The Nova Scotia Legislature

The House resumed on:
September 21, 2017.

Hansard -- Fri., Nov. 20, 1998

First Session

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 20, 1998

TABLE OF CONTENTS PAGE
PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES:
Law Amendments Committee, Hon. Manning MacDonald 4137
Law Amendments Committee, Hon. Manning MacDonald 4138
GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 1984, Commun. Serv. - Children & Families: Support Importance -
Recognize, Hon. F. Cosman 4138
Vote - Affirmative 4139
NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 1985, Commun. Serv. - Children: Hunger & Poverty -
Elimination & Reduction, Mr. R. Chisholm 4139
Res. 1986, Econ. Dev. & Tourism - Min.: Portfolio One - Positive,
Mr. G. Balser 4140
Res. 1987, Commun. Serv. - Special Needs Children: Plight (Parents) -
Recognize, Mr. F. Corbett 4141
Res. 1988, ACOA - Acadian Seaplants: Relocation -
Expenditure Condemn, Mr. J. Leefe 4141
Res. 1989, Health - R.K. MacDonald Nursing Home and Guest House:
Anniv. (40th) - Congrats., Mr. H. Fraser 4142
Vote - Affirmative 4142
Res. 1990, Parade of Lights (Hfx.): Downtown Hfx. Bus. Comm'n. -
Congrats., Ms. Y. Atwell 4143
Vote - Affirmative 4143
Res. 1991, Environ. - Sulphur Emissions: Unique Plan - Present,
Mr. J. DeWolfe 4143
Res. 1992, Sports - Cross-Country (Atl. Champs. [N.B.]):
Basinview ES (Bedford) - Success Congrats., Hon. F. Cosman 4144
Vote - Affirmative 4144
Res. 1993, ACOA - Bus. Assist. Progs.: Jobs Increase - Use,
Mr. John Deveau 4145
Res. 1994, Commun. Serv. - Children: Quality of Life -
Time Donation Acknowledge, Mr. J. Muir 4145
Vote - Affirmative 4146
Res. 1995, Sports - Wall of Fame (MacDonald Museum [Middleton]):
Establishment - Congrats., Mr. L. Montgomery 4146
Vote - Affirmative 4147
Res. 1996, Fin. - Deficit Current: Santa Claus - Request (Premier) Take,
Mr. W. Estabrooks 4147
Res. 1997, Health - Tideview Terrace: Anniv. (25th) - Congrats.,
Mr. G. Balser 4147
Vote - Affirmative 4148
Res. 1998, Educ. - Dal. Univ.: WHO Designation (Research) -
Congrats., Mr. G. Fogarty 4148
Vote - Affirmative 4149
Res. 1999, Commun. Serv. - Min.: Grandchild (First-Annie Whitman) -
Congrats., Mr. J. Leefe 4149
Vote - Affirmative 4149
Res. 2000, Culture - Music: Brakin' Tradition (St. Peter's) -
Contribution Recognize, Mr. M. Samson 4150
Vote - Affirmative 4150
Res. 2001, Health - Transplants (Res. 1958): Opposition (Gov't. [N.S.]) -
Condemn, Ms. Maureen MacDonald 4150
Res. 2002, Commun. Serv. - Min.: Hfx. Metro Food Bank - Visit,
Mr. J. Muir 4151
Res. 2003, Unite the Right Conf. (Feb. 1999) - Sask. NDP: Inclusion -
Urge, Mr. P. MacEwan 4152
Res. 2004, Exco - N.B. (Visit): Errors (Logging & P3 [Gov't. (N.B.)]) -
Observe, Mr. H. Epstein 4152
Res. 2005, Health - Emergency Serv. Centre (Bedford):
Importance (HRM) - Recognize, Mr. J. DeWolfe 4153
Vote - Affirmative 4153
Res. 2006, PC (N.S.) MLAs - Geography: Remedial - Enrol,
Mr. D. Dexter 4154
Res. 2007, NDP (N.S.) - Future Gov't. (N.S.): Policy (B.C.) -
Application Reveal, Mr. Charles MacDonald 4154
Res. 2008, Fish.: World Fisheries Day (21/11/98) - Recognize,
Mr. N. LeBlanc 4155
Vote - Affirmative 4155
Res. 2009, Environ. (Can.) - Maritimes Weather Ctr.:
Location (Dart.) New - Congrats., Mr. J. Pye 4156
Vote - Affirmative 4156
Res. 2010, Health - Marfan Syndrome: Cure Search - Support,
Mr. John MacDonell 4156
Vote - Affirmative 4157
Res. 2011, Transport. & Pub. Wks. - Sackville Heights ES: Signage -
Review, Ms. R. Godin 4157
Vote - Affirmative 4158
Res. 2012, SMU - Sobey Building: Opening - Congrats., Mr. P. Delefes 4158
Vote - Affirmative 4158
Res. 2013, Culture - AGNS: Family Days - Attendance Encourage,
Mr. P. Delefes 4159
Vote - Affirmative 4159
Res. 2014, Health - Long-Term Care Plan: Crises - Congrats.,
Ms. Maureen MacDonald 4159
Res. 2015, Transport. & Pub. Wks. - Hammonds Plains Rd.:
Traffic Restrictions - Enforce, Mr. W. Estabrooks 4160
Res. 2016, Fin. - Gambling: Revenue - Cost Condemn, Mr. D. Dexter 4160
Res. 2017, Health - Hospitals: Deficits - Recognition (Premier)
Congrats., Mr. R. Chisholm 4161
STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS:
Michel Trudeau (Son of Rt. Hon. Pierre Trudeau) - Death of:
Moment of Silence - Observe, The Premier 4162
Health - Cove Guest Home (C.B.): Collective Agreement - Ratified,
Hon. J. Smith 4164
INTRODUCTION OF BILLS:
No. 85, Elections Act, Hon. J. Smith 4167
GOVERNMENT BUSINESS:
PUBLIC BILLS FOR THIRD READING:
No. 71, Intercountry Adoption Act 4167
Hon. Manning MacDonald 4168
Mr. J. Pye 4168
Mr. N. LeBlanc 4168
Vote - Affirmative 4169
HOUSE RESOLVED INTO CWH ON BILLS AT 10:07 A.M. 4169
HOUSE RECONVENED AT 10:31 A.M. 4169
CWH REPORTS 4169
HOUSE RESOLVED INTO CWH ON BILLS AT 10:33 A.M. 4170
HOUSE RECONVENED AT 10:53 A.M. 4171
CWH REPORTS 4171
TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS:
Audit of the Nova Scotia Workers' Compensation System
November 1998, Hon. R. MacKinnon 4171
GOVERNMENT BUSINESS:
PUBLIC BILLS FOR SECOND READING:
No. 80, Physiotherapy Act 4172
Hon. J. Smith 4172
Ms. Maureen MacDonald 4173
Mr. G. Moody 4174
Vote - Affirmative 4176
No. 81, Occupational Therapists Act 4176
Hon. Manning MacDonald 4176
Mr. G. Moody 4176
Dr. J. Hamm 4177
Ms. Maureen MacDonald 4178
Vote - Affirmative 4179
No. 84, Family Division of Supreme Court Statute Amendment
(1998) Act 4179
No. 24, Wilderness Areas Protection Act 4179
Mr. N. LeBlanc 4179
Mr. J. Holm 4181
Mr. G. Balser 4185
Mr. H. Epstein 4191
Vote - Affirmative 4200
HOUSE RESOLVED INTO CWH ON BILLS AT 12:45 P.M. 4200
HOUSE RECONVENED AT 12:47 P.M. 4200
CWH REPORTS 4200
PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES:
Private and Local Bills Committee, Mr. P. MacEwan 4201
Private and Local Bills Committee, Mr. P. MacEwan 4201
ADJOURNMENT, House rose to meet again on Mon., Nov. 23rd at 6:00 p.m. 4201
NOTICES OF MOTION UNDER RULE 32(3):
Res. 2018, Lbr. - Aud. Gen. Report (Workers' Comp.): Release -
Urge, Ms. R. Godin 4203
Res. 2019, Commun. Serv.: Nat. Child Day - Recognize, Hon. J. Smith 4203

[Page 4135]

HALIFAX, FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 20, 1998

Fifty-seventh General Assembly

First Session

9:00 A.M.

SPEAKER

Hon. Ronald Russell

DEPUTY SPEAKER

Mr. Donald Chard

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

The honourable member for Sackville-Cobequid.

MR. JOHN HOLM: Mr. Speaker, I rise this morning on a point of order. I am advised that yesterday morning, the Minister of Labour was given a copy of the Auditor General's Report that was done on the Workers' Compensation Board. I am also advised that the Workers' Compensation Board has been provided a copy of that report but that the minister has, to date, refused to make that report available to members of the actual committee, instead announcing that he intends to hold it over for at least 48 hours which would place it Saturday or effectively Monday.

That raises several questions. One, of course, is that the minister is holding it back but it also draws into question the independence of the Auditor General because the Auditor General reports to the House of Assembly, not to a Minister of the Crown. I am asking you, Mr. Speaker, for the efficiency of the committee and also to ensure the independence of the Auditor General's Office to instruct the Minister of Labour to release that report immediately to this House and, most particularly, to the members of the Select Committee on the Worker's Compensation Act who have been working very hard travelling the province, trying to address the mounting and certainly well-known difficulties facing the Workers' Compensation Board.

4135

[Page 4136]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Lunenburg. Are you speaking to the point of order?

MR. MICHAEL BAKER: Yes, I am, Mr. Speaker. I am speaking to that point of order because I share the honourable member's concern about this matter. The matter is that the Auditor General reports to the House and not a Minister of the Crown. To hold back this report at this time is to, in fact, obstruct the activities of the committee and prevent us from carrying out our work.

Mr. Speaker, I think this is a very serious issue and a very serious point of order that needs to be addressed by the House and by yourself today because there is no question that if it is 48 hours this time, the next time it is a week and then it is never.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Labour.

HON. RUSSELL MACKINNON: Mr. Speaker, several weeks ago the Auditor General called me and indicated that he would be preparing his report ready for submission to my office some day this week.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Your office?

MR. MACKINNON: That is exactly what the Auditor General indicated. He indicated that within days of receiving the report, he asked that I provide my observations to him and, forthwith after that, that I would table the report in the House of Assembly.

The report, as I understand, was sent to my office yesterday afternoon and I had not been back to my office the rest of the day. I was out of town last evening, came back, I gave the Auditor General my assurance that as soon as I have a chance to look at it, give him my thoughts on his cover letter that was there, some of the observations he raised with me, I would table the report immediately. As soon as I do that, the report will be tabled.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. I am a little at a loss to certain information regarding this report. If somebody, in their representations on this matter, could inform me as to whether or not the report was ordered by the Department of Labour, the Workers' Compensation Board, or the committee would be of some assistance to me.

MR. MACKINNON: Mr. Speaker, on the point of order. The request for the Auditor General was made by the Department of Labour, prior to the setting up of the select committee. I think the record speaks for itself.

MR. JOHN HOLM: Mr. Speaker, on the point of order. It is my understanding that the request actually came from this House. Looking at the terms of reference of the select committee, there is nothing in this that I can see - and I would be happy to provide you with

[Page 4137]

a copy of this - that says that the report is to be provided to the minister. It is not within those terms.

MR. MICHAEL BAKER: Mr. Speaker, on the point of order. I think that if you look at the resolution in question, the resolution of this House clearly envisaged that the Auditor General's Report would be provided to the committee because it is a pre-condition of the committee's report. I think that clearly implies that the report was going to be provided to the committee.

MR. SPEAKER: The Auditor General is a servant of this House and he is responsive to this House. Now, he may be ordered to supply a report to a department, which is entirely separate to his duty towards this House. If what I am hearing is correct, that the report, in effect, is to satisfy the select committee that we have on workers' compensation, then the report should be made available immediately to the Select Committee on Workers' Compensation. (Applause)

MR. MACKINNON: Mr. Speaker, I am responding directly to the advice that I received from the Auditor General, that he was commissioned by the Department of Labour, by the Minister of Labour and that is why he submitted the report to my office. I can only respond to what I have been advised to do.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. I wish to close this matter; I have made my ruling.

MR. JOHN HOLM: I just want to make one comment, if I might, in an attempt to be helpful. Mr. Speaker, although I do not have it with me, it would be very easy for us to come up with the actual copy of the resolution that passed through this House and I am just wondering if you would review that and, using that, hopefully order the minister to provide it.

MR. SPEAKER: That may be helpful and perhaps if we could get a copy of that to me within the next 20 minutes or so, I will hold my ruling in abeyance until that time. At the present time, however, I am inclined that the report be made available to the select committee.

PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS

PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

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

[Page 4138]

Bill No. 38 - Private Career Colleges Regulation Act.

and the committee recommends this bill to the favourable consideration of the House, without amendment.

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

The honourable Government House Leader.

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

Bill No. 43 - Public Archives Act.

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

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

TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS

STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS

GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Community Services.

RESOLUTION NO. 1984

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

Whereas today, November 20th, is National Child Day, designed to commemorate the United Nations adoption of the Declaration of the Rights of the Child in 1959 and the Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1989; and

Whereas the main goal of National Child Day this year is to increase awareness and understanding of the factors that contribute to healthy child development, particularly in the early years of life; and

[Page 4139]

Whereas the Department of Community Services has a number of programs and services aimed at ensuring young children receive the tools they need to reach their full potential, by promoting healthy children and families;

Therefore be it resolved that this House recognize the importance of supporting children and families in Nova Scotia as an investment in their future and in the future of our province.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

INTRODUCTION OF BILLS

NOTICES OF MOTION

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Opposition.

