The Nova Scotia Legislature

The House resumed on:
September 21, 2017.

Hansard -- Fri., Nov. 27, 1998

First Session

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 27, 1998

TABLE OF CONTENTS PAGE
PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES:
Law Amendments Committee, Hon. J. Smith 4523
STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS:
Fin.: Private Pension Reform - Discussion Paper, Hon. D. Downe 4524
Econ. Dev. & Tourism - CED Awards: Winners - Recognize,
Hon. Manning MacDonald 4526
INTRODUCTION OF BILLS:
No. 91, Springhill Strip Mining Prohibition Act, Mr. M. Scott 4529
NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 2164, Aboriginal Affs. - Mi'kmaq Loggers: Approach Respectful -
Adopt, Mr. R. Chisholm 4529
Res. 2165, Health - AIDS: World Day/Awareness Week - Recognize,
Mr. G. Moody 4530
Vote - Affirmative 4530
Res. 2166, Econ. Dev. & Tourism - CED Award (N.S.):
Kings CED Agency - Congrats., Hon. R. Harrison 4530
Vote - Affirmative 4531
Res. 2167, Environ. - C.B. (Indust.): Pollution - Clean-up Commit,
Ms. Helen MacDonald 4531
Res. 2168, Justice: Min. - Resign, Dr. J. Hamm 4532
Res. 2169, Justice - Crime Stoppers (C.B.): Service (10 yrs.) -
Honorees Congrats., Hon. Manning MacDonald 4532
Vote - Affirmative 4533
Res. 2170, Nat. Res. - Nat. Gas: Lateral (C.B.) - Inadequacy Condemn,
Mr. J. Holm 4533
Res. 2171, Environ. - Min.: Resignation - Submit, Dr. J. Hamm 4534
Res. 2172, Commun. Serv. - Tri-Commun. Inter-Agency Council
(14 Days in December): Dedication - Congrats., Hon. K. Colwell 4534
Vote - Affirmative 4535
Res. 2173, Devco - POP: Action (Gov't. [Can.]) - Bizarre,
Mr. Kevin Deveaux 4535
Res. 2174, Senior Citizens Sec't. - Pty. Rebate-Reinstitute/
Fish. Licence Fee-Eliminate, Mr. J. Muir 4536
Res. 2175, Econ. Dev. & Tourism - New Leaf Enterprises (Hfx.):
Re-Opening - Commend, Mr. G. Fogarty 4536
Vote - Affirmative 4537
Res. 2176, Commun. Serv. - East Preston Day Care Ctr.:
Contribution - Congrats., Ms. Y. Atwell 4537
Vote - Affirmative 4537
Res. 2177, Justice (Can.) - Springhill: Correction Officers Training Ctr. -
Contact (Mins. [N.S.-Can.]) Encourage, Mr. M. Scott 4538
Res. 2178, Educ. - St. Martha's School (X-Ray): Evelyn Thomas
(Grad.-Anniv. 50th) - Congrats., Mr. H. Fraser 4538
Vote - Affirmative 4539
Res. 2179, Educ. - P3 Schools: Appeal None - Accept, Mr. D. Chard 4539
Res. 2180, Econ. Dev. & Tourism: St. F.X. Univ. Enterprise
Dev. Ctr.: Scholarship Winners - Congrats., Mr. G. Balser 4540
Vote - Affirmative 4540
Res. 2181, NDP (N.S.) - Policies (NDP [B.C.]): Discontent - Admit,
Mr. Charles MacDonald 4540
Res. 2182, Devco - Future: Proposals - Opposition Affirm,
Mr. F. Corbett 4541
Res. 2183, Nat. Res. - SOE Inc.: Procurement - Delay, Mr. G. Archibald 4542
Res. 2184, Sports - St. Margaret's Arena: Expansion - Assist.,
Mr. W. Estabrooks 4543
Res. 2185, Commun. Serv. - Soc. Assist.: Housing Allowance Rates -
Re-Examine, Mr. J. Muir 4543
Vote - Affirmative 4544
Res. 2186, Lbr. - Westray Families: Settlement - Conclude,
Mr. R. Chisholm 4544
Res. 2187, Agric. - Cobequid Skybuck Spumante (Holstein) &
Brian Yuill: Success - Congrats., Mr. B. Taylor 4545
Vote - Affirmative 4546
Res. 2188, Health-Educ. - AIDS: Sexual-Health Educ. - Review,
Ms. Maureen MacDonald 4546
Res. 2189, Econ. Dev. & Tourism - DynaGen Systems:
Entrepreneurship - Congrats., Mr. G. Balser 4546
Vote - Affirmative 4547
Res. 2190, Educ./Health/Commun. Serv.: Conductive Educ. -
Acquaint, Mr. D. Dexter 4547
Res. 2191, Health - Dental Hygiene (Children): Sue MacIntosh
(Pictou Co.) - Commend, Mr. J. DeWolfe 4548
Vote - Affirmative 4548
Res. 2192, Hotel Hfx. - Humble Lunch (01/12/98): Participation -
Encourage, Mr. J. Pye 4549
Vote - Affirmative 4549
Res. 2193, Dr. Julius J. Comeau, Death of - Contributions-Acknowledge/
Sympathy-Express, Mr. N. LeBlanc 4549
Vote - Affirmative 4550
Res. 2194, Nat. Res. - Forestry: Policy Interference - Sad, Mr. C. Parker 4550
Res. 2195, NDP (N.S.) - Devco: Beliefs Varied -
Realization Commencement, Mr. B. Taylor 4551
Res. 2196, Agric. - Food (N.S.): Input Broad - Seek,
Mr. John MacDonell 4552
Res. 2197, Agric. - 4-H: Marion MacKinnon (C.B.) - Service (65 yrs.)
Congrats., Ms. Helen MacDonald 4552
Vote - Affirmative 4553
Res. 2198, Nat. Res. - Forestry Enhancement Commissr.: Appointment -
Encourage (Lbr. [Min.]), Mr. John MacDonell 4553
Res. 2199, Health - Care: Women (Rural) Contribution -
Standing Ovation Give, Ms. R. Godin 4554
Vote - Affirmative 4554
Res. 2200, Econ. Dev. & Tourism - Job Creation: Value - Assess,
Mr. D. Chard 4554
Res. 2201, Econ. Dev. & Tourism - Masthead News (South Shore):
Contribution - Congrats., Mr. W. Estabrooks 4555
Vote - Affirmative 4556
Res. 2202, Health - Hepatitis C: Compensation (No-Fault Plan) - Pay,
Ms. Maureen MacDonald 4556
GOVERNMENT BUSINESS:
PUBLIC BILLS FOR SECOND READING:
No. 89, Medical Act 4557
Hon. Manning MacDonald 4557
Ms. Maureen MacDonald 4557
Mr. G. Moody 4557
Vote - Affirmative 4558
PUBLIC BILLS FOR THIRD READING:
No. 5, Forests Act 4559
Hon. Manning MacDonald 4559
Mr. C. Parker 4559
Mr. B. Taylor 4562
Mr. John MacDonell 4563
Mr. J. DeWolfe 4573
Mr. R. Chisholm 4574
Mr. J. Holm 4579
Dr. J. Hamm 4584
Hon. K. MacAskill 4586
Vote - Affirmative 4588
STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS:
Lbr. - Westray Mine: Coal Silos - Demolition Successful, The Premier 4589
PUBLIC BILLS FOR THIRD READING:
No. 22, Health Research Foundation Act 4591
Hon. Manning MacDonald 4591
Ms. Maureen MacDonald 4591
Mr. G. Moody 4600
Dr. H. Bitter-Suermann 4602
Mr. R. Chisholm 4615
Adjourned debate 4619
PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES:
Law Amendments Committee, Hon. Manning MacDonald 4620
ADJOURNMENT, House rose to meet again on Mon., Nov. 30th at 2:00 p.m. 4620

[Page 4523]

HALIFAX, FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 27, 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 the daily routine.

PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS

PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Justice.

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

Bill No. 47 - Municipal Government 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.

4523

[Page 4524]

TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS

STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Finance.

HON. DONALD DOWNE: Mr. Speaker, I would like to table a discussion paper prepared by my department on the subject of private pension reform. All members will remember I promised to carry out a promise of consultation on this issue when I brought down the budget in June. Pensions are a special piece of property. It is in all of our interests to ensure that we change these rules only after careful consultation with those affected and most knowledgeable about the consequences. The tabling of the discussion paper is an important step in that process.

The staff of our department have identified a half dozen issues that appear to be the most current concerns. The public may bring other matters to our attention. Our overall intention is to offer people greater flexibility and clarity with respect to their pension rights. This paper is widely distributed and posted upon our Internet website. Our intention would be to bring forward legislation following this period of public consultation. Thank you, and I table copies of that today.

MR. SPEAKER: Is this under Tabling Reports, Regulations and Other Papers or is this under Statements by Ministers?

HON. MANNING MACDONALD: It is under Statements by Ministers.

MR. SPEAKER: Very well.

Before I recognize the honourable member for Halifax Chebucto, is anybody else having difficulty hearing this morning? Yes, the volume seems to be very low.

The honourable member for Halifax Chebucto.

MR. HOWARD EPSTEIN: Mr. Speaker, what is interesting is that although the honourable minister has said that he would like to table a discussion paper, all he has handed out, I think, so far, is his statement. I haven't seen a discussion paper. Well, maybe I have a discussion paper now. It would be a lot easier to respond to these announcements if we were able to see what it is that the discussion paper addresses.

One can only agree that the subject of pensions is a crucial matter. We know, not only from our direct dealings with legislation in this session that has affected pensions for the Civil Service as a whole and for teachers.

[Page 4525]

We know how important this is to employees who pay into pension plans and who rely upon them for the time of their retirement. We know that pensions are, more and more, going to be the support in the time of their retirement, of individuals after their working lives. They are not going to be able to rely upon publicly available income support, like the Old Age Pension, the way they have in the past.

So, it is important that there be a thorough review of our framework legislation. I look forward to the chance to having a look at the details of the discussion paper. Putting it out for public consultation seems to me quite the right way to go. I look forward to participating in that discussion. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Argyle.

MR. NEIL LEBLANC: Mr. Speaker, I welcome the minister's statement in the House today. As we move into an era that more and more people are planning for retirement, I believe that it is time that we, as legislators, open up a discussion as to whether or not reforms are required.

There are many issues that have to be talked about. We have actually talked about it in this House during this session, when we had the Public Service Superannuation Fund, where there was distribution of surplus and who owns that surplus. In other provinces, the province has sometimes taken all the surplus and used it for their own purposes. In this case, it was divided among the employees, but it takes a full debate as to what the rules are and I think that Nova Scotians deserve no less.

So, I appreciate the fact that we have brought this forward. I think that this type of issue, along with some of the other points that I see in the bulletin here: pension benefits, marriage breakdown, multi-employer plans, and what happens if one of them drops out, and whether, we, as a government would try to encourage multi-employer plans whereby, hopefully, working as a group they can perhaps enhance their investment capability and so forth.

I look at many of the other issues that are there, whether or not locked-in funds should always apply, whether there should be some provisions so people can remove it. Many times people are vested and circumstances come about that perhaps they would like to re-establish or revisit that whole point.

So, there are many issues and I really believe that it has come time to have a public discussion on it. I think that a discussion paper is the right process but I think we, as legislators, will have to have a commitment upon completion of a discussion paper because I think, with the billions of dollars that are being invested - and it is billions of dollars - that it has come time that we really look at how pensions are going to be administered.

[Page 4526]

So, I welcome the announcement today and I commit our Party to having an open and frank discussion on this issue. Hopefully, Nova Scotia will be better by the changes that we bring about when legislation is introduced. Thank you.

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

HON. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask the House to join me in recognizing the winners of Nova Scotia's first-ever Community Economic Development Awards. These awards were organized to raise the profile of CED and to celebrate some of the excellent projects that are transforming communities in this province.

Mr. Speaker, we received 120 nominations for these awards; 120 nominations from virtually every corner of the province and those nominations reflect the diversity of community economic development. Some of the nominations involved just a few people; other nominations involved entire communities. Some are built with technology, others spring from the natural resources of the area.

All of these projects have certain things in common. They involve Nova Scotians working together in their own communities to create new opportunities and wealth. They involve partnerships with government and the private sector. They involve innovation, the ability to identify then build on local assets, local strengths. They all involve local initiative, Mr. Speaker. Community economic developments works when the people get an idea and follow through.

There are hundreds of example all over this province; 120 very good examples confronted our judges. They had the daunting task of creating a short list of three finalists in each of the six categories, then six winners. Yesterday afternoon, those six winners were announced.

The Cape Chignecto Management Committee won the award for Excellence in Cooperation. This group brought together Cumberland County residents and representatives of three levels of government to create a magnificent wilderness park.

The Avon River Heritage Society and the Avon Spirit Co-operative Limited were awarded the prize of Best New CED Project, for their collaborative effort to build a replica of a 19th Century schooner and build the local economy at the same time.

The Development Isle Madame Association won the award for Contribution to Economic Growth. DIMA won in this category because of its success at diversifying the island economy and for generating employment and hope for residents of Isle Madame after the collapse of the groundfishery. I should also point out, Mr. Speaker, that DIMA was a finalist in no fewer than four of the six award categories and its chair was a finalist in the fifth.

[Page 4527]

[9:15 a.m.]

The Strait East Nova Community Enterprise Network, or SENCEN, won the award for Innovation in Community Economic Development. SENCEN is an information technology partnership of the Strait School Board and the Strait Highlands, Antigonish and Guysborough Regional Development Authorities and it has established 68 community access sites in the Strait region since it began. SENCEN is helping business people and ordinary citizens to connect to the world through the Internet.

The Kings Community Economic Development Agency, which is the Regional Development Authority for Kings County, won the prize for Excellence in Client Service. Long-time CED practitioner, Harold Verge, was presented with Nova Scotia's CED award for Outstanding Achievement. Harold is affectionately known to his friends, colleagues and students as the grandfather of CED in Nova Scotia. He has contributed to many major developments in CED over 35 years. In his very humble acceptance speech he encouraged younger people in the province to carry on their good work.

Mr. Speaker I would like to ask all members of the House to join me in congratulating these award winners and all the nominees in Nova Scotia's Community Economic Development Awards. (Applause)

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

MR. DARRELL DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, I wonder if, before I proceed with my response, I would be permitted an introduction?

MR. SPEAKER: By all means.

MR. DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, in the west gallery today we are joined by Mr. Bruce Hetherington. He was a colleague of mine on the Dartmouth City Council. He is presently a Councillor with the HRM; and, of course, a colleague of Mr. Pye's as well. I understand Bruce is here today to talk a little bit about the Water Commission. I wish him luck with his deliberations and hope that the House will give him the usual welcome. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member has the floor.

MR. DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, I am here to comment and to respond to the ministerial statement with respect to the CED Awards. There is a lot of hard work by people in communities right around the province that goes into real community economic development growth from the grass roots, an approach to business that says we are going to take advantage of the strengths of our community in order to build a sound economy for the province, and we should all be appreciative of the efforts of the individuals who are working every day in this field for the betterment of this province.

[Page 4528]

I think you can just imagine, Mr. Speaker, how much better off the province would be if the Department of Economic Development and Tourism had the ability to really take advantage of some of the talents that are out there instead of being shackled to 19th Century economic theory manacled by outdated notions of political and economic rhetoric. Thank you. (Applause)

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

MR. GORDON BALSER: Mr. Speaker, it gives me great pleasure to stand today and add my caucus' congratulations to the winners. This is community economic development at the grass roots. I was fortunate enough yesterday to have the opportunity to go down and actually visit the display and to hear Silver Donald Cameron's speech regarding community economic development. I can tell you that I can appreciate the difficulty that the judges would have in looking at those various projects and then trying to determine winners.

I would say that there were 120 winners, yesterday, and each community was a winner because this is how the rural economy of Nova Scotia can be and should be revitalized. It came out of Jimmy MacDonald's Antigonish movement and has grown and blossomed. There is no doubt that when a community takes charge of its own destiny, everyone in that community wins. In fact, one of the commenters, yesterday, spoke to the fact that one of the biggest advantages of this type of economic development is that people learn themselves that they can be successful, that they do have good ideas.

When the minister read from his statement, he spoke of Isle Madame and the fact that the call centre there was not something that initially was supported by people in government departments. They did not realize that a call centre could grow and develop in an area like that. What happens when communities start to take charge of their own destiny is they begin to realize what is possible. So this is truly a great day and the awards are truly recognition of hard work and effort, so once again I would say not just the recipients of the prizes deserve it but, in fact, each and every community. Thank you. (Applause)

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

MR. GORDON BALSER: Mr. Speaker, to you and through you to the members of the Assembly, I would like to introduce in the east gallery, Mr. John Cameron, a resident of Bridgetown, my constituency. Mr. Cameron is with the law firm of Orlando & Hicks. He is here in the House and I would ask for the House to recognize him. (Applause)

GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION

INTRODUCTION OF BILLS

[Page 4529]

Bill No. 91 - Entitled an Act to Prohibit Strip Mining in Springhill. (Mr. Murray Scott)

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

NOTICES OF MOTION

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Opposition.

RESOLUTION NO. 2164

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

Whereas Premiers and Party Leaders have long aspired to the mantle of Robert Stanfield, whose wisdom, forward-looking approach and open attitudes marked a turning point in our province; and

Whereas in Robert Stanfield's home base, the Truro Daily News on November 25th editorially praised aboriginal loggers; and

Whereas the editorial noted the personal initiative of aboriginal loggers and their labour-intensive, conservation-oriented approach;

Therefore be it resolved that this House join the Truro Daily News in recognizing that aboriginal loggers "want to earn a decent living to put shoes on their babies and food in their stomachs", and urge the government to adopt a respectful approach to Mi'kmaq loggers, instead of pursuing an illogical and destructive policy.

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 Kings West.

[Page 4530]

RESOLUTION NO. 2165

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

Whereas despite promising new drugs and improved prevention education, reports indicate that nearly two decades into the AIDS epidemic, global HIV infections rose by 10 per cent in 1998, with one-half of the new cases being found in people younger than 24; and

Whereas UNAIDS, the United Nations agency set up to combat the spread of the deadly virus, has said that more than 95 per cent of all HIV-infected people now live in the developing world; and

Whereas AIDS Awareness Week is November 29th to December 5th and is highlighted by World AIDS Day on December 1st;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the House of Assembly recognize World AIDS Day and AIDS Awareness Week and continue to support the ongoing fight against AIDS in the areas of prevention, research, and education, as it directly contributes to the physical and mental suffering as well as to the emotional anguish of numerous families in Nova Scotia and throughout the world.

Mr. Speaker: I ask for waiver.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Education.

RESOLUTION NO. 2166

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

Whereas the first-ever Nova Scotia Community Economic Development Awards were presented yesterday at a ceremony in Halifax; and

[Page 4531]

Whereas the Kings Community Economic Development Agency has established a strong record for successful economic development by building partnerships involving stakeholders, and promoting diversification; and

Whereas in receiving the Excellence in Client Service Award, the Kings CED Agency was recognized for being "truly, uniquely democratic and truly grass roots";

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate the Kings CED Agency as a winner of a 1998 Nova Scotia Community Economic Development Award.

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 Cape Breton The Lakes.

RESOLUTION NO. 2167

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

Whereas a telephone survey of 600 people in industrial Cape Breton indicated a lack of confidence in the government's commitment to cleaning up the tar ponds and the coke ovens; and

Whereas this government has spent countless dollars on studies of the environmental pollution in this area; and

Whereas it has taken many thousands of dollars to determine what the people who live there already know, namely that orange ooze coming from the ground is not healthy and that cancer rates really are higher in industrial Cape Breton;

Therefore be it resolved that this government make a commitment to the people of industrial Cape Breton to act today in cleaning up the problem once and for all.

[Page 4532]

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 Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party.

RESOLUTION NO. 2168

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

Whereas health care has fragmented with ill-conceived Liberal health reform; and

Whereas with the Liberal plan, more money has not meant more health care; and

Whereas the minister still has not come to grips with the seriousness of health care delivery deterioration even in his own constituency in Dartmouth;

Therefore be it resolved that the minister immediately resign as Minister of Justice and become a full-time Minister of Health.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable Minister of Economic Development.

RESOLUTION NO. 2169

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

Whereas crime prevention and the apprehension of criminals require the help of citizens in community effort; and

Whereas the Cape Breton Crime Stoppers are in their 11th year of operation with the help of many volunteer members; and

[Page 4533]

Whereas the following people were honoured for their contribution to Cape Breton Crime Stoppers for 10 years of service; Greg Delaney, Art Kyte, Ann MacRae, Pam Ellsworth and Jim Wadden;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this Assembly congratulate those honoured for their 10 years with Cape Breton Crime Stoppers and encourage other Nova Scotians to follow their example in the fight against crime.

Mr. Speaker, I ask for waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Sackville-Cobequid.

RESOLUTION NO. 2170

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

Whereas this government's so-called better deal for Sable gas includes an eight inch diameter natural gas line to Cape Breton, regardless of the capacity that is required to serve industrial Cape Breton; and

Whereas the Cape Breton Regional Municipality Council, gas distribution companies and others have come forward to say that line is too small and that our gas will leave the country instead; and

Whereas Maritimes & Northeast Pipeline have now argued that an adequate natural gas lateral line is too expensive because they have already ordered eight inch pipe from a supplier in Greece;

Therefore be it resolved that this House condemn the Liberal Government's collusion in the high-handed attempt to build an inadequate Cape Breton natural gas lateral and thereby prevent early distribution of Sable gas within Nova Scotia.

