The Nova Scotia Legislature

The House resumed on:
September 21, 2017.

Hansard -- Thur., Nov. 12, 1998

First Session

THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 12, 1998

TABLE OF CONTENTS PAGE
INTRODUCTION OF VISITORS 3613
PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS:
Transport. & Pub. Wks. - Hwy. No. 101: Twinning - Urgency,
Hon. C. Huskilson 3614
STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS:
Econ. Dev. & Tourism: Revenues (1998 Tourism) - $1.1 Billion,
Hon. Manning MacDonald 3614
Transport. & Pub. Wks. - Hwy. No. 101: Twinning - Priority,
Hon. C. Huskilson 3616
GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 1760, Econ. Dev. & Tourism - Adventure Tourism: Serv. Award
Anita M. MacLellan (Economy) - Congrats., Hon. E. Lorraine 3621
Vote - Affirmative 3621
Res. 1761, NSLC - IWK Grace Health Ctr.: Fund Raising - Recognize,
Hon. K. MacAskill 3621
Vote - Affirmative 3622
Res. 1762, Lbr. - Storm (11/11/98): Response (Workers) - Thank,
Hon. R. MacKinnon 3622
Vote - Affirmative 3623
NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 1763, Educ. - League of Peaceful Schools (N.S.): Members Add'tl. -
Congrats., Ms. E. O'Connell 3623
Vote - Affirmative 3624
Res. 1764, Transport. & Pub. Wks. - Hwy. No. 101: Twin To Win Comm.
(Joan Tracy & Anne Cameron) - Dedication Recognize,
Mr. G. Archibald 3624
Vote - Affirmative 3625
Res. 1765, Tarabish: Official Card Game (C.B.) - Recognize,
Ms. Helen MacDonald 3625
Vote - Affirmative 3625
Res. 1766, Health - QE II Health Sc. Ctr.: Funding Crisis - Respond,
Dr. J. Hamm 3625
Res. 1767, Econ. Dev. & Tourism - C.B. Island: Favourite Island
(Conde Nast Traveler Mag.) - Applaud, Hon. Manning MacDonald 3626
Vote - Affirmative 3627
Res. 1768, Environ. - Sackville Rivers Assoc.: Volunteers - Thank,
Mr. J. Holm 3627
Vote - Affirmative 3627
Res. 1769, NDP (N.S.) Fin. Critic - Hollow Political Posturing:
Credibility Problem - Admit, Mr. J. Leefe 3627
Res. 1770, Sports - Golf: Courses (Bell Bay & Highland Links) -
Congrats., Hon. K. MacAskill 3628
Vote - Affirmative 3629
Res. 1771, Sports - Soccer: HGS Teams - Achievements Congrats.,
Mr. D. Chard 3629
Vote - Affirmative 3629
Res. 1772, Fin. - Fiscal Responsibility: Claim - Believe It or Not
(Ripley's) Enter, Dr. J. Hamm 3630
Res. 1773, Econ. Dev. & Tourism - Stan Rogers Folk Festival:
Success - Commend, Mr. R. White 3630
Vote - Affirmative 3631
Res. 1774, Nat. Res. - Lewis Lake Prov. Park: Staff - Congrats.,
Mr. W. Estabrooks 3631
Vote - Affirmative 3631
Res. 1775, Commun. Serv. - Child Care: Support - Policy Revisit,
Mr. J. Muir 3632
Res. 1776, Halifax, Port of - Shipping Cos.: Needs Changing -
Well-Suited, Mr. G. Fogarty 3632
Vote - Affirmative 3633
Res. 1777, Educ. - Tommy Douglas Scholarship: Winner
(Kristen Clark-Acadia Univ.) - Congrats., Mr. D. Dexter 3633
Vote - Affirmative 3633
Res. 1778, Inverness MLA - Road Repair: Policy Paper
(Lib. Party [N.S.]) - Encourage, Mr. B. Taylor 3634
Res. 1779, Women (N.S.) - Literacy: Prog. (Gov't. [Can.]) -
Participants Congrats., Mr. H. Fraser 3634
Vote - Affirmative 3635
Res. 1780, Agric. - Farmers (Anna. Valley): Responsibility Abdication -
Condemn, Mr. C. Parker 3635
Res. 1781, Justice (Can.) - Bill C-251 (Sentencing): Support
(Gov't. [N.S.]) - Urge, Mr. M. Scott 3636
Res. 1782, NDP (N.S.) - Economic Policies: Misguided - Recognize,
Mr. Charles MacDonald 3636
Res. 1783, Housing & Mun. Affs. - Housing Non-Profit: Dev. -
Private Sector Encourage, Ms. R. Godin 3637
Res. 1784, Educ. - Commun. Col. System: Funding (Gov't. [Can.]) -
Ensure, Mr. E. Fage 3638
Res. 1785, Health - Breast Cancer Research (Run for the Cure):
QE II Health Sc. Ctr. Teams - Recognize, Mr. G. Moody 3638
Vote - Affirmative 3639
Res. 1786, St. John Ambulance - Life Saving Awards: Recipients Recognize/
Howie Morash Dec'd. - Family Sympathy Extend, Mr. J. DeWolfe 3639
Vote - Affirmative 3640
Res. 1787, Nat. Res. - Nat. Gas: Gas Distributors-Gov't. (N.S.) -
Cooperate, Mr. G. Archibald 3640
Res. 1788, Justice - Bill C-68: Enforcement - Cost Provide,
Mr. B. Taylor 3641
Res. 1789, Aboriginal Affs. - Chapel Island: Tribal Police Station -
Congrats., Mr. M. Samson 3641
Vote - Affirmative 3642
Res. 1790, Health - Lun. Co.: Wellness Comm. - Support, Mr. M. Baker 3642
Vote - Affirmative 3643
Res. 1791, Educ. - Yar. Co. Museum: Best - Congrats., Mr. J. Leefe 3643
Vote - Affirmative 3643
Res. 1792, NDP (N.S.) - Fin. Measures (1998) Act: Intentions
Misleading - Condemn, Mr. M. Samson 3644
Res. 1793, Sports - Football (Peewee N.S.): Truro Blue Bombers -
Champs. Congrats., Mr. J. Muir 3644
Vote - Affirmative 3645
Res. 1794, Bras d'Or (C.B.) - MP: Resignation - Advise,
Mr. P. MacEwan 3645
Res. 1795, Culture - Short Story (Sara McCann [G.10-Bedford]):
Publication - Congrats., Mr. J. DeWolfe 3646
Vote - Affirmative 3646
Res. 1796, Health - Weymouth: Physician Incentive Package -
Reinstate, Mr. G. Moody 3646
Res. 1797, Educ. - Sydney Academy: Top Debaters (N. America) -
Congrats., Mr. E. Fage 3647
Vote - Affirmative 3648
Res. 1798, Nazerene Church (Oxford): Anniv. (96th) - Congrats.,
Mr. M. Scott 3648
Vote - Affirmative 3649
ORAL QUESTIONS PUT BY MEMBERS:
No. 466, Nat. Res. - Land Sale (St. Margaret's Bay): Armoyan Group -
Veracity, Ms. E. O'Connell 3649
No. 467, Transport. & Pub. Wks. - Survey: Customer Satisfaction -
Need, Mr. G. Archibald 3650
No. 468, Transport. & Pub. Wks. - Hwy. No. 101: Twinning - Plans,
Mr. W. Estabrooks 3651
No. 469, Commun. Serv. - Women's Centres: Budget - Adequacy,
Mr. J. Muir 3652
No. 470, Transport. & Pub. Wks. - Road Improvement: Prioritization -
Subjectivity, Mr. W. Estabrooks 3653
No. 471, Nat. Res. - Logging Illegal: Law - Apply, Mr. B. Taylor 3654
No. 472, Transport. & Pub. Wks. - Hwy. No. 103: Shel. Co. (Section) -
Condition, Mr. W. Estabrooks 3655
No. 473, Transport. & Pub. Wks. - Shel. Co.: Welshtown &
Upper Clyde Rds. - Paving, Mr. W. Estabrooks 3656
No. 474, Lbr. - Logging: Workers' Comp. Premiums - Ensure,
Mr. M. Baker 3657
No. 475, Transport. & Pub. Wks. - Yarmouth: Canaan Rd. - Priority,
Mr. John Deveau 3658
No. 476, Health - QE II Health Sc. Ctr.: Funds Future - Access,
Dr. J. Hamm 3659
No. 477, Transport. & Pub. Wks.: Williams St. (East Preston) -
Condition, Ms. Y. Atwell 3660
No. 478, Health - Long-Term Care Workers: Strike (C.B.) -
Care Adequacy, Dr. J. Hamm 3661
No. 479, Transport. & Pub. Wks. - Hwy. No. 376 (Pictou Co.):
Truck Traffic - Eliminate, Mr. C. Parker 3662
No. 480, Educ. - Infrastructure: Capital Construction - Sufficiency,
Mr. E. Fage 3663
No. 481, Transport. & Pub. Wks.: Route 223 (C.B.) - Priority,
Ms. Helen MacDonald 3664
No. 482, Transport. & Pub. Wks.: Trunk 12 (Chester Basin/New Ross) -
Priority, Dr. H. Bitter-Suermann 3665
No. 483, Transport. & Pub. Wks.: Cobequid Pass - Toll Increases,
Mr. M. Scott 3666
No. 484, Transport. & Pub. Wks.: Secondary Roads (Rural) -
Deterioration, Ms. Maureen MacDonald 3667
No. 485, Health - Foundations: Contributions - Valuable, Mr. M. Baker 3668
No. 486, Aboriginal Affs. - Forestry: Discussions - Inclusion, Mr. J. Holm 3669
HOUSE RESOLVED INTO CWH ON BILLS AT 4:08 P.M. 3671
HOUSE RECONVENED AT 4:32 P.M. 3671
CWH REPORTS 3671
PUBLIC BILLS FOR SECOND READING:
No. 43, Public Archives Act 3671
Hon. R. Harrison 3671
Mr. J. Holm 3674
Mr. J. Leefe 3675
Mr. H. Epstein 3676
Hon. R. Harrison 3680
Vote - Affirmative 3680
No. 58, Cemeteries Protection Act 3681
Hon. R. Harrison 3681
Vote - Affirmative 3682
No. 65, Endangered Species Act 3682
Hon. Manning MacDonald 3682
Mr. H. Epstein 3683
Mr. J. DeWolfe 3684
Mr. J. Leefe 3685
Hon. K. MacAskill 3686
Vote - Affirmative 3686
PRIVATE AND LOCAL BILLS FOR SECOND READING:
No. 3, Nova Scotia Music Teachers' Act 3687
Mr. H. Epstein 3687
Vote - Affirmative 3687
HOUSE RESOLVED INTO CWH ON BILLS AT 5:28 P.M. 3687
HOUSE RECONVENED AT 5:31 P.M. 3688
CWH REPORTS 3688
ADJOURNMENT, House rose to meet again on Fri., Nov. 13th at 9:00 a.m. 3688

[Page 3613]

HALIFAX, THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 12, 1998

Fifty-seventh General Assembly

First Session

2:00 P.M.

SPEAKER

Hon. Ronald Russell

DEPUTY SPEAKER

Mr. Donald Chard

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

The honourable member for Kings North.

MR. GEORGE ARCHIBALD: I would like, today, to take an opportunity to introduce some guests that we have in the west gallery. The reason the guests are with us today is with concern to the petition on Highway No. 101. So, Mr. Speaker, I would like to introduce to you and to all members of the Legislature: Anne Cameron and Joan Tracy; Hantsport Fire Chief Don MacNeil; Hantsport Mayor Wayne Folker; West Hants Warden Richard Dauphinee; West Hants Councillor Fred Horne; Windsor Mayor Maxine Whynot; the CAO of the Town of Hantsport, Jeff Lawrence; and our MP Scott Brison is also with us today. I would ask those people to rise and we will give them the welcome of the Legislature. (Applause)

PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS

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

HON. CLIFFORD HUSKILSON: Mr. Speaker, before I begin, I, too, want to welcome this group from the Annapolis Valley here to the Legislature today.

3613

[Page 3614]

Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to table three petitions signed by the people of the Annapolis Valley and many other Nova Scotians on the matter of urgent need to twin Highway No. 101. I have affixed my signature to the petitions for tabling purposes and I would like to add that the names on these petitions total over 12,000.

MR. SPEAKER: The petitions are tabled.

PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES

TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS

STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Economic Development and Tourism.

HON. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I would like to draw the House's attention to a momentous economic achievement that brings significant benefits to the entire province. As Minister of Economic Development and Tourism, I had the honour of participating in the 21st Annual Tourism Conference and Trade Show two days ago. While there, I had the privilege of celebrating an achievement that speaks volumes about the strength of the tourism industry in this province, a performance that once again earns us the position as leaders in Atlantic Canada. I am referring to the tourism industry's revenues for 1998, revenues that will reach $1.1 billion. It is a performance that makes 1998 the industry's most successful year ever.

Mr. Speaker, tourism creates jobs for some 33,800 Nova Scotians with a payroll of about $430 million. These jobs are filled by people in every village, town and city across the province and the opportunities enable community economic development to thrive. Let's also not forget that tourism is a significant export industry with almost half of this $1 billion revenue coming from outside the province and, of course, all Nova Scotians share in the benefits of a booming tourism industry. This year's revenue adds up to $105 million in provincial and municipal taxes, money that is needed for our schools and our health care system.

This year's record performance can be attributed to many factors, not the least of which is a strong partnership that exists within the tourism industry: partnerships with communities; governments and tourism association throughout the region; with provincial staff and sector organizations; partnerships with transportation carriers and tour operators; with media and travel agents from all over the world.

Of course, Mr. Speaker, all our efforts would be vain if it were not for the thousands of tourism operators and all Nova Scotians who go out of their way to make visitors feel at home. I am talking about the entrepreneurs who take the risks and the people they employ.

[Page 3615]

I am also talking the service providers and members of the general public whose personal actions and pride have given us a world-renowned reputation for hospitality. The strength of our industry comes from many different sources and this widespread base of support continues to grow.

That is why, Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the provincial government, I wish to thank all those who have help to make 1998 another stellar year for the industry. The spirit of cooperation, which is so much a part of our Nova Scotian character, is no more strongly demonstrated than in the tourism sector. We can take great pride in this cooperative approach, one that serves Nova Scotians well as we work together to grow tourism for the next millennium. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Citadel.

MR. PETER DELEFES: Mr. Speaker, I was pleased to attend the annual tourism conference and trade show these past few days. I was present for the minister's statement and also for the Tourism Partnership Council's marketing proposal for 1999; indeed, a very impressive achievement: a 5 per cent increase in tourism revenues from last year's; $1.1 billion in revenues; some 33,800 jobs created in the tourism industry in this province with over 1 million tourists visiting our province.

It certainly has been a great boon to economic development in this province. There is still continued potential for growth, particularly in the shoulder season and in the off-season, and we will support any and all efforts to continue the impressive growth in our tourism industry. Thank you. (Applause)

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

DR. JOHN HAMM: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to respond to the minister's statement. I, too, wish to add my congratulations to the thousands of Nova Scotians who participate in the tourism industry here in Nova Scotia.

I must remind the members of the Assembly, we have only yet started to scratch the surface in terms of tourism potential in this province. We cannot let ourselves be deluded. The reason we had such a good season this year are fourfold: number one, a 65 cent Canadian dollar; number two, the amount of traffic that was generated in Yarmouth because of the introduction of the catamaran service there to Bar Harbor; number three, the increase in tourism in Prince Edward Island because of the link and we get the natural overflow in the northern end of the province by Northumberland Ferries; and, as well, the interest generated in Nova Scotia by the move, Titanic. That is why tourism increased in Nova Scotia, this year, so dramatically and it is not an opportunity for government and the Department of Economic Development and Tourism to take a bow.