RESOLUTION NO. 1985

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

Whereas today is National Child Day; and

Whereas Dean Lynn McIntyre, of Dalhousie University, recently completed a study confirming that thousands of children in this country and this province are hungry, some frequently; and

Whereas the poverty level in Nova Scotia has increased in each of the last four years while the number of people using the Metro Food Bank has more than doubled;

Therefore be it resolved that this House acknowledge, on the occasion of National Child Day 1998, that the reduction and elimination of child hunger and child poverty must become specific goals of government in Nova Scotia.

[Page 4140]

Mr. Speaker, I would seek 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 Digby-Annapolis.

RESOLUTION NO. 1986

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

Whereas the Liberal Government's "don't worry, be happy" management philosophy is obviously working for their own caucus; and

Whereas some Liberal members have indicated that Opposition critics should not be so critical; and

Whereas it is important that Opposition critics attempt to maintain objectivity by balancing negative comments with happy, positive observations;

Therefore be it resolved that a happy, positive observation would be that it is a good thing for Nova Scotia that the Minister of Economic Development and Tourism is only responsible for one portfolio.

Mr. Speaker, I would seek waiver.

[9:15 a.m.]

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

Is it agreed?

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Cape Breton Centre.

[Page 4141]

RESOLUTION NO. 1987

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

Whereas a recently released CUPW report detailed the incredible pressures put on parents who must earn a living while providing for a child with special needs; and

Whereas the report, In Our Way: Child Care Barriers to Full Workforce Participation Experienced by Parents of Children with Special Needs, was produced in part by Sharon Hope Irwin, Director of Sydney-based SpeciaLink, the National Centre for Child Care Inclusion; and

Whereas this study details the impact on marriages, and the tension in the home when parents, especially mothers, cannot reconcile schedules and demands of special needs children with employment opportunities;

Therefore be it resolved that this government recognize the plight of parents with special needs children and provide concrete measures to alleviate the pressures experienced by these parents.

Mr. Speaker, I seek 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 Queens.

RESOLUTION NO. 1988

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

Whereas ACOA is pouring $1.75 million in taxpayers' dollars to relocate the Acadian Seaplants processing operation from Port Saxon, Shelburne County; and

Whereas this $1.75 million Liberal boondoggle will create not one new job; and

[Page 4142]

Whereas the Liberals have yet to render even one word of explanation respecting this perplexing decision;

Therefore be it resolved that the Liberal Government and ACOA be condemned for blowing $1.75 million of taxpayers' dollars on a zero sum gain shift of jobs from one economically depressed part of Nova Scotia to another.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Antigonish.

RESOLUTION NO. 1989

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

Whereas this year marks the 40th Anniversary of the founding of the R.K. MacDonald Nursing Home and Guest House in Antigonish; and

Whereas on this special occasion the R.K. Foundation has launched a Furnish a Room fund-raising campaign; and

Whereas this campaign will give community organizations the opportunity to improve the quality of life for residents by sponsoring the refurnishing of a room in the home;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate the R.K. MacDonald Nursing Home and Guest House on its 40th Anniversary and wish them luck on their unique way of soliciting community support to improve the home.

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 Preston.

[Page 4143]

RESOLUTION NO. 1990

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

Whereas the holiday season will officially kick off in downtown Halifax tomorrow night with the third annual Parade of Lights; and

Whereas this event represents an opportunity for downtown businesses to give something back to the community; and

Whereas in addition to enjoying the parade, participants are encouraged to make a donation of perishable food to the Metro Food Bank;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House congratulate the Downtown Halifax Business Commission on this event and encourage as many Nova Scotians as possible to participate.

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 Pictou East.

RESOLUTION NO. 1991

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

Whereas Nova Scotia's Minister of the Environment at a recent meeting of Canadian ministers in Halifax was seemingly confused on an issue of concern to a large segment of the Canadian population; and

Whereas the minister on one hand told a reporter that he supports Ottawa in their attempts to reduce harmful emissions in gasoline; and

[Page 4144]

Whereas he also told the same reporter that sulphur emissions are simply not a problem here in Nova Scotia even though thousands of cars travel our provincial highway system daily;

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of the Environment present to Nova Scotians immediately his unique plan that has seemingly solved the problem in Nova Scotia but remains a serious environmental concern in the other nine provinces.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable Minister of Community Services.

RESOLUTION NO. 1992

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

Whereas the athletes within the riding of Bedford-Fall River have a tradition of excellence in sport competitions; and

Whereas much of the success of our athletes is due to the fine training and encouragement from teachers and coaches at our schools; and

Whereas three young runners from the Basinview Broncos running club of Basinview Elementary School in Bedford competed in the Atlantic Cross Country Championships in St. Andrew's, New Brunswick, winning two silver medals and a gold;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate the three young students, Andrew Teeter, Jack MacGillivray and Laura Osbourne and their coach, Ed Cooper, on their fine performance.

Mr. Speaker, I am requesting 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 4145]

The honourable member for Yarmouth.

RESOLUTION NO. 1993

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

Whereas this government has boasted about its strong support for economic development in Shelburne County, particularly the extraordinary loan for the Blades interests; and

Whereas the federal government has meanwhile been offering generous support for the Acadian Seaplants to move its operations out of Shelburne County to CFB Cornwallis, scene of the Prime Minister's first broken promise; and

Whereas Shelburne County has protested this use of government subsidies to move jobs from one area of low employment to another;

Therefore be it resolved that this House urge the federal government to use its business assistance programs to increase the number of jobs and industries in Nova Scotia rather than shuffle existing ones and urge further that ACOA not list among its jobs created or saved those that it has simply relocated.

Mr. Speaker, I request 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 Truro-Bible Hill.

RESOLUTION NO. 1994

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

Whereas today is the 6th Anniversary of National Child Day, a designation given by the Government of Canada and will be marked by ceremonies across our province; and

[Page 4146]

Whereas November 20th was chosen as National Child Day because it is the anniversary of the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of the Child in 1959 and also its adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1991; and

Whereas National Child Day is a day to rejoice at the special meaning children bring to our lives and the hope they inspire for the future;

Therefore be it resolved that the House acknowledge with thanks all the Nova Scotians who donate their time and talent to improve the quality of life for children and thus make the future a brighter place for our children.

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

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Annapolis.

RESOLUTION NO. 1995

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

Whereas after years of hard work by many volunteers, the Town of Middleton now has an official Sports Wall of Fame; and

Whereas on October 30, 1998, 15 individuals and teams were put on the wall during the first induction ceremony; and

Whereas the Middleton Sports Wall of Fame will celebrate individual athletes, teams and builders - those who contributed to the growth of sport;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate the many organizers and the Town of Middleton for preserving local sports heritage by establishing a Sports Wall of Fame in the MacDonald Museum and extend congratulations to the first inductees.

[Page 4147]

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 Timberlea-Prospect.

RESOLUTION NO. 1996

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

Whereas when faced with mounting financial problems, this Liberal Government's only answer is to go on bended knee, cap in hand, to their Liberal friends in Ottawa; and

Whereas this approach has resulted only in sore knees and cold heads; and

Whereas the Parade of Lights will take place in Halifax tomorrow night featuring Santa and his elves as the prime attraction;

Therefore be it resolved that the Premier take his requests to the jolly man in the red suit tomorrow evening because he may stand more of a chance with him than relying on his friends in Ottawa.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Digby-Annapolis.

RESOLUTION NO. 1997

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

Whereas high-quality, long-term care facilities for seniors is an important issue for all Nova Scotians; and

[Page 4148]

Whereas this level of care requires a dedicated, hard-working staff and a genuine commitment on the part of elected officials; and

Whereas on November 19th the residents and staff of Tideview Terrace invited friends and family to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the opening of that facility;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House extend happy anniversary and best wishes to the staff and residents of Tideview Terrace.

Mr. Speaker, I would as 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 Halifax Bedford Basin.

RESOLUTION NO. 1998

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

Whereas Dalhousie University has long had an international reputation in the field of medical research; and

Whereas Dalhousie's top-notch research teams have recently identified the gene that causes Niemann-Pick disease, a recessive disorder affecting Nova Scotia Acadians, primarily in Yarmouth County; and

Whereas it is this type of work that led to Dalhousie's School of Health Administration to be designated as a centre for research and development for the World Health Organization and the Pan American Health Organization;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate Dalhousie University on this prestigious designation, and extend best wishes as university researchers continue their work in the medical field.

[Page 4149]

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

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Queens.

RESOLUTION NO. 1999

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 Minister of Community Services was making a delivery at 2:00 a.m.; and

Whereas as the consequence of the 2:00 a.m. delivery, the minister did not get to bed until 4:00 a.m.; and

Whereas despite a 2:00 a.m. delivery and a 4:00 a.m. bedtime, the minister looks fairly refreshed at 9:26 a.m.;

Therefore be it resolved that the House congratulates the Minister of Community Services, whose early morning activity signalled the occasion of the birth of her first grandchild, Annie Whitman.

Mr. Speaker, I would ask for waiver. (Applause)

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 4150]

The honourable member for Richmond.

RESOLUTION NO. 2000

MR. MICHEL SAMSON: Mr. Speaker, on behalf of our caucus, we would also like to extend sincere congratulations to the Minister of Community Services, who has become a grandmother at such a young age. We certainly extend our sincere congratulations, also.

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

Whereas the Town of St. Peter's has produced many fine artists, craftspeople and musicians; and

Whereas one of the more popular and talented bands to emerge from St. Peter's is the group called Brakin' Tradition; and

Whereas Brakin' Tradition's unique Cape Breton sound has led to four well-received albums and a recent trip to the North America Folk Music and Dance Alliance Conference in Lake Harmony, Pennsylvania, the most prominent folk music conference in the U.S.;

Therefore be it resolved that this House recognize the major cultural contribution made by musicians from St. Peter's, and congratulate the success of Cyril MacPhee, Gervais Cormier, Nick Boudreau, Bradley McNamara and Lisa MacIsaac of Brakin' Tradition.

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 Halifax Needham.

RESOLUTION NO. 2001

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

[Page 4151]

Whereas yesterday, government members refused to extend congratulations to transplant teams at the QE II for surgical achievements, which are a source of pride for all fair-minded Nova Scotians; and

Whereas those same members also refused to encourage Nova Scotians to support the organ donor program on which the lives of many rest;

Therefore be it resolved that this House condemn those government members who are so incapable of seeing beyond their own narrow partisan survival that they are unable to act even symbolically in the interests of all Nova Scotians.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Truro-Bible Hill.

RESOLUTION NO. 2002

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 Minister of Community Services said recently in this Legislature that she needed to be shown examples of hungry children before she could do anything to help them; and

Whereas today is National Child Day across the country, and yet, unfortunately, there are many hungry children in this province whose needs are simply not being addressed; and

Whereas the Executive Director of Halifax's Metro Food Bank said five years ago, the food bank served 7,000 people a month, while today nearly 15,000 a month are being served, 42 per cent of them children;

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Community Services, if she is looking for examples, make it a point to visit the Halifax Metro Food Bank first-hand and see some of the high numbers of children who are dependent upon food banks and other charity across Nova Scotia in order to have something to eat.

[9:30 a.m.]

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Cape Breton Nova.

[Page 4152]

RESOLUTION NO. 2003

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

Whereas members of the Reform and Conservative Parties are discussing plans to unite the so-called right and plan a conference in Ottawa in February to inaugurate the so-called United Alternative; and

Whereas the Saskatchewan NDP has not been invited to this conference to date, even although they are arguably the most right-wing government in Canada; and

Whereas Saskatchewan NDP policies have resulted in the closure of 50 rural hospitals and the implementation of strong-arm, back-to-work legislation;

Therefore be it resolved that this House urge the Unite the Right Conference to include the Saskatchewan NDP, a Party in which our Nova Scotia NDP Leader holds in very high esteem.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Halifax Chebucto.

RESOLUTION NO. 2004

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

Whereas earlier this week it became obvious that this Liberal Government did not learn from the errors made by the neighbouring Liberal Government of New Brunswick when negotiating an aboriginal logging deal; and

Whereas the New Brunswick Auditor General yesterday chastised the New Brunswick Liberal Government for a very flawed P3 process that has cost New Brunswick taxpayers millions of dollars; and

Whereas the Liberal Government of Nova Scotia continues to recklessly barrel down the slippery slope of P3, unwilling to listen to legitimate criticism of the process;

Therefore be it resolved that the entire Liberal Government of Nova Scotia take a weekend trip to New Brunswick to observe what other errors the neighbouring Liberal Government has in store for its citizens so that this Liberal Government might finally start to learn from others' mistakes rather than simply repeating them.

[Page 4153]

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Pictou East.

RESOLUTION NO. 2005

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

Whereas a new emergency service centre for the Halifax Regional Municipality opened last week in Bedford; and

Whereas the facility is the first such combined building housing public safety officials and equipment; and

Whereas the new facility houses HRM's 911 call centre, the west division of the Halifax Regional Municipality Police Force and fire stations which is home to both paid and volunteer firefighters;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this Legislature recognize the importance these centres play in everyday life of the residents living in the Halifax Regional Municipality and wish them every success in the operation of this new emergency response centre in Bedford.

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.

When we have unanimous consent for passage of a resolution, I still have to hear an Aye.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Aye.

MR. SPEAKER: Thank you. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

[Page 4154]

The honourable member for Dartmouth-Cole Harbour.

RESOLUTION NO. 2006

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

Whereas members of the Third Party are speaking with bravado when it comes to the protection of Nova Scotia's unique wilderness areas; and

Whereas the member for Pictou East was quite right in informing the House that Middle River is an area of mineral deposits including gold and platinum; and

Whereas the unfortunate part of the member's statement is that he was confusing Middle River with Middle River/Framboise which of course is an excellent representation of Mira River drumlin landscape;

Therefore be it resolved that this House include enrolment in remedial geography along with the introductory biology lessons already suggested for another member of the Third Party.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Inverness.