[Page 4534]

Mr. Speaker, I would request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear a No.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party.

RESOLUTION NO. 2171

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

Whereas the Minister of Finance has failed to control expenses in his first budget; and

Whereas the minister has presented no rational plan to remedy his $82 million over-expenditure; and

Whereas the Minister of Finance has proven he cannot handle the portfolios of both Environment and Finance;

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Finance submit his resignation as Minister of the Environment to the Premier so he can devote full time to controlling his budget.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable Minister of Fisheries.

RESOLUTION NO. 2172

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

Whereas the Tri-Community Inter-Agency Council is coordinating the 14 Days of December event once again this year; and

Whereas the 14 Days of December is dedicated to the concept that all communities, families and individuals can live in peace and harmony with themselves, our families and our neighbours, free from violence, poverty and destruction; and

[Page 4535]

Whereas during these 14 days beginning on December 1st, events such as tree lighting ceremonies, church services, Christmas dinners and concerns will be held throughout communities in Musquodoboit Valley, the Sheet Harbour/Tangier/Moser River area, and in Musquodoboit Harbour;

[9:30 a.m.]

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulates Tri-Community Interagency Council on their continued dedication to this worthwhile event and wish them every success.

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 Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage.

RESOLUTION NO. 2173

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

Whereas the federal Liberal Government is now openly developing policy by public opinion poll by conducting a survey on the future of thousands of Cape Bretoners who rely on Devco for their livelihood; and

Whereas the Premier yesterday was at a virtual loss for words to describe the federal government's Devco poll, finally landing on the word "deplorable";

Therefore be it resolved that this House recommend to the Premier that better words to describe the federal Liberal Government's action would be bizarre, beyond bizarre, I mean, how much more bizarre can this get? It is off the scale of bizarreness.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Truro-Bible Hill.

[Page 4536]

RESOLUTION NO. 2174

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

Whereas despite numerous election promises, this Liberal Government has paid little attention to the needs of our province's senior citizens; and

Whereas many ministers have a responsibility for seniors, including the Finance, Health, Community Services, and Business and Consumer Services Ministers; and

Whereas finally, after much discussion and persuasion on November 25th, the Minister of Community Services acknowledged that seniors are an important and vital part of our community;

Therefore be it resolved that the Liberals put their money where their mouth is by reinstituting the seniors' property tax rebate and eliminating the fishing license fee for seniors.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Halifax Bedford Basin.

RESOLUTION NO. 2175

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

Whereas New Leaf Enterprises in Halifax recently re-opened its doors after suffering a serious fire earlier this year; and

Whereas New Leaf provides an opportunity for 30 men and women with disabilities to learn important workplace skills and contribute to their community; and

Whereas some New Leaf projects include the operation of a coffee shop in downtown Halifax, a food catering service, as well as making Christmas wreaths and decorations;

Therefore be it resolved that this House commends the hard work and dedication of all those involved in New Leaf Enterprises and wish them luck as they enjoy their newly renovated facility.

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

[Page 4537]

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.

RESOLUTION NO. 2176

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 East Preston Day Care Centre is in its 25th year of operation; and

Whereas the centre offers a full range of programs and services to the community of East Preston and the surrounding area; and

Whereas the Canadian Child Care Federation recently recognized the accomplishments of East Preston Day Care Centre's Director, Joyce Ross, and her commitment to early childhood education initiatives;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate Joyce Ross and the East Preston Day Care Centre on their significant contribution to the children and families of the Preston area.

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 Cumberland South.

[Page 4538]

RESOLUTION NO. 2177

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

Whereas the federal Member of Parliament for Cumberland-Colchester has been pressing the federal government to bring training for correctional officers to Cumberland County; and

Whereas the Cumberland Campus of the Nova Scotia Community College has also been actively pursuing this training to form part of their curriculum; and

Whereas Springhill is home to a federal institution which has been recognized nationally for its level of security and commitment of staff;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House encourage this provincial government to contact the federal Minister of Justice on behalf of the Town of Springhill and the Cumberland County Campus of the Nova Scotia Community College to secure the training of correctional officers for this area.

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

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

Is it agreed?

I hear a No.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Antigonish.

RESOLUTION NO. 2178

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

Whereas in 1948, Evelyn Thomas was the first person to graduate from St. Martha's School of X-Ray Technology; and

Whereas on the 50th Anniversary of this distinction, Ms. Thomas was recently honoured by fellow x-ray graduates and the St. Martha's Alumni Association; and

[Page 4539]

Whereas during the celebration, Ms. Thomas was described by Sister Clare Marie Lyons as an outstanding technician, a dedicated, conscientious and loyal employee;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House join with the friends and former co-workers of Evelyn Thomas in offering congratulations on her many years of service to St. Martha's and to the community.

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 Dartmouth South.

RESOLUTION NO. 2179

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

Whereas the headmaster of a private school in Nova Scotia recently told this member that his school had considered the P3 approach as a means of getting a new building; and

Whereas this private school rejected the approach because it would not save money and the school would have less control over the project; and

Whereas the headmaster also said that he doubted if there was a private school anywhere in Canada that would use the P3 approach;

Therefore be it resolved that the government accept the fact that the P3 approach has no appeal in any sector of education, and acknowledge that the P3 approach is just a sham intended to keep school construction costs off the province's books.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Digby-Annapolis.

[Page 4540]

RESOLUTION NO. 2180

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 St. Francis Xavier University Enterprise Development Centre has recently awarded 11 students with $100 scholarships for their outstanding efforts managing their own businesses during the past summer; and

Whereas these student participants were part of the Youth Entrepreneurial Skills Program sponsored by the Royal Bank and the Department of Economic Development; and

Whereas the award winners were Katie Arbuckle, Adrian Cameron, Kim Campbell, Kathleen Genge, Robyn Hickey, Kyle Little, Melanie Lucas, Faye MacDonald, Chris MacIsaac, Tenille MacKenzie and Eppa Lea Turniawan;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate all scholarship winners and wish them good luck and success in their future endeavours.

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 Inverness.

RESOLUTION NO. 2181

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

Whereas thousands of people are turning out for Concerned Citizens rallies held recently in British Columbia; and

Whereas these hugely successful public meetings are a result of the anger many people have toward the NDP Government; and

[Page 4541]

Whereas this anger is reflected in the NDP Government having an approval rating of only 11 per cent, and business leaders complaining daily that B.C. is over-taxed and over-regulated;

Therefore be it resolved that the Leader of the Nova Scotia NDP admit the policies of his Party have caused massive public discontent in B.C., and that these policies would cause untold hardship if ever implemented in Nova Scotia.

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

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

Is it agreed?

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Cape Breton Centre.

RESOLUTION NO. 2182

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

Whereas 19 Liberal MLAs in this House were elected on a platform that included opposition to any privatization of Devco; and

Whereas Devco coal leases cannot be transferred to any other owner without the approval of the provincial government; and

Whereas the Premier would have Cape Bretoners believe he knows nothing, while the Economic Development Minister wants the federal government to give away the mines and wash its hands of Cape Breton coal;

Therefore be it resolved that this House affirm the province's opposition to closure, privatization, or sale of Devco, and urge the government to back up its many statements of support with a specific declaration that coal leases will not be transferred to further the loss of jobs in Cape Breton.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver.

[Page 4542]

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

Is it agreed?

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Kings North.

RESOLUTION NO. 2183

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

Whereas weeks before the National Energy Board hearings started, the Expression of Interest was posted for an eight-inch pipeline from Goldboro to Point Tupper; and

Whereas expert testimony at the National Energy Board hearings have indicated an eight-inch system will be out of capacity much sooner than expected; and

Whereas the operations manager for the lateral now says that changing the pipe size from eight inches could have impacts on the project;

Therefore be it resolved that the Premier insist that before Sable Offshore Energy Inc. buys anything else, they wait until the appropriate authorities have determined what the pipeline size should be, so they get it right the first time and this does not turn into a costly mistake.

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 Sackville-Cobequid on an introduction.

[Page 4543]

MR. JOHN HOLM: Mr. Speaker, I want to draw to your attention and to all members in this House, sitting in the west gallery a constituent of my colleague, the member for Cape Breton The Lakes, one Mr. John MacDonald, Helen MacDonald's husband. I would ask him to rise and receive a warm welcome. (Applause)

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

RESOLUTION NO. 2184

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

Whereas recreation for all citizens of all ages must remain a priority; and

Whereas many residents of the growing communities in Timberlea-Prospect have expressed concerns about the need for possible expansion to the St. Margaret's Arena; and

Whereas the board of directors of this busy facility has established a committee to investigate this possible expansion;

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister responsible for the Nova Scotia Sport and Recreation Commission instruct his staff to contact the manager of the St. Margaret's Arena to assist this committee.

I ask for waiver, Mr. Speaker.

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. 2185

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 vacancy rates for apartments in metro Halifax has dropped to its lowest since 1991; and

[Page 4544]

Whereas correspondingly there has been a general increase in the price of all types of rental accommodations in metro Halifax; and

Whereas there has not been a corresponding increase in the housing allowance rates for persons who are on social assistance programs;

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Community Services re-examine the housing allowance rates of her department's social assistance programs with a view to adjusting them to reflect the recent change in the housing market.

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 Leader of the Opposition.

RESOLUTION NO. 2186

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

Whereas the government intends to proceed with demolition of the twin silos at the former Westray Coal Mine today, November 27th; and

Whereas one reason for demolition is that the towers are a physical reminder of the neglect and disregard for workers' lives that resulted in the tragic loss of 26 men's lives in that mine; and

Whereas another painful reminder is that many months have gone by since the Westray families proposed a financial settlement with the province after the Westray prosecution was dropped;

Therefore be it resolved that this House urge the government to respond to the Westray families and conclude a settlement with them, just as it has moved to resolve the outstanding severance issues and to demolish the Westray Coal Mine towers.

[Page 4545]

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 Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley.

RESOLUTION NO. 2187

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

Whereas a Holstein cow, Cobequid Skybuck Spumante, owned by Brian Yuill of Onslow was recently awarded Best Udder in class during the Royal Fair in Toronto; and

Whereas Cobequid Skybuck Spumante also won fourth place in her division; and

Whereas earlier this week, the Holstein also won (Interruption) Mr. Speaker, this is in Toronto at a very prestigious fair.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

MR. TAYLOR: Whereas earlier this year, the Holstein also won Best Bred and Owned at the prestigious World Dairy Expo in Madison, Wisconsin;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House congratulate Cobequid Skybuck Spumante and her owner, Brian Yuill, on their recent honours and wish them both continued success.

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.

[Page 4546]

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Halifax Needham.

RESOLUTION NO. 2188

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

Whereas this coming week is National AIDS Awareness Week; and

Whereas the rate of HIV infections among Canadian youth is increasing; and

Whereas young people's vulnerability to HIV relates to experimentation with drugs, alcohol and casual sex;

Therefore be it resolved that the Ministers of Health and Education review this province's sexual health education in all our schools to ensure AIDS is discussed critically, openly and at an early enough age to help prevent further spread of HIV.

[9:45 a.m.]

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 Digby-Annapolis.

RESOLUTION NO. 2189

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

Whereas DynaGen Systems of Sydney is an example of the entrepreneurial spirit in Nova Scotia; and

[Page 4547]

Whereas DynaGen, founded in 1994 by company president, Paul Wareham, and business partner, Kevin Chisholm, designs, manufactures and distributes microchip control systems for operating engine-driven equipment throughout North America; and

Whereas this four year old company sold 2,500 units last year with sales approaching $1 million and is currently developing a marketing strategy to expand sales into Europe and China;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Paul Wareham, Kevin Chisholm and the employees of DynaGen Systems for their growing success and wish them good luck in their future endeavours.

Mr. Speaker, I would seek waiver.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Dartmouth-Cole Harbour.

RESOLUTION NO. 2190

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

Whereas conductive education is an innovative and intensive method of special education which helps children with motor development problems such as cerebral palsy; and

Whereas this educational system treats mobility disorders as learning problems; and

Whereas there is a research project currently underway in Ontario to evaluate the outcomes of conductive therapy;

Therefore be it resolved that the Ministers of Education, Health and Community Services acquaint themselves with this research project with a view to initiating a pilot project here in Nova Scotia.

[Page 4548]

Mr. Speaker, I would 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 Pictou East.

RESOLUTION NO. 2191

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 spring-time survey of school children in Pictou County showed that 14 out of 15 county elementary schools have students showing a high risk of elevated dental decay; and

Whereas a dental rinse program has been established for the schools that involves help from parent volunteers, to distribute the dental rinse once a week in Pictou County elementary schools; and

Whereas this dental rinse program is targeting a 20 per cent to 30 per cent reduction in tooth decay rates in children more than two to three years of age;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this Legislature commend Public Health dental hygienist Sue MacIntosh and all the parents assisting in the program in their continuing effort to raise dental awareness among young children.

Mr. Speaker, I ask for waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

[Page 4549]

The honourable member for Dartmouth North.

RESOLUTION NO. 2192

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

Whereas an annual Humble Lunch takes place on Tuesday at Hotel Halifax; and

Whereas over the past two years the Hotel Halifax has raised nearly $10,000 for the Metro Food Bank through this event; and

Whereas this event is a great opportunity for diners to make donations to a worthwhile cause because $18 of each $22 ticket goes to the food bank;

Therefore be it resolved that Nova Scotians be encouraged to participate in the next Tuesday's Humble Lunch at Hotel Halifax.

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 Argyle.

RESOLUTION NO. 2193

M. NEIL LEBLANC: Monsieur le président, par la présente je désire donner avis, qu'a une date ultérieure, je ferai la proposition suivante:

Attendu que le docteur Julius J. Comeau est, avec regret, décédé le 25 novembre 1998; et

Attendu que sa contribution à la communauté a été d'une très grande importance, notamment, fondateur du Festival acadien de Clare, vice-président de la Fédération acadienne de la Nouvelle-Écosse, et président du Conseil scolaire de Clare, entre autres; et

[Page 4550]

Attendu que le docteur Comeau a été récipiendaire de nombreux prix et médailles d'honneur dont l'Ordre de la Pléiade;

Qu'il soit résolu que l'assemblée législative reconnaisse la contribution importante de docteur Julius J. Comeau et offre nos sympathies à sa famille.

Mr. Speaker, I will repeat it:

Whereas Dr. Julius Comeau regrettably passed away on November 25, 1998; and

Whereas his contributions to his community has been extensive and involved such notable ones, such as being a founder of the Festival acadien de Clare; vice-president of the la FANE, president of the Clare Municipal School Board; and

Whereas Dr. Comeau received numerous awards, most noticeably l'Ordre de la Pléiade;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly acknowledge the many contributions of Dr. Julius J. Comeau and express our deep sympathy to his family.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice and that the question be put 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 Pictou West.

RESOLUTION NO. 2194

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

Whereas the member for Queens spent the month of November pushing the Minister of Natural Resources to take action to stop native logging, all the while ignoring any aboriginal right to log; and

[Page 4551]

Whereas on November 10th the member urged the minister to "uphold the law in Nova Scotia", adding, "this harvesting is occurring outside the law"; and

Whereas on November 26th that same member made a 180 degree turn and suggested that the government drop charges against native loggers, then referred to the First Nations as children;

Therefore be it resolved that it is a sorry day for all Nova Scotians, particularly those whose jobs depend on stable conditions for the forest industry, when this government lets others lead it around in circles on matters affecting major interests and issues.

Mr. Speaker, I ask for waiver.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley.

RESOLUTION NO. 2195

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

Whereas on behalf of his Party the NDP candidate for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley in this past spring's provincial election has been exceptionally busy sending letters to the Truro Daily News; and

Whereas yesterday's edition saw a letter by this NDP candidate saying clearly that the coal industry has cost the taxpayers of this province and, indeed, of Canada, far too much and there is no end in sight; and

Whereas the NDP this week clearly indicated they are opposed to the privatization of Devco;

Therefore be it resolved that if one NDP candidate believes no additional money should be put into the Cape Breton coal industry while his Leader and some members of his caucus support the exact opposite, the Leader begin to realize Nova Scotian voters are beginning to see what the NDP really stands for - mass confusion.

[Page 4552]

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Hants East.

RESOLUTION NO. 2196

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

Whereas Nova Scotians take pride in their agricultural roots; and

Whereas farmers involved in food production, whether it is pork, apples or milk, as an example, work hard to bring good quality products to the market place; and

Whereas debates are ongoing in this country as to the effects of genetic engineering, synthetic hormone injection, and pesticide use in food production;

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Agriculture seek a broad range of input from producers, consumers and the marketing sector on the future quality of Nova Scotia's food sources.

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 Cape Breton The Lakes.

RESOLUTION NO. 2197

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

Whereas in 1932 a Grand Mira teacher, Marion Lahey, began her long and distinguished career with the 4-H by instituting a garment club; and

Whereas as the years passed, Marion, her husband Neil MacKinnon and their 14 children, including the current Minister of Labour, participated in 4-H activities; and

[Page 4553]

Whereas Marion (Lahey) MacKinnon was honoured worldwide as the longest serving 4-H leader;

Therefore be it resolved that this House extend congratulations and thanks to Marion MacKinnon for her exemplary 65 years of service to her community and country through the 4-H movement.

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. 2198

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

Whereas the Minister of Labour has indicated that currently there is legislation on the books which enables the government to appoint a Commissioner of Forest Enhancement; and

Whereas during debate in this House the Minister of Labour, seeking not to be redundant, indicated that the Commissioner of Forest Enhancement did the job of a forestry ombudsman; and

Whereas the Forest Enhancement Act, Section 6(1), states "The Governor in Council on the recommendation of the Minister, may appoint a person to be Commissioner of Forest Enhancement.";

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Labour encourage the Minister of Natural Resources to advertise to fill the position of the Commissioner of Forest Enhancement and demonstrate this government's commitment to addressing the concerns of all those affected by forestry practices and production.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver.

[Page 4554]

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

Is it agreed?

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Sackville-Beaver Bank.

RESOLUTION NO. 2199

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

Whereas findings of a study by Maritime Centre of Excellence for Women revealed yesterday that numerous Nova Scotian women save the health care system untold dollars and pay a hefty personal toll by caring for loved ones at home; and

Whereas the sacrifices of these women means very real hardships for them with little recognition from society or government for their contributions to their communities;

Therefore be it resolved that this House acknowledge these over-burdened, over-worked and under-appreciated rural women with a standing ovation.

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. (Standing Ovation)

The honourable member for Dartmouth South.

RESOLUTION NO. 2200

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

[Page 4555]

Whereas the Minister of Economic Development expressed pride and pleasure on Wednesday in announcing the opening of MedMira Laboratories in the Bayers Lake Industrial Park; and

Whereas the minister likes to focus only on the positive aspects of reports such as the recently released Statistics Canada study comparing the Canadian and American economies; and

Whereas Statistics Canada has cautioned that proportionately more of the new jobs in Canada are low-paying service-sector jobs than in the United States;

Therefore be it resolved that the minister be encouraged to read the fine print of such reports and put proper emphasis on the continuing need for full-time, well-paying jobs in this province.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Timberlea-Prospect.

RESOLUTION NO. 2201

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 Masthead News provides a valuable service to the citizens of western Halifax County and adjacent communities along the South Shore; and

Whereas the community newspaper emphasizes good news items from the local area; and

Whereas the Masthead News is truly a family business;

Therefore be it resolved that this House offer its congratulations to Ron Driskill, Publisher-Editor, and Cynthia Driskill, Associate Editor, for their contribution to these communities.

Mr. Speaker, I ask for waiver.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

[Page 4556]

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. 2202

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

Whereas this week marks the first anniversary of the release of Justice Krever's report on the Canadian blood system; and

Whereas Justice Krever's number one recommendation was for the creation of a no-fault plan to compensate persons injured through the blood system; and

Whereas hepatitis C tainted blood victims continue to be frustrated by the lack of action on this recommendation;

Therefore be it resolved that this House call upon the Premier to do the right thing and share in the responsibility to compensate all victims of tainted blood.

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.

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 Second Reading.

[Page 4557]

PUBLIC BILLS FOR SECOND READING

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 89.

Bill No. 89 - Medical Act.

[10:00 a.m.]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the Minister of Health, I move second reading of Bill No. 89.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Needham.

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, these amendments to the Medical Act will now require in situations in acute care facilities and hospitals where a medical doctor has been disciplined that such action, any suspensions, reprimands or sanctions within that hospital setting, must now be reported to the College of Physicians and Surgeons. This is an important feature of the Medical Act. It clarifies what heretofore was quite an ambiguous set of requirements for reporting.

As I understand it, the current legislation allows for reporting to the College of Physicians and Surgeons only after a two week suspension, a full suspension of hospital privileges. In some cases, there are partial suspensions or certain other restrictions that are imposed on physicians. Under the current legislation, those kinds of disciplinary actions did not have to be reported, and this certainly is a weakness in the current Medical Act.

These particular amendments have the support of this caucus, in principle. We would very much like to see them move through a process of any kind of public discussion and to come back here to the floor of this House for adoption. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings West.