[Page 3616]

For example, three weeks ago, I attended a meeting in Pictou, attended by Premier Pat Binns who was trying to generate interest in Northumberland Ferries and a third ferry. The interest in that became obvious when one of the ferries broke down and we actually had single-ferry service for weeks and weeks at the end of the tourism season with Prince Edward Island. We are looking for a third ferry as a back-up to that service and we will require the support of this government to encourage Ottawa to fulfil it commitment and to have an adequate service, and we will be looking for the support of this government for that initiative.

It was interesting that we had that important meeting and the Premier of Prince Edward Island felt it important enough that he would come to that and try to boost tourism at the eastern end of Prince Edward Island, and not a single government official from this government (Interruptions) and not a single representative from the Department of Economic Development and Tourism attended that meeting in Pictou on that particular occasion.

What we need here, Mr. Speaker, is a full-time Ministry of Tourism to build that $1.1 billion industry into something even greater, because we will not always have the benefit of a low Canadian dollar and the benefit of the movie, Titanic, and the novelty of the link and the Cat will wear off. We need a more aggressive promotion by government in association with the tourism industry to really fulfil the potential we have here for tourism in Nova Scotia. Thank you. (Applause)

[2:15 p.m.]

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

HON. CLIFFORD HUSKILSON: Mr. Speaker, I rise today to draw the attention of the House to the petitions I have tabled, calling for the twinning of Highway No. 101. The twinning of Highway No. 101 is a top priority for the Department of Transportation and Public Works. Four lane, wide median divided highways are safer. That is why I want to see Highway No. 101 and all 100-Series Highways twinned.

These days, infrastructure money is scarce. We have to choose our priorities carefully and objectively. We need to set these priorities using all relevant data, but it is imperative that safety remain our first concern.

Today the province cannot afford to borrow money for these projects as was done in the past. We must be responsible and pay as we go. We must focus on creating the environment to help our economy grow and create the wealth that can help pay for the things that Nova Scotians deserve. There is another important part of this equation. We must ensure our federal partners live up to their commitments. The federal government has a responsibility to the national highway system and Highway No. 101 is part of that network.

[Page 3617]

I went to Kentville in July to ask for help from the people of the Annapolis Valley to bring the issue of Highway No. 101 twinning to the attention of the federal minister. The response has been tremendous. Thousands of signatures that are before us are the proof of that. I have received copies of letters to Minister Collenette from local officials, business people, firefighters and ordinary citizens alike who are all concerned about the safety of Highway No. 101.

These petitions represent a groundswell of support for this project. I want to especially thank, Anne Cameron and Joan Tracy of the Twin to Win Committee, who have devoted so much time and effort to keep this issue on the front burner. I also want to thank Warden Peter Terauds for his efforts on two other petitions on this issue. I also want to thank, Dr. Ian Verryn-Stewart, a physician in the Annapolis Valley who has been outspoken on this issue and knows the value of solid infrastructure. To each person who demonstrated concern by signing their name in support of Highway No. 101 safety, I also give my thanks. These efforts, the letters and the petitions, help me do a more effective job. They provide me with more ammunition to fight the infrastructure funding.

Safe, modern highways that support economic development are not luxuries, they are necessities. I understand this and the people of the Annapolis Valley understand this. Now we must make the federal government understand this. Twice I have met with the federal minister and asked for the renewal of the highway improvement cost-sharing agreements. On both occasions, I spoke about the urgent need for Highway No. 101 twinning. These petitions demonstrate that this is not about the will of politicians, it is the will of the people.

Mr. Speaker, I have added my name to these petitions and I call on all members of this House to do the same. Minister Collenette will certainly receive copies of these petitions to make sure he gets our message. We won't give up the fight for safer highways in Nova Scotia. Thank you.

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

MR. WILLIAM ESTABROOKS: Mr. Speaker, I, too, wish to offer my congratulations to that active committee, the Twin to Win Committee; the doctors; the various municipal politicians; and the federal Member of Parliament. In particular, I wish to congratulate the volunteer firemen and the fire chief, who met with our caucus this summer and outlined some of the traumatic type of accidents that these men and women have to respond to.

It is so interesting to note that twice the minister has spoken to his federal counterpart and that petition is of great importance. Yet, the minister must do his job. We have been told many times that when you vote in this province it is of a great value to elect a Liberal MLA, because they will work with Liberal Members of Parliament to speak to a Liberal Prime Minister or a Liberal Cabinet Minister about various concerns. It seems to me, the minister is not doing his job. (Applause) I make no apologies for the fact that I am sure that the

[Page 3618]

member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley, beautiful Musquodoboit Valley, and myself, we would certainly, as an all-Party group, do anything possible to help with the absolute necessity of putting this at the top of the priority list, but I have never been asked. I don't believe in the all-cooperation of this House that we have been asked to step forward and make this an all-Party approach, and that is what is needed. That is what is the concern. (Applause)

The final point I am very concerned about is safety as the winter approaches. This is not a time for scare tactics, this is the time for commitment. Mr. Minister, I offer my services personally and the services of this caucus. We must do everything possible to make sure that the Minister of Transport in Ottawa is aware that we have a potential disaster on our hands in this province. Thank you. (Applause)

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

MR. BROOKE TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, I want to commend the Minister of Transportation and Public Works for his statement. I also want to thank the minister for providing me with a copy of his ministerial statement well in advance of actually coming to the House here this afternoon. It was appreciated, and in fact, it is a welcome change.

There is no question that our road system is critical to this province's economic future, as well as the everyday safety of our motorists. I want to commend the people that initiated and, of course, signed the petitions. I know that that was quite a task, and the people that are here today in our gallery are very concerned about safety on Highway No. 101.

A twinned highway, no question, is safer. Wouldn't it be nice if we could twin all our highways, but the fact of the matter is that we can't do that. The federal government has essentially closed the door on Nova Scotia relative to provincial-federal highway agreements. The Minister of Transportation, back on August 6th, went to Ottawa and spent barely an hour speaking with his federal counterpart, the Honourable David Collenette. I don't think an hour is enough to discuss the Shelburne Ferry situation, the Port of Halifax, the Halifax International Airport, and twinning of Highway No. 101.

The minister and a contingent, whether it is an all-Party committee, which perhaps has merit, or perhaps a committee of people from the Annapolis Valley, should continue to work with the people in the Annapolis Valley area to ensure that this does remain a top priority. We also must ensure that the Chretien Liberals in Ottawa understand that we are sick and tired of the federal government siphoning off millions and millions of dollars on an annual basis by way of the 10 cents Federal Fuel Excise Tax. This year alone, Ottawa will extract something like $130 million from the Province of Nova Scotia through the Federal Fuel Excise Tax.

Mr. Speaker, they put back barely a trifle; it is hardly worth mentioning what Ottawa puts back. In fact, we had a federal government Order in Council that indicated that Ottawa is only going to spend $2.5 million by way of a federal-provincial arrangement, whether it is

[Page 3619]

the Strategic Highway Improvement Program or whatever. Ottawa is only committing to spend $2.5 million in this province, this fiscal year.

AN HON. MEMBER: Shame.

MR. TAYLOR: That is a shame. Ottawa is failing the Province of Nova Scotia, and when we had 11 Members of Parliament from the Red Team in Ottawa, they still failed us. I commend the member, the federal PC member, Scott Brison, from Kings Hants, because he too is working on behalf of the Highway No. 101 twinning committee.

Mr. Speaker, the Progressive Conservative Provincial Caucus sent letters to the NDP, the federal Party - they have replied in a favourable manner - the Progressive Conservatives are working. I know the Minister of Transportation is very concerned about this matter, but the fact of the matter is Ottawa has closed the door. It has closed the door and that is reprehensible.

By way of closing, Mr. Speaker, I do want to state that this year alone, something to think about, the Province of Nova Scotia will bring in $21 million more through road taxes than they are going to spend on the highways in this province. That is not Ottawa. This is the province. We were pleased to introduce legislation back on October 27th, Bill No. 48, Highway Construction and Maintenance Act, that will see the equivalent of the monies brought in through road tax spent on the highways in Nova Scotia. So I ask the Finance Minister, I ask the Premier, and I implore the Minister of Transportation to keep getting Ottawa's ear because Ottawa has to help us twin some of these highways. Thank you. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings North. You are speaking as . . .

MR. GEORGE ARCHIBALD: As a member living along Highway No. 101 who depends on Highway No. 101 for transportation. Am I permitted to speak? Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the minister providing us with a copy but the second line I have a problem with, "The twinning of Highway No. 101 is a top priority . . .". It cannot be a top priority. The Highway No. 101 twinning must be the top priority and this government must realize that. There are 12,000 people who have signed petitions. The minister indicated, "I went to Kentville in July to ask for help . . .".

Listen, Mr. Speaker, this is not fantasy land. This is Nova Scotia politics. The minister went to Kentville in July on the invitation of the people. Anne Cameron and Joan Tracy were starting a petition. He was kind enough to come but he did not come asking for their help. They said you need our help and we are going to give it to you, Mr. Minister, and you better

[Page 3620]

do something with it and they are here today with 12,000 names. Anne Cameron and Joan Tracy have worked diligently all summer.

HON. MANNING MACDONALD: As Government House Leader, Mr. Speaker, yes, on a point of order, this is clearly a departure from precedent.

MR. SPEAKER: No.

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Are we going to be in a position, Mr. Speaker, where we have every member of the House speaking on ministerial statements or one representative from each Party, is all I am asking?

MR. SPEAKER: On a ministerial statement that affects a specific area, the resident member can speak as well as the critic for that particular area and that has always been the case in this House.

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: What I suggest to you then, is there going to be a time limit on this or . . .

MR. SPEAKER: The time limit is dictated by the length of time that the minister takes to give his notice.

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: That is the original response from the Opposition or the Third Party, every response from somebody who is connected with those two Parties, an equal amount of time, is that what you are saying?

MR. SPEAKER: There is normally only going to be the two people, as the critic and the person whose riding is affected by the ministerial statement.

MR. ARCHIBALD: Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the intervention of the Government House Leader because it does clear up why more than one member is allowed to speak.

There are 13,300 cars a day, Mr. Speaker, on the busiest highway in Nova Scotia. This government must look at some of the new techniques and the new technology involved in road construction in both California and in Maine. They are not doing that. An infrastructure program is needed in Nova Scotia and we do not have one. We must make Highway No. 101 the priority of this government. I appreciate the minister's statement but the proof of the pudding is in the eating and the proof of the road is in the driving. (Applause)

GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Agriculture.

[Page 3621]

RESOLUTION NO. 1760

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

Whereas at the recent Tourism Industry Annual Conference, Anita Murphy MacLellan, of Economy, won an award for Distinguished Service and Excellence in the field of Adventure Tourism and Recreation for her excellent work at the West Colchester Community Development Association; and

Whereas Ms. Murphy MacLellan has been a leader in the West Colchester focus on eco-tourism; and

Whereas she has worked on numerous projects in the area, including the Cobequid Interpretation Centre, the World War II Observation Tower, the Londondery Heritage Park and the Economy Clan Festival;

Therefore be it resolved that this House recognize Anita Murphy MacLellan for winning this award and for her work on behalf of the tourism in West Colchester, Nova Scotia.

Mr. Speaker, I ask for waiver.

[2:30 p.m.]

MR. SPEAKER: I don't know if that really comes under the order of the Department of Agriculture; however, I will put the question.

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 Natural Resources.

RESOLUTION NO. 1761

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

[Page 3622]

Whereas the Nova Scotia Liquor Commission has played a very important role since 1980 with fund-raising efforts for the IWK-Grace Health Centre; and

Whereas in the last decade alone, over $600,000 has been raised for the IWK-Grace Health Centre by dedicated staff and customers of the Nova Scotia Liquor Commission toward this very worthy cause; and

Whereas in addition to participation with the IWK, the Nova Scotia Liquor Commission remains an active participant in other important charitable activities around the province, such as the Children's Wish Foundation and the United Way;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House join me in recognizing the valuable contribution which the Liquor Commission makes not only to provincial revenues, but to many social causes across Nova Scotia and, at the same time, join me in thanking the many customers who contribute to this charitable fund-raising.

Mr. Speaker, I ask for waiver.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Labour.

RESOLUTION NO. 1762

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

Whereas a severe storm struck our province yesterday, bringing high winds and heavy rains; and

Whereas the storm knocked down trees, causing power outages and clogged storm sewers, resulting in flooding and hazardous driving conditions; and

[Page 3623]

Whereas provincial and civic workers, along with employees of Nova Scotia Power and members of local police forces and the RCMP once again responded to restore services and safety;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House thank these Nova Scotians for their extra work effort put forth to make life better for those around them.

Mr. Speaker, I ask for waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

INTRODUCTION OF BILLS

NOTICES OF MOTION

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Fairview.

RESOLUTION NO. 1763

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

Whereas on Tuesday, November 10th, Hetty Adams was welcomed by Springvale and Clarence A. Becket Schools; and

Whereas she welcomed both schools into the Nova Scotia League of Peaceful Schools, which now numbers 102 member schools; and

Whereas the League of Peaceful Schools helps schools promote non-violent behaviour;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate Hetty Adams of the League of Peaceful Schools and both Springvale and Clarence A. Becket Schools for their efforts to encourage peaceable solutions to conflict in a sometimes violent world.

Mr. Speaker, I seek waiver.

[Page 3624]

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 Kings North.

RESOLUTION NO. 1764

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

Whereas the Minister of Transportation and Public Works, and through him this Legislature, has been presented with a petition today by the Twin to Win Highway 101 Committee, with nearly 7,000 names requesting the resumption of the twinning of Highway No. 101; and

Whereas this petition has the support of mayors, wardens, fire chiefs and departments, and citizens from communities across the Annapolis Valley; and

Whereas the Twin to Win Highway 101 Committee, headed by Joan Tracy and Anne Cameron of Kentville, has worked many long hours to bring the importance of the twinning of Highway No. 101 to the attention of the Minister of Transportation;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of the Legislature recognize both Joan Tracy and Anne Cameron for their dedication and hard work in bringing the importance of twinning this highway to the public's attention, while enhancing the issue of safety on one of the province's most travelled stretches of highway.

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.

[Page 3625]

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Cape Breton The Lakes.

RESOLUTION NO. 1765

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

Whereas Tarabish has been a card game enjoyed by Cape Bretoners for decades; and

Whereas innovative Cape Bretoners have designed their Tarabish cards depicting the cultural and historic uniqueness of Cape Breton; and

Whereas Tarabish continues to provide hours of fun and enjoyment to a community that is often dealt a poor hand;

Therefore be it resolved that this Legislature recognize Tarabish as the Official Card Game of Cape Breton.

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 Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party.

RESOLUTION NO. 1766

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

Whereas the QE II has a $30 million operating line of credit with the Bank of Montreal that will be exhausted in a matter of weeks; and

[Page 3626]

Whereas according to the new CEO of the QE II, the options are to cut services or to appeal to the Department of Health for ongoing operating funds; and

Whereas the Minister of Health refuses to state what plans are in place to maintain services at the QE II once the operating line of credit with the bank runs dry;

Therefore be it resolved that instead of lashing out at the Opposition for what he claims is fear-mongering, the Minister of Health respond to the funding crisis facing the QE II by clearly stating where the money to operate the hospital will come from once the line of credit is exhausted.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable Minister of Economic Development and Tourism.

RESOLUTION NO. 1767

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

Whereas Cape Breton Island is world renown for its beauty and hospitable atmosphere; and

Whereas it is the people who clearly make Cape Breton Island the most beautiful in the world; and

Whereas this fact has been confirmed in the prestigious Conde Nast Traveler magazine where Cape Breton won the favourite Island category, beating out such world destinations as Maui, Bermuda, Kauai and Bali;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House applaud the people of Cape Breton for making it the most beautiful Island in the World.

Mr. Speaker, I seek waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

[Page 3627]

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Sackville-Cobequid.