RESOLUTION NO. 2007

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

Whereas the New Democratic Party forms the government in British Columbia; and

Whereas British Columbia has the highest marginal income tax rate in Canada; and

Whereas this income tax rate is causing highly valuable skilled labour, especially in the high-tech field, to seek employment elsewhere;

Therefore be it resolved that the NDP of Nova Scotia come clean with the citizens of this province and reveal to them that what is happening in B.C. under the NDP Government is the fate that awaits Nova Scotians should the NDP gain power here.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver.

[Page 4155]

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

Is it agreed?

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Argyle.

RESOLUTION NO. 2008

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

Whereas the fishing communities of the world are taking their first steps to a global cooperation in defence of the fisheries resources and fishing rights on which their livelihood and way of life depend; and

Whereas on November 21, 1997, the World Forum of Fish Harvesters and Fish Workers was founded at a meeting in India of representatives of fish harvesters, fish workers and coastal community organizations from over 20 countries on six continents; and

Whereas among the decisions taken by the World Forum at its inaugural meeting was the declaration of the first World Fisheries Day, on November 21st, as a day of global solidarity in response to the global fisheries crisis;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House recognize November 21st as World Fisheries Day and applaud every effort made to secure this important natural resource.

Mr. Speaker, I would 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 Dartmouth North.

[Page 4156]

RESOLUTION NO. 2009

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

Whereas Environment Canada's Atmospheric Branch has relocated to Queens Square in Dartmouth; and

Whereas the more than 60 staff in various divisions of that branch provide essential services to the people of Nova Scotia and Canada, relating to weather and environmental monitoring; and

Whereas the new Maritimes Weather Centre is inviting the public today to a tour of its new facility;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate the Maritimes Weather Centre on its new facility and wish the centre's staff all the very best in their new location.

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 Hants East.

RESOLUTION NO. 2010

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

Whereas Marfan Syndrome, named after physician Antoine Marfan who discovered it in 1896, is a disorder of connective tissue in the body, affecting the skeletal system, the eyes, and the heart and blood vessels and can be fatal; and

[Page 4157]

Whereas the Marfan gene may be either inherited from a parent affected by the condition or from unaffected parents who have had a mutation in their reproductive cells; and

Whereas a person cannot be cured of Marfan Syndrome, no matter how early in life the condition is diagnosed or how mild the symptoms are;

Therefore be it resolved that this House support and congratulate all efforts being made to discover a cure for this debilitating syndrome.

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 Sackville-Beaver Bank.

RESOLUTION NO. 2011

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

Whereas on Wednesday a Grade 2 student and a crossing guard were struck by a car in a crosswalk near Sackville Heights Elementary School; and

Whereas the crosswalk involved had a flashing orange light to caution drivers of pedestrians in the crosswalk; and

Whereas in spite of such signage, crosswalk accidents and, in particular, fatalities, appear to be increasing in number;

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Transportation and Public Works review with appropriate municipal officials whether the existing signage requirements are adequate to ensure maximum safety for our children.

Mr. Speaker, I ask for waiver.

[Page 4158]

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Halifax Citadel.

RESOLUTION NO. 2012

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

Whereas yesterday Saint Mary's University celebrated the official opening of the Sobey Building; and

Whereas the building will house the business school and arts and science classes; and

Whereas the new building will highlight the excellent reputation of the Saint Mary's business program;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate Saint Mary's University on this significant event.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Halifax Citadel.

[Page 4159]

RESOLUTION NO. 2013

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

Whereas the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia helps in preserving our visual arts heritage; and

Whereas the Art Gallery is currently celebrating the Third Biennial Exhibition of Visual Arts Nova Scotia - Far and Wide; and

Whereas one Sunday a month the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia becomes the site for a day of activities to bring families together with art;

Therefore be it resolved that this Legislature encourage all Nova Scotian families to take the time to delight in the rich visual arts heritage of this province.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Halifax Needham.

RESOLUTION NO. 2014

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

Whereas workers at the Cove Guest Home in Sydney returned to work this morning after a long, difficult battle for a new collective agreement and after the intervention of a government appointed mediator; and

Whereas the resolution of the situation at the Cove Guest Home surely brought a sigh of relief from the Minister of Health; and

[Page 4160]

Whereas the minister's relief may be very short-lived as hundreds of other disgruntled workers at other long-term-care facilities may soon be walking picket lines like the workers at the Cove;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate the Minister of Health for his long-term care plan of scurrying from crisis to crisis.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is a little long but it is tabled.

The honourable member for Timberlea-Prospect.

RESOLUTION NO. 2015

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 volume of traffic on the Hammonds Plains Road continues to build; and

Whereas this busy stretch of highway has been designated for local truck traffic only; and

Whereas local residents continue to witness a growing number of trucks using this road day and night as a connector between Highway No. 102 and Highway No. 103;

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Transportation instruct his staff to enforce the traffic restrictions as posted on this busy highway.

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 Dartmouth-Cole Harbour.

RESOLUTION NO. 2016

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

[Page 4161]

Whereas the government's obsession with gambling is second only to its obsession with amalgamation, the so-called urge to merge; and

Whereas a recent study of gambling indicates the government revenue from gambling cost each adult Nova Scotian $216.51; and

Whereas a recent study of the HRM amalgamation indicates it cost each HRM family $225.00;

Therefore be it resolved that this Liberal Government be condemned for making both these wagers and making Nova Scotians the losers.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable Leader of the Opposition.

RESOLUTION NO. 2017

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

Whereas on November 18th the Health Minister assured this House and Nova Scotians that, "We have a plan.", to deal with hospital deficits; and

Whereas on November 19th the Health Minister assured this House that there is no plan, no plan has been approved, and that the November 1998 plan is not the current plan; and

Whereas on November 20th, on the front page of their newspapers, Nova Scotians read the Premier saying, "We have to form some plan.";

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate the Premier for recognizing the problem but urges him to take the second step and adopt a plan. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, would you please revert to the order of business, Statements by Ministers.

MR. SPEAKER: There is a request to revert to Statements by Ministers.

[Page 4162]

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Premier.

HON. RUSSELL MACLELLAN, Q.C. (The Premier): Mr. Speaker, I know that all members of this House were saddened when we heard the tragic news about Michel Trudeau, a young man just entering the prime of his life, 23 years of age, a former student of Dalhousie University, a young man who cared about life, who cared about other people, deeply loved by his two brothers and his parents, and deeply loved by this whole country who remember him as a young boy with his father and his mother.

I was a Member of Parliament when Michel Trudeau was a young boy in Ottawa. I met him a few times and could not help but remark at his zest for life, his consideration of other people, how he related to his two brothers and his parents and all those with whom he came in contact. I remember his father, the former Prime Minister, giving every consideration to his three sons, taking them with him whenever he could, and in fact, he developed a plan where, when he went abroad, he would take one son with him, so that he would be able to spend quality time with each of his three sons in a schedule that was filled with matters of state and things that were of tremendous importance to this country. He maintained the priority of relating to his three boys.

[9:45 p.m.]

I know how close the former Prime Minister was to his sons. I know how deeply he loves them, and how much Michel Trudeau's mother loved him. I also know that the former Prime Minister is deeply saddened as is Michel's mother by this terrible tragedy, a pall over the whole family, because they are such close people. These young boys were just a part of Canada when they grew up, and everybody in this country has related to them through the years that have gone by, and the fine young men that they became. The former Prime Minister is a very private person, I am sure, Mr. Speaker, as you yourself know. He keeps his private life very close to him, and keeps it within his family.

This is a tremendous tragedy for him, for Margaret, Michel's mother, for the Trudeau family and for all of Canada. Today is a memorial day for Michel Trudeau. I would ask that this House take a moment to reflect and give a moment of silence for this fine young man and the all too short a life that he had to give to his country.

[Page 4163]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Opposition.

MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, I rise on behalf of my caucus colleagues to certainly support the sentiments of the Premier. Let me say that many Canadian families unfortunately know what an impact it is on them when a child is removed so quickly, so suddenly and so tragically from their midst. The family suffers a blow on these occasions that is hard to recover from. I think it is incumbent on all Canadians, certainly their friends and all Canadians to offer their support and condolences to the Trudeau family and help them as they fight the battle to recover from such a tremendous loss.

On behalf of our caucus, we certainly send our best wishes and condolences to the Trudeau family, and would be pleased to honour the memory of this young Canadian as the Premier has suggested.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Argyle.

MR. NEIL LEBLANC: Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the Progressive Conservative Caucus, I rise today to echo the Premier's comments. As a parent of three children, I cannot imagine what it would be to lose a child. My heart goes out to the Trudeau family and to the former Prime Minister. I remember when the children were born, they were part of Canada, because of the high profile the Prime Minister had at that time. All of us were trying to imagine what it would be like to be a child in that sort of setting, very public. At the same time, the Prime Minister somehow managed to keep their affairs relatively private, which we, as politicians, know sometimes it is very difficult to do. When this sudden tragedy came about and the circumstances around it that have arisen, the difficulty of even finalizing the whole tragedy with the difficulties of retrieving Michel Trudeau's body and so forth, makes this even more difficult and it amplifies the problems.

On behalf of our caucus, I would like to echo the Premier's comments and the comments of the Leader of the Opposition in offering our condolences to the former Prime Minister and to his family. We will say to Michel Trudeau that he will not be forgotten.

MR. SPEAKER: I will ask the honourable members to rise for a moment of silence.

[One minute of silence was observed.]

Please be seated.

The honourable Minister of Health.

HON. JAMES SMITH: I have an introduction and a statement.

[Page 4164]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Health for an introduction and then a statement.

HON. JAMES SMITH: Mr. Speaker, I would like to bring to your attention and introduce, in your gallery this morning, four people representing the Nova Scotia Association of Occupational Therapists. We have Doctor Elizabeth Townsend, who is Director at the School of Occupational Therapy; Barbara O'Shea, a former Director of the School of Occupational Therapy and a Professor Emerita; Norma Lewis, a therapist and a member of the association's Legislative Committee; and Ann Moore, who was here yesterday, and is also a member of the Legislative Committee of the Nova Scotia Association of Occupational Therapists. I would like them to rise and receive the warm welcome of the House. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Health, on his statement.

HON. JAMES SMITH: Mr. Speaker, I rise to confirm to this House that workers at the Cove Nursing Home in Sydney last night ratified a new collective agreement. This has already been mentioned by other members of the House, but I did want to make a further statement that last night's settlement comes after two and one-half weeks of upset and turmoil for the 108 residents of the Cove Nursing Home. Throughout this strike, this government's concern has been for the safety and well-being of the residents of the Cove, whose average age by the way is between 82 and 85 years of age. This was not their strike, but they were the ones who suffered the most.

Strikes are difficult for both labour and management. The acrimony that develops during a strike often takes months and years to settle down. My hope is that both sides can quickly settle their differences and return quickly to delivering the type of care that the residents enjoyed before the strike began.

Throughout the strike, the Department of Health's major preoccupation was with the health and safety of those residents. I would personally like to thank the staff who remained in the home, the board members, volunteers, and Department of Health staff who worked so tirelessly to ensure that at least a minimum level of care was maintained. Thanks also to those health care workers from across Nova Scotia who responded voluntarily to the Cove's desperate cry for help. In addition, I want to commend our emergency health services staff for the superb job they did in moving residents who required hospitalization.

As a department, we were in constant contact with officials in the Cove. We ensured that doctors were going into the facility 24 hours a day and checking on the residents. Doctor Murray Nixon was at the Cove on at least two occasions and provided me with a personal, first-hand report on the health situation inside the home.

[Page 4165]

This wasn't an ordinary strike. This wasn't a factory or an office complex. It was a home for a group of elderly Nova Scotians who, for 19 days, were subject to a high level of discomfort and anxiety. My fondest hope is that these residents will suffer no long-term effects as a result of this unfortunate strike.

The Cove settlement, like others before it, was within the financial parameters set by this government. Altogether we have put $84 million on the table, so that at the end of the contract period nursing home employees right across this province will have parity with one another. There are still a number of nursing homes without contract settlements, so we are not out of the woods yet. However, I would like to urge all sides involved in this issue, both inside and outside of this Legislature, to look back at the events of the past two and one-half weeks and realize what real harm a strike of this nature can cause.

I am optimistic that if common sense can prevail, contract differences involving nursing homes can be settled at the bargaining table, and I am sure nursing home residents across this province would only be too willing to share this view.

Again, in closing, I am very pleased to confirm that a contract has been ratified at the Cove Nursing Home and the staff in this facility can now get back to doing what they do best, caring for seniors who need their assistance, understanding, and their compassion. Thank you, Mr. Speaker. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Needham.

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, we, too, share a sense of relief with the Minister of Health that workers at the Cove are back on the job today. Our sense of relief is for those residents and for those families, many of whom called us throughout the past 19 days. Our sense of relief is also extended to the workers and to their families, for whom this time was definitely not an easy time, and it was not an easy time for the operator of this facility, for nurses or for volunteers. While we feel relieved, our anger about the fact that what was a very predictable and avoidable strike in the first place is very real on this side of the House of Assembly. The absolute hypocrisy of the Minister of Health as he talks about concerns for the residents cannot be lost on us . . .

MR. SPEAKER: I think I would ask the member to perhaps choose a better word than hypocrisy. (Interruptions)

Order, please.

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: If the residents in the Cove had been the number one priority of the minister and the Premier and the government, they would have acted to prevent this strike in the first place. We all know that strikes are about hardship, and they are particularly about hardship when they occur in the health care sector. (Interruptions)

[Page 4166]

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Now, we have already stated here, by resolution this morning, that nursing home workers and residents and families are not out of the woods yet in this province; many homes are still in collective bargaining and conciliation. This government had better not be playing petty little games in that process. We can only hope that some day soon, features of the Private Member's Bill . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. I will be forced to name a member.

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: . . . we introduced yesterday, Bill No. 79, Homes for Special Care Standards Development Act, will, in fact, come before this House to avoid these kinds of situations in the future. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings West.

