has shown in analyzing a situation that, to paraphrase a transport problem, would be like the train has left the station. The C-9 train left the station a long time ago. It has passed Parliament twice, it is now in its final hours in the Senate. With this sense of urgency, I impressed on the House in my resolution a few days ago, Resolution No. 57, that was unanimously accepted by this House, to urge the Premier of this province to contact the Prime Minister of Canada to repeal or to change the sections that are bad for our province and for the Port of Halifax. Not surprisingly, the answer from the government side of this House is the same as it would be for the problems of shrimp in Newfoundland or in Nova Scotia or Sable Island gas to New Brunswick or to Nova Scotia. Our politicians are showing a great understanding for the problem. That understanding is met by a tremendous inertia.

I did not expect the Premier of Nova Scotia to be absent when the Leader of my Party was in Ottawa on May 4th, alone, not accompanied by the Leader of the Opposition, not

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accompanied by anybody but by the port authority officials, and pleaded the case for the Port of Halifax. This is not a matter of writing another letter. The time for letter writing has gone. This is the time to travel to Ottawa, show true cooperation, get on the plane, the Premier, the Leader of the Opposition and the Leader of my Party and plead the case for the Port of Halifax. There is no more time to be lost. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. DARRELL DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, I don't want this to become a technical or dry piece of dissection of the Act but I just want to refer to a couple of actual sections of Bill C-9. I think it is important that we understand exactly what effect this is going to have on the port. Section 25 of this bill means that the federal Parliament cannot make any payment to a port authority. This is not a provision which provides for the federal government to walk away from its responsibility to the port, this provision has them running away as fas as they can. If Section 25 didn't make the point clear enough, Section 26 provides that in addition to making no appropriation for payment to a port authority, they are not allowed to provide any guarantees to a port authority. So how is it that a port authority is to go about raising the capital it needs to provide the kinds of upgrades required in a port like ours, the Port of Halifax.

On top of that, Section 8(H) of the Act says that the port authority must make a payment from the gross revenues of the port to the federal government. It's not dependent on profit, it's not dependent on revenue, doesn't matter what the position of the port authority is, they have to make a payment to the federal government and that's because, rather than seeing this as they should, as an industry that needs its support, they see it as a cash cow. They are taking advantage of the Port of Halifax in an unprecedented way, and I say to the Minister of Transportation, that what's happening is once again the Port of Halifax is being sacrificed, is being sacrificed on the altar of central Canadian interests.

The time for licking a stamp is over, the time for licking a stamp is gone. What you really need to do is to go to your colleague in Ottawa and say to him, Mr. Collenette, you are hurting the Port of Halifax, you are hurting it in a way that we have never before seen because we are not going to be able to compete, we are not going to be able to raise the capital, we are not going to be able to function in the way that we will need to in the next millennium.

Now, much of what is in this bill, and I tell you it runs some 80 or 90 pages and you have to be, well, I guess you don't have to be a Philadelphia lawyer, a Dartmouth lawyer will do, but of humble origins of course but, as you go through this, you see it clause after clause that what they have done is they are continuing the process of downloading from the federal government, before it was just on to the provincial government, now they've taken the direct approach to download directly from the federal government on to the port authority. So how is it that the port authority is to prepare for the large capital expenditures that are going to

[Page 362]

have to be made to prepare for the post-Panamax Container Ships that we want to be able to accommodate.

Let me tell you who the competition is. The competition here is New York, New Jersey, Baltimore, Norfolk, these are the ports that we are competing with. So it's necessary that we do not allow the federal Liberal Government to desert us once again. So I say again, Mr. Minister, the time is to leave this Chamber, the time is to pack your briefcase and to get on a plane and to go to Ottawa and to tell Mr. Collenette, tell him face to face that there can be no retreat on this, there can be no retreat. You have a responsibility to speak up on behalf of the people of Halifax and I say the time to do it is now. We know that this bill is now in the dying hours, in the dying hours of debate in the Senate, so make it now; you can do it. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable the Minister of Finance. You have approximately one minute and 13 seconds.

HON. DONALD DOWNE: Mr. Speaker, I am very happy to see the born again attitude of the New Democratic Party in coming forward with the desire to come and fight this battle head on on Bill C-44 or C-9. I know ourselves that we have worked very closely with industry over the last couple of years on a number of issues that related to the port and we fought a battle very strongly in Ottawa. I was there in Ottawa and I met with the federal minister and I met with both federal ministers as well as the colleagues of the port authorities and commissions and the members of the Halifax Board of Trade and so on and so forth.