RESOLUTION NO. 1768

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

Whereas on Sunday, the salmon counter on the Sackville River was officially opened by the Sackville Rivers Association; and

Whereas 199 salmon have been counted to date this year on the Sackville River and salmon have been observed spawning on the Little Sackville River, which demonstrates the success of the Sackville Rivers Association's efforts; and

Whereas on the occasion of its 10th Anniversary, the Sackville Rivers Association was praised by all speakers at last Sunday's ceremony as a leader in aquatic life protection and river restoration;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate and thank the Sackville Rivers Association's volunteers and their private and government partners on a job well done.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Queens.

RESOLUTION NO. 1769

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

[Page 3628]

Whereas the NDP Finance Critic Monday night said he would vote against the Financial Measures (1998) Act but did a complete about-face within minutes of those statements; and

Whereas the NDP Finance Critic later fudged that he wasn't sure what he had said during debate on the Financial Measures (1998) Act; and

Whereas the NDP Finance Critic's superlative rhetoric and contradictory action has apparently left even him in a state of dazed confusion;

Therefore be it resolved that the NDP Finance Critic admit that his hollow political posturing has created a credibility problem for him and consequently for his lawn ornament Leader and servile caucus colleagues.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable Minister of Natural Resources.

RESOLUTION NO. 1770

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

Whereas Bell Bay Golf Course located at Baddeck, Victoria County, has received the prestigious honour of winning Golf Digest magazine's Best New Golf Course in Canada Award for 1998; and

Whereas the decision was made by a 700 member panel taking into consideration evaluations based on shot values, playability, design balance, aesthetics and memorability including the breathtaking scenery on every hole overlooking the Bras d'Or Lakes; and

Whereas this award naming the Bell Bay Golf Course highly compliments another world-class golf destination in my riding, that being the Highland Links Golf Course in Ingonish, which held the honour last year as the top public golf course in Canada;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House join me in extending congratulations to the owners, operators and designers of both the Bell Bay and Highland Links Golf Courses and also recognize that Cape Breton is continuing to grow as a sought-after golf destination for both golf pros and enthusiasts.

Mr. Speaker, I ask for waiver.

[Page 3629]

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 South.

RESOLUTION NO. 1771

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

Whereas the senior high boys and girls soccer teams of the Halifax Grammar School have both won their respective Division 4 provincial championships this year; and

Whereas the goalie of the girls' team, Alexa Smith, is the daughter of a member of the House; and

Whereas Miss Smith distinguished herself with two consecutive shutouts at the championships;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate the Halifax Grammar School's soccer teams on their achievements.

Mr. Speaker, I request 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 Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party.

[Page 3630]

RESOLUTION NO. 1772

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

Whereas the Liberals promised that municipal amalgamation would improve service, reduce costs and lower taxes but the opposite has happened; and

Whereas the Liberals promised that school board amalgamation would save $11 million and improve classroom services but the opposite has happened; and

Whereas the Liberals claimed that the merger of four of metro's health care institutions would result in better care and reduced costs but the opposite has happened;

Therefore be it resolved that the Liberals, who have subjected Nova Scotians to deep and unrelenting cuts in health care, education and transportation enter their claim to being fiscally responsible and prudent managers into the latest edition of Ripley's Believe It Or Not.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Guysborough-Port Hawkesbury.

RESOLUTION NO. 1773

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

Whereas on Tuesday night at the World Trade and Convention Centre, the Academy Awards of Nova Scotia's tourism industry were held; and

Whereas this awards ceremony is held to recognize the significant contribution that various sectors of the industry have made to promote tourism in this province; and

Whereas the Stan Rogers Folk Festival, held annually in Canso, was the winner of the Award of Excellence in the Events and Conferences category;

Therefore be it resolved that this House commend Troy Greencorn, Chairman of the Stan Rogers Folk Festival, and the over 400 volunteers who helped to make the festival a success and wish them well and continued good fortune with future festivals.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver.

[Page 3631]

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 Timberlea-Prospect.

RESOLUTION NO. 1774

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

Whereas the excellent provincial park in Lewis Lake is now closed for the season; and

Whereas this park is used by residents year-round; and

Whereas the Department of Natural Resources staff has conscientiously provided quality service in this wonderful facility;

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Natural Resources congratulate department staff for their efforts at Lewis Lake Provincial Park.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Truro-Bible Hill.

[Page 3632]

RESOLUTION NO. 1775

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

Whereas Nova Scotia is the only province in Canada in which subsidies for children are assigned to a centre as opposed to a child; and

Whereas in the Truro area the centre with the greatest number of subsidized space has a waiting list of over 200; and

Whereas because of the lack of access to subsidized day care, many mothers who receive benefits from Community Services cannot afford to go to work;

Therefore be it resolved that the Department of Community Services revisit its policy of child care support with a view to increasing subsidization and attaching the subsidy to a child and not a space.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

[2:45 p.m.]

The honourable member for Halifax Bedford Basin.

RESOLUTION NO. 1776

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

Whereas the Maersk shipping line has announced that a second port-Panamax vessel will visit the Port of Halifax next year; and

Whereas this would seem to confirm that Halifax is indeed an attractive port for handling the lucrative post-Panamax business; and

Whereas recent reports indicate that Maersk-Sealand may choose more than one port to handle their East Coast post-Panamax cargo needs;

Therefore be it resolved that this House understand Halifax is well-suited to take advantage of the changing needs of shipping companies and will certainly be a major player in the next generation of super-ports, which will have a positive economic impact on all of Nova Scotia.

[Page 3633]

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 Dartmouth-Cole Harbour.

RESOLUTION NO. 1777

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

Whereas Kristen Clark has won the 1998 Tommy Douglas Scholarship; and

Whereas the award is given each year to one student who is a child of a National Union member who writes an essay on Tommy Douglas; and

Whereas Kristen's essay, Tommy Douglas; How he Contributed to Making Canada a More Just and Equitable Society, focused on how Tommy Douglas held firmly to his values and ideals while successfully leading Saskatchewan to economic prosperity;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate Kristen Clark on her achievement and wish her every success in her studies at Acadia University.

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.

[Page 3634]

The honourable member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley.

RESOLUTION NO. 1778

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

Whereas the member for Inverness was huffing and puffing in this Legislature Tuesday concerning the release of a survey on the Margaree Harbour Bridge being made public by the Department of Transportation and Public Works; and

Whereas before too much huffing and puffing is done concerning the release of this report, the member should also recognize the concern expressed in the November 5th letter from the Municipality of Inverness to the Minister of Transportation and Public Works, about the deplorable condition of roads; and

Whereas the Progressive Conservative caucus has brought forth a policy informing Nova Scotians how rural and secondary roads will be maintained and not allowed to be reduced to the shape they are presently in;

Therefore be it resolved that the member for Inverness encourage members of his own Liberal Party to bring forth a policy paper on how roads will be repaired and maintained in this province, while possibly saving himself the embarrassment of any more letters depicting the deplorable state of roads within his own constituency.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Antigonish.

RESOLUTION NO. 1779

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

Whereas Senator Al Graham recently announced the federal government will provide over $340,000 for a program to promote literacy for Nova Scotia women; and

Whereas this project, in association with Women for Economic Equality Society, will give literacy organizations new materials to help women learners understand their contribution to the community; and

Whereas this project in Nova Scotia will provide a document that will be used in community-based learning programs across Canada;

[Page 3635]

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate the Nova Scotia women who will be taking part in this program because they recognize that strong literacy skills are associated with employment stability, better income and access to knowledge-based jobs.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Pictou West.

RESOLUTION NO. 1780

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 Minister of Agriculture always claims that agriculture is the backbone of Nova Scotia's economy; and

Whereas the minister says he stands up for all Nova Scotia farmers; and

Whereas the minister has total disregard for Valley farmers in their plight regarding the closure of the Middleton grain centre;

Therefore be it resolved that this House condemn the minister for his lack of advocacy and for abdicating his responsibility to farmers in the Annapolis Valley.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

[Page 3636]

The honourable member for Cumberland South.

RESOLUTION NO. 1781

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

Whereas Bill C-251 was recently introduced in Parliament by the Liberal MP for Mississauga East; and

Whereas Bill C-251 would provide for the imposition of consecutive sentences where a person commits more than one offence during the same event; and

Whereas as an example, this bill would mean that when an individual is sentenced to 10 years for second degree murder and 6 years for sexual assault, time served would be consecutive, not concurrent, and therefore equal 16 years;

Therefore be it resolved that the Liberal Government of Nova Scotia urge their federal cousins to support Bill No. C-251 and the measures it takes to ensure that horrific crimes committed against innocent parties are addressed in full.

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

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

Is it agreed?

I hear a No.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Inverness.

RESOLUTION NO. 1782

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

Whereas according to a report by the Business Council of British Columbia, the B.C. economy has lost ground to other provinces at a rapid rate because of NDP Government policy; and

[Page 3637]

Whereas the report says the B.C. forest industry is in crisis because of high taxes and burdensome regulations; and

Whereas similar reports from the Atlantic Provinces Economic Council points to a booming economy in Nova Scotia that will continue well into the next century;

Therefore be it resolved that this House recognize that NDP economic policies are misguided with dangerous long-term implications, while the policies of this Liberal Government have proven successful at creating jobs and stability for Nova Scotia.

Mr. Speaker, I would 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 Sackville-Beaver Bank.

RESOLUTION NO. 1783

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

Whereas housing prices continue to climb; and

Whereas provincial incomes are not increasing at the same rate as housing prices; and

Whereas home ownership is tied into healthy communities in many ways;

Therefore be it resolved that the Department of Housing and Municipal Affairs make more of an effort to meet with and encourage those in the private sector who are willing to engage in the development of non-profit housing in this province.

Mr. Speaker, I would ask for waiver.

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

Is it agreed?

[Page 3638]

I hear a No.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Cumberland North.

RESOLUTION NO. 1784

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

Whereas approximately 7,000 full-time seats are presently available at community colleges across Nova Scotia; and

Whereas despite these 7,000 seats, the Nova Scotia Community College receives 15,000-17,000 applications annually for entrance into the community college system; and

Whereas the reduction in federal funding in the next fiscal year could see the number of Nova Scotia Community College seats reduced to 5,000, while the number of campuses could be reduced from 13 to 8, unless the Liberal Government steps in and provides the necessary funding;

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Education and Culture not allow the great contributions being brought forth by the Nova Scotia Community College system to be stripped to its knees once again as originally done by this Liberal Government in 1994.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Kings West.

RESOLUTION NO. 1785

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

Whereas the Run for the Cure in Halifax has raised more than $240,000 in support of breast cancer research; and

Whereas some 250 staff and family members from the QE II Health Sciences Centre are the recipients of the CIBC Corporate Spirit Award for the largest amount of money raised by a corporation, $15,000; and

[Page 3639]

Whereas an individual team lead by Marsha Hurshman, a nurse at the QE II Health Sciences Centre and a breast cancer survivor, won the Team Excellence Award for the most money raised by a family or community team in excess of $5,000;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this house recognize and thank Marsha Hurshman, the staff and family members of the QE II Health Sciences Centre teams and everyone who donated money, raised funds, volunteered and participated in the Run for the Cure.

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 Pictou East.

RESOLUTION NO. 1786

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

Whereas the annual St. John Ambulance Life Saving Award ceremony was held Saturday at St. Mary's Basilica to honour six Nova Scotians for their individual acts of selflessness, bravery and courage; and

Whereas awards went sent to Jerome Holland and Brian Frausell, of Halifax; the late Howard Sidney Morash, of Cole Harbour; Eric John Meredith, of Halifax; and Richard Thomas and Audrey Leadbetter, members of the 448 Halifax St. John Ambulance Brigade; and

Whereas all recipients are to be congratulated, however, special mention must be made to the late Howard Morash, who drowned while saving the life of his good friend, David Cameron;

[Page 3640]

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House recognize these courageous people, all motivated by their desire to save the life of another, and extend sympathies to Mr. Morash's wife, Deborah, their two children, Kerri and Jason; and Mr. Morash's parents, Allison and Muriel Morash.

Mr. Speaker, I ask for waiver.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Kings North.

RESOLUTION NO. 1787

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

Whereas the Petroleum Directorate said there would be no further natural gas bypass sales; and

Whereas the Premier indicated there would continue to be bypass sales approved by Cabinet for industrial users; and

Whereas the potential gas distributors need to know government policy relating to the bypass, whether there will or there will not be bypasses for industrial users;

Therefore be it resolved that the Government of Nova Scotia work with the gas distributors and not against future domestic distribution and make a clear and understandable policy regarding bypass sales.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley.

[Page 3641]

RESOLUTION NO. 1788

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

Whereas this Liberal Government has continually said the new firearms control legislation will not cost the Province of Nova Scotia one cent; and

Whereas despite these public comments, recent information provided to the Progressive Conservative caucus from the Department of Justice indicates that court costs as a result of any charges under Bill C-68 will be strictly a provincial responsibility; and

Whereas the information also indicated that Nova Scotia's Provincial Firearms Office has added eight new employees to assist in the transition and initial operational period once Bill C-68 comes into force on December 1st;

Therefore be it resolved that the Premier and his Minister of Justice provide explicit detail to the thousands of Nova Scotians opposed to Bill C-68 as to how many of their provincial tax dollars will be used against them in the enforcement of this federal legislation.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Richmond.

RESOLUTION NO. 1789

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

Whereas Chapel Island recently celebrated the official opening of the Unama'ki Tribal Police Station; and

Whereas this new police station is another step in the goal of providing policing and justice that is responsive to the particular needs of the First Nations peoples of Cape Breton; and

Whereas as Chapel Island Chief Lindsey Marshall stated, the police act as a role model for the community, and the new police station ". . . is a place to start good things";

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate the people of Chapel Island on the opening of their new tribal police station and wish them luck for the positive steps they are taking to build a proud community.

[Page 3642]

Mr. Speaker, I request 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 member for Lunenburg.

RESOLUTION NO. 1790

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

Whereas the attitude, if it ain't broke, don't fix it, is common among seniors, especially men, toward medical check-ups; and

Whereas the Lunenburg County wellness committee intends to hold men's clinics in Bridgewater and Lunenburg this winter, and will conduct future sessions throughout the county if this initiative is successful; and

Whereas because many men are self-conscious about expressing anything related to health and wellness, generating awareness about health-related issues and the importance of regular check-ups is a necessary first step.

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House recognize and support the Lunenburg County wellness committee in their efforts to generate awareness about the importance of regular check-ups.

Mr. Speaker, I seek waiver.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

[Page 3643]

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Queens.

RESOLUTION NO. 1791

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 results of evaluations conducted by the Nova Scotia Museum on the 57 community museums in Nova Scotia have cited the Yarmouth County Museum to be the best; and

Whereas the evaluation focused on the overall museum experience, including the building and surrounding grounds, collections, access to information, presentations and exhibits, administration, and community involvement; and

Whereas the museum board and volunteers are to be commended for the high standards of the Yarmouth County Museum and Archives;

Therefore be it resolved that the House congratulate the museum board and the many volunteers who continue to make the Yarmouth County Museum and Archives an example for all community museums to emulate.

Mr. Speaker, I seek waiver of notice.

[3:00 p.m.]

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Richmond.

[Page 3644]

RESOLUTION NO. 1792

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

Whereas shortly before voting for the Financial Measures (1998) Act the NDP member for Halifax Chebucto went on record as saying, "I won't support this clause or this bill, thank you very much"; and

Whereas on November 4th, a local newspaper quoted the wannabe finance minister as saying neither he nor his Party would vote for the Act, regardless of any amendments; and

Whereas the NDP webpage casts stones at the Liberal Government, saying that Liberals lie when they make commitments and Liberals lie when they make promises;

Therefore be it resolved that this House condemn the NDP for misleading people about their intentions regarding the Financial Measures (1998) Act and encourage the NDP to prove their honesty and integrity by accepting the resignation from caucus of the member for Halifax Chebucto.