MR. GEORGE MOODY: Mr. Speaker, I rise on behalf of our caucus to say that we are very pleased that a new collective agreement has been ratified at the Cove. It is unfortunate that this strike occurred and it is unfortunate especially for those residents who were there. I think we can all learn. I don't think anyone wins by a strike, whether it is the residents, workers or government, or anybody. One thing that you have to think about is that we can bat it around about who is at fault but, hopefully, what we can learn from this is that we knew, obviously after last night, that there was a solution that everybody seemed to accept. If there is a solution at the end, there must have been a solution at the beginning.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.

MR. MOODY: I am not blaming anyone, but I think we, as legislators, and the government have to take a lesson, as the Minister of Health says, we are not out of the woods yet on a number of other facilities, and I hope that we learn from this settlement that in the future we can prevent this happening again, and that is what we support. I commend the government in getting the last deal done, but the problem was it went on for too long in my books. I think that we have to make sure that if there is an interruption at any long-term care facility that the primary concern has to be that the residents receive the kind of proper care, never mind just maybe adequate care, it has to be proper care. I think if we start planning that if this unfortunate situation even develops again that we have that in place.

[10:00 a.m.]

I want to thank the volunteers. I want to thank those who went in, through difficult times of crossing the picket lines, who were not concerned about themselves but concerned about the individuals inside. Too often no matter where you are in a situation like this, you think of your own political grandstanding or your own individual well-being instead of

[Page 4167]

thinking of others who are so less fortunate and can't stand up for themselves. I hope that there is a commitment by the government in the next round of discussions with other nursing homes that they know in their heart if there is a solution at the end that the solution will be at that beginning. Let's keep that in mind as we go forward but again I want to say how pleased we are that this strike is over and the residents are receiving now the kind of care that I know that they should have and will have in the future. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, would you please revert to the order of business, Introduction of Bills.

MR. SPEAKER: There is a request to revert back to the order of business, Introduction of Bills.

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

INTRODUCTION OF BILLS

Bill No. 85 - Entitled an Act to Amend Chapter 140 of the Revised Statutes of 1989. The Elections Act. (Hon. James Smith)

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

ORDERS OF THE DAY

GOVERNMENT BUSINESS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

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

PUBLIC BILLS FOR THIRD READING

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 71, the Intercountry Adoption Act.

Bill No. 71 - Intercountry Adoption Act.

[Page 4168]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the Minister of Community Services, I so move.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Dartmouth North.

MR. JERRY PYE: Mr. Speaker, I want to speak in support of Bill No. 71. As you know, it brings Nova Scotia in line with many other provinces which now have adopted The International Convention of The Hague with respect to adoption. I think that this bill is going to go a long way and I can tell you in my conversation with adoptees out there and with respect to, as well, Parent Finders of Nova Scotia, have been long-awaiting for this bill to come forward. I can tell you that it is indeed a pleasure to stand in this Legislative Assembly today in support of Bill No. 71.

I want to say that earlier I had made a recommendation of an amendment to this bill with respect that in the event the Intercountry Adoption Act prevails, I should say, is in question, that, in fact, The International Hague Convention Act would prevail. However, I do want to tell you that after reviewing the bill that I believe it is in Clause 2 of that particular bill with respect to the very question that I had asked. So that was something that I had initially overlooked in looking at the bill but was very pleased to see on my second round that, in fact, that had been brought forward.

It is indeed a pleasure to stand on behalf of my Party and on behalf of many adopted Nova Scotians and many Nova Scotians who have looked at international adoption throughout the world, as a way of bringing families together and creating their own families. It is a pleasure to be here today and to support this bill. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Argyle.

MR. NEIL LEBLANC: Mr. Speaker, on behalf of our caucus I would like to make just a few small comments with regard to this. Our critic has been speaking at length in support of some changes to the Intercountry Adoption Act and brought forward his comments with regard to Parent Finders of Nova Scotia that are looking for some changes. The Act is outdated and there are many concerns which people felt they could not address under the current legislation, and have been asking for changes for many years. So on behalf of our caucus, I will just make these few comments.

We are pleased that this bill has come forward and has had a chance to be vetted through the Law Amendments Committee whereby amendments can be brought forward and weighed. It does not mean they all get passed and it is not saying that this bill is in its finest form but at this point in time it is the process of three Parties bringing it forward and making

[Page 4169]

some changes which I think that people who are looking for their families can at least have a process to go by and a lot of the wrongs of the past can be corrected.

So, on behalf of our caucus, we will be voting for this bill to go through third reading and encourage the minister to have an open mind in the future if such amendments are brought forward again. Thank you very much.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is for third reading of Bill No. 71. Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

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

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, 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: The motion is the Speaker do now leave the Chair and the House resolve itself into a Committee of the Whole House on Bills. Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

[10:07 a.m. The House resolved itself into a CWH on Bills with Deputy Speaker Mr. Donald Chard in the Chair.]

[10:31 a.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. 58 - Cemeteries Protection Act.

Bill No. 72 - Juries Act.

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

[Page 4170]

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

It is my understanding that there are a couple of bills that are reported back from committee, and you want to go ahead with them now in Committee of the Whole House on Bills.

HON. MANNING MACDONALD: One of them.

MR. SPEAKER: What is the bill number?

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Bill No. 38.

MR. SPEAKER: Is it agreed that Bill No. 38 be referred today to the Committee of the Whole House on Bills?

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

MR. JOHN HOLM: Mr. Speaker, I am just trying to make sure that we refer the right bill here. It is not the Private Career College one, it is the other one, and I don't have the number directly in front of me.

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Bill No. 43.

MR. SPEAKER: A correction. Is it agreed that Bill No. 43 be referred to the Committee of the Whole House on Bills today?

It is agreed.

Now I will accept a motion to leave the Chair.

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.

[10:33 a.m. The House resolved itself into a CWH on Bills with Deputy Speaker Mr. Donald Chard in the Chair.]

[Page 4171]

[10:53 a.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 bill:

Bill No. 43 - Public Archives Act.

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

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, would you please revert to the order of business, Tabling Reports, Regulations and other Papers.

MR. SPEAKER: Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Labour.

HON. RUSSELL MACKINNON: Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Section 15 of the Auditor General Act, I wish to table the report on behalf of the Auditor General, an audit of the Nova Scotia Workers' Compensation System, November 1998. Although the report was prepared under the direction of the minister and requested to report to the Executive Council, I wish to table the report in the House of Assembly for the full scrutiny and approbation of all members of the House.

MR. SPEAKER: The report is tabled.

[GOVERNMENT BUSINESS]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

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

[Page 4172]

PUBLIC BILLS FOR SECOND READING

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 80.

Bill No. 80 - Physiotherapy Act.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Health.

HON. JAMES SMITH: Mr. Speaker, I will be making comments relative to the Occupational Therapist Act as well as the Physiotherapy Act, as the Acts are very similar and overdue. I am very pleased to be able to speak to second reading on those bills.

I am doing this also, Mr. Speaker, as I have commitments in the Law Amendments Committee and that would facilitate arriving there. Before I begin though, I do want to say that the Department of Health has worked very closely with occupational therapists and physiotherapists during the past few years, and both bodies have been very cooperative during ongoing negotiations. We appreciate their patience for the amendments that arrived, that we are proposing, that are long overdue.

These amendments will go a long way to strengthen both professions and give occupational therapists and physiotherapists new authorities. The amendments would allow both professions to incorporate and they would allow for positive changes in the disciplinary process and allow direct access to those two professions as well.

Let me touch on those points. First of all, both bodies wish to have the power to incorporate, and these amendments will allow occupational therapists and physiotherapists to incorporate. This is an important issue for both health professions and we are pleased to be able to propose these changes to both Acts. We are also proposing changes to both Acts to improve the regulatory authority. The legislation would see that the disciplinary process amended to be consistent with the process of the Medical Act. These changes would improve the regulation of member activities which would include providing a more coordinated and flexible disciplinary process with opportunities for mediation and enforcing standards as well as providing capacity for inspections.

As health professions, occupational therapy and physiotherapy have excellent reputations. Their images can only be made better by having the authority to better regulate and to monitor the activities of its members. Perhaps the most significant amendment that we have proposed is direct access to occupational and physio therapy services.

[Page 4173]

Currently, as you know, a referral from a physician is required to access these services. These amendments would allow individuals to refer themselves or to be referred by any member of the health care team. This would reduce delays in getting treatment and would also offer an alternative access point into the health care system.

The amendments that we have proposed would positively impact patient care, as well as strengthen both of the health professions. These are important changes that we believe will benefit the public. I am hopeful that we will see these bills move forward without any further delay. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Needham.

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I, too, am absolutely delighted to see both of these bills brought forward, the Physiotherapist Act and the Occupational Therapist Act, Bill No. 80 and Bill No. 81. As we all know, health care is so important to Nova Scotians for our health and our well-being. While it is true that often when we talk and we think about the health care system, we often focus on doctors and nurses who clearly are a very important part of our health care system. These two professional groups are not the only professional groups that are a fundamental part of health care.

Physiotherapy and occupational therapy are a fundamental component of the health care system and the services that are offered by professionals in these two disciplines are required by many Nova Scotians. As a health care professional myself in my former life - social work, a sister profession - I understand the importance of having a self-regulatory body that has autonomy but with that autonomy a greater responsibility for accountability and for discipline and regulations of our own membership, to make sure that the public is receiving the high-quality services that we, as health care professionals, are capable of providing and want to provide.

[11:00 a.m.]

Bill No. 80 and the companion, Bill No. 81, are very important in many respects because no longer, for example, are referrals required from physicians prior to seeing a physiotherapist or an occupational therapist, and in many other jurisdictions, in other provinces across the country, this has been the practice for some time. Not only is it cost-effective in that it cuts down on the billing that occurs around seeing a physician for a referral, it is very cost-effective if health care professionals such as physiotherapists or OTs are able to quickly see patients when their services are required, rather than having to go through a series of hoops. In this way, I think this is a very significant change, it will be of great benefit to patients in our health care system.

[Page 4174]

In addition to the direct referrals to physiotherapists and occupational therapists, this bill will allow greater freedom of choice for Nova Scotians in terms of taking control and defining their own health care needs and how they want to have health services delivered. I think that is certainly something that we are very supportive of. There is a need for people to be empowered and take more responsibility for their own health care, in many respects. This will be a welcome feature of a change that will occur.

The regulatory board for these professions will have lay representation and that will be increased. I believe that this bill will ensure improved protection, so that persons who are not registered, who are claiming to practise physiotherapy or occupational therapy, in fact, will be subject to some scrutiny and will be unable to make such claims, which is a very important feature of any professional self-regulatory process. This bill will ensure that clinics meet regulatory standards that are rigorously enforced and scrutinized.

I think that in terms of the self-regulatory aspects of these two bills, we are very favourable in their orientation. I think that for the professionals involved, they will now be able to improve the services that they are able to deliver. They will be able to engage more frequently in the prevention of injury and disability, and they will have an opportunity to participate in a peer review process, which is so important in any kind of professional development and process for accountability.

I think that we will look forward to the public submissions that are sure to accompany this process in the Law Amendments Committee. Perhaps there are some features of these bills that can be improved in that process. The public always brings forward, in the Law Amendments Committee process, perspectives and ideas and suggestions that often haven't occurred to members of the House, and they give us great pause to reflect on what it is we are doing and how we can strengthen and improve any piece of legislation that is brought forward. I certainly look forward to hearing from members of the public.

I am very pleased that we have these bills. I know that they have resulted from many years of hard work and consultation on the part of the College of Physiotherapists and the occupational therapists group. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings West.

MR. GEORGE MOODY: Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of Bill No. 80, an Act Respecting the Practice of Physiotherapy. I know that after this bill we will be dealing with the practise of the occupational therapists as well. I want to say that my involvement with the physiotherapists goes back to my days as Minister of Health, because clearly in the late 1992 time-frame, and I know in 1993, in the part year I was there, they were working on this legislation at that particular time. I want to commend the physiotherapists because they have spent a lot of time on this bill. They have made some changes. I remember having discussions with them, talking about self-regulation and making sure that we have some lay people on the

[Page 4175]

board, making sure we have a balance. Many of those changes that we talked about are all now in this bill. There is a good balance on that board.

One of the positive changes in the bill is, having experienced some back problems this summer, having been referred for physiotherapy by my physician, but after getting improvement in the back and beginning to feel fine, again, finally, if I did not go back in 30 days, but say 60 days or 90 days or a year's time or six months' time, the same condition reoccurred. I know the condition, I have been there, I have had the problem, but prior to this legislation I would have to go back to my family physician, take up his busy time, and get another referral to go back about a problem that was already understood and known about. So, that change of allowing people to go directly to a physiotherapist is a very positive change.

The physiotherapists are a very good professional group. They have looked at the requirements for the training of a physiotherapist, the standards, they have looked at self-regulation. These are all positives for the protection of the consumer. This legislation is not only good for physiotherapists in the province, it is good for the consumers in this province. We are all winners by this very positive legislation. I have no difficulty with the incorporation, which brings them in line with what physicians are allowed to do.

I believe that one of the things that we are going to have to look at down the road is that in physiotherapy, I think in many cases it should be covered under MSI because we know that for those physiotherapists in hospitals, there is a long waiting list. I do know that they work on assessment, on a need basis, and those who have the most urgent need obviously, but there are long waiting lists.

One of the things that surprised me, Mr. Speaker, when I got injured this past summer, was that it is not easy to get a quick appointment with a physiotherapist, because they are in great demand. So even in the private sector, there is a great demand on the physiotherapists. If this, in any way, helps physiotherapists set up even on the private side by incorporation, I commend that as well, because, obviously, even in the Valley area, we can obviously use more physiotherapists than we presently have.