So we have been there in a very visible way, and we have been there in a transparent way of showing that government and industry are working together. I concur that this a major issue that affects us all, but I only wish that the New Democratic Party had been born again last year in supporting the efforts of government and industry and the private sector in bringing this battle forward and we will continue to do it. I am happy to see them wanting to work together.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. The time allotted for Opposition Day is completed.

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, the House will now rise, to meet again tomorrow from the hours of 2:00 to 6:00 p.m. and continue with the adjourned debate on the Address in Reply to the Speech from the Throne.

MR. SPEAKER: We have now reached the moment of interruption.

[Acting Deputy Speaker, Ms. Helen MacDonald, took the Chair.]

[Page 363]

[6:00 p.m.]

MADAM SPEAKER: We will move into late debate, please. The resolution being debated is:

"Therefore be it resolved that there is no mandate in the March 24th election result for the establishment of a socialist government in Nova Scotia, as the overwhelming majority voted against socialist government and that those who were elected for Parties that have always stood until now for responsible government have a responsibility to see that it is maintained in the province.".

ADJOURNMENT

MOTION UNDER RULE 5(5)

MADAM SPEAKER: The honourable member for Cape Breton Nova.

SOCIALIST PARTY - GOV'T. (NDP [N.S.]): FUTURE - DEBATE

MR. PAUL MACEWAN: Madam Speaker, I congratulate you on assuming your new office and I agree with every word that you just said, but that is not the resolution that I had submitted for debate. I had submitted rather one that reads:

"Therefore be it resolved that there be some frank and open debate about where Nova Scotia is heading, with the Socialist Party seeking to be the government without ever having clearly stated its aims, objections, or affiliations to the voters, and without having been elected by the people to be the government.".

MADAM SPEAKER: I thank the honourable member. I was not given a copy of the resolution that you were going to debate.

MR. MACEWAN: I have one for you here, Madam Speaker, here you go.

MADAM SPEAKER: Thank you, and now that you have read it you can go on with your debate.

MR. MACEWAN: I have many concerns on these matters and I do not know that they can adequately be addressed within the scope of 10 minutes but this affords an opportunity perhaps for an opening exploration of topics that I think are of concern and can be dwelt on and dealt with in the days ahead.

We have had tabled in this House the results of the provincial election and I have copies here for the honourable members to peruse. Perhaps they could be tabled here. I will be

[Page 364]

tabling a fair number of documents so I would like a tabler here, if I could, to table. These are the election results and they show the breakdown for the votes Party by Party. They demonstrate that the Parties that traditionally stood for responsible government as known in this province in the past received 65 per cent of the vote, combined, and that the socialist Party received 35 per cent of the vote.

Based on that we have seen the spectacle since the election, of the socialist Party, as today's Daily News Hotline survey stated, drooling for power. "Chisholm 'drooling for power', Hotliners say.". This item appeared in the Daily News today. I am sure all honourable members have seen it but I will table a copy so it may be entered into the record.

I find it very difficult to face the prospect of such an advent to power taking place in a silent mode. I think it would be improper for me to say nothing or to sit on my hands while an attempt at such things took place.

Coming up here to this session of the House I have been encouraged initially by the Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party. I felt that there was a very accurate appraisal from that quarter of the political situation in Nova Scotia. I read an article in the Halifax Sunday Daily News on May 17, 1998, by David Rhodenizer and I am simply quoting from this article. I am not commenting on the parliamentary wording, perhaps, of what I am about to read. This is what is said in the paper. "And Chisholm, he contends, . . .", that is, Dr. Hamm, ". . . is hell-bent on dethroning the Grits at any cost. 'His intentions are power, and the province be damned', Hamm said of Chisholm.". I want to table that.

That is what we thought was the outlook and I was reassured when I read that. I said, that's good. It shows that those who stand for responsible government are standing firm. Then when I came up here to Halifax I noticed that perhaps there was a wavering in that commitment and that troubles me.

Madam Speaker, I know that there is plenty that one can find fault with about the Liberal Party and about this government. I suppose that if one wanted to hate and to loathe us, one could find plenty of reasons for doing so. But I would say with this Party that what you see is what you get. There is no hidden agenda with this Party. We have made mistakes, but warts and all, we did receive the largest numbers of votes in the election as compared to any other Party and, by the normal Rules of British Parliamentary politics, that is how you win an election. You win the largest number of seats, you get the largest number of votes. Yet, when those results came in, it seems that almost immediately a campaign began, an effort to try to displace this government and to, by any means that could be attempted, inflict upon the people of Nova Scotia a government that they did not vote for, did not elect. A government that they have no idea what it really stands for; a government by a Party that has not been frank or candid at all in telling the people of Nova Scotia what it stood for.