Mr. Speaker, I request 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 Truro-Bible Hill.

RESOLUTION NO. 1793

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

Whereas the Truro Blue Bombers won the 1998 Nova Scotia Peewee Football Championship on November 11th; and

Whereas this is the second consecutive year that the Truro Blue Bombers have won the championship; and

[Page 3645]

Whereas the exciting brand of football played by the Blue Bombers drew large crowds and helped firmly establish Friday night football in Truro as an event for young people;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate the players, coaching staff and all others whose efforts and support contributed to the Truro Blue Bombers' championship season.

Mr. Speaker, I ask for waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Cape Breton Nova.

RESOLUTION NO. 1794

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

Whereas the Member of Parliament for Bras d'Or, Cape Breton, Michelle Dockrill, seems to take offence at the very effective representation being given his constituency by the honourable member for Richmond; and

Whereas if Ms. Dockrill were half as effective an elected representative as the honourable member for Richmond, or even a quarter or an eighth as effective, she would be doing very well indeed; and

Whereas the sorry fact is that the current federal MP for Bras d'Or is among the least effective elected representatives to be found anywhere in Canada;

Therefore be it resolved that rather than attacking the highly effective MLA for Richmond, the federal MP for Bras d'Or would be well advised to resign office forthwith so that in an early by-election her constituents might be able to obtain effective representation in the House of Commons.

[Page 3646]

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Pictou East.

RESOLUTION NO. 1795

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

Whereas Snowdrops, a short story written by Sarah McCann, a Grade 10 student from Bedford, has been published in an American anthology of short stories, Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul II; and

Whereas Miss McCann drew upon personal experiences as her inspiration for writing this story about the relationship between a teenage girl and her dying grandmother; and

Whereas this publication is the sequel to the hugely successful first edition that sold 3.5 million copies worldwide and includes contributions from across North America telling inspirational stories about teenage life, love and learning;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Miss McCann for the publication of her inspired literary work and wish this young author every future success.

Mr. Speaker, I ask for waiver.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Kings West.

RESOLUTION NO. 1796

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

[Page 3647]

Whereas the Village of Weymouth has been attempting to recruit a new doctor to serve village residents for many months; and

Whereas a doctor who was willing to establish a practice within the village has been told that Weymouth no longer qualifies for the physician recruitment incentive package; and

Whereas news that Weymouth has been dropped from the list of rural areas in need of a doctor has come as a surprise to the local board of trade and to area residents;

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Health advise the local board of trade when Weymouth was dropped from the list of under serviced areas and further that he immediately reinstate the physician incentive package so that area residents will have reasonable access to physician services.

Mr. Speaker, I would ask for waiver.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear a No.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Cumberland North.

RESOLUTION NO. 1797

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

Whereas two students from Sydney Academy were named North America's top debaters at a competition hosted by McGill University last weekend; and

Whereas 98 teams from across Canada and the northeastern U.S. competed in this year's event; and

Whereas Erin Mikkelson and Jeff Yurczyszyn, both 17, took first place at the continent's biggest and most prestigious high school debating competition, assisting Sydney Academy's already solid reputation on the debating circuit;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Erin and Jeff, the entire team from Sydney Academy and their coach, Harold Kyte.

[Page 3648]

Mr. Speaker, I respectfully 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 Cumberland South.

RESOLUTION NO. 1798

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

Whereas the Nazerene Church in Oxford celebrated its 96th Anniversary on Sunday, November 8, 1998 at a special service in Oxford, Cumberland County; and

Whereas it is the oldest Nazerene Church in Canada that celebrated its anniversary on that date; and

Whereas the church has been an essential part of the community of Oxford and its surrounding area during the past century providing fellowship and support to its members and congregation;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate the Nazerene Church of Oxford on its 96th Anniversary and wish them many more years of service to the community and many more anniversaries.

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.

[Page 3649]

The motion is carried.

The time is now 3:07 p.m. Oral Question Period will terminate at 4:07 p.m.

ORDERS OF THE DAY

ORAL QUESTIONS PUT BY MEMBERS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Fairview.

NAT. RES. - LAND SALE (ST. MARGARET'S BAY):

ARMOYAN GROUP - VERACITY

MS. EILEEN O'CONNELL: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Natural Resources. Since 1991, the communities of Boutilier's Point and St. Margaret's Bay have been told that they are number one on the list for a new school. The site selection committee's choice for the school is on the St. Margaret's Bay Road. My question for the Minister of Natural Resources is this, is it true that the Department of Natural Resources is about to sell a 120 acre parcel of land belonging to DNR to the Armoyan Group for its own choice of site selection for the St. Margaret's Bay-Boutilier's Point school?

HON. KENNETH MACASKILL: Mr. Speaker, I have no knowledge of such a transaction. I have not seen anything in my department to indicate that there is any transaction going on between the Department of Natural Resources and the Armoyan Group but if there is, I will certainly bring it to the member's attention within the next day or two.

MS. O'CONNELL: Mr. Speaker, should this be true, the Armoyans will be able to use this school as a magnet for a new subdivision so my question to the Minister of Education is this, how does the minister feel about being taken advantage of by a process he has put into place that will line the pockets of a private developer?

HON. ROBERT HARRISON: Mr. Speaker, the question was directed to me, I believe. Once again, we have an example of the NDP attempting to pit private sector interest versus public interest. There is a full community-based process in every school siting in the province that will choose the best site for that community and the best site for its children.

MS. O'CONNELL: Mr. Speaker, I just want to ask the minister, in this case, having heard his speech before, will the minister tell the House what his response is to the communities who are now being strong-armed by a private developer?

MR. HARRISON: Mr. Speaker, the member opposite shows a great deal of latitude with her language in here and I would challenge her to stand out in front of the press and make the same statement. There are full-tendered consortia working across this province to

[Page 3650]

build badly needed schools for our children and the communities are involved in the process and the process will be done fairly.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings North.

TRANSPORT. & PUB. WKS. - SURVEY:

CUSTOMER SATISFACTION - NEED

MR. GEORGE ARCHIBALD: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Transportation and Public Works. The Minister of Transportation and Public Works recently put out a tender for customer satisfaction survey and I am sure the 12,000 who signed the petition could have given him all the information he wanted to know on their satisfaction and I will table it. Could the minister indicate why he is doing surveys and not building highways?

HON. CLIFFORD HUSKILSON: Mr. Speaker, to the honourable member, when we are ready to build highways we want to get all the information that we possibly can. We need all the information. That is why we do surveys to know exactly what is entailed in building that highway, how much traffic is on that highway. (Interruptions) That's imperative that we know all this information.

MR. ARCHIBALD: Mr. Speaker, I will table this federal document. It indicates that there is a Canada-Nova Scotia Government agreement for $5 million for highway construction and it was just signed in the last few months. Could the Minister of Transportation and Public Works indicate why he was able to sign a $5 million project with Ottawa while New Brunswick signed one for $150 million? It is not much of a comparison. Why were you unable while they were able to do $150 million?

MR. HUSKILSON: Mr. Speaker, I would like to inform the honourable member that this $5 million was an extension to the HIP agreement and that was for the twinning of Highway No. 104 Salt Springs alignment, which was very important to his Leader in that area. We will continue to work to get more agreements in place with the federal government with cost-sharing on our 100-Series Highways. We take this very seriously and we will continue to do that.

MR. ARCHIBALD: Mr. Speaker, could the minister indicate why his government has been unable since 1993 to sign any deal worth more than $5 million and at the same time Newfoundland and New Brunswick have both received money?

MR. HUSKILSON: Mr. Speaker, the honourable member knows, he was a Minister of Transportation. He knows it takes time to make this agreements and to work on these agreements. We are continuing to work on this agreement.

[Page 3651]

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

TRANSPORT. & PUB. WKS. - HWY. NO. 101: TWINNING - PLANS

MR. WILLIAM ESTABROOKS: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Transportation and Public Works. This past summer four people died in head-on collisions on Highway No. 101 and in the past few moments petitions bearing the signatures of more than 10,000 people were brought to this House. My question, will the minister tell the people who must travel Highway No. 101 when he is going to proceed with plans to twin that dangerous stretch of highway?

HON. CLIFFORD HUSKILSON: Mr. Speaker, to the honourable member, as we speak now, the planning process is in place.

MR. ESTABROOKS: Mr. Speaker, more than 30 people have been killed on that road in the past six years. Why won't this minister tell the House and the people who travel the road every day why this highway project doesn't receive immediate priority now, not tomorrow, now?

MR. HUSKILSON: Mr. Speaker, to the honourable member, as I have stated, the planning process is in place as we speak and we are treating this highway as a very, very high priority.

MR. ESTABROOKS: Talk is cheap, Mr. Speaker, it is time to walk the talk. (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. Order.

MR. ESTABROOKS: My question is to the Premier, Mr. Speaker. You received this petition today, 6,200 people asked you to do something about this deadly highway, Mr. Premier. What are you going to do to make sure that your Minister of Transportation and Public Works finally does his job?

HON. RUSSELL MACLELLAN, Q.C. (The Premier): Mr. Speaker, I would like to refer this question to the Minister of Transportation.

MR. HUSKILSON: Mr. Speaker, to inform the honourable member that petition, there were over 12,000 signatures on that and I received that petition and I tabled it here in the Legislature.

[Page 3652]

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

COMMUN. SERV. - WOMEN'S CENTRES: BUDGET - ADEQUACY

MR. JAMES MUIR: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Community Services. The minister is well aware that women's centres provide services that are no longer provided by the provincial government to women and their families, particularly in rural Nova Scotia. Many of those who use the services are referred by departments of the government, such as Justice, Community Services, Consumer Services, Status of Women. My question to the minister is, does the minister believe that the money the budget allocates to women's centres is adequate?

[3:15 p.m.]

HON. FRANCENE COSMAN: Mr. Speaker, I would like to remind the honourable member opposite that the centres were underfunded, three of them this year, their funding was brought up to match the funding of the other three centres. We are working with them, together with the department and senior staff, to get them some assistance and help with this issue of funding for their budgets.

MR. MUIR: Mr. Speaker, I am not so sure my question was answered. The centres are cash-strapped at the present time. Two-thirds of the way through the fiscal year, they have only received 50 per cent of this allocation that was made to them. I understand that there is a good chance that the centre in Lawrencetown will close on November 20th, if money isn't forthcoming. Will the minister commit to seeing that the centres receive the remainder of the funding are due to them in this fiscal year and promised them in this fiscal year, will be sent within five days?

MRS. COSMAN: Mr. Speaker, I want to remind the honourable member opposite that we are not two-thirds of the way through the fiscal year, as he just said, we are halfway through the fiscal year. Indeed, my senior staff is meeting with the women's centres as we speak.

MR. MUIR: I would like to continue with the Minister of Community Services. Will the minister acknowledge that women's centres provide a cost-effective way to meet the needs of women and their families, particularly in rural areas, and now that her department is into the budget process, and I assume that it is, will the minister commit to seeing that the funding for women's centres is thoroughly reviewed from a cost-benefit perspective?

MRS. COSMAN: Mr. Speaker, yes and yes.

[Page 3653]

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

TRANSPORT. & PUB. WKS. - ROAD IMPROVEMENT:

PRIORITIZATION - SUBJECTIVITY

MR. WILLIAM ESTABROOKS: Mr. Speaker, through you, my question is to the Minister of Transportation and Public Works. A few days ago, in response to a freedom of information request, my office was informed that except for the 100-Series Highways, the Department of Transportation has no fixed method of determining which roads get paved or fixed. No method means no accountability. My question for the minister, will the minister now confirm to this House that his department's road improvement priorities are completely subjective?

HON. CLIFFORD HUSKILSON: Mr. Speaker, to the honourable member, many times in this Legislature, I have had the opportunity to speak on how roads are categorized and when they are going to be fixed, and what priority they are in. There is a priority list, and the priority list, you have to have several things that have to be met before a road is paved, traffic volume and the condition of the highway are just two things. Also, if there are a lot of businesses on the road, then this is another factor that measures up on whether that road will be paved or repaved.

MR. ESTABROOKS: He must have been paying attention during our bill. That is a new priority we haven't heard before. Let's face it. It is politics that decides which roads get fixed or don't get fixed. My question for this minister is, does the minister dare to deny that Liberal politics enters into road paving decisions that he makes?

MR. HUSKILSON: Mr. Speaker, I have explained to the honourable member how road priorities come about and politics do not enter the part of that. (Applause)

MR. ESTABROOKS: Surprise, surprise. Well, well, well. My final question for the Minister of Transportation is, when is your department, Mr. Minister, finally going to admit and take politics out of road improvements in this province?

MR. HUSKILSON: Mr. Speaker, to the honourable member, I have stated that politics does not enter into whether a road is going to be paved or repaved. That is not in the cards. That is not in it at all.

[Page 3654]

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

NAT. RES. - LOGGING ILLEGAL: LAW - APPLY

MR. BROOKE TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the honourable Minister of Natural Resources. It is unlawful to remove timber from Crown land without a license or a permit. No one is exempted, it is indisputable. My question is this. Knowing that individuals are illegally harvesting the Crown's timber, why isn't the minister applying the law equally and fairly to all?

HON. KENNETH MACASKILL: Mr. Speaker, these are the same questions that I answered on Tuesday and the answer is no different.

MR. TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, on Tuesday - the minister just referred to Tuesday - the minister said that he is negotiating around the table, he is holding negotiations with individuals who may be illegally logging, or negotiating with representatives. My question is this. The Assembly of Nova Scotia Mi'kmaq Chiefs represent all thirteen bands in Nova Scotia, why isn't the minister negotiating with the Assembly of Nova Scotia Mi'kmaq Chiefs about this matter, specifically illegal harvesting?

MR. MACASKILL: Mr. Speaker, again to the honourable member. This has been going on for a year and I don't know where the honourable member was, surely there were articles in the paper that he could have read. We have been meeting with the chiefs over the last year. If I have not, my staff has, and I met with them. These consultations are ongoing and at the end of some day, we will have the issue resolved.

MR. TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, our information is that the Minister of Natural Resources has not had one meeting with the Assembly of Nova Scotia Mi'kmaq Chiefs.

My final supplementary is to the Premier. The wanton disregard that the Minister of Natural Resources has for his responsibility is painfully obvious, and he is not upholding his responsibility and oath of office. My question to the Premier. Is the Premier prepared to demand the resignation of the Minister of Natural Resources and replace him with somebody who will carry out the duties that go with that portfolio?

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

MR. MACASKILL: Mr. Speaker, I hope he does not ask for my resignation, but that is typical of the information that we hear coming from over there, misleading. I have met with the chiefs and he probably doesn't know it but, like the rest of the information, it is misleading.

[Page 3655]

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

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

SHEL. CO. (SECTION) - CONDITION

MR. WILLIAM ESTABROOKS: Mr. Speaker, my question through you is to the Minister of Transportation and Public Works. Mr. Minister, in case the last set of questions was a little bit too theoretical, let's get down to some concrete examples. Was the minister aware that, according to his own department's analysis, the very worst section of the entire Highway No. 103, from Halifax to Yarmouth, is in Shelburne County near your home, Highway No. 103 through Shelburne County?

HON. CLIFFORD HUSKILSON: Mr. Speaker, I know that Highway No. 103 had been neglected for years. A year ago, under the auspices of Minister Donald Downe, there is a section in Shelburne County that is being worked on and upgraded to Highway No. 103 standards.

MR. ESTABROOKS: Mr. Speaker, as we all know, that paving took place this summer very close to the minister's own home. Will the minister tell this House whether the construction manager for the western district was on record as saying that the minister's road should not be paved because it would be, ". . . the only paved road in the district", and because, ". . . many existing paved roads are deteriorating in front of our eyes . . ."?