I look forward to this bill going on to the Law Amendments Committee. I look forward to this bill becoming law during this session. They have been a very patient group in waiting for this legislation and I think that we, as legislators, should recognize that this bill was not put together quickly. It has taken years for them to get it this far and I would hope that all members of this Legislature would work diligently to see that this bill receives third reading before we leave this Legislature this session.

Mr. Speaker, I am speaking in favour of this bill and will not hold it up and look forward to it going on to the Law Amendments Committee.

[Page 4176]

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is for second reading of Bill No. 80. 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. 81.

Bill No. 81 - Occupational Therapists Act.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I would move second reading of the bill.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings West.

MR. GEORGE MOODY: Mr. Speaker, I know the minister initially mentioned this bill because it is much in line with the physiotherapy one in that it is self-regulating. It does many of the things that the Physiotherapy Act does.

One of the things, again, occupational therapists who work in our hospitals, Mr. Speaker, are so important to our system but one of the things that I think, hopefully, will happen as we get more physiotherapists in this province and again this legislation is not only good for physiotherapists but good for the general public, physiotherapy in home care is an area where I definitely think there is a need. I know that that has been developed on the private side to some degree. I encourage that but I think on the public side we need physiotherapy included in the home care.

Physiotherapists play a very important role, not only for those who are recovering in hospitals, but play a very important role for our seniors of this province, Mr. Speaker. Again, I want to compliment the occupational therapists who have been very patient. They have worked on this legislation since the days of my being Minister of Health and I know they have made some changes over the years as they have proceeded along with this legislation. Again, they have made sure that there are on the board those from the general public. There is a balance between their members and the consumer and, again, I just want to say that this is very positive legislation but I hope that what this bill leads to is more physiotherapists and a greater role for physiotherapists in our whole health care system. I think they are doing a great job but I think there are many more things that they could be doing, especially in home care, from where we are today.

[Page 4177]

Mr. Speaker, I, again, hope that this bill not only passes second reading but that we see this bill all the way through the House for this session so that we can leave here with very positive legislation for the physiotherapists of this province and, again, a benefit to all consumers. Hopefully, as I said, this will lead to a greater role for occupational therapists in the health care system in our province.

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

DR. JOHN HAMM: Mr. Speaker, I rise to say a few words on this bill. It opens a very interesting topic and that is the level of service that is available. We will be supporting the bill because it will improve access to what is a very important service in the health care delivery system of this province, being one of those who had over the years many opportunities to try to access service that was absolutely essential for persons to make a recovery, absolutely essential that they could access physiotherapy service or occupational therapy. The value of the out-of-hospital service that was being provided by the private providers became absolutely essential as the health care delivery system, the pre-paid health delivery system failed to respond to the level of care that was required. If there is an example of the system falling down, it is the way in which we were unable to cope with, deal with and provide the service that is provided by physiotherapists and occupational therapists.

[11:15 a.m.]

How many times we, as medical practitioners, were reliant on the independent practitioner to get access to service. In my own community for example, if I had a patient that required that kind of care, and if I sought care in the hospital as part of the pre-paid medical care program in this province, I would be facing a delay of three, four, five, sometimes six months. Often that delay meant that the remedial process didn't begin for three, four, five or six months. The remedial process would be the services provided by these professionals. Oftentimes this meant absence from work for another three, four, five or six months until the process of treatment could begin.

Making it easier to access these services, doing anything to reduce the costs of accessing these services is certainly in the interest of all of us as we grapple in this province with an escalating cost of delivering health care service, despite the fact that even with the escalation of costs, there are so many examples of how the service is in fact deteriorating. If we do not come to grips with dealing with health care delivery in this province in a timely and effective way, then we are failing miserably in delivering the kinds of services that Nova Scotians need and require. The cost of delay of service of something like physiotherapy, occupational therapy or the delay in the return of reasonable health to many of our elderly citizens who are no longer working but certainly have every expectation and every right to access service in a reasonable and timely fashion, then in fact again, we are abdicating our responsibility to people.

[Page 4178]

This is a good bill. I understand that the minister has approval from associated professional organizations who do support what it is that this bill does. I believe it also causes us to reflect that access to good service is only part of a solution, it must be timely access, and were it not for the private approach to this than many Nova Scotians would in fact be sitting around for many months disabled, either not able to go to work or to again take up their normal activities, simply because service was not available.

The approach to health care delivery, it must be good care, it must be affordable care, and it must be timely. I believe that this bill will certainly improve the timeliness of accessing care, and I want to add my name to that list of people that is in support of this bill. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Needham.

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I just briefly want to say that like Bill No. 80, the Physiotherapy Act, we are very pleased to see Bill No. 81, the Occupational Therapist Act brought forward. I just learned that in Nova Scotia we have a number of firsts that we can claim and take pride in. The fact that we were the first province in Canada, perhaps when the honourable member for Kings West was the Minister of Health, I don't know that but that would be my guess, we were the first province in Canada to adopt an Occupational Therapist Act. While that was some time ago, the profession has been working very diligently in the meantime to have their Act modernized, and this is what we see in front of us today, a bill that reflects that the current realities of the profession, the requirements of people in the health care system, the changing conditions for other health care practitioners, their recognition and acceptance of the absolute importance of occupational therapy as a part of the healing process for people who require health care services.

I know that when I was a social worker in the health care system myself, I worked with many occupational therapists who always impressed me so much in the professional approach they took in dealing with patients and the kind of assistance that they could provide people in recovering their fine motor skills but even more than that, quite often in the way they encouraged, supported, boosted the confidence and the hope of patients in the system that recovery, rehabilitation, improvements in their condition were possible. This is a profession with an enormous capacity to care and provide the kinds of services that so many Nova Scotians require as part of a health care system.

This bill will ensure that there is greater professional recognition for occupational therapy and that is very much to be welcomed. I look forward to hearing from people at the Law Amendments Committee with respect to this bill. I am hoping that we will, in fact, be able to move this very important bill into legislation before we recess here this fall. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

[Page 4179]

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is for second reading of Bill No. 81. 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. 84.

Bill No. 84 - Family Division of Supreme Court Statute Amendment (1998) Act.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the Minister of Justice, I so move second reading of Bill No. 84.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is for second reading of Bill No. 84. 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 of Law Amendments.

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 24.

Bill No. 24 - Wilderness Areas Protection Act.

MR. SPEAKER: Bill No. 24 is an adjourned bill and the last speaker was the honourable member for Argyle. I would advise that honourable member he has approximately 40 minutes remaining.

The honourable member for Argyle.

MR. NEIL LEBLANC: Mr. Speaker, I rise to speak on this important bill and my intention is not to speak at great length. I have a couple of small points that I want to speak on this. The Speaker will recall I was in full flight when we adjourned the debate on this bill. (Interruption) The honourable Government House Leader is saying he was so enthralled he would have stayed later last night, however, the hours of the House prevented him from doing

[Page 4180]

so. I do want to say that I spoke at great length last night, especially about the fact of wanting to support the concept of an Act to protect wilderness areas in Nova Scotia.

I mentioned last night that as I try to support this bill that we as a collective body have to agree that there are some requirements to also bring about funding for forest management and that includes silviculture, forest roads, fire roads and all the other activities that have been put in place to support proper management of our forests. When we say that this bill will bring about 31 protected spaces - and I do not know the exact number of hectares that will be brought under this Act, but it is quite a bit - most of it happens to be west of Halifax, which is an area I represent. In Nova Scotia, I guess we are the province that has the least Crown land of any of the provinces in Canada, other than P.E.I. We have 27 per cent which is Crown land, and that concerns me.

I look at the fact - that I did not mention last night that I think I would like to include as I terminate my comments - that some people have land that would be landlocked by this bill. I think that if that is going to be, there have to be provisions in here whereby people can receive compensation . . .

MR. JOHN HOLM: Access.

MR. LEBLANC: . . . or access. The member from Sackville-Cobequid mentions access. I just want to make the comment that the minister made some opening remarks and he says that in cases where the land is completely surrounded by wilderness area property, they are proposing limited access under certain conditions. Well, you just cannot do that. I don't think that is being reasonable to people, that they would have land and the minister is standing up in his place and saying that he is going to allow them limited access to their land; that is, to their land.

I am sure, if he stopped and thought about what he just said - and a lot of times you are quoted and that is difficult in this House, everything you say is recorded - if he looked at his comments, he would say, did I actually say that? I am sure if the minister sits back and realizes what he just said, that he would have to be in agreement that that cannot stand as it is. People in Nova Scotia have rights and if we are, in essence, expropriating that land, because we are, if they have limited access to it, they should be compensated for it.

I think that all Nova Scotians agree with that and if we compensate land for roads or for industrial development, there is a process, and if people are not pleased with the compensation offered by the province, they can go and there is a legal process whereby they can receive compensation, an appeal process whereby they can receive proper compensation. Most times when people have gone that route, they have received more. I think if you look at the history of it, that is exactly what has happened. I just wanted to make that point.

[Page 4181]

I will say, as I close, the point I made last night, because I think it is important to say it. I agree with the principle of this bill. When I say that, there are people in the forest industry who have concerns that by doing this, this will limit their access to Crown land and to jobs. So when we, as a collective body, say that we agree with this - and I believe this will pass second reading, but I can only speak for myself and the colleagues I have spoken with on it - we have a responsibility to ensure that both private and Crown lands receive the monies and the incentives that people in the private sector and on Crown land will work to enhance the productivity of both public and private lands so that we have a sustainable forest here in Nova Scotia and that jobs will be protected.

I beg all members to consider what we are saying here; one cannot go without the other. At the rate that we are cutting trees today, and the fact of the matter is that it is unsustainable in the long term, if we do not put the dollars into the forest, people will not have jobs in the future. How quickly that will be, whether that is a few years or 10 years or whatever, I do not know, but we should be cognizant of the fact and I am sure that as this bill goes to the Law Amendments Committee, people in the forest industry will come forward and make those statements. The government has a responsibility for saying that as much as the financial crunch is on, they have to put dollars into silviculture and other forest management to ensure that that is addressed.

[11:30 a.m.]

Mr. Speaker, I end my comments. I have made my points and I hope that the government is listening because I think if they do not, I, as a rural member, will not have accomplished what I set out to do, which is to both provide for these types of areas but also sustainability in the forests. I thank the members for their time.

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

MR. JOHN HOLM: Mr. Speaker, I am going to be echoing some of the comments of the previous speaker. If I can, by starting out, I first want to say that the forests of this province are not only of importance to rural communities or those who live in rural Nova Scotia, and I am not talking in the sense of (Interruption) I am talking about jobs. I am talking about the economic activities. I am talking about the need to have a strong, healthy economy from one end of this province to the other.

If you have parts of this community - and I am talking about Nova Scotia as a community - that are suffering, then we all suffer. In fact, if we have a strong rural economy that is healthy and moving forward, then the entire province benefits as a result of that. So not only on the fact of the ecological and the biodiversity and so on, not only are people who live in the urban areas concerned about maintaining appropriate examples of all of the different species, but also it is important economically for those who live in Halifax, for those who live in the former City of Dartmouth or within the metro municipality, for those who live in any

[Page 4182]

community across this province, whether they are directly employed in the forest industry or not. Mr. Speaker, the spin-offs from that forest industry affect us all. So it is very important that we do actually have a very strong forest industry in the province.

That having been said, I want to say at the outset that I very much support the principle of this bill and I have no hesitation in saying that I will be voting for this bill to be proceeding on. This bill has been a long time in coming. Certainly there have been commitments made by this government on a number of occasions that this particular piece of legislation would be introduced and, in fact, this province received high marks from those who rank provinces, rank governments in terms of how they are protecting our wilderness and special places, on the basis that this legislation was going to come forward. In fact, the government rode on the coat-tails of that glow for a little while and the positive press reports that came out from that, only to have the legislation actually not moving forward.

I say to the Premier and to all members of the Liberal caucus that I hope that the haste to get out of here is not going to prevent us from dealing with this legislation through all stages of this House this fall. I would not want to see this House rise and this legislation left on the order paper, whether that be in the Law Amendments Committee or wherever. This bill should move through not only the second reading but it should move through the Law Amendments Committee process, the Committee of the Whole and, more importantly, then through third and final reading on the floor of this House. Then it can become law.

If we stop anywhere before that process is complete, we have no assurances whatsoever that this legislation will actually move forward because you know, Mr. Speaker, better than I, that if this House is prorogued, which it normally is, and I would assume that the Premier, if he is not going to call an election before the spring sitting, or if his government is still surviving, would be having a Speech from the Throne and that would mean the House would prorogue and the bill would die unless it goes through all stages. I say to the Premier that we, in this caucus, want, this bill, along with some others, dealt through in all the stages.

Mr. Speaker, when one is looking at this legislation and what a number of speakers have talked about, they talked about the importance of having a forestry policy. The importance of having a policy that will not only enhance the forests but ensure that our forest industry is a sustainable industry that creates many jobs in rural Nova Scotia for those who are harvesting the forests, also any jobs for those who are processing the materials, the fibres that are removed from the forest, whether that be in the pulp industry or the saw log industry and so on, there are a lot of jobs being created. Surely to Heavens the answer to having a sustainable forest is not just to simply say that we are going to be harvesting everything that is available.

By having the 31 sites protected so they can be kept, by and large, in their natural state, all I see that doing is increasing the pressure on this government to actually develop that sustainable forest policy and to put the practices in place to ensure that that is going to be

[Page 4183]

done. The answer is not to say we have messed up before and we haven't had a sustainable policy, therefore, we will have to go into those areas that are unique, that represent all of the diversities in this province and go in and cut them because we haven't protected and we haven't developed proper practices elsewhere. That is not the answer because if you do that then it is like taking the last codfish out of the sea. You have to step forward and protect before the entire is destroyed.