MR. GEORGE MOODY: Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of the amendment to the Medical Act. As the previous speaker, the member for Halifax Needham, indicated, it has to do with suspensions of doctors that have privileges at hospitals around the province. What this does is make it more consistent. Those who may have received suspensions for a short period in the past, didn't get reported.

[Page 4558]

I think the Morrison case is where this was pointed out when someone was brought in to review the QE II, pointed out that that situation wasn't reported because a partial suspension had occurred within the hospital. What this does is it will make things more formal, when things occur and suspensions should take place. I think what has happened as well, where we don't have CEOs in all the hospitals with regional health boards, we are finding with site managers and part-time site managers - and I think the records will bear me out - that there haven't been as many suspensions in the past, since the regionalization, because, sort of, nobody is in charge.

This amendment is a good amendment. It will put the onus on those in charge of the hospitals to be consistent, to report the suspensions to the College of Physicians and Surgeons, and they will be dealt with in a procedural way that I think is better protection for the consumer. I think all doctors would even welcome this. I think it is a positive thing in that it will improve the overall system in consistency. It has been felt, if there is enough cause to suspend somebody, and obviously somebody has to know why they are suspended, there has to be reason, but people will not now look for a short way of doing it so they do not have to fill out a form and all of that. So I think that this is very positive.

The only thing that it does not cover are those suspensions that occur, if a doctor fails to fill out a form and somebody is released from hospital within a period of time, it does not cover that. Once a doctor fills out the form, they are automatically reinstated and that sometimes occurs, but other than that, there are no exemptions which, to me, is very positive.

So, Mr. Speaker, our caucus supports this amendment to the Act going on to the Law Amendments Committee and, hopefully, we will see it through this sitting of the Legislature.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is for second reading of Bill No. 89. Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

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

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, would you please call the order of business, 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. 5.

[Page 4559]

Bill No. 5 - Forests Act.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I move third reading of Bill No. 5.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Pictou West.

MR. CHARLES PARKER: Mr. Speaker, I just want to say that this bill is basically a good bill because it provides for a step toward sustainable forestry. There are some things that are not perfect with it but overall I think it is a step in the right direction. It starts to provide for things that are needed in this province. Included in that is a wood acquisition plan that would start to let us know what kind of amounts of wood fibre are being harvested in this province because right now we have no idea how much wood is being cut or how much . . .

AN HON. MEMBER: We need to know that, don't we?

MR. PARKER: Absolutely, we have to know how much wood fibre is being harvested. If you are going to have a plan, you have to have a start and a finish, and right now there is no real plan to know how much wood is being harvested in this province. I certainly concur with the idea that we have to register buyers and get a good wood acquisition plan of where they are going to be cutting, when, and where the harvesting is going to be taking place because we have an annual allowable cut in this province, it was estimated in the softwood right now of 3.75 million cubic metres, and there is strong evidence that we are well over that annual allowable cut. There are 5 million, 6 million, 7 million cubic metres, perhaps even more, of softwood being cut.

This government really does not know how much wood is being harvested in this province at this time. There is certainly domestic use and there is export from the province, going to New Brunswick primarily, but some of it is going to Maine, a little bit to Newfoundland, Prince Edward Island, and exported worldwide, some of it, on barges coming out of the different ports that we have here in Nova Scotia. So we have to find out. We have to know what amount of wood is being harvested and where it is going, whether it is for domestic or for export use.

The one thing that the bill does allow for is a start, under stewardship agreements with the industry, the mills, and at this point the stewardship program has been in operation for about two years but there are only three mills in all of the province that have taken this up. So that is an indication that maybe the idea is just not working because if it was good for industry and good for woodlot owners, certainly they would be getting right on the bandwagon and signing up for this program so that good silviculture practices could be done on their woodlots throughout the province. The question begs to be answered, why are so few actual industry leaders, or the pulp mills and the sawmills and so on, getting involved with

[Page 4560]

the stewardship programs? The money is there to set up a silviculture arrangement with the woodlot owner, with the government paying a share, but only three, I understand, mills to this point in time have signed on. There does not seem to be a lot of willingness by private woodlot owners to sign on to the program, so something is not working the way it should be.

The problem is that around this province there is far too much clear-cutting, there is far too much liquidation of woodlots. When somebody comes to a woodlot owner's door and says, I would be interested in buying your woodland or at least buying the stumpage and they offer what appears to be fantastic prices for stumpage - I have heard as high as $2,200 an acre, so if you owned a couple of hundred acres, it is almost like winning the lottery. There would be $440,000 and that is a tremendous offer and it is no wonder that many of our woodlot owners are selling out to these large contractors, many of which are from out of province, from New Brunswick and elsewhere, where they are also short on wood and there is just a real strong demand for wood fibre. When that kind of an offer is made to a woodlot owner, some of them are grabbing it pretty quick, without even thinking about it.

The other thing that is happening, of course, is that some people are not getting the value for their woodlot that they should be getting. Maybe an offer comes and they offer $50,000 for their woodland and perhaps it is really worth three times that amount, but still $50,000 sounds like a very good offer and they are underselling what it is really worth. We need somebody to help the woodlot owner to help determine the value so they are getting their fair share and the profit is not going to a contractor or an out of province buyer. That is all part of the education process that we need to help educate our woodlot owners, not only on the value of the resources they have, but we need a better education system through the extension department of the Department of Natural Resources to show woodlot owners that there is a better way to look after and manage, maybe even to the point of harvesting, their woodlands. Right now, as I mentioned, there is just a lot of liquidating or clear-cutting and then the land is devastated. It is left as a desert and we need to show woodlot owners that by managing their resource in a proper, sustainable way, they can actually realize more dollars from the value of the resource that they have and end up with a much better woodlot and, in the long run, create more jobs and employment in this province.

I have read studies that indicate that on properly managed woodlands you can create up to four times the jobs than what we are presently doing by just clear-cutting or liquidating the lot. It all starts with planting or replanting seedlings. Seedlings have been scarce in this province the last number of years, especially some of the more valuable species like red spruce and I certainly encourage the government to continue with the nursery program and provide seedlings so that woodlot owners can plant the species that are in demand in this province.

In addition to planting, there is education, sometimes you do not need to replant, but by allowing a number of trees to remain on the lot, natural regeneration will occur and you have a good chance that you do not have to spend any money on buying seedlings, but let nature look after itself. That includes planting to allow seed trees on the property or at least

[Page 4561]

downwind so that seed can blow in on an area that has been cut over. Other parts of good forest management would include cleaning out young trees at a stage where they are really too thick to sustain good growth for any of them. Sometimes on an acre you can get thousands of young seedlings that are all too thick and you need to come in with a good spacing saw and go through the property and clean out a number of the trees, so the number of stems on that acre leaves the optimal number there that they can grow and properly spaced apart so they can continue to grow and produce fibre in this province.

Later on in the lifecycle of the forest, again they get too thick because they have come together, the tops are crowding one another. When they are at an age of 30 or 40 years, you can get what is known as a pre-commercial thinning. At that point you can actually harvest some pulpwood or small logs, fence posts, firewood, whatever, and it allows for some dollars coming back to the woodlot owner, but by cutting out every second stem or every third stem, you are also helping those trees that are left behind because now they are properly spaced and you get better growth and production on the trees that remain.

[10:15 a.m.]

As time goes on and the woodlot matures it is time to look at what harvesting method will be on the woodlot at the end stage. You might have to look at a clear-cut if they are all even aged, especially in the species of trees that don't last as long or have a tendency to blow down, or insect or other damage could occur. These are species such as balsam fir, white spruce and some of the softwood species in particular you might have to consider a clear-cut if they are all the same age.

However, when you have got trees that are of different ages or species or a combination of softwood and hardwood, then it may be time to look at a method of selection harvesting, where you can go in and select some of the trees that are ready, leave the best and take the worst out and you are still getting a commercial use out of the property while leaving a forest behind. You don't end up with a desert but you end up with a woodlot and it can continue to sustain itself and provide income to the woodlot owner for a good number of years.

The other thing I wanted to mention in connection with this bill is that it does provide for some things that are needed so we will know the annual allowable cut. It does provide a means for stewardship agreements although as I mentioned, we have got to continue to work on that to make sure it works for landowners. Right now it is not working.

Overall, this bill is a good first step but we have to continue to try to find a better way to provide silviculture practices that really work in this province. I think everybody wants sustainable forestry, everybody wants to see our woodlands thrive and flourish, everybody wants to see more jobs created in the woodlots. We don't want to see massive hillsides of clear-cut land and we want to see good sustainable lands for the future of this province.

[Page 4562]

As I mentioned, I think there is a good start with this bill but we have to continue to make it better as time goes by. With that, I will sit down as I know there are others who want to speak on this bill. Thank you.

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

MR. BROOKE TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, I, too, would briefly like to speak in support of Bill No. 5. The Progressive Conservative caucus has been very vigilant and active in encouraging the government to come forth with this legislation. We are somewhat concerned regarding the methods, the regulations the minister will be prescribing and standards that he is going to work up relative to a sustainable forest and management practices that will protect the wildlife, water courses, wetlands and of course, all significant resources. We know that there are concerns relative to compliance and methods and standards are clearly going to be under the microscope, if you will, because the government has supported an amendment that we actively pursued. That amendment was that the minister conduct a public review in each county of the province. We commend the government for supporting that amendment.

We feel it is in the government's and Nova Scotia's best interests to go to the people when you are bringing in new regulations. We should remember that at the present moment, I know in the beautiful constituency of Hants West has a lot of forest fibre or at least did have a lot of forest fibre. When this becomes law, I think Nova Scotia and the forestry sector is going to be a better province because of it.

I share concerns that the Forestry Critic and members of the NDP caucus have brought forward regarding sustainable forest management practices. I am not sure if the minister is going to use Voluntary Planning as the facilitator regarding the meetings he is going to hold in the various counties but I trust there will be 18 meetings. Again, it is important that all stakeholders have an opportunity. When the former Minister of Natural Resources, and now Minister of Finance, held meetings regarding the coalition and put together that body, it was a positive step, too. Unfortunately, a number of groups felt that they were left out of the public process. They weren't included, and it is extremely difficult to form these big committees and reach consensus and give everybody an opportunity. This time around, during the Minister of Natural Resource's public review, I think all stakeholders will have an opportunity.

We are pleased the government is going to roll some of these guidelines into regulations. It is a new direction for forestry. It is one of the most valuable industries in Nova Scotia, worth $1.4 billion to the economy, and there is some 25,000 direct and indirect jobs. It is an important industry. I want to, at this point at least, commend the government for coming forward with this legislation. I thank you.

[Page 4563]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Hants East.

MR. JOHN MACDONELL: Mr. Speaker, I want to reiterate some of my comments from yesterday; as a matter of fact, if I can, I will reiterate all of them, and I might even add a few more.

It is important that we have a Forestry Act, and I think, when I hear the comments of the Parties opposite, then I think that they must find it a hard Act to follow, so I am wondering why it is that the honourable member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley agrees with the idea of consultation. Common sense would tell us that, but why is it that if anybody would think that consultation is important, why you don't listen to what you get after the consultation? To me, I think that this report, called the Public Response to: Coalition of Nova Scotia Forest Interests, A Discussion Paper, this included more groups than I think they will ever be able to touch on if they run around this province, but if they can, maybe the list of submissions would be a good one they should start with, if they want to consult with people. I will go through them: ABT Canada Ltd.; . . .

MR. BROOKE TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, a question. I was going to rise on a point of order but since the MLA for Hants East is concerned about the public consultation process, I wonder if the member could tell this House whether or not he supports the minister going to the stakeholders after the regulations are drafted? I wonder if he could tell the House if he supports that amendment that was made to the legislation?

MR. JOHN MACDONELL: I certainly support the minister going to the stakeholders. As a matter of fact, I support the minister going to the stakeholders before the regulations are drafted.

AN HON. MEMBER: What?

MR. JOHN MACDONELL: (Interruptions) To get input, so they can have some regulations . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. The honourable member for Hants East has the floor.

MR. JOHN MACDONELL: Adventure Quest; Baddeck Valley Wood Producers; Canadian Institute of Forestry, N.S. Section; Cape Breton Naturalists Society; Central Wood Suppliers Division; Confederacy of Mainland Micmacs; Conform Limited; East Guysborough Forest Owners Company; EcoLogic & Associates; Ecology Action Centre; Federation of Nova Scotia Naturalists; Forest Insight Limited; Hants Woodlot Owners Association; J. D. Irving Limited; Ecotourism Development Foundation; NS Ecotourism Development Foundation, Wendi Smith; Nova Scotia Landowners and Forest Fibre Producers Assoc.; Nova Scotia Wildlife Federation; Woods Co-op Ltd.

[Page 4564]

Now, these are a few of the people who had input into this document, and if these people really haven't been listened to, then I wonder what we think, going around the province to get input, is going to do for the Forestry Act?

I want to remind the members that forestry was not the primary purpose for Europeans coming to this country. They came here to get pelts, particularly beaver pelts, with no real connection to the fact that the habitat that was here was the reason that the beavers were here. Certainly time has proven with extensive trapping regulations, we know that there is a definite connection between the population of beavers in this province and this country and the habitat that there is to sustain them. We only came to realize that when we started to affect the habitat itself, and that happened with our logging practices.

As I stated yesterday, the original people who started a forestry industry - and it probably at that time wasn't even called that - were those who had portable mills that only went in the woods in Nova Scotia in the wintertime, simply because they didn't have the technology or the gear to allow them to get into the forests in the spring or summer. Now, we still see the remnant of those conditions simply because we close the roads in the spring of the year here; that still tells us that our road system is not designed with our weather conditions to stand the pounding that it will take when the frost is coming out in the spring. So, that is probably the last remnant of staying out of the woods in the summertime or the spring of the year.

Those days are certainly long gone. We have the technology that allows machinery to travel over the ground - almost over a swamp, if you want to say that, but certainly it will travel over soft ground and very seldom will be stuck - so we have been able to access forests that we never could get at previously. Part of the reason we have been able to access those forests has been because of plans of government; in other words, management plans have paid for the pushing of roads into woodlots - in particular Crown lands, as well as private lands - and that has made more and more of that wood accessible.

There has been an argument that the way the old-timers harvested wood in this province was not the best because it was high-grading the forests. Well, they didn't really high-grade it as much as people have criticized them for because there was certainly lots of good forest that was left by them simply because they didn't have the technology to access it or, even if they could access it, they didn't have the technology or the machinery to move some of those large trees and they stayed there.

We have heard mention of stewardship agreements. I mentioned yesterday the fact that in the original grants to landowners in this province, that the trees were indicated on those grants as property, the same as the land. A note I might want to make as to why more companies have not jumped on the stewardship agreement bandwagon, is simply because there is no regulation, as far as I can see - and I don't think I would want to see it - that tells them that if they put money into a private woodlot, that there is any guarantee they will get

[Page 4565]

the wood. So, I think they would be somewhat suspect as to whether they would want to be involved in stewardship agreements. If the government pays part and the mill owner pays part and the landowner pays part of that money, and if there is no guarantee that the mill owner will actually be able to access the wood on that land, then that would certainly inhibit him or her from wanting to spend money on that private lot, considering that the landowner owns the trees.

If they are willing, for the sake of conservation - and that is what this seems to be all about - to spend money on private woodlots with no guarantee that they will have the resource, but they will have an assurance that the resource will continue until the end of time, if they believe this idea of sustainability, then I would say more help to them, if they are willing to do that. But I certainly would not be willing to agree to any idea that because they put money into somebody's private woodlot, that that means they have access to that wood; that still belongs to that landowner.

I know we had some discussion yesterday around the theme of the Ombudsman to protect the small woodlot owner. I am somewhat perplexed at the members of the Third Party who are certainly wanting to have consultation, but yet don't seem to want to ensure that the small woodlot owner is protected in this. It totally boggles my mind, but that wouldn't be the first Act of the Third Party that has done that.

[10:30 a.m.]

The Registry of Buyers, I believe it is a good thing. It gives us some notion of accountability and some number, hopefully, as to how much wood is being cut in this province. Although there are many discussions about philosophy, et cetera, where it is hard to put an empirical value on what you do, but certainly when it comes to tonnage of wood fibre in this province, that is something that you can put a number to. We can very easily figure out how much woodland there is in the province, how much of that woodland has been cut, say in the last 40 years, and how much of that wood is still standing and available. If we can figure how much is being cut every month or every day or every year, and we know how much is left standing, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out how long what we have will last.

That is something that even this Registry of Buyers, which it should do, has not done yet in the sense that we have had legislation in the Primary Forest Products Marketing Act - and the minister I think would be aware of that - for the Registry of Buyers. That was 1989. We are nine years now with legislation on the books that could bring in a Registry of Buyers, and it hasn't happened. I was told there was previous legislation to that back in the 1970's. The fact that we have legislation for a Registry of Buyers in this legislation is no guarantee to me that we ever will have a Registry of Buyers.

[Page 4566]

People may wonder why I seem to be so concerned about small woodlot owners. It is mainly because nobody is speaking for them. (Interruptions) The Minister of Labour is one, yes. I am concerned about them. For 30 years, almost 40 years, somewhere in that range, we have had pulp mills in this province, and those pulp mills came to make a buck. There was no other reason for them wanting to be here. They are business people, they want to make money. For governments looking at creating jobs, it seemed like the best of all possible worlds, except when you give away your resource not to the benefit of all the people in your province. We have had long-term Crown leases and that meant that the mills didn't need to access private woodlots or small woodlots. That legislation was in place in New Brunswick, at least up until recently, where the pulp mills had to get wood from small woodlot owners or private woodlot owners before they could take wood off Crown land.

There certainly has been an interest in Nova Scotia wood fibre. Although we have been told for years that Nova Scotia's wood is not worth as much as anybody else's, red spruce is one of the most valued wood fibres that there is in the world actually. I believe I had a comment, if I can find it. (Interruptions) Time is on my side. We have talked about pricing structure in this province and the fact that why would other provinces be interested in Nova Scotia wood. Well, they are interested because Nova Scotia's wood is cheaper than anybody else's wood.

AN HON. MEMBER: What are the stumpage fees?

MR. JOHN MACDONELL: Well, stumpage fees were $80 to $90 a cord; that is 1996 figures. In Maine, they are $150 to $180 a cord. "Companies in Maine consistently have offered $150-$180/cord for delivered studwood. The highest price in Nova Scotia is $110/cord delivered for wood of a higher quality standard. Groundwood pulpwood is delivered in Maine consistently at $150/cord, . . .", now, you can cut it here and haul it all the way to Maine and pay more for it than you pay for it here, ". . . while the same wood brings $80 to $90/cord delivered in Nova Scotia - that is if the mill will take it at all. Since harvesting costs are close to the same in Maine and Nova Scotia and the mills are competing on the same international commodity market, it must be the landowner, whether private or Crown, that is not getting their fair share.", of the money for their wood. No revelation in that. That has been going on for about 50 years. (Interruption)

Well, I am assuming if you are concerned about what will happen in the future, then you are going to be concerned - speculative value of wood and mills have been going around, or at least their representatives have been going around in my constituency and they certainly have been trying to buy up as much of the woodland as they can get their hands on. That is all the more reason for the Ombudsman, that people have someone who they can access who would be willing to give information on their side. I think that people should be aware actually, and all the members should be aware, that the chance of buying a woodlot for the ordinary Nova Scotian is pretty well non-existent. The value of wood, even at stumpage rates,

[Page 4567]

is practically impossible for someone to go and buy, without financing it and then you nearly have to cut it to pay for it.

I know that there are people not concerned about woodlots but if they are concerned about buying a property in Cape Breton, or anywhere, that they will buy it based on the value of that wood; in other words, buy an old farm, sell the wood to pay for the farm; clear-cut it. The person gets the farm but that does not enhance forestry in this province.

In Hants East in the Stanley area there is what was called the Stanley Woods. I would certainly think the minister would be aware of what the Stanley Woods was. Back 50 years ago, I will say, my numbers might not be right, but even if we say 40 years ago, I think Dr. Creighton was deputy minister at that time. He was the individual responsible for initiation of the Stanley Woods project. What he did there was, roughly 50,000 acres of Crown land, he had a crew on that 50,000 acres and they did silviculture work. What they were doing was spacing the trees, bringing out the trees that they spaced, which would come out as posts or rails, and selling those post and rails on the market.

AN HON. MEMBER: Selective cutting.

MR. JOHN MACDONELL: Selective cutting, preparing for the future, room for them to grow. The only problem with this is not enough insight; even though he had insight into the future, when the future came, the people responsible did not have any insight even though they had 20-20 vision because they already existed in the future. What has happened to the Stanley project is that large companies have gotten in there. Most of that 50,000 acres has been harvested. The stumpage fees they got were cheaper than other contractors could get. In other words, if we consider $60 a ton would be the stumpage fee for the ordinary contractor in Nova Scotia to buy stumpage, or bid on stumpage, and with that price they would have to build the roads but in Stanley the roads were already there and the stumpage fees were around $50. So the companies got a real bargain for getting into that woodlot and the crew of men that they had at Stanley working in that woodlot was available all the time as a firefighting crew.

The Stanley Woods project was the only project that the Department of Lands and Forests at that time had that made money. Now, if you can have a government department that makes any money at all anywhere, that should be something worth looking at. That leads me to my statement of yesterday, that the honourable Minister of Labour was questioning me on, regarding a separate Department of Forestry or, if we want to say, Lands and Forests. It is obvious that in the past the Department of Lands and Forests certainly did the job or tried to do the job regarding forestry, looking to the future of sustainability, and I don't necessarily see that anymore today.