MR. HUSKILSON: Mr. Speaker, to the honourable member, I want to bring it to his attention that, yes, there was paving on the Welshtown and Upper Clyde Road, but this was announced by the former minister, the Honourable Donald Downe back in February.

MR. ESTABROOKS: My final question, Mr. Speaker, is to the Minister of Transportation. Can the minister explain to Nova Scotians why he thought paving his own road was a higher priority than other roads, like fixing up the worst parts of Highway No. 103?

MR. HUSKILSON: Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the member for the question. At this point in time, I would like to table some documents so everybody in the Legislature can see. First of all, I have a letter from the former Transportation Minister, the Honourable Donald Downe, confirming that these roads were to be paved. I want to table that. Also, I have a paper here that says that the priority list, as I have talked about priority lists in the past, I have a paper to back that up, showing that these roads were priority one and priority two in the whole western district. I want to table that also.

MR. SPEAKER: The papers are tabled.

The honourable member for Timberlea-Prospect.

[Page 3656]

TRANSPORT. & PUB. WKS. - SHEL. CO.:

WELSHTOWN & UPPER CLYDE RDS. - PAVING

MR. WILLIAM ESTABROOKS: Well, we are going to do a little tabling of our own here, members opposite. Mr. Speaker, through you to the Minister of Transportation, I would like to go back to the theme of politics and the minister's road. I have here a letter dated February 18, 1998, a few days before the last election campaign from the former minister to the current minister. The letter says that the Welshtown and Upper Clyde paving projects have been approved for next year. The then minister says in the closing sentence, I trust you will find this helpful. Will the minister now admit that the timing of this letter, less than a week into the election campaign, was purely political? February 18th.

HON. CLIFFORD HUSKILSON: Mr. Speaker, I am positive that the former minister went through the priority list. I have tabled the priority list, and these roads are priority one and priority two. I am sure the previous minister went by the priority list.

MR. ESTABROOKS: Mr. Speaker, I have another letter dated March 25, 1998, the day after that famous election from the former Minister of Transportation and Public Works to a Member of Parliament. This letter contradicts the first one because it says that the Welshtown project has been included only in an initial draft and the Upper Clyde project has not been funded at all. My question, will this minister now admit that this letter, issued a day after the election, shows that the whole project was riddled with politics?

MR. HUSKILSON: Mr. Speaker, I am not aware of that other letter and as far as I am concerned, the previous Minister of Transportation and Public Works, I am sure that he followed it to the letter of the law about the priority list.

MR. ESTABROOKS: I would advise the Minister of Transportation to read his mail, because I now will ask the minister, will he now admit that it was he who made the final decision to pave his own road?

MR. HUSKILSON: Mr. Speaker, as I stated previously, this was announced by the former minister back on February 18th, to have these roads paved.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Lunenburg.

MR. MICHAEL BAKER: Mr. Speaker, I would like to, in connection with the question I am going to ask the Minister of Labour, introduce Bernard Christmas, Director of Operations of the Membertou Band, and Erik - and I am going to do a terrible thing with his pronunciation - Zscheile, the legal advisor of the Confederacy of Mainland Mi'kmaq, to stand and be noted. They are present in the House today. (Applause)

[Page 3657]

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. It is most improper to have an introduction during Question Period.

The honourable member for Lunenburg.

LBR. - LOGGING: WORKERS' COMP. PREMIUMS - ENSURE

MR. MICHAEL BAKER: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister of Labour. We have heard the Minister of Natural Resources, on Tuesday in the House, indicate to the House that he had no intention of taking any concrete steps in the near future to end illegal logging in Nova Scotia. My question to the Minister of Labour, considering logging is a very dangerous accident-prone occupation, is he taking concrete steps to ensure that the workers engaged in these industries are protected and that they are paying their rightful amount of workers' compensation premiums?

[3:30 p.m.]

HON. RUSSELL MACKINNON: Mr. Speaker, I thank the honourable member for the question. It is a very worthy question. I will have to take his concern on notice and I can assure the honourable member, if I find any indication where somebody is trying to circumvent the process in paying workers' compensation premiums or, indeed, any violations of occupational health and safety, I can give the honourable member, through you, Mr. Speaker, my personal assurance that I will make every legal effort to ensure that those violations are curtailed.

MR. BAKER: Mr. Speaker, while I welcome the minister's answer, the problem is that if you do not go looking for it, you are not going to find it. The problem is, we know that there are illegal logging operations. My question to the minister is, is he going to send his officials out to find the illegal logging operations and to make sure they are complying with our laws now?

MR. MACKINNON: Mr. Speaker, first of all, the most important thing is the honourable member gets his blood pressure under control. Second of all, as far as going out and being on a witch-hunt, whether it be illegal hunting or any other activity in the 30,000 businesses across Nova Scotia, we are not on witch-hunts but if the honourable member has evidence of any illegal activity, please, he has a legal obligation to bring it to the Department of Labour, or any other legal forum here before the Legislature, and we will deal with it.

MR. BAKER: Mr. Speaker, my final supplementary is to the Minister of Finance and Aboriginal Affairs. In this province we have illegal logging operations. That is a fact. My question to the minister is, what steps is his department taking to make sure that those illegal operations are paying their rightful share of taxes to ensure that they are contributing, like all Nova Scotians are, to our financial situation?

[Page 3658]

HON. DONALD DOWNE: Mr. Speaker, if there is any specific information the member opposite has with regard to not paying taxes to the Province of Nova Scotia, then just bring it forward. Secondly, the Minister of Natural Resources has been working with the 13 Mi'kmaq's chiefs. I understand meetings are underway as I speak with regard to the issue of harvesting fibre in the Province of Nova Scotia on Crown land. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Yarmouth.

TRANSPORT. & PUB. WKS. - YARMOUTH:

CANAAN RD. - PRIORITY

MR. JOHN DEVEAU: Mr. Speaker, my question through you is to the Minister of Transportation. The Canaan Road in Yarmouth, a road with a great deal of domestic and industrial traffic, is literally falling to pieces. The shoulder of the road has been known to give out on numerous occasions, resulting in many vehicle accidents. My question to the minister is, where is the Canaan Road on the department's priority list?

HON. CLIFFORD HUSKILSON: Mr. Speaker, to the honourable member, this summer I had the opportunity to drive on the Canaan Road. Also, I had the opportunity to drive on 14 other roads in Yarmouth County that also need work and need repaving, too. The priority list is being compiled. When we have that list, I will certainly share that with the honourable member.

MR. JOHN DEVEAU: Mr. Speaker, if a road has experienced extraordinary deterioration, then that road takes precedence. The minister has seen the conditions on the Canaan Road. My question to the minister is this, how is his department defining extraordinary deterioration?

MR. HUSKILSON: Mr. Speaker, extraordinary deterioration, that is when there is a lot of erosion, water erosion, but as I have stated earlier, there are several conditions that allow for a road to be paved and repaved. I have said this many times in the Legislature before and I will keep saying it, there is a list and there is a priority list that has to be adopted.

MR. JOHN DEVEAU: Mr. Speaker, there is no definition. There is no definition at all, at least not on paper. My question to the minister, when are the people of Yarmouth going to get a clear answer from that government, not the federal government, your government about when the Canaan Road is going to get paved?

MR. HUSKILSON: Mr. Speaker, as I have stated before, when the priority list is complete for the western district, I will share that with the member and he will see when that is going to be done.

[Page 3659]

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

HEALTH - QE II HEALTH SC. CTR.: FUNDS FUTURE - ACCESS

DR. JOHN HAMM: Mr. Speaker, my question to the Minister of Health. The Minister of Health now because of questions in the House is aware that there is a problem in financing at the Queen Elizabeth II Health Sciences Centre. By way of a press briefing today, the chief administrative officer said that, in fact, their operating line of credit is running out. This is the second time that he has said this publicly and he said that they don't want to do any further borrowing at the bank. Has the minister had any conversations with the CAO and provided him with any direction as to how they will access future funds?

HON. JAMES SMITH: Mr. Speaker, in direct answer to the question, I have not personally had a discussion in the last couple of days with the CEO at the QE II. We have staff that are doing that, people who are expert in matters of accountancy and financing. Last year there was a properly audited line of credit at the QE II. This is nothing new, it was brought to the floor here in the House of Assembly as if all of a sudden somebody found out something that was not known. This was all in the audited statements of the hospital last year. Things are in order, there are arrangements with the bank that they can move into other areas of financing and that is their business and that is what they are doing.

DR. HAMM: Mr. Speaker, I would suggest that it is also the minister's business but he doesn't seem to want to mind the shop. It would seem to me that we are getting a mixed message. The CAO says that things are not well, they need some direction from the minister, they don't want to pay bank rates, they want to pay the provincial interest rate. Will this minister make some provision that the debt of the QE II will not be added to by paying bank interest rates but will make some provision that the further money that they need will be acquired at the provincial borrowing rate?

DR. SMITH: Mr. Speaker, the QE II is a large operation. It takes a large part of the health care budget of this province. It is well appointed and it is serving people well. The Leader of the Third Party well knows that this government has experienced cutbacks from the federal level. We are looking at that hospital and those other hospitals affected and it is impacting on the hospitals, there is no question. We are working with them and have put $50 million aside for that . . .

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party, your final supplementary.

DR. HAMM: Mr. Speaker, by way of final supplementary to the minister, will the minister confirm that because of cost overruns at the Queen Elizabeth II Health Sciences Centre they are looking at shortening patient stays, closing beds and laying off staff?

[Page 3660]

DR. SMITH: Mr. Speaker, I think the honourable member over there is still back in that QUEST Report, that is what that sounds like to me. Certainly, we are looking at working with hospitals to become more efficient. The honourable member knows that there is more elective surgery being done weekly and yearly as we go and this has been the trend and they will continue to do that. You can't stop the people that are coming there that are ill and we will not refuse care. More Nova Scotians are receiving more services than ever before.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Preston.

TRANSPORT. & PUB. WKS.:

WILLIAMS ST. (EAST PRESTON) - CONDITION

MS. YVONNE ATWELL: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Transportation and Public Works. Williams Street in my riding has been an unpaved stretch of potholes disguised as a road and it has been that way for more than 15 years. In winter, residents can go down this road faster by walking than driving. My question to the minister is, is the minister aware of the terrible and indeed dangerous conditions of Williams Street in East Preston?

HON. CLIFFORD HUSKILSON: Mr. Speaker, I am sure that staff has been looking at roads in all of Nova Scotia and I am certain that this street is also on a list to be prioritized.

MS. ATWELL: Mr. Speaker, Williams Street falls under the province's 50/50 cost-share arrangements with HRM. More than half the homes on the street must therefore agree to the paving. My question to the minister is, since the province owns many of these houses on Williams Street and rents them to people on social assistance, will the minister ensure that the province does not act to stall the paving of Williams Street?

MR. HUSKILSON: Mr. Speaker, if this street is on a priority list to be cost-shared 50/50, and it has been accepted, then we certainly don't want to stall this.

MS. ATWELL: Mr. Speaker, however, under the 50/50 arrangement, the cost of paving there is billed back to the owners, in this case the province, because the province owns the houses and the property that the people live in. The province could, if it chooses to, keep this road from being paved to save money. My question to the minister is, will he commit to this House that the people who actually live on Williams Street and not their provincial landlords will have a say about whether they want their road paved?

MR. HUSKILSON: Mr. Speaker, we certainly want to cooperate with the people that live on this street. If there is an agreement that is put in place, a 50/50 cost-share agreement with the municipality, we are willing to work with them on this, yes.

[Page 3661]

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

HEALTH - LONG-TERM CARE WORKERS:

STRIKE (C.B.) - CARE ADEQUACY

DR. JOHN HAMM: To the Minister of Health, is the minister satisfied with the level of care being provided to the residents of the Cove Guest Home and Victoria Haven in Cape Breton?

HON. JAMES SMITH: Mr. Speaker, I think that is a very important question and a very relevant one today, as we speak on day 11 of a strike that has been disruptive. No one can be pleased with the level of care that is being received in the nursing home. The people that we desire and we need to deliver services and care to the residents are on the picket line. Those that are inside working, many of them do not have expert care in looking after the residents. That is the situation.

The government has some options. We are looking at them, but we do really want to allow the collective bargaining process to work. It has worked here at Northwood Centre, the largest senior citizens' complex in this province, and we hope that it can work throughout all of Nova Scotia.

DR. HAMM: Would the minister confirm that over the last 24 hours, the cook was sent home from the Cove Guest Home, the administrative staff were sent home because they could work no longer, that they are having difficulty getting the patients out of bed and they are staying in bed as a result of that, that medications are not being administered properly? Will the minister confirm that that is happening today?

DR. SMITH: Mr. Speaker, over the last couple of days, I have been in contact with the physician that we have sent from our department, Dr. Murray Nixon, who is a well-experienced gerontologist and physician. He has concerns. I cannot confirm specifically what the honourable member brings, but I just want to share with the members of this House today and all Nova Scotians that this is a very serious situation. I certainly hope that we will not see the residents being taken hostage in this type of arrangement.

DR. HAMM: The minister has admitted that he is not satisfied with the care that the residents are receiving. Is this minister now contemplating an evacuation of the Cove Guest Home and Victoria Haven and, if he is, when will this occur and where will these residents go?

DR. SMITH: This is very important and it is a very relevant question. The movement of large numbers of seniors from a facility like the Cove or the Victoria Haven in Glace Bay would be very disruptive. We will try not to do any more than what needs to be done for their safety. Already, out of the Cove, perhaps 25, 26 have been moved; that would be really a

[Page 3662]

quarter of that population. That is an option that is open to us. We would rather see at least a minimum of the essential services both in supplies and personnel to go in there and offer care that those residents need.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Pictou West.

TRANSPORT. & PUB. WKS. - HWY. NO. 376 (PICTOU CO.):

TRUCK TRAFFIC - ELIMINATE

MR. CHARLES PARKER: Mr. Speaker, my question is through you to the Minister of Transportation and Public Works. Mr. Minister, you may recall back in August, we had a tour of some Pictou County roads. One of the roads we travelled on was Highway No. 376, which is through Lyons Brook, Durham and Central West River. At that time I pointed out to you there are a lot of concerns there by residents about the P.E.I. gravel and rock trucks that are travelling through that residential neighbourhood.

[3:45 p.m.]

So my question, Mr. Minister, when are you going to get these dangerous trucks off Highway No. 376?

HON. CLIFFORD HUSKILSON: Mr. Speaker, yes, I do remember that trip, a day last summer, that we spent driving roads through the honourable member's area. We drove through Durham and that is an area where there are a lot of large trucks. I am certainly talking with department staff to see what we can arrange for an alternate route for these vehicles at this time.

MR. PARKER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and, Mr. Minister, I can tell you the residents of that area are still very concerned for their safety. They are severely troubled by the lack of action in this situation. My question is, will you commit to closing Highway No. 376 to all but local truck traffic in order to address the concerns of these residents?

MR. HUSKILSON: Mr. Speaker, before closing any highway I would certainly want to go over this with staff and make sure that there is an alternate route for these vehicles to go through.

MR. PARKER: Mr. Minister, there is an alternate route and that is the Trans Canada Highway No. 106 and Highway No. 104. In fact, the precedent has already been set for the Granton Road past Michelin where these trucks are now required to travel only on the Trans Canada.

MR. SPEAKER: Question.

[Page 3663]

MR. PARKER: So my question, Mr. Minister, if you can do it for one area, when can you do it for Highway No. 376?

MR. HUSKILSON: Mr. Speaker, to the honourable member, I will take that and look into it and I will report back to the honourable member as soon as possible.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Cumberland North.