I want to say that I certainly do support those who are calling for the development of sustainable forest practices. I am supporting those who are calling for government programs and programs, let's face it, not only by government but programs by those who are benefitting from the harvesting of our resources, that this is a partnership to all of our advantage to make sure that we do that. That means the large pulp companies and it also means the private woodlot owners, it means everybody who is benefitting and harvesting our resources has a stake and an obligation to ensure we do develop those kinds of policies.

We are custodians. What we have in this province, in terms of our ecosystems and the diversities of plants, animals and insects, we are entrusted with that for the present, for the future generations to come. I know I heard some and it sounded like it was being put forward as an environmental issue, arguing that we should be going in and cutting down old growth forests because old growth forests are bad for the environment. Old growth forests when they die and decay they give off gases that are harmful, like carbon monoxide to the atmosphere and lead to global warming. I don't dispute that for a moment, however, the amount of obnoxious fumes that are harmful to the atmosphere that would be given off by the heavy equipment going in to harvest them I am sure is greater than the amount that is given off by the old growth forest. So I don't see that as an argument to going in and harvesting and cutting the mature trees in these protected places.

We certainly have to ensure that there are going to be those management plans put into effect. I certainly have a great deal of sympathy for those who own land and their lands could become landlocked. I also have a great deal of sympathy for those who have had traditional uses, whether that be hunting and fishing and so on in these particular areas that may be falling into one of these special places and being protected by this legislation. Surely, through an open process, as we are developing the management plans for these particular areas, those legitimate requests can and should be honoured. I don't see going in and harvesting or mining and allowing new mining activities to be a justification for doing that.

When we are thinking about jobs I am also very mindful of the fact that not just because of our good fortune of living in this province and that others are finding out about it but this year we have experienced the greatest number of tourists in our history. We have had record volumes of tourists and record volumes of outside dollars being spent in this province in the tourist industry.

[Page 4184]

One of those areas, of course, which is growing is ecotourism. We certainly want to be doing our part in enhancing the ecotourism and to make sure that, in fact, that industry can grow. One of the ways we can do that is by ensuring that we have protected places where our forests are going to be managed or be protected in their natural state. I also cannot help - when we are talking about the importance of sustaining and having these jewels preserved for the future - but remind the Premier of his commitment that he made to the residents in my community, with whom he met on July 2nd, to have his answer on the Second Lake lands. Of course, the Premier will know that the Second Lake Committee and residents in Sackville are very concerned about protecting this area, which also contains old growth forest and, in fact, contains an area of land that has within it every species of tree that existed in this province when the first European settlers arrived. It is within that area of the Second Lake lands that is the only identified site where all of those species occur within one small area.

Mr. Speaker, it is a pristine lake, a beautiful piece of property located in an area where there are no protected areas. That, unfortunately, is not one of the sites that is included within the 31 protected sites. If I had my way, it would become number 32, so that the area would be protected for the development of the communities for many years to come, to ensure that they have it. However, the request has been made to the Premier and to the Minister of Housing to have these lands transferred to the Department of Natural Resources and designated as park preserve, and to be so designated for a period of at least 5 to 10 years to allow the communities to come up with a plan, in cooperation with the Department of Natural Resources, to ensure that they are going to be protected in their natural state for the enjoyment of all for many years to come.

I know that the Premier is listening very intently to my words - and he says he is and I look forward to the Premier giving this request the very serious consideration that it does deserve, because what we are talking about - and I am being very particular here, and I know, to the area which I represent - whether we are talking that area or whether we are talking the 31 protected sites, we are talking about protecting and preserving part of our history and that being the natural environment, the natural ecosystem that exists so it will be there for many, in fact, hopefully, all, generations to come. I think that is a very important feature.

Mr. Speaker, I know that this is uncharacteristic for me to have talked this long on a bill - I only heard a couple of chuckles, so I guess my reputation of length of time talking is changing - I do certainly support this bill going on for second reading and I also look forward to the member for Kings North also supporting the bill going forward, and all who in this House, and I believe it is fair to say, all sides, all Parties in this House have supported this principle in the past and both Opposition Parties were very critical of this government when it had not moved forward in the time-frames that it had promised to with this particular legislation. I am sure that this side of the House will all be supporting the bill going forward.

[Page 4185]

I, again then, in closing, say to the Premier that I look forward to this bill proceeding through third reading and actually receiving the assent that it needs so that it will become law before this fall session ends, because this government will not be forgiven if it should, once again, allow this legislation to die without having fully made its way through all of the stages that it is promised to do. This is important legislation, not for us so much as it is going to be for the generations to come. Thank you.

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

MR. GORDON BALSER: Mr. Speaker, it gives me pleasure to rise today to speak in support in principle to the bill, the Wilderness Areas Protection Act, Bill No. 24. This legislation is specifically designed to protect unique areas in this province. This bill will put in place a comprehensive system and structure to protect areas that will include nature reserves, wilderness areas and provincial parks. It will in fact, if it comes to be passed, preserve approximately 300,000 hectares of land, or almost 20 per cent of the Crown lands of this province. In fact, if Nova Scotia honours its commitment and this law is passed, we will have put under protection, more land proportionately than any other province in Canada. That is a significant commitment. With a commitment of that magnitude comes a great deal of implication and responsibility.

[11:45 a.m.]

Nova Scotia, in spite of its relatively small size geographically, has nine major climate regions and 47 different geological formations. Botanists and geologists have identified 84 soil types and over 40,000 different species of plants and animals. It is time for this legislation to come forward. It will ensure the protection of our biological diversity, and also of our geographical diversity. It also represents over 10 years work; discussions and dialogues between various groups have been put together to bring this bill to what it is presently.

There have been a number of false starts over the years. The bill has come forward and then died and then been brought forward again, but whenever legislation of this type comes forward, it is going to be the result of input from various groups. When that happens, you wind up finding groups that are concerned about what happens to their interests. When you have a bill that is designed to protect the wildlife and wilderness areas, it means that some groups will have concerns about what impact that will have to them specifically.

Areas of concern that will have to be addressed, and this will have to take place when the bill goes to the Law Amendments Committee, when people who have specific concerns have an opportunity to look at the bill clause by clause and determine what will happen if that particular clause is passed without amendments or without changes - areas that will have to be considered when this is taking place - are, what impact this particular bill will have on lands that are adjacent to protected areas. There are many areas of land in Nova Scotia that are privately owned, and what will happen is that when a particular area is set aside to be

[Page 4186]

protected, an area that is privately held, perhaps adjacent to or even within the protected area, will have to be considered. If the land is within the boundaries of the protected area, will access be limited, will it be restricted? Will access to the land be banned? Those are concerns that have been expressed certainly by people who live in my area.

Another consideration is, what will happen to the lands that were formerly used for hunting purposes, perhaps for agricultural purposes? It does say in the Act that traditional land use will be respected. The question is, what constitutes tradition? Certainly, four-wheelers now are a way of life for many people who are outdoor enthusiasts. Will the use of four-wheelers be restricted? Will access be limited to traditional navigation routes?

Certainly the area that I represent has one of the largest land blocks that will fall under this protected areas bill, and that is the Tobeatic. Historically, access to the Tobeatic has been through river routes, beginning in Bear River and travelling down through the Lake Joli system into the Tobeatic. More modern routes have seen them coming in through areas in the Shelburne County region and using logging roads. Now logging roads, if you consider that the traditional routes were canoe routes, does that mean those routes will no longer be accessible? There is also the issue of what happens to trappers, if trappers have been using a particular area. What will the bill do to them in terms of their ability to continue to carry on "traditional practices"?

The other thing is this will actually restrict access to almost 20 per cent of the Crown lands in Nova Scotia. The reality is a number of speakers have mentioned and have spoken at length about the impact that will have on people who are directly involved in the forest industry. When you have that much land put into protection, will that have some impact in terms of the forestry industry as far as access to wood fibre for their needs? Those issues have to be weighed and that is one of the difficulties.

This particular piece of legislation is very much being perceived as an either/or bill. Either you are an environmentalist concerned about the welfare of every plant and animal and how it will be affected or you are a person who is looking to exploit the forest and the natural resources to your own personal advantage. What happens is that we, as legislators who will be involved in trying to amend this Act or hearing input, will have to determine where we fit and that is where the problem lies.

Extremists from the environmentalist area are very concerned that this bill doesn't go far enough to ensure that the wilderness areas are protected. They are very concerned that it will not ensure that the wilderness areas are protected. On the other hand you have people who are involved in the forest industry in various capacities who say we need unrestrictive access to wood fibre to ensure the longevity of the economy of Nova Scotia. We need to be able to carry out harvesting practices in these areas.

[Page 4187]

The point was raised, what happens when old growth forests are left to fall down and decay naturally? Is that wise use of a limited natural resource? Is it appropriate to let forest harvesters come in and do unrestricted harvesting? Those issues need to be ironed out and I believe ultimately once submissions are heard, a middle ground can be taken where the wildlife and natural beauty of Nova Scotia can be protected and that it will be ensured that it exists for future generations and at the same time perhaps access to wood product fibre for needs to ensure the economy of Nova Scotia can be sustained may be possible.

The other issue is that there is a growing ecotourism industry and that has to be incorporated into what happens. Certainly there are examples in the European countries where forests have been utilized heavily for hundreds of years where they actually have been able to ensure that the forest is protected for the enjoyment of people and at the same time, its economic value is also incorporated into the Act.

One of the concerns too in the legislation as it currently exists is Clause 10 that deals with the term consultation and the fact that there will be a provision for public consultation when the minister feels that that would be an appropriate course of action. The question that immediately springs to mind is what happens when the minister doesn't feel consultation is necessary or when the minister himself says, enough consultation has taken place? Does that mean that concerns from various groups will not be heard and that the minister will exercise his or her discretion? The problem is there has to be a genuine opportunity for people to come forward and voice their concerns.

In the area that I represent, the Tobeatic, as I mentioned earlier, has been a long-standing area of pride and enjoyment for the people of my riding. It actually constitutes about 70 per cent of the Crown land in my area. The fact is that the riding of Digby-Annapolis has a number of sawmills very dependent on forest products. What happens is that the implication of having that area protected and restricted in terms of its use is going to make it difficult for those industries. Now they right away will threaten if we don't have access to that wood fibre there will be lay-offs and they use that kind of lever to argue against the more strident environmentalists who say we have to protect this area at all costs.

In actual fact, the Tobeatic Protection Society, which has been active in my area for a long time, are very pleased with the bill. They are pleased that finally their hard work and efforts have paid off. For anyone who has actually had the opportunity to go to that area on a canoe trip, it is a very enjoyable, pristine area of natural beauty, a variety of geographical landscapes, a number of plant diversities and so on. So it is very important that that be respected and protected.

The other issue that has been a long-standing burr with the group concerned about the Tobeatic was the so-called Tobeatic Finger, that piece of land that kind of extends up into the Tobeatic area but which formerly was not part of the protected area. I think that is something that has to be considered, where that fits into the plan and what will happen.

[Page 4188]

Back to the whole issue of ensuring that small sawmills - the backbone of Nova Scotia is, no question, the small businessman and, as I said earlier, in our area with the downturn in the fishery more and more of these small businesses have come to rely on the forests for income, whether it is in the terms of either starting small sawmills, or forest harvesting operations, or in the growing ecotourism industry in my riding, they have seen a need to balance both and that is what must happen.

Right now it is interesting that we are looking at this particular bill and at the same time the forestry Act, which was very pointed in addressing the need to ensure sustainability. There is no question that we as a province and forestry as an industry are harvesting wood product at a rate greater than its sustainability rate. That is a very serious issue. That has very serious implications for the next generation of people. What has to happen is we have to have an opportunity, for whatever legislation goes forward, to entertain arguments from both sides to ensure that it is a compromise. Someone once said that when government takes a stand where one person or one group is happy and another group is unhappy, then that probably was not the correct stand to have taken. When you take a position that leaves both extreme sides of the argument a little bit unhappy, then, in fact, maybe that is the best all-round position to be in.

The other issue is the fact that as we move more and more to become urbanized in terms of where people are living, the whole issue of the need to protect wilderness areas becomes a bit more clouded. Oftentimes it is said that those people who use the forests on a daily basis are perhaps the ones who best understand, or most appreciate, what it is providing. I have often heard hunters say that it is not so much that they are out hunting down and shooting an animal, a deer for example, but rather it is the fact that they are involved in nature and enjoying nature.

There is an argument to be made that, in fact, what they are doing is helping nature because one of the basic laws is survival of the fittest and so overall those opportunities help to ensure a viable herd, in this case animals. If you were looking at forests, many people who are involved in harvesting forest products look at their woodland as an investment in the long term. It is very short-sighted of them to harvest all of the harvestable material in one given year. Many of the harvesters are moving towards long-term planning.

I look at the Irvings who have located a sawmill in my particular riding, a very large employer in my riding. There is no question, they are committed not to the 5 year plan, not to the 10 year plan, but to the 100 year plan. They are, in fact, very active in reforesting and their lesson is being learned by other harvesters. Just last week in the Resources Committee we had a submission by a group who were talking specifically about the need to take the long view in terms of our forest management plans.

[Page 4189]

I think that it is fair to say that governments of the past have fallen short of the mark in terms of looking to viability and sustainability. It is almost sleek at this point in time to say that we now are addressing sustainability as our new vision. We have been overharvesting for some time. The need to have protected areas has been there for some time. So it is very timely that now all Parties are talking in support of the principle of this bill. One can only hope that when the bill goes forward to the Law Amendments Committee, that the amendments that are proposed can be supported as well.

I am somewhat concerned that what happens is, for whatever reason, you do not always get that broad view of input. Sometimes in the Law Amendments Committee, lobby groups will come forward to push a particular agenda and when that happens, what happens is that another group who may not want to submit or may not have known of the opportunity or may have missed the opportunity, their view is lost and that is unfortunate. That is where it is incumbent on us to ensure that we do hear input from the people in our ridings, the people who will be impacted. There are groups across this province who have come down on one side or the other of this particular piece of legislation and that is extremist and it is not in the best interests of all concerned. When a particular group takes a stand and will not entertain submissions that will allow a movement to a more middle ground, it is unfortunate.