[Page 4568]

Silviculture programs had no infusion of funds in the last few years, they basically had their money removed in the last few years. Three million dollars for the province as a whole, yet Stora received $2 million this year for silviculture programs. So the question would be, why doesn't the rest of the province receive more money if the province is interested in silviculture? When we talk about empirical evidence, the evidence is there that spacing trees allows them to grow faster simply because you reduce competition.

AN HON. MEMBER: They have been doing that in Scandinavia for years haven't they?

MR. JOHN MACDONELL: For years. Certainly, in Scandinavia, they have been forced to do it simply because they have done what we hope we will never do, they have gotten rid of their forests; in other words, they totally destroyed their forests. People here don't realize that Nova Scotia has something similar to a rain forest. Our amount of rainfall every year is significant and that rainfall, in a long way, goes to why we can regenerate a forest so quickly, and we can help that regeneration along.

Rapid growth in trees should have a nice ring to it, and it certainly does. If you cut a tree open there are two rings on the inside of a tree. Some people say there must be more than two if it is going to grow; there is a ring every year. Actually, there are two rings every year: there is a wide white ring which shows the rapid growth from about May to the end of July; and then there is a very dark line which is condensed cell growth, which is the slower growth before the tree finishes its growth for the year. Most people are not aware, certainly when it comes to softwood trees, that the growth for those trees is done usually by about the first of August, maybe the middle of August and, as soon as you see the buds forming on the end of the limbs, you know that is the bud for next year and the tree has stopped growing.

Yesterday I talked about some of the early markets that foresters sought to sell products out of the woods of Nova Scotia. Spars was one and we all know, from any pictures we have seen about sailing ships, what the size of the spar on a ship would have to be . . .

AN HON. MEMBER: Or look at an old house.

MR. JOHN MACDONELL: Or look at an old house, right. If you tear off the shingles in some old homes you will find that there are boards 30 inches wide in some of those homes. Well I think you would be hard-pressed to find timber in this province anymore where you could cut boards out of them. Once upon a time spars were many, but now they are sparse.

There was a comment made by the honourable member for Lunenburg, when there was a resolution read today regarding aboriginal logging. What we have never stopped to consider is, when it comes to logging by the aboriginal people in this province, we certainly have had no problem giving away this resource to people who are not even from Nova Scotia, so why is it that some small part of that resource can't be set aside for the aboriginal people in this province? Certainly, there is no reason that anybody can justify why the Mi'kmaq people here

[Page 4569]

in Nova Scotia cannot have some part of the Crown lands to make a living on, because we have given it away to everybody else and allowed them to do it. We don't have an awful lot here to show for that. I want to read a bit from the public response.

[10:45 a.m.]

MR. JOHN LEEFE: Mr. Speaker, I have a question. I have been listening attentively to what he was saying, and I noticed that he said, they "have given it away to everybody else." I wonder if he could help me understand who everybody else is.

MR. MACDONELL: For the most part, foreign companies, for sure, and even some domestic companies. Can I give you some names? Kimberly-Clark, Stora, that would be two. Certainly MacTara, Bowater.

MR. LEEFE: Would the honourable member be surprised to know that in the 70 years that Bowater-Mersey Paper Company Limited has been operating in Nova Scotia that they have never cut on Crown land, never had a Crown license or . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. Is this a rebuttal or is this . . .

MR. LEEFE: I am asking if he would be surprised at that.

MR. MACDONELL: I would be surprised and I thank the honourable member for his information and, as a matter of fact, if there are any other points I have made through this discussion, if anybody wants to add information that would enlighten me, I would be more than happy to hear it, because I think that information would be helpful to all Nova Scotians. Since I have not gotten a whole lot of other information from any other members, I am assuming that most of what I have said so far is pretty close to accurate. Thank you.

I would like to read some comments on integrated resource use from the Public Response to the Coalition of Nova Scotia Forest Interests. "It is recommended that as to use of forests on private land, a survey should be made of forest lands in Nova Scotia. Then these lands could be identified and zoned at the municipal level as forest lands, and left as natural forest forever. . . . It is recommended that there be a no net loss policy for the forest habitat.". We certainly have had some discussion in this House on the Wilderness Act and, certainly, there would be a place to think about incorporating the fact that somewhere close to 12 per cent of the province's lands could be set aside for natural forests. "Criticism was launched against the treatment of the forest as a pure economic commodity. The exploitation of the forest for profit is a crime against nature and humanity. It is a crime that there is less than 1% old-growth forest. The forest provides clean air and water. It prevents floods. The benefits of the forest are far beyond current scientific knowledge. It is recommended that a scientific analysis of Nova Scotia's forests be undertaken, starting with the Acadian Forest.

[Page 4570]

It was noted that the silviculture practice of spraying to kill some species to make way for softwood actually kills a mixed forest to promote one species. In addition to killing high quality species, mono-cultural forests are more susceptible to infestation of insects and disease. There is also danger of fires when large areas are cut and the debris burned. The diversity of the forests and high-quality, unique species such as red spruce should be protected. . . . Silviculture has been controlled by the pulp mills. It has not been used as a management device for bio-diversity, it has been used as a device to ensure wood supply. The original intent of silviculture has not been achieved. It was suggested that the money was wasted and the program should be discontinued.".

You certainly have to realize that when we are talking about forests, it has to meet the needs of everybody. In other words, forests, particularly if we are talking about Crown lands, are forests that belong to all Nova Scotians. Whether you are a lumberman or own a pulp mill or work cutting or driving a feller buncher, that does not mean that that forest exists purely for your needs. It exists for people who are concerned about nature, photographers, recreationists, et cetera.

Because of the fact that clear-cuts are difficult to regenerate - and when I say that, I mean it takes so long to regenerate a clear-cut - basically, we are talking about 100 years to grow a forest, that is the standard that lumbermen have gone with for years and years, what we seem to be heading toward is the notion that small trees are better than large trees. Now, why anybody would think that, because it is obvious that in the case of volume, you get more wood out of a larger tree, than a smaller tree and there is a certain point that trees will gain wood much more quickly beyond a certain age; as a matter of fact, we tend to cut trees when they are just starting to grow quickly and can make the most wood fibre in the shortest period of time. We take them before that period.

Scientists have gone into stands of timber - small thickets, if you want to say that - and they have analysed where the biggest trees were in these stands of thicket. They looked around and they found that if the trees were roughly three inches in diameter, every so far they would find there were trees maybe six or seven inches. They measured the distance between the larger trees and figured that, with competition, these trees were out-competing the others and, because of that competition, they were getting the greatest amount of sunlight, et cetera, and therefore they were going to be the bigger trees.

They have used this same knowledge to determine, when they are setting plantations, how far apart to space the trees. Data has shown that the trees that are at the six foot spacing have the maximum yield in biomass or, in other words, produce more wood fibre on an acre than trees that are at four feet or at eight feet. At four-foot spacings, it is obvious that you would get twice as many trees on an acre than you would at eight feet - obviously - but not necessarily as big because they are more crowded.

AN HON. MEMBER: And they don't grow as fast.

[Page 4571]

MR. JOHN MACDONELL: They don't grow as fast. At eight feet, the trees will certainly grow fast, but you don't make up for the loss in volume of wood because of the reduction in the number of stems on the acre. All of these things have to be considered if you are talking about silviculture practices.

The forest is not made up of wood fibre alone. It is made up of the interaction between organisms. This is something, actually, that the Swedes have realized long ago, simply because they destroyed their own forests.

We have a habit now, in this province, of either chipping or hauling the trees right out to the landing; in other words, we don't de-limb them in the woods anymore. We take them right out to the landing and everything comes off at the landing. Well, that may speed up the profit motive, but it does nothing for the forest; in other words, there is no biomass being left to decompose, to add nutrient to the soil so that other trees can grow.

The Swedes have found that you can only do this for three generations. After that, you don't get growth on your trees. So what they are saying is, if you are talking about plantations - which is what silviculture basically is doing - you have to leave biomass in the woods so that there is something to provide nutrient for the next generation of trees.

Most people don't realize that when a seedling starts to grow it doesn't start to grow in the soil; it starts to grow in the duff layer above the soil. In some cases, it starts to grow purely in the moss. Christmas tree growers have known this for years because they make what are called Nisula rolls. They will go and they will pull small Balsam Fir seedlings out, lay moss on a sheet of plastic, lay those seedlings down in that moss, roll up the roll of plastic and then keep those seedlings for a short time until they plant them.

What they found is, those seedlings are pulled directly out of the moss. They are not rooted in the mineral soils at all.

If we don't sustain some forest floor, and especially in the case of clear-cuts, when you go in and clear-cut you do two things. One is, you shock the little trees that are already there, that have already started, so more than likely most of them will not survive. The other thing is, you have allowed for the moss layer that is there to burn up. In July and August in Nova Scotia, that dries out completely and you won't get any seedlings to germinate in that layer. You have to go in and plant, where otherwise you probably would have greater regeneration. By leaving some cover, some canopy over that moss, you have a better chance of regenerating a forest than if you clear-cut the forest completely.

Everybody has their own agenda when it comes to the forest, and certainly because of pressure by the public, we tend to see some movement toward more sustainable practices. Certainly, it is in the best interests of the mills, et cetera, to show the public that they are doing things that the public would deem to be desirable in forest practices, like planting trees.

[Page 4572]

We have to be aware that the forests in Nova Scotia were not a monoculture, forests in Nova Scotia were a mixture in some cases, and it depends on the stand. One of the best mixed forests I have ever seen was in Carrolls Corner, which would be in the riding of the member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley. It is noted by the department as one of the best mixed stands that there is in this province.

Not all stands of forest in Nova Scotia are the same. Some are mixed, some are clear monocultures and some may be only of two species. That doesn't mean that it is right to go in and plant red spruce all over the province because it makes good fibre for pulp mills. The forests in Nova Scotia never evolved that way, and therefore the species of organisms that live in that forest will not survive that way. Because you may see a deer or a partridge or a rabbit in the forest - as a matter of fact, you might see one after a clear-cut - does not mean that clear-cutting is the best thing for the forest.

There are organisms that live in the canopy of the forest, and because we never notice those on our daily walks through the forest, that doesn't mean they don't exist. They live in various layers, down through the length of the tree from the top to the ground. If anybody has ever noticed a red-breasted nuthatch in the forest in the summer or the winter, it lives on the side of a tree and picks insects. Therefore, cutting those trees and leaving bare ground does not do anything for that species.

I still have a few more points that I want to make. In my earlier days - and I know I am not that old - some of my first experiences in the woods, because I was too small to cut trees, were to help my father and I drove a yard horse. Certainly driving a yard horse for 8 or 10 hours a day gives you a certain perspective on the world. I am not sure why the members opposite remind me of that, but they do. (Laughter)

What I would like members to think about is that the forest that we talk about is not just theirs, and they are elected to represent their constituents. I find it hard to believe that these members of this House have not heard from people in their own ridings that they have a concern about the forests. They see the loads of logs going down the road, and there are people that I know of who have had no experience or exposure in the woods; in other words, they are not connected to the forestry industry at all. They have a house on a road, in the country, and they are concerned about the number of trees that they see going by their yard. It concerns them. Even though they are not going to seek out these clear-cuts, they know they are happening. In Elmsdale, I was told that if I stand on that corner, on one day there will be 100 truckloads of logs going through that intersection. That is one intersection, in one location in Nova Scotia.

The question is, how long can we keep that up and does anybody care? Well, certainly I am assuming from all the other honourable members in the House that they are concerned about this. I would wonder why greater action hasn't been taken on the part of the government, especially when it comes to the Primary Forest Products Marketing Act. Even

[Page 4573]

the stakeholders in the industry feel that this is a good piece of legislation which, as far as I know, most of it has never been implemented. I have a fear that the Forests Act will go down that same road. I encourage the Minister of Natural Resources to assure this House that he will see that certainly, with regard to the Registry of Buyers and the Forest Enhancement Commissioner, if he was to put him in place there is a real role for that individual to play. I thank the members for their time. (Applause)

[11:00 a.m.]

MR. SPEAKER; The honourable member for Pictou East.

MR. JAMES DEWOLFE: Mr. Speaker, I am certainly delighted to stand in support of the Forests Act. The forest industry is a very important industry in Pictou County. We have many small woodlot owners that support their families and support their communities from this industry. We also have a very large pulp and paper mill in the area.

It is obvious that the Party to my right does not hold the interests of the small woodlot owners in a very high regard and Hansard will reflect this for future reference. This sentiment is not playing well in my community I can tell you. We have had a lot of people coming to us and speaking with us, a lot of forest industry people, small woodlot owners have contacted me. They are very concerned that too much control may go to the large forestry resource-based industries.

The big problem in my area is the lower grade woods and what to do with them. The large industry in my area will buy wood chips only from the sawmills. The number two wood is a problem and we have to address this concern. Stora Forest Industries also plays an important role in Pictou County, they are a major player and Stora was the purchaser of a lot of this wood in the past but that will be tapering off as they move into their new process.

I can't say too much about the regulations because I have said it over and over again that regulations are important but I am worried about the enforcement of them. The small woodlot owners are very concerned that they need more transparency in the Act and more trust. I think it is important that these meetings are going to be held in every county in this province. I am totally delighted that that amendment has been passed that will allow this process to begin so the small woodlot owners will have a voice.

In my previous life I had the opportunity to travel the province extensively by air. You have to fly this province to fully understand the over-cutting that is taking place. The sad reality, Mr. Speaker, is that the over-cutting is devastating to this province and this industry. Some areas are in the vicinity of 160 per cent over-cutting. This is totally unacceptable.

[Page 4574]

It is up to us as legislators to put a stop to this. This bill is a good start to that. It is a beginning and we have to ensure that we continue this process and through these meetings we will do that.

MR. SPEAKER: Would the honourable member for Pictou East accept a question?

MR DEWOLFE: Mr. Speaker, I think not because I am not here to delay debate on this important bill. I am here to see this proceed to a proper end. (Applause)

MR. JERRY PYE: And you cannot take a question.

MR. DEWOLFE: I think it is really important that we do so.

MR. PYE: Mr. Speaker, he cannot take a question.

MR. DEWOLFE: Mr. Speaker, this is not a place to . . .

MR. PYE: It is the right place. It is the only place.

MR. DEWOLFE: . . . play politics with people's livelihood and that is what this Party is doing over there. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

MR. DEWOLFE: But people in Pictou County depend on me and the legislators in here to do the right thing on their behalf.

AN HON. MEMBER: That is right. That is why you should answer the question. Answer the question.

MR. DEWOLFE: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to see this bill move forward. Thank you very much. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: I would ask our honourable visitors to the gallery that they are not to engage in applause or displeasure with what goes on on the floor of the House. They are there to observe only.

The honourable Leader of the Opposition.

MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, I have some pleasure being able to stand and talk for a few moments about the Forests Act. It is an important Act to the Province of Nova Scotia. As other members have described, it is the first step toward trying to get a handle on how we are managing forestry resources in the Province of Nova Scotia. I have

[Page 4575]

travelled the length and breadth of this province and heard from many people their concerns over the last number of years about the number of truckloads of logs that travel by their houses, or that travel out of the woods near their homes, and nobody knows where they are going. Nobody knows how many are going. We do not have a clear handle on exactly what is happening in the forests of this province.

I commend the Minister of Natural Resources for being able to finally shepherd a bill to begin to address that problem through the Legislature in this session. As has been indicated by members certainly of the Official Opposition, applaud this bill and with some reservations, of course, not everything is going to be perfect and we would like it to go a little further in this area or that area, but overall I think it has clearly been stated that we appreciate this as a step forward.

Mr. Speaker, I think it is fair to say that we have seen over the past number of days how important it is that we have a good handle on forestry management when we look at the questions, the battle that seems to be brewing between the aboriginal loggers and the Crown. Part of the rhetoric that has been going on here, unfortunately, has to do with things like, you know, one law for everyone; things like, you know, they are devastating special areas of forests; whether they are using the resource for themselves or for their communities. Some fairly erroneous claims have been made and I think it is a matter of some considerable concern.

I know for a fact that the Mi'kmaq Fish and Wildlife Commission has been working along with the native harvesters' organization to do the very thing that we are trying to do here, which is establish a proper management plan to ensure that their activities in the woods are responsible, fit in with the government's own integrated forest management program. They have asked, repeatedly, I understand, of the minister's department and those responsible for the comprehensive maps that exist in the department so that they know where those . . .

HON. KENNETH MACASKILL: They have them.

MR. CHISHOLM: Well, they didn't have them as of last night. The Minister of Natural Resources said that they have them. Well, I tell him that I met with the leadership of the Fish and Wildlife Commission last night and they said they didn't have them. If they do have them today, if they have been delivered, great. They want them so that they know when they are in the woods where the sensitive areas are and they want to know what the plan is of the province and the Department of Natural Resources so that they can abide by that. They have made that clear in their discussions with the officials of the minister's department.

Nova Scotia is unique, certainly in the Maritimes, in the level of organization and coordination in the aboriginal community. The fact that we have the Fish and Wildlife Commission here, that monitors and regulates hunting and fishing and forestry work, is

[Page 4576]

unprecedented. I think we need to make sure that we utilize that commission to a great degree. In this area (Interruptions) Sure.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Argyle.

MR. NEIL LEBLANC: I just want to bring to the members' attention in the west gallery, Cindy Baker, the wife of the esteemed member for Lunenburg and his two sons, Matthew and Daniel. I would ask them to rise and receive the warm approbation of the House. (Applause)

MR. CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, this is a very significant issue. When people throw around the phrase that, you know, one law applies to all, they clearly don't understand that what we have is a situation where the law, as it applies to aboriginal people on Crown lands, is not clear. It has been the subject of Supreme Court actions and Supreme Court decisions which time and time again indicate just how - it is not just a question of just how unclear it is, but the fact that there is some real substance to the whole question of the rights of aboriginal people to harvest on Crown lands. The same thing goes with fishing and wildlife.

Canada has an obligation to protect the exercise of traditional aboriginal activities on Crown land. That is something that has been noted through the Constitution of 1982. The rights of aboriginal peoples in this country was recognized in the Constitution.

In the now often cited and, I think, the Supreme Court decision that needs to be paid some attention to, the Delgamuukw decision, Mr. Speaker, (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

MR. CHISHOLM: There is some increasing evidence that not only should we not ignore - or we do so at our peril - but there is some real danger in heading down this road and letting the courts make all the decisions, that you set up a win-lose situation. We may be in a situation to lose, or I should say, the Crown, if they set up that dynamic, they may get more than they bargain for.

With respect to the forestry, Mr. Speaker, I think that we have to pay attention to a lot of the work that has already been done.

There was a Volume II of the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples that dealt with natural resources and said some very clear things on the whole question of forests that we should be paying attention to in this whole discussion of how we manage the forests in the Province of Nova Scotia, which is the basis of our debate here. They said - and I think we have heard other speakers say this - that natural resource regulation regimes have historically favoured the maximization of production, which is a major reason that aboriginal peoples were excluded from so many resource sectors.

[Page 4577]

[11:15 a.m.]

The point is, we have been talking about it here, that we have to get control over how the forests are harvested, how they are harvested and by whom they are harvested and for what purpose. Work in the forests in this province, work as a result of activities in the forest, are extremely important to the economy of this province. Nobody can deny that, but what is recognized in this bill is that we have to make sure that this resource is managed in a way that is sustainable for many generations, that we manage it in a way that is going to continue to provide that economic activity and that economic return to our communities, to our families, in this province.

Some people have suggested that with so much of our forest being designated for the pulp and paper companies, that that is turning our forests into, maybe not a monoculture forest, but very close to it, and that given what is happening in the global economy, that may create some real dangers in that if one of the big companies producing in Nova Scotia can get their fibre somewhere else in the world at $8.00 and $9.00 a cord as opposed to $20 and $24 a cord, then what do you think is going to happen? What will that mean for all those people who depend on that activity now in order to put food on their tables? That is something that has to be considered.

The Minister of Natural Resources has said again, today in fact, with respect to the aboriginal logging, that 12,000 to 15,000 cords of wood have been taken over the past year by native loggers and that represents maybe not quite a full day that one of the big companies would be logging off the lands in this province. You have to ask yourself, when you consider the legal implications and the ambiguity of that whole question of aboriginal rights and title to harvest on Crown lands and the whole economic implication that access has on those communities, together with how much harvesting is actually happening as a small percentage of the overall harvesting in this province, why are we going down this road? Why are we setting up this situation, this confrontational situation which, potentially, may jeopardize the commercial harvesting, may jeopardize the natural gas project, may jeopardize relations that have been built up over the years in the Province of Nova Scotia and need to be followed. I do not understand it.

I referred earlier in this House to an editorial from the Truro Daily News which said that, my goodness, these loggers, these people are trying to provide food for their families. They are trying to make sure that they can put shoes on the feet of their children. I have talked to some of them who have said, how are we supposed to provide for our families for Christmas if we do not have access to what they believe is their right to harvest. Again, given the size of the harvest, I have to continue to ask myself why we are going down this road, especially in light of the arguments that have been made from all sides of this House about what is actually happening with harvesting in the Province of Nova Scotia. The clear-cutting, the devastation, the waste that is happening not by aboriginal loggers but by those big mechanical foresters.