EDUC. - INFRASTRUCTURE:

CAPITAL CONSTRUCTION - SUFFICIENCY

MR. ERNEST FAGE: Mr. Speaker, through you, today, I would like to address my question to the Minister of Education and Culture. In that regard, this morning, the University Presidents Association of Nova Scotia held a news conference. The topic of that news conference this morning was capital construction and renovations to facilities. My question to the minister is this, not only is education, as he has expounded on many times, paramount to our future, but it is a growth industry for this province, $1.2 billion it generated in the last year. Mr. Minister, the $4.8 million that your department spent on capital renovations and construction, is that enough to ensure that infrastructure is there?

HON. ROBERT HARRISON: No, Mr. Speaker, we do not have adequate funds in this province for publicly funded education and part of the reason is that when CHST transfer cuts were made, it was expected that provinces would make up the difference. Unfortunately, this province is saddled with a debt of close to $8 billion, a legacy of another era, the interest payments of which we are the only province in the country that spends more servicing that debt than we do educating all of our children.

MR. FAGE: Mr. Speaker, this minister, as usual, spends his time making excuses instead of being out there and negotiating on behalf of this province. (Applause) This minister knows that 0.8 of 1 per cent, $360 million is what is needed according to the university presidents.

MR. SPEAKER: Question.

MR. FAGE: This government, this minister has committed 0.8 of 1 per cent.

MR. SPEAKER: Question, please.

MR. FAGE: My question, Mr. Speaker, to the minister, is the minister prepared to sit down with the university presidents of this province and put together a properly funded capital program over the coming years?

[Page 3664]

MR. HARRISON: Making excuses, the honourable member says. We are the only province in the country that has invested more per capita than any other in our post-secondary system after five years of trying to clean up their mess, Mr. Speaker.

MR. FAGE: Mr. Speaker, the minister clearly, whether it is Minister of Education or minister of excuses, has his facts confused. My final question to the minister is, this government puts less money than any other government in this country into post-secondary education capital budget. This government and this minister has . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. Question.

MR. FAGE: . . . not negotiated like other provinces a 50/50 cost-sharing agreement.

MR. SPEAKER: Question, please.

MR. FAGE: My question to the minister is, can we expect to see the same as Quebec and Ontario, a negotiated 50/50 cost-sharing capital agreement for university funding for the years ahead?

MR. HARRISON: Mr. Speaker, the member opposite talks about negotiating. This province is more fiscally sound now than it has been in a decade and one-half, which has permitted us to make investments in our young people. The greatest equalizer of opportunity is education. This government does not just talk about investing in it, this government makes investments in education.

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

TRANSPORT. & PUB. WKS.: ROUTE 223 (C.B.) - PRIORITY

MS. HELEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Transportation and Public Works. Route 223 winds through beautiful Cape Breton, from Iona down through Christmas Island, Boisdale and down into Leitches Creek. Route 223 has increased traffic now that the Iona Bridge has been completed and truckers and, indeed, travellers who wish to avoid the switchback at the bottom of Kelly's Mountain often now choose to use Route 223. I recognize that there have been some cosmetic repairs made to it. My question to the minister is, where is Route 223 on the minister's priority list?

HON. CLIFFORD HUSKILSON: Mr. Speaker, Route 223, I will certainly check and see exactly where that is on the priority list. There has been a lot of work done in Cape Breton The Lakes this summer, and I know the honourable member knows that. We have really tried hard to do a lot of that work.

[Page 3665]

MS. HELEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, Cape Breton The Lakes is a large rural community that has been neglected for many years, so the work that has been done there is certainly well-deserved, I am sure, by the people. The community and the Grand Narrows Board of Trade, and the parents of children who travel on school buses over Route 223 have continued to ask this question. Does the minister's priority list take into account changes in traffic patterns in a community?

MR. HUSKILSON: Yes, it certainly does.

MS. HELEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, long before I came to being a member for Cape Breton The Lakes, this community has been asking about this and what they want to know is when will they hear about a process being put in place to determine where their road is on a list?

MR. HUSKILSON: Mr. Speaker, to the honourable member, there is a process in place that is dealing with rural roads in Nova Scotia and where they will be put on a priority list. Also, I would like to table this document here. It says "MLA pleased with tender call for roads." This is from Cape Breton The Lakes, very pleased about the roadwork that has been going on.

MR. SPEAKER: The document is tabled.

MR. HUSKILSON: You cannot have it both ways. (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. Order.

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

TRANSPORT. & PUB. WKS.:

TRUNK 12 (CHESTER BASIN/NEW ROSS) - PRIORITY

DR. HINRICH BITTER-SUERMANN: Mr. Speaker, through you to the Minister of Transportation and Public Works. A stretch of Trunk 12 from Chester Basin to New Ross, 21 kilometres in length, is in deplorable shape, and 450 school children have to be bussed over a road that resembles a meadow rather than a Queen's Highway. My question to the minister. Will he tell my constituents where this Trunk 12 is on his priority list?

HON. CLIFFORD HUSKILSON: Mr. Speaker, I have had the opportunity to discuss this with the honourable member in the past. I know that this route does need work and I will determine where that is on the priority list and I will let the member know.

[Page 3666]

DR. BITTER-SUERMANN: Mr. Speaker, lumber trucks and school busses, once in the deep ruts, lose control. My question. Do the minister's criteria take into consideration the threat the road's existing condition poses to those travelling it, albeit not in Shelburne County?

MR. HUSKILSON: Mr. Speaker, to the honourable member, whether the road is in Shelburne County, Lunenburg County or Cape Breton County, when it reaches a priority list and it passes on the priority list, then that road will be paved or repaved.

DR. BITTER-SUERMANN: Mr. Speaker, I was privileged to recently harvest some hay and plant dill seeds from my aunt in New Ross in a particularly deep rut. My question to the minister is, I would ask the minister to do the honourable thing and either turn Trunk 12 over to the Minister of Agriculture, or reclaim Trunk 12 to motorists. What is your option?

MR. HUSKILSON: Mr. Speaker, to the honourable member, I just want to let him know that I take very seriously the highways of Nova Scotia and the safety of them. We don't go around trying to plant grass in the middle of the road, as the honourable member is referring to. (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

The honourable member for Cumberland South.

TRANSPORT. & PUB. WKS.: COBEQUID PASS - TOLL INCREASES

MR. MURRAY SCOTT: Mr. Speaker, through you, my question is for the Minister of Transportation and Public Works. As recently as last week, it was announced that the Cobequid Pass is facing a deficit of $3.5 million. If we look at Page 35 of the Highway No. 104 Western Alignment Omnibus Agreement, it states that after the annual report, toll revenues projected the following year will be ascertained and if, ". . . forecasted toll revenues, after exploring all reasonable options to reduce expenses, are insufficient to provide all required funds, the Toll Rate for each class of motor vehicle shall be increased by such amount as may be necessary to ensure that there is no deficit . . .".

Mr. Speaker, my question to the Minister of Transportation and Public Works is, are you willing to step forward on behalf of all Nova Scotians, in particular the residents of Cumberland County, to ensure their interests are looked after in regard to these new toll increases?

HON. CLIFFORD HUSKILSON: Mr. Speaker, if the honourable member recalls, there was a statement made by Lee Rankin, the President, just yesterday in the news. Mr. Rankin stated there would be no increases in tolls on this highway, as long as the inflationary rate does not change.

[Page 3667]

MR. SCOTT: Mr. Speaker, again for the Minister of Transportation and Public Works. The Highway No. 104 Western Alignment Corporation Annual Report states, for 1997-98, that the Minister of Transportation is the owner of the toll highway and he is well equipped to answer questions that pertain to that, to the media and as well, to members of this House.

My question to the minister is, will there be a toll increase on the Cobequid Pass in 1999?

MR. HUSKILSON: Mr. Speaker, to the honourable member, as far as we are concerned, there will not be any toll increase on that highway. There is something else. I have already tabled this, but I just want to read something out of this to the honourable member. It says, "The highway's debt does not . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. Reading reports or letters, et cetera in Question Period, you can have a very short quote and that is all.

MR. SCOTT: Mr. Speaker, the federal government has said that the Cobequid Pass was a bad deal. The Liberals know that. This government refused, last week, to support a bill which would have prevented any further tolls in this province.

My question now is to the Premier. Will the Premier stand by a commitment he made earlier that there will not be any more tolls in this province, at least for the short time this government will have the decision for that?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, there will be no more toll highways, as I have already said.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Needham.

TRANSPORT. & PUB. WKS.:

SECONDARY ROADS (RURAL) - DETERIORATION

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Transportation and Public Works. There is a woman who has moved to my riding from Queens County. She has moved because she requires weekly medical treatment and our rural secondary roads are in such embarrassing shape that she has a genuine safety concern.

[4:00 p.m.]

Mr. Minister, why has your government allowed rural secondary roads to deteriorate to the point that people would rather leave their communities and their homes than travel them?

[Page 3668]

HON. CLIFFORD HUSKILSON: Mr. Speaker, to the honourable member, I would like to tell her that these roads she is talking about have not fallen apart just overnight, this has been a cumulative effort that has taken a long time. I would like to know who that person is.

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, this government's existing repaving prioritization process considers traffic volumes, paving condition ratings and riding comfort index, but what about ensuring access to essential services, including health care, Mr. Minister? Where does that fit on this criteria?

MR. HUSKILSON: Mr. Speaker, health care, transportation of school buses, transportation of ambulances, is all very important to Nova Scotia and in the rural areas. The rural areas are saying we have to have transportation in these areas where we can go, ambulances and school buses must be able to get in there. This is very important to the Government of Nova Scotia.

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, my question for the minister is, will you pledge to the rural communities of Nova Scotia that you will ensure that having access to essential services will become part of your repaving process, as opposed to a practice that is rife with political favouritism?

MR. HUSKILSON: Mr. Speaker, I am shocked and appalled at that question. The rural roads of Nova Scotia are very important. I am from Shelburne County, that is a rural area. We are used to having poor roads in Shelburne County and we are working on all of Nova Scotia and the roads of all Nova Scotia, to make them better.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Lunenburg.

HEALTH - FOUNDATIONS: CONTRIBUTIONS - VALUABLE

MR. MICHAEL BAKER: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Health. Mr. Minister, I am sure you are aware of the unparalleled generosity of Nova Scotians that leads them to contribute substantially to health foundations across this province. My question to the minister, does he feel that health foundations provide a valuable source of funding for health in this province?

HON. JAMES SMITH: Yes, Mr. Speaker, certainly that is a very relevant and important question or observation, I would say, because I think it is a foregone conclusion. It is not only the hospital foundations, the hospital auxiliaries and many people in the communities. The member ahead of you at the Queens hustle would remind you of that and how successful that has been. I am very pleased to say the answer is yes.

[Page 3669]

MR. BAKER: Mr. Speaker, in light of the minister's answer, I am appalled at the problem we have in this province - yes, I am also shocked and appalled - at the situation that allows hospital foundations in this province to not spend the funds they raise in the ways they think are best in their communities, which leave the regional health boards to tie their hands and, in many cases, prevent health dollars being delivered to patients. (Interruptions)

DR. SMITH: Mr. Speaker, some are saying shame, but there is no question that this is an issue. There is a feeling of that group of persons, volunteers, and I have met with some in that honourable member's riding actually. I was very pleased and you may be pleased to learn as well that the member from the foundation will be sitting on the regional task force review. I made a point of putting a person from the foundation on that task force. They will be looking at regional . . .

MR. BAKER: Mr. Speaker, it is amazing that this should have occurred because, during the last provincial election, in my riding, the minister was prevailed upon to force the health foundation to . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Question.

MR. BAKER: My question to the minister. Can he assure the House that, henceforth, hospital foundations in this province will be able to spend the money as they think, in their communities?

DR. SMITH: The foundation I am referring to is the Fishermen's Memorial Foundation. It has been very active in that community, and has done a great job over the years. They are willing to look at projects. They were willing to look at projects in New Ross, which is another part of the area. They are innovative, they are looking at new programs. I have relayed that to the chair and the boards of the regional health boards in the western region. That is part of what we will be looking at in the regionalization review. I will be looking for that.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Sackville-Cobequid, a quick question.

ABORIGINAL AFFS. - FORESTRY: DISCUSSIONS - INCLUSION

MR. JOHN HOLM: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Premier. Mr. Premier, there are preliminary discussions going on about the whole issue of aboriginal title here in Nova Scotia. My question simply is will the forestry issue be part of that discussion that is going on with the First Nations community?

[Page 3670]

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I would like to refer that question to the Minister responsible for Aboriginal Affairs.

HON. DONALD DOWNE: The issue of aboriginal title is one that we indicated that we are prepared to work in a fair process dealing with that of our federal colleagues. Aboriginal title covers a number of issues. What the Minister of Natural Resources is saying is that they are dealing directly . . .

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

The honourable Minister of Labour is rising on a . . .

HON. RUSSELL MACKINNON: I just want to answer for the honourable member before . . .

MR. SPEAKER: No, Question Period has completed.

HON. RUSSELL MACKINNON: On a point of order, I just wanted to assure the honourable member who raised the question on the illegal hunting operations, my Director of Occupational Health and Safety, that has been an ongoing issue with our department, plus WCB is addressing the issue.

MR. SPEAKER: There is no point of order.

The honourable member for Cape Breton Nova.

MR. PAUL MACEWAN: Mr. Speaker, I would like to make an introduction, if I might. I would like to introduce to the House, a distinguished constituent of mine, Ms. Bonita Calder, from 6 Sutherland Street, Sydney, a former Councillor and Deputy Mayor of the City of Sydney, and a very distinguished member of the Executive of the Cape Breton Nova Liberal Association. (Applause)

GOVERNMENT BUSINESS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

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

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

The motion is carried.

[Page 3671]

[4:08 p.m. The House resolved itself into a CWH on Bills with Deputy Speaker Mr. Donald Chard in the Chair.]

[4:32 p.m. CWH on Bills rose and the House reconvened. Mr. Speaker, Hon. Ronald Russell, resumed the Chair.]

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

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

Bill No. 4 - Mi'kmaq Education Act.

Bill No. 34 - Teachers' Pension Act.

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

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

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, would you please call the order of business, Public Bills for Second Reading.

PUBLIC BILLS FOR SECOND READING

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 43, the Public Archives Act, for second reading.

Bill No. 43 - Public Archives Act.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Education.

HON. ROBERT HARRISON: Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to rise in this House today to move second reading of the Public Archives Act.

The proposed Act reflects the current role and responsibilities of the Public Archives of Nova Scotia. According to Joseph Howe, "A wise nation preserves its records.". What Howe had to say in the Legislature in 1857, is just as valid today because without archives government and the society it represents would have no knowledge of its past, no understanding of its present and no solid foundation for the future.

[Page 3672]

The Public Archives of Nova Scotia is the oldest public archives in Canada, established in 1857. Our archives is older than the National Archives of Canada, the earliest original Nova Scotia record in the archives is a Roman Catholic parish register of baptisms, marriages and deaths for Annapolis Royal, covering the period of 1702 to 1728. The Nova Scotia Archives is the second busiest single site archive in Canada. More than 18,000 researchers have walked through the doors of the Public Archives in 1998 alone. If you have ever visited the Public Archives you know what a wonderful place it is. The Public Archives of Nova Scotia has a wealth of information, from the playing cards used for the first lotteries for land distribution in Lunenburg County in 1753, to a letter from Oscar Wilde to Mrs. J.F. Kenney of Halifax in 1882, accepting an invitation to attend a gathering at her home.

The Public Archives of Nova Scotia is not just for academics, 70 per cent of the people using the archives are amateur genealogists, searching out the missing branches of their family trees. As people of Nova Scotia, we love our history. We want to know who we were and where we came from and the Public Archives often has the answers. It is not just Nova Scotians who benefit from the Public Archives. It has been said nearly two-thirds of New Englanders have their roots in Nova Scotia. Each year, people from New England travel to our province to search out their family history at the Public Archives of Nova Scotia. In this way, the Public Archives has a direct impact on the tourism dollars entering our province.