[Page 365]

I know that in the area where I come from the traditional approach of the NDP has been to put signs up and put a sticker on top of it saying: Send the Liberals a message; wake the Liberals up - as if their function as a political Party was to be some sort of an alarm clock - well, I want to be an alarm clock here, Madam Speaker, and wake the people of Nova Scotia up to what is afoot here. I think the things I am going to be telling the House about the New Democratic Party today, and in days ahead, are things that they themselves should be telling the House and should be telling the people. On the hustings, when they are seeking votes, they should say this is the kind of a Party we are, this is what we stand for, vote for us on the basis of our platform, our aims, our objectives, our affiliations, our principles.

Now, what are those principles? Well, there are a number, and there is no time to adequately examine them in what small time remains, but I have in the last two days brought out one aspect of the New Democratic Party, an aspect that I am surprised that they are uncomfortable with, and that is their connection to the International Socialist movement that is personified in the Socialist International. The Socialist International is an organization of which the New Democratic Party of Canada is a full member Party, and has been for many years, and the Socialist International itself does not hide that fact. On their website you will certainly see, under the list of full member Parties, the New Democratic Party, the NDP - NPD - of Canada listed down about number 10 from the top. The Parties are ranked alphabetically and with Argentina at the top, Canada is down about 10 lines from the top of the 120-odd Parties and organizations from all over the world comprising the Socialist International. (Interruption)

They say it themselves; I did not say those things. They say those things. This is not something that they themselves have volunteered the information on. They seek perhaps to make light of these things, as if they were not very serious matters. Now, the Socialist International is an organization that contains a wide range of Parties. I am not going to claim that they are all of the ultra-left. They are not but, at the same time, they do contain such Parties within their ranks, and these are things that I think the people have a right to know. They have a right to know about these organizations. We, in the Liberal Party, do not hide the fact that we belong to the Liberal International. When Senator Al Graham was president of that organization, it was something we were all very proud of.

Now, the Socialist International has all kinds - reams and reams - of material. I have here the Declaration of Principles of the Socialist International, the Statutes of the Socialist International, and we can go into these things if need be. I have here a Declaration on the World Economy. This is a very lengthy and all-encompassing document envisioning a new global economic order. A Declaration on the World Economy, the need for a new system of collective responsibility, a publication, a position paper of the Socialist International.

They have not told the people of Nova Scotia about any of this stuff and a lot more that I can unveil, and will. They have tried to whip people up against the Multilateral Agreement on Investment, the MAI, and they have tried to get all kinds of people stirred up against that,

[Page 366]

but they have not told the people anything about their own declaration on the world economy, the need for a new system of collective responsibility. Probably if you were to compare that and the MAI, you might find that this one from the Socialist International is even more sinister and all-encompassing in its scope.

I could go on and on - and no doubt I probably will in the days ahead - but the fact is that the people of Nova Scotia have a right to know the facts. They have a right to know the truth. As it says in the Scriptures, you shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free. Well, let's have the truth, Madam Speaker, before we jump blindly into anything that we may have to live with afterwards.

Certainly, I know and you know too, Madam Speaker, that if the New Democratic Party were to come to power, we would then, in this province, be faced with massive effects of that. They claim to be something different. They don't claim to be the same as the other Parties. They claim to be something different. What would those differences be?

On the economic front, what would the response of major Nova Scotian corporations employing people in this province be were an NDP Government come to power? I have here a clipping from the Financial Post of June 1991 referring to an NDP Government in Ontario. NDP scaring off jobs and investors, reads the headline and I suggest that those results would repeat themselves here in Nova Scotia almost instantly.

MADAM SPEAKER: One minute.

MR. MACEWAN: There are major employers, I am sure, in this province that would not be prepared to endure an NDP Government. I am certain of that. They say they are for jobs. They say are for the working class. Well how can the working class have jobs if there is no work because employers and firms have been scared out of the province because they are terrified of the prospect of a radical government?

I think that we in this province who value responsible government, as it has traditionally been known in Nova Scotia, have a duty at this time to stand up and be counted; to take a stand, yes, on behalf of what we value and what we have here in Nova Scotia. Because whatever problems may exist, whatever mistakes may have been made, I believe, Madam Speaker, that with goodwill they can be solved. They can be addressed, in any event. We do not need to jump from the frying pan into the fire. I think that is the message that I intend to bring in the days ahead. I don't particularly care if they don't like it. I haven't made a personal attack on anyone and I don't propose to. I am simply talking about principles and making new jobs.