[Page 4578]

HON. KENNETH MACASKILL: A question for the honourable member, Mr. Speaker. I want to thank the honourable member for allowing my question. As the Leader of the Opposition well knows, 70 per cent of our land or better is privately owned and there are many contractors out there who are buying stumpage of private lands and making dollars harvesting that. Don't the Native community have that same opportunity, to purchase stumpage off private lands and make money or a good living at it?

MR. CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, I don't know what that has to do with the issue at hand which is harvesting on Crown land, I mean that is the issue. I appreciate what the minister is saying and yes, certainly, that option is there and it is taken advantage of from time to time. The question here is access to Crown lands and the right to harvest trees on Crown lands. That is the question that is going to be decided by the courts, if need be.

I think what we have heard from the Mi'kmaq chiefs in this province is, you can't ignore legal decisions that have been made by the Supreme Court in this country. You can't ignore the $12 million Royal Commission Report and what it had to say on the whole question of access to natural resources. You can't ignore the fact that for the aboriginal community in this province and in this country to be able to survive and to prosper they need opportunities to generate economic activity. If they don't have access to what they believe are traditional rights to harvest on Crown lands, they are going to continue to assert that.

The point that I am trying to make here is that if you consider the ambiguity of that legal question and I hope the minister recognizes that that is not a clear issue, you cannot say nobody who has even rubbed up against this issue with any sense of responsibility can say that it is a question of one law applies to all in this case. The law, as it applies to the aboriginal community is not clear-cut, it is not well-defined and is the matter of some considerable discussion and some considerable debate within the country. There have been Supreme Court decisions which have suggested that there is a lot more to that whole question of aboriginal rights and titles than many of our jurisdictions are acknowledging.

MR. SPEAKER: I think we are straying a little bit far from Bill No. 5, however, I realize where the honourable Leader of the Opposition is coming from. I would ask him to stray back now to the bill, itself.

MR. CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, thank you, I will. What I am trying to do is wrap this around the principle of this bill which is trying to get a handle on the whole question of sustainable forest management. This is a part of the equation that needs to be addressed, I believe. In fact, I would suggest to you and I will say it here in this House today, that if we don't deal with that confrontation that is brewing between the aboriginal loggers, the aboriginal community and the Crown on this question, that is may affect the very operation and effectiveness of this very piece of legislation. It may also, likewise, affect commercial logging operations in this whole province. I think that if the minister or any members of

[Page 4579]

government think that that is whimsical, that it is just merely rhetoric, then they better think again because this is very serious stuff.

In other jurisdictions, in British Columbia, in Ontario, there have been injunctions sought and won which have stopped commercial operations.

MR. CHARLES MACDONALD: The NDP Government you know . . .

MR. CHISHOLM: The member for Inverness once again is showing that he doesn't understand this issue either, but he should pay attention because in his constituency there is a lot of logging going on. This is a threat; this controversy is a threat to those operations and to people in his constituency trying to earn a living from this issue.

Mr. Speaker, I had another point that I wanted to make on this, which I think I did. Anyway, let me look here, I think that pretty covers it. I wanted to make the point that when you are talking about the forests and sustainable management of the forests in this province, you cannot ignore the aboriginal title question. If you do, you do so at your peril. You also do so at great threat and, I believe, injustice to those native loggers who are trying to earn a living, and those native communities that are trying to generate some economic self-sufficiency of which paternalistic governments in this country have continued to say they need to do and, when they try to do it, too often governments stand up and try to put all kinds of barriers in their way.

There is a better way to deal with this. I hope and I beg the Minister of Natural Resources to consider those options, to consider the severity and the dynamics of this situation, and allow us to make sure that we develop some sense of stability in the operations in the forests, and that we also recognize the rights of aboriginals in the Province of Nova Scotia to earn a living and to have access to Crown lands. That is the only way we are going to be able to move forward on our plans for sustainable forest management. Thank you.

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

MR. JOHN HOLM: Mr. Speaker, I don't intend to speak for a great length of time on this legislation, but I think that it is important that members of this House express their opinions with regard to an important piece of legislation such as this because, in reality, even though the community that I represent is not a rural community, even though the community that I represent does not have forestry going on within it, many people who live in my community actually do work in industry that is related to it. I am thinking of a couple of lumber mills where the product that is harvested from our forests is actually converted into product, into materials that are then going to be used; you might say that it is sort of a secondary processing of our forest product.

[Page 4580]

The main reason why I think that it is important to stand and say a few words is that those who live in rural Nova Scotia have to also recognize that we, who do not live in the rural communities, appreciate and understand the importance of protecting and preserving our forests. All those who are far more knowledgeable than I am, recognize the fact that we are really the keepers of our forests and our ecosystems and our environment for those who are going to come after us. I have been a member of this House now for 14 years, and over those 14 years the whole issue of sustainability has been discussed on many, many occasions.

This particular piece of legislation which we will undoubtedly be moving through this House some time during the day today, Mr. Speaker, has actually been a piece of legislation that has been in the works for many years. This piece of legislation was, in fact, ready and could have been passed before the last provincial election took place. I am sure that had this legislation been passed, and I am sure with all-Party support prior to the last election, it would have been one of those promises the government of the day actually could have run on in saying, look, see, we actually do care and we have kept our commitment in this area.

[11:30 a.m.]

It was and it is, I know from a few members of this House speaking earlier today, this is a crucial issue and they are accusing members of our caucus, for example, of delaying things and playing politics by doing, I guess, as undemocratic a thing as standing up and expressing our opinions in support of this bill. I guess somehow we are being undemocratic in speaking for a few minutes on the legislation.

I do not happen to buy that argument, Mr. Speaker, especially given the fact that this legislation was ready and could have been passed in this House by a Liberal Government with the support of all members of the Opposition Parties some considerable time ago.

Mr. Speaker, as I said when I started off, my comments are not going to be extremely long but there are some very important provisions in this legislation that I just want to indicate my support for and that is that we do need to know, we do need to be registering those who are buying our forest products. When one takes a look at what many other countries are doing, countries which are much smaller than Canada, and you see how they have for many years been able to manage their forests in a sustainable way, and I know that my colleague, the honourable member for Hants East, spoke extremely eloquently on this topic a little while ago. Somebody in the members' lounge, I will not repeat the private conversation, but a member from another Party was listening to what he was saying and said that this member obviously has some first-hand experience. He knows what he is talking about and it was very evident that, indeed, he does. Also, coming from a rural community, he recognizes and understands the importance of not only maintaining what we have but actually enhancing our forests so that they are going to be sustainable for the benefit of Nova Scotians for generations to come.

[Page 4581]

The Minister of Natural Resources has to know that and the Minister of Natural Resources has to know that we have not been doing a particularly good job in the way in which we have managed our resources. Countries, as I was saying earlier, which are much smaller than ours, that have been managing their forests for many years, actually have and are able to produce far more fibre on an acre basis than we are in this province because of the way that they have been managing them. They manage them and they are cutting in a manner which is going to be sustainable, meaning that they are only harvesting that amount of fibre that can actually be replaced in the amount of time that it would be taking to make its way through that process.

Mr. Speaker, it is extremely important that we sustain our forests and we sustain them in the kind of mix that is native to this province. We know and we have seen, and I can remember back in the 1980's speaking on this very matter on the floor of this House when there was a different government. In fact, it was at that time the Liberal auxiliary team, that was then the government of the day - the Progressive Conservatives - again were talking about the need to be having (Interruptions) I woke them up, Mr. Speaker. They knew who I was talking about.

The point that I am trying to get at is that we have for many years several governments of both of the right wing stripes, have had the opportunities over years to develop a policy of sustainability that would be for the benefit of rural Nova Scotia. We also have to recognize that if rural Nova Scotia, their economy is weak, that that weakens the entire economy of the province. What happens in rural Nova Scotia does affect what happens in metro. It does affect what happens in the towns and in the cities across this province, because if we are weakening our economic base, we all know, then, as a province we are, in effect, weakening the economy of the entire province.

The allowable cut or the amount of fibre that has been being cut in our forests, and it depends from time to time - some years the cut is much higher than others, we know, certainly, that we have not been having a managed cut. We have not been keeping accurate records on the number of cubic metres of fibre that are being cut across this province. We have all seen and we have heard about not only the fibre that is being cut and being used by the mills and the sawmills within this province, but we also know that tremendous amounts of our fibre are being trucked out of this province or shipped out of this province by boat. I can remember being in the Minister of Finance's riding a couple of years ago and looking down at Bridgewater and seeing the logs just stacked down beside the river where they were waiting to be loaded on board barges for export.

When we are exporting our fibre by the over-cutting of our forest in an unsustainable way, what we are also exporting, as I am sure the Minister of Economic Development would appreciate, we are actually exporting jobs of the future. We are exporting our product so we will not be able to have employment in our forest industry in the future and also in the secondary processing within this province. We are doing a major disservice to future

[Page 4582]

generations if we do not finally get a handle on what we are doing. I know that those who are educators across this province, and there is a gentleman in the gallery who is an educator in the province right now, and I am sure he is, as other educators are, very concerned that the students who are before them in their classrooms today will be able to find employment and be able to live in their communities where they have grown up, where they feel at home, which is home to them. If we continue to undercut the underpinnings of our rural communities by destroying the economic base there, that makes it far more difficult for families who wish to remain in the rural parts of our province to be able to stay there.

We have seen what has happened in the fishing industry. We have seen many coastal communities decimated as a result of the overharvesting of our resources in the sea. We have seen what has happened to the codfish and other groundfish types of species. We have seen the negative impact because there was not proper management of that resources. It was not as if there were not warning signs about what the problems were and what the consequences would be. We have those same warning signals with regard to our forest industry. We have waited far too long to bring in proper programs that would register not only the owners, but actually keep a proper recording of the amount of fibre that is harvested.

This bill, of course, does provide what some would consider to be fairly hefty penalties for failing to comply with it. Of course, those penalties will only be applied if, in fact, the offence is actually discovered. If, in fact, there are going to be (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. The honourable member for Sackville-Cobequid has the floor.

MR. HOLM: I am pleased to see, Mr. Speaker, that I have got the attention, and I know that the Minister of Economic Development would agree with my point that it is extremely important to be protecting the forests so that we will be having (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

MR. HOLM: I think he is having a bad day but I won't comment on the Minister of Economic Development's bad day. (Interruptions) However, I am sure, bad day or not, he would agree and recognize the importance that a government has of being the steward to ensure that the resources that we have that are for the benefit of all are going to be managed in a way that will ensure that they are there to create employment in Nova Scotia. We are not just concerned about creating employment in Greece, for example, where the SOEP partners who are building the natural gas line to Cape Breton purchased their pipe.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. We are straying . . .

[Page 4583]

MR. HOLM: Mr. Speaker, my point is on the principle, we are not just interested in trying to export our resources so that the secondary processing, as has been done with gypsum, is being done in other provinces. We want to have a strong economy here.

We have seen what happened with our fishing industry. We have seen what is going on with our forest industry and the lack of proper management. Those who fly across this province and those who would be flying across the province, particular at a low elevation, will see the large patches, areas of this province that have been clear-cut and where there hasn't been the proper maintenance and sustainability programs.

I am sure that members like the member for Inverness who has many residents within his community who would be depending upon the forest industry for all or a significant part of their livelihood, not only for themselves but for their families and communities, that he too, I am sure, would want to be able to take his place and to speak, if he is allowed, in support of this legislation for his communities that are going to be affected by it. I am sure that he and other members on the government benches, I hope, recognize the importance of this legislation for the way of life in their communities. I hope that they too will be permitted by the Leaders in their Parties to be able to actually stand up and speak in support of the bill because it is extremely important.

I say to the Minister of Natural Resources, whether it be the current minister or ministers who will be coming after him, we have had this legislation taking several years, I think it is about three, maybe even four years in the making. We cannot wait that long to have all of the regulations that are going to be required to go with this legislation also brought into effect. Maybe the Minister of Natural Resources can tell us where we sit on the regulations, if they are already prepared or not. Hopefully, they are and maybe the Minister of Natural Resources - maybe they are already available, maybe they have been made public and I haven't seen them, that is a possibility, but if they are and I haven't seen them maybe the Minister of Natural Resources - can make those available to us. I hope they are.

Certainly, this legislation or much of the effectiveness of this legislation is going to depend upon the regulations actually being brought forward and being implemented. That is very important. We have to get a handle on the amount of our fibre that is being cut. We have to ensure that we are going to be sustaining our forests in a manner which is going to have the diversity of species to ensure that our forests stay healthy.

Those who are again far more knowledgeable than I will point out that if you have clear-cut your forests so that all of your stands are of the same age and of the same species, those particular stands are far more susceptible to diseases and to infestations of certain insects that can create so much havoc. If you have a natural forest which has different aged stands, young, medium and older trees among them and have a diversity of species, those forests tend to be far more healthy and far less prone to the devastation, the widespread attacks by insects and diseases.

[Page 4584]

[11:45 a.m.]

We have to manage our forests in a way that those who are coming after us, those who depend upon those forests for their current and future livelihoods, will know that we are actually looking out for their interests and that we aren't just going to be putting the financial gains for a few ahead of the long-term economic benefits for the majority, for the foreseeable future. Our rural communities depend upon us recognizing the importance of those underpinnings of their economic well-being in this House, in this urban setting, and making sure that we have in place the programs to protect those.

With those few words, I want to indicate that I look forward to, on the official record, being able to indicate my support for this legislation on third reading.

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

DR. JOHN HAMM: Mr. Speaker, I welcome the opportunity to make a few brief comments on third reading on the Forests Act. My constituency does not have a forest. I am one of those members, perhaps not unlike some of the metro members, whose constituency is entirely urban. On the other hand, I have been approached by ever so many Nova Scotians, concerned about what they see happening to our forest industry, urging me, as they have been urging each and every member of this House, to take a responsible stand to preserve the industry and the ambience that is present in our forests, so that it will be there for a long time to come.

I believe that this is a very, very important first step that we are taking here in this place by providing a legislative focus for good forest management in this province. This bill says a lot about forest management. It is not the complete answer, but I believe it is a good first step, and I am very pleased when I hear members of all three Parties indicating that they will be supporting this bill.

One of the misconceptions is that those who are involved in the forest industry somehow are not concerned. If you talk to members of the forest industry, whether they be woodlot owners, whether they be department officials who are responsible for Crown land, whether it be the contractors, or whether it be the large producers - either producers of lumber or producers of pulp - they all have a vested interest and a real concern. The difficulty has been taking all of these diverse vested interests and bringing it all together so that we can have something with which we all agree, and something with which all of those vested interests can work with.

It was interesting that I had a recent meeting with representatives of the industry, and they were making the point that here in Nova Scotia, because of our climate and soil conditions, we can grow wood fibre faster than practically any other place in the world, in terms of good wood fibre.

[Page 4585]

MR. JOHN HOLM: Not down in the . . .

DR. HAMM: The member for Sackville-Cobequid is making the point that down south they can grow wood fibre very quickly, but I am talking about good quality wood fibre.

I had an interesting conversation that I believe affected my thinking. I was talking to a number of independent contractors - and sometimes the independent contractors, or contractors in general, are deemed to be the bad boys, because they are the ones that are out there cutting the fibre and many Nova Scotians don't agree with the management plan and clear-cutting practices that are allowed in this province - the contractors' position was very clear: Give us the regulations, make them mandatory, which makes it an even playing field when we are bidding and trying to get a contract to do a cut, all we are looking for is mandatory regulations, so that irresponsible contractors do not have a leg-up, because they will use cutting practices which we do not favour, and therefore make us non-competitive.

A wood acquisition plan, how much fibre in Nova Scotia are we able to cut? My understanding and, unfortunately, we have a confusion of nomenclature. We talk about cubic metres. We talk about cords. My understanding is we are cutting about 2.2 million cords in Nova Scotia a year. It has been estimated that with good forest management, we can increase that cut perhaps as much as 25 per cent and still have it sustainable.

So I believe that objective and that objective alone should drive us to come up with the forest management plan that we are all looking for. While this bill does not outline that forest management plan, it does do a very important thing. It starts to do a statistical analysis of cut. It starts to put in place a requirement of a management plan for the major purchasers. So the wood buyers will have a very real responsibility for this.

I come from a part of the province, the central region, in which there has been very little resolution of this problem. I look at what has happened in the eastern provinces and the agreement between the growers and Stora. They have gone a number of steps ahead of the rest of the province in terms of providing what I think is a responsible approach but all participants, I believe, will respond to what the government's role is in this, it is to provide the framework in which the industry can survive and be competitive.

We talk about the changing forests and we must also, of course, remember that our forest is an animal habitat and not only the wood fibre industry must be protected but the habitat of our wild animals as well deserves that protection. Even those of us who are not large woodlot owners, even those of us who are urban people enjoy the ambiance of the Nova Scotia forests, the multi-cultural forests. We talk about mono-culture forests. The member for Hants East was talking about that and they are tree gardens and follow very much the practices that you see in Europe where, in fact, they tree farm in a way that makes much better use of acreage than we do here in Canada.

[Page 4586]

What has happened here, of course, in Canada because we have such vast tracks of land, we have become careless, complacent, and that is what has gotten us into this tremendous problem that we now face. We produce good fibre. We produce good lumber. There is a demand and it is incumbent on us to increase the yield of our acreage here in the province and protect that acreage by controlling the cut to what is a sustainable cut. I look forward to being one of those who will have the opportunity to move this bill forward. I will also think and look back at perhaps one day saying that all of us had a participation in something that should have happened a long time ago and that is a more progressive approach to forest management in this province.

Mr. Speaker, I know all of us have spoken perhaps far too long on a bill that, obviously, we all support but I believe it is incumbent on all of us to assure Nova Scotians that their messages about what is happening in the forests are not going unheard. Thank you. (Applause)

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

The honourable Minister of Natural Resources.

HON. KENNETH MACASKILL: Mr. Speaker, I want to extend to both Opposition Parties my extreme pleasure in their support of this important piece of legislation. I think it is good legislation. We worked very hard on this piece of legislation. I am certainly pleased that it is at this stage to be approved in this House today. It is probably not perfect nor do I know that there was ever a perfect piece of legislation that went through the House. The remarks that were made here today are recorded in Hansard and it will certainly be looked at in our department as time goes by.

Mr. Speaker, I want to again thank all the members for their support. I move third reading of Bill No. 5.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is for third reading of Bill No.5. Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

A recorded vote is being called for.

Ring the bells.

[11:56 a.m.]

[The Division bells were rung.]

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. The motion is for third reading of Bill No. 5. Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

[Page 4587]

A recorded vote has been called for.

[The Clerk calls the roll.]

[12:30 p.m.]

YEAS NAYS

Mr. MacKinnon

Mr. Lorraine

Mr. MacAskill

Mr. Gaudet

Mr. M. MacDonald

Mr. Downe

Mrs. Cosman

Mr. C. MacDonald

Mr. Montgomery

Mr. White

Mr. Fogarty

Mr. Colwell

Mr. Fraser

Mr. MacEwan

Mr. Matheson

Ms. Atwell

Mr. K. Deveaux

Mr. Holm

Mr. Chisholm

Ms. H. MacDonald

Ms. O'Connell

Mr. LeBlanc

Dr. Hamm

Mr. Leefe

Mr. Archibald

Mr. Moody

Mr. Baker

Mr. Taylor

Mr. Fage

Mr. DeWolfe

Mr. Dexter

Mr. Epstein

Ms. M. MacDonald

Mr. Estabrooks

Mr. J. Deveau

[Page 4588]

Mr. Corbett

Mr. Chard

Dr. Bitter-Suermann

Mr. Delefes

Ms. Godin

Mr. J. MacDonell

Mr. Parker

Mr. Pye

Mr. Muir

Mr. Balser

Mr. Scott

THE CLERK: For, 46. Against, 0.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is carried.

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

The honourable member for Argyle on an introduction.

MR. NEIL LEBLANC: Mr. Speaker, I would like to bring to the attention of yourself and all members of the House a former colleague of mine and a former member of this Assembly and a former Cabinet Minister. It is not my brother, it is Guy LeBlanc who is in our gallery. I would like for the House to offer him our warm accolades. (Applause)

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

MR. PAUL MACEWAN: Mr. Speaker, I would like to introduce to the House a very distinguished, retired, former Assistant Deputy Registrar General of this province and a very dear friend of mine and I am sure of all of us, Stella Fogarty, spouse of the honourable member for Halifax Bedford Basin. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

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

MR. SPEAKER: Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

[Page 4589]

STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Premier.

HON. RUSSELL MACLELLAN, Q.C. (The Premier): Mr. Speaker, I would like to report to the House that I have just been informed that the coal silos at the Westray Mine site have been successfully brought down. The demolition happened at approximately 11:00 a.m. Minister Huskilson was on the site this morning to witness the event and he just called to say that everything went well.

The government recognizes the symbolic significance of today's event. Many families and friends gathered near the site this morning to witness the moment. We hope that this helps to close another chapter in the grieving process for the loved ones of the 26 miners who lost their lives on May 9, 1992. Westray is a tragic event in Nova Scotia's history that will never be forgotten. We have paid the price for the lessons learned here.

On behalf of this Legislature and all Nova Scotians, I want those people to know that our thoughts and prayers are with them today as always. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Opposition.

MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, there is no question that in many ways, the towers were a physical reminder of the neglect and the disregard for workers' lives that resulted in that tragic loss of 26 men's lives in the mine. Undoubtedly it will bring some considerable comfort to many, that they are no longer there.

I would again remind the government and other members of this House that another painful reminder is that many months have gone by since the Westray families proposed a financial settlement with the province, after the Westray prosecution was dropped. I would urge the government, in order to properly address all of the components and facets of this tragedy and its memory, that they will respond, and respond in a positive way, to a proposal which I believe is extremely responsible and quite appropriate. Thank you. (Applause)

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

DR. JOHN HAMM: Mr. Speaker, when I come out the front door of my home, on the other side of the East River Valley, I can see those silos. Obviously, when I go home later tonight, that will no longer be the case. They dominated the landscape of that part of Pictou County and have been a constant reminder of what went on on May 9, 1992. For family members to see those silos go, I believe, as the Premier has indicated, will be a furthering of the closure process for those families.

[Page 4590]

Those of us in Pictou County who were in the county on May 9, 1992 will never forget that day, the days following or a week following when Pictonians demonstrated the ability to respond to a neighbour's distress. I personally will never forget receiving a telephone call at 5:58 p.m. on May 9, 1992 informing me that the mine had in fact blown up. It is one of those moments that will remain with me forever. Thank you. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Pictou East.

MR. JAMES DEWOLFE: Mr. Speaker, the Westray silos were a grim reminder of a tragic situation. I have to say that when I opened the drapes in my office, they were in full view from my workplace. I am indeed pleased to see that this has finally been taken care of. I was very saddened when we were faced with still another obstacle earlier on in the demolition of these. It was the right thing to do.

Certainly I have to mention one family in particular that lives almost below the silos, the Doyles, who lost a son there. I know how pleased they will be that that has finally been taken care of. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Pictou West.

MR. CHARLES PARKER: Mr. Speaker, I too certainly am glad to see a chapter of this Westray saga come to a close. In Pictou County, I know it has deeply affected the lives of many people in our communities. I can certainly well recall the date of May 9, 1992, and how it really shocked and hurt many people within our community. It really spread from there, across the country and across the world. It was a major tragedy, and certainly a big news story at the time.

It is certainly nice to see that the silos have come down, and perhaps now people can get on with other things in their lives, although there is still the families of the Westray survivors and the people who are still looking for fairness and compensation from the system. We hope that can be resolved very shortly as well. Thank you. (Applause)

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. 22.

[Page 4591]

Bill No. 22 - Health Research Foundation Act.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the Minister of Health, I move third reading.

The honourable member for Halifax Needham.

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, it is indeed a pleasure to be able to stand here today and speak in support of this bill, an Act to Establish the Nova Scotia Health Research Foundation, as amended, on third reading.

I would first like to make a few general comments with respect to the importance of health research and how we arrived at this particular place today, where we are about to adopt - I would hope - this important bill that will result in a Health Research Foundation for Nova Scotia. Sometimes the wheels of government work slowly, but quite often there is a good reason for that. In matters such as this, with respect to health research that can have a tremendous impact on public policy and on health practices, it is important that we not rush into situations, adopting measures that have not been well thought through. That, I would suggest, is not the case here.

In 1994, members of this House will remember that there was a Ministers' Action Committee on Health System Reform, which we frequently refer to on the floor of the House of Assembly as the Blueprint Committee. That committee had very many excellent background papers to assist them in their work. One of these background papers was a document on health-related research, dated April 11, 1994, prepared by staff of the Department of Health, whom I would like to acknowledge briefly: Hope Beanlands in the lead, Pauline Callaghan, Rick Manuel, Karen Parent and Ann Simpson.

This particular background research document on health research outlined what the current reality was in Nova Scotia with respect to health research and laid out, I think, in quite a comprehensive way that while there was significant health research already under way in Nova Scotia, much of that research tended to be in two categories: it tended to be basic research or clinical research. The funding for much of this research was funding that arrived through the Medical Research Council of Canada and, to some extent, through some of the national and provincial health charities such as the Heart and Stroke Foundation, the Lung Association, the Canadian Cancer Society or the Nova Scotia Chapter.

So many of the groups that were conducting research tended to exist within Dalhousie University, within our hospitals such as the VG and the Izaak Walton Killam Children's Hospital at that time, the Nova Scotia Rehab Centre, Camp Hill Medical Centre, what was

[Page 4592]

the Technical University of Nova Scotia now DalTech, the Nova Scotia Research Foundation, the Atlantic Research Centre and finally, the Atlantic Health Promotion Research Centre.

[12:45 p.m.]

Certainly, since that time, Mr. Speaker, we have had some new initiatives come on stream with respect to research and most notable, I think, among these are the Centre for Research on Women's Health at Dalhousie University which has been a very welcome addition to the health research community here, particularly since women, we all understand, are such a significant portion of health care consumers and health care providers as well as health care professionals. So this is a new initiative that did not exist at the time of the Blueprint Committee's background paper.

Now following out of that background paper, in 1995, a Health Research Task Force was struck by the then Minister of Health and the terms of reference for the task force, I think, are very important to note. The task force was given the important task of developing a strategy for a strong and vibrant health research capability within Nova Scotia's reformed health system. The Minister of Health at that time had directed the department to establish this task force so that a plan for health research, a structure that health research could occur within would be developed.

The members of the task force, Mr. Speaker, need to be acknowledged by members of this House for the superb job they did in taking up the challenge to develop a health research strategy for Nova Scotians. I would like to acknowledge who the members of the task force were. The task force was chaired by Dr. Lynn McIntyre, the Dean of Health Professions at Dalhousie University and in her work she was joined by Ms. Elizabeth Barker who, at that time, was the Director of Acute Care Programs for the Department of Health. I would like to say that I know Ms. Barker and her excellent work. Mr. Tom Bauld, who was a member of the Provincial Health Council, also sat on this task force, as did Dr. Lorna Butler from the Registered Nurses Association of Nova Scotia. Dr. Howard Dickson, Associate Dean of Research with the Faculty of Medicine at Dalhousie University was a member of this task force as were representatives from several of the regional health boards. Dr. David Gass, for example, from the Central Regional Health Board, who also is involved with the Department of Family Medicine here in Halifax and Ms. Doris Gillis from the Eastern Regional Health Board, Ms. Joan Murray from the Northern Regional Health Board, Ms. Marilyn Pothier from the Western Regional Health Board also sat on this important Health Research Task Force.

The Medical Society of Nova Scotia, quite properly, were represented on the task force by a family physician from here in the metro area, Dr. David Zitner, who will be known to many members here today. As well, Dr. Miriam Stewart from the Faculty of Health Professions at Dalhousie and a person who, unfortunately, is no longer at Dalhousie, her reputation as a world renowned researcher in the field of nursing I am sure added much to the

[Page 4593]

work of the task force and, additionally, Mr. Jack Sinclair from the Provincial Health Council was on this task force.

The task force had the assistance of some staff from the Department of Health who also need to be acknowledged, I think, in fairness, Mr. Malcolm Maxwell, who is the Executive Director of Policy and Planning Branch of the Department of Health; Ms. Karen Parent, Acting Executive Director of the Provincial Health Council at the time; Ms. Sandra Cook, Planning and Development Officer with the Department of Health; and Ms. Brenda Ryan, Director of Research, Statistics & Evaluation, Policy and Planning, with the Department of Health.

The task force set about their work by hearing submissions from interested parties with respect to the development of a health research strategy which ultimately has led us to this important piece of legislation. They heard from 47 persons who made presentations with respect to the development of this important initiative. It is interesting to note that presentations came from many people who are actively engaged in medical research with respect to population health, health promotion, evaluations, health outcomes, health administration and also sociological studies in terms of the sociology of health.

To identify, not all of the presenters but a few of the presenters so that members here can have a flavour for the range of people who came before the task force to offer advice, I would like to indicate that, for example, the task force heard from, this was in 1995, Dr. Elizabeth Townsend from the School of Occupational Therapy made presentation and Mr. Bill Twaddle, Director of Mental Health Services with the Department of Health, for example, made representation. Dr. Hugh A. Gillis from St. F.X. made representation. So we had a variety of people who provided input into what a health research foundation and a health research strategy should look like.

In 1996, Mr. Speaker, following this process of consultation, the Health Research Task Force issued their report. The report is entitled Quality, Collaboration, Integration and Support - A Health Research Strategy for Nova Scotia. The first recommendation from the task force in that excellent and quite extensive report is as follows, "That the 'Nova Scotia Health Research Foundation' be established as a Statutory Corporation by a Legislative Act. The foundation will be at arm's-length from government and without vested interest in any one health research area.".

Mr. Speaker, this bill that we have before us today for third reading, as amended, an Act to Establish the Nova Scotia Health Research Foundation, in fact fulfils, I believe, the first recommendation of the Health Research Task Force of 1996, which can be found in their report, Quality, Collaboration, Integration and Support: A Health Research Strategy for Nova Scotia.

[Page 4594]

What exactly is the mandate of the Health Research Foundation? The mandate will be that the Health Research Foundation will conduct ongoing facilitation, consultation, communication with government, with regional health boards, with community health boards, with researchers, with universities, with non-government organizations, with voluntary health organizations, with health professionals, consumers and individual members of the general public on health-related matters, so that we can develop health research priorities.

The foundation will allocate funds to support Nova Scotia's health research priorities and health research capacity development. The health research foundation will maintain ethical and scientific standards in health research by developing a rigorous peer review system, so that scientific and ethical standards are met. It will coordinate and promote the outcome of the research and the health research results that come out of any research that is done under the auspices of the Health Research Foundation.

Mr. Speaker, I think it is important that we understand exactly what we mean by health research. Going back to the background paper for the Blueprint Committee on Health Related Research, in that paper the authors identified that the health research that was occurring in Nova Scotia at that time fell primarily into two categories, basic research or clinical research. The work group essentially said that while this research is very important research with respect to health research and it needs to be fostered and encouraged and expanded, it also recognized that there are other very important forms of health-related research.

It encouraged the adoption, if you will, of a very broad concept of health research, so that health research could be understood to be more than medical research, for example. It could be understood to be more than research about very direct cause and effect kinds of research that would look at a specific illness, if you will, and would look at causes of that illness and attempt then to interrogate, in a scientific way, the linkages of cause and effect.

What the working committee attempted to interject into the public discussion about health research was this understanding that we needed to look at more than illness, we had to look at health promotion. We had to look at prevention. We had to be able to look at the evaluation of maybe many of our interventions, and how successful various kinds of practices were in terms of outcomes.

[1:00 p.m.]

The task force recognized the importance of a broad definition of health research and they adopted this definition which I believe will be the definition that will guide this health research foundation. You can see how this broad concept of health research underpins many of the provisions in the bill which I will attempt to go through in a moment, clause by clause.

[Page 4595]

The definition itself is that, "Health research covers a broad spectrum of inquiry, analysis . . .", Health research doesn't end when you gather the data and you do the analysis. A really important piece of health research is making that information known, putting it out to the public, after you collect the data and you do the analysis, and also putting out to the public and your peers how you did your research so there can be some rigorous examination about whether or not your methodology was good, whether your analysis had strengths and what the strengths and weaknesses of your analysis are and whether or not the conclusions and perhaps the recommendations you arrived at can actually be supported by the process you went through and the thinking you have brought to bear on that research.

A very important feature of this process of health research is also the dissemination of the research at its conclusion so there can be a rigorous kind of both scientific and public debate with respect to what the implications are and what is the meaning and the use now of this research.

The task force envisioned that health research would cover inquiry, analysis and dissemination. The kind of research that would be done would include basic biomedical research; clinical research; environmental and epidemiological studies; psychological studies - because after all, mental health is a very important concern for many people in our province - as well as social and behavioural research; research in population health; and research on health promotion, evaluation, health economics and health systems.

I would just point out that this particular definition of health research used by the task force was a definition that they adopted and adapted from Saskatchewan where there has been a health research foundation in place for some time. The Saskatchewan Government has gone through a process of evaluating the health research that has been done in that province and looking at future directions for their research foundation. I hope, with the establishment of the Nova Scotia Health Research Foundation, in a few years after it is operating we will be in a similar situation as Saskatchewan, where we will be able to look back and reflect on the important work of the health research foundation and sort of develop our future plans. We are not quite there yet, we are still at the stage of third reading of this very important bill.

What were the goals of the Nova Scotia Health Research Foundation strategy that we will see realized through this bill? The goals are very important, Mr. Speaker. They are to generate knowledge that improves the health and quality of life for Nova Scotians. While this bill will probably have the most direct impact on the lives of people in Nova Scotia, the impact will certainly not be limited to people who live in Nova Scotia because many of the health researchers who will be able to take advantage of a Nova Scotia Health Research Foundation are people whose research often is research that is developed in partnership with members of the research community in other parts of Atlantic Canada, members of the research community in other parts of Canada and members of the research community throughout the world.

[Page 4596]

For myself, it comes to mind, one of my own former colleagues at Dalhousie who is doing work on elder abuse, she works in partnership with many other health care professionals and researchers looking at elder abuse in the Caribbean area. So we can think of projects where research is going on between researchers at Dalhousie and people in Kuwait. The partnerships and the impact of this Health Research Foundation and the research that will come out of it will be felt not only in Nova Scotia but, in fact, throughout the world. I would like to look specifically at some of the clauses in the bill.

MR. SPEAKER: I would advise the honourable member that we have been through clause by clause. This is a general debate on the bill and it is not specific to any particular clauses.

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and I will not go through clause by clause. I said, some of the clauses. I just, in particular, would like to highlight the clauses where there have been amendments because I think that what has occurred in the process of the Law Amendments Committee and then the debate in the Committee of the Whole House on Bills has been that the bill, in fact, has been strengthened considerably. It has been strengthened in a way that complies with the recommendations of the Task Force on Health Research Strategy for Nova Scotia.

I think, Mr. Speaker, that is a very important thing because these people who worked so hard on this health research strategy, who come from a broad variety of perspectives and in many cases are people who are either world-renowned health researchers or persons who are intimately involved in health care issues and the reform of the health care system, the expertise, the talent and the time that these individuals, whose names I have read into the record, that they committed to develop recommendations for people like ourselves, Legislatures who do not necessarily have this kind of expertise, needs to be not only respected and acknowledged, but it needs to be followed. Their recommendations need, in fact, to be embedded in the legislation that we adopt.

I think, Mr. Speaker, what happened through the Law Amendments Committee process, in fact, was that some of the recommendations, some of the thinking of the task force that had been perhaps inadvertently overlooked or left out of the original bill that came before us, now has been addressed through the process of the Law Amendments Committee and Committee of the Whole House on Bills. After all, that is what that process is for, to interrogate language, to hear from the public, to ensure that the draft legislation reflects the absolute best thinking that we can bring to bear on ultimately what will become law in our province.

I think the first amendment that really has made what we have in front of us now a strong piece of legislation is the section around the objectives of the foundation. In particular, these amendments which were amendments, Mr. Speaker, I was very pleased to move and find support from both the government members and members in the Third Party, were the

[Page 4597]

amendments that would ensure that the Nova Scotia Health Research Foundation would be as arm's length from the minister as one would expect of a Health Research Foundation.

What I mean by that is that it was agreed and it was accepted, and it is accepted certainly in the research community, that research needs to be developed in as objective a process as possible. Researchers should not be subject to any interference from outside perspectives and, in fact, as my colleague, the honourable member for Chester-St. Margaret's, said when he spoke in the Committee of the Whole House on Bills, on the Health Research Foundation Act, he made reference to the fact that it was important not only to protect researchers from any kind of political pressure or influence by ministers but it was also for the minister's protection that we ensure that research under this foundation will be developed in a way that any interest that did not like a particular perspective being taken in a piece of research not be open to interests that were unhappy with the research; perhaps organizing a lobby or a campaign targeting the minister in an attempt to put the minister under a tremendous amount of pressure to interfere or influence the research projects.

We would all agree this would not be a good thing and I think we would all agree that it is something that very well could happen because that is what we do. We are people who are elected and we are subject constantly to lobbying, to information that promotes sometimes very competing perspectives and while that is certainly very acceptable with respect to a whole variety of issues because this is the system we have, it is certainly not an acceptable practice in the context of the absolute importance of having research and researchers and research agendas being free of that kind of influence and pressure. Research agendas should always operate with a degree of autonomy and freedom of intellectual sort of thinking.

This I think is a very important feature now of this bill, a more arm's length relationship with the minister, a more autonomous role for the foundation in setting out what the priorities will be for health research under this foundation. The process that the board of directors of the foundation will undertake in terms of identifying health research priorities is also a very important process. It is one that will occur through a great deal of consultation. It is one where government and the minister certainly do have a role, in terms of consulting with the foundation, referring matters that develop that are of real concern to the minister and the Department of Health. It provides an opportunity for health boards and institutions, individuals, members of the public, organizations, to come forward and participate in a process of building the health research priorities and objectives.

[1:15 p.m.]

Yesterday, some research findings on what it is like to be female, live in rural Nova Scotia, and have to care for a family member were released as part of a research study over at Dalhousie at the Maritime Centre on Excellence in Women's Health. Certainly, this health research foundation will permit similar kinds of health research studies to emerge. I think we can only welcome that kind of health research. I know of a number of other fairly interesting

[Page 4598]

research studies that, certainly, are in their infancy in many respects, that have been developed as research projects in stages, which is often the case with research. Researchers will start, they will have an idea, they will have some specific problem or issue that they want to explore, perhaps in a fairly general way, in the hope that as they develop a knowledge base in a general way about an issue, that they will gain more insight and they will go on to the next stage of research where they will have identified an important feature of the issue that they want to examine more carefully.

I, myself, have been involved with a piece of research where we have looked at the impact of working in a call centre or call centre work on a woman's health and it is that kind of piece of research where we began in a very general way to look at what is the situation of call centres in Nova Scotia. Are all call centres the same? Is work organized the same? What are the issues that workers who work in these call centres identify as health issues? What are the issues that are identified by employers of call centre workers with respect to health issues? Out of that very preliminary approach to women and work in the call centre industry, it is probably the case that we will identify then some very specific kinds of issues that need to be examined more carefully and in more detail. Certainly, a health research foundation would make an enormous amount of difference in being able to carry out research of this nature that will have a long-term impact on this industry, for example.

Mr. Speaker, Nova Scotia is probably right now the only province in Canada with a major medical school and a major faculty of other health professions that doesn't have a health research foundation, so this truly is an important piece of legislation to address what has clearly been a gap in the infrastructure that is available to health researchers in this province. Additionally, in most provinces there have been mechanisms to provide financial support for medical research and, again, Nova Scotia is one of the few provinces, if not the only province, in Canada where we have not addressed the need to be active participants as funders of medical research. This now will hopefully be addressed and will be an outcome of this foundation.

The other important thing, I think, to be addressed with respect to this important piece of legislation is one that is unconnected to the activity of research itself, I suppose, in some ways, what we hope will, and what we know will arrive out of the content of health research, it is the employment that health research generates. It is not just the employment, it is the kind of employment that is generated by this kind of activity. Just this week, I think most members of this House would have heard about the latest Statistics Canada study on labour market activity in Canada, and that study compared what has been occurring in this country to the U.S. . . .

MR. SPEAKER: You are wandering off the bill.

[Page 4599]

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: There is a connection, Mr. Speaker. I do understand what you are saying. What I am saying is that this bill will create the kind of employment that we want to see created in this country. We know from that latest Statistics Canada report that we have fallen desperately behind our American neighbours in terms of the generation of good jobs, highly paid jobs, highly skilled jobs.

This health research foundation will certainly be of tremendous assistance in terms of our economy and our employment situation, because the jobs that go with doing health research, medical research are jobs that require a skilled labour force, a highly trained and specialized labour force. They have an enormous impact. There are very good spin-off impacts from this kind of activity. It will also allow health researchers in this area to be competitive.

Mr. Speaker, we live in an era of a tremendous amount of global competition. I think we all feel that we are becoming more and more competitive in terms of our relationships and the need to be efficient, effective and productive. Certainly health researchers in this province are under an enormous amount of pressure to be productive, to produce, to contribute, however, they often require a small bit of financial assistance to get their research projects developed and off the ground, and established in a way then that they can go on and they can compete at a national level with health researchers from very well-resourced institutions and bases, McGill University and the University of Toronto.

So the Nova Scotia Health Research Foundation, when it is resourced, when it is up and running, will be a job creator, it will be an organization or an entity that will ensure that Nova Scotia is an attractive place for skilled researchers to locate, if that is in our medical school or in one of our hospitals, if it is in a school of physiotherapy or if it is in a school about gerontology or if it is a school about community services and working with aboriginal people like in the program at the University College of Cape Breton. There are lots of locations where health research will flourish as a result of the Nova Scotia Health Research Foundation. This is a very important piece of legislation and it is a very serious piece of legislation.

Our caucus has treated this bill with the seriousness that it deserves and to have an opportunity to speak to this bill, which after all, we introduced first, Bill No. 21 which was entitled an Act to Establish the Nova Scotia Health Research Foundation. I think there is absolutely nothing wrong with taking the occasion that is provided to members of this House during the third reading of a bill which we are paid to do to be here. It is really very delightful to be able to stand here and say that this Nova Scotia Health Research Foundation, which wasn't mentioned in the Speech from the Throne by the way, even though it was one of the campaign promises of the government members, that we are going to see this foundation which members of the health research community have been promised and have worked on for years and years. To have the 19 members of this caucus have the occasion to participate actively and to be able to influence and ensure that the Nova Scotia Health Research

[Page 4600]

Foundation was going to result before we leave this Legislature this session, has certainly been one of the highlights of this session for myself and for my colleagues.