Our archives is becoming more popular with film-makers. Extensive use has been made of materials from our archives in a number of the History Channel documentaries such as those on the Fuller Brush Man, Ada MacCallum, a very well-known Halifax madam.

AN HON. MEMBER: She was from Dartmouth.

MR. HARRISON: A Dartmouth madam, says somebody from Dartmouth. We will move on quickly to the Oak Island Treasure and the Halifax Explosion. Do you see how much fun the Archives can be, Mr. Speaker? Since the movie Titanic was released, the sources in the Archives pertaining to that disaster have been in much greater demand.

Mr. Speaker, the Public Archives of Nova Scotia continues to meet the needs of all Nova Scotians by making more information accessible on the Internet. In this way the history of the province is being made available to the world. The Public Archives of Nova Scotia collects and preserves private sector records of provincial significance such as personal and family papers, records of businesses and organizations, and the Public Archives also receives inactive provincial government records.

In 1996, the Public Archives' mandate was expanded when it merged with the Nova Scotia Records Management to provide an integrated archives and records management program for all government records. This means that the Public Archives is involved in the entire life cycle of government records, from the time they are created to the time they are disposed of or transferred to the Public Archives.

[Page 3673]

That is a huge responsibility, Mr. Speaker, especially when you consider that we are not dealing with paper records anymore. There is a compelling need for the new Act to reflect an expanded responsibility for the Nova Scotia Public Archives. The current Act has had few changes since 1929. It is antiquated and it is not compatible or consistent with the companion Government Records Act proclaimed in 1996.

Mr. Speaker, this new Act will better define and strengthen the relationship between the Public Archives of Nova Scotia and the government, so that the Public Archives can more effectively develop and deliver programs and services to benefit all government departments. This legislation allows the Public Archives to do the job to which it has been entrusted. The legislation empowers the Public Archives to develop policies, standards, procedures and services for effective records management. The Public Archives will work closely with people in government who create and use records in a more coordinated and consistent manner than in the past. The new Act outlines the objectives and functions of the Public Archives of Nova Scotia, its board of trustees and the provincial archivist; the current Act does not.

Mr. Speaker, this legislation is supported by the Council of Nova Scotia Archives, representing over 80 archives in the province; the Genealogical Association of Nova Scotia, with over 1,500 members; and the Royal Nova Scotia Historical Society.

I would like to take a moment to just read a few passages from the letters of support that the Public Archives of Nova Scotia has received.

From Ms. Anita Price, the President of the Council of Nova Scotia Archives writes, "The Public Archives of Nova Scotia maintains a rich collection of both government and private records. These records represent an immeasurable cultural resource for Nova Scotians and Canadians as a whole. It is encouraging to see the ongoing commitment of the Provincial Government to the strength and growth of the Public Archives of Nova Scotia in the form of the proposed Public Archives Act.".

Karen MacKay, the President of the Genealogical Association, writes, "The role and responsibilities of the Public Archives are of great interest and concern not just to our members but to all genealogists, the largest single user group. We wish you every success in this initiative to strengthen the relationship with government, formalize the management of public records in this province, and recognize the continuing leadership role that the Public Archives plays in the collection and preservation of private cultural and heritage records for future generations.".

David Flemming, the President of the Royal Nova Scotia Historical Society writes, "The Society's Council supports the content and intent of the Draft legislation and feels that such revision is long overdue. It is our feeling that the new Act as proposed will provide the Archives with a sound foundation on which to continue the excellent service to the public which has long been the hallmark of the Public Archives of Nova Scotia.".

[Page 3674]

Mr. Speaker, the Public Archives has consulted on the development of this bill with stakeholders in the Province of Nova Scotia, as well as the provincial archives across the country. The result is one of the most comprehensive and progressive Public Archives bills in Canada. The new Act will still reflect the Public Archives unique role as a heritage institution, a role Nova Scotians support and cherish. However, the new Act will also reflect the Archives record management responsibilities, bringing our beloved heritage and cultural institution into the future.

Mr. Speaker, I would move this bill for second reading and on to the Law Amendments Committee.

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

MR. JOHN HOLM: Mr. Speaker, I rise to indicate that I certainly will be supporting this bill to go on to the Law Amendments Committee. The minister is quite correct when he says that the current legislation that is before us is antiquated and that it does need to be upgraded and modernized. There have been many changes made since 1929 and those materials, those documents that are kept in the Public Archives, are some of our most valuable documents and some of our most valuable records. So I am certainly pleased to see that.

I know, I cannot help but say to the Minister of Education and Culture that one of the areas, and you would be very familiar with this yourself, Mr. Speaker, that many of the very valuable records that are kept by this House, documents that belong to this House and are often kept in parts of this building which are really not suited to maintaining and protecting those documents, also are in dire need of preservation and protection. I am not sure, Mr. Speaker, I say through you to the Minister of Education and Culture, who I am sure is listening closely, whether or not he has any intentions or whether it would be possible through the Public Archives of Nova Scotia as being proposed through this bill, whether or not those extremely valuable documents will also be kept. Some of the documents, while you can keep data, you can keep information, on microfiche, that does not actually protect original documents. The minister, I am sure, does know and from his background and his interest in heritage and culture, would be extremely interested in also preserving those very valuable documents in their original state. Maybe the minister would be able to provide some assistance to Mr. Speaker to protect the very valuable documents which you, I am sure, Mr. Speaker, were you able to take part in this debate, could articulate a lot better than I can, on the actual, individual documents that are maintained within this House.

I think this is a positive step forward. One of the things - and it was pointed out to me by a colleague - is that security is certainly extremely important at the Archives. A number of years ago, I am advised, there was a break-in at the Archives and many of the records of Black Nova Scotians were destroyed. That is a very significant part of the history of this province and it is a very important part of our history that needs to be protected and

[Page 3675]

preserved. We have lost many extremely valuable documents as a result of such break-ins, that break-in in the past, and I just cannot help saying to the minister, given that situation, again the importance of security, that I have to raise that.

Mr. Speaker, I want to indicate to the minister that certainly it is my intention to move this forward and I want to congratulate and to thank all of those who have been consulted by government, all of those who have made extremely valuable contributions toward the development of this legislation. Their hard work is now being acknowledged in this legislation. I look forward to them having an opportunity to make representations before the Law Amendments Committee on the legislation, why they support it and any suggestions that they might have to make it even better so that we can protect our very valuable heritage documents for the years to come.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Queens.

MR. JOHN LEEFE: Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to have the opportunity to rise and to support this bill in second reading. The Public Archives of Nova Scotia has a direct relationship with my own constituency of Queens in that Thomas Beamish Aikins, who in fact created the Public Archives out of a mass of documents that were distributed throughout Nova Scotia, was a native of Liverpool and his parents are are buried in the old public cemetery on Main Street. Aikins lived in a little house just kitty-corner across the street from St. George's Church.

He kept a huge number of documents and books in his house before they were finally deposited in a public archive, so that the public could have access to them. Coincidentally, the architectural firm that did the work for St. George's Church restoration, I believe, owns that building and certainly has its offices in that building.

[4:45 p.m.]

The Public Archives plays a very central role to the preservation of the history of our province. While the vast majority of Nova Scotians probably do not use the resources available through the Public Archives, there is, nonetheless, a very large group of Nova Scotians who do access the archives on a very regular basis. All one need do is go up there any evening that it is open and see people from all parts of the province who are doing research on the province's history, on family genealogy, and on and on.

One thing that has always impressed me about the Public Archives of Nova Scotia is the great dedication of the staff, not only to the preservation of the documents in their care, but, indeed, their eagerness to share those documents with all who seek to take advantage of this tremendous resource that we have available to us.

[Page 3676]

I want to take this opportunity - and I am sure, speaking on behalf of all members of the House - to say a large thank you to all these men and women who work and who have worked in the Public Archives of Nova Scotia not only to preserve the documents of our history but also who strive so diligently and so enthusiastically to assist those who do go to the Archives and undertake research there.

I know the minister is a very strong supporter of the Public Archives of Nova Scotia. I know we can count on his continuing support for the Archives, to ensure that not only is it able to cope with the volume of documentation for which it is currently responsible, but so that it also can go out and effectively add to that volume of documents through which we find out so much more about the history of this province. Of course, by understanding from whence we came, we are better able to understand why we are where we are and hopefully we will be better capable of mapping out a future for us and for all Nova Scotians.

In looking at the composition of the board, I would like to suggest to the minister that the librarian for the Nova Scotia Legislature be made a member of that board. While we are not exactly connected at the hip to the Archives, there is a very strong and long-standing relationship between the Legislative Library, which, in its own right, houses such important documents relating to not only the legislative history of Nova Scotia but to many other aspects of Nova Scotia history, and the Public Archives of Nova Scotia. Having known the two previous librarians here at Province House and now knowing Ms. Murphy, I have no hesitation in saying, and I am sure all members would agree, that having the Legislative Librarian as a member of that board would certainly strengthen the board and would be in the best interests of all Nova Scotians.

I also happen to know - speaking of Thomas Beamish Aikins, that he was the first Royal-appointed archivist in the British Empire and that, in fact, at one point in his life he lived in Falmouth, which is in the constituency of the Speaker. In fact, beyond that, the Speaker himself purchased Thomas Beamish Aikins' house from his great-great-grandson. It is a beautiful home, but, unfortunately, and this is not a consequence of the Speaker having lived in the house, the roof has fallen in. I have often been with the Speaker when he has raised the roof, but never when it has fallen down. So we have that kind of an interesting relationship, by coincidence, as well.

Mr. Speaker, with those remarks, I want to say that our caucus very strongly endorses this bill. We do hope that the minister will make that modest, but nonetheless very important, amendment and we look forward to seeing the bill pass through the various committee stages and come back for third reading and be made law. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Chebucto.

MR. HOWARD EPSTEIN: Mr. Speaker, I want to add my congratulations to the Minister of Education for bringing forward this bill. It seems to me entirely the kind of bill

[Page 3677]

that is worthwhile seeing go forward. It is a matter of importance, of course, to many persons in this province that there be proper and due respect for our history and that there be an appropriate facility for those who are interested in research and those who are interested in an appropriate place in which to deposit any important documents or records, as that term is very broadly defined in the bill, and quite appropriately so, I would say.

It is useful to think of the nature of the function that the Public Archives performs by considering the two buildings that have housed it during the course of its history. The present building, known to many of us because of its central location in Halifax at the corner of University Avenue and Robie Street, is a fine brick building, a modern building, serviced, I might say, in passing, with solar panels on the roof. It is a fine building, in many respects. It has a central position in the city that indicates the respect, I think, that the government has accorded to the function of the Public Archives, simply by its presence. Its location is not just physically central, but its location is of importance and was clearly chosen in order to facilitate access to those who might be serious researchers. It is in the midst of the university community. It is almost part of the Dalhousie campus. It is close to Saint Mary's University campus. It is close to the hospitals, which are, of course, teaching hospitals and, therefore, it is available for those who would come, either because they are already part of the higher education community and, therefore, interested in research, or its resources are available to those who might be drawn to the Archives and associated materials available in the universities.

This seems to me to be quite important. The predecessor building, the old Archives Building, as it was known, was, in fact, right in the midst of the Dalhousie University campus, a beautiful stone building that still exists, although its function has been turned to other uses by the university. For its time it, too, embodied this value - the value that the government placed upon having an archives. But, of course, the function of the Archives outgrew that building. In time, it was important that the function be transferred to a newer building. It was correct at the time that the resources be put into a facility that would house what in those times were an evolving nature of public records. It wasn't at the time, but that we would be relying so extensively on electronic means to record our history as we pass through and yet that, of course, is the reality now. Because, in the end, there will be physical limits to the amount of space that can be allocated to the records that will be generated in public and by the small, private institutions or groups that make up our history.

Probably, more and more, as we move forward, we will find that electronic and mechanical means will be what are relied upon in the future. This is not an inexpensive function and, yet, at the same time, when we compare it with the sheer dollar cost of allocating growth space, it may be the most cost-efficient way to go. I expect fully that, in the future, not only will we rely more extensively on this form of record-keeping, but I hope that the government will be able to follow through with what has been a long-standing commitment to the Public Archives and fund it properly.

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Many of us - as other speakers said - have had occasion either to use the Archives directly or to visit the Archives and see the very many people from all over the province who do have occasion to come in to use the public records. Clearly, many of those will be people who have genealogical interests, and this is the vast majority, I think, of people who come to the Public Archives to use the records. These are not necessarily trained scholars, these are people who have a genuine and moving interest in their own antecedents, in what has shaped their lives, and what has shaped the lives of their ancestors, and what has shaped the lives of their communities.

I have watched the staff at the Public Archives serving and helping such people time and again and, clearly, as the honourable member for Queens said, with great patience, with skill and with all of the resources that they are able to muster. It is an impressive sight, and it is one that I am glad to see that the minister is attempting to foster with his legislation, by putting the overall organization of the Public Archives on an organized basis. It is necessary, however humdrum or mundane some of these kinds of mechanical apparatuses may seem in terms of setting up something as useful as the Archives, however workmanlike they may seem, it is entirely appropriate that we turn our minds to this as we deal with establishing an institution that serves so many people.

Clearly, the evidence is that a great many people in the province are interested in the past, and want to learn about the past so that they can improve the present and the future. In addition to this community, which is so extensive - that is the community of people who are interested in genealogical matters - there is a community that is not insignificant, a community of scholars, be they historians or people who themselves teach particular subjects in schools or universities, who also wish to learn from what it is that is in our Archives. We know that this community, as well, uses the Public Archives in great numbers, because the facilities are not at a level that is only aimed at the casual enquirer.

The level of the facilities made available is such as to attract the serious scholar, a serious scholar from inside our own province, serious scholars from outside our province, be they attracted by the subject of the moment, something like the Titanic, or be they attracted by any of the other subjects that have been so important in the past in Nova Scotia, be it the development of responsible government or freedom of the press, things associated with this institution, or be they topics having to do with the working history of people of this province, unfortunately a lot of it associated with well-known misfortunes and disasters.

All of this material is to be found in the Public Archives, and all of it has been carefully preserved. I know, having had some association with a small group that was involved in a small "p" political way in the activities of this province's public life, that the Public Archives is open to receipt of materials from such organizations. In this particular case, I am referring to the Ecology Action Centre, which is a citizens' environmental group that has a 25, 30 year history in Nova Scotia.

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When the EAC moved from one location to another, it took that occasion to take some of its records and go to the Public Archives and say, are any of these old records that we have of interest to you in the Public Archives? With the very kind assistance of the staff at the Public Archives, the records were gone through and examined, and those that the public archivist considered might be of potential interest to researchers in the future were taken in and stored and are there; otherwise, I think the organization might well have put these out to the recycling, not the trash.

[5:00 p.m.]

I am sure this kind of function is one that has been replicated time and again for small organizations: small non-profit groups like EAC or from any other groups and organizations around the province; small, local, historical societies in counties or towns; groups that grow up with a particular local focus and have generated photographs, diaries and collected artifacts and written materials that are of importance not just to five or six people locally or not just to one family, but of interest to others throughout our province and around the world.

I know that this function that I just described for the EAC has been performed very well by the staff of the Public Archives all around the province. This is as it should be; this is, in many ways, a model of a public institution because it does its job and does its job properly. There are no scandals associated with the Public Archives, no serious problems associated with the Public Archives, nothing that has ever been anything except to the greatest credit of that institution.

The people who have held the position of public archivists have achieved positions of respect in our society. They have been people who have not been narrowly focused, they have not simply gone to their offices and done their jobs and gone home at the end of the working day and they are limited hours. We know that they have become involved in a whole myriad of activities in their community based on associations with the activity of taking care of public records, which has so motivated their lives, so that the history of those who have been provincial archivists in Nova Scotia is that they have taken roles in other historical society groups or groups that have sought to preserve buildings or have associated interests; they have become people with a real mission in society. We have benefited greatly in this province from having a good set of provincial archives headed up by provincial archivists of stature inside our society; this has served us well.