MADAM SPEAKER: The time is up honourable member.

MR. MACEWAN: I am talking about the future of Nova Scotia.

[Page 367]

MADAM SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Chebucto.

MR. HOWARD EPSTEIN: Madam Speaker, this is not a happy occasion and, truth to tell, I am sorry that it has actually fallen to me to deal with this petty annoyance. I have to tell you that the only drooling that I have seen in this Chamber has been the drooling of senility.

There is an honourable and an impressive tradition that is attached to many members of this House over the years. It is the tradition of scholarly research and writing. I had occasion to look in the Legislative Library not so long ago to see which of the previous members of this House have actually produced scholarly articles and books. There is a very long list. Of course, as we all know, the member who just spoke, who brings before us this motion, is indeed one of those members who has honoured that tradition.

I remember reading, with great affection and admiration, the book called, Miners and Steelworkers, which he published more than 20 years ago. There is much to admire in this book. What there is to admire in it is the fact that it deals with miners and steelworkers, people who have had to work hard for a living in industrial Cape Breton, in very difficult circumstances, over many long years.

The book was impressive because it actually talked to the people involved. It got the details. It got them right. It did the scholarly work. It involved research in the library. It involved research in obscure areas. It actually brought forward the facts and it had scope and it was really related to the concerns of working people of this province who needed that kind of attention.

There has, however, been a huge decline since that time. Let's just deal with the ways in which the facts, as suggested in this memorandum by the speaker, have not exactly been presented in the proper fashion. The main fact is that absolutely nothing about this Party, which now stands with 18 members in this House, is hidden. If one goes, for example, to a site that was suggested to us by the member himself, the World Encyclopaedia, in political systems and parties, it talks about the New Democratic Party there. One of the observations that is made by the editors of this work is that among the Canadian Parties the NDP receives the greatest proportion of its income from individual contributions. This is something that is well-known. The source of our money is well-known. It is overwhelmingly individual contributions. People all across Canada and here, for our provincial Party, all across Nova Scotia, reach into their own pockets to make donations to our Party to support us in our campaigns because they believe in what it is that we are able to do for them. That is one of the main things.

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[6:15 p.m.]

They have been heartened by the leadership of NDP'ers who have been elected to the Legislature in the past and they will be given good, solid support and work by NDP'ers that they have elected now.

The suggestion is made that an overwhelmingly large number of voters in Nova Scotia voted against the NDP. Let me remind the member that the hard reality is that 19 NDP'ers were elected and we ran second in an additional 16 seats. Come the next election, should his Party have the courage to call it soon, it won't just be running second in those additional 16 seats. The people of Nova Scotia are not scared of the NDP, either as the Official Opposition or as the government.

Now, as for the Socialist International, this is an organization which, if you consult its web site, which is far from being any kind of hidden source of information, will tell you that this organization goes back in its origins to 1864. It has a new form; since 1951 there is a continuity and an evolution. What this organization exists for is, it ". . . provides its members with a forum for political action, policy discussion, dialogue and exchange.". It is for that reason that our Party belongs, along with the Australian Labour Party, the Social Democratic Party of Germany, the Labour Party of Great Britain. It is, of course, as an observer Party and not as a full member, that the Sandinista Liberation Front belongs.

The main point is that this is red-baiting of an extremely feeble kind. We have seen over the years red-baiting done by professionals. This is extremely feeble and not impressive. There is nothing here that anyone need fear from the NDP, there is nothing that is hidden about what it is that we intend to do. The main point is that the member should look at the reality of what he is faced with here, look at the real experience of the people who have been elected to represent this Party. We have a number of teachers who have experience in the field of education and who want to bring those skills and the things they have learned and their concern for the future of the education of our children in Nova Scotia to the Legislature so they can do something about it in a different forum.

We have people who have come from the environmental movement who have concerns about that and who have brought their background and their concerns to the Legislature because people elected them. We have people who have practised law and who have learned the needs of everyday people who have come in off the streets, to use them as their lawyers. We have a Black woman from Preston who is here to represent her community and who will speak on behalf of it. We have people who have been journalists and who have learned through that the needs of people in their communities. All across Nova Scotia, from one end of this province to the other, people came forward at the last election and voted to elect the people you see now in front of you, to do a job for them. There is nothing hidden, we intend to do that job. (Applause)

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MADAM SPEAKER: The House stands adjourned.

[The House rose at 6:19 p.m.]