With that, Mr. Speaker, I would like to conclude. Thank you. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings West.

MR. GEORGE MOODY: Mr. Speaker, I want to rise and speak for just a few moments in support of the Health Research Foundation Bill. I am going to change what I am going to say a little bit because of the last few minutes of the former speaker. All members of this House have supported this bill all the way through. I got the impression from the NDP that if it wasn't for them nothing would happen in this Legislature. (Interruption)

AN HON. MEMBER: You got the message.

MR. MOODY: Well, I sure haven't got the message because it takes all three Parties to make things happen and any two can make it happen.

I have been in this House for a long time and the way that they act in the last days of the House hasn't changed for 20-some years. There is a word called that you are here to do what is right and to move things along without grandstanding. You know, Mr. Speaker, what hurts the group on the right the most is the truth. That is why it hurts. (Applause)

[1:30 p.m.]

This is a good piece of legislation. I have not heard a member in this Legislature get up and speak against it.

AN HON. MEMBER: Talk about what a great government you had.

MR. MOODY: Well, at least I had the chance. I doubt if you will ever get the chance. Mr. Speaker, I will put my credibility against that member's credibility anywhere, anytime, any place. (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

MR. MOODY: Mr. Speaker, if he lasts 20-some years, I will be amazed. Anyway, I want to talk about the Health Research Foundation Act.

AN HON. MEMBER: I don't want to be here 20 years.

ANOTHER HON. MEMBER: You'll get a lot of help from the people on that, Robert.

[Page 4601]

MR. MOODY: Mr. Speaker, when they are making catcalls about you personally, you know you must be saying something right.

AN HON. MEMBER: You started it.

MR. MOODY: No, it was started by the last speaker. It was not started by me. We had some amendments to this bill. The amendments came about by all three Parties and also Dalhousie. That improved this bill. I don't think there is anyone who would deny that the process we went through to do the amendments improved the bill. I think it is a better bill today because of the amendments that occurred than before we started.

I did agree with the previous speaker when she talked about all of the good work that was done by many people whom I recognized and I think it is recognized by everybody in the health field that we do need a health research foundation in this province. Absolutely correct that Dalhousie can make a great contribution. Absolutely correct that we finally put a mechanism in place where we actually can have research done to look at outcomes. We spend a whole lot of money in health care, but so often we do not have an avenue to do the kind of research to know whether we are spending our dollars always wisely. There will always be debate about how we can improve the system. There will always be debate about whether - and I have heard this said thousands of times - we have enough money but we are not spending it wisely. Everybody can make a case. (Interruption)

Yes, we have all said it. I acknowledge that. I did say it. I think here is a way that we can actually have some work done through this research foundation to find a way, and we have all in here talked about primary health care, about how down the road with projects that save us dollars, how we could make things better. Here is an opportunity for us to actually have this health research foundation help us in making some very important decisions, giving us some very good advice.

It does not matter who is in government. Any one of us, at one point in our lives, may have that opportunity, but we are only as good as the advice we get. None of us have all the answers. I don't have all the answers. Never did, never will. Never will I always make the right decision, but the best decisions that I made and any government of the day will make will be the best advice that they get. The best advice you can get is advice that is well researched, well based and then you can make a real good decision to know and be sure that the outcome and the money you are spending is being spent wisely. I support that, because I believe, by us all together in here passing this important piece of legislation, there will be a place in history that will have a positive impact for many years to come on research that will affect the lives of many people that will come after us.

I agreed with many of the things the former speaker said, no difficulty with many parts of what she said about the legislation. I want you to know Mr. Speaker, and I want everyone to know that our Party, as well, supports this legislation. I don't think I have heard anybody,

[Page 4602]

since this legislation was introduced, that spoke against it. I think that this is the kind of legislation that we need more of, because it does look down the road into the future and it can have an effect into the future. Sometimes we get caught up in trying to fix today, when we don't think in the long term how we can make things better. This will do that, in my estimation.

We have excellent people at Dalhousie. We have excellent people that I think we will draw to this province because of this foundation that will come in and have an opportunity to do research, who wouldn't have come to this province without this bill going through. Because of this legislation, we are going to be able to attract people, especially in the health care field, that we have not been able to attract in the past.

The difficulty that I caution any government that is in power when this legislation is enacted is that there has to be enough funds to make sure that the foundation can carry on its work. Without the proper funding, this research foundation will not do the kind of work that I know we all want it to do.

Mr. Speaker, not tying up the House, because I don't think the length of time I speak that will make this bill any better, but I want to say, in my short time speaking on this legislation, that I am pleased that all members are supporting this bill and that all members will see it enacted in the very near future to actually make health care better in this province, help Dalhousie attract the kind of people that it needs, and we will all benefit in the future.

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

DR. HINRICH BITTER-SUERMANN: Mr. Speaker, I am privileged to speak another time on Bill No. 22, the Health Research Foundation Act. It is interesting and rewarding to hear that the honourable member for Kings West, and not surprisingly, has been so supportive of this particular piece of legislation. After all, he in his distinguished past has been a Minister of Health. The only question I have is, why was this research foundation not introduced and established at a time when $8 billion was spent in Nova Scotia.

It would have meant very little in that spending spree that occurred in the 1980's and early 1990's under the Progressive Conservative Party, and with a Minister of Health being so insightful, it would have been very little but would have meant an awful lot. The can has been carried solely by a privately-funded research foundation, namely the Dalhousie Medical Research Foundation, that was funded by a Molly Appeal type of initiative that the late Dean Donald Hatcher, who came from Upper Canada, together with Frank Sobey, put together, and that research foundation has done something that should have been done by government. After all, that particular research foundation levelled the playing field for Nova Scotians and for the universities in Nova Scotia.

[Page 4603]

However, having said that, I would feel amiss if I would not mention that my colleague for Halifax Needham introduced a bill, Bill No. 21, in the spring session of this House last spring that basically was, with quite a few rather minor changes, a mirror image of the piece of legislation that we see before us. It is therefore not surprising that my enthusiasm for this piece of legislation is based upon the fact that it is well thought out.

When I asked the Premier in June 1998 why this piece of legislation had not yet been introduced, because he had promised it during the election campaign, under intense questioning he said, my word is my word. I had offered him to take the Fifth Amendment, but he held his word and I laud the Premier of Nova Scotia and the Minister of Health, that they have kept their word and this piece of legislation today is before us.

I would like to compliment what the honourable member for Halifax Needham has developed in the last few minutes in terms of the importance of health research from the perspective of women's health and social health problems, and I would like to add a bit to this mosaic of research from a different background. Coming from a different background means that, when I was younger, I was trained to do research and develop ideas, et cetera, et cetera. The idea of health research is very controversial. What is part of health research and what is not? It is a narrow window through which health research had climbed, or is it a large door that is open to anybody?

As I briefly mentioned yesterday, Professor Emeritus at Harvard University, Francis Moore - in surgery that is - defined medical or health research as research promoting health, whether through prevention of disease or whether through intervention with disease is irrelevant. This enables us in this House to look at Bill No. 22 and ask ourselves, does it meet Francis Moore's criteria? Is it wide enough, is the net, is the mesh size wide enough to allow people from different walks of life to participate in research that promotes health? With this in mind, I would like to explain to you a bit about the way research can be done outside the setting that most of you think it is done in. It is not necessarily done just in a laboratory; it is not necessarily done just in a hospital.

In order to do good medical research, one has to have a hypothesis. There has to be an idea that drives the engine. There has to be a hope and an inspiration, because without a good inspirational hypothesis, no good research can be done. All our research started in ancient Greece. Philosophers like Aristotle would observe nature and would understand the anatomy of man and beast; they would describe the properties of water; they would know what viscosity of blood means, but that was not research, that was astute observation.

[1:45 p.m.]

There was no hypothesis driving experiments and hence there was a limitation to what they could achieve. However, all mankind benefited from those Greek philosophers. All modern medical research and other research is based upon the logic and the principles that

[Page 4604]

were established literally thousands of years ago in the land of my trusted colleague, the member for Halifax Citadel, where his forefathers were born.

Madam Speaker, the knowledge of the Greek philosophers was then, it needed propagation because the Greeks by the time they were flourishing had lost their military importance and the Romans imported Greek philosophers and made medical research possible because without the Roman Empire the knowledge of what Aristotle or Hippocrates would have described would have been lost, but the Roman Empire with its army spread scrolls of knowledge throughout the garrisons to the British Isles, to the caves in Gallia Transalpina, which is what today would be called Germany, to Scandinavia, and way into Russia, wherever Roman armies went, with it went ancient knowledge of what we today use as tools in medical research.

Then the Middle Ages, after the Roman Empire collapsed, was just a dreadful time for health research. There was no research done. The only thing that helped really in all those hundreds of years was that repetition and propagation of scrolls in monasteries was done and translation of the Greek and Latin text. Then after those dark Middle Ages where I feel I would waste the time of this House to go into any discourse of what happened there or what did not happen.

We go into suddenly the modern age of health research and names like Pasteur, Banting, Fleming and Salk come to mind. Those medical researchers, Madam Speaker, suddenly did something that until then was not there. They had experimental approaches with which to prove or disprove a hypothesis. An example is the discovery of penicillin. There was Dr. Fleming in some laboratory having some Petri dishes with some tissue culture fluids exposed to the air that came through an open window. There were bacteria growing and then in one of his dishes, something did not grow. He had a hypothesis. His hypothesis was that there was something that was anti-bacterial that had been airborne and had nestled in those dishes. So after very elaborate and ingenious experiments he realized it was a fungus, it was penicillin. It changed the way we live.

Without penicillin, Madam Speaker, our Canada or the population of Africa or the population of Europe would not be numerically the size it is at this moment. It was the start of the antibiotic era and the principles that Fleming introduced are the principles of today. One man, one idea, and enormous repercussions on the way we live. It is interesting, it was a one man approach. There was no major team, there were no major repercussions throughout the university of which he was a member. The whole idea of medical research as we know it today is defined by a team approach.

I would like to spend a few minutes and lead you through an exciting period of health research that started in a field that I am quite familiar with and it is very pertinent to Bill No. 22. I hear that the honourable member for Truro-Bible Hill is keen to follow me on that

[Page 4605]

journey because it will make it clear to him that this bill needs his support, although I guess he will support it ultimately, but I want to make sure. I want to make very sure.

Madam Speaker, transplantation research started with a surgeon in the Royal Air Force who treated, after the Battle of Britain, burn victims, pilots who had been shot down over the British Isles, and his name was Medawar. He was later knighted and became Sir Peter Medawar. He would skin transplant badly burned airmen and he would take skin from volunteers of these squadrons that had been fortunate enough to have a surviving airman, but unfortunate enough to have him badly burned. He discovered that if he would do repetitive skin grafts from the same donor, that the second skin graft would be rejected in an accelerated way, whereas, if he would have multiple donors, the skin grafts would take for a while. He called that phenomenon hyper-acute rejection and did not know what it was.

After the war, he went to the laboratory at Oxford University and mimicked the war experience on pilots in rabbits and guinea pigs. He took skin grafts from Strain A and put them onto Strain B recipients. It would take. If he would repeat it, it would be rejected. He looked under the microscope at what had happened and he saw that the second set rejection had no cells involved. There were no cells around the rejected skin graft, whereas first time around there were lots of cells. He got interested in those cells and they were lymphocytes. So he discovered the importance of lymphocytes, a subclass of white blood cells, for the rejection of transplants.

Now, the honourable member for Truro-Bible Hill may not think this is relevant to this bill and little does he know. It is so relevant that it is breathtaking, because after all, at the end of this small discourse he will understand that without Sir Peter Medawar, 2,000 kidney transplants, 150 liver transplants, and 100 heart transplants could not have successfully have been done at the QE II.

I will explain to the honourable members in this House the connection between Sir Peter Medawar and Nova Scotia in the next few minutes, and it gives me great pleasure. Sir Peter Medawar was the team builder, he was no longer that Pasteur or Fleming who would work alone, he had hundreds of students flocking to Oxford, crowding his laboratory. One of them was Sir Roy Calne, who came from a small Jewish background in London and was the first to ever go to university, but Madam Speaker, because the British university system is classless, he was accepted at Oxford because he passed the Oxford entrance exam and got a generous bursary to become the first academician in his family.

It was a wonderful decision by the dons of Oxford University to admit Roy Calne, because what he did was he took his B.A. and B.Sc. at Oxford and became a part-time laboratory assistant to Sir Peter Medawar. He got interested in those lymphocytes and those rejecting skin grafts and when he was an MD, he went to London University and started to tinker in the basement of his university hospital with various drugs from Burroughs Wellcome that were supposedly stopping the proliferation that is the division of lymphocytes. He had

[Page 4606]

a hypothesis, because he felt they were cancer drugs, but he had a hypothesis, he said, if I can apply those drugs to the problem of rejection where small (Interruption) Yes, Madam Speaker.

MADAM SPEAKER: Could I interrupt the honourable member for an introduction?

The honourable member for Truro-Bible Hill.

MR. JAMES MUIR: Madam Speaker, in the west gallery, we have a gentleman who has been here for most of the day watching procedures. I would like very much to introduce Bill Berryman of the Nova Scotia Teachers Union, and ask the House to welcome him. (Applause)

DR. BITTER-SUERMANN: Madam Speaker, so Sir Roy Calne, not yet knighted, had that hypothesis. Lymphocytes are important for the rejection of transplants, and if I can apply drugs that prevent those lympocytes from dividing, I may have something that is important. He transplanted kidneys, in the basement of London University Hospital, from one dog to the other, and then he applied drugs from Burroughs Wellcome and gave them intravenously to those dogs that had received the kidney transplant, hypothesizing that maybe the kidneys would live a bit longer. True enough, one of those dogs survived just a few days longer than the control group, and he felt he had something.

Madam Speaker, it was important in those days to get travel money. He got from Burroughs Wellcome a few hundred pounds, and he applied for a fellowship at Boston's Harvard University, where they had done the only kidney transplant in man from identical twin donors, because there were no drugs available to prevent rejection. He wrote to Francis Moore, the godfather of modern surgery in North America, and he said, could I come? I have a drug that maybe can change the way transplants can be treated.

He was invited to come. He did a few experiments, and the first dog that was treated with the drug he had already in his little bag that he carried through the airport, survived. It survived for 40 days. He gave it the name Lollipop. Lollipop made clinical history, made medical history, because without Lollipop, those 2,000 kidney recipients in Atlantic Canada would never have received a kidney transplant. The drug that Lollipop got was Imuran. It is a drug that all our kidney recipients all over the world have gotten since 1961.

Sir Roy Calne was allowed to stay here longer and the first human transplants were done from cadaveric donors, that is from donors that had suffered irreversible brain damage and had died. That changed the outlook on life for people who had failing vital organs.

[Page 4607]

[2:00 p.m.]

This would be a nice short story and it would be the end of it, but it isn't, because Sir Roy Calne was young, he was only 29 years old and he was offered the headship and chair of surgery at Cambridge University. Here you have the potential that this research foundation has. If you have money and you send people away like Sir Roy Calne - and we have Roy Calnes in Nova Scotia, they are everywhere, there is no monopoly on bright young men and women who want to learn, study and travel - without a foundation that can set priorities and can be flexible and go where the field needs to be pushed, if there is no travel, there is no learning, so Sir Roy Calne goes back to England at 29 years old and starts modern transplantation as we know it.

Immediately, he assembled a team of basic scientists at Cambridge University that were not available at Harvard University and he had a team of 50 or 60, a laboratory and ever since he had that lucky break with that one drug, he would pursue the idea of developing better drugs with lesser side effects.

Fifteen years later he read in a medical journal about a fungus that had grown in the Norwegian tundra that had been described by a researcher in Basel, Switzerland, as having properties slowing down the growth of tumor cells and slowing down the division of small white blood cells or lymphocytes. Roy Calne had déjà vu and he wrote that man from Switzerland and asked, can you send me a sample of that fungus? It turned out to be Cyclosporin-A, the drug that made Sandoz in Switzerland billionaires. That company's stock after it was shown by Cambridge University researchers that it was successfully prolonging kidney transplants in men, that drug made Sandoz an overnight success story and the same thing could happen in Nova Scotia.

A researcher could be sent away, comes back and has something that is applicable and, then, as my colleague, the member for Halifax Needham, pointed out, having R&D money coming in, you can immediately foster small industry and you can keep money in Nova Scotia and bring more money here. I won't be disappointing the honourable members opposite, this story is only unravelling, there is much more to it. It would be so simple if there would only be Imuran and Cyclosporin. The members opposite have to realize that life is much more beautiful. It is not like political life, clear-cut and simple; it is not black and white, it is not Liberal and NDP. There is a multitude of possibilities that happens in clinical research and basic science research, and I will explain to the members opposite how it works.

The discovery of Cyclosporin at Cambridge University was, as we now understand, the second discovery by the same man but with his own team. That could have been the end of it, he could have waited to get the Nobel Prize and just faded away, but there is the enormous importance that I think the honourable member opposite is yearning to hear. The importance lies in that attached to good research are doctors and doctors are needed in Nova Scotia, even

[Page 4608]

in the riding of the honourable member opposite, and without good doctors there is, obviously, something amiss in health care.

The Government of Nova Scotia at this moment is painfully suppressing the idea that for health care you need doctors. As a matter of fact, it must come as a revelation to the honourable member opposite to hear that doctors are part of health care because the government in the last five years has administered health care that is based on a burgeoning bureaucracy but with very few doctors.

To come back to my explanation of why this is so important for the honourable member opposite, is that Sir Roy Calne was not just interested in establishing research models. So far I have taken you through a voyage from Athens to Rome, to the Middle Ages and monasteries, to Pasteur and Fleming, Oxford and Cambridge, but the Nova Scotia connection is here.

In 1971, Mr. Speaker, Allan Sullivan MacDonald from Glace Bay in Cape Breton was visiting professor at Cambridge University. He had trained at Boston and learned the art of kidney transplantation. He was a Nova Scotian and he went to Cambridge to hone his skills with the only team in the world where clinical research and basic science research were going hand in glove, same team, same researchers, spending half of the day in the laboratory, spending the other day in the hospital setting.

I think the honourable member opposite is yearning to get a few things straight when it comes to what is basic research. Basic research, Mr. Speaker, in the health research setting, is a hypothesis-driven research that precedes the application of any finding in the clinical setting. So you have the idea that the fungus found in Norway inhibits the growth of lymphocytes. You go back to the laboratory and mix that fungus together with some lymphocytes and let them grow. If they do not grow, then you do a few transplants in mice, guinea pigs and rats. If they do not reject their transplants, then you go to larger animals to see whether dogs or pigs behave the same and that is the end of basic research.

Then, as the honourable member opposite wants to know, what comes then? Well, then comes an application, Mr. Speaker, to Health Canada, or to the MRC, to be allowed to proceed with the findings that are shown to be beneficial for transplant survival in small animals, to proceed to the clinical setting. So the MRC then will write back and say that is a very interesting proposal. Unfortunately, the size of the team, the physical conditions of the hospital in which those clinical experiments are to be done, the number of transplants that will have to be done to come to conclusive results are not good enough in Nova Scotia. That would be a hypothetical answer from the Medical Research Council of Canada and that is why it is so important to have this research foundation established.

[Page 4609]

We have to establish a credible basis for young people or old people, for men and women, who have an idea how to improve health to be funded and not getting letters from Upper Canada telling them that, unfortunately, it is most unlikely, and that is most often what is said, it is most unlikely that the very good research preliminary results will ever lead to anything clinical because Nova Scotia does not have the infrastructure to proceed. That is not good enough (Interruption) and therefore, the honourable member opposite wants to know, what happens then?

Fortunately enough when it comes to transplantation we are not second fiddle to anyone. Although the honourable House Leader seems to disagree and although a resolution recently that was tabled in this House made mention of 2,000 kidney transplants, 150 liver transplants and 100 heart transplants it was made by the Liberal Government so . . .

HON. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, may I ask a question? Just a point of information. Is an honourable member allowed to drum up business in the House of Assembly?

MR. SPEAKER: I don't think there is a legitimate point there.

MR. JOHN HOLM: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order. I know that the Government House Leader has only been in the House for a little over five years but during that period of time I would have thought that he would have learned that there is no such thing as a point of information. So I would like you to please rule that his comment was, in fact, out of order.

HON. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order. I don't think what the honourable member for Chester-St. Margaret's is saying is relevant to what we are supposed to be talking about here. I think he is light years away from talking about what is going on in this particular bill. I take exception to the honourable member trying to drum up professional business on the floor of this Legislature.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader has raised a legitimate question, there is a rule of relevance. I would submit that the honourable member for Chester-St. Margaret's has been just as relevant in his comments as members of any Party in this House have been on other measures that have been on the floor for debate. (Applause)

DR. BITTER-SUERMANN: Mr. Speaker, I would like to answer the attempted criticism by the honourable Government House Leader by saying that clinical transplantation requires a brain dead donor and obviously there are no brain dead people in this House, so how can I drum up business? To the contrary, I have developed a train of thought that shows that without the Nova Scotia Health Research Foundation, all health research in Nova Scotia will come harm's way. I will, with your permission, Mr. Speaker, continue to develop that idea because it is obviously relevant to the Government House Leader who wants to get that intimate knowledge of how this all will eventually work. Then he can obviously strut his stuff

[Page 4610]

in his home riding and say, we have introduced that bill that was so good for you and he is right. That is a very good bill, it is very sound and he can be very proud of being the [House] Leader of a Party that introduced that bill.