I wish to add my congratulations to the minister for having taken the time and trouble to work out, in consultation with all of those affected, a bill that shows every sign of being likely to serve us well into the next century. I have no doubt that like virtually any legislation, at some point we will have to turn our minds to it again and at some point in the future we will find occasion to make some changes. Certainly at this point, the bill has moved us along, taken account of a set of circumstances for which the facts in the ground have outgrown the governing Statute and now we have turned our minds to the necessity of moving ahead.

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I wish to indicate that the minister, his staff and those with whom he has consulted, seem to have done a very fine job in re-examining what is a very important part of our community life in the province as a whole and given us a Statute that I think we will probably all support. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: If I recognize the minister it will be to close the debate.

The honourable Minister of Education.

HON. ROBERT HARRISON: Mr. Speaker, let me compliment both speakers on the opposite side of the House for their long-standing, deep appreciation of the history and heritage of this province and the important function that the Archives plays in that and for the member opposite, for his very thoughtful remarks not only about that same heritage and important contribution that that institution plays in the lives of Nova Scotians but to actually comment on the quality of work done by the people who staff the Public Archives. I notice the Speaker nodding, which is not something a Speaker is supposed to do when a member opposite makes a suggestion to improve a bill, but even Speakers, from time to time can show a little bias.

We are looking at perhaps an amendment to include the Legislative Librarian as a member of the Board of the Public Archives and we are simply examining that now as a staff, as a potential improvement to the bill. I would mention Miss Shirley Elliott, who lives in my home community and has served this Legislative Library well, and also a close relative and partner of the member opposite, Ilga Léja, who also served this library extremely well and perhaps from both of those people, the knowledge that the member opposite just conveyed to this House in terms of his appreciation not only of the importance of the archives but also the importance of the link to the Legislative Library.

With those remarks, Mr. Speaker, (Interruption) yes, indeed, the member for Kings North reminds me that this is a jewel, the Public Archives, in the tapestry of the heritage mosaic of this province. He is very profound at mixing about a dozen metaphors into one metaphorical piece of magic. On that I would move second reading of this bill.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is for second reading of Bill No. 43. Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

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

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 58.

[Page 3681]

Bill No. 58 - Cemeteries Protection Act.

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

HON. ROBERT HARRISON: Mr. Speaker, I rise in this House today to introduce a bill protecting our province's valuable historical landmarks - abandoned cemeteries. The Cemeteries Protection Act will protect heritage cemeteries in Nova Scotia against neglect, vandalism or property development. More and more Nova Scotians are interested in preserving their family's history and the grave sites of their ancestors.

Mr. Speaker, cemeteries are a valuable resource. They are a lasting tribute to our history. They tell us who we were, what we did, who we loved. A growing number of cemeteries in Nova Scotia have been abandoned and neglected, some to the point where people would not even recognize that they were on sacred ground. Other graveyards have been damaged by vandals and still others are being destroyed by development.

Mr. Speaker, legislation is needed to protect cemeteries which are not currently the responsibility of any existing group; for example, a churchyard where a church group no longer exists or a family burial ground in a field or on an abandoned farm. The legislation will establish three things. One; once a piece of property has been used for human burial, it cannot be used for any other purpose. Two; groups interested in maintaining a grave site may do so through a permit system. Three, it is a crime to disturb a grave or gravestone unless you have a permit that sets out appropriate procedures to work on the site.

Mr. Speaker, the legislation will also make it possible for people to cross a piece of uncultivated private land to visit a cemetery. Cemeteries contain information about Nova Scotia and the people who built this province and cannot be found anywhere else. Cemeteries are like libraries in the great outdoors. The information contained on the stones is valuable to historians and Nova Scotians. Many of these cemeteries are the burying grounds of the first European settlers who came to this province. Their headstones tell of a struggle to make a life here.

There is a cemetery on Tancook Island, Mr. Speaker. When you go there and read the gravestones, you soon realize that one family, the Levy family, lost 12 members in a single year during a diphtheria epidemic. It makes you stop and realize the hardships these early Nova Scotians faced. The story of the Levy family on Tancook Island would be lost if their grave site was abandoned and their gravestones destroyed.

Mr. Speaker, the Nova Scotia Museum has had over 300 letters, e-mails and phone calls from individuals and groups who are concerned about the state of this province's abandoned cemeteries. I would like to take a moment to give you some indication of the level of concern Nova Scotians and their visitors are feeling over our province's abandoned cemeteries.

[Page 3682]

Eleanor Smith, President of the Shelburne County Genealogical Society, writes, we wish to have legislation enacted to protect abandoned and neglected grave sites in our province. One of our members, Edward Bird, of New Hampshire, has spent the past five years seeking out and restoring grave sites in the Sable River-Louis Head area. His clearing of brush and extensive work uncovered 37 grave sites.

Lois Jenkins of Clementsvale, Nova Scotia, writes that these old grave sites are priceless records of history. They must have some protection.

Barbara Meredith, Alberta, has ancestors buried in Nova Scotia and she has written in support of legislation to protect abandoned cemeteries as follows, there is no legislation to protect grave sites before they are destroyed. How many have we lost already? Will we ever know? However, maybe we could do something about the ones that are still there, unprotected and unmarked.

And this comes as an e-mail from Denise Rice of Annapolis Royal. She writes, I also think this should be made law, that no one be allowed to destroy or build over these sites.

Mr. Speaker, Nova Scotians find a wealth of information in our province's some 20,000 cemeteries. They want to be able to visit and care for the final resting place of their ancestors. This legislation will allow that to happen and will preserve a vital link to our past. Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I move this bill for second reading and to the Law Amendments Committee.

MR. SPEAKER: The question is for second reading of Bill No. 58. Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

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

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 65.

Bill No. 65 - Endangered Species Act.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

HON MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I would like to move second reading of this bill.

[Page 3683]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Chebucto.

MR. HOWARD EPSTEIN: Mr. Speaker, I would like to offer my congratulations to the honourable House Leader for moving second reading of this bill. This is a very fine piece of legislation. There is much to praise in the Province of Nova Scotia moving ahead on this initiative, which is an important one. We know it should be seen, I think, as going hand in hand with the move toward putting in place protected areas. We know the difficulties associated with promoting biodiversity and the values associated with that. It is not solely related to species which this bill deals with. It has to go hand in hand with a rational land policy but there is, in front of us, a separate bill that does address that matter. The separate bill deals with establishing protected areas around the province.

We know how difficult it is to accomplish the objectives of this legislation, because of the patterns of land ownership in our province; almost unique in Canada, we find that the portion of undeveloped land that is owned by the Crown is much smaller in Nova Scotia than it is in almost any other province of the country. In many other provinces the Crown is the owner of 65 per cent, 75 per cent, 80 per cent of the undeveloped land. That is not the case in Nova Scotia. Here the proportions tend to be reversed so that when we consider undeveloped land, it is essentially held by private interests, about 70 per cent, and by the Crown about 30 per cent. So this means that there are difficulties imposed on the Crown if it wishes merely to act, either as a landowner or out of its own discretion, in order to protect species or special places. Given that limitation, it is nonetheless important that we move ahead with this initiative.

So, again I congratulate the department, the ministers responsible and the department for having chosen to do this. It is particularly appropriate because at the federal level corresponding legislation has been held up. As I understand it, one of the effects of putting in place this legislation would be of at least some constitutional significance in the sense that our province would have asserted some jurisdiction over the subject matter.

The whole range of environmental issues is not clearly assigned under the Canadian Constitution. There is no heading under Sections 91 or 92 of the Constitution that is labelled, the Environment so, unlike financial institutions or banking, which are clearly federal matters, or property and civil rights, which are clearly provincial matters, the environment simply does not appear as a separate heading. It wasn't, in the terms we now understand it, in the minds of the framers of the Constitution, hence, the law around environmental issues has developed in an interesting way in our country.

What it has meant is that there is split jurisdiction, jurisdiction that can be asserted by the federal government, based on some of its traditional powers, say, the criminal law power for example, or the power to make laws for peace, order and good government of the country. These are recognized constitutional heads, which have been interpreted by the courts as leading, quite legitimately, to certain aspects of environmental regulation. At the same time,

[Page 3684]

the courts have also recognized that the provincial government, based in traditional concepts of property and civil rights in the province, has a legitimate interest in legislating and, therefore, regulating other aspects of the environment.

[5:15 p.m.]

What the law comes down to really, in terms of constitutional jurisdiction is a recognition that, for the most part, both federal jurisdiction and provincial jurisdiction over a whole variety of environmental issues can co-exist, that it is entirely conceivable that both the federal and provincial governments can enact laws with respect to different areas of environmental issues. So long as those laws are not in direct conflict with one another, no particular constitutional issue arises as to whether either level of government is capable of legislating in the area, and so it is with endangered species.

This area, at the moment, I believe, although there is a federal body that gives advice on the status of endangered species, this being the Committee on the Status of Endangered Species in Canada, I don't believe the legislation has been put in place federally, therefore, there is no ouster of provincial jurisdiction. We are quite capable of going forward in our own province with this kind of legislation. Of course, it is modelled on exactly the kind of legislation that was contemplated by the federal government and which has appeared on the federal order paper. This is a model that derives from international treaties where there has been consideration given to the kind of protection that is appropriate for endangered species.

I have to say, again, that this seems to be good, solid legislation. I am glad to see the province coming forward with it, but, of course, we have to recognize that it has to go hand in hand in the end with making sure that land on which the species can survive becomes protected and, therefore, there is a companion piece of legislation; I think we have to regard the protected areas legislation as being something akin to companion legislation here. Again, my congratulations to the minister for having brought this forward. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Pictou East.

MR. JAMES DEWOLFE: Mr. Speaker, I, too, wish to rise in support of this bill. I commend the minister for putting it forward. It is certainly very important in this day and age that we recognize the errors of our past and move forward into the future with a more positive view on the environment around us and learn to live in harmony with our environment. Certainly, all Nova Scotians share the responsibility for the conservation of our wildlife and endangered species.

I am, however, concerned about the listing and categorizing of the species that are at risk - it is going to be a very big job - and, also, the enforcement. Again, we are getting into this enforcement aspect of natural resources and so on that I have trouble with because I

[Page 3685]

know the resource people in this province have so many jobs to deal with these days and they are overextended. I guarantee you that they do earn their wages.

This legislation is important and it is a very positive move. The previous speaker tried to tie it in closely with the parks and protected areas. I see it as, certainly, more encompassing. It is important to protect our species outside of those parks and protected areas, on our privately-owned lands, as well as our parks and recreation areas. In this day and age of over-cutting and over-harvesting of not only our wildlife and the use of insecticides that kills off some insects and so on that are part of the food chain, all these factors have to be taken into consideration. I think it is very important and I am pleased that it is coming forward.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Queens.

MR. JOHN LEEFE: Mr. Speaker, I, too, am pleased to rise in support of this legislation. All of the provinces and, indeed, the federal government for some time have been working towards establishing legislation of this nature, so that we have a commonality across the country in dealing with the protection of endangered species. I think one of the very important aspects of the bill that we should focus on is the fact that it refers not only to vertebrates, but also invertebrates, so it casts a very, very broad net, and it is very important that that net be broad.

It should be clear to anyone who takes an interest in this legislation that it cannot be effected without a substantial investment of dollars on the part of the government. There is a very scientific bias to this legislation, which can only be driven if the minister has sufficient dollars in his budget to ensure that those who deal with wildlife in his department have the financial resources available to them to carry out their work and to give substance to this bill. It also will require, I believe, as time goes on, the addition of staff by the department to the section that will be responsible for driving this bill forward; you simply cannot make a significant contribution to this legislation without having the fiscal resources to ensure that it is properly implemented.

We do have some species in our province whose presence, while spoken to anecdotally, has not been proven to exist. I think, by example, of the eastern panther or the eastern cougar. I have spoken to probably a dozen people in western Nova Scotia, all of whom are honest individuals, who have told me unequivocally that they have themselves sighted the eastern cougar in areas in and around Queens County and Digby County and in the area, generally speaking, of the Tobeatic. If, in fact, this elusive species is still extant in Nova Scotia, this legislation, we can only hope and pray, will help to ensure that even in modest numbers it continues to be able to exist here and, perhaps, be able to expand its numbers in western Nova Scotia.

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We have lost so many species. The last wolf was shot in Nova Scotia, I think, in the 1750s. We do not very often stop to think that, in fact, wolves were commonplace in Nova Scotia. Now, today, of course, a cousin of the wolf is free-ranging in Nova Scotia and that is the coyote, a very intelligent animal, certainly not an endangered species but, who knows? Perhaps one day it may go the way of its long-lost cousin, the wolf.

This is a very good piece of legislation. I hope that all members will support it and I hope that the government will ensure that it puts the dollars into the minister's budget which will allow this bill to be effected, and effected quickly; otherwise, literally, it will not be worth the paper it is written on. We have a commitment to Nova Scotians, not only to the current generation but to future generations, to ensure that we do protect these endangered species. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: If I recognize the minister, it will be to close the debate.

The honourable Minister of Natural Resources.

HON. KENNETH MACASKILL: Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the members and I agree with the honourable member for Halifax Chebucto, I think it should go hand in hand with the Wilderness Act and the protected areas, and I want to commend both Parties for their support. We believe this is a very important piece of legislation. I am sure I can stand before the House and say that it is probably overdue, but I am glad we are getting the support of the two Parties at this time to move this forward.

Mr. Speaker, I move second reading of Bill No. 65.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is for second reading of Bill No. 65. Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

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

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, would you please call the order of business, Private and Local Bills for Second Reading.

PRIVATE AND LOCAL BILLS FOR SECOND READING

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 3.

[Page 3687]

Bill No. 3 - Nova Scotia Music Teachers' Act.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Chebucto.

MR. HOWARD EPSTEIN: Mr. Speaker, I might like to start off just briefly by offering my thanks to the honourable Government House Leader for calling this bill. It is a pleasure to be able to speak briefly to it. Members of the House will see that this is a very typical form of a Private Member's Bill. It amends an Act that dates from 1941, it is the Act that incorporates the Nova Scotia Music Teachers' Association. Essentially what it does is it makes some changes to the overall objects and powers of the association and changes their by-laws, which are actually written into the Statute that was passed at the time.

This is exactly the sort of governing structure and arrangement that in more modern times would probably simply be handled by an incorporation as a society under the Societies Act, but in earlier times was handled as a Private Member's Bill. I don't know that there is anything very unusual about this bill. I don't believe there is. I have read it. I was asked to bring it forward because some of the executive members of the association happen to live in my riding.

Mr. Speaker, I don't know if there are other speakers, if not, I move second reading of Bill No. 3.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is for second reading of Bill No. 3. Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

Ordered that this bill be referred to the Committee on Private and Local Bills.

The honourable Government House Leader.

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

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

The motion is carried.

[5:28 p.m. The House resolved itself into a CWH on Bills with the Acting Deputy Speaker Mr. John Leefe in the Chair.]

[Page 3688]

[5:31 CWH on Bills rose and the House reconvened. Mr. Speaker, Hon. Ronald Russell, resumed the Chair.]

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

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

Bill No. 35 - Nova Scotia Teachers College Foundation Act.

and the chairman has been instructed to recommend this bill to the favourable consideration of the House, with certain amendments.

MR. SPEAKER: When shall this bill be read for a third time?

AN HON. MEMBER: On another day.

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

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, that concludes the government's business for today. Tomorrow we will meet between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. Following the daily routine, it is expected that we will be calling Bill No. 60, Bill No. 62 and, if we have time, Bill No. 68. I move that we do now adjourn until the hour of 9:00 a.m. tomorrow morning.

MR. SPEAKER: I would also ask members if they could be back here around 6:00 p.m. for the meeting of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association.

The motion is to adjourn.

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

The motion is carried.

[The House rose at 5:32 p.m.]