[12:00 p.m.]

As I have said earlier, this particular piece of legislation has significant implications for my riding. The Tobeatic is the largest piece of land mass to fall under the Wilderness Areas Protection Act and the fact that there are people in my riding who have purchased land within that confine, privately held woodland, is of concern. The gentlemen who have purchased this land use it for recreational activities, including hunting and fishing, and they have been accessing it through, as I mentioned earlier, one of these routes that probably is not, in the purest sense, traditional. That is unfortunate, because they may find their access limited or restricted. They are concerned. Again, they are concerned even if they should choose to sell it, what will happen.

The whole issue of expropriation was mentioned by an earlier speaker and that is an issue. When you have people who have enjoyed a particular piece of land and had particular uses for it, and when those uses are curtailed or restricted or banned, then you have to take into consideration what will be done to compensate those individuals who have been affected. I know in Cape Breton there is a great deal of concern about one of the particular pieces of land because it has been an historical pasturing area for cattle. They are saying, what happens if we can no longer do that? One wonders, too, about access to mineral rights. I think there is a genuine concern there that perhaps some of the mining practices that have been used in the past are not in keeping with the philosophy and purposes of this bill. That is certainly true and well worth bearing out.

[Page 4190]

I think that when you look to protect areas, and certainly the intention of this bill is good - there is no one who could argue with the intention of this bill - and that is to ensure that unique pieces of Nova Scotia's geography and botany are protected so that future generations can go and enjoy the same things that our ancestors enjoyed. That is a laudable purpose.

The question is, we have a much more diverse economy, we have a much more diverse populace in terms of what they expect and what they demand and what they want. Therein lies the problem. What has happened is, we now have very focused groups who have personal or organizational agendas that they want to drive forward. They will drive them forward on the backs of whoever happens to be in the way. In saying that, I would like to repeat that extremist environmentalists are probably as far removed on the spectrum on one side as those who would see clear-cutting in wilderness areas are on the other.

We have to ensure that the middle ground is taken, that when this bill finally is passed that it will be an Act that probably does not satisfy either end, but represents the middle, that silent majority, the people who, by and large, are not directly impacted by any piece of legislation, but who say, when it comes to pass or, in fact affects them, that they say, yes, I can live with that or I understand what the purpose was.

Oftentimes, I think, legislation that is passed leaves the populace, by and large, scratching their heads. It would be unfortunate if after so many false starts, this becomes an Act, when it is passed, that leaves people scratching their heads and generally dissatisfied with the end result. There is a need for a long view in terms of wilderness protection, but a view that also allows people to enjoy that particular piece of land, that allows for the concerns of people who need access to it for economic purposes against those who also want to be able to enjoy pristine and natural beauty.

An issue that hasn't really been discussed is the whole issue of the Tobeatic and the fact that because of its geology, it is very susceptible to acid rain. Having been in that area on a number of occasions on fishing trips, I can speak specifically to the decline in the fishery in that area, not so much because of overfishing - because access is relatively difficult and you have to be committed to make the two- or three-day trip by canoe into that area to fish - I have noticed that because of the acidic waters in that particular area, there has been a downturn in the fishery. That is an issue.

You have a very fragile ecosystem there that is very significantly impacted by marginal changes in things like pH as far as the rain or the run-off of snow and water in the spring, and that is something that needs to be addressed as well. I think, if we are going to be purists in terms of our protectionist stance, we need to look at what other things beyond just intrusive practices are impacting on these areas, so those kinds of issues.

AN HON. MEMBER: Damming rivers.

[Page 4191]

MR. BALSER: Yes, indeed, as my honourable colleague here mentioned, the damming of rivers and diverting of streams and so on for industrial purposes; those have to be carefully weighed.

It would not be reasonable to assume that we can sacrifice all industrial development to ensure the protection of a particular area. I think, somewhere in the middle ground, we have to find a comprise solution that will address both concerns. As I say, those remarks are specific to the areas that I have, in terms of concerns, and I am sure that overall, when it comes forward, many of those concerns will be addressed. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Chebucto.

MR. HOWARD EPSTEIN: Mr. Speaker, we are discussing Bill No. 24, which is the Wilderness Areas Protection Act. I have been struck, as I have been listening to the speeches, how uniform, throughout this Chamber, is enthusiasm to support the bill. At the same time, members differ somewhat in the detail of what it is that they think is appropriate to be contained in the bill. It is appropriate that we understand at a general level exactly what it is that we are dealing with, and then understand at a very detailed level how the problems that this bill is designed to ameliorate are actually implemented; both of these are important.

To take it generally first. Clearly this bill is one we have to remember embodies public policy that has already been determined both internationally, nationally, and at a provincial level for any number of years. This is not a new policy initiative that has no antecedents; this is a policy initiative that comes forward within a clear context of a history that has been carried out in a consultative and open fashion.

To take only some of the highlights of that history. Let me remind members of this Legislature that the ideal of setting aside at least 12 per cent of the land mass of any nation as wilderness preserve areas is something that has been set out regularly by writers who have dealt with environmental or ecological issues over the last 20 years. It was referred to in the Brundtland Commission Report, and it has been embodied now, since 1992, in the Convention on Biological Diversity that was adopted at the Rio Conference at that time. The Convention on Biological Diversity has been ratified by over 140 nations. It is clearly national policy in Canada, that the ideal of achieving 12 per cent of the land mass set aside in Canada is appropriate.

This ideal has been replicated in each of the provinces where any bodies that have looked at it have agreed that this is an appropriate number. This includes Nova Scotia where, for example, such bodies as the Round Table on Environment and Economy has looked at it and reached the same conclusion. Bodies that have been set up by the Department of Natural Resources have reached exactly the same conclusion. Indeed, the bill that we have in front of us, Bill No. 24, the Wilderness Areas Protection Act, is the result of a very specific public consultation process in which I and many other Nova Scotians participated.

[Page 4192]

A committee headed up by a former deputy minister of the Department of Natural Resources held a series of public hearings around this province inviting all members of the public to come forward and make suggestions as to which areas of Crown-owned land ought to be set aside as wilderness protected areas and this was hotly debated. It is not as if all of a sudden this was carried on, hugger-mugger, as some members have suggested. This was an open process in which industry participated.

I was present and heard submissions from lumber industry representatives, from mining industry representatives and of course, from average citizens who weren't involved in these commercial operations, environmentalists, aboriginal peoples, all of them participated. As a result of this the government identified in Crown-owned lands, 31 areas of at least 200 hectares in size that the government felt it wanted to set aside.

Of course, in Nova Scotia we have a different pattern of land ownership, compared to the pattern of land ownership elsewhere in the country. In virtually every other province, the Crown owns 70 per cent to 80 per cent of the land mass. In Nova Scotia, the Crown owns only 20 per cent to 30 per cent of the land mass. What that means is that if areas are set aside as wilderness protected areas and those lands are Crown owned, then, of course, there is going to be a significant impact so far as Crown-owned lands are concerned. But the reason that the Nova Scotia Government chose to look at setting aside Crown-owned lands as wilderness protected areas is because it was the most inexpensive way to do it.

If we were going to examine all possible areas for wilderness protection in the province, meaning both Crown and private land and we came to the conclusion as a society that there were private lands that we ought to set aside as wilderness protected areas, then, of course, we would be in a position of requiring those lands to be sold either voluntarily or through the expropriation process. This is obviously very expensive, potentially, so clearly the Department of Natural Resources hit upon what was the only reasonable thing to do which was to look at Crown-owned lands, many of which were lands that were already preserved in some measure. This is entirely appropriate, there was nothing wrong with this and it is the right way to go.

The problem is that all of a sudden at this stage we are hearing complaints raised about the appropriateness of restricting these areas from industrial or commercial development. I have to say that this is entirely wrong. First, of course, it is much too late in the process and second, this has already been debated and discussed in detail at the instance of the industry in front of a committee that was headed up by a former deputy minister of the Department of Natural Resources and I participated in that discussion. I participated in it because I had some direct background of being a participant in a national consultation known as the Whitehorse Mining Initiative on the whole question of how mining could interact with wilderness and protected areas throughout Canada.

[Page 4193]

The Whitehorse Mining Initiative was something convened nationally at the instance of the Canadian Mining Association, jointly with the federal departments involved. I spent a full year, along with many other participants, it was a round table and people came from the environmental community, from the aboriginal community, from government departments and from industry, discussing this very issue of the problems of compatibility between wilderness protected areas or parks, which are a different category and industrial activities like mining. Naturally enough, forestry is very similar in having the same kinds of difficulties of compatibility or incompatibility with setting aside parks or protected areas.

These issues have been debated very thoroughly and were discussed again in front of the provincial committee in Nova Scotia. The provincial committee, headed up by the former Deputy Minister of Natural Resources recommended that basically there be no industrial activity inside wilderness protected areas and that is the policy that is embodied in this bill and it makes sense. Although it is certainly true that to set aside these 31 pieces of land, will reduce the area of Crown land left, we have to be realistic and look at it in an overall context.

[12:15 p.m.]

I said a minute ago that the standard that has been accepted is at least - and I emphasize those words, at least - 12 per cent of the land mass in our province. If this bill goes through and if these lands are all set aside - and I certainly support this, I support this absolutely - if it goes ahead, the result in terms of land mass in Nova Scotia, will be that the total amount of land set aside, either as parks or as protected areas, will go from its existing level of about 2.6 per cent or 2.8 per cent, up to about 5 per cent or maybe 5.5 per cent. The two largest pieces of land set aside, not as absolute protected areas but as parks in Nova Scotia, are of course Kejimkujik and the Cape Breton Highlands National Park; those are the two largest pieces. Between them, they make up, I believe, about 2.5 per cent already of the land mass here or, I beg your pardon, most of the land mass that is already set aside as parks. Any other protected areas that we have are very tiny.

The whole point is that even if Bill No. 24 goes through, with all of the 31 areas, we will still be at less than one-half of the recommended minimum of protected land in this province. There is no reason not to endorse this bill which has come forward.

The difficulty seems to be that in the minds of some members who have spoken, they believe that there is what they call the forest industry. They seem to think that forestry as an activity only has one aspect, or maybe at the most two. It is either cutting for pulp and paper or it is cutting for lumber. This misapprehends the function of forests and it misapprehends the notion of what are appropriate categories of land use in our province. Forests are mysterious and fascinating and wonderful and important things that we need; they are life-support systems.

[Page 4194]

I would like to read a short extract from a paper by a researcher that states, rather succinctly, something about forests. "forests are the great biotic flywheel that keeps the biosphere functioning more or less predictably. They are the major biotic component of the global carbon cycle, contain about three times as much carbon as the atmosphere, and their destruction contributes . . . to the warming of the earth over large areas, energy balance, water balance, nutrient fluxes, and air and water flows. They are, moreover, the major reservoir of biotic diversity on land: there is no habitat richer in species, none more promising as a source of succour for a swelling, scrambling, grasping human population uncertain as to where its great hopes lie.".

Mr. Speaker, this statement from an article called Deforestation in Brazilian Amazonia by Phillip Fernside is dated 1990. I refer to it because it is the beginning point for understanding not just what forests are all about in a chemical or biological sense, but in understanding also the economics of forests. If I have learned anything in 25 years of detailed involvement in environmental issues, it is that what makes sense environmentally almost always makes sense in terms of the economy. It is probably the starting point for useful economic analysis. If we don't understand what the underlying life-support systems are, we will not make the correct choices about how we interact even in our economic lives with those life-support systems.

Here is a range of what it is that forests are good for, not just scientifically but economically. First, of course, is the cleansing and storage of water. Each of us come here every day to this House to a fresh glass of water on our desks. We all know the importance to us, as a species and as individuals, to have access every day to water that we can drink. Well, that water is stored and cleansed in forests and if we do not pay attention to that, we are undermining all aspects of our life as individuals and of other species that we in turn require for our existence.

The second is climate. Forests are absolutely crucial to global climate. If not for the forests on the earth, we would not enjoy the balance of temperature or the balance of the composition of the chemicals in the air that we require in order to breathe. This is crucial to remember, including the importance of forests as carbon sinks, that is a place to store carbon. Timber is, of course, one of the uses of forests. I will not say more about that. I respect it; it is an important function; and it is something that we have always relied upon as a species because we use it to build our shelters and we continue to use it to build our shelters.

Forests are of importance as a source of medicines, as a source of biodiversity. That is where we find the basic chemicals that are used in order to develop medicines that we need in order to treat ourselves, to keep ourselves healthy, treat diseases, prolong our lives. Approximately 28 per cent of all plants have some kind of medicinal uses and that is only so far as we know, as of this date, in a century in which scientific exploration of the medicinal uses of plants in sophisticated laboratories is only starting to be a fact of life. This will

[Page 4195]

continue, and it will accelerate. It is easy to predict that this is absolutely necessary and will continue.

Inside forests, in addition to their importance as an economic source of timber, there are other forms of non-wood forest products in addition to medicinal plants. I have in mind, of course, game, fish, nuts, mushrooms, resins. All of these are examples of things that have traditionally been provided by the forests and which we have to continue to rely upon.

There are aesthetic values in the forests. This is important. Research is another matter - I pass over aesthetic values because, although they are significant, they are only one in a list, and I think we can all appreciate immediately how necessary this is to human mental peace - research is another aspect. Many scientists are involved in some kind of forest-related-based research. This is not true only in tropical forests, there is research carried on here.

Finally, education is another aspect to forest life. I want to repeat that every one of these headings that I have mentioned have to do with activities associated with the forests which, at the same time, have an economic dimension. Well, what do we do about that? The answer is we look at different kinds of categories of how it is that land in our province can be used. I mentioned earlier that there had been a consultative process gone through to arrive at what is now embodied in Bill No. 24. This is the case but, as we know, from any number of occasions in which forestry has been discussed on the floor of this House, very many members of this Legislature have serious concerns about forestry policy in this province.