Coming back to where I was left before the interruption by a point of order (Interruptions) Mr. Speaker, do I have the floor?

[2:15 p.m.]

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

The honourable member for Chester-St. Margaret's has the floor. There may be some members who would like to hear what he has to say. I am having difficulty hearing him at times.

DR. BITTER-SUERMANN: Mr. Speaker, that doctor from Glace Bay, Allan Sullivan MacDonald returned, after his trip to Cambridge, to Nova Scotia to the Victoria General Hospital and started the Victoria General Hospital kidney transplant program together with Dr. Belitsky and Dr. Lannon, and if that is not good enough for the honourable House Leader, I do not know what particulars . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

The honourable member will ignore the remarks from across the floor.

DR. BITTER-SUERMANN: There was a point of order, Mr. Speaker, that questioned the relevance of my little discourse on the particular bill. The total issue really is how important it is, albeit small Nova Scotia is and albeit not on the map of the Liberal Government in Ottawa, that we have a foundation in this particular province that allows us to send people like Allan MacDonald to Cambridge and come back and do something good. (Applause)

Notwithstanding that, after MacDonald left, he kept in touch with a colleague he met at Cambridge, we overlapped for two or three months and the colleague was me. I only mention that, that is the way the networking in research is established. There is an overlap, there is a chance encounter and the outcome is that teams grow.

Twelve years after MacDonald left for Nova Scotia, he placed a phone call to Georgetown University and asked me to come over here and start the liver transplant program. I only mention it, I don't mention it for the sake of pose, but I mention it because it was done under a Tory Government, the Minister of Health, Dr. Sheehy met me at the airport and it was truly a visionary idea by the Minister of Health of the time to broaden the base of transplantation in Nova Scotia.

[Page 4611]

I came, not because there was a Nova Scotia Health Foundation in place, I came because the late Donald Hatcher had established the Dalhousie Medical Research Foundation. Scientists of the day could not be attracted, and that is why it is so important to have this foundation. It will allow, not the Dean of Medicine at Dalhousie alone, but the Dean of Humanities and the Dean of Acadia University, the President, it would allow Cape Breton Community College, it would allow any university in this province to attract basic or clinical or any health researchers to this province and make them come with their international and national connections, build teams, pursue their hypotheses, make them into small research projects for which they will get research funding through this bill, and then eventually go and apply them to man. That is where I was interrupted, and that is where I will now continue.

The clinical trial part is very important, because this research foundation will greatly enhance the possibility of having clinical trials go on. To come back to the idea of having a drug that is helpful to prevent rejection and having shown in Petri dishes and then in the tissue culture and then in small animals and then in large animals, and then having gotten their letter back from Ottawa that your research grant is in principle sound but you don't seem to have the infrastructure clinically to go ahead with it. This is where this Research Foundation Bill comes in. There will be enough nurses, technicians and statisticians around at the QE II, or at Acadia University, or wherever the research is done, that is part of a clinical trial to administer something to a diseased individual, to collect data to computerize them, provided that it is a computer that is Y2K compatible in a few years' time, and then to analyze it, go back to big industry, Mr. Speaker, and say, yes, we have analyzed the results that were made in Nova Scotia, that were developed by people that maybe came from Arkansas, or from the Yukon, but they came to Nova Scotia because they were attracted by the money of Bill No. 22 that will be made available.

We now have clinical data, gathered in a clinical trial on patients. It is time to go to the FDA and apply that this particular substance is allowed to be used as a drug. Thence onward, Mr. Speaker, a multi-centre trial will start because no good food and drug administration would believe that a particular substance developed in one particular setting is safe enough and so there will be a multi-national, multi-international, but at least a multi-centre trial established and, again, it is impossible to do that multi-centre trial without this particular health foundation in place because it costs money and there is no promise that the drug ultimately will be beneficial. It has to be tested in man but there is no seed money around to do the clinical trials and, hence, the relevance that the honourable House Leader did not see is just there. Without the monies made available from Bill No. 22, there is no multi-centre trial in which centres from Nova Scotia can be involved unless they beg and get a bit of money from elsewhere, but that is not the way it should be done.

Let us assume, Mr. Speaker, that the multi-centre trial is successful, that the results that were first shown at the QE II are repeated in Boston, in Philadelphia and somewhere in Helsinki, that was the stage where R&D comes in. That is the stage where that particular drug will be patented by the dean, or the president, or the president's office of the particular

[Page 4612]

university in which it was developed. There will be royalties flowing back to that university. There will be royalties flowing back to the researchers, not in person but to the institution from which that particular knowledge emanated.

That is sizeable monies, Mr. Speaker. The drug cycle Cyclosporin A that my teacher and friend in Cambridge, Sir Roy Calne, developed has given Sandoz in Switzerland until now, a profit of about $2 billion and counting, because it is used worldwide. We are not talking everyday with clinical trials about profits of that magnitude but we are dreamers, always we are. Man without hope is not man. We have to have vision and this bill clearly has vision and enables Nova Scotians that have a hypothesis, that have an idea, that have a good team, that have laboratory support, that have received seed money to do the pilot study, that have gone to clinical trials, it gives those Nova Scotians, women and men, a chance to be up there with the boys or women elsewhere.

That is really very important, Mr. Speaker, because we have this idea here in Atlantic Canada that what they do in Upper Canada we cannot do here. That is absolutely wrong. We are simply underprivileged but we are not daft. We are as smart as anybody else in Canada and North America but we are underprivileged. We do not have as efficient a lobby in Ottawa as other universities in other provinces have simply because our government is not very popular in Ottawa.

That is only an aside. The idea here now is that the circle is closed. It started with Sir Peter Medawar, during World War II, treating burn victims in the Royal Air Force, discovering the importance of lymphocytes, having a pupil, Sir Roy Calne, who then trained Allan MacDonald and me, and here I stand today, wishing that this particular bill, that is in its concept and in its detail, noble and helpful and just ultimately very good, be accepted and that when we come to the discussion of clauses - that I understand will follow discussion on title - will be ultimately part of the law of this province.

I want to make sure that it is understood that this is not a doctor-driven research, although it sounded as if there is a genealogy established with a few Knights of the British Empire and then a few Nova Scotians and one immigrant. This is not doctor-driven research, the laboratory that Allan MacDonald started - who was sent from Glace Bay to school and thence abroad - the Laboratory of Transplant Biology, that later on I was proud to lead for a while, is now headed by Dr. Tim Lee, who is a basic scientist at Dalhousie University. There are about 15 Ph.Ds. who work with Dr. Lee, and there are at least 10 or 15 technicians. There is collaborative research done with companies in Nova Scotia, on immunosuppressive drugs, as diverse as Clearwater, because there is an idea that Dr. Lee and his colleagues have that there is something immunosuppressive in the cartilage.

There is a wonderful thriving research environment that was started by something that was private, but in the analogy it is the same. It was started by the Dalhousie Medical Research Foundation and that laboratory now employees at this moment women and men

[Page 4613]

from all research backgrounds. The same thing will happen once Bill No. 22 starts to show effect. There will be small nuclei of teams established at Acadia, Saint Mary's, Dalhousie, in Cape Breton, just about anywhere where, by definition of Francis Moore, health research is done. Health research, as we know, is research that promotes health. This is the importance: once a research team is established and the clinical part of it is attached - we are talking about nurses and supervisors and statisticians, et cetera - it is a small microcosm of industry, it is not a physician or doctor-driven machine.

However, the idea still haunts me, the knowledge haunts me, Mr. Speaker, that this government has forgotten how health care works. It is just not so - and this is where Bill No. 22 comes in - that the only thing we have to do is attract a few doctors and attract a few nurses and attract a few physiotherapists and give them a good salary and then we have good health care. This particular government has, in five years, ruined something that took 100 years to build in this province. It took a multitude of governments and a multitude of Parties and a multitude of Ministers of Health to build a health care system that was second to none.

It was absolutely astounding for me, when I came from the United States, to find a health care system that was gloriously up there; there was absolutely nothing to be ashamed of. There was the infrastructure, there was a Minister of Health with vision, there was a Dean of Medicine with vision, there were doctors all over the province, there were small hospitals and there were large hospitals.

[2:30 p.m.]

Within five years of this government taking power, three Ministers of Health later, we see the ruins of something that was glorious, that was great, that worked and it worked for the people of this province and worked well. It was cheap because by the dollar value of 1993 and the dollar value of 1998, this same health care system, which we know is not any longer the same, costs $350 million more per year; that is inflation adjusted. There is another $500 million hidden at this moment in health board debts and tertiary care facility debts.

It is not the same level of health care because we can't retain specialists, we can't retain doctors, we can't retain general practitioners, we can't retain good nurses; they leave. With a magic wand, the Liberal Government has basically destroyed health care as we were used to. That is where Bill No. 22 will have a very important function. It will allow good people to stay.

Mr. Speaker, what this government has never understood is that propaganda is only half of the political game. You eventually have to deliver. The people who come from outside of Nova Scotia - from Upper Canada, from British Columbia, people who come from down south, from the United States - they don't stay here unless we can offer them food for thought, food for research, food for experiments. They need to be fostered; they don't need

[Page 4614]

to be pampered but they certainly need to be made welcome. The welcome they get in Nova Scotia is short-lived.

There will be an announcement by the Minister of Health that two or three doctors have been located and they have been sited in Springhill and they are there and everything is fine. The same announcement is not matched a half year later when the same three doctors have left again. It is a merry roundabout; there is absolutely no system in this here. We have to establish continuity, we have to keep good people. Bill No. 22 will fill a void, but it is not a magic wand, it is not the only medicine that this failing health care system in Nova Scotia needs.

There are many needs for something that has terribly crashed but at least this is one facet, one good idea. I laud the Minister of Health for that good idea, and I laud the Premier of Nova Scotia that he stuck by his promise and kept his word, to which he was challenged in the spring session of the House. So it is the recruitment of doctors and the retainment of doctors, and the recruitment of nurses and specialists and the retainment of them.

There is something more to it, something that is fundamentally lost on the government of the day, that any health care setting is a team setting, when the Minister of Health attracts one doctor to Springhill who is overworked, because he is on call day and night, and he leaves. You need to attract teams and the knowledge of how teams work comes from clinical health research, basic science research. That is where health care professionals get imprinted. Without a good team approach, there is no health care.

What the three incapable or dilettante Ministers of Health in the last five years have not understood is that a good health care team is needed in the administration of health care. I administer a laboratory that hypothetically would be funded by start-up grants made available from Bill No. 22, but it is not enough. There has to be a maintenance of a team. The team is not feeling cohesion if there is no good administration of the team, there is no team, there is a waste of money and that is where all Ministers of Health have got to learn a bit. It is not good enough to recruit a few doctors. You have to give them a good administration and by that I do not mean a burgeoning administration. I mean a good administration.

You do not need a regional health board based in Kentville or somewhere to tell a doctor in Chester Basin how to take calls seven days a week. For that we do not need health boards that are basically a waste of money but we need a small community health board. The administrator of that community health board would be funded to travel and learn how to administer small community-driven health organizations.

Bill No. 22 could make monies available, Mr. Speaker, for educating proper health care administrators and that is really where it is all about. The Minister of Health does not any longer know what is going on in his department or in Nova Scotia because his administrators

[Page 4615]

are inept. They leave him alone. They have deserted him. They are incapable, not all of them but some of them, because somewhere the blame has to be laid.

In closing, Mr. Speaker, I can only tell you that I am glad that the honourable House Leader was present during my closing remarks because I am pretty sure now that he does understand that I speak on Bill No. 22 and not on transplant surgery. Thank you. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Opposition.

MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, I am going to have a few things to say about Bill No. 22, an Act to Establish the Nova Scotia Health Research Foundation. I know that it certainly will not be at the standard of the member for Chester-St. Margaret's, or the member for Halifax Needham, but nonetheless let me just say that this is a very important piece of legislation. This is a piece of legislation that Nova Scotians have been waiting for for some time. Its significance to the province is considerable and I believe it is part of my obligation in being in this place that I take the opportunity to explain why that I am supporting such a piece of legislation.

Mr. Speaker, others have talked about the benefits of health research and a health research foundation. Strong health research capacity improves health practice by enhancing health-related education programs. The impact on the economy from this report that was prepared by a very committed group of health professionals, the Health and Research Task Force, that was in 1996, they said that for every $1 million spent on research, 34 jobs are generated. In addition, $109,000 in provincial government revenue would be generated. Assuming all funding was spent on research, a $12 million yearly budget would generate almost $13 million in household income, over 400 direct and indirect jobs, and over $1 million in provincial tax revenues, just on the economic benefits alone.

Mr. Speaker, you know, the Government House Leader goes nuts when I stand up or when other members stand up and speak about a piece of legislation before this House. (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

MR. CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, I do not know why that member figures that we have a Rule Book or why it is that we (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. The honourable member will ignore the remarks from across the floor.

[Page 4616]

MR. CHISHOLM: But it is extremely important that a member such as myself get up and speak about Bill No. 22. This is not a factory where we rate our effectiveness on the basis of how many bills go out the door. The question of what we can do to ensure we have good legislation like this, and we have done some work on that. I am very proud of that. (Applause)

The member for Halifax Needham expressed earlier in her remarks that she took some personal satisfaction, for this legislation being here and going through amended and with some improvements. What better thing for a member of the Legislature than to be able to stand in their place and say that they feel good about their contribution to this place, to the legislation, to the debate. That is very important. Surely we all recognize that this is a very difficult job, but we are here to represent our constituents' concerns and to do what we can to make public policy in this province as good as it can possibly be.

I join with that member and with other members on all sides of this House in feeling good about Bill No. 22 going through this House. It is not a question of taking credit. It is a question of feeling like we have participated in it, that we have done a good job, that it has been time well spent, and I am glad, as that member for Halifax-Needham is, to have been some small part of that. As she so eloquently stated, there have been numerous individuals who have been working for years to try to impress upon governments, the former governments and this government, about how important it is that we have a health research foundation, and how important health research is in this province. The member went down that list and took the opportunity on behalf of our caucus to applaud their efforts. I thank her for having done that, and I thank those folks for the time that they have spent.

I want to get back for a second to the economic benefits and looking at the health research foundation and health research in the Nova Scotia context. I wanted to underline these points that are made in that task force report on a health strategy for Nova Scotia. It says that the $10 billion spent in Canada on research represents 1.5 per cent of the gross national product or $316 per person. Nova Scotia invests less on research and development than all other provinces outside of the Atlantic area. The gross expenditure on research and development in Nova Scotia was $198 million in 1992, about 1 per cent of the GNP or $214 per person. About 63 per cent of Nova Scotia research is federally funded, compared to 5.5 per cent provincial funding. The remainder is funded by universities, industry and a variety of other sources.

In other words, we have not been well served in this province by former governments not recognizing the important role that health research plays in this economy, let alone the benefits that were so clearly articulated by the member for Chester-St. Margaret's. (Applause) It has been said before, the lack of provincial funding limits Nova Scotia's capacity to compete nationally and to build a strong support system for decision making in health decisions. The fact that this government undertook a major health reform initiative without having in place a research component was irresponsible, to be kind.

[Page 4617]

We find ourselves now, three years down the road into that reform, and in many parts of policy relating to health services in the province, it is chaotic. It is chaotic in rural Nova Scotia, it is chaotic in many of our urban communities. Who is in charge of what? Nobody seems to know, and it is not just a matter of the lack of funds. That was an irresponsible strategy, I believe, for the government to have gone down that road without being in the position to do the kind of ongoing research that was needed. The need to have increased dedicated funds for health research is clear. We need a good, solid health research component in this province to attract and retain the kind of expertise in research that we need. An infrastructure as is provided by this research foundation would support the development of a critical mass to attract those funds.

[2:45 p.m.]

Besides the benefits to the economy, surely we recognize, all members of this House recognize, the serious health problems that we have in the Province of Nova Scotia. The research should happen here in Nova Scotia and we believe the research should be coordinated by one body. We have talked before about the problems of the cancer rates in Cape Breton and the fact that there is a study here and a study there that is not coordinated. It is not tied together. There have been no conclusions accepted by this government, by any of those studies.

Were we to have a health research foundation in place that could coordinate those studies and ensure that additional studies that are necessary to verify those conclusions are undertaken, and to ensure that public policy initiatives necessary to correct those problems are, in fact, undertaken. We have serious health problems in the aboriginal community in this province, exorbitant rates of diabetes in the aboriginal community. We have elders in the aboriginal community whose first language is Mi'kmaq and they go into a hospital and they cannot communicate properly. That affects the health of those people. What are we doing about those things? (Interruptions)

Surely we recognize that there are significant and serious problems specific to individual communities. We have problems. We have a study that I believe the results were released yesterday, a study undertaken on rural women as caregivers by Gail Broome and Joan Campbell, which began the process of documenting the enormous and disastrous impact on rural women of the devolution of health care into the communities and on the individuals and families without any supports or adequate supports in place. Conclusions from that study? One conclusion that we all must pay attention to is the need for clear public policy to respond to the needs of rural women as caregivers.

There have been other studies ongoing. Teen pregnancy in the Province of Nova Scotia in areas like Cumberland and Yarmouth is a very serious problem. What are we doing about that? Does anybody have their eye on the ball on that issue? Are we going to continue to go out there and study and again produce reports that confirm what a previous report said, that

[Page 4618]

we have a problem? Or are we going to do something about it? Who best to do that then a knowledgeable body of researchers who are connected with the public policy component in order to ensure that the government does the right thing?

The public policy part of that is one reason why it was so important for us to ensure that the Health Research Foundation and its activities were independent of government, because you know that there have been studies - I cite the Cape Breton cancer studies - that have been done and there has been some significant concern expressed that there has been some political involvement in the release of some of those studies and in whether some of those studies are even completed in the final analysis. Certainly, what we have to do is ensure that once all of that work and all that important information is collected, is pulled together, that we have an independent body that can assess what it means and then can recommend in an independent way, with their concern being first, the results of that study and the people who are affected, and those public policy recommendations will be done.

Smoking in youth. We had a study not long ago that detailed how significantly the propensity of smoking in youth has increased, especially in females. That is a serious health problem. What are we doing about that? Does anybody on the government side recognize that that is a problem that has to be addressed? I say no, but we are excited about the potential of the Health Research Foundation to be able to address that.

The Black Women's Health Research project, that is under way as we speak, looking at the impact of double levels of discrimination faced by Black women, being Black and being women. What the study seems to reveal is that there tends to be a high rate of cardiovascular problems, high blood pressure, as a result of some of these pressures. We need to recognize these things and we need to be able to do something about them.

In Nova Scotia, we have an epilepsy treatment team who have a reputation throughout this country as being effective and of high quality. What are we doing with that? What are we doing with things like asthma? Mr. Speaker, you may know - I certainly do with a 10 year old daughter - the problems of the increased levels of asthma in our communities. These are things that we need to consider.

What I am saying here at third reading is that I am extremely proud of the fact that we have the opportunity by discussion of Bill No. 22, to talk about the need for a Health Research Foundation and I am proud to be here at third reading talking about this bill in order to see it go through.

A lot of the members weren't here - the Minister of Agriculture was - when they were sitting as the Official Opposition. What we used to do, in fact, is take the opportunity at third reading to have a good say on the principle of the bill. The Minister of Agriculture often didn't avail himself of that opportunity, unless it had to do with agriculture, and then he did

[Page 4619]

so very well. (Interruptions) I wish members of the House wouldn't try to castigate members on this side as we are trying to have our say.

MR. SPEAKER: Order please. Let's return to the bill.

MR. CHISHOLM: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I appreciated very much, for example, listening to the member for Chester-St. Margaret's and what he had to say in terms of research and how important research was to what it is that he does, and organ transplantation. (Interruption) That is not funny. I know people, and I have people in my family, who are very dependent on the skills of members like the member for Chester-St. Margaret's, and our ability to keep those organs alive and to be able to transplant them into people. It is a very serious matter and something we should not take so lightly.

I appreciated hearing from that member what health research means in real terms, on the ground, in the labs, and how it affects our daily lives. Sometimes we sit here in this place and stand on our feet, and we don't bother trying to relate what we are doing, what we are talking about here to what is actually affecting people's daily lives, and whether they are going to be able to maintain a place on this Earth.

MR. SPEAKER: I wonder if the honourable member would care to adjourn the debate at this time.

MR. CHISHOLM: I would be happy to adjourn the debate and return to finish up my comments at a later date. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is for adjournment of debate on Bill No. 22.

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 Government House Leader.

HON. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, would you please revert to the order of business, Presenting Reports of Committees.

MR. SPEAKER: Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

[Page 4620]

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 bills:

Bill No. 64 - Condominium Act.

Bill No. 65 - Endangered Species Act.

and the committee recommends these bills to the favourable consideration of the House, each without amendment.

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

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, the House will sit on Monday between the hours of 2:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m., and following the daily routine, we will continue with third reading of Bill No. 22.

I move that we adjourn.

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 2:00 p.m. on Monday.

[The House rose at 2:57 p.m.]