I would put many of these issues within the context of difficulties over land use and I would suggest that the time is well past in Nova Scotia when we ought to be moving toward a comprehensive attempt to engage in a multi-stakeholder public discussion over what ought to be the use of all lands in our province. This is not just forest-oriented, this has to do with agriculture because we hear complaints from the Nova Scotia Federation of Agriculture and from many others who are concerned, that they are worried about increased pressures on the class-one land that is so important to them in terms of their livelihood. Of course, any society has to be concerned about its ability to feed itself. We hear from fishing communities that they are concerned about their resources and the land around them. We hear from urbanites that they are concerned about how land is used to promote housing developments or industrial developments or commercial developments.

What we require is something that has gone on in other provinces. I think, for example, about British Columbia, about a decade ago, starting its CORE, that is Commission on Resources and Environment, its CORE process in which a very respected and arm's length from government commission was set out in the different areas of the province to talk with every interested individual and group about the multi-uses that can be made of forests and land in their part of the province.

[Page 4196]

There are any number of interests that have to be reconciled, and some kind of comprehensive plan can be worked out around the tables, if people are prepared to talk with one another. For too long, this has been left without a close examination in our province. We have seen forestry, which is really what most of our rural areas are involved with, in addition to agriculture, we have seen forestry really drift along and develop in a way that has not interacted with all other possible participants. I find it interesting that at this stage, we now hear raised with respect to the proposed wilderness protected areas the idea of shared use, multiple use, making sure that industry will have some kind of access to those protected areas. Let me tell you, this is the wrong concept. The problem has been that we have had single use of all forestry area in this province before this. It has been single use aimed, virtually exclusively, at timber or pulp and paper production. There has not been multiple use to the extent that there ought to have been, and certainly not protected areas the way we need them.

There are ways to divvy up the land, taking account of different kinds of forest activities. This is only one of them. What we are talking about here is essentially areas to be preserved and protected. This is not the only kind of category in which land can be used. This is intended to be used as the area of highest protection. The next category is areas of multiple use, managed locally. This would be what I suggested might well emerge in detail from something like the CORE process in which areas around, probably, settlements, around towns and villages for a reasonable geographic area around them, would be set aside with clear delineations of the multiple uses to which that land can be put, be it recreation, be it hunting, be it forestry, be it simply walking. There are a variety of uses that can be worked out in each community.

There are two other kinds of categories of land that it is easy to imagine and that in fact reflect the reality of what it is that we have in our province today. One is, essentially, something like a natural forest, although at this point in Nova Scotia there has been so much cutting over the last centuries that we see something that has been fundamentally altered, but nonetheless, we still have a lot of good forest area in our province. There could be areas of natural forest extensively managed for sustainable production of commodities. I have no problem with this. It seems to me that this is the essence of what we have in terms of people's private lands. That is what they can do. They can turn their minds to how they wish to manage and, I would say, sustainably manage the production of commodities from their lands. This would be fine.

The last category, and I want to be absolutely clear that I have no problem with some areas of the province being engaged in the activities I am about to describe, and this is essentially that of forest plantations. We know that a forest plantation differs very significantly from a natural forest. In a forest plantation what happens is typically areas are often clear-cut, instead of having a mixed forest, what you get is replacement with two, three or four species, because the orientation is towards production for pulp and paper or the orientation is towards production for timber. I have no problem if it is carried out properly. I have lots of problems

[Page 4197]

with how clear-cutting is often carried out, but within very limited areas, carefully carried out, it can be used appropriately, but within limited areas.

[12:30 p.m.]

I believe that some areas of the province are appropriate for this, but there are in my conception several different categories of land, and land uses associated with forests. I will repeat them again, one is a forest plantation, there is probably room for that. Another is a generally natural forest, there is room for that, of course. And there is a mixed use area, and then there are protected areas. It seems to me that in some proportion, that is probably, in those four categories what we have on the ground in Nova Scotia now.

The difficulty is that they are so overwhelmingly oriented towards the last two, towards forest plantation and managed forests, that the former two, the notion of protected areas and the notion of managed mixed use, have been overlooked. It is time we looked at this and came to a societal understanding of how it is we want to see our land mass divvied up, in what proportions and where, according to these kinds of categories. That is why I suggested something like the public process precedented by CORE.

It is within that context that I understand Bill No. 24. Bill No. 24 is looking at that last category. As I pointed out in the numbers earlier, it is small. It is a small amount of land that is proposed to be set aside. I have no problem with it. I think the areas have been correctly identified. I think it was an honourable and open process that was gone through in order to select those processes. I think that the fights have been held about the definitions of the boundaries of those sites. I think that this bill embodies very good public policy.

Two other points about some of the other aspects of the bill that follow upon the identification of these sites. The question that is sometimes asked is still, why couldn't industry carry on some kind of activities in these protected areas? They are fundamentally incompatible. There is lots of area left over in which industry, be it mining or be it forestry, the two main candidates, can be carried on. So far as we know, although we have gone through a large public discussion about the Jim Campbells Barren, this issue does not really arise. We don't hear, I believe, any more claimants coming along saying that these sites have been inappropriately chosen.

I think we are at the stage where we can confidently go forward and feel that the right sites have been chosen. I am aware of instances of mines that exist inside provincial parks. It is not a happy situation. There is one in British Columbia. There is a mine in the middle of the Strathcona Provincial Park on Vancouver Island. It has been there since 1912. It pre-dated the establishment of the provincial park. The park was established around the mine. I have spoken with the owner of the mine, because he participated in the Whitehorse Mining Initiative that I referred to earlier. We were at the same round table together. I don't have his exact words here, but he was a very interested and knowledgeable participant in that

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discussion about the problem of compatibility or incompatibility between industrial activities and parks or protected areas.

Before I proceed with this, I want to make it clear that a park, of course, is slightly different than what is being talked about in this wilderness protected area. We have had parks, of course, for years in Nova Scotia. What we are talking about is a slightly new category of higher protection. What this gentleman said was, although he owned and operated this mine and it had been in continuous operation since 1912, he was simply not interested in either trying to expand that nor would he be interested in trying to establish mining activities inside other parks. He agreed that they were incompatible. He agreed that he was dealing with an anomaly. He agreed that although it had been pre-established and was carried on as carefully as it could be, he didn't like it because he had to confine his mining activities just to the shafts that they had before. He didn't like it because they couldn't expand and they were interested in expanding. He didn't like it because they had to carry their trucks through routes that were full of tourists and people coming in for their vacations and that it wasn't an exclusive industrial road, it was a road where there were risks of accidents all of the time and it meant that they had to be so concerned not just with safety but with neatness and making sure that every day things were left in a state that there couldn't be any spillover of ore out of the trucks or boulders.

They found that it was expensive to them to carry on their activities in that site and so he was not interested in seeing other mining activities carried on in equivalent kinds of areas, he just wasn't. This was a fellow who had the actual experience of having run a mine in a park. That was good enough for me I have to say and I adopt that view. I think that there is a problem here.

The last thing I want to turn my attention to is the question of compensation which I have heard raised. Now there are different ways in which the question of compensation can arise here and I think when we get to the Law Amendments Committee with this bill we can look at this in detail. We have already started to look at this issue because it has been raised with respect to the protected species legislation that is going through the House at the moment. The question becomes when ought compensation to be paid, if at all?

I have heard suggestions made that the possibility of compensation arises with respect to owners who live next door to designated protected areas. I have to say that on the face of it I cannot see anything convincing in that. Let's understand what compensation is all about in our legal scheme. Compensation is payable under public policy in Canada at the discretion of the Crown but the Crown has chosen to put in place expropriation legislation that essentially says that the Crown will pay compensation when land is expropriated.

The word expropriation is regularly seen as extending almost exclusively to the absolute taking away of your land. It does not have anything to do with changing the use next door, this is like zoning. If land use is changed next door that is not on a continuum between full

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scale expropriation and simply zoning, it is much more like zoning than it is like expropriation. Public policy in Canada does not extend to paying compensation to anyone if the zoning of your neighbour's land were to change, it simply does not arise.

Let's focus more about what happens inside the designated areas because there are some pre-existing claims of forms of interest in activities that are not quite akin to interests in land. This is lawyer's language because the language around use of land is very crucial. Let me point out something to members of this House. In the United States there is constitutional protection against the government taking land for public use without compensation. This is specified in the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution. The word takings is what is used and that word takings has been extensively litigated in the United States. Nowhere in the British Common Law tradition is there any recognition that there is any constitutional right to compensation in the case of expropriation. This may be a surprise to many people who have not looked at this area of the law before but there is quite clearly a traditional right of what is called eminent domain. The theory is the Crown owns all the land and if the Crown chooses to compensate you when the Crown takes back its interests in the land, that is up to the Crown. You have no constitutional right to claim compensation.

Let me immediately rush to say that I think it is fair that if the Crown takes your land, you should be compensated, no doubt about it. That is why all of our provinces and, nationally, we have expropriation Statutes, but it is also why there is a great deal of doubt about when it is, for example, that if a company has certain kinds of mineral licenses or leases, whether compensation is payable, and this has been litigated in Canada. It is not as if this question has never arisen before and what the courts have said - the Cream Silver Mines case as an example - is that for the most part the rights that mineral companies have in land is purely at the discretion of the Crown and that they have to be fairly far along through the process before their rights crystallize such as to make it akin to a land interest that entitles them to compensation.

Essentially what the mineral companies have been told is that for the most part they are taking a chance and if they get a license from the Crown to be engaged in mineral exploration, that is very nice but if the Crown decides it is going to take it away, too bad. If the Crown decides they want to compensate, that is up to the Crown, but it is not necessarily expropriation. We have to be very careful here to understand that there are no absolute rights, that those who have been engaged in activities, even activities of long-standing, on Crown land, that they have to an automatic compensation. Even if they are entitled to compensation, the question of how much, of course, is very much open to public debate. It is something on which we can set a policy.

Indeed, in this process, what has happened is that from the moment that the Government of Nova Scotia decided that it was going to look at establishing protected areas in wilderness land owned by the Crown, they froze entitlements to further exploration or leases for any purpose inside that land. That was the right thing to do; that was absolutely the

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right thing to do. So these interests have been frozen. Any that are pre-existing will have to be looked at but, for the most part, there is no clear entitlement to compensation. I am not saying the issue is closed, but I am saying that, conceptually, there is a continuum between something like zoning and expropriation, and we have to be very careful in our minds where we believe any of the interests that come along to be asserted in front of us lie on that continuum.

With that caution with respect to the rush to embrace notions of compensation, let alone the issue of how much it might cost, I would like to close my remarks, Mr. Speaker, by saying how much I admire this piece of legislation. It seems to me that it has followed through on a process of long-standing in our province and I look forward to the examination in detail at the Law Amendments Committee and, I hope, the successful passage through this House of this bill. Thank you very much. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The motion for second reading of Bill No. 24. 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, 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.

[12:45 p.m. The House resolved itself into a CWH on Bills with Deputy Speaker Mr. Donald Chard in the Chair.]

[12:47 p.m. CWH on Bills rose and the House reconvened with Deputy Speaker Mr. Donald Chard in the Chair.]

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

THE CLERK: That the committee has met and made some progress and begs leave to sit again.

[Page 4201]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I was hoping we would have a couple of bills returned by now from the Law Amendments Committee. It does not look like that is possible so I would like to revert to the order of business, Presenting Reports of Committees.

PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES

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

MR. PAUL MACEWAN: Mr. Speaker, as Chairman of the Committee on Private and Local Bills, I am directed to report that the committee has met and considered the following bill:

Bill No. 57 - Town of Lunenburg (Linden Avenue) Act.

and the committee recommends this bill to the favourable consideration of the House, without amendment.

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

The honourable member for Cape Breton Nova.

MR. PAUL MACEWAN: Mr. Speaker, as Chairman of the Committee on Private and Local Bills, I am directed to report that the committee has met and considered the following bill:

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

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

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

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, that completes the government's business for today. On Monday, the House will sit between the hours of 6:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. and following the daily routine will be calling Bill No. 60 and Bill No. 38 in the

[Page 4202]

Committee of the Whole House on Bills and whatever business that might come before the House, with agreement of the House.

I move that we do now adjourn until 6:00 p.m. on Monday evening.

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

The motion is carried.

We stand adjourned until 6:00 p.m. on Monday.

[The House rose at 12:50 p.m.]

[Page 4203]

NOTICES OF MOTION UNDER RULE 32(3)

RESOLUTION NO. 2018

By: Ms. Rosemary Godin (Sackville-Beaver Bank)

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

Whereas the Labour Minister put more than 1,000 workers' compensation appeals on hold months ago, guaranteeing legislation to provide better compensation for those workers would be approved this fall; and

Whereas that minister is now further delaying action by withholding the Auditor General's Report on Workers' Compensation from a select committee of this House; and

Whereas this tells injured workers how much this government is reluctant to have an open, all-Party response to the workers' compensation problems that occupied the Premier in April;

Therefore be it resolved that this House urge the Labour Minister to release the Auditor General's Report forthwith.

RESOLUTION NO. 2019

By: Hon. James Smith (Minister of Health)

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

Whereas November 20th is National Child Day to commemorate the United Nations adoption of the Declaration of the Rights of the Child in 1959 and the Convention on the Rights of the Children in 1989; and

Whereas the Department of Health recognizes the importance of working with other departments and health organizations to increase our focus on the children and youth who are our future; and

Whereas we are involved with projects aimed at addressing children's health needs, including a partnership with Community Services and the Invest in Kids Foundation, to develop a program which provides support to overburdened families and encourages health intervention;

[Page 4204]

Therefore be it resolved that this House take this opportunity to recognize National Child Day and the need for a collaborative approach to enhancing the care we provide our young people.